Thursday, May 31, 2007

Handmade Honey Birds

I saw some pretty handmade birds in a Country Living magazine. The website listed is The ladies handmake everything they sell. It looks neat. Here are the birds on their website. The magazine lists them as $35/set of 4.

I am going to try to make my own. I'll let you know how they turn out. I'm not going to sell mine, just give them as gifts (if they are fit to "fly").

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Shaping of a Christian Family

I've been reading this good book--The Shaping of a Christian Family: How my Parents Nurtured my Faith by Elisabeth Elliot. Using post-it's to mark key parts, my book now looks ragged with hot pink post-it notes! :) Reading this book is somewhat bitter sweet because my friend Julie and I had talked about this book many times. We both talked about wanting to read it. When I found it at a discount store for $2.99, I snatched it right up...and my hand reached for one for Julie until I remembered that she's with Jesus! I have those moments when for a split second I forget.

I hope to share with you some of the things I'm learning from this book to help me remember (someday the hot pink post-it's will have to come off) and to encourage us all in raising our families.

Elliot says,
"The example of parents, for good or ill, is an influence far more profound than can be measured. Their discipline and orderliness, their calm control were not things we noticed at all as children, of course. It was just the way things were at home, and hence the way we thought things were supposed to be, so we were horribly shocked when we visited homes where things were not disciplined, orderly and calm. As I look back I know that it was the presence of God that made the difference. Over the front doorbell button hung a little copper plate with these words:

'Christ is the Head of this house,
The unseen Guest at every meal,
The silent Listener to every conversation.'
To a thoughtful child those words create an aura.
Our parents understood very clearly that the principles they taught their children would have meager effect if they were not strongly fortified by the pattern of their own lives." pg. 75
Hmm, lots to think about in this section. What principles am I teaching my children? What principles am I trying to teach them by word, but not by example? I know for certain that I struggle with consistency. Sometimes I do well with organization, self discipline in exercise, eating, etc., other times I proceed with reckless abandon (okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean). On the positive side, I know that I am demonstrating patience and grace as well as admitting I'm wrong and asking for forgiveness.

This has been a good reminder that my talk talks, but my walk talks louder than my talk talks.

Goodnight Moon

What a classic! All of my children have greatly enjoyed having Goodnight Moon read to them and then reading this book when they were able. Written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd, the words have a lulling rhythm and the pictures are captivating. Trenton has claimed this book as his favorite. He can't quite say the words, but he makes the sound with inflection of "Good night, Moon" saying "good, hu, moo". So sweet.

For pre-school or kindergarten age children, Hubbard's Cupboard has a lesson plan for the story. I haven't read it in detail, but what I did read looks good. Might be fun to do with Bethany.

Good night room. Good night air. Good night noises everywhere.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Delicious Cookies

I made these cute little cookies after I saw Anna Marie's here. Not being near as talented, I modified mine so that I could actually make them. The little girls who have been recipients of these yummy cookies have been pleased.

For mine, I used the blanket stitch which I love! They are similar to the felt garland that I made (and also obtained from Anna Marie's blog, who I don't know personally). My cookies are smaller, less calories, but I still managed to sew on some sweet chocolate chips (buttons).

Very fun to make and even more fun to give away!

New Ducklings

Last week the kids and I went out to see some new ducklings at our friends' farm. Fluffy!

Tackle it Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

My tackle today is more of a bunch of tackles. I've needed to clean off the top of the dryer for umm, weeks now. Today is the day!

Also I have several stacks of stuff I haven't put away. For those who have been reading my blog for very long you'll know that I've been organizing my house like a crazy person. So, I'm determined today to take care of some stacks that have creeped and crawled right up on me.

Lastly, I am going to work on homeschool plans for my soon-to-be kindergartener. I've found a few things that I have printed off and read and I've made a list of books I'd like to borrow from the library. Today, I'm going to organize these lists and resources in a file folder, cleverly labeled "Kindergarten".

So, thank you, friends and readers for listening to my Tackle It Tuesday plan. This evening I'll post an update showing pictures of the completed tackles. I'd better get moving!!

