Sunday, April 28, 2013

Don't read my blog this week.



We're embarking an adventure this week.
We're going screen-free.
Our TV is covered up, ready for an entire week's rest.


We've made our list of fun things to do without technology.
They got quite excited as we talked about this at the table.

With every idea they got louder, and louder, and LOUDER...

Play in the sandbox!
Climb trees!
Go to the park!
Play in the dirt!
Play dress up!
Board Games!
Duct tape our mouths shut and wave our arms to communicate!
Have a banana fight!
Eat Marcus for dinner!
Poop our pants!
(I refused to put  the last three on the list, but  I did OK the duct tape.)

our screen-free list

Plus, I can feel myself getting distracted from my primary vocation. It's time to unplug. The  weather is getting nice, and I think we could use a little fresh air. A little re-focusing. A little human interaction.  It's gonna kill me, but I think I'll even  turn off my computer this  week too. (I expect some major withdrawal symptoms.)

And they are interrupting me even as I write this post.  But this time, instead of shoo'ing them, I'll just quit typing.

I'll let you know how it goes next Monday!
(assuming we survive!)

Consider joining me!

Messy Mommy Jobs #10 & Link Up




Messy pictures for this week!

My clutter table!
Do you have a place like this in your home?

PhotobucketMy poor bread!





Photobucket

you win some, you loose some. 

Inside the couches:
Who has been squirreling away the SHARPIES?! 



The inside: A snack
Oatmeal in a pocket



And now, some baby messes!




My sneaky food snatcher: 

Photobucket

Baby Charlotte, having a party in her highchair!


A card for mommy (Regina Ditto of Counting Blessings)
The front is super-mom.


Photo: Just enjoying his biscuit......

Little  Landon, just enjoying his biscuit!

In case you missed it, check out the first post, Monday's Mess, and Do the messes ever drive you to the edge? (If nothing else, check out that one to see the peanut butter-cicle), and Don't get mad, grab your camera!

Share your pictures!

Send me an email
Post pictures to my facebook page
(Please note- if you post to facebook or email me, you are giving me permission to use your picture on my blog! If you want credit, put your nameon the picture itself.  I use picmonkey for this and other edits. It's free and you don't even have to register!)

If you have a blog, link up with me below! ( Links back are always appreciated!)
Your post can be anything at all mess-related; cleaning tips, organizing tips, thoughts on a messy life, a messy craft project, or just fun pictures of your kids doing something messy!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hammer time

A few nights ago, my son decided he wanted to build a dog house.
He is seven.

I suggested we start with basic building skills.
So he's practicing hammering.



I presented him with quite a difficult decision before he began:
Which hammer?


The black one, which is his...
or the other one, which is BIGGER, but has flowers on it!




Little brother got the flowers.

This  kept them busy for over an hour. The little ones watched, and the big girls joined in.
I highly recommend this activity.



Friday, April 26, 2013

random recommendations #3

Parenting and motherhood
Mom am I ugly?
What would you say if your daughter asked? Here are ten tips from another mother...

The Real Life Definition of Mother
real life and real heart.  Read this one, moms.


Butterflies and Theology
A trip to the butterfly garden goes horribly (why did I pay money for this!) but then things change...

Best Construction
Thinking about those words said in front of little ears...


The Twenty Minute Rule
Excellent strategy for keeping your cool during those intense mommy moments.

Nutrition and Health
50 of the best uses for coconut oil
Put a little windex coconut oil on it!

A McDs Hamburger 14 years later.
You gotta see this.

10 foods you can grow from scraps
Garden with garbage! How economical! I will be trying some of these!


Misc
A hymn for suffering pastors

Shadow Dance Love Story 

Some Truth about Death and Angels
Is there really a Grandma Angel?


Girlhood

"I would not chill the warmth and ardor of happy girlhood. What if I do know that the clouds and storms of life are just ahead and that its cares will bend her back and break her heart! Would they be any less if she knew? Soon enough the sorrows and pain will come. Laugh and play now, for this is your day. Dream your bright and happy dreams, and aspire to your lofty heights. I should be a pessimist indeed if I saw evil in the radiant dreams and fair hopes that now brighten your skies and make your path light." 
(Beautiful Girlhood p 13-14)

Father, see these two beautiful hearts, how they grow!


