Tag Archives: priorities

Finding Time With Routines And Schedules

I know how busy life gets and we all… ok, most us… feel like we need more time every now and then, right? Well, there are only 24 hours in a day and we can’t make more time no matter how hard we try so that means we just need to find ways to use our time more wisely.

First we need to get our priorities straight and make sure we are getting the things done that need to get done like feeding everyone and making sure they have clean clothes to wear. We should probably make sure we clean the house from time to time and if you homeschool you gotta have time for that too. Not to mention that there are so many other things like appointments, grocery shopping, and other obligations that happen everyday.

Click here to read about our our Google Home Hub has helped this busy Momma keep our routines and schedules organized.

Sometimes it seems like there is no time left for the fun stuff but I promise that routines can help. I have written many a post about our routines here. Our routines help keep us running smoothly most of the time. The routines work when we follow them and sometimes we don’t but we quickly realize how much we need them. As soon as we get back on routine our lives get less chaotic.

I have included some pics and screenshots of our different routines and schedules below but please don’t think this is complicated. Ours are far more complicated than most as we have a lot of things going on here and I need these to keep myself and my household organized. Every family is different and every set of routines will be different What works for us may not work for you but feel free to use these as a guideline for setting up your own routines and/or schedules.

Continue reading Finding Time With Routines And Schedules

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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

December 1, 2016

Well, today started early, like 1:30 am early. I went to bed last night with a headache and woke up sick. No fun at all. I turned my phone on and had all kinds of messages that I had missed during the night. (I almost never turn my phone off but my headache was really bad.) I did feel better after I took a shower though.

After my shower I did have almost a whole hour of ‘quiet time’. I spent that time going through my prayer journal and thanking God for the answered prayers. I also added a few new ones. I read my devotional and worked on a study that I had out. I also let my Bible fall open and read out of Psalms. It was just what I needed to help calm my soul and renew my strength this morning.

After messaging my best friend I had a long talk with God and had to hand something over to Him, something I should’ve immediately handed over last night, but stubbornly thought I could handle it on my own. (Which is how I ended up with a headache.) I felt such a relief and got the answer I needed once I let go. God is so good!

I am so thankful to have friends who can make me feel better when I’m down and who remind me that I don’t need to stress over things.

The kids were up super early and started tattling right away. My one son was in a grumpy kind of mood which did improve a little but not much. In fact, he is grumpier right now than he was this morning  He is currently voicing his opinion about bedtime through his bedroom door.

Then I remembered it was December 1st which meant that I needed to change out our school calendar. This lead to me realizing that I had forgot to print out the new calendar stuff for December (I admit I forgot last year too). So I grabbed the laminator and the paper cutter. I printed off the pages I needed and got to work laminating them.

My 3 year old loves to watch the laminator. He gets so excited to see what we are making. He was also my little helper and helped me to carry everything over to the playroom and get it all set up. We had a card left over, St. Nicholas day, and I didn’t know what day it was for sure.

So we went to the laptop and asked my dear friend, Google, for the answer. My son was very curious as to who ‘Doogle’ was and where he lived. He wanted to see a picture but forgot about that when I offered to let him put the final card in place. (December 6th in case you were wondering.)

We did manage to get our school work finished by 12. The girls have really been dragging their feet this week. I’m so glad tomorrow is Friday! I tried to get my daily chores finished and pay bills while they were working but that was pretty impossible today.

I did my laundry, as my laundry day is on Thursday, and then I carried my hang-dry items to my room. My oldest daughter was in there working out so I set them on the dresser with the intentions of going back to finish them shortly. The other clothes got dried and I left the ones that needed pressed on the dryer until I could get them. Well, I didn’t remember the wet ones until after lunch and they left a wet mark on my dresser. I just finished pressing the others after dinner. Now though I can say that task is completed for this week. Yay!

I did manage to finish my grocery list this morning, print my sales lists, and clip coupons. I pulled out my big coupon binder and started to get it set up again.One of my goals for 2017 is to be a better steward of what God has blessed me with. I think couponing will help me with this goal. At one time I was doing extremely well but I kinda fell off track with all of the different things I’ve been taking care of this past year.

I set out with $200 and my first stop was to put gas in my truck. Then to make a few more stops. I managed to find a few books to go under the tree and a few for stockings at Dollar Tree. I also picked up a few things to go along with our Advent study which I also confess has not began like I thought it would.  Being sick with the flu last week really did a number on me and I’m still not feeling quite 100%.

