Monday, May 29, 2017

34 Weeks of Clean Rinse and Repeat: Week 21- The Hall Closet

This week's assignment, the Hall Closet!

I know some of you have already gotten to this room when you did your entry, but I waited on mine  AND, until recently, we still had need for slightly heavier jackets and such.  If you are ahead of us, good for you!  Take this week to either sit back and gloat or go back and finish up an unfinished project! Or how about revisit your kitchen and see how you are keeping it up!  Remember, we can not do things once and expect them to remain perfect.  There is always need for maintenance- at least in my house.

So, yes, I did actually think I was a bit behind on cleaning out this hall closet.  I mean, summer is here right?  Well, maybe in your neck of the woods, but here in Nebraska someone did not get the memo.  This past week has been COLD ya'll.  Ok, not like snow weather, but definitely chilly!
The reality is that I am not as behind as I thought I was.  Warmer temps have finally hit and I think they are here to stay.

Luckily for me, this was a pretty easy week despite the fact that until recently we had this tiny space pretty packed! How many coats does one really need per season??!

  • So first things are first.  Yep, you guessed it - pull it all out.  Now that we have a new mud room, this space is used mostly for coats not currently being used, a space for guest coats when they come, the vacuum, and a few containers for seasonal decorations!

  • After you pull it all out it is time to sort!  What are you really using or wearing?  What have your kids outgrown?  Do you really need four coats (just saying)?  Is one lone glove really helpful when it gets cold?

  • After we determined what made the cut and what didn't, it was time to wash!  Yes, you need to do this!  After playing in the snow and such all winter, trust me, that stuff is grimy at best! 

Coats get washed too, or sent to the cleaners if needed.  That way they are clean and ready to go for the next season.  To make our lives a little less crazy, we do store our winter stuff in the garage during the off season, except for the hats, scarves, and gloves that stay in baskets in our new mudroom.  Just works for us, but you decide what works for you!

A note about these containers.  Two are marked for Easter and hold our...wait for it...Easter decorations.  One is marked Christmas and just holds a few little things that I can take out easily before I manage to pull out the big boxes.  There used to be a Valentines box as well, but I managed to give that up two years ago.  I do not mean to be a party pooper, really I do not, but I am just past the "decorate for every holiday" stage.  Call me lazy, but I just don't have the time nor the energy. See, it isn't laziness, it is just plain I'm too old and and have no energy! ;)  I also realized that by unstacking them and making them easier to access there was a better likelihood of things getting put back into them.

I wiped out the closet and the rest went back in.   And yes, a few heavier coats are still there just in case.  I am no dummy!

Not a very exciting week, I admit, but one we all should be able to get done easily!  Some weeks we need a quieter project, right?  You can thank me later.  Or just send chocolate now!

Let's see how you did last week!  By leaving pictures each week on our FB page of your progress you are entered into a drawing for wonderful prizes from our friends at 621 Gifts and Redeemed as well as a fun box of goodies from us!  

Remember, one week at a time - every little step is progress.  Keep what you need and love, pass the rest on.  You will be glad you did!

See 'ya back here next week!  Until then, happy cleaning!


Friday, May 26, 2017

Knights in Training- Author Interview, my thoughts so far and more...

If you follow me on any social media, and if you don't - come join us, (Links at the bottom of the page!) you know that I have begun reading a new book called Knights in Training, written by Heather Haupt.  Well, actually I am almost finished with it.  A review of it will be posted next Friday but today I wanted to share with you a few quick thoughts from me and a few Q and A's from Heather.

Who is Heather?

Heather Haupt is the mother of three knights-in-training and a spunky little princess. She wants to be intentional during these years of parenting and raise children who will make a difference in this world. Heather is an educator, writer, and popular speaker. Recognizing the brevity of childhood and the power of a parent’s influence, she encourages and equips parents towards intentional parenting, pursuing God, and delighting in the adventure of learning. She is the author of Knights-in-Training: Ten Principles for Raising Honorable, Courageous, and Compassionate Boys as well as The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks. She writes at

Friends, let me tell you, Heather is a bold writer and a champion for boys and families.  It is obvious from page one of her book to the very end that this is where her heart is.  In Knights in Training she calls families to "inspire today's generation of young boys to pursue honor, courage, and compassion."  She is encouraging moms and dads to issue a Chivalry challenge to their boys, and she is equipping her readers with creative ideas to help them along the way.

