You Never Know…

You Never Know...I have this little plaque in our playroom.

“You never know what you have…until you clean your room.”

Well, this goes for your whole house too.  After living for 43 years, you tend to collect a lot of stuff.  Yet, when you have a family, it multiplies.  Even though our family has moved 7 times since my husband & I got married (20 years ago,) we STILL have too much stuff.  To be honest, in the past, I didn’t make a big enough effort to purge as much as I should have.  I’m doing things differently this time.  Instead of jumping right into packing and haphazardly giving a few things away here and there, I have been primarily focusing on PURGING the last few months.

Here’s the deal, I come from sweet parents who are sentimental and like to hold onto things.  I come by it honest. {That saying might be a southern thang…he he he}  Personally, I really think there is a genetic disposition when it comes to this.  It’s been interesting, because my husband likes to throw things away.  He would rather throw things of value away than give them away.  I can’t do that.  If it has value, if someone else can use it…I would rather give it away.  Otherwise, I feel it’s like taking dollar bills and throwing them away.  I definitely see it’s easier to throw things away since it cuts out the sorting step and taking it to the local charity.  However, we initially paid for the items or someone gave them to us (which they paid for) and I can’t throw that money away.

If you’ve been reading here for awhile you know I have ADD.  I like to share the ins and outs of what it’s like to have it.  Mine is the inattentive kind.  Medicine has been miraculous for me.  However, when it comes to having a high stress level, like now, sometimes the medicine doesn’t work as much as I’d like.  I only realized I had ADD about 11 years ago.  So pre-medicine days (32 years) I would get so overwhelmed, there wouldn’t be much purging or sorting.  I was doing  good to just have everything packed for moving day.  To take a box and sort through it is almost like torture.  The act of making so many decisions is so mentally taxing on me that it effects me physically.  After going through several boxes I am completely wiped out.  I know my ADD has something to do with this.  My brain works differently than someone without ADD.

Over the years, I’ve been trying to teach my children about letting go of things they don’t need or use anymore.  I seem to have done a good enough job with my two oldest…it’s the youngest who is resistant.  Yet, I have been so pleased with her progress while we’ve been sorting.  I found it’s easier on her to give away things to people she knows and cares for.  It’s funny…she will make a pile for charity and then she will have an even bigger pile for our friends.  Personally, I find it easier to give things of value or emotional significance to my friends as well.  My best friend is also moving {yet she is moving 2 hours North of here, while I will be moving almost 3 hours South. You Never Know... } Anyway, there are many toys we’ve kept that my kids no longer play with. {Partly because I’m in denial they aren’t little anymore.}  We’ve had them in the playroom and when little ones come over to our house they know where they are.  I enjoy seeing the kids play with the toys.  Since we are downsizing, we won’t have room to store these toys anymore.  I’m grateful my youngest was able to give those toys to my best friend’s kids (who are much younger than my kids.)  Bestie sends me texts of the kids playing with the toys and it feels so great knowing the items are in a good home.

So, I’m off to go through more boxes.  Most of the boxes now are in the attic.  I’ve pretty much gone through the stuff in the home.  We have a HUGE attic, though and it was completely FULL before we began this process.  I refuse to move it all.  If it’s been in the attic all this time, I haven’t missed it much, right?  Moving is stressful but if it motivates me to purge and simplify…that’s a good thing.  I need to keep telling myself that during this process.

I hope everyone is having a good summer!

Lighten your load,

It’s Time For A Change

Its Time For A ChangeBig news coming at you today…we are moving back to Texas.

There’s a saying, “You can take the girl out of Texas, but not the Texas out of the girl.”

This is true.  We’ve been living in Oklahoma for 7 years now.  And even though it is only one state north from Texas, it’s just not the same.

Much has happened while we have lived here.  My oldest graduated from high school.  We built our dream home.  We paid off loans and got out of debt.  I’ve made relationships which will last even after we move.  Yet, it’s time for this city girl to move back to the city.  It’s time to be closer to my family in Texas.

While I am ready to move on…I wish I could take my house with us.  Leaving the home we custom built will be the most difficult part of moving for me.  I realize to some it might not make sense.  Some people might see our home and say, “if I had that house, I would never move.”  However, a house is just a house.  It is the people you share it with that matter.  There is a scripture I have been pondering about much lately from Matthew in the New Testament:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:19-21

Its Time For A Change

This reminds me to keep my heart on what really matters.

All last week I purged and cleaned preparing for the realtor to come and take photos of the house.  After picking up my youngest from school I realized one of the outdoor throw pillows, which had blown over to our house, belonged to our neighbor across the street.  Their front porch had a chair with a pillow that matched.  I decided to walk it over to them.  After I placed the pillow on the pillow-less chair, I turned around to see our house.  There it was.Its Time For A Change  Of course…I was just across the street.  It looked beautiful and a feeling of sadness washed over me.  I know I was exhausted from all the work I had been doing that day.  It could have been the amount of stress had built up and the emotions just over took me.  I took a picture with my phone and posted it on Instagram.  It’s not that I was wanting to gloat about my house.  It was more about wanting to share the feelings I was experiencing with the sweet friends I have made on the community of Instagram.

