Saturday, September 24, 2011

Simplifying = Less Trips to Starbucks = Sadness = Cracking the Salted Caramel Mocha Recipe = HAPPY!

How's that for a title?!

ok, so (as you probably know) we moved into this apartment 4 months ago. Now, just down the street from this apartment (like literally only five minutes walking) is a Starbucks.

4 months ago I weighed 15 pounds less.

4 months ago I spent *maybe* $10 a week at Starbucks, sometimes not anything at all.

Clearly there is some need for simplifying here. One thing I need to simplify is my diet. Another thing I need to simplify here is my wallet. Recognizing these needs, I made a few adjustments. First, I went back on my unofficial weight-watchers diet this week, which includes tracking all of my calories consumed and burned. (I do this at! If you're a member there, look me up!) I did really, really, REALLY good. So did the husband. :) The next thing we did was not go to Starbucks. Like, not a single time this week. Not at all. Not even when, as I was driving past it, I could hear the espresso beans calling my name in sweet harmony.

Being a true fan of Starbucks, and really just all things espresso, we have our own stash of ground (decaf) espresso from the big old evil coffee chain (HELLO ~ you get a free tall drink with every coffee bean purchase!) Naturally, we're going through withdraw. We've had homemade frap's this week, and then tonight I really wanted a Salted Caramel Mocha. I have cracked the recipe. AND, if I dare say it, I think I may have made the recipe better. *GASP*

Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha
This recipe serves 2, but can be easily modified to serve 1

What You'll Need...
*2-4 Shots of brewed espresso (I use decaf because it would be bad if I drank real espresso in the quantities that I do!)
*4 tbs of Caramel Coffee Syrup (I use Torani, Sugar Free - available at Kroger in the coffee aisle)
*2 cups fat free skim milk
*2 packages of hot chocolate mix, or two servings of homemade hot chocolate
*Sea Salt

What You'll Do...
*While brewing espresso, heat Milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat, wisking constantly.
*Wisk the cocoa mix into the milk, while continuing to heat. For extra salty flavor, add a small dash of table salt to the cocoa/milk mix. Once thoroughly combined, remove from heat.
*Pour 2 tbs. of the caramel coffee syrup in the bottom of each coffee/latte mug. Add espresso (I use two shots, you could use one.) Evenly split cocoa/milk mix (about 1 cup) to mug and stir.
*Top with a dash of sea salt, and voila!

If your espresso machine has a frothing device, you could use that and add the cocoa mix to the espresso.

You could always add whipped cream, if you'd like, and a swirl of thick caramel sauce. I did it this way though, keeping it low cal/low fat. You can also use reduced fat or fat free hot cocoa mix.

If you give the recipe a shot, I'd love to hear from you! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Nearly four months later...

Here it is! The picture proof that I actually did complete my closet project! Two weeks ago I vowed that we would not do anything over that weekend until the closets were done - and we stuck to it. Our biggest need was to clean out our storage closet, so that we could store things in it! As you may remember from earlier posts our storage closet started out looking like this, evolved into this, but I am proud to say that it now looks like this...

Now, I have to admit, a *few* things have made their way to the closet since it's completion (a baby car seat for the little one I watch during the week, and a couple of school computers that are awaiting UPS to take them back to Connections Academy) but it still pretty much looks like this. And I think that is something to brag about, considering it's previous state. Many things were given away, thrown away, and so what you see here is actually a combination of what we kept from in this closet AND from the master bedroom closet, and even a few things that I had jammed into the front coat closet. All the things I need access to are easily in front, and all the things that we really are just storing until we have a bigger space are toward the back. Success!

On to the master bedroom closet. I think I purposely didn't share my most recent pic of the master bedroom closet before the clean out, but let's just say I couldn't walk into it - which totally made having a walk-in closet pointless! This, this, and this show what the master closet was early in our move in process. This is the master closet now...

It looks a little sloppy here, a few of the boxes shoved in the back there still need to be gone through, and the one toward the front has a new home in the husband's church office. Other than that though, that side of the closet is finished! Now on the other side, we moved all the games that were hidden in the back of the storage closet and it is actually now a very functional space! See...

Wanna see some of the things we decided to give away? (AND I did actually drop them off at Goodwill within days of this weekend closet project!)
(the give away stuff-minus the cooler)

Of course there was a garbage pile, but this is honestly only half of it...

