Monthly Archives: January 2012

Day 147- 4 o’clock shuffle

Hello hello!

It’s 4 o’clock. Time to do the shuffle. I’ve got some music on! My house gets messy every single day just like yours. 

Taking my place at the front door to do the entry way. It helps to always know where you’re going to start so that you don’t wander around in circles. 

Next it’s into the bathroom. It helps to know exactly where you’re going to go next so that you don’t wander around in circles. Keep paper towels and Windex nearby for the bathroom. Put a cabinet up like the one we’ve got on the left if you have too much counter clutter.

Next it’s into the kitchen to clear the counters. Move counter-clockwise. Dishes in the sink. Food away. Wipe stuff down. It helps to know exactly where you’re going next and how you’re going to move through the room so that you don’t wander in circles. 

Now I’m in the dining room. Clearing dishes. Crayons away. Stuff up off the floor and doing a sweep. Every day it’s the same shuffle. 

Now’s a good time to tell Adam to clean up the Lincoln Logs. “Whine! Whine! Whine!!”  And now I administer a Typical Mommy Speech that is probably the same Mommy Speech told in every household across the globe.

Still they’ve heard the Mommy Speech and even more helpful Baritone Daddy Speech enough times that they do clean up. Albeit still with whining. I help too. Then I vacuum.

It’s 5 o’clock and the house has been shuffled.

The dishes still need to be done.

The kids are eating oatmeal with bananas for dinner. It’s nutritious! It’s fast! (Francesca is also having some leftovers from last night.)

Everything is put away and purty…

By 5:30…

This is how the living room looks all over again. But believe it or not, this is easy stuff. It’s just mostly blankets and a few toys that will go back under the stairs. I’ll make the kids put it away before jammies.

I’m writing this post today, which is so similar to the one I wrote 5 days ago, to illustrate a lesson that was hard for me to learn: I have to clean this darn house every single day! Every day. Not once a week. Or once every three days. See how messy it gets and then re-gets in one day? If I don’t tend to the house every. single. day. it becomes overwhelming so quickly. Housecleaning becomes truly miserable if too many days (uh two) get strung together without it being tended to. And this doesn’t even look at the upstairs or laundry or decluttering stuff. (For someone, like me!, who wasn’t taught this stuff, it took a loooong time to learn this lesson. )

For me, having a specific time of day where I always touch base with the house, 4 o’clock, means that at least one time things will get put away. Even if they get taken out again. (Note: If a space is too hard to clean then it probably means that it needs decluttering.)

Have a wonderful day!




Filed under A Year in Skirts

Day 146- So this skirt-wearing thing is definitely pretty much normal to me now

Definitely pretty-much. My father would love that I wrote that. Kind of like writing “uniquely special” or something.

But it’s true. I’ve found a wardrobe balance where if I go too many days in jeans I feel odd. I’ve found that skirts work well for me in warmer weather. I give my props to Natasha Atkerson who is always showing pics of herself in skirts in the full-on SNOW. Skirts are definitely harder for me to want to wear when it’s cold or rainy. But because I live in a mild climate, (especially this year!) it’s fine. And now skirts don’t feel odd to me, they feel like ME. My jeans still feel like me too, just not all the time.

Have a wonderful day!

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Filed under A Year in Skirts

Day 145- Dishwashing Tip

I know, I know. Super glamorous title there. But what can I say? This is my life.

Anywho, the other day when I was taking pics of my home for the Day 143 post, I thought to zero in on this little tip that has made my life a bit easier-



Buy a tub to fit into your sink so that you can lift the dishes out all at once. Instant clean sink ready for dishwashing!

I realize that there is a big black machine right there under the counter that will wash my dishes for me, but I mostly wash by hand because it is faster, and many of my dishes are plastic and get kind of gross in the dishwasher. I’m also the type that tends to forget there are dishes in there and they never get put away.

Actually WASHING the dishes? I can’t help you with that part. I don’t like putting my hands in soapy water. Ugh.

Have a wonderful day!


Filed under A Year in Skirts

Day 144- 5 pieces of beauty inspiration

I figured I would post some “Rah Rah Empowerment” stuff on this here Sunday. These are various posts and things I’ve seen recently that I’ve enjoyed.

1. I didn’t know I loved Justine Bateman, but now I do! Here she talks about growing older in Hollywood.

2. Something tells me this woman has a good self-esteem. I could look at this picture all day. It’s like the most perfect vision of a woman’s steely strength and tenderness. (BTW, I love how baby is nursing and “twiddling” at the same time. Tuuute!)

