Monday, April 30, 2012

The Laundry Bomb

Today I have good news and bad news.   Click Here for my post on homemade laundry soap.  For $16.00 I was hoping it was a life-changing discovery.  Several of my friends had made their own laundry soap before and were not thrilled with the results.  The bad news is, neither was I.

I heard what they said, but optimistic me just had to try anyway.  I've come to a conclusion.  Homemade laundry soap did not leave our clothes sparkling white and clean.  Our whites turned a dingy shade of gray.  The boys socks took a hard hit with my soap, I'm going to buy new.  They are hard on all their clothes anyway because they play outside so much. 

Last week at Shoe Carnival the boys were trying on shoes.  That's when I really noticed how not white their socks had become.  I tried to not get paranoid when the guy on the microphone announced a special on white socks while we were trying on summer flip-flops.

Even though I treated stains with Oxyclean spray, spots on dark clothes did not come out with my soap.  I've also discovered that no matter who tells you this, it's a discovery you have to make on your on.  Once the allure of saving millions of dollars on laundry soap comes across your radar, it's just a journey you have to embark on yourself.  I am experimenting with adding more of my homemade soap to each load to see if that helps.  The recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon.

Last week I opened up a fresh box of Gain.  The way the water sudsed again was music to my eyes ears.  Soapy water!  Yes!  This I had missed!

And this, the good news...the Downy UnStoppables.  I'll forever thank Becke' for sharing this little ray of sunshine with me.  They are tiny, blue, yummy smelling beads.  You add them to the wash at the beginning.  They make your laundry smell A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  They are pricey so you just want to use them on sheets and towels.  $6.97 at Wal-Mart or a 2 pack at Sam's Club for $9.97.

I still have a good amount of the homemade soap.  I'm not throwing it away so I'm just alternating Gain and the homemade until Jesus returns or until I finish it up.

Cheers to clean clothes on a rainy Monday!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Secret Garden

This morning I've been enjoying My Secret Garden.  All of the boys are out fishing and I have been enjoying quiet and rest.  The lists, laundry and everything else has been pushed aside. 

It has been me, my comfy jammies, Bible, journal, books, pens and highlighters.

The only sound is the whirl of the ceiling fan.

The smell is my Yankee Sun and Sand Candle.  The taste is Chocolate Raspberry coffee and the kindess of the words on the pages of Scripture.

If you are feeling tired and worn out, take some time today to create a quiet space so you can rest.  Create a place of beauty among the mess.  Think about the 5 senses when you are creating and then sit back and enjoy yourself.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Have you ever looked at the menu and gotten frustrated?

I'm not in the mood for any of these options and yet here I am, hungry and having to decide on something.  And to top it all off, I'm going to have to pay to eat something that I don't even want.

That's kind of where I'm at today.

I'm in the mood for a little Beach With A Side Of Fruity Drinks And Good Books.

But it's not on the menu.

Yesterday I tried the Grumpy With A Dash Of Pity Party And A Little Anger to top it all off and it wasn't as good as it sounded.

Today I think I'm going to try the Love And Serve Plate.  It's not really what I'm in the mood for but it looks like my best bet.  If it's good I'll try to get the recipe for you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Have you tasted the strawberries lately?

They are De. Lish.  And affordable.  Chocolate Dipped Strawberries are not just for the town fairs anymore.  You can still pay $5.00 for a plate with 4 berries on it if you want, but until then, lemme show you how to make some at home.

Wait for a commercial during The Price Is Right and run in the kitchen to give em' a good washing.

Lay them on a tea towel and let them hang out to dry.  Let em' dry good.  The chocolate won't stick to a berry that has water droplets on it.

About mid-afternoon, after Dr. Phil, pull out the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Fill the cereal bowl about half way full and put in a teaspoon or so of Crisco.  I don't know why I do this but it seems like it helps the chocolate set up nice and pretty on the berry.

Pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Stir and pop back in for 30 more seconds.

Give it a nice stir and it will be all melty and yummy smelling.

Dunk the berries and lay them on a piece of wax paper to harden.

Let em' sit here till after Wheel of Fortune.  Don't get all cray cray and try to stick 'em in the fridge.  No No.  Resist the urge you hear me?

Can you see how the chocolate pools around the bottom? It's #781 in my 1000 gifts journal.

What a fun way to say I Love You to your peeps.  On a Tuesday night of all things! 

