Routines and Planning

"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is 

a time for every event under Heaven-" Ecclesiastes 3:1  

Routines and planning may seem overwhelming at first. But once you have your plan, this will become part of your life, just like breathing. I will give you examples of my routines to help you start. When I began thinking about what I need to accomplish for each day and week, I realized that my weak point was being easily irritated with simple things. I was trying to just do it all, get it done, be the perfect mother, be a great wife, and find time for myself  and God in between. I was stressed when I woke in the morning. Because there was suddenly a husband and many children looking at me needing my constant attention. But I wasn't prepared to start the day. I needed my quiet time with God to start my day and dress-make-up-shoes in case I needed to leave suddenly. I needed to be more prepared. Not being a natural morning person, I still decided to "rise early", like the Victorious Woman in Proverbs, to begin my day with a fresh, relaxing start.  I realized I could organize rest during the day when the little ones rested/napped. And I could make more time for myself in the evening. I know it's hard when little ones are at your feet, but this is how I started.
              Daily Routines
Morning Routine:
~ wake, rise,make bed-if possible, shower, dress-make up-shoes
~wipe counters and toilet
~start coffee to perk, start a load of laundry
~ spend quiet time with the Lord in prayer, devotional, bibe study
~make breakfast and kids lunches for school/hubbys for work
~wake kids, feed breakfast while unloading dishwasher(the dishwasher was started the night before)
~while unloading the dishwasher, I talk to the kids about the events/activities of the day, bible verse of the week, and devotion
~help kids with morning chores(Please check the "Kids and Chores" section for more details)
~clean kitchen and sink

~the rest of the day is devoted to family time, work, errands,etc DAILY CHORES

After-school Routine:
~ empty backpack, clean lunch boxes(we have laptop lunchboxes to cut down on waste)
~Tea Time with kids
~help with homework then put backpack by door or on hook
~finish a few chores
~a few kids help prepare dinner, depends on what we have. sometime they don't help at all. (I do this so they can learn independence and responsibility)
~kids help do after dinner chores. each has a specific chore, sometimes rotating.
~playtime-family time

Evening(before bed) Routine:
~clean kitchen and start dishwasher
~kids help put toys away
~ help kids lay out clothes for tomorrow (shirt, pants,socks, shoes, underwear)
~read to kids and say prayers
~check calendar for appointments, activites, etc
~lay out clothes for tomorrow for self
~brush teeth, clean face, bath?, jammies.
~ journal, read, music,tv
MOST IMPORTANTLY is to snuggle,pray and talk to your spouse! Make sure you snuggle and look at each other like you are still newlyweds!

For your own templates to print for your VOW Organizational Binder, click here: 
Here is a look at my Daily Chores (routines)-
Here is a look at my Work Day Schedule
Here is a look at my DAILY SCHEDULE 

 Area Cleaning
These are the zones that I made according to my home. You can group yours anyway that best suits you. Pick an area a week to clean and take 15 minutes each day to do a task. 
Area 1- Entrance(Porch,Foyer,etc)/Living Room 
1. Sweep,vacuum, mop.
2. Clean cobwebs.   
3. Dust, clean furniture.
4. Rinse plant or repot. Remove dead leaves, flowers.
5. Prune bushes.
6. Rid clutter.
7. Clean baseboards.
8. Clean lightswitch plates and fans.
9. Organize coat closet.
10. Dust and clean window sills and windows.
11. Clean/Santize doorknobs.
12.  Clean ceiling fan
Area 2- Kitchen/Dining Room
1. Clean refrigerator, thoroughly.
2. Clean window sills and windows.
3. Clean appliances(microwave, stove, dishwasher,oven).
4. Clean cabinet.
5. Clean/Dust decorative items.
6. Replace Vent-a-hood filter &/or clean vent-a hood.
7. Clean walls and baseboards.
8. Straighten drawers, cupboards, and cabinets.
9. Detail clean/dust/polish furniture.
10. Clean under sink.
11. Clean cobwebs.
12. Clean/Sanitize doorknobs.
13. Clean countertops(moving things)
14. Clean ceiling fan
Area 3- Master bedroom/Kids room
1. Detail sweep, vacuum or mop.
2. Wash curtains.
3. Wash bedding.
4. Clean cobwebs.
5. Flip mattress.
6. Clean window sills and windows.
7. Detail dust and polish(*don't forget door facings and edges).
8. Rid clutter.
9. Wash mattress pad and dust ruffle.
10. Organize closet/straighten drawers.
11. Clean under bed.
12. Clean fingerprints off of walls and lightswitches.
13. Clean/sanitize doorknobs.
14. Clean ceiling fan
Area 4- baths, laundry,office
1. Detail clean tub and shower.
2. Wash rugs.
3. Detail sweep & mop/windows
4. Scrub/Sanitize bath toys.
5. Detail clean/Sanitize toilet.
6. Throw away empty bottles.
7. Organize under cabinet(make-up, toiletries, towels,etc).
8. Clean washer and dryer-inside and out.
9. Empty Garbage can.
10. Check supplies.
11. Rid clutter on desk.
12. Empty trash.
13. Check supplies(pencils, paper, envelopes, stamps,ink,checks). Restock.
14. Detail dust/polish/windows
15. Detail sweep and mop.
16.  Straighten drawers.
17. Clean cobwebs.
18. Clean ceiling fans
 ** print this and keep in your binder with routine list(right click to highlight , then left click to "print")

