Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Transitions - you know, when you move from one stage of life to another - how do you handle them?  We really try our best to celebrate these times within our family.  However, I have to be honest and say I'm having a hard time finding the celebration spirit right now.  Because there are toooo many transitions going on at the same time.  It's so overwhelming for me.  I want to be happy I want to enjoy these times, because they are precious and they are exciting.  But, for this momma heart, they are a little sad too.  I have been trying to fight the sadness, and anxiousness with extra prayer.  Because I want to celebrate!!  I mean these transitions are good and exciting!!

My biggen is going to be a senior, going to be 18 soon.  How is it possible that I am old enough to have an 18 year old son?  God is so good.  Talk of senior pictures, college applications, and such makes me want to run to my hiding place, but I am holding on tight to my trust in The Lord because I know He has a perfect plan for my boy.

My baby girl gets her driving permit tomorrow.  What!?  She is far more excited than I am.  Teaching kids to drive ranks right up there with potty training for me in the list of parenting duties I do not enjoy.  That's why daddy is in charge of the practice driving!  :)  (I mean after all, I did most of the potty training!!)

This kid is entering middle school - 6th grade.  Which for us also means entering the church youth group.  Middle school should be called miserable school, really do any of those kids learn anything amongst all those swirling hormones?? Youth group is such a turning point in their spiritual training because they begin to take the focus off themselves and they learn how to make their faith their own. Really an awesome thing, but he just seems like a little guy to me :).

As I was thinking through getting ready for school, printing supply lists and such, I realized this would be our last year of buying elementary school supplies. Wow, just wow.  This will be our 12th year at this elementary school, the same elementary school.  That alone is a blessing.  Even though many teachers and administration is gone, many are still there.  It's been a good place for my kids :).

You know then there is me adjusting to being a full-time stay at home mom. The summer has not really been a good measure of what it will be like, since I am usually home during the summer. 

So, tell me, are you going through any transitions in your family?  How do you handle them?  Denial, stress, trying to be controlling, prayer?  It is always helpful to share with friends - because then we realize we are not alone!!

Blessings to you in whatever life stage you find yourself!!

Linking up with Kathy at Cornerstone Confessions here
250 Titus 2 Tuesday

Monday, July 29, 2013

And the De-cluttering Continues

So after we tackled the garage, and rested for a few days just to recover, I decided to tackle another space that needed attention.  You see, what helps me stay on task when I am de-cluttering and organizing one space, is that when I decided something needs to be relocated, I just relocate it haphazardly trying to move on as quickly as possible {unless of course that space is already organized then I know where the thing is to go}.  I have mentioned that every corner of my home needs some TLC in the de-cluttering and organizing area so this is the only way I can stay focused and not get caught up doing a whole different project in the middle :).  So, long story short behind this lovely door in my entryway, 

there was this...

{insert horror movie-type scream here}

I don't think I could have stuffed even one more thing in there - well maybe one more ;).  Anywho, as I have done with all the previous spaces, I cleaned EVERYTHING out.  Since we built our "mudroom" I have started using this closet more for storage of a variety of things.  As you can see - paperwork,

Office/School supplies,

Bags - remember I mentioned my obsession with them,

Of course coats and jackets not in use - I know the pile looks large but remember we are six people and it's summer.

I also have some mementos in here because there is room...usually.  

So, after two small bags for charity, two bags of trash, and simply putting things where they actually went, I ended up with this.

I'm super excited that I can now get to the things I will need soon as school gets back underway.  The crate holds extra school supplies, as does the bottom three drawers of the green tower o' drawers.  The top four drawers of this tower I use to hold my kids schoolwork and awards I choose to keep throughout the school year.  

This project only took a couple of hours and will have cost only $10 once I buy another pack of file boxes for all these.  A welcome venture after the garage.  

I have to add that with each space organized I feel like a five pound weight is being lifted from me.  I have always loved organized spaces, but I never really thought it was that important.  But, now I really can see what a difference it can make.  Don't just use the space around you, but rather make it work for you.  

Blessings and Happy Organizing!!

