8/1/11 - 9/1/11

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Is the Grass Really Greener on the Other Side of the Bloggy Fence?

YES and no....  And in a minute, I'll tell you why.  Would you like to grab a cup of tea and have a chat? I decided to take a little break from my de-cluttering work in the sewing room this morning to share my musings about life since I quit blogging so much.

It's been very different!   I miss you all tremendously...but I'm starting to see some real benefits at home.

Matthew's Safely Home....Precious Pictures..

I'm glad to share with you all that my son, Matthew, is home from Afghanistan. Amanda and the kids, Colin, Brennan, and Nikolai were so excited to see Hubby and Daddy again.  Thanks every single one of you for your prayers and kind notes. They meant so much to Matthew and to me. :o)


What Would Your Dream Home Look Like?

I've been busy cleaning away today... It feels so nice to get all the nooks and crannies clean and dust free! Two roasts are busily simmering in the crockpots while I work--one for our friends who just moved back from Michigan..and one for us.


Did I Steal it All? No...But I Did Get it for Half-Price!

Hey friends... How are you all? I'm fine..recovering from record heat while trying to help a friend move this weekend.  (Did I mention that it finally rained for a whole hour here? Thank you Hurricane Irene!)  Here's a little update until my next post.

I just got home from grocery shopping and Skyping with our kids and grandkids in Seattle. (Lena, my granddaughter,  wanted to show me her new dress, new kitchen and especially her new big girl panties with hearts on them. Precious! How I miss her and Augy.)


How to Buy School Books, Textbooks, Homeschool Curriculum....any Books for Less!

I can't remember the last time I paid the full price for a book.  It pains me to even THINK of it!

It's that time of the year!--Time to buy school books if you are a homeschooler or textbooks if your kids are starting college.  It just so happens that my friends and family are all the 'thrifty' type and we've learned a thing or two about getting books cheap. (Thanks Angela F., queen of Ebayers, for getting me started.)

I always assume that everyone knows the cheapest way to buy a book, but then I get feedback from friends and learn that this isn't always the case. So today, I thought I'd share the fruits of my labor this week. Just be careful when buying college textbooks to get the right edition.  You can read more about buying cheap college books at this College Experience.net


Using the 80-20 Pareto Principle to Declutter

I love cleaning house. I know...it's a little nerdy, for sure. Ah well.. That's why you read my daily dribbles right? So we can celebrate the mundane..and find joy in a clean drawer or cabinet? I admit that I'm completely happy because my 1-2-3 approach to decluttering is still working like a charm.  Perhaps..that just means  that I'm easily pleased.

Euphoric is the word for it, really.

I've never forgotten how amazing it was to see the inside of my mother-in-law's cabinets (20 yrs. ago). Picture having ONLY what you NEED in a cabinet or drawer and ABSOLUTELY nothing else!  Not one extra bit of fluff...just the essentials.

Homemaking perfection is what I call it. :o) That's been my 'dream' ever since. And I found a principle that makes all the difference in the world. It's called the 80-20 Pareto Principle....

There Once was an Ole' Blogger...who Lived in a Shoe...

There once was an ole' blogger...who lived in a shoe.  She had so many obligations..she didn't know what to do!  Can you relate? I bet some of you can. No doubt about it....  Blogging takes a LOT of time!

(Can't believe I couldn't come up with my own poem.Sheesh! I do write poetry fairly  well... )

For almost a year now, I've been torn between my love for our sweet blogging community and my love of sharing my heart and the multitude of 'bright ideas' that pop up, unbidden I might add, into this nutty brain of mine...

VS... the love I feel for my hubby, children, family, and community (real life as we call it) not to mention the myriad of responsibilities that come with a large family all heading out into that great adventure called 'life'.. en masse'.


Comin' Home on Facebook.... A solution?

This morning, I had to say SOMETHING so I wrote it on Comin' Home's Facebook page.

I think this will be the perfect solution for my need to 'share' sometimes without the focus and pressure of a blog. If you would like to keep in touch..you're welcome to drop by.

I wrote about our 'car adventures' yesterday  in a note called The Test.  I don't know how often I'll be popping things up on  Facebook..but they won't be 'posts' in the traditional sense. Just things that pop in my head and perhaps a photo now and then.

This may be the 'happy medium' I've been looking for.

If you want to keep in touch..join me at Comin' Home's Facebook page

Thanks for all your kind comments and input. I'll miss you!



