Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Top Ten Tips in Remodeling

A few years ago, during the real estate boom, we added a second floor to our home and then remodeled the first floor (which was in dire need).  After living with the results of the remodel for a couple of years, I will share what I have learned about our decisions while remodeling.

1.  Make sure you have a linen closet in your bathrooms, or at the very least, outside the bathroom.  We have none.

2.  Do not have a rolled edge on your counter. Every bit of liquid will go over the edge and end up in your drawers.

3.  Be sure to put a recessed light over your bathtub or shower. We have one in the master but not the other bath, and I regret it. With the light, it's like taking a shower in a hotel.  Love it!

4.  Do not use laminate flooring if you have animals.  They tell you it is water resistant, but a couple of puddles and the edges lift up.

5.  Put pull-out drawers in your bottom cabinets in the kitchen, otherwise you will spend a lot of time on your knees searching the back of the cabinet for items.

6.  Use corian for counters.  We have a granite island and corian counters around the sink.  I hardly ever do any chopping or put anything liquid on the granite.  I spoil it and treat it like a baby. The corian is so easy to keep clean and even though it is a light color, stains come right off with a little scrubbing.

7.  Try not to have light painted cabinets.  They look pretty and cottage-y, but boy, do they have a lot of splatters and drips.  They are hard to keep clean.  Wood-toned cabinets hide a lot more.

8.  Be careful where you put your light switches.  We thought we put ours in great places, but some of ours are really inconvenient.  For example, put the closet switch right near the handle side of the door, not the other side.  Same thing in the bathroom.  We have to go around the door to get to the switch.

9.  Make sure you have plenty of lighting in your walk-in closet.  We have one recessed light in ours, and I can't see anything in the bottom racks of the closet as the top racks shadow them.

10.  Be sure to have a nice range hood over your stove, rather than a microwave hood.  We originally had a hood, but now have the micro hood.  I really miss the hood as it removed so much more of the cooking odors and smoke, plus the bottom of the micro hood is too low and gets really greasy.

11.  (OK, it's supposed to be ten, but I can't forget this:  Be sure to have a clause in your contract that penalizes the contractor dollars per day for going past the time when the project was supposed to be finished.  It will light a fire under them, trust me!)

I hope these ten tips will help you in any remodeling you might be in the middle of or considering.

If you can add to my tips, please comment below.  Just think how many mistakes can be prevented if you share your experiences!

Friday, May 25, 2012

I Am So Blessed

Someone I love, after reading my blog for some time, mentioned to me that I needed to post something uplifting.  After all, she said, my blog is called "Mom So Blessed".  So I am honoring her wisdom with this post.

I AM blessed..

More than I probably even know.

God gave me two wonderful parents to love me and guide me into the woman I am today.  And they are still guiding me, thanks to God for their continued good health.

I also am blessed with the love and friendship of my four younger sisters and their children.  We enjoy each others' company so much that we do everything together, from shopping to going to church.

God has also blessed me with my wonderful, handsome husband of almost 31 years.  We are best friends and enjoy a warm, loving relationship that grows even better every year.  I still look forward to our "date night" on Fridays.  He has also been a wonderful provider for our family which enabled me to stay at home and homeschool our children.  And as a father, well, let's just say his children adore him!

Which brings me to where I feel the most blessed in my life. 

My five wonderful, healthy, happy children who range in age from 13 to 29 and of whom I am so proud!

No job has been harder than being mom to these children, but what love and grace has been my reward for that hard work.  And what amazing children, all so different, but strong in heart and love for each other. 

And I am so blessed to feel the love of God in my life.  So many times I have felt His hand in my life and seen so many prayers answered. My relationship with God is what holds me up through the glorious times as well as the heartbreaking ones.  He is the first thing I think of when my eyes open and the last thing before they close at night.

I pray that God knows how blessed I do feel in my life here on earth and that he will continue to guide me in my "right path" and that "goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Facing My Fears

I am an avoider.

I admit that I try to avoid all unpleasant things in life if I possibly can.

The things I avoid can range from insignificant to very important.  And I feel remorseful when I look back over the things I have avoided.

I avoid doctors and dentists.

I avoid people in pain.

I avoid wakes and funerals.

I avoid visiting people who are ill and not expected to live.

I avoid cantoring in church.

I avoid volunteering for things.

I avoid sad news stories.

Isn't that embarassing?  And why do I avoid all these things? 

I've been meditating on it and realize it is due to fear. 

