Books I’ve Read {June Update}

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Notes From a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider – I ended up not reading this book because I received the launch team copy of Longing for Paris, and didn’t have time to read both. (You can read more about this book HERE, and about us meeting Tsh HERE.)

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – Hmm…where do I start with this one? I have lots to say about it, but that would turn into a long review, and I know you are in the middle of summer fun. I love Marie’s perspective on clutter. She pretty much says get rid of it all!! The more I have decluttered, the more happy I have become, for sure, but I can honestly say I will never be a minimalist. There are items in my life I would love to pass on to my future generations, photos or items that hold great memories which I will forget if I tossed them, etc. I really like the process she describes to go about decluttering so you can be tidy, but I am not a huge fan of all the talk about (spiritual) energy and saying “thanks!” to my possessions when I get rid of them. I think she does more or less trash (maybe recycle) all items leaving a home, which I don’t like because someone else really can use them, or you can sell them. I also don’t believe that she has kids…when you bring kids into the picture, it’s a whole different story when it comes to the rate of accumulating things. :p

Be You, Bravely: An Experiment in Courage by MOPS – So good! This book is a devotional for MOPS members this past year, so it is not a book you can purchase. I really enjoyed all the stories shared by the authors, and the questions at the end of each article were super thought-provoking. It gave me a new perspective on stepping out of my comfort zone and being brave(r) to do the things God has called me to do. I think there is a new book for the upcoming MOPS year, and I hope someone will let me borrow it when they are done reading it since I am not a member anymore.

Longing for Paris by Sarah Mae – I’ll be posting about this more later, but it is awesome. That’s all for now. ;) It is only $8.37 on Amazon right now, probably for a limited time, so get on it! Anyone who pre-orders the book can fill out this form HERE and get an invite to a webinar with Sarah and Sally Clarkson. See the video about the book HERE.


Looking forward to reading these books in July. Anyone else want to join me?

Talking with Your Daughter About Best Friends and Mean Girls (8 Great Dates) by Dannah Gresh
– A Girl’s Guide to Best Friends and Mean Girls by Dannah Gresh
– Classical Christian Education Made Approachable by Classical Conversations
– The Get Yourself Organized Project by Kathi Lipp

20150708_165154Have you read any good books lately? What are your favorite kinds of books to read – mysteries, biographies, historical fiction, cookbooks?Book List 2015To check out the books on my book list, you can READ THIS POST or visit our Amazon store.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

My Norwex Experience

I had heard about Norwex way before I hosted a party. And I have no idea why I waited so long to try it out. I hosted a party awhile ago, and was able to earn a bunch of hostess rewards. Norwex has been a game changer in our home for sure!! Check out (below) how shiny some parts of our home is now! It’s still a work-in-progress for sure though…we do have children and visitors, and we’re living life. :p

Thanks to those who placed orders last time around. I earned some great stuff to get my house cleaned so we can breathe easier.

We’re closing up the party link soon, so if you have any questions or would like to try Norwex, please let me know!! If you are local to me, you can host your own in-home party and my friend Robin would love to help you out and clean something in your house!! OR if you are ready, place an order at this link and search for my name, Joyce Moy, and choose me as your host when you check out. :) Thanks!

Below are a few pics from 2 different spring cleaning challenges I did on Facebook. The captions are from when I originally posted the pic…in case they don’t make any sense in this post. :p

Area 1 was the window in our bedroom…I was actually too much of a wuss to clean with the EnviroCloth because it is THAT dirty. There were all kinds of stuff in the crevices that had to be vacuumed up. Bleck! Still stuff I can’t get off the sill. (Robin suggested using the EnviroCloth with Cleaning Paste…I still need to get back to this.)

I realized I didn’t get a pic of the cloth, but I love that all I need is some water on the cloth. There was quite a bit of stuff on top, so it has been awhile since we’ve dusted the dresser.

This is our front door. Sorry for bad lighting in my house, but it is a white door, I promise!

Challenge area/bedroom…area 1 was our ceiling fan, area 2 was our dusty headboard (I wish I got a before pic of that…I am not sure when, but the girls had drawn some hearts in the dust), and area 3 was this spot on the closet door…I had tried just wiping it off (not even sure what it is) with no luck…again with the paste and cloth, it came off in 10 seconds. Also, bad lighting through our whole house. It is a white door.

