Friday, August 31, 2012

Daily Chores

Today I am going to dive into chores at our house.

 First, in our house we have chores and we have jobs. Chores are the things that we do everyday and jobs are things that get done once a week. (I will go into jobs tomorrow) Our children do NOT get paid for doing chores. Chores are things that we do to help each other out because we love and care for one another. We have two sets of chores - daily chores and dinner chores. Both sets must get done everyday or they don't get to do anything else until the chores are done. The way our day works is as soon as we are done eating breakfast the kids get started on their chores. I have chores lists posted on the back of our laundry room door. The older 3 rotate through the lists throughout the week. To make it fair we switch chores everyday so no one complains about always having the "easy" or "hard" chores.

 Why do chores?
I know that there are families who don't make their kids do chores. Well, we are not one of those families. Now, let's make something very clear about why we do chores. We do not make our kids do chores because we are lazy and don't feel like cleaning. Our kids aren't doing chores because we have too many kids and the older ones have to clean up after the little ones. I clean durring the day too! We have our kids do chores to teach them responsiblity! We feel that kids need to know how to be responsible and how to take care of themselves. When they grow up and move out we do not want our kids not to know how to do their own laundry! Sadly, there are a lot of kids that when they move out do not know how to work a washing machine! In my opinion there are too many spoiled kids who think that the world revolves around them. I feel like these kids are being set up to fail when thrown out into the real world. They are going to be in for a huge shock when they realize that clean clothes don't just magically appear all folded nicely on their beds.
 I actually know someone whose daughter was in her teens who saw her mom cleaning the toilet one day and said, "You clean the toilets?" To which her mom responded, "Yes, how else do you think they get clean?" The daughter says, "I just thought they didn't ever get dirty!" This mom always cleaned the house when her kids were at school and the kid just thought the house never got dirty. She would have been in for a huge shock if she moved out and saw that her house didn't just stay clean.
 Kids need responsibilty!
 They need to know that in life we work for things. Some people work out in the world at a job to make money to pay bills and some work at home to keep the house running smoothly. Things in this world are not just given and handed out freely like some parents make it seem to their kids. OK- I'm done ranting.......
 Some questions that I get often are- What kinds of chores do you make you kids do? How old are your kids when you start making them do chores?

 Well, all of my kids (besides Blake) understand and comprehend when we tell them to do something. Therefore, they are able to understand how to do chores. Obviously, I choose chores that are age apporpriate for the 2 little ones. Carson doesn't have much of an attention spand, but he does help pick up toys. We have a clean up song that we sing with him. 

"Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere. Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share."

 When we start singing this he will start picking up whatever we say needs to be picked up :) No, he doesn't always clean up everything, but he does do some and that is what matters!

 Vanessa, is in charge of putting away the silverware when it comes out of the dishwasher. She also dusts and picks up toys. She will sometimes help her older sisters with their chores as well, depending on her mood. Remember, with little ones they don't have a very long attention span. Don't expect them to spend 30 min cleaning because it won't happen.

 The older 3 rotate chores everyday. The daily chores consist of, laundry, sweeping, vacuuming, wiping down bathroom sinks, feeding animals, filling our drink fridge, loading and unloading dishwasher and helping the littler ones with their bedrooms.

We also have dinner chores, set table, clear table, wipe table, dishwasher, wipe sink, wipe counters/stove and floor. Dinner chores are done as soon as everyone is excused from the table and need to be completed before anyone can play, just like the daily chores.
 It may sound like a lot, but really it isn't. Mariela started her chores today around 8:45 and she was done with all of her daily chores plus her jobs before 9:30. When things are done religiously everyday it becomes a habit and it doesn't take long. Plus, it is done everyday, so things don't have a chance to get really dirty :)
 It is my opionion that every kid should have to do chores! If your kids aren't already doing something then start with something small and work up to more. Will they like it? Probably not. My kids will never tell you that they love doing their chores everyday! Seriously, you will never hear them say that! BUT you will hear them say that they like having a clean and orderly house. You will also hear them say they are glad they know how to do things on their own.
As an adult they will thank you and you will be proud that your child is responsible and takes care of their house :) (and hopefully teached their children to do the same)
 Here are our chore lists. I made them out of scrapbooking paper. I used my label maker to make the labels and then I went to Stapes to get it laminated. (Again, if you do this with a label maker tell them to use the BIG laminator. Otherwise your white labels will be have been warned!) I used construction paper and sticker letters for their names and had them laminated. The back of the names have the velco on the back so I can switch the names on my charts around durring the week :) Easy peasy!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My daily schedule

