Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New blog!
Update your bookmarks and blog rolls!

post signature

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

Today is the 6-month anniversary of my niece Megan's death. This is a hard day for us, especially for my sister Christina and her family. Tears are right below the surface.

post signature

Saturday, May 17, 2008

This is an excellent post! Go read it!

post signature


Beauty in the Common Things: the colors of a sunrise
Listen In:dh talking to me (sounds muffled because he is in another room and is mumbling : )
Supper Plans: beans and cornbread, salad
Today I Plan To: drive dh's new car (new to us- VW bug- 47 mpg- diesel- CUTE!!), look for outside decor for my porch at garage sales, gather horse manure for my compost pile, deposit my tenant's rent check that I was supposed to deposit on the 6th (sorry!!),
View From the Kitchen Window: a beautiful sky

**Plans, what plans?? Notice above that I had a nice little day planned out, complete with productivity around the house. Well, after going " garage saling" we went to Wal Mart to pick up a new CD rom for my computer. When we came out, there was oil pouring out of teh new VW Long story short, there is a hole in the oil pan, no mechanics in our town work on VW cars, so we are taking the car on a trailer to the vw dealership in Dallas. Parts+labor=$950.
So much for my afternoon of scooping horse manure.

post signature

Friday, May 16, 2008

So glad it's Friday!

I am very happy that it's Friday! I love waking up Saturday morning, knowing that I don't have to rush around getting kids ready for school and then driving back and forth several times a day. Since we live 20 minutes from school now, I feel like I am in the van a lot. Saturdays are a nice break from that. And summer is just around the corner, so I won't be making the daily drive much longer. My older boys get out on the 29th of May and my little boy gets out on the 22nd. I think I am going to cry when my little one finishes pre-k. I just love his teachers; they are so gifted at what they do and they really do love the children they teach. I will miss them next year. Plus, the fact that my sweet boy is growing up is so hard for me. I think I am going through this struggle with aging and with my kids growing up because I have hit my 30s. Okay, I am 31, so I have been "in my 30s" for more than a year now, but this all started when I turned 30. I am just having such a problem with getting older. I felt young in my 20s and my kids were all so little. Now, I feel like I am aging so quickly and my kids are getting older so quickly! I know in my head that time passes by at the same rate as it used to, but it feels like it is going by faster.

Enough about that...

We are planning to travel to Oklahoma for Memorial Day weekend. One of dh's cousins whom we haven't seen in years is coming into town with her hubby and 2 kids. Her baby is 1 year old and we have never met the sweet little thing, so that will be fun! My older boys have to go back to school the day after Memorial Day and I am trying to decide if I am going to keep them out so we can stay in OK longer or if we should drive back Monday evening so they can be in school Tuesday.

I am hosting a baby shower for Mrs. Happy in June. I haven't hosted a shower by myself before, so I am making lists galore, wanting to make sure I don't forget anything. : ) Mrs. Happy's MIL has graciously offered to let us use the party room at her condo building. It is a fancy place right in downtown Fort Worth.

My kids are still doing a great job learning their evening routine (bedtime routine). I have stuck to my weekly plan this week, for the first time in months and months. I am reaping the benefits of sticking to my plan! My house is organized and clean, which makes me feel calm and happy. School is getting done, we all have clean clothes each morning, even the outside of my house is clean and pretty. Now if I can stick to it consistently, and my home can stay calm and peaceful, that will be a great accomplishment for me.
Weekly Plan- Monday laundry day, Tuesday kitchen day (cook extra for freezer and clean kitchen top and bottom) Wednesday office day (clean desk, file papers, pay bills, etc), Thursday gardening day (any outside work and decorating), Friday cleaning day (deep cleaning added to normal chores), Saturday errands, prep for Sunday, and fun family stuff, and Sunday the Lord's Day (if I have done my prep on Saturday I can actually rest and fellowship on Sunday,which is my goal). It really doesn't take that long, just an hour or two each day, to get the extra stuff done. I have it scheduled in the afternoon when the kids do their afternoon chores. Yesterday they helped me outside and we cleaned up quite a bit and then hung up our flag on the front porch. It looks pretty and clean!

That all the update I have time for this morning. Everyone is waking up and coming downstairs so I had better go.

