Thursday, April 9, 2015

Opportunities to Learn. . .




I hope that it isn't a secret to those around me, especially my family, that I am passionate about motherhood.  I know there is nothing more important in this world that I could be doing with my time.  

Motherhood is hard!  As soon as I think I have got a good handle on what I am doing as a mother we have a new baby join our family and the older kids enter a new stage and I seem to start figuring life out all over again.  Throughout my mothering years I have felt so privileged to learn from so many amazing mothers in all different parts of the country as we have lived in several different states.  

I love to learn, I am constantly looking for new ideas and inspiration to do a better job in my role as wife, mother, and homemaker.  That is one reason that I love Power of Moms.  It gives me an opportunity to learn from other mothers and share my thoughts and ideas.  

For many years I have dreamed of being able to attend a retreat that they hold in Park City, UT each year at the Eyre's home.  The last couple of years it hasn't worked out for one reason or another and I am so excited that I am going to be able to attend this year!

This is a big year for our family, we will have a teenager this year, our oldest son will get the Priesthood, right now more than 1/2 of our kids have been baptized, and we will have our 8th child (5th daughter) in August!  

With all these exciting milestones I look forward to gleaning some of the inspiration that Linda and Richard Eyre have gained as they have raised 9 amazing kids, written many books, and had opportunities to speak all over the world!  I love the co-founders of Power of Moms, Saren Eyre Loosli and April Perry.  Both are so full of inspiration.  I appreciate their approach with Power of Moms, here is part of their purpose:

"Just as members of other “professions” have their professional organizations and websites, we see Power of Moms as the “professional organization” for mothers everywhere who take their “job” as a mother very seriously and desire a network of other mothers that can provide ideas, inspiration and empowerment."

I am also looking forward to attending BYU Women's Conference while I am in Utah.  My heros are the amazing women who so selflessly serve in leadership roles to guide and direct our Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society organizations for the church.  Just last weekend when we heard the LDS Women's Broadcast I felt so uplifted.  Sister Oscarson's talk will always be a favorite in my book.  I have re-listened to it at least 3 times since Saturday.  I look forward to hearing many inspiring talks at Women's Conference.  

Another perk of this adventure is that I will be able to see a few of my favorite mothers from our good old Rochester days.  I am so looking forward to visiting with and learning from them!  

If you are available please join us at these amazing events!  I would love to catch up with some of the wonderful mothers that I have know throughout the years!  

(I am only attending 1 day of BYU Women's Conference, May 1.  The Power of Mom's retreat is on May 2)



Thursday, April 2, 2015

Loads of Laundry

This post is dedicated to my 
friend Natalie who asked me 
to post about laundry a long time ago!   

Laundry, laundry… it never ends.  May I confess that I don't love laundry?  We have a lot of it and we stay pretty well on top of it because I have a secret weapon… my husband.  Years ago when all of our kids were too tiny to help he offered to take over the laundry for a few months each time we had a new baby. (It was a great deal!)  He is super organized and thinks of great processes of how to work efficiently, thus, our laundry system was born.   Here is how we handle all the dirty clothes:


All dirty laundry that is removed is placed in one of three bins:

Always Sorted!

White, light, or dark.  There are only 3 dirty laundry bins in the entire house and they are all lined up, it has been that way for years (many years, like 10+).   When kids get out of the bath or shower upstairs or down they come and drop dirty clothes in the bins.  The little kids of course need reminding or help.  This helps so much, because I never have to collect or sort clothes! 

(*note: at our house this works because it is a habit.  If your family is currently in the habit of throwing dirty laundry on the floor or in the closet it will take time to break that habit! Be patient and persistent.)


Load a Day

I try to do about one load per day.  (The exception is when we have a potty training child, and then the laundry never ends!).  I fold clothes and leave them in piles on my bed and have the kids take their piles after school to their own rooms to be put away. If I fold laundry after they are in bed I leave their pile by the door so that they can put it away the next morning.  Doing one load a day ensures that we all have clean underwear and socks, but we have a lot more laundry than one load a day.  The fact is that somedays are busy and slide by without a load of laundry getting done.  

Plan to Have a Catch Up Day

In the past:  Saturday has been a big laundry day at our house.  I usually would direct the kids in Saturday work while my husband collects all the towels that need to be washed.  Saturday is the day that we make sure our laundry bins are empty and that all our towels are clean.  Part of the kids Saturday work is to help with laundry, so we all help fold or hang.  

This systems has worked quite well, but my husband continues to get busier and busier at work and church so I have had to adjust to getting more done durning the week.  I now have Thursday as my big laundry day to make sure bins are empty and all towels are clean.  The kids come home from school and help fold their own clothes and put them away.  

I usually do bedding on a Tuesday or Thursday during the week.  Most of our kids take a bath or shower every night before bed, so I don't feel it is necessary to wash their sheets every week since they always get in bed clean.  I usually wash one room's sheets each week.  

