Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day Twenty-eight: Fridge

Today I worked in the fridge. Why? Because I can be an anal nut who likes things to be organized. My house doesn't always reflect that, but if you look closely, you can see it. All the bottles in the shower, in the medicine cabinet, my hair products, my baking essentials, they are all facing a certain way, in a certain spot. Yes, I am that bad.

So about once a month or so, we do a big clean up in the fridge and place everything. And that is what I did today. It was semi difficult since the fridge is full right now, but it's done.

And I love it.

All I did was work my way down from the top shelf, cleaning, moving things around, throwing things out. Easy peasy, took maybe 10 minutes and made me happy.

Yes, having everything in it's place really makes me happy.  I'm that weird.

This is day 28 of a 31 day challenge. Read it all here.

Tips and tricks Tuesday

Today's tip is a super easy one for the kitchen.

I don't know about you, but every time a recipe calls for sautéing chicken or beef strips, I cringe. I'm always worried about not cooking enough and dying of salmonella or over cooking and the meat being tough. Until now. Ready for this?

Cook it under the broiler.

Yep, that's right. Turn on your oven's broiler to high. Spread the strips on a baking sheet lined with foil (for easy cleanup). Cook under the broiler for 10-15 mins (or until cooked through), turning once. The time does vary depending on the thickness and size of the strips.

And you are done.

I love this method since all the meat cooks evenly, there is no more guessing. It also allows me to devote my full attention to other parts of the meal. And don't worry, it doesn't burn easily, I left some in for 25 minutes with no problem.

Try it, you'll love it.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Play Time is Such Fun

I won't be doing a challenge post tonight either since I'll be working feverishly to finish K's Halloween costume, but I wanted to write a little post about our day since I haven't done one in a while.

K woke up later than usual this morning (7:45!!!) and after our obligatory cuddle time we had breakfast. He didn't eat very much this morning so off we went to play with his toys for a bit before nap time. (Nap time = mommy's shower time!)

Once he was up it was time for lunch and boy did he eat! He had half a pancake, a baby piece of pizza and a an arrowroot cookie. When he was done we headed off to a friend's house for a play date! It was so nice to watch him play and interact with a baby who is his age (she is one day older). And it was definitely nice to talk to an adult, especially one as down to earth as this mama!

When we got back home, I managed to get Kaleb to nap while I cooked supper. Tonight we had Mongolian Beef, Stir-fried Broccoli, and Rice. It was my first time making the beef and oh my was it good. I was worried about the steak being tough, but it turned out so tender, we'll definitely be having it again. Even Kaleb liked everything.

Now it's bedtime for my little man, and once he's out, I'll be deep in felt and glue!

So there you have it, our big day!

Day Twenty-seven: Just Another Manic Sunday

I have nothing to post for Saturday, so I'll just skip it and make up later this week.

Yesterday we continued on the cleaning theme, but there was also some de-cluttering going on too. Think about it, in order to clean your house, you need to pick up all the crap that is laying around = de-cluttering.

And that is exactly what we did.

J worked mainly in the dinning room and kitchen. Paper had begun to accumulate on the table, dishes and random things on the counters. He put the Halloween candy in a bowl rather than leaving it in the box in the bag. He put new pantry items in their respective mason jars then brought the surplus downstairs to the cold room, along with surplus groceries. He washed and dried dishes, and most importantly, cooked some bacon for brunch!

Meanwhile, I picked up dog and baby toys in the living room, put the clean laundry away, picked up the miscellaneous papers and whatnot that had accumulated on the coffee table and vacuumed. It really is amazing how much dust and dog hair gets well, everywhere!!

I also moved the surround sound's subwoofer to behind the tv, and found a bunch more dust and dog hair. It's like a little surprise waiting for you under every crack and crevice. The dust bunnies taunts me. How? The moment I come back from putting the vacuum away, a bunny floats by, taunting.

I'm not crazy, I promise.

Anyway, our house is almost spotless again.

Want to read from the beginning? Click here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Day Twenty-six: Deep Cleaning the Bathroom

So here's the deal, I haven't had time to do any de-cluttering projects since last week since I've been deep in sewing Kaleb's Halloween costume and have been living life and enjoying time spent with my husband and baby (who's quickly turning into a toddler!)