I was out and about today, but managed to do some cleaning. Area 1 is the wall behind the bikes. It took less than a minute to get it cleaned. Paint has been peeling since before we moved in, and it looks like the room used to be a weird green color. Area 2 was the closet which pretty much exploded because it is tiny…luckily, I hate shopping and don’t have much stuff. The floor was very dusty…now it is less dusty. Area 3 was the other side of the door that I cleaned yesterday. Floors vacuumed and counters wiped. Sounds like a lot more work than it actually was…

I promise, I don’t always burn food on the stove, but I was probably posting about how fab Norwex is and left things going. :p I tried scrubbing with a regular sponge to no avail. On the left pot, I thought a little elbow grease would do, but nope! I used the Spirinett and it came out with no effort on my part within 5 seconds. The right pot took a little more work…maybe 5 minutes with elbow grease, but it came out even shinier than before the burned gunk got on there. Soooo, my ‘experiment’ actually helped me get a testimonial that Norwex works!! Now, I am heading to clean the floors…unfortunately, I won’t be using the floor system just yet since I am waiting on my handle, but looking forward to it!!…I am tired of buying refills for the Swiffer and spray for the Bona.

Here is a before, during, and after of our bathroom sink that I left dirty for quite awhile so you can see the difference Norwex makes! (Sorry lighting is bad at our house.) I usually use a cleaner and paper towel, but mostly, it just gets rid of the coloring from water stains. Now, I can’t help but stop to admire the shiny sink!! (Still need to get to the rim, but I think I need to get Blue Diamond for that.)

I let the kitchen sink get pretty gross so I could again see the difference Norwex would make. And there you have it! FYI, come over soon to have a look-see at how shiny it is in person! My fave for sinks is the Spirinett…no elbow grease needed!

The after pic is a bit blurry, but this is under the strainer thingie. I had used other cleaners before, but pretty much gave up since it took so much effort on my part to scrub!! (And no one really sees under there anyhow…) With the Spirinett, it took very little effort on my part to get it shiny! Voila!norwex11

Hallway/kids’ bathroom – Took me less than a minute! With the window cloth, I just use water. No chemicals needed since the cloth has lots of ‘grabbers’ to get rid of any germy germs on there.

From Robin – This wasn’t today, but this is my dryer drum with gum all over it, and without after Cleaning Paste and an EnviroCloth!

From Robin (at a friend’s house) – When the stubborn eye liner didn’t come off, just a drop of Blue Diamond helped.
norwex9My friend Janelle’s stove – I cleaned my stove top! Before pic. After using paste, toothbrush, & enviro cloth!

From Janelle – I used my dusting mitt to clean all the ceiling fans in the house. The picture is after the kitchen fan. I probably would have used at least 5 swiffer cloths…
norwex14From a fellow HelloMornings sister – I got this area cleaned today and the antique polished and the wall wiped down and the mirror cleaned. I then moved into the closet and have purged about half my wardrobe and am working on getting it organized :)  I also got some butterfliess hung up above my bed (antique) and did a quick vacuum… outside I did some weeding. Awesome day for me so far!!!

Are you ready to get a healthy, clean home now? Book your party or place your order HERE! If you have questions, leave them below.

Books I’ve Read {May Update}

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Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson – It was a busy month, so I didn’t get through the entire book. This is my third time reading this, and I pick up a few more great nuggets each time. I actually have two copies of this book, and the one I’m reading is the marked up one with underlining, notes, and highlighting, which is fun to go through, remembering the last season I read through it and things that were happening at that time. Here’s one I posted to my HelloMornings group:

“And above all, I need to remember that “good” motherliness has nothing to do with how God sees me. Nothing. I am pleasing to Him on my good days and my bad days. His love for me never wavers…and never will. Because I’m His.”

Sometimes all we need are reminders like these…that someone knows exactly how we feel, and that it is okay in the rough seasons because God still loves us. Review

Flash by Rachel Anne Ridge – From the moment you read about Flash the Donkey’s arrival appearance in the Ridge family’s driveway, you will start to fall in love with his charming ways. I love Flash..both the book and the donkey. If you don’t think you could learn a thing or two from a donkey, think again! Flash may teach you something about life. Read more about the wisdom that Flash has to bestow upon us in the following links: Flash | My Day with (Flat) Flash.

