Archive for the ‘Home Management’ Category

Swimming Lessons and Simplicity

Every Christmas for the past several years, my mother-in-law has given my kids swimming lessons for their Christmas present–and then she picks them up and brings them once a week for the next eight weeks.  This is a great idea for several reasons…

  • We don’t want our kids to associate Christmas with a lot of presents
  • We don’t need any more toys in our house
  • The kids are learning a valuable skill, and it counts as Phy Ed
  • I get a quiet morning once a week in January and February (this is the best one!):) happy

So each year I usually work on a big project on these quiet Thursday mornings, such as painting.  But this year, I’ve been decluttering, mostly because I don’t want to paint with my three-year-old around!  (He was still taking a morning nap last year.)  This morning, in addition to doing general decluttering in my bedroom, I went through a whole box of stuff in the storage room that we haven’t even looked at since we moved–six year ago!  Now I have room on my storage shelf for a box that’s been sitting in my bedroom for six months (cloth diapers–and I’m saving them for now; maybe one of my kids will want to use cloth diapers for their babies!)

Final Thought:
I’ve been doing much better at decluttering as I go (and you can get a LOT done in five minutes, as it turns out), but in order to tackle the “laziness” (or busy-ness) of the last fifteen years, it’s nice to have some chunks of time.  So I’ve decided that even after swimming lessons are over:( sad, I’m going to spend part of every Friday (a lighter school day) going through at least one box!  I don’t want to leave a huge mess for Scott and the kids when I die!  (Nor do I want to look at it for that long!)

I’m always inspired by images of simple homes, like this one…if one or two people can live in a house this tiny, then maybe my nine-person-family could live just a little bit like this–in a bigger house!  (Although the owner of the house in this image obviously doesn’t homeschool!)


How “substitution” is freeing me today

In today’s sermon, John Piper said, “Substitution” is at the heart of the Christian faith.”  Essentially, God killed Jesus so that He wouldn’t have to kill me, a sinner.

So I got to wondering, How often do I condemn myself for little things as if Jesus was NOT my substitute for EVERYTHING?  It’s as if I believe, Sure, Jesus paid the price for my sins and saved me from eternal death, but it’s MY RESPONSIBILITY to have a clean kitchen at all times!  It’s MY responsibility to make sure my kids learn their spelling words, etc.  I admit, I have a problem with beating myself up over little things (little things compared to eternity, anyway.)

So as I’ve been walking around my house today, I’ve been doing this:  See a mess that I normally blame myself for instantly (because I didn’t plan my day wisely enough or did not train my kids well enough), and instead say, “Substitution!”  As in, “Jesus’ death paid for this, too!  I’m free from the guilt of this AND I can trust God even with this mess (or whatever failure I happen to be viewing)!” ( Now, if I were actually were being completely lazy, that would be a slightly different story. :))

Note:  I’m not saying I’m perfectly free of laziness.:)

The Creator of Time is Also the Giver of Time – Do you need more?

I read this today, and was inspired…

“The most delightful fact of all regarding time is simply this:  the creator of time is also the giver of time.  When we have exhausted our supply, used up our twenty-four hours, and still need time, an amazing thing can happen to those who ask for it.  God will give us time.  I don’t know how it happens, but many people besides myself have experienced it.  God can do this for one reason—time belongs to Him.”   (from How Do You Find the Time, by Pat King.) 

I love this book!  The author goes on to describe many stories of people who should not have had enough time to do all they needed to do, but because they chose to pray and trust God for everything on their list, it got done!  I’ll have to post later about my little “experiment” this afternoon regarding this.

A Super Simple Breakfast or Lunch

BUT…you need leftover pancakes.  Our family makes dozens of pancakes every Saturday, and SOMETIMES we have leftovers.

A really simple way to serve them again is to make what I call “Pancake Bake.”  I cut up all the pancakes into bite size pieces (several at a time), put them in a crock pot, drizzle some butter over the top (or chunks of softened butter), heat it up on low for awhile, then serve it with syrup.  This way, you don’t need to divide up any leftover pancakes OR do any cutting for small children when it’s time to eat!  🙂


Oatmeal Bake recipe to prepare the night before for a simple breakfast

We aren’t a cold cereal family (at least, we try not to be), so it’s one of my goals to prepare part of our breakfast the night before so I can just quickly mix it together and stick it in the oven.

