Saturday, February 23, 2019

How The Housecleaning Went

I completed my very first week of following the Clean Mama routine! It went well. Each day took longer than the 15 minutes she advertises for me to complete the daily cleaning task, but I did each day's assignment.

Here's how it went:

First of all, each day I made my bed, cleared the clutter, washed, dried, folded, and put away (at least) one load of laundry, and kept the counters wiped clean. I completed these daily tasks fairly easily, because I already do these things every day.  Clean Mama also tells you to check your floors each day. This was a new task for me to do, but I did it too, and my floors have not been this clean in a very, very long time. To complete the check your floors task, I ran all three of my Roombas every single day.  After a year of having Roombas, it still amazes me the amount of dust, dirt, and pet hair those things pick up every time I run one.

Monday:  bathrooms-- I cleaned three of our bathrooms alone and helped Leah and Sam clean their bathrooms. It took way longer than 15 minutes, but probably less than one hour total. If I keep on doing this every Monday, it may take less time since they won't be as dirty.

Tuesday:  dusting--I was skeptical about dusting my entire house in one day. However, I was pleasantly surprised! It did not take as long as I thought it would, and Leah and Sam dusted their own rooms. I also think this task will take less time if I continue to dust once a week.

Wednesday:  vacuum
Thursday:  wash floors

I actually combined vacuuming and washing floors, and divided my house in half. Since I have all wood floors (with the exception of ceramic tile in my schoolroom),  I have to vacuum right before I mop. I vacuumed and mopped the basement and upstairs (where all the kids's bedrooms and bathrooms are) on Wednesday, and then vacuumed and mopped the main floor of my house on Thursday. Leah and Sam helped me by doing their rooms plus a little more on Wednesday, but I did Thursday's work all by myself. Both of those days took a long time. On Thursday, it took me 1 hour and 20 minutes to vacuum and mop! My right shoulder is hurting from all that vacuuming and mopping!

Friday: catch all--I was so happy on Friday! My house was clean! For my catch all, I chose to clean my microwave and stove. I also washed sheets on my bed, Leah's bed, and Olivia's bed (because Leah was having three girls spend the night, and we needed clean sheets on those beds)--and I went ahead and washed my sheets too instead of on Saturday because I was going to be out of town most of the day Saturday.

Saturday:  sheets and towels--Since I had washed sheets yesterday, I didn't have to do this today. But I did forget Sam's bed! Oops! I'll get his sheets next week. I wash towels all through the week as needed, so I just did regular laundry today.

Overall, I am so glad I tried this method of cleaning. It was hard work, and it took longer than I wished, but I am so happy with the results! I plan on doing it again next week, and also adding some of Clean Mama's monthly tasks for February.  I'll just get done what I can before March gets here, and then I will try to mark off as much as I can on March's list.

Monday, February 18, 2019


It seems like I am always behind in my housework. (According to my standards--which have gotten lower and lower over the years!) My friend Heather introduced me to Clean Mama about 3-4 years ago, and I was so interested in her blog, her books, and her products. I even emailed a cleaning question to Becky, the author of Clean Mama, and she emailed me back! However, even after reading her blog and books, I have yet to implement her cleaning system. I have made some of her homemade cleaners, and I have printed out many of her checklists (all of which are included in the back of her books), but so far, I have never followed one week of her cleaning plan.

But this week is the week! I am going to follow her instructions, and do exactly what she says. Even though I don't think it's going to work for me (that has been my excuse these last few years). But since my method is not working that well, I am going to try hers. Then I will either know for sure that  it's not for me, or I will be pleasantly surprised!

So today's task is cleaning the bathrooms plus the five daily tasks the recur every day. These are:

make your bed (check!)
clear clutter (we do this several times a day, but always after supper before bed)
check your floors (I have already swept my stairs, and I have the Roomba going)
wipe down counters (I do this all throughout the day)
do one load of laundry (check! one load washed, dried, folded, and put away)

I have four bathrooms and one half bathroom, so I will enlist Leah and Sam to help me clean those later this afternoon when we get home from piano lessons.  Clean Mama says she can clean all the bathrooms in her house in 15 minutes. I highly doubt we can do that, but with the three of us working together, hopefully we can clean all of them in 30 minutes.

