Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

2 Thumbs Up

It's shocking that this week's 2 Thumbs Up hasn't happened sooner, but I thought of it earlier this week and realized it's quite necessary to post this immediately.  

This is such a great resource for almost anything home related (inside and out).  And if you don't care to or have the time to watch TV, the HGTV web site is just as great (if not better).  I use the web site for inspiration and direction very often.  Check it out!

~ Carrie ~

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Home Pick

Since I successfully completed my 21 Days of Organizing, I have not decided to take a break from household chores.  Actually, with all the rain we've had (along with most of the rest of the country, it seems) I thought I should probably take advantage of the time that I was mostly stuck inside.  What did I do?  I cleaned my floors.  Thus, this week's home pick.

We have an area rug in our living room and one bedroom that is carpeted.  The rest of the house is either hardwood or tile.  When we first moved into our home I was a little overwhelmed with how to care for these nice hardwood floors.  I didn't think I had too many options, so I just purchased a mop system for hardwood floors.  Special pads (that could be used a few times) had to be purchased, as well as a special cleaning solution.  Done.

It worked well.  The thing was, I hated the way it smelled.  It was orange-ish, and strong!  And the smell lasted a long time.  Within a couple months of using this mopping system, my son started crawling and I was now paranoid about all the cleaner I'd just polished my floors with as he went crawling and then shoving his hands in his mouth.  The other thing was that it could only be used on hardwood floors, so I had to use something different to clean both my bathroom floors.  Needless to say, I wasn't satisfied with my choice, but dealt with it for a while.  

Last August I purchased a Shark Steam Pocket Mop and I love it!  I can use it on my hardwoods and tile.  It can go anywhere, any corner, in any direction.  It doesn't require any cleaning solutions - just water.  It doesn't make my house smell like anything but my house (which I happen to like).  I don't have to wait any more than a minute for it to dry.  AND it works great!  If you have a lot of hard floors (wood, tile, linoleum) I would definitely recommend getting one.  If you know someone who has one, try it out to see how you like it.  Shark Steam Mops are found in several retail stores including Kohl's and Target.  

~ Carrie ~

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Newest American Idol?

What do you think about most often?  What do you daydream about?  What preoccupies or obsesses you?  In the morning, to what does your mind drift instinctively?

What would bring you the greatest pleasure, happiness, and delight?  The greatest pain or misery?

What makes you say, “I couldn’t live without that…”?

How do you spend your time?  What are your priorities?

What makes you say, “I’d give anything to have (or not have) that…”?

What are your plans, agendas, strategies, and intentions designed to accomplish?

On your deathbed, what would sum up your life as worthwhile?  What gives your life meaning?

Where do you find your identity?  How do you define who you are?

Some (or most) of these questions may be difficult to answer.  If you’re a wife and mom, you may find that if you are truly honest with yourself the answers to many of these questions in some way revolve around your husband, children, or home. 

We live in a world full of soccer moms, snack moms, pageant moms, creative moms, dance moms, cool moms, and flat out super moms.  Where does the godly mom fit into all this? 

These questions (in addition to others) were a part of my husband’s sermon on Sunday that was a part of a series called “Knowing and Fighting our Idols.”  (The questions were adapted from David Powlison's "X-Ray Questions" in Seeing With New Eyes, pp.129-143)  Idols aren’t something that we think of being major struggles in our life (let alone specifically in our homes).  We’re not worshipping golden calves or anything!  So how do you know when something is becoming an idol?  There’s no set of rules or indicators.  There’s no amount of time that you can spend or not spend.  There’s no set number of activities.  It comes down to your heart. 

            The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
            the world, and all who live in it;
            For he founded it on the seas
            and established it on the waters.

            Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD?
            Who may stand in his holy place?
            The one who has clean hands a pure heart,
            who does not trust in an idol
            or swear by a false god.
            They will receive blessing from the LORD
            and vindication from God their Savior. 
            Such is the generation of those who seek him,
            who seek your face, God of Jacob. 

            Lift up your heads, you gates;
            Be lifted up, you ancient doors,
            that the King of glory may come in.
            Who is this King of glory?
            The LORD strong and mighty,
            the LORD mighty in battle.
            Lift up your heads, you gates;
            Lift them up, you ancient doors,
            that the King of glory may come in.
            Who is he, this King of glory?
            The LORD Almighty-
            he is the King of glory.
                                                                        Psalm 24

Being a mom is wonderful.  Allowing the desire to be a mom or the duties of being a mom to overshadow the worship that my God – who is the Creator of “the world, and all who live in it” – is due is an idol.  My prayer is that in all that I do each day what people see when they look at me is not a mom, wife, cook, maid, or decorator.  My prayer is that they see my hope that is in Christ.   I may be Jadon’s mom, and I may be Andy’s wife, but first and foremost I am a child of God.  I want to live my life in a way that makes this statement loud and clear.  My love, trust, and obedience rest in Him. 

