Monday, December 5, 2011

25 Days of Christmas-2011 Edition

Last year I started to do the 25 Days of Christmas with my kids.  Basically it consists of doing one Christmas related activity per day with the kids.  It made leading up to Christmas so much more fun as each day we were excited to see what was planned.  I got the idea from Katie, who is always full of great ideas!  Thanks Katie!

I am a little behind the 8 ball this year getting it all together and typed up.  I have all the ideas all in my head, but am finally sorting them out on to actual days.  My hubby just got into town.  What's your excuse?!?!? :))

Day 1-Got all the decorations out and put up tree (check!)
Day 2-Christmas Parade in Phoenixville (check!)
Day 3-Make Christmas countdown chain (check!)
Day 4-Train display (oopps...totally forgot about this, but hubs and I went Christmas shopping!)
Day 5-Decorate Christmas tree (check!)
Day 6-Read Christmas books by the Christmas tree
Day 7-Christmas carols/tree lighting and visit with Santa @ YMCA
Day 8-Make teacher gifts and let kids color Christmas cards
Day 9-Brandywine River Museum Christmas train display
Day 10-Make a Christmas ornament craft
Day 11-Drive around and look at Christmas lights
Day 12-Take the train into Philadelphia for the Macy's Holiday light show & Dickens Village
Day 13-Go sit on Santa's lap
Day 14-Go to the mall and buy gifts for needy children
Day 15-Hubby and I in NYC for Christmas get-away
Day 16-In NYC
Day 17-(Still in NYC for Christmas get-away) Kids can watch a Christmas movie
Day 18-Live Nativity @ Reeves Park
Day 19-Make Christmas cookies & craft @ a friend's house
Day 20-Make reindeer food
Day 21-Drive around and look at Christmas lights
Day 22-Kids Christmas show at school
Day 23-Make birthday cake for Jesus
Day 24-Read the Nativity story from the bible

Oh, I LOVE Christmas time, don't you?!?!?!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No Guilt Chocolate Pudding

I have been a baking/cooking fool lately.  I am LOVING this new blog that I found where I have gathered a bunch of new recipes.  More on that later.  Today I wanted to post a recipe for chocolate pudding made with avocados.  I know, right?!?!?!? 

Did I post this recipe yet?  One might ask why I don't just go back into my listing of posts and find out?  In which I would answer: Cause my head is spinning from all the craziness going on that I don't feel like taking not one extra step to actually find out the answer to my own question. 

So there.

At any rate, this pudding recipe is pretty much spot on to the real thing.  Well, minus all the crap that the instant mixes have in them.  And if your not gonna care about what's in your food, then I will just have to do that for you. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 ripe avocado.  Yes, avocado.  Trust me here.  Cut in half, scoop out the goods, get rid of the pit and cut into chunks
  • 1 ripe banana, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup milk.  Any milk will work: 1%, 2%, soy, almond, etc.
  • 1/4 cup raw cocoa powder.  Find this at Whole Foods or online (I like Vitacost for all my natural food, vitamin and health care needs).  Or I just used Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder since I had that on hand.
  • 2T agave nectar
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional).  I put this in the first batch I made and my kids didn't like the pieces of coconut in their pudding.  So, it's up to you if you want to add it.
Put all ingredients in a blender, Vitamix or food processor and blend until smooth.  Put in refrigerator and chill for a couple of hours before serving. 

I just made two batches and am anxiously awaiting it to get chilled before I guiltlessly (totally a word) dive in!

Enjoy!!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Funny Things My Kids Say: Part 2

More kid funnies!  Love them!

Kaiden: "Mommy!  Look what I brought for you!" (running in the house with flowers picked from the yard)
Me: "Wow!  I love them.  I really like when you think of me like that and bring me flowers."
Kaiden: "Cause you like that?"
Me: "Yep.  Girls like that kind of stuff."
Kaiden: "Yeah.  Girls like pretty flowers cause they are princesses."

"Me and Maddey have boogies in our ears.  I just put my finger in my ear and felt it."

