|Posted by AFarmhouseFull on May 17, 2011 at 3:11 PM||comments (9)|
I have to start with a disclaimer: I loathe laundry! It isn’t so much the washing/drying of it that irritates me. It is the incessant folding, hanging and putting away of aforementioned laundry. I easily do at LEAST two loads (in a HE washer so it is more like 3.5 regular loads) per day. We cloth diaper, use cleaning rags instead of paper towels, my husband works outdoors and I have 5 children at home (on a mini-farm) who love to run around and get muddy. Needless to say, we have a LOT of laundry. When our fourth child was born I decided I needed a “system” because throwing a loadher and there wasn't cutting it anymore. I needed a game plan on how to tackle the laundry without resulting in baskets upon baskets of either clean laundry that hasn’t been put away or dirty laundry that smelled and needed to be washed. So far I have been using the system we have now for almost 2 years and it works SO well for us. I thought I would share with you our way of doing laundry.
A note about children's chores and laundry: Working laundry into the daily on goings of the household chores was the only way I could make sure it didn’t get neglected causing it to back up. Occasionally we do have a backup for what ever reason (life!), but just getting back on the “wheel” again is all it takes to get us caught back up and keeping up with it again. Because my children and I work in unison with each other to keep it all at bay it is easier to handle. I will say the delegation of some of the laundry duties was so refreshing!
So here is how we do laundry:
Everyday a load of “normal” wash gets done. These are just the clothes that are in the family laundry hamper (we have ONE hamper for our entire family – I find it more difficult to have separate hampers that you have to collect from everyday.)
We also do a “scheduled” load each day. For example we wash diapers on Tuesdays and Fridays, we wash sheets on Thursdays, towels on Wednesday and Monday is our catch up day on regular wash because I don’t do laundry on Sunday and very minimally on Saturdays.
During morning chores it is my 5 year olds job to retrieve the hamper and take it to the laundry room. She then takes removes any dry clothes from the washer and places them in a basket and removes wet clothes from the washer and puts them in either a basket (so I can hang them) or in the dryer (after she empties the lint filter she then starts the dryer as well.) She the dumps the hamper’s contents into the wash, adds soap and starts the machine. Our regular clothes for the day have been done.
A word about sorting: We used to sort into three categories (lights, darks, work clothes). I no longer do that. To me it is a waste of time and it isn’t much different if you just throw them all in together. If you have a brand new red shirt, I wouldn’t suggest doing that, so, of course, so use common sense. If you do choose to sort, a 3 or 4 year old can easily distinquish a dark from a light and should be able to (with correct training from you) sort a day’s worth of laundry into separate bins. And what another great opportunity to practice sorting skills!
After lunch I usually lay my toddler down for her nap and have the older kids do their silent reading and I head upstairs. After I put the toddler down, me and the baby go to the laundry room to swap loads and fold and hang the clothes from the 2 loads (one that came out of the dryer in the morning and the one that will come out when I swap loads now) that are done.
I hang EVERYTHING I can. Clothes take up less space when they are hung and it is easier on me(and it keeps them less wrinkled). The only things I don’t hang are pjs, socks, underwear and shorts. Each child has a sock/underwear drawer, a pj drawer and a shorts drawer.
Everything that doesn’t get hung I toss in the kids baskets. Each child has a basket. I usually roughly fold pj’s. I don't care if it isn't too neat because the children are responsible for putting them away so it, more than likely, will not stay folded. I am fine with that - they are pj’s – who cares? As for socks and undies – they just get tossed in the basket.
All the hung items I put on the hanging rack in the laundry room, all the baskets are on shelves above.
I DON’T PAIR SOCKS – I repeat I DO NOT pair and fold socks! It is a waste of every breath that I spend doing it. This little mantra has saved me hours (probably DAYS) of my life that I would have otherwise spent pairing and matching socks! I ONLY buy ONE brand of socks (that are color coded) so each one matches another one and they just grab two in the morning. The boys each have one pair of black dress socks and the girls have a pair or two of tights, but other wise every sock they own is the same!
