Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mom to Mom: What's Your Best Mom Tip?

There's a Link Party going on over at It's Almost Naptime! -- What is your Favorite Mom Tip?  and I've been wracking my brains, trying to think of something that I do that might help a fellow mom in her day.  Seriously, I can't think of anything!  How lame, huh? You'd think that with all these kids, I'd at least have a few things to share.  

I don't know if I'd call this a TIP, but...well, brushing teeth in this house can be quite the chore.  I tell them to brush their teeth, but we all know that you need to oversee everything that kids under 12 do (and something those over 12!)  and so that basically means that I am responsible for seeing to it that six kids in this house are brushing their teeth -- correctly!  And sometimes the older three need reminding, too.  So I guess the better count would be nine.  The kids ages 5 to 12 have to come breathe in my face after they brush.  We started this a long time ago whenever they wanted to prove to me that they had brushed, and well, it just stuck.  They will give me a kiss goodnight, along with a quick breathe-blow in my face.  And I usually say, "smells good....goodnight"

Okay, we are strange.  That's O.K.  Strange is okay, sometimes.

The biggest deal in our family is toothbrushes.  Everyone is always "losing" their toothbrush.  It can be there in the drawer one morning, and then gone by bedtime.  We have a toothbrush thief, or many of them, running around this house.  You know what is gross?  Some children in the family (who shall remain nameless) just take the nearest toothbrush when they can't find theirs.  Then when they are done using it, they put it back...and the owner comes along and notices that his/her toothbrush is wet, and I heard this:  "Ewwwwwww!  Mom!  Someone just used my toothbrush!  I'm not using this thing!  I need NEW one!"

So whenever I go to Costco, I always buy a pack of 6 or 8 toothbrushes.  Just for those occasions.  I have about 25 new toothbrushes in the cabinet above the washer/dryer -- on hand, all the time.  We shall never be toothbrushless. 

The little ones....ages 4 and younger (which right now is Andrew and Aria)  brush their teeth while in the bath.  I hand them both their toothbrush with toothpaste on it, and they brush their teeth while sitting right there in the water.  When it's time to spit, I hold a big cup under their chins.  Then I rinse it out and next it's my turn to brush their teeth. We do the same thing with the cup...and it's done.  This is just easier for me because I'm doing two things at once:  brushing teeth and bathing them.  In this busy house, it can be easy to "forget" to brush the little one's teeth...so whenever I can combine a "must do" activity, I do it!  Makes life simpler.

Oh, and whenever the little ones are in the bath (they get washed in my master bathroom)  this is the time that I put all my laundry away (my closet is in our bathroom)  and I the clean sinks, wipe the mirrors, and clean the toilet.  And the kids have sponges in their collection of bath toys, and one of their favorite things to do while in the bath is wash the bathtub.  I put body soap on the sponges and just let them go to town, washing the tile and the tub.  I let the water run out of the drain while they are still in there, and they continue wiping down the tub until all the water is gone.  Then I give them a final rinse, and everyone is clean -- even the tub!

Other things I do to make life just *that much easier around here:

1)  We keep a box in our van full of flip-flops of various sizes (because someone always gets into the van without shoes on...and doesn't realize it until we are at our destination.   And even I've done that a couple times, myself!

2)  I keep a phone in the house that is actually plugged into that wall and you cannot walk around with it (you know, the old fashioned kind)  because we always lose our cordless phones around the house (in between the couch cushions, under beds, in the laundry pile...)  and this way, we ALWAYS have a phone that we can use, if the other two are MIA.

3)  I have a lock on our pantry door (the kind that needs a key!) and I keep the key on my person all day long.  This might sound a bit overboard, but I'm in and out of the house all day, sometimes leaving kids in the house by themselves...and if mom ain't watching, they will eat just to be eating -- even after they've just had a meal.  Also, I am upstairs a lot, and if the pantry is left "open" they will sneak food.  Not because they are hungry -- but just because it's there.  If you've seen pictures of my kids, you'll see that they aren't starving.  But they do like to snack.  I have to control that....or there will be no food left!

