Category Archives: Weekly Tips

Working Backwards……to get it done!

Have you ever found a system that works for you…and when you share it with someone else they LOVE it!!!

Ok…well…hold your hats!

First of all, I love my new Erin Condren planner that my sister in law purchased for me. I’m not a super “decorative sticker/tape” person but I definitely have decided that pen and paper is best for me, so I decided to give up my phone calendar and stick with this one.

If you decide to look into this planner, please use my referral link so I can score more credit to purchase cool new “things”…(wink.wink). I’ve got my eye on a few things…

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Here is my link…

I mean…how cute is this personalized cover of my crew….

However, as much as I love my planner, this post is more about the process than the planner. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am not a super organized person. I leave the beauty of organization to those skilled at it like Iheart organizing and Abby over at Just A girl and her blog.

However, I do have a process that I have found keeps my world from crashing in around me.

And…it involves working backwards.

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Depicted in the photo above, on Sundays evenings, I usually sit with 5 post it notes for the week out in front of me. If my week/weekend is super busy, I will put all 7 days of the week in front of me. Simply put, I work backwards.

I think of everything that needs to be done for an event or for the week, and then space it out throughout my week so I don’t feel overwhelmed. 

For instance, on Friday, of this week, I have my weekly co-op in which I teach 2 classes. So, on Monday I will make a note that I need to send an email to the parents of my students reminding them about any work/reminders for Friday. I had my son draw me up a quick picture today (Monday) of his cake that he will need to make for his 50 states project on Friday.  I will also try and figure out the kids’ lunch menu so I can grab stuff either Monday night or Wednesday morning when grocery shopping. Wednesday, I also will note that I need to have my daughter and son work on their rough drafts due for their IEW writing class. Thursday night, I will have all the children pack their bags for the co-op and they get placed at the front door to head out in the morning. Thursday night, I also write up a quick “thing to do” and place on my kitchen counter so I know what I need to grab in the morning. I place all lunch boxes on the kitchen counter and non-perishable lunch items in their lunch boxes. This also allows me time to “think ahead”. I often ask myself “Do I have something that I need to give someone I will see at the co-op?” If so, I will add these items to my trunk on Wednesday or Thursday night.

Sounds simple, right??!! But…it’s a gamechanger!! 

If you are used to leaving everything for the last minute, you really don’t allow yourself any time to be of service to others. When I was writing my list a few weeks ago, I remembered that my sister in law (who had just had a new baby) might need a ride for her two older children to the co-op. A simple text to her earlier in the week allowed me to tweak my morning schedule on Friday to pick up her children, without any burden on myself or my family. In addition, you always want to be prepared for the occasional stomach flu or flat tire that can set you back a day or two.

This process also works through the regular week as well.

I have my schedule “set” so that I maximize my time to be the most efficient. As a parent, I understand the need to juggle multiple schedules, and yet still get everything done. A couple of months ago, I made a list of all the chores/responsibilities that need to be completed in a week. Then I sat down with my postit notes and tried to figure out the best possible scenarios in which I could “commit” to those things.

I promise, it works!

It’s just like a great puzzle…you need to make sure that everything has a time and place when it is completed. Otherwise, you will begin to realize that your bathroom shower never gets cleaned or your front foyer never gets steam mopped. (I’m certainly not speaking from experience here…haha)

An additional piece of advice to my homeschooling mom friends, this year was the first year that I had two “set” days that I was “running around” and two days that I was pretty home bound. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I am home. I have set up my children’s school schedules so that I can do the most instruction on those days. They are also the two days that I “power through” my laundry, and kitchen duties. We have family meals that require a little more prep and time on those days as well. In contrast, on Tuesdays, my day starts at 9:00 with piano lessons, then adoration, off to chorus, and then dance class. I pull into my house around 6:15 thoroughly exhausted. However, on Tuesdays, because of all the children’s activities, I easily spend hours waiting for them. My “thing to do” list on Tuesday includes multiple errands in the van, office calls, quick emails, and reading. While the children load up multiple bags of dance attire, piano books, and chorus music, I heave my large 31 bag full of stuff to do as well. For me, this is a great time to reference my Master List of things to do; “pin” a few new recipes on Pinterest; or clean out my email inbox. I usually enjoy grabbing the children a quick lunch and hitting a park for some quick outside fun!

