Daily Discipline Check-ins

SHE’s Checkin’ In: Happy Birthday, Abram

My oldest son, Abram–my snugly bug–turned nine this last week!! I can't believe it! Time sure does fly.

Getting ready to bake his cake. He requested pin appl upside down.

Timmy hangs out with Mama most of the day.

I'm almost ready to start the SHE system (Sidetracked Home Executives by Pam and Peggy)!

I've printed off the habits:

I just finished reading the book today and set up my basic weekly plan and menu plan on the box lid.

The rules in the book I'll be trying to follow:

  1. Get up 30 minutes earlier than my family and get showered, dressed to shoes, with fixed hair and make-up.
  2. Make my bed every morning first thing.
  3. Cut out the soaps (I don't watch soaps, but I get the point-turn off the screens!)
  4. No more lists.

I'm really looking forward to this. And I'm not expecting perfection, but instead perseverance. I'll simply set a timer each day and give it my all (for that day). I'm expecting a change in myself more than a change in my home, if that makes sense. Whatever the house ends up looking and feeling like will be an effect of the cause that happens in me. I will be working on me–therefor there's no pressure. If I do my best I have succeeded whether or not my house reflects the change.

One year in prayer, determination and perseverance. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.



Daily Discipline Check-ins

SHE’s Check-in’ In

I've been convicted 3 different times by three different people in the last few months that one of the reasons I don't succeed is that I don't stick with the same thing long enough. And I really think they're right! I give something a “try” for about a month and then because it only fixed one little area of my life, I switch my focus somewhere else.

So, I've been thinking back through all I've tried in the past and picking something to stick with–for at least a YEAR!

If I'm going to find out if something works or not, I need a full year to give it my all. It's ridiculous to plant a seed and then dig it up every few weeks to see if it's taking root. And that's pretty much what I've been doing.

The system that has worked the best for me in the past–I actually managed to keep it running for several months–was the S.H.E. System (or Sidetracked Home Executives)!

I'm super excited to get back to it and here's why:

1. As I said, it's the only system I've used in the past that's ever lasted any good length of time! Although, I think it may have eventually failed because I tried to 'reinvent the wheel' a little. I didn't take their advice from the book and do it like it says, I just tweaked the death out of it.

2. It's all-inclusive! My calendar, adress book, homemaking, menu plan and recipes, holiday planning, and school goals, can all have their place right there in the system.

3. The before story of the Sidetracked Sisters sounds oh-so-familiar! You have to read the book! It's SO funny!

4. It's flexible, and I must have a system that's flexible. Everything I need to do will be in front of me, but if my day falls apart, it's not a tragedy. I just stick them behind the next day they need to be done–no harm.


So, here's to a new start! Fresh beginning-again! I've got to get it right someday!! Right?!

Here's the book that'll be next to my chair until I learn it front to back, lol.


And here's my supplies I needed to get started:









When I bought all this stuff last time (a few years ago), it cost me about $65 and I had to go to two different office supply stores to find it all! This time all I needed was replacement 3×5 index cards. Yay. Lots cheaper.

I'll keep the updates coming in, but no more perfect days…just progress check-ins to let you know how it's going.


P.S. Have any of y'all ever used this system? What did you think of it? What systems have you used in the past?


Chores, Messy Home Survival Strategies, Real Messes--Caught On Camera!

Picture Chores Like This!

There's a little play on words in this title! We actually use our iPhone cameras as to-do pictures instead of lists.

When our house seems to be falling apart at the seams and chaos is in every corner of my house, I find this to be the simplest way to get the kids involved and keep them motivated.

So set your timers…we're going on a tour of my two hour clean up last Saturday. (We usually delete each picture as it's finished, but I made sure they were all saved this time so I could show y'all. You're welcome!)

I start off by carrying Timmy around the house taking pictures of different focus areas that I would like done. I don't worry about the picture being perfect as long as my family can tell where and what I'm talking about. (Some pictures represent something-like a picture of the washer and dryer means to keep it going.)

We all gather around and look through the pictures together, and Abby's usually the first one to “call dibs” on something. I set the timer for twenty minutes, but usually it's ten. The house needs to be finished for Abram's party next weekend and Daddy's home to pitch in.


On this one, I placed Bubzy's clean sheets within the picture so they would know it meant to change the sheets and not just make the bed.

In this picture, one “round” was Josh actually cleaning the sink, while another time one of the kids picked up the stuff on the floor. While Abby might like cleaning the mirror, Abram might like throwing all the dirty clothes in hampers and throwing trash away…while Daddy prefers to use Scrubbing Bubbles on the sink and countertops. The picture might mean different things to different people. (Only Mom can approve the picture as complete before a child deletes it from the choices).

Josh chose to stay with the same theme and completely cleaned the bathroom instead of switching with the timer like the kids really need. He has such a servant's heart in choosing the least desirable chore!




Same idea here: Josh put together the crib while Abram tidied the couch. They saw something different. As a family, we use each of our talents to benefit the whole.
I figured Abby would choose the bed, since she loves making it all pretty, but this time Abram beat her to the punch and snatched it up. I didn't say a word when I passed the finished work and it was at a very obvious slant.

This one got skipped completely, which is totally fine. I put more than enough picture chores in front of them so that they have choices. I make a time goal and we stop when it gets there. That day it was 2 hours.

Usually, I take a picture of the floor if I want it vacuumed.

The picture of the sink, dishwasher, and the countertop we put dirty dishes on means to unload/reload the dishwasher and scrub the sink. I stuck with the kitchen and laundry through most of the two hours.

I remind the kids that the breakfast bar includes the bar stools, too.


This picture represents putting away pantry stuff, cleaning off and wiping down the counters.

Hand wash dishes

One person took this as taking the trash out and another took it as sweeping.

