Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Operation DD (Declutter and Decorate) Part 2

     Well! This has been a lot more work than anticipated! But, it feels fantastic to get all this done. If you haven't read part one of this series, you can check it out by clicking on the tab in the right.
     First off, here are some pictures of our master bedroom after the first part of my mission ( the decluttering that is) I also rearranged a bit and I'm trying to figure out what I'd like to do on that big open wall, hence the pictures stacked against the wall.

Don't you love our Valentines quilt :)

Can't wait to add some colour to these rooms or something to break up all the wood!
I've tried with bedding and light coloured tables, but what do you think?

Still have to clean my camera lens I see!

And on to my next project I worked on yesterday, the girls' room!
I forgot to take before pictures (oops) but I'll give you a mental picture. Clothes strewn all over the floor, closet, beds etc, paper littered everywhere, barbies and littlest petshops everywhere, basically it was a pig sty!  I purged like crazy with their clothes and toys, took all the barbie stuff out of there (they hardly ever play with them except in the bath) rearranged the room, took out two large pieces of furniture (a desk and dresser) and it feels so wonderful in there now, so relaxing and not overwhelming.

This is looking from the door to Nyla's side.

From in front of the closet to Cady's side.

From Nyla's bed to door.

And the closet of course, still have some laundry and a bit of purging to do. Nyla's stuff is all to the right and the turquoise (her fav colour)  bin has her pj's and Cady's is all the the left with the pink bin (her fav colour)
I'm hoping to bring some more of their favorite colours into this room with some accessories etc, but so far, what do you think?

Oh and here's my list

Girls' Room
-maybe get rid of dresser?
- place to hang art work
- hang reading lamps (1 is done)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Operation DD (Declutter and Decorate) Part 1!

      WARNING extra long post ahead! You might want to grab a snack and cup of tea before you jump in!

 Well, I've been a bad girl and haven't posted for more than a week! Oops! Well, back on track then, this morning I sent Gabe and Cady outside to play in all the  fresh new snow while I continued on my new project, Operation DD (Declutter and Decorate)!

Of course when they came in, they NEEDED hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles!

On to my Project!
   I've been really inspired lately by reading a few of my favorite blogs, like Erin's Sunny Side Up  and Sarah's Clover Lane and The Nester's Nesting Place. All these women are mothers of at least three kids and they all have beautiful homes that I just love looking at pictures of to get inspired. Now, the one that really hooked me the other day was a series on Clover Lane called Declutter: 40 bags in 40 days. Basically, last year she made her Lent Resolution to get rid of 40 bags of  "stuff" (be it garbage, Goodwill, etc). So although I would love to do this for Lent, the fact of the matter is, my house can't wait that long to be decluttered! Not because I am super duper gung-ho to do this (it ain't going to be pretty people) but because our house is actually up for sale and has been for awhile. 
The other thing I admire about Sarah is her house is so nicely decorated and tidy and she has FIVE kids! Four of which are boys! And reading through I found out she does it all by herself, painting and everything. She does these all in small increments so that they don't get overwhelming, which is exactly what I need to do.
So, this week, I walked around and wrote up a list of things in each room that needs to be done. And I started my project in our Master bedroom. Usually that is the last room I deal with, so it was pretty bad.  These are the "before" pics

I almost forgot to take a before picture and had already started stripping the bed!

The blue thing on the bed is a recycling bag :) and apparently I need to clean my camera lens!

One end of the hallway where I put the decluttered stuff.

And the other end.
And so far I've gotten rid of 7 bags/boxes of stuff from that room alone 2 bags of garbage, 1 bag of recycling, 2 bags/boxes of stuff to Salvation Army (we don't have a Goodwill) and two boxes of stuff that belongs elsewhere in the house.YAY, it feels soooo good! The decorating part will be challenging as this is a log house built in the early '80s with a LOT of wood panelling and ugly carpets but here is my list so far:

Master Bedroom
- Clean out closet 
-take old computer out of closet
-Paint non log walls and ceiling?
-Unify picture frames
-paint dressers
-paint window sills
-figure out some kind of headboard.
- weed out unwanted/unworn clothes
-larger shades for lamps?
-rearrange room
-change plugs and light switch covers ( hubby can do those ones, I don't mess with wires and such :)

If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with me and wish me luck on my next endeavor, the upstairs bathroom!

PS I'll try and post "after" declutter pictures next post!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins!

Gabe and I made these this morning for the girls' school hot lunch. This is our favorite recipe to use up over-ripe bananas.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins    
2 Cups    Flour ( I use 1/2 all purpose and 1/2 whole wheat)
1/2 cup     packed brown sugar                                          
1 Tbsp        Baking powder                                                
1 Tsp        Baking soda                                                       
              1/2 Tsp     salt                                                                                   
3/4 cup    chocolate chips                                                 
2 cups     mashed very ripe bananas ( about 4 large)       
     1/2 cup     soft or hard margarine melted                               
                                       1/4 cup    milk
                                         2           eggs
                                        1 Tsp     vanilla

-Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Grease 12 large muffin cups. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips.
- In small bowl, blend bananas, margarine, milk, eggs and vanilla. Add to flour mixture, stirring only until just blended. Do Not Overmix! Fill muffin cups.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Let stand several minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool. Makes 12 large muffins.

My family loves these and I usually have to double the recipe or we don't have any for the next day!
Have a good Thursday!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Making Bread

         Yesterday, Cadence and I made some homemade bread together and it was sooooo yummy! I love everything about homemade bread, the relaxing monotony of kneading, the yeasty smell of the dough rising,  the heavenly smell of it baking in the oven, and, of course, the delicious taste of it fresh out of the oven with a dollop of butter. Mmmmmmm...