My advice would be to plan your errands around where you are headed or have to be. Every Tuesday, I drop off my husband’s dry cleaning and/or pick up his dry cleaning after adoration. It’s literally right down the street. He appreciates the errand, and it requires little work for me. The post office is on the same street as the parish church, where the girls take piano lessons, so I add any packages or mailings to the list for that time. Additionally, I keep a bin in my trunk with any store returns that I have to make. I tuck the receipt in the bag, so that I’m ready to return it.

If you’ve had a system that you’ve tried, and it isn’t working for you….give this a try! This system of working backwards has only proven time and time again to keep me from being overwhelmed, and to feel at peace.

I hope your organizational efforts are fruitful!

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10 ways to be the “Worst Mom Ever” this Summer!

It’s already starting in my house..

“this is the worst day ever!”

“I’m so bored.”

“I have nothing to do.”

“I’m hungry.”

Oh…the sounds of children who need direction and some activities. So…how can you survive this summer with your kiddos home?

I’ve got 10 ways for you to be the “Worst Mom Ever” this summer.

So let’s get started…….

Give them two weeks of college life.

For the first two weeks after school lets out, just let them do whatever they want. Let them wake up when they want and just hang out. Watch their mannerisms, weaknesses, and see what the summer holds for you. This is your “gathering information” session for the summer. You will quickly find out what goals you have for each of them and what behaviors are not going to “work” for your summer home with them. (You will then use this information to set up your daily schedule and chore lists.)

getting their own breakfast

getting their own breakfast

 Set up a daily schedule.

I like to have some semblance of order for the summer. Of course, my days are not filled with homeschooling checklists, but the children function better when they know the “plan”. Our mornings will be pretty laid back in terms of wake up times and breakfast. At around 10am, we will gather to work on a daily scripture verse, morning prayer, chore assignments, and the schedule for the rest of the day. Our local YMCA pool will open at 11 so the children and I will set up our day around an after lunch pool time and errands and appointments will be set up to alternate pool days. Since we do have two vacation bible school sessions scheduled this summer for the mornings, it makes more sense to set up our pool times and errands for the afternoon. I have also chosen to give myself one day, Wednesdays, where we will remain at home. This will allow the children to plunder my home while I work on housecleaning and home projects. I strongly recommend this if you are in the car driving a lot. You will want to have one day that you can “veg” if you need it.

swimming lessons

swimming lessons

 Turn off the TV: Encourage your kids to “feed their brain”.

You will be amazed at how many grocery stores, fashion shows, and lip syncs will grace your home. My kids decided to plan a bake sale for the weekend community yard that my development was having and earned $28. It’s amazing what they can do when they aren’t sitting in front of the TV.

bake sale!

bake sale!

the fun of an empty box

the fun of an empty box

Make them earn their ipod/kindle/ipad time:

For every job/chore that my kids do, above and beyond their responsible daily chore, they can earn 15 minutes of “technology time”. Technology is a priviledge…not a “right”. You will be surprised how many extra jobs they will do for technology time.

making dinner

making dinner

chopping veggies

chopping veggies

Institute a mandatory reading time for your whole house everyday…including you.

If you have little ones, give them the first few minutes of your time and read aloud with them. If you can fit it in, start reading a novel together. This will be a great way to work on reading comprehension for all ages.

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Make them eat their fruits and veggies.

This is way more fun if you let them help you grow them. Our strawberries just came in and the kids are loving it. I actually found that the kiddos will eat roasted veggies from the garden too if they know it was the one that “they picked”.

our growing strawberries

our growing strawberries

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Make them sit down…with you.

