Posted in family, family traditions, memories

Santa Clause…Just for fun?

Today my blog has nothing to do with cleaning or keeping house. It may or may not offend some but it’s my story. I believe I am to share it. I hope it has an impact on someone’s life.

Photo by Public Domain Pictures

With tears streaming down my face and a terrible twisting knot in the pit of my stomach I ran to my mother after school and threw myself on her. I had tried so hard to hold it in since recess that morning when my world had been shattered and everything I believed to be true was ripped from me.

As many other kindergartners, I believed that if I was a good girl that Santa would bring me my Christmas wish, that beautiful blonde haired doll that drank a bottle and really peed her diaper! I looked at her in the JC Penny’s catalog every chance I got! I worked very hard to be nice to my brother and do my chores and be obedient to my mother.

That day, I was crushed. The boy on the playground told me that Santa wasn’t real. That parents just lie to get us to be good. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I don’t remember much from forty -eight years ago, but I remember that very clearly. Tim. He was smart and normally a nice boy. His mom was friends with my mom. Why would he lie to me? He must be lying…. my mother wouldn’t lie to me, would she? Lying is so wrong!

As I cried on my mother’s shoulder, she asked what was wrong?! I couldn’t get it out until we got home. She held me on her lap and told me that Tim had been right. Santa was just a story. I was just devastated. Confused and bewildered I asked why did you lie to me? Lying is bad! At this point my mother was just as heartbroken as I was. We both were in tears. It’s just supposed to be a fun story that children believe she said. She comforted me and eventually I began to feel a bit better but still didn’t feel right inside.

Nothing about this felt good. Thoughts continued to run through my head. I may have only been five, but I had been taught right and wrong and was no dummy. This Santa thing didn’t sit right with me.

That night my mother tucked me into be and we began to say bedtime prayers. A thought flashed in my mind and my eyes flew open. I gasped! This is just another lie! How can this be?! Jesus is who I talked to when I was scared or alone. He helped my mommy feel better when she was sad too! We had been through so much since daddy left but Jesus is what made us feel better. That sick feeling came back with a rush and I felt hot and the tears were flowing again.

Jesus isn’t real either I screamed!! My mother was taken aback. “Of course He is honey!” ” But you said Santa was real and he isn’t. I couldn’t see Santa and I can’t see Jesus. I tried to be good so I could get my Christmas present and I try to be good for Jesus. You said Santa could see me and Jesus can too! You LIED!” I cried.

My mom held me for a long time and we cried together. She asked me to forgive her for lying to me about Santa and promised to never lie to me again. She told me that God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit do exist and that Jesus had died to take my sin so that I didn’t have to “try to be good” to receive anything from Him but that He loved me unconditionally. She reminded me that I had asked Jesus to live in my heart and that if I prayed He would give me peace and understanding and that I would know for sure He was real.

We prayed together and Jesus did fill me with peace and I knew He was there with me and that He was not just a lie. I knew in my heart that He would always be there for me and that I wanted to live for Him and let other people know that He isn’t like Santa. He is real and He loves us so much that He sent His son to be born and live and give His life for us so that we don’t have to strive to “be perfect”. He forgives us and has paid the price for us. He gave us the best Christmas gift ever given. It is for that reason that we celebrate the birth of Christ!

I made a decision at five years old that I would never ever lie to my children. I would never tell them that Santa was real and that they had to strive to be good to earn gifts. I would never give them reason to doubt that Jesus was real.

When I grew up and had my girls, we read the “Night Before Christmas” and all the other stories of Santa and they enjoyed those stories just as much as they enjoyed all the other fairy tale books we read. We put out Mt Dew and cookies on Christmas Eve because our “Santa” liked Mt Dew better than milk! We put out “reindeer food” in the snow, knowing it was a wonderful gift to the birds. They enjoyed every minute of the Christmas season and never believed in Santa. They believe that Jesus was born and came to save us from sin and give us grace. They have never doubted it a minute.

I don’t write this to heap guilt on those who have told their kids that Santa is real, but just to share from a child’s point of view. Maybe you might rethink the story you’ve told. This made such a huge impact on me as a child. I have always felt it was important to share but had never written it out until now. I hope that it can help a parent or child somehow.