It's so beautiful and yet so terrifying! Their dreams are huge and they know so little of the world! How is a mother to encourage them and worry for them at the same time? Yet they need both, don't they? Their dreams need nurturing, and yet their tender hearts still need some protecting in this place. 


Father I have not the wisdom I need to tend this garden.


Tend to me and my girls, Father.


Keep us safely connected to the life-giving vine, to Jesus, as we grow up together.

In His name, Amen






Thursday, April 25, 2013

Why I had to throw a party

It had been a long weekend. Two kids had a mild stomach bug. I'd been in the house too long. Daddy was going to be gone for the evening. The big kids were home for spring break, but nothing fun had happened yet, and they were full of restless energy.

Spring break.
And it was snowing.
It was a recipe for disaster.

I just didn't think we could handle one more "normal" night at home. It would be too much TV (in my opinion), not enough action (for them), too much noise (in my opinion), not enough excitement (for them)... tension and friction until my patience ran out (which some forecasters predicted would be as early as 3pm) and everyone was yelled off to an early bedtime.

But what could be done? We couldn't risk driving to town with two unpredictable boy stomachs.
We were stuck. At home. With our normal.
And normal was driving us all crazy.

Unless....
Unless I could figure out a way to shake up our normal.

I was desperate. Stuck in the house, dreading the evening, and desperate.
Naptime came, and I had a minute to think. I decided to try something different. Instead of just endure another evening, I'd try to shake up our normal.

I'd throw a party.
Just for us.

I gave myself some guidelines for this survival party:

  • Keep it simple for your sake.
  • A fun evening is worth any messes that will be made.
  • And also, keep it simple.

I rummaged around my basement, and here's what I came up with.

Easter egg hunt.
It was freezing, and I had no candy, but I did have chocolate chips. They were willing to brave the cold for chocolate chips. (The big kids did the filling and the hiding for the little ones.


Ice Challenge
A container, ice, and some plastic coins.
Their challenge- how many coins can you get out of the tub with your bare feet in 5 minutes?


Finally, WATER PLAY.
We had water, and they had bathing suits. So what if it was snowing out. It was spring break after all! So we'd pretend it was summer in our basement. 


Also, they'd get those mats nice and clean. (Because clean mats are better Slip N Slides)



 Next, water balloon pinatas.

It was a nice theory, but they didn't pop very easily!
So they played catch...
Then they played bash-the-brother.


He loved it.


And finally,
the sleepout.
We put mattresses in the living room and all six of them slept out there. Of course, we danced first.
(Note the song- Aggie's favorite)



Then finally, TV.


Snuggles, and eventually, sleep.


The rest of the story
Yes, this was an incredibly fun way to spend what would have been a tense evening full of boredom and bickering. But before you comment with some sort of "Oh my goodness you are such a fun mom" spiel, let me tell you what happened the next day.

I collapsed. 
The oldest watched the youngest while I slept in. LATE. They watched LOTS of TV. And then I got up, and a little while later, I needed another nap. 
More babysitting. 
More TV. 
More messes.
More bickering.

But I guess that's life in a family, isn't it? 

It is series of sprints, with an occasional long nap.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Reluctant pastor's wife


(I read this post and this post today on being a pastor's wife, and I was inspired to finish my own. This has been sitting in the drafts for some time!)

A Reluctant Pastor's Wife
The plans he had when we started dating were quite different. He was going into politics. He was going to be the president of the USA. (As are most who attend our Alma Mater!)

 I met this guy in college. He stole me from that other guy, and then we drank and smoked together on the weekends. So, I call myself a "reluctant" pastor's wife only because this vocation is not something I would have asked for, nor foreseen, when I was younger.


This is partly true because most of my experience was in the Catholic church, where there are no pretty side-kicks working alongside of the priests, playing the piano and tending his children.  That just seems weird to a Catholic kid.  I also was reluctant to be a pastor's wife because I am, after all, a sinner.  Aren't pastor's wives supposed to be perfect all the time?

And also, I didn't know how to play the piano. (gasp!)
(I still don't... even though my older three children do!)

I have found my calling to be much more pleasing than I ever would have expected it to be, and nothing like the stereotype I once had.  Partly because our church family is healthy and filled with the love of Christ, and partly because God has changed my heart, and taught it to want what He has to give me.

