Power Word Resolutions

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UntitledI have never been good at making and keeping New Year resolutions. However, I do enjoy spending some time reflecting on the previous year, and almost always feel the need to make resolutions- most of which are unrealistic or unattainable for some reason. Therefore, I set myself (and by extension my family) up for failure before the New Year ever starts. So for 2018, I decided I needed to do something different. I read this fantastic article about ditching traditional task orientated resolutions and instead choosing a power word/phrase. Roy Cohen, a career coach and author, explains the difference in the article, “Resolutions feel like an enormous burden and are a guilty reminder when we occasionally fall off the wagon. When they are grand gestures, they are likely to be a challenge to keep. On the other hand, a single word evokes a state of mind. It is the equivalent of a mantra with the intention of focusing on key themes that motivate us.”

After some reflection, I decided that it would be best to look at individual sections of my life and pick multiple power words. So, with that in mind, I decided to pick power words for the following: Homeschooling, Family Life, Marriage, Homemaking, Writing, and Spirituality.

HOMESCHOOLING: I currently homeschool my three oldest children, and we are in our 5th year of homeschooling. You would think that at this point I would have schooling down to a science. However, the truth is homeschooling is an ever-evolving thing. This past fall, I had grand visions of an organized planned out classical education. I love the ideas behind a classical education, and in the past, we have tried it. Foolishly, I decided to try it again…forgetting that while I love the idea of a classical education, my children don’t like the idea or fit it well. My kids do much better with a hands-on unschooling approach. So, as the new year starts, we are returning to what I know works for us. Formal schooling in reading and math only and unschooling everything else. So the power word for homeschooling in 2018 is going to be APPRECIATE. I am going to focus on appreciating who my kids are. I am going to stick with the approach that works for us. I am not going to try and force my kids to conform to educational principals that don’t work for them. I am going to appreciate that they are individuals and let them learn how they learn. I believe by focusing on the word APPRECIATE that our homeschooling in 2018 will be more successful and enjoyable for everyone.

FAMILY LIFE: As a stay at home mom and wife, my family is my top priority. I love being a stay at home, mom/wife. Nothing makes me happier than spending quality time with my family. However, let’s be honest, family life isn’t always roses and sunshine. Sometimes, it is downright awful- kids misbehave, spouses have bad days, etcetera. It can be easy to get caught up in the stresses of life, to lose your focus and feel stagnate as a family- to forget to find the joy in the mundane. This is why our family is going to have two power word for 2018 that go together- SEEK ENJOYMENT. As a family, I want us to find joy in all parts of our family life. I want us to enjoy spending time with each other whether we are doing something exciting like going to the Lego Discovery Center in Atlanta, GA or having a simple movie night at home. I want us to have a vibrant and active family life. I want my kids to look back on their childhoods and smile from memories.

MARRIAGE: In December, Mark and I attended my childhood best friend’s wedding. It was three nights and four days of just us because the wedding was kid free. My aunt kept the boys for us. It is the first real trip, Mark and I have ever taken without our children. Mark and I had a fantastic time together and got to reconnect together as a couple. I want to capitalize on the reconnecting we did on the trip. So, with that in mind, the power word I have chosen is RECONNECT. We will focus on reconnecting as a couple- making it a priority to spend quality times together and doing little things for each other. I am also wanting to make date nights out a thing that happens regularly, now that my kids are finally old enough that I feel comfortable leaving them with a babysitter, something I have struggled with in the past. My aunt has also offered to take the kids again this summer so that Mark and I can make another trip just the two of us.

HOMEMAKING: My power word for this section of my life is DELEGATE. I am not good at delegating. I tend to do everything on my own. For years that was okay, but now with my medical issues, I no longer have the physical stamina to take care/keep the house all on my own. I know that I am doing my boys (or my future daughter-in-laws!) any favors by not making sure they know how to do necessary household chores. With all of that in mind, I am working on delegating household chores and expecting them to help out around the house. I am also giving each of the boys their own chores. Over the past month, as a family, we have worked on deep cleaning individual rooms of the house. Now that these rooms are clean, the goal is to keep them maintained by tidying daily so that the house is always tidy and not continually falling into messy chaos. My biggest hope with delegating and involving everyone in the housework is that when I am knocked out of commission by pain flares that the house won’t fall apart without me.

WRITING: DILIGENT is my power word choice. Now that I have finished my degree, I have time to devote to my writing. I am currently working on a novel. My goal is to have the first draft completed by the end of August. To meet this goal, I have to be diligent and write daily. I have to power through writer blocks and make writing a priority.