Our laundry room is small, but it works. I think the key is to stay on top of the clean clothes and make sure that they are folded shortly after they are finished in the dryer.  


  
Everyone happily helps with laundry :)  
Favorite Products

If I am going to all the work to have clean clothes I want them to smell clean.  I prefer Gain.  There are two different scents at Sam's Club.  I like to switch it up occasionally so that we notice the fresh smell!  Bounce works for a fabric softener.  

Oxi Clean Max Force Gel Stick is a product that we love!  I can't tell you how many white and light pink shirts this stuff has saved.  When the kids have had an extra messy day with spaghetti sauce, ketchup, or watermelon we stain stick their clothes before we throw them in the hamper and this stuff works!   


Less is More!

Most people can reduce most of their laundry problems by reducing the amount of clothes you own.  You don't believe me?  Try it!  Here are some of the benefits to having less clothes:

-It is easier to put your clothes in your drawer or hang in your closet because it isn't over stuffed.  

-If you only have what you like in your closet you spend less time trying on multiple outfits (I have kids that will try on an outfit and throw it in the hamper so that they don't have to put it away!).  

For little kids our rule is 10 outfits.  (if they have 11 shirts that is close enough :)  

Here are pictures of our 4 year old's 10 outfits.  I roll her outfits together so that she can get dressed herself in the morning.  









My general rule for little kids is:
-10 outfits
-3 pairs of pajamas
-1 coat
-a few cardigans or sweaters for girls
-a sweat shirt
-swimming suit

(I am not a total stickler, if they get a new shirt for their birthday they can have more than 10 :)

Bigger kids:
-At least 5 pairs of pants or shorts (depends on the season)
-Around 10 shirts
-3 pairs of pajamas
-1 coat
-a few cardigans or sweaters for girls
-a sweat shirt
-swimming suit
(of course older girls have vests, scarves, cardigans. . . )       

Church clothes for everyone: Girls at least 4 dresses, boys have a suit and khaki pants with a sweater vest so that they can switch off each week.  The boys usually have a long sleeve and short sleeve white shirt. 

FYI:  for kids over the age of 6 we fold pants but hang all their shirts.  

I cleaned out my closet this week and only kept things that I love.  (I thought my closet was pretty clean and organized, but I filled two and a half garbage bags of clothes for Goodwill.) The best part is that I feel like I have more to wear!  I don't have to sort through the stuff that I don't really like!  


Monday, March 9, 2015

Master Bedroom- Updated Home Tour- March 2015

I realized that the pictures in my "Home Tour" were all a bit out of date.  I am slowly going to post updated pictures of our house.  

I love our room.  I have carefully chosen everything in our room.  I keep it very simple and streamlined because I like to have our room a retreat from all the busy things in life.  

The green chair in the corner has been my favorite spot for many many years.  I dreamed of owning a chaise lounge when I was in 8th grade.  I had several catalogs that I marked pictures of my favorite chaise lounges in and my mom surprised me with this one for my middle school graduation!  (Who gets gifts for middle school graduation?  Especially furniture?) That chair has lived in my room from Virginia to California and many states in between.  I spend the majority of my nights there when we have a new baby!  












Friday, February 27, 2015

Chores!


Chores Part 1 from Tasha Bradshaw on Vimeo.




Chores Part 2 from Tasha Bradshaw on Vimeo.

*I said in the video that the first chore we give our kids is to unload the dishwasher, I meant to say help with the unloading the silverware!  :)

A friend of mine asked me what we do about chores.  We have done a variety of different ideas over the years and ages.  Overall the ideas that really work are:

Daily Chores

1.  Be Consistent!

2.  Make sure they know what you expect and how you want it done!

3.  Start Young.  Our kids officially get chores when they are 3.  They help pick up their toys and rooms before that.  Their first chore is usually to help unload the silverware.

I have a list of what needs to be done each day at home.  (It is taken from Daryl Hoole's book, "The Art of Homemaking Today") It is my favorite book.

Daily
make beds
prepare and serve meals
clean up and sweep kitchen
spot-clean bath fixtures, mirrors, and floors
pick up throughout house
empty wastebaskets
wash and fold clothes
remove snow in season

I look at the list and ask myself what the kids are capable of helping with on the list and what would help us to get a great start on the day.  

Here are some of the chores at our house:

Unload the dishwasher (I start it every night so that it is ready in the morning)
Unload the silverware
Get snacks and water bottles (the school kids have to take a snack everyday)
Empty trash cans from bathrooms and office into the large kitchen trash
Bathroom wipe down (using clorox cleaning wipes clean bathrooms sinks and toilets)
Help the 4 year old make her bed 

We don't rotate chores, because I assign chores based on ability.  Every several months we  re-evaluate and change things up.  (in the summer we don't need a daily snack person, so we think of a new needed chore)

The rule at our house is that you have to do chores and make your bed before school or you  get 3 extra chores after school.  They are usually really good at getting it done in the morning!  

