Clutter Free

I think I have always lived with clutter; I’ve never been accused of being a neat-freak!

Actually, I’ve always described it as an organized mess and most of the time I could still find what I was seeking. But recently my children and I were required to move into a very small space and clutter very quickly took its toll. It’s difficult to find places for things; and then equally difficult to find them again.

We are trying to find a new place to live; however, we must live in the allotted space until that new place is found. It is getting bad trying to make space for myself and two pre-teens, but Kathi Lipp has come to the rescue with her book Clutter Free and her 21 Day Challenge.

 

So I began today; and I invite you to join me on this journey. Will you? Will you take the challenge to be Clutter Free in 2015? You can start here: http://www.kathilipp.com/clutter-free-21-day-challenge

Here is some of what I’m working on…

 

Box ClutterGames & Crafts Clutter

 

The top image is of Box Clutter. Like I said, we are trying to move, so I am collecting boxes in anticipation. However, we don’t know when that’s going to happen, so the pile of boxes, bubble wrap, paper, air pockets, etc. continues to grow and take over the room.

The bottom image is that of games, craft supplies, bags of items I need when I take my Lilla Rose business to vendor events, etc. This is definitely a case of too much stuff and not enough space. It’s also a result of a bit of laziness on both me and Diva. Granted, given our current living situation, the containers lining the wall are necessary evils, but the clutter on top, around the bottom, hanging out, etc. is not necessary.

I decided to begin with the box clutter. I figured that once the boxes were sorted and organized; once the miscellany around the boxes is cleaned up, perhaps we can assign homes to some of the stuff in the other room (or at least begin to pack it in the boxes – ya know, the whole ‘kill two birds with one stone’ thing).

I was able to spend a little time on it this afternoon and it does look better. It’s not done yet, but things are more organized; and better yet? Some things are G-O-N-E!

Yep, gone. I assigned one of the boxes to be for those items I no longer want and can either sell or donate. I put some items in there, but I won’t count them until they actually leave the house. I also threw some things into the recycling bag. Those I counted and noted for later.

Wait. Why am I counting these things? Well, Kathi has challenged us to get rid of 2000 things over the course of the next year. Dare I attempt 2015 in 2015? I did this back in 2012 and was pretty successful at it. It can be challenging, but that’s what this process is all about, right?

And moving time is a perfect opportunity to start fresh. The only problem is that most of my ‘stuff’ is in storage and won’t be accessible until the move happens; but I will do my best with what I have. Too bad I didn’t count before I sent that bag off to ThredUp two weeks ago – but, wait, they will send me an itemized list, so maybe I will count that once I get that…

After one day’s work, I can sate that I eliminated (via the recycle bag) 28 items, plus a few crumpled up receipts that I didn’t count. Not bad.

Now… Who is going to join me? Who is going to take up Kathi’s challenge? Comment below and share your commitment to go Clutter Free. If you write up your own post about your participation, put your link in the comments and I’ll stop by.

C’Mon Ladies; We Can Do This!

 

* Disclaimer: If you make a purchase at Lilla Rose through my link, I will earn commission; if you sign up for ThredUp, I will earn clothing credit. As for Kathi’s book (Clutter Free), I received a free advance copy in order for my honest and willing participation (the link to amazon is an affiliate link).

 

Answer Me This #2

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Happy Easter!

Answer Me This

1. What did you and your family wear to Mass on Easter Sunday?

I wore a pink blouse and black slacks, LegoFan wore his new green shirt and tie, and Diva wore a beautiful long, pastel dress with pretty pink flowers on it. She also added some pearl-colored sandals with chunky crystals on them – her new faves!

2. Easter Bunny: Thumbs up or thumbs down?

We never really focused on the bunny and always kept that casual. The kids figured that one out long before they began to question Santa. And we never had any photos taken at the mall. The costumes are never good and they really creep me out! But they still like egg hunts and a few surprises Easter morning; and so I oblige, with pleasure.