However as I've mentioned before, I truly believe that a Clutter-free house is also a clean and organized house. This post will be centered more around that then de-cluttering (in case you haven't guessed yet.)

Last weekend we ended up really cleaning the bathroom. Don't get me wrong, we vacuum and wipe down surfaces in there once a week, but dust and hair always manages to get left behind. Between the dogs and well, my shedding, and the humidity and hairspray, it leave us with hair stuck to EVERYTHING.

So after an initial vacuum and using my new fancy cleaning wand, J pulled out a bristled dish cleaning wand and bucket and went to town cleaning along the baseboards, sink, toilet and every other possible crevice. It was a relatively quick job, but oh my did it make a huge difference.

We're hoping to all the baseboards in the house, but first we've got other projects to complete.

Friday, October 26, 2012

This week's menu

Here it is... this week's menu!

This week I'm looking forward to trying out the Roasted Chicken Legs for the first time as well as the Mongolian Beef. Randi at Sowdering About in Seattle had rave reviews a couple weeks back, so I'm sure it'll be good. 

Saturday: Local beef sausage and rice (this was suppose to be on last week's menu, but we had chinese instead, oops!)

Sunday: Roasted Chicken Legs with Smashed Potatoes

Monday: Mongolian Beef, Broccoli Stir Fry and Basmatti Rice

Tuesday: Taco Salad (Lettuce, Beef in Taco Seasoning, crushed baked Tostitos, sour cream, salsa and cheese)

Wednesday: Chicken and Rice Crockpot Goulash (Cook chicken on low in a cream soup and herbs, add rice and vegetables about 2 hours before time to eat)

Thursday: Pork chops with a Bok Choy

Friday: Homemade Tacos stuffed with Chimichurri Steak, Chicken and Mango & Avocado Salsa.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day Twenty-five: Sweatshirts

My superhero husband was at it again. Over supper we were talking about what little project I could do since neither of us were up to anything big. We are both very tired today, like exhausted tired. Why? Well you see we had ginormous thunder storms starting at 4 a.m. this morning, which means our 40 pound Lab Bella was shaking on top of our heads, which as it turns out, makes sleeping rather difficult.

Anyway, we decided that the pile of sweatshirts in our closet would be perfect. After I put Kaleb to sleep, I go into our room only to find that my super duper awesome hubby was finishing up the sweatshirts AND had made the bed (Bella also peed in bed during her shaking - yes, my life is that awesome).

So now, not only do we have a clutter-free closet, we have a clean smelling nicely made bed and I have a post for Day 25. Winning!

Day Twenty-four: Sewing

Let me just start off by saying that today (well yesterday) I didn't do a de-cluttering project per se. It's Wednesday. I'm busy Wednesdays. I did however work on Kaleb's halloween costume and I'm going to count that as de-cluttering. How? Well, the supplies were laying on my sewing table and I had to pick up and work with those supplies. So now my sewing table is clutter-free. 

I'm not going to elaborate any more than that; I don't want to give any hints on what my little boy is going to be! You'll just have to come back and find out. 

The end (of the worlds shortest post.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Exciting Day

Today is suppose to be Wordless Wednesday, but I had a very exciting day (and already have an idea or two for what I'm going to post tomorrow) sooo long story short: Bonus post!

Showing off his new wool!
As I said, I had a very exciting day today. First I (umm, Kaleb) received some new diapers and our very first wool, a pair of shorties! Now I know you are probably wondering what is so exciting about wool, but there is lots: it's waterproof, anti-bacterial, breathable, and cute, just to name a few. Don't worry, I'll have a post devoted to wool in my Cloth Diaper series, it'll just be in a couple weeks.

Next up, Kaleb and I went to Babies Club at our local Early Years Center where he got to play with some adorable babies and mama got some adult talk time in. That talk turned into questions about Cloth Diapering which turned into me doing a mini presentation type thing in 2 weeks!!! Eeek!!! I am sooo excited for this. There is nothing I enjoy more than talking cloth (in case you can't notice) and even more so, showing how wonderful cloth diapering is to newbies! 

