It’s too easy to put off trying fun new ideas! So I’ve made it easy for you. I made you a list. Which of these have you already tried? Which have you thought about trying but still haven’t? Now’s the time!! These are all so much fun!
10 Fun Ideas to Try This Year
1. Make Homemade Vanilla. I hear from many of you that you have thought about it many times but still haven’t tried this fun idea. Maybe now’s the time!! Here’s the “old fashioned way” to make vanilla. Here’s how to make Vanilla Extract in your Instant Pot. You’re going to love this!
2. Drink a Green Smoothie. It’s the best way to eat lots of greens every day. Just do it!! (Or eat a salad, whichever you prefer!)
3. Make Frozen Muffin Batter. This idea is so fun and practical that if you haven’t tried it yet, you simply must. Freeze your muffin batter. Pull out batter balls and easily bake fresh muffins with no effort!
4. Make a High Five Recipe. Scroll through these recipes that only call for 5 or fewer ingredients. These are so easy and good!! Make one or two of them. And if you love them (which you will, of course) go get our lovely printed High Five Recipes Cookbook!
5. Make a Five Minute Recipe. Most of these recipes call for very few ingredients also! Most of them take just a few minutes to prepare. Yet they are all made with real, healthy ingredients! Pick one to make soon. They are so good and easy! Here’s our Simple Meals Cookbook filled with recipes that are ridiculously easy to make.
6. Make mashed Potatoes in the Crock Pot or Instant Pot. I’d stopped making mashed potatoes because they felt too messy and hard. Then I learned how to make them in the Crock Pot. Then I learned to make them in my Instant Pot. Life-changing!!
7. Make Stir and Pour Bread. Have you been thinking about trying this but still haven’t taken the time (haha, this hardly takes any time!!)? Go get the recipe and make your family some bread! You will all be amazed at the goodness!
9. Make one simple, healthy change in your kitchen. It’s as easy as switching from margarine to butter. Truly, there are so many healthy changes that won’t rock your world one bit!
10. Make Coffee Ice Cubes. This is simply too much fun not to try! People are amazed when they find these in my freezer. What a fun way to enjoy iced coffee at home!
Which one of these ideas will you try first?
Can mom have more fun? Any fun at all? How is it even possible with all these responsibilities? I absolutely adore this post from Tasha. I cried through it, because my mom-life is full and amazing but hard and exhausting. I needed this. I’m guessing you might too…
Can Mom Have More Fun?
by Tasha Hackett
Being a mother is amazing. A-ma-zing. But being trapped and tied down weighs on me until I might crumble. When all the parts of me that made me Tasha turn into Mom Mom Mom Mom, I begrudge this life that I find myself in. Sometimes it appears I’ve forgotten how to have fun as a mother. This post is because I know I’m not alone. I know I’m not the only overwhelmed mom out there who needs to hear this.
Why is it hard for moms to have more fun?
Of course it’s a foolish thing to wish myself out of where I am. I mean, come on! This is my happily ever after! This is the life I always wanted, always assumed I would have. As a kid, I hardly had any career goals because I knew I would be home with my kids doing all the things I loved–cooking, creating things, teaching my kids, singing, playing, holding babies and going on adventures with my mom friends and their kids. But instead I’m stuck doing laundry, and dishes, and managing the budget, and sweeping the floor over and over and over again until I’m staring at this home I’ve built around me and wanting to take a sledge hammer to all of it and go live in a cabin in the woods–which I would hate by the way, unless my family came with me because I totally love them.
As it turns out, God absolutely and completely knew what he was doing when he gave me these kids. Motherhood is a baptism by fire, and it’s growing me into a woman of courage and strength and refining me into something beautiful. (Right?! God love me for it, but I am so stinkin’ broken.)
Why is the fun gone?
You know why. For those of us who are in the grind of raising little tiny kids, we have routines that must be abided. We mothers are stressed by all the things we’re in charge of rattling around in our brains. When meals, sleep, and routines get out of whack, everyone pays for it. The energy it takes to simply survive doesn’t always leave much room to have more “fun.” Now, let’s be clear. I am not talking about creating more fun for the kids. No, I’m not worried about their fun. They get to play, play, play all the live-long day. I’m interested in mothers. Why aren’t we having fun? As a parent, am I having fun? Am I fun? What used to be fun? Is it still fun? Why not? What else can I do that makes me happy?
Side story about how much fun I had the past three years.
Incidentally, the past three years have been a doozy. Blessings upon blessings, but also a pile of personal, internal, trials. In the meantime, I thought it would be a good idea to start my writing career. Maybe not the best timing with the whole birthing of the fourth child and all.
But here I am, and writing has been so much stinking fun.
During the first lock-down of the pandemic, the husband worked from the basement. I seized the opportunity of the extra time and support and finished my novel, Bluebird on the Prairie. I don’t tell you this to brag . . . nope, okay, I’m bragging a little. . . but mostly because I am amazed and full of joy at having completed such a magnanimous accomplishment that I can’t help sharing it. Was it ever so much work? Yes. Girl… yes. So. Much. Work. Guess what else it was? Rewarding. And, you guessed it. Fun! It was fun.
A crazy thing about writing books is how much I learn from my characters when they start speaking all by themselves and spout off random bits of wisdom that I never could have thought up on my own. They’re smart like that.
Please read this scene snippet that tugs at my heart:
Zeke lowered himself to the ground and leaned against the tree. “It’s not that I’m not grateful, because I am. But I can’t . . . I’m not a farmer. I don’t want to be a farmer.” He set his hat on the ground. Running both hands through his hair before clasping them behind his neck, he sighed. “I don’t know, Chipmunk, do you ever feel like everyone’s got a plan for your life, and forgot to ask how you felt about it first?”
“Why do you call me Chipmunk?”
He grinned at her. “Wouldn’t you like to know.”
She pulled a handful of grass and threw it at him. The wind caught most of it and she watched it drift. “I envy you.”
“You wanted to go, so you did. To have that kind of freedom. To be brave enough to take a chance.”
“Stupid enough, you mean. Did you get a good look at the goober who fell on his face? That man was lonely, dirty, and starving.”
Eloise did remember, and blushed thinking of it. If it hadn’t been for her standing in the creek only half dressed, he never would have fallen. “At least you keep smiling through it,” she said, “I don’t know how to have fun anymore.”
“I just do what makes me happy. Within reason . . . Fried chicken? Makes me happy. Catching frogs? Makes me happy. Singing? Makes me happy. What makes you happy? Do that.” He shrugged, like there was nothing to it.
What did make her happy? There were things she used to do for fun, but when put to the question she was stumped.
Zeke prodded. “There isn’t anything you do, that makes all the bad stuff disappear for a while?”
“I don’t know. If there is, I’ve forgotten.”
Can I share a fun secret?
