Kindred Spirit

Kindred Spirit

Do you have a kindred spirit?  Someone that you would describe as the Diana to your Anne?  I do!  And I feel so blessed to call her mine.

Maybe you’re not sure what makes a kindred spirit or where the term even comes from.  Have I blindsided you?  Well let me explain.

Kindred Spirit

Growing up Anne of Green Gables was one of my favorite series of books.  I loved them.  I read them many times over.  And now, I’m reading them to my children.  And my children are loving them!  I also loved to watch the Anne of Green Gables movie and still do.  There’s just something special about the romance and relationship between Anne and Gilbert, but there is something equally as special in the friendship of Anne and Diana.  Maybe even more important than Anne and Gilbert is Anne and Diana

Our friendships are what shape us.  Having a kindred spirit is having someone who understands you.  Having one of those friendships where you don’t have to finish a sentence because they know what you’re going to say.  It is those times when you burst out laughing without saying a word because you know what they’re thinking.

It’s special.

Plain and simple.

Having a kindred spirit is like having yourself completed.  I’m not saying you can’t be complete without a friend like this, because you can, but it enriches and makes my life so much better to have mine.  I really feel blessed to have such a kindred spirit.

But what happens when you’re apart? What happens when life gets in the way?  When one person moves away things can get sad of course but guess what?!  Because you’re kindred spirits you can go weeks or months without talking and then get together and boom.  It’s like you were never apart.  The kindred spirits can start back up right where they were because that’s who you are.  You’re a part of each other.  You complete each other.

I have very few people that I call close friends.  The ones that I do consider my close friends I feel I can tell anything.  And the best part is that they are always there for me.  If I reach out even after years of not talking it’s like we have still been together.  Enrich your life by reaching out to your friends and finding your kindred spirit.  It’s worth it.

Just a Moment in Time

Just a Moment in Time

Blogging Through The ABC’s -Letter J

Just a moment in time.  Just a blink of an eye.  Just the time it takes a tear to fall.  Just the time it takes a babies laugh to sound.  

What are you doing with your moment in time?  Are you making it count?  Are you living for the future and what will be?  Are you living for the past and what has been?  Or is your focus on the here and the now?

 

Just a Moment in Time {Blogging the ABCs Letter J}

 

I think these are all questions we need to ask ourselves.  What are we living for.  We may only have just a moment in time but we can make that moment count.  I’m working on making my life not about what I’ll do tomorrow or next week. I’m learning to focus on today and make each day the best it can possibly be.

What am I finding out? I’m finding that just a moment in time is all it takes.  That’s all it takes for a hug.  That’s all it takes for an encouraging word.  Truly.  And guess what?  Those moments in time add up.  And they matter.  They matter to me and they matter to my children.  And by taking the time to make that moment in time special and memorable for that child I’m helping the next person they meet to not just have a moment in time but to have a good moment too.  

With bedrest comes long moments of reflection.  It also means that I could allow myself to be a captive audience for my child and all of my children.  I could take just a moment in time and dedicate it to making that one child feel loved and special.  I wasn’t looking at my to do list.  I wasn’t seeing all I needed to get done.  I was reading books.   I was kissing ouches.  I was making each moment I had count for me and for someone I loved.  

Having this time where I was literally just lying around thinking made me think(imagine that).  Not just think about myself and all I wasn’t able to do, but about all I WAS able to do and all that maybe I hadn’t been doing as much as I wanted.  I hadn’t been giving each child as much one on one time for school as I wanted to.  But now I was able to.  It has rearranged my days.  

Just a moment in time.  That’s all it takes guys.  Just think about it.  What are you doing with your moments?  Are you taking that spare moment to sit and check email?  Nothing wrong with that.  But is there a child asking for your help or your attention?  I know from experience that sometimes I need that moment to myself.  We all do.  But those moments shouldn’t add up to a long time.  Just remember that it’s just a moment in time.

That’s all we’re guaranteed you know.  Just a moment in time.  Just the moment we’re in.  Make the most of it.  Make it count.  I know I’m doing a lot more reflecting on what  I could be doing, what I should be doing.  I’m doing a lot more with my moments in time.  Those moments are meaning more hugs, more books read, and more feelings of love.  

