Extra!  Extra! Read All About It!

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

It’s official!  For the first time in Pennington history we found every. single. Easter egg.

Not that it was easy.  No, we spent 1.75 hours finding most of them until we got down to 2 that were still missing.  Now, normally we might let it go and just not look for them.  That fact can be proved by the eggs we found that were from last year, all full of rotten candy…..gross.  I heard one of my boys daring another to eat it when I jumped in to stop the madness.  But the 2 eggs that were missing didn’t have candy in them….no.  They had money.

And no one was inclined to give up looking.

I bought some character shaped eggs that I put $5 bills in and there was one for each child (I use the term “child” loosely because 3 of my egg hunters are over 18, which basically means they wanted the money most of all).  I gave them pre-hunting instructions, “When you find your character egg, you can’t get any more, so if you find another leave it for someone who doesn’t have theirs yet.”  But after nearly 2 hours we were all on a desperate search and it was every man for himself.

Earlier in the day while we were hiding the eggs James suggested I take a picture of where I hid the money eggs.  But did I listen? Nooooo (a fact he reminded me of at least 7 times during the last hour of the hunt).  In fact, the last time he said it I replied, “You are completely right honey, I should have listened to you and next year I will definitely do whatever you say.”

“You know,” he said with a smirk, “You could just start doing whatever I say tomorrow.”

Don’t push your luck buddy.  Next year will be just fine.

When we finally found the last money eggs the kids and I sat outside while they emptied their eggs into baskets.  James went back to his normal March activities of doing people’s taxes (he’s a CPA, in case that didn’t make any sense at all) because, as he said as he walked away, “3 hours is more than enough time to spend on Easter eggs hunts for 7 people.”  Since I bought pre-filled eggs this year (except for the money eggs) there was mostly bubble gum or Now & Later in their candy piles.  I know it’s not as exciting as previous years when I’ve picked candies that each child loves most, but I was just too tired to spend 4 hours filling eggs like I did in years past.

Why so tired?  Because I am barely recovering from washing sheets last week after our house full of guests.  It took me 3 days to get it all washed and put back.  And I have a washing machine!  Can you even imagine washing everything by hand?!  I would still be out in the river beating those sheets on rocks and wouldn’t have even had time to hide any plastic eggs. 😉

After the egg hunt and cleanup from our traditional ham and scalloped potatoes meal, I crashed in my recliner and didn’t get up until bed time.  I have no shame in admitting that I went to bed at 8:30 on Easter Sunday.  Celebrations wear me out….especially when they involve crawling under bushes searching for plastic eggs that I hid in the first place and everyone is being passive aggressive saying things like, “Maybe SOMEONE ELSE should hide the eggs next year.”

The good news is that since Easter was so early this year we have a whole month with no holidays so I can get rested up before the next celebration.  And since the next “holiday” is Mother’s Day, I should get some rest with that, at least in theory.

Have a great week!

10 Things I Need to Write (hint: a pen and paper are not on the list)

10 Things I Need to Write (hint: a pen and paper are not on the list)

This post contains affiliate links.

I’m in a list kind of mood today.  I guess it’s all of the de-junking I’ve been doing lately, but I want to just get to the point.  I thought I’d make a list for you of the things that are happening WHILE I am writing.

I write every day, either for the blog or on my next book or for other publications where I am a regular contributor.  Unless I am wrapping up a book (like I am doing now) I write for 3-4 hours a day.  Here’s what it looks like.