Visit for more exciting Tackle-it Tuesdays!

Grand Update:

I finished cleaning off the dryer, BUT I forgot to take a before picture. I dug right in and put things away and threw things away! Having this done, I whipped right into the bathroom and cleaned it AND the half bath in our room. Big smiles!

I put 3 stacks of stuff away. One stack in the dry sink, one stack on a chair in the corner of the kitchen and one stack on the counter beside the oven. They were not that big, and therefore not too difficult to put away. I also dusted the living room and Marissa cleaned up the toys.

Now I'm in the process of filing things for kindergarten. I will do more after the girls go to bed. Okay, because we have dial-up, the pictures take a loooonnnggg time to load. So, I'm going to bed now. I've been working a little bit on kindergarten plans. I'll hopefully share more about that during this week.

I'm really enjoying Tackle it Tuesday. It gives me freedom to clean one area and leave the others until another next Tuesday. :) And clean counters and floors help me stay motivated to keep them clean.

Graduation Open Houses

We have had the privelege of being invited to several open houses, mainly for high school graduates, and a couple for college/masters graduates. Most of the high school graduates, we had in youth ministry years ago (starting when they were in 6th grade!). Aside from feeling old, it has been really neat to see these young people growing up with so many dreams and aspirations ahead of them.

One of the masters grads is a young woman that we've known since she was in 5th grade. She has been married almost 3 years now and they are expecting their first baby in November. What a joy to have been part of her life all these years. The other night she said to us that she considers us part of her sweet.

Speaking of sweet(s), cake and goodies have been the biggest downfall for me. It taunts me, stares me down, teases me as I whisk by, daring me to partake. Admittedly, I have eaten some, but tried to keep it in some moderation. I've got to keep it in perspective because we have several more events in the weekends to come.

Back to the graduates, our prayer for them is that they will follow what the Lord has for them and that they will obey His Word all the days of their lives.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Resources for Studying the Vietnam War

While planning our next History unit, I've found some interesting resources for the Vietnam War. I think it has been altogether fitting that we are studying this the week of Memorial Day.

Most of the resources I've found are for highschoolers. Like this one from the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund. It looks really good, but too involved for my 5th grader.

Basically, I am going to have Marissa answer the questions: who, what, where, when, and how about the war. Addressing these questions will cover the conflict itself, the geographic area of the conflict and the issues on the homefront.

She will construct a timeline of important dates (at least 10), read a first hand account of the war from a soldier found on this website, label a map of the area and finally study The Wall. The website called The Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall Page has many features including "today's birthday's". This is what the introduction says:
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall USA website is dedicated to honoring those who died in the Vietnam War. Since it first went on line in 1996 it has evolved into something more. It is now also a place of healing for those affected by one of the most divisive wars in our nation's history.
Marissa will look up and list at least 3 soldiers birthdays on the day she does this part of the project. She will add these names and dates to her notebook. (For her unit studies, she makes a mini notebook or scrapbook, adding all the information she has found. The information is separated by topic and a cover page is made to depict the overall topic of the study.)

I found some good books at the library:
A Place Called Hearbreak: A Story of Vietnam by Walter Dean Myers
The Vietnam Antiwar Movement in American History by Anita Louise
Their Names to Live: What the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Means to America by Brent Ashabranner
The Vietnam Veteran's Memorial (Symbols of Freedom series) by Ted and Lola Schaefer

Going through this study has made me think of the war in Iraq and how devastating war is. We are so grateful for the men and women who fight for our freedoms.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Technical Difficulties

We are having internet difficulties, more so with our email than internet. Regardless it has slowed my abilities to get online and share some fun and thoughtful things with you all. I'm trying not to get too frustrated about it. In the whole scheme of things, this is very minor.