Later that afternoon Kaleb and I went to his swimming class. Our little frog sure does love to swim and is getting better and better at it. He gets so excited when we get to the pool!

After an awesome supper, I went on Facebook to find out that Randi over at Sowdering About in Seattle mentioned me in one of her posts! I know this doesn't seem like a big deal, but this is my first time being mentioned and I am over the moon excited. Then I find out that Kylara over at Homemaker Haven has nominated me for a Liebster Award. How cool is that?! 

In summary, today was an EXCITING day! (You know just in case you didn't notice how many times I used that word in this post.)

Hope you had yourself a fabulous Wednesday too!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tips and Tricks Tuesday

Welcome to Tips and Tricks Tuesday, where I'll share household tips and/or tricks that I think are quite fantabulous! 

I'm going to start with one I discovered this weekend: non-chemical bathroom cleaner that actually works. It's super simple and super cheap too.

Blue Dawn and Vinegar.

Here's what I did:

First: I bought one of those dish washing sponges attached to a wand that you fill with soap. You can find them at the dollar store, but since I don't have one, I spent $3 at Walmart.

Second: Warm up a little bit of vinegar and half fill the wand with the vinegar

Third: Finish filling the wand with Blue Dawn dish soap. This is really important. It has to be Original Blue Dawn. Apparently it is the only one with the magical cleaning properties.

Lastly: Gently shake to combine then you are ready to start scrubbing.

This works amazingly on soap scum and general dirtiness. I even did our previously white shower curtain with it, and guess what, our curtain is white again. I did have to scrub it twice, but no biggie considering nothing else has ever worked.  This stuff seriously blew my mind!

I left the wand in the shower so that every few days I can quickly rub down the shower and curtain. 

Alternatively, you can use a spray bottle and use it the old fashion way - with a sponge. But this is just sooo much simpler.

Try it, you'll love it.

The magic wand hanging out in it's new home.

Note: I originally saw this on a website or on Pinterest or something. I don't know, I can't find it. If I ever do, I'll link it back. 
Also, Blue Dawn did not pay or endorse or black mail me into saying these things. :) 

Update: Found it thanks to Randi over at Sowdering About. Check out her testimonial.

Day Twenty-three: Hallway

Every time we clean in this house, two things happen: stuff gets put away upstairs or things get piled in the hallway destined for the basement. 

We don't go downstairs often, and when we do, it's like going into a dungeon. Well not really, but it is cold and damp. Plus we don't have much down there besides random crap that we don't really use. So stuff accumulates.

There were only a couple boxes, but clutter is clutter and I wanted to get rid of it. There was a box filled with bathroom products and other things from the trailer, a laundry basket filled with who knows what and a box of things from my de-cluttering work. 

And my awesome superhero husband cleaned it all while I was putting Kaleb to bed. I seriously love that man. Think I can convince him to do the last eight days?

Monday, October 22, 2012

He speaks!

It has happened! My baby boy has spoken his first word: mama!

In case you can't tell, I am extremely excited by this. The word has no meaning for him at the moment, it's just baby babble. But still. Hearing him say an actual word is so exciting.

He has such a nice, gentle "voice". He didn't yell or scream, he just kept repeating mamamamama in a soft manner. All day long. 

Which obviously means my kid is a genius. We've already got his Harvard application and everything :)

But seriously, today was one of the best days ever. 


Day Twenty-two: Kaleb's Closet

Today I did unintentional de-cluttering. I just happened to clean out all the clothes that don't fit Kaleb anymore. How is that unintentional you ask? Well when I did it, I wasn't thinking "hey this is a good de-cluttering project". I just did it, I had a calm baby and took advantage. It's a good thing too, since I had a baby who was wide awake and partying until 10:00 p.m., meaning I didn't have the time, nor the desire, to do a project tonight.

We are very blessed, most of Kaleb's clothes were purchased by family members. Which also means he has a lot of clothes. Like an entire closet full of just shirts. What doesn't help either is he was a tiny baby, meaning he wore the same sizes for a looonnnggg time. Example: currently he's wearing mostly 9 months with a mixture of 6 months, 6-12 months and 12 months. I think there's even a couple 3 months shirts. It's crazy, in a good way though. 

