Monday, December 31, 2012

New Kittens!

So much has been happening here! We've been working on the sunroom, playroom and living room. We got things quite tidy and then got out tons of Christmas decorations! I'm putting those away today and tomorrow and really looking forward to cranking up the momentum we were gaining.

Around December 1st, we decided on a date for kittens. I tackled small sections and had the kids pick up their stuff. We put some in giveaway, some found new places to be stored. We gathered all the Legos and picked up the hallway upstairs. We also installed a bookshelf at the top of the stairs! YAY, a place just for library books! We got busy cleaning the kids' rooms in preparation for kittens, which we brought home on December 15th. These new additions have meant a new need for flexibility, as the cat litter is in my powder room! These little sweeties have been such a blessing and we are thoroughly enjoying our new pets.

I'm very excited about the new level of cleanliness we are achieving. The chore box is working beautifully! It has helped me keep track of deep cleaning and projects. An example of deep cleaning might be wiping the moldings and a project would be cleaning out the refrigerator or going through a box. I can easily see when I last did something, which gives me peace of mind and also helps motivate me to do something new, too. We go through our chore box every day at breakfast.

We also do our daily pick-up every day which has given me SUCH HOPE! Now we don't have big messes to clean up, just little tiny ones. I will post photos when the decorations are put away.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stairs, Upstairs Hallway and Bookshelf

This is SO exciting!

We cleaned the stairs. Now every day we do pick up on the stairs...but there isn't anything to pick up, so it is EASY!

We cleaned the upstairs hallway...every day we do pick up...but there isn't anything up there, either!


we took this little dead space outside my son's room and used it for a bookshelf for library books! I'm LOVING this! We measured, had plywood cut to fit and just snuggled the pieces in. They can't go anywhere, so the shelf is sturdy and no fasteners were used-EASY!

Every day we do our daily pick up and it WORKS! The house is staying clean and we are loving that!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Daily Clean Up

THIS is a beautiful image. It is clean, freshly vacuumed CARPET. Not only can I SEE the carpet, but it is so tidy that we vacuumed the carpet today! In fact, we've added the sunroom to the Thursday vacuum chore (my son vacuums the dining room every Thursday) and this Thursday I taught my daughter how to vacuum. This is so HUGE!

Over the past year, I've seen things get picked up. I've cleaned up several rooms...several TIMES. But I have great difficulty actually keeping them clean and have despaired that this cycle would go round and round, never really enjoying tidy rooms on a daily basis and never really overcoming.

My friend Barbie told me I need to actually pick up every day. I know this is not a strange concept to most, but for me, I just never really thought about it that way. When I think about the dining room and how it has been tidy for over a year, that's exactly what happens. Sometime during each day I pick up. Now, with this awareness, I can purposefully PICK UP each day...the rooms that have been officially cleaned out can be picked up every day.

Today I did something unprecedented in all of my history. I started my day with a CLEAN UP. I decided I prefer a morning pick up to a "right before bed" pick up. I don't have to awaken to tidy...but it is sure nice to start my day with tidying. WOW, I'm astounded. We put on three songs and cleaned up for the duration of the songs...a whole 13 minutes. The kids picked up their items in the dining room while I picked up things in the dining room, sunroom and kitchen. My goal was to get the sunroom tidied, the dining room tidied and the kitchen tidied. IT WORKED! We then began our day with the usual load of laundry, and these rooms are USABLE!

I'm TOTALLY EXCITED about the near future. As I continue my projects (tidying the living room, playroom and upstairs rooms), I have HOPE that I can KEEP THEM CLEAN!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chore Box

For quite awhile, I've printed a daily checklist for each child with responsibilities and individual chores. But lately, I realized as I wanted to increase our responsibility by doing more chores together, it was becoming difficult to fit everything on the daily sheet.

Since the sheets have become habit, I decided to move us over to a card system to accommodate my growing list. I first read about this in Sidetracked Home Executives and then found that my friend used this system successfully in her home, too.

I made a spreaadsheet of all the things we do now and then added things I want to start doing. I coded each item according to who does it and on what day. Then I started making cards.

Each of us has a stack in the front for our daily items. Weekly chores go behind the day tabs. On Thursdays we vacuum, so there's a card in the Thursday section that reads "vacuum". In Monday, there are four for each bathroom and a card for the showers. Week 1 is bathroom 1, week 2 is bathroom 2, week 3 is bathroom 3 and week 4 is for cleaning the showers. We've already done two bathrooms!

Each bathroom requires seven steps (done top to bottom):
-dust lights/fan
-inside toilet
-outside toilet

Breaking down the steps, like I did with the laundry, makes this seems really simple! Sarah has been doing the mirror and counter, Dan does the dusting, fan and lights, inside of the toilet bowl and sink, I do the rest-we go top to bottom. Just like with making lunches, someday they will be skilled to do these things on their own. Maintaining this chore box helps me stay on task, not letting myself off the hook when something needs to be cleaned!

How did we get here? The process has been organic and very gradual. I've been noticing what we ARE doing and also taking note of what we still NEED to accomplish. It is AMAZING how the laundry is just a NON-issue now that we run a load every morning and fold a load every morning. We start our day with a load of laundry while yesterday's load is fluffing in the dryer. Then we fold that load. I rarely have to do laundry on the weekends and rarely do more than one load a day. We have our system in place and it is working-hooray!

I'm eager to get systems in place for the bathrooms, cleaning the car, washing a few windows, sweeping, etc. I've never in my whole life been able to conquer this area in my life, so this is really exciting! We've just kept adding little things as the days and weeks and months go by and now it is easy to keep track of it all in the chore box.

