Wednesday, December 31, 2014

12 in 2014

I'm linking up today with Dwija for her 12 in 2014 Year in Review post.  This past year has been a challenge in the blogging department!  I was skimming through a couple of months of posts and I realized that most of them were "catch up" posts because we spent a whole lot of time just being busy.  I'd like to change that for 2015 so, let's see what happens, shall we?  Anyhow, here's 12 pictures that pretty much sum up our year.

January 


January was full of school, basketball and snow.  It was tough to have so many drivers on the road this past winter.  The stress of worrying about everyone took a lot of the fun out of ALL THAT SNOW we had.  We did have basketball games, however, and those were fun.  I am not a good sports mom.  Too competitive for my own good.  I need to work on that :)


February



I began teaching a photography class for a local homeschool co-op and two of my kids got to take it.  It was a lot of fun for all of us.  We also had our annual Father/Daughter Ball (the highlight of the winter!).  My hubby and oldest son went on a snowmobiling weekend with my bil and mil and they had a great time.  And, you guessed it, we had more snow.  A LOT MORE SNOW.

March


More snow.  Ms 18 yo and I went on a Miles Christi retreat.  It was her first and my 7th or 8th (I can never remember how many exactly).  The highlight of the month, for me anyhow, was my impromptu escape trip to Arizona.  It was just what the doctor ordered.

April


This month brought around our participation in the production of "The Seven Last Words of Christ".  It pretty much consumes Lent, but it is always a blessing to be a part of.  We also got to introduce Ms 18 yo's friend from Ghana to the art of coloring Easter Eggs.  That was a special treat!

May


My mom and dad celebrated 50 years of marriage this month.  Like any marriage, it wasn't always easy, but it was beautiful to see them celebrating this milestone.  We finished up our school year and Ms 16 yo participated in her first Quinceanera.  I got to be the photographer for the event, which was beautiful and a lot of fun for all of us.

June


Mr 14 yo graduated from 8th grade.  Wow, hard to believe that it's gone by so fast.  I did a lot of photography and we went to a lot of parties.  That pretty much sums up June.

July


Ms 16 yo and I redid our living room.  It was such a fun time for both of us and we were ecstatic with the results.  Six months later and I still can't believe we pulled that off and it looks so nice.  My husband's cousin had an art project of his displayed in a nearby town so it was fun to share the day with him and celebrate his success.

August


We had our staycation for the year.  Did some biking, some water-parking and some water skiiing.  Even if we can't "get away" somewhere, it is always nice to spend the time together.  Soccer started up at the end of the month with three of the kids playing this year.

September



School.  Two high schoolers and two grade schoolers.  We had the blessing of being involved in a writing class (which was awesome) and a science class taught by a wonderful man who is very knowledgeable.  Hubby and I went to my cousin's wedding at Sox park (very fun) and Mr 14 yo started flag football.

October


October was essentially a continuation of September...school, soccer, football, school, soccer, football.  You get the picture.  At the end of the month, however, we went to a relic display with over 100 relics of Saints displayed in one room.  Definitely the highlight of the month.

November


We headed slightly south for a family wedding.  We had a blast and took some fun family photos along the way.  Football finished and "The Conversion of Scrooge" rehearsals started up.

December



"The Conversion of Scrooge".  That is all.

Like I said at the beginning, life just keeps moving faster and faster and it seems as if all anyone can do nowadays is just manage to keep up with the basics and the necessities.  It is frustrating at times to live this way.  I'm not sure what we can do about it, except maybe hang on and enjoy the ride the best we can.  I'll be praying about changes that maybe need to be made to make 2015 a little more manageable, but we'll see how it goes. 

I hope and pray that all of you have a had a memorable 2014 and that your 2015 will be even more blessed.

God Bless!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's Christmas Week!

As we speed towards Christmas, it is actually starting to feel like it!  Today was our day to decorate and get into the Christmas spirit.  We've been buzzing around for the first three weeks of Advent so today was a nice day for all of us (yes, we were all actually home all.day.long!) to unwind.

Our kids are sticklers about tradition, so today, the 4th Sunday of Advent, is the day to put up the tree and decorate it and the house.  This year we even got a little bit of decorations outside, too.  We also watched a family favorite, the movie "Arthur Christmas".  Believe it or not, our family is not a big fan of "Elf"!  Shh, I didn't want to say that too loud for fear of getting ridiculed.  Instead we enjoy watching Arthur save Christmas from his techno-happy relatives.

Here are some scenes from the day.

Made by my crafty 11 year old.



I told her she looked like something out of "Dr. Who"

27 Years of Precious Moments ornaments





 The next few days finds us picking up the pace again trying to finish up all of the last-minute stuff that needs to be done. 