(If you have leftovers and put em' in the fridge, let em' come to room temp before enjoying)

Monday, April 23, 2012


One thing I've been thinking about is how I can bring life to my home, family and friends.  Last week I read a thought provoking challenge in 31 Days To Clean.  Sarah Mae gave a challenge to view your domain (home) as something to make come alive!  The question asked of me was to think about what I can do today to bring life to my home, children, husband and sphere of influence.

This is the reason I packed a candle for our hotel room when we traveled last week.  It's the reason I always pack a candle when we travel.  It's the reason I light a candle every single day.  Now I can put words to why that makes me so happy.  It is because a lit candle makes the space come alive!

It's the reason I baked cookies at 10pm Thursday night.  Shane was leaving for a trip and I wanted him and his friends to have a home baked snack.

It's the reason I jotted down a quick note and tucked it inside his suitcase.  A little happy and remembrance that we loved him and wanted him to have a refreshing time away.

It's the reason it is so cute to see the boys climbing on the fence to talk to Mr. Bob, our elderly neighbor.  We got rolled last weekend (Prom!) and as we were cleaning it up my boys were pretty sure Mr. Bob and Mrs. Betty brought a ladder over during the night and rolled our house.  They are in there 80's.  It could be....

It's the reason we're eating lots of good fruits and veggies.  We have a friend in Community Group who is challenging me to eat healthier.  She probably doesn't realize she's teaching me, but she is.  I've noticed the difference in what she brings to the dinner each week and what I bring.  Her food is always full of life and health. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Before and After

Today for your viewing enjoyment I have some videos for you.  The top is a day in our life!  We live in our home and this is the lived in look.  The video below is how we tie up the loose ends at the end of the day. The bottom video is my goal for how I want the house to look before we leave to go somewhere or before I go to bed.  Waking up and walking into peace is always my goal.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


"Where there is jealousy and selfish ambition you find disorder and every kind of evil practice"

Think about a place where you are experiencing disorder in your life.  Can you trace the root back to either jealousy or selfish ambition?

By definition jealousy means feeling envious over something your eyes have seen that you don't have.  Selfish ambition is self-seeking-looking out for your own needs/desires.

I don't need to define disorder.  We've all experienced the confusion and chaos that disorderliness brings. 

When my first son was born I experienced jealousy toward my husband.  He got to get dressed and go to work every day.  He even got to go to restaurants for lunch somedays and have a Dr. Pepper and a burger while I was at home with the baby.  The grass seemed greener and I was jealous of him getting to leave the house.  It resulted in disorder in my heart toward him which poured over into my attitude toward him during that season.

No one would say they want disorder, jealousy or selfish ambition to define who they are.  They are not character qualities we want to be true of us.  We want the opposite of those things. 

The opposite of disorder is arrangement, method, order, organization and system.

The opposite of jealousy is contentment, satisfaction, and happiness.

The opposite of selfish ambition is kindness, caring and giving.

Ask yourself if selfish ambition or jealousy is at the root of your disorder.  Disorder can be found in relationships (with friends, your spouse, your children).  It can be found in your work and in your home.

Pray that God will reveal the hidden places.  If you find you have jealousy or selfish ambition in your life then you need to acknowledge your sin.  Repent from it.  Ask God to replace your sinful desires with godly ones that reflect Him.

How do you know if jealousy and selfish ambition are a sin for you?

Does it result in death for you?  Because if it results in death that is a good indicator that it is sin for you.  James says sin always leads to death.

So, take the quiz.  Look around today and see if you experience disorder.  When you see disorder ask God to give you eyes to see.  Is there jealousy?  Is there selfish ambition?

James 3:16

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Winner!

Congratulations to New Every Morning!!!  You won the free E-Book!  I will email you with details, congratulations!  If you haven't met Gretchen you should hop on over to her blog.  She has a sweet heart and is about to embark on a big adventure-leaving the city to start a farm with her family.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

31 Days To Clean

Boy did I hit the jackpot yesterday. There's a little Ebook I've had my eye on for awhile now. It's called 31 Days To Clean by Sarah Mae.   Click Here to head over to the link to buy the Ebook for only...wait for it...wait for it...$2.50.  It's 50% off during the month of April.

Every day there is a Mary Challenge and a Martha Challenge.  The Mary Challenge has to do with a heart issue and the Martha Challenge gives you a hands on task.

