{SQT} Moving: the last two weeks in seven quick takes

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~1~

So obviously I can’t move and blog…or move and sleep, or move and eat…or move and anything, really…at the same time. After subsisting on potato chips and Drumsticks for a couple of weeks (I don’t think this post gets a “fitness” tag), we loaded our truck on Saturday (with most of our friends out of town. It was awesome timing), and cleaned on Monday.

It takes so little time, sweat, and tears, to write that.

~2~

But, it’s over now, and we get a little hiatus at Mark’s folks’ house for a month or so while we work on buying a house. We’re first time homebuyers, hopefully, and it’s all a little scary, so prayers would be lovely. We originally intended to rent, but it appears that, as a family of 10 with 7 pets, we have maybe outgrown renting. No rentals to be found that we can fit into without sending the landlord into hysterics. It’s been a longtime dream of mine to buy a house, and life has just not cooperated – till, possibly, now. We’ve got one under contract, and wow. It is just as exciting and nerve wracking as everyone always says it is.

~3~

13442315_10209861757084438_4948868528322850170_nIn other moving related news, my daughter Becca, who is an Irish dancer, did great in her two recent competitions. She is really bummed to have to leave her school, teacher, and friends behind. It’s hard to watch her be sad about that. The closest school to our new town is a good 40 minutes away, and we are still trying to figure out what to do.13522026_10210019086057564_7519230255893922185_n

~4~

Miss Emily, 3, got a new haircut yesterday. The fact that I had time for this reflects that moving out is over, and I officially have a few minutes to breathe, here and there. She now has the shortest hair any of my girls have ever had. It’s adorable. And brushable. We had so many battles over brushing her hair, that when she said, “Mama! Please cut it off,” I said, “okay, baby.” And we did.

~5~

Summer prep for a new home school year is always a big deal – but toss an interstate move and a major church shift into the mix, and it’s big. Really big. Curriculum changes, state law changes, moving during the time when I need to be prepping, not to mention no place to have my curriculum mailed to. Hopefully, two months from now, I will have an amazing story of how I brilliantly pulled it all together (or how it all fell into my lap in spite of me. Or how it all went wrong and we managed anyway, more likely). For now, I’m reading Catholic Home Schooling. I started 3 months ago. Don’t rush me.

~6~

Paint colors! Is having a house under contract too soon to pick out paint colors?

Don’t answer that.

Answer this instead:

Mystic Sea or Grand Hotel Mackinac Blue for a kitchen with orangey-brown tile on the counters and a brick fireplace?

And, any recommendations for an interesting-but-relaxing master bedroom color?

~7~

This was the little girls when we got to church Sunday morning after moving out the day before:

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Pretty much sums it up.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

{SQT} 36 hours of panic in 7 quick takes

Seven Quick Takes

Or, how one mom and 8 kids cleaned the whole house in a day and a half, and lived to tell about it.

~1~

Panic

This is very important. Almost as important as an extra cup of coffee and the promise of a frappe when we’re done. Because when an untidy mom has to get ready for a rental inspection complete with realtor photos 2 1/2 weeks before moving out, and it looks like this, that’s the only answer. These are uncut, folks. You may want to scroll past if you are obsessively clean and/or have a weak heart.

Honestly, the pictures make it look pretty good comparatively. Only ample amounts of adrenaline could get us through.

~2~

Delegate

I took a sheet of paper, folded it, and unfolded it to make a grid from the creases. Then I put a kid’s name in each box. I went through the house, using a random housecleaning checklist from Pinterest. (Because I don’t have one of my own, clearly.) When I saw what all needed done, I sorted the jobs into the boxes of the kids who could accomplish each one.

My 16 year old deep cleaned the second bathroom, which gets neglected – and if you are a guest, you might be allowed to believe it doesn’t exist.

My 14 year old took over general operations, like dishes and laundry. The laundry was pretty behind, and she got it out of the way and kept the dishes from piling up.