I am afraid.  Afraid of pain:  physical, mental and spiritual.  I run away from things that force me to endure these things.  Yet by running, I am making them bigger and scarier.  They will not go away!

And I am missing out on the life God intended for me by avoiding the uncomfortable things that happen in this life.  No one here on earth will have a life free of pain, anguish or fear.  It will come at some point.

I need to pray to ask God to help me embrace all of life, the sad and the joyful, to face my fears;  and to put others' needs before mine--to be a servant.  Perhaps in that way I will overcome my fears and have courage in Him.

   I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Friday, May 18, 2012


I have decided why things in my life don't turn out as well as I expect.

I'm lazy.

I don't know how, but I am.  I never really ever sit down for most of the day, but somehow I'm still lazy. 

I've decided that I want results without the work.  For example, I dream of being super fit and looking amazing at 51.  Yet I have trouble squeezing in 15 or 20 minutes of exercise a few days a week.

And when it comes to food, I intend to eat healthier every day, but I give in to temptation quicker than the blink of an eye.  Or I make menu plans with lovely, carefully prepared meals, but end up just making my "go to" meal.

I want to have an organized home, but the task just seems overwhelming.  I start and get some areas neat, but others just become worse.

I look at other peoples' yards and gardens and wish mine looked as neat and well-manicured.

I want to learn to play more than chopsticks on the piano, but give up after a few tries.

I want to have successful shops on Etsy and to write my blog, but I am having trouble doing what needs to be done to accomplish those things.

All this has led me to believe that at the root of it all, I am lazy.  I want all these things that I just mentioned, but I am not willing to put the work in to achieve them.  It just seems easier to continue on the way I have been, and just envy others (a sin) for what they have.  I know that those achievers had to work hard to have the results I can see.  And I have the desire to do what it takes, but something happens from my mind to my hands.  I just can't seem to have the staying power.  Or in other words, discipline.  That's what makes me feel lazy.

So I have decided, that in order to achieve something that requires hard work, discipline and dedication that I will pare my dreams down a bit.  In the next day or so, I will be praying for guidance in what God would have me put my energies into and then go full throttle into working towards that.

I will be sure to share with you where I believe God is leading me in the next few days.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Quilting Sheep: An encouraging word...

This is so beautiful that I wanted to share it with all of you!

  A Quilting Sheep: An encouraging word...: Run to your Father's arms and nestle in His bosom! ( James Smith , "Comfort for Christians!") "Be still--and know that I am God!" Psalm...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tribute to Mom

I love my Mom.  She is my best friend.  That is why I want to pay tribute to Mom today in honor of Mother's Day.

There has never been a day in my life when I have not spoken to my Mom, and most days I also see her.  We do everything together from grocery shopping, to thrift store shopping, to going to the doctors!  We just enjoy each others' company.

I wish every child could have the childhood I had, and Mom was the center of it all.  She made my childhood one of freedom from worry so that I could just be a child.  I (and my four sisters) spent every nice day outside, from morning til dark, just playing.  All we had to play with was a swingset, a couple of bikes, a picnic table, some old pans and clothes, and that was about it.  We amused ourselves for hours with just these few items.  Mom would peek out at us from time to time, or come out on the porch if there was any yelling or arguing.  Such pleasant, happy days!

Mom was also the one we ran to when we had a "boo boo".  She would comfort us, dry our tears and bandage us up.  A hug from Mom would make everything better.  And when we were sick with the chicken pox, she made it more like a vacation than an illness!

As I grew older, Mom and I had many heart to heart talks about everything under the sun.  She always answered all my questions, difficult as they may have been.  She helped me look at all sides of an issue before making a decision, and loved me even when she thought I was making the wrong one.

I thought that as I grew older, I wouldn't need Mom as much.  Boy, was I wrong.  I seek her wisdom just as much and feel closer to her all the time.

Even now, when my Mom looks at my face, she knows that something is bothering me.  I'll cry and tell her about it, and even if it is silly, she will make me feel so much better.  I always feel calmer in Mom's presence.

So, for this Mother's Day, I just want Mom to know how much I cherish the time I spend with her, how much I appreciate the life she has given me, and how much I love her.

Mom, Happy Mother's Day, and I love you more than words can say!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Seeking Simplicity

I wanted to share with you an amazing book I have been reading lately called "Abundant Simplicity" by Jan Johnson.  It has certainly been eye-opening to me, and perhaps you might find the same.

It is as Jan says about "discovering the unhurried rhythms of grace".  Isn't that what we all crave deep down in our souls even as we run around "multitasking"?  