Abram picked up everything in this picture, dusted the alcove shelves and swept the floor. He did awesome! Too bad I'm not including after pics here. I was so proud of him.

Abby kind of adopted the bathroom and it was sparkling by the time she finished.





I have to be careful what I take pictures of, too. I took some of the school closet because I fully intended to go in there and tackle it after the kitchen and laundry were under control. But, when all that was left was the mess in the living room and all the trash created by eating fast food the night before, Abram chose the school closet. He wanted me to come tell him what to do in there. Ugh. I'm sorry, Buddy, but you're just going to have to pick one of the other things. I don't have the time to go show you what exactly I want done in there right now.

There were several choices that could have been done in here–tidy up, dust, vacuum, sweep–but by the end of the two hours we had only tidied up in here. Next time maybe.



Keep the laundry going

Fold and put away this basket of clothes

It was Abby's laundry day

And, not surprisingly, an entire basket of stuff and a full bag of trash came out of there!


Two hours behind us, lots of cleaning up done…now time to enjoy the rest of our Saturday!


So, what do y'all do to get everyone in your family to cooperate willingly? This has been the one that's received the least complaints from my little crew.



My Clutter Journal/Journey

Our Hidden Toy Hoard Discovery

I knew we had a problem with toys. We've been battling them since my Olders were little. But Y'all. I had no idea quite how bad!

As my regular readers (the few and truly apreciated) know, I've been confiscating my children's things when they leave them laying about. I've been doing that for about 3 months.

Hasn't fazed them in the least.

I really thought it would work. I mean, they were upset at first at the thought of me just picking up and locking away anything left out, but as the weeks went by I noticed that they weren't even bothered by it. Why?

So I asked them.

The answer was short and to the point. “Well…we still have stuff to play with.”


After three months of picking up everything that they drug out and left all over the house and yard, they still hadn't run out of things to play with?

Surely not. They just got rid of 15 full sized recycle bags of their stuffola.

Then, I went up the stairs.

Remember, I just cleaned up and organized it like a month ago.

And this is what I found:

I've been confiscating bag fulls everyday for three months…except up there.


I seriously thought I was being a little harsh…until I saw and heard that they couldn't care less.

I'm starting to think Mommy might be the one who has a problem parting with toys. I mean, I don't hesitate in the least to say, “I'm sorry. That shirt doesn't fit you anymore. Put it in the hand-me-down bag and we'll take it to church on Sunday.” They whine and complain and throw little fits, but I know how ridiculous it would be to give in and let them keep clothes that don't fit just because they liked them.

Toys, on the other hand, are a different story. I've been begging and pleading with them to let go of them…and totally giving in to their pleas to keep almost every thing I touch.

15 bags may seem like a massive amount, and I thought so too. So, I was giving them some slack. I don't even really know what went into those bags. I just kinda looked through the clear-ish blue bag and saw a bunch of stuff coming out and off it went. I assumed lots of it was toys.

Until I saw the upstairs after having confiscated toys and other stuff for three months straight. Obviously we haven't gotten rid of enough!

So, I told them we had to get rid of more. They were not happy.

“We already got rid of plenty, Mom! We got rid of TONS of stuff. We don't have that much left!”

Then, I had a great idea. Ugh. Me and my great ideas are infamous around here.

I thought…

Maybe they need to actually see how many toys they have. And the only way to do that is to put them all in one place.

So we hunted down all the toys from all over the house, and…

There you have it!

Regret set in about five minutes after I stopped laughing.


Daily Discipline Check-ins

Under the Cross Pictures


I love taking pictures of our family under the cross at our church. Someday we'll get someone to take one of all of us, but usually we take them spur of the moment…like this Mothers Day.

It reminds me that our family lives under the cross! We don't always get things right. Heaven knows we're not even near perfect. But if we reside under the shadow of His wings, under the protection of what He did for us by dying that horrible death and taking all of our sin away, than we can also be raised to new life in Him…a life more blessed than we could make up in our own imagination.

We're really busy right now, but through God's grace the dishes are still getting done and the laundry is staying caught up. I think this is the first time we've been in this everything-happening-at-once feeling and still kept those things from falling by the wayside.

I'm letting go of my daily check-ins as they have been. That's sorta scary, cause what am I going to write about now? But I feel it's time until I'm ready to really add something to them.

Of course I'll keep doing what I've been doing, my three chores-dishes, laundry, and tidy. I know it's time to change focus, though. It's time to finish up this school year and plan for another.

Who knows, maybe I'll write more about my home-school journey. Where HE leads, I will follow.

Anyway, thank y'all so much for being a part of my accountability plan for learning to be disciplined in laundry and dishes. It worked!

Now, onward and upward.



Life Unstaged, The Baby Years

My Saturday Morning

Saturdays I typically spend relaxing while the older kids sleep in. Bubzy was showing me the alligator he drew. Timmy was hanging out with me, as always. I don't put my babies down much at all, although he's been held by sissy more than has ever happened before, giving me more time for hands-free chores this time around.


So, how do I get any housework done at all if I rarely put my baby down?

I just wear them!


Home Economics, Meal Plans and Food, My Students

Abby Loves Cooking

About every two weeks, Abby cooks dinner for the family. She's my 11year old daughter and loves to cook. I've been spending a little time here and there teaching her skills to help her cook since she was about 8. She's pretty advanced now, able to do almost any meal I would cook for an everyday dinner. The only thing she doesn't do is carry heavy stuff while it's still hot.


This is the first year that she's developed enough skills to use the big knives. I think using a paring knife is the only one we haven't used yet.


She's even learned to watch out for the Littles that love to be in the kitchen while you cook. That's harder to learn than using a knife safely! But some dishes that only mom does are strictly kid-free zones.