Sunday, September 14, 2014


Teebs is about three months shy of three years old, which is about the same ages the bigs were when we started working on getting them out of diapers. He already used the toilet for pooping, but not for peeing. That means I had to run by Target on Friday night and buy two things. Underwear and Tic Tacs. Yes, I'm going to bribe him. No bribes for the big boys in rounds one and two, Smarties (we had some leftover from something) for Naomi, and now I'm paying for Tic Tacs for Teebs. I think I'm getting lazier with each kid.

The deal is that he gets a Tic Tac every time he tell us he has to use the bathroom. He was super excited about the Tic Tacs and had fun opening the underwear package, but was hesitant to actually put them on. I told him he could have one Tic Tac just for putting on a pair and he quickly complied, then proceeded to use the bathroom four or five times in less than an hour. The boy loves Tic Tacs!

We tried underwear on Saturday, but he had two accidents in the morning and the rest of the day was sorta crazy. We put him back in a diaper for the afternoon, kept him in one today because of church and other outings, but will try again tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.

Here are a couple pictures of him after I got back from the store on Friday. I love how he's showing off his new duds and rewards in the first one, but I love his smile in the second. Cute kid!

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Next month it will be three years that we've lived here. Six people, five of which are generally home all the time. White carpets. 

We've never cleaned our carpets. 


We have a great vacuum, but still ... three years, six people, white carpet. 

I keep waiting for Tim to get a job so that I can rent or buy a carpet cleaner, but that hasn't happened. It occurred to me last month that I could try and borrow one. Duh. I wasn't sure who owned a carpet cleaner, so I asked on Facebook and three friends offered theirs to me. Should have asked a couple years ago! I've had one sitting in my bedroom for about three weeks now. Three weeks. That's embarrassing confession number one.

I finally had time yesterday and today to get the job done, so I've spent several hours cleaning our living room and three bedroom carpets. The only area I didn't do was under our bed. I just didn't want to waste time and cleaning solution on an area we never walk on. 

Here's embarrassing confession number two. Some floors were much dirtier than I realized. 

Think you can figure out where the beds were?

Oh. my. word.

That's repulsive and beyond embarrassing.

Teebs and Naomi don't have much on the floor in their room, so I just scooted stuff around to clean, but I hauled everything out of Silas and Devon's room and put most of the living room furniture and all the books from my book sale in the entry way and on the hearth. The couch and chair just got moved around as I cleaned. My house has looked like this all day.

That would be a mattress, night stand, and blanket box in the kitchen.

And that would be a bunch of books, a sideways coffee table, and a bunch of cushions (slipcovers are getting bleached tomorrow).

Here's what I looked like for several hours. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

I did take one break since Teebs wanted to snuggle when he woke up from his nap. Rocking chair, closed eyes, sweet little kid. Bliss.

Then I went back to work, doing each room multiple times. Here's embarrassing confession number three. My tub looked like this countless times today as I dumped gallons upon gallons of dirty water out.

That came from my carpets! The ones I vacuum regularly. The ones I sit or sprawl out on. Yuck!!!

I never reached a point where the water was staying clean, but it was definitely cleaner at the end of my night than it was when I started last night. I finally quit just because I'd used up all the cleaning solution we had. It was perfect timing, though, because I had reached the point of just needing to sit down and not hear anything loud.

I'm not sure which I want more now, a cleaner of my own or laminate extended to all the carpeted rooms. For now, I'm just grateful that I finally thought to ask to borrow a cleaner and that someone loaned me theirs. I think I need to make a point to do this again once or twice a year. Hopefully the job will go faster and be less gag-inducing if it gets done more frequently.

Since selfies with the people we love are the thing to do, here I am at the end of my date with Mr. Carpet Cleaner. Love him!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MENU: 9/11/14 - 9/17/14

I have four new recipes this time around. I love it when each recipe we try is worth making again! I already shared three of them on Facebook, so they'll be repeats for some of you, but I just added another one yesterday while I was getting this post typed up. Recipe links are in green, so click the ones that interest you!

* Dutch oven game hens with gravy - We were given some game hens and I'd never cooked them before, so I did a little online searching for what to do with them. This recipe turned out great and we'll try subbing a whole chicken next time.

* Costa Rican-style tilapia with pineapple, black beans, and rice - I had a partial bag of tilapia fillets in the freezer, along with our regular stash of crockpot beans, so I searched for recipes that used tilapia and black beans. This sounded good and we all liked it.

*  crockpot roast with peppers & tomatillos - Sammy suggested this way to cook some beef we were given, so Tim threw it all together for dinner one day and it was delicious.

* fruit & nut granola bars - I've had this recipe torn from a magazine for a few years and finally got around to trying them. Everyone thought they were good.

I don't have any advanced cooking planned this week and didn't try any DF versions of anything last week, so we'll jump right into the next menu. We'll be delivering a meal to a family where the mom's on bedrest this week, so I've made note of the things we'll be making extras of.

