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 ūüėČ
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‚Äôs 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!

2013 Resolutions? New life Habits?

Happy 2013 everyone!!
Each New Years Day I feel a sense of excitement, like I have been given a clean slate to a whole chapter in life. This New Year that I can start how I like, navigate how I want and look back upon with a sense on of contentment.
I am not a big resolution maker and completer , however in 2010 I made a resolution to run a race very month for the year and I ran my first marathon, I have not given up on that resolution and still attempt to run at least one race a month and have run a total of 4 full marathons since. So was it really a resolution or a new life habit?
In 2011 I made the resolution to buy thrifted clothes for our kids, I buy so many clothes from consignment shops, donation hubs, and other places to sell on eBay that I thought this would be a snap, and found that for the most part I was successful but that certain sizes, and styles that my kids like were harder to find and that often buying new items at certain sales was cheaper than some of the thrift stores that I strayed from this resolution. I still embrace thrifting just found that exclusively shopping in this matter was not a best fit for our family.
I did not resolve anything specific in 2012, I just wanted to embrace more social activities for Jon and I and for the kids, it seems like an obvious addition to life that should not take much effort, but I am constantly surprised at how quickly a day in our life go by and how quickly those days become weeks, and we have just been going through the routine. We actually added more play dates, and sleepovers for the kids, not much but I feel like we made a great improvement from the last year and that this will also carry over into forth coming years, so another resolution turned life habit.
This year, this 2013, with its clean white page turned new, I really hope to accomplish more domestic tasks.
‚ÄĘ I really want to tear out the carpet in our upstairs living room and replace it with hardwood to match the rest of the floors on that level. It was very inexpensive carpet to begin with and with 6 people and one 150 pound dog pounding on it every day it is in sad shape.
‚ÄĘ I want to become electronically organized; I have 2 main emails and 2 that I have set up that I use very rarely. Some teachers contact me through my work email some through personal. Many emails I get are junk and I just need to take the time to unsubscribe. I think to this I also want to add a fresh new set of passwords, just for security.
‚ÄĘ I need to organize so many things to help our life run more smoothly, I think all of us can feel this at some level. I am thinking paperwork, charging cords, etc.
‚ÄĘ I have had 3 computers crash entirely on my in the last 4 years, we have 3 external hard drives 2 of which contain thousands of family photographs, I really want to organize and archive these in a better manner.
‚ÄĘ I want to leave a few blank spaces for additions to this list.
Ultimately I want to end 2013 feeling more in control of the ‚Äúclutters‚ÄĚ in our life and more prepared for each day. Again this seems more of a new life habit.
Any of you have plans for new life habits or resolutions??

Old Navy on the Cheap

I had to take a small break from blogging, our youngest had  her tonsils and adenoids removed and her recovery took some time.  She is now totally healed and hopefully on the road to gaining weight and her blood levels normalizing.

In the mean time I have am still doing well with not buying new clothes, aside from the few categories mentioned here.  This has been a bit a challenge lately with the changing of the seasons and all the great deals popping up and new styles and prints in stores.  Especially for the kids, it would be so much easier to just purchase everything they need in their size at one store in one day and Done.  However, easy is not always the path to conservation and resourcefulness.

That being said, I did partake in the Give and Get sale at Old Navy this past weekend; 30% your entire purchase.  I use a Gap Visa card to pay for many of my eBay retail purchases and also larger purchases that I than pay off when due.  This garners me Gap Rewards that come in $1o increments.  I hoard these until close to the expiration date, thus making the pile rather substantial.

So I printed of my G&G email and took my $100 in rewards that were due to expire the end of May, and bought some essentials and a few items that will be listed in my eBay store.  Raiven got an new pair of shoes that she desperately needed.  I also bought each child a reusable cup and lunch container for our road trip to Montana over spring break.

What do you think I paid for all this loot: ??????

Total:  $16.96!!! 

As I looked over my receipt writing this post, I noticed that the St. Patty’s Days shirts rang up at $7.50, they were supposed to be¬† $0.97, so I will have to go back and get a refund, which will actually bring my total to a negative amount!!!¬† Just a tip for Gap and Old Navy when they price kill an item, it¬†will usually end in 97, and most times¬†they have to override the price, so watch to make sure they do this.¬† I have had to go back a few times, they are always glad to do adjust the price, but I do not like to have to make the extra trip.

Unintentional Rule Breaker?

