Setting the Stage: The Morning Routine

[I have been asked to write about my routine and time management. A lot of my time management begins in the morning, before the house stirs. Here is an account from this morning.

Note added: My usual rising time is anywhere between 4:30 and 5 a.m. Yes, I had to train myself to wake up early – however, strange as this sounds, I found it came easier as I had more babies – as they tend to wake one up at 5 a.m. for a feeding. I would just stay up from that point. I was once a night owl in my younger motherhood years and would stay up very late, past midnight. Now, I have just reversed the clock and get up earlier. Yes,  I am dressed before I come downstairs for my quiet morning hour. I lay my clothes out the night before so I can find them in the dark as there is a sleeping toddler and a sleeping husband in our room. I have a little nightlight in the bathroom so I can get ready without turning on a bright light. ]


“You don’t bake? Oh, I love baking… I love to come downstairs, in the morning …  while the house is quiet, sit and have my cup of tea and look out this window at the fresh new day … bread dough rising by the cookstove … there’s nothing that smells so good as fresh bread, just baked, wafting through the house, you know.”

-Janet King, Road to Avonlea

The black and ivory cookstove creaked as she warmed up with the embers from last night’s fire, still warm in her firebox. Opening the firebox door, I added a small bundle of dry kindling sticks to help urge the fire along. My father in law had just delivered a large crate of dry small wood for me and for that I was truly grateful. One needs good wood to get my cookstove going these cold December mornings. Located just outside the back door, the burst of fresh air as I retrieve the little wood pieces wakes me up quickly smartly each morning. Stopping to notice the sparkling stars twinkling in the dark, December morning sky, the tranquil, peaceful sight provided a fresh outlook on the day unfolding.

In the inky blackness of the horizon, I could hear a few straggling coyotes howling in the distance. I shudder thinking of our poor chickens – hoping they are warm enough in their little coop. The sun would soon be up and the house would be stirring, brimming with activity, but for now, it was unruffled and still.

With a small fire finally showing signs of life in the Elmira kitchen cookstove, I moved on to preparing my morning coffee. Using a French press, I make a small pot of coffee for just myself. No one else is up in the house this hour of the morning. A cup of coffee and some Bible time by a soft lamplight is bliss with only the ticking of the clock and the soft crackling of the fire to keep me company.

I’m reading through the Psalms right now, so I opened my Bible to read my daily passage…

“Thy voice shalt hear me in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”
Psalm 5:3

The morning.

What a perfectly calm, beautiful time of day. When I wake up (usually by the cry of our family cat, needing to go outdoors – she only comes to my beside in the morning to ask for the door to be opened – she must know I want to get up anyways), no one else stirs. Slipping downstairs to the main floor of our old home, I find peace in the quiet, a balm for my soul in the stillness. Our days in this filled to the brim home can be busy, dotted with random, various activities, various needs, unending chores and everyday tasks that need to be tended – but this morning – this delicate calm of the break of day – is all mine.


After my Bible time, I will set the table for breakfast and put on a pot of cinnamon-speckled oatmeal to cook on the now-warm-cookstove. Yes, like days of old, a pot of oatmeal is a staple in our house when it comes to breakfast.  No one grumbles about it, for which I am grateful. Some mornings, we will be splurge and have poached eggs on toasts, a quiche on Sunday, homemade croissants (still working on this recipe) or potatoes and eggs. But a simple every day morning means a copper pot of steaming hot oatmeal, sweetened with brown sugar and enjoyed with a glass of creamy milk. Gingerbread tea is offered in the winter time for the children, as well. Most of the little ones mix their tea and milk together to their delight.

Setting the stage for a good day begins in the morning, I find.

A good solid Bible reading.

A short prayer time.
A good hot coffee or perhaps a cup of tea…

A quiet sermon to listen to as I putter around the kitchen, preparing for the day ahead of me.

Maybe a piece of toast with jam to nibble on as I take a break and sit for a bit.

Shall I set out the dough to begin a batch of fresh bread for the day? … Yes, is there anything cozier than waking up to the smell of bread baking? Yes, a batch of bread would be just the thing to begin the day on the right foot.



Breakfast has begun and lunch will now be prepared, as well. We usually have warmed up leftovers in the winter or a big pot of soup for lunch. This is simple to prepare before too long (another benefit of home canning your soups!). By breakfast, I should also know what is for dinner and have that prepped as well. With my double role as mother and homemaker and home school teacher, I find it challenging to go between the kitchen and the school books, so I try to keep the food meal preparations to the early morning. Everything flows so much smoother if I do not have to worry about lunch time or dinner. Sometimes, you may find me peeling potatoes while a little one reads to me or chopping carrots while someone asks a question about their grammar, however, the goal is to have lunch ready for the oven before school even begins.

I also challenge myself to drink my litre of water by breakfast time; this helps me stay on track with my goal of drinking enough water during the day. I use a simple mason jar to measure my water intake.

By 7 a.m., I hear the footsteps of little ones upstairs as they begin to tumble slowly out of bed. Sleepy eyed and still warm from their little beds, they will wander downstairs to find me in the kitchen. I always try to greet each child with a warm “Good morning!” and a hug. By this point, the breakfast table should be set and ready for the children. I have learned, as they have morning outdoor chores, it creates a rushed morning if I wait for them to set the table. I generally try to set the table ahead of time, even laying out the placemats and such the evening before.