May peace reign in your hearts as you prepare for the coming of the Christ Child.

God Bless!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Plea for Prayers and Help

I know that you have many GoFund me and other similar accounts to choose from, but remember way back in 2009 when we prayed for a friend of ours named Emily?  She beat the odds and survived a rare form of tongue cancer, went on to graduate college and earlier this year got married.

Unfortunately, she was just told that her cancer has returned.  They are currently waiting to find out if it has spread to her jaw.

Please, first and foremost, keep Emily in your prayers and if you can help out financially, go check out her GoFund me page and make a donation.

Thank you and God bless you!

 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Advent = Scrooge


Advent for us can be summed up in one word:  Scrooge.

We are in the throes of performances and it is consuming our days and nights.  

Evangelizing through the arts at this time of year:  difficult, frustrating, disorganized, sleep-deprived, beautiful, rewarding, uplifting.  It runs the gamut of emotions.

Spending a lot of time with a group of 60+ adults and children at this time of year:  sickness.  Respiratory viruses, coughing, fevers, stomach flu.  One poor girl ran to the bathroom right after her last scene and threw up - the flu had hit her.  By the time another family got home, two of their littles were throwing up also, and they have a family of 12 so you know what they'll be doing this week.

Not to mention keeping up with all of the other things that make life go on.  You know:  food, clean clothing, school work, phone calls, emails, errands, running for more vitamin C and D!

Every year I say I'm not going to do this again.  Every year I do it anyhow.  Why?  Because in the end, when all is said and done and I see the fruits of what everyone has worked so hard for, I give thanks to God that we've had this small chance to bring Him glory and do His work.  One more weekend to go; two performances left.  Right now I just have one sick little girl, so hopefully by the weekend we will all be healthy and ready to go.

And then, when it is all over with, there will still be 10 days in which to physically and mentally prepare for Christmas!

God Bless!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Small Business Saturday

If you're reading this then that means you've survived Thanksgiving (hopefully it was a happy one) and Black Friday (if you did more than stay at home like I did).  Tomorrow, Saturday, is what is called Small Business Saturday.  It is the day you are supposed to visit your local or internet small businesses and purchase things to support them.  Small businesses really are the backbone of this country and we need to give them all the help we can!

To that end, I'd just like to remind you of a few small, family owned businesses that I am affiliated with or who advertise on my website, Catholic Homeschooling Resources.  We'd all be honored if you visited any of these great places and did some Christmas shopping.

As a first stop, you'll notice off to the side on my blog, the advertisement for Mystic Monk Coffee as well as my book "A Plan For Joy in the Home".

If you go to my website, you'll find a great listing of small businesses offering some wonderful things on my Catholic Companies page.  These wonderful people advertise their companies on my page so that people like you can find out about their high quality products and services.  Be sure to check out:

Catechism Class
Holy Heroes
Civil War Truce
Little Latin Readers
Stephanie Hoffpauir
The Liturgical Calendar Coloring Book
Faith Christian Jewelers
The Goat Milk Soap Shop

Thank you so much for your support!  Happy shopping!

God Bless!

affiliate links included

Monday, November 24, 2014

Catholic Woman's Almanac

Thankful For:

* Snow...ha ha just kidding.  I am not excited about the snow.  I believe that last year traumatized me and I cannot see the joy in even this first snowfall.  I suppose though, that I should be thankful for ALL of the things God gives me, right?

* Our driving and carpooling plans working out even amidst changing plans and crazy schedules.  Somehow, God's always got them covered for us.
* A great semester of Earth Science and writing classes for my two high schoolers.  Both classes were taught by others and what a joy it has been for all of us!
* Family 

Praying For:

*A friend of ours that just died last night after a short bout with cancer.  Please pray for the soul of Jim and for his wife and two daughters as they grieve.
* For our country as they announce the Ferguson verdict.

In The Kitchen:

Yesterday was a motivated day for me in the kitchen; which doesn't happen often enough!  I made up a big batch of hot chocolate mix, made some brownies for the feast day, cooked some whole chickens, eggplant pizzas and some almond flour biscuits.  It was a good dinner!

Our contribution for Thanksgiving will be some breakfast foods and coffee for a possible visit with my mil and a pumpkin pie to add to the other two my uncle will be bringing for dinner.  Not bad at all!

This Week:

Monday (today) was a crazy day, as will tomorrow be.  Lot's of things, people everywhere, driving, appointments.  Final oral presentations will be given tomorrow by the students of the writing class.  Parents are encouraged to stay and listen mwahhhahahhah.  I love making them squirm.  The weekend outlook is...busy.  Oh well, what else is new?

