Saturday, March 31, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Thirty- One!!!

We did it!!!  We made it all the way to Day 31.  While this month is coming to an end, a lifestyle of habits is really just beginning.  Take some time now, to CELEBRATE!!!  Make sure you communicate to your children that this is not the end, but just the start of good habits.  But together we have completed a giant step!  That is great cause for celebration!!! 

Thanks for sticking with me through it all.  It has been so refreshing to see the growth and change start to take place in our family.  I'm excited about returning to my regular blogging though!

Friday, March 30, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Thirty

We're almost there!!!  We've completed (almost!) 31 Days of Good Habits.  Hopefully by now, these are truly becoming habits for your family and positive changes have started to happen in your home.

Today is the last day to look back at our routines and see how they are working.  How is the morning routine going?  Does it jump start your day?  What could you add or subtract to start your day off on a better foot?  How about afternoon?  Is your house left ready for Daddy to walk in the door?  Does the bedtime routine wrap up the day in a peaceful way?  How about meals?  What needs tweaked to help them run and finish up as smoothly as possible?

Remember to always be ready to change things up to work best for your home and family.  Sometimes we want change just because we are feeling lazy, but sometimes there is truly a more effective way to get the job done.  Lets continue to seek wisdom in the best way to build good habits into our lives!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Twenty-Nine

This is the last habit we are adding to our list.  The habit of giving thanks.  This one is a little different from the rest, but it is so important in life that I want to make of point of making it a habit for my children. 

How can you help this become a habit for your children?  Thank them for the things that they do.  Express thanks to everyone who crosses your path throughout the day.  Help them see all that Daddy does for his family and find creative ways to be thankful.  Help them write thank you notes to people who have blessed them.  When riding in the car go around saying things God created that they are thankful for.  The opportunities are endless, but as mothers we have to make a point of using these opportunities.

Thankfulness makes life abound with beauty.  Give your children the gift of making this a habit in their lives.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Or, Maybe Not Quite 31!!!

Daddy has been gone since Sunday and as you can tell, when Daddy is gone, my world falls apart!!!

We have actually had a fun girl time, and I thought there would be plenty of time for blogging, but I guess I was wrong!!!  Sorry to drop the ball here at the end, but actually, I was already reconsidering a few of these last "habit days".  I think we are going to skip yesterday and today and just finish up these next three days.  So "31 Days" is actually "29 Days" but hopefully you will forgive me!

So what was I doing these last three days?  I was SEWING!!!  I haven't sewn anything on my own since before I had children.  But my grandma gave me my great-grandma's sewing machine and now I have been sewing up a STORM!!!  I am having so much fun!!!!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Twenty-four and Twenty-five

Well, it happened.  Yesterday was full with getting ready for church, getting Daddy out the door for a retreat then trying to distract myself from missing Daddy on the retreat.  In the midst of it all, our habit got skipped!  Sorry!

Thankfully, yesterday and today are both sort of review days.  First of all, how are their devotion times going?  My girls are young and so at this point spending time reading the Bible is more a part of their check list then their relationship with the Lord.  I can play a vital roll though, in how they view their time spent with the Lord.  Let's remember to talk about what they are reading and what they are praying for. Let's remember to continue to teach about God's heart for them.

Our Afternoon Routine is now completed so let's attack it with full force!

1.  Pick out pajamas
2.  Afternoon chores (repeat of morning chores)
3.  Personal clean-up (wash faces, comb hair, make sure clothes are tidy and clean)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Twenty-three

The next addition to our Afternoon Routine is our personal clean-up time.  After we've picked up the house, we take a moment to clean-up ourselves!  The girls love taking the time to comb their hair, wash their faces and check their clothes so they are all ready for Daddy to come home.  And Daddy loves coming home to a well kept, smiling family. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

31 days of Good Habits~ Day Twenty-three

We're finally getting to our Afternoon Routine!  The great thing about this routine is that starts the evening out on the right foot.  I don't know how many times I find myself stressed out as the dinner hour is approaching and I'm expecting my husband to walk in the door at any minute.  I want our home to be a place of peace and rest, but at those times it feels like anything but that.

We try and start our Afternoon Routine around 4:30.  The first step is picking out pajamas for bedtime (which we've already covered).  Next is afternoon clean-up which is pretty much a repeat of the morning chores!  The girls run to pick up the main body of the house so I'm just left with making sure the kitchen is in order.

The point of afternoon clean-up is simply to have the house in order for the evening.  I would recommend planning what activity is going to follow after this as there is nothing more disappointing than getting your house in ship shape, only to have it a disaster again when Daddy walks through the door.  Simple games like Candy land, Uno, Skip-Bo, Chutes and Ladders are fun activities that  make hardly any mess.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Twenty-two

Sorry I'm so late today!!!  Thankfully, it's just  a surprise check day!  How is the Before Bed Routine going?  Is it becoming habit?  We love our Before Bed Routine, though there are still nights we seem to just stumble into bed.  We always regret it in the morning though, when we are taking snarled rubber bands out of hair and searching for clean clothes!

