first day

Sep 3, 2014 by

Today is the first day of iFAMILY. We have had morning scripture study in the dark at 6:15. Whoa. This is a big change. The last week or so has been full of changes: revamping our mornings to have morning scripture study and prayer (and MUCH less sleep), revamping our nights with MUCH earlier bedtimes, Blythe’s new job started on Monday, Richard started back on his school schedule on Tuesday AND he is at a new school this year, Keziah starting seminary this morning, and now iFAMILY starts today.

We also have been switching up things in our home. We have been needing to reorganize our books and learning area and for months I have been pouring over classified ads for a used 5 x 5 Expedit. They are not made anymore and most of the used ones for sale are either in terrible shape or exorbitantly priced due to the whole supply and demand thing, so we have been searching all summer for one in good shape AND reasonably priced. Friday I scored and found one in near perfect condition for only $100. Wahoo! So Richard and I spent all day Monday traveling to Utah to pick it up and get it home in one piece, which let me tell you is far easier said than done. Let’s just say it is no longer in near perfect condition.

Yesterday the three youngest and I moved bookshelves, hundreds of books, and reworked our learning area to fit our needs for this year. We gained about 150″ of shelf space with the Expedit, then gained a whole lot more when I removed all the board books from our shelves to put away for safekeeping until I have grandchildren who will need them. Then we gained even more space when I purged several large stacks of books we don’t need or use. Right now I have over 100″ of shelf space left to work with in the school room, 45″ in the sewing room, and 48″ on the kitchen bookshelf. Over the next several weeks I am going to figure out how to best use this new space to meet our needs.

We were also able to move Fisher’s (ugly as heck, but totally useful) building table back into the school room (it has been in his hallway, blocking much of the entrance to his room and not been very usable). He needs a space to build while I am reading and having a table makes it so much easier and contained than him taking over the whole floor each day.

Anyway, back to iFAMILY. I am excited to get back into the swing of things and our children are over the moon excited to dive into learning with their friends. I am excited to take my Worldviews students on a journey of hard work and deep thoughts. I am excited to share all my math games with a new group of young people. This year is going to be fun and rewarding and full of great things.


I am not. I need a few more weeks (months?) of sunshine and relaxed schedules and my sweetie. I need early morning sunrises and warm afternoons. I need to go camping a few more times and see my little ones reel in a fish. I need to have snuggle time with Richard in the morning.

But it is time to move into fall with its shorter days, crisper nights, and a pretty tight schedule for all of us. Hmmm, how to wrap my heart around these changes and move forward with gladness instead of clinging to the joy of summer?

Clinging or not, it is time to shower and get ready for this long-awaited day.

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t-g-s-r-r-p is finished!

Jul 29, 2012 by

Yes, you heard me right – The Great Sewing Room Rearrangement Project is finished!

We have been working hard for the past five weeks on rearranging bedrooms, decluttering, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, and most importantly making our learning and creating areas useable.

In the past (the VERY recent past), our school room has been unable to house all of our fabulous learning stuff. It was completely unmanageable and consequently the fabulous learning stuff overflowed into the sewing room. Unfortunately, the sewing room was unable to hold all of its books, fabric, papers, notions, patterns, yarn, and endless minutia because it had insufficient storage AND it had five 55 gallon water barrels and five 15 gallon water barrels taking up the vast majority of the space.

I decided months ago that this needed to change. I decided I could no longer function with piles and pile AND piles of stuff throughout the room and no ability to access any of it without injury and avalanches occuring. Everytime we wanted to sew we would have to clean for several hours just to find the sewing table. If we wanted to make a craft, it would be a miracle if we could find all the parts and pieces needed.

So, I have dedicated my summer to this project – AND I AM WINNING! My school room has been rearranged and made more useful for this upcoming season of our lives and the sewing room has been emptied completely (yes, we spent an entire day draining all the water barrels), shelving units added in, a sewing table installed, and everything carefully evaluated for its purpose in our lives before being given residence in this newly created space.

I am so excited I could scream. In fact, I have been screaming…loudly. Now every subject has a box (or two). All our blocks and manipulatives fit perfectly in their stacker tubs. Our art supplies are easy to find. All our lovely fabric is arranged by color. Two sewing machines can fit on our sewing table so two of us can work at the same time. All our yarn is put away into more of those amazing stacker tubs. Everything has a place! And there is room for people to sleep in here when they come to visit! Oh my heavens, it is simply amazing.

