Sunday, July 25, 2010

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

So anyone that knows me will read this post and think, "Am I at the right blog?" I am not known for my organizational skills. So I was most surprised when I got it in my head that I should reorganize our pantry. I was inspired by THIS post. Seriously if this post can inspire ME to take this project on then it will inspire ANYBODY! Now that I think about it this post could have had several different titles, "Enough is Enough", "How Did We Live Like This?", "Channeling My Inner OCD" or the one that kept popping into my head "Why did I buy so much stinkin' aluminum foil?" I tackled this problem area of our house for 2 reasons 1) for myself. I need some type of order in my life right now. Some type of order where 2 adorable children can't come behind me and mess it up (i.e. where there is a door that I can keep closed and 2) for my husband. I happen to marry a guy whose "Love Language" is acts of service. Which is a real bummer because I'm pretty lazy in that area. I would have rather his love language be gifts because I'm a rock star in that area but it's not. So this project was to show him my love in a sense. And as I got further into it I realized that this really was a labor of love. And I also realized that you don't need to spend gobs of money to get good storage. So with out further ado, the Before and After. And I must tell you don't be judgin' our before pictures. I really didn't realize it was this bad. But this will give you a good sense of the transformation that took place!

The Before Pantry in all its glory

Oh the Shame!Need I go on with the Before pics?I call this one "Holy snikeys we DO have a bottom floor to the pantry!"

And now I present to you our new and improved pantry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ain't it a thing of beauty? I bought 2 crates ($3 each at Walmart) to store chips on the left and another crate (not pictured) to store all of my baking stuff  that doesn't fall under the "staples" category.

Oh how I wanted about 20 of those lovely apothecary jars to put everything in and a label maker that would print out fancy labels...... BUT then I got over it and found another way.
My bro Burke gave us an amazing canister set for our wedding and its finally being put to excellent use. And the labels? Printed out on the computer and "laminated" with clear packing tape.

Here are all of the bulky cereal boxes that used to take up lots of space in our pantry.

New and Improved. I condensed it down to 3 cereals and found these awesome cereal storage containers at Walmart  for $3 each. No more labels at this point.  I was kind of freaking myself out. I had about 3 other cereals that were left over so I just rolled them up and put a clothespin on them to seal them and set them to the side of the containers.
I also used mason jars for storage. And that spaghetti container is actually for bread storage. Another Walmart find for $5.The kids snack shelf. A trifle bowl for their applesauce and fruit cups and those nifty cereal containers for their goldfish and animal crackers. I used that basket on the right for popcorn, nutrigrain bars and oatmeal packets. I love these containers. They were a $1.50 each at where else? I decided to just bite the bullet and throw away all of the spices that are expired. If you are like me this will free up ALOT of space and you will end up with not a whole lot of spices. ;)
After I was done with the pantry I decided to take the craziness up a notch and tackle our junk cabinet. Do you see all of the spices on the second row. Yeah most of those are gone now. Tackling this bad boy was liberating.
The glorious AFTER pic. At this point I was really scaring myself. But I didn't stop until I organized the 2 infamous junk drawers right below this cabinet. I do have to confess that the pantry transformation was made possible because I have alternate storage in our laundry room. I cleared out the 4 shelves in there (another amazing feat on its own trust me. I wouldn't put you through the before pics on that one) and used ONE shelf for canned goods and things like crackers and things that we don't use as often. I even have one empty shelf  just sitting there looking all pretty in its sparseness. I used the top for storing paper towels and toilet paper. And then another shelf for saran wrap, aluminum foil (I found 3 rolls! and I thought I had none! It's amazing what you will find.), zip loc bags, and garbage bags. On the same shelf I put all of our medicines. No more rifling through the junk cabinet (see above before pic) at 3 am for the Childrens' Tylenol.
My one prayer for this transformation is that we can keep it this way for .....oh let's shoot for 6 months. Time will tell.  