Today I cleaned out mostly 3-6 and 6 months. Some may possibly fit him if we try, especially the onesies since I have extenders now. But we're tired of seeing him in onesies. That is all he wore for basically 7 months and we're over it. We like to dress him in "little person" clothes, as in: jeans and t-shirt.

Long story short: I've got a plastic container full of clothes destined for the basement.

Want to read more? Check out the entire series here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day Twenty-one: Little Closet of Horrors, Final chapter

We did it. We finally finished cleaning the hallway closet. And man does it look great. As mentioned in part one and two, we've been working hard on getting that thing cleaned and organized.

Today we worked on the worst shelf. The one that contains excess hair, face, beauty products, soaps, shampoos and tooth brushes. If it has something to do with the bathroom, it's in there.

Again we did a huge purge, threw out a bunch of stuff and organized what was left. 

As an added bonus, we also organized under the bathroom sink. There wasn't much to do there, it was more of a tidying up and baby proofing.

There are only a couple more projects left for the upstairs and our house will be completely organized and clutter-free. This makes me extremely happy.

Want to read the rest of the series? Check it out here.

Day Twenty: Little Closet of Horrors, part 2

J and I worked in the hallway closet today. What a mess. And we aren't even done. It's kind of depressing actually. Why do I let stuff accumulate?

Today we worked on the top shelf, the dog shelf and the floor. 

Did I mention it was depressing? We threw out all sorts of stuff. Stuff we didn't know we had, stuff that expired long ago, stuff we just didn't want. We threw out 2 cases of pop and a couple bottles. All expired 2 years ago.

What the closet really needed though is organization. Like most of our house. And it got it. Only one more shelf to go - the worst one. We saved it for tomorrow. Yay.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This week's menu

Here is this weeks menu. I am really looking forward to the fried chicken. We bought a whole chicken and cut the pieces up ourselves and the pictures look delicious!

Saturday: We attended the Harvest Dinner

Sunday: Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Mashed Cauliflower, Nappa Cabbage Salad and Buttermilk Biscuits

Monday: Lazy Cabbage Roll Casserole

Tuesday: Salmon with Basmatti rice

Wednesday: Pork chops  with potatoes

Thursday: Local Beef Sausage with parsnips and carrots

Friday: Homemade Pizza 

For most of the recipes, I always read what the reviewers say and alter the recipes accordingly.  

Day Nineteen: Epic Fail

Today was an epic fail. At least as far as project clutter-free home is concerned anyway. Go ahead and judge. I doesn't bother me, I still got plenty done. 

Kaleb and I got some awesome cuddle time early this morning, then played with his toys after breakfast. After lunch and a nap we headed out to run some errands. We played some more then I cooked supper for J and my brother (homemade pizza - yumm!!)

All in all, it was a great day. I didn't de-clutter, but my boy and I spent quality time. That is all that truly matters.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day Eighteen: Little Closet of Horrors

We have an amazingly well placed closet in our hallway. It is perfect for storing our bath towels, excess hair products, cleaning supplies, dog stuff, liquor and random crap.  It is perfect for storing clutter. It is one of the big projects I have been putting off. Until today.

I'm telling you now though, it will be a multiday project. Today my baby went to sleep at 9:45, so I did towels, and I'm trying something new. I'm rolling my towels. I'm usually the fold in 3 type, but I am going to try rolling now. I'll let you know how it goes. Exciting stuff, yes?

Tomorrow, I'll tackle the rest - the truly cluttered shelves. 

Photographic evidence.

Check out the entire series here.

Day Seventeen: The Little Things

Sometimes it's the little things that count. They count quite a bit actually. Today was a little things type of day (well yesterday). As mentioned before, Wednesdays are busy in this house. We have babies club, swimming lessons and life in general. We run on Wednesdays. There is no time for big projects on Wednesdays. I love Wednesdays even though I'm exhausted by the time Thursday rolls around.

With all that busyness, I still got some de-cluttering/cleaning done yesterday (the little things). I cleaned up in the kitchen, put papers and art supplies away from the table, brought things downstairs, cleaned up in the living room, bedrooms and bathrooms. Nothing remarkable, but my house is clean and still clutter free(ish).

