Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Chores & Chore Charts

I put this post up knowing each family has its own ebb and flow that requires a unique routine to help mama get the house work done.  As the family grows, the needs change, and that includes house chores, from who is capable of doing what (age appropriate of course, but don't underestimate), to how often the chores should and could be done.

This is our (current) routine which really has been successful in our house for a number of years.  It was tweaked around a book I read some years back,  Smart Martha's Catholic Guide for Busy Moms.

Not only did this author confirm what I already was putting into practice, but she gave me ideas to help me further implement a chore routine.  The bottom line is, the kids, David, and I, we are a team, and it takes a team effort to keep the house picked up, let alone clean.

The chart.   I needed something up on the fridge for everyone to see.  I wanted to respect my kids, especially my teenagers, so I tried to veer away from babyish charts.  I also wanted something FREE to write on.  There are plenty of FREE chore charts online.  I just picked one that filled our need, printed it, and started to fill it in.

We have two weeks that have some different routines.  We rotate them throughout the calendar.

Week A

* I decided to keep the kids on these particular tasks for a month as to ensure that they would really learn how to complete (clean) them.  In addition, I did not want to be teaching how to clean every single week.

Week B

Many hands make work light!  

Sometimes, there are weeks that we just get the floors vacuumed, dishes cleaned, and laundry done because life happens.  And that is okay!  A former neighbor up in Illinois, Eleanor,  gave me some sound advice when I was a very young mommy: "A place for everything, and everything in its place."  That has always been my back up plan when we have those hectic weeks.

As for the kitchen: 

One daughter washes dishes for the month.
Another daughter dries dishes for the month.
And another daughter will vacuum the kitchen tile  for the month.
Stan helps with unloading the dishwasher.
Mom, of course, helps them out with these throughout the day.  (It's all about the ebb and flow.)

*The kitchen chores are basic and so I do not feel the need to write them down.  I save the chart for the bigger ticket items.  If my kids were much younger, I would be doing the big ticket cleaning on my own and would be writing down the kitchen chores on this chart.*

Lastly, they have Monday-Saturday to complete the chores for the week.  Each one has a different school/ extra curricular activity schedule, so I give them the responsibility of figuring out how to fit it all in (with subtle reminders every now and then ;)

Seriously, I honestly could not juggle it all: the house cleaning, homeschool, grocery shop, cook, and run everyone to where they have to be if I did not have the help of the kids.  They are a HUGE help!  The multitude of values they are learning along the way are priceless.

**Addendum** Laundry

I just realized I left laundry off the list.  I had written a post, Streamlining the Laundry back in 2011.  It is pretty much the same, except Miss Mabel has since learned to run the washer and dryer.  

~  Patty  ~

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Winter Warlock's Victim - Daybook Post

Outside my window ~

Cloudy, miserable, damp.

We had 2 winter storms hit us last week.   First was the ice storm, here.  Then came snow followed by freezing rain this past Friday and Saturday.

(That would be my front left fender after rear ending a sweet, old man.)

I would consider myself a very  experienced, winter weather driver from northern Illinois, and last week I had my first fender bender ever - and it happened in Texas.

Mother nature chose all kinds of victims, experienced or not.

We have no salt trucks.  No plows.  We are sitting ducks.

My accident happened on a measly 1.5" of snow packed slipperiness.  Even though I was creeping at 10mph to a stop, my van decided to keep sliding forward.  I could not go left, (there was a big median directly on my driver side), nor could I go right since there were two cars on that side.  I had enough time to say, "I am going to hit that car,"  and then I did.

So yes.  When it snows in Texas, there's good reason for people to freak out and shut the state down.

Here's another and by far scarier image...

Tow trucks are sent out onto the ramps to tow semis up, over and off the ramps.

Take a look at the pick up truck on the top tier in the above photo.  Talk about scary!  These folks were on live news feed creeping very slow when they spun out.

Yes, we can poke fun at ourselves down here in the south, but this particular storm was a really bad one.  On that same day, there was  a huge pile up of cars just north of town on the expressway where we live.

What I am thankful for ~

* the accident was only a fender bender

* that the two kids I had in the car with me were all safe and sound

* car insurance

* the sweet, old gentleman whose car I rear ended was so kind and forgiving

* the very kind police officer

From the school room ~

* It is quarter finals week for Ester, Mabel and Stan.

* Miss Sally's high school work is a lot heavier than the others, so she has decided to forfeit spring break and take her time on finals instead.

What I am reading ~

* I have about four daily devotionals coming through my email feed this Lent.

* I just started reading The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living, by Lisa M. Hendey.