Fun doesn’t need to be extravagant. Sometimes I forget to be happy. It’s wrong and it’s not God’s plan for me. Sometimes I don’t know how to have more fun as a mother. I get so caught up in what I can’t do and what I wish I could be doing, that I don’t make use of the fun freely available. One of the things that brings me joy is writing. And so I do, and I did. Laura lets me talk to you and I have dreams of many more novels to come! But… the simple, freely-available-doesn’t-cost-anything fun? That comes from a spirit of peace. A peace that knows my kids are well loved, even if their rooms are a mess because I haven’t properly trained them on how to keep them tidy. A peace that extends to the husband when he’s 20 minutes later coming home from work than I expected.
Peace comes from knowing I am worthy of God’s love.
Listen up, friend. You are worthy of God’s love. He didn’t raise his son from the dead for someone he didn’t love. He didn’t come back from the grave for us to walk about the house grumpy about laundry! I believe He wants us to have life, and have it to the fullest–not just later, but now! Absolutely we are called to sacrifice so much of ourselves. But nobody ever asked us to stop having fun, we did that all on our own.
Here’s how I had fun today:
- When the kids played in the yard, I read a book for 45 minutes.
- When the kids asked for a snack I opened a jar of peanuts and gave it to them. And then showed off, unsuccessfully, how I could throw and catch one in my mouth.
- While the baby played with a stack of books I got on my hands and knees and growled at him until he looked my way, then I slinked towards him like a tiger. He squealed and laughed at me.
- I was blasting show tunes on my phone when Ben came home from work (20 minutes late), and as I sang along, I started dancing for him. He pulled me into his arms, twirled me around a few times and dipped me over his knee before the kids claimed his attention.
- At dinner I shared a new book idea with the kids and asked them to come up with any funny things that might happen to my characters.
You are pretty when you smile.
Yeah, okay. I know. Sometimes life is really really hard. I understand hard. I’ve been there, and I’m still there sometimes. To be perfectly honest, I don’t want to get out of bed most mornings because I dread the tasks ahead. Being a mom and the humility, compassion, empathy, and selflessness that needs to come with that is the hardest thing. I’m a work-in-progress.
A few years ago I laughed at something and my, then five-year-old, son said, “Mom! You’re so pretty when you smile.” And it broke my heart in a million tiny pieces because what he really said was, “I haven’t seen you smile in a long time.”
Do it for you.
Can you find ways to have more fun? I don’t know everything going on in your life that’s causing you so much stress you’ve forgotten how to have fun. But I can guess at some of it. Here’s a hint: Don’t make food harder than it has to be. Laura’s given us way too many resources and recipes for us to be wasting time complaining about kitchen duty.
I’m not even going to leave you with scientific facts about how laughing is healthy and makes you live longer. Nope. How about we make time for fun, simply because fun is fun? Nobody goes to bed thinking, “Man, I wish I hadn’t had so much fun today.”
Tasha Hackett, author of Bluebird of the Prairie, (a heartwarming romance releasing Spring 2021), is fueled by sunshine or hot chocolate—whichever is more readily available. She pretends to be a ballerina while cleaning the kitchen and can sing along to every word of every Wee-Sing Silly Songs album. Four children and a husband have filled her days with more than enough to keep her busy, but creative hobbies continually find their way onto her to-do list. You can connect with her on Instagram @hackettacademy or for Laura @heavenlyhomemaker.
7 Ways to Make Your Home Extra Cozy
2. Serve hot drinks to your family
3. Pull out the warm blankets
4. Bake some bread or other goodies
5. Play a board game with your family
6. Light a candle
7. Start a new book as a family
How are you making your home extra cozy this time of year? Share your tips below!
Whatever time of year, I can attest to the fact that moms need help. But during the holidays, we may need help even more and in a different way. Enjoy this gem from Tasha…
Holidays? Moms Need Help in the Trenches
By Tasha Hackett
When moms need help desperately but don’t even know where to start…
Shucks, life is fun, amiright? Those cute baby snuggles, warm apple pie, bright orange leaves in piles, glittering snow, creamy hot-chocolate, sizzling butter and garlic… mmmm. But geez, Moms need help. I need help. We mothers of young people are overwhelmed. The close-knit communities aren’t there anymore. Everyone has their own life and responsibilities. Social media, though originally designed to bring us together, only makes us feel worse. With the holidays upon us, where can I even start to get help?
“Happiness is a decision,” said the well-meaning, but unhelpful person.
I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Happiness is a decision. For the overwhelmed mom, that is as unhelpful as telling her, “Enjoy them! They grow up so fast.” (Read Laura’s post on what to say instead.) Truthfully, it’s not helpful to say either of those things to the mother who dreads going to sleep at night because she knows the baby is going to wake in 45 minutes and then cry for the next two hours before he sleeps for another 45 … and the mother who dreads the morning because the other three littles are going to want to eat and wear clothes and they’re going to chatter and need love and attention and they’ll play and make messes.
Perhaps that mom is dealing with a cloud of emotional strain and doesn’t even know what she needs because her brain is overwhelmed from the aforementioned sleep deprivation and she forgot to eat food again. (Would it fool anyone if I said these were hypothetical examples? I was there last year.)
To quote Rabbit and Winnie-the-Pooh, “How about Lunch?”
Don’t tell her happiness is a decision, what she needs is (Okay, yes, Jesus. She needs Jesus, but also,) sleep. She needs sleep and she needs food, and she needs to know that she is in a place that won’t last forever. Her people need to support her with prayers for peace from the Holy Spirit in order to fully embrace life at home with littles. What really helps her is an older mom to say, “It’s gonna be okay. And I’ll bring dinner over at 5:00 pm.” And when that is offered, she needs to accept it and say, “Thank you.” If all the real moms will please stand up and support each other, we’ll be okay.
Moms need help. Mmk? We may need lots of help for the Holidays. The sooner we can embrace that, the happier we will be.
When my firstborn was a few months old, Ben and I had opposite shifts. I worked days, he worked evenings and weekends. Saturdays were LOOOOONG. I was 100% an extravert (still am), trapped at home for 12 hours with a tiny baby that didn’t sleep much and cried when left alone. The emotional strain to be EVERYTHING for this tiny human ate at my core and I was isolated, worn out, drained, and lonely.
I was (am) an interesting person with a broad skill set and none of that mattered on a twelve-hour workday with an infant. What mattered was giving, and giving, and giving. Spit-up on my pants, milk stains on my shirts, the house falling apart, chores half-done… you know. Foremost priority was loving this child, but it was breaking me in two.
One evening I sucked up my pride and walked myself to the neighbors: “I need help. I feel like I’m falling to pieces. He cries unless I hold him, and I’ve hardly been able to eat and I could really use a shower. Would you be willing to keep him for half an hour?” She said she’d gladly hold him for as long I needed. I showered. Cried. I ate some food. Cried. I pulled myself together and went back to claim my baby. He was happy. The neighbors were happy. And that evening will stick with me forever as the first time I was brave enough to ask for help.