So, yes, we're feeling much better about our storage closet these days. Every single thing now has a place in our smaller space, and that makes me feel so much better about our downsizing.

Now, on to some shoe related news :) remember when I shared my obsession for shoes? Well, while cleaning things and such I found the match to one of my very favorite shoes! Once again, swoon with me if you will...

Aren't they just gorgeous? In other shoe news, I found a replacement for my beloved. They aren't everything to me that the other shoes were, but they'll do...

And with that, I do believe I'll wrap up this post, this part of simplifying my life, and move on to newer (and more exciting???) things!

Any suggestions on what to simplify next?

Friday, September 16, 2011


Not much to report this week on the food waste front - because I have none! Of course, when considering what I shared last week, it would be pretty bad if I did.

Especially since we forgot to pull that stuff out of the fridge when the husband took out the garbage that day...
and the next day...
and the day after that.

Yeah, it took a while to take it out. BUT we did take it out!

I'll be back in a day or two (or so I hope) with a post on just how gorgeous my closets are! Dare I say that we're pretty much settled? Which leaves me wondering, what simplifying project can I tackle next?!

Friday, September 9, 2011

oh dear...

~*~*~ WARNING! Incoherent babbling possible. I'm exhausted! ~*~*~

I haven't done one of these in a while.
Of course, I haven't been consistent in my blogging in a while.
And, actually, I haven't been much of a food waster for a while.
However, that has all changed this morning.

My pictures are rated PG this morning, because I'm exhausted (slight bout of insomnia last night) and really, I don't think I could handle looking closely at this food today! Honestly, I'm not even throwing this junk away right now. Our apartment complex only has one ginormous trash compactor, located at the front of the complex, and I'm not walking this stuff up there! I won't throw it away, because what if it stinks up the laundry room? (That's where the garbage can is.) So, I'm hoping the public pictures of the garbage in my fridge will motivate me to dump it all in the garbage when the husband takes the trash out this evening.

Without further ado, my waste...

So, from top to bottom we have... some egg yolks, homemade tomato sauce,  green beans, chili sauce??? (it's better to let it remain a mystery!), a package of lunchmeat turkey, some strawberries, which will be featured further below. Then toward the front we have a bowl of whole wheat spaghetti, a package of lunchmeat ham. And there's that bottle of water in there, too, which is left from one of the kids from a few weeks ago when someone bought it for them (I pretty much refuse to buy them bottled water ~ can you guess why?!) Now, it's quite possible the lunchmeat could be edible, but I'm pretty cautious when it comes to those kinds of foods and I've decided it's best to assume the worst in those foods today.

Strawberries. They really were. Let's take a moment to be thankful for the condensation built up on the plastic wrap...

Lastly, as far as pics are concerned anyway, we have this unfinished homemade mocha frap, which has been sitting in my freezer for a few days and I'm guessing would taste pretty much awful at this point (and besides, I just sent the husband over to Starbucks for a pumpkin latte, so who needs homemade mochas this morning? Not this girl!)

A picture that did not make the cut ~ and trust me, you're glad it didn't! ~ would be of the two zucchini sitting in the drawer of my refrigerator. I'm really disappointed in myself for letting them go bad. I heart zucchini. :(

ok, I think that should do it for now. I'll be back to update our labor days ~ a little preview: I cleaned and conquered!!!

Happy Friday!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Labor Days - pt. 2

I told you I was serious.

Progress is creeping along. Due to the ill positioning of various boxes and objects, I am, no joke, confined to either my bedroom or the storage closet. I have successfully located AND cleaned off the game shelf, moved it on top of the new (to us) book shelf in our master closet. The husband is stocking said book shelf with books - and since that is really a one person job, and I've no where to go, I figured now is a good time to update with more incriminating pictures.

Now, just to make it clear, I actually do keep a fairly clean home. I know that that truth may not be evident in my past postings. I thrive on cleanliness and organization, I really do. This picture was taken just a few days ago at the start of another day of school. Imagine how the cluttered closets have been ruining my ever cheerful disposition! 

Just a peek of what my master closet spewed out into the bedroom...

The beginnings of organization. I can just hear the heavens rejoicing!

I will return with a final update soon!

Labor Days

Seriously. I thought this blog would keep me accountable to what I need to accomplish, but I seem to avoid it as much as I do my closets. Not good, people. Not good at all.

Yes, yes, I'm still alive. Alive, breathing, walking upright, spending (countless) hours in front of this very screen I look at as I type this out - but no time on this blog.

