When Life Gives You Piles (A Survival Guide)

Recently, my husband stumbled upon a family selling all their furniture. The son was helping his 80-year-old mother get rid of everything in time for her wedding that weekend. (Marrying at 80? Wow!) We were able to purchase a table, two recliners, some decorative items, a bed for a great price, and more. What a blessing!

But also, what a mess!

Amidst all of that chaos, we have had some unwelcome guests..meet the wood scorpion and a baby rattle snake or a baby gopher snake. (We are in the process of identifying it.)

Image result for small scorpion
We found one of these in the kitchen and one in the bathroom. If you get stung, it’s similar to a bee sting. You just need to be careful if you are allergic.

The Saga of the Baby Snake

This is a bit of a segue but I have to share this tale with you. The other day, I had just came home from the store and I was chatting with my neighbor. She was telling me about snake season and the tall grass. After a few minutes of chatting, I tell her it’s time to go make dinner. I go inside and what do I see but a small snake on my kitchen floor! I was less scared than I would have imagined, and I went into action mode. I told the kids to get on the couch in the other room. I started hitting the snake with a big metal spoon, but snakes are very muscular, it didn’t work. It started to scurry away under the oven. I pulled out the oven and got the broom and swept it out. Now it was caught under the broom and trying to get away. I stretched as much as I could for a random kitchen knife. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the sharpest one. I proceeded to cut, er, saw, the snake in half. The snake behaved like a rattle snake – it shook the end of its tail, so it may have been. We’ll see what pest control says.

For anyone who is worried: We are in the process of making our home Fort Knox, needless to say. We have a pest control appointment, we have installed “pest reject” sensors in our main rooms to ward off mice which will in turn ward off snakes. We have plans to cut down our tall grass. We have located suspected spaces under the sink where the snake probably entered and sprayed a special foam to seal it off. As far as the scorpions, we had our pest control spray inside and apparently they don’t like lavender oil so I have been spraying that around all of the windows. I haven’t seen any since.

Unwelcome Visitors and Piles Everywhere

I don’t know about you, but I don’t do too well when my house is in disarray. The outside clutter effects how I feel inside. There have been piles everywhere for the last week and a half. Piles of laundry to do, piles of things to sort through and put away, furniture to dust and position…you get the picture. When life gives me piles I feel overwhelmed, and sometimes that causes me to procrastinate because I don’t know where to start and that only compounds the issue. I also don’t do well when a surprise pest rears it’s ugly head. I become hyper vigilant, worry about mine and my family’s safety, and I have a hard time sleeping at night.

My Survival Guide

I’ve learned from dealing with my fair share of piles and crazy circumstances some tricks that help make life easier:

  • Realize these aren’t normal circumstances and therefore adjust your expectations about what you are capable of. This is HUGE, and might be the hardest thing. It is for me. Know that life is harder right now because of something outside of your control, not because you are weak or lazy.
  • Have gratitude. Seriously. Thank God for the mess you have. Messes are always a good sign. My current mess meant I got new furniture that we really needed. Thank God! My kids messes mean I have two beautiful children. Alleluia! Find a reason to be happy about the mess.
  • Set a timer. Don’t work on the mess all day. The timer tells your brain you only have to work on something for “x” amount of time, and it also makes a stopping point so you don’t forget to eat or bathe or do something fun.
  • Prioritize. Think about what is going to have the most impact of your life. Health and safety should be at the top of the list. This can be hard, because most of us have the natural inclination to choose the tasks we like first.
  • Minimize distractions. Put your phone on airplane mode or do not disturb. Use distractions to your advantage. Play music in the background, listen to an audio book or podcast. I find that podcasts and audio books help me to forget how long something is taking because I want to hear more so I keep working. It feels like “me time.”
  • Simplify meals, think frozen meals, cereal for dinner. PB&J. This is not the time for meals that require tons of preparation and cleanup. It’s time to make life a little easier so you can get back to normal more quickly.
  • Gain perspective. In the grand scheme of things, what is going to happen if you don’t accomplish as much as you hoped for? Chances are, the important things will get done. As long as you prioritize, there is always time for the urgent, important things.
  • Go to bed early. This one is so hard for me, but it’s reward is great. I shoot for an hour earlier than normal.
  • Call a trusted loved one. This helps distract me in a positive way and it’s nice to have some social time amidst the chaos and know I’m not alone.
  • Pray. Ask the Lord to give you strength and wisdom through this time.
  • Know that this is bare minimum time, not a time for high standards.
  • Stop the diet , and just focus on healthier choices. If ice cream enters the scene, enjoy responsibly. The sooner you take a break, the sooner you will get back to optimum functioning.

