Friday, June 25, 2010

Guest Room/Playroom/Sewing Room Reveal

So the room itself is still very blah (and I moved two plastic tubs of papers to sort into the office)…but the room AND closet are finally clean and organized.

You may remember I did a quick fix on the closet in there a few months back.

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But all that stuff needed to be dealt with…so that was tackled in earnest this week. A lot of papers were sorted (though there’s plenty more to deal with) and all the other odds and ends were gone through. The best part though was getting an organizer (on sale this week at Target) so that I could FINALLY get all my sewing stuff in order. I haven’t really had it organized much since getting married and am excited to have it all in order so that when I DO have some time to sew I will be able to find everything I need!!

Top shelf now holds sleeping bags, gift bags and tissue paper, baskets I hope to do something with craft-wise, and extra throws and spreads.

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The middle shelf is my sewing/crafting stuff. On the left are my bigger pieces of material and a couple of organizers to contain all the little bits and pieces like buttons, needles, etc. On the right are a few things to mend and some Goodwill finds I hope to use parts of in creating some garb for renfaire in the fall. The middle holds my organizer full of lovely drawers…the top one for patterns and ribbons, the next one for odds and ends, the next one for current projects, and the bottom one for smaller pieces of fabric.

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The bottom of the closet was the hardest as far as sweat equity goes though. I disassembled Bug’s changing table from his room and moved it into the closet in here and reassembled it. Let me tell you it was NOT easy…and I will definitely have help on any future projects of this nature. It is just VERY hard to maneuver in such a long narrow space!!

To the left of the changing table I’ve got a couple pillows and a duvet waiting for any guests we may have. To the right I have my sewing machine and a couple old bulletin boards I plan to refurbish in the future with some pretty fabric. The changing table itself awaits cute little baskets or buckets to contain things and will be the new home for all Bug's various toys. Yay for a toy-free living room!! Granted, the toys were hidden away at times in their little cubes in the entertainment center…but let’s be realistic here and say that they were usually scattered about the living room (and in the case of the ball pit balls usually even farther afield as cat and baby batted them about)!!

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My next post will be a plea for ideas as to how to decorate the room that will be a combination playroom and crafting room with the occasional incarnation as a guest bedroom!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hooping!!


Did you ever hula hoop as a kid? I did. I learned in kindergarten during a very cold December where they hardly let us play outside on the playground during recess, instead sending us to the gymnasium where our options were jumping rope or hula hooping. I loved it so much that I decided for my seventh birthday that I MUST have a hoop of my own...and pestered my parents incessantly for one. In retrospect, they may have gotten me that hoop just to shut me up about it!! :-P A couple years later when a little brother messed that hoop up I got another one...but when that one got messed up, that was it for me and hooping.

Now I discover that there is a whole hooping movement going on out there in the big wide world of adults!! Sara, a blogger whose several blogs I've been following for a couple years, recently was introduced to hooping and then started her own hooping blog!! When I first read her first post about hooping I decided I wanted to start hooping again too!! So this Sunday I will go to my first hooping gathering and hopefully within the next week or two I will also have my own specially-made-for-me hoop from an Etsy shop!!

Bonus: Besides it being lots of fun to hoop and do tricks to music, it is also a very effective workout that tones your core without really seeming like a workout cause it's so freakin' fun!! Check out this video!! If I can get as good as that, I'll be pretty happy!!

Current Projects..

This next Tuesday we are having some friends over to grill burgers and relax. I'll wash the cushions ahead of time for the patio furniture and we'll prob hang the hammock...and we will definitely get the mister going out on the patio to help keep us cool!!
Then my SIL and her three kiddoes are coming for a visit in about three weeks. It's been a while since we've had overnight guests and DH has actually built a murphy bed since the last time...so it will get its first use while they are here.
Also in July we've got Independence Day as well as the birthdays of my two most favorite people in the world...DH and Bug!! So we'll prob have some sort of celebratory something or two for all that as well!!
With the different guests coming during the next month...I have got to get on the ball with finally getting the house in order and fixed up the way I'd like it to be. This means tackling the mountain of papers to sort in the office and doing a major scrub down of the house!!
I am also planning on finally finishing the curtains and bedskirt I never finished before Bug decided to come...as well as "toddler-izing" his room now that he is so mobile!! Once the guest room is in shape it will also become Bug's playroom whenever it isn't needed for guests, so a clearing out and reorganizing of the stuff in the guest room closet is also a must...so that there will be room in the bottom of it for toys!!
So, no pics in this post...but keep your eyes peeled for pics of Bug's nursery, the guest bedroom, and the office...as I make headway in getting them the way I envision them being!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The week of meals w/some pictures…

So I started in on my meal plans in earnest this week and already I've veered from the plan.