More Rednecks

My brother, his wife and 2 boys came through to visit on their way to a wedding in Kansas. I never had cousins because my Mom and Dad were only kids so to see my kids form bonds with their cousins is so special to me. The boys are so good with them as you will see. I don't get to see my family often so it's always so special to me when I have the chance.

Getting a lift from cousin Caden....All the way into the house!Love this pic of Tabor and KateLove this one of Caden and Carson. My brother is such a great uncle. me and TaborMe and CadenLove the look on Carson's face. "Are you sure?"Love this girl. My sister in law Kelly I always tell my brothers that it wouldn't kill them to smile in a picture.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chaos and Contentment

I got this sweet cuddling experience last week. So glad that Jared was able to have it also. He had just come home from work. You can see the exhaustion in his eyes. Even when he's smiling. On Tuesday night we went on a date night! Woo hoo! Clash of the Titans was at the $1.00 theater so it fit into our budget. ;)Love this picture of our boy sleeping. Ankles crossed as always. Even in the womb. :)Usually I cook recipes that require minimal time. But Thursday night I went all out and really took the time and chose a long recipe. With lots of ingredients as you can see above. It was a journey but the destination was Buffalo chicken mac and cheese. By far the best mac and cheese I have ever tasted. So worth the time and effort!As a cheese lover this is my idea of heaven on earth!This is my favorite time of day. Right before it becomes dark. When that last bit of day light is being crowded out by night. I call it the "gloaming." And there is a beautiful Irish song about it. Jared and I used to play golf after work pre baby days. And we would play until this point in the day. I always thought it was so beautiful. When you take a picture at this point in the day (I think it is a 30-40 minute window) your camera will always catch this lovely shade of blue. I love this picture looking into our kicthen. You can see the blue light bouncing off of the doors. So peaceful to me. Just for me! I picked up this cute little border print in the clearance bin at Hob Lob. Just a simple elastic skirt but for a girl that wears neutrals like a uniform I was branching out with these bright colors. And that hot pink sash? What a daredevil!That's my kids in a nutshell lately. They are always searching for something. I think they were looking for a ball!I call this one "Girly Gilligan." This girl loves hats. We got this for her when she was 6 months old to wear at the pool. She STILL wears it and it still looks as cute as ever if I do say so. Can you believe the doc was worried about this boy's weight when I took him for his 18 month well visit? At 21 lbs he is in the 25th percentile for his age but sheesh look at those legs!!! I'm so NOT worried!What did parents do before swim diapers?!!?! Check out the side view of Carson's diap after he sat in the plastic baby pool. Good grief! Now that's a load of water!Check out the reflection (if you can see past the fingerprints!) Had to get that 10 lb diaper off!Check on the garden. Lovely and tame 45 days ago. And the garden now. Watermelon and pumpkin vines threatening to overrun our back yard. I told Jared it was like a bad B movie. When Vines Attack!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Because I Don't Want to Forget........

Just some things that the kids have been saying and doing lately. I love that this blog is our scrapbook. A memory book that can last forever. I don't know if it will actually happen but I sometimes think that Carson and Kate will look back at this blog and may be have a glimpse at what life was like when they were  little ones. A look in to what their Mommy was thinking and feeling during this time. I know I always wondered. And my Mom could relay a lot of stories but to see it in pictures  and stories will be me at least. ;) Some happenings lately........

- When we are in the car a song will come on and I will hear her little voice from the back seat say, "Mommy?" Me: "Yes Kate?" K: "Do you like this song?" Me:"Yes Kate, I like this song very much. " K:"I like this song to."

- Last week I was rocking Carson a little before bedtime and Kate was puttering around the room when she crawled into my lap. Her head was on my chest and Carson's head was on my right shoulder and then Kate reaches her little hand over to rest on Carson's back. One of the most precious moments of my life.

- Last week Kate hit my nose on accident. What did she say? "Sorry boogers!"

