Small Successes

Decluttering, baby-proofing, and gardening {Small Success Thursday} 2

This week has been a bit trying so it’s time to focus on the good, the small victories I did accomplish.

1. FINALLY cleared off all the backlog of mail, bills, coupons, and school papers and such I’ve been collecting on my desk. It feels good to see a clear-er desk again. I really hate paper clutter, it makes me crazy.

2. Vacuumed, again. Yes this is worth celebrating.

3. After 6 years and 4 babies, I finally figured out that I should probably move all our bio-hazard cleaning and bug zapping type of liquids up high – away from curious fingers. We’d had them in a locked cabinet but the lock never stays closed. I even opened up some extra cabinet space with all my rearranging. Now I can buy more gadgets…or food.

4. Also, finally came up with the idea to put all our cereal boxes in a basket on top of the fridge. Now the baby can’t get into the boxes and help himself to all the cereal he wants and dump it all over himself and the floor. Pretty soon, everything in the house will be up high, except for the toys – that would make for an interesting HGTV designer challenge.

5. Planted 2 new mums in our front garden, trimmed some bushes, and dug out a few extra things growing that really didn’t belong (a.k.a. weeds.)

6. Met up with my college roommate and enjoyed a lovely morning stroll at the zoo, it was so wonderful reconnecting and catching up! We’ve both grown up in many ways but are still the same, it’s hard to believe it’s been over 10 years ago that we first met!

It’s better to focus on our successes – even if small – than to brood and whine over our failures. 

What small successes can you focus on and give thanks for this week?

Getting Creative Around the House {Journal} 2

Today, Monday, April 7, 

Out my Window: Today was slightly warm, still cool especially with the wind and it sprinkled a little but nothing substantial by any means. I love the smell of rain in the air and seeing ours and all the pear trees blossoming! 

Feeling – Exhausted and accomplished after a long “Laundry day”. Mondays are my day I pretend like I’m superwoman and do all our clothing laundry and sometimes even some towels or sheets. I also do catch up work on the computer for bills and budgeting and emails, etc. It makes for a long day but I’m so glad I can enjoy the rest of week without the burden of laundry hanging over me. 

Joys: Family confessions followed by a game of tag on the church playground, snuggling under a cozy blanket with my daughter while watching a movie (Inkheart) together with just her and my husband, enjoying a dinner out with my husband and his parents and brother (I don’t remember the last time we’ve gone to dinner with them and no kids since before we had kids!), time for some painting and creativity, writing, blogging, reading alone and with kids, Holding 4 year old’s hand while walking on the walking track together, watching and hearing the kids giggle and squeal when I or daddy tickles them, my baby taking my hand to show me something he’s excited about it, his new-found vocabulary – “mama, dadda, doggie (sounds like doddie), up, cup, stop (or just “p) dat, hi, bye.” All said in the cutest most adorable sweetest baby voice ever of course, and lastly, watching my 4-year-old run around the backyard pretending to be Superman.

What was that? A bird? A plane? No! It’s…Superman!

This was where he came to change back to “Clark Kent” and keep an eye out for the bad guys.

They were “hunting” bad guys together.

Around the House: It’s been a little bit since I’ve done any house decorating.  I have such a hard time making decisions and hate nailing holes in the wall and then changing my mind. So I just don’t do anything for a loooonnnng time. But it had been too long so I decided it was time to cover some of our bare walls.

My artist aunt Cristi had a few paintings for sale when we all were together in Mexico so I brought a couple home with me. I happened to go to Michael’s last week and scored major with their buy one frame get the other FREE! I was overjoyed. The only problem was I came out with a lot more than I planned on going in for. But I definitely saved more in the long run since I would have spent double later. Here is one I got for our bedroom of one of her paintings –

It connected that empty space between the mirror/dresser area and the door. I like looking at it from my nursing chair and bed.

The other aunt Crisit artwork was a unicorn ‘stamp’ that I got for my daughter and will eventually hang in her room – 

I also worked with my daughter to create some door hanging picture display boards. She wanted to display pictures of our family on her door but I didn’t really want her taping pictures all over it so I came up with these:

I just pasted some pretty scrapbook paper onto some poster board, glued on the ribbons and clips and voila! Instant picture board door hanger. It was fun working on something together with her without being interrupted too much by “the boys”. 

This weekend we worked on the guest bathroom that I painted last year. I was very hesitant to mark up my beautiful painted walls but I couldn’t leave them bare forever. I put my “Grace” art deco on the wall by the sink instead of just sitting in the corner getting knocked over by little hands all the time. –

“Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve, Mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we do deserve.”

Then I found this nice frame to match with the browns of the oil-rubbed bronze sink and light fixtures. – 

I have a plan for what I’ll put in there. For now, the rocks look pretty. I’ll be like my friend, Mary, and just leave the store-display picture in there for months. Oh well, at least the frames are up now.