I know…there is always so much for us to do. But….a mom sitting down is like a bug to a light. Kids LOVE being close to mom but we are rarely relaxing. Let them lay on top of you….dangle off the couch from your lap….I’m sure they and you will absolutely hate it.

Mini Me and I

Mini Me and I

Teach them more responsibility.

When my teaching hat gets put aside for the summer, I really push the kiddos in the cleaning/responsibility department. There is a greater number of “commission” earning jobs that can be done during the week for money. I also pair my kiddos up together so I can get to some summer projects that need my attention.

folding dishcloths

folding dishcloths

playing together

playing together in the garage

 Make them go outside everyday.….even if its raining.

Teach them to dance in the rain and stomp in puddles. Pull out the old jump rope and teach them how to jump “old school”. Play tag or jump on their bike and take it for a ride. I’ve been known to grab one of my kid’s scooters and race them down the street.

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family walk…

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Create some “Mom Time”.

During the school year, I made sure that I had an hour a day to myself. My children played in the basement while I made business calls; watched one of my favorite shows; or ate some chocolate. Haha. It was really important for me to have this “selfish” time so that I could give to my family without frustration or fatigue.

putting on my "work"cap....this chica means business

putting on my “work”cap….this chica means business

Your kids might think that you are the “Worst Mom Ever”, as you are ruining their plans for their summer…but you will bask in the joys that will come from these few tips.

May you find peace and joy in your home..and in your heart.

God Bless,

Tammi

Weekly Tip: Let’s plan for next Christmas!!!

So…let me share with you some advice…..

plan….plan…..plan…….!!!

This is totally not something that I would have EVER thought that I would ever say. However, now that I am the mother of children, I find that I have little time to waste on “recreating the wheel” when I can assist myself and prepare early for the next year. If something is broken, don’t try and fix it. haha

So…here are some great tips for setting yourself up for success next year:

  1. Print out and file away all recipes and activities that you enjoyed this season. I have a seasonal household binder that has a few tabs for Advent/Christmas, Lent/Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. This year I am hoping to add a few more tabs for holidays that I become celebrated in our house. For this year, I have printed out my recipe for Gourmet Mac and Cheese from Martha Stewart…it’s insanely good if you want to try it here. I also make notes of things that I would do different next year. I list the time frame when we did certain activities during Advent and copy Christmas coloring pages I used or activities that we did. This allows me to be “ahead” of the game before next year.
  2. Take pictures of decoration placement. I like to print out shot of decorations as well. It helps me to remember what I did the previous year. I store all the items in an arrangement together with the picture so that, if needed, someone else could decorate for me. It also prevents me from becoming overwhelmed when I see the 8 boxes of Christmas decorations come up from the basement..haha.
  3. Shop the after Christmas sales for seasonal items. I love to hit Michaels or Kohls in their after Christmas sales. I can pick up cute decorations for around the house or find cute stocking stuffers for the next year. I usually grab some christmas crafts when they go on clearance and toss them in my christmas bins for the next year. I load up on Christmas boxes, wine bags, and cookie exchange boxes or bags for the next year. I also snag christmas labels and gift tags if I can find them. This year I am on the hunt for a fake christmas tree for the children’s school room. Grabbing some cute Christmas pajamas for your kids, in their next size, is also a great idea!
  4. Hit up Pinterest. Do your research now for next year. Start to “pin” some new Christmas drinks, cocktails, games, gift ideas, etc. on your Pinterest boards. Print out the “pins” that you did use this year…or create a board called “Christmas traditions” and move these pins to this board.
  5. Save those all Christmas cards. Save all the cards that you received this year. Lord knows all you need is to lose your address book or to delete your spreadsheet and you forget who to send your cards too. I pack all the christmas cards away and pull them out the next year. It reminds me who to send Christmas cards to…and its fun to see how the kids have “changed” from the year before. I also saw a great pin on Pinterest about using the christmas cards as your photo on your phone. I matched up christmas cards with my contact information as that I have a picture of each person that comes up when they call.
  6. Label like crazy. I like to store my Christmas boxes away with very specific labels. I have a bin that is just for Advent…and a bin that is labeled just for christmas tissue paper, boxes, tags, etc. I label each bin with exactly what is in the bin so I can decorate a little at a time if I wish.
  7. Make a list of everything you need to purchase or have for next year. I try and have this list ready soon after Thanksgiving. It includes everything from Christmas cards to tights and shoes for Christmas Eve Mass. If you know that next year is your year to “host” Christmas, you might want to pick up some fun Christmas napkin holders or plate chargers at the after Christmas sales.

