Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Morning (and Evening) Clean Sweep Help

In my constant quest to at least keep our home somewhat tidy, here's the latest project trial. So far it works well. It works better for some children than others.

Baskets (ahem, garbage cans) dollar store. Name tags so everyone knows whose basket is whose and there is no argument as to who it putting what away -- unless of course Mom puts the someone's stuff in the wrong child's basket. Best part? Unlike buying six fancy and pretty wicker baskets that I can't afford for an experiment, these babies stack for quick and easy stair cleaning -- not that there's been any of that going on these days, but I know nice little square wicker baskets don't stack, they pile -- and topple.

Oh, I nearly forgot the other great part! These suckers are quite a bit bigger than a fancy and pretty little wicker basket. I've been know to pop clothing, sneakers, AND combat boots (upside down) into them.

For now this experiment gets a two thumbs up from me!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Seven Days of Yellow

Beans's favourite colour is yellow, and somehow her wardrobe is beginning to reflect that more and more, so she decided that she would wear some item of yellow for an entire week during the summer holidays.

 Sunday -- and yes, she wore the cowboy boots to church. :o) Dress is from Goodwill. (Bad photo, I know.)

 Monday. Darling little blouse -- Goodwill.

T-shirt. Formerly mine, but I outgrew it. :oP From Sears.

Circle skirt. Made by me from fabric bought at a thrift store.

Tank top from Sears. Originally worn for our Philippines Independence Day Party last year.

Different yellow tank top with floral shirt that has yellow flowers in it of course! :o)

She did wear this shirt in her week of  yellow, but I forgot to take a photo. This is for a Fifa party during her last week of school. Notice the yellow socks too!

Well, there you have it. She does own enough for a week of yellow -- and then some. :o)


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My (Not So Basic) Wardrobe

After posting about minimalizing the children down to a basic wardrobe, a friend of mine challenged me on my wardrobe -- and The Engineer's too, but he's responsible for weeding out his own stuff, and well, that hasn't happened yet.

Truth be told, I go through my wardrobe every season and get rid of stuff. I hadn't done it yet this fall, so Maria's challenge prompted me into action, and once again I managed to get rid of two large shopping bags full of cast offs. A little more stuff than usual, as I have shrunk this year instead of continued to expand as I have the past four or five years. Yay me!

Below is what my side of the closet looks like. Yes, we are blessed (and thrilled) to have a walk in closet. What you see here is the entirety of my wardrobe. We don't have dressers or cabinets for additional clothing in our bedroom. So yes, both summer and winter stuff is shown in the photos. The only thing you may not be able to see is my love of boots as they are mostly hidden under the dresses. I have four pairs. A little ridiculous maybe, but maybe not.

Yes, you see sheers to a window because yes, we have a window in our closet. Far left are tote bags, some formal dresses, summer dresses, skirts, and a favourite sweater that is old and ugly, but I still wear. To the right of them, lower down, my meagre winter wardrobe. (I hate winter clothes. I always feel like a sack of potatoes in winter clothes.) The baskets hold socks, slips, etc. as well as p.j.'s and athletic wear. On the bottom shelf are my tank tops that I wear under other tops year round, and beside them are my t-shirts. The shelf above holds one really cosy hoodie, my one pair of I'll wear-them-in-public jeans, a pair of jeans for the garden, a couple of pairs of shorts, and a pair of capris that I'm dreaming of fitting into again one day.

The top shelf holds my shoes. They are all my dressier shoes. My running shoes are mostly on the floor under my rainbow of zip hoodies. I have a weird obsession for hoodies -- and yes I do wear them all. To the right of all the zip hoodies are the rest of my dressy clothes -- a couple cardigans, and various tops. Finally, my three pairs of pants. One dress pants, one pair of black khakis, and an army green pair of summer weight athletic type fabric pants that are probably over fourteen years old. I don't like to mess with a good thing. ;o)

The Engineer's ties and my scarves. I can still never figure out a good way to wear my scarves, but I do wear scarves quite often. Finally my two (I just recently acquired the second one from Goodwill, and you do NOT want to know how old the pink one is), and my ball cap that I wear in the gardens or when I have to run an errand and haven't showered yet. :o/ Not as minimal as our kids wardrobes that's for sure!