What does this have to do with moms and help for the holidays?
This season is going to be different. Know your limits and go easy on yourself. Don’t try to make everything perfect. Ask for help. Take time to enjoy this season as best as you can. Have fun.
As a mother, wife, and homemaker, why do we play the martyr when no one has asked it of us? I’ve been in hard places far too many times the past eight years where the service of my community has kept me from falling apart.
I’m afraid to share this because you may be astounded, “Tasha sounds depressed! She has anxiety.” What if you read this and think, “I can’t relate to this at all. Tasha needs help…” Um… yes. That’s the whole thing here. I do need help, but listen up, I’ve talked with many other young moms and we are all in the same boat! Some more than others, of course, but the general consensus is that WE DON’T HAVE IT FIGURED OUT. The water is pouring in faster than we can bail it out. We are in desperate need of older women to come alongside and get into the trenches to show us the way out.
Calling all experienced mothers! Moms need help!
In tears, five years ago I called an older friend, (her youngest was six, oldest in high school,). I was home with a baby and a chatty 3-year-old. I said, “I have to get out. Can you come? I just need 10 minutes.” She said, “I’ll be there in five.”
No joke. I had my coat on, boots tied, and was pulling on my gloves when she pulled into my driveway. I left the house and took off running. Literally. I’m sure I was a sight. I made it three blocks before I slowed because January-in-Nebraska. Five degrees is too cold to be gulping air.
I let the wind suck my breath away. Crying, I begged God to bring me peace. What was wrong with me that I couldn’t enjoy my two precious babies?
Dear mothers of young children, you are not broken.
Author Johann Hari says to those with depression/anxiety, “You are not broken, you’re not weak, you’re not crazy. You’re not a machine with broken parts, you are a human being whose needs are not being met.” Loneliness, loss of control of your environment, the inability to get outside, feeling your life has no purpose, not feeling valued, emotional needs that are not being met, grief (perhaps the grief of lost freedoms?) are all causes of depression and anxiety. (Watch his TED Talk here.) If you’d like to learn more about this, read Hari’s book Lost Connections. He is not a Christian, but his research is phenomenal and while reading his book, I was astounded at how many things correlated with the overwhelm that is common with stay-at-home moms.
Help for the weary (even during the holidays)
God promises rest for the weary and my logical brain argues, “Yea, but… you gave me four kids.” He promises peace and I say, “Yea, but, somebody still has to make food and do dishes.” When he reprimands Martha and nods in approval at Mary sitting at his feet, I say, “Mmmk…. But, I have toddler boys who literally pee all over the toilet and the floor.”
Laura keeps reminding us that Jesus takes over and it’s not her doing it, but him. What does that look like? I think it looks like being able to have fun, being at peace, even while wiping pee off the floor.
For the older moms:
Look around your community and find a young mother to adopt.
Pray for the young mothers by name and ask for peace.
For the younger moms:
- Know your limits.
- Use simple meals when time and brain power is limited.
- Ask for help.
- Hire help if you can.
- Set limits for yourself for what you can realistically accomplish.
- Don’t be a martyr when no one is asking it of you.
- Reach out to other young moms and get together regularly.
- Go outside at least once a day.
- Buy the High Five Recipes Printed Cookbook or Simple Real Food Recipes Cookbook for every adult (especially single adult brothers) on your Christmas list and consider your shopping done.
- Stop praying for God to take away the trials, instead pray for peace.
- Stop praying for patience, instead pray for peace.
- Pray for peace.
- Start a gratitude journal—it will be a blessing to look over it later.
Isaiah 40:11 “He gently leads those that have young.”
This is a revealing post. Rest assured, I am doing okay. Know why? Because I am continually asking for help. My heart aches for moms whose needs are not being met. I implore you to seek help. Help for moms can come in many different forms. For me, I’ve received it from doctors, counselors, parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, bible class teachers, elders, cousins, college roommates, my fitness coach, my husband, the librarian, and even my best friend from preschool.
Truly, you do not have to do this alone.
Tasha Hackett, friend of Laura, has four chatty children and a wonderfully supportive husband. It’s possible she was born in the wrong century, as she always dreamed of being friends with Laura Ingalls and Anne Shirley. Her debut novel, Bluebird on the Prairie, a historical romance set in 1879 Nebraska, will release Spring 2021. The clumsy antics of the hero, huge misunderstandings, and a humorous brother/sister relationship will keep you smiling, but you may need a tissue as the heroine works through grief. Thankfully, word on the street is the story has a happily ever after.
To say that “back to school looks different” this year is kind of an understatement. Even for those of us who have homeschooled for a very long time, it looks different. Will there even be field trips, co-op days, our regular P.E. group days, etc? :(
But for some of you, the changes surrounding the upcoming school year are even more difficult. For those of you who never intended to homeschool and have chosen it for this season. Or those who are planning to do distance learning at home through your local school. Or those who are cautiously sending your kids to the school building knowing that things will look much different than normal. I’m proud of all of you for choosing what is best for your family during this season.
Oh, teachers. Those who love their classroom because of the dear students who fill it and learn inside its walls. I am really sad for you as you’ve endured so many changes in both your career and in your life. And I admire you. You’ve had to make so many adaptations and have worked harder than most of us realize. YOU HAVE ROCKED THIS. I’m amazed at you.
I have a hunch that classroom teachers long for normalcy more than the rest of us – and that’s saying something. Well anyway, this post is intended to be one of encouragement and hopefully lots of help too! Let me head in that direction now, but I couldn’t do that without first acknowledging the pain and challenges that put us all here in the first place.
“Back to School” Looks Different
While none of us are walking the exact same path (and aren’t we glad that God has different and perfect plans for each of us!!) – what I’ve seen for almost everyone is that our plates are all just a bit more full than they used to be.
It’s funny, isn’t it? There are fewer places to go and perhaps not as many outside commitments with so many activities and events canceled. But at home? Well, the cancelation of outside events means that we are all home more, which can make our work at home much bigger than it used to be in some ways.
For instance, if everyone is now working from home and schooling from home, the house gets messier and more meals and snacks need to be made. Take it from a long-time work-from-home-and-school-the-kids-from-home mom. The messes are real and frequent and the hunger is real and constant!
If you’re used to grabbing lunch at a restaurant during a lunch hour and counting on your kids to eat at the school cafeteria – suddenly you need to figure out lunches at home. If snacks used to be eaten in the car on the way to sports practice after school – suddenly snacks are requested every afternoon just about the time you thought you’d catch a five-minute breather.
Thanks for the encouragement, Laura.
Hmmm. I told you this post was intended to encourage, but here I am pointing out more changes and harder work!