It only took me one chapter to know that this was a movement I wanted to be in on and our two boys quickly gathered all the books we had on the subject!  Since then, well, things have been busy around here.  I can't wait to share some of that with you next week in our full review.

Until then, I want to give you a quick glance at the background behind this book and share with you details on how to buy it, and possibly win a copy!

Let me let Heather fill you in:

What was your main goal in writing Knights in Training?
I wrote Knights in Training to help parents tap into the heart of their boys and utilize a boy’s inner dreams and drives to propel them into a future of meaning and purpose. We all love our kids and want to be purposeful during this season of childhood – enjoying the little moments as well as preparing them to succeed in life, but sometimes in the busyness of life we lose sight of HOW to make that happen. My goal here is to provide a common language and a roadmap for this exciting journey of boyhood so that one boy and one family at a time, we can restore civility and courageous compassion to our communities. 
 Which part of researching Knights in Training was the most personally interesting to you? 
 I’m a history buff, so delving into some of the primary documents and really discovering how this idea of chivalry took shape and force during the middle ages was fascinating to me. Delving into the past also reminded me that there is nothing new under the sun. We see the same challenges with human nature, our bent to wander from the Lord, from the right path as well as the importance of inspiration and ideals in captivating our imagination and calling us back to the way we ought to go. When we step into the past, we discover that young men in the middle ages struggled with choosing the easy path, that younger sons in the nobility lost sight of their purpose and meaning and were tempted to take the easy path of living a life of listlessness and apathy and yet how deep down they all wanted to find purpose and meaning.

What inspired you to write Knights in Training?
Coming up with the idea for knight training was birthed out of a desire to be intentional in raising my boys. When I saw that their love for everything battle meshed well with my discover that chivalry was far more than how a man treats a woman. I knew I wanted to embark on a season of knight training and pursuing living by this code that for the knight’s of old was an entire way of living. Little did I realize that embarking on this initial season of knight training would alter the way we viewed our role as parents and forever shape the way my boys viewed these years of childhood. I wrote the book to really flesh out what it can look like to celebrate boys for who they are and cast a vision for a life of adventure embodying the spirit of a modern-day knight. Boys are getting a bad rap these days. Part of that stems from how we approach educating boys as well as a lack of understanding and appreciation for what makes them unique. Our world needs good men and my aim with this book is to strengthen the resolve and equip parents to reach their boys by appreciating who they are and how they are wired as well as inspire them to become the men they are meant to become.
Right now Knights in Training can be pre-ordered and you won't have too long to wait because it is almost release time!

 A Knights in Training Book Release party is scheduled for next week, Tuesday, May 30 from 9-11pm (EDT).  Be sure to join us for a chance to win some fun prizes and hear more from Heather!

See you back next week for our full review on this awesome book!

Family, Faith and Fridays Facebook page


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Truth or Trite

Ever wonder what the difference is between the two?

It has been weighing on me for months and this post has been in the works for almost as long.  I may be rambling, but hear me out.

In the past few years, I have been pushed to my limits.  My idea of my limits of course, not God's.  But there have been some struggles.  We had an unexpected deployment with short notice and the struggles that come with that, as well as some tough personal issues for our family.  No more or less than others, I am sure, but personally just a hard time.

In those times I had many people reach out to us trying to help.  Some were helpful, some not.  At all.

But in both cases, they often spoke the same words.  God's Words.

It got me wondering why some were such a comfort and others seemed to just about push me off the edge of the cliff I was standing way too close to at times.

It came down to this for me- TRUTH or TRITE.

