Tuesday, July 31, 2012


This post is about chores.

I'll tell you how we, a Big Family, handles doing chores.

Well, I'll tell you that I was inspired by Michelle Duggar upon reading her first book.  So we decided to implement the "jurisdiction" idea in our family.

Basically, the "jurisdiction" idea is dividing up the house into areas and giving each child an area, along with a partner to help in the area.  This is really great if you have a big house, but it can also work if your house isn't so big!

Our house is 1400 square feet.  SUPER SMALL for 10 souls!! But this system works super for us.

Here's how we dole out the chores:

Every week, on Monday, the kids and I get together in the living room and they gather around me.  As a side note, I went to Office Depot and, for around $15, bought a large, desk sized calendar and this calendar sits in my lap while we talk about what chores each kid will do that week.  

This calendar is strictly for writing down who is doing what each week.  Some weeks I don't write who is doing what on the calendar out of laziness, but the idea is for the calendar to keep track of everyone and what they're doing.

I also use a different color of pen for each kid.  Each kid knows their color. Even Lulu and Sofia have a color!

Using the calendar and writing who is doing what on there helps each kid remember what they're doing.  It helps me to know at a glance what each person is doing.  It has eliminated wondering who was doing so-and-so and who didn't do a good job on so-and-so, so that I can have them do it over again or yes, discipline those who don't do blah blah blah and so forth.  And, Daddy also knows who is doing what, when he looks at the calendar.  This helps because if Daddy asks someone to do so-and-so, they can tell him who is doing that specific area of the house, if it isn't them.  We operate on a rotating system so that everyone gets a different area of the house each week, but sometimes, if I notice someone isn't doing a good job on an area or just isn't getting it, I'll have that person continue doing that area until I'm satisfied that there's some progress.

This calendar is posted on the wall of my baking cupboard in the kitchen.  It's a big calendar.  I chose to write the chores in with very bright highlighters that cannot be ignored!

So, here's a list of areas in our home and the chores that are to be done in each area:

Kitchen: wash dishes,clean out sink and wipe behind and around sink. wipe down counters, load and unload the dishwasher, wipe down stove, sweep floor. (we assign two people to work on the kitchen together.  One does dishes, wipes down the dish counter and cleans the sink, while the other one wipes counters, loads and unloads dishwasher, and so on.)

Living room/dining room: pick up everything and put away, dust, sweep, clear off dining room table, clean high chair, wipe down table, sweep.

Laundry: (this is an all day, every day thing around here) always make sure there is a load in the washer and one in the dryer, take out dirty clothes, fold clothes and each person puts their own clothes away, keep laundry area in garage clean.

Bathroom: the person who does laundry also cleans the bathroom.  They make sure the bathroom is always tidy and on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the bathroom gets a deep cleaning, and we have a laminated sheet of what that entails.

Hallway and bedrooms: We have the two oldest girls sharing a room, and the four younger girls share a room, so we pick one of those girls to be in charge of keeping their rooms clean.  They are also responsible for keeping the hallway clean.

Now, the key to keeping this chore schedule running smoothly is if I'm on top of it and always making sure everyone is doing their thing right and well.  And NO,  OUR HOUSE IS NOT ALWAYS SPOTLESS AND SPIC-AND-SPAN AND I DO NOT RUN AROUND THE HOUSE IN HIGH HEELS AND PEARLS WITH NOT A DUST BUNNY OR TATTERED SHEET IN SIGHT! Sometimes, believe it or not, the house isn't spotless....especially with Pennie around! You know how toddlers are: they think it's awesome fun to dump the toy basket/bookcase/laundry piles and leave them scattered about the floor! So, this system only works as I am diligent and encouraging the kids to also be diligent.....

Also, when it comes to Sofia and Lucie, they have their place in the scheme of this plan too, even though they are only 6 and 3! We started incorporating Sofia to help with chores when she turned 5. And we noticed that Lucie was trying to help too! So, Sofia gets a partner and so does Lucie!! This helps make the little person feel so big and so important, and by the time they're 7 or so, they can sweep/dust/clean up just as well (hopefully) as their big sisters! 

On another note: the person who is Lucie's partner for any given week is charged with making sure she gets up in the morning and gets dressed and whatnot.  She LOVES this and really, so does the partner!

One other reason we do the partner thing is because truthfully, in a Big Family, there's sometimes a lot of fighting and sniping and nitpicking, ESPECIALLY with 7 GIRLS in a small house! So, we have the ones who are doing the most arguing/sniping/fighting be partners for the week! Genius, I tell ya!

Yes, even though Russell is getting on towards 18, he lives here too and he helps out too. He has his week in which he does the dishes or cleans the other part of the kitchen or he makes sure everything looks good outside, but he works along with the rest of the clan!

So this is a glimpse of how we do chores around here.  It works very, very well for us.  Things have run a LOT smoother around here since the implementing of this system.

~~I feel a Laundry Post coming on, because you know, in a Big Family With Lots of Girls, there is always mountains of laundry, so I'll tell you how we tackle that problem!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Things I'm Doing

This is a post about things I'm doing this week, this month, whether they're on my to-do list or new things, or just THINGS!

