Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas – Week 7

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas:  Week 7 - Shopping Week #2 | RaisingArrows.net

Follow along with the series!
CLICK HERE

How did you do with the Week 6 To Do List? Hopefully all the items have been completed and you are now ready for Week 7!

Just a quick reminder before we get started: These Weekly To Do lists are directly from The 12-Week Holiday Planner. Those of you who have purchased The Holiday Planner will have all the forms that go along with the To Do Lists. If you have not purchased the planner, then you will need to make your own forms or buy your own copy!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER!

Our focus this week will be another shopping trip to prepare for Thanksgiving. Have fun shopping some of those before-Thanksgiving sales and make sure you get everything you will need for Thanksgiving dinner. Prepare your home for a wonderful time of giving thanks to the Lord for all He has blessed us with! Have a great week!

Week 7: Shopping Week #2

[ ] Before-Thanksgiving Sale Shopping! Complete as much shopping as possible! Take advantage of the many items that are on sale before Thanksgiving!

[ ] Shopping for Thanksgiving! Check Thanksgiving menus, grocery list, and purchase any additional, needed supplies. Are appliances for health on your list?

[ ] Make Your Lists & Go Shopping! Use the Shopping List forms provided to make your lists and GO SHOPPING!

Accountability:

Once you have completed this list, come back here and tell us about it! Let’s encourage each other to plug away at these “to do’s” now so that our holidays can be less stressful and more focused on Jesus!

To see all the posts in this series, CLICK HERE!

Large Family Bedrooms – Ideas to make the best use of the space you have

Arranging Large Family Bedrooms | RaisingArrows.netSince having children, we have lived in 9 different houses.  Each time we move, we have to consider which children will go in which bedrooms and how those bedrooms will be configured to best accommodate everyone in there.

Today, I want to share with you some of the ways we have configured bedrooms, as well as ways other people have done it.  I’d also love to have you chime in with your ideas and suggestions to help out other readers!

(this post contains affiliate links)

When we had our first child, we lived in a 2 bedroom apartment.  He had his own room.  We had our next child in a 3 bedroom house.  They each had their own bedroom.  We moved again and had another child.  This time it was a 2 bedroom, causing us to actually have to think about where children would sleep.

The master bedroom in that house was very small, so there could be no baby in the room with us.  In the 2nd bedroom, we had a bunk bed for the two older children (boy and girl) and a crib for the new baby (girl).  I had originally used a partition like the one below to separate the two “sides” of the room…a rather fruitless attempt at trying to have a “nursery” atmosphere.

The reason I say “fruitless” is because the partition just took up room…precious room.


The next move was to another 3 bedroom.  We had 2 more children while living there.  During the nearly 3 years we lived there, we had many different configurations:

Configuration #1:
Bedroom A – bunks for boy and girl
Bedroom B – baby in crib

Configuration #2:
Bedroom A – bunks for 2 girls
Bedroom B – twin for boy, crib for baby

Configuration #3:
Bedroom A – bunks for 2 girls
Bedroom B – bunks for boys
Master Bedroom – crib or bassinet for baby

The first set of bunks we owned were shorter than normal and wooden.  The second set was metal.  I’m not fond of metal bunks, so when we moved from there, we gave them away.


The next house had 4 bedrooms, but we only used the 3 upstairs.  While living there, we lost our daughter, Emily, and had 2 more little boys.

We started with a boy room and a girl room.  When Emily got sick, we moved her into our room in a “moses basket” on the floor next to my side of the bed.

After Emily passed away and our next little one was born, I kept him in our bedroom until he was about 4 months.  He then moved into the boy room that had a twin bed, a mattress under the bed that we pulled out for the 3 year old, and a crib.  The girls’ room continued to be the wooden bunks.

