Thursday, October 22, 2009

Laundry Room Again

Bet you thought I left the face of the earth. I've been so busy lately with the kids school, girls scouts and MOMS Club stuff that I haven't had time to do any flying. Today, I decided to stay home instead of running errands while the kids were in school. My 3 hours was spent purging, sorting and filing the two piles under my in boxes. These are the boxes I have been putting in ripped out pages from magazines, printed up recipes and professional photos that just have no home.

Here's the before photo:
Here is a photo of work in progress. I sat at the kitchen table and sorted all the papers into piles before filing them in my file box. I had tons of recipes I'd like to try one day, photographs that I now have in albums and craft ideas for the children are now filed away in the file box.

Photo after. I moved my husband's sock basket down. This left room on the top to put Justin's laundry basket that is waiting for cleaned clothes on top. I still need to do the pile under the blue basket. It has magazines that need to be read, coupons that need to be clipped and supermarket fliers that need to be used for planning. Any ideas on what to do with cd's that I no longer listen to? That's in the mini basket on the top. Probably need to upload them to itunes and toss them so I could use the basket for something else.

At least I got something accomplished today.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Craft Room Revisited

Anxiety is what I feel like when I open up my craft room door. Yes, this is what you see. It's a total room of clutter. Well, I start my sewing class today and the first step is to find your sewing machine. Do you see it in this mess? It's there straight ahead on the top next to my stamp pad turner. My goal today was to clean out the corner near the window and make that my sewing table. So for 2 hours I cleaned out that spot.

This is the before photo: I know I'm embarrassed to share these but you must see the difference an hour made.

This is the photo right when you step into my office. Papers are scattered all over the floor. Why do I need to keep all this scrap paper. First thing I tossed in the trash was that.

Unfortunately, my computer desk I wasn't able to get to. This is what it still looks like.

Okay, back to the corner of the room where I want my sewing machine. Oh, now you can see the sewing machine there next to my ink pad turn about. It's collecting dust for the past couple of years. Time to get the dust bunnies off you. To the left is the table I plan on using to sew. But before I could put my sewing machine there I need to clean not only on top of the table but underneath as well. I moved all that paper to the other side of the room. I moved all my stampin up stamp pads to my closet and put all my photos away. When the kids came home from school I attempted to get all my stickers sorted into draws by color. Only got that half done.
Tada.... I now have a clean corner for sewing. Sorry can't show you the other side of the room as it's now a total mess. This will take me another couple of hours to clean it all up. Baby Steps Baby Steps.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Girls - Summer/Winter Clean Out

It's starting to get cold here. My girls were putting on tank tops and I would make them go back to their room to change. So Friday when they were in school I spent my 3 hours of alone time cleaning out their draws wearing my cordless headset. I did both the girls room and my son's room. Unfortunately, I only remembered to take photos of the girls progress.

This is the before photo. This is what the draws looked like before I even started. Yes, this is the way I saw it when I walked into their room. Sometimes they forget to close their draws which really drives me crazy.

I took out all their clothes. I did a draw at a time. Take everything out and then put everything back in. Checking for sizes as I went. All 4's went into a bag to give to their cousin. All 5's I kept. If they were summer clothes I took them out and put them in a box. If they were winter they went back into their draw.

First draw on left: Dance/Gymnastics. I put in 2 baskets as that's all I had but will need to get another basket at dollar store to put the gymnastics stuff in. Naomi does Dance and has advanced to the purple class so to the left is her dance basket. In the middle is the tights the girls share. To the right is Victoria's Gymnastics outfits.

2nd Draw on left: All shirts with long sleeves. I tried to sort them by color. Pinks all together, blues, red and dark colors, purples and then whites. I know that my kids will probably distroy this but that's how I have it set up for now.

Bottom draw on left: All pants. I tried to put all legging type pants in one pile and jeans in another pile. Since my girls share their cloths I put everything together.

Back to the top draw on the right: Luckily I already had the baskets in this draw. Socks, undies and more tights.

Middle draw on right: All skirts. This draw is a bit broken so I put the skorts in here. The girls love to wear skirts which are really shorts so I put them in here so they can wear them but really wouldn't like them to wear them since it's getting cold. Again this draw was sorted by color. We had a lot of pink so pink is in the middle. The skirts to the left are purples and the ones to the right were brown and orange.

