What I wake up to on Mondays….

This past Monday I woke up and was going to do a video blog of the shape my house was in, I chickened out!!  What I should have done was take shorter video clips of my productivity during the day, it would show how we go about accomplishing things in our day.

Usually the weekends are NOT spent cleaning  and keeping things in order.  Even though I do try and maintain some sort of order, I do not want the only time my husband is home spent cleaning.  Plus I would love to get back to doing NOTHING unimportant on Sunday.  God does say it is a day of rest.  I do know that we are ALL in different seasons of life and when I had many little ones, if I deviated from the schedule, even on a Sunday, my Mondays would amount to double the workload and it was hard.  But I do know that my life HAS gotten easier and I CAN have more of a relaxing time on Sunday.  So for you Mom’s of little ones, remember that even if it feels like your seasons have gone on for weeks, maybe months, or sometimes years—life will get easier!!!

My kitchen…….wasn’t looking too badly, the counters had a few items out of place but not a crazy amount.  I am learning the power of LESS.  Less items to complicate my lifestyle, less items to pick up each day, less items to create clutter in my home.  Blog post coming soon!!:)

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Dishes, the unexplainable amount of dishes.  Even if we wash AND put away the dishes after every meal I still am amazed at the amount of dishes we use.  We of course have snacks at night time and that can lead to many more, on this particular Monday, I was pulling out leftovers from the refrigerator to be heated up for lunchtime and that is the reason for so many. Now the sink was ready for breakfast dishes to accumulate.  IMG 20141117 070927 300x168 What I wake up to on Mondays....

Here was the laundry pile.  I haven’t gotten a plan down that I like for laundry just yet.  We keep 2 hampers, one in the boys bathroom and one in the girls bathroom every Monday and Thursday I drag them out and separate them on the floor–darks, lights, towels, and work clothes.  As the piles get smaller, I know I am almost done!!  This morning I started the loads at 7 am and put the last load in at 7 pm at night. I diligently kept the washer and dryer rotating, oh how I miss my larger washer and dryer.IMG 20141117 070940 300x168 What I wake up to on Mondays....Our home is equipped with a washer and dryer. Even though we have a much LARGER high efficiency washer/dryer that washes  laundry at a much faster rate, I decided for now to put them in the garage for storage and use the ones provided.  Less wear and tear on mine, plus will keep me on my toes for doing laundry regularly.

As we were putting laundry away, I had each child count the amount of outfits that they were hanging up.  I said that it has been only 3 days since our last laundry day, why is it that you have 6-7 outfits that you are hanging up?  I let them know we were going to work on not wasting so much of the laundry time to clothing that was not dirty.  That will help us ALL to be more effective.

 

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KOMBUCHA…….Oh  how I have missed drinking kombucha. I brought all of my SCOBYS with me but it has taken some time to help build back up our stash.  Here I was making 3 new gallons of starter and turning my 2 gallon container to a second ferment with fruit.  I know there are not any “miracle” foods out there, but I do believe in foods and drinks helping us.  I KNOW my body and energy level benefits hugely from drinking kombucha regularly.  I am also careful to mix that with a good diet and regular exercise.

Then it was time for the children to wake up and start their days.  They had breakfast and chores then it was time for school.IMG 20141117 100720 168x300 What I wake up to on Mondays....

We were able to glide back  into school fairly easily.  We usually start in the morning and by lunchtime most of them are finished.  In the afternoon I like to have them do some extra reading or we watch educational videos to enhance learning.

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I usually do ALL of my baking on Wednesdays, but this particular Monday the children were a little more full of energy and it was too cold to go outdoors.  We decided to mix up a batch of pretzel dough and let the children create.IMG 20141117 132952 300x168 What I wake up to on Mondays....

They had fun making letters for everyone, we even had some “blobs” and snakes.  Good fun plus educational:)

After this we cleaned things up and had dinner ready.  Dad came home and we ate together.  Let me share, that is probably one of the greatest blessings that we have received by making the move down here.  In Michigan my husband worked long hours and had a long drive home each evening.  We almost NEVER had meals together.  I would sometimes pray and long for “family” meal times but knew it just wasn’t for our situation.  But God heard that prayer and desire and answered it.  Since living here in North Carolina, we eat almost always every dinner together as a family.  A strange thing for us, but enjoyed by all.  Dad’s job is 15 minutes from home.

Desiring a lifestyle change?  God WILL give you the desires of your heart.  Pray and diligently seek Him and He will be faithful.

Modge podge photos on wood a diy inexpensive photo hang

 

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I have had this idea to Modge Podge my children’s photos onto a piece of wood and hang them in our living room for over a year now.  I took photos last year of everyone at the beach and I was never completely happy with the photos that I took.  We had many little ones and some were not cooperative at all for the photo taking ceremony.

Well this past summer, all that changed.  We took all of the children for a photo shoot to the lake right down from our home.  It took about an hour and we had everyone’s photos completed, I was super happy.