"Maddey, can I please use that phone?  I have a cousin that I need to say hi to."

"Close your eyes.  And when I count to, ummmm, one then open your eyes.  One, two, three, four, ONE!  Open your eyes!" 

"That was a big poop.  It kind of hurt.  I thought it was going to split my butt."

Me: "What do you want for lunch?"
Kaiden: "Ummm...how about strawberries and crawfish."
Me: "Huh?'

Maddey: "Mommy!  My belly ache is full. My legs hurt."
Me: Why?
Maddey: "Cause my belly ache is full."

Me: "How'd you get so big?!"
Maddey: "Daddy made me big."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Orange Infused Water

A few weeks ago I was looking for a way to spice up my regular water. It's ever so boring drinking plain water day in and day out, but all other drinks fill your body with nasty sugar that reeks havoc on your body. Yuck. I found this simple recipe and thought it was ever so genius and whipped it up in about 5 minutes flat.

Take 2 or more oranges and slice them up. Grab some fresh mint leaves and pull them apart.

Drop the oranges and mint into a pitcher. Pour water over top and store in the refrigerator. Let steep at least 2 hours before drinking.
Go ahead and experiment with other fruits/veggies such as lemons, raspberries, cucumbers, strawberries or a mix of a few!
Enjoy a cool, refreshing drink!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kaiden's 4th Birthday

My baby is 4. Just yesterday he was nestled all snuggly in his hospital incubator and then I blinked and we were celebrating his 4th birthday. Ho hum. Ho hum.

Hubby was in town for the celebration in which we had a few family members to join in the festivities. He wanted a "batman" theme this year. Which was really no surprise since about a month ago he told me he wanted to be "Batman" for Halloween this year. A fun time was had by all. No tears were shed by mom (miraculously!) and he got everything that he had on his "wish list."

I made a Batman cake using Katie's Slow Cook Chocolate Cake. I made it last year for Madelyn's birthday, and people, it's good. I used a vanilla frosting recipe from Melissa that she gave me about a year ago. I colored the icing yellow and used black sugar sheets to cut out a batman symbol. I definitely won't be on Cake Boss anytime soon, but it was a fun cake to make.

Here's the "Bat Family"

We sang "Happy Birthday" to Kaiden who looks none-to-thrilled to have all the attention on him!
On Sunday, Kaiden's actual birthday, we took a family trip to Linvilla. LOVE this place!

We fed the sheep...

And the goats...

...And took a hayride through all the orchards.

Then we came home and opened some presents. A Lightening McQueen car was a big hit from Grandma Mary

A spiderman umbrella from Mommy and Daddy

A road rug for all his cars. Also from Mommy and Daddy.

And a Teddy Bear from Mee-ma and P-pa.

And his favorite of all is the bell for his bike he has been asking for!


It was a great birthday. So you can stop growing now Kaiden! Love you oogles.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Roasted Sweet Potato Spinach Salad

Mmmmm....Now doesn't that look good? As a result of some recent "emotional eating" since arriving here in PA in June I am starting to find my energy levels have plummeted, I feel a lot more bloated and my pants are fitting ever so more snugly than before. I have clearly fallen off my healthy eating train. But, I recently ignited my passion for eating whole, organic foods by watching "Forks Over Knives." It's a great flick with a "Food, Inc." kind of feel to it. Definitely worth watching.

So, I had remembered this salad that a friend of mine had made while I was at her house. It's so easy, yet so good. I made it the other night for dinner and I will definitely be adding this back into my food rotation! Next time I might add some roasted asparagus to it as well. Yummy!

