Friday, April 24, 2015

Five Random Keepin' It Real Confessions

All this week some of my blogging friends have been taking readers on a sneak peek of their real life -- what their houses really look like, what messes don't always get cleaned up, etc. We're showing a side of our lives that doesn't always get photographed and doesn't usually show up on our blogs. We're all "Keepin' It Real" so that we can let other moms know that life doesn't always look like Pinterest.

I've been taking pictures all week, sharing some on Instagram and saving some for this blog post. Tonight I decided to share five Keeping' It Real confessions.



1. I have spiders that like to live near my front door. Black widows, to be exact. Every once in a while, late at night, I put on some sturdy tennis shoes and head outside with a flashlight to stomp on them all. Sometimes, though, the cobwebs accumulate faster than I can go spider hunting. Thankfully they don't show too badly from the street.


2. I don't start our homeschool day early in the morning. Some days of the week I get up really early to go running with friends. Other days I sleep in a bit more. It's not easy having a high schooler that often stays out late for activities and an elementary student that's up at 6:00 every morning. My goal is to finish breakfast and medicines by nine o'clock so I can start schoolwork with Lauren. I'd guess I have a 50/50 success rate with that.

Our homeschool room:



3. I try to wash dishes and clean off the counters after dinner each night.


I sometimes wake up in the mornings to find the kitchen looking like this:



4. I think having a messy desk is hereditary. I took pictures of the Lauren's desk in the schoolroom, Brennan's desk on the other side of the schoolroom, my desk in the front office area, and Addison's desk. Addison cleaned hers off last night. I've tried to clean mine, but it's hard to keep a shared area neatly organized.






5. Last week, I worked on cleaning up the master bedroom as part of the 34 Weeks of Clean challenge. I'm hoping that the clean, organized look in there will last for a while.



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Do you sometimes feel like a failure when it comes to homemaking?  Do you ever beat yourself up for not keeping your house spic and span?  Do you thumb through magazines and ever wonder why your house can't look like that, or when you visit your favorite bloggers you wonder how they can keep a tidy home but you can't?

House porch with wicker furniture and flowers

Well, let's get REAL!!  You are NOT a failure; your house does NOT have to be spic and span 24/7; those magazine photos are NOT real life; and I can guarantee you that the neat and tidy pictures you see of bloggers' homes are hardly ever like that on a regular basis.

So I thought it would be encouraging and fun to do a little home tour of my own (along with several other bloggers - make sure you check out the other home tours at the end of this post).  You know, kind of like those lovely house tours that DIY/Home bloggers do that show pictures of their immaculate, magazine-worthy homes?  Like that, but a little different.  For this home tour we won't pretty up our houses or make them picture perfect, but rather show them as they are in their usual state - lived in!

We hope that through these home tours that you are encouraged to know that nobody has it all together, and that's okay; that you have fun peeking into the life of another family and seeing how other moms do things; and also to dispel the myth that bloggers have a flawless life.

BUT WAIT!  We want to see your homes too!!!  Even if you aren't a blogger, you can join us and share pictures of your home on Instagram.  For the next six days we will have a little Instagram challenge; each day will have a different topic for you to post a picture on.  Check out the graphic below to see what is assigned on each day.  Be sure to use the hashtag #KeepinItRealHomeTour on all your Instagram post so we can find each other easily. 

Keepin It Real Home Tour IG Challenge

©2009-2015 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced.

Monday, April 20, 2015

34 Weeks of Clean: The Master Closet

I know. I skipped a week. Week 15 was the Master Bedroom and week 16 is the Master Closet. I actually did clean our master bedroom first, but tonight it has a few wayward piles of laundry left on the floor and I can't take the perfect pictures I want.


I took the following "before" pictures without making any attempts to straighten up. We've had a crazy busy few weeks -- an area-wide Youth Rally, our Leadership Training for Christ convention, my husband and big kids preparing for a big backpacking trip, and what seems like a gazillion extra doctors' appointments in preparation for our move this summer. It doesn't normally look quite this bad.

Our closet has rods on three sides. I have the long hanging section and half of the shelves on the left side of the closet. Apparently, I also took over much of the floor.


I also have the double-rods on the other side of the closet. (I know it seems like I claimed far more than my fair share of closet space. In return, I gave Tim two-thirds of the drawer space in the dresser.)