Last but not least here is the bottom draw on the right. PJ's. After I pulled out all the 4's we were left with just a few items and most of them is summer. So it looks like I need to get them some pjs. Does anyone know a sale somewhere? Nanny are you reading this?

Here are the summer cloths. The smaller box is size 5. These will be put away until next summer. The bigger box is size 6 clothes. Both summer and winter. These were given to us from our cousins or friends. These will be put away until they are wearing that size.

Hello cousin Amanda. Here's a bag for you the next time we see you.

As for my son. I took out all his clothes as well. I gave to his cousin 4 big bags of size 4. We are left with lots of 5's. Small amount of summer 5's and no 6's. If he grows we have nothing to wear. Anyone have donations size 6's? Will be looking at sales in the next couple of months in those sizes.

Cleanout is accomplished!

In summary we need the following:
Girls: Coats, tights and pjs size 5
Boys: Coat and anything size 6

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kitchen - Zone 2

Are we in the kitchen again. Told you I always wind up in the kitchen and hardly ever get to any other room. While the kids were in school I decided to do a mission. The mission was to look up. What do you see? Well, I looked above my refrigerator. This is what I saw.

What is up there? I found lots of tools (hammer, screw drivers, nails), light bulbs, bags of candy from a party, beads that the kids can't play with unless supervised, my cordless headset, bingo games, eye glasses, and garbage. I even found some money (coins) which I added to the kids allowance basket. Not to mention a lot of DUST!!!!!!! See photo below. Gross!

After about 1/2 hour I was able to get rid of everything except my cordless headset. So now this is what you see. Tools were moved to the garage. Light bulbs moved to bathroom closet and toys moved to the toy shelf. It's off for a much needed nap.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Coupon Shopping

Everything. You can save lots of money just by clipping and using coupons. I love to save money. I am an avid coupon clipper and shopper. I save from $25 to $110 a week just by using coupons and planning. I used to have the newspaper delivered each week and spending $12 on the paper only to clip out like 4 coupons per week and tossing the rest of the newspaper in the garbage. It was producing more recyclable garbage then it was saving money so I canceled my service.

So where do I get my coupons?

I now use my $12 to purchase coupons that I can actually use for the month. When I purchase coupons I normally purchase 4 or more depending on what the product is as most stores will allow 4 coupons at a time. I never pay full price for the following items: laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, tooth paste, shampoo, maxi pads, and cereal to name just a few items.

There are 2 places that I frequent for my coupon shopping.

1. Coupon Clippers: There is a minimum purchase of $3 before shipping and handling so I order $4 worth at least once a month. Shipping is fast. They also have a facebook account so you can become a member and they will send out updates when there is new coupons available.

2. The Coupon Carry Out: There is no minimum purchase. They send you e-mails when they update their incoming coupons. Shipping is fast and great customer service.

Other sources I sometimes use to get coupons are EBAY, I search google for printable coupons, I swap with friends and I also go to the library for their coupon swaps. Check your local library to see if they have any service like this.

Coupon Swaps at libraries. How they work is you bring in all your unwanted coupons. As I clip out my coupons I clip out everything on Sunday. I make 2 piles. One to give away and one to save and file in my coupon box. I put the give away into a zip lock back and I carry it in my pocketbook until I get a chance to get to the library to give them away. I drop them off and then I sit and collect the coupons that I can use. In the summer it was quite difficult to do the coupon swaps at the library with the kids but now that they are in school I hope to get to the other libraries as well.

Sunday is the day I do my bill paying so I also include going through my mail and clipping out coupons. I also look at the flyers for the upcoming week. I look at the sales and I try to match my coupons with what is on sale for that week. When it is a good deal I will purchase 4 items of the same thing stockpiling my pantry items. I also take advantage of the buy $30 get $ back deals. Sometimes they can be really worthwhile especially if you can reduce that $30 by using coupons.

I also participate over at ebates. Every time I shop I go to that website and then click on the store I want to shop at. Each time I shop I earn money back just for shopping. Each store has a different percentage that you can earn back. It's amazing. So far this year I have earned $100. The money gets directly deposited into my paypal account quarterly which I then roll over and use to purchase my coupons. Join by going to the ebates link above and I will earn referral fee.