Good, Better, Best... A Time to Shift Gears...


Dear Sweet Friends...

This will be my last 'tea chat' for a while, I'm afraid.  And this post is difficult to write. No question about it.

Have you ever had a nagging feeling..that something was not quite right?

That even though, objectively speaking, what you were doing was good..or even wonderful...that it was still not quite what it should be?  I once heard a pastor say that if you and your husband don't have peace about a decision..then you shouldn't do it..until you DO have peace.  I agree 100%.

The only problem is that Hubby and I  never discussed blogging..it just 'happened'. I can't say that I've ever really had complete peace about it even though there were so many GREAT reasons to do it. I've ENJOYED it tremendously but I've always had second thoughts about the appropriateness of the time and energy at this stage of our lives as parents.

Friends have encouraged me not to give up too because my blog helps so many people.  If that is the case...then all I can say is that it's all God. And He should get the glory for that.   I think bloggers are some of the most giving and wonderful people in the world and I will never think differently about that.  You are amazing--really! 

The reasons I started blogging...to help others..has not changed at all. And it's the number one reason not to stop.  The reason that I need to quit is also completely compelling. Even though my blogging is good and the way I do it is better than it used to be..it is still not the BEST thing I should be doing with the given amount of time in my day.
 The heart of problem is not that blogging is 'bad'...it's that it has displaced things that truly are more my responsibility.  If there is any truth that has 'come home' to me in this last few months, it's that we all have too many demands on our time.

Each day is precious and we have the responsibility to live deliberately...those 24 hours have to be used very carefully.  For me, the season of life, I'm in...there is just an incredible amount of legitimate demand. We have downsized in so many ways..our schedule..our committments..everything!  Still...it is not enough because it's not just a matter of time but of focus.

This article says it best....

Good, Better, Best

byDallin H. Oaks

We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.

Most of us have more things expected of us than we can possibly do. As breadwinners, as parents, as Church workers and members, we face many choices on what we will do with our time and other resources.

I.We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives.

I do think my problem is partly the amount of time it takes to be 'mom and dad' to five kids from ages 16-26...to teach them, counsel them, listen to them, train and be friends to them (including their spouses and our grandchildren).--It's HUGE.  And then, there are our parents..no time to visit..little time to chat.  My photos go straight to the blog..not to them.  How I regret this part. Blogging is only one of the many reasons I have failed to keep up with them.

What I've found is that most of my emotional 'energy'..
my creativity...and a lot of my 'best' goes to you.  

Perhaps it's just my personality type. I honestly don't know. :o)  I DO know that I've done my best to keep blogging in it's proper place. How it grieves me to see your kind thoughtful comments and know that I can't, in good conscience, go visit you..or haven't. Then perhaps you are wondering, "Do I care any more?"  Am I offended?   I know..I could post less and comment more. I've tried every strategy that I can think of.

But really..it's just too little ME spread too thinly. Life changes and the demands of life change.  You can only keep so many people and ideas and needs in your mind at one time.  Maybe I'm just getting older. (No..for SURE I'm getting older!--almost 50!)The bottom line is that for now...for this stage of life..I no longer have peace about blogging.  If I blog at all..I'm going to give it my best and do it as unto the Lord.  Somehow, I just can't find a 'middle ground'. 
This decision is not about lack of time....but of an improper focus of energy and emotion at this particular season of my life. It's not time to do it 'right now'.

So for now, I do apologize to all of you who haven't heard from me lately.  Caroline of Church Sexy..you are often on my mind..  Jill...Ky...Debby... Lorraine...Jaime...Deb...Cindy... Mickey, Rayanne, Gloria...  Shona... Trudy...Nana... Needled Mom..Kerrie...Claudia...Anita..Christi...Angela...Mary... honestly the list of wonderful women goes on and on and you are all so REAL and special to me.  I regret losing touch with the sweet ladies who used to comment and whom I've lost track of somehow over this last couple of years.  I've managed a quick visit to some of you..in particular Jaime, Amy, Gloria, and Maria...but even that has been superficial at best.  I hope we keep in touch some.  I hate mentioning names because I know I'm leaving someone off.

I can promise, that if you email..I'll write back. No question about that.   And I plan to leave the blog up, though I may be deleting some photos of the kids as I go back through the archives, just for safety's sake.  I do know, that through Google many people will find the practical help they need here. And that pleases me. :o)

I will be monitering any activity that goes on and if someone leaves a comment, I will try to get to them, especially if they ask a question.  I'll be glad to help you in anyway I can as time permits.