Let's press on to make these habits stick!!!

Before Bed Routine~

1.  Get pajamas on
2.  Pick out clothes for tomorrow
3.  Bedtime hair
4.  Brush teeth
5.  Pick up clothes room floor
6.  Pick up bedroom

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Twenty-One

Today we're dividing out table chores.  Keep in mind, we want to stretch our children and children thrive with responsibility.  At the same time, we in no way want to burn out our children.  Keep the jobs appropriate to their age and ability.

In our house,  Havilah and Ella clear the table after the meal, Bethany washes the table and scrapes the plates and Lydia washes the "eat on" dishes (plates, cups, silverware).  These jobs are able to be completed in a short amount of time so no one gets bogged down.

Table Chores helps the house to continue running smoothly even after a crazy meal!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Twenty

Day Twenty here we come!!!  Now we've completed both our Morning Routine and our Before Bed Routine.  All we have left is our Afternoon Routine and a few other random habits to work into our daily lives.

One of the areas we need to work some good habits into are our meal times.  Today and tomorrow we will be addressing Table Chores.  These will look VERY different depending on how many children you have and how old they are.  My one encouragement would be, start them young!  Even tiny little walkers can help carry spoons to and from the table.  Ella (2) helps set the table with the rest of them!

As far as setting the table goes, we just have everyone who is handy join in.  In the past we have assigned roles (example~ Lydia sets plates.  Bethany sets cups. Havilah sets silverware.), but at this time, one or another are usually helping me with the meal so table setting is assigned however it works best for the night.

Again, make sure the job is always completed to the standard you have set for them.  But remember to be gracious and not to expect too much from small children! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Nineteen

 Time for another review!  Now that we've completed our Before Bed Routine, how is it going?  This one seemed to be much easier to roll into habit form than our Morning Routine.  We try and get started around 7:30 so by the time bedtime rolls around, everyone is ready!

Adding these simple habits each evening has changed a lot.  Now we are ready to start each day one step ahead knowing that we finished the day before well!

Before Bed Routine~

Get pajamas on
Pick out clothes for tomorrow
Brush teeth
Bedtime hair
Pick up clothes room floor
Pick up bedroom

Sunday, March 18, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Eighteen

Just one more habit to add to their devotion times.  Start them on their journey of personal prayer time.  Help them pick one person each week to pray for.  A sibling, an unsaved family member, a world leader.  Teach them to pray for their own spiritual growth.  Teach them to express their THANKFULNESS to the Lord.  However you want to start this, help them to grasp the importance of building a prayer life.  One step at a time, help equip them in their relationship with the Lord.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Seventeen

This is the last addition to our Before Bed Routine~

You will have to twist this one around to work for your own family.  All of our girl's clothes are on shelves in our back entryway, two steps from the washer and dryer.  It has worked really well for us.  Having clothes for five little girls in one tiny bedroom  DID NOT WORK, so this has been a great solution.

Even with this method, clothes still end up everywhere.  The floor of this room loves to be covered in clothes.  Picking up this room every night helps keep it tidy and ready for the next day.

Wherever your clothes are kept, make sure they are picked up each evening.  Clothes can become a disaster in a great big hurry.  Train your children to keep a handle on it!

Friday, March 16, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Sixteen

Today's habit is simple, and hopefully it's already a habit.  Once again however, with five little ones all getting ready at the same time, it is easy to miss certain little mouths. 

Be sure to add this important habit to the Before Bed Routine!!!

Before Bed Routine (So far!!!)~

1.  Get pajamas on
2.  Pick out clothes for tomorrow
3.  Brush teeth
4.  Bedtime hair
5.  Pick up bedroom

Thursday, March 15, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Fifteen

Can you believe we're already to Day Fifteen???  I know it's impossible to divide 31 days in half, but I'm going to declare this the half way mark.

Today is to simply review and truly reflect on how things are going.

Are clothes consistently being picked out the night before to give the morning the jump start it needs?

How are those beds being made?  Does it meet with Mommy's approval?

Are the morning chores done quickly and correctly or are corners being cut?

How about their Bible time?  Are they just checking it off their list or are they learning something from the Word?

Try and look at each step and see how it is really going and how it can be changed to work even better.  Remember we are actually a week ahead of this schedule, and to be honest, when we reached Day Fifteen we were floundering a bit.  Things were getting done, but with much reminding and a bit of heel dragging.  Nothing close to the "habits" I was hoping to see.  The days to follow have been MUCH better though!  It is actually starting to click.  So don't give up!  Stay focused and keep encouraging your children.  WE CAN DO IT!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Fourteen

The next thing we added to our Before Bed Routine is "Bedtime Hair".  For most of my girls it is a simple check for rubber bands that are still in their hair and maybe comb through quickly, but for my stick straight, long, fine haired Havilah, this habit is essential!

