Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Our Extra Pantry!

In Darren and I's first home, we didn't have a pantry.  It was the oddest thing.  It was a brand new home, but still, it was built without a pantry.  I always had two thoughts about why that house didn't contain one.  Either, the builder was a man and men just don't think about those types of things OR the builder was a woman who had an eating disorder.  LOL!  Either way, those could be the only plausible explanations for WHY the house was VOID a pantry.  

When we moved into our current home, we were blessed with an abundance of closet/storage space (which I am always revamping and/or which we are quickly filling up and need more!). It's so much fun looking for ways to utilize your spaces more efficiently. On our main level, we have a nice sized pantry, that works for our needs, as well as a large "lazy Susan", stored in one of our kitchen cabinets.  We also have two extra closets near our half bathroom. Long ago, one of the closets was used to store all of our children's board games AND winter attire, but the collection of board games was getting too large and I had to revamp that closet once and for all. I turned the once board game/winter accessory closet solely into a coat closet. I did show that make-over in a post titled, "From Lame to Game!" Gosh, looking back, I can't believe I ever thought that original closet was organized.  I am still in love with the look of our current coat closet and our current game shelf and couldn't imagine it any other way (although I am always considering moving things around again).  It's hard to believe that that project was 2 years ago. Time really is flying by.

The other closet has always been considered our "Extra Pantry".  Over time, the items in that closet have accumulated and/or changed, some have remained consistent.  The items that have always remained were some of our cleaning items, such as a broom, a dust mop, a dust pan and a vacuum, as well as extra paper goods, such as paper towels and garbage bags.  It was ALWAYS organized, but again, looking at the before photos below, makes me wonder what exactly it was that deemed it "organized" in my opinion.

Honestly, the photos above are probably the worst that this closet has ever looked. I am always thankful that the before photos, I take, are on the days that things look their worst because then that just means the AFTER photos always make my hard work/ideas look that much better.  LOL!

I am in love with using "over-the-door" shoe racks lately.  Martha Stewart and Closet Ware (both sold at Bed, Bath, and Beyond) have gorgeous, good quality, and very efficient shoe organizers. The material isn't wrinkled (which causes the organizer to appear cheap or worn), nor do they contain useless holes (which really, the useless holes I am referring to aren't useless, they are meant for shoes, but that's NOT what I want the shoe racks for, haha, so some organizers contain holes that are useless for my ideas).

I decided, because of a few new and consistent items being stored in our "extra pantry", I needed a shoe organizer on the inside of our "extra pantry's" door.  The items I was having a hard time keeping stored properly were our k-cups, light bulbs, wall flowers, glade plug-ins and batteries, in addition to some of our cleaning items: pads for the bottom of our Shark Duo machine.  After I utilized the shoe organizer for those items, I was able to move things around and make better use of the shelving that was originally designed by me and installed by Closet Storage Organizers.   

Here are the AFTER photos: First I installed/hung the organizer.  Then, I emptied the entire closet.  YOU ALWAYS start with an completely EMPTY space when organizing.  Trust me, I know what it's like to do it the other way and IT NEVER works well.
Second, I loaded up our air freshener items into the top of the organizer.
 Third, I began organizing the k-cups into the empty spaces.  I LOVE THIS!
 I worked on batteries next!
We have an abundance of all sorts of batteries because we have KIDS! LOL!
This set up is SOOOOO nice because the kids can reach the batteries and know exactly where to find them when I send them to go get me one or four. Hehe.
Then, I went to town unpackaging all of our light bulbs.  We have extra light bulbs for all of our light fixtures, including our garden lights.  The only dilemma with storing light bulbs this way is that there is a chance they could break easily.  So far, that has yet to happen.
After I filled the shoes organizer up, which didn't take long :( , I went to town organizing the shelves they way that made the MOST sense.  What do I use most often?  What needs to be accessible for vertically challenged kids? 
The kids have their brooms, mop, and dust pan easily accessible now.  They have their own rack that holds their cleaning tools in place.
And so do I.  
From top to bottom there is:
Shelf 1: Cake baking/decorating suppiles!
 Shelf 2: Movie Night/Ice Cream Night supplies (plus a few other extras)
Shelf 3: We go to Sam's Club often.  The extra snacks and food that do NOT fit in our every day pantry are stored on shelf 3.
  Shelf 4: Paper goods and garbage bags.
  Shelf 5: Extra ziploc bags, paper goods, paper cups, and Darren's oatmeal.
Shelf 6: Our "on-the-go" cooler bags, lunch "blox" containers, lunch boxes and hamster supplies.
Shelf 7: (aka the floor) Cleaning bucket and the kids lap trays.
Here is the NEW "extra pantry's" look!
There isn't that MUCH change, from the before to the after, but the changes I made were GOOD and definitely beneficial for every member of our family.

