The Chore List Game, with Kids

I have utilized almost every form of chore list or motivational cleaning list ever created. My computer is full of e-Books and pdfs and downloads galore. I finally developed a method that worked for me, and then modified it into a “version 2” because I get bored easily and we get super busy so there needed to be a way to do the same thing in a different order.  It’s been mentioned it before, but I call it “Basically Clean”.  Our house will never been magazine ready, but it can be basically clean.

The best aspect of this list are the time limits. Every item has a time limit. For example, “Bathroom Sinks and Mirrors – 10 mins.” If the house were consistently tidy, then 10 minutes is ample time to swipe out the sinks and get the spots off the mirrors. My house, unfortunately, is rarely consistently tidy. This means that cleaning the sinks and mirrors could potentially be a 30-45 minute journey into decluttering and sorting.

The time limit means that the goal is to spend ONLY that much time on that spot, then move on. The next day, theoretically, it won’t take as long to do the quick swipe and the rest of the ten minutes could be spent tackling more of the sink that didn’t get finished the day before. Eventually, it will all get handled.

The time limits also give me an opportunity to add up all the allotted times so I know exactly how much TOTAL time I am spending on house work on any given day. When I know I have 10 hours in the day, but the actual house stuff is only going to take 3 of those hours, it seems less daunting. That’s an hour after coffee, and hour after lunch, and an hour before dinner.

My issue has always been my children constantly interrupting me (I’m on a timer!) and then things don’t get done or they take forever to get done.

It finally hit me, how to get them to stop and let me work! Bonus: sometimes they actually HELP me work. YES!

Day One of my week (which is typically Monday) has 200 minutes of work. That’s 3 hours and 20 minutes, if I did my math correctly. At the bottom of my printed list is a space for “Helpers”. ANYONE who helps me do any of the items on the list OR goes beyond their regular responsibilities to help elsewhere, gets their name put on the Helpers list.

When the day is over, I’ll add up all the time it ACTUALLY took me to get it all done, and if it’s less than the expected time, the helpers get the extra minutes banked for one on one time with Mom.

For example, yesterday had 200 minutes allotted to it. Because of other appointments, and some health issues, I only actually worked on about 140 minutes worth of chores. Those chores only took me 105 minutes to complete. That left me with 35 extra minutes. The kid who voluntarily cleaned her room while I was at the doctor gets that 35 minutes as one on one time with me!

Today, I already have two names under my Helpers. News is spreading fast. For years, they had been told that if I finished my work I could spend time with them, but now they see it, in print.


In case you’re wondering, here’s my Version Two list. It is specific to us, but you can see how I have it laid out.

Basically Clean Version Two (Day one through five) Printable List

Recipe Tab Index Cards Dividers

The Long Lost Potato Bread Recipe

Once upon a time, my mother had a friend with an amazing bread recipe. She shared this recipe with me and I wowed my family and friends with loaves upon loaves of fresh bread. My blog, at the time, was all about homeschooling, so I posted the recipe as a guest post over on a friend’s blog. Year after year, I went back to her site to get my recipe. I had printed it out once, but it was easier to simply Google the blog post than to dig through and find the printout.

Fast forward a couple years, while we packed up and moved and settled in to our new ‘wanna-be-a-homestead’. I Googled and Googled but her blog was gone! Completely GONE!

So I set out to find the printed copy. I dug through boxes. I flipped through cookbooks. It was no where to be found.

I called my mom. She didn’t have the recipe anymore. I called my friends and asked them if I had given them the recipe. They all said no, they just ate what I baked.


I was a sad breadless mommy.

Now, you might ask, “Why was this recipe so important? I’m sure you could Google ‘potato bread’ and find a good recipe.”

Well, yes, yes I could. But this recipe used an entire bag of bread flour. It made a LOT of bread at one time. It make loaves, buns, and rolls, all at one time and it could be frozen!

Wouldn’t you know, once I stopped searching for it, that silly stack of papers showed up, right under my nose! Not in any of my cookbooks mind you, but still, right under my nose.

I don’t have pictures anymore. I’ll try to come back and edit this to add them later.

This recipe states butter and milk, however, I am now allergic to any and all mammal and mammal by products. I’ll be subbing out plant based butter (Country Crock Plant Based Olive Oil Butter is my fav) and coconut milk (from the carton, not the can).