Directions:
Peel one sweet potato (or yam) and slice into 1-inch pieces. Mix with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a cookie sheet and roast in at 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Turn after 15 minutes. Place on top of spinach lettuce and add pine nuts, feta cheese & tomatoes. Season with Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing and viola! Gobble up and feel good that you've just nourished your body with organic, whole foods!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Drawing with Purpose

All of a sudden my little boy seems to be all grown up. He talks more grown up, he looks more grown up and recently he has even been coloring and drawing like a grown up. The other day he drew a picture of himself on our magnetic drawing thing. This was a total first of an actual attempt at a face and body. He drew the large circle for the face. Two dots with circles for the eyes, a LARGE smile, hair and two straight lines for legs. I must say, I am pretty impressed with my almost 4 year old's interpretation of himself!!
Great job Kaiden!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Peach Picking & A Pretty Darn Good Crisp Recipe

Back in August we were looking for something to do on a gorgeous Friday morning so I googled "pick your own" produce farms in the area and found Linvilla Orchards not too far away. What a cool place! With many different picking options to choose from, we decided we wanted to pick peaches since it was peach season and all. So, we got our box, found a spot on the tractor bed and off to the peach orchard we went.


The kids loved placing their picked peaches into our box.



P-pa accompanied us on our little adventure. See how many peaches we picked! One or two of them may or may not have made it home because they were so delicious!
With so many peaches I wanted to make a peach crisp. I boiled the peaches for 20 minutes. Did you know that it is easier to get the skin off if you do that first? I just saved you about 15 minute of peeling. You're welcome.
Here is the finished product! It was sooooo good! I may or may not have had a second helping! See recipe below


I used this recipe, but after reading a bunch of reviews I made some substitutions.



Ingredients:

Peeled and sliced peaches. Enough to fill a pie dish.

Handful of blueberries thrown in

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter



Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Put peaches in pie pan and sprinkle with vanilla extract. Combine flour, oats, sugars, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and cut in butter. Sprinkle mixture over peaches and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until bubbly browned. Eat plain or with vanilla ice cream!


Note: This would be good with any other kind of fruit as well. Apple season is almost upon us!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Funny Things My Kids Say

Kaiden says the funniest things. And since he talks all. the. time I can usually count on him saying something quite amusing on a daily basis. Madelyn, well, she is just a parrot and repeats everything that Kaiden says and pretends it's her own. That's quite funny in and of itself.

Here are some recent funnies out of the mouth's of my babes:

"I have an itch. Today is itchy day and pool day." (We were heading to the Y to take swim lessons)

"Look! My pee is yellow. If I drink grape juice then my pee would be grape coming out."

"Don't eat our lollipops when we are taking naps. If you eat it then you will stink for today."

"Mommy can I bring my phone with me? Just in case I need to call someone to say hi."

"Okay. You can count and I'll be the wood pressure. Then you come and find me." (playing hide and seek)

Kaiden counting: "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 11-teen, 14, 19. Ready or not! Here I come!"

"If you went on a walk all by yourself and didn't know how to get home then I will grow up and be a police man. Then I would bring you home."

Listening to Lady Gaga in the car: "Is this Lady Gaga? She sure is silly. Isn't she mom?"

"You're putting that flower in water cause it needs to have breakfast too?"

Kaiden: "Can I marry you when I grow up?"
Me: "Well, I am already married to Daddy."
Kaiden: "Then I need to find a different girl to marry that doesn't have a Daddy already?"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First Day of Preschool 2011

Welp. We made it to the first day of preschool 2011. And I am sad. BOTH my kiddos are at school. *sniff*

The first "official" day of school was actually last Thursday. But the day before my kids decided to come down with colds. And since their little noses were running like faucets, I didn't want to be that mom that sent her kids to school sick to infect everyone else. So, we took the weekend to recover and today they are good as new!

I scoped out many preschools here upon arriving in PA in June. But, this one came highly recommended by many and after meeting with the director, I knew this was our new preschool home. Maddey started this year in the 2's class and Kaiden moved up to the 3's class. Both have been over the moon excited about it. I knew Kaiden would be just fine with me leaving him there. Maddey was another story. She isn't one to be away from me (and from her brother to protect her) so I was just waiting for an all out melt down while trying to walk out of the room. To my surprise, she didn't shed one tear!!! Is my baby growing up?!?!?

Here they are out in front of mee-ma and p-pa's house getting ready to leave. Kaiden wanted to wear his Batman shirt so he could "hotel" ("show and tell" in our language!) his classmates.