This year, give real thought to your Christmas traditions and remember the reason for the season!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Merry Christmas!

Elizabeth xoxo

Posted in camping, cleaning, family, habits and routines, routines

Giving Myself Grace

Hi Friends! It has been so very long since I have written here. Six months in fact! I have missed it so very much! I have had so many things going on in my life that I had decided to put this on the back burner for a while, but I couldn’t stay away forever!

Honestly, I had been feeling like I am not very qualified to write a blog called “The Self Cleaning House”. I still don’t. Not sure how I thought I was! With a family of five, a large house, an in home day care with six children, two of them infants, doing laundry for two families, writing two blogs and starting an eCommerce store, and camping every weekend all summer, I feel very often that my house doesn’t reflect the image I would like it to. Yes, it’s tidy-ish. The bathrooms are clean and the laundry is done and well, the basics are done, but that is as far as it goes.

You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ―John C. Maxwell

Those daily routines…. I’m telling you, they are life! Without them my home would be in shambles right now. If you don’t know what those are, check out the routines page here. If you do, but need to dust those off and start again… DO IT!!

BUT…. my closet….not sure what has happened in there! The bathroom drawers… oh my! And then there is the garage….. so much. I want to cry every time I go out there.

Can you relate? I am hoping you can, because that is why I decided to jump back in to writing here as often as I can at least.

I hope that I can inspire you and ME to get to those things that are bugging you right now about your house. Yes! That thing that just popped into your head just now! See, I knew you had something too!. I know I am busy and you are busy. Crazy busy, in fact. Like, OMG, we have so much to do today we won’t be done with today until next Tuesday, busy!

But….. we got this! We can fine tune routines and knock things out in little five minute increments. So, without guilt and shame I am going to jump back into writing and sharing ideas with you. It helps to keep me accountable but I am also going to remember to try to give myself GRACE! You do the same!

I promise to be back again soon with ideas, encouragement and updates on that garage of mine!

Love you all! E

XOXO

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

2 Peter 1:2

Posted in cleaning, family, habits and routines, happiness, memories, routines, self discipline, spiritual

Home is a Feeling

The house where we raised our children was, shall I say, less than nice. When we moved in, there were three different wallpapers in the same room, purple kitchen cupboards with pink sponge painting on them, (Gag!) and bathroom tile that looked like a three-year-old did it with lots and lots of glue! It was bad! We had to remove carpet from one of our daughter’s bedrooms and couldn’t afford to replace it so she had a plywood floor. Our bedroom was in the basement and had a cement floor. On top of all that, the house was olive green. Blech. It was just not a pretty house.

We did a pretty good job of sprucing it up!

Over time we were able to paint the house, turn the seven-foot tall weeds into a decent yard, and paint the god awful purple and pink kitchen cupboards white. Wow, was that a job! We never could afford carpet while we lived there and there remained a lot of things that were not aesthetically pleasing about the house.

Even though our house was not pretty, people that would come to our house always commented on how “nice” our house was. I am pretty sure I managed a “thank you” after picking up my jaw off the floor each time!

I tried to figure out what it was that made people say that. It certainly wasn’t our super nice furniture! Although my mother in law’s hand-me-down 1970’s couch might have been cool once, it really wasn’t. It couldn’t be the beautiful artwork hanging on the walls that had been carefully selected from our exclusive GoodWill.

I am fairly certain that is was the feeling you got when you walked in our home and not the Thrift store curtains and well-overused second- hand piano that gave our guests that impression. It felt clean, peaceful and full of love.

I really struggled when we first moved there with all the work that needed to be done, the painting, the fixing, trying to make it look nice plus all the housework and laundry and cooking and homeschooling for a family of five. Then we took in a neighbor girl and we were a family of six! Family friends were struggling so I took on cooking and cleaning for them.

I struggled, it was hard, I did it, but my attitude was awful. I raised my voice at my kids when they didn’t do their chores in a timely manner. I complained to my husband about everything I had to do. I nagged him to do things. I was miserable and I was making my family miserable.

I remember one day saying “God, something has to change!” and in my head, I heard “yes, you do.” Uuughh……that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I knew it was right though. I said “ok, but you are going to have to help me!”

