Kitchen Redo: The Pantry Part 2

pantry 2

Well I have been working at it.  OVERWHELMED at how much stuff was in our pantry.  How much duplicate stuff I had.  Knowing I had to change-we had to change.  I have kids in my pantry ALL DAY LONG.  So I worked on zoning it.  I threw away old food (wow there was a lot!  That was like throwing away money!!) And here is were I am now.  I am not done. I still have work to do.  It will never be picture perfect, but there has to be a better way to have a health ongoing functioning pantry.

So here is my first YouTube Video that I have done-on me showing you something!  Figured it was better than pictures!  But I will throw in some pictures at the end too!







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Household Habits: Kid’s Chores


Every mother struggles with what chores should my child do.  Every child dreads having to do chores. Heck I hate having to “do chores”  But chores are needed.  Chores are what teach kids time management, cleaning skills, and good old fashion cleanliness.

Yeah we are not there yet.  I am trying.  Believe me we are trying.  I have tried every different trick with chores.  Paid, list, stars.  I started Morning Chores and Afternoon chores last December, and those kinda, kinda stuck.  So I decided to stop focusing on the word “chore” and more on the word “habit.”


What on the chore list needed to be a habit and not a chore.  Like I have make your bed, get dressed, eat breakfast and brush your teeth as some of the morning chores.  Those really are not chores, but more of personally ha  Every morning this is what I expect my kids to do.  So this school year, those types of items are not on the chore list.  Our chore list are actual cleaning chores to help keep the main living area clean.  They each picked three for morning time and four for afternoon time.  They include things like picking up, sweeping, washing windows, wiping down sinks, emptying out the dish washer.  The kids picked out their morning and afternoon chores.  Then I add other habits they need for life, like learning laundry.

As for paid chores, I give them a few every now and then.  I paid the boys to clean out the van-big cleaning.  As Christmas gets closer I will make a list for them.  I also use chores as punishments.  Mostly weed picking. Since they grow a lot in my yard.

Our Chore System  isn’t perfect. I would like to think I am creating more household and life habits than them just doing chores.   It is still work in progress.  But certain areas are staying a little cleaner.  They ask me how to earn money instead of saying “I will pick up my bedroom if you pay me.”  We will keep working on ironing out the wrinkles….

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Household Habits: Kid’s Clothing


Darn those kids.

They keep growing!

And the weather keeps changing.

Which means there are always mounds of kid’s clothing’s.

And boxes of them.  And dirty clothes.  And laundry baskets full of them.  Sports uniforms.  Dance outfits.

Oh and lets not forget shoes, socks, undies, coats, and bathing suits.

Right now I feel as though I am drowning in kids clothing.  No matter how much I am keeping up with it- they still appear.

Paint on clothing?  Just saying as a thought…..Ok I know not really!!


Here are some ways I am trying to say afloat with kids clothing’s.  When I get done I will then share pictures.

  1. I am purging.  Yes that is right.  I have 4 piles.  Keep.  Give Away.  Good Will.  Throw Away.  Folks I have come to realized that if I kept EVERY CUTE OUTFIT I WILL HAVE NO ROOM FOR THE CUTE KIDS THAT GO IN THE OUTFITS!  Yes I know I yells that.  But I have to say that OVER AND OVER- for my benefit you know:)
  2. Because we do foster care I use to keep a lot of extra clothing.  Now I do not.  I keep a basic starter kit-a small box to get us up and running till I can get to the store.
  3. Organize and label.  I love to buy things on clearance for the next season.  BUT I have forgotten where I have put those wonderful items till they are two small.  This year I have bought NOTHING-it has been hard-till I get my act together again.
  4. Use uniform boxes.  It just makes life easier.  And neater.  You may have to  spend a little extra money, but in the long run it will be worth it.
  5. Throw the un-matching socks away.  They are single.  The others have left the planet.   Just toss the box out and fell good about it.  I did-two tubs I kept thinking “they will find their way back to each other.  Finally one day I just did it.  It felt SO GOOD!  I know money, being wise-but you not stressed is worth more.  TRUST ME!
  6. Freeze the kids to not grow anymore so you don’t have to buy anymore clothes.  Just kidding……
  7. Wait can we freeze the kids?  They are growing way to fast!
  8. I LOVE hand me downs and thrift stores.  But I do buy 1 good pair of shoes for my kids.  Since my kids have wide feet, hand me down shoes are a little harder.
  9. I use to fold clean laundry and have my kids put it away.  But some how I end up rewashing that “same folded” laundry.  So for my sanity I now put my kids clothing away.  I have to get better at this cause most of the time I just keep it in the laundry basket in my room!
  10. Teach your kids to put dirty clothes in a laundry basket.  Somehow my kids don’t understand this….EVERYDAY I remind them and I get this “huh” look, like you want me to do what?  But I am scaling down on how many kids clothes they will have out at once, and if it is not in the hamper on wash day I am not washing it!!


