Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Organizing Challenge

It's no secret that I LOVE TO ORGANIZE.  I really enjoy everything about it - finding the containers, sorting the items and finding new homes for things.  In another life I'd love to come and help you organize your homes!

I have some organizational projects that I have been putting off for months.  We unpacked boxes this time last year and just kind of shoved things in closets.  That's where they belong, but it was becoming frustration to try to find anything in those closets.

So I bit the bullet and have been tackling those projects this month.  I reorganized all of our kitchen cabinets, our master closet, the kid's clothes and our craft closet.

I had been trying my best to ignore the dreaded craft closet for months.  I'd lost things in the closet and really didn't have a great idea of what supplies we had.  It was frustrating to dig through and I hated even opening the door.  I made myself tackle the project this Summer.  It feels so good to have it done!

My best tips:
1. Completely empty out the space you are trying to reorganize
2. Gather all of your bins and organizers from around the house to use
3. Use what you have to organize with
4. Throw away broken items, things you no longer want and relocate items to the right location
5. Give yourself enough time to do the project


BEFORE: It kind of pains me to show you this closet, but here you go.  A total disaster.

DURING: So many possibilities!!

CHAOS: These to pictures give me a bit of anxiety.  haha My kitchen/dining room were a complete wreck as I tried to sort through the mess.  My kids were being super helpful... luckily, Fletcher went down for a nap shortly after this victory lap.  I planned my day so that I could do most of the serious work during his nap time.  I didn't finish the project completely, but got a huge portion done while he slept.  Ideally, I do a big organizing project when I was home alone.  That RARELY happens so I just made it work. #momlife
 Seriously... my worst nightmare...

I definitely underestimated the time it would take to do this project.  I was guessing an hour or two, but it took twice that long.  A lunch break was involved and a phone call telling Kevin not to rush home to the mess.  He reminded me that he couldn't care less about that kind of stuff.

I told Olive to have some fun with letters while I worked and she did just that!  I looked over to see her COVERED in letters.  She had fun and I got busy.  Good plan.

AFTER!!!
Can you hear the chorus of angels singing Hallelujah!?!?
Order has returned with room to spare.  haha


Each bin has a purpose and organized contents.
The most used items are on the lowest shelves and the least used items went up top.
I threw out about a garbage bag full of stuff.
And this scene makes me SO HAPPY!

My husband eats a ton of things that come in these containers - peanuts, mixed nuts, peanut butter pretzels, etc.  He saves them and I used them in our closets around the house.  Medicine cabinet, toys, screws, craft supplies and more are all stored in these free containers.  I also save big jars like the first one in the post from olives.  It's perfect for our colored pencils.


What organizing projects have you been ignoring??  My next project is the closets in Fletcher's room or the bonus room.  Both need to be tackled soon.

I challenge you to tackle on of them each week until you get them done!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Guilty Pleasures & Confessions

I have some random things to share with you today.  Favorites, confessions and silly stories.

Enjoy!


1. I confess that my current, favorite guilty pleasures are...
Shopping on Amazon
Mocha light iced coffee
Reading blogs
Getting ready all by myself in the morning
A quiet house at night after everyone goes to bed
DVRing shows like Southern Charm, Counting On and chick flicks
TJ Maxx
Anything Kate Spade
Thrifting
What do you love?

2. I can't handle when people insta story while DRIVING!!!  What in the world!?!  These sweet ladies are cruising down the road with kids in the car oftentimes and they're chatting away to their phone.  Not safe.  And it's not okay to say, Oh I'm going slow don't worry. or I'm just driving through a neighborhood, it's fine.  It's not.  Please don't drive and be on your phone.

3. I returned three dead plants to Wal-Mart this week and they acted like I was a weirdo.  They have a one year return policy so you better believe I'm returning those dead daisies.  I think something was wrong with them because everything else grew really well in that flower bed.  Do you ever return dead plants?

4. We were going through the Starbucks drive through the other day and the cashier had a prominent nose ring.  Olive could see it so when we pulled away she said, "I want one of those sparkly things in my nose!"

5.  Olive loves to take silly selfies with my phone.  Most of the time she asks to use my phone, but occasionally she will sneak and take pictures for me to find later.  I was putting her to bed the other night and she told me she had some surprise selfies for me to see.  As I was leaving her room, she said, "Will you please take a selfie of yourself and frame it for me so I can hang it in my room?" haha

6. We were shopping at Kohls and ran in for something quick.  Olive was being sweet and helpful as I looked for something for Fletcher.  She gets my attention and tells me to look at her.  I look over to see her with a PACI IN HER MOUTH!!  I about died and told her to spit it out immediately.  She was confused and I said that was someone else's paci!!  I told her it was germy and was gagging inside.  She shrugged it off and said, "Oh, I just thought it was for sale."  Yuck, yuck, yuck!!