But wait. I do have encouragement and help and resources! I have so much encouragement you won’t even believe it. (Really, I do.)
First of all, there’s this: While almost everything around us has changed, GOD HASN’T GONE ANYWHERE. He knew this was coming, He has been at work all along, and because He is a God of good plans for all of His people, He is constantly at work to teach us more about who He is and how He loves us. God is bringing so much good to all of us during this time! Do you see it? Do you recognize it? Just think about all the good God has done during these past months of change and trial. HE IS SO GOOD.
(And yes, even if we’ve experienced extreme hardship during this time, He is still good, still at work, and still working out His good plans. Hardship is how we learn more about who He is. I know this. I’ve experienced this.)
Here’s where I’m hoping to help.
All I’ve been able to think about recently is how I can help and what I can offer. I have 12+ years of resources here at Heavenly Homemakers, and I put the best of them all in our Heavenly Homemaker’s Membership Club site. But I kept thinking that I needed to add more. More to help us all as we figure out more meals at home, more snacks at home, perhaps more about schooling at home, and all the planning and organizing that comes with this new journey we’re all on (different as it may be for each of us).
First, let’s talk about Menu Planning.
What I felt was the biggest need for most of us is figuring out food (or maybe that’s simply where my brain always goes because I love everything about food). How can we all feed our families well without having to:
- reinvent the wheel
- spend more time than necessary
- or work harder at something that we don’t all love to do?
Our membership site already offers an entire year’s worth of Simple Meals packets ($52 value). But I knew we needed more. So the packets are still there, but instead of leaving the section as it was, only offering pre-made menu plans and grocery lists, I exchanged this section:
It’s an entire page filled with Menu Planning Resources now!!!!!
- 52 weeks worth of Simple Meals planning packets (like it always did) and also…
- Our exclusive Recipe Search Bar – so you can type in any ingredients you want to use and find recipes that work with those very ingredients – incredible!
- A brand new packet of printable and practical Menu Planners for you to fill in and use in any way that works for YOU.
- Cheat Sheets!! (These are my favorite new resources!!) These cheat sheets are filled with lists and links that include 100’s of ideas for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks! So instead of thinking on your own and spending a lot of time scrolling and reading and brainstorming, you can simply pull up these Cheat Sheets and skim them to get all kinds of wonderful, simple, tasty, real food ideas!
And here’s a little peek at a few of our new printable menu planners. Some of them allow you to only plan meals and snacks, like a regular menu planner. Others give you the option to plan your entire day – with appointments and to-do lists and oh yeah, your menu plan too! That’s my favorite planning page – so I can plan my entire day from school to appointments to meals all on one page!
And what else did we add to the Heavenly Homemakers Membership Site?
More Homeschool Resources
While we already offered an entire section of Homeschool Encouragement articles:
And we already included a huge selection of homeschool curriculum and printables and materials:
But we just added more. And we had in mind everyone from veteran homeschoolers to new homeschoolers to online distance learners and classroom teachers!
Here’s what’s new:
We created over 50 printable enrichment pages.
While I love our Sonlight curriculum, I always also have files on my computer full of activities and worksheets and printable books I can use to encourage further learning and fun for my kids. The goal for these sheets, also, is to give my kids activities that they can work on in their own time, without much help from me – hopefully!
These printables cover subjects from math to science, to English, to reading, to social studies, to brain stimulation.
We also created and added a packet of Homeschool Planners to our Club Membership site. This includes planners for both students AND parents!
Here’s a little sample of what some of the planners look like:
And the simplest but perhaps my favorite…
Kid Folder Solutions
This is how I’ll be organizing our boys’ school work for this year. The idea is simple and that’s what I love about it. This will help them (from 1st grade to 10th grade this year!) be more independent plus it will keep all of their work in one place. I love this! Club Members, check out Kid Folder Solutions in both the “Family Learning Printables” section and the “eCurriculum Collection.”
$50 added to our $1,000+ worth of resources!
So in summary, while our Club Membership site already includes well over $1,000 worth of helpful resources, we just added over $50 more! Club members enjoy:
- all of our eBooks and eCurriculum
- our beautifully organized recipe section,
- a page full of Kitchen Tips
- a page full of Family Tips
- a page full of Homemaking Tips
- loads of Homeschool Encouragement
- and now a fantastic new Menu Planning Resources page!
- Plus we’re slowly adding articles to our Foster Care and Adoption Journal if you’d like to follow along. :)
Join our Heavenly Homemakers Club!
We’d love for you to enjoy all of these resources and more. :)
Already a member? Go check out all the new resources we added!! Read to join?
Get even more details about what our Heavenly Homemakers Membership Site offers here.
Feel like your family laundry is a daunting, never-ending task? It doesn’t have to be! Here are my best tips to simplify family laundry. :)
How to Simplify Family Laundry
Laundry is an inevitable chore. But it doesn’t have to be one that overwhelms you. Allow me to share my 25+ years of homemaking, 23+ years of parenting, and 7 sons’ worth of experience to help you simplify!
1. Do not do it by yourself.
I cannot emphasize this enough. I know too many mamas who are constantly overwhelmed by laundry, but they don’t get their family members involved with helping! I learned long ago that it is important to get my sons involved in every single job that they are capable of doing, from laundry to cooking to cleaning. (And not to worry, my sons are led by my husband’s great example as he also pitches in every way that he can.)
The only people in the household who should get out of laundry duty are babies. And toddlers. Toddlers try to be helpful but they think that their job is to take clothes out of drawers and washing machines faster than you put them in. I should know. I have Toddlers x 2. They are doubly helpful:
They are so sweet though, and they are so proud of how well they ruin my laundry efforts.
But beyond babies and toddlers:
- As soon as a kid is old enough/able to drag a basket of dirty laundry over to a washing machine, that should become their job.
- As soon as a kid is old enough/able to put laundry into a washing machine, that should become their job.
- As soon as a kid is old enough/able to switch laundry from a washer to a dryer, that should become their job.
- As soon as a kid is old enough/able to fold and put away laundry, that should become their job. Start with washrags and towels, graduate to clothing items when they are ready.
And in my experience, somewhere around 3rd or 4th grade, a child is capable of being completely in charge of their own laundry. From start to finish. Their laundry basket is full? They wash their clothes. They dry their clothes. They put their clothes away. Your job here is done. :)
Teaching my older boys to do all of their laundry by themselves has been incredibly helpful! For years, I only needed to wash my laundry and Matt’s. Then God moved in our little boys and now I’m back to washing laundry for 5 people again! Not to worry – I’ve learned another great tip that helps me get through these loads more efficiently. So let’s move on to Tip #2.
2. Start folding the biggest items first
This may seem silly, but this tip helps me get through my laundry piles more easily every time!
