A Denver Family's Adventure Through The Ups And Downs of Life

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Freezer Cleaning

I completed one last project in 2011, I cleaned out our basement freezer.


This Freezer Hasn't Been Empty Since it was Purchased in 2007.

Vegetable, Dessert & Frozen Entree Basket

Fruit, Chicken, Bread and Fries Basket

Shrimp and Pork Basket


4 Bags and a Box of Bad Food

Linked to Good Cheap Eats

52 Weeks of Decluttering Project

After completing my Operation Minimize project in 2011 (Original Idea), I knew that I didn't want to accumulate that amount of items ever again and have to go through it all, but there are definitely areas in our house that are clutter magnets.

The 52 Weeks of Decluttering Project Was Born!!
So, instead of participating in that again, I decided to work on not letting areas in my home get cluttered, by working on a single area a week. Of course, this would entail repeating problem areas that accumulate items during the course of a week/month/year (i.e. pantry, freezer and dining room table, etc.).

Using THIS spreadsheet, I'm going to list areas in my home, weekly, that need to be addressed so that the clutter does not become permanent. I'm going to use this 2012 Weeks of the Year calendar as my dates, with the "week" going from Monday-Sunday so that each weekend can be a single project.

I already have the pantry listed as weeks 1, 12, 24, 36, 48 and both freezers listed as weeks 10, 23, 35 and 47, since these area can get out of control easily (unless I get it right the first time- fat chance). Maybe I need to buy a label maker??

There are some weeks where this will be a complete purge/redesign of an area (coat closet, master bedroom closet, basement, etc), but my purpose for this project is to just keep the clutter to a minimum.

There are some weeks that I will be out of town (12 and 37 right now), weeks when I move projects around, and some weeks where things won't be done (I'm being realistic), but I'm going to do my best to keep to my schedule.

My inspiration for this project is:
Organizing Junkie

This 2011 OJ weekly series has inspired me to make the most out of my time, by trying to stay organized so that projects, that would have been HUGE (read- not worth it), are able to be completed easily.

I'm going to blog weekly about what areas were tackled, post before/after pictures and what it took to organize it.

Week #1- The Pantry (January 7-8)

Please feel free to comment with your current/past project. I'd love to hear about your solutions to clutter control.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Updated 2012 Family Weekend Calendar

Currently, our family does not need a standard calendar where activities can be listed every day, just on weekends. My husband wants to know what's on the schedule so that he can add/change items (of course with my permission).

Here is the 2012 Weekend Calendar (January - April)

I hope that this helps others in my same situation. I'd love to find a pre-printed calendar with this type of set up, but I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

January 2012 “Eat From The Pantry Challenge”

Now that Samuel's older (and I recently completed a freezer inventory on our kitchen freezer and soon to complete a pantry inventory and our basement freezer), I think that I can complete a Pantry Challenge with a little more success than what occurred in February 2010.

Here are our family’s goals for the “Eat From The Pantry Challenge”

  • To build my menus from what we have in the freezers and pantry.
  • To stop at the store a maximum of three times in January.
  • To only buy dairy (milk, eggs, cheese, etc.), produce (fruits/vegetables), and bread.
  • To spend a total of $150 or less on groceries during the month of January.
  • Donate the extra money that we would usually spend on groceries to Sam’s college fund.
Besides saving money, completing this challenge will help me clean out our basement, chest freezer so that it can be defrosted. This hasn't been done since it was purchased in 2008. I want to make sure that it runs efficiently.

During the week, dinners will only be listed.

Menu Plan for January 1-7
Sunday-  Lunch @ Broncos Football game
                 Dinner- Laura's Quick Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
                        * Using ground turkey from freezer and beans from pantry
MondayTurkey Chili leftovers
Tuesday- Pasta with Fast and Friendly Meatballs
                        * Using ground turkey from freezer

Wednesday- Pork Tenderloin and broccoli
                        * Using pork from freezer
Thursday- Pork Tenderloin leftovers

Friday- Salsa Chicken, rice and brussel sprouts
Saturday- Lunch- Lunchmeat sandwiches
                   Dinner- Salsa Chicken leftovers

Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Operation Minimize- Week 52 (1,954- 2,023)


We got rid of 2,011 items from our home in 2011.
With 3 days to spare!!

