Monday, December 17, 2012

Launching and Landing

The door opens.  The kids come in from school. One backpack opens and papers come spilling out.  Lunch bags are thrown down, empty water bottles, coats, gloves.  The house that was clean only moments before is now strewn with worksheets and spelling test.  

. . .Or maybe you are headed out the door for preschool drop off when you remember that the library books are due.  Where are they?  The search begins.  

Whether we are coming or going organization is key. It saves time getting in and out as well as minimizes the chaos that occurs.  

I read in the book, "Project: Organization, Quick and Easy Ways to Organize Your Life," by Marie Ricks, that you should have a "launching and landing" place in your home.  

We were fortunate when we bought our house that there was an unfinished mudroom just off of the garage.  We were able to have it finished how we wanted and it has made coming and going much easier!  

Here are some important ideas for "launching and landing":

Have an assigned place for your keys.

Have a specific place for your coat and purse.  We each have our own hook.  It is easy to grab what we need on the way out the door and easy to put away. 

The thing I learned from Marie Rick's book was that you need a place for things that don't have a place.  When I took this picture the basket on the right is empty.  It is a basket for things that are temporily at our house.  This week I bought a baby gift for a friend that I put in the basket until I was able to go to her house and deliver it.  I also had some clothes to return so they were in the basket and I grabbed them on the way out the door to run errands.  This has been a trick that helps things from pilling up on my counters.  It is a temprary place for things that are only going to be in our house for a short time.  

The basket on the left is for library books.  In the picture we didn't have any library books, but those are the bags we take to carry our library books home in.  When the kids are finished reading a library book they promptly return it to the basket so that I can return them. 

The basket on the right is for gloves, hats, and winter stuff.  The basket on the left contains 6 small bags that the kids take to church with them.  Sunday morning before walking out the door we just grab their bags.  (The oldest kids add their scriptures).  For Ellie it has diapers, wipes, a few small books and a little toy or two.  For the other kids it has a notebook and something to write with.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


We have six kids.  If each child got a drink at each meal and a drink mid morning and mid afternoon that would be a minimum of 6 x 5 = 30 cups per day to wash.  That just doesn't work for me so. . . 

 We have assigned cup colors so that we never fight over colors :)   After meals the kids put their cup in "cup-land" next to the fridge.  If they have milk with a meal we rinse it out before they put it back.  After dinner they put their cups in the dishwasher.  It is a simple thing, but it makes our lives a little bit easier!  

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Today we did a fun Sunday afternoon activity.  Our lesson in Sunday School was about Talents.  I decided that I wanted each of our children to understand that they had been blessed with many talents.  I told them about the parable of the talents that Christ taught in Matthew Chapter 25: 15-29.  We talked about how if we use our talents we will be blessed with more.  

I then had each child come up and I put five of their talents on their fingers.  They each made a plan for how they could use one of their talents today.  Then we stuck their talents in their journals.  They were all beaming and so happy to see all of their talents.  They asked if we could do this at least every month!  

P.S. The Eyre's have a similar tradition that Shawni shared here.

Matthew Chapter 25:

 15 And unto one he agave five btalents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
 29 For unto every one that hath shall be agiven, and he shall havebabundance: but from him that hath not shall be ctaken away even that which he hath.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I am thankful for. . .

Today I am so thankful for the chance to be a mother.  In the past 10+ years of my mothering career I have made mistakes every single day, but I feel so grateful that I have tomorrow to try and be even more patient.  I am grateful that I can keep realigning my focus on the things that matter most.  I am so grateful that my house is noisy and the books are scattered across the family room floor because that means that I have many little bodies to hug, hands to hold, and messy faces to wipe.  This is what I love.  I love being a mom to my children and loving them like my mother loves me.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

I am thankful for. . .

Yesterday was Sunday.  It was a typical Sunday.  I usually get up early to read my scriptures and prepare for Relief Society or read a lesson.  Sweet Abigail got up and started to make pancakes and Alexis set the table while I was on the computer downstairs.  
I am so thankful for sweet daughters!  

After church we ended up pulling out the kids baby books.  Each time we had a baby my mom gave me two baby calendars: one for the first year of life, one for the second year of life.  I very diligently wrote in Abigail and Hyrum's, I wrote a lot in Spencer's, some in Alexis and Tanner's, and very little in Ellie's.  We started reading about things they did and said when they were little.  After reading their baby calendars we pulled out my old journals and read things that I had written about them.  Sometimes I was laughing so hard I couldn't even read to them what I had written.  We had such a great evening telling stories and remembering.  
I am so thankful that I wrote down life's little experiences it is so fun to look back for a moment and remember those sweet two year olds and tiny babies that are now growing up. 

