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If you had told me ten years ago that I could be a full-time stay-at-home mom, living 30 hours away from our family, homeschooling my four children, and running a business in small pockets of time, I wouldn’t have believed you.  In those early years, the days ran together in one big blur, our cinder block student housing had stuff strewn around the floor, and I felt horribly guilty if I put my baby down, let alone did something I was interested in. In this week’s video, I’m sharing my brand new 5-step PEACE Method Planning system for your week that has transformed my life from surviving the days to waking up excited. Many other productivity strategies work when you have uninterrupted blocks of time, but that is rarely the reality as a stay-at-home mom. This method is different because it takes thos interruptions into account and allows you to create a schedule that works. 5-Step PEACE Method Planning System: P: Purpose - what matters most to you? E: Energy - review the previous week for wins to build momentum and energy. A: Appointments - Write scheduled items on the calendar.  C: Choose 3 - write down your big 3 for the week. E: Everything else - Write other “have to-dos” in context-based to-do lists for the week. This method is easy to start doing and doesn’t need to be implemented all at once. Even doing one thing will increase your peace and confidence in how you use your time.  You are building a foundation here that will be an upward cycle, and who knows what you will create!  Let me know which one of these five steps you’re already doing well and which ONE you are going to try this week.
How do you feel about chore charts? I like the idea of them, and I don’t mind creating them, but when it comes to having a marker or stickers handy to actually fill them out, we drop the ball pretty much every time.  This week, I’m sharing a new discovery I made that is simplifying our family cleaning routine: chore boards. This completely self-contained system allows me to clearly communicate each and every step that needs to be completed in a job, like cleaning the bathroom. In business, there is a crucial principle of writing standard operating procedures so that someone besides you can do a task and you can scale over time as you systemize. It’s the same in our families. As my kids are getting a little bit older, I’m ready to delegate a bit more to them in things that it takes to run our household smoothly. We have lots of great habits in place (they all have jobs to keep the kitchen clean, they know their personal habits, and they each have a zone they know they have to pick up), but I need to have a better system to offload regular dusting, vacuuming, and bathroom cleaning. I was thinking of making chore lanyards for them, and while doing some online research, I stumbled across something even better: chore boards. I got so excited I purchased 10 of them so I could write the process for cleaning a bathroom, deep cleaning the family living space, as well as personal daily habits and weekly chores. Now I can give a child a job and a board with a clear step-by-step plan to execute it and then have a clear checklist to inspect it with. Expectations communicated!
Every month, I write down the books I read or listened to. Today, I’m sharing my 12 favorites that I read this year from a wide variety of topics and subjects.  Reading lots of books has allowed me to actively learn while being a stay-at-home mom. When designing a planner for my needs, keeping track of the books I read or listened to each month was an essential piece.  Why? Two reasons: it helped me to read more because I wanted to be able to write things down AND to remember all that I’ve read, learned, and enjoyed. A Books Read section is still in the official Thriving in Motherhood Planner in the monthly review. You can get your 2024 planner today and have it arrive by Christmas! Here are my 12 favorite books of 2023: How to Break up with your phone: The Coddling of the American Mind: What Happened to You?: Habits of a Household: Love Life and See Good Days: Grace Where you Are: Good Inside: The Richest Man in Babylon: My Side of the Mountain: On the Far Side of the Mountain: The Anatomy of Peace: The Outward Mindset: I’d love to know your best book recommendations from this year to add to my 2024 reading list!   
