Cleaning and Organizing, Cooking

Stress Organizing Food Areas

Stress Organizing Food Areas

Stress Organizing Food Areas

It has come to, almost the end, of our meat.  We bought a whole cow last summer and it is dwindling down.  It makes me sad.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had to buy stuff in the market.  It is so much healthier to know what your cow has been fed before you feed it to your children.  Anyway, back to the topic of me Stress Organizing Food Areas.

When I had 3 kids, I would buy in bulk.  I would always have 2 flats of different vegetables, canned goods, seasoning, etc.  Now that I have more than the average amount of children AND my children are enormous…life is different.  If I had space, time, energy, and money, I would still be stockpiling.  Alas, I don’t any of those things.

Pandemic Changes Things

Now that the pandemic is rampant, things are limited.  Whether that is toilet paper, cleaner, or food.  It really does make you take stock in what you have and becoming a bit more inventive.  Also, less likely to waste food or throw things out.

I had these thoughts after the ice storm as well.  We did make some changes in some areas.  Now is the time to make changes in other areas too.  Luckily for me, I was raised by frugal parents and grandparents.  I’m not afraid to try something.  Making bread, cakes, muffins, rolls from scratch is normal.  Alfredo sauce can be made and not bought.  Spaghetti sauce, seasoning combinations…it is all trial and error.  My next goal is to learn to make my own pasta.  My mother in law did that and she gave me a contraption.  Now is the time to use it!

In Cleaning Out and Organizing

Refrigerator, everything has a place.  I can easily see what is what.  Our fresh veggies, I can make a side dish out of.  Fresh spinach, I can put in anything.  It really takes on the flavor profile of what you are cooking.

I had a MASSIVE influx of baby carrots.  There was some I had bought and then the school brought food for the week.  Lots of cherry tomatoes, fresh broccoli, celery, and carrots.  The broccoli, I stockpiled till I had a good amount.  Last night, I made Chinese stir-fry with a couple of packs of round steak (from our cow), the broccoli, and I even used the cherry tomatoes.  Big Daddy is not fond of those, at all.  If you chop them up smaller and saute them, he didn’t even notice.

Sadly, the celery, I can’t get anyone to eat.  Not even with peanut butter on it.  We did not waste them.  A couple of kids tried to eat them but we had so much that it was almost like torture for them.  We fed those to our chickens, which in turn, gives us eggs.  Does that count?

As for the Carrots

We all eat them on salads.  Also, the kids like to eat them by themselves with a bit of ranch.  I will snack on them.  Still…we had so many.  A couple of days ago, I made some carrot cake muffins.  I could have made a cake or a loaf of bread but muffins freeze well and the kids have been eating them for breakfast.  It is a super simple recipe that I have used for years.  I will try and remember to post it by Monday.   That used up a ton of carrots and I still have a bunch more.  I may make more and freeze it.

Freezer Organization

For my freezer, I have the one that pulls out from my fridge, a big chest freezer, and then our old refrigerator we use out in the garage.  The kitchen freezer, I utilize the 2 big bins and then the pull out drawer that has the ice maker.  Up there, I put ice packs, Berbere, Tumeric, Yeast, or sweets.  In one side bin, I put meat for super.  For instance, when I buy sausage, shrimp, fish, etc.  On the other side, I have all the kids frozen lunch items.

In the freezer in the garage (the refrigerator one), we keep extra bread, french bread, buns, or things that I bake.  My big chest freezer is where we have our beef.  Then the little rack has odds and ends.  For instance, we have the 2 other packs of round steak, stew meat, steaks, etc.  The base of the freezer has our patties and ground beef.

In recyclable bags, that is in there is where I organize all the other things.  I don’t like it when things fall to the bottom because they end up freezer burnt and wasted.  1 bag has all our frozen veggies, another has our bulk chicken that I have broken up into baggies.  There is 1 bag that has some odds and ends.  My son in law has a few bags stored up in there.  I think the last bag has meat that I have cooked and refrozen for another meal.  We also have a little shelf area that has freezer meals on it.