Truth- Truth is that which corresponds to reality.
Trite- overused and consequently of little import; lacking in freshness or effectiveness because of constant use or excessive repetition

Now do not get me wrong, God's Word is ALWAYS truth.  Always!  And it will not come back to us void.

But sometimes the way it is shared can make all the difference in the word.  (Hang in there with me, I have spent a lot of time pondering this because it has weighed heavily on me.)

Here's what I found-
Friends who just throw a verse at you and run- that is trite!  I am not saying their hearts are not in the right place, but I will tell you that those words did not hit my heart in the right place.  What I saw instead was someone who

  • wanted to put a quick band-aid on things and hope for the best
  • was not ready to walk the dark path with me
  • who did not have time to invest
  • who popped off the first Bible verse they could remember and hoped it fit the situation
Friends who shared scripture with me and took the time to talk it out, now THAT was truth.  Yes, the same word of God maybe, but the heart behind the message seemed pure as well.  Now that may have been an unfair assessment on my part, but as my husband says often, perception is truth to the one receiving it.  These were the people who

  • showed up daily in our lives, even if not physically
  • who took the time to pray WITH us
  • who spoke truth in love and did not run from the hard things we were walking through
  • who took the time to share scripture that was truly relevant to our situation, not just a band-aid for the moment
See, I think it comes down to the heart of the person sharing.  Again, you can argue that is hard to know, but let's face it, it is usually pretty obvious.

When someone cares, you know it.  When someone hurts like you hurt, you feel it.  When someone grieves like you grieve, you see it.

And sometimes we just need to sit beside someone and hold their hand.  And just be quiet.

It can make all the difference between truth or trite.

Oh friends, let's be people who CARE, who enter into hard places with our friends and refuse to leave until they do as well, and who share God's word in love and out of love!  It makes a difference!
Go make a difference!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Non Messy Art! -Thin Stix Homeschool Review Crew Review

I know, I know, messy and Art just go together, right?  I mean really, that is why I do not do a lot of art projects in my house these days with the youngest.  I used to be a fun mom- think paint, and glitter and sequins and glue.  Lots of glue.  But now I am old and tired and not a messy mom type anymore.
And that is why Thin Stix 6 pk of Classic Colors from The Pencil Grip, Inc. is now my favorite art supply.  Who are we kidding,  It is just about my ONLY art supply.

We reviewed Kwik Stix a while back and had a fun time making welcome home posters for my husband.  At the time, lots of our things were packed up or at our other house and the timing for that review was perfect.  This time around we had no excuse to need to use them other than they are just plain fun!

So you may be saying, "but I thought The Pencil Grip, Inc. had fancy pencil grips for kids!"  Yes, they do!  And if you have never used them before I would suggest you give them a try.  Kids think they are so cool, and they really do help younger kids grip a pencil as well as fix bad grip problems in kids.  The company also carries many therapeutic toys and gadgets as well, but one of their newest and coolest products in my opinion is their solid tempura paints.

Yes!  You read that right!  SOLID!  No water or paintbrushes needed.  Sold already aren't you!?  They are also toxic free and dry in about 90 seconds.  They do not crack when dry and are versatile enough to use on paper, canvas, wood and more.  What else could you ask for?  Did I mention mess free?!  OK, I think you get the point.
Thin Stix by KwikStix

You just twist off the cap and use these paints like a crayon or marker.  When they run low, you just twist from the bottom for more.  The newer Thin Stix are not as bulky and allow for finer coloring skills, therefore I would suspect many older kids will enjoy them more than the original size.  I think the original Kwik Stix are better suited for preschool and elementary age kids and their chubby hands. 

I have a messy 9 year old boy.  Painting with him in the past has not been overly fun for me.  In fact, we stopped doing it to save my sanity.  While I obviously do not have to worry about him eating paint, I know that is not true for some of you with really young kids, I do have to worry about paint everywhere.  He's a boy after all.

But this is the one art supply that he has easy access to and free reign.  He enjoys using them because I am not hovering over him telling him to be careful, he can do it on his own, and they are easy to use.  Plus, no cleanup.  What else could BOY want? ;)  

For now my son has just been using the Thin Stix for simple projects in his spare time, but he has asked if we can get some of the "cool" colors to use as well.  Metalix and Neon are on our list!