Your local supermarket may even have online specials. Shoprite has a family program where you earn points just for using your price plus card. I have earned $2 coupons back for this. I also buy coke and I participate in the coke reward program by entering the number from the cap. I have earned free magazine subscriptions this way plus free subway cards just for entering the numbers. When I was using diapers I earned tons of stuff from as well.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Getting Ready for School

My children will be starting Kindergarten tomorrow. My mom got them all new backpacks for their birthday. Naomi has the pink one, Justin the red one and Victoria has the purple one. If you look very closely you will see name tags that I made hanging on them. I used my sizzex machine to cut chipboard, then I modge podged paper on top and then laminated them. They are hanging with ring clips on the outside. I also laminated their bus pass and hung it on the ring clip as well.

This was their entryway spot before. It was a total mess. I pulled everything out and started from scratch.

This is what it looks like now. Their shoes are under the shoe rack. There are only 3 jackets hanging on the hooks. 3 backpacks sitting on the shoe rack. In the black bag hanging I have all my Sesame Place stuff (season passes, popcorn bucket, drinks, shirts). Under that are their home depot aprons. Speaking of home depot the kids workshop is this Sat. Wonder what we will be making this month.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Command Central Round-Up

When you first enter my laundry room from the garage you would see this shoe shelf that my husband put together for us a while ago. At the bottom is 6 square cubbies which are filled with only my husband's and my shoes. We have 3 cubbies each. We put our every day shoes there. Ones in which we wear all the time. Okay, enough about my shoes. Let's get to all the baskets and file holders.

Top shelf (which I cut off in the photo as this isn't what you wanted to see) but let me tell you what's in them. Start from left. First long basket is filled with black socks. Since I don't match socks I put my husband's socks in this basket and when he's getting ready to leave he picks out his socks and pulls out his shoes and he's off. In the middle is cards that I made at a Stampin' Up camp that I just don't know what to do with. Next to that is another basket. This basket is filled with CD's filled with children's music. I really need to get them onto my ipod which I never seem to remember to charge. Anyway, that's another story.

Okay now we are in our command central part of the post. First black tray on the right is my incoming box. This is where I put the mail when I come into the house. Sometimes I will look through the mail and purge and get rid of stuff that's if I have time. Some days I just put it in that box and wait till Sunday when I do my bills to go through the mail for the week. On Sunday that box is emptied out to nothing!

The black box to the left. I put my uncut coupons, my unread magazines, and my flyers for grocery stores. Sunday's I cut my coupons and on Mondays I plan my grocery shopping as I make my menu plans. Magazines are taken with me to the gym, dance studio, doctors offices, gymnastics, etc. As I read my magazines I tear our papers of articles I'd like to read again, websites to go visit, recipes to try, craft ideas for the kids, etc. etc. Once I take out all the stuff I want to keep the magazine is then thrown away.

The 2 black bins below that. Okay, this is where it gets scary. You just read that I take my magazines and I tear our all the pages I want to keep. Well, guess where it goes when I come home. Into those 2 black bins which are now very very full. I need to find time to actually sort through those and file them into my filing box. Maybe I'll work on that next week when the kids are in school.

That big black mess to the right of the shelf is grocery bags that I have earned free from shopping. Now, if only I could remember to bring them to the store so I can get my 5 cents back for each one.
Now, we move into my kitchen. This is my desk to the right of my computer. Last week I did a post about the left of my computer. Hanging on the side of my fridge is the family calendar. The boxes are about 2 inches each. I write on there every appointment, play date, school, sport, dance, library, etc. At the back of my calendar is paper clips where I hang the schedules of school, soccer games, t-ball games, etc. To the right of my calendar is a white magnet board where I keep doctors phone numbers, consultants numbers, synagogue, etc. Below that is a little cup to store pens and below the calendar is cork board where I can tack things like doctor appointment cards and Vietnam Vets donation reminders.

Here's a close up of the 3 plastic draws I have on my desk in front of the calendar. This I got at target. It's great because it fits 8 x 11 paper size things. Top draw is bills to be paid. Middle draw is my husband's business bills. Bottom draw I keep things like school notices, bus pass, things that need to be read or acted upon but are not bills. Every Sunday I go through these draws to pay our bills.

Behind this I have files. I keep all my MOMS Club rosters, MOPS Addresses, Receipts from all the stores I shop at, Coupons (these are not grocery coupons) but coupons I receive from photography places, restaurants, ride tickets, and season passes. As I get new coupons for certain stores I purge the expired stuff and replace with the new coupons.