Hopefully I will get an opportunity to post more soon. Hope you are all doing well.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Baby Silkie

I just have to tell you about my friend and her neat business. Naomi and I met in college. She is sweet and has a great smile that warms the heart. She and I now live states apart, but enjoy keeping in touch through email and reading each other's blogs. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to order one of these precious "silkie's" for a special baby. (Just to clear up any notions, I will not be 'birthing' another, yet God may give us one through another avenue.) Anyway, skip on over to Naomi's business website and look at these blankee's...not to mention you'll get to see her cutie pie kids. :)

I remember my blankee and indeed it had the silk binding around the edges. Over the years, one small square of silk was all that was left of blankee. (I still have that small piece of blankee, but no, I'm not sentimental!) The ones Naomi makes are so pretty and they can be personalized!

Author's note: I'm not being paid to advertise for Naomi, although if a bunch of you order silkie's...who knows! :) I think they are sweet and I wanted to spread the word!

Tackle it Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Some projects demand doing, even though they aren't on the "list" for a given day. Our linen closet is one of these projects. I tried to put away some medicines and there was NO room. Not only was there NO room, objects came toppling down on my head. Enough is enough...let the purging begin.

I took everything out of the closet. With a bag for throw-away and a bag for Good~will (does Good~will have a limit on how much one household can donate??), I began to sort. The top shelf contained a bunch of "specialty" towels that honestly I've never used, Goodwill. All medicines were checked for expiration dates (why do I have 3 bottles of W*tch hazel?). Half-used, unwanted shampoos, conditioners, and lotions were thrown away. The rest was put back in an orderly fashion and it all took 20 minutes!

Check out 5minutesformom for more Tackle it Tuesday projects.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Planting our Garden

Ahh, the feel of dirt running through my fingers, the warmth of sunshine on my back, the satisfaction of our very own vegetables growing in our backyard! Bethany and I planted our small garden today. We had a great time together. She enjoys digging and worked extremely hard helping me. We planted tomatoes, green peppers and cucumbers. We had to fence in the 8x8 space so that Peter Cottontail won't be able nibble away at our veggies.
I have this book on my shelf and thought I'd mention it here. The book gives games, crafts and activities for children (probably ages 5-12 or so) surrounding the seasons (except winter). It is called Learn and Play in the Garden by Meg Herd. One can find lots of tid bits and tips on the side bars, too. Interesting and fun and all in the backyard!

I just started investigating gardening websites (for preschoolers/homeschoolers, etc). This website looks interesting: the feature story is edible landscapes. With a "digging deeper" section, this site has mounds of activities, articles and plenty to get your garden growing!

Here is a thematic lesson plan called From Seeds to Plants, appropriate for early elementary. Looks interesting.

Well, I can totally get caught up in this fun stuff, but I've got to go make dinner!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Walk for Life

Today the kids and I participated in the Walk for Life. We walked in support of our local women's center. The Women's Center helps women who are pregnant and/or have young children.
Classes, supplies, mentoring and even ultrasounds are provided at the center. Years ago I had the privelege of volunteering each week. I was a mentor to girls who came in needing information, support and love during their pregnancy. We have also been able to continue to give to the center so that others can tell the life giving message.

We collected money from neighbors and church friends. Altogether we raised $261. We walked 2 miles and hopefully raised awareness in the neighbor for the center and the work that is done there.

The unborn have no voice. We must be that voice.

Friday, May 18, 2007

MaryJane's Stitching Room

There is a new book out at MaryJane's Farm and it looks delightful! I'd love to puruse through the pages of this book. It is called MaryJane's Stitching Room. This is what the website says about it:

Whether you’re a farmgirl or just wish you were, MaryJane’s Stitching Room is a treasure trove of projects that will have you stitching, crocheting, embroidering, and tatting like one before you know it. Plus you’ll find more of MaryJane’s engaging essays and endearing farmgirl wisdom. Using simple step-by-step instructions, she outlines projects that have a nostalgic appeal for the contemporary crafter who is intrigued with the delicate handcrafts of yesteryear. MaryJane includes irresistible patterns for projects to wear, for gifts, or to bring down-home charm to any room of the home—all with her unmistakable farmgirl flair.

I'd like to request this book for my birthday...okay I just did! :) Have you ever read MaryJane's magazines? It's like sitting in your friend's living room or front porch with a glass of lemonade and talking as the breeze blows. Just delightful.

