Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cherish the Magic Moments - Cleaning House Simplified

 Ok, I've been looking online for ways to de-clutter and to maximize my time. I'm not good at time management so I decided I had better start working on it. *sheepish grin* It's hard to keep a home running smoothly with two young kids when time management is not my forte.

#1. I found some great tips at Hannah Keeley's website
(Magic Moments in her mom's free 3 Day Boot Camp).

#2. I found more tips at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's website: . (Setting a timer for 10 or 15 mins of productivity = so effective!). 

#3. A pin I found on Pinterest (ok, I know what you're thinking. I already check FB and Blog & now I got sucked into another online time consumer! but pics online are less physical clutter in my home and I find joy in it. I just be sure to limit my time usually. I'm off from school this week so why not!) The pin had a pic of a list: 40 bags in 40 days. You can find it on my Pinterest board:
Or from Little Lucy Lu's website:

#4. Also some great tips from the Fly Lady's site:
(How to clean quickly. I like a shiny sink. It really helps.)

So I borrowed a little from each of these sites and have been rockin' it in my own home (or at least it feels that way for me. *smile*).

Some of the links above are self-explanatory, but here's a description for the ones that might not be so clear.

So the Magic Moments from Hannah Keeley: I've been doing this tip. You basically try and do a little here and there and mentally count it as a Magic Moment. Her concept is to get rid of negative thoughts (about how I can never get this house clean and be a good mom). Replacing negative ones with positive ones is key. I liken this to taking every thought captive to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).  To put it into practice, for example, I would now think: I have just had a Mom's Magic Moment = I picked up those dirty socks I kicked off in the middle of the night and put them in the hamper on my way to do something else productive for my family. Yay for me! I add my own little theme song when I realize I am doing this and it helps me feel giddy (which is one of my cherished sentiments, btw). Theme song: This Magic Moment by the Drifters. *wink*

The pin of 40 bags in 40 days from Pinterest and Little Lucy Lu: is basically a list of spots where clutter collects in one's house and an idea to de-clutter in forty days. You pic a spot on the list and grab a bag and start filling. I adapted this a bit in my own home. (We have to get rid of everything including furniture by Jan. 2012 since our apt. is listed as unfurnished). I sat and made a list in like 15 minutes flat. I listed all the places that clutter collects and where I could find things to toss or recycle or donate. Then I picked a spot and started. Since we still need some things before we move out of France back to the States, my list will be gone over twice at least. I call this the double purge! I put a dash next to each of the items I've already de-cluttered. Next time through I will place a check on top of the dash to say that area is completed (or emptied in our case). This list idea works well for my family. My husband and I can pick some different areas to tackle and we feel less over-whelmed. My hubby loves organization and this is a simple way I can help fit that bill. Glad I didn't have to come up with it on my own. Not my area of creativity, but could begin to be. Hmmm. Art in organization and de-cluttering? I like it!
Our lovely French apt bldg that we have to leave in Jan. Time to De-clutter!

Anyway, I just thought why not share the wealth, right?
I love finding helpful hints for household management! Hope you enjoy & join our family in cleaning out the negative clutter in our minds and the clutter in our homes. Making Home Happy for all the people I Heart.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

John Piper E-book for FREE

I believe in marriage. I believe in reading. I believe in FREE e-books. I believe in sharing them. *smile*

Found this link with an e-book (192 pages) from John Piper. I haven't read this e-book yet, so don't shoot me if it doesn't have good counsel in it. Take everything you read with a grain of salt (unless it's the Bible). I haven't actually read any of his books, but I've read some good quotes from John Piper that I liked.

For example, in a different women's devotional book I found this quote by him from A Godward Life: "With God at the center - like the 'sun,' satisfying a woman's longing for beauty and greatness and truth and love - all the 'planets' of food and dress and exercise and cosmetics and posture and countenance will stay in their proper orbit." (underling is mine). 

Enjoy the free book! Hope you find it useful.

Here's the link to the John Piper e-book, This Momentary Marriage

Surprizes about France

 Here's another list of things I found in France. Some good, some bad, some just normal now though they used to seem odd. Hope you enjoy this look at my little coin (corner) of France :

  • Classy older ladies carry natural wood, wicker baskets to the market and the supermarket.

