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)

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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.

Day 3: The WHEN of Essential Oils

Day 3: The WHEN of Essential Oils

I’m so thrilled to share this with you today.  We’ve talked about HOW and WHAT to begin.  Now let’s talk WHEN.  The how and what are the prep work.  You know when you paint a room….you pick your new color and go have the paint mixed.  You set aside a couple of days to get the job done and you wake up all excited.  You get up….all jazzed….then spend half a day prepping.  Move the furniture, dust the corners, tape off the edges, mask off everything, pop in a new movie for the kids because they’re getting restless and by 2:00 you’re thinking you may be close to being ready to actually open a can of paint.

That’s how projects start, even health changes.  The motivation has to be followed by preparation.  So now I am going to assume you’ve done your prep work, gotten your kit and a book or two to help you know how to use them.  Hopefully you’ve even thumbed through your book and started picking up bits of interesting information.

You have at least 11 oils, right?  I say at least because you could have ordered a few extra when you got started if there was something specific you already knew you wanted.  That’s a lot of oils to be looking at when you’ve never tried them before.  But of course, you’re familiar with a few like lemon and peppermint, even if you’ve never used them for health and wellness.

I want to eliminate some of the mystery for you this week.

Here are the 3 WHEN questions for today:

  1. WHEN do I use my oils?

Use them on day one of your kit arriving!  Yesterday I suggested putting lemon in the diffuser right away. You can use any of the oils in the kit for the diffuser, but some are better used in other ways.  RC, DiGize, Copaiba, and PanAway are best used either topically or internally (read the label for usage instructions on each).  So I would recommend sticking with the others for diffusing.  You can also mix oils in the diffuser.  I love Thieves with lemon or orange.  Peppermint and spearmint together.  Google diffuser recipes and find lots of great ideas!

When it comes to using the oils topically, consider diluting them either in Young Living’s V6 or any carrier.  Coconut oil, unscented lotion, anything that will thin out the essential oil will make it easy on your skin and also make them last longer.

My SIL first got her oils and she decided to try peppermint on her husband.  He agreed and she put several drop right below his nose.  Whoa!  She called me asking what to do because his eyes were watering and he did not like this AT ALL!  I wished I had told her to dilute it and put it somewhere that won’t bother her eyes, like behind his ears or his wrists.  Take it slow my friend.  (PS, I told her to use coconut oil to rub over where she put the peppermint.  That works better than trying to wash it off with water).

As for what time of day to use the oils, it will take time to find what works best for you.  There are so many reason you might have decided to try EOs that I can’t cover them all here.  Choose one or two oils that you really want to see if they help with your situation and use a drop or two every morning however the label suggests (either rubbing on your skin or adding it to your water).  Then venture out from there, your leader and your book should be able to guide you.

The thing about oils is the more consistent you are the better results you’ll get.  It may take a while for you to notice any changes and you may need to play around with them.  Each oil comes from a living plant and you are a unique creation and together you’ll find ways to work to your end goals.  Maybe you’ve heard peppermint is great for whatever you need, but then you try it a few times and don’t get the results you wanted.  Try another one…lemon or frankincense maybe.

2. WHEN do I ask for help from my friend that signed me up?

You chose the person you signed with so they can support you.  If you’re not sure what to do with any of the oils or how to use them, reach out!  That’s what we are here for!  And if you’re one of the many people who asks me questions because your person isn’t supportive, go up the line.  Call Young Living and ask who is the Diamond above you.  I know, it’s a weird question but you will like knowing because that person will care about you getting some support

3. WHEN do I know if they’re helping my family get healthy?

With some of the oils, I found that they were making a difference right away.  Others take a few days to a few weeks, depending on what you’re trying to do.  If you’re looking for emotional wellness, try different things.  When I am wanting to accomplish something specific with my oils, I will read about ideas then get out several bottles to try instead of just one.

For example, my daughter’s favorite is StressAway.  She loves that one so much she has her own bottle.  But I don’t respond to it the way she does.  I prefer Peace & Calming or Valor.  It’s as individual as you are.

But some oils, like lavender, are universal in their properties.  It supports healthy sleep and is soothing and relaxing for everyone.  Try it at night in the diffuser….especially in the kids’ rooms.