It was then that I came up with my mantra. “Make every room better, every time you are in it, even if it is just to smile.”. I repeat that over and over in my head as I move about my house. Now, I don’t know if smiling in an empty room really makes the room better, but I know it makes my attitude about cleaning and serving my family better!

When I began to do that, my heart started to change. Love gives. I wanted to serve and bless my family. I began to develop a system to keep our house clean without stress. It made such a difference in our home! It was then that people would comment on how beautiful our home was! It wasn’t just clean. It felt peaceful.

We can learn every trick in the book about cleaning and organizing and making things look nice, but if all we have is a clean house and a resentful attitude it will be felt. Your family will feel it, your guests will feel it.


“My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places,”


Isaiah‬ ‭32:18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I am far from perfect and I still have to pray and overcome a bad attitude now and then. I get tired, sometimes exhausted and need to remind myself that my time with my kids is short. It is my heart’s desire to bless my family as much as I can, as long as I can. To create happy, loving memories of a home with that “feeling”.

Posted in cleaning, family, habits and routines, organizing, routines, self discipline, Tips and Tricks

Cleaning with Kids

We have all heard that “Cleaning with kids is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos”! It’s funny, can be true, but it doesn’t have to be.

What if I told you that you can have toddlers, teens and in between and still have a clean house without screaming and yelling. In fact, don’t do that! That will most likely defeat the purpose.

Is it hard work? It can be at first, but mostly the hard part is the training yourself and being consistent. The hard work is not you running around following all the children and picking up after them or nagging them non stop!

The key is routine, habits, consistency and discipline. (For you and your children).

Be an example. If you don’t make your bed, take care of your coat when you come home, or put your shoes away….. Why would they? I can’t stress this enough. Children do what you do, not what you say.

Let them see you clean your bathroom, do the dishes right after dinner, take the trash out, etc. Always put your things away before doing something else and always go to bed with a clean and tidy room. Let them see your routines and good habits.

I have heard all too often that when your kids are little it’s ok to have a messy house. Is it? What life skills are you teaching them? Let them see what work is. Impart a good work ethic. Have them help! You are not denying them time with you. You are teaching them something invaluable for life just by letting them see you have good habits. It’s ok to make them wait a minute. When they want something and you are just finishing the dishes, it is ok to say ” Ok, honey. I will get that for you as soon as I am finished.” Learning a bit of patience and noticing that other people are doing things are important for them too.

Let them know what is expected of them. Outline for them what they are supposed to do and when. Make a chart, Send them a list that they keep on their phone. Tell them that you expect them to clean up their toys after each activity. Tell them they are responsible to make their bed. Tell them they are to do homework immediately after school. Be specific. Have an attitude that tells them that you believe in them. If they think you don’t think they will do it, they won’t. If you don’t tell them it is expected of them, they won’t do it.

Break it down. Kids, and for that matter big people, come in all different personality types. I can tell a room full of 2-3-year-olds to clean up and I am going to see a lot of different responses. Some will start putting things away in all the wrong places, some will walk around dazed and confused with a toy in hand, some will pick up a toy to put away and then forget and start playing with it. Sometimes there is even that kid that eagerly puts everything away in the right places after the other kids have dumped them in all wonky.

You can’t send that kid that picks up the toy and starts playing with it to his room when he is 10 and expect him to clean the giant mess on his own. Not happening. Most kids need some guidance. Even if you can’t stand there in the room, you can break it down for them. “Go pick up all your books and put them in the shelf and then come tell me when that is done.” “Now go find all the legos and put them in the box.” You are teaching them great problem-solving and organizing skills this way without overwhelming them.

Assume the best of them. If they left their backpack on the couch, just say, matter-of-factly, “Susan you must have forgotten to put your backpack away, I know you are normally good about that. Would you please take care of that?) They will respond better to that than telling them once again they have failed just like you thought. Not that you would say it that way, but they often hear that. This way they are still hearing what you expect of them and that you believe they are well-intentioned and worthy of trust. They will try to rise to that.

