Time. . .

 Posted by on January 3, 2013  4 Responses »
Jan 032013

 . . .it is precious, it goes by way too quickly, and we only have a certain amount of it.  How am I using my time?  Am I using it to glorify God?  {So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31} A few months ago, I was quite convicted by the way I use my time. . .especially how much time I spent on the internet.  I wouldn’t have said I was “addicted” to Facebook, but I would catch myself sitting down to the computer “just for a minute,” to see what was going on. I also read quite a few helpful blogs. . .some spiritual, some on homemaking, some on photography, some that belong to friends; and I also love Pinterest.  None of these things in themselves are bad, but I was not using them in the best way.

 About that same time, I watched a web seminar on life balance.  The teacher showed us her daily schedule.  It was amazing!!  I will never be as detailed as she, but I knew it was time for me to make a schedule of my own.  One thing she mentioned that stood out to me was that when we get distracted from what we are working on, it takes about 10 minutes for us to really get back into the task we left unfinished.  For me personally, I know that I would waste precious minutes deciding what I should do next, and if I couldn’t decide fast enough, I would sit down to check FB or something while I thought about it. . .well, I’m sure you know where that usually leads. . .30 minutes later, I’m caught up on everyone else’s life, but still hadn’t decided what I needed to do next with mine!

 This has been SUCH a huge help to me over the last weeks!!  There are times I am not able to stick to the schedule, but when I can, it helps me keep my mind on track.  One advantage to all this is that I don’t have to feel guilty about my computer time, because it is in the schedule!!  I have three times a day that I can sit down, and enjoy catching up with the world.  At one point in my struggle, I thought maybe I should cut out FB or some of the blogs I read, but I know it is important for me as a Mom to continue growing and learning from others, and it is wonderful to feel like I can connect to far away friends and family members that I can’t see in person.

I was also careful to schedule in times when I can play or read with the boys.  Maybe this isn’t a struggle for you, but I am such a task-oriented person, that I can forget to slow down and spend fun time with my kids.  Also, I purposely put in time for reading for myself!  No kids books allowed during this time !  At one time, I was months behind on the magazine subscriptions I had been given, and I was having a terrible time reading any books.  There are so many books out there that are helpful to me in this stage of life, that I felt it was very important to schedule reading time in.  Plus, I needed a “down time” for me.

 To help me with the “what chore to tackle next” dilemma, I scheduled each  day to have its own task.  That has been a HUGE time saver for me!  I no longer have to think about which area of the house needs help the most; each area has its own day.  Adding 15 minutes of  deep cleaning and organizing to each day has been a life changer for me.  I will have a difficult time completing spring/fall cleaning for my foreseeable future, but doing a little at a time is SOOO helpful!  It doesn’t seem like much time, but it is amazing what you can accomplish in it!

  Another resource that has been a huge help to me over the last few years is a book called Shopping for Time by Carolyn Mahaney.  In it, she encourages her readers to start their day early. . .as in around 5 am early.  As I read that, I thought I could NEVER get up before 6:30 or so.  As you can see by the picture below that I took some time ago, my day used to start at 6:30.  Well, when my husband’s job changed a few months ago, he started leaving for work by 5:45.  If I were going to be up to kiss him goodbye, my day needed to start at 5:30.  It has been one of the best habits I have ever formed in my life.  My children do not get up until 7:30 or 8; so I have quite a bit of time in the mornings to get my day started off right!  Now, don’t get me wrong, getting up that early is NOT easy; it is a daily struggle; but it is a struggle that is worth it.

 One thing to remember is to be careful not to make the schedule into THE SCHEDULE!!!!!  Too often, we search for another list or formula  to follow, rather than depending on God’s grace to help us do what He calls us to do.  Having the best-laid schedule in the world will not help me in the long run if I depend on my own strength to accomplish the tasks before me, and then become prideful at all that “I” finished that day.  This is not intended to be something that everyone in the house has to follow to the exact second, making everyone within the house completely miserable {no, son, I cannot help you go potty right now; I will in 11 more minutes when my 15 minutes of organizing is done}.  Please don’t do that to your family 🙂  This is to be a flexible guide that will help us use our time in a way that will bring the most glory to God.

 Now, go make out a schedule, and tell me how it works for you!

  ~ Written by Amy @ JerAmy

Dec 312012

Preschoolers, middle ones and teenagers. That’s where we are. With such a mix of ages it’s sometimes hard to have individual time with each child. Just how do you make a habit of planning individual time with each child? Today I share a few of the ways my husband and I accomplish that. The habits that help.

I don’t suggest that you incorporate all of these into your family life unless you want to. Rather pick one or two and add in what appeals to you, what seems easy.

Let it happen naturally

Lately I’ve found individual time is happening with the natural flow of the day. My youngest ones rise early, usually one at a time. My older ones stay up later and we enjoy some time after the littlest ones are tucked in. Early morning discussions about favorite cars and trucks with my youngest one. Late night talks with my eldest girl. Bedside ponderings with my littlest girl at sunset. This is not anything I’ve planned for, it’s just how the day happens. Right now. As each of my children grow and change, I’ll likely be adjusting and making changes to how the natural individual times happen.

How Morning Room Time Builds Important Skills for LaterMorning Room Time

This particular habit is one that helped me teach individual math lessons at the same time little ones were learning in room time. It’s exactly how I was able to be in two places at once. My husband and I set aside time to make room time CDs – recording our voices – for the children to listen to. We also included fun Bible songs, the ABCs, basic manners and more. A round up on all I’ve shared is included in How Morning Time Builds Learning Skills for Later.

Go to the Store Buddy

Kendra gives a perfect example of this in her post, Divide and Conquer. Children take turns going to the store, the library, running errands. Sometimes we even use a coupon and go to an inexpensive restaurant. Those drives around town are often the time my child and I have the deepest, most important talks.