Now, I like being married to the man that works at the church all the time.  I enjoy helping him brainstorm about sermons, and giving him my feedback after church on sundays (if the kids were good enough for me to hear any of the sermon.)  I was the nerd who took the theology classes with him in college! We "courted" over coffee and Luther! John Calvin and Thomas Aquinas joined us on the beach!

Sure there are trials mixed in with my calling.  I sometimes feel like we are being watched by everyone, and that is a little unsettling, especially when I am out of patience and the kids are overly wiggly.

From an actual card received when we moved to this church:



Look at that poor little stick figure, how small he is compared to those enormous eyes! Life in the parsonage does feel like that at times. (However, those of you who know my story of being Weak and Loved know that an observing church can also be a very caring church!)

For me, the hardest times are the times when he is stooped over with the weight of his job.

Often, my heart breaks for my husband as I watch him bear an invisible burden. He rarely has the freedom to tell me what is happening at church, but I know when his heart is heavy with counseling sessions and broken people and the weight of sin. I can see it in his face, hear it in his silence.  And I am powerless to help him through that. So I make him strawberry shortcake, and I might even try to keep the kids quiet(er.)

And that is hard.
It's hard when he's stooped over with his vocation and I'm flattened by mine and we are powerless to help each other.  And yet, somehow, always, God helps, and we are again upheld another day, another week.

In general, I have found that Christians are actually forgiving and kind, even to a pastor's wife with a flock of children always on her heels.  And I am learning the joys of being Lutheran.  For one thing, we say out loud that we are sinners- every Sunday- and not just the congregation, but also the pastor, and the pastor's wife.

We are NOT some super-holy people leading holy wannabes down the road of righteousness.

We are beggars, standing with beggars, receiving gifts from a gracious God.
God has chosen a my husband to give those gifts to His beloved beggars.
And me to be his helpmate.
Wow.

Makes me almost happy to iron his robes for him.

Almost.

2008 just ordained

For all pastors, their wives, and their families,
let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.

Running and Getting Drunk

"One woman tells me, as we sit on the grass, 
that she thinks running is like getting drunk in reverse. 

With drinking, it feels great at first, 
but then you start feeling awful. 

With running, you feel awful at first, 
but then, after you finish, you feel great. 
That sounds like a much better deal. "

(Adharanand Finn Running with the Kenyans, p 12)

Pinned Image
photo credit

Winning Tactics for Running a Marathon
photo credit

Follow me on Pinterest for more motivation, recipes, and other random pinnable things!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Feet are awesome (Why I run barefoot.)

I am a barefoot runner.

photo credit sheknows

A little background
Though I ran track in high school, I've never considered myself A Runner. I don't get all bouncy when I think about increasing my mileage. I don't have solid calves. I don't love hills. I don't love a quiet morning run through the country. I don't think running is relaxing or like meditating. I would choose almost any other aerobic activity over running if I could. But running does get me in shape, and I can do on the treadmill it in my basement. So I run.

How it started
"Hon, I think I'm going to buy a new pair of running shoes." I said to my husband one day. I'd been just barely eeking out a few 5k runs on the treadmill in our basement and I could feel my shins and my knees complaining (as they always do when I get on a running kick.)

"That's fine with me," he said. "But you may want to read up on those Five Fingers. They really do seem to help with proper form."

I rolled my inward eyes. Can't a girl just buy a new pair of shoes without doing research? Plus, those shoes look pretty ridiculous.  I would have to be convinced that there is a major benefit if I was going to make such a major fashion sacrifice.

Ha, fashion. OK, that's not really my major concern, ever, but they are silly looking and expensive, too, so I wasn't going to just take his word for it.  I looked at the site he sent me, and decided I needed more time to think about the whole thing. I refrained from buying the cute, new, normal shoes at Khol's, and I decided to test the barefoot theory.

The Theory (Simplified)
What's the thinking behind barefoot running? Here's my simple summary:

Feet are designed to run.
(Ok, many say feet "evolved" to run, but I will set aside that debate for now.)

Running, like any sport, is a skill, and there are ways to do it more efficiently. Running barefoot allows our feet to receive instant feedback, and based on that feedback, we naturally adjust into a healthier stride. (Think lower-impact, more efficient, less injury-prone.)

