Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cut the Clutter


I originally wrote this on February 20, 2008 on my personal blog, it is a cute story that illustrates that we hang onto items that we think should be valuable and we sacrafice time and space to keep these useless items :)  




One of my favorite topics to discuss is home organization. This week I went to the website of a woman who is a professional organizer. The title on the top of her website read, “Get Organized Once and For All.” I couldn’t help but laugh! “Once and for all,” if only it were that easy—do it once and you are done! This woman obviously doesn’t have elementary age children that come home from school with a back pack full of papers every afternoon. What about the preschooler who colors hundreds pictures and insists on keeping each “work of art.” I won’t even mention the things that we accumulate on Birthdays and Holidays! Needless to say organization for me is a daily battle. Perhaps that is why I enjoy learning and talking about it because it is something I focus on every day.


My years of marriage and motherhood have taught me the need to be organized and I believe organization starts by cutting out the clutter.  I must say that Justin has been very patient in my process of learning! Perhaps a story will illustrate his patients.


The Saga of the Blue Dishes

When we were married I accumulated a set of blue and white dishes that my mom, and sisters and I had found while living in Richmond, VA. There was a complete 12 place setting including everything from cups, saucers to matching serving bowls. With all the dishes wrapped and packed into boxes it took up a lot of space! Nevertheless, I love formal dinners and knew that I should haul the many boxes of blue dishes all the way to Ohio to keep in our first apartment. (I really should mention that I don’t like blue, I am a green person. I had the dishes because they were a great opportunity and not because I was in love with them. They were sentimental because they were from Virginia.) Imagine our tiny little two bedroom apartment cramped for space and I have Justin moving box after box of blue dishes into the only large closet in the house. . . .and then they sat. We didn’t even use them one time in that house, or the next, or the next, or the next, or the next. Yes, it took 5 moves and 5 years of marriage for me to come to my senses! I finally gave them to my mom who has 12 people to serve and enough room to keep them. The moral of the story is that those blue dishes took our time and space. The result of less stuff is freed-up space, less stress, and more energy for living a happier, richer life every day.

Oh, so many lesson can be learned from that one simple story about storing too much.  

Emotionally I think we save so many things because they "should be valuable" or "have so many memories" or "we love the person that gave it."  At some point we need to realize we can still keep our memories and loose the junk!  

I believe that this lesson also applies to many objects that take our time and space.  I am an art person, I spent hours drawing and coloring as a child.  Now I love to see what our kids create, but I have also learned that most of the value is in the learning and doing.  Throwing a picture away doesn't mean that it isn't amazing, we get to keep to knowledge we learned from creating the picture and the joy from accomplishing it.  I love to take pictures of my kids artwork.  Each child has a file on our computer of pictures and projects that they have done.  I also keep the very best works of art.  With less stuff there is more room to create.  

I think we all need to look through our houses and find our own, "blue dishes!"





Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Making a Meal Plan

Written Oct. 2014
The fact of the matter is. . . 

We love to eat!  
We need to eat!  
We will eat. . .

so as mothers we need to face the facts and focus on food!  Feeding our families can be such a blessing in so many ways.

It is a wonderful opportunity to bring us together.  It is a time for bonding and a time to strengthen relationships by spending time together.  I am convinced that if we, as mothers, will focus a little more on dinnertime our families will be blessed in many ways.  I know we eat so much healthier and feel better when I follow a menu plan and I am prepared.  

Today is my grocery shopping day, so I decided to tell you exactly how I plan for a great week of food.   The first thing I do is evaluate what I already have in the pantry and see what we have an abundance of and what we need to stock up on.  

We are blessed to have very large pantry so the below picture is just a portion of it.  I am not a big snack person and have been accused of being a "mean mom" because I don't buy fruit snacks, twinkies, and donuts.  I try to stick to healthy whole foods.  Like everyone else, I am busy, so I find meals that are delicious with minimal prep work.  


After going through the pantry I look at the list of things that I have written on my grocery shopping list  that I keep on my phone (in Evernote).  

Then I take a look at my calendar because if I plan a meal that takes a long time to prepare on a day that  I am extremely busy, it just isn't going to end up happening!  Here is what are evenings look like this week:

Wednesday:  Church Activities

Thursday:  Music Concert and Soccer Game (we divide the kids and each go a different way)

Friday: School Trunk or Treat

Saturday: High Priest Party (Adult Church Party)

Sunday: Nothing :)

Monday:  Family Home Evening

Tuesday: Relief Society

Wednesday:  Church Activities

Since we have something almost every evening this week, I am going to plan a lot of crock-pot meals that I can prepare in the morning so that they will be ready to go in the evening.  This will also help so that there is less to clean up when we are running out the door to our activities.  

For breakfast I make a smoothie almost every morning.  I buy a huge container of spinach then divide it into ziplock bags when I get home from the store and freeze the bags.  Each morning I put frozen fruit, a banana, spinach, (and whatever else I want) in the blender with almond milk (we have 2 non dairy kids)  and we have a smoothie along with:

boiled eggs, granola, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, cereal

or if it is a weekend we make our favorite whole wheat pancakes.  

Lunch:

I try to make the kid's lunches about 4 times each week and they usually have hot lunch 1 or 2 times per week.  

Here is the plan I have come up with for this week.  I often hear people say, "I don't meal plan, because I might not feel like making that on a certain night."  I recieved wonderful advice from a friend over 10 years ago who recommended: "Just Do It."  Just get in the habit of making a plan and sticking to it.  Once you get in the kitchen and start the hard part is over.  I took her advice and it has blessed our family for over the past decade!  




Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Family Room Now

 BEFORE:


AFTER:






I will be posting about the design process and sources soon. . .

Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick-or-Treat

Kit Kitteridge (An American Girl)
 Old Man

 Elsa
 Ohio State Football Player and his Cheerleader


 Ohio State Football player without his helmet.
 It turned out to be a cold night!


 Neighbor Friends

Family Room "After" Pictures

I love how it turned out!  Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of how the family room looks now.  





Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Family Room: Before Pictures

Here are the "Before" pictures of our family room.  It is nice, but it felt very brown.  I wanted to lighten and brighten the room without buying new furniture.  Tomorrow I will show you the after pictures!  





* Just for fun:  Have you ever wanted your house to look like the photos that you see in Magazines?  I love this post by Emily A. Clark.  She shows the behind the scenes photos of taking pretty pictures for magazines. . . maybe everything isn't as perfect as the pictures :)  Emily has a beautiful house, I love that she shared her experience!  


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