What I learned in January….


Well January is all wrapped up and there are some things I learned this month that I thought I would share.  Emily Freeman over at her blog has a link up party each month for others to share what they learned too.

  1. Democracy Jeans.  Ok so it is was time for me to accept that Old Navy or Target might not make the best jeans for a 42 year old Mom of 4. I went shopping with a friend to Nordstrom Rack (which I hardly ever do) and she was exchanging a pair of Democracy Jeans for a different size.  I decided to give these jeans a try.  To say I love them would be an understatement.  They have a stretchy band around the waist that makes my muffin top so happy. (Did I just admit to my muffin top online?) Try them out for $39 they were so worth it.  
  2. Kids remember what to do when there is money involved.  We could talk for days about philosophies on kids doing work around the house.  They are part of our family and are expected to help out. But in our house this was a constant battle.  I was nagging all the time and so frustrated with kids not taking care of their own stuff. This month we started using Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Jr.  It has been a game changer around here.  All four kids have charts with chores which they get paid for on Sunday.  I have nagged less and more has been done this week than ever before.  They have to do their jobs every day to earn commision at the end of the week.  If they miss one day then no pay.  Check it out it.
  3. Planning for lunch after church on Sunday is a great idea.  Our church doesn’t get out till 12:30 and we get home around 1 each week.  This makes lunch late and people are starving.  The last 3 weeks I have put something in the crockpot for lunch.  It has been so nice to walk into lunch already prepared.
  4. I love Periscope.  Are you familiar with Periscope?  It is kind of like a live YouTube.  You can subscribe to people on the app and then you will be notified when they are live. You can interact and comment while they are talking.  It has been fun to get to know new bloggers and also to hear the voices behind their words.  My favorite scoper is Stacey from Humorous Homemaking.  She is really funny.  I am thinking about starting to use Periscope. I would love to have you join me soon.
  5. Motherhood can be lonely. This year is a big year of transition for me.  My baby is in school everyday for a full day.  So that means I can count on alone time 5 days a week.  I dreamed of these days and am loving them.  But there is something interesting that has happened I have gotten lonely.  Although I love the quiet and the freedom it brings me, it is a real transition.  I am looking at this time as a chance for new opportunities and new friendships.  Also being confident that I will find my groove in this new stage but that it will take time.

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Daily Routines that help me stay Organized

 DailyRunning a household is hard work.  It never ends and you can get behind so quickly. Laundry, food, messy bathrooms, paperwork, and spills (oh the spills that never end). For me a messy house makes me crazy and very cranky.  I can’t find anything and I feel overwhelmed just looking around my house.  

If you do a little pinterest search you will find many plans to help you keep your house clean. Many times I would set out to completely overhaul how I ran a household.  I would print off check lists, buy new 3 ring binders to keep my lists in and let my family know things were going to change around here. But what I soon realized was someone else’s plan wasn’t going to completely work for my house. I also would fail so quickly and be so discouraged.   Then I would be so frustrated and want to completely give up or yell at my kids because they were not following the plan.

If you do a little pinterest search you will find many plans to help you keep your house clean. Many times I would set out to completely overhaul how I ran a household.  I would print off check lists, buy new 3 ring binders to keep my lists in and let my family know things were going to change around here. But what I soon realized was someone else’s plan wasn’t going to completely work for my house. I also would fail so quickly and be so discouraged.   Then I would be so frustrated and want to completely give up or yell at my kids because they were not following the plan.  

Instead I realized that I needed to make small changes that I could be consistent with, so they would become habits or regular routines. Over the years I have established a few daily routines that have really helped with the running of my house.  The things I share I have slowly added to my daily routines.  Start small and be consistent and slowly you will begin to see a difference.

One of the first places I started was with the Fly Lady.  Have you heard of her?  She says we are all living in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome).  The Fly Lady is all about routines as well.  Check her out for some great ideas.  I will tell you know if you try everything you will quit but she encourages you to start slowly. She was recently a guest on Mud Stories a podcast by my friend Jacque Watkins.  The Fly Lady is hilarious and so encouraging.

These are 5 things I do (most) days that help bless me and keep my house running more smoothly.

