Category Archives: Monumental Moments

Celebrating great moments in our lives!

How To Finally Escape the Clutter Trap!

Ha! If that title doesn’t stir some interest, you are either on top of all the little things in your life, or you are in denial of your problems!! LOL

Okay, seriously:

I have been in denial for years about the need to deal with all.the.stuff in my home…the piles on my desk, the craft supplies, the toys, the books, the movies, the clothes: you name it, I have too much. Most people probably don’t see it that way since I keep things mostly tidy and put away.

A place for everything, and every thing in its place” has been my pride for years.

 I know, though, and I am sick of storing it, cleaning it, saving it, and moving it around.

I have been pondering how to return to a more simple life since Christmas – part of my intentional goals for 2014 – and have been receiving little nudges of inspiration for several months – a talk at a homeschool conference talking about the need for a habit of simplicity, a General Conference talk about the need to draw our line of when enough is enough in a talk titled Where Your Treasure Is, how much happier the kids are when there is less stuff to deal with, how much easier my day goes when I try to do less cramming of stuff and enjoy the moments more, and several friends who have been inspiring me to report on my changes as I attempt to simplify our lives. Even on the SCM forum there are entire threads discussing the desires of many moms for simplicity in their homes, their schools, their lives.

It was in one such thread that How to Finally Escape the Clutter Trap by Robin Konie was first suggested and recommended. It was available as an immediate download PDF file and it was on sale, so I bought it. I read most of it the first hour it was on my computer and it literally was changing the way I viewed my stuff in my head and my heart. That was about a month ago, and since then I printed it out and have read it several times and learn something every time. It continues to motivate me to make real changes and begin to live the way I want.

The Clutter Trap cover

The book deals with the myths of why we save (or hoard) stuff. There are several types of personalities that save stuff, and she deals with the emotional reasons behind the motivations by laying out the myths and facts side by side without condemnation for each personality. Then she offers practical ideas to help you learn how to deal with the emotions about *stuff*.  This is not your usual how to organize your bath cabinets or your closet.

Now – I must say that I have heard a lot of this verbally in all its various forms over the years. Seeing it all spelled out in easy to see, read, and comprehend is probably what made it all start to stick and make real sense. In fact, I have over 40 boxes of GOOD things that we are not using and don’t need or want waiting for my yard sale next week. (My wonderful sister is driving 9 hours to help me with this – she knows that I hate to do it, and she is very good at it!) Once the sale is over, the stuff left over will be donated around town to various places. I have hauled out multiple bags of trash…and I am learning not to guilt myself into keeping things that aren’t bringing me a sense of happiness. (If nothing else, it was worth the cost just for that! 😉 )

Since I bought the PDF, the author has released the book as an ebook available from Amazon – way cheaper than the original PDF. Yippie! You may get your copy of The Clutter Trap for only $2.99. Click here for more information from Amazon.

Do you struggle with too much stuff, too??

I did not receive any form of compensation for my opinion. I am just sharing my experience!

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The Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox

This book really helped me personalize my view of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and it’s place in my DAILY life. Brother Brad Wilcox has served in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in many callings, including mission president. Through his callings, as he dealt with people and their need for repentance and forgiveness, he realized that they needed to learn to use the Atonement in a personal, daily way. As he says, “Christ doesn’t just make up the difference. He makes all the difference.”

Continuous Atonement cover

(photo from Amazon)

I’ll never do it again,” we say and then we do it. Most of us realize that perfection is a long term process, but when we find ourselves making some of the same mistakes over and over again, it’s easy to lose hope and get discouraged. However, Brother Wilcox points out that the Lord’s Atonement will be available as long as the perfecting process takes – even if we mess it up again week after week, he helps us start over. This book presents truths about the Atonement in fresh, simple ways that made me realize that I’ve never thought of it like that before.  

Often I think that we feel the Savior is on the top rung of a ladder and we are on the bottom – and that we don’t qualify for His help until we have climbed up by Him on our own. Brother Wilcox painted such a picture of the Savior with His hand reaching for mine – right where I am – lifting me and encouraging me to try again that I can see His hand in my mind’s eye now when I mess up. It has been such an uplifting, encouraging, and hope-filled blessing to view the Atonement so much more personally on a day-to-day basis. As I work at my imperfections, even if at first I don’t succeed – even if at second or third or fourth I don’t succeed, I don’t need to find excuses. I just need to find the Savior and the blessings of His continuous Atonement.  The Savior’s  love is simply there – and so is He, helping me up and encouraging me to keep moving forward – no matter where I am on those ladder rungs.

The Continuous Atonement is available for purchase here.