Do any of you have some crazy pest stories? Encounters with a snake or some other wild creature? What do you do when life gets chaotic? What helps you get by during those hard times? Let me know in the comments below!

Everything Doesn’t Have To Match

Do you ever see other people’s homes, and feel like you are different and/or somehow wrong because in your house not everything matches perfectly? Or maybe you are a college student living paycheck to paycheck and you can’t afford to keep up on the latest trends (nor do you have the time.)

Whatever the case is, I’m here to tell you, everything doesn’t HAVE to match.

Or be curated. Pinterest-worthy. Instagram-ready. On trend.

It’s okay if things are mismatched. A few seasons old. Hand-me-downs. Antiques that have seen better days. Homemade. What matters is that you do the best you can with what you have, and demonstrate the kind of person you are.

What matters is that you do the best you can with what you have, and demonstrate the kind of person you are.

Learning to Invite People

I spent too long in my life closing myself off from inviting people in because my home wasn’t perfectly curated. Or just not being social because of budget restraints.

(And mind you, if your home has all of the latest, praise God! I am so happy for you. This message isn’t necessarily for you.)

This message is for those of us who worry out homes aren’t good enough. Or our wardrobe isn’t good enough , or our budget isn’t good enough. I’m here to tell you, that whatever the Lord has blessed you with at this current moment in time, is good enough. And don’t let comparison steal your peace and keep you from inviting people into your home, and from going out in public, etc. Maybe you don’t have a lot of money right now, but the things that show the character of a person are always free :

  • Creativity. Sometimes constraints are the key to our most creative endeavors.
  • Cleanliness. Clean is beautiful.
  • Tidiness. Tidy is peaceful.
  • Generosity. You don’t have to just give things, you can give your gifts of time and talent.
  • Kindness. One of my favorite quotes is , “Be the kind of somebody who makes others feel like somebody.”
  • Taste. You can cultivate your own style and taste by reading books, looking at magazines and notice what speaks to you.
  • Manners. They show respect and the type of person you are.

No One Cares

Certainly, design and cohesion are important. But you have to do it with the resources you have. Don’t stress yourself out or get into debt because of fear about what others think. Just do your best.

Besides all of these things, NO ONE CARES. Everyone else is too worried about themselves.

Seriously though guys. How much of us are in debt because of trying to keep up with the Jones’ and have what is popular? As Dave Ramsey says, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” And then we waste our precious lives working way too hard to pay the things off. Meanwhile we could be using that time to enjoy our lives, our homes, our friends, and our family. Haley Stewart has some great insight on this in her book:

And good ol’ Dr. Suess said it best:

Image result for the people who matter don't mind

It’s None of My Business Anyway

Whenever I feel insecure, I just remind myself that my responsibility is to be the best version of myself and to be a blessing to others – what they think of me is none of my business! I find this very empowering. It frees me from worry because it reminds me of the only thing I have control over – my own actions.

Be Social Anyway

So go ahead. Your are now empowered to be social anyway. Be social despite your shortcomings and despite your imperfections. Just do what you can and God will do the rest.

5:2 Diet: First Week

I’m reading a book about the 5:2 Diet and I am going to write about my journey. Follow along with me!

What is the 5:2 Diet?

Basically, the 5:2 diet is a method of intermittent fasting in which you have two non-consecutive fasting days where you eat 500-600 calories. The other non-fasting days, you eat normally and it isn’t necessary to count calories. Here’s a good article all about it, along with the book I’m reading.

Please note: On non-fasting days, you will see I indulged with some sweets – that’s the beauty of this diet. You don’t have to deprive yourself for long periods of time.

Why I Am Doing Intermittent Fasting

I am trying out this way of fasting because I of course would like to lose a few pounds, but it is also for the health benefits all around. I want to be around for a long time and serve my loved ones at optimum capacity, and to do that I need to have a healthy weight and healthy body that has periods of rest where it can repair itself. That is exactly what happens during a fast. My purpose of fasting this time around is unrelated to Lent, but I am however grateful for the spiritual benefits and I do incorporate prayer and I offer up my feelings of hunger for specific prayer intentions.

