Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cleaning Supplies

I am responding to my dear friend Elizabeth Mahan's blog..she is in the running for this declutter-bug contest and lives in Mobile Al. She and I got to be friends my last year at the University of Mobile (where she worked until having her new baby-Carson). We had a ton of mutual friends and she is such a bubbly-bright spot to all who know her!!! 
On her blog she has been chronicling her days on the cleaning schedule and had a few questions. I wanted to respond here just in case it might benefit any of you! Read her blog here and then the response below:
floors:hardwood-Murphy's oil/bathrooms-Mr. Clean lemon antibacterial dishes:Cascade-dishwasher/ handwash-dawn walls-hmmm...diluted colored-Mr. Clean/white-Clorox spray tubs/sinks: Scrubbing Bubbles or Soft scrub spray toilets-Mr. Clean same as above I LOVE clorox wipes they are my serve all in a crunch Clothes-tide and OXY clean for stains (that stuff does miracles) dusting-pledge so there it is..not to mention paper towels and windex. i use a scrub brush with a handle to do dishes that have dried food. i don't like brilo pads or SOS pads, but srub buds work wonders on baked stains for pots or pans.. And i can't clean without a couple of old toothbrushes..and old mismatched socks to dust with!!!!!!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

EXTENSION & added $

I want to commend all the contestants!! You guys have shown great enthusiasm..
Also to know how many are actually competing...I need everyones' before pictures.. I have only recieved 2 contestants pics..
I am sure you took them, but you have been SOOSO busy cleaning and caring for your family..not to mention that its Thanksgiving week!
As long as I have all contestant before pics in by Tuesday November 30 you can compete. I will extend the time until December 30 as i did not truly take into consideration the holiday..Also after speaking with Ben, he recommended that we UP the reward to $50 credit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SO how is that for some major motivation???!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1 Peter 3:4

I want to briefly share what God has been working on in me for a while now in hopes that it will also encourage you.
4"...but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.5For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening."

That bolded phrase has been ETCHED into my mind..
I used to not think of "frightening" as what i do now..i thought it meant more..i don't know...scary?..but i am learning that it looks like this:
I am afraid that when Ben's best friend & his wife & 3 kids show up at dinnertime to spend the night as they travel down to family for the holidays that my kids won't sleep..that i won't sleep..that getting them to bed will be a nightmare...
I am afraid that when its time to put Brennan to bed he is going to pitch a fit..about EVERYTHING..
I am afraid that if I don't let Knox cry it out at 6 am he will think that is an acceptable wake up time..
I am afraid to let him cry it out for fear he will wake Brennan & he will be a grouch because of it..
Do you see what i mean?? FEAR doesn't have to be about drowning & such..i can display fear in the everyday tasks of motherhood.
So I have this convo with myself (say for scenario #1..) Do you know Ben loves the _______'s? Yes.
Do you know that it serves him to be around ______? Do you know that he will be encouraged by you serving this family when he knows it inconviences you? Does the bible say to be considerate and open your home and care for others? WHOM are you most concerned about in this situation..yourself?? Hmmm. Okay. Do you trust GOD? That he knows your life & schedule and that unexpected guest 2 days before my whole family comes up for Thanksgiving is GOOD for me? That He uses experiences like this to refine me & reveal selfishness..To teach me that He is worthy of trust and better than whatever it is i think i would be missing...

Happy Thanksgiving

Most of us will not have time to be reading blogs after today. I just want to say way to go ladies!! You guys have readily accepted the challenge! I want to share one breif thought with you. once i heard a pastor talk about how Christ wants FULL ACCESS into our lives. He used the allegory of our heart being a house/home. He said Jesus wants to go in THAT room. That room you don't let other people in, that room you place your 'secret projects' in..He wants you to show Him all of it..or else how will He clean it??
That analogy has always bee with me. That pastor said, if you have a room in your house that you don't let people see, i dare to say that it is the same in your heart. That further convicted me and is one of if not the primary reason that I have worked hard since the beginning of our marriage to have a home free of hidden rooms or messes.. plus I know it REALLY serves my husband-the neat-o machine that he can be...:)
This is not meant to be a sermon, i just wanted you share it with you as food for thought. Happy homes sweet friends of mine!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010'd it go?

