Day in the Life of The Crumbs Family
by Tiffany, Don’t Waste the Crumbs
Ever wonder what it’s like at someone else’s house? How they clean the house, “do school” or make dinner? Not for comparison purposes of course, because we all live differently based on the needs of our own families. But sometimes the glimpse behind the door can help us in areas we struggle, offer ideas we hadn’t thought of before, or simply reassure us that it’s okay to have a sink AND counter AND dishwasher full of dirty dishes, all at the same time.
Today, Kelly invited me to share with you a typical day at The Crumbs Home – the good, the bad, the busy and slightly nutty. I hope you find it encouraging and partly comical, because I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to get through a day and keep my sanity without a laugh or two.
Day in the Life of The Crumbs Family
6am: Wake up and help the husband get out the door. I’m in charge of lunch, smoothies, snacks, coffee, shoes, belts, keys, phone and anything else that’s prone to grow legs and walk away.
Quiet Time (10-20 minutes): This is my quiet time for study and prayer. It ends when the kids wake up, which today happens to be unusually early. My study of Peter will have to wait for free play later today.
Breakfast (15-30 minutes): On the menu, freshly baked banana chocolate chip muffins that I made and froze earlier in the month. The kids grab a plate and serve themselves while I wash grapes for breakfast (and snacks later).
Plan Ahead: To save time, make a double batch of muffins at one time. Bake one batch for breakfast now and freeze the other using this method for freshly baked muffins later. It’s just one idea for working smarter, not harder in the kitchen.
Dress, Teeth & Clean Room (10-20 minutes): The kids get dressed, brush teeth, make beds and clean their room on their own. Meanwhile, I empty the dishwasher, start a load of laundry and get dressed for exercise.
Teaching Independence: Have older kids help the younger ones with simple chores like learning how to fold a blanket. Of course the blankets won’t be folded perfectly at first, but their skills will get better each day. And it frees you up to do other things they can’t. Reward their efforts with something small, yet trackable, like stickers on a chore chart.
Chores (15 minutes): I set the timer and my first grader gets to work vacuuming downstairs, while my K4 girl “spot mops” the kitchen with homemade all-purpose cleaner and a sponge. I make progress on the mounds of clean laundry on the floor (yes, clean!). They finish early so they’re tasked with putting away all the laundry that goes into drawers (socks, underwear, jammies for the whole family) while I do the items out of their reach. I reward them with stickers, just as the timer goes off!
Productivity: Keep an ongoing, master “to do” list of things that need to get done. Things like wiping out pantries and sweeping cob webs from tall ceilings can be done and crossed off when regular chores are completed. Of course, delegate when possible! You’ll find that if everyone in the family has something to do, and works diligently for a short block of time each day, running a home is much more manageable and fun! Also, use a timer if possible. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you only have so many minutes to do it!
8am: I exercise for 30-40 minutes, then shower and dress. The kids watch the first half of “Prince of Egypt” to go alongside our current studies in Egypt.
9am (one hour): Start first grade and K4.
Break, Snacks & Kitchen Time (15-30 minutes): The kids are put to work in the kitchen, completing what they can from the kitchen prep list written for the week. Today they’re making eight batches of trail mix by counting out the nuts, dried fruit and seeds. I pour the mix into snack baggies and give them both one back to enjoy as a snack. This simple activity helps the kids practice counting, following directions and learning to read a recipe – all while contributing to the weekly list of kitchen prep! I’m working in the kitchen with them, chopping onions and garlic for dinner… oh wait, we’re out of onions. I guess I know what we’ll be doing during free play today!
Planning: When you’ve finished meal planning and made a shopping list (don’t forget the onions!), make a second list of kitchen prep-work that needs to get done for each meal you’ve planned. Throughout the week, use this list to complete as many prep-items as you can while you’re already working in the kitchen Prepping ahead helps alleviate the “to do” burden for the day and the relief is compounded as the week goes on. The prep work list also helps you to stay focused and productive with your allotted time. To get a better idea of how to do this, see my current four-week meal plan and this week’s prep-work here.
Late Morning: Finish the rest of the school day.
Noon: School is officially over, the kids put away their books and binders and clean up any stray messes, while I make a short grocery list. Ordinarily the kids would eat lunch and play, but no one is hungry and we need onions. So,we put on our shoes and walk the half-mile to the grocery store. My list is very short, but I still make the rounds for discounted meat and produce and hit the jackpot with a big sale on organic chicken and bananas. You can read the details in my bi-weekly budget accountability post next week!
1:30pm: We’re back home and now the kids are hungry. Everyone grabs a banana (including me) and the kids play, while I put away groceries, and whip up a quick lunch.
Easy Meals: Dinner is often ready, or at least completely prepped, before quiet time thanks to keeping meals simple and healthy. Planning fast, easy meals is one way you can simplify work in the kitchen when other areas of life are in a busy season.
2pm: I finish prepping dinner – tomato basil soup is simmering on the stove and quiet time begins. I check emails, start a blog post and wait for my first grader to show me what LEGO creation he’s made.
3:22pm: An airplane flies around my head. Looks good!
4pm: Quiet time is officially over, but I buy myself a few extra minutes by being extra quiet while the kids still play.
Early Evening: I add basil to the soup, pull out the Parmesan, slice up rosemary olive oil bread and corral the kids to set the table. The kids read books together and enjoy a smoothie, while I get to know the Apostle Peter a bit better over a cup of coffee.
5:30-6pm: We all welcome Daddy home and the kids excitedly tell him about their day. We gather around the table and eat dinner together, one of my favorite parts of the day.
Scheduling: Some families have a schedule with activities happening at a set time, like math at 9am and snack at 10:30am. This can be a great way to manage time for some, but I’ve found that using this method puts unnecessary stress on myself and always makes me feel like we’re late. Instead, I set aside chunks of time and use the clock only as a guide. There are three main time-related goals each day: Start exercise by 8am, school by 9am and finish school by noon. Unless we have planned activities like AWANA, there are no evening schedules at this point, other than bedtime. I find that this system is far less stressful, but still helps keep us on track and prevents us from letting the day “get away from us.”
After Dinner: I pack-up leftovers and clean up dinner messes, while Mr. Crumbs takes a phone call. The kids are cracking themselves up with their LEGO creations – their laughs are contagious and I find myself watching them instead of doing the dishes.
Late Evening: Daddy takes the kids outside to ride bikes. I make two experimental granola bars, clean up my messes and join everyone else outside.
8pm: The kids come in and dress for bed. I brush their teeth, we all pray and it’s lights out for the kids. I finish typing this post while Mr. Crumbs does some light stretching on his biker legs. With this post done, I turn off the computer and spend the evening with my husband!
At the end of the day, there are 3 things that keep my home in order and the family eating healthy food. Without these, I’d be hopelessly unorganized: my meal plan, my prep list and my master “to do” list.
Even though our day doesn’t have an official start or end time, keeping a schedule and organizing our tasks helps us to be fruitful with our time and enjoy playtime guilt free. In addition, we often work hard at the beginning of the week, making the most of the time we’ve set aside. As a pleasant side affect, we often finish our weekly chores early in the week. This leaves us more time to do fun family outings like visiting the local markets and library later in the week.
Tiffany is a newbie real foodie who is trying to master real foods and incorporate them into her kitchen without breaking the bank. She documents her baby-sized strides at Don’t Waste the Crumbs and Google.