Friday, September 10, 2010

45 You Asked: A Day in the Life....

Well, you kinda asked...

Emily wrote:

Hi Jen,
Here’s a thought for a future post (which I’m sure you thought of already)…any suggestions for back to school/keeping things (kids) organized in the morning before school/making lunches, etc.  You’ve got a full house in the morning plus daycare kids coming in, I’m betting you have a great system for running things smoothly.
Thanks so much!

And when I started to think about it, so much of how my mornings run smoothly is due to things I do in the evening, so why not do a quick, "Day in the Life" vs. "Morning in the Life"...

** Fine Print:  Some of the photos were snapped over the series of a couple of days due to limited availability of a photographer {a.k.a. my man}.  Of course as anyone knows, not every day could go off without a hitch... as organized as we try to be, things come up, such is life!  The day I am about to outline is a typical weekday school day. **

The most important thing that get's us through our day?  It's not a calendar, mail bins or a "To Do" list... 

It's all about routine for this fam!  Each and every day our kiddos can know what to expect, because we do a really good job keeping a very typical routine from day to day.  This is especially true to our mornings, as evenings can always throw a curve ball when there are school events or other things that may come up.  

Here is a quick peek at what a typical day in the Jones' household looks like:

{click to enlarge}

The colors are for each of our family members... {I am pink, my main man Bryan is blue, P1 is green, P2 is yellow and P3 is orange}.  It shows us what's going on at which time by whom... 

Are you ready?  Here we go!

6:30 a.m. - Rise & Shine!  Time for Bryan and I to hop out of bed and take on a new day!

6:30 - 7:00 a.m. - Beautify {basically meaning time for a quick shower, some toothpaste, mascara and a ponytail holder}

7:00 a.m. - This is when the day really gets going.  Bryan and I tag team waking up our two oldest boys for school.  They then head straight to their clothes bins to get dressed for the day.

Once the boys are dressed, they go brush their teeth while I start making breakfast and Bryan goes to feed the pooch.

7:30 a.m. - By now daycare kiddos have started showing up {of course I can't disclose their info/pics for privacy reasons} and I am now serving all school aged kiddos their breakfast, or should I say "Round 1 of Breakfast".

While they are eating up their morning grub, I start packing up their backpacks with their lunches and folders and anything else they should need for their day.  Mr. Bryan heads off to work.

7:50 a.m. I take the kiddos out front where I send them off to the bus stop, watching from the porch.

Only 9 years old and already embarrassed by mom!

They head off to school for the day....

8:00 a.m. - I wake up my youngest, little Parker and get him dressed for the day {and maybe snuggle a little}.

8:15 a.m. - I enjoy some "Round 2" breakfast with my little man {and his daycare buddies}.

8:30 - 11:30 a.m. - This is the best part of the day.  I get to PLAY PLAY PLAY!  We do all sorts of fun things... like paint

And play Play-Doh

And work on writing

11:00 a.m. - I start making lunch and by 

11:30 a.m. - The kiddos are eating their lunch... and I try to also!

12:00 - 3:00 - More play time, but now we are probably reading stories

Taking a walk or playing outside

Or baking our afternoon snack

Oh yes!  Each and every Thursday we bake a treat together.  And it's usually something pretty delish and not so very healthy... like M&M cookies!

Of course my day can't be all play all day.  I make sure that I hand wash all dishes and vacuum the kitchen floor after each meal, maybe toss in and switch a load of laundry, and ensure the bathrooms are wiped up.  Other than following behind the kiddos and picking up some toys, this is the extent of my daily cleaning.

3:05 p.m. My big boys are home from school and we dig into our snack!

4:00 - 5:00 p.m. - All my daycare munchkins have headed back home for the day, and I am relieved of kid duties for a little while to get some blog indulgence in.  While I am chilling at my new desk space either reading, writing or responding, our family is being spoiled by my husbands great cooking talents.

I love when I get a little visitor!

5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. We all sit in the kitchen and enjoy a meal together, chatting about our highs and lows of the day.  We also work together to get it cleaned up as soon as our bellies are filled!

6:00 p.m. - Homework time!

At this point we look through the boys papers and folders and review one on one with each of them, their schoolwork.  They also work on any take home assignments.  This is also the time when I write down all information into my daily planner, that they bring home from school {like spelling test days, library days, show and tell days... all based on what papers come home}

When it comes to school papers, I only keep papers that are informative and that need to be referenced later, and those become filed in the boys personal mail bin.  Once we go over their papers one on one, I recycle their daily work.  The "important to mom and dad" work they brought home {milestone tests, handwritten stories, etc...}, are also placed in their bins as well, to be filed into their personal school memory binders.

