Friday, October 19, 2012

Five Things for Friday, Daily Routine Edition


I have really loved, and very much appreciated, reading other women's posts about their daily schedules. It has motivated me to be a bit more organized in my own life and reassured me that the chaos of my day is perfectly normal. I have come to realize that having a good, or at least predictable, routine is the life blood of being a happy stay-at-home parent. So I thought I'd share what a "typical" day looks like around my house.

But first I just have to show you what is now on the shelves (in the parenting section) at Deseret Book!

I went down a week or two ago to see if it was there. I am sure the cashier thought I was a crazy lady, trying to take a picture of the shelf with a wiggly baby in my arms. But Yippee!!!! They should be in all Deseret Book stores, so if you need one for a gift you can just go down and get one. If they don't have it make sure you request it, because they should have it.


Okay, now for the daily routine! I realized my life really only has routine until after lunch, and after that things usually are random until Jon gets home from work. So I will just share my morning routine.

6:00 AM

My alarm goes off and I try to sneak out of bed without waking any of the boys in my bed. Most days Jon gets up at 5:30 AM to read his scriptures but Abe always seems to end up in bed with us, mostly because I always fall asleep nursing him, and lately Asher has been climbing in bed with us because, "It is just soooo cozy." Thank heavens for king sized beds!

If I manage to sneak away without waking anyone I go down stairs to meditate and say my morning prayers. If someone has woken up I usually drop them off with Jon or take them down stairs with me to play or crawl around while I pray. I have really discovered a wonderful way of preparing for and saying my prayers and have been doing it for the last few months. It has really impacted my life in a powerful way and it deserves its own post--- so I will write more about it later.

6:30 AM

I go back upstairs and have Family Devotional with Jon and the kids. I wrote a bit more about what we do in this post, and some of those things are still working for us while others have fallen by the wayside. It seems like we constantly have to change the way we do family scripture study. Things only seem to work for a week or so and then they fall apart again. Right now we are experimenting with each person having a day to be in charge of the devotional, they choose people to say the prayers, choose the song, and then tell or read us a scripture or a scripture story. It works about 3 days out of 7 which, in our book, is a success! I am sure that in a few weeks we will be on to some new approach-- so any ideas would be appreciate. 


Breakfast. Sometimes this happens before Family Devotional, depending on how whinny the kids are or how long they have been up that morning. I usually try to cook something for breakfast, mostly because I have acquired a dislike for cereal in my old age. A few months ago I started experimenting with lots of new breakfast dishes and most of them were total flops, but I did find several that I really liked. Usually we have one of the following:

Hootenannny Panacakes
Eggs with sausage
Breakfast Burritos (basically eggs and sausage in a tortilla, with cheese)
Baked Oatmeal (my new favorite)
French toast

Asher has gotten really good at making and cooking pancakes by himself and so we have those alot, mostly because I don't have to make them.  Here he is cooking them

After I took this picture of him  I realized I needed to capture the whole feel of the morning. So I backed up and took a picture of Rose sitting in the fridge. I think she was trying to get the juice out...and got distracted?

And Abe in his favorite place in the house. He loves to climb in the dishwasher and splash in the water... and I usually let him because it keeps him happy.

After breakfast Jon leaves and then the real fun starts.


7:30 AM

I help Asher and Rose get dressed and then they do "1, 2, 3" while I take a shower (with Abe) and get ready.

"1, 2, 3" stands for:

#1-- Get dressed and brush your teeth,
#2-- Make your bed and pick up your room and
#3- Say your personal prayers.

I got this idea from the Mormon Channel interview with Julie Beck about motherhood. She said that when she was young her mother would always ask them if they had done "1, 2, 3, 4" (4 is scripture study) and they always knew what she was talking about. I thought that this was a clever and easy way for my kids to keep track of what they need to do in the morning, without me having to nag them about it. So far it has been working!

8:00 AM

After I am ready and the kids have done (or at least attempted to do) "1, 2, 3," then we start on chores. I  really don't enjoy housework, at all, and I realized awhile ago that if it was ever going to get done it was going to have to be a family effort.

When we moved into our new house, which is bigger than our last one, I realized that I needed a chore chart to motivate and keep the kids on task. I scoured the Intenet looking for one that would work for us and I couldn't find anything that was just right. So I took bits and pieces of ideas that I liked and put them together into this! Ta da!