Here's part the mess I allowed to pile up on top of my two hanging rods:


And the mess on the shelf between the two rods:



Bright and somewhat-early Saturday morning, I took absolutely everything that was mine out of the closet. I posted of the mess a picture on Michele's Facebook wall:


I think it actually got a bit worse than that before it got better. I took hours of sorting and trying on and purging before I could start putting things back.

My first organizing challenge was the pile of running clothes that are too slippery to stay in a neat pile. I ended up with a few plastic drawers that fit perfectly into the built-in shelves. (The little girl in the picture is my IRun4 buddy.)


All my diabetes supplies were already organized so I didn't have much work to do on that shelf. I kept forgetting to put new lancets in my meter case so I started keeping them in a glass jar where I'd have a visual reminder to use them.

I then finished up week 14's arts and crafts assignment by sorting (and labeling) my yarn. The four clear boxes hold knitting/crochet supplies and yarn. The brightly colored tote has been holding various cross-stitch, sewing, and other craft supplies for years. I sorted through the things I don't use anymore and it now all fits inside the tote.


Similarly, I sorted through and purged all my travel organizers, make-up bags, etc. They now all fit into my single toiletry bag. (I know. It's huge. I usually have to carry a ton of diabetes supplies when we travel.) Behind the red toiletry bag is the electronics backpack I use to corral the laptop and all sorts of charging cords when we travel. The black print bag now contains all my purses. I could probably get by with a few less purses, but I'll settle for just keeping them all neatly nested in one large bag.


On the floor is one sealed cardboard box of surprises I've set aside for the kids. (Only one of my kids usually reads my blog and there's nothing in there for you, Addison. Just saying.) The ginormous tote bag is stuffed with all the various tote bags I couldn't part with. I might have a bag lady problem, but I'll live in denial as long as they're neatly put away.


I'm still missing a few dresses on this side of the closet because I need to wash a bit of dust off of the shoulders. (I finally figured out a workable solution to wearing an insulin pump with a dress so I can wear them again.) I couldn't make up my mind about how many coats to keep. It would be easy to get rid of coats seeing as how we live in Arizona, but I suspect I'd change my mind about how many coats I want when we move to Colorado. I ended up keeping all of them.



On the other side of the closet, I labeled boxes for the shoes I don't wear in the summer and put them up on the top shelf.


Since I don't have much drawer space, my area of the closet collects all my t-shirts. They stack more nicely than my running clothes, but they still tend to get out of hand. While sorting things at a church yard sale Friday, I found this basket. I didn't know what I'd use it for when I bought it home, but it works perfectly for my t-shirts. This basket of shirts is my favorite thing about the whole closet reorganization.


Some of the t-shirts I don't wear as often found a home in a bin that I already had. Aren't they cute rolled up this way?


After putting back my most-loved hanging clothes, I tucked my exercise gear underneath.



The official "after" shot of this side of the closet:


While talking to a friend about all my closet-cleaning work, she remembered that I had once limited my wardrobe to just 33 items. While I loved doing that for a while, I just stored the excess clothing and didn't get rid of it. Over time more stuff crept from storage back into my regular closet. Maybe someday I'll go back to my capsule wardrobe. For now, though, I'm enjoying having easy access to all my clothes and not tripping over all the things I've let pile up on the floor of the closet.


If you'd like to join me with the challenges, you can find Michele's posts on her Family, Faith, and Fridays blog, on the Facebook page, or by clicking the button below. She posts a new challenge every Friday and will also be hosting a weekly link-up for any other bloggers who are brave enough to share pictures of their progress. There is also a prize basket giveaway with entries earned by blogging or posting pictures on her blog's FB wall.


©2009-2015 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Blooming Cactus {Wordless Wednesday}

I spotted this tiny little cactus in full beautiful bloom while I was out running the other day. It was hidden off to the side of the running trail, down the embankment a ways. I couldn't help but stopping to snap a picture.




PhotobucketWordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont

©2009-2015 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Friday, April 10, 2015

34 Weeks of Clean Update: Videos, Pictures, and Crafts

The past couple of weeks have been so busy around here that I've lost a lot of my 34 Weeks of Clean momentum.