I find myself wanting to explain how I feel, but then this ongoing argument plays in the back of my mind.  “You don’t have to explain how you feel.  But, people might not understand.  That’s OK if they don’t understand, they aren’t you.  You don’t have to justify your feelings.”  I guess part of me wanting to explain is a challenge I want to take on.  The other part thinks it might be therapeutic for me.

Being a full time stay at home mom has been challenging for me.  I have creative tendencies which went on the back burner for many years while my kids were young.  As a matter of fact, it’s been the past few years, while my kids have been at school full time, I have realized how much of myself I kind of “put away.”  I thought to be a good mom, I needed to let go of things I loved doing for the sake of the family.  I’m not sure where I got this idea, but it doesn’t matter now.  Anyway, when we built our house, it was like a full time job.  I quickly became an amateur architect and designer.  It took over a year to build our house.  We moved in and then it was a full time job putting things away and decorating.  Over the past 5 years I have truly enjoyed sharing my home here on Family Brings Joy.  I like sharing my DIY projects and seeing them pinned on Pinterest.  I like it when friends tell me they have seen my laundry room or craft room on Pinterest. {Thank you to all those who have pinned!}  So, I guess I feel as though the process of building our house and making it a home, I kind of found myself again.  Plus, it is a HUGE accomplishment.  I don’t want to feel like I’m throwing away this accomplishment or myself.  I know I’m not.  But maybe that is where part of the sadness is coming from?  However, truly most of the sadness is knowing our dream home has not appreciated in value.  Due to the failing economy, we will not regain the amount of money it cost for us to build our home.  This is what really brings me grief.  Your house is supposed to be an investment.  Right?  You shouldn’t have to LOSE money when you sell your home.

Listen up…I know it depends on where you live and what the market is like, but if you are considering building a custom home, you need to be aware of some key points before building.  (And let me throw in here, we built our house with the intention of not moving.  However, you never know what life has in store for you.)

1. The cost your builder quotes to build your floor plan is only an ESTIMATE. (plan to pay more)

2. The builder will not include the concrete for your driveway in your estimate.  This is an extra expense and is not cheap.

3. A custom builder does not include landscaping.  Landscaping, including grass sod and flower beds are an additional cost.

4. Other additional costs for us we had not considered before building were the cost of a septic system and propane tank because we live outside the city limits.

The above points are not including the cost of the land.  And I guarantee adding a pool will not increase the value of your home even though it should!  I think having a pool is a huge selling point.  So however much money it costs to build a pool, plan on throwing that money away.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe there is much value in having a pool, but that will be a post for another day.

I’ll stop my ranting now.  I just think people should be informed of the cost of building a custom home.  I guarantee the supplies to build a home have increased in cost since we built over 5 years ago.  This means to build our house, just like it is today, will cost substantially more than what we paid to build it, not to mention the stress and time it takes to build.

So, if by chance you have come to my site because you are considering purchasing our home…you are getting an amazing deal!  Go to the tab at the top of this site titled House Tour and take a look around.  The majority of the house has already been photographed.  However, I am going to go into more detail with future posts about unique features of our home.  If you are not looking to purchase our home, that’s okay.  You are welcome to tour the house and receive some great ideas for your own home or a future home.  Be sure and pin what you like on Pinterest for your future reference. Its Time For A Change

Change can bring joy,

Friday’s Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

1. The Disney Character I’m most like is Jessie from Toy Story.

There’s a place in the California Adventure park where a computer asks you a bunch of questions to see what character you are most like.  Turns out I’m most like Jessie.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

I found this info out AFTER we met Jessie.  If I would have known of my special kinship, I would have gotten a photo with her too!  Below Jessie signs my daughter’s autograph book.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

2. There are special cutting artists on Main Street of Disney Land who can cut your silhouette by hand.

You might not think this is cool, but I do!  The lady who cut my kid’s silhouettes has been working this craft at Disney Land for 40 years!  I could not believe my eyes as I watched her.

3. If you feel something in your hair at Toon Town in Disney Land, don’t pull it out of your hair…it might be a bee!

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney LandYep, this happened to me.  I felt something in my hair.  I pulled it out of my hair to find a bee.  As soon as I figured out what it was I let go of it…too late…it stung me.  I haven’t had a bee sting since I was 4 or 5 years old.  It’s pretty painful.  We found the first aid station and they had some good numbing gel for it with an ice pack.  Thank goodness!  For future reference, if anything like this or any other unfortunate accident occurs while you are visiting Disney Land, tell the nearest cast member (worker) and the nurse will come to you.  We had to walk a little ways to get to the first aid station.  The nurse told us she could have came to us.