  • Live birds (and dead ones too) at the market. Not to mention bunnies on the menu. (But go figure this is the country that eats frogs' legs - haven't tried them yet).  

  • In 9 months of living here, I've seen two men wearing berets (stereotypical French hat). They are not common here. Someone actually told me they are from Belgium (where they speak some French too).

  • There are not many easy options for donating gently used goods/furniture, so people often set their donations to the side of the recycling and other people pick them up and put them to good use.

  • It's hard to find larger size shoes, plus sized (larger than an American 12) clothing, and tall clothes in general. Surprised to find tall clothes and plus sized (larger than my size) at Kiabi - for decent prices!

  • Old ladies in bikinis, flab, wrinkles and all. Funny. No one-pieces except mine.

  • Dog droppings everywhere - especially on the sidewalk! Je deteste la crotte! (I detest the droppings!)

  • Caring French people. It's a stereotype that French people are cold. They are actually pretty kind and once you get to know them they are very sweet and caring.

  • French friends. Being able to connect in another language. Laughter, tears, and all.

  • Over 365 types of cheese. Mmm! (Some not pasteurized either - didn't know, haven't gotten sick or died yet.) 

  • Intricate apple or pear tart at small group. French church's small group gathering in our home. Fun times in French!

  • Christians, even non-Catholics, drink wine for communion and with each dinner meal. C'est normal! (It's normal!) Have only seen a drunk on the street though (homeless). Makes you think - in general it seems they do not drink to get drunk here. 

  • People smoking everywhere. More in this city than I would expect than in a small city in the States. Even saw some people rolling up old fashioned tabaco cigarettes. Made me feel like I was living in a different era.

  • People say Bonjour!  to the bus driver when they get on & then  Merci, Au revoir!  when they get off the bus. I kinda like this level of politesse (politeness).

  • KFC in France! Instead of the typical sides (mashed potatoes, green beans, biscuits) you get fries and you could get a lemon tart for dessert. A lemon tart at KFC!!

  • People are fashionable. Nice shoes too. It's neat to see what they come up with to look good.

  • English songs in stores (including uncensored ones). Songs a few months to a year behind the States. (Same thing with French dubbed US movies).

  • Styles from the 80's in the US making their way here. Makes me smile. Big neon sunglasses. Plaids mix-matched.

  • For the first time in my life I've seen people pee outside. Walking along (4 different times) and  I see the back of a grown man and realize: OH! and try to walk quickly past. Is that normal here? *shrugs* More practice for Africa.
  • Never realized I would learn so much about my language while trying to learn another. We use certain verbs to explain things that they have specific verbs for and vice-versa. It's amazing.

  • There's a grocery store here that has special weeks with products from the featured country. Funny to see what is offered during American week. What is sandwich sauce anyway?

  • I love walking and riding my bike here. Who knew exercise could be enjoyable!

Hope you enjoyed my list about the differences I see when I look at France through my cultural glasses. :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hair Help for Hopeless Homemanagers (that's us: moms/wives)

I think God blessed me with an incredible color for hair (red!)... maybe He did that because He knew I wouldn't know how to do anything with my hair. I have never been able to style it. My mom succeeded in making my hair look great for my wedding though. Otherwise, if I wanted it to look like I did anything more than just brush it, I would have to go get it styled or have some chic haircut that would be low-maintenance (AKA little or no products or styling required.) My hair is thin but there's a ton of it, so that makes it thick and hard to put up because it's heavy and slips out of most things. It also doesn't hold a curl unless you use an entire can of hairspray - it's just too heavy.

All this said to tell you, there's hope for my hair - and maybe yours too if you are needing a tip. 
I hate looking frumpy, but when you can only throw your hair up in a ponytail everyday that's what you get, frumpy. I never could figure out how to do fancy ponytails or braiding much either.  Just to clarify, I'm not too worried about appearances but I do like to look a bit put-together for my hubby and my kids. I'd rather not look like I did nothing to myself to get ready for the day. If momma is ready to take on the world, so is everyone else! So time to try something new with my hair to wave bye-bye to frumpy.

