Saturday, January 31, 2009

Spiritual Sunday - Hi, meet my dad. His name is GOD.



God is my dad?

I mean, I have a great dad of course, but isn't it difficult to look at Him that way?

Sometimes we view God and He's so distant...so...Kingly...nothing like a dad who bounces us on his knee or reads us a bedtime story. It's taken me forever to grasp, and maybe I'm being a little transparent and vulnerable here, but on my most anxious nights where my breathing is irregular and worries run rampant, I'll close my eyes and picture Jesus sitting on my vanity chair next to my bed, just holding my hand.

It seems so silly to imagine the God of the universe sitting beside my bed, but am I really that far off? The Bible frequently refers to God as "Father" and yet we really don't think of Him like that. I wonder why he's so patient with me, and I know I'm not alone in having a difficult time grasping the vastness of His love for me...specifically. Little...old...ME.

And then I had my own child. I remember rocking her in her chair before bed, such a helpless little infant, who couldn't do anything without Matt and I to feed her, dress her, comfort her, shelter her...LOVE her.

I sat in that chair and thought, "This is how my parents feel about me." It's a shame we don't realize that when we're in their constant care.

But even more potent was the thought, "This is only a fraction of the amount that God loves me." Wow. I think it definitely is made so much clearer once you have your own children, but it was at that moment that I could see God as my parent. It made perfect sense as I sat there and rocked the most precious little baby on earth in my arms...This is how HE feels about me. Unconditionally. Wow.

And, in case you didn't get my point, He feels that way about you too. Maybe this makes no sense if you don't have kids...but you probably have parents who love you the same way I love my munchkin even when she's constantly testing me, disobeying me, and doing her own thing - and she knows that...she doesn't understand how much or why...but she knows I love her forever, no matter what.

What a comfort that is. In the paraphrased words of our great Winter Retreat speaker this year, there's nothing we can do to make God love us more. And, even more importantly, there's nothing we can do to make Him love us less.

The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 3:17-19 

And, I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long hand high and deep is the love of  Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.


I'd say that about sums it up.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Scrumptious Saturday - Cranberry BBQ Chicken - Crock Pot


Cranberry BBQ Chicken for your crock pot

This tasted very good. It's not fruity really. The cranberry sauce adds sweetness. You could use the jellied cranberry sauce instead of the whole berries if you really wanted.

3-4 lb of chicken pieces. (I used chicken breast tenderloins, so they cooked on low in about 3-4 hours max - VERY QUICKLY if you use chicken breasts! They will dry out of if you leave them too long)

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup celery (omitted)
1/2 cup onion
1 (16oz) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 cup barbecue sauce

I added 1/4 cup of flour to the crock pot at the beginning because the reviews said the sauce was too thin...doing this made the sauce the perfect thickness!

1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker - including flour
2. Cover and bake on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours (3-4 hours on low IF YOU USE BONELESS CHICKEN BREASTS)
3. Serve with rice, pasta or potatoes and a green veggie :)

So quick, easy, and a tasty crowd pleaser!

The nutrition information is accurate if you use assorted chicken pieces. There is virtually no fat at all in the recipe if you use boneless skinless chicken breasts.


Thankful Thursday/Family Friday

I'm getting a little behind here.

But, I'm a very thankful girl. I can't give many details today because I have to protect myself! :) But, I'm thankful that God got me out of a huge jam this week.  I'm glad he even fixes problems that, in the grand scheme of things, aren't huge, but cause little Melissa more stress. 

I'm thankful for Matt who also helped me get through the waiting period of my stressful week.

I'm thankful for friends. We had a great time with friends last night. I will remain the self-proclaimed Speed Scrabble champion of the night - even if Alan distracted me with his sniffling and "possible" word combinations and Carli with her "Is j-e-i a word? How about z-a?" I'm thankful for the yummy food Carli made - even if my scale didn't thank me today...and for break-apart cookies :)

I'm thankful that Hannah, who is going through a "Terrible Preschooler of the Year" phase, was a sweet little angel. And, I'm thankful for the "good behavior" sticker book we've started. Seems to be working!

As for Family Friday - I just want you to remember how special the people you love are. Even though we all have our idiosyncrasies we need each other. Last week, the husband/father of a family in our church had to be rushed to the hospital for sudden very serious illness. Things went south very fast, and by the grace of God he is alive today. Another family in the church didn't fare so well. A 51 year old husband and father dropped dead in an airport...no warning, no known cause; his life was just ended abruptly leaving his family to sort out their future without him.

