I’m Keyless

I’m Keyless

The conference this past weekend was a great family activity.  The kids especially loved seeing their friends and hanging out at the conference hotel until 2AM Saturday night playing games and singing.  I do not especially like staying up until 2 in the morning since it makes for a very grumpy mom, so I was in bed by 10:00.  Oh the joy of having kids who can drive themselves home.

We heard a lot of great speakers and ate a lot of hamburgers.  I got salad with chicken, of course, but the kids ate their weight in burgers.  For some reason they didn’t want to go home and eat leftovers when their friends were all going to Fuddrucker’s.  I agree really….the fellowship is the best part of these conferences!  But I’ve eaten enough Fuddrucker’s to last me a year.

We also had a family staying at our house so that meant people coming and going all day long.  I tried to run back and forth between home and hotel so my older kids could just enjoy the weekend.  It would have been nice to spend more time at the conference, but laundry waits for no man.  We invited different families over for meals during the weekend also, so that really kept things hopping.

On Sunday there was a church service to wrap up the conference and our whole family went, but I wasn’t feeling great so I decided to leave right after the service with the little boys and go on home, letting the rest of the family linger and say their goodbyes.

Here’s where I should tell you that I don’t carry a house key.  I really never need one because there’s always either someone at home or a pre-arranged hidden key (don’t bother looking for it….it’s a very complicated hiding process).  But I didn’t think about it yesterday so when I got home I realized I was locked out.

This is not the first time it’s happened.  And before you tell me how simple it would be for me to just GET A KEY, we have tried that.  But every time I go make myself a key something happens to it, someone borrows it, I forget it….the list of keylessness issues goes on and on.

I have thought before of getting one of those keyless entry locks, but two things stop me.  1. They cost like $100 and 2. They are ugly.

I may go back to trying to carry a house key.  But I think we can all see how that will go.

I did manage to get into the house.  I won’t tell you how, but just know it involved a metal bowl and some gardening shears.

One thing I especially loved about the weekend was that the rains brought cooler weather.  It was in the 80s all weekend which pretty much equals heaven in this part of Texas in September.  There’s nothing like a 100+ degree drought to make you glad for the teeniest bit of cool moisture.

We are looking forward to a quiet-ish week of normal-ish activity.

What do you have going on?!

Kids and Chores!

Kids and Chores!

Kids and Chores, tips and ideas from a mom of nine! #chores #youtube #parenting

This week’s YouTube video is about kids doing chores.  Uh huh.  That’s right.  I am talking about deep, dark subjects over there.

I have tried many different chore systems and all of them have their pros and cons.  But there is one thread that runs through any successful effort to get kids to do chores and that’s you constantly checking after them.

They need accountability, they need to have a clear idea of what is expected of them and they need an occasional refresher lesson.  They simply aren’t naturally going to succeed.

I use rewards for the younger kids, but by the time they are 12 they don’t get any “prizes” or payments.  The satisfaction of a job well done is reward enough.  That’s part of maturing….not expecting extra benefits for doing what needs to be done to keep the family running smoothly.  The reward systems when they are young are for teaching….not to be a lifelong practice.

To be clear….I still pay the older kids for some things, just not typical household responsibilities.  I never pay for kitchen work, cleaning, laundry, etc.  But I would pay them to do bigger jobs like work in my etsy shop, paint, yard work beyond basic mowing, cleaning out my car, and other jobs that I might pay someone else to do.

 

 

If you’re wondering what chore systems we use, there are two that I like.  The first, for younger kids, is I Did It Myself! And for the whole family I love the book Managers of Their Homes by Teri Maxwell.  It’s been around for a long time and I have tweaked it to fit my life, but there’s some great info there.

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Everything I Know About the Military I Learned from 70s TV

Everything I Know About the Military I Learned from 70s TV

Now that we are back to a full school schedule life has taken on a busy, yet semi-predictable turn.  No more lets-do-whatever mornings.  It’s back to the military style of living where Mom blows the bugle at 7:00AM and demands pushups for anyone that doesn’t hop-to.

I realize I shouldn’t make military analogies since the only thing I know about it is what I learned from Gomer Pyle, Hogan’s Heroes and M*A*S*H.  Probably not 100% accurate.

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After a week of school we were all glad for Saturday morning when we could relax a little.  But only until 7:30 because some of us wanted to go junking.  Six of us spent a few hours trucking around looking for junk to bring home and reclaim into furniture and décor.  Who needs Pottery Barn when you have trash piles and a good imagination?  I found an old bed spring and some various yard salvage that I plan to use for my fall decorating.  So stay tuned.