So, yesterday's challenge was to figure out why YOU want a clean house.  My bottom line?  It makes me feel peaceful.  I wanted to say because it makes my family feel peaceful.  But I changed it because the reality is they'd be perfectly happy in clutter.  They are boys.  The peaceful atmosphere is for me.  Clutter drains me.  Order energizes me.  When I am energized I bless my family and all who enter. 

This makes me so happy.  Knowing WHY a clean house is important to me.  I printed it out and threw it in a frame I had on hand.  It is sitting right on my desk by my computer.  Yesterday Sally Clarkson talked about how no one else in the world will take responsibility for your well being except for you!

I'd like to give away a free copy of Sarah Mae's book.  To enter the contest, just leave a comment.  Monday I will announce the winner!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

4 weeks

I know that all too often, the house gets so out of control you have NO IDEA where to start so you do nothing. 

Today we are going to take that problemo away.

Flylady has the weeks divided into 4 Zones.  The first week of the month is always (you fill in the blank), the 2nd week is always (you fill in the blank), etc, etc...

I used to use her exact division of Zones (which are posted at  until I realized I was never, ever doing Zone 1-which for her is Front Porch, Back Porch and Entry.  I have bigger fish to fry like running a dust rag across a coffee table.  My porch is the last thing on my list.  For you it may be a perfect fit.  Change it and make it work for you.

Take a minute to write down every single room in my home.  Or your home, whichever, I'm not being picky today.  Next, divide them into 4 Zones.

Here is the final list I came up with and it is working.  This week I will focus on cleaning my formal dining room and living room.  I will intentionally clean these areas and do more than feather dust (I will spray pledge in the air after I feather dust to make it smell cleaner).

And here are my cheerful cups because I was pretty sure you wanted to see them again.  When I say cheerful cups, you of course understand I mean cups, plates and bowls because I went all out at the Wal-Marts.

Monday, April 9, 2012

What's Your Problem?

So, what's your problem?

Do you have one?

I do.

My problem was how I was spending my time.  My problem is that I only have about 4-8 more years where I have the most access to my children's hearts.  Between the ages of around 4-12 is when you have the greatest access into your child's heart.  Sure, you have influence before and after those years, but I'm talking about the sweet spot.  The sweet spot is between ages 4-12.  The soil of their hearts is so fertile and receptive during these years.  It has nothing to do with where they go to school.  It has everything to do with you being available with the time you do have with them.

I can tell you first hand that even though my boys are with me all day and night, I can check out for days and be unavailable.  Squandering time happens no matter where your kid goes to school, and squandered time is wasted time you can never get back.  No, schooling choices are not the issue.  Us being faithful with the time we do have is the issue.

If you have a problem do you know the solution?

You know, if nothing changes, nothing changes.  Randy Draper says that all time time. 

One thing I am praying about is our school options for next year.  We use a video curriculum.  All I have to do is press play (heck, I don't even do that, they do that themselves, they are very advanced you know). 

You know what?  My spirit has been unsettled about doing videos again next year.  NO!  NOT THE UNSETTLED SPIRIT LORD!

We know the videos.

They are easy and familiar.

My denim jumper I wear on the first day of school, the videos, the teachers that are circa 1995 with bobs, tapestry vests and wooden apple necklaces.  That is what we know.  It works.  But there's a problem.  As bad as I hate to admit it, there is a problem.  I don't want to have a problem, but I do. 

My problem is that I feel I am missing out on hands on, interactive one on one time with my boys during school.  I want it.  My problem is that I want them to have the freedom to curl up on the hammock with a great book during the day and take an adventure somewhere else-not be forced to finish more seatwork.  My problem is that I want us to live life together and learn along the way. 

I don't want to put one foot out of the boot and yet I know I have to because if nothing changes, nothing changes.  I do want to know the thrill of following Jesus into uncharted waters.  It is because of that reason that I ordered Educating The WholeHearted Child today.  That's the reason I'm asking God for wisdom.

The boat ride has been nice but it's time for change.  What's your problem?  You don't have to tell me but I wonder what it is.  What are you going to do about it?  Keep on keepin' on?  Hunker down into the warmth of the boat and keep coasting on the road to nowhere?  Or will you dare to lift a foot over the side of the boat?  To step out in faith toward something different?  Something totally beyond yourself...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

7 Days A Week

The concept of having certain days for certain tasks is one that will revolutionize your cleaning.  When you always do the same thing every Thursday it becomes so routine you don't even have to think twice about it.  This is a concept I've learned from the book Large Family Logistics.  At first, I was resistant to the idea.  Then I remembered, if nothing changes, nothing changes!  So, I thought I'd give it a try and haven't looked back.  Check out my lists and use them as a guide to create days that meet your needs.