At another store I found a great deal on some meat. There was a BOGO sale on ground pork and ground pork patties. Well, I happened to find 4 packs of patties on sale that had been marked down $2 on top of the BOGO making them almost free! Then even better I found some stew beef also marked down $2. I know some people don’t like these sales but I grab them whenever I can unless the meat looks questionable. I have a big freezer and I know that even cheap cuts of meat will become tender in the crock pot or pressure cooker.

After two more stops and saving over $100 in sales and coupons I still had a little cash in my pocket. I stopped by the ‘relaxation station’ aka Island Shack Tanning Salon. I know, tanning isn’t really healthy, but the warm beds really do help my sore muscles a lot. Plus I usually sneak in a little nap in too.

After my quick nap I stopped to put air in my tire as I had found a note on my windshield informing me of a low tire. So sweet of someone to let me know, I really did appreciate that. Then back home to unload my grocery haul.

Upon exiting my vehicle the geese and the cat promptly notified me that I had forgotten to feed them earlier so groceries had to wait. Big sister heard me pull in and came to help. She had unloaded most of them by the time I had finished feeding which was a great help.

The kids all helped me to put away the groceries. They like to help because they can see what goodies and treats I might’ve gotten. They also enjoy trying to guess what Momma is going to make by looking at the groceries that I brought home. After everything was put away I sat down for a moment to try to decide what I needed to do and what was just gonna have to wait until tomorrow.

I still need to dig out our Christmas stuff. Who am I kidding? I still need to put away the Fall decor! (Speaking of which, I did find the cutest little pilgrim salt and pepper shakers today, on clearance!) Christmas is all packed neatly in some large green totes so I know where it is, I just haven’t brought it in.

I did bring in a tote and some boxes with the intentions of packing away the Fall decor but dinner had to be made. Then the clothes were calling me from the top of the dryer. I still haven’t vacuumed the floors either, but I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.

Today was visitation and Daddy had already promised to help them with a craft today. They made some paper Christmas trees. I even broke out the art supplies which included sequins and pom-poms. I wasn’t brave enough to bring out the glitter though. They turned out really well even thought some kids really didn’t want to follow along with the video.

christmas-trees

I love it when he does things like that with them. It helps them to strengthen their bond and also creates memories that will last for a long time. He also made his own tree, that they helped to decorate, to take home with him. The boys made him some ‘presents’ to go under his tree too.

Dinner consisted of Sloppy Joes, seasoned fries, and some homemade coleslaw (1 bag of slaw, a bit of mayo, a little sugar, and a splash of white vinegar. I’ll have to work on that recipe as I just kinda dump and taste as I go.) One of the little boys got excited when he saw the buns and the cheese. He had been asking for hamburgers but he thought Sloppy Joes were close enough and he actually asked for seconds.

After baths big sister wanted to try her hand at some No Bake Cookies. (Last night she made Easy Sugar Cookies.) She involved everyone in the process and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They enjoyed measuring, stirring, and of course the taste testing! I’m not so sure that chocolate right before bedtime was a such a good idea though as little man is refusing to go to bed now.

So all in all we had a great day. Lots of memories were made too. That’s what life is about. We have to do the best we can with what we have. Each and everyday is a new day with a fresh start.

I think my kids will remember these days when they get older. They won’t be worrying about whether or not I vacuumed the floor. They also probably won’t be traumatized by not having a Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. (We’ve agreed that we will set it up on St. Nicholas Day and I drew a picture of a Christmas tree on my desk calendar for them to look at.)

They will also look back on the pictures and hopefully remember how much fun they had making crafts with their dad. We may have our differences but I am so thankful that we have been able to work through them and/or put them aside for the sake of our kids. Even though our relationship as husband and wife is over we are still connected through our kids and will always have that bond. It is important for us to continue to work together to be the best parents we can be for our children.

I am off to bed but first I need to walk little man to his bed. Then I have a few things that I need to add to my prayer list. Have a blessed night!

 

 

 

If it’s not the kids, it’s the cat….

We all know how it is to be working really intently on a project only to get distracted by something or someone. I know my kids never seem to need anything until I am working on bills, my blog, paperwork, or if I get a phone call. A phone call in itself can be a major distraction depending on the timing of it.

When we are doing our school work in the mornings I try my best to keep the distractions to a bare minimum. It never fails that someone will come in and get the kids stirred up or the cat will sneak in and start tickling someone’s feet. Maybe the phone will ring and the kids will take it as a signal to go crazy.