I also found this pretty picture frame with the bird theme – perfect for what I envisioned for a little “bird garden” bathroom.

I should definitely keep the dress-making iron form in there just to make people wonder what it is.

Next, I really love the “distressed cottage” look but wasn’t sure if I could mix and match with the other darker frame. I found the one here and put it on the opposite wall and like how it turned out. It’s kind of funny, my husband doesn’t share my love for “distressed cottage”, it makes him think of haunted houses. I’m sure it’s the same thinking of not understanding why one would pay lots of money for tattered jeans. 

I think the frame I found isn’t too “haunted” looking though, right?

Again, I don’t mind the picture in it but I’ll probably put my own in there…eventually. I might try and paint something like this that I saw at an art display – 

I’m not sure I could pull it off as well but I have no idea who painted this or how to contact the artist so I’ll have to give it my own go.

To add to the bird theme, I transferred a few of my bird stuff I’d been keeping upstairs and brought them down here instead. Here’s the bird house I painted for my daughter’s first bedroom when she was about 2. I’m still trying to decide if I like it here. Maybe it’s a little strange knowing there’s a bird perched over the toilet?

And I finally put up the pretty bird cage my family got for my birthday a few years ago! Along with another artwork of Cristi’s that had also once been in my daughter’s “garden” room. –

My daughter helped put the birds on the cage. She was so proud.

Lastly, to even out my “buy one get one free” deal I bought this lovely leaf hook. I wasn’t sure what to do with it. 

Thankfully, my husband is a genius.

Now I’ll always be able to brush my hair right before he comes home through the door next to where this hangs. 😉

I’ll update when and if I ever add my own photos to those frames. For now, I consider it a great success that I bought the frames and hung them on the wall in less than week’s time!

Crafting – Yes!! Speaking of doing my own painting – guess what I did last weekend? I painted! By myself! I received some water color colored pencils for a birthday not long ago and haven’t given much time to use them so after bedtime one evening I got them out and played around to see how they work. I like how they give the look of both colored pencil and a little watercolor but I think I prefer the regular water color paints still.

I must have been daydreaming of Spring!

 I also painted this for my sister’s confirmation while the two little guys came up with their own painted finger creations:

It’s my favorite Holy Spirit prayer. O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do; give me Your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your Will.

It was so wonderful and exhilarating and energizing painting and creating again! I’m going to try to give more time to rekindling my love for art – somehow in between naps and evenings. I might sign up for a painting class sometime too.

A “mess” that brings me joy knowing I gave time to paint and create with my kids and myself!

I also had some fun making a simple display for our parish Respect Life Group my friend Monica asked for help with. I thought and thought and looked for an idea and finally decided to look for something that would tie in the “from conception to natural death” aspect of Respect Life and came up with this –

The image isn’t mine, I only added the banner text. I was so excited when I found that picture – it conveys the message perfectly!

Well I think that’ll be enough “Crafting” and “Around the House” updates to make up for my lack of those in the past and for many to come! 

Enjoy your weeks everyone!

Clean Bathrooms, Meal Planning, and Family Fun {Small Success Thursday} 4

And some days it’s better to ignore the failures and focus on the small stuff that went right. Then suddenly, life doesn’t seem so bad after all. 😉 Here are 3 simple ones I’m giving thanks for this week:

1. Cleaned all the bathrooms. It had been over a month…or so. You probably wouldn’t be able to notice I cleaned them anymore but hey, I did it so there.

2. Last weekend I spent time making a list of dinners my family likes, looking up recipes for those and pinning them, and setting up a rough meal plan for the week picking from those recipes. So far, this week has gone much better and dinner making time hasn’t been as stressful. So not only have I managed to feed my family, I’ve also decreased my stress/anxiety levels at the same – that’s more like 2 successes! Woo hoo!

3. Survived our two snow days together! I know that makes it sound like maybe it wasn’t all fun and games and that’s because it wasn’t. But, I’m not going to complain (for now) and instead I’ll celebrate the good times we had together. We played in the snow (with all four kids) for a little bit, then I played hockey with the four-year old (using vacuum cleaner extension poles and a golf ball and boots for the goal markers in our living room) I listened to my seven-year old finish reading his first chapter book!! and also spent some quality time with my daughter and helped her make a cool hair accessory with her friendship bracelet threads and beads.

Evidence of snow fun had by all.

How about you? What “successes” are you thankful for today?

{P.S. Be sure to check out the Giveaway for Sarah and Josh Holthusen’s Until I Rest in You Catholic Music CD!}

They’ll remember the little things { Small Successes} 4

Today was a full and productive day. I wasn’t going to blog today because I was too busy and tired. But then I read Sherry Antonetti’s introduction for CatholicMom’s Small Successes today and had to share. She makes me pause every time and think beyond my checked off items on my to-do list. She leads me deeper to see not what I have done, but what I have allowed God to accomplish through me.

