March 31, 2012

2 Challenge Updates and Where Have I Been?

First let’s talk about the challenges – then we’ll chat a bit about where I’ve been:
31 Days - Bad Habit
So March’s Challenge was a private challenge of sorts – put out there for those who wanted to kick a bad or  ugly habit.  At least to challenge yourself to try, right?  And my intention was to set the challenge up, start it off, and leave it alone.  I really didn’t want to badger away all month about it, because for some of you it was personal and private.  Some of you wrote to me to share the habit you were attempting to kick (wow!  tough stuff!) and some of you chose to blog about it.  Meanwhile, I have a confession to make.  Remember what mine was?  Not bite the nails?  Yeah.  Here’s my transparent report of how that went:  all I can say is, don’t choose to kick your nervous habit in the month where you have a major family trip, two flights, and lots of stress.  Yeah.  That’s not the month to do that.  So, it went terrible.  I would not even be aware of what I was doing until it was much too late and then I was yelling at myself “what are you doing!  STOP!!”  Sigh….forgive?  I was terrible at my own challenge.  I’m happy to say that I’ve read some of your success stories and I’m not only impressed, but overjoyed at your results.  Well done, friends!

If you’d like to participate in April’s Challenge – you can read all about that HERE.  But here’s the gist: (oh yeah…it’s a good un’)

Purge - April - PNG

Soooooo, maybe because it’s Spring and I’ve been feeling the need to purge, or maybe because a recent trip up to the attic left me SHOCKED at the mess and clutter that has accumulated up there in the past 9 years.  Regardless, almost everyone can use a good purge session and we’re going to use the month of April to make it happen with purpose.  You can e-mail me or sign up in the comments.  I want some bloggers to show through pictures their progress – you up for it?

April's 30 Days of Spring Cleaning STARTS TOMORROW!  (No foolin'!)

Moving on…

So It’s been a while, eh?  We haven’t chatted in, I don’t know…at least a couple months – am I right?  Here’s the thing: I’m not sure what the dealio is with me, but I’m kinda burnt out.  (were you kinda picking that up what with my whole 6 posts in March?) Between work, the kids, church commitments, friends, and life in general – I just never seem to find the time that I need to sit down and blog my heart out.  Don’t get me wrong – I have SO MANY topics and issues and thoughts steamrolling through my head day in and day out – but I just never get enough consecutive time together to actually get them outta there and on the web.  And frankly, I’m sad about it.  It bums me out – because we used to “chat” more often, you and I.  And I used to vent all my junk and you’d show up and read it and that would be our thing.  Right?  And now it’s like “here’s yer challenge…hit the road”.  Well, I don’t say that.  And I’m certainly not thinking it.  But it sorta feels like that anyway. 

So there’s that.

And life is insane right now.  That’s what I think.  Insane.  Our summer is shaping up to be quite full as well with lots of fun stuff planned.  All good things.  Still, I can’t help but feel a little whiplash about the pace our life is taking.  My kids are growing before my eyes.  (whole nother’ mother sob story)  That whole “you will blink and they will not be babies anymore” – that’s for real, people.  For realz. 

This one?  This cutie-patootie Missy Lou-Lou Princess Princess? 
The one who keeps us laughing all the time with her girlie antics?
Yeah…she’s turning 3 in two months.  What the?


How does this happen? 
Do you remember when she looked like this?

I don’t!  I mean, I do….but BARELY.   Do you ever see pictures of your babies and think to yourself “I can’t even remember you like that”. 
Scares me to death!   Am I really going to forget all of this amazing toddler cuteness? 
Don’t tell me.  I can’t bear it!  There is not enough video in the free-world to capture it and savor it as it really is. 
Woe is me!!

Meanwhile, remember this little guy?


Yeah, not so little anymore. 


And his smile would melt your very self down to a puddle of GOOP on the floor.
Take it from one who lives as a pile of GOOP most days.  And you can’t listen to AB either – he’s King of the Goops. 
Total lost cause of the Goopies.

So you see my dilemma.  I’m absorbed in watching my babies grow right on up and I don’t want to miss a minute of it.  I have a feeling I’m going to long desperately for these days before I can blink.  Will you pardon my sometimes weekly absences?  I promise not to leave you hanging high and dry.  I just need some space occasionally to savor every minute of these all too short years with the littles…


Mrs. Goop

March 29, 2012

April’s Challenge–The Great Purge of 2012

Ok, first let me start by saying - I know I owe you an update.  I know that.  And I'm like really, really behind on the whole "I blog it, you read it" bit.  And I've already got that post mostly finished, but for now - I have to prepare you for next month's challenge.  

So without further ado: time to get to work and get rid of all that clutter eating up your house.  Roll up your sleeves – here’s your April Challenge…

Purge - April - PNG
The Challenge: successfully purge as many rooms in your home as you can. At the end of the month, put your purging to good use with one or more of the following: donate to a friend, local charity, or host a garage sale and sack the money away for a fun summer! Whatever you do – GET RID OF IT!