My children won’t always be here.  When they’re grown and out of the house I’ll think back on these moments.  These moments that I thought were not that important.  They’re so important though.  We will never get to do them over.  Just a moment in time.  That’s all we get.  I think I’m going to go tickle a two-year old and cover a five-year old in kisses while I listen to another read me their read aloud.  Life is good.  This moment in time, it’s just a moment in time, but I’m owning it.  I’m making it last.  I’m making it count.

Don’t forget to check out all the other Blogging Through the ABC’s posts as well.  We’re slowly working our way through the alphabet one week at a time.   

 

Blogging the ABCs- a new blog series

 

 

This post has been shared on:  Motivation Monday, Clever Chicks link up, Modest Monday, Monday of Many Blessings, Art of Homemaking, Mondays Musings, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Wise Woman Link Up, Hearts for Home Blog Hop

Influencing Others Towards Good

Influencing Others Towards Good

Blogging Through the ABC’s -Letter I

In our daily lives we influence others.  I’m not talking about on the blog or internet, I’m talking about in our day to day lives, in our everyday lives.  We need to focus on influencing others towards good choices and good actions.  What are our actions and our choices telling them?  

More importantly, in my opinion, the others we need to be influencing are our children.  How can we be influencing others towards good if we’re not modeling that in our daily lives in front of them?  Now replace others with our children.  How can we be influencing our children towards good if we’re not modeling that behavior to them.

 

Influencing Others Towards Good {Blogging the ABC's Letter I}

 

I thought of replacing good with God in this title.  It would fit.  But I also wanted to be able to touch on some little things without having to tie them back into the theme and influencing others towards good just flowed better with that.  But do please be aware that I think we should always be living our lives in a way that is pleasing to God and influencing others towards Him.  Just be sure that that influence you’re having is a positive one.

In my daily life I like to think on how what I’m doing is influencing my children.  How is it affecting them?  How is it asking them to act?  Because they are going to mimic us.  If I’m sitting around all day on my phone or the computer chances are I’m not going to be able to get them to clean their room when asked.  If they don’t ever see me modelling a cleaning behavior they won’t consider it something that is part of daily life and needs done.

That’s why we have chore charts.  That’s why we have a daily schedule.  That’s why I’m trying to be very aware of how I’m spending my time and what I’m doing.  How am I influencing other towards good?  More importantly how am I influencing my children towards good.  

I love to read.  My mom loves to read and I’d see her reading.  I grew up reading.  Reading is a great activity.  But it can’t be the only activity we engage in.  My children love to read.  I like to think that part of that is because they see my love of reading and that I have influenced them in this way.  So daily we have a quiet reading time where we all sit somewhere that we find comfortable and read.  This has to be in their bedrooms or the living room.  

Now another aspect while we’re thinking on influencing others towards good and my love of reading is my blog.  I do book reviews.  I have an opinion on these books that I read.  I also only read and review Christian books.  So in this way I’m influencing those who may read my reviews towards good by pointing them towards good Christian fiction books.  Something so simple as what I read can be an influence.  

It’s also an influence to my children because they do pay attention to what I read.  I pay attention to what they read as well.  When we go to the library I look over the books they pick out and make sure that they are going to fit into what our family values and are appropriate for them to read.  I can explain this to them and also I can truthfully tell them that mommy would not read a book that I won’t let them read.  

What about you?  What in your daily life are you doing that is an influence to others?  Remember if you have children that they are always watching.  If you’re out and about or just spending a day at home, they’re watching you and wanting to imitate you.  Influencing others towards good seems to be a great motto to have while we’re training and growing our children.

Check out my other Blogging Through The ABC’s posts to find out what the other letters of the alphabet have to say to me.

 

Blogging the ABCs- a new blog series

Homeschool History Lesson

Homeschool History Lesson

Blogging Through the ABC’s- Letter H

In our homeschool we love history.  It’s one of the things that drew my husband and I together as we met at a Civil War Reenactment.  So it’s only natural that we’d want to do our homeschool history lesson together.

