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Queen of Your Home

14 Nov

I was reading a little devotional this morning by Nancy Campbell called “100 Days of Blessing: Devotions for Wives and Mothers” and came across a quote I wanted to share by Rev. T De Witt Talmage:

“Thank God, O woman, for the quietude of your home, and that you are queen in it.  Men come at eventide to the home; but all day long you are there, beautifying it, sanctifying it, adorning it and blessing it.  Better be there than war a queen’s coronet,  Better be there than carry the purse of a princess.  It may be a very humble home.  There may be no carpet on the floor.  There may be no pictures on the wall.  There may be no silks in the wardrobe; but, by your faith in God, and your cheerful demeanor, you may garniture that place with more splendor than the upholsterer’s hand ever kindles.”

Nancy writes, “Your home is not a prison to restrict your life.  It is a place where God can use you to influence many lives for Him, firstly your children, and multitudes of others who will come into your home over the years.  My greatest delight is to bring people into our home, feed them at our table and by God’s grace, show them God’s love and lead them closer to God”

Lovely words to keep in mind during the holidays and always.


Antique Store Miracle

14 Nov

I am so proud of myself:)

I have been looking around for a good deal on dishes for Thanksgiving.  I am serving 27 people and currently have 14 mismatched dishes.  The problem is that I have champagne taste and a beer budget.  I also love antiques.  Antiques equal pricey…usually.

So I drug the kids to an antique mall near my house and scoured each space for a set of dishes that I could use for Thanksgiving.  I found several beautiful sets that ranged from $250-$600.  A bit over my budget.  Not to be discouraged, I continued to hunt.  Low and behold, way down on a bottom shelf far off in a dark corner, sat MY dishes.  Well, they weren’t mine yet, but they were just SCREAMING my name.

Check-out these beauties:

Cute huh?

OK, so it’s not a complete set, but you’ll never guess what I paid.  Forty-five dollars!  I was doing the happy-shopper dance right there in the store.  My kids would have thought I was nuts, but they  were too busy glued to the TV set in the corner.  Those kids are like moths to a flame around a TV.

Anyway, I just love the delicate flowers and the gold around the rim.  It is going to be perfect for my Thanksgiving table.  The set is by Smith Taylor circa 1930’s and is made in the USA.  It came with 10 dinner plates, 10 soup bowls, a platter, a covered vegetable dish,  5 tea cups with saucers, 3 salad plates, a few little dessert bowls, and a sugar dish with no lid.

It was such a crazy deal that the lady at the register called the vendor just to be sure it wasn’t a mistake.  As she removed each price tag from the dishes, I asked her if I could keep them to show my husband what a great deal I got.

When I got home, I started showing him this huge pile of price tags that ranged from $6 per plate to $29 each for the veggie dish and platter.  He was getting very nervous.  Then I showed him my receipt for $45.  He kissed me and said “Good job.”


Maybe it was not quite a miracle, but God was smiling on me for sure.

Clean-up Mission #2

13 Nov

Counting today, which is half over, I only have 3 more days to get my house de-cluttered.  That wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t homeschooling my kids and driving all over San Diego for their various activities.  But I am determined to get my house in order for Thanksgiving, when it will be filled with family from all over the United States enjoying each others’ company in a nice, tidy home.

So I had better  get on with Mission #2: the landing.

For some reason, the landing has taken itself very literally and has become the “landing” spot for every homeless thing in the house.  Time to find a home for this stuff.  Much of it will be going in the trash:)

I also thought I would add a mini mission to this post: the breakfast nook floor.

     Although not as dramatic as the landing, these piles of books have been equally as irritating.   I moved a bookcase out of my kitchen a few, ahem, months ago, and they just never made it out of the kitchen.

Most of these are keepers, so I just need to put them in a box and put them somewhere until I can buy another bookcase.

Boy, I like the after posts much more than the before posts.  How about you?

I only have two hours to work on this today, so I had better get cracking!





Mission Accomplished

13 Nov

I am on a roll!  I love the feeling of driving away from the thrift store after dumping bags and bags of the stuff that has been cluttering-up my house for too long!

I have also made a discovery.  There is a monster who lives in my dryer and eats socks.  I swear.  Take a look at the pile of single socks I am throwing away.


Poor lonely socks.  Am I the only one out there with this problem?

I also have a confession to make.  Some of these socks have traveled with us from our old house when we moved 8 years ago and actually sat in storage waiting to find their match.  How pathetic is that?  They are going in the trash today.  I promise.

On a positive note, I have accomplished my first mission.  Voila!

And double voila!

I know, I know, it’s a bit bare.  I’m OK with it for now.  I’m actually enjoying how clutter-free it is.  I’ll decorate when I’m done getting rid of all my junk.

For now, my husband and I are enjoying our bedroom again.  Wait, that didn’t come out right.  Oh well, you know what I mean.  There is peace in order.

Off to my next mission…


Clean-up Mission #1

9 Nov

As you will soon find out, I am pretty much an open book, and I don’t pretend to be someone I am not.  As I mentioned before, my house is a bit out of control and I am on a mission to clean it up before November 17th.   That’s just 8 days away.  Yikes!

