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Clean Your House For Christmas Challenge (Day 1)

Join Me For the Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge

Welcome to the 5-Day Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge. Otherwise known as: Crystal really needs to deep clean her house and she needs the public accountability to get it done. Ahem. 🙂

{Thank you for humoring me. If your house is in great shape, please just skip over these posts. I may be the only one who has kind of let my housework and decluttering slide a bit the past few months.}

Today, I wanted to pick an easier room. But then I realized that I should probably save the easier stuff for the end of the week. So instead, we’re starting with one of the hardest rooms… or at least the rooms that have been the most-neglected for me these past few months.

And that is… drumroll… the bedrooms!

{I’m trying to sound all cheery about it to psyche myself up for this job that I’ve been avoiding and even dreading for too long! :)}

If your bedrooms are spotless and clutter-free, pick another area of your house that you’ve been putting off and tackle that today.

Here’s my plan for this morning (feel free to follow it somewhat, if you find it helpful… or you can get a laugh out of how detailed I am!):

This Morning’s Plan

1. Read my Bible, exercise, and shower.

2. Get dressed to my shoes. (Thanks, Flylady!)

3. Eat some breakfast, read aloud to the kids, start a load of laundry.

4. Morning chores with the kids.

5. Get the kids started on their schoolwork. Kindergarten with Silas.

6. Switch the laundry.

7. Attack the bedrooms:

  • Pick up/remove clutter — either throw out or put in Goodwill pile.
  • Organize things that need to be organized.
  • Vacuum thoroughly.
  • Dust — especially fans/light fixtures.

8. Celebrate a job well done… by noon, hopefully!

So, that’s my morning plan. I’m hopeful to have it all done before lunchtime. I’ll take pictures and will post an update late afternoon to let you know how it goes.

Want To Join Me?

Are you joining me? If so, what room(s) are you planning to tackle today and what’s your morning plan? Let us know in the comments. If you are blogging about it, I’ll have a link-up that you can link your post to this afternoon. It should be up by 6 p.m. EST.

photo credit

It took me two hours, but my room/closet is CLEAN! {Clean Your House Before Christmas Challenge: Day 1 update}

Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge

Okay, so you know how I promised that I was going to get this post up by 6 p.m. EST. Um, yeah.

And how I thought that I would get my whole morning list — including thoroughly cleaning out both of our bedrooms — done by noon? Ahem. I seriously have an issue with underestimating how long things are going to take me!

That said, the first part of the morning went along fairly smoothly and I mostly followed my Morning Plan to a tee.

{Well, except I never did make it out of my yoga pants. I just exercised, threw on a sweatshirt, and put my hair up. Kind of gross, I know, but sometimes that’s just life and I’m all about keeping it real here. However, I promise that I *will* shower tonight before bed.}

Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge

I started the day with finishing up the last lesson in the She Reads Truth Thankfulness study (yes, I’m a little behind!), reading a chapter from The Best Yes, and writing in my Gratitude Journal.

Clean Your House for Christmas

Silas was done with his morning chores and had already eaten breakfast, so he got to open a gift from the Blessing Box that my mom made for him to countdown to Christmas.

Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge

Each day, we read a short paragraph about something related to Christmas or an attribute of Jesus and then he gets to open a small gift that serves as a reminder of that. Today it was about Jesus being light.

Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge

When Jesse got home from the gym, he whipped up a batch of Protein-Packed Bacon Omelet Bites for breakfast. These turned out so yummy! I’ll post the recipe later this week. {And yes, I’m spoiled that Jesse makes breakfast like this many mornings!}

We’re on a new schedule now that my book is done and I’m overseeing breakfast/morning chores and homeschooling in the mornings while Jesse works and then we swap at lunch time and he takes over homeschooling and afternoon kid activities while I work.

We got a membership to a office-sharing space a few months ago and Jesse usually goes there in the mornings and I go in the afternoons. We sometimes work from home, too, depending upon the day.

We’re learning what works and what doesn’t as we go… but overall this both of us sharing the homeschooling/housework/business responsibilities has been a true win for our family at this season of our lives.

Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge

I got in a quick run on the treadmill, and then Jesse left to go work and I cleaned up the kitchen while the kids finished breakfast.

Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge

While I finished up the kitchen and some laundry, the girls finished their morning routine and chores and then got busy on their school projects for the day.

Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge

I helped Silas with his kindergarten workbooks while the girls worked on their morning schoolwork. He is eating up school like it’s the best idea ever invented… which makes teaching him a lot of fun! 🙂

For the most part, the girls are able to work pretty independently on many of their projects. Jesse grades everything every night and goes over what they missed/are struggling with. He’s SUCH a great teacher and I love watching him patiently working with them on math problems or science experiments or helping them research something for an essay they are writing.

Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge

After Silas finished his Kindergarten lessons, I worked on the laundry and finished a few cleaning projects and then we all sat at the kitchen table and eat lunch while I read today’s devotional and a chapter from our current read aloud book.

I had planned to get started on the bedrooms after this, but it was almost noon and I needed to leave with Jesse to drop him off at the car shop to pick up his car (it’s been in the shop off and on for the past week because of some weird issues it’s been having — we are hopeful that it’s finally fixed!). Jesse got home right around noon, we all loaded in my car, and drove to the shop. I dropped them all off and drove home while Jesse took the kids to Kathrynne’s swim team practice.

I’m sill recovering from a head cold today and not feeling 100% at all, so I decided to work from home this afternoon instead of going into the shared office space to work. I had a podcast interview at 1:30 p.m. and then emails to answer, projects to work on, posts to draft, comments to respond to, and lots of other little projects to attend to.

Before I knew it, it was 5:30 p.m. and I still hadn’t gotten the bedrooms clean. So, I finished up my blog work for the day and got busy on the bedroom…

Clean Your House for Christmas

At first glance, the bedroom doesn’t look too bad.

{Yes, don’t freak out that our bed is unmade… I try to make it every day, but it doesn’t always happen. Still working on developing that habit!}

Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge

But look closer in the closet and you’ll see it needs LOTS of help.

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There’s a suitcase that I never fully unpacked from last week’s trip, a box of some odds and ends of winter hats and gloves that I only recently pulled out from storage… and has been getting all sorts of things tossed into it as it’s sat in our closet!

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And there’s an overflowing tub of CD’s and DVD’s that desperately needs to be gone through.

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I went through all the shelves, the overflowing tub, all the dresser drawers, unpacked the suitcase, organized all the shelves, and found a LOT of things to get rid of.

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After an hour and a half, it looked SO much better!

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Kaitlynn and Silas busied themselves helping me organized my jewelry. 🙂

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Then I dusted — including dusting the fan blades that had never been dusted since we moved here.

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Yikes! They were BAD! This was just from one blade!

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I cleaned the floor, made the bed, and lit a candle. And it looked worlds better.

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And it didn’t just look good, it felt so good because I had found this entire box full of stuff to donate to Goodwill!

I didn’t even make it to the Kids’ Room today, but 2 hours of deep cleaning was enough for one day. I’ll try to tackle it tomorrow!

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Leave a Comment & You Could Win This Stack of Books!

In my cleaning today, I found this stack of books that I’ve been meaning to give away on my blog for about a month now. Who wants to win them? To win, just leave a comment on this post and I’ll choose one winner tomorrow evening and will mail them to you so you’ll have them in time for Christmas. Most are brand-new or in like-new condition and would be great for gifts for people on your Christmas list!

Did you work on cleaning your house today? If you blogged about participating in this Clean Your House For Christmas Challenge, leave the direct link to your post below that is specifically about this challenge. Or, leave a comment telling us how your cleaning went today.

Yup, It Took Me Way Longer Than I Planned Today (aka Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge: Day 2)

Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge

Y’all. You can just laugh at me. Because I clearly am overly ambitious.

I guess that can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending upon how you look at it. 🙂

I had every intention of getting every thing on my Morning Plan done today — at least by early afternoon. And, once again, that didn’t happen.

The good news? My house is cleaner than it’s been in a long time tonight and we got a LOT done today.