Pantry Area

My pantry has 5 shelves.  The top shelf, I have broken up in 2 different baskets and some clear canisters.  I think I got them from Dollar Tree.  One basket has junk food/sweets/things my son in law buys and hides here.  Another basket has all my leftover flour, sugar, almond flour, teff flour, and such.  Then, in the canisters, I have open bags of flour, sugar, etc.

The next shelf has my suppers organized.  When I make out my grocery list, I always look to see what I have on hand and work my suppers around that.  So, on that shelf (for the next 10 days or so), I have my suppers planned out and put together on that shelf.  For instance, I am making Brunzi Baseball Casserole, green bean casserole, and corn.  I have all the ingredients for that in one area.  Then there is pizza where I put all the ingredients for that, etc.  This helps me use up what I have and not overbuy.

The next shelf, I keep a container with packet mixes (when I buy premade packets), our bread box, and our extra canned stuff for me to use for the next round of meals.  That way, I will always know what I need to use up and incorporate every week.

The Rest of the Pantry

The third shelf is all things kids and paper products.  They know that if it is on their shelf, it is free for all to eat, just not in excess.  There is always a variety of breakfast stuff, lunch stuff, and protein snacks.

The fifth shelf has some appliances, a little basket with sauces and condiments, and oils.  On the floor of the pantry houses, canned drinks, water, lunch boxes, and such.  Everything has a place and most times all things are in their place.

I Hope This Helps

Hopefully this helps you get some ideas on how you can utilize the areas of your food storage.  More importantly, to not overbuy.  Just buy what you need.  If you want to stockpile, that is great.  Buy 1 thing for now, if you are a smaller family and 1 for later.  For our family, I buy 3 now and 3 for later…when I stockpile.

Be creative with your menu and be open to adding things in that might be ready to go bad.  If you don’t have chickens, use the leftover food and compost it for your yard!  Also, if canned foods you KNOW you are not going to eat, donate it to a local food pantry!

Have fun!  Be safe.  Wash your hands.  Wear a mask.  It’s a germy jungle out there!

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Digital Organization: Phone

Digital Organization: Phone

It is a fresh year and a fresh start.  So, why hold onto things.  Everyone needs a new beginning.  Organizing, to me, is freeing.  I mean I feel physically lighter.  So, as I purge/donate/organize my life, I will let you know what I’m doing.  Maybe it will inspire you.  So let’s begin with Digital Organization: Phone.

My phone is NOT my lifeline.

I try not to carry it into places with me and I don’t obsessively scroll for hours and hours.  It has been becoming more and more apparent how addicted we all are to our cell phones.  Really, it is sad.

I sit in places and look around.  Everyone has their nose in their phones.  Scrolling, endlessly.  Comparing themselves to others because, in the little squares of life, everything seems perfect.  Therefore, we fall into the trap of never being enough.

Let me just tell you, in Christ…YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Text Messages

The first thing I do is work on my text messages.  How many times do you see a text and think you have responded…but you don’t?  I am so guilty of that.  Every night, I go through them and respond to what I need too.  Then, I put in my calendar what needs to go in there.

Next, I delete all my text messages.  If it is something important, I will copy/paste it into a “Note” app.  I have also been known to screenshot something.  From there, I will transfer it from my phone gallery to my tablet.  More on that in another post.  I am pretty diligent about deleting my messages, daily.  The visual clutter drives me completely insane.  I get overwhelmed.

Next up, I go through my contacts.

Delete delete delete.  I have *very* few numbers on my phone.  If I haven’t talked to you in a year, chances are, I’m not gonna talk to you in the new year.  There have been moments where someone has randomly texted me.  I simply ask who they are 🙂  Most of the time, I have a general idea of who it is.

Then, I go through my apps.

I delete the ones I do not use or have never used.  It takes up so much space.  Organize the apps you have.  On my “home” screen, I have my garage door app and a calendar.  That is it.  The rest, I take the icons off my home screen.  Again, visual clutter irritates me.  You can combine apps, into folders on your home page.  This can streamline what you see as well.