Sale-ing through yards

I've had heaps of fun yard sale-ing the last two days, but I'm telling you, it makes a body tired. For those who know me, you know I'm not a shopper. I like to go in get what I want and come out. No wandering around the store for hours on end for this girl. However, I do enjoy browsing (quickly) through clearance aisles and yard sales. I know what I'm looking for and it doesn't take me long to discover if it is there or not. Most of what I've been looking for wasn't in anybody's yard this time. There's always tomorrow!

Some treasures I came home with: a great little dresser kind of thing, a "walkman" for little Bethany (she's been listening to the Chronicles of Narnia Radio Theatre for hours!), a pair of shoes for baby boy--for the fall/winter, some homeschool books and a frying pan that I hope will work better than the one I have now.

The dresser needs refinished. I have no idea what I'm doing, but it seems like a fun summer project. I'll have to do some research before I delve into that! Sounds like some before/after pictures will be in order.

All in all I spent less than $20. I was extremely picky about what I bought, after all, I just spent 30 days purging the school room and another two months purging the rest of the house! I do NOT need to bring more junk into the house.

You'll be glad to hear that my Hunny and I organized the storage room last night! It was unplanned, but we both dug in and hauled away a van FULL of discarded items. Yahoo!
Now only our room remains...I know there is stuff in there that I don't need/use. Hopefully next week I'll get that done.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The better to see you with...

This funny boy came walking around the corner into the kitchen...with his daddy's glasses on. I couldn't hold back the laughter! He was looking so serious too!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Homeschool Encouragement

I found this post encouraging and challenging. Anna from Pleasant View Schoolhouse lists her homeschooling "methods" and observations in an interesting way.

As we near summer, our goal is to do school every day without fail and have fun doing it! Taking bike rides, short walks outside, baking together, etc. all help the day go smoothly. Beautiful sunshiney days entice us to get outside.

So, let's all finish well, whether we are home educating, going to elementary school or attending graduate school!!

Non-stick pan?

I need recommendations for a good non-stick pan. I don't want one with something in it that's going to flake off and give me an extra elbow or something. The one I have now isn't working. I have to work really hard to clean it. So, what can you recommend?

A Good Food Plan

First, I have to tell you that I'm a big skeptic when it comes to "easy", "fast", etc. weight loss efforts. Second, I have to tell you that I enjoy eating healthy and as naturally as I can. Third, I have to tell you that I've lost 12 pounds on this food plan!

The food plan outlined in this diet is normal foods like salad, chicken, egg salad, oatmeal, fruit, etc. The outline is easy to follow and includes a shopping list at the beginning of each week. It is set up for 30 days and I am 13 days into the plan. Basically, bottom line truth, I was eating W.A.Y. too much food. This tells me exactly how much to eat without the burden of weighing, counting, etc.

It does cost money, $37, but really it's been worth it to me. Altering my portions and eating lots of veggies is a lifestyle I can continue and that is important to me. I do not want to go back to where I was. The material is copyrighted or else I would share more details with you, but go to the website and read all about it, if you want.

(NOTE: Although the website says that if I refer someone I do get some sort of kick-back, I'm not telling you all for that reason. It's worked for me when I've struggled to get a handle on this--that's why I'm telling you. Please use your own discretion and be safe, consult your doctor and all that other stuff. )

Topsy Turvy

I find it very interesting that my last two posts were about using my time wisely and since then I've been busy as a little beaver! Trying to keep the priorities were they belong hasn't left much time for blogging, but here I am tonight with a small update on what's been going on here.

Today the water heater decided it had heated enough water in its life time and now it was time to leak all over the floor. And I do mean leak, it was all over the closet, bathroom and even seeped through the wall to the other side which was the water was all over the kitchen floor too. It literally turned my day upside down, not to mention the checkbook. I'd just gotten off the phone with a friend who lives in another state. We don't get to talk often so it was a pleasant treat. We said our parting words and I went into the bathroom and there it was...water everywhere.

