Letting Go

I stumbled upon this purely by accident on Pinterest.


A year or so ago I was on a mission to find a better life. I actually don’t do a bad job of keeping clutter to a minimum. After all, there is NOTHING in my attic and my storage area you can walk into without any problems. Yet, it seems as if I had SO. MUCH. STUFF. Or I should say WE as I wasn’t the only one living in our home at the time, my 3 teenage children, 2 large dogs and 3 guinea pigs live there, too! I was fed up of cleaning, tidying, and maintaining our home.

Minimalism being my focus, I started slowly, filling a bag or two at a time and then dropping it off at Goodwill or having it picked up at the end of my driveway through Amvets. If the item didn’t have a purpose and didn’t bring me joy, it was gone. It was incredibly invigorating!   I had nearly an entire garage full of  things so I decided to turn as much of it as possible into cash and held a quick, one day only moving sale.  (I had put my home of nearly 14 years on the market in March and it sold in 4 days!) Now that I was downsizing to a smaller home, it made it much easier to let go of some things!

Fast forward to 2018 and now my new husband and I consolidated households. Thanks to Facebook Marketplace, we managed to sell items so we didn’t have to move them or find storage place for them when Mike vacated his town home. Gone were the dishes, extra 2 dressers, bed, dining table, and couch. Other practical items such as casserole dishes, silverware, pots and pans, etc. were packed into boxes to keep for when our older children decided they were ready to move out. Even today we continue to keep paring down our things. We think carefully as to whether or not something is a need or a want and where we will keep the item.

It’s much easier to declutter an unworn pair of pants or an out-of-style shirt. The emotional part of old ideas, toxic relationships, and bad habits weren’t as easy. Philippians 4:8 helped me to focus. Remembering I can only control my own actions and not of those around me. Surrounding myself with positive examples through email like Proverbs 31 and WAY-FM’s Word on the Way, Pinterest, and Instagram. Bible verses, songs, and pleasing pictures/photographs are in my feed. Workouts, inspirational quotes/pictures, and home improvement items are pinned in my Pinterest. My life isn’t dictated by how many “likes” I get on Instagram and Facebook. And in my reading pile beside the bed? My Bible, Lysa TerKeurst’s devotional book, Fierce Marriage’s book by Ryan and Selena Frederick, and Mark Hoover’s devotional, You Times Two. My husband and try to read something every night. Is what I’m doing what God intended and does it bring joy? That will certainly help!


It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, though, and I had to be intentional about where my thoughts were taking me. If you tell yourself something often enough, it becomes a reality. My husband is amazing in helping me stay focused and keeping in mind what should be important and what isn’t. So are my parents. Surrounding yourself with a support system of people who know the real you and have the right intentions/motivations in which to help you is also important. As a result, I have been able to let go of people who used to be a big part of my life. They have made no effort to be a part of mine anymore so it was time to let go. Holding onto it was toxic and I must admit that it’s been freeing. As Philippians 4:13b says, “but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” . In Philippians 2:14-16 is also says: “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as Children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.”

Friends, I wish you a peace and joy that surpasses all understanding through the love of our Lord Jesus Christ!


Lazy Days of Summer?

In looking back at a recent email where the sender had asked what I had been up to this week, I thought long and hard.  What have I been up to this week?  Here it is already Thursday and even though the days seems to pass by in a blur, I couldn’t actually say that I had done much.  Well, I did go to a baseball game with all 3 of my kids on Monday night (hey, $1 tickets through KwikShop, couldn’t pass it up!), ran track night Tuesday night (my awesome running group), church group Wednesday night (DivorceCare), did some baking (banana muffins and brownies – yum!), cleaning, watched the latest episode of Zoo, and finished an entire library book (they’re due on Friday) so I did do something, just not as much as I would usually accomplish.

This morning I made sure I was going to do better than that.

So, I hit the weeds.

This was supposed to have been a vegetable garden.  Although I didn’t seem to get around to it this year.  I meant to.


Instagram caption: “My vegetable garden. Hey, at least the weeds aren’t too crazy – yet! #keepingitreal #haventgottentoityet #notenoughtime

Geesh, it had gotten ridiculously crazy.


A third of it was already weeded by this point. And I had a huge blister on the palm of my right hand to show for it!