Some day maybe I'll show you The Engineer's side.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Basic Wardrobe for My Girls

Decluttering is really an arduous task, but somehow when I see bag after bag of stuff going to our local Goodwill, to the landfill, or other various appropriate places, I get downright giddy with glee. I really do. With seven (well mostly six now) children and two dogs that insist they must live inside with their hoomans, along with the busy comings and goings of normal family life, I have a real problem keeping our house tidy, let alone CLEAN.

Generally you would never know it, but I really do LOVE a clean house. I just don't even come close these days. Between filling the freezer and cold storage for winter, taxiing children to their extra curricular activities, Bible study, volunteer positions, watching over homework, and keeping us clothed and fed, who has time to clean?!? Not me! So far the cleaning fairies haven't made an appearance either.

However, I firmly believe that the less stuff we have, the less there is to clean. Not to say that I'm going to sell off the brunt of our furniture or anything, but I feel that there can and should be a good limit on what the children have for clothing and footwear -- until they're old enough to properly look after it themselves.

Clothes with the three youngest has been a HUGE battle. The two youngest especially have no concept of appropriate clothing. Red and blue plaid shorts with a pink and yellow polkadot T-shirt and it's 12 degrees Celsius out? Sure! After all it's sunny! Let me just say, I am totally not one of those Duggar family worshippers who think they're so amazing and wonderful, but they havet one thing correct. I totally love the family closet idea! Unfortunately, we have no appropriate place for such a thing, but if we did, I would have one in a heartbeat!

123lbs (in 8 large bags) of clothes and some other items off to the thrift store! Happy Dance!!

So as summer wanes into autumn, I have been purging clothing like crazy! In fact it started even before Labour Day. The Boy was the first to have his closet and drawers emptied. Anything in good condition went into a nice large bag and was given to friends of ours who have a thirteen year old who is very similar in size and build to Bub. Not that he's at Bub's 6'3" yet, but he's working on it. The rest went to Goodwill or the landfill.

Next was Peach. She does hers completely on her own. Whatever she decides doesn't fit or that she doesn't want immediately goes to Beans because Beans is right behind her in size. Then Beans goes through it and gets rid of what she doesn't want or what doesn't fit. I have to keep a bit of an eye on her though because she is far more sentimental and likes to hang on to things because she LIKES it -- even if it doesn't fit any more.

There is a significant size gap between Beans and Squirt, so if anything is kept or wanted by Squirt, it goes into boxes for a year or two. Squirt and Bella are back to back in sizes too. Then there is a huge gap between Bella and Bright Eyes again, so now only the least worn, non trendy, classic and classy stuff is stored, and even then, it might not be worn by the last two girls. Bright Eyes and Peanut are again back to back in sizes.

Purging the two youngest of excess clothing was easy because they both had waaaaay too much! They are horribly hard on their clothes. So anything that was worn out, torn, faded, stained, misshapen, out of style, or just plain ugly was tossed into the appropriate bag and then tossed in the trunk of the van. Oh I'm sorry girls! You no longer have any clothes left! Well, that's not quite true, but I did make a list. Unfortunately in our part of the country, we have very distinct seasons. That means we have about two and a half wardrobes. The half? Well that's because no one it seems has ever really figured out what to wear in the spring and fall.

