A Little Building Up and a Little Tearing Down

A Little Building Up and a Little Tearing Down

The weekend was a frenzy of…well…nothing.  I have been continuing to catch up on rest and just hang out with m’kids.  I barely did anything meaningful and it was the best weekend I can remember in a long time.

On Friday I took one of my girls shopping.  Her wardrobe had some gaps and I had been hoping for some time to spend with her to catch up on her life.  It seems like they grow up and get all busy and doing their own thing and occasionally Mom wants a whole day to hear about their plans and dreams.  It’s one of my favorite ways to build our relationship, just spending a whole day together.  So we shopped all day and found some really cute stuff for her to wear.

I also like to see what the new trends are so we hit lots of shops and she tried on tons of different outfits to see what looked best on her.  It was exciting to see all of the little dresses in the stores.  If you’re looking for a knee length dress for the summer….go get it now.  They’re everywhere!

While we were out we went to see a movie called, “Do You Believe?”  We knew nothing about it, so we took a chance and I have to say….it was pretty good.  It’s a Christian film and we both really liked the storylines and it had some really famous people in it, which was fun.  I like seeing famous people.  I don’t know why.  I’m a sucker for it.  If you get the chance….go see the movie.

On Saturday my boys and I spent the morning tearing down some cabinets in the kitchen.  It wasn’t an enormous job, and the boys really enjoyed aggressively ripping down the moldings and hitting things with hammers.  It’s funny to see their individualness come out in these projects.  One boy would be very tidy about how he took care of the wood scraps he was pulling off while another literally didn’t even notice what he did with the pieces after he ripped them down.  One of them loved just going after it with full force and another liked the detail work….carefully pulling out nails that got left behind and cleaning up the 2″ layer of dust on the tops of the cabinets.

Tell me honestly, do you frequently dust the very top of your kitchen cabinets?  If you say yes, then you will go into my housekeeper hall of fame.

After we finished the demolition and cleaned up our mess, I sat and stared, again, at what was left.  I am challenged to find a creative way to get the look I want without spending much money.  I know I can get close.  But I have to wait on the inspiration to hit me.  It doesn’t always happen as quickly as I want.  Which might become an issue since all of the dishes that used to live in those cabinets are now sitting on my kitchen island.  I have a very limited tolerance for construction messes.

Today I am going to return the paint I originally bought and try a different kind (I can return it because I bought a pre-mixed color).  I found a shop nearby that sells a new brand of paint that I want to try.  So let’s all cross our fingers and a few toes that I like the new paint.  It’s a small company, but their YouTube videos look impressive so I am gonna go for it.  I’ll let you know!

After we get all of the grime scrubbed off of the old cabinets and the dust cleaned up, which we are working on this week, we will start painting.  Some of the older kids are going to help me for a small fee.  I don’t mind paying for this kind of work.  It’s getting my kitchen freshly painted AND I get to spend more time with them while we work.  If it costs me a little moola, it’s totally worth it.

Have a great week!

Staring at My Kitchen Walls

Staring at My Kitchen Walls

It’s been a while since I blogged because I’ve been busy coughing and running a fever.  Don’t be jealous.  It hasn’t been as pleasant as it sounds.

The bug the kids had last week, I got, and was basically in bed for a week.  I don’t remember ever being so sick and it’s a slow recovery.  The cough is kind of hanging on and I get tired easily, but the worst is behind me.

Today I am taking my four younger boys out for some much needed fresh air and exercise.  Last week all of the older kids were gone to a film festival and I was sick, so the four yung’uns were left pretty much to themselves which basically means lots of wii and eating nachos.  After an early ortho appointment we will do what every red-blooded American boy wants to do on his first day out of the house in week…. see Cinderella and eat froyo.

And we’ll definitely blast some music in the van and rock ’til we drop.  Maybe some show tunes….let the good times roll.

I do have a few reflections on being sick and in bed for a week.  There’s always something good to find no matter what you’re going through.  First, I got my entire DVR cleaned off and watched every show I ever recorded, including The Wizard of Oz, which I don’t remember recording.  But I watched it anyway.

Second, I am pretty sure I caught up on all of the rest & relaxation that I have missed for the past couple of years.  I can check that off my to-do list.

Third, we don’t have to figure out if we are going to take a spring break this year.  That was decided for us.  No school for a week.  Bam.  Done.