Afternoon Quiet Time at Habits for a Happy HomeAfternoon Quiet Time

Another long-time habit that is often the anchor of our days more than anything else is afternoon quiet time. The beauty of afternoon time is that a child can spend some individual time with a parent. This is when a child and I have practiced reading, worked on a project, painted toenails or simply sat quietly. Built in individual time. Five weekdays – five children!

Plus, when a younger sibling is napping, it’s simple to scoop up some reading and snuggle time on the couch.

Cooking and Baking

Time to toss the ingredients in the slow cooker? Call a child to help you stir it in. Need to rinse some dishes? I have one that loves the kitchen sink squirter. He can stand on the stool and rinse dishes and we can chat about the birds we see through the window. Invite your preschooler to be part of the action!

laundry Other Household Tasks

Folding laundry together, teaching individual children how to load a dishwasher and even afternoons of car repair can be opportunities for individual time. Don’t discount these times. The simple truths my children and I have talked about over a huge pile of laundry amaze me!


Sometimes one of the children will accompany me or suggest we talk a walk in the neighborhood. What great talks we’ve had on our walks! *Psst* This is also a fabulous way to get in a little quiet time with my husband – late night, neighborhood walks. And Angie shares how she starts her homeschool day outside in I Finally Did it! (this would be an easy way to fit in some individual time!)

bedtime readingStaggered Bedtimes

Our youngest two children go to bed at the same time each night. Hodgepodgedad tucks in one and I tuck in the other. The questions asked, the family classic quotes we’ve gathered at tucking in time! Next, our Middle Girl is tucked in. She and I sometimes play King’s Corners, draw a picture together or scan a Where’s Waldo. Then my husband and I spend time with our eldest two children. Kendra has a wonderful post on Bedtime Stories.


Making cards, delivering a meal, making a gift. Not only can you have a little bit of individual time in creating something to bless someone else, but there is sometimes individual time to be had when making the drive over to deliver a gift.

In summary, planning individual time with each of your children can be a challenge. However, it can be much simpler when you look at the natural flow of your days. Also, be sure to simply leave room for spontaneity. But plan, so you can feel free to be spontaneous. Kerri explains this beautifully in her Planning to Be Spontaneous series. Basically, plan and have resources in place so that when opportunity arises you can take advantage of it.


Be sure to visit all the other ‘how to’ planning posts shared by iHomeschool Network bloggers!

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The Art of the Drip Castle

 Posted by on July 19, 2011  6 Responses »
Jul 192011

If you don’t know me personally, you may not know how much I love the beach. Fair-skinned and freckly though I am, I long to get back there. Today, I am reliving building sand castles last summer. And counting the days, with a lovely beach count down chain, until we get back there again…Ahhh. Toes in the sand

Sharing a post from the July 2010 Hodgepodge archives, which you could consider the annual Habit of Making Drip Castles…


On beach trips growing up all I knew were drip castles. I never imagined using buckets and shovels to shape and define castle walls. See when we went to the beach we walked a good long way from the house to the shore. Most folks drove their dune buggies. Now that I’m a Mama, I realize that was probably the reason why we didn’t tote building supplies.

My mother, father and grandmother all taught me and my brother the art of drip castle building. All you need is sand and water. Both abundant at the seashore.

When we go each year, now with our children, we don’t have as far to walk but I still go back to drip castles. It’s comfortable and beautiful.

Start by digging a hole. As you dig, make a semi-circle base for your walls. You need the hole for collecting water the surf brings in. Your castle is built around it. Continue reading »

Dec 282010

“Ok, I have to tell you, I am NOT an art teacher… not even close.  The most my kids ever do with art is maybe a hands on history lesson with coloring pages and some minor drawing.  I have now ventured into teaching them art WITH NANA! We completed lesson one in pastels this morning, and it was fabulous!  She is inspiring a love of art in a family that knows nothing of it!  Thank you so much for sharing your precious mother with us all.” ~ Lori Lange, homeschool mom of 5 @ Abnormal Herd


Back in February, on an unexpected snow day here in the south, Nana taught my children their first pastel lesson.

Many of my friends know of our art habit. My mother, Nana, is a Master Artist. A couple of times a month, she teaches my five children an art lesson. Usually these lessons compliment our nature studies. Other times Nana guides us in a surprise, like her Mug of Hot Chocolate.

Maybe you don’t have a Nana to come and teach your children art lessons? Well, we are sharing Nana with you. For almost a year now, we have been posting her lessons in photo tutorial form.

This time, on the Monday after Christmas, we followed a Sketch Tuesday theme for our art time. Winter fun!

You and your children can make a winter fun scene with a snowman too. All you need to do is follow the simple photo tutorial below. Continue reading »

One a Day: Slow the Season Down

 Posted by on November 16, 2010  6 Responses »
Nov 162010

Planning and Goal Setting Part 2

“We should make plans – counting on God to direct us.” Proverbs 16:9

What if...in this season of thanksgiving…What if we thought about one person per day. One family member, one friend or one co-worker. All those on our ‘need to get a gift for’ list. Start now, before Thanksgiving, and think about one loved one per day between now and Christmas.

What if...instead of fretting over what that person might like. What you need to buy for them…

What if...you spent a whole day praying for that loved one as you thought about what type gift they would like best?

I don’t know about you but when I start to think of everything that should be done, all that needs to be bought, fixed, wrapped, shipped, mailed, stamped, baked, bundled, put together, mixed up…I tend to get a little overwhelmed.

One loved one a day between now and Christmas.

Last year, after I read this post, I decided I would give a jar of thankfulness to my grandmother. Continue reading »