Monday, June 28, 2010

A cleaning schedule I can stick to

I've been "keeping house" for a little over four years now and all that time had searched in vain for a thorough yet doable house cleaning routine.  I would make charts and lists and check off each completed task as I made my way through my week.  But inevitably, I would get behind or have a busy day or get sick or have company and my schedule went straight our the window.  Then I would play catch up the next week with little success and feel like a total failure.  How could I be a good wife if I couldn't even keep my house clean?

I think the worst part of it all was the clutter that would pile up around the house.  My husband and I are the total opposite of pack-rats.  We actually throw away or give away more things than we probably should.  There have been many occasions when I've thought of something that I really needed or wanted but realized we had gotten rid of it.  Because of this, I'm was always surprised and frustrated when we had CLUTTER everywhere.  Where did all of this stuff come from?  I finally discovered it was just our everyday, normal things that weren't getting put away on a regular basis. 

While googleing "cleaning routine, cleaning schedules, how can I keep my house clean?, etc, etc", I came across a website called   Not exactly sure where the name came from, but it has an amazing cleaning routine.  The creator of the site separates the house into zones and you only work on a detailed cleaning list of one zone per week.  Then there is one hour of "blessing your home" that you choose to do one time a week that involves basic sprucing up around the house.  There are small tasks to do before you go to bed and small tasks to do after you get ready in the morning, all helping to keep your house clean without spending hours doing it. Very simple!!!  Very easy to follow!!!!  I've actually been using this cleaning schedule for about three months now and it works.  I used to feel like I had to clean my house from top to bottom every week.  With a 2700 sq ft house and ONE person to clean it, it's not going to happen.  This schedule keeps me sane, and I always feel like my home is in decent order.  Maybe not always spotless but definitely presentable. 

Are you feeling overwhelmed with your cleaning routine? Do you even have one?  Please, please, please check out this site!  It will change your life.  It's definitely changed mine for the better.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thrifted Treasures (Part Two)

Stop #2 on my last minute thrift store outing was Morris Thrift Shop.  It was rather small and dusty and seemed to be crammed full of...well...junk.  But don't judge a thrift store by your first impression.  I dug a little deeper and found two Laura Ingalls Wilder books to add to my book collection.  My mother-in-law bought me my first Laura Ingallls Wilder book and I've been searching for the rest to complete the set.  The paper-back was $.25 and the hard-back was $.75.

I rummaged some more and found a 1965 Webster's Dictionary for....drum roll please....$.75!!!  I'm teaching English at our Christian School this year and dictionaries are NOT cheep.  Needless to say, I was more than a little excited to find this hidden treasure. 

And lastly, I found these two antique tin treys.  I thought the colors were so fresh and fun.  Not sure where I'm going to use them yet, but I'm thinking of using them in my craft room to hold odds and ends.  We'll see.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thrifted Treasures

At the very last minute today, I decided to go up to Dunn and hit some thrift stores that I had never been to before.  First stop, Beacon Thrift Store.  I was immedietely drawn to a large shelf full of sewing patterns.  One look and I spotted this:

an old vintage-style Simplicity skirt pattern. Circa 1960's?  Not sure of the pattern's date but I LOVE it!  I want to try!!  It reminded me of a Louis Vuitton line from Fashion Week that I just about went crazy over when I saw it in Elle magazine. 

I love the bowed shoes.  Classic vintage.  I wonder if I could pull this off?  I was afraid the pattern would be very worn and hard to read, but it's in great condition.  It almost looks like it hasn't been used.  For 25cents, I have a great inspiration and project on my hands.  Added it to my list of Pastime Projects.

My second find at Beacon thrift store was a beautiful coffee table.  It needs a little TLC but I'm so excited about it!  I'm picking it up tomorrow so I'll add pictures this weekend.  Another project!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Power of a Post-It

Summer! All year long, I've been looking forward to these few short months when I would finally have more than enough time to dive into and enjoy conquering my ever growing list of hobbies and projects.  More than enough time?  Is it a law of human nature that the amount of free time one has is directly proportionate to the amount of time wasted? Maybe that's just in my case. I've been on vacation for....let's see...almost two months now and my list's surface has not been scratched.  Why does tomorrow or next week always seem so much more opportune than today or NOW?

