Saturday, July 28, 2012

New Recipe: Number 15 ~ Zesty Italian Potatoes

I saw a picture of these Potatoes on Pinterest (no surprise) and decided I needed to try them. It just so happened that I had every thing on hand to make them and so I did.

Cast of Character:
-Red Potatoes
-Italian dressing packet
-Salt & Pepper (to taste)
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-Parmesan Cheese (Garnish)

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Cube the potatoes (leaving the skins on the potatoes). Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and seasoning packet. Place on a baking sheet and pop in the oven for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Garnish with Parmesan and serve.

These turned out great and the family loved them. Super easy and I think pretty fool proof.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Donations: Day 7 ~ Girls Clothing Size 6-10

I have about two kitchen sized trash bags of clothing from purging Kiddo #3's closet.

We got rid of clothing between girls size 6-10 most of it being in the 6-8 size category.

If there is anyone in need, let me know. First dibs to the local blog readers and then it will be sent off to a local charity.

Let me know if you need anything. There is a little of everything in this pile: shirts, pants, shorts, skirts, dresses, sweats, swim suits, leotard, pjs...and much more!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Organizing: Day 8 ~ Purging clothing

The one thing that has been the most difficult about blending a large family is laundry. There is always laundry to be done and we just have far too much! Three preteen/teen girls and of course me equals way too many clothes.

This has to change.

This week we decided to do a room swap. We moved the two youngest girls upstairs to share a room and moved our son downstairs. The big problem with this is the room downstairs is much larger, which was why we had the girls sharing it.

Now, my preteen girls have to share a smaller room with a smaller closet. Though it makes sense to have them upstairs for many reasons, the closet alone made the decision seem rather...well to say is simply: stupid!

We needed a new approach to the closet. After spending time with one of my closest friends, who lives in a house with NO clutter (and I really do mean no clutter), I decided to use some of her suggestions to make this work for me.

She never has more than one week of clothes for her boys but for preteen girls, that's a bit extreme. I thought about it for a while and assessed the space and decided on two weeks of clothes and two weeks of uniforms for school. That essentially equals about one load of laundry for uniforms and just over one load of laundry for other clothes.

Not a small job

Living in Colorado Springs, we have experienced seeing around 400 families that have lost everything to the Waldo Canyon Fire. I think it's a great time to go through what we have, purge and donating the unneeded items to the Fire Victims.

I sat down with kiddo #3 (deciding to take it one kid at a time) and talked through how we were going to do this. She brought all her clothes to the living room and then exclaimed, "I'm a little embarrassed at how much I have." Wow! That's a great way to start purging. I think the fire victims having nothing is in the back of all of our minds.

Huge pile 

This is what we did:
  1. Folded all the clothing into like items piles
  2. Made a list of the items
    • Tank Tops
    • Short Sleeve Shirts
    • Long Sleeve Shirts
    • Shorts
    • Capris
    • Pants
    • Sweats
    • PJs
    • Leggings
    • Hoodies
    • Underwear
    • Socks
    • Dresses
  3. Came up with a reasonable number for each item without looking at the piles, letting her know that no item could exceed 14 (she came up with the number not me...and was really reasonable)
  4. Sorted through all the clothing and only kept the number of items on our list
  5. Filled one laundry basket with the keep items
Donation Pile
Viola! I have a kiddo with only one basket of clothes to keep. She has some laundry to do and will have to purge from the those clothes too, but so far so good. One girl down...two more to go.

One basket of keep items

Side by side keep and donate
Hopefully someday, I'll win the laundry wars by getting what we own to a reasonable amount.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Organizing: Day 7 ~ Pantry part 2

I actually have a really large completely useless kitchen. I have cabinets everywhere but not many of them are very functional. I have an entire wall of home-made cabinets. These may be the dumbest cabinets I have every seen. They are all different sizes but only slightly. The drawers are just stuck in a hole. Because of all of that, some things only fit in the cupboard if I put it in on the left side and twists till it's in half way and then twist it again to get it in the space. Then I have to put other things in front of it in the strange leftover space. I am constantly taking things out to get things out or in the cupboards.

Then there's the pantry. It is also completely dumb. Thanks 1983 for your dumb cupboards that make you think you have lots of space but really you just used an entire wall for a tiny little shelf! Welcome to the world of owning a home 30 years old. For some stupid reason, the 80's came up with really great ways to waste space.

Okay, all the ranting to say that I actually have an entire wall of small cabinets for a pantry. I have to reorganized this space on a regular basis. It seems every time I go to the grocery, there isn't room to put what I just purchased and yet I really don't have anything in the cupboards.

