Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's That Time of the Month Again... And That Time of the Year!

Tomorrow is February 2016 - HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!  Wasn't it just New Year's Day?!  And wasn't last week Christmas?  And wasn't last month Fall Break and Halloween?!

No????  Oh, well, I am all kinds of messed up with this weather going up and down and all around.  I feel like I have been in a weird fog of not knowing what month, day, or time it is for several months now.  Am I the only one to feel this way?

Since it is the last day of the month, I woke up this morning knowing that I needed to spend some time finishing up the menu for this next month, looking over some of the events we have coming up in February, thinking through what needs to be done in order for those events to run smoothly (or as smooth as possible, right?), etc.  But of course all of this indoor brainstorming, calendar studying, and menu/grocery list writing had to fall on a day when the weather was over 60 degrees outside!  On the last day of January?!  I'm not complaining, just admitting it is confusing and totally random!  So, of course, I had to throw our usual daily schedule out the window, because with this crazy weather, it would be my luck that if we didn't play outside, we'd probably get snowed into our home in 3 days and be stuck inside for a month!

So, instead of putting our toddlers down for naps after lunch today, we played outside all afternoon!  We rode the Cozy Coupe down the hill several times, cleaned up the back deck, rode bikes up and down the street, and then the kids and I went for a walk!  There is a sort of wilderness down the street from our house, and Emersyn (our 4-year-old daughter) said she wanted to "go on a bear hunt".  We went "exploring" down a mowed path in the middle of this wooded field in the center of our neighborhood.  Keegan (our 1-year-old son) kept telling us "shh" and pointing to his nose... because that is the signal for being quiet, right?  We had a blast!

But 4pm rolled around, and I knew that the little man needed a nap, and I had to get my "indoor" work done.  But it dawned on me as I sat down with the laptop... Hello!  This laptop can go outside!  Duh, right?!  So while the little people slept, I enjoyed my time in my outdoor office, wearing slippers and covering up with my great-grandmother's gaudy, but very warm, homemade quilt, and looking over all my calendars.  This month we have work (between my husband and I, we work 2 full-time jobs and 4 part-time jobs), which that alone will kill your calendar with ink right there!  Ha!  But we also have speech therapy on Fridays, 4 get-togethers, and a wedding (my husband's first to officiate!)!  It is a short month, but jam-packed, which is how I like it anyway.

Something I am not planning to do in February is something my husband and I have done for the past few years, In the past we have done a Financial Fast in the month of February.  You can read all about that at  And while I think this is a wonderful thing to do at least once a year, it just won't work for us at this time.  We have too many things going on that will require us to spend money this month, and we are already trying to pay off two bills by the end of the school year.

But I do feel that we need some kind of challenge in February, even if it won't be necessarily a financial one.  So I have been reading through a lot of "how-to"s on uncluttering.  And I feel this is a HUGE need in our home!  Since we live in a home twice the size of our last one, we have gotten soft in the area of being organized and cleaning out the junk from our space periodically - mainly just because we don't have to worry about condensing things down anymore.  But sometimes I feel tense and stress just by opening a closet door or drawer, because there is so much random stuff in there!

So our February 2016 challenge is to rid our home of 500 things by the end of the month!  I have seen this done on other blogs and tutorial videos, and I feel inspired to clean out our junk!  Others that have done this have made daily goals, and some have organized their challenge by object or room.  I decided I would start with a list of problem areas and just clutter that stresses me out in general, and then see where to go from there.  I am going to have a weekly goal, so that I can be flexible about when I conquer these problem-areas in my home.  I am also having to decide where I am going to put all of these things I am decluttering from my home.  It just so happens that one of our garage doors is broken - which is bad for Kyle who has to park outside, but it does provide an open half of our garage to pile these 500 items into.  Then I will divide the 500 items into 3 smaller piles - give away, throw away, and sell.  Either way, these items must be out of our house and off our property by March 1st... can we do this?!  I certainly hope so!

Let the decluttering begin!  Anyone else wanna do this with us?  We will be posting a couple of times a week on how this challenge is going, and if you know of anyone who needs some of the stuff we are getting rid of, just let us know!

