Freezer Cooking Made Me Cry Yesterday

Hey, y’all its been a few days since I’ve checked in with you. I hope everyone is doing well. We are finally getting over these colds that have been passed around and around and around… you get the point. Continue reading “Freezer Cooking Made Me Cry Yesterday”

Wishes To Reality Update

As you probably know from reading our latest posts we have been staying CRAZY BUSY in 2019 just like we did before. However, even though our schedules have been busy I have been trying to work in some changes, a couple at a time, to help us turn those wishes into realities.

My first wish…

My first wish of having the kids to listen better seems to be going along fairly well. I have been making it a point to work more one on one with each of them as I can. I have also not had to speak to them as much because I’ve gone over what I expect and given them a list of rewards for when the goals are met or some consequences if they aren’t met.

I had also noticed that I was yelling more… ok, I felt like I was yelling. People sometimes laugh when I apologize for yelling because my yelling doesn’t seem like yelling to them… anyways I was having to talk much louder than I preferred and I didn’t like that. Did you know that yelling makes it seem like you aren’t in control? Well, that was definitely not the message I wanted to convey to this little army I have here!

Check out the Positive Parenting Solutions to learn how to stop the YELLING!

I also know that yelling doesn’t fit into the overall picture of wanting to create a more loving and peaceful home. We have a small home so when one or two people start yelling it begins to sound a bit like a busy coffee shop in NYC!

Continue reading “Wishes To Reality Update”

A Fresh Start In The New Year Part 2

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So if you read my post yesterday you know that we had some unexpected work that had to get done around the house. What you didn’t get to see was the post holiday mess the rest of the house was still in… yep, I’m gonna show you some really messy pics of our cabin because LIFE is MESSY at times and we aren’t PERFECT so our place gets just as MESSY as everyone else’s house, and probably more at times.

One thing I know is that you can’t truly organize CLUTTER! Boy oh boy was it in abundance around earlier this week. I’m kinda embarrassed to show you all these pics but I really want to show everyone that you CAN change your LIFE one little step at a time. The important thing is to remember that the CHANGE must start somewhere and I know that LIFE can be so OVERWHELMING at times… these pics can prove that… but we can’t just sit around and wait for someone else to do something that we aren’t willing to do ourselves.

On the other hand I want everyone to know that our house has not looked this BAD in a long time. I know that HOARDING tendencies seem to run in one side of my family and that scares the crap out of me! Part Most of this was MESS was due to the post holiday chaos we had and the total LACK of ENERGY I had from not feeling well … but enough with the EXCUSES as I was determined to get past the PROCRASTINATION.

Over the weekend I had made a short To-Do List to work on and a couple of the first items to tackle were the kitchen and the bathroom. However the closet became number 1 priority when the kids demolished some of the shelving… you can read about that project HERE. Here’s the BEFORE of the kitchen:

You can see breakfast prep was ongoing when I took this and it was so hard to accomplish anything with the CLUTTER laying around. Mr. Joey wanted to help with breakfast so I did a quick tidy to make room and let him work on some Pancake Poppers for a quick breakfast.

We made one batch of blueberry and one batch of sausage… yum!

After breakfast I did a quick cleanup and had the kitchen back to a semi-normal state within 20-30 minutes… YAY!

Then I tackled the bathroom which took another 10-15 minutes. I could feel myself running out of steam really quickly though. I crossed off those two items and another as the kids had helped change sheets and tidy up the loft area as I cleaned in the kitchen and bathroom. Then I attempted to tackle the next area which was in the Main Room

This pic was actually from Thursday before I got to work on paying bills but honestly there wasn’t a whole lot of change from then to Sunday. I did start on it but got interrupted with something or another and that was pretty much the end of the cleaning for the day.

However on Monday I had a new PLAN OF ACTION. We needed to get started back to school work but I knew that there was no way I would keep anyone’s attention with all the stuff sitting around just begging to be discovered.

So I made an executive decision that for now our group studies will be completed Tuesday-Thursday. The kids can work on independent or one-one tasks on Mondays and Fridays. This change also included a temporary change in our Laundry and Cleaning Routines as the majority of those tasks will be completed on Mondays and Fridays as well. So far so good with this change and we’ve actually been able to accomplish quite a bit more in the cleaning and school areas.

