|Posted by Farmhouse Family on August 10, 2010 at 12:22 AM||comments (0)|
A new school year with more children to teach (and one more to care for) means a new schedule. I am fully aware that in a house with this many little ones a schedule is JUST a game plan! It is something to strive for, but something that should flex and bend with the pop-up occurrences of having 5 little people running around. I have allowed a lot of flex time but know that there will be days when the bare necessities will be the ONLY thing that get done. A lot of times, grand plans for a "perfect" schedule is what gets moms so stressed. My biggest piece of advise for first time moms is to have a plan, but be willing to flex and bend because you can never quite sure of what will happen after the baby arrives. SO many new moms are so caught up in elaborate birth plans, feeding schedules and having their diaper bag packed down with so many baby "necessities" that it is no wonder why they are so stressed out. The moms with the most laid out birth plans are usually the ones who end up greatly disappointed in their "birth experience". Show up with the plan to have a happy, healthy baby and trust God will take care of the rest. My usual birth plan is to have a natural, drug free delivery and to breastfeed. That's it. If it happens (which, Praise the Lord, it has 4 times in a row now) great, but if the occasion arises that dictates us deviating from the plan, I place my trust in God and go with it.
So onto the new schedule. This is what is looks like right now. Keep in mind, this is an untested schedule, as we are still on the "summer routine" of just getting up, dressed, breakfast and chores and then playing to our hearts content. I will let you know how it is going in a couple of weeks when it has been tweaked and adjusted to better fit what actually happens.
- Unit (either History, Science or Geography)
I think having the older kids get most of the independent work out of the way in the beginning of the day and doing the things that require more instruction and one on one teaching done when the little ones nap will work out really well for us this year. I know that when the baby comes we will have some adjustment and frequent, unscheduled breaks for nursing, changing, etc, so I am anxious to see how it falls into place.
Keep us in your prayers for a smooth transistion back into the "school schedule" this year! Our first day is August 16th!
|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 June 22, 2010 at 8:33 PM||comments (11)|
Those of you who cloth diaper know what a struggle it is to find a good laundry detergent to wash your diapers in. It needs to be free of fragrances, soaps, softeners, whiteners, enzymes and most other chemical “additives”. Fragrance, whiteners and enzymes can irritate a baby’s skin. Softeners usually contain both fragrance and chemicals and they cause cotton to be less absorbent and for cloth diapers that is NOT what you want. Soaps leave a residue and can lessen the absorbency as well and/or react with urine and smell HORRIBLE! This leaves very few detergents you can actually use. The only two we have had any luck with is Charlies Soap and Country Save. We originally used Charlies soap but after about a year Michael started developing a rash that went away when I discontinued using it. We then switched to Country Save. (by the way, since both of these are free of harsh chemicals they are “green” detergents that don’t damage the environment!) Country Save did the trick, but great with stain removal and keeping whites white. It did a decent job, but nothing to write home about. Also, you had to order BOTH of these detergents online and that is a pain for me because of having to wait for delivery and PAY for delivery (especially on heavy stuff like boxes of detergent!). So I started researching homemade laundry detergent. Most of the homemade laundry detergents contain grated soap as part of them and that was something that I couldn’t use with the cloth diapers, BUMMER! UNTIL, I found a fellow blogger and cloth diaper momma, Grace (Wheels of fun) who used a formula that was soap-less. She graciously shared when I inquired. I was a litte skeptical (it was just SO simple!), but figured with how cheap it was to make I wasn’t loosing anything trying it out. So I did, and guess what......I LOVED IT!!!! It was amazing! I thought I was hallucinating because my dingy diapers started to look a little whiter and smelled SOOO clean! The diaper pail seemed to be able to go longer without stinking too (BONUS!). It did amazing on our "normal" laundry as well. And for a stain treater I rub a little Fels Naptha bar soap directly on the stain with a little water and scrub with an old toothbrush. NO MORE CHEMICAL DETERGENTS AND STAIN TREATERS! YEAH! I thought I would share with you the recipe for the easiest/cheapest laundry soap ever (and it is totally green!).
This stuff is amazing, even if you don’t cloth diaper!
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
½ cup oxiclean
Mix together and use about ¼ cup for regular washers and about 2-3 tablespoons for a front loader. You can also add grated Fels Naptha soap (or Ivory) if you don’t cloth diaper. I have heard the Fels Naptha soap can be used even if you do cloth diaper, but I have not used it on them, so I personally don’t know.
All of the ingredients can be found at any Walmart/Meijer in the laundry isle (usually found with the laundry boosters). Also, all the ingredients can be used in numerous other uses around the house for green cleaning, so they are nice to have around. It is also one of the CHEAPEST/per load detergents I have EVER used. And I think it does even a better job than Tide at getting stuff out of clothes and keeping them nice and bright.
What is working for you this Wednesday? If you want to play along, grab my button in the sidebar and post your own ideas on your blog. Remember to comment and let me know your blog address!
|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?
|Posted by Farmhouse Family on May 5, 2010 at 4:19 PM||comments (1)|
Daily Rhythms is what I describe as our routine or schedule. I don't call it a routine or schedule because having 4 kids in 5 years, you have to have flexibility and I don’t think either of those words projects "a flexible feeling". While we generally do the same tasks everyday in the same order we rarely do them at the same time and very frequently they are interrupted by the spontaneity of life. “Rhythm” sounds more flexible to me. Our schedules ebb, flow, change and evolve. We do what works and stick to it only when it has proved purposeful. This is our daily schedule in this season of our lives:
What does your daily rhythm look like?