Day 1:

My first fast day. I spread out my meals into 5 meals, so I could trick myself into thinking I had more food than I did. I also ate slowly and tried to remember to chew each bite 30 times, to get the aroma of my food, and to take small bites. Since I was eating so much less, I notice my other senses seemed more keen. When I took a shower, it was more invigorating. The scent of flowers more stimulating. When I did eat, the food tasted so much more wonderful and I appreciated it so much more. It was hard to feel the pang of hunger, but not as hard as I thought. I thought I’d feel very run down and cranky. But honestly, I felt okay and I was as productive as any other day just hungrier. I’m hoping that I will sleep well tonight, and not wake up because I’m too hungry. Here’s some pictures of what I ate:

Day 2:

I had a rough night of sleep. The dog woke me up and needed water, and I think the caffeine I had later in the day also affected my sleep, nonetheless, hunger. Today I ate normally, and I indulged a little. I had a cinnamon roll and a piece of apple pie after dinner. I felt really hungry in the morning, but I felt much better after I ate breakfast and snacked a little. I didn’t even want lunch, and we had a roast and some broccoli salad for dinner.

Day 3:

I slept better but I felt hungrier today, but I also felt like I knew when to stop eating and not overdo it. I had a cinnamon roll for breakfast with some strawberries, a California club wrap for lunch, and ginger broccoli beef and rice for dinner. I enjoyed a chai latte in the afternoon without thinking about how many calories was in it. I get tired of tracking all of my food.

I knew when to stop eating and not overdo it.

Day 4:

Today was another fasting day. I took the kids to a local farm to see baby animals, I did more normal duties around the house, and I felt pretty good. I had the occasional pang of hunger but honestly since I spread my meals out it’s not too bad. I stayed under 600 calories today.

Some photos of my meals today:

Day 5

I slept well, even though yesterday was a fasting day! I ate a small piece of apple pie and some leftover pasta for breakfast, had some nuts and zucchini parmesan for lunch, an apple for a snack, and a salmon berry quinoa and kale bowl for dinner.

Day 6

I went to a baby shower and I enjoyed party food but I shared everything with my daughter and therefore didn’t overindulge, I didn’t feel the need, miraculously. I had various salads from Safeway for dinner and tried a bite of samosa and bite of pork bun. Variety is the spice of life, amiright?

Day 7

I ate some leftover salad for breakfast and had a bite of a cookie. For lunch I just snacked on chips and guacamole. I had steak, a potato and some asparagus for dinner. I had a small brownie and chocolate ice cream for dessert.


Starting weight: 158

Ending weight: 156.2

Total loss: I lost 1.8 lbs!

This may not sound like much, but look at all the little indulgences I had! And I only counted calories during my 2 fasting days! And trust me, I have a very difficult time once I get closer to my goal weight dropping half a pound nonetheless nearly 2 pounds so I am very pleased. (Also, FYI, I did exercise this week but mainly just brisk walking, and not everyday.)

Additional Benefits

In addition to losing weight, I have found:

  • Spiritual benefits – I am not victim to all the desires of my flesh.
  • Productivity – Since I am exercising my will power it is transferring to other areas of my life which has resulted in less procrastinating and more action.
  • Energy levels – My metabolism feels like it has been kicked up a notch so I have a solid amount of energy.
  • Feel lighter – It just feels easier to move around.
  • Other senses heightened – I have noticed beauty in nature more, food tastes better, and my sense of smell has improved.

So, have any of you tried intermittent fasting? Did it work for you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Am I Giving Myself Grace or Making an Excuse?

With my previous post, I discussed my Lenten journey. One thing I’m focusing on is being more diligent in disciplining my children. I’ve decided to:

  • Discipline them the first time when they do something they should know better
  • Only allow them 2 hours of T.V.
  • Having them cleanup before starting a new activity
  • Having them make their bed every day

Because I am focusing on this, this means my productivity level has gone down. Is it worthwhile? Of course. Is it frustrating?

Let’s just say God is teaching me about acceptance, again.

As I’ve said before, I wish I could get the same amount done everyday. Kind of like a robot. And do my routines perfectly and consistently like all the productivity gurus tell you to. But, oh yeah! I’m not God. I’m not perfect. Indeed, I am only a child of God. I need to give myself grace.

I am only a child of God.

How hard this is for me to accept! I want to always feel that sense of accomplishment that comes with doing everything on my list. But is that Gods will? No, I don’t think so. I think He wants me to do what’s important. He wants me to say yes to His will, not my own. I need growth in this way so much! I get so impatient and frustrated when things don’t go my way. But I’m human! I run out of steam, and more often than I’d like, I go to bed with my makeup still on , and my bedtime routine undone. God’s method of growth is not linear as I wish it was and how I expect it to be. It’s a roller coaster ride. But it’s better than my methods. Better than being a slave to my routine. I’d rather be a servant to God.