Linking up with Courtney at A Thoughtful Place here

Friday, July 26, 2013

Camp and Kids

Summer camp.  Did you go to summer camp?  I never had the opportunity, but my hubby did.  Our kids have gone every since they were old enough, including a couple of mother/daughter and father/son weekends.  Camps and mission trips for kids are so awesome!!  My kids have such a great time with friends, creating memories and so much more.  But my favorite thing about sending my kids to camp is what it does for their growing spirit.  

Summer camp is a wonderful way for kids to gain confidence.  It gives them the opportunity to be independent in a safe, kid-friendly environment.  They are supervised, but not at the level they are at home.  They are required to take care of their own basic needs for a few days away from mom.  Before leaving for kids camp, our children's minister always asks these questions:  "can you make your own bed?", "can you take a shower by yourself", "can you fix your own hair?".
These are things they will have to do while at camp, and away from mom :). They will also need to make good choices when it comes to food and snacks.  Speaking of choices, they will be making a lot of these all by themselves.  Now, don't panic.  It's okay!!  I promise!!  Most likely, the sponsors that you entrusted your precious one with are not going to let them go too crazy, but they might let them do some things that they wouldn't be able to do at home, and that's ok, that's what camp is for.

Let them go to camp if at all possible.  Letting them go says "I trust you", "I know you can do it", "You will be fine without mom and dad for a couple of days", "You are big enough".  For many mommies, it's much harder for us to put them on the bus, then it is for them to get on the bus.  Take a chance - do it, you won't regret it.

Also, if you are able, go with them.  Not because you want to follow them around and make sure their okay (they will hate that, trust me), but because you want to see what it's all about.  Sharing this with them will create so many blessed memories.  

If you can't go, but you can visit - visit.  Again, not necessarily to check up on them, but to experience a little part of what they are experiencing.  It will bless your heart.

As I am now the mother of older kiddos, I do occasionally get questions from moms of younger kiddos who are just starting the things I have done over and over :).  As our summer camps at church were ramping up, I had more than one momma say to me - "what are your tips for sending kids to camp?".  I would say the same thing every time - let them pack themselves!!

No, I am not insane.  Many camps provide a list of what to bring.  If a list is available - let them have the list.  I started doing this early on, honestly for my own sanity.  My younger two were not alone in wanting to pack way to soon for camp, my older two did as well when they were younger (now they pack an hour before they have to leave).  Rather than argue with them or listen to the begging any longer, I said "fine, here's the list, knock yourself out".

For the first two or three years, I would recommend having them lay everything out (rather than putting it in the suitcase), and then you have a chance to go over the list with them and check for any missing items like underwear and socks - this was what my kids always seemed to forget to put it???  I haven't checked my teenagers bags in years.  Have they forgotten things - yes many times, but you know what they survived, and they didn't forget it the next time :).    My kids are now better packers than I am, and much quicker.

I know some of you are hyper-ventilating right now.  It will be fine.  Their outfits don't have to match -it's camp- nobody expects them to look cute.  It is such a small thing that I promise will give them so much confidence.  It's a good time to teach them tips and tricks - for example my oldest never goes anywhere without packing a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans - because you just never know (even in the middle of July in Oklahoma :)).  In my opinion, there are so many kids out there who will have a hard time adjusting to life on their own, purely because us mommas have done everything for them.  Yes, I know we love to do it - but when are they going to learn if we don't let them.  As my son approaches 18 and "adulthood", I have begun to notice some of these hangups.  Some days I think "yes, he will be fine", and then other days when he is acting helpless, I think "oh my goodness, he is never going to make it".  I have a year, right?  :)

And, just think, if we start letting them do things on their own, we will have all sorts of extra time to do whatever we want!!  :)

Blessings to you!!  Have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tips and Tricks for Garage Organization

This should be the last post on our garage.  But, I thought you might want some details on a few spots. 

First, some general tips for organizing your garage.
#1 keep like things together - one of the most frustrating things about cleaning the garage was how things were all over the place.  For example I found paint supplies in several different locations - and when I got it altogether, there was a lot of it!!
#2 keep as much off the floor as you can
#3 plan spaces for things based on frequency of use and location of use

What works best for me to achieve #1 when organizing a space is to empty out the space.  Don't try to move things around in the space - you will just end up moving things too much.  Empty everything out and make piles - use buckets if you have them, or just use the floor.  There is no real right or wrong categories for sorting - it just needs to make sense to you and your family.  