I had a friend text me today and ask me to blog about my daily schedule :)
Apparently, the fact that I am not of the "norm" is intriguing to her. She is curious about how I function my house and survive with 6 kids, daily! She also said, "You're way of life. Christian. Conservative. I am polar opposite. So your way of life is curious to people like me."
Wow! I feel honored that people are interested in how and what I think. I know that the way I live my life is not of the "norm" by the world's standards. Honestly, the fact that people notice that and are still interested in learning about me or being friends with me makes me feel really good inside. I don't want to be someone who fits in! I want to be me, I want to be the woman that God made me to be. Now, I know not everyone who reads this blog isn't Christian and I don't want people to not read it because of my beliefs. I am who I am, and I am proud of who I am.
I am a blessed wife and mother of 6! My blog is meant to encourage you and help you in your wife/mothering duties :) I have a LOT of life experience and I am willing and open to talking about any of it! Honestly, things that have happened to me have made me the woman that I am today. If there is ever a topic that you would like for me to touch on please feel free to message me and I will do my best to help and encourage you. We ALL struggle with things! You may think that you are the only one going through something and are at your breaking point, but trust me there are people who care and who know what you are going through. So please don't be afraid to ask about certain things because you are embarrassed. I will always keep people's name anonymous.
You can reach me at
Now, onto today's topic- My daily schedule-
Well, honestly it is not as easy at just writing it out. This is going to need to be something that I cover over the next couple of days. Why? Because, it is not just having a schedule that makes me function. It is a bunch of little things that I do that pulls everything together to run smoothly.

Today I will focus on just my basic schedule and the rest of the week I will break down what everything is. I am honestly in the process of adjusting some stuff since I just started this blog and I want to add that in to my daily schedule.

Times are approximate- I DON'T live by the clock!!

6:30-7 Wake up and have my quiet time with God
7-8 (This is when I want to start blogging)
8-8:30 I spend time snuggling and watching Barney with Carson
Then I start making breakfast. Yes, I make breakfast everyday! We don't eat cereal very often in this house.
After breakfast we do chores (I will explain chores tomorrow)
Then we do our "jobs" (I will explain jobs another day)
Then around 11:30 I start making lunch for my wonderful husband.
From 12-12:30 I go eat lunch with Michael.
When I get home I make lunch for kids.
After lunch the 3 little ones go down for a nap and the 3 older ones do school.
After that I will start dinner.
Then Michael gets home and we eat.
Kids do dinner chores.
After chores we spend the rest of the evening hanging out and relaxing.

There are times through out the day where I am feeding/changing babies. Spending time with the little ones, one on one, play time....etc It is just not this and that is it! This is all of the major stuff that gets done everyday and doesn't change (for the most part). Please, understand that it is how we do the chores and the jobs and how they are organized in this house that make it run smoothly. It is the key, and honestly it took me a long time to perfect it to where things are running as smoothly as they are now! So make sure you come back the rest of the week to see what/how I do it :) 


