There’s just NEVER enough storage!

I have been watching a LOT of YouTube videos lately. I mean, A LOT! Most of them have been decluttering and minimalism videos. I have really been stressed out by the mess of stuff around me lately, and so I have been considering going through another purge. When my daughter was very young, I started the first purge, that I really only ‘finished’ right around the time our son was due. I say ‘finished’ lightly, though, as I always had a small box of items that I would take to donate from time to time. But I was no longer taking out large boxes full of things. But there is still SO much stuff!

I was watching a video today, and the lady (I don’t remember who, as I have only seen this one video of hers) said something that just resonated with me! She said something to the effect of constantly dealing with a constant obsession and need to organize her things perfectly. She would be happy if only she had the right organization for all of her things. Then it hit her! It will NEVER happen. She needed to pare down what she had in order for her to be happy and organized. I feel like that’s where I am. I just spent a lot of money on some organizing equipment for my craft room. But when we found out that we will be moving, because of the new baby, I decided, THAT’S IT! I’m done done DONE with all the excess STUFF!

We are purging. We are getting rid of stuff in every corner of our house, and that craft room I talked about? I’m getting rid of so many unused art and craft supplies that I don’t have ANY use for! Someone with time and ideas will get far more use out of them. Everything just sits on shelves or in boxes in my craft room, and most of it has no specific purpose! I’m tired of stressing to keep things clean and tidy when I don’t even use half of the stuff, or could at least live without a lot of it. There is no reason to let THINGS dictate the way I feel! So here’s to the new chapter in our life. We will be decluttering, purging, and downsizing in the following days and weeks! I’m so excited!

 

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I just had a baby, and I’m pregnant again! Happy Mother’s Day to me!

In December, we welcomed our second child, a son, into the world. We were elated to be bringing a sibling home to our daughter, and couldn’t wait to see what God had in store for our new lives. VERY shortly after bringing home the new baby, I began to realize how much different this baby was from our first.

Our daughter was a very quiet baby, and like most, slept the majority of the day away. When she wasn’t sleeping or nursing, she would lie in her bassinet, happily, or we would hold her from time to time. We didn’t want to get her too used to being held all the time, so we started out on day one, letting her just lie in her bassinet for large periods of time between feedings. This didn’t work for our son. He was quickly diagnosed with colic, and as time moved forward, he only became more and more dependent and high-maintenance.

Fast forward to the four month mark. When our son was just a little over the four month mark, I began to suspect that I might be pregnant again. I was having a food craving for a food that I generally don’t enjoy. Not a food that I hate, but a food that I’m NEVER in the mood for, and usually only get occasionally, if it’s a special treat. But no, I’m CRAVING these now. I have also been feeling nauseous from time to time, but I haven’t been throwing up and the nausea never lasts for more than 30 minutes or so. The symptom that  REALLY gave it away though, was the one that I have recognized at the beginning of EACH of my previous pregnancies. I have been EXHAUSTED. I can sleep all night, nap twice during the day, and I’m still falling asleep while nursing the baby. It’s awful. There have only been three times before this, that I have had exhaustion of this level. The first was when I was in the first weeks of pregnancy with our daughter, again with our son (and the symptom that gave away that pregnancy, before the missed period and pregnancy tests) and when I was only sleeping 1-3 hours a night last summer during my pregnancy, dealing with my chronic eczema and allergic reactions.

Well, I’m sleeping more than 1-3 hours a night. The only real other reason I have EVER been this tired, has been pregnancy. So, we waited until several days after I should have started my period. Ironically, and not premeditated in the slightest, we took a pregnancy test on Mother’s Day. It didn’t even take two seconds for that second blue line to appear on the test. I’m pretty sure I’m around a month pregnant, so I wasn’t surprised when it read so quickly. So, for Mother’s Day this year, I got a positive pregnancy test. Our son turned five months-old on the 16th of this month, and our daughter just turned two and a half years. We have a lot of big changes coming up, and I imagine, a LOT of blog entries!

I Ditched the Monthly Challenge Mindset

My last post addressed a 90-day challenge that I had made for myself. I reported that I may as well have called it a complete fail. The ONLY area that I actually feel that I accomplished, was to stay off of Facebook. I am still not on Facebook, as I am ending that on June first. I still find that staying off of Facebook is extremely important for my growth. There are other things that I ALSO feel that way about, but that is the ONE I am working on for now.