I try to handle important calls and paperwork during nap time when things are generally a bit quieter and calmer here. Sometimes I get side tracked with one of the million other things on my To-Do list. Sometimes I get into a conversation with a friend via text or messenger. Sometimes I start checking emails or log onto my Facebook for a quick peek and one thing leads to another and I end up accomplishing nothing. These are all distractions.

While many distractions could be avoided and sometimes they can cause us to waste precious time, they are not always a bad thing.

On occasion I have been really busy and working really hard on something when one of the kids comes up just to say ‘I love you’. Of course, they usually want something when they do this but I never get tired of hearing those three words. It reminds me that I do need breaks and they need attention and hugs, lots of hugs.

Sometimes I sneak to my room to work on something while the kids are playing in the yard outside of my window. Maybe I get caught up just watching them play and wondering how they have grown up so fast. Then I’ll notice that someone’s pants are a little short and decide to check for sales. Or I’ll remember that someone else needed something so I’ll try to look into that.

If it’s not the kids, it’s the cat. I’ll get all comfy and situated and the cat will come in. He will start by rubbing on my foot, then my leg, then he will jump on the bed. He will make his way across the nightstand to sit on my lap. If the computer happens to be in my lap then he will sit on the computer. He wants my attention.

I know its hard when you have deadlines to meet or something that is really pressing on you to get finished. It is so easy to just say, ‘No, I can’t right now.’ or ‘I’m too busy for that.’. We need to step back for a moment sometimes and ask ourselves if what we are working is really that important.

Is it gonna matter in 5 years that I didn’t get this blog post finished on time? Will it really be the end of the world if I don’t check all of my emails right now?

Occasional distractions can be a welcome relief from the stress of our often overwhelming duties and responsibilities. They can actually help our brains to relax a little and help get our creative juices flowing. Have you ever been stuck on a problem of some sort and walked away from it for a bit only to come back with fresh eyes and have a solution pop up out of nowhere? I have.

I’m not saying that we should give in to every distraction but every now and then its OK to let yourself get distracted. I usually try to keep a list of things that need to get done. My daily list is kept on my FlyHelper app. I also have a weekly and monthly list on there as well. So for the days that I am not focused and get distracted by every little thing I can refer back to the lists to keep me on track.

I also keep a file on my desk for things that need my attention. These include bills, reimbursements to file for various items, school materials to check into, appointments to make, and other things that invariably make their way into my already full lap. These are the items that I try to work on during quiet times.

My desk is situated on a kitchen wall adjacent to the playroom. The playroom is where the kids spend probably 80% or more of their time when they are in the house. This works out good for me as I can keep an eye on them while also working on important things that may need to get finished. I can do my bills, phone calls, menu planning, grocery lists, shopping lists, and even clip coupons from this one area. This may not work for everyone but it does for us. I currently have a roll top desk so I can leave my current project out on the desktop and just pull the lid closed so no one messes with it.

If I have big projects to work on I try to break them down into smaller tasks that I can work on in shorter chunks of time. Many times I am able to get them finished much quicker than anticipated but just the idea of knowing that I can get to a stopping point helps keep me focused.

For instance, one of the couches in the playroom needs replaced but I haven’t had the money or time to go shopping for a new one. The cushions had so many holes that they would leak stuffing everywhere and on anyone who sat on it. We had put a throw on the couch which didn’t stay put for very long with so many kids around. The only other solution was to make some covers for the cushions.

I knew that meant dragging out the sewing machine, the sewing box, and finding some material. Well, I found some material at a thrift store and I set it in an easily accessible place. Then the next time I was in the closet I managed to pull out the sewing machine and the sewing box and set them in a place where I could get to them easily.

One day I had a little free time so I decided just to pull the material out and get it cut to size. That went much quicker than I had expected and the kids were playing quietly with big sister so I decided to proceed with assembling everything. In less than an hour I had each of the cushions covered, fluffed, and put back on the couch. I had also vacuumed up the mess and washed the throw that had been on the couch.

Maybe you are sending out Christmas cards? Break it up into small chunks like buying the cards and stamps, gathering the addresses, signing the cards and sealing them in the envelopes, addressing the envelopes, then mailing them. Or do them in small batches.

Just remember that as life happens distractions will be an inevitable thing. Try to weed out the ones that you can and embrace the ones you can’t. Take each moment, each hour, each day in stride and stay focused on your goals. Don’t let the distractions keep you from your goals but don’t let obtaining your goals cause you to miss out on life and your family.