Somebody find a stick and poke me with it. I mean, WAKE UP LADY!!! You have far too much that must be done to be doing nothing about it.

le sigh

So what have I been up to? Well...
*My boy started football. He practices a lot, and his games are weekly. He's really not too bad (if I do say so myself) and he loves it. So that keeps us busy.
*I've picked up an extra day babysitting. You know, getting your baby fix via someone elses baby is genius.
*I've been diligent in my time with God. I'm not bragging, just sayin' that what may have been lacking at times is growing in me again. I love Him so much, how can I not spend more time with Him each day?
*Two of my four kiddos had August birthdays, so we had some nice celebrations.
*We (those in the church plant) participated in our first community outreach as a "church" ~ and it was REALLY great to get out into the community and bless people with a cool treat on hot summer night!
*I've gotten back into my workout routine.
*We started another home schooling year. That in and of itself is time consuming!
*I've had car trouble (HUGE SIGH) and just got my van back today from it's second week in the shop this summer. We've put about $700 into that thing this summer ~ please God, let that be enough for now. (Not to mention that the husbands car will be dropped off next week for a brake job... it just never ends I tell ya!) Having car trouble meant HAVING to clean out both vehicles though - which means...
*The husbands car is no longer stuffed full of things from our storage unit! YAY!!!

ok, enough excuses. I'm honestly back on here tonight to share something exciting... are you ready???

Labor Day Weekend = Cleaning out the closets!!!!
It really does!
In fact, I got a head start on the work tonight. I've went through ALL of E & E's drawers and closets, pulling out the clothes they've outgrown, throwing out the undesirable socks and undies (you know how it goes), and restocking their drawers and hangers from our hand-me-down stockpiles (praise be to God for older siblings and cousins!) I have one box of girl clothes in great shape for a friend, one bag of boy clothes in great shape for my nephews, and one bag of clothes ready to make a trip to either Goodwill or The Salvation Army (whichever I happen to take everything once we're done this weekend. I haven't decided yet.)
I'm feeling accomplished and I'm feeling motivated. No need to poke me with that stick after all. The husband and I are on a mission now (well, I'm on a mission, and I'm dragging him with me!) We will get through our closet, the storage closet, and the older girls closet this weekend. We really, really will!

Now, just to keep myself feeling it necessary to make my way back here in a timely manner and share my progress once the weekend is over, I have decided to thoroughly embarrass myself. You remember how that game shelf looked in that storage closet after we had "organized" it?

er... wait. No, you don't know about that. Because I kind of forgot to post the pics here when I did that. Oops. I really am a crappy blogger.

Ok, well this is what I'm talking about...

See?! Nice, clean, semi-organized.

But, this is what happened to it...

I mean, where did that shelf of games even go? I know it's back there somewhere!

And gosh... no wonder I avoid this blog. I'm feeling all embarrassed now. Yuck.

Alrighty. I think that's enough sharing for now. I'm going in... if you don't hear from me within a week, call the police! And yes, I realize that my recent lack of blogging would make you reluctant to react so quickly - I mean surely you should give me at least a month to return victoriously BUT SERIOUSLY!!! Do you not see that disaster? I must redeem myself, quickly!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Should have. Maybe could have. But clearly didn't!

aawww hello, my blog. I didn't forget about you!

I should have updated sooner, and maybe I could have, but I just didn't. That's ok though, right? Or maybe I've violated some major rule in blogging? Is there an unspoken rule on neglecting your blog?

So, what have I been up to since my last post?
Wait...what was my last post? (opens a new tab to check) aahhh yes, I see. Food waste (haven't had any to report ~ yay me!) and the last week of the storage unit.
You'll love this update.

The husband cleaned our final things out of the storage unit the week following my last post. On that Monday he and his super great friend got the big stuff, and on Tuesday he loaded the last of the little stuff in his car (SUV, whatever) Now, we didn't have anywhere to put that stuff, and we were heading to TN that weekend to spend the 4th of July with family (i.e., ditch the kids for some quiet time to ourselves) so naturally we just left it all in his vehicle to clean out when we got home. The only thing is, we came home childless. My in-laws kept the kids for 10 days after we left, and our 15th wedding anniversary fell in the middle of their absence. Do you really think we spent that time cleaning closets and organizing? OF COURSE NOT!!! Granted, the husband had to work most of the weekdays we were childless (I was babysitting, don't judge me for not accomplishing anything!) but on his days off we had LOADS of fun together. And while I didn't pull out my infamous "do-me shoes" we still had a super wonderful time, just the two of us.

ahem.... back to the real update at hand. Sorry about that.

