Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A testimony to my OCD tendancies

A few months ago, Toby and I were discussing the numerous commitments we have, coupled with the needs of our home and family and the desire for occasional downtime, and were wondering how we were going to give each thing its proper attention. As it happens, I have a schedule for our school day (you may have seen it), including a certain fun thing that we'd do together for each week day, like movies on Wednesday or crafts on Friday. I had an idea that we might employ a similar theme to each evening of the week, based more on what we need to do with our time, rather than fun activities (although some of them are fun!). What does that look like for us?
  • Monday is Reading night. We sit down with our books and enjoy some peace and quiet.
  • Tuesday is Hospitality night. This is the night we tend to schedule for getting together with others, whether we're hosting or acting as guests. When you wonder why we always invite you over on a Tuesday, this is why.
  • Wednesday is our Project night. This is when Toby attends to those fix-it jobs, prepares for Care Group, or works on one of the many jobs I've got planned for him. I'll either work on one of my own projects (of which there are legion) or help him out a little. Stuff is getting done.
  • Thursday is Care Group. There is usually something going on for Care Group every week, whether the main meeting or growth groups. Makes for easy planning.
  • Friday night is Date Night. We'd never been very good about this, and it's been so nice to be doing things together a bit more. Sometimes we go out, sometimes we stay in and play games or watch a movie, but we're spending time together. It's good time.
  • Saturday night is Family night. Usually that means a meal of finger foods in front of a film, and that has yet to get old. One week we did take the kids over to the pool at the local Y, which was both fun and tiring.
  • Sunday is our Planning night. We look at our calendars, talk about what's coming up and whatever actions need to be taken. We'll pray for each other and whatever is happening that week.
And that's it. Nothing major, and certainly not uber-strict. If we can't meet with folks on Tuesday, we may swap things around and have people over on Friday, and bump our date night up a little. We don't feel guilty about getting work done because we know date night or family night will happen, and likewise, projects aren't getting put off all the time, because we have some dedicated time to chip away at them.
We've been using this system as a rough guide for a couple months, and it's served us so well. It's allowed us to see how we're spending our time and where we have some margin for more/breathing room. This family is busy, but we still have all the time we need to hang out with friends, get some quality time together and get some work done.
How do you spend your evenings? How do you "get it all done"?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fun School

Last month, I was doing my school planning when our Bible curriculum (Veritas Press) suggested doing dioramas based on one of Jesus' parables. I almost skipped it completely - I rarely do the crafty projects suggested - but I knew my girls would be so excited to do something creative, and they might even learn a little something from it. So, I pulled out a few supplies and turned them loose, hoping they would remember this the next time I did something distinctly "un-fun", like gave them a test or something...
I couldn't be happier with what they came up with!
Anna's diorama was about Jesus walking on water. Not a parable, but who cares? She was creative and thoughtful and even looked up the passage!
Pipe cleaners, modeling clay and a shoebox - who knew?

 Abigail went with the Parable of the Sower. Again, very creative - she went so far as to gather grass, rocks and birdseed from the backyard. Each element was carefully labelled for clarity.

I loved that they were able to do this completely independently - I wasn't allowed to look until they were finished. It's all their own work, which shows me that they are engaging with the passage, not what I'm telling them to do. Maybe they'll remember the stories better in future - I'd like to think so. Regardless, I'll definitely be more willing to try something like this in the future, knowing they'll take the assignment seriously and give it their best. That alone made it worth the effort.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Giving up

I've decided to give up.
For Lent.
This will not be easy for me. It'll mean deleting the app from my phone and establishing a few new habits - like reading a book while I feed the baby, rather than browse other people's creativity.
If you see me pinning things (I'm prone to forget, you see), call me out. Please.
I noticed that whenever someone decides to practice some kind of Lenten fast or activity, they are usually assumed to be Catholic? Why? Why have Catholics cornered the market on Lent, and why do Protestants seem to look upon the season with bemusement? Any time that's set aside for thinking about the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf and taking the opportunity to consider ways to slow down and enter into that sacrifice in some small way must be good for the soul.
If you're looking for some kind of Lenten observance for your family, here are a few ideas:
Make a tomb
Make a calendar
Make a pattern

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Here we have Daniel in this season's latest - Daddy's old t-shirt.
 It has been modified to fit his frame using the raglan pattern from Sewing for Boys.
A modification was necessary - I tried adding a neckband. Wouldn't fit over his head. It wouldn't even fit over Caleb's head - those Gayner heads...So, off it came and he loves it just the same. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

It's all good

Saturday was a successful day.
For a long time, I've been eager to get out of the house for a little "thinking time", as I like to call it. It's very difficult to get time to think and plan and reflect in a house this busy - even if all the people are out of the house, I'd probably succumb to the siren call of cleaning. It's also difficult when things are going on in the morning and the afternoon fills up with other needs and suddenly, the day and opportunity is gone.
This time, my clever husband had a clever idea - if getting out is important, we need to treat it as important and make time for it at the beginning of the day, before the other needs of the day pushes it out. So, he packed me off to Starbucks, complete with a shopping list to get some alone-shopping done, as well. 
It. Was. Lovely. I finished my yearly retreat book, Shopping for Time and made some notes. I'd been having lots of ideas swirling around my brain regarding priorities and interests, and I was able to finally nail down where my focus needs to be during this season of life. I was able to pray without distraction and plan my calendar. In short, I was able to be a little pro-active and intentional about life. And then I got to do the food shopping without a herd of children making unauthorized additions to the cart.
And my sweet husband, the clever Starbucks-sender? Oh, he was at home, making sure the children did their chores, getting on with a building project in the schoolroom and fixing my laptop screen!!! I hadn't even realized that this was possible, but he was able to order a new screen from, watch a video of how to install it and get the whole job done in a matter of minutes. I highly recommend doing this in case your children, you know, drop your laptop on the floor.
But you have to get your own husband to fix it. Sorry.

Monday, February 4, 2013

In the shop

Need a new pouch for your...stuff?
 Wee babe need some privacy?
Celebrate the Ravens' win by purchasing some purple at the shop!