Monday, April 1, 2013

100 Verses ~ Week 14

Week 14 Verses:

Isaiah 53: 5-6  "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend.  What an incredibly appropriate memory verse for the week!
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Saturday, March 30, 2013

100 Verses ~ Catch Up and Facebook Giveaway

      If you've been keeping up with my blog posts, then you know I've been keeping busy with "nesting" projects around the house.  But you may have noticed that a fallen a bit...ahem...behind on my 100 Verses posts.  I do apologize!

     Nevertheless, the 100 Bible Verses in 2013 Facebook page is still active with over 400 members.  And I am happy to report that I am still keeping up with my goal of memorizing 2 verses a week!  Actually, those of us at the Facebook page are celebrating 25 verses memorized this week with a fun giveaway!  This giveaway is only happening on the Facebook page, but you are welcome to request to join if you are not already a member to get all of the entry details.  I did want to tell you a little about each awesome company that donated to our giveaway...

Robert J. Morgan

     Robert J. Morgan is the author of 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart which is the text that we are basing our 100 Verses in 2013 Challenge on.  From his website:

"Rob Morgan is the pastor of The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has served for over 31 years. He is a best-selling and Gold-Medallion winning writer with over 25 books in print and over 3.5 million in print circulation."

     His other best sellers include Red Sea Rules and Then Sings My Soul.  You'll find devotionals, study guides, children's books and more at his website


     Robert J. Morgan has generously donated a signed copy of 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart along with the book's Study Guide for our Facebook giveaway.  I have truly been blessed by this book!  It is not simply a list of bible verses, but a devotional book based on the God-breathed words of Scripture.  Divided in two parts, 100 Bible Verses first is full of inspirational stories and information of the why and how of scripture memorization.  Time and again I was reminded of the importance of consistently writing God's word on the tablet of my heart.  The second part of the book is the bulk of the book.  Each of 100 specifically chosen verses are examined in a one to two page devotional.  Memorizing these verses are enriched by examining them closely through the devotional writing of Robert J. Morgan.


      Lilla Rose is a direct sales company that offers a variety of beautiful hair products including Flexi clips, O Rings, Hair bands, Hair sticks, and Bobby pins.  Recently I wrote a review of their new product called You-pins.  You can read my review here, but just in case I'll give you a bit of a spoiler...I loved them!

     The Flexi Clip design is unique to Lilla Rose and can be worn in the hair in several ways.  Lilla Rose consultant Jennifer Miller has donated the choice of either the mini Classic Etched Cross Flexi clip (pictured above) or the medium Bronze Celtic Cross Flexi clip (not pictured because it is a discontinued style) to our Facebook giveaway.

     To say thank you for Jennifer's donation, please support Jennifer by registering as a customer at http://www.lillarose.biz/prettyhair/ .  (Make sure it says 'prettyhair' in the url so that you are not directed away to another consultant's site.)  To register, click "shop now" then "create a new account."  Of course, you may also support her by purchasing Lilla Rose products at her website as well!


 Scripture Stickies
      Wow, am I excited that Julie from Scripture Stickies contacted me about her family's online business!  This neat product goes hand-in-hand with our 100 Verses Challenge.

    From the website: "(Scripture Stickies are) stickable Bible verses designed to help you memorize, meditate, encourage, and evangelize the Word of God.  They are great way to memorize Bible verses and make them really stick!"


      Most Scripture Stickies packs come with 10 stickable Bible verses (2 each of five different verses) and many themes are available.  Themes include Don't Worry, God Will Provide, Hope, and many more.  Kid's study packs, Seasonal packs, and Party favor packs are available as well.

     Scripture Stickies uses 3M's adhesive technology so that they will stick to any surface and can easily be removed.  You can post them around the house for meditation and memorization, or post them on gifts, in lunch boxes, or around your community for encouragement and evangelizing.