4. Spending money on an experience is completely worth it! (I already knew this)  In this case it was the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Disney Land.

This was my daughter’s chance to be prettied up like a Disney princess.   The sweet beautician treated her like royalty doing her hair, nails and makeup.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

Daughter was able to choose what dress/princess she wanted to be.  At the end of the beautifying process they open the curtains you see behind her.  A special mirror is revealed with animation and music. (I wish now I would have taken video)  Here she is…Snow White.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

Next included a photo shoot in Cinderella’s carriage!

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

Isn’t it gorgeous?!

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

The photographer let me take a few photos with my camera.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

That’s not all…time to meet other princesses!  First is Cinderella.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

Another favorite…Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

I am so glad we did this.  I will forever have this time etched in my memory…and more importantly I think it will be something she will never forget.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

5. I don’t like roller coasters, crowds and kids who complain about wait times.

I used to like roller coasters when I was young.  As a matter of fact, I would purposefully ride in the very front and put my hands in the air.  Not anymore…it’s another sign of me getting old.  Boo!  I got motion sick riding Space Mountain.  I hate motion sickness.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney LandI thought going in February was a good time to go to Disney Land…meaning less crowded.  Turns out Valentine’s Day/President’s Day is a popular time to go.  I mean honestly, we could hardly walk through the parks.  Thursday was the least crowded of all the days of the weekend.  I’m so glad we took the kids out of school that day.  Disney Land was more crowded than California Adventure, yet I was very disappointed with the amount of people there.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney LandIf I didn’t already know how impatient my kids are already, I do now.  Sigh…it was incessant whining and complaining about waiting in the lines.  Sometimes they wouldn’t want to go on the ride if they saw how long the wait time was.  And let me tell you, most of the wait times were around an hour.  We learned to use fast passes as much as possible.  The last day we were there my daughter and I only rode one ride all day.  Instead, we went to lots of shows, which I love.

This was our first family vacation without our oldest daughter.  If you are a new reader, she’s a college freshman at an out of state university.  It was weird not having her with us.  This is a different stage of life for all of us right now.  K, if you are reading this, know how very much you were missed.  We thought about ya while searching every shop for a plush Flynn Rider.  I’m sure there will be other Disney opportunities for us to vacation together in the future.

As Tigger says, “Ta ta for now!”

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way by Disney to write this post.

Disney Brings Joy,

Nothing Backwards About This Day…Just Reality

Hey there.

It’s me.

Yes, I’m still here.

I know it’s been a while.

I’ve got the doldrums.  It’s not a full on depression episode…thankfully.  Hopefully it’s not the beginning of one.  I had such a good beginning to 2013 last year, yet it ended up being probably one of the worst years of my life.  So maybe this year it will be the opposite…since it’s starting out kind of crummy maybe it will end up being good.  A girl must hope.

Really the only reason I know last January was good is due to a new app I happened upon. {Thanks Sara!}  It’s called Timehop. (I’m not getting paid to advertise this app.)

Wait a minute…

I need to take a little time to rant, so if you don’t want to hear it, skip the next paragraph.

Can I  just tell you how much I hate that I’m supposed to state every time I mention a company whether they are paying me to write something or not?!  I hate blogging has come to this.  Honestly, as I have mentioned before, even though I have tried a bit of affiliate marketing {based on what I value and think my readers would value only} it has brought in absolutely nothing in the way of monetary value for me.  As a matter of fact, the last company I worked with for affiliate marketing sent me an email recently telling me my account is going into dormancy mode due to inactivity.  Well, OK.  I might be destined to be a purist {a blogger who has no ads on their blog} for life when it comes to blogging.

Back to Timehop…it’s like having an online scrapbook or journal.  Each day it sends me posts from this exact day up to 4 years ago from all my social networking sites.  I have enjoyed seeing what I wrote, how I was feeling {if I shared that, as you might imagine, I do that from time to time} and the pictures I shared.  This is how I know what I did last January.  I organized my closet {which is back to being a t-TOTAL mess,} participated in a craft swap, visited my Dad, had a date with my husband.

It’s not fun comparing my year ago me to my present me.  People say we should be happy no matter how productive we are…well I say to those people…take a walk in my shoes.  It’s not fun having ADD.  Most days I WANT to be productive, yet it’s like there’s a barrier that keeps me from doing so.  Besides, it is important to not be idle.  Think about the questions we receive from our family and friends: What did you do today?  What have you been up to?  We are measured by what we do.  If we go to college, we are more likely to be considered more valuable in the job market than if we don’t go to college.  I could go on and on, but I don’t want to.  It’s starting to get me too agitated.

