Preparing a Place

Sunday I slept through church… attended Bedside Baptist….

That’s a little joke I picked up from college friends,

Hhmmm…Image result for thinking starting to wonder if I wasn’t in the cool crowd…

Image result for you're so square baby i don't care memeIt’s hip, right?!
Usually, I make it.  I just remember the mind body connection:  If your mind can move your feet, just have faith that your bedraggled heart may yet wake up, literally smelling the coffee with any luck.

… I’ll save the rest of my profound thoughts on that for a different post, today I’m more wrapped up in,
Why I love cleaning, and how I balance that with choosing what is best.

I’m Martha, fo sho… as in Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, but her sister Martha glared at them while she finished melodramatically unloading the dishwasher.
Sometimes it’s just not easy to choose what is best. I try to be mindful of this as I embrace my gifting for service .

Part of the joy of cleaning for me is in the idea of preparing a place.
In fact , I almost think that Summer is finally catching it’s train, because I prepared a place for Fall.

After the Screened Porch Fall Clean out.  It's not exactly Better Homes and Gardens, but I'll take it.
After the Screened Porch Fall Clean out. It’s not exactly Better Homes and Gardens, but I’ll take it.

With girls heading here to s’more it up at the Van Meters, I kissed the Indian summer goodbye by dragging small plastic pools, squirt guns and the water wiggle hose back to their waiting spot in the storage room.

No more water wiggle hose b-ball or trampoline… no more kids hiding in the bushes with squirt guns and running barefoot to plastic pools to fill them amid shrieks and flying beach balls and no more flavor ice in the freezer, because even the freezer gets to make room… bags of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and lunch ice packs are already moving in.

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I don’t know how many of these Halcyon summers we have left, and I should let that wash over… I guess… as I bustle by inhaling the coming season and letting go of each failed goal of summer.

Even though S’more night was still 90 degrees, I’m glad I did some clearing around the screened porch and patio.  I opened up a place to peck away with Windows 7, a place for Bedside Baptist to meet, for painting and reading… and counting spiders:)

Also, The s’more fire needed a bit of help and the girls needed a place on the dining room wall for post its with their ideas for service projects.

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Retiring our summer reading solved both problems.

Seasons change and we get to make room or let it pile on, but we don’t get to stop it.

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Summers Coming!!

Countdown to Summer is on! I think my kiddos have about 8 school days left, woo hoo!

This is the time when I like to start thinking about goals and ideas, things I want to intentionally get on top of with my kids, during this time.  I love the shake up in our schedule, it’s always new and full of possibilities.

Last summer we did a family reading challenge.  Which we’re definitely going to fire up again, it was pretty easy and fun.

First Thing:  Make a Poster and hang it in a prominent location in your home.

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For ours, I looked at some summer reading posters online for inspiration.  I found some cute clip art Popsicles and then got out the sharpies and copied a mashup of all my favorite ideas.

Then the plan was for each of us to fill in our Popsicle as we finished new books.  If your not a weird parent who loves to draw and color, like myself, have the kids make something.

Step 2:  Stock your place with piles of enticing and delightful books!

Whenever you need a little space… it’s silent reading time!  It’s a win win for everybody!

I searched online through various reading lists from all over and wrote down the ones that had reasonable parent reviews (I check common sense media or amazon.)  I also look at the reading level and go for a mix of challenge and freebie.  Then I just add them to my holds list from the public library, so I could run in and grab a pile every week or so, even if we were rocking a busy schedule and didn’t always have the time to troll up and down the aisles.

Step 3:  Have fun reading and adding titles to your poster!  This year, whatever we do will be bigger, ours was on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of typing paper:(

We ended up writing super tiny.

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Last Step:  When summer ends, look back with satisfaction.

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I needed to hide mine because the kids mopped the floor with us and wouldn’t stop busting our chops about it.

I love kids.

 

 

Happy to be Stuck with You

Hub just turned 40, it’s pretty exciting!  A group of Hub’s college roommates came together to celebrate this milestone with him and a birthday buddy.

There was a  table covered with photos, some of Hub and Birthday Buddy’s 20th birthday party, some of college friends backpacking together or dressed crazy for one theme party or another.

It’s a bit surreal to think that my babies are closer in age to me, in those pictures, than I am.

I felt a little bit, “you may find yourself, behind the wheel of a large automobile…”

“And you may ask yourself-Well…How did I get here?”

I guess it started with meeting my husband,

I was a freshman in college, when I met Hub.Image result for Chris O'Donnell

We were involved in the same campus ministry and I ended up moving into a house a couple doors down from him the next year.  We both had tons of roomies,  Hub had already dated about a quarter of mine.  When we started hanging out a lot, I decided that a D.T.R. was a good idea, you know, the conversation where you Define The Relationship:

IMG_6051that way, things are not awkward at all.

 

We were good friends, and I was still looking for excitement and romance.  Like a lot of nineteen year old girls, I overlooked cute guys down the street who were dependable, nice guys and continued to search out the kind of guy who just maybe… becomes Darth Vader in the next movie….  or is a vampire, perfect!