When I check my email, sometimes I have to download something.  Go through your files and you will see the downloads file.  Delete that mess.  You don’t need it and all it does is slow your phone down.  Sometimes, I have had to send it as an email (more on that later).  Once it is sent, delete it.


Pictures, I transfer to my tablet.  Once transferred, I delete them.  I do not store music (except for what a friend sends me).


Put your phone down.  Talk.  Face to face.  Make eye contact.  Engage in society to make a difference.  There was a time before cell phones.  Where you could go to Wal-mart without everyone knowing what you are doing and buying.  I will say, in the beginning I spent WAY too much time on my phone.  It was a novelty.  I remember when facebook began and I was enthralled.

I also missed out on my children because my nose was so far up my phone that I couldn’t see the humans standing before me.  They are so much more fun.

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Bathroom Purge and Organization

Bathroom Purge and Organization


I cannot even believe I’m going to show this Bathroom Purge and Organization.  Who knew you could have so much stuff in a tiny little area.

First Things First

When getting ready to minimalize and de-clutter any space.  You need to see all the things.  In order to see all the things, you need to empty everything from every corner, nook, and cranny.

Be Prepared

To be grossed out, embarrassed, shocked, and a slew of other emotions.  I mean, how many feminine hygiene products does 1 girl need when she doesn’t even have a uterus?  To the normal person, you wouldn’t have any.  For me, they were on sale and I had a coupon.  I guess I thought I was spontaneously going to regrow my uterus much like a starfish regrows a leg.


If you can, consolidate things.  I had about 5 bottles that were 1/2 full of lotions.  Once combined, I now have 3 full bottles.  I had about 4 bottles that were 1/2 full and 12 little travel sized things of baby shampoo.  Once done, I ended up with 2 bottles.  If you can consolidate to use it up, do it.


If it is unused, donate it to a women’s shelter or a food pantry (they take things other than food).  I had 12 bottles of Neutrogena face wash.  Coupons, ya know.  It breaks my face out.  I tried to let my girls use it.  It breaks their face out.  So, why keep it?

Hoarder maybe?  Donate if you can.


If it is outdated THROW IT AWAY.  By throwing it away, I mean gathering it all up (if it is prescription) and taking it to your local law enforcement office.  They have proper ways of disposing, safely, of prescription medication.  Be wise.  I would, often, flush it.  Then I read that that was not safe.  Now, I take it to the people who can handle it effectively.

Never Ever

Use your husband’s beard/mustache trimmer on your dog’s butt.  Or, if you do, take it OUT of your bathroom.  There is a 100% chance you will forget you shaved your dog’s butt and he will reuse it on his face.

He will not be happy.  Not.  At.  All.


In the End

Once everything is emptied, purged, donated, etc. you have the perfect opportunity.  Use up your leftover cleaner and clean the crap out of everything.  I still need to take a straight edge to the soap scum in the shower, but all in all, it is a thousand percent cleaner than before.  It is a nice feeling to organize, throw away, donate, clean, and traumatize your spouse.  Here are the end results of a 2-day process.  Oh, I found a charcoal face mask, so just ignore what you see in the mirror.



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Operation USE IT UP Underway

Operation USE IT UP Underway is going down!  Have you ever thought about your cleaning supplies, what all do you have going on in there?

Let us focus on your pantry, fridge, freezer, and other places you store food?

I am embarrassed about what all I see in these areas of my life.  Seriously, embarrassed.

Looking around, I see a lot of stuff I have that is just useless, and I bought a bunch because I had a coupon.  There are also things that, sadly, I forgot that I had, as well.

Focus Squirrel Girl, Focus

Just focusing on my bathrooms is going to be a beginning for me.  My first goal is going green in all areas of our lives.  The secondary objective is to minimalize those belongings because, in reality, we do we really need 3 hair dryers, 35 sets of sheets, or 500 bottles of dried up nail polish?