Don't take your beautiful family for granted. I'm so blessed with the people God has placed into my life - blood relatives or not. As you celebrate Super Bowl Sunday - make it more than a game, make it a time you spend with your loved ones - enjoy who they are - and if you feel inclined - let them know how much they mean to you. There's no time like the present!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wellness Wednesday - The Nutritionist

Well, yesterday I went to the nutritionist and lots of you have been asking about the results.

I still have to go back and chat with her about the "plan" she wants to start me on, but I'll tell you what I DO know.

I'm healthy. 

Surprised? 

I was. I was expecting horrendous results.

My body fat levels are healthy.

My cellular health is healthy.

My hydration levels...healthy.

Heart rate variability...healthy.

I will tell you...the tests for the above results were fabulous. I got to lay on a nice bed with nice music, candles lining the walls, perfect silence...Ahhhh!

Now, the muscle testing showed weakness in...SURPRISE! - MY EYES!

...and also my small intestines and my spleen (which is the deepest part of your immune system). This is not surprising since I have an autoimmune disease and my immune system is not functioning properly.

I tested negative for EVERYTHING else - which was shocking. Most people with autoimmune diseases have yeast in their system. I did not test for it. In fact - they had to use a magnet to magnify everything because I wasn't testing positive for anything - and I'm obviously a mess, right? 

Finally I tested for bacteria.

I'm just getting over a stomach bug, so this could be from that, or it could be old and feeding my autoimmune disease. We'll see with time.

My chemo drugs are basically a non-steroid - steroid - and steroids can often mask over problems giving a false result. Not sure why. Also, I was briefly told that issues can show up in layers - so once they get rid of the bacteria, I may show positive for something else.

All in all, I'm pretty health, which was comforting and discouraging. I'm glad that it's obvious that I'm taking care of myself and that maybe I am doing so well because everything else is so strong...Discouraging, because if there's nothing to fix, how will I get better?? I have a lot of questions right now that should be answered soon.

I have another appointment for the official results and plan on Monday. I was supposed to go today but the snow inhibited that. The doctor only talks to you for a couple minutes after the testing. I'll keep you all posted. Thank you for caring.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Scrumptious Saturday

Scrumptious Saturday is not happening. I'm feeling so sick today with some stomach virus...Yuck. I'm spending the day in bed hiding from my family. So frustrating.

That said - the thought of giving you all a recipe makes me want to puke. :) Maybe next week.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Family Friday



I'm glad it's the weekend.

After a crazy last weekend, I enjoyed taking yesterday off and hanging with Hannah all day. You can just tell a HUGE difference when she has more of my attention. It's just so important to me, that my daughter knows that she can have my undivided attention when she needs it. 

Lately, I have been failing miserably at that. After I can home from Winter Retreat, her behavior was atrocious. I think Matt was going to lose it if I stayed away one more day!

So I feel like we're finally getting back into a routine. We just hung out all day yesterday. Went shopping, exercised, played, ate together...she just had all of my attention and it's amazing how much more pleasant we both were. And how nice for Matt to come home and have all calm and well. Very nice.

Tonight I think we're going to use a gift card to go out to eat and then go to the Praise and Worship Encounter (although I think they're calling it something different now - "Light" maybe?) Anyway, it's at the Mills at 7pm tonight and I think it'll be an awesome way to spend an evening together. I like my family - and we definitely don't get to spend enough time together - even though we're all much happier when we do!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday - Matt


Ok, I know that everyone is thankful for their families, but today's Thankful Thursday is dedicated to the most amazing husband ever.

First off - he's married to ME. Doesn't he deserve a medal just for THAT?

I don't know how he does it, but he's just so amazing. He comes home from work and immediately takes over with Hannah or comes in to help me with dinner - or both. He doesn't sit down on the couch and turn on the TV like most men - but maybe that's because we don't have cable. :)

He lets me think I have control over things - even though - when he puts his foot down, he's in charge.

He lets me relax. Whenever I need a break he's there to give me one - even if he's exhausted, his back hurts, he has a headache, and work was crazy. Matt puts everyone else above himself - even when I had to wear his boxers when I was pregnant - he sacrificed his underwear. Haha.