It's the little things.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cloth Diapering Myths

In case I didn't have you convinced how awesome cloth diapering is with my first post, I'll now address some myths, which I'm sure will help seal the deal!

You're always doing laundry. We do diaper laundry twice a week. Twice. Folding and putting them away isn't hard, it is actually quicker and more enjoyable than folding socks. The process itself isn't complicated either. We dump solids in the toilet (no swishing necessary), throw the diaper in our lined diaper pail, and twice a week, dump everything including the liner in the machine. Oh, and F.Y.I., you should be dumping solids in the toilet with disposables too.

The obligatory cute baby in
a cloth diaper picture.
Disposables are better for the environment. People say this because of the water and electricity you use to wash, but this is a big myth. Think about the energy, wood, oil, water, electricity and CHEMICALS it takes to manufacture and distribute disposables. Also, it takes anywhere from 100-500 years for them to disintegrate in a landfill. Think about all the gunk leaching into the soil.

The baby is always wet. Most cloth diapers have a "stay-dry layer" against the skin. Which is a fancy term for material that wicks away moisture without drying out baby's skin like disposables do.  Sure, he feels a bit of dampness, but I'd rather that then some chemical I can't even pronounce rubbing up against his tush. Plus, it'll help to potty train him a lot quicker.

You need to change diapers more often. Most parents do not change their babies' diapers often enough because of the chemicals that are made to make the disposable diaper feel dry. Changing a diaper 4-5 times a day is not adequate, it is recommended to do so a lot more frequently. It helps prevent diaper rashes, especially with disposables.

Diaper pails, and in turn your house, smell. This is absolutely not true. One of the first things I noticed when switching to cloth was the lack of smell. Well obviously there is a smell when he poops, but it is nothing compared to the smell when he was in disposables. I suppose that is why the Diaper Genie was invented.

You have to use pins and rubber pants. This is true, for cloth diapering 20 years ago. Cloth diapers have come a long way since then, even in the last 5 years. If you can put on a disposable, you can put on a cloth diaper. If you are really nostalgic, you can get diapers that require pins, but in reality, everyone uses rubber gripper things called Snappis (if you choose a diaper style that needs them that is).

Cloth diapers give babies diaper rash. The percentage of diaper rashes in 1991 was 78%, however in the 1950's, before the invention of disposables, it was 7.1%. Cloth diapers allow your babies skin to breathe and don't have any harsh chemicals rubbing up against baby's skin. Enough said.

After factoring washing costs, cloth is more expensive. As I said in my first post, my great stash cost $500. The average family spends just over $2000 on disposables in 2.5 years, heck, we were right on track with that, spending $200 in 3 months. Even with a washing machine from 1952, it does not cost $1500 to do two loads of laundry per week for 2 years (cloth babies potty train sooner).

Cloth diapers are too bulky. Depending on what type of cloth diaper you choose, there actually isn't much difference. As I said before, cloth diapers have changed a great deal, they are now made with not just cotton, but also materials like bamboo and hemp, which naturally absorb crazy amounts.

Bottom line: cloth diapers are easy. Don't be intimidated! Get your hands on a couple, you'll be amazed.

Next up: Exploring different types of diapers.  

Day Sixteen: Bathroom

Today I concentrated on the bathroom, which means I was able to find another small job. Oops. It needed to be done though. There was old, expired medications and coupons among other things. Yes, coupons in the bathroom. I can't even explain that one. 

After checking the dates on everything and chucking what was super duper old, I re-organized the medicine cabinet. I then moved on to the cabinet above the toilet, where I keep all my hair and facial products. It was just a matter of tidying up and giving the shelves a good scrub.

It was another small, but much needed project. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day Fifteen: Bedroom

Today we tidied up our bedroom. It wasn't a huge job since we did a big clean up a month or so ago. There wasn't even clothes laying around since we just did laundry yesterday! We did however concentrate on the bedside tables and our dressers. 

As usual, it was just random stuff cluttering up our lives, oh and dust. There is always dust.

I'm really going have to start the big projects though, this must be boring for you to read everyday!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Days Thirteen and Fourteen

I've come to realize there are not enough hours in a day and much less the weekend. My plan for the weekend was to begin some of the bigger de-cluttering projects. I never even got close. I did however spend quality time with my husband and child, and to me that is way more important. Don't get me wrong, we did a lot of small things, probably insignificant to outsiders, but a good thing in this house.

