Category Archives: House Projects

The Ultimate Rule for Keeping Your House Clean……

I know right, one rule?! Sounds crazy, right?!

I gotta tell you…you are going to love it…and do you know why?

Because…it’s not my rule.

It’s from the brilliant sisters over at Double the Batch.

So..I have this amazing sister-in-law, Chrissy…over at Thoughts of a Mother and Wife. She is one of those close girlfriends who knows your weaknesses and your struggles. She loves hanging with you and will “tell you likes it is”. She is a fountain of wisdom for me, and is often a sounding board for me on areas of frustration. She knows that I get crazy about how my house looks….how I race around to clean before company comes…how I really desire to have more peace about the state of my home at any time.

So when Chrissy sent me this pin on Pinterest…it was exactly what I needed.

Not necessary what I wanted to hear…but what I should be doing and one of the reasons for much of my frustration with keeping my house clean.

I will tell you that this “ultimate rule” is about finishing what you started.……

I know…simple right….please do yourself a favor and read this post if this sounds like something you might struggle with.

I will be taking this nasty, rainy, thunderstorm- skies, kids-freely-playing day and tackling many of the remnants of projects that currently surround my home.

This week will be the first time that I put the ideas of this post into practice in my home.

I pray that your home may be a home that brings you peace….even if that means among the clutter.

(Rolling up my sleeves…and diggin’ in!!)

putting on my "work"cap....this chica means business

putting on my “work”cap….this chica means business

And this will most likely require a glass or two of vino this evening….haha.

God bless,


Spring! Can you smell it????!!!

Spring??!!! Can you smell it?

This was a rough winter and I was soooo ready for Spring.

I guess it was during the “rat race” of welcoming in my daughter’s friends for her birthday party, that I noticed my front tree and some bushes were budding. So…I snapped these shots.

IMG_0334 IMG_0335

 I mean…..I really can’t explain how flowers and flowering plants make me feel. Just looking at them, I’m running through a field of wildflowers in my mind. haha. For me, Spring comes with little presents…the results of  the hard work of pruning and prepping in the fall. With each little bush that blooms, I feel like it’s a little loveletter from God. A reminder of new life…and the joy and the warmth  of the sun.

I guess my Spring countdown starts with the scent of fresh Lilies at Easter.

I can’t get enough…..I mean….every year I add another Lily to the house. This year we had three and the smell was heavenly. Add to that fresh roses and wild flowers…..and….Oh man…….Easter is NOT Easter without a houseful of fresh flowers!!!!!


So when my neighbor called me, this past week,  about purchasing a shared portion of mulch for our front beds, I gotta tell you…I got pretty excited. The idea of having some time in my garden sounded heavenly.

Flowerbeds 2014

Flowerbeds 2014

There is something so therapeutic about weeding a garden. Combing so delicately around the bush beds and delicate flowers. Removing the dead leaves and flower heads from around the base before tucking them in with new mulch for the season. As I kneeled before my hostas, I heard the words of St. Augustine… “My heart will not rest until it rests in you, Lord.” How often we take for granted the simple beauty in an azalea. How many times do we take time to relish in the beauty of the rose bushes? I’m so thankful for the joy and new life that Spring brings….both to my heart and to my home.

This year our front landscaping will require a good bit of work. We lost four of our green bushes due to the harsh winter and will need to replace them. I am also going to try some new perennials this year. I will put in a few early saturday mornings and a few late afternoons as I spruce up the landscaping. Although, I know it will be tough, I also know that the beauty that the landscape will bring for subsequent years will be worth it.  Every opportunity to dig up the earth and plant something will remind me how our heavenly father plants seeds within our hearts. He plants seeds for us to nurture and help grow. We are his beautiful landscape.


With the start of Spring, it’s also time to plant some veggies in our garden! These June-bearing strawberries are already in full swing. I have visions of strawberry shortcakes and chocolate covered strawberries for dessert this Spring!!

Similar to last year, we are hoping to have a successful harvest of bell peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, green beans, and scallions. We will be planting in the next week or two…..


Stay tuned for updates on our little garden! I’m hoping that our basil produces like this this year!

Spring is here! Let’s hear about your favorite spring-time activity!

Are you a gardener, like myself?! I’d love to hear about it.

God Bless,


Tip Tuesday: Kids chores!!!!

Kid’s chores???!!!


The Fashionista and I ready to conquer our chores!!

Absolutely in our house!!!

I wrote a blog in the beginning of the year about “taking care” of my house cleaners and how you can “clean” for your cleaners. You can read about that here.