~3~

Play

The middle kids weeded the front flowerbed, picked up their rooms, and did a “penny pickup.” (That’s a game. It’s fun. They run around and pick up, and keep track of how many items they pick up and put in the right place. I pay a penny per item. We don’t do it very often, but when the house is terrible and I’m strapped for time, it’s a miracle for only a few bucks.)

~4~

Stash

I couldn’t make the whole house perfect, and I didn’t need to. I moved some bigger junky looking things like empty rubbermaid bins and a broken dresser drawer awaiting repairs out to the garage.

~5~

Detail

Once the stuff was out of the way, I ran around doing whatever details I could see – wiping walls, swiping counters, straightening slipcovers, tacking up that dang piece of trim that keeps falling down. Like that.

~6~

Rescue

At T minus 15 minutes to the arrival of the realtor, my 3 year old woke up from her nap shrieking. She had several angry looking spider bites on her arm. So naturally I ripped her bed apart and even flipped it over trying to find that thing – to comfort her, to exact vengeance on the demon that robbed me of at least an hour of sleeping child, and to affirm that said demon wasn’t the poisonous variety, driven from some dark corner by the moving. Couldn’t find it, but there is a warrant out for its arrest. And Emily is fine.

~7~

Panic

Because I was going to spend that last 15 minutes straightening the kitchen, not hunting spiders. So I frantically called my teens back to help, which they did before vanishing out to go for a nice walk in the sweltering heat in full afternoon sun in order to not be around for the inspection.

Well, it worked out. Here’s what we came up with:

My house has never been that clean, ever. It’s kind of nice, but now I have to get back to packing, sooo…see ya, clean house. Maybe we’ll meet up again someday; some other house, some other time.

🙂

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

10 Grain Waffles

Moving is getting pretty thick, here, now. We move out in 2 1/2 weeks now, and the crazy…oh, the crazy. Had to drop the running, but I did love it and I am looking forward to starting up again during our few weeks hiatus with my awesome in-laws, before we head east!

Running isn’t the only casualty of crazy. My kids have started swirling mournfully through the kitchen at mealtimes, asking why I don’t make pancakes anymore. Poor things, they are right. I don’t. It’s cereal for breakfast these days, and now our landlord is trying to sell the house…which means we need to let the realtor show the house. With 8 kids. Packing to move out of state. Getting ready for a new job.

It’s a special flavor of crazy. It makes my brain hurt.

So we aren’t making waffles these days, but in case you’d like to, here is a recipe I’m mildly proud of. I don’t make up my own recipes much, I just like to tinker with other peoples’. This one is an exception, and it’s a favorite.

10 Grain Waffles

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Light, crisp whole grain waffles

Credit – www.greencatholicburrow.com

  • 1 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c 10-grain hot cereal (dry)
  • 1 heaping T baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 3/4 c milk
  • 1/2 c oil
  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl; mix the egg yolks, milk, and oil in another.
  2. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix till just combined.
  3. Beat the egg whites till stiff, then fold lightly into batter.  Leave a few fluffs of egg white.  It should look like the picture.
  4. Bake according to your waffle baker’s instructions.  Serve it up with butter and real maple syrup. Unless you like that weird fake stuff, in which case, hooray for your budget. 😉

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7 Things I was Wrong About Before I was Catholic

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I used to have a lot of misconceptions about the Catholic church, back in my Protestant days. I am constantly blown away by how crazily inaccurate my ideas about Catholicism really were. These are NOT meant to be thorough arguments or really proofs of anything.  Those things are out there, but my goal is just to flesh out some common misconceptions and how I realized I was wrong.

I could do way more than 7, but that’s a nice manageable number to start with.

~1~

Catholics don’t really believe in anything. They are just going through the motions.
Mother Teresa
This gal? Going through the motions??