3. Do you prefer to celebrate holidays at your own house or at someone else’s house?

I’d prefer to celebrate at my own house – if I had one.

First, I enjoy entertaining. I enjoy having people over and creating a warm, family environment. But a very close second has to do with all LegoFan’s allergies and anxieties. It’s just better for me to have control over the food and lack of furry animals. It’s better for him if he’s in a setting where he’s familiar and comfortable.

4. What is your favorite kind of candy?

Is this a trick question? I think it’s impossible to come up with just one. I’ve always loved Brach’s Jelly Beans – not the Jelly Bird Eggs, not the Spiced Jelly Beans – just the plain ole, regular, original, Jelly Beans. But I really, really, don’t like the black ones and the red ones. Can we get bags made without those two flavors, please?

And then there’s the chocolate… M&Ms, Mounds Bars, York Peppermint Patties… I’m getting hungry!

Lastly, I love the eggs: mint, raspberry, marshmallow, and nougat. Love. Love. Love!

5. Do you like video games?

No. I don’t understand them. I can’t seem to play them. Much to LegoFan’s utter disappointment. He loves them: Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, anything LEGO. I just don’t see the fascination. But he’s good at them. So we have the Wii U in the house, the kids play the games, and I try to understand.

6. Do you speak another language?

I took three years of French in high school. I learned a little Italian when I went to Rome for World Youth Day 2000. And I tried to teach my kids a little Latin. So I guess the actual answer to this question is no. I can say and read a few words in several languages, but I cannot speak any of them other than English. And sometimes I question that ability!

Now join us over at Catholic All Year and play along!

Blessed

Blessed

For a few years now, I’ve been reading people’s “One Word” posts. I even wanted to select a word for myself. But last year, I had three words I liked and I couldn’t narrow it down to just one. So I did what any sensible person would do…

I just gave up on the idea.

Ok, not so sensible. But this year, as soon as I remembered the “One Word” idea, my word was there for me. There was no hemming and hawing. No deciding. It was just there.

BLESSED

Apparently I’ve been having too many pity parties over the last few months. Or maybe I just need to be reminded that, despite my current circumstances, I truly am blessed.

With this being 2014, I thought I’d kick off this year of the BLESSED with 14 blessings I can count in my life right now:

