Homekeeping...do people actually DO this?
What you'll find in The Romantic Mom.com
Yesiree, Li'l Messy, I mean Mussy, 'scuse me, Missy, they most in-du-dubidably do! So you'd best hup-to it or get left in the dust...or the no-dust....as the case may be.
And what about all them li'l whipper-snappers scramblin' around here? You betch-ye! They shor can hup-too!
Natural Cleaning Recipes & Products
The Romantic Life, the Romantic Mom--Arranging for Activities
Cultivate the habit of attention
- Alexandra Stoddard
Creating “stations” and “places” for the daily activities develops good habits for children at very early ages. Children naturally gravitate to these spaces and it fosters all sorts of creative and imaginative play and activity. Chalkboards, easels, magnetic boards, or paper rolls hanging down the wall equipped with a small table and chairs or stools, and art basket with craft supplies is all that’s required to set the stage in motion. We have a diagram on the wall depicting each step in making the bed. I plan on tweaking this method for clean up and pick-up by using the digital camera to take photos of what the insides of the drawers should look like when all their clothes, toys, crafts, etc. are put away. In the books by Elizabeth George, Wisdom for Little Girls and Wisdom for Little Boys, the illustrator has an adorable chart depicted for daily attitude and chores that I would love to duplicate and hang up for our children.
What are some of the activities you would like to be doing as a family and how might space be dedicated to promote those activities? Some activities to think about are music practice, devotional time, more or better interaction at meal times, increased self-sufficiency for children, practicing various handicrafts, school work, more individual reading time, dance and/or exercise, board games or puzzles. There are so many more activities and interests that can be developed. However, if most free time—and even meal times—get spent in front of a TV or computer screen, the other interests or activities can easily fly by the wayside. Reducing the number of television sets and computers can greatly cut down on the time spent in front of them. For meal times we eat together as a family but we have a smaller table for the children next to our table. Due to our limited space, I just don’t have the room for the scaled down kid’s table for school work and crafts plus a large dining table. I found a drop-leaf table that we can fold out when we have company. Most of the time it stays compact against a window with two wicker chairs on each end next to the large kid’s table and six small chairs in various colors. Our littlest one has wanted to eat with the ‘big kids’ since she was a year-and-a-half, so we just put a step stool under her dangling feet. Our house has more or less the look of Goldilocks and the Three Bears than most typical houses, but that’s just the stage we’re at right now.
For family devotions we keep the children’s little percussion instruments together in a container, the children’s Bible, and Daddy’s Bible, and a Bible Atlas stacked together in a place in the living room. One of our friends with a much larger family and lots more room have an easel and chalkboard as well. In Mary Pride’s book, All the Way Home, her family also keeps Greek word flash cards handy in addition to the other stuff. The main idea, of course, is to avoid having to hunt all over the house for things when you could be spending that time more productively.
For school work, I brought a desk back from Florida with a bookcase that rests on it. That’s my area for planning, crafts, and notes. A small table next to it holds the copier, paper cutter, and crayons and markers. We have a large buffet that absorbs all the rest of the children’s supplies, workbooks, puzzles, flash cards—everything school or learning related. It’s all centrally located in the dining/living area, which is our only sensible place to ‘have school.’ I would dearly love to have a room dedicated as the school room and really outfit it with all sorts of fun and interesting stations and learning areas. I’ve seen some wonderful built-ins and ideas for these types of school rooms by home schooling families, but we will just continue with our 18th century or ‘log cabin’ school room for now.
We would like our children to also be learning at least one handicraft or trade at a more in-depth level. Since my husband’s a watchmaker he definitely wants to pass this on to our son—and daughter’s, too, if one or all take an interest in it. My husband set up a watch bench next to his work bench in his office for our son who’s already showing an avid interest in mechanical watches and clocks. I’m going to do the same for the girls in my ‘sewing area’ when I can chisel out a practical place to have it. In our new home I want to have a small room just off the kitchen that can be used as a full-blown craft room where we can leave things out and have lots of great storage, display, and clean up.
In the kitchen, I’ve moved some things around to ensure that the children can get to plates, napkins, bowls, cereals, snacks, and utensils on their own. The more self-sufficient we help our children to become, the easier our job will get. I’ve seen where one mother bought the plastic cereal dispensers from a hotel supplier. All her children had to do was stick their bowls under the chute and press the handle. Since I read about that idea, I’ve paid more attention to how the continental breakfasts are set up or arranged at hotels we’ve stayed in. Some of those things could come in very handy for larger families especially. In our beach house there happened to have been left a square table that was a few inches lower than typical table heights. It was perfect for holding all the plates, bowls, cups, and utensils for the children to have within easy reach. Ants were a major problem, so we put cereals in the plastic containers and all the other stuff in a basket. I also kept assorted teas and a carafe we found that boiled water in 30 seconds. It was all so neat and handy.
The same goes for each of the bathrooms. Separate hooks at lower levels for children to reach towels and wash cloths are handy. Step stools or benches help little ones reach sinks and counters—as well as the potty! If possible, putting small sinks at a lower height are wonderful for little ones. I saw in one beach house where the owners had found antique metal washstands and repainted them a bright yellow outfitted with sinks and plumbing—all just the right height for children. For the towels and washcloths they used vintage painted beach pails. Another idea I’ve seen in a Michigan lake camp was to put small individual sinks in each bedroom and wrap with a coordinating curtain around the sinks to match the quilts on the bed. For lighting they hung brightly painted lanterns.
Make bath clean-up easy by keeping toys in a plastic waste basket or colanders. We have towels made in animal and flower shapes like seahorses, elephants, and turtles that the children adore. In the beach house, I put colorful little soaps in the shapes of dolphins, lighthouses, lobsters, and starfish in a small clear jar. My sister-in-law, Lynn, puts tea candles and lavender in clear jars in her bathroom that look lovely on her counter. Once again, try decorating with items that will actually be used and can still be displayed in a charming or aesthetically pleasant manner.
Excerpt from The Romantic Life, The Romantic Mom by Debbie Gallagher