Monthly Archives: March 2011

My Daughter’s Wardrobe, Closet and Toys – Project: Simplify

Week Three of Project: Simplify

I was so happy about this week’s hot spot since it is something that I’ve really been wanting to get to. I also had planned on changing out my daughter’s wardrobe this week anyway. Although we still have some cooler temps this week, spring has officially made its appearance so it’s time to pack up the winter clothes (that are not fitting well anymore anyway) and get out the spring clothes! I did not go through her toys since I had just done this in January after all of the Christmas stuff she got. I’ll go ahead and detail below how I did that though just for fun. :)

Before

Monday I worked on her clothes. I  washed everything she had that was dirty so I could have everything clean. After that, I went through all of her clothes in her drawers and closet and packed up all of the winter stuff to save for any future children/consignment/donation.  I had a pretty big stack of clothing and shoes that were handed down to me for Marcella from a girl from church so I took all of those out and washed everything in the correct size. (I already had all of this organized in her drawer by size so it was easy to just take it all out and wash it.) A lot of it was line dry so I hung it up on the drying rack and the rest I hung up or put in her (now mostly empty) drawer. I also moved everything from the closet in the next size up into the bottom drawer (where I keep storage clothes/shoes/etc. for later.)

Before

Tuesday was Marcella’s 2nd birthday so we spent all day celebrating. All I did this day was hang up and put away the now dry clothes from the drying rack.

Wednesday I decided to tackle the closet. I’ve really wanted to get Marcella’s closet organized. It bugs me every time I open it. It isn’t very large and in the last year since we moved back into our house (long story) it has gone from nicely organized to cluttered with stuff we don’t use or need anymore. I took out everything on the shelf above and everything out of the storage shelving out and put it in her room and slowly went through everything. I made piles of things to get rid of, things that belonged elsewhere, things that could be stored in the attic for future children and things to keep in the closet. I went through all of the shoes that were handed down to me to see what the sizes were since I never actually did that before when I went through the rest of the stuff. I stored the ones that were 2 sizes too big and kept out the ones that were only one size too big or her size now. I also put a couple too small pairs with the clothes that no longer fit.

Once I had everything separated, I tackled each pile one at a time. Some of the stuff I found I can just get rid of were some hangers that are from the store that you can hang a shirt and pants on. I don’t use these so I’ll either find someone who would like them or give them back to the store (tip from a friend.) I also found a stash of cloth diapers that were given to me that are too big or otherwise won’t work for my daughter. Instead of hanging on to them, I’m going to give them to some moms that could use them instead. Most likely, my next child is going to be smaller like Marcella anyway. I also filled a basket with items for the attic and my husband put those up for me. The last step was finding a new home for what needed to stay. I now have room for anything new we need to store in there which is great! I also took all of her books out and resorted them in her basket since it had gotten messy.

After*

 

I said I’d tell you how I organized my toys even though I did this back in January (so no pictures, sorry.) Basically I took every toy/book, etc that she had and put them all in our bonus room. It was a mess for a couple days while I worked through it but I was so happy with the final result. I then started making piles of like toys together (all stuffed animals together, all food related toys together, all books together, etc.) This helped me, since I’m a visual person, see what exactly she had so I could determine what went where.

We have 4 toy areas in our house. Downstairs we use the cabinets and drawer in our entertainment console to house toys. I like this because clean up is pretty simple and toys are out of sight for when we have company over. (We do have her baby doll with stroller out and her armchair out but everything else is stored when she’s not playing with it.) Upstairs we have a bonus room where all her large toys are  and we also have some open shelving and a closed cabinet as well. Of course we have toys in her room as well. Books and stuffed animals are in her closet and there is a small shelf with various toys and board books. Lastly we have a small bin of toys I keep on the bottom of my linen closet that I pull out for her to play in my bedroom if she is awake while I’m getting ready in the morning or for when we go somewhere. It’s easy to just pick up (hand holds on both sides) and go.

