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“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.
10-minute Zone pickup
Dd2- Girls’ bathroom
Baby- hang out with Daddy
10-minute bedroom pickup
Lay out clothes and shoes for tomorrow
Get last drink
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.
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
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!
Put away all folded laundry
Clean zone (Family room, Girls’ laundry)
Feed and water horses
Clean zone (boys’ laundry, boys’ bathroom)
Feed and water Smokey
Clean zone (Bar and area around bar)
Wipe guest bathroom with baby wipes
Clean zone (guest bathroom)
Clean zone (dining room)
Hang up your clothes in your bedroom
Pick up toys in Family Room
Help Mommy in kitchen
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!
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).
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.
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…
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
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!
bless·ing - Show IPA Pronunciation
the act or words of a person who blesses.
a special favor, mercy, or benefit: the blessings of liberty.
a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.
Does God bless us today with physical blessings? Or are Christians under the New Covenant blessed with spiritual blessings?
Someone I respect and trust, we’ll call him “Joe”, believes that in the Old Testament God blessed His people with physical blessings: children, wealth, long lives, and protection. I agree with this. God’s Word clearly supports this.
Joe also believes that in the New Testament and today, God blesses His people, Christians, with spiritual blessings, not physical blessings. He believes that Christians receive good things in their lives (blessings) because they are following Christ and making Christlike decisions: good health because we are not out drinking and partying, good marriages because we are following Christ and being humble and loving, etc.
What is your opinion of this?
I hadn’t thought much about it, really, because Joe tends to get very focused on one thing in the Bible and study it until it seems almost legalistic, becoming very technical and losing focus on the idea presented.
But then my husband and I started a Bible study by Nancy Campbell called Be Fruitful and Multiply: What the Bible Says About Having Children. In this study, the author lists scripture after scripture from the OT about children being a blessing, God opening and closing the womb, God loving fruitfulness, and God knitting each person together in their mother’s womb. There are also scriptures from the NT, but the majority of the scriptures she references are in the OT.
We started discussing what Joe believes and it is really bothering me. If what he believes is true, then children are no longer a blessing. Children would be a physical blessing God gave His children.
This leads me to another issue: Does God create each child individually? Is God involved in the conception of children or are children just a result of “nature”?
Joe believes that God set the world in motion, made “nature” and that He no longer has a direct hand in our lives. He believes that children are conceived because their parents were intimate at the “right time of the month.” Obviously there is an egg and sperm and all of that and yes, it all has to join together at the right time, but I have always believed that God has a hand in conception.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth…
I have always believed, especially since I became an adult and studied the Bible for myself, that God created each one of us in His image (Genesis 1:27
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.), He knit each on of us together in our mother’s womb (Job 31:15
Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?), and children are a gift from Him (Psalm 127:3
Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.).
If what Joe believes is true, then everything I have believed all these years and everything I have based my decision to “let God control my family size” is for naught.
Here are the issues I am studying and trying to figure out:
Feel free to email me or to comment. I am really searching.
We are trying to make a decision about homeschooling again or keeping them in public school where they are now. This year we have one at home homeschooling (13 year old daughter), 3 in elementary school, and 1 in pre-k. We love their teachers. We love their school. We even kind of like our school district. It’s a decent one, anyway. So, the schools and teachers are not the problem.
The other children are the problem. We have always known this, but right now it is slapping us right in the face. Our children have great friends, kids from good homes who have great parents who parent them well, as far as we can tell. But there are the other kids, the ones who write curse words with poop on the bathroom walls, the ones who get into fights at recess and give other kids bloody noses, the ones who tell your son his new haircut looks gay and the person who cut his hair is stupid. Those kids.
I have one child (ds9) who comes home from school about once a week with stories to tell me about. For example, how one kid says the F word and other curse words when the teachers aren’t around. This kid is twice my son’s size and is a mean kid. Ds9 told me that last year he had never even heard that word and now he hears it all time and he knows what it means. HE IS NINE YEARS OLD. I seriously do not remember knowing what that word meant until much later, probably 6th or 7th grade.
That is just an example of why we are considering pulling them out of public school and having them home again. Our twins are still young enough that they are not having to deal with this stuff just yet. They have come home with the occasionally bad word, but it is not at nearly as bad as what ds9 is dealing with.
If I could employ their teachers to just teach them the academics without all the junk involved with school, I would do that in a heartbeat. They are really learning the academics and they are doing really well academically. But when your child has a stomach ache because he doesn’t want to go to school, you have to take it seriously. This child of mine is not a wimp, he is not a social reject, he is not an introvert by any stretch of the imagination. He is cute, outgoing, has lots of good friends, is friendly to everyone, he got the best attitude award for the whole 4th grade, he won best Christian character award at camp last year out of all the boys. In other words, he’s a great kid!