Because my husband is self-employed his schedule can be different from most people’s.  He doesn’t have a 9-5 job and emergencies do happen.  He is home for supper though so our homeschool history lesson happens after supper!

 

the story of the world

 

Right now we are using a wonderful history curriculum called Story of the World.  We’re in volume 1 which covers Ancient Times right now but I can already tell that we’ll be continuing this curriculum.  We restart our homeschool year on January 1st so that’s when we started our new history.

I’ve talked to people about our homeschool a lot.  You’ll find when you’re around people who homeschool you do talk about homeschooling and what curriculum you use and how you implement it just because it’s something you’re all curious about.  When they heard how we did our homeschool history lesson I got a lot of mixed reactions.  People couldn’t believe that our kids could learn that late in the evening.  They wondered if the kids were retaining their knowledge.  They were also curious how we could work that in our schedule at that time.

It’s not always easy.  Yes they do retain it.  And we all love it!  Prior to making our homeschool history lesson at this time we would read books out loud together.  We expected our children to sit and listen and retain that knowledge.  They had to answer questions and we really wanted to make sure they understood the books we read to them.  We read things like the Chronicles of Narnia series, Anne of Green Gables, and other classics.

Switching to a homeschool history lesson really didn’t change our dynamic all that much.  We still were gathering as a family after supper and before bed preparations.  We were still reading a “story” together.  Because this curriculum is written as a story. It’s not written like a history textbook, and it’s geared towards kids.  It’s a perfect fit for us and our range of ages.

We do the activities and workbook type work the next day during our regular homeschool hours.  I can tell you that they do retain the information and normally they have some good questions for me the next day.  It’s a fun time to discuss again what we read and make sure the information sank in.  It’s also a great way to make sure that both my husband and I are involved in their schooling.  It doesn’t all happen during the hours he’s at work so that he can be present and a presence in their school lives.  After all, that’s half the joy of homeschooling!

Because we’re reading our homeschool history lesson in the evenings it is spacing it off from the rest of the school day.  I found with some of my kids that they were zoning out before we got to history during the day.  They did great with the other subjects but were schooled out by the time history came around and they weren’t retaining any of it.  This is a great way to make sure their brains are receptive and gives them a fun activity to do during the school day instead of having to sit and listen to me read when their brains have shut off.

What history curriculum do you use?  Is your homeschool history lesson fun and engaging or do your children struggle?  Mine were struggling.  I was struggling to maintain their attention and they were not learning.  That made me stressed which in turn stressed them more.  This has really eased some of the stress of our homeschool day and made homeschooling more of a joy again for us.

 

Blogging the ABCs- a new blog series

Growing Old Together

Growing Old Together

Blogging Through The ABC’s -Letter G

I don’t know about you or your view of marriage, but I went into my marriage with the thought of growing old together.  There was no thought of oh maybe we’ll make it.  It was clear to me that we would make it and I was going to grow old together with my husband.

 

Growing Old Together {Blogging the ABC's Letter G}

 

Through my life I’ve seen people who go into marriage with an attitude other than growing old together and they don’t grow old together.  It’s sad in my opinion.  I think marriage is holy and we should go into it with a thought of growing old together with our spouse.

Now before people start talking about well what if this and what if that.  Let me say that yes I do believe that divorce can and should be an option if one of the partners is abusive and in some cases when they are unfaithful.  Let me explain that one.  If someone is unfaithful and then repents and is truly repentant, I don’t believe divorce is immediately necessary.  I view some reconciliation as being needed there.  

Most of the time that I’ve seen divorce happen it’s because neither party truly wants to work on their marriage or maybe one party does but the other doesn’t, so they divorce.  The going gets hard so people end their marriage.  

My grandparents were married for 68 years before my grandma passed away.  That was my example growing up.  Well one of them.  My other set of grandparents divorced when I was two years old.  I had a choice you see.  I could choose to follow either set of grandparents.  I chose the ones that stayed together.  