Anyway, after reporting on that, I mentioned that I would post a new challenge for the month of May. I DID post it, but I took it down after a little while. I realized that it was just words on a screen. I hadn’t stuck to any of the goals, for even the first day! What is my problem?! Well, I came up with the answer!

Two days ago, I wrote in the journal that I bought initially to track my progress, thoughts, struggles, etc. for my 90-day challenge. The first sentence read something like, “I am TERRIBLE at goals and I am TERRIBLE at recording.” I hadn’t even kept up with the journalling, let alone the goals! And that’s just it. I’m bad at them. I make goals for a stretch of time, and I look at the goals like I look at a mess. I am immediately overwhelmed and resigned to failure!

I noticed that any time I would set goals for a stretch of time, I was falling into the same routine. Make goals. Get intimidated. Fail once. Consider complete failure. Abandon goals completely.

You see, the way I looked at it was, that if I made a goal like “I won’t drink soda for a month,” I would be immediately intimidated. “What if I drink soda?” “I’m probably going to drink soda.” “I really like soda.” “Surely, I can survive a month. I’ve gone years without it.” “But I really really like soda.” Then, I drink soda. I usually drink it the day of, or the day after I make the goal. AUTO-FAIL! How can I achieve a goal of going a month without soda if I didn’t even make it one day? As soon as I fail that goal, I’ve failed the ENTIRE month’s worth of goal.

So, how do I move forward after making this observation and realization? I no longer make such limited goals for such long periods of time. (Except the Facebook goal. Maybe ONE goal like that a month wouldn’t be so bad, but for the time being, the Facebook goal is my last for a while, at least.) Instead, two days ago, I implemented a new goal system. Instead of making monthly goals, I have been making daily goals. I also revisited the way I worded my goals. Before, my goals were more negative than positive. (example: NO soda for a month) The goal I used to replace it, has been TODAY, I will drink at least 64 oz of water. This doesn’t make it EASY for me to fit in much soda, but IF I DO drink it, I haven’t failed! AND, if I don’t make it to 64 oz by bedtime (which I have actually exceeded for the first two days of my new goal system), then I can just try again tomorrow. My goals reset daily, so I don’t have to lose a large number of progress if I mess up once. AND? I don’t HAVE to have that same goal tomorrow! For instance, if I knew tomorrow was a special occasion, and I would be more likely to drink non-water drinks more, I may cut down my water goal to 48 oz, or even HALF, if I really wanted to treat myself. So, I’m still not failing a monthly goal, because I took ONE day a little less strictly in an area.

In conclusion, this is day three, and on day one and two, I am satisfied with the new goals system I have placed. I haven’t been intimidated, and have felt freed, in fact, even with goals in place! And when I didn’t FULLY accomplish any of my goals, I didn’t feel completely deflated. I made hefty goals, and (except for my quiet time yesterday-that I completely failed to have) I made a huge stride in MOST of my goals. So, even the ones that I technically ‘failed’, don’t feel like failures! I have taken pressure off of myself, while still working to better myself in several areas.

Where Am I?

I have noticed that I have a few new followers that have joined me recently, and firstly, I would love to say, “Hi! Welcome! I’m so excited that you have joined me here!” Secondly, I would like to let everyone know where I have been. I don’t have a regular posting schedule, and haven’t been up-to-date on responding to messages and new follows.

Near the end of April, my accountability partner (for homemaking, financial, spiritual, etc.) and I decided to take 90 days away from Social Media. We started on the first day of March, and were planning not to go back until the end of the 90 days. I had given up even more than that at first, but have recently been making amendments (some of which I think I need to reel back in). Sadly, I feel I have let myself slip a little too much!

Why did I take a break in the first place?

I was spending hours and hours absorbed on the internet between Facebook and YouTube. It was a very sad place to be. I was online so much because I was spending a lot of time nursing my brand new baby, and was pretty limited in what I could accomplish while doing so. I think that reason alone, is why I have slipped back so much already.

Additionally, I got offline in an effort to do a 90-day, cover-to-cover read through my bible. I quickly realized how unrealistic that goal was for my current phase of life. With a little one that goes to sleep late into the night and a separate little one that gets up very early in the morning, I was already running on very little sleep and struggling to keep house in between feeding, diapering, and holding the new baby and reading to, getting snacks for, dressing, changing, playing with, training (and so so so much more) the toddler.

