Tag Archives: organization

Super Busy Start To The Summer

Oh my goodness, the past few weeks have been so super busy… but then again it seems that we are always so super busy anymore which is something I definitely want to work on because this Momma is exhausted! Anyway, hopefully, we will see the rewards of some of the projects we’ve been on and will be able to share them here soon.

The past couple of weeks we have been doing some major cleaning and organizing around here. I started in the storage shed where I bought a couple of big shelves from Sam’s Club when they had a special going on for Memorial Day.

 

The kids wanted to make bunk beds out of the shelves and I’ve seen some Pinterest ideas where they have used them as such but I needed them for organization. They did go together fairly easily which was a good thing. I put both shelves together one morning and then worked on the shed for a couple of days. Here is a rather embarrassing picture of the shed before:

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As you can see, it was nearly impossible to find anything without moving a ton of junk beforehand.

And after:

I can find my square dance outfits easily and the kids love having space where they can play with some of the neat homeschool resources they haven’t seen before. I do need to sort through a lot of stuff and donate a bit but I am so happy that I finally have all of my homeschool stuff in one place! Really, you just don’t know how happy that makes this Momma!

We also decided to tackle the porch and the results have been great even though there is still a way to go before we can start enjoying the porch like we’d like to.

Here’s a before and an after photo:

I’ve never been able to walk off of that side of the porch before and I can actually set up my Gazelle and exercise out there… I haven’t yet but I could. We can actually find our fishing poles too now when the urge to fish hits us. The kids have had great fun running in circles through one gate and out the other… Oh, what I wouldn’t do for just a wee bit of that energy!

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We also cleaned up the yard quite a bit and gathered up limbs, trimmed trees, and I finally got my little flower garden looking halfway decent, it still needs some mulch of some sort. We have also marked quite a few trees that need to be taken down because of various reasons. This will probably happen sometime during the next week or so.

That reminds me that we are still working on eating healthier and I am constantly learning new tricks and tips on this journey and I have been reading through my Trim Healthy Mama books over and over for more information. I can honestly say that I am feeling so much better than before and even though the scale isn’t showing a lot of progress you can definitely see and feel a difference.

Free report on herbs and supplements to combat illness!

We’ve definitely found some winning recipes and then we’ve also found some ‘not my favorite’ ones too while also coming up with a few of our own. I’m also working on tweaking our old favorites to make them a bit more trimmified… is that even a word? You can check out our menu for this week HERE.

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In addition to the healthy food habits we’ve been working on I also decided to get a Berkey. You can read more about that HERE if you haven’t already. We are really enjoying the fresh clean water and it tastes SO GOOD! I also feel good knowing that we have a good way to purify water in the case of an emergency.

Click here to learn about why the Berkey Water Filters are so good!

It has also helped the littler kiddos be a bit more independent as they can reach and operate the Berkey without help. Instead of whining and complaining that no one has filled up their water bottles they can take care of it themselves… unexpected wins are GREAT!

The kids have also been learning about Emergency Preparedness in their On The Banks Of Plum Creek Adventure. They were surprised to see that the Herb Fairies Book they are currently ready actually mentions the book, On The Banks Of Plum Creek, that we are reading also.

Yes, I know most kids are out of school for the summer but we’ve decided just to go year round as we often need to take little breaks here and there for different things that come up. It also seems that if we break for more than a week or two at a time it takes FOREVER to get some of the kiddos back into the school routine so this is what works for us right now.

On top of all this, we are still square dancing at least two times a week and trying to keep up with two businesses. I have a wedding to officiate later this month and I need to work on some things for that as well as decide exactly what I plan to wear… I might need to buy something to wear but don’t tell Mr. Awesome… Shhhh! I’ve also been working on getting the kids caught up with dentist appointments and just made appointments for everyone to get their yearly physicals… Oh, what fun that will be! I’ve really been enjoying the ease of the Walmart Grocery Pickup service as I can go to the dentist and pick up my groceries on the way home… multitasking at it’s finest.

I’m sure there are a ton of things that I’ve forgotten to mention but maybe I’ll remember them and include them in on the next one. I hope you all are enjoying your summer and have a lot of fun plans! I’ve got to get off of here as I still have a ton of things to do today like give the dog a bath and make dinner among other things.

Talk to you soon!


**This post does contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. We may earn a teensy weensy small commission (at NO EXTRA cost to you) if a purchase is made through these links. These links help to support our family, our blog, and our homeschooling mission.

 –Thank you!

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Freezer Cooking Made Me Cry Yesterday

Hey ya’ll 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. I’m tired of being sick and tired and of being around whiny kids who are sick and tired… yeah not a fun week at all but it has been productive even though I ended up getting this post out a day late… Oops!

We have been sticking to our goals and our Plan of Action that I made earlier in the month. The kids are listening and behaving better, well for the most part, even thought they’ve not been feeling well. We’ve been working on keeping the noise level down and I’ve found that my little friend Google has been AMAZING at helping me with this. I have been asking Google, ‘Hey Google, can you play me some music please?’. Note that I do use my manners  and she really appreciates that. When the kids can’t hear the music they know they are getting way too loud.

