Family meal time

Meal times should be a time of peace and not chaos.  We have had to work many times over the years to train our children in the “fine art of table manners.”  This is  a time that we consistently help them work at being able to sit at a table for a long period of time and be considerate of those around them.

I have a lot of little ones and it gets loud.  Sometimes too loud to want to even eat.  They are constantly all wanting to talk and interrupt each other, so it is a daily reminder to wait their turn.  Things we work towards achieving at each meal:

  1. The loudness factor. Lowering our voices while talking and waiting our turns as to not interrupt.
  2. Chewing with their mouths closed and not talking with food in their mouths.
  3. Not asking for more unless all of their food is eaten on their plate.
  4. Not getting up and getting their own food, asking first.
  5. Taking drinks while eating—they could go a whole meal and not drink.
  6. Asking the host, if they may be excused before leaving the table—we are working on this 🙂

Now that the second group of children are getting older, we like to work at having conversations around the table.  This is something that  maybe everyone does already, but in our home, it is more of eat and keep moving kind of time.  When the older set was younger we did conversational starters.  You place them in a jar and during meal time, reach in and grab a “starter” and everyone gets a chance to respond.

As a family, we have gone through our starters many times and now we have new questions to ask each other.

I have two separate question groups, one for the younger and one for the older children.  Print them off and cut them into strips.  Fold them up, and place in a decorative container near your table.  Let someone choose a ‘starter” to get the conversation going for dinner.

This is something that my children look forward to doing at every meal.

Conversation mealtime starters download

Have a blessed day today!

Setting up a cleaning system part 6

If you notice that typically four times during the year we have an extra week in our month.  The 5th week.  Hmmmm, what can we tackle on that day  For myself, that is when I would do my extra annual cleaning.  I don’t like to have to take a week out of the year for my “spring” cleaning.  When springtime rolls around, I want to be outside enjoying the sunshine.  These are the chores that we have under our annual list:

  • vacuum under and behind refrigerator
  • wipe all walls from ceiling to floor
  • clean out heater and cooling vents
  • defrost freezer and wipe out
  • clean behind washer and dryer
  • carpet clean floors
  • clean out basement
  • clean out garage
  • sort through and donate clothing
  • sort through toys and donate
  • sort through household things and donate
  • clean off videos and bookshelves and donate
  • clean out dryer vent
  • clean out fireplace
  • clean inside and outside of windows and sills
  • flip mattresses
  • test fire alarms/smoke detectors

I would divide up the number of chores that you have by four times per year.  Every time that extra week comes around, aim to get that set number of chores done.  If this list is on the wall along with your others, mark off the chores that are completed so that you don’t do them again in the coming months. If you keep it in your household binder, you can just check it off.

Maybe you just want to have that extra week to NOT have to do extra chores, that is fine.  You have to find whatever works for you.  The key is to have a list so that you know what you have to do each year.

Here is a free printable to help you with this task.

Annual jobs completed

Wow can you believe that you have organized all of your cleaning tasks into something tangible that you can actually use?  I know it may seem like a lot, but all you have to do is implement it into your life.  It will be okay if you forget to dust one day during the week.  Know that the following week you will get to it again.

This method or systematization takes time.  It takes time to sit and write everything out.  It takes time to learn to implement and see what works and doesn’t work. As with everything in life, time spent doing things that are important are well worth it in the end.  You want to be able to sit back and relax and enjoy your home don’t you? You want a smooth running home where your husband comes home and can sit at the table and have dinner with his family without all the clutter.  A home where you won’t be afraid if your friend just drops in for lunch. A home you won’t be embarrassed to entertain others in.  A place where your children know what is expected of them and they help contribute to it.  A place that they value and love because they work together to keep it nice.  All this starts with us and our willingness to make our homes a place of peace for our families.

She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness

Proverbs 31:27

It is our job to see how our household ways are run.  Why not make it a place that everyone enjoys being part of.

Have a blessed day!

Setting up a cleaning system part 5

Good morning, hope you are having a great start to your week. If you are looking around at your home this morning and getting overwhelmed by the mess everywhere, I encourage you to look back and start at part 1 of this series of how to set yourself up with a cleaning system.  If you are willing to sit and take a couple of hours to work through this, I promise it will change your life—as far as cleaning house goes.

We all like things to be easier.  It just sometimes takes some hard doing to get to that easier:)

Let’s keep working……………

Now that your daily and weekly chart is all done, it is time to work on our monthly chores.  These are the chores that you need to do only once per month.  In our family these chores consist of:

  • washing the girls bedding
  • washing the boys bedding
  • washing our bedding
  • washing the throw blankets
  • organizing the freezers—to know what I have for meals
  • wiping the dining room table legs and bench legs
  • wiping the washer and dryer off
  • spot wipe all high traffic areas on walls
  • wipe switch plates
  • wipe fan blades
  • vacuum out air and heating vents-replace filters
  • wipe down bathroom cabinets
  • wipe and dust wall decorations
  • vacuum behind/under/inside couches and chairs
  • dust light fixtures
  • clean oven

Typically you get 4 weeks out of the month to do these chores.  In our home, I divided up the chores by the number of weeks that I had.  I then made a list.