  1. Do your dishes before you go to bed.  We run the dishwasher every night and make sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink.  Fly Lady calls this “Shine your Sink”.  The dishes will only be worse in the morning.  Waking up to a clean kitchen is a gift to yourself.  My sweet husband empties the dishwasher before he leaves for work at 6 am.
  2. Make your bed and clean up your own room.  For so many years my room was the dumping grounds.  I never made my bed and it was a huge mess.  I figured people don’t usually see it so why does it matter.  This goes back to taking care of yourself.  A clean room is a gift to you and your husband if you are married.  If you tidy it up every day is shouldn’t get too messy.  
  3. Wipe off the bathroom counters and toilets every day.  This too is from the Fly Lady she calls it “Swish and Swipe”.  I keep Clorox wipes, toilet bowl cleaner and a brush in both bathrooms.  This way I do not have to carry cleaners around the house.  There is toothpaste gunk in the sink everyday from my kids.  Simply cleaning each day makes it much easier.  
  4. Do 1 load of laundry to completion every day.  I start a load at night, switch it in the morning when I wake up, and fold it during the day.  Then my kids put their laundry away each day.  This habit is probably the hardest for me to keep up on.  But I have found I much prefer doing 1 load a day then 8 loads once a week.  
  5. 15 minutes of clean up before I go to bed.  I set a timer after dinner and just put things away.  You can get a lot put away in 15 minutes if you know you can quit when the timer goes off.  

All of these habits put together have made a huge difference in the chores around the house.  But like I said each one was a slow new habit.  I would challenge you to pick one area of your house that is the most frustrating and make a plan of how you can build a new habit around that problem.

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Become a Mom

5 ThingsRecently on Facebook I asked this question and I was excited that many people responded with a wide variety of answers.  But one thing was very clear, we all wish we had some advice before we became a mom.  So if you are a newer Mom, seasoned Mom or deep in the teenage trenches this list is for you.

  1. My worth is not based on how my kids behave.  Man do I struggle with this one. Motherhood is my job.  It is what I spend all of my days doing.  Motherhood doesn’t have a report card, Academy Award, or Christmas bonus (wouldn’t that be awesome).  Before I was a mom I was confident that my kids would be the ones with manners, never get in trouble at school, and always choose veggies over Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  Here is where my thinking went wrong if they did not do all of those things then somehow I wasn’t doing my job right.  I am the one training them and teaching them so wouldn’t that make sense?  The truth is training kids takes time and they are sinful just like us. (bummer).  But the biggest truth is you are loved by God no matter what. You are not loved more if  your kids behave, eat well, do well in  school or how they treat their siblings.  So give yourself a break and let the love of Jesus wash over you when your kid climbs on the side of the cart at Trader Joe’s nearly tipping it over with your toddler in it. (not that my kids ever did anything like that.)
  2. I can’t do everything.  Pinterest is a great tool, a visual bulletin board.  But it needs to be used with caution.  If I did all the things I “should” do I wouldn’t sleep.  My children should eat all organic food grown in my own backyard using soil from my compost pile.  They also should have quiet boxes for rest time that I have sewn myself and rotate out each day so they don’t get bored.  Each birthday party should have amazing decorations with thematic  healthy food labeled with cute signs in front of each platter.  When I describe these expectations doesn’t it sound crazy.  But I have really struggled with this one too.  I used to throw amazing birthday parties but one  year I finally realized I was so overwhelmed that they had to go.  Each one of these things are not bad in themselves but don’t feel the pressure to do any if you don’t want to.  
  3. Taking care of myself needs to be a priority.  Anyone ever feel guilty for sitting down?  I do sometimes.  After having my fourth child I was not taking care of myself at all.  My body was letting me know there was a problem.  I was losing weight, my hair was falling out, and I felt sick to my stomach most mornings.  Weary Mom was an understatement.  I then began to make sleep a priority, started walking with a friend, and took lots of extra pressures off my plate.  Your body and mind can only take so much.  Taking care of yourself will not happen unless you make it a priority.  Talk with your husband and start today.
  4. Motherhood is not meant to be done alone.  Being a mom can be so isolating and lonely if you let it.  I believe God meant us to live in community to support each other, laugh together, and cry together too.  My life has been so blessed by the moms ministry at my church.  More than anything this group has reminded me that I am not alone.  I am not the only one feeling overwhelmed and in need of some encouragement.  My biggest advice to you is to step out and find your people.  They are out there waiting for you.  Ask a friend to meet you at the park, invite someone over, look up a MOPS group in your area to join.
  5. Filling my mind with God’s word is invaluable in my motherhood journey.  I have learned that I can’t rely on my feelings as the truth but instead I need to fill my mind with “the Truth” of God’s word.  My feelings and hormones for that matter are all over the place many times during a day. I believe that the job you are doing as a Mom is a sacred job.  The enemy wants you to be discouraged.  The best way to feel encouraged is to know the truth of your value and worth which can be found in the Bible. On the website Women Living Well I found an amazing list of 10 verses for when you are having a bad day. One of my favorite verses is…” IT IS THE LORD WHO GOES BEFORE YOU; HE WILL NOT LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU. DO NOT FEAR OR BE DISMAYED.” Deuteronomy 31.8.  

There are so many lessons I have learned while being a Mom.  We each have to make our way through this journey of motherhood but there are so many ways we can learn from each other.

What do you wish you knew before you became a Mom?  I would love for you to comment below and share.