If you read this list and feel overwhelmed…then…maybe this post is not for you. If you read this and have a few ” a ha” moments…then I feel like the post was worth it. =) Here’s to a great Christmas next year!

Thanks for reading!!!

God Bless, Tammi

Tip Tuesday: 7 lessons

7 Lessons from the past few days……

Let’s do this…..=)

Dancing brings joy to the soul. At the beginning of this week, my husband grabbed my hand, while I was in the kitchen, and danced me around to some tunes on his ipod. It is definitely one of my love languages. I love dancing with the hubs…especially close.  It’s one thing to break down to hip hop with the littles, and a whole other ballgame when the hubs pulls you in for a “Remind me”. haha.

Absence doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. I’ve been purging about 5-7 toys/items from my kids bins in our school room for the past few days. The kids have yet to ask for anything in the bag…..they have until friday and then the bag hits goodwill. I’m really hoping to move into the basement with this method. The kids, themselves, will purge their toys before Christmas.

The mind of a child is cool and fascinating. I love to sneak into my school room and listen to Mini Me or Miss Missy playing Barbies. I love to hear the “dialogue” between two barbies that they create. I often hear “my voice”…it’s funny how much they pick up. Additionally, I turned around one day to find Mini Me sitting like this. Barely moving, she said, “Do I make a good statue?”….unreal.

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Playing guitar is one of the coolest things to watch. My son loves his guitar. He can’t help but feel like the coolest boy when he plays. He has been working with his instructor to learn the opening chords to “sweet home alabama”…the kid is giddy with excitement.

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Life is a roller coaster. It has highs and lows. Times of excitement and times of a straight, terrifying downward plummet.  However, it’s a ride. You have to embrace whenever you are. Hold your breath during the accent and scream while you plummet.

IMG_1255Just because we can’t see those dusty, crusty gross areas in your life....doesn’t mean they aren’t there. I happen to enjoy the “haven” that is the front seat of my van. The other day I decided to venture to the back and sit with the littles while we waited for the big kids at gym class. Look what I found:

IMG_2763Seriously….so gross. Pretzel pieces, trash, paper…. Since I always open this door and peak in…I missed this little “treasure” actually on the door. As I cleared it out, I wondered how many more areas in my house, my kids have sabotaged….=)

Yep…Random thoughts…thinking about creating a new day for those..haha

***Working on a great blog on Advent and the holidays…stay tuned til tomorrow*****

God bless,

Tammi

Tip Tuesday: loveletters….be one….

When I was in high school, I had this amazing religion teacher who taught me about “loveletters” and how to look for them. She taught me that God loved me and showered me with little “gifts” throughout the day. It was my love for him and my desire for a relationship with him that would allow me to see these little “gifts” in my life. Wow??!! What a beautiful thought…..I have spent the last 20 years of my life looking for these little “loveletters” every day.

When you open your eyes to see them…it’s really quite overwhelming.

I would like to share with you one of these profound times in my life. In October 2011, one month before the birth of Miss Missy, my husband contracted meningitis and encephalitis. I can’t begin to explain how emotionally draining it was to be “done” with being pregnant and the emotional “basket case” that the last month of pregnancy has you in and then to deal with my husband’s medical condition at that time. I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I was not sleeping; barely eating; trying to homeschool three children and be at the hospital for the majority of the day so I could monitor my husband’s care; all while trying to keep myself out of the hospital until it was my turn. My mom had come up to stay with me and help me out when all of this first broke out and she was one of my first “loveletter” during that time. She helped bring routine and comfort to my home. She reassured the children while I battled the doctors with my husband.

