How and Why We Color-Code our Kids’ Things

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We are in a series where I’m sharing my favorite tips and strategies with you that help me to be more purposeful in my life, with my family, and in our household. Purposeful Planning is less about planners and planning systems and more about finding intentional, practical ways to help you do what you do better. It comes from all of the hats we wear as moms, wives, and Christian women. I’ve realized that I do actually have a lot of systems and routines that have come to work really well for me, and I thought maybe it would be helpful to share those things with you – because who knows? They might work really well for you too! So here we are with My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies!

This tip would be another Mom Tip… Color-Coding is something we really embraced after I fell in love with the concept of minimalism.

Color-Coding Dishes
Today, I’m just talking about dishes. I had the idea to only keep the amount of dishes that we ACTUALLY use in a day. This has helped me so much with keeping up with the dishes and kitchen clean-up! Just like with laundry or anything else, the more you own and use, the more time it will take to clean up and manage. We only have enough dishes for one day in our cabinets accessible to us, and all of our dishes fit in our dishwasher now. This means that I can run it at night and wake up to clean dishes for the next day. It’s amazing how that works!

For the kids, I bought a set of plastic dishes for the kids that we all love. It was only $5 at Walmart, and it comes with a tray with divided sections (perfect for adding foods from different food groups at meals), a plate, a bowl, a cup, and utensils. The set we bought has blue, green, pink, and purple. Lawson is blue. Linkin is green. Layten is pink, and we put the purple set up for when we have guests over. I’ve actually purchased a few of these sets to have when we need them, but we only keep one set out and accessible at a time. It makes it so easy for us, and the kids love having their own color to use each time. It definitely gives them ownership and prevents any fights over who gets which one.

We have the perfect amount of dishes for a day. If they end up using a bowl for oatmeal at breakfast, and we also have soup at dinner – you know what happens? We hand wash the bowl to use it again. I know I just blew your mind with that one, but it’s really not that difficult to wash three bowls real quick. We all have one cup that we use all day long, and it can be refilled with water from a Brita picher in the fridge at any point in the day. The same is for me – I have my Yeti cup that I refill with ice and water throughout the day. If I can keep up with the routine of doing dishes every day, then we are good to go. And of course, If I’m extremely tired and go to bed without doing them, then I have to do them in the morning before we can have breakfast because there will be no clean dishes to choose from. It’s a natural consequence, even for myself.

We also have colored, reusable water bottles for when we go places, and Layten has her pink sippy cups still. Just like I like to refill my Yeti cup to take with me, I also know they might get thirsty too, so we take a lunch box, ice pack, and their bottles with us when we leave the house. This saves us money we would spend on juice boxes or pouches to take with us or by having to stop and eat out for lunch or get a snack or drink when they decide they are thirsty or hungry while we are out. If we do plan to eat out somewhere, we will let them get a juice or a lemonade to drink as a fun choice, but we try to plan around this to save money as much as possible. My kids are always with me, so running through a drive through can add up real fast.

Color-coding is not something I ever thought I would do with my kids, but it has proven to be a real time-saver and saves us some arguments too. 😉

My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies Series… 
I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you! What do you want to know? Is there anything that interests you or an area where you’re struggling? Maybe I can help you find that solution you’re looking for! That would be such a joy and an honor for me! Let me know!

And whatever you do – let’s make a plan to be more purposeful!

Our Family’s “Screen Time” Rules

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We are in a series where I’m sharing my favorite tips and strategies with you that help me to be more purposeful in my life, with my family, and in our household. Purposeful Planning is less about planners and planning systems and more about finding intentional, practical ways to help you do what you do better. It comes from all of the hats we wear as moms, wives, and Christian women. I’ve realized that I do actually have a lot of systems and routines that have come to work really well for me, and I thought maybe it would be helpful to share those things with you – because who knows? They might work really well for you too! So here we are with My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies!

This tip would be another Mom Tip… Screen Time is one of those things that’s become so common and available to our kids these days. It’s not as easy to just send your kids outside to play like it was back when we were kids. Phones, tablets, ipads, and other screens have become to go-tos for when our kids are bored and seeking something to occupy their time.

Screens are definitely not a bad thing. I watched plenty of T.V. as a child, and I turned out okay I think. But my kids would literally watch it all day long if I let them. We’ve had our fair share of “lazy days” where they’ve watched a good bit of T.V., but usually we deal with attitudes and misbehavior on days like that, so we really try to limit our kids’ screen time to some degree.

We try to save screen time for times when we need the kids to be on their best behavior. It works really well for us to take our tablets with us when we go to CrossFit. Since I don’t have a babysitter for my kids daily, and my husband is the coach – they have to go with me. This gives them something to do while I get my workout in. Some days are more laid back and they are able to do some working out with me, and some days they have other kids to play with outside and aren’t even interested in their tablets. I call this a win, but it’s still available as our backup plan.

