a clean and organized home

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So my current mission (of the week or whatever) is to have a clean and organized home. After all, “cleanliness is next to Godliness,” right? I have been going through things in the various junk-pits in my house and have a few checkpoints to keep things clean. So the basement and the loft are my two big targets, as well as our closets. Here are a few of the tips that I have found helpful:

In the basement, it is our food storage shelves that get chaotic. Keep the flats that cans are sold on to help keep them in place. For smaller items, like spice jars and chocolate chip bags, etc. use bins to keep them reigned in (keep similar items together). This also works great for storing extra toiletries. I have a bin labeled with each of our names and first aid and general for our shampoo, soap, meds., etc.

I am using a similar idea in the kitchen. I got small baskets for my spices and grouped them together (so the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, etc. in one, Grillmates in one. (I really love McCormick’s Grillmates line.) extracts and vanilla in one…you get the idea. In another cupboard, I have a bin for baking items, chips and treats, sauce mixes, jello and pudding mixes. (Is this hitting the ad nauseum point yet? Maybe I should have titled this post “I love storage bins.”)

In our closets, I am trying to be more ruthless. My Mom gave me this good tip. Clean out your closet and turn all of your hangers so that they are coming from the back. hangerAs you wear the item of clothing and put it back, put the hanger in the normal way. At the end of 6 months, anything that is still hanging backwards can be given away. Interesting to try. I have also put our shirts and sweaters that I stack on the shelves in the closet in (Surprise!) bins. It keeps the stacks straight and makes it easier to get items down.

For the loft (our playroom), I am also getting rid of things and simplify the put away system as much as possible. I am using big bins with pictures of the things that should go inside. Also, it seems like a kid can only play with so many things at one time. So I am putting a large Rubbermaid container of them in storage to rotate out in a few months.

Now that the big stuff is out of the way, to keep things in order I am making my goal to have a clean house when Michael comes home. I figure that putting a deadline on the daily pickup will ensure that it gets done each day. (And will make it that much more pleasant for Michael to come home.)

Man, I actually feel a little tired just typing about it. ;-P

Cinnamon Apple Clay

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the clayIt seems to me that fall is here! (I don’t know about you, but I am super excited.) Nothing says fall like the smell of cinnamon and apples. Here is a recipe for clay that smells as good as it is fun to play with. This one has a fun texture, a little more goopy than salt dough. Some kids love it, some don’t. Megan wasn’t too sure initially, but then got into the feel pretty quickly. ;-D

1/2 c. applesauce

1/2 c. cinnamon

1/4 c. white glue

1 c.+ flour

Megan’s snowmanMix in all ingredients, then work in as much more flour is necessary to get it to a good play dough consistency. (You may want to turn it out onto the (floured) table to knead in the last of the flour. It will still feel fairly gooey, but should be able to hold a shape. This recipe is traditionally rolled and cut into “cookies” then baked to make delicious smelling ornaments or sachets. It makes the perfect amount to just have fun with. And Meg’s and my hands smelled so good when we were finished, finally messy fun with a great aroma.

the reluctant blogger

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Glad there was a sign to warn us.I don’t know what is wrong with me; we have had a ton going on, but I just haven’t wanted to write about any of it. So my big news:

Megan started preschool: Wahoo! She is taking her time warming up to it, but things have been nuts lately. I am sure she is going to love it. she has the BEST teacher…I am sure there will be more to come on this subject.

I took a great girl’s trip to Oregon with my big sister to help my Mom sort through my little sister’s things. It was emotional and a TON of fun. We laughed and laughed and ate good food (mmm…Tidal Raves. If you are ever in Depot Bay, OR, you have to go!) It was great to spend time with just the girls. We got to be silly and really talk and do all the things that girls tend to do when they congregate withoutAmy and me their children and husbands.

Now I am home and have hit the ground running (as my cute honey is taking some time with the boys–who don’t talk and laugh so much as play golf and video games.)

So now we are all caught up (and I can delete the other 5 posts I have started.) Next week: another project (I am thinking it is time for a clay recipe) and my little brother (in-law) is coming home from a 2-year mission to Norway!!! So, tonight I a will go try to clean up my sorry basement and next week we will be back on track. (As my Mom likes to say: Love ya, mean it, bye!)Mom and Pamela

Happy Birthday Megan!

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megan’s crazy cakeWell, it was certainly a crazy, though fun week for us. Quickly, as promised a report on trying to develop charity. Overwhelmingly, the thing I learned this week is how easily I loose focus and forget about having a deeper purpose to my actions. However, I have to say that there were many really sweet moments when I felt the peace and love that I know my Savior has for me and my feeble efforts. I am going to continue (and I am sure I will continue to shake my head at just how forgetful I am!)a few pics of the kids

It was Megan’s 3rd birthday this weekend and we celebrated! We started at the beginning of the week by running errands and getting things ready for “her friends and big party.” As the week progressed, the excitement built. Then on Friday, she woke up to one of my favorite traditions from my childhood. My Mom would wrap up all of our gifts and pile them on top of the kitchen table. Then throughout the day she would say “I think it is time to open another present!” My Mom always made our birthdays a magical huge production. She is a pro! Megan seemed to enjoy this ordeal as much as I always did. (There is something about the anticipation of looking at all those gifts and thinking about which one will be next.) We didn’t have a cake, but I have always liked the idea of waking up with one like in The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.) We did stick candles in her chicken nuggets.

On Saturday we had her birthday party. We didn’t have a theme, just lots of bright colors. The kids came and decorated big crowns. (Which I cut out of poster board with wavy or zig-zag lines down the middle to create 2 crowns.) They used feathers, yarn, glitter and sequins which I purchased at a craft store. Then we had pizza, chips, and A few more picsfruit and veggies. Next, the kids played duck, duck, goose and we did some finger plays and songs (thank goodness for that preschool student practicum.) and had cake and ice cream and presents. Pretty simple, very fun! Megan is still talking about “my friends” and “my big party.”