Be the parent. “She wouldn’t let me do her hair.” I couldn’t get him to put his coat on.” “All they will eat is chicken nuggets so that is what I have to make.” This might not make me very popular but, be the parent. When they are told to pick up the toys, they need to do it. If they are told to sit at the table all through dinner, they need to do it. Kids don’t know what is best, they don’t know what is good for them. That is why God gave them parents to teach them and train them.

If I rob a convenience store and the cops show up and say “Freeze! ” and I don’t….. Do you think they are going to shrug and say “She wouldn’t do what we said.”? Or will they offer me a candy bar and say if you freeze you can have this! No, I am going to get a really quick lesson in consequences!

It is not fair to let our kids go through childhood thinking that if they throw a fit or refuse to do things that they get their way. Life just isn’t like that. I won’t get on a political soapbox, but let’s just say I believe that is a lot of why our country is the way it is today.

Consequences for not obeying, refusing to listen will nip those in the bud. You have to be consistent though. If you aren’t …. well, kids know. Having to dish out a consequence a few times to have your kid respect what you say is so much kinder than forever after nagging, yelling and the constant power struggle. Better for both of you! Your child obeying you the first time you say something might just save his life someday. You are the parent! You are in charge.

Kids respect what you inspect.  You do need to have a good expectation of your kids, but if you never check to make sure they have followed through on what is expected, they WILL notice. At 15, you obviously don’t have to check to see if he’s brushing his teeth ( I hope) but at 6 you sure do. Your 8-year-old child still needs reminders and supervision to get morning routines done and get off to school. Kids need to have homework checked. You show your kids that you are interested and that you care by checking to see they’ve done what is expected.

Praise for a job well done. When kids hear praise for what they did well, they want to continue doing it. That goes for all people, little ones and big ones! When your two-year-old puts his toys back, tell him how great a job he did! When she “makes” her bed, tell her how proud you are of her. (Don’t fix it… at least not in front of her!) If your teen cleans her room, tell her it looks nice!

I personally don’t believe in an allowance for daily things that are expected. Those are things that are just part of life for us and for them. If you want to teach the value of money and work then pay them for extra things like raking leaves, pulling weeds, that sort of thing. No one pays me for brushing my teeth and making my bed. Paying them for things like that gives them the idea they are doing it for YOU, not because it is just a life skill.

Give grace. be kind, be thoughtful. Have you ever had a really rough day? Of course. We all have! On those days that you didn’t seem to get anything done and things just didn’t go as planned, wouldn’t it be nice if someone took one of those things off your list for you and did it?

When your little one is having a harder day than usual; when the kids at school called her names or the spelling test was harder than she thought, be thoughtful and help her tidy her room before bed or turn her bed down for her.

Remember what it was like to be a teenager? I do! It was the worst thing EVER. Teens go through so much! The stress of changing hormones that they don’t even understand, horrible peer pressure, self-esteem is tough, other teens are not the least bit kind. They are required to make huge life decisions, do an enormous amount of difficult school work and do it well to get into schools they want to get into plus hold jobs too! It is a LOT!

When your teen is having a particularly rough day and they rushed out without making their bed, make it for them! Do a load of laundry and put it away for them! Make them feel that home is a safe place to be. A place where they feel loved and accepted even if they don’t quite get all their chores done now and then. Of course, respect their space. Make home a place they want to be.

By teaching your children the skills to organize and clean and giving them grace and love when they need it you are giving them the skills and character to be amazing successful people that this world so needs!

Train up a child in the way he should go,

And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Blessings! XOXOXO

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Posted in cleaning, family, happiness, organizing, spiritual

Blessed

We are BLESSED! We are so very blessed that our homes are full to bursting. We are so blessed that we have garages and sheds and storage units to hold it all!

We are so blessed that I think we sometimes forget what it means to really need anything. I have several coats and jackets, but there is one that I really want at Target. I have a lot of really cute boots….but I know there is a pair with my name on it at Kohls!

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

We are so blessed that our closet rod is sagging in the middle…. I know, ’cause mine is. Yet there are people in our own towns that don’t even have a coat. Can you imagine what a difference your “extra” stuff could make for someone in need?

