Sunday, July 31, 2011

Simplifying Life at Home

It is the stuff again, overflowing from every vantage point. There are mountains of work every where - dirty laundry, dishes to be washed, toys to put away, books to find a home for, it could go on and on. The kids, even my husband, have not been cleaning up after themselves, which means I end up dealing with their messes, and I can't get to the heavy load already on my plate. While I may feel like flipping out at my husband and pointing my finger at my children, it really all starts with me. Mom sets the mood and tone for the household. If I want self sufficient cleaner uppers I need to lead by example.

The problem is that trap I mentioned above. After all, how can you clean up or do your chores when the family is making dirty faster than clean. It is not possible, especially if you work outside the home or homeschool. No matter how hard one tidy person works, they cannot make up for four people who do not pick up after themselves. My friend once put her husbands dirty socks in his coffee maker to teach him a lesson, that was brilliant, but I wonder if it only worked for a while. Trust me, I have try all sort so ways - hard as nails, crying, bagging, threatening, and bribing. You can lower your standards, but eventually, if you lower them too much you have ran out of clean dishes, clean clothes and the floor is covered in "stuff."

We are about to start our homeschooling year tomorrow, and this issue of the "mess" and "stuff" was weighing heavily upon my spirit. For the past month I have been asking God for wisdom of how to solve this problem and to show me what we needed to change. Then the Lord used another family's similar struggle to answer my prayer.

It was a blog post on Building Cathedrals titled "Less is More." Basically, you take everything out you can and box it up, donate it or put in the trash. Everyone will find it much easy to pick up after themselves. Then, as you master that level, you can bring some things back up from the basement. Follow the link and read the whole post, it sounds extreme, but I think it will make your household much easier to run. It follows a very basic, biblical principle of stewardship (Parable of the Talents). Focus on one thing, master it and then and only then, move on while reviewing what you mastered. It is so simple, so basic, now we must need to do it.

The photo at the top is a big mess my son made while I was schooling my daughter, below is my repentant son after he cleaned it all up.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Answer Questions Carefully

If you child asks you what he can do with his stickers, don't say, "Whatever you want." No matter how busy you are or how fed up you are with 101 th question he has asked that day. Well, he did put them very neatly on the door, I will say that. And he is right, I did say do whatever he wanted with them.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Milk Jug Igloo

This is one of those crazy, fun projects. It is cheap and great way to reuse materials. But it is a big one, so you will need a big space, like a basement playroom, or do it outside. I question how well it will work outside - strong winds? spider webs?

Another of my concerns is that yuck-yuck, rot dairy smell from the old milk containers. I would practice getting the smell out of one first milk jug. Also, don't forget you can use water gallon jugs, as well as orange juice, distilled water, ice tea, etc.

It looks complex, but probably the hardest, time consuming part is collecting and washing the milk jugs. Actually making the igloo seems like it would be a fun rainy day or weekend project. Usually I read directions about neat ideas like this one, and they seem way too complex or expensive (not to mention, leaving out a lot of practical information), but this project does seem doable if you have the materials and space.

This would make for excellent memories. First I have to see how much work goes into de-funking a old milk jug. If I did it, I would make the big one, 428 jugs, but I am crazy like that. I would have a slide down to our playroom if I could put one in. By my calculations, we would need about 40 families to give us 10 milk jugs. I can see my husband shaking his head at me right now.

Here is the link:

Side note, sometimes we moms can be guilty of doing things like this instead of the things we are suppose to be doing, like laundry and discipling our kids. Build your milk jug igloo responsibly ;-)