They were my favorite set of grandparents.  I loved the teasing they shared, the banter, the love.  That’s what I wanted for myself when I was old enough to marry.  That’s the marriage I wanted to model for my children.  I knew I wanted to grow old together with my spouse and have all those memories to share with my children and someday grandchildren.

I’m not saying that growing old together is going to be easy.   On the contrary, it’s going to be hard.  You’re going to have to work together to overcome challenges and obstacles.  You’re going to have differences of opinion.  You’re not always going to feel “in love” with your spouse.  That’s when you have to remember that love is a choice.  And you chose to love this person enough to marry them.  Why?

If you can remember your why’s for marrying them you’re going to have much more success in growing old together.  Also, something that has been helpful to me is having an older couple to have as mentors.  They can help you know how to overcome some of the hurdles in your marriage.  

The most important thing though(in my opinion) is having God in the center of your marriage.  Before you get married really make sure that you’re following God’s path for your life and this is the person God has for your spouse.  Make sure that growing old together is the common goal.  Discuss what you’ll do when you have disagreements.  Do marital counselling with your pastor.  I can’t stress how important really getting in-depth together and in tune together with God will help your marriage.

What about you, what are your thoughts on marriage?  Do you believe it should be entered with the common goal of growing old together?  Why or why not?

I do want to say that yes I know there are instances when divorce is necessary as I stated above.  It was necessary for my aunt when she divorced.  Necessary for her and her daughters to be safe.  Not all divorces are necessary though.  And those are the ones that make me sad for all parties involved.  

Make sure to check out all my other Blogging the ABC’s posts!

 

Blogging the ABCs- a new blog series

 

Fashion for Today

Fashion for Today

Blogging Through the ABC’s -Letter F

 

Fashion For Today {maternity edition}

 

My fashion tends to stay the same.  The fashion for today focuses on maternity though.  Since I’m pregnant my fashion has to have a few tweaks so that I can remain modest and yet comfortable through the months of pregnancy.

Fashion for today for me is different than it is for many people.  I like to wear skirts and dresses.  I never realized how hard it was to find skirts and dresses that were modest and yet also maternity until recently.  When you do find them, they’re normally pretty expensive. 

I recently decided to give stitch fix a go.  They now offer maternity boxes which is just what I needed!  I got my first box the other day.  I had left notes for the stylist to tell them about my style but I’d forgotten to say what colors I enjoy and what colors definitely don’t look good on me as well as styles, etc.

For those who might not know, Stitch Fix hand chooses via a stylist five pieces for you and your wardrobe and they mail them to you.  You get a few days to look them over and then send back what you don’t like.  If you like it, you keep it.  There is a $20 styling fee but that is taken off the price of any of the articles you choose.

My box contained an infinity scarf in a lumberjack type shirt flannel print.  I’m not a huge scarf wearer and definitely did not keep this one.  Red and black lumberjack print is not my thing.  I have red hair.  Just did not go together well.

Next I  pulled out a pretty blue dress.  It was a gorgeous color but had ruching on the side that did not line up with where my natural waist is and just didn’t look very nice on me.  It was lined and a nice knee length so it could have been worn with or without leggings.  A nice dress was on my list of things that I wanted but sadly I had to send it back.

The next piece I didn’t even try on.  It was a cardigan.  I love cardigans!  This one was an open drape front which is fine with me but it was tiny black and white checks.  For some reason this style of print just did not appeal to me so back in the box it went.

Fourth item I pulled out was a blue and pink print loose type maternity top with a pocket.  It was a bit see through and the pink was a coral that made me looked washed out.  

 

Fashion for Today {stitch fix maternity}

 

At this point I was beginning to despair a bit.  And then I pulled out my keeper item.  A nice black t shirt with ruching on the side.  It can be longer or shorter depending on the ruching and I was in love. It easily dresses up a skirt for church or works with a denim skirt for everyday!  Also a cardigan looks super cute over it.

I do apologize that I’m having to take the photos inside and with my phone in a mirror, but it’s cold outside.  And I don’t have anyone else handy to take photos unless you want just the belly which is what my kids focus on!