From the kitchen ~

Due to the winter storm, we had to postpone our Friday dinner plans with Fr. Art.  (Drat!)

The good news is, we were able to reschedule it for THIS Friday and plan to have the same menu.

Around the house ~

Southern style sledding.

(So tired from playing outside in the snow!)

I am praying for ~

* my mother who has a full knee replacement surgery Monday (If you have a chance, would you be so kind as to say a prayer for the success of the surgery and a healthy recovery.)

* the sweet, elderly gentleman I rear ended  (He so reminded me of my own father)

* world peace

* our country

* priests

* all those preparing to receive their Sacraments this spring

What I am listening to ~

* the sound of a vacuum on the kitchen tile.  When little man has "nothing to do" I can easily find a chore for him ;)

Coming down the pike this week ~

* Monday - I need to take my van in for an estimate.
* Tuesday - feast of St. Katharine Drexel (Living Liturgy)
* Wednesday - my 46th birthday (woot!  woot!)
* Thursday - Miss Sally and I are attending a dual credit seminar at the community college.
* Friday - dinner with Fr. Art
* (Next Sunday) - Miss Ester's 14th birthday

A final photo to share ~

I recently ordered this Glory Stories CD to celebrate the upcoming feast days of St. Katharine Drexel (3/30) and St. Joseph (3/19).

Wishing you a safe and warm week ahead!  It's March, it HAS to warm up, right??

P.S.  Barbara, yes!  I feel like we moved back to the Midwest ;)

**Update on my Mom:  the surgery went well.  She will remain in the hospital till Thursday and then head to a rehab facility for further recovery.**

~  Patty  ~

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What's for Sunday dinner?

So Monday we were all iced in like this.

By Tuesday the temps went up, and the roads cleared for us to get to horse lessons.

Does anyone have any special plans for this weekend?  Birthdays?  Anniversaries?  On Friday, we have a special friend coming for dinner.  Father Art.

He likes to play Wii when he comes over...

(I think it is SO important for kids to know that these holy men are human beings who can be approached comfortably as well as respectfully.) 

Dinner menu:

A little bit for everybody on a Friday during Lent...

Egg Salad (recipe here)

(The dill weed and dried mustard gives this recipe a delicious kick!)

Tuna Salad (and this is when I realize that I have never put up my tuna salad recipe.)

Fancy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (Recipe here)

Tossed Green Salad with chopped walnuts, sliced strawberries, and mandarin oranges.

Potato Chips

And for dessert?

I'm thinking just some plain, old-fashioned, home made chocolate chip cookies??

Then there's Sunday dinner...

Since we have not grilled in awhile, I thought it would be a good time to make Grilled Lemon Chicken (recipe here).

I plan on making sides of  Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Garlic Cauliflower (recipe here).

And for Sunday dessert, Texas Sheet Cake sounds about right (recipe here).

Oh man!  I'm hungry now.

Here's wishing you all a warm weekend and a blessed Sunday!

~  Patty  ~

Monday, February 23, 2015

Icy Wonderland!

I can't see!

My big sisters' bedroom window is no better.

Big sisters' closet window has a better view.

I spot ice and sleet on everything!

Oh!  The poor buds on the maple tree.  

Mom said that the white stuff on the roof tops and ground is frozen rain, not snow! 

My brother and sisters hurried to get their morning work done so we could go out in the snow  sleet.

See my pink snow pants?  My mom bought them last year on clearance...this is the first time I get to try them out!  

My sisters put me on a plastic lid (to a bin) and took me sledding down the driveway.

I LOVED being outside in this cold weather!

My sister Ester made her hat.  It kept her nice and warm today!

Since we do not have any salt trucks, we have to now wait for Mother Nature to warm up for the ice to melt.  At least our power is still on! 



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Ice-Meggedon - Daybook Post

Outside my window ~

Rain all day today (Sunday).

Howling wind.

Icy bushes and trees.

It's "suppose" to get bad in the middle of the night tonight through Monday night.  (All of North Texas school districts have pretty much canceled school for Monday.)

Jim Cantore (from the weather channel)  is in town so they seem pretty serious about this ice storm.  (He cracks me up!)

At 4:15am the sleet came.  It was a driving sleet that sounded horrible.  After 15 minutes, it turned into a freezing rain and has been falling for the past 3 hours.

Everything is closed.  We will remain homebound until Mother Nature warms up.  The southern cities have no ice trucks or snow removal trucks down here (except for the freeways.)

I have lived through my share of blizzards and ice storms, and I tell you, I'd take a blizzard in the Midwest over an ice (or snow) storm in the south any day.