Potato Bread Recipe

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons yeast
  • 1 Cup and 1 Tablespoon sugar (separated)
  • 1 Cup warm water
  • 3 Cups HOT water
  • 1 Cup instant potato flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 5 lb bag of bread flour
  • Large bowl to mix (capable of holding 8 cups of liquid)
  • Even Larger bowl or clean dishpan for first rising of dough.
  1. Mix yeast, tablespoon of sugar, and cup of warm water in a bowl. Set this aside to proof. You should see bubbles after a few minutes. If you don’t, toss this and restart with fresh yeast.
  2. In a LARGE bowl, mix instant potato flakes, HOT water, salt, cup of sugar, milk, oil, and egg.
  3. Add yeast mixture.
  4. Add enough warm water to bring total liquid volume to roughly 8 cups. **The amount of water you add depends on how your yeast proofs. I typically end up adding about 2 cups of additional water. It’s best to start with less and add more if needed.**
  5. Slowly add in the 5 lb bag of bread flour. Your dough should end up sticky but not elastic.
  6. Move dough into a clean lightly oiled LARGER bowl or dishpan. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
  7. Punch down and separate into loaves, rolls, buns, etc. Place dough into loaf pans, pie pans, etc that have been generously greased with softened butter.
    • once formed, dough can be frozen and later defrosted, left to rise, and baked.
    • You can get several loaves and several pie plate sized tins of rolls out of one recipe.
  8. If not freezing, let dough rise again until doubled, roughly one hour, covered.
  9. Loaves should be baked at 350* until golden brown. Rolls should be baked at 450*. Time required will vary based on size of loaf, altitude, and weather.

I love to melt a little honey butter over my loaves just before they are finished to give it an extra golden glow and a pinch of sweetness!

Enjoy and if you make some, please share your pictures with me! 

Just stop right there.

That’s what my body said to me last Tuesday morning.

The dogs started whining and barking. I tried to fling my feet off the side of the bed and sit up.

I still can not tell you what I did in the days before that morning that would cause that pain.

I bullied through on Tuesday, took my oldest to work, took the girls to play rehearsal, and attempted cooking and some light cleaning.

On Wednesday, I laid in bed. Rest would fix it, right?

On Thursday, I couldn’t handle it anymore. I had tried everything. Ice, heat, baths, oils, Motrin, Aleve, rest, walking (slowly).

I headed in to the local walk-in clinic and gave in to my need for medical intervention.

I was sent home with glorified ibuprofen and predisone, along with a stack of printed exercises for me to do in a few weeks.

The doctor said I strained my lower lumbar. Whatever.

Maybe I did, but I have no idea how it happened. The most I had done in days was to walk around our property. I didn’t fall, or slip, or jump, or anything even remotely physical.

It would seem, however, that after a certain age, if your body wakes you up and screams “STOP LADY AND SIT YOUR BUTT DOWN!” you should probably listen. It’s been almost a week and I’m still not 100% yet.

I’m up, and I did manage to tackle the dishes and some laundry. I am enlisting help from smaller people. They were dragging their feet but have finally figured out they are only getting food and clean undies if they get up and help.

Does your house fall apart a little when mom is down for the count? Tell me I’m not the only one!


car battery jumper cables

Stranded at Home: Four kids and a dead battery

There was an ice storm coming. I needed to get to my mom’s house, two hours north of our house. We would be riding in our truck, so I felt pretty safe that if the weather came early, or we were late getting on the road back home, we would be fine since the truck had 4-wheel drive.

I loaded all the things we needed for our overnight stay and we piled into the truck, ten minutes ahead of schedule. Mom win.

I climbed into the cab of the truck and turned the key. Did I mention it was freezing outside? Did I mention we hadn’t been driving the truck much lately?

The lights clicked on, and the radio blared, but the engine wouldn’t turn over. The starter sounded like it was trying, but there clearly wasn’t enough juice to make it happen. I tried a few more times, knowing it wouldn’t work, and then removed the key.

Our four kids, bundled and excited to go see their Nanny, started in with the questions and the panic.

“Are we stuck here?”

“What happened to the truck?”

“Dad’s not here, we’re stuck, I knew today would be awful!” <–teenagers…

“The battery is dead. We’ll just jump start it.” I said as I hopped down out of the big green truck and headed for our barn.