I hope to encourage all of you in this post as well as answer some questions.
1. boys follow and participate in each of my cleaning activities.
Mopping Monday:sweeping-they love it--actually fight over who gets the "tiny" sweeper. I use a dustpan with a small broom attached to sweep up piles. And really love my dust vac! Brennan is old enough to help with the mopping, but i do have to do the 'wet' part while Knox is asleep or he will fall..Brennan comes 'behind' me and dries the floor. We just put an old rag on a swiffer and he dries the floors..(very inefficently might i add-mainly just where he walks..)
Tidy Tuesday-somedays it feels useless-REALLY! As soon as i get all things picked up it seems there are more out-but i just wait- if its a toy..we do that part after super (with the timer-see previous post). Brennan has recently become helpful in this area.
Washing Wednesday-they push or pull their own baskets to the laundry room-thinking it great fun & Brennan brags about how strong he is. While i fold, Knox puts away the washcloths bc they are in the bottom drawer in the bathroom. Brennan puts away his underwear & socks. I put away the rest or it is no longer folded..
Thorough Thursday-we all don the rubber gloves..they are both so young that they put their hands in their mouths without if i have cleanser out that is what they play with..the rubber gloves..and old "scrub" with.
Frugal Friday-i let brennan go through the papers and use his starter scissors to "cut" while i am cutting coupons..they love grocery store day..Brennan always asks me when we get in the car "Do you have your list?" if you know me well-that is truly a helpful question..and a very responsible 2 yr old..

Sunday, November 21, 2010

De-clutter-bug Contest

Okay. I have seen a lot of bloggers have contests on their blogs..this is my first..I have a cleaning schedule. My husband laughs at my alliterations and tells me that is why is was a great 2nd grade teacher..

I have talked with several friends lately who have asked how I keep my house "so clean". The answer is BY GOD'S GRACE each day, and a cleaning schedule has really helped. Sooooo I know it can be overwhelming to think about getting started and wanted to offer some motivation..

Here is the schedule:

Mopping Monday-sweep and mop all floors.
(we have hardwood-this would include vacuuming if you have carpet)
Tidy Tuesday-take a clothes basket (or 2) and go through the house picking up any item that does not belong in the room it is currently in and place it where it goes.
Washing Wednesday-wash all clothes. (whites, colors, kids) dry. fold. put away.
Thorough Thursday-clean bathrooms-showers, toilets, sink..dust (& vacuum furniture if you have indoor pets)
Frugal Friday-make menu for the week, clip or print coupons, make grocery list, grocery shop
Sometimes Saturday-there may be something during the week that you didn't get done or completed-do it today.
Satisfied Sunday-find your satisfaction in God and rest from your busy life. Don't do house work today
**everyday tasks include-loading unloading dishwasher,
And for those of us who have toddlers that eat in a highchair:
sweeping floors, & timer-time [quick set your oven timer for 5 minutes and the whole family picks up as many toys as possible & puts them away before it goes off-we do it before bathtime each night]

Now before you panic-give yourself grace. This will be new to some of you. You have 4 weeks-4. And if you are wondering how this is possible-i don't have a lot of "down time". I don't watch tv during the day, i usually don't even blog or fb during the day, i dont go shopping, do a lot of outings, BUT i DO work 8 hours a week at Ingleside Elementary and plan lessons for the 2 days i am there. I work 10:30-2:30 and the boys are at Mother's Day out 10-3. We have play dates and park days and library days occasionally too.

Here are the contest rules:
1. Take a picture of your house now. Room by room. (yes even THAT room)
2. Spend 4 FULL weeks on the schedule
3. Take pictures of each room after using the schedule for 4 consecutive weeks
4. Ask your husband (& children if they are old enough) what they think of the new cleaning schedule
5. Send pictures and family's comments to
Winners will be announced December 22.

