I am wife to a magnificent man and mother to five wonderful children. Three of my children were born in the Northwest and two were born thousands of miles away in Liberia, West Africa. Birthplace is no matter, all of my children were born in my heart. This is our journey.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Motivated Monday - Movie Organization

Motivated Monday posts seem to have taken over on the old blog. Never fear, I am working on a basketball post about the twins for tomorrow. I am trying to get this house in order and that takes time, people. Speaking of basketball, time is something I am short on these days. So this week's project was movies. Our movies drive me crazy not to mention the fact that storing them drives me even crazier. With Netflix, keeping them on hand is becoming less necessary.

Storing them on one long shelf was proving to be a horrible waste of space. One long row was nice as it let us glance at all of the movies at one time. But you can see in the picture above that it left the front half of the shelf unable to be used. 

I got rid of some movies that we no longer watch or the kids have grown out of. Don't worry, hon, your favorites are safe.

I was able to get all of the DVD's into one basket and the VHS tapes went in the other with a little overflow, for now. Once I did that I was able to store all of our tie dye supplies as well as my cards basket on the same shelf.

The kids can still easily grab a basket from the shelf and pick something to watch. Not only does this shelf hold movies but also my cards and other supplies. It is now a much better use of the space if I do say so myself.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Motivated Monday: Menu Planning

One way I am working on being more organized this year is with meal planning. I have done it over the years but haven't been very consistent. Not only do you save money by doing it but there is less waste and it's easier to eat healthy.

(Corn cheese chowder)

Basketball is in full swing and with two kids on traveling teams (what were we thinking!) meal planning is a must. I start by looking at my calendar to see if there are evenings where we will be gone or need to eat late/early. Those days get skipped or are going to get crockpot meals so we can eat anytime no matter who is coming and going or when. Instead of coming up with a meal for each evening I come up with up to 14 meals for the next two weeks. This gives us freedom to move things around based on time or in the case of forgetting to get something out of the freezer. Does that ever happen to you?

Here is my list of meals for the next two weeks (13 meals):
Broccoli cheese soup and bread
Beans, cornbread and fried potatoes
Cheese tortellini with pesto and salad
Roasted chicken, potatoes and salad
Porketta roast, creamed peas and salad
Homemade pizza
Crockpot chicken enchilada dip
Soup and grilled cheese
Corn cheese chowder
Hamburgers and home fries
Grilled chicken salad
Spaghetti, garlic bread and salad

There aren't really any make-ahead meals on this list, something I need to work on for the next 2 week stretch. The more I make ahead of time, the better. Delish!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cozy happenings

We have wanted to put a woodstove into this house since we purchased it almost five years ago.

There used to be one in the house before previous owners put a new roof on and removed it.

We have been buying pieces of pipe one paycheck at a time and finally got everything into place this week.

In anticipation of the stove being installed my parents bought us this great tool/wood holder for Christmas. We probably loaded it with more wood than is intended but we were pretty excited.

I can see many cozy nights ahead for us sitting by the fire. The lower energy bills won't hurt either.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

So it's Tuesday...

I intended to have a Motivated Monday post up yesterday but I was actually getting motivated on Monday. This is the area outside the storage room in our garage. Disgraceful I tell ya. This is the area we keep extra homeschool materials, where the kids work on the computer and where we keep our freezer. Over the holidays it became embarrassing with less checking by me to make sure things made it to their proper homes. Then once I did check, well, let's say I just chose to pretend it didn't exist.

We decided to take advantage of the holiday and get things back in order. Nothing fancy, just basic organization. Do you love the beautiful blanket as a curtain? Nothing but the best around here. The kids actually hung that to combat glare on the computer screen.

We removed all of the cardboard from our many Christmas Amazon.com purchases, moved in a stacking shelf organizer from another room and just generally cleaned up. (Just igore the white splatter on the floor, that was from the Great Spraycan Incident of 2010.)

I put my less than enthused to be cleaning 12 year old son on the task of hanging up our chalkboard. We have had it for over a year but have never had it hung before. The kids all love to go out here and draw but now it is much easier to use. He did a great job and I'm pretty sure he was walking a little bit taller when he was done.