  1. I write in my recliner in my bedroom.  I don’t have a desk.  I used to, but a kid took over that space and now all I have is a comfy leather recliner to work in.  I’m not complaining…it’s cozy and awesome.  I put a small pillow in my lap to prop my computer on and just type my little heart out.
  2. I can’t have extra noise while I work.  Some of my kids like to have music playing while they work and my husband likes Fox News quietly in the background.  But I can’t have a single sound or I can’t focus.  Silence is my friend.
  3. My kids will come to me to have their school work checked throughout the morning.  I start the day by giving them their school assignments and lessons as needed.  Then I go write while they work.  When they’re finished with each assignment they come tell me they’re finished and I will check their work.  I always stop for that no matter what kind of momentum I have going.  Sure, it slows the process, but I want these kids to be super smart so I can count on them to get good jobs so they can take care of me in my old age.
  4. I drink a lot of water.  I fill my half gallon glass jug every morning and set them on the table next to my recliner.  I sip right out of the jug all day long, just like Granny in The Beverly Hillbillies….only without the moonshine.
  5. My room has to be clean or I can’t work.  My bedroom seems to be the hardest room to keep clean because it is a dumping ground for everything we don’t know where else to put.  Books we are finished reading, papers, broken toys, etc. all get put in my room and before I write I have to clean it all up.  I’m big on making my bed first thing every morning and I will fluff the pillows and get the junk OUT before I can write.
  6. I like to be dressed, but it’s not a necessity.  I prefer to be all dressed, at least in something housey, but it doesn’t always happen.  I have been known to still have my pajamas on by dinner time….especially if I am working on a book.  Those days tend to be long and I hardly leave my bedroom.
  7. I have 3 bedroom door positions that all have purpose.
    a) All the way open which means you can come on in and ask me anything or sit and talk even if I am typing.
    b) Mostly closed with a little box propping it open just a bit.  This means I am working, but since the door is only slightly open you should only disturb me for something semi-important.  You can peek in and say something like, “We are all going outside for a while,” but not something like, “I want to tell you what I want for Christmas,” or, “Can I have some candy?”  If it’s something that can wait….it should wait until I am either not in my room working or the door is all the way open.
    c) All the way closed which means disturb only if there’s blood, fire or imminent death.
  8. My diffuser is on the table next to me and it’s always going with some kind of wake-up-my-brain essential oil in it.  I love Motivation, Envision, Peppermint, Lemon, Frankincense….really anything but lavender so I don’t fall asleep mid-sentence.
  9. I use my phone while I use my computer.  I don’t check social media or take calls while I am writing, but I will use my phone for researching or fact checking.  I use an online thesaurus and dictionary.  I do better just keeping the one window open on my computer so I use my phone for the rest of my online needs.
  10. I get up and stretch every hour.  When I am working on a book I will set an alarm to go off every hour and I will make myself stand up and either walk around the room, go outside for a few minutes or do some stretches.

It’s a pretty sweet life I have.  I’ve got my homeschoolers spending gobs of time with me, my husband around, my older kids doing their thing while I watch with awe and admiration…..and my comfy recliner to work in.  And air-conditioning, which, in case I didn’t mention, is my bestie all summer long.

The deadline for my next book is looming and I will be closing the door more than usual until it’s done.

Life Lessons and Invisalign

Life Lessons and Invisalign

(I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment but all opinions completely my own!)

Great lessons from a mom with TWO teens who use Invisalign #spon

This week we’ve been cleaning out bedroom drawers and finding old pictures of the kids.  My son Noah found one of himself from before he started using Invisalign and couldn’t believe the difference in his smile!

I know he was self-conscience about it before, but it’s been a while and we have all forgotten.  He stood and stared at the picture.  I asked him what he was thinking and he said, “I just can’t believe how different I looked.  I am thinking how glad I am that we were able to get my teeth straightened.”

Me too.  Of course I thought he was gorgeous before, but his confidence has soared since his smile has changed and that makes Mama happy too.

We want our kids to know how amazing they are no matter what they look like, right?  I hope that my children know without a shadow of a doubt that they have everything they need to reach their dreams.  Perfection is unattainable and we can’t let Hollywood dictate our idea of beautiful.  I hope my kids place less value in the perfect LOOK of their teeth and more value in their overall health.  But it’s hard to deny that they do feel more comfortable after we have straightened out some of the crookedness.

It really is about so much more than looks.  It’s about oral health which leads to overall health.  Noah’s teeth are so much easier to clean and he takes pride in them more than he used to.  He has learned some hard lessons through this process including the value of a dollar.  It’s been such a great experience for him.  His younger brother Adam is also in Invisalign treatment and while he’s been doing it for a shorter period of time and we haven’t seen as many physical changes in his appearance yet, he has also learned some great life lessons from using the aligners.

Both boys are involved in the planning of how we pay for the treatment and the sacrifice our family makes.  They know exactly what they cost and how we make that work within our budget.  Another lesson for them has been in how they represent themselves with the orthodontist.  They have been embarrassed when the doctor could tell they had not been wearing their rubber bands like he instructed, or not brushed as well as they should and they didn’t want to feel that way again.

