Developing Simple & Effective Home Management Systems

I hear from many women each week who feel totally stressed out and overwhelmed with managing their home. I thought I had a hold on this whole homemaking thing – until we had our twin boys and they started getting into everything. Suddenly, I couldn’t cook or clean like I used to. There were (and are) days that I felt like all I could do was keep up with my babies and couldn’t make any headway with my house or cooking.

developing simple and effective home  management systems that work

Welcome to the next part of our online book study of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. It’s not too late to jump in and join the fun! You can read the introduction and see the full schedule of topics for the next 10 weeks. Or jump in with today’s discussion! This week we are diving into Chapter 6.

That’s when I knew I needed to figure out how to better manage it all. Now, I think there is certainly a time and a place for letting things go. I don’t fret if I go to bed and the sink is full of dishes if I had a full day taking care of my boys. When I do get around to vacuuming, there are crumbs all over the floor within 30 minutes anyway. It’s not all about having a perfectly clean house with everything in it’s place.

But I knew I needed to change things and set up some simple home management systems because I wasn’t using my time very efficiently or effectively. Some days are so full of taking care of my little ones, that things simply go left un-done and I’m perfectly happy with that priority list. Other days, my house is a mess simply because I couldn’t get my act or schedule together.

Here are some things I’ve learned over the years that have drastically increased my productivity within my home and allows me to use my time as best as possible. I have a long way to go towards perfecting these systems, but daily working at these has helped me immensely!

Developing Simple & Effective Home Management Systems

In the Kitchen

I love to cook and I’m the type that loves to experiment and make things from scratch. For the first several years of our marriage, I let hubby pick out a new recipe each week and I would make it Friday night. I love making homemade ice cream, bread, pasta, muffins, crepes…you name it.

But in this busy season of my life – with twin toddlers and twin babies due any day – I have to keep it simple. I know that one day I will be able to make homemade bread again and have more time to experiment in the kitchen. But right now, today, my priority is to get something yummy and nutritious on the table and I can achieve that by keeping things simple.

Freezer Cooking

Freezer cooking has been a life saver in my kitchen!! I used to freezer cook when I worked full time outside the house and now that I stay home with my kids, I find it even more helpful! Now that I’m preparing to have my second set of twins, I’ve put over 50 meals in the freezer and it’s been so nice. You can see my full postpartum freezer cooking plan HERE.

Postpartum freezer cooking plan

Homemade Mixes

I haven’t done a ton of this yet – but I plan to in the future! You can put all the dry ingredients together and they are ready to pull out and use – from spice mixes to oatmeal packets to brownie mixes and soups! Doing a bunch of these would save so much time in preparing the meals and also planning out what to make.

Here’s a fabulous list from Intentional By Grace: 22+ Homemade Mixes (Healthy and Convenient)

Cleaning & Organizing

Without a plan for cleaning and organizing, it’s so easy for my house to get out of whack. Hours bleed together into days and days bleed into weeks. If you don’t have a plan of action (especially when you are exhausted from being up late into the night nursing babies) it’s really easy to forget to clean your toilet – for a few weeks.

Developing cleaning systems has allowed me to free up valuable brain space so I don’t have to think about it as much and helps me to stay more organized even when my house is in chaos. Here are some resources to help you develop some systems and routines for cleaning and organizing:

Get Rid of All the Junk

While we are so thankful to finally live in our first house (instead of bouncing around from small apartments to small apartments), our house also doesn’t have very much storage space. So while cleaning things out and rearranging for having 4 kids in the house, we’ve learned that sometimes the best thing you can do: is throw things out!! 

“You know one surefire way to add more time and order to your life? Get rid of excess stuff. I talked about this before, but I’ll say it again. I truly believe that the less you have, the less time you spend on upkeep, maintenance, and leaning. Either you control the clutter or the clutter will control you.” – Say Goodbye To Survival Mode, page 143

I’m certainly not an expert on living simply and cleaning out the clutter (I’m a total pack rat by nature) but here are some fabulous resources to help out:

One of my latest podcast episodes is an interview with Katie Bennett and we discuss this very thing. Listen to it here (it’s really encouraging and motivating): Episode #2 – Creating Simple Homemaking Routines That Work

HF #2- Creating Simple Homemaking Routines That Work

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode – Chapter 6

If you really feel like you are drowning and need a manual on how to say goodbye to survival mode…you need to go pick up a copy of this book TODAY! Order the book, get it on Kindle, or get it as an audiobook for FREE with a 30 day free trial membership to audible.

Chapter 6 alone (Manage the Home Front) is worth getting the book for me as it goes through so many tips for effective home management systems.

Daily Disciplines Worksheets

You can also download my FREE daily disciplines worksheets to help you get organized and started today. I originally made these for myself because I needed some sort of weekly check list to help me keep track of it all – and now you can download it too! You will get a filled out version of the worksheet which is what I use and also a blank one so you can customize it and fill it in with all your info!