 

After*

I kept the majority of her stuffed animals in a basket in the closet in her room but took a few to place in each of her toy areas. All books, other than board books, stayed in a basket in the closet in her room. She still occasionally rips pages so I like these to be somewhere where I will most likely be around to make sure she isn’t ripping the pages (although it still happens sometimes.) The board books I divided up between the different toy areas. All of the larger toys (like her play kitchen, rocking horse, etc.) stay up in the bonus room. I also decided to have all of the food play things in the bonus room. She has a cabinet of her sports toys in the bonus room together as well. All dress up toys are mostly in her room while all of her musical toys are in her toy bin for on-the-go play.

 

What did you tackle this week? Clothes, toys, both? Did you have your children participate with you? I’d love to hear how it went!

*Sorry about the quality on these two pictures! Marcella broke my camera so I had to use my iPhone.


Green Spring Cleaning Tips

 

via media.therenewableplanet.com

Check out my guest post at The Curious Case of Mommyhood on Green Spring Cleaning Tips. I have a list of ten tips that will help you in your efforts to organize and freshen up after those dreary winter months. From which house plants help improve air quality to an eco-friendly alternative to moth balls, I’ve got something to help you out!

 


Great Stuff I Read for Week of March 13

Here’s a quick list of the great stuff I read this week!

Inquisition Monday: Attachment

Guest Post: Tex-Mex Enchiladas

Buying a Pram or Pushchair

Change, Growth, Loss and the Transformation of Babies

Disposables, Wet Wipes and Baby Food: Who Needs Them 

Breakfast Bentos and Green Smoothies

Cloth Diapering Papa

Bake Your Own Bread

Judging a Mama by Her Kid’s Behavior

Little Things That Help with HG Survival

Check out Authentic Parenting, Baby Dust Diaries, ChildOrganics, Hobo Mama, I Thought I Knew Mama, Mama and Baby Love, Mama Eve, Maman A Droit, Momma Jorje, Monkey Butt Junction, Motherhood Moments, My Inspired Baby, Navelgazing, and The Parent Vortex for more Sunday Surfing!


What Makes You So Special?

7,000 hits is here! As is customary here at A Little Bit of All of It, we have a guest writer since we have hit another 1,000 hits. I think you are really going to enjoy our guest writer this time! Let me introduce you to Cindy Winter-Hartley. She is a proud wife of nearly 24 years and the mother of three sons. Nathan is almost 21 and attends the United States Military Academy, Aaron is 16 and has a servant’s heart for the Lord. Isaac is an athletic eighth grader and the family “ginger.” She blogs at My Awesome Olive Shoots. Be sure to check out her blog for some inspirational stuff!

Before you do one more thing today, I want to encourage you to ponder this question. What makes your family unique?

Throughout the day, whether you are changing a diaper, emptying the dishwasher, (yuck!); whether you are in a carpool or gathering a few moments of quiet in a bubble bath (wouldn’t that be nice?), devote this day to searching the qualities which make your family special.

To get you started, here are a few ideas. Are there physical features common to your family? Do you have a special ethnic heritage? What are some special skills or weird talents you share? How about foods you all like or hate? Notice things you do together, the overall personality of your family – once you begin to do this, soon you will see a family identity. This is the beginning of cultivating a rich sense of oneness in your family.

We began to create a family identity when our children were young. When our boys had high-pitched voices and no facial hair, nearly every day, we gathered around the table and sang a silly song about our family. We even had a family cheer which they all loved to do together. Sometimes we would place a globe on the table and say to them, “Do you realize that there are only five Winter-Hartley’s in the world???” Their chests would puff with pride as we would remind them how special it was to be a member of our family.

Think of your own family. Doesn’t it just humble you to pieces when you think that God, in all His wisdom, divinely choose YOU to be the parent of your child? I could still cry when I attempt to take in the privilege the Lord has given me to be the mother of my three sons. Despite all my flaws and issues which the Lord is perfectly aware of, despite my husband’s imperfections which pale in comparison to mine, the two of us were chosen to be our sons’ parents! Wow! He could have placed those babies anywhere in the world and the Lord decided to grace us with the honor of being called Mom and Dad to three splendid yet very human children! We truly have a reason to celebrate being a family and so do you.

