Monday, January 18, 2016

Making Things {Kids} Work

As I shared, things haven't been working real well in our home recently... functionally. Thankfully, with the new year came increased motivation to find solutions. Here are some of our changes and new things!


We lightened the daily chores to personal care, picking up and tidying the areas used most, laundry and care of animals. Circled days indicate showers and dot is laundry day.

After each meal clean up is done the following way...
Breakfast - Boys Kitchen, Girls Dining Room
Lunch - Girls Kitchen, Boys Dining Room
Dinner - Everyone Kitchen, Thea Dining Room


We then switched up our deep cleaning to a once a week rotation of 4 weeks. On Friday afternoons we all pitch in and do the dirty work! I help and work along side our littlest. The main idea is that the picking up has occurred all week long and we just need to do the deep cleaning that one day a week. 
Every child starts by deep cleaning their room or closet (in shared room situations). Then they move on to other cleaning jobs like: clean the car, clean a bathroom, school room... then they end with cleaning out their "locker" which is a catch all for items left around the house.

Both of the above are required and our children don't get an allowance... because we figure that they help make the messes, eat the food and take up space... so they have an obligation to help manage, clean and organize it as well. Haha! 


We are starting another method of home management to also learn about diligence, work ethic and money management called "Jobs for Hire".  The idea behind Jobs for Hire is that they can (but don't have to) do jobs that are on tickets in a jar for payment.  These are generally harder jobs and require some time... and that, honestly, I struggle to get done on a regular basis (or that only need to be done a few times a year).

There are some policies attached to Jobs for Hire... 
~ They must ask permission to do a job (to make sure it's suitable for the child).
~ They must get a time limit to do it... no dragging it out over 2 months.
~ They must do it to the highest standards the 1st time... Do it right the 1st time!
~ They will be paid for the job within a week.
~ More than one kid can go in on a job together... but the amount paid doesn't increase... they have to split it 50/50 despite circumstances like a sibling not doing as much as the other.

But there's a bonus... at the end of every month if a child decides to put their earned money in the bank for savings Dad will match the amount being saved... This lit up many eyes in our home! 

I will keep you posted on how it all goes... because things change and sometimes things aren't successful! 

Happy housekeeping!

Friday, January 15, 2016

6 Reasons Why Having a 6th Child is More Awesome than the 1st

It was mildly annoying and sort of surprising that the most common question I was asked when expecting our 6th was ...
"Are you excited?" 

As if, it was questionable that I might NOT be. Sad day! Excitement is totally expected when having your 1st or 2nd, but totally worthy of questioning when having any beyond that point. Sort of silly in my opinion... and sad.

But, to put all at ease, I felt implored to share why having #6 is just as awesome that having your 1st... because it is JUST as worthy of excitement!

#1 - Having your 6th is more awesome because you are already broken in. You have no delusions of a baby who sleeps all night long or rarely fusses or works around your life and schedule. You realize that you are there to serve them, help them and nurture them. This isn't about you and you know it!

#2 - Number 6th will most likely be a pretty chill person (but, maybe sometimes they aren't). They've been bombarded from the womb with loud sounds of siblings, jostlings from the outside, and such ... you're already mothering and it's not all revolving around them. They naturally just begin life going with the flow that is surrounding them. They sort of just slip in and find their little niche!

#3 - You already know what to do. It's fairly unlikely that you haven't had a colic baby or one who wouldn't gain weight well, or any number of other things. You've dealt with countless cases of croup, fevers, flus and childhood dilemmas. It might not make you worry less, but you know how to do what you need to do or where to find answers. And if something new crops up you can always say, "Well, this is new... but I'm sure we'll be ok!"

#4 - You know what you need and will use and you don't stress about getting every thing all set up. You likely have all the clothes a baby could ever wear, a hefty stash of cloth diapers and toys galore! We didn't even have a carseat until I was 37 weeks pregnant... I knew I'd most likely go "overdue" {again} and I needn't worry about getting it. We also didn't put together our crib until just a few days before I was 40 weeks, because I wouldn't need to use it "for weeks"... really all I knew I needed was a few blankets, some diapers and wipes and... well, that's {really} all we'd NEED!

#5 - Number 6th is a walk in the park when you have bigger kids around! I've always said a baby should come with a resident 10 year old! They can hold, sooth, love, entertain and even diaper a baby (if trained well). The baby sees it's older siblings as helpers and authorities too... a stern look from a bigger sibling thwarts a tantrum and a baby can look to a sibling when it scared or unsure. It pretty much ROCKS!

#6 - Having your 6th is most awesome because you get to share the joy! As a family of 7 nearly everyone can delight in the ultrasound, your growing girth and baby kicks. Everyone can't wait to find out if they are getting a brother or sister! Everyone has ideas about names or how to decorate. Who will it look most like??? Its all wonderful! And then after the baby arrives everyone delights in all the wonders of the baby... how sweet, how big, how lovely!!!  Baby is a joy giver to all and all share in it!

That's just some of the reasons why #6 is amazingly, sweetly and wonderfully AWESOME ... 
and worthy of excitement, joy and peaceful feelings!

