Thursday, April 30

Garage Sales!

Garage sales are alot of work! If you are going to attempt one this spring, here are a few tips. The key is to attract ALOT of buyers. If you can get people to stop and browse, you probably will get a sale.

I think setting up a garage sale is alot like 'staging' a home to sell and that requires preparation:

1. Use bright helium balloons to attract people who may just drive by

2. Cut your grass and pay attention to your yard. You want the buyers to think all the treasures you are selling have been cared for!

3. Have things in working condition...batteries for toys and an electrical extension available so buyers can try out small appliances, etc.

4. Signs are so important. The address isn't important, just big, bright signs with arrows leading drivers straight to your driveway.

5. Display your items out on tables and hang clothes up if possible. 'Presentation', even at garage sales can make all the difference in making a sale!

6. Make arrangements with a company like ARC or another charity to pick up all left-overs after the sale. The purpose of the sale is to clean out...not save and store for another year!

Betsy has a quote I like, “The more you own the more it owns you.”

If you own too much, try a garage sale this spring!

Wednesday, April 29

Betsy's Popular Demand!

I decided you would rather hear Betsy's inspiring words on Spring Cleaning than mine, so this is what she had to say:

"This is definitely the time of year when everyone starts thinking about spring cleaning. I don’t know if it is being cooped up inside all winter or just the need for a change that comes with the onset of Spring. If you are anything like I am when the weather gets nice out, you get that itch to clear out some of the stuff that has been piling up over the winter months. I know not everyone is born with the cleaning gene like I've got, but I do believe everyone has the desire, on some level, to be more organized. I would like to share with you today a few tips on how I get more organized with the coming of Spring.

I like to do a real once over with my house to clear out some of the things we no longer use or need. This involves the whole family. I struggled with this early on with my children, who take after me, and have a hard time parting with anything.

One thing we have decided to do in our home is have a garage sale once a year. Either in the spring or fall. I know this may seem overwhelming in one sense, but in another sense it is my way of teaching my children how to part with the toys they no longer play with. They are allowed to choose the toys, set the price and keep the proceeds of their sales. It is amazing to watch them choose

The thing I have struggled with when trying to get rid of things is I never have had a place to put them and a system to help me get rid of them. They pile up in bags in a closet or in piles in the garage. This year I have decided to purchase those large Rubbermaid containers and place them in the garage. I have not totally decided how to label them but it will be very simple, clothes, household, toys etc. When we come across something we want to get rid of we place it in the designated tub. Then when it comes time to get ready for the garage sale everything will be in one place, easy to label and get ready.

If you are not up to the garage sale, just decide that once a month you are going to run a tub to Good will and empty them out. Depending on how much you get rid of you could go more than once a month or fewer times. Just schedule a time so the tubs don’t get over grown.

The other part I struggle with is getting my girls to part with anything. I have placed a bag in each of their rooms and have told them that whatever they choose to get rid of goes in the bag. They are then allowed to set the price and keep the proceeds of the sales at the garage sale. It is amazing to watch them choose things I thought they would never get rid of.

I like how this system has allowed us to really think about things we no longer need and the garage sale gives a deadline to reach for. I hope this has inspired a few of you to let go of some of those “things” in your life that have needed to go for a while. Happy Cleaning!

Tuesday, April 28

Spring cleaning...what's your plan?

It's spring here in Minnesota. How about where you live?

It's still cool, but there is a hint of summer in our weather....

I am not one for organizing or cleaning. I have friends who love to do both, but I prefer to bake, read a book or go for a walk!

This time of year though it does one good to dig in and start organizing and decluttering.

Here's my plan of attack:

I'm making a list of house projects that need a little - or a lot! - of attention this spring: organize hall closet, clean out porch, clean and organize our attic (aka dumping ground all winter long), organize my pantry.

Tonight my husband and I are attacking our attic. A friend is coming over next month to help with some other organizing projects (she is giving me her TIME as a birthday gift....isn't that a wonderful present?).