In this week’s video, I’ll take you on a virtual tour of our homeschooling setup for this year. As a homeschooling mom of Kindergarten, 2nd grade, and 4th grade kids, I’ve tested a variety of resources and materials over the years.  So, if you’re a fellow homeschooling parent looking for inspiration, you’re in the right place! We’ve made a few tweaks to how we are doing school this year. Now that I have three school-aged kids, we are shifting to more of a family school focus with a few individual subjects, instead of primarily individual studies.  Here is what we are focusing on this year:  Family Subject Resources Science: Science in the Beginning  Picture Study  Addition Facts That Stick  Subtraction Facts that Stick  Language Study  History - Story of the World  Picture books from the library on a variety of subjects Individual Study Busy town Eye Found It Game Spot It All About Reading  Rightstart Math Minimalist Math Curriculum Research Parent/ Right start  Hoffman Academy  (Get 10% off with code LEARN) Good and the Beautiful books/reading for 4th grade  The Great Illustrated Classics Organizational Resources Backpacks with pencil and planner Hooks for backpacks Notebooking pencils  Pencil sharpener Kids watches How to stitch a notebook I’m often asked what the secret is to being consistent with homeschooling. I’ve found that consistency in homeschooling is easier to achieve when you have a reset space that makes it easy to do the thing you want to do. I want to do all the things in our homeschooling day - math, science, history, music practice, nature study, language study, etc. - so I often would pick just doing one more thing instead of cleaning up.  What I’ve discovered this semester is that if we just do a little less each day and leave time and energy to reset the space, it is SO MUCH EASIER to get into schoolwork the next day. So instead of doing lots of school a few days a week and getting frustrated and burned out by the amount of effort it took to keep going, we do a more measured amount each day and leave time to reset for tomorrow. It has made all the difference in our consistency.
Have you ever felt like it’s too late to be the mom you hope to be and you’ll be a good grandma instead? In this week’s video, Stephanie Stutznegger shares how she has radically changed her life in the last year as she got clear with her vision, took lots of baby steps, and celebrated each month in the Thriving in Motherhood Planner and Soaring Mothers Society. Stephanie lives in Northern California with her husband, Jeff, and their four kids. They love being outside together and doing woodworking projects. They have a backyard full of chickens, ducks, a beehive, a newly finished treehouse, and a suspension bridge over their creek, connecting them to her brother and sister-in-law’s house. Stephanie loves being a wife and mother, and she’s grateful to be part of the Thriving in Motherhood community. Stephanie’s favorite type of day is dishes piled high from cooking three meals, children laughing in the backyard, the doors and windows open, and fresh cookies in the oven. Last fall, Stephanie shared that she was feeling discouraged and like she had missed her opportunity to be the mom she wanted to be. As she watched two of her children play in the backyard, absolutely overwhelmed by the spaces inside and outside her home, she decided if she couldn’t be the mom she wanted, she would be a good grandma. Stephanie began thinking about what makes a good grandma’s house: curated rooms of meaningful, special things, favorite blankets, and books to read to make it cozy, and good smells from food baking.  She realized that she didn’t have to wait to be a grandma to give her family this life now, and a fire lit that carried her through a year of massive decluttering and baby steps, including building family systems to support their goals. It’s easy to get caught up comparing our houses to the best of what we see online or the “right way” to declutter, organize, or decorate our homes. But as Stephanie worked through the spaces in her home, she carried the mantra, “Think like a grandma,” and let her home become its own unique space with the goal to make space for relationships. She changed her thinking from what her space should be to what it could be. Stephanie shows up at our monthly Soaring Mother Society meetings with progress and renewed momentum to keep going as she continues to take action in making her vision for her life a reality. This week’s conversation includes so many amazing stories and learning moments in Stephanie’s life - from her oldest child speaking late and going on a 10-year learning journey of working on speech to lessons learned in raising chickens to her specialties of budgeting and making chocolate chip cookies. It’s a refreshing chat with a mom going through the realities of everyday mom life, too!