So, what to do with these feelings of failure and frustration? Offer them up to the Lord. Humbly accept again, that I am but a child. I have come a long way, by the grace of God, but He’s not done with me yet. If i could operate at 100% every single day, then I wouldn’t need God. God wants what’s best for me. Maybe that’s why these kinda days happen. So I remember I need Him. That I need to turn back to Him in prayer instead of relying on my own strength. Should I wallow in anguish? Nah, I have to accept my feelings and do the next right thing. Which is to pray and try again. And again. And again.

A Daily Reflection

Sometimes you need to give yourself grace when you are not as productive as you’d like to be because things happen that are out of your control. But you also need to be honest about what you can improve on. Here are some questions to ask yourself that will direct you to the next steps:

  • How are my boundaries with others?
  • Am I getting enough sleep?
  • How is my diet?
  • Am I exercising?
  • Did something unexpected happen?
  • Did I have the help I usually have?
  • Did I overestimate or underestimate how long something might take?
  • Did I allow outward distractions (youtube, social media, T.V. etc) or mental distractions (hesitation, perfectionism) zap my time?
  • Have I been following my self-care program?
  • Do I keep a schedule to the best of my ability?
  • Have I been prioritizing?

The answers to these questions will lead you to your next steps. Maybe you are doing everything right and it was just out of your control. At least now you can rest assured. But maybe you are letting distractions get the best of you, or you aren’t sleeping enough. Both of those things can have a huge effect on your productivity level.

Also, I love this print from Ruth Soukup:

Grace vs. Excuses Art Print {Digital Download}

So, what are you working on in your life? Are you giving yourself grace, or making excuses? Let me know in the comments. There’s power in bringing things into the light!

My Lenten Focus

I read something on a blog recently that struck a chord. A woman with young children was talking with a friend about her list of things to do for Lent and her friend interrupted her and said “You live Lent.” Ha! This made me realize that I can be overzealous when it comes to all the ways I want to grow spiritually and that maybe JUST MAYBE I should be a little more realistic and gracious with myself. So for Lent, I’ve decided what I need most is to live my vocation joyfully, peacefully, and diligently.

Fasting from Irritation and Anxiety, Feasting on Patience and Diligence

I really struggle with remaining patient with my kids. I also get angry when they interrupt my work. But, hello! They are more important. But with that said, this focus on my vocation as lead me to see the ways I need to take disciplining them up a notch. Having all young kids is always going to be hard, but I can do my part do make it easier and one thing is to be on top of disciplining them. Honestly I can be lazy in this realm. It is really a struggle for me. I often put up with bad behavior because it isn’t THAT BAD. Does anyone else feel me here? There’s certain behaviors I never put up with, but the little things get me because I’m busy, I don’t want to stop what I’m doing, I don’t want to get up again. But wait a second…if I love my kids, then I have to do this anyway regardless of how I feel. I just want to keep it real here so if any of you struggle in this way, you will know you are not alone and that there is hope.

What I’ve Been Doing About It

I have been practicing disciplining the first time with things my kids should already know better. If I have taught them not to leave the table without asking, then if they engage in this behavior, it’s uh-oh, corner time. Beforehand, I would have warned them if they did it again, they would get time-out. But all I was doing was teaching them that it is okay to do it once. And I have to tell you, after only a few days, it’s already bearing good fruit.

Fasting from Anxiety, Feasting on Peace

As far as anxiety goes, I am trying to be mindful of when I am having racing thoughts, and choosing thoughts that help me move forward. I tend to over-analyze which paralyzes me from taking action. For example, I do the same routine every morning, but each morning my mind wants to come up with a better way of doing it. Sounds good, right? Wrong! Because it only distracts me from what I need to do and makes me feel anxious that I will do something wrong. I am also practicing giving up my anxieties to God, to hand over the worries I have that I can’t do anything about.This is helping me have more peace.

A Great Resource

In case you were wondering, many of my discipline ideas come from this book. I highly recommend it.

On a Different Note

I am also trying to ask God each day “what would you have me do?” and I am listening to iCatholic radio in the morning to enrich my faith. I especially enjoy Dr. Ray Guarendi’s show. How about you? What are you doing for Lent?