 

Fashion for Today {stitch fix maternity}

 

So all in all my first stitch fix and my fashion for today brought me a new top to style several ways.  I learned that I needed to add more information to my stitch fix profile and notes and can’t wait to try again.

Some of their items are pricey while others are reasonable.  Others might find all their prices reasonable, but as a frugal mom of 9 soon to be 10 I would have a hard time spending almost $100 on a dress.  I mentioned this in my review as well.  They have you review all the items in your box and give them feedback so they can better style you next time.  I think this is going to be a great service for me and am looking forward to hopefully getting a few new spring pieces next month.

Did I mention that you get a prepaid envelope to send the pieces you don’t like back in?  That really sealed it for me.  I can just toss that in my mail box and I don’t have to go to the post office with all the kids.  It’s easy!  I really don’t like clothes shopping either so if I can get the stylist to understand what I do and don’t like then this is going to be awesome I do believe!  Have you tried stitch fix before?  What was your experience like?

So my fashion for today remains the same.  Maxi type skirts or denim skirts that are maternity with t shirt type tops and cardigans.  I’m hoping to branch that out and change it up a bit but for now it looks to be staying the same.

Let me mention that both the skirts I’m wearing in these photos are from Deborah and Co.  They’re both awesome maternity skirts as well and so so so comfy.  If you’ve never tried their clothing line you should check it out!

 

Blogging the ABCs- a new blog series

Everyday Routine

Everyday Routine

Blogging Through the ABC’s -Letter E

 

Everyday Routine

 

I don’t know about you, but having an everyday routine really helps my children and I to maintain the right attitude throughout the week and to know what is expected of us daily.  That doesn’t mean that everyday is exactly the same, but it does mean that the normal schedule is followed throughout the week.  Sundays tend to have a little more leeway of course because church is added in there.

What does your everyday routine look like?  My everyday routine stays the same Monday through Friday, as do my children.  Well for the most part.  You’ve got to figure in doctor’s visits and such in there but I try to keep that all limited to the afternoon so that our mornings can all be the same and include school.

Ready for a peek at my everyday routine?  Here goes!

I tend to wake up at 6am.  I should get up earlier and that’s in the process for me as I’m currently redoing a bit of my routine to include some early morning exercise and such.  If I don’t do it in the morning I don’t have the energy or the time it seems.  Of course, first on my agenda is going to the bathroom(I am pregnant after all) and then getting dressed and doing some personal hygiene type things.  

Next, I’m going to put the water on to boil for our morning oatmeal.  We have oatmeal most mornings as it’s filling and cheap for our large family.  I can buy oats in a 50lb bag from our Azure coop and we top with honey, dried fruit, and cinnamon.  So good. 

While I’m waiting for the water to boil I’m doing devotionals and saying good morning to my kids as they start to stagger out of bed.  I have some early risers who are awake before me and some that I have to drag out of bed.  We’re still working on waking up a bit nicer and being a bit faster for some of the kids, but we’re getting there!

By now I’m adding the oats and turning down the water.  The kids are getting dressed and doing their chores.  Morning chores are making the bed, getting dressed, and then they each have at least one other chore assigned to them, even down to the two year old.  They’re all expected to put their dirty clothes in the hamper and brush their hair/teeth.  But other chores would be cleaning their room, picking up the bathroom, matching socks, folding laundry, sorting hampers, taking dirty clothes baskets down to the laundry, etc.  Two also have outside chores to perform in the morning.

The goal is for everyone to have their chores done when breakfast is ready so we can all sit down and eat together.  That doesn’t always happen of course, but we’re getting closer daily!  After breakfast everyone takes care of their own dishes by putting them in the sink and then it’s free play or finish chores until school time.

I tend to also be sweeping and doing some household things likes dishes and laundry while I’m fixing breakfast and while the kids are having free play.  My chores rotate out in a schedule so that all rooms of the house get special attention at least one day a week from me.  This includes mopping, deep cleaning, etc.  My everyday routine has some variations during this time but only by what room I’m focusing on.