All in all the WHEN is unique to you.  I think that’s why it’s so hard to pin down answers.  I know you’d rather I say, “On day one use 3 drops of lavender in the diffuser. One day 3 apply Thieves to the kids’ feet,” but it doesn’t work that way.  There’s a learning curve to anything new but it’s not hard!

Above all be flexible and play with your oils.  Read through your book and see ways that speak to you.

Fun Fact: I diffuse lavender when I take a power nap to help me get a great rest!  Think a short sleep break sounds lazy?  Think again!

Influential nappers have included Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Napoleon, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, George W. Bush. Each of these figures already knew what science is now confirming: A power nap can boost your memory, cognitive skills, creativity, and energy levels

Be sure to check out this whole series:

Day 1: How to Get Stared Using Essential Oils
Day 2: How to Get Started with Essential Oils
Day 4: The WHERE of Essential Oils
Day 5: The WHY of Essential Oils


My Fear is Going to Get Expensive

My Fear is Going to Get Expensive

Last week after spending several days hiding away in deep thought and writing, I was glad to be home to my simple, sweet life and beautiful family.  What I was NOT glad to get home to was the…er…situation that had occurred while I was gone.  You wouldn’t think anything this big could happen in less than a week, but apparently it can.

We have an official M-word situation.

I found out about it after I was doing some laundry.  I was peacefully moving clothes from the washer to the dryer when James came in and said in a tone that was out of character for him, “Lisa, you need to go out of here for a minute.”  It was the way he said it, so gentle and sweet, that sent me into immediate panic.  Like when someone says to you, “Sit down honey, I have something to tell you,” in their most remain-calm voice.  Fear goes up your spine.

And since we were doing things that were out of the ordinary, I just left the room.  I put the wet laundry down and walked away.  James must have been kind of surprised at my lack of arguing because he called after me, “Well look at you being all submissive!”. I could tell he was smiling even though I never turned around to see.  But I wasn’t really being submissive.  I was really pretty sure I could read between the lines and knew there was a you-know-what somewhere in the utility room and he was trying to keep me from seeing it.

Later on after my heart stopped pounding I decided to take the risk and ask him if this was a one time problem or if it had been ongoing.  He laid his hand on my shoulder and in the style of a great politician he answered me squarely, “We have it completely under control.”

Um….. yeah.  That doesn’t comfort me at all.  You may was well tell me that the atomic bomb is not going to land DIRECTLY on top of my house.  Oh well that’s just great.

I didn’t ask more questions.  I really didn’t want to know, but a couple of the boys while overhearing this brief conversation blurted out some disturbing information about things that had happened while I was gone.  I have never seen my husband move so fast as he leapt to put his hand over their blabby little mouths.  “SHHHH!!!!” he said then turned a guilty grin in my direction, “Really honey, we are handling it.”

So of course, last night I didn’t sleep a wink.  I just knew there must be dozens (or more) of those nasty creatures scurrying around in the dark doing who knows what in my house and what if one was in my bedroom?!?!?  I decided that the next day I would have to go to a hotel. Obviously.

And of course, I won’t be able to cook or do laundry since the kitchen and utility room seem to be their favorite hangouts.  We will be eating out from now until either an exterminator ends this invasion or the house burns down.  I am hoping for #1.

I informed James this morning of all of these plans and he laughed like I was being ridiculous.  Um, dude, if you thought I was hard to live with BEFORE this infestation, you ain’t seen nothing’.  In the nearly 30 years that we have been married I have held back the kind of crazy that is about to come loose if we don’t get rid of these things immediately.

I may need to send him a Hallmark card to apologize in advance.

When you are terrified of mice....

Do you think Hallmark makes those?  I mean, I have seen crazier cards.  Once I saw a card that said, “I am sorry you lost your job, but let’s be honest, you weren’t very good at it.”.

Now, I know that some of you are reading this and thinking that I am having an overreaction to a normal life happening and that I live on a farm and should not be bothered by this. Well just because I have horses and chickens and way too many cats does not mean I am comfortable with rodents inside my house!  In fact, what is the problem with my cats anyway?!  Shouldn’t they be helping here?!?!

