Conquering the Chore Monster

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We are coming upon the end of our second week of 2013. Quite often you can know at the end of a month whether the goals you set were reasonable or not.

I feel pretty good about our goals this year. One great thing is I’ve been meeting my goal of waking up earlier in the mornings. I’ll be posting more on that in future posts.

Today I want to tell you about our housekeeping goals. I have a goal this year to never leave dishes in the sink. There were many nights in 2012 that I sighed and left the dishes to be done the next morning. That is because I had a chore assignment fail between 2011 and 2012.

Yes, it was pretty sad.

Let me tell you what happened.

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I have tried so many things these past couple of years with chores. We do pretty good when we’re in a good routine that works but when something breaks the routine sometimes it turns crazy. In 2011 we tried assigning each child monthly chores and paying them an allowance. That did not work!

The problem I had with paying them an allowance was that they took so long to get the job done. Then if there was a dirty job they didn’t want to do, it wound up set aside for the next month’s switch. Which meant that just made that chore yuckier for the next child assigned to it.

It was also hard to judge how much to pay our children because they preferred not working more than money. I also felt if I helped them by doing their assigned chore they were only learning that  someone else will do it for them. 

It is a lot easier to maintain cleanliness than to catch up on it.

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This past year (2012)  I had a hard time getting caught up. I felt I was constantly washing dishes. I’m faster at the dishes than the children and more thorough. So I had my kids doing other odd jobs around the house or working on their lessons while I did dishes. 

My husband was very sweet and started trying to help me with dishes as well. He was seeing the effort I put toward getting things caught up around the house.

Two weeks into the new year and things are going well. I’m determined that my goal of having a clean house is higher priority than even my writing goals.

The clothes issue is another matter.

We have too many clothes. We are given quite a bit of hand-me-down clothes which isn’t the problem. The problem is we’re not getting rid of the outgrown clothes quick enough.

Then it becomes a mess because the kids don’t have a place to put it all. It gets left on their floor along with dirty clothes. Well, you can probably imagine how their rooms looked. Picture 6 kids in 2 small bedrooms. Scary!

My husband had 2 weeks off during the Christmas break. One of those weeks he took and bagged up the trash and hidden toys in their rooms and kept the laundry running with clothes.

I had the kids helping me sort through those clothes as soon as they came out of the dryer.

We’re not finished with that project yet but basically I am having them pick only a certain number of clothes to keep. The rest we need to get rid of. So far besides what my husband has already taken away, I have two large garbage bags of clothes waiting in the van to be given away.

My husband told them that he will be doing weekly checks on their rooms at random to ensure they keep them picked up. Anything he finds on their floor or out of place will be thrown away. He gave them a warning to look in their rooms yesterday and tell him what they would be losing if he were to check them right then. They had a few things they would have lost but I think they are taking him seriously.

20130111-111510.jpgI have simplified our kitchen routine this year. We no longer leave the kitchen for one or two people to clean. I assigned the two younger boys to wipe the benches and the floor. (They tend to cause the most spills.) We don’t let those spills set around for someone else to clean up anymore.

I assigned my 7 year old daughter the task of clearing and wiping the table. She can reach everything on the table and is able to put things where they go. In the picture I also have her straightening the cookbook shelf.

My 12 year old daughter is very good at organizing. I usually have her dry and put away the dishes that I wash.

And my 14 year old I usually have getting all the trash off the floor and sweeping. I’m not sure where all the trash comes from but there never seems to be an end to it getting on the floor. We don’t even use paper napkins. I’m not sure where it all comes from.

That’s our new after-meal routine. I must say that so far it’s been working. I no longer have to stay up late doing dishes. Nor do I have to sigh and decide to leave the dishes for the next day.

I found that by my being in the room washing the dishes while they do their tasks keeps them from getting distracted. We now get the kitchen completely cleaned in a matter of minutes.

That is much better than the whole day it use to take.

How about your home? Are there chores that your family struggles with? Do you have any housekeeping tips that might help us out?  Please share in the comments section.

Hopefully I’ll be having a success story about our laundry woes soon. Stay tuned by subscribing to my email updates. That way you won’t miss a single post.

I’m also linking up with some other Mommies today at
Rediscovering Domesticity Blog Button

If you want to read some other Mommies perspectives on Thriving at home, check it out.