Wanting to show off their "cack-cacks." Princesses (of couse) for Maddey and Lightening McQueen for Kaiden.


Did mommy finally get in a picture with her children?!?
Out in front of school waiting for the doors to open. Notice they were more concerned with the other people that were looking at them than looking at the camera!
Dropped Kaiden off at his classroom first and he sat right down to start coloring. So big!
Then off to Madelyn's classroom. We put away her "cack-cack" and found some toys to play with. Hugs and kisses and mommy was off. Not even a single tear (well, that I could see!) So proud of her!

So, now I find myself with 2.5 hours all. to. myself. What ever will I do?!?!?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

10 Things I Miss the Most About Arizona

*My husband.
*When you go to the library to check out a movie it's FREE.
*Couponing at Fry's grocery stores.
*Organic selection of food at Costco.
*My friends.
*The updated, beautiful road system.
*My mom's group.
*Anthem's master planned community where I only had to drive a couple miles to reach anything.
*Pappaduex's restaurant and their famous "Swamp Thing" drink.
*Did I mention my husband?

Welp, some of you may already know that I no longer live in AZ. I am a Philly girl through and through, I guess, and after spending 8 years in Phoenix, the east coast has called me home. It was a decision in the making for a few years now actually. Once we started to have children we fast realized that living for "us" is no longer an option. All of our decisions have to be made with our children's best interest in mind instead. And for us, living closer to family makes the most sense.

Although there were many, many great things about Arizona that I will continue to miss, I am glad to be back in Philly. There seem to be endless activities for us and people here actually cheer on the home town sports teams. Go figure. We are living with my parents for now who have been a HUGE help with the kids. We are still in the adjustment period having only been back since early June, but the kids soon will start preschool here and seem to be settling in just fine. We are anxiously awaiting hubs to join us next June when he will move here from AZ instead of just visiting us for a week here and there. It's hard to be without him, but we know this decision for him to stay behind and grow his business was the right one.

Look for more posts showing our many east coast adventures! We have been busy!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Deep Conversations with a 3 Year Old

Yes. It have been sweet forever since I have written last. In fact it's been over two months since I did an acceptable post. Whew. And I still have written about all the changes going on in our family. And, well, I'm not going to do that today either. So you'll just have to wait.

But, what I will enlighten you with is a precious conversation that I had with Kaiden yesterday on our drive to Trader Joe's. See they have a story hour every Thursday morning where the lady reads two books (always with a relation to food in them) and provides a snack. Which, of course, always correlates to the story and food reference. It's brilliant. The kids love it. And I do too, cause they hold the story time right in the area where they do the demos of food, drinks and coffee. So, while they are sitting quietly listening to their story I am stuffing my face with the deliciousness that TJ's has to offer and getting my caffeine fix on a cup of morning joe. All for FREE! Have you ever tried Trader Joe's coffee? It's brilliant. Simply brilliant.

Anyway, on the way to story time we wind through a section of Valley Forge Park that runs along a river. Well, stream, but details. It's pretty heavily wooded in this particular area and there are a number of trees and branches along the road that have fallen down. Kaiden always asks me why they have fallen. Every. single. time. But yesterdays conversation took a turn into the deep areas that I didn't think I would have to venture to for quite some time.

Kaiden: "Why are the trees on the ground mommy?"
Me: "Because sometimes they die and fall over."
Kaiden: "Why do they die?"
Me: "Everything dies eventually, buddy."
Kaiden: "But, I don't want to die."
Me: "Well, you won't die for a LONG time. But we all die. The best part is that when we die, we get to go to heaven. Do you remember who lives in heaven?"
Kaiden: "God."
Me: "God. That's right. So, it won't be bad to die since we will be in heaven with God."
Kaiden: "But, I don't really want to die. Maybe you should tell God that I don't want to die. Mommy, maybe you should just call God on the phone."
Me: "I can't call God, buddy. But you can always talk to God when you pray."
Kaiden: "Why do we pray?"
Me: "Well, if you want to tell God something you pray."
Kaiden: "Or when we want Him to protect us?"
Me: "Yes. That's right. Oh look, here we are! Let's go!" (Phew!)