For a short time after our 7th child was born (and before we moved again), we put the toddler in a toddler bed in the girls’ room and bought another toddler bed for the 4 year old, making the configuration in the boys’ room – toddler bed, twin bed, crib.  Looking back, it would have made better sense to continue with the mattress under the twin.  It would have saved a lot of space.  We eventually got rid of that second toddler bed.


The next house was also a 4 bedroom that we only used 3 of.  We only lived there a year and did not have any new babies while there.

Configuration:
Bedroom A – girls in bunks
Bedroom B – Twin and 2 toddler beds
Master – crib for baby

When the baby got to the place where he was waking up every time Ty or I rolled over in bed, we moved him to the walk-in closet in a playpen.


The next house we again only used 3 bedrooms and had another baby while there.  We had two different configurations while living there:

Configuration #1:
Bedroom A – girls in bunks
Bedroom B – queen bed for my oldest, bunks for the next 2 boys, and a toddler bed
Master – baby in playpen

Configuration #2:
Bedroom A – girls in bunks, baby in playpen at the foot of bunks
Bedroom B – same set up as #1


In our current house, we use 4 of the 6 bedrooms.  They are configured this way:

Bedroom A – girls in bunks
Bedroom B – King bed for my oldest (this room also doubles as a guest room) and twin for the next boy down
Bedroom C – bunk for 5 and 4 year old boys and toddler bed for 1 year old


The next house will be a 3 bedroom.  I am planning to configure it this way:

Bedroom A – girls in bunks, toddler bed for 1 year old
Bedroom B – XL twin for my oldest, bunk for 8 and 5 year olds, mattress underneath that can be pulled out for the 4 year old
Master – baby in playpen


Some other options I have seen…

Triple bunks

Mattresses lined up side by side to create more bed space for several kiddos

Pillow chaise beds – these are especially compact and work great for lots of littles!


I do want to mention a few other things before turning this post over to my readers to give their ideas…

#1:  Walk in closets as “bedrooms”

Most closets do NOT have vents in them, so you do not want to close off the closet.

You will need to be certain EVERYTHING is out of baby’s reach.  You don’t want clothing or racks falling down on baby!

#2:  Not using a crib for baby

This is a bit of a paradigm shift for many parents.  Our culture has gotten so used to huge cribs with fancy bedding that it is hard to give up that “nursery dream.”  However, when you don’t have the room for such sizable pieces of furniture, you look for other ways to give your baby a proper bed.

Our favorite newborn sleeping accommodation is the Snugabunny from Fisher-Price:

It folds up for traveling, it keeps baby snuggled, and I can put it anywhere in any room easily.  From there, we use a playpen.  Don’t overdo the bedding and blankets.  We prefer Carter’s quilted playpen sheets because the quilting makes them very comfy for baby without being bulky.  You can get them in velour for the winter and cotton for the summer.

Another issue that needs to be addressed is where to keep clothes in large family bedrooms, but I’ll address that in another post so this post doesn’t get any longer than it already is!

Now, it’s your turn!  What are some creative ways you’ve configured bedrooms to make them work for your family?  Looking for more Large Family Living ideas and tips?  Check out my Large Family Pinterest board and the Large Family Living page here on Raising Arrows!

Minimalist Kitchen Tour Part 2

Can a Large Family Have a Minimalist Kitchen? Part 2 | RaisingArrows.netIn some ways, this seems a bit silly to post Part 2 of our minimalist kitchen with us moving.  Every time I move, I have to reconfigure my new kitchen.  So, the new house will look very different from this house in how we set things up and what our minimalism looks like.  However, I said I was going to post Part 2, so I am going to post Part 2!

In Part 1, I gave you a tour of the main section of my kitchen.  Before, we move on to the island and bar area of my kitchen, I wanted to address one reader question, and that is concerning my glasses.  I said we had 2 glasses per person, plus extras for guests.  One reader wanted to see inside the cupboard, so here it is…

Glasses in cupboard

The tie dye cup in the back of the bottom shelf is my Tervis.  It has a lid and it is the cup I take with me on the go.  Ty prefers the plastic cups you see in the box on the top shelf.  That box also holds his on-the-go coffee cups.  I got tired of these awkward glasses falling down on me every time I opened the cupboard door!  The glasses to the right of the box are the guest glasses.  We will often outfit them with a DrinkBand during the duration of their stay with us.  (pssst….DrinkBands giveaway coming soon!)

