Friday, March 9, 2012

Project Simplify Week One

Tsh at Simple Mom is spring cleaning and I'm joining in for the next few weeks. Week 1 of Project: Simplify includes decluttering, cleaning and organizing the kids' stuff.

Organizing is hard for me. I love to BE organized but I find it hard to tackle problem areas and purge. Today I went for it and attacked the basement kid/toy stuff and got a lot done. I didn't get everything done but I did enough to be really proud of myself. 

We have a nice, big finished basement, so there is a lot of room for the toys to spread out down there and take over. I worked mostly in the bonus room where we store the majority of the kids toys. I let it get pretty cluttered in the last 6 months so it was a mess. 

I usually have trouble letting go of toys as I have such a wide range of kid ages: my boys are 10, 7 & 3. I've been keeping a lot of things for my youngest to enjoy...someday.  Well today I got rid of a bunch of stuff. Thankfully I've got a charity pickup scheduled later this month to benefit from all the spring cleaning I'm doing.

Main Area
These are the before shots of the biggest room in the basement. Train tracks are everywhere thanks to Luke with Legos all around to complement.

After photos- I made the boys help clean up the train tracks and legos. Of course they quickly found some other toys that I had organized and dragged those out to play with.

3 Walls of the Bonus Room
Before- The three bins on the floor were full of mismatched toys, small pieces and Legos. It took a LONG time to go through them.

Before- the boys pushed the toys all together against the wall to have room for two square.

After- I purged a lot stuff in this area.

Before- not too bad here
After- It's not readily apparent in the photo but the colored bins are now decluttered and organized. I spent a lot of time separating and matching little pieces.

Week one is done! Whew, I'm tired from all I did today but also happy to be more organized!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

DIY Laundry Detergent

I started making my own liquid laundry detergent years ago but eventually stopped because I didn't like "cooking" it or having an open bucket of detergent in my laundry room. Here's an easy, frugal, "no-cooking" recipe for making your own powdered laundry detergent that I like better.

1 bar of Fels-Naptha laundry soap, grated
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax

I grated the bar of soap first, let it sit overnight to dry out then placed it in my food processor to chop it up. (I prefer it to be as chunk-free as possible.) Next I added the washing soda & borax to the processor and pulsed a few times. Then I poured it the detergent into a pretty glass jar I picked up at Goodwill. To use: add 1-2 Tablespoons to your laundry depending on size & dirtiness of your load.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Honey Muffins

We love muffins around here and I'm always trying something new to keep my hungry kids satisfied. These muffins turned out light, tasty and sweet enough to keep my boys happy (they've got my sweet "fang").  The healthy ingredients are keeping me happy too. We had some Marscapone cheese in the fridge and it was perfect spread on top of one of these yummy muffins.

Honey Muffins
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon sea salt
teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup honey

1 1/2 cups applesauce
4 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease your muffin pan.
Mix the dry ingredients together first. Make a well in the center and add the honey, applesauce, eggs and coconut oil. Mix it all together and spoon it into your muffin pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Makes 30 muffins and they easily freeze for future snack times.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Menu Plan 3/5- 3/12

I'm posting my weekly menu plan here to help keep me on track and accountable and I'm linking to Menu Plan Monday at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Dinner Menu Plan 3/5- 3/12
Monday: Orange Chicken, brown rice, stir fry veggies
Tuesday: Grilled Salmon, quinoa, steamed broccoli
Wednesday: Pasta, salad
Thursday: Tacos
Friday: Baked Fusilli
Saturday: Artisan Pizza
Sunday: Ravioli

Snacks: Sweet Potato Fries, Honey Muffins

Any recipe suggestions?

Grilled Maple Salmon

Salmon is a favorite in our house and we often have it once a week. I prepare it a few different ways and was excited to find this recipe in The Best of Clean Eating. It's so easy & simple!

Grilled Salmon
4 wild caught salmon fillets or steaks (about 4oz each)
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 Tablespoon soy sauce (I prefer low sodium)

Place the salmon fillets in a glass dish. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce and the maple syrup and brush it on both sides of the salmon. Let it marinate for 15 minutes. Preheat the grill to medium high and place the salmon directly on grate for 3-4 minutes. Flip over and grill for 2-3 more minutes or until the salmon is no longer shiny or translucent in the middle. The flesh should be firm and a little flaky.

Nutrition per fillet- calories: 176 , total fat: 7g, sat. fat: 1g, carbs: 4g, fiber: 0g, sugars: 3g, protein: 23g, cholesterol: 62g

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Weekly Goals 3/5-3/12

Goal Setting

I did pretty well keeping up wtih my goals last week. I felt quite motivated since I made them public.

Here's how I did:
Family/Mothering Goals
1. Help kids finish homework by 5pm on week nights  Ongoing
2. Finish reading Manager of Their Chores & make master chore list. I made progress but still haven't finished the book so I'll keep this goal.

3. Review seed catalogs, order garden seeds & write a blog post about it. I picked out most of my seeds but still need to finalize what herbs I want & place the order so I'll modify this goal and keep it.
4. Go to gym 2-3 times I went twice!
5. Read The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey  Good book!
6. Volunteer at the food pantry 1 morning & drop off food donation

Home Management
7. Fill box for goodwill. I didn't get to this yet but plan to this week as I work on Project Simplify 2012.
8. Follow 15 minute daily cleaning schedule Ongoing
9. Finalize Azure Standard order by Tuesday at 4pm
10. Make laundry detergent & write a blog post about it Look for this on Wednesday!

Here are this week's goals:
Family/Mothering Goals
1. Help kids finish homework by 5pm on week nights
2. Finish reading Manager of Their Chores & start using chore packs

3. Plan out herbal garden and order garden seeds
4. Go to gym 3 times, including 1 Yoga class & 1 Cardio class 
5. Read Chasing Mona Lisa  by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey
6. Go to bed by 10:30 p.m. every night.

Home Management
7. Work on Project Simplify 2012- for week one I'm decluttering the kids toys in the basement.
8. Follow 15 minute daily cleaning schedule

9. Make homemade sweet potato fries

10. Plan for MOPS discussion group meeting

How did you do on last week’s goals? What are your goals for this week? Feel free to share in the comments.


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