Despite our winter warnings, we have been packing like crazy, but with a focus on organization. It was while I was confronted with a hallway full of assorted bed linens and towels that I got a little creative. I had read somewhere to store the matching sheets (and extra pillowcases) in the pillowcase for the set. That way, everything is ready to go and you can just grab the sheet set you want. Really good idea, by the way, wish I knew who said it so that I could credit them. However, like most families, I have more than one bed size, which I realized when I was looking for twin-sized sheets for my kids’ beds for my sister’s visit. I grabbed a pink (yeah, this must be Jordyn’s) queen sized sheet. Needless to say, it didn’t fit the twin bed and was tossed aside. It won’t fit my king sized bed either, but it might fit on our futon. My idea was to label these pillowcase-packages so that, at a glance, I could tell where each set belonged.


T for Twin, K for King, and Q for Queen (if I can ever complete the set!). I just took a little scrap of flannel (because it doesn’t fray easily), pinked the edges with my scissors, and wrote on it with a permanent marker. Affix with a safety pin and you are ready to go.


Dear Friend,

I did something crazy today, Friend. It started innocently enough. I remembered that last night I felt good because of the busyness of the day and for accomplishing a few tasks. Today, I told myself, I would slowly ease into cleaning what is supposed to be the master bedroom and is instead the “collector of all things, to include (but not limited to): clothes, dirty and clean, piles of books, movies, trash, all household paperwork, sewing projects, fabric for sewing projects, cute pattern that I couldn’t pass up, pens, pencils, candy, candy wrappers, balls of yarn, balls of embroidery thread, and the unavoidable dust bunnies.” Oh yeah, and there is a king size bed in this room too!

I began today, Friend. I started slowly by picking up the gigantic gray bucket that I knew was serving as a temporary storage facility for all sorts of randomness, but I also knew that the bottom of the bucket contained fabric! Yes, fabric, but since it doesn’t belong to me, it’s easy to process- toss into the garage…while still in the container! It was as I moved the mammoth gray bucket onto my bed to spill its contents that I noticed how much extra floor space I had. There were two other similarly filled boxes right next to my laundry basket, which, after I moved them on top of my bed, I realized that I could in fact, reach the windows to open them. The beautiful sun was shining down during this late morning time and I chanced it by opening the windows.

Once the boxes were on the bed, Friend, I realized that I couldn’t simply stop. There were a few books that had been placed directly below the shelf that they belong in, so I sorted that out. It was then that the overwhelming need to reorganize came over me. I realized that it wasn’t enough that I just straighten my room, there was a flaw in the layout of the furniture that allowed for too many flat surfaces, but all of them in the wrong spots to as to severely diminish the function of the room as a restful haven and rather increase its function as the storage facility for every hopeless thing in the house. I could hear the sighs of the neglected bedside table and the dresser was groaning louder than the rest under the load it was required to bear.

Friend, I set it all to right. Today, with little outside intervention, I managed to completely rearrange AND clean my entire bedroom. I am so proud of myself, it took me nearly 12 hours, but it was worth it to hear my mom’s positive comments and my husband’s surprised look. I am practically delirious at this moment, but I am thrilled with the (still slightly incomplete) results.

And, I know that I get to rest tomorrow, did I tell you, Friend? My husband and I are going out on a date and we are staying out all night! An advance thank you to my mother and sister who will be caring for my treasures while we are away. I hope to post pictures later!

Fun Challenges

In church today we discussed “perfection” using the first few verses of James 1. That whole notion of counting it all joy when you face trials and tribulation wasn’t what I wanted to hear this morning (err, yesterday morning…it’s late!) but it was, as always, a well-timed sermon. So speaking of challenges, despite the constant turmoil of living here, which I know is producing good fruit in my life through the working of the Holy Spirit, I have decided to attempt two different challenges.