  1. My God ~ My Faith ~ My Salvation – This wonderful God blessed me with the gift of His Son; and, thus, the gift of salvation. This Son, Jesus, died for me, so that I might live. This photo is of my Origami Owl locket. In it is a plate that is stamped ‘Blessed,’ the word ‘Love,” and a cross – all to remind me of the love my God has for me!  Blessed Locket, Origami Owl
  2. LegoFan – I’m listing him first, not because he’s loved more than his sister, but because he was born first. LegoFan has been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, as well as a host of other things. He has taught me some much-needed patience. He has shown me true joy. I am blessed to know him and to be his Mama.  LegoFan Ornament
  3. Diva – Obviously, she was born second. She is developing into a beautiful young lady. She has brought femininity back into my life. She has humbled me. I am blessed to know her and to be her Mama.  Diva Ornament
  4. My Mother – I don’t have a photo she’d be happy with me posting, so this will just be text. My mother is one of the few family members who truly supports me in my endeavors to continue homeschooling the children, despite being a single parent. She has supported my decision in word and deed. I am so blessed to have her in my life and to know that she supports us.
  5. A Place to Live – We are not currently living in a place I would choose to live. But, my children have a safe place to be, play, and learn. We have a place that is warm and shelters us from the elements. We have something soft under our heads when we sleep at night. We are blessed to have somewhere to be each day. A Place To Live
  6. A Car to Drive – Earlier in 2013, my car was a mess. It had dents, a crack in the windshield, a hole in the floor from the driver’s heel, and had parts falling off of it. The worst thing? Two windows wouldn’t stay up and there was no heat. Then the brakes went out… It was time to send it to the auto graveyard. So I looked for used cars. I set my budget and was determined to stick to it. I made a list of cars available at a few different dealers in the area and we set out to look. We had struck out at most of the dealers and there were only two left. We drove onto the lot and were a little disappointed in this little lot with some broken down cars and a trailer for an office. They didn’t have the car I came there to see. But being the good salesman he was, the employee told me he had a few cars come in the night before that had not yet been advertised. He showed me one, but it wasn’t what we needed. Then he showed me another one. It would not have been my first choice, or even my 10th probably, but I gave it a chance. It was $500 less than my budget, that was a good start. He gave me the VIN and told me I could go run a CARFAX on it. I got on my computer and researched the make and model only to discover that it was one of the better made cars out there. I ran the CARFAX to discover that this car had no accidents or any other problems reported in its history. It seemed like this car was supposed to be for me. After I bought it I realized that I had asked God for something safe and reliable; and He delivered. But not only that, like Solomon asking for the right thing in Wisdom and getting more than he asked for; I, too, got more than I asked for. I got some features I’d only dreamed about having! I am very blessed to have been directed to this car; and it has grown on me too! A Car To Drive
  7. Food to Eat – Food has been something of a struggle for us. LegoFan has battled food allergies all of his life, and each time he’s tested, we find something new. This past year, we ended up going gluten-free, and change is not always easy. But we have found things to like, and new ways to prepare some of our favorite foods. It’s a journey. But we have food, and we are able to prepare and enjoy good things to eat. We are blessed to have our daily bread! Gluten-Free French Toast
  8. Clothes to Wear – I am definitely not a fashionista, and I’ve had a love-hate relationship with clothing over the years! So right now, my wardrobe consists of jeans and t-shirts. It’s not where I want to be, as I’d like to feel a bit more feminine most of the time. But I have something to wear. My children have things to wear. My mother sometimes picks things up for them too. And then there’s the time when I found jeans for LegoFan for $2.67 and blouses for Diva at $2 – what blessings! Then Cammie over at A Woman’s Place posted about her thrifty find called thredup. I went over there and found a treasure-trove of dresses for Diva at great prices (if you go over there via my link, you will get $10 off your first order with them, and so will I). We are truly blessed to have such clothing to wear. "New" Dresses
  9. Homeschooling – I love this blessing! To be able to be such an integral part of my children’s education is amazing. I get to see the light bulb go on when they figure out something new. I got to be the one to not only teach them how to read, but also the one to show them the joys of a good book. I was privileged to be there with Diva as she struggled through long division and came out victorious. I am able to encourage LegoFan as he tries to find ways to communicate his knowledge, even if they are a bit unconventional. It’s a road we travel together; one in which we learn and grow together as well. I am blessed with the freedom and ability to be my children’s teacher. Science Experiment
  10. The Internet – I know, this can be a blessing and a curse. It is both to me sometimes. But coming from the perspective of blessings, I have been reunited with friends from college, high school, and even elementary school through facebook. I have had the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals through twitter and facebook. I have the chance to write, explore my thoughts, and share parts of my life via this blog. I have found deals to save money on things we need, as well as ways to earn a little money. I have ‘met’ several wonderful ladies through blogs and homeschool groups. I am blessed by what I have chosen to use on the internet, and what it has to offer.
  11. My Plexus business – I recently decided to join Plexus to help improve my health and to help me earn a living to take care of my babies. This company is dedicated to natural ways to get your body in tip-top shape. Their most notable product is Plexus Slim and I just started taking it. I guess I will have to post before and after photos along this journey.  I am blessed to be in business for myself with a company that helps to improve others’ health.plexus_slim
  12. My Origami Owl Business – This was the first business I really joined. I fell in love with the concept of Living Lockets – I loved being able to design and re-design my own jewelry, and that it told my story! And it’s just plain fun – fun to wear and fun to present! I am blessed to be in a business that is fun and prides itself on being a “Force for Good.” Locket - Heart-Shaped
  13. My Lilla Rose Business – I just love my Lilla Rose business. I ended up joining Lilla Rose at roughly the same time as Origami Owl – and it wasn’t planned that way! Lilla Rose has the most beautiful hair accessories – I call it Hair Jewelry! But it’s not just that they’re beautiful, they actually hold my hair! All of it. All day. And NO headaches! But I got something else when I joined Lilla Rose: I got a Lilla Rose family! We have a group on facebook that is so supportive and encouraging, that it’s impossible not to succeed. I am very blessed to be a part of this company, to be able to wear these lovely products in my hair, and to be a part of the Lilla Rose family. Lilla Rose Flexi Clip
  14. God’s Majesty – God sends reminders of His blessings constantly. Sometimes it just takes me longer to see them. But they’re always there. God is the Master Artist and there is just so much beauty in His world. God’s Majesty fills me with awe. I am blessed to live in a world with so many beautiful sights, that He provides them for my (and your) enjoyment!