In their underwear/sock drawer they have a small Tupperware to contain socks so they are together.
For the children’s morning chores, everyone over the age of 3 or 4 is required to put away their baskets and take their hanging clothes to their closets. They are also in charge of “hanger harvesting” which simply means that they are to find the empty hangers in their closets and bring them to the laundry room so I have a fresh supply of hangers to put tomorrows wash on.
So this is what works for us, I hope you found some of the ideas helpful!
|Posted by Farmhouse Family on April 28, 2011 at 12:31 AM||comments (6)|
With Mike starting a new business and 7 hungry mouths to feed, grocery shopping and grocery budgets get....um....difficult. In our lean season last year I was able cut our grocery bill to a little over $400 a month for everything (including paper products and cleaning supplies) by making many convenience foods at home from scratch, mixing cleaning supplies from cheap, earth friendly ingredients and by cutting any non-nutritious (read: empty calorie) items from our list. It was a struggle. Every. Month. Fast forward about 15 months later and we have even less room in the budget for groceries at the same time when groceries are rising at break neck speeds. Walmart milk was almost $4 a gallon a week or so ago! We go through 10 every 2 weeks! Ahem...dairy cow, anyone?
I was starting to feel that the $400 a month budget for a now family of 7 (last time we were only a family of 6) was impossible. BUT, after reviewing my actual grocery spending this month I realized we spent UNDER $350 for the ENTIRE month!!!! I looked (and looked and looked) for what receipt I missed. I double and triple checked our checkbook, receipts and online account. And there it was in BLACK AND WHITE: $338 for an entire month of food! I am still scratching my head as to HOW I did it. We didn't eat that much different than any other month. Heck, we even had a couple of extra expenses from a good deal on 50 lbs. of flour and from a few extra dishes for Easter with the family. The ONLY thing I could come up with is that I didn't do it, God did. Of course, Nicci! Everything is by God's grace, even groceries. Instead of figuring out how, I just praise Him for his gift and prayerfully, humbly ask to stretch our money again next month.
In what ways has God made it apparent to you that He is in control in this economy?
|Posted by Farmhouse Family on March 20, 2011 at 5:32 AM||comments (1)|
WELCOME SPRING!!!! I am in hog heaven! I LOVE this time of year! I already have my brocolli seedlings going strong under lights and occationally sunning on the patio. My lettuce starts are also up and I can't wait to get them both in the garden. My potatoes are starting to bud and will be planted next week along with the onions. My tomato seeds were started yesterday and I am running out of room inside for some of this stuff.
Brocolli seedlings the day after sprouting
I am also getting started on Spring Cleaning, slowly working my way around the house one room at a time. Yesterday I tackled the pantry and the back hall. I do a deep clean and move furniture and get into corners that don't normally see the light of day (but somehow collect cheerios, dust, coins and toys!).
Here are some of the things I do during "Spring Clean Time"
Can you tell we didn't have a garden last year? NO CANNED STUFF!!! AHHHHH. I am definately going to be back at canning this year. Groceries were quite a bit more this year because we didn't have our veggies and fruit from the garden.
|Posted by Farmhouse Family on December 6, 2010 at 3:28 PM||comments (1)|
I really hate to post “schedules” of our home, because honestly we run more on flexible rhythms than hard schedules. But……I have gained so much from older mothers by them letting me peek into their daily on-goings in their home. I write with this with the disclaimer that just because this works well for my family it may not for yours. Also, this is just a plan!
Many Most times things do not go in perfect succession as they are displayed on the pretty white poster board above. I use a M.O.T.H. (Managers of Their Homes) type schedule. I have never read the book, so I can’t say whether or not we are using M.O.T.H. principles or not. It is just a good way to have a very clear visual of what everybody should be doing at any given point in the day. Life with 5 children all 7 and under in my home 24/7, many things frequently get tweaked. It would be nothing short of a miracle if our day actually played out minute by minute to what our schedule looks like. But you do have to have a goal or nothing will get accomplished. You know the saying; “If you aim for nothing you will surely hit it”. So make sure you aren’t stressing too much if you are not “on schedule” regard it just as something to set your aim for the day. Do your best to keep with it, but life happens ( and it happens A LOT in this home!).