{Not to imply that #1-5 aren't!}

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

When Things Aren't Working: People ~ Process ~ Purpose

My husband enjoys the show The Profit... in short, its a reality show where a wealthy investor (Marcus Lemonis) takes over struggling businesses and makes them profitable and functional again! It's good TV.

I watch on while I knit.
Many of his ideas have been slowly filtering through my mind. Lemonis' main mantra is "People, process, profit..." when anyone of those things are out of whack businesses generally don't succeed. Some times the issue is with the people, or how people are treated. Other times its the process of the business, the day to day functioning of the business ... and both issues usually impact the profitability of the business. It's interesting stuff.

I'm a miserably poor manager. Well, I take that back. I ran a very well managed classroom when I taught... because school is VERY controllable, reliable and systematic... sadly, at the cost of people... but it has to be. This however, can't always be the case in homes ... in families and in homeschools. And I'm not sure I want to treat my home and family like a school or business.


Every day I wake up and I feel (in part) like I am running a struggling business (home). Now, this illustration all breaks down because our goal as a family isn't to make a profit. I guess you could use that word, but I've found that really "purpose" is a better word and end result of having our people and process in better alignment.

When they are functional we all are able to explore, create, learn and grow in depth of purpose!

Right now, nothing is working in our home... 

My process (the managing systems of our home) are NOT running smoothly. Chores aren't done, rules are not obeyed (even though we are consistent and correct). Guidelines are not acknowledged. Chaos rules us all.

People aren't doing the process (systems of management) that we've trained and taught them in.  Our people are at each otter's throats, fighting, arguments and generally not connecting on heart levels.

We fail to be able to create, explore and grow in the purpose God's designed us for and for what our hearts feel called.

Sometimes life looks more like a photo where no one is looking the same
 direction and people are talking to each other through gritted teeth. 

It stinks. It makes us all hurt.

Some people here feel this keenly. Others seem like they desire to add to the chaos or are reactionary to what surrounds them.

Each day I get up with renewed purpose all to have it fall by the wayside just moments after I take my 1st sip of chai and look at my surroundings... I see that a person has failed to do chores, or got into fish food and it now is ground into carpet or to be told someone doesn't have clothes to wear (because they failed to do their laundry like they were told.)

Our process is broken.
People are feeling disunited and on their own.
As the leader I feel defeated and have lack of motivation.

I can't say that I have a solution to this yet... but it feels better just voicing it, and realizing that people, process and purpose are all interconnected.

It's not always like this. It seem like we have a season like this ever few years... growing pains. New things. Life just being a bit "too big" for us... then we rally, come together and grow. It's still hard.

It's helpful for me to realize that leading a family, training children and managing a home is a REAL job (profession) and also a very worthwhile investment.

It might not glean returns in income (ha!), but I will reap returns in functionality, interconnectedness and be able to grow deeper in the purposes I was created for, and to see others around me benefit from personal investment in it as well!

Some of my goals...

~ To encourage personal connections and relationship building. If the process has to wait because people are connecting that is worth it! I want to connect on heart levels with each of my people. If I elevate the process I fear pushing them farther away or if all we do is think about the process then we end up serving it instead of it serving us.

~ To minimize and simplify... both "stuff" and for me mental clarity and distractions. I crave simplicity right now!

~ To take baby steps on improving our process... to update what isn't working and reinstate what is or has worked.

~ To fix me. I am the tone and weather of my home. When I am well and have direction that filters down to others.

Thanks for walking with me!
Feel free to share.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ticket to a Clean House

We've stumbled upon a system that works for whole house cleaning, that involves everyone, and actually ends in a clean house and no one being grumpy or fighting!

I've been doing this method for about 6 months now and it has yet to fail me! 

We call it ... Tickets!

The premise is that there are jobs in the form of tickets.
There is a movie, snacks or some other award that the children value and would like to earn... they earn it through accomplishing a task on the tickets they apply for.

Step 1 
Divide your house by zones that need cleaning, you can group up areas like hallways or stairways into larger areas.  Ensure that jobs are as equal as possible. For example, the kitchen is always by itself, but the living room and dining room are together because they are less work. 
Write the jobs on paper or index cards.

Someone lost their "car" ticket and so they made their own replacement

Step 2 
Divy out the cards. We do them in rounds. Round 1 is the hardest jobs, round 2 easier and round 3 easiest. And typically there ends up being three, sometimes 4 tickets per person. Sometimes we put things like, "read to a sibling" or "do a page of math" in our tickets just to get other things done and to mix it up a bit! Sometimes jobs are person specific like "clean your room" or "do you own laundry".

See, it's fun! I often help on bigger jobs like this one!

Step 3
Tell them the prize they are working to earn... 
Today it is a Thanksgiving themed movie and popcorn!!!

Then give them a time limit. In our house today they can work until 1 pm when the movie starts. 

And lastly be present and check in with them often so they don't get stuck or side tracked. I require them to tell me when they are done with a ticket and I check their work and take the ticket and write their name on it. 