Looking forward to reading these books in June. Anyone else want to join me?

Notes From a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Be You, Bravely: An Experiment in Courage by MOPS

Have you read any good books lately? What are your favorite kinds of books to read – mysteries, biographies, historical fiction, cookbooks?Book List 2015To check out the books on my book list, you can READ THIS POST or visit our Amazon store.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Summer Reading Programs 2015

If you haven’t already noticed, our family doesn’t really need much incentive to read, but it’s nice there are lots of places offering incentives for kids to read through the summer. Reading is one of our favorite things to do when it’s too hot to go outside. I know there are many programs out there, but these are a few that we have taken part in and enjoy! For some others that we have seen listed, you would have to do a little something to actually earn the prize.

Half Price Booksfyb-BiggestStorytime2015b – They have programs for different age groups. Kids 14 and under who read for 15 minutes a day June and in July will receive $5 HPB Bookworm Bucks each month. Turn in your reading log at the end of each month. If you’ve been to HPB, you know $5 can go a long way if you find the right books. Runs from June 1 to July 31.



Barnes & Noble – This summer reading program, Imagination’s Destination, is only for kids in grades 1-6. I think this is the easiest program for my kids because they hate keeping track of the number of minutes they read. Read 8 books and write down the title, author, and a sentence telling who you recommend the book to and why in a journal. Then, pick a free book off of the list when you go to turn in your journal. Runs from May 19 to September 7. | 2012 |  2013

Alameda County LibrariesRead-to-the-Rhythm-kids-and-instruments – This year’s theme is Read to the Rhythm. There are programs for all ages, from babies up to adults. Every 30 minutes of reading or listening to a story, or completing an activity (on the back of game board), color in one instrument on the game board. Each colored instrument is one spin. There is a First Prize halfway through the game board path and a Final Prize at the end of the game board path. Prizes range from museum and zoo vouchers to coupons for local restaurants. Sign-ups runs from June 8 to August 8. Program runs until August 31. | 2010Game Begins 2011Joyce 20112012


San Leandro LibrarySlogan_Text –  This year’s theme is Every Hero has a Story. There are programs for all ages, from babies up to adults. Kids have to write a short report for each of the eight books they have to read. Bring in the reports each week to receive a stamp and small prizes. Sign-ups run from June 6 to August 2. Turn in reports by August 7 to receive an invitation to the end-of-summer carnival, and passes to local attractions. | 2010 | Completion 2010 | Melody 2011 | Emily 2011 |  Carnival 2011

I’m not familiar with the rest of these summer reading program, but you can check them out for more free stuff!

What We’re Eating: BLT Salad

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We are still LOVING Plan to Eat. That 5 ‘o clock hour is so much better since I can link our meal planner to my Google Calendar, which sends me my Daily Agenda every morning at 5 a.m. When I wake up, I know exactly what my plan is for the day. (Implementing aforementioned plan is a different story.) Love it! If you want to sign up for a PTE trial and take my friend Kat’s Meal Planning Boot Camp, you’ve got nothing to lose but stress! (Note: Excuse the non-pro pics. Camera phone is the quickest to capture these pics.)

Changes and Suggestions
I love trying new recipes, but don’t like to spend too much time on prep. Trader Joe’s bagged greens that are already chopped is a time-saver. We love bacon, but don’t eat much of it, and especially don’t always have it at hand, so the sub for that is bacon bits. (If you leave the bacon out, it would technically be a LT salad instead of BLT salad.) I know, it’s not the same, stop yelling at me. :p Instead of doubling the feta to 8 oz, I just used 6 oz since that is how much is in the TJ’s container. Canned corn would work if you don’t have fresh corn on the cob.

Do not just make the 2 servings that is in the original recipe (I changed it to 4 servings down below). You might not want to put all the extra avocados in if you’re making more, only because you don’t want to eat brown avos in your salad. Go big and make a ton of this salad because there are quite a bit of ingredients to prep, so you want to make the most of your time in the kitchen. Plus, everyone loves it and will want more anyhow. I found that 1 pint of tomatoes for the 2 servings was a bit too much, so even having 1 pint for the 4 servings would be sufficient, unless you LOVE grape tomatoes, than go for it!

