Thursday, February 27, 2014

Aaaah, cords!!! And Perhaps a Little DIY?

 Who doesn't have random cords scatter throughout the house?  Old chargers?  Cords for kids devices?  For the camera?  Whatever it's for, they tend to pile up.  For the longest time I had all of our cords in a basket, then a larger basket, and then they got out of control.  If I needed one, I'd end up pulling out 20.  And, believe it or not, I didn't have a single cord labeled so it was a crap shoot as to which cord belonged to what.  It was time to take charge (get it?) of the cords! 
And here you have it.  I used a plastic shoe organizer that I found at Target.  I believe it was around $10 (don't quote me, it's been a while).  I wanted a clear plastic one instead of the mesh because I wanted to see through each pouch and be able to...label it!  With the help of my label maker (I would have used Washi tape but this was WAY before I got into that obsession), I came up with this:

It's not the prettiest thing to look at, but it's organized and easy to find what we're looking for.  This hangs on the utility side of our basement door.  These shoe organizers come with over the door hooks for easy hanging, but if you didn't want to use those (or your door won't shut because it's too tight with them on it), you could use 3M hooks (love those!). 

Nothing fancy but it does the trick!!!  I've also seen people label cords with those plastic bag ties (like on a sack of potatoes) to label their cords.  Or some people use a longer piece of Washi tape wrapped around the cord to label it.  Or some people just throw them away because they're annoying.  Whatever trips your trigger.

Now for a little DIY:  If you live anywhere near the Midwest, the weather has been treacherous. Extreme cold, snow and will bring you down in a millisecond.  Well, frankly, I'm sick of it.  I decided I wanted to add some color to my kitchen table to cheer me up and to entice spring to make an appearance.  Here is my inspiration brought to me, by...ME!!!  No, Pinterest...again :
I love, love, LOVE fresh flowers.  This seems to be one of those things that either you love them (like me) or you hate them (think they're a waste of money...they die anyway [that's what I usually hear]).  Well, I love them, but I do hate when they die.  My inspiration came from the above photo.  I love the colors and they just scream "Happy!".  Well, I wasn't about to march out and purchase a fresh flower, I decided to make my own - out of silk flowers purchased at Michaels.  I also decided to make-over an old glass vase we had on hand, it was my first time using spray paint for a crafty purpose so it was a little shaky, but I like the outcome - while not perfect, I think it gives it character!!!  So, here is the process, in photos:

I think it's absolutely lovely.  It's not 'Better Homes and Gardens' worthy, but it's 'My House' worthy.  So much fun to make...and trust me, I have zero skills when it comes to floral arranging.  I just took a stab and it and yet again executed another idea lifted from Pinterest!  In total the cost for this center piece was $25 (give or take a few cents).  I think it will add just that little bit of "life" to the dining area!

Until Tuesday...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Command Center Part 3

So far, I've shown you two parts to our Command Center.  Part 1 being our 'Meal Planning Station':

Part 2 being our magazine rack with a meal idea binder (used this just this morning - I'm getting back on track this week - and I'm determined to NOT go to the store all week - we'll be eating meals from what we already have - EEK!), 'Random Information' binder (this has important numbers, business cards, reward cards, appointment cards, restaurant menus and professional cards, work schedule and daycare schedules in it), my address book (love this), and a place to put my planner (favorite thing) when I'm done for the day:
And now, for Part 3, our 'Daily Station' (I don't really call it this, this is what it was called when I ordered it online):
Why am I not showing you a picture of this all nice and tidy?  Well, because this is what it usually looks like during the week.  This is the point of this station, to be the "catch-all" for random papers and such.  The large calendar is perfect for our family so we can keep track of the goings-on in the home.  From appointments, to snack duty, to work schedule...all at a months glance.  There are 4 wood files (two on each unit) with each of our names on one.  So, we all have our own "dumping ground" so to speak.  I hung it like this (ok, hubby hung it, I'm terrible at that stuff...I tend to eyeball and he can't stand that) because I have a serious OCD problem with symmetry.  I purchased the wood files from, gulp, Pottery Barn...sigh, that's right, PB.  I splurged BIG time with these.  While I have a huge crush on PB, I can't justify purchasing items from that store on a regular basis.  These are the ONLY, and I mean ONLY items I own from there, but I LOVE THEM.  They are wood and come in various colors, I chose white because I like the clean look it gives.  Here is the link:||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules  AND, just so you know, they are on sale right now...but by the time I post this blog, they may not be.  I couldn't justify purchasing the dry erase board through them because I was hoping Walmart would have what I was looking for, which they did, for $12 (not $59).  It serves its purpose and I won't feel horrible when I have to throw it away because someone forgets to use dry erase and uses permanant marker on it.  Hey, it could happen.