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Menu planning

Planning meals in this house is a MUST!!
This is my menu board that I made to keep track of the meals I am making for the week.
If you don't already plan out your meals for the week then I really hope you will consider it. You will save yourself so much time and money!!
In our house everyone has one day out of the week where they get to pick what we have to eat. Every meal is planned ahead of time, breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides and dessert! We started letting everyone having their own day about 6 months ago and it works out great! Since starting this I have noticed that the complaining about what we are having for dinner is almost non-existant. They all eat whatever is served that night and I don't ever hear anyone complain. I think the fact that they know they are going to exactly what they want one day makes them happy :)
My chart is color coordinated by meal
Every Sunday we sit down and everyone picks out their meals for the day. Then, I go through each meal and make my grocery list. I check to make sure I have EVERYTHING I will need for the week (don't forget to check your spices to make sure you have what you need). The point is to make ONE trip to the store for the week. THAT'S IT!!!!! Did you hear me?? THAT'S IT!!! You spend SO much more money when you go to the store and you don't follow a list or if you go more than once a week. You will make more implulse buys when you don't have a list or if you go more than once. Your list includes everything that you will need for the week so there is no need to buy anything extra. If it is not on your list then you do not need it. Also, you waste a lot of your precious time going to the store. There are a lot of things that I personally need to get done in a day. My time is treasured and I don't need to waste time or gas going to the store to pick up just a couple of things for dinner that night.
(As a side note, I do have to do to the store more than once a week. We go through a gallon of milk a day here and there is no possible way currently that I can store 7 gallons of milk at a time!! BUT when I go in the middle of the week I go for milk ONLY and usually it is when I am out doing something else that needed to be done, not just a special trip to the store.)
Meal planning will also cut down on your drive-thru and eating out money. When everything is planned it is less likely you will make a stop at Burger King or Applebees because you don't know what to do for dinner.
You don't need a huge chart like mine in order to plan your meals. You can write it down on paper, it doesn't have to be fancy. Just do it! I am a crafty person and I wanted to make a nice big one that I could hang on my wall. 
If you are interested in making one, it isn't all that hard.
I used a poster board and then I glued scrapbook paper around on it.
I used contruction paper and sticker letters for the days of the week.
A little construction paper and my label maker for the days.
Then I took it to Staples and had it laminated! (Side note... If you use a label maker and want something laminated tell them they need to use the BIG laminator, NOT the small one. If you use the small one it gets too hot and your white labels will turn black from the heat! Yes, I know this from experience.)
After it was laminated I put velco circles that I bought at Wal-mart on each day/meal.
Kinda hard to see them, but they are there.
 I also laminated all of our meal cards (I used colored index cards) and put velcro on the backs of them. This is how I easily switch out my menu for the week.
As I make new recipes, I make a new label and card up then add it in with the others. Easy peasy :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Makayla turns 8!

Well, I did it. I finally decided that it was time to start a blog. After many people asking me how I do everything that I do with 6 kids I am now willing to take time out of my day to let all of you wonderful people exactly how I make it through my days! It isn't always easy, but I figured that today was the perfect day to start sharing our some what crazy lives! 
Last week was my sweet, beautiful Makayla's 8th birthday!
(Good Morning Kay Kay!!)
First, a little note about birthdays at out house- At our house birthday's are a big deal! We don't do a big Christmas here. That means that we don't give our kids a bunch of gifts on Christmas. Instead we choose to make a huge deal out of their birthday's. The whole day is based around them, what they want to do, eat...etc and it makes them feel very special. We have a few traditions that we do every year that we know they look forward to :) Some of these traditions include putting wrapping paper over their doors so that they have to break through the wrapping paper in order to get out! This year I went a step further and I used a plastic table cloth from the dollar store and stuffed it with ballons in between the door and the table cloth and she had a balloon avalanch when she opened the door! Plus, she still had the task of getting through the table cloth in order to get out of her room.  She seemed to really enjoy that! We also always get the kids a birthday balloon bouquet. We buy them as many ballons as the age they are turning. This year Makayla got a bouquet with 8 balloons :) Now on with our day......
My beautiful girl loves Harry Potter. She has loved Harry Potter since the age of 3. One year she even dressed up as Harry for Halloween :) This year Makayla decided that she wanted a Harry Potter birthday. Well, lucky me, Harry Potter decorations are not available anywhere in my area. What is a mom to do?!? Make her own that's what! Makayla knew that I couldn't find any HP decorations. What she didn't know is that her mama is awesomely (not sure if that is an actual word, but I am going with it anyways.) creative! Thanks to the internet I was able to come up with a few DIY HP decorations.  
   I found this "party poof" for the ceiling on pinterest that I did in the Gryffindor colors, well, sort of. I also decided to buy battery operated tealights to hang from the ceiling, this was actually the hubs idea. I used envelopes and wrote HP's address that came on his invitation to Hogwarts and I used white thread to hang the envelopes and tealights from the ceiling to give the illusion of them floating. Finally, I used white balloons and drew an owl on them to represent Harry's owl. She was beyond excited to see the decorations!


