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This year seems to be coming to a close a little too quickly. You may have noticed there hasn't been a lot of activity on the blog this year. Then again, maybe your year has been like mine...so busy you haven't noticed!

Thankfully, my 2016 has been filled with health, homeschooling, and the many adventures that come with day-to-day family life. I'm so glad to be truly living daily life again. But I'm also looking forward to doing more writing in 2017.

Time is valuable these days. So I want to make the most of ours--my writing time and your reading time. And so I need your help...

I want to hear what you enjoy reading about here. So I've created a short survey. Seriously, it's only 8 questions. And it will take just a few minutes to complete. Will you take a few minutes to help me learn what you find most valuable at There Is Grace?

Scroll down or click here to take the brief survey.

Create your own user feedback survey

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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.

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I'm so excited to introduce another guest blogger to you. I only met Fawn a couple of years ago, but we quickly realized we share a love for writing, blogging, a good laugh, and a heartfelt, 3-hour conversation over breakfast. Her desire to give back and help others is inspiring, and her organizational and tech-savvy skills know no bounds. Today's post is evidence of that as she shares a simple and easy idea for solving an age-old problem: How to Tame the Polar Gear Vortex!

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Last winter was an especially brutal one, and both the weather forecasters and the persimmon seeds are predicting much of the same this winter. If you're like me, you're probably not looking forward to the cold temps OR the process of bundling and unbundling the entire family every time you leave the house.

Last year I got so tired of piles of wet things at my front door and searching for that one missing mitten, so I decided to do something about it. We don't have a lot of storage space in our entry way, so I wanted to add something that would help corall hats, mittens, and scarves and free up more floor space for boots. The floating basket idea was born.

Tame the Polar Gear Vortex...a simple solution to organize your winter gear.

Supplies for the project:

  • Plastic or other sturdy basket/container (I used three – one for each child and one for my husband and I to share)
  • Level
  • Tape Measure
  • Hammer
  • Drill or screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Finishing Nails
  • Wall Screws

I found my baskets in the bathroom section at Target. They are Curver Style brand in size small. I chose them because they are made from recyclable plastic, so they would be waterproof and easy to wipe down. They also have an open weave design that makes it easy to hang them on the wall, and they don’t look like a plastic bin (IMO).

Steps:

  1. Determine approximate location where you want to hang your first bin. Hold it up to the wall and make sure it is level.bin leveling
  2. Mark where your nails/screws to hold the basket up will go with a pencil. Depending on the style of your basket, you may have to drill holes through the basket for hanging first. bin marking
  3. Take the basket off the wall and hammer the finishing nails into the pencil marks. Then, remove the nails, hold the basket back up to the wall, and push the nails back in so the basket is hanging on the wall. The finishing nails let you make adjustments if needed without making big holes in the wall. bin screw2
  4. Repeat Steps 1 through 3 for all of your containers. I used a measuring tape to measure out the spacing so it would be even. bin measuring
  5. Once you have the bins hanging where you want them, screw them into place with wall screws. Try to get a screw that matches the color of your basket, or you can paint the screw head. bin screw
  6. Fill those bins with the cozy gear everyone needs to keep warm!

winter bins1

In the summer time, our floating baskets transition to hold summer gear – one for small outdoor toys, one for sunscreens and bug sprays, and one for first aid and sunglasses.

summer bins

Total cost was less than $35, and the kids no longer have excuses for missing gloves and hats!

fawn (1)Fawn Rechkemmer writes about motherhood, being green, health and fitness, travel, and more on her blog, Instead of the Dishes.  She lives in Southwest Missouri with her husband and two children, where she is a freelance writer, editor, and PR consultant. 

 

 

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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.

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It's officially Fall...my FAVORITE time of year. Here in the Midwest, that means cooler weather, warm beverages, pumpkin yumminess, and of course, the seasonal clothing switch-out.

Unless you have closets the size of my garage, you know what I mean: twice a year (in the spring and in the fall) you pack away all your off-season clothes and unpack appropriate wear for the upcoming season (good-bye flip flops; hello hoodies and boots!).