This specific calendar was originally a Monday-Sunday calendar...I didn't like that.  So, I decided to make it a Sunday through Saturday calendar with the help of, none other than - Washi tape and my lovable label maker!  Easy fix and added a little color.  Instead of writing each person's name by the event on the calendar, I just color coded everyone - saves space and time.

Oh for the love of messiness!!!  It's a mess, but it's contained.  We don't have papers all over the kitchen counter or table, an organized mess if you will, ALL papers/mail/coupons/bills get separated and placed in each person's "cubby" (as Peanutty likes to call it).  Once a week, we go through the papers and either: recycle, throw away, file them OR leave them in the cubby (depending on the material), thus leaving it nice and clean...for a very short time.  Each file is equipped with a metal label holder.  Here is where I took some pretty scrap booking paper and my label maker and made each file our own.  It's another simple way to add color and fun.  Finally, here is a picture of what the entire 'Command Center' looks like:
All in the same area and easily accessible for all of us.  It helps keep our daily lives organized and keep everyone on the same page.  I would be lying if I said it wasn't a lot of work to keep up (meal planning, kids daily schedules, appointments, writing it all down on the calendar AND my planner, bills, grocery shopping), because it really is.  Yes, I slip up and will forget to write things down from time to time, I'm human and I'm not on top of it all of the time.  BUT, this does help me TRY to keep up with everything.  Life's busy and sometimes hard!  *Please note, we did do the weekly purge of each file - nice and tidy...for today!*

So, there it is.  In all it's glory.  Just one of the many organized things that help us function as a family every single day.  Until Thursday!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Command Center: Part 2

A couple weeks ago, I did a few blogs called 'All Things Food and Meals'.  If you remember, I showed you a photo of my meal planning "station", I'm considering this Part 1:
This is where I have my weekly reusable calendar (a simple calendar framed and we use dry-erase [actually I have wet erase because I wanted a finer tipped marker] to write on the glass), my clipboard that has our meal planning/grocery sheet on it, on that clipboard is also the plastic envelope that we place the coupons we will be using for our current grocery list.  And the can writing utensil holders.  This technically would be Part 1 of the "Command Center" in our home.  While meal planning is VERY important here (but I must admit, I didn't do a meal plan for this week...I'm feeling burned out on cooking - I bet none of you EVER feel this way [wink, wink] - so I'm just using what we have without a meal plan - so far, so good), there are other aspects of this space that serve a huge purpose.  So, I'm going to show you another section of this area...sometimes I feel as though I live in our kitchen - between cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and the 'Command Center', I spend a LOT of time in this area.  Anywho, here is a different view:

*While waiting for these photos to upload, I'm indulging in an iced chai brought to me by Tazo.  It's the same liquid chai they use at Starbucks...but they want $4.00 for a grande.  Instead, I buy the container of liquid from Target for $3.99 (sometimes I get lucky and get it for $3.49) and get at least 4 glasses of it.  It's flippin' delicious (or 'lee-shus' as Sweet Pickle would say).  I don't buy this often, but it's another little thing that I enjoy!