So in my spare time this is what I am doing.  When I am done I will show you how our system works.  And no, I don’t mean how to freeze the kids, although I am still investigating that!:)

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Creating Household Habits

Habits. We know if we do something enough times it should become a habit. With summer winding down and schooling beginning, now is the time to create better household habits. Last May our family grew when my 18-year-old daughter in law moved in and soon after my grand baby girl was born.

Having another young family within our family creates new challenges and lots of joy. While we attempted to sell the house and move into what we thought would better fit us, after a while, we decided to make our house work. A key to making it work is creating household habits for everyone.

This isn’t going to happen over night. And the first step -it starts with me. So I am tackling a few areas the next week.

  • Making sure we have a weekly menu and I have shopped for that menu.
  • Planning for cooking for a month and filling the freezer with lunch foods.
  • Keeping the kitchen cleaned.
  • Giving the children morning and afternoon chores.
  • Keeping my closet floor picked up.
  • 15 minutes of organizing an area.

So come with me as I start to create household habits for our family. My friend Sarah is also blogging about Kicking Habits over at Living Gracefully.

household habits

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10 Random Thoughts That Float in My Mind


  1. I talk to myself a LOT. No really- I am the one in the store mentally talking out loud going through my check list. My kids will look at me and say, “mom who are you talking to?” I smile and respond “my mind.” My mind is a dangerous place to be.
  2. Like when the thought “If I can “just” do this” enters in. Folks “just” is a dangerous word in the females language. It starts in the mind when she see something on Pinterest or a magazine or a blog. And the mind says “if I can just do this.” If this is then verbally express-the husbands know they are trouble.
  3. Why can’t the towels be hung back up. I don’t know if this is a problem in your house, but 6 kids using one bathroom, oldest 19 now. How hard is it to hang up wet towels? This questions floats in my mind often.
  4. Sometimes random narrations go on in my mind. I can write things or argue issues. I sometimes wish I had a recording button because these normally happen when I don’t have anything to write down my thoughts.
  5. Scripture and prayer. I try to always have God’s word everywhere to read and ponder on. These verse will float, echoing in my mind. Song will be singing praises, and prayers always being said.
  6. What homeschooling curriculum I am using this year? It is summer time and this is always floating through my mind. Robby is going into Jr. High- little kids 1st and 2nd grade. What is going to work best for us with our situation.
  7. What is going on with our world? Some issues really hit me and I feel like I want to be the changing force with it. Others just make me mad. All day long I can stew about these issues.
  8. Church. This is always on my mind. More than I can explain. Ministries-how to make them happen, what needs to be done, how to pray for them. Am I making the right decisions? What more should I be doing?
  9. Should I have another cup of coffee? I love coffee. The taste. The smell. (hold on I got to go get some)
  10. How to make our house better work for all the people living in it. With 8 people, including our young new family-how do I organize all. How do I keep food together? How do I keep cost down with furlough going on? Are we moving? Or not? How should I organize the homeschool room?

