What’s it like to be a homesteading, homeschooling, entrepreneur, from-scratch-cooking, mom-of-three? I’ll be the first to admit, it can be exhausting. While I work to keep a set schedule, depending on the seasonal duties I have I need to keep things a little fluid. Fair warning, my schedule isn’t to be used as a template for everyone. I’m simply here to show you how I manage my busy life with the hope that you can take some bits and pieces to improve yours.
Some highlights from the episode:
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Welcome to the old fashioned on purpose podcast you've been asking. So here it is a day in my life. In this episode I will walk you through my daily schedule so you can see what it's like to spend a day in my shoes as a homeschooling. Homesteading from scratch, cooking entrepreneur, mom of three. I have a lot going on. It's going to get crazy. So buckle up and here we go. I'm your host Jill winger and for the last 10 years I've been helping people just like you who feel a little uninspired by modern life. I'll show you how to create the life you really want by learning how to grow your own food and master old fashioned skills. So I've got a lot of requests for this episode for a long time and I guess I always underestimate that my life is actually interesting to look at from the outside because it feels pretty normal to me. It doesn't feel that landmark. But you know, on the outside looking in, I realize that with all the different irons I have in the fire, I must seem slightly insane. I totally get it. I am kind of crazy and so I thought it would be fun to walk you through what an average day in my life looks like. Now it's a little tricky to even layout an average day just because my life does have a decent amount of variation. It depends on the seasons and the day of the week and the projects I have going on and my schedule is pretty fluid. But I kind of tried to distill it all down and give you an idea anyway of what a basic day would look like during our school year. Right? So we homeschool from September to May usually, which is definitely a distinct schedule. And then in the summertime we are completely off just like the school system would be. So that obviously changes my schedule somewhat, but, but since most of our year is spent doing school, I thought I would feature what one of those days entails. Also, just keep in mind as you're listening, this is not a one size fits all prescriptive schedule for everyone in the world. Right? This is just what works for me. So I really, really advise you not to compare your schedule with mine or feel like you're not doing enough because you don't do the things because we're all different. We have to figure out what works for us. My schedule doesn't look like other homeschool moms or other entrepreneurs. So you just gotta get in your own flow and be confident with what you're doing. Alrighty. So an average school day for Jill. It might surprise you that I don't actually get up at the complete crack of Dawn. And I know that a lot of the entrepreneurs that I follow, you know they do the 4:00 AM thing or some homeschool moms are like 5:30am and I'm up and I'm planning school and like I just don't roll very good that way. And I find I do best when I let my body wake up naturally. So for me it's usually when the sun comes up. So in the summer I wake up naturally a little bit earlier. It's a little tougher during the dark winter months because the sun comes up later and sometimes I can't always stay in bed til then because I have things I have to do, but as long as we're not going somewhere or I don't have an early morning or activity scheduled and it's just a normal day, I'd say 6:30 AM is about when I get up, I roll out of bed. I usually don't do makeup. I brush my hair. I do do that and put it usually in some sort of messy bun. Um , but I don't put on makeup every day. I keep my clothes around the house. Very simple. It's usually jeans and some sort of tee shirt. Um, I don't love dressing up unless I'm doing a video call or a Facebook live just because you know, I'm in and out of the house and I'm cooking and I tend to destroy my clothing. And so I'll usually wear older shirts and older jeans that are not going to get ruined if they get splattered food on them or they're outside the barn or whatever. Seven o'clock I start breakfast. We keep our breakfast very simple. And if you have my Prairie homestead cookbook, you probably saw in there that I don't do full spread farm style breakfast every morning, you know, bacon, eggs, potatoes, toast. We don't , we don't do that every morning on, especially on a school day. It's about simple and nourishing. So we'll do things like puffy pancakes, smoothies. Sometimes we'll do toast and scrambled eggs. We do a lot of eggs just as an easy protein source. They're almost always scrambled. Sometimes we do oatmeal. I'll make the baked oatmeal in my cookbook for a little bit of a mix up. I like to do quinoa in my instant pot. It goes really quickly. And that's another good alternative to oatmeal. Maybe once a week or once every 10 days. Usually on a Friday or a Saturday I'll do muffins or pancakes or waffles, but that's not an everyday thing. So the goal with breakfast, like I said, is to keep it easy in , in and out of the kitchen. While I'm cooking, usually the kids head outside to do their chores if we're not milking. And honestly we haven't been milking in a while because Oakley has been dried up in life was insane and I just needed a break, so I haven't been