Planning for 2016

My desires for 2016 are bigger than Ben Hur. My mind is always coming up with new and wonderful things to do. My problem . . . I only have 24 hours in every day – just like everyone else. The challenge is to prioritise my plans. A lot of the time I am running from this urgent thing to the next – and yes I know I shouldn’t do that but honestly, with 11 people in the house, I really struggle not to do this for at least some of each day. I have given myself grace in this area as my natural tendency is to expect perfection and have everything perfectly planned out. When I ‘get behind’, I tend to stress out and lose my joy. So I need a plan each year.

A great book which has helped so much in planning and prioritising my life is Large Family Logistics, by Kim Brenneman.
Kim showed me how to manage my busy home more effectively and in a way that honours Christ and builds family relationships. I have lent this book to someone and can’t remember who so this year as I went to plan, I was sad to see it missing. By the way, if that someone is you, I would love it back if you are finished with it 🙂

I have just returned from a quick trip to Sydney to hear Paul Washer preach and I was reminded and challenged to seek to be more like Jesus. Paul Washer has a gift of explaining how all of our life is ordained by God to conform us to the image and likeness of Jesus. I can see more clearly now that all the trials and challenges in my life are used by God to conform me to that image. Oh, to be more like Jesus! I pray that I will be faithful to the work of Christ in all areas of my life in 2016.

So what are some of these plans?


This year will be my busiest year yet. I have 6 students this year, with a preschooler and a baby to keep me on my toes. We use a Charlotte Mason style approach to our homeschool as we love great literature and use this as the basis for most of our studies. We then add in a math and language arts curriculum. I have loved Saxon math for my students but this year we will be diving into Math U See for the younger ones as I now have a dyslexic student as well as a special needs child who may need something more concrete than Saxon. For language arts we use First Language Lessons and Writing with Ease for the younger children, both by Susan Wise Bauer and the older children are going through the Institute in Excellence in Writing course.

I am also teaching two students to read this year and have a sneaking suspicion that a third will be added before the year is over. For this, I am using the Barton Reading and Spelling program as it is one of the best programs to teach dyslexics to read and spell. I have previously loved and used ‘Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons’. For my dyslexic student, this program just did not work. I have been so encouraged to see the Barton system work.

Our Property: St.Lawrence

We have big plans for our cottage this year. My parents moved into the cottage almost four years ago but have recently moved closer to my grandparents to care for them. This means the cottage is now vacant. Our vision is to turn the cottage into a farm stay for families. As a large family, we know how hard it is to find suitable and affordable accommodation. We have a lot of renovation work to complete on the cottage to get it ready.

Family Plans

We attend a number of camps throughout the year and 2016 is no different. We have three camps booked in already and might squeeze in a few more. We are also going to see the Sound of Music in Brisbane in April. I can’t wait!!

Aussie Mamas

Aussie Mamas was started almost 2 years ago now and just keeps on growing. I post orders to every corner of Australia and I plan on adding more products to the shop to help other Mamas source products that they might have trouble getting locally. I may even start to stock homeschool resources I have found useful over the years. I recently changed the theme on my blog and lost all my recipes. I plan to upload those recipes again and to keep adding to the list so that Aussie Mamas have a source of nourishing, healthy, sugar-free meal options for their families.

As we move forward into 2016 I am reminded that it is all dependent on the Lord.

‘The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.’ Proverbs 16:9

What are some of your plans for the year? I’d love to hear from you so be sure to leave a comment at the bottom of this page.






  1. Belinda Letchford

    If only we had more time in our days!! LOL. I enjoyed reading your goals for all aspects of your life and a great connection that it is all to make us more like Christ.

  2. I agree as mums we need to give ourselves the grace to run around and care for our families when we need to. I admire all that you are getting done. Good to read what you are doing this year.

  3. My ideas are usually bigger than Ben Hur too. My children are very helpful in helping me bring them back to something more manageable on a daily basis. Grace. The secret ingredient! Can’t live without it.

    • Amy, you are so correct when you say grace is the secret ingredient. In my large family I get an opportunity to display grace in so many situations. My prayer is that I will grow to be more Christ like as I show grace to those God has placed in my home.

  4. I love Paul Washer! That man’s preaching literally changed my life. I have never met him, but thanks to the internet and a loving God, I heard him preach. What a wonderful opportunity you had.
    Ps I have lots of huge ideas too and not time to fit them all in. You are not alone.

    • Sharon, Paul Washer’s preaching is just so good. Challenging and encouraging all at the same time. We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to hear him in person and to met with him and his eldest son. Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  5. Hi Donna,I have been trying to contact THM in America to find out if Serene and Pearls workin dvd is available yet,i was wondering if you might know if it is,and if not do you get time to exercise daily and if you do what do you do?I have 9 children also and have set a goal for myself of wanting to be the healthiest i have ever been by my 50th birthday in 5 years but i feel incredibly challenged by my childrens consistently not working efficiently.If you have any advice i would greatly appreciate it.Kind regards,Nicole Nestler

    • I have had no information about the workout DVD from Serene and Pearl sorry. It will be great when we can get our hands on it hey? Finding time to exercise is so hard with homeschooling and mothering 9 children – and running Aussie Mamas :), and I confess I do not often fit it in. If you read my posts about losing the last five kilos, I was making an effort to fit exercise in. The only way I have been able to do that is put a Michelle Bridges workout DVD on in the morning as the first thing I do after getting out of bed. If I do not do it then, it just doesn’t happen.

      You have a great goal of being the healthiest ever by 50, I love it and might join you. My advice would be to choose a time of day that you can just squeeze in maybe 15 mins and be relentless to your commitment to do it. Just like we prioritise to brush our teeth, we should also prioritise some exercise. It is one of the biggest challenges to my healthy goals.

      Let me know how you go, Donna.

  6. Donna, I just want to say, Thank you SOOO very much for selling the products for THM!! We moved to AUS back in May and I am just now getting my feet under me and getting back on track. So I want to say THANK YOU. Please tell your husband thank you and your kids too b/c I know what a mama does influences the whole family. Thanks for all your work. Blessings to you in Christ ~ Katie


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