Not My Monkey, Not My Circus; Thoughts on Parenting

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by Angela

Have you heard this popular saying? “Not my Monkey, Not my Circus?” It is my new favorite quote!! Have you said that saying in regards to your parenting? Maybe your kids are your monkeys and your home is your circus!! Uh- oh!!! Let’s talk about how to parent your monkeys!!

As children grow physically they continue to be able to handle more and more responsibility. Babies need everything done for them, but as they they grow they can and often want to do things themselves. I hear a lot of moms who wrestle through how to get their children to clean up their toys, get their chores done in the morning, and stay on task when doing their homework.  Many moms have shared the battle is often wearisome and seems like an area that will never change.

When I had young children I read the book On Becoming Childwise: Parenting Your Child from 3-7 Years by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam. In the book they shared the best concept along with a great visual picture. They wrote how parents  take responsibilities and control of things that really belong to our children. They called that “Taking the monkey on your back”.

Here’s the principle: “Taking a monkey on your back” is when the mom carries someone else’s responsibilities on themselves.monkey 2Monkeys can be cute at first. But have you ever tried to hold a monkey? Well I haven’t either- but I can imagine. They would be wiggling and constantly crawling all over you. Have you felt that in your parenting? In trying to get your kids to do what they need to? Getting them to do those tasks is about as easy as holding a wiggly monkey. And by the time your children are teenagers,  the teenage size monkeys have turned into full grown gorillas! Yikes!

Here is an example:

The mom is in freak out mode… ranting, yelling [it’s one of those mornings]… her kids aren’t doing ANYTHING she told them to do – even though they already arranged a chore list for the kids! She’s exhausted, frustrated, can’t seem to ever be gone for a second and you know what else??? She’s carrying the monkey’s on her back!

Sound familiar? Your kids are happy with the arrangements of Mom remembering everything. They are happy to hand you all their monkeys if you will take them! So does it have to stay that way? The good news is no it doesn’t! You can stop carrying around the monkey.

How to drop the monkey:

Use one of these phrases: “Do you have the freedom to” (go outside because your homework is done)? OR, “You have the freedom to” (eat breakfast once your bed is made) OR, “You don’t have the freedom to” (run in the store.)

Here’s what these phrases do – they set the boundaries of what is expected.

Eva diapers 2

Laura’s “delight” helping ūüôā

When you start using these phrases the first few days will be critical in establishing the boundaries. By following through on this stage you have not invited the monkey back to your lap. By asking if the child has the freedom instead of listing the chores out it funnels the full responsibility to the child.

What happens if the child answers yes to a freedom when they really don’t?

One, be redirected to do the chore. Two, they lose the freedom to do what they wanted to do. Three, the child has been disobedient so deal with that in the way your family has determined.

Recognize it could be the child’s desire to not want to take responsibility but would rather have Mom tell them exactly what to clean up. Hand that furry monkey back to them with a smile and reset the limit.

Couple Last Minute Thoughts:

Lead by example. Do your chores and responsibilities before you move into something else. Children learn by watching!! Try asking yourself, “Do I have the freedom to (sit down right now)?”

If your child is old enough to be able to pick up his toys after he is done playing, and yet still struggling. Consider that he has too many toys. Do some cleaning out and keep the toys manageable for them. If they are younger children that are just learning this stage. Begin cleaning up the blocks yourself leaving a reasonable amount and say, “You have the freedom to go outside once you put these blocks away”.

By using the same Freedom Phrasing, it is clear to the child what is expected. No yelling/nagging from Mom needed. When you are out and the child is getting wound up, telling them, “They don’t have the freedom to run here” is going to be a clear directive. Setting limits before you start something, “We will have the freedom to go to the park this afternoon, once we do our errands happily” will set the tone for what you expect.

John and Kids

Here are my “delights” way back in 2001.

Biblical Principle: Proverbs 22:6 ‚ÄúTrain up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old her will not depart from it‚ÄĚ. I like how the Message reads Proverbs 19:18 ‚ÄúDiscipline your children why you still have the chance. Indulging them destroys them.‚ÄĚ

So you really can say, “Not my monkey!” about your parenting. This IS your circus though mom. You are the Ring Master!

We may receive commission from purchases made from this post.  

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Pioneer Give Away Winner!

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Thank you everyone who shared, liked, commented and therefore entered our first ever It’s So Delightful Giveaway!!

Apron Giveaway

Laura and I joined together via Skype today to choose and announce our winner of the ADORABLE Pioneer Women Apron/ Oven Mitt/ Pot Holder Pack!

Check out the video below to see who won!

Hope you all have a Delightful Weekend!




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Master Bedroom Closet Makeover

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After 10 years of marriage, Eric and I now are the proud owners of our own home, and the smallest closet we have ever had. PAT.ON.THE.BACK.

Thankfully we both use the capsule wardrobe system, so we don’t need a lot of room. ¬†What I do need is something that works. The closet that came with the house…sigh. ¬†They tried you guys, they really tried, but it was totally non-functional. ¬†I re-arranged our clothes a few times, tried to move the closet system around-nothing was working. ¬†I think I made it worse! ¬†Just look at it!