Don’t get me wrong, reading my bible diligently is so so so important, regardless of all those things. But to keep such a strict and unforgiving, and rigorous reading schedule was impossible for me. Sadly, I have relapsed in my bible time and feel that there will probably be a completely new 90 day challenge that I will set before myself again soon. My current 90 days are not completed, but I feel that I have regressed too much to say that I can even claim this challenge anymore. Sadly, I have lost the excitement and motivation that I began the challenge with.

When I start my new challenge, I will post a new blog that will outline my goals during the challenge and will try to write a monthly update post, to let you all know how I am doing, and how poorly I am doing as well. I am disappointed in myself for this challenge and will be setting up a new one to start at the beginning of May. I will do my best to keep track (nearly) daily, and will be realistic when I make my goals for the new challenge. If anyone wants to join me in my next challenge, I would love to share this experience with you!

Train yourself to have constant conversation with God, throughout your day

We all know the verse “never stop praying” or “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17). But many of us struggle with simply praying daily. I know that it is and has been a huge struggle for me! Prayer has always been an abstract concept to me. I have written a whole other blog post about my struggle in prayer, and how God began teaching me how to pray. Since then, I have worked on scripture writing (and struggled through it) verses that the bible says about prayer, started a prayer journal, and started a prayer journalling group on Facebook. But I’m still struggling through my journey.

So, I asked myself, how do I implement prayer without cease? How in the WORLD am I supposed to stay in constant prayer. Well, it’s not actually rocket science, I realized! A couple of years ago, I attended a Sunday night service at my former church home, where the preacher spoke on prayer. He brought to light something I had never considered in all of my struggle; prayer is our part of a two-way conversation with God. God gave us His Word, that we might hear His voice and understand Him. Prayer is our response to that Word. Yes, I fully believe that God can speak to us through revelations in our hearts and minds as well, but that comes after our initial response to His word. So, when we do our daily bible study, we will hear what God is saying to us, and when we pray in response, that opens up the conversation.

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Now, I still haven’t addressed constant prayer, but I’m getting to that point. First, we must understand that God has initiated the conversation with us by providing His word and by allowing us to come to Him because of the sacrifice of Christ. Without those two important things, there would be NO conversation with God at all. So, now that we know that the bible is God’s way of initiating conversation with us, we can proceed to keeping that conversation line open.

There are a couple of ways to do this. The first way, is to have our bible study first thing in the morning. This will begin the conversation early, and allow us to ponder on what we have read, throughout the day. With our reading floating around in our head, we already have a conversational topic. The problem that I, personally, have with this method, is that I will do my reading, and I’ll ponder it for an hour or so, and then my day gets busy and I don’t continue thinking on it for the remainder of my day.

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My solution was to approach the idea with an idea I am already familiar with in my daily life. I have a daily schedule, but we all know that we aren’t supposed to schedule God in. We are supposed to live for Him and schedule around that. Think about it this way (for those of you that are parents or can at least imagine parenthood), we live each day for our children. We don’t ‘schedule’ them in. We are constantly taking care of their needs, checking on them, answering them when they instigate conversation, et cetera.

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So, if we are to live for God, what will that look like? Check in with God often. How? Try this method out. Read your bible daily, and have index cards or post its with bible verses and prayers on them throughout your home. You can have some that you always keep up and change out every so often. Or you can write out a few during the morning during your bible study, to keep the conversation with God on a more specific topic that correlated to your reading. Some of you won’t have time to write them out daily, so the first method might work better for you, and some of you need the structure of keeping your daily conversation with God on one topic.

Why do I suggest the index cards or post it method? Our children can catch us off guard in any room of the house. When you walk by the post it or index card, you can stop and imagine that it is God speaking to you in that moment. How would you respond? What will you say? Continue the conversation with Him while you fold laundry, wash dishes, take a shower, and so on. By looking at it in a way that we already do on a daily basis, we can train ourselves to keep the conversation with God going. Praying without cease will be attainable, because we are applying real life practices that we already do daily with the people in our life.

I will be implementing this behavior, myself, over the course of February, to see what kind of habit I can make in keeping in constant conversation and prayer with God. I hope this is something that you all can implement as well!

Giveaway: Handmade Christmas Gift Bows

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I have been absent on this blog for a little while, because I have been working REALLY hard on my personal crafting business! I have been pumping out inventory, and entered my very first Vendor fair last month. It has definitely taken precedence lately, as I am trying to contribute to our finances, as I am a SAHM.