Next comes school.  The kids don’t all do the same subject at the same time because I can’t help them all at their different levels at the same time.  So two will do their math while two do handwriting and some others do their independent reading or spelling.  That way only one or two need my full help at a time.  We do school from around 9 until noon most days.  Noon is our lunch break.  We tend to do leftovers or easy lunches so that if not all the school was done before we can finish it.  Also afternoons are the running around time.  If we need to go take someone to the doctor, eye doctor, etc that’s done at this time.  Plus once a month I have a food coop called Azure we go to in the afternoon.  

I normally start supper around 4:30 and the kids have to start picking up any messes they may have made.  During the afternoon if we’re not going anywhere we may do some extra school or they may play outside, practice piano, or play board games.  Occasionally we’ll have a treat and watch a movie.  Or they can read books.  We’re avid readers in this house.

I do tend to work and play around with our everyday routine to try to get it to the best it can be for our needs.  For instance, trying to add exercise into my routine.  We also are relaxed on Saturdays.  Other than chores the kids are pretty much free to play or help daddy/mommy with things.  Sunday is our church day.  And there you have short and sweet version of our everyday routine.

 

 

Blogging the ABCs- a new blog series

 

Decidedly Feminine

Decidedly Feminine

Blogging Through the ABC’s- Letter D

I don’t know about you, but I like to be feminine.  I like for other people to know that I’m a lady.  I consider myself decidedly feminine.  

 

Decidedly Feminine

 

There have been times that I wasn’t quite so feminine.  It was all I could do on days to pull on a pair of pajama pants and one of my husbands t-shirts.  I’d throw my hair in a ponytail and that’s all I’d do for the day.  I would be embarrassed if anyone just happened to pop over.  My husband didn’t especially feel I was attractive.  I personally did not feel good about myself or the way I looked either.  I was worn down.  I was tired.  I was overwhelmed.

I decided to take action.  I decided to be decidedly feminine.  Now I make sure that I get real clothes on everyday.  And I do it early in the day soon after rising.  I put my hair up or half up in a pretty flexi clip from Lilla Rose.  They help me to feel feminine.  

I like to wear skirts.  I feel feminine and pretty in a skirt or dress.  Dresses don’t make up as much of my wardrobe simply because I’ve been pregnant and breastfeeding so many years that they weren’t practical.  At some point in my life I’m hoping I can bring them back!

I have a favorite skirt.  It’s the Rainbow Denim Skirt from Deborah and Co.  I have it in regular and maternity and I find that it’s my go to skirt for wearing around the house or out and about.  I’d love to add this dress to my closet at some point!

Another decision I made was to stop wearing my husbands t-shirts.  I could find something that fit me that emphasized I was a woman without making me feel on display or being uncomfortable for me to move.  I settled on plain colored t-shirts in a feminine cut.  They fit well and look nice on me.  Sometimes they’ll have a v in the front but that’s okay because I normally layer them with a tank top or a nursing tank so that I feel more covered.  It also helps me to feel that my extra weight is held in a little better.

I also wash my face every morning when I get up.  Simply washing my face is a great way of helping me wake up and feel actually awake and capable of taking on the day!  I love my L’Bri facial system.  It’s a face wash, toner, and lotion trio.  I use the Deep Pore Trio currently and it’s amazing!!

After washing my face I’ll get the kids breakfast and start my coffee for the day.  After I set them down to eat breakfast I’ll go back to the bathroom and quickly apply some makeup.  On days I stay at home I love a soft natural neutral low key doesn’t take much look.  When I’m going to be out and about I take more care with my makeup.  Even  if I’m extremely rushed and behind I try to always put on mascara and eye shadow/liner.  It makes me feel pretty and feminine so it’s worth it!  You can check out one of my makeup posts for more information on what I use and how it looks!

If I’m going out I’ll try to spruce up a bit with some jewelry.  I don’t own a lot and none of it is high dollar, but I do have a few favorite necklaces and I love earrings.  I found that I rarely wore earrings.  The dangly ones would get caught in my hair.  So now I wear the dangly ones that I love when my hair is all up!  