I really did believe this, and um, wow, I was really wrong. It was a reality-altering experience to get to know actual Catholics who actually believe Catholic stuff. Like the Bible. All of it. With great zeal and passion. Blew me away and took months to get used to.

~2~

Catholics worship Mary. Sure, they SAY they don’t, but the whole dulia/latria thing is just saying one thing and doing another. For that matter the whole saint thing is pretty much a pagan pantheon.

Yes, I believed this too. Firmly and passionately. It was a big deal to me in the early days of looking into the Catholic Church. Better writers and apologists than I have covered this well; two of my favorite resources to study this further are this article by Jimmy Akin, and Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God by Scott Hahn.

In my mind now, I see Mary and the saints as an invaluable part of the “great cloud of witnesses,” cheering us on and praying for us, as we pray and cheer for each other. We are part of a huge and glorious family with every imaginable kind of person in it!

~3~

Catholics think they can buy their way into heaven by empty ritual.

Mmm. That is what I saw in Catholic practice, and that is what many Protestants see: empty ritual. The problem with that is that I didn’t know what I was talking about. For one thing, nobody’s buying anything. All the merit comes from Christ. Full stop.

Eucharistic Adoration - Monstrance

Secondly, these things that Catholics do are about as far from empty as you can get; they are full to the brim and overflowing with meaning and truth. It only looks empty if you don’t understand what you are looking at – and for me, that was an understanding that had to happen in my heart, over time.

For a concise but thorough rundown of what all the rituals mean, I love Ann Ball’s Handbook of Catholic Sacramentals. It was recommended to us in RCIA and it’s been quite useful.

~4~

Catholics think they will spend millions of years in Purgatory to pay for their sins. They don’t understand that Jesus paid for their sins.

Ah, Purgatory. That’s a big one and honestly not really a quick take at all. I’m going to cheat a little and give you some links:

My husband Mark wrote something about this that I liked. He draws up a comparison between Purgatory and indulgences and everyday family life.  You can find it here.

Also, Jimmy Akin wrote an excellent piece on the subject. It got me through my initial (and considerable) problems with Purgatory, back in those crazy early investigating days. In that article, he starts off with a typical Protestant reaction to the doctrine of Purgatory, with all the objections that I had and many other still do. Then, he breaks that all down and goes through it, piece by piece. It’s long, but if you are serious about understanding the Catholic point of view, it’s a great place to start.

~5~

Catholics think that the water of baptism saves you, and that even if you believe and then get hit by a bus on the way to be baptized, well, tough luck, buddy. You go to Hell. Shoulda looked both ways.

Water drop impact on a water-surface - (5)

Here is a longish quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 2, Chapter 1, Article 6: The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are ‘reborn of water and the Spirit.’ God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament. For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

‘Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.’ Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.”

So, yes, baptism is absolutely necessary (John 3:5). But it can happen in irregular ways, in irregular situations. That doesn’t give us liberty to disregard it, but it does show God’s love and mercy.

~6~

Catholics aren’t allowed to think for themselves, and they don’t bother reading the Bible. They just have to believe and do what the Pope says.

There is definitely a Protestant attitude that Catholics, while not actually believing anything at all (see point 1), are also mindless automatons, a legion of robotic yes-men (and women).

Bible-706658It’s not really funny. But it sort of is, because in getting to know the church and the people in it, I discovered that Catholics are quite the spunky, opinionated lot. They also have Bible studies, where they study the Bible. (Yes they do. I go to one.) Not only that, but a huge portion of the Mass is…the Bible. Lots of Catholics read the daily Mass readings, whether they go to daily Mass or not.

~7~

Catholics think that Christ is sacrificed over and over again at every Mass.

This is a popular one. Mark the other day pulled together a compilation of quotes about that, and I am going to steal it. Way easier than looking it up myself.