In the Schoolroom:

Trying to at least get the basics done this week.  I find it interesting that Ms 18 yo's college has a full week off this week (something about fall break, even though the semester ends in two weeks), while the other two girls only have Wed thru Friday off (something about fall break there, too).  I guess if they all have Wednesday off, we might as well, too, because I doubt anything productive will be accomplished.

Reading:

Slowly but surely I have been reading "Rediscovering Catholicism" by Matthew Kelly.  I got it for free from a Free 4 All a few years ago and am finally getting around to reading it.  I'll say that it is better than I thought it would be and am finding parts of it quite timely.

For Advent, I picked up the Kindle version of "Meditations for Advent" from Sophia Institute Press.  I'm really looking forward to reading one each morning of Advent and throughout the Christmas Octave as there are a total of 40 meditations.

Listening To:

Ms 16 yo cooking dinner (yay!!) and quiet.  One is reading, the other is playing Legos (so shortly I should hear the sound of things exploding) and one is wandering around trying to procrastinate.  He should be practicing his presentation for tomorrow!  The rest of the gang is at work.

Captured:

I meant to take a picture of the snow that was pelting us, but I just couldn't do it.  You'll just have to imagine it.

God Bless!
Affiliate links included.  Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Trusting In Divine Providence

As I sit here on this cold and blustery day by the fire next to Ms 22 yo who just had her wisdom teeth out yesterday, I am reminded that Divine Providence is something I need to rely on a lot more!

Wow, that makes it sound like something major happened!  Don't worry, it didn't; everything went well and she's recovering nicely.  However, the story I'm about to relate, as small and insignificant as it may seem, is a good reminder to me that God does look after our every need - even if it is nothing big.

When Ms 22 yo made the appointment to have her wisdom teeth taken out, I wondered to myself what on earth made her schedule it during the week and during the middle of the school semester?  By doing that, she would be missing two day of work and one day of classes.  Didn't make a whole lot of sense to me at the time, but in the long run it worked out perfectly for Ms 18 yo.

Let's backtrack for a moment.  Remember Ms 18 yo and her car that isn't worth fixing?  Well this week, because her sister is laid up, she is able to use her car to get to school and work.  This works out great for me, too, because then I don't have to go and drop her off and pick her up.

With Ms 18 yo's Fall break from school next week and her sister being at home this week, we've God's been able to minimize the negative impact of her not having a car for the next two weeks.  In other words, God knew (much better than I did) that now was a good time for her car to go kaput.  He knew that now was a good time to schedule the wisdom teeth extraction.  He knew that this is all do-able.  So if He can take care of the little details that tend to get me off track, then I'm sure He can take care of the big things that get me off track.  I just have to learn to be patient and wait for Him to reveal His plan in His time.  That, my friends, is the hard part!  I'm just glad He sends me these little reminders along the way.

God Bless! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

"My Sister's Keeper"

I read a book last week that really left me thinking about a lot of things.  I suppose that's part of what makes a book good, isn't it?

The book was "My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult.  

   

 It was a very well written, fictional story about a girl who was born to save her sister from Leukemia.  She was a designer baby, "conceived" in a petri dish with just the right combination of DNA to save her sister's life.  The story tells about how she is suing her parents for medical emancipation because she is tired of spending her life being poked, prodded and having things taken from her body so that her sister can overcome the current life-threatening crisis.

Of course there are twists and turns and an ending that you wouldn't expect, but I couldn't help but think that, had the parents been Catholic's who follow church teachings, much of this story would have been irrelevant.  It would have been up to Divine Providence whether or not any new babies the parent's had were perfect matches for their sick daughter.  Would they have kept trying to have that perfect match?  Maybe, maybe not.  Let's say they did have one on the first try.  Then what?  Would they have continued to go to their well daughter time and time again to save their sick daughter?  I don't know, I just think the mindset might have been different than the one the parents in this story had.

There are many stories out there about siblings who willingly donate bone marrow or organs or blood to save their sibling's life.  They do it unselfishly and heroically.  But what if you were that girl who found out that you were born for the sole purpose of saving your sibling?  How would that make you feel?  My mind can't conceive of doing that to a child, but I'm sure there are many people who would have no problem with that.  It just really makes me glad that God is the driving force in my life and in all of my decisions; especially the major ones. This way, I don't have to worry about playing Him.

It was a very interesting read.  If you're looking for something to get you thinking, check this one out.  Ms 22 yo tells me that this author writes her books about controversial topics such as this.  If I get a chance, I might just check out some of her other ones.  Happy reading!

God Bless!
affiliate link included :) 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Chore of Trying to Listen

I have a friend who has five littles all under the age of 10.  We are in a facebook group together and she is always posting about these great sermons she is listening to. 