In other news, my kitchen makeover got pushed back a few weeks since we have been sick.  Also, in rethinking the project, I feel like I need to drastically reduce the budget for it.  So I have been sitting on the bench in the kitchen and staring at the walls.  I did buy the paint already, but I am undecided as to how to proceed because I originally planned some new cabinets but they’re not in my new budget.  The puzzle I am trying to solve is how to get a well done look for basically, well, no money.

It is kind of my favorite problem to have because it forces me to come up with some of my best ideas by being restricted with a tight budget.  The summer before last I made a great towel holder in the boys’ bathroom out of scraps and I would never have come up with it if I had been able to just go buy something.

great towel bar made with scraps!

I built this cabinet last year that solved three problems in my bathroom for very little money….

A great bathroom cabinet that solves three problems!

While I stare at my kitchen and watch a princess movie with 4 superhero fans, I hope you have a great day.

See ya!

Please Step Away from the Computer

Please Step Away from the Computer

Oh my aching back!

I have either been driving all day or sitting in my chair working for the past three days.

I did a short workout this morning with the hope that it would help keep my legs from going stiff.  They are “stove up” as my grandfather used to say.  My calves are used to move movement and they have protested this limited use.  I wish I could help them more, but I just have too much work to do.

I have been up early and working late to get my book edits done by Friday.  I think today I need to step away from it for the morning since when I opened the file just now to pick up where I left off last night I couldn’t see straight.  Don’t be surprised if on page 87 you read something like, “Muzzle fuzzle I need a nap.”

So I am going to sneak away all by myself for a few hours this morning right after I take my first shower in 3 days.  I am generally a big fan of showering and, in fact, enjoy the process.  But for some reason, which makes me nervous for my 80 year old future self, I just haven’t take one with all of this writing to do.  Perhaps it is because I haven’t moved enough to actually sweat and no one is looking at me anyway.  But that is going to change as soon as I step away from my computer.  My family will be so happy.

I have some returns to make in the city and I may even see a movie.  There are a few movies that came out recently that look good, so I might just let my brain go numb for a while.  But no snacks….sadly for me I have really jumped back into my diet and I am determined to stay the course.  In fact, I have challenged my Facebook group (women who are dedicated to getting healthy) to a no sugar February.  They are embracing it; I am jumping in with both feet.  It’s the only way I can do it….otherwise I will eat one m&m, telling myself one won’t hurt anything, and it causes me to dream of swimming in chocolate lakes and practically climb the walls wanting more.

Hi.  I’m Lisa.  I’m addicted to sugar.

So I have already started the challenge and today is my third day sugar free.  So far so good.  I can have some tea with stevia at the movie if I am really feeling like I need a $6 drink and if I remember to put some packets of stevia in my purse.  It’s highly unlikely that those stars will align and I will end up sipping from my stainless steel water bottle that I sneak in my purse with a few drops of essential oils in it.

OK, I have now put way too much thought into my move experience.

Wait, would it be weird if I took a heating pad with me for my back?  Is there a place to plug things in?



A Pair of Red Boots

A Pair of Red Boots

Last month when I was in Nashville with my favorite peeps from Tommy Nelson I got myself a pair of red cowboy boots.  It was a Friday night in the heart of downtown Nashville with drunk people, weird street performers and of course a LOT of music!  But I was with a big group of friends which made it fun and my boots will always remind me of spending that time with those amazing women!

I have never owned cowboy boots before so this seemed like the perfect time for me to get my first pair.  After I got them I wondered if I would really ever wear them.

So I decided to make it my mission to wear them for the whole month of October and force myself to find outfits to wear with my boots.  I’ve been showing what I am wearing on Facebook all month and so many people have asked where I get my clothes that I decided to do my best to remember and share the info.

This first outfit was an obvious choice.  A denim jacket (so in style right now) from Old Navy, the skirt is also Old Navy and the belt is from anthropologie.  The brown tights are from Target.



On another day I wore this linen dress made by FLAX.  I have on the same skirt as in the above picture.


Here I am wearing another Old Navy skirt (it’s the same skirt as above in a different color) and the t-shirt is from there too.  It’s called a 5/8 sleeve length and is great for covering up those pesky lunch lady arms.  The white top is from Target last spring.