Tuesdays we always have tacos because Rosa’s has Taco Tuesdays…where you can get two tacos, rice, beans, and two flour tortillas for $3.33!! I can’t make that from scratch for that cheap…at least not at this point. Once we have a few munchkins running around and they are eating tacos too, then it will probably work out cheaper to make it from scratch then. This isn’t my picture, just found it on the Rosa’s fan page on Facebook.

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Wednesday I made the chunky potato soup…which was a hit. It will definitely be added to the menu again, but it’s really more of a winter meal. It was definitely yummy though!! I snapped a quick pic before DH grabbed the bowl and dug in!!

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Thursday I didn’t get the rice and beans started early enough, so we went with something a little less involved. I made baking powder biscuits and poached some eggs in butter in the microwave. Super easy and delicious. Also on Thursday I decided that if I was gonna take pictures of our food, I’d make a little more of an effort with presentation. I’m not much of a photographer, but I think the food looks a little more appealing when arranged prettily!!

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Friday we were out running errands for quite a while and so by the time we were heading home, the last thing I wanted to do was go to the grocery store for cheddar cheese, cilantro, and jalapenos. So I made a few modifications to the pizza. I used only mozzarella for the cheese and used some spring onions instead of red onions. I left off the cilantro (since we didn’t have any) and the olives (since DH doesn’t like them). Finally, I used a can of drained Rotel in place of the chopped tomatoes and jalapenos. Dh said it was pretty good…which is high praise from a picky eater!!

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Saturday DH had a class for most of the day (which I’d forgotten about) and when he came home he wasn’t feeling well. Since I wasn’t feeling so great myself I ignored the menu plan completely and just fixed a simple salad for DH and had a boiled egg myself. So no pictures for Saturday and I will just have to try out those recipes another time.

Sunday we just had coffee in the morning (since I hadn’t made the bagels on Saturday). After church we headed out on the search for a small, non-chain, family-owned Italian place that was in our price range and wasn’t too crowded for Mother’s Day. DH ended up breaking out of his manicotti-only mold and tried a pasta with spinach and a wine sauce (can’t remember what it was called) and I had a sampler plate of lasagna, chicken parmesan, and tortellini alfredo…yum!! Bug nibbled on our bread, bits of carrot from our salads, and bits of plain pasta. I managed to snap a shot of my plate before I’d killed it all off. We had our lunch leftovers for dinner (it was a lot of food).

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Monday was designated for leftovers, but since I hadn’t cooked much over the weekend, we really didn’t have any. So I brewed some sweet tea, made a batch of tuna salad (with pickles, boiled eggs, and mayo) for DH, and made a batch of chicken salad (with diced apples, chopped celery, pecan bits, and mayo) for me. Bug got some steamed and blended apples and sweet potatoes. Once he was in bed we toasted some sourdough bread to eat our respective salads with.

So now we are back to Tuesday…our day for Rosa’s tacos and the day Mama doesn’t have to cook (especially since we still have more apple/sweet potato puree for Bug). Week one of my menu plan has passed. Here’s hoping that this week I’ll be more successful with sticking to the plan!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May Meal Plans

So I did it...I actually came up with a month of meal plans!! I tried to go for a good mix of new and favorite meals and tried to mostly stick to a plan of themed dinners.
Mondays are leftovers, Tuesdays are tacos, Wednesdays are soup, salad, or sandwiches, Thursdays are crockpot meals, Fridays are pizza, Saturdays are open for whatever, and Sundays are pasta...of course, I am flexible and of course, there are more meals to come up with for the weekends.
So here it is...the month of menus!! We shall see how it works out...and plan next month accordingly!!

4th--Tacos
8th Breakfast--Oven french toast
8th Lunch--Green salad
8th Dinner--Hamburgers, potato salad
9th Breakfast--Pumpkin bagels and cream cheese
9th Lunch--Mother's Day (I'll let DH figure this one out!!)
9th Dinner--Turkey sandwiches

10th--Leftovers
11th--Tacos
12th--Tuna salad sandwiches
15th Breakfast--Homemade poptarts
15th Lunch--Pasta Salad, iced tea
15th Dinner--Steaks, mashed potatoes, grilled corn on the cobb
16th Breakfast--Baked scotch eggs
16th Lunch--Green Salad