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 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 went 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!

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

**This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. If a purchase is made through one of these links we may make a small commission which costs you nothing extra and blesses our family so we thank you! For full affiliate disclosure please click HERE.

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 Fresh Start In The New Year Part 1

**This post does contain affiliate links to products and/or services we use. These are included for your convenience at no extra cost to you however we may receive a small commission 

**This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. If a purchase is made through one of these links we may make a small commission which costs you nothing extra and blesses our family so we thank you! For full affiliate disclosure please click HERE.if a product is purchased through one of our links.

Hey y’all! How have you been? It’s been a little CRAZY here as usual but crazy seems to be our normal so I am becoming used to it. However I have been really trying to make some changes to reduce the amount of stress our craziness can bring. If you missed my Plan of Action post you should really check it out HERE to see what changes we are working on around this little cabin.

While I have been working on my list and trying to come up with some ideas to make my wishes become REALITY there have been a few unexpected hiccups already. One was thisongoing Fibro Flare I’ve been dealing with. Living with chronic pain is NO FUN and then when it seems like the pain is UNBEARABLE then something else happens to push you almost to the brink of a breakdown. Howevere GOD is GOOD and HE is always there and manages to keep me from free falling over the edge of insanity.

There have been several days where I’ve done pretty much NOTHING or at least as close to NOTHING as I could get by with. However last Friday was not one of those days. I walked into the closet to get something and realized that the kiddos had been playing with my crinolines AGAIN… sigh… and they had torn apart the shelving unit that held them AGAIN. Well, there wasn’t a lot I could do about it when I found it as we were getting ready for a dance. Then a bit later I walked in to find that the girls had pulled the middle section of their unit apart… GRRRR! I was ready to pull my hair out but I just helped everyone to get what they needed and instructed them to STAY OUT of the closet until I could fix it.

Continue reading A Fresh Start In The New Year Part 1

Keeping Up With The Bills Free Printable

It’s the 3rd already! Where has time gone? I’ve not been feeling up to par the past week or so and today it dawned on me that I need to pay bills… Oops… I apologize to my creditors in advance. When I finally sat down to get to work I realized that I needed a new sheet printed off. (See this post HERE if you missed my post last year about how I keep track of my bills.)

Well, that was easier said than done as my worksheet was saved on my old laptop… the one the kids killed last year. I had worked on it a bit last January and gotten it to come back up but I have only used it 3 or 4 times during the past year and each time was tricky as the laptop doesn’t act right and still shuts down frequently. Luckily for me (and you) I was able to get to the files I needed and get them saved on my portable drive (which was originally another laptop that a couple of the kids killed a few years ago)… yeah, lesson learned as they are no longer allowed to play on Momma’s laptop.

If you haven’t read the ‘Keeping Up With The Bills‘ post you may want to check it out so you can see how I use these worksheets to keep our bills organized and paid on time. Since I know that many of us have made resolutions to get more organized I am including links to FREE printables for anyone to use.

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Monthly Bills PDF

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Monthly/Yeary Subscriptions PDF

Happy New Year!



7 Easy Steps To Simplify Your Life Today

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

I had originally written this series of posts in honor of National Simplify Your Life Week, which falls during the first week of August, I decided to make a short list of 7 easy steps that almost anyone can use to simplify their life starting today. With the New Year fast approaching I thought it might be helpful to post this again for anyone looking to simplify their life and have more FREE time.

Now I’m not talking about anything drastic like selling everything you own and moving into a small secluded cabin with no electric. This actually sounds like a really good idea to me right now but my kids wouldn’t really like that. The tips below will not only help you to simplify your life but they will help you to be more efficient.

Click on each link for more information and helpful tips.

  1. Take Care of Yourself
  2. Reduce Your Screen Time
  3. Learn to say NO without feeling guilty
  4. Declutter your closet (and your house)
  5. Get Organized
  6. Set Up Routines
  7. Pay Off Those Debts and Bills

I wish you the best of luck with getting your life simplified! Let me know, in the comments below, of any tips that you have used to simplify your life.

Click here to get started on Step 1.

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Little House on The Pond Progress (With Pictures)

**This post does contain affiliate links to products we use in our home.

I’ve been promising pics of the newly rearranged house. I know it seems like I’m always rearranging something around here but it has been awhile since I’ve posted house pics so here they are.

Many of the pics show the before we moved in and the after… which is now. It has been quite challenging getting to this point partly because having a large family means you have a lot of stuff.

Another part is that we need this small space to function in a variety of ways. We homeschool and do a lot of arts and crafts. I like to cook, sew, and blog too. Not to mention the kids need a place to play and we need to eat, relax, and maybe sleep a little bit. Previously trying to find a spot for some ‘quiet time’ has proven to be a bit difficult as well.