I searched the barn, our old red car, my van, the Falcon, and jumper cables were no where to be found. I started to walk next door to my in-laws house, hoping to borrow theirs, when I remembered they weren’t home. In fact, my Mr. was currently taking his mother two hours east of our house to a doctor’s appointment. His dad was at work an hour away. All I had was my wits, four kids, and a dead battery.

Someone from the truck was starting to freak out a bit, and another sounded like they were crying.

“GUYS! THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD!” (take a deep breath) “I’m not sure where the jumper cables are, but we have a battery charger. It’ll work, it will just take a little longer.”

I grabbed the charger, and leaned into the truck.

“To the two of you who are old enough, or almost old enough to drive, ya think maybe ya’ll should be out here paying attention?”

The 14- year old hopped out and offered to help. She fetched the extension cord while I called the Mr. to make sure I was hooking up everything correctly. The last thing I needed was to ruin his truck.

“I told you going was a bad idea” he said.

“We’re going. Just tell me what to push on this thing”

“You go straight to the parts store and get a new battery! STRAIGHT there! They’ll install it for you” he insisted.

“Sure thing, honey.” I hopped back into the truck and waited for the ‘okay’ from him to try the key.

I took probably a good ten minutes before the engine cranked up and we could remove the charger and get on the road. For the entire thirty minute ride to the auto parts store, the kids pondered what would happen if the truck died en route.

*Insert a lesson on batteries and alternators and who to call and what to do*

Ya’ll, they were making me bonkers and the words escaped my mouth before I could help myself.

“Ya know, when I was a kid…”

I couldn’t help myself.

“we didn’t have cell phones. When my car broke down I had to wait and pray someone stopped to help me or I had to start hoofin’ it back to the nearest phone booth to call for help. I always carried a quarter in my wallet just in case.”

Then I had to explain phone booths.

We did get a new battery and we did make it all the way to my mom’s house without incident. I wish I could say the trip home was uneventful, but I don’t want to lie. I’ll save the lesson on 4WD vs. Lisa vs. Ice Storm for another day.

One of the most used lessons my step-father ever taught me, was how to use jumper cables. For Christmas, my in-loves gave me a Stanley Power-to-Go portable power bank that can jump start my van even if there is no one else around! It can also charge my phone or other USB device.

What is the best vehicle-related advice you ever received?

A new mom’s visit to the ER

It’s been 16 years since that awful Saturday morning. We laugh at it now. It’s one of those stories that my daughter loves to hear me tell. Because that day, her mother lost her cool on a stranger, and her mother rarely ever loses her cool on a stranger.

Doodlebug was close to her first birthday, when I realized that she and I were bored with each other. I had left my job to stay home with her and while I LOVED being home with her, I was struggling with feeling like that was enough of a contribution to our family. I missed the challenge of the workplace. I missed talking to grownups. Doodlebug, even at her tiny age, was starting to act bored with her little life at home with me.

My previous boss had emailed me that there was an opening in the accounting department and offered it to me. My Mr. and I talked it over, we found an amazing babysitter, and I took the job. Doodlebug would be cared for by her dad’s best friend’s mother. A sweet lady that cared for several children in her home. A sweet lady that had been caring for children in her home for YEARS. No worries.

The first Monday through Friday went wonderfully. Everyone was enjoying themselves. I was around grown ups doing grown up things. Doodlebug had other little people to play with and she loved Ms. Kathy.

Saturday morning, I woke up and stumbled out of bed to make coffee. While it brewed, I scooped up my Doodlebug and laid her on the living room floor to change her diaper.

It was blood red. Not poop, at least not all poop. It was runny, almost watery, and BLOOD RED.

I tried not to panic, I woke up her dad. I called my mom. I called his mom. I cleaned and wiped her bottom and looked for an injury but couldn’t find one.

What could have caused this?

We waited for another diaper change, and it was still red!

Y’all, I freaked out. All I could think was that someone had done something terrible to my kid and she was bleeding profusely and it had to be in internal thing because I couldn’t find any injury and OH MY GOODNESS DID SOMEONE DO SOMETHING INAPPROPRIATE WITH MY BABY!!!

We took her to the ER, an hour west of our house. His parents followed us. My best friend and her husband followed us. My mother and my step-dad drove from four hours away and met us at the ER. There we were, all of us, sitting in the emergency room, freaked out over Doodlebug’s bloody diaper.