I'm wearing makeup for the first time in a year.

I now own some maxi dresses....even a striped one!

I ate steamed beet greens today! YUM!

I made gluten free, wheat free, corn free, soy free, dairy free and nut free Strawberry Lemon muffins....and heard that they were delicious.

I'm spending too much time on Husband's FB.

I've watched some episodes of Twilight Zone and haven't hated it.

I got my hair cut for the first time in three months.

I think I'm sleeping better.

I bought a toy kitchen for my girls, after searching for the perfect one for years...and it was cheap! It's a Little Tykes Country Kitchen with tons of stuff.

I'm trying to take a nap every day.

I'm actually looking forward to Hannah's 15th birthday this weekend.

I'm flirting with my husband a LOT.

I'm reading The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  It makes me very, very thankful and grateful and content with all that I have.

I'm eating gingersnaps and brown sugar frosting for "dinner".

I'm praying for God's help to be more consistent and more diligent with homeschooling and just being a better wife and mom.

The End!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What I'm Loving

I thought I'd do a post on some of the things I'm loving in my life right now.

I know, earth shaking info!!!

People, it is to me!

So, here goes.

Oh! My goodness sakes alive! I just got some of this gloss, and I simply adore it.  It makes my lips feel so fabulous, smells yummy, and lasts for quite a long time, at least two hours after I put it on.  It's minty and soothing and best of all, the colors are so fun.  I have dry lips, and you can't even tell when I put this on. I have both Hot Shot and Show Off.....I know, totally unlike me, huh? And I never thought I could wear pinks until I had a make over a couple of weekends ago! I'm loving it!

Yes, I did have the privilege of having a make over! I went to Sephora and my make over was so relaxing and desperately needed.  I learned a lot and I finally, after over a year, have makeup again! I really do love makeup and I do love looking my best, and now I can.  

Why did I not know about this blush sooner? It's Physician's Formula, and I think it's called Happiness Booster! It instantly makes me happy, for real! You just swirl your brush around in it and apply it to your cheekbones.  It's a beautiful blend of color that makes you look subtly flushed and glowing.  I'm loving it!

I like Physician's Formula makeup a lot.  It's pretty moderately priced and they have natural ingredients too, and they even have an organic line of makeup.  They have a lot of different bronzers too, and I love that though it seems like a lot of unrelated colors, when you sweep your brush over them, they all blend awesomely and look great on your face!

I don't have a picture for this one, but I love my voice class that I'm taking at our community college.  I got to know the teacher, who is also the director of the choirs at the college, in the spring when Dave and I joined the choir together.  She's really knowledgeable and loaded with talent, but she never makes you feel like she's so far above your level.  She's got constructive comments for everyone in the class.  We all have to pick a song and sing it in front of the class, and there are one-on-one sessions with the teacher, in front of the whole class....which is only about 10 people! Still, it can be nerve-wracking! The one-on-one session consists of singing the song and then working on it with her.  Wednesday was my day to sing, and I was determined to go first! I picked "O Shenendoah" for my first song.  I just want to learn to use my  "instrument" in the absolute best way I can, and I also want to stretch myself too! I'm loving it!

My daughter just told me that this computer doesn't have any pictures loaded onto it!! All of the pictures are on Daddy's computer in the other room! All of the cute and gorgeous pictures I was going to add to this post are on there, and I was informed that loading all of the pictures onto this computer would take a ridiculously long time and overload this computer! Swell.  My post is ruined!!!!! Well....let me tell you about a couple more things I'm loving anyway, okay??

I simply adore Red Leaf Organic Coffee here in my area!!!!!! I mean I really do love it. Anyone who knows me in real life knows I'm a Red Leaf Fanatic! The gals are super sweet and the coffee is the best coffee I have ever had, hands down.  With Red Leaf Coffee here I have no idea why people are still going to Staryuck's.  Staryuck's is not even on the Coffee Radar, in my opinion. Plus, Red Leaf makes all of their drinks fresh, hand made, hand blended, and Staryuck's blended drinks are only mixes with second rate coffee shots.  Very poor, in my opinion.  There's no imagination or creativity at all at Staryuck's.  Can you tell that I'm a Coffee Snob? Anyway, I'm loving Red Leaf!

I love my flip flops.  And comfie skirts.  I love that super sunny, super fun yellow color! I have two shirts in that color.  I didn't think that bright, deep sunflower yellow looked good on me, but I guess I was mistaken on that too! I love light cardigans.  I love flower clips in my hair.  I love Lucy Maude Montgomery books.  I love big, dangly earrings.  I'm discovering and getting to know my own sense of style, after a lifetime of feeling frumpy and awkward.  I guess it only took me 39 years!!! I'm finding out that I'm loving fashion!!! 

So, what are you loving today??

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cheap Fun

So, you all know we have a Big Family.

And it's hard to go out and do anything together and not trash our budget completely.  

No, we are NOT rich.  And no, one doesn't have to BE rich to have a Big Family!

