Monthly Routines

This is a quick run down of our monthly routines or tasks that I try to complete once a month. I have divided them up by weeks so that it helps me keep them on track. I only have five tasks per week so I only need to concentrate on one each day.

1st week:

  1. Check/Pay bills
  2. Change calendars
  3. Clean/Sanitize the dishwasher
  4. Make appointments
  5. Yard work

Ok so number one is a must! If you don’t do that one you will be sitting in the dark.

Number two is a little more detailed for us as this not only involves me flipping the page on my desk calendar but changing out the school calendar. I have different themes for different months/seasons. All the cards are printed out and laminated. I keep them separated by months in a small index card holder. (I will try to do a post on this another time.)

I have included a link for the third task. It is important to make sure you take care of your appliances so they will last.

I sit down and see who needs appointments for physicals and such. I also check through my mail to see if I have gotten any appointment cards for anyone.

We try to take care of any big yard work like weed eating, trimming bushes, etc.

2nd week:

  1. Run vinegar and water through the coffee pot
  2. Clean burner pans on the stove
  3. Spot clean couches
  4. Spot clean the carpets
  5. Garden

I have included a link to this first one. It is important to clean out your coffee maker to keep the germies away!

I usually need to clean the burner pans on the stove at least once a month. This reduces the chance of something catching on fire.

The next two are pretty self explanatory. With kids messes are inevitable. I try to clean up messes when they happen but sometimes I don’t see them right away. I take a few minutes, once a month, to check the furniture and give it a quick cleaning.

I do the same with the carpets. I have the Shark Sonic Duo and I love it! It cleans really well and dries really quickly. This machine comes in really handy for big messes too.

When we have a garden I will use this week to give it a little extra attention and let the kids get some hands on learning at the same time.

3rd week:

  1. Change water filters, if needed
  2. Clean vacuum filters
  3. Clean AC filters
  4. Clean out fridge
  5. Clean out freezer

I use a water filter on the kitchen sink for drinking water and our fridge has a filter also. We try to keep a check on them and replace them as needed.

A lot of the vacuums have filters that can be washed. I try to wash mine once a month. I also give the vacuum a good cleaning and check the roller as well.

We have window AC units and they stay in all year round. The ACs run much better and are  more efficient when the filters are cleaned on a regular basis. So this not only saves me money but helps keep us more comfortable as well.

Once a month our fridge gets a deep clean. We take everything out shelf by shelf and wash it. Then we dry it and put it right back.

Same with our large freezer. I try to take everything out shelf by shelf. I use laundry baskets and coolers to hold the items. Things can get a little disorganized when others help put away groceries so I try to organize it by shelf. I separate the fruits and produce, the meats by types, breads, and try to keep the small items or items that need to be used in the door.

4th week:

  1. Wash your car
  2. Menu planning
  3. Wash shower curtain
  4. Clean out tubs/showers
  5. Chicken pen

Our cars get really dirty here. If it rains they get covered in mud. If it doesn’t rain they get covered in dust. When I am in town running errands I try to run my truck through the car wash once a month.

I also take a day to review my upcoming month’s menus and rearrange meals to fit our schedules and budget for the month. If I have multiple meals that pop up for a day I will choose one and delete the rest of them. I will also try to keep in mind what foods are more readily available for whatever season we are in.

Once a month I try to remember to throw the shower curtain in the wash with a load of whites. I hang it up as soon as it is washed so it can dry. When the curtain is down it makes it easier to clean out the tub in the back bathroom. I normally have DD17 take care of that and I take care of the big tub and separate shower in my bathroom.

The bathrooms just smell so much better when you keep everything washed up on a regular basis and don’t give them a chance to gather any kind of funk.

This last week is when we give our chicken pens a little extra attention too. We try to give everything a good cleaning with the water house and replace shavings and whatnot. This keeps the chickens and the geese fairly happy.

I hope this has helped you with some ideas for setting up your own monthly routines.

 

Evening Routines

I know by the time the kids are in bed the last thing you really want to do is think about any more routines. However the success of tomorrow morning will greatly depend on your evening routine. I try to keep it fairly simple and if I have checked off the tasks on my Morning Routines and Afternoon Routines then it doesn’t take me long at all.

Below are the screenshots of my current Evening Routine:

evening.jpg

Once the kids are in bed it is time for me to finish up the day so I can relax a little and have a bit of quiet time. I may sit in my room or watch a movie with DD17. Sometimes I just chat with some of my friends who are night owls as well.

First thing I do is check to make sure the coffee pot is ready to go in the morning. I also check our bread basket, which is more of a bread box now, and I will pull a loaf or two of bread out of the freezer if I need too.

Then if the dishwasher is full I will make sure it has been started and if it has already finished I will crack the door a bit. I have DS14 and DD9 hang their glasses on the bulletin board so they don’t misplace them. I will clean them and get them ready for the next day.

I will also wash out the water bottles, if they didn’t make it into the dishwasher, and refill them so they are ready for the morning. I have some really thirsty kids here and they love water!

