This Move

We’ve arrived!  We moved in a snow storm, but got it all unloaded before the big one hit.  From there, we were sitting under about 16″ of snow and bitter-cold temps.  Nearly 2 weeks later, we are digging out and settling in.

Our living room (see my daughter being silly as she tries to get out of the room in time!)

Our living room (see my daughter being silly as she tries to get out of the room in time!)

At first, I was super pleased with our progress.  Boxes were being unpacked and things were finding homes, but this week, as we began a bit of homeschooling again, I found myself frustrated and overwhelmed.

Then, I remembered this always happens.

Every time we move, I end up needing to deal with a few bad habits we’ve gotten into in the previous house.  Sometimes the issues are direct results of the move itself.  This move was, and is, no different.

1.  I am sick of the paper trail my children leave about the house.

I am all for creativity, but oy! the paper trail is maddening!  I snapped this photo the other day and then asked my little moms-of-many group to please advise (feel free to offer your own advice as I’m still working through it all!).

papers in living room

This scene is recreated all over my house every day of the week, and most every child in the household contributes.  My bigs try to be a bit neater about their paper, as do I (yes, they got this from me), but my littles draw and dump at will.

This sort of thing needs to stop.  Problem is, I’ve been too lazy to stop it.  I’m to blame for paper and pencils and crayons and scissors *gasp* and glue being TOO easily accessible.   So, this move, those things are finding a new home with new rules.

2.  My little boys stand (and often jump) on the furniture.

We had discipline for this in the old house, but I wasn’t always as consistent as I needed to be with it.  I didn’t stick with it as is needed to actually break bad habits.  This move, I am determined to nip this in the bud and stop this behavior once and for all.

“Method?” you ask?  Every time they stand on, jump over or off of the furniture, they must stand, nose to the wall, for as many minutes as their age.  The 3 year old gets 3 minutes, the 5 year old gets 5 minutes, and yes, my newly turned 8 year old gets 8.  (Eek!  Can you believe the 8 year even stands on the furniture sometimes?!  You ought to be feeling better about your parenting skills already!)

3.  I need to do better about the “place for everything and everything in it’s place” rule.

I’m just going to be honest here, my organizational skills are severely lacking.  Every little thing I organize has to be brainstormed and often reworked before it actually makes sense.  It is a painfully slow and ugly process.

When we move, I have to find new places for things and then learn where those place are.  About the time I learn those places, I realize where I put things makes no sense and needs to be reworked.  (We have a saying here, “As soon as you know where it is, we’ll move!”)

This move, I am hoping to get things organized sooner.  (As soon as I typed that, I sat here blankly for a few minutes.  Who am I kidding?  I won’t get organized any sooner than I normally do because I haven’t somehow magically gained 4 more hours to my day or grown an extra set of arms or a more organized brain.  Yeah, scratch that...)

This move, I am hoping to get things organized sooner.  There, that’s better.

So, there you have it…a little taste of life in our new home.  Never a dull moment!

What Encourages You as a Homemaker? {Welcome Home Wednesday}

What Encourages You as a Homemaker?  {Welcome Home Wednesday Homemaking Link Up on Raising Arrows}

The purpose of the Welcome Home Wednesday’s link up is to offer a place of community meant to encourage one another in our homemaking.  Today, I want to ask you what kinds of things encourage you the most?

Is it MARRIAGE advice, like this post from Yes, They’re All Ours on Accepting Our Husbands?

Accept your HusbandMaybe it is PARENTING encouragement like this post on Teaching Children Hospitality from Homemaker’s Heart.

Perhaps you like the RECIPE links left here like Beckie’s Mexican Cornbread from Kentucky Sketches.

Mexican cornbread

Maybe it is PRACTICAL advice like the post on Canning Essentials from Seven Springs Homestead, or SPIRITUAL encouragement like what you’ll find in Mama Gab‘s post Putting Sunday First.

There’s no “right” answer to what encourages you.  In fact, I’d venture to guess it changes every week, if not every day!  That’s ok!  We are here to learn from each other, encourage each other, and be there for each other as sisters in Christ!

So, leave me a comment below and let me know what is encouraging you in your homemaking today!  Then, read through some of the great links left here each week!