Happy bellies all around!

On this particular evening, we had guests over for dinner AND I was bringing a meal for another family of six (one is a baby), so if you are looking for something literally to “throw together”, this would be the recipe!! We also had baked potatoes and chicken tacos from TJs.

– Joyce

Click on the link to view more of WHAT WE’RE EATING


Total time: < 25 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 4 cups butter lettuce, chopped
  • 4 cups arugula, chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet corn
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • 6 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and toss it all around.

*Younger kids can definitely help out with making this salad, especially if the bacon is already prepared ahead of time so no frying involved.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

My Day with (Flat) Flash

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I shared in a FB post at the beginning of the month: I started reading Flash and can’t wait to find out more about what a homeless donkey can teach me about life, faith, and second chances. Rachel was one of the very first bloggers I “followed” 7 years ago!, and if my house seems remotely uncluttered or clean to you, it’s all thanks to her and Minimum Maintenance. Be on the lookout for more about Rachel and Flash soon!

In term of blogging, 7 years is pretty much an eternity, so we’ve “known” each other forever! Some of my favorite online friends are from the Company Girl Coffee link-ups, and I hope we will some day all meet up for coffee! It was also a fun little surprise when Emily showed up on Home Sanctuary. That same year, I shared why Home Sanctuary is a Site We Love. If you would like to make your home a sanctuary, check out the Small Things.

I love Flash..both the book and the donkey. If you don’t think you could learn a thing or two from a donkey, think again! Flash may teach you something about life. Below are some takeaway wisdom from each chapter of the book, along with some pics from our day with Flat Flash on World Donkey Day. Enjoy!

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Some days just call for chocolate, tea, and a book about a donkey. Priscilla Shirer and Rachel Anne Ridge had a webcast about Finding God in the Everyday Moments – how God uses our interruptions, inconvenient situations and everyday moments to speak to us. You can watch that HERE –>

Happy World Donkey Day! Follow me and Flat Flash in our adventures today. He was a little confused why there was cleaning stuff in the car. We started out our day with 7 other friends cleaning another friend’s house. It was truly more of a blessing to us that she allowed us to serve her today.

Repeat lunch from Taco Tuesday and dishes done! It’s an adventurous life for us.4IMG_20150508_133650

We took a walk to the mailbox to send a letter to Emily’s penpal in Ohio. Flat Flash made sure to stop and smell the roses. That’s a rose, right? I’m so not a gardener, and have a brown thumb.

A sampling of flowers we saw in our neighborhood on our walk to the mailbox… Thank you neighbors for making our neighborhood beautiful! 10,000,000 points to anyone who can name all those flowers! So far, no one has been able to name all 12 flowers.

Flat Flash is a bit bored with me. My in-laws are over so I am using this (mostly) kid-free time to do some work on the computer, sign the kids up for VBS, etc. What have you been up to on this fine World Donkey Day?

We finished eating dinner, the table is cleared, the dishes are washed, and the girls are getting ready to take a walk. They think it is just our usual after-dinner walk around the neighborhood, but we are actually going to ‘run into’ my hubby coming back from the train station. He has been out of town for the week on a work trip, and was able to fly back earlier than expected. The girls thought he would be back after they go to bed.

They thought we were going to take an after-dinner walk (with Flat Flash), but look who’s home from a week-long work trip!!

A snack before bedtime…our favorite varieties right now are Fuji and Ambrosia. Yum! I think Flash the Donkey would like them too. Flat Flash says don’t forget to brush your teeth (he needs to work on this one) and say your prayers!

Flat Flash was curious about the package we received, and found out that Melody’s book about our Australian adventures arrived!

What other adventures should Flat Flash go on?

Melissa is the winner of our book giveaway. Yay! If you want to read Flash, make sure to head to your local bookstore or library, or you can get your own copy on Amazon.

And if you have a moment, check out how donkeys are helping impoverished families around the world. You can sponsor a donkey just like Flash did!6a00d8341cc30c53ef01b8d1107dcf970c