Friday, May 31, 2019

A Graduation, A Trip to Texas, and What's Next!

I promised an update today and though it is later in the day than I had intended, I am determined to get this posted.  I know other than 34 Weeks of Clean, it has been pretty silent on the blog lately.  Like crickets chirping quiet, I know!  Not that lots hasn't been going on, but ya'll I have been tired and not very motivated.

That's it.  No other excuses.

After years of reviewing for Schoolhouse Review Crew and being on staff with them, I resigned and now only will be doing a few independent reviews here and there.  It was such a hard decision as I LOVED what I did and the people I worked for but as this family is moving into some new seasons of life I felt worn out by the demand and knew I needed to refocus and put my family first.

So yes, less reviews and more family time.  Which means you get more of just US!  Lucky you!  We are still on the homeschooling journey, but starting next month I will be down to just Colby and 7th grade.  Salem, our 17 year old, is taking online college classes and is pretty much mom free.  (shhh, don't tell him that!)

The thing that took up most of of brain cells last month was this girl!

After just three years away at college, she graduated with a BFA in Musical Theatre.  Since we did get the privilege of seeing her senior showcase, as well as her final college production, we were unable to attend graduation.  I will be forever thankful to the many sweet families that supplied us with lots of pictures and loved on her in our place.  She is now home for the summer with BIG plans for the fall.  More on that adventure to come!

We also just returned from an amazing retirement of one of our dearest friends and his family after 30 years of Air Force service.  Not only was it a special time to celebrate them, but it also allowed us to catch up with old military friends, some of which we had not seen in years!  It was a time of many surprises, lots of laughter, and a million memories.  My heart is full.  Since it was not my event and not every cares for their face to be seen all over the internet, I won't post pictures other than this one I got permission to share.  These friends have stuck with us through thick and thin for over 26 years and we love them dearly.

Since I never ask my kids permission to post pictures of them, however, I will leave you with these.


These two were born in Florida just three weeks apart and have been best friends since!  Our resident models and entertainers.

That's all I have got for you now.  If you want to find us, we can usually be found pool side, learning to embrace this new Arizona life.  So far, it's not too bad!


Monday, May 20, 2019

34 weeks of Clean 2019! 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.  At our house we tackled two rooms last week, so we are now moving to three more this week.  Luckily, one of those bedrooms belongs to my oldest and is her domain completely.
 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.
  • Wipe down light switches, door knobs, and door frames, inside and out.  Look up, again, and clean off ceiling fans and light fixtures.
  • Take everything off all flat surfaces and move it out!
  • Dust all surfaces, sides and all!
  • While stuff is still out, 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!

  • 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!)  Last year I found this bean bag shell that we have filled with stuffed animals.  The kids get to keep the sentimental ones, I don't have to look at them, and it gets used in the loft.  Win-win!

Deep cleaning is also a time to fix things.  Including painting a wall in need.  The owners prior to us allowed a child to draw on the chalkboard wall.  No amount of cleaning it hid the images left- including a not nice word.  Seriously?!  So yes, we repainted it!

So, a few of our finished projects-

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!

Have fun cleaning!


Week 4- Fridge, Freezer and Floors
Week 5- Recipes 
Week 6- The Stove and Loose Ends 
Week 7- The Dining Room 
Week 8- The Living Room 
Week 9- Books 
Week 10- Bathrooms  
Week 11- The Foyer
Week 12- The Family Room and DVDs 
Week 13- Pictures and Scrapbooks
Week 14- Arts, Crafts and Hobbies 
Week 15- The Master Bedroom  
Week 16- The Master Closet 

Monday, May 13, 2019

34 Weeks of Clean 2019- Week 19- Bedrooms 1&2

We are back!  I hope you had a good half-time week!  I know some of you took a well deserved break while I know others of you used this week to catch up.  Either way, I hope it was a week to do something that made you smile!  I also know for a fact that we have some new friends joining us.  If this is you, or if you just need a reminder of why you jumped on this crazy train with us, I would encourage you to go back and read THIS POST

I will wait here while you catch up!

And so where do we go from here?  Back to the bedroom.  So here's the deal.  For the next two assignments you are getting an advance notice. We will spend TWO weeks, this one included, on bedrooms. (The Master Bedroom was done in week 15 if you need to catch up!)  Children's, guest, whatever.  Therefore, if you have more than 2 bedrooms left you will need to pair some up.  In our case, you will see the two rooms together and then a week for three more.  The basics will be the same!

Your assignment then, is BEDROOMS.
The Basics-

  •  Strip the beds and wash ALL of the linens.  Replace any torn or stained sheets or such. Rotate your mattress if you think it needs it.

  • Take everything off all flat surfaces and move it out!  Some children are not naturally neat people!  So thankful that only one of my kiddos is still in this stage and let's just say, it is NOT one of the girls! ;)

  • 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! ;)  See a trend here?  I am the queen of changing furniture around, just ask my friends.  Luckily for the family we haven’t been in this house quite a year yet, so I haven’t tried rearranging bedrooms yet.

  • 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.  Sorry!

