Failure to Plan

...is Planning to Fail. Ouch....right in my gut.

Here's the deal. I am not quite ready for it to be pretty much the end of January. I haven't picked out a calendar system to use for 2014. I haven't even spent any time really looking for something that will meet my do something different every single day lifestyle. Except for making sure I eat, routine is not my cup of tea.

I have come to the point that I quit making lists of things to do because I usually am just writing them on random pieces of paper that get shoved in a stack of papers that I never look at again until the pile starts getting in the way or gets so big that it won't stay piled. 

So this week, my goal is to get out of that rut. I need to spend some time working on a good calendar system that can keep all the segments of my life moving in positive directions.

I want to eventually have an all encompassing Home Management Binder system. That is on my ever growing do it one day list. I am finding the process of just finding printables that fit my needs is uber time consuming! One day I will have time to really browse and analyze all my options or make my own printables.

For now, I just need a central location to keep some lists, my personal calendar and some other organizational kinds of papers. Right now I write things down in various notebooks that get toted here and there and never make it back to the place where I need them, when I need them.

I am going to begin my notebook with the To Do Lists from DIY Home Sweet Home. She has some awesome free printables for putting together a Home Management binder. I will eventually use several of these, but for now, I need to get my To Do Lists under control!


I am going to keep using, I use the word keep very loosely since I haven't written a single thing in this calendar for over a month, a store bought daily calendar as a way to micro manage my To Do List and to plan out my daily activities. 

I like to have a calendar on the refrigerator so that everyone can see what is going on for the month since I am not the only person in my house who needs to be aware of where we need to be and when. I don't want to do double entries on a main calendar so we will keep using a calendar on the refrigerator. I actually just print a blank monthly calendar out each month and fill it in. 

Here is a link to the calendar page printables that I am currently using from Krafty Cards, Etc.

A few years ago, I started using Cozi on my phone, but without paying the monthly fee there were some functions that would have been helpful to me. You all know I am too cheap to pay a fee to use a calendar. I also have terrible service on my current phone so just pulling up the app was a frustrating ordeal.

Here's to hoping I can keep my calendar and my To Do Lists under some semblance of order.

What system do you use that seems to work for your family? I will take all the advice or leads to good tools that I can get. Happy Calendaring or To Do-ing!


Morning De-Stress

I am not a morning person and mornings at our house start WAY too early. The big kids, and  by big kids I mean everyone but Harper,  have to leave the house at approximately 6:52am to be at the bus stop before the bus arrives. For the most part they are pretty self sufficient. I mean how hard is it to open a pack of pop tarts? There are those inevitable mornings, though, when the sock drawer is empty or the only pants in Bailey's drawer have buttons, not snaps - or Jenna Beth can't find A shoe, or jacket, or glove or her happy heart. She's not a morning person either.

During the fall semester, WE had many morning breakdowns and I am definitely including myself in that WE. I dumped more than one bowl of cereal in the sink because it was the wrong cereal or there was not enough milk while spouting out at the mouth about how much food we waste or just go to school hungry. All really edifying and mature, but at Zero Dark Thirty it is really hard to be mature, right? On two mornings, I walked a screaming 4 year old to the bus stop barefooted, in my tight workout pants that I slept in, holding her hand while escorting her up the steps of the bus. It was a sight to behold.  My picture is probably on the bonus footage of People of Walmart. I am positive I am now THAT mom to the other early  morning bus parents. Hopefully, they didn't get a good look at me since it was dark outside still and I sure didn't make eye contact with any of them.

In my efforts to live with less stress, I have made some changes to my morning routine and so far this semester, except for that one morning when Jenna Beth lost a shoe or glove or something, we have had fairly peaceful mornings. What are those changes, you  ask?

To begin with, I have started doing a little more prep the night before. I have always packed lunches at night, but now I do an inventory of socks, shoes, jackets, gloves, hats, etc. to make sure they can be easily located each morning.

In the mornings, I stay in Jenna Beth's room from the time I pat her little bottom to wake her up until she is fully dressed, head to toe. Not giving her a chance to procrastinate or change her mind helps tremendously. To some I may be babying her, but to me, I am helping get our day off to a good start. It really is just about my sanity.

I have quit fighting breakfast fights. If Jenna Beth wants to eat pudding with whipped cream for breakfast, she eats pudding with whipped cream. I know, dessert for breakfast, but what a fantastic way to start the day.  If I could eat ice cream or cheesecake for breakfast and not gain an ounce, I would - wouldn't you? I figure it is good calcium and probably has less sugar than the pop tarts her brothers are eating. I haven't compared labels, but I feel fairly safe in my assumption.