However, with the hubs and I trying to take better control of our debt and how we spend our money, my cleaners were the biggest sacrifice that I had to make. Although, the chores still needed to be done. So…the task, once again, became the focus of the family.


DDD making eggs for his sisters….

So I’ve had several people ask me about kids chores and what I have my kids do and when. I decided to take this Tip Tuesday and share with you some of the things we do.

**Let me start with this disclaimer***

I have a hard time being consistent so what I do has to be simple and direct.

If you want a cute chore list …that’s not here. You can definitely find some adorable chore charts on ETSY and Pinterest. I’m really bad at making anything look crafty or like I have a clue what I am doing.
However, what I can offer you is what works for me and my crew…

Here’s little Miss Missy helping me wipe down our kitchen countertops….

She LOVES to help…which is great because there is always plenty to do.    IMG_2171On a daily basis my kids are expected to:

  • make their beds
  • put laundry in the sorted laundry bins
  • clear their floors
  • clear their plates at bkft, lunch, and dinner
  • help unload the dishwasher
  • sweep the floor
  • and help fold laundry.

However, Saturdays are reserved for our “housecleaning” days. I constructed a laminated chore list for each one of my children, except Miss Missy. I sat down and figured out exactly what chores weren’t getting completed during the week and decided who could take care of them. I then spent one Saturday teaching the kids how to do their jobs and what my expectations were. I laminated the kids’ list and punched a hole in it to add a ribbon. This enabled my children to hang their lists on their bedroom doors as they worked. My children pick up their laminated list and complete it after their morning of cartoons and pajamas. The list is the same every Saturday except for the space reserved for two tasks for that week. I have noticed that often the kids will start their chores friday night or keep an “area” that is on their list “managed” during the week. I then give them 30 min. of technology time when they are done.

IMG_2121This is Mini Me’s list. She is about to be 4. It is primarily pictures so that I don’t have to continually read this to her. She is so great about this, walking around with her little EXPO marker so she can cross off her work as she finishes. On the other side, it lists these additional chores:

Fold dishcloths

Wipe down all doorknobs

Clean up the girls dressup in the basement.

IMG_2115These lists belong to Sweet Pea (on the left) and DDD (on the right). You can see where I have added two additional chores for that week.

IMG_2118This is the Fashionista’s list. You can see where she has already started to “dominate” her list.

The kids have responded really well to this method. I love that I have four little ones who are busy working and that the hubs and I each have our own list of items to conquer on Saturday.

If for some reason, we have a very busy Saturday, the children know that the chore list must be completed by Sunday.

My advice….pick chores that you KNOW your kids can conquer. Make them age appropriate and then give them stuff that you don’t have to oversee. Show them what your expectations are and how to do the jobs you have given them.

God Bless,


Tip Tuesday: Laundry sorting!!!

Do you have fears of laundry like this?

or does this look like your laundry?

Do you want a simple solution?

When you have a growing family, it feels like you are always about two days of “no laundry washed” to meet this point…..haha.

Well…I wanted to share with you my “secret” to laundry sorting and piles.

I always promised myself that I wouldn’t have a “laundry room” that you have to close the door when company comes. I wanted my laundry room to be functional and yet clean enough to allow my cleaning ladies in to wipe down the appliances and mop the floor twice a month.

IMG_1341These are my laundry hampers in the hallway upstairs. (You can see the proximity to the laundry room.) Only my husband and I have a hamper in our room. All of the children sort their clothes into these hampers every night/day.

I wanted to find a way that prevented the kids from having tons of clothes in their room; under their bed; or lost socks, etc. I believe that sorting their clothes and keeping them OUT of their room has been the best decision.

IMG_1336I printed up these simple laundry tags using Microsoft word. Coloring in the color clothes that I wanted in each bin made it easier for the kids to figure out how to sort their clothes. After 2-3 “guilty parties” had to be pulled over to the hamper to “check” their mistake and “rectify”, the system has been a huge success.


light clothes


white clothes

dark clothes

dark clothes

I wash about 2 loads of laundry a day and place them in the kids respective bins that I posted about here. One of the kids Saturday morning chores is to put away all their clothes in their bin.

IMG_1343When there is an “issue” or some kind of laundry needs special care or is time sensitive, the kids or myself will place them in one of these purple bins on the top of the washer. In the picture below, I placed an outfit that Miss Missy peed in and on the right are wet dishcloths/dishtowels from the kitchen. Granted, if the washer was empty,  these would get placed right in the washer…..but…is not very often empty. haha.

The kids also put their sports uniforms in a different purple bin so that they have everything they need for the next game and we don’t lose a soccer sock or cup strap in the laundry hamper.