The solution?  I don't think there is a solution, but a plan of action would be a good start.  I've divided my list into three categories:

1. Pressing Projects
2. Pastime Projects
3. Permanent Projects

One thing I've learned about myself through the years is that I am a "lists" person.  I think I get that from my Mom.  : )  I'm the type of person that writes something on a list after I've done it just so that I can cross it off.  My house is full of lists for everything!   As crazy as it may sound, it really does help me stay organized.  Now everyone is different, but the above three categories might just help you narrow down what you would like to accomplish in the time you have. 

#1 PRESSING PROJECTS:  Just as it sound, these projects are urgent.  Maybe not as urgent as cleaning up the glass of milk you just spilled on the carpet, but they are projects that you definitely want to get done SOON.  In my Pressing Projects category was planting our two baby pine trees in the back yard.  They were planted in large planters but kept getting blown over during storms.  They would have died if I hadn't transplanted them (they still might but, I tried to give them a starting chance!).  This was a project that I wouldn't normally have on my cleaning or to-do lists so I needed this to be in the Pressing Projects list.

#2 PASTIME PROJECTS:  The word Pastime is used because this category should be filled with things you LOVE to do.  It should consist of all those hobby-type projects you never seem to have time to do but wish you did.  Right now, on the top of my Pastime Projects is to sew our living room curtains.  I've already bought the material (which I got 50% off at JoAnns) and only need to find an accent material, then I'll hit the sewing machine.  Now I understand that if you have a husband and children, it may be difficult to find time to work on projects like this, but you'd be surprised how much you can get done by scheduling it into your weekly routine.  Even just a few mintues a day.  You may only get one project done for the whole summer, but, hey, you got ONE project done and hopefully had fun doing it. 

#3 PERMANENT PROJECTS:  Once again, like it sounds, this category would consist of those projects you would like to work on over the long run.  Maybe you want to learn another language, write a children's book or learn an instrument.  Those projects definitely need to go on this list.  At the top of my list is drawing.  I love to draw, but I have a lot I still need to learn.  My husband has bought me several sketching tutorial books that I've been working through, and I need to practice, practice, practice.  Obviously, this isn't something I'm going to do and then check off my list.  I will be working on this PERMANENTLY.

After you've identified your categories, you can get to work on scheduling them into your routine.  The Pressing Projects need to go first, but the other two categories or interchangeable as far as importance is concerned.  My advice would be to allot a certain amount of time per week to work on a project and then just pick a category. 

If you don't have any real interests or hobbies yet, adopt one! There are so many interesting things to do.  You could set a goal like reading 10 classics or learning the spelling and definition of 30 new words. The  opportunities are endless, but find something you enjoy.  I've also discovered that sometimes my mind gets carried away and I THINK I'm going to be really interested in something when it turns out I'm not.  Don't be ashamed to cross that off your list.  You don't want to do something just for the sake of doing it.  You'll get bored and frustrated. 

So what do Post-It's have to do with all of this.  Nothing except to encourage you to "POST-IT"!   Post everything you want to accomplish.  If you right it down, it's always before you reminding you to get it done. By the way, post-its ARE very handy in this instance.  I have this great feature on our computer called "sticky notes".  I have four sticky-notes on my computer right now, each one containing a list!

PS: I'll let you know at the end of my summer how my list are looking.  : )

Friday, June 18, 2010

Go Ahead and Add It To My Wish List

Have you ever created the perfect idea of something in your mind that anything short of that PERFECT something just wouldn't cut it?  Well, that's what I've done.  I think I've doomed myself to disappointment from the moment I laid eyes on THIS:

B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L Mayfair Steamer Brushed Steel Trunk by Restoration Hardware - $1695
My husband and I both agree it's gorgeous (well, he may not have used that word) but a little out of our price range.  It might also be just a tad too large for our space, but I'd settle for his slightly smaller and less expensive little brother. : )

The runner up in this love affair would be this guy:

Mayfair Steamer Leather Trunk by Restoration Hardware - $1695

Once again, out of budget and a little large, but he too has a little brother.  As a side note, don't you just adore that lamp?!!

