Cozi Family Organizer + 2019 Back to School Planner!

You guys have been read about how much I love our online Cozi Calendar. It helps to keep this crazy Momma from losing her everloving mind! (Well, for the most part, it does.) I love that I can access it from anywhere and I can add users to it so EVERYONE can access it for doctor’s appointments, outings, and Mr. Awesome’s favorite thing – dinner plans. Continue reading “Cozi Family Organizer + 2019 Back to School Planner!”

Cozi: 10 Best Volunteer Opportunities for Teens, According to Parents

Are you looking for volunteer experiences for your child? It’s a great way for kids to feel involved in the community, and some schools even require volunteer hours to graduate.
Even if you are homeschooling you can add volunteer hours to your child’s transcripts and these make a really good impression on prospective colleges and/or employers.
To help get you started, here’s a list of organizations and local opportunities for volunteering – all recommended by parents who Cozi.

Click Here to read more about these great volunteer ideas.

7 Easy Steps To Simplify Your Life Today

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

I had originally written this series of posts in honor of National Simplify Your Life Week, which falls during the first week of August, I decided to make a shortlist of 7 easy steps that almost anyone can use to simplify their life starting today. With the New Year fast approaching I thought it might be helpful to post this again for anyone looking to simplify their life and have more FREE time. Continue reading “7 Easy Steps To Simplify Your Life Today”

Cozi Back To School 2018 Survey Results are in!

**This post does contain affiliate links at no charge to you which help to support my blog.

Recently my favorite online calendar service, Cozi, surveyed all the parents who use the Cozi Family Organizer, to find out what they’re doing to prepare, looking forward to most, and planning to buy this school year. Check out the infograph down below.

  • 47% of parents say getting their family back on routine is their top priority, followed by organizing all the new events and activities (38%)
  • 25% of parents buying something new for back to school this year say it will be a computer
  • The #1 thing they’ll miss is time with family, followed by the relaxed summer schedule

I know I love Cozi and it helps keep this crazy Momma on track. Try the Cozi Family Organizer today. It’s FREE! I know you’ll love it.

Cozi-back-to-school-graphic..png

Top 5 Back To School Worries For 2018

It’s almost time for many of us to get those kids ready to head back to school. Well, my kids have never left…lol. That’s a plus to homeschooling but sometimes it can be a downside too because this Momma just needs a BREAK every now and then. If my kids can see me then I am ‘on call’. In this tiny house that is pretty much 24/7.

We are gearing up to get ready to start a fresh homeschool year which will be our 5th year! Wow! Where has time gone? Anyway I am so excited to be using the PRAIRIE PRIMER this year. We have enjoyed reading the biography which I had hoped to have finished by now but we aren’t quite there yet. I have pretty much gotten our first four weeks planned out. I still need to look through a few activities and plug them into a few gaps.

1. Learning Disabilities

I am also going to look through some of the new items that we purchased for William. His learning disabilities mean that we do have to practice some things more than others and I really try to keep things interesting. I know I get tired of doing the same thing again and again. When William gets tired of repeating something that usually ends up in disaster. And I realize I am off topic… Oops, sorry guys! Continue reading “Top 5 Back To School Worries For 2018”

Simplify Your Life: Step 5 Get Organized

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

This post is part of a multi-section post in honor of National Simplify Your Life week which is the first week of August. The original post wasn’t as short and simple as I had wanted it to be so I decided to break it down into a few shorter posts.

Step 5 Get Organized

Whoa! I know this one may be not be easy for some but you can do it! I know you can. Did you that the average person spends about 12 days every year looking for things? I think a Momma spends twice that amount. That’s at least 30-45 minutes a day wasted because you aren’t organized!

Imagine how much money you could save if you had a system for organizing your bills and getting them paid on time! This tip goes along with Step #6 and should come after you have completed Step #4.

Please don’t try to organize until you’ve declutter because it may get too overwhelming. I recently decluttered and organized our whole house and let me tell you that it has made a HUGE difference in our lives! Everyone can find anything at any time and everything has a place.

Getting organized can include things like setting reminders for birthdays, appointments, paying bills, or important events. We have reminders set for just about everything else like library due dates, semi annual bills, some chores, etc. I even have reminders for the due dates for our club’s newsletters and updates.

The easiest tool I have found to keep me organized is my Cozi calendar. I have it on my laptop, my phone, and my tablet. I have also installed it on Mr. Awesome’s phone and my ex husband has access to our calendar as well. That way everyone knows when we have upcoming appointments and events. Cozi even sends out email reminders!

This makes my life so much simpler as I don’t have to worry about forgetting important things, as long as I have remembered to enter them into the calendar. I also use Cozi for my meal planning so I if I forget my grocery list, or if I forget to make one, I can quickly check my phone for what I need to get. Cozi also has so many other great (FREE) resources to help you organize and simplify your life.

If you don’t have a smart phone or don’t want to install another app you can still use most phones to set reminders. You can also use paper and pencil, post its, or find a nice planner to help you organized. I used to carry a small one around in my purse but now I just use my phone which can be aggravating if the service isn’t great.