UGLY you don’t need no alibi.

The last time I was at IKEA I took home a catalog and saw an idea for our closet.  I did a little searching online to see if anyone had used it in the U.S., with bi-fold door style closets, and got motivated to do it!

WARNING.  I am writing this post as if you are going to want to run to your nearest IKEA and try this out in your own home so there are LOADS of details in this post.  I put in pictures for those of you who just want to see what we did.

What We Did

OK. I measured the closet from the top of the baseboard to ceiling, width, and depth of the corner, wrote a list of what items I wanted to house in the closet, and started sketching out the closet with precise measurements from IKEA online.

I went to IKEA with my list and was able to see more clearly what they offered and how I would have to modify my original sketch. ¬†I didn’t realize the clothes hangers only came with the medium¬†width shelf, throwing a wrench in my plan for skirts and dresses. ¬†But, my friend and I worked it out and carefully counted out what felt like hundreds, (actually 28) brackets and spent a LONG time in the check out lane with all those little pieces.

Closet Tear Down

bye bye ugly closet

Back at home we stripped the closet of its original system, and I painted it a light yellow.

The first thing we needed to do was install the top suspension rail.  All the wall uprights glide into this rail. I needed to make sure the rail was high enough for the uprights to clear the baseboards, and low enough to make the top shelf accessible.

track system

wall uprights and track were easy to install, just a LOT of screwdriver work.

We leveled the track, marked where to screw holes, then we screwed all the holes, and tapped in the drywall anchors where needed. (This closet system does not come with screws or drywall anchors so we purchased those elsewhere).

We had to buy three suspension rails to fit into the closet.  I had not anticipated needing separate pieces across the top.  So we had to take one out and move it over, (see random drywall anchor above) so that a wall upright could hang in a different spot.

Then, the wall uprights were ready to go in.  These hang from the track on their own, (so handy), but need to be screwed in.  I wanted our closet to be symmetrical so I knew I wanted the first track we installed to be in the exact center.  We hung it, marked all the places for the screws, slid the upright over, drilled all the holes, tapped in all the anchors, swung it back, and put all the screws in.

To determine where the next wall upright would go. I thought we could either measure it, or set up the brackets and shelves and know for certain the uprights were in the exact right place.  There are different sized brackets, and different widths and depths of shelves so make sure you know what you need before you get to IKEA and realize there are SO many different options.

bracket and shelf

We put in the brackets on the topmost and bottom most spots on the upright. I put a shelf on the brackets so that there wouldn’t be a chance that our measurement and all our screw holes would be off. ¬†So, once the shelves were placed temporarily, we did as before, marked spots…you get it.


Here you can see the wall upright, a bracket, and two different sized shelves.

We continued building out on both sides.  There are different widths and depths of shelves, so for our small closet, I chose to have medium, (22 5/8 x 22 7/8) and small, (15 5/8 x 22 7/8) widths.


starting to look exciting

Once all the vertical poles were completely screwed in, I began to put in all the brackets, lay the shelves, put up the clothes rails, pant hanger, and shoe storage  This part was SO fun, seeing all my ideas now physically represented.


Each bracket gets a cover. I recommend pressing from the front to the back. These take some work to snap down.

Now that the bracket covers were on, it looked so clean, and it was time to show my husband the finished project.

Before and After

Here’s the Closet Tour.

Laura's Side

On my side, I contained my hanging shirts to the first section, folded my tank tops and pants underneath, and have room for 6 pairs of shoes on the shoe organizers.  The few dresses and skirts I have, we found a different wall rail, (not ALGOT system), to use.  I had a special place for my hat, my boots, and I got a drawer organizer to use for my belts.  On the top I have a space for my bags and room for other storage!

Eric's Side

On Eric’s side his hanging clothes fit just fine on one clothes rail. ¬†The pant hanger is AWESOME, and he has room for a few shoes under that. ¬†On the shelves we keep sweaters, white shirts, t-shirts, shorts, and his jeans. ¬†He also has a drawer organizer that sits on a shelf that keeps his belts, watch, cufflinks and cologne nice and neat.


Suspension Rails (3) 11.00

Wall Uprights (5) 15.00

Brackets (28) 112.00

Medium Shelves (7) 70.00

Small Shelves (11) 99.00

Clothes Rail (2) 6.00

Pant Hanger (1) 6.00

Shoe (2) 8.00

Kuggis Trays (2) 18.00


I had 20% off so my new total was 271.00

I was pretty surprised at the cost. ¬†For some reason I didn’t think it would be that much. ¬†Let’s talk about that in this next section.



Things I wish I would have done differently, might change in the future:

Again, I was surprised at the cost-but I’m so happy with the end result I’m not mad about it. ¬†I would have saved money using baskets instead of the small shelves. ¬†I don’t really need those drawer organizers, but they are nice.