Do you struggle with manners in your family? Do you wonder if they are outdated and even worth teaching? In this week’s episode, Brooke Romney shares her simple system to effectively make manners part of our everyday lives with kids.  Brooke Romney is a writer, speaker and leader of an online community who helps moms of teens and tweens to create meaningful, healthy, and enjoyable relationships with their children through practical application, education, and community. Her goal is for every family to feel confident and connected. The mother of four boys ages tween to adult, Brooke knows parenting perfection isn’t real and takes an honest and hopeful approach with her audience. Her best-selling book 52 Modern Manners for Today’s Teens (Volumes 1 and 2) provides weekly tips to help parents and teens navigate the complexities of today’s world. The follow-up 52 Modern Manners for Kids features tips for kids and tweens aged four through 12.  Brooke and her family live in Utah. You can find her on Instagram HERE. You’ll love Brooke’s emphasis on manners that will allow our kids to be aware, kind, and connected. She also shares a glimpse into her own motherhood journey and how she went from being stuck in perfectionism and overwhelm to truly enjoying motherhood and being present and engaged in her own family. In our conversation, Brooke outlines five ways to teach manners to kids: Focus on one manner a week. You can talk about it directly or leave it out for kids to read so they have some autonomy in learning. Bonus tip - add your manner time to something you are already doing well, like Friday movie night or a weekly family night. Teach the why. Kids are smart and understand. Role Play! It is a way to practice at home and a fun way to prepare. When you are reading books or watching movies together, talk about when the characters are using the manners you’ve learned about or when they don’t. What are the consequences? What’s the impact on those around them?  As a parent, look for when you are seeing the manners you’ve been talking about and reinforce them with a thank you or share around the dinner table when everyone used their manners. Expect that kids won’t get it right away. That’s okay! Think of it as planting seeds that will start to grow when they are ready. This is a proactive approach in parenting to give our children the best chance of success in navigating relationships. When our children know what to do or how to act appropriately, it empowers them and builds their confidence over time. A great resource to make this simple is Brooke Romney’s 52 Modern Manners for Kids book (and her two books for teens). She designed it to stand upright to easily sit on a counter so everyone can read it easily throughout the week. The manner and the why are on the front page, and role plays are included on the back. Talk about setting up the environment to make it easy to do the thing you want to do! You can find Brooke’s books here: 52 Modern Manners for Kids 52 Modern Manners for Today’s Teens Volume 1 52 Modern Manners for Today’s Teens Volume 2  
This week on the podcast, I’m answering a fabulous question about how to use nap time well. Maybe you can relate to hitting the quiet moment of the day and feeling exhausted and wanting to take a nap yourself, but also wanting to be consistent in what you want to do. It can be hard to figure out what to do when it feels like everything needs to be done while also lacking motivation because you are exhausted. In this week’s episode, I’ll be sharing strategies and tips so you can feel confident about using nap time in a way that is intentional and productive for you. How to overcome lack of motivation: Keep the time frame short: I just need to make choices for TODAY. I can do anything for a short period of time. Write down what you want to be doing: A weekly or daily rhythm or an ideal week plan is a great way to ensure you know what you want to do and when. If you already know what you want to be doing, then it is easier to take the steps to do it than if you have to figure it out every day. Every night, write down your big wins for the day: Celebrating yourself builds motivation and makes it easier to keep going. Weed out “should” statements: Make it your mission only to do things that really matter to you, not just things you think you “should” be doing. Ask God for help: Pray for an increased capacity and for God to help you carry the load. I’m amazed and astounded by how much can happen in a day, even when I don’t feel like it, when I pray specifically for this and then act, expecting help to come. Made to Soar: The Next 90 Days is a program I’ve created to help you build family systems and automate the essentials so you can enjoy what matters most to you. You need a strategy, and not typical time management and productivity tips either.  A strategy tailored specifically for the life of a mom with kids at home - full of interruptions, needs, bedtime stories, messes, traditions, silliness, and toddlers. A strategy that is 100% customizable with inspiration from God for your unique family, circumstances, and dreams. A strategy that is easily repeated because the reality of motherhood is that things are always changing.  A strategy that enables YOU to become a Soaring Mother It’s these very systems and skills that have enabled me to homeschool my four kids, run a podcast and business, establish traditions for our family and adventure with them, nurture my marriage, have soul-filling friendships, enjoy many hobbies, and feel the joy of this wonderful life. Made to Soar: Your Next 90 Days is the antidote to overwhelm. It is designed to help you get clarity on your vision and align your actions, current to-do list, and family systems so you can create a life you love to live. Learn more and sign up for the waitlist HERE.  