And I bought some bins and I have my label maker ready to go. Out with the winter clothes, in with the, maternity clothes!

I love my label maker and find such satisfaction in labeling things. Whether it's bins of my clothing, Samuel's clothing and the many different sizes he has, items in the hall closet or kitchen containers, the label maker is one of my favorite tools!

What about you? Are you excited to start the spring cleaning in your home? What's your plan of attack? Who is going to help you? Or who are you going to help? What's your favorite tool to use around the home?

Please share any tips, thoughts or inspiration to motivate us all. And happy cleaning!

Friday, April 24

Home Improvement...from Mother Theresa

Take a moment this weekend and watch this video on You Tube: Perseverance Pt 1

Listen to the singer's introduction and enjoy the words of her song.

I don't need to say anymore, except you will love it!

Wednesday, April 22

Birthday Thoughts

Today's my birthday!

What a perfect time to write about perseverance! As I sit and think about my life, I would have to admit that I am very good at STARTING a task, but not so good when it comes to FINISHING a project.

So what does that mean as far as finishing each season of life well? Perseverance is a valuable but often overlooked quality in a woman, I think. Perseverance is what is needed to really make each year of your life count for something.

I have found two 'checkpoints' in my life that help me maintain perseverance.

The first is vision. As long as I can hold on to a vision that inspires me to keep going for my goal, I can persevere through the tough times. Without vision, it is easy for me to leave a task or a discipline behind.

The second 'checkpoint'is vitality. Perseverance requires discipline. Discipline brings vitality into my life because it means I am choosing my path. I need to be disciplined in my spiritual life, my physical habits, my emotional health and my mental state in order to experience vitality.

I have found if I grow weary in what I really want to do, I remind myself of the big picture-the vision-I have and that usually will encourage me to stay the course.

If the vision doesn't inspire me, it's usually because one of my disciplines are off-kilter. My spiritual life is dry. My physical body is in need of attention (more sleep, more exercise, better food, etc). My emotional needs are raw or my mental state needs some stimulation.

Birthdays are a great time to get a vision for the future. It's a great time make sure that all areas of my life-spiritual, emotional, physical and mental-are full of vitality.

The Bible says that perseverance produces character. That's what makes birthdays a perfect time to talk about perseverance. What better gift can you give yourself and your loved ones.

Tuesday, April 21

Go change your world

The last phrase of Barb's posting has got me thinking...

Go change your world.

It made me think of a Michael W. Smith song from my younger days.

It made me think of myself and if I believe I can still change the world?

It also made me think of my role as a mother. I have a little guy (and soon another little one) that I have the privilege of molding and encouraging.

Do I have the attitude that I can change the world by raising them?

Do I believe that they can change the world?

Will my words and my actions as I talk to them, mold them, train them, and teach them communicate that I believe they can change the world?

Hmmm...these are good things to ponder as a mom.

Monday, April 20


We are wrapping up another year of Homemakers with Hope! One month to go. This past month we talked about perseverance.

I shared the familiar story of "The Daffodil Principle". The story tells about a field of daffodils that covered a mountain side. In the midst of all the flowers, there was a small A-frame house with a sign next to it. People would come from all over to observe these blooming beauties and they would read this sign:

"Answers to your Questions I know you are asking":
50,000 bulbs
one at a time
by one woman
2 hands
2 feet
and a very little brain
It all began in 1958

This unknown woman changed the world in which she lived.

One little woman...with perseverance. A good story for today...go change your world.

Thursday, April 16

Chocolate, condoms, netflicks

No those are not the ingredients for a romantic night at home :)

Chocolate, condoms, netflicks, romance novels, McDonalds and more...are among the industries that are doing well during the current recession.

Check out this article to read about the top 10: 10 Winners in the Recession

You'll see what people are turning to when times are tough. Some out of necessity, some out of desperation.

There are obvious ones like career building web sites and resume editing.

Some people are making wise cuts in spending: Netflicks is ultimately cheaper than taking the family to the movies and at-home coffee is cheaper than Caribou or Starbucks.