The bad news? I didn’t exercise or get my hair washed today. And don’t even ask me how many days it’s been since I washed me hair. We won’t even go there.

I woke up t-i-r-e-d today. I’ve been getting a lot of sleep (like 8-10 hours most nights) for the past 4 nights as I’m trying to recover from being sick, but despite all that sleep, my body still seems to be wanting more.

So I went back to bed for another hour this morning… which meant that I started my day behind. But at least I got a great night’s sleep!

I let the kids sleep in a little while I finished up my morning blogging work and then I got busy on my Morning Plan.

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I’m almost finished with Addicted to Busy. It’s not the best book I’ve read on the importance of slowing down, but I’ve found some thought-provoking nuggets in it.

It was our day for oatmeal this morning. Everyone can fix their own oatmeal themselves — except for Silas needs a little help with it — so that made breakfast really easy.

I oversaw morning chores while cleaning up the kitchen and doing some laundry and then helped Silas with his Kindergarten lessons while the girls got started on their morning school.

Jesse had two morning meetings, but he popped by for a bit between meetings to grab some breakfast and check in to see how things we’re going.

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It was Kaitlynn’s day to get her hair washed. She is growing her hair out (“to her knees” she tells me — we’ll see!!) so it’s always a rather big task to wash and brush through it. If I put detangler on it, brush it, and then braid it every day, it’s not too bad. But if I skip one day, it’s not so good!

After I was finished with her hair-washing and fixing, she got back to her school and I did some more clean-up, made my bed (!), and worked on the laundry.

Clean Out Your House for Christmas Challenge

I made a snack for Silas and me to eat (I typically eat small meals/snacks every few hours and Silas is happy to join me… he’s usually always up for eating! I think it’s a boy thing?? ;)) and then sat down to read to the kids.

They made bracelets and other creations with loom bands while I read to them. After a morning where there had been some attitude struggles, it was so nice to see them all getting along nicely and having fun creating together.

After our reading time, Jesse got home and I went upstairs to the office to work while he did lunch, devotions, and more school with the kids.

I had a podcast interview, two phone calls, and then it was the usual emails, blogging work, answering comments, overseeing social media, scheduling posts, and so on.

Before I knew it, it was 6:00 p.m.! I headed downstairs to help pick up before dinner and then we sat down to eat (Jesse made a delicious new recipe tonight — Cincinnati Chili Dog Bowls. I love all this experimenting he has been doing in the kitchen!)

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After dinner, we finished putting the laundry away while Jesse cleaned up the kitchen. And then we all got started in on the Kids’ Room. After opening their closet and a few drawers, I could tell this was going to be a job that was going to take longer than my allotted 45 minutes. Oh well, such is life!

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Kathrynne got busy going through all the CDs and DVDs and organizing them while I worked on the closet and cleaned out underneath the bed.

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After about an hour and a half of work, we had this whole trash bag full of items to get rid of. Can you believe it??

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While it might not look that much different, knowing that I’ve gone through every nook and cranny and organized everything in this closet feels so good.

15800676210_0a206d3f06_kAnd the CDs and DVDs got picked up…

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And all organized! We also created a system and rules for their use and organization — to hopefully prevent them from getting so disorganized in the future.

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Leave a Comment & You Could Win This Stack of Books!

In my cleaning today, I found some more books to get rid of, most all that are ones I’ve loved and just want to pass onto someone who could be encouraged by them! Plus, I threw in a copy of both my book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, and a copy of my new Choose Gratitude Blessings Journal!

Who wants to win them? To win, just leave a comment on this post and I’ll choose one winner tomorrow evening and will mail them to you so you’ll have them in time for Christmas. Some of these books are brand-new or in like-new condition and would be great for gifts for people on your Christmas list!

Did you work on cleaning your house today? If you blogged about participating in this Clean Your House For Christmas Challenge, leave the direct link to your post below that is specifically about this challenge. Or, leave a comment telling us how your cleaning went today.

The winner of yesterday’s stack of books is Kim (threekstrio@) — I sent you an email tonight to ask for your address.

