Commencement… of Insanity…

Or: How to ensure your graduation event is chaotic in 101 easy steps.

  1. Decide on a date.
  2. Choose your announcement provider.  I recommend WestWillow at  She’s AMAZING.  We’ve used her for two out of four girls and I’m probably never use anyone else again.
  3. Tell her the basic information with the wrong date.
  4. Send the correct date in a separate email
  5. Change your mind a few times.
  6. Take so long that you have to have another date because the woman can’t possible get your order to you in time.
  7. Finally approve your order after it’s been siting in your Etsy convo box for days.
  8. Pay for rush shipping.
  9. Wait impatiently for them to arrive.
  10. Assure your daughter, once a day, that they’ll get here.  Twice if necessary.  It will be necessary.
  11. Forget that your Christmas Card List (a.k.a. Graduation announcement list) is on the old laptop and spend hours figuring out which folder you stashed it in.  It’s best to do this while you’re trying to finish editing your next book release.  The added tension provides for a better scene.
  12. Notice when the announcements arrived, that you didn’t catch the wrong date on them when you approved them.
  13. Go shopping for white pens to make the five into an eight.
  14. Praise the Lord that it was those two numbers instead of a one and an eight.
  15. Correct every single one of the announcements for all of your friends and extended family.
  16. Correct each one again when the white fades and you can still read the five more clearly than the alterations into an eight.
  17. Do it a third time hoping it’ll be a charmer.
  18. Slap pictures onto each one.
  19. Print up the slips for inside giving party details.  (We choose not to put that info in for friends and family who  live so far away that it’s just salt in the wound of not getting to come.  It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that we like a short announcement.  Nothing at all.)
  20. Address to all the local people.
  21. Hand deliver them because there is now less than two weeks until the party.
  22. Ignore that it’s really  more like “just over a week until the party.”
  23. Stare at the pile of “to be mailed” invitations.
  24. Assure your daughter that the house will be clean for the party but you’re not scrubbing under baseboards until the day before or the day of.  It’ll just get dirty again.
  25. Forget that your asthma is a killer and won’t let you clean like you used to.
  26. The Monday before the party, assure your daughter that she won’t be left without food or refreshment for her friends.
  27. The Tuesday before the party, assure your daughter that her friends won’t be sitting on a pile of laundry.
  28. The Wednesday before the party, assure your daughter that people will come.
  29. The Thursday before the party, decide to do something insanely crazy like plan a Stampin’ Workshop.
  30. The Friday before the party, wake up and discover that your husband has scrubbed the kitchen, hallway, and living room within an inch of its life.
  31. Thank the Lord for your husband.  It is best if you repeat this often.
  32. Go shopping.  It is best if you despise shopping.  It makes things so much more interesting.
  33. Forget that your daughter likes Dr. Pepper and don’t buy any.
  34. Send your other daughter after it.  Make sure to remember a few other things you “need.”
  35. Buy way too many plates.
  36. Save your receipts.
  37. Forget where you saved your receipts.
  38. Watch your husband clean up your sons’ closets and out of pity, pay your daughter to clean your room.
  39. Buck up and head to the grocery store.
  40. Remember your wedding reception fiasco and buy more food than a wedding needs.
  41. Forget a cake.
  42. Wake up Saturday morning to a shining bathroom.
  43. Thank the Lord for an amazing husband.
  44. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
  45. Wait until an hour and a half before the party starts, and begin making the tortilla rollups.
  46. Stab yourself under your fingernails with toothpicks.
  47. Repeat at intermittent times.  It is best if you avoid dripping blood on the food.  Just sayin’.
  48. Chop up fruit and skewer for a *lovely* fruit bouquet.
  49. Chop up fruit for eating.
  50. Arrange the table.
  51. Ten minutes before your open house is to open, decide to clean up your mess in the kitchen.
  52. Get dressed @ t-2.
  53. At time, carry laptop to the bedroom and pat it with affection.  You’ll be back!!
  54. Wait for first guests.
  55. Assure daughter that people are coming, but since it’s an open house, no one is going to arrive on the dot.
  56. Greet first guests.
  57. Laugh.  Prepare to do this a lot.
  58. Stay hydrated from all the laughter.
  59. Move chairs around for better conversational seating.
  60. Laugh.
  61. Enjoy fellowship.
  62. Eat.
  63. Laugh.
  64. Eat.
  65. Drink.
  66. Be Merry.
  67. Eat.
  68. Laugh.
  69. Say goodbye
  70. Say hello
  71. Laugh
  72. Eat.
  73. Did I mention eat?
  74. Collapse in chair in utter exhaustion when the last person leaves.
  75. Grab more comfy clothes and change.
  76. Eye your bedroom door warily.
  77. Announce that it is every man, woman, and child for themselves for dinner.
  78. Turn on the wind turbine in your room that you graciously and affectionately call a “fan” and take a nap.
  79. Wake up exhausted.
  80. Look around at everything that needs to be cleaned.
  81. Collapse in your chair with the laptop and ignore the mess.
  82. Watch your kids clean up.
  83. Thank the Lord for kids.
  84. Thank the Lord for husbands who are worth far more than… emeralds?  Without them, those kids wouldn’t be cleaning up.
  85. Consider that without the husband you wouldn’t need to clean up the mess in the first place– no kids= no graduate!
  86. Forgive the husband for existing.
  87. Pray you are less exhausted the next day.  You know, Mother’s Day?
  88. Wonder what genius thought it was good to have a graduation open house the day before Mother’s Day.
  89. Realize it was you and thank the Lord you didn’t ask aloud.
  90. Drink.  There’s lots of Coke left.  You made sure of that.  You are smarter than you thought.
  91. Sense a nagging feeling that something is undone.
  92. Ignore said nagging feeling.
  93. Work on your novel until late into the night.
  94. Forget that there is a new Dr. Who episode you could be watching.
  95. Kick yourself in the morning when your third child wishes you a Happy Mother’s Day and asks if you saw it.
  96. Get that nagging feeling again.
  97. Ignore said nagging feeling.  Again.
  98. Enjoy a day of chocolate, the first flowers your husband has ever bought you (gorgeous!!!) and a steak dinner in utter blissful ignorance of the doom awaiting you.
  99. Go to bed with a nagging feeling.
  100. Wake up with said nagging feeling.
  101. See the stack of unaddressed/unsent announcements and realize that your “event” isn’t over until the postal woman hauls them off to destinations… known.