After a nap I spent some quality time with my pool net, skimming for leaves and dead algae.  “You boys want to swim?!  Hey, I have a better idea…..Let’s clean the pool!” For about an hour I scraped the bottom of the pool while the younger boys hung around the edges.  Sure they wanted to swim in the middle, but that would have stirred up the scum so we played “Who can stay away from Mommy?”  Elijah won.  So he’s my new favorite child.

On Sunday it was the usual….go to church, come home worn out, sleep, play games, lie around and do nothing.  But there was a small hitch in our plans.  In getting the boys dressed earlier that morning I found in their drawers a pigsty of clothes and socks and belts that don’t fit anyone.  So the later part of the day was spent cleaning that out.

Didn’t I JUST do that?  How did it get messy again so quickly?!  I’m about to whittle everything they own down to what they can fit in a foot locker and while I’m at it I might just bounce some quarters on their beds in the mornings.  How long do you think the clean drawers will last this time?  I am taking bets and whoever loses has to clean the bathrooms with their toothbrush.

Another little incident Sunday was that I got a couple of emails from people who ordered something from my shop and never got their order.  It turned out that someone opened a shop on another site and used my shop name, photos, products, everything.  It was almost exactly the same.  People placed orders and, of course, their orders never came.  They couldn’t find anyone to contact on that shop so they searched and found me, assuming I had a second store and they came irritated about not getting their orders.  I am sure!  I would be irritated too….except they never ordered anything from me!  It was a scam.  Trust me, when you order from my real shop you will get your order promptly and can always reach me if you have questions!

Where’s Radar O’Reilly when you need him?  I need a guy who can get things done.

Salute!

(My apologies to any military people reading this.  I have nothing but mad respect for everything you do!!!!)

More Cleaning and Organizing

More Cleaning and Organizing

I just can’t stop!

Friday was quiet.  We have been getting small jobs done around here and prepping for school to start. I got some shelves cleaned off and straightened and the school books all stacked and ready for me to go through.

On Saturday I was planning to get some more work done around the house and help my son get ready to go to Oklahoma for the week.  But then I heard about a barn sale that was full of junk and I couldn’t resist driving an hour to see what they had that I couldn’t live without.

I came home with a broken old fridge, an old metal slide and a few smaller things.  Uh huh.  Because my house isn’t full enough already.

I’m not sure yet what I am going to do with either of those two things but they made my heart skip a beat when I saw them and I knew we were meant to be together.  I’ll figure something out.  True love can’t be denied.

On Saturday night I felt a little cold coming on.  So I decided to skip church on Sunday morning.  I didn’t want to start a sore throat epidemic.  I kept gargling with Thieves and apple cider vinegar and I took Vitamin C and tried to drink lots of water.

But because I am not one to sit still, I told the kids that if they would help me do some cleaning then I would give them the afternoon off to do anything they wanted (at home that is).  They jumped at that and we all pitched in to get some more organizing done.

The 2 girls set about cleaning out some kitchen cabinets while the little boys and I reorganized what used to be the nursery but had become a room with a bed and treadmill.  It’s a tiny room and with the treadmill right in the middle of it we should have renamed it “The Ugly Room.”

So I moved the furniture, cleaned out the cabinet and drawers and by 1:00 it was a whole new space and there were 3 trash bags full of junk to be tossed out.  Really, that always amazes me how much stuff I have that I never use.  It’s kind of shameful.

Here’s a picture, but not because it’s a beautiful room.  I show it to you because I love seeing other people’s houses (really, I would walk through all of your houses and just look around if I could) so here’s my little room.

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I made a “wall” with the white cabinet and put the treadmill behind it.  Whoever is treadmilling can look out the window or see the TV (it’s right next to me in the picture so you can’t see it).  We just use this room for working out and as an extra bed (which we seem to need a lot).

Once that was done and all of the trash taken out and my bedroom cleaned up from everything we dumped in there I let the kids do whatever they wanted (I believe they watched movies) and I took the world’s best nap.

This week my guys are gone off to school and I have the place to myself.  Well, if you count being home with 6 kids being by myself.  I like to clean things out while James is gone so he doesn’t get distracted by the messes.  When he gets home it’ll all be back in order and ready to start school next week.

There.  That’s my weekend.  What did you do?

Our Boys’ Attic Lego Loft

Our Boys’ Attic Lego Loft

A great room for boys and their Legos! #legos #boysroom #kidsroom

In my Summer Home Tour I showed you my boy’s loft bedroom.  But I thought I’d show you it again with a little more of the details.

A loft room for boys and their Legos!

This room is so small, but we only keep the Legos and two beds up there, so it works.