17th--Leftovers
18th--Tacos
19th--Minestrone, fresh bread
22nd Lunch--Green salad
23rd Breakfast--Cinnamon quinoa
23rd Lunch--Tuna salad w/crackers
23rd Dinner--Spaghetti Pie

24th--Leftovers
25th--Tacos
26th--My Birthday (I'll let DH figure this one out!!)
28th--Hamburger Mozzarella Pizza
29th Breakfast--Popovers
29th Lunch--Tuna salad w/crackers
30th Breakfast--Baked oatmeal
30th Lunch--BBQ chicken salad
30th Dinner--Parmesan Pasta
31st--Hamburgers, potato salad, iced tea, homemade ice cream

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Recent Cuteness…

I think that if I’m gonna get back into regular blogging, those who follow me will just have to resign themselves to seeing many, many pictures of my cute baby boy…that’s just how it is!!

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A long day of errands and refusing to nap makes for a tired boy about 5pm!!

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A cute little cloth-diapered butt!!

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Playing in the grass for the first time without a blanket…it felt weird to him!!

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My little daredevil climbing the foam rocks at the indoor playground!!

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Shopping can wear a boy out!!

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Jumping in the front entryway…lots of fun!!

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Mmmm…he loves sushi (avocado rolls)!!

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Loving the nice weather for going to the park!! Swings are fun!!

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm weird...and I'm okay with that!!

So, some things that would make people think I'm weird just didn't happen. The homebirth was a no-go, co-sleeping didn't happen, nursing was a bust (though I think pumping for nine months was definitely pretty crazy), and I'm a bit embarrassed to say that Bug eats more Beechnut and Gerber than homemade in the baby food department.

I live in a normal home in a nice quiet subdivision of a small town in the DFW metroplex...essentially the burbs. We have two vehicles, one baby, and a stuck-up cat. Though the norm these days trends toward dual income families, I am a stay at home mom...but in our neighborhood that isn't too unusual. But that isn't what I'm talking about when I say weird!!

No, those things that set me apart are probably these:

*We aren't vaccinating. At least not most of the shots...but we will deal with any that we may decide to give him after he is at least two years old. The idea of pumping chemicals and diseases into a tiny body worries me. I'm not gonna get all crazy vigilante about it (everyone makes the decision they feel is right for their own children)...but the proof is in the pudding as to whether they are really all that needed or not. Firstly, the only one of all the siblings of both mine and Brack's who did not get any vaccinations is the healthiest one of the bunch. Second, how many rounds of sick do most babies go through the first year of their life these days? Bug's only ever been under the weather (besides diaper rash and teething) twice in his whole 9.5 months of life on this earth...that's closing in on a year of healthy!!

*Bug is going on the potty at least once a day. I am not necessarily following the whole Elimination Communication dealio, but I just put him on the potty whenever he wakes up and most of the time he goes!! He has gone in the potty consistently every morning for over a week now!! YAY!! No pressure, but he's getting used to the idea so that in the future potty training won't be such a scary thing.

*I homeschooled most of my school years and we plan on doing the same for Bug...or rather, I'm leaning ever more toward unschooling him...letting his interests guide his studies. Of course, this is a few years in the future.

*I love swing dancing and really want to have cool retro clothes for it and be able to go out dancing a couple times a month. Granted, this isn't so weird for some people who may be reading this...but I can guarantee you that there aren't too many people I know who like to get out and cut a rug Glen Miller style!!

*I really love renaissance faires. There is just something so cool about faires...at times I think I am part gypsy and the faire season gets me wishing I could move with the faire schedules to each new faire...maybe live in a vardo...I don't know!! But the garb, ah yes, the garb is such fun!! I have been to faire in the yuckiest heat and sometimes it is cooler temp-wise to go in mundanes (regular clothes for those who don't know the lingo)....but I do love me some absolutely gorgeous and fun garb. I am actually in the middle of making/prepping garb for a big faire this fall.

Now, to top it all off and make people think I'm even crazier...I am really starting to get into the whole steampunk thing. I've always liked the Victorian turn-of-the-century era...and here is a way to recreate it...only imagined as if steam were still king...a sort of alternate history so to speak. I find those who are into steampunk to be rather dapper dressers and exceedingly polite...because manners still count!! I think that that is what really makes me like the whole aesthetic, though the cool gears, buttons and styles are pretty appealing as well.