Shining the sink is a FlyLady term and it simply means cleaning up your sink and making it shine. Nothing like coming into a clean kitchen with a shiny sink! I will also take the dirty wash rag and dish towel to the hamper and set out clean, fresh towels and rags.

I check to make sure the porch lights are on, and that the doors are locked, while going from room to room to double check that everything is pretty much in order. (2 minutes or less for this task.)

Before I put my computer away I will double check my calendar for the next day to make sure of any appointments or activities we may have planned. I will also review the menu and see if there is anything I need to prepare for them.

evening1.jpg

I will also double check my FlyHelper app for any other tasks that may still need to be completed for the current week and/or month. Those will go on my To-Do list, if they haven’t been completed.

When I go to check on the little ones I will set their outfits out for the next day. (I usually hang a pair of bottoms with a top to make it easier.) Then I try to set out my outfit for the next day as well so I can just grab it really quick in the morning.

Ahhh…. the day is almost done and it is time for some ‘me time’. I will fix me a cup of tea or cocoa and take a few minutes just to relax. When I get ready for bed I remind myself to take out my contacts, I am guilty of forgetting this, and then I wash my face, put on moisturizer, and brush my teeth and hair.

I try to spend a little time reading my bible or devotional. I remind myself to go to bed at a decent hour but for me a decent hour could be 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. I do normally try to go to bed by 10:00 but often times I just can’t sleep.

I hope these routines will help you to set up and maintain your routines. I can promise you that your house will run more smoothly and your stress levels will go down tremendously. Don’t try to just copy mine unless you also have 6 kids at home, a dog, a cat, and 50+ chickens and a few geese…. I’m just kidding. But in reality what works for me may not work for you. My priorities will not be the same as Mrs. Smith’s who lives down the road.

Remember that what looks good on paper isn’t always right. So if you try to set up a routine and it isn’t working then don’t be afraid to revise and revise again until it does work.

If getting up and exercising at 5:30 isn’t your cup of tea then don’t do it. Maybe it is better for you to exercise later in the day or every other day. If you don’t like cocoa then that wouldn’t be the best way for you to relax in the evening.

See also:

Getting Routines Started 101

Morning Routines

Afternoon Routines

 

Cookies

Looking for some easy to make, made from scratch recipes to share with your family and friends? Look no further… these are tried and true recipes from our family to yours!

Cookie Recipe Links:

5 ingredient chocolate chip cookies

7 layer cookies

Easy Sugar Cookies (We also added some butterscotch and some white chocolate chips to a few and they were delicious.)

Granny’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hot Dog Cookies

Lazy Dazy Cookie Cake

No-Bake Cookies

Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Wheels

Peanut Butter Cracker Cookies

Pizzelles

Russian Tea Cakes (These are a holiday favorite here at our house.)

S’mores

SOFT AND CHEWY GINGER MOLASSES COOKIES


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Click Here To Start Making Your Home A Safe Haven!

Dancing barefoot in the kitchen

Yep, that’s how I am most days, barefoot, and that’s where I am most of the time, the kitchen. Why? Well that’s how I am most comfortable and that is where most of the activities in our house are centered around. I do keep a pair of flip flops at each door in case I need to run out for something like the mail man or chasing a pig outta the yard. For the most part I am barefooted though.

I’ve heard all the barefoot and pregnant jokes when I was married and pregnant. I’ve read the ‘dangers’ of going barefooted, especially the stuff you can catch from the ground. (I do usually wear shoes outside.) I have broken a few toes because of being barefooted and I’ve stepped on more Legos than you could ever imagine. The fact that there are still Legos in my house is a true testimony to the power of forgiveness!

The kitchen is the heart of our home. I really enjoy cooking so I am always trying out new recipes or letting the kids help me fix a snack or a meal. It is usually filled with good aromas coming from the crock pot or the oven. I always have sweet tea or hot coffee ready for anyone who comes to visit. Most days we can even rustle up a piece of pie or slice of cake too. If you come hungry I’m sure can find something in the fridge that can satisfy your hunger too.

The island is fairly good size for an older mobile home and it is used for everything from schoolwork, bread making, sewing projects, and vacuum repair. It is also the place where a lot of visiting takes place. The younger kids and Grandpa have claimed the playroom and the older kids have pretty much claimed the living room. So Momma has claimed the kitchen. When I have visitors, which isn’t that often, we usually sit or stand around the island to chat.

This island was also the center of activity during wedding preparations for my oldest daughter’s wedding in June. (See Who can you count on? for more about that.) My family and friends all gathered around this island to prepare the food and decorations for the wedding and reception. We shared lots of stories, caught up on news, and had a wonderful time. We made many memories around this old island with its peeling cabinets and chipped counter-top.

Our kitchen is a dine-in kitchen as we converted the formal dining area to a bedroom for my special needs son. We have a big kitchen table with benches. I love this table and I had prayed for a table big enough for all of us to sit around. My then husband and I went to the flea market, the first and only time I’ve been, and on our way out I spotted this table back in a corner. We found the seller and asked about the price and the cost to deliver it. Well, it was way more than what we had on us and over the budget I had set for a table. I was sure that it would be gone before we saved the money so reluctantly we left and came home.

