Archive | February 2012

Laundry Room

Well, I didn’t quite get everything done in the laundry room I had originally hoped, but I feel it is much better than it was when I started and it is much more user friendly now. Organizing Junkie posted some questions to be answered so here’s my responses to them.

1. What space did you decide to organize and why?

I chose my laundry room because it was a room that I used as my catch all and it was driving me crazy every time I went in there, and being a family of 5 it’s quite often! I also felt like since it is a small room it was a good choice for my first major organizing project of the year.

2.  What steps did you take to ensure you completed the space within the 29 day timeline?

I made a simple plan, and I focused on small areas each day that I worked on it. I actually had everything done that I ended up doing in the first couple weeks, which felt great!

3.  What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it?

The hardest part for me was finding uninterrupted time to complete the tasks I wanted done. With a toddler I had to plan it around her nap times, but that’s also time I spend doing other chores and the only quiet time I get to myself throughout the day so I had to make an effort to put that time to use in the laundry room rather than doing other things (like taking a nap).

4. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?

Everything that I took out of the room either went in the trash, found a new home that it fits better in, or out to our storage shed to await a yard sale I plan on having this spring.

5.  Tell me one of your proudest moments during this challenge?

Being able to tell family members exactly where to look to find an item they needed.

6.  Explain any organizing “tools” you used to help you create additional space and to establish some limits and boundaries?

I bought some cheap baskets which helped organize my shelves. Also used baby wipe boxes (the ones that hold multiple refills) to store items. I have all of my cleaning items (like brooms and mops) hanging up on the wall.

7.  What is ONE piece of advice you’d give to someone else to encourage them on their organizational journey?

Take it in small steps. If you try to do the whole thing at one time you’re bound to get tired, frustrated and possibly give up. Smaller periods of time make it much less overwhelming.


And now for the pics!










And after:









     For me this was quite an improvement. I’m glad I took the challenge and am enjoying being able to find the items I need and also being able to walk to my washer and dryer without worrying about tripping over anything. I think my next project will either be the kitchen cabinets or else the upstairs linen closet and bathroom. Both need some reorganizing badly! Will update with progress as I work on them.


Weekly Menu 2/27/2012

I’m a little proud of myself this morning. I actually woke up at 7:00 with an alarm (usually we just wait till Nat wakes us up between 8 and 9) and I got up, ate breakfast, then jumped right into Workout 1 of Jillian Michaels Body Revolution. I’m really excited and hopeful about this system. The workout was difficult for me since I’m sooo out of shape, but I got through it and felt great afterwards, well other than my legs feeling like jello, but that’s a good thing right? By the time I was done, Shaun and Nat were awake and starting to get around, so I started in on my chores. With working 2 days in a row last week (hate working 2 12’s in a row!) and then trying to recover over the weekend the house was kind of a mess. Well, not too bad really, but definitely needed a good floor cleaning downstairs. Finished that all up about the time Shaun needed to leave for work. I know he hates it when I clean when he’s home, but it’s so much easier when he’s here to take care of Nat. Plus, then during her nap time I can get a little me time! Which is what I’m doing now, so time to post my menu then fix my lunch and maybe watch a little TV.

Monday 2/27

Tuesday 2/28
I work, plus my son has a band concert, so will probably be takeout, but I’ve already decided that it will be subway

Wednesday 2/29
Chicken salad wraps (haven’t made this in a long time and as long as I use low fat items I think it will be a good choice for this week) Calories 250

Thursday 3/1
Enchiladas Calories 300

Friday 3/2
Lettuce Wraps Calories 320

Saturday 3/3
Sweet and Sour Meatballs (I work again, but hubby is off so figured this was easy enough he could throw it in the crock pot for us)

Sunday 3/4
Spaghetti Calories 300 (work day for me and one of the easy things for hubby to fix)

Well, my tummy is growling, time to go fill it with something good for me, hope everyone has a great week!


