Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Large Family Laundry Challenge


We have no shortage of laundry in a family of 9. I remind myself that many of them are still little, and the piles will be taller and wider as they grow. Since they’re growing at lightning speed, I knew I had to prepare myself. Washer capacity, chore assignment and a method to the madness is being established. I hope you find some of these tips helpful!

Laundry Rule #1: Limit the number of clothes each child has.

In theory, it will require him or her to wear something more than once if possible before throwing it in the hamper. If you typically do wash once or twice a week, each child only needs a dozen shirts, a few pants/shorts/skirts, pajamas, a handful of socks and underwear.

Note: Due to an overwhelming amount of hand-me-downs, we are still working on this rule. It also varies on your area’s temps, and we’re in Minnesota. We have multiple “seasons” of clothes.

Laundry Rule #2: Can it be worn again?

If it can be worn again, it can be hung over a chair or end of the bed for the next day. Each child has a laundry basket, a little over 1 cubic foot in size. It sits in their room for them to toss in the “actually dirty” stuff. It shouldn’t ever heap, except possibly in the winter months where clothes are bulkier. All pocket items and stickers MUST be removed before tossing!

Homegrown Catholics: Laundry Baskets Homegrown Catholics: Laundry Baskets

*Use whatever fits your needs or decorating style. You could choose from the Sterilite 1.5 Bushel Basket or the Mainstays Flex Basket we found at Walmart for around $4 each, which we hope will last years of abuse, because we all know, baskets can become rockets, cradles and cars.

Laundry Rule #3: Sort it all out.

This is a simple life skill! This method keeps clothes brighter and fresher in my experience. At the end of the week they are responsible for sorting their clothes into the laundry room hampers for me (or assigned person) to wash. I’ve always divided loads into 5 categories: Whites/Lights, Darks, Reds, Towels, and The Stinkies (undies, socks, cloth diapers). Delicates are rare. Bedding is on its own and washed immediately when we’re in potty training phase, or reserved for Fridays when I wash bedding and towels.

We used to have a 3-compartment cloth hamper. It’s on its way out the door, because it collects smells, it falls apart, and worst of all – my arm cannot reach the bottom. In its place, I’ve selected these flex hampers whereby I can individually dump a load into the washer. It will also serve to carry the clean load for sorting. Use whatever fits your needs or decorating style. (In our dream house, we would have a “family closet” with built in laundry area so there will be no need to relocate the laundry – as pictured at this link.)

Mainstays flexible laundry hamper

Laundry Rule #4: Have a machine and cleaner that can handle the load!

We have a large capacity washer and dryer (LG top loader) which has served us well. Our washer holds a week or so worth of each category.


Line dry the big stuff and cloth diapers. We enjoy our clothes lines!

Homegrown Catholic Laundry Lines

We choose Melaleuca, Inc product for all our cleaning needs since 1995. Our sensitivities are well met with their laundry products that keep our clothes bright, clean and soft without being caustic or expensive. Even my cloth diapers have done very well in the unscented version. I personally trust these products, and have no desire or time to make my own. Let me know if you’re considering these eco/family friendly products.

Laundry Rule #5:  Monday is “Laundry Day.”

While in the midst of reading “Large Family Logistics” by Kim Brenneman, I’ve adjusted my schedule to include themed days such as this.  On Saturday evening, the children are required to round up their dirty bins and sort it. Sunday evening / Monday morning the washing commences.

Mondays will be my seamstress days for mending and sewing. My husband is a carpenter, so I tend to only iron for special occasions.  This theme day extends to evening hobbies of sewing, crocheting, embroidery, etc. It’s a good day to teach the kiddos these life skills.

Laundry Rule #6: Laundry is a chore, not an activity. It will NOT consume my day.

This is where efficiency and cooperation come in. If everyone has done their part, the rest should be a breeze. When all the wash is done and dry, it is tossed or quickly folded into each person’s basket. They are responsible for matching sock pairs, neatly folding items into drawers/shelves, and hanging the rest. In our home, everyone has drawers for socks & undies, shorts/pants/skirts, and pajamas. Shirts, dresses and long skirts are hung. This eliminates a lot of need for ironing.


This must be the most controversial topic amongst mothers of many children. What to do with all those socks!? You could toss socks into each person’s basket as you pull them from the pile, or start with a pile of socks then choose a method:

6. Everyone has their socks and mom just knows what goes to whom. They’re matched, bundled and sent to the sock drawer. Aw.

