Subscribe to Life of a Happy Mom Subscribe to Life of a Happy Mom's comments

Posts tagged ‘home’

I don’t ever remember my mom doing a proper spring cleaning, so I haven’t ever done one either. However, the ideas here could be spaced out over several weeks (to keep it from being overwhelming), and I think I want to try some of the ideas here! –Lisa

A clean home gives you many benefits, the best one being a great stress reliever. After a long day at work, wouldn’t it be nice to go home to a clean and organized house where everything you need is at the right place?

Spring is the perfect time to clear your home of all the clutter and chaos. This doesn’t mean you have to throw out everything, though. Here are some green solutions you can try during your spring clean this year.

Be open to change

The best way to go about spring cleaning is to dispose items that you no longer use. These can be empty lotion and shampoo containers, clothes that no longer fit, or maybe the really old toys that you loved as a child. In order to do this, you must have the heart to let go of the stuff you’ve been keeping for a long time. Springtime is a season of growth and change, so allow yourself to move on and let go.

Organize and Segregate

Go through all your belongings and sort out the ones you want to donate, recycle, and discard. Bring out the items that you know you will be able to use often and keep the things that you only use once in a while in a box. Label each box accordingly. By doing so, you will be making your life a lot easier.

Decide which ones need to make their way to the garbage and which ones you can still use. Group the other items into things you can reuse or recycle and stuff you can donate to charity. Find clothes you haven’t used in months and give it to someone you know will benefit from it more. Remember that the lighter your home feels, the better your life will be.

Find another use for your old items

There will always be stuff that you’d be too embarrassed to donate, like tattered clothing and lone socks. Instead of throwing these out, use them as cleaning rags. Old shirts and towels make good cleaning cloths so don’t waste your money buying new rags when you already have good ones at home.

Your old toothbrush is also another item you can recycle. Use it to clean your faucet and bathroom sink as well as your shower and toilet. If you are going to use one brush for everything, make the toilet its last destination to avoid contamination.

Detoxify your home

Houses may be home to the most toxic products that could compromise human health in the long run. Now that you’re in the mood for cleaning, check areas that need extra attention such as medicine cabinets and the refrigerator. Collect all your medicines and throw out the expired ones. You can also bring them to your local pharmacy and they’ll take care of the disposal.

If you’ve accumulated lawn care products and pesticides that haven’t been used in years, it’s definitely time to get rid of them. These types of wastes are labelled as Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) and most states require that they’re properly discarded. Find facilities in your locality where you can drop off hazardous for proper disposal.

Clean your garden

Spring cleaning is not just about de-cluttering your home but also renewing your connection with nature. Freshen up your home by including the garden in your clean-up. If you don’t have a garden, now is the best time to start one! Being eco-friendly means being one with nature as well as taking care of it.

It can be a small plot in your backyard or a container garden for your kitchen. Use old ceramic pots or empty mason jars to plan herbs and spices. Meanwhile, you can use expired food items and vegetable or fruit peelings as fertilizer.

Gardening offers you lots of benefits like having your very own source of flowers, fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, you actually burn calories from 45 minutes of gardening as with a 30-minute aerobic workout. All that fresh air and nature’s scent will do wonders for your health and well-being.

With these eco-friendly ideas in mind, you’re well on your way to reaping the benefits of a healthy earth and home. Happy (green) spring cleaning!

 

Jessica Phan is a designer for Balsamhill.com a purveyor of high-end artificial Christmas Trees. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area is perfect for her because she has a wide range of interests, including Art & Design, Fashion, Photography, Painting and Thrift Store Shopping.

 

Photobucket

I thought I would take a break from the routine series and give my friends a little update on our home.

Almost exactly one year ago, a wind storm (possibly a tornado) blew through

Estacada and knocked a tree over on our house. You can see it in the photo to the left. See window right under the tree? We were looking out of it when the tree fell!

We had insurance, and they were quite willing to pay, but then we discovered that there were serious issues with the foundation and other code violations that were not caused by the tree, and therefore would not be covered by insurance. Some of the foundation cracks were made worse by the tree, so we hired a lawyer to help us get as much as was fair from the insurance so that we could afford to fix or replace the home.

Eventually, it came down to replacing the home. It would cost more to fix than we could get from the insurance. That meant replacing the not-up-to-code septic system as well. So we’ve spent pretty much every penny the insurance has given us, and then some. But things are finally moving along.