I am hoping our mornings stay rather calm and peaceful. We have a good thing going right now and I would hate to mess it up. If I have to bend over backwards and do headstands every morning and it results in less chaos before the sun comes up, it's worth it. If only I could do either of those.

Are mornings painful at your house? What do you do to alleviate some of your morning stress?


Confessions of a Perpetual Dieter

Less of Me. That is my desire for this year. Less weight on the scale. Lower numbers on the size of clothing that I purchase. Losing weight is probably one of the most commonly made New Years Resolutions ever! I go into every year saying this is going to be the year that I lose it - the year that I become comfortable with my own body. God willing and me cooperating - THIS is going to be the year!

My body and I have had issues for years - for as long as I can possibly remember thinking about my body. I am talking elementary school. I always viewed myself as the 'fat' one or the ugly duckling compared to my friends. Typically, I was. I didn't necessarily inherit skinny genes and definitely shouldn't be wearing skinny jeans! I have spent years hiding behind a sweatshirt or jacket to hide a body that I spend many days ashamed of. I still hide. I have forfeited many potentially fabulous friendships because I thought I was way too frumpy or chunky to merit a relationship with some skinny, pretty person. (That awful negative self talk).

Before Jake and I got married, we both lost significant weight. I had this goal weight of 135 that I wanted to be on my wedding day. I ran. (I HATE running). I elliptical-ed. (Jake tried to kill me the first time I ever got on one). I ate green beans and nothing else for dinner many nights (I was also broke). I developed an addiction to the scale that I practice to this day!

On the morning of my wedding, I jumped on the scale because I knew I was soooo close to my goal. Believe it or not, that morning and ONLY that morning, I weighed in at 135! I am sure all my bridesmaids and friends staying with me at our condo thought I was insane when I was screaming and shouting that I had reached that coveted number.

Fast forward 10+ years - - I have birthed 4 children and with each of those pregnancies I have gained 50 pounds! I essentially have gained 200 pounds in 9 years. Crazy! I joke that I took the  pregnancy tests and immediately gained 10 pounds just holding the stick in my hands. I used pregnancy and my sweet cravings as an excuse to eat McChicken Sandwiches, milkshakes, french fries and a myriad of other not good for you fried foods. I am obviously still dealing with the lasting effects. A moment on the lips - A lifetime on the hips! (and other places, too, that don't rhyme as well with hips)

After the first 3 I managed to lose down to between 5-7 pounds of my wedding day weight before I found out another tiny being was growing in my belly. After #1, I was just committed to getting back to my pre baby wardrobe. After #2, I was intent on not being a slobby, fat mommy. After #3, who was born while my husband was 'somewhere in the Middle East,' I was intent on losing the weight before he came home for good. After #4, my goal was to be back at, or close to, wedding day weight by our 10th anniversary - that has come and gone - and I am currently nowhere near the elusive wedding day weight!

I am older. I have 4 kids. I have volunteer responsibilities. I have a house that doesn't keep itself clean. I loathe exercising - partly because I don't like to be sore and partly because I can always think of 10 other things that I would rather be doing or need to be doing instead. I have excuses. There are holidays, birthdays, etc. My list of excuses is a mile long. Bottom line, I just couldn't seem to get my act together and stay on any sort of disciplined eating train. Valiant effort made, but nothing lasting!

It is time for things to change!

2014 is the year that I learn to love my body - leftover baby rolls and all - and it's the year that I practice some serious discipline when it comes to eating and exercising. I know that in the long run it is good for me and it's good for my family.

Losing weight is about so much more for me than the number on the scale. I need to deal with my body issues, my comparison issues, my discontent issues, and my serious lack of discipline issues. Being out of control in the body area spills over into so many other places in my life. My frustration with my body affects how I deal with my children. It affects my freedom in my relationship with my husband. It affects my confidence in social situations. I could go on and on. As the year goes on, I will probably divulge more.

Honestly, it is more than just a body and food issue, it is a spiritual issue. It's a self control issue. It's an issue of understanding the depth of Christ's love for me regardless of what size jeans I wear. It's knowing that my body and Jennifer Aniston's bodies were not created the same. (That was the understatement of the year).  It is my need to find comfort and stress relief in Christ and his promises for me instead of in a delicious piece of dark chocolate or cheap crappy chocolate chip cookies or whatever the kids have in their candy stash.