OK, so back to the tour!

On the opposite wall of the kitchen is a bar area.  This is my work station, and I still haven’t found a great system for organizing it.  So, I guess I’ll start over in the new house!  (By the way, the new house has a built-in office area in the kitchen already!  Yippee!)  The only appliance on the bar is the coffee maker, with the coffee mugs and coffee in a cupboard above it.  In the cupboards below I have stored the Vitamix (we have the wet and dry containers), a toaster, a large percolator (for my Festive Hot Punch), storage for jellies and sauces I canned this summer, vases, office supplies (our printer and computers are also on this bar), and a couple of baskets with utensils and small appliances we don’t use often (i.e. electric knife, apple peeler, corer, slicer, etc), and finally, a cupboard for tools.

And then, there is the island.  As you see in the graphic, only the Berkey and the knife block sit on the island.  (Ty brought me some flowers home that were there that day too!)

Can a Large Family Have a Minimalist Kitchen? Part 2 | RaisingArrows.net

Another reader question concerned the knife block and keeping my toddler out of it.  Frankly, this hasn’t been much of an issue.  I wish I could give you some great training lesson, but the younger crowd seem to understand that knives are not something they are allowed to touch.

The cupboards under the bar contain the following items:

  • 2 large & 2 small mixing bowls (we prefer Pyrex)
  • canning jars and lids
  • a few glass and plastic containers and lids for leftovers
  • 3 large bowls for serving things like popcorn or chips to a crowd
  • 2 serving trays
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 large and 1 small cast iron skillet
  • 1 large, 2 medium, and 1 small saucepan with lids
  • a double boiler and a steamer for one of the medium pots
  • a roasting pan I never use…and for some reason, keep

I do need to mention that we have a large pantry that holds not only our dry goods and bulk foods, but also a couple of crock pots, an electric skillet, a dehydrator, a water bath canner, and an air popper.  We also have a large electric roaster that typically gets stored in the basement.

We could probably pare down even more, but I am comfortable with where we are right now.  I use most everything in the kitchen on a fairly regular basis (except for the roaster and the dehydrator), so that’s been my gauge of whether or not I “need” something.  There are certainly some items I’d like to own at some point (like a larger stock pot), but I manage just fine with the items I have.

And that is the key to minimalism in a large family…do you really need it?  Will you really use it?  If you find you don’t, let it go.


Need a little help paring down the “stuff” in your kitchen?  Nourishing Minimalism (the blog I mentioned inspired me to get rid of a lot!) has a set of ebooks that helps you declutter and live a more minimalist life. – including the one shown below:  30 Days to a Clean & Organized Kitchen.

30 days

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE


So, what about your kitchen?  Are you a minimalist or do you tend to hold on to things you don’t use (and maybe don’t even like?)  I’d encourage you to start decluttering today and head into the New Year “lighter”!

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas – Week 4

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas:  Week 4 - Baking Week | RaisingArrows.netFind all the Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas posts here!

How did you do with the Week 3 To Do List? Hopefully all the items have been completed and you are now ready for Week 4!

Just a quick reminder before we get started: These Weekly To Do lists are directly from The 12-Week Holiday Planner (affiliate link). Those of you who have purchased The Holiday Planner will have all the forms that go along with the To Do Lists. If you have not purchased the planner, then you will need to make your own forms or buy your own copy!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER!

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas - a 12 week series from RaisingArrows.net and SheriGraham.com

This is a fun week! You get to do some holiday baking! Make sure to make a schedule for the week so that you get all the baking done! Then after the baking is done, you get to jot down some gift ideas for the kids. How fun!