I have seven children, three of whom are not home on any kind of regular basis and the other four who range in age from 9 to 16.  I never listen to recorded sermons.

"How can you listen to anything, other than your children, with all of those little kids?" I asked her one day.  I can't even put on music or play a youtube video without, and I am NOT kidding about this, at least half of the people who are home coming over to see what I'm doing.  It seems like the moment I try to listen to something I have people asking me questions or running over to tell me a story, which is all fine and dandy, but really very distracting.

Her answer was that she does it early in the morning while she's getting ready or while the kids are napping and that yes, she does hit pause a lot if she tries to do it at any other time.

My solution was then to initiate a mandatory nap time for everyone.  After realizing that that wasn't going to work, I made a mandatory nap time for me.  SCORE.

No, really what  I did was find this site on my Kindle and put my earbuds in  while I was making up my weekly menu and my grocery list.  Everyone usually leaves me alone during this time because they know how crabby it makes me, and listening to a great sermon made the time go by a bit faster and the task a bit more pleasant.  While it might only be once a week, at least it is one more time than before, which was zero.

There are a gazillion choices of great sounding sermons to listen to on audiosancto, so if you get a chance, hop over there and check some out.

God Bless!
this post contains an affiliate link.  Thanks for your support!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

When Life Gets Hectic....Part II

Remember that last post I just wrote?  The one with the cool spread sheet that clearly detailed our driving schedule for play practice?  The one that was so nicely laid out that, surely, it would work like a charm?

Well, herein lies the pitfall.  While we can do everything we can to be as organized as possible; while we can make pretty, little spreadsheets to help us along the way, some things are just out of our control and we have to have the grace to just roll with it.

Let me explain.  We planned out our Sunday morning so that both families that needed to car pool together would be going to the same Mass that morning.  At the conclusion of Mass, the appropriate people would hop into Ms 18 yo's car and off they would go.  The timing was such that they would be about 30 minutes EARLY.  Did you catch that?  EARLY.

That is until Ms 18 yo's car was running a little warmer than usual.  Of course, my husband was not with us this morning as he had gone to an earlier Mass and then scooted out of town for the day.  We consulted via cell phone (what DID we do without those???) and decided she could go on her way and just get some more coolant when she stopped for gas.

Except that's not how it worked out.  About 10 minutes down the highway, her temp gauge shot up close to the red zone.  Yikes.  Well, suffice it to say that we were able to get her the coolant she needed, get back to her car on the highway, put in the coolant (all still dressed in our Sunday best, mind you) and get them to practice 10 minutes LATE.  

Now, some might scoff at all that planning and say, "I told you you don't need to plan so much".  However, had we not been this organized and had that much lead time built in (which, believe me is not always the case, so God knew what He was doing here!) they would have ended up being much later than 10 minutes.

It was a good reminder, however, of the need for flexibility...and a lot of grace!  Hopefully the rest of the schedule runs more smoothly.

God Bless!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

When Life Gets Hectic...

Make a spreadsheet!

I can't tell you how much my life has depended on spreadsheets.  I learned how to make them early on and I use them often.

Here is a spreadsheet I created for one day of play practice.  One day, mind you, although this encompasses ten people from two families.  Still...


Instead of complaining, and since it is the month of thankfulness and not crabbiness, I'll just say how thankful I am that I enjoy creating organization out of challenges such as this:  How to get 10 people to and from practice (which is a 35 min drive) in the fewest amount of trips (and cars) possible so as not to cause children and adults to hang around for hours doing nothing.

God Bless!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wedding Weekend Fun

Now that my 31 days of Organized Chaos are over, I've got to find my blogging brain again and get back into some kind of blogging pattern (not that I really had one before 31 days, mind you).  We'll see where the Holy Spirit leads me.

This past weekend was a busy one as we traveled out of town for a family wedding (when will someone get married in town???). It was a beautiful ceremony and a fun reception and our family got some good dance time in.  Somewhere along the line, Mr 9 yo has inherited some John Travolta genes because that boy was bustin' moves that I don't think have ever been seen before.  Didn't matter who he was dancing with as long as he was out there.  A few times he was in the middle of the wild bridal party dancing to songs that weren't that great so my hubby would walk out there and bring him off the dance floor.  He'd cooperate and then head back out with the next song.  I love that dancing is a thing that our whole family (well, except for one of us) enjoys doing.  We really do have a lot of fun together.  When's the next wedding?? 

In between the ceremony and the reception we had some time so we headed to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows to take some family pictures.  



I love that Shrine because it meant a lot to my grandma.  I remember going there with her when I was younger and participating in a candlelight rosary procession.  For a young kid, it was a very moving experience.