Focusing on one area, at a time, is helpful for me.  I tend to have SQUIRREL moments.  One primary reason for that is because when I take something out of the bathroom, to put it where it belongs…I tend to start cleaning up the place that it belongs to.  Thus leading me to forget about the fact that I was, indeed, already cleaning the bathroom.  Does that make sense?

Bathroom Tips and Tricks

Tame Your Squirrel:

One way to tame my squirrel is diffusing my Squirrel Blend recipe from doTerra.  It smells amazing and it, honestly, keeps me moving right along.

Laundry Basket:

Another trick I use is that I get a laundry basket and I put it in the bathroom, with me.  This way, when there is something in the bathroom, that needs to go to another place in the house, I just throw it in there.  I take the basket downstairs, and I have each kid get their stuff out of it and put it where it belongs.

Using it all up

Let’s say I have 8 bottles of facial cleanser, that I bought because I had a coupon.  Now, let’s say that I have tried said facial cleanser and it is merely not my jam.  If you can imagine now, that I have given my daughter’s facial cleanser and it breaks them out.  Now visualize that 7 brand new bottles of facial cleanser are continued to be stored in my bathroom for no particular reason, yet, like a chipmunk, I hoard it.  That’s where DONATING comes to play.  Take it to a Needline, a church food/hygiene pantry, a women’s shelter, or find a friend who likes this brand and gift it to them.  The point is…is get it OUT of your bathroom.  I know that I will never use this and I refuse to throw it away.  It is brand new, that is like flushing cash down the toilet.


Recently, I went into our local department store, and I received a free makeup makeover.  It was so much fun.  There is so much I do not know (or care to know), but what I did find out is that makeup can go wrong.  Yes, I’m aware that you probably already knew that, but I didn’t.  So, I bought my “colors” of makeup, and I came home, and I threw away a lot of my old, broken, or nasty makeup that I already had.  I also threw away brushes that I had had for 10 years (I didn’t know they were supposed to be washed…sick, I know).  I figured if I invest in new stuff now, I would remember to clean my brushes and how old things were…new beginnings are always good.


For the love, do not keep expired meds.  I don’t care if they are antibiotics, cold/cough meds, antacids, or tubes of cream.  Please, look at the dates and get rid of them.  There are expiration dates on the product for a reason.  These medications can lose their efficacy and could harm you.  Be wise.  We are going all natural with our medications.  I will be posting on our medication journey tomorrow, so be sure and come back!

Bathroom Cleaning Products:

My daughter was deep cleaning her home, one day.  She texted me, in the meantime, saying that she suddenly started vomiting aggressively and that she couldn’t stop.  Well, what’s a mama to do?  I high tailed my butt over there to help her.  I had no more gotten to her front door, that I started coughing.  It was like something was caught in my throat, and it wouldn’t dislodge.  Once I opened the door, this fog hit me, and I started coughing, uncontrollably, until I almost puked.

Come to find out, she had bought/used every cleaner known to man.  In her mind (and most peoples minds), if it is name brand, then it is going to a great job cleaning.  NO.  Just NO.  We were inhaling boatloads of unnecessary chemicals.  We all had headaches and were coughing.  It was pitiful.  We opened her front door, opened all the windows of the apartment, and we had to have a fan blowing out to draw this stench and chemical fog out of the apartment.

Once that happened, she quit vomiting, I quit coughing, and headaches subsided. All you need to clean with are these essential items:  Vinegar, Water, Castile Soap, Blue Dawn Dishwashing Liquid, OnGuard concentrate, baking soda, and any of these essential oils:  Lemon, Melaleuca, Onguard.  For more information on how I make cleaners or if you want the oils, yourself to create your own green cleaning supplies, be on the lookout for a post on Friday.


Another tip is to go to the Dollar Tree or Dollar Store and buy those clear shoeboxes with a lid.  Also, get some labels and a sharpie.  I like to keep all “like” things together.  I have all nail polish in a box, all toothbrushes/toothpaste, all travel-sized bottles, etc. in these boxes.  This is a lifesaver, but only if you put the labels on them.  I made the mistake of not doing that, and one of my kids pulled every box out, opened every box, and made a mess…all looking for fingernail clippers.