Back in Action

So, I kind of disappeared for a bit there, actually just didn’t feel like spending the time I had on the computer on writing, was too busy looking at ideas for organizing and for Activity Days. Plus, not a whole lot of new stuff going on in these parts. Although at work I have been having some new experiences. I work as a labor and delivery nurse at our local hospital, and as of this month I’ve been doing it for a year. Actually, I think it’s as of this coming week. Hard to believe it’s been a year already! For most of that year, I focused mainly on learning labor and delivery and tried to avoid the whole baby thing. Not that I don’t want to take care of babies, but sick ones or ones that don’t come out crying scare me to pieces at this point! So, the past month or so I’ve been seeking out more opportunities to take care of the babies instead of the laboring moms. I’m feeling a little better about it, but at the same time am very relieved to know that there should always be someone around if I need help. I know that if any of us have a problem any of the other nurses on the floor come running if needed, and that’s a good feeling to have on a unit. Granted, there are nurses that I prefer working with over some of the others, but I think that’s going to happen anywhere. But at the end of the day, each of them that I’ve worked with has been helpful when I’ve asked for it. Everyone says it takes at least a year to feel comfortable working in this specialty. I’m not even sure I’m at a point of really being comfortable yet, but I can at least get some sleep the night before I work now rather than toss and turn all night stressing about what the day will be like, so that’s headed in the right direction I think. And honestly, at this point I can’t imagine doing anything else. I really don’t think seeing a baby being brought into this world is something that could ever get old. For one thing, no two deliveries are the same. Plus, each one is a miracle in my opinion. The whole process amazes me and makes me wonder how anyone can question that there’s a God. For me it is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen and I’m glad that I get to see it as often as I do.

Hmm, well, that train of thought kind of took off on its own…on to other topics now. I have hardly touched the laundry room in regards to organizing it since that first week. I did move a few items from one of my kitchen cabinets to the shelves in the laundry room and had the kids take the things that needed to go out to the storage shed out there. (This spring going through that thing will be quite the chore I’m sure since I haven’t even looked in there since the day we moved in!) Anyway, now I have a little more room in the kitchen for food storage since I don’t have a pantry, which has helped a lot. I was thinking about buying a pantry cabinet with our tax money, but may not need to now, so yay, can spend it on something more fun maybe!

We’re all back to feeling better around here, which is good. Was pretty miserable when I was sick along with little Nat. She has been growing and developing like crazy lately. Seems like she learns a new word everyday! It’s exciting, I really don’t remember much about the older kids when they were this age, other than my son was a wild man and I’m not sure how I survived his toddler years! We video chatted with the in-laws tonight and it was fun having them see her since it had been awhile. I’m sure she’s changed dramatically since the last time we had done that and even more so since we went out there for a visit in August. They’re talking about possibly coming to visit this summer which would be so great. I really hope that they’re able to and that Shaun is able to get the time off.

Well, I’ve finally decided that the time has come for me to get serious about my health and make some real changes. It all starts tomorrow. I ordered Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution and it came in on Saturday. I thought about starting it then, was actually changed getting ready to weigh myself and take my measurements when my parents called wanting to stop by so I quickly changed back and decided to put off starting it till Monday (tomorrow, gulp). I think that was better because I gave myself permission to eat what I wanted and drink soda and not feel guilty. So, the soda is gone and I’m not going to buy any more. I plan on starting to count calories tomorrow, do my initial weight (went ahead and took my measurements today, and man that was not a fun thing to do, but hopefully will be worth it at the end when I see how far I’ve come), and do the first workout. I looked at the meal plan she included in her system, but honestly I don’t think it is something that I’ll do. I might try some of the recipes, but most of them are things that I wouldn’t touch and I know my kids wouldn’t either. So, my plan is to try to cook more at home and hopefully choose healthy items to cook. I made out my own meal plan for this week, including breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner for each day. Well, except for lunches on days I work, trying to decide if I want to take my lunch, or just eat at the cafeteria. Each day they have a healthy option with the nutritional info listed so I could just go with that, or if it’s something that I won’t eat just eat a salad or something. If I take my lunch then it will just be a microwave meal and those tend to leave me hungry and so then I graze all afternoon. My plan is to stay below 1200 calories a day. That’s what her meal plan seemed to do, have each day be around 1200 so I figure I’ll follow that. I’ll post my menu tomorrow, might even put the calories that I’ve figured with it, at least for the meals I’ve figured out. It’s a bit time consuming, but I think I’ll have more success doing it this way rather than just tracking at the end of the day and discovering that something cost a lot more calories than I thought and then going way over my limit. I’m really hopeful that this will give me the push and motivation to really make some life long changes in my lifestyle. I need to be more active and fit and healthy so that I can be around for my family for a very long time. Wish me luck!