Our "helper"
Here is some things we did accomplish: dust the living room, organize the garage for winter, pick up dog poop in back yard, put away all groceries and shopping, clean kitchen (twice) after (two) full days of baking and cooking, bake cookies and muffins, carve pumpkins (and clean mess), do 3 loads of laundry (and put all clothes away), went swimming and most importantly, put Kaleb in a pumpkin.

Was there a de-cluttering project? No. Did we continue on this path of keeping our house clean? Yes.

I'm going to call this weekend a win.

Pumpkin baby.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Menu Planning 101

In an effort to save money and not have the usual "What's for dinner?" debate at 5:00 p.m., we've begun menu planning. Why did I not make a greater effort to do this sooner?! We save so much money, both in our pocket and in what doesn't end up in the garbage. It's also nice to be able to look at the wall and just make supper, with ingredients that we actually have in the house.

Here's how we do it:
Every Friday night we sit down and go through the flyer. (Yes, the flyer, we only have one grocery store!) We decide on what meats we are going to buy based on what's on sale and what we have in the freezer. When club packs come on sale, we buy them, divide, package up with the Food Saver and freeze.

Once we have meats figured out, we match up side dishes and vegetables. Super duper simple.

On Saturday mornings, we head out to the Farmer's Market and pick up as many vegetables and fruits off our list that is available. Then we head to the bakery for some fresh bread followed by the grocery store.  It is one of my favourite parts of the week.

Here's this week's menu:
Saturday: Tacos with homemade tortillas, Mango & Avocado Salsa, left over pork tenderloin, Southwestern Chicken and Crab Legs.

Sunday: Shepherd's Pie

Monday: Chicken Thighs (or this recipe) and Fries

Tuesday: Salmon and Basmatti Rice

Wednesday: Spaghetti

Thursday: Local Beef Sausage and Rice

Friday: Pizza with homemade dough

Day Twelve: Kitchen Counter, Again

Yes, the kitchen counter has made a reappearance just over a week later. It wasn't a big job obviously since it was just done and it was actually J that did most of the decluttering.

See, we are a family who uses the kitchen. A lot. We have a homemade supper almost every night. This sometimes creates dishes that can not go in the dishwasher. Here lies the problem. I don't do dishes. I cook, I clean, I vacuum, I do laundry, but I don't do dishes. Now before you get your panties in a bunch for my poor hubby, you should know that he knew this about me before we lived together, before we were engaged, before we got married, before we had a kid. J does the dishes and loves me regardless.

Since we are making an effort to make our suppers from scratch and use less processed food, we are creating more dishes that normal. J doesn't always have time to do dishes every night (and it all doesn't fit in the dishwasher) so they accumulate.

Until today. J did the dishes and I helped. I even made Kaleb some music makers with old water bottles and rice. Oh, and our kitchen is clean and clutter free again. :)

Day Eleven: Shoes

My husband has a lot of shoes. They are everywhere. So I took some time today to put away the summer ones and pull out the fall ones. At the same time I tidied up all the shoes in the closet. This means the closet is really starting to look less cluttered. All I have left is the top.

It was another quick project, which means I'm starting to run out of them and I'm going to have to tackle the big ones soon :(

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Since Wednesdays are always crazy in this house, I thought I would follow suit of some other blogs and have Wordless Wednesdays. So here it is:

Day Ten: Kitchen Table

As I mentioned on Day Two, the shelf and the kitchen table are constantly accumulating clutter. Tonight, I tackled the table. It actually wasn't that bad since we eat at the table every night now. Just a couple papers, some cough syrup, Spitz, my old wallet, some flyers, couple boxes of Halloween candy and an empty decorative bowl.

It was just a matter of taking the time to put things away. Story of my life.

The painting supplies get to stay as that is a work in project. So does my box and paperwork for the bloodwork that I was suppose to go do 2 months ago, maybe I'll get around to it next week.