Here I wore another FLAX dress with a gray skirt from Target under it.  I got the blazer at Target last week and they have several great styles!  This dress looks a little “maternity” in the picture but it really is flattering in person.


Lastly here’s what I wore this week.  As the weather gets cooler I am enjoying some tights.  Which, I am sorry to say, I don’t know where I got them because they are as old as the hills.  The skirt is the same one I am wearing above from Target (from last spring but there are lots of skirts there right now) and the top is by Free People (it’s available at Macy’s now).


My philosophy on clothes is to have basics from affordable places then fill in with a few more expensive pieces.  I can mix almost all of this together in different ways and add a longer skirt here and there.  Since I like to mix it up, this works really well for me.

And that’s the story of my red boots.

I thought I might fall into not wearing them again after the month is over, but then it occurred to me that they would be perfect for Christmas!


Five Women and a Flat Tire

Five Women and a Flat Tire

Because I can’t let a drama go by untold, I have to share with you the flat tire incident from Tuesday night.

My friend Sara and I took two of my daughters to the city to pick up their friend from the airport.  We shopped and we ate and we went to Costco….you know.  City stuff.

We stayed all day and into the night for a meeting hosted by Young Living.  We dropped the girls at the mall (a first for us!) and Sara and I met another friend and went to the meeting where we stood in the back of a very crowded room. It was loud (people wouldn’t stop talking to each other) and hot.  So we decided to slip out and visit for a while instead.  Sitting and talking is always better than standing and sweating, at least in my book.

After a nice visit we left to pick up the girls, make a couple of quick stops and then head toward home.  We were looking forward the extra hour’s drive to talk a little more.  Really, it’s all about getting our words out for the day.

We were having great fellowship when it happened.  We had a full fledged blow out going 75 MPH.  I wasn’t speeding, that’s the speed limit on the highway here….about 30 miles down the road it changes to 80.  Tell your kids.  It can count as a geography lesson for the day.  “Which state has 80 MPH speed limits?”

It was after 10 at night, so dark doesn’t describe it.  More like pitch black.  Well, except for the Mack trucks and SUVs racing past at 75 miles per hour creating flashes of scary light.  And our cell phones which we were using to find things we dropped in the weeds.

Now I think the last time I had a flat tire I was in college.  I drove a Cutlass Supreme and the spare was where all spares belong, in the trunk under a flap of carpet.  It seems that all of the improvement over the past 30 years had led to a move from the trunk to who-knows-where.  Turns out my spare is up UNDER the van and the way you release it is through a hole between the driver’s seat and front passenger seat.

You know, I have always wondered what that 2″ circle of plastic was for.  Now I know it’s to fit a long socket thingy that looks nothing like the picture in the manual to unscrew a mystery spare tire holder that, unless you are lying flat on the ground under the van, you can’t get it out.


I might also mention that we had to unload our entire van full of groceries and various other items onto the side of the road to get to the tire changing tools.   We looked like modern day Clampetts minus the gun and dog.

After half an hour of figuring out the spare tire situation a sheriff pulled up behind us.  He was so nice and he actually ended up changing the tire for us.  Of course, we had already done all of the hard work in locating the spare through the mysterious hole in the floor.

An hour or so later, we loaded the groceries, luggage, shopping bags and 5 tired ladies back into the van and agonizingly drove only 55MPH all the way home.  The sheriff had explained to me that you can’t go faster than that on a spare.  We finally made it home around 11, which in Lisa time means WAY past bed time.

The next morning I asked my oldest son if he would take the van to the tire place and get it all fixed back to the way it was before any of this ever happened., which he did.  I do realize that sounds like I don’t do any work, but keep in mind I spent 20 years raising him.  Not dealing with tire cleanup is is my reward for years of diapering and nose wiping and hurting my back pulling him in a wagon.

Have a great weekend!

Oh…..and be sure to check out this week’s YouTube video!  In it I talk about not letting your emotions control you (a concept I used on Tuesday night for sure!)


This Mamma Doesn’t Do Midnight

This Mamma Doesn’t Do Midnight

On Friday night we went to dinner at a friend’s house and stayed way too late.  This mamma doesn’t do midnight anymore.  My system starts to shut down around 9…..starting with my eyelids.  But we lost track of time.  I should have realized when Levi got sleepy and laid on the couch.  He never goes to sleep before I do.

