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!

That Day I Made My Own Laundry Pods

That Day I Made My Own Laundry Pods

This post contains affiliate links.

A couple of months ago my friend Susan shared a recipe for laundry pods.  I thought, “Hey!  I should make those!”

So after reading her recipe I immediately opened my Amazon app and ordered some Nellie’s All Natural Laundry Soda and it arrived on my doorstep a few days later.  I carried it to a shelf in my bathroom where it stayed, next to a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, for 2 months where it eventually needed to be dusted.  Thus proving what I already knew….that I am a master procrastinator.

I should make myself a “Master Procrastinator” cape.  And wouldn’t it be great if it rolled up into a pillow like those snuggy blankets so I could use it at naptime?

OK, where were we?  Oh right.  Laundry pods.  I’m starting to see why it took me so long to make them.

You can see Susan’s recipe HERE and I’ll just share with you what I did differently.


First let me say, I was drawn to trying this because of two things.  1. It has essential oils in it and y’all know how I am crazy about those!  2. It includes the Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar which I am a HUGE fan of.  If you have never tried one…run to get it now before you have your next laundry stain.  It’s amazing.  Then, just for fun, have your kids study why it works….simply fascinating.

OK, back to the recipe.  I decided to use Citrus Fresh and Tea Tree.  Susan used Citrus Fresh and StressAway.  Once I saw how hard it was to get those little balls to stick together I realize why she was so brilliant.  I was wishing for some StressAway about 2 minutes into the balling process.  I could NOT get those suckers to hold together.  So I added more vinegar and voila!  It worked.  Each time it got too dry to stay in a ball I added about a tablespoon of vinegar and kept going.  In this Texas heat it still only took a day to firm up enough to put them into the canister.

An easy to make "recipe" for making your own laundry pods that make you clothes so soft and great smelling!

If I decide to make them again, I will switch to the Arm & Hammer Washing Soda because it is less than half the cost of the one I used.  And I’ll definitely try other oils.  I mean, what’s the fun of making your own if you can’t play with the scent?!

I will admit, I cheated and tossed a fresh one into my laundry as I was making them.  I was dying to see if all this effort was really worth it.  And it was!  My laundry smelled divine and the towels were so soft that if I ever do make that cape I will use one of those soft towels.

On second thought, I can simply clothespin the towel to my shirt and be done with it.  Procrastinators unite!

Happy laundering!

If you are interested in getting started using Young Living essential oils, I’d love to be a part of your journey!  You can join HERE and when you order the Premium Starter Kit at the same time as joining (it’s a great kit….11 oils and a fabulous diffuser!) I will send you a book to get you started and some other goodies! 

I MUST Know What Time It Is!

I MUST Know What Time It Is!

As of the writing of this post I have no idea what time it is.  The power has been out since 2AM and just now it came back on and my clock is flashing 12:00. 12:00. 12:00.

I have a time “thing”.  I must know what time it is – always.  The clock in my head usually is pretty close, but I test it by looking at an actual clock.  I don’t even realize I do this until I have no clock to check (power out/iPhone dead).  Then, in a matter of seconds, I am thrust into panic, feeling like I am being experimented on like a lab rat.  “Let’s see what happens when we take away her ability to know what time it is….mwahahaha!”

I did just now realize that my computer has a clock and I am looking at it while my phone charges, hoping it is correct.


This past week has been unusual with all of the rain and a friend visiting from out of state and Monday being a holiday.  I always get thrown off by holidays.  We aren’t doing regular school since our friend is here all week and the rain is making extra work to try to keep the animals dry and fed.

All of that to say….I am feeling not quite myself.

So yesterday I decided to right the world by, what else, cleaning my bathroom.  I mean, nothing says “life is good” like a freshly scrubbed toilet and a shiny faucet.  Can I get an amen?

We rotate the job of bathroom cleaning so when it’s my turn I like to dig deep and get it so clean that Queen Elizabeth could come for a visit.  I mean, she could only go into my bathroom because the rest of the house is a mess. But that’s OK, right?  I’m sure she appreciates a really clean loo as much as the next person.

I spent half an hour just cleaning the potty.  It wasn’t filthy, it just needed a really good scouring and I scrubbed all up under the rim and between the wall and toilet.  It is so clean today that when the queen comes she is going to wonder if it’s brand new.  Then I tackled the other areas in the bathroom and even went outside and washed the windows.  Yep, my world needed some serious setting right.

