Party Season

Summer is in full swing now. I wanna get back into blogging, but I’m not sure what I want to write about yet, so I’ll start with an update post.

Yesterday… I was spreading mulch. The old gray mare just ain’t what she used to be. I was moving very slowly. Pushing that yellow wheelbarrow and using Bobby’s pitchfork was like lifting weights for me. Because we are having a triple birthday party on Saturday, and Bobby had to go to Canada, I said I would do what I can.

I think we’re in the midst of a party season. There was Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day, and Sarah‘s birthday, and Fourth of July, and the Fourth of July Eve, then the triple birthday party and Hannah’s birthday. This year, Mother’s Day was my best ever. We played tennis and got Chinese food. Of course, not cooking is a great present to me, but we topped that with a double feature. We watched Mamma Mia! and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (including a Sing-along with enthusiastic family participation).

One Saturday, Bobby and I picked up a bathroom vanity cabinet that I had ordered in February. We took out the old one, and since we needed a plumber, we decided to hire someone to install it. He hasn’t come over yet, so it’s just sitting there. I have plans to paint and update the room as soon as he comes.

I took a day trip with my mom and her dog, Rosie, to visit my uncle and his wife and daughter in Rhode Island. Then the kids and I went to New York with Bobby for one night. We slept in the apartment and visited the American Museum of Natural History.

I’m in the process of planning out the next homeschool year. Mary, most likely my last homeschooler, will be in the sixth grade. I felt emotional as I was sorting through her fifth grade books. I used to take the Saxon math textbooks and solutions manuals and pack them away for the next kid. But there was no next kid. We don’t need the books anymore. And the fifth grade Faith and Life text, Credo… I remember buying that when little Matthew (now 23) was going into fifth grade. It was one of those days when life appears to be passing by too quickly.

But today I am grateful. During one of my late night YouTube scrolling sessions, I saw a thumbnail about getting rid of belly fat and I checked it out. The video was by a very likable woman whose theory seemed sound. I watched a few of her videos about food. The next day I was texting with my friend who told me she was watching videos about light calisthenics. I sent her a link to the belly fat woman and it turned out that we were both watching videos by the same Pahla B. Does my phone have the ability to send videos that my friends are watching to my YouTube feed? Or was it just meant to be? Anyway, from that day on I’ve been practicing her 5-0 Method, and my friend and I have been sharing our experiences through texts. I’ve been feeling very happy that I am taking care of my body, albeit, imperfectly.

Before this post gets too crazy long, I’ll share one last thing. While I was mulching yesterday, I listened to MP3 talks by Fr. John Hardon. They were recordings from 1996 about the Real Presence. I’ve listened to five of the 18 parts, and plan to continue. It’s given me a desire to read Mysterium Fidei (and to attend daily Mass and get to Adoration more frequently). If time permits, I may write more about this or any of these topics again. Surely not this week, however, as I will be busy with party prep.

Basically a Brain Dump

I wrote this post at the beginning of June. I don’t know why I didn’t publish it, but I’m posting it now before I begin writing an update for July. Chronology.

Last weekend, my daughter’s boyfriend came over to watch a movie with us for the first time. We ran around picking up the house and putting things back where they belong before he arrived. The next morning, the house looked really neat, and we wondered why it doesn’t look like that more often.

Our quick tidy wasn’t the only thing that got the house to a place of neatness, and my mind to a state of rest.

I linked in my last post, videos by a YouTuber that caught my interest recently. The idea that really got me thinking was one she listed as a reason people have clutter: delayed decisions.

I realized that I have struggled with indecisiveness and avoidance many times in my life. I think my mom used to describe me as a procrastinator when I was a child. She was probably right. I remember starting a whole research paper the day before it was due, and all-nighters were a regular part of my high school and college years. (Those continued during my 5 years of working third shift and my 14 years of nursing babies.) But getting back to delayed decisions… I instantly knew this was why I have not finished decluttering my whole house yet, despite having been trying to get “totally organized” since 1998. And this is likely why the kitchen has been covered with laundry and dishes lately. I have been delaying deciding who does what around here since a failed attempt at changing up an old chore plan.

There’s more. Other videos revealed that the mess and clutter will always come back if I don’t make real substantial changes to my lifestyle (like when I go on a diet, then return to my regular eating habits). She offered practical ideas and inspiration that I acted on right away. And with journaling and prayer, I started thinking… I can do this. I can be decisive. Isn’t this the discernment of spirits? Awareness, understanding, and taking action to accept or reject the inspiration or temptation. (Or in my case, awareness, understanding, and not taking action.). Seriously, one of the things I like about these videos is her emphasis on being gentle with yourself. And one thing I don’t completely agree with is the encouragement to trust myself. I prefer to think of it as trusting God to lead me.