So far I have only come up with the winter basics. They are as follows:

3 pairs of jeans
1 pair of black dress pants (needed for various school functions)
1 denim skirt/or jumper
1 black skirt
1 dressy white blouse/shirt
1 pair black leggings
1 pair black tights
1 pair navy leggings/or tights
6 long sleeved shirts
3 sweatshirts -- zip up and/or hoodie style
2 dresses
1 or 2 sweaters

I haven't decided the minimum on footwear. Perhaps because I myself know that I am a bit of a shoe lover. I don't have many, but definitely enough. Some of my girls have far more than others. I have some other ideas on how to make this whole clothing and footwear thing work for the younger girls, but I have to implement it first and see if it works. I'm hoping it's going to save what little sanity I have left. ;o)

If you have any thoughts or suggestions on another way to minimize or simplify the girls' wardrobes, feel free to share it with me because I'm all for simple, and I love to hear what others do to make their lives easier.


Friday, September 12, 2014

And We Have an Eighteen Year Old

I really don't know how it is possible that we have a child that is eighteen years old, but we do. I'm pretty sure the Engineer and I are barely thirty. ;o)

From the day he was born, this boy loved his food and still does. One of the reasons he chose the residence he is in at university it that they have chocolate milk on tap. At last chat however, he has still to have had any because it's so popular that once the allotted gallons are gone for the day, they are gone.

Considering this was Bub's first time away from home for his birthday, it sounds as though he had a good day. I has brought him birthday cupcakes when we were up the Sunday before and he stored them in their little fridge for when he had a few friends back to his room on Friday evening. He said they got two thumbs up from everyone. :o)

It's amazing to think he is off beginning his years of independence now. I posted this on his wall on Facebook the other day. It sums up our feelings about this whole having a university student who is now eighteen.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. We've raised you with a Christian world view. We have not taught you to stick your head in the sand and avoid real world issues. We are proud of you! Go out and enjoy the real world, but be wise. Use that Christian wisdom that God has given you, and when in doubt, seek HIM!"

Then on his birthday, he posts this on his wall.

"I'm an adult now!"

Oh yeah, he's all growed up. We're very thankful for the friends he has and his version of being an adult.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Meet Charlotte

Meet Charlotte my cello.

Isn't she pretty? She sounds nice too. No, I don't really have time for taking up the cello, but I have really really wanted to learn for a loooong time now, and I figured having all the kids in school was as good a time as any to start taking lessons. Charlotte is a rental for six months. If I find lessons are going well and I am enjoying them, I can buy her outright and the rental fee goes to her as part of the payment.

I've only had one lesson so far, but I enjoyed it very much. I practiced this morning until I thought my arm was going to fall off. I'll practice again after lunch because I only managed about twenty minutes. So far I'm not doing any bowing. That will come after I learn the note positions by playing pizzicato.

I'll let you know six months from now how I'm doing. :o) Hopefully by then I'll be bowing. ;o)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

School Days Have Begun.

The days leading up to September 2 were busy ones filled with shopping, packing, and lots of checking of lists. On Sunday, August 31, we went to church in the morning and then moved Bub into his dorm at university.

University! I can't believe we have a child old enough to be in post secondary education. The cool thing is, he is ready and we are ready. Yes, we're going to miss him, but he's only two hours away, so we will get to see him on weekends whenever we want to.

Yesterday, my two highschoolers boarded the bus for their newly added on to and renovated school. (I saw it last week and it's beautiful!)

Beans - grade 9, Peach - grade 11

Peanut - grade 1, Bella - grade 5, Bright Eyes - grade 3, Squirt - grade 7

An hour and five minutes after that, my grade schoolers boarded the bus for their school and the house was silent. Silent except for sighing depressed dogs. Well, Leo anyway. I really should have taken a photo of him because he looked sooooo sad!

I went to the younger girls' school opening assembly and then had a friend over for coffee. After that I began the momentous task of getting this house clean and back in order after the summer's comings and goings. I've told myself to come up for air on occasion, but if you don't hear from me again until Christmas, just assume I was eaten by a dust dragon, or was hospitalized for crushed knees and water bucket hands from scrubbing dirty floors.

Just kidding. I have several things I want to write about yet, so I will hopefully be popping on here a few times over the next few weeks.



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