A few weeks later he had went back to the flea market. He came home sooner than I had expected and he was really excited. He asked me to help him carry out the two tables we had in the kitchen. I wondered what he had gotten and soon I found out. A pickup pulled in with the most beautiful kitchen table on the back. (Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.) The man had seen him walking around and had asked him if we had found a table yet. Within a few minutes the table was bought for the exact amount that I had saved and set back for our table.The kids were so excited to eat their first meal together. Before this we had two smaller tables for the kids to eat at.

That is a good memory and when I look at this table I am reminded of that day and how happy we were. It also reminds me of how God always provides us with what we need and many things we want. (See Are you needy? for more examples.)

Now the table is used for school work, art projects, meals, dinosaur adventures, monster truck rallies, play-dough sculpting, and so much more. It has the marks of being well-used and sometimes I contemplate having it refinished but I kinda like the character it has.

Our kitchen also has my roll top desk which is where I happen to be sitting, barefooted, at the moment. This is where a lot of my work gets done. I do a lot of planning for meals, school, budgets, outings, and other activities that must happen. I also take care of the bills and other household related things here too.

My kitchen is pretty much open to the playroom where the kids spend a good amount of time. I can cook, work on projects, make a grocery list, or just browse the internet for my next project while keeping an eye on them. I can also hear everything going on in the play yard from the kitchen.

If my kids come in looking for me they will usually come to the kitchen first. They know that is where Momma can normally be found. They also know that is where snacks and other goodies can be found. Unfortunately our cat knows this too and has developed the bad habit of jumping on the counters which we have been trying to discourage with a spray bottle of water.

When my kids have made some discovery outside or have created some interesting architectural structure that I need to come see they will come looking for me. They will bring my flip flops with them because they know Momma probably won’t have her shoes on. They keep me from having an excuse.

Another thing we have been doing is playing music throughout the day. There is just something about music that can calm the soul. It can reach deep inside a person and make their heart happy. It is not uncommon to walk in to the kitchen and find me dancing around while cooking or cleaning. If the kids come in and laugh then I will grab them and ‘force’ them to dance also. Sometimes a whiny kid will be ‘forced’ into dancing, as well. This has become a fun outlet that is an immediate cure for the ‘grouchies’. We all know that grouchies can’t survive for long around music, dancing, or laughter.

I want my kids to have good, consistent memories of their childhood. If seeing Momma dancing barefoot in the kitchen is a memory that is forever etched in their minds then I’m happy. If they break into a smile every time they hear ‘Walking in the Sunshine’ then I’ve succeeded at this mission. (This is also a proven cure for the grouchies that was passed along to me by a dear friend.)

So how long has it been since you’ve danced barefoot in the kitchen? Why don’t you give it a try and see what happens?

November 27, 2016: Rare Occurrence

Shhhh!

It’s a little before 7:00 am and the kids are still SLEEPING! This is a rare occurrence here at my house. I plan on surprising the littles with one of their favorite breakfasts, Monkey Bread.

The quiet doesn’t last long…

Well, the quiet didn’t last long as Mr. W started calling from his room which is right off the kitchen. He needed to go to the bathroom and said he was cold. Upon further inspection, I found that he had put his clothes hamper over top of the heater vent. Silly boy! We fixed the problem and he is now snug as a bug. Continue reading “November 27, 2016: Rare Occurrence”

When things don’t go as planned make a new plan

Making plans…

We all know how it is to be planning for something. We get all excited as the details are being made and the final preparations are almost finished. We had planned to go to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving. This would be a good time for all of us to visit and enjoy our families together as two of my other sisters were coming also. Continue reading “When things don’t go as planned make a new plan”

Side Dishes

Here are some links to some of our family’s favorite side dishes. We are always pulling old recipes out and trying new recipes so we will add links to this page as we can. Continue reading “Side Dishes”

Pies, Puddings, and Desserts

There’s nothing that can turn a good meal into a great meal like a delicious dessert. Here are a few of our favorites: Continue reading “Pies, Puddings, and Desserts”

Breads

My family loves to have some sort of bread with their meals… I’m trying to find healthier alternatives but here are some of our favorites. Continue reading “Breads”

Cakes

These cakes recipes have been tried and tasted tested in our home so many times that we just had to share! Continue reading “Cakes”

Feeding an army on a budget, part 2

Hopefully, you’ve read and enjoyed Feeding an army on a budget, part 1

Now that you have your meal planning started what do you need to do next?

I have gotten away from couponing since we moved a couple of years ago but really hope to start back up again soon! Continue reading “Feeding an army on a budget, part 2”

Main Dishes

Our links have gotten way out of hand so I have divided them into sections to help locate them more easily. We are constantly adding new recipes to our list of dinner rotations plus lots of healthier options to our family favorites so be sure to bookmark this page! Continue reading “Main Dishes”