Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Cleaning....

I know it isn't spring yet, but I've started my spring cleaning already! Friday I cleaned out the pantry, Saturday I cleaned out the freezer and deep freezer, and today I filed, sorted and shredded the paper pile ups. While cleaning out the freezer, we also took inventory of the freezer items. This time I'm hoping to be better about planning our meals and crossing things off as we use them. I didn't inventory lunch items or what was in the freezer in the kitchen, though.

 4 steaks
1 package hamburger meat
1 package meatballs
1 package chorizo
lots and lots of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 package whole grains and veggie blend
1 package fire roasted veggie blend
1 package roasted corn
4 ears of corn
1 bag chicken tenderloins
2 packages Louisana hot sausages (Shaine is pretty much the only one that eats these, so I won't plan means with them)
1 package habanero pepper jack chicken sausages
1 package thick cut applewood smoked bacon
3 packages Trader Joe's rice medley
2 packages Trader Joe's confetti rice (lemon grass, baby corn, and ginger)
1 package Eggo waffles
9 8 packages grilled chicken breast strips
1 package meatless meatballs
2 1 package bacon mushroom swiss cheese chicken sausage
1 package fully cooked beef brisket
1 package maple breakfast sausage
1 bag eggrolls
1 package beef salami
1 package Flounder fillets
1 bag green beans
1 bag broccoli
1 package breaded cod fillets
1 ziploc turkey taco meat
1 ziploc hamburger meat with green chilis
1 ziploc cooked ham slices
1 package marinated roast (I don't recall what this is exactly, but realized we missed writing it down when I sat down to type this up)
1 box cookie dough 

Here are a couple of pictures of my pantry, too.

I still needed to put some recipe boxes back in.  I went through my cookbooks and got rid of a few, too. We can see what all we have much more easily now.  With a larger pantry, I have a bad habit of buying too much stuff to fill it with.  Then it gets hidden and goes bad!  I was also trying to clear it of some of the less healthy stuff.  I didn't get rid of everything, but a large portion.  I don't plan on buying store bought cookies once what we have is gone.  Instead, if we want cookies, we can make some homemade ones and then only bake a few at a time.

I cooked a lot last week, so starting the week out, we are eating up any leftovers. Monday--kale salad (we had this last week and still have plenty of veggies chopped and ready for more!) Tuesday--fried potatoes with squash, zucchini, and onion topped with sausage (leftovers) Wednesday--fried chicken and not sure what sides yet (leftover chicken from Popeyes)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cleaning out the closet....

My house looks pretty clean if you just walk in, but I know what is behind the closet doors and I JUST.CAN'T.TAKE.IT.ANYMORE!!  We have been working on cleaning out closets in the house and an overall de-cluttering.  Recently we cleaned the master bedroom closet.  There were still 3 boxes that remained unpacked from the 5+ years ago that we moved in here!!



I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to have the closet clean! We've already done this in the boy's room and mostly in the guest room. The guest room just has some stuff in it that I want to sell, so once I do that, it will be clean, too. We also recently cleaned the space under out stairs in the basement. This area is where we store tools and household project supplies. It is really hard to clean it, but it looks WAY better, too. You can actually walk in there now! Hopefully soon we will be able to put a storage shed in our back yard for that stuff, but for now, I'm feeling pretty good with the progress we are making!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Getting organized....again!!

A couple of weeks ago, I did a major clean out of the pantry.  It's been a long time since my pantry has been so clean and so empty! And yes, I do realize that my pantry isn't really empty. It's just that it was overflowing before! I threw out a lot of junk.

 I've also been working hard to do better at making yummy meals for us. More nights than not, we would just throw some random thing together for dinner. There isn't anything wrong with that, but I prefer to follow a plan. If I have something planned, we are a lot less likely to just go out to eat. Part of this planning has me prepping some of our fruits/veggies for the week in advance. I must admit, I don't really like getting it all ready to go, but I figure if I'm going to do a little bit of it, I may as well do it all and get it over with. It makes serving up the fruit or making a kale salad go so much faster!

Another change made recently in our kitchen is a new fridge and dishwasher. When we remodeled our kitchen, we ran a line to have a fridge with ice/water in it. All this time we haven't put that to use. A few months ago I was browsing Craigslist and found a fridge I liked. They just happened to also be selling a dishwasher, so we picked up both for a good deal!

I think the fridge is much easier to keep organized and I'm loving having the water/ice in the door.  I also love that there is more space in the door to accomodate our love of condiments!  :-)

The freezer I haven't found a good way to organize.  I would have loved one of the types with the double door fridge on top and freezer on bottom, but I'm just not willing to spend that right now.