Here is my recipe for oatmeal bake that I prepare the night before.  You will notice that I “soak” the oatmeal in a honey mixture overnight.  This not only makes a softer and more moist product, but it’s actually more healthy, too!

The night before…(this takes about three minutes; I just timed it.)

In a large mixing bowl, mix together …

2 cups oatmeal
About a tablespoon of lemon juice (I don’t measure)
1/2 cup honey (I don’t measure this, either)
Enough water to make a pancake-battter-like consistency

This next part you can mix together the night before and put it in the refrigerator OR just add it the next morning.

Mix together…
3 beaten eggs
1 stick of butter, melted

Add the next part RIGHT BEFORE baking…
1/2 c white flour
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (less if you use table salt)
1 tablespoon baking powder
Lots of cinnamon (5-7 dashes)
Lots of nutmeg (2-3 dashes)
Vanilla – about 1 teaspoon
AND enough milk to make a cake-batter-like consistency

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  We serve it with real maple syrup drizzled over each piece.  Serves 8-12.

Note:  I just heard from a friend that you can buy gluten-free oatmeal, so this would work for a gluten-free diet if you used rice flour instead of the wheat (which I have done.)

Holiness, Dinner and Dishes

You might laugh when you hear what I’m reading these days; it’s basically a home management book called How Do You Find the Time, by Pat King–copyright 1975!  (So nothing about computers, email, or even homeschooling.)  But she did have 10 kids, all living at home for awhile, and I am not only enjoying the book, but finding many helpful tips.

In the chapter I read today, she talks about dinner–planning it, preparing it, and then cleaning up.  My first thought was , “Oh, I’ve got a lot of experience with that, and I think I’ve got it down pretty well.”  But she calls it “The 4:30 Syndrome” because 4:30 pm rolls around, and none of us want to stop what we’re doing to make dinner.  How right she is–at least about me!  (I usually push it off until 5/5:30!)

So I read on…

Mrs. King, the author, never planned to do anything after 4:30 pm except spend time with her children (now home from school) and make dinner.  She puts it this way…

“It’s a combination of listening to someone’s reading, giving spelling words, sharing a cup of tea with my daughters, making cookies or a salad, or peeling potatoes.  I don’t plan housework, telephone calls or even work at my desk.”

I began to picture my kitchen filled with children during supper-prep-time, all doing various activities; some helping me with food prep, some doing dishes (so there are less after supper), and some just quizzing each other on spelling or listening to them read aloud.  (By this time in the day, all of my kids have had some good free time.)  So the supper-prep hour becomes a family time where everybody helps–not just the one or two kids who want to help me that day.

After many more practical tips about dinner, the chapter concludes with this…

“Each of us is called by the Lord to holiness.  Isn’t it amazing that so many of us answer that call through something as everyday as dinner and the dishes?  The evening meal is the paradox of our homemaker lives.  It looks, at a glance, so unimportant when we consider all that there is to be done for the cause of Christ.  But when we answer this calling to lay down our lives every day at 4:30 with a conscious love for the Lord, it is not only helpful beyond all understanding to those we love, but when it is done for Jesus how can it be anything but important and utterly worthwhile?”

Anyone have any helpful tips for the “4:30 syndrome”–otherwise known as “Dinner Prep”?

(Ironically, we’re ordering pizza tonight for Barrett’s 11th birthday!)

Homeschooling Experiment

I’ve always been a little stressed out about doing only school in the morning and leaving everything else (like laundry, cleaning, etc.) for the afternoon.  What normally happens is, I’m too tired after lunch to begin (let alone finish) the “physical labor” involved in housekeeping.  And it just seems so much more right/wholesome/even biblical to get up and get my hard work done in the morning.

So…we’re going to try a little experiment to “free up” my mornings.  My goal is to spend three hours “doing school” in the afternoon.  (I know some of you are gasping about that short amount of time, but I just can’t spend my whole day doing school!  And we do go year-round, which relieves some of the pressure to do everything all at the same time.)  Also, instead of doing school Monday through Thursday, I think we’ll do Tuesday through Thursday, with half-days on Monday and Friday.  That way, I can focus on most of the laundry on Monday morning, most of the house cleaning on Friday morning, and other weekly and monthy chores Tuesday throught Thursday.

My older kids can begin their school work in the morning, with the goal of having only “group school” remaining–and/or work with which they need my help. 

We’ll see how it goes, but wouldn’t you know, my plan will be “messed up” right from the get-go because this Monday is Labor Day!  :{

“Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.”  (Proverbs 16:3)