4)  I play classical music while they are doing homework or while we are in the middle of our homeschool day.  Good for the brain :)

5)  We turn the dishwasher on at night...and then whoever has the chore of emptying it will do so the next morning before school.  I LOVE that!  There's nothing better than starting your day with a clean kitchen and an empty dishwasher!

6)  I have a basket for clean laundry per bedroom, 5 baskets:  The Boys, The Girls, Afton, Audriana, Mom, Dad & Aria.  (Anthony does his own laundry and doesn't require a basket)   I have 3 of the boys sharing a room, so their clothes go in The Boys basket.  Avery and Aislynn share a room, so their clothes go in The Girls basket.  Afton and Audriana have their own rooms, thus their own baskets. And me and Rich share our room with Aria, so we all share a basket.  The baskets STAY on the top of the washer and dryer, all lined up in a row.  And as I fold, I put the clothes into the correct basket.  Then, each morning, everyone grabs from the baskets and takes them into the bedrooms, regardless if it's their clothing or not.  They all just grab stuff and take it up, then place it on the beds in the room they belong in.  Again, the baskets STAY on the washer and dryer and never go upstairs (if they go upstairs, then they don't come down again...and the next time I go to fold laundry, I have no place to put the clothes)

Well, I think that's about all I can think of.  If you have any tips you want to share, just go to Missy's Blog at It's Almost Naptime  and link it up!

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  1. I love this post! The part about sharing tooth brushes made me laugh :D I guess that's one of the joys of having a large family :) I also enjoyed how you are getting the kids involved in washing the tub. What a creative way to get them to start helping at a young age with a good attitude, because I'm sure they have fun with it. -Thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind comment. Please come again anytime. I love getting to know new people! ~Blessings!

  2. You have so many great ideas! I love the laundry basket one. I am going to have to make this work for my family too. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love the idea to brush their teeth when in the bathtub. I don't bathe mine every night, though, but at least on those days, we could check it off the list!! And I will definitely add some sponges to their bath toys. That is great! haha Your family is beautiful...and I'm so sorry you miscarried. It is tough no matter how far along you are or no matter how many children you have. (Even after seeing your long line of children, those few words about your angel baby made my heart hurt.) Be blessed, and thanks for sharing your tips!!!

  4. Hey Katrina, I'm checking you out from over at Amanda's blog (Serenity Now...)! Your children are beautiful, and you seem like such a smart, devoted, warm wife and momma! I love your "clean the bath-tub" trick! Nothing better than having the kids help when they think it's play! :) The kiddos I have at daycare LOVE to help wash the front windows! It's not child-labor if they ASK to do it, right? LOL

    Anyway, I'm Jennifer @ http://mylifeasitisjoh.blogspot.com/, and it's nice to meet ya!

  5. Hi there, I wandered on over from Serenity Now...your kids are adorable. I hope you have two washers and dryers.

    I do the same with our toothbrushes, and I only have three kids. They just seem to walk off, somehow (the toothbrushes, not the kids). My three year old likes to use toothbrushes to clean things....like grout on the floor, or the bathroom sink...so we go through a lot of toothbrushes as well.

  6. Katrina, these are awesome tips!!! I actually think you're wise to lock the pantry door. My kids are the same way...even if they've just eaten or had a snack, if they see anything else they want it! :) I have a question for you: How old do you think a kid can be before they are capable of really doing a good job with their teeth? I can't smell, so I can't do the breath test. :(

    Thanks so much for joining in my "Bliss-at-Home" project today. :)

  7. Hi Katrina, I found your blog after seeing your comment at Serenity now. I have to let you know that just spent over an hour reading and am so moved. My sister suffered a traumatic brain injury at the age of 18 in a car accident. She's doing okay, but it's been a long journey. She's in a wheelchair. I am grateful every day that she's still here. I can remember those awful frightening moments in the emergency room and relived it all as I read your story. There simply isn't enough information out there about brain injury. There definitely wasn't in 1992 when my sister's accident occurred. Increasing awareness is so important. Thank you for sharing your story, it means a lot.

  8. oh boy-i could have written the part about the missing tootbrushes! it amazes me how often my kids lose a toothbrush! we do the breath test too-i also smell hands to see if they've been washed-my kids just put them up to my nose :) love the idea to brush teeth in the tub and it's so true-brushing the little ones teeth can be easily forgotten.