This week’s question is about how we do Poetry Tea Time in our family. This is an idea I got several years ago from Julie Bogert @bravelearnerhome, and we’ve incorporated it into our weekly rhythm.  In this week’s episode, I’ll share how we set it up to make it easy to do at our house, when we hold our tea time, the books we use, and our favorite snacks that everyone looks forward to. The What, How, and Where of Poetry Tea Time: Poetry Tea Time is basically eating food and reading poems together. Each child picks a poem and either reads it aloud or hands it to me to read.  Getting set up is crucial. The easier you make it, the more likely it is to happen. I made a trip to Goodwill and got mugs and tea cups. You could also have a special tablecloth and candles. Often, for us, just sitting down with a snack and a clean table is victory enough.  Keep the snacks simple and delicious. My oldest loves going out to gather lemon balm or mint leaves and steeping them in water for our tea. Other common tea-time snacks are green smoothies, popsicles, popcorn, banana ice cream, energy balls, and chickpea chocolate chip cookies. Recipes can be found here. We typically build this into our routine in the afternoons after quiet time. One of my favorite things is to pair this with cleaning up the house right after because everyone is fed. Then we can go outside for the rest of the afternoon until dinner (assuming I prepped an Instapot meal ahead of time). We go out and in of doing this. We just begin again when we top. Books we use:  Ambleside Online Poetry Anthologies Poetry for Young People Series (Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost are great starting points) Children’s Book of Virtues The Book of Virtures Anderson’s Fairy Tales When We Were Very Young Now We Are Six Children’s Anthology of Poetry Edited By Elizabeth Hauge Sword A Family of Poems by Caroline Kennedy
In this week’s episode, I’m answering a question from a mom in our Thriving in Motherhood Community about possible routines (besides sitting in bed together, playing with toys, and watching movies) that you can have with severe morning sickness during pregnancy when you have other little kids at home.   I’ve had four really challenging pregnancies, the last three with kids at home, and in this episode, I’ll share what worked for us during those hard months and principles you can apply to make the best of an honestly challenging situation and feel some joy along the way too.   Routines for Mom: Monthly reviews in the Thriving in Motherhood Planner: These monthly reviews are ESSENTIAL. It helps you reality-check what is actually happening. I told myself, “All I do is lie on the couch, grow a baby, and hang out with the kids.” Not a helpful story. Once I started writing down what I learned and discovered, accomplished, places we went, significant things for our family, and books I read or listened to, I had a more accurate picture of my life, and it was much better than I thought. Ask the questions in the Thriving in Motherhood Journal: These questions are so important for changing the focus of your days and what you think about them. Here are four to get you started: What am I grateful for?  How have I seen the hand of God in my life today? What were my big wins today? What were my magic moments today? Have something you are excited about: It can be as simple as a story you like reading to your kids (I recommend Winnie the Pooh), a date with your husband, or getting together with friends. Have a simple, creative project that you can see progress on: I crochet a blanket for each of my kids - single crochet 10 up, 3 in the hole, 10 down, skip two, 10 up, etc.- in the evening. It keeps my mind focused on not thinking about how I don’t want to face the next day or even a rough night. And I get to make progress on something for the baby that connects me to why I’m sick and feel a little bit of excitement and love in this season of sacrifice. Use this slower season to be intentional with your input and get clear on your vision: I’ve never totally stopped making progress on the things that matter to me because I always knew my next little baby step and could keep moving forward. Making progress - even sllooowww progress - does wonders for the soul. Look and pray for ways to serve others: It might seem impossible when you are struggling yourself, but even a phone call can make someone’s day, and it will lift your spirits too.   