Tag Archive | family

A Brilliant Wife

Ok. I admit that title is pretty self-serving, but it’s how I feel today. Lately, I feel like I’m playing catch-up from the night before. The kids are running wild, laundry is piling up and dinner…well, if my gourmet cook hubby, Dean, isn’t home to make it, I have just been ending up getting a pizza or making pancakes. 🙂

It wasn’t always like this. I used to make freezer meals and have a stockpile of groceries in the pantry (that I bought with coupons, of course! :-)) Last year was pretty difficult and I found myself trying to take the easy route as much as possible. Buying Lunchables instead of packing healthy lunches for the kiddos, letting the noisy chaos get really out of control before disciplining and redirecting. But yesterday, I decided to tighten up some the loose ends around here. I started on laundry (not a pretty picture). But I decided to just plow through. I gathered up all of the dirty clothes throughout the house. Every time the dryer buzzed, I folded the clothes and threw in another load. Isn’t it amazing how getting caught up in one area can make life suddenly seem better? Then,when the kids started to get restless, I got out the UNO cards and sat down at the table where we started a game which lasted until bedtime. When I left a round to fold clothes, the boys continued playing. How amazing to hear giggling kids playing nicely together. They love it when I play with them. Why don’t I do that more often?

So, this morning I got up and decided to have another go at being brilliant. I did some homeschool with Joshua and Emily, put together a crock pot meal, got some bread dough rising for dinner rolls tonight and cinnamon rolls in the morning. Since the laundry is done, I have had time to keep the kitchen tidy and snuggle with Emily and Adam, who are fighting little colds. As I was singing along to music while peeling sweet potatoes for the crock pot meal, I realized, I feel good. I’m organized and excited for tonight when I can win play cards with my kiddos again.

Next week is Dean’s birthday. I am really excited to plan some extra special things to celebrate the day my favorite guy was born. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted. Now, go out and have a brilliant day of your own!



Passport to Love Date Night

I’ve been following a blog for a few months now, and I have to say, it’s actually changing my marriage. The Dating Divas.  It’s eleven married women who post brilliant date night ideas. Dean and I have enjoyed planning several of their dates, but the one that has recently caught my eye is the passport to love.


The idea is that once a month for the entire year, you and your hubs take a “staycation” to a different country. For example: you might choose to “go” to  Hawaii (yes, I am aware that Hawaii is a State, just go with it). So your date would go like this, when he gets home from work, greet him at the door with a lei (you can get them at party city or another party store). You should have some fun Hawaiian music playing in the background and greet him with a kiss on each cheek. Then for dinner, you could make teriyaki chicken with rice or, better yet, go out to a Hawaiian BBQ Restaurant. For dessert, Trader Joes sometimes carries coconut sorbet in a half of a coconut shell. Don’t forget the Pina Coladas! 🙂 Get creative! After dinner. put the kiddos to bed, snuggle on the couch and watch a movie set in Hawaii, like, “50 First Dates”. The idea is to have fun with your guy.

I LOVE this idea, so I planned a Passport to Love for Dean. I printed up the invitation and passports from the dating divas website. Then I chose one day a month (not that we are only going to go out once a month, but just once a month for this involved date) and filled out an itinerary. And presented the idea to Dean. He was as excited as I was! For the month of January, I chose London. We are fortunate that we have teenagers who are happy to babysit the younglings (for a nominal fee ;-)) So we got all dolled up (I even wore my fake eyelashes!) and went to a pub for Fish and Chips and some Guinness beer. Ok. slight change of travel plans, we decided to go to Killarney’s, which is actually an Irish Pub, but the result was the same.images-1

Fish and chips and Guinness! And fun! We talked and talked (uninterrupted by little sweeties). IMG_2722 IMG_2728

Later, we went home and watched Notting Hill. Of Course!

images-2In November 2000, for our 10th Anniversary, Dean and I went to the Real London in England! 😉 and I kept a journal of all the fun (and not so fun, cold and rainy) things we did there. As the perfect ending to our date, we looked at pictures from that vacation as I read Dean the journal.

Next month, INDIA! I’m thinking a visit to our favorite Indian restaurant and maybe “Slumdog Millionaire” or perhaps a popular movie made in Bollywood! We are already looking forward to it!

Our First Snowball Fight

I know it may be difficult to believe, but we have never had a snowball fight as a family. Mostly that’s because our youngest kids have never seen snow! Our last 3 children were born in Southern California where the temperature rarely drops below 50 degrees. Dean and I decided that this was a good year to take the hour-ish trip up to Idyllwild in the mountains and have some fun frolicking in the snow. Here are the pictures.IMG_2643 IMG_2650 IMG_2651 IMG_2664 IMG_2672 IMG_2674 IMG_2682 IMG_2686 IMG_2689 IMG_2692 IMG_2693 IMG_2695 IMG_2696 IMG_2701 IMG_2702 IMG_2705

Thanks for following along on another brilliant adventure.

How to Clean Your Closet in an Hour

Clean out your closet in an hour, you say?

Yes. Yes, I do.

As you know, we just moved into this awesome new home, and I’m about 75% organized, I’d say. The bedroom where our boys sleep has a small walk-in closet. When we moved in, I just put everything that went into their room (and some things that didn’t) into the closet.


First, set the timer for ONE HOUR.  One hour, then you can relax and have some tea. 🙂 If you need more time, simply set the timer for 90 minutes or two hours, whatever you need to get the job done and get to that chair with a cup of tea. Do NOT stop until it is acceptably finished! Trust me, you won’t get back to it. 😉

Then, completely (or nearly completely) empty out your closet. I left the dresser in the closet, but changed the position because it would have been too difficult to drag the dresser out, then push it right back in. Still, I vacuumed the space and wiped down the wire shelves. I checked my timer at this point and it took me 9 minutes 29 seconds to empty out the closet.

Now, while I was taking things out, I was sorting them into four sections. Put Back In Closet/Donate/Throw Away/Move to Another Room. 

“Back into Closet” pile

“Throw Away” Pile

“Move to Another Room” pile

I don’t have a picture of my donate pile, but there was one, believe me. Most people have bins instead of piles, but piles work ok for me.

Remember, it does get messier before it gets cleaner. Do not despair. And for goodness sake, don’t stop!

Just Breathe.

I started with the board games and puzzles. I neatly stacked them on the top.

Then, I used some boxes I had covered with fabric (I’ll post a tutorial soon) and started putting the boys’ stuff away.

Here’s my boys’ finished closet

The total time took 58 minutes, 34 seconds. I admit, I still need to organize their drawers and get rid of clothes they can’t/won’t wear, but I don’t count that as cleaning the closet.

We still need to put together the bunk beds and fix their desk that got broken in the move, but a clean closet goes a long way toward getting organized.

I went for hot chocolate in my San Diego mug. Ahhh!

I hope this motivates you to clean out that messy closet that has been bugging you. Thanks for reading.

Daddy Date Night

Every few days, our little Emily, who happens to be the only girl in a quiver full of boys, asks Daddy for a Daddy Date Night. Of course, my adorable hubby agrees without question (as he does when I ask for a date night :-)). This past week, Emily and Daddy went to the mall and took some of the most darling pictures.

When Daddy takes his girls out, he knows we like dessert!

Pretty pink boots.

Window shopping.

How does she already know how to pose? She was born feminine!

I love this picture! There are a rainbow of colors in this one. Pink, blue, green and purple. Beautiful! As soon as Dean clicked the camera to capture this moment, Emily turned and the moment was lost. I’m glad he caught it!

Daddy and Emily.

I love that she’s a Daddy’s girl. What a sweet picture of our brilliant life!