But for this season of life, I have to do what I believe to be right.  The whole family wholeheartedly confirmed that this is not the season for blogging.  One day, I hope to and even PLAN to return.  I can't think of a better way to spend 'retirement' than sharing all the Lord has taught me over the years as a wife, mother, and homeschooler.   

But for now, we will leave Comin' Home..in the Lord's hands and wait on HIS timing to continue.
Thank you all for your encouragement and for letting me know that my efforts have blessed you. Just know that YOU have blessed me too in a million ways!

I cried... quite a bit... when I finally faced squarely the reality of what had been simmering on the back burner of my mind and heart for so long. I didn't want to go. And I will miss you all very much. But I have to keep a clear conscience...and it hasn't been feeling very clear for a long time now.

Keep up the good work, bloggy friends! 
You are making a huge difference in our world!  

Perhaps we will meet again in a couple of years. :o) I've got two more years of teaching my youngest...and then..we will see. :o)

3Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy,
5for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.  

6And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

7So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, 
for you have a special place in my heart.


How are ‘Piles of Stuff’ Like Mushrooms?


For one thing…they spring up overnight don’t they? I’m always amazed that you see nothing one day and the next..there are these BIG GIANT and… (to be downright honest)…UGLY mushrooms in the yard!

Makes me think of piles in the house. All you have to do is leave a ‘seed’ and the next thing you no…Voila! A mushroom!—I mean.. a mess.

Grand Squares 028-2000

They often grow in dark corners in out of the way places too…just like piles. Out of sight..out of mind. Right?

I’ve been tackling my piles with a vengeance this week. Funny how if you leave something out long enough..it starts to look like it belongs there…. have you noticed? 

It’s hard to notice a pile..until 10 minutes before company arrives..  Then, suddenly, we’re grabbing our piles and literally running…for the master bedroom (#1 hidey spot of choice for most women).

Grand Squares 032-2000 The child sleeping at the left…did NOT get left out. He got bumped by overnight guests. Tee-hee!

I’ve been working hard this week to LEAVE NOTHING OUT. I can’t get over how BEAUTIFUL my home looks! I wrote all about this in one of my most popular posts, Which Would You Rather Clean..A Messy Home or A Clean One?

Hoarding scale

You have to be careful…piles can become addictive! My mom once took my sisters and I, when we were teenagers, to visit a lady who had a problem with piles…paperwork mostly. 

Mom said she was a very nice lady..but she had this problem with paper and piles.  Talk about an understatement! I was fascinated in a weird sort of way.  The papers were stacked all over the house…lots and lots and lots of paper.

She also had everything she owned from her cabinets sitting out on the counter in the kitchen. As mom had said, she really was a pretty ‘clean’ lady..but she had this problem…with piles.  Clutter Scale

It kind of shook me to see someone live that way.  It turns out that it really IS a mental condition called ‘Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring”.  I didn’t know that until I did a little research for this post.

I found a website that even had photos for each room of the house to show a ‘clutter’ scale.  This woman’s house was definitely on the list.


I think it was wonderful that FlyLady was often mentioned by a support group for this disorder because she helped them take babysteps to overcome their mess. Bravo to them—and her!

If you are struggling with more than usual clutter or mess.. do drop by and visit these women who for various reasons can’t function like normal people do when it comes to their home.  Their website is called Squalor Survivors.

Four causes are…

  • Clinical Depression
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Post-partum Depression
  • Physical problems like CFS or Fibromyalgia.
  • SAD syndrome (need sunshine)

One of the signs you are heading for big trouble is when you begin to lose the use of things like the bed…or a table..or even a whole room.


However…there is hope! People like the Sidetracked Home Executives, FlyLady, and Squalor Survivors…can help you get back to normal whatever your situation..whether minimal or severe.

On the other hand…temporary piling for the sake of cleaning up in a hurry is a great help. When I get up in the morning to straighten up and things seem a little overwhelming… I use a little trick which I call ‘piling’.

Grand Squares 029-2000

I do this because I’m a ‘visual’ person. If I see too much mess..I start to get depressed.  Funny how the clutter in a room can usually be piled into a chair and the whole room looks lovely..except of course for that chair. LoL! 

I can make the whole house look really nice..in just under 15 minutes this way. THEN I go back through the house with some nice music playing…and put away the piles with a much lighter heart.

