Friday, March 30, 2007

Spring Cleaning: Porch

Porch before:

What I did:
* Move all gardening tools, fertilizer, and fire wood to back yard and shed.
* Gather all trash.
* Remove dead plants and replace with new ones.
* Sweep all leaves and pollen off of porch.
* Wipe off pollen from all chairs, swing, pillows and cushions.
* Tidy.

David treated me to a trip to Lowe's to get some new plants - I did this last year after cleaning the porch. For this reason, I save the porch for last and it is kind of my reward to get some plants for the boxes on the porch and pots by the door! Spring Cleaning is FINISHED! I, obviously, am off the hook for cleaning out the car this year!

Just a reminder that tomorrow is the last day to submit details on clean rooms to be entered in the drawing. I'll announce the winner on Monday. Plus, I have a special treat for everyone next week as a prize for participating (think Easter craft). And, post a few ideas on keeping our homes like this more throughout the year so it doesn't get so bad!

Once again, I want to congratulate all of you who cleaned, sorted, organized, and generally got things in order! GREAT JOB!

Porch After:

"So reach out and welcome one another to God's glory. Jesus did it; now you do it!" ~ Romans 15:7, The Message

Spring Cleaning: Bedrooms & Bath

Yesterday morning, I decided to tackle the girls' rooms and their bathroom. All three of these were only about as dirty together as one of the other rooms, so it went much faster. I did not do before pictures because they looked about the same!

I washed the windows inside (I asked David to do the outside after seeing poisin ivy, a dead snake and a dead roach - creepy!), dusted everything, vacuumed the baseboards and then the room. For the bathroom, I washed the shower curtain, cleaned thoroughly, dusted the light fixture and cleaned the floor.

I also finished the porch yesterday and will post the pictures later today. I haven't taken the after pictures yet because it was too dark when I finished and is not light enough yet this morning!

Rachel's Room:
Emily's Room:

"I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." ~ Philippians 4:13, NIV

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Maple Nut Muffins

According to the March issue of Country Living, March is Maple Syrup month! So, I wanted to share a recipe that we like using maple syrup. You can click here to read how I make my own syrup for everyday use.

Maple Nut Muffins:
1 egg
1/3 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 c. flour
2 T. oil
1/3 c. pure maple syrup (I cheated and used homemade)
1/3 c. milk
12 pecan halves

Stir together egg, oil, milk and syrup. Add flour, chopped nuts and baking powder. Stir just until combined. Divide evenly between 12 prepared muffin cups and top each with a pecan half. Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes.

Hair Bow!

My sweet blog friend, Amy, recently sent Emily this adorable hair bow that she made! Amy, I'm sorry I haven't properly thanked you for this! I love it - it does stay in her fine hair and now I just need to train her to keep it in! :)

She does make these and sell them in case any of you other girl moms are interested. They are $3.50 each or 2 for $6 plus shipping. Check out this post for more on her creativity! You can e-mail her if you're interested in any of these cute bows!

Thank you, Amy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spring Cleaning: Master Bed & Bath

The cleaning continued yesterday with the master bedroom and bathroom. Here are the before pix:

Here is what I did:
* Dusted light fixtures.
* Washed shower curtain and bathroom rug.
* Cleaned bathroom.
* Cleaned floor.
* Washed trash can (still in our shower waiting to be finished)
* Dusted all furniture, washed mirrors.
* Dusted blinds.
* Washed window inside/out.
* Washed blanket dog sleeps on.
* Vacuumed thoroughly.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." ~ Colossians 3:23-24, NIV

Tide Simple Pleasures

I was recently contacted by a marketing gal who handles the Tide account. Through our Spring Cleaning challenge, she found my blog and wondered if I'd be willing to sample their product and write a review about it.

You know me and freebies - so of course, I agreed!

First of all, the samples she promised arrived and it was two full size bottles of Tide Simple Pleasures. One was Rose & Violet and the other Lavendar & Vanilla.

David had already opened the box when I arrived home and had decided that he liked the Rose and Violet scent, so I started with that. I put this to a major test.

We had just been in St. Louis and my Grandma has a girl living with her who smokes. So, here is how I tested it:

One suitcase full of smoke-smelling clothes.
One mound of clothing, carseat covers, purse, diaper bag, Snugli, etc... that were in a car accident and smelled like air bag propellant.
One husband without me here for ten days. (Though, to give him credit - he had done laundry while I was gone!)
Add all this up: a mound of really dirty laundry.

I did at least five loads the first day we got home. Everything came out smelling fresh and clean! There were no traces of the previous less-than-desirable smells. Not only that, but our laundry room smelled GREAT while the wash was going! I thought to myself that Simple Pleasures is a great name for this product because laundry is a necessity - and to make it a little more enjoyable is indeed a simple pleasure.