The smell in there is great!  I put a little diffuser in there with lemon and pine and let it do its thing while I scrubbed with my Thieves cleaner and listened to praise music.  The smells really put the final touch on my already nice feeling.

clean bathroom = happy mom

This Saturday (tomorrow) I am traveling to Austin for a Young Living meeting and to run some “city” errands.  I will get to ride for 2 hours (each way) in the car alone, so I’m making myself a playlist to turn up loud and crank the windows down.  All upbeat.  All uplifting.  All the way to Austin, baby.

While I am gone for the day my older kids are having a party.  A bunch of their friends are coming over so we are hoping that the rain has stopped long enough for them to hang outside and play some Frisbee sports.  I’m sorry I’ll miss that.  But frankly, if I were home I would be hiding in my clean bathroom anyway, giving them the run of the place.

OK, no more lollygagging.  Since the power has stayed on for long enough to finish writing this, I probably should go find out officially what time it is and go set the clocks.

Happy weekend to you….and may you enjoy some fresh air and loud music!

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It’s Video Time Baby!

It’s Video Time Baby!

Last week when I featured my freshened up kitchen wall, I promised to show you the rest this week.

Instead of lots of photos and written words, I made you a little video.  I intended to make it about 2 minutes long since I know you’re busy and who wants to just watch a person who can’t cook walking around their kitchen?  But I got all lost in the moment and it ended up being almost 7 minutes long.

Take it as a compliment.  I’m expressing my love for you with my brevity.  And my lack of self-control.



Here’s a list of some of the products I used:

Everyday Grain-Free Baking by my real life gorgeous friend Kelly Smith!
Black Lime Wax by Maison Blanche  (it’s expensive, but a little goes a long way)
Bluetooth Speaker for the kids to listen to their music while they work!
Cabinet over the fridge (and all of the other cabinets too!) are from Home Depot and I added trim
Tintable chalkboard paint for the list-wall (sorry I don’t know the color….it was a long time ago and I matched it to something)
My gorgeous shutters are from  They are FABULOUS to work with!
Stainless Tea Kettle that we love for hot water that the kids can easily make
EAT letters are by Heidi Swapp.  You can get them HERE at Amazon or Michael’s has them (and you can use a coupon!)

If there are any other products you wan to know about, head over to my Facebook page to ask and I’ll try to help!

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to go subscribe to my YouTube channel!

(this post contains affiliate links)


What’s More Important than Balloons?

What’s More Important than Balloons?

Before I talk about important things like the unusual number of balloons floating around my house or how my hands are cracking from washing excessive washing, I want to stop and have a moment of silence for the hour we will lose this weekend.

moment of silence

Time changes are my nemesis.  Superman has Kryptonite, I have Daylight Savings Time.

Poor adjustment to time changes is one reason I would not make a good world traveler.  That and I basically only like to eat southern cooking or TexMex.

Now, back to balloons.  For some reason the people around me thought it must be the way to celebrate turning 50.  I got balloons from my kids that they drew fun pictures on, balloons from several friends and last night my besties took me to dinner in the city and what waited for me at the restaurant….a dozen helium balloons.  Plus there were another dozen in the party van that we got to fight with all the way to the restaurant.  I feel balloon nightmares in my future.

One friend left a weighted down bouquet of helium-filled mylar balloons on my front porch on my birthday, which I did not realize were there when I got home after dark and tangled myself in them.  I was carrying a few shopping bags, my purse and a water bottle as I made my way to the front door.  I felt something hit me in the face at the same moment strings started wrapping around my ankles and in seconds I was being taken hostage by this mystery jungle, slapping me left then right and taking me down.

Because I am so good in a crisis, my instinct was to save the bottle of water at any cost.  So I dropped all of the other packages and my purse (which held my phone and other breakable objects) and clutched the water to my chest like my life depended on it.  Brilliant.

Today my sickies are still feeling pretty cruddy.  For the past 4 days I prepare a pot of soup each morning, making it easy to feed anyone who asks for food.  Anytime I have even remote contact with each person, I wash my hands.  If I could boil them I would.  I have also become obsessed with giving every dish in the house a good scrubbing.  You see, our dishwasher AND water softener are both on the blink and our dishes all have a white film over them.  I discovered on Tuesday that if I scrub them with an SOS pad I can get the white film off so I have set my mind to de-filming every dish in the house.

