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


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.

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!

Be sure to follow up with the conversation on Facebook!


Holiday Gift Guide for Men

Holiday Gift Guide for Men

This post contains affiliate links.


Let’s face it…. guys are HARD to buy for.  With 5 sons and a husband on my list, I always appreciate some ideas for them.  So I made this list for you of things that we actually own and the guys love.  Here are 20 things that I would buy for my guys if we didn’t already have them!

Fashion —

  1. Suspenders – these are in style for the vintage loving guy.  My 16 year old son wears them every day and it’s a good look!
  2. Wood Watch – this made it to both my men’s and women’s list.  We love our watches from Jord!IMG_6054
  3. Plaid Shirt – plaid is in this year and your guy would look trendy in his favorite color mix.  I got ours at Target.
  4. Nerd Glasses – Not everyone likes the empty frames that kids are wearing these days, but I think they’re super cute and my trendy boys like wearing them.
  5. Bowtie – I got my boys this exact set last Christmas and put one in each stocking.  They wear them all the time.
Travel —
     6.  Toiletry Bag – My guys love having these.  They use them to keep their personal products in even at home.
     7.  Napwrap – This thing is so cool!  It holds your head, your arms, whatever you need to be able to sleep or relax while traveling.
     8.  Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones – These are a splurge that I got when I started traveling a lot and let me tell you… they are amazing!  They block out plane noise, kids crying, whatever and you can relax with music, audiobooks or just plain quiet.
     9.  External Battery – Several of us own these and I don’t know what we did without them.  It doesn’t matter what kind of phone you have, this will charge it.
10. Lael Bag – This bag is made by a company who uses the profits to provide meals for the orphaned and homeless worldwide.  We love ours and get lots of compliments in it.


Business —
     11. Command Cord Clips – Command makes some great products and these cord clips are no exception.  They keep your cords tucked away without damaging walls or furniture.  They’d make a great stocking stuffer!
     12.  BookBook phone case – My husband LOVES his wallet phone case (and I have one too that I am crazy about!)
     13.  Do Over by Jon Acuff – I read this book last spring when it came out and loved it.  For the man who wants to improve his work life this book is for him!
     14.  Back Scratcher – My husband has this exact back scratcher and head massager in his office and uses it a lot.  I’m thinking of getting one for myself.
     15. Audible.com – If your guy drives or flies a lot he might love some audiobooks.  I listen to them constantly and there are so many great business books and Biblical encouragement books worth listening to!
Health —
     16. Shutran – This is an essential oil blend that is formulated especially for men.  My son loves it.
17. NingXia Nitro – This is another Young Living product that help clear the mind and enhance mental fitness.  What man doesn’t need that?!  It would make a great stocking stuffer!

     18. Dollar Shave Club Membership – Every month your man could get a fresh quality razor delivered to the door.
     19. Insulated Stainless Steel Bottle – This is my personal favorite bottle.  It holds a lot, fits in a cup holder, is easy to flip open and closed and keeps your drink cold (or hot).
     20. Lock Laces My guys just don’t care for tying their shoes, so these Lock Laces are perfect for them!  They go into your regular shoes and they lock instead of needing to be tied.
Well, I hope this list helps you with some ideas for the guys in your life!  Be sure to also check out my Holiday Gift Guide for Women!
The Day the House Won

The Day the House Won

Do you like to rearrange rooms in your house?  It’s kind of an annual thing around here.  We get an itch to move the kids into different bedrooms and clean everything while getting rid of junk.  The problem here is that my kids do this totally rude thing of growing up and developing new interests and needing space for their new equipment or work, so we have to find ways to accommodate their growth.

In this case, in addition to growing needs, a room became available.  Our oldest daughter, after spending the summer in Dallas, decided to stay there for a little longer.  So she came home for a couple of weeks and we spent time getting her room packed up.  I also got to do some fun shopping with her because the temps are significantly colder where she will be and she needed to warm up her wardrobe.

OK, that’s not completely true.  I would have taken her shopping anyway.