Be still my heart. That kid cracks me up!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Meal Plan-6/22/11

I have GOT to get back to meal planning. Now that we are at my parents house it seems extra chaotic around dinner time. There have been numerous 4:00 "oh shoot, what are we having for dinner" converstations. It just doesn't work with my mom getting home from work at 5:20ish, trying to get the kids fed, bathed, and ready for bed. Especially the nights that we Skype with hubs before 7:00pm. Crazy.

So, here's to meal planning and getting back on track with eating better. I realize that it is mid-week, but heck, a half of a meal plan is better than no meal plan at all, eh? I just got to the grocery store and Costco today so it's a good day to start with a somewhat full fridge. What day is today anyways?

Wednesday-Chili
Thursday-Eggplant Parm
Friday-Order a pizza
Saturday-1st birthday party for a friend's daughter. Eating there.

Catch a full week of meal plan on Sunday. Have a great hump day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Yes, I am Still Alive

Ummmm, yeah. I am still here. Hanging on by a thread (so it feels) most of these days. And if you remember from my last post that there have been some, umm, changes going on around here that isn't even the half of it. I can't even begin to get into it all right now because I don't have the time. Or energy. And, honestly, I can't find my camera cord right now to upload all the photos I want to use to do a proper post. So, I will just leave you with a little Kaiden-ism for the day.

Kaiden: "Mommy. When can I be a Daddy?"
Me: "Ummmm. When you are MUCH, MUCH older."
Kaiden: "I want to take you to a wedding." (I went to a wedding last weekend and when he asked if he could go with me I told him it was only for mommies and daddies to go to)
Me: "Awwww, buddy. I would love for you to take me to a wedding when you get older."
Kaiden. "I want to be a daddy just like my daddy."

Love.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A list

Let me free my mind of some thoughts that are swirling around my busy little head.

  • I have recently gotten in the habit of watching Maury during the kids nap time. "You ARE the father!" It's like a complete train wreck of a show. It's so awful but you can't help but watch.

  • I am convinced, once again, that I am totally uneasy with change. Big change, little change...doesn't matter. I am comfy in my own little world going along as it did the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that.

  • We are going through some change in my house.

  • I really need a vacation.

  • I am going to PA in approximately two weeks and will be attending a wedding. Remember when I spring cleaned my closet? Remember that I only had dresses from 15 years ago? What am I going to do about a dress?!?!?!

  • I wish I had a stylist that would do my clothing shopping for me. I hate shopping.

  • Going to PA doesn't count as a "vacation."

  • The past few days I am convinced my kids are trying to kill me. When does the whining end? I think it's a great day for a reality check.

  • Last night I went to see a child psychologist speak to my mom's group. She is amazing. I could have listened to her for hours. Check out her website here. She wrote a book that I am reading here. Good, good stuff.

  • I had an "aha" moment the other day. I am an emotional eater. Anytime I feel overwhelmed, I eat. Anytime I feel angry, I eat. Anytime I feel depressed, I eat.

  • I really want some ice cream.

  • I am going to start to track my eating using the weight watchers point system. Not cause I need to lose weight, but because I need to have structure.

  • I can't believe Oprah is going off the air. I've been watching her forever! *tear*

  • Okey dokie. I feel better...I just need to convince myself not to eat that ice cream bar in the freezer.
    Y'all have a good day.

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    77% Savings!

    It's been awhile since I have found some really killer deals at the grocery store. I basically have been living on a stockpile and haven't had to do a big shop in awhile. But I was itching for some deals so went shopping last night at Fry's. By myself. It's like a vacation every single time.

    Anywho, I was pretty stoked after my trip last night since I got $102.05 worth of groceries (41 items) for $22.83. A 77% savings! SCORE! I still get that "couponers high" and walked out of there feeling like a champ!