Laundry piles for several people can look pretty big…because they are. :)
The pile you see here is just the result of washing/drying one load. Because we have 3 little ones, there are many tiny items of clothing within the load to fold and put away. Seeing it all together in a pile can make me feel like I have a big job ahead of me, especially if there are two or three loads that have piled up.
But I’ve found that if I start by pulling out and folding towels and baby blankets first, the pile very suddenly looks much smaller and less daunting.
The large items are easy to fold and make me feel like I’ve quickly completed half the pile! Once those are done, I move on to the little shirts and pants, which I pretty much just fold in half and stack. Easy peasy, laundry squeezy. Well, as long as my toddler helpers leave my pretty piles alone. :)
Review: Get your family involved. Fold big items first.
I will now reward your laundry efforts with two bonus tips!
Bonus Tip #1: I never fold underwear. Life is too short and wrinkled undies never hurt anyone.
I throw mine directly into my drawer, close it, and walk away without a second thought. I hand Brayden (age 6) his wad of his unfolded undies to put into his drawer and he stuffs them right in. And let’s be real – even if I would have folded them, they would have come unfolded by the time he made it to his dresser. You know I’m right.
Bonus Tip #2: I never sort laundry. And we are still clean and living to tell about it.
My apologies to everyone who is cringing over this admission. Some people are diligent laundry sorters. And some of us wash everything together in cold and don’t think twice.
The only time I care is if I have a nice white shirt that I don’t want to ruin. Otherwise, everything pretty much goes in at the same time. I kind of forgot sorting laundry was a thing.
The future wives of my sons may shake their heads at me for failing to teach their husbands to sort. But hey, I taught them to cook and clean toilets and so much more. They can take it from here. :)
And that’s how I simplify family laundry.
What are your best tips?
Need some homemaking tips to make life easier? Yes. Me too…
Funny story (ok, it’s not actually that funny). I had a different post ready for today, then Tasha, who writes for me sometimes, texted me something like, “Hey I have something I really want to write today. Does that work for you?”
She pitched her idea, I quickly rescheduled my original post for a later date, and Tasha kicked out this post for us.
Hmm. So that story really wasn’t funny. It was pretty much just a story, and also, Tasha and I worked out a plan to take our little kids swimming tomorrow. Good talk.
One more thing (another funny story perhaps?) and then I’ll turn it over to Tasha: It is worth noting that I’m an older mom and she’s a younger mom, and now that I’m back to raising littles again, I found it weird at first to be an older mom hanging out with younger moms. Like, hello, I have a 23-year-old and other adulty children. But then God showed me how cool it is to hang out with younger moms like Tasha. We parent together, learn together, and who really cares how old we all are because we all just need each other for lots of different reasons.
God’s awesome, huh?
So hey, Tasha? Thanks for letting God use you to teach me stuff. And thanks for making it not-even-hard to hang out with friends who are different seasons than I am, except that oh yeah, here I am also in this “raising little kids” season again.
Truly, God is amazing.
Ok, now I’ll let Tasha have at it. I loved how she put all of this together. (And yes, I did read it. You’ll know why I said this when you keep reading her post…) :)
Homemaking Tips to Make Life Easier
By Tasha Hackett
I told my family I was working…
Homemaking is hard sometimes, but homemaking doesn’t have to be hard all the time. Just now I shut the bedroom door, settled into the corner of my bed (with no sheets because the 3 year old had an accident on my bed last night. Rude.) and I’m letting everyone else complete the morning chores. “I have to get another article written right away!” I said. Haha, and then I opened my homemaking bundle and went shopping. I’m sneaky like that.
Raise your hand if you would like to buy special and unique gifts but you never get to go anywhere because you have little people who do things like pee on your bed and you are so over it, but you still can’t go out because the baby takes two naps and then there’s this virus going around and who even knows if the stores are open?
So I bought some stuff online
Tasha here! (I’m Laura’s younger mom friend who likes to write stuff about money.) Currently my 8-year-old is walking around the house whistling while Dad is handing out laundry to put away. Can’t complain about the chores being done, trying not to complain about the whistling: “Which is not annoying at all,” said no-one-ever. Because I am good at life and can do hard things, I soldier on and despite the whistling I’m putting sentences together for you AND just bought my sister her Christmas present from Hope Ink and my brother his birthday present from Strawesome.
Here’s my secret to neat gifts: Ultimate Bundle Bonuses
Every year your favorite bloggers bombard you with all the great reasons you should buy the Ultimate Something-Or-Other Bundle. “Your life won’t be complete unless you buy it! Buy stuff! More stuff!” (No, really, if you haven’t bought all the things you can’t possibly be happy or organized or motherly or love homemaking enough, therefore… buy it!!!)
What’s up with that? Are they really trying just to make a buck? How can we even believe these products are worth any of that money? Don’t they know I’m trying to get out of debt and save up all my money to build a house? I’m not a blogger, I’m just a friend of a blogger. Laura lets me write stuff for her, and I don’t even know if she reads it. I could be posting about hippopotamuses and how they like to swim in pink jello in the arctic…
But, I’ll get to the point: Because I’m awesome, I buy other people stuff when I see great sales for great stuff. It’s great to start planning Christmas stuff way before Christmas… And I use the word “stuff” entirely too often because sometimes words are hard because of sleep and not having enough and because of kids and having enough.
Tasha, the budget girl, bought the Homemaking Bundle
I wasn’t going to. Money is weird like that; not having much money for too many years created a habit of feeling bad anytime I do spend it. When I make a poor purchase, an impulse buy, an overpriced something-or-other that I end up not using, I do not allow myself to feel guilty anymore. Marie Kondo helped me over that hump–instead I accept it, and move forward. I say to that item, “Thank you for teaching me a lesson.”
So when the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle became available again, I said, “Nope! You’re not fooling me. I didn’t even use you last year!” But then Laura’s promotions won me over and here’s why I bought it: Neat gifts available through the bonus coupons, Motivated Moms Planner, and Green Means Go. I looked through and found a couple things that I was absolutely going to use, so I know for sure that I’ll get my money’s worth.
I spent $30 on the bundle and then I immediately went to my Hope Ink Bonus and got my freebies. This “freebie” cost me another $20. But without the discount, my total would have been well over $100. The artwork is beautiful, creative, and inspiring and who doesn’t enjoy supporting another woman’s creative business? I’m keeping two prints, gifting two and I’ve received a free file to print my own cards.
Then I went to my Strawesome Bonus and bought three discounted re-usable glass straws and the straw cleaner. My total was $6.38 (Don’t tell my brother what he’s getting for his birthday. Happy 24th!) I’m saving the world, one plastic straw at a time. I will be a repeat customer with Strawesome, even without my bonus coupon, their prices are immensely affordable.
