Organizing successes & wins for our super size family.

Keeping a home with our family of 8 (plus a grandmother) running comes with its fair share of challenges.   So as we are about to take on another busy school year I will share some of the organization successes and wins that we have experienced over the last few years.

 

 

The color system, this is something my mom did with me and my brothers growing up and has been a huge success with our crew. Each child has a color, this goes for theirs cups, tooth brushes, towels, anything that can be done in their color.  It helps the kids to know what is theirs and makes it much easier for us to keep track of many daily items.

Joshua is green, Tyler is blue, Emily is pink or purple (since she is the only girl this works), Noah is yellow, Richard is red and Nathaniel is orange.

 

LOCKERS IN THE GARAGE

Lockers in the garage have been amazing. We started off with the white plywood ones from Lowes but these did not last and were very expensive, so last year we found some metal lockers at Ollie’s and they are fabulous.  The kids have a place to keep their shoes, book bags, coats, sporting supplies and anything else they want.  They were allowed to personalize their lockers with stickers.  I cannot imagine the chaos we would have if they did not have this space to put their belongings.

These kids would be lost without these!

 

 

CUBBIES DOWNSTAIRS FOR ELECTRONICS

 

Cubbies downstairs, these functioned for a while.  We are actually in the process of phasing these out and taking on a room swap that is turning out to be a complete disaster!  The cubbies are downs stairs and the kids rooms are upstairs so instead of using this for storage of books or things they would be using daily it has become a catch all for things they do not feel like bringing to their room.  The big idea with these was a charging station and storage for their electronic devices.  We stand firm in no phones, tablets or electronics are to be brought upstairs.  These devices are limited in use and must be used in the main spaces downstairs where everyone is.  So while we are going to get rid of the cubbies my husband will make a small shelve with 6 slots to use strictly for a charging station so their devices remain downstairs.


 

WEEKLY FAMILY CALENDAR

 

Weekly calendar- we have been using this for a while now, I think I started this about a year ago actually.   This is awesome!  There is a row for ‘family’ for our family activities and events and then each person has their row.  I update this every Saturday and then everyone can see what the week will bring.  I used dry erase boards and put post it notes, I tried just writing in the squares with dry erase marker but that did not work very well.  The kids have really come to rely on this being there.  Next to the weekly calendar we have a plastic tray and in the tray if a folder for each member of the family.  This is used for kids to put papers in that need to be signed, trying to avoid being handed 15 different things the moment we walk in the door.  And then once the paper for school or whatever it may be is signed, we will put it in the child’s folder and it is their responsibility to check and get it out.


I also keep an update monthly calendar for the kids on the fridge. (MorMor uses this one too:)

 

 

MENU PLANNING

Menu plan- This is a must. We have used this for years, or the most part we stay consistent with using this. Not quite as good at using the menu planning over the summer while we are so off routine. On the weekend my husband and I will meal plan and then grocery shop based off of the meal plan. It is a piece of paper in a frame and I write in dry erase marker. The kids love being able to look and see what meals are what nights seem to love knowing this information. It is amusing when at times we do not have what is written on the menu, oh the looks of shock on their faces!

And yet they still ask almost daily…’what’s for dinner?’ 🤔

 

BATHTUB SOLUTION

 

Another thing that has worked well for the older children is shower caddies.  We have tried any things trying to minimize the chaos of bath products and sponges in the shared bathroom.  Especially keeping them out of each others things.  So we have gotten them each a plastic shower caddy to keep their shower supplies and they bring this to the bathroom with them when they go to shower.  No clutter in the tub and fighting over who touched who’s things!  Definitely a WIN 🙂

They will be ready for dorm life 😉

 

 BUSY MAMA—-> JOURNALING SOLUTION

 

This last organizational success is not used by my family directly but by me for keeping our family organized. This has truly been a game changer for me. I used to struggle with journal confusion and my husband would even tease me frequently because I was constantly getting a new notebook to try something different. I had a prayer journal and I would have a journal for taking sermon notes, I had my electronic and paper calendar and planner along with some form of running to do lists. At times it felt like I was trying to juggle six different notebooks. Juggling so many notebooks was complicated and caused more confusion than helping keep me organized.  About two years ago the bullet journal concept was all over the internet and that caught my attention. After doing some exploring and ‘pintresting’ thus began my journey and evolving of building my own organizational system that has worked so well for me.

I started with one notebook. I had ongoing prayers and running lists in the back. A yearly calendar in the front. And the after the yearly calendar I would do my months, weeks and days, sermon notes and daily prayers as I went. It was awesome! To have everything condensed into one flowing journal. I fine tuned this system and fell in love with the Leuchtturm1917 leather bound notebook. This was by far the best journal I found. I loved it so much and used it so consistently I started filling up one journal every 3 months! So having to change journals so frequently was becoming a chore because I would need to transfer my yearly information into each new journal to continue with my system that was working so well.

 

So several weeks ago I transitioned and transformed to a similar and updated version of what I was already using. I bought a 3 pack of the small moleskin notebooks and made a slipcover for them out of fabric.  There are elastic bands holding the 3 notebooks in place like binding in a book.  I attached ribbons in the moleskins to use as place holders.  I made a pocket in the front pocket for pens and then another pocket for post it notes and little papers I am needing to keep with or hang onto.  (I always keep a thank you card with me, just in case I need it).

