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Friday, December 30, 2011

Planning my day.

I know it may seems funny to organize all of my day down to the half-hour, but I am convinced that I am more profitable because of it. Take, for instance, this last week. We've been off school and I have to prepare for next semester, so the kids have watched more TV than they should. In fact, some days, they were watching TV from the time the little kids arrived until after they left.

To some this may not seem all that bad. But it isn't what we want for our kids. So today we sat down and listed the things that needed to be accomplished today and where it would fit and who would be watching the little ones and when. Turns out we have time to watch an hour of TV during the day. I actually had to check the guide to find that one hour when their cartoons are on and I planned the rest of the day.

Computer time is planned in, piano, chores, clean-up, cooking and dishes. There is also AWANA because although it's not starting back up for over a week. The time spent looking into the Word, even if it's an AWANA book, is very profitable for them. They are hiding God's Word in their hearts. Also we have little kids' babysitting and baby babysitting so that Mom can get her work done. The little kids' time must be organized or there is bouncing on the furniture and tearing up things already accomplished.

So we pick a subject - blocks, Lincoln logs, cars, trains, play-do, craft. We even have a walk planned in for today as well. It really does make me happier with our day when we accomplish all the things necessary. Somehow the TV eats away our time and "Oh, there's something else I want to see!" But if we don't turn it on till later on in the day, we don't get caught up in this.

When we have school it's easier to keep on track, we have to have things organized. But I fail to recognize that if I don't plan things for a non-school day, then I will not be accomplishing things that I want to.

My next goal is to plan exercise into our day. Today that's easy - it's supposed to be nice and we'll go for a walk. When it gets cold, it will be more difficult, but I need to find something. So I'll probably do something aerobics and bring all the kids into the room to do some organized jumping and bumping and maybe chaos as well.

So go ahead and try it. Don't plan the whole day, but plan one thing for today that you want to do and when and then start sticking to it.

Because He is worthy and deserves all the glory,
Steph

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A walk in the pasture!

Today after a morning at the eye doctor - three kids takes awhile. We had mac and cheese for lunch, and then read a book called, "Natalie". After three chapters, that I coughed through, we headed out for a walk in the pasture.

Normally, the kids go too slow for me to get much in the way of exercise, but I figured getting them out and running around would help for inside time later. Since we didn't have the baby today, we were all able to go. Today I barely kept up with my littlest, the three-almost-four year old. I coughed all the way there and back, but for the end of December it was nice out, almost 50 degrees.

We talked about the "castle" that we see on top of the hill. Ever since my youngest daughter can remember she has called that the "castle". So my littlest and I were talking about the castle and how he wanted to go there and visit. There would be a king and queen and maybe a map in there. It was fun thinking about all of that, but in the back of my mind I was remembering the last time we drove right past that castle, and my youngest daughter was appalled to find that her "castle" was a feed lot for cattle. She still to this day is in denial about this. :) It's fun to imagine.

Have a great day, taking some time to imagine with your little ones. It is not time wasted.
Steph

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day after Christmas

We added an extra cleaning day to our week this week. We don't have any extra people here today, so it's a good day to clean up, especially after our Christmas explosion. :) So we're having our regular cleaning day chores today and we are getting it done quickly as we have been faithful lately.

Later we'll be getting wood into the basement, so that we can stay warm this week. Maybe we'll be able to do more than just a week's worth. Thankfully, next weekend will be nice and Daddy has an extra day off again, but he'll be working on a Blue Valley Woods project. Still we should be able to get the wood room full hopefully.

Tonight we're planning on playing games and just being together before another week officially starts. I have to work on second semester for this year as well. Now that I've found an online planner, I should be able to stay ahead. When I have things planned ahead like this, it saves on confusion when I am teaching six different grades. So I find using my breaks to get this done really helps me in the long run.

Have a great last week of 2011.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas



This year we've been doing school right up until yesterday, so there really hasn't been days off before Christmas. We are doing our dinner today, as we aren't a stickler for it being on the exact day and we (I) feel it would be easier to have Christmas dinner on Saturday rather than Sunday.



Because of all this, we haven't had days for baking. A couple of weeks ago, I started asking all the kids what cookies they wanted to make for Christmas. Each one had a choice, even the little four-year old we babysit picked. We didn't ask the four-month old though, wonder what he would have picked. :)



Our tradition is to take an evening and make cookies. When the children are ages 3 to 13, that doesn't work too well as everyone needs a lot of hands on, except the 12 and 13 year old. So we've modified it so that our cookie baking is over the course of time rather than all in one evening. I took one child aside from the play of the day and we made cookies, or rather they made the batter with me and then came back when the cookies were baked. Consequently, baking was less stressful for me.



As far as decorating goes we did it all in one afternoon. I made a bunch of colors of icing and then took them two at a time to decorate the cookies. I made sure that they were paired up well, an older with a younger child, so that the mess would be minimal. But then, I let them have at it and do whatever they desired. Not beautiful cookies, but we had a lesson in colors and they had fun.


Now for Christmas dinner, I made a list of all the dishes we would be having and starting with my 13 year old, let them choose which dish they would like to help with. Turns out each of them gets two dishes. So quite a few of them finished theirs yesterday, but the ham etc still has to be done, so I will have little people in my kitchen all morning.


My desire is eventually to have fun all together in the kitchen on these big cooking days, but with so many little ones it's not possible for everyone to be in the kitchen at the same time, plus it's super small, so for now, we have help in a controlled and manageable way.


Merry Christmas, everyone! I pray that you are finding ways to make your Christmas fun as opposed to stressful.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Is it just me?

