Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween from the Grammar Avengers!

I love doing theme costumes! The girls have done a few themes in the past couple years: Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland, but it's been a pretty long time since The Maestro and I participated, too. It was SIX years ago that we did our Wizard of Oz family theme!

The girls are totally into the sketch comedy show Studio C. They eagerly await new episodes, and they watch old episodes so many times they have them completely memorized.

One of Chloe's favorite characters is Captain Literally, so we decided to go as The Grammar Avengers this year.

The star of the show is Captain Literally, who brings balance to the universe every time the word "literally" is misused.

31 Days to Less Clutter and More Peace: An Accounting

That's all folks.

Today is Halloween (want to see our costumes?) and the end of this 31 Day series, and I am here to give an accounting.

My Top Five Lessons Learned

1. Stuff doesn't bring you happiness.

2. Putting things away immediately saves a lot of work later.

3. Just a few minutes a day makes a huge difference.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

31 Days to Less Clutter and More Peace: 4 Ways to Stop Bringing in Clutter

Today is the penultimate day to this crazy 31 Day challenge! Wowza! I can't believe I got through it alive (almost--we'll check my vitals on November 1st just to be absolutely sure).

Now that the clutter is gone (or at least going), what are we going to do to make sure it does not come back in? That is the big question.

It's all great and good to get rid of stuff, but if you turn around and go shopping for more stuff, you're just going to find yourself drowning in clutter again. Don't let that happen! Let's embrace our new, simpler life and all of the peace that comes along with it.

4 Ways to Stop Bringing in Clutter 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

31 Days to Less Clutter and More Peace: Getting the Clutter Out of the House

I have amassed an impressive collection of clutter this month. Unfortunately, a large box of it is sitting in the corner of my office, and the rest of it is sitting down in the basement. It is still in the house, taunting me.

I want to get it out as fast as possible. I know from experience that much of it has a way of creeping back into your life if you don't move it out quickly. I've already found a few things that I know were in the box hidden under Sophia's pillow.

The donation box in my office. I'm too tired to traipse downstairs to get a photo of the stuff in the basement. Just imagine it's about twice as much as what's here.

The next step is actually getting it out of my house (and my life) for good.

But how?

Here are several possibilities:

Give it away

I have actually saved a few things for friends. One of the things I worked on this month was the clothing storage in the basement. I have three daughters, which means I have bins and bins full of clothes for little girls. And bigger girls.

At one point, I thought we would have a fourth child, so I never got rid of Sophia's clothes when she outgrew them. Sadly, it wasn't to be, and Sophia is now 8 years old and I have too many clothes that I don't want to keep. I started actively giving away her clothes when she was 6 years old, but there were still all of those 5 and under bins sitting in the basement.

To make a long story short, I was able to give most of those 5 and under clothes away, between two of my friends who have girls that are younger than mine. It feels good to help someone out--I know I always appreciated hand-me-downs, even if I couldn't use all of them.

We also gave a few books away to friends we knew would enjoy them.

Have a garage sale

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What To Do If You Suspect Your Child Has Broken a Bone

Last fall, I had not one, but two, children with broken bones.

While both of them are avid soccer players, they did not break their bones on the field--instead they did it while playing casual sports with friends. Still, soccer is difficult to play with a broken fibula (Sophia), and even with a broken thumb (Chloe).  I had some very sad little girls during the rest of soccer season last fall, that's for sure!

As a mom who is not a medical professional, it's not easy to know whether or not an injury is something serious enough to run to the ER about. We are on a high-deductible insurance plan, so I'm always weighing the options. I don't want to go pay a ton of money out of pocket just to find out that the injury was very minor. Still, the peace of mind that comes from actually knowing whether or not a bone is broken can be worth the expense. Especially if it is actually broken.

Since last fall's broken fibula and broken thumb were my 4th and 5th experiences with broken bones in my children, I had a better idea of what to do. But man, it's still tough to know! Here are a few things I have learned along the way, and while I certainly hope we don't have another broken bone, I will be even better prepared for it if we do.

What To Do If You Suspect Your Child Has Broken a Bone

1. Do not rush to the ER/Doctor's office

31 Days to Less Clutter and More Peace: Kitchen Cupboards

You guys, I have another sick child. I have resigned myself to the fact that my big projects aren't going to get done this month--especially since there are only a few days left, and one of those days is Halloween.

However, I'm sticking to my 15 minutes a day rule, and I was able to get through the worst cupboard in the entire kitchen. For me, that is my Tupperware/miscellaneous container cupboard. Oh my gosh, it drives me nuts and it is impossible to keep it organized for long.

It's not really overflowing, it's just a mess. Also, since I have a galley kitchen, I had to use my phone for these photos since my camera lens wouldn't be wide enough. I apologize for the less-than-stellar photos. (Not that the ones I've been showing on these posts have been more-than-stellar or anything.)

Here is a closer-up of the mess:

Monday, October 27, 2014

How to Make Cheesecloth Ghosts for Halloween

Make these adorable ghosts for Halloween using items you most likely already have around the house

When I was little, my mom and I made these cheesecloth ghosts at Halloween. Several years ago I saw some cheesecloth for 5 cents at a thrift store, so I picked it up thinking the girls and I could make these ghosts.

Well. We never actually did.

Five years later, during my decluttering rampage this month, I came across the cheesecloth. Since I'm making myself get rid of any project/project supplies that I haven't actually completed I decided it was time to make the darn ghosts already.

Supplies needed;

Heavy liquid starch
Random objects around the house to serve as a form for your ghosts