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Archive for the ‘home’ Category

As you know, I love to find treasures at the Goodwill. I find the most amazing bargains on things I’ve always wanted or didn’t even know I needed 🙂 The other reason I love the Goodwill, is they take all my stuff that we are done with all year long! And, I feel good about giving it to someone who may be able to use it.  As much as I love a great deal – I get an even bigger thrill from decluttering and getting rid of stuff.
The secret to being a tosser is to make it easy to toss things! We have bags and boxes in 3 different places in our home for the stuff that needs to leave.
J has a box in his closet for all the clothes that he outgrows. These are given to my cousin who has a boy a year younger that appreciates the hand me downs.  As we come across things that don’t fit – they go straight into the box.  When it is full, we bag it up and give it to them.
The girls have 2 boxes in their closet. One is for our niece that is right between Doodle and Missy Moo in age; so Doodle’s clothing goes to her, and we get it back for Missy Moo. The other box is for Missy Moo’s old clothes and even toys that we later sort through to see what to donate and what to resell.  When a box is full, we bag it up or sort through it and get it out asap.
When the kids have clothing and toys that are finished in our house – too baby for anyone living here – and if they are in good shape, we sell them in a local consignment sale twice a year. It is a great sale ran through Just Between Friends. They have sales throughout the nation, so check them out. There are several in our area alone. I might add that this is also a great place to find lightly used baby equipment and clothing. Twice a year I participate in that sale, and I put that money straight into a vacation fund to help us do something fun!


The last box is in my closet! The hubs and I throw anything that doesn’t fit or we just shouldn’t be wearing anymore into this box when ever we run across things. As I work around the house and come across something we no longer need,( old baby plates and cups, ugly decor that I just shouldn’t still have) I just walk into my closet and put it in that box. Our room is down stairs so this works great for us. When the box in my closet is full – I bag it up and drop it at the Goodwill while running errands around town.

Having all these easy places to put things we no longer need makes it really convenient to keep clutter under control.  We rarely have tons of stuff to sort through because we have all been trained to do it constantly.  This is the system that works for us!

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getting myself in order

The kids are going back to school tomorrow – and I’m already in full swing of work.  It was such a nice two weeks home together, getting stuff done, doing activities we don’t usually do, crying and fighting about every little thing, enjoying the holidays… overall a great vacation.

This evening in an attempt to get us off on the right foot, I put together some organizational tools for both dinner planning and to help the kids help me with their chores.  I found these ideas as I randomly searched from blog to blog last night looking at nothing in particular, however somehow I now can’t remember which blog it was.  I’m sure the ideas aren’t terribly original anyhow, so I’ll claim them as my own for now 🙂

I REALLY like the idea of menu planning.  It is so up my ally.  The worst part of dinner for me is making the decision of what to make every night, so this is my attempt at moving my menu planning in that general direction.

The first thing I did was make a list of all the dinners we make.  I tried to include as many as possible.  I ended up with 20 main dishes.  This didn’t include the dinners we so often resort to like a can of soup or a frozen pizza.  Though, to be clear, I totally count those as dinner and even as cooking.  I mean, my kids can’t eat it frozen can they?

I took my list of dinners and went into Word, and I brought up a business card template and typed each dinner into a card.  Under the title I listed all the ingredients this main dish required.  Then I printed them on some business card paper I had to make them a bit more sturdier.

The goal is to look at what is in the fridge and freezer and pantry and look at my list of dinners and put together a list of four dinners for that week. (I figure four planned dinners would be a huge step in the right direction for my family!)  Then I can make a list of ingredients that I need to purchase when I do my weekly grocery shopping.  I’m hoping to add a bit of variety and continue to add more dinner cards as we go.  I’ve already thought of 3 more regular dinners that we like to make.  I also tried to include easy – no recipe required – type of dinners.