ChurchTabernacle

Baltimore Catechism:

Q. 931. Is there any difference between the sacrifice of the Cross and the sacrifice of the Mass?

A. Yes; the manner in which the sacrifice is offered is different. On the Cross Christ really shed His blood and was really slain; in the Mass there is no real shedding of blood nor real death, because Christ can die no more; but the sacrifice of the Mass, through the separate consecration of the bread and the wine, represents His death on the Cross.

Catechism of Pope St. Pius X:

5 Q. Is the Sacrifice of the Mass the same as that of the Cross?

A. The Sacrifice of the Mass is substantially the same as that of the Cross, for the same Jesus Christ, Who offered Himself on the Cross, it is Who offers Himself by the hands of the priests, His ministers, on our altars; but as regards the way in which He is offered, the Sacrifice of the Mass differs from the Sacrifice of the Cross, though retaining the most intimate and essential relation to it.

6 Q. What difference and relation then is there between the Sacrifice of the Mass and that of the Cross?

A. Between the Sacrifice of the Mass and that of the Cross there is this difference and relation, that on the Cross Jesus Christ offered Himself by shedding His Blood and meriting for us; whereas on our altars He sacrifices Himself without the shedding of His Blood, and applies to us the fruits of His passion And death.

8 Q. Is not the Sacrifice of the Cross the one only Sacrifice of the New Law?

A. The Sacrifice of the Cross is the one only Sacrifice of the New Law, inasmuch as through it Our Lord satisfied Divine Justice, acquired all the merits necessary to save us, and thus, on His part, fully accomplished our redemption. These merits, however, He applies to us through the means instituted by Him in His Church, among which is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

If you liked these, you might also like Seven MORE Things I Was Wrong About Before I Was Catholic,  Seven Things I Didn’t Lose When I Became Catholic, and my Reading List for the Catholic Convert.

Linked up at This Ain’t the Lyceum {SQT}, at www.theologyisaverb.com, and www.reconciledtoyou.com/blog.html

The Feast of St. Joan of Arc, the easy way

We wanted to have a French party for the feast of St. Joan of Arc, since she is Rebecca’s confirmation saint. So we did, kinda. Since we are getting ready to move, for most of the day my kitchen looked like this:20160530_152536.jpg

And like this:

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Basically, like this:

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It’s French. Says so right there on the box.

So, we had “French” pot roast.  It’s a lot like any other pot roast, but I added wine. We also had croissants from a can, and, um, salad.  With French cafe music in the background.

And, eclair for dessert.  The sort made from graham crackers, generic French (!) vanilla pudding, and Cool Whip.  And canned frosting. Haven’t had it? It’s luscious. Look for Eclair Cake on Pinterest and you’ll find your way.

It was definitely low labor, but it was fun and the kiddos loved it. 🙂

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5 Minute Pot Roast

Pot roast 1Okay, so the 5 minutes is prep time, guys.  You do have to cook it, I’m afraid. I mean, you don’t, if that’s your thing, but then it’s not really a pot roast, then, is it?

(Incidentally, the picture is not of my pot roast.  I take terrible food pics.  But mine looks kinda like that.)

This makes enough for a crowd, especially if you serve it with egg noodles.

5 Minute Pot Roast

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A tomatoey, fall-apart pot roast

Credit – www.greencatholicburrow.com

  • 4 lbs chuck roast
  • 1 onion
  • 1 12 oz can tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Trimmed vegetables (carrots, potatoes, radishes) as desired
  1. Roughly chop onion and place in the bottom of crock pot.
  2. Add beef roast. I do not usually brown it, but if you want to brown it first it does add a nice touch. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread tomato paste on top of the roast. Toss in any veggies you want in there.
  4. Cover and turn to high; cook about 8 hours. Before serving, use a fork to pull the meat apart into big pieces, so the gravy can go all through. Serve.

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The New Catholic Bookshelf – vol. 2

(This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission from purchases made through affiliate links. My opinions are entirely my own. You can see my full disclosure policy here.  Thanks bunches.)