This is going to change my life. I am sure of it.






We only get Richard for a few Saturdays a year, so he usually tries to squish in as much yard and house maintenance as he can, but this year, I have needed his help with this project and he has given me the bulk of two of his precious Saturdays. I could not have done it without him and I am so grateful he gave me his strong arms for hours on end.

Now that we are done, I am ready to enjoy sunshine and summer…too bad there are only a few short weeks left!

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great bedroom rearrangement project take two

Jul 3, 2012 by

Rememeber the Fall of 2010 and the Great Bedroom Rearrangement Project? It was a ginormous undertaking and took us about a month to accomplish. At that time we moved Fisher from downstairs to upstairs, Keziah from upstairs to downstairs, and Annesley from our room to Keziah’s room. I must have forgotten the craziness and long hours of that task because a few days ago I decided to start it all over again…and to get it done before my family arrives…AND to completely rearrange the school room to make it more workable for our learning and living.

This time we are moving Blythe upstairs and Fisher downstairs and Annesley out of Keziah’s room and into Fisher’s new room. We are also helping (at least valiantly attempting!) Blythe throw away much of her enormous amount of stuff that she has been holding on to since her first breaths of air on this planet. The girl cannot part with anything. ANYTHING! She makes me look like the queen of clutter-free, simplistic living (which I am SO NOT!)

Anyway, I don’t know what I was thinking. I must have forgotten that I am injured and can’t move things very well, or bend, or stay on my feet for hours at a time. I must have forgotten that these projects always take a gazillion hours longer than my predictions. I must have forgotten that children need food and sleep and snuggles and that jam-packed moving schedule didn’t have time blocked out for those necessities. I must have forgotten I only had a few days to accomplish this complete household rearrangement and that I would be gone for one of them to an iFamily Board meeting and gone another to Utah for a hip appointment and gone another for fireworks. Really, where was my brain and what on earth was it doing when it wasn’t thinking in any kind of logical manner?

So now we are at Tuesday and my family will be here later today to celebrate Independence Day and as of yet, there is no place for them to walk, sit, or sleep.

Come on troops! Time to kick it into super-speed!

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a new place to eat

Oct 22, 2011 by

a new place to eat

Today in the midst of working on Make It For Maggie and a gazillion loads of laundry, I decided I couldn’t live with my dining room disaster another minute. I dove right in and started moving things around, putting things in their correct places, and throwing things away. My friend, Rachel, came over in the midst of the project and said “you are a fall nester!” by which she meant I try to make my house a home every autumn. Her comment intrigued me, so I went back to last year’s posts and sure enough, I deep-cleaned this exact same room on October 26th a year ago!

Even though I fight schedules to the death sometimes, I must be on some kind of internal clock that propels me to do things on its own schedule! Fine with me as long as said clock doesn’t let me know of its existence!

I took a Magic Eraser to the walls and baseboards, put all of the Math Alive! stuff in our learning room (it is has been sitting in our dining room since April when I finished teaching that class! Yes, I am that negligent about housekeeping!), cleaned out all the bookshelves, moved the library and block baskets, dusted and dusted and dusted some more, vacuumed up spider webs, moved the piano, the table, the Usborne bookshelf, and the bench, set out my beloved cello, and threw out gobs of old mail. I don’t know why I let things stack up for so long, but I do and I accept that about myself. It is a fault, but it is not the end of the world or anything.

Here it is, all cleaned up and rearranged.




I would really like to have cozy family dinners in here every night instead of at the island in the kitchen. I would like to gather here for connection and conversation instead of letting it become the dumping ground it so often is. Maybe I just need to force myself to have guests over for dinner on a frequent basis so that this room will stay spic-n-span.

Tonight I am going to revel in its cleanliness and order…I would sleep in there if I could!

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room clean

Aug 28, 2011 by

room clean

Clean Room

Floors, windows, walls, and bed are DONE!!

Bathroom and closet still to go.

I can’t even tell you how lovely it was to wake up in our bedroom this morning. I actually didn’t know where I was!

Bed made within 10 seconds of exiting horizontal position. No messes made this morning.

I am determined to keep it this way!

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weary of this job

Aug 20, 2011 by

So, after a very busy week working on iFamily Leadership Academy issues: registration, membership, policies & procedures, and myriads of other details that needed dealt with right this very minute, I decided to tackle the school room reorganization project.