All in all I would say this job was a success. It only took a few hours and I can breathe easier. It is nice to get into the freezer out there without kicking things out of the way. Ahhh, the little things.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I love new appliances

We purchased the protection agreement when we bought our front loader set almost five years ago. With seven people in our house we put more miles on our appliances than the average Joe so it seemed to make sense. Well, technology has come a long ways in five years. We have had our front loading washer serviced 6 times in the last two years so the company replaced ours under our agreement under the "no lemon" clause. The main problem we were having, stuff getting into the water pump, has been resolved with the newer machines.

The new machine arrived last week. Ten percent bigger inside with so many options I am still learning how to use it. But all said and done I love it, really love it. It looks like we are going to need to raise that folding counter frame and my dryer looks a little small now, hmmm...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Motivated Monday - Stockpiling

Stockpiling is a hot topic right now. There have been some extreme couponers highlighted on TV but that's not the kind of stockpiling I am talking about. I am referring to a 2-3 month stockpile of things we use regularly.

(items on wood shelf total about $25 total after coupons and deals)
I like to have enough of certain items on hand to make a small store. There are several reasons for doing this. Life can be very unpredictable. Having a small stockpile of items that I have spent very little on helps during those times when there are unexpexted expenses or the added expense of the holidays. We just shop more from our small store that month and shift the food budget to more pressing items.

 (green beans and tomato sauce from our 2010 garden)

Another reason I love to have my stockpile is for illnesses. When one of us comes down with something the last thing I want to do is pack everyone up to go get supplies. The sick person appreciates this the most. It isn't pictured here but I also have a small stockpile of medicines, the last thing my budget needs is me running out to pay $6 for a fast acting fever reducer for the febrile seizure guy in our house. Not to mention by the time I got to the store it would be too late to give it to him.

In the picture above you can see my toiletry closet. As you can see I don't have a 100 year supply of deoderant. What I do have is enough body wash (almost free), toothpaste (free) and shampoo (virtually free) to last us a couple months. When we are getting low I look for really good deals to fill back in what we have used. Nothing kills a budget more than last minute dashes to the store for an item you have run out of. Not to mention how difficult it is to leave the store with only the item you went for. So, how do I build a stockpile without breaking the bank? I am so glad you asked. The main way I have done this is by making use of the register reward program at Walgreens, at least where toiletries and medicines are concerned. (See below for the websites I use for deals. I don't have the time to figure it all out myself.)

In this picture above I spent just over $10 but saved just over $58. For sure there are some items here that I wouldn't normally buy full price but for this little they are worth putting away. I generally am able to share with people in our extended family if there isn't something we will use. If I don't know someone who can use it then I won't get it. If you are interested in finding our more about saving check out the websites below that I read for seaking out deals. These gals post great deals for families and encourage integrity in couponing as well as debt free living so I recommend them.

I try to use websites that are written in my region. The deal match-ups are more accurate that way. These gals also encourage debt free living and that is very important to me. Purchasing great deals on credit kind of defeats the purpose of a good deal, don't you think? For more information on how to use coupons, find great deals and how to use register rewards at Walgreens:

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 - Getting it done and Motivated Monday.

The last couple of years, in one way or another, have had us functioning a bit in crisis mode. I think it is safe to say that I was not sad to say goodbye to 2010. We have some goals set for 2011 and I for one am really excited to devote some time to getting organized and meeting those goals. We are entering into a new season and will be opening up our home a lot more this year. I do not want to spend more time than necessary getting it ready every week.

Our garage has always been a pit of leftover items that we have no idea what to do with as well as boxes of things that need to be sorted. This past year we were able to get rid of most of the boxes making room for actual organization. Yay us!

I plan to have a weekly posts detailing different projects. I am hoping it will keep me motivated as well as give some ideas for inexpensive ways to keep track of what you have. Also, I plan to share pictures of my stockpiling and why I coupon. Thus Motivated Monday was born. Is that catchy?

Have you seen the show Hoarders? Oh my does that ever make me want to get rid of everything! So stay tuned for more posts of us getting our house in order.