5 hours and hundreds of dollars later, all is well. (Although I'm still washing towels used in the massive clean-up efforts.) I forgot to pay the mortgage, I didn't have time to cook dinner...and so on.

Oddly enough we did get school done and chores mostly finished. This evening we went for a bike ride (my Hunny was able to find a used bike for a reasonable price, so we are sharing that until we get one more for me). We hooked the little trailer onto the back, oldest daughter was on her bike and Bethany was on hers (still with training wheels). Baby boy was in the trailer enjoying the ride until something starting bothering him (I still don't know what it was). But I took him out and held him and he did NOT want to get back in for anything. Of course we were about a mile from home and it was starting to get dark. Marissa carried that boy and I walked both bikes the mile home. Bethany, thankfully was doing well on her bike. (I know some would say, "why didn't you just MAKE him ride in the trailer?" And that is a good question, one I would have asked myself. We were in our residential neighborhood, he is screaming like I'm doing him bodily harm, I am trying to snap the buckles around him and he is wiggling around about to choke himself, I tried, oh, did I try to make him ride in that trailer. It wasn't going to happen.)

It wasn't the way I would have chosen to take a bike ride, but it was a fitting end to a topsy turvy day. Oh, and I have a blister on my foot. I'd better drink a tall glass of water and go to bed.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A Cup Brimful of Sweetness

I know this is a familiar passage, but reading it this morning renewed my weary soul.
Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for Your servant is listening."

Thus Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fail.
I Samuel 3:10, 19

Tied to my last post in making the most of my time, is my willingness to listen to His voice. I can easily tend to have a "Martha" personality (being busy doing and not sitting at His feet; Luke 10:38-42). It goes back to priorities and balance. Yes, I'm to keep my home, but in the balance of keeping God the main priority. Interestingly enough, when I make Him the first priority, other things fall into place. Of course, I don't mean that we don't have any problems or struggles; it's just that I deal with them much better.

Take yesterday for example, our little Bethany is still struggling with illness. We found ourselves in Urgent Care again last night. This time they gave her a breathing treatment which helped and sent us home with prescriptions to be filled today. We had to cancel our fun evening plans (we did it gladly because sick kids take priority), but usually this kind of upheaval and worry about her would give me a 'reason' to "stress" eat. Instead I drank a tall glass of water, prayed and off we went. That kind of victory is only from HIM and I praise Him for it.

Before Bethany got so sick yesterday, we were able to enjoy a picnic at the local park. We met some friends there and had a delightful time. Baby Boy enjoys the play equipment to the fullest. Thankfully oldest sister was there to run after him! :) Thanks Marissa!!

Listening to Him is not the same as hearing to an audible voice. I listen to Him and "sit at His feet" by reading His Word and meditating on the words I read. Letting it sink in through meditating and memorizing His Word helps me apply it and live in obedience to it. I love this quote by Amy Carmichael:
A cup brimful of sweetness cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, no matter how suddenly it is jarred.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Making the most of my time

Ephesians 5:15-16a
"Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time"
Reading this verse this morning got me to thinking about how I spend my time. Do I make the most of my time? Obviously, making the most of my time doesn't mean I am busy, busy, busy. So just what does it mean to make the most of my time?

Well for starters, I really need to set my alarm and get up before the kids. Allowing myself even 30 minutes of "mommy time" can get my day off to a good start. Also, being sure to make my time with the Lord a priority. If I have time to read other books, I have time to read His Word. For me, this means choosing not to read other books until I've had my time in His Word.

Many housekeeping ideas came to my mind, why, just today while talking on the phone with a friend, I realized I could wipe down the fronts of my cabinets and still give my conversation the utmost attention. Yahoo, making the most of my time!

Lastly, getting to bed at a decent time is another way that I can make the most of my time. My body demands a good 7 hours of sleep, and if I let my night owl tendencies kick in, ugh, it's not pretty folks. I don't have the patience or clarity of mind to be a good mommy and teacher to my kids.

How do you make the most of your time?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Sunday Morning Worship

We sang this hymn in church this morning. I long to stay in His presence even amidst the world and all that distracts me.