Close third and fourth:

Raffia Trunk by Pottery Barn - $799
Expedition Trunk by Pottery Barn - $1299

I'm hooked on these 19th-century traveler's companions. Talk about bringing character and a conversation piece to a room!  As my wish list grows, these guys are staying pretty close to the top.

Smile When It Rains

"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

As I sat on my couch this week, trying to force-feed myself teaspoon sized sips of grape flavored pedialyte, while each tiny gulp felt like little, nasty, razorblade-fingered elves were rock climbing down my throat, I was a far cry from, "This is the day the Lord has made, I think I'll rejoice!"  Instead, I felt VERY sorry for myself, complained a good bit and wanted a cheeseburger.  If I had stopped to realize that this really WAS a day that the Lord had made, just maybe I would have discovered, or rather been reminded, of some things. 

I might have first remembered that there are many in this world who live day to day with pain, poor health, or who are uncomfortable is some way.  Who am I to complain about three days with a soar throat?
 Psalm 118:29 "O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." If I had thought of this, I might have also thought to stop and pray for those I knew who are sick or have loved ones who are ill. 

If I had canceled my pity party, I just maybe would have been reminded of the other 360ish days throughout the past year that I've been in PERFECT health! What about those days?  I very much took them for granted.  Thank you, Lord, for all of those healthy days!! Psalm 34:1 "I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth."   I'll say one thing, the day my throat began to feel better, I felt like a new woman.  I wanted to go do things, and finish projects, and drive downtown, and.....I was all smiles.  Yet, how many days (healthy days) have I sat around the house in a stupor just waiting to be inspired to get something done?  Shame on me!

Did I pray for the Lord to make me well?....You better believe it!! I was praying that prayer about a dozen times an hour.  "Lord, just please, please heal me!!"  It should have been  at those moments when I remembered how LITTLE I prayed for good health when I was welll.  Pray for rain even when it's raining.  Philippians 4:6 "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."

And lastly, If I would have stopped to think between cups of applesauce, I would and SHOULD have remembered Jesus Christ.  He had no home on this earth, He had no country, He had no family. My sore throat now a lame excuse to complain.  Matthew 8:20 "And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath no where to lay his head."   2 Corinthians 8:9 "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

Among the many other things that should have probably crossed my mind during this interesting week, these last four thoughts DID NOT cross it.  But as a result, I've learned some valuable lessons.  Let's rejoice!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Parting is such sweet sorrow

My husband and I just got back from a wonderful trip visiting family and friends in Washington State.  Here are some things I love most about going to Washington:  Getting to stay in the most comfy, cozy, they-left-the-light-on-for-you house in all the world (Mom and Dad's); going to church at Bethel and seeing all the familiar faces; experiencing Pike Place Market for the umpteenth time; sipping a hot drink from the original Starbucks; watching the Flying Fish; seeing the Seattle skyline; HOPEFULLY seeing Mt. Rainier (when it's not covered by clouds); going shopping with Mom (there's no shopping partner quite like her); seeing all the green trees; catching up with old friends; eating Salmon - really, really FRESH salmon; eating at Chevy's; Chicken Teriyaki (although we past on that this trip).  Of course, these are just to name a few. 

What would life be like if you couldn't visit home and feel like a kid again?  It's funny to see things so differently through adult eyes.  For instance, we drove by the house we lived in when I was three.  It was soooo small and I remember it being soooo big! 

At the end of our week's stay, it was bitter-sweet to get on a plane and come home.  I think I would have enjoyed staying a few more days, but I was really missing my house and all that was familiar to me.  Getting back into a normal routine sounded pretty good, but saying goodbye to my Mom and Dad was no fun at all.  Luckily, our plane was scheduled to leave at 10:00PM and all I could think about was getting on that flight and get some sleep. 

It's always a lot of fun to go back home and visit for awhile, but what a feeling to step through the door of your own house and smell the familiar smells and see all your favorite things and just collapse onto your bed, tired and ready for a nap. Ahhh.....
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