About an hour before he fell asleep I gave him my phone to play with.  I normally don’t do that, but he was really bored since all of the other kids were significantly older than he is.  After the evening was over and I looked at my phone I was shocked that he had moved all of my apps around.

If you think sleepy mamma is bad you should see sleepy mamma that can’t find her Instagram.  The next morning it took me almost an hour to figure out how to put it all back.  When I asked him why he did that he told me I was too unorganized so he made it better.  OK, he’s 7.  I almost told him he has no business telling me how to organize anything since he hasn’t been able to find his new shoes for 2 weeks.  But I refrained, being so mature and all.

On Saturday I was in Austin to visit my parents then teach an essential oils class with a friend of mine.  It was fun to meet new people and share my love for the oils.  Then I drove home and went almost straight to bed.  My eyelids were still suffering from the night before.

On Sunday after church I was really hoping for a long, hard nap.  God heard my cry because my son Jacob asked if he could take the other kids to see “God’s Not Dead” that was playing at the local Baptist church in the afternoon.  All but 2 of the kids went and those 2 decided to play together and I actually closed my bedroom door and took the best nap ever.  It had all the necessary elements….quiet, cool and nothing to do.  #perfection

Today I am taking my three little boys to a cavern to explore.  I promised them a few weeks ago that we would do it as soon as we could and they have been patiently waiting for Mom to stop her life and go.  Honestly, I don’t have time.  But then, I didn’t have time to go into labor and breastfeed on demand either.  Sometimes you just have to make it happen.

However, they don’t know it yet but we will also be stopping by Costco for a few things.  No trip with Mom is complete without a Costco run.  It’s a boy’s dream day.  But before you feel sorry for them you should know that what I lack in exciting shopping I make up for with frozen yogurt.

Oh….one thing I keep forgetting to tell you about….every Tuesday morning I am a guest on a web show called Mentor Moms with my friend at Hip Homeschool Moms.  It’s at 10CST and I’d love for you to join us!  Here’s their YouTube channel with past shows.

Have a great week!

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

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


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


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!

 Are you following me on Instagram?!

Embracing the Little Summer Dress

Embracing the Little Summer Dress

Since losing so much weight I have been able to pick up some new clothes recently.  It’s been such fun to fit into clothes in the regular sized stores.  I am embracing the little dresses that are everywhere.  They are cool and modest and so feminine.  I can spin and sing, “I feel pretty….” when I wear them.

But they are a little too short for me.  So I add a light skirt or long shorts to make them cover everything I want to cover, especially when sitting.  I don’t wanna be flashing anyone!

I got this striped number at Old Navy.  But since it’s sleeveless I added….wait for it….a 5/8 sleeve that I also found at Old Navy.  It’s my perfect sleeve.  I ordered 3 more from their website.  Then I added some long shorts that I found at Sam’s Club and finished it off with a touch of red with my Otz shoes.  They are this year’s favorites.

Loving these little summer dresses!

This is exactly the same outfit, but I changed the striped dress for a simple black dress and added an extra necklace.

Loving these little summer dresses!

I got this little top as a splurge when I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago.  It was at the anthropologie there and I decided it was better than any souvenir.  The t-shirt I got at Sam’s club and the denim shorts are from Forever 21.  My kids got me a pair of blue Otz for Mother’s Day.

Loving these little summer dresses!

This last look isn’t a little dress, but I wanted to show you that I added leggings and rolled them up to make a very thin, cool skirt work.  And this top is my favorite, favorite.  You might be wondering why since it looks so plain.

Loving these little summer dresses!

It’s the back…..oh heaven the back…..

Loving these little summer dresses!

And please forgive the weird little thing popping up in the bottom of the last 2 pictures.  My husband took them for me and apparently he was holding his sunglasses at the time.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out my modesty gallery for more of what we wear!

Let Me ‘Splain.  No, There is too Much.  Let Me Sum Up.

Let Me ‘Splain. No, There is too Much. Let Me Sum Up.

I am not going to make any attempt to tell you all about the past week of my life.  It’s frankly too much activity for one person and I am now considering applying to be on The Amazing Race, having proved to myself that I can get lost in several cities and survive.

In San Francisco last weekend I had the taxi driver from ‘H-E-double-hockey-sticks’, weaving in and out of oncoming traffic as I cried out in terror, and I lived to tell about it.  Having looked into the face of death and won, I am feeling much less intimidated by the 9 children and 450 emails that await my attention this morning.