The kids got home on July 14th, and after being away from my babies for 10 days all I wanted to do was spend time with them. Over the last 10 days we've played lots of board games, watched movies, went swimming, went to the drive-in, and just had a relaxing time. It helped that the husband was off all last week, and since it was like 100+ degrees with that darn heat index, we spent a lot of time inside just vegging out and praising God for central a/c! However, we weren't totally lazy. The husband and I did tackle SOME projects while he was off last week, like...
*He unpacked boxes at his church office, and, upon finding he had some extra shelving space, he relieved our closet of some of those book boxes we had in it.
*We went through some of the boxes that have been blocking the use of my treadmill (so now I've no excuse not to use it) and we threw away/shredded a LOT of paper clutter (hooray for getting rid of paper clutter!)
*We moved some boxes around - boxes of things that we really don't have room to pull out in this apartment BUT have no intention of getting rid of. We may need to revisit what it means to simplify, again, I think.
*We unloaded SOME of what was in his car, but not all of it. However, I did throw away some things that we really should have never moved to begin with - things that hung out in storage until he put them into his car because I really had no clue what to do with them. It's all good now.

And, even though he still has a wagon, some gardening tools, fishing poles, and some other stuff I can't recall, all in his car, I feel accomplished. I don't like to look in our storage closet, but the rest of the place looks pretty good. It feels organized, comfortable, and I thrive on that. I even have some of our homeschooling materials all set up and ready to go. We still have a month until we begin our next school year, but I couldn't let the text books just sit in cardboard boxes and clutter up my space. ;-)

Now, one thing I did accomplish while the kids were gone was going through the toys and books in the little kids' room. That was much needed, I threw out broken stuff, drafted some items for the yard sale (that may be a little on the shady side, but oh well.)

So, I suppose I should set some goals for myself for these last few weeks of summer. Granted, my days are pretty much full Tuesday - Thursday with babysitting an infant, so that means those days are out leaving me with Monday, Friday, and maybe Saturday to work on some things.
*I need to go to my parents house and make sure we got all of our stuff (I know we didn't) clean up anything we may have just left laying around (because you know we did) and find somewhere to put that stuff here (as if that exists!)
*I think I could straighten up the shelf in my laundry closet to make it a little more organized. I put some art supplies up there the other day and used the mop handle to shove them far enough back that they wouldn't fall. Probably a bad idea.
*Help the older girls finish up their room. I tell them what I want them to do, but I'm guessing words alone aren't working in their teen/tween brains. Go figure.
*Sort through all of the hand-me-down clothes the little kids have. Get rid of stuff we'll never use either because they're too small or just are not things that appeal to us (... us meaning me.)
*Do something with my closet. I mean, really, this can't be how we'll keep it for the next 10 months, right?
*Tackle the dreaded storage closet. You really have no idea how out of control this thing is now. Ignoring it is easy, but won't work for long.

Another good goal could be not neglecting my blog for a month. I'll work on that.

Friday, June 24, 2011

It's Crunch Time!

I've had a busy week! Busy means no blog posting, and unfortunately, it also meant not cleaning that closet some more. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself!

So, totally not related to simplifying, I started babysitting this week. Monday I had my four PLUS three more. The husband's lifelong best friend was in a bind and I told him I'd help him where I could. We've got a nifty little arrangement here - I watch his three (conveniently close in age to my kids, so they pretty much amuse themselves), he'll provide lunch for the entire kiddo crew. We're all  happy. The kids get plenty of play time together, the husbands bff is no longer in need of finding (and paying) a babysitter, and I get several hours of having amused children - freeing me up to do my couponing homework for the week! It worked beautifully! AND THEN Tuesday I began babysitting my youngest sister's, best friend's, baby. Did you follow that? lol He's three months old, sweet as can be, full of smiles, and *almost* makes me wish there was room in our home for one more. (*ALMOST*) In addition to the additional children this week, we've had softball tournament/activities most evenings. As sad as we are to see the season end, the free time (??? if such a thing exists) it should give us will be nice.