Lest you think we encouraged our sons to be conceited, let me explain what we consistently told and remind them. Our family is no better than anyone else’s. We don’t act stuck up but we do stick together. We call our family a five-piece puzzle. The puzzle isn’t complete without each of us because we can depend on each other. Now our sons are young men. They have matured, they shave, they have big muscles and they are all taller than me. But guess what? When our oldest son comes home from college, I can still hear him tell his 14 year old brother “good night, I love you!” as Isaac drifts off to sleep. Our 16 year old middle son Aaron will be talking on his cell phone with a friend and without a hint of embarrassment tell Isaac the same thing each night. That’s the power of family identity.

One day our boys will forge out and make families of their own, I can’t wait to hear their family cheers and see their families blossom. Though our children are older, still the concept of family identity holds a prominent place in our lives.

It’s all too common to hear about the dissolution of family and personally, I want nothing to do with that notion. Neither should you. Your family is unique and wonderful, today is the day to embrace that.


Paper Clutter – Project: Simplify

Week Two of Project: Simplify

This week’s hot spot was a pretty boring one for me in that, well, paper clutter is not an area of weakness in our household. Has it been in the past? Sure, but right now we pretty much need the paper we have and it all has a home. Still, I committed to the project so here we go.

We have 3 areas where paper clutter accumulate: my dresser in our bedroom, a corner on the kitchen counter and the top of the printer in the office area/bonus room. The dresser is cleared off so there was nothing to declutter there and  the spot in the kitchen only has some papers related to an item of business we need to attend to. No reason to file it away as I would just have to take it right back out. I normally leave the items that we need to take care of in that area because it is an area we are always seeing so it is a constant reminder to take care of stuff. Once the item is taken care of, we dispose of it. The only area where I had any paper clutter was on the printer. It was all things that needed to be filed. So I took all of 2 minutes to file them away.

Before

After

 

Since I felt like I should do SOMETHING for this challenge, I decided to purge my files. I knew it had been awhile since I’d done this so I figured it was probably a good, appropriate way to complete this challenge. (She mentioned books but I just redid my book shelf last month.)

I went through each of my files and took out what we no longer needed. I filled up a grocery bag full of stuff. It didn’t take me too long (except for the fact I wasn’t able to just sit down in one sitting and do it because of needing to attend to children) and it felt good to get rid of those things that weren’t needed. If it wasn’t for this project, there is no way I would have taken out the time to do this because it never really feels like it HAS to be done.

Before

After

 

What about the rest of you? Is paper overtaking your home? A great way to manage paper clutter is by using FlyLady’s 2 minute hot spot clean up. It’s just what it sounds like – set a timer for 2 minutes and go to town on that paper clutter! No guilt when the timer goes off. Two minutes is a totally manageable amount of time to dedicate to it and you’ll chip away at that stack much more quickly than you thought you could, promise! This is what I do when a mountain of paper starts to overwhelm me.

Tell me how you did this week in the comments and I’ll come check out your post!


Yellow Elm Headband Winner


Danielle, #29, is the lucky winner of the Yellow Elm Baby Headband!

Thanks to all of you who entered! We had 51 entries in all.

Danielle blogs at The Knapp Family and her favorite headband was the Claire Felt Headband.

Claire Felt Headband, Danielle's Favorite!


It’s Almost Spring! Outdoor Furniture Fun

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’m SO excited to welcome spring! I love the beautiful weather, pretty flowers and lighthearted feel in the air! I want to be outdoors all the time in the spring! Doesn’t everyone? To get us all in the mood for the coming season, I am posting here for your viewing enjoyment lots of awesome outdoor furniture, all from Pier 1.

I love the pattern on this dining cushion! (Pier 1)
And the matching pillow. Love it! (Pier 1)
These would be a fun, inexpensive (only $12.50 for 3!) way to spice up an outdoor barbecue! Their battery-powered lights, as well as decor! (Pier 1)
These would be lovely on an outdoor table or to take on a picnic dinner for something different. These are a great deal, too! (Pier 1)
How adorable would these be for the outdoor Easter Egg hunt?? I want to get some for my daughter’s Easter basket! (Pier 1)
Fun, colorful outdoor chairs! (Pier 1)
This table folds up for easy storage in the off months. Or you could just as easily put it inside, too! I can see this sitting in my dinette for sure! (Pier 1)
I really like the looks of this outdoor coffee table. I can see using this inside, too though in a sun room. (Pier 1)

I’ve had so much fun compiling this list! I’m going to have to hop over to Pier 1 soon to buy some stuff! March 18-20 they are having a special spring party. Sign up for the Pier 1 Outdoor newsletter to find out more! I want to check out the Outdoor Papasan, too! They look so cozy and they have so many different options to choose from now.