The year of Less is going to be a great year. There will be many battles fought. Many tears will be shed. Hopefully, pounds will be lost and confidence will be gained.

Is Less of you - physical you - in your plans for this year? What positive side effects of Less You are you hoping to find? Leave a comment and let me know! Remember, we're in this together.


2014 - The Year of LESS

For many years I have written down some resolutions at the beginning of a year and by the end of the year I have forgotten what they were and have no idea where the piece of paper on which they were written was.I am sure I am not alone in that!

When the busyness of December hit and I knew the year was nearing its end, I started thinking about how I can do better in 2014 than I have done in the past with being focused on some goals or resolutions or positive changes...whatever you want to call them.

I already had several areas in mind that I planned to work on in 2014 when a friend mentioned the idea of a word for the year. Then I heard several others talk about their word for the year and even read this blog post at The Lettered Cottage about her word of the year. I decided this would be a fabulous method for me and believe it or not all of my areas could fit under one 4 letter word!

There are also a couple of websites I have run across lately whose sole purpose is to join people together to help them stay on top of their word for the year. One is Oneword365 and another is MyOneWord. I will be joining up with both of these. I need all the reminder and prodding I can get!

As I considered my list, I decided that my word for 2014 will be LESS. If you followed along with my 31 Days in October, you know I have been working on less stuff already. But there are other areas of my life where I need to focus on LESS.

These are the 4 places I need to focus my LESS efforts. (in no particular order)

Spiritually and Physically

Continuing my dreams of Simple!

4 kids and an Army husband will make this quite a challenge

Time to conquer some of my debilitating self talk

In the next few weeks, I will expound on some of my plans to accomplish this feat of LESS.

Do you have a word for the year or a verse or a goal? Whatever you call it, leave a comment on this post so we can help encourage each other toward our new focuses in 2014. We are truly in this together.  And it is never too late to join in the fun!

Happy New Year! Enjoy your last moments of 2013 and let's start 2014 off with new vigor and determination!


Welcome to My Home - 2013 Christmas Tour of Homes

It's been a crazy few weeks and as always I should've started decorating and crafting for Christmas much sooner! Minutes ago I finalized my decorations for this year. There were things I really wanted to do and things I did that were definitely plan B, C or D! Knowing that the 2013 Christmas Tour of Homes was happening today was great motivation to get whatever I was going to get done, Done!

Grab a cup a peppermint mocha, light, of course, and enjoy the sights of our oh so simple Christmas-y home! Thanks for stopping by!

We'll start with a Merry Christmas greeting from the tiniest Wade! I couldn't resist taking her picture while she was all dressed up for church yesterday morning. She may also be one of the top reasons I have had a hard time getting motivated to decorate this year. Love her to pieces!
 Lights, Lights, Lights!!! and Trees, Trees, Trees!!!
 These penguin were made by my mom and step dad. Since our family has grown, we outnumber our old set of snowmen!

 Front Door at night.
Front door during the day. My snowman needs a bigger hat, but I still think he's cute.
The view from the front entry
 Entry way decor cut out.
Opposite the cut out. This little wall hanging was thrown together today when I decided I needed something on this blank wall.

 The fireplace mantle. This was a definite plan C or D! Sometimes projects just don't work out the way I envision them. However, I do like how it all turned out.

The Living Room tree

 Living room mirror fancied up. I love all the reflections of just about every other decoration in this room that show up in this mirror.
These Santa pictures are probably my favorite decorations to pull out of every year. It's amazing how a five minute session with a random mall Santa captured on film can tell the story of the kids' lives. We have discussed who is missing in each picture and why and why I am sitting on Santa's lap in several. I hate that we have a couple of years that we missed taking a picture, but there are stories for the missing years, too.

 When Jake joined the Army in '07, my mom bought an Army nutcracker and began this collection. We have a couple of years where we couldn't find an Army nutcracker with that particular year inscribed on it. They fit perfectly this year on top of these shelves in the Living Room that are normally empty.
 Enter the Dining Area. Simple oversized bells hanging from the light.

Wreath on the door to the back porch
Snowmen have taken over the kitchen cabinets! 


 Hallway to the kids' rooms.
 Our 2013 Christmas Countdown - an upgrade to the previous years' paper chain.

