Monday, April 15, 2013

Minimize it Monday: Start Over

Over the weekend I was bed resting for my lower back pain and I had a chance to go through my old blog posts and I found myself re-reading many of my Home-Making posts. Minimize it  Mondays were the posts I enjoyed re-reading because they reminded me the effect of less is more.

Since we moved, I have not really had a chance to make any plans or continue some of the wonderful habits we have established in our old home. It is over due and I am about ready to launch my minimizing effort again, now that I get to "know" this home a little better.

This Monday post is a "Start Over" but we actually tackled the tasks over the weekend. My goal was simple to attain since I had to be careful of my movement so not to upset my back pain any further:
~ Unplug and remove some small appliances from the counter top that are not in use constantly - toaster oven, coffee grinder, juicer, etc... you got the picture.
~ Replacing all the light bulbs to the "greenlite" economic types (Hubby's department and they were  mostly done!)
~ Pull out my "To-Do Notebook" and start jotting things/projects down.
~Clean the boys bed rooms. (Josh got his done and Peter was helping Daddy (since Mommy was out of commission) by making his own bed - we are still working on a better organization for his toys).
~ Going through Peter's clothes and continue to keep them in the "seven sets" way. Still working on this as I was not able to move/sit too long.
~ Assigning new "Hot Spots". Almost done.

I had to pace myself as any sudden movement would send me back to the excruciating pain in my lower back. None the less, I am glad I was motivated enough to start (actually, to continue) the belated Spring Cleaning.

Peter Helping to make his bed.

Joshua Made his the military style - Straight and no wrinkles!

We are in the process of replacing the whole house's light bulbs into this type of energy efficient ones.

 ~This post is linked to Amy's Tuesday AP Party~

Monday, April 1, 2013

Refrigerator Cleaning

The Spring Cleaning continues... Today, I decided to tackle the fridge. I have not really cleansed it since we moved in and it was time.


This is how I organize my shelves:
Top self - way in the back I keep the flours and the used coconut oil for deep frying. I also have added a shelf in there to hold the flat items.

second "layer" on top shelf - extras of the same stuff.

Top shelf - in the front is my daily stuff.

 Second shelf - Left overs and more daily stuff. I love using shoe boxes in there for easy access.

I love this huge drawer! I keep lots of "loose" items in there. I use a shorter tray in there for a compartment look. I also love my white hard boiled eggs holder - a TJ Max find.

Third shelf - More shoe boxes for veggies and fruit.

The two drawers' contents are obvious.
This is before I restock but it is bare because we EAT the stuff we buy. A lot less wastes these days.

Because we have the wall behind the fridge door, I remove the door shelf before pulling out the bottom left drawer to clean.

After = ♥

The door storage is the worst part of the organization. Before... 

 After. Love how the like items are next to each other. :)  Those white dividers are adjustable. One thing I learned is that milk goes bad faster if stored in the door shelf as the temperature fluctuates quite a bit with the opening and closing of the door.

Freezer door. Before.

Freezer door. After. Not sure why I keep the decaf as no one is drinking it any more...

Freezer - Before. Looking at this, I realized the way we eat these days are definitely not a monthly menu but rather, a weekly one.

After - not much work here. Merely rearranged the items.

~This post is linked to New nostalgia AP party.~

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Short Years

I sensed this strongly as I watched Josh got up stage to receive his Mock Trial trophy last night.

Since when he is in high school? I still remember that little guy who loved to build LEGO and sculpted Charlie Chaplin with his modeling clay.

The boy who enjoyed the AWANA program and loved to run in that game circle.

The boy who kicked that soccer ball and batted that baseball not long ago.

The boy who was so eager to sign up for the CAP program that he reported to duty the night he turned 12.

The boy who loved to watch all those old, black and white movies with his family...

It all seemed like yesterday all these took place. Then one day...

He seemed to have grown a foot, then another, then another.

Now he is a whole head taller than me.

Now he watches movies like LOTR, the Narnia, Courageous, Hunger Game, etc...

Now he ranks Senior Master Sargent in the CAP program...

Now he is playing basketball and giving it all that he has...

Now he helps out as a SPARK game director in the AWANA program.

Now he plays mine-craft and listens to music on his iPod...

Now he is in the high school Mock Trial program and grows even more...

The nurturing years are coming to an end in just a few more short years. He will be ready and equipped to enter young adulthood.

I pray that he will reverent God in his life and that his action will be beyond reproach. Should he stumble I pray that he finds God's mercy and grace are there to embrace him and that he won't take them for granted. Amen.

Third place as a Bailiff.

Who did he meet but Samwise Gamgee!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Floating-Pantry

Yesterday was an emotional day for me and I did what I normally do when I feel that way: I clean and change things around (with Keith green's songs of course).

It has been almost four months since we moved in and I finally got enough motivation and inspiration to tackle this task - Re-organizing the "Pantries".

Because it is an old house, the pantry does not have that tall closet look. Instead, the top half of the "closet" is a deep, dark, dead space storage area and then an open counter underneath the pantry and then the drawers.

I have been putting this task off because there were just way many other projects to take care of first and if you have been reading my blog for a while, you know how crazy I am with the ergonomic way of organizing.

So I waited and just put stuff that I felt was a "right" place for them and pretty much just tossed stuff into the cabinets.

I titled this post the "Floating-Pantry" because I need to use other cabinets to house all the normal pantry stuff that I could not put in that "half-pantry". I "float" the stuff into other cabinets which works fine now until we could save enough to remodel the kitchen.

Without further adieu, here are the befores and afters:

Before - Deep and Dark

and lots of dead (wasted) space.

I took everything out from the half-Pantry.

