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Guest Post: A Day in Christine’s Life

I’ve got another fun guest to introduce you to today — meet Christine! She’s a mom to 4 kids and 2 dogs, wife to Chris, and lives in Raleigh, North Carolina! Make sure to visit the tips & tricks at the bottom of her post — I am totally stealing her “trail mix” idea!

Alright, without further ado…


Good Morning Carolina Charm readers! I’m Christine and I’ll be taking you along with my family today in what is a typical summer day for my family of six in Raleigh, NC. I’ve been married to my husband Chris for 12 years and we have one daughter Lottie (8.5 yo/rising 3rd grade) and three sons Grant (7 yo/rising 1st grade), Aidan (5.5 yo/rising K) and Carter (2.5, rising 5 day a week Two’s Class at preschool) and a Cavachon dog named Berkeley. Next year my daughter will start a new Charter school, while my middle boys will be at our neighborhood school and little guy will be at preschool — three drop-offs and three pickups so please start praying for me now. 

My husband Chris is amazing and is truly my partner in everything we do. We met in college and started dating our freshman year so we have been together for almost eighteen years, which is weird, because I’m pretty sure I’m still 25 sometimes, but math does some funny things! We’re both the oldest in our families with four kids that also have one girl and three boys like our kids. I think coming from large families made us both flexible and also taught us teamwork which really helps in marriage. 

FUN FACT: I met Christina in 2013’ish through a Bible study in Charlotte called FIGS and we were both in a married/engaged group for new couples. The couples group was run by three couples, that are in my current life stage now so 10/15 years ahead of us then, and gave us new couples wonderful advice and guidance early on in our marriage. They were all so open and honest about their struggles and successes and how to navigate them through Christ and to build a strong foundation as a couple. I truly credit them, their vulnerability and their love of God for shaping our marriage and helping to start it as a Christ-centered team instead of two individuals living together. Thanks Kathleen, Brittany, Stephanie and your husbands! 

There isn’t any job or household task that is strictly one person’s but we do tend to split them up naturally. He’s a morning person, wakes up around 5 am, while I’m more of a night person. I do the majority of the laundry but at night we will sit on the couch and fold together while watching tv. I do about three loads of laundry almost every day. I start first thing in the morning and flip throughout the day as they’re done. Dishes are usually his thing. I load all day, try to keep an empty sink, we run it at night and he puts it away in the morning while he drinks his coffee. I pick up all day, toys, clothes, shoes, etc. I try to never leave with the house a mess so I always do a final pick-up before running out the door.

I’m a SAHM now but I worked as a Project Manager for a few different companies until we had our second kid and moved from Charlotte to Raleigh. Chris worked from home for the last three years but just started a new job in Durham a month ago for an investment management company. This has been an adjustment but there are pros and cons. Pros are we no longer have to be quiet at home when he’s on a call, his office is right off the kitchen so I was constantly shushing the kids. Now we can have buddies over to play during the day too and not have to worry. Cons are he isn’t here to see us throughout the day, can’t workout with me anymore on his lunch breaks, and doesn’t get home until 6:30 now when it use to be 5:30. We’re still adjusting to this new change but summer has been a good time to make this transition.

A Day In The Life

5 – 9 am: Prep for the day.

Chris usually wakes up around 5 am and will go to the 5:30 Burn class, read for his new job, or work from home for a bit. He sets up the coffee the night before to come on at 4:45 am so it’s ready when he gets up because he realized grinding the beans in the morning was waking up the kids. I usually self wake up or he or a kid will wake me up at 7 am. This morning he brought me coffee in bed and I look over my Google Calendar on my phone to see what’s on the agenda for the day and what I need to do to get ready. The Google calendar tasks is great for my to-do list (things to buy, returns, kid reminders, make doctor’s appointment, meals for each day, etc.) I plan our meals for the week and make a grocery list now too. I get up, make the bed and put on my workout clothes. My two big kids are at a running camp this morning from 8 to 12 so Chris drops the kids off on his way to work and I’ll pick them up at noon. I use this time to prep and pack for the day while the little two eat breakfast and play. I start a load of laundry first thing. Then I pack the pool bag for afternoon swim team. If we’re eating a picnic lunch out I make this now too. Instead of making four individual lunches, I make a snacklebox lunch. I find my kids eat better when they can graze and it’s less lunch boxes for me to keep up with when we’re out.

9 am – 12 pm: Activity & Errands.

