Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Homemaking Systems I Use for My BIG Family

Welcome back, friends!

As I started working on this post, I found that my outline was getting more detailed. Which means that this article could get waaay too long in short order. (That's never happened before here, has it?! HA!)

And, so, I thought I'd use this post to give you the outline of the five systems overall, and then I will break down each one into more specifics in a new blog post each week. 

This is going to be so fun!

1) Tidying

First of all, I like to "Tidy Up" whatever area I will be working in. This makes me feel more successful in my day, and even helps the kids function better. No one-- not even squirrelly children-- truly functions well in chaos. I am a creative-type person, so I know from experience that messes are made in the midst of inspiration, but it is easier for me to get inspired once a place has been "tidied."

Tidying, by my definition, is not making things pristine. It does not mean that you deep clean to create an immaculate place where your neighbors are going to come and do dust inspections.


Tidying means clearing away trash, consolidating piles of papers into stacks (papers are my personal Kryptonite), putting away the most egregiously out-of-place items, and doing a quick sweep and wipe-down/brush off of obvious surfaces.

It means stacking dishes in the sink so they don't look like a bottomless cesspool, and putting small pans inside larger ones to take up less room on the counter top.

2) Cleaning

This word means exactly what you think it means. I define "Cleaning" as the scrubbing, wiping, washing, shining that needs to happen in order for a home to feel welcoming and comfortable.

And so people don't get deathly ill.

I have a few methods I use that make cleaning in this house full of people MUCH easier for all of us. I will cover those in depth in my upcoming post on Cleaning.

3) Deep Cleaning

I have a confession to make here. If you've been following my blog for many years, you will know that I move a lot. No, I mean, a LOT! 

I once compared the numbers of our moves with a guy who grew up in a military family, and we had moved twice as much as him.

It's pathetic, actually.

When we move, I deep-- I mean DEEP, clean. But then, there are other times we should be deep cleaning, as well. Not everyone is as crazy about moving as I must be!

There are times and seasons I schedule for this, one area at a time. It makes what can be an overwhelming task easier to manage well.

4) Maintaining

One thing that really is different between homeschooling moms and moms who send their kids to school, is that homeschooling moms never really have hours of time to clean each day. I think that is the most frequent comment I get from other moms: "When do you get time to CLEAN?"

I have a couple of witty answers to this question, but to be brief, let's first just say that my standards of clean may not be as high as some.


Secondly, in the case of my family, the cause is also the cure.

Yes, folks, we resort to child labor around here. This mama of thirteen is not equipped to clean up after thirteen people alone! If anyone is outnumbered in this arena, it's mothers-of-many. And so we make our minions contribute. 

It's good for them!

5) Beautifying

Once a young man, a friend of one of my sons, walked into our house and declared "Your house looks like a Grandma's House."

Even though his tone of voice was not complimentary, I could have kissed him.

Yes, that is what I am going for, son! Comfort. Sentimentality. All the feels.

When it's YOUR home, you should make it a place you never want to leave. The Joneses don't figure into this area of the Homemaking Arts, and neither should we worry about being Pinterest-Perfect.

Homes should be places where our families feel loved and content. They should be a haven from the storms of life, not photos that belong in magazine pages.

I am really looking forward to sharing more of my thoughts on the subject of Beautifying, as well as all the other systems I use.

I'd love to hear more about YOUR tips for homemaking, so please share them in the comments below.

Here's to creating the homes that make family life sweet!

Love, Mama Rachel

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Courage and Vision

I have a confession:

I do NOT wish that I were out marching in the "Women's March" today.

I feel that my callings as a wife, mother, and homemaker are greater than anything a protest could cultivate for me in my life.

I have work enough to do.

And I am the woman to do it!!!

Mama Rachel

Monday, January 16, 2017

Helpful Homemaking Skills Part 1: Vision and Domains


Six of my eight daughters in 2014
(One was on a mission for our church, and one was in my pregnant belly.)

Christmas is over, my son is married, and I am excited to share some of the things I have learned about Homemaking as a mother of 13 children!

First of all, I want to make it clear that I am not claiming to be The Perfect Homemaker with a pristine house, or an organizing guru, or a devoted scheduler.

TRUST ME-- I am NONE of those things.

However, I am a homeschooling mother of thirteen children who is actually able to keep my head above water in the homemaking department, even while running businesses, and doing other things that I love, like this.

I have been studying homemaking and managing a household for MANY years-- not to mention two plus decades of life experience under my belt-- and now that my daughters are beginning to grow into lovely women, there is sooo much I want to share with them so that they will be better-equipped than I was to manage a thriving home.

I want to make this new series one that I would (and will!) share with my own daughters, who are growing up into amazing women. And so, I plan to write this series as a number of love letters to my own girls.