My husband’s family delivered hot meals to my home and called regularly to “check in” on my husband….more loveletters. I would often pray on my nightly 45 minute ride home that the Lord will keep me awake….more than once a good friend called at just the right time….another loveletter…thank you, Lord.

The most impressionable loveletter I ever received happened one morning as I returned home. I had spent the night at the hospital with my husband and was coming home to spend some lunchtime with the kiddos. I was spent…exhausted….I missed my husband. I missed the man who I ran to for my problems. I missed the man who held me and assured me all would be ok. He lay in a bed with tons of wires; numerous IVs, and couldn’t speak intelligently. He had lashed out on me so much over the course of that two week span…I was scared and felt very alone. I was worried about how I would handle post-partum pregnancy with four little kids and a husband who really couldn’t function on his own. I needed a good cry…..I sat in my van in front of my house and wept. I was adamant about my kids not seeing me cry. I needed to be strong…I needed to carry this burden solely….“Lord, help me. I feel so alone.”

Then I walked by the mailbox.

“Get the mail”.

I heard it very clear.

What?

Get the mail.” 

I was tired. I just wanted to get in the door. To snuggle on the couch with my kiddos and grab a nap before I journeyed back to the hospital.

Get the mail“….”

“Ok, Lord.”

So…I stopped to get the mail. Then, I did something I don’t normally do…I sat down on the steps of the house and went through the mail. There were three personal letters in there from my household sisters from a Christian sorority I belonged to in college. Each personal letter came with a little gift card: one to Starbucks, one to Subway, and one to Mcdonalds. The floodgates opened and I cried like a baby. “You are not alone”. My heart heard it…….those little cards kept coming for about two weeks. Each letter offered me reassurance from some strong women in my life. Each card assured me of their prayers for my peace and for strength. Oh….I felt it. It’s amazing how much our prayers and our words touch those whom we love.

God answers our cries

if we have the ears and eyes to believe.

Some days we receive loveletters and somedays we have the privilege to be the sender of a loveletter.

So…for this Tip Tuesday…..

Be a sender of a loveletter.

This evening my husband and I had the privilege of having my nephew over for dinner. We have enjoyed having him over a few times a year, while he is closer to us at college, and spending time with him. He is a college student and in the middle of exams. Our little loveletter came in the form of an “exam survival kit” the hubs and I compiled for him.

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We filled it with a bunch of stuff that we “coveted” when we were in college with no money and late nights. (I took this picture before I added the homemade goodies and refrigerated stuff.) Here’s what we included in ours:

  • Wheat bread/Peanut butter/jelly
  • crackers/ cheddar cheese slices
  • fresh fruit: apples and grapes
  • canned pineapple
  • oreos: one of his favorites
  • microwave popcorn
  • small jugs of orange juice
  • small individual bags of muffins

***home baked goods: two tupperware bins: one filled with leftovers from dinner and one filled with dessert leftovers.

***A bag of Halloween candy: the kids gave him 3 pieces of candy from their own Halloween bag. The hubs and I might have thrown in a few extra to lessen our bin.

  • Some other suggestions would be: coins for the vending machine; ramen noodles; packets of tunafish; sports drinks or gum or mints.

 The expression on his face was priceless. It was the same look I had as I glance over that mail. Someone had thought of me. Someone had reached out and realized a need before I voiced it.  It’s a beautiful gift to be someone’s loveletter.

What about you?

Could you be someone’s loveletter today or tomorrow?

How about the next time you say, “I’ll pray for you.”…how about instead you BE that person’s answer to prayer.

Try it.

It’s a beautiful thing to be the hands of Christ.

Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Chris has no body now on earth but yours.” – St. Teresa of Avila.

