Christmas Cleanup Challenge + GIVEAWAY!!

Upon arriving home today from Thanksgiving festivities in Austin, I opened my fridge and was overcome by how unbelievably disgusting it was inside. You know what I’m talking about – leftovers that have been leftover for so long we aren’t sure we even want to open the container they are in, let alone ponder eating the contents. Maple syrup, mustard, ketchup, and other assorted condiments which have literally become glued to the door shelves, because they haven’t been wiped down in so very long. Crisper drawers full of odd bits of vegetation: leaves of parsley, bits of carrot, a soft apple or two. And shelves, drawers, walls, every surface inside in just a total mess, needing a serious wipe-down and shining.

We’ve all been there. Or at least that is what I am telling myself in order to feel better about my utter neglect of the fridge the past couple months. Please humor me if your fridge is always clean and sparkling with nary a spill or scrap of outdated food inside.

Well, during the long afternoon that it took me to cull through, clean out, empty, remove and wash every shelf and drawer in addition to scouring every square inch of the inside of my sad fridge before reloading it, I had lots of time to think about things. Not surprisingly, my mind turned to other spots in my home which I am none too proud of; places that need a touch of organization, cleanup, attention.  A couple of my closets are looking pretty sad, I have so many “junk” drawers, I feel shameful admitting the number to anyone, and my “pantry” (more like a large cabinet) is a wreck.  Now, I do not think it is wise to dwell too much on our perceived failings and thereby travel down a dangerous path of self-loathing and discontentment. But perhaps if one can keep it to contemplating certain short-comings in an effort to do things a little better, it is not time poorly spent.

For me, after thinking through several significant messes that I really need to attend to, it seems appropriate to take time before I get those Christmas decorations up, to tackle some real problem spots in our home. So, in the spirit of taking dominion (this is a favorite phrase of Jay’s!) of some areas around here that need some serious attention, I thought I’d try to make it fun, and see how many of my faithful readers would care to join me in a little pre-Christmas de-cluttering and cleanup – maybe, just maybe some of you have some places in your house that are wanting your attention too!

Sooooooooooooo…….If you care to get a handle on some problem areas of your own, please join me this week in my very first pre-Christmas Cleanup Challenge! I am even going to sweeten the deal by offering a giveaway to one of the lucky participants – call it an early Christmas present from me.

Here are the rules for the Giveaway:

1.  If you have some spots in your own home that need some cleaning up, then for heaven’s sake, stop reading blogs (lol!) and get to it!! Clear out, clean up, organize, make it shine!! Take pictures of your space both before and after if you can, to help you see just how much progress you have made!

2.  Then leave me a comment with either a link to your own blog entry chronicling your cleanup conquest, or if you don’t have a site of your own, just leave a note about your particular area you spent time making pretty again. You can comment once for every cleanup, and the more comments you leave, the more entries you put into the contest.

3.   I will randomly draw one winner next Monday, December 8th.  The winner will receive ONE of these books, their choice:

Organizing From the Inside Out, by Julie Morgenstern


12 Steps to Becoming a More Organized Mom, by Lane P. Jordan


Organizing Plain and Simple, by Donna Smallin


Until that time, to cheer you on, I plan to post pics and accounts of my efforts here at House of Horne to tame the mess. I hope some of you will join in with me! Here is my “after” photo of the fridge – I didn’t think to take a before picture. It may not be the newest refrigerator – check out the blue duct tape holding the meat ‘n’ cheese drawer together! – but at least now it’s a whole heck of a lot cleaner!


Updated to add:

Contest participants so far:

Missy from “It’s Almost Naptime”

Jamison from “The Bloggertons”

Grammy Ruth

Kristi from “Gently Led”

Peggy from “The Hutchinson House”

Odds and Ends

Given I have stayed fairly busy recently, combined with a serious lack of fodder for interesting entries, I have not posted much this month. But here are a few little updates from House of Horne:

*I have had great intentions of starting the promised House Tour. But several weeks ago I (aided by our stupid computer) accidentally fried the SD card from our camera which made taking new photos a bit of a challenge. We just purchased a new card, so I hope to get to that little task soon. In the meantime, to all three of you who have been waiting anxiously for “after” shots, thank you for your great patience!!

*While frying the aforementioned card, it would appear I also inadvertently destroyed ALL the video footage taken during the weekend surrounding The Wedding. We are so diligent about downloading photos very regularly from the camera; but apparently not so much with the video.  There is an effort underway to locate someone who might be able to recover this precious film for us. Here’s hoping….

*We are very much enjoying home schooling (most days!), and are thankful for this blessing in our lives.

*Soccer, Football, and Volleyball seasons have all wrapped up: Basketball is now upon us, and both boys are planning to play for the first time.

*Abigail and Jonathan are delighting us with Christmas duets at the piano…ringing in the season a little bit early.

*Nicolas’ reading skills have taken off, and we are thrilled to see him starting to plow throw simple chapter books at a startling pace. Which reminds me anew what a blessing it is to be able to read and discover whole new worlds via good literature.

*Potty-training efforts are underway with the youngest. While our older kids were all fully trained before age three, I just have not felt as motivated with Josiah.  Maybe it’s a case of the Mommy desperately holding onto the last vestiges of babyhood? Regardless, I calculate that we have almost three years before he’ll have to go to Kindergarten..hopefully he’ll have the potty thing figured out by then!

*Even in Texas, winter is approaching, and we are cooking appropriate cool-weather fare.  This past weekend, Abigail and I baked the first apple pie of the season. It is so much more interesting-looking than any pie I’ve ever made, thanks to our little artist:


*Another harbinger of the winter season (not nearly as pleasant as apple pie) also appears to have manifested itself in our home: the dreaded stomach virus!

*Lastly, Jay’s company is having a real “Start-Up” moment… and it is not clear what the future holds at all. While this is admittedly worrisome, I am reminded especially at this time of year to be so thankful for the many good gifts in our lives. We are indeed richly blessed.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.”

~Psalm 118:29

Halloween 2008

Here are all the photos from our night out and around the ‘hood. This year we were not thematic about our costumes; each child chose their own very individual characters, or in the case of the boys, the same character!!


We had a great night trick-r-treating with some awesome neighbor friends. The evening ended on a humorous political note when we stopped by the last house and were served red and blue slushies (representing the two major parties) by a neighbor dressed up as Sarah Palin, asking everyone to please vote for her and McCain in the upcoming election! Too clever.