Friday, May 30, 2014

Moving Party! Join the live FB fun!

Our movers/packers are coming next week!  Yikes!

I'm hostessing a Thirty-One Gifts virtual party on Facebook where I'll be posting about our day and how I'm using some great Thirty-One products.  I'd love to have you join me!  This is a Mystery Hostess Party which means at least one lucky lady who places an order on this party will be enjoying the hostess benefits!  What fun that will be!

I'm going to leave the FB party "open" for a while so that anyone can join.  If you're curious about how a moving day goes for us (large family/military life), just want to see what we're up to, want to shop, or are curious about Thirty-One's great bags then come join in the fun!  You can always shop at  For this party you will want to click on the "My Parties" tab and shop through the "On the Move/Mystery Hostess" party.

I do hope you will join me, it will make moving/packing day so much more fun!  This party will close on June 9th.

*I am an Independent Consultant for Thirty-One gifts.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Move prep 1 week out

So, you've done the major de cluttering for your move.  You've organized the major stuff.  Now its time to get into the details of your move.  You're going to be busy these couple of weeks, try to go into it rested (I know, easier said than done).

-Start packing toys, clothes, travel goodie bags, travel snacks.

-Shop for move needs.  Drinks and snacks for move day(s); for the family and the movers.  Figure out what you will be eating on the move days and make arrangements (don't plan on cooking, this is a time for take out/prepared foods).  Paper plates, napkins, cutlery will make life easier.  Lots of garbage/zipper bags will be needed.

-Take down/disassemble anything you possibly can.  Shelves hanging on walls can come down.  Window treatments can come down (wash them, then they will be clean for the new house).  Electronics should be unplugged and dusted well.  Figure out when you will be unplugging the computers (we like to wait until the last minute).

-Vacate the house before the movers come.  That way all you need for your move/trip is out of the house.  With a large family we just have so much stuff that can get in the way.  The last thing you want to be doing on move day is rounding up the stuff you need to take with you and racing the movers to the things you need (because that will happen anyways).  Firm up those plans.  If leaving is not an option; move all of your stuff into one room.  Make sure NOTHING in that room needs to be packed by the movers.

-Designate a "do not pack" space.  Sometimes we use the bathroom that the pets are in.  Sometimes a closet.  Once we used a baby coral/play yard/baby gate area.  Chose a space that is easy to mark.  Don't put too much in it, just things you absolutely must have in the home but don't want packed.  I'd have things like my diaper bag, purse, laptop/tablet, toys and blankets/pillows for littles to nap with.

-Keep up with the laundry.  Find out when you will lose access to your washing machine/dryer.  Don't use it within 24 hours of that time.  You want to let it dry out so it does not mold in transit.  You do want to wash all sheets so that they will be clean on the other end; factor that in.  Same goes for your freezer/refrigerator.  If they are moving with you they will need time to dry out.

-Make your move day(s) to do list.  All of those little things you can't do yet, but are very important not to forget.  Use your list as your brain, you will be scattered and frazzled on your move days.  You will be pulled in many directions.  The less thinking you need to do the better.  I'll keep a running list on my phone.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Kids and moving!

Kids are a big part of your large family move.  Preparing them, and making preparations for them will help make things go smoothly.  From babies to teens they all have their needs and struggles during this time.  Preparing them for your move should start early (the older they are, the sooner you start talking to them about the move).

Many have asked us if the moves are hard on the kids.  The answer?  Yes and no.  Moving is hard on everyone.  It is exhausting.  The stress is mental, emotional and physical.  No one gets away from this.  However I do believe that my kids have done fairly well through all of our moves.  I think homeschooling helps them.  They are moving with their main social unit.  This provides great stability for them.  We keep them involved in the plans and the process.  We talk them through it.  Over the years they have seen us to be true to our word in making great efforts to re-unite them with dear friends when possible.  They know that these "good-byes" are likely not forever; they are excited about the new friends they are sure to make and the many new experiences they have to look forward to.

We usually do a study on the new place we are moving to.  What is the climate like?  What sort of wildlife and vegetation will we see there?  What makes this place special?  Are there things there that will remind us of where we have been living?  Do we know anyone there?  If we know where we will be living we try to get pictures of the house.

Months out we start talking about people and places we want to see one last time.  Are there any dear friends we need to make an effort to see, to spend extra time with?  It can be hard to find the time during this busy season, but you need to set aside times to fellowship with dear friends.  It will do your heart good.

A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 
I'm thankful for a dear friend that is letting my kids come over about once a week to play with her kids so that I can work.  This time is not just a blessing because of the work I'm able to do, but because of the good medicine it is for my children's hearts.  Now if only us moms could get out together for a bit!