~ Carrie ~

Friday, May 20, 2011

5 Steps to Survive Target with a Little One

...or Wal-mart or any store for the most part.  

I try to do most of my errands on one day during the week.  This week, however, (due to my involvement in a nursery renovation at our church) I have lost track how many times I've been to Target - sad, but true.  So, I may not be an expert (especially considering I only have one child), but I feel like I really know how to make it through Target only getting what is on my list and without a child who is screaming from beginning to end.  Here's what I've learned so far...

  • Make a list, even if it’s “just a few things” (I’m known for saying this).  If you know your store well enough then make your list according to where each item is located. 
  • Decide where to park.  If your store has two entrances, figure out ahead of time which entrance makes the most sense to park closest to. 
  • Select your mode of transportation – not for how to get to the store, but rather for while you are in the store.  Stroller, shopping cart, or cadillac shopping cart (you know, those huge ones that multiple children can ride in)?  Consider what is on your list and what your children can handle.  My son enjoys riding in the big part of the shopping cart, so if I can fit everything around him then I do it!
  • Avoid areas that are a weakness for your children, if at all possible.  Toys, books, movies, clothes, video games, whatever it may be – try to stay as far away from those areas as possible. 
  • Avoid areas that are a weakness for you.  If I can admit it, so can you.  Mine are the dollar spot and clothing clearance racks (in pretty much any department).  If you want to get out quick and with only what’s on your list, just don’t go there. 
  •  Little helper.  Let you child be a little helper by handing over the list for safekeeping or hand items to your child to then place in the cart (I do this all the time in the grocery store – except with the eggs!).
  • Hide and seek.  Try playing a game while going throughout the store, such as list hide and seek.  Say what the next item is on the list and have your child start looking for it. 
  • I spy.  Look ahead to see what you will be passing by.  Pretty much any store is great for playing I Spy.   
  • Keep moving. Recognize when children get restless and just keep moving.  Even if it means you do a couple of laps up and down a few aisles, sometimes it helps! 
  • Musical Chairs.  Switch seats.  Walking, riding, hanging off the side of the cart – whatever you feel comfortable with!
  • Last resort. If you sense your crew is growing restless, steer your ship to the book section.  This has saved me more than once.  The opportunity to pick out one new book just to look at (not to buy) for a few minutes may just be enough to get you to the end of your shopping adventure. 
  • Plan shopping trips on days when there’s nothing else going on.  I try to avoid any major shopping trips on already full days, not only for the sake of my son, but also for me!  If it’s already been a long, frustrating morning, how patient am I really going to be with him while trying to get everything on my list in Target? 
  • Shopping with your children is good for them.  Yes, it’s easier to do your shopping without the kids, but it’s also valuable for kids to learn how to behave in a store (even though they won’t always be perfect).  If you have more than one child, just bring one and leave the others with dad or grandparents. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

2 Thumbs Up

This is a blog I read last week (by the recommendation of my husband) written by Kevin DeYoung that had me laughing out loud at several points. I appreciate a Christian pastor/writer who cuts to the chase, has a firm grasp on reality and a sense of humor. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

~ Carrie ~

21 Day Organizing Challenge - Week 3 (ish)

Well, it's official - the 21 Day Organizing Challenge is complete!  Last week actually should have been the last week, but life got unexpectedly busy for our family so it didn't happen.  So, here is my final week!  (There aren't as many pictures as in prior weeks...)

Day 15 - Medicine/Vitamin Storage

All of my medicine and vitamin storage was done on days 4 (linen closet) and 13 (medicine cabinets).  I don't know where anyone else would store these items!  This was a welcomed moment to see that I already had this done!  

Day 16 - The Fridge

This was a job that I had been putting off for some time (I won't share how long, but let's just say that I'm lucky it wasn't worse than it was!).  Several years ago I spent much of one summer cleaning the grossest refrigerators you can imagine.  In fact, one refrigerator had to be disposed of because there was so much stuff growing in it that there was no hope of ever getting it properly cleaned and disinfected!  Thankfully, my refrigerator was nowhere near like that, but it got worse than I ever let it.  