I chose not to include the stack of unaddressed cards as my Fifth Amendment plea.

Craft Challenge: Week One Results

Ok, so this week I was supposed to make a page layout.  Well, I don’t paper scrap at all anymore so technically, nothing worked.  I don’t have pictures organized in any way that I could find them if I wanted to.  Furthermore, I don’t even own a scrapbook with pages etc.  I did try to “pretend” to do a page though and I made a card.   Here are my lists.

Scrapbooking/Card Making

What works–

I have stuff to do it.

I could find my

  • pens
  • stickers
  • glue/tape
  • punches
  • stamps
  • ink

What I couldn’t find/use were

  • photos
  • paper
  • pages to work ON
  • embellishments

So there you have it!  Week one done.  Whether I do more or not will depend on how the week goes.  I’m working on other things this week too, soooooooooooooooo

Declutter Challenge: Day 3- Wednesday

Today it took me a while… I got sidetracked with this little thing called life.  So, it’s nearly Thursday, but I’m finally getting to this.

I tossed:

3- tubs of dry moon sand

1- plastic toy thingie that I have no idea why I have it or what I’ll do with it.

1- CD for something that is no longer an issue

1- Book that I sold

1- Plastic container with cards that are for who knows what.

1- Paperback book in the garbage– I don’t know how it got in my home but it’s gone now.  Blech.

1-  Stack of mostly or fully used spiral notebooks.

