Morning Chaos

This morning it was 8:45. I was sitting at our table after breakfast having a few minutes with my Bible, journal, devotional book and a cup of coffee while the children played. When I went to open my devotional book, I looked at the calendar to check the date. Uh oh! I realized that the physiotherapist was coming in 45 minutes! I had completely forgotten.
I am not a morning person and I also like to have my home in order when visitors come. So on other days this would have made me panic.
But as I looked around this morning, I realized I could easily be ready by 9:30.
There are some habits I have tried to make in my life lately which has helped my mornings go much smoother. I would like to share them with you, in case you find mornings difficult too. Keep in mind that I am not pregnant, I don't have a newborn, all my children are good sleepers and it is the summer holidays! In another words, it might be different if I was in survival mode! So don't feel overwhelmed if that is you! But in any case, little habits can make a big difference. I try to do number 4-8 before breakfast. So here goes.

1) Have your house tidy before you go to bed.
It is so nice to wake up to a tidy house even if it doesn't last long! 

2) Have your day's menu planned beforehand. 
I try to plan a weeks menu at a time, so I am not trying to figure out what to have for dinner every morning.

3)Wake up on time.
I much rather prefer waking up naturally, but my morning goes better if I wake up by a certain time with my alarm clock. Then I don't start the day running late. Since it is holidays, I can wake up a bit later. But I need to plan it so I still get enough sleep so I'm not tired all day.

4)Spend a few minutes in God's Word.
I heard someone say recently "Read the Bible before you read any other book". So I have tried to make it a habit to read the Bible for a few minutes before I get out of bed. I like the Daily Light best as it's quick and easy!

5)Get dressed.
You feel more ready for the day when you are dressed. Also if someone turns up unexpectedly, you will not be embarrassed! Couriers sometimes come to our house pretty early in the morning.

6)Make your bed.
It only takes a few minutes, but it makes a huge difference to your room. I never feel like doing it, but I'm always glad when it's done.

7) Put a load of washing on.

8) Fill the sink up with hot soapy water and put dirty dishes in there straight away to soak.

9) Get your children in the habit of taking care of their own rooms each morning.
That's a few less rooms to have to tidy every morning if they can do it themselves. I've found job charts work really well for my children. Each morning they have to get dressed, open their curtains, make their bed, have their hair done, tidy their room and clean their teeth. When they have gotten to the end of their charts, they get a small reward.  They also have the same type jobs in the evening before bed.


Less is Better

(Tips on keeping life simple and decluttered)
One thing I have decluttered is my closet.
I have limited my clothes (including jewelry, shoes and coats) to roughly 35 things. (I got the idea from here. )This doesn't count clothes/shoes I only wear to work outside or sleepwear, underwear etc. It also doesn't count singlets, tights, and t-shirts that I only wear under things.
I put a few winter/extra things away in a storage container, and when it gets colder I will swap them with some summer things. I have just enough winter things in my closet for the odd cold day. I have also put away maternity clothes and clothes that are too big for when I am next pregnant.
I have donated the clothes that I like but don't feel comfortable in. You know, those clothes you wear about once every two months!! The clothes that make you look pregnant when you're not! :) Or the ones that are too baggy or two tight.
So in my closet there are only clothes that I like AND enjoy wearing--my favorites.
I have learned to mix and match a lot more. For example I have one black skirt. I used to only wear it on Sundays with one or two different tops. But I realized I could wear it with all my colored tops and that makes a whole lot more outfits! 
With mix and matching just my tops/cardis, skirts and a dress I can make about 72 different outfits! That's more than enough, don't you think? That doesn't count mix and matching shoes, jewelry and scarves.
A major benefit for me out of all this, is that it really helps me with impulse buying. If I buy something new I need to get rid of something else, unless I need what I'm buying. It helps me to just buy to fill the gaps. It also makes me really think twice before buying things. Do I really like it AND feel comfortable in it? Or would it just sit in my closet most of the time?
One of the times that Lydia was in hospital, we ended up in Auckland with only an overnight bag. We then found out we would be there for a long time, and I only had 2-3 changes of clothes. While we were up there I brought a few more, but when nearly 8 weeks later we were finally back to our local hospital I looked forward to wearing all my other clothes at home. But I found I had gotten used to wearing the comfortable ones that I had in hospital and actually enjoyed wearing them more than the ones at home! So it just goes to show that we really don't need much!


Stopping the Flow...

(Tips on keeping life simple and decluttered)
Stuff is constantly coming into our homes, so I've found it's good to stop as much as possible. For me the biggest thing is op shopping! I love op shopping and because everything is cheap, I buy way too much stuff. Instead of buying one shirt I buy four etc.! So I am staying out of op shops as much as possible. I have also put 'no junk mail' on our letterbox as there is a flow of unnecessary mail than comes in through the letterbox. Thinking twice about anything I buy and not feeling I have to keep everything I am given. It's nice and helpful to be given free stuff, but I don't have to keep what I'm not going to use.
Where does all your clutter come from? How could you stop or at least cut down on the flow that comes into your home?


Introduction to Helpful Tips

In the last 3 months since our big trip to Holland, I've had a major declutter in our home. While we were in Holland, I saw that our kids can play very well with few toys. A lot of the time we lived in a small house by ourselves. Although there were some toys there, I felt the 'need' to go and buy more toys to keep the kids busy on days we stayed home. Thankfully I didn't. 
I remember one morning waking up and coming out into the lounge. Our four children were up already.
"Mummy, Me and Lydia are on the plane flying to Hong Kong." This came from Hannah who was sitting in the corner with Lydia.
"Mummy, Me and Joseph are ice skating!" This came from Esther who was wearing socks and was sliding around the floor with Joseph!
They were very busy playing, having a great time, with basically nothing!
I was reminded again this morning as they were all having fun pretending their piece of toast was an animal. 
So I would like to share some tips and principles that I've found helpful in simplifying our home and our life. Principles that help me spend less time tidying up and more time with my children.
Although these tips may seem purely practical, they're not! They're a result of being convicted of greed, discontent, hoarding and always wanting more.
Hopefully these principles I share will help you if you struggle to keep your home in order and also help me not to go backwards again!
I will try to keep them all bite sized and simple.


A New Year

What are your wishes for your family in 2018?
These are mine!

I want 
less screen time 
more time in God's Word

less gossip and criticism
more prayer

less toys
 more time learning to cook, having fun being creative and more time outside

less greed
more thankfulness, contentment and giving

less clutter and stuff
more time to spend with my children

less stress
more simplicity and enjoyment of simple things

less money (or the love of it at least!)
more family time making memories

less worry
more trust in God

less shopping
more hospitality

less facebook and internet
more time learning how to be a better wife and mother

less loving things
more loving God and people.

Happy New Year!



This post is nearly a week old. I wrote it on my facebook page and forgot to share it here!

Last week was a super busy week. In my eyes, too busy! I decided to try and simplify as much as possible and cut down on the busyness. Instead, out of my control, it got busier! Strange how that always happens! Finally I gave my time to God and just accepted the fact that my life is busy. Although I like to be more relaxed and have more free time, my time is God's. God wants to be in control. If I give Him my time, He will make sure I get enough rest.
Also, I realized that although my life feels too busy sometimes, it is full and satisfying! I have a husband, 4 children, and a lovely home to look after. Although they keep me very busy, my life would be rather empty without them.
So as a summary, instead of complaining about the busyness, I can rejoice that I have a full happy life! I can accept the busyness, knowing that I have given God my time and I am doing exactly what He wants me to do.


Trials are Instruments...

This is an encouraging thought!
The very things that cause us the most frustration and pain are God's tools to make us more Christlike.