Our first task of the day was to get this tree put away…

Most of the other decorations had already been packed into totes the week before so we just had to make room for the tree decor. Then everything was taken to the shed and neatly put away.

Then to get the table put back up. I put Joey to work on bagging up the random grocery bags around the house so we can reuse them.

I set to work on straightening up my bedroom… this is what it looks like after getting back from a dance. I usually have the little boys in here to change and the girls use the closet to get ready. This means I can’t get in there to put away anything so it ends up piled on my bed… sigh.

After a bit it looked much better except for the basket of laundry sitting there… but hey, at least it was clean laundry. I went ahead and checked the bedroom off the To-Do List as well, but as you will see in a bit that may have been a bit premature.

While I worked in the bedroom the kids cleaned up the floor where the tree had been. They also worked on organizing their school cubbies so we could have a fresh start for the next day. They also put away some of the items that had been cluttering the table. Things actually seemed to be getting MESSIER instead of cleaner!

They also worked on straightening up the TV area as there were dirty dishes, controllers, toys that needed put away.

We were on a roll and our next mission was to get rid of all the boxes sitting around. Most of these held Christmas gifts that needed homes. Now that we had straightened up most everything this would be an easier task to accomplish. But first Jacob thought everyone should have a quick snack of candy canes from the tree… lol.

Again things seemed to get MESSIER before they got better. This table became a sorting place for EVERYTHING. I opened a box, sorted out what needed to go where, and then we took care of EVERYTHING we had out at the moment before moving to the next box.

Here is another pile that had to get sorted as well.

It might have been a bit time saving to have sorted all the boxes at once but we had William helping out and he gets OVERWHELMED easily and then it gets a bit HARD for anyone else to get anything accomplished as you have to keep redirecting him.

I had received a ton of new school supplies from Santa… he knew just what I need, right? We also got lots of new books and William really wanted to read all of them. In the process I lost a book I had pulled off my bookshelf earlier in the day… my mistake, as I should’ve waited until we were finished with the clean up. You just might laugh, like Mr. Awesome did, when I show you the book I lost:

The Organized Homeschool Life

But anyway as I sorted the kids carried things and put them away but some items got piled on my bed… it appeared that my bed also had become a playground at some point in time. This time the MESS actually looks worse than it was.

Once most of the items had been sorted and carried to their new homes, or at least in the general area of their new home, Ms. Bella made some yummy PB&Js for the crew. As you can see everything was looking much better.

Even the bedroom looked pretty good…

As I was carrying things out to the shed I noticed something in the pond…

I had to call the kids out to take a closer peek… such a cute suprise!

I had a couple of more things to get organized and look at like this organizer I had gotten for Christmas:

And these new books that we got for our homeschool…

I’m so excited to start using these in the future!

We also got a few more books that everyone is excited to read like this one here:

Soft Rain

As I worked on setting up the organizer and putting away these items the girls wasted no time getting to work making some headbands, bracelets other items now that they had room to work at the table.

Then the UPS man brought my Grove package… another pleasant suprise!

I am really loving the Mrs. Meyers cleaners and have started to try out some of the other products which you can also get on AMAZON. Once I got all of these put away I worked on a little redecorating as everything looked so BARE.

I pulled some of the peacock decor out of my bedroom for now…

The gold peacock was something Mr. Awesome bought for me last year and that little pig was one I painted many, many years ago when my older kids will young.

I moved the flowes basket from the kitchen to this window. This is where my new napkin holder is sitting as well as the new globe that we got for Christmas.

It also lights up to show the constellations which is so NEAT!(I don’t know why but this made our homeschool seem so much more ‘official like’… lol)

In the kitchen I took down the cornice that was up there and put up this really cute tray I found with the after Christmas clearance at Walmart.

All in all we had a really good day and with the kids helping out as much as they did I didn’t get too overwhelmed nor did I completely wear myslef out as I have been doing a lot lately.