Anyway, here's the after pic:

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Day Nine: Winter Stuff

Today's project was a much needed one: organize all the winter toques, scarves and mitts. First I pulled everything off the shelf and out of the baskets. The stuff was already in the baskets just in a very disorganized way, especially considering I dumped them out this summer so I could use them in the camper!

Next I organized them simply: toques, scarves and neck warmers, and mittens. I also pulled out any items that we haven't used in the last couple years. I then chose which basket would contain what category. 

It was a very simple project, but the whole point of this challenge is to make my home clutter-free (and organized). This was accomplished.


Want to know what I'm talking about? Check it out here.

Thanksgiving weekend

Checking out this year's first snow
before we leave.
Thanksgiving weekend has come and gone, which makes me sad. Don't get me wrong we had a wonderful weekend but it was just too quick.

We headed back home bright and early Saturday morning, after going to market and picking up my brother. Turns out traveling in the morning with Kaleb is possibly the best idea we've ever had. In general, mornings for Kaleb are uneventful. He wakes up, has breakfast, plays, sleeps then plays some more before lunch.  Granted we had to wake him up a little earlier then he's used to but he made up for it with sleeping most of the way down. He even got some play time with his uncle on our three hour trip.

Showing off his new toque!

We spent Saturday afternoon visiting with my mom. We got the turkey going in the oven, did a little winter clothes shopping for Kaleb, and she got some quality time in with her favourite grandson. After supper and his bath, we headed to J's parents for the rest of the weekend.

At my in-laws', it was their turn to spend time with Kaleb. We also got a turkey supper going as J's grandmother, aunt and uncle would be joining us. K had a blast playing with his grandparents and with his great-aunt and great-grandmother. After an exhausting day, he slept great that night! 
Playing with Pépère.

Monday morning we were up nice and early, packed up, and headed off to my aunts house for a quick visit. We haven't seen her since the summer and it was nice to visit with her and my cousin. The home baked pie and cookies she served us was pretty awesome too!  

Next up we were off to a friends house for another quick visit and cuddle time with their 5 week old daughter. Almost makes me want another one! Almost. Afterwards we were off to see my mom for a few hours before we headed home. Kaleb was so tired, he slept most of the way home! 

I don't know if it is something I'm realizing with age, because of Kaleb, or a combination of both, but this Thanksgiving, I am truly thankful for our families and the amazing friends that surround us. 

Monday, October 08, 2012

Day Eight: Are we cured?

As mentioned before, we went home to visit family for Thanksgiving weekend. It is truly amazing how much stuff our small family of two adults, one baby and two dogs need when being away from home for a couple days. It is also amazing how long it takes us to put said stuff away once we get back home. 

Is it due to the usually late hour we arrive? Because we are preoccupied with Kaleb? Because we sit in front of the tv? Or because we are just exhausted? I believe it is all of the above but especially the last one. 

Tonight we arrived later than we wanted but still managed to: put together a quick supper, give Kaleb his bath, spend some quality baby play time together, and most importantly PUT EVERYTHING AWAY. The suitcase is empty and stored. The dog things are where they belong. Kaleb's toys are in the corner. The food is in the fridge. We even got the dishwasher emptied and refilled.

This is a huge miracle, so are we cured? Probably not. Are we making progress? Most definitely. 

Here's to a clutter-free future. :)

Day Seven: Kaleb's Dresser

I've come to realize that de-cluttering the house also means organization. Case in point: Kaleb's dresser. It wasn't necessarily cluttered nor disorganized, however, the way we had things it just wasn't working. 

When he was a newborn, everything worked great. We had his plain white onesies, socks and pants in the top drawer with pajamas in the bottom two. On the side there are three shelves behind a door, top was diapers, second was creams and soaps, third, random baby things. Once we began cloth diapering, the top two became diapers with everything else in the bottom. 

Now that is some organization!
At some point, it just stopped being easy. We had too many diapers and pants, and not enough onesies, socks and pajamas.  After much pondering, I decided to move his diapers in the top drawer, pants in the second, and pajamas in third. On the shelves we've got the random baby stuff, onesies followed by extra diaper inserts on the bottom. 

This system works so much better and I love how easy it is to organize!

