Garage Sale!!

 Wonder where I’ve been? Okay, well even if you haven’t noticed the almost 2 weeks blogging break, I’ll tell you! I have been working my tushy (pardon my French) off these past few weeks getting ready for a garage sale!

I mostly finished my May Minimalist Challenge (made it almost through Day 28!!!) and was completely and utterly overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I collected to sell/trash/donate! It literally took over our basement until there was only a narrow path to the washing machine. I couldn’t wait any longer so I called my mom and said, “Quick, let’s plan a garage sale asap!!”

So we did. And I worked my tail off carting things over to my mom’s (she has a better location for a garage sale) over a period of several days. Then we spend 2 days sorting, setting up tables, pricing, etc. And not only that but my kiddos talked me into their first ever Lemonade Stand and I stayed up late the night before the sale squeezing 20 lemons for fresh lemonade and baking chocolate chip cookies!! Ah, the things a mama will do…

Mr Z making a sale:)

  Some of the toy overload!! We did pretty well on the toy sales!

Wow, look at it all!!! We had a lot of furniture that we weeded through. The entertainment center in the middle was ours and it was taking up SO much room in our tiny living room.

Ah! How did this all fit in our house??!! My stepdad asked me, “Is it about the money for you or getting rid of things?” I didn’t hesitate….”Getting rid of things!” (although more on that in a min….)

E taking a nap at my mom’s on one of our getting ready days. My mom’s cat Boo decided to take a nap with her:)

The kids all made really cute signs for their lemonade stand, telling prices and what they were offering (bottled water, freshly squeezed lemonade, chocolate chip cookies and brownies!) I so wish I had taken more pics and planned to but it was much busier than I realized so I didn’t get around to it. Bummer! The kiddos made $35!! I told them they just had to pay me back for supplies and they could keep all the profit:) Gotta learn business!

We had so much stuff that we decided to try for day 2 on Memorial Day but just for the morning. It definitely didn’t go that well because most people were busy. We only made $20 that day:) It was worth a try! We did really well on Saturday though so oh well!

Garage Sale helpers!

And…this is what a long day in the sun selling things will do to you!

No one said it would be easy!! I read that after you weed through your possessions and simplify, it would be a good idea to do a garage sale not only because who doesn’t like a little extra cash! But also because it is so incredibly humbling to see all your stuff spread out on your driveway and it will make you never want to collect all of that again!
Let me just say….it is true! Ben and I both just could not believe the amount of stuff we had there at the sale. My mom and a few other family members put some stuff in but 90% of it was ours. Talk about humbling.
I felt so good about getting rid of it all and passing it on to new homes but I wasn’t prepared for the amount of stuff we had leftover from the garage sale. It was like I had to “let go” all over again and it was actually tough for me! We made 4 trips to the local thrift store just with leftovers and I made a trip to Half Price Books with our leftover books (5 big boxes!!) I had to struggle a little bit and just felt like God was saying, “It is just stuff. Just things. Let go.” So I kept telling myself. It is just things; I can’t take any of it with me to heaven so I just need to let go!! We even had to donate some of the furniture since it didn’t sell on Craigslist or in the sale. Let it Go. (anyone hearing Frozen in their head right about now??!)

So, my house fell apart during all of that work and once it was done (and I finished all my trips back and forth clearing out my mom’s garage!), I moved on to redoing some of our furniture now that we got rid of the excess. First up is an old child’s desk of my mom’s. We painted it a pale blue a long long time ago and it was chipped, dirty and worn. Time for an update!

The inside drawer liner. Yuck!

I sanded it and painted it a light gray color and put new knobs on!!

Some new liner inside. (I wanted a soft gray or blue but they didn’t have any. Oh well!
A little fresh makeover does wonders!!

And once we got rid of our giant entertainment center (which worked well when we had a huge living room once upon a time!!), we needed something new for our tv. We had this Ikea table we bought a couple years ago stored in the basement. We forgot all about it until we were moving stuff out for the sale!

I painted it the same light gray color!

New and fresh! You wouldn’t believe how much better our living room looks. When it gets clean (ha!) I will take a picture;) It opened up our space so much!
I just love furniture re-dos!!! Just wait (oh just wait!!!) until you see my next one!!! Coming very very soon to a blog near you!!