One more thing that is definitely worth is the 4 year anniversary if Isabelle's accident. Continue to pray in faith for her complete restoration. : ) God is good!

post signature

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Beauty in the Common Things: a good book read aloud
Listen In: dd2 telling me that my sandals are dry (she wanted to unload the clothes dryer)
Supper Plans: burgers, salad, and sweet potato fries
Today I Plan To: get school done, clean the kitchen from top to bottom, shop for a car for dh
View From the Kitchen Window: dark, gloomy, wet

It has been almost a week now that I have been working with the kids on their evening routine. They are doing so well! I am very happy with their progress, good attitudes (for the most part), and smooth mornings!

post signature

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Training Children

“Back in the day” when we homeschooled all of our children and I had 6 kids home with me all the time, I had lots of routines and charts and all of that. (Leslie lived next door to us at the time and thought all of my charts were wildly funny!) When we moved and put them in school, all of a sudden I began doing all of the housework and chores myself. I tried a few charts and routines, but I found that it was easier to just do it myself. When they got home from school, I made them do their homework and then sent them out to play. That isn’t working so well anymore. It is nearly impossible for me to homeschool 1 child, take care of a preschooler, toddler, and baby, clean the house, cook the meals, do the laundry, and still get some sleep! Oh, and I forgot about the hour and a half I am driving each day to shuttle boys back and forth to school.

It’s time for the kids to help out at home on a consistent basis. They are great kids and they help when I ask them to, but I have not been consistent with them and it shows!

I am going to begin re-training the older ones (7-13) and training the little ones from scratch (2-5). If they would learn to pick up after themselves, that alone would make our home much more manageable.

I am going to start with the Evening Routine. This is an idea from Flylady.

Kids’ Evening Routine


  • Clean up house
  • Get ready for tomorrow
  • Get ready for bed
  • Calm down and have a peaceful atmosphere before bed

10-minute Zone pickup

dd13-Family Room

ds9-Boys’ bathroom

B-Bar Area

E-Guest Bathroom

Ds5-Dining Room

Dd2- Girls’ bathroom

Baby- hang out with Daddy

10-minute bedroom pickup

Lay out clothes and shoes for tomorrow

Take vitamins

Get last drink

Brush teeth


Get in bed with a book until “Lights Out”

I am going to work on this with the kids every night for 3 weeks. I am going to make sure they get it down to a T. Then, we will add the Morning Routine, also from Flylady.

Kids’ Morning Routine

Wake up; Shower if needed

Get dressed to the socks

Make bed or take sheets to washer

Turn off lights and fan in bedrooms and bathrooms

Eat breakfast

Go to table for school

After they all have the morning routine down, it will be the middle of June and homeschooling will be well under way. I am going to continue working with them on our daily schedule. It helps so much if everyone knows what to do when.

It doesn’t take them long to catch on, but if I want it to stick I have to walk them through it over and over, day after day, until they can walk through it in their sleep.

After we have the school routine down, summer will be over and …

Just kidding, it shouldn’t take us that long. The next thing we’re going to work on is Afternoon Chore Time. This is an idea from Kim at Large Family Logistics. She is so amazing and inspiring and a mother of 9!

Afternoon Chore Time

4:00-5:00 pm


Put away all folded laundry

Clean zone (Family room, Girls’ laundry)


Unload/load dishwasher

Feed and water horses

Clean zone (boys’ laundry, boys’ bathroom)


Feed and water Smokey

Sweep upstairs

Clean zone (Bar and area around bar)


Wipe guest bathroom with baby wipes

Clean zone (guest bathroom)

Sweep stairs


Clean zone (dining room)

Hang up your clothes in your bedroom


Pick up toys in Family Room

Help Mommy in kitchen


Look cute

Don’t cry

After working on Afternoon Chore Time for 3 weeks, we are going to work on Table Chores (Kim at LFL). I want all of the kids to learn these things; otherwise I would just do it myself. I am trying to train them so that one day my job will be much easier and they will be prepared adults. My daughters will make great homemakers one day, very prepared and knowledgeable. My sons will make their wives happy when they help out by cleaning the kitchen and doing a fine job!

Table Chores

  • Set table
  • Fill water glasses
  • Scrape dishes
  • Carry to sink or dishwasher
  • Load dishwasher
  • Collect trash from table, put cloth napkins in laundry
  • Put food away
  • Wipe table, chairs, high chair
  • Sweep under table
  • Wash dishes
  • Dry dishes
  • Put clean dishes away, unload dishwasher
  • Wipe counters

Then, we will work on learning how to properly manage their bedrooms. My kids get overwhelmed if they are told, “Go clean your room.” They need it broken down for them. During our Evening Routine, they are to straighten their bedrooms for 10 mintues. I may have them do these things during that time, or I may assign these things during Afternoon Chore Time, or I may save them for Fridays (we do a 4-day Sonlight program, so on Fridays they will do one math lesson, then no school for the rest of the day).