On our last visit they got to look at the computer graphic of their teeth and saw just how much their teeth had changed and how much more they will shift.  It encouraged them both to keep wearing their aligners in the way the ortho tells them and not to be lazy about it.

The teen is getting more and more confident as he gets his teeth straightened! #spon

 

They have learned responsibility as they have had to put their aligners in a safe place while eating and remember to change them on their appointed day each week.  That took a little time to get used to in the beginning, but now they both do great with the management of the process.

I can imagine conversations years from now when they talk about how much they learned during this time of growing up and how much the opportunity to use Invisalign affected them.

I’d really encourage you to look into Invisalign for your orthontic needs.  While I am a MAB member and have received complimentary treatment, I am free to say whatever I truly think about the process and we have been nothing but thrilled.  (and Adam is not part of my MAB membership….we pay for his on our own!)

Check out my Ten Reasons to Use Invisalign

Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment.  My opinions are completely my own and I only work with companies whose products I believe in.  Click HERE to read the full disclosure statement.

I’d Stop to Relax, but Then I Would See the Messy House

I’d Stop to Relax, but Then I Would See the Messy House

How was your weekend?

I decided to spend part of the day Saturday sitting outside feeling the delightful 70° breeze.  Here in Texas we never know when the weather will change so I wanted to enjoy it while it was perfection.  It seemed like such a great idea until a few minutes into my relax time I started looking around on the porch at all of the neglect.  There were cobwebs and bits of trash and I even noticed a random Christmas decoration that had been left behind in the cleanup after the holidays.  It was either go back inside and pretend I didn’t see it or stop relaxing and start cleaning.  I chose the former.  I had already planned to deep clean my bathroom later that day and didn’t feel the need to make any other improvements to my life at the moment.

I was actually looking forward to cleaning my bathroom.  It, too, had been neglected with all of my Summiting and holidays and trips.  I had purchased some Playtex gloves last week for the job because it makes me feel very grown up.  When I was a girl it seemed that all women wore pearls and Playtex gloves when they did their womanly work.  I skipped the pearls, but the gloves just felt right.

I spent almost the entire afternoon chipping away at the dirt and grime until the whole room shone like a new penny.  I didn’t just scrub, I also cleaned out the cabinet and tossed the junk I never used in the garbage and rearranged my essential oils.

I have switched up my oily routine and wanted to have those I am using daily all together in one easily accessible spot, so I did some reorganizing and relocating.  I used two of my little wall shelves for my daily bottles and put my extras in a drawer in alphabetical order.  OCD much?

On Sunday we decided to go worship with some friends in the afternoon and just hang out at home in the morning.  We were chillin’ when there was a knock at the door.  It was a FedEx guy delivering a baby gate I had ordered.  I had no idea those guys worked on Sunday.  It’s kinda sad really.  They need a day off.

But I was excited to get my package.  I had ordered the gate because we have decided to keep our puppy out of the back of the house (someday I’ll write another long post about how I can’t get this dog to stop peeing on my carpet).  We owned a baby gate from the olden days that we had been using to block the hallway, but my daughters and I were having trouble stepping over it.  The boys kept telling us they could get over it just fine and didn’t see what our problem was.  Yeah, wear a skirt and gain a few pounds then talk to me about it.

The final straw came last week when I actually fell trying to climb over it.

I thought about making something that would open easily for us to pass through, but then wondered if maybe they have invented something like that in the 8 years since I shopped for baby accessories.  Lo and behold….they did!  I ordered a gate on Amazon that opens and closes easily….halleluyer!

I gave the FedEx box to the boys and asked them to install it for me.  They grabbed it up, each wanting to get their hands on the new project.  I figured they could handle it so I left them with it and went into my bedroom to do some straightening.  Sounds reasonable, right?  Well after about 20 minutes they came barreling in my room, “Mommy!  Where’s the drill?!”

Me: Um, it’s in the workshop, but WAIT!  Before you go get it, what do you need it for?
Boy 1: We need to drill holes in the wall to put the gate up!
Boy 2: I can’t wait….I have never used a drill before!
Boy 3: We drew big circles on the wall where the holes go like the instructions said!

Uhhhh…….I decided I’d better go check things out before I ended up with giant holes the size of quarters in my walls.