Weekly Menu 2/13-2/19/12

So, it’s Monday, after a busy weekend at work. I hate working weekends! Although my paycheck loves it. And it wasn’t a bad weekend, just a busy one. I was so exhausted when I got home last night all I wanted to do was go to bed, much to my husbands disappointment, he was hoping I would play some MW3 with him. But off to bed I went and he stayed up and played Skyrim. We are definitely a gaming household. Our computer room has 4 computers set up in it, 5 when Shaun has his laptop in here, plus a TV. Then we have an Xbox and a Wii in the living room. I used to never imagine myself playing shooter games, I hated watching my ex play them. But then I met Shaun, and after we got married he got me started playing some of them, and now that’s the majority of what I play. Now, my favorite game that we’ve played together since getting married is definitely Resident Evil 5, there was just something so fun about getting scared while playing a game with him and having to have him come save me, lol! And we’re anxiously awaiting the release of the next one in that series. But for now we play a lot of Modern Warfare 3. Mostly I enjoy playing it when our brothers and friends are on. It’s fun having a whole group of us playing. And at Christmas my brother gave me a headset so now I even occasionally talk on it. I hate talking on headsets, not sure why, just really don’t enjoy it.

So, wow, talk about getting off topic! Where was I? Oh yeah, it’s Monday. And it snowed last night, which means it’s cold outside, which means I hate leaving the house. The kids don’t have school (was scheduled out today, not a snow day). So we ventured out to Wal-mart since I still hadn’t bought any Valentines for my daughter to take to school tomorrow. Plus I needed to get a cake mix (I used to bake from scratch, but honestly my cakes turn out better from a mix, so sad) for her birthday. Have I mentioned that my soon to be 12 year old daughter was born on Valentine’s Day? I had planned on baking the cake tomorrow, but while we were there she said she wanted to celebrate it Friday when she has her friend stay the night. Which is fine with me, gives me more time to get things done and hope that the present I ordered online arrives by then! Really kicking myself for not getting it the other day when she saw it at our Target. I went back on Friday and it was sold out, so I had to order it online and pay an extra $5 in shipping. All because I wanted her to be surprised. I’ve gotten her about 5 or 6 different things this year, but I think I’m just going to put them all in one little box (well, as small as I can fit them all in) and make her think she’s only getting one thing. I did buy her an outfit today since picture day is Wednesday and I told her that was her birthday, she just looked at me like I was insane, but I know a little part of her was thinking “really?” lol. I really can’t believe she’ll be 12 tomorrow, why do they have to grow up so fast?

So, now to get to the point of today and post my weekly menu. Tonight and tomorrow it’s just Nat and I, so not a lot of cooking, although I have planned a casserole so that we have some leftovers to eat through the week.

Monday 2/13/12 Casserole (think I’ll just brown some ground turkey and mix with cream of mushroom and vegetables, then mix up some bisquik and put on top, it’s usually a hit around here)

Tuesday 2/14/12 leftovers (kind of a boring Valentine’s Day, but the older kids will be at their dad’s and I have to work on Wednesday so really don’t want to go out after Shaun gets off work)

Wednesday 2/15/12 Free for All (hopefully there will be some leftovers for the kids or else we have hot pockets and stuff like that for them to heat up)

Thursday 2/16/12 Chili with cinnamon rolls (my husband thinks that’s the weirdest combo ever, but here in Kansas it’s almost a given that if there’s chili, there’s gotta be cinnamon rolls with it)

Friday 2/17/12 Homemade pizzas

Saturday 2/18/12 Lettuce Wraps

Sunday 2/19/12 Crockpot Lasagna, garlic bread, and vegetable

We’re having the sister Missionaries for dinner on Sunday, and last time I made the crock pot lasagna it made a ton so that should be good. Plus it was fairly easy, as far as lasagna goes. Hopefully I’m able to prevent any of it from burning this time. Well, it’s almost 2 here and I feel like I haven’t done much today, we all kind of slept in can’t believe I slept so long last night! Have a great week!

Laundry Room Progress

So, I’ve been working in the laundry room this month trying to get it to a point where I don’t totally dread going in there. I feel like I’ve made good progress this week, especially since I really didn’t feel like doing much the past few days but made myself do even more than I had anticipated doing in there this week. I wrote a bit about my plans here. So, here’s a before picture of the first part I worked on, the shelves over my washer and dryer.

I cleared everything off of the shelves one at a time (well, except for the paint and stuff on the top shelf because that is all stuff to go out to my storage shed when the weather warms up. Hopefully sometime next week, it’s supposed to get nicer again.) Then I went through it all, threw away things I didn’t need or want to keep, put items that might sell at a garage sale in a bag to go out to the storage shed, and slowly replaced the items I wanted or needed to keep, but in a more organized way. I put all of the laundry products above my washer so they’re all handy and easy to reach without having to move the baskets or anything. I relocated kitchen items like the casserole covers and bread machine to cabinets in the kitchen. Holiday items have been taken up to my closet where I recently reorganized and have a box in there for holiday items that I either got after the holiday stuff was already taken to the storage shed or I found around the house later. I refolded the sheets I use for drop cloths while painting, so they’re not just thrown in there and look horrible. And here was the result of doing that.