The dogs were chasing around a humongous wasp the entire time, which was like, 2 hours in the semi hot sun, that seemed to think I was disturbing its area.  It kept landing on the fence around the garden but, fortunately, never on me!  I never found a nest so hopefully it just moved away but it certainly kept my fur boys busy!


Cooper finally gave in to the heat and wasp chasing and collapsed in the cool earth under the bay window in a section that I hadn’t weeded yet.

I had some potted plants that weren’t fairing too well in the heat, despite the constant watering and their location, so I planted them in this really-next-year-it’ll-be a vegetable-plot.  They’re likely going to die anyway so at least it’ll look nice for a day or two. Okay, I’ll be honest, I’m hoping they’ll last longer than that since it took me so long but I won’t hold my breath. At least my neighbors will be happy not to have to look at the overgrown mess that was there before! (You might be asking why is there an old tire in the garden? I saw somewhere on Pinterest that they made a planter out of it so I thought I’d give it a try. I may regret it later . . . )


The finished product, including the fence, to keep the dogs out of it! Granted, Cooper can jump it in a single bound but it does slow him down.

I worked very hard this morning to accomplish this, then went inside to change clothes and headed to the Y for a treadmill workout with my daughter, who had missed her cross country conditioning this morning (likely on purpose because it was early!).  After getting in my miles (our group run was scheduled for 6 pm tonight, but I haven’t been doing well with the heat/humidity and the heat advisory was brutal today – 108 degrees – so the treadmill had to suffice), a quick drive to MacAlister’s for their free iced tea day (free drinks! Yay!), lunch at home, then preparing for book club. Book club is always fun (a post on that coming up soon!), then dinner, which my son didn’t want to eat.

I feel quite accomplished with today. Is it time for bed yet?


Gaping Holes & Popcorn Ceilings

WOW – I found this in my draft box from last summer! I’m still working on many, many other projects around the house but thought I’d go ahead and post this one since I had it ready.  Just keep in mind it was from 2014!

Yeah, these two don’t mix.  Back in November of 2012 we had a leak from our upstairs bathroom into the downstairs bathroom. It started with a drip from the ceiling.  Then, it was GUSHING through the air vent and even the fan.  My Dad helped us out by cutting out a part of the ceiling to locate the leak (from the shower) but unfortunately the fix required a plumber, pronto.

Several hundred dollars later, we were left with an even bigger hole.  It was patched up with extra sheet rock and left.  I had originally planned on having someone come in and either fix it or take down the horrible popcorn ceiling and make it nice and smooth but not only was this repair expensive but other stuff came up that just made financially impossible. Besides, I wanted to try and fix it myself without a huge cost. This may or may not be a big mistake but you don’t learn if you don’t try, right?

Yucky ceiling.

Can you picture this wide open showing the pipes? Yucky ceiling!

I had planned on fixing it that summer when I was off from school but lo and behold, I spent my summer recuperating from surgery on my broken foot instead. Soooo . . . it made my summer chore list this summer as well.  I did my research online on how to fix a popcorn ceiling by yourself and the feedback wasn’t very positive.  Mainly it said to use the spray can but it’s terribly messy, takes a looooonnnnngggggg time and really, it’s better to leave it to the professionals.  Yeah, right.  After all, this was a teenage bathroom. Out of sight, out of mind and he certainly didn’t care if the ceiling matched or not.

I bought something new from Lowe’s this last  summer to try.  It was less than $5 with my Lowe’s card so I figured if it works, great, if not, it was only $5. Earlier in the summer when I was doing another paint job I primed the area and yesterday I finally got around to getting on the ladder and attacking the job.  It seemed easy enough.  Stir and apply with a soft-bristled brush from the outside in. It looked like a grayish cottage cheese. Yuck.

Will this work?

Will this work?

I started with the smallest section in case it didn’t work and I gave up, starting outside and working in per the directions. You could definitely see a difference in the color but the texture seemed to match quite well. I used a knife to get in the cracks between the added sheet rock and the existing ceiling. I had to laugh, though, when my son came in and asked what I was doing.  When I replied “Fixing the ceiling” he said, “Why? What’s wrong with it?”.  Seriously?!  Hmmmm, refer back to what I said about him not caring or noticing . . .

Here goes nothing!

Here goes nothing!

First section complete!

First section complete!

All done!