The Gift of Friendship and Less is More!

 This past weekend we were so blessed to have dear friends from Chicago visit us! I have said so many times that we met the most amazing people while we were there who were like family to us in a season where we didn’t have any close by.

This couple is an example of that!!

This is Ben and Emily. Emily and I are always saying, “My Ben” or “Your Ben” to keep them straight:) And that adorable sturdy 2 year old is “Baby” Caleb, whom I had the honor of babysitting all of last year! How is he not a baby anymore??? And now he has a baby brother! “Wa-wa,” as Caleb affectionately calls him. Otherwise known as Joshua:)

We have missed them so much this past year and it just felt like home spending time with them this weekend. We talked and laughed and teased each other. Got in baby snuggles, ate Der Dutchman, watched baby goats play, played games, oooh, and enjoyed deep dish pizza personally delivered all the way from Chicago!!

What a gift and treasure is a friendship like this. When they left, we were all teary and Eliana went inside and burst into tears. She cried and cried for at least 10 minutes and we all just sat, Ben and I doling out hugs and feeling the sadness ourselves of saying goodbye to people we hold so dear in our hearts.  Ugh, we hate goodbyes! We love you, Lovaasens!!

It was kind of hard to jump back into busy life again today after the weekend but we had no choice! Back to school and work and busyness. I took 2 full van loads of stuff over to my mom’s today for our upcoming garage sale! You wouldn’t believe all of the things that I have been able to sort through and get rid of!

So, I “cheated” and skipped ahead in my May Minimalist Game. Yeah, yeah, I know. I couldn’t stop myself and got too excited once I got on a roll. Ready for the current tally? (Drum roll, please!!)

So far, I have gotten rid of 378 things!! That’s almost completely through 27 days in May!! Once I got going, it was actually really easy to keep going. I have tossed, recycled, donated and added to my sell pile furiously over the past 2 weeks. We were to the point of barely being able to get through the basement at all until I took some of it out today. I am SO ridiculously excited to have the garage sale. Call me a nerd!

I am already feeling the effects of less clutter and an easier maintenance. I am excited to show you some final pics, once we get rid of some pieces of furniture this weekend and repurpose some others. I am looking forward to my “home makeover:)” Less is More!!

Most of all, I feel such a peace about letting go of things that I have been hanging on tightly to and being able to share this journey with my family and get them to start contemplating all of this. I have had some really good conversations with Ben and the kids at various times over this simplifying process. I truly see it as a gift!

Happy Monday!


Guess I have some catching up to do! Last Monday, Zakkai had his first belt-testing in Tae Kwon Do! It was very cool to watch! He did a great job and is now a very proud orange belt!
He even got to break a board at the end! I will keep working on uploading the video. I’ve watched it about 10 times and it makes me so happy!
And I snuck back in after he fell asleep that night to get a picture of him sleeping with his broken board and TKD belts under his bed:) So cute!

The only thing I asked for on Mother’s Day (not that I would ask for anything anyways!) was a picture. My standard request:) Can’t believe how big my babies are getting! Yeah, yeah, I know they aren’t babies but I tell them they will always be my babies!

Pretty Little Miss!

I just love this picture of E and her grandma-great!! They are good buddies;)

We were trying to take pictures outside of the 4 generations but it was SO windy and none of us were happy for various reasons with the pictures. Our hair was blowing, it made our dresses blow up and made us look pregnant, etc:) Still, a memory to treasure!

Eliana had her preschool graduation last week, too! The other teacher and I worked with both classes to teach them some songs to sing. Eliana did great during the rehearsals and after one song during the program, totally froze:( She was so upset and if I made any eye contact with her, she got really sad! It broke my heart! She felt much better when she went to sit with her Mugga and Grandma and opened her graduation gift of a Frozen t-shirt! Elsa makes everything better:)

We found a cute local restaurant to eat lunch after church on Sunday! Besides it being a beautiful afternoon to sit on the patio and hanging out as a family, it was awesome because the kids ate free! Now that’s our kind of meal:) Love this princess!

My handsome pre-teen:)

My partner in crime!

Mr Blue Eyes!