My summer shall be full, but my Friday's are free, so here we are. And it is CRUNCH TIME!!! One week from today we have to be completely out of storage. I went there earlier this week and picked up a few things, but that's all I've done. So this weekend I think we'll be pretty busy with that. I just hope that whatever we bring home has a place to go. We shall see! If not, well, you'll definitely be seeing a lot of posts from me in the weeks to come!

Food Waste Friday, or not. :) We have almost no food waste this week! Yay! The only thing we do have is a piece of toast in a baggie (not worth taking a picture - we've all seen toast) from a breakfasty type dinner earlier this week. It's all good though, we'll feed it to the ducks tonight!

I'll get my blogging self back to work this coming week and update with how the final week of storage unloading goes. God willing, it will go smoothly!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Storage Closet Woes

As a blogosphere newbie, I don't really have a blog pattern or regular posting routine. I don't know that I ever will - maybe, maybe not. It's not a bad thing to have or do, but I don't know that it's "me". There is a blog that I've followed for a few years though and the writer does this, and it works for her, really well. This blog is called The Frugal Girl, written by another homeschooling mom of four named Kristen (who I had the privilege to "get to know" in a parenting forum before she was a famed blogger!) Kristen's blog is full of frugal advice, recipes, gorgeous photographs and so much more! It's a great blog to follow, so if you've never heard of it before, I encourage you to check it out!

Every Friday The Frugal Girl shares a post called Food Waste Friday, she shares her food waste for the week, and she invites her readers to do the same with their blogs. Last week I decided this would be a good idea for me. You see, I have the tendency to be a "surface" cleaner. On the surface, things will look nice, neat, tidy - but under things, behind things, or inside things... well, honestly, those can get a little scary from time to time. In my attempt to simplify, I think cleaning out my fridge each week could help me greatly - and maybe inspire me to clean out other things too, like desk drawers, closets (*ahem*), and the underside of my sofa. And, to be quite honest, I loathe cleaning out the refrigerator! L-O-A-T-H-E it! It can be nasty (I know, it shouldn't go that long) and... oh this pains me to share... I've actually thrown away dishes before, just because I'd rather loose them than clean them out. Take for example the... 9x13 pyrex full of sauerkraut (eewwww and OUCH!!!) In my defense this was years ago, but, I did throw it away.

There you have it.

I'm a waster.

I resolve now to be a waster no longer.

Simplifying is SO big, yet SO easy. It means living with less, living on less. Consuming less, saving more. We'll talk more about the way I've been simplifying my budget in the time to come, but a good example that I can share comes from my grocery spending this week. I spent just $60 on groceries, for a week, for my family of six. I often do this just by being an Aldi shopper, but I had some pin-less credit cards from rebates that I wanted to use on groceries this week, and Aldi doesn't take credit cards (just debit cards with a pin number.) My total amount on the cards equaled $80, I couponed saving around $50, and I spent only $60 - which means I still have $20 for next week. Pretty awesome if you ask me!

And it's probably the reason my food waste for this week is so minimal. It's hard to have excessive food waste if you only have what is necessary.

So, without further ado, I present to you my food waste for the week (brace yourselves, or, if you are among the squeamish, turn away.)

Ellie's tuna-noodle... from last week. Yikes.

I'm not even sure why we saved it? It's not like there is much to it. Did she ask us to? Probably not. Yuck.

And that's all. The produce I still have is in great shape, awaiting its turn on my plate as dinner. No storage containers full of food waiting to be used. All in all, I'd say my first Food Waste Friday was pretty successful!

Storage closet woes...
Well, the good news is, my blog post yesterday inspired me to work on the boxes in my storage closet. I started before the husband got home from work, and sucked the poor guy into helping me after he ate dinner and got settled (totally unintentional - bless his heart, he just jumped right in!) And we emptied a LOT of boxes, threw a LOT away, and put aside more items to give away/garage sale. However, there is more to go AND at this point I'm feeling pretty defeated. I mean, we clearly accomplished a lot BUT if I had to gather the rest of our things from storage today, I would still have no where to put any of it. *sigh* I'll update with pics soon. 

If you didn't catch my post yesterday, hop on over to it and HELP ME!!! Should it stay or should it go? Do I keep the coffee mugs or not?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Should it stay or should it go?!