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Why I Started the New Year With 1000 Kicks

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Every year on January 1 our karate class practices a Japanese tradition called Hatsu Geiko. We all gather at our dojo to perform 1000 kicks together. After every 100 kicks our Sensei would ask someone randomly to tell what motivates them to keep on going to karate class even when they know it’s going to be hard.

I just knew she might call on me if I didn’t think of something to say. So the whole time I was kicking I was writing my answer in my head.

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My husband and I have been married 16 years. When we first met we were skinny little things. My husband had taken various martial arts off and on before we had met.

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December 2009 (Left to Right): Jonathan, Joshua, Ruth, and Hannah

Then married life hit us along with good cooking and bad eating habits. I don’t have very many pictures of those days. When we were expecting our second child, my husband would come home from work and just lay down on the floor and let our almost two year old son just crawl over him. That was all the energy he had back then. He knew he needed exercise. So he joined a Tae Kwon Do class. I just watched.

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Our karate class in January 2011

Then we were faced with a move a few months later after our daughter was born. We didn’t join any courses for a while but then my husband wanted to find another class in our new location. He found one that met at a YMCA and we both joined that time. My parents watched the babies while we went one night a week to karate classes.

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Mommy and Elijah during Haitsu Geiko January 2011. He was about 10 months old.

We moved again! This time we didn’t find another dojo for a while. I started gaining a lot of weight. I wanted to have a 3rd child but it didn’t seem to be the Lord’s will.

I was depressed! I tired easily. My back and neck both hurt.

After about a year of being depressed, I decided to see a doctor. According to his diagnosis there was nothing wrong with me.

I gave up.

Most of the time giving up is a bad thing. This time it was good.

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Our Family Summer of 2010

 

 

I quit worrying about not having another child. I decided I would just be happy with the two I already had.

I joined a local exercise place for women. I started losing weight. My husband decided he wanted to lose weight as well and found another martial arts school.I could have just let my husband do Martial Arts while I continued my own routine. However I had read in a Marriage book once that it was good for wives to participate in their husband’s hobbies. I decided to join him in Tae Kwon Do.

Then came Baby #3.

Then we moved!

Yes, we moved again. This time my husband had a very physically challenging job so he didn’t really need the extra exercise. I was expecting our 4th baby and decided walking up the stairs where we lived was exercise enough.

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Our Family March 2012 just before Elisabeth was born.

Then we moved again! This time we moved to our present location. We lived here for about a year and a half before I decided we needed to find another place to exercise.

It was about the time Hannah was 4 and wanted to be a football player. I knew she needed a sport and the rest of the family could use some exercise as well. I talked to my husband and he started calling martial arts classes in nearby towns. That’s when we found our present karate family.

Now what keeps me going to karate class?

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We had our family picture taken with Nobuaki Kanazawa in June 2012 at a SKIF seminar held in our dojo.

I’m not exactly what people imagine in a martial artist. You look at me and you see a mother with a whole bunch of kids! I’m not exactly the karate kid. I didn’t even do sports in school.

I do this because I believe that it’s not only good for me to join my husband in the hobbies he enjoys. It’s also good for us to teach our children that we can do things as a family. If mom is sitting on the sidelines or going shopping while the rest of the family works out what message am I giving my kids?

I think that we mothers need to have fun with our families. Even as I get older I can show my kids that I can still have fun.

How about your family? Is there a hobby that y’all enjoy doing altogether as a family? If not can you think of something you can start doing together? 

Please share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear what your family does together for fun.

I am setting my goals on a monthly basis this year. I have a few goals for the year but mostly I’m going to reevaluate monthly. So for the month of January I’ll be trying to post two blog posts a week. I also plan to write one devotional a week. I also plan to write one short story book.

And that’s just my writing goals. I have plenty of family goals for this year as well. Including keeping the dishes out of the sink. Laundry is a whole nother matter. I think I can. I think I can.

Sign up for my free email updates in order not to miss anything. Happy New Year!

 

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Mother – Daughter Tea

Today, Ruth and I went to a Mother-Daughter tea. It was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the skit and the presentation brought by a Mother and her 19 year old daughter. It was so inspiring. The whole theme was that our daughters need to trust God and wait what God has in store for them.

This is a message that I want so badly to get out to the young girls out there. Just like the mother said to us mothers, these girls need to learn to trust God and make the right decisions while they are very young, so that when they reach the age where they must make their own decisions then they will be able to make the right ones.