Wildflowers, Wild Turkeys, and Barn Owls. Oh My! (A.K.A. What I’ve Been Up To Lately)

You may or may not have seen my Facebook update. We moved! We bought our first house out here in La Grange, California. I keep saying “Home, home on La Grange”. Also this theme song keeps coming to mind…

Needless to say, we’ve been super busy the last month and a half, packing, unpacking, decorating and setting up our home. I actually had a very hard time the first couple of weeks and I had to go to the doctor because my anxiety was getting out of control. Luckily my mom and dad came to stay with us for a week and that was such a blessing. For those of you who have similar struggles with anxiety, I want to share with you what my dad told me which really empowered me. I was worried that if I tried to do my normal duties I would get worse. But he told me that the fight to normal is a battle. That I couldn’t crawl into a shell. That I had to do the things I normally do. From that moment I started to feel a lot better. I found comfort in the normal.

What I’ve Been Doing in the Kitchen

I found an awesome book at the library about prepping breakfasts and lunches and I’m thinking of buying it. I hate making lunch and I never know what to make. Up until now I only plan dinner and breakfast and lunch always end up being whatever we have on hand. But this book is inspiring me to take it up a notch.

I’ve made baked oatmeal, cauliflower fried race, muffins, cajun ranch chicken salad, salmon with berries and raspberry vinaigrette, and rhubarb crisp. I have also rediscovered my Dr. Weil cookbook and I made a vegetarian shepherd’s pie. We celebrated my mother in law’s birthday , and one of our friend’s daughters birthdays so I made a bundt cake for each occasion. Note to self: don’t add too much milk to the glaze! (Otherwise it will drip everywhere including your dress. Oops!) I also made some pierogis…so delicious! Maggieothevalley inspired me.

Cauliflower fried rice.
Birthday cake with a glaze that dripped everywhere. But it still tasted good!

Mise en place for the vegetarian shepherd’s pie.

Lots of veggies.
Lining the dish with zucchini.
Filling for the shepherd’s pie.
Onion and potato pierogi.

Homemaking Progress

I have been enjoying setting spaces and hanging up artwork in our home. Take a look!

Kid’s playroom.
Living room
Corner in the kitchen
Playroom decor
Dining room. This display is my favorite.
Closeup of this cute greeting cards that I decided to hang up.
Got a piece of mudroom furniture

New Adventures

We have been enjoying exploring the area near our house. We often see wild turkeys and occasionally deer done the road. There are many wildflowers in bloom now, especially by the river, where we picked some. Besides La Grange, we have been exploring Coulterville, Waterford, and Sonora. And I felt like I was initiated into this country lifestyle when an owl met it’s end on my windshield, poor thing. I also had a Mother’s Sabbath where I enjoyed coffee with Maggieothevalley and shopped in downtown Turlock.

Sonora’s amazing library. It’s like Barnes and Noble!
Story time circle at the Sonora library.
Beautiful mural in the Sonora library.
The kids got haircuts!
From Ash Wednesday!
At an awesome park in Waterford.
Beans coffee in Waterford…love how they have a few toys and puzzles for kids. A real lifesaver!
Someone found mommy’s lipstick…! Ha ha
Tire swing at the park here in La Grange.
Wildflowers found near the river.
Cute stuff found on my day off
Window shopping downtown Turlock
Love this
Beautiful lavender latte from Cafe La Mo.

So yeah I’ve been busy…

Even though it’s been especially stressful the last two months with moving, and the kids being sick twice, and just trying to adjust to living further away, there is still much beauty to be found and writing a post like this helps me to see that. Praise God!

Get Up and Do Something (Even if You Feel Inadequate)

Do you ever feel that you are failing? That you aren’t enough? I know I do, and I get these kinds of thoughts often as a person who suffers from anxiety. But I don’t think living in fear is God’s plan for me or anyone else. Remember the man by the pool?

John 5:8 Then Jesus told him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

Let’s reflect on this for a moment. Jesus was talking to the man by the pool, who would see all the other people getting water in the pool, and he was paralyzed by his thoughts and beliefs about who he was. Jesus saw him wallowing in his pity and told him to get up!

We all have lies we believe about ourselves that come from the devil himself. They may sound like:

  • I’m not pretty enough
  • I’m not naturally (insert virtue here)
  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m not enough
  • I’m not capable
  • I don’t have anything to give
  • I don’t have time
  • I’m too fat
  • I’m too thin
  • My kids aren’t well behaved enough
  • I’m not doing enough for my kids
  • I should work outside the home
  • I should be a stay-at-home mom
  • I should certain life milestones done by now
  • Too many people are already doing it
  • No one is interested in this
  • I’m not pretty enough
  • I need to wait until (…)
  • I don’t have the right tools yet.

Some of us need to hear this message, some of us don’t. Some of us are Marthas, some of us are Marys. And at different times we need different things. But I think we can both agree that if you have been venting about the same thing for years and years, and you can change it, but you are afraid, it’s time to “get up”! We need not be capable, only willing, Remember Mary’s fiat?

