Friday, 27 January 2012

Hubby's Valentine Love Box

My husband and I started dating 12 years ago, this March. We met in college & became instant friends. I know all guys hate the word 'friends', but we were. We were inseparable and hung out all the time. One day I found out that he had wrote a song for me (ahhhh), and since that day we have been busy creating OUR life together. We got married 8 years ago, this Spring and continue to be best friends all this time later.

A few years ago I wanted to write down as many things, no matter how big or small, to let him know how much I really love and appreciate him. I decided I was going to write these 'items' down on a list in a repetitive form beginning with 'I Love...'. Each little sentence began with 'I Love' and I filled in the blank from there. I included EVERYTHING I could think of like: I Love...when you make me a cup of tea,  I Love...when I get a text message from you in the day, I Love...when you schedule a babysitter for our date, I Love...that I get to watch life draw itself on your face. ANYTHING that you love about your significant other counts. So once I had them all typed up, I cut them into little strips and placed them in a box. Now this box is nothing to write home about, but you could fancy it up if you wanted. I think it is nice and simple & FILLED with the awesomeness. I put a few Valentine stickers on top of the box and wrote 'I Love...'. Start thinking now because once you have to put it to paper, your mind goes completely blank. (Sorry Handsome Hubby)

I wanted to share a pic of the Handsome Hubby, since I'm chin wagon about him, so here he is in ALL his awesomeness:) Thanks for letting me gush about him! Happy Valentine's Day!!

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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Valentine Apple Ladybugs / I'm Not Perfect *sigh*

These are the Apple Ladybugs that I made for my little guys Valentine's Day school party last year. They are pretty simple to assemble, but again, just time consuming. I'm still on the hunt for this years inspiration for party goodness. I'm thinking about doing a heart shaped fruit pizza with all the fruit in the shape of hearts and some coconut for the 'cheese'. I get so excited to do these party snacks for the kids. I have this imaginary hope that I can get all kids around the world to eat fruit, yeah right huh? Ah well, in my dreams at least.
Things you will need:
Apples- I used red delicious. You will need 1 apple for 2 ladybugs.
Chocolate chips
Chocolate icing
A bowl of salt water- This keeps the apples from turning brown. Soak them as you cut them. I fill the kitchen sink up with water and put ~4tbls of salt. Your apples will not taste salty. *Reminder: Don't forget to sanitize the sink before you put all your apples in there.

Cut your apples like this:
3 cuts makes 2 ladybugs, 2 'bodies' & 2 'wings'
Take one 'body' and one 'wing'. Slice into two 'wings'.

Like this!
Remove core with a melon baller. Don't go too deep, you don't want to go through the 'body' layer of your ladybug.
Once soaked in salt water, dry and assemble

Once you have all your apples sliced and soaked in salt water, remove them from water and use a paper towel to dry them off. Place a small amount of icing on the bottom of each one of your 'wings'. Attache to body on a slight angel.

Once you have all your wings attached, place your icing in a ziplock bag and cut the very tip of bag so the icing can be dispensed. See a step by step guide to making your own piping bag at my other post here. Now get your chocolate chips ready and place a small dollop of icing where you want the 'spots' to go and place a chocolate chip on top. Use your icing bag to make little 'antennas' at the base of the head. I just made a hook shape on each side. Once they are complete, place them on some parchment paper and put in the fridge to 'set' the icing. That's it. These ladybugs are ready to party!

Although I would like to pretend that all these treats go off without a hitch, my efforts are not always successful. I once made a batch of Rice Krispie Apples that ended up looking more like pumpkins. I was devastated! Seems silly right? I thought, 'How embarrassing, the kids (& the teachers) won't know what they are, it's a complete failure'.

Why are us mom's so hard on ourselves? These kids aren't going to care what colour my apples turned out, but at the time, I was apologizing to the teacher of my mistake and feeling awful about them. Really, the only person I let down was myself. If I don't expect absolute perfection from others, why do I from myself?