For keeping our homeschool schedules straight I like to use Homeschool Manager which I believe is coming out with a mobile app. This has helped so much with keeping track of what needs to be done and what has been done. Not too mention the fact that we can instantly print our attendance reports and report cards which is great. So simple and easy!

These ideas may seem like I am contradicting Step #2 but I think that technology is a great thing if used correctly.

In addition to these ideas you may want to work on setting up systems/routines for handling the following:

  • mail/paperwork
  • housework
  • filing
  • bill paying

Keep your systems simple and work on them to make them easy and efficient. Being organized can keep you from forgetting things and save you so much time and money! This can help to reduce your stress and simplify your life. The next step will have more about routines. 

Need ideas to get started? Check out these books here and here. You can also get my FREE printable bill organization spreadsheet by clicking on the link provided.

You can also check out Make Over Your Year for more ideas.

Be sure to check out the other post in this series for more simple ways to simplify your life.

Click for Step 6.

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Routines

I know, we’ve all heard about how important routines and schedules are. Some of us may have every minute of every hour planned out on a ‘perfect’ schedule while others would rather just have a  ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of routine. I’ve always been kind of in the middle while I can say that at different times of my life I have leaned more towards one side than the other.

How do we find a balance? Well, the answer is not the same for everyone, every family, or every situation. For instance, there are some children who thrive on strict routines and schedules and they don’t like change, I have one of those children. Then there are some families who are extremely busy with things, maybe a home business, and there is no way that they could guarantee that they would be home by 5:00 every day to eat dinner. Then we have work routines where sometimes there are deadlines and things that must be completed in a certain time frame.

I went through a period of time when I was really sick. I went from being a vibrant young wife and mother (who also held down a 40 hours + job) to almost being bedridden. I had a couple of different surgeries, followed by infections  and long recuperation periods. These illnesses triggered an autoimmune response in my body and I have been plagued by chronic pain ever since. I had been diagnosed with scoliosis, DDD, herniated discs, IBS, GRD, hiatal hernia, migraines, and fibromyalgia among a long list of things.

My doctors prescribed a cocktail of medications to help with the problems but those medications caused lots of side effects. I was extremely fatigued, developed seizures, and was constantly having various rashes and other conditions that couldn’t be explained.

During this time my housework really suffered. My house wasn’t a total mess but it did get pretty bad. The more I tried the worse it looked. This caused major problems between my spouse and I. I was trying to keep up with the inside of the house, the outside of house, the garden, the animals, and the kids. I was OVERWHELMED!

Then I found an index card system for housework. They also have a book called Sidetracked Home Executives which I never bought but maybe should have. I immediately jumped in and began to use the system. I tweaked it here and there to make it work for our family. I then developed a similar system for work and it made an amazing difference in my productivity levels.

Unfortunately my spouse wasn’t as thrilled with my new found method. I could never keep our home as ‘show place perfect’ as he felt I should. The marriage fell apart and I moved with my four kids to our current home. This is where I found FlyLady, who has been a life saver to so many people. (You may want to check out the site for yourself.) A lot of the routines I will list below follow along with her basic plans. I again tweaked them to work for our family.

My house is not ‘show place perfect’ nor will it ever be. My house is lived in and it shows. I do get a lot of compliments like, ‘I would never know that you had so many kids here.’.  I’m not quite sure what they expect my house to live in but I am pleased to surprise them.

The outside of my house is a bit of a mess and I am working on that. Many people have stopped as they thought I am running a daycare. I guess I kind of am in a way. Some of the mess is beyond my control as it doesn’t belong to me.

I really believe that everyone should be proud of what the Lord has blessed you with. Be content where He has put you and make the best of it. I pray that you will find some helpful tips and suggestions as you read through the links. (If a link isn’t working I probably haven’t been able to work that on it yet, but keep checking and I will get them up.) Please remember to use these as a guideline for setting up your own routines. If something isn’t working then change it and make it work for you. Don’t get discouraged!

Getting Routines Started 101

Morning Routines

Kids’ Morning Routine 

Daily School Routine

Afternoon Routines

Evening Routines

Weekly Routines

Monthly Routines

Yearly Routines

Laundry Routines

Yearly kids chores by age

Age appropriate chore charts

FlyLadyPlusFlyLadyPlus for iPhone

FlyHelper | Personal Organizer for Android

Getting Routines Started 101

‘Your first obligation as a parent is to not bring chaos into your kids’ lives.’

OK, I should’ve written this before I started on the other posts about routines. I didn’t realize, until I was writing another post, how complicated and daunting routines can seem. Truth be told we all have some kind of routine already.

**Please note this post does contain affiliate links to which I may, possibly, earn a small commission from if you click on and purchase an item. For full disclosure click here. Continue reading “Getting Routines Started 101”

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”

Feeding an army on a budget, part 1

Well, as you may know, I am a mom to 9. I still have 6 at home so there are plenty of mouths to feed. So how do you feed 6 kids without going broke? Is it possible to do it healthy and cheap? Continue reading “Feeding an army on a budget, part 1”

Our ever changing homeschool routine

This was an old blog post from my previous blog where I talk about our homeschool journey and our routines that help me keep my sanity! Just reading over this has given me a little inspiration for changing a few things that aren’t working right now.

Continue reading “Our ever changing homeschool routine”