We are a simple family.  We do not have cable or satellite TV.  We don't have Xboxes or play stations or iPads and iPods for each child. We do have Family Time 6 out of 7 nights a week.  

WHAT is Family Time, you ask?

Well, Family Time for us is the time after Dinner and Clean Up in which we all assemble in the living room and then, we decide what to do.  

If it's early enough, ideally, if it's between 7-7:30, we sing some hymns, with Daddy playing the piano, and then Daddy or Russell reads a chapter of the Bible.  If it's late, like 9:30, this is all we do, because we usually get done around 10 or so.....and ummm....the kids actually go to bed late around here! I know, you're gasping with horror and outrage that we let our kids go to bed late!! But that's another post! 

If we manage to start Family Time at a decent time, then after singin' and Bible readin' we usually watch a movie or documentary.  Yes, we do own a VHS/DVD player!

The movies the kids choose from are probably not even on other people's radars, but we have old-fashioned, conservative tastes around here! Here's a glimpse of what's in our TV cabinet:

The Andy Griffith Show
The Waltons, all seasons
Little House on the Prairie
Bill Gaither Homecoming DVD's
Films from the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festivals

We very seldom rent movies.  We have never done Netflix.  We do have all of the Toy Story movies, plus The Incredibles....we even have The Twilight Zone!!!! We recently purchased Chariots of Fire, which I had never seen, and a collection of very old Loony Tunes cartoons, which I absolutely despise but which *most* of my kids love.

We also have a Wii, which is a mixed blessing.  The kids can play together on it.....but they also fight over it too! *Some* kids want to play it alllll the time.....I've tried it a time or too and I'm totally horrible at it!! It's a good laugh when Mama steps up to the Wii! Usually Wii Time happens on the occasions when Dave and I go out to dinner, and the rule around here is that the Wii does not get touched until everything is clean and spotless. Then everyone gets to play.

I guess the reason we don't have lots of movies and stuff like that is because we're wanting to keep the focus off of media and brainless entertainment....not that ALL media is "bad" or "sinful". Please don't misunderstand me.  Our media choices and our LACK of media is just a choice for OUR family.  We turned off the cable about 15 years ago, and we think it's the best decision we've ever made for our kids.  We are also a musical family and we want the focus to be on music and singing and playing together.

(Let me go on rabbit trail here and say that choosing to not have cable or satellite is so wonderful for ME because I happen to LOVE cooking shows and I know I'd be wanting to watch it ALL day long!!! So not having 100 channels, or any channels at all, is great for me because it's just one of the things I can scratch off of my list of temptations, which can be LONG at times!)

We also like to watch Homestead Blessings, which are made by Franklin Springs Media, and they are fun teaching DVD's by the West Family, teaching how to do things like candle making, soap making, making cheese and yogurt, quilting, cooking with herbs, and things like that, and each show takes place with the mom and her three daughters in their humble Tennessee kitchen.  They're so cute and fun and also informative and we really like them.  We've learned a lot from them!

So, there you have a very meandering look at what we do in the evenings for fun! I hope you weren't bored!

What do you do with your family for fun?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hi Again!!

Yikes! It's been a LONG time since I've posted!! Dave's on vacation, and he's home and catching up on household projects and trying to get his office/studio organized, plus he's trying to get familiar with his new gear....so, in light of him doing some work on the house, my home has been torn apart!

We decided to lay a new floor in our kitchen.  We had green and white marble tile, laid like a checkerboard, and let me tell you, that floor was the most dangerous floor I've ever walked on!! Super impractical for a busy kitchen! If I spilled something on it, I couldn't see it, and invariably someone would walk in and walk right into the spill, slipping and falling! We lived with that green and white floor for 9 years before we moved to the country, and when we came back, we saw that in front of the sink, in a 4x4 foot section, the tiles had been completely shattered! It was just time to lay a new floor. So, Hannah and Russell tore up the floor last month and we lived with a bare, dusty floor for a month or so.  Dave put in 16 HOURS NON-STOP, without sleep, working on my floor so that I could have my kitchen back.  It's always interesting and character building to try to live and make your home in only two rooms, without a stove! My husband is a true man and an awesome provider.  During the time he worked on the floor, we couldn't go in the kitchen at all, especially when he was grouting the tiles.  After you grout tiles you have to let them sit for a specific number of hours, usually at least 12 hours.  Zoyks! That was tough for all of us! But we made it and my floor is beautiful. It's a gorgeous, natural looking, light terra cotta tile look with light clay-colored grout. I'll post pictures of the before-and-after, as soon as we find them!!

The next Big Event around our house is.....Hannah's birthday! She's going to be old enough that she can start learning how to drive.  She really already knows how, from driving tractors since she was small! She is going to be a great driver.  I'm excited to see what this next year holds for her.

We absolutely LOVE it when Daddy has vacations! We love having him home all day, every day! However, he may feel differently, as he ends up needing a vacation from his vacation! He'll go back to work to relax!

And, as though the Lord were spilling out bowls of blessing on us, the weather has been absolutely fabulous and fine.  Clear skies, gentle breezes, temps in the low 80's....ahhhhhh, summer has come to us at last!