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The Imperfect Homemaker: April 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Easy Alphabet Activity for Preschoolers

I had a spur of the moment idea today for making learning fun.  The kids were playing with this huge alphabet puzzle they got at a yard sale last week, but I wanted them to actually be thinking about the letters that were on it.  I wanted their educational toy to be, you know, educational.  They also had out a play flashlight, and that's when I got my idea.  I would call out a letter and have them shine the flashlight on the correct letter.  Playing with flashlights is fun, having something specific to shine their flashlight on is even more fun.  And the bonus for mom was that they were learning and didn't even know it.


You could do this game with alphabet flashcards, number flashcards, colors, anything really.  Kids will love playing with a flashlight, and it will be a great way to reinforce various concepts.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Anti-Procrastination Challenge: Something is Better than Nothing

 I keep a scrub brush in the shower, and I normally try to clean it while I'm taking my shower.  Lately the hot water hasn't been sticking around long enough for my liking, so I've been ready to get out as quickly as possible rather than staying in to clean.  That hasn't done much to help with the cleanliness of the shower, though. 

Yesterday, I was taking another semi-cold shower, and I was getting disgusted with how dirty it was getting in there.  I figured if I stayed in long enough to clean just one section (maybe 30 seconds worth) it would only take about 7 or 8 showers before the whole thing was out of totally gross mode and back into routine maintenance mode.

I tackled just one shelf, but decided to do the other one on that side.  That wasn't so bad, so I did the other 2 shelves on the other side.  After that I figured I might as well scrub the walls down too.  After only1 shower half the thing was clean!  And I didn't freeze to death, either.  I was cold, but I survived.

And of course, now that I'm typing this out, I realize how lame of an excuse cold water was to not clean the shower.  That's how most of my excuses have ended up seeming throughout this challenge.  They sound so legitimate in my head, but when I actually start putting it out there for everybody else to see, it becomes obvious that I'm just being a sissy and need to get over it.

Anyway, the point of this post is that I was procrastinating because I knew I couldn't clean the whole shower in one shot (at least not in one warm-water shot!)  Because I couldn't do the whole thing, I didn't do anything.  But something is better than nothing!  Now I only need to take one more shower and the whole thing will be sparkling again!

So, my friend, what have you been putting off because you couldn't do it all in one shot?  Something is better than nothing, and if you just start you'll be further ahead on it than if you never start at all!

Set a timer for 15 minutes and see how far you can get before the timer goes off!  You might surprise yourself!  You might decide you have the time after all to do the whole project.  If not, that's okay too.  You'll have more done than before you started!

If you're just now joining our Anti-Procrastination challenge, you can read all the details here. Be sure you're subscribed to email updates or follow me on Facebook to receive each day's new challenge! 

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Easy Homemade Granola Recipe (Plus Another Giveaway!)

I'm not kidding when I say this recipe is easy.  It only has 4 ingredients!  I love homemade granola, and since I've been using coconut oil in it I like it even better! 

You will need:

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup almonds (sliced or chopped)


Melt coconut oil  and honey.

Add oats and almonds and stir until coated evenly.

Spread into a thin layer on a baking sheet.

Bake at 300 degrees for 12 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

As if it weren't enough for me to give you an easy and delicious recipe, I'm also going to give one of you a gallon of  Tropical Traditions Virgin coconut oil, thanks to the kind folks from Tropical Traditions.

Here is a little more information about the coconut oil:

Tropical Traditions is America's source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil? You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:
Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the  advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

If you place an order through any of the links in this post, you'll also receive a free copy of Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil Book.

To enter the giveaway, just log in to the form below with your email address or Facebook account then follow the instructions on the form. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Anti-Procrastination Challenge: Cleaning out the Clothes

Organizing my clothes has become a big ordeal lately.  It seems like my size is constantly change between having babies, nursing, losing weight, getting pregnant again and so forth.  Making sure I have the right size and the right season of clothing is becoming a challenge.  Right now I have plenty of clothes, but it's overwhelming to me to get them changed out at the beginning of a new season.  I have to try everything on, and I have to make sure I leave out some smaller clothes right now since I'm at the losing baby weight stage.  I've had a bin of clothes sitting in my bedroom floor for a couple weeks now, but I haven't felt up to getting myself involved in all that confusion.