I made a dress last week (in between all that craziness!) and was SO excited to wear it on Sunday! I just love how it turned out!

The back.

Fancy details!

Me modeling it;)

 Samuel (and Ben) had a game bright and early Saturday morning and won! Samuel even got to pitch for a bit and struck out two kids! He got two hits and was proud to show off a slight bruise from being hit with the baseball. A badge of honor, I guess:)

All in all, except for feeling under the weather for a few days, it was a very good, albeit busy week and weekend! Life is full these days:)

Purging update:)

I’m on Day 3 of my May purging “game” and going strong:) I actually have to stop myself from finding more and more things each day. I have to save something for weeks 2 and 3, when it gets harder!

I adjusted the rules for myself. I can adjust my own rules, right? I can’t get my giveaway stuff out of my house the same day since I am storing up for a family garage sale soon so my stuff goes immediately down to the basement to my garage sale pile….heap….mountain?

So far, I have focused on the kitchen. I’ve put in my sell pile of a couple of small appliances that we haven’t used in at least a year or two but I save them for that day when I just know we will need them! Ha! Also, added was a duplicate pan (why do I need three 9×13 pans again??) and I tossed one that was getting rusty! I am going to try to not be ADHD about my purging, flitting from one room to another (c’mon, I know I’m not the only one who does this!!) and instead am going to focus on one room at a time. I am excited to see what our home will look like after this month!

I thought I’d share a little of what my heart is behind this so you don’t just write me off as an organizing nut. Which, I may be, but there is more to it! Back in January Ben and I began to pray and talk about what we would give up for Lent, which we have been participating in (celebrating?) for a couple years now. We both gave up some tough stuff after really feeling impressed by God to do so. It was the first year we really truly took this to a deeper level.

I didn’t write about mine because I didn’t want it to just be another “thing” to write about or sounding more fun than thoughtful. But now I’d like to share! I like beautiful things. Colorful fabrics, pretty pillows, pretty décor, flowers, etc. I really don’t think there is anything wrong with being drawn to beautiful things and colors. After all, God made a lot of beautiful things!

But I noticed more and more the pull to want all these beautiful things that caught my eye. Not only do we not have the money for this but the space either! I didn’t like that increasing desire in myself to want materialistic things. And so, somewhat reluctantly, I gave up buying anything that I wanted vs needed for Lent. I had some really easy periods where I was not tempted at all and I had some days where I would be with people who like to buy things and the temptation was strong. After all, what’s a little trinket here or a little whatchamacallit there?

I really got serious about praying for God to remove my desire for things and to increase my desire for Him. After Lent was over (not all too long ago!), I had the thoughts creeping back in again. “Ooh, now I can buy some things!” or “It’s been awhile since I got anything fun” or “I think I need that ____.” And I caught myself, or rather the Holy Spirit nudged me. “Hey, do you see that little vine winding it’s way around you again? What do you desire more? Me or stuff?”

I have been praying lots about my purchases I make, feeling more and more of a conviction to take counting our pennies seriously. Which almost sounds comical, considering we’re already on a pretty strict budget! But it’s easy to justify things you want. Or not to be completely honest with yourself about your motivations or bad habits. I’m definitely not perfect. Sometimes I get frustrated with always being on a budget and not being able to go out to eat more than once a month or  I think I can’t live without that aqua blue Kitchen Aid mixer. Or I envy my friend with the 3000+ square foot custom built home, so tastefully decorated. Or I feel sad that we can’t afford to give our daughter ballet lessons, which she begs for at least once a week.

As I have been pondering all of this and soul-searching a bit over the past couple of months, I have felt an increasing desire to simplify. To let go. Ben and I are actually both being led to this by God, only in different ways.  We had a great conversation about it today, in fact! I feel the nudging to release my desire for things and to fill my life, our home instead with peace, rest, Him. By clearing away the clutter and knick-knacks and excess things that our American culture has told us we can’t live without, I am instead making room in my life for things that are more important. I will hopefully have more time (because less of it will be spent fighting everyone to clean up their stuff!), more energy, and I don’t know what else but I’m looking forward to finding out! I’m hoping this will have a good effect on our children, too, and that our whole family can become more intentional about how we live our life.

