Clean House vs. Time with Family


Some women are very focused on making sure that every nook and cranny of their home is dust-free and they will not leave the house in the morning until all the dishes are done and the house is straightened up. This is understandable. They want to live in a home that is not cluttered and they feel more at peace with the space they live in. It can be said that they take pride in their homes.

On the other hand you have women that focus purely on their kids and/or other things such as work, electronics, or relaxing and their homes are cluttered with things thrown around haphazardly.

For me, I think there needs to be a happy median. I love the time that I have with my family. Throughout the day I am busy making meals, doing laundry, changing diapers, running errands, and chauffeuring the kids around. When I come home sometimes the last thing that I want to do is clean. I would rather relax and spend some quality time watching t.v. with my loved ones or playing a game with my 6 year old or taking a family walk.

These are the moments that I treasure because I know that when the kids are older and out of the house, I will have plenty of time to keep a clean house. Does this mean that I need to have a house that looks like a tornado came through it in the name of fun? I don’t think so.

One thing that I like to do is make cleaning a fun family time. Ever since my older son was a toddler he was entranced with the vacuum so I let him take that job. Picking up toys is also something that little ones should be taught early on. It makes things so much easier when they are in the habit of picking up their own messes. Doing the dishes can be a time for good conversations too. Working as a family helps everyone feel like they are helping out and there is no need for nagging.

I also do daily little things, such as making the beds first thing in the morning and spending about 15 minutes straightening up the house from clutter each morning, but I’m not too strict about things being spotless. Taking a disinfectant wipe to the kitchen and bathroom counters is also quick and easy to do daily.

In the evenings when I am making dinner, I like to use that time for the boys to spend time with their dad. That is a special time for them to enjoy together and I get a little break.

Each family needs to see what works for them. Cleaning should not be put before family-time. It is nice to have a comfortable home, but it does not need to be perfect. Enjoy the time that you are blessed to spend with your kids. Make memories, laugh, play, and have fun.

If you knew that today was your last day, would you want to lay your head on your pillow wishing you would have spent a little more time with your children or would you wish that you would have a dust-free and spotless home? This is something I try to keep in mind as I prioritize my days.

Enjoying the Infant Days

Today my little one turns 4 months old.

It has been an incredible journey. I truly see children as a blessing and I really try to focus on enjoying each moment that I am gifted with my children. Every day, every moment that we are given is a gift. Each age is comes and goes way too quickly. It seems like yesterday that I was giving birth to this precious little one, yet so much has changed in the past few months.

My little guy went from sleeping constantly and needing only mom to now being interactive and playing with his toys. He smiles often, and, oh, just thinking of his little laugh brings a smile to my face. Sure these days can be difficult and it is not always easy, however, looking back at how quickly these days went by from my older son and other children I have gotten the chance to walk through this stage, I know that I will one day miss these days.

Heck, there are times when I actually miss being up in the middle of the night for hours on end in those first weeks. I treasured those quiet, calm moments when the house was asleep and it was just me and him taking each other in.

I know one day in the not too distant future he will be starting school and before I know it graduating and starting his own life and all that I will have left will be the beautiful memories that a mom buries safe in her heart.

So today, I will be thankful for those moments when he has falls asleep in my arms and those baby smiles and giggles. I will remember how he smells as I snuggle him close after a bath. I will treasure these soft wavy locks of his that have a mind of their own. I will even treasure those moments when I am rocking and bouncing him for who knows how long as he cries for various reasons.

I remember all the little things because I know in the not so distant future that these are all I will be left with as I smile and watch my baby boy spread his wings. For now, I will thank God for today.


Making time for vacations


This past week was a very busy one for my family. We left very early on a Thursday and made a 9 hour drive to a beach town along the Pacific Coast, coming back home late Monday on a 13 hour trek through a huge snow storm. Living in the desert it is always great to make a getaway to a beautiful beach town, and budget-willing, it is something that we try to make a priority to do once a year. Making time for a family trip is so helpful for families. While some may see it as a bigger pain and stress than it is worth, with the proper preparation it doesn’t have to be that difficult.
As a family, we normally try to aim for taking our trip in October. We are a homeschooling family so it is a little easier for us not having to worry about school schedules. Being able to go while others are in school in some of the between season months makes it cheaper and less stressful. Growing up, even though I went to public school, my parents would always have us kids excused for a week so we could take off during these great months. Hotel rates can be as much as $100 cheaper depending on where you go. We have gotten some amazing deals on family resorts during these times. We normally start looking in about August on a variety of travel websites to find the best deals on hotels that are large and family friendly.

In the week leading up to the trip I make a list of what each person will need. I get the list down to the exact amount of each clothing item will be needed. It makes it easier to make sure that everyone has what they need and no one is short on something once you get to your destination. Starting the list a week earlier allows for some wiggle room to adjust amounts or add on new items as you think about it through the week. Then the day before we all pack and the kids each grab a backpack and fill it with some road fun. Being big readers, books are usually the go-to, but there are also some great travel games that we have come across over the years.