Thankfully, I had worked ahead a little bit on the family room assignment. When I was cleaning the light fixture in the kitchen/eating area, I did the ceiling fan and light in the family room at the same time. There wasn't much deep cleaning left to do in the family room. 

I decided that I could part with a few of the throw pillows from the couches. About a year ago, I added some decorative pillows to brighten up our khaki couches and then left the extras stacked beside the couch in case we needed extras. If we haven't needed extras in a year, we can probably do without them for good. And if I ever get tired of the decorative pillows, I'm much more likely to find new decorative ones than I am to want to put all four of the old khaki ones back out.

Michele also challenged us to sort through our DVD collections that week. At first, I didn't even open the DVD drawer. As long as everything fit in its assigned spot, it was okay, right? Eventually I did open the drawer and surprisingly found a stack of rarely watched (or even never watched) DVDs that I could put in the garage sale pile.



When Michele mentioned pictures and scrapbook supplies the following week, I cringed. I used to be a big scrapbooker, but I haven't done any paper scrapbooking in several years. I'm almost embarrassed to show pictures of my current photo situation.


Yes, those are moving boxes, two shelves of moving boxes in my garage. What you can't tell at first glance is the boxes are from more than one move ago. Much of my scrapbooking materials were packed when we moved from DC to Arkansas. They sat almost untouched for our two years in Arkansas, and then I moved them all to Arizona three years ago. Our next move is several months away, and I'm determined not to move these boxes again. I didn't find time to sort through everything during the assigned week, but I've set it aside to work on while part of my family is gone backpacking later this month.

Michele also mentioned digital photos. I have tons and tons of digital pictures -- some sorted, many not. Tim and I have been slowly going through years of digital pictures this whole year. We have a long ways to go, but at least we're working on it.


If I thought the pictures/scrapbooks assignment was tough, this week may have been even tougher -- arts and crafts supplies. I've culled back my collection of arts and crafts supplies a lot over the past few years, but I still have a lot left, mainly knitting needles, crochet hooks, and yarn.

This tote bag and basket are both shoved in the bottom of my side of the closet:



There's also a basket of yarn in the living room with the yarn needed for my "most current" projects and a tote bag with the project that I'm currently working on. I might have a bit of a yarn problem. Thankfully, there aren't any unfinished knitting/crochet projects hanging around here any more.

I wish I could show pictures of neatly organized craft supplies, but unfortunately, my biggest accomplishment this week is probably the fact that I used an entire box of kleenex in a losing battle against spring allergies. I promise that I have a plan in mind and that pictures will be coming.


If you'd like to join me with the challenges, you can find Michele's posts on her Family, Faith, and Fridays blog, on the Facebook page, or by clicking the button below. She posts a new challenge every Friday and will also be hosting a weekly link-up for any other bloggers who are brave enough to share pictures of their progress. There is also a prize basket giveaway with entries earned by blogging or posting pictures on her blog's FB wall.


©2009-2015 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ocotillo in Bloom {Wordless Wednesday}




PhotobucketWordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont

©2009-2015 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

LTC Convention (aka First Weekend Photos, April 2015 }

I had the same problem on April the first that I've had for the past few months. I picked up my camera, took a few pictures of my family at breakfast, and then forgot about First Day Photos until late in the evening.

The first weekend of April, however, was a big event for our family and our church. For months, the children and teens have been preparing for our Leadership Training for Christ convention. They prepared puppet shows, practiced singing, learned sign language, and much more. I took plenty of photos of the convention events so I'll share them as our First Weekend Photos.

Addison's Speech

Elementary Puppets 
(Lauren is Ariel on the left side of the bottom row)

Teen Puppets

Addison singing during Opening Ceremony

Teen Drama



Day 2 of our crazy schedule

Elementary Bible Bowl team

Girls' Chorus

Teen Chorus


Addison's Sign Language Super Challenge
(She didn't know what song she'd be doing until she walked up to compete.)

Lauren Signing "I Am a Sheep"


Addison accepting a scholarship to Oklahoma Christian University

Free Time in the Pool


LTC Weekend is always a crazy weekend. I'm thankful for all that my kids learned while preparing the past few months and all their hard work. I think we could all use a few days to recover, though.


If you want to join the first day fun, you can visit Nicole's Journey to Josie blog or click the cute paper airplane button below.


©2009-2015 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

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