Honestly, Matt helps me to see who Jesus really is because I think Matt embodies the Christ-like qualities we're all supposed to have so others can see Jesus in us. He makes it so much easier to see Jesus by who he is...Even when I see him pick up his Bible at night and I really don't feel like reading, but he's picked up his so I have to read mine. He's an amazing example.

Words are cheap and don't begin to explain how I feel about this man. I don't know why he loves me or why he chooses to take care of me like he does, but I'm so thankful for him today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wellness Wednesday - You have a choice

Today's post is about mental wellness - which I think I may have lost all hope of regaining.

Nonetheless, you can all make fun of me for reading Robin McGraw's book "Inside My Heart." It's good and you can all eat crow when you read it for yourself. She talks about choosing to live life with passion and purpose.

I don't know anything that can make someone more mentally stressed than feeling trapped. Like you have absolutely no control - which ultimately we don't, but hear me out. So, we feel like we can't do anything about our situation but sulk, so we throw up our hands and proceed to executing the pout. 

Though the book is definitely geared toward women, I think anyone can benefit from the following excerpt. 

If you're a woman who is more comfortable reacting to life than acting upon it, I'm here to tell you that you get what you ask for and that if you don't ask, you're going to end up settling for less than you want (and deserve). It's just the way life is: each of us is born into a set of circumstances - a family drama - you might say - and assigned a role. We are expected to play this role not because our parents have it in for us, or our sisters and brothers are luckier, or because we wee born under an unfortunate alignment of the planets. We're expected to play that role because the people whose tribe we're born into - our family - are already living a certain way, and figure we'll live that way, too. And we often do. But the point is, we don't have to.

You can change your family tree. You can change the effect of the past by being the future you want for you and your family. Is it easy to change the course that history is on? No. But it can be done. You can choose to be happy with what life has given you and to reject the parts of your past that cause you pain. You don't have to let the pain of your past seep through generations and poison your children's children's children. You can live your life with peace and joy - but if you don't pursue it - if you don't ASK for it. You'll be left in the dark, perfecting your pout.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tips and Hints Tuesday - Taxes

Taxes...It's that time once again. I'm really hoping to get some money back this year!

You'll undoubtedly be getting all of your statements in the mail very shortly if they haven't begun coming already.

At the beginning of each year I label a folder in my file cabinet that says "Taxes 'Current Year'"

Any time I get anything, like a donation receipt I toss it in that folder.

When these statements start coming, I'll throw them in the folder. 

Local Tax final return forms...the folder.

We've been able to claim medical expenses in the past, so I save receipts and...you guessed it, throw them in the folder. 

It's so simple, and when tax time comes around (or April 15), all you'll have to do is grab your folder. 

While you're at it - Make a new one for 2009. You'll be so glad you did!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Money Monday

My house is cold. Hannah still refuses to wear pants to bed, but it's cold. When we go to bed, we keep our thermostat set at 58 degrees. No, that's not a typo. During the day it doesn't go above 64 and I think it's 61 right now. 

I'm always cold. So, this one's hard for me. But, when everyone was complaining about their rising natural gas costs, mine went down $10 per month. I'm hoping to see another drop soon. 

It can be so difficult to sacrifice for long term financial gain. It's so hard to look that far into the future. I think my main goal is being able to sit on my butt watching cable. Food network to be exact.

We are often made fun of for the sacrifices we make but my argument is all those "little" things add up to big stuff. $50 cable , $50 internet, $50 home phone, etc etc etc. It adds up! 

I must say I've been starting to get discouraged living so frugal. It does begin to wear on you. But I refuse to quit. The little changes are all you need to start with. They don't seem like much, but when you put them all together they are!!

It felt so good to be able to buy a car with cash and still be able to put even MORE extra onto our loans this month. It's so low stress. I'm so grateful for what God has blessed us with. I pray that we manage what he's given to us, well.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Spiritual Sunday - Quiet Time

When was the last time you had quiet time? I mean really quiet (and you didn't fall asleep.) I couldn't tell you the last time I just sat and listened.

Here's the question. We ask for God to speak to us. We ask him what we should do,

To heal us

To help us

To get us out of a jam

But, how are we supposed to have any sort of relationship with Him if we show no effort to hold up our end of the bargain? I'm so guilty here.

