Welcome I always wonder what people think about my life now that I stay home and attempt to become a “writer.” I wonder if they envision my life as comfy sweatpants and television with my laptop propped on my lap, typing as I indulge in trashy daytime television. I wonder if others are making assumptions about my work ethic, as I apparently don’t have a “real” job. And as I often do, I want to jump in and defend myself and my current life choices.
One of the many reasons I wanted to leave my regular job (and sadly, a regular paycheck) was to put my family and home first. I’m happy to say I can do that now. I believe that’s the best thing about working from home on my own timeline. That, and when I’m sick, like I have been this week, I can throw in plenty of rest without dragging myself to work, only to prolong the illness.
Anyway, I decided to do a “day in the life of” post, sharing what an average day looks like for me as a blogger/writer who happily stays at home most days.
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Food For Thought Without a doubt, I get my love for routine and structure from my dad. He prefers to live a regimented life and I completely understand this need, as I get probably 90% of my personality from my dad. I predicted success as a writer because of this love for routine, knowing that I choose to follow schedules by personal preference. I can’t really say this brings success, but I do know that I am very conscientious of timelines and deadlines and using my time productively. Most of my days follow the same basic schedule. As with any job, or life for that matter, there are going to be things come up that cause deviation from the plan. But most days look the same and I don’t really mind that at all, while I know this would drive some people crazy with boredom.
So what does an average day look like? Well, let’s look at it as a regular school day for my daughter and my husband is off to work because that is the majority of the days on the calendar. It is nice to have flexibility around their schedules, though.
Hubby is up at 5:30, I’m up at 6, and daughter has to be up by 6:30. Getting ready doesn’t take long when I just throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and pull back my hair in a ponytail. No make-up, no fuss, no worries. The morning routine flows smoothly because we prep the night before: showers, pack lunches, lay out clothes, gather homework and backpack. After dressing, my daughter and I eat breakfast together while watching animated television, very low-stress. My pre-teen daughter has not yet turned into a primping fuss-pot in the morning.
After dropping my daughter off at school (which happens to be a beautiful drive, especially this time of year), I come back home and make the beds, start laundry, if needed, and do some general picking up. Then I fix my cup of coffee and proceed to my morning devotional time. Sometimes these devotionals springboard into ideas for my blog, but I really want this time to help me connect with God, grow in my faith, and set my day on the right path. How long I spend on my devotional time varies from day to day, anywhere from 10-90 minutes, but I consider it a great privilege to have the time to do this as part of my daily routine now.
I’m not following a prescriptive Bible study plan this week, but I know the many areas I need to work on. This morning, I chose a devotional I had saved from Pinterest, titled 3 Truths About God and Time and Shadow Seasons by author Christi Gee. It was SOOO good and addressed exactly something I’ve been struggling with during this “season of shadows” I’m currently experiencing. To accompany the devotional I read the first chapter of the book of James. I was particularly drawn to verses 5 and 6. (Today’s Scripture)
Following my devotional time I try to sneak in a little exercise, maybe a walk in my neighborhood or some yoga or light strength training. This also varies, depending on if I need to take time to mow the grass, vacuum and dust, or run errands around town.
Next, it’s computer time. I start by checking email and social media. Then I do photo and graphic work. I follow this by checking stats on my website and replying to any comments. Then I write for the blog. I spend an hour or two writing the day’s post, uploading graphics, and checking links. There may be some research and referencing involved, too. The next thing I know, it’s noon-ish and time for lunch. Most days I eat leftovers for lunch. I kind of cook with that in mind 🙂
I really avoid eating while working. I did that for many years as a teacher and now consider it a luxury to be able to eat lunch with a slower, more relaxed pace. After lunch, it’s back to the blog, finalizing everything for the day’s post, including the 4 P’s: proofreading, previewing, publishing, and promoting. After the day’s post is published and promoted, I go through email and social media again.
I use the remaining time, about an hour or so, to work on other writing and blogging components. This may look like baking or prepping recipes. It may be scripture research for devotionals. It may be taking pictures or finding free graphics. It may be dictionary and thesaurus work to build my writing vocabulary. It might just be starting to write out that next post or two. I might outline plans for future posts in my blogging notebook. Somedays, I use this time to write more for my book I hope to publish “some day.” While it may involve different activities, I spend 4-5 hours on an average day working on components for my blog. That’s not a bad work schedule, I can tell you, especially when I consider that I’m working in the comfort of my own home and I don’t “work” nights or weekends. (Don’t be fooled, I worked nights and weekends when I was a teacher!)
I pick up my daughter from school and we head home to get homework done, pack lunchboxes, and prepare for the next day. I check her backpack and agenda each day. I check her homework. I set the timer for her to read 25 minutes and ask her about what she read. I ask her about what clothes she wants to wear the next day. I go through the mail. I check in with daughter and hubby about their days. I haven’t seen them all day and I’m ready to reconnect with them. Most evenings, between checking homework and preparing dinner, I have a little time for journaling or personal reading.
Then it’s on to dinner. If you follow me on Instagram, you know what we eat most nights of the week. It’s not fancy food, that’s for sure! I like food that is simple and balanced, even if not always “diet approved.” Sometimes my family helps me prepare dinner and sometimes I go solo. Following dinner, my daughter is responsible for helping with dishes and kitchen clean-up. We try to make sure that most of our nights include some downtime.
There you have it…nothing exciting, but this is #reallife. No TV, but plenty of music. Work on the deck or work in the dining room…whatever the weather (and mosquitos) calls for. A schedule that is conducive for putting my family and health first…what more could I ask for? Right now, at this place and time, this is what works for our family, and really, that’s what matters
Spaghetti with Broccoli and Parmesan and Crispy Italian Chicken (5-6 servings)
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1 envelope Italian dressing mix (like Good Seasons Italian Dressing and Seasoning mix)
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup milk
- 16 oz. dry spaghetti noodles
- 16 oz. pkg frozen broccoli florets
- 1 TBS butter
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Set oven to 350 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In shallow dish, combine bread crumbs and Italian dressing mix. In separate dish, whisk together egg and milk.
Take each chicken breast and dip first in egg mixture, followed by bread crumb mixture, being sure to coat on all sides. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. (The time depends on the thickness of the chicken breasts. Be sure the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.)
While chicken cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add spaghetti and reduce heat to medium. Cook six minutes and then add frozen broccoli to same pot. Cook an additional 10-15 minutes, until noodles and broccoli are both tender. Drain pasta and broccoli and toss with butter and parmesan.
When chicken is cooked, put on cutting board and slice diagonally into strips. Place a serving of pasta on each plate and top with a few strips of the crispy Italian chicken. Serve with additional parmesan, if desired.