We took our family Christmas picture and then we had some fun with the camera.  Taking fun pictures is another family favorite pastime!  








This last one is our all time favorite family photo!  We were getting ready to pack it up because it was getting chilly, we were losing our light and well, we were done, when my hubby noticed the bathroom signs on the building.  We hurried up and set up the camera before anyone came by because, really, it looks kind of silly to be taking a picture outside of a bathroom at a NATIONAL SHRINE while you're all dressed up and it's cold outside.  We were successful and we all love the results.  I'm thinking it would make a nice canvas wrap print.

Fun times, but now it's back to the grindstone, except that Mr 9 yo seems to still be feeling the effects of his wild weekend so we're off to a slow start.  Never fear, though, we'll be kickin' it into high gear as rehearsal season gets into full swing as we approach three performances of "The Conversion of Scrooge". 

God Bless!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy All Saints and All Souls Day

These are two of my most favorite feast days of the year.  I love that we can celebrate and pray for all of our dearly departed.  

In preparation for these two feasts, we had the opportunity to go to a relic exhibit called "Treasures of the Church".  Here's what their website has to say about this incredible display:

 Treasures of the Church is a ministry of evangelization of the Catholic Church.  Run by Fr. Carlos Martins of the Companions of the Cross, its purpose is to give people an experience of the living God through an encounter with the relics of his saints in the form of an exposition.  Each exposition begins with a multi-media presentation on the Church's use of relics that is scriptural, catechetical, and devotional, leading to a renewal of the Catholic faith for many people.  After the teaching those in attendance have an opportunity to venerate the relics of some of their favorite saints.
After Father's very interesting talk, we all went to the school gym to pray with and venerate the relics of 167 different Saints.  There were relics from the True Cross, the Blessed Mother's Veil, St. Joseph and all of the Apostles.  Some of my other favorites were St. Maria Goretti, St. John Paul II, St Ignatius of Loyola (one of my favorite Saints!!) and Blessed Zelie and Louis Martin.

I spent most of the time walking through the exhibit with Mr 9 yo.  He was FASCINATED by all of this.  His mission was to touch his Miraculous Medal to every single one of the reliquaries.  We did manage to accomplish his goal!  Along the way we had some very interesting conversations.  Like this one:

Mr 9 yo:  Oh, St. Clare!  She's the one who held up the tabernacle when the army was coming to get them.
Me:  Well, it was a monstrance, but yes, you're right.
Mr 9 yo:  Yeah, I guess a tabernacle would be kind of heavy to lift up.

And this one:

Mr 9 yo:  Oh, St. Therese!  I really wanted to see her relic.
Me:  You know this is like the one we have at home?
Mr 9 yo:  We should have brought ours.  Hey!  What if we brought ours and then touched it to this relic of her.  Do you think something would have happened??
Me:  You mean like sparks or something?
Mr 9 yo:  Yeah!  We should totally go get it!

Man, I love that kid!  The things that go on in his brain are, well, things I could just never make up!  He was so excited to leave there knowing his medal is a 3rd class relic 167 times over.

When we went into the gym, Father had told us to listen for the one particular Saint that was "calling" to us.  I'm not sure I heard much other than Mr 9 yo and his chattering the whole time, but I felt the most emotion when I venerated the relics of St. Joseph, the Blessed Mother and Bl. Zelie and Louis Martin.  

I prayed for so many people that night.  It was so incredible to place family and friends before such powerful Saints and to beg their intercessions for healings and peace.

If you EVER get the chance to see this exhibit...RUN, don't walk to it.  It was truly a blessed event and a wonderful way to prepare for these two days.

God Bless!
 

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Finale

Well, here we are at the end of the 31 day challenge.  I can't believe it went by so fast.  It was definitely a challenge at times, but it was fun to blog on a regular basis.  I'm thinking of taking all of this information and formatting it into an e-book to go along with my organizing book, "A Plan for Joy in the Home".  I'm envisioning a free add-on.  Now I just have to make time to do it!

The 31 day challenge wasn't just supposed to just be fun for me, but fun for you, too.  I hope you enjoyed the series and learned a thing or two along the way.

I'm not sure what kind of blogging schedule or topics will come up next, so stay tuned and if you have any suggestions of things you'd like to see here, please feel free to share.

Have a Happy All Hallows Eve :)

God Bless!
To see all of the posts in this series, you can go here.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wait A Minute, What About School?

Can you believe it?  One more day to go and I haven't written about how to organize your school day!  Well, actually I have.  I think it is the longest section in my book, "A Plan for Joy in the Home", so if you want great detail on how to get organized, check that out!