All done!

It didn’t take me long at all to do – maybe 30 minutes – and the application was incredibly easy. Now I’m waiting for it to dry and I already have some touch-up spray ceiling paint if need be. I’ll be painting and thoroughly cleaning this bathroom next week when the teenage son is at camp. Cross fingers!

I checked it throughout the evening to see how it was drying. Fortunately the color went lighter but it still didn’t seem to match the rest of the ceiling with some patches on it.  I applied a second coat.  Did I mention that it’s hard on your neck and arm to be reaching up for so long? Well, it does!  I know I’ll have to paint over it but overall it looks like it’s going to work well enough to not have to redo the entire ceiling. Whew! (Update 2015 – I was very pleased with this product and it blended in very nicely with little color difference after it was really, truly dry!)


Ms. Independent

My significant other used to complain that I wouldn’t “relax” on the weekends. I usually have a to-do list a mile long and I actually enjoy accomplishing these things and marking things off my list. Since I’m the one that enjoys doing this, it also means that I’m usually doing this on my own. Hmm, Ms. Independent!  Well, this weekend was no exception. And even better? It was a three-day weekend due to a Conference Release Day! Too bad my body didn’t know how to actually sleep in on days that my alarm wasn’t going to be going off!

Friday consisted of an orthodontist appointment for my son, prepping for a painting job in my daughter’s room , a quick run on the treadmill at the Y (thanks to the thunderstorms in the area), cleaning the basement, prepping my vegetable garden (after the rain), and helping weed the front flower bed in our neighborhood before heading out for a night with my favorite girlfriends.


Saturday – WOW – it was a go, go, go day. I started early finishing the prep work on my daughter’s room and painting. I hadn’t anticipated it taking as long as it did but it required 2 coats and moving the loft bed back and forth and back and forth wasn’t easy. And the high ceilings meant up and down, up and down the ladder. No wonder I’m sore this morning! Not to worry, though, I still had time to do some shopping with my mother at Gordman’s, attend church, have dinner at Doc Green’s, clean the kids’ bathrooms, and yes, even though it was late, added new knobs to my bathroom cabinets.  I might add that I am so proud of myself using the drill and not screwing things up! I now do all of these jobs on my own and I’m learning so much.  Now I can say that I am no longer afraid of this tool!

I'm so happy with the way these knobs look! Good deal, too, $8.08 on clearance for a 10-pack from Target, with an additional 5% off for using my Red Card. Score!

I’m so happy with the way these knobs look! Good deal, too, $8.08 on clearance for a 10-pack from Target, with an additional 5% off for using my Red Card. Score!

Sunday was a catch up day to somewhat relax considering how sore I was but I still started a new cross stitch ornament, made some cookies, and ran 8 1/2 miles. (It should have been 11 miles but shhhhh, I struggled and *gasp* even walked a bit! I had to listen to my body, though, and let it go. After all, next week is another week of training.) The rest of the day has been kind of blah as I’m quite tired so I’m going to finish my day flipping through some magazines, sipping my hot green tea, and putting my feet up. Not to worry, though, as I can still feel that sense of accomplishment by checking off the items on my to do list! 😉

Take 3? Or 4?

I’ve lost count how many times my daughter has redone her room. Hers was the first room we painted when we moved in, a soft pastel pink (she WAS 3!)  Since then we’ve done white with purple, and white again, not to mention how many times we’ve changed out the bedding and accessories. This past year she’s been itching for a loft bed to give herself more room but she didn’t want to downsize her full size bed. Her birthday was at the end of November so she got yet another redo!

Before - She'd gotten a little excited and already taken her box spring and frame out of her room before I could take the proper "before" picture. But you get the idea!

Before – She’d gotten a little excited and already taken her box spring and frame out of her room before I could take the proper “before” picture. But you get the idea!

After searching around town, we ended up using Site to Store from Walmart to get her bed. She specifically wanted a metal one and the only ones we could find in town were the clunky wooden ones with huge drawers and extra beds or even a slide(?!).  She chose one that had a desk already built in underneath. Very streamlined and open underneath, as long as she doesn’t bonk her head on the ceiling fan! Her walls needed a fresh coat of white paint (which we already had) and we had already replaced the curtains with the black, room-darkening, insulated ones, also from Walmart for less than $10 each  (much better for west-facing when it’s summer!). Even better, when we ordered the bed through the website, I was able to use a 5% cashback reward through my credit union. Woo hoo!