Image result for mary's fiat

I certainly have all of these limiting thoughts going through my head from time to time, especially when I’M TIRED. I put off creating this blog for some time because I was waiting for the perfect circumstances to arrive. I was believing the lie of “you can’t blog until you have 2 + hours a day of completely uninterrupted time and have a regular baby sitter in place”. I was comparing myself to other moms online who had regular childcare, and while that would be great, it isn’t possible in my current circumstance. Thankfully, I found a mom who inspired me to write when my kids were asleep, and another mom who would just write for 15 minutes at a time. From these two women’s separate circumstances, I was able to tailor my writing to a schedule that works for my life. It doesn’t matter that my life doesn’t look like someone else’s.

You see what I want to tell you is you can do it. You can get up. You can change your life. You can’t change everything but the good Lord has given you many gifts and talents, and please don’t bury them in the ground. And when you don’t use them, you must know that you are not only short-changing yourself, but also those closest to you. For example, Jennifer Fulwiler said that she dedicated her first book to her grandfather, who died shortly thereafter. Had she not got up, and got writing, she would have denied her grandfather that beautiful gift.

So specifically, what can you do?

Before you give up completely that you can ever be happy with you life, try to get the basics in, then see how you feel. Then you can REALLY determine if certain things are unchangeable. Do things like:

  • Pray
  • Go to confession
  • Seek spiritual direction
  • Read spiritual books
  • Read the Bible
  • Watch spiritual videos
  • Sleep
  • Eat properly and regularly
  • Attend to any anger issues you may have
  • See a friend regularly for coffee, set a recurring date
  • Take time for your personal interests even if it’s 10-15 minutes
  • Practice gratitude

These things will all help you get in touch with who God created you to be, and see your life in a different way. You will gain the clarity you need to start changing what needs changing. You will realize you might have everything you need to do what you need to do, you just need to do it. So get up, please. Stop saying I can’t, and say with God, I can.

So get up, please. Stop saying I can’t, and say with God, I can.

I think we can all be such perfectionists about the call to use our time, talents, and treasure to build up the kingdom of God. We get an all or nothing mentality. So, we do nothing. We waste away staring our phones,the TV, or computer.

I just had a revelation though.

What if we just did SOMETHING. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to discover what exact talent you should be using, just do something. And keep doing somethings. And do as many somethings as you can. Maybe you will discover your blue flame, maybe you won’t, or maybe your blue flame is a bunch of little somethings. Like Saint Therese. But please, do something!

How to Konmari Kid Stuff

So, have you guys started watching Marie Kondo’s new show on Netlix? Well, I have. I may or may not have already watched the entire thing…so, what?

once upon a time shrug GIF

Before we begin

First of all, if this is your first time konmari-ing, you may have thoughts during the process like:

  • How did I ever let my home get like this?
  • Why did I waste all of this money?
  • I can’t get rid of these things, because I spent good money on them.
  • But so-and-so got me this thing, they would be upset if I got rid of it.
Sound familiar? It’s okay. Take a deep breath and proceed anyway.

There is hope

Also, I want you to know my house is quite tidy. It gets messy all the time, but things have a home and it’s easy to reset. But I wasn’t born that way! Oh no, just ask my sister, whom I shared a room with for 18 years.

Left, my sister and I am right next to her. This was my birthday party with some friends circa 1998. Good times!

I have always been a hoarder and a creative-type who loved posters and drawings all over my wall growing up, and the top drawer of my dresser was full of who knows what and it barely closed. I never got rid of a single stuffed animal. But,I was always interested in organizing, I just didn’t know that you had to de-clutter first. I am learning and practicing on a regular basis, and you can too.

I am learning and practicing on a regular basis, and you can too.

A few pictures of my previous konmari adventures.

Now for the kid stuff…

Here are some tips and tricks to help you navigate going through all the kid stuff! Also, one great thing about the konmari method is you will find you probably have all the space and storage products you need, because you will end up having so much less stuff. Let’s go!

  1. Do it as a family on a weekend day you are all home.
  2. Have someone to hold you accountable (I am weird with toys)
  3. Remove the toys you know are their favorites.
  4. Don’t ask your kids what they want to keep, because they will say everything , instead find two items that are similar and ask them to pick between them. Ask, “which one do you want more?” This truly worked so well with my kids, ages 2 &3. I thought there would be resistance on their part, but when I approached it this way, it all worked out.
  5. Explain you are sharing your things with others who may need it.
  6. Immediately put it in the car. Otherwise the clutter will re-enter circulation.
  7. Do kids clothes on your own.
  8. Store seasonal items elsewhere (contrary to konmari advice )
  9. If you are saving the clothes your kids grew out of, in the hopes you will use them for future children, think about going giving some away to someone in need, who could be using them now.
  10. Try to store toys in their closet, or some other closet in smaller containers, by type and only get a few out at a time. You will see you actually can walk across the room again safely, and it will make cleanup much simpler and playtime more fun.