* doughnuts (we have these at church, though we always have some dry roasted almondsfruit, and/or cottage cheese at home or on the road first)
* oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, milk, peanut butter, maple almond butter, raisins, dried cranberries, fruit, huh-koe-pee milk, and/or energy mix as optional toppings/yogurt, fruit, & spinach smoothies x3
* egg, potato (I often bake an oven rack's worth once a week and pop them in the fridge for breakfasts,other times I dice them right before cooking), & spinach or kale scramble x2
Rebecca's granola (some will get delivered to another family)

* leftovers
* tacos - seasoned meat, crockpot beans from the freezer, and some other toppings served in a tortilla, bowl, or over a pile of greens (we'll be delivering one set of taco fixings to another family)
* sesame honey chicken (crockpot)/rice/garlic green beans (we ended up skipping these last week)
* roasted broccoli/Cuban black beans and coconut rice
* new recipe
* upside down pizza (we'll use fake milk and leave cheese off one edge)/sauteed & seasoned squash
* brown rice lentil salad over spinach

* produce 
* nuts - pistachios & dry roasted almonds
* popcorn (kernels from the Winco bulk department & learning to pop them well on the stovetop)
* Klondike bars from a friend & a popsicle for Teebs (didn't do these last week)
blueberry oat muffins (we'll make a DF version)


I'm thankful that I am an American.

What is something that you are thankful for?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014



You probably wouldn't worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do.

~ Olin Miller


Those who make the most of this life intentionally seek out others to learn from. They embrace humility. Reject prideful arrogance. Quickly admit that they do not have all the answers. And look to others for guidance, example, and motivation.

~ Joshua Becker in Look Up to Someone at Becoming Minimalist


I need to be patient in the short and long term, in things like the time it takes to clean a room and in the time it takes to develop character.

~ Me in my notes from something about family/marriage/parenting on 8/12/08


You are enough. You have a story. You have a purpose.

~ Crystal Paine in Three Truths That Pulled Me Out of a Pit of Insecurity at Money Saving Mom


But Christ doesn't do that! He drops a comma like a grenade.

He gives us the gift of the comma and then asks us to strengthen our brothers. Not beat ourselves with emotional whips. Or lay in a hole of shame. Or stay to the shadows of the church, afraid to be seen.

~ Jon Acuff in The Comma of Grace at Stuff Christians Like (Fantastic post about Luke 22:32 that I'd encourage you to take two minutes to read.)


Sunday, September 7, 2014


I'm playing the Minimalist Game for the second month in a row and something that's come up in both groups is that people struggle with getting rid of things they received as gifts, even if the item is no longer used. The sentimental value is still there and there's a sincere appreciation for the time and/or money that was spent by the giver, but the item itself is no longer a blessing in the recipient's life.

In my opinion, a gift (or any other item, for that matter) that is no longer earning it's space in your home needs to go. If it's simply a matter of not taking the time to use it (maybe a game you haven't played in a while or a kitchen gadget you haven't used lately), then wait a month or two and make an effort to use the gift during that time. If you already know it won't get used or if you give it a little extra time and still don't use it, then pass it on. Give it to a friend who will be thrilled to have it, donate it to a thrift store whose cause you support, or sell it and use the money for something you need.

Please understand that I'm a big fan of non-consumable gifts. I happily wrap myself in blankets people made for me, enjoy playing games I was given, have a bunch of Ws on my wall from friends and family that make me smile, and so on. The rest of my family members have also received gifts that they love wearing, playing with, reading, or using in other ways. We're not anti-stuff.

However, one type of gift that I love giving and receiving is a consumable gift. I don't have to wonder if the recipient will actually use it and they don't have to store it or feel obligated to hold onto it longer than they want to. In light of the conversations in the last two Minimalist Game groups, I'm going to list some consumable gifts that we've given or received and some that I've seen others give or receive.

* 24 hours (or however long you want) of unlimited screen time
* individual/family membership to an art museum, zoo, children's museum, gym, science museum
* gift card for a place to eat (restaurant, ice cream) or drink (coffee or tea shop)
* Netflix subscription
* sidewalk chalk (yes, you have to store it ... but not for long)
* toiletries (fun soaps and lotions, razors for someone starting to shave)
* one time pass or a gift card for an activity place (miniature golf, trampolines like Sky High, inflatables like Pump It Up, movie theater, or the places listed under memberships)
* snack pack of foods, whether healthy or treats, the person likes
* iTunes gift card
* tickets to an event (sports, concert, circus, play)
* acts of service that you do yourself or pay someone else to do (house cleaning, childcare, oil change)
* seeds to plant in a garden or pot
* outing together (day at the beach, getting manicures, hitting balls at the batting cages, hiking)
* giving to a charity in the recipient's name/honor

This list is obviously not extensive, but hopefully it will help you start thinking of some consumable gifts that would work for you to give to some of the people in your life. Bonus points for the fact that some of them are free.

As for non-consumable gifts, don't stop giving them. Both consumable and non-consumable gifts can be a blessing!

Saturday, September 6, 2014


Yes, Naomi's birthday was almost a month ago. Yes, her traditions got spread over the course of a few weeks. Yes, better late than never.

So, without further ado, here's a little glimpse at Naomi's last birthday.

The day normally starts off with a doughnut date with Tim, but he had to leave so early in the morning for his summer job that we had to bump that tradition to a later day. She and I did have our traditional ice cream date, though. We picked up a pint for her at the store, then sat and chatted in the back yard while she ate it.

That evening we at her dinner of choice - sausage balls, sour cream and cheddar Lay's, and grapes.

It wasn't until six days later that she and Tim headed out for doughnuts, but she seemed to have handled the delay just fine. Here's the savage beast attacking her doughnut.

Last, but not least, almost three and a half weeks after her birthday we finally got around to taking pictures in the birthday outfit. For some reason we just couldn't remember to do it at times when we were actually able to pick up the camera. Oh well.

And thus concludes the recap of Naomi's birthday traditions.