Faith, Marriage, Motherhood, Homeschooling, Essential oils, Herbs, and Holistic Living
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Laundry. The task that pretty much makes every mom sigh. For most of us it's never a job you catch up on, and it's plain out just not fun. Depending on your system, it can even be a big chaotic headache!
Through the years I've developed a laundry system that works efficiently for our family of 8. It even accommodates the seasons we are doing cloth diapering! Best of all, I rarely have to sort laundry before washing, because with this system it's pretty much done as clothes go into the hamper. The system is so easy to use that even the kids can sort.
Here's the system....
Get the products in this video here;
Since our family strives for a more natural, holistic home, I've got to tell you what I've learned about laundry detergent over the last year. I've learned that laundry products are considered some of the top pollutants in the home. Check out THIS article. Also, you can use THIS APP to scan your laundry detergent and see if it's safe or not. Most out there are not!
This is because when we wash our clothes and use fabric softeners and drier sheets, these products remain on the clothing, absorb into our skin and outgas 24/7. So many of the ingredients in laundry soap and fabric softener are so toxic, and even linked to cancer.
Here are some of our favorite, non toxic alternatives!
Although the Thieves is my favorite for the scent, I also love this detergent!
Instead of fabric softener, we have found that wool drier balls work just as well and save us so much money! We like to scent them with essential oils to give our laundry an extra fresh scent. Our favorite laundry oils include Young Living's Purification, Thieves, Citrus Fresh, as well as single oils of lavender, palmrosa, bergamot, and geranium! Get these oils HERE.
The only thing is about the drier balls is that it's good to have around 9. I recommend getting two packages of 6 so you have a few extra. It seems like one always get's lost in a clean sheet, or like some get used as toys by the little kids!
Okay, so I promised I'd share my recipe for whitening whites! It's super simple!
Happy Laundering! :-D
One year ago, I said a prayer. I told God I was happy with the amount of children I had, and I was ready to call our family complete.
Little did I know that one year later I would be thanking God for not answering my prayer. I've never been more keenly aware of the fact that we human's know so little about what will make us happy, and how God truly does know what will bring us the most joy.
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Did you know that you do not have to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe for those bump months? And did you know that for the pieces that you will need to get, there's a way to do it practically, affordably and way more stylishly then simply shopping the maternity sections (that are usually limited)?
With my first baby I thought I needed "maternity" clothes as did my mom. So she kindly took me maternity attire shopping. I have to admit, I am really thankful I didn't get pregnant a few years before I did. Just a couple short years before I was expecting my oldest I remember walking past a maternity shop and seeing a top that literally was the shape of a tent. It was navy blue with polka dots, and it had a big red bow below the chin.
Really? Looking back at some of the expectant mama styles you have to wonder if whoever was in charge of designing them even liked pregnant women, lol!
Even though, I remember trying on dozens of clothes and so few fit my body correctly. It seemed they all fell kind of awkwardly on me, didn't fit right, were uncomfortable, and worst of all you needed two of everything. One for the first half of pregnancy, and a larger size for the last half.
Skip ahead 10 years. I was pregnant with my fifth. I found myself ditching so many of the traditional maternity clothes I got during my first pregnancies and wishing I knew the hacks what I know now! I would have saved so much money!
Here's the problem with so many maternity pieces;
Ladies', I'm going to show you how to build a versatile pregnancy & nursing mama's capsule wardrobe without breaking the bank!!! You probably have a lot of these pieces in your closet already!
To create an exceptional, flexible, and stylish (not to mention practical) wardrobe for this special season in life, here's a basic list of what I've found most valuable;
Okay so the cami's are a must, must must have! Having an assortment of them in various colors will save you big bucks. Here's how.
Maxi Skirts and Dresses
Another favorite. Not only are the skirts stretchy and grow with you, but they are visually slimming (if you wear the right color top). Slimming is what we pregger mama's love! They are so very flexible too. If it's a hot day just tie a knot in the corner of one, or you can pull it up and wear it as a dress. When I do that I like to wear a cami underneath just in case one of my kids comes up and pulls on it, lol!
Oh my word, smartest, most versatile mama dress that ever existed. You can wear them while expecting. You can wear them while you are nursing. You can wear them when you are not expecting or nursing! Seriously the only dress you will ever need. Oh, and they work on all body shapes! Here's one of my favorites-but it's only for petites. If you are average or tall you'll want to wear shorts or leggings under them, especially as the bump grows! Get my favorite wrap dress HERE.