I know that my fear is doesn’t make sense, but I think we are each allowed to have one irrational fear in our lives.  I am not afraid of flying or heights or germs….OK I am a little afraid of germs.  But this M-word thing is literally an I-think-I-am-gonna-throw-up kind of problem.  My instant reaction is complete hysteria followed by crying in the corner.  I can’t help it.  It goes all the way back to my childhood and watching my mother and grandmother standing on the kitchen table while my 5 year old brother chased a mouse through the kitchen with a broom.

Not that I blame them one bit.  I completely understand their fear and have no doubt that I have passed it on to my children.  There are worse things to be afraid of I guess.  I mean, this doesn’t come up very often in life.  Unless they become missionaries in a place where this is a regular issue, in which case I guess they will have the blessing of learning to overcome a fear.

But I plan to just avoid it at all costs, literally.

And now, to prepare my weekly menu, avoiding any actual time in the kitchen and not doing laundry.  It’ll be a challenge friends, but believe me, I am motivated!  And if you pass my house and see me in my front porch rockers, it isn’t because I have gone all Mayberry.  It’s because I am scared to go into my house.

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What’s Your Irrational Fear?

What’s Your Irrational Fear?

James goes out of town each August and it seems like every time something happens.  Last year the A/C went out, the year before that we sprung a leak under the sink.  This year, however, takes the cake.


It happened yesterday morning.  Every day I get out of bed at 6:30, usually groggy and half asleep, and I shuffle into the bathroom, go potty, put on my oils and change clothes for my morning workout.  Well yesterday for some reason I don’t remember, I got undressed first THEN went to the potty.  That is important to the story….you’ll see in a sec.

I was sitting there paying no attention to anything, I don’t even think my eyes were open, when I heard a shuffle and opened my eyes to see a…..I can’t say the word…..starts with M and rhymes with house…..come running out of my shower, rustling the shower curtain, and into the sink area of the bathroom.  Yes.  It was about 8″ from my bare feet.

Scream is not a big enough word for what I did.

Let’s see, how can I describe it?  It was more like a shriek-screech-panic-freakout (“s-s-p-f” for short)

I jumped up from the potty and took off, through the bedroom and down the hallway yelling for a kid to come help me and flipping on lights as I ran.  Just as one of the kids called out from their bed to ask what was going on I realized that I was stark naked.  As a jaybird.

I kind of figured that having your mom screaming through the house when you’re sound asleep is damaging enough without having to see her naked body.  I mean, is it actually possible to scrub your eyeballs?

So while continuing the “s-s-p-f,” I grabbed a blanket to wrap around myself.  The kids started sleepily wandering out of their rooms to see what was happening.  My daughter, who isn’t the least bit scared of the you-know-what, offered to check my bathroom.  She looked all around with a flashlight then declared the room clear.  So using my daughter as a shield, I went back in my bathroom and quickly got dressed.  Then I doused myself in essential oils so I could calm down enough to tie my shoes.

“I’m going for my walk,” I told her in what was mostly a whiny, crying voice, “Do you think you and your brother could try to catch it while I’m gone?”

She agreed to try and actually (and this is where, if she hadn’t been born at home I might have wondered if she had been switched at birth) seemed kind of excited by the challenge.

I got in a good run, adrenaline will do that to you, I couldn’t have walked slowly if I’d wanted to.  Then when I got home I sat down on the front porch and texted inside the house.

“Well?  Is it safe to come in?  I’m scared.”

She let me know that it was completely safe and the you-know-what had been caught and disposed of.

Turns out she had seen it run into another bedroom and let one of our barn cats in there.  Voila!  Problem solved.  One of my girlfriends suggested offering the cat a can of salmon as a reward, but I felt like an hour in the air-conditioning and a you-know-what to play with was reward enough.

The rest of the day I was so jumpy I actually got spooked when a feather blew in front of my leg while I was standing in the backyard.  Every time our new puppy came into the room where I was I’d do a mini “s-s-p-f” again.  My nerves are shot.

I’m not sure how I will make it through the rest of the weekend knowing sometimes these things have friends and family and maybe this was just the frontman of the operation.  I did put every diffuser I own to work, including setting one on the floor of the hallway.  I read that you-know-whats hate peppermint and ravintsara, so I have them diffusing in every room.  I’d douse myself in them if I could.