     Julie has lovingly offered one free Scripture Stickies pack of the winner's choice in their preferred translation to our Facebook giveaway!  You can purchase your own Scripture Stickies at www.scripturestickies.com

Finally, let's play a game of catch-up!  Here are Weeks 10 - 13 memory verses.

Week 10 verses:

1 John 5:11-12  " And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life."

Week 11 verses:

John 14: 1-2  "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you."

Week 12 verses:

John 14:3  "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

John 14:6  "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Week 13 verses:

John 14:27  "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

Isaiah 26:3  "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you."

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lilla Rose Review

     Recently I was contacted by a friend and consultant of Lilla Rose to ask if I would be interested in reviewing one of the Lilla Rose hair products.  I had heard very little about the company and their products, but a chance to try out some pretty hair clips?...Um, yes!  Sign me up!

     Lilla Rose was founded by John Dorsey who began making beaded chopsticks for hair in 1992 out of his garage at the encouragement of his wife.   Eventually this led to making their Flexi Clip line and to the business turning into a direct sales business.  The company now sells a variety of Flexi clips, O Rings, Hair bands, Hair sticks, and Bobby pins.  However, they have a new product called You-pins that I had the opportunity to review.


     Now I often wear my hair in a messy bun like you see above.  But I simply use a hairband which just isn't all that pretty.  I liked the idea of adding a little glam to my messy bun and I was particularly impressed with how easy the following video made them look to use...

     But would they really be that easy to use?

 
     A couple weeks later I received my pretty You-pins in the mail.  There are many styles to choose from including flowers, stars, and butterflies.  The You-pins range in price from $15-22 for a pair.  I received the Hawaiian Flower You-pins pictured above. 

     After reviewing the video a couple times and a few tries, I finally had my You-pins secure!  I have super thick, layered hair but I have been happy with the length of time my glammed-up messy bun stays secure.  Much like when I use a hair band, the You-pins will come loosened after awhile especially if I am moving around quite a bit.  Sometimes I will first secure my bun with a hair band, then glam it up with my You-pins and the messy bun will last all day.

     Still not convinced?  Check out the difference between these next pics...

      First, here is my messy bun secured with just a hair band.  I told you, it really wasn't pretty.  (Also, you must forgive me for the wet hair...but I'm a stay-at-home mom.  If the opportunity for a shower arrives, I take it!...even if it's right before I need to take pics to post a review.)

     Now, here is the bun secured with the You-pins only.  Not only does the You-pins make the style prettier, but the bun itself even looks neater.  Plus, it took me all of about 20 seconds to put my hair up.  Honestly I didn't even use a brush.  Just combed my hair through with my fingers, twisted the hair and secured the two You-pins.  Love it!

     Be sure to check out my friend's Lilla Rose website to order You-pins and other hair products.  I think you'll be pleased!

Disclaimer: I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review many products over the last few years. The only compensation that I receive for my review is the free product. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in review groups and I have enjoyed trying out these products and giving you my honest opinion.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Clutter Crushing ~ The Laundry Room

With eight children, you can imagine that laundry is a big deal around our house. I have been planning a Clutter Crushing makeover for a while now and am so excited to call this room complete.

Let's start with a BEFORE picture...
     As with the other rooms in the house, the laundry room had obviously gotten out of hand.  Now to be fair, part of the reason for the multitude of bags on the floor was that our dryer was not working properly and our laundry pile had been backing up.  But other than that, there were several issues of organization and function that needed to be worked through.

1.  I desperately needed a system of washing, drying, and folding that could easily be maintained even by my oldest children who trade out the chore of helping with the laundry.

2. I needed organization to rid the clutter!  The laundry room had become a catch-all for many items that didn't have a place, but certainly didn't belong in the laundry room.

3.  I wanted the space to be pretty and inviting.  After all, maybe that would motivate me to want to be in there more often.... I said **maybe**!

    Thanks to some awesome friends, we got our dryer up and working again and got caught up with our laundry.  In the meantime, I painted and Chad hung up extra shelving. A few fun bins and we had accomplished our task!





