How a Pig Saves My Mornings



I know you’ve been there – the morning begins to slip away, no one is cooperating, breakfast is not getting eaten, no one has brushed their teeth and you need to get out the door!  The dilly-dallying is non-stop and will bring any mom to the brink of BLOWING!

Yep, I get it.  But you know what?  I have discovered that normally I am 98% at fault.  I am the one that ends up playing the game with my son, who is five – who loves to take his time – unless there is a reason to hurry.  I end of falling into this pattern of begging, pestering and escalating my voice thinking that will help things along, but it ends up only making it worse.

Until, I remembered my PIG timer!pig timer

Several years ago I ordered this cute pig timer to have on the counter to use to help me stay on task.  It does work well and one morning it came to me, why not use this timer to help my son?


So we began using the Pig timer in the morning and the challenge was for my son to BEAT THE PIG!

We need to be out the door on most mornings by 8:45 AM.  So when we first began using this tool (the pig timer) he would have a set amount of time to eat his breakfast before the pig timer went off.  Once the timer went off, he was done.  No second chances…. but I would leave his breakfast out for him, so if he completed the other tasks before time, then he could come use his extra time to eat his breakfast.  Normally for us, this is not an issue.

At 8:00 AM I set the timer for 30 minutes…. so he has that time period to get dressed, make his bed and brush his teeth.  These tasks are all ones that he can complete on his own, except for brushing his teeth.  When he is ready to brush his teeth, he lets me know and I will help.  

When we first began this challenge, I wanted him to succeed, so made sure to offer as much time as possible for him to complete his tasks, even if he chose to dilly-dally.  He loved the challenge to, “Beat the Pig!”.

If he “Beats the Pig” then we have extra time to do something fun – either read a book, watch a TV show or even play a game on my iPad.

I cannot even tell you how easier my morning is when I remember my trusty friend the Pig.  When we get out of our routine though, I will sink back into my old habits of raising my voice, making demands, saying things I really don’t mean and cannot realistically even do and just create a frustrating and terrible start to our morning.  I know you can relate, many of you have shared with me the frustrations of getting toddlers ready in the morning.

I urge you to spend the $6 and grab a Pig for your own smooth mornings.  Have a Beat The Pig jar of fun activities that the child or children can do if they beat the pig.  If they don’t beat the Pig, you have to have a consequence too…… often times it is that they are late to school – which at our house means that there is not fun extras after school – like TV time or iPad time.

But I will say, those days are very few, the excitement to Beat the Pig and not hear his timer go off is such a great challenge that he meets it with gusto!  Sometimes we also have a contest between h and I to see who can beat each other first before the Pig with our morning tasks too!  (A secret, I almost always let him win those challenges – I am a big softy sometimes!)

If you are looking for other tips on creating a smooth morning routine for kids, you might check this article out I shared previously.

9 Musts for Marvelous Mornings


More manageable mornings

I was running frazzled, raising my voice and my four year old because we were going to be late to preschool AGAIN this week.  WHY?

Then it occurred to me, I had chosen to bypass my routine for the morning and everything was tubing down.

Sound familiar?

There are certain aspects of our lives that need to be in check – and for me and I feel for most moms – we need routine for ourselves and for our family.  Managing our homes does not come by chance and we need to be intentional to make things run smoothly.

I want a great morning and thought these tips might help you have a Marvelous Morning too!

Regular Wake Up Times

This is for everyone – you and your kids.  The particular morning I shared about earlier was one where I got up a few minutes later than my normal time and then I let my four year old sleep in a bit later because I wasn’t finished with my regular morning routine.  Big mistake.

Why I do this I will never know – but it has now been proven to me multiple times – I cannot expect everything to go smoothly when I change the routine.

Wake Up Oily Routine

I have a routine…..oh yes I do!!  It gets me off to a great start – so thankful for my Young Living essential oils instead of popping pills.  I love my Progessence Plus, Harmony over my heart, EndoFlex and some En-R-Gee – it’s what I do first thing in the morning.  Oh, and then I also love some Citrus Fresh in the diffuser!   {You can check this post out for more of my routines using oils during the day too!}

Your Favorite Beverage

For me, it’s coffee – yep – COFFEE!!  I especially love that I switched about two years ago to brewing only one cup at a time with a Keurig and it is fabulous. Fresh, hot, rich….. perfect to snuggle down with to spend some quiet time in the morning.  {This is my favorite coffee to brew in the morning!}  If you are not a coffee drinker – no worries – grab a beverage that you enjoy!


Me Time

In order for me to be the best I can be, I have to get some quiet time to myself when I first wake up.  I have a spot on my sofa, I curl up with my iPad (which holds my kindle and also YouVersion Bible APP) a journal and headphones so I can listen to some praise music to start my day.  There is nothing better to fill my tank – nothing!

Check the Schedule

If I haven’t looked at our day the night before (which I often have) I will quickly check the calendar and outline my list of errands, to-do items and what is for dinner.  This gets my mind focused on the day ahead.


We all know this one and I even resist and tell myself, “Oh, I will do that later.”  Well, guess what – it doesn’t end up happening.  If I end up taking two showers a day because I work out later in the day, so be it.  I know that I can focus better and am in a better state of mind when my body is fresh and clean.

Simple Breakfast

Scrambled eggs, cereal, toast with apple butter – simple choices.  Do not have too many choices either or you will be battling little ones who can make decisions!  I love that I can add on a breakfast menu option to my eMeals plan – making simple and easy breakfasts even easier!   You can save 20% with code SCHOOL on any eMeals Meal Plan until September 30th.