I worked on cleaning my craft room for a little while this morning and then got overwhelmed and stopped.  Oh my goodness I have to stop writing now.  This is quite a miserable little blog post.  I probably shouldn’t post it, but since I haven’t posted in a while, I will.

I’ll be ok.  Life certainly could be a lot worse.

One of those days,

Creatively Switching Rooms

Creatively Switching RoomsThis morning I will be packing up my oldest daughter’s room…technically not her room, her belongings in the room.  Now that she is in college, we promised our youngest daughter she could move in to the room.  I’m hoping this activity will not bring too many tears or emotion.  In essence all I am doing is switching rooms.  So it’s not like my oldest won’t have a place to stay when she does come home to visit.  But when she isn’t here visiting, my youngest daughter’s room (which will soon be my oldest daughter’s) will be a guest room.  Are you thoroughly confused now?

I think I’m going to try and make this activity fun by transferring her memory board square items onto scrapbook pages.

Remember when I shared how we made her memory board wall? (you can see the original post by clicking here.)  Below was what it looked like not long after we installed it.  Now it is completely filled with photos and high school paraphernalia.  Those items will quickly transfer onto 12 x 12 scrapbook paper and be a perfect addition to her scrapbook.Creatively Switching Rooms

I’m so overdue for some craft therapy.  My craft room has mainly been used as a gift wrapping room since Christmas and I’ve been craving to get in there and do something creative.  Problem is, it’s quite the mess!  Maybe now that I’ve finally put away the Christmas decorations, I can tidy the room up so I have a place to create again.  Speaking of my craft room…my very sweet best friend from Haven (Home Bloggers Conference) featured my craft room on her site.  Candace’s post from her blog Vintage News Junkie is titled Top Ten Craft Room Makeovers.Creatively Switching RoomsCandace has put together a pretty awesome collection of craft rooms.  I always love to see how people organize and decorate their hobby rooms.  Hop on over to her site and take a look.  I am honored my craft room was included…just so glad you can’t see it now.  I’m not feeling too transparent to show it to you today.

Well, like my Grandma used to say, “I’m off like a dirty shirt” to pack up my oldest daughter’s room. I can do this. I think I can. I think I can.

Happy Monday,

Tricks To SAVE MONEY Online

Today feels like Monday to me.

Why you ask.

Tricks To SAVE MONEY Online

Daughter happy we were able to zip up her suitcase. Sitting on it helps!

Today my kids went back to school! Well, at least my 2 youngest.  I took my college freshman to the airport on Saturday and she went to classes yesterday.

Didn’t matter that we picked out the kids clothes yesterday…it was still a horrible morning with crying and screaming. Sigh…just keeping it real.

Anyway, it’s quiet now.  I started a load of laundry and ate my oatmeal.  Sat down at the computer to change my Christmas desktop background and screen saver.  Guess what came up on my screen? The dreaded yearly “It’s time to renew your McAfee Subscription.”  So I clicked renew and a screen popped up and told me it would be $89.99 for a year of virus protection for 3 computers.  Before I signed in I thought to myself, “I wonder if Ebates or Retail Me Not might have a discount I could use?”  Both of these sites are my go tos for saving online.  Boy was I glad I did!

I logged onto Ebates first to find out they are paying a 12.5% rebate!  Woo hoo!  Let me tell you it all adds up!  I’ve received almost $400 in money back from Ebates!  Even better, when I clicked on McAfee from Ebates it offered me $45 OFF the $89.99 price!  I only paid $44.99 for my McAfee renewal!  AND 12.5% of that $44.99 I will get back!
Tricks To SAVE MONEY Online

Here’s another secret…combine Ebates and Retail Me Not.  Now this time I wasn’t able to combine them.  I tried, but McAfee said “$45 savings has already been applied.”  But many times I can go to a store through Ebates and also use a discount code from Retail Me Not.  This brings double savings!  I’m almost afraid to share this information because I don’t want the 2 sites to find out and make it where we can’t do this.  Hopefully that won’t happen.

Anyway, I wanted to share this awesome deal with you.  If you need to update your virus protection program…might as well pay HALF PRICE!

OH!  I almost forgot!  Yesterday, I downloaded Retail Me Not’s App on my phone and saved $10 at Bath & Body Works!  Retail Me Not now has IN STORE coupons!  I knew they had an app now, but didn’t think I needed it because I don’t do online shopping on my phone.  The screen is too small for me (it’s what happens when you get old.)  So I didn’t want the app to take up space on my phone if I didn’t plan on using it.  Well, turns out it is definitely phone worthy!

P.S.: Ebates also has a phone app.

Disclaimer: I was not paid by Retail Me Not, Ebates or McAfee to write this post. I like the two sites and want to share them with my readers.

Last but not least, since this is my first post of 2014 HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Saving Brings JOY,