     These are the pics I took as soon as we loaded the bins onto the shelf, but before the laundry room was back in full-swing mode of operation.  You can see that the extra shelving has added a ton of storage space.  Previously, that was all just wasted space.

     I love the fun blue and green, but am even more excited about the function of the new laundry system thanks to all of those wonderful bins.  Each of the five larger bins are used as soon as the laundry is dry.  I can pull an item out of the dryer and immediately fold it and place it in the correct bin.  There is one for each bedroom in the house (master, boys' room, girls' room, nursery) and one to be taken to the linen closet. 

     Each bin has a small mesh bag for undies and other small items that are hard to fold.  Once a day the kids are responsible for getting their bins from the laundry room, taking them to their rooms and putting their clothes away, then bringing the empty bins back.  So far this system is working beautifully!

     Previously, we only had one dirty clothes hamper and that was clearly not enough!  Also, I wanted a system of dividing the clothes into lights, darks, and towels to make it easier for my laundry helpers to throw the appropriate clothing in the wash.  So we purchased three new hampers.  (You can see the third in picture above.)

Finally, we are using these bins as our "sock baskets".  I'm not sure that all families can fully understand the craziness of matching socks for 10 people.  I try to simplify this task by only purchasing white socks for the kids.  The goal is for each child to leave the house wearing a pair of socks that sort of match and sort of fit.  I don't have the time or the brain power to figure out which socks belong to each child.  Instead, I now have two sock baskets that hold our "matched socks" and one that holds "unmatched socks".  If they need a pair, they just grab them from the laundry room.

Once the organization and function was complete, I wanted to turn my focus toward a little decorating.  I searched Pinterest and Etsy for inspiration.  I found several fun canvas photos that I liked, but didn't have the funds to spend $20-40 a piece for them.  So, I just made my own.

 
     I was pleasantly surprised at the easiness of this project!  I found some free clipart online (the laundry pins and the baskets) and used my digital scrapbooking program to create these four 8x10 prints.  I sent them to a one-hour printing shop since our printer is out of ink which cost me a little less than $10.  I had four unused 11x14 canvases that I had purchased several months ago (2 for $6) and painted them brown.  I glued the prints to the center and applied a coat of mod-podge over each canvas.


     SO thrilled with the results!  These prints were exactly what I wanted and I got them for a fraction of the cost by making them myself!




     We've been using our new laundry room for a little over a week now and it's still staying clean, organized, and functional!

Check out my other Clutter Crushing makeovers:
The Medicine Cabinet
Under the Bathroom Sink
The Pantry
The Linen Closet
The Shoe Closet 

*Update*

Several people have been asking if I could share the images I created for my laundry room decor. I am posting them below. Feel free to right click and save the images to your computer. Please use them for personal use only. You may not sell my images. I hope this is helpful to you.




 
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Clutter Crushing ~ The Shoe Closet

     Once upon a time there was a Mama with many children. Early in the morning they would all rise to begin their day. Inevitably, at some point, the mama and her children would need to run an errand.

     "Load up into the van!" Mama's voice would ring throughout the house.

      A chorus of replies would quickly follow from her many children...

      "I can't find my shoes!" 
      
       "Mom, where are my shoes?" 

      "Can I just wear one shoe?"
 
      An hour later they would all load into the van. Some had shoes. Some did not.

     But Mama had a solution. There was a coat closet right next to the front door and Mama instituted a punishable-by-death-if-not-followed rule: When entering the house all children must immediately remove shoes and place them in the shoe closet.

     For the most part this worked, but there was still a problem.  Did I mention that this Mama had many children?
     You maybe couldn't tell by looking at the coats hanging in the coat closet.

     But that was only because Mama's many children couldn't manage to keep their many coats hung up and they were all thrown on top of the many, many shoes that piled up at the bottom of the closet.  This meant that when Mama yelled, "It's time to load up into the van!"

     She still heard...

       "I can't find my shoes!" 
      