AND NOW....for the prize...dantadanta..
a $25 dollar credit for Ben Finch photography!!!! Visit his blog or website and choose from a fine art piece, a family photo shoot package or more.. will have a CLEAN home for the holidays. Whether you travel and come home to a clean home or if you have family coming to you!
GOOD LUCK and may the best house win!!!


Here are 2 new links that might be encouraging to you..its a husband and wife..The husband is doing a series on raising boys "shaping their masculine identity" and the wife is constantly giving words of wisdom like her latest post "contentment in our homes"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Are you Weary ?

Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt

Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified

Are You good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled
Are You King only when I’m carefree
And God only when I’m well
You are good when I’m poor and needy
You are true when I’m parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You’re still God in the darkest night
"As Long as You Are Glorified" from the Come Weary Saints album.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Love thy neighbor...

It has been a bit of a joke that Ben and I live in a retirement community. We LOVE it though..Meet our neighbors:
1. Next door-Mrs. Judy & Mr. Phil-Judy a retired pediatric nurse (who could ask for more?!) She loves our boys and has a bag full of toys that they know just where to find everytime we pop in for  a visit. She came over at 1 am to stay with Brennan when i thought i was in labor with Knox. She has an apple tree in her front yard that we 'rob' every year to make everything apple-y. Her husband watched Brennan play in their dirt while i got supper started last week when Ben was out of town..these are just a few of the glorious things they have done..
2. Chuck and Kay-now gone to be with Jesus, Mrs. Kay had a basket of matchbox cars that her 10 granchildren had collected over the years that she let our boys play with. She talked like a real Southerner-no R's.....she loved Jesus and talked about Him to most everyone..also a HUGE Tennessee fan! She once told me as i was sporting my Aubrun sweats.."now honay..thats the wrong orange.."
3. Mrs. Norwood..80+, living alone...widowed and could 'talk you blind' as they say. ( and that's coming from me!) She fell last year in the yard and Ben and I took her to the ER. God gave me uncharacteristic-like bravery and i applied pressure to her wound while trying to keep Brennan off of her and Knox was in the sling.. she has made both of our boys knit blankets and the most precious quilt with "now i lay me down to sleep". She has also knit me some cozy house shoes and raves about my taco soup..she fell again the other day and i had to tell her friend who was over how to contact her on a mission to make her dinner at least 3 times a week.
4. Mrs. Jack..not afraid to state her opinion, in fact her first words to me were "now i'm not tryin to tell you what to do, but those nandinas shouldn't be above knee high" to which i replied looking aimlessly at our bushes.."which ones are nandinas?"  We have talked about God. I have shared the gospel. She says its the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for her..not too sure where her heart stands with all of it...she was widowed when her son was 7. He takes care of her now..never married..that boy has patience and love for her that is rare..
5. Mr and Ms. Partane-Mr P is a neat-o-holic a retired car sales man he will be out detailing his car 4-5 days after you saw him detailing his car..his bushes, monkey grass and RV are spotless and always in place..his son that is Ben's age passed away this morning..diagnosed with cancer only 3-4 months ago..been in ICU..came home Saturday and i talked to him..said he thought he was going to die..i wanted to ask if he was ready for that and share Jesus, but teh ambulance men were there and he hadn't even got off the stretcher..i thought i would wait till today...hmm
6. Blake and Carry-engaged couple..not living together..she just is over a lot  helping him make decor decisions. I got to see a sneakpeak of her wedding gown choices the other day..they've had us over to watch a movie after the kids were asleep-a mini-date night..(don't worry Mrs. Judy was over to listen out for the babies..)
Then there are 2 vacant houses across from each other..i could give you the run down of the whole circle..but i don't really KNOW them..just the cars they drive and who frequently visits..maybe their music preferences bc they drive with the windows down when its pleasant out..HA! Yes the joys of being a stay at home mom...we know all our neighbors..and they know us..probably a little too well..:):)
BTW the school that i am at for 8 hours a week is so close that i don't loose internet signal between my house and the school..pretty cool huh???!
So welcome to Guile Street you know more about my little world..