Routines for your Family: Listen to audiobooks/musical stories: We invested $5 in a CD player from Goodwill during my pregnancy with some audiobooks or musical stories for the kids to listen to. Each day, when I needed some space, they would set it up across the room with some play dough or coloring and listen. This gave me a bit of a breather. As my kids got older, we graduated to a Kindle, but the only thing they have access to is the library audiobook app, and it’s password-protected. Go outside: During my pregnancies, we often lived outside at the playground by our house, or the kids spent a lot of time in our yard during my last pregnancy. I took a blanket to lay on and, if I was feeling a little better, a project (I carved wooden animals and made leather shoes - again coping with misery with creation). For two of my pregnancies, we had friends who would meet us outside or even help us get to the playground, and it was wonderful. Bring water and snacks for you and the kids to last for hours. I think that’s why my kids play outside so much because once we were out, I wasn’t mobile again for a long time. It wasn’t my most graceful season - I threw in every bush on the way to the park and surrounding areas by the end of pregnancy - but we survived! Pray for help or to know who to ask for help: I had many miracles in this department. I’ll share three: I was talking to a friend from college, and her roommate and mutual friend didn’t have to work for a week when Andrew was traveling. She flew out and took care of me and my kids. She made us food and cleaned my microwave. It was good for the soul as much as the body. On a really rough night, I needed to go to the ER, and a friend who had just moved out to Indiana for school took me so Andrew could stay with the kids and get some sleep before a huge day with his graduate studies. It was after midnight before I got home, and Andrew was gone all day. We were both under a lot of stress, and things felt strained, and I was in the depths of despair. That was the day of angels. I had people unexpectedly show up at my door all day. First, a mom with six kids whose youngest was my oldest's age felt like she should just stop by on her way to preschool drop-off, and she sat with me for a bit and just listened. Then another knock on the door came, and a friend with older children came by, and power cleaned my house. Then a homeschooling mom stopped by, and she and her kids had gone to the grocery store and bought loads of snacks that were different for us to try. It just kept going like this all day. I was so grateful for everything they did individually and felt so seen by God. With this last pregnancy during COVID, we rarely saw people, but a few times, we had new friends drop by with food, a quick sweep of the floor, and tidying of our main living space, and they listened to the many things my kids wanted to share. That was such a blessing. Once I understood I needed help (I don't think I had that figured out yet), I started praying to know who to ask. We've had seasons where it's been so hard and uncomfortable, but it was essential, and I reached out for help. If you aren't sure what to ask for, consider: someone to come over and play with your kids at your house and engage with them someone who can have your kids go play for an afternoon meals or snacks help with bedtime if your spouse isn't there 
It's here!! The 2024 Thriving in Motherhood Planner is ready to make its way into your hands to empower you in creating a life that you are excited to wake up to each day.  In this week's episode, I'm sharing the story of the planner, the overview of how the whole system works, and all of the changes and updates that have been made for next year's planner. I am very excited about the details we've added and the revisions. It is the best version yet! What makes the Thriving in Motherhood Planner unique? It’s not just about getting things done - it’s about getting the RIGHT things done. This is unique to every single one of us. Create your vision first to help you get clarity about what matters to you and then easily refer back to it all year long. Plan your weeks, not your days. Set a weekly Big 3. Monthly review to CELEBRATE. Quarterly reviews to check in with your vision - see what works, see what you need to let go of, and know what goals to focus on. Context-based to-dos instead of a long, running list. Updates to the Thriving in Motherhood Planner: Tabs go all the way to the edge of the page! This included a full re-design of the entire Thriving in Motherhood Planner and multiple all-nighters from my husband, Andrew, the MVP of the 2024 Planner Launch. Page numbers and an index are in the back of the planner. If you write down the information you want to refer back to in your Think and Process Pages, there is now an easy way to note which page you wrote it on to find it again. This is my solution to not adding in all of the life-specific options of a budgeting page, meal planning page, kids measurements, etc., that you find in a lot of other mom planners. I personally find these stressful. You can customize what you want and need in your planner. Create your vision section overhaul, including more explanatory life domains, new vision exercises, rewriting your story pages, risk lists, and a new home management section. Weekly rhythm pages. Jot down recurring events and specify when you want to do repeated tasks. There is also a Puzzle Pieces box for those things you want to do each week, but that don’t happen at the same time. Order your planner today!