Week 1

  • wash our bedding
  • wipe the dining room table legs/benches
  • wipe the fan blades
  • dust light fixtures

Week 2

  • wash girls bedding
  • spot wipe all walls
  • wipe switch plates
  • wipe/dust wall decor

Week 3

  • wash boys bedding
  • vacuum out vents
  • vacuum out couch/chair
  • deodorize trash cans

Week 4

  • wash throw blankets
  • wiped down bathroom cabinets/walls/fixtures
  • clean oven

Notice that I grouped similar chores together.  Instead of getting out the vacuum each week, I put all the “vacuuming” jobs on week 3.  When I was going to wipe all the walls, I decided to do all the extra chores that were similar to that chore for week 2.  We have a large family and I cannot do too much laundry, so I space out when I have to wash everyone’s bedding.

Now when do I get all these chores done?  Do I have a “set day?”  Not always.  Typically I will have my list all printed out and then on Monday, I will look at my list of what I have to do for the week.  If I get a few free minutes here or there, I will tackle a job.  Sometimes I wait and designate it all to be done on Saturday when I have extra time.  These jobs are good for children who don’t obeyJ   They are not much fun and work well if I have someone who has an attitude problem.  That isn’t always the case, so we just tackle them and get them done somewhere in between life.

You can also delegate who does that by placing their initial after the chore.  Do what is best for your family.

Here is your free printable to help you with this task.

monthly chores by week

Have a blessed day today as you strive to be the BEST women of the home!

Setting up a cleaning system part 4

You haven’t gotten overwhelmed yet by all this new information as to how to set up a chore system have you?  I promise that if you start out with the 1st step and diligently work through them all you WILL have a successful method when you are finished.  We have been using this method for over 15 years and it works well.  It is able to be flexible enough to incur unexpected situations yet allows you to get all of your tasks done for the week.

Lets keep going….

You have your weekly chore list complete.  It has everything that you want to get done each week but not necessarily each day.  Now you are going to have to make some decisions and choose which days you work on which tasks.  For our family we choose a couple areas each day.

Monday we focus on floors and playroom.  This means that we sweep and steam all the hard floors in our home.  We also vacuum every inch of carpet.  After the weekend, things tend to get dirty.  We start the week out fresh by doing this.  We also do a thoroughly cleaning of the play room.  Things get organized properly and put away.  The floors should be picked up as that is part of our daily routine.  If I see an item that belongs to someone, I remind them to please pick it up.

Tuesday we focus on bathrooms.  This day I deep clean and do all of the bathroom tasks that need to be done.  Each day, I do a quick wipe but today, I get the tub scrubbed, mirrors polished, toilet disinfected, and trash emptied.

Wednesday is our kitchen day.  We normally do extra baking this day, so I choose to deep clean it as well.  As we are going about our baking, I do a scan of my cupboards and make sure that things are organized properly.  I look through the drawers and see if the proper items are in each one.  I straighten my pantry so that I know what foods I have to eat.  I fill my sink up with some cleaner and wipe off the front of all of my cabinets when we are done baking.  This removes food and finger grime.  Make sure to wipe the cabinets on the bottom. Sometimes those are overlooked and they can get very dirty.  I wipe the back splash to remove any splatters or grease.  After all of our food is cooked and baked, I wipe down the stove and microwave and give it a good shine. I clean out the inside of the refrigerator, throwing away any old food and wiping each shelf. The outside gets a wipe as well. We also rinse and scrub out our water bottles for the week this day.  We constantly keep them filled but once a week I sanitize and scrub them out.   The floor gets a sweep and a spot hand wash to remove any food that we may have dropped during our baking. Our trash gets picked up tomorrow, so we make sure to empty all of the household cans and put the trash out to the road this day.

Thursday we focus on doing all of our dusting and window cleaning.  We also straighten our school items.  This means we straighten the books, clean out our homeschooling area—return pencils to their proper place, throw away any paper, put library books in bags, etc.  I have a child that goes around and wood cleans everything in the home. Another child takes the window/mirror cleaner and goes around and cleans all the windows from the inside and wipes all the tvs, mirrors, tablets, computers, and phones.