  • Put things back, but try to eliminate half.  Remember, we are on a quest to declutter as well as clean.  Does your child need it?  Do they use it?  Could someone else get better use of it? Make a pile and move it out! See notes at the bottom!
  •  Time to tackle the drawers.  Again, take it ALL out, decide what you need to keep and then put only those things back, neatly.  Now is a good time to get rid of clothes that are too small, not in good shape, or your child hates. We were able to pass on a huge bag of clothes from my youngest who has shot up in height recently.  Now, teach your children how to keep it clean.  Even a young child can be taught to put things away neatly.
  • Vacuum the floor and you are done.  Mostly!

Let's just take a moment to talk about toys, since I KNOW this is an ongoing challenge for many of you. (I still have a "little" and I get it!)

   -Stop buying them!  We have a pretty strict rule about no buying toys unless it is birthday or Christmas.  Best thing we ever did.  Of course, when a child has saved up their own money we make exceptions, but we want our children to learn early that just because we WANT something does not mean we NEED it.  Ok, yes, we do break the rules for an occasional special treat, but I mean special and oh, did I say small!?  Happiness is not built on toys alone and it is time kids today were taught that.

   -Stick to a few themes.  Our children do not need one of everything.  Really, they don't.  Pick a few things they like and stick with them.  The themes around here tend to be Legos, nerf guns, and audio books.  Find what your child likes and plays with, and don't get carried away. In my experience, it is parents that get caught up in collections, not kids.  Let's not teach them our bad habits!

   -Containerize and rotate toys.  (I made that first word up) Trust me, it helps and it works.  I did another decluttering post a while back that you can check out that shows one way to containerize easily.  We tend to use baskets and when the kids were really little we rotated those baskets in and out every few weeks, a few at a time.  You would be surprised at how excited they get about toys they haven't seen in a few weeks.

- Special items!  Yes, even my kids like to hang on to things, despite my natural tendency to dump stuff in the trash.  You know, important things like rocks, paperclips, old art projects.  There are two ways we have helped with that problem.  One - a small plastic tackle box. The rule is if you can fit it in there, it can stay.  If not, something else has to go.  And two - a simple folder with pockets. If there are papers you just cannot let go of, put them in your folder.  Again, if there is no more room, it is time to weed out what you do not want anymore.

Let's face it, every child's room is going to be a little different.  I would love for my boys' rooms to look like the ones in the Pottery Barn catalog.  I would REALLY like that.  But for now that is not reality for us, OK, that is probably NEVER going to be reality for us.  So we do our best. When we have lived in houses that have playspace areas we tried to make bedrooms just a place to sleep.  I love that!  But that does not always happen.  So sleep and play must co-exist.  And sanity must reign, so I try to make it as easy as I can for them to maintain a reasonably clean room and ignore accept the rest.

Clean up, declutter, and embrace the space you have!

So, about that Half Time week, how'd you do?  What area did you catch up on?  I want to see.  I spent ALL week working on scrapbooking and am happy to report I am slowly making progress.  See?  Yes, that is FOUR books done.  I may actually be caught up in a few weeks.  I will keep you posted.

Until next week, happy cleaning!


Monday, May 6, 2019

34 Weeks of Clean 2019! Week 18- Half Time

Sorry, no half-time show, but we are taking a half-way break!  You can thank me with chocolate and words of affirmation. ;)

Can you even believe we are we already half-way done???  It is always surprising to me when we get to this pint, but when I look back at our weeks together so far, I SEE how much we have done!

Or at least how much we have been assigned. ;)

I know life happens. I know we are all busy. I know we all get distracted. And I know some of us are a little behind.

That's ok!

This is YOUR week. Haven't finished a project? Now is your chance! Join us just recently?  Welcome and here 'ya go.  Been putting off a harder week off? Now is the time to pull yourself up by your boot straps and Get. It. Done!

I know cleaning is not always fun. I get that. Put on some music, grab a friend if you need to, and get it done. And our biggest stumbling block with de-cluttering? Attachment. To things, Ya'll!!

I want to be attached to my people, not my things!  Clear the things out and I promise you will have more time and energy for your people!

Do not waste your time just re-arranging clutter.  Move it out.  You will not only free your space but free your mind.  It is worth the time and effort.

No excuses.  Make this week count and then come back and BRAG on what you did!!!

So what will my week look like?  Well, as always I am working ahead so I can blog it for you.  In addition, I am still knee deep in scrapbooks but I am determined to get caught up!  In the past few weeks I have finished one child's books and have moved on to a second child.  Slow but steady, right?!

To make life easier and as a reminder, here is our list so far...

Intro Week
Week 1- Holiday Decorations
Week 2-The Pantry
Week 3-Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers   
Week 4- Fridge, Freezer and Floors Week 5- Recipes  Week 6- The Stove and Loose Ends  Week 7- The Dining Room  Week 8- The Living Room  Week 9- Books  Week 10- Bathrooms   Week 11- The Foyer Week 12- The Family Room and DVDs  Week 13- Pictures and Scrapbooks Week 14- Arts, Crafts and Hobbies  Week 15- The Master Bedroom   Week 16- The Master Closet

See 'ya next week as we start our second half and continue to take our homes back- one week at a time.