Doodlebug was happily running around the room, right as rain, making all the other patients laugh.

Hours passed.

A lady came in, IN LABOR, and I growled at a nurse about my baby still not being seen by anyone.

A gunshot victim came in and I growled at a nurse about my baby still not being seen.

Some teenager that had done something stupid on a skateboard and sprained their wrist came in and was walked immediately back to the rooms and I LOST MY EVER LOVIN’ MIND!

I went to the counter, and lost it on a nurse.

“My baby is bleeding out of her nidgy bits and you are gonna see that kid with a boo boo on his arm over HER???  What is wrong with you people!!”

Meanwhile, my kid is wobbling around walking from one person to the next and stealing goldfish from her dad.

The very patient, very compassionate, nurse (and I don’t know how she held it together with me screaming at her) waved another nurse over and whispered something in her ear. She handed her my daughters paperwork and we were invited to the back rooms.


She asked me what my daughter had been eating and drinking.

“I don’t know for sure. I just returned to work and she’s been with a sitter this week, so I don’t know what she’s had.”

She asked me to undress her. So I did.

She looked down at the water red goo in the diaper.

She grabbed a little piece of paper and laid it on the red goo.

“Mrs. Baldwin, I’m happy to tell you that this isn’t blood in your daughter’s diaper. It’s red dye. She’s fine, but I’d find out what she’s been eating or drinking. She’s fine, I promise.”

I balled. Relieved. Embarrassed. I definitely didn’t want to walk out into the waiting room to tell all our family that they wasted a Saturday over food dye.

“It’s a common thing for parents to bring their kids in in a panic. That’s why we didn’t rush her in. She was playing and didn’t seem to be in any pain. I am sorry that it took so long though.”

I asked her to send in my husband while I redressed our daughter.

I sent him out to tell our family first. I just couldn’t bear it.


cookie tins

Creative Ways to Reuse a Holiday Cookie Tin

cookie tins

I was happily scrolling through Instagram, when my husband stuck a blue tin in my face and asked me if I wanted it.

“Nah, I don’t want any cookies, thanks.” I replied without looking.

He laughed, “Good! Because there aren’t any cookies in there!”

He earned that chuckle fair and square, I wasn’t paying attention. He had just finished off a tin of those Danish butter cookies that come out around Christmas time. Well, my grandma taught me that you never throw away cookie tins or popcorn tins or any other reuseable container (cigar boxes, butter tubs, etc.), so I told him I wanted the tin and promptly put it on my desk to be washed and recycled another day.

Cute Vintage Cookie Tin
See the birdie? There is a bunny on the other side!

I already have a really cool tin (from my Nana), that stores my circular knitting needles, so I wasn’t quite sure what I would do with this one. I set about Google and Pinterest to find some ideas.

I really, really like the clock idea. And I think the succulent/plant holder idea is cute, but what to do with the lid? Maybe use the base for the plants and the lid as a clock? I don’t know. #useeverypart right?

Here’s what I found on Google:

I pinned them to a special board on Pinterest, and then found more ideas there!

Do you reuse cookie tins? Do you alter them, or just keep them as is? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Easy Instant Pot Soy Ginger Veggie Risotto – Non-Dairy

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and complete a purchase.

Gordon Ramsay might yell at me for calling this risotto, but I’m using arborio rice and basing the entire process off of an Instant Pot Risotto recipe, so we’re just going to call it risotto. Risotto is basically an Italian rice dish where broth is added to rice until it creates a creamy dish of deliciousness. I have rice, broth, and it’s going to be creamy!

soy ginger non dairy veggie risotto instant pot

This was concocted out of necessity: I was HUNGRY on the verge of hangry and I needed to shop from our pantry because…budgets. I have Alpha-Gal and histamine intolerance and this meal is generally safe for me to eat.

I own two Instant Pots, 6 qt and 8 qt. For this recipe, I used my 6 qt. Heads up, this recipe makes a LOT of rice.

Instant Pot Soy Ginger Veggie Risotto


ready to cook


  1. Use the Saute function and saute butter, olive oil, and rice until rice starts to get slightly transparent.
  2. Add frozen mixed veggies and stir until combined.img_20190108_110303062.jpg
  3. Add box of broth (3 cups) plus one cup of water, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Stir well.
  4. Cook on High Pressure for 4 minutes.
  5. Use Quick Release method to unlock the pot.
  6. Switch to Saute and stir.
  7. Add a splash or two of non-dairy milk of your choice.
  8. EAT!