So usually my kids get their tablets during the hour at CrossFit, and I will allow them to continue to watch them while I get a quick shower and fix dinner when we get home, but as soon as dinner is ready – we turn them off and eat together. So sometimes, they do get 2-3 hours of Screen Time per day, but you have to understand – this is after a FULL Day of imaginative play, homeschooling, running around outside, being creative, and of course their “morning checklists”, which I’ll get to in a minute.  They’ve had a full day at this point, so I definitely don’t mind that they relax a little bit in the afternoons. I know how much I just need to sit and relax sometimes during my day too, so I definitely think its okay, within reason.

Here is our Morning Checklist. It’s nothing fancy – just a page I typed out and put in a page protector pocket from the Dollar Tree and hung on the side of the fridge. We don’t use markers to check off the lists or anything. We just use it as a guide to help the kids remember what they need to be doing next, while I am doing my own morning routine of starting laundry or unloading the dishwasher. It’s especially helpful now that Lawson can read, and he can help his brother know what to do next too. I do have to help and assist with several of these things, but it’s okay. It’s just a guide and a checklist for kids’ is only good if there is also someone to supervise and make sure the things on it actually get done. That supervisor would be me, and like anything else – there are consequences if they choose to disobey and not do the things on their list. Let’s be real – sometimes that happens too. Screen time is one of those privileges that can be lost if their morning checklists are not completed. There are also other natural consequences like “not being able to play outside” until you are dressed for the day.

Some of our Screen Time Rules:
1. Morning Checklists must be completed.
2. Daily Schoolwork must be completed.
3. Ideally, we’ve had Outside Play Time, Creative, & Imaginative Play in our Day already as well.
4. Screen time CAN BE lost due to misbehavior and disobedience. It’s a privilege, not a right. It must be earned, and it can also be taken away.
5. We have locks and pass codes on everything. We have to unlock the passwords for them to turn on the tablets, to access shows rated Y-7 and up, and of course they aren’t allowed to do any web searching or purchasing either.
6. We really try to monitor the shows and games our kids have access to, and it’s not an easy job, even at the young ages of six and four. They already ask to watch shows their friends watch and things like that.

My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies Series… 
I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you! What do you want to know? Is there anything that interests you or an area where you’re struggling? Maybe I can help you find that solution you’re looking for! That would be such a joy and an honor for me! Let me know!

And whatever you do – let’s make a plan to be more purposeful!

How I Organize our Budget

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We are in a series where I’m sharing my favorite tips and strategies with you that help me to be more purposeful in my life, with my family, and in our household. Purposeful Planning is less about planners and planning systems and more about finding intentional, practical ways to help you do what you do better. It comes from all of the hats we wear as moms, wives, and Christian women. I’ve realized that I do actually have a lot of systems and routines that have come to work really well for me, and I thought maybe it would be helpful to share those things with you – because who knows? They might work really well for you too! So here we are with My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies!

This tip would be in the Financial Category… After struggling with another budgeting system and it not working for me the way I wanted to, I decided to just create my own. I’m so glad that I did.

I’ve found a Budgeting System that is working great for us, so I thought I might share it with you in case it might be helpful to you too!

First, I created a “Bill Pay Checklist”, and I use one of these sheets per pay period.
1. List all of your bills that are due each month, along with their average amounts and due dates. (You’ll need to update this as soon as you find out the exact amount each month.)
2. Divide up this list based on when your bills and payments are due each month.
3. Make up a “Pay Period Budget” for each paycheck your family receives. Decide where the money from each check will go before you even spend it.
4. It may be smart to call companies and ask about changing due dates for your bills to make them work better for you.


Currently, we get paid twice per month so I use two of these each month.

The second page of this system is “The Expense Tracker”. What I love about this page is that it also allows me to note the amount of money left in each budget category – kind of like you would do for cash envelopes, although we don’t personally use cash for our spending at this time. This page will show you –not where your money is supposed to go– but where it actually went. It would even be helpful to highlight the various categories to see how much you are spending in each. I’ve done this from time to time because it really helps us to see any problem areas or where we might need to tighten up a little bit.

Here are the links for the Budgeting Worksheets I created… enjoy!
Bill Pay Checklist
Expense Tracker

My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies Series… 
I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you! What do you want to know? Is there anything that interests you or an area where you’re struggling? Maybe I can help you find that solution you’re looking for! That would be such a joy and an honor for me! Let me know!

And whatever you do – let’s make a plan to be more purposeful! 