We didn’t do a deep cleaning or major reorganizing. We did find a HOME for EVERYTHING and we did PURGE some items as we went along. There are still things that need to be done but the HOUSE feels so much BETTER now and I’m not constantly looking for things… other than that book that hasn’t resurfaced yet.

That’s OK as the wonderful UPS man delivered me another copy today… so maybe if I find the old one I can BLESS someone else with it.

The biggest thing with all of this was to just get STARTED. Another big thing was to not get sidetracked with the fact that everything wasn’t being ‘cleaned properly’ or organized exactly the way I wanted it. If we had stopped to rearrange and/or clean every book shelf and cabinet along the way I would still be working on this project.

Now that we have everything situated we can get back to our regular cleaning tasks, even though we have changed the routine the tasks are still the same, and EVERYTHING will get clean in its own time. My main FOCUS was just to get a bit more organized as I couldn’t find anything over the past couple of weeks. Even though I lost my book and it still drives me a little batty wondering where it might have went its not that big of a deal in the BIG PICTURE.

We accomplished the GOAL that we set out to do and we can create a new PLAN OF ACTION for our next GOAL. For us this wasn’t a HUGE task to deal with as our house isn’t that BIG to start with. The MESS really did look worse than it was once we got started on it. If you have a bigger house then you might just need to FOCUS on ONE AREA at a time… not the whole house. If the task is still too BIG then focus on a smaller area at a time… break that elephant down into small pieces and work on them one at a time. A little progress is BETTER than doing NOTHING at all.

If you need a little motivation or encouragement then be sure to reach out to me via email or on Facebook in the Kirby’s Kabin Blog Group I’ve just started.

Have a great day and stay tuned for a look at our first couple of days with our new homeschool schedule!

A Plan Of Action For A New You In The New Year

So a few days ago I posted about my goals for 2019. I’m not waiting until the New Year to get started because there is no time like NOW to get started on these goals. You don’t have to wait either and you can follow along with me on my journey to finding a simpler, happier, and better functioning lifestyle here in our little cabin.

It’s so easy to get discouraged with LIFE at times, I know because I’ve felt myself falling into a HUGE pit of discouragement lately. It feels like I just keep hitting walls in so many areas of LIFE and I just don’t know how to get past them. The one thing I do know is the GOD is in control and if there is something in my way HE can help me overcome it.

I also know that a lot of times our failures come from inside of ourselves. We get unhappy with things and want to change them but sometimes the change must come from us first. This can be hard to do and sometimes it can be hard to admit that we aren’t PERFECT.

Over the holidays so many people are posting pictures of their families. Many of these pictures seem to show PERFECT homes and families but behind the scenes can be a different story. In reality LIFE is MESSY in so many ways. I can tell you that my LIFE is MESSY for sure with so many kids and special needs not to mention that we HOMESCHOOL and LIVE in a TINY CABIN. Boy can it get MESSY. Don’t let those pictures get you feeling depressed or down. You can follow along with me, a normal (well, somewhat normal depending on you definition of normal) Momma, as I tackle some of this crazy mess we call LIFE.

Continue reading “A Plan Of Action For A New You In The New Year”

My 2019 New Year’s Goals

As you read the title you may be rolling your eyes because we all make resolutions but many of us, myself included, don’t quite keep to them or just never even start them. I know last year I had some really great ones that were not so specific but somehow they managed to slip away from me.

Part of the blame falls on some major life changes (big sister moved away/death in the family), an illness that took me a while to recover from, and LIFE which seems to get busier everyday. When you combine all of those with the fact that we had recently downsized and moved (from 2,000 sq ft to just barely over 600 sq ft) its no wonder I didn’t accomplish everything I had set out to do but I did manage to make a little progress in each area.

SO what are some of the top resolutions for 2019? According to an abc news article they are as follows:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Save money
  3. Travel
  4. Make new friends
  5. Get a new job or hobby
  6. Find love

Hmm… some pretty interesting resolutions. Have you thought about yours yet? I have given it a bit of thought and here are my goals for the upcoming year in no particular order:

Continue reading “My 2019 New Year’s Goals”

Have You Made Your New Year’s Resolutions Yet?

