Kids and Organization

Organization Monday

I’m going to start this off by saying my oldest, my youngest and my husband are the most disorganized people ever! Myself and Empathetic Engineer are the exact opposite, since he was 2 he’s been organizing his stuffed animals on his bed at night, he keeps a mental tab of every toy he owns. It actually stresses him out for things to be out of place. Which by the way, he inherited that from his mama!

So what are two OCD members of the family to do with those members who make disorganization look like an art?

I make it as simple as possible! I label EVERYTHING; yes I am one of those people. But guess what? Once your disorganized family members get in the habit of where everything goes you can remove the labels.

How do I do this you ask? Well let’s use the problem rooms as examples.


Kids Rooms

If you have kids like Empathetic Engineer who are naturally organized then let them decide where they want their toys and such. My kids have those little plastic drawer carts. 1 per child for toys and each drawer is for a certain type of toy.


Drawer 1: Cars

Drawer 2: Superhero Toys

Drawer 3: Misc. Oddball Toys.

Drawer 4: Superhero Costumes

Then they have a block box and a Lego bucket.

Each of these is labeled with what’s in the drawer and a picture that represents it. The picture helps children too young to read and those who are just learning. Now when you ask the kids to pick up their toys they can’t tell you they don’t know where they go! You explain to them a couple of times to help them understand the system and then they can follow the labels!



I can hear ya’ll groaning now. Ugh, the kitchen!! So many things to organize and clean and disinfect and reorganize!!

Now I’m not suggesting you all be like me and sort all of your cans into categories and face the labels the same way. Yes, I’m the weirdo that likes my cabinets to look like the grocery store. My peas and carrots and corn are all grouped with peas, carrots and corn and the labels all face forward. I hear ya’ll laughing now.  J

But however you organize your kitchen, the process is the same as the kids rooms.

Take mine as the example:

Spice Cabinet has a spice label.

The plates, cups and silverware all have labels on their prospective cabinets and drawers.


I do this in every room except my bedroom. Labels can be hidden inside doors and drawers if you don’t want them seen and have the neighbors call you the Label Nazi. J Even my living room entertainment center and bookshelf has labels. Especially helpful with homeschooling items. But we’ll go into that on another post!


Have fun organizing!!

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Life Happens



I want to apologize for being absent lately! Life happened, as it usually does, some things came up that made me put the blog on the back burner. But I’m back and going strong!!!

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Linen Closet Organization

 It’s Organization Monday again!! I don’t know about you but I have struggled for years for ways to keep my linen closet as neat and organized as I want it. There was always those horrible to fold fitted sheets, random sheets and pillowcases that do not belong to a matching set! It’s enough to drive anyone who has OCD crazy!!

So here are a few tips to keeping the linen closet organized!! What I wouldn’t have given for these tips YEARS ago!!

1. Want to keep out moths, mice, anything pest-like that loves linens? Put a Chai tea bag in there! You can get cheap Chai tea bags anywhere. I put 1 in each drawer or 1 on each shelf. (WARNING: If you have an allergy to cinnamon, or any other spice use Chai with caution as it has cinnamon and other spices in it.) Not only do pests not like the smell, most of us humans DO like the smell.

2. With matching sets of sheets, take 1 pillowcase, fold all the sheets and other pillowcases neatly and put inside the pillowcase. Now your entire set is in 1 place and you can grab and go. This is handy when having sleepovers for kids or guests overnight. Grab a full pillowcase, hand to your guest and they are ready to go! You can also do this with non-matching sets if you don’t mind your sheet not matching the pillowcase.

3. Fold sheets thinly, (usually in half, then fold the length in half again) and store between the mattress and box spring with pillowcases. This keeps them wrinkly free and easily accessed when changing the sheets!

Here’s how I use the system:

Obviously there is a set on the bed.

1 set under the mattress for when I change the sheets.

The rest go in the pillowcases, in the closet.

Then I rotate as I change the sheets and wash them!


Hope this helps tame the Linen Closet Beast! Anyone else have any ideas or tips?

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Homeschool Thursdays!


I thought long and hard about how I wanted to start my Home school Thursdays. Before I go into how I write my lesson plans and what curriculum we use I decided I should tell you why we chose to home school.