Now, if the room had been clean and decluttered prior to starting, it still would have been a huge project to empty all the book shelves and the armoire and to flip flop the room. Unfortunately, the room was no where near clean and was so full of clutter that this has turned into a ginormous project involving each member of the family. Due to my lack of strength I have needed Richard’s help in moving all the furniture, Keziah and Blythe have been doing a lot of the cleaning and Fisher and Annesley have been our errand runners.

It is now five in the afternoon and I am thoroughly exhausted. I had wanted to go in to town today and help Keziah price out supplies for the class she is teaching this year at iFamily. Instead, I have spent the entire day on this project. I was up all night tossing and turning about a yucky situation and now I am so ready to crawl into bed and sleep for hours on end.

But, I am not done. I have to finish putting all the books back on the shelves, sorting out the clutter, and figuring out where the remaining stuff needs to go. I know if I give up at this point it will still be like this come Christmas. Seriously. I am that bad of a housekeeper.

On the upside, I have learned some things about myself last night and today and although the learning of them has worn me right out, I am grateful for the lesson. I learned I can be a good friend even when it is hard.

Another upside is the way my children fall in love with our learning supplies all over again when they are in new places. As we have spent the day sorting through thousands of books, they have found so many treasures they want to delve into and their interest in learning is shooting sky high. Keziah has been gathering every book in our home that deals with Early American history for her history undertaking this year. We still haven’t bought her Beautiful Feet History pack, but we have gobs of other books covering that era and she now has them all in a box so she can have ready access all year long and won’t have to search through the bookshelves.

I have completely emptied out our school closet and am turning it into a “magic” closet that will have different things in it every day (or at least weekly) and my children will never know what to expect. Of course, I haven’t figured out where to put the stuff that was in it!

Well, Keziah and I are done with our little break, so I guess I better get back to work.

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Aug 16, 2011 by

I am feeling some major urges to rearrange. I want a whole new blog look…desperately. I want to rearrange all my kitchen cupboards. I want to dejunk, declutter, and turn my laundry room topsy-turvy (I have just taken back the stewardship of doing laundry from Blythe and I cannot handle spending hours of my life in that room in the state it is currently in!). I am dying to completely rearrange our school room to make it so our study area is over in the sunniest part of the room. I want to read, write, and discuss with the sun shining on our faces and lighting up our hearts with joy!

Problems with these ideas?

I can’t use my right arm very well after the lumpectomy, I have a stack of deep-thinking, rigorous-reading books I need to devour for some upcoming colloquia and my Worldviews class I am teaching this year, I cannot even express to you how many iFamily Leadership Academy emails and phone calls I need to deal with on a daily basis, not to mention all the background work that no one ever sees. Meanwhile, I want to be outside enjoying the gloriousness (yes, that is a word!) of an Idaho summer.

Some people have spring cleaning urges…I have decided I must have mine a bit delayed because this urge has come pretty strong the past several years right about this time.

Quite the quandary!

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first day: 40 days, 40 bags

Mar 15, 2011 by


I am trying to get a head of the game so I can escape this weekend without any “I’m so behind” guilt about this lil’ decluttering project. Today I started in my bedroom, which is by far the messiest room of my house. Sad to say, but it is true. Although I only have a large lawn bag of garbage, one DI box, a broken laundry basket, and another box of garbage, I have actually made a huge dent in my room. I unpacked two clothing bags from last August…yes, AUGUST! I haven’t needed my camping clothes since then, so I haven’t missed them much. I filled a bag of Annesley’s too small clothes and shoes. I emptied four giant bins of stuff that used to be on my bookshelves in the hall before I emptied them in a mad rush to rearrange my dining room back in October. I made a box of stuff to be burned (not happening right now in the rain), a box of stuff that needs put away elsewhere in the house, and a box of stuff that needs saved, but is not being used right now.

I am pretty proud of the amount of work I got done. The next time I can focus this much on it is next Tuesday…so I am hoping I don’t backtrack too much in the meantime!

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forty days, forty bags, forty gazillion pounds of stuff gone

Mar 15, 2011 by

That is my plan anyway. I am going to remove forty bags of stuff from my home in the next forty days. It can go to the garbage or thrift store as long as it is out of my home.

