Praying through Proverbs: 31 Days of Marriage Strengthening Prayers

I’m thrilled to let you know that I’ve teamed up with my Canadian blogging friend, Darlene Schacht of Time-Warp Wife, to offer a 31 day marriage series this October. We’re Praying through Proverbs with married couples all over the world at her MarriagePrayers.Today site.


I’ve read Darlene’s blog for years and her articles have helped me become a better wife in so many ways, so becoming real-life friends and now working on a prayer series together is a huge honor and blessing.

You can read all the details about this beautiful new series in Darlene’s lovely announcement.


Left to Right: Mandi, Ashleigh, me & Darlene at Allume 2014 in Charleston, SC

Tell me one good thing going on in your own life right now – I’d love to rejoice with you.

Welcome to My Mess

My house is a bit of a mess right now. Laundry needs folded. Dishes need washed. Not to mention the living room and schoolroom that could use a good tidying:


That’s my life, my house right now. And while normally messes made in a clean house frustrate me, today they don’t. I’m trying not to see so much of the mess. I’m trying to see the life that created those messes.

Lily and Grace spent the day yesterday having tea parties with their dolls, building with blocks, doing science experiments, and trying out new art projects. So much life. So much love. So much fun. And yes, so much mess.

Sometimes it’s okay to be messy. The important thing is to keep cleaning it up so new messes can be created and more life and memories can happen.

It’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about the Spring Clean Your Home and Heart eBundle this week. Sometimes my house looks pretty clean, sometimes it doesn’t. And my heart? Oh, it needs renewing! I just read A Gentle Answer over the weekend (it’s in the bundle), and it was so soothing to my weary, wintered spirit.

I’m already noticing a difference in my response to how I react to my children when they make – and then fight over – their messes. And they’re already noticing a difference in me, too.

Go check out the fabulous details, and make sure to enter to win a Kindle Fire or Paperwhite (winner’s choice) while you’re there!

How do you feel when you see messes in your own house?


Top 10 Posts on My Blog in 2014


My home is a bit of a mess right now. It reminds me of the time when I found The Messies Manual buried under a pile of stuff in my bedroom closet. Ahem.

The good news is that I’m going to clean this mess up. And posting horribly embarrassing before photos. Starting tomorrow.

In the meantime, I thought it’d be fun to look over the most viewed articles on my blog this year and made a fun little list for you!

{Update: My first embarrassing before photo & declutter project is up – go check it out!}

Top 10 Most Popular Articles on My Blog in 2014:

1) Why I Unfriended Every Single One of My Facebook Friends

Why I Unfriended Everyone On Facebook

Some of you loved it, some of you hated it, and many of you let others know exactly what you thought about it. Viewed over 750% more times than the second-most viewed article on my blog, this Facebook post is by far the most widely read article I’ve ever written.

2) How I Decluttered My Entire House in Six Days


I wrote this article after my full-house declutter last spring. Now that I see it being repinned and shared so many times on Pinterest, I wish I’d taken better photos or to written something more profound. But maybe that’s why you like it. It’s real and it’s imperfect, but it shows that decluttering doesn’t have to be glamorous.

3) Fast & Frugal Storage Solutions


I’m always amazed when people tell me they can’t organize because it’s too expensive. I’m sure that spending money on cute organizational tools is fun sometimes, but I don’t think it’s always necessary. In fact, I’ve decluttered and organized my entire home without spending a dime. Twice.

In this post, I show some of my non-pinteresty but very functional organization systems that really work, and I offer several simple tips for how you can organize your own home using things you already have on hand.

4) How to Get Your Kids to Help Keep Your Vehicle Clean!


I was almost too embarrassed about this article to publish it. I cringed at the (imaginary) mocking that I was sure would come my way for not being able to handle a seemingly simple task.

But guess what? Not only were all of you very kind about my mom-fail, but  many of you repinned this article and told your friends about it, showing me that I’m not the only one with a messy vehicle!

5) How to Organize Your Spice Shelf and Baking Supplies


I absolutely love my spice shelf system. Not necessarily because it’s so awesome, but because it works perfectly for my family. In this article, I offered very detailed step-by-step instructions about how to organize the spice shelf and baking supplies.

6) How to Organize School Papers and Other Childhood Mementos

School PapersDeciding what to keep and what to toss can be really tough! In this article, I offer realistic and practical tips for how to choose which items to let go of, as well as offer storage solution suggestions for the items you do keep. (Having a little trouble parting with the sentimental stuff? Then read this runner-up post for encouragement.)