Another change is that my husband bought me a grain mill and new mixer (better for making bread) for mother's day/our 12 year anniversary.  We rarely buy each other anything, but these were something that we've been wanting for several years.  Because he knew I'd likely never bite the bullet and buy it myself, he did.  The buckets in the pantry with the red and blue lids are our wheat.  We have pretty much made our own bread for several weeks now.  I have bought a few specialty loaves, but for sandwiches and such, we've been making our own 100% whole wheat bread!

Friday, April 20, 2012

More around the house

We got a few more projects done around the house. If you remember my post about putting the boys in the same room, you'll remember that I hadn't done anything in Lucas's old room yet. Well, we decided to do a reading/guest room. We got a new bookshelf (it is the darker shelf on the left) and loaded it with books and put a futon with a thicker mattress on it in there. It gives us a nice place to sit and read to the boys before bed and a place for guests to sleep, too! It is a very small room, so we couldn't do much in there, but I did the best I could. :-)  The red cabinet was in our hallway at the top of the stairs and it holds our extra blankets, towels, etc..  You may remember it from this post.

Logan often sneaks in here and closes the door. His brother doesn't find him here. I've seen him sneaking out of here after he's already supposed to be sleeping. One night I was headed up and he heard someone coming so was trying to sneak back to his room. Scared him to death when he walked out and saw me in the stair well. LOL!

We also did some work in our full bath. My husband put in a new light switch and outlet. We were putting up a new light fixture, but the only outlet in the bathroom was on the old light fixture. The easiest solution was to put an outlet right next to the light switch. We also put up the new light fixture, new medicine cabinet, new towel holders, and painted the wall and ceiling. I love the results! You can see some before and during pictures of the full bath here.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

So excited!!

No. I haven't fallen off the face of the planet, but I have been busy! We went on a vacation to Yellowstone (and I took over 800 pictures!!) and since we've returned, we've been trying to come to some decisions regarding schooling for our youngest son. He is special needs, as I've talked about before. Obviously I would love to homeschool (as I already do my oldest son), but ultimately I want to do what is best for my boys. I've been searching and searching to find a place to take Lucas to therapy that would be covered by my insurance. I finally hit the jackpot!

We haven't been yet (our first appointment is on Tuesday), but I'm really crossing my fingers that they can offer us the help we've been looking for. School also starts on Tuesday, but neither of my boys will be getting up and heading out the door. We've decided that I will give homeschooling both of them a try and see how it goes. My feelings are that Lucas being gone approximately 8 hours a day for kindergarten and then us driving about 45 minutes one way for therapy, have a session, then drive home would just be too much. Of course, I could take him during school hours, but I don't think the school system would like him missing school so often. Obviously I have no clue how often he will have therapy yet, but considering his developmental pediatrician has recommended occupational and speech therapy, I'm assuming it would be at least once a week.

So, I've been busy, busy trying to prep for our new normal. I was trying to get the homeschool room done already, but the decision to have both boys home made me move a little faster. I know that I need to be as organized as possible so that I can use our time each day wisely. I'm so, so excited to be mostly done with the school room!! I still need to hang our calendar and do a few final things with filing and such, but I'm pleased with the results!

I took some pictures, but it was after 10 PM and dark, and they just didn't turn out so great. They are a little blurry, but after spending about 7 hours down there today, I was too tired to go attempt taking them again. :-)

Let me give you a tour!!

This is looking down the hall into the schoolroom from the playroom. I just hung our world map in the hall because it was so big and I don't have a whole lot of open wall space in the schoolroom.
Here is my new homeschool cabinet. We bought this from a military family that bought it in Germany. It comes apart into two large pieces, which made it nice for transporting! It only had two shelves on the inside, so my husband added more.
We decided to go with a system that will allow me to move the shelves around if I want to and I love it!! I'm really excited about having it more organized than I have in years past!
Above the bookshelf, I'm planning on hanging a clothesline of sorts to hang the boys artwork.
Close up of the bookshelf. I haven't filled this yet, but I (or my husband, really) did move all the books down from the over-flowing bookshelf in Logan's room. I'm going to love having all these educational books in the same room as us (the chapter books are all still in Logan's room). Before when were doing school at the dining room table and wanted something, we'd have to go up a flight of stairs to get it. It got tiring and annoying!!
We got the corner desk on Craigslist and I love it!! Also got the filing cabinet on Craigslist. I have some plans for it, but that will have to wait a bit.
I'm going to hang our calendar on the wall above the little white bookshelf. Since we have to change things out on it often and I can't really laminate it, I'm going to try something new with it this year. I had been using that sticky putty stuff to hang it, but it didn't work very well and would fall. I'm afraid if I just use push pins that it may rip. So, Costco has a large dry erase board that is magnetic and I'm hoping that I can put that on the wall and then use magnets to hang our calendar up. I'll have to measure it and find out.
So, that's it. What do you think? I'm so excited that it's hard not to go wake the boys to try out our new room. :-)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Finally. Yes, finally....