It would have been nice to have pull out rail¬†with¬†baskets on the outermost sections of our closet to house shirts and folded pants, but I wasn’t sure they would pull out far enough because the wall is right there. ¬†I still might pick up one next time we’re at IKEA and see how I like it.

I also wish we had a place for our laundry in the closet, but that is simply impossible.

One more look at this beautiful organized closet.

Completed Closet

Don’t forget, today is the last day to enter our Pioneer Giveaway! ¬†Have a great weekend!

IKEA doesn’t know about us, but we know about them. ¬†We write this post independently of any commission. ¬†


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Best Friends Guide: How to Style a Graphic Tee

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by Angela

Graphic T- shirts are not as easy as they seem to find. I figured spring would be the best time to look for one. If you were my bestie, I would pick you up so we could go shopping to find you the perfect one.

You want your Graphic Tee to fit into your Capsule Wardrobe. So that means it needs to be the right color for you. And you will want it to match not only your jeans, but some of your shorts/ skirts too. It is the texture/ pattern part of the fashion formula so you will want several neutrals to pair it with!¬† Once you find the right color or mix, the wording or picture need to go with your personality. That was where I ran into a dilemma. I liked many parts of the shirts I saw, but the picture or what it said- just wasn’t me. So I kept looking.

My Mom and I went shopping  last week and I found this t-shirt. It fit all the requirements!Graphic Tee by itself

I found it at Maurices. If you have a Maurices near you- you will want to go. They have the most colorful front door and the CUTEST dressing rooms ūüôā That is always a good reason to shop at a store, right? Those front doors sure made a great impression on me.

Some other good places to shop for Graphic T’s might be Kohls, the Loft, or Gap. Floral Grapic T’s are on trend. Here is a one from Downeast.

So, my friend, once you have found the Graphic Tee, your jewelry lady friend here can help you style it!!!

This is way too much necklace.¬† And the colorful bracelet too. Too much!!!¬† It’s competing with your graphics. I can’t even smile completely with this much jewelry on! You are not allowed to pin this pic ūüôā Too Much NecklaceThis is better. Premier Designs Jewelry is the best about its versatility. This is just one part of the Sugar Rush necklace (same necklace above). It still has color that compliments beautifully but is more simple.Simple Sugar RushA Graphic Tee fits in more of the Sporty/ Casual look. So pair a necklace that is the same. This Silver Charm Necklace, Mix and Mingle, is my favorite look. Simple with a splash of fun- just like the Graphic Tee.

Mix and MingleA sweet necklace in the neckline is a good look too.

Love NecklaceLayer up the bracelets- pulling in one or two of the colors. Add some big earrings in place of a necklace.Earrings BraceletAdd in a completer step- denim jacket or cardigan sweater.

Denim JacketCardigan SweaterIt was a delightful morning out in the desert and my little friend kept photo bombing and posing with me! Is she the cutest photo bomb ever?!!

Daphne Photo BombHappy Graphic Tee shopping! Let us know in the comments where you have found a good Graphic Tee this Spring! All of your “So Delightful” Friends want to know!

Photo cred to my friend Terra Stopher of  Terra Stopher Photography . She is moving to AZ, bad for me but good for all our AZ readers!! Take a look at her website! She is fabulous!

We are not getting commissions on these products mentioned. Again, we just like these stores and can’t help but share with our friends!


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A Pioneer Giveaway

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Get it? ¬†There’s a double meaning in that. ¬†I’m not even mad about puns.

This is our first ever giveaway.  The Pioneer Giveaway if you will.  Angela and I wanted to say thank you, THANK YOU, for reading, subscribing, sharing, commenting, here, and on our social media sites.


So, we thought it would be fun to pick one of our favorite things from one of our favorite people. ¬†The Pioneer Woman. ¬†Do you guys know about her? ¬†She doesn’t know us, doesn’t know we’re giving away her stuff, but we’ve been reading her blog for years. ¬†She has cookbooks that I DO NOT tear pages out of, I have made over 50 of her recipes, you guys, I make friends when I make Strawberry Shortcake Cake ok?

Here’s the deal. ¬†She just came out with kitchen stuff, and linens too. ¬†We want one of you to have this.


I know right?  Cutest thing ever.  This apron and pot holder set will be shipped to one lucky winner.  Here are the details.

To Enter:

On the Blog: Leave a comment on one of your favorite posts telling us what you thought about that post. ¬†Bonus entry if you “pin” the post.

On Instagram: Follow us, like the giveaway post, and tag a friend.  Click here to get to our Instagram.

On Facebook: Like our page, like this post (on our official page) and then share one of our posts on your Facebook Page.  Click here to get to our Facebook Page.

social media

If you want more entries, you can choose more than one of these to do! Up to 4 entries/person. (Blog, Pinterest, Insta, Facebook).

Entries will be received from United States participants until Friday, April 8, CST.  Winner will be announced and contacted Saturday April 9th.

Thank you again for being a part of our blog!

Angela and Laura

Ree Drummond has no idea who we are, we just like her apron, it delights us.  

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