Do you get to the end of your day completely exhausted but weren’t able to do the things you wanted or wrote out in your time block? I got this very relatable question from a mother in our Thriving in Motherhood Community: “I put in time blocks and write my routines, and it helps to schedule around meal times, but by the end of the day, I fill in what I did instead of actually doing what I wanted to do. I’m feeling so burned out, unable to rest, and feel like there is never any time to work on projects or time for myself. Any tips on how to plan effectively so you don’t get burned out?”  In this week’s episode, I talk about five steps to planning in a way that avoids burnout: Plan your rest and exercise first: You are going to need energy to do the things you want to do and manage a household. We established a daily Rest and Read time in our home years ago. A daily 10-20 minute power nap can give you a recharge to have an effective second half of the day. As moms, we are facing our own challenges that we can manage better when we are taking care of ourselves. I have also found recently that 20-30 minutes of intense exercise in the morning is giving me WAY more energy during the day. Things that once felt hard are easier now that I have increased energy. Put what you want to do at the top of the list: Write the three projects or tasks you want to get to this week. If you’ve created a vision, pull from that. If not, write a list and pick three things to do a little bit of each week. This can include things for you, your family, work, or service. A lot of time, we don’t get to do the things we want to simply because we haven’t clarified exactly what they are. Establish a weekly planning meeting with your spouse: Every week, establish your top priorities with each other as scheduled items. Work together to figure out how to support each other in getting things done that are important to you. That’s interdependence - thanks, Stephen Covey! Let housework take a backseat while you are getting your essentials figured out: So often, when we are overwhelmed and burned out, we make the house our #1 priority and decide once it’s in order, we can do other things. But then we get stuck because it’s hard to make the house perfect with people living in it, and it feels like everyone is working against you. Instead, focus on the basics like daily dishes, tidying up the house a few times a week (or even once), and deciding whether you will tackle laundry one day a week or one load every day. Bathrooms survive going every other or every three weeks if you are overwhelmed (ideal no, but survivable). Make daily rest, exercise, doing things in your vision, and weekly planning the priority until they are dialed in habits. Build your time block slowly, in small steps: When you write out a time block schedule, you are often writing down a whole bunch of things you don’t have systems for. It is an uphill battle all day to get to those things because the environment isn’t designed to make them easy to do, so it takes a while to gather the materials and get set up, and then you have to think through every step so it is slow going. Instead, start with the thing that is on fire and create a time, place, and space for that thing. Set up the environment to do it. Slow it to make it stick. Time blocking evolves over time. Pay attention to when you do something and it works, and make a note to try it again at the same time the next week. If you want help in making progress on your home while still doing the things you want to do, check out the Simplify to Soar Club.
I got an excellent question from a mother in our Thriving in Motherhood community, Kate, about how to find activities you can enjoy with all your children. In this week’s episode, I’ll address how to manage the different personalities of your children and their own interests, as well as the resistance that comes when you try to get everyone to agree on what to do together.
In this week’s episode, I’m answering a question from a member of our own Thriving in Motherhood community about how to handle negative attitudes with her child when it comes to certain things about homeschooling. I’m no stranger to negative attitudes in our home (from myself and the kids), but we are very intentional with addressing those attitudes.  Here are seven questions we ask when one of our children has a negative attitude: Have they moved their body today? What is the reason for resistance? How can I give them more autonomy? Is the environment set up so it is easy to do the thing they need to do? Am I ready with my part, or are they waiting for me and getting interrupted from what they started to do? What skill am I trying to teach? How can I partner with my child in this and mentor? What principles or truths do they need to understand to want to change the behavior themself? These questions help me get to the root of the problem and are part of seeking to understand so we can come up with win-win solutions together. (Thank you, Stephen Covey, for the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that we continue to return to.) When it comes to homeschooling and negative attitudes, I really love Julie Bogart’s book The Brave Learner. She has so many wonderful thoughts and ideas about what homeschooling can look like to bring the magic and whimsy back into our days instead of battling over worksheets. She helps make it clear what really matters and then suggests lots of different ways that we can reach our objectives that look really different from the public school model. Listen to this week's episode for more tips on dealing with negative attitudes.