    Here's a breakdown of the items I got at Fry's. Keep in mind that my Fry's takes competitor's coupons and doubles all MFR coupons to $1.00. They were also doing a MEGA event which you get a lower sale price on items when you buy the participating items in groups of 10:

    5 boxes of Cascadian Farms Organic cereal $2.95
    used (5) $1/1 Cascadian Farms MFR coupon (got a bunch at a coupon swap I went to)
    Stacked with:
    (5) $1/1 Cascadian Farms Whole Foods Coupon
    =$.95/box

    Mom's Best Cereal $.99 wyb 10
    $1/1 Mom's Best Cereal
    =FREE

    Cheerios $3.79
    used FREE Cheerios coupon that Fry's mailed me
    =FREE

    6 bags of Boulder Chips $.99 wyb 10
    (2) $1/1 Boulder chips
    (2) $1/2 Boulder chips (nay no longer be available)
    = 2 FREE, 4 for $.50 each

    Magnum Premium Ice Cream bars $4.49
    ecoupon for FREE box (up to $4.50 value)
    =FREE

    Nivea Body Lotion $2.95 wyb 10
    $2/1 Nivea Lotion RP 5/15
    stacked with:
    $1/1 Nivea Lotion Target coupon
    =FREE

    Johnson's Body & Hair wash $2.50 wyb 10
    $.50/1 Johnson's baby product (from the paper-not sure when)
    =$1.50

    Uncle Ben's Rice $1.29 wyb 10
    $.30/1 Uncle Ben's whole grain rice
    =$.29

    Fry's unsalted butter quarters $3.49
    used FREE MFR coupon that Fry's mailed me
    =FREE

    2 bags Haribo Gummy Bears $1.00 each
    (2) $.30/1 Haribo products
    =FREE

    Stoneyfield 32oz Organic Yogurt $3.50
    $.50/1 Stoneyfield 32oz yogurt
    stacked with
    $.75/1 Stoneyfield yogurt Whole Foods coupon
    =$1.75

    Aquafresh Extreme Clean toothpaste $3.14
    used FREE Aquafresh toothpaste coupon that Fry's mailed me
    =FREE

    8 Larabars $1.00 each
    (2) $1/4 Larabars (I don't think it's available anymore)
    stacked with
    (4) $1/2 Larabars Whole Foods coupons
    =$.25 each

    2 Nestles candy bars $.50 each
    $.50/2 Nestles single candy bars
    =FREE

    Produce-Used a Safeway coupon for $1 off produce wyb $5 or more:
    Corn on the cob (I got a craving for corn!) $3.49
    Organic avacado $1.89
    Organic onion $.60
    Organic bananas $1.40
    2 Organic red bell peppers $4.58
    Pineapple $.99
    5 Roma tomatos $.62

    1/2 lb American cheese $3.75

    Total: $102.05
    Coupons/VIP sale & $6 off $30 Fresh & Easy coupon: $79.22
    Grand Total: $22.83

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Tub Time Tunes

    Geesh. I just realized how long it has been since I have posted. Shame on me. The end of March totally got away from me and I never finished the last two weeks of the spring cleaning challenge. But, don't fret. It's still on my "to do" list and I intend to get it done one of these days.

    For now, you'll have to settle for this little video that I shot a few months ago of the kids singing in the tub. Madelyn is amazing with what she knows. I'm not one to brag, but I remember Kaiden saying only a few words at 22 month. Madelyn knows her ABC's, can count on her own to 10, count from 11-20 with a little help, sing a bunch of songs and can put about a 5+ word sentence together. And she was doing this at about 19/20 months! Proud mama!

    Here is a glimpse of what bath time looks like at our house.




    Happy Monday!

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Spring Cleaning: The Fridge/Freezer

    Back to the spring cleaning challenge....today's assignment: Refrigerator/Freezer. Not too hard of a job. I pulled everything off the shelves, out of the drawers and off the door and scrubbed that whole thing down. I got rid of some left overs that were way left over and also tossed some umm, condiments that haven't been good for oh, a better part of 3 or (maybe) 4 years. I guess we don't eat cocktail sauce quite as often as I must have thought. Yikes.