Not to mention last Sunday being followed around Seattle at 5:30AM by a homeless man who decided I needed to hear all about how much he hates it when people stare at him.  That, for this country girl, was a bit too much.  I did think he was generally harmless, but it unnerved me enough that I got turned around and couldn’t find my way back to my hotel.  I had to kind of just keep jogging instead of trying to stop and figure it out.  Nothing says “come attack me” like standing alone in a deserted downtown staring at a tourist map.  I did eventually find it, thankfully!

Yesterday on a drive home from Houston I started feeling my body settle into travel weariness and I had to munch on Sonic ice to keep from falling asleep.  When we pulled into the driveway I asked my daughter who was with me if she minded propping me on her back and dragging me into the house.  I wasn’t sure if I could make the last 100 ft.

I am glad to report I have a couple of weeks off from traveling and plan to spend every second with my kids that didn’t get to go with me and just stare at them.  This morning I sat at the table to talk with my boys and I told Elijah, “Bring your chair over here and sit right next to me.”  He did and I kept patting his back and rubbing his shoulder when finally I just proclaimed that even though he is 11 years old, I would need him to sit in my lap for a few minutes because I missed him too much to be satisfied with just being next to him.  He begrudgingly did it.  I hugged it out then released him to go be his own person who will undoubtedly need therapy someday.

Speaking of needing therapy, my daughter Hope will likely have a lot to say to her future counselor after having seen me in my underwear yesterday.  In the middle of the mall.  We were shopping and as I reached toward a rack of clothes it happened….my skirt fell right to the floor.  It was all so quick!  I heard her gasp, felt a chill on my backside and something plopped at my feet all in the same second.  I looked down and tried to process what the gray pile of fabric was around my ankles.  Could that be my skirt?!  Yep.  I scooped it up as fast as I could then turned to my daughter to see her laughing so hard she had to walk away.  I tried to just nonchalantly move onward through the mall like nothing happened, but it kept flashing through our minds and we’d start to giggle uncontrollably.  Nothing like a little mother-daughter bonding to end the weekend.

Have a good one!

Sometimes I Just Have Things to Say

Sometimes I Just Have Things to Say

Some days, like today, I write an extra post because have things to say.  Important things about not having any decent food to eat and that I bought a new shirt yesterday.

After my being gone for almost 2 weeks, I think the kids forgot that my food shelf in the fridge has to be restocked.  I have had to scramble for things to eat around here.  I hit my low on Wednesday when I ate a can of tuna with some cashew crumbs for lunch.  Normally I have a pretty strict rule that we only go to the grocery store on Monday and whatever we forgot we just live without for the week.  But this was more than I could stand.  I broke from the rules and went to the store on Thursday.  It was either that or pilfering the trash for apple cores.

I went to Sam’s to and while I was there I looked through the clothes.  I have been on a hunt for t-shirts that have normal length sleeves.  I am sorry to say that I have extra skin under my arms now that, if you are at just the right angle, look like bat wings.  OK, really from any angle.  I have no desire to frighten small children by exposing these things, so under a sleeve they shall remain.

And I was so happy to find that Sam’s had some shirts with decent length sleeves, so I picked up a couple of them.  I would have gotten more but some of the colors leaned toward the coral family and that’s a color that, while it is supposed to look good on everyone, makes people ask me if I need to lie down.  Bat wings AND a death pallor…..just give me a belly revealing top for the perfect triple threat.

This weekend James and I will be at the FEAST bookfair in San Antonio working the THSC booth.  In case you don’t know, THSC is the statewide homeschool organization and we are big supporters of them.  If you’re in the area, stop by and say hello.  I love chatting it up with friends while James does the real work.

Oh….and I almost forgot to tell you the best news…..James passed the Bar Exam!  We just found out and I am so proud of him I could bust. 

And one last topic before I lose you completely, next week I have a great Young Living giveaway coming up and if you sign up with me you get a lot of extra entries.  This is a great time to get the family started with essential oils since the kids are out of school and you’re enjoying the summer.  AND next Thursday night I am doing a web chat with my friend Brandy to talk more about the oils and how we use them.  If you have any questions this is a great time to ask!

Have a fab weekend!