Freedom From Junk 2016 Challenge begins tomorrow!
The problem areas I will begin with are:
Kitchen counters (the catch-all space)
Entryway closet
My clothes
Our bedroom (the catch-all room)
My daughter's closet
My son's closet
Living room toys
Playroom toys
4 junk drawers in the kitchen (I know, it is shameful to even admit)
Laundry room (the other catch-all room, and I never clean that room... yikes)
Downstairs desk
Upstairs desk

I'm starting to think 500 items won't be that difficult after all!  Woohoo!

Monday, January 18, 2016


It was a dark evening back in November, and I looked at the clock thinking it had to be close to my kids' bedtime. Not that they were trying my patience, but we had eaten dinner, had dessert, watched 3 episodes of Heidi on Netflix... And I was getting restless. But the clock said it was only 6:30 pm - um, what?! For real?!

Okay, we needed a plan to fill the next hour with something other than eating or watching more TV, but what? So I headed to the games shelf in the upstairs closet to find our Chess board. I figured since Emersyn has played Candyland several times and really understands how to play, and she can sit and pay attention that long, maybe I could teach her Checkers? I had the checkers, but I couldn't find the board. The Chess board was not on the game shelf either. So I started looking all over the house - my room, Kyle's study, the garage... Nothing...

Well, actually there was SOMETHING. But it wasn't Chess.

I grinned big time as I picked up a game I hadn't played in a very long time. It was a game that my friend, Jessica, and I had created 10 years ago, not that I remembered how long ago if it had been dependent upon my own memory. There was an inscription on the inside of the lid!

We were roommates for 5 years, and when we had to split up in order to marry our now-husbands (which was a blessing, of course, but sad to no longer have each other's closets to raid or minds to pick on-the-spot), somehow I got this game in the roomie-divorce :)

We got the idea of creating this from a similar game we had played in college. It had been a gift to one of our college friends when she was a child in the 80s and 90s. After college, Jessica and I figured  that in order to play this game again, we would have to build it ourselves. My schoolteacher mom had a blank gameboard we could have. So we headed to my parents' house, and on the way we stopped at Walmart and bought a few bridal magazines and poster board.

After 8 hours of planning, cutting, gluing, and writing, we had "A Not-So-Perfect Wedding" game. A cross between MASH (ya know the notebook paper game from your school days) and Monopoly.  As you go around the board, you collect things for your wedding day - things like a venue, musicians, food, dress, bridesmaid dresses, flowers, the ring, and even the groom is up for a roll of the dice!  When you land on an item, you roll to see how much money you have to spend.  So, if you roll a 4, you have $400 to spend.  Each picture card in each item category is labeled with a price tag.  The first person to collect a card from every category wins!

When I saw the game in the garage, warm fuzzies filled my heart.  It had been so long since I had even opened the game box, so I thought maybe it was time to introduce my daughter to this!

My daughter was then only about to turn 4-years-old, so I wasn't sure she would want to play.  But once we got all the pictures and cards out, and I explained how to play - she was very excited!  Perhaps as she is entering into the "when I grow up and get married" dream phase, this game wasn't the healthiest choice.  Maybe it feeds something that isn't healthy... I'm not really sure.  But I will admit that I felt childlike, myself, and even though I had a real wedding 6 1/2 years ago, the idea of weddings still makes me quite giddy!

We had a great time, and she was ahead the entire game!  I kept drawing unfortunate "Fate" cards, such as being dumped at the alter by my groom and not being able to collect any more items until I had a new groom!  Well, she kept getting cards that said things like, "Your name was chosen from a raffle at the bakery - any cake is yours for free!"

Of course, the child would win the game that the mother created!  Ridiculous!

And the winner was Emersyn!!! And yes, her groom was George Clooney, but in this game his real name is "Dierk"

She actually didn't win because she had collected an item from all the categories... she just happened to get tired of playing when she had more items than I did!  How convenient!

Ya know what, though?  My eyes got a little teary-eyed while we played, when I had the thought that some day we will be standing in shops, venues, etc... planning the real day my daughter is a bride.  My prayers have been and will continue to be that she marries a man who loves Christ and realizes what a gift she is.  A good reminder that she is also a gift for me, one I will not be able to spend time with every day for very long.  This child is an incredible gift on loan to me for an amount of time yet to be known... I pray I will treasure all these days in my heart.