And by the way, the number one clicked post last week was Christian Homekeeping‘s Video Nursery Tour – proving once again, my readers love all things babies! :)

Welcome Home Wednesdays
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Does It Matter When I Wake Up? {Homemaking Basics}

Does it Matter When I Wake Up? {Homemaking Basics Series on}

This is one of those questions that can quickly divide a room of homemakers.  It is a question of productivity and what time a woman has to wake up in order to be a “good homemaker.”

Because I manage the home my husband works hard to provide for us, I thought the best place to start answering this question would be from him.  Here’s what he said when I asked if a woman needed to wake up at a certain time to manage her home properly:

“No.  Your days need to be flexible.  If you stayed up late to take care of something or someone, then sleeping in is justified.  However, be certain you are not using your time to play and then shirking your responsibilities the next day.”

Now, bear in mind this is my husband’s answer to the running of my husband’s home.  Your husband’s answer might be entirely different with entirely different reasons.  There will also be a lot of you with husbands who simply do not care.  I’d encourage you to seek your own husband’s thoughts on this matter before asking your girlfriends for their input or creating some guilt-ridden schedule that has you going to bed at midnight and getting up at 5 in the morning every day.  You’re much more likely to get a response from your own husband that fits your household.

That said, if your husband gives you a vague answer or truly does not care, there are a few guidelines you can follow to help you decide what time you need to wake up in order to manage your household.  So, grab a cup of tea and take a moment to really think through this minus the guilt, minus the craziness, and minus a bunch of preconceived notions about what your wake up time “should be.”

Does it Matter When I Wake Up?  {Homemaking Basics Series on}

Your Wake Up Time Should Match Your Responsibilities

Is there something that requires your attention first thing in the morning?  Do you have early morning chores or a baby that needs you?  Perhaps there is a toddler who wakes up early and must be supervised or your husband prefers you get up to see him off to work.  Your wake up time needs to match those responsibilities.  Just as a husband who has the responsibility to clock in at a certain time for work has to show up at the right time to fulfill his work responsibilities, you also must be “on time” to fulfill your responsibilities at home.

Does it Matter When I Wake Up? {Homemaking Basics on Raising Arrows}

A Homemaker’s Responsibilities Vary From Day to Day

Just as Emily Ryan in Guilt-Free Quiet Times speaks of how Jesus rose early, but also stayed up late, we too must be willing to take care of our responsibilities whenever they arise.  We have generalized responsibilities like feeding our children and keeping the house clean, but we also have unforeseen incidentals that require focused energy like caring for sick children or guiding a child through difficult school work.  Your wake up time may not always be the same due to these incidentals.

Does it Matter When I Wake Up? {Homemaking Basics on Raising Arrows}

It’s Okay to Take Comp Time, But Don’t Expect It

Comp Time is a beautiful thing.  Sleeping in can be sweet compensation for a hard day’s work.  However, you should not demand it because it won’t be long before your expectations will not be met and you will find yourself resentful of your work as a homemaker.

Does it Matter When I Wake Up? {Homemaking Basics on Raising Arrows}

Be Reasonable With Your Wake Up Time

There are seasons in life when you can rise early consistently.  There are seasons in life when you cannot.  When you consider what time you should wake up in the morning, don’t forget to consider your season and be reasonable about when you truly can hit the ground running.

Also remember, you don’t always get to pick your season.  When we started moving last Saturday, I had had a very rough night.  I did not want to get up and start my day, but I had to.  It didn’t matter that I had only had about 4 hours of sleep.  It didn’t matter that there was snow on the ground and my youngest had a cold.  My “season” was not the one I would have chosen, but it was what it was and I had to keep going.

Does it Matter When I Wake Up? {Homemaking Basics on Raising Arrows}

Factor In the Rest of Your Day {and the night before too}

As you write out a trial schedule, keep in mind your wake up time is not necessarily the beginning of your day and it definitely isn’t the end of your day.  Figure in what your night before looks like.  Figure in your husband’s schedule and your season in life.  Set a time, but be flexible.  There is no Wake Up Time Rule and no one outside your household has the ability to tell you when you ought to wake up in order to get your day off to the right start.  You have to choose a time that allows you to meet the demands of YOUR day.

Ready to get started?