So, honestly, today's post has been in the works since we moved in. I haven't gotten to the closet of boxes. Now, I could say that is because we've had nonstop softball games for over a week. I could say it is because I had to work (I do have some work that I do from home.) I could say it is because I had to spend hours balancing the check book, sorting my coupons, and planning my shopping for the week. BUT, really, when it comes down to it I could have went through the boxes at many different moments (I could be going through them right now!) but I chose not to. I will though - I have to. We need to collect the rest of our things from storage soon, and I don't want to have all of it cluttering our space.

Alrighty, confession aside, on to today's post!

So here are some things that I have...

Magnets! You may have noticed in my previous post that my fridge has many magnets. A lot of the ones I kept are cutesy fun magnets that Ellie still plays with. I figure one day, sooner than I'd like, we'll have to get rid of them. But for now Ellie still plays with them, so I still keep them. The ones above though... well, the seashell ones are kind of falling apart (throw away!), the sesame street ones came with bags of oranges a few years ago (no need to keep-clutter), the fabric covered ones are stained from years on the fridge (they came with towel sets we received as wedding gifts - that was 15 years ago. The towels are long gone, time for the magnets to go, too!) A few of the others are breaking, one has our dentists' info from PA (no longer needed), and the first aid magnet is stained with a marker that was not dry-erase. Soooo... this was an easy call to make. See ya magnets - you go to the garbage! The pretty dish goes, too. I don't have room for all of these platters, so the dish goes, but I've held on to it. I haven't decided if it is going into a yard sale or if it goes to goodwill. We'll see as time goes on.

Up next we have cups that have never been used!

These are cups that the husband brought home from work a few years ago. The classroom he was working in had extra's, and the teacher passed them on to our kiddos. The thought was nice BUT they got jammed into the back of a cabinet, packed when we moved, and now we face the decision of what to do. I say yard sale or goodwill. The kids would love to keep them, because they can draw a picture and put it IN the cup. Yeah, that's awesome, but my cabinets are full so they have to go. Sorry kids!

Santa cookie tins!
I just don't want them. lol They're cute. They would get used. BUT I have other containers I can use for cookies, we don't do "santa" (which is open for discussion if any one has any questions, but I won't go off topic with that right now) - I'm not anti-santa, I just don't have the room for these, someone else may value them more than I do, and I'm fine with parting with them.

So there is the first pile, including the coloring cups, cookie tins, and a few other things. A couple of pots, some plastic cups, some coffee mugs, a juicer (who needs two juicers?), and a hand mixer. The oh so awesome husband bought me a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for our anniversary in 2008, so I don't need a hand mixer anymore. Everything goes to either goodwill or a yard sale EXCEPT for the hand mixer, which my youngest sister has claimed!

Now on to a question - HELP PLEASE!!! We have plenty of coffee mugs. I'm the only one who uses them on a regular basis for my tea (the husband drinks iced espresso, rarely he'll have a hot latte), so the only other times they get used are with the kids and their hot chocolate. There are a few more that made their way to the pile that aren't in the picture above. But here are the ones in question...

Church mugs! What do I do??? The black latte mug is from a church we attended a few times while in TN, before joining with The River (also mentioned in a mug above - we have two River mugs) to help serve with a church plant. Northern Hills (mentioned above - we also have two of these) is the church that the husband and I began in - their founding pastor performed our marriage ceremony, I was "born again" there, the husband received his calling to ministry while we were there, they trained him and ordained him. Northern Hills holds a special place in our hearts. I don't have room for them in the cabinets - so they would be boxed and put away until we move into a house. What do I do?! Keep the mugs for sentimental reasons? (ok, the black one has no sentimental value - but it's a tall latte mug=AWESOME!!! lol) Do I get rid of them? Thoughts? Opinions? Help!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Finally feeling (somewhat) settled...

I think this will be another mostly picture post, just to show our unpacking progress. I wish I had taken pictures of our storage unit before we began to empty it. You may not believe this, but we seriously had that thing jam packed from floor to almost ceiling. It's amazing just how much a family of six can accumulate!

So on our first day "living" here, after a week of hauling boxes (just me and the kiddos - the husband was able to escape the pain of box hauling at first because he had to work), this is what "home" looked like:
This is the view from just inside the entry way - the husband took the pictures on this day, as I was making stromboli (dough and all! Give me a little counter space and it's amazing what I can do!) So yeah, that doesn't look too bad, I guess. Here is a picture pretty much from that same angle, just two days later:

Here are few more pictures from our first day...
Standing in our bedroom doorway, looking into the kitchen area

The little kids room

The big kids room

Looking down the hall where the kids rooms are

A mess of stuff in the master bedroom

We slept on an air mattress for the first two nights - but when OUR bed finally made its way to our new home from storage, we stayed up extra late to make sure it got put together so we could finally sleep in it again. If you don't have a bed that you absolutely love, you may not be able to appreciate this as much. We've been without this bed for 8/9 months though. Staying up late to set up the bed was worth the hour or so of sleep lost just to set it up! Here's a pic of our room hours before the bed was set up!

