Friday, August 9, 2013

Preparing to Impress {26 Home Hints}


We have covered Preparing Mommy, Preparing Your Home, Preparing Meals, and Preparing Supplies all in order to impress upon our children the commandments of God.  

Today, I am going to share Home Hints.  Those little things that we do that save us time and energy and keep our home peaceful.  And in my case - save my sanity!  These are ideas that I have gathered from you - through the ABC Jesus Loves Me Facebook Group - as well as tips of my own.

1.  Comfy Clothes and Pajamas
When you will be away from home late in the evening, take your children's pjs with you and change them before you leave.  Then when you arrive at home you can simply place your children in bed!

Alison share an idea for early morning appointments.  "After a bedtime bath, I dress my daughter in a comfy outfit that she will be wearing the next day. Then, in the morning, we scoop up a fully-dressed, half-asleep baby and put her into the car seat for the trip."

2.  Snacks in the Van
I keep a box of fruit snacks and fruit drinks in the van for those times when errands run longer than expected.  It helps keeps the kiddos energized and keeps us from being tempted to run through a drive through.  Another helpful item is cups with lids and straws.  (The plastic cups from restaurants work great and I don't care if we end up throwing them away.)  The cups can be used to divvy up larger portions of drinks or solid snacks.  Every once in a while I splurge and get a Sonic Happy Hour drink.  With the cups, we can purchase a Route 44 and give some to everyone for a much less price than getting smalls for every child. 

3.  Supplies in the Van
With Bubs, I carried his entire life in a diaper bag.  With Peanut I rarely took a diaper bag with us but kept only a diaper in my purse.  Everything else stayed in a bag in the van.  If I needed it, we could easily get it.  Alisha and Amy shared this same point on our group page. 

If we happen to have an extra sweatshirt or jacket in the clothing lineup, I like to keep one for each child in the van.  There are so many times when this has come in handy (change in forecast or cold buildings). 

Last is the box of toys.  This is a collection of toys that I don't care if they get lost.  The kiddos know these are the only toys that can go with them outside the house.  Also included are paper and crayons and a few books (including the Usborne book Big Book of Things to Spot). 

Holly shared this tip, "My daughter has a 'favorite blanket' that she naps and sleeps with, but someone gave us a 'puppy' blanket that I have put in the car since she was an infant. This way, we have never lost her 'ultimate' (the home blankie!) favorite blanket, and she still considers her puppy blanket as a special 'car' blanket."
4.   Crossbody Purse
This is going to sound like a silly tip but it has been a great help to me.  I hate {I realize that this is a strong word but it is true} purses.  I hate {I used it again} carrying stuff around when I am trying to wrangle children.  But yet, I have items that I need to have with me.  A friend of mind explained that I was using the wrong kind of purse.  Boy was she correct!  I made the switch to crossbody or sling purse and I don't know that I will change back.  No longer am I fighting the shoulder straps.  I can easily assist a child without worrying about losing all my personal belongings.  Fabulous!

5.   Carabiner - Spring-loaded

Going along with my hate relationship with purses, I got so frustrated looking for my keys in the bottomless pit of a purse.  Another friend shared her solution - a carabiner attached to her purse.  The spring-load mechanism allows me to easily slip on and off my keys. 

6.  Bye-Bye Toys
Alisha shared this parenting tip:  I taught my sons at a very early age to say "bye bye" to their toys when they go to nap or bedtime.  "Bye bye Thomas...see you tomorrow!"  This got them in the habit of stopping playtime when it was time to sleep. I also did this when potty training my oldest.  "Be right back Thomas! I have to potty." I did this because my son would have the most accidents when he was having so much fun playing. We also say bye to the toys in the stores and my son has never thrown a fit when we leave a store.

7.  FlyLady
FlyLady has been a lifesaver for many women as they battle clutter and keeping a house clean.  This free website is a step-by-step approach to help you stay on top of housekeeping.  While you might not use every idea on the site, I have no doubt that you will glean at least one helpful idea.  Rochelle share, " has been a life saver for me as far as organizing and managing my home."

8.  Blackout Curtains
Michelle shared this idea on the Facebook Group and I have read it on other sites.  But since we use blinds, I never thought it was a big deal.  I should have listened!!  We got a set for a couple of bedrooms after what we were using didn't work anymore.  We all sleep better and longer in the mornings.  Plus when closed, they keep the rooms cooler in the summer. 

9.  Put Things Away Before Getting Out Something New
This may very well be the biggest tip that I can give.  Train your children (and model as an adult) to immediately put things away before getting out the next item.  It will dramatically help with housekeeping.  Angela shares the same thought. 

10.  Put Things Away Correctly the First Time
I can hear my mother's voice saying this over and over in my head as I say it over and over to my children.  And she was right on!  My kiddos are notorious for placing items in doorways.  And every time this happens I halt their play by asking them to redo their chore correctly.

11.   Shoes Off in the House
This was not a rule when I was a kid (probably because I grew up on a farm) but I created it when our kids were born.  Four boxes greet them as they walk into the house from the garage.  One for each child to put their shoes.  This helps keeps the floors cleaner and I also feel it helps with the germ factor. 

Kimberly shared: We take our shoes off when we come home. From a young age I would take mine and my son's off and then tell him, "Okay let's put them where they go.  Can you show me?".  Then he'd run to show me where to put them.  Now he is 2 1/2 and when we visit any house, he takes his shoes off and puts them by the door or in the area for shoes.  This also helps keep shoes from being scattered everywhere.

12. Have a Pick Up Session Before Each Meal and Bedtime
Think of it like a regrouping.  Before lunch, supper, and bedtime we do a house sweep.  Everyone checks certain rooms to make sure that they are picked up.  