Here's the long and short of it.  School is important because we are homeschooling parents (or at least most of my readers are).  Our main job of the day for about 180 days of the year is to educate our children.  This takes time and effort.  It also really does require some organization.  A lot of moms like to say that they just can't work off of a schedule, but I believe that, even though they might not have one written out, their day has some sort of rhythm to it.  How could you survive if every day was up for grabs with no plan in place?  That's my point...you wouldn't.  You would be, or maybe are, frazzled and pulling your hair out.

That's why, even if you just can't fathom living by a strict schedule (your day broken down into 30 minute blocks), you can live (and actually will be more at peace) if you have some sort of schedule to your day.

A basic schedule can look something like this:

6:00 get up, pray, shower and dress
7:00 Kids up and dress
7:30 everyone eat breakfast
8:15 out the door for Mass
9:30 Get home from Mass and begin school
12:00 break for lunch, clean up lunch and recess
1:00 more school work
2:30 errands and/or free time
5:00 make dinner
6:00 eat dinner
6:30 clean up kitchen
7:00 Free time
8:00 family rosary
9:00 kids to bed
10:00 mom to bed

There you have it; a very basic schedule that lends a backbone to your day.  A rhythm that you can get back into if you have a morning or a whole day of distractions.

Now, if you're looking for more detail (especially if you have a lot of children to school), take that time from 9:30 to 12:00 and 1:00 to 2:30 and break it down by child into 30 minute time blocks so everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing and who you are supposed to be working with.  This will eliminate 5 children wanting your attention at once and everyone will know what they are supposed to be working on.

You may not need this much structure forever, but if you do need it, then use it.  I'm telling you, structure is a good thing and sometimes even a necessity.  You will find more peace, as will your children, if there is a structure in place.  At a bare minimum, let them know what time is set aside for school and what to expect when they enter into school mode.  Kids like structure more than adults, I think, so do everyone a favor and bring some of it to your school day!

God Bless!
To see all of the posts in this series, you can go here. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Can I Learn This?

Are you born an organized person or it is a learned behavior?  I'm going to say that it is both.  I believe that I have an innate tendency towards organization.  It might border on obsessive at times, but for the most part I think I'm just wired to have things neat and orderly.

Sometimes it is like a game for me.  I look at a task or event and ask myself how I can possibly do it in the most efficient manner?  If I don't like how I've done it, then I try it again the next time to make it even more efficient.  It is most definitely a challenge that I enjoy.

Are my kids all wired like me?  Absolutely not.  I think that over the years, those that aren't have definitely learned a lot from me, but they weren't born that way.  What I'm hoping is that when they get out and have a home and family of their own, they'll realize how important orderliness is and the old lessons from days gone by will kick in and they'll "straighten up"  (pun intended!).  

If you don't feel like you can think or act in an orderly and organized fashion, never fear, because with God, all things are possible.  Lean on Him for the Grace to change your life.  Read books.  Read websites.  Talk to other moms who are better at it than you are.  HOWEVER, don't get stuck there.  It is possible to spend your whole life READING about how to become organized but still never putting it into practice.  That is a temptation that must be done away with.  

Being organized takes effort, and work, and sweat!  Put the time in and you will see results.  Like I always tell my kids, some people just have to work harder at it than others.  The key is just getting started doing SOMETHING and then sticking to it!  As Nike says, "Just Do It"!!!

 God Bless!
To see all of the posts in this series, you can go here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What Does God Have to Say?

We've all heard it said that our God is a God of order.  Just look around at the world.  Everything is ordered so precisely by God:  the day, the seasons, the life cycle, etc.  Nothing is left to chance.  Nothing is askew except for the things that man has had his hand in.

So, what does God have to say about being organized?  Well, in 1 Corinthians 14 we have two verses that help us out.  Verse 33 says, "For God is not a God of confusion but of peace".  At least that's what the RSV translation says.  Other translations use order instead of peace.  Verse 40 says, "but all things should be done decently and in order".  Right there St Paul is telling us that we should be doing things in an orderly fashion.

Of course we have Proverbs 31 and the Proverbs 31 woman, which quite honestly, seems a bit daunting, doesn't it?  This is the ideal woman to strive for.  Will we all make it?  Probably not.  However, if we rely on God's help and strive to have our lives in order, we might come pretty close.

What about the creation of the world in Genesis 1?  Does it not show a very orderly creation?  Why would God expect anything less from us?

I know there are times when order and organization seem impossible; believe me, I've been there.  However, don't be discouraged.  Realize that this is just one season in your life and soon things will change and you will be able to be better organized and on top of things.  If this is a crazy time in your life, just pick one thing to be constant and stick to just that.  My pick would be a morning prayer time.  Try very hard to set aside the same five, or even 15 minutes if you can swing it, every morning to talk to the Lord.  Beg him for the graces you'll need for the day.  Offer your entire day to Him, even if it is messy and disorganized.  