In the front of that file box I have my composition notebook. Yes, I have one just like the kids have them. I have a tendancy to use post its and they were finding themselves all over my desk. So I went and got myself this book. With the Stampin' Up tab punch I made tabs on the book so now when I have to write something down while sitting at my desk I just grab that book and put it in the appropriate category so I can find it later.

After reading the book "Getting Things Done" by David Allen I set up my composition notebook with his tab idea.
1. Journaling Ideas/Quotes (great for my scrapbooking and blogging)
2. Kickass (Organizing Paper Ideas, 10 minute tasks)
3. Goals (Budget, Scrapbooking Goals)
4. Projects (Donation places, Photo upload list)
5. Someday (Digital kits I'd like to purchase)
6. Lists (Kids books, Adult Books, Wii Games I want, Toy Wishlist)
7. Actions Now (nothing there now)
8. Waiting (nothing there now)
9. Home (house hunting information as we maybe moving)
10. Think About (nothing there now)
11. Laptop (Websites, Project 365, Digital check list of challenges completed, )
12. Phone Calls (This is where I jot down someones phone number from my answering machine)
13. e-mail (I jot down e-mail addresses here)
14. Things to do in the Car (websites for ideas)
15. Errands (empty at this time)
16. Recipes (empty at this time. I save them to my computer.)

Check out the Command Central Organizing RoundUp at @orgjunkie. Link up & share your own ideas & pictures. Details here

Summer End Add on by Twin Mom Scraps
Fonts: Showcard Gothic and Microsoft Sans Serif

Menu Plan Monday

Last week was bit chaotic with the triplets birthday. We didn't really follow my menu plan except for Monday. All other days were eat out. It was nice to have a break for a change of not cooking. Today I volunteered my son to help prepare dinner. Since I am doing project 365 this is the photo of the day. He was so excited that I let him help out. But, of course, the girls were very angry so I promised them they would help out another time.

Monday: BBQ Beef. (This is a new recipe.) Justin helped prepare the sauce and poured it over the beef. Boy did it smell yummy for 3 hours while it baked in the oven. I also made Calico Beans. I made the Calico beans recipe last week and my husband ate the entire dish. He requested I make this again so it's definately a keeper. I actually saw the recipe in the Taste of Home magazine. I did alter the recipe a bit though. I did not use lima beans and I did not put kidney beans in it. I also used brown sugar splenda 1/2 cup instead of real brown sugar. Since we don't eat pork I substituted the bacon for turkey bacon. It does take a long time to cook but oh so yummy.
Tuesday: Creamy Balsamic Baked Chicken. (new recipe)
Wednesday: Kindergarten Orientation. Beef Stir Fry with Rice
Thursday: First 1/2 day Kindergarten. Easy and Tasty BBQ Chicken in Crockpot (new recipe)
Friday: School. Meatloaf and potatoes
Saturday: Chicken Pasta Sauce (new recipe) and pasta
Sunday: Grilled chicken.

Declutter 1/2 Bathroom Closet - Games

My kids had their 5th birthday party on Saturday. So on Sunday it was time to find places for their new toys and games. I store their games in the top 2 shelves of my 1/2 bathroom closet. They need to be stored up high because if they get their little hands on them they lose the pieces and then the game is useless and wind up in the trash can. Of course, occasionally they will take a chair and take one down without asking which really annoys me because then they are shoved back at the bottom of the closet.

The top two shelves before
. It wasn't that bad the top two shelves but look at the bottom shelves in the next photo. Yikes!

BEFORE Bottom Shelves
. This was a total mess. Notice the games in the 3rd shelf up. Yes, they were thrown away as pieces were not in there. I wound up taking everything out of the closet and purging and rearranging like with like items.

After GAMES: They got quite a few new games for their birthday. Luckily everything still fit onto the top 2 shelves.

After Bottom Shelves: After purging and putting like with like items. I now have a shelf and a half empty. I probably could get rid of some of those plastic bags as well but I use them for the garbage in both the bathroom and playroom and having them there is just convenient because the kids can reach and help out. By the way I don't think I will need toilet bowl cleaner for a very long time. I bought all those lysol bowl cleaners when they were on sale for $1.88 and had a coupon so got them almost free. They are taking up the bottom 1/2 of the closet.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Super Cook

My friend Nicole just sent me this website. It's called Supercook. You enter all your ingredients that you have in your household and it gives you recipes that you can make. It's amazing. This will certainly come in handy when meal planning. Oh, did I tell you that it is also free to use and join. There is a great tutorial too so you can see how it works. Check it out. Did I already say it was amazing..........................................