I would have taken her shopping even if the temps were the same.  I wanted to help her set up for success and my way of doing that is though clothing and closet organizers.  We had a great time together!

On Saturday morning she left with her packed-to-the-gills car and the other kids and I got started cleaning the room out and prepping it for the new tenants.  It’s a 2 room combo so my 2 daughters still at home decided to move into it and share the large space.  While some of the kids moved stuff from where the girls were before, 2 boys and I scrubbed and arranged and cleaned while it was emptyish.

Messy house funny

I can not express how good it feels to know that every inch of that space is super clean.  I expect it to last no more than 3 days.

By about 4:00 Saturday afternoon I was so tired you would have thought I had moved one of the pyramids in Egypt one enormous brick at a time.  I was literally falling over.  I told the kids I needed an hour to rest and I closed my bedroom door.  I may have even slammed it a little…. not out of frustration but from being too exhausted to take the one step necessary to close it gently.

I napped so hard that my face had marks in it and I had no idea where I was when I woke up.

Later that evening I did manage, with the help of the boys, to put away the junk that had exploded its way into my living room.  That’s how room rearranging goes.  You pick up something and don’t know where to put it so you dump it in the living room.  My house was a disaster area.  A friend asked for pictures to prove my house was mess, which I did not take for fear of seeing them later and having nightmares.  Just imagine an episode of hoarders and you will have a pretty good idea of what my house looked like.

messy house funny

I am going to have an intervention on myself pretty soon.  I keep WAY too much STUFF!

We did manage to get the living space of our home pretty well picked up, ordered pizza and all went to bed too tired to even think about the next day.  Thankfully I had prepped our Sunday clothes earlier in the week.  If I hadn’t, we would probably have had to go with a toga theme for church.

messy house funny

Our pastor started a new series this weekend about loving one another, which I am super excited about.  Love and forgiveness sounds so easy in theory, but in practice…. not always.  If I hadn’t been so tired I might have gone up and told him how much I am looking forward to the next few weeks of his sermons.  Maybe next weekend.  Wait, no.  We are moving the boys’ rooms next weekend.  I’ll just have to send him an ecard.

messy house funny

This week I will be starting my big October project of finishing the first draft of my next book.  I have been working on it, but I am planning a big push to finish it and get the editing process going.  That’s part of why I want to get the kids all settled into their new spaces….. they need some attention from Mom before I go into my writing cave.

messy house funny

Lastly, my daughter and I went to see a movie called “Captive” while we were out shopping.  It was pretty good for the 18 and up crowd (keep in mind we are SUPER conservative about what we let our under 18 kids see).  The content was definitely adult in nature, but never went so far as to be disturbing.  I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.  And that’s just because I thought it could have used a little more of a point, but I like to be spoon fed in a movie.  I’m lazy like that.

Have a great week!

10 Reason to Use Invisalign

10 Reason to Use Invisalign

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

If you’ve been following our Invisalign journey, you know we have 2 boys in aligners now.  We are so happy with the entire process and I thought I’d share with you some of our favorite things about Invisalign.

10 great reasons to use Invisalign!

1. It’s SO easy!  Like, SUPER easy!  The boys wear them all of the time unless they’re eating, so we just keep their cases in the dining room (I made little buckets for their cases you can see here) and they just take the aligners out for meals and keep them in and the rest of the day it’s a no brainer.

2. It brings us together.  I know, this sounds weird but we really do enjoy the time spent together going to the orthodontist and finding clever ways to store the aligner trays and just working together on this very cool project of straightening their teeth and watching their smile change.

3. They learn responsibility.  There is a level of responsibility to this and the boys have really stepped up and taken charge.  They have to take care of these aligners and they understand the importance of that.  It wasn’t immediate, but over time it’s been less of a mom-job and they have shown maturity in this area.  Oh how I love watching my boys become men!

4. Less Ortho visits.  As much as we enjoy the time together, I also love that I don’t have to go as often as I did with my kids in traditional braces.

5. Easy teeth brushing.  Being able to remove them makes teeth brushing so easy.  There are no wires to work around or brackets in the way.  I have also noticed that the boys are more consistent with their teeth brushing.  They like to be clean before putting the trays back in so they are brushing several times a day.