It melts my heart that the boys actually enjoy their homework time!

6:30 p.m. - FAMILY TIME!  We do all sorts of things to fill this time, like play games, take a walk, play outside, or maybe even indulge in a quick family show.  All that matters is that we are doing something together.

7:00 p.m. - Back to business!  Time for the boys to take their showers and brush their teeth.  While they are doing that, mom and dad are putting away laundry and picking out their clothes for the next day.  

7:30 p.m. - Read!

Each kid gets to read a story with mom.  Or sometimes we have Preston {P1} read to all of us.  Then, it's lights out!

7:45 p.m.  Kiddos are officially in bed, after going potty and snagging a quick sip of water... 

7:45 - 8:00 p.m. - The hubs and I scramble through the house to do our full house "pick up", just tidying things up for the next day.  Making sure counters are wiped up, picking up any stray toys, folding blankets...

8:00 p.m.  - We make lunches and check our meal plan.

We definitely find our mornings go a lot smoother when we take a couple of minutes the night before for some lunch making.  We also check our meal plan to determine what foods need to be taken out for breakfast, lunch or dinner....

How else would I ensure that my frozen raspberries were thawed in time for morning breakfast?

8:15 - 9:30 p.m. - Back to the biz.  I have boatloads of work to get done to move forward with launching up my second business.  And I am lucky enough that my hubs agrees to give me time to myself.  Probably because that means he also gets some time to himself too.  I am beyond fortunate to be with my kiddos all day, however, these spurts of alone time are extremely appreciated and crucial for me to keep my sanity in check.  It's my way of taking a moment to unwind and escape.  Something everyone should take time to do in their own ways...

While I hang out and blog or work on the "biz"... my guy is probably watching the tube, fixing a computer or playing a video game.  And good for him for getting his time too!

9:30 - 10:30 p.m. - Time for some Bryan and Jen time.  Computer off.... it's time to bond.  This could mean a heated game of Sequence or laughing at some DVR'd Chelsea Lately episodes.

10:30 p.m.  - Time to "de-beautify", wash the face, brush the teeth and get ready for some much needed rest.

11:00 p.m. - Lights out for ma and pa.

You still with me or did you nod off?

After that quick example of our day, you may be wondering some of the following questions:

1.  What are the most essential things that keep us on track? 
  • Again, routine is by far the most important.  Kids are creatures of routine!
  • My daily planner.  Everything goes in there.  Every event.  Every school need.  Every appointment.  Everything that comes in the mail.  It all get's written down in there.  I would be lost without it and I check it multiple times a day.
  • Our memo station is the hub of all our documents.  It's always the first place I look for everything, and usually the last place I have to look as well, since it's all always there!
  • Our meal plan.  We eat at least 4 meals in this home each day, and having them all planned for us on Sunday for the whole week, makes preparing each meal so much easier and saves us boatloads on eating out.
  • And lastly, the clothes bins.  Having our kiddos clothes placed out in a specific bin for them always assists in an easier morning for everyone!
2.  When do you work on projects?  Sometimes we do our house projects during "Bryan and Jen" time.  Nothing says "relationship building" more than building something together.  Otherwise, they get tackled on the weekends in any free time....

3.  When do you organize?  This kind of goes hand in hand with the house projects thing.  I may snag up some of my blog time to organize... or conquer bigger organizing tasks and projects over the weekend.  Or sometimes throughout the day, I am organizing without even realizing it, just by putting things away and purging out unnecessary items.  I try to slot 15 minutes total in any day for some type of organizing or cleaning task.

4.  When do you get all that cleaning on your cleaning checklist done?  Throughout the week as needed.  One day we might wipe down the glass to rid it of fingers and dog nose marks, the next we might snag the duster...  I am a big fan of doing my chores sporadically and as time permits vs. spending hours in a cleaning rage {although that has happened} right before guests come for a weekend dinner.

5.   Any final advice?  Whenever possible, we try to divide and conquer.  We really crutch on one another to get in our personal time and make the most of our time with the kids.  We tag team bath time, making lunches, taking care of the pooch, and cleaning.  Also, putting down our schedule on paper and looking at it really made it make a lot more sense and allowed us to see what all we wanted to accomplish in any given day.  Again, we can't have this perfect day every day, but we can do our best to accomplish and prioritize the things that matter most.  Lastly, it's all about flexibility and learning from day to day.  If something isn't working, it's always easy to make a change to drive to a happier, more fulfilling lifestyle!