Here are a couple of other pics from our first few days...

So we lived like that for a few days, added more furniture, more boxes, continued to live like that for a few days more.

The husband actually took last week off from job number two to help with the unpacking and such, and he did help, but the bulk of the work was accomplished on Monday and Tuesday of this week - by yours truly.

Want to see the pics of what this place looks like now?
(You know you do!)

There will be a treadmill in that far corner - once we get it from storage!

That closed door at the end of the hall, that would be the older girls room - no pics of that room. They are messy teen/tween girls. Maybe they'll pull it together and we can take a peek in a day or two, but I make no guarantees. I will say though that they DID have it clean at one point AND they've unpacked all but two of their boxes. Not too bad!

Doesn't it look cozy? And it's SO wonderful not to have boxes all over the place. =)

So how did I do it? Well...
 This is the master bedroom closet - which looks ok at first glance, but then...

Now, in my defense - those banana boxes and the ones on top of them are FULL of books. The husband is an avid reader, he is raising miniature avid readers, and then there's the whole pastor thing - one of those banana boxes is ALL commentaries, one is ALL Bibles, one is ALL scripture reference books. And those are for his leisure time - he has an office full of books as well. We had beautiful built-in bookshelves in our house in Pennsylvania. The only problem with built-in's is that you can't take them with you when you move. We need bookshelves!

My lia sophia things are in there, I think this is where they'll live. And yes, those are MY twilight novels (don't knock it - I liked the series before they created those movies!) There is also a copy of the complete Chronicles of Narnia in that stack, as well as The Lord of the Rings. And up on that top shelf - homeschool records (not Do-Si-Do's, sorry!) and Christmas decor stuff. I'm hoping that those boxes will make their way to the storage closet... oh, you haven't seen the storage closet yet? oops...

That would be a VERY deep closet - full of all those dreaded boxes. *sigh*  Here's the dealio, I HAVE to go through ALL of those boxes by the end of this month so that we can get the last of our things out of storage (including bicycles, wagons, other outdoor fun things, and some miscellaneous stuff as well) and then we will store much of it in this very deep closet. Be ready for post after post of "What will I throw away next?" and "Should this stay or should it go?"

So, the truth is, I'm an organized hoarder at the moment. And the boxes are far from over. But hey, at least I can chillax on my couch late at night and totally ignore that small detail, right?

Speaking of late at night - wow! I am a night owl, but even 2:00 in the morning is late for me. I do believe Ms. Ellie has finally fallen asleep though. She's taking some time to adjust to her new bedroom, and our late evening softball games don't seem to be helping her wind down much either! We are getting settled though, and I think my pillow is calling my name!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The sights and sounds (and smells?) of a new neighborhood

This is pretty much just a picture post of our new community. Our apartment complex has two smallish ponds on the grounds, which makes for pretty scenery. These ponds also make a good home for ducks and geese! There are many, many, MANY ducks and geese in this apartment complex. In fact, did you know that geese will walk down a sidewalk? Not only that, but I think they may even prefer the sidewalk for their defecating needs over say maybe grass, dirt, or even their pond. Who knew?!

On our second day living here, Ellie and I decided to take a walk down to the mailbox to drop a few things in for the mail carrier (there is a USPS mail box here on site, which makes dropping our netflix dvd's very easy and convenient!), as well as check our own box. She rode her scooter, and I walked behind her, snapping some pictures along the way.

A mother goose and three of her goslings...

A very speedy Ellie :)

Ducks and ducklings, hiding in the shade (from that miserable orb in the sky - have I mentioned that I loathe summertime heat? Well, I do.)

Why did the duck cross the sidewalk?
Yeah... I don't know.

They all do this, every single time a person walks up to the pond - they are well trained in receiving table scraps! 

Not at all shy either.

See what I mean?!

I am working on another blog post, one that includes pics of our first night here, some of the progress we've made since then, and the great question regarding a few things - Should I keep or toss? Stay tuned!