Last Friday we went out to see our new home brought in. You can see it in the

Photo by Glenda Sandidge

picture here. It’s actually a little more yellow than it appears in the picture, because, as usual, it was cloudy and actually misting a little. It started raining harder in the afternoon. All the brown dirt was mud that stuck to our shoes and made them very heavy! This view is almost the same angle as the picture above (the tree in the foreground on the left is the same). Obviously, we are getting a much smaller home–about 1,000 square feet less. But that’s okay. I will miss the basement, but it can’t be helped. This home has four bedrooms, and we are going to install some kind of laminate flooring. I just emailed Pergo floors to find out which of their laminate floors put out the least emissions, so hopefully I will hear back from them on that soon.

Anyhow, they had a real time trying to get the home situated. It’s hard to see in the picture, but the property slopes down a hill. This angle is facing southeast, and the hill faces due south. The slab of concrete for the home is partly on a built-up surface that sticks out from the hill, and the yellow “crawler” that you can see in the picture wasn’t able to pull the halves into precise position. Hopefully they were able to figure something out today and get it properly situated so that it can be put together and tied down.

So once that’s done and it passes inspection, and once the sand filter for the septic is installed and the floors in, we will be able to move. Weather permitting, that should be in about 4 weeks. And I really hope it doesn’t take longer than that! Because insurance was very generous to give us an extra month in this home–since the original cut-off date was based on the time it would have taken to actually fix the house, but there were unavoidable delays, from the county taking time to inspect things to the record rainfall we’ve had this winter. Hopefully this extension will be enough to get all the last-minute things finished. I sure hope so!

I just hope we can get a garden in this year. We have not been able to do one every year since we moved to Oregon, because of moving or not knowing when we would move. Even if I have to grow lettuce in the flower bed or something, though, we really want to be able to grow some of our own food. Sprouts are nice, but more variety would be nicer. So yes, I’m really looking forward to moving!

Okay, it’s time to make the announcement official: I am pregnant. Due sometime in late July–I don’t have an official date yet.

I’ll admit it: I’m procrastinating the whole prenatal check-up thing because most days I don’t feel like even cooking and doing dishes, much less getting out and going somewhere. That, and I want a home birth, but I need to see if I can convince my insurance company to cover it. Otherwise we’ll have to pay the midwife out-of-pocket or do it unassisted–and the latter isn’t really something I want to do. I know I could do it, but I don’t really want to be without a professional, and I know my husband would feel the same way.

But that’s not why I started writing this. I just need to get some thoughts down on “paper.” A conversation I had with my brother brought this up, and I just wanted to get it out.

First off, this will be our third child. We had more or less planned on having more children. We just didn’t intend to have one quite yet. We are still living in the rental house, waiting for our place to be fixed up. The deadline for that is the end of February. So hopefully we will make that deadline, or pretty close to it. But after discussing it, we realized that a summer baby, while my husband is not in school (he’s going after his master’s in social work–just finished his first quarter) would be perfect. We could get into the routine of a new baby before school starts again, and he plans on taking paternity leave for a while to help the transition. We realized that waiting until he was doing his internship would not be a good time to have a baby, and if we had waited much longer, the age gap would be larger than we want. Manny will be 3 1/2 when the new baby is born. I’m 3 years older than my brother, and we always wished we could have been closer. So my husband and I are happy with this surprise pregnancy.

But my mother is not. She thought we should have stopped at two. Of course, because this one was unplanned, there wasn’t a whole lot she could say, other than that she hoped we were done. And honestly, I don’t think we could have timed it better if we had planned. Seems God knows best and overrules sometimes, in spite of what we may do. But she sure ranted and raved about it to my brother.

The typical American family has 2.5 children, supposedly. So congratulations are always in order on a second or third pregnancy. But after that, a lot of people will start asking questions like, “Was this one planned?” “How many are you planning on having, anyway?” And any American family that has a lot of kids gets discussed quite a bit behind their backs. Of course, the Duggars are on the extreme end of things, but I remember how my mom talked about the lady who moved to our town and came to church that had 5 kids. “She shouldn’t have so many. How can she take care of them all?” Hey, she ran a daycare! She knew what she was doing. At least in one sense. And she wanted more. What right did we have to say she shouldn’t?

I am not officially quiver full; I believe God has given us the responsibility to be sensitive to issues such as finances, the health of the mother, etc. But I think there is a lot of truth in the quiver-full philosophy. Children are a blessing. And if my husband and I end up having 5 or 6 or more of them, that should not be an issue that affects my relationship with my family.

Now, I know my dad’s family would be fine with it. My dad’s only sister had 5 kids, and now has at least 8 grandchildren and counting. My dad himself had 6 siblings, and he wanted lots of kids. My husband had 4 siblings, and his parents both came from even larger families. My mom, on the other hand, had two brothers, and I think she was unplanned, considering the age gap between her and her older brothers. It’s fine for her to look at the smaller family and say, “It’s so much easier on the mother, easier on the finances, and we are so close to the end of time, etc,” but she’s done having children. This is our family. We don’t know if we are done or not. I figure we’ll know when we get there. But that’s not something I’ll be able to know for at least two years, if then.