From start to finish, including the time to bring to pressure, it look less than 30 minutes to make. Beware when you do a quick release on your Instant Pot, that you aren’t directly under cabinets. That steam can ruin the finish!

Most risotto recipes I have call for Parmesan cheese to be added at the end. Sadly, I can’t have it anymore. My Alpha Gal has made me sensitive to dairy and sometimes I can cheat, but because of the way parm is made, I can’t cheat with that one anymore. When I need a “cheesy” risotto I use brewer’s yeast instead! I didn’t include it today because when I think Japanese food I don’t think of cheese and was worried it wouldn’t pair well with the soy-ginger.

Let me know if you try this recipe!

Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and complete a purchase.

I fell apart

As adults, most of us feel an obligation to our family and friends to hold it together. Raw emotions are seen as a sign of weakness. We are all supposed to be strong, have faith, don’t worry be happy. We spout cliches about bootstraps and big girl panties.

I feel this pressure even stronger now that I’m a mother, because now I need to be an example to my children, specifically, my girls. I am supposed to be showing them how to be brave, strong, and independent. Leading by example, I am to teach them how to stand on their own and how to be part of healthy relationships, with friends, family and lovers.

But y’all…

Life sucks sometimes.

Adulting is hard and it doesn’t help my kids at all if I make them thing that big, real, hard emotions are bad, to be suppressed or hidden and ignored.

Most days, I do okay showing them that feelings happen. Most days, even in the heat of the moment, I manage to show them how feelings can be felt, processed and reacted to in a healthy manner. Even if my reactions start out wrong, I can typically rein it in and talk to them about good ways and bad ways to handle things.

Most days.

Not this past Saturday morning.

This past Saturday morning, I was up at 6 am. With coffee in hand, I fixed ballet buns and double-checked dance bags for shoes and protein rich snacks and water bottles. I kissed the Mr. and the Lil’ Man goodbye, being careful not to wake them. The girls and I piled into the van and headed off to our first dance classes. As we reached the end of our street, I could feel my chest getting tight.

Three excited girls were laughing and singing to “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack. The sun was bright through the trees and the sky above a shade of blue we hadn’t seen in weeks. The atmosphere in and around the van was light and vibrating with excitement.

There I was, behind the wheel of my near-death bright red minivan, chauffeuring my three daughters to their (and my own) first dance class at our local theater and every last ounce of me was struggling to stay on the road, breath held, eyes squeezed half shut in an effort to hold back the snotty cry welling up inside.

I made it past the small bridge in our town, and past the bank. As we passed the house we used to own, the one on the corner with the burgundy shutters and the azaleas that I hated, the walls around the well begin the crumble and the tears ran so fast my shirt was getting wet.

It took a full song and a half before my sweet 14 year old noticed that Mom was doing some heavy breathing exercises. I had sufficiently dammed up the water but regaining a normal breathing pattern was still a struggle. I shook my head to say “Yes, I’m fine” which suddenly created a new tsunami of tears at the realization that I was NOT fine and I was lying to my kids.

So, I fessed up. My nearly-adult daughter found a Wendy’s napkin the door and offered it to me. I patted my eyes, caught my breath, and said “Actually, I’m not fine, but it’s okay.”

I told them how sometimes so many things happen at one time,

and how sometimes those things seem to pile up at once,

and how sometimes those times make sleeping hard,

and how no sleep makes processing and dealing and handling harder,

and how sometimes, no matter how strong you are, how brave you are, or how much faith you have,

you just need to let yourself feel

Snotty cry,

scream in a field,

head bang to a heavy metal song,

shred a napkin,

throw paint,

lose you’re breath exhaling all the feelings.

Take time to be hurt, or angry, or sad, or frustrated, or lonely.


Be disappointed.

Be flabbergasted.

Be weakened.

Let it out, and let it be.


Then you can inhale, take a fresh breath, get a new perspective, put on the big girl panties or find your bootstraps, unholster your faith and keep swimming.

I fell apart.

They saw it.

They also saw me be okay.

I’ll clean if you’ll clean.

Let’s face it, Mary Poppins was right.