A clean slate for me to think.

As a good organizer would do, I ran around the house gathering things I thought may work in the Pantry. Noticed the little wooden shelf?

It fits perfectly on the lone shelf that was in the Pantry! I went and snatched another shelf (I have three of these shelves) and put them side by side... and...

Voila! It looks as though it has always been there. What a delight!

Put everything (after de-junked a bunch of other stuff) back in and made sure it works in ways of easy access. 

Now Robert has a secret chocolate stashing place that Peter can't reach - even with the help of a chair. :)

This is the cabinet above the sink. What a mess. What is in that Kleenex box you ask?

Well, it is re-purpose at its best. A plastic grocery bags holder.

After: Much better. Rounded up all my beloved glass jars. The chocolate stash behind the tall jar now has a new "secret home".

Floating to another cabinet - mainly all the spice and vitamins' home and whatever else I tossed in there. Totally disorganized and it messed up my brain badly.

After: Yes... This is more like it. All the Vitamins go up on the top shelf. My small collection of cookie baking supplies and glass jars for my home made yogurt on the middle shelf and all of the spice go south here. I really like my square Lazy Susan. It swirls around smoothly even after all these years (I bought it way back in the early 90's)

Another re-purpose item. An used black pepper self grinder jar turned self grind for my rough Celtic Sea Salt. love it!

This one was challenging: small and narrow. It almost became a small catch-all place.

But I would not let it. Now it houses all the sweeteners on the bottom shelf. on the middle shelf: My pretty tea bag Tin and the basket of kiddos' birthday cake candles and a quick grab pain killer bottle is in there as well. The top shelf holds a small basket of medicine. It is small because we try to use home remedy as much as we could and staying away from those drugs that give you side effect almost guaranteed.

The last shelf - this is the cabinet above the microwave. The cabinets in the kitchen are very cheaply made as this was a flip house. 

After: I only have a few items in here = no junk (which makes me very happy)

All the sunscreens, room fresheners and coasters are in the square Tupperware box.

Matches are in a small plastic container.

and last but not least, a big white wicker basket houses all the extra kitchen tools.

There they are, all organized and de-junked. what a blessed day the Lord had given me after all. So very thankful. I l love to bless my family with a clean and functional kitchen as we spend lots of time in there, whether we know it or not.

Robert walked in earlier and was surprised and pleased with all the changes. THAT made my day.

~This post is linked to the Thursday Linking Party at Delightful Order. ~

Friday, February 22, 2013

Daisy Love Day

It took two years but I finally middle named our unborn baby girl ~ Love

I will remember Daisy every year this day as she had taught me the love of God is the most powerful thing on earth.

I still cry whenever this day comes but always ending the day with the knowledge that I will see her some day in heaven and then there I will see her precious face with tears of joy.

Unless you have miscarried a baby, this pain is hard to describe. Yes, the world goes on with or without your baby, but your own world is up-side down whenever the anniversary of that fatal day is here.

It truly is by God's grace that we move through that day.

Today I went out and bought some daisy flowers in remembrance of my baby in heaven.

I found out the meaning of Daisy - loyal love.

I love her even though she is not here.

Our heavenly Father loves us before we love Him.

February is the month of love, however way you look at it.

So yes, I know I have found her a perfect middle name.

Love you so much, sweet Daisy Love.

Until we meet in heaven,

Mommy ♥

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Oven Baked Chicken

After about twelve days of battling with an UTI without taking any antibiotics, I am finally feeling like a person again. Time to get back on the health track of eating.

We love chicken in our house. I think we average about 3-4 meals with chicken in any given week. One of our favorite chicken meals is the oven-baked chicken.

I had always bought the cheapest whole chicken from Trader Joe's but since we started this new eating plan I gave the organic, free range whole chicken a try and all I could say is that we are hooked!

Since we do have a food budget, I wanted to see how far I could push with this chicken.

After everyone has his/her share on the original dinner night (basically one breast, two thighs/drumsticks and all the giblets), I still can manage to pull all the meats from the chicken besides saving the other side of the breast for Robert's lunch. I used those pulled meats either for breakfast or an easy lunch for Peter the next day.

Then came the beautiful part - I put all the left overs - bones, little pieces of meat and the juice that came with the baking - into a medium soup pot and cover them with some water just to the top of the bones and close the lid and made some broth out of them. After it was boiled, I turned off the fire and let it sit on the stove top to cool off.

I then transfer the broth into a big bowl and cover it and put it in the refrigerator  The gelatin from the broth was so healthy and delicious (just be sure you don't use too much water when boiling the baked bones). I will then either filter out the bones and bits or I just reheat them on stove top and add about 2 oz. of pasta and some green onions and some romaine lettuce for a quick simple E (energizing) lunch. I could still get the last bit of the chicken meat from the broth (amazing!) so I did not have to add any more protein in it.

Yes, the chicken is a bit pricey (about $12-$14 a piece) but so, so worth it as not only we are nourished with its goodness but can use it for more than one meal.

If I want, I could also use all the left over meat to make a chicken taco or enchilada dinner for another night instead of lunches the next day. Now, this is totally down my alley of good eating on a budget.

This is the original meal - nom, nom!

This is the gelatin looking broth just removed from the fridge - I actually used half of it for my lunch today and will probably use the other half tomorrow (you can kind of see the chicken meats on the bones in this picture).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Healthy snack :: Celery With Cream Cheese

"S" snack of the day ~

So simple and quick to assemble! Cut up celery stalks with a thin layer of cream cheese (whole or low fat) with Nutritional yeast sprinkled all over and added five black pitted olives (because I like them). A very satisfying and extremely healthy S snack.