BookshelfHere are some more books that have been helpful to me along the way as we have journeyed from Geneva to Rome. I have linked these to Amazon, but if you want them, please consider saving a tree – and a buck – by borrowing or buying used.


1. The Catholic Controversy – St. Francis de Sales’ Defense of the Faith
This is a collection of pamphlets written by St. Francis de Sales on a mission to reach a community of French Calvinists in the late 1500’s. The pamphlets were written to be posted on walls and slid under the doors of folks who wouldn’t give him an ear. After four years, nearly the entire region had been brought back to the Catholic church, about 72,000 people!

This is a really good volume for anyone from a Presbyterian/Calvinist/Reformed background, whether looking at conversion oneself or just trying to understand the issues involved. His writing is incisive and to the point, and he explores issues of deep concern to this branch of the Protestant churches.

2. Catholicism For Dummies, by Rev. John Trigilio, Jr. 
In the early-early days of visiting our parish, I saw this on the shelf in the library. I was silly enough to be too embarrassed to check it out on the spot, but I went and got it from the public library. Now I can giggle at myself and recommend it to you. I like the Dummies books if I can get past being rankled at being called a dummy! This book really lays it all out and is super helpful for navigating both the doctrinal distinctions of the Church, including some very deep and significant issues, and also a lot of the practical details that are so dizzying to newcomers. Even otherwise very knowledgeable and savvy newcomers. 😉


3. Catechism of the Catholic ChurchIf you want to the know the church’s teaching on something, it really doesn’t get any more definitive than this. This volume is way more accessible than it looks, and it’s really lovely to read from cover to cover, if you’re the type, which I’m not exactly. For me, it’s a super reference if I have a quick question about something.

Previously: Bookshelf, vol. 1

Breakfast for 10: Simple Tips to Feed a Crowd without Losing Your Mind

I love to cook. It’s really one of my favorite things to do.

And it seems a little ironic that now that I have so many people to cook for, I have so little time to do it. I’ve got 10 people eating most of their meals at home; I have to simplify.

Especially when you consider that Timothy is grumpy at all mealtimes. I don’t know if he hates the confinement of his chair, or wishes he could just live on ketchup. But that kid yells a lot at meals. Around here we call that “ambience.” 

So, while I have a killer whole wheat pancake recipe, and we love muffins and scones, these days breakfast is a little more slapdash than that. Sometimes I make a more involved meal, but…not real often.

Method 1: You’re on your own

What’s for breakfast?  Whatever you can find or fix yourself, that is healthy enough to count as a meal. Unless you are too little for that – which is under 4ish. If you are 4, you can get yourself cereal or talk a sibling into making you toast. Bigger kids know how to fry and scramble eggs, get themselves bagels, smoothies, etc. This strategy means that I am only feeding 2 kids breakfast – the littlest – instead of a mob. And it teaches them good skills. They can care for themselves, contribute, make choices, plan, and appreciate that food involves work. They are also anxious to learn how to make new things so they can increase their options for these days. Unless things (or people) are totally crazy, I’m happy to teach new skills upon request. If I try to plan a time to do that, it never happens.

Method 2: Have one big batch of something simple

Um, oatmeal. That is what that means. Or possibly overnight pancakes, where the batter was in the fridge and the griddle is out and ready to go. Or maybe eggs, but eggs is pushing it because if you give a kid eggs, he’s gonna want some toast. And bacon. And cheese. And more eggs. So we do that sometimes, but not if we want to keep it simple.

Method 3: The hybrid of methods 1 & 2

This is my favorite, and I do it often. I like to throw a skillet full of sausages on the stove first thing when I get up, and then I just leave them on a plate on the counter. As sleepy, p.j.-clad kids stumble in asking for breakfast, I tell them that there’s sausage. They get some, and fix themselves whatever else sounds good to complete things.

I also might do this with yogurt, or boiled eggs, etc. Anything that is easy to leave out for people to help themselves. I prefer to make it protein, because that is what they don’t tend to get for themselves as easily.