The chore box is helping me keep my house tidy!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sunroom - After - FINISHED

Well, it brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. The sunroom is finished! This has been a long time coming! Thank You Lord!

The official before shots were taken December 2011.

What I love:
The kids have a table for games.
The sewing machine is accessible, but doesn't take up any important space.
The cutting table is accessible.
I can see lots of carpet!
This room is now functional and what is in the room is what we actually USE. Things that needed to go into storage are now stored. No more piles of papers, everything is neatly organized into binders.

What's left?
There are three plastic storage boxes (holiday, fabric, empty) that need homes. And three cardboard boxes that need to be gone through. The upright plastic green storage boxes (near the sewing machine) will go up in my room when the behind-the-door desk goes into my bedroom upstairs. The stack of homeschool curriculum is being sold off and if it doesn't sell by Christmas, into the giveway box it goes.

All my shelves and drawers and desks have been scoured and purged. This FEELS SO GOOD!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sunroom Desk - After

W O W. This was actually FUN once I started. I looooooove the 6-pack of 1/2" 3-ring binders at Costco for like $8! I just don't do file folders very well, I like page protectors and binders! Who knew?!

So, I moved the telephone. I know, I know, it is a CORDED telephone. I LOVE IT! I don't like cordless phones...I never seem to put them back where they belong, so I can't actually find one when it rings! The corded phone solves that problem...and I rarely use the telephone anyways.

I cleaned out all the drawers and feel like I've lost 15 pounds! Since I don't really use the file drawer, it is used for storage of empty binders and some file folders that get used occasionally. The Kleenex boxes actually belong there on the floor where I can reach them, the printer is CLEAR of debris so I can actually PRINT and my dumb bells are accessible (in case I ever want to use them-ha ha)!

This now a sleek, efficient area! LOVE the clean writing area!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Loving Friends

My friends Marilyn and Barbie came to speak to me about some issues today. I'm so grateful. I spent the day in a state of conviction and because of their influence, along with my own repentance, I believe I've made a breakthrough.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunroom Desk - Before

My plan is to simply allow the Lord to speak to me about what to do each day. There are several benefits...I'm not overwhelmed, I'm not a slave to a "list" and He gives me tasks I can handle!

I've set aside large chunks of time each day for the next couple weeks. My job is to listen and obey!

This weekend, I finished relocating my clean clothes. I was keeping them in a large pile near the dryer. I now have put everything in my dresser. AND I went through all my shirts and I have a huge bag of giveaway clothes! PLUS more room near the dryer for a maybe four storage boxes for other things!

Today I'm going to clean my desk area and organize my file drawer. As you can see, this needs attention. I have to reach over this pile of papers just to reach the keyboard.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Paint My House-Almost Done

It's so weird how HUGE the house looks to me. The total is about 1,900 square feet which is wonderful for us, but I don't consider that huge. The porch is still purple here so I'll take some final photos when they are really finished. Though the yellow is nice, we all agree we miss the purple, difficult to get used to the yellow! They are painting the porch and front door tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Paint My House-Before

Well, next to living in a purple house, I've always wanted to live in a yellow house. So there you go. Powerspraying was done two weeks ago and now today, we're all wrapped up in plastic and can't get out! That's real bummer, because I want to see what they're doin' out there!

The yellow isn't as deep and creamy as I would pick, but it is what it is. I'm thankful that as a renter, I don't have to do it all. Wish I had taken pictures of the old fence, because we have a new one. Talked to the landlord yesterday and she said I could do what I wanted with the front yard...hmmm, the ideas are swirling!

Today paint. Tomorrow trim and the red door. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kitchen Update-After

It's DONE!

Wallpaper turned into yellow paint, white counters turned into neutral speckled Formica, white vinyl flooring turned into laminate wood planks all rounded out with a white tile backsplash!

Before photos are here:

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Yesterday, while waking from my slumber, I noticed it was still dark outside. Which of course, makes it quite dark inside, as well. This is bothersome when wanting to rise and get out for a walk. The Lord gave me an idea...why not install a timer so the lights go ON when I want to get up?

I'm going to do it! It looks like I can buy a programmable unit that replaces my light switch! PERFECT, I'm going to get one!

The other idea was to replace the stack of boxes in my bedroom with a desk. Thank You Lord, I love this idea! My daughter likes me to stay upstairs after I put her to bed. I like this because I go to bed earlier. I don't like this because there are many things I could do downstairs before my bedtime! One thing that I haven't made time for recently is my word (Word) studies. This would be IDEAL! Put the kids to bed and slide into my jammies and have some time at this desk! I'm so excited!

Future desk area: nearly 40" x 31"

Monday, September 10, 2012

Kitchen Update-Before

Any day now, the counters and floor will be updated...I'm excited to see what it will look like.

The swatch of flooring was really ORANGEY and clashed with the cupboards. The next swatch was more expensive, but matches better. It is really busy. We couldn't find anything in the price range that was light, strange...light must be out of style!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Living Room Redo

So I was led to the living room to start in earnest getting things more tiny tasks, I'm willing to spend whatever it takes each day to move forward...and decided to start where I could see the least amount of carpet.

Ah! When I evaluated "What Do I See", I realized what I saw wasn't mine! All of the mess was the kids not putting stuff I helped them clean it up. Though not everything has a real place to live, the room is clean again. Now we can set to the needed work of keeping it clean as we go along. Glad to see carpet again.
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