Friday, November 12, 2010


Its. tough.
I want you all to know that being a mom is the hardest thing i have ever done. I want you to know that i love love love what i do and would never change anything for a second, no matter how i complain. yes, 15 months apart is hard, but it has come for my better-ment. There is a period of about 12 months of their little lives that i didn't do much of anything but be mommy all day everyday. Conversations -impossible. Finished sentence-what's that? Flat out giggling, a feeling of actual restfulness, knowing i ate a meal, exercise, adult time...things that where but a blur of a memory and hope for the future.
But i have learned so much about my God, myself, my family. Ben and I have applied the 'cleave' part of Genesis. We have learned to depend on God & each other. The lessons of life that i can't even put into words from this time are priceless-a gift if you will.
I watch others sometimes and even wish this on them secretly for the joy that comes from the trial, but boy...!
So i have gotten the question a lot seemingly of late, "So are you guys done?" The answer is no.
We knew we wanted to have more than two from the beginning, but there have been times (& they are many!) where we thought..hmm..maybe two kids is plenty!! If our 'pocketbook' had a vote I'm pretty sure what it would be, if my inlaws (or my own fam??) had a vote, theirs would probably be the same. BUT as Ben and I have discussed it ALLLLLL the reasons not to have more children are selfish:
1. more time for ourselves
2. more money
3. more vacations
4. more opportunities (people stop inviting you to do things once you hit +4!)
5. more food :) this is for anyone who has seen our boys scarf down pounds of food!

Seriously. MORE. did you catch that? More of this world. But what of the next? Do i want more of Jesus, more heaven? Is my mind truly of things above? Do i want more of all the good that i have seen from God's hand through this hard time?

From the world's measurements more children is not logical. But what of faith and logic? Never a good pair i presume.
SOOOooo, I have FAITH that God is going to
1. provide time needed to maintain relationships
2. provide financially more than i could ask or imagine
3. provide rest
4. provide opportunities others wouldnt' have w/ less kiddos
5. provide enough food

I rest on His Word:
He has given food and provision to those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him; He will remember His covenant forever and imprint it on His mind. Psalm 111: 5

Saturday, November 6, 2010

dont want you to be my joy

'This is a semi-new saying Brennan has begun to say pretty regularly. He will say "don't want you to be my joy..want you to be my mommy." I'm not sure the origin of his thought..if he has heard people call be by the name "Joy" and he is referring to my name..But, being the overanalytical, psycological thinker that i am..i have taken it as a lesson to my soul.
I think as a mom, especially fulltime stay at home momos..we have a temptation to be the one our children look to to bring them joy, love, all the things that only God can really give. I have been convicted many times of my control issues with our children, especially Brennan. I believe one of the main reasons God gave us Knox so quickly was to break me of many sinful tendencies as a mom. I realized how much I like to be in charge and make sure that "my will is done on earth as God's will is in heave" hahaha (stole that from the speaker this weekend..) God began revealing that sin in my heart not long before Knox was born and i am learning to trust God not myself with our children. For if i trust GOD always does what is for my good then who better to trust?!
I recently began to really think about how our childrens' lives are (and will be) different from those around them. I remember how odd my family seemed growing up not allowed to watch very much tv, homeschooled for a couple of years, no 2 piece swimsuits. We didn' t have curfew because my parents knew where we were EVERY MOMENT of everyday and most of the time that included them. When i had a sleepover, my friends were part of family devotionals at night..There are things about that that are hard & hard to understand as a teen or tweener.
Discipline, family dyanmics/relationships (mom-dad, dad-son, brother-brother etc.) finances, possessions, oportunities..all of this will look different from the world for our children. What are we to say? I read this in Deuteronomy 6 and it REALLY encouraged me. Maybe it will do the same for you:
... It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. 14You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you15for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—
..."When your son asks you in time to come, 'What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?' 21then you shall say to your son, 'We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand...And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God,for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day."

Which goes right along with our children's first memory verse, Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3"that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land."

I am to teach my son to find his joy in God, in obeying God..I am to teach him to enjoy GOD and all His wonderfulness! Children naturally are drawn to God's creation, just take a walk with any 2 year old. They see things you don't..! Am i marveling with them in this or just brushin off their excitement abou God's creation which reflects HIM?!!