Think through all of this, talk to your husband, pray over it, and then set a time!  After that, consider HOW you’ll get yourself up.  Do you need an alarm clock or will your husband be getting you up?  Or can you set an alarm on your computer or tablet?  What sound does it need to make?  (mine sounds like a phone ringing b/c in my head, that is a “Get Up” kind of sound.)  Try your wake up time for a few days and then tweak as needed.

And with that, I really must go to bed…so I can wake up refreshed in the morning!

What Time Should I Wake Up? {Homemaking Basics} |

Want A Home Management System That Doesn’t Add to Your Clutter?

Want a Home Management System That Doesn't Add to Your Clutter? {review of Paperless Home Organization by Mystie Winckler} |

I wish I could find the words to tell you just how much reading Paperless Home Organization by Mystie Winckler has changed my life and household management!  It has been such an exciting transformation and came at a time when simplifying was much needed.

I knew I needed to do something different because the clutter of my notes and binders was overwhelming and not functional in the least, but I had no idea how to make it work any better.  In fact, my binders were literally collecting dust on top of the refrigerator.  The only household binder that saw regular use was my Blogging Notebook, and even that I was finding increasingly useless.

When Mystie contacted me about reviewing her ebook Paperless Home Organization, I thought it was definitely worth it to look into something else.  Little did I know how much it would revolutionize the way I manage my home!

The ebook opens with these words:

“I have put together at least three household management binders in my 11-year career as a homemaker to date.  All three times I thought it through, made it well, and used it
for about 2 weeks.”

Mystie goes on to say how paper never stays pretty in her home and she hated to give up space to a binder (in my case, several binders).  She had me nodding my head and anxious to keep reading to learn the secret of making a functional binder.

Paperless Home Organization Review |

Before I go any further, I want to be completely upfront and honest.  I did not implement everything Mystie suggested nor did I end up using every program she used.  What Paperless Home Organization taught me were the skills I needed to take her method and make it my own.

For instance, it taught me how to make Gmail work more efficiently.  For years, I’ve had people tell me I needed to set up filters, mark my emails, and organize them accordingly, but no one told me how, and no one had instructions and specific steps I needed to take to make this work as a homemaker.  With Mystie’s guidance, I finally got my email under control!

She also taught me how to organize Evernote so it made sense and worked for my homemaking needs.  I’ve been using Evernote for quite a while, but I wasn’t proficient at it.  I knew I was missing a big chunk of what it could do, but I didn’t know how to remedy that.  Paperless Home Organization answered that for me!

It also made sense of Google Calendar.  I was randomly inputting things in my calendar, but once again, never using it the way it was meant to be used.  Boy, was I missing the amazing power of this tool!

And finally, it gave me the confidence to step out on my own and make these online tools work for me as a streamlined home management system!  I made meal plans that can be archived and revisited instead of the endless pieces of paper I was throwing away week after week.  I link my menus to the actual websites where the recipes are and have those menus available from my computer, iPad, and phone.  I set up folders for all the Trim Healthy Mama recipes I find on Facebook and through friends that are not pinnable to Pinterest.  When we were house hunting, I compiled everything in Evernote as I browsed from my computer at home and made them available to my husband on his phone via the Evernote app.  I share my calendar with my husband and kids, and I have created reminders to keep me on track.

I am still tweaking and I have revisited Mystie’s ebook several times along the way, but I finally feel like I have a system that works for me.  Mystie is the first one to admit this way of managing your home isn’t frilly and pretty, but it also isn’t collecting dust the way my frilly and pretty binders were.  I’d encourage you to check out Paperless Home Organization today and consider if this is something that would help out your homemaking!

If you decide to buy a copy, I have a great deal for you!

Get 30% off with coupon code:

And, even better news!

I’m giving away 1 copy of Paperless Home Organization along with GTD for Homemakers (see it HERE)!  Enter to win below!  {If reading via email, click HERE and scroll down to find the giveaway!

Looking for more Homemaking strategies?
Visit my Homemaking Basics series!

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Ask Amy – Messy Young Mommies

Ask Amy - Messy Young Mommies |

I recently received an email from a woman who desperately wanted to help her daughter-in-law.  Her daughter-in-law was eager to learn how to keep a home running and clean with 3 young children in tow.  As I read the email, I saw myself not all that long ago – a young messy mommy.

Young Messy Moms {there is hope} |
There was a time in my life when I struggled to keep my home clean.  In fact, the only time it really got clean was when someone was coming over.  Even then, I would often have to throw dish towels over the dirty dishes to “hide” them.