I was reading a post on one of the few blogs I still keep up with called Childrearing As Our Profession. As a young adult, my goal was to be a wife and mother. I’m a wife for as long as we both shall live. But I’m a mother in the profession sense only as long as I have children in the home. Of course, I’ll always be their mother, but I can’t really mother them once they grow up. The more kids I have, the more I’ll have the chance to practice that profession.

And I’ve made some mistakes along the way. I’ve let things slide. I’ve lost my vision of motherhood at times. But this pregnancy has been a wake-up call. Once the morning sickness wears off and I can focus on life again, I need to get my home and children in order. I can’t focus on that right now, because I’m in survival mode, but I know that I must soon. Because having another child won’t make it any easier, but being more organized and in control before that child comes will.

So there you have it. My thoughts on having more children. My brother asked me if we still are planning on 10 (I used to joke we would have 10 kids). I told him that we don’t know. We’re going to take them one at a time, and when we’re done, we’ll know. And honestly, I don’t care what my mother thinks. If we have 5 and she can’t afford to come to every birthday party, she won’t hurt my feelings. But she’s the only grandmother my children will ever have–my husband’s mother died a few months after Gislaine was born–so I hope she just accepts that this is our family and we are going to decide between us and God what to do with increasing it or not.

There, I’ve said my piece. It’s late and I’m going to bed. Thanks for “listening,” if you got this far.

I think I have finally figured out the secret to parenting.

Okay, when I say “figured it out,” I don’t mean that I have a 100% perfect understanding of it. But I think I have enough of a concept to apply it and to share it.

And it wasn’t my original discovery. It comes from the book Parenting Your Infant/Toddler by the Spirit by Sally Hohnberger. And “it” is the parenting pyramid.

In my own words, this pyramid means that God is at the top, desiring to communicate to my child and me. Because I am the parent, I need to open up the lines of communication–two-way communication. I need to make sure my heart is fully surrendered in the moment. And let me tell you, lack of surrender on our part is a big reason why we fail to bring our children to true obedience. Just try making a child obey cheerfully by yelling at them!

The second aspect is that God also wants to communicate directly to the child. However, the rebellious, tantrum-throwing two-year-old isn’t listening. So we as the parent, now surrendered to the Lord, will communicate to them, and direct them to listen to what God is saying to them. Then we lead them to surrender as well. Once they surrender, the lines of communication are open between both parent and child and God and child.

Now, that’s good in theory, but let me make this practical with some illustrations from my life today.

It was time to pick up the toys and get ready for worship. But neither of my children wanted to pick up the toys. Manny tried to throw a tantrum and Gislaine started to cry. Because I couldn’t deal with them both at once, I sent Gislaine to her room and told her to wait until I called her. Then I told Manny that he needed to surrender his heart to Jesus and put the toys away. I said, “Let’s pray,” but he jerked in defiance. So I took his hand and said, “We need to go for a run.” We ran the length of the house and back. Then I knelt again and asked him to pray with me. He knelt, folded his hands, and closed his eyes. Then he repeated after me. “Dear Jesus, please help me to put my toys away happy. Amen.” Then I showed him the toy, and repeated my instruction. He put it away. At first he was just compliant–putting it away under protest. But as I directed him to put more and more away, his heart softened until by the time he was done, he was a cheerful, happy little boy. And Daddy noticed later, after I had gone to the gym, that he was the happiest, most obedient, surrendered little boy that he had been for a long time, and commented on it to me when I got back.

Once he was busy putting his toys away, I called his sister out. We knelt and I led her in a similar prayer. Then I asked her, “What is Jesus saying to you?” She said, “To obey.” That just warmed my heart! Jesus was speaking to my precious daughter, and she recognized His voice! I said, “That’s right. Now please put the dolly’s bed away.” And she did. She also helped her brother put some things away. And she was happy when it was over.

And so was I!

Yes, it took extra time to do it, but the end result was happiness for everyone, and peace in the home.

Yes, this is the secret: a connection with God, listening for His direction, and following His guidance. Most of the time, we won’t know for sure if the ideas that come to our minds are from Him or not, but we are to test the spirits, and move forward in faith. But being surrendered ourselves–to take our toddler’s hand for the grizzly run (because they are too young to run by themselves), even when we don’t feel like running–makes all the difference. Because we certainly cannot bring our child to surrender if we are not surrendered ourselves!