Our Mickey Mouse Talking Countdown that never seems to die!
These wreaths were one of our countdown activities. Now they are hallway decorations.
Finally the tree in our Master Bedroom. It is such a cute tree full of kid memories and ornaments.  I am tempted to leave it up year round because I love the glow of the Christmas lights so much!
Hope you enjoyed your tour of our simple Christmasy abode! Check out some others at the Nester's 2013 Christmas Tour of Homes!


Thom the Turkey Wreath

Before you begin to think that I am one of those super creative and super organized moms, let me debunk that myth!

One child turned in a project TODAY that was due YESTERDAY! That same child had to read a book and do his reading log this morning while he was eating breakfast and I was putting on his socks and shoes - all at the same time! I often forget to put the boys' afternoon snacks in their backpacks! To top it all off, I have a room full of supplies for 'to do' projects that I may or may not ever actually do. Fabric for curtains. Wreaths. Gifts. Yadda, yadda, yadda!!! 

The only fall decorating I did this year was the purchase of pumpkins to set around my house to at least acknowledge the fact that it is indeed fall! There are 3 boxes of fall-ish decorations in my attic that haven't been touched this year. Do you think my kids would notice if I don't put up my Christmas trees?

Which brings me to this little project  - - The bulk of the supplies for this particular wreath I have had for over a year! I started buying them last year so I could do this Thanksgiving-ish wreath, but never got around to it. I had everything I needed except for the styrofoam cone for its beak! Pathetic, I know!!!

I first saw this Turkey wreath on Pinterest, of course! The Thom the Turkey Tulle Wreath Tutorial can be found on Baby Rabies.  I have always thought he was the cutest!!! 

While my mom and step dad were here a couple of weeks ago, we started talking about wreaths and I remembered that I had most of the supplies to make my own Thom the Turkey! I pulled what I had out and put them to work tying tulle knots around this wreath form! Since we had other things we needed from Hobby Lobby, we added the cone beak and styrofoam balls to our list. By the end of the day, our own Thom the Turkey was hanging on my door! I love him!

At some point I think my neighbor and I are going to sit down and make another for her door, but it may not make it to her door by this Thanksgiving, since that is only 3 days from now!

Happy Thanksgiving week!


JB's Room

I have been working on Jenna Beth's room for several months. Actually had a lot of the work done - painting, wall decor, curtains, etc - but kept forgetting to take the bed posts to a friend for her to refinish them! We finally got it all taken care of and I am glad to have her room done!! 

The bed will only look made if I make it, which is one of the reasons why none of my kids have actual bedspreads!  Her favorite color is blue so there is lots of it in her room. I bought the little wood frames above her bed at Michael's and painted them with acrylic paints that I already had at the house.

I love that there is room under this bed for storage! I had a couple of these wood crates, also from Michael's, already painted pink. When I figured out that they would fit under the bed, we bought 4 more in an undercover operation from Michael's and painted the extras pink and blue! I have all of her toy stuff organized neatly in them now, but know she won't keep it that way. At least they can just be shoved under the bed and all her junk will be out of sight!
 These zig zag curtains from Anna's Linens were kind of the jumping off point for her room. I had them many months before I ever put a coat of paint on the walls. I love the color combo in them!
 These little sayings are just printed and mod podged to 8x10 canvases. They add a little bit of a grown up touch to Jenna Beth's little corner of the world.
This is a dresser that I bought from my friend Kim who is a master furniture re-doer-extraordinaire! I love it! I actually had it sitting in my living room for a while wishing I could find an excuse to leave it there, but Jenna Beth's dresser at the time had 2 broken drawers and I had just bought it at a yard sale for like $30 so the fact that it was falling apart wasn't a huge deal!

 I am awful about hanging family pictures in our house. I always joke that my house looks like it is always staged because there are few pictures of us on the walls! I put these three pictures of the kids in her room to try to make it a little more personal. 

I got the idea for these little hanging shelves for dolls from here. They were easy to recreate, but with all projects I do it was a lesson in trial and error. As with the storage under her bed, I often have to come and put all the dolls back on these shelves! They are cute when loaded with stuffed things, but not so cute when the stuffed things are spread across the floor!

Probably one of my favorite parts of this room is the blue ceiling! I knew I couldn't get away with painting the whole room blue since we are probably going to be putting our house on the market at some point. I love the pop of color it adds to the otherwise neutral brownish walls.

I love the transformation this room took from the baby room (see that room here)  it was when we moved into this house to the sort of big girl room that it is now!