Thursday, May 30, 2013

Reclaiming Our Spaces: Laundry Room




Today, I'm going to let you into the one of the craziest, more cluttered areas of my home; my laundry room!!!



It's so crazy.  I stack & stack & stuff here.  It's like my dumping spot.  


Mostly I have kept:
 -old blankets
-laundry that belongs in other rooms
-Clothes that I plan to give away or donate
-Towels that should be in my bathroom closet

Here's what I did to spruce it up:

1)  Bagged all giveaway items or items to be sold & put them in my trunk ready to go

2)  Brought laundry to the appropriate rooms

3)  Brought the towels to my closet

4)  Brought in a cabinet to store items that would've just been shoved in a corner.

5) Got a little clutter catcher for small items for on top of the dryer from cleverholly.com   It's called a Great Divide.  Super cute!




No junk on the floor!!  Nothing stacked on the ironing board.  




Storage cabinet:




The cute little clutter catcher:




My husband is going to be thrilled when he sees it & that makes me smile.

 Holly worked on her vehicle this week.  Check it out here.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

GF Cranberry Almond Scones



Let me first say, I do not have Celiac Disease.  I am interested in Gluten-Free recipes because I want to avoid white, refined flour.  I love to bake, so I am learning new ways to bake.  I'm looking at both Gluten-Free & Paleo recipes because I want to learn to bake in a more healthy, whole way that is also delicious.  

So, one of the things I love to make is scones.  So, I have been playing around with my recipe & this is the latest version; which I made today.

Gluten-Free Cranberry Almond Scones:

2 Cups of Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free All-Purpose Baking Flour
1 1/2 tsps. Bob's Red Mill Premium Xanthan Gum
3 tbs of sugar (I used Florida Crystals Organic Sugar)
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
5 tbs of unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces & chilled (You could also use Coconut oil)
1/2 cup of dried cranberries (Craisins)
1/2 cup of sliced almonds
1 cup of heavy cream
1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1 tsp of pure almond extract

450 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until tops are slightly golden brown.

1)  Preheat your oven to 450 & adjust rack to middle position.

2)  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or, like me, use your Pampered Chef baking stone.

3)  Combine flour, sugar, zanthan gum, baking powder & salt with either a food processor or, I use a pastry blender.

4)  Scatter butter over the top of the mixture & continue until it looks like coarse cornmeal.

5)  Add cranberries & almonds

6)  Stir in cream & extracts with a rubblier spatula until mixed.  Do not over mix.

7)  Flour your counter & drop dough onto it.  Knead it until you have a ball to work with.

8)  Take a 9-inch cake pan & press dough ball into it.  You could use a Baker's Roller or another cake pan to flatten the top if you prefer.  I just pressed it in with my hands this time.




 9)  Then take a spreader & run it along the edges of the pan to loosen the dough before you dump it onto your baking sheet or stone.

10)  Now, take a longer knife (I like to use this thick plastic one) & divide your dough into 8-16 parts.  




11)  I like to wiggle the knife between each piece to make more room between each one.

12)  Cook 12-15 minutes or until tops are slightly golden brown.  Like below:





Super yummy.



*This recipe is based on the Simple Cream Scone recipe from 

The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.



Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Day I Let My Kids Go Crazy!


It was one of those moments.  You know the ones, all day long when your kids say something like, "Mom, can I please eat ALL the candy?"  "Mom can I PLEASE, please PALEESE run around outside in the thunder and lightning?"  Except this time it was, "Mom, I got a little bit wet, but it is SO FUN.  Can I please play in the mud?!?"  I almost instantly said, "NO WAY!!!"
Something stopped me though, because it was one of those moments when I think to myself, it could go 2 ways here:  It could be just another day or 
it could be the BEST DAY EVER!!!

You see, it had rained and there's this place where there used to be a tree & we haven't done a good job of filling it back in yet.  So, as you can see below, there was quite the little mud puddle hole.  


You'll notice petals in the hole because my son had de-flowered my daughter's recital roses just before this, so we added those to the mud puddle.


 My son brought the mud over into their playhouse (of course) to bake some mud pies - because that's what you do, when you playing in mud puddles.






I think the kids were both:
- in shock that I was letting them make such a mess & get so messy
-intrigued, interested & excited to get to explore and play in such a crazy way

As their playing started to wind down, I started thinking about clean-up.  I would need to clean up the backyard & also keep these crazies from bringing all this mud into the house.  So, I got the hose out!!!

 
And…we had a bunch more fun!!  See the rainbow on the bottom right?  After chasing them all around the yard and getting them screaming with giggles, I plopped them both in the tub while I set to cleaning toys, shoes etc:




Etc:




I really have so much to learn about being a mom.  I have to learn to just CHILL & let them just be kiddos.  I am so uptight, but I know this & I'm working on it.  It is a journey & God is teaching me how to just…Let go.

Flower from my daughter.  

Can you relate?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Reclaiming Our Spaces: Office/Craft Area

Hello & Happy Thursday to you!

Today is the first of many Thursday posts for our new series:


In my introduction post I had started working on my desk & organizing my sewing fabric.  This area is a big project!  So, I decided to continue there & really TACKLE it.  

So, this is what it looked like under my sewing machine:




I was just stacking & shoving things in bags; out of either just feeling lazy or lack of time to a better job.  That's no longer good enough for me.  Just seeing the clutter there stresses me and just makes me feel tired because it is one more thing I need to take care of.  
Well, no more.