Thanks for the great question and blog post idea Emily! 

Now it's your turn {my favorite part!}  What are your secrets for a successful routine/day?  What are your essentials to set you up for smooth sailing?  What are your biggest daily hiccups that could use a glass of saltwater to be washed away? 


  1. I find myself getting SO excited when I see your blog posts appear in my Google Reader. I'm a newlywed myself so no kids to wrangle yet, but I love your schedule and I love that you stay on it. How does your (very helpful!) husband feel about all the scheduling/ organizing? Is he 100% onboard? My husband is about 80% onboard, he takes a little pushing to get going but is usually pretty helpful. Thanks for all your posts, I love them! Keep them coming!

  2. This was a perfectly timed post Jen! I am struggling with balance these days...thank you!

  3. This is such an exciting post...I read the entire thing (we have the same planner btw and I LOVE it). Getting things ready at night is truly the key for me. That's when you know if you've run out of socks and have to do an emergency wash or make another type of sandwich because that extra jar of pb you thought was there is not. I love the clothes bin idea and that fact that you and your husband tag team! Where did you get that container with all of those pretzels...I love that. I bookmarked the meal planning because that is something I'm trying to improve on because that also helps a ton. What new biz are you organizing biz. Thanks so much for's really helpful. Love your blog!

  4. Oh Jen this is so awesome! We have a routine although it's looser than kids are older and every day is different with their after school and evening activities. With their school paperwork I try and deal w/ it immediately and put it right back in their backpacks and I'm always putting things up on the calendar. I think I NEED one of those planners! Love it! thanks for sharing!!

  5. That is SO impressive! I can't figure out when you have time to run errands! I am sure you've got it covered....I have all my days planned so I do different areas each day of the week - laundry/cleaning day, errands day, projects day, Bible Study day, etc. I also have a small business of being a piano teacher that I do two days a week but it's less time than yours! That is SO great! My hubby is out the door by 7 and I do everything around the house. He's in charge of fixing stuff so it works out well. Here was my summer schedule: fun to see how others spend their day. My MIL ran a daycare in her home for nearly 30 years and she was also amazing with routine!

  6. Jen I LOVE this post. I like hearing about other people's lives and how they stay on top of it all. And you are definitely on top of it girl! I'm impressed and taking notes. In college I planned everything down to the minute - there was so much to do and I had to be organized about it. Now that I'm married and working a 7am-4pm job, my wonderful scheduled days have disappeared. Little by little I'm trying to teach hubby the value of routine & schedules. =P Anyway thanks for sharing!!

  7. I absolutely love, love, love your blog! You are so organized and on top of things, it amazes me! I just ordered my planner from Erin Condren and am excited for it to arrive! Any tips for managing life with a little one? I have a 9 month old and it seems like I'm just constantly running around with no schedule in tact. My son is on a great schedule, it's me that's the problem!

  8. You have such great ideas! I wish I could be so regimented! I really try... but we have a crazy schedule with soccer, dance, church, school, work, cheerleading, and everything else... I need to sit down and make out a schedule for the week, on Sundays. Thank you miss inspiration!

  9. My schedule would frighten you. But I still love you.

  10. I noticed in one of your pictures we got a glimpse of your sliding doors out of your kitchen. Do you have curtains pulled off to the side? We have hanging vertical blinds that I don't love so much. I would love to hear/see another alternative! -Nicole

  11. You are amazing! Holy moly...inspiration!

  12. I love your blog and I enjoyed reading about your schedule.
    I have been wanting to work on a meal planner ever since I got married. I just want to have a schedule on my fridge for every week and not have to think about it on the spot. Any suggestions?
    I follow you on Facebook as well! Thanks for all the advice! :)

  13. Holy cow. I can not believe how organized your day seems to be. Very inspiring - and I don't even have kids!!
    I totally couldn't survive at work without my Franklin Covey planner, but now i'm thinking I should use it more at home, too.

  14. I'm impressed on how early you get your kids to bed. I failed that completly with my daughter because I wasn't good with it when she was a baby. Being a night owl isn't always good with routines, especially with her returning to school.

  15. Thanks for answering my question, Jen! This was perfect and very inspiring. You have an adorable family!

  16. Wowsers!!!!! This is so inspiring! I work full time and recently launched my own event planning and stationery design business and I find myself thinking "how in the world am I going to do this all?".... what an inspiration!