That is my daily schedule in a nutshell. What does yours look like?
|Posted by Farmhouse Family on December 4, 2010 at 1:50 AM||comments (0)|
Problem: We like to use our homemade cloth napkins. Cloth napkins usually will last through all three meals before they need washed (if they don't, I am laundering 126 napkins a week!!!). But the problem was where to put them so that they didn't end up on the floor or thrown on the table (because the table has to get thoroughly hosed down between EACH and EVERY meal!).
Wood clothes pins hot glued to the trim under the kitchen window. HOT GLUE to the woodwork?! Yeah, I know; I am dedicated! Each one of the kids has a number and Mike and mine have an "M" and a "D" on them. The kids are responsible for picking out a napkin from the bin in the morning and hanging them up after each meal. Then there is a designated "napkin runner" after dinner clean up that takes them all to the hamper. Quite simple and so far it is working beautifully!
What do you do with your cloth napkins?
|Posted by Farmhouse Family on November 23, 2010 at 5:50 PM||comments (0)|
These have been honey to my ears lately. I have little time to read right now. Reading requires a still house and a free hand - of which I rarely have. These have been my background as I wash dishes from breakfast, nurse a sleepy baby, grade schoolwork or play playdough with the munchkins.
I have saved a bunch of these as mp3 and played them from my computer whenever I got a moment to listen. To listen to them (or save them) go to the one you want to hear and click the "listen" tab.
"What Does Your Home Communicate" gave me such a pick me up today. I have always love the saying "Idle hands my the devil's work" because it is so true. This is why children need chores, AND SO DOES MOMMY! Hope it blesses you today!
|Posted by Farmhouse Family on July 7, 2010 at 3:58 PM||comments (2)|
I promise I will get back to finishing your HMB soon – but for now, GROCERCIES! These are on my mind because tomorrow is my shopping day. (Yes, I changed it to Thursday because it better fit our schedule for right now in our lives). Here are some things that I do to save time, money and headache when it comes to feeding my crew:
Meal Plan - I know many of you go to the store without a meal plan for the week. Making a meal plan is the SUCH a time saver! If you don’t – you are wasting your money on food that will go bad, your gas on back and forth trips to the grocery store and your time when you are trying to organize a meal without a clue about what you have on hand. My meal plan is basically a month type printable page and every Wednesday I sit down and figure out what meals we will have everyday of the next 7 days. Thursday (the last day I plan for the following week) is always a left over day where we eat whatever is left over from the previous week’s meals. This works out great because I do my shopping on Thursday and it saves from me having to do a lot of prep work for that particular meal. Also take into account if you have anything going on that week. For instance, when we have a big project that needs completed on Saturday (which is the day we usually slate for home projects) I usually plan a crock pot meal so that I don’t have to worry about doing prep work for dinner after I have already worked outdoors all day and I am tired. Also it means that the meal is ready when we are. If you have other things like parties/bible study/etc you can plan for quicker meals so you can get out the door as well.
Have an itemized list – I use a printable grocery list. It has three columns and includes staples that we ALWAYS buy plus other items I need from time to time. I categorize them by what part of the store they are in. My categories include:
- Health and Beauty – conditioner, shampoo, soap, make up, DO, razors…
- Dairy – cheese, milk, butter, yogurt, sour cream….
- Household/Cleaning – toilet paper, trash bags, washing soda, borax…..
- Canned/Boxed – canned veggies, mac, peanut butter, dressing, coffee, tea….
- International – rice, ramen, pasta, tacos……
- Baking – flour, sugar, salt, chocolate chips, spices……
- Breakfast – cereal, oatmeal, syrup…..
- Meat – beef, pork, chicken, lunch meat, hot dogs, sausage….
