Friday, July 14, 2017

System #2: Old-Fashioned Homemaking Rules

Photos are from the U.S Farm Security Administration photo archives found at http://photogrammar.yale.edu/ .

Now that we have moved to our new home, and we are getting settled in at last, I am excited to get back to posting about the homemaking systems I use to keep my home running smoothly. 

These are the rules that have proven the most successful for me in my personal homemaking journey. It is my prayer that they may help you in your Divine Calling as a homemaker, as well!



Homemaking Rule #1 -

Keep Routines: 

Keep your morning and evening routines EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Your routines are the blessings that keep your home running smoothly and your kids feeling secure, even in difficult times.



Homemaking Rule #2 -

Dress the part: 

Get dressed and prepared every day for your job as a homemaker-- you should be prepared to leave home at a moment’s notice. And alway, ALWAYS wear an apron when cooking or cleaning! Your wardrobe will thank you, and you will feel “official” in your “mother uniform.”



Homemaking Rule #3 -

Prioritize: 


1) Serve the Lord, and follow His guidance for what you should do and when you should do it.
2) Nurture family relationships. Your husband and children should be your highest priorities, second only to the will of our Heavenly Father.
3) Care for the home. Yes, serving your family is very important, but make sure that the way you care for your home doesn't harm the relationships that you have with your husband and children. 



Homemaking Rule #4 -

Tidy Constantly: 

Though the work of keeping a home tidy is really never “done,” cleaning up after ourselves and others as we move through our days is the secret to a truly “tidy” home!



Homemaking Rule #5-

Plan Ahead: 

“If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” 

Plan menus, holidays, days, weeks, and even years using planners or apps-- the choice of "how" you plan is up to you. But please PLAN! Your life will run more smoothly, and you will have peace in your heart if you are prepared.



Homemaking Rule #6 -

Don't Procrastinate: 

Whatever it is that you know you should be doing, DO IT NOW. Putting things off until later causes regret and frustration. 



Homemaking Rule #7 -

Remember Your Divine Calling: 

NEVER forget that God has called you to be the mother of your children, and the keep of your home. The humble service you give to your family every day is a way to show them that you love them, and that their happiness and sense of well-being is important to you!



Homemaking Rule #8 -

Let Go of Guilt: 

Every day, every moment, we can begin again and improve! Don’t allow feelings of discouragement or guilt to bring you down and keep you from trying again. Satan uses those tools to keep us from becoming the mother and homemaker God wants us to be. If you stumble, ask forgiveness from your family and from God, and then move forward with a “brightness of hope.”


We can do it!

Never forget that the Lord will give you the strength and ability to care for your home and family in a way that is pleasing to Him. You do not have to be just like your neighbor, and you don't have to follow the world's standards for homemaking. If you seek the Lord in prayer, and follow the answers He gives you through His Holy Spirit, you WILL be the successful homemaker that He has called you to be! 

With love, Mama Rachel

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Routines and Habits



There have been numerous studies done and articles written on the power of daily habits and routines. Our mothers and grandmothers had daily habits that helped them work through the duties of the week. In this modern, busy world, why would we ever try to go through our days without habits and routines?
“We are all mere creatures of habit. We think our accustomed thoughts, make our usual small talk, go through the trivial round, the common task, without any self-determining effort of will at all. If it were not so– if we had to think, to deliberate, about each operation of the bath, or the table–life would not be worth having; the perpetually repeated effort of decision would wear us out.” ~ Charlotte Mason

I want to keep this post short and sweet, but I also want to share a few things that have helped me create daily and weekly habits to get through the busyness of life.


Daily Routines

It is not a difficult thing to sit down and make a simple morning and evening routine for yourself and/or your family schedule. It will take a mother about 10-15 minutes to think through what they'd like to accomplish each morning upon waking, and each evening before bed.

Now, mamas: BE KIND TO YOURSELF! Don't make these lists so long and ambitious that you could never complete them! Be practical and realistic about what you can do every morning and every evening.

To see what my personal morning and evening routines look like, check these printables out here:


Tools for Getting Things Done

My husband, teenagers and I are all having a LOT of fun working together to get things done by using the website and application at www.habitica.com .