I’ve registered for my Free Around the World Stories, a completely free resource worth $38. It includes 10 different 3o minute audio stories from 10 different countries. Each story includes bonus material for added learning: Recipes, activities, some language and facts about the country. This will be great to use for our homeschool next year, and just for listening to a good story when I need the kids to go away and be quiet for half an hour if you know what I mean and I think you do.
Feeling motivated yet?
Next, I printed out two pages from my Motivated Moms Planner. MY FAVORITE! I’ve used many different house cleaning checklists in the past, so far, this is my favorite (And I’ve used it before and know that I will use it). She has every chore I could ever need spread out over the year. If I am able to complete just a few a day, it keeps my house company-ready without the mad dash, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
For example, today I need to wipe down the deep freeze among other things. I am assigning that job to the whistling 8 year old. Otherwise I will wipe down the deep freeze NEVER and years from now it will be absolutely disgusting and I’ll wonder how I became such a slob. Homemaking doesn’t have to be as hard when we let someone else do the planning.
The Green Means Go ebook is a lovely activity I am going to “play” with my 3 and 5 year old this week. This helps young people to deal with big emotions. First we identify “How Do I Feel?” and an exhaustive list of emotions are provided with pictures. Then we assess, “What Can I Do?” and there is another list of positive responses to those emotions and then we talk about “My Calm Self.” For example: When I feel embarrassed, I can hug my teddy bear, and then I reassess and I feel peaceful. My plan is to go through the cards and options with my little guys when they are in a good mood, so that we have strategies to handle life when we’re not in a good mood.
So there you have it
I found a few things that I absolutely know I’m going to use and love. And if I happen to not open anything else, but I’m sure I will, it is a worthwhile purchase. I’m interested in reading: Celebrate Nature: Memory and Copywork (poetry copywork for my homeschool), Cleaning with Essential Oils and How to Design a Room from Start to Finish, (because I am not naturally good at interior design stuff).
Lastly, I’m going to email Laura a screenshot of my receipt ([email protected]) because she promised to give everyone who purchased the bundle through her link a prayer journal and a handwritten note. Now excuse me while I go ask my whistler to please take his whistling self outside.
Get your bundle here! And be sure to let me know what item makes your homemaking life easier.
Note from Laura: I have loved receiving your emails telling me which of these Prayer Journals you want me to send you and why. While freebies are nice, you guys aren’t in this for the freebie. You’re in it so that your relationship with God to grow while you work hard for your home and family. I praise God for this!!!
Then send me your receipt and tell me which of these journals you want!
Have a seat with me for a few minutes. It’s time for me to really share what has made the biggest difference in my life to help me learn how to let go of stress, anxiety, depression, and fear.
There’s Old Laura and there’s New Laura and I’m quite certain that there’s sure to be a Newer Laura every day in the future because God continues to teach me and refine me. Growth and healing never stop as long as we’re seeking Him.
First I’ll talk about Old Laura (in third person, apparently). She sure was a go-getter. She’d start tackling her to-do list as soon as her feet hit the floor and wow could she get a lot done each day! Between homeschooling four sons and writing a blog and making all of her food from scratch and keeping up with marriage, housework, and the ministries she was involved in, she could tackle a huge to-do list every day. Boom. Way to go, Old Laura.
Except for, yikes. Old Laura was nervous all the time. Anxious. Worried. Fearful. Tense. What if she wasn’t doing enough? What if all she was doing wasn’t being done well enough? What if she let someone down? What if her children didn’t turn out perfectly? What if all of her efforts didn’t turn out perfectly?
So she worked even harder. Year after year, she tried and she strove and she dug in her heels with determination. Through all of her many tasks she would pray! “God, help me to do all of this. I need your help!”
God was listening.
He listened with love and He knew what she needed. So He began to lead her down a new path; one that required deep inner healing and cleansing to show her that her life wasn’t about getting it all done. No. It was about surrendering to the One who had already done what was most important.
What Made the Biggest Difference
Old Laura slowly started to learn a new way. She still had four boys to homeschool. She still had food to cook. She still had a blog and a husband and ministries and laundry and housework. But she learned a new way to do it, and the Truth was surprising.
Old Laura started to recognize in a brand new way how much she needed her Savior. She learned that tackling her long to-do list successfully wasn’t really what made her successful. That at the end of the day, nothing really mattered except for love. And that love conquers all – even the laundry piles.
As God helped Old Laura heal from her chronic sin of people-pleasing and hurtful tendencies to worry and over-think, He helped her learn that the only way to truly get through a day successfully was to begin with prayer and time in the Word. Not the “Good morning God, help me get through this day!” kind of desperate prayer spoken on the fly while heading into the kitchen to make a perfectly nourishing breakfast. But the calm and peaceful prayer breathed in and out while sitting humbly in the quiet.
Old Laura died and she started to become New Laura because God completely changed her focus. God taught her that true peace, true calm, and true love only come from surrendering self and seeking Truth. And His Truth could only fill her mind and heart when she spent real time with her Savior – daily.
Time with God could happen while washing dishes and folding clothes and scrubbing toilets. It did happen while in the car on the way to soccer practice with the boys and while reading novels out loud during school time.
But true calm and peace weren’t achieved without first spending as much quiet, alone time as possible each day talking to God and listening for his voice of direction and Truth.
Laura learned that nothing on the to-do list was as important as spending time with God – in His Word and in prayer. Without it, Laura learned that she was not okay.
But the to-do list!
The to-do list remained long, and in fact, it became longer!
God added foster children and adopted children to the family, and with them came caseworker visits, extra phone calls, court dates, appointments, the extra needs of traumatized children, and ultimately, the necessity to learn to juggle all of life while caring for kids from baby to elementary to high school to adult.
More to do = More time with Jesus
As the needs around her grew bigger, and as the to-do list became longer, she discovered that she needed even more time in the Word. Life’s needs were too intense and challenging to even attempt to tackle on her own. Nothing on the to-do list was as important as hearing from God – His voice of Truth in the middle of many storms and trials.
But how is this even possible?
Doesn’t more on the to-do list take even more time than before? Yes, one would think. But New Laura continued to learn about dying to self, seeking His Truth instead of worldly wisdom, and listening for the Spirit’s direction.
And that is how New Laura gets everything completed on her to-do list each day. You see, the to-do list is no longer penned by a person. The to-do list is detailed and directed by the Holy Spirit.
If He doesn’t need it to be done, it doesn’t make the list. And if it’s not on the list, it doesn’t cause anxiety, because well, it didn’t make the list.
The family still eats three times a day. The necessary chores still get done. The dishes get washed. The laundry gets folded. The needs get met.
But New Laura is learning that she is not the one who meets the needs. God meets the needs. And now, in place of fear and worry, there is peace – the kind that can only come from the Spirit who fills a heart and overflows into the home.
New Laura continues to be Renewed Laura. There is no “arriving” on this earth as there is always a need to surrender self and let God refine and heal and stretch and grow.