Day 17 - The Mail

We may be some of those rare families who don't have mail piling up.  We're pretty good at throwing out junk mail and newspapers.  The only real problem we have is in filing away bills, statements, and important documents.  We have a basket that sits on top of our 2-drawer filing cabinet that collects all of these things until it's so full that we are forced to file.  (Hey, it may not be ideal, but it works for us!)  Way back on day 1 of this challenge (the desk) I took the opportunity to go through this basket and file away.  It's stayed pretty empty, too!  There really isn't anything to see as far as before and after, but here is a picture of the basket!  
Day 18 - Keepsakes (My Craft Supplies)

This was the biggest project of the entire 3 weeks.  Over the past couple of years I've gotten more in touch with my crafty side.  I've been into scrabooking for a while, but am now branching out now that I've got a basic handle on my sewing machine.  After some major scrapbooking accomplishments over the past few months, in addition to a few other projects, my craft supply was... a huge wreck.  :( 


So the problem was not so much a lack of storage space as it was a lack of organization.  Now everything has its place and looks so wonderful.  It makes me want to go do something crafty (and put it all away in its spot!).  Props to my hubby for putting the shelves in the closet - at his suggestion!  No joke, he suggested it one morning and the shelves were installed that night!  So great!  


The only items purchased for this reorganization was the wood for the shelves and the baskets for my scrapbooking supplies ($1 each from the dollar spot in Target).  Everything else I already had.  The white container on the big cabinet is holding all of my fabric.  I decided it would be a good place to put my sewing basket.  The craft table in the closet is easy to pull out when I'm ready to craft and saves valuable space in our basement playroom.  I LOVE this!

Day 19 - Master Closet

This was easy... just some quick tidying.  I tackled this on my own accord a few months ago (since I was feeling guilty that there were still a couple of boxes in there that had not been unpacked from when we moved in over a year and a half ago!).  No pics of my closet, but it's looking good!  

Day 20 - Photos

I'm picky about my photo organization... have been for a while now.  So all of my pics are organized on the computer in folders by year, then by month - all the way back to 2006.  There was really nothing to be done to better this part of it.  I will say 2 things though that I need to do better.  1) Delete bad pictures ASAP or else you will have horrible pictures that you will never use taking up valuable space on your computer.  2) Back up your pictures (I need to do this).  

I have been feeling guilty that I've done nothing with any pictures of my son yet, other than a few in frames around the house - no scrapbooking or photo albums.  Since I had an offer from Shutterfly for a free 7x9 photo book, I decided that this would be a good way to actually use these pictures.  Since Jadon's 2nd birthday recently happened, I thought it would be fitting to do a photo book of his second year.  It came out great!  Shutterfly is incredible.  Jadon loves his book and it's something that is definitely his to keep.  In fact, I love it so much that the next time I get a free photo book offer I'm going to make one from his first year.  I'm thinking this will be something I keep doing each year from now on.  Here's a picture of the book I made on Shutterfly.  

Day 21 - My Pick (The Jelly Cabinet)

I didn't have to think too long about what I was going to do for this day.  The jelly cabinet is near the doorway between our living room and dining room.  It held a variety of items that include art supplies, games, candles, lined paper and notebooks, DVDs, and some decorative items.  I got rid of a lot of these things so that there's actually enough room to see everything!  
Cute on the outside... Scary on the inside!

BEFORE (Chaos)

AFTER (Sanity)
I can't believe it's actually done.  Tons of thanks to my hubby who has added his touch to a few things (shelves for my crafts and a shelf in the spice cabinet, to name a couple of things).  I also wanted to share that this was not a $-consuming project.  In fact, I'm quite certain that I spent less than $35 in the entire 3 weeks, mostly because I made use of things I already had.  This was a lot of fun and a stress reliever!  I hope you've been inspired to start your 21 Day Organizing Challenge!

~ Carrie ~

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Stickers, please..."

“Stickers, please…”

The cashier at the grocery store I always shop at was more than a little surprised to hear this phrase come out of my 2-year old’s mouth.  She chuckled and said, “You’d like some stickers?”  To which my son grinned and responded, “Okay.”  I didn’t even have to prompt a “thank-you” out of him when the cashier handed him a strip of four of the bright orange paid-for stickers. 

While Jadon sat there carefully placing each sticker on his jacket, the cashier commented that he said the word “stickers” really well.  I responded with, “Yes, it’s amazing how quickly toddlers learn to say the things that are important to them."  Ironically, less than an hour later, a friend (and fellow mom of a toddler) was sharing some of her frustrations on this very topic.  It can be very maddening when you try hundreds of times to get your 2 year old to simply say “please” when he wants something, and yet he can say “cookies” the entire length of the snack aisle in the grocery store.  Or how about when your toddler says “doggie” but not “mumma”… and you don’t even have a dog?! 

I have been blessed with a little boy who is a talker, so my husband and I have had very few frustrations like these (although the doggie one is true).  But, as I thought about these two conversations I had this week I couldn’t help but think about how I do the very same thing to my Heavenly Father.  So often I fill my life up with “good” things and ignore the one big thing God has been trying to teach me.  I often busy myself with serving my family and church (both God-honoring tasks) to the point where I am no longer communicating with the “One” that I am seeking to serve first and foremost in my life.  So then I have to ask, “Why am I doing these things if not to communicate my love for God?” and “Is God being honored in my life when I attempt to serve Him alone?”