To download it for free (and instantly) all you have to do is sign up for my email newsletter and you will get an instant email with the download link! Then print it off (I laminated mine to make it easy) and you are all set. Click on the image below to download:

developing simple and effective home  management systems that work 2

HF #004: Taking Baby Steps to Healthier Living for God’s Glory

Welcome back to the fourth episode of my brand new podcast: The Homemaking Foundations Podcast Where we give you the tools, inspiration, and encouragement you need to craft a Gospel-Centered Home. In case you missed it, you can listen in to last weeks episode here: Episode #003: Setting the Atmosphere in Your Home for God’s Glory.

HF #4 - Taking baby steps to healtheir living for God's Glory - Pinterest

The aim of my podcast is to give you the encouragement, inspiration, and tools you need to craft a Gospel-Centered Home and so one of the first things I want to talk about is the impact that we have on our family. The first aspect of this I want to talk about is how we can take baby steps towards healthier living for God’s Glory.

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Our responsibility in healthy living
  • Making an idol out of healthy living
  • Taking baby steps towards healthy living including:
  • Cooking from scratch, eliminating toxins, exercise, and more!

Episode summary

Today I want to talk about something that we don’t often think about as homemakers, and that’s how our own health, and the health of our family is important and can be used to Glorify God. It’s not about the latest fad diet or fitting into those skinny jeans. It’s about the ability to serve God to the best of our ability.

As a homemaker, wife & mother I know it’s my responsibility to make sure my family is living a healthy life. We are not perfect at it but I do strive to create a healthy environment for my family. I think it is glorifying to God to take care of our health and our bodies.

Throughout this episode we will take a look at what our responsibility is in healthy living, God’s sovereign control, and then dive into the baby steps we can start taking towards healthier living for Gods Glory.

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Book of the Week:

Trim Healthy Mama Book of the WeekTrim Healthy Mama: A Common Sense Guide to Satisfy Your Cravings and Energize Your Life

While there are many excellent books I could recommend for healthy living, my eyes were really opened when I read Trim Healthy Mama. I had heard good things about this book for months, but because it’s a bit pricier, I was hesitant to actually order it. When my husband said he wanted to try and lose weight, I decided to go ahead and take the plunge and buy it. While I bought it to help us lose weight, the chapters and chapters in the beginning all about healthy living and eating, totally opened my eyes to really understanding what sugar and processed grains and junk do to our body. I learned more about proper nutrition from that book than any other! There are some pretty fantastic recipes in this nearly 700 page book – but don’t let that overwhelm you. This book rocks!!

Other Healthy Living Books:

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Thanks for Listening!

Thank you so much for listening in to my podcast. If you want to ask a question (that I will try to answer on the podcast) please leave me a voicemail below so I can feature you on the podcast and so I can cover what you want to hear! (Find out more about submitting a question here)

HF #4 - Taking baby steps to healtheir living for God's Glory

3 Classics Every Christian Should Read

As a Christian, reading is very important to my personal development and walk with the Lord. I find that reading helps to encourage me, motivates me to meditate on God and pray more throughout the day, and convicts me of sin in my life. I read several books a month and often I reach for that newly released book or other modern Christian books. But lately I’ve been encouraged to go back and read Christian classics for all the wealth of wisdom that they contain.

3 Classics Every Chrsitian Should Read

Last week I shared how I find the time to read as a busy wife, mom, and homemaker (and why it’s so important to me) and this week I want to share my top 3 Christian classics that everyone should read.

I’m sharing this post today as part of a 6 week online book study that we are going through as part of an online community of women over on Facebook: Christian Homemaking Community. You can hop over and join us there and find out what other classic books my fellow blogging friends recommend.

3 Classics Every Christian Should Read

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney

51-XjG42PMLI’m not sure if this really qualifies as a “classic” since it was originally written in 1991, but it’s a book that not many people know about today – and one of my very favorite books! I consider Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life a foundational book that all believer’s should read.

I actually stumbled upon this book in a thrift store one day. And while I’m not one to just pick up any random book that calls itself “christian” because I think you could end up with some very bad (or false) teaching by doing that – I was familiar with and really respected many of the pastors who gave endorsements on the back cover. So on a $2.00 whim I decided to get it and try it out (even though it looked really boring from the cover) and fell in love with it right away. I am now on my second time reading through it and I know it won’t be my last.

Each month Jason and I pick an audio book that we listen to “together”. He listens to it on his rather long commute to work and I listen to it in the nooks and crannies of my day – making breakfast, folding laundry, driving, etc.  – and we discuss the books together. This month we chose Spiritual Disciplines For the Christian Life and he’s loving it so far! We got the audio book through Audible (an Amazon company). If you sign up for a free 30 day trial of Audible, you will actually get TWO free audiobooks of your choice!! Pretty cool.