3. I loved this post by Lori Alexander titled Your Standard of Beauty. Basically her point is that your standard of beauty should be whatever you happened to marry! I think that is so true because it keeps us focused on the specialness of our spouse.

4. I too have found the recent Jennifer Hudson Weight Watchers commercials to be offensive (I get annoyed with weight=worth messages), but was surprised to read that others are feeling the same. This article interestingly points out, that all of Jennifer’s success happened while she was heavier!

5. The ladies at Beauty Redefined always have great articles and Running from Self-Objectification is no exception. We have been conditioned to view ourselves as a series of either good or bad looking body parts (well, most of us have. I’m trying to avoid that for my daughters and son which is why I’m selective about media exposure). But we are WHOLE people and our bodies can DO many amazing things. Lindsay’s way of freeing herself from self-objectification was by setting a real fitness goal allowing her mental focus to shift to her body’s growing abilities. I know that in my own personal life, one thing that has been a real eye-opener for me is to see the fitness instructors at my local gym and notice that almost all of them have that little roundness to their tummy that often comes once you have children. They are incredibly fit and they don’t have flat tummies. A fit healthy body is not a body that would necessarily be hired to sell fitness products. As I’ve been surrounding myself with fit people I can see the wide range of what healthy fitness looks like.

Have a wonderful Sunday and praise God for the gift that is You!


Filed under A Year in Skirts, Thoughts on Stuff

Day 143- How I go about cleaning my house

Over the years I’ve developed a routine, a rhythm, whatever you want to call it, for how I approach cleaning up my house. I’m not so much talking about deep cleaning, but moreso that first layer of cleaning that needs to be done every single day if life is going to progress without major stress. Not attending to this layer every single day is a recipe for chronic cleaning problems and disorganization. In my household, it’s also a recipe for a grouchy husband since one of his primary “love languages” is a clean home. This layer of cleaning I often refer to as “The 4 o’clock Shuffle”.

When I’m about to clean my home, I do what Don Aslett of Is There Life After Housework? says. I momentarily visualize how nice it’s going to look when I’m all done. I focus on that and take my place at the front door.

I always start with cleaning up the entryway. This is a Sidetracked Home Executives recommendation and I’ve been doing this for awhile. Today it’s pretty much clean, but no matter what I always start here. Sometimes there are shoes all over the place and clothes. The baby shoes in the back by the stairs count as the entryway.

Next I go into my front bathroom. I put away the hair stuff, and wipe down the counter and toilet.

Next it’s into the kitchen. Because the kitchen is always a WHOLE THING, I focus more on clearing counters and wiping them down and I do dishes later. I always start at the right corner of the kitchen

and work my way around. Tossing dishes in the sink, putting food away, wiping down the stove and just working counterclockwise until everything is cleared off and wiped down.

Next it’s into the dining room to clear dishes. I pile stuff on the bar area to attend to later. I’m focusing on clearing the table and floor. I’ll spritz down the table and likely sweep the dining room and kitchen at this time.

Last I go into the living room and pick up toys, organize the top of the tv console, and vaccum the floor and cushions and entryway mats. I let the kids nibble on snacks in here so there are always Cheerios and food bits that need to be vacuumed.

To finish things off I attend to the junk that piles up on the bar and hutch area. These are hotspots that I have to keep on top of. I am quick to throw stuff away if I don’t see an immediate need for it. Here is a video of Flylady talking about hotspots. Hotspots make our homes look messy!!

When everything is done, THEN I do the dishes. I really hate dishes and I usually have to call a friend or my dad just to have someone to talk to while I’m doing them.

And that’s how I go about cleaning the downstairs.

Have a wonderful day!


Filed under A Year in Skirts

Day 142- Visiting with the LMLD ladies

Yesterday I made a little trek down south to visit with my favorite blogger!

She's so adorable. I hope I'm half as cute in about 20 years.

Yup. It’s me and Auntie Leila from Like Mother, Like Daughter. I remember the very first post I read of hers was the The Reasonably Clean House post where she talked about starting in the master bedroom. Since I have been on a mission to learn the skill and art of homemaking ever since I got married (when I promised myself I’d keep a nice home for my husband who is “born organized”) I always have my eye out for great homekeeping advice. I feel like I’ve read every popular home organization expert out there and each one has added a nugget of wisdom to my life that I’ve been able to apply and improve. It turns out that the LMLD blog is more than just a nugget though. It’s a lovely resource about embracing our role as wives and mothers and homemakers and women of faith, and practical advice about how to DO just that.

