Sometimes you don’t need New Year’s resolutions — like you need SOULutions — for a new you.
-Ann Voskamp

New Years Breakfast
While everyone is making their New Years resolutions to be healthier and get fit, we keep to our traditions. For years, I have made Chocolate Gravy and Biscuits, scrambled eggs, and fruits. I always joke that " I will be back to my healthy eating tomorrow". I don't make this often because (it's not healthy) I want it to be special. And this is perfect to start the new year. For boys, I am convinced, love is spelled F-O-O-D.  Happy tummies make a great start to the new year.

Re- SOULutions
I have never been the kind to make resolutions at the start of the new year. But, when I read Ann Voskamp's article about re-SOULutions, I knew that's what my heart wanted, needed. I like the idea that we are beginning a new year and have a fresh start. I found this is the best way to make a fresh start of it. Read more about it HERE.

Rhythms and 
Last month, the month of December, we threw routine mostly out the window and focused on Jesus, His birth, His coming. Now that it's January, I settle back into my routines. Read more about my routines HERE.
 I have learned that kids thrive on routine. The whole house is more in harmony when a routine is set. I don't like to live in chaos, and I think there might be a few others that feel the same. I need to have some kind of order. 
Here are a few things I do to reestablish order in our home-

1. wake early for quiet time and reading
Like I said before, I do not like chaos, so I purposely wake early to make time for myself, my soul. When I take care of myself, I am a better, wife, mom, person. I make coffee, light candles, and sit in my prayer chair with a soft light and read. I must light candles. There is just something about the soft glow that soothes my soul.  Even if you aren't an early riser, I encourage you try this. 
2. cozy the home
After putting away all of the Christmas, my home feels barren. I miss the twinkle lights and red decor. So, I cozily drape blankets over the couches and chairs. I set candles around the home. Each week a child picks out a cheap candle from Walmart. I buy some small glass jar candles from Ikea, and I use an essential oil diffuser. I make sure we have sitting areas to be able to have great conversations with family and those who visit our home. I make our board games and cards easily available. I set out our baskets of books, magazines, and coloring books. I recently made an art table area in our living area. I have a bookshelf in the living area where the bottom shelf is for our seasonal kids books. So, I put away our Christmas books and replace them with winter books. Your way of making your home cozy could be different that mine, and that's okay. Just do whatever makes you and your family feel at home.
3. family meals-
We eat together, even if it's huge meal or cereal. We eat breakfast and then I read family devotions to start the day off right. We eat lunch at the same time. In recent years, I was so ill that I let the boys make their own lunches. This did not go well. Too much food was wasted, not enough healthy meals were eaten, and bad habits started. Our oldest son, almost 20, recently told us mealtimes were best when we all sat and ate together. It was proof that my little extra effort towards meals made an impact. Once I began to feel better, I was able to turn it back around when I made the time to establish set meal times together. Just before dinner, someone is assigned the job of lighting dinner table candles, unscented, helping prepare the food, and setting the table. Sometimes dinners are fast, without a teen or two, and sometimes we linger and talk. It's amazing what conversations can come out of just taking the time to sit together and eat. I received a card game in my  monthly Faith box called What's Your Word?- which is actually an online store you will probably love to look up here. We ask a question at dinner and discuss it. Questions like, What did you learn from your biggest regret?, What does this world need more of? Even the surliest of kids looks forward to this discussion. 
4. assign new responsibilities to each family member
In order for our home to be in order, we all have to play our part in making it a home. I am so independent that I like to do it all, but it isn't good for me and doesn't teach the kids responsibility. We make lots of big messes as a large family, and a family of all boys at that. It becomes unnecessarily stressful to do it alone. I let the boys decide what they would like to learn and be a part of cleaning. I love how Jack was excited about the toilets. Oh, to be young and fearless. Ha.  Everyone does their own laundry and their own rooms and beds, so there is no excuse or placing blame. Assigned responsibilities for the home for all are for keeping towels clean, sweeping, mopping, dishes, bathrooms, playroom tidy, replacing toys and books to their places, table cleaned, counters cleaned, and yard to be taken care of. 
Consider the responsibilities in order to keep your home and assign help.     
5. reestablish daily routines
I have a basic rhythm to my days. Some could call it routines, like the page on here. Whatever you want to call it, life seems to be and stay in order if I keep to this rhythm. Read more about my basic routines HERE
Morning- quiet time, self care, start home care(chores like dishes and laundry), make breakfast, wake kids sweetly, devotions.
I say to wake kids sweetly because this sets the tone for their day. And when mom sets a sweet tone, great things can happen. I do not have easy risers, so this is an important rhythm. I then begin my day at work, writing, or running errands.

Afternoon- reading hour-or more, afternoon snack and tea, homework, play.
I have found that when I have an afternoon snack the boys demeanor is better. They will excitedly ask on the way home from school what I have made. A nice nourishment after long day at school is a comfort. I also love this tea time for myself. I will make pot of tea to have with our snack. Snacks are simple like toast or extravagant like cake. This rhythm can calm any stressing day.  

Evening- tidy up home, family reading time, plan for tomorrows events, self care, bedtime one on one talks, prayers.
Reading hour is something I haven't been able to do consistently, but I wholeheartedly believe it should be done. Over the years I've read classics such as Tom Sawyer and fun novels like My Side of the Mountain. I can't say it's the Norman Rockwell picture, I have surliness and defiance like everyone else. I know the impact it makes and the importance so I press on. Learn more of the impact it can make HERE 
I have also noticed that an established nightly bedtime routine will help the kids go to sleep with ease. I have never had an issue with bedtime, and I say it is because of this routine. I have only had issues when its out of sort. Please know I have very different personalities, and very difficult personalities. But, each little person has a soul that longs to be loved and understood. This will always make them feel loved. Yes, it takes time to spend quality time with each child, but it can be done. I've wasted time before on tv programs or social media, and I can't get back the time I didn't get to spend with them. We only get to raise them once, I don't want to waste it on useless things. My focus is on the everlasting. 
our basic never fail bedtime routine with kids- baths, brush teeth, one on one talks with each as they brush teeth and pick out bedtime books, snuggle in bed to read several picture books, read a chapter or two of our bigger book like a Magic Tree house adventure, read a devotion, more quiet,calming talks, prayers, and a good night kiss.  

quinoa lentil soup

Snowmen at Night
Snowy Day
The Hat 
The Mitten
The Three Snow Bears
Brambly Hedge- Winter Story
Winter Days in the Big Woods
Winter on the Farm
Owl Moon
Poppleton in Winter
Snowshoe Thompson
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
The Bravest Doge Ever- True Story of Balto
Winter of the Ice Wizard
Balto of the Blue Dawn
The Magic School Bus Sleeps for the Winter
The Winters Take, children's Shakespeare
Douggie Sled Dog Hero
Stone Fox
White Fang
The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe

Happy Feet
Mr. Poppers Peguins
Snow Dogs
Little Women
Chronicles of Narnia
The Mighty Ducks
Jack Frost
Eight Below
Ice Age series