Now, we usually use an unscented laundry detergent because we have major sensitivities to heavily scented soaps. So, I put this to the test even further. I washed all of our laundry in the rose and violet and we have not had any reaction to it for one week.

I used up to the number one line (lowest amount) for each load no matter how big or smelly. And, that seemed to be plenty of soap. The rose and violet is a gentle and soft scent that leaves just a hint on your clean laundry. I loved pulling my clean pj's on or snuggling with the girls and catching a whiff. And, David liked it too!

Ok, so let's move on to the Vanilla and Lavendar scent. When you take a whiff of this from the bottle, it almost smells medicinal and is quite a bit stronger than the other. So, I decided not to use it on our clothes. I did wash our sheets in it and used the smallest amount. Yum! It was so nice to crawl in bed to sheets that smelled so nice and clean.

I think if I was going to purchase one scent I would go with the rose and violet just because it is not as strong.

Thank you, Jen, for the opportunity to review your product! I am still enjoying my two bottles of Simple Pleasures!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Spring Cleaning: Update

We're up to nearly 50 entries for the Spring Cleaning drawing! GREAT JOB, Ladies! Don't forget that the deadline for posting your clean room is March 31st!

Winner will be drawn early next week!


A saying we have adopted in our house is never to doubt Emily when she says she sees something! Yesterday, I doubted, and was quickly proven wrong!

We were playing outside and she went to get her little playhouse. It was stuffed with leaves! She kept saying, "eggs!" and I replied, "Leaves - we need to clean out all of those leaves." But she persisted.

As I looked down inside ~

What a cozy place for a nest! We hope the mama bird comes back to care for these little ones and found it such a treat to see this beauty!

Spring Cleaning: Entry Way

This was an easy one that I did along with the living room ~ but not all my pictures would fit in one post! We've had lots of things in our entry way and living room that belong in the car and since we don't have our new one yet, we're storing it all in the house! So, I moved a pile to the porch to help clean this up.


What I did:
* Dusted light fixture.
* Dusted everything.
* Washed window and window in door inside/out.
* Washed wall where dog lays!
* Swept floor.
* Washed rug.
* Mopped floor.
* Tidied.


I Corinthians 13:12, "We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He know us!" (The Message)

Spring Cleaning: Living Room

Yesterday, I got back into the Spring Cleaning mode! It feels good! Here is the living room before (which I just rearranged last week and am really enjoying!)

Here is what I finished:
* Cleaned ceiling fan and light fixture.
* Dusted blinds.
* Washed windows inside/out. (Could not was inside of window by back door because blinds do not rise)
* Vacuumed out furniture.
* Vacuumed around baseboards.
* Tidied everything and put things away. (Still a big job since we just dumped everything in the house after our accident.)
* Dusted everything.
* Cleaned lamp shades with a lint roller.
* Cleaned back and arms of couches with a lint roller.
* Vacuumed.


II Corinthians 2:14-16a, "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life." (NASB)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring Fling Swap!

This sounds so fun! Thanks, Tessa, for the link! Sign up by today!

500th Post!

Oops - it came and went and I missed it the other day! Too much going on I guess. I'm not going to give you a list of 500 things about myself, but am amazed I've had enough to say for 500 posts. Even more amazing - is that you're reading it!

Garden Update

My little garden was in much need of attention after the crazy month we've had! Saturday afternoon was beautiful outside, and while the girls slept and David went to sign on a new car for us - I worked in the garden.

Here is what I did:
* Weeded row of onions (top photo - next I need to thin them)
* Weeded row of spinach (next photo)
* Planted tomato and pepper starts outside (last photo) I did 1 row of peppers, 2 rows of Juliet Tomatoes, and 1 1/2 rows of Big Beef Tomatoes.
* Planted 1 row of green beans.
* Next row I got ready for green beans to go in this Saturday as I wanted to stagger them a bit.
* Planted 1 row cucumber.
* Planted 1/2 row zucchini
* Planted four 1/2 rows of corn - it said on the packet to plant in sections of four rows for best pollination.
* Prepared two 1/2 rows for later this week - not sure what I'll put there yet.
* Planted 1/2 row of Watermelon.
* Planted Emily's little playhouse: two rows of sunflower seeds with morning glory seeds in between. A friend told me that the sunflowers become the walls and the morning glories grow up and can be twisted across for a little roof - how cute is that? I'm giving it a try.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Spring Cleaning: Prize Update

Well, I thought about stringing you along with pieces of the prize - but now that the month has gotten away from me, here is the whole thing!

What would a spring cleaning prize be without some cleaning thing? I got two of these Pledge Dusters free ~ so am using one for my cleaning and will share one with the winner!

Galvanized container holds the Pledge Duster, a set of homemade notecards wrapped in waxed paper, a book of envelopes bound together (I use mine to hold receipts), a cute pincushion, a pin to wear or put on a purse, a set of recipe or index cards and a measuirng conversion magnet.