Here is my by the day plan:

15: my bedroom
16: my bedroom
17: my bedroom
18: my bedroom
19: kitchen
20: kitchen
21: laundry room
22: laundry room
23: laundry room
24: Fisher’s room
25: Keziah’s room
26: Blythe’s room
27: Blythe’s room
28: Blythe’s room
29: storage room
30: storage room
31: storage room
01: storage room
02: storage room
03: garage
04: garage
05: garage
06: pantry
07: yard
08: yard
09: my bedroom
10: my bedroom
11: Keziah’s room
12: Fisher’s room
13: Blythe’s room
14: mini-library
15: school room
16: kitchen
17: laundry room
18: laundry room
19: laundry room
20: storage room
21: storage room
22: garage room
23: garage room

Kat and I are going to report to each other each day. Would anyone else like to be in on this accountability circle? Motivation is what we need ladies! Join with us and we will make it fabulously fun! Of course, there will be food involved, because Kat and I can do nothing without delicious food! Everyone who completes the challenge will get to join us for something delectable! Banana split party? Johnny Carino’s? Thai?

Even if you just do a small Wal-mart bag each day, it will count! I won’t punish you if you don’t have as much junk as I have!


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could i actually do this?

Mar 3, 2011 by

I haven’t been focused on decluttering at all lately and I am thinking it just may be time to start again. Here is a brilliant cleaning/decluttering idea. I am letting it percolate in my mind to see if I am really up to such a task. Part of it sounds so exciting and part of it sounds dreadful. I can’t imagine adding another thing on to my already full plate, but I am thinking it would be totally worth it to have 40 bags of stuff out of my house. Surely, the empty space would free up my mind, heart, and time for other things, so it would all even out in the end, right?

Sound intriguing to anyone else? If so, let me know and maybe we could be accountability partners!

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so much done, so much to do

Nov 21, 2010 by

Oh my goodness, I am supercalifragilisticexpialidocious proud of us! We have accomplished so much! Just this week we have:

1. Cleaned out the drive-me-out-of-my-mind-ginormous-clutter-room (thanks to Jessica!)

2. Created a lovely working space for creativity galore.

3. Made Fisher’s curtains (yes, I did it all by myself!)

4. Vacuumed and mopped I don’t know how many times.

5. Cleaned both bathrooms.

6. Redecorated the upstairs bathroom.

7. Finished the bathroom curtains with the amazing Kat and her quick-as-light sewing help.

8. Brought in our playhouse we built for the older girls back in 2001 or so and created a play space for Fisher and Annes.

9. Magic Erasered almost all the walls of this house.

10. Taken out LOADS of garbage.

11. Cleaned out the vacuum.

12. Built storage shelves for the clutter-room.

13. Hung up the ABC and hundred number charts.

14. Hung up our timeline.

15. Took a load of stuff to DI.

16. The dress-ups were sorted out (and some given to DI).

17. A dress-up hook was hung for eight outfits to be out at a time.

18. The Mary Engelbreit calendar project was started…then I ruined the first one…and I am pondering how to proceed from here. Need to finish it tonight though!

19. On top of all this cleaning/organizing/creating/etc. I also played my cello at Festival of Trees, taught my two classes at iFamily, watched Keziah sing at Festival of Trees, was the Meeting Mother at Liberty Girls, taught gymnastics (and held the 6th semi-annual headstand contest), fed my children umpteen times, bathed and showered several times, read three of the Imaginarium Geographica books (they are pretty addicting!) and tried to fit some sleep in there. I am completely wiped out and SO ready for my family to come starting tomorrow. I just wish I had finished all the stuff down below.

What is left? Unfortunately lots. My bedroom got halfway done last week and that is probably as far as it is going to get. I don’t have it in me to stay up all night long. The storage room that got mostly cleaned a few weeks ago needs cleaned again. The garage needs cleaned out. I am horribly behind on laundry and my dryer is covered in clothing that needs dealt with. My freezer needs cleaned out. Blythe’s curtains need made. Blythe’s room needs finished (but she has worked diligently on it…it is just a gargantuan task). Groceries need bought. The pantry needs cleaned out. The top of the fridge is covered in dust (at least 1/2 inch thick – what can I say? I can’t see it up there!). My Usborne shelf needs cleaned off.

