Look Ma No Hands!

It is possible that this only happens to me:

Scene: park/ballgame/day camp/pool/beach/hiking trail/race/friends house/front yard/kitchen….you know only a few times has this happened…..one of my children….all of whom I love and I am sure have asked this equally, has a very nice cold sweaty water bottle, and they very nicely ask “momma can you hole this?”…me (=sucker): sure.  Guess who ends up holding 4 water bottles like Alice the camel…she now has 4 humps.


Scene: 2 minutes before we HAVE to leave for a ballgame/birthday party/day camp/play date/appointment….one of my children….all of whom I love….is digging in the drawer that could be named plastic pit of despair for a water bottle AND matching top and looks up and says “Momma can you help me make a water bottle?”  Me: Sure.  Of course it is important to stay hydrated, that is why we have 26 water bottles and 24 tops….its like the hydration jigsaw puzzle…takes patience and time.

We have as many water bottles that we have gotten from fundraisers and races and camps as we have reusable shopping bags.  Both we have been politely refusing for awhile now, we just do not need anymore and I can’t be alone in wondering how helpful these are to the earth in the reducing part of the 3 R’s when they are being mass produced for so many events.

Back to my point.

I have a water bottle, it is a Klean Kanteen, I LOVE it, and it has a sling, I can wear it….no hands!

So this year for each child and the hubby I ordered a Klean Kanteen water bottle and sling, it is now the ONLY water bottle they have….big responsibility, however as I write this, no one has lots any parts at all, and the pit of plastic despair is packed up to be donated.

These were their end of school/welcome to summer gifts and they were all really excited to have a bottle like mine…Yeah!

I had to tie Avalons’ straps up a little, but her and hubby both modeled them:

Water BottleWater Bottle

I bought all of the kids the 27 ounce size, and Jon and I have the 40 oz. size.

Long ago, I bought a handful of peel and stick patches from Old Navy for 97 cents a piece, I just LOVE when I find things at this price point, does any one else find these great deals? I have found less of these deals lately.

Anyway, they fit perfectly onto the canteen “sling”!!  I wasn’t sure about the pink skull/poison looking patch, but maybe no one will want to take it?!?

Ebay 2014 25931 copy

Patches from Old Navy

Viola! reusable, wearable, carryable, hands free and cute, I still need a patch for Solomon, I think he will find one on our road trip this summer.!!  And  for Jon and I, should have a patch too tight ?!? Maybe I should put a camel on mine..no wait I am no longer the water bottle camel!

Custom patched water bottle slings.

This post was not sponsored.

Storing Little Ornaments

Have you seen the Shining, with Jack Nicholas, when the family gets snowed into the hotel in Colorado and all go stir crazy??? Well we are not quite to crazy yet, but let me tell you we are shut in and staying, if you have not heard on the news, Facebook, or from friends and family Minnesota is in an “arctic vortex” or “arctic hurricane”. Today without the wind-chill we are sitting at a steamy 1 above zero, yesterday it was -45 with the wind-chill. The kids are home from school and we are staying put!
We are cooking and crafting and putting away all the last straggling items from Christmas and New Years Eve.
We have quite an eclectic collection of ornaments from over the years, honestly I am not sure where they all have come from, some were thrifted for projects that became leftovers, some were gifts and some just given to us, regardless we have boxes to put away each year.
I had pinned an idea about plastic cups glued to cardboard for safe and neat ornament storage which is perhaps some of the inspiration for this idea.
Super simple and maybe it has been done before, but I decided to reuse our egg containers, with 6 of us we go through a lot of eggs each week with breakfasts and snacks, so I had a few cartons laying around waiting to be recycled.
Here is what I did:

Egg carton ornament storage @patchworkreality

They fit perfectly, although we are avid recyclers, reusing is almost always better:

Egg carton ornament storage @patchworkreality

How happy does that little snowman look?  See you next year little dude!

Upcycled Jewelery Oraganization

Is it May already…and almost 1/3 over. I am still pushing foward on the NYR to become more oranginzed.