If you remember, a few months ago, cleaning the top cupboards of the pantry is what got this whole blog going. Now I've moved to the bottom (one side of the bottom). I think it looks really great now but then again, my kids haven't touched it yet. I may have to reorganize this space again. I didn't get rid of anything (except the trash the kiddos left behind) but I cleaned and reorganized and I feel good about it!


Feels so much better.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Green/Clean: Day 3 ~ Shaving Cream Cleaner

I hate to even show the pictures on this project...mostly because I'm showing the world my dirty tub. I will say that hubby is a mechanic, so my tub pretty much looks this dirty within days of cleaning it. With that said, I found a cleaner that is WAY cheap and super easy to use. When I told a friend this, she asked if it was the Magic Eraser (by Mr. Clean) and I laughed and said, "No, I said cheap." I know most people may think the Magic Eraser isn't that expensive, but when you have to scrub "Mechanic Slime" off of your tub every week, it's certainly not cheap anymore.

My new saving grace in the bathroom: Shaving Cream.

Okay, I just have to say, this came from a bit of a discussion in the bathroom during a deep clean one night. I was telling hubby it would be nice if there was some sort of bleach foam that would get into all the cracks and crevices that didn't cost an arm and a leg. I was using vinegar and baking soda and was making some headway, but certainly not the kind I needed to make. I'm really on a natural/cheap cleaning supply kick. I've discovered about 1,000 ways to clean with vinegar and/or baking soda and it has been AMAZING. Somehow, this miracle concoction was just not cutting through the slime and oil that hubby brings to my tub every day. I was using all the elbow grease I had and then hubby started to jump in and help and believe me when I say he has far more elbow grease than I and still wasn't making the dent I was wanting.

All of a sudden, in a stroke of genius (not sure if it was hubby or I) but we remembered using shaving cream as a kid on our desks at the end of the year and how much dirt it cleaned off of the desks (that we cleaned most everyday). It was just what we needed to get into all the corners and crevices in the tub.

We sprayed some cheap shaving cream that I think I get for a dollar a can for hubby and used way less elbow grease and produced a sparkly, clean tub!

Dirty Shower...yes, I see that grime.
This was after trying to clean it with vinegar & baking soda.
Shaving Cream

Hubby's Elbow Grease. 

It's certainly not perfect and living with a mechanic I have resigned myself to every having a perfectly white tub again, but it is so much better and made little birdies sing in my head the next morning when I showered...and that is PRICELESS.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Donations: Day 6 ~ American Girl Doll Bed

My donating heart has spread...a mother could never be so pleased.

My eldest daughter has been cleaning her room for the past year. I'm really not exaggerating here. She is a "stuff" kiddo and has a room full of stuff. She is constantly cleaning her room. Every day I walk by and can't imagine how she cleaned her room for hours the day before and needs to clean it again.

On one of her recently hour long cleaning sessions, she decided to let a large item go. She's a teen now, so somethings are just not as important to her anymore. She decided to donate her American Girl Doll bed. I set it out in the living room for a couple a days to see if she still felt that way as time passed. Then about two weeks after we put the bed in the living room, the girls had a friend spend the night and she brought her American Girl doll.

Within hours of the friend being over, my eldest daughter asked if she could give the bed to her friend. My heart swooned. I asked her if she was sure she was ready to give it away. She said yes with a huge smile and said she would rather someone use it and love it then it just sit in her room taking up space. That afternoon when the friend's mom came to get her, I made sure she was okay with this transaction being it isn't a small item. Mom said yes and the friend had a wonderful new bed for her doll.

Life is good. We experienced the joys of giving and letting go and freeing up space and purging and cleaning and I'm SO HAPPY for my daughter. She still has a lot of stuff and still always needs to clean...but one thing is gone. Every little step counts!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Organizing: Day 6 ~ Nail Polish Stash

Having three daughters has created quite a nail polish stash. Years ago, I put up a cute little shelf in their bathroom that had three shelves (one for each). They lined all their nail polished on it and wow was there quite a collection.

Recently I went to paint their nails and discovered a few things about the collection. Some where junky little kid nail polishes that rub off in a few hours and where really too young for my pre-teen and teen girls. Then there were ones that were so old they separated or were so crusty you couldn't get the lids off of them.

We went through each nail polish and cleaned out the old. I think we got rid of about 20 nail polishes. Then we did nails (just another thing to do when you have a kid laid up with a broken leg).

I'm hoping that after all of this, my girls will just throw away the ones that are no longer good as they come to them. We'll see...