Essentially, it is a role-playing game that is also a way to get things done and solidify habits. I have been AMAZED by how much I get done each day-- and how little I forget these days! 

I have been known for spacing appointments and important events in the past, but using technology has really helped me to be more dependable.

Along with Habitica, I also use the alarm on my phone and Google Calendar reminders to help me remember the commitments and appointments that I have scheduled.

It feels really good to finally be a mother that is where she needs to be when she needs to be there!

So, yes; the irony of this "old-fashioned mother" using modern technology to finally become organized is not lost on me! 

(ahem...)




One Less Daily Decision

If you've been following me on Instagram or Facebook, then you have seen my posts about our new family color-coordination.

I stole the idea from a wonderful homeschooling mama on YouTube named Andrea Mills. I found her idea right at the moment when I was overwhelmed with all the laundry of our family of 15. I had had enough!!!

(insert angry emoji here.) 

But instead of throwing everything away and starting over, I went through EVERY. SINGLE. ITEM. of CLOTHING. that each person owned, and I decided on a color for us to all wear for each day of the week. (And yes, that was partially based on what colors everyone already had.)

I did end up getting rid of lots of clothes-- six garbage bags full! But each person has two shirts in each color, and a few pairs of pants. I keep everyone's (except the grown-ups) shirts in the boxes you see above, and we fold them Kon-Mari style, so everything fits beautifully. 

PLEASE NOTE: If my teens are doing their own laundry, I do not require them to match with us. Some of them do, just for fun, but I only do the clothes-matching thing for the people whose laundry I have to clean and fold.

This idea has REVOLUTIONIZED the way I do laundry. I only have to do ONE load a day, and the colors of the loads is timed perfectly according to who wore what on which day.

It's been working beautifully for us!


To close...

You don't have to do all the things that I have suggested above to create good habits in your home, but I love sharing what has been working for our family, and I hope these ideas might inspire you to try something new to establish habits and routines in your home! 

HAPPY Homemaking,
Mama Rachel

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thoughts from the Hearth: Week Three

Photo source unknown, found on Instagram


*Please note that I was too tired to put any affiliate links in this post. Just FYI! *


Okay, so this is a VERY late "Week 3..." I apologize for falling off the consistency bandwagon. We have had a CRAZY-BUSY month since I last posted...

On my mind-

Trials. Change. Times of transition. Our family seems to be getting a lot all at once.

We are planning a move at the end of May to the area where my husband and I grew up-- both sets of our parents are still there, and we decided it was time to move our family near them. 

We have not done a BIG move out of our area or state since 2010, and our kids-- especially the teenagers-- are not completely looking forward to it. Honestly, it is a very difficult move for me, too. Arizona has been our beloved home for the most part of fourteen years. We will all miss the culture, the beautiful winters, the amazing people... and the lack of Daylight Savings Time...

Yeah. 

But it feels right, the employment issues are working great, and things are falling into place. Which leads me to...


Grateful for-

We found a house in our new state! And after TEN YEARS of renting, we are actually able to buy this one.

THAT feels awesome!

My hubby and I took a plane ride up to our new state to look at some houses that we'd been researching for quite a long time. We knew we could not make a good decision unless we looked at them in person.

It was quite an exhausting experience, emotionally and physically. The house that we had been SURE we wanted and loved turned out to not be the right house for us, which broke our hearts. And then, we found something AMAZING and perfect, but it was more than we really wanted to spend, and would have been overwhelming to take care of. And so, we broke our hearts again.

Then, the last few hours before our plane took off to take us back home, we found something unexpected in an area that wasn't on our radar. And so we made an offer the day after we got home, and it was accepted.

We are buying a house!!! And I am so grateful.

Pondering-


BIG changes have been happening in our family, and they are only going to be coming faster and more often as time marches on.

Our oldest daughter got accepted to a little college in southern Utah, and she is THRILLED. We are excited for her, but we are going to miss her terribly. She begins her new adventure right around the same time we move up north.

And then, there's our married son and his bride that will be staying here in Arizona. It will be sooo hard to leave them behind. SIGH.

Our 20yo son is not planning on coming with us, either, which is worrying this mama to death. I just don;t like this whole idea of children leaving the nest. Yeah, I know I'm a wimp. But I don't like it. One. Little. Bit.