Can you imagine having a best friend. Someone you were very close to and love very much who:

1. Never let you get a word in.
2. Never listened when you did speak.
3. Asked for help all the time, but did nothing to nurture his/her relationship with you.
4. Would call at all hours of the night but never listened to your sound advice.
5. Used your name when swearing.
6. Blamed you when anything went wrong in the world or in his/her personal life.
7. Accused you of being unavailable when they didn't notice your presence.

etc.

etc.

etc.

Wouldn't be much of a relationship.

So what do we do when our relationship with God much resembles the above scenario?

Well, to be blunt: 

Shut up and listen.

Shut up and listen.

SHUT UP AND LISTEN!!!!!

Psalm 46:10 Be STILL and know that I am God.

(He's a little less harsh than I am :)

I guess I have some work to do...or I guess I have some work to NOT do?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Scrumptious Saturday - Homemade Bread

Have you ever attempted homemade bread? If not, this recipe is the easiest and most full proof I've found. It's definitely time consuming, BUT when you pull that fresh loaf of warm bread out of the oven, and the entire thing is gone an hour later, you'll see it's worth it.

Don't make fun of the title of the website I'm going to send you to for this recipe. I'm a little on the frugal side, and sometimes I take drastic measures :)

Anyhow, with this recipe, the "lukewarm" water (which has ALWAYS messed me up) can err to the side of being too warm. Use the temperature you'd use to wash your hands. When you add the yeast to the dry ingredients rather than activating it with water on it's own first, you can use much warmer water without killing the yeast; it actually helps to activate it.

That said - wow your friends and family with this recipe. Remember you can't ever knead too much! Enjoy your bread and find the recipe here

Friday, January 16, 2009

Family Friday - Winter Retreat

Well, duty calls. This weekend I'll be packing up with 62 students aged 11-18 and 15 adults for Nexus Student Ministry's Winter Retreat in Erie.

Might I just add that, going into the weekend, the last 2 nights I've only had 5 hours of sleep? Oh the joys.

That said - I'm GONNA MISS MY FAMILY :( I'm 26 years old and I still get anxious about leaving my family. I will worry about Hannah the whole weekend -  from her safety to what she's eating. Now, she'll be perfectly taken care of and happy with her amazing daddy - but I'm her mama and I will worry.

Nevertheless, it will be an amazing weekend and I'm honestly looking forward to what God will do!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thankful Thursday - NEW CAR!

Yay! I'm thankful for the 2nd car we just bought!

I've been so tired of asking people for rides and to borrow their cars. It was really starting to get old. With Matt traveling to New Stanton so often, I can't even take him to work anymore.

So, we bought a car...and don't worry if you read my post on Money Monday, this one has a roof!! I may be slightly weird, but I love this car. It's a little, black, 2 door, Ford Escort with 108,000 miles and it's a manual transmission...your dream car, I know. It's adorable. runs well, looks great, really clean. I told Matt I think I like this car even better than our brand new Altima we used to have. 

The car was $2,000. A steal. 

I am a little nervous. I hope it serves us well, but I think it will.

Wellness Wednesday - Nutritionist

I bit the bullet and finally went to the nutritionist that has helped Hannah so much.

Today, she had a check up and I had my consultation. I just spent the last hour filling out paperwork.

I go next week for the muscle testing/results/regimen. I'm nervous and excited. I know that I'm going to probably have to eliminate sugar and dairy for a while. This is going to be really difficult. But, I'm really hoping that I can get my body well enough to start weaning off of the chemo meds. I really want to be off of them by the end of the year.

I'll keep you all posted on what's to come!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tips and Hints Tuesday - The Bathtub

Are you lazy like me? Is cleaning the tub the worst job in the house? (Don't answer unless you say yes to both.)

I have the easiest way to clean out that ring around the tub. You'll want to pay me a million dollars and shower me with diamonds, which I highly encourage.

1. Go to the store.
2. Buy generic magic erasers. ($2 for 4 at Target)
3. Wet magic eraser.
4. Effortlessly wipe out tub.
5. Love me.

Seriously, no more elbow grease. You're welcome.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Money Monday - New Car!

Did I get you with the title?

Did you think I'd tell you that we just got a new Mustang? Maybe a Suburban? Well, if you know me, you certainly weren't thinking that.

But, we are however in the market for a new car. A cheap car. But a new car. Can I just say, I HATE HAVING TO SHOP FOR A JUNKER??

We don't want to take out a car loan so we're paying cash, which at the moment, is not very much.