Let’s start the day with cheerfulness, they will often hear me encourage them. If someone wakes with a sour mood, they are often sent back upstairs to enter the warm kitchen with a better, sunnier attitude. Everyone is encouraged to have their beds made, be neatly dressed with their hair properly combed for the day before they are welcomed to the breakfast table. [That may seem strict to some, but can you imagine chasing down eight children to get dressed each morning after breakfast? Food on an empty stomach in the morning is a great motivator to start the morning off right – dressed and looked clean for the day.]


Once the breakfast is served and eaten by eight hungry children, we pull out our Bible and review our Bible passage for the day. We like to memorize a chapter a month. We simply recite it every day until we can say it from memory. It works, it’s not a fussy system, no bells or whistles but it works.


After the Bibles snap close, everyone is hustled off for their morning chores …but that is another post and another story …








December 15, 2019 - 7:13 am

Gigi Ruthie, it is amazing what you can do if you force yourself! My body naturally wakes up now and it amazes ME every morning that I wake up on my one! Keep trying!
I make the bread from scratch all in the morning. I have done dough at night before but only for sour dough.

December 15, 2019 - 7:12 am

Gigi Bobbie, thank you for the sweet note. I will work on the rest of the day notes soon! I am due first week of April. I feel great! Are you expecting? When are you due?

December 13, 2019 - 8:58 pm

Ourhomeofmanyblessings I cant wait for more of your day!!!How are you feeling these days?When are you due?You routine is similar to mine alot!Would love to know more of how you manage your day and childrens chores,evening chores,etc.

December 13, 2019 - 6:50 pm

Ruthie P.S. I forgot to mention I love the Bible reading and prayer first thing and insisting your children have cheerful spirits over grumpy to begin their day. Makes such a difference!

December 13, 2019 - 6:38 pm

Ruthie Wow! I’ve always wanted to be an early riser, so I find your ability to transition like you did from night owl to your current schedule nothing short of amazing. My scheduling abilities are weak. It’s been a problem area for me, so this is an encouragement to hear of others that are able. On your bread making early in the morning… do you have your dough premade the night before and in the icebox or do you start from scratch during this time?

December 9, 2019 - 12:01 am

Monica This is wonderful! I love the mornings. One reason (and I’m not sure you mentioned this but I know it’s true for you as well!) is because I have so much energy in the mornings and at night=zero energy! My body just dies at night, haha. So opposite of younger days. So it only makes sense to get up and at ‘em. My mornings start a bit later, in the six am hour. I would rise earlier but our baby is always, always in the bed with us at that time and I’m afraid he would wake up while I was out of bed and roll off of the bed while trying to look for me (nurse). So I wait until he wakes up….sometimes I will slip out of bed and wait in the room, sitting in my rocking chair, reading, so I can still keep an eye on him. Can’t depend on husbands to watch them as they are sleeping, oblivious! Haha!

PS. The picture of Loyal….

December 8, 2019 - 6:55 am

Gigi Erin, sure, I will look at doing a post about chores. Thanks for the ideas. 🙂
Oh, regarding later nights … I just try not to have them … sometimes it is nice to try to sneak a 20 minute nap in the afternoon (as I call it, rest time!) but it is usually unsuccessful. On a very late night, yes, everyone would be encouraged to go to their rooms around 3:30 and rest and read and if they (or I) fall asleep for a short cat nap, then that is what we needed. I don’t usually stay up past 10 p.m. I will retire to my room around 9 p.m. and read for a bit and then go to sleep. It’s heavenly to read before falling asleep! One of my favorite times of the day! We share a room with our little Loyal still (2 years old) so I use a small flameless candle to read at night without waking him up. For years, I could not think of how to read at night when the light would keep people awake, but now, with those flameless candles, they provide the perfect amount of light for reading without bothering anyone.

December 8, 2019 - 6:51 am

Gigi Kristal, thank you for your encouragement. I have added some of the answers to your questions in the original post, but I will also answer them here. Yes, I am dressed before I come downstairs. I lay out the clothes the night before so I do not have to stumble around and wake anyone up while trying to locate my outfit!
Yes, I had to train myself to get up early – I once loved to stay up late – past midnight – and it was lovely and quiet then as well, but now I have just trained myself the opposite way, starting with when I had nursing babies – as they wake you up early to feed, I would slip out of bed at that point and use it for my Bible time.
Don’t feel silly asking questions! We are all learning together! We have a lot of distractions as mothers and sometimes, there is not practical training (sadly) for this role before we are all of a sudden mothers to many and needing to know how to manage a busy day and still have time to drink some tea! Keep working at it!

December 8, 2019 - 12:00 am

Kristal Gillian, I am so, so excited for this series! Thank you for taking the time and thought process to encourage us! May I ask a few questions? What time do you wake up? I suspect you get up much earlier than I do. Do you have any helpful tips on waking early? Were you always an early riser, or did you need to train yourself? Also, you mention your kids needing to be ready for the day when they come for breakfast. Are you also getting ready for the day when you first rise, or at a later time? Sorry, I feel silly asking these questions, but I need some serious encouragement. This has been my biggest struggle and one I have been praying for continuously. God has worked a great deal in me already, but I know I have a ways to go.

December 7, 2019 - 4:55 pm

Erin Lynn I love this! Please do your morning chores routine! I am really working on my disciplining myself to get up earlier, and I am so thankful you posted this. On later nights, do you still get up at the same time time or take a nap later?