I mentioned my extreme fear on Facebook and asked what other people’s irrational fears were and many of them said the same as mine, but there were also a lot of folks terrified of spiders, snakes and roaches.  Yep, these are my people.

Now that I have slept for an entire night after the trauma, I think I may actually survive.  But I will confess to standing on my potty this morning tossing empty vitamin bottles into the shower to spook any other little friends out.  After about 5 minutes of nothing happening except for my discovering that I keep way too many empty bottles, I went about my morning normally.  Still shaken, but normal.

And I am planning on an uneventful weekend.

Unless….of course…..a feather drifts past me again.


Let Me Tell You a Little Story….

Let Me Tell You a Little Story….

One day you’re a woman with a clean bedroom and the next day…BAM!  It looks like you live in an episode of Hoarders.

I try to keep my room clean, I really do.  On Sunday nights I give it a really good straightening and put away everything that has accumulated through the week.  I’m not really sure why Legos and other people’s belts end up at the foot of my bed, but I just take it as part of life and clean it all up.

Now, I love the part of this story where I wake up on Monday morning to a clean bedroom.  I feel like a lady in a mattress commercial that stretches like she’s the happiest person in the world all because she slept on a Posturepedic (FYI: spell check keeps trying to change that word to “pedicurist” which seems like a big spelling leap, but now I want a pedicure because I am easily influenced.  Don’t say the names of any food or I instantly want it.  Except olives or cucumbers which I do not like. #random)

Like any good tale there’s a plot twist.  This time it’s in the form of me deciding I need an office and we have to clean out three rooms to make it happen.  And where does all of the junk and furniture that no one needs anymore end up?  Yep.  You guessed it.

We cleaned and moved and worked so hard and by Thursday I had a situation on my hands.  Sure, I have a lovely new office but I also have an uninhabitable bedroom.  I won’t be stretching my arms like the lady in the commercial.  Because if I did I would hit the enormous pile of clothes that is next to me on the bed.  And forget going to the bathroom in the night without turning on the lights.  Toe….meet the bookshelf that wasn’t there yesterday.

Speaking of piles of clothing, WHY are there so many clothes in the boys’ drawers that don’t fit them?!  We have very limited space.  Four boys have their clothes all in one room which is also where we keep all of their toys and two of them sleep.  Oh, and all of their books.  Every inch is sacred.  So when I opened THREE drawers to find them stuffed with clothes that NO ONE wears I kind of lost my mind.  It’s like I could actually feel a little screw going loose in my brain, hairs turning gray and wrinkles creeping along my face.

It was just last weekend that I announced we might need to find a place to put another dresser in there because the drawers were all so full and I had already had them clean it all out.  In their defense, none of them had any idea who was supposed to be using those three drawers so they never opened them, thinking they belonged to a brother.

We had a drawer intervention.

And now I have a mountain of boy’s clothes on my bed waiting for me to go through.  I also have three pieces of furniture that I have to squeeze into the storage building, which is another touchy subject.  Let’s just agree to not talk about it, mkay?

So guess what the theme for today is!  It’s “Clean Mommy’s Room Day”!  It starts with getting all of this junk out of my room and ends with happy Mommy buying frozen yogurt for everyone.

The end.

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How to Add Trim to Make Your Shutters Reach the Ceiling

How to Add Trim to Make Your Shutters Reach the Ceiling

Last week I showed you my beautiful new shutters and how they have improved my lifestyle.  I no longer have to wedge myself between my chair and the wall to open the curtains in my bedroom.  I can have easy privacy when necessary and let the sunshine in with one flip of the wrist.

I love, love, love them.  BUT my bedroom needed height at the windows and the new shutters were only the size of my windows.  I thought, while I loved them with all my heart, that they needed some tweaking.

I wanted to make them look a bit more grand, more substantial.  So I hopped in the van and went to the hardware store for some trim.  I wanted to widen the windows a bit, so I got a 4″ trim and I wanted to stretch the windows to the ceiling, so I got a package of beadboard and some smaller trim.

In less than 3 hours I was finished with the whole project and my windows are perfection.  Mwah!

First we cut the 4″ trim to fit along the sides of the window from floor to ceiling.