This is what the LORD says—
   your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God,
   who teaches you what is best for you,
   who directs you in the way you should go.
If only you had paid attention to my commands,
   your peace would have been like a river,
   your well-being like the waves of the sea."
Isaiah 48:17-18

It doesn’t get any plainer than that.  If I truly love God, then I will expectantly wait for him to teach me how to be more like Christ. 

            I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
           I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
                                                                                                Psalm 32:8

This verse is so affirming, and yet what good is it if I don’t live in response to it.  Each day, my prayer needs to be, “God, help me to learn what it is you’re trying to teach me today.  I don’t want to be like a 2-year old and learn only what I want to learn - that which is only beneficial to me.  I want Christ to be seen in my words, actions, and attitudes.  Speak, O Lord, and help me listen with all humility and reverence."

Speak, O Lord

"Speak, O Lord"   
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow'r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we'll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

~ Carrie ~

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

Post Mother's Day Blues

I'm feeling a little under the weather today (allergies?  cold?) and my little one has been battling a cold for a couple days now.  So with little time and energy to be found, I thought I would leave you with an article I read some time ago.  It's a helpful reminder for me today and can be for any of you battling the Post Mother's Day Blues... or maybe just a difficult start to your week.  

How to Stoop without Sighing 

Hopefully we'll all be on the mend tomorrow!  

~ Carrie ~

Friday, May 6, 2011

"For Moms, Former Moms, and Wannabe Moms"

I had an idea for what to write today. It was about being a mom to my wonderful little boy (who is not always so wonderful...). It was about the ups and downs, good days and bad days, and smiles and tears. I had most of what I thought I wanted to say written and then I read an article that my husband skype-chatted me the link to. After reading the article, I immediately felt that what I had originally written for today was not the real message that God was giving me. This article got to the heart of all woman who are "...Moms, Former Moms, and Wannabe Moms." So whether Mother's Day for you is a day of joy, reflection, or mourning I urge you to read the following article and allow God to be at work in your heart this weekend.

~ Carrie ~

Thursday, May 5, 2011

An Early Happy Mother's Day

Here are some early Mother's Day sentiments that are sure to get you laughing.   

~ Carrie ~

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

21 Day Organizing Challenge - Week 2

Week 2 of my 21 Days of Organizing has been accomplished.  It wasn't easy... and I didn't get one thing done for each day, but by the end of the week I've cleaned and organized all 14 areas!  One more week to go.  Here's an overview of what I accomplished this week. 

Day 8 - Coat Closet

This was done not too long ago, but definitely needed to be done.  It's clean, but I'm still not satisfied with the overall organization of the area.  At least winter things are put away, unnecessary shoes were put away, and the top shelf is cleaned up. 

Day 9 - Toy Organization


Oh... this has been something I've been meaning to get to for a while.  I've started to a couple of times, but never fully got the job done.  Now the toys Jadon has outgrown are packed and ready to be taken up to the attic, and the toys that he still plays with are organized a little better (although I'm on the hunt for a better toy basket in the living room).  There are no pictures of the cabinet, but the books and few toys are as organized as they are going to be.  


Day 10 - Laundry Room

No pics here.  Our laundry is in the unfinished portion of our basement, which mostly serves as my hubby's fix-it and puttering space and a storage area.  It's pretty much always a work-in-progress to get it organized.  So even though there's not much to organize, I did take the time to clean my washer and dryer (wiping them down inside and out).  

Day 11 - The Freezer


BEFORE (Yucky...)

I'm glad I got this done and am actually looking forward to the fridge this week.  The basket with frozen veggies was the worst.  Now I know what I have and can see it all!  My stock of meat and chicken is also better organized and in an area that is easier for me to see.  

Day 12 - Spice Cabinet


This has been a very aggravating cabinet for me.  I can't tell you how many times things have fallen out at me (bottle of olive oil in my cookie dough?).  My husband's biggest beef with this cabinet has been the number of cookie cutters scattered throughout the shelves.  Well, after some reorganization and a couple of small baskets, the cookie cutters are taken care of and nothing is falling out now!

Day 13 - Medicine Cabinet



There are two medicine cabinets in my house and neither of them was all that disorganized.  I was able to purge a few expired/nearly expired medications and logically think through how things could be organized better.    

Day 14 - Under Bathroom Sink

 Only one of our bathrooms has a cabinet under the sink... but it definitely needed some help.  There were some random things under there (some that weren't even ours!).  

That's it for Week 2!  Here's what's coming up for the final 7 days...
  • Day 15 - Medicine/Vitamin Storage
  • Day 16 - The Fridge
  • Day 17 - The Mail
  • Day 18 - Keepsakes
  • Day 19 - Master Closet
  • Day 20 - Photos 
  • Day 21 - My Pick!
~ Carrie ~