Spring Cleaning Tips + Tricks [Guest Post]

Hello to my new Cheers Y’all friends!!
My name is Jenni and I blog over Frankly My Dear…! I am so excited for my first ever guest post to be with all of you! If you haven’t ever dropped by my blog, I’d love for you to stop by & say hello!

I hope y’all had a great Easter & enjoyed some beautiful spring weather. If you’ve been anywhere like me, it’s such a relief to finally have some sweet sunshine! I absolutely love Spring…it’s a transition from dark, dreary winter into new life! It’s such a beautiful picture of God’s promises.

Along with lovely flowers, sweet scents, & beautiful sunshine comes the Spring Cleaning List! IF you’re anything like me, it’s so bittersweet! You dread the daunting tasks but you can’t wait till your house smells of fresh, clean Springtime! Am I right?
It’s no secret that I am a lover of lists. When I found this one from Blissfully Ever After, I knew it was the perfect place to start! Getting organized can be the most important obstacle to begin your spring cleaning. Getting everything out there in the open can really simplify tasks, create a rhythm, & make sure you don’t forget anything. It may also be a bit overwhelming, but don’t stress…you’ll thank yourself later!Another important part of organizing is getting all your supplies together. I love these cleaning bucket inspirations I found on Pinterest!
While organizing your tasks & supplies, don’t forget to set some time aside to actually get everything done. Plan out a day or couple hours each day to accomplish certain tasks. You may also consider calling in the recruits! Kids, husbands, friends…no one is out of the question for Spring Cleaning!
Clutter can accumulate so quickly! Especially if you keep everything, thinking “oh I’ll use this later!”. I am the world’s worst at this & we need to stop that! The best tip I’ve learned is that before you get started, get three large trash bags or cardboard boxes & label them “Trash”, “Donate”, “Sell.” It’ll be easier to let go of things knowing you have an organized plan of getting rid of them. It also helps if you already know where you want to donate items and if you’ll post things like old prom dresses or valuable clothes on facebook or even have a Yard Sale. If you haven’t heard of Poshmark, I encourage you to check it out! It’s an online tool to help you sell items in your closet AND shop other people’s clothes as well!
Finally, just GET STARTED! This one is definitely the hardest of all the tasks but obviously the most important. Too often we get “busy” or will “do it later.” Don’t get caught it that trap. Spring cleaning is so rejuvenating for your home and, in my opinion, for yourself as well. The idea of starting small helps me tackle the larger projects (like the closet). It’s easy to clean the bathroom and then the guest bathroom, before I know it I am onto the kitchen, refrigerator, microwave, and there I go…no turning back then. Just wiping down that first mirror or throwing out that old sweater will do you good, just get to it friend!When you approach those items you aren’t sure wether to keep or pitch, ask yourself these two questions:
1. Do I really love it?
And by love I mean, that can’t-eat, can’t-sleep, reach-for-the-stars, over-the-fence, World Series kind of stuff. (name that movie!)
2. Do you need it right now?
Chances are you’ve held onto something thinking you would use it in the future, but you probably didn’t (and won’t)! As much as it pains me, you don’t need it!
Also, don’t forget to check dates on food in your refrigerator/freezer, medicine in the cabinet, or makeup and toiletries in the bathroom. Things like that can clutter up space & may just need to be tossed anyway.
There are so many tools online to help you get started. From checklists to alternative cleaning products, research what you need for your home this spring. Most people approach spring cleaning as just the usual clean-up, but a good thorough cleaning needs preparation & will leave you and your home feeling much better…just like the changing of the seasons!
I hope you’ve enjoyed our time together & I am so thankful for Elise sharing her lovely space with me! Thank YOU for joining me & don’t forget to click over & say hello!