After we arrived here in our new home, I knew I wanted to have them done for our walls.  I already had them printed off months earlier when they had a good deal online.  I picked up a piece of pine wood from our local Home Depot and got to work.  I had my husband cut the boards into 10 inch lengths to fit my photos.

 

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I then joined him in the garage and stained the edges.  I am not a perfectionist when it comes to neat staining as you can see:)  But it did not matter because all you would see are the edges.

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I then wiped a thin layer of Modge Podge onto the back of the photo so that it would stick to the wood.  I have always bought the matte kind but all the store had was glossy.  I think it turned out nicely with this type.IMG 20141117 153132 300x168 Modge podge photos on wood a diy inexpensive photo hangI then proceeded to wipe Modge Podge onto the photos.

IMG 20141117 153138 300x168 Modge podge photos on wood a diy inexpensive photo hangI wiped in the same direction the glue.  Be careful not to let it accumulate over the edges.  It is okay to get some on the edges it will just try shiny, but we had one spot that accumulated a ridge of glue and it dried like that.  Thankfully you cannot see it when it is hanging but just an FYI for you.

IMG 20141117 153334 300x168 Modge podge photos on wood a diy inexpensive photo hangI put one coat on them and let them semi dry.  They will appear clear.  I then put about 3 layers of glue on the wood.  It is okay if it dries and it looks like spots on it.  Those will dry eventually too.

I let them dry overnight and attached hanger hooks to the backs.  We then hung them up to view.

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I am waiting for an “All because two people fell in love” sign from our family business to put among these photos.       IMG 20141118 120747 168x300 Modge podge photos on wood a diy inexpensive photo hangThis is a great inexpensive DIY photo hang.  It looks great and very clean and simple on the walls.

Exercising on the mountains…..again?!?!?!

I apologize I posted this last weekend and accidentally had “private” clicked.  I have since fixed it and am reposting our time that we went walking on the mountains for exercise.  Just a short silly video of us.

Freezing eggs for baking….is it possible???

Can you actually FREEZE eggs and use them at a later date????  Well before we moved we had about 20 dozen eggs stored in a cooler to use up before we made the trek to our new home.

We ate eggs at almost every meal, I was determined to make us sick of fresh eggs, because I knew once we moved, we would have to find a source for eggs and that would probably be awhile we would probably have to resort to—–do I dare say it????  store bought chicken eggs!!!  I know gross, and we have had them since and I am ever so grateful for the good, rich, wholesome non bleaching looking eggs that we once had.  In time, God will provide.

IMG 20141023 174250 300x168 Freezing eggs for baking....is it possible???Well, we ate eggs, for many of our meals.  Then I decided we have to try freezing these eggs to bring with us and use in baking items.  I have read on the internet where you could do it but have not personally done it, until now.

IMG 20141023 174502 300x168 Freezing eggs for baking....is it possible???I started out by cracking them into a mixing bowl and beating them before we poured them into the ice containers.  I would say that each cube holds about 1 1/2 eggs.

IMG 20141023 175001 168x300 Freezing eggs for baking....is it possible???I put them in the freezer and let them freeze.

IMG 20141024 230914 168x300 Freezing eggs for baking....is it possible???I found that if I let them partially thaw, it was much easier to pop them out of the ice cube trays.  I used a fork and slipped it into one side of the tray and flicked it upward to remove the cube.  They didn’t come out like an ice cube would but I just took the time to “flick” them out.

I put them in freezer bags and stuck them in the back of my freezers.  I traveled with them 700 miles and it was cool.  We arrived 20 hours later and did not plug it in until around 30 hours.  Everything stayed frozen solid.

My daughters have since done baking by making brownies and we thawed the cubes before mixing them and noticed no difference. I look forward towards using my “baking eggs” over the next few months.

Try it, a great way to use up leftover eggs!!!!

My frugal accomplishments for the week #6

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I am trying to get back to a normal blogging routine especially after making this move.  I  thought I would start by filling in some posts from my weekly series.

Frugality for me has been at an all time high these last few weeks.  If anyone is dealing with too much “stuff,” I recommend making a move across the country and ONLY being allowed to fit all of your personal belongings into a 25 foot long moving truck.  Talk about being frugal!!!

When I think of myself, I think of myself as a minimalist.  When you call a person a minimalist, you’re describing their interest in keeping things very simple. A minimalist prefers the minimal amount or degree of something.  But then, I started going through all of the things that I own to decide what to keep for packing and what goes to the donate pile.

I started in my kitchen, noticing how many pots I had, how many baking dishes I had and how many plastic bowls I owned.  This one was for that one time, someone wanted to make eggs and this bowl was for the one time we needed to mix up multiple things and needed it.  I had to start somewhere in getting rid of things.

In my new kitchen, I was able to store all of our items that we use everyday along with our pantry full of food which would probably last us about 3 months.

