Weekend Inspiration

I have been going back through some photos of the kids rooms in previous houses lately. Their rooms were so much cuter before. I guess I had more time back then. Now that we are in this house to stay for a long time, I want to make their rooms nice. So this weekend I am looking for inspiration for little girl’s (and medium girl’s) rooms that are shared. Have a look…Little-Girls-Bedroom-Designs-With-Pink-Curtain

I love those circles on the wall. Looks like they are just fabric in looms hung on the wall. How easy is that!


That lamp is cute with the bobbles on the bottom. I could do that! And I like the colored headboard idea.


Not sure I would actually do anything that is in this room, but I just think it is too stinkin’ cute to not pass along!


So much about this room I love. Color of the walls, light fixture, drapes, lampshades, pillows, artwork, bed frame. Seriously not typical, and so beautiful.


Those colors and fabrics are so sweet.


I am in love with striped walls right now. And poofs (see that pink one in there).


This picture is hard to really see, but I love that word “giggle” on the wall. Wouldn’t it be cool to do a collage of words like that above each girl’s bed but use words that describe her? I may have to try it.

Simplify or Complify?


I have read all sorts of things on simplifying your life. Some that come to mind are:
“you should simplify your life by making your own shampoo out of things you find in your kitchen”
“you should simplify your life by making your own bread from scratch – the simplest form is the best for you, you know”
“you should simplify your life by repurposing things instead of throwing them out”

I’m not saying any of these things are wrong. They are all really good things and if you can and want to do them WITHOUT jeopardizing the plan God has for you that day, go for it. But what I am taking issue with is people saying these are ways to simplify your life. They seem to complify it to me. Complify is a made-up work meaning: the opposite of simplify.

How about throwing stuff out? Let’s get in there and simplify the old fashioned way and actually get rid of things.

image courtesy of www.closetpages.com

To simplify your life is NOT to go buy a bunch of organizing tubs and spend an entire day making your craft closet look incredible. Only to spend hours every week keeping it looking like this.


To simplify your schedule is NOT buying a mind-blowing day planner, spending a week transferring all of your activities into it and an hour each day making lists and crossing things off. Even though I LOVE to do this.


To simplify your kids toys is NOT spending a weekend in the basement labeling all of your bins with neat little pictures and words and sorting the toys accordingly. Only to have it ransacked in about 30 minutes by one little person.

Now, I’m not saying that your house can’t be neat and organized. In fact, I need my home to be neat so I can be calm. But it doesn’t have to be Pinterest perfect. It needs to fulfill it’s function. We spend a lot of time intending to simplify our lives but actually complifying them.

I think if we truly simplified our lives they would be less stressful and more enjoyable. Dare I say, peaceful.

I will say with a great deal of certainty that we would have time to do the things God had for us on his agenda for that day. Talking to a friend, getting to know a neighbor, listening intently to our child…

But I don’t think we get there by putting everything in a neat little box. I think we get there by making things less complex. It should be easy to clean my room, and it would be, if I only had what I needed in it.

I think we get there by making our schedules easier and less hectic by only doing what we have to do and not complifying them with extra activities and errands where we get and do things we don’t need to get or do.

I think we get there by making our home systems less complicated, by rearranging and organizing our homes to make getting to the things we need easier to get to and easier to put away. Maybe toys don’t have to go in the correctly labeled basket, but instead they just need to be put away somewhere.

For me, it starts with donating all of the things my children haven’t missed in over a month. If you didn’t see this story you can read it here. It’s a start.

How Much is Enough?

A few months ago I decided to launch an all out attack on the clutter in our home. I was sick and tired, sick AND tired I said, of the junk that gets left laying around day after day. Here is a sneak peek at the bigs room after they left for school one day. By the way, this is a typical day.


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These pictures are for real. I did not toss their room.

So my plan was to grab a garbage bag and put everything in it that they left laying around. I told them their rooms were to be clean before going to school, and their other assigned areas were to be done before going to bed. Good plan right?

I figured I would collect a bunch of stuff for the first few days while they tested to see if I was “serious”. But then they would begin to need some of their things back. Either they would have nothing to wear or nothing to do. And I would feel bad for them, not to mention responsible for their library book that was for sure going to be in there. So I would allow them to buy back the stuff they wanted if they had the money. $1 per item. Sounds even better, right? They are going to learn some responsibility for their things for sure. I’m a good mommy!


Well, the joke’s on me! Instead, of more responsible kids, I ended up with a pile of junk in my room for over a month. The first week the bigs needed a few of their favorite clothes, but after that no one has needed anything out of here, so it just keeps piling up.