Building the bed!

Building the bed!

We ordered a cool bead curtain from ebay in black that she liked so much, we decided to order another one. It gives a little partition between the main door and her space under the bed. It had to be trimmed because it was so long and we used an existing tension rod that we had to make it fit nicely.

Next up, she got the idea that she wanted to splatter paint one wall for an impact and add some shelving. So in early July we did just that, taped off the adjoining walls, stirred a bit of water into a free sample of paint that we’d already used to paint a shelf for her bed (gotta love Lowe’s Valspar coupons for sample paint!) and let her go to town! (Personal Note: yes, this freaked me out a bit and I wondered if I should let her do it. But really, what harm can it do? I did the prep work with her help and it’s just paint – something that can be repainted if necessary. In the end she got a few dots on the white popcorn ceiling and that was the only damage. Whew!)

We purchased the interlocking shelves at Ross and she had a specific idea of what she was going to put on them – pop bottles with flowers (maybe painted, maybe not) and candle holders (warned that she can’t light them on the shelf – eek! fire hazard!) She also lined up all of her cologne sprays from Bath & Body Works on them as well. She had a wall mirror before but somehow managed to crack it so we got a new one (less than $5 from Walmart). She wanted a table of some sort to put all of her make-up and stuff in it that didn’t jut out too far and settled on a rolling cart that we got from Menard’s ($19.99 but I used a rebate that took $5.99 off it from a previous purchase).

Before with walls taped off.

Before with walls taped off.

Working on the splattering part . . .

Working on the splattering part . . .

These sample jars from Valspar at Lowe's are only $0.99 but I had a coupon for mine. Perfect for testing colors or using them for accents.

These sample jars from Valspar at Lowe’s are only $0.99 but I had a coupon for mine. Perfect for testing colors or using them for accents.

AFTER: splattered wall with shelves, new mirror and rolling cart.

AFTER: splattered wall with shelves, new mirror and rolling cart.

Did I mention that my daughter is sewing her own quilt to go with her room?  Well, she is, and I’ll say that she’s doing a wonderful job of it as well. My mother has taught her how to do it and this isn’t her first attempt. Now that we’re really getting a roll on putting the finishing touches on things, she’s been working hard on her quilt, too.

Here's a part of her quilt so you can see the colors.

Here’s a part of her quilt so you can see the colors.

Sewing away!

Sewing away!

Jocelyn originally had a foldable purple chair in her room but since it’s molded plastic and probably hard to paint, she wanted something different, preferable a stool.  That can also be tucked under her desk area much easily. When I was cleaning out the storage area this summer, I discovered a short stool that had a padded but torn seat. The legs will need to be trimmed and painted and then we’re going to use some leftover fabric from her quilt to make a cover.

The stool - BEFORE

The stool – BEFORE

She also wanted a plush chair of some sort to go underneath her loft bed to lounge in instead of up on her bed.  She decided on one from Target that was $44 but I used my red card to get a discount. She said it was her “human sushi roll”.  Say what?! She looks very comfy in it, though! She also spends more time under her loft instead of in bed!

2014-07-23 13.51.22

Other than finishing her quilt and covering the stool, there’s just one more thing to make the room complete – a rug. Unless I get the urge to rip out the carpet and I doubt that’s going to happen.  We have yet to decide on the color and size so we’ll hold off on that for awhile.  We have one very happy gal with her fancy room!  Hopefully this will keep her happy for awhile so we won’t have to redecorate it again!

Today I Cleaned the Kitchen Floor!

So what?  you might say.  Then you might think, Gosh, I hope that’s not the FIRST time the floor has been cleaned!  No, it wasn’t 😉

There’s just something about my wood floor that gets incredibly grimy, particularly in front of the stove, fridge, and by the big counter.  And dog slobber.  By golly, what the heck is it that makes it soooo slimy and hard to wipe up off the floor!?  Geesh!  Although the floor is swept almost daily (thanks to shedding dog) and mopped frequently, this stuff just DOES NOT COME OFF.  That is, without some elbow grease! So a few times a year, summer being one of them, I get on my hands and knees with my bucket and scrubber, and get ‘er done.