     I have always loved making bread, but I've  been pretty sporadic about doing it. Then, last summer, I read Independence Days by Sharon Astyk, and I decided that I wanted to commit myself to only making homemade bread and not buying any. And so far so good, from September till now I think I have bought a loaf of  bread only three times! And you know what? Besides the obvious benefit of fresh, healthy (I only make whole wheat) homemade bread that my family loves, it has helped cut down our grocery bill, and it reduces our plastic consumption. Such a simple thing has so many benefits!
     Now, don't get me wrong, I don't always have the time or inclination to make it by hand so I do have a bread machine. I set that baby up to run at night when we're all sleeping so that we wake to the yummy smell and taste of fresh bread in the morning.

       The recipe I use when I DO make it by hand, I got from the book I mentioned above called Independence Days (ordered it from and it is so super easy and only has six ingredients, ww flour, salt, water, yeast, honey,and oil. I buy all the ingredients in bulk (which helps our grocery bill) and I buy as much as I can locally (which helps our environment).
     What are some things that you enjoy making from scratch? What are some ways you are helping the environment or cutting down your costs of living? Leave a comment below and let me know!

    P.S. One thing that keeps me motivated is comments like this from Nyla last night (she is my pickiest eater) "Mommy, can you always make homemade bread? It tastes sooooo much better than the kinds at the store and I like smelling it cooking when I get home from school."

Friday, January 7, 2011

A very sad day

It is a sad day for me and my family as we just found out my uncle Mike passed away.  About a week before Christmas we had heard he had a bad snowboarding accident and had broken his back and a few other injuries. He had a few surgeries right away, one was to put rods in his back and he actually ended up standing and walking around so he was able to go home for Christmas. It is all the more sad that he has passed as he was doing so well and seemed to be healing very well, but on wednesday he had some appointments and the doctors told him he had a blood clot and they gave him blood thinners and sent him home. This morning he was gone. I don't know all the details yet, but suffice it to say it was quite a shock as he had been doing so well. Please send a prayer out for him and his family as he leaves a wife and three young kids behind. Uncle Mike, we love you and you will be greatly missed. 

This is the best photo I have of my uncle Mike and his family taken almost seven years ago at our wedding. 

Scrapbooking score and Christmas update part 2

Yesterday, I went to pick up the albums I ordered from my local store (American Crafts Modern Albums) and scored some lovely deals while there. Last year I took the online course called "Library of Memories"by Stacy Julian and she turned me onto these wonderful albums. I just love them! I also love the fact that all my printed pictures are totally organized in chronological order, but more on that another day! I also scored a bunch of chipboard accents, some ribbon, flowers, printed paper and I just love the chipboard and stickers at the bottom.They are kind of retro-y with the cute little toasters and beaters and I think they will go perfect with pictures of my newest toy....

Hello Beautiful! my new Kitchen aid stand mixer!! Soooo excited about this, can you tell? Well I used it once right away to whip up some mashed potatoes on Christmas day and had planned to do some baking right after Christmas, but on Boxing day the bottom element in our oven gave up the ghost, so I had no oven to bake in. (insert frowny face here)  So finally after a couple attempts to get the right element (I say it was Pat's listening skills, he says its was my measuring skills :) the right one was installed by my wonderful hubby and on Tuesday I was mixing up a storm. So here she is, sorry for the glare!

Here are the yummy chocolate chip cookies I made....

  and the yummy calzones we had for supper. I made plain pepperoni, pepperoni and mushroom, meat lovers and a Greek veggie one for me (spinach, red pepper, kalamata olives, feta and mozza). The whole wheat crust recipe I got from the cookbook called "The Earthbound Cook, 250 recipes for delicious food and a healthy planet" by Myra Goodman

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2010 Wrap up

Well, where to start! We all had a fantastic Chistmas and New Years, started out with some good skiing on the 24th. It was the first time ever that all five of us have gone together! That's right I said five, Gabe had his first time skiing! He did sooo fantastic and I couldn't believe how good the girls are getting too. The only problem was (and I can't believe I did this!) that we forgot the camera at home!! Can you believe it? Urgh, it still irks me! Well life goes on I guess, we had a lovely time together as well as with my sister and her fiance, my brother, my dad and Pat's dad who were all there as well. Beautiful snow, excellent temperatures, it was great. So afterwards we went to my dads for a little celebration because he and Liz weren't around Christmas day and then we went to Pat's aunt and uncles house, which is a tradition, for a visit and some wonderful food and a few presents. We didn't get home till 10ish so the kids were exhausted (fantastic idea to go skiing that day as they were asleep in two seconds flat I think!) The kids of course had to open their one Xmas eve gift from mom and dad (new xmas pjs) and set out milk eggnog and cookies for santa and a carrot each for rudolph and his pals.

Some were a little too excited and needed some cuddles :)

Some were just plain excited :)

Christmas was wonderfully chaotic as usual :) We had Auntie Kim, Auntie Char, Uncle Matt and Uncle Mike all stay with us and we had visitors come all through the day, Grandma Dusty, Grandma Sue and Al, as well as Grandpa Dennis and Grandma Bev. I made TWO turkeys as we had 12 for dinner (the turkeys were small)
   On Boxing day I had to work, but Pat and the kids went sledding and then on the 27th we all went sledding together and had a blast!
Well I think this is going to be part one and I will finish up my review later or tomorrow. Hopefully I can get up to date soon and talk about this new year we are in and our plans for it.
Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Internet problems

Sorry I haven't posted anything for awhile, this past week when I would have had a chance, our internet service was down. It was unbelievable how inconvenienced we felt by not having access, but now it seems we are back and I will update this week sometime soon!


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