Much better, right? But of course in doing that, I cluttered up my cabinets on the side wall of the laundry room even more. Here is what it looked like when I went to tackle it yesterday.

Again, I emptied each shelf and tossed what I didn’t need, organized what I did, and neatly put things back. I turned a box for wipes into a storage bin for all my miscellaneous screws, hardware, and pieces from different items we’ve bought, like entertainment centers, child gates, stuff like that. So, yeah, that bin is probably a little scary inside, but at least I know exactly where to look if I need something like that, or when we finally get around to installing some of the things we have on our to do list. Speaking of to do list, I pulled some of the things out of the laundry room and put them in the kitchen in plain sight so that hopefully we’ll see it and be like we should do that. Things like safety locks on cabinets and drawers (I do have one on my cabinets with chemicals, but it’s just one that goes around the handles, would like to put a more permanent one in place), and smoke alarms. I know, critical things right? Which is why I pulled them out, I decided they weren’t ever going to get done hiding in the laundry room. Anyway, back to the laundry room. My makeshift bin isn’t pretty, but I’m hoping to get some material soon and dress it up a little. I’ve seen some pretty neat ideas on Pinterest, and I made one for in my bedroom closet already, but I don’t know that I have enough fabric of something I like to do it at this time. I also refolded all the rags that I put back in the cabinet. I did purge some of them, the really ratty ones, or ones that I just don’t like to use, I’m sure I still have plenty. I also pulled out any pet items and put them with the rest of our pet care stuff. So, here’s some after photos.

I’m very pleased with the results. The items I need are easy to find, and the cabinets aren’t so full you have to be afraid to pull anything out for fear of the whole contents coming down on your head. I moved a lot of the tools that were just thrown in here to the new tool box my husband got for Christmas from my parents, so I’m excited for him to start using it when it warms up and we start working on some house projects! While doing all of this I started looking at the things on the floor and thinking that it wouldn’t take very long to do a little rearranging and make walking in here a little easier, so here’s the before and afters on that.

















Again, I’m fairly pleased with how it turned out. I am still trying to figure out something in regards to the pet food. I hate having those 2 big bags sitting there, but at this point in time not sure what else to do with them. We have smaller containers that we transfer food to, but we buy big bags since we have 2 dogs and 2 cats. The trash bag on top of the buckets is the bag that needs to go to the storage shed, so that will be gone soon. I could cover the food with the curtains, but there’s a weird water system hidden by it and I’m afraid of it leaking water onto the bags of food. And I say weird because it’s like something I’ve never seen before, and anyone I show it to is surprised by it as well. I like it because it makes it very easy to turn the water on or off to different things, but it’s weird and definitely not very pretty. The old owners had hung the curtain, so I just kept it there. I took that last picture before I had started laundry today, so the pile of clothes you see is no longer there. I swear I wash at least 1 load of darks daily and it still looks like a mountain in the morning, I don’t understand it!

So, that’s the progress I’ve made. I feel like I’m just about finished. At this point I just need to work on some finishing touches, like dressing up the box and finding a solution to the pet food, oh and vacuuming! And of course taking all the items to the storage shed that need to go there. I’m excited for that, then I’ll have most of the top shelf free. We’ll see how long this all lasts. At least now I don’t feel so much like it’s a dark cave when I go in there. It’s nice being able to walk and not trip over stuff on the floor. So, how is everyone else doing? I’ve been checking out a few and it’s really neat seeing their progress and getting ideas for other projects I have in mind for the rest of the house. Well, it’s lunch time and I have Grey’s Anatomy waiting on the DVR for me, have a good weekend!

Additional Goal

Well, I finally got around to starting on the laundry room yesterday. I got the shelves over the washer and dryer decluttered and reorganized. Once it gets a littler nicer outside (had some snow yesterday) the items left on my top shelf will be going out to the storage shed. I just didn’t feel like making the trek yesterday and so I’ll probably wait until it dries up some.

