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A Box of Sunshine

A few weeks ago, I received a surprise in the mail. 


A Box of Sunshine.

Box of Sunshine

The box was filled with luxurious little goodies that I’ve been using everyday since.Sunshine Gift Box

There was also a super sweet note,

Psalms 139

And an adorable card.  (A quick google search showed me that this printable is from HappyMoneySaver.com.)Box of Sunshine Free Printable


The best part?  The box was sent anonymously and I can’t figure out who sent it!  The postmark is from a nearby town where I have a few different friends, and no one has fessed up.  Trying to figure it out is ALMOST as much fun as decoding the “secret admirer” note I found in my locker in 9th grade was. (Except it only took me 3 periods to figure that one out.)


Regardless of the fact that I don’t know who sent it, isn’t this a neat idea?  It sure brightened my day, week and month!

How a Messy Mom Cleans: The Goal

My friends and family are laughing right now.  “Katie can’t write about cleaning!  That’s ridiculous!”

toys in dining room

It’s true, my house is generally a mess.  And under that mess there are crumbs.  And dirt.  And dust bunnies.  Let’s put it this way…I will never win an award for having a clean house.


Sometimes, my house gets messy (I prefer “messy” to “dirty.”  “Messy” sounds so much better.) enough that I get totally overwhelmed and don’t even know where to start cleaning it.

messy living room

Through the last five years, however, I’ve developed a system that helps me get going when the going (cleaning) gets rough.

But before I divulge my secrets, I have to ask one question.  Do you strive to have a perfectly clean house all of the time?  If so, just stop reading.  This is NOT the blog post for you.

Now, for the rest of you, let’s discuss our goal when cleaning.

Our goal is NOT to have every room in the house sparkling at the same time.  Our goal is NOT to have every fingerprint wiped off of every surface.  Our goal is NOT that all of the laundry is clean, folded and ironed every night before we go to bed.

Our goal is not perfection.

Our goal is FUNCTION!  Function, people! 

Our goal is that our houses are clean and tidy enough that the family can function.  Our goal is that everyone can find clean clothes to wear in the morning, that we have a place to prepare food and to eat it, that the kids have a place to play and that we can find the bills before they’re due.


Function – not perfection!


Are you with me? (or against me?)

If you’re with me, follow along on Facebook so you can see the next post in this series, where I tell ya’ll how to get started when cleaning is overwhelming.
How a Messy Mom Cleans

Spring Colors



The HomeShed is going to have a lot of these fun, springy colors at our spring sale (April 26-28th) and these pictures show how to use them in your home.  The key?  Pair your bright colors with lots of simple neutrals.  (We’ll have some of those for you, too.) Shop by the room.

(Ballard Designs)

(Holly Mathis Interiors)


Living Room

(Southern Living)


Happy Roost




Frame within a frame - after



Five Favorite Parenting Books

parenting books

5.  Baby 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice For Your Baby's First Year (KINDLE edition) (Baby:411)

A friend gave this to me before I had my first son, and I read the whole thing while nursing him. I continued to use it as a reference as time went on because it had great information and a very easy-to-use format.

4.  The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer and The Happiest Toddler on the Block: How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful and Cooperative One- to Four-Year-Old: Revised Edition

I love Dr. Karp. I read Happiest Baby in the wee hours of the night on my Kindle, when Isaac was a newborn. I followed the ideas for sleep and soothing that Dr. Karp suggested, and Isaac was a sweet, content baby. I read Happiest Toddler when Adam was 2 or 3 to help deal with the temper tantrums. The book gave several practical suggestions for dealing with the troublesome toddler years. Both books helped me understand my child’s needs and how to meet those needs in a way that worked for all of us.

3.  Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

Neither of my boys were great sleepers. I tried some other sleeping books that were not helpful, but this one was. Dr. Weissbluth outlines what the sleep needs are for each age and the best way to achieve them. This book is not short, and the information can be kind of hard to find, but if you are desperate enough for sleep, you WILL read it and it WILL work!


2.  Love and Logic Magic For Early Childhood

I just read this book recently after posting on Facebook that I was having trouble with my 4 year old. After reading only a few pages, I was able to try some of the strategies with success! It is fairly short and has been a big help for us.


1.NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

This is my all-time favorite for parents and teachers, no matter what age your child is. It changed my teaching and guides my parenting daily. Each chapter focuses on a common parenting practice, and then uses scientific research to show a DIFFERENT and BETTER way to do things. My favorite chapter is first: The Inverse Power of Praise, but there are also chapters on racism, teaching your baby to talk, teen rebellion, and other important topics.




What are your favorite parenting books?  Please share them here or on Facebook.


(The Amazon links here are affiliate links.)