As I always say, "Don't Agonize, Organize!"
I hope you enjoyed these ideas.  Let me know if you have a space that you are frustrated with and I will be glad to recommend some items that should eliminate so of your spacial stresses.  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Homeplace

I LOVE when the hubby surprises us with a yummy meal after church!  Sure beats a smorgasbord of left overs. Today, he suggested The Homeplace.  Ah...yeah! We NEVER turn down that offer. It's Mmmm, Mmmm good!! Enjoy some sweet photos, below, captured during our visit to the Homeplace.

The photo below MELTS my heart! SO picture perfect!
Our wait was one hour long, so the kids got to play outdoors for a while.
I spy Lilah!
My beautiful 3.
Ty guy!
My two handsome buns!
 My pretty girl and I!
 All because two people fell in love! 
Dinner was so filling Jax fell asleep! Haha.  Just kidding. It's really just a great photo gone bad because he closed his eyes.
We started and finished our day off right: spiritual food (church) and then soul food (the Homeplace).  Can't beat EITHER one! We are so full, I have NO REASON to cook dinner.  I love those kind of nights!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fall School Photos

Yesterday was Fall picture day, at Fort Lewis Elementary!!!  Darren and I have our mornings down to a literally science. It's truly just the way Darren and I operate.... ALWAYS.  Sometimes it's so beneficial to the flow of day and sometimes it's so annoying, it gets on my nerves.  LOL!  You could pick any given time/point in our day, ask us what we do at that time, and we could tell you.  So... adding "picture day" to our morning agenda put a definite KINK in our morning routine.  The night before, Darren even said, "We probably need to get everyone up 15 minutes earlier."  He was right, but it didn't happen.  We get up at 4:30 am, so anything earlier than that is tougher than tough.
After the morning craz, I had less tan 40 seconds to snap just a few photos before the bus arrived. It was all I could do to get these 5 shots, but I think they turned out fairly cute.  Darren wound up having to run our Liley Bo to the bus. Her book bag is so heavy, she just couldn't keep up with the boys.  I wish I would have captured that on camera because it was adorable to witness.
Let's hope the photographer captured some great shots.  We bought (3) digital jpeg cds of all of the images, then we will print the photos, sizes, and quantities we want. When it was just Ty in public school, buying the cd was considered affordable to me, but $28.00 x 3 kids = $84.00... OUCH!  Don't worry, everyone and their brother will be getting a picture at that price. Haha.
I wish I wasn't so caught up on having a school photo for the "memory book" because these photos came out cute enough...I could have saved the $84 and just printed these.  LOL!  Darren actually was the driving force to get me to buy the cds.  I'll be thankful in the end.

We are definitely blessed to have the gorgeous children.  They truly are an undeserved gift from God. I know God gave me three children to help sanctify me, in Him. The days are long, but the weeks are short, and life is just flying by. I know one day, I will miss ALL OF THIS CHAOS and I'll be wishing I could bring it all back.  You never appreciate what you've got until it's gone! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Turning Our Food Into Friends!

The other day, I went grocery shopping, at the Valley View Wal-mart.  It's NOT the closest Wal-mart to our home, but I enjoy a change of scenery, so that was planned/purposeful. Every time I shop, my eyes are peeled for items that could enhance the excitement for me, the packer, and for the kids, the eaters', lunches.  

I spotted these craft body part accessories and almost died from excitement...SO INCREDIBLY fun and adorable, not to mention CREATIVE. I am very eager to use these pieces to create some hysterical food friends.  Check out all of the body parts...
 Ball Cap
 Webbed Feet
Red Clown Boots 
 Female Eyes
Blue Shoes 
Green Feet 
 Clown Gloves
 Eye Glasses
 Evil Eyes
 Hair Bow
 Nose or Belly Button
 More Eyes
Here is the FIRST way I used these body parts to decorate a clementine!  My caption read, "Raise the roof... It's Friday!"  
I am super excited about this find!!!!! This will really make my lunch packing so fun and I know the kids will be so excited to have some fun food friends! I probably need to go buy ONE more pack because I have a feeling these pieces will get lost or thrown out.