Sure enough, the instructions with no words, only pictures, did seem to suggest drilling holes in the wall.  But upon further inspection we decided that was probably only necessary if the gate wouldn’t stay put on its own.  I suggested they try installing the gate WITHOUT holes, which was an extreme disappointment to them.  It worked.  Crisis averted.

Later that afternoon I decided to surprise James by going through my February receipts and email him what each expense was for.  Usually we go through them at the end of each month and he has to sit there for hours while I torturously try to make my brain remember why I spent $12 at Target on the 4th.  So I sat down and typed it all out and emailed it to him with the subject line, “SURPRISE!”  Later that night he thanked me for the report and said how much he appreciated me doing that.  He said he was only confused by one thing.  After my iTunes purchase of $16.50 I wrote, “Ooops! Sorry.”  “Honey, we don’t have an ooops category.”

All I could say was, “Well we should.  I mean, how does one categorize in-app purchases?”

He didn’t say anything else.  I think I proved my point.

Personally I am feeling pretty good about my semi-productive weekend.  First, no more falling over the hallway gate, my bathroom is shiny clean and I cut my monthly budget meeting time in half.  And all without creating holes in my walls.  I even got a nice nap on Sunday.  It was so great I might even go clean up the front porch now.

I hope you had an equally terrific weekend.  Come on over to Facebook and let me know what you did!

Take a Smile

Take a Smile

(I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment but all opinions completely my own!)

I thought I’d give you an update on the boys and their Invisalign treatment.  We are over halfway through with Noah and 6 months in with our younger son Adam.  We absolutely love the whole process.

 

There were a few kinks in the beginning, like with anything new, that we had to work out.  We needed a place to put the aligners during meals, so I made little buckets for them.  Those buckets have been great for organizing the trays and cases too.

We also found that they were forgetting to change their aligners each week, so to help them we added it to our family Cozi calendar.  This calendar app allows the whole family to see what’s happening in all of our lives.  I added an alarm to go off for each boy on the day they need to change and it goes off on all of our phones.  Every Thursday morning at 9:00 a bunch of us shout, “Adam!!  Did you change your INVISALIGN?!?!”  No forgetting it now.  LOL!

I’ve also shared a few other tips for helping your teens with their treatment HERE.

Since we only have to go to the ortho every 10 weeks, it’s been a great way for us to have time together to run errands, maybe see a movie, talk and just have down time.  Our lives are all so busy that I have set aside appointment days as Mom/son time.

Just last week a friend asked me if we still like Invisalign.  No question about it….yes! While Noah is a part of my MAB membership, Adam is just a normal ol’ user.  We plan to use it again with the last two boys also.

If you’ve been wondering if your child is able to use it, why not find a doctor near you and get a free consultation?  It doesn’t cost anything to go talk to them and see what they think.  There’s a great Doctor Locator on their website.

 

Be sure to check out my 10 Reasons to Use Invisalign!

Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment.  My opinions are completely my own and I only work with companies whose products I believe in.  Click HERE to read the full disclosure statement.

Sometimes I Fall Asleep at Target?

Sometimes I Fall Asleep at Target?

Last weekend my friend Becky from Organizing Made Fun came for a visit.  I just LOVE getting to see friends who are like-minded and we can have great conversations and challenge each other.  When I say we are like-minded, I don’t mean we agree on everything.  I mean we agree that the Bible is our guide for life and we can have fruitful conversations that will encourage us both to seek God and not the world.

There’s too much of that these days…. people seeking the world.  Man, oh man, it’s like the planet has shifted on its axis and we all got shook crazy.  I mean, the bashing and hating and being SO willing to criticize other people (almost always without the benefit of hearing their side of a situation) is pure cuckoo.

I can’t even watch the news.  It’s just glorified gossip and slander.

But now it’s Christmas time, so there’s a teeny reprise from the ugliness.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could be this nice all year ’round?  Although here in Texas it’s just too hot in the summer to be nice.  The cooler temps help.  A lot.

I am wrapping up my shopping this week and I will be so, so glad to have that finished.  In the past I shop all year for sales and I am finished before Thanksgiving.  But this year I did ZIP-NADA and now I am paying for it.  Literally.  The sales are OK, but when you’re forced to get it now and you’re too tired to go digging for a better deal, it’ll cost ya.

