Q and A, Four (Three) Moms

4moms35kids-1 Be sure to visit our Thrift Store LInky, and get some tips on reselling those finds from the HG, who is making a decent next egg each month doing just that.

Enter to win a hundred dollars!

How do you deal with a snotty attitude in a 7 year old? Some days he’s just nasty.

Consistency, diligence, and tiresome repetition.  Specifics vary according to temperament of both parents and child, and disciplinary preferences.  Some choices might be repeating whatever was said or done while sporting a ‘tude, but doing it right; drop and give me ten push-ups; clean the toilet; food and a nap; a spoonful of vinegar for spiteful words and tone…
  How would you address children sneaking food without permission? We’ve had problems like a child taking a package of crackers, or a jar of nutella or peanut butter, or a can of fruit, and hiding somewhere like under their bed to eat it. I find the packaging later and the kids all point fingers at each other. The kitchen does not have a door that can be latched, and the main door we use to go in and out of the house is in the kitchen.

First of all, do make sure they are really getting enough to eat so they feel satiated- and my ‘enough’ I am not suggesting you are starving them, but suggesting some kids may have a much higher metabolism than others, or they may be eating too many sweets and carbs so they feel hungry.

Make sure that you are generous when asked for snacks, and then make it known the rule is ask before taking. I almost never say no to snacking in general, it’s more of a ‘no’ to a specific snack because it’s not healthy, or I have another use for that item, or I think that child needs better balance. If I say no to one thing, I suggest an alternative.

I treat this the same way I treat stealing, because in my house, that’s what it is. I buy groceries for a reason because I have a menu plan, and when somebody takes food without asking, I am likely to discover I am missing a crucial ingredient in the midst of a company dinner being prepared for guests who will arrive in five minutes.  I hate that.

If it is an ongoing issue, then I’d do some tomato staking- which means keeping the kids in the same room as you, so they can’t get away with sneaking into the kitchen to take food.

Do you serve snacks? When and what?

How do you handle meals and snacks in the schedule. We have a small house and do school in the kitchen a lot. Sometimes I find that they use “I’m hungry” as a stall tactic. Do you have scheduled times to eat, or do you allow them to eat while working? (My kids are 9 and 7, so we aren’t talking about babies that need to eat every hour.)

Some of each- they are allowed to snack while doing school if their snacks are not sticky.  We also noticed that at around 4:00 every day we were all hungry, so we started having 4:00 ‘Tea,” which was usually popcorn, fruit or tortilla roll-ups.  We had this in the living room while I read aloud or we listened to classical music.

My kids liked tan afternoon snack of raw oatmeal in milk when they were younger, and our neighbor girl in Japan snacked on baked sweet potatoes in the middle of the afternoon.  Other times they’ve just reheated a bowl of our crockpot breakfast grains, which can be made with any grains at all, and in just about any combination- buckwheat, millet, oat groats, quinoa, amaranth, kamut, spelt, even rice or wheat berries.  In fact, leftovers from breakfast are still a favorite afternoon snack item.  Two or three of our kids also love to snack on Seaweed .

Other snack ideas here.

What is your response to “Do you know what causes all those kids?” I had my first total stranger ask me that, and I only have 4 so far!

Honestly, a cheerful smile and a failure to understand or ‘hear’ any rudeness is the best answer, along with something positive like, “Our Creator.”  But it is awfully fun to imagine snarkier responses.  Some of my faves are:

“Yes.  I have a book I can loan you that explains it all very nicely for you.”

A cheeky grin and a “We certainly do, and isn’t it FUN?!”

A blank stare, and then “It’s not the water?”

Where do you keep all the toys? Even keeping them pretty well pared down (we only have “sets” like cars, blocks, trains, dolls, polly pocket, etc. and one small basket of “misc” with things like a doctor kit, binoculars, and other random things), but we can destroy a whole house!

Regular clutter patrols.  I think it’s more important to teach them to clean their messes than to totally prevent them.

Those of you with all girls and just one boy, does the boy have his own room? At what age do you think they are too old to share rooms with the opposite sex?

In our family, the Boy shared a room with a sister or sisters until he was about 7 1/2.  I would have rather had him in his own room at around 6, although that’s just an arbitrary cut-off.  We just didn’t have the space to give anybody their own room in that house, and the living room wouldn’t have worked because some of us were up late in the living room hours beyond when he was in bed.

Everybody has their own room in this house, but I regret that.  I regret it a lot.

I don’t really believe there is a single right answer or a set number that is correct.  Each family has to decide for themselves.  I know of two families who have adult kids I consider nice, normal human beings, who all shared a room all their lives- boys and girls together. The room was only for sleeping, changing was done elsewhere.  I know of another family that managed the room shortage by having the boy (s) sleep in the living room. However, at 14, our only boy would not still be sharing a room with his sisters.  If we’d stayed in the Little House, we’d have moved him to his own room somewhere between 8 and 10- this is partially logistics- the only other room we could have used for him was too icy cold to leave for a 6 year old to sleep in alone in the winter.  We had two teen girls and a large dog in that room.