I started this challenge mid year, and was a little bit worried that I wouldn't be able to finish it in time, but thanks to Samuel growing like a weed and contributing a lot of outgrown clothes and our basement being a disaster, we made it.

I also cleaned out the freezer in our kitchen (as apposed to the chest freezer in our basement). While doing this, I wrote down everything that was staying in the freezer on this Freezer Inventory Sheet (something I'm going to do monthly, or at least quarterly). This act of purging put us over the mark!

I don't think that I'll be able to do this same challenge next year. We got rid of a lot of items, but the act of removing these items from our home has allowed me to find a new space for us to make into a usable space

Here is a list of the final items that put us over the line.

4 Magazines
6 Christmas boxes

Sony Walkman Sport

Sell to Children's Consignment Store
6 Pairs of Shorts- Size 2T
15 T-Shirts- Size 2T
3 Toys
1 Cloth Diaper
2 Cloth Diaper Inserts

Trash from our Freezer- I threw out anything dated before 2011, 2 trash bags.
Thank goodness trash day was this morning.

2 Packs of Open Frozen Peas- Expired 2009
2 Packages of Vacuum Sealed Pork- Dated 2009
3 Packages of Vacuum Sealed Red Meat- Dated 2009

2 Packages of Opened Tater Tots- Expired 2010
2 Package of Tilapia- Expired 2009 and 2010
3 Packages of Vacuum Sealed Chicken- Dated 2009
5 Packages of Vacuum Sealed Soups (various)- Dated 2009
2 Packages of Vacuum Sealed Unknown (no information)- No Date
1 Package of Vacuum Sealed Avocados- No Date (but most likely 2010)
2 Packages of Vacuum Sealed Pumpkin- No Date (but most likely 2010)
1 Package of Diced Chicken- Dated 2010
5 Packages of Chicken (prepared various ways), Not Vacuum Sealed- No Dates

1 Package of Fruit- Dated 2009
1 Package of ???- Dated 2006 - We must have sealed this just after we received the sealer- YUCK!!

After Shot of Freezer.
Imagine What It Looked Like Before The Purge.
70 Items

Wordless Wednesday- Fun in (and with) the Snow

Daddy pulled Sam around in his sled for the first time this winter.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Small Victory

Last night, I counted a victory.
I was able to take a few minutes and clean off our dining room table.

It has always been a dumping ground for items that did not need to be taken care of immediately. Hopefully, this will soon be remedied by a "Command Center" with places specifically for the mail (divided between me and my husband), cork board for upcoming events, a family calendar, and a notebook with quarterly home improvement projects and art projects for Samuel.

Once this is set up, I hope that it will stop us from putting a lot of stuff on the counter as well.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Operation Minimize- Week 51 (1,902-1,953 )- More Basement Junk!!

I was able to unload items from my three most important categories
Donate, Recycle, and Trash

This will definitely get me closer to my 2011 goal. Here is the breakdown.

13 Frames
2 Candles
1 Sony CD Walkman
1 CD Holder
1 CD (Michael Jackson)
1 Zion National Park Water Bottle
3 Sets of Stationery
Soap Holder
Nail File
Glow in the Dark Lipstick
1 Makeup Bag

Pentax Box
Razor Phone Box
Dell Laptop Box
Water Heater Box

2 Pairs of Shoes
14 Tampons
Bottle of Hair Goo
Bottle of Bath Salts

51 More Items GONE. I Rule!

58 More Items and I'm DONE.

"Lost" Photos

I was given several CDs, from my MIL Andrea, with photos that I hadn't seen. We hope that you like them like we do.

June - October 2011 Photos

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Organizer for 2012

Along with a normal 2012 calendar (about $5 that works great for me), I'm having my office purchase me THIS, undated, planning notebook with circle the date and my annual work calendar.