This is perfect for today when we remember the Presentation of Mary in the temple in the Church calendar.

“The Almighty has done great things for me, holy is His name.” (Magnificat)

I’m not as humble as Mary, not even close, but I do look to her as an example and I take her lead. I’m thankful for the times I was, by God’s Grace, able to say Yes this week and present myself to God as a tiny offering.

1. I danced a pumpkin dance – with my son’s pumpkin patch pumpkin – to cheer up him when he was crying about something instead of getting mad and telling him to quit crying about nothing. He laughed, I laughed, we all laughed together.

2. Read with my four year old while we waited in the waiting room while our van was serviced instead of “checking things” on my phone like everyone else.

3. Prepared a simple and nutritious “snack kit” for a friend and her family to help out a little as they adjust to life with a newborn again. I did this after basically whining and feeling guilty for not doing more to help others. So today I stayed off the computer until it was done. Making a full dinner is a little overwhelming so a simple bag of snacks was easier. It was very well received by all and ended up being the perfect after school snack that was ready to eat.

Come celebrate the good you have accomplished with other moms and give God the Glory. If nothing else, but to read the great intro!

Organized Coat Closets, Laundry away, Exercise ~ So much to be Thankful for! 9

I love taking the time to stop and remember what I did do, especially when it seems like I’ve done nothing. The world focuses on the “Big Time” successes. As a mom, and really as a simple person striving to follow Christ in small ways, it really is about the small seemingly insignificant things we do with the time we’re given.

Here are my three Small Successes to share from the week:

#1 — Folded and put clothes laundry away…four days post-washing. (I know this pales in comparison to the old pioneer women’s days.)

#2 — Exercised – I fell off my exercise routine – yet again! But today, I did it. I woke up – after hitting the snooze only one time this time – and did 10 minutes of core strengthening on the yoga mat. No promises for tomorrow but at least I did it today.

#3 — Reorganized the hall coat closet – yikes that place was a disaster. Whoever built our house didn’t properly think about how many people might live in it and therefore make the closet big enough to store everyone’s coats and gloves and all the other “stuff” the cold season brings. To make up for the lack of floor space, I brought one of the shelves from the boys’ room down for use as a boot shelf (like this one).
I also set our ‘winter things’ basket (like this one) on the shelf for easy access. While I was there, I went through the basket and discarded gloves/hats that either had lost their partners in warmth or didn’t fit anymore (My almost ten-year-old daughter probably doesn’t need her 2T hat and gloves anymore!) I tucked the matching gloves we did have into their respective hats and hopefully I can teach my kids to follow suit. (Hahahahahahaha! Good one, huh?) While doing this, I discovered where some of my old scarves had been hiding out! Now I can say I own more than one scarf for the season. (Though I still wouldn’t mind a few new ones since I love scarves.) I also put old bags and bookbags into a plastic box and set that on the top shelf. 

We keep the kids’ coats on hooks in our ‘office’ and ‘homework’ room:

It’s been fun joining up with the CatholicMom Small Successes and invite you to join along if you’d like! Even if you don’t participate, click over there to read her beautiful intro. I do miss doing my Thankful Thursdays so I’m going to combine the two here from time to time. This has been a rough week with the toddler. Like I quipped on my Facebook page – Never could I have imagined, until I had my own children, how much a toddler’s mood could significantly affect my day. And why is it that the one thing that finally makes him happy is something that he really shouldn’t play with? Anyway, so with that whine out of the way, it is very therapeutic to take time and think about the positive.

This week I’m Thankful for:

  • Time to chat alone and uninterrupted with my husband who loves me more than I deserve.
  • I’m thankful for him and his life, which we celebrated this week.
  • All the help and support I receive from him and all our generous family and friends.
  • Time alone with my daughter, our oldest who gets overshadowed by those who cry and scream louder.
  • Playing tag and running around with my family in the yard last weekend (before the cold front came through!)
  • The times my kids play nicely together. (Like diamonds – these moments are rare and far between and that’s why they are so valuable!)
  • Time to pray and just be with Jesus.
  • Snuggles and smiles from my baby-toddler (when he wasn’t crying/screaming.)
  • The four-year-old learning to buckle himself in the car seat all by himself! 
  • And so, so much more. God has blessed me.

I hope and pray you will find a few moments to reflect and be thankful for all He has blessed you with as well. Enjoy the rest of the week!


P.S. There are still TWO more days to enter in the Hand-made Toy Bag Give-Away! And ANYONE can enter. Even if you are a nearby friend or family member. Share something you are thankful for today in the comments below for another chance to enter. 

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