SPIRITUALITY: 2017 was a hard year spirituality-wise. I ended up having a crisis of faith due to my medical issues. While I did not doubt God’s existence, I struggled to find the point to believe in him- to pray and attend Mass. I questioned his love for me because of the crosses I have been given in the form of chronic pain. I felt that God was punishing me for the sins of my parents. It seemed pointless and hopeless to have a spiritual life. That crisis of faith touched my whole family, and we stopped praying together very often and by the end of the year, we were rarely attending Mass. I don’t want that for my family. I want to have an abundant spiritual life- both as an individual, as part of a couple, and as part of a family. With that in mind, I picked two power words for the category of spirituality, and they are FIND and EMBRACE. I want to find my faith again and embrace it. I want to bring spirituality and faith back into my marriage and our family life.

As January comes to an end, I am happy to say that 2018 is off to a good start. Power words are working much better than task orientated goals. I am looking forward to how the words APPRECIATE, SEEK ENJOYMENT, RECONNECT, DELEGATE, DILIGENT, FIND, and EMBRACE are going to enhance my life and the lives of my family this year. Did you make any New Year resolutions or did you pick a word as I did? What did you choose to do and how is the first month going for you and yours?

Slaying the Laundry Monster and not by becoming a Nudist.

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When I grew up laundry was a massive pile on the love seat. For me it was perfectly normal to have to search for a clean outfit every morning. This would be the reason why I seldom wear matched socks. I am cool as long as the socks are the same kind- crew cut, ankle, etc.

Once, I was married laundry was fairly simple to keep up with at first. There just wasn’t that much. However, 3 kids down the road and I had my own Mt. Laundry. It felt like I was constantly washing clothes and searching for clothes for people to wear each day. It was exhausting. I was starting to get very depressed about the pile of laundry that was a resident in my living room. However, the pile is no more!

At the beginning of the year Mark and I started talking about downsizing. We wanted a more minimalistic way of life. We felt we were drowning in stuff. A big thing was clothes…..they were simply everywhere. We had Mt. Laundry in the living room. We also had random piles in our bedroom and even in the kids’ room. So, over the last few weeks I have been purging our wardrobes and simplifying them.

The first thing I did was weed out all the wrong size kid clothes. There was a ridiculous amount and I am ashamed to say they were cycling through the laundry room on a fairly regular basis. Once, I had done that I set out to get the kids’ wardrobes to a manageable size. This is their summer wardrobe per kid:

-1 pair of blue jeans
-1 pair light weight activity pants
-7 shorts*
-7 shirts*
-2 polos for church wear
-1 button up dress shirt
-1 pair of church pants
-1 pair of church shorts
-2 pairs of pjs*
– 1 swim suit
-2 packages of underwear for those that are potty trained
-1 package of socks
-1 light weight jacket

Shoes for each are: rainboots, crocs and sneakers.
*Note: Two younger kids have a couple extra pieces to account for accidents.

This brings me to a total of 80 clothing items; not including socks/underwear. It does include the few extra clothing pieces my younger two have. It sounds like a lot of clothing but when you take into account that it is for 3 kids it isn’t.

Mark and my wardrobes are still works in progress. However, by purging the wardrobes I greatly lightened my laundry load. While, I was purging I also took the opportunity to catch up on Mt. Laundry and bulldoze it to the ground. I even matched the socks! Once, I was caught up I wanted to put a new system in place that would prevent Mt. Laundry from every growing again.

I looked at our weekly schedule and decided that Tuesdays and Fridays were going to be laundry days. Each day I will watch 3 loads of laundry. Tuesdays is made up of: kids, adults and towels/rags. Fridays is made up of: kids, adults and Mark’s uniform stuff.  Once a month I wash all the bedding (kids bedding is as needed). I wash diapers as needed throughout the week; normally 2 times a week. By doing laundry twice a week and having small wardrobes the loads aren’t huge. I no longer have to wait for Mark to carry the heavy laundry baskets upstairs for me. I fold each load as it comes out of the dryer and then bring it upstairs and put it away. I have the boys help.

I never thought it was possible to not have a Mt. Laundry but it is! I did laundry today and didn’t dread it. Even though we were out of the house all day running errands it was easy to wash the 3 loads. The night before laundry day before bed I start the first load. This way when I get up in the morning it can be moved to the dryer and I can start the second load. This allows me to have a good start on laundry by 8 am. I also don’t take a load out of the dryer unless I can fold it right then and there. If I can’t fold it I leave it in the dryer. I also have a rule that at the end of each laundry day the dryer is empty.

All the boys clothes neatly put away.
kids laundry


Early Retirement…. say what? (And some DIY recipes!)