The Screw Tape Letters by C.S. Lewis

The ScrewTape LettersI read The Screwtape Letters as a young believer in high school and it’s one that I recommend all Christian’s read at some point. While it’s not a manual for exact theology, it is a very interesting read that will open up your mind about the fact that there is a lot more going on in our world than we ever realize.

“The Screwtape Letters by C.S.  Lewis is a classic masterpiece of religious satire that entertains readers with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to “Our Father Below.” At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written.” – Amazon description

The Attributes of God by A.W. Tozer

71rH11S3JbLThe Attributes of God has now been published in a new format split into two books which includes a study guide – Part 1 and Part 2. I’m sure you could still find an older version with both parts as one book, but the study guide in these new editions looks really helpful! To come to have a deeper relationship with the Lord, we have to first know who he is. And while we will never know everything there is to know about God this side of heaven, The Attributes of God breaks down what we do know from Scripture about God.

“God’s Infinitude, Immensity, Goodness, Justice, Mercy, Grace, Omnipresence, Immanence, Holiness, Perfection all answer, what is God like? For A.W. Tozer, there is no question more important.  In fact, Tozer’s desire to know God and His fullness consumed his entire life and ministry.

Originally preached as sermons at Southside Alliance Church in Chicago, this first volume of The Attributes of God examines ten attributes of God. A study guide has been added for an in depth look at each attribute. This all important book deals with the most important subject matter of God’s traits. We should esteem Him stricken, smitten and afflicted, yet see Him as our Creator and King in awe, wonder, and fear with righteousness and amazement. How can we even be allowed to have a glimpse of His beauty, compassion, and grace?”- Amazon description

While there are many more Christian classics worth mentioning, these three have had a particular impact on my life and I highly recommend them to all believers! But I want to add more Christian classics into my reading over the next year so here are some that I want to add in (leave a comment with any book suggestions):

Books I Want to One Day Read:

Join Our Summer Book Club!

Some blogging friends and I are going to spend the next six weeks talking all about reading… and sharing our favorite books with you! Follow our blogs to join in the discussion and find some new favorite books to love. We’ll also be chatting about our blog posts – and the books we love – in our Facebook community for women: Christian Homemaking Community. Hop over and join in on the fun!

Summer-Book-Club

What would you add to this list?

Also check out: How to Find the Time to Read as a Busy Mom

How to find the time to read as a busy mom

 

How to Make Homemade Baby Wipes on a Budget (Tutorial & Recipe)

By Marci Seither, Contributing Writer

Poop happens. If you have ever packed up a diaper bag, you know it is a true fact.

I remember, as a new mom, that bathing a toddler and a baby  at the same time was a “tag team” experience. One evening, the baby pooped in the tub much to the chagrin of our toddler who immediately screamed as the small tootsie roll swirled toward him.

how to make homemade baby wipes

Hearing the shrieks of horror, my husband ran in to see what was going on.  He immediately noted the situation, ran out of the bathroom, and emerged a few seconds later with my  slotted spoon. Quickly, he scooped the treasure up, plopped it into the toilet, and flushed. I stared at him as if he had just grown a third eye in the middle of his forehead.

The word perplexed doesn’t even come close to what I was thinking as  the little brown lump swirled out of sight.

It is taken care of!” John beamed, my kitchen tool in his hand.

That was my new spoon,” I signed. “Toss it in the trash. Now.

We poured new bathwater, soaped everyone up, and after getting ready for bedtime, cuddled on the couch for a story. Everyone survived. Everyone lived.

It was a minor crisis that changed a bit of our routine, but that is life.

With as much as we think we have our routines under control, we need to remember that we never have to handle things on our own, the Lord is always there to help.

We can be confident that whenever poop happens during the day, God can handle it – without sacrificing kitchen utencils.

“Give ear to my words, O Lord. Consider my signing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait with expectation.” – Psalm 5:1-3

Our family is on Baby Launch countdown!

At the end of December, our daughter and son-in-law announced they were expecting our first grandbaby! I have been busy making a Dr. Seuss quilt and shower decorations, but I also want to share with Emma all of the things I did as a young mom. One way I saves some green was by making homemade baby wipes.

Homemade Baby Wipes Tutorial & Recipe

What you need:

Airtight container – I used an ice cream bucket, but you can use an empty coffee canister, baby wipe container, or find a good container with a lid. You might also want to keep a zip lock bag of the wipes in your diaper bag.

Paper towels –  I purchased the big Viva bale at Costco and had a coupon! Score. Bounty is also a good brand. When it come to this project, you want to spend a bit more on higher quality paper towels that are not going to start bio-degrading as soon as the water mixture is poured over them.