Happy Cleaning!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Our Recent Trip to Disneyworld

We went on our semi-annual (isn't that every two years?) trip to Disney World January 2-9. This marked the 6th time we have done this Disney vacation with the Mims family (Kelly and Lynn and kids). The Johnsey family (Joe and Leanna) have joined us three times, and this year we added Julie's husband, Big Sam, and Parker's wife, Alyssa. (Parker is Lynn's oldest son). Our family was missing Olivia and her husband, Brian, but we did have a new family join us, the Green family (Mike and Amy). Our total headcount was 26. 

Just looking at the hundreds of pictures we have between my phone, Jimmy's phone, Jimmy's camera, and the Disney Photo Pass makes me want to go back! The weather was so nice, and we had so much fun!

I selected several pictures from the week to give an overview of our time at the four parks. We visited each park two days except for Animal Kingdom--we only went there one day. But the day we visited Animal Kingdom, we were all on the 7:00 AM bus in order to be there when the park opened. Our plan, along with hundreds of other people, was to run straight to get in line for Avatar. Which we did. And after a 2.5 hour wait, we rode it! It really was amazing and entertaining, and worth the wait. However, I am not sure I would have waited much longer for it. As we exited the attraction, we saw that the current wait time was 4.5 hours! 

All four Disney parks were exceptionally busy and crowded the whole time we were there, and we spent a good bit of time waiting in various lines. But, since our people are all older, it was fine. We just enjoyed each other's company (and lots of snacks!) while we waited. We did have fast passes each day, but other than that, we had to stand in line. For example, we stood in line for The Little Mermaid for over and hour! Crazy! But it was still fun.  One thing we did to minimize the wait (and again, this worked for us because our children are older) was to take advantage of single riders lines when they were available. We don't mind riding with strangers if it speeds up the wait!

One of the things the children enjoy doing on the rides that take your picture at the "most thrilling part of the ride" is to pose in crazy ways for the picture. I am sharing several of these pictures to give you an idea. 

Here are some pictures from the fun week:

What a fun filled week! I can't wait to go again!

Monday, February 11, 2019

I Am Lea November

Author Wilson Adams, his daughter Lea, and me at his book signing last Tuesday

My friend Wilson Adams wrote this book chronicling his journey of adoption. Jimmy and I bought several copies for various friends and family members as Christmas gifts, and after I finished reading it, Wilson asked me to write a book review for him to use. It took me a while to adequately express my thoughts after reading I Am Lea November.  I have included a copy of my review below.

If you are interested in purchasing this book (and I highly recommend it!), here is the link:

I Am Lea November
A Review

If you are considering adoption, if you are currently in the process of adopting, if you have already adopted, or if you have a friend or family member who is adopting or has adopted children, then I encourage you to read I Am Lea November by Wilson Adams. Long after finishing this book, the Adams's story has stayed on my mind. Wilson eloquently and honestly, with great transparency, describes his and his wife's journey of adopting a group of three siblings from Bulgaria. I was both moved to tears and also struck with laughter time and again while reading his account, sometimes on the same page. 

My personal views of adoption---it's expected and unexpected repercussions for both the children and the parents, the vast amount of documentation and bureaucratic paperwork required, and the immense expenses entailed--have been greatly enlightened. I now have a much better understanding of adoptive parents and what they all go through. This book also helped me understand and appreciate more the members of my own family who have grown their family through adoption.

Wilson encourages all of us to do our part to foster a culture of adoption. He earnestly and effectively educates the reader about the ongoing need of support for both the children and the adoptive parents after the adoption is final. I learned we can all do something. Even if we do not adopt a child, we can provide support (physical, material, financial, and/or emotional) to the families who do adopt.

Simply put, this book has inspired me to be a better person, and to seriously consider what I personally can do for the least of these.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Our Trip to the Outback Bowl

Recently after talking with a few people who used to read my blog (when I actually blogged), I realized that I missed blogging! I like sharing my blessings, my struggles.....putting my thoughts into words is something that I like to do, and I hope that it can serve as an encouragement to others as well. Plus, I really do like recording some of our family events. play a little catch up....