I had this cute canvas fabric in my scap box and so I took some plastic sheeting and sewed four strips on to it. Then I sewed five columns down the middle so that each row has five pockets.

My kids can't read yet so I found pictures of the chores I wanted them to do and printed them off on cards that I then laminated. Every morning before breakfast I choose the jobs that I feel need to be done that day and set them aside. Then when it is time to do chores  I turn them all over so they can't see what the jobs are and they take turns picking cards.  Some days each child just does two or three jobs but this day they did all four. For example this day Asher's jobs were to clear and wash the table, clean the upstairs toilet, clean the stove and unload the dishwasher. Rose's jobs were to pick up the toys, clear off and wipe the kitchen counter, clean the downstairs bathroom sink, and vacuum the dining room. Abe, well, he doesn't have any... yet.

I usually only give myself one or two jobs (things that I know really need to get done) because the kids usually need my help to do their jobs. There are some jobs that they are really good at doing (Asher is actually a fantastic toilet cleaner :) but for most of them they still need help and supervision. My hope is that if we keep this up long enough that in a few years they will be able to do all the jobs without any of my help, which would be fantastic because then I would hardly have to do any of the jobs!

After the kids are done with the jobs they turn the cards over in the pocket and there is a number on the back saying how many "beans" the completed job earns. Like so...

We have two pint-sized mason jars on our counter and whenever the kids do their chores and "1,2, 3" they get beans (usually pinto) to put in their jar. So on this day Asher earned 5 beans for his chores and 3 for doing "1,2,3" and Rose earned 4 for her chores and 3 for doing "1, 2, 3".  Jon and I also try to give the kids beans when we seem them being kind, good or obedient. When the jar is filled to the top then they get to go to the store and choose a toy. Usually it takes them five or six months to get the jar filled.

Here are Rose and Asher working on unloading the dishwasher. I have put all our dishes down on lower shelves so that they can put them away by themselves. It has been really wonderful because they not only put things away but they can also get everything out to set the table.  The only hitch is that Abe has just learned how to open cupboards... so this situation might have the be re-thought-out soon.


9:00 AM

After chores I put Abe down for his nap and the kids and I "do school". The house we are renting has a great big basement and I have set it up to be our school room.  My kids are still too young for any formal school and so our routine is fairly laid back and some days we skip it all together.  Doing "school" is really more  for me because it gives more routine to our day and forces me to come up with activities and lessons to teach my kids. The kids really love it and if we skip it for a day or two they always remind me that "we need to do school mom!"

We usually start school by saying the pledge of allegiance and then charting the weather and date on our calender. Then we work on repeating the scripture that we are memorizing that month and sing the song for the month. Last month I focused on teaching them honesty, this month we are working on obedience, and next month we will do humility. So far my virtue lessons have been going really well and I feel like my kids are internalizing some of the key concepts I want them to learn, so that is really fun.

After the scripture and song I usually tell them a scripture story that goes along with our virtue theme or read them a story book that goes with the theme. Sometimes I have activities to go along with these, but not always. I am working on a post to share what I put together (and what worked) for my honesty lessons, and plan on sharing the other virtue lessons throughout the year.

After our lesson then we have "free time" where the kids can choose any of the school activities they want to work on.

Asher and Rose working during "Free Time", Abe woke up and it looks like he chose the dust pan :) 
I have been researching lots of educational philosophies the last few years and the one that has spoken to my heart the strongest is the Montessori Method. I really love the principles it is based upon and it fits well with my style of teaching and learning. Traditionally in a Montessori classroom the teacher lays out activities and places them on shelves (shelves for language, math, cultural, science, art, etc... ) and then the children are free to choose which work they are interested in at the time. I have been working hard the last few months to get some basic activities out on our shelves in our school room and I feel like we have a pretty good assortment. Asher usually always chooses to play with play dough or other art supplies during free time, while Rose is usually much more interested in whatever new activity I have put out on the shelf. Abe usually wakes up by now and crawls around sabotaging everyone else's work.
Rose and Asher building with the "red rods" designed to teach measurement
I am going to be very honest here and say that the two pictures I have posted above, where it looks my kids are working blissfully together is VERY deceptive. These are just about the only two pictures I have of them sitting still and working together, and in the one above right after I took this picture Asher whacked Rose with one of the red rods... so don't be decieved. Sometimes our school ends in utter chaos and tears... usually mine... sometimes things go really well and I feel like a super mom, but most of the time it is just somewhere in between.