Today was SUCH a good day… and I actually FINISHED my list! {Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge: Day 3}

Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge

Today was SUCH a good day. I’m still not getting this posted early evening like I’d hoped, but that’s just life.

It was so great to wake up to a clean house, the laundry all caught up, and a day with fewer to-do’s. I really feel like we’re starting to get into a great rhythm here with our new schedule… and I’m just hoping that the momentum continues!

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Also? I finally got my hair washed and fixed, a nicer outfit on, and a little make up on — which was the first time that has happened since I got sick on Saturday. Yay!

I’m still somewhat dragging and not 100% yet, but I’m improving each day and am hopeful to be back to full capacity again soon. In the mean time, I’m trying to make sure I take care of myself, get a good night’s sleep every night, and eat and drink well.

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I love using the diffuser!

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Today, we diffused the Harmony essential oil blend. I pick different ones each day — mostly depending upon what mood I’m in or what mood I want to help us all be in! 🙂

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After I read my Bible, I came downstairs and we ate a quick breakfast and then started cleaning up the kitchen while the kids did their morning chores. Since we’d gone to bed with a really clean house, this didn’t take long at all.

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And I even had time to make my bed… the second day in a row!!

I got the kids started on their morning school projects, switched the laundry, and finished a few more cleaning projects. Then, I exercised and helped Silas with his Kindergarten work.

After that, we all met in the living room and I read aloud while the kids worked on different things — Kathrynne on LEGOS, Kaitlynn on drawing/coloring, and Silas on practicing writing his letters.

A little after noon, Jesse got home and he made lunch. I ate quickly and then headed upstairs to finally get a shower.

They all left for Kathrynne’s swimming practice and I blow dried my hair and then got busy on my afternoon blogging work. Today, I had some posts to write, some emails to answer, a meeting with my executive team (we meet every Wednesday afternoon via Zoom), and then more emails and posts to draft, comments to answer, and some odds and ends of projects.

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I headed down to the kitchen around 5:00 p.m. to make apple pie.

Jesse left (again) to take Kaitlynn to her ice skating practice.

Kathrynne and Silas finished up folding and putting away the laundry and then played in the backyard for awhile with the neighbor children.

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Once the pie was in the oven, I called the kids back in and they got to watch a movie because their chores and school were done for the day.

I had planned to get a little more blogging work done, but I kinda got distracted online and ended up doing basically nothing for 45 minutes. Well, I mean, I visited lots of sites and found out some interesting information, but had little to show for that time. 🙂

So I decided I’d be better off getting up from the computer and starting in on the kitchen cleaning…

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I cleaned up from my apple-pie baking and then cleaned out the refrigerator.

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When I was finished, Jesse and Kaitlynn got home. They’d picked up Chili’s for dinner and we sat down to eat.

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Then, it was back to the kitchen cleaning again!

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The Lazy Susan really needed to be wiped out and it felt so good to take everything out, wipe it out, wipe the appliances off, and put them back again.

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I also tackled the junk drawer in the kitchen.

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Silas helped me organize the batteries in the junk drawer.

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Much better!

I also cleaned out the pantry and a few more shelves and cupboards… and ended up with a box full of things to get rid of/trash. Yay for de-cluttering!

When it was all said and done, it was only 8:30 p.m. and I’d finished everything on My Morning Plan. Woot!

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Leave a Comment & You Could Win This Stack of Books!

In my cleaning today, I found some more books and cookbooks to get rid of, most all that are ones I’ve loved and just want to pass onto someone who could be encouraged by them! Plus, I threw in a copy of both my book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, and a copy of my new Choose Gratitude Blessings Journal and a box of tea that I love!

Who wants to win them? To win, just leave a comment on this post and I’ll choose one winner tomorrow evening and will mail them to you so you’ll have them in time for Christmas. Some of these books are great condition and might even work as gifts for people on your Christmas list!

Did you work on cleaning your house today? If you blogged about participating in this Clean Your House For Christmas Challenge, leave the direct link to your post below that is specifically about this challenge. Or, leave a comment telling us how your cleaning went today.

The winner of yesterday’s stack of books is Michelle (kmosmond@) — I sent you an email tonight to ask for your address.