Organization in our house is a constant battle, a good one, but hard-fought non the less.

With 3 girls, the princess accessories are at an all time high, but I am sure it is just the tip of the iceberg.

At her recent campout birthday party, Raiven received a few new special accessories, she has pierced easr, has been acquiring necklaces and bracelets from relatives and friends, and thrifting. Until this project she was hanging them on a wooden drawing doll, is that what it is called?

I accidentally deleted a whole card full of photos…ugh! So the before shots are none existent..but here is what we did:

I had 2 black picture frames that were thrifted or the glass has brokern out of, I was tired of tripping over them but knew I would find a use from them….eventually.

When I saw this I decided to upcycle the old frames to organize our oldest daughters jewelry.

We spray painted them in Raiven’s color choice.

Then Hubby cut, he is the type A to my relaxed type B, and attached chicken wire to the frame.

He attached them to the wall with hallow all sinkers, since they were not on a stud, we wanted them securely in place.

2013 May 058 copy

WE added these hooks to the chicken wire, we crimped the top set closed so they are fixed in place, but we left the others uncrimped so she can move them around as she likes.  These are from Menards, but I am sure any hardware store has them.

2013 May 059

The other side we did not put any hook on, we left this one for earrings so she can just loop them over the wire.

2013 May 055 copy

I made the yellow beautiful art on her wall, inspired by one I saw on Zulily.

She is thrilled with this new addition to her room, and is really lets her showcase all the special jewelery she has, as most of it has been gifts.  It also gives her the independence to choose what she wants to wear and gives her the ability to easily care for her special jewelry.

2013 May 050 copy

Exercise Room

Still working on organizing the house, from my New Years resolution.

This pace used to be our office, we had 2 desks on each end, after the kids went to be Jon worked on his homework and I worked on Ebay/blogging.

Jon recently bought a laptop and can work wherever he likes  and I have moved my office into the unfinished, large, laundry/craft room.  I just have so much inventory it was not enough space and kept spilling into the living room.

Here is a picture from our living room:

raiven 022

Notice the exercise area behind the futon?  Well it is gone!  During my Fab Five February I sold the futon and the recumbent bike!!

This living room downstairs, serves as the TV room, a playroom, you can see the dress up on the middle left side of the picture, and until recently a workout room.

This space needed less responsibility!

So we moved all exercise related items into the old office and viola! No more exercising in the living room. (living room pic still to come)

Some before and after shots of the new workout room:

Notice there are glass french doors so I can close them if I need/want to.

Before.                                                                After

Ebay 552 (2)Ebay 565 (2)

Before                                                                  After

Ebay 554 (2)Ebay 567 (2)

Before.                                                             After

Ebay 555 (2)Ebay 569 (2)

Before.                                                            After…my 7 mile run at night…hence the lighting.

Ebay 558 (2)Ebay 572 (2)

I still have  a few things that I would like to do in this room:

  • Add some audio/visual maybe take down one shelf dn add a small TV, definitely something for music.
  • Take out the wireless modem..move it into the office.
  • Add some inspirational sayings? Wall art?
  • Relable the Ikea bins, since those no longer house shopping bags and mittens/hats 😉

It feels so good to have a clean space to exercise inside, so I can run while the littles nap, and since spring has yet to get here, I may need this space for a while.

We do have a gym membership to a fantastic club in town, but it is nice to have this option. In about 3 years will all 4 of our kids are in school full day I will probably sell the treadmill and run at the club or outside.  AS an avid runner this is still a vital piece of “home decor” for me.



Finale to Fab Five February and a few tips to listing on Facebook for sale groups.

All right last day and I will have you know we came in strong at the end, this is my style, mostly, even in races, I always save a little zoom for the last tenth of a mile and spring it out.
Yesterday I posted these beauties:

raiven 025 raiven 020

AND as of today we no longer own a lovely geometric print mission style futon, and I have people lined up to look at the bike. Now I know these are only 2 things, bringing the total to what 28….so Fab “five” February is more like Fab “just one a day” February, but as of right now we have sold 4 things and made put $154 back into our funds. If when the bike sells we will be over $600!!!!