Our family (minus Olivia and Brian), the Peters family (Julie, Sam, and Mae), the Mims family (Kelly and Lynn and their four kids plus Parker's wife, Alyssa), the Johnsey family (Joe and Leanna and their four kids), and the Green family (Mike and Amy and their three kids) all planned our every other January trip to Disney World for January 2-9. We normally go later in the month, but our college kids wanted to come too, so we had to move our trip up earlier in the month before their classes began.  (Our headcount for Disney World was 26.)

Sometime in December, it was announced that Mississippi State would be playing in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida on New Year's Day. Kelly sent out a group text asking if we were interested in going to Florida a couple of days earlier to go to the game. Since Jimmy was already off because of his holiday schedule, we said, Yes! The Mims and Johnsey families were in too, so we bought tickets, reserved hotel rooms, and bumped up our departure date. The Peters and Green families joined us at Disney World like they had originally planned.

So. We left at 3:00 AM on December 31 for the 12 hour drive to Tampa. Our goal was to make the Outback Bowl parade in Ybor City at 5:00 PM. We made it! Even though Clay was involved in a minor car accident on I-75 in Georgia, we still made it. Barely. And we were tired, and we looked like we had been on the road all day with little or no sleep! (Lynn never even went to bed the night/morning before we left.....I slept 2-3 hours I think).

at the parade...running on caffeine and cowbells!

Fun Fact: A local news reporter asked me a few questions about our trip to Tampa, our going to the bowl game, etc.

The crowd was so loud, and I don't even remember what I said! But it was on the news that night!

The kids were also featured on the front page of our local newspaper on January 1, with a story about our families traveling to the Outback Bowl.

Here we are the morning before the game.

And here is the whole crew!

Jimmy and Me
We arrived about 2 hours before the game began so we could enjoy all the pregame festivities and just take in being at a professional football stadium. It really was a lot of fun, and the weather was beautiful!

Our family of five

We sat in front of the pirate ship which was cool!

Sadly, Mississippi State lost the game to Iowa. Iowa was considered the home team, and it certainly felt like they had a home team advantage in some areas. The announcers kept making it a point to remind us that this was Iowa's 6th Outback Bowl appearance! However, the Iowa fans that I met were super nice. And all of us enjoyed the sunshine!

After the game we searched for some time to find a Cuban restaurant that was open on New Year's Day. We were joined by Jimmy and Leanna's first cousin, Warren and his family too. Next we returned to our hotel to repack and get ready for our early morning departure the next day to Disney World!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas, Etc.

Wow! It's Christmas Eve!

I am so excited! All of my children, their spouses, and my sweet grand baby are all here! Everyone arrived on December 22, and they will all be here until New Year's Eve. My house is so full and so is my heart.
Here are some random pictures of our last few days.

Sweet Baby Mae!
She is 4 months old today. This is her sitting in Aunt Leah's lap last night. She does so well with large crowds of lively people over here. She just lets people hold her while she smiles at everyone!

 Annual sugar cookie decorating.

 I set up my crib Saturday. Mae had been sleeping in a pack n play, but Julie needs that for an upcoming trip, so I got out the crib. It was stored behind my Christmas decorations, so I had planned on getting it out in December anyway. 
I could not find my baby bed bedding that I used for Leah. It is pink and green, and so pretty and girly. I cannot imagine where I put it or why it is not in a labeled box in my storage room. I did find this boy bedding that my mother made for Sam. However, the bedskirt and diaper holder that hangs on the crib were not in the's a mystery! I guess I am not as organized as I thought!

 Even though it is blue and not pink, I think Mae likes it! She has slept well in there the last two nights.

 Our Christmas tree, side 1

 and side 2
Ten people will be opening gifts here on Christmas morning, and we all have gifts for each other, so the tree is pretty full. I am so thankful for my large family. It is my greatest blessing on this earth. I thank God in my prayers to Him every day for giving me the privilege of being a wife, mother, and grandmother. I am so grateful.

 Benny the elf.
That elf. Sometimes he moves, sometimes he doesn't. 

 Sweet baby Mae!

 Our Christmas card tree

 Sweet baby Mae again

My favorite Christmas shirt this year.
I may wear it one more time today.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!
Love from the Joyful Johnsons!