Besides Coffee and Jesus...My 3 Sanity Savers

My oldest is coming up on 8! That means I've been home with babies for almost 8 years. I absolutely love being home with my kids, taking care of the house, and generally managing all the things. BUT, as beautiful as it is, the mom thing can be an excruciatingly boring, thankless, and isolating job.

I'm preaching the choir, right?

In the early years, to keep from losing it, I embraced hobbies like photography, blogging, and sewing. But as time went on and we had more kids, that time for myself has dwindled down to the nubbins.

This has been my biggest struggle over the years...the ever diminishing time for myself.

However, I'm still hanging on to 3 things that save my sanity (besides coffee and Jesus, of course). I dabble in these 3 things every day and they continually minister to me on the darkest of mom days.

1. Audio books and podcasts.

I listen to audio books using Audible.

My most recent favorite was The Boys in the Boat, and I'm currently loving Parenting: The 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family... by Paul David Tripp.

I listen in the car, while I'm cleaning the kitchen, on walks, etc. Love love love me some audio books.

As far as my 3 can't miss podcasts...I've mentioned them all on the blog before.

The World and Everything In It (news)
Sorta Awesome (everything awesome)
What Should I Read Next? (books)

2. Pilates

It's really hard to find time to exercise, and I discovered that the only way to be consistent is to do it when Caroline takes her nap. I use a subscription service, The Balanced Life with Robin Long that provides workouts varying in length from 10 - 40 minutes. Laurie even joined me today!

This is geared towards moms who don't have any time! So it's perfect for me. I love that there is not a lot of talking, music, or storytelling during the videos. It's strictly business. I also appreciate the modest workout clothes that Robin wears. I always have kids walking in on me while I'm exercising. Some of the YouTubers I've used in the past have been so scantily dressed, I was always stopping the videos. 

3. Wine

I drink 6 oz of wine every evening. Yes, I measure. I'm prone to headaches and much past 6 oz crosses the line from being beneficial to migraine city. My wine ritual means it's quitting time. But since I'm a mom and it's never really quitting time...it just means I stop doing housework and move on to the evening activities of dinner and bedtime routines. I shift from being house-focused to more people-focused.

The wine is symbolic. It's when I switch from being Martha to Mary.


How do you deal with the relentlessness of motherhood and homemaking?
What are your daily things? Hot baths every night, reading, running?


Netflix Recommendations and Links

Netflix is killing it. I can't believe how much great stuff there is to watch right now. As I was scrolling through today, these caught my eye.

Woman In Gold

True story - Jewish woman tries to recover a famous piece of artwork from the Austrian government that was taken from her family during WWII. Fabulous!

The People v. O.J. Simpson

Tragic and fascinating dramatization of the O.J. Simpson trial. I was too young to really know what was going on when this actually happened. So so interesting.

This is a series. 

For the kiddos...

Finding Dory


Remember Babe? Great movie.

Honorable mention...The Parent Trap....the old one. My kids watched it a few weeks ago and loved it.


What are you watching these days?


Ok, how bout some links?!

I'm trying a new budget thing for clothes for me (needs it's own post), and this J.Crew red bathing suit was the first thing I bought. I love it!

For When Systems Can't Save You
I'm such a systems lady. For better or worse.

The Little House books were released on Audible this week, read by a wonderful narrator - Cherry Jones.

If you are planning to make sugar cookies for Valentine's Day, here's the recipe you should use.

Laurie and I love watching The Very French Girl do her makeup.

On my menu this week...black bean and goat cheese quesadillas. Yum!

Speaking of dinner...I'm working on committing to a more consistent dinner time complete with candlelight.

One week of life with a cat and we are still standing....

Ok, signing off. Have a great weekend!


Toy Storage

The Spooner kids don't have a basement or a playroom full of toys.

We have one toy closet, 2 baskets of dress up clothes, 2 small baskets in the main living area, a toy kitchen, a dozen or so stuffed animals/dolls, several outdoor riding toys, plenty of books and games, and some crafting supplies. We also have 4 extra large stuffed animals, gifted to us by my parents with the birth of each child.

We have a huge yard and mild weather year round. I realize what an advantage this is!

That pretty much sums it up.

Kids don't need tons of toys. In fact, the quality of their play is much better the less they have.

There are countless articles and research out there supporting this, but I'm speaking from my personal experience.

Without a bajillion toys...my kids are more creative, they play outside more, they read, they craft.

Fewer toys is for their well being, but even more so....it is for my well being.

Over the years, as we have pared down our toys, I have become a better parent!

I have become a better parent because our home is more manageable. 

I have less to pick up. Also, my children can actually play a valuable role in clean up because it's not overwhelming.

But let's keep it real...it can still get really crazy. And my kids are not always contentedly doing a puzzle with classical music playing in the background. They whine, complain, fuss, get bored. They are human.

A low point over the weekend.

Here are my three nuggets of advice. This is what my 33 year old self would tell my 26 year old self....

-Don't have more toys than you can comfortably store.

-Don't have more toys than your child (or children) can reasonably clean up.

-Declutter the toys until you are not constantly irritated. You'll know when it's the right amount.

Take these tips with a grain of salt. Kids go through phases and stages. You do what works. You do your best!

Here's how we store what we have...

The building toys - Legos, Magna Tiles, blocks, and trains are stored in clear plastic containers.

These containers are stored in our toy closet in Laurie's room.

I'm pretty conservative on my purchases of storage bins and containers. I repurpose shoe boxes, plastic ice cream tubs (the gallon size for smaller Legos), and other sturdy boxes to round up all the odds and ends that children collect.

We have one basket of girls' dress up and one boys' basket. I regularly go through and throw out torn or stained dress up clothes though I try to keep enough for a group of 4-5 friends to play and all have a costume.

This toy kitchen is mostly abused, but I'm keeping it long enough to see if Caroline will play with it.

These baskets hold the toys we keep in the teen room. I use them as a catch all if I'm doing a quick clean up and don't feel like sorting everything.

We do birthdays, Christmas, and gifts from grandparents. There are surges when we have more toys, so I will store things away or do a purge or find plenty of forgotten or broken toys that can be trashed.

There is an ebb and flow.

Please share, do you struggle with the amount of toys your kids have?

How do you store your toys?

Advice? Questions?
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