When things don’t go as planned

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.

For me it was going to be a welcome relief from some of the stress I’ve been under lately. It was also going to be the first time in a long time that I didn’t cook a whole Thanksgiving dinner. My kids were excited to visit with their cousins and aunts that they haven’t seen in awhile.

Wednesday morning I woke up not feeling quite myself. After I showered and got dressed the little boys came to my room and said they weren’t feeling well. One then proceeded to vomit all over my bed, rug, and foot. So I grabbed him and ran to the bathroom and held him over the toilet for a minute. After he felt a bit better I proceeded to strip him down and shower him while gathering a load of laundry to wash.

This was our routine several times before lunch time. I got out our ‘puke bucket’ for the kids to carry around with them and a beach towel for them to sit on wherever they went. (We learned these tricks a while back and it helps to contain these messes and makes clean up so much easier when they can’t make it to the bathroom.)

So as the morning went on I felt worse and worse and was in a semi-zombie state by the time we finished school. It took every last ounce of energy I could muster to fix some lunch. Once big sister came in I let her take over and put the kids down for naps. I headed to bed. I slept almost all afternoon. (At some point during the day I did manage to send a couple of texts to let everyone know we wouldn’t be able to make it to dinner.)

Luckily I had almost everything we needed to make our own Thanksgiving dinner. I know I could’ve joined my brother and his family but as a mom I really didn’t want to possibly expose anyone else to whatever bug we had.

Some time Wednesday morning I had thought to take a turkey out of the freezer and made a quick menu. I had also arranged with my other daughter to make the mashed potatoes as that was one thing I did not have on hand.

I fixed some oatmeal for breakfast, which was not our normal Thursday morning breakfast, and it seemed to upset one of the kids as he likes everything to go according to routine. Once I settled him down with a puzzle to keep him I occupied I began to work on dinner. Turkey went in to cook, and then I began on the pies. Fortunately I had gotten a couple of frozen pies on sale so I just had to take them out of the freezer and pop them in the oven.

Then I thought I should make a Lemon Meringue pie for my dad. (I had planned on making two on Wednesday but I was too exhausted and sick to think about eating much less making anything to eat.) I pulled a pie crust out of the freezer, yes I cheated, and left it on the counter for 15 minutes or so. While it was defrosting I also pulled some frozen bread dough out to defrost.

Well, the pie crust didn’t seem to defrost the way it should have so I popped it in the microwave and thoroughly messed it up! So I pulled another one out and reread the microwave defrosting instructions. It still didn’t work quite as planned but it was salvageable. While baking the pie crust I divided the dough into rolls and placed them into a pan to rise. I began the pie filling and broke an egg yolk into the whites when I was separating them. I have not done this in forever but I did manage to scrape most of it out and the meringue turned out fine. The pie crust could have been prettier but the meringue covered up the flaws.

My daughter came in and mentioned that she wanted a Chocolate pie. By this time I was already feeling pretty worn so she offered to look up the recipe and make it herself. I agreed to that. I retrieved another pie crust and attempted to defrost it correctly with better success. She made the pudding and finished the pie. We then decided to make a Peanut Butter pie which went went fairly smooth with the exception of me baking the crust a little too long.

I checked on the rolls and they had not risen at all. I mean no signs of life at all, nothing, not even a little puff here or there so I threw them in the chicken scraps along with my failed pie crust. I then proceeded to make a batch of 30 minute dinner rolls, from one of my favorite cook books Real Mom Kitchen, and realized I only had enough eggs for a dozen rolls.

I borrowed a couple of eggs from my sister-in-law-to-be and started on a new batch of rolls. Within a few minutes I could already tell that they were definitely alive and well. I didn’t have quite enough regular flour so I added a bit of whole wheat flour to the rolls which made them a little darker but they turned out just fine.

When it got closer to dinner time we made the green bean casserole and finished up a few things. We pulled out a folding table and covered it with a sheet as I had not dug out the Thanksgiving table cloth. I don’t really think anyone noticed anyways.

We ended up having a pretty good dinner and enjoyed our time with family. The kids watched Godzilla and they are still running around pretending to be Godzilla. I had to lie down after dinner, which I could not eat as I was still feeling a bit puny, and I fell asleep.

In the end it wasn’t about everything being as planned or looking perfect to the last detail. We managed to work together and make a meal that everyone could enjoy. We didn’t have cranberry sauce or everyone’s favorite sweet potato casserole. We don’t have tons of leftovers, well we do have plenty of pie, but everyone ate until they were full and content.