I am the kind of parent who questions everything. I question immunizations and their safety. I question the prescriptions the dr. gives me. I question the movies my kids watch at school and home. I question what things my kids will be doing/watching at friends’ houses. I question so many things that my mom and lots of other moms didn’t/don’t think a thing about. I don’t know why I am like that. Sometimes it gets on my own nerves and I know it gets on other people’s nerves. Like my husband’s. : )
My point is, I am not going to just put my kids in school and leave them there even if it’s awful for them and hope that they turn out alright and hope the bullies go away and hope my kids never say the curse words they hear all day. I know kids have to be in the “real world” and they have to learn to stand up for themselves and make wise choices. That is why it’s a hard decision to homeschool or not to homeschool. We don’t want to overprotect, yet we want what is the absolute very best for them. We only get to parent these children one time. We want to do our very best.
So, like I said earlier, we are going to homeschool them over the summer and see how it goes. If it goes well, and I am still sane at the end of the summer, we will keep our 9 year old (will be in 5th grade next year) and our 5 year old (will be in K next year) home next year. Our twins (will be in 2nd grade) will be in the gifted and talented program at school and we are probably going to leave them in school and see how that goes next year.
We are currently using Sonlight for dd13. We LOVE it!!!! We (she and I) are learning lots and lots of good stuff. I love the Biblical worldview Sonlight teaches.
I plan to use Sonlight with the other kids over the summer as well as use the materials I have from our previous homeschooling days. I am looking forward to it. I need to get organized again. Having them in school for a couple of years has allowed me to get lazy with my time. I need to take some hours and work on a loose summer schedule/routine.
Another thing that is going on in our family has to do with the rising gas and diesel prices. Right now dh drives a Ford F250 diesel 4x4. He drives about 110 miles a day. With diesel prices at about $4.10 in North Texas, our budget for gasoline is OUTRAGEOUS!!!!! I drive about 60 miles a day shuttling my boys back and forth to school and that adds to the gasoline expense. It is really expensive for us to drive these days. I know it is for everyone else, too.
Thankfully, we are getting back a nice tax refund and also a nice little rebate tax thingy from the government. We are going to use that to buy dh a Volkswagen Jetta that gets around 40 mpg. We will save about $350/month in gas for him alone. If I park my van this summer and basically stay home all week, running errands in his Jetta on Saturday mornings, we will save around $700/month in gasoline. How crazy is that!?! It will be hard for me to stay home, but I will need to stay home anyway. I mean, it is hard to homeschool if we are not at home, right?
Right now I am listening to dd2 roll around on my bed, trying to keep herself from falling asleep. I can also hear loud thumps coming from ds5’s bedroom, which is right above my desk. Thankfully, the baby has stopped crying and is finally asleep (he cried for all of 5 minutes). I had better go see what the loud thumps are above my head.
Have a great Wednesday!
How could one year have passed so quickly? It seems like it was just yesterday that you were a tiny infant (8 pounds!) and now you have grown into a delightful, squealing toddler. Everywhere we go people comment on how joyful you are. “That is the happiest baby I have ever seen!”
I love your sweet little crinkled-nose grin, showing all 7 of your teeth (included the one in the front that you chipped last Saturday when you fell and hit your mouth on the side of the bathtub). I love it when you wake up in the mornings and want to cuddle in bed with Mommy and Daddy. I love how warm and soft you are.
You are now toddling around everywhere, falling down every few steps, but getting right back up and taking off at full speed, grinning all the time! You love to follow Daddy and Papa around the house as they work. You also love to bite us on the shoulder when you give us a hug!
You say a few words: Dada (first word, of course : ), tick-a-tick-a-tick-a, dog. Notice that the word Mommy is not in the list. Hopefully you will learn that one very soon.
I enjoy my time with you, watching you grow, laughing at the funny things you do, and cherishing this time when you are so small. I know you have to grow up, and I look forward to seeing what God has in store for you. But at the same time, I wish I could stretch this baby time a little while longer. It is bittersweet. One day, when you are a daddy, you will read this and understand what I mean.
I will always treasure the memories of your first year. You are a treasure to me, a gift, a rich blessing straight from the hand of our God.
Happy Birthday, baby boy!
Hi everyone! I am back after a week or so of having no computer. We now have dial-up internet, so my blogging time will be drastically reduced until we get something faster.
We closed on our house last Monday. We are enjoying every bit of it (even the brush fire was an adventure..now if it had gotten to my house I would not have enjoyed it quite so much) and are unpacking our things one box at a time. It makes such a difference when unpacking to know that we will be here for the rest of our lives, unless of course God has some other place in mind for us to live. I sure hope we stay here because I love it here and I hate moving : )
I am tired and need to go to sleep so I am not going to spend anymore time writing tonight. I hope to take our annual bluebonnet pictures tomorrow and will plan to post them this weekend. Tomorrow is also ds5’s “Rodeo” at his preschool. I will have pictures of that as well.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."
Julie’s Frugal Ideas
Keep in mind that these suggestions are temporary. Once we are out of debt (everything but the house) we will loosen up a little bit. Some of these things we may continue because they are smart and make sense. The more of these ideas we put into practice, the sooner our total debt will be paid off.
~Follow Hillbilly Housewife’s $45/week menu once a month (www.hillbillyhousewife.com)
~Follow Hillbilly Housewife’s $70/week menu once a month
~Bake treats from scratch (cinnamon rolls, banana bread, zucchini bread, cupcakes, cakes, brownies, etc.)