Some practical/physical things you can do for your kids are....make sure they see their things being packed up.  Bonus points if you can let them see some other family's things being delivered to their new home (this is easy if you are living on base).  Let them pick some favorite toys to bring with them (or you pick favorite toys for them).

Kids need to be kept busy during the move.  Don't just let them wander around making trouble.  Have toys, snacks and activities planned for them.  Can they go play at a friend's house for a couple of hours to give them (and you) a break?
Have some easy snacks available.

A little box full of special toys and activities available will save you much trouble (make sure you think about what will be appropriate on each end of the move).  Get it ready weeks ahead.  Make sure you have things available for all age groups that you have, though your older kids may pack some of their own things or be helping with the move more.  Don't let this box be a "free for all" you pick when and what they will play with.  Some ideas...
-Could they do playdoh?  Maybe in a corner of a (non-carpeted) floor?
-rolling a ball through a (nearly) empty room/house is loads of fun
-Bubbles outside on the porch?
-Dolls for girls, cars for boys (I have a new set of Snap 'n style dolls for the girls, Hot Wheels for the boy)
-DVD and books for a quiet time (naps may be hard to work out)
-legos could keep kids busy for a bit
-coloring books and crayons?
-a game or two? (this could be great for older kids)
This bag is full of activities for the kids.  They are wrapped so that they can be out in the open, but not all used at once (out of sight, out of mind).  They are labeled so that I know what day to pull them out.  Playdoh is best done on our starting end where we have more non carpeted areas for that play.  Legos will be pulled out on the other end where the "lost" legos will be found.  These don't have to be new toys, just swipe them from the kids' rooms 2-4 weeks before the move.

Find ways for them to help with the work.  That is easy for the older kids.  They often help supervise the packing process.  Little kids can help pass out drinks at appropriate times, pick up garbage (make it a game; the most pieces in 2 minutes or so).  Think about what you are doing.  Can the child do any simple portions of your job?

Babies and toddlers have a hard time (in other ways) with moves.  They know things are changing, but they don't understand how.  Keep them close.  Don't just pass them off on sitters on these busy days.  They will likely love being in the baby carrier.  The Ergo is great for older babies/toddlers.  Wear the baby as much as you can.  You are their world, if you are close they will feel safe(r).  Baby gear is big and bulky, but may be worth it to bring with you.  It can be harder to let little ones play during a move, having a safe place like a saucer or playpen can be a big blessing.

Your children will feed off of your emotions and actions.  If you are excited and happy about the move, they will be more likely to be.  If you are stressed and frazzled; its likely they will be too.  By preparing your home slowly over time you can avoid some of the stress.  Do you have things that help you through stressful times?  Use them!  I'll be sure that I have plenty of "Stress Away" and "Peace & Calming" oils on hand for all of us and plenty of the foods that help us feel good (healthy, not indulgences).  Keep your family grounded in God's word, and praying often.  He is faithful, let your children see you continuing to put your trust in HIM!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Move prep- The 6 weeks to 1 month before

Moving is tough on a family, even when it is a hoped for and exciting move.  Doing as much as possible before the week of the move makes life easier on everyone.
*This post is written assuming a long distance move.  
**We are a military family, the military provides movers.  If you will be packing yourself start doing that now!  Start collecting boxes.  Start packing them with things you will not be needing (or can make due without) in the next month.

-Most large families have an extra freezer (or two).  Work through eating everything in it with the intention of having it empty about two weeks before the move.

This looks like a lot of food, but we have a lot of mouths to feed.  It should be mostly empty in a week or two.

-Along those same lines...Empty your cupboards.  Eat as much of it as you can in the coming month.  Start going through you cupboards and identify those things you know you just will not get to.  Pass these things on to a friend.  I've designated a friend that I know eats similarly to us and is happy to take these items.  

-Start putting together a list of things you want with you for your drive/transition time.  The last week/days will be crazy and your brain will be scattered.  Putting this list together now (and over the coming weeks) leaves you a greater chance of having everything you will need.  
*My list generally includes minimal items for the kids (lovies/baby gear/favorite toys), basic household items such as sheets, towels, enough kitchen gear to make some simple meals.

-Prep the car/van(s).  Oil change?  That funny rattle? How are the tires?  Clean the car well, inside and out.  Now is the time to organize the car/van if you haven't already.  Check out this post on organizing the 15 passenger van.

-Do some major organizing.  Hopefully you've already decluttered and worked on some organizing.  If you have any idea what your home on the other end will be like prep for it now.  Get things cleaned and organized that will not be in use in the coming weeks.  Don't let anyone touch them.

Every room in my house is a mess right now as we clean out, organize and move around all of our stuff.  Hopefully this will all be worth it on the other end!