I love combining cami's and these wrap dresses with half tee's underneath (below) for modesty as well as ease of use when nursing.
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Click Images to Buy
Leggings by LuLaRoe are wonderfully comfortable. If you are normally a pear body shape you might have a little trouble with these, but they are great on most other body shapes. For Pears shapes; flare leggings are best, and heels are a must for this body shape. Leggings always look best with a longer flowy top. Just make sure the top does NOT end at the widest point of your hips.
These are great to wear to dress up any outfit. They even dress up cami's when other tops are just not fitting well or comfortably any longer. I love how they can take an outfit from blah to GAH!
Who would have thought a twist and a knot could take a regular tee shirt and make it so cute? Seriously, try it. You'll see what I mean. The knot in the corner gives a regular tee shirt a tuck right under the belly. I don't know about you but I loathe it when tops fall loose away from the bottom of my belly when I'm expecting! The draft makes me feel so self conscious!
Tee shirts as a rule are not dressy, but the twist and knot does help, especially if you pair it with a big, chunky necklace. Another trick; for most body shapes the v-neck will be most flattering-especially once the belly turns you into a temporary apple shape.
Off Shoulder, Empire Waist
This is a new discovery for me, and it might be my most favorite of all, once again because of how versatile they are. This style of dress can be worn pre pregnancy, during, and after pregnancy while nursing. It's a piece you will never have to swap out. You want to be sure to get ones that have an elastic neck so you have the option to pull them down to nurse, also to wear them on shoulder (which you'll probably want to do since you'll likely be wearing nursing bra's-and apparently it's a rule that most nursing bra's have tacky ugly straps). You'll want the empire elastic waste to fit over the top of the bump-and to help hide the tummy after pregnancy.
This concludes my favorite pregnancy style must haves! What are some of yours? Drop them in the comments section below!
Get some of the pieces mentioned in this article here;
Cami's here, here, and here
Wrap dresses here, and here.
Maxi skirts here.
Off shoulder dress here.
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"I don't know how you do it all!"
It's probably the phrase I hear most.
And while I'll admit, I have a plateful, this phrase always puzzles me.
Recently I've put into words what is in my heart when I hear this. From now on my answer is going to be, "The same way you do."
"I get up, and I go to work. I work hard, but so do you. I do it for the same reason you probably do all that you do; it's for my family".
Although each of us has work that may look a little/or a lot different then each others, it's so important to support each other in one another's callings.
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..." 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Here's to all us hardworking super mama's, who do the work we do, day in and day out.
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9
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It occurred to me recently that ever since we got our additions, I've never really featured the living room. And yet it's one of our favorite rooms in the house!
A little backstory; for so long we didn't have a living room. We were squeezing our family of 6 and then 7 into a tiny little home for years, and since we were a homeschooling family and I had a home based buisenss too, we turned the area for the living room into a school room/office to meet our family's needs.
I would often dream of the day I had a living room to relax in again! In late 2015 the day finally came. We got the room, and although it was pretty empty for the first several months, the journey to creating that oasis in my dreams began.
For the first few months all we had for furniture was a sofa.... :-D
In 2016 someone gave us an amazing deal on a sofa and recliner. Yay! It was better, and so nice! And the sofa was my dream sofa too! But something about the room still wasn't the style that I envisioned.
Eventually I had my oldest paint some botanical pictures, and I had John build some frames for them. That was a sweet step....
Next I saw an area rug that I fell in love with. I had never picked my own rug before, and after a few months I finally caved and got the rug. It was a big step in the direction of my living room dreams.
Over the next couple months I slowly made changes. Even though I loved the suede sofa that we had gotten a good deal on, I could tell that it wasn't going to last long in our big family.
After just one year had passed the kids had worn down the back cushions noticeably. Anyone else's kids climb up the backs of their sofas?
So since kids are so dang hard on sofa's I figured why not just sell both of them while I still could get some money out of them, and change over to this family friendly idea I saw on Instagram....
It's just mattress's, and John made a frame for this one....the other one is on his to do list...
Why I love this; no more yelling at the kids to stop walking and jumping on the couches. Ironically they don't normally jump on these beds....go figure. They would jump on the sofa's and walk along the arms and back, but they sit on the beds....Who would have thought....