As I have been working on each of my handmade items, I decided that I wanted to do a Christmas Giveaway this year! ‘Tis the season for giving, and I thought I would give a little too! The bows below are all handmade by me, and I will be giving them away to ONE LUCKY WINNER this holiday season! Enter the giveaway for a chance to win the HANDMADE Christmas bows you see below!

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Why handmade Christmas bows? Lately, I have been exploring different paper crafts and considering the time of year, I wanted to do something related to the holiday season. I decided to make gift bows because I wanted to help YOU spruce up your giving this season with a traditional, but handmade gift bows!

The giveaway was supposed to begin on the first of November, but I was having troubles with the posting, so unfortunately it will begin today, but will run THROUGH Thanksgiving day, and a winner will be selected by an online randomizer on Black Friday. Entries must be in by 11:59 pm CST on Thanksgiving day.

To enter, all you have to do is comment on this blog post, with your favorite part of the holiday season! Each comment (up to one per person) will be counted as an entry. To view terms and conditions for this giveaway, click here. (This is a US giveaway only! I have goals to do an international giveaway in the future! Sorry for any inconvenience.)

To check out more of my handmade items, visit my facebook page. I am currently taking orders for Christmas!

**In addition to this giveaway, I will also be offering a free bag of assorted handmade gift bows with each order made between Nov. 1, 2016 and Nov. 23, 2016. Colors, patterns, and sizes will vary.

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My New ‘Daily’ Routine

I recently made a post in a Facebook group that I belong to, about how much I have struggled in the past with keeping house, and how I wanted to go about resolving that issue. I have tried MANY things throughout the last few years, and I keep ending right back up where I was, because even if I keep up on the daily, I have accumulated so much mess that interferes with REAL cleaning of my home. So I have set out to do a full clean of the home EVERY day that I will be working around to get my home in order. As I go through my daily cleaning, I have done a few extra things here and there to get ahead on some of the areas that are not presentable. I have also set aside certain times to work on some of those areas that doesn’t interfere with the daily! If you are interested in my process and system, read on! Be warned, it is long-and this post does not have pictures. Sorry for that one, but I hope you can enjoy it anyway!

First, I sat down with a notebook and a pen, and decided that I would move through my house in my head, and write down what I wanted to get done every day. This list was written and rewritten a few times (and I actually need to rewrite again!) because I would think of things as I was working my way down that I would have to add in.

I started in my bedroom, first thing in the morning, because that is where my day starts. I thought about how much time I have to alott to that area of my home. I get up with my husband in the mornings to get him out the door, so I don’t have a lot of time before he leaves to get things accomplished. So I decided that only a few ‘cleaning’ things would go on the list for the bedroom, first thing. For my morning routine, starting in the bedroom, this is what I chose:

Bring toddler to bedroom (change diaper, dress)
Dress
Pick up laundry from floor
Brush teeth together
Quickly make bed

Feed and water cats
Start washer

This gives me plenty of time to get to the kitchen and do breakfast for everyone, before Hubby leaves the house, and my daughter and I are prepared for the day! And, I get a few items crossed off of the list of things that needed done!

Next, we move to the kitchen (skipping all of the rooms in between-for now). I have to get breakfast ready and Hubby’s lunch packed in the morning before he leaves, but I don’t want to stop there (that’s what I used to do). I used to sit on the couch and check all of my facebook pages and notifications with the computer after I finished getting Hubby ready, and that’s why I never accomplished anything. I cannot sit down, and expect to be productive. I’m not wired that way. So, I asked myself, “What would flow easily from where you left off in the bedroom to get Hubby ready, and then get into cleaning. My kitchen to-dos look like this:

Get toddler’s breakfast and drink
Get Hubby’s breakfast and drink
Pack Hubby’s lunch and fill water bottle
Get breakfast
Wipe down counters and table
Pull out supper meat/start crock pot if needed
Do any breakfast dishes/left over dishes from night before

There! Done! This list is in accordance with the things I am wanting to get done in the evenings before bed, that will obviously be at the end of the list, but that I kept in mind when making the early morning routine. The next big thing that I have to accomplish each day is to tidy up and clean the main living areas. Our living room doubles as the place our daughter plays, and the kitchen and living room are open to one another, so the next part of my list focuses on those areas (with an added bonus-laundry):

Pick up floors and clutter in kitchen and living room
Sweep entryway, living room, kitchen, and hallway
Switch laundry

There are only two things on this list, so it looks short, but it takes a good 40 minutes or so to accomplish this usually, because I let it get out of control (that’s why I needed a new system!).