Obviously we have too much stuff!

I figure I spend about 1/3 of my day picking up, cleaning, organizing, moving, and sorting stuff instead of visiting with neighbors, playing with my kiddos, or relaxing myself.

Something needs to change. I would like a less cluttered life. I would like to not always be in a rush. I would like to spend time with friends and kids and husband without the nagging in my head that there is a list of things to be done and I could be doing them NOW. I just want to be free to be social, the way God made me.

But I believe, without a doubt, this is not the way God wants me to spend my time.

I ran across this a few months ago and was really struck by it. While I digest this and come up with a new and improved “plan” see what you think:


Image source: www.masters-in-human-resources.org click on the image to read

Kids In-App Purchase Trap


The other morning around 7:30 a.m. my husband received a phone call from our credit card company alerting us to some possible fraud going on with our account earlier that morning. The friendly account manager proceeded to go through the charges in question to make sure they weren’t in fact ours.

Nothing sounded familiar at all, and we were outraged! The total was over $200. How could this happen? Those criminals!

The diligent account manager continued to do some “checking” on those purchases and noticed they were all made through our iTunes account.

What? Say that again… Someone must have hacked our iTunes account too! What else?

He gently suggested we check to see if there was some fraudulent activity going on in our own home, under our own noses. “Do you have children in the home who might be making purchases in some games, maybe?”


We called the little man into the office for a convo. It was then that we fully understood what had happened.

See, he was playing this game early that morning and he needed a new weapon to fight off a new predator. So he had to get it – $7.50. Then he came across some gold coins that would really help him get further in the game and he decided he needed those – $107.00 which he bought twice because why not?

Now, he has no idea how much $100 is but the people who make these games do. I would really like to totally blame them and label them criminals, crooked, delinquents, villains, even jerks  but obviously I have a role in this too since I am the parent.

So I will take responsibility for this, and so will my son from this day forward.

And I thought I had been so careful with the “devices”. I had turned on the parental controls with the proper rating for my children’s ages. I had taken the internet off and YouTube off. I monitor their games on a regular basis to make sure it all looks on the up and up.

But I didn’t have the “in-app purchases not permitted” turned on. Oops, missed that one!

So now I know, now my children know, and now you know (although you probably already did) that you need that one checked too.

Oh, it’s fun to be a parent today, isn’t it?


Getting My Home Back – Step 2

This is the third post in this series. If you are jumping in right now, go back and read My Home is Out of Control and Getting My Home Back Step 1. It will make much more sense if you do!

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OK, on with getting my home back… With my focus secure on God I am more calm and I can think much more clearly. Now it’s time to get some tangible ideas to help me do the work of getting my home back in control.


So, the next thing I do is consult my personal board of directors. This is a team of friends that I call on when I need some advise or guidance. I will give more details on how, and why, I constructed this personal board of directors in another post.

For this situation I went to three people on “the board”. The first, and most important, was the husband. He is always good at putting things in perspective for me and encouraging me. But, he also does this job with me on a daily basis and I needed him to know how I was feeling and we needed to work on a “plan” together. Even if I am the one with the children all day, I need him to have my back on this stuff. So at our Sunday evening “meeting” we discussed the demands on my time, the expectations people had of me and areas of frustration in the home. It was a really good talk and it got us on the same page.

The next one is a good friend that I can always count on to give me solid advise on just about anything. But she is particularly good with organizing thoughts and schedules and making sure I give myself grace – a beautiful combination, really. The third one is a seasoned mother who has all sorts of good ideas and will always lift me up in my struggles. So I knew in picking these three that I would come out equipped and supported!


From these three “meetings” I came away with a plan of attack:

1. Make a list of issues that need to be addresses. List out all of the things that are out of control. All of them. Get them out and on paper so you can sort through them.

2. Pick the one that bothers you the most. That was easy: for me it is disrespect. I aplore disrespect. Don’t disrespect me, our home or the things in it. It makes my head steam when someone puts me down, sasses me, blames me for their problems, doesn’t do what I have asked them to do and on and on. I realized that many things on my list fell under this category, so I decided it was a non-negotiable. There needed to be some consequences for any disrespectful act.