Tuesday is Kitchen Day at our house.  I'm not into sprouting my own grains and making my own yogurt, but I am into having a clean floor.  If you spend an extra 15 minutes in your kitchen every Tuesday, that is 1 hour at the months end.  It adds up and makes a difference.  If your cabinets are overflowing, set your timer on Tuesdays for 15 minutes and start tossing the things you don't really use.

Wednesday.  In LFL that is Office Day (pay bills, make grocery lists, etc).  After having an "office day" for nearly a year and never doing one single thing on my office day list, I changed it.  Now, Wednesday is my day to be intentional about relationships.  It is Bible Study day, I get to hang out with a super fun college girl, and it's a day to spend intentional quality time with my boys.  Today was the first day of the new Relational Wednesday and it was so fun.  I snuggled with the baby this morning, spent more time talking with the big boys, and we had a fun dinner complete with ice cream sundaes. 

Thursday is Town Day.  You could call it Errand Day but Town Day just sounds more fun.  It is such a good idea to put all your errands together so you run them in one chunk of time.  It saves lots of time in the long run.  Having a day that you go to the store every week helps too.  It gets you organized and forces you to plan the menu for the week.  You spend less money this way!

Friday is cleaning day.  In a perfect world the bunk bed sheets would get washed every week.  Not at my house though.  I'm going to try washing them on the 1st and 3rd Friday and cleaning the bathrooms on the 2nd and 4th.  Part of your morning routine should include putting all of your beauty products back under the sink and wiping down the counter quickly when you are done. 

The Dollar Tree has clear, plastic shoe box like storage bins.  I bought 2, threw the lids away, and store my Chi, hair dryer, hair wax, velcro roller, brushes, combs, hairspray, I can pull the bin out...create the big Texas hair...then put them away.

Saturday-Garden Day.  Saturday is a great day to do the outdoor work.  This includes cleaning out the car and garage.  I hope to start implementing this this week!  You also need to think ahead to Sunday on Saturday.  You need to know what is for lunch after church and what is for dinner Sunday evening.  Saturday is a great day to make a big meal that makes left-overs, or plan a crock-pot meal for Sunday.  You don't want to be caught off guard.  Lay the kids church clothes out Saturday night.

Sunday-The Lord's Day.  At our house Sunday is the best day of the week.  We have set parameters around Sunday to make it different and set apart from the rest of the week.  It is a day where we worship together, we rest and we have fellowship with friends in the evening.  I plan ahead because there is no cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping or computer time for this Mama on Sunday's.  TV is on the list but during sports seasons we love some Sunday Night Football (with Nachos!).

If your current housecleaning system is not working, think about giving this a try.  It's as simple as taking out 7 sheets of paper and writing a day of the week on top of each piece.  Then think about how you want to divide your week up.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

$1.00 Makeovers

Every week we host Community Group and have between 20-50 people.  We eat together and usually use paper products.  The problem is, sometimes you run out and the glass plates can be bulky/cumbersome.  The solution?  Wal-Mart!  You can get 4 packs of plates, bowls, grown-up cups and kids sized cups for $1.00 for a set of 4.  For under $20 I got 16 adult cups, 18 kids cups, 16 bowls and 32 dinner plates.

Aren't they so cheerful?

Throw in a couple packages of disposable forks...

Wet wipes for kid clean-up, napkins and straws, and we're ready to party!

The old, cluttered drink glass cabinet

The new and improved drink cabinet.  We're using Mason Jars for Iced Tea glasses by the way, I highly recommend it.  There aren't too many things quite as happy as a Mason Jar filled with Sweet Tea and a Lemon Wedge.

These are salad plates that we never use.  So, I'm selling them in our yard sale.  It feels like a rebel move.  Like I'm breaking some sort of law selling part of a set of dishes.  But why not?  If we never use them, they need to go.

Out with the old, in with the new.

These are going to be so easy to get down for large gatherings.  I went ahead and added plastic forks, straws, napkins and wet wipes to this shelf and now we're ready for business.  We can have them hand washed, dried and put away in 10 minutes.