milking full disclosure. Uh, and as long as we're not milking the kids do all of the morning chores on their own and that usually entails checking the chickens, making sure they have food and water , getting the eggs, feeding the barn cats. And oftentimes it involves either letting the horses in or capturing the horses in a pen because they're usually on some sort of diet restriction because they're prone to obesity. The horses eat way too much, so we'll usually let them on the pasture or the hay bale for 12 hours and then pull them off . So morning chores are pretty simple because we have automatic stock tank waterers and we usually feed large round bales in the winter time. The kids don't have to feed a lot of hay, although on occasion they'll throw a flake or two out to an animal that's in a pen. So it usually takes them 20 minutes to do chores depending on how much they doddle outside, which it happens. They come in and then they eat breakfast as I'm cleaning up the kitchen. They feed the dogs, they get ready for school and make their beds. Um, I like the kitchen to be clean before I start school. It's just my own little thing. I like the dishes out of the sink, the counters to be wiped down. It just makes me feel more relaxed. Oftentimes at this point of the day, I'll prep the food that may be going in the crock pot for supper or I'll go grab some meat out of the freezer so it can defrost throughout the day and be thought out in time for our evening meal. So I just kind of do a little mental check of food for the day and then I grab my coffee and we homeschool . So I have at the time of this recording, I have a child going into fourth grade and the child going into second grade, we can generally get our schoolwork done starting at 8:00 AM. We can usually wrap it up by 11:00 AM with them doing some reading , or extra projects in the afternoon. Now the cool thing about homeschool, and this is not how everyone's homeschool works, so some people take longer, some people will take shorter. This is not a comparison thing. This is just how we do it. But because it's so concentrated, we can usually get the bulk of our schoolwork done in that three hour period pretty easily. Again, it doesn't work like that for everyone. But for us it does. And when we sit down to do school guys, we sit down to do school. Like we are ultra focused. I bounce between both of my children. I'm helping them with the subjects that need a lot of teacher support or maybe they have some ones that they can do a little more self guided . But I usually alternate. So they're always working constantly. My three year old has gotten better over the years at entertaining herself. So now she likes to get her own quote unquote school book, which is usually a coloring book and she'll pretend that she does school with us at the table. If she's not in a school mood, then she'll usually grab some toys and play on the floor next to us. But she's learned how to be a little more self entertained, which definitely is helpful. When she was younger it was a little bit more of a challenge. There were more interruptions, but we still were able to generally just get it done and do the best we could. I'll go into our exact homeschool curriculum and routine on another episode, but know that we're able to also keep it fairly simple thanks to a homeschool co-op that we participate in. The one that we do is called classical conversations. It's actually a nationwide program that uses a consistent curriculum and once a week for us, it's Thursdays we drive into town and we spend the day with the co op community working on memory work and science projects and public speaking. And because a lot of the science, the history and extra things like math facts in grammar and English is wrapped into that memory work, we're able to really spend the bulk of our school day focusing on math and language arts. So that's what we do mostly during our morning period. And then we sprinkle the memory work. That's a part of our co-op throughout the day. We usually eat at lunch fairly early, usually 1130 ish. Lunch is almost always leftovers for us. I do not make a full hot lunch, like ever. It's leftovers. Sometimes I have some uncured healthier lunch meat as a last resort in the fridge. We use that to make sandwiches. But we keep lunch simple. Then our afternoons is really free time. So from about 1:00 PM to approximately 3:30, that's my office time. So I usually will go into my office, which is just connected to our kitchen and I'll work on answering emails or editing blog posts, mapping out podcast episodes, talking to people on my doTERRA team, you know, things like that while my kids are playing outside or playing in the house. My kids have learned over the years to be pretty self entertained. It's just how we've kind of rolled since day one. And I, that my goal since they were little tiny was that they learned how to not complain about being bored and entertain themselves. So generally by the time we get done doing school, they're kind of like, see ya mom, we're out of here. And they have plans that they want to do. They usually will say, we're , we got a lot to do mom this afternoon. We're busy, which will be, you know , jumping on the trampoline or poking sticks in the stock tank or playing Legos if it's cold outside or Lincoln logs. So although it took a little bit more effort at the beginning, teaching them how to occupy themselves , has paid off so much because now that they're older, they really, they don't need me to keep them entertained in the