Photo by THE COLLAB. on Pexels.com

I am not for a minute suggesting that you don’t deserve to buy things or have nice things just because there are people going without. I believe that if you earned the money to afford it then you most definitely deserve it! I am suggesting that we all get rid of our “extra blessings”. What good is a sweatshirt that you have not worn for seven years, hanging in your closet? What if we took all those things to women’s shelters or homeless shelters? What a blessing it would be to them!

I was reading a devotion by Rick Warren. I will link it here, but I am going to share a portion of it with you. I encourage you to go and read the whole thing. It’s not lengthy.

Empty Hands Receive Greater Blessings


The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:11, “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (NIV).
What an amazing verse! God makes you rich in every way so you can be generous on every occasion, which will result in thanksgiving to God.
God doesn’t bless you so you can be greedy; he blesses you so you can be generous. You give away, and God gives back to you so you can give more away and he can give more back to you and on and on and on. God doesn’t give you things so you can pile them up. When you let go of what’s in your hand, it’s now empty to receive greater blessings from God.
But as I’ve said before, God’s giving to you is based on your attitude. That’s why it’s so important to live with an attitude of gratitude.

Rick Warren

I just love that! “Empty Hands Receive Great Blessings”! I am so excited to continue to let go of my excess blessings so that God can continue to bless me so that I can bless others!

Let’s not ever forget to be grateful for all the things we have and to never be dissatisfied because we don’t have the best car or pretty carpet or the newest phone. Let’s choose to be grateful for all our overflowing blessings! We ARE truly blessed.

Let’s continue to be grateful for what we have, declutter our lives and homes of our “extra” and bless others in the process so that God can continually bless us. What a wonderful win-win!

Luke 6:38
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

NIV

Blessings! XOXO

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Below is a link where you can check it out! Please feel free to message me with questions!

CBD Oil What it is and how it works in our bodies

I just pulled out my copy of Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life”. It has been many years since I have read it and after finding the above passage I felt I wanted to read this book again. I highly recommend it! If you would like a copy for yourself click on the image below to purchase from Amazon! You will be supporting me at no extra cost to you! Thank you!

Posted in cleaning, family, organizing, routines, Tips and Tricks

You Don’t Need Money to be Organized

Boxes. Cardboard boxes. Sometimes taped together to make a particular shape. A shoebox, a cereal box cut to the right height, toilet paper tubes taped together.

When I was newly married we had next to nothing. Then we had three children and had even less. But we managed! I didn’t have money to spend on Rubbermaid boxes or cute baskets to organize my things. It really never crossed my mind! I just made do with what I had to organize our things. So cardboard, packing tape, and yogurt containers were often used as “organizational tools”.

I share this to say, don’t wait until you can find the right baskets or till you can afford the containers for the pantry. Declutter, see what you have left, decide what shape and size things you need and then find a shoe box or a salad bowl and use that for now. Write down in your notes in your phone the exact size etc of the things you need. Next time you are at Walmart or Target you know exactly what you are looking for. Do not buy a bunch of cute baskets and wooden boxes before you know what you need!

You don’t need money to organize. If you never get the perfect basket and your bathroom is primarily organized by shoe boxes and packing tape…. guess what?! It’s still organized. Currently, the drawer that holds my cleanser, moisturizer, deodorant, contacts and the like is completely coordinated with boxes taped together to make dividers. Classy, right?! At least it is organized!

I am sure by now you all have heard of Marie Kondo. If you haven’t, she is a Japanese woman with an incredible amount of wisdom about decluttering and living a simple clean life. I will link her book here. You can click on the image to order from Amazon if you are interested! She has a show on Netflix called “Tidying Up”.

She does suggest that you do huge decluttering sessions and I don’t find that very feasible. As much as I would LIKE to do that I don’t have a lot of time for that and I don’t imagine you do either.

Declutter in a small area every day. Instead of putting off decluttering at all until you have time to pull everything out of each room of the house, I suggest doing little bits every day or as often as possible. Yes, it will take a long while to get through everything, but at least you will be making progress.

Decluttering is not a one and done. Hopefully next time you declutter and reorganize the junk drawer it will be much better, but you are going to have to do it again.