How to add trim to your shutters

We also added this same trim across the top, below the crown molding that was already there.  If I didn’t have crown I would have just taken it all the way to meet the ceiling.  We mitered those corners.  Mitering corners isn’t scary…you just need the right tool. (my oldest son was sweet to help me with the project)

How to add height to shutters

The only hitch was that we had to notch around the window sills.  After cutting the side piece the exact length to fit floor to ceiling we held it up to the window and marked where the notch needed to be.

How to add trim to your shutters

Then we measured how far in we needed to cut and we marked that.

How to add trim to your shutters

Until we had our mark exactly where we needed it.

How to add trim to your shutters

There are several ways to cut a notch.  This is just how we do it. We use the miter saw (we also used it for the mitered corners above) to start the cuts.

How to add trim to your shutters

Then used a chisel to chip out the rest.  It only took about a minute.

How to add trim to your shutters

And it was ready to put up.

How to add trim to your shutters

Then we cut the beadboard to fit into the opening above the windows.  I attached everything using a brad nailer, but you can also use finish nails.

Next I cut some narrow trim into a frame to fit inside of the beaded board.  I just did that to add a paneling feeling.  After it was all caulked and painted it looked like this:

How to add trim to your store bought shutters

Below the window I just painted the exposed wall with the white paint, but I didn’t add beadboard there.  I was too cheap to buy another package when I really didn’t need it.

How to add trim to your shutters

To show you what a huge difference the trim makes, I did one window at a time so you could see them before and after side by side.

How to add trim to your shutters

Here it is finished….nice, huh?

How to add trim to your shutters

I am in love.  Real, true, deep love.

How to add trim to make your shutters look bigger

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The Old Woman and the Shutters

The Old Woman and the Shutters

This is what happens when you realize you are a nursery rhyme character and need new bedroom window coverings:

There once was a woman who was always on a diet

She really enjoyed when her whole house was quiet

Her 9 precious kids made finding silence hard

She sometimes thought about moving them to the yard

But this mom knew the importance of sharing

And made sure her kids were aware of her caring

She fixed up her bedroom so her teens would come share

Their hopes, their dreams and problems with their hair

This mom rearranged, shifted and built

Extra seating to fit everyone with no guilt

She made it look pretty and invited them in

to her combination master bedroom and den

old woman, new shutters

The issue she had with this great new arrangement

was letting in light from the window estrangement

the room was too small for so many seats

so the windows were blocked and couldn’t be reached

she’d wedge behind her comfy recliner

to struggle with curtain, strings, rod and liner

then one day she got a brilliant notion

She could add shutters to open with one motion

The Old Woman and the new Shutters

now she can sit in the sunshine with ease

and special moments with the kids she can seize

when the daylight fades she can close her shutters tight

and let the teens come sit and talk all night

Then when they’re finished she prays for their heart

and slips into bed, for tomorrow’s new start.

 The Old Woman and the Shutters

(Be sure to come back next week when I show you how I added trim to the beautiful shutters to add height to the room!)

I received free products from Blinds.com to review.   I always give my complete opinion and am dedicated to sharing only products I love and would recommend to a friend.

I Am a Nursery Rhyme Character

I Am a Nursery Rhyme Character

Some days I feel like a nursery rhyme character….I’m all little old woman and so many children I don’t know what to do, etc., etc.

This week the many children thing has challenged me with making my bedroom a haven for the older kids to come sit and share their thoughts with me.  The little boys are bouncy and the older ones need a quiet place to talk with me and tell me what is going on in their lives.

I’ve been very protective of my bedroom.  The kids must knock before entering and wait to be invited in.  That will help add privacy to our mother/teen discussions.

Making your bedroom a place for your teens to come share their hearts with you

So I have been adding comfortable seating and trying to make it welcoming.  I want them to feel like they are not intruding if they want to come in late at night and talk with me.  I want them to know there’s an empty chair that I put there just for them.

There was problem with the windows.  I have curtains on them, but because of the extra seating, there are big chairs shoved up against the windows and it makes it difficult to open and close those curtains.  I’m a sunlight kind of girl….I want them open in the day and closed at night.  So I have been squeezing myself behind the chairs and doing contortions to get the curtains open and closed.

This was not going to work for long, although it was adding to my daily exercise routine, I can’t be spending 20 minutes each morning just trying to get my curtains open then repeating the whole circus act again at night to close them.