So there you have it...several reasons why someone might think I'm weird. One, two, or even all of the above may brand me as just a wee bit nuts...but you know what? I don't care. I actually like marching to the beat of my own drum, rather than being a cookie-cutter soccer mom, so to speak!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Typical Saturday At Our House

Saturdays have always been our “lazy” day. Pre-baby and pre-house that meant sleeping in and having a nice brunch around 11-ish…then playing computer or xbox games, messing around online on Crossings, or reading. Once we started the house search we would spend most of Saturday afternoons driving around and looking at different neighborhoods and houses and going through model homes. Housework beyond dishes was put off and dealt with come Monday (which was pretty hard when I was working full-time and easier but not-so-fun when I was working part-time).

But then we moved into our house last February and welcomed our little guy into our lives last July…and weekends are just not the same. Typically the little guy wakes me up no later than 7:30am…but usually a good 45 minutes earlier than that!! Sometimes Brack gets to “sleep in” until 8am, but many times he wakes up when the little dude starts making noise.

Coffee is made and a bottle of milk is warmed immediately so EVERYONE can get a good start to the early morning!! Then I fix breakfast while Brack plays some xbox and Edmund plays on the floor with some toys and occasionally climbs on Brack, disrupting the game!! Here is a pic from several months ago on a different Saturday morning…but it’s still pretty typical (except Brack isn’t so fastidious about keeping the little man from seeing the screen these days)!!

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Then we all sit down to eat. Usually by the time we eat and Edmund is ready to get down from his chair, he gets in a few minutes playing with Papa and then it’s time for his morning nap (sometime between 9:30-10:00am) Once the little guy is down, Brack plays on the xbox for a little while longer while I savor a second cup of coffee.

But then the day really begins. There is usually some house project to work on, if not several. I try to get a couple loads of laundry done and keep up with the dishes as well so that Monday catch-up won’t drive me insane. Meal plans for the next week must be made up and grocery lists and coupons got together. Clothes for Sunday must be picked out and readied. If we are really on the ball, we usually can sit back and relax (besides dealing with dinner) right about the time the little guy goes down for his afternoon nap around 2:30-3:00pm. If I am lucky I can even get a nap in while he naps to make up for not getting to sleep in!! Once the baby boy is up from his afternoon nap we have fun playing with him, going for a walk, running errands, or just relaxing. Then of course once he is down for the night we can sit back on the couch and watch a movie or something. Saturdays may be busier now, but they are just as enjoyable.

One thing I have enjoyed doing on Saturdays ever since getting married is fixing our brunch. Of course, these days our brunch is a bit earlier than it used to be…typically between 9:00-9:30am!! A favorite new recipe is a clone of Panera’s Spinach-Artichoke Souffle (which isn’t a souffle at all)!! Oh, but it IS good!!

I found the recipe online here but have tweaked it a bit. I use green bell pepper instead of red…as it’s a bit cheaper and I usually have green on hand. I use 4 tablespoons half and half instead of 2 tablespoons each of milk and heavy cream since we always have half and half on hand. I substitute mozzarella for monterey jack as I usually have mozzarella on hand after our Friday night pizza. I also substitute a blend of parmesan, asiago, fontina, and romano cheeses in the places the recipe calls for parmesan and asiago. I also don’t divide the dough up into four, only into two and I cook the “souffles” in my Corningware 16oz round dishes. The last thing I do differently is buttering the dishes with a stick of butter instead of melting it first. Even with all the changes, they still taste like the ones at Panera.

One thing that makes getting the meal ready easier is having some of the components prepped ahead of time. I actually premeasured into small rubbermaid containers the frozen spinach, chopped canned artichoke hearts, onion, and bell pepper that the recipe calls for so that I only have to do that once to have enough for 4-5 times.

So here are a couple pictures of our yummy brunch…

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In the interest of full-disclosure, the prepped breakfast table actually looks more like this!! :-P

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Of course, I can’t post an entry without at least one picture of my cute little guy!! Here he is chilling out in the hammock that his Papa hung on the patio this morning. Don’t worry, I was RIGHT beside him!!

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Quick Fixes

So I’m still gonna post about my master closet project, but it’s taking a while and it’s easy to get discouraged when things aren’t progressing as fast as I’d like them to. I need to realize that with a little one in the house I can’t be as gung-ho on projects as I was before if I don’t wanna live around the project mess for a while!! So I get involved in little side projects just to feel a sense of progress and accomplishment!! Here are a few recent ones…

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About a week ago I knew my mom-in-law was coming for a visit, so the days of using the guest bedroom as a laundry repository and folding location would need to come to an end!! :-D I dealt with all the laundry and put away the few bigger baby toys that had wandered in there, but I hated that the closet was a big mess. I knew the underlying layer was organized, but it just looked very cluttered. So one afternoon as Bug played underfoot and then later napped, I tackled both the closet and the under-bed situation. Though I still need to get some of the things in the containers dealt with, I think it looks rather neat and tidy…what do you think?