A few weeks ago, I did an episode about my morning routine. I got a great follow-up question about how to do this when you have a baby or toddler that wakes up super early. I remember that season well.  A friend and I would meet up at 7:45 a.m. with our two toddlers and baby, each of whom woke up too early and went for a run and talked about how our kids wake up too early! But I’ve learned a lot from that season, and here are my best tips for doing a morning routine in the early years to get the brainstorming started for what could work for you. This is such an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to not just surviving motherhood and fits into the Soul Pillar of the Three Pillars of Thriving. Here are a few things I’ve done that work for our family: Do your morning routine with your kids - I started doing my morning routine with my kids instead of jumping into kid things. I still do this with my youngest, who wakes up before the rest of my kids. The expectation is that I’m not available right now so she can play near me, but I will do my own routine. It didn’t take too long before we got in the rhythm of it. I realized I didn’t need to let my kids run the show. I’m the adult, and I can set priorities for myself in the morning that will bless us all. Implement a Big 5 for your kids - I started a Big 5 for my kids so they knew what they could be doing while I did my own morning routine. For a long time, I didn’t actually care if they did those things, but if they came to me during that time, I asked them how their Big 5 was going, and they would have something to do while I finished up. They make their bed, get dressed, brush their teeth, say their prayers, and read/look at books. Keep a realistic mindset - I changed my mindset about what was reasonable and expected my kids to stay in bed until 6:30 or 7. When they woke up before that, my husband didn’t mind putting them back to bed while I did my morning routine. Over time, they catch on and stay in bed until the time you have established. Use signals to let your kids know when it’s okay to get out of bed - With my 3rd and 4th child, we got a clock on Amazon that is red when they need to be in bed and turns green when they can get out of bed. It has made a HUGE difference because there is a clear expectation, and I’m not the middleman - the color of the clock is. I’m sure you will find a solution of your own that works for you and your family. It will just take some time and trial and error.  Keep the vision of what you want your foundation to look like, write it down, and even if it takes you all day to get those things done, that's okay! You are still building habits and getting to the essential things. It doesn’t always look neat and tidy, and that is normal and to be expected.
For the first time in 10 years, I recently traveled across the country and left all my kids and my husband for six days. It wasn’t as impossible as I had made it out to be in my mind. In fact, everything went great! In this week’s episode, I’m sharing practical things I did to prepare everyone for a smooth week at home. Next time my husband travels, I’ll be using some of these tips to make things easier for myself too.   
As we transition from summer to fall, I like to pause and reflect on how the last few months went as a way to close the tabs and move forward with confidence into the next season.  It can be easy to get to the end of the season and wish it went differently. But instead of sitting in a place of discouragement or looking at the things that didn’t go well, we can pause and look for the lessons learned to help us be intentional about the little changes we make in our lives that make a big difference over time. You either get the results you want or the lesson you needed. So, if you want to try to do your own summer review, here are a few questions to get you started: What were you hoping summer would look like? What went well this summer? Was there something this summer that you stressed about that turned out not to be a big deal? What were some of the things that didn’t go well? Look for the lessons and how to reframe. What do you want to remember in your planning for next summer? In this week’s episode, I’ll walk you through the process of reflecting on your summer and what you can learn from it so you can feel great about how things went, even if it was different than you hoped. Bring a pen and paper (or a Think and Process page from your Thriving in Motherhood Planner) to this actionable episode.  