Another lesson in the skit that I found very good, was that when our daughters do get to be older and teenagers that we need to give them the chance to make their own decisions. We should be there to help them and guide them as best we can but they will have to decide for themselves whether they will follow God or not when they are older. They cannot just go to heaven on our faith in God but they need to trust Him and make the right decisions to follow Him for themselves.

Ruth also got something good from the skit. She said that the girl in the skit made the right decision not to go to the party that the other girls were going to. When I asked her why, she said that there might be bad people at the party and they might do bad things there. If Scott and I keep working with our children, with God’s help I know they will grow up to make the right decisions.

I was so inspired by the whole event, I came home all excited and jabbery. I practically talked Scott’s ear off. At least I didn’t overload him with the details on what everyone was wearing or what all the different tea sets looked like. All I know is that I feel more than ever that I need to get serious about my writing.

I want so badly to have an influence on children, not just my children but all children. I want to help them while they are young and before they make life-changing decisions. The decisions these kids make in their youth can affect their lives for the good or the bad. They need to be reached before they take the wrong path. It’s so much harder to take the right path after going down the wrong one. If these children can be directed down the right path before they get off it, they can live a life led by God and walk forever in His care. They will be ready for the good things that God has in store for them.

I’m not very good at speaking, however, I love to write. I believe the way the Lord would have me reach out to young people and to help them is through the words I write on paper. David said in Psalm 45:1 “…My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” For me, my pen is the tongue of a ready speaker. Take my pen, Lord, I’ll write for You.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
(Proverbs 22:6)

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Growing Up!

Our firstborn, Joshua, had a birthday about a week ago. He turned 10 years old. It’s amazing how time has gone by. On his birthday, I told him stories of his past birthdays. Starting from the day he was born. I remember so many of his milestones. I remember his first laugh, his first tooth. I also remember the first time he road his bike without training wheels. Then this past April, he had driven a four wheeler all by himself.

Today he had another milestone. This was his first time to mow our yard with a powered lawnmower. He had used a reel mower before, but this is his first with the gas powered lawnmower. I had told him in the past, when he begged me to let him mow, that he could mow when he was big enough to crank the mower with the pull string.

Yesterday, I was trying to decide which of the many chores I needed to do while the baby was asleep. Joshua was outside as I was contemplating mowing. He asked me as we were clearing out the large sticks, and toys out of the yard, if he could try to crank the lawnmower again. So I agreed. After making sure there was plenty of gas in the lawnmower, he pulled the cord. After just a couple of pulls it cranked right up.

I explained to him how to start with a straight line. I had him mow a straight line towards the window of our house. I then showed him how when he turned the lawnmower around there was a grass line. A line where the grass is tall verses the grass that is short. I showed him how to put the tire right on the outside of that line. He did a perfect job. I was so impressed by his hard work that I took several pictures.

Looking at the picture above you can see how the lawnmower is as big as he is. So just imagine how much work it was for his small body. However when I asked him about half-way through our yard if he needed a break, he said “No, I can do it.” So I went and got him a drink, so that he would not get too hot. He mowed the majority of the grass that day. He came in hot and sweaty with a big grin on his face. My little boy, was able to do a man’s job. Where has the time gone?

Today, he told me that he had growing pangs, in his arms, legs, and hands. I explained that it was from all the mowing yesterday. He said, “But it feels like growing pangs.” I then told him that it was growing pangs. His muscles were growing from all the hard work they did yesterday.

Later on today, he came back to me, while his sisters were playing upstairs, and asked if he could mow the rest of the yard. I said, “Sure.” So out he went and I heard the lawnmower crank and start purring away outside.

I may have mown my last yard. From now on, my son will be taking on that roll. It won’t be long and his brother will be begging him to let him mow. I can see him telling Jonathan, “When you’re old enough to crank the mower, I’ll let you mow.” It won’t be long!

Psalm 144: 11-12 “Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood: That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:
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3 Months

Wow, it’s hard to believe that Jonathan was 3 months old this past Monday. Time sure goes by fast and yet it’s seems like he’s always been around. We can’t picture life without our Jonathan. Babies grow so fast the first few months of life. It’s amazing to me that I had to buy him a size 3 diaper already. His other ones kept coming unvelcroed too easily.

It’s also amazing to think that Hannah will be 3 years old in March. I still remember when she was the baby, in fact I remember when Ruth was the baby as well. I even found a shirt in a bag of hand-me-downs that used to be Joshua’s and now fits Jonathan. Scott and I had Joshua hold it up to himself to see how big he’s gotten in the past 9 years. Joshua thought it a bit strange but he humored us and held up the baby shirt to himself. It’s amazing how they grow.

