DON'T MISS OUT!

Ordinary Days

I am attempting to get into a rather regular schedule with every facet of my life and sometimes I feel like I am failing miserably. Cleaning, exercising, planning, cooking, painting, walking, friends, kids stuff, appointments-you would think it would be easier with no little guys at home, but it seems like sometimes I am a kite in the wind with no weight at the end of the it.  Maybe it's the constant changes this year, but I am getting there-I WILL get there where I can accomplish what I want to and need to with a calm consistency.  I used to fall right into some sort of schedule when school began-not so this year.  But 2020-in more ways than Covid-has been "a year".

My sweet little twin who is always right next to me and has been for 8 years now.  As much as we can be.  

I painted this table for a friend and it was a fun project. I am all caught up in my projects right now and that feels good.

When I'm alone in the evening, Sammy and I sometimes take a ride to watch the sunset.  He loves it - the breeze on his face and all the attention he gets at the park.  Sammy is 13 now and slowing down-he sleeps a lot and can't hear a thing but he still chases the kids like he did when he was a puppy.

Sweet little girl with the crazy blond hair.

Or the scary dog face.

Sent Matt off to school in covid-land, that's what college campuses are right now aren't they?  And those college kids just want to be there, and I get that.  Little risk for them to get really sick, get it over with, and stay there, don't come back home with it. 

Our back to school tradition at the apple orchard that doesn't involve apples, just donuts, is the best.

Cuties.  I remember each of them watching the bus leave as babies, with their older siblings on board. 

I'll always love this photo even though we all look a little weird.  I love being a mom more than anything in the whole world. Nothing has bought me more joy.  I think it was easier than ever back then before social media and too much advice and ideas and comparisons and being pulled by too much information. 

One kids favorite birthday present of all time.

The birthday dress Grammy sent.  

A small simple party with close friends to celebrate Janey turning eight.  

She wanted the same exact shoes in one size larger and was so excited when they were delivered.

We went to the bookstore to buy one book and take lots of photos for books to "order" from the library.  I wish I could just buy them all.  I think that is one thing I need to do before I die.  Go to a bookstore and just splurge.  Like twenty books all for me brand new and fresh one summer.  Whatever looks good.   Wouldn't that be a dream come true?  

September night sky.

Lots of birthdays in August and September.   Phew, it's always so busy these months and although it's easier when they are older, I always feel like "I did it!" when it comes to the end.  26, 24, 21, 17, 12, and 8 as of today.  

Apple Pie Dump Cake


I had never heard of a "dump cake" until a bunch of them showed up in my feed on Pinterest and thought I'd give one a try.  Such an easy dessert to whip together at the last minute for your family (I halved the recipe below) or to bring to a family gathering or potluck.  It seems there are SO many versions of these dump cakes.  The one that I chose and adapted is very simple.

A Few Of My Favorite Things

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things, summer edition!

HOME:

I did a "how I clean" series on my Instagram stories and shared some of the things I used and many of you had questions about the vacuum I was using.


Shark Navigator Deluxe Upright Corded Bagless Vacuum for Carpet and Hard Floor with Anti-Allergy Seal (NV42), Champagne

Shark Navigator Deluxe Upright-$149.99

My vacuum.  I used to have a Dyson and loved it but it broke.  I bought a cheaper vacuum and it is an actual improvement on the Dyson.  I love that all the pieces and parts can come and part and be cleaned.  There are a couple of filters for dust that can be washed in soap and water, all the hose attachments can be removed and this vacuum sucks the living daylights out of my carpets.

I have tried the more expensive version of this Navigator (it's called a Lift Away-I garbage picked it) and I didn't like it as much as this older model.


Siga Microfiber Cleaning Cloths-$10.99

These clothes will last a lifetime and are worth it.  I also LOVE these microfibers.  I have the ultra cheap ones but always reach for these because they are thicker and just work better.

Thinking, Playing, Reading


Thinking:


I usually link to a good essay or enlightening post from the internet in my "thinking" section but I've chosen to spend this summer just focusing hard on what I know to be true and quieting the outside world even more.  Not that it's "bad" at all-so many intelligent opinions and shared experiences and knowledge but sometimes I feel it's good to take a break and listen to our souls-what we already know is true, and what we have already learned - and to trust in our own experiences and those face to face serendipitous conversations with real people.

Blueberry or Raspberry Lemon Muffins


These muffins are easy and delicious.  If you don't have lemon extract, use vanilla, and if you don't have half-and-half cream use milk.  I almost always put all the dry ingredients and wet ingredients into my mixer at once to make it easier, but add fruit last and just mix gently. They will still be delicious!

Joy


Have you ever made a list of the things that bring you joy?  That make you feel good?  Or the things you want right now to happen in your life?

I recently did this and came up with a list of about twelve things, everything from very difficult things that will take time and help from others to work through, and little things that will take discipline, and other things that just take me carving out time.  

Empathy And Motherhood




I am guilty. I am guilty of never imagining what it would be like to send my sons on an errand, and to be nervous about the hate they could encounter walking out the door, down a street and into a store. I’m guilty of never thinking what it would be like to constantly remind my teenage sons what to do if they get pulled over when driving-I expect fairness and safe encounters with those in power. I am guilty of never imagining what it feels like to be a mother whose child comes home crying because of cruel comments made about the color of their skin, or being treated differently in a classroom because of something as trivial as that.