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In The Word: Hosea

This was tough stuff. I definitely wouldn’t call Hosea a “feel-good” book of the Bible. But we know that all Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching (2 Timothy 3:16); therefore, we cannot pick and choose the parts of the Bible we listen to. ALL of it is meant for us. ALL of it points to JesusIt’s so easy to read Hosea and think…goodness gracious, Israel is baaa-a-ad. Horrible. [I mean, I never realized the Bible said “whore” so much. Seriously!] But we are quick to forget who we are and what Jesus has done for us in spite of our sinfulness.

I love what the devotion said in response to reading Hosea 10:

Sisters, we need to keep in mind that sin is sin.
God grieves our sinful nature no matter what it looks like in human eyes.
We all have idols in our lives, we all stumble, we all put human capability before God’s sovereignty at times.
No matter how sweetly it’s packaged up and delivered, it’s still sin.

Ooof. “No matter how sweetly it’s packaged up and delivered, it’s still sin.” That one hit home for me.

But God doesn’t want us to get down on ourselves. He wants us to come to Him in our brokenness. He wants to cleanse and complete us. He wants us to sow in righteousness and reap in mercy

In the Lord, we have endless hope. No matter how far or how fast or how long we try to run away. We cannot escape His love. He wants us to be in relationship with Him. The way He loves us transcends all human perception. Hosea illustrates these truths.

I love the Tim Keller quote that was shared on the penultimate day of the study

The cross.
Hosea paints a story of what’s to come–before the world has met its Savior.
The cross.
It covers every ounce of our sin, shame, and guilt.
The cross.
Unending love. Amazing, undeserving, never-changing grace.
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Introducing…These are a few of my Favorite Things

Goooooood morning, dolls! GUESS WHAT?! There is some happy holiday news to share!!! Jen, one of my blogger bffies from Down with the Dearmores, and I are hosting a super fun linkup par-tay for y’all!!! We are pumped and so hope that you will join in with us in sharing some of your favorite things…not just for yourself but for others too!! We wanted to give you some time to brainstorm and prepare so you can join us next Tuesday for the first linky! Woopwoop! Here’s how it’s going to work:We hope you’ll join us for all 3 link-ups, but feel free to pick and choose!
Here are the dates + topics for each post:

Tuesday, November  : These are a Few of my Favorite Things
This is your time to show off what are YOUR favorites lately!
Think Christmas wish list…!
[I’ll be like…hubs/mom/fam…check out my blog post today…

Tuesday, November 26 : These are a Few of my Favorite Things : Stocking Stuffers
Feel free to be as creative as you would like to be! Just little enough for a stocking!
These can for your minis, friends, family, pup (in my case!)…you name it!

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Owning It [Part 2 + Linkup!]

After such a happy, positive, encouraging response to yesterday’s post (y’all rock!), I decided to extend my “own it” list and invite all of you to share yours too!

Now that you know how I feel about owning it, here are some more things I get to (not have to…get to!) “own” in my life. I tried to stick with the present and not harbor on anything in the past.

Owning it continued…
– If I had to choose between clean or tidy, I hate to admit that I would choose tidy every time.
– I don’t really like watching movies that much. Let’s talk and catch up instead.
– When Mark and I go to Flaming Amy’s, he gets embarrassed with how many containers of salsa I bring back to the table for myself. (Sorry Marky. Chips + salsa is the best snack in the world.)
– I’m certain that I’ll always wish my parents were still together.
– I can’t stop talking for my dog. (And neither can Mark. Or Hope, for that matter.)
– Speaking of Hope, I’m pretty sure both of us have had “baby fever” since we were basically babies ourselves. The “I want to get married” thing didn’t kick in till years later. 🙂
– And still on the topic of Hope, it really bothers and scares me that she has been through so much medically, yet I haven’t been to the hospital for so much as a scrape.
– Deep down…I never really minded my parents being strict because I’ve always known I’ll be the same way with my kiddos one day.
– I stinkin’ love my Prius.
– In some crazy, I-dont-even-get-it way, I’ve never struggled with confidence. And I wish I could give some of that trait to other people. I just want everyone to love who they are!!! Sounds so silly…but I mean it wholeheartedly!
– I’ll drive you crazy singing the harmony to the radio instead of the melody. Whoops. Sorry.
– I’m a weirdly thirsty person. I drink a cray-cray amount of water each day.
– And I seriously prefer water over juice.
– I’m Southern…but I don’t care for grits or sweet tea. (Ahhhhhh! I know!)
– Yes I went to UNC-Chapel Hill. No, I don’t care to keep up with college basketball.
– I can’t wait to be a soccer mom…especially knowing that my hottie English hubby will definitely coach our team of kiddos one day.
– I think one of the best things Marky and I have done in our marriage so far is to adventure away from my hometown and start our own little life together in Wilmington.