Oh hi. (New) Laura here.
Thanks for listening. This is getting pretty long, and shucks, I’m not even done yet. :)
I’m sharing all of this because I think it’s important for you to hear that I’ve realized that I am an absolute mess when I don’t spend focused time with God every day. I used to live life doing good and being good and it all seemed good – except for the fact that my heart and mind were always in turmoil as I was striving to BE ALL THE THINGS and DO ALL THE THINGS and HOPE EVERYONE WAS PLEASED WITH IT ALL.
This was not okay. I was not okay.
I realized that I actually need Jesus.
I knew this, but I didn’t really know it, you know?
I never used to really crave time in the Word. I’m not sure why. Because I was too busy?? (Shake my head.) Because I already knew a lot about the Bible? (Yeah, right.) Because I was intimidated by all I didn’t know or understand about the Bible? (Well, there’s that.) The reasons I didn’t make time for it are many.
God changed all of that a few years ago when I found myself in a deep, dark pit. I found that I had to go all-in with Him if I wanted to find healing and Truth to live by. Through that, I discovered that time in the Word, time in surrendered prayer, and time listening to Him are life-changing and life-giving.
So now, because I’ve learned now that I must, and because now I actually crave it, I spend as much time as possible in the quiet, before the family wakes up each morning, drinking coffee, and talking and listening to God. I soak in the Word as nourishment because I’ve found that I truly am not okay otherwise. Without it, my flesh easily takes over and I slip back into worried-mom mode. Shoot, even with it I struggle if I don’t use scripture Truth I’ve learned to fight the lies that the enemy wants me to believe. He’s crafty and he knows my weak places. I must spend time in the Word and in prayer each morning or I truly struggle emotionally and spiritually.
And after I read and talk to God for as long as He allows each morning, I journal. Sometimes just a few words, or sometimes several pages. I do this because I want to write down what He is teaching me and the scriptures He’s bringing to life. Writing it solidifies it, and for me, this brings healing.
So what about you?
One of the biggest reasons I’m sharing all of this with you because I kind of want to beg you to do this. Maybe you already are. If so, I’m so glad. It is life-giving.
If spending time in the Word each day and in prayer is a struggle for you, I understand too well. Old Laura didn’t even really want this because well, she was too busy and focused on doing good things for her family, you know? But I was missing the peace and joy that came from loving my family God’s way.
No matter where you and I are on our journey with Jesus, we can all continue to learn more about listening and walking with Him in humility and fullness of His freedom! So do this. Make yourself do it at first if that’s what it takes. Eventually, you will crave it and find that you can’t live your days without it. :)
If you have babies or crazy work schedules and the logistics don’t allow for quiet time in the morning or ANY time – I want you to know that I understand that too.
But I also want you to know that God wants heart-to-heart time with you. Therefore He will provide it in some way! I know this from experience. :)
Daily time in the Word truly has made the biggest difference.
Dig into the Word and learn more about who He is and what He has to offer!
When we surrender ourselves and let God truly be Lord of our lives, we become incredibly fruitful. That’s why it’s called the “fruit of the Spirit.” His work in us overflows, and it is powerful!!!
So let’s dive in deep together! His work and his ways will astound us all!
P.S. Want a prayer journal to help you along on this journey? I love these! Click on any of the images to find them on Amazon:
Let me check my schedule: Create a workout parody video. CHECK
Who’s having fun?! We are!? (Hint: I schedule fun into my week.)
I schedule Saturdays for playing and Whew! Just finished creating a silly work-out video with my family. We dressed up and I donned some bright pink lipstick. Blue tights, overlaid with my swimsuit. Nothing like a little family fun to get the day going.
“Wow,” you say, “Tasha’s family is so cool. I wish I could be as cool as her.” Well, don’t let me fool you. We completely trashed the house and had cheerios for breakfast all week, pre-packaged chicken nuggets three days in a row because my mind has been so overwhelmed with I-don’t-even-know that I couldn’t think past the next five minutes and then it was time for another meal… and another meal. What is it with these people!? Didn’t I just feed them? I don’t know what day it is anymore. My mom’s birthday was on the 17th and I almost missed it because I was a week behind (thought it was only April 11th) **Face Palm**
I have bad days and good days, BUT I have a daily routine that keeps me mostly sane during this quarantine.
The only way I have survived is maintaining my schedule. Do you have one? Years ago I scoured the internet looking for a Stay-At-Home-Mom routine and didn’t find one I liked. So I made up my own. It morphs through the years, each new kid and season changes it.
Morning Routine and Homeschool Life
The ideal perfect morning would look like this, but more often than not I crawl out of bed at 7 because the baby’s still not sleeping through the night:
5:30 AM Wake // Pray // Meditate on scripture // Stretch
6:00 AM Make bed // Shower // Dress
6:15 AM Drink water // Put (frozen or premade) breakfast in oven // Read // Study
6:45 AM Empty dishwasher // Start laundry // Set out breakfast
7:00 AM Wake kids // Help the littles with Morning List
Too often I let my day start here.
Kids’ Morning List: Make Bed, Get Dressed, PJs Away, Diaper in Trash, Drink Water, Go Potty, Fix Hair, Read Daily Verse, Take Care of Pets. (This list is an anchor and must be done before breakfast.)
7:15 AM Breakfast and Tidy Kitchen (Kids Help: Clear the Table, Wipe the Table, Sweep the Floor.)
8:00 AM House Blessings (Each kid has a separate daily chore. Gather laundry from all over the house, empty trash, sweep bathroom), Extra Daily Chore, (This will be anything that needs done to maintain the home such as wiping the mirror in the playroom, dusting the piano, vacuuming around the furniture, watering plants, sweeping the entry, lining up shoes, etc. We skip this when breakfast runs late.)
8:30 AM Walk Outside, Online Workout, or movement of some kind. (If nothing else we pretend to be a variety of animals. I have a 7, 5, and 3 year old, so they like that, and we have to keep moving throughout the day because, you know, kids and energy.)
9:00 AM Morning Time // School
Morning Time with the Kids, My Favorite!
I learned this term from A Humble Place, but it is a Charlotte Mason homeschooling idea. This is the heart of what is most valuable in our home education. Not worksheets and tests and homework, but singing, and poetry, and beautiful ideas.
Our Morning Time can take anywhere from 10 minutes to a full hour depending on the moods of the kids and what we have going on for the day and if we started on time. I won’t go into much detail, but this is bullet points of what we cover; if short on time, we don’t do everything listed:
Pray for God to speak to us and bless our day
Bible story or scripture to think about
Song from our Hymnal: We sing all the verses to the same hymn for an entire month
Review one or three other hymns from previous months
More Singing: American Folk songs, silly songs, National Anthem
(I excuse myself to put the baby down for a nap right around here, I don’t know what they do while I’m gone for 10 minutes, but they’re all still alive in the living room or on the couch when I get back.)