3. Assign consequences to your non-negotiable behaviors. I used my long list of grievances (number 1 above)  and then put a consequence next to all the the ones that were disrespectful behaviors. I am only dealing with those for now. So, about half of my list has consequences assigned. This list is private, I do not share it with the children. But, it helps me to discipline on the fly. If I don’t do this, as soon as one child sasses me, I blubber and flubber around not knowing what to say. But if I have predetermined what I will do, it is easier for me to take appropriate, and less emotional action in the moment. I shared these with the husband only. The kids, well they get to find out as we go!! And my consequences are always as creative as possible. For instance, if you drag your feet, throw a fit and slobber all over yourself when we are trying to get out the door making us 5 minutes late for our destination, you get to sit around my kitchen with me for 5 minutes waiting to go outside and play with the kids on the street when we get home.

4. Take care of yourself. The best way to explain what I mean here is to tell you a story. The other night the bigs were fighting in their room after lights-out time. They were yelling and things were crashing down on the floor. It was getting late and I was having to continually go up to their room to deal with their nonsense. I was irritated and tired. I didn’t get to relax the way I like to in the evening at all. I went straight from mediating their fights to getting in bed and going to sleep.

Not a rejuvenating evening at all.

So the next morning, I woke them up and then went down to get breakfast and lunches prepared as usual. And that is when I got my brilliant idea. Now, my kids have never bought their lunch at school, not because I won’t let them, but because they DO NOT want to. They insists on not buying lunch at school because the lines are long and it cuts into their recess time.

Ahhh, perfect!

So instead of rushing around getting lunches made that morning I grabbed $5 from each of the bigs “piggy banks” and left them for them on the counter where I usually put their lunch boxes. Then I grabbed some cereal, put it on the table and made myself a cup of hot tea. I sat at the table with my feet up and had a wonderful conversation with the kiddos. We talked about all sorts of things, plus we helped the bigs work out some of their issues. I have to tell you, I had a great breakfast. It was relaxing and enjoyable.

Then it was time to go to school and the bigs went to grab their lunch boxes. WHAT?

“Where are our lunches?”

“You forgot to pack them!”

“Mom, what have you been doing?”

“What are we going to do?”

I kindly pointed to their $5 bills sitting on the counter and said, “This is so sad. I didn’t have the energy to make them for you this morning since I was up last night dealing with your fighting. I knew you would understand so I took the money from your banks this morning so you can buy your own lunches and I could have a break. Hopefully I will get more rest tonight. Enjoy your day.”

Then I sent them out the door. That night the house was much more restful.

I gave them loving, logical consequences while taking care myself at the same time. It’s a win-win, isn’t it!

5. Call on reinforcements to help you stay the course. This part is the hardest for me. As time goes on I find myself getting lazy and letting go of my non-negotiables. Not following through with consequences. Only to get back to the same place of utter frustration. That’s why this step is solo important. I am going to call on my board to help me stay on track. When I have a bad day, I’m going to text one of them and tell them where I let things slide. I know the ones I have chosen will be incredibly supportive and encouraging. And that is all it takes for me – someone who understands, can see things clearly when I can’t and loves me no matter how messed up my home may be.

This is a great start to getting my home back in order. Once I have done these things the other stuff on my list seems less important somehow. But there are still some things I know I need to address for the sake of my children so we will come back to them.

Weekend Favorites

I thought that on the weekends I might post some of the inspiration photos I am using for my next project(s)! Right now we are working on improving our back patio. We would like a fireplace to warm the space up and provide some ambiance. Hopefully these will inspire you too!

238409f2a99d2d1bc30e264a2832341cLove this huge table with fireplace. That would be an awesome-fun dinner, wouldn’t it?




img65oI’m loving this outdoor table from Pottery Barn. It has a zinc top, or you can get it in concrete. I’m wondering how either of those would weather? Anyone know?

Enjoy your weekend!




Getting My Home Back – Step 1


That night after the stink hit the fan I took a shower and prayed. Some people sing in the shower, I pray.

I asked God to give me wisdom to know what I needed to do to get things back on track and then the strength to do it.

Then I put on my comfy clothes, including my favorite (all-be-it ugly) robe and made myself a cup of hot tea. I sat down with my “Jesus Calling” book and another devotional and listened to what He wanted to say to me that night.

What I heard was this:

He gave me 5 precious children on purpose. This was no accident, He intended it, every one of them. I was purposed to be their mother from the beginning of time. They are my calling. We are uniquely made for each other.

How beautiful is that? No one can do a better job of raising them than I can, God made them for me and me for them. Maybe I’m not a failure after all?

He promises to be with me always, which means He knows exactly what is going on in my house, and why. And since He can see hearts and minds He has a huge leg up on me here.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

He promises to give me strength to do what He asks of me. Even if I think 5 kids is too many for me to manage, He says I can do it with His help. And that is exactly how He intends it to be done – together with Him.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalms 46:1

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Oh, to run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint as I pass from bedroom to bedroom putting clothes and things away.