Tonight is my first Activity Day with my new assistant helping, and I’m really excited about it. We plan on making Valentines and then making some jewelry. The girls always seem to enjoy activities that involve making something. It’s just so nice having someone else to help with ideas. In fact, just knowing that I have her helping has given me so much more motivation. I spent a couple of evenings this week just sitting down and brainstorming ideas. I came up with at least enough for the rest of the year. So now sometime she and I can get together and flush them out more and plan on what date to do each one. We also need to get busy and plan a recognition night of some sort. I’m glad I have her to help me. I just have never felt like I was a very creative person, so it’s nice having someone who is helping.

The other day I wrote about my goals for the year, and I forgot to mention one of the biggest and probably most important goals I have, which is to become more healthy. I have around 80 pounds that I need to lose, which is so overwhelming to think about. I’ve tried different things in the past, even have done weight watchers a few times, without a lot of success. I did lose about 30 pounds before I got pregnant a couple years ago, but then I gained it back with the pregnancy and have even gained some weight since having the baby. It’s so depressing. My clothes don’t fit, I’m tired all the time, and just don’t feel like doing much of anything. So, I’m trying to make small changes that will hopefully lead to some bigger changes and eventually be living a healthy lifestyle. I’ve been doing better with my diet lately. I don’t do well trying to specifically diet, so I’ve been working more on watching my portions, not getting seconds (really hard for me because I love to eat, and if something’s good, I get seconds just to have more of it, not because I’m still hungry), not drinking as much soda (again, a difficult thing because I swear I’m addicted to it), and just trying to eat healthier in general. So far this year I’ve lost about 4 pounds. Not much, but considering I don’t even feel like I’m really trying I feel pretty good about that. My next goal is to increase my activity level. I was starting to get into a workout routine before I got sick, then that pretty much stopped in its tracks. So, now that I’m feeling better again I plan on easing back into it. For one thing I just need to not be so sedentary. I spend a lot of time on my days off not doing much. I’m addicted to TV, I swear the DVR is both the best and worst invention ever! It makes it way too easy to watch too many shows. And then, if I don’t have anything saved to watch, I wind up sitting at the computer (not much better!) So, since I don’t really want to give up my shows, I plan on trying to limit how much I actually sit and watch at a time. Granted, sometimes it takes me days to get through a show with how I watch it if I’m getting up a lot, but that’s ok. Nice thing about DVR’s, it’ll still be there tomorrow. Well, until my DVR fills up, then I’m looking at which shows of my husband’s he won’t notice being deleted so my shows get recorded. Anyway, going a little off topic there, don’t mind me! I was starting to do free step on the wii fit while watching TV, which I think helps. Beats sitting on the couch eating while watching Biggest Loser. Or sometimes I’ll get out hand weights and do some exercises while watching. If I’m watching Biggest Loser I like to workout while they’re doing their workouts. Motivates me I guess.

Well, the dryer just buzzed, plus I should fix something for lunch, so away I go. Have a great Wednesday everyone, and good luck to any of you working on organizing this month! I’m getting more excited about finishing my laundry room. I plan on getting to the cabinets in it either today or tomorrow.

Weekly Menu 2/6/12-2/12/12

I worked yesterday, so wasn’t able to post this till today. Hate working 12 hours, but it’s worth it for the extra days off! Although I’m having a bit of a slow start today. Had such a hard time making myself get up this morning. Even though I went to bed at a pretty decent time. I think between running at work all day yesterday (for 12 hours) and this cold I just needed some extra rest. I’m feeling better today than I have in over a week so hopefully it’s finally starting to subside. I’m already starting to see a difference in our busy lives thanks to menu planning and I’m enjoying the Menu Plan Mondays at Organizing Junkie. Anyway, got lots to do today so I’ll post my menu and be off and running. I’m hoping to finally actually start on the laundry room organizing today!

Menu 2/6-2/12

Monday 2/6 – Leftovers (they were as good the second time as the first!)

Tuesday 2/7 – Just me and the little Nat tonight so will probably just do sandwiches or something simple

Wednesday 2/8 – Ground Turkey Pie

Thursday 2/9 – Easy Enchiladas (my son’s favorite!)

Friday 2/10 – Macaroni and cheese (again it’s just Nat and I)

Saturday 2/11 – Take out (I work so will probably just pick something up on my way home)

Sunday 2/12 – Spaghetti (I work again so I picked something that my husband can cook and that we already had on hand)

Kind of a simple menu I guess, but it works for us. Next weekend we feed our local sister Missionaries so I’ve been trying to decide for sure what to make for them, will probably go with crock pot lasagna, and hope none of it burns like it did last time I tried it.