We get asked lots of questions when we’re doing farm tours, selling soap at craft fairs, or simply running errands. Since most of those answers are heard only by the person who asked, we decided to share some of the common questions here on the blog. And of course you can ask a question of your own!
PJ, when do you have family time? Devotions, TV time, family outings, etc. ~Jane
People regularly ask me what a “typical” day looks life in our lives. But the truth is, we don’t have a typical day. Each day is unique and looks very different from every other day. While there is always lots of work to do here on the farm, with the exception of milking the goats and getting orders out before the postman arrives, very little of it has a deadline.
That gives me a lot of flexibility to juggle the needs of the business and the needs of the family.
In our family, “family time” happens all the time. Even when we’re working we’re having family time. Jim and I have individual dates with each of the children and try to spend one-on-one time with each child each and every day. And we make work fun. There have been plenty of times we have sat around the table bagging soap while we sing songs or watch a movie.
We don’t have a set time for family devotions or reading the Bible. What God has to say about certain topics comes up throughout the day every day. We’re always talking about God and don’t compartmentalize Him just for Sundays or devotions.
We don’t watch tv shows with 3 exceptions. First – Brett, Jim, and I have a weekly date where the three of us watch “Once Upon a Time”. This gives us some special time with her. Second – Jim and I watch the show “Castle” together. We don’t usually do this when it airs, but will usually watch it earlier on a subsequent evening. And third – we Hulu the show “Shark Tank” with all the children as part of their homeschooling.
But we do watch a lot of family movies. I’m very intentional about what movies we watch – it generally has to have a message I’m trying to teach the children.
We don’t do a lot of family outings because it takes too much time and we have to be back to milk in the evenings. Instead we take regular family vacations where we leave the farm all-together. We usually go for two weeks because it takes Jim and I that much time to “decompress”. We usually go to Disney World every January/February. We can do this since my Mom works at Disney and because the goats aren’t being milked at that time with them being so close to kidding season.
We also go to Topsail Island every September. I grew up on Long Beach Island in New Jersey and the ocean is an important part of my life. When everybody goes back to school, the rental rates drop by over half and so we take advantage of that and spend two weeks in a beach house. The whole family agrees that we would much rather have these big vacations than a lot of individual family outings.
I think there is a big misunderstanding on the time it takes us to get our work done. Yes, there is a lot of work to do. Yes, we accomplish a lot. Yes, we all work very hard. But we’re very efficient at what we do. And because there are ten of us to split up all the house-work (like cooking, cleaning, and laundry), it all gets completed very quickly.
I spend a lot of time training the children so they can work efficiently. They all understand that they have to get a set amount of work completed for the day. They can dawdle and have it take all day or they can be focused and fast. They (almost always) choose the latter.
That leaves plenty of time for reading, games, puzzles, riding bikes, exercising, cross-country, vacations, swimming, hiking, and playing in the creek. If you ask the children, they will tell you that we “work hard so we can play hard”. Hope that makes sense!
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