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Fourth of July Bark

So here is your easy, no-brainer, literally 5 minute hook-up to making a sweet and healthy alternative 4th of July snack/dessert! This recipe is super yummy and the perfect frozen summer treat.

Ingredients
32oz organic vanilla yogurt
Frozen organic mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)

Directions
1. Spread the yogurt out onto a baking pan with a spatula. (I used all 32 oz!)
2. Place berries on top. (I sliced the strawberries into smaller pieces before adding them.)
3. Put it in the freezer! (Almost done!! 1-2 hours should do the trick.)
4. When the yogurt has frozen, use a knife to slice into pieces.
5. Serve it as cold as you can get it! Yum!!

Oh, and the only problem I had with this recipe? Consuming too much 4th of July bark during the slicing process. Many pieces did not make their way from the baking sheet to the bowl. And I’m not sorry about it.

P.S. Harris Teeter shoppers – these organic berries are on VIC special right now!! Go get to the Teets today before the specials change over tomorrow!

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Announcing…These Are a Few of My Favorite Things 2014!

Y’all. I cannot even contain my excitement for the 2nd Annual These Are a Few of My Favorite Things linkup series!!!!!!!!!! (I’ll hold off on the excess exclamation points for the rest of this blog post.) This year we’re comin’ at ya bigger and better with a few darlings you probably already know and love…April, Katie, and Zelle are co-hosting! (Jen, sweet creator and mastermind behind this festive fun — blogland loves and misses you!)

Here are all the details for this year. Yay!In summary:
1. Plan your posts! We’d love to have you for all 3 weeks, but feel free to pick and choose if need be!
2. Grab the button at the very top of this post, and link back to our blogs. [April, Elise, Katie, Zelle]
3. Link up at the bottom of our posts for the next 3 Tuesdays, and/or join us on Instagram/Facebook with #FavoriteThings2014. Each post will go live at 9am EST.

We simply can’t wait! Now…get to listin’!

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Owning It

Own it. A two word life motto of mine that I adopted when Ensley and I lived together.

None of us are perfect. We don’t have it all together. We have our quirks and our struggles. And that’s quite alright. I believe that life is more about being a work in progress than a masterpiece. It’s better to always strive for progress and grace than to always/only strive for perfection.

So own it. In whatever mess or stage you’re in. Embrace it. Love it. Own it.

Here’s a start…these are things I get to “own.” Some serious and some not so serious. But I’m owning them all regardless!
– Showering daily is just not my jam.
– I love Keeping Up with the Kardashians and can be heard loudly lol-ing at it from another room.
– I’m more of a black and white person than being good at gray area/moderation.
– I am extremely sensitive to [and passionate about] marriage/divorce/the meaning of marriage vows as a result of my own family.
– I love to sing and lead worship but I don’t like karaoke. Never done it and don’t plan to. Being the center of attention makes me uncomfortable.
– Hope has always been and will be the more fun sista. And I’m 100% cool with that. 🙂
– I still struggle with fears as a result of “daddy wounds” and sometimes that plays out in my own marriage.
– I have never been nor will ever be a runner. I just don’t think running more than 2 miles is fun…
– …but wanna walk and talk for like 6 miles?! Best girl talk time ever.
– I wish I were more generous. I feel like I can always work on that.
– I still love Britney. And Justin. And especially the era of Britney & Justin together.
– I’m not competitive.
– I’m not career driven either. I never wanted to be more than a classroom teacher. And I chose that as a job for 4 years because the truth is — I can just plain old own the fact that I’ve always dreamed of being a stay at home mommy to a lot of kiddos. Some would say that it’s not ambitious enough.