To achieve #2 we added a couple of shelves to one side of the garage.  We inherited the large shelves that cover one whole side, but the other side was lacking, and we needed something simple and shallow to store homeowner type supplies.  

I also purchased a simple wooden shoe rack for by the door for outside shoes - water shoes, fishing shoes, mowing shoes, you know the ones you never want in the house :).  

We also utilized pegboard in two locations to hold tools - my hubbies tools and garden and yard tools. 

The pegboards got a coat of the blue paint we used on the shelves, just to spice them up a bit.  By this point we were on the home stretch, so I didn't get too decorative with the paint, but I still like the pop of color :).

You can see the garden area got a shelf too, for all those sprays and liquids that you prefer to have up high - this is actually a laundry shelf hung upside down, but it was the perfect size.

Also, hooks, nails, etc. are great to hang things you need easy access to - some frequently used tools, sports equipment, brooms, etc.  

To achieve #3 we took a. lot. of. time. thinking, planning, discussing the location of things.  Because as I said before, we had half-done this project several times, and I really hope to never do it again.  So, the things we rarely need access to - went on the top shelves, then we worked down from there.  Things that we wanted on hand went on hooks on the walls, or on the pegboards.  

As to my inspirations - for paint storage, I loved the idea of the mason jars and being able to SEE the color of paint, however glass and my family is not really a good idea, so I went to my standby plastic containers from walmart.  These will hold about 1/2 gallon of paint.  

I had a few cans that had around 1/4 gallon of paint, so I found some other plastic food storage containers with a screw on lid, and they worked great.  Two tubs for other paint supplies and this is what I ended up with :).

For homeowner type supplies - you know those random home repair items that you have because you had to fix something and you bought way more than you needed so you need somewhere to store it, because you will surely need it again. I again went with CLEAR tubs.  Even though I did label all of these, I still wanted clear tubs, so there was no confusion, and besides I just like the look of them.

As for the cordless charging station...nothing was built, but we did attach a power strip to our work table and rigged up a "table" below for the chargers to sit on.  To be honest when we were going through tools we discovered that only one cordless item would still charge, so not too much to plug in at this time.

I feel very confident that this is going to make a huge difference in how we use this space.  I pulled my car in yesterday finally and there was plenty of room. We could honestly pull both our trucks in but we probably couldn't open any doors :).  Just so nice to have space!!

Maybe you feel stuck right now by all the stuff that seems to be closing in on you.  In our culture today it seems stuff reigns supreme.  I mean seriously storage facilities are popping up everywhere.  Run out of room in your garage? - go rent one on someone else's property.  What is the purpose of collecting stuff?  As my grandma used to say - "you can't take it with you when you die".  I like pretty things, and we all have our things that we must keep for fear we might need it someday - mine is bags.  About a year or so ago I got inspired to clean out our home and our lives of all the excess stuff.  When the stuff is piled up I feel overwhelmed and I just want to bury my head in the sand.  When things are clear and clean I feel relaxed.  How about you?  Do you like stuff or do you prefer space?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Garage of Doom to Organized Happiness

Well, a little more than a month later and my Garage of Doom is D. O. N. E. done!!!  Can you tell I'm a little excited?  I have been forcing myself (and my hubby) out into that now hot garage - seriously why do we always try to do this in the summer - to finish.  You have no idea how many times I wanted to just shove everything back up against the walls and say "good enough".  But, I knew from 11 years of experience that would not do, and we would be right back where we were in a couple of months.  So...we trudged through the massive piles of stuff.  Many things were deemed worthy to be kept.  So, if worthy to be kept, then worthy of it's own special spot - right?  We store A. LOT. of stuff in our garage because we are 6 people in a not-so-big 30 year old home with not a ton of storage inside.  We have an attic, but that is for the things we don't really need easy access to because, well, it's not easy to access.  :)  Enough with the talky, talky and on to the looky, looky!!  If you are anything like me than the pictures are what you are waiting to see :)  I shared with you the before's in this post, so here are the afters!!