I made everything except for the container and the dusters! Hope this provides some motivation to keep cleaning!

Remember: post a comment here or send me an e-mail to enter your cleaned room. If you've already sent it, there is no need to send it again. I'm hoping to get back to my cleaning tomorrow! You have all done such a great job so far - let's keep going!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Luggage Tags

I found this little tin at a shop recently and knew what I wanted to use it for!

When my Mom was here, she mentioned she needed a new luggage tag. Hers had gotten ripped off during travel and we all know that travel has its hazards and having your baggage mistreated is one of them.

Well, my Mom travels quite a bit. So, I figured this may be somewhat of an ongoing problem for her. So, I decided to make her some luggage tags that could be tied on whenever one was missing. These were so easy that it would not be hard to make her more after these are gone.

I printed out her contact info using a cute font. Then I cut those out in round shapes around the info. I found some paper scraps that I already had in gingham and polka dots and glued the circles onto the larger squares. I chose this size of tag simply because it would fit in the tin above.

Next I took these to an office supply store and had them laminated. I punched a hole in the corner and tied a ribbon on. For just a couple dollars - it made twelve tags and she will have them right ready to go whenever one needs to be replaced. Plus, what a cute tin to store them in!

If you know someone who travels a lot - this would make a great gift!

Many Blessings

I cannot let this opportunity pass to share so many blessings and provisions that God has poured out on us these last two weeks!

* Provision of two wonderful places to stay en route to/from St. Louis!
* Sweet time with family while in St. Louis - I really felt everyone's prayers during our trip and I am grateful!
* A great visit with Megan, thank you for your gracious hospitality and friendship.
* On the way home, we stopped for lunch at a Chick-Fil-A (Emily's favorite!) and the couple near us loved the girls and wanted to buy our lunch! How sweet.
* SAFETY! Things are replaceable, people are precious - I hugged my girls tightly after our accident.
* Learning more about my family history and having time to stay and enjoy my Grandma and help her.
* Seeing more of God's amazing creation and seeing spring popping up in various ways throughout each leg of the journey - a testimony of new life.
* A treat to stop here. I have heard so much about this and finally got to experience it for myself!
* A sweet welcome home ~ David surprised us by taking off of work for the evening, getting take-out Chinese, setting the table for dinner and with roses and a balloon and he even steam cleaned the carpets while we were gone! Obviously our plan was slightly delayed due to the accident, but what a welcome home!

An update on the accident: we took Emily to the dr. yesterday and everything is fine - she does have some marks on her neck from the car seat straps, but nothing more! The other vehicle was uninsured - so we're waiting on our insurance to find out what will happen. We did go car shopping yesterday and have a possibility for a new (used) car, so we will wait and see and keep praying!

Again, thank you all for your wonderful thoughts and prayers - we are so grateful and want to give all the glory and praise to God for His protection and care for us.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

We're Home!

Thank you for all of your great and thoughtful comments! I can't wait to read them again and respond to them more thoughtfully.

We arrived home last night - and had a good trip. About 15 miles from home, we were in a car accident (a pick-up pulled right out in front of us) but we are all fine - though our car isn't. So, today is set aside for trying to take care of some of these details.

I have so many things to share - God was over every detail of our trip and I can't wait to share with you some of the ways He provided for us!

I'm also looking forward to getting back to our Spring Cleaning challenge and our usual crafty ideas! And, now I'm going to catch up with a few of you and what you've been up to! Have a great day!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

No Place Like It

I have been kind of challenged lately to spend more time at home. Now don't get me wrong - I am a stay-at-home wife and mom. So, yes - I'm home a lot more than the mother who works outside the home.

But, I have found myself going here or there just to get out of the house. Because, quite frankly, it is easier to manage Emily if we're not at home part of the morning. She LOVES to go places and is always asking to go, "bye-bye." But, truthfully - is that really a good reason for me to be going out?

I know that it is not wrong to take the girls on errands or to fit them into the routine of life. In fact, that is very good. I also know that it is not wrong to sometimes want or need to get out of the house or do some errands. However, I know that it is wrong to not deal with the real issue of how to entertain her at home and just go out to make it easier.

Here is what happens nearly every morning in our house. I get Emily out of bed and then go get Rachel. Before I've even sat down to nurse Rachel, Emily is asking for breakfast. She manages to make it through somehow until I'm finished and Rachel is settled in play. While we are eating or shortly after (sometimes before we even sit down) Emily asks to watch a movie and when I decline, she moves on to the next thing which is to go bye-bye. If I decline this as well, she asks for a snack. When none of these works - she gets whiny and unhappy.