The next little thing I did was REALLY simple.  I took a handful of Popsicle sticks and wrote out all the kid friendly chores that I ask my kids to do.  Water plants, dump trash, sort laundry, clean the library upstairs, etc.  Then I put them into a cute little pitcher I have.  I want to have the kids draw their own chore sticks when I need things done.  That way there will be no negotiating.  No, “but I did the trash last time” – talk to the stick!  It has nothing to do with me.  You do the chore you pull.  Also I can pull out the sticks of things that don’t need to be done – like maybe the plants don’t need to be watered that time.

I was thinking I could easily write up extra chores that could be done for money as well that I want done, and see if there are any takers on those.  Maybe label the end that sticks out with a color so the kids know that a particular chore is harder, but also worth money.  We’ll see on that one.  So far I’ve been pretty firm on the – we all live in this house and we all clean it rule – no money involved.  But that may change.

I also was reminded about an idea for picking a weeks worth of outfits – socks, undies, accessories – on Sunday and putting them in a hanging sweater holder for the week.  This might be an idea I’m ready to start implementing soon.  We’ll see 🙂

Hope you all are having a great start to your new year!  Only 24 weeks until I’m on Summer vacation 🙂

I’m linking to skip to my Lou ‘s Made by you Monday and Blue Cricket Design

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mmmmm cookies….

I’m just about ready to get my baking on!  More like I’m just about ready to eat my weight in cookies.  Found this great resource at the brown-eyed baker, full of recipes and ideas.  There are several I’m hoping to get to.  Like the buckeyes, the peanut butter blossoms, the snicker doodles, the ultimate ginger cookies, etc.  I also found a fun recipe for sugar cookies that involve no rolling and no cookie cutters.  I know – that is the kids’ favorite part, but it the part that makes it so messy, and long and messy!  I’m thinking it may be fun to just bust out a ton of these babies in an hour and be done 🙂  I’ll keep you posted.

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So the garden has been… interesting. I think the plants really like the soil combination we made, and are growing like nobody’s business; however, the production level is a little lower than I expected, and that has to be all sun deficiency. We seriously have tomato trees. Here a shot from the garden’s early days…

This is now!

The peppers are happy 🙂

The crook necks are growing up the corn stalks.

look at all the flowers.

And look at all these tomatoes! They just WON’T turn red. We have even trimmed some of the bottom branches trying to deliver nutrients – and because the plants are so heavy they are on the verge of falling over.

For the record, my kids are sick of eating zucchini too. 🙂

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Garden update

I wanted to post a few picks from the garden. It has TAKEN OFF! It is now getting about 4 hours of sun everyday and it seems pretty happy 🙂

They’ve gotten so big and green!

The tomato plants are out of control, and the peppers have flowers all over them. We did get a new cucumber, but it took off pretty slow. It seems good now.

The squash in this box is amazing! They are almost taking over the box. You can even see the green beans that are starting to climb the trellis, and the corn is growing in the back. We’ll see how these do!

All the zucchini flowers.

There is one little tomato so far, but there are tons of flowers. (Maybe they need more sun?)

So far, we are so proud of ourselves. The kids love going out and checking the growth too.

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The Garden

We are trying our hand at a garden for the first time!! The hubby wanted to plant all the makings for salsa, and I wanted a few summer vegetables to round out dinner. I got the book Square Foot Gardening and used it as a guide. We followed some of his guidelines on soil preparation and then built our boxes pretty close to his specifications. For the record, it cost us an absolute fortune to buy all the soil, peat moss, compost, manure and such. Could have bought all the produce we could eat and more!
The hubby built the boxes one day while I was at work, and when I came home he had already dug back our side hill. This would be when I noticed that the hill he cut back to place our garden boxes was UNDER A TREE! Of course this makes plenty of sense when digging, but not so much for growing a garden. After we watched it for a couple of days and I convinced him that the 2 1/2 hours of sun light it got wasn’t going to be enough – he finally believed me. He has taken steps to severely trim back that tree, and it is better. It is getting a good 4 hours of sun now!

The organizer in me loves the grid pattern. I don’t know if it makes for a better garden, but I like it!

As you can see my cucumbers died within days of planting them, and I’ll probably have more tomatoes and cilantro than we can use, but I’m really excited at how good everything looks right now! You know… green!

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