Pippo, Rosie, Leila, Bridet, Me.

So when I heard that Auntie Leila was visiting Rosie in Carlesbad, why did I drive my butt down there to go say hi? Well, I’ve been thinking about this because it really was a bit farther of a drive than I’m used to, and getting home was a real beast! But in the end I’m glad I went and here’s why:

Blogging is the art I’m invested in.

I’ve never followed a band. I’ve never been super-invested in a television show. I didn’t go crazy when the Titanic was popular, nor Harry Potter, nor Twilight. For some reason these beacons of pop culture barely blip my radar. And I almost WISH I was more into this stuff so that I could participate in the fun! But what I enjoy most, and what I feel most speaks to my life, is this new little art-form of blogging. There is no other art form right now that speaks to the Christian woman the way blogs do. (Although I did go see Dr. Laura Schlessinger a few times when she did book signings and her one-woman show. Her radio show was a powerful influence when I was young that started me on my way).

I enjoy writing this blog and I enjoy reading other’s blogs for information and inspiration. Since the LMLD blog is my favorite one to read, I guess that makes Leila Lawler my favorite writer! And darnit, I wanted to meet her and her daughters and just say hi. I also thought that going to visit would in some small way show support for Rosie, whose husband is recently deployed (although I wish I had told her as much.)

Unfortunately, that will probably be my last trip like that! I really did have a hard time getting home on the drive. I’ve always had difficulty driving long distances but felt I needed to just “get over it” because I know so many people who drive all over the place all the time. My father drives down to San Diego and back for his work all the time. It seems that when you live in Southern California you just get used to it. I never understood why I had a hard time and seemed to avoid going places that were beyond a very specific circle of life. I really want to feel free to just go to downtown or to the ocean the way other people do. Yesterday, helped me to understand my limitations. On the drive home I began to get very dizzy and light-headed with the monotony of the lines on the freeway and feel nauseous with motion sickness. My hands began to feel shaky. I opened the windows to let in air. I turned the radio on loudly. I asked Adam to keep talking to me. But it didn’t help. I began to feel like my mind was very drunk. So I had to pull over and call Jason to come and get us. I can’t take chances with my precious cargo and the lives of others by being in an unfit state on the road. So now I know. It isn’t just something I can “get over.” I don’t know why I get this level of motion sickness on the road, but at least now I understand that I’m not just being a brat or something when I say I can’t drive certain distances.

One very precious part of the day that I want to remember happened when we came home. At the park Adam grabbed two Oreo cookies, and as soon as we got home (which was more than 2 hours later due to me stopping and all) he jumped out of the van and said “Frannie, I brought this cookie for you!” He held onto one of the cookies for all that time and didn’t eat it just so that he could bring it home to his big sister. I thought that was just the sweetest thing. And when we were driving and I was having a hard time he said “Mommy, I would help you. But I don’t know how to drive yet.” Such a precious boy!

Anyways, I’m always saying I want more adventure in my life, and yesterday was certainly that 🙂

Have a wonderful day!

Linking to 7 Quick Takes (although I know there isn’t 7 of anything here.)


Filed under A Year in Skirts

Day 141- Breaking the record

For my birthday, Jason and I went on our first ever overnight adventure away from the kiddos. My oldest is almost 7. Go ahead and do that math!

Since it was just up on Saturday, and back on Sunday we went to Santa Barbara which is one of the most beautiful spots in the world I’d say. Well, at least in my very untraveled world.

We stayed at a lovely hotel of course. With an ocean view! Ooh la la!

One of the coolest things we did was go see the monarch butterflies in the eucalyptus groves. Thousands come in the winter and clump up in the trees. Check it out! (The big brown clumps are ALL butterflies.)

And then we were back home to the sweeties. Guess who stayed in my lap the longest? (Hint: It was not little Natalie like I thought.)

It was this one. The one that hasn’t been left in 7 years. Love this girl!

And now life is back to normal. Which is good! This was a good trial run, since I’m sure we’ll want to do this again perhaps for a longer stretch in August when we celebrate our 10 year anniversary.

Capturing the context of contentment with Like Mother, Like Daughter

Have a wonderful day!


Filed under A Year in Skirts