The other day I had to go up to the attic.  And while in said attic, I had a little come to Jesus moment.  It was a shamble.  A mismatched hodge-podge mess and way too much that I've been loathe to part with.  The attic and garage are in the most miserable, miserable shape.  After almost nine years of purging out of the house, only to have much of it end up in the attic – we now have a grim situation up there.  So for this month, I will be attacking those two HUGE spaces.  To be fair, I understand I am asking you to purge inside your homes.  But if you prefer to hit the attic/garage/basement combo – or whatever combo makes you happy and “clutter-free” – then go for it!  I am a compulsive de-clutterer.  Is that a word?  It is now.  Anyway…yes.  I’m constantly purging the kids rooms, moving things out to the attic that I can’t seem to part with, and hauling stuff to Goodwill and local consignment.  This is what I DO.  That being said, I just happen to be in between purges inside the house.  We’ve kind of been doing that the past couple months.  So when I saw the horror attic this past weekend, I realized right then and there that was where I’d be this month.  And better to do it before it gets much hotter up there, am I right.  Freaking sauna.  I could lose ten pounds up there......jeesh....oh wait!


Stock up on storage containers, large trash bags, or boxes. You can buy boxes at many stores, including WalMart. Additionally, look for sales on storage tubs if you plan to re-organize spaces or store some items away.

Make a game plan that involves breaking your home into four “zones”. Decide what you’ll attack first (if you’re full of zest for the project – pick a big room! If you’re already overwhelmed but know it needs to be done, pick a small bathroom. You’ll feel very accomplished even with a small space.) You have four weeks. The GOAL is one ZONE per WEEK!

In each room designate a tub for “keep”, a trash bag for “trash” and a box for “donate”. It makes the process much easier and swifter.

Determine ahead of time to let things go. No really. LET IT GO. Stop saving 25 bars of hotel soap. You know who you are. That’s right, I’m talking to you. You will NEVER need or use them. Every hotel you go to will offer you another one, so just let it go. Perhaps a homeless shelter would be grateful for them? Whatever. Just stop the madness. De-clutter your life and breathe again. There is such relief in a clean and organized space.

Take one room at a time. Just one. Don’t move on until that room is complete. On the other hand, don’t labor over every single little thing within that room. Roll up your sleeves and determine to rid your home of unnecessary clutter. I realize that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure – I get that. But friends, I kept a jewelry box that had several single earrings in it for years. I don’t know why. I think I figured if I ever found them….you get the picture. It sat for years. What a waste of space among the jewelry I used daily. I finally just threw them all out. And I felt such relief that I was no longer “housing” a collection of duds. Simple, but true. It’s those kinds of things that you’re looking for, among the obvious.

On that note: DO LOOK BEYOND THE OBVIOUS. We can get very accustomed to our surroundings. Everything just blends in and we stop “seeing” things. For instance, I’ve had a small stack of papers on my desk, jammed in a corner – for months. Cannot tell you what they are. Receipts maybe? I don’t know. Time to get the shredder out, eh? Try to adjust your eyes to see not just the clothes your kids have outgrown or the bread machine you have never and will never use – instead look at things anew. What can and should have been thrown out or given away a long time ago?

Take before and after pictures. Even if you don’t blog (which I hope you will!), you will see the tangible evidence of your hard work when all is said and done. It is VERY rewarding! If you do blog about it – we all get to see and be inspired as well – WIN, WIN!

When you finish a Zone, you can decide whether to store the items you are donating or drop them off each week at your local charity. If you’re going to host a garage sale, you’ll have to store them. Here are some general tips:

DONATING: (Friend or Charity)
  • Stock up on boxes.
  • Label the boxes (what’s inside and to whom you are donating it).
  • Organize your donations and clean them up a bit if needed.
  • Store in a dry place until you can deliver them, but don’t wait too long. Set it up so that you give yourself before the month’s end to drop them off.
  • Most charities will provide you with a tax deductible receipt for your donation. Don't forget to pick that up before you leave!
  • Books can be donated to your local library. Call ahead to find out where to take them.

  • Use boxes or tubs to store these items in.
  • You can choose to price them as you purge or each time you complete a zone – either way it will save you significant time later.
  • Keep similar items together to make for easier sorting later.
  • Try to discern what is truly trash and was is a viable garage sale item. For help, see HERE.

  • Contact your local consignment store to inquire about their buying policies.
  • Clean up clothes or toys and organize them in boxes.
  • Generally, you will be offered a store credit or cash for your items. Children’s items in particular are in hot demand these days!

I REALLY REALLY REALLY would love to have bloggers who are willing to take this challenge and post the results once a week.  If you are one such blogger, will you contact me HERE or leave a comment with a link to your blog?  I’d LOVE to share with the group at large your progress and ideas.  (and pictures!)  Come on, you know you need want to!!  Make sure you grab the image above and link it back to Bushel and a Peck!