afternoons, which gives me a lot of leeway to get things done. So usually around 3:30, I've had enough of my office time. Depending on the time of year, I will sometimes go out to our little gym. We built a gym in our shop since town is so far away and I'll work out a little bit or if it's summer I'll spend some time out in the garden, keeping up with weeding or planting. I do try to move my body a little every day and I used to almost make fun of the gym because I'm like, I have a homestead, I don't need to go to the gym. And then I realized with my business and with homeschooling, I am sitting a lot more than I used to. So I am more intentional now than ever to, you know, actively move my body and make it a point in my day to schedule that in. Because otherwise it just doesn't always happen. Around 4:30, I start supper now there are exceptions. Let's say a day if we're having homemade hamburger buns, I'll start the buns a little earlier in the day. Maybe after we get done with school, let them rise. But generally most of my recipes can get started at 4:30 and be mostly done. We eat supper fairly early. Um, 5:30. If we eat any later than that, my kids think they're going to die. So eat around 5:30. Um, and my suppers , you know, you can find a lot of them in the Prairie homestead cookbook. They're not elaborate, you know, tacos, spaghetti, roasts, roast chicken , um, sometimes we'll do a pasta dish. We'll use whatever's out in the garden. A lot of times it's a protein and a vegetable and maybe a potato because I love potatoes and I will eat them every meal if I don't limit myself. Um, it's nothing fancy. It's usually minimal prep. And off we go, five , six o'clock. I do dishes, the kids will do evening chores, which are pretty similar to morning chores, checking the chickens , um, moving the horses around, making sure water buckets are full. I do the dishes again, I have this thing, if the dishes are not done after a meal, I get twitchy and weird. And so I really have to finish. I need closure after each meal that the kitchen is clean and tidy and done for the day. And then we have a little bit of free time around 6:30. It depends on the season. If it's summertime, we usually all head back outside because summer evenings are my absolute favorite. Um , can't get enough of soaking up the sunsets. And that cool summer air after supper is fantastic. So I'll work in the garden. Sometimes we ride our horses when it's cool. The kids run around like crazy people outside. In the winter it's not as much fun because it gets dark early and we're all in the house. So sometimes I'll tidy up the house at that point or we'll have reading time or we'll play a game. Kind of depends on what we're in the mood for. At 7:30, we start bedtime for the kiddos. And then usually by the time they brush their teeth and do their pajamas and we read the books and we do all the things, fill the diffusers with essential oils, you know, the whole checklist kids are in bed by eight. And that's really my cooldown time , where Christian and I will hang out or talk more because children, y'all, they just are loud and take up a lot of energy as you probably very well know. So eight o'clock is sacred adult time , where we'll often just vege and I used to try to work in the evenings but I found that it kind of made me miserable. I really need to have this set aside time. That is chill out time. I have workaholic tendencies. I'm a type A personality. I can go, go, go. But when I go, go, go after bedtime for the kids, I tend to burn out much faster. So even if I'm stressed, I have a lot on my list. I always try to reserve that eight to 10 o'clock hours for just relaxing. So some of you might be surprised. I know I'm the old fashioned girl. I do watch Netflix and sometimes I read books, but other times I watch Netflix because sometimes , I, when I read books, it actually makes my brain more supercharged because I like to read nonfiction, like a lot of business books, a lot of personal development books, which are not super duper relaxing. So , sometimes I'll read at night, but other times when my brain just needs to relax, we'll watch a show for, you know, 45 minutes and I don't feel guilty about that. I just don't, I get a lot done during the day. I really enjoy the Netflix time when it comes and I think it's a good thing. So there you go. I'm usually around 10 o'clock. I jump in the shower. I like to read a little bit before bed. I found that I fall asleep better if I read a paper book instead of a book on my phone or a book on my Kindle, the light thing messes up my sleep cycles. I theorize anyway. So I like to read a paper book for a few minutes before bed. I usually fall asleep a few pages in and I think I'm reading the same pages over and over most nights. But it's all good cause it helps me fall asleep. And then we start the whole thing over again. So it's nothing fancy, you know, we get, we get things done. Again, the schedule does change depending on the season. And also I want to be fully transparent with you guys cause a lot of you email me and you're like, how do you get all done? I don't know how you do it. I feel bad about myself when I look at how much do you get accomplished. And here's the secret guys, I have help, right? I am not super w oman. So usually two days a week I have a babysitter come and I stay here. I work in our office, but she hangs out with the kids for about five hours each of those days. And that is my secret to running my businesses while doing everything else I have to do. If I don't have a