Have Buffer Time

It seems like the mornings can tend to be scheduled to the second.  Instead of rushing from one thing to the next, fix some buffer time in your morning so you don’t have to beginning raising your voice to get everyone out the door.  If I do my part and keep things moving in the morning and do not let people sleep late, including me – tasks get done easier and with less fuss.


This is almost the most important part of any morning routine – you need to get to bed at a time that allows your body to get enough sleep.  Your body needs sleep to re-set and restore itself, and if you are compromising your time in bed, your body will fight back.  Make sure you are getting to bed at a descent hour to get the sleep you need.

What is your favorite tip?

Quick Beauty Tips For Busy Moms


Welcome to Day 28 of 31 Days of Mom Mojo – Tackling Time Management.

A woman whose smile is open and whose expression is glad has a kind of beauty no matter what she wears.    Anne Roiphe

It seems like kids take up all of your time, leaving you with very little in the way of time or energy for fixing yourself up and making sure you look your best. Don’t feel guilty, it happens to all moms.

We are so busy with taking care of and running after our children that somehow, the fancy stuff goes out the window and we opt for a ponytail or short hair cut and some lip balm (and that’s on a good day).

You can still look your best every day simply by using a few quick tried and true beauty tips.  No more schlepping around with uncombed hair and nails that look like a cavewoman’s! [Read more…]

Helping Your Child Be On Time


This post originally appeared on the Family Life Blog in December 2010.  It seems to always be an area that families struggle with – getting out the door in the morning.  So here is an encore presentation to refresh your routine!

Do you have one or more children in your home that seems to repeatedly run late?  Perhaps they run around looking for their shoes, coat or homework?  Maybe forgetting where they placed their back pack the afternoon before.  Does it raise the stress level for your entire family?  It isn’t a very good way to start your day, is it?  Think of this…..Do you run late?  Do you often forget where your keys are?  How about finding your purse or shopping list?  Do you see the correlation?  Maybe not if in fact you are a mom who is fairly organized and then it frustrates you even more that you have a child that seems to be in disarray!

If running late is a key component to your mornings it is time for a change.  You can help your child gain tremendous pride in their accomplishment of being prepared for their day and getting out the door on time in the morning.  You have heard it time and time again; learning by example will get someone much further than just being told what to do. [Read more…]

Simple Morning Routine Tips for Kids


Simple Morning Routine Tips for Kids
For some families, mornings are the best time of day. But it seems that mornings are often the worst and most dreaded time of day.

You do not have to feel like you are stuck in that pattern. There is always a way to change your behavior and provide tools to help your children be more productive, self-reliant, and task orientated.

I suggest beginning the idea of a morning routine from a very young age. The routine will change as they get older, but the idea that they are accustomed to a flow to their morning and the expectation of their participation will develop to be part of their nature.

Here are a few ideas and tips to get you started on creating a simple routine for your child.

Planning Is Key

Problems in the morning are often rooted in the fact that things should have been done the night before. Think about whatever you can do in advance and fit that into your “evening” routine! Helping your child discover the benefits of doing what they can in advance and ahead of time will end up flowing over into other areas of their lives later on.

If they are school age, here are a few things that can be done the evening before:

  • Packing lunches
  • Preparing backpacks with homework, fresh supplies, library books, permission slips, etc
  • Decide on tomorrows outfit – even laying out the jacket/coat and shoes
  • Setting out breakfast dishes/cereal/non-perishable items


It is not uncommon for parents to wake kids up in the morning, but often that is when the negative battle can begin. The goal with your child is to find a way where they can get themselves up so the day does not begin in a negative way. 

I found it very helpful to set up my children with their own alarm clock.  If you do not have a spare one laying around, make a special trip to pick out one that they will like 0 either with an alarm, musical wake-up, or one with a radio. Allow them to choose and be part of the solution. Telling them they are big enough to get themselves up and get their own day started gives children a wonderful sense of autonomy. Teach them how to set their alarm and fit that into your bedtime routine.

Enough Z’s

If children don’t get enough sleep, they will tend to be grouchy or angry. This should be no surprise, because I know I can be just the same if I miss out on my beauty sleep! Making sure your child gets at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night will prepare them to face their morning with a much better attitude. You may have to re-structure what happens in the evening to create the window your child needs to get enough sleep.

Back to School Morning Routine Tasks

Here are a list of tasks that we’ve incorporated into our children’s routines. Depending on your child’s age, choose a few tasks to start with and then slowly add new ones to get them to a place where they are truly taking care of a majority of their morning needs without you nagging and prompting them.

  • Making their bed
  • Getting dressed
  • Put pajamas away
  • Eating breakfast
  • Taking vitamins or medication
  • Clearing dishes and cleaning up
  • Brushing teeth

Helping your child develop a “system” for remembering their tasks is key. Is your child a verbal learner or visual? Most kids are very visual and it is very helpful to create some type of list or chart which has both words and pictures. I create my own chart with laminated task cards with Velcro on the back so they could move the tag when they completed a task, but there are several printables that I have run across lately that will work great as you decide what works best for you child.

I love these FREE Kids Morning Routine Flash Cards from Living Locurto and these Free Picture Cards at Do2learn.

When you take the time to create a routine for your child beginning early on, you are giving them a lifelong skill that will evolve as they gain more responsibility and independence. Routines free our minds up, cut down on stress, and develop patterns that quickly develop into habits.

Get more great ideas on routines and helping your child become responsible in the Back 2 School Survival Guide!

You can create an easy and fun mood to your home and teach wonderful lessons in the process.

Next week I will talk about effective after-school routines! 

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