    BTW... found you via Rate My Space...I'm redoing my home studio and I check out your space, VERY CUTE!


  17. Great post. Im always interested to know how other moms spend there days. I noticed in the picture where your preparing meals the super cute canisters with fruit on them. Where did you get those??? I have been envisioning something exactly like that for my kitchen!

  18. I just looked at your home tour. Where did you get the bedding for your master bedroom? Love it!!

  19. Hello everyone! I am going to try and answer most questions here...

    momentspassslow: The hubs is mostly on board, he knows there is payoff to the schedule/routine and for him being as helpful as he can. I am fortunate for all the ways that he helps throughout the day. There are times when he would rather sink in the couch and forget any mess in the kitchen, but he also knows the downstream impacts of letting things go and how much extra work it creates when that happens...

    Kelli: I actually found the pretzel container at Target {|1287991011&searchSize=30&searchPage=1&searchNodeID=1038576|1287991011&searchBinNameList=subjectbin%2Cprice%2Ctarget_com_primary_color-bin%2Ctarget_com_size-bin%2Ctarget_com_brand-bin&frombrowse=0} You can buy the Ultra-Seal pieces separately in the store and mix and match for what works best. Here is a post on my favorite pantry items {}
    Oh, and yes, I would heart to start up an Organizing Business, it's just gonna take some time and research!

    Becky: I run errands each and every Sunday for the whole week. I try to keep it only on that day if possible.

    Anonymous: Managing life with a little one can be a little more challenging, I found. Their routines seem to change frequently as they grow, which means that yours probably will also. It's all about using the time when they sleep to your advantage and enjoying the time when they are awake. Always keeping their bag packed with snacks and toys and changing items for any quick run out the door was my success. And laying out their clothes as well...

    Nicole: Yep, we actually have some faux silk curtain panels up in our kitchen, similar to these ones {}. We once had the vertical blinds, but I found that they were impossible to clean and gave a stark feeling to the space that the window panels definitely fixed.

    Amelia: IHeart my pear canisters, I had found them awhile back at Target. Amazon has them listed, however as currently unavailable {} You may be able to find them on Ebay or Craigslist?

    Anonymous: Our bedding is from Pottery Barn {|porcelain%20blue|58|best|0|1|24||3&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules}

    Thanks everyone for all your great comments!!


  20. Oh my goodness, I just have to comment on the fact that you colour code your family members because so do I! Everyone looks at me as if I am insane when I say that but it works so well, I can't understand why no-one else does it.
    Everything is colour-coded from swim bags, to Entourage entries, to name labels on water bottles...
    Even my two year old little girl has grasped the concept.
    Away to read the actual post now that I've got that excitement out of the way...

    1. My sister teases me about my need to color code! I do it at my house. I've been color coding since junior high when I had a folder, spiral and book cover in a different color for each class. No wasted time at the locker and I always had the right spiral.

  21. I LOVED this post! Organizing my time is often hard to do. Thanks!!

  22. You are seriously so inspirational!! I loved reading this... I also liked seeing you using the office space in the closet, seeing a beautiful space and actually seeing someone USE it are two different things... I guess I like the reality side of it you know?

    I love the idea of being this organized but I'm not sure if I could do it! Kudos to you!!

  23. How did you develop such a concise and easy to follow schedule?

  24. Dear Maran!

    The schedule evolves all the time. It's just nice to have a guide. Listing out all of your hours in a day by half hour increments and deciding how you WANT to spend your time is great. It really woke me up to realize that I was not using all my hours in the day correctly {wasting time doing what?} and wondering why I didn't have time to do all the things I loved...

    Hope that helps some! Best wishes!


  25. Love your schedule :-) I'm a schedule girl. I'm having to shift our day around as our day now runs from 4:00 am - 9:00 Pm - we don't have a lot of time in the evening to do much of anything! I'm inspired by your list though - just not 100% sure how you can keep up with everything else all day with so much playing LOL I really need to incorporate more of that!

  26. This is so random, what type of pens do you use with your LP? They write so smoothly and and are colorful! Thank you!

  27. @Leading a Colorful Life, I now use colored Sharpie fine point pens, sometimes they bleed through a tiny bit, but I take it for the pretty color they add to my daily schedule! :)


  28. I love this. I have been trying to figure out where my time goes. But I have not been able to sit down and write it down.
    Do you have a template that you used or is it and xcel

  29. @Jennifer - I just popped all the details right into an excel spreadsheet, but it could even be done just by writing it out. It's so eye opening, and I try to make myself do this every couple of months as our days and schedules change. xoxo! Jen

  30. Loved reading about your day! Will you doing an updated one anytime soon?? :-)

  31. Hello. Can you please tell me where you found the traceable writing sheet listed under the "And work on writing" section. I am looking for a customizable traceable template online. Any help you can lend is much appreciated!