I'm going to use this notebook to start planning my weekly meals. I really hate going to the store multiple times in a week to get things for dinner. Hopefully, with this, I can organize meals better and use my crock pot more. I'm hoping to schedule meals in 2 week increments.

First, I need to go through my freezer and cookbooks to determine what food we already have at the house and what meals can be fixed with those items.

I guess it's time to bookmark A Year Of Slow Cooking Blog and a few other slow cooker recipe sites- This, This, and This.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Am I Going to Make It??

I have 11 days left in 2011, and I still have over 100 items to remove from our house. I know that there are dark, scary places in my basement that have items that I can purge. I just need to find them. I think I'm going to check under the stairs.

Brian is already talking about getting a couch for the basement and putting up a TV, but before we can do that, I want to get rid of as much stuff as possible and have my husband and his father build us some shelves for the items that we need to keep. This will definitely include my craft desk so that I can catch up on scrapbooking and do some sewing projects that I have been eyeing on Pinterest.

Old Basement Photos
Photobucket  Photobucket  Photobucket

I don't know how we ever had this mess in our house. At the first of the year, I'll post pictures of where we are now. Hopefully by St. Patrick's Day, the shelves will be built and everything will be off the floor.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Early Christmas

Because we are flying to Florida, late this week, to visit my dad for Christmas, we celebrated Christmas with Brian's parents yesterday. They are WAY too generous.

The first thing I opened from them will help save me from the wrath of my son, Samuel. No more black eyes for Mommy.

At first, Samuel wasn't interested in anything but my iPad.
I think it's so cute when Sam takes other people's
fingers to activate items.
It's also funny when he uses his nose.
The first present that really got his attention was a Fisher Price camera. I just knew that he would love it, because he has so much fun taking pictures with my camera.
Sam needed a little help from Grandpa,
but definitely learned quickly.
The next thing that he became interested in was the Thomas And Friends Wooden Railway - Misty IslAnd Adventure Set that Brian bought along with the train table I purchased from a local mom's group for only $60 (Score!!!).

Next thing that really caught his eye was a set of Sesame Street figures.
Chewing them wasn't the only thing he did.
He also had them step on each other. Poor Elmo.
Sam and Grandma with his Christmas outfit. The orange cap
was a present that says "My First Fishing Cap."
Sam also got a play mat that has a town and streets,
so that he can drive his cars (and anything else) all over it.
Sam also received a lot of other presents (Crayola Mess Free Color Wonder Sound Studio, Fisher Price Thomas' Chocolate Delivery Train Set, books, coloring pages, etc.), including an outfit from his great uncle and aunt that I'm going to make sure he wears this week. It's so cute.

Thank you, Andrea & Jay, for helping to make yesterday a great day for Samuel. I'm not sure if there are enough days in the year for him to play with everything.

We had a blast!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday- My Kid Kicks My Butt

On Saturday, my son threw back his head and it went straight into my nose. Crack!!

Here’s what they look like today.

These pictures look like I'm a disembodied head. :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Update on Black Eye

Quick Organizing Project

A few weeks ago, I looked at our dining room table, and there were quite a few items hanging off the back of some of the chairs that should be put outside or in our garage. I purchased this small, 4 knob coat hook and had my husband install it in our garage.

Now, items that are used for automotive endeavors and outdoor activities, can be hung up away from our living room, and are able to dry and not stink up our house.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Breakfast With Santa- December 3rd

Literally, 5 seconds after I opened an e-mail from Maggiano's Little Italy advertising Breakfast with Santa, at their downtown location, I called for a reservation.  I guess I opened my e-mail at the right time, because the person that answered the phone said that I was the 2nd person to call for a reservation. It must have just been sent.

 The closest that Sam would get to Santa was taking a candy cane and doing a fist bump.

The Boys (Daddy, Samuel, and Grandpa)
Other than eating, watching Elmo on my iPad, he did get a hold of my camera and took some pictures of things from his point of view.

We shared our table with a grandmother and two of her grand kids.
They were very nice.

Hi Grandma!!

Don't tell Samuel, but Santa is bring him his own Fisher Price camera, so that he can take all the pictures that he wants.  :)