Another fun way that I’m being decidedly feminine is in my aprons!  I love a good frilly cute apron.  Come on ladies!  If you’re going to wear aprons at least make sure they’re cute.  I even got two sets of matching mom/child aprons.  They’re so pretty.  I need to find a pattern and make some more aprons for myself.  They cover my clothes and still make me feel pretty.

I’m also finding a love of sweaters.  I don’t wear them much around the house since we have a woodstove and we stay toasty, but they’re replacing the sweatshirts that I’d throw on when I left the house.  There are so many cute sweaters and sweater designs out there ladies.  Try some on and find one that makes you feel lovely.

Another small thing that I’m doing is trying to have my nails done.  I don’t like to paint my nails because I hate when they chip.  I also don’t like the chemicals in commercial nail polish.  Instead I use Jamberry nail wraps.  They’re non toxic and work wonderfully.  They tend to last 1-2 weeks even when all the stuff I throw at them.  Plus they have some super cute decidedly feminine designs!

 

Blogging the ABCs- a new blog series

 

Chaos Combined

Chaos Combined

Blogging Through The ABC’s– Letter C

Guys let’s be honest here.  My house is chaos.  Chaos combined with chaos.  

 

Chaos Combined

 

In our small house we have 11 people(and a baby due in June) plus three German Shepherds and two cats.  We have four bedrooms.  They’re small but all of them are bigger than my kitchen.  The kitchen that I’ve squeezed two refrigerators and soon two stoves into.  Only possible because there is no counter space.  We’re talking small house here.

Chaos combined upon chaos.  We have currently nine children.  The oldest turned 11 yesterday.  Soon we’ll have 10 children age 11 and under.  Four of those children have special needs.  Add to that the three dogs and two cats, oh and of course we can’t forget the two parents!  This 1100 sq ft house gets small fast.

Some of the ways I control our chaos is by having a schedule.  Chaos combined upon chaos can’t be fully contained by a schedule but it’s a great way to start.  I’ve found by implementing a daily routine the kids know what is expected of them when(even if they don’t do it) and things can run a little smoother.

A major thing that has helped to control our chaos is decluttering.  I’m not sure it that is actually a word, but it’s something I do weekly.  I ask myself a series of questions.  Is this something I need?  Do I use this?  Is this something I think is beautiful?  Is this something that I value?  Is this something that is helping our family?

That may seem like a weird list of questions, but it stems from some wise words I read once stating that you should only keep things that you felt were beautiful or that were useful.  It’s very true in our small home.  Clutter makes me feel horrible.  It can actually make me feel physically ill.  So it’s very important to me that our house does not have clutter.  Clutter adds to chaos.  

The actual quote that stems from is “If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it:  Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”  This quote was made by William Morris(1834-1896) and is something that I have taken to heart.  Now there are things in my home that are not beautiful that are useful or that my kids have a special attachment to.  But my chaos is not chaos combined upon chaos due to those things.  They’re not worth upsetting our household over.

Chaos combined upon chaos to me is excess clothing and laundry. It’s my kids having so many clothes that they can’t decide what to wear.  To help control this chaos I have a minimalist approach to our clothing.  Now don’t get me wrong here.  All my children have plenty of clothes.  This is something that I often have to do though.  My kids have a set area for their clothes to fit in.  If their clothes are overflowing and spilling out it’s time to purge some clothing.  

I used to store tubs of clothes for the off season and I don’t do that anymore.  That has decreased my chaos because I don’t have stacks of tubs everywhere in my storage area!!  They were not beautiful and truly they were no longer useful. You see, I’m blessed to have people who care about us and give us their hand-me-downs.  My mother and I are both great seamstresses as well.  Of course, the chaos combined that is my life doesn’t exactly give me time to do much sewing, but my mom volunteers to do our mending.  She also works at a thrift store and can get us clothes if we need something specific.

So you see the chaos combined that is called clothing clutter was something that I could eliminate from my life.  It made me happier and decreased our clutter and our chaos.  It also helped my children to not become overwhelmed when they were choosing clothes for the day.

