More Redoing

So…finally getting the bathroom finished was motivating. So, two gallons of paint later and no purchases (other than six plate hangers), the hall and dining room are done, too. Next up is the living room. Tomorrow will be fun.  

  Yard sale find…and hubby’s stuff

 Cotton field at sunrise and sunset (photo credits to my daughter)

  All yard sale finds

 Given to me = free 🙂

 Plates collected at yard sales over time

  More yard sale finds and treasures given to me by treasured ones

 Yard sales again…

 Looking into entry hall…all pics given to me or purchased at yard sales 


February Happenings

Hello, all!

February is here. I made it through January without accomplishing much on my 2015 “to do” list. But my headaches seem to be under control now so I’m hoping that I can get to my list of projects now.

First things first, I have got to change my diet. Like…trying to live without wheat and sugar. Yikes! It sounds so very intimidating and nearly impossible. If you are around me this month and I’m out of sorts, know that’s why. I apologize in advance if I’m snippy or snappy. My family is a bread-loving, carb-loving bunch, myself included. But I’ve at least got to give it a try. So I’ve got my new cookbooks in hand and am working on making a menu that we can all live with.

Since I’ve pretty much gotten my house organized over the last year, I’m ready to do some projects that I’ve been putting off. Nothing really major except for some painting (yes, again!). These are projects to make spaces more efficient and, in some cases, just prettier and more comfortable. Your home is supposed to be your haven and you should surround yourself with things you love. Now that I’ve been through everything once or twice, I’m going to look at every item in every room and determine whether it makes me happy or serves a purpose.

I’m making my list and plan (weather permitting as I hope to start with the front porch) and should be starting next week. I’m going to do this fixing up on a shoestring budget. Thrifting, yard saling, repurposing…these are the ways I’m hoping to accomplish my goals.

My biggest goal: to just be finished. I want to get everything the way I want it and I want to be done. DONE. As in, just sit and enjoy my home without any major (or even minor) projects looming. I’m excited about that!

I’ll be updating you this week on my progress and my list/plans…photos, too. I hope you’ll join me in this journey of making your home your haven.


P.S. In the meantime, here’s a throwback to the beginning of this blog. You need to get that pesky laundry out of the way so you can do some fun stuff. 🙂


Happy Sunday!

Good morning!

As I drank my coffee this morning, I did my early morning devotional. This is what I learned.

God is beautiful. He created beauty: beaches, mountains, sunrises, sunsets, clouds…all of it. He is beauty and he created beauty for us to enjoy.

He also created each of us to be creative in some way – to be beautifiers. God is also a God of order. So when we created beautiful, organized, peaceful sanctuaries in our homes, it is God-honoring if it’s not done in a prideful way. Our home and our lives should point to God, not to self.

This really spoke to my little organizing heart. When I beautify my home, I do it so that it’s a place to come home to and feel comfort and love. When I organize, I do it so that there’s less stress and frustration – and thus, more joy.

I just wanted to share that with all of you. Maybe it will speak to you as well as we spend time “together” organizing and beautifying our homes.

I pray that you have a joy-filled, peaceful and relaxing day.



Tuesday Tips: Keeping Up with the Fridge

Hello from Hilton Head! See, I did think about you while I’m on vacation! 🙂

When I was trying to decide what to do for today’s tips, Teresa suggested that I address the fridge. The quickly messed up and disorganized refrigerator. So, that’s what I’m going to do. At my house, the fridge can get messy pretty darn quick. So I have learned that I have to straighten it out weekly; any longer than that and it becomes a challenge instead of a 15-minute fix.

That being said, this is what I TRY to do every week/month to keep the fridge under control.

1. Tend to the leftovers.

If you have leftovers that freeze well, freeze them in single-serve portions. For example, when I make lasagna, we eat it for dinner once and the once as leftovers. Then I take the rest and cut it into serving size portions and freeze them individually. That way I can pull one out for my hubby’s lunch or have a quick dinner solution when I need it. After a week, toss the leftovers. I toss them on the day before trash pick-up. Just don’t leave them in there long enough to grow mold. Please. Do not conduct your own science experiments.

2. Have a designated place/shelf for leftovers.

In order to make tip #1 easier, have a designated location in the fridge for leftovers. I have a shelf where I store all my leftovers. Then I only have to clean off one shelf when I’m ready to toss or freeze the leftovers. When you toss them, wipe off the shelf and you’re ready for the next week. 🙂

3. At least once a month, go through the bottles and assorted jars and toss those that are out-of-date.

This isn’t hard, but it takes a little time. Just pick a day (again, I’d suggest the day before trash pick-up if possible) and go through all the jars, bottles, etc. on the refrigerator door or hiding behind the milk carton. Check the dates. If anything is out of date, into the trash or down the garbage disposal it goes. Please recycle! It will take a little longer to sort through these things, but let’s take care of our planet here.

4. Organize your refrigerator into “zones.

Keep healthy snacks and foods front and center. I find this is an especially important thing to do. If the chocolate cake is in front of the grapes, am I really going to move it and choose the grapes? Probably not. 🙂 But maybe that’s just me. I have found that I eat better and make wiser choices when they are in my face when I open the refrigerator door. I also keep a “collection” of water bottles chilled and easy to reach so that I choose them instead of sweet tea. If you have specific things for your little ones that you don’t mind them reaching into the fridge to get, put them together in one particular area so that they can get to them easily.

