This winter has been a LONG one in the Midwest. We just yesterday got five inches of snow and were stuck inside most of the day because of snow. In April. And we haven’t enjoyed many days that have been spring-like at all over the last couple months so we have had to get creative about our time inside and at home. I had a few questions come in via Instagram about how we manage our days at home together, so I thought I would give you a peek at what we do on a typical day.
A few things to note: We do not live anywhere near most fun things to do with kids. We are an hour away from Target, from the Children’s Museum, from indoor activities of most kind, etc. So we don’t have a lot to do outside of our house, play dates with friends, etc. I work for a handful of hours most mornings, but Wednesdays are Ainsley and mommy mornings when we go to music class and leave Collins with the babysitter for a portion of the morning. I should also add that Ainsley is pretty stellar at independent play, so I try to engage in specific activities occasionally but she does a lot of playing on her own as well.
“Typical” Day //
5:00 AM: I wake up and get going for the day. I’m a softie and Collins still gets an early morning bottle, so I don’t usually wake up to an alarm, but to Collins anywhere between 4:30 and 5 am. I feed her a bottle, then put her back down and get started with my day. I usually throw in a load of laundry, make coffee in my Aeropress, make Joe’s lunch, and sit down to read my Bible (usually through a reading plan on my She Reads Truth App), and get out my laptop to answer emails, IG messages, FB messages, etc.
6:30 AM: There are always deviations from this, but Ainsley typically wakes around 6:30 and Collins is usually up around the same time or a bit later. We have recently cut out all TV from Ainsley’s day, but she has a hard time waking up in the morning so I let her play 20-30 minutes of games on her iPad while she has some milk on the couch and Collins has her bottle.
7:00 AM: The girls have breakfast. They pretty much eat the same thing these days, usually toast with PB, Kodiak Cakes pancakes, fruit, yogurt, eggs, etc. The whole process probably takes about a half an hour. We also try to read a devotional and/or books while I have a captive audience.
7:30 AM: It’s “activate the troops” time as I call it! We get breakfast dishes cleaned up and in the dishwasher, I fold a load of laundry (sometimes), the girls get changed and into their clothes for the day, I make all the beds and get their rooms all tidied up for the day. It sounds crazy to some people that I tidy up rooms before we play but I like to start the day with a clean, organized house as our blank slate. I also get ready sometime in this window of time. Once the house is picked up and we are ready, we use any remaining time for free play while everyone is fresh and happy.
8:30-NOON: I get to work (at home) while our babysitter takes care of the girls at the house. Sometimes I get out of the house to work, but I have an office downstairs so most of the time I work from home because of the convenience and being close to
NOON – 1:30 PM: Smoothie date! I had gotten SO frustrated by the hour from noon until 1 that something had to change. I would get done with work, both girls were getting close to needing a nap and wouldn’t eat their lunches well, wanted to be fed right away, and usually I was left with a giant mess at nap time from the meal and chaos. So we switched things up!
Now my “smoothie sisters” have a smoothie packed with good food as their lunch and it’s so much easier for everyone. They love smoothies, and I usually have a smoothie for lunch, too, so we only get one appliance and a few cups dirty. Their smoothie usually has a half scoop of protein and greens powder or collagen peptides, whole milk, banana, some type of frozen pink fruit (cherries, strawberries, raspberries – the girls like their smoothies to be pink!), a large scoop of peanut butter and some ice. I feel good about what they are eating and they eat it without protest. Huge win!
Once lunch is cleaned up it’s usually survival mode until nap time. They get cleaned up, we play trains, Twosies (Ainsley’s favorite!), Shopkins or some other type of figurine that is the toy of the moment, do a couple puzzles, read a few more books, etc. Whatever keeps them happy until nap time is the name of the game..
1:30 – 3:00 PM: Nap time! The girls usually go down around 1:30 and sleep for some amount of time. It’s really hard to say how long Collins will nap for on any given afternoon. I can always count on about 45 minutes and sometimes up to 2 hours. Ainsley usually naps for about an hour and a half. While the girls nap, I pick up the house, get my workout in, take a quick shower and wrap up any work that needs to be done. I also try to prep anything that needs to be done for that night’s dinner. Most of this work is done while listening to some sort of personal development, health or faith-focused podcast.
3:00 -5:30 PM: These are the hardest times of the day for everyone, aren’t they? By this time the girls are dying to be out of the house but with winter and being cooped up it’s been hard. It’s usually the best time for a change of scenery – meaning instead of playing upstairs with our toys we play downstairs with the toys we have in the basement (a play kitchen, lots of play food, a tent where we read books, some different activity books, colors, stickers, etc. a pop-up plastic ball pit and pop up tunnel from Ikea, etc.) We tend to get out and go to the library, run any errands that need to be run, go to the bakery, play at the park when it’s nice enough, go on a walk (again, weather permitting), or play in the heated garage with scooters and the swing my husband hung from our Garage rafters.
At least a couple times per week we usually do some sort of post-nap baking project, such as baking cookies or cupcakes. When I’m really feeling like an over-achieving mom, we wrap up the baked goods and bring them to friends, neighbors, family members, etc. as a way to model kindness to Ainsley and show her the value of caring for others well. Let’s be clear, with a baby in tow the only way I actually get this baking done is by strapping Collins in the Ergo or putting her in the high chair with lots of snacks, but that’s life, right?
Ainsley also gets to play another 30 minutes on her iPad sometime during this time frame, usually around 5 when I prep dinner and get the house picked up before Joe comes home.
Other favorite indoor activities: Kwik Sticks Paint Markers, Do a Dot Markers, Usborne Sticker and Activity Books, Play Doh, Magnatiles, Imagination Magnets, large Legos, wooden train track set, doctor kit, crayons and coloring books, modeling clay and more!
5:30 PM: We typically eat dinner sometime around this time, or a bit after. Dinnertime is always a little hectic and a lot messy, but we try our best to sit down to a good family dinner every night. I’m still waiting for it to become a place of peaceful connection, but I have a feeling I’ll be waiting a LONG time for that to be the case. Ha! But we sit down, we eat food at the table together, and we talk about our days, dang it! 😉