There are some Pier 1 Tweetups coming up if you’re on Twitter and into that sort of thing. Cities are Dallas (3-22), Atlanta (4-5) and NYC (4-20).

Visit Sponsor's Site


Super Sunday Surf for week of March 6

Last week I had no Sunday Surf but this week I have SO much stuff to share, I’m going to have to categorize it! So let’s get to the links, shall we?

Recipes and Food 

via seriouseats.com

Sunday Brunch: Scallion and Cheese Corn Muffins – These look utterly delicious…and cheap to make….and easy to make. That, pretty much, sums up my criteria for a good recipe! Perhaps these will make it onto a Menu Plan Monday sometime soon!

Spiced Raspberry Leaf Tea – You guys know I love tea, right? Here’s a recipe for a good tea that sounds tasty AND is good for the female reproductive system. She also gives a way to make it for those who maybe aren’t so into the taste to make it taste better so you can still get the health benefits.

Cheese Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce – My family is big into Mexican food. (My mom is already planning a Cinco de Mayo party because it is an excuse for us to eat lots of yummy Mexican food.) This recipe is healthy, too! Yay!

Serious Sweets: S’mores Brownie Bars – Need I say more??

Get Healthy: Prepare 3 More Meals This Week – Lots of meal prep tips

Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls – More Mexican healthy yumminess

Peanut Butter Popcorn – My husband said this sounded gross (boo) so I’ll have to make this one night for me and my daughter. I bet SHE would approve. ;)

1st Visit to McDonalds – Totally interesting to me

Christianity

Blaming and Angry with God – Quote from the post: “Sometimes I am tempted to be angry with God because of something I think I really need or really want that God does not give me, some source of pain. And I realized a few days ago why this is.”

Crunchy Stuff

Your Own Crunchy Shopping List – Free PDF – Check it out…she even gives you a nice pdf file to print out and take to the store with you and tips. And there’s also an online community on the site to discuss this stuff. Nice.

Citrus Lavender Laundry Detergent – One of these days I’m going to stop being lazy and make my own laundry detergent. Let me know if you have or do on a regular basis. I also linked to another DIY laundry detergent recipe in another Sunday Surf you can check out as well.

The Mother of All Soap Nut Recipe Resources – I had never heard of these until now and they sound AWESOME!! There is a giveaway on the same blog and I totally hope I win! If you enter, please say Julia sent you!

Babies and Parenting 

via codenamemama.com

Natural Parents Network’s Carnival of Natural Parenting’s theme this month is Top 10 Lists. I already did a post on one but here are the rest of my favorites:

10 Reasons to Choose Baby Led Weaning

Top 10 Ways to Know You’re a Natural Parent

Top 10 Ways to Be Present with Family

10 Natural Baby Items I Love

Choosing to Breastfeed

Ten Things I Wish I Knew Before Little Man

Top Ten Things No One Told Me About Natural Parenting

Top Ten Breastfeeding Misconceptions

Step Away from the Amazon List

My Top Ten New Mommy Moments

And this was not part of the carnival but is in the same vein:

Top 17 Things I Learned in My First Year as a Parent

The Invisible Umbilical Cord – I totally identified with this one!

Cooking with Your Toddler – Some great ideas here for fun meals your toddler would enjoy

Myth Busting 4: My Story – A post on gentle discipline

Random

Thoughts on Sleep – Robyn from Green Smoothie Girl gives some sleep information

Ice Candle Holder Table Decorations – I thought this was pretty cool, um literally.

Check out Authentic Parenting, Baby Dust Diaries, ChildOrganics, Hobo Mama, I Thought I Knew Mama, Mama and Baby Love, Mama Eve, Maman A Droit, Momma Jorje, Monkey Butt Junction, Motherhood Moments, My Inspired Baby, Navelgazing, and The Parent Vortex for more Sunday Surfing!