6. Invisibility.  My boys love the fact that in our experience, you can hardly see the aligners.  It’s kinda like a super-power.

7. Eat whatever you want!  Unlike traditional braces, you can eat anything you want with Invisalign.  There is nothing to avoid, except of course what Mom says you can’t eat….. like ice cream for breakfast.  “Just because you have Invisalign, young man, doesn’t mean you can ACTUALLY eat anything you want.”  😉

8. Know your numbers.  Since the trays are numbered it’s easy to tell how much longer you have to go.  It’s inspiration to keep changing them on the assigned day to keep up with the program.  You always know exactly where you are in your treatment.

9. Being cool.  My boys are so happy to do something their friends do, it makes them feel hip.  Or is it cool?  I don’t know the right word these days.  When I was a teen it would have made me feel like totally tubular.

10. Brotherly Love.  We have the special gift of 2 boys in treatment so they share this project.  They help each other remember to change trays, they share tips, I will hear them say if we are going out, “Hey, don’t forget your retainer case!” and they seem to have developed a bond over the process.  It been an unexpected surprise.

I hope you’ll look into Invisalign when it’s time for some teeth straightening at your house.  It’s free to talk to an orthodontist and just see what you think!

Happy straightening!

If you have any questions, hop over to the Invisalign Facebook page and they’re great about answering!

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.

It’s Fall Y’all!

It’s Fall Y’all!

I am pretty sure in heaven it will be fall weather all of the time.

We are rounding the corner to pumpkins and 75° and warm drinks and wearing layers and it all adds a spring to my step!


The past few days have been filled with family and relaxing and church and all things lovely.  On Friday I had my first full day at home in weeks.  I celebrated by not getting dressed or brushing my hair for the entire day.  I’m thinking of making it a weekly event.  I may even put it on the family calendar so everyone can be prepared for the less-than-stellar look.

After a whole day of playing games with the kids, homeschool assignments and folding laundry, I prepaid to go to bed around 9:30.  After lying in bed for about half an hour I got an idea, what if I went ahead and colored my own hair?!  Because that is the next best thing to sleeping.

I had ordered some do-it-yourself hair color in July and it’s been sitting in my bathroom staring me down ever since it arrived, daring me to use it.  I’ve been too nervous since the first time I colored my own hair I ended up looking like something out of an old horror movie.  I cried for 24 hours afterward until my stylist could get me in to fix it.  But having it done is so expensive that I decided to try it again and apparently Friday was the night to do it.

Frankly, my gray roots were scaring people.  Mostly me.

The color was from eSalon and was pretty easy to do and only took about 45 minutes.  The color looks nice, not as pefect as when I pay the big bucks, but I didn’t cry all day Saturday so that’s one check in the positive column.  I will definitely do it again.

On Saturday morning my kids dressed like pirates so they could go to the city for free donuts and some fun shopping.  My 3 youngest boys couldn’t go pirating (it was just for big kids this time) which I felt really bad about because they had gotten up early and dressed for it.  It nearly broke my heart to tell them they couldn’t go so I told them, “You guys think of something fun you’d like to do and I will take you tonight.”  They chose to go out for Mexican food with ice cream after, which is something we very rarely do.  They sure know how to make the most of the mom-guilt.

Also this weekend I had my first Honeycrisp apple of the season and I picked up some pumpkins for the porch.  Someone should really write a song to the Honeycrisp apple, so enormous and delicious and the perfect amount of crunch.  It’s just another way to celebrate fall.


Sunday we went to church followed by lunch out with an older couple we have grown to love since we have been going there.  Yep, eating out twice in a weekend and I am feeling pretty spoiled.  Let’s just call it fall celebration number three.

After lunch I took the sweetest nap and then went for a walk with the kids.  Really…. the simple goodness just never stopped.

I may have to make this an annual event…. after school starts and the weather cools down I spend a day in my pajamas eating Honeycrisp apples and having Mexican food with friends.  You have my permission to adopt this tradition for yourself.