But what about chocolate? Romance Novels? McDonalds?

What does that say about what/who we turn to when times are tough? Do we indulge in sweets? Do we try to escape by reading a love story? Do we fill up on salt and fat?

At times, all those sound good to me. But am I partaking in activities or developing habits that I'm not proud of? Good things to ponder.

I just wanted to share this article and challenge each one of us as wise women to be aware and intentional about the daily choices we are making.....

Tuesday, April 14

Another Spring Recipe...YUM!

Here's another fun recipe to welcome in the warmer weather...

Frozen Yogurt Pie

Make granola pie crust:
1 1/2 cups granola (I used 'Bunches, Just Bunches' tasted great...less fat than granola)
1/4 cup butter (I used Smart Balance...healthier), melted
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix together, put in pie pan and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees

Let cool

Fill the crust with Kemps strawberry frozen yogurt (or ice cream). Top it with a chocolate drizzle. Add a dollup of whip cream and fresh strawberries just before serving.

So easy and refreshing.

Monday, April 13

An Easter Recipe

I hosted an Easter brunch at my house yesterday. One of the dishes I served is the same one that Barb serves every year on Christmas.

It is so easy, so simple and so delicious. It takes just a couple minutes to prepare the night before and then you just pop it in the oven in the morning.

Caramel Breakfast Ring
18 Rhodes frozen dinner rolls (and not any more!!)
1 small box cook and serve Butterscotch pudding (not instant)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

Optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts (place in bundt pan first if use)

Put 18 rolls in greased bundt pan. Sprinkle with butterscotch pudding. Bring butter and brown sugar to a boil. Stir until mixed thoroughly. Pour over frozen dough rolls. Cover overnight with a towel and in the morning bake in oven for 1/2 hour at 325 or 350. Be sure to put a cookie sheet under the bundt pan to catch the caramel overflow :)
Turn upside on a platter after several minutes. Serve warm.

Enjoy this delicious recipe with friends or family for the next holiday, breakfast or brunch you attend. Everyone is sure to love it!

Saturday, April 11

Happy Easter!

Have a blessed and wonderful Easter weekend!

Barb & Stacy

Thursday, April 9

Maundy Thursday, What's That?

Today is Maundy Thursday. Do you know what that means?

Christians commemorate the Last Supper—a Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples on the Thursday before He was crucified. Before He broke bread with His disciples, He washed their feet.

So much was done that evening that speaks volumes to us today but often gets lost in 'tradition'.

We celebrate Christ's resurrection and the hope of eternal life, but do we remember what Jesus told the disciples just hours before His arrest?

After washing their feet, He told the disciples, "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you."

A few minutes later He said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Easter is a time I thank God for my salvation. It is a time when everyone should hear the true meaning of Easter. Christ said the greatest command is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."

Easter is also a time to DO what Christ said before His life was complete here on earth. It is the time to 'love one another'...the second commandment.

That's why Easter prompts me to think about my friends who are walking along side me to encourage me in my faith. I thank God for them and I let those friends know that they are invaluable in helping me keep both of Christ's commands.

Wednesday, April 8

A Hallmark Easter?

This week I heard something that made me very sad. A friend told me about a gal she knows who is in her early 20s and had never heard the true meaning of Easter until last year.

During her younger years, this gal's family got together to celebrate Easter. They decorated eggs, made Easter baskets with candy, had a big family meal, etc. But they did not go to church. More importantly, no one ever explained to her that the reason we acknowledge and celebrate Easter is because of a man named Jesus.

This gal thought Easter was simply about an Easter bunny, eggs and candy. She knew only the Hallmark version of Easter.

Speaking of eggs...did you know the reason that eggs and bunnies are associated with Easter is because originally eggs were seen as a sign of fertility and bunnies were known for reproducing rapidly? Eggs come from chickens, not bunnies - but on this holiday it's the Easter bunny that delivers the eggs.

Hearing about the gal who had never heard about more than eggs and bunnies on Easter, made me ponder who in my life only knows the Hallmark Easter? Who has never heard that the reason we celebrate Easter is because it represents the miracle of new life...