I was so tired yesterday that I fell asleep in a rocking chair in the baby section of Target.  I sat down in a very cozy seat for a sec to look over my list.  With this many stockings to fill, I have a hard time shopping for everyone at once, so I have to divide it into groups of 2 people and just think about those when I walk around.  After I’ve found what I can for them, I go back to my list and head all around the store again with a couple of others in mind.  In between rounds I check and see what I need next.  It’s a complicated and lengthy, but effective system.

In Target there are some very comfy chairs for, I assume, new moms since they’re where they sell diapers and car seats.  These chairs are so snuggly that I like to go sit there and check my phone.  So yesterday I laid my head back for a sec and wham…. next thing I knew I snorted and jerked awake.  It was probably only a few seconds, but long enough for me to have what felt like a sweet dream about Chris Hemsworth.

target01

Speaking of Chris, his new movie coming out about a whale attacking him and him getting lost at sea, etc.  Yeah, I have no desire to see that.  Chris is just too pretty to be killed by a whale.

When I woke up in Target I decided to stand up before someone noticed me sleeping and stole my purse or worse…. took a video of me snoring.  Can’t you see it being shared all around by the haters?  I’ll just end the suspense and tell you upfront, it’s not pretty.

Tomorrow begins the task of me taking the kids out to get their Christmas shopping done.  This is the dreaded portion of the season.  They have better taste than their wallets allow and I am constantly tempted to offer to pay for some of their purchases, which my husband is not a fan of.  I know, I know.  They should stick to their budget and no one really cares what the kids buy them and it is a better lesson for them to get what they can afford than me jumping in and giving them money.  But they’re so adorable with those puppy dog eyes trying to find the perfect thing for their big sister.  I can’t stand it.

Our level of activity right now is much more than I like and certainly more than my sleep patterns prefer.  I’m up really early most mornings with errands to run and out every night to church events, parties or get-togethers.  I think I will be home 2 out of the next 9 evenings.

No wonder I am falling asleep at the store.  When else am I gonna get any rest?!

Have a festive week!

This Will REALLY Make You Smile!

This Will REALLY Make You Smile!

(I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment but all opinions completely my own!)

The holidays are a time of spending money and hanging onto the budget like a loose tooth.  In other words, not.  It can be so hard to stay within the boundaries you’ve put on paper: $15 per friend gift, $5 each for teachers, etc.  That’s not even mentioning gift wrap, cookie ingredients, gas to get around and lunch a few times at Chick-fil-A!.  Even my hair costs more during the holidays.  You know, for all of the parties I am going to….hey, a girl’s gotta look good!

That’s why I am so, so excited to share this amazing giveaway that my friends at Invisalign are doing right now!

3_DecemberSmiles_INVISALIGN

Our family is so, so thrilled with the Invisalign treatment that 2 of our boys are in right now.  You can read more about it HERE and HERE.  We have an orthodontist appointment next week and we will do some Christmas shopping afterward, maybe catch a movie.  It’s funny how these appointments open up the day and give me a chance to stop and enjoy my boys.  It’s an unexpected blessing.

5_FunFact_INVISALIGN

If you’ve been thinking of looking into Invisalign, this is the time to do it.  Go HERE to find a doctor in your area!  It doesn’t cost anything to learn more about it.

You simply MUST check out the giveaway and enter as many ways as possible!  I want one of YOU to win!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment.  My opinions are completely my own and I only work with companies whose products I believe in.  Click HERE to read the full disclosure statement

Home from Vacation and Straight to Thanksgiving

Home from Vacation and Straight to Thanksgiving

I should be starting this morning with enthusiasm.  I have grocery shopping and Bible study, answering emails and getting the house ready for Thanksgiving all to do this morning.  But instead I am drinking hot tea in my jammies and considering a 10AM nap.

Our family was on vacation last week and now I am so worn out from all of the running around and eating and keeping up with active boys that I need a break from my break.

We went to Disney World.  It was wonderful and magical, but I got so tired that by the time we pulled in the driveway on Saturday night at 10:00 I wasn’t sure if I could make the walk from the van to the house.  Yesterday I stayed in bed until noon while watching trash TV.  After that I dragged myself to my recliner and stared at the walls, not even trying to get anything done.  I slept almost the entire day and I still don’t feel caught up on rest.