- Carson has the most thankful heart. Every time he is given something (or even when he's not) he pipes up with "thank you!" and he will say thank you! over and over again UNTIL you say, "You're welcome!" Once you say "You're welcome!" he feels like he can go about his day.

- When we were at the Dr's office last week Carson took my phone which I had told him he could not have. He kept saying, "Thank you!" but I wouldn't say "You're welcome." so he would not play with it. He was sad because he did not get the "You're welcome." go ahead

- Kate is teaching Carson everyday although I told her that we would have to work on her pronounciation before she started teaching him words. As she showed him a picture of a lion last week and emphatically told him, "Carson! WI-ON!"

- As I was trying a dress on Kate last week she kept saying "too small Mommy!" before I even put it over her head. She was right.

- Before her nap and bedtime Kate and I burrow under the covers in our bed for 10 minutes. It's our special time to sing and talk. I cherish it.

More to come as I think of them.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Week in Review- Creatively Speaking

So once again I used sewing as my outlet this week with my man at work in some far away west Texas town. Everyday I pray that there will be a rig open in DFW so that he can come home every night. Kate has started to really notice that he is gone. "Where Daddy?" is a constant question around here. "He's at work." I say. Not 5 minutes later, "Where Daddy?" Oh, sweet girl! And she's not the only one. Jared misses us terribly when he's gone. I try to fill him in through text message and our broken conversations due to the poor cell phone reception but of course it's not the same and it really tears at his Daddy heart.

Alright on to the projects. For awhile now I have been wanting to make a quilt and possessing no real quilt making skills I have been searching for an easy beginners quilt. I found it here with THIS tutorial.  If you can sew a straight line you can make this quilt. This quilt was not hard skill wise but it was labor intensive. I can't even imagine how labor intensive an authentic quilt is. This project only reinforced what I already knew. If you are ever blessed enough to have someone make a quilt for you just know this: they love you VERY much because it is quite the ordeal.

I have been wanting a camera strap cover for my camera because basically I am attached to it so why not make it pretty? So the other day, I played around with some fabric and a ribbon. Here was my result. I will keep tinkering with it, but I got the basic idea of what I was trying to achieve.
Oh I love this last project the best because it was easy, simple and cost me nothing! I used THIS tutorial to create the cutest little bandana skirts for Kate. Jared used to wear these bandanas  to work (don't worry! they were thouroughly washed) and he stashed them in the drawer. So I comandeered them when I came across this tutorial. Nothing is safe in our house from making into an item of clothing. :) Bandanas for the top part of the skirt and scrap fabric for the hem. It took me 30 minutes to make these skirts woohoo! Fast, free and fun!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ironically Made During Nap Time

So I realize that the kids preschool doesn't start for awhile but it occurred to me that Carson J didn't have a nap mat. And considering the fact that I bought Kate's nap mat ONE day before school started last year I thought I would get a bit of a jump on Carson's mat since being a 2nd kid he naturally gets the raw end of the deal. And to up the ante  I decided to make one for him.I found this great tutorial and wouldn't you know it? By the end of his nap time I had made him a nap mat. He was pleased as punch that I actually made something for HIM. I mean let's face it, girls are more fun to sew for, but I had a blast putting this together for my boy. He picked out the fabric himself (good choice eh?) This is a premium nap mat. It's got 2 inches of padding and the fabric is a soft flannel. Oh and did I mention that it has a built in pillow and and a soft minky blanket? Hello! I am currently researching how to make a Mommy version of this nap mat.;) And he looked so cute all covered up when he gave it a test run.When we started up the stairs for bed tonight he started dragging it towards the stairs. Now that's a compliment!

It even has its own carrying strap!

I know what you're thinking. Could he be any cuter??I mean, I think he likes it. I just can't tell! :)Before long Kate started getting in on it and pushed Carson right out.  I hadn't really planned to make her one since I bought her one last year. But she loved it so much. And then we went to Hobby Lobby and saw this on sale.....And then I saw this sweet little print and well....twist my arm. Miss Kate will get one to!

God has said, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:5-6