After I finish in the main living areas, I move through the house, room by room. First, I start with the nursery (which at the moment takes the least amount of time because it has not been deemed clean enough to move toys into, so is off limits to our daughter except during nap and bed times-working on some reorganization and purging. There are boxes stacked up one entire wall). Then I move into our laundry room. The laundry room connects to my bedroom, which I can now spend some time in to get some real cleaning done, since I couldn’t do much first thing in the morning. After the bedroom, I finale with the dreaded Master bathroom. (It really isn’t dreaded… we are a pretty simple family, and I don’t wear makeup or do my hair, so our bathroom is the easiest room to keep tidy… it’s the actual cleaning I don’t enjoy.. cleaning a bathroom makes me feel gross!). Anyway, this is what the end of my cleaning list looks like:

Straighten up nursery
Vacuum nursery

Wipe down washer and dryer
Sweep laundry room

Straighten up bedroom and closets
Vacuum bedroom

Remove laundry

Tidy bathroom
Wipe down counter top and sink
Clean toilet
Spray down bathtub/shower
Clean mirrors
Sweep floors
Wipe down/rinse bathtub/shower

Fold laundry

Did you catch that? I snuck laundry in there again! The goal is to get down to one load a day… right now I’ll be sneaking laundry in a couple other places too, when it is convenient. I am not putting it in my routine list though, because I want to get down to one load a day.

The last part of the list is my nighttime routine, which I have to get done sometime between putting my daughter to bed, and going to bed myself. It is short though, and should be fairly easy to maintain if I get the morning list completed! This is my evening routine goal:

Wash day’s dishes-Put away folded laundry-general tidy and pickup-bible time/prayer

This is my goal for ‘daily’ cleaning and responsibilities. I use quotations there, because on Thursdays, I have the car and will be tending to the bank and any paperwork/phone call needs. I have decided that I HAVE to set aside an entire day dedicated to those things, or they won’t get done. I hate paperwork and phone calls! They waste so much time! Also, days that I have appointments, I will be out of the house longer, and so I will not be able to devote as much time to cleaning, so the ‘daily’ list will not be executed those days either. So, on Thursdays, after tending to the bills, bank, phone calls, etc, I will direct my attention to my weekly chores. I will use the time on Thursdays to do the things that need to be done weekly, in my home. So far, that list looks like this:

Sweep & mop ALL hard floors
Clean under and inside couch
Wash sheets & blankets
Clean out refrigerator
Clean out fish tank filter/add water if needed
Wipe down kitchen cabinets and appliances
Clean microwave & coffee pot
Cobweb control
Empty shoe basket & coat rack
Wash shower curtain

On appointment days, I will be tending to all of my big projects in the house. Right now, those include purging and organizing the nursery (almost done!) and the bedroom (just started that yesterday!!!! O.O). Other than that, on Thursdays and appointment days, I will only have to maintain the cleanliness that I created on the other days of the week. I have not yet worked on a weekend plan, but our weekends will be changing now, so I will start working on that, once I know what they are going to look like (:

After making these lists and thinking about all these things, I asked for an accountability partner. My accountability partner and I have discussed what I expect from that relationship, and she has been an awesome encouragement to me! It helps having that person. The one that checks in on you, asks how well you are doing, and is willing to ‘kick you in the butt’ when you slack!

As for my system, I do NOT put times on these lists. I simply think about how my day flows, and where I would like to be by the end of the day. This way, I can’t fail just because I miss a ‘deadline’. It is easy to stop and tend to my daughter’s needs, an unexpected visit, a phone call, etc, and then pick back up where I left off, because I literally just move through my house, little by little. After this week of a test run, and seeing about how long some of the sections take (I separate it into sections/rooms) I will maybe set timers, if I feel like I’m spending too much time cleaning, but based on today’s time, I probably won’t because I had it done early enough to spend the rest of my day well. I suggest timers in each section for those of you who have more to do though, because then you can get a little done in each section, instead of just working through your list and running out of time with a room or two that you didn’t even get to. I want to be able to say I got a little cleaning done in each area of my home, at the very least!

I am sure I have missed something in all of this, and if anything is unclear, or you have questions, please feel free to comment. I am by no means an expert in this… Monday was the VERY first day I’ve cleaned my own home from top to bottom without it being because I am moving or having an event/planned company…. So…. I am learning THROUGH this!