Little Gifts



When I hear Janey wake up after a long nap, I "spy" on her.  I can peek through the door and see her sitting in her crib looking around.  Sometimes she will play with one of the three little bunnies she has in her crib, but mostly she just wakes up slowly, and looks at things around the room.
It is just about the cutest thing ever.

Scars and Salve



I have neglected this blog in favor of Instagram and I do not want to do that.  The computer is often being used for school work right now and the house is busy and loud and not conducive to writing.

I am enjoying having the kids home so much.  I know some of them would much rather be in school (college in spring, HELLO!!!) but we seem to be figuring out how to all live together as we go, with fits and starts and little breakdowns and fun too.  Adjusting to a new normal I guess and the process of adjusting isn't always smooth but there is camaraderie-that which is love-in that also if that makes sense.

Thank You


Thank you for all your kind words.  I appreciate them so much.  I am slowly gaining my footing in this new world that I find myself in, but there are times when I feel little confidence and fear can overcome me.  But when I look back and I see how far I have come from the beginning of being completely broken I know I am moving forward. 

Hope


Today I celebrate two years out from my last chemo treatment, cancer free.  

Seven months before that last chemo day my life changed so dramatically it still seems like that person I once was, has died, and I’ve had to remake myself from scratch.  My brain broken from emotional trauma , and then chemo that made it all worse, my heart shattered by the husband I loved,  my body fed poison to overpower the poison that was growing inside.  My life blew up.  

Tips For Schooling Children At Home And A Request



I am NOT a homeschool mom.  I have dreamed about it and read about it, but have never dove in for a plethora of reasons, some of them that ended up being heaven sent (like homeschooling during a year of cancer? NO!).

BUT that means if you are home trying to make this new thing work, I get it.  I'm there too.  And with six kids, I've also been a manager of a busy household, helped with homework all the time, and had multiple ages all needing my attention.

40 Bags in 40 Days-Post Six

I had a busy weekend with surprise visitors so I took a break from my rampage through the house.

Matt's room (well when he's home from college) was up next.  It's a little room so pretty easy.  EXCEPT that I got carried away when I started cleaning and realized how bad the trim and doors needed to be painted.  I had the house painted a few years ago but we skipped this room because it will full of Legos and lizards and lots of things.

I whipped out the paint and drop cloths and painted the trim in one day-the same day I repainted the desk. (Remember I have NO kids home during the day-they are all at school)!  Doing this slowed me down a little bit also.  But the room looks SO fresh and clean.

Keep in mind that with photos show a room I just cleaned and that no one for this minute lives in.  Matt is coming home from spring break, so Andrew moved into the "boy's room".  Which is up next for me to tackle.  Maybe I should post a pic of what this room looks like after a college kid comes home.  Eeeek!

All furniture in here was free from various sources.

40 Bags in 40 Days-Post Four

Janey's room!  For those new here Janey is seven.  Her room is the perfect size and she has a great closet.


Bed was a Craigslist find that I painted and wicker end table to given to me by a friend that was moving.  Her pictures are from a book I had when I was younger-I bought a used copy and chose a morning prayer to frame.
The curtains are made out of two cotto tablecloths I found at TJ Maxx at Easter time-they have pink stitching.

Triple Negative Breast Cancer Awareness Day


Today is Triple Negative Breast Cancer Awareness Day~March 3rd~I bet you didn't know that!

I am almost two years out (celebrating March 30) from my last chemo treatments. It seems like ages ago. My hair grew back, my body is strong, but I’m still not sure I even processed the whole experience. For awhile I couldn’t even talk about it. But I knew with time I would be able to help others - I know we are called to do that with the crosses we bear.

40 Bags in 40 Days-Post Three

What a dreary Monday we are having here, but the sun and temps look great for the week. 

Up next for today's 40 Bags is my closet.  

I don't like a lot of clothes and shoes and find myself wearing the same things again and again.  As a stay at home mom, I seem to always have had a "uniform" depending on what the fashion is.  It went from leggings, to khakis, to yoga pants, back to leggings again!  With jeans mixed in and a few dress up things.  Cotton sweaters and tops.  Shorts and easy dresses in the summer. 

I am the same with jewelry.  Less is more for me.

I always say the more I simplify the more I use what I have.  SO true with clothes.  And I LOVE cleaning out closets. Call me if you need my help! :)

Tips at the end of the post...




I am a size 10.5 and so I have to order my shoes online almost always.  Therefore-less shoes, because that is a pain!  I also have another area for shoes at the front of the closet.

40 Bags in 40 Days-Post One

Hi Everyone!

I have had many requests to bring back my 40 Day posts so I am starting from scratch with them today.

For those who don't know what the premise is, it is to spring clean slowly, discarding clutter, giving away what we don't use or need, with the goal of having a fresh, clean, new beginning at Easter.

Sort of what we are supposed to do to our soul during Lent, but we are doing it in our homes also.

Supplies:


Garbage bags or grocery bags.  Whatever size is appropriate depending on an estimate of how badly our houses need it.  Black garbage bags are sometimes preferred when little children are present in the house and don't need to suddenly love the toy they haven't touched in two years that you are donating.

One bag is used for donations, one bag is used for garbage.