 

God bless,

 

Tammi

Tip Tuesday: Kids chores!!!!

Kid’s chores???!!!

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The Fashionista and I ready to conquer our chores!!

Absolutely in our house!!!

I wrote a blog in the beginning of the year about “taking care” of my house cleaners and how you can “clean” for your cleaners. You can read about that here.

However, with the hubs and I trying to take better control of our debt and how we spend our money, my cleaners were the biggest sacrifice that I had to make. Although, the chores still needed to be done. So…the task, once again, became the focus of the family.

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DDD making eggs for his sisters….

So I’ve had several people ask me about kids chores and what I have my kids do and when. I decided to take this Tip Tuesday and share with you some of the things we do.

**Let me start with this disclaimer***

I have a hard time being consistent so what I do has to be simple and direct.

If you want a cute chore list …that’s not here. You can definitely find some adorable chore charts on ETSY and Pinterest. I’m really bad at making anything look crafty or like I have a clue what I am doing.
However, what I can offer you is what works for me and my crew…

Here’s little Miss Missy helping me wipe down our kitchen countertops….

She LOVES to help…which is great because there is always plenty to do.    IMG_2171On a daily basis my kids are expected to:

  • make their beds
  • put laundry in the sorted laundry bins
  • clear their floors
  • clear their plates at bkft, lunch, and dinner
  • help unload the dishwasher
  • sweep the floor
  • and help fold laundry.

However, Saturdays are reserved for our “housecleaning” days. I constructed a laminated chore list for each one of my children, except Miss Missy. I sat down and figured out exactly what chores weren’t getting completed during the week and decided who could take care of them. I then spent one Saturday teaching the kids how to do their jobs and what my expectations were. I laminated the kids’ list and punched a hole in it to add a ribbon. This enabled my children to hang their lists on their bedroom doors as they worked. My children pick up their laminated list and complete it after their morning of cartoons and pajamas. The list is the same every Saturday except for the space reserved for two tasks for that week. I have noticed that often the kids will start their chores friday night or keep an “area” that is on their list “managed” during the week. I then give them 30 min. of technology time when they are done.

IMG_2121This is Mini Me’s list. She is about to be 4. It is primarily pictures so that I don’t have to continually read this to her. She is so great about this, walking around with her little EXPO marker so she can cross off her work as she finishes. On the other side, it lists these additional chores:

Fold dishcloths

Wipe down all doorknobs

Clean up the girls dressup in the basement.

IMG_2115These lists belong to Sweet Pea (on the left) and DDD (on the right). You can see where I have added two additional chores for that week.

IMG_2118This is the Fashionista’s list. You can see where she has already started to “dominate” her list.

The kids have responded really well to this method. I love that I have four little ones who are busy working and that the hubs and I each have our own list of items to conquer on Saturday.

If for some reason, we have a very busy Saturday, the children know that the chore list must be completed by Sunday.

My advice….pick chores that you KNOW your kids can conquer. Make them age appropriate and then give them stuff that you don’t have to oversee. Show them what your expectations are and how to do the jobs you have given them.

God Bless,

Tammi

Tip Tuesday: Making your home kid-friendly

Do you have kids?

That’s Miss Missy….she’s pretty BIG in these parts…she is convinced that she is really a BIG girl stuffed in a little body.

Is your home kid-friendly?

I’m not talking about whether you have child-proof gates on the stairs or all your medicines safely tucked away, I’m talking about making your home a kid-friendly environment.

I have high expectations for my children. They contribute a lot to the general functioning of our family. With that in mind, I need to have my house arranged in a way that caters to them as well.

My house certainly is far from any magazine covers but I like to decorate my house in a way that shows I take pride in what I have. Additionally, my house needs to reflect my parenting philosophy that we are raising saints…not museum exhibits. Our couches are made to sit on…our dishes eaten out of…and our things “touched”…..