Disorganization = chaos.  Organization = peace.  It really does.  God wants you to be organized, so it is definitely a goal that you should seek.  There are plenty of resources and books out there to help you, so what are you waiting for?  Go out and get started!

God Bless!
To see all of the posts in this series, you can go here.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Importance of Chore Assignments

By the way, have we talked about chores yet?  This is such an important topic that I've devoted a whole chapter and a bunch of worksheets in my book, "A Plan for Joy in the Home", to help you get organized in this area.

Let's face it, it is just impossible for us to do it all:  homeschooling, cooking, cleaning and everything else in between.  If we do one thing well, another thing will most likely suffer.  I really believe a husband and wife need to come to an agreement on how clean the house needs to be.  If hubby wants a spotless home when he comes in from work, then that probably needs to take priority over something else.  If you just don't think that's possible, then consider a compromise of sorts; one that you can deal with and one that still makes him happy.

Another important thing about chores is that you have to start your kids out young.  Waiting till they're older to start helping around the house is too late.  They might not be able to do a lot when they are little, or even do it well, but they can do something to be helpful.  Get them enthusiastic at a young age and it will reap rewards when they are older.

I'm not going to get into the ins and outs of how we handle our chores because it is quite detailed and covered very thoroughly in my book.  I would just encourage you to have some kind of organized chore schedule (daily, weekly, monthly), stick to it and have the kids take on as much as possible.  It is amazing how much ground you can cover when you have a team instead of trying to do it all yourself.

God Bless!
To see all of the posts in this series, you can go here.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Legos

The word strikes fear into a parent's heart.  The word Lego usually means little pieces everywhere.  I have two boys who love Legos but hate having to put them away.  I, on the other hand, love to have them put away because I really don't enjoy tiptoeing my way through my living room.  In fact, since we redid the living room this summer, I've deemed it a LEGO FREE zone.  I need one room that looks neat.

Here is how our Lego collection looked recently:

Upstairs

Downstairs

I believe that is an air hockey table hiding under there

And here is the storage area!
Like I've said before, a system works if those people who are involved in it participate.  I'm not a real stickler about downstairs because I don't spend too much time down there, but upstairs is a different story.

When I do crack the whip, the house cleans up nicely and every Lego has a home.

 

This brings peace to my soul!

You might not have Legos all over your house, but I'm sure you have other toys that seem to be scattered everywhere.  When the kids were younger, I'd make sure we did a pick up of toys before dinner time and then definitely before I went to bed.  I've always hated getting up and seeing a messy house.  Kind of ruins the moment for me.

I realize that it is impossible to have a tidy house all the time.  I realize that some day all these kids will be gone and I will have as clean of a house as I want to have.  I really do get it.  However, some days it is just really nice to have a house that is neat and tidy AND have the kids around :).  This is why it is important for everything to have a place.  Not just a place, but a place where they can be placed and look neat.  It really will bring peace to your soul!

God Bless!
To see the other posts in this series, go here. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Seasonal Clothing

We have been blessed over the years to get a ton of clothes handed on to us from a wide variety of sources.  The problem is, it is quite overwhelming when a bunch of bags of clothes get brought over and you have to deal with them.  It is times like these when you need to have a system in place to handle all of your clothes, especially if you have a lot of kids.

My first three girls are all just about two years apart, so from the beginning I began collecting big bins to store all of the clothing in so that I could pass them down to the next girl.  It helped, too, that they were all born at the same time of the year and were about the same size, so one set of clothes went through three girls. God is so good :)

My next girl was about three years after the third and born at a different time of year, so for her I needed to start a different collection.  More bins.  At this time we only had a crawl space, so that meant literally crawling in twice a year and grabbing out all of the bins, sorting through everything and then putting them all back.  This usually took up a few days and the entire floor of one room.  

The next three kids were boy, girl and boy.  This meant five years between girl #4 and girl #5 and the same for the two boys.  This meant even MORE bins; but God bless the person who invented plastic bins with lids.  They are the key to a successful clothing storage system.  That and some tape or paper and a sharpie so that all the bins can be properly labeled.  I've always labeled the bins in the following manner:  girl/fall-winter size 10.  This way I know exactly what is in there.

Now that we have a basement, and older kids, the task is so much easier.  Twice a year they go down and bring their OWN bins upstairs, sort through them, relabel them and bring them back downstairs.

Twice a year I gather up all of the items that the youngest boy and girl have outgrown, make sure they're clean and worthy of being passed on, and then usually donate them to our local Free 4 All, or Goodwill if I miss the Free 4 All.