I am thankful for. . .

As thanksgiving quickly approaches I can't help but stop and think about all the things that I am thankful for.  

In President Thomas S. Monson conference talk entitled "Joy In The Journey" he quotes Emily from the classic drama Our Town,  “Do … human beings ever realize life while they live it—every, every minute?”

President Monson continues,"Our realization of what is most important in life goes hand in hand with gratitude for our blessings.

Said one well-known author: “Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend … when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.”
I am making a conscious effort to be thankful for all the blessings that surround me

Monday, October 29, 2012

We have a winner!

Congratulations Emma!  You are the winner of the free digital copy of this new book:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Errands, lots of errands


The errand list was long today!  I purposely saved my least favorite errand for last. . .Walmart.  I didn’t need much, just Halloween candy, a few things for kids Halloween parties at school, deodorant, etc.  I made two major mistakes:  

1.  Taking two tired kids in the store that had been troopers through the previous five errands.  

2.  It was lunchtime. 

Shortly after we enter the store Ellie bumped her nose on the side of the cart and cried and cried.  We calmed her down and then Tanner decided he wanted to hold the bag of Halloween candy that she was holding.  It resulted in Tanner getting his face scratched.  I guess you could say Ellie won?  Tanner calmed down and then he found some amazing fire fighter rain boots in his size that he wanted so badly!  (Sorry, he doesn’t go enough places in the rain for me to justify his need for rain boots.) I physically lifted him in the cart and continued on to get the last two items on the list.  Tanner was screaming and saying that I was mean because I wouldn’t get them for his birthday.  A Walmart worker looked at me and said, “I understand.  I have three kids.” 

Oh, the joys of motherhood!  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Organizing Your Time

* This post is a little outdated, it is before I used technology to organize my time.  Here is a video that is a bit more up to date:

Life is busy.  As a mom I sometimes feel overwhelmed by deadlines and tasks.  I also feel responsible for all of the deadlines and tasks that our children have.  (School is harder than it was back in my day!)  In order to organize my time I do a couple of things that make a big difference.

1.    A family calendar-  Our calendar is on the computer.  Justin and I can both add family items on our calendar and they sync together. 

2.    We keep our shopping list on the computer.  Less paper and we both add to it when we think about something we need.  It has a few categories. 
Grocery Store – Sam’s Club – Walmart/ Target – Other

3.    Little Book-  I bought a little notebook at Walmart for $2.97.  I start the day 
with two lists.
Need to do. . .          and          Want to do. . .
Some days I only accomplish a few of the items on my need to do list.  Sometimes I get all of my need to do items done and start working on a project I want to do. 

4.    A place for thoughts.  I can’t tell you home many times I think about this or that 
and jot myself a note on the notebook page that  I am on that day.  
In the evening I sit at the computer and type in things that need to be on the 
calendar or record in my journal something funny that one of the kids has said 
during the day. 

5.    I am always trying to learn and improve.  My birthday is coming up and this year I asked Justin to get me the Mind Organization for Moms program from the Power of Moms website.  I am really excited to learn how to better organize papers and projects. 

Speaking of Power of Moms, they have a new book out that I am reading.  Leave a comment if you are interested in a free digital copy of their new book.  I'll choose a  random winner on Monday, October 29th.  

Easy Chicken and Potatoes (crock-pot recipe)

Easy Chicken with Potatoes
Recipe from Elise Sykes

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ c. Italian salad dressing
1 tsp.  Italian seasoning or mix basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, and garlic powder to equal 1 tsp
½ c. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
4 to 6 med. Potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges or thick slices

Place chicken in bottom of crock-pot.  Sprinkle with half of the Italian dressing, spices, and the grated cheese.  Put the potatoes on top or around the chicken.  Sprinkle with the rest of the dressing, spices and cheese. (I just buy the packets of Italian dressing, make half the packet and sprinkle the rest for the seasoning.) Easy!  Cook on low for about 6-8 hours, or until the chicken is done and potatoes are tender. You can sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top before serving.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

General Conference Traditions

General Conference weekend is something that we look forward to.  I try to get laundry and cleaning done so that we can just sit and learn from our church leaders.  We have Bingo sheets for the kids to color in every time they hear a certain topic talked about.  They also love to have a coloring sheet of the apostles that they color in what their tie looks like when they speak.  

We keep the meals simple, but delicious.  

The Monday after General Conference for Family Home Evening we bring our notes and discuss how we can live what we have learned in General Conference.  