So, if you’re tempted to roll your eyes when I seem abnormally excited about getting rid of my sandwich maker or mention organizing or simplifying yet again, just know that there is a lot more behind it than just another Heidi-trend. And if anyone else is interested and ever wants to talk to me about it or doesn’t know where to start, I’m all ears:)

Happy weekend!

Awana Awards and Minimalism

Thanks so much for the comments on the last post! It makes me happy to feel the love from my family and friends alike, who are still chugging away with me:) I love you guys!!

I know these pictures aren’t the greatest (because I totally lack the confidence to run up the aisle and be snapping sappy-mom pictures!!) however, last night was the last Awana night for the year and it was Awards night! Every volunteer got little pins and all the kids got certificates, ribbons and plaques, etc, depending on what they accomplished through the year!

Zakkai was a Sparky (K-2nd grade) and his group were the “Green Frogs.” He finished 2 whole books this year, which would be somewhere between 175-200 verses memorized! He would often do 5 or more sections per week. He got two ribbons!

Ben was a TNT shepherd this year and his group was called the “Red Lobsters.” He had mostly girls:) And a very sweet bunch of girls, too! I was a “Listener” so kids would come out in the hallway to read verses to me and a couple of Ben’s girls were a little too shy to read to him so they came out to me:)

Samuel (front row) was a “Blue Shark” and he was a TNT (3rd-6th grade.) He finished his whole first book, which was somewhere around 130ish verses. The books get harder as you go on so his were more difficult than Z’s.

Samuel was one of 4 to get the Alpha award for finishing his book! He got a really cool glass award to wear around his neck:)

The Cubbies, Eliana’s group (ages 3-Kindergarten) got their Awards and ribbons last week. They got a quick recognition and then got to go do a craft. It was such a fun experience over all for our whole family. It was hard some weeks to rush, rush, rush to get there but so good for our kids to learn all the verses and for Ben and I to be able to be volunteers and help out. We will definitely be doing it next year!

If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you’ve probably heard me mention one of my favorite books on organizing several times! Go ahead and roll your eyes but I’m about to mention it again!

It’s called “Organized Simplicity” by Tsh Oxenreider. I have LOVED this book since the minute I got it. I’ve read it cover to cover a few times and am starting again. The organizing/simplicity bug hits me usually around January or in the spring time, when I feel a renewal of energy.

As you know, our schedule has been much busier than we are used to with both of us working 2 jobs and now with sports practices and games. We only have one weeknight where we don’t have to rush off to something! One of my jobs is cleaning houses and an office and by the time I get home, the last thing I want to do is clean my own house!

I told Ben I’d like to pay someone to clean our house:) haha. Lately, I’ve been intrigued by and researching the idea of minimalism. Of course, not on the extreme end! We will not be moving into a 128 sq foot house or allowing our children only to play with blades of grass or wearing the same clothes every 3 days. But it would be a whole lot easier to keep up on our home if we had less stuff!

I found a blog about minimalism and while they take it to a point I am positive we will never reach, having kids and all, I am intrigued with some of their ideas! One thing I am challenging myself to do and throwing out to you (yes, yes, it’s true!!) is the 30 Day Minimalist Game!

I am starting tomorrow! The rules are: You have to get rid of one thing on the first day. Two things on the second day. Three things on the third and so on. Yikes! I’ve heard it gets challenging by week two! You have to either trash, donate or sell your item(s) by midnight that day! In other words, out, out, OUT of your house before remorse sets in and you end up tucking it back in its dusty spot!!!

We got rid of a LOT of stuff before we moved here last summer. Moving is, after all, the ideal time to purge. I also got rid of some more as we unpacked. We have an out of control pile of stuff taking up our basement that is waiting for a garage sale. I will be SO relieved to have it all out of the house!! Plus, it never hurts to make a little extra cash:) Maybe some for our kitty jar! Or maybe a long-dreamed of family vacation!

So, if you want to tag along and try to challenge yourself, join me this month in May! Let’s see how much we can get rid of!! I will be keeping a running list of what I purge and I am going to see how far I can get with this. Less to clean, less to dust, less mess!

Who’s with me? (this is where you chime in!!)