Fall GlorySunset on the WaterFlower Up Close

As this year continues forward, I know there will be difficult times. I know there will be days that I have a hard time remembering to be grateful. This post will serve as a reminder ~ and permanent record ~ that I have a lot for which to be grateful.

I am truly blessed!

What is your word for this year? If you’ve written a post about it, feel free to share a link in the comments.

* Disclaimer: Most of the links in this post are for my businesses, one is an affiliate link. All are ways to help me help my family. I am a single parent trying to keep my babies home and take care of them in the way I feel God wants me to. If you click on the links and make a purchase, you will be helping us, and I will be grateful.

This Is Autism

I first read about Suzanne Wright’s op-ed when I read John Elder Robison’s resignation from Autism Speaks. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, and I applaud Mr. Robison’s strength of character.

Her words included: “despair” ~ “fear” ~ “depleted”

I read that my exhaustion is going to make me ill and become broken, leaving my child with no one to care for him.

That may be the way that Suzanne Wright feels about people with autism, but it’s not how I feel about my son. I feel Blessed!

Locket - Autism

And I’m a single mother. And I have a son on the Autism Spectrum.

LegoFan BDay

I may be tired at the end of each day, but I am far from ill and broken. I do not live in despair. I am not depleted.

Driving Range

But there was a time when I lived in fear… It was when I was reading all books written by so-called experts. Like Cammie over at A Woman’s Place, I now focus on my own experiences and that of actual mothers & adults who live with autism day-in and day-out. They paint a much more realistic picture. This is where I read about things like:

“Hope” ~ “Love” ~ “Delight” ~ “Laughter” ~ “Intelligence” ~ “Break Throughs” ~ “Accomplishments” ~ “Amazing”

Cheer

When LegoFan was first diagnosed, I was told there was a possibility he would never leave home and probably never hold a job. I no longer believe that; however, even if it’s true I’d be happy to have him.

Comforting

LegoFan is truly delightful! Our house is never dull. In fact it is the complete opposite! It is full of life, smiles, laughter, and activity.

Bowling

Cammie mentions a cure in her post and it’s something I’ve thought about before. In fact, I told a friend shortly after LegoFan’s diagnosis, that if someone appeared on my doorstep with a magic pill that would “cure” his autism, I didn’t think I’d take it. The caveat to this is that if it would truly improve his quality of life, I might consider it. But at what cost? LegoFan’s contributions to our family are not something I’d like to live without. He is amazingly smart; he remembers things I forget, and he has an incredible way of making a room brighter just by entering it. His heart is huge; and his love is immeasurable.

Allergy - LegoFan

Ok, let me be real for you here. It’s not easy. It is challenging. I have my difficult days. In addition to being a single mom, I home school my children. So I am with LegoFan all day, every day. I am the only one who coordinates his meds and his appointments. I’m the only one who drives him to doctors and groups. So, yes, I am tired. But would I say I’m exhausted to the point of being ill or broken? Most certainly not.

Curiosity

Would I trade my LegoFan for anything? Hmmm…

Back To School 2013

What do you think?