At some point I ran across a list of ideal husband traits that I’d jotted in the back of a journal.  I love making lists like that and, in a surprising turn of events, Hub matched everything that I’d written… to a tee.  I took another look at Hub and realized that I was happier spending time with him than I was pursuing actual interesting boys!

After going back to the helpful reading material in our house…

 

I knew just what to do, old-school stalking.  Just know where they’ll be and pop out of the bushes, make sure to look really nice and act cool.  I must have nailed it, because… eventually, I wore him down.

Now we have about 15 years of married life in the rear-view of that large automobile.  Saying yes was one of the best decisions that I ever made.  It’s not always a Christian Romance Novel, but it’s pretty great!

Happy Birthday Hub!  Thanks for being so awesome!

Hi! May I Host You?!

It’s a great season for entertaining and getting together with friends and family, so don’t be intimidated, just start inviting people!

I happen to be an impeccable hostess and will share all my secret tips to help you knock this out of the park.

For starters, when you see someone in your driveway, start making this…

http://www.melskitchencafe.com/pumpkin-scones-with-ginger-glaze/

If it’s after 2, you could do something else, but honestly, scones work for me all the time and that recipe is a good one for fall through Christmas.

Okay, whoever comes in, give them your vacuum, so that they can suck up cat hair before the cat allergic girl shows up, then get back to frantically throwing the baking together and don’t forget to smile.

If smiling isn’t your natural, default face, just think about warm beaches, your favorite babies or when you found a Target gift card in your stocking, while getting out Christmas stuff.

While your vacuum buddy reprograms your Pandora stations, look for that butter slicing thing that you don’t use often.

If it’s in a box with the play-doh fun factory, just use the mixer on slow.

If the mixer is smoking and/or making sad noises, check for that cute hockey puck that keeps brown sugar from clumping.

If that guy isn’t stuck in your beaters, the problem might just be brown sugar rocks… possibly resulting from never replacing your puck, the last time that you accidentally beatered it.

Okay, if it’s brown sugar rocks, turn it up, Dude!  Yeah, like freedom rock!

Next, put the dough in your floppy cake pan.

By now, you may have to wrestle it back from a friends surprisingly strong baby.

Luckily you’ve been working out.

10 minutes is better than no minutes.

You can cut the scones out easily w/floppy pancake flipper.

You might end up with a few frankenscones, but just remember that the people coming are your friends, and as such, they can’t be all that  discerning.

Now, while your frankenscones are over baking, check on your friends.  By this time, your cat has located the allergic friend and formed a scarf

Shove the unused vacuum in the coat closet and start making coffee.

Don’t look in the mirror, you look great…   you’re doing it!  Good Job!

Good…ish House Keeping

Halloween has come and gone, but this house is looking spookier than ever.

If this is the boat you’re in, Welcome Aboard!
Now, put the plastic pumpkin down, whatever you’re looking for has probably already been inhaled by tiny sugared up pillagers.

So, Post-Weekend/Halloween Home Re-Set…

First, put something in your crock pot.
Whatever you can reach. This is because later, when you need food, cooking will not be possible.
You need a meat product, some liquid and some spices.
Whatever comes out, you can serve over rice later.

Now that that’s going, you plugged it in, right? It’s time to open up a lil’ can of Let’s-Make-This-Dump-Shine-Like-The-Top-of-the-Chrysler-Building!
I like to start with an extra cup of coffee…
you can stir in a Fun Size Milky Way, it’s more fun that way.

Find yourself a timer. How long do you have to throw at this? 20 minutes works for good-ish, 10 minutes is just ish.
Also, I think a sound track helps. I have been using Rusted Root’s Send Me On My Way for dishes, and upbeat Bob Dylan songs for laundry, but you can find what works for you.
You may need to get psyched up first with a classic, like Eye of the Tiger, (visualize your personal cleaning montage) or you could reword the lyrics to Lose Yourself, by Eminem

There are no M & M’s left! Stay with me!

Okay, During house reset, Do not get the phone, more likely than not it’s just Newt Gingrich anyway.
Let it go.

I think we’re ready now, awwyeah!

Grab a plastic Thank You bag. You can keep it on your wrist for unexpected candy wrappers and general refuse [ref-yoos], while you’re doing the run around, i.e. putting things where they go and restoring order to your home. This might take a few songs, so pump up the jam.

Then, get the dishes knocked out, hopefully one song.
Next, put dirty clothes in washer and sort clothes coming out of dryer into baskets dedicated to each member of your household.
Go get your vacuum and use it to pick up any rogue dust bunnies in your high traffic areas.dust_bunnies_02

Check your bathrooms for any unsightly yucky business and vacuum the dusty layer off the back of your toilet.
Finally, look at the awesome work you have done, and see that it is good.

If you’re working full time, are ill or have kids under five in the house with you, this plan can easily be modified;
when you see your husband’s car pull in, get out your vacuum.
Place it somewhere noticeable. This signals productivity, however imperceptible, and that calls for take out.