The most recent is a home cleaning challenge and you can find the initiator here. I have decided to go through and “spring clean” several areas. Living as I do, in an extended family situation, there are always other people around to help keep things tidy, but there are areas that have been neglected, so I’d like to tend to those.
1. Living room- all that unwanted stuff that collects because you forget to remove it, along with a good vacuuming and window washing.
2. Kitchen- scrubbing the floors, clean out fridge, reorganize pantry and cabinets.
3. Dining Room- mostly the downstairs bathroom and the game closet, which is a wreck.
4. Master Bedroom- suffice it to say, this is the messiest room in the house, and it should not be that way!
5. Back Room- that evil, tiny, multi-purpose room.
6. Garage- where all our leftover junk is stored. Q: Where is that thing that I had when we used to live there? A: I don’t know honey, look in the garage. Q: Where is it, in that garage? A: Who knows…see ya next week though, if the spiders don’t carry you off first. Sigh.
Hopefully, I will be able to take (and POST) pictures of my progress. I fully expect this challenge to take two weeks. Though my list is pretty short, some of these projects are multi-day types, like my bedroom for example. It should be really nice to get everything clean and tidy, and (gasp) keep it clean, in theory. I have a related resource that I will be reading during these next few weeks called, Home Comforts, which is really a manual on how to keep your home. I found it at my library after two different recommendations. I reserved some “crafty” books as well just to “try them out.”
Okay, so the next challenge is much more fun. It involves feminine dressing. I know that not everyone agrees on what is “modest” and what is not, but when we take the time to address modesty in light of femininity, things take an interesting turn. I have been a big fan of Mrs. Sherman’s website, Living at Home, for a long time now, even though I don’t always agree with everything she says, does, or suggests. However, I love what she has been doing lately. She has been taking older painting that show the feminine clothing of the past and pulling from them inspiration that she translates into something slightly more modern and wearable. Among all these posts have been little nuggets on sewing tips, dressing tips, modesty tips and so on. She prefers for her comments to be anonymous, so there is really a feeling that you can ask whatever you want and not be shamed. I have really become almost addicted to this series (hence the need for the first challenge!). So, she hasn’t issued an official challenge per say, but I will endeavor to take pictures of myself during these two weeks spent cleaning so that you can see my feminine wardrobe change as I add new pieces.
One subject I need some help with is hair dressing. If anyone knows some tips or tricks on what to do with medium length thin hair, let me know! I can’t stand hair in my face and it is just too hot to leave it down (we get to about 100 degrees these days…with no air conditioning!) I would love to look into older styles, but I really need simple!
***edited to add: I have found another great website for Christian women, called What Women Never Hear and it is a collection of articles geared toward the modern woman written by a man. The few things I have read are very interesting.

Random; Space Issues

So what have I been up to this past month? Well, I have been pretty busy falling off the “schedule” wagon, but I expected I would. Now I’m finally trying to get back ON that wagon and get back into homeschooling, cleaning, working out…the usual.

I have been working at staying productive during the day and just these past few days, I’ve been organizing my tiny back room space which is so multi-functional it’s funny. My sister is talking about potentially moving back to Washington in the not-to-distant future and though I’d miss her, I am already planning where my stuff would go in her wonderfully large room! {sheepish grin} Her room sits in the front of the house and has a large bay window and another side window which let in all the wonderful breezes and a lot of light to go along with it. It would make an excellent multi-purpose room for my crafting, sewing, computer/office, homeschooling, toy room. It is at least three times the size of the one I’m using now, so the space would be welcome. Though, I should probably be getting used to cramped conditions because I know that this is far more space than I will have next year when we’ve moved into our own apartment again. Hopefully, we will find a two bedroom space that works for us. We don’t have any living room furniture, so if we have two bedrooms, we could use the living room for that multi-purpose space.
Just some random thoughts. It is not nearly late enough for me to justify spending time on the computer, so I’ll have to run now and get back to the cleaning. Maybe I’ll post some pictures soon!

Ultimate Packing Tuesday!!!

We leave on Saturday! We load the truck on Friday! We have a massive dentist appointment (that will take at the very least all morning and most of the afternoon…that’s a different story) on Thursday! We have a doctor’s appointment and an oil change on Wednesday! Which leaves me with today. To pack. The whole house. Granted, I’ve not been idle these past few weeks, so a lot has already been done, but even more needs to be done! I’m a list maker and I packed my paper already, so here is my list of things to do today! And just for fun: a few pictures!

What has already been packed (notice the lack of couches and end tables…yup, we sold ’em!):

*Finish sorting and packing random things in living room

*Print fun paper and pack up printer
The other half of the living room…yet to be packed (hoping to sell that gigantic entertainment center too!):
*Clean out kids’ room (everything except the beds!)

This was actually taken in the living room. When I had cleared out the glass door portion of my entertainment center, the kids climbed in…

*Clean out spare bedroom

*Pack books
*Pack kids toys

You can see the boxes of books in the foreground on the right, behind them is the wall full of toys and the rest of the room is mostly empty boxes and already packed stuff, ready to move out to the living room.

*Laundry Monster…need I say more?
*Finish packing up unessentials in bathroom
*Pack Master Bedroom
(this is the trickiest room because Eric is staying behind for a little bit!!!)
*Remove all removeable items, return only essentials
*Pack up the packables
*Pack a suitcase per person with the clothes for the trip
*Pack an open box with clothes for next few days
, keep it next to the larger “everything else” suitcase
*Pack the kitchen and dining room
*Finish doing dishes and clearing counters
*Clear out all cabinets
*Pack up “not-to-be-used” food
*Pack up snack food for the trip
*Pack up all dishes…moving to “cold food only week!”
*Start cleaning!!!