Clean Your House for Christmas: Day 4

Join Me For the Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge

Welcome to the 5-Day Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge. Otherwise known as: Crystal really needs to deep clean her house and she needs the public accountability to get it done. Ahem. 🙂

{Thank you for humoring me. If your house is in great shape, please just skip over these posts. I may be the only one who has kind of let my housework and decluttering slide a bit the past few months.}

I got up a little late this morning as I stayed up late last night finishing up some business projects that I really needed to get done but just hadn’t had the energy for because I was sick. It felt so good to finally check those off my list!

I’m a little late in getting around this morning, but because my house is clean and the laundry is mostly done already, I’m still hopeful that it’s going to be a good day!

Today, we’re cleaning the bathrooms. I’m optimistic that this will be an easier job since there aren’t as many nooks, crannies, and cupboards for stuff to be hiding.

Here’s my plan for this morning (feel free to follow it somewhat, if you find it helpful… or you can get a laugh out of how detailed I am!):

This Morning’s Plan

1. Read my Bible, eat breakfast, and start laundry.

2. Blogging work/emails.

3. Exercise, shower, get dressed to my shoes. (Thanks, Flylady!)

4. Morning chores with the kids.

5. Get the kids started on their schoolwork. Kindergarten with Silas.

6. Switch the laundry.

7. Attack the bathrooms:

  • Surface clean.
  • Go through cupboards, drawers, and closet.

8. Read aloud with the kids.

9. Celebrate a productive morning, er day… because it probably won’t all get done by noon!

So, that’s my morning plan. I’m hopeful to have it all done before dinner time today. I’ll take pictures and will post an update later today to let you know how it goes.

Want To Join Me?

Are you joining me? If so, what room(s) are you planning to tackle today and what’s your morning plan? Let us know in the comments. If you are blogging about it, I’ll have a link-up that you can link your post to in my post later today.

photo credit

I think I win the Messiest Bathroom Drawer of the Year award (Clean Your House for Christmas: Day 4)

Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge

I got up later than I’d planned this morning and felt like I was sort of chasing my tail all day long. However, because of the good routine we’re getting into and because of the hard work we’ve done to deep clean the house this week, the whole day didn’t feel derailed and I ended up getting most of the things done that I’d hoped to accomplish.

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I’ve been doing a really good job of doing one load of laundry from start to finish every day this week. I’m amazed at how much this is helping our days go smoother — and how happy it makes me to know that all the laundry is done when I go to bed.

One thing that has made this to actually happen is that the kids have been folding and putting away the load of laundry every afternoon. So all I’ve had to do was start and switch the load — and then remind them to fold and put it away in the afternoon.

I may have solved my years-long battle of the laundry pile! And that is HUGE!

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Kaitlynn made me breakfast this morning. She loves to serve me and is always looking for little ways to do so. Today, she presented me with a bowl of oatmeal that had chopped bananas on it. Yum!

Yesterday, she brought me a fresh cup of coffee almost first thing in the morning. It was totally her idea and it blessed me so much.

Moms of littles, I just want to encourage you: your hard work will pay off. Keep loving, teaching, and nurturing those babies of yours and someday soon, they’ll be making you breakfast, helping with laundry, and encouraging you throughout the day.

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Silas practiced writing out numbers today, as well as working on learning basic clock-reading skills. He also did some Do-a-Dot letter printables.

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While I was helping Silas with Kindergarten, Jesse made dinner and popped it in the crock pot. Yes, folks, I am so very blessed. Truly, I am blown away by this man that I married. And I fall more in love with him every day.

Life isn’t always all roses and rainbows and we have our struggles and arguments, but for the most part, we are just loving this lifestyle of us both working together and sharing homeschooling responsibilities, and all working together to keep our home running. I’m beyond grateful for this blog (and you all who read here) and how you help make this possible for our family.

All those years of hard work, sacrifices, and living on little have borne much more fruit than we could have dreamed. We have no idea whether this is just a season or a forever thing, but we’re seeking to embrace the here and now and loving where we’re at and how it allows us to get to spend so much time together.