7) Free Snowman Soup Printable and Recipe


Apparently my family isn’t the only family who has fun making snowman soup! This simple printable is a fun and frugal “recipe” that’s perfect for holiday parties, wintertime treats, and other fun cold-weather events.

8 ) Four Easy Steps to an Organized Medicine Cabinet


There’s really no need to have a cluttered and messy medicine cabinet! When you read this post, you’ll want to go organize your own medicine cabinet right away, then you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

9) Four Easy Steps to a Decluttered Kindle


Spoiler alert: I went from 515 eBooks on my Kindle down to 199 eBooks, and it only took me 30 minutes!

Using screen shots and simple instructions, I show you how to organize your own Kindle in this tutorial. Don’t have a Kindle? Other eReaders can be decluttered using similar instructions (if you have a Nook, make sure to check out the comments for more help).

10) Work From Home Opportunities, Plus Nine Tips You Must Know


Thinking about working from home? Already working from home but want to expand your job options or increase your income? Then definitely check out this article – it’s full of realistic opportunities and helpful tips.

A Few of My Own Favorites

In a Nutshell

You seem to really love my articles that include organization tips. Am I surprised? Not at all! In fact, I have some really awesome organization stuff up my sleeve for 2015 and I’ll be announcing some of it really soon! But first – I need to tame my laundry monster. Again.

What was one of your favorite posts from 2014?


When You’re Not Quite Ready for Christmas


I want to encourage you today. Maybe your house isn’t clean, your gifts aren’t wrapped or you don’t have the finances to purchase gifts, and you won’t have time to bake the cookies you wanted to make. It’s okay. Christmas will come and go, and more than our family wants us to have everything perfectly done, they want us to be present and pleasant.

And you know, there’s so much beauty in the undone. There’s beauty in the imperfect. And we can find joy amidst the mess and the tight budgets.

If you need a few last-minute ideas or encouragement, here are some things you may like. Don’t read all of these articles. Just pick and choose a few that will help you the most:



Embracing an Imperfect Holiday – on Beauty through Imperfection.

The Christmas Cookie Disaster – Sometimes it’s easy to think that other people’s Christmases are perfect and beautiful all the time, but that’s simply not true. In this post about my nearly disastrous cookie baking experience, I share how I finally realized that my attitude matters more than the circumstance.

Why We Simplified Christmas This Year – by Money Saving Mom.

Dealing With Difficult Relatives During the Holidays – on Worshipful Living.



22 Themed Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List – If you’re trying to think of a last-minute gift for someone on your list, then read this article. Not only are there 22 great themed ideas, but each idea is also frugal and (mostly) clutter-free! Plus over 30 other gift lists are included in the link-up on this post so you’re sure to find some fantastic inspiration.

10 MORE Themed Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List – Whether you’re looking for stocking stuffers, need a last-minute co-worker or family gift, or just want a little fun inspiration, you’ll definitely want to check out these neat ideas.

Celebrating a Memorable Christmas on a Zero-Dollar Budget – by Brandy at the Prudent Homemaker.

How to Frugally Fill Awesome & Clutter-Free Stockings – Enough Said 🙂

Scheduling, Cleaning & Organizing


Last Minute Holiday Sanity-Saving Tips – If you need to simplify your holiday to-do’s but aren’t sure where to start, then check out this article for practical tips and encouragement.

How to Keep Your Kid’s Christmas Gifts From Taking Over Your House – This was one of the most brilliantly simple ideas I’ve ever had and I just had to share it.

How to Fake a Clean House in Less Than 20 Minutes – If you want a cozy feel amidst the chaos in your home this Christmas, or if company is coming on short notice, then you’ll definitely want to see the tips in this article.

Crafts, Recipes & Decor

Christmas Dinner

Simple & Elegant Christmas Dinner Menu – This is what I’ll be making for Christmas Dinner this year. Maybe you’ll see a few ideas that you like?

25 Frugal Days of Christmas – Check out this link-up for crafts, recipes, and other fun ideas.

Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments – My friend Stephanie introduced me to these Christmas tree decorations, and they’re absolutely wonderful! These are so easy that my five-year-old can make them almost completely by herself and these beautiful ornaments make the house smell amazing.

A Cute and Easy Way to Display Greeting Cards – If you’re looking for a quick way to display your greeting cards, then simply put them on a bookshelf or try this idea. And I’d love to know: how do you display your greeting cards?

Christmas In The Midst Of Our Mess – by the Nester.

More Christmas-ing

You can read all of my Christmas articles here or see my Christmas inspiration board on Pinterest.

What’s one thing you do to simplify Christmas preparations?