Win $100 gift card from Blinds.com!

Last week was the final straw when I leaned over my beloved recliner to open the curtains behind it only to have it eject backwards with me in it, sending me headfirst over the back of the chair.  I was stuck there with my legs sticking up from behind the chair, wedged against the window, torn between crying out for help and letting myself fall the rest of the way so no one would catch me with my Spanx in the air.  Nothing like being hurled headfirst into a dark corner to get the day started.

Then suddenly it hit me!  I knew what I needed to do…..the answer became so clear as I hung upside down with the blood rushing to my head.

I needed shutters!  Beautiful, easy to clean, no strings for the kids to get tangled in, one swoop to open, shutters.

So I contacted the amazingly helpful people at Blinds.com and soon I will be saved from ever falling headfirst behind my recliner again.

And I didn’t have to sacrifice seating to do it.

Now I’m a whole new nursery rhyme character.  I’m Mary and my little lambs can follow me wherever I go.

And here’s where this story gets good for you…..the Blinds.com folks are giving one of you a $100 gift card!  You too can have safe and beautiful window coverings!

Win a $100 gift cards to blinds.com

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I received free products from Blinds.com to review.   I always give my complete opinion and am dedicated to sharing only products I love and would recommend to a friend.

Warning: Fall Cuteness Ahead

Warning: Fall Cuteness Ahead

I sure enjoyed the slow pace of this past weekend since it’s the last free weekend I have until mid-November.  I don’t know why, but every year it gets super busy at this time.  You’d think I would have learned from the exhaustion of the previous year not to do this to myself, but then I forget and think it will be fine.  Like birth…..if I could remember the horrors I’d never have another child and numbers 2-9 would not have been born.  So I guess, despite my busyness, it’s a good thing I don’t remember.

On Friday we got a truckload of homeschool done in preparation for the full calendar ahead.  I’m grateful for my Lift Caps to help me get it all done.  I have more energy than I have had in years and I am using every bit of it.  But don’t get me wrong….I still need my afternoon nap.

Saturday morning we had a big breakfast.  Some of my girls’ had friends here so it was mostly talk about music and jewelry and favorite breakfast cereals.  After that I spent the morning cleaning my room and going through school papers. Nothing noteworthy.  But it was a relief to have my room clean.  It gets messy so fast that I should have taken a picture to prove it happened because it’s already messy again.

That afternoon, even though I had planned to get some writing done, instead I played a computer game for the rest of the day.  I don’t know what came over me.  I just couldn’t make my brain work.  Does that ever happen to you?  No matter what you do your mind won’t focus until finally you’re forced to do seek and find puzzles for three hours?  I had no other choice.  My knack for wasting time is up there with my ability to watch the same movie over and over without ever getting tired of it.  Raw talent, I tell you.

I spent Sunday bringing fall to the house.  Out went the summer decorations and in swept the fake pumpkins and wooden acorns.  I still have some tweaking to do on the porch, but it’s a start.  I couldn’t love fall more if it brought me chocolate and sang me sweet melodies.

We also spent some time photographing and  listing new items in the shop.  It’s all about fall around here!  Check out there darling buckets we made…..

We are all ready for the temps to drop, to wear sweaters and drink hot tea on the veranda.

Or at least stop sweating so much.  I’d settle for that.

It has definitely cooled down though.  For the past few evenings it’s been cool enough for us to go outside for walks or games in the yard.  Having bearable weather does not go unappreciated here in the south.  I am so happy about it finally dropping below 100° that I am thinking about declaring a holiday it its honor.  No school, no work, just lying in the hammock drinking in the breathable air.  That’s how I like to spend a holiday…..lying down.

This next week I am all a twitter because I am heading to Houston for the Blog Elevated conference.  They have some wonderful speakers lined up and I plan to learn lots if I can get my brain working again.  I hear they still have a few tickets left if you’ve been thinking about going.

How’s things at your house?


My Summer Home Tour!

My Summer Home Tour!

I am so, so, so glad you stopped by for my tour da casa.  Life here in the Texas Hill Country is sweet and simple.  Nothing fancy, but we love every bit of it!

Right inside the front door is the living room. 

We built this room ourselves on a wing and a prayer since we had no idea what we were doing.  Even though the room is small, I worked and worked until I found an arrangement that would give all 11 of us a place to sit comfortably.