 Grand Squares 030-2000


Grand Squares 031-2000


You should try it one day and see if I’m not right! It’s amazing!  If you have kids..you can have them do the putting away…considering it’s often THEM who got the stuff out in the first place. Tee-hee!

Grand Squares 020-2000


Grand Squares 022-2000



I used to make a big game out of it…plus it was my attempt to train them. I would ask them (all five) each..where does this go…and where does this go..?  They always knew exactly where the out of place items belonged. It was good practice—I thought.

However, if you have trouble in this area..please..don’t even start with a pile! I’d hate to be responsible, however inadvertently for a relapse.


It’s like the Sidetracked Sisters said in the book…”Just remember that a S.H.E. (Sidetracked Home Executive) is like an alcoholic when it comes to disorder.  If you ever allow yourself to put that first book on top of the dresser, then all of a sudden it’s going to have shoes and books and BANANAS on it again.

Knowing our nature, we are consciously aware of every banana we put down. That false convenience of temporarily setting something down to be picked up later is an open gate back to the pigpen.”

What about you? Are piles a ‘bane’ or a blessing in your house?

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Wordless Wednesday... Back to School Wall Paper

 I'll give you one and only one guess as to what I'm up to today.... :-)  I'm trying to 'inspire' myself.

 Linking with Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday Tea No.36~ Breaking Out the China…


Welcome to Tuesday Tea! I hope you are enjoying a delicious cup of something lovely though you may not prefer it hot today. I had Harney and Sons Passion Fruit tea and it tasted delicious! Perhaps you are using a ‘china’ cup today—there’s nothing quite like china is there?

Please feel free to link up here if you would like to join us.  I know we’d all love to see your tea things too. 

Frankly, I think I need another cup! I wrote such a nice post this morning and was all done at about 9:30 am when Dear Hubby came in to chat about some things that had come up with one of the kids.


One thing led to another…and I began cleaning to get ready for company tonight and can you believe it? I forgot clean about Tuesday Tea!!  I DID get my desk all clean and orderly, set up new files (with pretty folders) and was feeling so good about all I had accomplished. Somehow, as I was cleaning I got to thinking of a post I had written a long time ago about putting everything back in the exact right place. Before you know it..that’s what I was doing. 

Sigh.. I decided to move the computer from the dining table where Rebekah and I were having tea and laughing over facebook posts..to my desk.. Out went my power..and my post disappeared..just like that! I must surely be the MOST sidetracked person on the planet!


I was planning to chat about how amazing the effect of music, candlelight, crystal, and especially CHINA can have on even the simplest meal or occasion.  It was on my mind because we just celebrated Dear Hubby’s birthday last night.  I set the table super nice! 

Funny..I just wasn’t ‘feeling it’ last night--you know?…the celebration..the excitement…  It was the strangest thing, I must say! I just couldn’t get ‘in the mood’.


We were having grilled rib-eye steaks and baked potatoes, green beans and a store bought chocolate type pie.  It really was the most basic of meals..but one of Tim’s favorites.  It’s always tough making a ‘festive’ birthday for an adult when they just aren’t the ‘festive’ type. Tim can never even decide what he would like for a gift and he doesn’t want a big fuss made. So it always takes some of the ‘umph’ out of my preparations.


Since I couldn’t think what else to do, I decided to just set the table really nice and started pulling out the linen tablecloth…and setting out the china and crystal.  The more I worked the more beautiful the table looked. One thing led to another and the next thing you know…the whole setting rivaled the Olive Garden! 

I put on an old record of ‘dinner music’ (instrumental piano) which really added some ambiance.  Then I got out the silver (actually this is nice stuff but not the real thing.)  I have the real thing, I just didn’t get it out this time.

We even set out tea cups and saucers to hold coffee to accompany our dessert--We rarely do that.  The table really did look special and with the music and candlelight.. everything suddenly seemed festive. :o) Tim certainly loved it. He and the kids and I chatted over dinner and it seemed to me that they all lingered much longer over the table than we normally do. I was convinced it was the ‘atmosphere’.

It made me wonder why I don’t ‘break out the china’ more often.  I decided, right then and there, to plan a weekly ‘wow’ meal. And why not?   It’s just a bit of dishwashing which never hurt anyone. (Don’t want to put china or silver in the dishwasher of course!) We lay out a big bath towel on the counter for the occasion and let everything air dry. (I usually dry silver right away though.)