1-  Old ATM card that I’ve replaced (and since lost.  Anyone seen it?)

When I go to dump the trash, I’ll take a picture of the one with the moon sand and stuff in it.  Thirty things gone from my life and a cleaner living room shelf to boot!

A Home Within a Home~

You can buy this little beauty from

You can buy this little beauty from

There’s no place like home.  You know, whether humble, you’ve roamed, with or without palaces… there’s no place like it.  No matter where you go, no matter how wonderful it is, there’s always that “aaahhh” feeling when you step back into your own house, kick off your shoes, and collapse in your own little corner of the world.

Imagine how everything in your house feels when it’s where it belongs.  See, we all need a place to “live”.  There’s a reason that “living out of a suitcase” is considered sub-standared to real life in a home.  Within every house, there are lots of residents who have their own homes.  It’s like your house is one big apartment complex and each item in it belongs in its own apartment.  Some things, rarely leave their homes.  You know, a couch, a recliner, the coffee table… they are homebodies and really don’t enjoy getting out.  From time to time, they upgrade to a nicer apartment or downgrade due to budgetary constraints, but most beds, dressers, and dining room tables move in and stay put– sometimes for life!  Other things like the baby’s toys, your shoes, a book etc all take trips from their homes.  Imagine how discouraging it must be for the book to find itself an unwelcome guest in the dresser’s house!

Some things, however, move into the complex and wander the corridors looking for an empty place to live.  A new knick-nack, tool, or even the brush may never be given its own home.  So like transients, they wander the halls hoping to find an empty place to call their own.  Of course, under the couch might not be the ideal place, but they’ll move in if no one helps them find a permanent residence they can call home.

I know, I know.  It’s a silly way to state the obvious, but I’ve been thinking a lot about house ordering in the past week or two.  As I’ve droned on about so much that you’re probably sick of it, I just did my little craft nook in my room recently.  Before that time, I rarely sat down at my machine.  Doing so meant taking it out, leaving it up for days, and then putting it away unsatisfied with what I’d gotten accomplished.  Since I’ve set up that little corner with everything being assigned a home, I’ve made four skorts, 2 pairs of capris, three shirts, a roman shade, made a skirt, and that’s what I can remember at the moment.  It’s so rewarding to skip in there, pull out my cutting table, reach for my scissors that are always in their home on the hook on my pegboard, reach for thread that is where it belongs, grab the seam ripper, tape measure, pencil, or fray check from exactly where I know they’ll be, and have no stress, no fuss, no muss.  It’s fun to sew when everything is readily accessible, in their home, and waiting to be used.

This is true of my children as well.  When we scrub up the living room, clear all surfaces, organize their coloring and drawing materials, put games on the shelves correctly etc… suddenly they want to use those things.  They want to be in here, doing things near us, talking to us, and tension is pretty much unheard of.  However, if the room is cluttered, noisy, or the things they want to use too difficult to access, it won’t happen.  Now that my room is clean and organized, would you like to guess where the favorite hang out is in my house right now?  Would you like to guess who is the fanatic about keeping things clean and kicking them out if they leave a mess?  Yeah.  That’s because I know I won’t want to go in there and sew or make pretty paper things if it’s a nightmare like it was back when it was a catch-all for the rest of the house.

Do yourself and your family a favor.  Give every item in your home a home.  If there is no room for it, either get rid of it or evict something else and move it in.  Whatever you do, give each item in your house a home.  Your possessions will be used instead of abused, you’ll know where they are, and you won’t replace the extension cord fifteen times because you didn’t know where you put them the last time.  If they always belong on a hook at the back of the sink cupboard … you’ll know right where to find them, won’t you?

