Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cleaning House with a Full House

We had ten in our house over Memorial Day weekend. Five went home and two more arrived the same day and stayed for two weeks. I loved it! That's because they are my children, their spouses, and their children (a.k.a. my grandchildren!). 

But I wanted to do lots of fun things with them.

And cook them all their favorite meals.

And play games.

And visit.

But my house got pretty dirty during that time and that bothers my husband and I. It doesn't have to be perfect when we're having family time, but we like to get rid of visible dirt.

I didn't really think I should have to do this alone. So one day we went off to a local tourist town for a walkabout and lunch. At lunch I pulled out a piece of paper on which I had written five 20-30 minute jobs. 

I also asked them to take their personal belongings and put them in their rooms.

I told them I'd like them each to choose one job and do it in the afternoon when we got home and I would take the left over job. (My dad has dementia and didn't have to do anything, but even my 80 year old mom helped out!)

One daughter swept and mopped the kitchen and eating area floors. 

The other daughter cleaned the upstairs bathroom.

My son-in-law dusted in the living room and family room.

My mom cleaned her bathroom in the master bedroom.

And I vacuumed.

Whew! Two hours of work done in about half an hour! 

Doesn't look like a bathroom being used by 5 people, does it?

My husband and I were happy because the house was clean.

Everyone else was happy because they didn't have to work too much on their "vacation."

I do this whenever I have family visit for a week or more. It's such a great help to me and no one minds spending 20-30 minutes doing a job, especially if everyone else is doing it.

I do wonder what my German son-in-law will tell his mother about this, though.



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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bits of Wisdom


I turn 55 on June 19. By this stage of life I should have gathered some wisdom. Here are 55 bits of advice, I consider wise. Many of them I still need to put into practice in my own life.




  1. Hold the door for others.
  2. Focus on the half full part of the glass.
  3. Learn to say “thank you” wherever you go.
  4. Take notes in church.
  5. When you pray, don’t just ask.
  6. Write thank you notes.
  7. Every once in a while do something out of character.
  8. Get up early enough to see the sunrise at least once a year.
  9. Spend time with people 50 years older than you.
  10. Attend funerals for the bereaved.
  11. Make your bed everyday.
  12. Sit at a table  to eat, even if you are alone.
  13. Always be reading a good book; you’ll never be bored.
  14. Go on more picnics than to restaurants.
  15. Help your friends, and don’t keep track of favors done.
  16. Unpack and repack half your suitcase everyday.
  17. “Because I can” is not a reason.
  18. Your wedding lasts a few hours; your marriage lasts a lifetime.
  19. Get up the first time the alarm clock rings.
  20. Once in a while have ice cream for dinner.
  21. Embrace change.
  22. Play with children, their parents will become your friends.
  23. When you offer to help, really help.
  24. Remember different, isn’t necessarily wrong.
  25. Don’t bring your phone to the table.
  26. Ask people about themselves.
  27. Never eat and run, especially if you are a guest.
  28. Always be learning something new.
  29. Remember when you marry someone, you get to spend Christmas with their family for the rest of your life.
  30. Know the population of your city, the latitude of where you live, and it's claim to fame.
  31. When someone else is talking, listen; don’t be planning what you’ll say.
  32. You will never regret having spent time with your grandparents.
  33. Get rich quick schemes are just that: schemes.
  34. Read a Proverb a day.
  35. Appreciate nature; trees, flowers, small animals are fascinating.
  36. Memorize a Bible verse every week.
  37. Weather happens; revel in the variety.
  38. Invite people into your home.
  39. Cultivate friendships with people from other countries and ethnicities.
  40. Say "I love you" to someone everyday.
  41. If it comes from the bottom of the drawer, take the things on top out first, then put them back.
  42. Stack bowls so they nest.
  43. Resist the temptation to change the way people hang their toilet paper.
  44. Remember the person in front of you has a right to recline his seat, too.
  45. Go for a walk every day, even if it’s just around the outside of your house.
  46. Make goals.
  47. Never pick your nose in public. Inside your car is public.
  48. Sing it like you mean it.
  49. Learn about other places, especially if you are going there.
  50. Learn to cook at least one company-worthy meal.
  51. Even if you are the best, you don’t need to tell.
  52. The strongest person is the one who holds on tightest to his temper.
  53. Give hugs, especially to people who never get them.
  54. Listen when older people tell you what they wish they had done.
  55. You are allowed to say no.

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Family Reunion!

I've been too busy living life to blog about it or any thing else the last few weeks. I won't bore you with everything we've been doing, but I will say we had a wonderful family reunion for my parents' 60th wedding anniversary!

My parents with their grandchildren

We got all their descendants together for the first time in fifteen years, and in that time we grew by seven people--a granddaughter, three grandchildren-in-laws, and three great grandchildren!

My parents with their great grand children

The reunion happened here in our town just a few days after my parents temporarily moved in with us until their house is finished. Sixty years after leaving Iowa and Wisconsin, they have moved back to be near us for their last years--lots of years, we hope!

We're not a huge family. My parents have just my brother and I and my brother and his wife only have one child, so we total seventeen people.


But we live from Germany to Seattle, so getting us all together did take some organizational and negotiating skills. But we did it!

Mom and Dad were thrilled!


And you know I'll say it, all those dinners we had with Mom and Dad growing up, and all those dinners we had with our kids when they were growing up, helped make us a happy family today. It's worth it to eat together!






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For More Ideas and Inspiration:
Check out the book Around the Table: Connecting With Your Family at Mealtimes. You can read the first chapter at this site and order a copy of the book.

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