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Another project was the pantry. It was rather sad and neglected and really needed a cleaning and organizing as well. After throwing away a couple of sad shriveled potatoes I found hiding in a corner and giving away some older canned stuff I knew we’d never eat (why did I buy it?)…I got it all spiffy and organized and it is ready to restock with good deals!!

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Today I did a couple quick projects. The first was pulling out our heavy coats from our hall closet, leaving only our lighter jackets and freeing up space for visitors to hang their jackets. I decided I didn’t want that closet to be such a catch-all place, so I need to find new spots for the ironing board, the TV trays, and the vacuum cleaner and deal with the other random items in there. It is cleared out now though and at the moment the only things in there are five hanging jackets and some of Bug’s bigger toys. It makes me smile cause I love uncluttered spots!!

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Next, I was tired of waiting to implement an idea I had for our entertainment center. We had switched it out a couple months back from a closed unit to a shelved unit that fit more snuggly up to the wall. (Excuse the absolute disaster that is the open shelving unit—we had JUST switched it out and all the junk was just transferred over…ugh!).

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I was tired of seeing cords hanging all over the back of it though and wanted to remedy the situation. A couple weeks ago I snagged the little fabric and cardboard cubes I had been using in my closet and was using them to contain things in a few of the cubicles, but I really wanted to deal with those unsightly cords.

So I grabbed a big serrated edge knife and started hacking away!!

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I used my hacked cube to fit the electrical stuff in…as well as all cords, headsets, remotes, and controllers. The other cube on the top row of cubicles has my cookbooks in it (very handy, since I usually take a naptime to spread them all out on the carpet and plan upcoming meals). Since the one cube is not going anywhere because of the cords, and the other one is WAY too heavy for Bug to pull out, it really works out well.

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One of the other cubicles on the top row then has the XBox360 and the controller charger, and the other has a nice basket of books for Bug and a cute teddy bear.

The bottom row is split evenly between my stuff and Bug’s stuff. His little toys all fit into one cube and his ball pit balls fit into the other.

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I took the other two cubicles and neatly organized my binders, storybooks to be read to baby boy, coupon box, recipe box, and two boxes with DH’s Xbox games into them. I think the overall effect looks quite nice. What do you think?

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So there ya go…that’s how I occupy my little snippets of time lately, when the big projects get to be too much but I am still motivated to use the time while baby boy naps to good use!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Master Closet-Shoe Edition

I know I posted a couple years ago about getting the master closet in shape…but time passes, moves are made, maternity clothes are bought, used, and packed away…and the time comes once again for a major closet overhaul!! I spend a bit of time and effort on my closets, so this will be a multi-post dealio.

I don’t have any before pics to show you…but believe me…you would NOT want to see just how disorganized this self-proclaimed neat freak let her closet get!! Suffice to say, there were clothes jumbled together and piled on almost every surface (floor included, but no top shelves since I am somewhat height-challenged)!! It was pretty scary, I can assure you!!

First thing I tackled was the shoes…I might not have a lot, but I definitely needed to deal with them. I first replaced a few pairs that were in sad shape or no longer fit right. The casual shoes were Payless BOGO 1/2 off. Yeah, I get some of my shoes at Payless, but that way I can afford to replace them more often, and I usually get tired of some styles a lot sooner than others. The athletic shoes, on the other hand, were NOT cheap…but my dear husband wanted me to have good shoes for workouts and such. (New shoes on the left in pics, old ones they are replacing on the right).

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I then packed away a few pairs I hardly ever wear, but still wanted to hang on to for certain occasions (like slouchy boots for renfaire, my old Docs for trips to the farm, a fave pair of flips I can’t part with yet, and a pair of heels that only go with one outfit). I then got rid of six pair of assorted footwear…

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This left me with space to get all my current shoes organized onto just one shelving unit…YAY!! I moved the unit to a corner, cause I actually like to have some empty space in my closets…and there ya go!!

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I moved DH’s shoe shelf into another little nook I freed up of excess stuff. I didn’t try to convince him to part with shoes (even though some I can’t even recall ever seeing him wear) since they all fit onto his shelves in any case…even a spot left open for his work boots!!

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Next closet post will be on accessories…how in the WORLD did I manage to corral all the purses, belts, ties, and ballcaps?

Operation Christmas Child: A Rebuttal to Unsolicited Advice

Since that blog post (of what one person thinks you should and shouldn't send) is making the rounds AGAIN, I thought I might sha...