I figure that the most important part is that we are together and learning. Right?


11:00 AM

After we are done with "school" we usually have a snack and the kids play, or we go run errands , until lunch.

12:00 PM

We have lunch. Which 9 times out of 10 is either peanut butter and jelly, ramen noodles, quesadillas or rice with cream of chicken soup (we call it "goop").

1:00 PM

After lunch we have naps for Abe and Rose and "quiet time" for Asher. Asher won't take naps any more (even though I think he still needs one) and so he usually just "reads" books (or plays the ipad if I am desperate) for about 45 minutes while I read my scriptures. For the last several years I have alway made it a habit to read my scriptures FIRST THING after my kids went down for their naps. It has been the best way for me to schedule in my scripture study. I am not ready to let go of that time yet and so I am trying to teach Asher ( and soon Rose) to have some quiet time of their own so that I can do my scripture study. Some days it is a battle and other days it is just fine... hopefully eventually I will have them trained!

After Asher is done with quiet time he and I go down to the basement and he usually watches a movie until Rose wakes up and I usually blog or do a project.

2:30 PM

Once the kids all wake up again my day has no sort of routine. Some days we run errands or go visiting and other times we just try to kill time until Dad gets home at 6 PM.

And that is about it! Exciting huh?

I'd love to hear about your daily routine. If you have a post where you have written about it you can link it up below or just share your own Five Things for Friday post!


  1. So fun to read your routine! A quick question - do you wake all the kids up for scriptures at 6:30am? Just curious. At our house family scripture study has to happen inthe evenings because Daddy is usually up and out the door by 4:00AM, if not earlier. His return home time is never predictable either, so scriptures happen right after dinner if he is home or before bed if he is later.

    We have 90% of our dishes in the lower cabinets too, it's so nice when the kids can do the dishes! Chores are so important (esp. with a family of 9) and it amazes me how capable my kids are with a bit of training.

    I've looked a little at Montessori before. Sounds like you're having fun using her ideas! We really fit with Charlotte Mason's ideas. I love that the Spirit can guide us to the methods that fit our individual children and families!

    1. Tristan, yes we get all the kids up at 6:30 AM for scriptures, but the truth is that they are usually all up by then or shortly thereafter. My kids have always been morning birds, which I think is because Jon and I are morning people. They will sleep in sometimes if Jon and I sleep in, but if we are up they get up early too. I think that Rose would sleep in more but she and Asher share a room and he is super duper morning person and always wakes her up when he gets up. It works for us, I don't know what we will do if we get one who is a night owl:)

    2. I have a mix of early birds and sleep in children. ;) I'm not a night owl so I much prefer the early bird side!

  2. I want to be like you when I grow up. :-)

  3. Your family reminds me of mine in so many ways. Your kids are close to the ages of mine, but opposite genders. I can totally relate to kids in the fridge and babies on the dishwasher door!

    Your schedule gave me some good ideas. I think I should do chores more like the way you do it. Right now, I am responsible for all the chores, and the kids help me. I usually try to have my middle child put away the silverware when I empty the dishwasher (he also likes to help vacuum, though its not very helpful) and have my oldest set the table before dinner. They both sometimes help me clean toilets, wash tables, etc, but there's not much structure to it. I like some of your ideas.

    We are doing the Before Five in a Row program for our "school" this year, which is sort of based on Charlotte Mason. I like it because of its integrated nature and how literature-focused it is. It is lite, though, and sometimes my kids want to do more, especially my oldest. I love Montessori as well and would love to incorporate more Montessori-style learning materials in our playroom.

    I would love to see your value curriculum, especially the honesty part. My oldest has shown a need to learn this principle recently, and while a recent "nobody drew on the wall" experience gave a good teaching moment opportunity that I think may have been effective, it may help to re-inforcd the concept with formal instruction.