A great room for boys and their Legos!

There are mattresses on the floor at each end of the room.  We got new mattresses and I am surprised at how comfy it is.  I went to Target and got the dorm-bed-in-a-bag kit.  They were happy to have matching bedding and it didn’t cost me much.  I added a couple of accent pillows.  Doesn’t every guy want throw pillows?

A great room for boys and their Legos!

I decided to add red because I found these AWESOME red metal lockers at IKEA (my happy place).

A great room for boys and their Legos!

The fence looking thing is the rail that you used to be able to see through from below.  But with the room makeover we put luann in front of it so they have more privacy.  To make the best use of the space we built a white shelf at each end of the lockers that faces the beds and one in the middle to hold all of their Lego books and manuals.

A great room for boys and their Legos!

It creates one long surface for them to build their Lego creations.

A great room for boys and their Legos!

On the opposite side of the room is the only wall.  With one weird shaped wall you have to get creative about how to use it.  We built shelves that were completely fitted to the wall and filled them with containers for the….you know what…..Legos!

A great room for boys and their Legos!

Most of the containers I got at IKEA.  Duh.

A great room for boys and their Legos!

If you’re wondering what the wooden thing on the floor is….that’s the door to the room!

The boys have organized the Legos how they want, which is basically not organized at all.

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 I left empty spots on the shelves for them to put some of the things they’ve built.

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I even added (again, IKEA) little lights on each end of the long shelf for them to hit when they need light in the night.

A great room for boys and their Legos!

The whole room was done with 1x8s, paint and 1x2s for the brackets!  It took some measuring, but we got a lot of storage in a small space and it doesn’t feel cramped because the middle is completely empty except for the seat cubes.  They need a place to sit while they build.

If you like attic spaces, I’ve found some more really cute ones over on my Attic Makeover board on Hometalk!

hometalk-attic makeovers

 


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 Always Find the Scissors

How to Always Find the Scissors

Do you spend too much time looking for a pair of scissors?!

If I told you to go get a pair of scissor right now, how long would it take you?  Or how much time do you think you spend going to the junk drawer for the scissors when you need them from another room then putting them back again, or worse….not being able to find them because you didn’t put them away?!

I have solved that problem in my house.  It was so simple that I can’t believe it took me so long to figure it out.  Now you, my brilliant friends, have probable already done this and will be feeling sorry for not telling me sooner.  It’s OK.  I won’t hold it against you.

I went to the store, bought a bunch of cheap scissors (even some of those kid scissors that are on sale right now will work!).  Then I came home and put them in every spot in the house where I might need scissors.  I no longer look for scissors or hurt my teeth trying to avoid going to get scissors or spend any time fussing at people for taking my scissors.  I am sure if I counted up the amount of time I have saved through the end of my life I would have enough to take a nice long vacation.

Here are the places we now keep a pair of scissors:

1. In a kitchen drawer

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2. In my makeup drawer
3. With my first aid supplies
4. In my sewing/ironing area

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5. In my purse
6. In the car
7. With my essential oils/mailing supplies

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8. By my computer
9. With my school tools
10. In my workshop/garage

Sometimes I keep them in a drawer, sometimes I can hang them (like in the workshop).  But they are right at arm’s length in every room.

The key to the success of this plan is to leave the scissors where they belong.  Just use them and put them right back.  No need to carry them off anywhere.  You could even use tape around the handles to label where they belong.

Happy time saving!

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If You Really Loved It Then It Wouldn’t Be on the Floor

If You Really Loved It Then It Wouldn’t Be on the Floor

I have apparently gotten some kind of bug.  Not the sneezing or stomach ache kind, but the kind that drives your family insane from your a constant need to organize and clean.

Today, unfortunately for my younger boys, I will be cracking the whip on the Lego situation.  I have had it up.to.here as we say in the south.  You don’t need to even show where “here” is.  It’s understood to be too high to even reach anyway.

Last week we emptied their loft bedroom of everything except the beds and gave the room a fresh coat of paint.  Then we built shelves to hold the Legos and I picked up some storage boxes at IKEA while I was in Houston.  The boys tried to convince me that it would take way too long to organize all of the Legos, but they are out of their league when it comes to convincing.  Once I get a notion in my brain to straighten something it can’t be unconvinced no matter how many car washes you offer me.  Resistance is futile; you will be assimilated.

I think they don’t want me in their room because they know that I can get a little aggressive with the trash bag.  I would never throw away a Lego (mainly because they cost more than all of my jewelry combined) but I wouldn’t think twice about tossing the cereal boxes they like to save to build tiny forts with or any craft projects.  One of my boys has a thing for using pencils that no one else wants because they are too short to go in the sharpener.  So he sharpens it with his pocket knife and does his schoolwork with these nubs.