I’d like to stay in my post-Disney stupor today too, but life won’t let me.  We are having a houseful of people here for Thanksgiving, which is such a wonderful blessing!  Since I love my friends, I can’t just lie around wishing the holiday elves would bake the pies and find room in the fridge for all this food.  I have to actually get up.

This morning while I was unpacking my suitcase and putting away the vacation memories, I decided not to put my hair supplies away just yet.  You see, I got a little obsessed with doing fun things with my hair for Disney.  I created a different style for each themed park and it was so much fun that I am thinking of doing some more things with my hair for the holidays.  Maybe a Christmas tree or some kind of fountain.

Here are the styles I did last week.  I got so much interest in them on social media that I will do individual tutorials for them over the next few weeks.  I just need time to recover first.

Right now I have a week filled with baking and shopping and cleaning and hopefully getting some rest before I have to get up at 4:00 on Black Friday to take my teens shopping.  In preparation for Thanksgiving Day, I made a Pin board with some great tips, games and recipes.  This will help me when I get to the store and forget what I was planning to cook.  If you have a great Thanksgiving recipe, I hope you’ll share it with us over on Facebook! I need all the help I can get.

We will be moving all of the furniture out of our living room to make space for a few more tables on Thanksgiving.  I am not sure where the sofa is going to go, I may be crawling over it for the next 4 days.  Hopefully I can still get a few naps in while we get ready for our guests to arrive!

Happy Thanksgiving week my friends!

 

The Great Furniture Switch

The Great Furniture Switch

furniture01

Normally our Saturdays are all about bathroom cleaning and naps.  But this past Saturday took on a life of its own after James informed me that he really wished I would switch the living room and dining room.  He asks for so few things around here.  I tend to run the show when it comes to room arranging and décor, so I felt like I should do it.

Great dining room/school room!

The new dining room/ school room

Also, I didn’t mind that it would be motivation to get everything really clean, as in buh-bye dust bunnies and cobwebs.  Under my furniture gets pretty bad.  Plus, my area rug was on its last leg and I had been wanting to roll it up and throw it away.  So on Saturday morning I informed the boys that it was going to be a mom/boy work day.  After they leapt for joy and thanked me for the opportunity, we got to work.  Plus I bribed them with money.

Dining room is a homeschool room.

The schoolroom side of the dining room.

We have gone back and forth with these 2 rooms over the years with pros and cons for both arrangements.  On one hand, the way it’s been for the past couple of years had the dining room right off the kitchen which is handy and makes life easier.  On the other hand, when the living room is in that spot we hang out in there a lot and spend more time relaxing as a family.  BUT that means when you walk in our house you’re immediately in the dining room, which isn’t my favorite.  See?  Pros.  Cons.

dining room school room for a homeschool family

The view of the front door from the school area.

Doing this kind of job is complicated, like one of those little 3×3 slider puzzles with an empty slot that you slide the pieces around until you have them in order from 1-8.  You can’t do it without that empty slot.  In the same way we needed to create an empty place to begin the great furniture switch.

A fun school room/ dining room

This vintage fridge holds blankets and is a playful addition to the dining room.

We took a sofa out to the front porch and then started sliding furniture back and forth, cleaning as we moved each piece.  It was like a dance: step left then slide right, push, shuffle, sweep, repeat.  We even had music playing to keep us moving.  We listened to everything from Rascal Flats to Star Wars soundtracks.

great homeschool room!

The school table and bookshelf with our favorite books on it!

Slowly, slowly we chipped away at it until the furniture had been moved and the rooms were clean.  Then we started the process of finding the best arrangements.  Once we got the basics in place, it was time to take care of the finer details like walls and shelves.  It’s a matter of trying something, stepping back, adjusting, wandering around the house looking for just the right object, trying again, over and over.  I still have a few things to do and I’ll be tweaking for the rest of the week, but we got it mostly done.

Use the kids' initials for wall art!

I’m still searching for a few of the kids’ initials.

We even went through all of the school books and supplies (which was a monster job!) and we cleaned out the games and movies.  I am telling you, we left no stone unturned.  By around 5:00 we were all so exhausted that we collapsed in our new living room and just stared at each other.  No one moved for about half an hour until the debate began over who was going to get up and make us all something for dinner.  That could only mean one thing….pizza.