       "Mom, where are my shoes?" 

      "Can I just wear one shoe?"

     Surely a solution could be found.  With the help of a brave knight named Daddy, Mama searched high and low and found a shelving system meant for garage storage.  The knight and his squires quickly put it together and within the hour all was well in the kingdom again...

   



     And they all lived happily ever after!

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Clutter Crushing ~ The Linen Closet

      I know that it's no longer the weekend, but I just can't seem to stop myself from continuing on the clutter crushing campaign. As I mentioned before, there are several areas of the house that have hit the critical stage of needing immediate attention.  Most of them are behind closed doors, but they have been weighing heavily on me.  I can't tend to my daily tasks easily when every time I open a closet door, I'm confronted with scenes like this...

 (Insert Psycho theme music.)

Perhaps by now you are wondering just how an otherwise seemingly capable mother could possibly have a linen closet that looks like this.  Let me explain...

First of all, most days I am quite certain that qualify only as a semi-adequate mother.  I fall short of capable practically every day.  *sigh*.  I'm thankful for a good God who is gracious and forgiving and promises to not leave me where I am.  And I'm thankful that children seem rather resilient.  To be honest, I don't have a very good memory and I'm hoping that my kids inherit that trait!

Secondly, and I'm not kidding...I just organized this closet less than a month ago.  You see, this is what happens when you live in a house with lots and lots and lots of children.  I do require my children to do chores.  They fold laundry, they put away laundry, they clean spills, they take baths, they tidy up rooms...all of this requires them to operate using this linen closet.

Now, I am a logical thinking adult.  If I fold a basket of laundry and take it to the linen closet, I will take note of the fact that there is a shelf with towels on it and put the towels there.  I will see a shelf with sheets on it, and put the sheets there.  But I am only one person.  One person with eight children.

Children, on the other hand, like to take shortcuts.  When they take a clean towel to the linen closet, they only see shelves.  And they put the towel on whichever shelf they feel like putting it on at that moment.  Perhaps it's the closest shelf to their hand.  Perhaps they feel like jumping today, so they put it on the top shelf.  Perhaps they are in a particular hurry today and they just drop the towel to the linen closet floor.

Perhaps you're thinking that I should just explain to my children how to group like items together?

Well, perhaps you don't have eight children ages 12 and under.

Yeah, I've done that.  A lot.  I'm trying something different now.  Bins.  Many bins.  With labels.
   
So, the first step to clutter crushing the linen closet was to clear it out.

Even though I grouped like items as I pulled them out, sadly this was what my hallway looked like.  I took a few deep breaths, drank a diet coke, told the children that there was "an invisible barrier of death that no one must cross through to enter the hallway until I was completely done with this task", and carried on.

I wanted to create a divider for my towel shelf so I gathered up some simple supplies I had on hand.  (Side note: You might be a homeschool mom if you complete home remodeling projects with foam board, a santa claus #2 pencil, a broken ruler, and a pair of kid scissors.)

A few cuts and some heavy duty tape later (secured at both the top and bottom)....

...and I had a shelf divider.

Finally, I loaded up the shelves with dollar store bins and completed the project...
Clutter crushing this linen closet took about 2 1/2 hours and I spent $10 buying the bins.

Labels were homemade and hand written because we're simple folk like that.  (And I am currently out of printer ink.)

The bins on the top shelf holds all those impossible-to-fold fitted sheets.

More bins for pillow cases, bibs, baby blankets, wash rags, hand towels, and toilet paper.

Yes, the lack of towels on the towel shelf does say two things about my family.

1. Our home is seriously insufficiently stocked with bath towels considering the size of our family.  My birthday is in April if anyone would like to buy me a pretty set of bath towels.  Or two.

2. We are obviously currently behind in our laundry and most assuredly have a stack of unwashed towels waiting in the dirty clothes hamper.  *heavy sigh*

Nevertheless, the linen closet is now cleaned, organized, and labeled.  And that certainly makes me smile.
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