    It was a relatively easy project today that only took me about 30 minutes. Which was exactly the type of project that I needed to get me back on track. Here's my fridge: BEFORE
    And all scrubbed down and organized: AFTER
    Here's my freezer: BEFORE
    Not too much a difference, but I assure you it's much cleaner and much more organized! My freezer: AFTER
    Now go snuggle with your kiddos and read them a book! Happy spring cleaning!

    Visit Katie to jump on the spring cleaning challenge!

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Spring Cleaning: The Office

    Y'all, it's been an awful week. Madelyn has croup and had a horrible time sleeping on Wednesday night. She was coughing all. night. long. Kaiden caught her fever and a bit of a cough. Although not croup, still a nasty little bug that has him out of sorts as well. So, naps have been infrequent and somewhat non existent leaving me to get not so much done. That's the bad news. The good news is that everyone seemed to sleep a little better last night and it can only go up from here. Right?

    So, in my last post I said I was dreading doing the kiddos closets and at this point, I decided to just leave all the baby stuff right where it was. I pretty much have their closets organized and whenever they outgrow something I throw it into a plastic storage bin. Those are now all in Madelyn's closet along with a changing table cushion, play mat and pack 'n play. It's all staying. Until I am more sure that we aren't having another. Although after this week of sickness that decision might have been made for us!

    Yesterday I was able to start on the office slightly before Madelyn woke up. The office is primarily hub's area. I keep one file drawer of stuff and come in to use the computer only when I am printing coupons. So, for the most part I kept everything "as is" since it will be hub's job to go through all of his items. And, hubs is an organizational freak, so for the most part he keeps it pretty tidy.

    Here is the book case/file cabinet. I have a few books in there that need to be donated. I am not the type to buy books. I much rather get them from the library then give them back. I hate having a bunch of books around. Mostly because once I read it I usually don't read it again and I don't have the space to hoard books. So this is the bookcase: BEFORE
    Here is my one file drawer that I use in the desk. I pulled all the paperwork out that no longer belonged. Credit card statements from 2006 people! For real. You'll see some of Kaiden's school projects in this drawer. I have maxed out a few hanging folders of stuff and now am at a loss of where to put them. I have thrown out a lot of his projects, but there are quite a few that I like to keep and can't figure out a good place to put them. If you have any suggestions, let me know!
    Here is the file drawer: BEFORE
    After I took these pictures, I retrieved my little sick girl from her crib. I don't think she took a nap at all with all the coughing going on. Surprisingly, she was in good spirits so I just kept on going. Cheese!
    I made three piles. The large stack in back on are papers to be recycled. The one on the right is stuff that needed to be shredded. The small one in front is stuff I need to keep. And the pile of old credit cards.....well, they are all canceled and need to be cut up and thrown away.
    Recycle bin full to the max!
    And here are the books that I pulled that I am going to donate.
    Today's project is to clear out a craft room/hobby area if you have one. I don't so I am going to do a small project of cleaning out the trash cans. They disgust me and have probably never been scrubbed down. That's probably all I can handle today since I still have some miserable kiddos that are keeping me occupied. Not so sure naps will happen today or not.

    Have a great, healthy, weekend. Visit Katie to join in on the last few weeks of the challenge!

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Spring Cleaning: The Kids Rooms

    Hi all! I'm back. I didn't do the assignment yesterday to spring clean the kids playroom. Madelyn woke up with a 101.8 fever which spiked to 102.5 right around nap time. Soooo, a fussy baby kept me from being spring cleaning productive. But, the fever broke the rest of the day and still is down today, but not gone totally, so we are left housebound again today. I am not so sure why I just used the word "day/today" three times in one sentance. Yes, I am going stir crazy, thanks for asking. None the less it was a perfect day to get into the kids room to organize! Here we go.

    It's not often that I can find the time to get in the kids rooms to organize. The only times that I have to do anything are usually nap time and, well, they are napping. Duh. But, I was able to occupy them this morning with the electronic babysitter, Telly Vision, for about an hour and get both kiddos rooms cleaned up!

