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For a while now, I have considered blogging as a way to share what I am working on, accomplishing and learning from day to day. I wish to blog about a wide variety of topics including traditional foods, natural family living and home care, food storage, crafting, homesteading, gardening, homeschooling, homemaking, alternative health and anything else I am exploring at the time. I hope it will be an enjoyable read and will give you inspiration for your own work to better your family.
I do so many different things and often have people ask me, “How do you do it all?” So I decided for my first post to give you a peek into my day-to-day life. Homeschooling, running a business and working full-time from home, crafting, running the forum, assisting my parents, gardening and livestock, plus all of the from-scratch cooking, cleaning and laundry that a household needs to run smoothly.
Many times, I believe part of the answer to “How do you do it all?” lies mostly in what I do not do. I do not watch TV, talk on the phone, do much shopping or waste time on entertainment alone. I do not waste time on frivolous activities and instead strive for all of my time to be productive, even when I am relaxing. I don’t sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate. I don’t allow children to avoid activities they are capable and competent to perform. Instead of watching TV in the evenings, I either work on my business or knit, a very productive activity with my Bond Ultimate Sweater Machine. Our TV normally only plays one thirty-minute kid’s video a day during afternoon snack, we have a family movie night on Fridays when I sit on the couch with the kids and knit while we watch a video from their collection. On the odd occasion I’ll get a movie for me and hubby from the library to watch in the evenings after the kids go to bed at 8pm. We take over, the movie going, him on his laptop and me with my knitting.
I try very hard to limit my days out of the house for shopping to two days a month. Above that, I only leave the house for church, going to my parent’s house as needed, homeschool meetings, one trip to the library a week and occasional family outings. Errands are combined as much as possible, and my husband also runs errands near his location when he is out for business purposes. We live as a one-car family even though we have access to a second vehicle which belongs to my parents. I rely on wholesale purchasing from the Farmer’s Market in my area to supply our veggies, and my husband picks that up when he is in that area of town for a meeting. Anything that needs to be purchased from a regular grocery store is done on the way home from church, since we drive by two stores. The salvage we frequent is near the farmer’s market, and my husband will stop there if he’s near-by since their stock is never consistent. You never know what deals you will walk into when you go, so I always try to get us there as frequently as possible. The salvage store is always included on my twice a month outings.
We maintain a daily routine where we have set times to accomplish certain activities. We maintain set wake, meal and bed times six days a week and have some flex on lunch, dinner and bedtime on Sunday to accommodate church. Everyone is up early enough that if we need to leave the house for church or a homeschool activity, they aren’t getting up early or are rushed to get ready with no time for a solid breakfast before leaving. The last thing I want is to have to be hauling around cranky, hungry kids who got jerked out of bed. So we have breakfast with adequate time to eat and enough time to get dressed and brush teeth and hair before needing to head out the door. Next next day’s clothing is readied and any needed items for an outing get assembled after dinner the night before and placed by the door.
I do not answer social phone calls during school, and I ask people if they can to call ahead ‘so we know we’ll be home’ before dropping by, so I can expect and plan for the interruption or already have prepared the items they are coming to pick up. I try to schedule visitors after lunch, so our school and chores are done and the kids are into free time and I’m working on business stuff, so as not to interrupt their concentration. If I do not finish my business tasks in the afternoon due to company or the work load, I simply wrap it up when the kids go to bed at 8pm.
A routine allows me time to have the kids do chores and accomplish their school work before having free time. If they dawdle on a chore and clean-up time is over, they must finish their chore before they are allowed free time to play. It also allows me sufficient time in the kitchen to prepare the meals, as I work in the kitchen for 15-30 minutes each morning while the kids sit at the bar to do their beloved worksheets during school time, or I can get back in the kitchen after the kids are in bed to do fun things like tinctures or brewing kombucha.
I have a set time each week that I handle certain tasks. I know that every afternoon, I will sit down and pay bills on Monday, write up the week’s menu plan on Tuesday, update the budget on Wednesday, take the kids to the library on Thursday and plan next week’s schoolwork and family calendar on Friday. For my business, I have a set time that I have set aside to work on daily and weekly tasks. Saturday gives the kids the option to play when we would normally do school, or to do self-directed school activities that they enjoy. This allows me additional time for cooking, cleaning, organizing or business.
Because every activity (along with sufficient time to clean up after it) has a time to be accomplished in a week’s time, I never run around, trying to figure out what the next thing to do should be or what should have priority off of a growing list. I can focus on school during school, work during work, and not have items running around in the back of my head, so I am able to accomplish more. I am a list queen. I have a list of daily, weekly, monthly, and one-time special projects that need to be accomplished, all in order of importance. I know when I accomplish something on my list, I just move to the next item and stop when the time is up, knowing that tomorrow I will have time to work on it again. It makes it to where I don’t have to think, the thinking has already been done. I just have to ACT. It makes it so much easier to walk away from projects that are half-way completed when you know the have scheduled time to work on it each day instead of always running around, trying to figure out what’s most important and never feel like you have time to do things you want to do, because the needs are all so pressing.
If I mark everything off of my daily/weekly list and I don’t have any fun projects going in the kitchen, I sit down when the kids to to bed to craft or do things like read blogs and surf the internet looking for ideas and inspiration. Having this time to be productive while I’m relaxing is my reward for staying on task during the day. The kids having an early bedtime at eight o’clock also allows me time for quiet so I can unwind and go to sleep when it’s time, instead of having more things to do bouncing around my head, fighting for priority.
KerryAnn Foster runs Cooking Traditional Foods, the longest running Traditional Foods Menu Mailer on the internet. KerryAnn has over nine years of traditional foods experience and is a former Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader. Founded in 2005, CTF helps you feed your family nourishing foods they will love. Each mailer contains one soup, five dinners, one breakfast, on dessert and extras. You can learn more about our Menu Mailers at the CTF website. For a free sample Menu Mailer, join our mailing list. You can also join our forum to chat with other traditional foodists and learn more.