Another thing I love is the sofa's were a little too big for the room, but the mattress's fit the room much better!
It was so, so hard to take down the pictures of my kids, but the thing is that when they leave home someday I want them to have as many verses memorized as possible to carry with them through their lives. What better way to help us all memorize verses then with scripture art!?
Although this is a tiny living room it completely fits our family's needs!
The living room definitely took me the longest to get "just right" but it was worth it and is one of the family's favorite rooms in the house!
More posts you might enjoy;
There we were. Inching closer and closer to the time we needed to leave. I felt like I was herding cats. No sooner would I have the 5 year old ready, the two year old had changed again.
It had snowed that morning and was freezing, and the two year was old back in a summer play dress. So I went and got her changed. I turned around. The middle son whom I told to get ready an hour earlier was in going out clothes, but they were filthy. I had been helping my oldest daughter do her hair and getting ready myself, so I hadn't noticed.
Apparently, instead of putting his clothes in the hamper after the last outing he put them back in the closet.
He did that all the time. I went to find him clean clothes. They were all or missing (probably under the bed).
The 13 year old couldn't find his shoes.
Or his coat.
I went to help. I had told my boys the day before to clean their room so we would be able to find things and get around quickly the next morning. But they didn't. Now the boys room was such a disaster that I couldn't find anything either.
I had spent hours the day before planning this outing. I thought I had all my bases covered. Breakfast casserole, check. The small kids clothes planned, check. The older kids told to plan their clothes, check. The food I was bringing on the outing, check.
But just one little thing didn't get done (boys didn't clean their room like I asked them), and now everything spun out of my control.
I looked at the clock. It was one minute till we needed to be at our destination. Anxiety was through the roof. We had been through this before, pretty much every time it was time to go somewhere. No matter how many times I told the boys the get their shoes on 1 hour before, or find their clothes the day before, they never did.
I knew it was time for some consequences. Different consequences, because things like grounding were not working. Since showing up what would have been 30 minutes late to an event that had a distinct starting time is not an option in my book, I knew what I had to do.
"That's it. We are not going".
The kids cried. I cried. Raising kids can be so crazy sometimes. Especially when it's time to get out the door.
The next day my brain went to work. How could I help my kids avoid this happening in the future? After brainstorming with one of my amazing aunts, we had a plan. So far it's been working!
Here are the five things I've found that help us get out of the door in a timely manner.
1. I've always tried to keep the little kids going out clothing separate from their regular clothing, and up high where they cannot reach it, but I began making more of a point to enforce this.
2. The day before an event I'll gather all their clothes and have them find their shoes and I keep everything in a basket in MY room, not theirs.
3. I started trying harder to get the older kids to have everything ready the day before. Now they know that mama might cancel an outing if they don't do what they are told they are making more a point to listen a little better too.
4. We try to get everything ready EARLY the day before in case something needs to be washed.
5. I minimized. You can read more about our minimizing journey HERE. This made a HUGE difference.
Do you have any tips for getting out the door with your kids? If so leave them in the comments below!
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The countdown for our little ones debut has begun! I officially have 2 months left to go, and I do believe I'm going to need every bit of it to get ready for our newbie. As a 5 time mama, there are 8 things I've found that make such a big difference for me to have in place before having a baby. These are things I didn't know about before our first two children, but once I learned them and incorporated them I've found they make the difference between a peaceful postpartum and a stressful, disorderly, and/or sad one.
Watch the video...
Just a little recap from the video....
*If you are a homeschool mom like me you might gather some educational reading material so you can read to your kids, (or so they can read to you)!
Helpful links from video
7 Benefits of Skin to Skin Contact
9 Reasons You Should Never Host House Guests After Having A Baby
Visitors After the Baby? 10 Tips for New Parents
Postpartum Depression, WebMD Article
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The information here is for educational and "entertainment" purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure disease. Please consult with your health care provider if you need medical assistance.
We just finished up our first year with My Father's World and it was remarkable! I seriously cannot say enough good about MFW. Beyond learning more then we have with any other curriculum in a school year, I love how the family cycle brought my older two children closer together. If you would like to see my post about the curriculum you can do so HERE.
