Monday, November 18, 2013

4 Steps to Stress Free Activities

When we just had a couple  of kids I could get all kinds of things done with out a list and we rarely arrived anywhere without what we needed. But as we have grown in size I have found lists to be invaluable tool .

Why use lists & bags? 

I have use lists both to efficiently complete the things the Lord (and sometimes myself) have laid before me as well as a way to empty my mind of those nagging thoughts that just keep popping up until they have been written down. If I am unprepared for an activity the our departure from home can look a lot like an episode of Married with Children instead of a loving Godly Family going on an outing! I use lists and bags to create a low stress environment around my house while we are heading out the door to your activities.


  1. Start a running list of all of the things you will need for the activity. No matter how trivial you think it is and put it on the list. If it's a reoccurring activity it may be worth you while to make an excel spreadsheet that you use each time the activity occurs. Add to the list consistently as you think of things, so the list is accurate and up to date. If the baby is 6 it may be time to remove diapers from the list, just sayin'. 
  2. Don't lose the list. If your life is like mine a little scrap of paper has no hope of making it to the activity. So my lists are written in my planner or on our white board, where normally I can find them. 
  3. Follow the list on the day of the activity and have children help you follow the list (with your double check)
  4. For reoccurring activities I would suggest a dedicated bag that houses all the items for the activity then as you think of something you need to bring you can just put it in that bag. I have a co-op bag, church bag, random activity bag. 

My homemade planner is full of random lists that I have made and I have a couple of excel spreadsheet lists for annual trips we make. But for the most part I either write them on the back of  a planner page or employ my dry erase board.

Here are a couple of examples of what my lists might look like...
  1. Day Before
  2. clean your row (of the van)
  3. Clothes for tomorrow (This translates to get out your clothes and drape them over your dinner chair along with your shoes, socks and any other thing you plan to take!
  4. soccer clothes, cleats, shin guards & socks because we will probably roll into town about 5 minutes before practice starts. 
  5. Tomorrow's dinner in the crock pot and the bread machine ready
  6.  Make Lunch (Sandwich, chips, fruit, juice, water)
  7. Cooler 
  8. Remove Goodwill donation from the back of the van.
  9. Clean the cooler
  10. Put in the stroller for the twins
  11. Check Houston's weather
  12. Candy for Diabetic
  13. chips into the cooler
  14. kid & Mom & Dad drinks into the cooler
My original list stopped at 3 then as the day went on I've continued to add to it. I also start a list of what to pack in the morning

To do in the morning
  1. Ice in cooler
  2. 8 sandwich bags into the cooler (yes I include the number of sandwiches after we have left sandwiches a couple of times we now count them.)
  3. Grapes into the cooler
  4. Make sure everyone has on shoes (seriously you don't know how many times we've gotten somewhere shoe-less!)

I have found that having dedicated bags & lists to be an invaluable tool in home management. I normally keep my planner next to the bed. So if we are getting ready for a trip or an outing I am continually jotting down the items we need. When I try to do it on a wing and a prayer it never works out well for us we always end up needing to purchase both major and minor items. More importantly I end up senselessly fussing at the kiddos and damaging our relationship because I'm stressed .

Why should you bother with a list if you manage to get it done and get everyone into the car and get on your way. Is it peaceful?

"For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints" 1 Cor 14:33
 Because we serve a God of order and of peace.

May your next trip be orderly, peaceful & fun!

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