Today I have them working on their reading. They read a chapter in their readers and then they work on the workbook pages that go along with their reading. It’s been real good for them. I’m glad I found this set of curriculum for them.

Whenever Scott gets a preaching appointment outside of Texas. I look on a website to see what their homeschool laws are. Some States are a lot stricter and harder on homeschoolers than others. If you are interested in homeschooling and want to know the Legalities in the state you live in or if you might move to another state you may want to look at this website to see the legalities and requirements for homeschoolers in that state. http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp

You would be amazed at how many families there really are that have started homeschooling for various reasons. It’s been good for my family and I don’t regret having made that decision so many years ago, when our oldest was only 2 years old. At the time my husband was a substitute teacher in a public school system. He came home one day and told me that we weren’t putting our kids through that. I was glad since I had already been thinking on homeschooling since I had friends that were homeschoolers. And now even when I get discouraged, I just picture my kids sitting in public school, and I’m glad I have them at home where they can learn and thrive without as many negative influences in their lives.

Psa 34:11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

Pro 4:1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

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Things My Mother Taught Me

I have learned a lot of valuable lessons from my mother during my childhood. In fact, I’m still learning from those subtle lessons that are now more important than ever to me as I work to raise my children. I just want to share some of those wonderful things I learned as a child from my mother, and now as an adult trying to teach my own children.

When I was a child my mother taught many lessons of what is right and what is wrong. I remember my mom switching the TV channels and explaining how to know the sound of a Soap Opera verses another movie. She made sure we knew at a young age that Soap Opera’s were not good for us and to switch from a station that sounded like that. (If anyone wants to know why Soap Operas are not good, let me know and I’ll be willing to talk with you about it.)
She also taught us not to watch certain cartoons. She didn’t just simply forbid us from watching something, she always explained why we shouldn’t watch it and what the problems were with the cartoon or show.

My mother was also the one who taught me not to say “bad” words. I didn’t get in trouble the first time I came home from off the school bus and asked my mother what a word meant. She simply asked me where I heard it from and explained that there were certain words that were considered bad words and that if I didn’t know a meaning of a word that I shouldn’t say it unless I look it up. So then she had me go to the bookshelf and look it up in the dictionary. That day I knew what to do with words I didn’t know.

I learned so many other things from my mother. I learned to be quiet in church. I learned to be respectful. I remember several times my mother taking me aside and adjusting my attitude problem. Even though I may not liked it, I knew she was right. She always explained why I was being disciplined.

She taught me to be generous and giving. My mother would give of her time and money to many good endeavors. I knew she loved people by how much she did for them. She showed her love to us kids by giving us things we needed and quite often the things we wanted. I realize now that we may not have needed everything that she gave to us children, but that it was her love that made her want to give it. I don’t remember very many things she bought for herself. She always wanted to spend her money on her children and now she enjoys spending her money on her grandchildren as well.

She taught us, how bad divorce was. We may not have known exactly why divorce was such a horrible thing at the time, but we knew that it was a cause of a lot of problems. Now as an adult I realize why divorce is so bad and am greatful to my mother for teaching me how to be committed to my husband and to talk over problems that we may have. My mom was always committed to my Dad and I knew she loved him and would back his decisions whenever they had to be made. She would give her opinion on a matter but always let him decide. He was always good about listening to her opinions on those matters and between the two of them, they would make the best decision possible. I learned a lot from her on how to be submissive but always willing to give advice in a loving way to my husband when it was needed. I am so glad that I have been able to learn from her great example. My husband and I are the best of friends, because of my parents’ example.

Probably one of the most important lessons I learned from my mother, was the value of prayer. I learned that God wants to hear from us and no prayer is too small to be important to Him. I can even pray for a bad hair day and He listens. Although that doesn’t mean he will always answer the way we want, but many times He will. For me prayer is quite a comfort when I am having a problem that I cannot solve on my own. I know he will listen and help me with whatever the situation may be.

Now that I am grown, I’m still gleaning from those and many other lessons I’ve learned from my mother. As I get older I find myself asking her for advice on life and how she handled the situations that I may be facing now. She has always been a patient ear ready to listen to my questions. I love my mother, and hope that I am able to pass on these valuable lessons to my children as well.

Proverbs 31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her.

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