These last few days before Easter, I'm going to take time to think about those I love and care about. I'm going to think about those I work with. Those I live near. Those I interact with.

I'm going to see if I can't help just one person understand the difference between a Hallmark Easter and an Easter that celebrates the story of Jesus and his impact on our lives.

Monday, April 6


One week til Easter...a time for friends and family. It's a good time to consider my friends and all they mean to me.

Quite awhile ago I heard Susan Andringa talking about her book, Esteemed Journey. She asked a question that is perfect for this time of year. She was talking about friends and asked who was important in my life. She asked a powerful question when it came to choosing friends;

"Who is in your life that would be willing to die for you?"

Does that grab your attention? It did mine.

She went on to say that we have 'balcony' people in our lives and 'basement' people in our lives. It is important to identify who is who?

'Balcony friends' are friends who cheer you on. They are rooting for you and celebrate your successes.

'Basement people' are people in your life that just may be there, but not necessarily people you choose to speak into your life. They have a tendency to grab your ankles and pull you down.

I like that visual and I listed 5 friends that I consider 'balcony people'. These are friends I want to listen to.

If I ask the question, "Who is willing to die for me?" Jesus Christ has already proven His love for me. He died for ME. He needs to be #1 on my list of balcony people.

Interesting exercise just before Easter, huh?

Who do you listen to the most?

Who do you try to please?

Who would you be willing to die for?

Easter and friends...give it some thought this week.

Thursday, April 2

The Easter Egg Hunt!

Our family hosted a neighborhood Easter Egg hunt for quite a few years. Kids of all ages showed up at our doorstep early morning, usually wearing winter jackets and mittens. (Easter never was a guarantee for warm weather). I divided the kids up into pairs, one older child with a younger child. Anyone who could walk could participate! Each pair was given a picture of a farm animal and that was their team name. When every team was in place, we walked to the park that was behind our home. Very early that morning, my husband and I hid colorful, plastic eggs all over the park. Each egg had a picture of a farm animal on it and was filled with goodies.
The 'hunt' started when all the young participants received a basket. When an egg was found, the older child of each team was not allowed to touch or pick up any egg. The older child could just stand over the egg that had their farm animal picture on it and make the sound of that animal. That was a signal for the younger child to come over and pick up the egg and put it in their basket.

What a sight that was:
Older children "mooing", "barking", "meowing", "baaing", "clucking", etc all over the park. Parents lined the park, taking pictures and cheering the teams on.

The 'hunt' was over before we knew it and everyone was invited to have hot chocolate, coffee and donuts to make the morning enjoyable for everyone. The treasures were sent home with each child along with the Easter story.

What started as a fun neighborhood tradition, ended up making an impact with each family.

This Easter, share the Good News...He is risen! Indeed! Tell the story with friends and neighbors this Easter in whatever way that fits your family.

Wednesday, April 1

Blessing Baskets

Everywhere you turn these days you see Easter baskets....wicker, plastic, name it and it seems to be available. They are loaded with toys, candies and other goodies.

I love gift-giving so a few years ago I made Blessing Baskets instead of Easter Baskets. I gave them to family and a few friends so they would know what a blessing they are to me.

I included some candy, a note to whoever the recipient was, and the following prayer along with jelly beans:

The Jelly Bean Prayer

Red is for the blood He gave,
Green is for the grass He made,
Yellow is for the sun so bright,
Orange is for the edge of night.
Black is for the sins that were made
White is for the grace He gave,
Purple is for the hour of sorrow,
Pink is for the new tomorrow.

A bag full of jelly beans,
Colorful and sweet,
It's a Prayer,

It's a Promise,
It's an Easter Treat!

This was just a small token to let people know that I was grateful for the blessing of their presence in my life. And it put a little bit different spin on the typical Easter basket.

Do you have ideas of ways to bless others this Easter? If so, please share! We'd love to hear everyone's creative and inspirational ideas for both kids and adults!