Okay, I have officially wasted over an hour doing this “quick” post! Gotta run!!!

And the Race is On

What we have been waiting for has finally happened! Almost.

We are moving! Almost.

We have been delaying our move, which should have already happened by now because our moving plan is somewhat wacky. The plan is that my sister, Kelly and her husband Jared, will be purchasing a house in Pueblo, Colorado. This house will need some work, but they are getting a great deal on it because of that. Jared is a high-school teacher in New Mexico right now, where they live. The promotion ladder requires them to stay in NM for another year, at least, but Kelly is planning on attending the Botany program in Pueblo soon. So, the house will be vacant, but they will “technically” be CO residents, therefore giving Kelly a less expensive tuition rate. Now the question became, “what to do with a vacant house?” That’s where we come in.
My family is flat broke and would very likely be unable to qualify for an apartment that meets our needs. My mom is extremely frugal and not exactly rolling in the dough, if you know what I mean. However, she manages her money properly and is not exactly under the same duress that my family is in. One of my other sisters, Karee, currently lives with my mom and will continue to do so. She is also looking forward to going to college in Colorado. Put three frugal (whether by choice or circumstances) together add a vacant house and you might infer what the plan is: we will all combine and share Kelly’s house (that she’s not living in) for as long as it takes. The plan is weak at best, since we are all of different minds and habits, but it is the best choice for now…you can’t beat a $500 mortgage split three ways!
So what has happened to warrant this post? Kelly has heard from the realtor and she should be closing within two or three weeks. Then there is some plumbing and a furnace that needs replacing and we will be moving in! My house hasn’t sold yet, but my husband was already going to stay behind temporarily because he is in a deployed National Guard unit and won’t be able to move until this summer. He will stay behind and finish up the sale of our house. The debate going on is what will happen once he moves to Colorado. Will we get our own apartment or rough it with my mother? What we will have to do, is play it based on the job availability. Kelly’s house is in Pueblo, CO and we want to live in Colorado Springs, which is 45 minutes north. If Eric gets a job in Colorado Springs, we will most likely be moving there. If he is unable to find a job there, he will extend his search to the Pueblo area, but Springs is our first choice. Our tentative move date is the tail end of February to the beginning of March, with dental appointments and moving costs complicating things.
Now the objective is to get packed ASAP and to sell (or give away) whatever we won’t need. This has become slightly harry because we will be combining two households and there is no need for two living room furniture sets. Our furniture is definitely in BAD shape, so we will be getting rid of most of it (all of it). This leaves a whole in our living room if we do end up getting an apartment of our own, but we will just carefully add to our house what we need slowly. It should be fun!
Over the next three weeks, I need to:
*organize the entire house, decluttering and collecting “like objects” together.
*sell (or list for sale) most of the furniture. We were thinking that we would try to sell things like our children’s bedroom sets for very close to what we paid for them and if we don’t get what we were asking for, then we will keep them. We would like to be able to purchase bunk beds for them because we will need to rent only a two-bedroom apartment and both bed sets make for a room that is far too crowded.
*pack everything…carefully! Space is at a premium, so I need to be extremely careful about what I choose to pack and how I choose to pack it. I am pretty handicapped when it comes to organizing things spatially, so this is going to take some serious planning on my part. I am employing the use of those vacuum bags for larger items like blankets and whatnot and will probably use them to pack boxes with clothes in them. I am putting away a lot of toys, since I can’t give them away anymore.
*cook from my pantry! I have a large store of things in my pantry and I am going to need to organize and declutter that as well.
Blogging will have to move to a back burner, but hopefully I will be able to post pictures and stuff every week or so. I am looking forward to having this move over with!

Lantern Light and Laptops

I found a cheap oil lantern and oil at Wal-Mart the other day and my husband filled it up for me this morning. Upon realizing this evening that he had done so, I decided to light it.