Have You Made Your New Year’s Resolutions Yet? I haven’t, well I have a few things in mind but I haven’t actually sat down and put pen to paper or anything like that. I want to be more organized… some people laugh when I say that as they think I am already really organized… this recent move still has been had me in a tizzy. I’d also like to lose a little weight like many of us. Most importantly I just want to be a better mother, friend, and person in 2018 than I was in 2017. Hmmm… not too much to ask is it? Continue reading “Have You Made Your New Year’s Resolutions Yet?”

My First Shopping Trip At Aldi!

I’ve been talking about it for a while now but just haven’t gotten around to doing it. We all have those things that we want to do or need to do but keep pushing them aside or putting them off until later. Well, for me later had finally came and I went to Aldi.

Part of the reason I kept putting it off was because it is a little bit of a drive from me. Earlier this week though I had set my intentions on making this happen, and I did just that. I have been reading some great things about them for awhile. I have heard lots of great things too.

There were a few posts in my FaceBook feed like Passionate Penny Pincher‘s live video that really prompted me to get on the ball and check it out for myself. I have seen other bloggers posting about their savings as well. Part of my New Year’s goals was to be a better steward of my blessings which means I really need to work on some of my financial goals. 

I have been doing a lot of research on grocery budgets and I feel that ours is fairly average considering the number of meals I make and the number of people I feed. We are currently averaging $100 – $150/week on groceries. There may be a couple of times every now and then that I go over that. We don’t eat out very often and I do make a lot of things from scratch. Not only that I do shop the sales and clip coupons too. This does take time but I am dedicated to making sure that we stay on budget so we can work towards some bigger goals in the future.

We had been going to Sam’s club too but they moved their location and it is now farther away from me. Just knowing that there might be a chance to save money on most of the items we need, at one store, was reason to get excited. I’ve watched the videos, I’ve seen the posts, but I wanted to see for myself. Most of the reviews have talked about how amazing this store is and I am a bit of a believer in the ‘if it sounds to good to be true, then it probably is’ saying.

So I made my grocery list. I also printed off the ‘The Ultimate Aldi Grocery List‘ from Passionate Penny Pincher‘s site and got ready to go. So binder and lists in hand I made the 45 minute trip to my closest Aldi. I also made sure to stick a quarter in my pocket on the way out the door.

First things first was finding a place to park. Then I went to the front of the store and waited for the lady in front of me to put her buggy back and retrieve her quarter. I deposited my quarter in the slot, unlocked a buggy, and went inside.

As soon as I went in I noticed the nice wide, uncluttered aisles. I also noticed that they did have some really good prices. I mean really crazy good prices. Below is a list of a few of the items I was surprised at:

  • Eggs, Large -$0.69/dozen
  • Bananas -$0.44/lb
  • Cream of chicken soup-$0.69
  • Honey Nut Oats (like Cheerios)-$1.19
  • Whole Milk-$1.99/gallon
  • Tortilla Chips-$0.99
  • Shredded Cheese (3 cups)-$2.69
  • White Sugar (4 lbs)-$1.69
  • Canned Chili Beans-$0.59
  • Canned Corn-$0.36
  • Apples (3 lb)-$2.99
  • Potatoes (5 lb)-$2.69
  • Strawberries-$1.29/lb
  • Cherry Tomatoes-$0.79
  • Romaine Hearts-$1.99
  • Spinach-$1.49
  • Pretzel Sticks-$1.29/lb
  • Baby Carrots-$0.69/lb
  • Whole Wheat Bread -$0.49/loaf

Of course I got way more than this and more than one of many of these items. I was almost afraid to go to the checkout. I was afraid there may have been a mixup on some of the prices. I did keep in mind some of the tips from the video I had watched. I didn’t buy any brand name items as they did appear to be marked up more than what I could get them for at other stores. I also had my sales lists from two other stores so I could compare some of the prices to know if I was getting the best deal.

I did buy a couple of meat items that were on sale but I didn’t really need a lot as I have still have an overstock of some items in my freezer. My meal plan for next week was planned around some of those items as well. I did see some items that I will want to try out in the future but for the sake of my budget I tried to stick to my list as much as I could. The pretzels and strawberries were a couple of my impulse buys.