I will be adjusting some things in the coming year, for example, in addition to Language Lessons for Today I'll either be adding more of either Weaver Wisdom Words or else Abeka Language Arts then we did this last year. The only reason is because I want my kids to be extra solid writers when they leave home.
I thought about starting with the next level in MFW in May. I decided it would just be so much easier to begin the new MFW level July 1st when the school year officially and legally begins, just to make record keeping a bit more organized.
But that meant that I needed to create our own schedule to fill in the months between now and then.
You might be wondering "What about summer break?"!
We are basically year round homeschoolers. But that's not as bad as it sounds!
We've found this is what works best for our family's unique learning needs, and with our work schedules. It also gives us a little bit of freedom to do "half days" every now and then if we have something else going on or want to take a field trip.
I also like doing year round school for math, language arts, and reading because kids loose so much of what they learned through the summer if you don't! If you are a homeschool mom or a teacher, you know what I'm talking about!
So for May and June, our calendar is filled with some things I feel like we need some work and polishing up in instead.
It's not specified, but Psalms is also a Bible lesson and handwriting practice.
In addition to Teaching Textbooks the kids are reading through Life of Fred and Usborne math books. We just choose whichever topic or Usborne book that applies to what the kids are learning in Teaching Textbooks. Here are some of our favorite Usborne books that we are enjoying right now!
You can just click the pictures if you are interested in ordering any of them and you'll be redirected to my dear friend and Usborne consultants page.
The geography game is everyday because not only is it fun, it has worked so well for teaching the kids the countries around the world!!!
Since we are doing a garden this year, it's on the school schedule. In my opinion every kid should get to do gardening as a school project! They LOVE it!
So ironic, in my middle son's school he had the assignment to plant a small garden the very week we began planting our three big gardens! I didn't plan it that way, (I'm not that organized), it just happened!
We will be replacing a day here and there in with a couple field trips.
I laid the summer schedule out similar to MFW schedules (sample below) just because the MFW layout worked so well for me.
This year we will do half day's for a couple weeks starting June 13th to July 1st so the kids have plenty of outdoor time. During that time we will also have some cooking lessons and hopefully fill our food with casseroles and goodies for after baby comes.
I'm also planning 1 week off after the baby is born, and half days in October-November, as usual.
During the off time and half days, the kid's will do nature study, and the older two will probably be diving deeper into area's of interest. My oldest has been on an animatronics kick, so that's probably what he will research with every waking hour with his free time!
So far we are a week and a half into this schedule. I had to fine tune a couple places after the first few days, and we probably won't make our goal of 3 pages in Abeka like I had hoped, nor have the kids fit in foreign language, but that is to be expected while we get used to the schedule.
If we are unable to fit foreign language in the kids will just work on that during half days too.
Best of all, and BIG change, the older two have already learned how to follow it independently! Of course I still flit around the room supervising, but they are like a well running machine (with the exception of Language Arts)!
That's huge to us, I've dreamt of this for years, lol! It's a big deal for me because it (hopefully) means they will be able to follow their MFW schedule once July hits. That will be a massive help after the baby is born.
It's big for them because once I showed them how it works they seem to enjoy taking the responsibility of following it. They have such a spirit of achievement while they are working and since they can see the end of the list it inspires them to stay on task as opposed to daydreaming or chit chatting, henceforth, they finish sooner!
And, since they are working better on their own it enables me to focus on Gabriel, which helps him finish sooner too!
Do you homeschool? If so, how is your year finishing up? What plans do you have for summer? Leave a comment below!
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I had NO idea that when I went to minimize the bedrooms that it would mean we would no longer need large, bulky pieces of furniture, nor that it meant I would be able to create the vision I had always wanted for the rooms, especially the boys room! Below you can see their before room. Not bad, but it was a bit cluttered.
And here is now;
As you can see, there's so much more room!!
Also, the room used to be themeless and I always wanted to do a theme for the boys, but you know, that costs money. Since we sold so much excess we were able to use some of cash to invest in a theme!
So now it's map-geography themed! You know me...there's got to be a point to every detail (especially as a homeschooling mama...may as well get education out of decor, right?)!
While minimizing the boys rooms, I filled two HUGE trash bags of clothing that either didn't fit, was in bad condition and needed to be recycled, or else was just plain excess. I also cleared out two bags of trash, and a big bag of stuff to donate.