Menu Plan Monday


Okay, it's been a while since I menu planned. I try and try to stay with it but I just get side tracked or I never have the time. Making dinner every night is such a torture for me.

Monday - BBQ Meatballs in crock pot. (luckily last week I made meatballs and I froze them). So this afternoon I threw in my frozen meatballs, one bottle of BBQ sauce and 1/4 cup of ketchup. I turned it on low for 4 hours and went out for a playdate. I also made pasta with peas. This was supposed to be my lunch but we had a bit of an issue with my stove and wound up calling the gas company to come. Yes, very long story! I watched a video by Clara yesterday. Our financial situation has been getting worse so I found these recipes that doesn't cost much to make.

Tuesday - chicken parm with pasta

Wednesday - Will be at my moms for the day.

Thursday - Take Out

Friday - Chicken burgers and fries

Saturday - Kid's Birthday Party Pizza

Sunday - Stir Fry beef with white rice

Accomplishment - Zone 3 Desk

Remember my picture from the other day? This was before. I had 2 big piles on top of my printer and another pile was starting to accumulate under my tissue box on the bottom of my desk.



It now looks like this. My husband was really excited because behind that tissue box is a light switch. He can now reach the light switch which he hasn't been able to do in months.

What was in that 2nd big pile that I removed. I had some books, the kids birth certificates that I never put back into the safe after registering them for kindergarten back in February. Along with lots of print outs from my printer. What did I print out? I had map quest directions to different places, phone numbers that I now have put into my control journal, knitting and crocheting projects I'd like to complete one day, MOMS Club information, and recipes. I tend to print out recipes every time I see one I'd like to try.

So while putting all that stuff away I took out my recipe binder and this is what I saw. It is the index to my book. Every time I add a new recipe into my tried and true recipe binder I jot down the recipe on this page. It has so much stuff on it that I was running out of room and adding arrows. I was finding it hard to find a recipe that I wanted to cook again.

So I typed it up in excel and now each category has it's own page. The reason I write the recipe down is because I file the recipe in a, b, c order so I know what letter to look the recipe up under.

This is the binder that I use and it has the abc tabs that I sort my recipes in. These are recipes after I have used them and like them.

On the back of each letter tab I write down the recipe in that section. So I am writing the recipe down 2 times. Once on the very first page (index) and then also on the a, b, c tab page.

The recipes that I print out and pull out from magazines are then filed into my recipe box. This box I have folders that have pockets in it. I sort it by category. When I'm in the mood to cook something new I just pull out that folder or I search the internet via ingredient and that usually brings up more recipes that I can try. I tend to make lots of new recipes as I get board from the same old stuff and nothing really is so great to make again and again.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Kitchen Desk Mission - ZONE 3

Today I did Monday's mission. To the left of my computer is my printer. Above the printer are two stacks of things. The first pile to the left is misc papers that need to be sorted through and filed away (another day). To the right of that pile is a metal basket that I used for collecting Christmas cards during the holiday. Yes, that basket has been there since December.

Today, I tackled the metal basket. Months ago I purchased an 8 x 8 red scrapbook. My goal today was to get the photo cards into the scrapbook that I plan on using for holiday cards each year. Of course, this mission took me way more than 15 minutes. Actually it took me close to 3 hours. Why? Well, in order to do my scrapbooking I had to make my way through my craft room and organize a bit so the kids could create while I worked on this project. I didn't want to lug all my supplies down stairs. My craft room is a disaster. That will have to wait for another time.

While I sorted through all the cards I jotted down addresses into my control journal and changed addresses of people who moved. After sorting the photos by family and friends I was left with this box full of recyclable paper that I tossed in the trash can. You can see the trash to the left of my metal basket.

Okay, what did I do with all the photo cards? Here is what I did in about an hour. The pages are very simple. It was kind of hard to work with paper again since I am so digital now. I found that some of the photos would have been better resized but I worked the best I could with what I had.

Holiday Scrapbook
Page one. This is the photo card that we sent out this past year. It was done digitally.

Page 2 and 3. Family photos. Cousins. It says, "Together We Make a Family"

page 4 - My best friends children. Page 5 - Various friend photos.

Page 6 and 7 - MOMS Club Friends

Page 8 - My kids with Santa.