7. I cried at the ending of Moana when she returns home to her parents.  I just love that movie!

8. I had a genius mom moment this week. Fletcher hasn't been sleeping great when we travel.  I don't require a ton of sleep, but his lack of sleep was stressing me.  So I packed one of his alphabet bed sheets that I have on his crib at home for our trip.  I put it on his packnplay when we arrived and he's sleeping like a CHAMPION!!  I'll be packing his sheets anytime we travel.

Tell me something funny that's happened to you lately!

It's time to link up with my favorite Tuesday Talk ladies!!
Join us with a post from this week.



Monday, August 14, 2017

Aldi Haul

It's time for my monthly Aldi Haul!  I'm excited to share with you all of our new favorite items.  We have really enjoyed the majority of our purchases from Aldi and just have a few things for you to steer clear of when you go.  My total came to $43 and I got so many good things!!  This was my 2nd big trip there and I definitely felt more comfortable with the quarter carts, the odd store layout, the systems and the checkout process.

Spring mix - really good! $3.79
Aluminum foil - great! $1.99
Aldi diapers - run a little small, but we love them $4.49
Aldi wipes - not as wet as other wipes, but I liked them for $1.29
Napkins - $1.49 Great deal and great quality.
Party mix - yuck!  We love Chex Mix and Gardettos so I thought I'd give these a try.  It was okay, but tasted more like a Ranch mix and I won't buy this again.
White and White tortillas - SO GOOD and SO CHEAP

Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Caramels!
I had heard about how amazing these treats were at less than $3.
They're SO GOOD!!  I'll definitely be buying them again for myself and to give as gifts.



We LOVE LOVE LOVE all of the cheese at Aldi!
The price is hard to beat and it's so tasty.
Feta crumbles - $1.49
String Cheese $2.79
Block cheese - $1.79
Big bag of shredded mozzarella $2.49
Turkey pepperoni - $2.19 - not quite as good as Hormel, but we still liked it.
3 pack sweet peppers - $1.29 - AMAZING sale price!
Black beans - delicious - $0.59
Cucumbers - great - $0.99 and about $1 cheaper than Walmart
Olives - delicious - $1.19
Mandarin oranges - great - $0.79

Quinoa + Kale mix in the frozen food section - $2.99
SO GOOD!  It's such an easy side to heat up for dinner or just eat half a bag with some grilled chicken and feta for an easy lunch.  I buy this every time we go to Aldi.  Everyone likes it!


I don't go to Aldi every week, but I do go a couple times a month to stock up on all of our favorites.  Best news I've heard all week: They're building a BRAND NEW Aldi just a couple of minutes away from my house!!  I can't wait to have one on my side of town.

Have you tried any of these Aldi products before?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!!  Hope you had a fun week.  We had a pretty low key one around these parts.  We road tripped to see family, went to three parties, did some shopping and then Olive randomly got sick so we did lots of things around the house after that.  Summer sickness is the worst.  I was just thankful that she wasn't starting school this week.  We're all doing great now.  I have lots of favorites to share with you today.

Swim suit shopping isn't normally one of my favorites.  This year is different.  I headed to JCPenneys with a coupon in hand (Thanks, Jacque!!) and found 4 or 5 suits that I LOVED.  They were all so cute, but I was able to narrow it down to this gorgeous tropical print.  It was regular priced $96 and I paid $24 for it!!  Head to JCP if you're in the market for bold patterns, flattering one pieces or pretty cover ups.  They were STOCKED!!


We had a family reunion with my Dad's side of the family and it was so much fun!  I loved introducing all of them to Fletcher and catching up with cousins, aunts and uncles.  We already have this on the calendar for next year!


I ran out of my beloved Link Mink Clinique eye shadow and was on the hunt for a drug store option.  I was sucked in by the 24 hour title of this new Maybelline eye studio.  It's the prettiest color on and it wears really well.  No creasing and it lasts all day long.  It was less than $6 a pot and I knew it would be a great color when there were two full rows of them in the store.


We got to go on a road trip to visit family this week at it was my favorite.  We saw lots of people and packed in lots of good times.  My Dad snapped this picture of Olive.  She was helping him work in the yard, wash windows and go for a walk.  She loved it.

My niece Allie turned 7 and we were able to go to her birthday party.  We had a great time at a local pizza place.  The cupcakes were delish and the kids loved playing all the games together.  The kids always love playing with their cousins.




My Mom did lots of cooking while we were in town.  Olive loved her sugar cookies and insisted on having them for breakfast.  Her new favorite thing is to ask me to take a picture of someone so we can always remember them.  She asked to pose with Mimi and her cookies so we could always remember them.  They were good :)

The weather has been SO NICE!  We've had bonfires, watched the butterflies on our butterfly bush, picked flowers, gone for walks and gone to the park!!  We just can't get enough of all the outdoor fun and the crisp mornings make me excited for Fall.




Hope you have a great weekend!!

Linking up with

Thursday, August 10, 2017

10 School Year Must Haves

It's that time of year where tons of people have school on the brain.  Whether you're a teacher, have kids going to school or taking classes yourself.  The stores are packed with school supplies and there are talks of back to school wherever you go.

I thought I'd share 10 Back to School Must haves for our family.