The Laundry Basket Trick

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We are in a series where I’m sharing my favorite tips and strategies with you that help me to be more purposeful in my life, with my family, and in our household. Purposeful Planning is less about planners and planning systems and more about finding intentional, practical ways to help you do what you do better. It comes from all of the hats we wear as moms, wives, and Christian women. I’ve realized that I do actually have a lot of systems and routines that have come to work really well for me, and I thought maybe it would be helpful to share those things with you – because who knows? They might work really well for you too! So here we are with My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies!

This is one of my tried and true Household Management Tips… The Laundry Basket Trick. It’s simple, and it’s based on the principle of “Everything Has a Place”, or (EHAP). Everything in your home should have a “place” where it belongs – a home station where it should be put back after it is used. If it doesn’t, well, maybe you should start there first. 😉 

What is “The Laundry Basket Trick”?
It’s simple. Take an empty laundry basket, and set a timer for 15 minutes. Walk through your house as you gather things that have been left out that do not belong. In our home, things get transferred from room to room, by all of my family members for one reason or another, and they just need to be picked up and put back in their places at some point during the day.

There are some different ways you can do this to make it work even better for you…
1. Get your family involved. If you do this with your husband and children, just think of all the extra man-power that gives you! Maybe you set a timer for only 5 minutes per room at this point – if you have a husband and three kids helping you, that’s 25 minutes of man-power with everyone working together, when it will actually only take 5 minutes. You could even take it a step further by having one person dust the room, one person sweep, etc. You could do the main areas of the house, say the kitchen, living room, and have everyone do a quick clean up in their own room individually for the final 5 minutes.
2. Since my children are still small, I like to keep it really simple, and we take turns so I can make sure it gets done. I have my children go first, usually. First, I have them gather as many things as they can from under the couches because our couches have legs so it’s easy for things to get shoved under there, accidentally of course. Then, I have them take all of their toys and belongings back to their room. Step two for them is to clean up their room and put the things away in their proper places, while I gather up the things I see in the room and put them away myself. We all work together, and it usually works pretty good for us.

Try it this week…. let me know how it works for you!

My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies Series… 
I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you! What do you want to know? Is there anything that interests you or an area where you’re struggling? Maybe I can help you find that solution you’re looking for! That would be such a joy and an honor for me! Let me know!

And whatever you do – let’s make a plan to be more purposeful! 

Praying Scriptures Over My Husband and Children

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We are in a series where I’m sharing my favorite tips and strategies with you that help me to be more purposeful in my life, with my family, and in our household. Purposeful Planning is less about planners and planning systems and more about finding intentional, practical ways to help you do what you do better. It comes from all of the hats we wear as moms, wives, and Christian women. I’ve realized that I do actually have a lot of systems and routines that have come to work really well for me, and I thought maybe it would be helpful to share those things with you – because who knows? They might work really well for you too! So here we are with My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies!

This is a Spiritual Discipline Tip… How I Pray Scriptures Over My Husband and Children.
It’s one of those things we should be doing as wives and as parents. It’s probably the best and greatest way we can serve our families… by lifting them up in prayer. We know that when we pray for someone, it probably changes us before it changes them. By praying for someone, we start to love them in a whole new way. We love them for the person that God created them to be. Then, as God changes our own hearts as we pray, the people we love begin to see and feel the effects from them, and I believe our prayers for them begin to take root as well. So, it all sounds good. Pray for your husband and children. But how? If you’re like me, you like practical tips of ways you can be intentional in this. So I’ll share with you what I like to do.

Why pray Scriptures?
I pray Scriptures because they are God’s own words. The Bible is full of examples where He was faithful, and full of His promises to us. I like to remind Him of those as I’m praying for needs in my own life and for my family. Scripture is just an easy way to make sure that what we are asking for is lining up with the Word of God. It’s not going to be a selfish prayer if you’re praying things God has already said in His Word.

My Tips & Strategies for Praying Scriptures Over My Family
To pray for my children, I have this neat little booklet that I printed from Pinterest a long time ago. I just printed the pages, laminated them, and stuck them on a ring to flip through, but you could do it any way you like and certainly could make it prettier than I have done. I love this booklet because it gives me scriptures to pray for different things like their salvation and for their relationships and their futures, but in each verse of scripture it leaves blanks where I can insert their names as I pray for them. I like to take this a step further and hand write the scriptures with each of their names in them, personally. This just helps me to focus on what I’m doing. I love to write things down.

 

In praying scripture for my husband, I do basically the same thing – except I don’t have a sweet little booklet to use. Instead I just search Pinterest or google for a list of scriptures and prayers to pray for my husband. Here’s the one I’m currently using. And again, I personally take the time to write out these prayers and scriptures with his name in them because I love the way that it personalizes it.