    We have recently cut out most processed food, so we don't really eat cereal anymore except homemade granola. The 100 Days of Real Food blog has a lot of good breakfast recipes.

    Thanks for sharing your schedule!

    1. Ooh, I will have to look at the 100 days of real food blog. I need some more ideas.

  4. I just love this post! haha. I'm totally sick of cereal too and have been in need of more breakfast ideas. (And trying to be vegan cuts out the whole realm of bacon, eggs, & sausage foods...) I'm looking into the ebelskivers! Those sound yummy. And I just bought myself a griddle so making pancakes won't take 1 hour +. Yippee!

    I have also been struggling to find just the right fit for a chore chart kind of thing for me and my kids. I LOVE your 123 idea and using the beans for those and chores. I don't like the idea of giving my kids prizes at the end of every week of chores, but every 6 months or so, I can do! And they'll still get to see the progress of those beans in their jar. I've been wondering how in the world I could get my kids to help with things like dishes, but hello! Putting them down low would work. :-p Why didn't I think of that? I guess I am just too scared to have them handling the breakable stuff at any time. I do have a 'kid drawer' with the plastic plates, cups, and baby bowls, and they can get their own silverware. But I haven't been able to have them empty the dishwasher or set the table because of all the other things we wash that Mommy and Daddy eat with. Anyway, maybe I'll have to re-think my kitchen....

    Also, I'm homeschooling and have some of the same basic ideas as you to do during the day (devotional, activities, free time, etc) but my plans are so complicated because I want to do EVERYTHING that I feel too overwhelmed and don't really know where to start and feel like I have to plan too much everyday in order to do anything. I like your ideas...Maybe it will help me simplify and actually do it!

    Oh, and I also love the idea of reading scriptures during naps/quiet time. My oldest usually ends up watching a movie while the younger one naps, but I usually waste that time on the computer instead of doing anything productive. :-p If I can do my scripture study during the day, it also won't cut into my sleep or my 'de-tox from the day with my husband' time.

    Thanks for the ideas! :)

    1. Melanie,

      I understand the overwhelmed feeling too. I had so many ideas that I was paralyzed, so I just prayed and asked God what I should spend my time on and for my kids it was the virtues-- so that is what we are doing. I add in other little activities here and there but mostly the only thing I "plan" for are our virtue lessons... and even then sometimes it is just a few minutes before :)

      As far as the dishes go, I let my kids handle the plastic and the glassware. We have had a few broken cups and plates and bowls but they learned really fast they needed to be more careful. I just had to "let go" of my fear that they would break something and just trust them. Also, I'm not super attached to our everyday plates and such so it isn't too bad.

      Also, I try really hard to re-do any of the chores that my kids do. I read once that most women spend 40% of their day re-doing things that other people did. I realized that was a big energy drain and so even if jobs are only done part way or not very good-- i usually let them slide and just try to model the correct way to do it next time they do the job. That way I don't have to re-do it and they learn. But like I said... it is definitely a learning process for me!

    2. Oh, that last part should have been I try really hard to NOT re-do any of the chores my kids do-- missed that important word!

  5. Hello! I'm new to your blog and just wanted to let you know how nice it is to read a blog that is so positive about a woman's role in the LDS Church. I hope it's okay that I put a link to your blog on my blog and started following...I didn't want to forget to read about the women you've taken time write about. :) Anyway...

    I am certain I have blogged about my "typical day", but honestly? It's pretty similar to yours! haha I homeschool my older three and have two little ones who are good mess-makers. Time flies with the little ones and so I just do my best to keep up! :) You seem like a terrific mom, getting through the messes and mayhem like all the rest of us moms. :)

    One more thing -- I didn't remember hearing Sis. Beck's "1,2,3". I love that! We have four things that need to be done in the evening before bedtime and I'm *always* saying what those four things are. I think I'm done doing that now! hahaha

    I feel like I've totally rambled...Sorry about that! Thanks for the glimpse into your life. :) ~Lynette

  6. I love hearing about other people's schedules! This was helpful and insightful. While I realize that every family has to customize to their own demographic and needs, I learn helpful ideas whenever any woman posts about how she 'runs' or survives her household and daily routine.

    Thank you for your studying, inspiration, example, and posts about your politics and daily life. I really love browsing your blog.