I Stand Amazed in the Presence
Charles Hutchinson Gabriel

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.


O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!


For me it was in the garden
He prayed: “Not My will, but Thine.”
He had no tears for His own griefs,
But sweat drops of blood for mine.


In pity angels beheld Him,
And came from the world of light
To comfort Him in the sorrows
He bore for my soul that night.


He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calvary,
And suffered and died alone


When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see,
’Twill be my joy through the ages
To sing of His love for me.


Saturday, May 5, 2007

Book Notes: It's All Too Much

I recently read It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh. An easy read with lots of good tips on organizing and decluttering. One thing he said that sticks out to me is that when tackling a room or area to organize, most people go out and buy more organizing tools--containers, tubs, hooks, etc. He encourages the reader to declutter and purge first and most likely there will be no need for more tubs. I found this to be so true while doing my 30 day Organizational Challenge. I had given myself a $30 budget, but didn't even need it. I had everything I needed right here. Brutal purging was the best advice I received and followed.

Here is more from his book.
Clutter steals our space. We only have the space we have, so either move to a bigger home (NOW) or get rid of stuff. "Commit to have open, clutter-free space in your home and you soon discover that the mood you create externally in your home begins to fill you internally. Clarity, perspective, focus and a sense of openness all ocme with clutter-free space." p. 40

In the book, he asks the reader why we have so many pairs of socks?? The drawer barely closes, tiny pieces of material stick out from the crammed drawer and we can only wear ONE pair at a time. Directly after reading this part, I removed at least half of my socks. Now the drawer closes easily and I'm more apt to put clothes away right away because they fit in the drawer!

The single most important factor in deciding what you should have in your home is now clear: Does this item enhance and advance the vision I have for the life I want or does it impede that vision? p. 52
Good question to ask myself! I want my home to be a calm, peaceful haven for all who enter. With piles of clutter, that vision is NOT possible. Our home is also the place where we spend a lot of time. We homeschool and in order to enjoy our days, I cannot have clutter laying around. My mind is more clear and I don't find myself frustrated.

Some other good articles/blogs on organizing:
Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie has a great blog for all kinds of organizing tips and links. She also has a post this week on Peter Walsh's appearance on Oprah.

Homeliving Helper had a good post on streamlining our homes. She talks about decluttering and that the result is an easier time cleaning. I have found this to be true of my living room, kitchen and baby boy's room. A couple friends graciously came over and helped me clean these areas (as well as the bathroom and girls' room). These areas are streamlined--no clutter, everything has a home, etc. I am so pleased at how much easier it is to maintain the house. It's been at least 3 weeks, maybe 4 and I'm still maintaining with relative ease. :)

Many of us are familiar with The FlyLady. Here is an article on decluttering.

There are many more. I'll add as time allows.

Dutiful Dishclothes

Crocheting is a relaxing way to spend my quiet time. Lately I have been making these dishclothes. Some will go for birthday gifts for friends as well as a bridal shower gift. The purple yarn came from a friend who was cleaning out her craft supplies :). Oh, so fun for me!

Friday, May 4, 2007

The Flexibility of Homeschooling

We have homeschooled from the beginning of our first daughter's schooling years. She is now in 5th grade. Teaching our children at home has been wonderful, although not without its struggles. One of the biggest benefits is that we can take opportunities to serve others. Service to others may be in the form of watching a friend's children so she can go to an appointment, visiting an elderly friend in the nursing home, baking for a new mom or ill friend, etc. We thoroughly enjoy these times and find them equally important as the academics of school.

This week our 5th grader has been helping out a friend of ours. This friend has just had her 4th baby two weeks ago. Her nest of boys range in age from 5 years old down to the newborn. Our oldest has had a great time with this family, and from the reports from our friend, she is truly being a help. And on the schooling end, she is working on her school work during nap times or in the evenings and I've lightened her load for the week.

I'm thankful for the flexibility of homeschooling that allows us to help others.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

I Conquered my Organizational Challenge!