Bam. Done. Go play. 🙂

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The first goodbye

(This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission from purchases made through affiliate links. My opinions are entirely my own. You can see my full disclosure policy here.  Thanks bunches.)

Today, the chickens and ducks had to go.

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Lucy

They were supposed to go last week, but I couldn’t bring myself to make the call and set the time.

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Greta

I always wanted chickens, and a few years ago, we finally got them. The eggs are gorgeous, and the chicken noises coming from the backyard are homey. And, my kids do most of the work they bring, so what’s not to love?

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Molly.  Or Meg.  One of them.

I’m a pretty soft touch when it comes to animals. Erin – the oldest – has getting me to say “yes” to new animals or animal related projects down to a science. She puts on her “pretty please” face and we all know it’s over. Which is probably why we’re not just taking 10 people to North Carolina this summer.

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Lily, my fave, and the two reds, Molly and Meg

We’re also taking 7 animals. Seven!  I must be crazy. If I’m not, I will be. Two cats, two rats, two rabbits, and one parakeet.

(A mom has to draw the line somewhere.)

Even if dragging 8 poultry across the nation in high summer sounded like a good idea, we won’t be ready to house them when we get there. So the chickens, which we raised from itty bitty chicks and know by name, had to find a new home.

Bye gals.

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Basil the Great, KonMari, and the Great Eastbound Adventure

Desert caravan LCCN2001705578 (This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission from purchases made through affiliate links. My opinions are entirely my own. Thanks bunches.)

In a few months, we move east.

All ten of us.

We’re paying for the move by the cubic foot.  On a worn-out shoestring that’s been ready to snap for a couple of years.  So naturally, I took to Facebook to ask for advice. The advice I came out with all boiled down to what I already knew: get rid of stuff. Lots of stuff.

All. The. Stuff.

I read this post, and it’s been the foundation of my efforts.  Haley helped me realize that life does go on even if you don’t hoard your baby items.  Tight finances turn me into a hoarder – too scared to let anything go for fear I will need it. But I came across this quote from Basil the Great:

“The bread you store up belongs to the hungry; the cloak that lies in your chest belongs to the naked; the gold you have hidden in the ground belongs to the poor.”

It doesn’t make any sense to hang onto all the hand-me-downs and spare jackets and spare parts, at the cost of moving them across the nation.  There are people who need these things, and they are good things that should be used, not left to moulder in my garage for years on end. I’m not paring down, folks. I’m renovating. If I wouldn’t buy it for what it will cost me to move it, out it goes. And if I don’t need it, or use it, or love it, it isn’t even really mine. It really belongs to the person who needs it.

I’ve been going through the whole house, and selling/donating tons of toys, clothes, baby things, you name it.  The goal is half our stuff – except books.  (Any books gone is a good thing, but one must not expect too much.)

I also read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – you know, the crazy Japanese decluttering book. It’s a little weird, (and in a family of 10 who even folds socks? We’re proud of ourselves if they match, guys.) but I like it overall and it’s also helped as I have had to decide what to keep and what not to. Honestly I am not convinced the KonMari system really can work for a family (this is a gal who got rid of her vacuum because it didn’t make her happy, until she got tired of cleaning her floors by hand and got a new one. If she can think for one second that she might be happier without a vacuum, we do not inhabit the same universe) but I do love a minimalist approach, and I always want everything as simple as possible.  I found the book to be very encouraging for developing a freer, more generous attitude towards our stuff. Also,  I don’t like a mess, but I’m not good at keeping up with things. Less stuff=less work AND less mess. Win.

My mother always used to tell me, “If you can’t take care of your things, you don’t deserve to have them.” I hated that, but the truth is, she was right.

It’s only lately I have decided that maybe the answer isn’t to wave my wand and somehow make myself into a person who is better at taking care of stuff.

Maybe I just need less stuff.  

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