First Aid Kit:

Organized, cleaned out, complete first aid kit is a must.  You can buy premade ones at Walmart or on Amazon.  You can also make your own.  I do keep mine in a red bag to make it easier to identify in high-stress moments.  Those moments can range from if a child throws a set of hedge clippers down from a tree and they landed point down on another child’s head to cut your toe-off while walking a pug or a head-on collision at the end of your driveway.  You know, simple things in life 🙂

Donate, Throw Away, or Use Up:

Be sure and clean out your little shoeboxes.  Throw away things that are old, broken, used, or not worth giving away.  If it can be donated, DONATE!  Help another person out.  If you have a smidge of something, use it up, don’t waste it.  Do not use a full product when you have 12 products that are 1/2 used.  Use those products up and don’t be wasteful.

Operation USE IT UP Underway is gonna happen and it will take over my home!

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Brandi’s Getting Her Groove Back

Brandi's Getting Her Groove Back

Spring Break Week and Brandi’s Getting Her Groove Back

It is Thursday of spring break week, and I have done a whole lot of nothing.  I’ve sat, watched Youtube, had some coke, cooked supper, scratched my head, bit off my fingernails, and played cards with my kids.  Just….ya know…….not a whole lot of productiveness.  Now, however, Brandi’s Getting Her Groove Back.

Last Night, We had Quite a Blow

There was some information that was shared, from a courageous girl, and we have had to deal with the knowledge of being lied too.  Also, the realizations of someone we love, living two lives.  Basically, what are we going to do, moving forward?  It was hard.  I just had to go to bed.  I was on edge, Hunter’s behavior was HORRIBLE, the kids were loud, I started snapping at everyone.  All over this mess that someone else created but my family.  Yet, my family and I are in the center of the storm.  Sigh.

Amongst That Crap Storm

I took advantage of the situation (actually, I was sitting at the table with my head in my hands, crying, eating 3 bags of fruit snacks) and I had a conversation with G.  It was hard.  The truth was told to her.  It was hard to say, and it was hard for her to hear.  She is very similar to the person that has caused such chaos.  Her anger has controlled her for so long, she doesn’t even know what she is angry about.  I will talk more about that in a future post.

Today, I got up, and the Sun is Shining

It is chilly outside, and it is supposed to snow tomorrow…but today the sun is shining.  I decided today was the day I was gonna get my groove back.  Today, I am awake, alert, feeling good and ready to tackle things.

I had the little boys detail my van!  Woot Woot.  Boo folded laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and watched Hunter.  He just did things that needed to be done.  G helped me.  We started in the laundry room.

Daughter #2 is supposed to be on top of the laundry.  Well, let’s just say that walking into that smell and cesspool of hell, got my dander up.  We have not had clean towels in quite a while.

Essential Oils to the Rescue

I made some cleaner spray, with my essential oils, and I got started on cleaning the outside, the inside and the drum of my washer.  Once it was done, I got the first load in and separated out the rest.  G collected all the dirty laundry.  On my agenda is washing all the bedding and curtains, as well….but first, we need towels.  The dryer is my nemesis, so I moved there.  Alas, every nook and cranny was finally tackled. I took the vent out and got my hand down there and pulled out a ton of lint that had fallen down there.  I also pulled the dryer out, swept behind everything and worked on the tubing because it has not been drying very well.

And So It Goes

We washed off the shelves, all the inside of the baskets, cleaned off and organized the shelving, put things where they belonged, spilled an entire bottle of ammonia…that was fun.  I even cleaned out from behind the freezer where clothes get thrown, yet never get picked up.  Super fun.  Once I had all that done, Daniel came in and swept and mopped the floor.  Laundry is still going.

I cleaned out my bill holder, got a pile ready to be put upstairs, cleaned out my desk and my junk drawer, cleaned off my mantle, the boys and G deep cleaned their room.  Big Daddy is going to either rent me a carpet cleaner or he is going to buy me one.  It is necessary.  You cannot live in a house with 9 people, 11 sometimes, with 3 dogs and 3 cats and not need a carpet cleaner.