Sadly, according to the family calendar I will have to actually get dressed each day this week.  There are activities happening every day, but it’s all pretty close to home and we will be together.  That’s all a girl can really ask for.

I hope you’re having a nice September and a wonderful week!

Be sure to continue the conversation over on Facebook!


Sometimes I Wanna Be Amish, but I Don’t Want to Make Quilts

Sometimes I Wanna Be Amish, but I Don’t Want to Make Quilts

All I can say about the past 2 weeks of my life is wow, wow, wow.

Between the book release then a trip to Orlando and a conference last weekend…..it is entirely possible that I am going to die of overexposure to fun and goodness.  Is that possible?  Like, I am actually craving housework and salad.

On the day the book came out, I drove around to a bunch of bookstores and left little notes in some of the books.  It was such fun to see my book in the stores.


The next day I flew to Orlando with 4 of my kids for 5 days of fun at Universal Studios.  The thing I struggle with the most when life gets so busy is sticking with my health plans.  I had such a great restart to my diet a month ago and planned to spend my entire time at Universal Studios Orlando eating healthy.  I had a suitcase full of healthy snacks and was armed for the battle.  In the parks I planned to eat bunless burgers with lots of veggies, stay away from sugar, etc.  But by the third night after days of running around and keeping up with the kids, I fell into bed at 11PM with some Oreos and half of a leftover giant pretzel.  Epic fail.

But you know what?  It’s not permanent.  I can just turn it around again.  This is my carousel ride of life.  Take good care of myself, down again, do a better job next time, fall off, eventually I will be more on the ups than the downs and that’s OK with me.  I am trying.

Last weekend our pastor preached about a time that is coming when there will be no more pain or diet problems or sin dragging us down.  We will be free of all of that and right now we can believe that to help get us through the hard times.  Oh boy I can’t wait for that day!

1 Peter 3:6-7 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

I am back to work this week with book writing and my Young Living oils team and a normal diet that consist of less Oreos and more lettuce.  I am also thrilled to be back to my little road for my morning walks instead of hotels and theme park workouts.

Speaking of theme parks, in case I didn’t say it, we had a fantastic time at Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure.  My kids that went with me all agreed that it will go down in our memory as one of our best vacations ever.  I really had no idea how wonderful the whole place was and will definitely go back!  Just give me a few months to recover.


After arriving home from Orlando we had one day to prepare for the Forge conference where we had a vendor booth and ladies’ luncheon happening.  The luncheon went so well (thanks to my BFF Sara) that I am going to pray about doing it again next year.  It was a lot of work, but such a sweet time of love and fellowship!


As much as I enjoyed getting all dressed up for the past couple of weeks and being out amongst the English, my wanna-be-Amish side is kicking in and I am ready for some home time.  I won’t be doing any canning or quilting, but I will be mopping some floors and hanging laundry on the line.  I am looking for simplicity and time with just my family.

We are also cleaning out bedroom for one of my great “shifts.”  It happens every year or two.  The kid’s needs change and we have to move bedrooms around.  It’s also a good time to rid ourselves of the junk that seems to accumulate.  We will attack it one room at a time until everyone is settled into new digs.

I am glad to be mostly home again and just enjoying some normalcy.  Grocery trips and Bible studies and homeschool and house cleaning are the name of the game.  I don’t travel again for a month and I plan to embrace every second of this time!

I hope you are falling into your routine of back to school.  Doesn’t it feel good to be back on schedule?!

Have a great week!

Continue the conversation on Facebook….


76 Trombones and a Universal Weekend

76 Trombones and a Universal Weekend

Yesterday I somehow got the song, “76 Trombones” stuck in my head and now I am going to have to find myself a support group for people who are tortured by Broadway.  Add to it the fact that I only know the first 2 lines and after that I go into a mumbling sort of hum that makes my brain try to reach back into 4th grade when I may or may not have actually known the words.

And that, my friends, pretty much sums up the way my brain works.  All day everyday.  A song pops into my head for no particular reason, I can’t stop humming it until I am singing it at the top of my lungs around the house except with the wrong words.