By combing and braiding her hair before bed, it makes the morning's hair combing so much less traumatic! 

If you have only boys, this habit could probably be skipped entirely.  We need it around here though!

Before Bed Routine~

1. Get on pajamas
2. Pick out clothes for the next day
3. Bedtime hair
4. Pick up bedroom

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Thirteen

Adding to our Before Bed Routine today.  Today's habit is, Bedtime Bedroom Pick-up.  Around here, four little girls in one bedroom can make for a cluttered mess.  It astounds me how quickly  a perfectly clean room can turn into a disaster area in what feels like a matter of seconds.

In your house, maybe that's not the case, but for us, daily bedroom pick is essential.  Doing it right before bed starts the day clean and fresh.  And the great thing is, as a new day starts, it's easier to see the things that become out of place and the girls are far more likely to keep things picked up as they go along.

So far our Before Bed Routine looks like~

1.  Pick out clothes for the next day.
2.  Pick up bedroom.

Don't forget your Morning Routine!!!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Twelve

Check-up Day!!!!

Today is kind of pop quiz day.  How did they do?  Did they complete all of their Morning Routine?  Did they need reminders?

My girls scored about a B on their check-up.  They do the routine easily and quickly, but they still rely on some reminding.  There is still some room for progress before the routine is truly HABIT, but we're getting there!!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Eleven

Today is a quick and easy yet very important habit.  Teach your children to spend just a few minutes each day during their Bible reading to review the memory verses they are working on.  Assist them in knowing how to find them in their own Bibles. 

Make sure you are helping them throughout the week to review and learn more verses, but help them develop their own habit of reviewing just a few verses each day to keep God's word fresh in their minds and in their hearts.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Ten

Today's habit doesn't really fit into one of our main routines.  It's a routine in it's self.  Now, this will have to be tweaked to fit your families needs.  I know may of you out there have bath time every night.  We are pretty much Saturday night bathers with random "need bath nights" thrown in.

Baths always seem to be a last minute thing around here though, so after the mad dash for the bathtub, we are usually scrambling for towels when they are ready to get out, searching for clothes and the bathroom is left looking like this~

Now whenever we end up taking baths our simple bath time routine helps us keep order and have everything where we need it when we need it.  Our bath time routine consists of~

Before bath.....
1. Have clothes or pajamas ready for when you get out.
2. Have a towel on hand for each person.

After bath.....
3. Hang up towel.
4. Pick up bathroom.

Now baths run smoother, the house is in order and bath time is still as fun as always!

Friday, March 9, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Nine

Now that we've completed our Morning Routine, we will be starting to build on our Afternoon and Before Bed Routines.

We do our Afternoon Routine around 4:30 in the afternoon.  This gives us a chance to pull ourselves and the house together before Daddy gets home from work.

The first thing we will be adding to the Afternoon Routine is~  Pick out pajamas

This habit jump starts our Before Bedtime Routine by having the pajamas reading to jump into.

Soooooo, now we have.....

Morning Routine~

1. Make Bed
2. Get Dressed
3. Do Hair
4. Brush Teeth
5. Read Bible
6. Morning Chores

Afternoon Routine~

1. Pick out pajamas

Before Bed Routine~

1.  Pick out clothes for the next morning

Thursday, March 8, 2012

31 Days of Good habits~ Day Eight

This is pretty much a day to appreciate the progress.  We've completed the Morning Routine!!!  Hooray!  How is it going?  I can't say that our morning routine is completely habitual yet, but it's getting there.  It's hardly taking any reminding anymore and the only reminder they need is, "What should you be doing right now?".

Now soon after we tumble out of bed, four little girls are dressed, hair done, teeth brushed, Bibles read and the main body of the house picked up.  It hardly takes any time and the girls actually are excited to see the jump it gives us on our day.

Let's remember to stay encouraging and to appreciate the changes as we see them taking place! 

Morning Routine~

1. Make Bed
2. Get Dressed
3. Do Hair
4. Brush Teeth
5. Read Bible
6. Morning Chores

Before Bed Routine~

1.  Pick out clothes for the next day

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Seven

The final addition to our morning routine is "Morning Chores".  Each girl is assigned a small section of the house that they are responsible for each morning.  Be careful when assigning these chores that they are not too overwhelming and that they are jobs that can successfully be finished without much supervision.  Mornings are busy times for mom and if I have to be watching over these day after day, pretty soon they are going to slip away.

My girls morning chores are....