                                                  Kids and Chores

I started a chore list for the kids when they were very young. The official, printed list begins at age 5, school-age. I am not the kind of mom that makes the kids do all the household chores as she watches. I wanted them to do chore for life experience and resposibility. When I moved out of my parents house and on my own, I soon realized I had no idea how to run a household. I couldn't manage the household chores, the groceries and meal planning and the bills.   I didn't want my kids to leave home not having learned any life skills.  As soon as they were school aged I had them clean the toilet. This wasn't expected to be perfect, but to teach them to clean up after themselves. We had a one bath house with 5 males! I made the chore list according to age and most important. Here is an example of my

**THANK THE CHILDREN FOR DOING THEIR CHORES!                                                                 
**the little guys have small hand brooms and dust pans. They feel so big doing this,too.
*The other children have other age appropriate chores and switch back and forth on days. Please note that none of the chores done are perfect! As long as they are done, it still helps the family!

 "Mess causes Stress"
Simple Tips:
1. Clean bathroom while kids play in bathtub
2.Listen to music while cleaning
3.While on the phone: clean purse,organize junk drawer, polish nails,  scrub faucets with a toothbrush, lysol all doorknobs.
4. Waiting in car: clean out trash, vacuum, armor-all, oraganize toy bin/holder,organize movies/CD's,study spelling words or bible verses,organize glove compartment, read mail, read devotional.
5.Waiting rooms: write letters and thank you notes(take your organizational binder!), make "to-do" list, write down ideas for vacations,family gifts,family fun day, plan menus.
6.While watching TV: fold laundry,iron,walk on treadmill,organize CDs and movies,magazines,sort change,mend clothes.
7. Declutter a room 15 minutes at a time.
8. If you get something out, put it away. It adds 60 hours to your year!
9. Make a gift wrapping center.
10. Make a sewing center
11. Make a basket of basic cleaning supplies: feather duster, squeege, toothbrushes(to scrub hard to reach cracks), glamour gloves(fancy cleaning gloves), mop, broom and dust pan, squeege, windex, all-purpose cleaner, and music to listen to while cleaning.
12.Organization Basics: large calendar, "to-do" notepad, Personal Organization Binder, cleaning binder, filing system(according folder or cabinets), Home Organizational Binder, coupon accordian file for stamps, coupons,etc...
13. Make a stain cleaning caddy- check out mine in the frugal section


Meal Planning Made Easy

"She is like merchant ships:she brings her food from afar....and gives 

food to her household....she looks well to the ways of her household."

"Christ is the head of this house. The unseen Guest at every meal."

If you are serious about saving money like I am consider these options: 
1. Do not buy processed  foods. Homemade is healthy, cheap, and easy to make. It's great quality time with the kids to make cookies, instead of them sitting in front of the TV!
2. Don't buy cereal and a lot of milk. A great deal of money goes to cereal and milk, if you think about it. Make muffins, breakfast loaves, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, egg dishes,etc...instead.(Also, another great way to spend quality time with the kids, helping you, and you are teaching them something in the process!) You can also get your calcium from other sources. 
3.When gallon of milk is half empty, mix powdered milk according to directions, fill the milk container back to the top!  I promise your kids will never know the difference!  
4. Determine not to bring chips, cookies, snack crackers, candy, etc...into the house. Only for a special treat. Eat fruit, nuts, and veggies in it's place. It's healthier and easier on the budget.
5. Make your own bread or shop at a discount bakery.
6. Drink water at meals. I make tea and lemonade for the week, or they usually just drink water. Squeeze lemon in the water and garnish the edge to make it more appealing to those less than eager to drink water.
7. Buy generics! If you just have to have a certain brand, only buy it when it's on sale and you have a coupon for it!
8. Serve a meatless meal at least once or twice a week.
9.. If a recipe calls for an egg, substitute with heaping tablespoon of soy flour and 1 tablespoon of water.
10. Have a pet? Make homemade doggie treats. Look in the recipe section under:  misc 
11. Make almost everything home made! I have recipes for teeth whitener, laundry soap, linen spray, mouthwash, facial exfoliator, fabric softener, shaving cream at my misc page.