Here are two great books on this topic that I think would be great. I haven’t read them personally, but I’ve heard great things, and I really need to.
The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian
The Power of a Praying Praying Mom by Stormie Omartian

My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies Series…
I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you! What do you want to know? Is there anything that interests you or an area where you’re struggling? Maybe I can help you find that solution you’re looking for! That would be such a joy and an honor for me! Let me know!

And whatever you do – let’s make a plan to be more purposeful! 

Room Time

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We are in a series where I’m sharing my favorite tips and strategies with you that help me to be more purposeful in my life, with my family, and in our household. Purposeful Planning is less about planners and planning systems and more about finding intentional, practical ways to help you do what you do better. It comes from all of the hats we wear as moms, wives, and Christian women. I’ve realized that I do actually have a lot of systems and routines that have come to work really well for me, and I thought maybe it would be helpful to share those things with you – because who knows? They might work really well for you too! So here we are with My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies!

This is one of my tried and true Mom Tips… Room Time. It’s something that I’ve literally done since Lawson (my oldest, who is now 6) was a baby. Then, it was in the form of laying him on his baby play mat while I went in the other room to pump milk into bottles. Now, it looks a little different obviously, but the concept is the same.


What is Room Time? 
From the beginning, I’ve let my littles play in their rooms for short periods of time, independently. It gives me a little bit of time to take a shower or get something done without worrying. Of course, I can always peek at them over the baby gate.

1. It’s important to know that the environment you are leaving your children to play in is as safe as it can possibly be if you are not going to be right there to watch them.
2. Keep it to short periods of time, especially when they are really young, and peek in at them to check on them often, especially at first.
3. You can increase the time, incremently, as your children grow older and get used to it, but remember that the older they get – the more they can get into with this independence so check on them often.

What does Room Time look like for us? 
I try to give my 20 month old a little room time once a day. Usually, it’s to occupy her while we are homeschooling and need to use small items like math blocks that we don’t want her to get ahold of, but it may also be if I need to get a quick shower. She plays in her room with the baby gate closed. Usually she builds with her blocks or looks at books. My older boys can always help me keep an eye on her during this time as well.

For my boys (ages 4 & 6), they have a longer Room Time every day when Layten goes down for her nap after lunch. This gives me some time to rest or do some work of my own. They can Rest or Nap (insert the praying hands emoji), Read books, Color, Do Reusable Sticker Books, or Play with Toys Quietly in their Room. I usually give them a little snack as an added bonus for obeying and following the Room Time Rules, and they are usually really excited when it’s Room Time.

There are a few simple rules for Rule Time…

1. They must stay in their room, unless they are coming to me for something or using the bathroom.
2. They must stay quiet (little sister is napping).
3. They must stay safe, and be kind.
4. They must clean up when Room Time is over before they can transition to something else, which is usually family time with Daddy.

My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies Series… 
I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you! What do you want to know? Is there anything that interests you or an area where you’re struggling? Maybe I can help you find that solution you’re looking for! That would be such a joy and an honor for me! Let me know!

And whatever you do – let’s make a plan to be more purposeful! 

My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies

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The more I think and pray about my Purposeful Planning, the more I am convinced that it’s less about planners and planning systems and more about just being more and more intentional and purposeful and having that growth mindset no matter what it is that you are working on. I’ll always love the planner part of it though, because it gives me a place to keep everything organized, but truthfully –  it’s not always pretty, and it’s full of personal information, so I can’t always share it with the world.

For me, Purposeful Planning comes in the form of being a wife, mothering, homeschooling, church leadership, helping to run a CrossFit gym, and any other hats that I tend to put on either seasonally or just in life in general. I’ve realized that I actually do have a lot of systems and routines that have come to work really well for me, and usually I realize this most when something occurs and those systems aren’t able to be carried out as effectively as they once were (I’m lookin’ at you, first trimester!).

But I thought maybe it would be helpful to share those things with you – the things I do that work really well for me – because who knows? They might work really well for you too!

So here are the types of things you’ll be seeing from me…

  • Mom Tips
  • Homeschooling Helps
  • Spiritual Disciplines
  • Household Management Strategies
  • Health & Fitness Ideas
  • And whatever else comes to mind that I think might be beneficial to you!

    These may not be real lengthy posts, as I’m just going to share one tip or thing at a time, and I’ll just post them as often as I can. They may be somewhat random, but I’ll try to tag and categorize them appropriately so that you’ll be able to find them easily in my archives. I might do a big recap post at the end of this series to compile them all together somehow. We’ll see!

    And I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you! What do you want to know? Is there anything that interests you or an area where you’re struggling? Maybe I can help you find that solution you’re looking for! That would be such a joy and an honor for me! Let me know!

    And whatever you do – let’s make a plan to be more purposeful!