If you have the time and inclination to go all out… don’t have the kids at home, have pizza planned for dinner and have help! The likelihood of becoming overwhelmed is very possible so it is imperative to have a friend to help you.

Don’t start it if you can’t finish it! Don’t pull everything out of a dresser or the kitchen cupboards if you only have an hour to do it. Make sure you have the time to completely finish. Take it out, sort it, put it back, bag up garbage and take it to the trash, bag up donations and take them to a thrift store or charity of your choice. Do NOT leave donations in a bag in the living room or by the front door. Get it out! Decluttering is supposed to make your home less chaotic and more peaceful. A pile of junk left on the kitchen table when you got tired of doing it, is just the opposite.

Here is a super great article on what NOT to do when decluttering! Check it out!

Pro Organizer Tips: What NOT to do when decluttering your home

I hope you do something fun this weekend. Spend time with your kids. Our time with them is so short. Be with your spouse. Enjoy the life you’ve been gifted!

1 Thessalonians 5:16

Be joyful always

Blessings! XOXO

Posted in cleaning, family, organizing, spiritual

You Deserve a Clean and Peaceful Home

I have a guilty pleasure. I get tremendous enjoyment from watching “Hoarders” and immense satisfaction watching them clean up all that junk. At first, it’s like a train wreck and you can’t look away. Then you want to shake the person and say “You don’t deserve to live like this!”! The cleaning process begins and it is amazing to see what is under all that garbage. You can see that at one time they had a beautiful home!

Scary and sad, right?!

Unfortunately, I am sure that without a lot of intense counseling those people will go right back to living in filth. Somewhere in their lives, they decided that they weren’t worth anything but garbage…. and lots of it.

I am not suggesting that any one of us has a problem even remotely like this! If you did, you probably wouldn’t be here reading this. A lot of us do struggle with excess stuff though.

Let me tell you right now that no matter what life has handed you, you are worth more than your junk, your clutter, and garbage. You are a daughter or son of God! He wants the very best for you.

If you are drowning in “stuff” and find it hard to get rid of, I want you to ask yourself when it was that you decided that you didn’t deserve a nice clean home. If it is really a difficult challenge for you I strongly encourage counseling. Sometimes it’s fear. Fear of letting go of things because of the fear of not being provided for. Sometimes it is surrounding ourselves with a layer of stuff so we are protected from hurt. Our minds do funny things while trying to protect us. Without some help to learn to forgive, let go and heal it will continue to be an issue and keep you from being the best you can be! Therapy is for everyone because this is am an imperfect world full of imperfect people!

I read an article by The Minimalists called “Decluttering Doesn’t Work”. I will link it here. They talk about what happens if we don’t address the “why”. If the reasons we have our clutter don’t go away then getting rid of it won’t help. We will just find ourselves replacing our “pacifiers” as they call it.

The Minimalists “Why Decluttering Doesn’t Work”

When we remove our possessions we have to face who we really are. What is really important to us? Are material things so essential? Where does our happiness come from? Who are we without anything? Some pretty deep questions to consider and some serious soul searching to do!

Every single one of us deserves to come home at night to a well organized, clean, healthy, safe house. Not just certain people, not just rich people, not just other people. YOU! Your home is your castle, your refuge and a place of peace.

This is the reason and the passion behind this blog. I want to make that clean, organized dream home come true for everyone! YOU deserve it! So…. on with decluttering and maybe some inner cleansing as well.

If you are part of the VIP Self Cleaning House Facebook group, I hope you are enjoying the daily challenges! If you aren’t, please enter your email to follow my blog and you will get an invite!

Posted in cleaning, family, family traditions, food, happiness, organizing, planning

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!

Photo by Matej on Pexels.com

We had a “quiet” New Year’s celebration this year. Quiet for us anyway. It was still rather noisy and full of laughter and fun! It was just our family and a couple of friends playing games, eating and generally having a good time.

It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without the annual tree burning. I honestly don’t know how this tradition even started. For years we have been burning the Christmas Tree in the backyard in the snow New Year’s Eve night.

It seems so symbolic. The representation of the end of the year. All the past year’s mistakes go up in a pillar of black smoke and we are given a clean slate to start new. We get a chance to make different decisions and make better choices. It, in some way, resembles the forgiveness we were given when Jesus died on a tree and then defeated death to give us new life.