Challenge begins Sunday April 1st and it’s not a joke – ha!  Zone 1 – Week 1. 

My personal challenge?  To let go of some of the children’s things stored in the attic.  Not all of it – but I’ve been a bit ridiculous about it, not wanting to let go of hardly anything.  I think we’ve had that little chat on here before, right?  Yeah.  Issues!  So that is what I’m going to be pushing myself towards.  Stretching myself to realize that sometimes, it’s just overkill.

You can’t take it with you, people.  You just can’t. 

Let it go…

Who’s with me?

March 10, 2012

Peace out


Time to go make some memories!  Unplugging for the trip! 

Can't. stinkin. wait!

March 6, 2012

Hot Topic

In our house, the only conversation coming up again and again and again is all things Disneyland.  The children are occupying a good portion of their waking hours discussing who they are going to hug (Ariel, Buzz Lightyear, Cinderella, Mickey, Minnie, on and on) and which rides they are going to go on (“Star Wars”, “Small World”, “Choo choo”, on and on).  Each day I am bombarded by two toddlers eager to know how many more “sleeps” until they get to ride the airplane.  They want to watch their Disney movies, hold their Disney toys, wear their Disney related shirts.  Quint has brought to me five shirts at a time to “let me know” what he needs to pack.  Keira told me last night she was wearing her princess pj’s into Disneyland so she can show Cinderella.  Sigh…

Normally, I’d be tempted to be a little tired of hearing about a topic that created so much stir.  Such constant questions from sun up to sun down.  But I can’t help but to be excited with them and for them.  We’ve planned this trip for a couple years and I am so glad to be on the home-stretch of our departure.  The excitement is eating us up! 

Last night AB and I had a short “come to Jesus” meeting about expectations never quite meeting the standard.  How things happen.  How toddlers meltdown.  How being tired and stressed and overwhelmed can often cause Mommy to have her own meltdown.  {ahem}  It was good to remember that life isn’t perfect and as such, trips like these can bring about a lot of stress.  Still, we also talked about how much fun it will be just to be able to share some of these exciting moments through the eyes of our kids.  Ultimately, that’s the whole point.  Enjoy it as much as we possibly can and take as much of it in as we can.  Sure there will likely be some tough patches, but the overall magic of your first trip to Disneyland?  Nothing can replace it…

Anyway, who could resist constantly finding your kids like this….animated…happy…and talking non-stop about riding “Peter Pan” and eating mouse-shaped ice-cream?

IMG_0252    IMG_0253
IMG_0256   IMG_0265
IMG_0271    IMG_0275

March 1, 2012

31 Days to Kick a Bad Habit

So first of all – do you like my “new look”?!?!  I guess you can tell where we’re headed this month!  Whooooo hoooo!  This will be our first time as family to go, and I’m here to tell you now:  this has been a dream of mine for years and years.  You just have no idea.  To grow up in California myself, and to visit Disneyland – it was just such a big part of my childhood.  Some of my happiest memories for sure.  So you can imagine how I feel about sharing that experience with my two sweeties.   We’re beyond excited – that just doesn’t even cover it.  All you “been there, done that” people who have taken young children – feel free to leave your tips for survival and fun in my comments!

As a gift from a dear friend, we’ve had a little countdown calendar on the kitchen counter for over a month and it’s been so fun to have it and to have a visual of how fast our special departure day is arriving!  Isn’t it just darling!?
(This is an old pic – our departure day is a secret!  Shhh….) 

IMG_9878 - sml

Meanwhile – let’s not forget that today marks the first day in our new challenge “31 Day to KICK a Bad Habit”.  I know this is difficult.  If bad habits were easy to break – we’d all be bad habit free, eh?  Instead, all of us struggle with one thing or another – so you are not alone.  If you need a recap of what the challenge entails, read THIS POST.

Otherwise, just commit to drop a bad habit – cold turkey – for the month of March.  You can talk about it on your blog, you can comment here, you can e-mail me, or you can totally keep it to yourself.  But I would suggest letting at least one person in on your challenge, so you can have an accountability partner.  Just my $.02.  Much easier to accomplish that way…

So here’s mine – and I’m skipping the details.  Nail biting.  Ugly, ugly, nasty habit.  Hate it.  But I’ve struggled with it since 1st grade.  Yes, that long.  That’s like 231 years in Dog Years.  Ugh.  I have had very little success in trying to kick it.  Did you know it has a name?  Onychophagia.  Ugly name for an ugly habit.  So I’m not posting pics – yuck – or whatever.  I’m just going to do my best to KICK it!  I’ll talk about it – I’ll post about it….I’ll attempt to understand why the heck it’s so hard to kick.  And maybe – 31 days of finding something else to do with my nervous hands will find me on the other side of this challenge with a spray of colors on my nails?  Who knows. 

If you want to take part in the challenge on your blog – be sure to grab the image below and link it back to Bushel & A Peck!  (oh, and let me know in the comments so I can brag about ya on the blog!)

31 Days - Bad Habit