Hope for the Weary Mom


At the beginning of the year we all try to make some improvements.  You can call it goals, resolutions or life changes.  Well if one of your goals is to spend more time in God’s word I would highly recommend Hope for the Weary Mom Devotional.  

The authors of this devotional Stacy Thacker and Brooke McGlothin have real hearts for Moms in the trenches.

We dreamed of a book that would point moms right to Jesus—our source of hope. Something they could read in the morning or during nap-time or while they were in the car line at school.

A way for God’s truth to intersect the daily reality of a weary mom’s life…

Something they could read every day or reference during seasons that were particularly hard.

They are hosting a 40 Day Challenge of Hope for Weary Moms!


Check out the website Hope for the Weary Mom to find out all the info about how to get involved and be encouraged.

What I LearnedEach year we learn and grow in so many ways.  I wanted to take a little time to reflect on some things I learned in 2015

Don’t take your mom for granted.- This year my Mom suffered a huge health scare.  She suffered a stroke and then a brain bleed while on vacation in Chicago.  She spent 5 weeks in the hospital which included 10 days in the ICU.  It was so scary.  I clung to my faith like never before.  She is doing amazing and we are forever grateful.

Motherhood has many transitional times.  This year was the first time in 12 years that I didn’t have a child at home during the school hours.  Madeline started school this year and now I am finding myself moving into a new stage of motherhood.  When I first became a mom it was hard to get used to taking care of a baby all the time but eventually I became so comfortable in the stay at home Mom role.  Now that I have some time without kids I am transitioning yet again.

Amazon Prime and wish lists are amazing.  This year all my kids made wish lists on Amazon and we shared them with family members.  I bought very few gifts at a store and had most shipped right to my house.  It really took a ton of pressure off the gift giving part of Christmas.

Having a running to do list or brain dump helps me get a lot more done than just stressing about it in my head.  This year I went through two courses from Money Saving Mom one was called Make Over Your Mornings and the other was Make Over Your Calendar.  Both of these courses were so helpful in organizing my priorities and getting more things done.  I would highly recommend both courses.

I learned all about lady’s maids and butlers while watching all 5 seasons of Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime.  Usually I am more a Friday Night Lights kind of girl but I LOVED this series and can’t wait for the new season that starts soon.

Getting up before my kids is a life changer in my attitude, productivity, and overall well being.  For the last few years I have been trying to get up before my kids to exercise (sometimes), do my Bible Study Fellowship, drink coffee, and get going on my to do list for the day.  By no means do I get up every day before my kids but I am really working on this habit. Hello Mornings is a group online to help hold women accountable to getting up early.  I wrote about my experience here.  You should check them out.

Small daily habits over time become routines that help in the daily running of a household.  Each day there are some simple things that I do routinely that are almost automatic.  A few of these habits include running the dishwasher every night, emptying it every morning, start 1 load of laundry a night switch it in the morning and fold it before the kids get home so they can put it away.

In order to exercise more regularly I need a friend.  A few years ago I started running with a friend at oh dark 30 in the morning.  We made a goal to run a 5K and did it.  This last year we both have been sick, out of town, or just didn’t want to run.  We need a goal and a new commitment.  Hoping to make this a priority this next year.

How to drive a sweet 15 passenger van.  This year we traded in the mini van to get a 15 passenger van.  I LOVE it!  There is so much room and plenty of place for our stuff and extra friends.  I am quite a spectacle when I am backing out of a parking spot.  I have learned to park way out and take wide turns.

There is always a chance to take a risk and start over.  I am taking a risk and hoping to write more consistently on my blog.  I want to encourage women and give some helpful tips.

I am joining Emily Freeman on her blog where others will be sharing what they learned in 2015.  What did you learn this year?  I would love for you to share below in the comments.

Hope for the Weary Mom


I am excited to be part of the Hope for the Weary Mom Blog Tour with Brooke McGlothlin and Stacey Thacker. You can find out more and join the tour by clicking here!

You know that feeling when you just can’t keep your eyes open and it is in the middle of the day.  I remember when I had two little kids and was waiting for my husband to get home I would lock all three of us in a kid room and I would lay down on the bed while they played around me.  I just couldn’t keep them from trouble any longer out in the rest of the house. Continue reading

Hello Mornings

10495693_4526559258592_4295991574255697725_oIt is quiet and the kids are in bed, the house is clean and “Friday Night Lights” is waiting for me on Netflix.  In the season of motherhood I have been in for the last 11 years I would cherish my time at night.  I even thought I deserved it.  But what was meant to be just 1 show and a decent bedtime turned into more episodes and falling asleep on the couch.  Can anyone relate?

Then the morning time would come around and I would hear my kids in the hallway and want to crawl back in bed.  When they are really little I had no chose to get up, feed, and change them. Continue reading