My older ones are struggling to keep up on their studies. Is it just me? With a houseful of nine kids, there is always activity. I'm trying to figure out a way to keep things quiet with a baby, two preschoolers, a kindergartner and a first grader.
Usually I have an older kid on duty to play with the little kids, but that has digressed to "We don't know what to do, so we'll play hide and seek." Needless to say it's very distracting for the older ones trying to study for exams. TV with us usually brings quiet but the TV itself distracts and the other toddler who we watch during the week wants to play tag even when the TV is on. So I have been looking at catalogs and seeing little people puzzles and games. Those seem like they would help, if an older child was playing with them or if I was.
I can't really leave the school scene too much or they get sidetracked as well. So I'm still working on this. How do I allow for little people to wiggle and be kids and the older ones the ability to concentrate. Anybody have any suggestions?
I'm committing to limiting the TV and to only turning it on after everyone is done with school, but I have to fill the hours with productive and enjoyable work for the little ones.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My number one champ as his shirt says. This is my three-year old, and youngest of five sons, and youngest of all seven. We have fun with his sayings and we enjoy seeing things through his eyes. He loves music.



Cleaning Day

Having just finished cleaning bedrooms, I'm happy to say that it only took us an hour. We've designated Thursdays as cleaning day. Some people say that children's rooms are their own and as such, should be left to their own discretion as far as how and when they should be cleaned. I could go along with that and have a much easier life, but my husband has mentoned that if we allow them to be lazy with cleaning up after themselves, even in their own room, then they will view this as the norm.
So because of this we are cleaning rooms to Mom's satisfaction on Thursday. Because we did it last week, and got all the closets cleaned well, today we were able to do some work on drawers. I am choosing not to inspect all areas every week at this point. There will be a time that all areas are easy to clean and therefore can be inspected each and every week in order to maintain a certain level of cleanliness.
My method is this: I send all children to their rooms to start working on cleaning. We start at 8:00 as we need to prepare to leave for Bible study at 9:45 at the latest. I go to my room and dust and clean up all the clutter that has been thrown there during the week and vacuum. When I am done there, I had to the little boys' room, then the little girls' room and then the older boys' room.
My policy is that if I get to your room and there are things hiding under your bed or stuffed in corners, I reserve the right to take anything from the room that I deem is unnecessary. If you can keep your toys and "junk" put away in the proper place (they each have a drawer or box for these things that I really don't think need to be kept but they do), then they will be left alone by Mom.
I don't allow clothes in all different drawers, but rather each drawer is to be specified for a certain type of clothing and the junk drawer also keeps an extra set of sheets for their bed.
Because of this, today, when I made it to the boys' room after only about 20 minutes of cleaning they were 'done'. And I was impressed with the state of the floor and behind doors and in the closet, but because of this we had drawer inspection. I will go and check another room (i.e. the big boys' room) ahead of schedule so they have a chance to clean up things that I find before I actually get there. So they had plenty of time to work on drawers. I noticed their closet was getting a bit messy, but let that go this time. What a wonderful feeling to be able to see the floors in the rooms at least once a week. :)
We also thoroughly clean the main floor and the basement on this day as well. But I will save that for another post. Let's challenge ourselves to the next level.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

That I May Know Him

I am studying Philippians again. I've done it before. I memorized it in Bible School, and I think all the time and effort I put into that has caused Philippians to be rather dear to my heart. I love reading this book. It's like picking up an old, familiar story and re-connecting with it. The thing about Philippians that is different is that it's alive and inspiring to read again, as new truths come to the surface.
I decided that I am going to try to dig into the Word again. With working full-time, I kept feeling defeated with it and now that I work at home, watching two little boys along with my own, somehow I feel that I can do this again. Quiet Time for all the children helps me out a lot and while some days I'd rather lay down and read a book. It is becoming increasingly clear that it is important for me to focus and stay on task with this the most important of all my jobs today.
I realize that Jesus arose early and went to the mountain to pray. There are days when I wake up early and then those times are so precious, but a daily time that I can count on is Quiet Time after lunch when few sleep, but everyone is busy doing something alone, generally reading. So since I know this is always available, I like to use that time. If I wake early, BONUS!!!!!
When I decided to start this study, I bought a new Bible. I'd left one like it in Indonesia and have known that I wanted another for sometime now. Since mine was actually falling apart, I decided that this would be a good time. I love the New Inductive Study Bible. The reason I like it is because there is no commentary in it. There are maps and charts and all sorts of things to help with study but noone has put their two cents in. The reason is this: I can study to my heart's content without someone else's study being in there. Then when I'm finished studying Philippians, I will go and see what the learned men have to say and see if there are any more truths to find that I missed. But digging and hands-on learning help it stick in my mind, so it's better for me not to see the answer first.
So I have my Bible, colored pencils and the little booklet that is Kay's study for Philippians. The first week she sent us through all 4 chapters highlighting anything to do with Paul (his name, me, I my, etc.). Now this week we are marking all the times it talks of the Philippians. This is a five week study and I'm enjoying every minute of it.
Really my dream is to have a spot where we can do studies together in our homes all across the country. A place where we can come and talk of the truths we are learning. Maybe someday and maybe you'll be a part of it too. If this sounds like something you'd love to do, let me know.

Because of His great love,
Steph

Friday, December 9, 2011

A long time!!!

It's been a very long time since I've been on here. Almost a year, I guess. Things have changed some for this family since then. I quit my job and was home for about three months and then started back to work again. That only lasted three months thankfully when I heard a friend needed help finding care for her baby.

I jumped on that chance right away and now have the baby and someone else's little boy. It's so nice to be home again. Still working on the same things that I was working on before. It's good to be back.