Kids’ Bedroom Management

1. Make the bed

2. Put away any clean laundry

3. Put dirty laundry in hamper

4. Put toys/stuff where it belongs. If it doesn’t’ have a home, ask Mommy to help you find one.

5. Clean off surfaces- tops of dressers, windowsills, desks

6. Dust the surfaces you just cleaned off

7. Clean under the beds

8. Closets- get everything off floor, put it all away, line up shoes neatly, hang up clothes neatly

Last, but not least, if Outside Chores. These will be done on Saturdays with the whole family outside doing outside work.

Kid Assignments

  • Porch, walls- sweep, clean
  • Garage - straighten & sweep
  • Vehicles - trash, belongings, dust, vacuum
  • Toy and Trash pickup
  • Pick up sticks, put them in fire pit, and have a hot dog and marshmallow roast at the end of the day!

By this time, it will be October and the weather will be beginning to get cool. A hot dog and marshmallow roast will be great in the cooler weather!

Life never goes according to my schedule, but I think it is important to plan it anyway. If I have a plan in hand, I can go back to it after the interruptions and do the next thing.

I’m really glad life doesn’t go according to my schedule or my plans. Some of the best times I have had, the best memories, were during the interruptions of life. But we also have a family of 9, 2 horses, 1 dog, and 11 acres to take care of and that takes some planning and work!

I hear a little one crying, so I had better go! So much for that cup of coffee I wanted to have out on the porch, listening and watching the rain while the kids slept…

post signature

Planning For A Rainy Day

Dave Ramsey teaches to plan for a rainy day in the form of an emergency fund. An emergency fund begins as $1,000 set aside for the day when the car won’t start, your little one needs stitches and insurance won’t cover it, etc. I was thinking about this today as I was cleaning up our lunch mess and I began to think of other ways I could be preparing for the rainy days that are sure to come: days when I am sick and can barely get out of bed, those early days of pregnancy when I feel like the rug has gotten jerked out from under me, the days of winter when I have multiple kids sick and all I do is rock babies and clean up throw up all day. Gross, but reality.

A side note: last Saturday my van wouldn’t start. We got all ready to go to Dallas for the Asian festival downtown. We are beginning a study of Japan and dh thought it would be neat to go to this festival. So, we got the entire family ready and got into the van. Dh started the van and it died. This happened again, and again, and again. Dh would not give up. We did this for about 20 minutes, sitting in the garage. By that time, a few kids were whining and starting to bicker amongst themselves. DD13 was cracking up and I was beginning to get impatient. To make a LONG story short, thankfully I had that emergency fund in place because yesterday I paid a bill of $436.58 for a new fuel pump. If we didn’t have the money set aside, we would have been up a creek.

Also, I was in bed yesterday afternoon and evening with some kind of yucky stomach virus and I was wishing I had done some “rainy day/sick day” planning to make things easier on my family.

Okay, back to my rainy day planning.

The areas that go to the wayside when rainy days hit are

1) Laundry

2) Meals

3) Meal cleanup

One thing I can think of to make meals less of a problem is having meals in the freezer so dh or dd13 can pop one of those in the oven, make a salad and a pitcher of tea and voila! Dinner is ready!

Meal cleanup and laundry are very challenging, especially if we’re talking about an extended amount of rainy day time, like 2 weeks of the flu, or 12 weeks of morning sickness. : ) One idea is to put 2 children in charge of meal cleanup and rotate it weekly during these times. I can do the same with laundry. That sounds like it will work. I will have to make charts to tell them exactly what to do so that it will get clean up well. I don’t know about your kids but mine DO NOT clean the way I want them to unless I am standing over them and then they still don’t act like they know what to do even when I am telling them what to do.

Doesn’t it sound like a fun home we live in? It actually is fun most of the time. Chore time is not fun for them or for me. But the results are very fun for me. Sanity is fun!!

I am going to try to take some time to make charts for them so that I can pull them out when I need to. Also, I am going to try to make double meals a couple of times a week and stick one in the freezer. I am going to take out the extra meal and freeze it before we eat or else it will get eaten, too. If my kids and hubby see extra food sitting on the counter or stove, they will eat it!! I am also going to pack dh’s lunch for the next day before we eat. That way, he will be sure to have a nice meals to take with him instead of having to eat pb and honey. Lately there have been no leftovers at all. Last night dd13 cooked dinner. She grilled 5 chicken breasts, made brown rice, and backed broccoli (drizzle broccoli with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes~ thanks Annie for the idea!). After dinner all that was left was a little bit of brown rice! My kids are beginning to eat like people have always told me they would as they grew. It’s true! Bigger kids eat more food. Wow, what a concept!

I am going to stop rambling now. Hopefully this little post will help me get some planning done so that next time we have a rainy or sick day, we will be prepared!

post signature