Saturday Work

I again use the weekly list from Daryl Hoole's book to evaluate what the kids can help with on Saturday jobs:

Weekly
clean bathrooms
change bed and bath linens
remove fingerprints
damp-mop hard floors
dust furniture
vacuum floors
carry out trash
iron and mend
plan weekly menu and grocery shop
water indoor plants
mow and edge lawn in season
tend garden in season
rake leaves in season
sweep porches and steps


I will send a link with examples of our Saturday work. http://www.organizeddinner.blogspot.com/2012/06/saturday-work.html

 It talks about "treasure boxes" on the Saturday work list.  Treasure boxes are rubbermaid containers that each child has for their personal treasures (i.e. junk mom would probably throw away!)  That is their special place for anything they want.  Some kids keep McDonald's toys and tons of art projects that they have made.  The only rule is that the lid must fit on!  It is a great solution to giving them space to do what they want and keeping their rooms uncluttered and organized like I want!  

Chore Motivation and Charts

Right now we are in a pretty good grove and the kids are all quick to get done what they need to.  In the past we have used fake dollar bills and they get "paid" for doing their chores.  They used their fake money to buy screen time or special dates with mom and dad. We have used charts to mark.  We have also used the online App called  My Job Chart to mark of their responsibilities.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Celebrating Benson LaVel Bradshaw

Today is my little nephew's first Birthday.  Although his life was short he had a tremendous impact on many lives.  He lived from February 25, 2014 to April 2, 2014.  Most of his life was spent in the hospital but he was granted a short time on earth to be home with his wonderful parents and loving older brothers.  








As a family we decided we wanted to do something to remember and honor Ben for his first Birthday.  We decided to start our first annual, "Benson Bradshaw Fundraiser."  Throughout the month of February the kids took on extra jobs around the house to earn money.  They were very diligent and were constantly asking for work!  

Ben spent most of his life in the hospital so we decided as a family to use our money to bless other children that are in the hospital.  I contacted our local Children's hospital and found out what items we can donate to help children.  

With cash in hand, the kids and I went to Walmart in search of the perfect gifts to bless children.


They each had their own money that they had earned so they had to figure out how much things cost and what they could afford to buy.  





I wish I could have truly captured the joy that they felt and the excitement in the air.  It was that feeling of true joy and service that I hope they will never forget. 



They were all so excited with what they bought.  The little kids especially love to sit and look at the presents that we are giving in honor of Ben's first Birthday.  

They picked out:

board books
coloring books
crayons
bubbles
weaving kits
dinosaur toys
toy cars
stickers
playdough




Happy Birthday Ben.  We love you.

Other posts about Benson:  A Christ Centered Easter

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Out of Balance

Have you ever said "yes" to too many things?  Have you ever felt sightly out of control?  

*This post was originally written in the fall of 2014.  I love this experience because it caused me to step back and see that sometimes I am like that little mouse in the book, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,"  one things leads to the next and before you know it you are back to the mess that you started with!  I think it is necessary to slow down and focus to achieve the best results!

My house ended up being a mess, my kids were crying, and I was stressed out, but my pantry was clean.  Is that really the most important priority?  

Yesterday was one of those days.  One of those days when I said "YES" to too many things.  It started out ok, but I just kept adding events, projects and problems!  After doing the school drop offs I came home to a kitchen cluttered with breakfast dishes and lunch preparation mess (I should have made the lunches the night before, not right before we ran out the door).  It was while I was cleaning up the mess that I decided that I couldn't wait one more day to reorganize the pantry that had been neglected over the summer.  I also needed to go to Sam's Club and restock our fridge, snack supply, toilet paper, and paper towel supply.  Before leaving for the store I had several things that I needed to do around the house like:

Start the laundry. . . again. . . it had been in the washer since yesterday and I forgot was too tired to move it to the dryer before I went to bed.

I picked up the house, looked over my shopping list, and planned my menu.

Then the phone rang. . .and rang.  I said some more "Yes" answers even though I knew I was starting to be stretched thin.

I went to the store after stopping by a friends house to help her with a project.

I will mention that I am always a little embarrassed to see people I know while shopping at Sam's Club.  We eat a lot, therefore I buy a lot!  With two kids in the cart, toilet paper, and paper towels, and diapers the cart is full, so I decided to check out and come back in and start another shopping trip with an empty cart.  I will also mention my good fortune in the fact that the containers that I wanted for the pantry reorganization project happened to be on sale!  Once the second cart was paid for we went to the doors of the store with the intent to leave, but it was pouring rain!  I waited for a minute but could clearly see that the rain was not going to let up so I did what any mother without an umbrella (or patients to "wait it out") would do.  I pulled the nursing cover out of my purse and put it over my two little girls heads and I ran pushing a loaded cart to my big van.  I ran until my flip flops were so slippery I knew I had better slow down before I fell.  By the time the girls and I were in the car we were completely soak as were all of the things we had bought.