It’s a simple principle.  It’s one that, for the most part, people use without thinking about it.  However, most people (who are not or have learned to overcome the C in OCD) have a dozen or two things that are homeless in their homes.  If they have too much stuff, it’s usually worse than that.  One thing that’s important, the home has to fit the item.  Just as you wouldn’t put a six foot eight inch man in a house with six foot ceilings, don’t try to stuff six girls’ worth of clothes into one dresser.  Not that I’d know anything about that.  I mean, it may seem logical that a large drawer each for things like socks, undies, and pjs would be sufficient and they could hang the rest in their spacious closet, but the fact is, it’s not enough.  Just thought you oughtta know.

Simple principles, but I’m going to break them down even simpler.

  1. If it walks, is dragged, carried, or in any other way enters your door, it needs a home.
  2. If you don’t have room for it to have a home, it can’t stay or you must evict something to give it a home.  Everyone needs a home.
  3. When your homes are overcrowded, find new ones for things you don’t need anymore.  It’ll give the rest of your things a chance to “breathe” and likely will help them last longer not having to “rub elbows” with other things quite so often.
  4. If your house seems to have a lot of clutter about, either things aren’t staying at home enough, or you’ve missed one of the other three things up there.  Do something about it.

Home-  there’s no place like it.  The song said so and John Howard Payne wouldn’t lie.


Photo courtesy of

I didn’t think we had it but alas, today I got an eyeopener. Now, we don’t have a collection of three hundred bed pans or fifty dead remotes form machines we haven’t owned for years. We don’t have exercise paraphernalia that we never use for more than a clothing ‘valet’ or a collection of trolls from 1984. My husband doesn’t have a ‘workshop’ of tools he’s never used or used once and my children have a fraction of the number of toys that the average American children have.

But today, we had to move everything up off the floor. All closets emptied, all book cases moved, all the storage under the living room pew set on the table. The result is absolutely amazing. Our living room table is COVERED (100″ table) Of course, part of what is on it is a chair and similar things but still… My bed… is loaded. Nothing is frivolous per se… a guitar, crates of pictures, Kevin’s bicycle trainer and pumps, the suitcase… Even the piano bench I think. But still, there is stuff. Everywhere. We’re loaded with stuff.

I am not of the “it’s evil to own a bunch of stuff while the rest of the world has little” camp. I consider everything we own to be a blessing and a gift from the Lord and I am thankful that we have the means and opportunity to appreciate it. I am, however, wondering how much of what I see is worth the space we allocate to it.  I keep looking at what is up on the living room table and it’s used/able stuff.  At the moment (in preparation for this extermination) I see

  • Fan- we use it every day.  It has to stay.  We’re desert rats.  We need our fans.
  • Chair- we use it every day.  Anything that increases seating is a must.
  • Two wooden folding chairs.  Used daily.  See above.
  • Air purifier.  Used during fire season.  It doesn’t need to be in here year round but where else do we put it?  It can’t get dirty, it needs to be easily accessible for the rare times an oven smokes or something.
  • Bike trainer that we don’t use/need anymore (had to get a different one for Kevin’s new bike)
  • Drill box.  Need the drill.
  • Tool bag.  Need the tools.
  • Serger.  Must. Keep.
  • Sewing Machine.  Must. Keep.
  • Trash can.  I like having one near me.
  • Cart for carrying books around the homeschool convention.  I think it needs to go to the shed, don’t you?
  • Wheeled luggage dolley we bought to help a kid with her route once.  Don’t need it anymore!  Why is it STILL in the closet?
  • Nebulizer.  Can’t live with out it.  Dad burn it.
  • Kleenex.  I’ll keep it.
  • Folded clothes… I’m thinking we probably have too many.  That’s common this time of year.
  • Sock basket (we need to cut half of the socks out of our lives)

On the bench we have…

  • An empty box
  • A fabric tote
  • The Roman Coliseum
  • More fabric
  • Plastic drawers for paper, pens, etc
  • Plastic drawers for sewing supplies

That’s just the living room.  Let’s not forget little things like my bed, the boy’s room, the girl’s room etc.

It is time to do something.  I don’t know what, but it’s time to do it.

What to do?