-Have pets?  Think through what you will be doing with them through the move.  Boarding them?  Make sure they are in good health and have all of the needed shots.  Keeping them with you?  Identify a safe place in the house for your pets to be on moving day(s).  We usually use a bathroom.  Bathrooms have little that need to be packed and can easily be closed off so that pets don't escape with all the in/out and new people around.

-Plan out your meals for the next month or so.  Make up a plan for meals in transit and on the other end.  Try to minimize the junk, fast food and eating out.  If it's possible you could cook/freeze ahead some meals for this time.  I like to make this a fun time for the family and allow in some special treats and make life a bit easier.  However too much prepared foods etc means people are not feeling their best; this is a stressful time as it is feeling icky makes things worse.  A cooler and some dry ice can keep these things frozen during your drive.  Just make sure you have a place to store them on the other end (or keep adding more dry ice!).

-Already know where you are going?  Sometimes we already have a residence set up on the other end, sometimes not.  When we do, we try to make sure utilities are set up/transfered to our names.  Set up your phone number and anything else you possibly can.  *We like to have family "business" cards printed up.  If possible ,these are available before we move so that we can easily pass our info on to friends.  On the other end they are very helpful when we are meeting so many new people in a new place.  It also helps me to have one in my wallet so I can remember where I live. ;)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Organizing the 15 passenger van/large family vehicle

*I just became a Thirty-one Gifts independent consultant.  I've used many Thirty-one products to organize my van.  If you are interested in any of these products you can visit my site for more information or contact me directly using the "contact me" button on the side bar. 

Large families need large vehicles.  We have lots of people, and so we have lots of stuff.  It can be hard to get all we need in and/or keep it clean.  I'm sure there are as many ways to organize the van as there are families using them, I'll share what works for us.

I'll start in the back, and work my way forward.  Here in the back I have a pack n' pull caddy (on the right) with diapers, wipes, as well as scented baggies for those, well.....  I have a blanket here to do the diaper changes on.  I have some Large Utility totes and Deluxe Utility Totes as well as a "Market Fresh Thermal".  I use these to contain groceries and other items picked up while running errands.  These also come in handy when we are going out and about and need to contain/transport things. I keep a single stroller in the back in case we need it.  The double stroller is big and bulky so I only put it in for trips that I know I'll need it for.

Under the back seat (we've removed the last row in our 15 pax to give more cargo space) I have our emergency supplies.  These are things we shouldn't need, but make life so much easier to have if we do need them.  It contains a change of clothes for all of the little kids (I'll change these out for the seasons), snacks (beyond what I usually have in the front) in case we get stuck somewhere.  Towels and a bowl come in handy at times, but not something we need everyday access to.  I'm still working on what else needs to be in here.  I'll update later.

Now we move to the front....This cut down milk crate holds the family's water bottles when we are on the road.

On the floor in front of the baby's car seat we have a box containing favorite books that we like to give away.  These are books that have been blessings to our family and tend to come up in conversation (they are there, but out of the way should they be wanted).  On top of it is a bag that holds all sorts of handy things*.  The other box is for putting my purse, baby carrier and other smallish things I need for the day.  This keeps them out of the way, contained, and handy.

*band aids/neosporin/essential oils; hairbrush and rubber bands; sunscreen; lotion; "emergency snacks" as well and baby food (as well as heavier snacks for those with food intolerance's).

Attached to the baby's car seat (above) is a small bag that holds some toys and the pacie.  In the summer it gets too hot in the van to keep them in here for her, in the winter they are a bit cold.  It is best to have this bag come in and out with us (if I remember).

Under the front row are two dish pans.  The farthest one over I would describe as "my husband's" it has things like maps, flashlights, knife, tools, fire extinguisher, car paperwork etc.  The closest one doesn't have much right now; mostly crayons and a few small travel toys (and the extra ergo got thrown in there on our trip to the Grand Canyon).  These come in handy on a longer drive or when we get stuck somewhere longer than expected.

Around the front seat we have a second pack n' pull caddy.  This one holds tissues and garbage (I have extra plastic grocery bags in the bottom of this so I always have a new one available.  No need to go hunting in the house for one).  I have a diaper bag that is currently stored here at all times.  I hardly ever take it in with me when we go somewhere, but it is nice to take when I'll be somewhere more than an hour or so.* It is nice to know that this well stocked bag is here if I need it.  The coupon clutch in the dash holds the various coupons and passes (season) that had been making a mess up there.

*This diaper bag contains diapers, wipes, nursing cover, snacks (for mom and littles), baby toys, car (for the toddler boy).  Just what we may need for church, a visit with friends, a couple of hours out.

Under the front passenger side we have our first aid kit.  This is a beyond band aids emergency kit.  We added some essential oils that we would want for burns, nausea and injury.  I've also added children's and infants ibuprofen.

I'll be keeping some paper napkins and straws in the passenger side door pocket.