I finally decided that I would just take a small bite out of it at a time.  The first day I went through just the skirts that were in the closet.  Those were the bigger ones that are now almost all too big.  I got out anything that was too big and put it in one place.  I'm hoping that putting all the similar size clothes in one place it will be easier to figure out what fits me next time I have a baby.  Next I need to get out the smaller skirts and find out what currently fits, what I need to put away until I lose more weight, and what I should leave out because it will probably fit pretty soon.  Ugh.  This business of gaining 50+ pounds with my pregnancies is annoying!  Hopefully now that I'm exercising regularly I'll be able to exercise through my next pregnancy and not gain as much weight.  (Or at least maybe keep myself toned up better.  I'd be happy with that too.)

I've got to keep working on those clothes a little bit each day until they're done.  I need to hurry up before my husband gets tired of having the bin sitting in the bedroom floor.  Actually, he's probably already tired of it, but he's being nice and not saying anything.

All right, it's your turn.  You may not have the same issues I have with your clothes, but you probably have some work to do on your wardrobe.  Whatever it may be - getting rid of stuff you never wear, mending stuff so you can wear it, changing out seasonal clothes, whatever - just do what you need to do.

And if you're just now joining our Anti-Procrastination challenge, you can read all the details here. Be sure you're subscribed to email updates or follow me on Facebook to receive each day's new challenge! 

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Monday, April 16, 2012

10 DIY Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Day will be here soon, so I thought I'd do a roundup of gift ideas that you can make!

Click on the link under each picture to be taken to the tutorial.

Tin Can Treats

Embellished Pencil Holder

Grandchild bouquet
Handprint board

Personalized Candles

Stamped Tea Towels

Pin-tucked Apron

Family Tree Word Art

DIY Jewelry

Framed Family Recipes

Stay tuned because I will be doing another post on gift ideas that children can give to their moms or grandmas.  

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or subscribe to email updates to make sure you don't miss it!

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Anti-Procrastination Challenge: Getting Rid of Stuff

We have a pretty large yard sale every year, and it's so nice to get rid of the junk and make a little money too.  But inevitably there is a least one thing (usually quite a few) that I come across while we're pricing items that I can't bear to sell for only a yard sale price.  I convince my husband that we need to set it aside to sell on ebay or Craigslist so that we can get a better price out of it.  That's great and all, but the problem is that those items go right back into the attic where I forget about them until the next year's yard sale. 

I have thought about getting the stuff down to list on ebay a few times, but there is always a reason why I can't do it at the time.  "I need good lighting to take pictures, and that only happens when the kids are up.  It's too hard to try to take pictures while keeping the kids from ripping the tags off of items I want to sell as brand new."  "Optimum times to list are at night around 9 or 10, and I'm too busy getting everybody ready for bed at those times."

Dumb excuses, I know.  I finally got up there and just did it.  I have several auctions going right now that are doing pretty well, and a bunch of other pictures taken that I can use to finish listing my auctions while the kids are napping.   
So, my challenge to you is this - What is it that you keep saying you need to get rid of, but haven't yet?  Maybe you want to list things on ebay like me, or maybe you're needing to pull together a yard sale, or maybe you just need to be honest with yourself and realize you're never going to do the ebay or yard sale thing.  Put the box of "Someday ebay" stuff out at your yard sale and just be done with it.  Or put the box of "Someday yard sale" stuff in the car to take to Goodwill and just be done with it.

If you're just now joining our Anti-Procrastination challenge, you can read all the details here. be sure you're subscribed to email updates or follow me on Facebook to receive each day's new challenge!   

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Anti-Procrastination Update

This Anti-Procrastination challenge has ended up being a bigger challenge than I thought it would be!  My original intent was just to be able to tackle things around the house that kept getting put off.  But it has turned into so much more than that.

I've become trained to listen to myself (either audibly or mentally) saying phrases like, "Later"; "I can't because..."; "When ___ happens, I'll do ____."  When I hear those, I can now recognize that I am making an excuse to procrastinate about something.  And you know what?  I was doing it a lot more than I realized!