I think we’ve finally found an arrangement that allows for everything we need. With our new furniture pieces we can make more room when needed and move things around quite easily to accommodate whatever we might be doing. This new arrangement has also allowed the house to feel much more open and it seems like we have so much more space while still being nice and cozy.

This is the bedroom area and the view from the bedroom:

Not much has changed in the bedroom since I moved the king sized bed in here earlier this year and moved the two bunkbeds to the Main Room. I can say that having my ‘room’ has been really nice and occasionally I come in here to get a little computer work done while the kids play in the Main Room.

When we first moved in we divided this room into two rooms with a partition and added a small storage loft above the second room which is W’s room right now.  Continue reading Little House on The Pond Progress (With Pictures)

Treat Yourself And Make Housework A Little Easier

**This post contains affiliate links to products we use.

I’m always so excited when I see my box from Grove Collaborators  come. This month was a small order as we are pretty well stocked up on supplies but I wanted to share with you what we did get:

Since we are in the midst of the Christmas season I thought it only fitting to get the Peppermint scented soaps. We got one Mrs. Meyers Hand Soap and two of the Mrs. Meyers Dish Soap. We really love both of these products and when we use the Walnut Scrubbers they make dishwashing a breeze.

The cleaners come in a wide variety of scents and I really enjoy trying out the different scents depending on the season.

Continue reading Treat Yourself And Make Housework A Little Easier

Large Family Planning Calendar For The New Year

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I know most of us are probably not ready to think about the New Year as we are in the midst of holiday choas right now but with as many kiddos as I have I am always looking ahead. There are doctor appointments, dentist appointments, birthdays, and so many other events that I need to keep organized.

Our calendars keep our day to day activities running smoothly and help to keep us prepared for upcoming events. They are vital to keeping this Momma sane!

What features do you look for in a calendar? I know I like it to have enough room to write things in the blocks. I also like to have the moon phases and holidays on the calendar.

Do you like the stickers or not? I kinda like the idea of stickers and it helps me to tell at a glance what we have coming up if there are stickers on it.

While I absolutely love my Cozi mobile app and I always have it pulled up on my laptop. I keep everything from appointments to recipes on my Cozi calendar and my family members all have access to it as well. I still like to have a wall calendar as well so that I can refer to it quickly if I’m on the phone or if Mr. Awesome needs to double check something he can refer to it as well.

This led me to check out Amazon for some new planning calendars today. There is such a selection to choose from I’m really not sure which one I want to get yet but here are a few of the ones I’ve found:

Continue reading Large Family Planning Calendar For The New Year

Learn How To Plan Your Homeschool In 15 Minutes Or Less Per Week!

**This post does contain affiliate links which help to support my blog and my family. 

As a Momma of 9 I am constantly looking out for my kids. I worry about them, like all moms do, and try to be there for them any way I can. I am also constantly looking for new ways to encourage them and keep their curiosity and eagerness to learn alive.

They really do love learning however sometimes they get bored with what we are learning or the way I am teaching it. I admit I get bored sometimes too but I love homeschooling because I am learning right along with my kids. Seeing the look on their face when they finally ‘get’ something is priceless and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

On the other hand I often feel frustrated and tired because things don’t go as planned. We also experience A LOT of interruptions in our day to day life and that can cause some frustrations too as I feel like we just aren’t GETTING ENOUGH DONE in our day.

Not to mention how exasperating it can be when you plan a lesson or activity only to have your kids totally HATE IT! Hours and hours down the drain on what you thought was going to be such a FUN LEARNING EXPERIENCE.

Planning and learning can happen on its own, and the results are mind-blowing!

Continue reading Learn How To Plan Your Homeschool In 15 Minutes Or Less Per Week!

Why I Quit Homeschooling My Kids

**This post may contain affiliate links to certain products we use in our home. 

It’s true! I’ve quit homeschooling my kids… at least temporarily. We’ve had a busy hectic schedule here and everyone is off routine which means total CHAOS here. We originally planned to start back this past Monday, and we did, but things just didn’t ‘feel’ right. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been so stressed with everything going but I am just not in the right mindset at the moment.

Missing Materials

I didn’t have time to plan like I had wanted so Monday and Tuesday felt so ‘rushed’ and ‘chaotic’ that I was ready to cry several times. We had planned a ‘First Day of School’ video but that didn’t turn out well either as partway through the video I realized we were missing some important pieces to our ‘Morning Table Time’. Sigh… it wasn’t pretty as I went digging through drawers and folders to find everything and then trying to find a place to put it back up was another matter.

I do have most of the first few weeks planned out on our Homeschool Manager app but I still had a few blocks that I wanted to ‘fill in’ with some fun activities. If I couldn’t find something I wanted to use I had planned on making a couple of things. Well, with my trip to PA that hasn’t happened. I just really haven’t felt like doing much of anything since we got back and it has really shown this week. Continue reading Why I Quit Homeschooling My Kids