babysitter, it's full on chaos and I do not enjoy it. So even just having someone 10 hours a week when I have her here I am in laser focus mode. Like don't knock on my door, don't stop, stop by for coffee, don't bring me a package mr ups. Man, I will not acknowledge you. I am hyper focused and I do most of my content creation for my business, whether it's recording these podcasts, writing a blog post, editing photos, anything that requires that super concentrated creativity, it happens then. So I recently finished a book called Deep Work by Cal Newport. If you haven't read it, you've got to check it out. It was probably one of my favorite books I've read this year so far. I will leave a link to it in the show notes, Deep Work by Cal Newport, but he talks about how distracted we are as a culture and raising my hand here. Y'all. I can be the most distracted person ever because of all the things I have going on. So if I want to actually move my businesses forward, the blog and my doTERRA team and whatever else I'm working on, I have to be really disciplined to make sure I have that deep work period where I can just crank out some creative juice stuff. So when babysitter's here, that's my deep work. I literally have it on my calendar, deep work and that's when I do my content creation. And then the other days of the week when she's not here and I had the little afternoon segments, that's when I do what I call shallow work, which is answering emails, bouncing around Facebook, responding to comments, helping customer service issues, things like that. But if you are, if you are trying to move something forward in your life, I highly recommend that you schedule out that deep work to actually get it done. And beyond a babysitter, I have other help. I have three virtual assistants who helped me with my businesses. I did not have that at the beginning. It was all me back in the day and I've had to build up to this point. But I do not do this alone. And I just want everyone to know that I am not superwoman. I hire help as does probably any other entrepreneur, a business woman, blogger person that you admire. We have teams , that we pay to help us answer emails and edit blog posts and do all the things because I can't do this on my own. And that's absolutely crucial to keep things moving forward. Alrighty , my friends. So wrapping this up, keep in mind there is no right or wrong, right or wrong way to do this, right? I don't do things that all the other homesteaders do or all the other business woman entrepreneurs do. I don't get up super early like some, I don't have extravagant homeschool unit studies. Like some, I do not do fancy birthday parties. Like the ones I admire on Pinterest, not a thing. I don't milk my cow every single day, right? There is not a right or wrong way. You have to make it fit for you and above all, avoid the comparison trap, right? Like if I start to compare myself to other entrepreneur women, I know it's really easy for me to get distracted and start feeling really down on myself because I don't read as many books as they do or I don't get up as early as they do, but their story is not mine. So stay in your own lane, find a rhythm that works for you and your family and roll with it. And also one last reminder. Remember that what you are wanting to do will always expand to fill the time that you give it. So if I give myself one hour to write a blog post, I can usually get it done in an hour. If I give myself four hours to write a blog post, well it magically expands to fill the four hours. So all that to say, I'm guessing that if you get a little more discipline and a little more focused in your schedule, you might find that some of your activities don't take as long as you originally thought they did. So that's one little game I play with myself is squeezing my down a little bit just to see if I can get it done and that has enabled me over time and with practice to become a lot more efficient. Alrighty my friends, if you are ready to start your homestead, whether it's big or small in the country, you're in the city but you're not quite sure how to make it happen. I have an entire library of resources I have put together for homesteaders just like you and you can get complimentary access to this library completely free at theprairiehomestead.com/grow G R O, W then that's one more time, theprairiehomestead.com/grow and that is it. Thank you for listening. If you have a minute and you would pop over to iTunes and leave a quick review and hit subscribe, I would be so thrilled and that is all I have for you today, but I can't wait to chat again on the next episode of the old fashioned on purpose podcast. Okay, my friend , I have some good news for you. You are not a weirdo. Feels good to hear that. Right? But if you have had these strange urges to make yogurt or to culture buttermilk, or to try your hand at some homemade mozzarella, well, you're in good company. The tough part is that sometimes it's almost impossible to find home dairy supplies locally, which is why I have come to rely heavily on the new England cheesemaking supply company. They are my absolute lifeline for everything I need to make all the dairy stuff in my kitchen from cultures to equipment to supplies they've got it. And to make your life easier, I've put together a free quick start guide that includes not only my favorite home dairy recipes, a list of the cultures that I use the most, but we put a little discount code in there for you as well. Head over to theprairiehomestead.com/cheese to check it out.