    1. I made that one - lol.

      Wish I would have seen this site sooner:


  32. I love the hair color! Has anyone told you that you look like a mix of Amy Adams and Scarlett Johanson with that color? From the photos thats what I see. BTW, love the blog!

  33. Hi Jen
    It would be convenient to stick to that kind of a schedule if the kids are home every night after school. But that would not be the case with any kind of after school activities like sports,karate etc. How do you fit those in? What about out door play?

    1. We just use the schedule as a guide on a typical night. It was more of an exercise to show us that we weren't really utilizing our time at night the best and by breaking things down into half hour increments, we realized that we could do most of the things we wish to accomplish with better time management. The schedule is ever changing as sports and seasons come and go, as the kids grow, etc... we like to check in and evaluate it again from time to time. And no worries on outdoor play, we get boatloads, it's built in with family time or when we head out to sports.


  34. are so organized! I love it. I hope that when I have a family one day, we can all be just as organized as you. :)

  35. well jen, i gotta tell you, when i was looking over your schedule and saw "B&J" time mind mind thought of errr...ummm...something else! 9:30-10:30! i thought, she is a real go getter! ha! forgive me

    now that my mind is out of the gutter, thank you for the tip about having clothes picked out and laid in the kids special basket. my oldest started kindergarten this week and i am sure your method has saved me at least a dozen grey hairs
    i so <3 this blog!

  36. I'm new to your blog and what really struck me about this post is how you keep your kids on schedule. Do you have any advice for a mom who doesn't get to be there to make sure that the schedule is adhered to? I'm single and I have to work, so my daughter stays with my mother. My mom is great and wonderfully helpful, but she's not very organized and tends to just let my daughter eat or do whatever she wants until I come to get her. My daughter is a toddler, so no school to help her learn routine but I want her to learn it early!

  37. We recently went from having two kids to five! Routine has been so important. I loved your spreadsheet that you created and I whipped up one to work with our now family of seven. I mentioned it today in a post. Thanks for the great idea! Merry Christmas!

  38. Jen, would love to see an updated version of your family routine now that all kids are in school (I think?) and you no longer have the baby sitting business. I'm a student and sometimes have trouble scheduling study time in my day so it would be interesting to see when you plan for your blog, when you write your blog, check email, things like that along with the family routine...might help me fill in my study holes! haha!

  39. Well, this is actually a two part question!! For the first part, Jen, I just absolutely LOVE your blog and love the way you have your schedule. I also was wondering if there is a certain way you come with the idea's/ topic's that you blog about. I am starting a brand new blog but I have several blogs and have been blogging since 2012 and my biggest problem is coming up with constant idea's so that I know that I can and know that I will have solid blog for each month on a 30 or a 31 day stretch, ya know what I mean. I would love to be able to use a calendar and have post ready to schedule to be ready to on a certain day and time. So if you have any idea's I would love to hear any advice you would love to offer. My email is And the second part to this longer than expected You said that you are a student, correct? I am a student as well, This is my 3rd semester I am going into, Do you have any suggestion as to note taking during lectures and also when going thru the textbooks? Just a curiosity question that's all, or know of any website that would help towards it!!! If not, that quite alright!! Kelly lynn!!!

    1. Hi Kelly!

      When I first started blogging, it was much easier to come up with posts and content, because I had years of ideas stored up and projects from all over the house to share that took place prior to my blogging days. As the years went by, projects became more real time and slowed down. But I still believe in blogging about what we are doing, as we go along, and sharing those successes and trials. That is what blogs were initially intended for after all, and I love going back and looking at our journey. I also find that taking note of frequently asked questions and dilemmas from readers helps provide me with topics on days we don't have much going on around the abode. My biggest piece of advice is to not stress about posting daily. It just becomes too hard to keep up with and there are times when if feels like quantity over quality.

      And nope, not a student. Have not been for many years so maybe other current students can help out with that one? I am guessing with the help of technology, there are many new and improved ways to be efficient at school.


  40. Jennifer I am in awe with your talent and skills..I especially love the schedule you used in excel... I do not have much knowledge on how to make my own.. Can you please send me a link to a template I could use. My email is Thank you in advance.


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