Remember my goal was to clean out and sell 5 things per day for this month, then turn around and sell them on a local for sale by face book page.

Ok, so here are some tips I learned in this process from my 28 day experience:

1. Deciding to rid of items that have many parts, like kids toys, requires quite a bit of pre-organization (read time)

2. Make sure you have read and understand the rules of the group/board you are posting on.

3. Take a good clear picture of your item…I know this seems like a given, but some of the picture I saw were indistinguishable, people will be more interested in your item if you show some thought in presentation…right?!

4. Setting a goal is great, but be flexible, I came very short on my goal of 5 per day, our life just did not afford me enough time to get through everything.

5. List your item, and have measurements especially if it is a household item, and then be considerate, written messages can be misconstrued, add pleases and thank yous, and show general manners, these can go a long way in a transaction way before face to face interaction.

6. Set up a safe and flexible place to meet up, the mall, or a parking lot of a busy store like a Trader Joes, somewhere that you feel you could get out of easily if needed or there would be a good number of people around.

7. Clean your item up and if it needs batteries put them in, people are excited to get your item don’t disappoint them.

8.  BE ON TIME for your meeting. Let the buyer look it over, if you have represented your item accurately then you should be good to go, but know that they still have a choice to take it or leave it, this can be frustrating especially when everyone’s time is valuable.

9. When buying am item, bring the proper amount of cash, do not expect the seller to make change, or to take a check.

10. Thank your buyer/seller.

What are some tips or lessons you have learned in selling via facebook?

Overall, my experience has been positive with this experiment, I think I will still list some items as they come up on the facebook page.  I also bought a few items *shoes* for me!  I mean heck if I keep up one a day that’s 365 for the year …..wish me luck. 🙂


Fab Five February 2

Really should be my sixth post, but here I am still at it. I fall off when Jon works, it is enough keeping everyone happy, fed, somewhat clean and alive, I know that 5 items per day will be there when next I have time.
So in an attempt to catch up on 5 items to be sold per day I have a few more than 5. Bringing my total to 12, I have 2 of teh silver lamps, and there are 3 ikea magnetic cutlery holders. it may be harder than I think. to cut 140 items.
Here are todays items:

Ebay 081Ebay 082Ebay 084Ebay 086Ebay 089Ebay 090Ebay 091 Ebay 079Ebay 077

Fab Five February

>I know I have been slow in getting home decor updates posted on the house.
However, behind the scenes, changes are happening, and with that, piles of what we no longer use are piling up.
Thus detracting from the pretty.
SO today I was looking at a few lamps that no longer have a home, I thought, what if everyday this month I decided to sell 5 things per day.
28 days items 5 item equals fewer piles and more $$….actually it is 140, but that is not as inspiring 😉
I am going to use a local for sale in my hometown facebook page and probably craigslist for some items.
So today for sale I have:

lampaqua lamp lensGetAttachment pot

School table lamp, Aqua lamp…brand new….2 camera lens’, black lamps shade…actually I have 2 of these, and a pressure cooker. SO 5…technically 6.

Seems like a great start, I am hoping this all goes smoothly, it seems like people have a good bit of luck selling on these sites, but I will keep you updated on how much negotiating, messaging and running around town this ends up being.


Conquering One Daughters Closet

Last day Of January and I am still rolling on the organization of this house that breathes life and excitement.  When I wake up every morning I really want to take the house room by room, or at least one room at a day, unfortunately real life does not allow for that, so I am settling for small victories, as often as I can make them happen.
I decided to tackle Santanna’s closet, she is the lucky recipient of ALL her older sisters hand me downs , plus loads from a close neighbor friend who has 3 girls. Lets just say this closet is bursting on most days of all seasons.