That night I didn’t have any answers to the chaos or a plan of attack. Heck, I didn’t even know what all of the problems were. But I did have a clear head and steady feet. I felt armed with confidence and purpose. Next was to figure out what needed to be done and how I was to accomplish it.

Stay tuned…


My House Is Out Of Control


Last night I wanted to hide under my covers and never, ever come out again. Last night I was working on a post and accidentally sent it out WAY before I intended to. I meant to keep that to myself until I had the answers to my problems all neatly wrapped up. I wanted to present my amazing solutions to you in a beautiful package with a satin bow on it. I wanted you to think I had it all together. But instead, you got to see me in the midst of my struggle, with no answers, a spinning head, and emotions flying all over the place. The wheels were coming off.

But as one of my mentors said to me last night after receiving said post, “everything happens for a reason.”

And so it does…

So, I have decided to share this trying time with you while I’m going through it instead of afterwards when I have all the answers and my feelings are back in their proper place and I’m not an emotional mess.

Buckle up, my friends, this is going to be real, vulnerable stuff. Here is goes.


I am embarrassed to admit that the little people I brought into this world, that are half my size, have seized control of my home.

It has been in the works for a while now, but I think it came to a head the other night.

I asked them to do their chores, and then I had to tell them again, and again because they were goofing off instead of getting on it. Finally I had enough and told them to go upstairs and get ready for bed, please.


On my way up, I ran by the mud room “just to see” – yep, shoes everywhere. Passing through the kitchen there were toys and food and clothes all over the place. Getting a little flushed I went into the front hallway grabbing clothes, blankets and lovies as I went along. Upon reaching the stairs I tripped over a toy suitcase that I had asked them to put in the basement. More clothes, toys and whatnot greeted me on my way up the stairs.

Once I reached the second floor I was getting warm under the collar. I went into the smalls room to check on their progress – none. I pulled out some jammies and asked them to put them on and brush their teeth.

I went to move some laundry around and cool down.


Next I visited the smalls bathroom hoping to see some action in there and found number 4 brushing her teeth (yea) while standing in a drawer…noooo.

I began to heat up again as I searched for the stepstool that belongs in their bathroom and is “never to be taken out.” When I couldn’t find it anywhere I went back to the smalls room and found #5 – still buck naked.

I’m getting warmer. While uttering a mild threat to #5, a piercing scream came from the bigs room. I ran down there to see who had been decapitated.

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Nope, just fighting over who was going to put their laundry away – that has been sitting there for 3 DAYS.

Now I’m getting hot. I tell them to go to bed. I pass by the smalls room and put them in bed (one without clothes and screaming). Then I look to see where #3 is.

Nowhere to be found. I am fuming. Blazing mad. He is not in his room, or bathroom (the only two places he should be at this time).

I rush downstairs telling myself (and maybe even saying it out loud) “if he is on a computer I am going to scream”.

I screamed.

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So I asked him, in a loud voice, to go up to bed immediately.

I took all of the computers to an undisclosed location and cooled off in my room for a spell. All the while #5 was screaming for me to put her jammies on her.

I’m tired, and defeated. I feel like I am losing the fight. The fight for me, my home, my position and respect. The little people have taken over everything.

They control the kitchen, the office, the yard, their rooms, my room, the bathroom, the basement, the living room, and worst of all my mood.


So, I sit here, frustrated and dejected wondering how to get some control back.

I’m not looking for total dominance here. I just want a home that is respectful of the people and things in it. I don’t need a perfect house, I realize that is absurd, but I do want people to do their part in keeping our home safe and comfortable for all of us.

The reason that night was such a breaking point for me wasn’t because it was worse than other nights or because the behavior was so egregious; it was because I’m tired of it and my mind was spinning as to why this was happening. It was telling me I have no control, I have let things go and I can never get it back. It is all my fault. I’m not good enough to do this job well.

These are lies. It isn’t my fault. It is our humanity. We all want things our way. Number 5 wants to be in charge of her jammie choice, #1 and #2 don’t want to put their clothes away and #3 wants to play computer games 24/7 and I want it clean, quiet and to be obeyed.


But God has given me these 5 beautiful kids to raise. And while I may think it is too much for me, He promises to give me the strength to do it.

And so I will. This week I will ask for his strength as I do the job He has given me. I will ask for His loving voice as I guide these 5 unwilling participants through some re-direction. I will ask for Him to show me the joy in my days that will undoubtedly be trying.