Davidson Family Fundraiser

If you have not already heard, the Davidson family of Little Flowers Family Press lost everything recently in a devastating fire.  You can learn more about the details at the following links (the first is from Rita Davidson herself):

Little Flowers Family Press Blog

News Coverage

Local Story

Here is a facebook page that has been set up for their family – please ‘like’ it: Facebook Page

Three of the four Davidson boys are autistic, as is LegoFan. I know how difficult change is for children on the spectrum. This complete change in their way of life must be wreaking havoc in their young lives in ways many of us cannot understand.

I would like to help the Davidson family, but I am not in a financial position to do so. Last night I had an idea to use my direct sales businesses to help. While I admit it may not be much, I would like to donate 20% of my sales from Lilla Rose and Origami Owl so I have set up a party in each of them. If you are interested in helping in this way, please click on the links and follow the directions below. Most importantly, this family needs your prayers. Please join me in praying for them.

Origami Owl

Locket - AutismLocket - Forever FamilyLocket - FootprintsLocket - Grandma

 

To order Origami Owl Jewelry, please go to my website here. When your order is complete, proceed to check out. On that screen, there will be a section called “Party Information” where there will be a dropdown menu. Please select Little Flowers Family Press as your party then complete your order. What you order will be shipped shortly after payment.

Lilla Rose

FOTM Aug 2013 Tidepool Treasures 4Lilla Rose Accessories CollageLilla Rose Badge Clip CollageLilla Rose Collage

 

To order Lilla Rose Hair Accessories, please go to my website here and place your order. This is a party-specific link so your order will automatically be calculated toward the Davidsons’ total. Any order you place through this link will not ship until I close out the party (which I was planning to keep open until the end of September). However, if you would like your order to ship prior to that I have a way to do it, Please just leave me a comment and I will contact you.

Please feel free to ask questions in the comment section and I will answer them for you.  Also, please share this with anyone you think might want to help. Thank you, in advance, for helping this family and offering them a little hope.

for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me. Matthew 25:35-36, 40

2012 in 2012 – Back in Action

Weeks 10 through 52…

I really did intend to keep posting about this each week, but I just didn’t do it. I did keep some records of what I sold and donated; however, I kept forgetting to write down what I threw away. So I know my numbers are a little off, but that’s ok. I got a little excited as I was typing everything and I was hoping that it would all add up to 2,012. I was wrong. I didn’t make it. Does that mean I failed? Yes and No.

Yes, I failed to reach 2,012 items.

But I really don’t feel like it’s a failure. How can one fail when there are 1,523 fewer items in the house? There are more than 1500 things I don’t have to clean up; more than 1500 things I don’t have to dust; and more than 1500 things that are no longer cluttering up my home. This also means that there are over 1,000 items that have gone on to other homes through donation or sale; and may be benefiting someone else instead of sitting in a box.

So, no. I didn’t fail. I made a lot of positive changes this year. And I’m grateful I began this challenge. But I’m not finished…

I decided that I was going to follow through with this challenge into 2013. I’m not going to start over, but I am committed to making sure that I actually remove 2,012 items from my home. I have 489 more to go. I’ve got a head start with about a third of that currently on ebay!

While I intend to successfully reach 2,012, it’s really not about the number. It’s more about the freedom of living with less. I am truly grateful for this challenge and all the went with it – out the door!

Donated:

  • 3 TY Beanie Boppers
  • 4 Die-Cast Cars
  • 88 Kids’ Clothing Items
  • 6 Adult Clothing Items
  • 15 Kids’ Games
  • 219 Kids’ Books
  • 53 Miscellaneous Toys
  • 1 Queen Bed
  • 1 Dresser
  • 12 DVDs
  • 28 CDs
  • 7 Cassettes
  • 1 Pair of Beaters
  • 1 Serving Platter
  • 32 Stuffed Birds
  • 16 Dolls
  • 1 Large Rubber Duck
  • 2 Pairs of Kids’ Shoes
  • 1 Mug
  • 4 Cups
  • 1 Desk Lamp
  • 1 Pair of Reading Glasses
  • 1 Pair of Kids’ Scissors
  • 1 Paper Towel Roll Holder
  • 1 Tote Bag
  • 5 Figurines
  • 4 Cloth Napkins
  • 4 Puzzles
  • 49 VHS Videos
  • 2 Tins
  • 5 Binders
  • 1 Pair of curtains
  • 7 Camera Filters
  • 1 Trinket Box
  • 10 Stuffed Animals
  • 4 Miscellaneous Craft Supplies
  • 1 Wallet
  • 1 Doll Outfit
  • 1 Pair of Earrings
  • 1 Package of Bulletin Board Sentence Strips
  • 1 Box of Attribute Blocks w/Book
  • 4 Posters
  • 1 Pack of Markers
  • 2 Folders
  • 6 Homeschool Magazines
  • 32 Bags of Bulletin Board Letters, Numbers, and Shapes
  • 1 Spelling Cassette w/Book
  • 14 Teacher/Classroom Books
  • 1 bag Block Manipulatives
  • 2 packs of Multiplication Flash Cards
  • 1 Set of Number Disks
  • 2 Educational Trivial Pursuit-type Games
  • 4 Sets of Math Classroom Games
  • 1 Set of Tangrams
  • 1 Set of Alphabet Stickers
  • 24 Folders of Classroom Handouts
  • 1 Piece of Fabric
  • 1 Pair of Booties
  • 1 Large Bag of Glass Stones

Thrown Away:

  • 2 Tennis Rackets
  • 1 Broken Paint Brush
  • 2 Pairs of Socks
  • 1 Box of Melted Crayons
  • 1 Broken 3-Hole Punch
  • 4 Old Software Disks
  • 2 Bags of Damaged Labels
  • 1 Lens Cap
  • 1 Broken Box
  • 1 Bottle Old Scented Oil
  • 1 Bottle Massage Oil
  • 1 Pair of Ballet Slippers
  • 1 Pair of Old Shoes
  • 3 Miscellaneous Magazines (Recycled)
  • 4 Owner’s Manuals for things I no longer own (Recycled)
  • 4 Soap Opera Digest Magazines (Recycled)
  • 21 Expired Coupon Inserts (Recycled)
  • 1 Damaged Doll Clothing
  • 1 Comforter
  • 1 Broken Plant Pot
  • 2 Bike Helmets
  • 1 Bike Horn
  • 2 Items of Adult Clothing
  • 7 Boxes of Miscellaneous Papers (This was recycled, not trashed)
  • 2 Knee Pads
  • 2 Elbow Pads
  • 1 Rain Gauge

Sold

  • 11 Hoppy VanderHare Stuffed Rabbits
  • 12 Muffy VanderBear Outfits
  • 6 Muffy VanderBear Bears
  • 1 Doll from Holland
  • 2 Collectible Teddy Bears
  • 10 Mini Handmade Teddy Bears
  • 13 School Books
  • 9 Disney Lithographs
  • 1 Pair of Boys Pants
  • 1 Robert McClosky Poster (make Way for Ducklings)
  • 1 Concert Program (Blue Murder)
  • 43 Creative Memories Scrapbooking Items
  • 6 Brain Quest Games
  • 1 Box of Math Manipulatives
  • 4 Madeline Dolls
  • 1 Demitasse Set
  • 1 Your Story Binder/Laminator
  • 14 Children’s Books
  • 1 Film Camera
  • 3 Beanie Baby Catalogs
  • 1 Computer Keyboard
  • 16 Die Cast Cars
  • 1 Raggedy Anne Doll
  • 1 CARS Car
  • 2 Charmed Memories Charms
  • 28 Thomas Trains/Cars
  • 7 Thomas Accessories/Buildings
  • 22 Pieces of Thomas Track
  • 1 Madeline Playset
  • 6 Mini Madeline Dolls
  • 50 Madeline Accessories (clothes, books, toys, decor, etc.)
  • 2 Dr. Seuss Books
  • 10 Packages of Dollhouse Miniatures
  • 9 Schleich Figures
  • 2 Boyds Birdhouses
  • 1 Boxed Set Gregorien Chant Albums
  • 1 Family Tree software
  • 5 TY Beanie Boppers
  • 1 Limited Edition Canterbury Bear
  • 2 Dezine Fairies
  • 2 Boyds Bears
  • 1 Boyds Wagon
  • 5 Kids’ Artist Activity Packs
  • 1 Dragonsite Fairy
  • 1 Atari 2600
  • 3 Joysticks
  • 8 Games
  • 1 Case
  • 19 Cicely Mary Barker Flower Fairies
  • 6 Usborne Historical Cut-Out Books
  • 1 Missing Piece Book
  • 3 Jessica Galbreth Fairy Ornament
  • 1 Dremmel Power Tool
  • 5 Amy Brown Fairy Ornaments
  • 1 Wii Game
  • 2 Magazines
  • 2 Baseball Card Sets
  • 2 Packs of Markers
  • 4 CDs
  • 3 Nene Thomas Fairy Ornaments
  • 1 Doll Outfit
  • 7 Large Die-Cast NASCAR Cars
  • 1 Atlas
  • 1 Kids’ Game
  • 1 Adult Shirt
  • 1 Box of Play Money
  • 5 Kids’ Clothing Items