Ebay 001Ebay 003

Notice anything repetitive??  Yep those are the same plastic woven bins I used on my pantry reorganization.  Each bin holds a certain grouping, for example there is one for socks/tights, one for jammies, one for leggings.   I think I am going to figure out a picture label for her, since she is just learning to read, also I want to ask hubby to build a shelf to go on the side with the bins, to utilize more of the space, and have some shoe shelves, or maybe find some at a store.

Ebay 005 Ebay 006 Ebay 008

As with the pantry I have a bag of garbage, a bag to sell on the garage sale and a bag of donation.  Ahhhh, small accomplishments on large amounts of coffee and child compliance, life is pretty good….wonder how long this closet will stay this way????

Pantry Organization

Quite possible the biggest road block we hit in the day is the dreaded “what’s for dinner” question. Not so much that the kids are asking, but neither Jon nor I have made any plans for this meal. As a family we all sit down to this meal 90% of the time, it is not generally so much what the food will be but the experience, that being said, no one enjoys waffles or cereal or an afterthought meal thrown together EVERY night. So what we need is a plan, an organized plan that can smoothly get us through this meal.
Problems that we need to address: ‘The Rut” we need to expand beyond the same old recipes that we have as tried and true stand bys, “The Time” unfortunately with a family of 6 we often do not have a large amount of time to prepare a meal with loads of steps, and hoards of dishes in the aftermath, and lastly “The stash” Jon and I are known offenders of grabbing a few things from the store on most days of the week, this has provided us with a nice supply of staples that we can usually creatively come up with something that will pacify everyone hunger for dinner, but can also lead to waste in excess and no again no firm plan.
Jon is gone for 2 full weeks this month, which gave me the push I needed to detour all 3 of the above problems. I planned out 5 days worth of meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, including new recipes for dinner and shopped for all of the weeks needs, ( minus a few items that I will buy fresh the day of for a certain recipe). I brought the entire horde of groceries home and went to put them away in our pantry….

Solomon 378Solomon 377

Whoa!! Where in the world was I going to put all these groceries??? What in the world was I thinking, whose stuff is this in the hallway pantry?? The cart was obviously in front of the horse on this plan….

First Problem “the Stash” aka the pantry was no in desperate need of being solved….I set to work immediately.

It took me 3 days, and 2 trips to target since they ran out of the certain bin that I needed, but I successfully made our pantry into an organized, planned evening meal, stash closet in an OCD fashion that I did not even know I was capable of executing.

Our pantry is in a hallway making it very difficult to get a good straight on shot without crawling into the wall, but I think you get a good idea of what is going on with the Stash:

blog 024 blog 023 blog 017 blog 003

blog 005

Top Shelf: Food dehydrator, bread maker, small hand mixer and small crock pot, these are appliances that we do not use on a regular basis.

Lower 2 Shelves: Each of these has 3 green plastic bins, each bin has a designated food, from left to Right: First Shelf: Soups/broths, sauces/dressing, pastas, Second Shelf: baking mixes/cake mixes, canned fruits and veggies (we don’t buy many of these, most of the time we buy fresh), rice.

blog 004

Bottom Space: Kitchen aid mixer, large Crockpot and water bottle hoard. We use these appliances at least once a week, and the kids can grab and fill a water bottle anytime. With all our activities I need these to be easily accessible for them.

blog 027 copy

The dinner plan is in full effect with these clear bins, I can fit 6 across the top of my second from the top shelf. I have clips on the front of everyone. This is where I clip a dinner recipe and then I put all the dry ingredients needed for the recipe in the bin. Simple I just grab a bin and there are the ingredients and recipe I can either use fresh ingredients I have or pop to the store the day before or morning of and dinner is set.

Here is another bonus to this project, I realized that some of the food on our shelves had expired, that is waste that I am going to try and avoid with proper planning. There is an over flowering box of items ready for the spring garage sale, and a small grocery bag of items to donate.

blog 011 copy              I guess marshmallows do expire??!!  Who knew!

                                                                                                   blog 013

All for sale!!

blog 015         Donation!