Back at it:  Here you will see that right below our meal planning headquarters we have a little end table that our home phone (yes folks, we still have a land line...we like to live in the past...I kid, where we live, our cell reception isn't that great not to mention I want our Littles to have access to 911 all the time), a box of facial tissue, my purse(s) - don't judge me, there's a small drawer on the bottom that has phone books and notepads in it, and an XL magazine holder that has two binders and two other very important items:

Here's the skinny (I'm attempting bullets again, let's see if I can do a post without a rogue one):
  • The larger binder has our meal ideas in it.  It's simply a white binder (it was $1.99 at Walmart) with some scrapbook paper I found at a local store.  I adore this paper...colorful utensils!?!!?  Yes, please!!!  I bought two pieces and they were $.89/12x12 sheet.  Worked perfect.  I showed you a glimpse of the inside a couple weeks ago and you can see it again here: 
  • Side note:  these bullets are tricky!
  • The smaller striped binder (a $1.00 investment from Dollar Tree - clear and all I did was added pretty scrap booking paper for .$89/12x12 sheet - I bought 2), is used for the other little annoying things you get, such as:  appointment cards (on more than one occasion I've gone to an appointment and they claim that we're "not in the computer", this is where whipping out the appointment card comes in handy...BOOYAH! - more to prove a point, not that we've ever been turned away - granted you have to remember to take it with you), gift cards, business cards, reward cards, important phone numbers (this is great for a Hubby that has to call daycare and/or school when the number isn't programmed in his phone), my work schedule, the kids daycare schedules, and restaurant menus (we don't eat out much, I'm talking maybe once or twice a month, but it's nice to have them on hand), and there's also a folder in the back that was used for important school papers but now...who knows what I'll use it for!!!  So with a little investment in a package of business card plastic pages (I picked mine up at Staples 10 for $5), some simple plastic page protectors, some 3M sticky labels and of course my trusty label have a 'Random Information' binder.  Yes, this is what I've labeled it.

  • Back in my second ever post about my (sigh) planner (link:, I also said that I had ordered an address book from Erin Condren (link: but I hadn't received it yet.  Well, I got it, and I am ga-ga over it.  It's clean and simple and it's just marvelous.  The front few pages are for 'Special Occasions' and then it moves right into the alphabetical sections for your peeps.  The ONLY, and I mean the ONLY beef I have with this is that it doesn't have tabbed pages.  I think it would be tremendously helpful for each letter section to have a tab, alas, it does not.  Sad face (channeling my inner sister - she says this a lot).  BUT, it's still absolutely wonderful!!!  And, you can bet your bottom dollar that when I received it in the mail that I got butterflies just looking at the box...and then after the kids were in bed, I snuggled in with my fave pen and my Rolodex to fill that puppy up!!!  True. Story.  It also made me realize that I need a friend with a last name that starts with an 'X'.  Anyone?  Moving on...
  • And of course, my planner.  My beautiful lifeline, my planner.  She gets taken out and looked at every morning.  I have her sitting out on the kitchen counter all day up until 4pm, then I put her here.  4pm is usually when I'm getting supper rolling and I don't want to get food on her.  Gross.  Like how I'm talking about my planner like it's a person?  
There you have it!!!  Part 2 of our 'Command Center', set aside but easily accessible.  The ONLY thing I'm wanting to do is spray paint the magazine holder so its a little more colorful.  But, I'll do that another time when it's warmer outside to do so.  And, when I pick a color!  Brace yourselves for next Tuesday, where I unveil our 'Daily Station'!  Ooooohhhh.  Trying to make this a climactic rogue bullets!  Yay me!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lego's, Lego's and more Lego's

About a year ago, I noticed that Peanutty's Lego collection was getting extensive.  When he'd get a new set, he would have a great time following the instructions to build it and then completely lose interest.  Once he'd build it, he was done.  We had all his Lego's in his room, mainly because Sweet Pickle was still in the "put EVERYTHING in her mouth" phase when he got into Lego's but to also keep them localized to one area.  Because let's face it, we've all stepped on a Lego and thought that you had died a thousand deaths from the pain.  Those suckers are vicious...yet sturdy.  We had placed an old coffee table in his room for him to tap into his creative side and build whatever his little mind came up with.  I also had a plastic Sterilite drawer unit that we had been shoving the Lego's into (literally shoving).  But, here's what I ended up seeing:
Yikes, right?  No wonder the poor kid didn't want to play with his Lego's.  It was an absolute mess in there!!!  Absolutely zero organization to the Lego's not to mention just looking at this makes me over stimulated and I can't focus on ANYTHING (much like how I feel when I go to Michael's, Hobby Lobby or TJ Max - EEK!).  So, I set to work on organizing the Lego's within the drawer unit:

Much better right!?!?!  I used old shoe boxes of Sweet Pickles (they were small enough for the drawer unit and perfect size to fit multiple categories of Lego's in), I used some Gladware that already had individual compartments (perfect for smaller Lego's), some gray dollar bin plastic containers and I also used a box from a printer and I made different compartments with some painters tape and cut out cardboard.  I organized most of the Lego's by size/shape.  I thought this would be easier for Peanutty to find what he was looking for.  The Lego's that were already built, just stayed on the table or were placed in the second drawer.  I didn't see a reason to pull those apart.  Now, the Lego's that were half built, I tore those apart and put them away.  This all worked for a while, up until Peanutty wanted us to re-build something from an instruction manual.  It was pretty close to impossible to find what we a reasonable amount of time.  Sure, if we wanted to spend about 6 hours trying to build the fuel truck he wanted, no prob.  But it was becoming apparent that this wasn't working anymore. was time to do something new.  With the help of IKEA (and my two wonderful Aunts, thanks again AJ and AT - we don't have an IKEA close to my home so they kindly picked up a few items from my "wish list") and some time, here's what the final product came out to be:

Introducing the Pinterest-lifted Lego table!!!  I did NOT come up with this idea, I just executed it.  Man, how awesome would it have been to come up with this idea!?!?!  I purchased a Lack table from IKEA ( for $29.99 (and put it together myself...thank you), I had purchased the handled containers from The Container Store ( online for $4.99 each, and then I purchased 8 Sterilite containers with lids for $2.99 each at Walmart. 

It took me 2 hours total to complete this project.  I separated the Lego's by color rather than size/shape, put the instruction manuals in a container, and an entire container is dedicated to Lego people and their many outfits and accessories.  The baskets with handles home the Lego sets that are already built, just not being played with at the moment.  The top of the table has his police station (took Santa 3 hours to build that least that's what he told me) and a large base for his imagination to go nuts. I did use some ticky-tack, tacky-tape, sticky-tack (no idea what you call it, but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about) under both the bases on the top to keep them from sliding all over the place.

Peanutty now spends a lot more time in his room building away.  We have also found it much easier to find pieces when rebuilding a set by the instruction manual.  All around, this was a great investment.  I wanted something a little smaller (Peanutty's room isn't huge) and to serve a dual purpose.  The table is square and smaller than the coffee table we were previously using, and the containers fit perfectly under it so it's nice and contained in a smaller area.  I also like that he has freedom to move all around the table since it's in the middle of his room.

Random Things:
  • Hy-Vee and Fareway have boneless-skinless chicken breast on sale for $1.88/lb. this you bet your sweet booty I'll be "that" woman with a cart full of chicken tomorrow.
  • Remember my freezer basket full of cheese?  Well, this week at Hy-Vee they have it on sale 2 for $5.  I purchased ours for $1/bag.  That's a whole $1.50/bag of savings.  Keep your eyes peeled people, those ads will save you money!!!
  • As a Valentine's Day gift, hubby and the littles bought me Washi tape, including yellow!  I had to upgrade to a larger container...which looks half empty...which means, I'll be hitting up  Yikes!  I may need to get a second job for this addiction.
  • I just realized that I didn't label the Lego instruction manual container OR the Lego people container...I will be fixing that right after I publish this!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

It's The Little Things

My basement rearrange/reorganize is complete, but I wanted to show you a couple of the things that I did to keep certain things corralled with a little touch of cute.  I'll start with the beloved Washi tape.  My original container was getting a little full and I also wanted to display it more with all the beautiful, bright colors.  So, I was on the hunt for a clear container to do the trick.  I first thought a couple Mason Jars would be perfect but I decided I didn't really want to dig through (or have to dump it out) to get what I wanted.  So I found this:

This item is called a 'Vanity Organizer', brought to you from Wally World (Walmart).  It cost a grand total of $7.97.  I was looking at a variety of choices but this one fit what I wanted.  Originally, I was going to put tension rods in this to hold the tape in place and then put a serrated edge from a plastic wrap box on each side to make it a dispenser (this was NOT my idea, while I'd love to say it was, it wasn't).  I decided against it for a number of reasons:  1.) I love me some Washi tape but I don't use it frequently enough so having it pulled out to use like a tape dispenser would cause dust to collect on the sticky part rendering it completely useless. 2.) I couldn't find tension rods that small.  And 3.)  If I need to use the tape in my hand, I'd have to take it off the rod and then dump the whole rod to get to the color I wanted...I don't have time for that.  :)  Enough reasons?  Sure.  BUT, the idea of turning this lovely piece of plastic into a huge dispenser is pretty cool!  Next:

My tape all on the floor...what to do?  What to do?  Well, I purchased these metal sticky labels at Staples for $4.99 for 6 (thank you Martha Stewart).  They work great and added just what I needed to the project.

Behold!  My Washi tape container.  I have 2 too many rolls for it to fit perfect, but I can get past that.  This container is perfect for me and also allows me to have a wee bit of "portion control" when I come across new tape that I see...I want but I don't need it because my container is full.  Of course, this is organized by color...and I also realized that I must have something against yellow because I don't have any.  Shucks!  I simply took the white paper label that came with the metal labels, covered it with some tape, added my nifty clear label and TA-DA!!!  Washi tape holder!

Next up is this other lovely container that I came across.
Oooh, me likey!  I found this at Wally World (again, Walmart) for $6.97 in the aisle with all the laundry accessories (such as drying racks, shoe organizers, ironing boards).  This was supposed to be my Washi tape organizer, but once I put the tape in, it looked empty and sad and just shouted at me to "BUY MORE", but I really didn't want (ahem, need) to buy tape just to buy it.  So, instead, I used it to organize some of my other crafting supplies:

This time, I used some paper scraps to give the labels some color, added my clear label....PRESTO!!!  Instant organizer for my paints, brushes and Mod Podge (as well as other types of glue adhesives).  There's plenty of room for me to add as I do new projects and it's all stowed away in this lovely container.  Loved this!!!

This last little bit is more of a DIY than a thing to organize.  With Valentine's Day being tomorrow, I wanted to give Peanutty and Sweet Pickles teachers a little something fun, rather than candy. 

So, using my sweet scraps I saved out of the remnants bin at Hancock Fabricks, some hair ties, buttons I had on hand, and some medium weight interface (I JUST learned what this was about 5 days ago...thank you MS [she gives me sewing/crafting advice]), a java jacket from Starbucks (I did order a chai so it's not like I stole it) and with a little help (OK, a lot of help) from Pinterest, I came up with these:

Little mug cozies!!!  They were super easy and didn't take too much time to make (the cutting out part stunk, not to mention I didn't think of seam allowance, so I had to cut all new).  They turned out just lovely!!!  The teachers will be getting 3 disposable to-go cups, two packets of hot cocoa (picked out by the kids) and my favorite hot chai tea pouches, as well as this little sweater for their cups.  In total, each gift (cozy, cups, cocoa, tea) set me back $2.  Yes, $2 (and a little time).  It was a sewing project that turned out WAY better than I thought (since I'm no whiz at the old sewing machine...just threading the bobbin stresses me out!). Here's the instructions:  (It may have stated about the seam allowance...but I didn't read it, I just looked at the pix).

Sometimes it's the little fun things that you can do to spruce a space up!  In this case, it was the fun plastic containers I found at Walmart!  A little tape, a little paper, a few labels and you have added a personal touch to a simple item!  I love the way it all turned out!

Hope you all have a most wonderful Valentine's Day!!!