This will be SO.MUCH.FUN for the 65 new friends plus their families that get to spend the weekend with me over Labor Day.  Some of my kids and I are heading to Orlando next week where we get to build memories and enjoy meeting some super-cool people.

We’ll be attending the Family Forward Universal Orlando Adventure and it will be a blast!  I know we will have a great time not because of the inevitable rain leftover from Hurricane Erika or the plethora of other Broadway melodies swimming around in my head, but because it is sponsored by some companies that will bring the beauty out of any moment!

This brilliant event is intended to bring bloggers together WITH their families and focuses on not only fun, but working as a team and doing community service.  I can’t wait to see all we will learn together about the Children’s Miracle Network and how to really make the most of our families’ service to others.


Second, we will be staying at…..wait for it….the gorgeous Loews Royal Pacific Resort where I will not only be enjoying the beautiful views, but I may just make the visit complete for other fellow exercisers in the fitness center as I uncontrollably hum songs from The Music Man while on the treadmill.  You’re welcome Loews guests.

My kids will be so proud.

And ashamed.

Which is possibly going to be my favorite part of the whole trip.

We are excited about visiting Universal Studios and seeing what they’ve got going on.  I have been doing my research (aka Pinterest) and learning about Beer Butter and the need for ponchos and how to manage the ride lines.  Of course I have already planned what essential oils to have onhand and how to keep my big thighs from causing a heap o’trouble (which let’s face it, happens when you’re a big girl doing a lot of walking in a humid environment).

And with 4 of the kids going along, we have planned the whole budget for the trip and each of us knows the entire agenda from the moment we leave for the airport until we pull back in the driveway 6 days later.  Sometimes I like to surprise the kids with things when we travel, but this time I thought they would enjoy it more if they got to make most of their own decisions and have control over their spending.  For the few meals that are not provided with the event, I gave them each a budget.  They can spend it any way they want.  And they worked last weekend rebuilding our back deck to earn money for any extras or souvenirs.

My goal for this time we are spending together is to let them make their own decisions, learn, meet new people and oh yes…..do a few promotions for my book, Mama Needs a Do-Over: Simple Steps to Turning a Hard Day Around, which is being released the day before we go!  Be sure to order your copy!

And if you have any great Universal Studios tips head over to my Facebook page and continue the conversation.

Lastly, please accept my apology for sticking “76 Trombones” in your brain.  Hopefully the adorable Ronnie Howard image from the movie below makes up for the annoying wordless song.

Ain't he cute?!

Feeling SpOILed

Feeling SpOILed

This past weekend was a heap o’housecleaning and packing.

It began on Saturday morning after my walk.  When I got home we all sat around in the living room going over plans and schedules and who needed to be where and when for the week.  We talked about budgets and how to juggle the cars and when to do the grocery shopping, etc.  You’d think after all these years it would be simple, but it never is.

My husband James and our oldest son were planning a trip together for the week, leaving at 4:30 on Sunday morning.  So we all needed to plan for their exit needs.  In addition to that, the rest of us had gotten a little tired of the house staying messy, so we decided to make Saturday a deep cleaning day.

OK, maybe that’s a little exaggeration.  *I* was tired of the mess.  I think they were too, they just didn’t know it.

We divided up the household chores and each person had an area they were responsible for.  I had the dining room and my own bathroom (which was a little sneaky on my part since I cleaned my bathroom a couple of days before.  Shhhh….).  Levi was going to be my “cleaning assistant” which basically meant more work for me than if I had just done it by myself.  He likes to talk a lot and forgets that we are supposed to be working.  But that’s OK….I like hanging out with him so it all evens out.

In the morning I poked around doing a few other jobs like 8 loads of laundry and giving the puppy a bath and then I told Levi, “I’m ready.  Let’s clean the dining room now.”  He acted excited at first, under the false assumption that it was gonna be a picnic.  Like we would just erase the random drawings on our white board, sweep and we’d be done.