So, with that said, I am NOT going to apologize that the 'apples' are not red. I AM going to try and let the mistake go, as the perfection I try to attain can not be achieved realistically, right?? I am also NOT going to apologize for such trivial things occupying my mind and I am NOT going to say it's not really my fault and blame it on being a Virgo (this only applies for this specific post alone *wink*) I guess I can only be perfect in my dreams...maybe. ;)

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Monday, 23 January 2012

Honey I'm Home

Every home has one, the first place you hit when you enter the house and most likely, if you have kids, the place where everything gets torn off and flung. Same goes here. I was asked how I go about storing my seasonal wear, and since we are at the tail end of organization month (hope you picked up a few tips or at least enjoyed the read;)) it's a perfect blog post. At our house we are currently set up for Winter. It is cold here at the moment but we have been VERY spoiled this year with the lack of snow. Don't get me wrong, I am most likely one of the biggest fans of Winter, but I do have to admit, I have enjoyed not having to lug our crew through the snow as much this year. It has been cold though and we have had to suit up in full gear everyone so often. There are a few key MUST'S to keeping your front entrance as tidy as possible without having to work to hard at it.

First MUST is a bench or seat to sit on for boots & snow pants. We are fortunate enough to have a long front hall and we had enough room to put a church pew here. Again, I went to kijiji and hunted until I found one. It was a steal!

Second MUST is a place to throw your coats. We have a front hall closet, but it is at the opposite end of the hall, not practical. So we hung up some hooks and placed a cabinet for keys, sunscreen, sunglasses or whatever.

Third MUST is a place for the kids. We have placed lower hooks for the coats, snow pants and book bags. This is located right in front of our garage entry, which is our main entrance during the week with all the kidlets. We also have a shorter storage ottoman to sit on and to hold our extra hats & mitts (see picture below). We also have an open bin that is for our regular use hats & mitts, no work required they just get dropped in the bin. 

So what do we do when Spring comes around?? Our coats get switched from the hooks and go into the closet and our Spring coats come out. We switch over our hats & mitts for Spring ones. I place the ones that will still fit next year in the front closet, in a bin labeled 'Winter Wear'. All the excess stuff goes to charity (Goodwill) and the stuff we are keeping for the future goes into large bins in the basement labeled with size & gender. I use my small labels as seen in the side photo, but Jen from IHeart Organizing shared large bin labels which I LOVE. Check them out here. Once I hit the basement to reorganize my totes, I'm adopting this idea. Thanks Jen! I think that about covers our front hall and seasonal organizing. As always, happy organizing!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Mamarazzi Mondays

Starting on Monday I wanted to begin a post where I can share my favorite picture(s) of the previous week from around here. As I have mentioned before I am a bit of a Mamarazzi. My son asks me frequently to stop taking pictures of them. I am still trying to convince him that they are necessary for memories and he will appreciate them later, but he is not buying that just yet. I'll keep working on it. Most of the time I get one of his characters in the photo, a silly face or a monster face or whom ever he is pretending to be at that moment. We are rarely ourselves around here, we wear many hats through out the day. Some of the favorites are The Grinch, Vampires, ANY animal or all in one day, Mommy or Daddy and they LOVE to pretend to be babies. My son plays the baby and my daughter plays the Mommy mostly. Sometimes they switch it up or both become the baby. Anyhoo, pretend is a big part of our day. My daughter is usually ready for the smile & "Cheese!" when far. So these photos may or may not be a character, a silly face or a grin ear to ear, but they will be one or two of my favorite pics from the previous week. WOW, keeping it to two max is going to be HARD, but I can do it! Hope you enjoy a fly-on-the-wall-peek into our week!

I know it's not Monday but I wanted to catch up on the last 5 weeks since I started Lifestyles Of The Stay-At-Home Mom. So for this one time only, I will show you my favs from the last 5 weeks around here. Hope you enjoy!
5 weeks ago, my kidlets snuggling on the couch

4 weeks ago, making gingerbread men & a mess

3 weeks ago, pulling each other in the sled @ Grandma & Grandpa's

2 weeks ago, playing in a box after all the new toys they received from Santa

Last week, finally a beautiful day & snow for tobogganing
 See you next Monday for Mamarazzi Monday!!