Now, I'm not setting out to make her happy ALL the time. She will simply have to be unhappy with me sometimes because I cannot and will not grant her every whim. But, how do I keep my sanity through all of this whining? So, I suggest we read books which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. I let her help me with my chores - again, sometimes this is good and sometimes not as good.

I know in my heart that just going somewhere to appease her is not the answer - but staying home is the much better and sometimes much harder choice. This is a matter for prayer and even studying God's Word to see what I should do as a child of God.

I also know that many of you have gone through this, witnessed this, or are currently in this stage as well. So, how would you handle this or how do/did you handle this with your own children?

Once or twice a week - I will have these moments where life seems pure and the way it is meant to be. Emily, Rachel and I are all together - I am caring for the home and they are enjoying childhood. But, honestly - how can I cultivate this more often than just for an hour or two a week?

Now, in unison ~ in Dorothy fashion let's all click our heels and say, "There's No Place Like Home!"

Until We Meet Again...

My dear Memee (front row - pink top) went home to be with the Lord early this morning. She was nearly 100 years old (July 23, 1907-March 8, 2007) and in spite of her being with us much longer than expected, I will still miss her. I have always known this day would come, but now it has.

She was so cheerful, loved her family, and loved the St. Louis Cardinals - what a fan! Our little Emily is named after her. She was also a poet and for her 90th birthday, my aunt typed out a booklet of her poetry. I will be sharing some of these in the days ahead. But, here is one that seems appropriate for today.

My Prayer by Emily Taft
Build me a life, oh Lord above,
Full of service, strength and love
Help me to walk with Thee alone
And keep my eye upon the Throne.
Fashion my life oh, Lord for Thee,
That I might ever helpful be.
Grant me the chance to always show
Kindness and love wherever I go.
Lead me through paths where I may stray
Tho' rough and rugged may be the way.
Give me a heart that's pure and clean,
Kindle my light so it may be seen.
Build me a life, oh Lord, for Thee.
One that will live eternally!

Lord, thank You for the gift of enjoying Memee's life for thirty years. Thank You for the memories I have to cherish and the joy of the love she so freely gave. Thank You that she is no longer suffering but is in glory with YOU! And, thank You for the confidence that I will see her again. Amen.

I feel like I would be remiss in not asking, do you know where you will be for all of eternity?

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ." Philippians 3:20, NIV

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?'" John 11:25-26, NIV

"'Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.'" John 14:1-3, NIV

"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words." I Thessalonians 4:13-18, NIV
I do not have all the answers, but I do know that to be with Him forever - all you have to do is ask Him for forgiveness, believe that Jesus died for your sins and receive His free gift of salvation. Please e-mail me if you have questions about this or talk to another trusted friend or family member.

In the mean time, I leave you with a post on being home ~ I'm leaving town tomorrow and will be gone for a week without internet access. So, keep up the great cleaning! Make sure to post what rooms you finish and know that I will be cheering you on from a distance! If you think of it, I would certainly appreciate your prayers as I travel with the little ladies to St. Louis. Thank you.

Spring Cleaning: Den

Yesterday, I tackled the Den - I must say that you all are motivating me! As, I usually just do one room every few days and in the last week, I've completed FOUR rooms! Thank you so much for joining me!

(oops - my other picture did not turn out and I didn't realize until after the room was finished!)

Here's what I did:
* Dusted ceiling fan and light fixture.
* Dusted blinds. Washed windows inside/out.
* Vacuumed out window track and dusted windowsills.
* Emptied out all toy bins, wiped out and reorganized toys.
* Tidied and organized whole room.
* Dusted everything.
* Took all couch cushions off and vacuumed out couch.
* Polished coffee table.
* Used lint roller to dust quilt.
* Washed rugs.
* Vacuumed around base boards and entire room.
* Cleaned mat under desk chair.

Total time: about 2 1/2 hours.

Today, I'm taking the day off from spring cleaning to go and have lunch with Chrissy! What fun! Have a great day!

Just a note: Please post each room only once in the comments or I won't be able to keep track of which rooms are already entered in the drawing! :) Thank you!

"He's going to clean house - make a clean sweep of your lives. He'll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false He'll put out with the trash to be burned." ~ Matthew 3:12, The Message

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Spring Cleaning: Prize Update

There are thirty-one entries in our Spring Clean challenge which will end in a drawing for homespun goodies! This is so exciting! Keep it up - remember, each room is an entry into the drawing! Entries will be accepted through March 31, 2007.

So, as a little extra motivation - I'll reveal parts of the prize as we continue. We are at that spot now where we've gotten the motivation to get started, but now we need to keep going - this is a hard spot for me!

And, I don't know about you, but I'm enjoying and appreciating my home more as I'm cleaning it.

So, here's your first glimpse at the prize:

A set of recipe or index cards that I made and a measuring equivalents magnet for your fridge! Next week, I'll reveal more of the prize contents! :)