Our kitchen is finally mostly finished! I am so happy about it, that I can't even wait to show you pictures! Painting the cabinets was very, very time consuming. Each piece needed 3 coats of primer and a coat of paint. For the doors, we could only paint one side at a time so the 17 doors took F.O.R.E.V.E.R.!

There are 5 drawers that still need to be painted. Our walls and trim were off white, and we painted the ceiling and cabinets white, so we now need to paint the window trim and pantry door trim white so they will match. We also still need to install baseboards.
Soon, we will install new lights in there and continue the new flooring into the pantry.

I am very pleased with how it turned out. Remember, this isn't my dream kitchen. We did this on a major el cheapo budget (no high end products afforded here), but I am pleased with the results. Matter of fact, this was not EVEN in our plans (considering it happened just as my husband found a new job after being without one for 3.5 months!!), but when a leak happened and half the kitchen had to be torn out anyway we figured we might as well tear the rest out as well. Our homeowner's ins. gave us some money and we used that along with some of our own to do the remodel. I'll have to add up the cost of it, but I think we did really well. We had to buy several tools, but I won't add those in because now we have them and can use them elsewhere in the house. I think that we did what was right for the house. The housing market in this area has completely bottomed out. Since we bought right before this happened, we owe more than it is worth. Spending a lot of money in the kitchen wasn't an option, but the update is much appreciated by me!!

In case you don't recall, this kitchen was ripped down to the studs and built back up. We put in new wiring, new plumbing, tore down a non-load bearing wall, and built it all back up again! Aside from a little help from my dad and step-mom in the demo, plumbing, and wiring, I am so excited to say we did this ourselves! Considering neither of us have any experience in this type of thing, I'd say we did a pretty good job. My poor husband apologized on more than one occasion, saying this just wasn't his type of work....he is more the computer geek type! I'm proud of him. It wasn't easy, but he did the bulk of the work himself.

We took some pretty large breaks because doing this type of work isn't easy to begin with, but when you have no clue what you are doing, it is even harder. Not to mention stressful!

I'm sure you can remember what our kitchen looked like. Stuck in the 70s and never felt clean. The avocado green sink and faux brick painted bright red added just the right touch of Christmas cheer....LOL! I know the picture isn't great, but can you believe that it looks better than it did in real life. Trust me on this one!

And now, what I'm sure you really wanted to see anyway......


Here is Logan knocking the first hole in the wall. It also gives a close up look of the nastiness of the wall! I hated that brick!!

Here is what it looked like after the end of demo.

Drum roll please!! Here is what it looks like now......

And now for a side by side comparison:

As a side note: The cow cookie jar on top of the fridge was hubby's grandmother's and the teapots above the sink were my grandmother's.

Did you make it all the way to the end? Now I need some input from all of you. See how one wall is off white and the other is blue? We are trying to decide if we want the off white wall painted white or blue? I kind of like the two different colors together, but I also really love the blue color. What do you think?

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Mother's Day gift...

My mother in law called on Saturday and she asked if there was anything special planned for Mother's Day. I told her there was not, but it was looking like I would have a sink, dishwasher, and stove installed! She said that was a pretty nice present, and I couldn't agree more.

You know, I never realized how much I love having a kitchen sink. Yes, I missed the dishwasher and the stove, but I missed the sink the most. It didn't take me too long to realize that after bending over to wash dishes in dish pans in the tub. You see, I could cook just fine in the electric skillet and crock pot, but I dreaded having to tote the dirty dishes up 2 flights of stairs to bend over a tub and wash them. I bought plastic cups and utensils and paper plates to cut down on what I had to wash, but there were still a few dishes to wash. I decided that having a dishwasher is very nice, but to just have a kitchen sink to rinse dishes off and stand rather than bend to wash dishes is a MUST HAVE!!

So, my sweet husband stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to get my sink, dishwasher and stove installed. I'm very happy to report that I now have a functional kitchen. I think we've finally got the hard part behind us and it should be down hill now! We still have a little more wall to paint and then we just have to sand, prime, paint, and hang the rest of the cabinets. Oh, we do have to cut counter top for one more section, but now that we've done it once, we know how and it won't be too hard.

Here are a few pictures of where we are now. I know they don't look too much different than the last ones, but our sink is in and everything is hooked up and working with no leaks!

We also still have to put some end pieces on the counter top that will hide the little gaps between them and the wall. Even though the counter tops were cut straight, there is nothing square in this house. We gave up on trying to make things fit in perfectly and just bought end splashes (just like back splashes, but on the ends). All in all, I'm very happy with how it is coming along. I haven't added up our out of pocket yet, but I think it isn't too bad considering all that has been done in there.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Noticeable progress....