Monday, 16 January 2012

The Cloffice

In our master bedroom we have his and hers closets. I don't acquire too many clothes and quiet frankly, I hate to shop! I can't even recall the last piece of clothing I bought myself, it would have been over a year ago. Oh wait, I just bought myself snow pants the other week, does that count? Anyhoo, both my husband and I take up just one closet so that leaves another one free for STORAGE!!! 

This did start out to be my area, but my husband has since taken it over as he likes the height of the desk better. I swear I didn't stuff him in a closet! The desk is an old school desk that I found in my travels and it did have silver legs. I spray painted them black, I think it suits it better. The storage shelf is an IKEA shelf & canvas boxes that used to be in our playroom. I inverted it, labeled the shelves & pushed it back in the corner. Above I have boxes labeled with like things as well as a large bin labeled "To File". This is where all the stuff goes until I have time to file it, which hasn't been in a while. Ah well, it'll be there tomorrow. 

I removed the closet door and hung a tension rode between the door frames to hang my curtains on. This way when we are working in there they get pushed to the side, and closed up when we're done. Quick, go clear out a closet & turn it into a cloffice!

Two more weeks of Organization Month, next week's post, Front Hall Organization.

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Friday, 13 January 2012

A HUGE Thank you to Amanda @ Every Creative Endeavor for Featuring me this week on her blog as part of Organization Week. I am over the moon about this and so honored. MY FIRST FEATURE!!! Thank you to every one who stops by, I will keep the posts coming!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Organizing Toy Central-Part 2

Our Living Room/Play Room
Like I blogged earlier, there are many other places we stash toys around here. Another major source of storage is the ottoman. The ottoman is the most used piece of furniture in the living room. We use it to rest our feet, place a drink down, sit on, build forts from, hang off of & most importantly, play on. But after all that, it still has a very important job to do-hold our stuff. At the moment the ottoman houses the train sets and the tracks. I have the tracks in a bin inside the ottoman. Keeping things in separate compartments helps keep them tidy and lets kids know where things belong instead of in a big heap. Aside from the trains we have some other big items that don't fit in our cubby section.
Just across from the ottoman we have a large wicker basket that we put all of our in-rotation stuffed animals.  The key to keeping things organized and tidy is limiting the amount of things you have out by rotating and keeping things visible. When toys fall to the bottom of huge bins they get lost and forgotten.
 Next we have our reading areas. We are avid readers in this house and I think we have enough books to open a book store. I want my children to enjoy reading and know that they can go anywhere in a book, whenever they want, it's only a page away. We have many areas for book storage, some are up higher in our cubby section for the bigger kids and larger board books are at ground level. Our reading nook consists of a comfy chair and a sling book case. Both of these were purchased at Toys R' Us.
Another stash of books is located on either side of the couch on the side tables. I purchased the basket weave bins from the dollar store and they hold all our smaller board books that disappear on the sling bookcase. 

And lastly our Calico Critter collection. My daughter is only 2.5, and doesn't play with a lot of the little pieces that come with these critters, but the bigger ones she can. I found this paper suitcase at Micheal's and thought it was perfect for all their pieces. 
 Last stop on our toy organization is our dress-up and art centers. Check back soon to see how we deal with those messes. Happy Organizing until then ;)

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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Kidlets Getting Married...Already!

It was back to school around here yesterday. It was a great day, caught up on some things around the house in between all the other little ones running around and was very excited to get to school and pick up my little guy. I sure miss him when he's at school (what am I going to do next year when he goes every day???). We got to school, picked him up and waddled home. On the way we had our usual conversations, 'How was your day?' 'What did you do today?' 'Did you have fun?', all that stuff. It sounded to be a regular kind of day. We got home, took all of our stuff off and headed upstairs for snacks. Once I had everyone settled and sitting, this is what I found attached to my 5.5 year olds shirt!
From Keira, I Will Marry You.