It is awesome sight to see a tree burning in your back yard! Safely… for the most part!

It is now January 2nd, and everything is back to reality with the addition of maybe some new resolutions to actually make changes this year. It is a good thing to want to make good changes in our lives! We often have such lofty goals that we totally miss the mark and are more discouraged than before though, and that is not where we want to be.

The key is making small changes that will lead you in the direction you want to go! Having someone to be accountable to, that can encourage you, guide or help you is good too!

I am so excited about the upcoming things planned for The Self Cleaning House this year! We are going to work together, step by step to get rid of clutter and organize the things we need to keep. We are going to learn how to decide what to keep and what to get rid of! We’ll find out what needs to be cleaned and how often we need to clean it. What are the best tools and supplies for cleaning? How do you make it look nice once it is clean? We will talk about time management, kids, meals and menu planning, self-care, positive attitudes, self-talk and keeping Jesus at the center of our lives.

I don’t claim to know all things clean and organized and so there will be some guest bloggers here to share their knowledge and skills!

Most importantly, these things are not going to be so hard, time-consuming or overwhelming that it takes away from your family time or your weekends. They will be small changes that will be fun and lead you to have a clean, peaceful home for you and your family to enjoy.

We are going to do this together! We are going to stick to those resolutions to clean and organize your home and we are all going to be doing it together!

When you enter your email to follow the Self Cleaning House, you will receive an invitation to the exclusive Self Cleaning House Facebook Group! There we can discuss what topics you want to hear about, chat about questions or ideas you have. We will do challenges and get daily reminders for things.

I am looking forward to transforming our homes together this year so that you can spend more time doing what you love!

Cheers to a very happy 2019!!

Posted in cleaning, family, family traditions, food, happiness, memories

Holiday Traditions

Traditions are something that you give your family that will last long after you are gone. They are a gift you give your kids and they give their kids.

Traditions make your family unique.  It is what makes your family special and different from the neighbor.  Tradition gives us a feeling of belonging, a part of something exclusive.

woman preparing christmas table
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

As parents, it is our responsibility to pass on our core values and beliefs in a way that they will be as meaningful to them as they are to us.  There is no better way to instill your values into your children than through tradition.  Faith, patriotism, integrity, responsibility, work ethic, and compassion can all be taught through tradition in a way that it becomes a part of them and they will pass it down to their own children.

Traditions give security to children.  Something they look forward to year after year.  Your children will remember the traditions forever.  The gifts at the holidays and birthdays will be quickly forgotten.

Families need to be held together by that bond of memories and traditions.  Now more than ever we need to keep our traditions and give that gift of belonging and history to our children so that they never forget who they are!

It is important to involve your children in your traditions!  Take the time to explain why you are doing those things and where it came from.  Family history gives them pride in who they are and in their family.  It’s that sense of being part of something big and special. The most important thing about tradition is that it is done every year!!

Our traditions have changed slightly over the years.  When my husband and I were married, we combined and morphed our traditions together and add a few of our own.  It makes OUR family unique!

We have a lot of traditions in our family!  I will share a few of them with you.  It’s always inspiring to see what other families do and I am always looking for new ideas.  I would love to hear what you do!

We go to church on Easter morning every year.  We have lamb for dinner and always have communion as a family before dinner. Easter baskets for our kids always had a new swimsuit for the season!

easter

When our kids were young we went downtown to the local fireworks display for the 4th of July every year!  Over time the crowd got really bad and it just didn’t feel safe anymore. So now we have a huge BBQ at our house, play yard games and do our own fireworks in the street in front with our neighbors.  The May Family Annual 4th of July Party is awesome!

The planning, baking, and cooking for Thanksgiving with my girls is one of my favorites.  Before we pray over the Thanksgiving dinner, we each say what we are thankful for.  After dinner, we play games, watch football, and just hang out in comfy clothes until we are hungry again and then we have rolls with turkey and cream cheese and cranberry sauce, and more pie!  Mmmmmm!

dessert

The day after Thanksgiving/Black Friday is one of my favorite days of the year!  Not because of the shopping.  That is fun and all but our favorite part is going to our local annual lighting ceremony, parade and fireworks!  Rain, cold or snow has never stopped us from being there.  It is the most wonderful time of the year! After the fireworks we go home and have Cheeseburger Chowder for dinner. Yummy!