Once we go home I carried in a few basics like grapes and chips to feed the girls a late lunch before getting them into bed.

At this point I should have had the wisdom to see that pantry reorganization was not a top priority for the day.  I should have put the groceries away and straightened the house before the kids came home from school, but I didn't.  I used the fabulous new containers and reorganized the pantry while putting the groceries away.  The clock kept ticking closer and closer to school pick up time and I was far from finished.  It was at this point I knocked a gallon of milk down the garage steps and it promptly broke open on a rug at the bottom of the steps and ran across the entire garage floor- which is apparently slightly sloped!  Despite the whirlwind inside and the apparent garage fiasco it was time for pick up.  I pick up a few neighborhood families and it was raining so making the kids wait didn't seem like a good option.  I promptly woke the baby from her nap and went to pick up the kids.

After school I told the kids to wait outside while I grabbed a snack for them to eat while they watched me hose down the garage.  I also told them it seemed like a great day to quickly get their homework done so that they could all go to the basement and watch a movie because - I really needed more clean up time!

The 3 year old didn't like the idea and she began crying and begging to play with friends.  I tried to console her and explain that I wasn't in the position of playing with friends at this point.

I did mange to get everything mostly clean and rearranged before my husband came home and we did have a lovely meal for dinner: salmon and rice.  The kids even said it was the best Salmon I had ever made!  Then I ran out the door to pick up for Young Women's.  Did I mention that I was in charge of the activity?  I was, and I wouldn't have been ready if my oldest daughter hadn't gotten everything I told her I needed while I was sitting at the dinner table nursing the baby and making sure the other kids were getting fed.

Needless to say, when I got home that night I wasn't a loving and comforting wife, I was exhausted and overwork, tired, and out of balance.

I woke up today resolved to slow down, say "NO" when needed, and focus on my priorities.

I took time just after lunch to make dinner and set the table because my family deserves to come home from their busy days to a home that is peaceful and a refuge from their daily stresses.

As I have looked back at how I could have handle the day differently I know that I should try to do less.  Say "No" to unnecessary things and complete projects after I have completed the basic things that need to be done.

I chose to include pictures from the next day when I set my priorities in order and we found balance :) My family came home to peace not chaos!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Real Life and Exciting News


I love the quick easiness of Instagram, it is a great way to see snippets of friend's lives.  

I think that there is a lot of real life that doesn't usually show on social media.  Just so you know that we are really human, here is what doesn't appear in my Instagram pictures:

1.  I didn't post a picture of what we had for dessert on Christmas Eve.  This is what we had:




It says, "Number 8 Will be Great!  We Can't Wait! Due August 9, 2015!

We are super excited!  The kids were surprised.  Our current baby will be just under 2 years old when the new baby is born.  I like the 2 year spacing. 

2.  I haven't posted any pictures of me miserably nauseated!  

3.  I haven't posted any pictures of the stack of papers on my counter or my kitchen floor that wasn't swept.  I have been in survival mode, just basics. . . feed kids, basic house pick up, and clean laundry in the basket but not folded.

4.  Despite feeling sick I did muster enough energy to help plan a very special baptism for our daughter and we invited friends, neighbors, teachers, and family from Utah.  She was baptized on January 23. 

5.  I didn't post any pictures of what I looked like last weekend on the day of her baptism.  I woke up and was shocked when I looked in the mirror because my jaw and sides of my face were super swollen!  While our parents and my grandparents were here  I spend the day in the doctor's office doing blood tests to find out if I had the Mumps!  (Yes, my immunizations are up to date).  
I was placed in "Quarantine." Until the results from the blood work came back.  I attended the baptism, but stayed away from everyone.  I stood by the font to listen to the speakers.  It was sad, really sad.  

I stayed home while the family watched my boys play soccer and went to dinner.  The whole weekend I was home.  

It wasn't until the next Tuesday that the results came back and said that I did not have the Mumps! 
I simply had clogged parotid glands or saliva glands (it isn't contagious at all).  

6.  I had been so nauseated that in December the doctor gave me a prescription medication for nausea.  Because of my "mumps scare" they took me off of the medicine and I was so sick the whole weekend that our families were here. 

7.  For memory sake we took this picture after her baptism:
The doctor said that if I wanted to sit by people I could just wear the mask.  I opted to stay away.  

Needless to say, life is always an adventure!  On a positive note I am feeling so great this week!!  I finished the first trimester of this pregnancy and I am hopeful that I will keep feeling great!  I know I am feeling better because I have been tackling organizing projects this week!  






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