See that black stuff? THAT'S what I'm talking about. Doesn't just wipe off, needs to be scrubbed! Trust me, it's worse than the picture makes it look.

See that black stuff? THAT’S what I’m talking about. Doesn’t just wipe off, needs to be scrubbed! Trust me, it’s worse than the picture makes it look.

I use a bucket of warm water with some Murphy’s Oil Soap because a little goes a long way (1/4 cup concentrate per gallon of water).  I have to change the water out a minimum of 3 times due to the amount of ick. I also use an old dish scrub brush. I buy it from the Dollar Tree, use it on my dishes until the bristles split, then use it to scrub bathrooms and floors (different brushes, of course!).  I wipe an area of the floor with an old washcloth, put some extra water on the black parts, scrub with and against the grain, then wipe away with the cloth again.  Rinse and repeat for the entire floor.

My cheap scrubby brush. Yay, Dollar Tree!

My cheap scrubby brush. Yay, Dollar Tree!

That one spot after the cleaning.

That one spot after the cleaning.

The kitchen after the cleaning. Ahhhhh!

The kitchen after the cleaning. Ahhhhh!

I did the kitchen floor, dining room, and section by the pantry in less than an hour.  I would recommend sweeping first and if you have a dog, get them out of the way!  My Buddy is still shedding and he leaves piles of fur everywhere he lays down. That’s another thing checked off my summer chore list and I feel so much better that it’s done!


Boys & Bathrooms

Forget spring cleaning. Summer is my time to get the house organized again after a busy school year.  After spending time surfing the ‘net and Pinterest, I had a few cleaning “recipes” I wanted to try.

Yesterday morning I decided to tackle my teenage sons’ bathroom.  Gross would be an understatement.  It doesn’t ventilate very well, even though I recently cleaned the vent out and the smell is unbelievable.  I avoid it like the plague. Even my son is aware of it as he burns incense as well as a plug-in scentsy and it STILL smells disgusting.

I began with the tub.  It gets cleaned every two weeks anyway (we have a lady that comes in to clean every 2 weeks but I just canceled her) but the build-up was pretty disgusting.  I found a recipe on Pinterest for tub cleaner that involved 2 ingredients – dish soap and vinegar.  I combined the ingredients in spray bottle and followed the directions – spray on, let sit for 1 hour, then wipe clean. Fabulous!  Very impressed with the results and the smell was yummy!

Tub cleaner ingredients. I bought the spray bottle at the Dollar Tree.

Tub cleaner ingredients. I bought the spray bottle at the Dollar Tree.

Next up, the grout.  That HAS to be part of the smell, right?!  I mean, boys can’t seem to aim very well and grout is porous so that’s just not a good combination.  I started with the area along the tub as it was the worst (not including around the base of the toilet, of course!).  I mixed my recipe that I found here on Pinterest (bleach and baking soda), donned my old clothes and rubber gloves, and went to work.

Before grout picture with my bowl of cleaner.

Before grout picture with my bowl of cleaner.

The directions said to put the paste on the grout, let sit 5-10 minutes then scrub it with an old toothbrush.

Along the tub and other tile area coated with the paste.

Along the tub and other tile area coated with the paste.

I was holding my breath (not because of the fumes) and hoping that this would work.  I scrubbed it in the toothbrush, let it sit again for another 5-10 minutes, then started the wiping up.  I’ll admit, I didn’t want to waste the paste so I scooped up as much as I could and put it back in the bowl to use again on some other sections of the bathroom. I continued to do other sections as I went along, following the same directions and frugally scraping up the paste.

AFTER: Can you believe the difference!? Amazing!

AFTER: Can you believe the difference!? Amazing!

I am absolutely thrilled with the results.  Since there was 11 years worth of grime and yuck on the grout, I’ll need to redo other areas.  It’ll also look different once it has dried.  A little labor intensive but the results are well worth it.  Cost?  I spent $0.52 on an entire box of baking soda from Aldi’s and about a dollar for an entire bottle of bleach. This recipe only took 3/4 cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup of bleach so there’s lots left to use!

Following the floor success, I scrubbed the counter and was able to get the rust stains off using Comet and deep cleaned the toilet (thankful for rubber gloves!).  Next up I’ll be fixing the popcorn ceiling and painting and, most likely, replacing the vent for a more effective one!