After Jesse made dinner and we’d finished breakfast and morning chores, he left for a meeting and to run some errands. The rest of our morning was spent cleaning, doing morning chores, homeschooling, and reading aloud together.

When Jesse got home, I finished reading the last two chapters of our current read aloud book while he made lunch — it was bacon and eggs today. Yum!

And then he took over homeschooling and I headed out to finally run on the treadmill, take a shower, and do some blogging and business work.

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Later in the afternoon, the kids came outside to help me shoot the pictures for my Apple Pie post. They LOVE to help me set up and take photos for my blog posts.

Kathrynne, especially, has really gotten into giving me ideas and suggestions for how to set things up and angles to take pictures from. When I was finished with taking pictures, she took the camera and snapped some more for me.

When I was finished with the Apple Pie photos, I quickly put on a little make up and headed out the door for a meeting in town with a few of my team members. We had our end-of-year meetings last week and are in the process of making some changes for 2015, so a few of us had to meet to put things in place to move forward with one of the action items.

I so LOVE the team of people I get to work with. Not only are each of them amazing and skilled, but more importantly, they are my friends. We share so much more than business stuff with each other and that’s what makes working together so much fun.

While I was at my manager’s office, I also got to pop in and see all of the boxes and boxes of orders being packaged up and shipped out. There have been a team of people working hard to get all orders out in a timely manner for Christmas. This is our first year to offer products, so it’s been a learning experience and we so appreciate your patience and input as we’re learning the ropes and growing in this way.

By the way, can you believe that we’re now completely SOLD OUT of all the Gratitude Journals? We have enough to send out all the orders that came in through this afternoon, but we had to pull it from our site this evening as we are almost completely out of stock and we just discovered that our publisher doesn’t have any more in stock, either!

The publisher is getting another big order printed and shipped in right now, but that’s going to take at least 6 weeks or so. In the mean time, getting your hands on a Gratitude Journal is going to be bit hard to do. We think a few Christian stores may still have some in stock, as well as possibly a few places online.

Basically, you all BLEW US AWAY with your excitement and orders. And we ended up selling 10 TIMES MORE than I expected we’d be able to sell by Christmas. I don’t know what to say other than thank you for believing in this idea of mine and being excited about it! I’m truly speechless and humbly grateful. You all mean the world to me!

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I finally got around to cleaning the bathrooms tonight. Well, let me take that back: I started to clean the bathrooms and then realized that there was no way I could get to every single part of the bathrooms I wanted to and still go to bed by 11:30 p.m. tonight.

So instead, I decided to just focus most of my efforts on the bathroom drawers in the Master Bathroom drawers. Because clearly, these needed some serious help.

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Yikes! I cannot believe I’m posting these publicly.

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And yet another, really awful drawer.

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I pulled everything out — and it was a little overwhelming!

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I used a rag to wipe down the insides and then tossed some things, put some items in the shelves in the bathroom cupboard, and re-organized the rest.

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I think I need to find some drawer organizers for all the little things. Still thinking on what would be best there — I welcome suggestions of drawer organizers or how you keep your bathroom drawers from looking like a Stuff Bomb exploded inside of them!

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Leave a Comment & You Could Win This Stack of Books!

In my cleaning today, I found some more books that I’d love to pass on to a good home, most all that are ones I’ve loved and just want to share with someone who could be encouraged by them! Plus, I threw in a copy of both my audiobook, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, and a copy of my new Choose Gratitude Blessings Journal that’s now out of stock in our store (I have a few copies left!), and a copy of my first book, The Money Saving Mom’s Budget.

Who wants to win them? To win, just leave a comment on this post and I’ll choose one winner tomorrow evening and will mail them to you so you’ll have them in time for Christmas. Some of these books are great condition and might even work as gifts for people on your Christmas list!

Did you work on cleaning your house today? If you blogged about participating in this Clean Your House For Christmas Challenge, leave the direct link to your post below that is specifically about this challenge. Or, leave a comment telling us how your cleaning went today.
The winner of yesterday’s stack of books is Sara (sara.perrera@) — I sent you an email tonight to ask for your address.