Note from Amy:  I’m planning to make rolls, some freezer meals, and some sugar-free snacks for the Thanksgiving time frame.  We always decorate for Christmas right after Thanksgiving with a big Decoration Day celebration, so I’ll try to pull together a few things for that as well!

Week 4: Baking Week

[ ] Holiday Baking! Set aside some time this week to do some holiday goodie making (things that you can stick in the freezer). You can bake items you plan to share or give away AND other goodies to have at family gatherings, OR just do one or the other! There will be another baking week closer to Christmas, so keep that in mind. Pull your List of Baked Items to Share/Give Away and the Holiday Baking Recipes filed under the Holiday Baking section and place in your binder behind your calendar for this week so they are ready to use! If you need some great holiday recipes, you can find some in my Homemade for the Holidays series or check Sheri’s Recipe Index or Amy’s Large Family Recipes page for more ideas!

[ ] Schedule Your Week! Use the calendar provided to schedule your week so you get all the baking done! Once your baking is done, be sure to file these forms back under the Holiday Baking section and note on the List of Baked Items to Share/Give Away form (filed in the Holiday Baking section) what you have completed.

[ ] Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids! Using the form provided, make lists of toys, books, and clothes that children would enjoy and keep the list handy for telling family members who ask what they would like.

Accountability:

Once you have completed this list, come back here and tell us about it! Let’s encourage each other to plug away at these “to do’s” now so that our holidays can be less stressful and more focused on Jesus!

Find all the Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas posts here!

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas – Week 3

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas:  Week 3 - Supplies Week | RaisingArrows.net
Find all the Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas posts HERE!

How did you do with the Week 2 To Do List? Hopefully all the items have been completed and you are now ready for Week 3!

Just a quick reminder before we get started: These Weekly To Do lists are directly from The 12-Week Holiday Planner. (affiliate link)  Those of you who have purchased The Holiday Planner will have all the forms that go along with the To Do Lists. If you have not purchased the planner, then you will need to make your own forms or buy your own copy!

This week we will be focusing on making your shopping lists and going shopping! I know this may seem like you are getting way ahead of the game, but believe me, you won’t be sorry! Getting this shopping down now will save you big time later on! Besides, next week is baking week, so you will want to make sure you have all the ingredients on hand to make baking week a success!

Note from Amy:  This week I focus on Thanksgiving and Decoration Day baking, as well as any Fall festivities we might be needing to bake for.  There are more Baking Weeks later on, so think about what you need for Fall baking.  What can you make ahead for Thanksgiving now?  Rolls?  Desserts?  Breakfast casseroles for overnight guests?  (For ideas & recipes, take a look at my Large Family Recipes section!)

Week 3: Supplies Week

[ ] Inventory the supplies you have on hand, then€¦

[ ] Shopping Lists for non-perishables! Turn to your Recipe Cards filed under the Holiday Menus and Holiday Baking sections and using the form provided make a list of non-perishables needed for holiday meals and baking. Make sure you have plenty of yeast and related items on hand.

[ ] Baking Shopping List! Next week will be a Baking Week, so if you plan on doing some holiday baking ahead of time that you can put in the freezer, include perishable items you will need for these recipes as well!

[ ] Gift making Shopping List! Turn to your Gift Making Checklist filed under the Christmas Gifts section and jot down the supplies needed for gift making.

[ ] Decorations Shopping List! Turn to your Decoration Ideas form filed under the Holiday Decorations section and jot down supplies you will need for decorating for the holidays.

[ ] Finalize Shopping List! Also jot down miscellaneous supplies such as film, batteries, gift wrapping, and Christmas cards as needed.

[ ] Shopping! Take your lists and GO SHOPPING!

Accountability:

Once you have completed this list, come back here and tell us about it! Let’s encourage each other to plug away at these “to do’s” now so that our holidays can be less stressful and more focused on Jesus!

Find all the Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas posts HERE!