Creating my EO Recipes

I also got all my essential oils out.  In doing that, I combined like bottles.  Next, I made a ton of cleaners, carpet deodorizer, car deodorizer, anti-aging face cream, hair thickener, hair growth serum, protective spray blend, tension spray blend….so much.  Making EO Recipes for every day is what I love to do!

Plans Moving Forward

Tomorrow is Friday, the 6th, and I plan on tackling the innards of my kitchen and dining room.  I also want to address the living room, the game closet, the school closet, and the toy closet.

While I’m doing that, the kids will do their regular chores, just to stay on top of the little things….like the massive mounds of dirt that are everywhere or the deflated balloons that are lining my hall.

Oh, wait, what about the cat food that is strung from here to high heaven or the disappearing toilet paper problem we have.  When they are done with that, I will give them their marching orders.

For now, we are working in the house.  When the house is done, to my liking, then I will move to organize our attic, and Big Daddy will take the people who live here and organize/clean my garage and do yard work.

We need some roof work done, some gutters and landscaping, swings hung, and such.

Spring is here.  Hallelujah for sunshine!  Beware.  Brandi’s Getting Her Groove Back.

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Essential Oil Cleaning Hacks


Essential Oil Cleaning Hacks


Bathroom Cleaner (32 oz. bottle)

1 T. baking soda (link below)

2 T. Castile soap (link below)

30 drops Tea Tree oil

20 drops Orange oil

10 drops On guard

Warm water to fill to the top.

Spray all parts of your bathroom.  Let sit for about 10 minutes.  Spray again before wiping down.

All Purpose Cleaner (32 oz. bottle)

1 c. white vinegar

4 c. water

20-30 drops essential oil (I add Onguard to this, as well as, something else….usually orange)

“Febreze” (12 oz. bottle)

1 T. Baking Soda

2 c. warm water

15 drops essential oil

Glass Cleaner (32 oz. bottle)

2 c. water

2 T. vinegar

10 drops essential oil


Furniture Cleaner (safe for wood) (12 oz. bottle)

2/3 c. white vinegar (link below)

1/3 c. olive oil

10 drops essential oil (I used Jasmine)

Shake before use.

Floor Cleaner (used on laminate flooring) (24 oz. attachment to steam mop)

Equal parts white vinegar and water

A squirt of Dawn Blue Dishsoap

15 drops of favorite essential oil

Foaming Handsoap (8 oz. bottle)

Empty foaming hand soap dispenser.


2 T. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

1 T. carrier oil

15 drops of Onguard essential oil

Poo-Pourri (4 oz. bottle)

2 T. rubbing alcohol

20 drops any essential oils

Top with water

Spray 5x on the surface of toilet bowl water before going to the bathroom… your business like a boss…..your place will not have the odiferous odor of defecation 🙂

**One thing to remember is to use Glass Spray bottles or Metal spray bottles if you are using any citrus based essential oil.  That oil will eat through plastic bottles.**


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Why Does It Feel So Good

Why Does It Feel So Good

Why Does It Feel So Good when I consolidate things in my house?  I mean…I feel like I’m almost euphoric.  There are about a bazillion little bitty trial size hand lotions in my bathroom.  Sadly, I also have 7 large things of hand lotion.  Consolidate!  I threw away a trash can FULL of little empty containers and let me tell you, friends, it feels


There may be something wrong with me LOL.  I’m not a clutter bug.  I do not collect things (I was a huge couponer, and I still have bottles upon bottles of conditioner, lotion, floss, and mouthwash.)  I do have a goal, though and this goes along with us saving money.  I’m going through our household cleaners, and what I had, I’m replacing with all natural things like baking soda, vinegar, castile soap, Onguard, and essential oils.  I’m using what I have until it is gone and then I just make more because I already have bought the bottles.


