Creating family friendly routines: keep it simple and be selective.

routineschalkboard

January is the time for new calendars, fresh starts, and for many of us the new year is when we revamp our family routines.  But I have found that adding new elements to an established routine or altering schedules when life situations change can be a bit of a juggling act.

This week I’m going to talk about some things I have found it helpful to keep in mind when creating routines and establishing a rhythm in our home.

Normally on Simple Kids I try to write things that I think will be helpful to my readers, but I admit this time I’m writing these as much as a reminder to myself.

Our family’s rhythm and routines are changing a bit as the kids get older.  For one thing, we have more commitments outside of the home and for another, my youngest is a toddler now so our days aren’t the same as they were during the seven years or so when we always had a baby in the house.

Plus, between illness, extreme weather, and some schedule and household changes I’m finding myself in a bit of a transition stage and not the  calm groove I was hoping to kick off the new year with.  Maybe some of you can relate?

So, here are a few reminders for us all about keeping our lives simple and being selective about what we add to our day planners.

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Back to School Shopping: Mom's Essentials and the Kids' Essentials (Target Inner Circle)

backtoschoolTARGET

Note:  I”m a member of the Target Inner Circle and Target generously provided some gift cards so that the kids and I could go back to school shopping.  All opinions expressed below are my own, of course.

Last Friday I mentioned that we had already started school here and it was time for me to face the music and (insert ominous movie soundtrack here) go back to school shopping.  

Actually I shouldn”t complain about it because I really do love back to school and all the new-pencil-fresh-sheets-of-paper joy that comes with it.  It is a time of year full of possibilities.  Hopefully that feeling is contagious and spreads to my kiddos, too.

When a friend heard we were back to school shopping she was taken aback, “why are you back to school shopping?  Don”t you still homeschool?”  Yes, homeschoolers use pencils and gluesticks, too. Oh, boy, do we ever!

Also, this year my kids are involved in more clubs and activities than ever, so we added some “on the go” gear like lunchboxes and backpacks to our shopping list along with our annual restocking of the school supply cubbies.

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Simple Solutions for Stain Removal

laundry room

This Summer I’ll be re-running some of my favorite Simple Kids posts as Summer ReRuns. Today’s post is one of the first ones I ever bookmarked from SK, way back from 2009 before I was the editor here.  Megan shares some tips on stain removal that are timely during the Summer when there are so many wonderfully messy opportunities for fun. – Kara

Nature is inviting all of us to come outside and play.

No one wants to interrupt a glorious game of tag or bring a delicious and juicy dessert of fresh strawberries to a premature end for fear of stained clothing, but we also want to be good stewards of the material possessions we have by taking good care of them.  Yesterday, Asha at Parent Hacks shared her Almost Sure-Fire Clothing Stain Removal tip, and it reminded me that I have a few ideas of my own to share on summer stains.

1) Whenever possible, set aside some of the summer wardrobe for “play clothes” – for children and adults alike.  If everyone is playing outside in clothes that have been purposed for play, no one (not even the grown-ups) will give a second thought to rolling in the grass or indulging in a drippy, melt-y chocolate ice cream cone.

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In the garden: April update

AprilGarden

Did you hear that?  The collective sigh of happiness from those of us finally getting to experience Spring?  Or maybe the whoops of excitement from a certain mama who was practically turning joyous cartwheels after the last snowflake melted? At last!  (My apologies to those of you who just received another fresh batch of the white stuff while I’m gloating about our weather).

It is still very quiet around here, but if one looks closely signs of warmer days and green, growing things are there.

Our family is excited to garden this year.  This will be the first spring in quite some time when I haven’t been pregnant or had a brand new baby, so I’m especially eager to get out there and see what we can do with this little back yard space of ours.

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Project Simplify: Drawers and Shelves

springcleanshelvesInProgress

My friend Tsh is hosting Project Simplify this year over at Simple Mom.  The timing is perfect for me.  The spring sunshine is revealing all the dust and dirt and I’m itchy to whip things into shape around here.

Project Simplify on Simple Mom

This week’s challenge is drawers and shelves. 

I may have bitten off more than I can chew this week, but I’m already working with a lovely group of friends on facebook as we spring clean and this week I’m in our homeschool room/library/home office.

In other words, tackling the shelves and drawers this week is exactly what I need to be doing.

Note:  slow and steady wins the race and there is no way I’ll finish this in just one day.  So, look for this post to be updated with photos as the week goes along.  My plan is to set my timer and tackle these shelves fifteen minutes at a time.

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