First attempt
My first thoughts, "Well, that seems plausible. I wonder if it feels much different?"
I kicked off my shoes after a short (in-shoes) run on the treadmill, lowered my speed, and hopped back on barefoot.

It felt different. Easy. Great.
And one more thing- it was quiet. The treadmill was humming, but that was the only noise. And I realized, when I run in shoes, I make quite a racket.

I had been an elephant.
Barefoot, I am a gazelle. Or something.
The treadmill had stopped shaking, and I could hear my music.

Transition
I decided to give it a try for a month.  I took the experts' advice to transition slowly, running at first for only ten minutes at a time, and increasing gradually while constantly paying attention to my own body.  I discovered muscles in my feet and ankles that I never knew I had before, and I got a few minor blisters.

Now
Fast Forward four months
Last week, I ran eight miles barefoot.
And the weirdest thing? I loved it.  I even smiled a few times during mile six, mile seven, mile eight.




I have not had a single shin problem or knee problem since I shed my shoes. After the initial adjustment for my feet and ankles, I have been steadily adding distance to my workouts. Steadily and eagerly. Before, I could coax, drag, force myself as far as 5k, but I couldn't fathom doing much more. Ever.

Now, I find myself just... going. For the joy of it.

Wow. I sound like A Runner.

And all because I shed my running shoes.

Here are a few things I've learned along the way

  • If I put shoes on my feet, muting the feedback they give me,and do what comes "naturally," I will clomp along like a drunk elephant. And I'll hurt myself, too.
  • Feet are amazing. Mine may not be pretty but they are amazing. They can run eight miles now! They can tell me (now that I have ears to hear) how to correct my running form making it safer, more efficient, and even quieter!
  • The best thing I can do for my body is listen to it.  I have found this to be true in regards to whole foods and clean eating. Why should I be surprised that this is also true in regards to exercise?


So, when I realized I was all in, I bought a pair of "barefoot running shoes." I use them outside to protect myself from sharp objects, but as often as I can, I run barefoot.

I realize there is quite a bit of debate on this topic in the world of runners, and I won't say I have researched every possible angle. But I do know this:

My body loves running free.



Care to learn more? Here are a few places to start.
Do your own homework, and most importantly, listen to your own body!

The Barefoot Running Debate
The Once and Future Way to Run (NYTimes)
Running form (video)
Video: The Barefoot Professor
Barefoot FAQ
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
(Watch this clip about the book- it really was a great story in its own right!)

Weak and Lovely- Read the series here
Join our facebook group for extra support!

Do you have any questions for me?
Have you ever tried running in bare feet?


Friday, April 19, 2013

Random Recommendations

Faith


Baptism and Courage
We were born for such a time as this.


Weak on Sanctification?
By grace we have been saved, now let's get to work? No.  Read here to further understand why the Christian gets to be Weak and Loved throughout his life. God does the verbs.  We are beloved, chosen, sanctified, helped, and cared-for.  We can rest in our honored place as the direct object of God's work.


Satan would have us spend all our time measuring our good works and nervously playing interior decorator for the Jesus who is knocking at the door of our heart. St. Paul would have us not worrying about that sort of thing at all, giving us that time back to focus on Jesus, the great gifts and consolations He gives to us, and also focus on others for His name’s sake.

Holler for Mercy
What do you want? We don't always know.

Comfort Dogs in Boston
Mercy work in response to tragedy

The Juvenilization of Christianity
The rise of the youth culture, and how the church responded (or didn't,) and what happened next.


Marriage
Cheap Date
I really, really love this idea for a cheap date!

The Most Loving Thing I've Done as a Mom
"I love my kids so much that I'm willing to sweep them aside... when their dad walks through the door."


Nutrition

How well do you know your salt?
Me, not very well!

The Real top 11 biggest lies of mainstream nutrition
Very interesting... I think I'm coming around to this way of thinking. What do you think?

Talking to Children about Real Food
Red light, yellow light, and green light foods- I admit the standards in this post are higher than mine, but I like this way of speaking about food with children.




Jump (5 minute friday)

Spring is here and they jump.

Jump out of bed, jump the the couches until I shoo them outside with no time even for shoes.  They jump on the trampoline, on each other.

And I watch the joy of a child, of children rejoicing in their own bodies, in health and life and spring.  And I find it hard to make them do their homework first.  Mud and worms and dandelions call to them and even to me, and we become irresponsible, free.