And if you remember, SOS pads quickly rust, so I have to use a whole pad up as soon as I start it.  I don’t want to waste them, so I make a pile of dishes that need de-filming and set about scouring the whole pile as I wash the regular dishes at the same time.  This happens at least 3 times a day.

What does all of this mean to you?

Probably nothing, except that if you ever have a white film issue you will know where to turn for help.


My hands are not, however, enjoying the process so I have been keeping them coated in lavender lotion and sometimes I rub on a little coconut oil with a drop of frankincense in it.

I wonder if there’s an oil for having trouble adjusting to time changes.

Have a great weekend!


3 Tips for Managing Invisalign Aligners

3 Tips for Managing Invisalign Aligners

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

At last!

Noah got his Invisalign aligners and he’s off and running.

Literally.  He’s 15.  It’s what he does.

That’s one of the things that drew me to using Invisalign.  They are removable for sports and activities that might be more risky with traditional braces.  Seriously, he got a skateboard recently and he has fallen several times.  I feel better knowing his mouth is safe from being cut by braces.  (this happened to a friend of mine’s son and it led to a year of serious mouth issues)

While we LOVE that they are removable, it also has its challenges.  I mean, WHERE do you put them when they are not in your mouth?!

I explored this problem.  The main times they should be out of your mouth is either when you are eating and when you’re cleaning them/brushing your teeth.

The second situation isn’t a big deal since they are only out for a few minutes.  But eating….that’s another matter.

I can tell you for SURE that I don’t want to be looking at aligners sitting next to my son’s plate all through dinner.  #yuck

So….I came up with 3 ways to manage the aligners.

1. I got a small, metal bucket and set it on the console in our dining room.  He keeps his retainer case in there and when it’s meal time he just grabs the case, pops his aligners out and stores them there for the meal.  (of course you KNOW I had to personalize it!)

I like the bucket instead of just the case because it looks nice and it gives him a spot to keep other things he might need like rubber bands (which he will get on his next visit).

3 Ways to manage your invisalign alighners

Keeping the case in the dining room (which is also our school room) makes it easy also when he needs to take them out for any other reason (maybe skateboarding for half an hour).  It’s in a central location and not off in his room somewhere under a pile of Legos.

2. I keep a small zip top bag (4″x 6″ – I get them at Hobby Lobby) in my purse.  This is a great help when we are out and decide to get something to eat.  You don’t want to wrap them in a napkin.  Ask me how I know……we refer to it as the “Lost Retainer of 2014”.   Yep, wrapped it in a napkin at a restaurant.  Dug through the trash bin.  Never found it.  #gross

3. I keep more of those little bags in my glove compartment in my van.  This way he can stick one in his pocket in case he is going to be eating (again, if we are out) and he won’t be with me.  It’s small and easier to carry than the big case.  He just has to be careful that he puts it in a shirt pocket instead of pants, if possible.  I don’t know how delicate they are, but we don’t want to break the aligners by accidentally sitting on them! #yikes


Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and my son 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.


Are You Ready?

Are You Ready?

Here we are.  The week of Thanksgiving and I haven’t given a single thought to what we will be eating on Thursday.  Not to mention shopping for food.  Oi, the crowds!

Every year we get together with another family that has become like our true family over time.  They are there for us in hard times and share in our blessings.  They will roll in on Thursday morning around 11:00 and we will begin the flow of food that doesn’t stop until around 7:00 in the evening.

Since we already had the whole turkey and dressing meal with our church family yesterday, I am going to skip that this year and we will do something different.  Maybe burgers, maybe Mexican food.  It depends on what strikes my mood while I am at Costco this afternoon.


I do love the freedom of going with my mood.  It can be dangerous though.  It could take me down a path like Alice down the rabbit hole.  I see a pretty bottle of who-knows-what and my mind says “Drink me”.  Then off I go and by the end of my shopping trip today we may be having tea and giant mushrooms for Thanksgiving.

I am also going to preview the new Hunger Games movie while I am out.  My kids are dying to see it.  Last week I saw “Big Hero 6” and it was pretty cute.  I don’t think it will become a family favorite, but I found nothing objectionable in it.