I’m reading this book through for the second time. I can’t say I’ve read enough recently to do a proper review of it, but I would still highly recommend it. And all the other books in the series.

First off, I’m sorry I forgot to insert the linky tool in last week’s post. However, no one even commented, so I guess it wasn’t missed. I have decided to continue this topic, even if no one participates, because I need to do it for me. That said, though, I would love if some of my readers would participate!

Last week my decision was:

I resolve to make a plan for checking email and being online and to claim victory over wasting time online.

Did I make a plan? Yes. Have I gained consistent victory in this area? No. What can I say? It is not easy to change strong habits. However… as I have continued on with the All Power seminar, I got down to days 25-27, where I have been forced (yes, I chose that word on purpose) to look very closely at myself and my priorities and values, and to make some changes. I have spent a lot of spare thinking time (I say thinking time, because my hands have usually been very busy) trying to figure out where certain areas of my life, especially my blogs, fit into what I want out of life. I think I have figured it out–more abstractly than concretely at the moment–and I’ll probably share about it in a future post once it crystallizes better in my mind. All I know is that if I choose to live by my list of Ultimate End Values that I made yesterday, I will be spending less time in general on the Internet and in particular less time on this blog.

Here is my plan, however, for what it’s worth: I have decided to set certain time frames for being online. These are scheduled into my day, just like other activities like time with God and eating. However, because Internet has lower priority than other things like home and husband and children, the demands of home and husband and children may at times supersede my need to get online, and I may have to forgo time online.

What I do online is going to change somewhat. My list of end values is going to change my focus of activities. For instance, at this point in time financial security is going to have to take precedence over community, especially because my husband is going back to school and my son has expensive health issues. So if I have to choose between writing a post on some helpful cleaning tip for this blog and posting a couple of items on eBay, I’ll choose eBay. I know this could affect my blog in many ways, but I have decided that having lots of readers is not important anymore. I want to share more about who I am and less about what I know here.

I have also decided that I cannot make 5 decisions a week. I just don’t have it in me to focus on that many things right now. So I have made two. Here is one of them:

I determine to make my relationship with God the #1 priority in my life.

I have said that it is, but I have not practiced it. Now I am going to do it. Even if I have to get up early, miss out on sleep, etc. My physical health is not as important as my relationship with God. That said, I believe that getting this in place will make the rest of life fall into place. After all, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

So what decision are you making this week? Please use the linky widget below, or post about it in the comments. Read this for more information on how this link-up is supposed to work.

Introspection

In the last few days, I have been doing a lot of introspection. I won’t go into all the details (I don’t have time to do that, and you probably don’t have time to read it!), but let me see if I can summarize a little.

I’ve been taking the All Power Seminar. If you haven’t heard of it, you should go check it out. If you let it, it will change your life. It is probably the major reason for all my introspection lately.

On day 25, my assignment was to list my ultimate end values, then put them in order of importance the way they are in my life right now (not how they should be). That is hard! Think about it. When you think of values, you might think about things like God, husband, children, a nice home, money, etc. But most of those are not ultimate values. For instance, I married my husband for love, security, and pleasure, among other things. I don’t find pleasure in cleaning the home, but I do it because it makes my husband happy, and his happiness translates into pleasure and love for me. Listing ultimate end values is a lot harder than listing the things we do every day and then putting them on a priority. This has to do with who we are as a person.

I just did it this morning. And I’m not liking who I am.

Thankfully, I don’t have to stay the way I am! Praise God!

But it has made me stop and take a look at why I do what I do. Why do I blog? Why do I spend as little time in the kitchen as I can? Why do I find myself telling my daughter, “Just a minute” 5 times when all she wants is for me to read a story? Not just looking at the behavior but at the underlying motive is, well, it’s painful, but it helps me understand who I really am, and what I need to change.

So speaking of blogging… I haven’t figured it out totally. What I do know is that until I figure out exactly what my goal is, I may not do a lot of blogging for a while. At least, not as much as I have been doing the last couple of weeks. I want this blog to glorify God, and it can’t if I put it ahead of the more important things in life, such as my relationship with God, my children, and my health.

Recently I posted a survey about my blog, then made it “sticky” so that it would be at the top of the page. I only had one entry, and the answers really made me think, because I wasn’t posting much of what that reader wanted to see most here. I wish I had had more (it’s still open, by the way), but it did give me food for thought.

So what about you? What are your ultimate goals and values in life? What drives you? Think about it, and feel free to share if you wish.

That’s right. We got the keys today! Went to Home Depot to look at things. Tomorrow we’re going to buy a bunch of stuff–paint, flooring, some appliances. Will post pictures later. Stay tuned!