Ahhhhh.  Peace.  One bag under there was basically just trash, so I made sure I kept a trash bin under there that I can easily pick & take to the trash.  Another was little random things that need to go somewhere else, so I finally put all those things away where they belong.  I kept a little bucket to collect things, but not big enough to stack things in!  
I don't want a repeat of what I was doing.  The other huge bag under there was yet MORE sewing fabric.  So, I put it all away in this cabinet.  It's doors were being blocked by that bag of fabric, so there was no way fabric was going to be put away in there. Now the doors are unblocked.  Yay!




I couldn't stop there because, after putting the fabric into the cabinet, I was faced with this beast:





Even though things were fairly organized in here,  It just felt chaotic.  So, I decided just to grab a few matching bags to put everything in, so it seemed more put together/streamlined.  These are not my permanent solution, but we can still get things organized while we save up for more fancy bins and organizers, can't we?  Here's how it looks now:




Can you tell where I shop?  Ha!  
Anyway, it's not perfect, but it's definitely less crazy on the eyes while I save up for organizers more suited for sewing supplies.  In the process, there was a bunch I just threw away because I realized it was unusable or the project was never going to happen.  Also, I had a lot of, "Ooh, I forgot about these!!!"  So, that was fun.

The last thing I tackled was next to my printer which is above this cabinet & and all the sewing clutter sprinkled around that general area.  




Here's what it looks like now:




I used a large magazine file to hold the paper packets & just relocated everything else.

Here is the top of the sewing machine table:




I also cleared out this drawer nearby to hold some supplies.




Here it is now:





Yes!!! All straight.  It's so inviting to come into a space that is clutter-free & you can find things you need to use.  So peaceful & inspiring!

It's also so much more doable breaking it into small pieces that can be conquered during nap time or after the kids are in bed. 


Holly worked in this area too this week & you can see her work on her blog here.
Here's a quick pic of clean & straight desk:


clever container holly simply organized nwa desk


Come back next Thursday for our next organization project!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Reclaiming Our Spaces: How 2 Organizers Start at Home


I'm excited to announce a new series which will post each Thursday.  


I've worked off & on as a professional organizer, but, since having my second child, I have found it really challenging to make the time to organize my own home.  I have lots of little clutter traps in corners of my home & they are making me crazy!!!  Can you relate?


So, I talked to a friend of mine who also works as a professional organizer about doing a series together tackling those areas of our homes each week.  Not only will it give us some motivation to focus on these areas on a regular basis, but we also plan to share tips, products & how-tos along the way.

Meet Holly:




 Holly & her friend Janet formed Simply Organized of NWA in 2007.  They started Simply Organized of NWA because they both LOVED organizing. She is also a representative for Clever Container organizing products.  You can view their products here.  Holly is the mother of 2 girls; ages 6 and 2.  She gets a little giddy at the completion of an organizing project because she simply loves it.  

I look forward to doing this series together!!

After we talked, I got real excited about it & started working on some things.  I organized my desk:




Drastically improved from before (I can assure you), but you can definitely still see my clutter ALL AROUND my desk/craft/sewing area!  

 After looking up online how you're supposed to organize fabric, I did this:




Yay!  So much more functional & pretty too.  Makes me want to sew something!!!!

Check back on Thursday when we tackle our first cluttered area.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

OneCraftyFoxx Giveaway!

It's that time again y'all.  We need another giveaway.

This time it's something lovely for your wall from the Etsy shop of OneCraftyFoxx!




My sweet friend Rachel is the owner of the shop.




She is a super talented woman!  Her shop is filled with wall art, digital invitation templates, party supplies, t-shirts & home decor.  You never know what she might throw in there because she does a little of everything.

For this giveaway, she is giving away this:







All you have to do is follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.  

MAKE SURE YOU DO EACH STEP!  Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 17, 2013

Confessional Friday

Today I'm linking up again with A Blonde Ambition for Confessional Friday.  So, here it goes:

1)  I confess that I have not taken a shower today.

























2)  I confess that my room is a disaster area:




3)  I confess that I have played A LOT of Candy Crush this week.  It's Spencer's fault.  I saw he was stuck on a level & I wanted to see how quickly I could get to that same level & beat it.  Then, every night before I go to sleep, I like to be at a higher level than he is.  Ha!  What's that about?




Feels good to get that off my chest!!!  #keepinitrealyall


Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Very Fancy Nancy Birthday


We had a blast celebrating my daughter's birthday.  I tried to make it as close as I could to what she was dreaming of.  Here's what I came up with (Warning: there are LOTS of pictures).

These were from a local dollar store $1 each!



I put together a little dress up area with dollar store jewelry, boas, perfume & make up for them to enjoy.

I made a photo area for the girls to model their new looks.

Each girl got a treat bag to take home.



We had an amazing cake made by my friend Stephanie.  Isn't it fancy?  

Cutest kiddos.

Trays, cupcake holder & tongs from the Dollar Tree.

My husband bought lovely tulips for the party.

ooh la la!

BFFs!

Sweet girl from my daughter's dance class.

Some girls from our church.


Emily.

We did a craft decorating foam crowns with jewels & glitter glue.





So cute!


Sweet little brother of one of the girls claiming his cake pop.

The glitter glue was sticky & didn't want to dry.





If there is one thing my daughter loves, it's craft projects.






Precious family.





My daughter thought it would be fun to smear bronzing powder ALL over her face!!







And attempted to get it on this girl's face too.

This girl was having a good time.




Bronze.

See the make up on her cheek?



I took a picture of every mama with their daughters.





My little crazy bronze sweetheart!
It was a super fun day.

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