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first notebook I use for my weekly/daily.  I have a list of tasks and events for the week, our meal plan, prayer requests from our loved ones, friends and church family, and a weekly verse to study/memorize.  Then I keep a page for each day with tasks/events, I log my miles, write out a daily prayer, keep track of my ‘wins’ for the day to help focus on the positives and write out the daily verse.  I keep two pages a week for writing out the prayers that I have written down prayer request for, writing them out helps keep me on track with actually praying over these requests.   I also like to tape and save any movie stubs or little momentoes I want to save as well. This is the notebook that will be replaced every few months, it fills up quick!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second notebook is my yearly book, it is my constant.  I have my yearly tasks and goals, keep track of the books I have read, I have an ongoing list of things we have bought for Christmas gifts as well as ideas for Christmas gifts,  a list of all my log in and password information, basically anything I don’t want to forget gets written down.  I have a page with tasks/goals things to remember for each month and a monthly calendar. Each month is tabbed with tape.  I still keep my online calendar up-to-date, this is something that my husband and I use together.  However I still prefer to have a paper calendar to be able to write on so I keep a written one in my yearly book and up date as needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third notebook is my prayer journal.  This is where I can keep my written prayers, for my husband, marriage, children, country, church and for Landy our compassion child.  I have this organized by sections so I can keep track of the prayers.  I love written prayers, I love being able to look back to weeks, months, years ago and see where my heart was and the ways that God has answered prayers and brought me to where I am today.  God s good ALL the time!

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popping my B-U-B-B-L-E ——>guilt…confession…truth…

A conversation frequently starts between me and my husband with him asking me “have you heard…?” Which is normally silly and redundant because we both know that there is is 99.9% chance that I have not yet heard whatever it is he is getting ready to ask me about.  For the most part I am clueless to local and national news, politics, and world happenings.  I have placed myself into a safe but very blind bubble.

We live in what is considered a ‘rural area’ and I work in a very rural community.  I listen to the Christian station on satellite radio in the car, this station has no news or commercials.   We do not have cable in our home to watch the news or any local stations.  Basically if someone does not tell me about something in person or it is not on my Facebook newsfeed I don’t hear about it.  For the most part when things do pop up on my Facebook newsfeed that I want to ignore it is quite easy to just scroll by it without paying much attention.

I like my bubble, it is nice and safe in it and I feel protected.  If I don’t have to read about it or hear about it then it is not happening.  I rather prefer not having my heart broken daily over the disturbing news stories our fallen society provides day after day.  It is my way of shielding my eyes, ears, mind and heart from the evil and sadness that unfold day after day.

Well despite my struggle, even with kicking and fighting my bubble has been popped, a few weeks ago it was stuck with a tiny hole that grows each day. I am now seeing the error in my ways…sitting idly by and ignoring all the evil and sin surrounding us and consuming our society makes me just as guilty as participating.

If I sit by and ignore all the bad, wrong and unjust, immoral events and circumstances am I not as guilty as the ones participating and causing?  Burying my head in the sand while our society and world celebrate and glorify sin makes me just as responsible!!!  I am SO GUILTY!
The truth is I cannot handle the feelings that reality and the news invoke in me.

I have been so selfish and ignorant keeping up the protective walls of my bubble.

 

I guess the pin that started poking holes in my bubble is all of the planned parent and abortion news.  This stirs something inside of me, emotions that I can not even begin to describe they are so strong and powerful and quite honestly these emotions terrify me.  This has always been such a difficult and sensitive topic for me to listen to and talk about, I feel so passionately for the lives of our unborn children that it is a challenging topic for me.  I have read quite a few articles and news stories about this but I have not been able to bring myself to watch the videos.  I am absolutely petrified to watch them, I know without a doubt that they will break my heart and bring up such traumatic emotions that I honestly do not know if I can handle it.  Deep down I know I need to be able to get to the point of being able to watch them, I need to embrace these emotions, learn how to control and direct them and use them take action.  I have no idea what, but something I know there has got to be something I can do.  Until God opens that door for me I need to draw near to Him.  I need to be crying out to Him and asking His strength, courage and guidance.

At the very least, I can pray.  This is doing something, I can start to do something by opening my heart, eyes, ears and mind and taking it all to my Heavenly Father.  I need to start taking responsibility in making myself aware of what is going on.  Open my eyes and ears and work on being more informed and knowledgeable.

 

“Then when the time is right He will open a door for me to be able to do something, until then I will pray.”

 

Over the next several weeks I will work at slowly removing the shield of my bubble.  Little by little taking it down and exploring everything that is going on in my state, nation and world.  When I read and listen to these news stories I will open my heart and pray for each situation that I can.  I will lay it all at the feet of Jesus and let Him lead me.  Jesus is the only one with the power to save us all, so I will turn to Him.

“Lord, I come before You with so much in my heart tonight.  Father please forgive me for being so selfish and ignorant that I have ignored and neglected the suffering of Your children all around me.  God I ask you to work in my heart and soften me and make me more self-less and compassionate to all those around me.  Help me to move past my bubble and take on what is happening in our sad and sinful world.  I pray for strength and courage as I open my eyes and become more aware of the fallen state of our world right now.  Please guide me and lead me to be the follower of Christ You have made me to be.  Father I am weak and You are strong, please strengthen me.  I pray the the passion and emotion I feel when I learn more about the news and politics driving our fallen society doesn’t cripple me but move me to take action to help.  I pray to be a better example of Your love and sacrifice.  I pray to be a light in our world of dark and to shine the light of Your Love to all those around me.  Father let me rise up and face this challenge.  I pray I can bring You glory in all I do.  Thank You for blessing me and my family so abundantly.  Thank You for Your love and mercy, thank You for sending Your son to die for our sins, Thank You Father for Your Grace.  In Jesus name Amen.”

 

 

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”  ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:11-17‬ ‭NIV‬