It has been a while since I've updated on the kitchen remodel. We FINALLY have some noticeable progress. I was telling hubby that you can actually tell we've done some work now instead of just telling people "we've applied 3 applications of mud with sanding in between each, we've applied 2 coats of primer, and painted". All of that is time consuming, but it doesn't really show how much work you've done. Since taking this picture, we've even made more progress. The hole for the sink is cut and the sink is in place (not fastened down, but in place). Previously, there was nothing in between the stove and dishwasher and there was nothing to provide support for the counter top over the dishwasher. We've painted plywood and placed it in between the two. That gives the counter top the support that it needs and keeps me from seeing the insulation around the dishwasher that was driving me insane! You can't really tell in the picture that the board isn't between the stove and dishwasher, but it isn't. Also, whoever put the gas line in for the stove didn't think it through very well. It is so high up with the cut off valve sticking out so much that the stove can not be pushed against the wall. You can probably tell this in the picture. The stove sticks out a good 4-5 inches. Since this picture, we've pulled the stove out and painted the wall behind it. I knew that being able to see the green drywall would drive me insane. Anyway, here is the latest. I also included a couple from before the counter top was on.

The walls on each end are also painted with the new color we are using. I love it! The goal for the next couple of days is to get the plumbing hooked up for the sink and dishwasher. We have a t-ball game followed by an HOA meeting tonight, so we likely won't get any work done today. In case you forgot what it looked like before, see here. It certainly isn't a top of the line kitchen, but it is a major improvement if you ask me! And the best thing----no leaks!!

Oh, I also realize that some outlets are crooked. We'll go back and fix that. All in all, I'm pretty proud that we have done this work on our own and it is looking pretty good if you ask me!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My pantry...

When I posted about cleaning my pantry Sunday, I was being lazy and didn't take pictures. I took pictures Monday evening to share. It still isn't 100%, but WAY better. I don't have a before picture to compare it to though. However, you can look at two previous posts about my pantry organizing and can see I how much I would typically have in it here (this one is probably the closest to how full it was this time) and here.

The empty spot on the top shelf is where I keep my blue bin that I keep chips in. It is currently in the basement where we've been eating, but it currently only has one bag of Fritos in it.
I'm addicted to lots of different sauces, vinegars, wines, etc... Can you tell? Bottom bin on left has all cake mixes/brownies. I bought them on sale and these were the ones that weren't expired. All the boxes of Jiffy are also cake mix. There is a recipe on them that I love for cookie bars. From the looks of it, you'd think I bake all the time, but I don't. Next bin over is pretty much nothing but chips..chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, cinnamon chips, you get the idea. Go up one shelf and that bin is peanut butter and jams/jellies and syrup.
In the Top Ramen box there are also the large size cans of crushed tomatoes. I would typically keep the tortillas in the cabinet with my bread, but well...I don't currently have any cabinets hanging.
The bin under the Top Ramen box has rice, beans, lentils, bread crumbs, etc. Next bin down has nuts and Crisco baking sticks.
That pizza box you see is our solar oven. Under it are paper towel rolls that I keep for crafts. I also store my cookbooks and recipe boxes in my pantry. The blue bin on the left has hard candies, jelly beans, and I'm not sure what else without going and looking. The right white one has a varitey (M&Ms, Fig Newton snacks, Marshmallows, cookies, and a box of Junior Mints).
Blue bin on left has extra Goldfish and nut snacks (nut clusters, pumpkin seeds, etc.). White bin on right beside it has gummy fruit snacks, granola bars, peanut butter crackers, and a couple other misc. snacks. White bin on bottom right is full of apple sauce and pineapple sauce. White bin on bottom right is Pop tarts and cereal bars.
This shelf is two different kinds of nuts (almonds and cashews), Fruity Cheerios, leftover Subway cookies, a little bit of chocolate (behind the crackers) and Cheezits.
Here we have Goldfish, M&Ms, Ritz crackers, Aldi brand vanilla wafers, graham crackers, and ice cream cones behind those. Bin next to the Nutri-grain has my Ziplocs (extras stored on top shelf in a previous picture).
As you can see, the floor is not clean, but there is still lots that isn't normally in the pantry in there. The cleaning supplies on the left plus the 2 trash bags (more cleaning supplies) all go under the kitchen sink. I typically keep my mixer on top of the fridge. Then you have my 2 Cansolidators. Next to that is contractor bags and our giant bag of Jasmine rice. Keep going around and you'd find diet coke, Capri Sun 100% juice packs, an ice cream maker and plumbing supplies that will be out of there once the kitchen is back together (even my disposal is in there....LOL).

Anyway, I'm very happy with the pantry now. I even went back in after cleaning it and stood there admiring it...LOL!