I used to wish for an entryway, but then I decided that the porch could be my entryway.  Making the most of what I have is my favorite pastime. Below you can see a chair I painted and recovered, a clock I made from an abandoned bird cage stand and some lockers I painted to use for the kids’ school books.

All of our furniture is from flea markets and hand-me-downs.  I take what I find and remake it into what fits our home.  I’ll paint anything….like our piano!

Many of the small details in my home are from my etsy shop, Shop 24.

Just through the living room is the dining room/school room.

The black table is for eating and the white table is where we homeschool with the added benefit of having plenty of extra table space when we have guests for dinner…which is pretty often.

The long buffet behind the black table serves two purposes.  The kids can use it as a desk during the day and we can serve food from it at mealtime.  I try to get as many uses out of one thing as I can.

My big chalkboard wall is constantly changing.  I can draw anything on it depending on what mood I’m in….and I can be moody.  So it changes often.

Even though we don’t do sports (you wouldn’t want to see me do sports, I run like a chicken) I used a sports theme for the summer.  It makes us want to get outside and play!

The other side of the room is the school space.

I use the giant white board for school and to write a new Bible verse every day that we try to memorize.  I also sometimes write lists or chores on the board.  You can read more about how I keep my homeschool area organized!

Around the corner from the school area is our little study room.

I enclosed part of the porch to create this teeny room.  But don’t measure its usefulness by its size….we couldn’t do without it!  The kids can go in there to read or work on their computer or do some quiet school work.  They can close the door and concentrate.  Perfect!

And the letters on the wall are not supposed to be a word.  I’m just slowly gathering all of the kids’ first initials as I see them at flea markets.  It takes time to find nine vintage letters.

On the other side of the dining room is our kitchen.  We built the kitchen all by ourselves on a shoestring budget.  Two ranges, two microwaves, two fridges….it’s perfect for a large family!

In the picture below you can see my kids’ lunch area, my stained glass that came from an old church and my beige chalkboard wall (next to the electric range) where we keep a running grocery list.  Gotta stay organized!

If you go out the kitchen door you step onto a deck that leads to our pool.

It’s a simple, above ground pool.  My son and I built the deck and we built our own outdoor furniture so I can sit right there and work on the blog while the kids swim.

I love sitting out there.  What we lack in expensive luxury, we make up for in peace and tranquility.

Before we go back inside let’s walk around to the front of the house where we have an outdoor eating area, the “Pavilion.”  I found the old sign at a church bazaar and hung it there and the name stuck.  I put the eating area in the front because that’s where the evening shade is, and I am a shade kind of girl.  We eat out there as much as possible.

We had our 25th anniversary party out there a couple of years ago and it was a beautiful evening!

The rest of the house is bedrooms and bathrooms.  With 9 kids in a small house I have to get creative about bedroom spaces.  My 19 year old daughter sleeps in an enclosed porch area.  We made it to also serve as a guest room.

This girl is a bit of a minimalist.  All she wants is a cozy place to sit and some beach things around her and she’s happy.

Two of my boys share a little western themed room complete with horse in the barn that I painted myself

And two of my teen girls live in a finished out attic.

Even though they can only stand up in the middle, they are so happy to have their own space that they don’t care one bit.  And every single thing in this room was free except the wood we bought to build the shelves.  We found the headboards in someone’s trash and just painted them!

Below the girls’ attic bedroom is the master bedroom.  It’s my oasis on a hard day of homeschooling, laundry and painting furniture (which I am usually doing all at the same time).

I do most of my work in this room.  I sit in my recliner and work online after all of the kids are in bed.

My bathroom is another place I like to hide occasionally.

For some reason the kids don’t think to look for me there, so when I need a few minutes to myself I sneak in the bathroom with a book and a Diet Dr Pepper.

That’s it for my summer home tour.  It’s been great having you visit and I hope you’ll come back again soon!

Here are a few other amazing homes you might want to visit!!!

The Nester @ Nesting Place
Chris @ Just a Girl
Emily @ Decor Chick
Roeshel @ DIY Show Off
Marianne @ Songbird
Lindsay @ Makely Home
Sandra @ Sawdust Girl

And don’t forget to follow me on Facebook!