Hunker Down Days

Today I woke up with plans to clean the entire house top to bottom-a winter-post-Christmas clean, because it needs it, and I need to feel that 'house-is-clean' clearing of mind.

I made it about 2/3rds through before I ran out of time, even though I worked non-stop (I did stop about 10 minutes to wolf down 2 bananas and an entire bag of sweet potato chips and to fix Janey some food).

This is what I did:

-Straightened up our master closet-didn't really need weeding out-and vacuumed well.
-Sorted through socks and underwear house-wide.  This means that every sock in my house right now has a pair and the ones that don't are goners.
-Washed all bedding in Janey's room and straightened books and toys. (The toy part was undone quickly.)
-Straightened up Janey's closet and labeled her 3 bags of hand-me-downs.
-Did the same (straightened, weeding out, vacuumed, dusted, wiped down) with the three other kid's rooms.  Only one needed blankets/sheets changed.
-Cleaned both upstairs bathrooms thoroughly.
-Washed (bleached) and dried all kid's room towels and threw in the kitchen towels too.
-Wiped down and vacuumed living room.
-Wiped down furniture and cleaned the wood floor and all woodwork up to the kitchen.
-Hung some framed prints in the den.

I can't believe how dusty my house was, and I will blame it on the constant furnace usage since it's been so cold here.

I have a couple bigger projects to do upstairs so I had a list to make of things for other days (sewing curtains, touching up paint, hanging a few pics, etc.)  It ends up being quite a long list that will take me through the winter I'm sure (if I stay organized and actually complete it!)

I plan to tackle the rest of the house as quickly as possible tomorrow morning and then start with my list.

In other news, January ordinary days:

Lunch at the ski slope with Dad. That food! That is called Dad food.

We did our resolutions. I had to take a pic of Andrew's because of #4.  He is trying to not to get annoyed so much but the open mouth chewing thing-he said, "Mom, no way I can't do it, it just makes me crazy, it will always bug me." 

Abbey at the ski slope.  All the kids went but Janey of course.  (We stayed home.) I laughed hearing about Isaac and Abbey trying to take pics of each other and how often they ran into each other doing so and got themselves into hysterics.  

One of my resolutions is to celebrate Catholic feast days/holy days. I had planned to make something fancier that I had found on a blog and didn't have the time/energy and just settled for apple pie.  You can laugh, everyone else did (including me.)  It's for Twelfth Night by the way.

A half-hearted attempt at celebrating or at least embracing winter. 
Janey loves it, that's enough for me.

I don't know how she talked me into it, but we made cut-out cookies again. This time stars for Epiphany. (But we made them on Friday and they were gone by Epiphany Sunday so they sort of lost their meaning.)

Basketball games galore-Andrew is #45-they lost this very close game, but he played hard.

 Abbey sadly went back to college and it was an emotional goodbye as she is STILL sick and we never made it to the third! drs. visit darnit.  It's not fun dropping a sick kid off at college, especially when she had a job interview that day and a full day of classes the next.  We stopped at Cheesecake Factory for lunch and of course I had to buy her a cheesecake to take to her dorm.
I took her shopping for a "professional outfit" before she left and we ended putting together an outfit including shoes for under $60.  Which was great because I know she is going to wear it all as seldom as possible the rest of college.
I am always on board for being the one who drops off/picks up college kids-the time in the car alone in priceless.  

These two before Patrick left for school-he'd rather stay home every day, and she would rather have him stay home and play with her.  I think they both might get their wish as a bunch of snow is predicted tonight.

P.S. I corrected about 10 typos two hours after I published this post and had the time to carefully reread it.  I know this is not unusual, but it still embarrasses me.


  1. I enjoy reading about how you clean and organize your home... I would love to hear some of your thoughts on what to do with the littles that are still home and under foot on the days we need to "hunker down" and get things back in order. I sometimes find myself, while feeling good about what I accomplish, feeling guilty that I didn't spend the day in activity with the kids. I find they watch a lot of videos on these days! Any ideas for them or tips on how to handle that guilt? I certainly know that guilt doesn't come from God.

    1. Hi Jackie (and Pam!)-
      It's funny you ask because I really expected to say yes to Janey watching a movie or several episodes of Daniel Tiger when I started my process, but after her one show, she came up and "helped" me. Usually she just follows me around or goes into her room and plays. I want you to know though that she also got into her sister's underbed storage and spread all over her room some very organized American Girl clothes (that she is not ready for)-like you couldn't see the carpet. So I have this thing in my head where I say "two steps up, one step back" and with some kids it was "one step up, one step back". If I did this sort of work every day, I would start to feel guilty. But I don't, and this work has to be done. I am home with her, I am present to her if there is a problem or she needs something to do (she helped me mop, painted, etc) I have to keep a clean and straightened home and I think it's important for the kids to see us accomplish homemaking chores. Think of the olden days when basically this is ALL the moms had to do-make and bake bread, hand wash the laundry, etc. So don't feel guilty, just space out the intense day-every once in awhile an intense day is just needed, even if we have a good cleaning schedule and live in orderly homes.