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Mark has been talking about retirement for a while now and had started working on a retirement account. He had even mentioned the idea of early retirement several times. Originally it was mostly just discussion but than in December he came across Mr. Money Mustache…..All of a sudden the talk about early retirement became much more earnest and he wanted to put a plan in action to achieve that. His plan meant living very very frugally. It meant saving an immense amount of money now.

At first I was very resistant of the idea. I already felt like we were living frugally. I already felt; when compared to how I was raised that we were saving a lot of money. I didn’t see how we could follow the lifestyle that Mr. Money Mustache advocated and still have a happy enjoyable life filled with rich experiences.  I’ve slowly been getting more on board with the idea and the plan. Though, I am sure Mark wishes I could climb aboard the Mr. Money Mustache boat a little quicker!

While, I was exploring his website I came across an article entitled “Are You Cleaning Out Your Own Wallet?” It hit home especially when Mark and I sat down to review the financial picture of the past year and go over the budget for the upcoming year. I was shocked at the amount of money I had spent over the past year on household cleaning supplies and personal supplies. I started looking at what we were buying and started considering what we could do to cut the amount of money spent in those areas.

There wasn’t a lot to cut in household cleaning supplies. I can’t cut out dishwasher soap or laundry soap. We need trash bags. In personal care products there was room to cut but even then there wasn’t too much room. I am not a woman; who can embrace never shaving and being super hairy! I can’t buy the cheapest shampoo and conditioners because they leave me with horrible dandruff. Dandruff that is so bad my scalp will start to bleed. I can’t use super cheap products on my face because they cause me to break out.

So, since there wasn’t a lot to cut by not buying the products I had to start considering ways to get said products at a more reasonable cost. I started scouring Pinterest and found some fantastic do-it-yourself recipes for things like dish soap, laundry soap and some of the personal care products I use.

At first I was a little skeptical about how well some of these alternatives would work. However, I am pleased to say that they all work just as well as the mainstream store bought items and in some case like the dishwasher soap better! So, without further ado here are the recipes!

Dishwasher soap found over at Wellness Mama’s blog.



  1. Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container.
  2. Use 1 tablespoon per load as needed.
  3. For an extra boost, add a few drops of dishwashing liquid (only a few!!!) to the powder before closing the soap container in the dishwasher.
  4. You can also add white vinegar as the rinse agent, though honestly, I forget this most of the time and it still works.

I used an old pickle jar. I have been beyond impressed with this recipe. I have not added any liquid dishwashing soap when using it. This has cleaned my dishes better than the expensive dishwashing tablets were! With the amount that I made and how little needed per load this is going to last me forever!

Laundry Soap found here at How Does She do That.


  • 1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax- Found in the detergent aisle
  • 1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda- Found in the detergent aisle
  • 1 (3 lb) Container of OxyClean- Found in the detergent aisle. (This is optional but I highly recommend adding it)
  • 2 (14.1 oz) Bars of Zote Soap- Found in the detergent aisle (we chose to do pink for the scent but the white would be just fine. You can also use Fels Naptha)
  • 1 (4 lb) Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda- Found in the cooking aisle (You could also get two 2 lb box, we couldn’t find the larger 4lb box when we went)
  • ·         1-2 (55 oz) Bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener- or use 3-4 bottles of Scentsy Washer Whiffs.


1. Grate zote soap with cheese grater or food processor.
2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bucket.
3. Use 2 -4 Tablespoons per laundry load.

Note: I used Fels Naptha soap and a grater. I also left out the purex crystals.

Now, onto the 2 personal care products I have started making. The first one I started making was make-up remover. I am thrilled with it because unlike the store bought make-up remover it doesn’t leave my skin feeling slimy afterwards. Instead, it feels nourished. The other product I started making was a face scrub. It is very similar to the expensive face scrub I like from the body shop but so much cheaper to make!

Make-up Remover found over at Frugally Sustainable


  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dr. Bronner’s unscented baby-mild liquid castile soap (I used citrus scented)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil


  1. Combine ingredients in container
  2. Shake well
  3. Dampen cotton ball to use
  4. Store in airtight container and shake before each use.

Oatmeal Honey Face Scrub found over at Dabbles and Babbles


  • Two parts oatmeal (ground up finely in a blender or food processor)
  • One part honey
  • One part sweet almond oil (or coconut or olive oil – which ever you prefer)


Mix everything together until it’s a thick sticky mixture. Feel free to add a little extra oil or even a few drops of water if it’s too sticky or clumpy. Smooth onto face and rub into skin for a couple of minutes and then rinse off.

Note: I used olive oil.

I use this nightly! Absolutely, love how it leaves my skin feeling.