In my original post, I talked quite a bit about our china, how we finally managed to get some (on sale of course-tee-hee!) and how it has been so iconic in most homemaker’s homes over the decades. But now, I’ve lost my train of thought so it will have to wait for another day, I’m afraid.


Still…if our little family birthday dinner experience..that was miraculously transformed from ordinary..to memorable… inspires you...then I’m sure it’s ‘enough’ for today’s tea chat. :o)

Do you use your china very often? Why or why not?  Do you feel that sit down family dinners have been lost in the rush of our modern world’s hectic pace of living as I do?


Perhaps it’s time that we all ‘broke out our china’ and let it grace our tables just a little bit more often…even if it’s only for one or two. 

If you would like to see some incredible place settings and lovely tables…you will definitely want to visit these ladies’ special tea parties.  They are certainly inspiring!

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Linking with these lovely ladies...
Kathy’s A Delightsome Life: A Return to Loveliness
Amy of Tea Girl in a Coffee World
Lady Katherine's Tea Time Tuesday
The Plumed Pen's  Tea for Two
Rose Chintz Tea Time Tuesday
Martha's Favorite Teacup Tuesday


After The Party… Monday Morning Blues got you down?



Mondays have gotten such a bad reputation that I often feel the need to stand up in their defense. :o)   Yes, it’s the start of a new work week, but it doesn’t mean all the fun is over!

I like to think of Mondays as ‘marvelous’ because you get a fresh new start on life..every Monday.

I never feel behind on Mondays because the whole week is before me—seven precious days to use wisely….  to make a difference in my home…  and the lives of those I love… or to learn something new..or to celebrate special moments…

Yep, in my book, Mondays are marvelous!


I admit that Mondays are usually ‘catch up days’ for me too. The weekend was full of fun and activity but the day ‘after’ the party is always kind of a mess. Perhaps this is why people dread Mondays so much.

We had quite a birthday party this weekend. It started on Friday with my son and his buddies and carried on until late Saturday evening.  Then we went to church Sunday morning and enjoyed a lovely lunch and visit with friends… 

The kids were out with friends so Dear Hubby and I returned to house that wasn’t quite a disaster (because I cleaned while they partied), but it wasn’t quite in order either.


Still it was deliciously quiet. :o)

Tim had several phone calls to make so I had most of the evening to myself.  Is there anything quite so pleasant as the evening after ‘the party’? 


After vacumming, mopping, and straightening up a bit, I sat down to a nice tall glass of iced tea, and a REALLY good book! In fact, I hate to say it, but I read till 2:00am! (I need to get the book back to her ASAP because other friends are ‘in line’ for it. )

It has been SOooo long since I indulged in a good read! Thank you Laurie for the recommendation!  It’s called ‘The Help’.  The new movie that is coming out is based on it.

Laurie was right—this was the perfect way to relax on a Sunday evening. 

the help

Fascinating, heart-warming, a little poignant… I can’t imagine any woman not enjoying this story about the ups and downs of several women in the 50’s from several walks of life. It’s a  bit about social injustice too…but in a very fair way, I thought.

For homemakers..this is a great read!


Laurie said that several of our mutual friends have now read it and we both agreed we will have to work in a ‘girly-date’ and go out to see the movie in the theatres. (See Mom—I’m not ALL work and no play. :o)

Of course, this morning, I had to get back to ‘real life’.  I whipped through the house putting away the clutter…

started a load of laundry…DSC00101-2500

took out the meat to defrost for supper….


and mopped the floor (oh the joys of caring for a new puppy..sigh..)

checked the balance in the checking account (Yipes! It’s the last day of the month!)….


and now it’s time to get ready for hubby’s birthday party tonight and perhaps a guest too.  (Did you know that a plastic knife will slice right through brownies like butter? Thank Rebekah, my daughter, for that discovery.)

I’ll be making my ‘Six List’ for this coming week so I make sure all the important things get done.

But at least the house is at a ‘minimum’ of peace and order.  And Hubby smiled… so we’re off to a great start!

Gee.. now where did I leave that book?


Hope you had a great weekend and that today you feel ready to ‘tackle’ the week’s activities with enthusiasm.

Plan something fun! Read a new book! The summer will be over before you know it.

How was your weekend? Do you dread Mondays? Are you planning to do anything fun this week? 

Hope you have a really great day today…

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PS. Thanks so much for all your great comments and input this weekend! I hope to spend some time visiting tonight after Tim’s birthday party.

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

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