My Random Act of Kindness

Code Name: Mama has challenged us to make March a month of kindness. Lots of others have joined her and it’s been inspiring to read the different things people are doing. I decided to get in on this, albeit a little late since it’s March 12th already.

via codenamemama.com

I have a friend going through a rough time right now, a REALLY rough time. I won’t go into the details but she has been on my heart and mind a lot lately. What is happening to her is really wrong and unfair in so many ways. Things, humanly speaking, just seem like they can’t get worse for her and then they do. She is an amazingly strong woman and a fantastic mother doing the best she can but I know she is weary. I know she has a lot of lows and hard days still to come. And I HATE that. I want to take it all away. I want to lash out at the inequity of it all. And I question God and ask why. I am glad my God welcomes me and her with open arms and that my friend can lean on Him. She can come to Him with all her burdens and her cares and He will shelter her. And I know God can handle her questions, and mine and it’s okay to ask.

Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.

For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.

In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

His ways prosper at all times;
your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
as for all his foes, he puffs at them.

He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”

His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.

He sits in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;

he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
he lurks that he may seize the poor;
he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.

The helpless are crushed, sink down,
and fall by his might.

He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
forget not the afflicted.

Why does the wicked renounce God
and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?

But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
you have been the helper of the fatherless.

Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
call his wickedness to account till you find none.

The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.

O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear

to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

Psalm 10

My act of kindness is for my friend. I invited her and her family to dinner this week. It’s not a big thing but for one night she won’t have to worry about dinner. She can relax and spend time with us. And I pray, I pray for her all the time which is the best thing I can do.


Closets and Wardrobe – Project: Simplify

Week One of Project: Simplify

I was excited to see that this week’s hot spot was one I was planning on doing, in part, anyway! We were assigned to clean out/organize our closets and wardrobe. My best friend just dropped off a big box of clothes, purses and shoes she was giving to me since she packed up her house and is moving out of state. I needed to go through that anyway so this fit in nicely with the week’s project.

via simplemom.net

My closet and drawers are pretty organized and cleared out honestly but the top of my closet has started to become cluttered so that is mostly what I’ll be focused on organizing. If I have time I’ll probably tackle the coat closet downstairs as well to see if I have any coats to get rid of. This is also where I keep my formal dresses so I’ll see if any of those should be donated as well.

Monday

Closet Before

I went through the clothes in my closet and took out some clothes I don’t wear/don’t like to donate. Honestly, I didn’t have a lot because I do this rather frequently anyway. Then I organized what was left into categories (like all the sleeveless shirts together, button down shirts together, etc.) Again, this didn’t take long since it was pretty much already organized. I put clothes away in the right areas most of the time anyway so there were just a few things here and there to move around.

I took the bag of clothes I had to donate out of my closet and filled it with the few things I had found that I no longer wanted. Then I decided to go through the box. I tried everything on and sorted through it all. Anything that worked for me I sorted for laundering and the rest I put in bags to donate. I ended up with 3 bags total to donate.

Tuesday

I washed everything I was keeping from my friend and put it all away. I also went through my drawers and got rid of things I did not want or did not fit me anymore. I was hanging on to pants that were too big for I don’t know what reason. I now have room for the pants that actually do fit.  I also went through and threw out old underwear that had seen better days. I have tons of underwear so it made no sense to hold on to the old stuff still.

Closet After

Wednesday

I went through all my shoes. I had done this recently though so I only found one pair to get rid of. I did straighten them up a bit, too. My daughter is fond of taking them out to play with so a couple here and there were out of place. Next I actually started tackling the shelves in my closet. They had started collecting random items so I put things that didn’t really belong in the closet where they belonged and straightened up what was staying.

Thursday

Since I finished the closet and wardrobe project a day early, I went ahead and straightened up my coat closet. I collected all the empty stray hangers, went through the coats and formals I have stored in there and got rid of some things. Then I put all of the coats facing the same direction and put some of the lesser used coats to the side and put the more used coats in the center. Not a huge change but it looks a little nicer now and I got rid of a couple things I no longer wanted.

Coat Closet Before

Coat Closet After

Hopefully I’ve inspired you to do some closet and wardrobe organizing of your own or maybe you’ll want to join me for next week’s hot spot challenge! I’m looking forward to seeing the before and after pictures from those of you doing this with me!


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