If you were building your house today, what are some features you’d like?

See here.


How do you keep homeschool stuff from overtaking your house?

I don’t.  It’s our decor style.=)  I’ve tried to have a ‘homeschool room,’ but I only like it in theory.  In actual use we just don’t stay in one room.

Do your kids have their own little spaces for doing their independent school work? My 3rd grader can’t deal with a lot of commotion while she’d doing work that requires concentration.

They do now, but in smaller houses we either had everybody be quiet while somebody worked on a task like that, or I sent them to work at my desk in another room, or to the kitchen table while the rest of us were in another room, or we used headphones or ear plugs for the dis-tractable child.

Hi moms! When you are doubting your abilities etc with homeschooling, mothering, being a wife. Any Bible verses (specifically) that you turn to I’m order to encourage?

Galatians 6:9 is the life verse for all moms.

I find Isaiah 40 very encouraging, as is James 1 (if any of you lack wisdom….) and Some of the verses I shared here may also help.

  Also, what other languages do you teach, how do you do that, and why?

Sign Language.

How: I  use some of the free resources I’ve shared here,  and we sign together.

Why: I chose sign language because I know it (I’m not fluent, but I do have an extensive vocabulary), and one of our children is totally nonverbal.

Our oldest girl taught herself quite a bit of French using Powerglide and another program (if you’re studying on your own, it really is useful to have two resources)- she gave it up because she had nobody to use it with, so she had no good feedback on how she was going.  It was later she realized she’d actually been doing fairly well.

How do your children entertain friends? Our kids would like to have a friend over once in a while but with seven kids, one shared familyroom, and two kids’ bedrooms, there really isn’t a quiet space for them to talk, play a game, or anything else. Keep in mind that outside isn’t always an option as it’s snowy and cold here 6 months of the year.

When our kids had a friend over, it was assumed the friend was visiting the family.  The friend might hang out with a specific member of the family more, traveling about the rooms as a pair, but they weren’t allowed to totally exclude their siblings, unless the siblings were of the ankle biter stage where they could only contribute destructive powers.  There generally just wasn’t much exclusive behavior where one of my kids and a friend disappeared to play or converse one on one.    They might set up a two person game at the dining room table or on a smaller t.v. tray in the living room, but they had to deal with the same chaos the rest of us endured, and expect passing commentary, random interjections, and rubber necking from the rest of the family.


We’ve done different things at different times. Right now, and for some time, we haven’t done anything at all, except go to church like we do every Sunday. Over the last 30 years we have done dyed eggs and Easter egg hunts and the bunny; Easter ‘baskets’ that were really hats with the annual supplies of combs, brushes, barrettes, ribbons, and ponytails needed for our brood of long-haired daughters, Resurrection Eggs, REsurrection Cookies, and I don’t know what else.  i will say the eggs and bunnies disappeared the soonest, mainly because we had many foreign exchange students from Japan at the time, and they nearly all asked us about the fertility/pagan connotations, and none of them asked us about any other holiday traditions in quite the same way with the same consistency.  I just wasn’t interested in continuing to explain something I realized I couldn’t comfortably defend with conviction.

Life in a Shoe

Kim at Life in a Shoe, homeschool grad, mama to a family of 13



smockityfrocks.com Connie at Smockity Frocks, married 25 years, mom to 8. We were blog buddies for a year or two before we realized that we had very dear mutual friends in real life. How cool is that?!

Me, DeputyHeadmistress  at  The Common Room and our cooking blog, The Common Kitchen; married 30 years, mom to seven plus unofficial foster mom to two little boys, Mama-in-Law to two, and Grandmama to five blessings under 3,  and yes we are very proud.=)


We four moms also wrote a book together, and you can buy the Four Moms parenting book, which you can get as a Kindle or as an e-book document:

Here’s where to get more information on how to buy our parenting ebook or become an affiliate, which is another way of making some extra income.


See my other Kindle books, too:

101 Answers to the Summertime, “Mom, I’m Bored” Blues; help your kids use their free time creatively and productively. Give them ideas that will help them use their time and energy to create, to learn, to grow- to contribute. This is not your average ‘keep the kids out of your hair’ book.

Required Poems for Reading and Memorizing (annotated); Charming collection of older poems that you and the kids just might love.

Ten Low-Carb Snacks and Quick Meals Okay, actually, there’s a little more than ten, and they aren’t merely low-carb, they are also sugar-free, grain-free, gluten free. NOT dairy-free.



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One Comment

  1. Hadley
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for answering all of my questions! I enjoyed reading the answers, they were very helpful! I loved the clutter patrol post 🙂

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