Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Cleaning Challenge - Toys

Welcome into my son's room.
This is how it looks almost everyday. Um, clutter and too many toys. I won't even show you under the bed. It's a parking garage for all his large cars and trucks.
I know you are expecting a clean room photo.... still waiting on that.

We have moved out the little red table it was too small for him. I have a goal of limited the number of toys to ONLY those that fit in his bins and just a few cars for under the bed.

This is going surprisingly well. Will was such a big boy and donated 3 large trucks to the church nursery on Sunday. He was so proud and they made a big deal out of it.

We are on operation garage sale. The guest room/playroom/junk room would be a candidate for the TV show Hoarders. We are putting all the stuff we are selling in that room. It is full to the brim which is a good sign of our spring cleaning.

I will continue to thin out all areas of the house. Simplifying and downsizing sounds so wonderful right now.

How is your spring cleaning going?

Pregnancy update: I am 18 weeks and all is well. The little peanut is kicking up a storm. My guess is boy. We find out in 4 weeks!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fun and Frugal Trip

Warning photo overload!!!
We had a wonderful family vacation to Galveston. It's about 5 hours from where we live.
The first day we headed to Moody Gardens. The kids loved it! My friend Carrie mailed us a discount coupon. Thanks Carrie! We stayed at a brand new Holiday Inn Express. LOVED IT!! Take a look at the room. We had our own balcony overlooking the ocean. Honestly this hotel room ranked up with some 5 star hotel's we've stayed at.

You can still see damage from the hurricane. This is the Flagship hotel. I grew up staying at this hotel each year.

We enjoyed walking on the beach. You can see how they've built up the beach with sand. They have trucks out each night. We were thrilled to see they rebuilt Murdoch's.
Kate with her name in the sand. Can you believe my big girl turned 13 this weekend?
Every trip to Galveston must include dinner at Gaido's Seafood.
The family!

We headed to The Houston Space Center. I found a coupon online for 50% off admission.
My favorite part was visiting the Buoyancy Lab where the astronauts train in the water to mimic space.

A bonus for the kids was seeing the Star Wars characters. This was a special for spring break. Did I say it was crowded? It was very crowded.
We had a fabulous time together. Another trip is a must. Something wonderful about the warm ocean air. While we were out of town it snowed at home. Whew, glad we missed the last snow storm. I'm a sunshine and ocean girl!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Crash and Burn

My computer is on the brink and I can't load anymore photos on my computer. My husband is going to work on it this weekend so I can get to my post about our Spring Break trip.

Fingers crossed it doesn't crash and burn!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Break

The kids are off this weeks so I am also taking a break from blogging and my spring cleaning project. We have lots of fun activities and a mini vacation planned.

We are heading to the indoor pool at the gym this morning for some fun swim time!

See you next week! I will post next week about my closet cleaning projects we did this past weekend.

We also dropped off some maternity clothes at the crisis pregnancy center and passed some kids clothes on to a friend.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Cleaning - Day 2 Step Outside

Remember this photo from last year. I added some additional green stuff to the yard. Anyone know what happens to Oleander? I think I killed it. It's all brown and dead.
Hoping in a month it will all look like this again.

I had all intentions of doing the teenagers closet but with her busy activity schedule it's going to have to wait.

So I took a step outside and pulled the weeds in the flower beds. It was very overdue. We've had a lot of rain lately and the weeds are growing so fast. I was embarrassed each day when I drove up thinking what an eyesore my yard was. Hubby still needs to mow. Gotta love these Texas weeds!

The kids kept me company on our sunny and beautiful 65 degree day. Our driveway is scatter with precious chalk art. We had a great afternoon pulling weeds and enjoying the beautiful day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Cleaning Challenge (SCC) Day 1

Day One: Let there be light!

We've got many ceiling fans and light fixtures. My light bulbs all seem to go out at once. I've put off changing the light bulbs well, for months. It drives my husband and I both crazy but neither one of us seem to do anything about it.