I have had a very bad day. Not only was I feeling under the weather (I had a migraine and resulting severe nausea) but, despite the fact that it is Sunday, my husband has returned to his “Friday’s off” position and was not at home. To top it all off, I woke up in the middle of the night with a screaming tooth ache. I really need to see a dentist, immediately. [Ironically, it didn’t bother me much during the day…] Because I was feeling ill, we stayed home from church and I spend some time reclining in my bedroom while my children “watched TV” in the other room. I put that in quotes because that is what they were supposed to be doing. What they were really doing was playing with my flour. I have a gigantic container of whole wheat flour (probably about 10-15 lbs worth), a 5 lb container of unbleached bread flour, and a smaller container of corn muffin mix (from bulk, maybe about 4 cups worth) stacked right in front of the pantry. They were not inside the pantry because there isn’t much room, but if I reorganize it there probably ¬†will be, but I hadn’t done it yet. First mistake. Anyway, the kids had dumped in some of the bread flour into the large container of WW flour and then poured a bottle of red juice into it and then added a bag of 6-7 apples and covered it with the rest of the bread flour. Of course, their aim was off and several cups of flour hit my carpeted floor. The entire container of corn bread mix also hit the floor, though a small amount made it to the bucket. My daughter had flour in her hair, that’s how I knew that they were up to something. Of course, wonder child that she is, she blamed the whole thing on her brother. I was too upset to deal with them, so I sent them to play in their room while I figured out how I was going to go about salvaging what I could from their cooking disaster.
While they were in their room, they took about half the clothes off the hangers and their bedspreads off the bed. What little toys they have in their room were also in the middle of their room. They helped me straighten that (minimally…remember, my head was throbbing and I had the awful feeling of morning sickness, without the pleasant reminder that I was pregnant…) and I put the TV on again only this time, I was watching with them. They wandered around and started playing again, so I flipped it to something a little more stimulating for my adult brain. One can only take so much Dora. It was around this time that they dumped a cup of water onto my bedroom floor (also carpet) but I didn’t realize it until several hours later when I stepped on the soggy animal cracker that was also dropped. They also stole and ate an entire can (small) of almonds. I was ready for naptime by now. I got out those Uncrustable sandwiches (you know the frozen PBJ sandwiches…how much more convenient can you get than frozen PBJ…you don’t even have to slather on the PB, just open a plastic wrapper…all for the low low price of…nevermind, they are ridiculously expensive and only about half a sandwich, plus they are on white glue, errr bread, but the kids like them and they are a special treat). Then it was naptime.
After naptime, I was feeling slightly less nauseous but my head was killing me worse than ever. I rested in my room again. I don’t know why because it didn’t work the first time, but the kids are usually more interesting in the afternoon TV programming, so I thought it would just work until the medicine I had finally resorted to taking kicked in. (Mind you, I’m still in my PJs). That is about when I realized that my son had my bottle of Febreeze and had succeeded in spraying it all over the place, the hall carpet was literally soaked, there was a pool on one of the chairs (thankfully, wood chair), he “washed” one of the apples in it and then headed to his room. After covering that room in lavender fragrance, he headed into my room which is where I intercepted him. There were a million different times where I stopped a child from doing something they shouldn’t have, so I suppose I should rejoice ¬†that it could have been worse.
So, to get to the actual point of why I am writing this…in the evening, I realized that my husband had filled up the oil lantern and the kids were curious what it was all about, so I read the instructions and lit the wick. After enjoying the warm light for about 20 minutes, I told them that we had to turn it off because the living room was too dirty. So, I flipped on the lights, blew out the flame and began to clean the living room. For the first time all day, the kids and I actually worked together. Jordyn and I had done some laundry, she was very excited to get to be the one that actually switched on the machine and put the soap in it. (Hmm…I think I see a daily chore here…). While that was running, we picked up the million different random things that were laying around and the kids did fairly well as “go-fers” and we had it all picked up and vacuumed before they tired of the game. I didn’t pick on them when Jordyn decided that she was some sort of animal so every time I told her to put something somewhere, she carried it with her teeth (ouch!) while crawling on hands and knees. I just allowed them to help out whenever they came back into the room and I had a steady supply of things for them to run and do.
Finally, we gathered the candles out of Mommy’s room (I love candles) and we put the lantern on the coffee table in the living room and we went around the house turning off the lights. It was late, so the kids didn’t get to enjoy the candle light too much, but they still had fun. Now, here I am, sitting on my couch with my coffee table full of candles and one oil lantern, while I type away on my laptop. What a juxtaposition. I remember seeing that exact same thing on one of my favorite blogs, Lentils and Rice. She is taking a blogging break right now otherwise I would link to the post I am talking about. I think I could really get used to this type of lighting. It probably isn’t as cheap as a battery-powered flashlight and it definitely isn’t as poweful or bright, but I am thinking that in the evenings, when I want to wind down and when I want the kids to wind down, a little lantern glow and the wonderful flickering flames of candles might just be the ticket. I love it.
The lantern and oil combined cost less than $10.00 and the amount of oil I got will last for a long time. I will be doing this again, definitely. Totally worth it!!! Now, I may look into some nice beeswax candles. What a relaxing tone to set for the evenings and a wonderfully peaceful way to end this crazy day.