Mom clean is different than kid clean

When Mom cleans it is a serious thing.  We pulled books off of shelves and dusted, we moved furniture and scrubbed under it.  We cleaned out baskets of junk and polished all of the furniture.  At one point he disappeared under the guise that he had to go to the bathroom, but this isn’t my first rodeo, mister.  I am onto that trick.

After a few hours we were mostly finished and it was time for me to move onto to helping James pack for his trip, so I told Levi we could finish the rest tomorrow.  “Tomorrow?! How much could there be left to do?!?!” he exclaimed as he slapped his palm to his forehead.  I hated to tell him that I could work on just that room for 2 more days.

To make it up to him I let the boys watch a movie, even though we don’t usually watch movies on Saturday.  That soothed his tired little self.

Poor James had been feeling queasy all day, so I offered to pack for him while he told me what to do.  It was also a great way to spend time together before they left.  He sat in our bedroom recliner and pointed while I located what he needed and put it in the suitcase.  By the time we were finished he was looking a little green so he went straight to bed with the plan to get up at 4:15 the next morning in order to be at the airport by 5:30  (in case you don’t like math, that’s an hour drive to the airport from our house).

But the next morning when my backup alarm went off I checked on him and it was pretty obvious that he wasn’t going to be able to go on the trip.  He was just too sick.  Jacob and I made the quick decision that I would drive Jacob to the airport and hopefully James could catch up with him the next day after 24 hours of rest.  I literally flew out the door without even drawing my eyebrows on.  By 4:45 we were on the road.

Even though I was unprepared for the early morning drive, I did enjoy spending that time with Jacob.  We were talking and then about 15 minutes before we got to the airport he realized that all of his supplements and oils were in James’ suitcase.  They had planned to check one bag and filled it with the liquids and that bag was still at home.  Uh oh.

When you get used to having oils in you life it’s hard to live without them.

I said, “Let’s just see what’s in my purse.  Maybe I have at least some peppermint (Jacob’s favorite oil and one I always travel with!).  I set my purse next to me and started digging around in the bottom of it as I drove, going by feel alone.  If you’re wondering why he didn’t just look in the purse for me, it’s an unspoken law of nature….men don’t look in ladies’ purses.

As I blindly rummaged for the familiar shape of the bottles, I pulled them out one at a time.  “Here’s some Thieves!” He grabbed it from my hand, “Oh cool, I’ll take that!” as he shoved it into his bag.  I dug again, “Oh,” I held out a bottle, “I found peppermint!”  “Hey thanks!” he liked that.   “Here, I have a bottle of Abundance…”  He took it saying he had always wanted to try that one.  On and on it went until he had about 8 oils, 2 packets of NingXia Red and several NingXia Nitros to take with him.  And there were several more he didn’t want to take (in case you’re wondering, he opted out of lime, Slique, Valor II and Northern Lights Black Spruce.  My purse was like a clown car of Young Living products.

I don’t think I realized how many oils I carry with me since I just toss them in there and use them individually.  I saw for how spoiled I am and had a moment of gratitude for these gifts.

The only bottle I may shed a few tears over is the Abundance.  I use it every day and I have a feeling I’m not getting it back.  It’s one of those oils that every time I recommend it to someone they message me a month later and say they never want to be without it ever again.  And being the mom in this situation….well we all know the rules.  The kids don’t feel they have to return moms’ things.

I’ll be ordering myself a new bottle this week.

Once I got home it was time to dress the boys and head off to church.  The sermon was wonderful, which kept me awake.  Well, that plus I drank a NingXia Zing mixed with lemon, frankincense, Light the Fire and an ounce of NingXia Red on the way to church.  Nothing was holding me down after that.

After church I helped James a little and then settled the kids in for some down time.  One of my girls and I decided to watch “The Karate Kid” because she had never seen it.  It was a flashback of the 80s complete with big shoulder pads and music by Survivor.  By the time it was over I was thinking about popping open a can of Tab and playing with my Rubik’s Cube.


This morning James was feeling well enough to go so he headed to the airport to catch up with Jacob.  Those of us staying home will be doing our normal weekly activities of swimming, sweeping and trying to keep up with laundry.

And I’ll be refilling my purse with oils, of course.

Have a great week!