Putting up the Christmas Tree and decorating it has always been super special for all of us.  We all get involved!  We play Christmas music, have a fire in the fireplace, drink hot chocolate and have Clam Chowder for dinner.

Christmas Tree

When our kids were little they always got to open one present on Christmas Eve. My daughter has continued to do that with her daughter but changed it a bit.  She makes a Christmas Eve box for her to open.  She gets new Christmas jammies, slippers, a new movie to watch that evening among other things.  Such a fun thing to do!

On Christmas morning we open presents…like at the crack of dawn!  A lot of times my husband and oldest daughter have to work at 7am-7pm Christmas (they are law enforcement) and we want to have them there for presents so we just all get up really early!  Then we put on a huge brunch for all the extended family.  It is an open house style so that people can come and go as needed. It’s nice to get to see people without anyone feeling like they have to be there at a certain time or stay until the party is over.  It works out great!  Later in the evening, we have a nice family dinner.

We have always had a big New Years Eve party with lots of friends and family and champagne! They are so much fun!

party

Keep your family traditions alive! Give your children the memories and traditions that will continue to live on for generations.

Please enjoy my favorite pie crust recipe!  Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Holiday Recipes / Holiday Recipes

Perfect flaky pie crust everytime!

4 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 3/4 cup shortening
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg
1/2 cup water


Mix first 3 ingredients, add shortening. Cut in until crumbles. Beat water, vinegar and egg. Combine with flour, stirring until moistened. Do not over mix. Divide into 5 pieces. Chill. Makes about 5 single crust pies.

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Cook’n is a next generation recipe app that makes it fun and easy to share favorite recipes.

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Posted in cleaning, family, happiness, memories, routines

Wanna know a secret??

secret

Psssst…… Wanna know a secret??!  My house isn’t ALL that clean.  You can’t eat off my floors, and my fridge is crowded and a lot of the baseboards are dirty.  My desk has kids workbooks and coloring pages on it and there are clothes to be mended on top of my sewing table.  We won’t talk about the garage.

We live here.  I have a daycare here.  There is a lot going on in this house at all times.  If you are looking for how to keep your house looking like Martha Stewart’s house, this is the wrong place.

If you want a seemingly effortless tidy home without stress, I am so glad you are here!!

happy you are here

It took me a long time to start this blog because I was afraid of being judged and afraid people would expect me to have a perfect home if I talked about ways to clean your home and keep it clean.   I finally went for it, but I want you to know… my house isn’t perfect!  In fact, there may be a lot of people reading this that have a cleaner home than I do!

The point of this blog is to help you not have house cleaning rule your life.  To do house KEEPING, not house CLEANING.

I will welcome you to my home at any time of the day.  My house may have toys in the living room and kids everywhere but the dishes will be done and the bathrooms will be clean.  It IS possible to have a clean and tidy home with kids!!

The blinds are probably dusty….. I will get there.  That’s ok.  My routines keep my house clean.  When I have a moment, if all six kids are asleep at the same time, I may or may not clean the blinds.  The important things are taken care of.

My house will always be moments away from company ready and I welcome you all but don’t expect it to pass a white glove test!  It will be tidy and mostly clutter free and I won’t mind at all if you want to use my bathroom.  The oven may need to be cleaned and crumbs in the silverware drawer.   I have routines for that too and will get to it.  I am not going to knock myself out to have everything done all the time and all at once and I don’t want you to either!

So, if you are looking for ways to have your blinds clean and the slider track look brand new, there are lots of blogs for that.  I am just here to help you have a tidy home you don’t have to stress about and to teach you habits that make that happen so that you can enjoy the truly important things in life!  I promise you, it IS possible!

Check out my routine page and set your Self Cleaning House in motion! Once those basic routines are in cement then we will move on to things like slider tracks and oven cleaning!

Right now, go do your daily routines and then go play with your kids and make some memories.

 

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