5. Each person gets a drawstring mesh bag for their socks. They are washed together, therefore no hunting for pairs is needed. However, socks must not be bunched when tossed in.

4. Each child has a color, style, brand sock that is unique to them. (Dad gets black, Mom gets white, Big sister gets striped, Brother gets blue, Sister gets cuffed, Baby socks are undeniably cute.)

3. Children are responsible for sock sorting on laundry day. They learn to sort by size and color/pattern. Children grab the socks they think are theirs. (What’s left is for Mom & Dad)

2. Everyone gets white tube socks. The sock that grows with you  :-)

1. All socks go into one bin. Good luck!

*Note: We wash our socks with “The Stinkies” category. This load is washed in a hot/cold cycle, unscented detergent, no fabric softener. We use the dryer, but you can choose to line dry to prolong their life. If there are no cloth diapers or its not sock season, go ahead and throw it in with the other loads.


Again, I hope that this system we’ve created inspires you in your laundry endeavors. Please share your favorite tips from this post or elsewhere in the comments!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I’m Back

Well, it has certainly been awhile since I’ve been able to really get back into the blogosphere. Our computer died and it was devastating. Fortunately we were able to save and buy a new computer and my cousin, God bless him, volunteered to recover all our files from the deceased PC. What was I most worried about? Pictures. All our family pictures that didn’t back up on our external hard drive as I had hoped it had. As well as my Modest Mommies business files. Hours, Days, Years worth of information and work is finally being restored. The file upload is not complete so I’m not 100% getting excited yet. Worst fear, my daughter’s 1st birthday photos are gone.
So with that mini freak out episode almost past, I’m ready to start sharing again all the wonderful things that we have been up to. I hope you’re ready to pin you’re favorites, starting with my next post about our Cat Chat VBS Wilderness Adventure through the Sacraments Craft Ideas! I made some originals I’m quite proud of.
Something else you may have missed if you are not a part of my Homegrown Catholics Facebook page, is that we have a new baby! I’m looking forward to sharing how being a mother to 7 amazing people has changed everything in our homeschool approach and daily activities.
God Bless you on your journey! Come back to read about ours!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

LENT Pray-Fast-Alms

As Christians, we are asked to humbly give of ourselves to God's will for us. To repent and start anew, accepting his Mercy and sharing His love. We can continue to renew this Christian journey each Lent! For 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday it is tradition to build virtue by Praying, Fasting and Almsgiving.
Pray-Fast-Alms Cards
Some of us may need more specific ideas, or ideas that we can do together as a family for motivation. Each thing we do is a Sacrifice, meaning it isn't meant to be easy. It may be simple, but it is an true offering of our time, talents and treasures. If you don't find it challenging, perhaps you need to go beyond the basic task and give more, read more, volunteer more often, or take a lead role helping others be mindful of these opportunities.
Pray-Fast-Alms Cards
I was inspired by a post on Team Whitaker blog. She gave a great starter idea for presenting these tasks on cards. Most know I am partial to ideas I can hang on Our Forever Tree, and this was right on! I came up with 36 ideas you can print, laminate and display as you'd like. More than enough to choose at least one a week of each category - Prayer, Fasting and Giving Alms. I added a blank page to add your own, and you could make enough to choose one a day for all 40 Days!
Pray-Fast-Alms Cards

HGC Lent Pray-Fast-Give Cards PDF File

These are also available as part of a 15 page Lent Family Activities PDF File.

HGC Lent Activities 15pg PDF File

Laminate your set to use year after year. You can cross off what you've completed, or have children write on the blank cards.
Pray-Fast-Alms Cards
Cut and pick them randomly from a jar. Punch holes in the tops to bind with a ring/string to flip through or to hang.
Pray-Fast-Alms Cards
We decided to hang them on Our Forever Tree in place of the Jesus Tree Cards. Our call to action this season includes scripture reading, but my kids need to get their hands dirty in the world. They need to interact with people in our community, our church and our extended family in new ways. I think this will be just the motivation they need.
Pray-Fast-Alms Cards

These are for you to print for your family or classroom! I love great quality resources for parents and teachers, and I hope to continue to share my talents with all of you. In an effort to make sense of all the time I've spent putting these together for friends and strangers, I've added a (hopefully reasonable) fee for my printable documents. However, all my lesson plans and ideas remain free!