~Plan dessert 3x a week to keep dh from eating candy and ice cream on his way home J
~Cook double and freeze half; do this at least once a week
~Leftover Night once a week
~Shop for food once a week
~When shopping, only buy what is on my list
~Leave debit cards at home
~Use Dave’s cash envelope system
~Plant a garden
~More With Less cookbook
~Use what we have in the pantry/freezer for our meals
~Buy a large jar of applesauce and put into small containers for boys’ lunches
~Make pudding/jello and do the same
~Make sure they bring home their water bottles each day
~Make KoolAid once a week and put into their water bottles
~Get creative with their sandwiches: tortilla wraps, ham and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and honey, turkey and ham, cheese, chicken salad
~Eat meat/poultry with dinner twice a week
~Have beans and rice/beans and cornbread, eggs and homemade biscuits/bread, baked oatmeal and scrambled eggs several times a month
~Use Betty Crocker cookbook for basic recipes
~Have cold cereal on Saturday mornings only
~Shop at bakery outlet
~Base menus on sale ads
~Stay in town from 8-11, then pick up ds5 and go home for the afternoon
~Do Sonlight at park or library
~Make Fridays library days; be sure to get books back on time; 1 book per person
~Work in garden on Saturday afternoons
~Sunday afternoons have to be a time of rest; after lunch, the kids and I need to go to bed for the afternoon
~Budget Committee Meeting each Sunday evening
~Use my planner
~Ask Dad to find a home for the horses
~Do not pay for a U Haul for moving to new house
~Get rid of cell phones
~Only basics on Verizon phone bill
~Have garage sale
~List piano in paper, on Total Money Makeover forums, and on Craig’s List
~Shop garage sales on Saturday morning for things to resale
~List items on eBay Sunday pm (8ish)
~Buy Weight Watchers book on eBay and count points manually; cancel Weight Watchers online
~Collect cans and take to recycling center for kids’ spending money
~Sell weight bench
~Use cloth diapers at home; disposable diapers when we leave the house
~Put panties on dd2 at home; disposable diapers on her when we leave the house
~Save $50 a month for car repairs and keep the van as long as possible
~Fix things as they go wrong; don’t wait until there are 5 things needing repair
~Keep thermostat at 64 (daytime) 62 (nighttime) in winter and 80 (daytime) 78 (nighttime) in summer
~Set program on thermostat so we don’t have to adjust it
~Conserve water by using faucet aerators
~Use compact fluorescent light bulbs
~Use rechargeable batteries
~Use clothesline or clothes rack
~Use low-flow showerheads in both showers
~Set a timer in the bathrooms for showers
~Run errands once a week (Fridays)
~Use powder dishwasher detergent instead of tabs; see if powder is really less expensive than tabs or liquid
~Use 4 cleaners only (bleach, window cleaner, all purpose cleaner, vinegar)
~Wash everything in cold water
~Sew patches in the boys’ and dd2's pants
~Put bibs on babies
~Keep SA8 stain treatment on hand all the time; buy several
~Stock up on essentials (diapers, wipes, toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, dishwasher detergent, shampoo) when they go on sale and/or I have a coupon
~Pay $89 for yearly membership to Total Money Makeover online instead of paying monthly (25 cents a day if I pay yearly)
~Take advantage of rebates at Walgreen’s and CVS
~Check Money Saving Mom’s blog at least weekly for bargains and freebies
~Shop at consignment stores and garage sales for mine and kids’ clothes and shoes
~Shop at Kohl’s sales for dh's clothes and shoes
~Research refillable ink cartridges
~Get hay crop going on back part of land (mow the whole thing, get rid of tires and metal, fertilize)
~Cut up credit cards (videotape it and send it to Dave Ramsey’s TV show)
~Get papers organized so that all receipts and warranty paperwork is filed and I can easily find it
~Keep desk clean and organized
~Keep checkbook balanced
~Take Shonda Parker’s Naturally Healthy Family course ($300)
~Use Trilight herbs to treat illnesses
~Give kids a good quality vitamin; try giving them the full dose of Juice Plus
~Clean, paint, and repair this house so we can get our deposit back
~Learn to cut the kids’ hair
~Put Pay Per Posts on my blog
~Do taxes; e-file
~Look for ways to have “free fun”
Not Just Beans by Tawra Jean Kellum
A Simple Choice, by Deborah Taylor-Hough
Frugal Living For Dummies(R), by Deborah Taylor-Hough
Unplug the Christmas Machine: Putting Joy Back into the Holiday, by Jo Robinson
30 Days to a Simpler Life, by Connie Cox
Eat Healthy for $50 a Week: Feed Your Family Nutritious Delicious Meals for Less, by Rhonda Barfield
More-With-Less Cookbook, by Doris Janzen Longacre
365 TV-Free Activities You Can Do With Your Child, by Steven J. Bennet
Unclutter Your Home, by Donna Smallin
Dinner’s in the Freezer: More Mary, Less Martha , by Jill Bond
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