Totals:

  • Donated:  697 Items
  • Thrown Away: 70 Items
  • Sold: 387 Items

Week 10: 1643 – 1154 = 489

Did anyone else do a purge in 2012? If not, how about considering one in 2013?

100th Post – Thanksgiving

I find it very appropriate that my 100th post will be one of gratitude. I’ve seen a few people posting alphabetic gratitude lists on FB each day, so I would like to do that here as well.

I am grateful for:

A: Asperger’s Syndrome

B: Board Games

C: Creativity

D: Diva

E: Eternal Life

F: Faith, Family, & Friends

G: God

H: Homeschooling

I: Ice Cream

J: Jesus

K: Kisses

L: LegoFan & Love

M: My Mother

N: New Chapters

O: Open Air

P: Photos & Photography

Q: Quality Time with my children

R: Restoration

S: Sunsets & Sunrises

T: Tradition

U: United States of America

V: Victories; small, medium, & large

W: Wisteria & Weeping Willows

X: eXcitement

Y: YOU

Z: Zestiness

Thank you for reading – for subscribing – for commenting!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Managing My Minutes – A Review

This month’s Gabby Mom’s review was for Mrs. Lorrie Flem’s Managing My Minutes. Boy, this is something that hits home! I know this is an area of my life where I need some definite improvement!

There are days I end up at dinner time and wonder, “What did I get done today?” Now that doesn’t happen every day – thank goodness – but every once in a while is still too often. I need to learn how to better manage my time. Managing My Minutes just may help me to improve this part of my life – and maybe yours too!

Two things I loved about this was ‘asking for help’ and ‘giving God the glory’ – here’s where my sinful nature comes into play. I don’t like asking for help. I am getting better at asking for prayers; but asking for ~ and accepting ~ help is still very difficult for me. As for giving God the glory, I don’t have a problem with that; however, I am forgetful. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in what I’m doing that I forget where my help comes from in the first place; and then I forget to give credit where credit is due. I’m getting better, but Lorrie’s reminder is what I need sometimes.

I love how she weaves the story of Nehemiah through her book. It really helps to know that there’s someone else who’s traveled this road. I do not need to reinvent the wheel!  Being reminded of what Nehemiah did, and of his methods, helps to remind me that I am not alone in this – now that’s a good feeling!

Lorrie makes a really good case for implementing a schedule – even though it’s something I balk at using! I do have a basic home maintenance schedule; and I began making weekly schedules for the children’s schoolwork last year. Both are helpful. Perhaps it’s time to take the plunge and create a working schedule for the whole family.

How does your family plan or schedule its time?

“Managing My Minutes” is available here.

I was given an advanced copy as a member of the Gabby Moms team in exchange for my honest review.