SIGH. SIGH. SIGH.


My messy business notes

Organizing-

I have had a enormous breakthrough in organizing my business thoughts this week! Consolidating all my business ideas has been something that has hounded me for several years, and I have never been able to find a way to bring together all the things I have wanted to do, such as: promoting and encouraging traditional motherhood, sharing homeschool methodology and curricula, Shakespeare.

I mean, what could these things possibly have in common?

Well, I feel that the Lord gave me an epiphany or two on how to bring all those things together during a few quiet hours without distractions in the dentist's office this week. And I am excited to share them here in the coming months!

Creating-

Okay, since my thoughts have begun to get untangled, I am facing the work I have before me. I have many things to write, and loads of planning to complete. It's not going to be quick or easy, but at least I now have a direction! Yay!



Reading-

Oh, I do still love the principles of Japanese "tidying up." I began what we now call "The Great Purge" back in 2015 using the principles in "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo. It was the only way we were able to move into a house half the size of where we were living at the time. We got rid of a TON of stuff at the time, and I have been able to maintain the tidying I did at the time, but we never did finish the entire process, due to life-happenings.

Well, I just got Marie Kondo's most recent book, called "Spark Joy," and I am really enjoying reading it! It is more in depth than her first book, and also addresses more complex issue like how to deal with other people's stuff, and how to tidy with your kids.

I am again thanking my lucky stars that we color-coded the kids clothes, because that means that the process of tidying all the kids' excess clothes is already done! Check off step one of tidying for the kids.

Homemaking-

The cleanliness of our home is definitely where I wish it were right now, but I am hoping that the tidying/de-cluttering and the packing of the house will eventually help over time.

One other big issue we are having in the homemaking department is that our washing machine quit working, and so the laundry (especially all the bedding that we pulled off everyone's beds last weekend) is back-logged. 

The repairman is coming tomorrow, so I'm hoping we can get that fixed very soon.


Picking lemons off our lemon tree

Songhaven Homeschool of Fine Arts-

We are on Spring Break, and it has been a blessing, since I have had time to begin the packing process. We begin our third term on Monday. Yay!

Scripture Study-

I am still really enjoying my study of the Doctrine and Covenants. I am constantly amazed at how much love the Lord has for us, and how often He calls us to repentance. He is waiting there to save us, if only we just turn to Him!

"And again, the Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven, saying: Hearken, O ye nations of the earth, and hear the words of that God who made you. O, ye nations of the earth, how often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not!" Doctrine and Covenants 43:23-24

Pink is the color for our "Common Room," where we do most of our homeschooling


Something to Share-

We have moved a TON of times. I am embarrassed to even say the number of times out loud, but it should suffice to say that it is more than most military families I know. It crazy, really.

Today I just thought I'd quickly share some of the helpful methods of my moving process here, in case they might help someone else.

First of all, I begin with decluttering and organizing storage items, and also start packing the MANY books we own. I usually get cardboard bankers or paper boxes for packing our books, but this time when I went in to Staples to buy their usual $1 each paper boxes, they said they don't do that any more. *sad face* So I bought some over-priced shipping boxes-- I don't know that I'll do that too many more times. (Boo, Staples!)

My other favorite boxes to pack in are the large plastic bins you can buy at WalMart for around $5 each. One has to be careful not to over-pack these, so that they're too heavy, but they stack quite beautifully, and are VERY sturdy.

I use color-coded sticker labels for both kinds of boxes, and cover each label with clear packing tape, so that the labels don't fall off. I also label the heck out of each box, putting labels on all four sides, and also on the top of each box, so that I won't have to turn the boxes during the moving and unpacking process to see what is in each one. It might be overkill for some, but it is a HUGE help for me!

Aw, I can't believe I'm moving again... Bleh...


Storage boxes always have plain, white labels.
I put clear packing tape over each label so they don't fall off.

Final thoughts-

I am very tired, but satisfied about all the things I got done this week. I still have a LONG way to go before we are ready to move at the end of May, but I can now say that I have the VISION to do it. 

We can do hard things, Mamas!!!

Love, Mama Rachel

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