In every job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job’s a game

Spoonful of Sugar, Mary Poppins, Disney

My mom used to make having “Kitchen Duty” a game. She used to tell me to race myself and see if I could clean it faster than I did the night before! Somehow she managed to get me to play a game all by myself while doing something I hated doing. Moms are magical, y’all.

I guess it works, because here I am about to declutter my bedroom and my main motivation is that last night on Facebook, I managed to volunteer myself for bedroom cleaning while showing support for my friend’s desire to get more organized in the new year. I shouldn’t have been typing in the dark, or I would have seen what a hot mess was waiting for me. (Before pics are coming)

I’m all about baby steps, and that’s how I’ll tackle today.

Four Tips for Tackling Overwhelming Chores

  1. Set a time limit.  I usually aim for 15 minutes, but since we are working on the whole room, I’m going to allot one hour – in four 15-minute increments. Sometimes I’ll binge watch Netflix, something I’m sure none of you ever do, but I do, I’ll admit it. I’ll finish an episode of Gilmore Girls and then set a time for 15 minutes, tackle an area or chore, and THEN I can push play on the next episode. If you’re working in the same room as the TV, you can tackle TWO 15 minute blocks per episode of Friends! 
  2. Set a simple goal. One bag of trash -or- one bag to donate -or- one drawer -or- one shelf (not the whole bookcase, Cassie!) Most often, I will end up way exceeding the goal. One bag turns into two, I get on a roll with that shelf and find myself moving on to the next one. Something about hitting the goal makes it fun. If a kid runs in and interrupts you and you can’t finish the second cabinet, or another bag, it’s okay, because you already met the goal. Keep it short and simple.
  3. Reward yourself with something that does not require others to go along. I may need to explain this a bit. I used to get so discouraged when I would work my butt off all day with the expectation of getting to have an hour alone to read, or an hour to take a hot bath, or quiet trip to Target alone, only to never get my reward because it relied on other people participating. It never failed the kids would get sick that day, or my husband would forget to tell me he had invited company over, or a friend would need me (and I have an issue with saying no- yes, I know, it’s a thing, I’m working on it.) Now my rewards are quick, and usually instant: the next episode, popcorn, the next chapter in my book, 15 minutes to write in my journal, a cookie…. literally a cookie, there’s a story there, better saved for another day.
  4. Phone a friend, or poke, tweet, message, snap, whatever the kids are doing these days, find your friends. It just takes one. Scratching off “clean nightstand” feels really good but it’s bonus fun if you’re friend can send you a “way to go party time” gif when you’re done. (Yes, Cassie, I am expecting a gif… please and thank you.)

As embarrassing as they are, here are the before pictures, taken from my current spot on the bed:

It’s almost 9 am here.

I have allotted one hour to devote to this today. I’ll do my first 15 minute sprint after I feed the chickens. My reward? Hot coffee.

The First Fifteen

I tackled my nightstand first. It was closest to me, and it is usually the spot that gets ignored the most. My timer buzzed, but I was close to finishing so I kept going a bit longer. I found a grocery bag worth of trash in, on, or around it.

Y’all, I hide a LOT of candy in there. I tossed it, because I couldn’t be certain how long it had been in there. Also, candy does not help my medical issues at all so while I had the will power I tossed it out.

I found my missing stapler. I found my hunting knife (not that I ever use it, but I know where it is now). I found my new set of tweezers that I’ve been missing since I did Steel Magnolias in the summer. See that big red mug in the picture? My kids wrote their names on it as a gift one year, so I don’t use it as a coffee mug. I has spare change in it. I also was stuffed with Reese’s cup wrappers. The wrappers are gone now. Maybe when I turn on my little black fan, I’ll actually feel the air!

Time for a coffee reward and since I can’t JUST focus on this room today, I’m going to throw some clothes in the laundry. PASSIVE cleaning is my favorite! I take 60 seconds to toss clothes in and it does the work for me.

*** The kids woke up, had to make breakfast, and start schoolwork. I started a load of laundry, found the kitchen table (it was covered in stuff from New Year’s night, cleaned dog barf off the couch, and took a trash bag through the house to gather trash from bathroom and bedroom trash cans.

Also, just got the call that my sister-in-love is in the hospital about to have baby #5!  Whoo hoo!!!  Lots about to be up in the air as we were on call to come help pet sit while they were in the hospital. He’s a few weeks early, but docs are optimistic about the little guy being okay.