My mom would regularly come to help me get my home back in order.  But, it wouldn’t last long.  Soon, we would be back to shoving clutter to the end of the kitchen table so we could eat and pushing a path through the clothes and debris to find our beds.

I knew it was bad.  I knew I wanted it to change, but I had no idea where to start.

{affiliate links included}

Having a house full of littles is hard because you are all there is. No one helps you. Quite the opposite, they actually tend to spend the day UNdoing any cleaning you manage to do.  I can honestly say, a young mother doesn’t really come up for air until some of her children are older and more capable of pitching in and helping out.  Until then, it is imperative she learn how to stay afloat.

The first step is to create habits.  For me, it took reading through to get me started on creating habits that would keep our home running smoothly.  Another wonderful tool is the ebook 28 Days to Hope for Your Home by Dana White of a  The idea behind both of these is to help you take small steps toward habits that will help to keep your home running.

But a mom of many little ones might find she needs a bit more help.  She needs to break her cleaning into pieces.  She needs to stay afloat by cleaning in a way that isn’t perfect, but is completely functional for the season she is in.  {In my ebook The Homemaker’s Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule, I give step-by-step guidance on how to do this.}

So, if you are a messy young mom, start learning the habits it takes to keep a home clean, then add in the chores you need to do on a daily basis to keep things running smoothly, but please remember never to compare yourself with someone not walking in your shoes.

You may see my home and wonder why you can’t keep up in the same way.  Consider where I am.  I have older children who can help out.  I’m not living the days of all littles anymore.

Some day you will be there, but not now, so don’t expect your home to be the same as mine.  Your reality will be a little messy on the top layer, but clean enough on the underneath side.  Shoot for always being only about 15 minutes away from company-clean-enough.

You can do this!  I did.  It won’t be easy and it won’t be fun and it won’t look at all like you want it to look until much later, but you can get to a place where your home is not a nightmare.

And remember to stay tuned for my Homemaking Basics!  Since we are moving, the schedule will be a bit delayed, but never fear – it’s coming!

Homemaking Basics

Homemaking Basics {Introduction} | RaisingArrowsManaging a home is work – hard work. In our modern society, many woman are not equipped to run a home effectively and efficiently. They feel stressed out by even the simplest of tasks.  I’ve written before about how I feel homemakers are pretty wimpy these days, but I also understand that many of us lack the skills needed to do the job.  We haven’t been trained. (or we didn’t listen while we were being trained…or we didn’t retain our training…or, well, you get the idea…)

What I want to offer here on Raising Arrows throughout the next year are some of these basics to managing a home. You aren’t going to find fancy, time-consuming projects or picture-perfect meals or gorgeous tablescapes.  But you will find the basics to managing a home.  How you fill in the blanks will be up to you and your unique giftings.  I’ll help you lay the groundwork…you get the build the home!

Before we get started, I want to impress upon you something of major importance -

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain…
Psalm 127:1a

All your hard work will be useless if you don’t start your foundation on the Rock – Jesus Christ.  You may succeed for a time, but you WILL fail.  You WILL have bad days.  You WILL have messes and screaming children.  Jesus doesn’t make these things magically disappear, but He does makes these moments bearable and worth fighting through.  With Him, you won’t just survive, you will thrive!  You don’t have to despair that you will never get it “right” because Jesus went before you in perfection.  So, as you build, there will be gaps (and sometimes gaping holes!) in your work, but Jesus fills those with His grace and the house-building continues.

I’ve set up a page here on Raising Arrows to hold all of the Homemaking Basics posts.  You might want to pin it or bookmark it somehow as we work our way through these skills.

Homemaking Basics |

I’d also encourage you to check out Homemaking 101 from Family Vision Films.  This DVD includes short segments of homemaking information that will get you started on your journey to building a better home without overwhelming you.  The DVD also features advice from a Titus 2 woman, easy recipes, and footage of the Ross family actually living life (it’s not all perfect, folks!)

You can check it out here (affiliate link):

I also wanted to let you know that The Pursuit of Motherhood is on sale all month for $3.99! This is a study guide as well, steeped in Scripture and wisdom from many different mothers from many different walks of life (myself included!).

The Pursuit of Motherhood Sale!