IMG_1342I’m not saying its the “perfect solution” but I’m not a consistent person. When I find a system that consistently works for me, I want to share it with others who may have the same need.

IMG_1344Happy Laundering!!!!

God Bless,


Tip Tuesday: Sometimes you just want to do it yourself……

Before- May 2013

Before- May 2013


after- July 2013

The hubs and I moved into our new construction home in February of 2010. Like most new construction homeowners, we spent the first two years working on our yard. It was nothing but rocks and clay dirt. After two years and thanks to a local landscaper, we finally had our first successful seeding and aeration. With special help from Scott’s lawn service, we were able to keep the crabgrass and weeds at bay.

So….on to the front landscaping!!!! We really debated bringing in some landscapers to do the front beds for us but…we wanted to start this project ourselves.

Here’s my tip for Tuesday: If you think you can do it yourself…try!!!!!

My husband and I decided to add a little color to our beds; have some fresh mulch delivered; and to make it an annual project to pick 2-3 new bushes/flowers to add to our landscaping.

Before: needs mulch; weeding; and a clear edge

Before: needs mulch; weeding; and a clear edge

Before: needs mulch, color

Before: needs mulch, color


After: lined the walkway with impatiens; weeded and edged. Added a little family stone.


After: planted hydrangeas and impatiens; weeded and edged. With the magic of organic miracle grow, those impatiens have doubled in size.


Before: taken over by weeds


After: weeded, planted hydrangeas and impatiens


After: planted petunias and impatiens; weeded; and edged.


My children LOVE to look at the flowers as we come up the walk.

“Mom…they are so pretty!”

It’s such a great feeling to look at something that you planted or to see the beauty in hard work and being dedicated to a task.

It’s not a finished product….that will take a few years…. but we are proud of what we’ve started.

We are proud to show our kids that we can roll up our sleeves and do somethings ourselves.

What project are you going to start????

God bless,


Laundry Chaos….

My Laundry…….

One of my least favorite chores is laundry. I do two loads of laundry a day and I have a specific day (Wednesday) that I bang out the majority of it. With a family of seven, there is always something to be washed. I am a stickler for the way I sort my laundry….but that’s for another discussion. (You can imagine how INSANE it was when the stomach flu went through our house……truly INSANE!!!)

Thankfully when I bought my new home, the laundry room was on the second floor. I LOVE this feature. I love that I’m not hauling laundry upstairs or downstairs to help put it away. However, my laundry room is small.

Laundry room

peeking into the laundry room

I’m going to make it one of my weekend projects to give it some charm, probably this summer. It needs paint, some new shelves, baskets, and a few additions.

I love this idea I saw on Pinterest:

laundry baskets

How awesome are these cabinets with the open baskets in the middle??!!! I could easily hide away my baskets of missing socks, laundry detergents, stain sticks, etc. Am I the only person that has a basket to “catch” all the legos and candy, my kids sneak in their pockets????!!!!

What about these….??!!! Don’t they look sooooooo classy.

 How about these bins for putting the kids clothes away??!!! I mean…check out this lady’s laundry room….it is awesome.

I wish my laundry room was this big and could have these beautiful areas. However, it’s not and I’m not moving anytime soon.=)

I am a firm believer in having practical spaces in my home. As much as I love these, they are not practical for my lifestyle. I mean, I can’t imagine my five year old carrying one of these bins into her room to empty her clothes.

And yes, I did say my 5 yr. old.

Do I like clean and neatly folded clothes?? yes!

Do I expect my kids to have their clothes folded neatly in their drawers??? No…….but I do expect their clothes to be in their drawers. I expect THEM to put their clothes away.

With that in mind, I found these great bins at Walmart…..and I LOVE THEM!!!!

clothes bins

How cool are these? They have these great little handles on them for the kids to carry them through the room and when the handles are folded down… makes them stackable. They take up a small amount of space and on laundry evening…the whole stack is gone. Each bin sitting patiently by the dresser of each child, awaiting to be emptied the next morning.

There are several reasons that this system works for me:

  1. I sort all my kids laundry into separate bins. I was using small circular baskets from the dollar store but they were pretty beat up and hard to keep neat in the laundry room.
  2. I like a clean laundry room but didn’t want to have any kind of permanent system built into that small room. This system doesn’t require any “built in” shelves or a shelving system. If I find that the system no longer works for my laundry, I will not have made an monetary investment or “renovated” my laundry room to make it happen.
  3.  I don’t keep piles of dirty clothes on the floor of my laundry room. I actually have a whole sorting system for my laundry that I keep in my hallway. I need very little room to store dirty laundry in my laundry room, however, I need more room to fold clothes and put them away.
  4. The bins cost me about $6 each. So, for under $50, I have figured out a new system that lets me fold clothes right at the dryer and sort them into their proper bin.