Matt just called as he was test driving a Honda Accord. Seemed like a solid car...not to much obviously wrong with it. He said...It doesn't seem like it leaks, but I can here the sun roof whistling a little...

We chatted for a few minutes before I hear a pause and my sweet husband's kind calm voice says as if he's talking about the weather..."Well, water just came pouring through the roof, so I guess this one's out."

How funny is that? Yeah, that's the kind of car we can buy right now...One that's missing major components, like a roof. 

Money. It runs the world...and cars apparently.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Spiritual Sunday

I got this email from a coworker. It's by Max Lucado. It was very encouraging and inspiring.

The Laws of the Lighthouse contain more than good ideas, personal preferences and honest opinions. They are God-given, time-tested truths that define that way you should navigate your life. Observe them and enjoy secure passage. Ignore them and crash against the ragged rocks of reality.

Smart move. The wise captain shifts the direction of his craft according to the signal of the lighthouse. A wise person does the same. 

Herewith, then, are the lights I look for and the signals I heed:
  • Love God more than you fear hell.
  • Once a week, let a child take you on a walk.
  • Make major decisions in a cemetery.
  • When no one is watching, live as if someone is.
  • Succeed at home first.
  • Don't spend tomorrow's money today.
  • Pray twice as much as you fret.
  • Listen twice as much as you speak.
  • Only harbor a grudge when God does.
  • Never outgrow your love of sunsets.
  • Treat people like angels; you will meet some and help make some.
  • 'Tis wiser to err on the side of generosity than on the side of scrutiny.
  • God has forgiven you; you'd be wise to do the same.
  • When you can't trace God's hand, trust his heart.
  • Toot your own horn and the notes will be flat.
  • Don't feel guilty about God's goodness.
  • The book of life is lived in chapters, so know your page number.
  • Never let the important be the victim of the trivial.
  • Live your liturgy.
Smart guy!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Scrumptious Saturday - Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs




Hi Everyone,

Here's a lowfat recipe that's very yummy served with rice and roasted broccoli!

I LOVE the site recipezarr.com (thanks to my lovely sister Shari.)

It has ratings up to 5 stars and people's comments about the recipes. Based on that info, I've not made anything from the site that we didn't like. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground turkey or ground turkey breast
1 large carrot shredded (I love when you can sneak in extra veggies!)
1 egg beaten (I omit this  - because the meat is wet enough without it)
1/2 c. teriyaki sauce
1 c. plain bread crumbs
vegetable oil - for spraying

Combine ingredients, roll 1 inch balls on place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

Place in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, turning meatballs once. THEY WILL BURN on the bottom if you don't turn them.

Service with extra teriyaki sauce. Yummy and simple! Just how I like it!

Also: The nutrition info is based on ground turkey breast. I just use regular ground turkey, so I'm sure the fat content is higher.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Family Friday - Dinner at Home

I love to eat out. We hardly ever do, but I love it.

Tonight is Friday night and we have some gift cards we could use to go out, but I'm making dinner at home. Why? I don't know. I'm home all day today, so I can, and just like eating at the dinner table together. Hannah and I even got to spend time together while she helped me put it in the crock pot/

Sure, dinner only lasts 10 minutes in our house :)

But it's so nice to sit down and provide my family with a home cooked meal. Part of me feels as if cooking for them is a way to show them how much I love them. I know my own mother shows love through her cooking (one of many ways she shows it.) And, her cooking is amazing. I have vivid memories of her cooking streaked throughout my childhood.

Always a snack after school, yummy breakfast sandwiches and chocolate chip pancakes, lemon chicken, casseroles, and my favorite was when I'd open the fridge after school and there would be pudding with whipped cream in individual parfait cups...think I have food issues? :) You would too if your mom cooked like mine does.

That said, I want Hannah and Matt to have that same comfort; not from food, but from the security, consistency and stability of knowing that mom's gonna take care of me. That, no matter how my day was, I'm going to go home to my mom/wife and there's gonna be a nice warm dinner on the table, for me, because she loves me and always will.

What could be a more important or satisfying role.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for my job. In such an uncertain time, both Matt and I have fairly stable jobs and are managing. 

I'm thankful for my job, not only because it helps to provide for our family, but because I love what I do. Is it stressful? Yes. Inconvenient sometimes? Yes. But, I love it. I am the Student Ministries Assistant at Riverside Community Church. I spend tons of time with students, spend a lot of time on administrative tasks, and facilitate the Junior High ministry.