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Burundi

When I decided that 2013 was our year of travel, I did not foresee what God had in store for us. Truthfully, I was thinking about our 2013 travel plans rather selfishly. I focused on where we wanted to go, who we wanted to see, what means we would use to get to each desired place.

Then God brought us this opportunity…and it straight up whacked me in the face with His goodness and sovereigntyMark and I will travel to Bujumbura, Burundi, for just over a week this summer with our amazing church, Forest Hill. We look forward to beginning the preparation process for our trip. We met with our team tonight, and we leave exactly 5 months from today!!

This trip forces us to depend totally on God — mentally, financially, and spiritually. This is His plan for us. This is a time when creatures who seek complete control of their lives (…me, me, ME!) have to surrender completely.

Please join with us in prayer for the nation of Burundi as well as for the students and teachers we will meet, love on, and serve this June.

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These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Neutral. Christmas tree. Monogoram. Throw pillow. So many things I love in one single item!!!
(I really love the other monogram pillows on this site too…!! I want to put two on our bed: one with Mark’s monogram and one with mine.)

two // This is one example of every awesome form of cross clothing out there! I really love them all. I have a pink and red thin, flowy cross tee that I love to wear, but I would love some more snugly cross clothes for this season!

three // One of the thousands of things I learned from my pastor in Charlotte was to memorize your vows and repeat them to yourself (and your spouse!) often. So I all but swooned when I saw this gold and white print pop up on Pinterest. It would be the perfect addition to our neutral colored bedroom!

four // Speaking of our bedroom, this is another addition I’ve had my eye on for a while. These remind me of my Mimi and Papaw’s farm house. Mimi has several, and they were my favorite thing to nap on as a kiddo (and still now…)! So they make me nostalgic and they’re such a fun texture and neutral for our bedroom. I’d love them on either side of our bed for us to put our bare feetsies on when we wake up in the morning. And this faux sheepskin Ikea version…ca-ching. That’s a deal. Yes, please!

five // I’ve been saying I’m going to buy this for all too long now. I have heard so many wonderful things about it. A must read in 2014 for me. MUST read. 🙂

six // You might remember this from my 5 on Friday post. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since!! It cracks me up. And epitomizes my homebody-ness. Yeah, the couch in this shirt and yoga pants sounds like a great night to me!

seven // I love me some Pottery Barn, but I also love me some PB Teen and PB Kids. This pillow is fresh out of the most lovely PB Teen collection ever. This pillow is my favorite item from the collection, and you can probably guess why. Yep…gold, neutral, and (!!) because it makes me think of England. People say “lovely” there a lot more than they do here. This sweet little word on a pillow reminds me of our family and friends across the pond!

eight (diffuser – essential oils) // This is my big, expensive wish list gift. This thing rocks. I love me some essential oils. And seriously y’all…it makes your house smell like a spa. In the purest way! Essential oils only! Might be #8 in this post, but it’s #1 on my list

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3 Step Simply Chic Winter Tablescape

Hi loves! I haven’t forgotten about you! Promise. We’re still finalizing some bits and bobs for the rebrand + relaunch. Stay tuned…EEK! The Type A gal in me just doesn’t want to let to site go live until it’s 100% perfect in my eyes. So that organizational freak in me is making it take longer.  Sorry!!! I promise it’ll be worth the wait!!
In the meantime, you can find me on A Blissful Nest today. Remember how I love the wreath idea? (Psst…mine is on clearance at Target AKA run and grab it!!! silver | gold) Read about it on ABN, and shop the post here on Cheers Y’all!

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