Pledge of Allegiance
Poetry: We love poetry! This is a lovely book: Favorite Poems Old and New, Selected for boys and girls by Helen Farris. We read 1-5 a day depending on how we feel. I ask, “Shall I stop or read another?” The answer is usually, “More!” I pick one that I like and read it every day for the month along with the dailies. By the end of the month the kids are reciting it with me. We have found many poets we love, Carl Sandburg and Robert Louis Stevenson, to name a couple.
Art Appreciation. We look at prints of famous paintings. We don’t worry about educating ourselves on the style or anything. I just show them the picture and talk about what we see and what we like. “If you were in this picture, what would you be doing?” “What are they doing here?” “What do you suppose he is thinking about?” “Do you think she is sad?” (You can buy many of the prints here. So far Peter Bruegel the Elder is our favorite. Who knew!?)
Nursery Rhymes. Great for little guys and surprisingly still applicable through elementary. I love watching my three-year-old learning along with the 2nd grader. I often find them reciting these while they play through-out the days.
We close with the Lord’s Prayer, sing the Doxology, and a simple Benediction, “May the Lord be with you.” And we answer each other, “And also with you!” (My boy used to say, “May the Yord be wif me.” It was lovely.)
After our official Morning Time is over, the youngest wanders off the to play with cars and little animals while I read a chapter book. I find narrative stories that are engaging, yet not dumbed down in the least. A.A. Milne’s “Winne the Pooh” we have read multiple times. Currently we’re reading Richard of Jamestown by James Otis. We’ve read all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and Chronicles of Narnia. If we are short on time I’ll skip this because Dad will read to them in the evenings, too.
I do 10-ish minutes of a reading lesson with the Kindergartener out of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Engelmann. This will take us much longer than 100 days because we do the same lesson two or even three days in a row because she was getting frustrated. Slowing it down has been amazing for her confidence. She is now excited to see progress instead of discouraged when it was difficult. With the 2nd grader we’re using McGuffy’s Eclectic Reader Series a lesson a day, then I assign copy work to both of them. Copy work is often short. We desire a few perfectly written words rather than a whole page of sloppy handwriting. My kids have surprisingly neat handwriting.
The Kindergartener is done with school for the day. The 2nd grader has math practice, or learning new math skills; he’s going through the Math-It packet (Elmer Brooks), and The Complete Book of Math Grades 1-2 (School Specialty Publishing), he looks up a word in the dictionary and we read the definition together, finds a country on the globe and then finds the same country on our large wall map. We then talk about how we could get there from Nebraska. Those things are listed on his schedule; he can complete many of them on his own.
If you’re looking for some simple curriculum that invites family participation, memorizing scripture AND serving your community, I highly recommend Laura’s ebook Learn Your Letters Learn to Serve. This is INCLUDED with your club membership! (Everyone cheers!!)
We are often done by 10:30 AM. The kids have free time until lunch. They find all sorts of things to do on their own. (See, and here you thought my kids stuck to a boring schedule all day long.) They have access to craft supplies where they make paper puppets on popsicle sticks and put on shows, draw comic book-style scenes, draw pictures, my girl will often copy her reading lesson to show it off to Dad, they have train sets and blocks and tents, they build towers and dress up and generally make messes everywhere. If it’s nice they run around outside.
I do a variety of things. I may play on my phone, (I know, I know…Instagram is sucking my brain out.), meal prep, do a special project with one of the kids, sew something, read books, call my sisters, clean the bathrooms or other chores, go outside and check on my plum trees (THEY HAVE BUDS THIS YEAR!!), and put lunch in the oven.
11:30 AM Wake up the baby from his nap. Read to him, snuggle, and play.
12:00 Dad comes up from his basement cave where he’s working from home and we eat lunch.
All help tidy the kitchen, switch laundry (2nd grader’s chore), get ready to go outside.
Family walk or outside time (if the weather allows)
2:00 PM Nap time for baby, quiet time in separate rooms for everyone else. They are not allowed to talk to me or each other until 3:00. The 3 year old usually falls asleep in my bed. I don’t know what the 5 year old does, but she stays in her room with dolls and books and things. The 7 year old plays Legos and looks at picture books and draws in his room.
Finally, I check-out from mom-life in whichever room is the cleanest and causes the least amount of stress, and get incredibly snippy if anyone tries to talk to me during this time. With my laptop I sit and write and write and write. I blog (like now), but mostly I am attempting to write a novel. It’s been three years in the making but I am determined to finish it this year… #goals. I’ll keep you up to date if I ever finish. Because it’s on the schedule, I’m much more likely to do it.
If I absolutely don’t feel like writing, I read something I want to read and eat a yummy snack that I don’t share with anybody.
3:00 PM The bigger kids are allowed to come out of their rooms and play quietly in the house or go outside. The younger two generally sleep longer.
4:00 PM I close the laptop and come out of hiding. Wake the baby if he’s still sleeping. Dad joins us and we play outside, fold laundry, work on a home project together, grocery shop, meal prep, etc.
5:00 PM Dinner and kitchen clean up.
6:00 PM Family time. House clean-up, outside time, reading books, listen to music and play, dream and draw plans of the house we’re going to build someday, discuss important things like the most deadly animal in the world: Tiger or Mosquito, I might sew something, paint pictures, kids take baths, go on walks, etc. If I don’t schedule this time in, we miss it! This is my favorite part of the quarantine: Daddy is home every evening.
6:30 Baby is ready for bedtime routine and he’s asleep by 7:00
7:00 Dad puts the older three to bed. I finish cleaning the kitchen, fold laundry, bring the laptop back out to work some more, sew something, paint something, waste more time on my phone.
8:00 Lights out for the bigger kids
9-10: Lights out for me. And up again at midnight and 3 AM with the baby.
OKAY!!! That’s the basic outline of our day. Not every day goes by this schedule exactly. But the framework has SAVED my kids and me. They know what to expect, and Dad knows what to expect. They don’t have to ask me “Can I go outside?” “When is lunch?” “Am I done with school?” The answer is on the schedule.
What keeps you grounded?
Do you have a schedule or routine? Does your family know what to expect each day? Do they know what’s expected of them? This schedule has been a life-saver, but it’s been through many transformations. It will look differently this summer and next fall when Dad goes back to work.
Tell me, how is your day planned out?
Tasha, friend of Laura is a stay-at-homeschool-mom to four kids. When she’s not writing about money and birthdays and how to survive anything, she can be found Instagramming for Laura @heavenlyhomemaker, producing something from a variety of creative hobbies, sneaking treats she doesn’t want to share with her family, and repurposing old shirts into toddler dresses. She and her family recently bought two-acres of prairie and are dreaming of a little house to build on it.