Since I have started reading this book, I can actually feel a little serenity seeping into my life.  Not that my life is any less chaotic than before, but I am beginning to look at it in a whole new light.

I am trying to discern what is necessary in my life.  And that includes things, thoughts and things I choose to do with each minute of the day.

One of the things I have added is studying my Magnificat devotional in bed, right before I close my eyes.  But in order to do this, I have given up watching the news at 11 while in bed which I was addicted to.  

But I feel so much more relaxed when I close my eyes at night, with God's word the last thing I think about before sleep.  

And then, when I open my eyes in the morning, I once again grab my Magnificat and my glasses and read the morning prayers as well as the Mass for the day.  What better way to prepare myself to tackle the day?  And the peace and quiet of that early morning prayer seems to let me hear God's voice a little more clearly.

Some of the things I have chosen to lose are the stack of magazines and newspapers sitting by my chair.  I've decided that when it feels like a chore to make myself read them, it is time to dump them or recycle them.  

And then there are my clothes.  From now on, when I put something on in the morning and it doesn't feel great on or look great, off it goes into the donation bag.  No more messing around with uncomfortable clothes or ones that just aren't me.  My closet looks much better for it and so do I!

Then there are the things I sign up for.  You know how it is.  Bible study, choir, a class, cantoring.  I've decided that I am going to spend as much time as possible with my family, rather than with others.  My children are growing up so quickly, and my parents getting older, which is causing me to value my time with them all the more.  With God's help, I'll have time later in life to devote myself to helping others besides my family or getting involved with things without the fear of taking away from family time.

I'm now trying to discern what I want to concentrate on here at home.  I am currently selling on Ebay as well as Etsy and trying to keep up with my blog.  Therefore, many of my hobbies have fallen to the wayside like sewing, quilting and reading.  This is the hard part for me right now.  I'm praying that God will direct me in the path he has chosen for me, and that I can hear Him loud and clear.  My goal is to use most of my energy left over from being a mom to do what God would have me do, so I am listening very closely, and trying to clear my mind of the chaos of life.

I will try to continue to keep you updated in my quest, and I really recommend that you pick up the book I mentioned at the beginning (Abundant Simplicity by Jan Johnson) to begin your journey like I have.  Best wishes and prayers to you all!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Slacker Mom...Continued

The other day, I posted on being a Slacker Mom, Slacker Teacher, but never really touched on the slacker mom aspect.  I feel the need to do this now.

I had been thinking about my Mom, especially with Mother's Day coming up and what a wonderful Mom she was, and still is.  She was an incredible example of what a mom should be and I certainly wouldn't be who I am today without her influence.

And so, when I compare myself to Mom, I feel like a slacker mom.  She was so good at training us, in a good way, to be organized, clean and kind.  Somehow, in raising my five children, I failed to do that.

For example, when we were little, as soon as we got up, we went into the bathroom to wash our face and brush our teeth.  Period.  Some of my children haven't washed their face in days, and some I have to mention their "dragon breath" before they brush!

Every Saturday was bed changing day years ago (and still is for my bed).  But at my house, I'm lucky to see my children's sheets once a month!  As for making beds, (which I do mine every day), I wonder if my children are feeling well if theirs are made.

We were also required when I was little to keep our rooms decently clean, including dusting.  My children's rooms have paths to their beds through all their stuff.  I have to avert my eyes during evening prayer so that I don't have anger in my heart during a prayerful time.  And I don't think my children know what dusting is!

Bedtime with Mom was set in stone, except for exceedingly rare occasions, like a good episode of "Wonderful World of Disney" on Sunday nights.  Usually it was 7 to 7:30 p.m.  At our house, bedtime can range from anywhere between 9:30 and when I go to bed (usually 10:30). 

Mom was a quiet, loving authoritarian.  We respected her wishes and wanted to please her, so we always (mostly) did what we were told.  Somehow that gene did not pass on to me, the slacker mom.  I could never be a CEO or a boss for that matter.  I somehow missed out on Mom's amazing ability to teach and to lead and instead wander through life with no clear household rules.  Being a follower is not a good attribute for mothers.  Moms need to be leaders, and instill basic habits in their children, all with a loving heart.  

I love my children dearly, but I feel I have done them a disservice in not teaching them and expecting some very basic things from them.  I tend to overlook a lot, as I like to keep the peace and don't like confrontation.  Perhaps I should study in my mind more closely how my Mom led our family with love and patience and maybe glean a few tips.  Perhaps it's not too late!