Instead, find two items that are similar and ask, “which one do you want more?”

Take a look at that pile! And this is when I only had one baby!
The containers you see here are from Dollar Tree.
This is a hamper that I already had the was no longer being used.

So tell me, do you have any tips and tricks for de-cluttering your children’s items?

Overcome Resentment Toward Your Husband

Ever since I read, “The Surrendered Wife“, I’ve been very in tune to what I see around me. And you know what I see? So many of us women resent our husbands, and ACCEPT that that’s the way things are (especially after children). And you know what? I get it! Because I am human too. But I also have hope that it isn’t the way things have to be.

Disclaimer: This post is intended for women in relationships that have the everyday kind of frustrations. It is NOT intended for women in relationships with someone who is abusive, struggling with an active addiction, mental illness, or some other severe problem. Obviously, learning some new relationship skills would not be enough to improve the relationship and outside help would be necessary.

But first, a story and a video

Picture this, my husband gets from work, I’m busy making dinner. We get dinner on the table and I see the kids need to wash their hands, so I take it upon myself to get them to do it even though I am DONE. But, I think of my husband and how tired he must be so I do it. And I keep going.

And going.

And going.

After dinner the kids need a bath, and they need to brush their teeth, and read a story…and meanwhile my husband is relaxing, looking at his phone and I feel angry towards him even though I am trying to be a “good wife”.

Sound familiar?

I think many of us women worry so much about what other people are feeling and thinking, when we should first and foremost be tuned in to our own feelings. It is not selfish, it is practical so we can keep on loving at our best. We can only run on empty for so long before we blow up. It’s wonderful if your husband just knows to take over with the kids automatically, but if he doesn’t don’t let that be your excuse to keep things the way they are. You can’t hold your husband accountable for your emotional state. You are the master of your own happiness. When you do everything, you send the message to your husband that you don’t need his help, and he listens.

“You can’t hold your husband accountable for your emotional state. You are the master of your own happiness.”

The ways she behaves in this video I can so relate to. When she tells her kids to clean up their toys, then to go play with them, and then to clean them up again. And oh man, when her husband asked her for a glass of iced tea. Ha! It’s a long video, but even if you just listen to it while you are working on something else, it is worth it.

After surrendering

Imagine this scenario, your husband gets home from work and you had a long hard day. You warmly greet him and tell him that you are going to take a break in the bedroom. You come out refreshed, you have dinner, and when your kids ask things at the dinner table you defer them to your husband, so you can just STOP TALKING. I know it’s hard, because it means you will have to trust your husband’s leadership. There is a time and place to disagree, but if it’s over how many bites of broccoli and chicken Timmy has to eat before he leaves the table, I think you can let your husband take this one and it won’t jeopardize all the “enlightened parenting” you have done.

After dinner, you go take a shower and wash your face. You come out to find the dishes are done. You decide you are not up to giving the kids a bath, so you say “I can’t”, and retreat to your bedroom. Your husband does the whole bedtime routine, without you nagging him, and only calls on you to come kiss them goodnight. You are delighted and you receive his help graciously. Your husband strengthens his bond with the children, feels respected, and gets to have the honor of pleasing you.

“You are delighted and you receive his help graciously. “

So, are you a resentful wife or a surrendered wife?

Have you ever found yourself:

  • Irritated towards your husband and you don’t know why
  • Less attracted to your husband
  • Annoyed about all the little things, like forgetting to put his socks in the hamper
  • Frustrated at his lack of ambition
  • Lonely because he’d rather watch T.V. or stare at his phone than be with you
  • Angry with his lack of support with the kids
  • Wishing he’d help out more around the house
  • Feeling like you have to keep going and going like the energizer bunny because your husband won’t do it.
  • You don’t extend any grace when he is sick or tired. It’s as if you think he “has no right”

Practical ways to transition from resentment to intimacy

Here are some practical ideas for you to regain intimacy with your husband. I turn to them again and again