    Let's start in Kaiden's room shall we? During "nap time" he sometimes sleeps but more often has been getting away from napping and spends most of his "quiet time" either pulling books out and reading them, pulling clothes out of his drawers/closet or throwing his stuffed animals all over the floor. Here is Kaiden's floor: BEFORE

    AFTER
    While I was cleaning I got a visit from little sicky peanut pie. Oh, she is so miserable. It'll be over soon baby girl and you'll be back to your old self again. Look at that face :(
    Let's just focus on one part of Kaiden's room for a second. We have mirrored sliding doors on the closets and one day I came in to find this smudge on his mirror. When I asked him what it was he answered, "Oh, dat's boogies." Yes, my son smeared his boogies on the mirror. Uh...can you say gross? I am not even sure why I am not totally embarrassed in showing you this. Needless to say, that got scrubbed. And scrubbed again. I guess it's better than sticking boogies on the wall. Isn't it?
    This dresser holds all of Kaiden's books in the top compartment. They never seem to find themselves back into the cabinet after reading at nap time or nighttime so the top of the dresser gets overloaded with stuff. And notice the hangers that were placed there by Kaiden. Random. I gave everything a major dusting as well. Kaiden's dresser: BEFORE

    Kaiden's dresser: AFTER
    Kaiden's bed: BEFORE
    I changed the sheets and put all the stuffed animals back on the bed. I got a visit from a little friend who wanted to pose in the picture with his Thomas pj's to match his Thomas sheets. Kaiden's bed: AFTER
    On to Madelyn's room. Here is her dresser. Again a catch all for books that have not been put on the shelves properly. Her dresser: BEFORE
    I dusted the whole thing down, pulled some "baby" frames, stuffed animals and books out and will put them in the "sell" area that I am creating for a garage sale in the future. I also pulled the clock that was on the wall next to the dresser off. That thing has been hanging there for at least a year in non-working condition. Her dresser: AFTER
    Here is her crib/reading area: BEFORE
    Books seem to find a way of migrating to the table and floor next to the chair and never find their way home. Then they get carried to mulitple areas of the house causeing chaos everywhere!
    I changed the sheet, dusted the furniture, pulled it all out and vacuumed the carpets and put all the books back where they belong. Madelyn's crib/reading area: AFTER
    AHHHHHhhhhhh! Feels so much better. Tomorrow we are going to attempt to organize the kids closets (and I am adding the drawers too). I have a feeling it will make me address the whole "we probably aren't having another baby issue" and make me finally put all the baby clothes and items in our "sell" pile to get rid of and stop hoarding them "just in case." It may be an emotional day for me. I'm bracing for it.

    Visit Katie to jump on board to the spring cleaning challenge. It's never too late. You won't regret it!

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    Homemade Dishwashing Detergent

    About three or four months ago a group of ladies from my mom's group got together to make some homemade cleaners. I already use a homemade glass cleaner and all-purpose cleaner so I focused on making a homemade dishwasher detergent. I also recently saw this recipe on Money Saving Mom's site so it must be a pretty common one. I have been using it for about two months now and it seems to work pretty well. The one drawback I have found is that your dishes really need to be almost cleaned of all residue before you put them in the dishwasher. But, knowing that I am using greener ingredients and saving a bunch of money since the ingredients will last me forever I don't mind doing a little leg work before putting them in the dishwasher. Give it a try!
    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup Borax
    1/2 c Washing Soda
    1/4 cup Citric Acid (found on Amazon or at a local beer brewing supply store) OR 10-15 packets of unsweetened lemon kool-aid
    1/4 cup Kosher Salt
    Mix all together and store in a container. I use an old 32 oz yogurt container. *Note* the ingredients will clump together (even getting extremely hard). The next day after you make it you will need to take a butter knife and chop into it to break it up. It clumps together because of the citric acid.
    I write the ingredients on the container to make it easier to make the next batch. It beats looking through papers and trying to find it next time you need it.
    This is what it looks like after you chop it up. Use 1T in your cycle and put vinegar in the rinse compartment.