I love Kellie’s annual Christmas post. Every year it inspires me to get it together and promises the fruit of my labor will be more time to adore Jesus in Advent. Win-win. Real, true, well-planned holidays are possible without stress and having a larger family does not preclude doing something well. Because really, in the end of it, it’s all about planning and doing it ahead of time. The more I live, the more children I have, the more I plan. There’s really no other way.
You could say I’ve been learning this lesson the hard way over the years. I am an organized person, by nature, but that was before I added 5 souls and a husband to the mix. Getting us where we need to be, when we need to be, with what we need to be has been the ultimate organizational conundrum of my life! I get asked all the time, “How do you do it?” Really? Truly? With every detailed, organizational bone in my body!!! And a LOT of grace and forgiveness from Above. I always make sure to mention that too.
Today I wanted to share a few tips from the trenches, a few of my latest organizational tools that have begun to reap goodness in our day to day. I know here at BC we just threw a lot at you in terms of holiday organization, but in case you need help getting your days organized too, read on! If you can get your daily life together, then you can more feasibly add in the holidays and other bigger picture items and not be completely overwhelmed.
To start things off, I’ve set up a little mama corner in my kitchen. It is my space and the kids know they are not to touch the items in mama’s corner. In the drawer below is our monthly calendar, extra note paper, pens/sharpies, stamps, etc.
I’ll go through and highlight some of the features of mama’s corner…
1) A Family Agenda
This is a day by day matrix of all my school-age kids and the days of the week. On Sunday night I begin compiling their homework, tests, projects, etc. that are due for the week and write them on the day they are due. It is like the ultimate family to-do list and has been very helpful for keeping tabs on who’s got what and when. The inspiration for this chart came upon waking the morning of November 1st (the day after Halloween) and realizing my son had a “dream house” project due that day and we had forgotten it completely. My other son had 2 quizzes, we had make-up pictures at preschool, and the baby was vomiting. It was the awesome (heavy sarcasm) kick in the pants I needed to do a better job of managing. Thus, our family agenda was born. Two weeks in and we are enjoying the fruit of this organizational piece.
2) Meal Planning
I actually just made this puppy over the weekend, so it is a work-in-progress. Needless to say, I’m so excited about the look of it and just how it makes me feel knowing it’s up there, posted on my fridge. Too bad it can’t cook too! ;) I have always done a hand-written one of these, but in printed form with separate boxes for entree, side, and vegetable it looks nice and will help me better plan for each component of our nightly dinner. I’m always good at the main dish, but often forget to plan the sides and end up throwing lettuce on everyone’s plate and calling it a night! lol I could do a better job of planning for more variety all around.
Don’t forget that you need fuel for the journey you’re on! As you can see, I’ve included a few motivational pieces to keep me going. One is a quote (author unknown) that I love and reminds me to reach for Jesus always, but especially in the hard-pressed moments. I put it right at eye level at our most popular cabinet to make sure I never miss it.
The second is a sweet plaque a friend gave me for my birthday last year. It is so humbling to look at because oftentimes I fall far short of amazing. But at least when I look at it, I’m reminded she thinks a lot of me and that gives me motivation. Whatever works! As moms and parents, we need that positive feedback because we are building cathedrals in secret and doing a lot of unappreciated work. In fact, that’s a really clever idea for a blog… ;) lol
I’ll leave it at that for today, but will surely be back soon to update you on our latest and greatest, what’s working and what’s failing, and hopefully tweaks for these systems and more. Until then, plan on and keep up the good work. God bless!