Yesterday we were so excited about President Monson's announcement about the change in missionary's age for service.  We are excited that young men can serve at 18 and young women at 19.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Afternoon Craft

This afternoon at preschool, Tanner and I made Halloween crafts.  This is what I made.  I found the idea on my friend, Telisa's blog!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Around the Kitchen

Love my good old crock pot.  It has cooked many meals! 
 Love my steamer.  Today I cooked sweet potatoes and added broccoli for the last 15 minutes.  I love that I can leave it alone and let it do it's job while I help with homework.  I do most of my meal preparation in the afternoon before the kids get home.  It is great to clean sweet potatoes or potatoes and have them in the steamer so that I just have to turn it on about 1 hour before dinner.  
 On the side of the fridge we have or list of chores and our menu for the week.  
 Our current chore chart.  We rotate the wheel every Monday night at Family Home Evening.  
 I am a big fan of Greek Yogurt.  I like the plain yogurt.  It has 22 grams of protein, only 9 sugars, and 0 fat!  My family thinks it takes like sour cream, they don't care for it.  I like to eat it mixed with fruit.  I also use it in place of sour cream.  
 I also like hummus.  My favorite flavor is the pine nut flavor.  
 Our pantry is clean and organized!
 Love this walk in pantry.  It curves around the corner so I can't get the whole thing in the picture.  Our old house seriously lacked storage, so this is a dream!  

 I love that food storage buckets fit on the bottom.  


Last night I went to a wonderful Relief Society meeting about meal planning.  I love meeting together with other women and hearing their ideas.  Here is my plan for the week:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Latest Project

I am decorating a cute room for a cute girl. Here is a sneak peak.  

I made the pillow sham yesterday afternoon while Justin took some of the kids to Walmart.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Success or Failure?

Sunday, August 27, 2012

Today I sat in a wonderful Relief Society lesson.  One of the talks we were studying was, "That the Lost May Be Found," by Elder M. Russell Ballard.  The teacher highlight one of my favorite paragraphs from the talk, 

"Put everything you do outside the home in subjection to and in support of what happens inside your home.  Remember President Harold B. Lee's counsel that "the most important . . . work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee [2000], 134) and President David O. McKay's timeless "No other success can compensate for failure in the home" (quoted from J.E. McCulloch, Home: The Savior of Civilization [1924], 42; in Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 116).  

I have heard, "No other success can compensate for failure in the home" dozens of times in my life.  I have always brushed it aside thinking I am not a failure, so it doesn't apply to me.  Today I really thought about the phrase and how many days that  I have felt like a failure.  The days when dinner isn't ready, the laundry is piled high, homework papers are scatter across the kitchen counter, the baby is screaming, and I handle the chaos by yelling.  It is days like that I feel like a failure in my home.

I wondered, "What can I do to lessen the amount of days that I feel like a failure?"  Sure, I realize that there will be many days that don't go as planned.  I feel like often the crazy evenings of chaos come when I haven't properly manage my time and have over committed myself to wonderful causes outside of our home.  

The answer to the problem is exactly what Elder Ballard said,

"Put everything you do outside the home in subjection to and in support of what happens inside your home. "

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Getting Ahead of Breakfast

At our house we prefer to eat something besides cereal for breakfast.  That said, we have had cereal a lot lately as we have scurried out the door for school.  

When it comes to cooking, eating healthy is a big priority for me.  I make most things from scratch.  The truth is I don't have time to make pancakes from scratch on a school mornings, nor do I have time to wait for muffins to bake.

Today I made made up bags of our favorite pancake recipe so that I  can quickly add wet ingredients and get pancakes made for breakfast.  

I also made a big batch of  "6 Week Bran Muffins."  I put them in the freezer so that I can pull them out the night before we plan to eat them for breakfast.  

I am also planning to boil eggs ahead of time and I always try to have fruit on hand to add to each breakfast.  

6 Week Bran Muffins
(My sister-in-law, Shannon, shared this recipe with me, it has been a favorite for many years!) 

2 cups flour (I use fresh ground white wheat flour)
1 cup oats
1 cup wheat germ
3 cups sugar (I used 1 1/2 cups)
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups chopped nuts
4 eggs
1 cup oil (I used 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce)
1 quart buttermilk
1 25 oz. box Raisin Bran

Mix wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls.  Mix together.  Bake 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Store batter in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.  It makes about 3 dozen.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I came across this quote on the blog "320 Sycamore".   I am so grateful that Melissa shared it because it is such an important message that we all need to be reminded of.  It has been on my mind as I have planned my schedule during the busy days of going back to school.  

7 healthy easy meals

This is hard to read because I scanned it in.  It is 7 healthy and quick meal ideas.  Great ideas that I have used on busy nights.  I originally clipped this from a Mayo Clinic magazine.
Related Posts with Thumbnails