In the summer when we have more time in our day for fun things like art, the Thin Stix paints are going to get even more of a workout.  And this mess free mom is going to just sit back and watch the fun!
No Mess Art with Thin Stix Classic Colors {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, May 22, 2017

34 Weeks of Clean rinse and Repeat Week 20 Bedrooms 3+

Welcome back!  By now you have had a week to get a start on any bedrooms in your house, excluding the Master.  That was done in week 15, right?  Remember, everyone's bedroom situation looks different but the basics are the same.  Since we tackled our girls' rooms last week, we are now moving to the boys.  This was a slightly harder week for me for obvious reasons. 

 Your assignment is to finish any bedrooms left in your house.

Here are the basics again, same as last week-
  • Strip the beds and wash ALL of the linens.  Replace any torn or stained sheets or such.

  • Take everything off all flat surfaces and move it out!
  • Dust all surfaces, sides and all!
  • While stuff is still off, move furniture away from walls so you can wipe down baseboards and vacuum around all edges.
  • Replace furniture or rearrange while you have the chance!  Is it just me or is deep cleaning just an excuse to rearrange?  Again!
  • Put things back, but try to eliminate half.  Remember- the more STUFF your kids have, the harder it is for them to keep it organized!
  • Clean out all the drawers, getting rid of anything that doesn't fit or you do not wear!

  •  Wipe down light switches, door knobs, and door frames, inside and out.  Look up, again, and clean off ceiling fans and light fixtures. 
  • Clean window frames and windows.  Once again, mini blinds and curtains are on the list. 
  • Vacuum the floor and you are done!

For younger kids this is a good time to weed through the toys.  We talked about toys last week, but here are a few more points to consider.  We have found that when we deep clean, we uncover things that need to be tossed.  Whether old, extra, or broken, our kids tend to hold on to whatever we let them.  We try to organize and evaluate on a regular basis.  This is NOT a one time job, especially in our kids' rooms!

Yes, those are Legos.  Yes, it is obnoxious!
- A word about stuffed animals.   Be careful and do not get sucked in!  Yes, there are some clever ways to display them, but in the end consider how many your child really needs!  When our kids were little, we too, got caught up on the animal thing.  Honestly, I had a worse attachment to them than the kids did.  It was ridiculous.  We eventually made them choose their favorite 5, and sent the rest off to loving homes.  Let's face it, they collect dust and are a health hazard for kids with allergies, and they take up a lot of space.  Just consider that maybe this is an area that you need to address.  It was for me! (like the legos!)

Deep cleaning is also a time to fix things.  We had a bookshelf that had a bad leg.  My "little fix" turned into a three hour project but my husband rocks and got it done.

When your parents won't get out of your room, you hide on the floor of your sister's room and read a book for a few hours!

So, our finished projects-

They may not be pottery barn, but they are pretty good, if I say so myself.  

This week I want to leave you with a few thoughts and some encouragement.  If you have not joined us yet, it is NEVER too late to start.  I say that in all seriousness.  Just start.  You CAN do this, I know you can!  If you are behind, don't let discouragement keep you from the finish line.  We all have to do life and sometimes things get in the middle of our best laid plans.  That is OK.  What is more important is that we get back on the horse and keep riding!  I hope you can hear me cheering for you to keep riding.  

If you do NOTHING else this week, set a timer for 30 minutes each day and do SOMETHING! ANYTHING!  By the end of the week you will feel great about your accomplishments,  I know you will!  And remember, clearing out the clutter involves actually getting rid of stuff.  We cannot simply rearrange our mess and call it good!

Let me know how you did last week!  We can't wait to see your pictures on our Facebook page!
Like these pictures from one of our 34 Weekers- I LOVE her children's rooms and am slightly, OK, a lot jealous of then!! Thank you Tonya, for letting me share!

Have fun cleaning!  Blessings,