Saturday, May 31, 2008

First Posting, Life at our house

Wow! I never thought I would start blogging but here goes! I search often for sites that will help me in my simple living efforts and it seems so many mothers have started blogging so I figured I might as well join in! Hopefully you are not disappointed.
I figured my first post should be about us and our home and what we do in a typical week around here at The Mattingly Family Home. This blog will be fairly long but I figure the others won't be so you if you can make it through this one I promise the ones to follow won't be so lengthy.
As much as I would love for my blogs to match those blessed "sahm"s, mine will be quite different since I work full time outside of my home. First you must understand that my heart cries for an old farm house with me in the kitchen or out working the farm alongside my husband and children...but that isn't what God has chosen for my life. So I take what I have an try to incorporate my love for all things simple.
I absolutely love homeschooling. I believe strongly in the quality of a good christian homeschooling education. But since I work full time outside of the home (along with my hubby who works at the same business as I do) it is simply impossible to homeschool and do my children justice. Thankfully we are blessed with a christian academy nearby that uses homeschool materials at their site. The academy is a gift from God. I absolutely love the school and I am so thankful to our Lord Jesus that He blessed us with a place for our children to be homeschooled as we desire in a loving, christian atmosphere. So one goal checked off in my strive for the simple, old fashioned life!
Our home is a 1969 brick ranch. It is probably small in size to some people's standards but to us it is home and quite roomy....well except for the kitchen which is never big enough. We have three bedrooms, kitchen, 2 bathrooms, livingroom/dining room, and in the basement we have a family room, a large rec room and a large laundry room. So our home is sufficient for our needs. Now since it is a 1969 it has finally come to a point in its life where it cries for update. We have done what we could with what we have. The tupperware yellow bathtub and toilet in the big bathroom have been updated....but the sink remains the lovely yellow as does the accents in the tile...oh well. The small bathroom shower leaks and estimates to fix are around 1,000 so we don't use it. (except to hide the occasional birthday gift and the broom and mops). Our larger bedroom of the three (and I use the term large loosely) is home to my husband and I, the next houses a bunk bed and desk where both girls sleep and the smallest is the toy room and movie center for the kids. We heat by propane which is astronomical in cost so our main goal this year is to find an alternative heat source. Again this costs money that we do not have. The kitchen is small and is quite a hindrance when it comes to baking (which is very important in the pursuit of frugal and simple living). Our stove is the old fashioned GE space maker drop ins and it is on its last leg. The door is falling off and we have fixed the switch for the oven and now it is backwards....if you want to bake - select broil, if you want to broil - select bake. After a couple of burned baking attempts you get the hang of it. The dishwasher is literally falling apart and the sink leaks. But the refigerator....oh the is only 3 years old -- Praise God!
Since we both work (different hours at the same location) we have to have two vehicles. So my husband has a Dodge Dakota because he pulls mowers on a trailer behind to mow yards to help with the household income. And I have a jeep -- an older jeep but I like it and it is new to me. Our only splurge really in our life is our camper. We have a pull behind camping trailer. Now you may think that this is unnecessary and for a family who struggles financially you would think this is simply ridiculous. But for us it is our only frivilous expense and don't we all have to have just one? This camper enables us to mini vacation on weekends together with nature and away from the hustle and bustle of our daily routine. To us it is an exhale -- a much desired and appreciated exhale. So we write that monthly check to the bank that actually owns the camper and one day it will be ours.
Okay I promised you a look into our life. So here goes...
We'll start with Monday and Tuesday which are both very simlilar. My husband rises first and as he gets ready to leave for work at 6:30 he wakes me up. This is a chore as I am not the best and waking up instantly and it can take me up to 1/2 hour to actually get moving. I am working on this as it is a waste of precious time. So I get up and start getting ready for work. I wear skirts and shirts mostly as modesty is important to me in my Christian walk -- I don't say I never wear pants because I do but you will mostly find me in a skirt. My kids wear uniforms so picking out their clothes is easy. I get the kids up and as they start moving I fix a simple breakfast for them. Sometimes it is oatmeal. Other times it is scrambled eggs and toast, cinnamon rolls or muffins. I try to make as much of the breakfast from scratch as it is cost prohibitive to buy convenience foods. We are an avid believer in angel food ( and so our breakfasts will oft times depend on the monthly menu from our angel food order. After the kids are dressed and I am. It is on to feeding the animals. Our cat and dog are very spoiled and want their food right away. I then pack the lunches. If we are lucky we have leftovers from the night before. But sometimes it is tuna or chicken salad on homemade bread. It really depends on what we have available that day. Then we are out the door for school and work. The girls and I say our morning prayer in the car and I drop them off at school. Then it is off to work for me and I have a few moments in the parking lot before heading in. Again I pray. (the school is only a couple of miles from our home and work is only a couple of miles from there).