I know you all want pictures, but my camera battery died during the headstand contest. I think there is another one here somewhere, so when I finish the calendar project I will look for it and snap some pictures of it all.

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the abyss no more

Nov 17, 2010 by

The abyss, as Kari calls it, is now a clean, organized, orderly creation space.

Thanks to Jessica coming over last night and helping me for six hours, we now have a space for fabric, buttons, thread, paper, scissors, adhesives, cutting board, Cricut supplies, brads, blades, pins, magnets, elastic, bows, ribbon, flowers, tape, rulers, notebooks, paintings, multiplication charts, alphabet cards, baby toys, dress ups, and oh, so much more. We removed bags and boxes and more boxes of garbage. We have a large DI pile. We hung up a cool time-line chart I have been wanting hung-up for years. In short, we worked past midnight creating a miracle! You know, some miracles need a lot of elbow grease to create them!

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the unconquerable room – or so i thought

Nov 15, 2010 by

You know the “room”. That room. The room that is overflowing with all the stuff you have no idea what to do with. Maybe you don’t have a room like that. Maybe you are so orderly and on top of things that you don’t have that room, but I seem to have one at all times (and many times I have several).

Well, my entire family is coming in to town next week and we are going to need every ounce of space we have under this roof, so I have been working and working and working for what feels like months to get my home in order so everyone can feel comfortable while they are here.

I did the bedrooms, I did the dining room, I did the laundry room, I did the bathrooms, I did the storage room, I did the storage room hallway, I did the underneath-the-stairs room, but that room still seemed unconquerable to me. It has been all too easy to shut the door and pretend the giant mountain of STUFF wasn’t there. Clutter is my nemesis. I hate it and it overwhelms me and somehow I can ignore it for months years on end until I finally notice how gargantuan the clutter has become and decide to tackle it.

I have been working for the last several hours on that room and have made a ton of progress! The best part is I have been listening to downloads from past TJED Forums and have been inspired while I have been cleaning!

My faves from today?

Stronger, Wiser, Deeper, Brighter, Sweeter, Finer, Gentler, Kinder:
How Classics Lead Us and our Children to Be More
by Heather Burton

The Freedom Crisis by Oliver DeMille

The Heart of a Man by Dale Milsap

If you don’t have these downloads and you need some inspiration in your life, you can find them at TJED Marketplace. I think they are $4 each. I always buy all the recordings and then listen to them throughout the year as I am washing dishes, sewing, driving, or you know, cleaning that room.

I am starting to have hope that just maybe I can get it clean and we can have a sewing room again…and Cameron can have a place to live next week when he comes all the way from Wisconsin!

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school room is clean!

Nov 1, 2010 by

So, I have been trying to get my home into some semblance of order after the great bedroom rearrangement project, right? Well, as I have said many times before, it is basically impossible for me to clean without rearranging. The school room has been full of the overflow from Keziah’s room and has been collecting clutter for weeks months. We have been having school-time upstairs for all of September and October because I could not bear to do it in the mess and chaos of the school room.

Today was the day I set aside for cleaning it and it is done! I needed to make the couch area smaller to make room for Richard’s weight bench and the before-mentioned mattresses, so I really did need to rearrange this time.

Both enormous bookshelves have new homes, the “closet” has been moved, the art table is in a new spot, there is a new spot for the project table, lots of stuff has been thrown away, books I don’t love have been removed, mattresses waiting for Mikelle to take them home are moved out of the way, and all my lovely, old-looking books are now upstairs in the bookshelves in the dining room.

I still need to do the rest of the basement, the clothing bins, my bedroom, and the piles of stuff in the hallway, but the school room is spotless! My back is aching and I the rest of me is super sore, but I am so glad this part of the decluttering/cleaning process is done.

Fisher is waiting for me to read to him, so I will get some pics up later tonight!

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step number one

Oct 11, 2010 by

In my attempt to declutter and simplify, I have successfully completed step number one.

I emptied over 3000 unread emails from my inboxes. Granted I did it late last night when I should have been sleeping, but it is still done!

I am determined to read, delete, or deal with all emails as they come in and not let them pile up. My email box is one area I can surely stay on top of, is it not? After success in this area, I will move to the other areas of my life that pile up…laundry, dishes, old food in the refrigerator, mail, bills, thoughts, burdens, guilt, pain, should-haves, could-have-beens, and the inevitable, wish-I-wouldn’t-haves.

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