We tried the public school route with our oldest. Kindergarten went well, Drama Queen did well that year, we all adored her teacher. The only complaint we had was “Creative Spelling”.

Oh, creative spelling. For those of us who pride ourselves on spelling that is like speaking blasphemy. But in public school the teacher doesn’t set the curriculum and I could supplement spelling at home.

But all in all, given how well we loved her teacher and how much she adored her teacher I could deal with the spelling.

Oh but then came 1st grade, I don’t like to talk bad about people but her 1st grade teacher was the most judgmental, discriminating teacher I’ve ever met. Remember reading books and watching TV shows as a kid about the evil teacher that everyone despised? This was her first grade teacher.

At the end of kindergarten she was a grade ahead, her kinder teacher and the school all told us that she was performing on a 2nd grade level, including in math. (Trust me that’s the one subject she did NOT inherit from me.)

But halfway through 1st grade her teacher was threatening to hold her back. She was bored, repeating a lot of the work she had already done. She was falling behind and in Parent-Teacher Conferences the teacher would argue with us about how it was in no way the curriculum or the school or (god forbid) her fault. It didn’t matter if she was bored and should have been placed in a little more advanced class or even passed on to the 2nd grade. I needed to discipline my child more.

Better even still was the fact that all the parents talked about how she bashed parents who allow their children to play any sort of video games, watch any TV or movies, she openly and very strongly forced her religious views in class. All of these things she said to the kids and even to the parents.

What? Parenting tips from a teacher whom was despised by all parents and children? Preaching from a teacher? She gossiped with parents about other parents and children. Many parents complained that she talked badly about interracial families, families with step parents and step children, families who did not “attend” church.

So at the end of the first six weeks we started discussing our options. Private school is too expensive and although I believe in discipline and that all children should be respectful, kind and obey authority I also believe in self-expression and thinking for yourself. Private school tends to restrict this, with uniforms and a very one sided way of thinking. We talked about just switching public schools, but I do not like public schools. The violence, the curriculum, and the system all together I find a little disappointing. We talked about home school, the pros and the cons. We took all of the issues to the principle but nothing was ever done.

Just before Christmas of her 1st grade year she came home hurt (and I’m not just talking bruised knees) on two separate occasions.

On both occasions my daughter explained to me exactly what happened and where. Both times she was under the watch of her teacher.

On both occasions the teacher told her she would be fine until she got home.

On both I received phone calls from the school accusing us of sending her to school hurt.

After a lot of arguing with the teacher, with the principle and finally the school board we got an apology from everyone except the teacher. Which was really the person who should have apologized. To this day she is still the 1st grade teacher, despite all of the parents who have complained.

So before school started in January of that year we gave the school board our official notice that we were pulling her out to home school our children. I spent the rest of the year catching her up and “unschooling” her from the lack of curriculum that her teacher was using. She was still doing kindergarten math!

So you see, while I do not judge and I admire parents for homeschooling their children based on religious beliefs (whatever those beliefs may be) or because they believe it is not the schools responsibility to raise their children (I think this is a great reason also).

Though our choices did slightly involve those reasons we simply made the choice to do what was best for our children.

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Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Baked Oatmeal

This recipe was a life saver! One of the hardest parts of my new healthier lifestyle is giving up chocolate. My husband says chocolate deprivation turns me into a monster. Not only did this recipe save his sanity it has been a lifesaver with the kiddos. I like breakfast to be easy and while I love cereal 20 minutes later the kiddos are like raging lions asking for snacks. This recipe is not only delicious and healthy it is filling!! With the ingredients going into it how could it not be??
I found this recipe here –> Chocolate Covered Katie. This blog is amazing for anyone on a vegan or gluten free diet, or even anyone who is just trying to get healthier but can’t give up dessert! It gives meaning to the phrase “Have your cake and eat it too.”

The only problem I saw with any of the recipes (and trust me it is a VERY TINY problem that a little math can solve) is that most of the recipes are in single serving format.

So I took the above recipe multiplied it by 6 and filled a 8×8 pan. I honestly probably could have filled a bigger pan with it. The good thing about recipes is you can tweak and adjust as you need as long as you keep the ingredients in proportion with each other.