As for my bathroom, I’m doing the same thing.  I’m forcing myself to use lotion more, to use all the leftover deodorants, soaps, conditioners.  I have a habit of running out of something, and then I put it on my grocery list…run to the store to get it and then realize I had 7 bottles that have never been touched.  What a colossal waste of money.

Them days are OVER, I tell ya!  O.V.E.R.  It is time to use it up before I buy.  Then, maybe, if I can do really well at it, I will start couponing again for ONLY the things I need or are not necessarily a need for me, but things I can donate to food pantries or people in need.

I seriously may not even be able to sleep because my mind is flooded with “what else can I consolidate and organize.”

I think I may need therapy.

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Organizational Tip Let’s Talk Pictures

Organizational Tip Let’s Talk Pictures

Organizational Tip Let’s Talk Pictures.  In my quest to get my life together, my next thing to tackle is my pictures.  Good gravy, I have a billion pictures.  My mother in law is HUGE into scrapbooking, so she has given me lots of books, pages, stickers, etc in hopes that I would scrap all these pictures.  I simply have not had time.

A Few Books Already Done

In my defense, I do have a baby scrapbook for each of my children and one large scrapbook for each of them as they have gotten older.  I also have a baby scrapbook of Big Daddy that his mom made for him and one for me, that I made.  There is also a wedding one and another random one…so I have done scrapbooks in the past.  I’m just not in a season to do them regularly.

Attacking the Masses

One day, when I was cleaning out the masses of crap in my bedroom, I came across a drawer that I believe had not been opened in about 10 years.  There were MASSIVE amounts of old, loose photos just hanging out…not hurting anyone….just there.  My OCD said, let’s pull out some of those scraping gifts from my sweet mother in law and I will make them look fantastic.  My other side though…I have no time for this and shut the door and move on.  Neither side won.

Logic Wins

My logical sidestepped in and I thought…. let’s kill two birds with one stone.  I pulled out those photos and I did separate them by child.  I put those separated piles into baggies and I labeled them.  Next, I pulled down my scrapping supplies, set up a card table, hollered for my 2 big girls and let them at it.  Was it as nice as I could have done?  No, not really LOL.

It certainly was not up to par with my pro Mother In Law.  BUT they stayed occupied.  All my pictures are nicely placed with added cute things and it all has my girls handwriting in it…which I will cherish forever.  My OCD did not win.  I did not redo anything.  I simply smile every time I pull them down for someone to look at.  These are some of my prized possessions.

Thankful for the Help

Once I got the masses o pictures done, courtesy of my girls…I had a new set of pictures that had inundated my computer.  Over the course of time, I have added new files under my pictures section.  The main file is the year and the subfiles include things like Christmas, Family, a file for each child, pets, misc, etc.  Since there are dates on 99% of my pictures, I first just sorted them out, via the computer, into the proper year.

From there, I put them in the proper subfile and from there, I went and deleted the duplicates.  I crap you not, in 2015, I had 10000 duplicates.  So there was a ton of space taken up by having doubles, and sometimes quadruple the pictures.  I have not edited them because that is just not high on my “super fun” list of things to do.

Takes So Much Time

This process takes time, but I do it at night when I’m watching a movie or when the kids are outside.  I do not put any pressure on myself, at all.  One thing I invested in was an external hard drive, so I have not only saved my pics on a CD and flash drives (that are safely tucked away in my fire safe box), I put them all on my external hard drive and I deleted them off my computer.  Let’s face it…computers crash and my pictures were not going to crash with them.  Sorry, Charlie.  Not gonna happen…not on my watch.

Big Daddy and the children love to sit down and watch me sort things out and look through these pictures.  It is fun and it is definitely a conversation starter for those kids who are not so apt at chatting with me all the time.  Take your time.  Enjoy the views and memories.  Remember to save them to multiple devices and always store in a fire safe box or safe in case of fires!


