threads of the day

Morning begins with kids asking to go skating, but I can’t see past work that needs doing, and so I reluctantly say no.  Instead we dive into bedroom-cleaning and school-schedule-planning, neither of which seem to progress well. But two loads of laundry cycle through, and the living room gets vacuumed.  So there is some progress in house work.  I bribe 4 kids to hunt for 3 pairs of lost shoes, all belonging to the 5 year old.  She has lost all of her cool-weather shoes, and I promise $1 for each pair found.  Kids scurry off to hunt, eager for dollars.

At noon, hubby calls on the way home from work unexpectedly, surprisingly early.  ‘Wanna go to lunch?’ he says. I sigh deep at the unexpected blessing, and happily say yes.  I enlist the 16 year old to make fried rice for lunch with the many garden veggies, and remind younger kids to obey him.   John and I escape in his little turquoise car, with the 5 year old waving us off from the front door.  We wave and smile back, but before the house is even out of sight we’re deep in parenting talk.  With 10 kids there’s always parenting talk.

We’re 5 miles down the road, still talking, before we even decide where to eat.  I’m tired.  Up too late the night before with too much to do, too many concerns on my mind. Some days this parenting gig is hard, hard, hard.  John is flush with the cheer that comes from an unexpected day off.  His cheer and the feel of his calloused hand in mine is a bolster to me. The meal out is a welcome oasis, and we drive back home with renewed energy for the task.

At home lunch dishes are done, the living room is clean, and one of the three pairs of shoes is found. Hooray! I notice the brimming junk drawer in the kitchen and ask 6 kids to each put away a dozen misplaced items. Within 5 minutes, it’s emptier than it’s been in months.  I should utilize that decluttering method more often, I decide.

It is video game day, and the kids are eager to play. I tell them to play outside for an hour first, and John coaxes them into the pool for probably the last swim of the year.  With the cool nights the pool water is getting colder, and soon it will be time to close the pool for the winter.  Soon splashing and screaming is heard from the pool, and I settle in to work on the fall school schedule a bit more.

I also mull over my concern that I’ve been saying yes to too many ‘sponsored’ posts lately, posts where I agree to write about a certain topic or item.  The pay is good– usually $75 for an hour or less of writing.  But I always worry that I’ll be diluting my content, writing about things that people don’t really care about.  My post this morning about Super Families ended up being fun to write– and I hope fun to read.  And extra income is always welcome, of course– raising a mega-family is not cheap.  But I don’t want my blog to sound like an infomercial,  so I’m always trying to find the right balance.

The kids come in and change and pull out the video games, an xbox racing game for 4 kids, a horse game for my 12yo daughter, and Facebook for my 15 year old daughter.  Game time for the younger kids is 30-60 minutes 3 times a week, so it is treasured.

Once games are done, the girls play cards with the 5yo, who is only allowed video games on Saturdays.  The boys chop veggies and set the table for me.  I finish up a post and then get up to cook dinner.  Tonight it is peppers stuffed with couscous and feta.  Our 15 yo daughter is going to eat with the grandparents to celebrate her birthday.  Our 20 yo is still at school, so we’ll only have 8 for dinner.

This evening I’ve got to finish my planning for the school year.  School starts on Monday. If I have enough energy, I’ll also try this recipe for homemade oreos.   And running!   I am surprised it feels like a little bright spot, something I’m looking forward to.  I got new shoes yesterday and I’m looking forward to trying them out.  I also love the little chatter with my 16yo son.

Laundry on the line, food on the counter, kids chattering around me, hubby fixing the broken paper towel holder on the wall.   Busy?  Yes.  Tired?  Yes.  Thankful?  You bet.


  1. No complaints from me on your sponsored posts, I’ve found new products and sites because of them! I’m also always impressed when I can tell a product doesn’t work for you and yet you find a way to talk about it in a way that recognizes it might for someone else.

  2. Mary- all your posts are interesting – never fear – I so admire your dedication to quality life with your whole family. I’d love to be there one meal time and help in the kitchen – must be a bustling place

  3. I love reading about how your days run, what happens minute to minute. Thanks for your lovely, practical and holy blog.
    Rebecca x

  4. Your attitude is so very encouraging. This blog is a bright spot in my day and I am so thankful for you, a mentor that doesn’t know me and lives in another world. Thank you.

  5. So encouraging Mary!


  6. I always enjoy reading your blog. This post was especaily fun as it game me a “picture” of your family and of real life at home. It is so encouraging to me a new mom!

  7. Hi,
    Sponsored posts are not a problem, helps me to focus on aspects of life I may normally glance at.
    You are right 75 bucks can help an lot wen you are canny with your cash as you are. I would welcome earning a little extra but its not to be at the moment. Always a pleasure to see those who can do so. Love the hunt for shoes a dollar a pair and the draw declutter Idea,hmm just need to get me some kids to do it for me lol
    Love waht you do the way you think and the loving apreciation you have for hubby family and blessings
    Have a good one, life is way too short

  8. Mary, I enjoy posts like the one today, where you tell us about your daily life and struggles. I am feeling out of balance here in my home. Something is missing, but I’m not sure what it is. Its good to know others sometimes just need to get away with hubby for awhile too :).

    Also, I won one of your cookbooks last summer and I am so enjoying it!

  9. I think you have a good balance. One of my favorite decluttering techniques is to tell all the kids (4) to each find 10 things that belong upstairs (but are downstairs) and go put it away where it belongs. This simple task makes our home feel so much cleaner when it is all done. I can’t say they like it though and we are still working on the putting it where it belongs part, but it helps me breathe easier.

  10. I’ve paid my kids more than once to clean something up, find a lost item, etc. It’s amazing how motivational 25 cents can be. 🙂

    Impressive on the limited tv/video games. I don’t have that kind of will-power.

  11. While I’m not a huge fan of sponsored posts, I think you should keep doing them. They benefit your family. Where else can you get an opportunity to earn so well from home?

    You have your own unique writers voice and that’s what keeps me reading. While I’m not likely to buy a product that is showcased (or even to read a sponsored post — I tend to skip them because my blog reading time is limited), I always come back for the REAL stuff — the posts that come from your heart. And the tips and recipes I glean from you — I’m off to try out your decluttering method today! 🙂

  12. I too do not read the sponsored posts. They are usually for items that do not interest me. I have very limited time to read during the day and would rather spend it reading your posts from the heart, as I have gained valuable insights on parenting and running a more efficient home.

    I understand why you do them, and also that you have to do what you have to do for your family.

    Please keep sharing your ideas and I will be using the decluttering method with my son as he gets older. I also love the shoe finding idea.

  13. Thank you for sharing your video game rules with us. I have been struggling with that – it’s way worse in the winter when I can’t just say -no go outside. So maybe I’ll implement your method and see how it works. Are there any other details about it that will help me?

    • Alea, Kids also have to be on good behavior to earn video games at our house. If they’ve disobeyed or had stinky or complaining attitudes about school or chores, then no video games. My older teens are allowed to play every evening on their own computers if they wish, but only after school work and chores.