Another way that I have decreased the chaos in our life is to be a bit creative in our storing of things.  I buy things in bulk.  We’re blessed to have a friend who can get us buckets with locking lids.  I store our bulk goods in these and place them in our cellar.  That decreases the space they take up in our house but allows me to be a good steward of our money.

Another creative storage that I was able to do last year was to buy a pot rack.  The pot rack hangs over my dishwasher.  I can hang our pots and several baskets filled with teas and coffees and sippy cups, etc on the hooks from that pot rack.  I can also place pots and bowls on top of the pot rack.  That really helps because as I mentioned, I have almost no counter space which creates chaos on my available work space.  

I could go on with other ways on how I decrease the chaos combined upon chaos in our house, but I’ll save that for another post.  Make sure you take the time to pop over and read the other Blogging Through the ABC’s posts as well.  I’m really enjoying this series and hope you are too.  Hopefully I’m not just rambling!!

 

Blogging the ABCs- a new blog series

Balancing Act

Balancing Act

Blogging Through the ABC’s Letter B:  Balancing Act

 

Balancing Act

 

 

I don’t know about you, but life to me is a balancing act.  I have to balance my family time, my homeschool time, my planning time, my baking time, housework, and the list seems to go on.  Plus now I’ve got midwife appointments to add in there and our homeschool coop is starting back up in  a little over a month.  Stuff is happening and I’m balancing it all somehow.

Some tips I’ve learned over the years of being married and being a mama to many.  Let things go.  No not that Frozen song that is stuck in everyone’s heads.  But yes, let things go.  If you don’t have time to mop daily or dust daily don’t.  I don’t.  It’s not a priority to me.  My priorities have to come first. 

To start off this balancing act it should be a priority to have a daily time with God and a daily time with your husband.  Let me tell you, sometimes there are days that I don’t think I’ve said more than two or three words to my husband before the kids go to bed and we’re “alone”.  I’m tired.  No let me rephrase that, I’m exhausted.  But, I still have to take the time to have a conversation with my husband.  We talk about his day and we talk about my day.  We talk about schedules.  We talk about whatever pops in our heads.  Sometimes we’ll watch a movie.  But that is our time.  I’m not a morning person at all.  And it’s worse when I’m pregnant.  So, having time together in the mornings just doesn’t work for me.  Our kids go to bed at 8pm and normally they’re actually all in their beds and quiet by 9pm.

Another aspect of the balancing act is making sure there is food.  Not just food in the house but food on the table at appropriate times.  Sometimes I do awesome at meal planning and sometimes I don’t, but I try to make sure we always have something simple that I can fix for the kids. Primarily we have oatmeal with honey and dried cranberries or raisins for breakfast.  Lunch is leftovers a lot or we take corn tortillas and put meat and cheese on them for a quick lunch.  Supper is my big meal and I try to prep that or make sure it’s in the crockpot either at breakfast or at lunch while the kids are eating.  That way I’m not taking away from time for other things.

Probably the largest portion of my balancing act is homeschooling.  It takes up a lot of my day.  I have 9 children.  Six of them legally are school age and so I have to do so many hours of school with them per year.  This can cause me stress if I let it even though I know we’ll get it all in with plenty of extra.  I’m a worrier so I tend to worry about things(this tends to make my personal balancing act of emotions more difficult).  We do school three to four days a week every week.  I try not to take whole weeks off though we do around Christmas and we take at least a month off when children are born.  I have special needs children.  They have learning delays and disabilities with learning.  They take extra time and planning and maintaining at least a light routine helps them.

So, I need to actually have a routine scheduled, plus make sure it’s a doable one.  That means that things going wrong just aren’t on the schedule.  So they won’t happen right?  Wrong.  Throw another box onto that stack that I’m juggling!

I think the main point of this is to share with you that we all have our own balancing act.  We’re all balancing the things in our lives.  Once you figure out what your priorities for you and for your family are, you will find that the balancing act does get easier.

Don’t forget to check out the other posts in my blogging through the ABC’s series as well.