Systems.  That is the key to being organized with a large, and even a small, family.  For everything you have to do over and over again, look for the most practical and efficient  way to get it done and then make it a routine.  The more you can do of this in your home, the smoother your life will run.

God Bless!
To see all of the posts in this series, go here. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Your Bedroom and Closet

Speaking of closets, do you organize the clothing in your drawers and closets?  You know, neatly hung and/or folded and stacked?  Or do you just kind of shove and run?  Do you leave piles of clothing all over your room or do you put them away every day?

I like to think of my bedroom as a haven.  Not that I spend much time in it, but if I need to, I like it to be neat and well organized.  I don't keep any papers or things like that in my room.  If you have to have a desk and/or papers in your room, then try very hard to keep the clutter down.

I also don't like to have clothing strewn around the room...clean or dirty!  I make a habit of hanging my clothes up right away or tossing them right into the laundry.  I put clean clothing away the same day, too.

The bed gets made every morning because that really brings a sense of peace to the bedroom.

I like to make picking out my clothes for the day as quick as possible, so last fall I decided to organize the clothes in my closet in groups by color.  Skirts are all to the right; shirts and sweaters to the left.  All I need to do now is pick a skirt and then go to the appropriate color coordinating section and see what my options are for the top half.  I really like this and feel it has also helped me mix things up better.  After doing this, I also was able to see if I was lacking in a necessary color and it made it easier to decide what I needed to buy for the season.

I did try that trick in my drawers about folding the shirts and putting them in rows so that you can see all of the different shirts (as opposed to just having piles of them, where you can only see the top shirt).  It works well for t-shirts and turtlenecks, but my drawers aren't deep enough to do this with sweaters or pants.  I tried it with my son, because he always seems to just wear the same shirt, and it worked for awhile...until he had to put away a bunch of clean shirts; then he just did the open and shove.

This whole series is about how to make the many small things in your life very routinized so that you have time and mental energy to deal with the big things.  Keeping your bedroom clean makes going to bed and getting up a much more pleasant experience, and keeping your drawers and closet organized makes getting ready for the day faster and more mindless.  Save the pondering about clothing for special occasions. :)

God Bless!
To see all of the posts in this series, you can go here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Organizing the Closet Disaster

It's clothing week over here at the 31 Days of Organized Chaos blog.  Today, let's discuss closets.  I currently have three girls that share one closet.  Yeah, I know.  Here's what it looks like:



Clothes, clothes everywhere.  We have some of those multi-layer skirt hangers, and those help a lot.
 
 In amongst the stuff on the floor are a couple of bookshelves.  Here is where the girls store their books because there is no other room to do so.  I'm thinking that since they never look at those books that we should pack them away and utilize the shelves for clothing or shoes.


This top shelf is actually quite big and deep, which I suppose can be a positive and a negative.  I have absolutely no idea what is in those boxes.  I wonder if they know.

And I wonder why they usually just toss their clothing on the floor instead of hanging it up.

Since this is a rental house, I don't want to do anything permanent or expensive, so I'm looking into cheap and easy ways to help them organize this area.

Of course Pintrest will be a minefield of ideas for this project, but my basic outline is to empty the entire closet first.  Then, we need to go through all of the clothing and only keep what is necessary and in season.  We'll also have to go through those boxes and books and decide where we are going to store them.

I'm sure I can find some kind of a storage or shelving system for that top shelf so that there is more than one level to it.  We have a sturdy step stool that they could keep in there so that they could access whatever ends up on top.

I'd also like to utilize those shelves for shoes and work clothes that the girls have (two of them have work uniforms).  I think it would be much better than using them for books they never read.

Since these are plaster walls and the landlord doesn't want us nailing anything into them, I'm not able to add another rack, but that would come in handy.

The long and the short of it is this:  we just need to take some time to disassemble and then reassemble the entire thing.  This is almost 6 years of accumulated build up.  As you know, when you let things go for a long time, it soon becomes an overwhelming task.  Ideally all three girls would be home on the same day (which really would require a small miracle at this point) and we would tackle the project together.  Short of that, I might just have to go in there and blast through it myself!

I can only imagine what kind of things we will find hidden in the dark recesses of this closet.  That is one of the main reason why it is so important to maintain control over your closet.  If you don't, you will not take full advantage of the clothing you have, and you may even spend money you don't need to because you'll rebuy something you already have but have lost in the mess.

If your closet looks like this (or, dare I say...worse), set aside a day and take back your closets, ladies and gentlemen!  It will make getting dressed in the morning a much more enjoyable task.


God Bless!
To see all of the posts in this series, you can go here.