If you have children who are still growing, you know this is also a great opportunity to take inventory of what still fits and what needs to be purchased before the temperature drops too far. And, if you have kids in that age range, you're familiar with the concept of a children's consignment sale--an event where mothers can bring clothing, toys, books, DVDs, electronics, etc. their children have outgrown and offer them up for a reasonable price (usually). For a mom, it's a great way to clean out those closets, make a little cash, and stock your child's entire wardrobe for the upcoming season.

And that is exactly what I do.

There's just one problem: once I'm in this giant sale, with so many cute outfits and adorable shoes, my eyes glaze over and I go garage-sale crazy. You know the condition...it's usually preceded by such statements as: "I'm not sure this will fit her, but it's only $3!" And "I doubt he'll ever wear this, but how can I pass it up? It's such a great deal!"

Yes, my friends: Garage Sale Crazy.

That is how we end up with 247  shirts (195 of which are black with a cute character on the front), but only 3 pair of pants for each child.

After years of this struggle, I've determined I need a plan going into such situations. I can no longer rely on my memory alone to guide me. I need a list (oh, how I do love lists!).

So, I created one. (Actually, I created two...one for boys, one for girls.)

Ever wished you had a list of the clothes your child needs for the upcoming season. Well, here you go! Free printable of Fall clothing for boys and girls | www.thereisgrace.com

Ever wished you had a list of the clothes your child needs for the upcoming season. Well, here you go! Free printable of Fall clothing for boys and girls | www.thereisgrace.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then I thought, Hey. I bet other moms could use the same thing.

So I decided to share it with you.

Whether you use it for a consignment sale, garage/yard sale shopping, or just tuck it in your purse in case you hit a sale at the mall, I hope you find it helpful.

You can track of the basics your children still need (undies, socks, PJs, shirts, pants), plus how many and what colors. (Anyone else ever end up with 15 pair of white leggings, when you really need brown?)

There's also a place for seasonal items like holiday outfits and snow suit/boots so you won't be the mom at Target the night before the big snow storm, fighting over the last pair of size 2 snow boots. 😉

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Click to download: Fall Clothes Printable-BOYS, Fall-Clothes-Printable-GIRLS

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signature-1Like what you've read? Sign up in the sidebar to receive blog posts via e-mail and get a FREE printable of 10 Inspirational Scriptures. It's as easy as that! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and Pinterest, too!

Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.

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So, here we are a little more than a week into the new year. How are you doing on those resolutions?

Yeah, me too.

Actually, I don't do resolutions. "Resolution" seems so absolute, so do-or-die. I prefer the term "goals." That's much more doable...something I'm working toward, rather than a "pass or fail." If I don't quite reach the goal, but I'm closer to it at the end of the year then I was successful.

So, here are some of my GOALS for 2013: ...continue reading

signature-1Like what you've read? Sign up in the sidebar to receive blog posts via e-mail and get a FREE printable of 10 Inspirational Scriptures. It's as easy as that! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and Pinterest, too!

Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.

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We've had a crazy week here, so I'm glad we took time right after Thanksgiving to haul out the Christmas boxes and do a little decorating. The weather outside isn't frightful (a beautiful  60 degrees here), but it is beginning to look a little like Christmas.

So today, I'd like to share with you a little bit of our Christmas cheer.

This is only the second year in our house, so we're still figuring out the decorations, but I'm so glad to have a fireplace and mantle again. Nothing says "Christmas" like a
roaring fire (unless it's 60 degrees!) and a twinkling mantle.

I didn't get a great picture of our tree this year, but this shot, taken from
our upstairs landing last year, is still one of my favorites. And since
our tree is in the same place this year, it still works!

My father-in-law made these adorable birdhouses as favors for our wedding
10 years ago! We've nestled them on our Christmas tree every year since. They've
always made a great addition to our tree, but this year--our first Christmas
without my father-in-law--they hold an extra special place in my heart.

I love this picture of Little Man inspecting the ornaments. Christmas
has a way of bringing out the child-like wonder in all of us.

Thanks for stopping by; I hope you enjoyed the Christmas tour. Do you have any favorite ornaments or decorating traditions? I'd love to hear about them if you leave me a comment!

I'm linking up today over at live.laugh.rowe. Hop on over and check out all the fun, creative stuff!

signature-1Like what you've read? Sign up in the sidebar to receive blog posts via e-mail and get a FREE printable of 10 Inspirational Scriptures. It's as easy as that! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and Pinterest, too!

Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.