At first I was adding things to my list like crazy, but after a while I started tuning in to something a little deeper than just cleaning or organizing.  This Anti-Procrastination challenge is turning from a challenge that's not so much about what I need to do, but about what I need to be

My thinking is receiving an overhaul.  The excuses that have been so subtly lurking in the background of my thoughts are coming more clearly to the forefront, and I'm recognizing things that have been holding me back from being who I ought to be.  This is not a result of my own efforts in the challenge, but rather a result of being yielded to the Holy Spirit of God.

You see, whenever I hear those excuses whispering in my ear, trying to convince me to procrastinate yet again, I have a choice.  I have a choice to either let the excuses win and allow what really amounts to laziness take over or to get up and get to work!  Something that in my mind is simple - such as determining whether to wash the dishes before bed or waiting until morning because I'm too tired - becomes not a matter of household cleanliness, but a matter of a clean heart before God.  Committing to a year of letting go of excuses has helped me see other things that I need to

I started exercising, and that was a huge step in the right direction.  But there was (and is!) a whole lot more that God needed to get me to change.  What about my mothering?  I needed to stop saying, "I need to do better about teaching my children God's Word,"  and just start doing it!  What about my witnessing?  I needed to stop telling myself "I need to do better about handing out tracts," and just start doing it!  Every day, as God shows me things in his Word, the result in my life ought not to be an attitude of mental assent, but an immediate doing!  (James 1:22-25  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.)

I want to be transformed by the power of the living God!  But that is only going to happen when the working of the Holy Spirit in my heart is met with a response of action rather than assent!

I am excited to continue my Anti-Procrastination Challenge not just throughout the rest of the year, but throughout the rest of my life.  Don't get me wrong;  we'll still be working on getting things done in the house, but I hope that like me, you're beginning to see how much work needs to be done in the heart!   

What about you?  Have you been making excuses without even realizing it?  Have you been agreeing with what the Lord speaks to you about, but not actually putting it into action?  Use the Anti-Procrastination challenge to help you change not just what you do, but who you are.     

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Tropical Traditions Giveaway Winner

The winner of the Tropical Traditions giveaway is #233, Melanie I.
You will receive instructions via email on claiming your prize.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Anti-Procrastination Challenge

When I first started my Anti-Procrastination challenge I made a list of things around the house that were bugging me.  My plan was to work on something each day and one by one knock out all those annoying little projects that I never seem to get around to doing.  I've been pretty faithful to sticking with my challenge, but lately I've had some more long-term things come up, and I've been putting a little time into chipping away at finishing them rather than actually finishing one thing every day.

One thing that has been on my list almost since day one of this challenge was this pillow:

Yes, you can see why it's been bugging me, can't you?

But the problem is - I loathe sewing by hand.  I hate it.  I despise it.  I've done every other project on my anti-procrastination list without too much complaint, but I keep skipping over this one.

The thing is - wasn't this the whole point of my Anti-Procrastination Challenge in the first place?  To challenge myself to "just do it" whether I feel like it or not?

So, I finally quit procrastinating on doing one of the very first items to make it on my Anti-Procrastination list.  That pillow has been crossed off my list!  And I'm glad.  I'm glad I don't have to keep looking at that horrid hole.  I'm glad I don't have to keep dreading sewing that pillow.  I'm glad I accomplished something.

Your turn!  What is it that needs to be done, but you keep skipping it because it just makes you wrinkle up your nose and say "Ugh." 

Do it!  I took my turn; you take yours!  You'll be glad when it's all over.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Blender Pancakes

I mentioned in my post about grinding wheat in the blender that I would be trying out a recipe for blender pancakes and letting you know how it went.

Well, here it is!

1 cup milk
3/4 cup whole wheat berries
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:  In a glass blender, blend milk and wheat berries for 4 minutes on high.  Add baking powder, brown sugar, eggs, and salt and blend for 1 minute on low.  Pour batter onto hot griddle and cook until bubbles form on the surface.  Flip pancakes and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until golden brown.

Can I just say that this is great?!  I loved the fact that I used only 3/4 cup of my wheat berries rather than a whole bag like I used when I made bread!   (By the way, I ordered my wheat berries from Vitacost since you get a free $10 coupon when you create an account.)  The wheat berries ground up so much better when they were combined with a liquid, and the pancakes were delicious!  I also loved the fact that I could just dump everything into the blender and pour the batter directly onto the griddle.

I'll definitely be making these again!


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Disclosure: The link in this post is my referral link.

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