5. Wipe up spills immediately.

If you spill something in the fridge, wipe it clean right away. Do not let it sit. Things tend to get sticky or drip down to the shelves below if left alone. This is especially true of soda, sweet tea, juices, and jellies. Sticky things become sticker if left alone. And then you have to scrub. And scrub. That’s no fun. Of course, cleaning spills isn’t fun anyway, but a big sticky mess. That’s really not fun.

Since I’m not home to look at my refrigerator, this is all I can think of at the moment. 🙂 I’ll look at it when I get home and see if there need to be additional tips. I’m sure there will be. But my brain is on vacation so I’m stopping here for now. 🙂

Hope your spring cleaning is going well!

Blessings from the beach,


Guest Post from Shante Butler: Kids’ Party Ideas

Kids’ Party Ideas

Spring is coming and this week I want to talk about saving money while still celebrating birthdays. I have three kids (20, 18, 16) and they were talking the other day about how much they loved their birthday celebrations growing up. We never went to Chuck-E Cheese or had big grand birthday parties, but they were still memorable.

Most of the family rules about birthdays were centered around the expense. So first I want to say that I never spent more than $100 on my kids’ birthday parties. The years that they got a party were the years they did not recieve a gift from me, and everybody had a birthday party about every other year or so. The first rule of birthday parties at my house is that you can only have eight people, including the birthday person, at the party. The reason for this is to ensure that everything we do from this point can be done as nicely and cheaply as possible.

First, pick a theme. We chose obscure themes that didn’t have a theme party plate for it yet. We did Sponge Bob and Yu-gi-oh parties long before the plates were widely available. We did a Madden football tournament party for my eldest, a candy themed party for my daughter, an Army party for my youngest, just to name a few. Choose a party that has a specific color theme because colored paper plates are cheaper than theme plates. Once you have a theme in mind, decorate the table and just the room the table is in with streamers, blown up balloons, and such. There are lots of pictures and websites to give you ideas on how to decorate using these items.

The next thing to talk about is the food. If the kids are having enough fun at the party, they will not really want to eat, so I always served hot dogs, potato salad, and chips at every party. I always made punch and served it in small cups with the child’s name written on it. Next thing is the cake. I suggest that instead of buying a themed cake from a grocery store or bakery, you make a 9″ circle cake or 9 by 13″ sheet cake at home, frost it, go to the store and buy miniature toys of the theme, pop them on  top of the cake, and now you a themed cake.

Finally, the fun part: The games. The games should be theme specific. One year my youngest was obsessed with everything military so he had an Army party. I had a neighbor come over dressed in his fatigues and got the kids to do push ups, sit ups, and march around the house. They all knew Brian, but they had to “sir, no sir” him, and when they “graduated” they marched around the front lawn doing a sound off while the parents waved and cheered. It was loads of fun. All of our parties lasted for no longer than two hours and were usually between the hours of 2pm – 4pm. Why? Two hour parties insure two hours of complete fun with no lulls and the time frame was so that the kids would come to the party right after lunch.
We always did a theme-related craft at the beginning of the party to give the kids something to do while everyone is arriving. It lets the kids and the parents see that this is not going to be a “free for all, running around like a mad person” kind of party. We are organized and we are going to have fun. The craft can be something small and fun.

Please feel free to post other inexpensive party ideas. I hope to see photos of joyful birthdays. I’ll see you guys next time.

Shante Butler


Focus on your accomplishments, not your failures. Count your blessings. Celebrate the life you’ve been given. John Maxwell

Today I want you to focus on your accomplishments. We need to every so often stop and reflect on your accomplishments. Look around your house. What are you not tripping over? Laundry maybe? How does it feel to not be stressed every evening racking your brain about what you will fix your family for dinner. Does it feel good to wake up and dishes are done? Celebrate those accomplishments! If you have a Lynne personality; you will go sit on the porch and celebrate with a cup of coffee. If you are a Teresa personality; you will grab a hand full of chocolate and celebrate sitting on the front porch. Well, that is if it is warm enough. Here in South Carolina, one day it is eighty degrees, the next day it is fifty – eight degrees! So it is a possibility! The point is find somewhere today that you can get alone and focus on what you have accomplished so far! You deserve it!
Here is what I do not want you to do! You are not to look at what you haven’t done yet. The recipe you tried that did not work out so good. Let it go! Think only on the things that are working well! This is the day to forget what you haven’t done yet. What hasn’t worked out. Only look at your accomplishments!
Take a minute to write out at least ten blessings in your life right now. Here are mine.
1. I have a God who loves me unconditionally.
2. I have friends who are willing to tell me when I need to work on something in my life and who are also there to walk me through the hard times in my life.
3. I have friends who laugh with me and cry with me.
4. I have a group of old and new friends on Simplify 2013 who encourage me every day to keep my life in balance.
5. I have a husband who loves me unconditionally. Who supports me!
6. I have three children who are now grown and we have unbelievable relationships.
7. I have a great job!
8. The sun is shining today! (Little bit more about me, I don’t like the cold!)
9. I have an awesome church!
10. I have a new book on my Kindle. (I love to read!)
I want you to celebrate the life you are given today! I hope you will take a minute to let us celebrate with you and put a few of your blessings on the Simplify 2013 facebook page or tweet them with #Simplify2013. Off to celebrate my day! ~ Teresa