13.  Family Clear Off Table While Momma Does the Dishes
Now that our kiddos are older, we have implemented this for meal time.  It allows us to finish both tasks about the same time instead of me being stuck in the kitchen while the family moves on to bigger and better things. 

Laura shared, "Never go to bed with a dirty kitchen. It's such a wonderful thing waking up to a clean kitchen and it makes it way easier to cook breakfast in the morning."  Very true.  Now if I can follow this advice even when I am tired!

14.  Take Advantage of Car Rides
I don't typically talk on the phone while in the car but it is when I do that my children become mischievous and misbehave.  They get bored and know that Mommy is on the phone.  Beyond that I am missing out on a captivated audience.  Where else do I have a full attention - because they aren't going anywhere in the seat belts - to "impress" upon my children?

I have shared that we worked on the books of the Bible during carpool.  In two school years, my kiddos learned to say all 66 books of the Bible.  Pretty cool!  We will review these this year and work on Scripture memory. 

Set Expectations Before...
A couple of miles before our destination my husband leans to me and says, "You need to remind them."  For the next few minutes we discuss how we will bless the people (friends, family, strangers) we will be around.  We explain what is allowed or won't be depending on the circumstances.  

For example, if a house we are visiting has an upstairs the kids are told that they are not to go up the stairs and thus there is no reason to ask permission because the answer will be no.  If we are going to a restaurant I give the children choices of what they can eat.  Then I take their food orders so that there is no discussion while at the restaurant.

If going to a doctor's appt, I instruct each child to pick one toy that he or she wants to play with or a book to read.  Before we even arrive, I explain where each child will sit and what they will be doing.  Once again, there is no need to ask for something else because the expectations are set. 

16.  It Takes a Village
Although I am not a Hillary supporter, I believe she did get one thing correct.  It really does take a village to raise a child.  Our village consists of family, friends, doctors, therapist, church leaders, teachers, and moms who have been there.  All of these people love on my children and provide me with wisdom and encouragement.  Some call this the body of Christ.  If you ever feel like you are alone in this journey, immediately seek out others.  The enemies goal is to isolate us.  No one is ever expected to have all of the answers.   Pray for and seek wise people to become part of your village. 

17.  You Can't Pour in to Another What You Don't Have in Your possession.
Exhausted mommies can not make positive, deep impressions on their children.  You have to take care of yourself through adequate sleep, good nutrition, exercise, and beginning each day in the Word.  (Read more by clicking the links included in the previous sentences.)

18.  Move Away from Bitterness
Nicole Unice in her book She's Got Issues shared the following thought. 
My pastor once told me that he believes every woman either becomes beautiful or bitter by the time she's forty.  What he meant is that women either face their stuff or they don't.  Women make choices either to do what is necessary to keep as much control as possible, or to work hard to understand what is in their control and what must be entrusted to God.  If they face it they heal, they forgive--they tend to radiate an inner beauty that reflects Christ in them...  If women don't face their struggles they become bitter --holding onto the issues and spewing them onto others like germs.
Beautiful or bitter?  Read ways to let go

19.  Keep Expectations in Check
Ideally, my house will always looked "spring cleaned."  Totally unrealistic expectations.  A few years ago, my idea of a clean house had to change from "clean" to "picked up."  It isn't that I don't still dust and vacuum but it isn't nearly as often as it used to be or as I would like.

20.  Get Your Kiddos Involved
My kids love to help with the house when I make it fun.  Give them all dust rags or a squirt bottle filled with water to clean the bathroom.  Training occurs and we get chores done together.

21.  Maintain a 15 Minute Goal
My goal is to be able to have a picked-up house in 15 minutes.  That means if someone would call and say they are coming over that we can have the house looking presentable in 15 minutes.  I realize this sounds crazy but it really is doable.

22.  Use TV and Electrical Devices Only When You Need Them
My kiddos watch almost no TV and play apps only when needed.  By saving these activities for special occasions, I know that both will buy me time when I have to have it.  For example, Little Man gets to play Angry Birds on my phone only at a doctor's office.  It's a big treat and Mommy has a more relaxing appointment.

23.  Get Up Before Your Kids Do
Our kiddos aren't allowed out of their rooms until 7:00 a.m.  I awake at 5:00 to get ready for the day, answer your emails, and have my quiet time.  When I am ready for the morning, the entire day goes better. 

24.  Laugh! 
A couple of years ago, I shared on this blog a break-through moment that I had.  It seemed so simple but yet it has been monumental to my parenting.  Laughter.  I need to laugh throughout the day.  Not take events, issues, and my children so serious!  I am learning to find humor in all situations.

25.  Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say!

Being consistent and following through seems like a lot more work but I promise it will pay off.  Even with Bubs and Little Man I see that keeping the boundaries firm is making a difference. 

26.  Guard Your Marriage
Right now the days seem really long, but yet the calendar shows me that the years are flying by.  We are already halfway finished with Bubs' rearing.  And in just 15 years we will enter the empty nesting period of life.  Lord willing, my husband and I will spend the vast amount of our married life without children in our home.  In 15 years, will we be able to continue our marriage life as we know it or will we have to get to know each other again? 

Twenty-six hints.  All ones that I have implemented in our home in one form or fashion.  And some I have learned the hard way.  I pray that you will be able to add at least one point to your life!

Next week:  Creating Schedules

What home hints do you have?

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The Our Out-of-Sync Life blog focuses on encouraging women to deepen their spiritual life, simplify daily tasks, and impress Jesus on the children around them.