I cut it into servings, wrapped them and froze them. Now all I have to do is pop it in the microwave for a bit and the kids have breakfast and I have dessert!!


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Lessons From Unexpected Places


I simply adore the movie “How To Train Your Dragon”. It appeals to that part of me that loves fantasy, other cultures and of course cute children’s movies.

As I sit here watching it with the kids for the 100th time I realized that there is a lesson us adults can learn here. We all know most children’s movies have a moral. Friendship, Family, Courage, etc. But I feel like this one really speaks to some of the things going on today.

If you haven’t seen the movie I won’t spoil it for you. But go watch it! Really pay attention!

It’s set in a Viking Village where the meaning and goal of the lives is to fight and kill dragons and the dragons are always trying to kill them. Of course being the biggest, meanest warrior is what everyone aspires to be., but the leader of the village has a son and is son is small and awkward. Not viking like at all. When he attempts to kill a dragon to prove himself he ends up becoming friends with it and training it.

This story teaches that with a little patience, understanding and compassion we can understand each other. That sometimes conflict between religions, groups of people and even neighbors are just that we don’t understand each other.

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If you check out my sidebar you can see my Zombie Survival Rating!!!

I know what you’re thinking. Why is she promoting a dating site? (If you click the photo the quiz is on a dating site)
But let me explain, I am absolutely NOT promoting a dating site! What am I promoting? Preparedness.

I divulged that I am terrified of Zombies and that I believe in preparedness. The quiz that links to this photo is actually handy, it makes you think and it’s fun!! Gives me a little piece of mine, I’d like my percentage to be higher BUT that’s better than most! Preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse is basically the same as preparing for any other major, world changing disaster so the questions are relevant either way.
It will ask you at the end of all the questions if you want to join. Just hit the link at the bottom that says you DON”T want to join, take me to my results and it will show you your survival rating!!

Have fun!! Let me know if you take the quiz what your percentages are!

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Have a Holly Jolly Christmas…..


I know, I know. The last thing you all want to be hearing is about Christmas but I promise there is a reason I am bringing this up now.

In the past few years my family has gotten comfortable being able to spend money at the Holidays that we were never able to before but I was thinking earlier as I was budgeting money and such about the fact that we are now in August. Gosh, where has the year gone? I still haven’t recovered from LAST Christmas!!

My family celebrates Christmas and Yule/Winter Solstice and this year money will be tighter than last year, it will be more like early Christmases for our family. So I need to start planning now, especially with the plan that I have.

We’re going to have a HOMEMADE COUNTRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Now I’m not saying every gift will be homemade for my kids but how many of you get tired of spending WAY too much money, fighting MOBS of people for an item the kids will soon forget about or will be broken within weeks? I know I get tired of this! So here is my plan:

  • Daddy and Mama will buy each other 1 significant gift or pool the budgeted amount for 1 large item we both want.
  • I will budget out an amount for each child and we will buy them a couple of gifts that they REALLY want.
  • The rest will be homemade.
  • Of course Santa will still be bringing what he thinks each child deserves.
  • We will exchange 1 homemade gift for Yule.
  • Of course I won’t break our tradition of brand new pajamas on Christmas Eve.

The homemade part is also why I need to start now. This will take time to make gifts for each child, my friends and the hubby. I love making things! Even as a child I remember making everyone gifts for Christmas, it’s just a habit I have gotten out of as I got older. I REALLY want to get back to that.

You know what my favorite episode of Little House on the Prairie was? The one where Mr. Edwards treks across snow, ice, water to bring gifts to the Ingalls children. I remember watching this as a child, just in awe at the kindness of this man even though they were not expensive gifts he gave his all to help Ma and Pa Ingalls make Christmas special for their children.

So bear with me as I post my way through my homemade Christmas gifts. Maybe I can provide some humor and learning experiences for us all as we go into the beginning of the Holidays.

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Braveheart and the Mutiny


Would it be wrong to drink a glass of wine, a beer or a Jack and Coke at 6:54 AM? Would that make me a lush? Hmm… Does it still count if you haven’t been to sleep yet? I mean, technically that means it’s still part of the last 24 hours right?