For gifts I like to do or make something original for the kids, not just buy them a bunch of toys. This year I found a really cool gift on pinterest that I wanted to make for my little Kay Kay. The idea was to make a flower bouquet out of candy. I knew she would LOVE it! I looked at the pin and just like I look at every other thing that I pin I decided that it needed some Leslie work to make it even better. I bought a small bowl/vase, Whoppers, Rolo candy, gummy worms, mint M&M's, green licorice, lollipops in the shapes of flowers, and crystal rock candy. (The original pin only used Whoppers, green licorice, rock candy, and large swirl lollipops)

I wanted to use 2 different types of candy for the "dirt" and what is good soil without some worms in it! The M&M's went on top of the dirt and the green licorice acted as the grass. Then the lolipops were the different flowers.
I was very pleased with how it turned out!

 Just as I suspected, Makayla LOVE it!!!!
We really believe in home made gifts in our family. We feel that they mean so much more because it came from our hearts and made special for the recipient. Mariela also made Makayla something for her birthday and she was SO excited!!
It is a purse :)

My oldest had a wonderful idea to do a scavenger hunt for Makayla to find her other gifts after dinner. Michael and I had a blast with this!! We wrote clues on index cards and put them in evelopes. Each clue would lead her to either a gift or another envelope. Now, what kind of parents would we be if we didn't have some fun with this game?!? There were some clues that we knew would send her to one location, but there was another location that could have worked also. So this is where we had some fun :) One of the cards we made said "I want some cookies and __________" We knew she would go into the fridge to get the milk, but we also have a fridge in our room that we keep back-up gallons of milk in. When she went to the main fridge for the milk we had an envelope taped to the milk, but inside there was a card that read "YUCK- you found ear wax beans! Try Again!" (Remember this was a HP inspired birthday, only fitting that we use jelly beans to represent the every flavor bean from HP, right?) I think we had a lot more fun with this than she did...haha!! By the end of the game she found 3 gifts, 3 envelopes with special coupons in them, 1 envelope with movie tickets in them and 4 envelopes with flavored beans. I believe there were a total of 15 envelopes we hid around the house. This really was a lot of fun and is now going to be a new tradition that we do for the kids to find their gifts :)

Reading one of her clues.

                                           Where are you clue??

We got her the movie "Jack & Jill"
She was a little excited!

The next step in her perfect Harry Potter birthday was the cake. She was very precise in what she wanted in a cake! She even drew a picture of what all she wanted during our school time one day. This cake she drew up was no joke! She wanted it in the shape of the sorting hat and then she wanted a wand, time turner, snitch, a little Harry Potter person....the list was quite extensive! I didn't add everything she wanted to it, but at least I made the cake look like the hat (or an angry mountian). I did make a wand and a snitch out of rice krispy treats and covered them in fondant. Makalya made her own Harry out of fondant that made her day :)

The final product

Makayla's findant Harry Potter

The cake was huge!!

Time to cut the cake

I would say that the day was a total success! Michael had to work that day and we didn't get to go out and do anything that Makayla wanted to do, so this weekend we will be going down to NC for the weekend! Makayla wants to go to Marbles Childrens Museum, the mall and Chuck E Cheese while we are there. We are all looking forward to a 3 day weekend away!!