And I know He will be faithful, because He always is.

Come back tomorrow to see how I get started. This should be good, right?

One side of my brain is telling me I am going to fail miserably and things will be back here in a few days. But the other side of my brain is telling me to have faith, God will show up. He always shows up when I search for Him.

Olympics Birthday Party

Before I became a momma I was an event planner (among other things). I planned large conferences and incentive trips plus numerous small, not-so-much-fun-to-plan, events.

So, the one thing I really, really enjoy doing for my kids is planning their birthday parties.

Now, before I go on, I want you to know I don’t do these parties to be all showy and obnoxious-mom like. I do these because I have 5 kids and consequently their individual time with me is very limited. Planning a party for them is something I get to do with them – alone, and for them – alone. Plus I love it!

We have a blast planning their parties. We start about two months out coming up with a theme. Except for my son who is always planning his birthday party. Then we research games, activities, decorations and food. We create a Pinterest board and peruse the Oriental Trading Magazines. That’s all part of the planning stage.

Then we enter the creative stage – my favorite! This is where we make anything we need for the party. Loads. of. fun.

Finally, (and this is the part I usually do on my own so they can be surprised) I decorate. Now that I have thoroughly explained why I do this, let’s get to the fun and see our Olympics Birthday Party…


The invitations were made to look like the Olympics torch. Each invitation was made from gold craft paper that we rolled into a cone and stuffed, red, orange and yellow tissue paper in the top for the flames. The gold torch handle was held together with a personalized sticker. When the invitee pulled the tissue out there was a piece of paper inside with the party information.


We placed a welcome banner at the front door, a happy birthday banner near the table where they ate, and balloons throughout. Our colors were red, white, blue, green and yellow.

As each guest arrived they were handed a colored bandana that denoted their team and a water bottle with their name on it.

Opening Ceremony:
As the girls arrived they were escorted to the deck where we had some music to dance to and a drink and snack station. The snack station included granola bars, energy drinks and fruit. This was left for them to snack on and replenish their drinks during the games as well.

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Activities and Games:
We held individual and group competitions. Our individual competitions included: backbend, somersault and cartwheel. The Team competitions included: a team cheer, sack race, wheelbarrow race, three legged race and an obstacle course.


Closing Ceremony:
We concluded the games with an Olympic-style closing ceremony. We handed out team and individual medals (making sure everyone earned at least one). Since we had three teams we had a gold, silver and bronze overall team award. We had the girls stand in their teams and sing the National Anthem. Immediately after the anthem finished we capped the ceremony with some (small) fireworks.

DSC_0643Post Games Celebration:
After the closing ceremony we had pizza, cake and gifts!


Girls and Their Clothes


The smalls are in that phase where they change clothes 20 times per day. I wouldn’t mind, except they are just old enough to get the clothes off the hangers but not old enough to get them back on. So I have to.

I love this stage!


Here is a bird’s eye view of the smalls closet after a morning of “play”. This was only one day’s worth. I cleaned it up the day before and the day before that. Notice how the clothes are stacked about a 2 1/2 feet high against the door? My guess is that they were really all over the floor to begin with. Then they realized they were going to get in trouble for this, so they pushed them into the closet and somehow managed to close the door. “There, all clean” they thought!

After this happened many times I decided that clearly this had to stop. So this is what I tried that didn’t work first:

I asked them in my sweetest mommy voice to please stop tearing all of their clothes off the hangers.

I made them clean it up with me. (they weren’t as cooperative as I hoped)

I offered treats for everyday they kept their closet clean. whatever

I just cleaned it up myself and then told them NEVER to do this again.

I asked them if they liked living like this.

We sat down and talked with them about respecting ones things better (they are 3 and 4)

I threatened punishment if they did it “ever again”.

I purchased a child safety door knob lock. It’s a plastic cover for your door knob that spins around unless you pinch it and turn. (it’s supposed to keep kids out, but not mine.)

I put them in time out

I denied them sweets


Then I did this. I only go in their closet once per week now because the chair is really hard to move. When I do go in, I get 7 outfits for each girl. I put those in my closet and dole them out – 1 per day. If you spill on yourself, too bad.

No, I’m just kidding. I let them take them off while they dry out.

The room isn’t very show worthy this way, but I’m not picking up clothes for 20 minutes each day either.

The extra bonus was that the big girls saw this and are way more vigilant about picking up their room now. So I plan to leave the smalls closet this way until they are 10 and 11. Think I can hold out?