  • Acceptance. Accept reality. Accept that your husband may never put his underwear in the hamper consistently, even though he knows it bothers you. We are all human, and have bad habits and we can all be careless at times. I know I can be!
  • When you flip out about something small your husband is doing that normally wouldn’t bother you, this is usually a red herring that you need some self care. Go take a nap, a shower, call a friend. If whatever it is is still bothering you after that, then address it when you are in the right state of mind.
  • I don’t know exactly who this quote is from, I think it is Saint Paul, but let  “Seek to outdo one another in generosity” be your mantra. If you have this mindset you won’t be so worried about what your husband is or is not doing, anyway. Also, check this out.
  • Keep your eyes on your page. No peaking at his page! Reflect on your own shortcomings and try to improve. Reflect on your husbands strengths more than you ruminate on his weaknesses. Accentuate the positive.
  • Practice gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal. Thank your husband for all the little things he does.
  • Say “I can’t”when you are too tired or overwhelmed to do something. Practice vulnerability.
  • Practice personal responsibility – he’s not responsible for your happiness, you are.

For more ideas, I highly recommend reading either The Surrendered Wife, or the Empowered Wife. Both are written by the same author. I prefer the Surrendered Wife because it has more specific scenarios. The Empowered Wife is like the updated version.

Even though you may nag your husband at times, become resentful, or disrespectful, you CAN make progress toward being the kind of wife you want to be. Even though your husband may be more distant than he used to be, you CAN restore the intimacy you once shared. Thank God, there’s hope!

Currently Enjoying January 2019 and Where I Have Been

If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t posted in awhile. That’s because we have all had terrible colds and, Christmas. My husband was on Christmas vacation , which was such a blessing, but it also meant we weren’t on our usual routine. December was all about Christmas preparations and doctors visits. I think we went to the doctor 5 times and to the emergency room once (!). My poor son hurt his ear.

Aside from telling you where I have been, I just wanted to share some things I have been enjoying lately.

Guide to Catholic Home Education

My new homeschooling friend let me borrow this book. I’m loving it so far! It is answering all of the questions I have about homeschooling.

How To Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind

This book is brilliant. For anyone who struggles with home management but loves projects that have a clear start and finish (artists are usually this way), this book is for you. Even though I have made much progress in the area of home management, it helped me understand why my brain works the way it does and why cleaning and organizing have been such a struggle. Also, check out her blog!

Having a Laundry Day

I now have a laundry day instead of doing some laundry every day as I posted here. I got the idea from the book I just mentioned above, and I decided to try it out as an experiment. I must say I love the sense of completion that doing all the laundry in one day has, and I love not having to think about it the rest of the days. I feel as though I have more time and I don’t have piles of clothes that need to be put away.

Image result for laundry day

The Dad Project
Image result for dad project podcAST

I’ve really been enjoying this podcast – I found it from Kendra Tierney, the blogger of Catholic All Year. Her husband is one the “”podcasters”. I really like what her husband has to say about creating a family culture and avoiding the craziness in the teenage years by starting the way you want to finish. They start discipline with their children as early as when the baby can crawl – wow!

Ben Shapiro Interview with Bishop Baron

With these two brilliant guys together, you know it’s got to be good.

How To Blog For Profit Without Losing Your Soul

This book was recommended by a blogger I found online who didn’t want to pay the high price for “The Elite Blogging Academy”. Apparently it has all the same information! It’s on my wish list.

Sourdough Roast Beef Sandwich

Quick recipe for a great sandwich. Sourdough, horse radish spread, roast beef, smoked Gouda, spinach, tomato, red onion. You’re welcome.

Some other interesting finds:

Very compelling conversion story.

Saint Names Generator– Jennifer Fulwiler created this cool site that helps you find your saint of the year.

Taylor Marshall Goals- I loved this post and especially the podcast he did about goals. He makes a good point that you should set goals in areas you need to work on, while maintaining where you are doing well.

Our New Nativity Set

You can find it on amazon! Just click the image.

False Eye Lashes

I got some false eye lashes at Grocery Outlet of all places and I have been having fun with them. This isn’t the exact brand I got but I like these and they are a good price. I recommend trimming the inner corners for a more natural look.

Netflix Shows
Image result for series of unfortunate events season 3

I greatly enjoy mystery and fantasy and just great stories and this show fits the bill.
I’m a huge fan of the Konmari method so you can bet it didn’t take me long to watch the first season of this show. It inspired me to “konmari” my kid’s toys which is difficult for me; I got rid of 3 bags!
I have been enjoying layering sweaters and dresses over my chambray shirt, as well as over my black turtleneck. It gives my outfits a quirky vibe while at the same time adding warmth.

What about you? What have you been enjoying lately? I’d love to know in the comments below!