It is my prayer that these ideas might help other mothers, or simply inspire them to keep trying, keep improving, and keep devoting themselves to the beautiful life of old-fashioned motherhood.

My oldest girls on our eldest daughter's return from her mission

A Vision to Remember

Dear sweet daughters,

In the last 24 years of homemaking, I have had many ups and downs. 

I began my homemaking journey knowing some sewing, some basic cleaning, how to change diapers and make bottles, how to bake some treats, do my own laundry, and how to make a few meals.

BUT,  I had never planned a menu, gone grocery shopping, or run an entire household! I had no clue how to plan a housecleaning schedule, organize clutter, or tame the paper monster. (Admittedly, as you well know, I have not yet tamed the Paper Monster completely...)

In fact, it has taken me years to learn that tidying is a different thing than organizing, and that maintenance is a separate task from cleaning...

But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

You see, Homemaking is just one facet of the beautiful gem we call motherhood. But it is the embodiment of Christlike service that we women are called by God to do. It is the physical evidence of our love for our families, our husbands, our children.

Homemaking is love in action.

This vision of your role as a homemaker will help you keep going when the day-to-day repetition discourages you, or when you are so tired you can hardly stand, or when another child starts to come down with a sickness you already nursed his sister through. 

Knowing that you are demonstrating your love for your husband, your child, and your Father in Heaven will make the difficulties of your duties more bearable.

So, as I begin these series of letters filled with the practicalities of Homemaking, never, never forget that what you will be accomplishing is a Divine Directive given just for you and your improvement. 

From the moment you become the queen of your own households, you will be creating your future, eternal selves-- women more glorious and refined than you can begin to imagine.

You see, none of the work you will be doing is about doing the laundry, scrubbing toilets, or decluttering. It is about building something greater than a more beautiful home. You will be building a more beautiful YOU.

The Five Domains in Your Homemaking Kingdom

"She who is the mother and housekeeper in a large family is the sovereign of an empire, demanding more varied cares, and involving more difficult duties, than are really exacted of her who wears a crown and professedly regulates the interests of the greatest nation on earth." --The American Woman's Home, 1869
I like to think of myself as the Queen of the Kingdom of My Home. That does not mean that I am some kind of tyrant who sits around and bosses my servants all the day long. That is not my true stewardship.

As Mother, I truly am the Heart of my home and create the culture my family thrives in. I set the tone. I have the power to bring sweetness or pain.

I have duties that are mine alone, and in order to fulfill them, I have divided them into five "Homemaking Domains":
  • Maintaining
  • Tidying
  • Cleaning
  • Deep Cleaning
  • Beautifying
Each of the weekly posts in this series will cover one of the Domains above. I will define each-- how they are different, and my methods for successfully implementing them all.

It is my goal to encourage and inspire you all to be the Homemakers that God and your families will need you to be.

Until next week and a post on the "Systems" I use to manage my full house!

Mama Rachel

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Wedding and a New Series

Ever since October, I have been BUSY BEYOND BELIEF.

Now, I know what you're going to say:

"Of course you were! We were ALL going crazy with Christmas shopping, parties, recitals, concerts, events, etc."

Ah, but have I mentioned that MY SON IS GETTING MARRIED???

Okay, so I guess I did here

It is a wonderful thing, and we are so excited!!!

I am also stressed. Out. Of. My. Mind.

"But you're just the mother of the groom! You don't have to do much."

Au contraire, mon ami! You are talking to The Girl Who Volunteers.

It is just the way I am wired. 

And I like it that way.


Here's What I'm Doing

Flowergirl Dresses and Bridesmaid skirts

I am sewing! Yes, I get to sew beautiful dresses!

Five flowergirls, two bridesmaid skirts, two adorable bowties, and one official bridesmaid dress.


I'm doing the decorations for the wedding.

Yes, I am crazy in the head. 

But I also REALLY love weddings. And decorating. And sewing. And being a control freak  helping out.

Why in the world are you blogging right now???

So here I am, nine days before my son's wedding, and yes, I still have stuff to do... BUT I also want to start the 2017 year of the Old-Fashioned Motherhood blog off right.

With that little introduction, I hope you will come back here, around two weeks from now, for my newest blog series: 

Helpful Homemaking Tips (From a Mom of 13 kids)

I like to think that I have learned a thing or two about taking care of a home FILLED to the brim with people-- and I don't just mean on the weekends. 

That is not to say that I am perfect at it-- okay, not even close-- but there are systems that I use that make life a LOT more manageable in the midst of mayhem.

And I want to share them in the hopes that other moms will find a tip or two that might better help them manage their mayhem in the coming year.

HAPPY 2017!!! 

And see you in two weeks...

Mama Rachel
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