I try to go to Burn about five times a week. It’s my me time, I feel better physically and mentally and I’m a more patient mom when I go. During the summer my workout times have been all over the board because of camp drop-off and pick-up times and swim team. Today we go to Burn from 9:30 to 10:15 then run to the grocery store next door after to stock up.

Aldi is my favorite grocery store and I highly recommend it if you have one close by. I have a few go-to semi-premade meals that I can grab from there that everyone enjoys and the prices are amazing! When shopping with littles I bring each kid a sandwich bag with a snack (goldfish, pretzels, and half of a peanut butter sandwich) to eat while we shop. I also give them items to go find on the aisle and put in the cart. It gives them a job, keeps them semi-focused, and turns down the chaos a smidge. But let’s be honest, everyone knows we’re shopping by the volume level and the aisle tag! I also let them make decisions when I can, pick three yogurts each or a cereal for the week so they contribute.

After Aldi we go home, I unload and put away all groceries while the boys play with legos or do puzzles. I use this time to chop fruits and veggies, dinner prep, decant pantry items, and reload all our “ready food” (grab-and-go items for lunches or snacks). I keep a container in my fridge stocked with mini hummus, guacamole, chicken salad, cheese sticks, beef sticks, and yogurts. 

If we don’t grocery shop or have errands then I will take the kids during this time to an activity after I work out. We like to go to the pool, parks, library story time, playdate, or Big Air. We bought a membership back in the fall and have gotten a ton of use out of it. It’s great for rainy days, when it’s too hot, or when I have an hour to kill and don’t want them wrecking my house and need to get some energy out. We have a bunch of friends with the membership too so I can send a mass text on the way over to see if anyone can join us. If we go to an activity that will run through lunch I’ll bring a cooler with our snacklebox. I usually eat a protein bar, right after my workout, while we’re out and eat my lunch when we get home. We pick up the big kids from camp at noon then head back home.

12 pm – 4 pm: Lunch & Rest.

During this time we eat lunch, rest, and reset. I try to let my three bigs make their own lunches and I make one for Carter. Now that they are getting older (5, 7, 8) we are working more on independence. Lunch for me is usually leftovers, a charcuterie and veggie plate, salad, or a sandwich. I will try to make a big batch of egg, tuna or chicken salad on Mondays and eat off of that for the week too.

After lunch and cleanup, the kids have quiet time in their rooms. My two older ones have to do two pages of a worksheet and my daughter also has to read. My five-year-old can do art quietly in our dining room. My two-year-old has quit napping so he rarely sleeps during this time now. He plays in his room for a few minutes while I finish my lunch and clean up any lunch mess. Then my big kids rotate playing with him in his room so I can get a shower. This gives them one on one time with him, they get to help and it keeps him supervised. After quiet time they do their chores, we play and they get a show. We rotate the dishwasher helper weekly (we are working on them taking this over), they put their laundry away and bring their empty baskets down. They also help fold laundry, clean up toys in the playroom, garage, yard and other main rooms. 

4 pm – 8 pm: Activity, Dinner & Bed

This week our swim practice is from 4 to 5 so we head up to the pool around 3:30. My three big kids are on the swim team and Carter and I swim in the other pool. I let them free swim for an hour after practice then we head home for dinner at 6 pm. When they were younger I would pack their pajamas so we would shower and change at the pool. Then when we would get home they would eat and be ready for bed. Now that their older I take less stuff to the pool. We take a few toys to the pool but they usually enjoy “shopping” the lost and found bench and playing with the toys they find. When it’s time to leave we return them to the lost and found. I don’t have to lug so much and they have a new toy every time. Win/win! 

Since we basically live at the pool during the summer, I have a system down for our bag. We use the XL LL Bean canvas tote bag and I keep mini waterproof bags inside of it. One mini bag for caps and goggles, one for sunscreen, one for toys, one for snacks, one for diapers and wipes, and one for my items (phone, keys, wallet). If we need dry clothes then I will have a small bag for those and they will put their wet suit in it after they change. With the little bags they don’t have to dig through the big bag, dump everything out and get it all wet. When we get home I only have to take out the towels and swimsuits and restock the diapers and snacks.

In our laundry room, each kid has a basket with their swimsuits and cover-ups. When it isn’t summer we put their sports uniforms, cleats, dance outfits, etc. in these baskets. This saves so much time when we’re racing out the door since it’s all corralled to one spot. 