Someone once said a women’s mind is like a 1001 tabs open on the internet. Yep and these thoughts sits with us all day, till our husbands come home and we want to talk about them. All at the same time-sometimes like a flood. And our poor husbands think-I was only gone for the day!

What random thoughts floats through your mind?





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How to get your Family to Help with Dishes


I hate doing dishes.

But I do them.

In a family of 8 they get stacked up pretty quickly.

When we put the house on the market I had asked that everyone be responsible and put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher. It wasn’t that hard. But some how my family just didn’t get it and I did not do well enforcing. I just felt I should not have to nag them to be responsible in that.

So months went by and unless I asked-no one did dishes. Well every now and then the little kids did -and my husband does when he sees a need.

So as a gentle reminder that we (regardless if we are male or female) are all responsible for keeping the kitchen clean I am going to leave notes. Here is my first one.


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Dirty Windows-When the Sun Shines Through

It is in the morning hours that I most notice the finger prints and dirt on my windows.  Seems as the sun shines through, every print and smudge is very real.  But as the sun starts to rise a little bit more, the evidence of all the kids in and out on the doors isn’t so noticeable.

Seems our lives are like that too sometimes.  We don’t always see all the mess, till something shines on us to point all the mess that is our lives.  Sometimes that mess just seems so bad that it can never be fixed or there is never a way out.

That dirt is like sin.  The sun like God.   I see those dirty window every morning.  I see them, this how dirty they are, sigh and don’t do anything about them.  Soon the sun is gone from shinning in and I don’t see the dirt any more so I just keep going on with my day.  I know it’s there.  

Sin is always there.  God shows us our sin.  We do not want to see our sin. Many times we do not want to do anything about our sin.  We get comfortable seeing “dirty windows.”

But clean windows.

Clean windows are different.

Freshly washed windows.  Before the smudges.  Before finger prints.  Before dog nose prints.  They are wonderful.

When we confess our sins, say we are sorry for our sins, we are forgiven and it is like a clean window.  Before all the mess gets back on it.

And the thing about life.

It is messy.

1 John 1:9

God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong. (GWT)


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Letting go of Socks

Much is happening in our family right now. While life feels like it stopped moving I have to figure out how to keep life moving along here at home. Last week I just wanted to escape. This week I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Summer is escaping me and I must get ready for school.

So today I started cleaning some of those “spots.” I have had some piles of laundry baskets that have been staring me down and that I have been ignoring. I know what I should do but I just kept feeling for the last 5 years that the other sock will just come back. That I will find that missing sock.

Today was the day. I have no idea where the other socks are. They are not coming back. They have created their own world. I had 3 laundry baskets of kids socks. I have been meaning to do this for months. Just throw them away and start over.


I know maybe extreme. But they are socks that have been sitting in laundry baskets taking up room. I had to make a change. Today I did that.


I gained three laundry baskets. I just threw the socks out. It feels good. Socks are on sale. Kids are wearing flip flops. Life will go on after socks.

But I can’t help but wonder, will the other socks wander back now?

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Books, books and more BOOKS!

We have too many books. And not enough space! I love books! I love old books. Books tells stories, give details, paint pictures.

We have a lot of kids books. Because we homeschool we have more than normal amount of books. This was the week I went through 75% of the kids books. I know more are hiding!

We organize our bookshelves twice a year. And homeschooling books once a year. After last year with our two foster boys things still are being put back together.

So I had kids bring all books from their rooms and here is what I started with on Monday!






Two garbage bags of trash and broken books. All board books packed away for an other little one one day.

Here it is after I was done. We are blessed with wonderful built ins that I love to fill with books!
I use baskets to break them up and for smaller books. I have all bible books in spot. All readers I got news bins for and separated them.





Ok so I didn’t get to the top! And I still have MORE BOOKS!!!!

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Just give me 20 minutes

I have learned to clean in small little steps.  In 20 minutes I can get a lot done!
Today’s 20 minutes-kitchen table-even swept and quick mopped the floor. Makes everything feel better.



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