Thank goodness for You-tube in times like these! Mind you, You-tube can have some weird stuff on it, but it can also be a useful tool for learning "how to" stuff (and it can even be used for the Lord's purposes - I love how even technology can be redeemed). Anyway, I found this blog link that has a 3 min. video tip for making your hair look cute in a "sock bun". I tried it. I'm wearing it now - took me 5 minutes and it worked on my first try. I didn't even have all the right tools. That's simplicity. Love it and now instead of looking Hopeless, I can look "Happily put-together at Home for all the people I Heart".

Let me know if you have any other video tips like these. I'd love to know.

Here's the link:

Friend's perspective on Africa

My friend knows that life in Africa can be hard and that you have to look on the bright side. She sent me a list of her top reasons why she loves Africa. I think I'll agree with her. Good to keep some perspective and enjoy some of Africa even if there might be some lack of comfort and possible sacrifices along the way. If I look to those things too much I'd get all glum. May as well look at some inspiring reasons why I could see myself enjoying Africa instead.

picture from Wikipedia - love the colors and smiles!

By the way, today is an "I love Africa" day for me. I've been trying to get to the missions field since I was 14 years old. I am so looking forward to going and being a part of something bigger that God has for my life. The day is coming soon. Enjoy reading my friend Melva's "Tops."

Things I love about life in Africa…
The clothes are bright...and don’t have to come even remotely close to matching.
You can be a millionaire with just a couple hundred dollars.
My new appreciation for the beauty of a rainstorm
The AMAZING star-gazing—more stars than I’ve ever seen.
The complete freedom from ridiculous “safety” laws.
You can park anywhere.
The inspiring people you get to work alongside of while you’re here.
The contagious, courageous faith of the persecuted locals.
The absence of city lights and traffic noise.
The slower pace of life.
The fact that you can afford to help your friend by hiring them to do your laundry.
The heightened joy in the simple pleasures—like banana pancakes.
The connections with people back home—and the means of introducing them to the need for missions.
The way little kids get so excited when you wave at them—the plus side to being a celebrity.
Eating healthier because there aren’t prepared foods available.
There’s fresh baked bread available just around the corner.
The thunderstorms are incredible.
An appreciation for simplicity—especially in church with the bare building (if any) and plain wooden benches.
You’re forced to adopt a slower pace of life—which has some huge advantages.
You’re evenings are family time—cause there aren’t a million different activities.
Home is the center of the social system.
The mangoes are delicious.
The better perspective on our home culture—the good and bad.
The skyline isn’t cluttered.
You’re constantly driven to pray.
The incredibly generous hospitality.
People always take time to pull up a chair and invite you to sit awhile.
You can eat with your hands…and have to wash fewer dishes.

Coping mechanisms: Make Friday night movie night and watch a movie that makes you laugh. Hire someone to do your shopping for you. When you do go shopping, plan on it being a half-day social event so it doesn’t stress you out that it’s taking so long. Celebrate small victories. Spend time looking at the stars. Sing praise songs. (Thanks, Melva! Love ya, girl!)

Enjoy what you have and praise the One who gave it to you. 

Blogs good for feeding our spirits

The Word is life-giving and feeds our spirits best when we have His word hidden in our hearts.

Love, love, love these ideas from the Blog: WHEN YOU RISE.

These are super cool ideas for helping memorize scripture. Let's face it, it needs to be in ya! If it's in my heart it's helpful in the split second moments of trials. (There are great lessons on this Blog for teaching kids Bible truths too - good for home church for missionary kids or homeschool.)

I'd like to add, a perfect place to memorize scriptures is... ahem... "on the john." That's right, when you're a parent, sometimes the only quiet moment you get is in the bathroom (OK only a few quiet moments there because the kids seem to know when you've left the room and they come searching!).  I stick up whole lists of one-liner Bible phrases (in a sheet protector = easy to change without taking it down) that I'd like to know or pray for each day of the month. You can Google: "31 prayers for your children" (or husband) and find a printable list from Bob Hostetler at Revive Our Hearts. Or I also find it handy to stick up Bible index cards that focus on a principle that I need help learning (and that could benefit the kiddos too - if they can read it, they will!).

Another great tip came from one of my favorite Blogs: WOMEN LIVING WELL

It's handy to keep track of all your index cards by putting them in the slots of an inexpensive photo album. Keep blank index cards in the slots in the back.

Hope these help & that you enjoy them.
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