- Produce –potatoes, tomatoes, onion, garlic, bananas, apples, grapes…..
- Other – paper, tape, glue, computer ink, pencils…….
- BULK - this is where I put my bulk shopping lists for places like Sam's club
At the bottom of each of these categories I leave some blank spots to write other things. If we end up needing/wanting asparagus one week – I just write it in the blank space at the end of the produce category. I usually print a bunch of these off at a time and store them in my home management book. When I need a new one I know exactly where it is and can just pop a new one up.
Have your list available (to mark things as you run out) – I hang a clipboard on a self adhesive hook on the side of the fridge.
On the clip board I have three sheets.
- The top is my grocery list. When something runs out or runs low I circle the item.
- The second sheet is my meal plan. That way when I go to make a grocery list my meal plan is right there and I can reference it when figuring out what I need for the week.
- The third sheet is just a list of “usual meals” that my family enjoys. So when I get “bakers block” I can just pick 6 meals from the list and use those.
Make use of that clipboard – When I am ready to grocery shop I just snag the clipboard (and my reusable grocery bags) and take them to the store with me. The clipboard gives me something hard to write on to cross things out and since the categories are usually listed in the order I walk by them in the store it makes less back and forth trips from the front to the back of the store. It is an AWESOME time saver!
How do you organize your weekly shopping?
Linking to: We are THAT FAMILY - Works for me Wednesdays!
|Posted by Farmhouse Family on May 26, 2010 at 1:48 AM||comments (0)|
A lot of you have heard me talk about my Home Management Binder (HMB). It is my lifesaver. It keeps my “paper life” manageable. With out it my counters would be cluttered with scattered paper, mail and to do lists. My HMB has grown from a modest barely-there filled ½ inch binder to a 2 inch monster that is bursting at the seams! Explaining the whole binder at once on this blog would probably rival writing War and Peace and would give me carpel tunnel in the process of trying to get it banged out. I thought it would be better to break it down by category. The tabs in my binder are:
Today I thought I would start by explaining the cover and first section, General Info.
On the cover of my HMB I have a mission statement that I came up with for our family a year or so ago. Here is a link to my post about Family Mission Statements. Inside the front cover there are nice flaps for storing things that you regularly need for the binder. Tucked in my inside flaps are those little paper hole fixers (for when you accidently rip a page out and need to repair it), a couple of note cards, paper, envelopes and stamps as well as a few return address stickers. Also I store what ever bills have come it that I haven’t yet paid (I pay them weekly so there is very rarely too many in there).
My first section, which is un-tabbed, in my binder is General Info. The first page is the “Daily Rhythms” of our home. I like to use sheet protectors for these pages because being that the are the beginning of the book and being that I use them a lot they are well loved and flipped through and touched most frequently. The next page is my weekly chores that need to be completed. For example, I change the sheets every week on the same day so I know when I did it last. Same goes for cleaning the bathrooms, balancing the checkbook, grocery shopping, etc. The next couple of pages are devoted to important numbers. The header on this page is our name, address, phone number, and my and Mike’s cell phone numbers. This is a good sheet to open to or pull out if you have a sitter or someone watching the kids. The rest of the sheet is filled with friends and family’s names and numbers as well the names and numbers for our children’s pediatrician, poison control, the local police and fire department. Also in this section is important numbers such as mortgage lenders number and our account number, our insurance agents name and number and our policies, and the address in which we have to send our “principal only” payments for our mortgage. Finally, I have our AWESOME Monthly Worksheets in this section.
I have 6 (double-sided) sheets and I place the month we are in facing out in the sheet protector. On this sheet I write all the reoccurring special dates for this month (like wedding anniversaries and birthdates). Also, I put any special tasks that have to be completed in that month. For example I have the numbers 1-4 (indicating the 1st-4th week of that month) and on the 3rd week of February I have a note that I need to prune the clematis out front. Also I have “check softener salt and change furnace filter” on the #1 spot at the beginning of each month, and "test smoke alarms" on the 4th spot so I don’t forget to do that. These sheets keep me on my toes about getting cards and/or presents early and for planning things like buying mulch or seeds that we will need in the next week or two.