Lydia~  Kitchen floor and pick up bathroom
Bethany~  Pick up dining room and office floor
Havilah~  Pick up upstairs hallway and downstairs hallway
Ella~  Pick up living room

Remember the steps of teaching a new chore~

1. Tell Them
2.  Show them
3.  Do it with them
4. Supervised practice
5. Independent practice

Set them up for success!  When these chores are completed each morning, the house looks picked up and ready for the day!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Six

Obviously, brushing teeth is a very important habit.  To be honest though, with five little girls, it is hard to remember to make sure five little mouths get brushed every day.  It's very important for it to become their habit!

The three big girls have been taught how to brush correctly, Lydia helps Ella and I am responsible for Esther.  Again, make sure you are teaching them and they aren't just sucking on their brush!

Sooooooo, so far we're at~

Morning Routine~

Make Bed
Get Dressed
Do hair
Brush teeth
Read Bible

And don't forget~  PICK OUT CLOTHES BEFORE BED!!!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Five

Monday here we come!!!  I hope that your last week was a blessed one.  If you have been joining in with our month of good habits, hopefully this Monday started out a little easier than usual.  It did for us!  It's amazing how just a few simple habits can make such a difference!

At times, the hair situation in this house has been frightful.  Truly frightful.  By working this into our morning routine in ensures that every one's hair gets combed through at least once a day, which is a necessity for some heads around here!

"Do hair" looks different for each girl.  Lydia (6) has shoulder length straight hair so she is able to comb it our on her own.  She then either puts in a head band or bring me a rubber band to do something with.  Havilah (3) has long straight hair that attracts anything sticky in the county.  For her, "do hair" means bring mom the comb and a rubber band.

After being born completely bald and taking forever to actually grow hair, Bethany and Ella both surprised us by sprouting curls!  Right now both of their hair is still short enough where it is not too troublesome so Lydia combs Ella's hair and Bethany combs her own.


The thing about curls though, is that they tend to get smashed, frizzed and wild looking!  This really has nothing to do with the habits, I just thought I'd share our curl reviving remedy!

Here is Bethany with her morning hair.  Combing and brushing now would only make it go "POOF"!

We've found by adding just about a teaspoon of regular conditioner to a spray bottle of water, then spraying down the hair helps with taming and defining curls greatly!

So by now, our morning routine looks like this~

1. Make bed
2.  Get dressed
3.  Do hair
4.  10 min. Bible Reading

Sunday, March 4, 2012

31 days of Good Habits~ Day Four

I know it's Sunday morning.  Sunday mornings have the tendency to get crazy, rushed and grumpy.  A piece of advice from one mom to another;  get up earlier and plan ahead.  But Sunday is one of my only mornings to stay under the covers!  I know.  But it's really not worth it.  I'm not saying get up at the crack of dawn, I just have to accurately plan how much time a shower, breakfast, dressing five girls, doing five girl's hair, and getting myself ready is going to take.  Then I need to make sure I have that time!  And planning ahead is crucial!  If I not only know what we are all going to wear but have everything clean and ready to go, that saves a tremendous headache!  If I'm really on the ball, I love to have breakfast as prepped as possible as well.  But I digress.....  We're here for habits aren't we?

 One of the greatest things I can teach my children is to set aside time to meet with the Lord.  If I can ingrain it in them now, what better habit could I instill in them?  Two of my girls are avid readers and both have their own Bibles.  For this habit I simply told them to find a quiet place to read for ten minutes.  I set the timer for them.

Now on a busy morning like Sunday, it takes an effort to carve out even ten minutes.  But it's important.  They need to see that it is important.  We don't skip brushing our hair and putting on makeup Sunday morning because we are too busy.  Neither should we neglect what is most important. 

At a young age, it is imperative for parents to train their children in the Word.  There is no way for them to grasp or understand all the truths of scripture on their own.. But, I truly believe they will learn and we know that the Word will not return void.  Plus they are learning a precious discipline that is vital for every stage of life. 

Add this habit where it fits best for you.  Before breakfast, first thing after lunch, while the babies nap.  It dosn't matter too much as long as it becomes a HABIT!!!  Don't let this area be neglected!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

31 Days of Good Habits~ Day Three

I remember being convicted once by the statement, "The best time to make the bed is as soon as you get out of it.".  Wow.  What a profound thought!  At that point in my life I was glad if I could dash up the stairs and make it as I heard my husband's truck pull in the driveway at night.

Our girls share bunk beds right now, so bed making is pretty simplistic.  Some of you may be horrified at what we consider a "made bed", but at this point in their lives I'm choosing to make the habit more important than the technique in this area.  Teach your children in the way that you see as realistic and achievable.  Maybe you only have a small child.  How can they help you make their bed neat and tidy for the day?

Making the bed jump starts our Morning Routine which now consists of~

1.  Make Bed
2.  Get Dressed

(Hint!  If you're following along, pretty soon we'll be assigning morning chores.  Start thinking about simple picking up chores that your children can do daily.)