Sunday, July 19, 2009

Routines and Kids Chore Charts

When Jen asked if I'd come over to add my two cents on how I Balance Beauty and Bedlam with my family of 8 I thought... really? Is that interesting ?!?! Then I remembered that families of 8 land big Cable Reality Shows and get to take fantastic vacations with their kidlets and drive cars that have built in movie theaters... and some even get a year supply of diapers... though I'd prefer chocolate instead.

For those of you who wonder, "How on earth does she manage with 6 kids?" I offer this: The chore chart to top all others. Okay, well admittedly this won't top all others because this one is ugly. Sometimes order is ugly... this chart looks more like a Wal-Mart Organizational Flow Chart than a family chore chart.

The fact is: I forget everything. I completely forget that my kids earned themselves a whoppin grounding for 2 weeks because my intense love for these little punk-a-noodles overshadows my memory of things they've done to deserve my wrath.

I forget that a family of 8 requires laundry to be done several times EVERY DAY. Aren't we all trying to forget about the laundry... it just won't go away! I'm even at fault to forget a couple of days in a row... until I've worn that stretched out bra that I should have thrown away months ago for the second straight day and I have to start acting surprised when friends see the stains on my shirt, "Kids! Darn. I guess I'll have to get this in the wash." That excuse works incredibly well when you have a ton of kiddos. You're always bound to have something stuck to your shoulder or belly. It's sad however, when the same friends hear that excuse several times over the same shirt... BUSTED!

So here's command central at my house.

Use this link to get the PDF of our job chart.
Cuz I'm a dork and can't make it appear right on this blog.

This baby has earned it's rightful place on the fridge next to the Scouting schedule and the realtor magnets.

It's divided into 3 sections; Routines that I need to remember.
Meal schedule: For Breakfast and Lunch (dinners are always different)

Laundry Schedule: This shows me who has laundry on what day. If you want to see my octo-laundry routine check out this post.

Family Job Rotations: This is the meat of the schedule. (Applies to 4 older kids)
It details my kids daily Personal jobs, Trash assignments, Dinner Prep and Clean-up assignments, Weekly Zone, Weekly Job, and Saturday job assignments. WHEW!

Use this link to get the PDF of our job chart.

There you have it. Functionality at it's finest... you can thank the hubby for that one. I'm always worried about whether or not the colors I choose in the chart coordinate with the eyes and personality of the child they represent... and match the hues of the current season.
We're a perfect match!

Any other questions on family efficiency or routines? What are you struggling with in your home?

Photo Credits:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

{Confessions of a Running Mom: 5 Frugal Fitness Tips}

Thanks Jen, for hosting me! I'm so excited to be here! And I'm really excited to share with you, Balancers of Beauty and Bedlam, how I balance fitness with a family-friendly budget. But first, let's get to know one another...I'll go first:

Can I tell you a secret? I hated running as a child. Okay, that's not much of a fact anyone who knew me then, could tell you that. But growing up I hated any form of exercising, and running most of all, so much that I actually lied to get out of it! Yes. I lied. Isn't that awful? I'm so embarrassed to say that. But God treated me with such gentle and hilarious grace. Let me explain:

In a college aerobics class, we were required to run a mile at the beginning and end of the semester to check our aerobic improvement. I signed up to take aerobics because it didn't involve running, then the instructor pulls that on me? Ugh-I was so frustrated and really did not want to run around the school coliseum. My fast and, more importantly, sympathetic roommate was also in the class. She actually agreed to run my lap for me, and turn in my name card when she finished. It wasn't that simple though. I had to start the lap, and my roommate would meet me around the corner, out of our instructor's view, to take over my run. Well, she took over, and I was left standing there without a way home...I couldn't go back-my instructor was waiting by the door. Hmmm, we hadn't thought this plan through. I had to find another way out of the coliseum. Well, the route I found back to my on-campus apartment ended up being a 3 mile hike! My roommate actually beat me home! I came home sweaty, tired and even more frustrated.

It wasn't until I married my husband a few years later that I gave running a fair shot. My husband found a really do-able beginning running plan, and on my birthday the year we were married, I tried it. After sticking with the plan for a few weeks, I was hooked. I've come to love all of exercise's benefits -the energy, weight loss and maintenance and a healthy attitude (it's great for warding off mild depression)! I've also learned how to keep it a priority in my life, without spending unnecessarily.

Whatever your sport, here are some ways to keep fitness a priority without knocking the budget out of balance:

1. Take a walk! One mom I know begins every day with taking her boys around the neighborhood. Isn't that a great way to start the day-and a great thing to do with you kids?

2. Don't have a gym membership? Me neither. Scour Craigslist, Kijiji, Freecycle, thrift stores and garage sales for used equipment and workout DVDs. A few years ago, we bought a commercial-grade treadmill off Craigslist for $200. It was only 2 years old, and the owners were moving and didn't want to take it with them. Don't forget to sell your unused equipment, too!

3. Oh, you do have a gym membership? Lucky you! Want to pay less? Talk to the gym manager about changing your plan. Gyms must be flexible to keep their members.

4. Find local clubs. Many communities have cycling, swimming, and running clubs, just to name a few. We love our local running club! It's similar to a Road Runners Club. Often, clubs like these offer free training group runs (at every level-even walkers!).

5. Take advantage of where your taxes go. Your local library and recreation centers. The library has a wealth of workout DVD's and books on new sports. Rec centers are also great places to try a new activity for a lower fee than gyms and health clubs. And don't forget public schools-many have outdoor tracks perfect for a summer evening stroll!

6. Your turn. How do you keep active on a budget? Do share!