Molly’s Country Living

I have just finished reading the August 2012 edition of Molly Green Magazine. Boy did it make me homesick for a country home where I used to live. The whole issue brought back memories of living the country life: gardening, raising animals, cooking from scratch, and more. But the authors are quick to point out that you don’t have to live on “a 20 acre patch of land” in order to learn these skills and put them into practice.

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For example, one skill I learned about in this issue is lotion-making. LegoFan has some serious allergies which result in eczema on occasion. It’s important for us to use a lotion that is mild on his skin. The recipe Molly provides is one that would great for him and is so easy to make.

And there are many more like this. I appreciate the fact that Molly’s Magazine promotes and recognizes what’s important in life and in the family. This issue also includes an article from a young man, a budding entrepreneur, who says, “Working with my family has taught me important life skills.” Isn’t that what we want from our kids? How about from ourselves?

Molly’s August issue contains helpful information on a variety of topics, so that no matter what stage of life you find yourself in, you can find something of interest. There are articles on decor, cooking ~ with recipes, farming, gardening, seasonal purchases, and more. It’s a comprehensive issue that doesn’t jump all over the place. All the articles are linked together by the central theme of country living (worthwhile even if you don’t live in the country). I also like that the ads are simple, and kept to a minimum. With its small price tag, minimal advertising, and informative articles, Molly Green Magazine is one magazine I’d like to keep receiving!

* I received an advance copy in exchange for my honest review. You can purchase Molly Green Magazine individually each month; or you can become a member and receive twelve month’s worth.

What’s For Dinner Mom?

Here on the East Coast, we are on the tail end of a two day heat wave, with temps hovering around 100 degrees. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do when the thermometer reads 90+ is turn on the oven and/or cook on the stove. I live in an old house that does not have central air and we rely on window units to cool the house on these hot days. We have one large unit for the main living area; however, there’s a large corner wall separating the living area from the kitchen. Translation: no cooling in the kitchen. Sigh.

Tonight I was lucky to have some leftovers, vegetables, and a microwave. But what if I had had something else? What if I had something already prepared and just waiting in my freezer? And what if this something was already cooked so that all I had to do was defrost it and re-heat it in the microwave? Then the children and I could have had a regular meal without heating up the kitchen. Now don’t get misunderstand, there’s nothing wrong with leftovers; we all have to eat them once in a while. It just would have been nice to have the option.

This week I got to read a book called “What’s For Dinner, Mom? Practical and Easy Ideas to Encourage Moms to Minister From Their Kitchens” by Mrs. Lorrie Flem of Eternal Encouragement. I’ll be honest, when I first found out that this book was about bulk cooking, I didn’t think I was going to like it. I never thought I’d ever consider cooking more than one meal at once. It seemed like too much work.

But, like many things, I discounted the idea before getting all the facts. Yes. I. am. guilty. I wish I could say that this is the first time…

So, I read the book.

I was pleasantly surprised – I’m even considering giving it a try. Lorrie includes so much helpful information in her book – different methods of bulk cooking, suggested helpful items, and tons of recipes. After reading through Lorrie’s wisdom and experience, I can now see how I can make her system work for my family. It’s not your typical bulk cooking. In fact, take what you think bulk cooking is and throw it out the window. Then get a copy of “What’s For Dinner, Mom?” and learn a new way to do it.

In light of yesterday’s post, I really think this will provide me a way to both teach Diva about cooking as well as allowing our family to have more time each day to spend together outside of the kitchen. I’m looking forward to giving Lorrie’s method a try.

Now, guess what? There are a few of us Gabby Moms posting reviews of “What’s For Dinner, Mom?” and The Head Mama of us all is going to select one blogger to receive a hard copy of her own! But that’s not all… one commenter on the winning blog will also receive their own copy. So, please leave a comment, because if I win, so could you! Let me know if you have ever tried bulk cooking, what method you tried, and how it worked for you.

* I received a pdf copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the Gabby Moms program.