    2. I love your cleaning list! Thank you! So inspiring to me because deep cleaning is not one of my skills (or maybe I should say it's just not on my radar, and the dust/dirt creeps up on me. Do you do it all in one 'go', over several hours, or do you take scheduled breaks a la Flylady? I have already sworn off all cell phone use until noon, hoping that will help me be less distracted.

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  3. I'm impressed you make time to blog. Typos don't bother me. But I understand getting embarresed when it happens. Keep writing. You just inspired me to get back to blogging. Typos and all.

  4. I love reading about how you organize/clean, I realize this makes me weird! My house needed a huge purge so I started your 40 bags/40 days early with the intention of being done by my birthday in February. Once I had a few areas done I was so encouraged that I plowed through and now I am all set to finish by January 30:) Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Same question as Jackie above....I have a 2 1/2 year old at home, and I just can't make myself work all day. Seems like it's not fair to him, and he wants my attention. When I had multiple kids at home, it was much easier because they entertained each other. With only one home, it's tough!

    And I am so glad to read that my kids are not the only "vultures" (what I call them) when it comes to treats--I got so mad after Christmas because I made Christmas cookies this year-only the week before Christmas, and then put them in the freezer (which I have always done). Now they are old enough that they are going in the freezer (which is in the basement- so I never see or hear them) all the time, without asking and stealing cookies. They just have no restraint. I can't tell who it is, there's too many of them that do it! We have 5 teens, ages 18-13, 10 year old, and 2 year old. It was super frustrating. I am not sure what to do except just make cookies and expect them to be gone in a few days. It just frustrates me because it's not like they don't ever get sweets. They do! Anyway, I guess it's a big family problem!

  6. Hi Sarah - I love reading about your cleaning and organizing! Don't you feel so accomplished when it's done! I must say, though, I find cleaning and organizing as a form of therapy! As much as I love the end result, I equally love the act of cleaning and organizing! As Angela S wrote above...I realize this makes me weird!! I love your blog! Thanks for keeping it up!!

  7. I am seriously drooling over the list of all you got accomplished! I have 5 little ones at home (and am trying to embrace this season) but you got more accomplished in one day than I will get done all year :)

    1. Kelly, that's ok, in the end it's more important to embrace the season. I DO think though that I learned from having lots of babies, some of them fussy, and then with other demands of kids, to work super super fast. I do sprints, not long leisurely cleans. Knowing that it would be an hour before everyone lost it, or the baby needed nursing, would make me just fly through the upstairs. I don't go for perfection at all, I go for less clutter, and more organization. Since I really keep clutter out and weed things out here and there-that less is more philosophy-things are easier and quicker to keep cleaned.
      But if you know you can't do it this way, because everyone is different (my husband could never do a fast clean!!!-then don't, and just keep going as you are and be happy with the way you are doing it-that's more important than anything for moms at home with little ones. :)

  8. Sarah, how do you like to keep your wood floors clean? I like what you say about allowing the little ones to watch you/participate while you keep house. I think those are important skills, and you're right - we're right there when we're needed. Thanks!

    1. I use the kind of mop that has a removable pad that velcros to the bottom and just water:

      I don't really use the sprayer much, I just wet the pads in the hottest water I can stand on my hands and then squeeze a little, throw the pad down, stick the mop handle on top and do that. I might rewet once for the amount of wood floors I have. I push all the debris into a corner and then take a paper towel and clean that up.

  9. Your blog and posts are wonderful--so helpful and encouraging! The content and and message are what matter, so don't sweat the typos--and I used to be an editor. Your energy, organization, love of children, devotion to family, and old-fashioned values are a testament to a world that sometimes seems to be vanishing. Just want you to know how much I, and obviously others, appreciate what you contribute to an online world that contains so many negatives. Happy New Year to you and your family!

  10. Sarah, I would LOVE to know your $60 professional outfit for Abby. My Clare is nearing 17 and needing that outfit, but like Abby, will only wear it a few times in the next 1 1/2 years. I was thinking I had to drop a few hundred for a 'suit' for her. Thanks, Chrissy

    1. Hi Christina-We were really lucky-we found a skirt and a blouse on clearance at Loft, plus there was a percentage off clearance that made them dirt cheap. Nylons at Target. We found heels at DSW and I had a $10 off coupon. It's not a "suit" really-since there is no blazer, but I think she can get away with more casual as is the trend, and she is going to job fairs and internship interviews to start off. I would check Loft-we found nothing at TJ Maxx and I think the skirt/blouse outfit was more comfortable for her than a dress (it's hard to find a professional looking dress that they like at this age anyways, without it being too trendy.)