What I am thankful for ~

* heat & shelter

* a quiet Monday ahead, (All school districts are canceled as are all homeschool co-ops and horse lessons.)

* the Rosary

From the school room ~

* a very, very small glimpse into a morning in our homeschool routine.  (No two mornings seem to be the same ;)

David gets little man up by 7:30am.  He has Little Man do some calisthenics, gives him a hearty breakfast, and then after getting ready for the day, (Little Man makes his bed, gets dressed, and brushes his teeth), he begins his school work at his desk by 8am.

Don't laugh to loud on the calisthenics bit.  Seriously, boys need to work out all that stored up energy!

Around 8:15am, I am coming to the aid of Little Miss who seems to have lost a shoe (or two.)

We better darn well find that missing "ballerina shoe" (the one with the pink bow), because those are her faves and she wears them every. single. day.

8:30am.  Okay.  These pics are from a Tuesday which explains the late breakfast for my sophomore.  Tuesday is the only day of the week she can actually sleep in.

8:45 am.  I'm on the hunt for that missing shoe.  I stop to show you that sometimes pajamas are our school uniform ;)

I found the missing shoe right after this shot.  Whew.

9:00am.  One last breakfast to serve.  Normally, I shut down breakfast by 8:30, but every now and then life happens.

This one has been quietly studying on the couch upstairs.  I love it!  In sixth grade, and for the most part, is a self taught student.  I review with her and correct most of her work, but that's it.

Working with the kids, checking the work they turn in, I walk around to find out what happened to Miss Clementine.

There she is!

She is on her sister's Fire while her sister is finishing reading a book for her 3rd quarter book report.

The kids divide up their subjects doing half of them in the morning and half in the afternoon.


I have a weekly chart on the fridge.  They each have their chores to do.  They have all week to get their chores done, as long as they are done by the end of the week.  Typically, they do a little here and  a little there throughout the week.

My kids are seriously  amazing helpers around the house and will be able to run a household with ease when they are older.

From the kitchen ~

Miss Clementine helping her big sister clean the stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.  (Miss Mabel does this once a week for the month she will switch off with someone else next month.)

What I am reading ~

Actually, I have a whole boatload of Lenten devotionals coming in my email each morning.

Around the house ~

Tomorrow I look forward to an entire day of uninterrupted schooling.  No swim.  No co-op.  No horse lessons.  Just schooling.

(Praying that our power doesn't go out in the middle of any ice storm that they are predicting.)

I am praying for ~

* the Christians being martyred by Muslims in Africa and the Middle East

* world peace

* priests

* those who have left the Catholic church

* those who are luke warm in practicing their faith

What I am listening to ~

The wind.  It sounds very cold.

My furnace is running quite frequently.

All of my children are snug in their beds.  (It's a late Sunday evening as I type.)

Coming down the pike this week ~

Sunday - parent meeting for mission trip
Friday - a priest/friend is coming for dinner
Saturday - Dallas Mavericks basketball game for high school youth group

A final photo to share ~

When technology is super cool...

My sophomore on the phone with Seton's Math Department discussing a very difficult Geometry math problem on a test she encountered.

As the Math teacher is talking to her, she is logged onto the virtual dry erase board to see the Math teacher help her work out a similar problem.

Have a warm and safe week!

~  Patty  ~

Saturday, February 21, 2015

What exactly IS A Baptism Birthday?

On the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, our priest always reminds the faithful to remember their own baptism day, to honor it, and pray for a continued growth in faith.

I wish more priests would remind the faithful how important our baptism birthdays are...the day our original sin was removed, we became children of God and heirs of heaven.

We have been celebrating our baptism birthdays for years in a quiet yet meaningful way.  We always light their Baptism candle and look at cards and pictures.  While the children are little, we may tell the story of their Baptism day.

"Receive this burning light and safeguard thy baptism by a blameless life. Keep the Commandments of God that when Our Lord shall come to claim His own, thou mayest be worthy to greet Him with all the saints in the heavenly court and live forever and ever. Amen."

We gave our little one a St. Cecelia pillow for her doll (embroidery kit found on Charlotte's etsy shop.)  

We always give a small gift that represent their Catholic faith.

As our children grow, they study their faith from the Baltimore Catechism, and this includes a study of the Sacrament of Baptism each year in our home school.

 (Miss Clementine on her Baptism day, February 18, 2012.)

We will continue to keep this a memorable day for each of member of our family.  

Other ideas for baptism birthdays may include:

1. Go to Mass that day.
2.  Read or talk about the saint's feast day on which your child was baptized.
3. Make a white cake.
4. Try to include the godparents (if possible.)
5.  Pray for the godparents.

~  Patty  ~


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