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!

Monday, June 6, 2011

I Heart Shoes!

The pictures will speak for themselves.

But of course, if you don't love shoes the way that I love shoes, you may not think the pictures say much at all. :)

So Monday evening I decided I would take upon the task of going through ALL of the shoes we have, sorting them, having the kids try them on, put aside nice shoes for giving away, and *GASP* throw out some of the more dated or worn pairs. I started with two large sterilite tubs of shoes and a huge planting bucket full as well (the planting bucket is aka Elijah's toy box - I'm not really sure how it became full of shoes in our move from PA, but somehow it did!)

These are the shoes from the planting bucket...

 These are also from the bucket...

(Yes, there is an Easter basket in this picture. Simplifying and organizing is a process which is not instantly achieved!)

Here are the two tubs...

 Ridiculous, yes?

err... don't forget the shoes on TOP of the tubs...

This is where it all began. I dumped the tubs on the floor (screamed at the spider hiding in the bottom of the one tub - and ran away - to which the husband replied "Aren't you holding a shoe? KILL IT!" I just don't do spiders. I don't squash. I don't stand around and wait to see what it will do next. I scream and I run.) So, yes, I dumped the tubs on the floor, sorted through the piles and ended up with three tubs of organized shoes (Elijah reclaimed his toy bucket.) One tub for cleats alone (three softball players, one football player, and one daddy who coaches results in many pairs of cleats), one tub for shoes which aren't currently in season/use, and one tub for shoes that are currently in season/in use. I'm going to leave the in season/use tub open in the entry closet, in hopes that the shoes will make it IN the tub and not clutter up the closet and entry floor. (One can hope!) In the past we've had monstrous shoe piles in our coat closets, maybe this will solve that?

The cleats...

  The shoes not in season/use...

The tub that will be open in the closet - gosh I hope this works!

 The finished project!

Sadly, there were causalities. One of the more tragic losses was this pair of brown Mudd shoes that I have loved dearly for the last few years. Aren't they pretty on?

The reason for their demise? Well, I feel like a hobo when I wear them! I adore them and wear them anyway, but much to the embarrassment of my teen/tween daughters! See what I am subjecting us all to?

And here they lie among the other causalities (which includes broken flip-flops, sandals and boots whom have no mate, and old sneakers and sandals who are worn and ragged.)
There were some survivors who will go on to new homes, such as a brown pair of Mary Jane's, which each of my girls have worn and I just adore. I'm not sure just yet if I'll try to pass them on or if they'll end up at Goodwill. Either way, I'm sure they will make some little girl very happy. I didn't get pictures of these though - but I think this post is full of enough pictures as it is.

HOWEVER there is one last pair of shoes that I must showcase. I know, I know. This is supposed to be about simplifying, but there are a few things you will learn about me - one of those things is that when it comes to me and shoes, there is no such thing as simple.

So I have this super-fantabulous-knockout pair of shoes that I wore in a wedding several years ago. They are a light lilac shade of purple, have beautiful beading over them, and the heel... oh my word... the heel makes me swoon. I heart shoes, but these shoes... oh goodness. I heard the saying once that when a woman walks into a shoe store she will experience what is called a "shoe-gasm". Ladies, if this is true - well, this shoe does it for me. In fact, my husband and I have renamed these shoes my "do-me shoes"... I think I need not say more.

Swoon with me, if you will...
Are these shoes not HOTT?!?!?

*GASP* this heel!!!
mmmm yes, I love me a good pair of shoes.

So see, this post has a happy ending. I may have lost the brown Mudd shoes, but these purple shoes give me hope for shoes to come.