The deadline is because I have a cleaning lady coming to help me shine the place up for Thanksgiving and that’s the latest appointment she had available.  If you have ever had someone else clean you house, you know that it can be even more work preparing for them to come than the cleaning itself.  Basically, it is my reward for getting a handle on the messes that are taking over my house.

Case in point:

This is my master bedroom.  I know, I know, it’s not pretty.  My mom would be so embarrassed!  That’s why I’m posting these pictures.  Not to embarrass my mom, but because I need accountability!  Now I HAVE to clean it!  No more putting it off until tomorrow, or next week, or next year.

Here’s another corner of my bedroom:

Don’t ask me why I have tubs of baby clothes and cloth diapers all over my room.  I’m done having babies.  I’m just not good at getting rid of stuff.

I think it’s because I was always holding onto the kid’s clothes for the next kid.  When you have 5 kids, that’s a lot of stuff.

I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but now it’s time to do something with all this stuff.

Here’s the plan:  I am going to have one box for give-away/garage sale stuff, one tub for really nice stuff that I can pass down to my oldest daughter for her baby or sell on Ebay, and one tub for clothes that I am still saving for my youngest daughter.  Everything else will go away or be thrown away.

And they’re off…

I’ll post after pictures soon, I hope.

Thanksgiving Table Inspiration

8 Nov

Hospitality is becoming a rare commodity in our society.  I understand.  We are so busy trying to feed our own family, we rarely have time to extend an invitation to others.  This has been largely true for our family in the past three years.  But that is about to change.

My husband and I both have the gift of hospitality.  It’s our love language.  We love cooking for people and watching them enjoy the meal.  Someday, if we completely loose our minds, we may open a restaurant.  We’ll see.

In the meantime, we will be hosting a large portion of the Bradley family for Thanksgiving this year.  So far, I estimate about 26 people.

I have begun the task of counting chairs, dishes and glassware, and I am falling short.  You know what that means…shopping opportunity!

I came across this “Sparking Thanksgiving Table Setting” on the Southern Living website.  It was just screaming my name.  If you haven’t noticed, I LOVE pink!  I especially love classy touches of pink.  My kitchen has pink glass knobs, for example.


This is the adult table.  Isn’t it dreamy?  I already have a gold table cloth and we use silver-plate flatware every day.  I just need to count it all and buy a few more pieces at my favorite antique store in town.

I found some gold chargers  for $1.98 each.  Not quite as cute as these, but they will do nicely.  My stemware from our wedding also has a gold rim.  Perfect.  My biggest problem is that I just don’t have enough of anything.  There will be a lot of mix-and-matching going on at my table.  That’s the price I pay for having my kids wash dishes.


I love this china.  It’s so delicate.  These candle sticks were from a thrift store and painted gold along with some apples.  I have no idea what I will do for a centerpiece yet.


This is the teen table.  I think I will have seven kids ages 10-17.  I will have them sit at their own table with sparking cider and less expensive dishes.

Don’t you just love this table cloth?  I do, but I’m not sure that my nephews will.  I think I’ll stick to the cream one that I have.


This is the kids table.  Too cute, huh?  I love the little woodland animals.  My kids already have a little table (formerly a coffee table) with little chairs  in our kitchen that they use every day.  I will turn that into their own Thanksgiving table that they will share with two of their cousins.  I’m thinking melamine dishes:)

Well, there it is.  My inspiration.  I’m excited to see what I can come up with on my little budget.  I’ll be hitting antique stores and wholesale marts to see what I can find.  Wish me luck!

Thanksgiving Clean-up

7 Nov

We are having company for Thanksgiving…lots of company.  Although we are looking forward to visiting with many family members that we don’t see nearly enough, the Castle is a MESS!

First let me say that I am very thankful for my home and for my lovely family.

OK, now that that is out of the way…I am so tired of living in a messy house and my kids are making me crazy.  Wow, I feel better now.

In all honesty, my house is just too darn big for me.  I guess I would enjoy cleaning it if I didn’t have two little terrors  who I will affectionately call El Tornado and El Tornada running around destroying things.  Most of the time I  look around my house and feel totally defeated .  They are just too fast and destructive for me to keep up with them.

Sara, who is 3, is so pickn’ cute that it’s hard to get mad at her, even when you catch her with a Sharpy making modern art all over your fairly-newly painted living room walls.

I know, she looks sweet, but she can cause some major damage, trust me.

Then there is the Justice.  Let me just say that I have never imagined I would have a child who could cause the chaos and calamity that this child has inflicted on my home.  Poor Sarah has clearly been negatively influenced by her older brother.

This is Justice eating yogurt.  Enough said.

I’m not even going to mention my 10 year old son who nearly burned down my house.  In all seriousness, please make sure your kids know never to put batteries into the fireplace.  My lovely new carpet now has big gooey burn marks all over the living room.  And all of my upholstered furniture has holes from burning embers.  It’s not pretty.

Then there is my lovely 13 year old daughter.  Teenage girls make the strangest messes.  That is all I will say about that.

Now that you know the culprits, it is my hope that you will have a better appreciation for my struggle for organization and wont judge me too harshly when you see the pictures of my house.

My goal is to get my house organized in the next 10 days!

My reward is to have my house cleaned by someone else!  Yeah!

I will begin posting pictures of my various projects starting tomorrow.

Stay tuned…