So…….gotta wrap this up and go fold my last load of laundry for the night.  What about your laundry situation? Do you have a system that you love and want to share? I would LOVE to hear about it!

God bless,


I love Ross!!!

The store….totally LOVE it! Ross is one of those stores for me, much like Marshalls and HomeGoods, where I just have to “run in” whenever I am out running errands. The “Holly Homemaker” in me is obsessed with cute and cheap finds. =)

love when I can buy an item or two and have a quick home project “revamped” or “changed up” a bit. I wanted to share with you some of my cute finds this evening. Keep in mind that I walked out paying $30 total.


These cute little baskets are home to our families winter hats, scarves, and gloves. I paid 9.99 for the larger one, and 7.99 for the smaller one.



I LOVE how they look in our hall closet. I am redoing this closet for a later post so I can’t reveal too much. I know….the suspense is killing you. Well…not really..haha


Ok, so I just had to get this little sign. I mean it’s perfect for my navy blue accented bathroom shelf in my half bath. Plus, I love how inspirational it is. The best part about his blue little wonder….it cost $2.99…no joke.


The next little Ross “cheap treat” is this cute little maroon “Love is patient, love is kind” sign. It was a “must have” with Valentine’s Day approaching but I think I found a permanent home on this little shelf in my breakfast area.


(Here it is close up.)

And….”drum roll, please!!!!!”…my personal favorite…the new sign for the family laundry room.

Laundry Room Sign

I know right….you know you gotta hit a Ross soon. I mean…come on.

What about you? What are your “go to” stores? Does Home Goods get ya? I would love to hear about some of your finds….leave a comment.

Cleaning for the cleaners….

I know, I know,….the topic itself makes people roll their eyes. But for me, it’s a new problem.


You see…I didn’t know the BEAUTY of the “housecleaners” until last year. The topic of “cleaning for the cleaners” didn’t apply to me. But….as my number of children has grown, and my activities/responsibilities have grown, I felt the need to slide this one in the budget. And….I DON’T regret it. If you can make it happen, do it! Especially if you can find a service that you like.

I am definitely a “cleaner before the cleaner”. I have the philosophy that money and time shouldn’t be wasted. If I am paying by the hour for cleaners and I can do a few things to make their job easier and faster, than I’m going to do it. Since they are going to be cleaning my WHOLE house in a 2-3 hour period, ( come on, I could NEVER do that),  I have developed some “housecleaning etiquette” that we try to enforce in our humble abode. I thought I would share a few ideas with those of you who utilize a housecleaner or a service. Don’t forget, preparing for the cleaners is a “team effort” here. Some of these tasks below are done by the kids. Obviously, this is just my opinion…Here goes:

  1. Clear off all items on your kitchen counters that can be stored quickly. I have an “office area” in my kitchen. The mornings that the cleaners come, I put all my files/paperwork in the cabinet under this area.
  2. If you want to have them do something extra, make it easy for them. This morning I asked the girls to wipe down my fridge as well (not something they normally do), so I removed all the kid pictures and magnets so they could do it. I have decided that I want them to use my mop and floor cleaner, so I make sure the mop and cleaner are in their bucket in the kitchen when they arrive.
  3. Leave out a basket on a kitchen island or someplace visible for “little things” they find under the couches, or behind stuff.
  4. Put all shampoo, conditioners, and other bottles in your shower under the sink. I also shove the bag of kid’s bath toys under the sink as well. It eliminates their need to take them down and then replace them in the bathroom.
  5. Only have them clean what is important to you. The rest is not worth your money. I don’t have them regularly dust my kid’s rooms or make their beds. Their dressers are too kid-cluttered and their beds they make themselves. I simply have them vacuum out their rooms. However, I hate seeing how dusty my washer/dryer get so I make sure that room gets vacuumed out, and wiped down.
  6. Leave a notepad in a regular place every cleaning for messages. I leave messages for my cleaners about areas that need extra addition or areas that I cleaned over the weekend so they can concentrate on other areas.
  7. Think about ways to leave little “goodies” for your cleaning people. If we bake cookies or a special dessert during the week, we package some up for the cleaners. I let the kids write little thank you notes as well. Sometimes it’s just nice to be surprised.

I hope you have found this list insightful….maybe not. Maybe you just enjoy walking out the door when the cleaners arrive and you are content with leaving your house “as is”. Either way, I’m sure all of us LOVE the smell of “clean” as you re-enter the house. So…..join me in a glass of wine as we toast the smell of Lysol that fragrances my house.