1. BARGAINS - it's the perfect time of year to stock up on Summer clearance.  My kids will be wearing summer clothes for at least another two months so we picked up some great bargains at Kohls, Old Navy and Target this week.  Kohls had tons of clearance items for $2 and $3.  Fletcher is stocked up for this summer and next.  Old Navy had tons so many great things, too.  Be sure to head to your favorite stores and dig through their clearance.

I put a couple purchases a month on my GAP card and rack up the rewards dollars.  These 6 boys tops came to a total of $25 and I paid for them entirely with free rewards.  So be sure to use your GAP card for outside purchases and earn free clothes like I do.

Kohls - I LOVED all of the little boy clearance at Kohls right now.  So many cute things.  I bought some clothes for right now and lots for next summer.  These 9 items came to a total of $24, I used a coupon, a gift card and only ended up paying $8 for all of this.  What a deal!  I'm not a huge Kohls shopper, but I do stop by to check out their clearance at the end of a season.

Target - Cat & Jack can do no wrong in my book.  I love almost all of their stuff.  Olive saw this dino dress that her friend was wearing earlier this week and she had to have it.  It's her favorite color and she loves dinosaurs.  So we are the proud owners of this sweet dress.


2. BOOKS - We've been reading a lot of books about school this summer.  It's given us lots to talk about and the stories have given Olive a tiny glimpse into what life at school is like.

3. NAPKIDS
I picked up a pack of these Napkids Napkin Notes at Meijer this summer.  I though they'd be perfect to write Olive little notes in her lunch.  She can't read yet so I plan to draw her little pictures, emojis and fun letter messages.


4. Pink YUMBOX - we've entered into the world of packing lunches and I'm so excited for Olive to have a yumbox.  The compartments are the perfect size and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that I won't have to waste money buying plastic bags for her to throw away each week.  We've already used it a ton this summer for lunches on the go.  You can read more about them here

5. CHARACTER BACKPACK & LUNCHBOX - we searched high and low for a GIRL Paw Patrol backpack and Amazon ended up having the cutest options.  We got it on super sale for Prime Day for around $12.  We picked up the My Little Pony lunch box last year on clearance at Meijer for $5.  I had envisioned a Pottery Barn Kids monogrammed backpack and/or lunch box, but Olive had big opinions on what she wanted to carry to school.  No problem.  She's thrilled so I'm thrilled.

6. FUN LUNCH ITEMS - emoji pretzels, favorite snacks, mini water bottles, etc.

7. Fun BACK TO SCHOOL DECOR at home to get everyone excited for a new year.

8. PLAY - give your kids lots of down time to just play and enjoy their toys :)


 9. OUTSIDE - Go outside and enjoy the fresh air before it's time to head back to school.  Once school starts, be sure to give you kids tons of time to play outside in the evenings.  Fresh air is good for everyone.  So are s'mores :)


 10. SLEEP - make sure everyone gets enough sleep.  Olive loves her dino dress so much that she's been wearing it non-stop.


I'm teaming up with some of my favorite mamas today for:
First Day of School Memories & Moments.

Join us with any back to school posts!!  The link up will be open for a couple of weeks and you can join us on instagram with the hashtag #2017B2S.  I can't wait to see what everyone is doing to kick off a new school year!!


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

I mentioned yesterday that I had a delicious new recipe to share with you...

Stuffed Pepper Casserole!!

I totally made up the recipe last week and my family LOVED it!  It's a recipe that is easily going to be in our rotation of favorites.  My husband isn't usually a huge CASSEROLE fan, but he loved this one.

Ingredients:
1 bag of mini sweet peppers (red, yellow, orange)
1 pouch of Spanish rice
1/2 onion diced
1/4 c black olives sliced
1 lb ground beef
1 pk taco seasoning
water
1 bag sharp cheddar cheese
salsa
green onions
jalapenos
(you could also add in corn or black beans and that would be delicious!)

Toppings: sour cream, taco sauce, lettuce & tortilla chips

Brown the ground beef.  Drain and then cook in the water/taco seasoning.  Cook the rice as directed.

Slice the sweet peppers in half, take out the seeds, wash them and then line a greased 9x13 pan with them.  Dump the Spanish rice on top of the peppers and then add the ground beef.  Add in a handful of cheese.  Continue adding all of the rest of the toppings saving a little of each to add to the casserole when it is done baking.  Finish with the rest of the sharp cheddar cheese

*** You can easily do these steps in the afternoon and then pop your baking dish in the fridge.  Just stick it in the oven 30 minutes before dinner and you'll be set!!  It really makes this seem like such a quick and easy dinner option! ***

Bake at 350 for 25 minute or until the cheese is bubbly.  Remove from the oven and top with casserole with the remainder of the toppings.  Let it cool just a bit and serve with the cold toppings.

This casserole was delicious right out of the oven and it reheats magically for a 2nd night or lunches.






I can't wait to make this again ASAP!!  It was amazing.  My kids loved the rice.

What's your best, easy dinner recipe??