Fridays we focus on the bedrooms and putting away all of our laundry.  I don’t designate one day to wash all of our laundry because we have so much plus our septic couldn’t handle all that water.  Each day I wash and dry one load of laundry.  I place the dried clothing in baskets: one for girls, one for boys, and one for my husband and myself.  Towels get placed in a basket on top of the washer when they are dried.  If a child needs an extra chore for the day due to disobedience or I find that I am running low during the week and can’t wait till Friday, I will have them fold this basket and put them away.   Everyone works at separating and putting away their own.  The older children can fold and hang their own. The younger ones can put away in their proper areas once I fold them.  Each bedroom gets a good cleaning.  I will clean under the beds, straighten desks, shelves, and drawers.  I will wipe down anything that maybe got forgotten during the dusting day.  The girls wipe down their shelves.  The boys organize their toys in their proper bins.  Closets are checked to be in order.  We thoroughly vacuum the bedrooms again this day.  I also run the vacuum through the living areas again to get them cleaned for the weekend.

Saturday we focus on outside chores.  We will empty and clean the van.  We sweep and straighten the porches.  We clean out the chicken coop.  We wash the pet bowls out and clean up any dog mess. If we couldn’t get down any other weekly chores during the week, this is the day when we would catch up.  Maybe you had an unexpected company on your dusting day.  We would just catch up with it today.

You will have to decide which days you want to do each of your tasks. Plan your focus on area depending up your circumstances.  If you have to leave the house early for church on a certain day to help with classes, don’t make that your kitchen day.  It will only stress you out as you try and get everything done.  Our kitchen day is a day that I know I am going to be home and not have to leave the house.  On Fridays, we do our shopping and errands.  The children like to go to the library, they know that once their rooms are done, we can leave.   This helps them focus.  Mondays are always busy after a long week, I keep my “extra weekly chores” shorter and just focus on the floors.  You arrange it according to the demands of your family.  If your husband gets home early on a certain day, don’t take on a lot of extra work that day.  Choose things that can be done quickly.

Create your list according to your family plans.  You may need to switch it up a bit.  Fill out the charts and work at your daily list and then designate a time in the afternoon to work on your weekly list.  If you find that you can’t get it all done in one day, that is okay.  As your week goes on, you will find that you don’t have as many extra chores on another day and you can rearrange and add those chores onto another day.

This is a work in progress situation.  You are going to have to implement it and then evaluate if it is working for you or not.  This is what a successful manager does.

As you fill in the weekly chores designate if someone is to help you do that tasks.  Place their initial next to the chore.  As you do the chores throughout the week, notice if one child gets done with their work more quickly than others.  You may need to add additional chores to that child if another tasks takes longer.

In our family, we try and not do extra chores on Sunday and make it a time for family and worship.  It is okay if the laundry piles up this day or that there may be dirt on the floors.  You will get to them.  Make it a time of rest and relaxing.

Remember to post these lists along with your daily list in an area you can see.  You will be making a final copy that is neat when you are finished.  Right now, you will have erasures and changes made as you try and figure out what works best for your family.

Remember to cross it off your weekly chore list from step 3 when transferring so that nothing gets overlooked. Pay attention to the chores that you place a number next to.  For example, if you need the trash emptied 2 times per week, make sure to write which two days you want it emptied.

weekly chores by day

Keep working!! You are almost done setting up a system that will work for your home.  Be blessed today as you strive to be a good manager of your home.

Setting up a cleaning system part 3

Are you diligently working on creating a cleaning system that will work for your family?  I promise that if you keep at it, I know it takes time, but you WILL have a plan in place and you WILL be successful.  You just have to endure and work your way through this.

Let’s now transfer all of your chores that you find that need to be done weekly and place them in categories by room.  Write down in the box the number of times you need to do this.  Let’s say for example you want your bathroom trashes emptied two times per week, then write the number “2” in the column.  If the task only needs to be done one time like dusting the furniture, then place a “1” in the column.

Weekly chores

Some examples of weekly chores for us include

Kitchen

  • wash floors
  • wipe out microwave
  • clean out refrigerator
  • wipe all cabinent faces
  • organize pantry
  • clean and polish stove

Bathroom

  • scrub the tub
  • wipe sink and vanity
  • clean and wipe drawers out
  • clean toilet
  • empty trash
  • wash floor
  • spot wipe walls for fingerprints

Living room

  • dust all wood items
  • vacuum –two times per week
  • wipe the windows
  • straighten bookshelf
  • water the plants

Boys bedroom

  • organize toys back to proper place
  • put away laundry
  • dust furniture
  • wipe off tablets
  • vacuum the floor —two times per week

Outside work

  • straighten the decks
  • sweep the porches
  • pick up the trash cans from the road
  • clean out the van
  • wash the van
  • clean out the chicken coop

Remember to keep working at your daily chore list each and every day.  You are beginning to form habits of doing something on a regular basis.  You will start implementing this weekly list as you finish with it.  Don’t hurry through it, just work diligently. You want a better system for your life.  You want a clean house that doesn’t overwhelm you will “stuff.”  Putting this into effect will help you.

I encourage you to keep at this. Have a blessed day as you strive to be the BEST keeper of the home as you can be!!!