I was really pleased with the prices on the fresh produce. I have been trying to include more fresh fruits and veggies in our meals and snacks. These prices could help me achieve that goal and keep me within my grocery budget.

Another good thing about the store is that I feel like I could take my kids, well maybe a couple at a time, and not have to worry about them seeing things that they just had to have. It would also be helpful to have another person there to bag the groceries. I forgot to mention that you need to bring your own bags. They have some plastic bags that you can buy at the checkout. The bags are OK, they may last a trip or two, but I will be investing in some more reusable bags. My favorite FlyLady bags are available here.

For me this was definitely an experience that I will be repeating again. Maybe the next time I won’t need to circle the store 4 or 5 times to find everything I am looking for. It is definitely not a ‘one stop shop’ for me but I’m sure it could be for some people. I will continue to clip coupons and check sales. I will probably still shop at 2-3 stores to get my groceries. The stores I shop at are fairly close together and I make one big circle to get back home. When the new Aldi store opens it will be in a location that falls along the route I normally take so I will be sure to include it in my regular stops.

So, you are probably wondering how much I spent? I got a HUGE buggy load of groceries that filled the back of my truck for $127.64! That included about $15.00 worth of toiletry/paper products and another $10.00 worth of items that I had purchased for my dad. My goal was to spend $100.00 or less on groceries and if I hadn’t bought the strawberries and the pretzels I would’ve come in under budget. I can try again next week!

 

New Year’s Resolutions

I know most of us set goals and make resolutions at the beginning of the year. I know we have the best of intentions when make them but often times we start out strong and then just kinda let our goals fade out of sight. Sometimes we just keep procrastinating on getting started and before we know it the year is gone.

This year I am setting my intentions on becoming a better mother, a better friend, a better steward of my blessings, and a better keeper of the home. I also have other goals like losing weight, being more faithful in my prayers and devotions, and getting our homeschool stuff more organized. Some of these goals are being carried over from last year. I did make progress on them but I know that I still have a long way to go. Many of them are written down in my prayer journal and I try to pray about them on a daily basis.

Here is a quick list intentional goals that I have made, as I know that I must set my mind to wanting to do something and praying that God will lead me and give me the desire and willpower to accomplish things according to His plans for my life.

  1. Create more peaceful routines.
  2. Create routines and activities that help each of my family members to develop and grow in their own unique ways.
  3. Create a place home that is calm, peaceful, and nurturing. A place where everyone who enters can feel safe, loved, and cherished. A place where my friends and family can find rest, comfort, and peace when then need it.
  4. Create a budget and routine that allows me to be a better steward of my blessings.
  5. Create a more dedicated time to prayer and devotions.
  6. Create a better schedule for planning, organizing, and rotating our homeschool activities.
  7. Create a better schedule for my daily workouts. I would like to lose 10-15 pounds.

I know that I must work at each and everyone of these in order for them to be achieved successfully. Some of them will require research and work on my part while others just require me to get motivated.

I have already started on many of them. I have read that it takes 21 days to form a new habit so I wanted to get a little head start on it. I am also reading some books to give m inspiration and ideas to motivate me towards my end goals. I will list these at the end of the post.

When you set your goals try to be as specific as possible and find ways to hold yourself accountable. It is also helpful to break the goals down into short term goals so you can evaluate your progress and make changes as needed to reach your end goal. Be sure to ask your friends and family to help you stay motivated.

Remember that it’s OK if your goals and resolutions change through the year. Sometimes we set unrealistic goals for ourselves and then just quit or throw them out the window because we feel like a failure. Don’t give up, just sit down and revise or rewrite your goals. Life happens, circumstances change, and so many things are beyond our control. Just focus on what you can control and make the best of it.

Books I am currently reading.

Starting Your Day Right: Devotions for Each Morning of the Year

First Light – Women’s Daily Devotional & Journal First Light – Women’s Daily Devotional & Journal

The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming

The Lifegiving Home Experience: A 12-Month Guided Journey

The Organized Homeschool Life: A Week-By-Week Guide to Homeschool Sanity

Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God: A Guide to Developing Your Biblical Potential