Fall dining room

Sweet little pumpkins as a centerpiece

On Sunday morning we were still worn out from the day before (and the past few stressful weeks), so we decided to take a day off from everything.  No church, no cleaning, no social media, no school work, no nothin’.  We piled in the car and headed to the city to just hang out together, have a nice meal and relax.  We did a little shopping for a few things the kids needed, saw a movie, had some Mexican food and walked around in the gorgeous weather just enjoying being together.  It was the nicest day I have had in months.

Great living room on a budget, chalkboard wall, hard to arrange!

The living room with chalkboard wall.

This week I have a few things to wrap up in the newly arranged rooms and a lot of school to get done with the boys, but it should be nice and simple.  My older kids each have projects they’re working on, so we’re all buzzing around doing our thing, helping each other and spending time supporting each other.

happy living room on a budget!

The other side of the living room

And now that there are no more dust bunnies in that part of the house I am feeling a weight off that I didn’t realize I had.  I always crave clean, but seldom seem to get there.  This is nice.

Family living room on a budget

My sweet floating shelves and chalkboard wall

And making my husband happy on top of all of it makes it kind of a perfect weekend.

Have a great week!

One Rotten Pumpkin Can Spoil the Whole Bunch

One Rotten Pumpkin Can Spoil the Whole Bunch

Where did Monday go?  I think I missed it somehow.  In fact, I somehow missed the entire weekend because when I sat down this morning to recount the past few days I can remember nothing.  Either it was so simple there’s nothing to remember or I blocked out something dramatic.  Or option number 3….I’m old and my memory is shot.

Whichever excuse, I have nothing to share about the past few days.

With the end of October looming, I am doing some holiday prep.  I don’t like these holidays that sneak up and are over before you can think, so I like to plan out some of the tasks early and get them out of the way.  I made a few Christmas lists and Thanksgiving invites and I set the pumpkins out on the porch.  Finally.

I bought 5 pumpkins about a month ago and they have been sitting in a pile at the edge of the porch ever since.  I have so many ideas for what to do with them, but in the end I just plopped them on a bale of hay with some mums and called it a day.  One of the pumpkins had already gone rotten, so I felt like it was becoming an urgent situation.  I didn’t want the rot to cross over to the other pumpkins and ruin them all, so I spent about 10 minutes setting them around on the porch.  I don’t foresee having any spare time in the next few weeks to decorate the porch more than this so I am settling for git-er-done over Pinterest-worthy.  Story of my life.

porch-fall01
I also got some mini pumpkins for the mantle, but it’s not looking hopeful that they will get put up there.  It will only get done if I have a burst of creative energy at the same moment I have unexpected free time.  In other words, not gonna happen.  It’s OK, I can use the mini pumpkins for the Thanksgiving table decorations if they’re still sitting on the floor by the fireplace in another month.

In case you’re also doing some holiday planning, don’t miss my Holiday Gift Guides for Men and Women.  I filled them with products that our family owns and loves!

The next few days are filled with being home and working on my next book while homeschooling the boys.  I went to Costco and picked up easy meals (in other words, expensive) and told the boys to be prepared to do their own cooking and cleaning while I am wrapping up this manuscript.  Frankly, they are thrilled since their meals consist of frozen pizza and pre-made burgers.  I recommended they add a salad to their meal at least once a day, but the chances of that are slimmer than me making a Pinterest worthy fall mantle.

At least there will plenty of lettuce and greens for me to have all the brain food I need while writing.

We have worked out a schedule for the rest of the week where I am giving them lessons while I work.  It involves them checking in with me every hour to let me know what they are doing and I can give instructions.  I am writing each boy’s check-in down on a tablet next to me so I don’t forget which boy was supposed to be doing what and when.  If I don’t write it down then 3 hours will go by and I will get up to stretch and wonder where the boys are.  I won’t remember how long it’s been since they came to talk to me or what they were supposed to be doing.  They are getting too smart to fall for that, “So…. what do YOU think you were supposed to be doing?!  I mean, I know what it is, but do you?” routine.

Motherhood ain’t for the weak.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your week with your family and get at least a few pumpkins to decorate with.  Just set it in the middle of your table and enjoy!

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