So I pulled out my trusty ladder and changed all the bulbs that needed to be changed. It took about 15 minutes.

As I was in the hallway upstairs next to the air return I realized it's also time to change the air filter. So I am sending hubby out after work for new air filters.

If you are joining me these are easy fixes but essential. Change your light bulbs and air filters. You can't do much cleaning if you don't have the proper lighting.

Tomorrow we tackle the teenagers closet... I am seriously scared to show those pictures!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Cleaning Family Challenge! Wanna Join?

These two photos have nothing to do with my post I just had to share. My son Will had his first t-ball game on Saturday. I just have to brag.
Here he is about to make his first run! He's got his own little jersey with his name.... so cute!!!
Our Saturdays morning are now filled with the joy of baseball games. Love it!!

OK on to my post....

As you can tell I adore my children, every one of them. Let me tell you as a mom of 3 almost 4 that it is very easy to spoil them with too many toys.

We never miss a kids meal because we've got to get that cheap toy. Just to see the joy on the kids face. You know I love garage sales so do my kids. They get toys every trip too.

So what's the problem??? Well, the toys have taken over our house and our children's mind.

My children now think anywhere we go they are entitled to a toy and we have some major fits when they don't purchase something. (Excluding Kate she's grown out of this, she just has her teenage drama)

I am finding myself getting upset with the kids because they cannot pick up their rooms and the playroom correctly. I have toys hidden everywhere. I almost fell down the stairs the other day because a toy was on a step.

At the peak of my frustration I went to my moms group yesterday and thank you God our speaker was on homemaking. She talked about this very thing!! Really she did! Just when I was about to loose it.

So we are on declutter and toy thinning at our house. We aren't going to be mean and just throw things out or donate all to Goodwill we are going to use this as a learning experience for the kids.

Let me share our plan. Phase 1 Giving to those in need.

  1. The first phase is each of the children picking out 5 nice working and clean toys.
  2. We will donate these "special" toys to the local children's hospital. Each floor has a playroom for the sick kids. They get their toys by donation only.
  3. We will visit the hospital (my mother in law is a nurse at). We will get a special tour and drop off the toys. The kids will see first hand children with cancer and other conditions.
  4. We are cleaning out the kids clothes and taking out clothes that don't fit and bagging them up for our friends.
  5. We've been very lucky to get nice hand me downs so we will not sell the clothes we will pass them along to our littler friends.

My hope is this will be a positive experience and help my kids let go of some of the greed for material possessions. I struggle with this as an adult I hope to help them in their journey early.

Phase 2: Money is a Motivator.

  1. Huge garage sale in April.
  2. We will lead my example and also declutter items in the house. Ex: extra tv's, kitchen gadgets, clothes, purses, etc.
  3. My hope is the children will pick out the toys that mean the most to them to keep. That way they can really enjoy the toys.
  4. We will discuss as a family what we will use the money from the garage sale for. Maybe a special summer trip or visit to Six Flags.
I will be blogging about our journey toward Less is More. I will be showing real photos mess and all. Anyone else want to join along?

Are you ready?
(Deep Sigh)
So am I.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Time to Clean

First some prego pictures, notice my face. This is me and Kate at the Brahma's game at the beginning of February. This is me and Kate Sunday at Rainforest Cafe after her ballet performance.... a month later. This is why I don't like being in photos.
Yes, it appears I swallowed a melon and my face has puffed up.
I also cut my hair. I am thinking I will grow it back out a bit. The shorter hair makes my face look even rounder. Why does my face puff up when I'm pregnant? Makes me crazy!!!
I am now 4 1/2 months and I have just started to feel the baby move around.

OK on to some free cleaning. This was my pantry, a big mess.