The day of, I am up before the kids and am making sure that everything is together and ready to go before I start shuffling groggy kids around. By having everything ready I feel more prepared, and as I have learned over the years, just feeling prepared helps the stress level decrease dramatically. Once we hit the road I keep the thought in my head that it is a fun trip and that things that might seem like a big deal, such as finding a potty in the middle of nowhere with not a place in sight to pull over on a two-lane highway, will only be looked at as fond memories that we usually laugh about later. So why stress now?

If you are not able to make it out of town, have a stay-cation! Maybe pitch a tent in the backyard or have an indoor picnic and stay up super late making memories. All that matters is that everybody finds time away from all of their obligations every now and then to be able to connect with one another as a family.

Fun family ideas for the fall

Fall has always been a favorite time of year in my family. It is a time when we get to visit the apple orchards, pumpkins patches, corn mazes, and go on a hay ride. These are some fun events that most families can do, depending on what is in your area.

We have been blessed to live close to many places that offer such fun events. However, even if such events are not close to your area, there are many fun things that you can do to get the family in a festive fall mood.

Growing up, I found myself dreading the end of summer and all of our fun outdoor events while I had to trade in time for the indoors at school. My mom knew that and worked hard to bring a festive fall spirit to the house. This made the transformation one that we were able to look forward to. Fall was more than just school starting. It was a time when we got to decorate the house, take some fun trips, and bake fall goodies. This is something that I treasured and have made sure to carry on in my family.

To begin with, here is a list of a few things that we do to decorate around the house:

  • Put out the fall tablecloth (it is amazing how much that can change the mood!)
  • Place out reusable pumpkin and scarecrow decorations
  • Have the kids collect some leaves that have changed colors and make a collage to display
  • Leaf art! (more on that in a moment)
  • Some outdoor fall decorations in the garden to greet us each time we come home

These are really simple fixes that can spruce up any house. The costs came in the first year we purchased the items, but since they are all reusable, we do not have to worry about the cost anymore. To add to the benefit, we did not even need to spend over $20 for all of the super cute decorations.

Once the decorations are up, we start to do little projects. The young kids love to create leaf art (as I mentioned above). It is very simple, and they love it! All you have to do is let them find some leaves of various sizes and shapes. Place under a sheet of plain paper and have them use the side of a crayon to rub the pattern onto the paper. It is amazing to watch their eyes grow in fascination, no matter how many times they do it. Even the older kids can join in and get a little fancier with color blending.

And the favorite event of all: pumpkin carving. When we go to the pumpkin patch, the rule is, if you pick it, you have to be able to carry it. This prevents the little ones from trying to stick with the biggest pumpkins they can get their hands on. It also makes for a great photo opportunity to see each child with their pumpkins of various sizes and shapes that they picked out themselves. Once we get home, they can create any pattern into the pumpkins, usually beginning by drawing out the pattern first. We have had everything from the traditional jack-o-lantern smile faces to airplanes and tractors. The great part about it is that each child gets to truly feel like they own their pumpkin and are proud to display it.

Finally, you can’t forget about their tummies. For fall snacks I like to have some pumpkin pie, spiced cider, or pumpkin chocolate chip cookies on hand for the family. Everyone eats them right up. Perfect to get in the fall festivity spirit.

Why Should I Enjoy Being Home?

This past Labor Day I was working my part-time job at a retail home store and was amazed to find the crowds as big as you would in the days leading up to Christmas. I understand that many people had the day off so they took the day to get things done; however, most people were not buying anything important. I heard many couples say they were out trying to find something to do.

What happened to enjoying family time at home? Or doing a nice family activity like going for a hike or bike riding or just having a lazy day at home?

We are so busy in our lives that we constantly think we need to be doing something, and if we sit down and relax, then we must be lazy. However, sometimes we need that time to unwind after a long day or week. What better place to do that than in our own homes?

I personally find much enjoyment being home, as do my children. There are some days where we are busy running errands all day and we can’t wait to get home and relax. Home is a safe haven. Now, I understand that there are some situations that are less than ideal where this may not be true, however, for the sake of this blog, I am focusing on those who can find peace at home.

Home is a place where you can comfortably relax. You can take time and do something for yourself or for your family. Home should be more than a place that stores your possessions and where you run through to eat or where you sleep at night. It should be a place where you and your family can thrive with love and contentment.

For families that have children, this is especially important. Children are not young forever. They grow, and they grow quickly. Why not start making home a place where they remember and enjoy coming back once they’ve moved out? A place where they love bringing their grandchildren and a place that they would like to emulate with their own family? Taking the time to get to know your spouse and/ or children can be such a joy.

I find that by being joyful at home myself, my family is able to find peace at home as well.