HGC Lent Pray-Fast-Give Cards 3pg PDF File

These cards are included in my larger file, if you'd like more activities!

HGC Lent Family Activities 15pg PDF File

Share below in the comments some of the ideas you wrote on your card set!

Have a Blessed Lenten Season! Find more ideas here:

Mikayla Anna Michalek

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Saint Patricks Day Activities

Homegrown Catholics - St Patricks Day Activities
I am having so much fun searching for ideas for our Saint Patrick's Day Celebration in March. I'm sure many of you have already thought of the typical dress in green, eat Lucky Charms and read a book, BUT take a minute and see if any of these ideas inspire you to make it a day of faith filled learning and fun like never before! These are my plans for our homeschool group's few hour session and for our family.

*NOTE: I will post my own photos instead of the Pinterest images after we've celebrated!

Consider having Celtic music in the background. A specific song you might have is "Christ Before Me" by Margaret Becker.

May the Strength of God guide us.    
May the Power of God preserve us.    
May the Wisdom of God instruct us.    
May the Hand of God protect us.    
May the Way of God direct us.    
May the Shield of God defend us.    
May the Angels of God guard us.    
- Against the snares of the evil one.    
May Christ be with us!    
May Christ be before us!    
May Christ be in us,    
Christ be over all!    
May Thy Grace, Lord,    
Always be ours,    
This day, O Lord, and forevermore. Amen.

*Choose a Book about St. Patrick and/or Irish Saints from your collection or local library.
Patrick Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie DePaola
The Story of St. Patrick by James A Janda
The Story of Saint Patrick's Day by Patricia A Pingry
The Life of St. Brigid, Abbess of Kildare by Jane G Meyer
Brigid's Cloak: An Ancient Irish Story by Bryce Milligan

Saint Patricks Day

Cleaning Treasure Hunt @ Home: Hide gold coins amongst the messes in your home. Ask your kids to find the coins by cleaning up, and trade in their coins for a special treat! We used plastic gold coins. Chocolate coin treat in snack suggestions would work for this!
Pin the Shamrock
Pin the Shamrock on St. Patrick - from Under Her Starry Mantle Blog
March Saints and Feast Days Word Search - from CatholicPrintablesOnline.com
Saint Patrick's Day Scavenger Hunt - from My Very Educated Mother

Shamrock Magnet
Shamrock Magnet w  plastic canvas & yarn
Shamrock Pin w plastic canvas & yarn
Irish Cross w plastic canvas & yarn
Shamrock Coaster, crocheted
Catholic Icing - Shamrock Lacing
Shamrock Lacing for younger children
Felt Saint Patrick Doll
Holy Trinity Puzzle

Saint Patrick's Gold Coins - from Catholic Cuisine
Gold Coins
Irish Kisses (also a matching activity - from Studio DIY)
Irish Kisses
Gummy Snakes
Gummy Snakes
Rainbow Gelatin - from The Michalek Kitchen
Rainbow Ribbon Jell-O Salad
Shamrock Cucumber Sandwiches - from Will Cook for Smiles
Cucumber Tea Sandwiches - Shamrocks
Cucumber Slices -Shamrock Platter with dip - from Brit+Co
ALSO CONSIDER: Irish Soda Bread, Corned Beef & Cabbage (on Rye), Irish (Lamb) Stew, Bangers and Mash, Shepherds Pie, Frozen Green Grapes, Avocado or Pistachio Pudding, Spinach & Artichoke Dip w chips veggies or bread, or a Green Smoothie!

*Irish Catholic Movies @ Catholic Video.com
St. Patrick the Irish Legend
Patrick - Brave Shepherd of the Emerald Isle
The Secret of the Kells
Veggie Tales: Story of Saint Patrick
The History of Saint Patrick - A Short Story

The Feast of St. Brigid is Feb 1st, but she is the Patroness of Ireland, my Confirmation saint and our homeschool saint, so I encourage you to learn more about her as well! [St. Brigid's Academy Blog = now Homegrown Catholics]
OLD POST: 2013 St. Patrick and the Holy Trinity
OLD POST: 2011 Happy St. Patrick's Day @ Homegrown Catholics

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Are You Prepared to be Repaired

Mikayla Anna Michalek

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