I lieu of my resolution to upcycle/recycle clothing and ditch the consumption of new clothes from  retail stores, my shopping and treasure hunting need in full swing, I headed to Savers with my brother before he left for California and found some great items.  On the rack of treasures I found this dress:

I thought” how cute will this be for Miss A?”…check the tag and there it is, the Savers tag and the retail tag.¬† Oh the irony!¬† (But check out the sweet price!)

Well I snatched it up and than wondered, am I breaking my own rules?¬† Sure it was donated and technically I am reconsuming this dress , but it IS new.¬† So I let A try it on……done, it’s a keeper.¬† First addendum to the rules, no first hand new clothing;)

New Year’s Day Race

What is the best way to start a new year? With a 5K of course. That is exactly what I did. It was a balmy -32 and probably about 20 less than that with the wind chill. The wind was fairly mild but present. I was a little late getting to the check in, the race started at 11 AM, giving the earth a few hours to warm up in the sun and some runners to shake of the ringing in of said new year before braving the tundra for 3.11.

One thing about running that I am still learning is how to be properly dressed for the weather. This is something I struggle with whether running or not, comfort V. performance V. fashion, I almost never get the trifecta correct. This morning was no exception, I had a base layer T-shirt s mid weight hooded north face layer and a wind/water resistant hooded Columbia jacket, one knit hat, a pair of yoga pants, which should be plenty because running really warms up your legs, and a knit pair of fingerless gloves. The gloves were a last minute decision because I needed to be able to start/stop my Garmin.

As I am pining on my number, there is a lady giving a speech in the back of the Running room, about not allowing bare skin to be exposed to these elements for more than 30 minutes!!! I look around and notice there are many runners wearing something similar to this. Doubt about my material preparation sets in.

The race starts, already I think my nose is frozen. I can barely feel my fingers, so I tuck them up inside my gloves, hoping my fingers huddled together will keep each other warm. Not happening. Doubt again about whether or not I am going to make it in this cold. I keep running watching the persons feet in front of me, if they can do it so can I!

See no fingers…they are huddled.

At the halfway turn around I am feeling good, it usually take me about the first mile to get into my rhythm be it a training run or a race. I finish the race and head into the Running room for post race snacks, feeling great and smiling at all the other racers who are also smiling, we have our noses and our fingers and conquered the tundra! We already know it is going to be a great year.

Happy New Year!

Reclothed Resolution..

It has been awhile since I added to my blog. We had a full and happy couple of holiday weeks. I wanted to quickly get in a short post about my resolution this year.
My plan is to buy no new clothes for our family of 6!!! We will be buying and recomsuming clothing from second-hand stores, consignment stores, Ebay, and donation stores like Goodwill, Savers, and the Salvation Army. 
Disclaimer: this excludes underwear, socks (for obvious reasons, although I have seen them at SAvers….I just can’t!!), and possibly shoes especially for the kids.¬†¬†I think little feet need to have the full support of new shoes while growing and developing walking, running and balance skills,¬†not shoes that¬†already have a wear path from someone¬†else.¬† Also I am sure some of you shudder at the thought of¬†used shoes, which lets my mind wander into thoughts of what¬†my have been in a previous shoe.¬†¬†Typically we also take the kids¬†to a local shoe store that sizes them¬†and checks the fit of the shoe on their feet, the way kids grow and¬†as active as they, it gives us¬†¬† parents¬†peace of mind. ¬†

This resolution is really exciting for me, I grew up going to auctions and basically treasure hunting with m y dad, I love finding what I consider a “treasure”!¬† My mom grew up in Santa Barbara and was/is a huge fan of second-hand stores and customizing clothing to make clothes, and accessories¬† personal.

For years I have sold our kids gently worn and sometimes worn to play condition clothes on Ebay for a small or surprisingly large return on investment, this has been a very fun and often lucrative hobby.  I have seen some of the wonderful items that other sellers have, and am sure I can find clothing for our kids here also.  However, my primary outlets will be the donations stores and local stores. 

What I hope to teach the kids, my husband and I gain from this is  that we can help the Earth by recomsuming great clothes that have been used and tossed aside, save money in the process and even great creative by making a pair of jeans with holes in the knees some great patched jeans. Or find an old wool sweater and make mitten or anew soccer bag.  Additionally, stores such as Saver, Goodwill and Salvation Armay all give to help others, for example, our local savers support the epilepsty foundation.

I originally thought that I would do a 365 of  our finds, but I think I might just do one post a week on how we are succeeding, struggling, and overcoming our reclothed resolution.  I will also include the total cost, and at some point perhaps continue the cycle and sell them on ebay when we are done with them if I deem them sellable, kids can really wear clothin out!

Happy 2011!!!