Lovely room cleaned by my lovely girl!

What To Do With Littles?

Most often I assign easier jobs for people under age 5. 

They get jobs like:
- Pick up your room
- Make your bed
- Play with baby
- Spray off all the door knobs with germ killers (essential oil mix) and wipe down
- Put away your clothes
- Or the ever popular: Help a big kid with a job like cleaning out the car.

A Few Helpful Hints:
- Don't make it too hard at first... work up to it!
- Be involved, unless you have bigger kids. Work along side them.
- Keep their eyes on the prize! Yell out... "Only 1 more hour until MOVIE time!" 
- Put on some motivating, upbeat music... but nothing visual to distract them.
- Remind them that they are a team, but I generally keep each ticket a personal accomplishment (one kid per area/ticket).
- When someone is struggling with motivation I bring them aside and ask them how they need my help.
- Often the children want me to close my eyes and surprise me with the space. I act it up big time and then give a few suggestions. 
- Praise and instill how their work benefits them directly, "Oh my goodness! Doesn't it feel great to have a clean room? I bet you will wake up tomorrow and feel so good when you see that it's still clean!"

Good Luck and God Speed!

(Forgive the janky photo layout... for the life of me I can't get them to go where I tell them!!! Huff!)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015

Silly Notions & a Bunting for Birthday Girl

I am not big on going "over the top" on birthdays... but I wanted so badly to make something fun for our lil' Whitty's 1st birthday.

So... I made a Bunting ~ Banner ~ Tassel ~ Thingy! 

The crazy thing is that it cost me NOTHING!

Not one dime!

Basically, a few years ago my great aunt went through all of her sewing notions and her sister-in-laws. 
She gave them all to me. Hundreds of spools of thread... every color.
Buttons galore! Oh, the buttons!

And Notions! 
Bias tape.

I've considered selling them on etsy... but who has time for that?

For years I've kept this ridiculous amount of bias tape, lace hem, ric rac and scrap fabric that I never really intended on using or had a plan for .... until it occurred to me just how lovely the gold, pink and teal that comprised the majority of the notions would look together!

I wonder what they were making with that gold ric rac? 
Wise man Christmas pageants come to mind! 
Tacky tacky tacky!

And I wonder over and over when that $25 ric race was made! 
Wright's brand.

I looked to see if it said... nope.

Then there is this beauty... Baby pink raw silk used to make the skirts for my brides maids.
Don't ask why I picked pink... I don't know. 
I don't even like pink that much! 

But it all worked together to make this lovely ... dare I say... Beautiful!

That lace on the end with the daisies KILLS me!

And it was the perfect back drop for a birthday girl!

Don't you think the gold ric rac is the BEST? 
Just so perfectly girly!

The moral of the story...

If you are given some "silly notions" save them... 
One day you will find the inspiration and figure out exactly what they were made for!

~ The End ~

~ Non-Biblical “Christian” Baby Names ~

I love baby names! 

It's for sure, one of my favorite things about having a new baby (other than the baby, of course)!

Often people don't desire to use Biblical names, but may still desire to pick a name that is rooted in the blessing of God's providence through history. 

Here are some (generally) non-biblical, yet still, distinctly Christian names... mostly after saints, missionaries, theologians and heroes of our faith!

Enjoy looking up these people and seeing the hand of God in their lives and how they were used in their time for His glory and the good of others!

~ Girl ~
Adelina - Princess and missionary to Germanic people
Agatha - Saint
Agnes - Young girl martyred under Diocletian
Amy - Amy Carmichael
Anne - Anne Askew
Bernice - Saint
Betsey - Betsey Stockton, former slave and missionary to Hawaii
Bridget - Founder of Irish Monasteries
Charlotte “Lottie” - Lottie Moon
Clare - of Assisi
Corrie - Corrie Ten Boom
Edith - Edith Schaeffer
Elisabeth - Elisabeth Elliot, missionary, speaker, writer
Evangeline - Evangeline Booth
Florence - Florence Young or Nightingale
Gladys - Gladys Aylward missionary to China
Harriet - Harriet Tubman
Helena - Saint
Margaret - Queen of Scotland
Susannah - Susannah Wesley
Theodora - Saint

~ Boy ~
Adoniram - Adoniram Judson missionary to Burma
Ambrose - Saint doctor
Augustine - St. Augustine of Hippo
Birch - John Birch missionary to China and martyr
Bonhoeffer - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Boniface - Early missionary to Germanic people
Calvin - John Calvin
Carey - William Carey
Carver - George Washington Carver
Clive - C.S. Lewis
Edwards - Jonathan Edwards
Elliot - James Elliot, missionary to South America and martyr
Foxe - John Foxe
Haddon - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Hudson - Hudson Taylor
Jerome - Jerome Savonarola 
Knox - John Knox
Patrick or Patricus - St. Patrick
Ridley - Nicholas Ridley
Spurgeon - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Tertullian - Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus
Tyndale - William Tyndale
Wycliffe - John Wycliffe
Wilberforce - William Wilberforce, abolitionist