When we get home I stick dinner in the oven, the kids shower, get in pajamas and Chris arrives home. Tonight’s dinner is Aldi’s Mediterranean salmon, seven-grain rice with diced tomatoes and feta cheese, and roasted Brussels sprouts. Everything is ready in thirty minutes and I prechopped the Brussels in the morning. The kids will eat the salmon and the rice and I put mixed veggies and fruit on their plates. 

Everyone helps clean up the kitchen after dinner then we head up for books and bed.

The kids brush their teeth, potty and each pick a book. We read together as a family, and read a couple of short books or a few chapters of a big book. The kids are in bed around 8:30.

Chris and I spend the next hour playing whack-a-mole putting the kids back to bed, cleaning up, laundry, taking the dog for a walk, and watching a show. Before I go to bed I try to update my schedule for the next day and add any notes to my Google Calendar tasks.

The kids are all usually asleep by 9:30 and we go to bed around 10/10:30.

Thanks for coming along and hope you enjoyed spending the day with us! 

A Few Tips & Tricks

Below are a couple tips and tricks that I have learned along the way that I wanted to share. 

Self-care & Dating

  • Having our own individual activities is very important to us and our relationship with each other. I enjoy playing pickleball and tennis, and Chris enjoys playing golf. We both try to make time for the other person to do these things weekly. 
  • We try to have a planned date night once a month and I also have our babysitter text us when she has availability, even if it’s last minute. This gives us the option to go out with little planning! Also, take advantage of your memberships if you have them. Go play tennis, go to the gym together, whatever you have access to!
  • I sign my kids up for as many free or cheap VBS (Vacation Bible Schools) during the summer as I can find. Many of these fall at night and go from 6 pm to 8 pm at local churches — great for sneaking in a date night or time with friends! 

Food & Meal Hacks

  • Online grocery shopping can be extremely helpful and when my kids were all little I did this more. 
  • If you shop in-store, take pictures of your refrigerator and pantry before going to the store so you can reference it when shopping and reduce buying duplicates.
  • In your Notes app put links to favorite recipes or ones you want to make. It’s searchable and you can meal plan from your list. Once I meal plan for the week, I add the link to my Google calendar on the day I’m making it. 
  • Snackleboxes for to go lunches.
  • Decant items so you can see what you actually have. I keep three cereals and two snacks options available for my kids. This keeps food from going stale and once it’s empty I can fill it with something different. When we end up with a little bit of a couple different things (pretzels, goldfish, cheerios, etc.) I dump them all in one and add mini marshmallows or m&ms and call it trail mix. It adds new life and helps use up all the snacks. 

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Friday 28th of July 2023

We do the same thing with snacks! My kids call it "snack salad" and they love it! :)


Wednesday 26th of July 2023

Thank you; very well-written and helpful! We are also big fans of post-pool showers and jammies to make the night time routine easier.

This is a very specific question but do you have a link for the mudroom white shelving unit that holds 6 bins? It looks like it would be perfect for holding 6 peoples' shoes...right now we have one that only holds 3 so there is not enough space.


Wednesday 26th of July 2023

Thank you Laura! The shelving unit came with the house and is custom built into the space. It looks very similar to this one from Target if that helps.


Wednesday 26th of July 2023

This was super interesting and helpful! My kids are the exact same ages ☺️ I would love a link to the snacklebox and a more in depth look at how you use the google calendar!


Wednesday 26th of July 2023

Thanks Catherine! We’re definitely in a busy, chaotic season but I love it. I feel like I’m in two life stages with my kids (toddler and big kid) so trying to find the right balance for everyone.

For my Google Calendar I use the “Event” type for anything that has a specific time. Examples: school, appointments, meetings. With the Event you can invite others (husband, friend, etc.) so they know about it too. I use the “Task” type for anything that doesn’t have a specific time. This is more of my To Do List. You can schedule it for a certain day and it rolls over to the next day automatically until you mark as Done. I use this for (call to make appointments, pick up grocery order, random things to remember, grocery list). In the “Task” type you can put “Details” which is where I put my actual grocery list.

My husband actually logs into my Google calendar on his phone so I don’t have to invite him to everything. We just share the same one. I will invite his work email sometimes if it’s something he needs to remember while at work. You can set the calendar to notify you when you have an Event. I set it to notify me when we need to leave for the event. Hope this helps! I was a diehard paper calendar person before but now I love having it accessible at all times. I can automatically add something as soon as I learn about it instead of waiting to write it down later.


Wednesday 26th of July 2023

I really enjoyed reading this! You have a great writing style. I like how you wove in the tips and tricks.


Wednesday 26th of July 2023

Thank you Sarah! ❤️