I work 9-5 and hubby works 7-3. We both work at a printing company. We see each other during the day but don't make it a point to spend too much time together at work. Work is work and home is home.
Since Hubby gets off at 3, which conveniently is when school lets out,he goes and picks the girls up and heads home. I don't really know what goes on between the time he gets home and I get home but definitely there is no cooking done and no cleaning :-)
I get home at about 5:15 and immediately I am met with hungry girls and one hungry daddy. So I start dinner. I plan out my meals by the month and then by the week. I don't stick absolutely to it but at know in general what we are going to have week by week. I do this by the angel food menu for that month and we buy 4 regular boxes and maybe some of the special meat boxes. Then I look at that menu and decide what I need and watch the sales at Meijer and Kroger to stock up on those items usually needed to create balanced meals from the angel food. If I am careful I will keep our weekly food bill down to 50 dollars per week.
After dinner I clean up the kitchen and will do laundry, make bread -if needed, make cookies or other snack item for week -if needed and straighten house the best I can. In the meantime the kids are doing homework and helping me as they will. We have set chores but we haven't yet mastered this concept so it is pretty much up to mommy to make sure everything gets done. The kids get baths and jammies on. The teeth are brushed and time is spent going over homework and then in prayer. Then it is off to bed. Usually I am not in bed before 10:30 or 11.
Wednesdays are different in the fact that the girls get out of school early. So Nana picks them up and takes them to her house until I get off work because hubby is mowing yards on Wednesday after work. Depending on our homework schedule we will try to go to church and if not then we work on homework and the household chores.
Thursdays hubby is able to pick the girls up and when I get home I fix supper but then I head out the door to clean the school. I volunteer this as our school has no paid staff members and I want to keep the school clean for my children and the others that go there. So pretty much my Thursdays are gone after that.
Fridays are a toss up,either hubby is mowing and I have to pick the kids up from Nanas or hubby is home with the girls and they are loading up the camper for a weekend away. I prefer the latter of the two possibilities :-)
Saturdays are either spent camping (about once a month) or cleaning. With all of our weekday activities we don't have much time to really get down and dirty with the cleaning so I try to catch up on Saturdays. I also try to do a lot of baking and any shopping that needs to be done.
Sundays we try to catch up on family time and spend the day together. Our church does not have a morning service which works out well for us and gives us morning time together and jammies for awhile time. Then we head to church Sunday evening where I teach Sunday School and hubby helps me.
Well that is an average week. The girls and I spend very little time watching tv unless it is old movies in the evenings as I am working on getting them to sleep. Each week our household chores include about 6 loads of laundry (I try to make my own detergent), 21 meal preps and clean ups (counting bagging the lunches), bread baking and dessert baking, making other bread items such as muffins for breakfasts, sweeping and mopping the hard wood floors once per week, sweeping the kitchen and baths daily, scrubbing the tubs and toilets weekly and wiping down the bathroom counters daily, daily dishwashing and counter scrubbing in kitchen, taking out the trash and more trash and yet more trash, vaccuuming our one room of carpet downstairs and the stairs weekly, and dusting furniture weekly. The kids room have to be cleaned (usually by me --I know they should do it themselves) weekly and sheets on all beds have to be stripped washed and put back on. The dog has to have a bath every week and has to be brushed every day. The pool has to be cleaned in the summer and the garden has to be cared for. In the winter the doors have to be covered and the heaters going as the propane is costly and a lot of time is spent working with the princess foundation ( .
So as you can see around here life is busy. My job outside of the home is very demanding and stressful. I don't get to leave work at work and I am called at home and always seem to have it on my mind. So my life stays stressful and active but I know that God is in control and I find rest and peace with Him. It is only thorugh Him that I find strength each day. I strive daily for the simple life and I hope one day to find it!