I have a lot of work to do on my book over the next couple of weeks, so my main focus is going to be that.  But since my travel for the year is over, I plan to also take lots of walks with the kids and clean out a few spaces that have been much neglected.  I noticed this past weekend that our pantry has things in it that no one has used for at least three years.  I found a can of soup that I bought in 2009.  It needs to go.

It’s always a struggle finding ways to organize packages that are odd shapes and bags of snack and chips.  I will be spending some time on my friend Becky’s blog, Organizing Made Fun.  She’s got some great pantry organizing ideas!  I may also, if I think I can control myself, make a stop at The Container Store.  It’s risky, especially when I have been “mood” shopping at Costco.  The Container Store is my Kryptonite.

While many of you are preparing for Thanksgiving travel or a houseful of family, I am glad to be settling back and relaxing for a few days.  I hope you have a wonderful time and if you need prayer let me know.  Praying for you is what gets me through my own trials.

Thanks for stopping by!


Rec Rooms and Old People

Rec Rooms and Old People

Being the last day of October I am feeling a little like waxing poetic over the passing of time.

But then I would have to think of rhyming words and watch how long my sentences are and the thought of working that hard makes my dream of becoming the next Emily Dickinson fly out the window.

Today our family will lie low and just be together playing games and hanging out.  We don’t celebrate Halloween at all….it’s just another day to spend with the family.  We may even order pizza and check the Redbox to see if there’s anything fun to watch.

For the past couple of weeks we have been turning what used to be the etsy shop into a rec room for the older kids.  They needed a place of their own to host their friends, watch grown up movies and stay up late.  By late I mean after 9:00, since I no longer have the ability to remain conscious after that.  But the kids like to stay up and talk and make noise that keeps old people awake.  It was either give them their own space or go hoarse calling out for them to “HUSH!” every night.

Good grief.  I have turned a geriatric corner.

I gave them full freedom to fix the room up however they want.  They have been pulling furniture out of storage and dragging junk in there and making it all their own.  I heard whispers of choosing paint colors, so I guess they’re going all out.  Have fun kids!  Mom will be in her bedroom taking a nap.

To be clear, the etsy shop is still in business.  We have just taken a ton of items out of the shop to make it a little easier for the boys. They have taken over the production of our top seller, the essential oil shelves.  It’s a great way for them to earn money and save for college.


The girls are still making the jar lids and a few other favorite items.  I do all of the customer service and upkeep.  It’s a full fledged family operation.

And since we took our product list way down we were able to move the shop into a smaller space, which left the big room wide open.  I thought I might have a hard time letting go of the decorating and furniture arranging.  But it turns out that I am not struggling with it one bit.  They can turn that place into a sci-fi museum for all I care.  I fully expect a Tardis to be constructed in the corner.  I am just happy they are enjoying it so much!

Our weekend is full of plans to clean the house and get caught up on shop orders.  I also am hoping to get some reading in since I brought home about 20 new books from the conference last weekend.  And to be in bed before 9 every night.

See you in November!

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Chore Ideas for Kids!

Chore Ideas for Kids!

Chore Ideas for Kids-2

This week on YouTube I am answering some follow up questions from another video about kids doing chores.  I am sharing how we manage a simple afternoon chore system.  We call it, “3:30 Chores.”  Every afternoon the younger kids (that’s the kids still in school) do a quick chore and it helps keep the place spiffy and gives them something to be responsible for. Here is an idea of the types of jobs I have on their 3:30 chore lists: Ages 2-5: pick up toys, dust, carry laundry, put silverware in the drawer, put pillows on the bed, wipe the table, folding washrags Ages 6-9: dust, sweep, wash the pet bowl, wash front door, wipe light switches, sweep porch, wipe doorknobs, clean under sofa cushions, windex mirrors, straighten books, fold towels, rake, water plants Ages 10-13: vacuum, fold laundry, cut up vegetables, mop, wash windows, get trash out of car, clean TVs, wash dining chairs, pull weeds, wipe off the fridge, straighten the DVDs,  wash sheets Ages 14+: dust ceiling fans, clean leaves from gutters, shake rugs, organize a drawer, straighten a shelf, get Sunday clothes ready, clean trash cans, wash one window, clean cobwebs, sweep under furniture, wash ceiling lights The idea is for these to be small jobs that can be done once a week.  Try walking around the house and just writing down everything that needs to be done.  Then divide that list into small bits, each taking only about 10 minutes to do.  Those would be the 3:30 chores in our house!  :)

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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?!