A marriage proposal!!! My son has always been quite the little flirt, if he gets a girl to laugh, that's it, game over. He will spend the next 30 minutes trying to keep her laughing. He is a little joker, it is one of the things I admire about him. I love this age when they are trying to sort out everyone's place in the world. Last week he NEVER wanted to get married because he didn't want to get dressed up for a wedding. Even after explaining that he didn't have to get dressed up, he could have any kind of wedding he wanted, he still wasn't up to the idea. My how things can change in a week, I guess I have a wedding to plan ;) Check out what he said when I asked him about marriage here.

Monday, 9 January 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you soo much to Melissa Yee at World According To Mommyee for presenting me with my very first blogger award! Check out her new blog about being a Mommy of 1.5, a wife and her day to day life.

The rules for the Versatile Blogger Award are as follows:

1. Thank the award giver and link back in a post-Check
2. Share 7 random things about yourself-Check
3. Pass this award along to as many as 15 blogs you enjoy reading and let them know about the award!-Check

Here's 7 things about me!

1. I love Mary Poppins, in every way.
2. I love potatoes in any form and could consume them at every meal.
3. I am a pillow flipper.
4. I vow to go to my grave without receiving a traffic ticket, it scares the poop out if me.
5. I think my Grandma is one of the coolest people I know.
6. I have been asked if I am Southern, ALOT, even though I have been born and raised Canadian and have never visited the South. (Maybe I was a Southern Belle in a past life!)
7. I have zero sense of direction, although I believe I do.

Okay, now I need to pass this award onto a max 15 bloggers! I am very new to the blog world so I haven't had the change to dig to far into some of these blogs, but they are ones I have found and enjoy and plan to dig deeper into in the near future. I have taken away something from each one of these blogs and find them helpful & inspiring!

The Awards Go To:

1. -This is the first blog I ever started following. It is a great blog about DIY House Renos
2. -When I started making fun food for my kids, this is the blog I stumbled upon often to find inspiration, she's amazing!
3. -This is the first Mommy Blog I started following and the inspiration for my blog. She is also the creator of Mommy School, check it out!
4. -This is the blog for Tania DeJong, Multi Media Designer & creator of my button!
5. - Great Crafty blog
6. - Another great Craft blog & Link Parties!
7. - Great recipes, crafts & all round great Mommy Blog!
8. -Decor & DIY blog
9. - I love her printables!
10. -A great Mommy Blog!
11. - Crafty Mom blog, she has some great ideas.
12. - An Awesome Dad Blog, first I love that he's a Dad blogging about his family and secondly this is a great blog on all kinds of levels!
13. -Great educational Mommy Blog.
14. -Organization, crafts & more.
15. -Mommy time out! I have these, they require a cup of tea and a quiet place.

Thank you to everyone!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Motherboard

Every mother has some way of running their household, be it from your purse, a drawer, a filing system or the trunk of the car, we all have some kind of system we have worked out that works best for us. Unless of course your system isn't working for you at all, then you've stumbled into the right place. This is the space I run our home from, I call it the Motherboard ;)

I have two main places that I have set up in my kitchen that have everything at my fingertips to get me through the day with out having to think about much other than my family. I don't have to think about what's for dinner, or what I have to clean on what day, or what's going on at school, or what we have planned for the day. That just SOUNDS exhausting. It's all right here in front of me for a quick glance and then onto the day. 

The two main places are my desk and the fridge, which are right beside one another.  Above my desk is my bulletin board. This is where my Chore List, Menu Planner, To Do, To Pay, To File & Coupons live. 

At the top of my board is the Chores List. I first seen this idea here, and thought it was such a great idea to break up cleaning into days so you have your weekends free to play. I decided to make my own Chore List steming from the original idea, you can find my printable templates here. This is how it works, everyday you focus on the section in your house where you are scheduled to clean (Monday through Friday), you get as many things done as you can, I try to dedicate at least 30 minutes a day and the rest waits until the next week. The daily chores I break up into the day, whenever I can squeeze them in. *Note: I do not accomplish everything every day, the purpose is to create MORE time not less. Do what you can, it will still be there tomorrow. I have laminated my list and I cross each one off with a dry erase marker as they get completed, it makes me feel happy, Mommy-1, Chore-0!