After a summer of different activities and routines (or maybe no routines), I get excited about settling into a new rhythm as we transition into the school year and fall.  In this week’s episode, I’m sharing the process I’ve used for years to help our family get clarity about what matters to us right now and how to make sure we make time for it in our daily life. I’m really great at thinking of the ideal in every area of life. But the reality is that things are going to change, balls are going to drop, and we let go of things as our enthusiasm and energy fade. So what matters most that you want to make a top priority and invest time and energy in? What is the thing that you can go big on this fall? This can be your vision for the fall to help you know what to say yes to, say no to and to structure your days and weeks around. Here are some other tips to transition back into family routines: Write down your schedule as it already is - not as you want it to be. Decide the one thing you want to go big on for the next few months. Pick an anchor you can pair that thing with. Go slow; make it stick. For example, when my kids were little, and we were just beginning this journey of establishing routines, I knew I wanted to go big on scripture study with my kids. We had one clear anchor at the time: breakfast. So I paired my one priority with my one anchor, and now we’ve been doing our scripture study with breakfast for almost eight years.  Once you have established your one anchor and one routine, you can pick another priority and another anchor. We now have each meal and rest and read time as an anchor in our day that we’ve paired with some of our daily priorities, and we have routines that go with our anchors. We’ve also attached routines to weekly and monthly anchors. Start small and every few months, add on another thing as your family continues to learn, grow, and change together.  If you want to learn more about getting your family rhythms established, I would love to support you in my Made to Soar: Next 90 Days program.
For years I’ve gotten up before the kids (or with the kids and let them play near me) while I do my morning routine to get myself in a good place. This is one of the ways I keep my Soul Pillar intact. When I don’t do my morning routine, I find that it doesn’t take too long before I’m irritable, grumpy, and snappy at everyone around me. Now that I’m aware of that, this morning routine is one of the first things I put back in place when we are transitioning from the novelty and trips of summer back into our school year routines at home.  In this week’s episode, I’m sharing exactly what I’ve done for my morning routine that sets me up for success. My Morning Routine: Free write about the last 24 hours: I write about anything that was meaningful and significant in the last 24 hours. This creates space in my brain.  Answer questions in the Thriving in Motherhood Journal: I ask myself key questions in the Thriving in Motherhood Journal - What’s one thing that could make me feel successful at the end of the day? What’s one thing I could do to make tomorrow easier? What is something that might challenge me today, and how would my best self handle it? Scripture study: I read my scriptures and write down a few passages and my thoughts about them. Exercise: I usually do a Physique 57 workout. Pray + Shower: I shower, pray, and write down any last thoughts that I have when I’m completely by myself and can ponder.
I’m so excited to finally be sharing the conversation I had with Dawn Madsen of Dawn the Minimal Mom. By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the concept of minimalism, but in this week's episode, we are talking about how Dawn’s faith has impacted her journey to having less things to manage. We also talk about the legacy her parents left her that had nothing to do with managing stuff. For me, the biggest takeaway is hope that whatever our weaknesses and strengths are as moms, they can have a lasting impact on our children for the better. Dawn often gets asked, “What’s the threshold?” when it comes to how much stuff to keep around. Her metric is that everyone should be able to manage their things - and for a two-year-old, that’s not going to be very much!  If you’re just getting started and need a refresher, Dawn recommends starting in the kitchen and keeping just what you are currently using in this season of life. This will have the biggest impact on your days because it’s where families spend a lot of time every single day, and it makes life feel like it is under control when the kitchen is clean. For more decluttering tips, check out the full episode.
I’ve gotten lots of questions about our Zone system that we use to have the kids help clean up our main living spaces. In this week’s episode, I’m sharing all of the details of what it is, why we’ve set things up this way, what everyone is responsible for, how often we reset each zone, and how long it takes. Zone cleaning is a long-term game plan. It takes time, and it will require a bit of extra effort on your part to set things up.  We’ve divided our downstairs into four zones. Each kid had their own room with a large rug to vacuum. At first, you are going to do every step of the cleaning with your kids. It takes time - even years - for the kids to get the hang of it. We also paid close attention to when someone is feeling overwhelmed by a space and simplify it so they are set up for success. The things they are responsible for match their age.  The wonderful thing about this is that we are now able to reset our entire downstairs fairly quickly as we’ve continued to increase our kid’s skills, decrease the amount of things we have to manage, and foster a team spirit amongst ourselves. Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about our Zone Cleaning System and how it’s working for our family and home.
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