Sometimes, when I'm working, I almost hate to log hours, because I feel like I'm having way too much fun doing what I'm doing to get paid! That's what everyone should feel like at their job.

Next weekend, we'll be taking the kids away on a retreat. I'm looking forward to see what God will do this weekend and I pray that he'll bless and protect my family while I'm gone. I always miss them.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wellness Wednesday

Ugh - I'm so trying to take off those extra holiday pounds.

I'm allowing myself 1 sweet a day...a cookie or something.

Today I was tempted and I failed. Grr. Someone brought Italian Cream Cake into the church. That's my weakness - and I'm oh so weak. Then I made the mistake of looking at the nutrition info AFTER I ate it.

1 slice
450 Calories
35 grams of fat
15 grams of saturated fat
1 gram of transfat
47 carbs

Ick...I felt awful...and now I have not try not to eat anymore sweets today!! It was SOO good.

So, to everyone who has a new year's resolution to lose 50 pounds by February 2, give yourself a break. Change one little thing at a time. It's a lot easier. If I woke up this morning and decided to stop eating all sweets I would fail the first 10 minutes (i.e. see the aforementioned story). But, knowing that I can have one sweet a day, at least for now, I can manage.

Oh and on the topic of "wellness" I just wanted to acknowledge it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after the holidays. Emotionally we can all feel down. So, make sure you do some stuff for yourself to make you happy...

Well...I just heard a 3 year old yell to me "Mom! You have to start making dinner." So, I guess it's that time :) Back to the grind!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tips and Hints Tuesday

I'M BACK! It's been SO LONG since I've posted because my computer died and I had to get a new one. But, I'm here now :) Enjoy Tips and Hints Tuesday - It's the new year and time to get your clutter organized. And my tip for getting motivated is to just get up and DO IT! Look at your space. UTILIZE IT...and MOST IMPORTANTLY - GET RID OF THE JUNK YOU DON'T USE!

Here's how I practiced this tip today!

Ahh, today I had a BURST of cleaning energy. I reorganized like crazy. We had already packed away some toys of Hannah's to make room for the influx Christmas would bring. Now I'm kind of disappointed that I didn't take before pictures, but I'm going to try to include after pics at least! And, after looking at the pics - we REALLY need to get some color on those walls!!!!!!

We have this 3rd bedroom...and it really annoys me. It's just a holding place for a bunch of crap until we have another baby and finish our basement. It's been called an office and a playroom and no one ever spends a lot of time in there...until now. 

We have a stereo in there and the one speaker hasn't worked for MONTHS. So I ripped it off the bookshelves, fixed the speaker (go me!) and put it on the nightstand/side table.
 I actually now use the bookshelves for some of Hannah's books and toys. Got a BUNCH of toys off of the floor. 

My sister and her husband lent Matt their PS2 since they just got a Wii, so I swapped out the 13 inch TV in there for one that had the right connections and hooked it up. The drawers underneath the TV are full of JUNK!! USELESS! I can't complain about a small house if I'm not using the space I have. So, now the first drawer holds the PS2 games and the third drawer houses Hannah's coloring books and crayons -which freed up a container in her closet....Well, that now-empty container got me thinking some more! 

I took the empty container to the floor of the linen closet where there was a cute basket filled with stuff. I put that stuff in the empty container and took the cute basket to my messy room. I have been so irritated with my MESSY vanity. I took all the stuff off the vanity, put it into my basket and it fits so nicely underneath!

Then I looked in my closet....Oh my closet. The top shelf is ALWAYS messy because I'm too short to reach it...and that's where I keep my pajamas. Then I turned to look at our dresser...FULL OF CRAP...NOT CLOTHES. So, I 
emptied it out and put all of my pants in one drawer and all of my pjs in another. (1 is now empty and the top one has dvd's and junk :)

But the top shelf of my closet was clear so I put a TINY BIT of the junk up there (candles and such) along with my sewing box (which I obviously don't use a lot). And then I realized, hey! there's enough room for the ironing board and iron in this closet! It really doesn't fit in the coat closet. 
So, that said, I got rid of 2 garbage bags of clothes I don't wear anymore and my closet is clean. You'll feel SO MUCH BETTER when you do it...so get started!

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