My body, imperfect but strong, can jump with them in this season, today. My body and my heart lift up with their joy, to the sky, and though my legs shake with the jumping, still, we jump.




(and that's five minutes, folks. Linked up with Five Minute Friday, writing for five minutes the way I used to run... just for the joy of it.)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

You can't tilt it back.

Imagine you're walking through your neighborhood, enjoying a normal day, when suddenly you realize you are right on the edge of this:

photo credit discovery news

You'd stare, eyes suddenly open, realizing how fragile are these days we call "normal." You'd feel small. Breakable. Grateful.

That's how I feel today as I write this post.  No, I did not almost fall in a sinkhole. I had another bout of depression.

Darkness my old friend

Funny how that old enemy can sneak up on me. First I think it’s something else, something fixable. As if I were just having a bad day.

If the kids would just get along… 
If I just had another cup of coffee… 
If I just go to bed early tonight…

Often, it's not a sudden drop into a sinkhole. It's a gradual tilting of the ground beneath me. So I lean, and I adjust my walk. My muscles ache a little, but it's manageable. It is possible to walk leaning sideways for a little while, unless my muscles give out.

Unless the ground tilts too far.

Unless I slip.






photo credit cliff hands
Depression

It's back. 
It pulls heavy on my ankles. 
All my energy is spent clinging to the side of the pit, trying not to let it pull me down. My nails dig in to the earth.  Rocks are slipping and I struggle. I’m terrified and angry and weary all at once.

My frustrations were not merely side effects of a bad day. They were red flags. They were symptoms. (Anxiety flashes, irritability rage, mental fatigue)

I sleep, I get help, I ask for prayer, and yet still nothing feels better.
I fight, but the fight is exhausting.  
Soon my efforts are half-hearted.

No easy fixes
Time in Scripture is well spent, but the moment I reenter my day, the darkness weighs and pulls at me once again. I hide from the children while they watch a movie, and for that moment I am relieved, yet their sweet voices find me later, and I hear only accusations in their loving words. 

The darkness pulls. Weighs.

Because of the fight, life becomes all about me. How I’m feeling, how I’m doing, what I can and can’t handle right now.

I use all my strength for clinging to the sides of the pit. I can barely figure out how to make dinner in my exhaustion.  All energy is spent in the attempt to function.

Again, I am an empty cup seeking to be filled. There is nothing to pour out. There is no energy for replying to emails or answering the phone or being concerned for a friend.  I fake it if I must, because fake is all I have, but when nobody's looking, I fall back into guilty exhaustion.

It’s only been a few months since my last bout of depression, but I had almost forgotten how awful it can be. I had forgotten how fragile I am, how quickly it can overtake my life.

Relief
Some stuff helps, some stuff doesn't. Talk to your doctor and your family and listen to your own body.

For me, there are small things I can do that help me get through the days.  I get out in the sun. I take my vitamins and my medicine. I rest. I eat cashews. I lower my standards.  Those things help me make it till bedtime, but it does not seem to be in my power to right the world again when it is crooked.

Only God can, so I ask Him.
And sometimes He doesn't help right away.
I have no idea why.
And that's hard.

And yet here I am today, helped and restored, standing on the edge of the hole, gaping, and grateful.

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning.
My God turns my darkness to light.
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.

(Psalm 18:28, 32)

He is true whether I feel it or not.

Father,
Have mercy on those who battle depression, especially on those who feel like they are losing the battle.  Relieve their suffering. Assure them of your forgiveness.  Cheer them with the promises that are ours in Jesus.        
Make it better, soon please, and sustain them until you do.
Amen.

Read more of my posts on Depression here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Break the rules. (Book review: Broken)

Broken
Broken: Seven Christian Rules That Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possibleby Johnathan Fisk

For all the perfect storm of our hypercultural age, for all the distractions and amusements and cares of this American life, for all the scorching pressures of conforming to the modern world and the postmodern mind, it is still only the one foil the devil is using to attack the faith...It's the same foil countless well-meaning Christian pastors preach and Christian people try a little harder to believe every single week. It is the lie that

"God wants you to find Him somewhere other than in His Word." (p.17)

Fisk outlines 7 common variations on this lie:

You will find God in your heart, 
in the works of your  hands,
in your mind,
in the world,
in the perfect church,
in God's absence (lawlessness).