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I kept the 2 big stock pots that I use and one small pot for melting things as we don’t use the microwave.  I had a few frying pans and decided that I did not need them and I just kept my chicken fryer which I can fry eggs in anyways.  It isn’t too often that one person makes breakfast for them self.

On the bottom I have my cupcake pans, which we use to make muffins in.  I also had bought some new baking pans off a recommendation from my friend who has a much larger family than myself.

 

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She recommended getting these pans.  I think they are called chafer pans?? Not sure on the correct names, but if you have a wedding or party they use these with the lighted fuel underneath them.  They are cheap and durable.  It has replaced my glass baking pans which I had to use a couple for our size family.  These work great and clean very well.  IMG 20141118 191628 300x168 My frugal accomplishments for the week #6

My dishes have since been replaced.  We used to have the divider cafeteria style plates which worked great for all the little ones but I wanted something smaller to make washing easier.  I did not know Walmart sold this type of plate and was so pleased to find them, again thanks to my friend:)

I need plates that would not break and since all of my other plates have broken over the years I wanted the restaurant kind that would stand the use from our family.

I love my new plates, cereal bowls and small bowls for applesauce or yogurt.  The speckled ones are probably my very favorite for serving a meal that can be all mixed together.  We call them our blates  bowl + plate.  I have a set of restaurant style cups so that they won’t break.  A coffee cup for each adult and that is all we need.

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I picked up 2 of these matching bowls for serving.  That way we have a “nicer” set for us or company.IMG 20141118 191738 168x300 My frugal accomplishments for the week #6

I still did my baking cupboard and it is smaller than my older one.  It holds measuring cups, mixer, food processor, bread pans, strainer, small mixing bowl, strainer for kombucha, applesauce strainer, rolling pin–which I almost gave away but thankfully brought it.  Very hard to roll out things without a rolling pin!!!IMG 20141118 191826 300x168 My frugal accomplishments for the week #6I kept my big stainless style mixing bowl for bread and popcorn and acquired this taller one from Sams Club.  Inexpensive, it is nice for mixing as everything doesn’t fly out of it as you mix it.  Another recommendation from friend:)

I bought a big roll of aluminum foil and have that along with a box of plastic bags for freezing.  I plan to wash and reuse my bags as I always do.

We have a drawer that fits our silverware in it and smaller tools.  I store my bigger spoons in my chicken holder on the counter top.

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The only other cupboard is our plastic cupboard and that is filled.  I have all my containers for freezing foods in.  Since we downsized a freezer I have a bunch.  I know we will be using them and don’t want to waste the plastic.  I have about 6 bigger plastic containers from Goodwill that I have collected over the years to hold baked goods.  That way I won’t use plastic baggies.

I only have a popcorn popper and toaster that didn’t make it in the photos.  Everything else went.  Makes for a much easier kitchen time.  I don’t spend the hours washing dishes after each meal or constantly organizing cupboards.

As for the rest of the home, we have basics. It was great to get rid of the things that we did.  We even pitched some toys that I was constantly picking up and thought my children would eventually play with.  I realized they played better when they had only a few toys.

The children are even very creative when they only have crayons, paper, and scissors.  No need for extra frilly craft items.  Those items are fun but just lead to more mess and clean up.

Our food eating has been more frugal lately too as we have been eating up the foods that we had frozen.  Lots of tomatoes, corn, and applesauce.  After moving here, we ate more from our pantry as we are learning more of the better stores to go to.  I am grateful we stocked our pantry because it has been a good time to eat from it.  My younger girls are enjoying baking and that helps to fill the gaps for food.  I am thankful that I came with a full freezer.

Oh speaking of freezer, another frugal accomplishment this week was to remake our freezer.  In this home, we don’t have a basement like we did in our old home.  It has a basement/garage but in North Carolina its more carved out of a mountain.  I didn’t want the hassle of having to walk outside to grab a freezer food, so we put it in the home part.  Now my freezer was a basement old freezer.  Rusty and definitely not pretty.  My husband said he would paint it.  But that would require us moving it outside again to spray paint it. I really did not think that would happen so I started pinterest looking.  Couldn’t find what I really wanted but saw how someone used electrical tape and made designs on it.  I have all of our photo collages that I needed to put somewhere so I decided to put them on my freezer with the electrical tape.

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Ok now it might not make it into a magazine spread, but for someone who has to look at it everyday and didn’t have a lot of money to transform it, I think it is going to work. IMG 20141118 201824 168x300 My frugal accomplishments for the week #6

I did my photo collages last year and had them on our walls, this home didn’t have as much wall space for them so it worked out great.IMG 20141118 201838 300x168 My frugal accomplishments for the week #6My husband bought a pack of electrical tape at Harbor Freight for like $5, I still have 3 rolls left.  A very inexpensive freezer makeover!!

Hope you enjoyed my frugal accomplishments last week.  Be blessed, Amy