But enough about the videos… What have I been doing? Well, first I went around my home looking at all the material items and writing a list of “Unfinished Business”. This could be: repair my bathroom towel hook, open Rachel’s bank account, finish remodeling the half bath, read such and such a book, and so on. A lot of the items came from my kitchen desk area. It was basically a brain dump. I also added things I didn’t see on my pass through the house that were just in my mind. I eventually processed this list. I put tasks I will do either on a To Do list that resides in my desk drawer, attached to a manila folder holding some of the paperwork, or on my calendar, on the day or month I intend to work on them. I wrote projects on sheets of paper (where I added some of the steps to the projects) and filed them in a binder by the month I intend to work on them. If I don’t get to them in that month, I can move them forward to another month. And some tasks/projects I just crossed out as not necessary right now, or ever. It was a relief to organize the jumbled mess in my mind into a prioritized, doable plan. Order out of chaos.

The next thing I did was to make two lists of things I wished I did daily. The first listed things to keep my house effortlessly cleaned, maintained, and clutter free. The second listed things I can do to take care of myself. (Many were retreat resolutions.) I have chosen three items that I am going to focus on during June. The hope is that they’ll become habits. I usually try to change too many things at once and lose focus. Choosing only three seems, again, doable.

Lastly, I wrote 25 small chores on index cards, laid them out on the dining room table and told my four daughters to each choose 5. I’ll take on the five (least wanted) remaining tasks. I quickly wrote out lists by chore and by person (so ISTJ) for reference. I have been procrastinating doing this all spring and it feels good to have decided who is responsible for what again.

So it kind of sounds like I spend all my time writing lists. I do enjoy writing, but I’ve also been involved in many people oriented activities such as: helping Joseph buy a car, driving Hannah and Rachel around to tennis practices and matches, getting Mary new eyeglasses, spending a weekend with Bobby in Delaware, attending two school spring music concerts, doing laps in my Dad’s pool, playing tennis, tech ring, and corn hole… See I do live quite an exciting life.

Winter Capsule Wardrobe

I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe!

It seems silly that I look forward to new posts on a blog called Classy Yet Trendy because I consider myself to be low maintenance when it comes to health and beauty aids, and definitely fashion. Yet here I am waiting for her to come out with her Spring Capsule Wardrobe for Stay at Home Moms. My explanation is that I have experienced the benefits of having one.

If you’re not familiar with a “capsule wardrobe”, it is a set number of clothes that can mix and match with one another to create many outfits.   Typically, you wear a capsule wardrobe for 3 months, then at the end of those 3 months, you update it for the next season.  (Leanne from Classy Yet Trendy)

I made my first one in the fall, and then I continued to wear it in the winter. This week, I took out the items I haven’t been wearing, and I’m going to share it with you now as my winter capsule wardrobe. I love that you set it up and then it’s done for three months. No need to shop for anything else or declutter until the next season comes + I love or use everything in my drawers = peace of mind.

When I made mine, I followed the steps in this post. I was able to use so many of the clothing items that I already owned because most of my wardrobe was made up of neutral-color coordinating essentials. Maybe they were old or not the perfect fit, but it was a good start. I tossed all the items that I didn’t love or that didn’t coordinate with what I had. I made a couple of purchases in the fall that helped round it out. So here are the steps I followed and what mine looks like.


I selected black.


I selected 2 pairs of blue boot cut jeans, 1 pair of black straight leg jeans, 1 pair of black dress pants, 3 long sleeve T-shirts in white, charcoal, and black, a black turtleneck, a black and a charcoal cardigan, a grey pullover sweater, and a charcoal turtleneck sweater. I owned all of these items before last fall except for the black jeans. I made it through the previous cold weather months with just 2 pairs of blue jeans, but I likely doubled the number of outfits to choose from by adding the black jeans.  Thank you capsule wardrobe!



I chose deep purple, and I guess olive because I bought a new olive colored cardigan in the fall. I do not like the color of the green shirt on the left, but I keep it because that is my popcorn shirt. I wear it whenever I go to the cinemas and plan to eat movie popcorn. I don’t want to get butter stains on any of my other shirts. Bobby has a bright red Red Sox popcorn sweatshirt. I guess you can do this when you’ve been married for twenty years.


I added a color coordinating flannel shirt, a grey striped turtleneck, a fringed cardigan, and my Les Miserables T-shirt. These were the patterned items.  The layers were: a navy hoodie, a grey hoodie, a black raincoat and a NEW black winter coat. I previously wore Bobby’s old one. I feel so feminine wearing a fitted coat. It’s super soft and warm, and very much appreciated here in Western Massachusetts.


I chose black sling-back dress shoes, hiking boots, black suede flats, black western boots and black snow boots. By the way, this capsule doesn’t include pajamas and work out clothing. So I didn’t take photos of my slippers and running shoes.

These are my winter accessories. I chose 4 scarves and one tote bag. I don’t own a purse. I usually carry a money belt and my keys and iPhone in my pockets. I know this is neither classy nor trendy.

The Stay at Home Moms Spring Capsule Wardrobe I was waiting for came out today. (I started this post awhile ago.) It looks good, but I prefer the colors in the French Minimalist one. Maybe I’ll have to make up my own.