Now all the boys clothing, special keepsakes (aka jars with spiders and dirt etc....) and toys fit in special boxes under the beds and in the closet (it's a big closet).
After clearing out all this excess, we no longer had a need for the big armoire in the corner (in the before picture). We were able to sell it which was great because it didn't fit in the room properly anyways (it extended out further from the window). The little nightstand was also no longer needed, so we moved it to the girls room as they could use it.
All this meant we were able to take apart the beds- they too extended partially covering a window before, which irked me.
Okay, let's talk about minimizing clothes.
Keeping on top of the kids clothes is always a weakness for me. My youngest boy had around 15 tee shirts! I have no idea how that happened.
Here's my laundry belief; since I try to do all the laundry once a week, each kid (theoretically) only needs 7 tee shirts, maybe 3 or 4 long sleeve shirts at most, and a sweater, 7 pairs of underwear and socks, and a few pairs of pants.
So I cleared out every extra piece of clothing, choosing to get rid of the ones with holes, really bad stains, and ones I just didn't like on them.
I was able to cut their clothes stock in half! Half of what we were storing was ragged, badly stained, or too small.
We still have MORE then enough clothes for them and I think I could still pair it down an little further and never miss a thing! I did the same thing for the girls.
So now I have to give you all a disclaimer. I don't want you to get the idea that by minimizing the boys room, that it always looks like in these nice, organized pictures.
Although I'm trying so hard to habit train my boys to be tidy and pick up after themselves, it's a struggle! My boys are SO messy!!!!
Minimizing for us still means messes, but thankfully it also means far less time cleaning up the messes!
Another disclaimer; this minimizing thing has definitely been more of a project then I expected it to be. It honestly took two times going through the boys room. But it's been worth it!
So you might be wondering, what do the boys think of the room now?
After minimizing round 1, they kept thanking me all through the day. And they played in their room for HOURS. For months before declutter round 1 they avoided their room. Afterwards they loved their new space!
As the weeks went on, they started removing things them self!!!!!!! I know, shocking, right?!
Seriously, they started piling toys and stuff they don't want in my storage shed and now my shed is a mess and I need to declutter it, lol!
Unfortunately they don't understand that some of the things they got rid of are for their little sister and new brother on-the-way to play with, so get this (don't laugh too hard) I'm going to have to bring some of the toys they got rid of back in, lol!
It was kind of nice they had half their toys in storage for minimizing round two though, because it made it easier and faster.
After round two of minimizing, even my two year old little girl was thanking me (although this was the boys room she plays in there alot; she thinks it's her room along with every room and item therein throughout the house-if you don't believe me just ask her)!
Another bonus; I'm not sure how long this will last, but after the second minimizing round the boys got up, made their beds and picked up their clothes without being told!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, that's a big deal!!!!!!!!!!!
So there you have it. Kid's appreciate zero clutter just as much as grownups!
Read more in this series!
Taming the Toy Monster
Minimizing the Kitchen & Dining Room
7 Signs it's Time to Declutter and 7 Tips for Getting it Done
Don't miss a thing! Follow along!
Back when we were still squeezing into 1000 square feet, the kitchen was the main hubbub of the house. Laundry was partially done in this room, school (until we transitioned our living room into a school room/office), bills paid, and any projects that needed to be done. Oh yes, and cooking!
I'll be honest, it was never tidy, and always a mess, and not a place where we felt like being!
But one advantage was I learned what was needed and what was not. To this day I still use tricks I picked up during that time. Some out of habit, and some because they really are solid tips and tricks!
Here's some solid and AMAZING kitchen minimalist tricks I've learned that I love!
So this declutter round I didn't find a whole lot that I didn't need anymore since it's something I'm always trying to stay on top of. Here's all I did find;
You guys, the most awesome things happened this round of decluttering and minimizing!
We were able to sell a few pieces of furniture, some of them were big and bulky, and we were able to get the materials for a new dining table which we were in need of for our homeschool!
Also, once I finished both rooms, I realized most of what I was keeping in the dining room would fit in the kitchen.
This left us with space to spare in the dining room!
What happened next was HUGE for our family! You can read about what happened next in our minimizing journey and how we create a whole new room for office and as a study room HERE.
More posts in this series;
How I Created A Whole New Room By Minimizing
Taming the Toy Monster
7 Signs it's Time to Declutter
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