Going a step further…

If I want my children to be active participants in the daily activities of our home, I need to make sure that I foster their independence in the way that I set up my home. If you are clueless to what i am saying….it’s late….I might be babbling….but read on…somewhere its bound to make sense….

Here are a couple of tips that have proven effective in our little humble abode:

Have things handy to help with chores.

  •  I keep my kid bowls/plates/cups in a bottom cabinet in our kitchen. I do not want my kids climbing to grab a bowl for breakfast or to get a drink of water. This also makes it much easier to assign them the job of emptying all the “kid dishes” from the dishwasher. blog 1
  • I also purchased one of these nifty broom sets so that I could have the kids take turns sweeping under our table for meals. It has been sooo helpful!!!

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  • I have also found that investing in some of the Swifter products like the wet mop and duster are great tools for my kids as well. I might not want them to mop the breakfast room floor but throwing a wet pad on a swifter after a night of pasta or ice cream cones is a great way to “help” mom.

Keep things accessible for independence.

  • My kids love to snack. In some ways, they really think that the kitchen is a drive-thru and that I’m a short order cook. Well…I try and limit my time in the kitchen and my time spent replenishing my pantry and fridge. I have a set menu for the week but my snacks can be more of an option. The kids can choose some sort of fresh fruit or something in the snack bin. blog 2This little bin, purchased for one dollar at the dollar store and labeled, is filled with any snack I feel that they can have at any time. Its located where all the kids can access it. Miss Missy, due to her current allergies, has her own bin at her height. When I menu plan, I hit the kids up for suggestions on what they would like in their bin. The kids’ snack bin is located next to the red bin in the pantry. Miss Missy’s is the light blue bin on the bottom right. blog 4What about snacks that I am saving or only want my kids to have every once in a while??? Those are kept on the top shelf labeled kids treats in the red bin. That bin is where I store extra candy, granola bars or fruit snacks for their co-op days, or anything that I don’t want them consuming without my knowledge.

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  • I also don’t want to be a “nag”…constantly repeating myself in regards to the kids’ bathroom behavior and getting ready for the morning. Putting up charts and visual reminders are a great way to assist kids in what is expected. This sign hangs in the kids’ bathroom next to the sink. I seriously, made this a few years ago with Google images and Microsoft Word. The kids love it! Once their bathroom is painted, this little ditty will get a nice frame. checklist 2The second little chart appears right before the children make their way down the front stairs for the morning. It looks like this:checklist 1I often smile to myself as I see the little eyes scan this sheet before they descend the stairs. If I feel like one of them seems to be “forgetting” several of these, I will send them upstairs to “memorize” the sheet. We have had little “forgetting” in this house.
  •  I keep all of the children’s washcloths in a bin on the floor of the linen closet. This allows the kids to easily grab one before they jump in the shower.  I see no need in folding them. I use to fold them and place them neatly on a shelf. Then one of the kids would grab one, and let the rest of them fall to the ground. This little wicker basket has conquered two issues: I don’t have to fold washcloths and the kids can easily locate a washcloth.
  • I also installed a double closet rod in my hall closet to hang the little kids coats for the winter. After adding a few little hangers, it makes it way easier for them to hang their coats and for their siblings to assist as well.

Create spaces for your kids

When my husband and I moved into our new house three years ago, we sacrificed more yard space for a larger house with an open floor plan. I loved how spacious my new house was and was eager to give everything a place. People were often surprised that I had decided to designate a “school room” in my house for my kids. However, it seemed to be necessary for someone who would be schooling four and then five children to have enough space to house all the stuff that that would require. school room 2 school roomAs you can tell, this room is currently “under construction”. However, you get the general idea. The kids have their own “cubbies” and places for stuff. There are plenty of activities to occupy the little tots while I am working with one of the other kids.

As our family grows and our children undergo new developmental stages, the hubs and I will continually look for ways to help them in maintaining their independence.

I would love to hear how you create a kid-friendly environment…anyone want to offer some suggestions??? I’m always looking for some great ideas!!!

God Bless,

Tammi