This is my pantry after 30 minutes of decluttering and getting rid of expired and empty boxes. Much better. The best part is this little transformation was free. I've got the itch to clean and declutter. Spring is in the air!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Menu Monday and Some Other Stuff

Wow, our schedule has been very busy! I've been really slacking on my blog postings as well as my blog reading. In my spare time I've been reading the Twilight series as I posted a while back. I am on the last book, oh my how I can't put these books down. All the twists and turns and drama, love it!!!

Now to food... my morning sickness is completely gone and I am feeling almost back to normal. With the exception of my growing belly and frequent trips to the potty. My appetite for mexican food is finally back.

Monday: Leftover brisket on baked potato's

Tuesday: Not sure... we have open house and Will's first school performance. We will probably visit Wendy's or Steak and Shake for dinner, in that event I will eat a salad.

Wednesday: Orange Chicken. This is a new favorite of ours. I used the Wanchi Ferry Orange Chicken mix then add in a bag of cooked steamed veggie mix. It goes perfect and also stretches a dinner for 2 to feed 4.

Thursday: Taco's! We haven't had these in ages. I bought the Old El Paso Hard Taco kit. Looking forward to some mexican food here at home.

Friday: Lenten Fish Day. I am planning to get some fresh catfish at sprouts to have my hubby fry up. We are out of our fish stockpile in the freezer. Time to go fishing!

One more thing.... we've been long time parishioners of a church that we adore. We were married here, the kids were baptized here and we feel comfortable. The only problem is it's about 35 minutes away from our house. We moved almost 3 years ago and we never changed churches. With Kate at the youth age it's impossible for us to have her involved in their activities.

We started visiting a new church last week. I already attend the moms group there during the week. This is hard really hard. I've been in almost tears before church, the kids are antsy and we are all uncomfortable at this new church. We gave it a 2 week try but it doesn't feel right. We have a lot of change going on right now and are praying for God's guidance and his will in our life.

Anyone have advice for visiting new churches? Did you feel uncomfortable at first or completely at ease? This is new territory for us.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Music to my ears and food!

What a wonderful sound to hear the galloping sound of the baby's heartbeat. I forgot how wonderful that sound was until my appointment this morning. The baby is doing great measuring right! The heart rate was 158, nice and strong. What a sigh of relief!

I can't believe how fast the last 14 weeks have flown by. I am able to feel the hard little ball when I lay on my back. I also can't suck in my tummy anymore. That means I am officially in all maternity clothes... letting that belly hang out :)

This is really happening I am going to have 4 kids! What an overwhelming feeling to be responsbile for 4 other little lives. I am not perfect by any means so this brings some anxiety of how I will balance having this many children. Glad the kids are spaced out I can't imagine having 4 kids under 6 like some other mothers I know.

Now on to the menu this week:

Monday: Baked Potato's and Salad

Tuesday: Meals on the Go

Wednesday: Frozen Pizza (I purchase cheese pizza and bag of peperoni's and do my own pepperoni pizza)

Thursday: Grilled Burritos

Friday: Fish Fry Friday!

Things We Do For Our Kids

I am up at 12:30 am on Sunday night I guess officially Monday morning. What is so important that I am not sleeping? Well filling out the open enrollment son for my son's school. (which is not up yet and it was suposed to be up at 12:00) We are able to transfer schools within the district. Will was accepted last year to our favorite elementary school for kinder and now I have to makes sure he gets back in for 1st grade with his buddies.

Just thankful I don't have to camp out and stand in line like other districts! All in the comfort of my own home!

Later this morning I have my 2nd OB appointment. I am looking forward to hearing the baby's heartbeat. Still a little nervous, but then again that's just me!

Another random fact... Do you know what happens when you pop popcorn in the microwave with the bag facing the wrong side up? A microwave FIRE. Yes I said FIRE. We had little incident Saturday night with the popcorn bad catching on fire in the microwave. Talk about scary! Everyone is ok and the microwave survived but the house still smells like burnt popcorn. Don't try this at home!