Crystal and Her Guardianship Journey

Starr’s Adoption Journey

Carrie Ann’s Adoption Journey

Tera’s Adoption Story

Cleaning and Organizing

Organizational Tip Tackle the Kids Artwork

Organizational Tip Tackle the Kids Artwork
Organizational Tip Tackle the Kids Artwork

Organizational Tip Tackle the Kids Artwork.  I have a lot of kids…that is no secret….my kids like to color, draw, paint, make sculptors, and then there are the awesome Sunday School creations that they bring home every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday….with the added bonus of VBS week.

Tote Overload

If each of my kids at 1 tote per year of arts and crafts until they turn 18 (remember I homeschool and I have chosen to keep everything from their school years)…I would have 126 totes FULL of stuff that I would have to store in my attic, garage, man cave, or storage unit.  That does not include all their baby things and toys etc…this is just artwork.

When I was going through my nesting phase (though I do not know what I’m nesting for LOL), I came across about 30 containers with all this stuff.  Sentimental things.  Things I cherish and want to remember forever.  Realistically, it was a bit of a fire hazard…or a lot of a fire hazard.  I had Big Daddy breathing down my neck to throw these treasures away and then I had my kids on the other side crying because when they saw something in the throwaway box…they felt I didn’t love their art.

Quite the conundrum.

I had a couple of awesome ideas.  Maybe three.  I have a small wood chest my daddy made years ago…I also had a box that my mom got me when I was a child.  The first thing I did was I went through the attic (and garage) ALONE.  Second, I emptied my 2 chests and cleaned them all out.  Third, I got binders….2 per child and put their names on them.  I separated out each and every paper and craft (luckily most things had their name on it).  So, each child had a pile.

Binder Help

The treasures that I would not part with, I used my three hole puncher and then I added them to that particular child’s’ binder. With the larger items, I placed them in my 2 chests.  That still left me with A TON of treasures.  Once I had the binders and the chests full…I still had 7 piles of treasures for each child.  These were items that were sweet, but I did not necessarily want to keep (fire hazard, remember). I took out my camera and I took pictures of the pictures.  I downloaded those photos on my computer and I gave each child a file. Those pictures are now saved on a flash drive, disk, and my external hard drive.  I can look at them whenever I want.

This simple act cuts down on so much clutter.

I was able to preserve their sweet drawings, yet keep my sanity and live the minimalistic life that I love so much.  Now, I still have boxes of old toys, but I did part with 98% of them.  Some things are worth the clutter.  I was able to clean out an entire closet from the garage and free up all that space.  It all went to the attic where it is properly labeled and gone through.  I hope this is something that can help others.

Good luck and happy organizing.


Kids Not Color

God is in the Details

3 Years Ago

He is 8.

Cleaning and Organizing

DIY Essential Oils Cleaners


Here are my DIY Essential Oils Cleaners.  This is what I keep on hand, at all times, to clean my home.

Carpet Deodorizer

Empty container (I used an empty parmesan container…washed/dried well)

Baking Soda

10-15 drops of essential oil of your choice (I use purify cause it knocks out the smell of boy)

Mix well.  Shake on the carpet before you go to bed to absorb the most smell.  Then vacuum in the morning.


Room Deodorizer (think Febreze)

Spray bottle (I use those little ones from the travel section at Walmart)

10-15 drops of essential oil (again, I use purify.  Be cautious of using lemon oil in a plastic bottle…it should really only be put in a glass or metal bottle)

1/4 c. witch hazel


Pour in your witch hazel.  Fill to almost the top with water.  Add essential oil of your choice.  Shake before using.


Furniture Cleaner

Spray bottle

10-15 drops essential oil

1/4 c. vinegar


Pour in your vinegar.  Add water to almost the top.  Add essential oils.  Shake before use.


Everyday Cleaner

Large spray bottle



20 drops Essential oils (purify, Frankincense, tea tree, peppermint, etc)

Onguard Concentrate (optional but worth it as an added protection for fighting germs)

Pour 1/2 the bottle with vinegar, add a good squirt (about 2 T. Onguard Concentrate), fill up with water and essential oils (if you have a glass bottle you can use lemon).

Other Posts:

1 Year Anniversary

Happy New Year

Dhera Part 3

What He Knew VS What He Learned