The finished schoolroom/office








I overcame obstacles, I hurdled canyons, I leaped tall buildings, I conquered the school room! I sure hope these photos do this room justice, because this room is C.L.E.A.N. and organized. The questions below are from Laura at "I'm an organizing junkie!" and my answers should reveal some of those obstacles and tall buildings I conquered in the last 30 days and the calm that has descended since completion.

1. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and were you able to overcome it?
I had a couple of difficult parts:
a. so much paper needed to be filed**I overcame this one small bite at a time. The filing took me the longest to complete. I'd do a little, and then do something else for a while
b. too many CD's--educational games, picture back-ups, etc.**I overcame this by removing all the CD's from the room and sorting through them. The educational games were stored with only their cover and CD in an organizer, the cases were recycled. The other CD's were placed neatly on the side of the computer desk--in the CD storage place.
c. 3 children that were excited everytime I uncovered a new "whatever" and needed to be fed several times a day**I overcame this by letting them play with some of the newly found things, but I also tried to clean during rest/nap time. I tried to remind myself that I had 30 days to complete this challenge and that my family is my first priority. I only cleaned a little at a time.

2. Habits/changes I've put into place in order to maintain this organization:
First, I showed the kids where things go, how to put things away, etc. Having a three-tier paper tray for scrap paper, construction paper, etc. is going to be helpful for Bethany (5 y.o. and loves, loves, loves all things paper). She now has a place to get paper, a place to use paper and a place to put paper when she is finished. Also, there are label containers with pictures as well as words and small baskets in the bookshelf all to aid in putting things away.
Second, I also am making a practice of putting things away right when I'm finished using them and teaching the kids to do the same.

3. What did you do with the "stuff" you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?

Ohhh, the fun part...I threw bags and bags of stuff away. I also gave a lot of it to Goodwill. My
Hunny made several trips to that place. Lastly, a very few toys found a new home in baby boy's room. Everything else was outta here!

4. What was the biggest lesson you learned from this experience?

File papers
when they land in my hand!! And, I don't have to be
a cleaning fool to get a project done. Taking it little bit at a time was do-able and even fun! (My usual way is to tackle the whole thing in one day and stress everyone out doing it.)

5. Now that I've completed the process, do I think it will make a difference in my life?

Yes, sirree!
This room is so peaceful now. My Hunny brought the rocking c
hair in from the living room, lit a candle and listened to soft music in here! Now that is a huge difference from before when we were literally stepping on things to get to the computer. I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, but this room is SO clean. My daughters have commented that the room is so big now.

My hunny has mentioned several times how much he likes this room and appreciates the hard work I put into cleaning it. That really is all this girl needs!

Tired editor's note: This post has given me fits!! I've been at it waaaaayy too long. I tried to line up the photos nice and neat and do other things to make it readable, but I'm not succeeding. So, here it is--at the end of the day, the room is still organized even though the computer is now out in the yard and we'll need to replace that screen.

A Quiet Birthday

I'd mentioned on Monday that we were going to be celebrating a birthday on Friday...our sweet girl was going to turn 5. The week was filled with illness and the morning of the birthday was spent in the ER, then the doctor's office. With praise to the Lord, we are thankful that she is doing better and so are the rest of us (we were all sick, except for Hunny).

Although the birthday get together was cancelled, I went ahead a made a smaller version of the ice cream cake and we celebrated as a family. The idea and directions for the cake were found in a Martha Stewart magazine called Kids (summer 2005 issue).

I made the little turtle plushies from felt using these directions from a website called CraftBits. I enlarged the pattern to 120% on my copier and used two different shades of green felt. I also changed the directions a little; instead of sewing around each limb and the head, I used my sewing machine to sew the whole bottom together in one piece, then the whole top. From there I blanket stitched around and when I finished a limb or the head, I would stuff it with fluff before moving on. Lastly, I stuffed the shell before finishing the stitching. Oh, I also used puffy fabric paint for the top of the shell instead of embroidery. The button eyes are so cute.

We had a good time as a family, then all took our vitamins and medicine and went to bed.
Happy 5th Birthday, sweet girl!