So that is my first installment of the HMB tutorial. In the next HMB blog I will share about the next three tabs in my miracle-working HMB; School, NFP and Meals/Recipes.
P.S. If you would like to link up and do a "Works for Me Wednesday" grab my WFMW button on my sidebar and post one for yourself. Then come back and leave your blog's address in my comment field of this blog!
|Posted by Farmhouse Family on May 20, 2010 at 3:15 PM||comments (1)|
For those of you with small(er) families this may not even be on your radar. For those of you with large(er) families, this may be laughable that I just recently gained this tip. But anyhow, I am going to share it with you.
Lets start with my problem. My family is growing (that isn’t the problem!), and the amount of dishes we produce is monumental (THAT is the problem!). I normally cook from scratch and bake a lot of our goods around the house: granola bars, bread, desserts and I can our produce in the summer time as well. We also home school which means that ALL of our children are home ALL the time, eating EVERY meal in MY kitchen, using a lot of dishes. We started running into a problem using our dishwasher. By late afternoon we would run out of something, be it spoons, forks, cups, plates, bowls, SOMETHING! And using the dishwasher I would only run it when it was full at night. So here we were fixing a snack, dinner or what not for 6 hungry people and I would have to rake through the dishwasher and hand wash and dry whatever I needed several times a day. It wasn’t working. Hand washing wasn’t really an option either, since the dry racks available in most kitchen centers didn’t even come close to holding the amount of dishes we racked up in just ONE meal. And the ones available at the “commercial kitchen” stores were so big that I just didn’t have the counter space to accommodate them. Not to mention the ugliness of having dishes hanging out on my counters all day (cause if I am washing all of these dishes – I sure as heck ain’t drying them and putting them away! LOL!) So we plugged along digging things from the dishwasher to wash when we needed more. Now, we could have just bought 72 cups, 84 spoons, etc, but my kitchen is quite modest (read: limited cabinet space!) and I just don’t have room for all that. Then one day while cruising some of my favorite “large family” blogs I came across the most ingenious idea I had ever heard of (okay, not literally – but it was a solution to my problem at hand). Use the dishwasher as a dry rack! WOW – truly life changing. Now that we have been doing it for a couple of months, it is amazing how well it works! During the day I wash dishes twice, once after lunch while the olders are picking up for school and once after dinner. Breakfast dishes get stacked neatly and wait for the lunch wash to get done. Honestly, it doesn’t take but maybe 5 minutes longer to wash the dishes than it did to rinse them and stack them in the dishwasher. And if I need something now – it is clean and ready to go! I do have a little bit of a system of making hand washing dishes go a little bit faster:
It really works for us and ensures I am not struggling to find an extra clean spoon when I have 4 hungry kiddos at my feet at the dinner time crunch! How do you do dishes?
|Posted by Farmhouse Family on May 12, 2010 at 2:11 PM||comments (0)|
As I have said before, I do certain chores on certain days of the week so that I know when it has last been done. I also have a certain room or group of rooms that I work in each day of the week as well as a laundry item I get done on certain days. I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but when I am wearing so many hats (mom, accountant, buyer, teacher, disciplinary, maid, chauffer, etc) it is easier when I have a plan for when and what needs to be done. Here is my weekly line up:
Laundry – I usually do at least 2 loads a day, but one of those loads I have already figured for that day and it is one I can do before my oldest sorts the hamper (because I usually start this first load before the little ones are up).
Chores – I have certain daily ones but these are extras I like that I like to know when they have last been done.
Weekly Rooms - This just means that I go through these rooms and pick up any random things that have been neglected there, straighten them up and touch up on any cleaning that needs to happen in these rooms
My house is never perfect, but this way it at least stays manageable and actually lets me spend a whole lot less time on cleaning. So that is my Weekly Line Up. What is yours?