I don’t get anything from this review – I just liked the book.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Snow Pine Tree

Everybody in the house was delighted when we actually got some real snow!  (Except Mr. Bug, who drives and delivers packages to support our family. At Christmas time, snow is stressful for him because he can’t deliver to some people’s homes in bad weather and he worries that people won’t have their Christmas!)

Snow Oak Trees

It is exciting to go outside into a quiet, white world…and then start playing!  Sledding, snowball fights, snowmen…the fun begins.

Snow Deck

We enjoyed two weeks of snow – now we are getting rain just in time for Christmas! 😉

Primary Program Day!

This year just JuneBug and BittyBug were in the Primary Program presented to the families during our Sacrament Meeting. It was lovely. Here are the girls before the program:

2013 Primary Program

 

This years theme was I Am a Child of God and the children shared what they had learned all year. It was especially fun for BittyBug because I Am a Child of God is her very favorite song!

Education and Relaxation: The Best of Both Worlds

As I mentioned in my post here, I decided to try something new one night a week for our family time. We enjoyed listening to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe together so much that I thought we might enjoy it as an on-going routine.  After discussing it with Mr. Bug, we decided to begin a puzzle and audio book night for about an hour every Monday evening.  (We have our spiritual Family Home Evening on Sundays.)  So I gathered the whole Narnia series on CD and we broke open some puzzles after dinner.  Everyone had some according to their abilities (and desires, lol):

Puzzle Night 1The older girls started a big puzzle with Mr. Bug and I:

First PuzzleSo far, we’ve completed several puzzles and listened to 5 Narnia books and Winnie the Pooh.

Here are some of the finished puzzles:

Puzzle Night 2

The Goldfinches and Thistles

Puzzle Night - Butterfly

The Animated Butterfly (I refuse to do that again!)

Pencil Puzzle

The Pencils

Flowers and Gazebo Puzzle

Flowers and Gazebo  (whew!)

This is working for us because it is intentionally creating quality family time, teaching teamwork, cooperation, persistence, patience, and the satisfaction of a job well done. PLUS  getting my husband/keeping my children interested in classical books – discussions abound, jokes are made, and relationships are strengthened.

Bonus for me: It ends up with us having two read-aloud books going since we read others for “school.” 😉

Another thing we do is substitute holiday books during the various holidays. An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott for Thanksgiving and The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by Amelia C. Houghton are wonderful examples.

I get my audio books from librivox.org or audible.com.

I am linking up to In My Homeschool: Sharing What Works and  Creative Learning on Friday. Come check them out!

Sternberg Museum of Natural History

Another place we knew we had to visit is the Sternberg Museum in Hays, Kansas. It is a neat museum that we visit every time we drive I-70 across Kansas. Usually we find a few things that are new to us. This time it was the new digging pit upstairs and the new Rattlesnake collection on display. That was really cool. 😉 It has a wonderful educational hands-on area for the kids which makes it a great place to break-up the monotony of driving for hours in a car.

The building is a rounded dome at the top where they have a wonderful robotic dinosaur display that moves, makes noise and generally makes a fun little walk. Being the great parent that I am, I did not explain that to my little ones…I wanted to see what they thought about it all.

Here is the T-Rex that turns his head and growls when you walk by:

Sternburg Museum Robotic T-Rex

Here is JuneBug and BittyBug’s reaction:

Sternburg Museum Running from the T-Rex

Yes, they are running. It was not photographer error in this photo.

Anyway, Mr. Sternberg (the man the museum is named after) discovered (in Kansas!) a super neat fossil of a fish with another fish in its stomach. A new thing that they added since we had been here last was a new digging pit where the kids could discover it all over again for themselves.

Here are the girls getting involved in while we were there:

Sternburg Museum Digging Fossils

Almost done:

Sternburg Museum Almost Done Digging the FossilAfter all that hard work, we went to the kids explore area – which is where BittyBug disappeared to while the older kids toiled on discovering the fossil. Here is the door greeter:

Sternburg Museum Spider

How would you like that to greet you at your front door everyday?? 

After this, we belted in and were serious about getting back home. We managed to listen to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (and a couple other audio books) before we got home. We enjoyed it so much that it started a new family tradition, which I will share in another post!

Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument 1

After Vernal, our next stop was the Dinosaur National Monument.

Dinosaur National Monument Bus RideWe rode the bus to the actual monument. It is a short drive and we took tons of pictures of the beautiful view.

Dinosaur National Monument Touching the Fossils

Once inside the monument, we explored the dinosaur bone fossils and enjoyed the exhibits.

JitterBug loved taking pictures the whole vacation. HorseyGirl was okay about the other places we stopped, but she took pictures of every.single.thing she could get her camera to focus on at both the Vernal museum and the monument. I am sure that we literally have hundreds of pictures on her camera disc. 🙂