Before you think I’m an alcoholic I’m drinking coffee. Regular, old coffee, cream and sugar. (Not Irish Coffee I promise)

I think Braveheart is out to see if his mutiny will succeed if he can outlast me on sleep. Being the insomniac that I am I can NEVER go to sleep before 2 am. Since the hubby has went back to work Braveheart has decided that he will wake up and fight Joker and the bad guys at 2am EVERY morning, refusing to let me sleep. Then he falls back to sleep at about 4:30a when Daddy’s alarm is going off. Now Daddy is very good about letting Mama sleep, he doesn’t expect me to make him breakfast or coffee. (If anyone knows how horrible of a morning person I am, it’s him) but by the time his alarm is going off, I’ve yet to even go to sleep. So I haul my butt to the kitchen to eat breakfast with him and see him off to work.

You would think after working for the past 3 years, work starting anywhere from 4a-9a, I’d be a morning person. But it is IMPOSSIBLE! I am just one of those people that my brain does not function before 9am and don’t even think about having a conversation with me before 10am, unless you’re okay with my answer being, “Mmhmm, yeah, alright, whatever.” I am also one of those people who after waking up, no matter the time, I HAVE to have at least 15 minutes to fully wake up. Within that 15 minutes I don’t like loud noises or important conversations. I have to have time to adjust to the morning people who are chattering away. I thrive at night, My brain is at it’s best from 2p-2a. A good example would be this:

Remember that show Animaniacs? Now do you remember Pinky and the Brain?

Between the hours of 2p-2a I am Brain. I could conquer the world and be Wonder Woman..well, err, Catwoman 😉

Between the reverse hours of  4a-10a I am Pinky. My brain is just mush.

The older kids understand this, they typically give me time to adjust from Vampire Master of the Night to Mama tolerating that the world operates during the day. Of course this may be that they learned this lesson the hard way. Or as Empathetic Engineer described in his very matter of fact child way, “Mama turns into that woman with snake hair and might turn us to stone.”  🙂 Gotta love kids right?

Braveheart on the other hand is the loudest child I have ever met. He inherited this from his father, the difference being age. That and the fact that Daddy doesn’t want Mama turning into Medusa either.

Not Braveheart, he doesn’t walk, he STOMPS. He doesn’t talk, he YELLS. He doesn’t shut doors, she SLAMS them. You get the picture.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. (Too much anyways) I ADORE his personality. He has no fear, he takes the bull by the horns and wrangles it to the ground barehanded. I love this about him, no one will ever be able to stop him from achieving his goals in life.

But at the moment his goal is for Daddy to go back to being the stay at home parent and he is determined to break me.

Little does he know Mama has the willpower of a boulder. I don’t budge and I am an expert at taming wild animals.  😉

Now I’m off to drink my coffee, pretending there is a little whiskey in there, imagining that I got some sleep and tame that wild beast that I love so dearly.  🙂

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Mango Pork Chops


I was trying to find something yummy to fix with pork chops and I had some mango to use up so here is what I cooked up tonight!! The kiddos and even the picky hubby loved it!!! I cook without measuring things to the exact amount so I’m estimating what I used. Adjust accordingly.

Mango Porkchops

  1. 4 Boneless Porkchops
  2. Jasmine Rice (But any rice will do)
  3. 2 cups diced Mango, peeled and cored
  4. 1 oz Gold Tequila (I’m sure clear would work also)
  5. 1 oz Lime Juice
  6. 4 tsp Minced Garlic (I use the kind in the jar with the juices still intact, not the dehydrated kind)
  7. 3-4 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  8. 2-3 Tbsp Cinnamon
  9. Salt
  10. Pepper
  • Season with salt, pepper and 1 tsp Minced Garlic on each porkchop. I do this after chops are in skillet.
  • Fry porkchops.
  • Start rice in separate pot, with unsalted real butter and salt lightly.
  • Add all other ingredients to skillet with porkchops.
  • Simmer until Mangoes are tender, brown sugar forms a nice sauce and chops are done.
  • Cut up the porckchops.
  • Put porkchops and mangoes on top of rice.
  • Drizzle with the mango sauce.

Enjoy with a Michelob Ultra with Lime!!

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