The Next Fifteen

Reading, reading, writing, and math. Stopped to make some frantic “the baby is coming” phone calls, and then I headed into the bedroom for another 15 minute sprint. I tackled the dresser.


I have a love/hate thing going on with this dresser. It’s technically mine, as far as the clothes go. Mr’s is in the closet because our room is small. I had planned to have my jewelry box on it, and my retro radio; however, since we have limited space, it ended up being the piece of furniture that held the DVD player, and the WiiU (don’t even get me started on that one. Grrr). Also, his fancy humidor can’t stay in the closet because the closet is in the bathroom and there a humidity blah blah blah, excuses, and it had to be in our room. I did get the 8000 random Ikea parts off of it, and put my earrings away. I collected all the random bobby pins and hair clips and put them in the bathroom.

I did not put the hair things where they went. That would have made sense, but it also would have wasted time I had dedicated to the dresser. They were dumped in my random basket that I will sort when I decide to spend time decluttering the bathroom. A 15 minute sprint is not the time to start squirreling off on another project….we are not playing “if you give a mom a chore” today. Focus.

No real reward this time, as all the interruptions have put me behind a bit and I just got a text asking if I could give someone a ride somewhere around 2 pm. The washer is done, so I’ll call the kids to move it to the dryer and I’ll fix lunch. I think I’ll have them empty the dishwasher too, they look bored.

The Last Fifteen

Okay, phew! Glad that’s done.

This definitely isn’t perfect, but it’s the best I could do for today (and with only 15 mins to play). The laundry pile has been put away, and the desk cleared. The stack of green and pink boxes are craft supplies I brought in from our storage barn. I’m trying to get a few items made for my Etsy store, but it’s slow going.


That brown box on the right? That’s a shoe organizer from Ikea that I haven’t built yet. I haven’t built it because I can’t get into the kid’s room where it is supposed to be going. That’s for another day. That project will be more of a “shock and awe” event in our house. Empty to space and start over kind of thing.

But first, babies!  I’m done for today with this project, now I have to figure out what I can do to help my brother and his wife welcome their new one to the world!

Leave me a comment below and tell me what your biggest decluttering/cleaning challenge is and I’ll try to answer it in an upcoming post!

Permission Given

Not that you need my permission.

But I’m offering it. It seems to help. When we have someone say, “Hey you, it’s okay to do that.”

That’s why we share the memes, and the inspirational quotes, and the funny videos. We want to see someone else feeling the way we do, living the way we do, rejoicing the way we do, and struggling the way we do. We want to know that it’s okay to do that.

So today, I’m giving you permission.

Permission to feel. Any thing. ALL the things. ALL THE FEELS.

Own them.

Feel them.

The good ones and the bad ones. Especially the bad ones y’all.

It seems we don’t want anyone to compare their blessings to another’s blessings. Find joy in your own circumstances. Find the silver lining. Count just one thing that’s good. Look for the light. Sing a song. Dance. Go for a walk. Get the good juices flowing.

YES! All that…. all that is great and wonderful and very helpful.

After you have allowed yourself, given yourself permission to feel the bad first. And don’t, I repeat, DO NOT COMPARE YOUR PAIN TO ANOTHER IN AN ATTEMPT TO TALK YOURSELF OUT OF HURTING. Knock it off. Yes, other’s MAY have it worse. Yes, there are homeless and addicted and abducted and dying and starving and sick and lonely and all of it is very very very bad. I am NOT negating any of their pain or their hurt or their difficulties.

I am simply saying, in all caps, IT IS OKAY TO FEEL THAT YOUR SITUATION SUCKS TOO.

Whatever it is, my friend, it is OKAY to own it, feel it, and say it out loud.

The part that isn’t okay, is if you stay in that feeling for too long.

The negative is what makes the positive so…well, positive!

The light is only bright because we have come out of the darkness.

And if you can’t find anyone safe to talk to, I’m here. Talk to me.

I don’t have answers, but I have ears. Sometimes, we just need someone to listen, and to let us feel, and pray with us or for us while we wait for the morning light.

And the next time someone tells you to “Just cheer up”, “count your blessings”, or tries to remind you that “someone else has it way worse than you”, politely (or not) remind them that you can be blessed and stressed at the same time….I can feel all the feels.