1.When you finish putting the groceries away, cut up veggies and fruit., prepare salads, make hamburger patties,etc..
2.Write down 15 each of family favorites :chicken, meat, fish, veggie,pasta, breakfast ideas. put in separate sections in organizational binder.(great for quick meal ideas)
3. Serve a "rainbow" for dinner: a variety of colors of food.
4. Try a new food/meal only every other week.
5. Keep meals simple for little kids.
6. Never use food as a punishment or a reward.
7. Let picky eaters help with menu planning
8. Stock of one favorite meal items
9. Make table a nice place to eat. pretty centerpiece, matching napkins, plates,cups, and candles
10. Teach table manners at dinnertime, but do not let it ruin your family time or meal.

 Coupons and More....

{{{{ I do not use coupons anymore. I realized it was all junk food and preservatives. I rarely buy that stuff anymore}}}}

 Here are ways to make it easier:
1. Use to do the clipping for you. For only pennies, Christian ladies will clip the coupons and send them to you! When the store ad comes out or when you see it online, go to their site, select the coupons you want, and they will send them to you within days!
2. Get a binder,clear trading card inserts, and tab dividers. Organize inserts and dividers into grocery categories. Once you get the coupons in the mail or the Sunday paper, clip and organize in each section. This takes little time and eliminates wasted time searching back and forth through the coupon flyers. 

*Cut EVERY coupon! You may think you won't ever use or need a product. You may be able to buy this product for FREE! And if you still don't want it, you could donate it to a food bank.
3. Use . You choose the coupons you want and they send them to your shoppers card, like Kroger. As simple as that!
4. Use your stores online site to add coupons to your card. Kroger's site has a coupon section you can choose what you want to go to your card.
5. Go through every store ad. Write down products that you want or that you just simply want a coupon for. Google search, for example, "Nestle coupons". And it will take you to a link for a coupon!
6. Go to websites like , ,, . There are many, many more! Google "print coupons". 

Plan, Plan, Plan!!
1. Make a list of meals for the next week using only what you have in your pantry. You may be surprised at how many meals you can find to make!  If you do it this way then when you go shopping , you only have to worry about buying sale items and good deals.
2. Only buy what you need for the next week. Just because you are out of something doesn't mean you have to buy it that week!  Write it down on a running list to know that you are out of that item and buy when it is needed for a recipe.
3. Plan a large meal and use the leftovers to make one or two other meals. I have examples on my Routines and Planning page, under meal planning made easy. 
4. Scroll down under that section to see even more ways to cut grocery costs.
 **Make homemade, whenever possible!! This saves more money than you would think!

If money is very tight then please consider organizations like Angel Food Ministries or your local food bank. 

 Freezer cooking:

1.Plan and prepare two meals every once and awhile. Freeze one for later. Or you can plan ahead and have a Big Baking day. I am slowly adding a few items to my grocery list to prepare for that day. See my Plan in earlier blog posts.
2. Go to a local farm and buy a "cow" or "half a cow". I know that seems weird. But I got this idea because my parents raise beef cattle and we are able to get most of our meat from them. I have found that there are farms all over the US that will let you buy their meat. Google will be your best friend! GRASS FED ONLY! 
3. Go to a butcher to buy meat in bulk. We have a town nearby that will sell a meat package for a $100.00 and it will last for a long time, I promise!! Well, unless your teenage son has friends over and decides to grill 20 steaks! (And yes, they would eat them all!) 

Kids and Shopping:   *If you are able to send your children to a mothers day out or a sitter while you shop, I highly suggest this so you will not have distractions.  I take my kids everywhere with me. But I don't send my children to Mother's Day Out programs. People can't believe I want to take them everywhere with me! But I LOVE my boys. This is just my personal opinion about how I am raising my children, but I feel like if I wanted to have many children then I should want to take care of them and take them everywhere. And teach them life lessons as we go.  The Bible says to teach them wherever you go. My boys are not perfect at all at the grocery store and they have melt downs. But, hey, us adults do too sometimes! This is where the Lord really tests my patience. Sadly, patience is very hard for me,though.  I started a few things to keep the kids occupied.  If I go to Wal-mart I use a Sams Club shopping cart(it's next door). The two little guys sit in the cart and the others help. For the Little Guys I made their own shopping lists.  I bought small(hand size) spiral index cards in a holder, cut or printed out my usual grocery items, pasted them on a card, wrote the word and highlighted the first letter. If you paste in order of aisle, then they can find the item faster. Or you could paste alphabetically. I have both.  They have something to use to follow along and color in. For the older kids, have them copy the grocery list on a card for themselves. They can follow along to help find the item. Or you could make up a game to find the next item. To be quite honest, I go through the store so fast so I can get out of there quickly, that the older ones don't play many games. They just see who can find the item before Mom!  Another ideas: give each child 50 cents, in dimes and nickels. If they disobey in the store, have them give you a nickel or a dime. Whatever money they have leftover they are able to use in the gum or trinket machines before leaving the store.

Or if all else fails, call a babysitter!
"She is like merchant ships:she brings her food from afar....and gives food to her household....she looks well to the ways of her household."