Friday, July 27, 2012

Quick Lego Manual

We have QUITE the collection of Legos since Christopher had his birthday a few weeks ago, and with all those legos comes a lot of little building manuals.  Many of ours were in really bad shape, having been lovingly touched and taken in the car to "read" more times than I can count.  So today I took an old binder and some page protectors that I was no longer using and made a little Lego manual. 

I put a few booklets in each (after extensively taping some back together) grouping by category - Cars, Ninjago, Lego City, etc. 

I think it will be much easier to handle and they'll stay in much better shape this way.  And anything that means less Lego mess on Christopher's bedroom floor is a good thing!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Simple Wallet

Christopher and Patrick have recently started doing "money jobs," which are little extra chores around the house to earn $0.50 or $1.00 depending on the job. Patrick has been asking for somewhere to put his vast stash of money, but I've been unable to find a small wallet at Target, etc. So the other day I decided we'd make him a little change purse-type pouch for his money.

He's one happy guy, always wanting to do work so he has money to add to his wallet. He looked through the fabric in the closet and homed in on a spaceship print...which is flannel. Yup, kid has a flannel wallet. Oh well, it makes him happy!

I drew out a simple pattern and we cut and stitched it on the machine. He learned how to put in and take out pins, how to line up and sew the seams, and how to press VERY CAREFULLY with a grown-up. The only thing I did myself was putting in the lining and topstitching (with very bad tension, judging from the mess on the inside). Then, of course, the piece de resistance, he got to pound on the snap. Oh happy day! Couture it is not, but it serves its purpose and was a great little learning project.

Pantry Cleanout - Round 2

I finally got around to cleaning the other side of my pantry today after I saw the great job my little sis did on her big boys room.  Maybe we can go back and forth, Cindy, and keep each other motivated?  Anyway, this side was more of a hot mess, mostly owing to the fact that I just mash stuff in there to keep it away from little fingers.  Here is the before, complete with toddler trying to get as much stuff as she can before I shoo her away:

Extra food at the top, on the fourth shelf, and on the floor. Art supplies on the 2nd and 5th shelves, of course?! The only thing that was working was the vase/casserole shelf. So I got to work and a two hours later, I had this.

Muuuch better.  All the food together and off the floor and all the art stuff together and accessible again.  The only area I didn't tackle is the coupon/office supply half of the fourth shelf (in the canning jar box), but I have big plans for that involving some scrap wood in the garage and my Kreg Jig, so watch this space :-)  Down in one corner I found this little gem. 

I think it is some sort of basket liner for food from back when Longaberger was the big thing (yes, I'm that old that I've been through housekeeping fads, yikes!), but it works great for markers and crayons.

Of course, it wouldn't be our house without a random box of unlabeled liquor :-)  I set this aside on the floor for my husband to identify and disposition.

So there you have it - again it didn't take nearly as long to do as I took putting it off.  Does anyone see a pattern forming here?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Food Pantry Cleanout

I started the great re-org of 2012 with a small project cleaning up the food side of my pantry.  It's a big double closet and I use the side closest the kitchen for food and the other side for art supplies, extra pantry goods, vases, canning jars, etc.  Here was the before:

It was in pretty good shape.  I just regrouped like with like, cleaned everything off, and tossed a few really old things.  I wiped the walls and shelves, pulling back the shelf liner and wiping both the underside and the shelf itself.  If anyone knows how to get rid of petrified shelf liner, let me know.  I hate the stuff, but the last owners had nasty blue liner on there from who knows when and I haven't been able to completely clean the shelves.  Now it looks like this:

Like I said, not a big change.  I had a pretty good system before and didn't need any new containers, although if you do, right now is a great time.  Everyone has their back-to-college stuff out so there are cheap but sturdy plastic crates in all colors and sizes.  Mine were from a few years ago and they do work better than old boxes for many things.  They have a little ventilation and they're easier to wipe.  Hopefully I'll get to the other side in a day or two, but for now I'll enjoy making dinner just a bit more!

Still Here and Still Scheming

Has it really been 6 weeks since I posted?  Has anyone really noticed?  Well, I'm now back from a 3 week trip to see my family and I'm all energized to reboot our house.  I've got big plans, as usual, but we'll see what comes of them.  My latest idea is to work on a reorganization of the house bit by bit.  Many closets and shelves have not been touched since I got pregnant with the princess, who is now 17 months old. 

I've become discouraged with the constant mess the kids leave behind, but in thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that I can't expect them to take care of and respect their things if their dad and I don't.  Our office area looks like this right now. 

So is it any wonder that the toy area looks like this (and it's actually pretty clean)?

I've come up with two concepts to focus on for the short term:
1.  I need to respect and care for my things so they respect and care for theirs.  That means doing dishes in a timely fashion and cleaning up and putting away books, magazines, projects, receipts, phones, etc. before I have to take them from little hands.

2.  The floor is NOT a place for anything to be stored.  Not trash in the office in need of a trash can, not graduation gear in the bedroom that no one is sure where to put, not books in the bedroom that I haven't gotten around to putting away.

We'll see what comes of this, but hopefully at least a few full garbage bins will give us some much-needed breathing room.