But my motto is, “If you really loved it then it wouldn’t be on the floor.”  #TRASH

Cleaning the Lego room -- The Pennington Point

After I get that done I plan to keep the momentum going by cleaning out what used to be a study room for the kids and making it into an office for myself.  I’m not trying to hog the space, but they really never study in there. Instead they sprawl across the couch or front porch to do their work.  I can’t let a perfectly good 6′x10′ space go to waste.  Especially when I am working from a recliner in my bedroom with no desk or flat surface of any kind.  I just balance my computer on my knees while typing.  It works OK, but a desk and real chair are appealing.

Plus, if I had an office I might actually get something done besides sitting down to work then instead Googling everything that pops into my head.  I wonder about things….like the age of various celebrities or where to buy baby chicks.  I am hoping that being in a big-girl space will encourage me to focus like a real business woman.  Or at least enough to get over this cleaning bug.  Before my family has had it up.to.here with me.

Well, back to work.  Have a great weekend!

If You Give a Mom a New Chair…She’s Going to Want to Clean the House

If You Give a Mom a New Chair…She’s Going to Want to Clean the House

I have rarely looked forward to a normal day like I look forward to this one.  We are finally coming out of our flu fog and school is back in swing this week.  Hip hip hooray for simple problems like running out of eggs.

Speaking of eggs….we haven’t been on a full grocery run since before Christmas and we are down to eating rice and bits of mystery meat from the back of the freezer.  There’s only so much soup you can feed teenage boys before you have a mutiny on your hands.  Yesterday I found my 12 year old eating 4 toasted bread heels as a snack.

I may win a mother of the year contest.

So today a trip to the grocery store, after doing a few school lessons, will perk us all up.  If only because there will once again be bacon in the house.

Over the weekend we did a round of deep cleaning and rearranging.  There’s always some new need around here….a kid needs a place to study or my mom gives me a chair she doesn’t want and we have to move furniture to fit it in.

This inevitably turns into my version of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”  It goes something like this:

P.S. I really did build shelves to hold my oils and they are available in our etsy shop!

I think the kids were wondering what happened to “Kind Nurse Mommy” who brought them ice cream and stroked their foreheads.  That’s my alter ego.  My super-hero self.  My true identity is “Let’s Get This House Clean and I Mean NOW Mommy”.

P.S.S. I’m getting super excited about the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit coming up this month.  I will be at both conferences; the first in Oklahoma January 17-18 and in Texas January 24-25.  I hope you will come and hang out with me.  It’s gonna be such a fabulous weekend!

Thanks for stopping by….have a GREAT week!

 

Unpacking is My Least Favorite Activity

Unpacking is My Least Favorite Activity

Weekend 1 of “Lisa’s Crazy Fall” is behind me.

On Thursday I drove to Houston for the Blog Elevated conference and spent two days with some amazing, inspiring people.  I learned so much that I am a bit overwhelmed with ideas.  It’s like my brain started up for a few hours.  I haven’t felt that in a while…at least not for the blog.  It’s been all homeschool and Shop24 work around here lately.  So be prepared to be wowed soon.

I drove back home on Saturday night and got myself unpacked immediately.  What is it about unpacking that is so unpleasant?  I have to make myself do it or I know I would keep living out of that suitcase for a month.  And the car……I empty that thing pronto to avoid having to go out there looking for my stuff five times a day….where’s my phone cord?  Where’s the book I was reading?  Who took my box of Kleenex?  Oh, it’s still in the car from the trip I took last week….no way Jose.  I take everything out the minute I get home.  It’s not that I am organized….it’s that I’m too lazy to look for it later.

Sunday we had set aside for a family work day outside.  The weather was fan-tabulous and we all enjoyed being out there.  We pulled weeds and cleaned the pool and picked up rocks in the field.  My kids like to sing together when they work, so it was a concert PLUS getting weeds pulled.  My favorite combination.

And now we’re back around to Monday morning.  The cooler temps make me all giddy to get up in the morning and enjoy the day.  I love to go outside and do school.  It stimulates the mind and keeps the house clean in the process.  This is also a big selling point for me to have them eat outside.  Less cleanup.

Again….lazy.

I am highly motivated by the idea of not having to do work later.

Lastly, if you’re not yet following me on Instagram you’re missing a great series full of my favorite things.  I’ll be doing a whopper giveaway at the end of this month and giving away ALL of my favorite things from the month.  Don’t miss it!

Have a great week!