With an entertaining style, sarcasm, and Star Wars references, Fisk tears apart these common pitfalls. (And perhaps a few assumptions of the reader, as well.)  The reader is relieved to learn that these things are mere traditions of men, and have no authority to bind his conscience. 

Again and again, the reader is pointed back to Christ: in His Word, on the Cross, for you.

I enjoyed the metaphors and the illustrations throughout the book. I do not believe I have ever read a book in this genre written in quite this way. It was refreshing (if also slightly dizzying.)  Though I had no trouble following his arguments, I am not sure it will be accessible to the average teen or young adult without additional background study.  However, I think those who rise to the challenge will benefit from it.

I recommend this book, particularly for those who are exhausted in their pursuit of God.

Jesus is a God who comes to us.

He is not hiding, not waiting for you to fix or do or be or find anything.
He is God with us.
In His Word, in His sacraments.
God with us.


You can also listen to Pastor Fisk discuss these topics here: Man's failed attempts to reach God.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Quick and Easy: Chocolate Syrup

I've developed a new habit. When we run out of something, as I throw it away I look at the ingredients list. I ask, "Do we need all these odd-sounding things?" and, "Is there a way I can do this better?"

Often, the answer is yes. Better, tastier, healthier, and frequently, cheaper.

We ran out of chocolate syrup this week.   So we made some.  It took about ten minutes, and it is wonderful.




Why not give it a try?
What staples have you cleaned up in your home?
What staples have you found difficult to replace?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Messy Mommy Jobs- series returns! (#9 & Link Up)

Because it is fun, because posting pictures helps me laugh and not cry, and because my kids keep giving me plenty of material for this series

Messy Mondays are back!

I'm planning to do this one every other week- send me your pictures if you'd like!


First, a post from another mama- Kristie.
The back story, in her words...

"I am talking [on the phone about something very serious] Taylor was sitting in front of me, with her back to me, coloring with her new markers .  She took off down the hall, and then came back to me...............and this is what I see.........AHHHHHHHHHHH.......apparently the scissors were stashed there also.....she told me she just wanted to look funny.......she was definitely that ;-) I told her she might look funny for the next month or 2 while her hair grows out, not to mention the dance recital just around the corner.  Just knew mommy needed a true laugh I guess!!!"



Spring is here, and spring brings major mud and mess.
But the extra laundry is worth it for the fun (and the cute pictures)



Dirty feet!
(Note the purple toe- those are my 'barefoot' running shoes! I'm sold! more on that to come.)



Worm Collector

Most of you don't know this, but I was the BEST worm collector when I was younger.
I even tried to sell them to the neighbors.
The boys and I gathered a nice bunch after the rain last week.


Mauled gardening book
At least I'm using it! I got some seeds in, and then I left the book on the picnic table, so they used it as a frisbee or a stool or a hat or something.



Dirty hands
Love my garden helpers!


Goodbye Glitter jar
It is not OK to throw it at your mom in anger, son.
It was fun while it lasted.
(I might make another Calm Jar. Perhaps I'll just use it for myself!)


What the heck?
Why would someone tape these here?
I have no explanation.


Shrug.


Laundry Helpers?
They took every towel and piece of laundry in the bathroom and put it in the tub with them.
I love their guilty looks.



Consequences
Floor cleaning consequences,
because they think it's cute to shake their sippy cups at each other.
Mama doesn't think it's cute.


How about you ?
Any messes at your house recently?
What picture above is your favorite?
I'd love to hear your stories!



In case you missed it, check out the first post, Monday's Mess, and Do the messes ever drive you to the edge? (If nothing else, check out that one to see the peanut butter-cicle), and Don't get mad, grab your camera!

Share your pictures!

Send me an email
Post pictures to my facebook page
(Please note- if you post to facebook or email me, you are giving me permission to use your picture on my blog! If you want credit, put your nameon the picture itself.  I use picmonkey for this and other edits. It's free and you don't even have to register!)

If you have a blog, link up with me below! ( Links back are always appreciated!)
Your post can be anything at all mess-related; cleaning tips, organizing tips, thoughts on a messy life, a messy craft project, or just fun pictures of your kids doing something messy!

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