 Yes like I said there is still a lot of stuff that we store in here, but man it is organized, and by that I mean like things are with like things, and things make sense to us - things are where they need to be based on the amount of use.  If you follow me on instagram you know I took plenty of in-between/progress photos.  I just needed to see it for myself!!  :)  I will be sharing this week some specific areas of interest but for this post I just wanted to share pics, and some thoughts on the process.  

This all started with me being fed-up with the mess.  I can never find anything!!!  When I put stuff in the garage I never know where it came from so I would just throw it wherever, which just adds to the problem.  We have lived with the garage plan that the previous home owners left us, because honestly it's the garage and I would rather spend my time and energy inside the house ;).  But, when we were honest with each other, it just didn't function for us, and we needed a change.  I mean, seriously, the walls were PINK.

Ya, that color on the left - really?!?  So, we I decided that if we were going to clean the garage we were gonna take it to the next level.  Strip it clean and start over.  So, everything got pulled off the various shelves, and out of the various corners and shoved into the middle.

This is one of the various pics of this process.  There was sooo much stuff in here that we had to work our way around the room digging into one space at a time.  We went through EVERYTHING!!  Sorted EVERYTHING, grouped EVERYTHING, discussed logical placement of EVERYTHING.  We got rid of a lot of things, and relocated some things to their appropriate place elsewhere.  A lot of stuff stayed here and we found the perfect place for it - really I couldn't rest until everything had a perfect place.

As I mentioned I did my best to keep this project on a low budget.  In the end the total cost came to around $220.  Our biggest expense being the shelves that we added above the work bench.  The rest was spent on paint, plastic storage, a few new hooks, and a couple a small shelves.

I'm so satisfied with the results and the time spent!!!  I just keep going out there and looking around - amazed!!!  My hubby and I are exhausted!!!  I'm so thankful for his patient endurance with me to the end.  I'm sure there were plenty of things he would've rather been doing :).  He is a good man!!

Stay tuned this week for some highlights!!

Linking up with Kristen at We Are That Family here
and here with Toni at A Bowl Full of Lemons
One Project at a Time Link party - ABFOL

Monday, July 22, 2013

Garage Inspiration

We have been working tirelessly the past couple of weeks to get this garage project done.  Although I like taking my time and thinking things through and getting things right.  Having a big project like that looming over me keeps me from enjoying myself.  Silly, I know, but hey that's who I am.  I am working on a post to share with you all the loveliness of the completed garage - 99.999% there - but I was thinking I would like to share with you my inspiration.  I have seen many great garage organization posts on the web this summer and I have pinned a few ideas on pinterest as well, of course.  I shared with you before that I had seen some ideas on leftover paint storage.  Aren't these cute?  Same idea implemented by two awesome bloggers.

From Jen at IHeart Organizing
Hi Sugarplum | Organized Garage
and then from Cassie at Hi Sugarplum
Isn't this just the cutest!!  And functional - you can see what color paint it is without opening the container!!

My next favorite thing is clear storage containers with labels for all those odds and ends things that are necessary to have when you are a homeowner, but you never know where to put them, and they always end up in a jumbled mess, and you can never find anything, so you just end up going out and buying more.  (tell me this happens at your house too!)
Organized and labeled storage tubs in plain sight and easy reach seems like a better idea.  Something like this:

from Toni at A Bowl Full of Lemons
Then there is the tools...a pegboard is an obvious solution, and we actually have one of those, but I love how Cassie spiced hers up a bit with some paint :)

Hi Sugarplum | Happy Organized Garage
from Cassie at Hi Sugarplum

I love this idea for the cordless things and their chargers.  Nothing is ever charged, we can never find the charger, and there is never anywhere to plug it in even if we do find the charger.  I think something along these lines would be great.  I cannot find instructions to this, but I think it might be something you could DIY or at least something similar.

Shop organization

Honestly, part of my master plan is to get as much off the floor as possible.  I like the idea of using wall-space like in this pic:

DIY Tips for Your Garage

I know some things just can't be helped, but this is how things get junky.  Everyone in my family, including myself, is in the habit of just throwing things down.  I desperately want to break this habit.  These kids are gonna be grown soon and the least I can do for their future spouses is to teach them to pick-up after themselves :).

Stay tuned to see how it all comes out!!