It wasn’t the Thanksgiving we had planned but it was a wonderful day. I was a little upset that I couldn’t do what I had planned to do but it was out of my hands. I have learned that sometimes God has other things planned for us and that we just need to let go of our plans and see where He is leading us. It was much better to do that than to cry or be grumpy because things didn’t go our way. (OK, I do admit I may have been a little grumpy but I will blame that on not feeling well.)

When things don’t go as planned just breathe and try to relax. Accept it for what it is and just work with it. If there are things you can change, like your reaction to the situation, then work on changing those but leave the things you can’t change to God and He will work those things out for you.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. – Jeremiah 29:11

Coming Home

At this time of year many of us will be traveling to visit friends and family. Some of us will be headed back to our childhood homes. Often times this can create a flood of memories and emotions that can overwhelm us.

We had planned to visit with family but a stomach bug has hit our house so I think we will be staying home. However yesterday I was blessed with my own ‘coming home’ experience. It was a precious moment to say the least.

I had only left to run a couple of errands but my littlest was still napping when I had left. He always likes to tell me good bye and make sure that I know he will be missing me while I am gone.

When I pulled into the drive I saw him come running from one side of the play yard to where he could see me better. He was jumping up and down and waving. It was his little smile though that got me. He was lit up from ear to ear with genuine happiness.

As I pulled behind the house to park I could hear him yelling, ‘Mommy’s home, Mommy’s home’. I brought in the groceries and headed to my room to put up a couple of things. I heard him come in and start searching for me. He quickly went from room to room asking others where I was.

When he found me he was still wearing that sweet smile. He hugged me so tightly and I could feel his happiness and joy transferring to me. Of course, I picked him up and hugged that little guy right back. It was a beautiful moment. I know there will probably come a day when he doesn’t want to hug me so I will cherish this little moment.

This made me realize that coming home and being welcomed by those who love us and are genuinely happy to be with us is such a wonderful feeling. They will bring us joy and love and it will bless us in so many ways.

So, no matter what is going on around you right now, please remember to take a few moments during this holiday season to make sure that those you love really know that you love them. Give them a ‘coming home’ experience that they will cherish forever. It will not only bless them but will bless you as well.

Cherished

SUSIE MIMM KIRBY·SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2016

Its been a little while since I’ve written anything. I’ve had lots to think about and even more to do. One thing that has been on my mind a lot is what I would like to find in a relationship. Surprisingly enough one thing I desire is to be cherished. I think most of us want this too but few of us have ever felt this. What does it even mean?
cher·ishˈCHeriSH/verbpast tense: cherished; past participle: cherished
  1. protect and care for (someone) lovingly.”he cared for me beyond measure and cherished me in his heart”synonyms:adore, hold dear, love, dote on, be devoted to, revere, esteem, admire; More
    • hold (something) dear.”I cherish the letters she wrote”synonyms:treasure, prize, value highly, hold dear”I cherish her letters”
    • keep (a hope or ambition) in one’s mind.”he had long cherished a secret fantasy about his future”synonyms:harbor, entertain, possess, hold (on to), cling to, keep in one’s mind, foster, nurture“they cherished dreams of glory”
To cherish someone means we make another person our priority relationship. We can show them we cherish them by providing them with a loving, safe, secure environment. A place where they would never doubt our love, our care, and our commitment to them and our relationship.
I want my partner to love me, of course. But I also want him to protect me and to care for me, to adore me, to hold me close to his heart and to keep me in his thoughts and prayers.
I want him to encourage me and to be a breath of fresh air when I get overwhelmed and feel like I am smothering under my responsibilities.
Of course, I would show him the same in return but I think so many couples lack this one very important aspect of relationships. Its not just saying the words ‘I love you’ but showing them that makes a person feel cherished.
We can show our partners that we cherish them by sacrificing things for their behalf. It may be giving them the last bit of cake or missing out on a guys/girls night out to spend time with them.
Its in the little things we do or should do on a daily basis like touching them, listening to them, encouraging them, complimenting on something they did, and showing them respect.
Its also in the way we act towards them in public and the things we say about them to others. We also need to spend time alone with our partners to reconnect on a regular basis.
Its in the little gifts we give, just because, or the things we do without being asked.
If we all just took a few minutes everyday to look for ways to show one another how much we love each other then we would all feel cherished.