Day Six: Lazy Susans

I am a couple days behind on the challenge but I've got a really good reason: Thanksgiving! So I thought I would use some de-cluttering I did before I knew I would be doing the challenge. Should this count? Probably not. Do I care? No.

In our kitchen we have 3 food storage areas: one cupboard (chips, crackers, granola bars, etc.) and two lazy susans (one is baking supplies and the other is pasta, rice, soup, cereal, etc). They are all disasters. We did the cupboard a couple months back (and would need to be done again) but the lazy susans have not been done in a year or two. And boy did they need to be done. 

Our system was simple. I sat on the ground and pulled everything off of the first shelf. We sorted into three piles: garbage, keep and needing new container. Each pile ended up being big. We had things that expired as early as 2010. That's bad. 

The new container pile was for my new obsession with mason jars. I use them to can obviously, but I also use them around the house, especially in the cupboards. I use them to store rice, panko crumbs, barley, shredded coconut, various nuts, etc...  I love them because they are CLEAR. I can clearly see what is stored and I love the uniformity of it all. Things like rice and barley, I just tape the instructions to the side. I could probably figure a way to make it prettier, but this works and is easy.

Then I put things back on the shelf in an organized manner and again, it's looks awesome.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Day Five: Tupperware cupboard

I'm a little bit anal sometimes, I like things to be a certain way, in a certain place. Sometimes I can be weird about it (all labels need to face out), other times not so much (my house is a complete mess).  Fortunately and unfortunately J is the same, so the labels are always out and most things are where they belong. Except he's less diligent. Case in point: the tupperware cupboard. 

He's usually the one who puts the food away after supper and at the same time he packs up his lunch. He's also usually the one who puts the dishes away (I don't do dishes). Over time, the cupboard has become a cluttered, where the heck is that lid, mess. Until today. 

We did do a huge purge 2 years ago, bought 2 sets of Rubbermaid containers that fit beautifully into one another and only kept a handful of food containers. Those food containers were mounting a comeback, until today.

It took me all of 20 minutes to do another purge and re-organize. It looks great now!

Day Four: Sewing Area

Yesterday's de-cluttering project was unintentional and still not complete. I wanted to do a bit of sewing, but there was a big problem: couldn't see the table. There are 2 big things you need for sewing: a machine and a table. How else am I going to cut patterns and pin pieces together?

It actually wasn't that bad, only took 5 minutes as most of it was craft and sewing items. There was some felt, paint, paint brushes, scissors, a couple magazines, scraps of material, ribbon, couple bobbins and new material.  It was just a matter of putting things in their place, which is obviously a problem and why I'm writing about it in the first place.

Next project: under the table and the ironing board.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Wednesday Fun

Wednesdays are busy in this house. Kaleb and I go to Babies Club at the Early Years Center and he also has his swimming lessons. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it fills up a day very quickly. 
Notice the lack of clutter behind the cute baby?

Today started off early: my oh so adorable son decided that 7 a.m. was the perfect time to wake up and party. Mommy was less than impressed but we rolled with it. After breakfast and play time, he was ready for a nap, at 9 a.m., the time we're usually rolling out of bed! So off he went for the most. epic. nap. ever.: 2 hours and 40 minutes. My kid slept for 2 hours and 40 minutes. MY KID. He is a 30 minute napper. Always has been.  For him to sleep that long is the biggest miracle in the history of the world. (Okay, so I may be exaggerating, but still, it was pretty awesome.)  I got so many things done in that time frame. Again, it was awesome.

After lunch we headed to the Center, where we learned some baby sign language and K got to roll around and play with other babies. It's always a nice time there, especially watching him interact with others. After another nap, he had supper before we headed to the pool. I've said it before, I'll say it again, my kid is the next Michael Phelps! He LOVES swimming. He kicks away when on his belly or back. He gets all excited to "jump" in the pool. He's even learned to close his eyes before going under water. It is so much fun that we'll be going back in the morning with some of the babies from the Center.
I think he likes the new faucet protector.

Next we headed to Walmart to get half of the materials for a Halloween project. Yes half, my Walmart sucks, then he started the bed time routine with daddy. Wednesdays are always the easiest days to put him to sleep, and tonight was no different.

Hope you had great Wednesday and here's to an even better Thursday!