I love the various size towels as well because some clean-ups require less than others. It is less wasteful which is good for the environment and great on the budget.

Note from Jami: You can also make reusable baby wipes by using cloth instead of paper towels! Disposable wipes are great because you can throw them away with the diapers – but if you use cloth diapers (like we do) then it’s actually easier (and cheaper) to use cloth wipes that can be thrown in the wet bag and washed along with your diapers. Follow these same instructions but use some sort of cloth wipe instead (or you can even use baby wash cloths which are the perfect size, inexpensive, and you seem to get a ton of them at baby showers). I love these flannel baby wipes from Bum Genius. They are super soft, durable, and are the right size (not too thin). I got a couple boxes of these from Babies R’ Us with a giftcard.

2 cups warm water

2 Tbsp. baby wash – there are so many types of baby wash on the market. Some are organic, some are oat based, some are generic brand knock offs of national brands. I went with the cheapest. Face it, if you have a baby, chances are you already have a baby wash you prefer so just snag a couple of tablespoons and you are good to go. (Note from Jami: My personal favorite is Honest Company shampoo and baby wash – my local target has two huge bottles for $14!)

1 Tbsp. baby oil – I found some with Aloe and Vitamin E in it.

1 Tbsp. witch hazel – this is found in the first aid area of any superstore or pharmacy

Baby Wipes An easy tutorial and recipe to save you MONEY!

INSTRUCTIONS

1)  Cut paper towel in half using a sharp knife, electric knife, or even a chop saw. Remove the middle cardboard tube, allowing you to pull the towels from the center.

2)  Put the roll in an airtight container

3)  Mix the water, baby bath, oil and witch hazel in bowl.

4)  Pour over paper towel roll

5)  Put the lid on

IMG_0090

 That is it! So fast, simple, and economical.

Note: Due to absorbency difference in paper towels you may need a bit less or more water. Depends on how wet you want your homemade baby wipes!

HF #003: Setting the Atmosphere in Your Home for God’s Glory

Welcome back to the third episode of my brand new podcast: The Homemaking Foundations Podcast Where we give you the tools, inspiration, and encouragement you need to craft a Gospel-Centered Home. In case you missed it, you can listen in to episode #1 here: What Does it Mean to be a Homemaker? and episode #2 here: Creating Simple Homemaking Routines That Work With Katie Bennett.

HF #3 - Setting the Atmosphere in the Home for God's Glory - Pinterest

The aim of my podcast is to give you the encouragement, inspiration, and tools you need to craft a Gospel-Centered Home and so one of the first things I want to talk about is setting the atmosphere in the home. I think this is where it all beings and where we can have the greatest impact as homemakers. What does the tone in your home say about you and your family?

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • The importance of setting the atmosphere in your home
  • How to set an UN-glorifying atmosphere in your home
  • Why it’s important to make your home a haven
  • And 5 steps for creating a God-Glorifying atmosphere that points your family back to Christ!

Episode summary

What does it mean to be a homemaker who glorifies God within her home? What tasks and things should we be focused on, and what can we lay aside for the sake of our family? That’s what we are going to dive into in this episode.

This quote has become my guiding post in creating an atmosphere in my home: “The wife and mother who views life as a “cross to bear” influences the others in the home to think the same way. She easily robs everyone else of joy and like the yeast in the bread she bakes, her ungodly attitudes spread to everyone else.” ~ Martha Peace, The Excellent Wife {Page 77}

Throughout this episode we will spend some time looking at why we should care as homemakers, wives, and mothers about the atmosphere in our home. Then we will briefly talk about some easy ways to set an UN-glorifying atmosphere within our home. And finally we will discuss 5 steps you can begin taking today to glorify God within your home by the tone and atmosphere that you set.

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Book of the Week:

Treasuring christTreasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full – Gloria Furman

This is one of my all time favorite books! If you are looking for some Gospel-Centered encouragement on the sometimes messy task of being a mother, then I highly recommend you go pick up this book TODAY!

I love this quote from the book: “The Christian mother’s hands are full with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3) and her work in nurturing children in the fear of the Lord is her privileged participation in God’s work in uniting all things in Jesus (Eph. 1:10). This Jesus, whom we gladly serve, offers rest to mothers and fills our hands with his blessings. Day and night, moment by moment, we must choose to rest in Jesus. That’s what it means to treasure Christ when your hands are full, whether you have one child or a dozen.” – Treasuring Christ, page 17

Other Related Resources:

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Thanks for Listening!

Thank you so much for listening in to my podcast. If you want to ask a question (that I will try to answer on the podcast) please leave me a voicemail below so I can feature you on the podcast and so I can cover what you want to hear! (Find out more about submitting a question here)

HF #3 - Setting the Atmosphere in Your Home for God's Glory