Next I have my menu planner, I found this particular template here. I really like just organizing our dinners instead of every meal during the day at the moment. I have in past listed all meals and I tend to bounce back and forth between both systems. When I get tired of one, I switch to the other.

At the bottom of my bulletin board I have my four envelopes that I cut off at one end. I downloaded a label template and pasted my four label names of: To Do, To Pay, To File & Coupons. If you search 'free printable lables', tons of different labels appear for you to choose from. I stapled the envelopes to the board and they were done.

Siting on my desk I have an organizer where I keep my stationary, magazines and my Household Management Notebook, this particular one I purchased from Home Sense. I found the template for my notebook cover page here. Inside my notebook I have all my compartments for things I use on a regular basis. I purchased the folder from the dollar store and broke out my labeler and away I went.

Lastly is my fridge. This is where I keep my Mom's Ultimate Family Fridge Calender, which I don't think I could survive without. Since I found this product, I anticipate the arrival of the new one each fall, it cycles by the school year, how genius! I tape the monthly school calender that comes home with the kidlets underneath the family calendar (not seen in photo). Also under the family calendar, you can see two other charts. The top one is where we keep track of our 'Caught You Being Good' tally chart which I will blog about in the near future. Below that is our house rules. I used to hear from my son that he 'forgot the house rules' when he did something he wasn't supposed to, so I decided to post them on the fridge so I wouldn't hear that anymore. It is right at their level, they can take a look at it when they do forget and it is a good tool to use when I think they are getting close to breaking the rules. I send them to check them out and remind themselves. I also laminated these charts and the printable version for the House Rules can be found here.

That's it! That's how we run things around here and a lot of the time, they run themselves! Happy Organizing!

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Friday, 6 January 2012

My New Button

I wanted to give a big THANK YOU and shout out to Tania DeJonge of A Driven Design for designing my new button. Check out her website as well as her Facebook page where she is aiming to hit 200 likes!

Ok, back to our regular scheduled programming ;)

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Lego Organization aka Lego Sanity

Next stop on our journey...Lego. If your house is anything like our house, you have Lego popping up in every corner. We do not seem to misplace many pieces because our cat is not so sly when she tries to steal them. We hear them drop and off we go running to rescue them. We don't catch every piece and they have been found in bedrooms, front foyer, kitchen, wherever. My mission: save as many Lego pieces as possible and find some sanity. I knew for Christmas my little guy was getting Lego, but I was unaware of the magnitude. My fault really, I told everyone he LOVES Lego. No worries though, I had a plan that just needed expanding and still has room to grow in the future. This is our new Lego area.

First I purchased an IKEA table off of Kijiji. I knew I wanted an IKEA table (for size) but I don't have one near me, closest one is two hours away-no thank you. Kijiji never fails when in need! So for a mere $5.00 I had my table. I painted it black and purchased one of the Lego building bases from Toys R' Us. I used an all purpose adhesive caulk that I found at the hard ware store and glued it on top. I know you may have seen all sorts of different types of converted Lego tables, you can find them swarming the internet, but I needed a neat and compact way to store the Lego. I wanted something small, that I could mount on the wall and had lots of compartments to try and keep things slightly organized.
I found these nuts & bolts organizers that are meant for the garage or a work bench.

They are perfect in size and are mountable. I started out with two but after gaining 1250 pieces of new Lego this year, I needed another one. I found them at Solutions in the garage section. This is a time consuming project but once it's done it should be relatively easy to sweep through and clean up every now and then.
I pulled all the compartments out and sorted by type.

Like things went together in the bins (people, wheels, accessories, windows etc.) and I was done. I measured and marked the wall where I wanted the bins to go, anchored some screws and hung bins. If you have never anchored something to the wall before, this is a good place to start doing it, especially with little hands running the ship, you don't want this being pulled down. In the future there is potential to add more bins if need be.

So far, so good. My little guy loves his new Lego area and I don't hear the sound of all the Lego being dumped out on the table in one heaping mess. There is Lego sanity in the house right now, it's wonderful!

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