Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall Festival 2012

I'm interrupting my little series to put up some pictures from our Fall Festival.  
Jeff's mom made the cool crocodile costume for Sean.  He was thrilled!  Luke was a dragon-saurus and Eli was a monster. 

And these... these are futile attempts to get them all together.

There were a lot of fun activities.  The boys enjoyed cotton candy.  I may have had some, too.  :)  Eli peeped under the fishing game and chewed on prizes at the duck game.

And now, I am super-duper looking forward to heading into November and celebrating Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day #1 Getting Your House Ready for the Market:Organizing the Projects

For Day 1 of this little series I'll be talking about how I keep the projects organized.  Now this little system just came about from necessity rather than awesome pre-planning.  I had a piece of paper I had started using to write information on and it morphed from that into my folder.

You could totally get a binder, use dividers, zipper pouches and printables to track each thing.  I did not have the time or inclination to devote myself to that.  
But it would be pretty cool.
I just used a sheet of paper for each project (plumbing, electrical, windows).  I put a sticky note at the top to act as a divider.  On each page I keep contact info, quotes, appointment times and other notes. I also keep all receipts here.  It has been nice for quick returns/exchanges.
I had these cute printables from my home management binder so I transferred over our to-do's, organized by room.

When it comes to making the calls and follow-up, it is handy to have all of the information at your fingertips.  I wait until the kids are napping or quiet and make the calls.  I log who I spoke with, the date and other information on each sheet.

I keep the folder in the dining room for easy access to check things off (woo hoo!) and see what's next. 

It's a simple system, but it came together quickly and meets our needs.  This could work for home repairs & projects, in general, not just getting it ready to sell.  
Here is the link to the To-Do printables (and other freebies, too!)

This post will be over at Pampered Daughter, Thrifty Wife.  Thanks, Sarah!

Friday, October 26, 2012

10 Days of Putting your House on the Market

We have been plugging away at some little projects around here in preparation for putting the house on the market.  I thought it would be fun (and motivating!) to do a little series on how we are getting ready.  I am not promising 10 consecutive days of posts, but since we are actually getting it on the market within 10 days, I better be close!

Even if you are not trying to sell your home, these tips will be good to help you enjoy it more now.  Like on HGTV when they fix up houses to sell and then the owners decide they love it and want to stay...?  I've had a couple of those moments already!

Day #1 will be about getting yourself organized to keep up with all the projects.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall Fun

We got 2 free tickets to a Corn Maze in Asheville.  It is put on by Eliada Home for Children.  We were thankful for the free tickets, so we only had to buy one more. 

Here are my cuties while we waited for them to open. 

We were looking forward to the corn pit.  Luke would jump in a yell, "Cannon ball!"  It was a lot of fun even though the boys brought home shoes full of kernels!

We opted for the .3 mile maze because we were not sure how all 3 would do in the other two that were over a mile each.  Good choice, because while it was fun, we were ready to move on to other things.

We enjoyed a hay ride, slide, spider web, hay bale maze, corn launching, bouncing, some nachos and just general running around the spacious grounds.

 Now that Eli is getting around, it was really fun to see him play and enjoy the experience.  All the bouncy animals were knocked over and he picked each one up. He also hugged the pumpkin and tried to eat it.

Afterwards, we went downtown to eat at Mellow Mushroom.  We walked around and stopped in at the General Store to let the kids pick out a piece of candy.
All three kids passed out in the car on the way home. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Organizing Paper Clutter

I have been cleaning out.  Story of my life. :)  One area that I easily overlook is paper.  I have been amassing piles of recipes and clippings.  Since I have been in one of those I-don't-know-what-to-cook funks, I thought cleaning out my recipes would be good inspiration.  As I was doing it, I realized a cute little method I typically use when organizing anything:
Pull Out
Put Away
It works for just about anything- clothes, toys, books...
Here it is working for my recipes:
I like making collages, but I need to figure out how to flip-flop it.
It would have made more sense in this case. :)
This (and an Energy Chew!) got me motivated to tackle another hot spot: my desk.

I used some file folders I had to organize the papers into categories.  Then I made better use of my wooden desktop organizer ($2 at a yard sale!).  I had been stuffing papers into the red, open notebook.  I pulled out a smaller calendar and put away the cleaned-out notebook.  I grouped all my Shaklee paperwork together.  I even put some pictures in the organizer. 
I did the recipes while Eli was taking his morning nap.  The desk qualifies for a quick clean-up, though, because once I got on it, it was fast work. 
Except the papers are still all over the floor.  

Linking up at A Bowl Full of Lemons!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall 2012 Family Pictures & Some Tips

We had a sweet friend do our family pictures.  It was such a crazy day.  Jeff walked in the door from work and we were scrambling to get everyone ready and figure out what he should wear.  Because I am a great planner like that.  
But ahhhh... we made it.

My lively boys were at their energetic best (you get what I'm saying??).
Julie works magic with that camera of hers!


She did pictures last year of the boys when Eli was only a couple months old.  Look how they've all grown!

Helpful tips:
  • We used clothes we had and bought Sean and Luke t-shirts from Wal-Mart in fall colors (less than $5 each).
  • We used a friend who is an aspiring (and very good!) photographer.  I'm all for professional photo shoots, but that is not Pate budget-friendly right now.  Barter or take advantage of their sweet deals.
  • Feed the kids first!  And yourself if you're prone to grumpies, too.
  • To help with littles who run, sit them down last, hold them gently in a pose and back away quickly as the photographer clicks away.
  • Try, try, try to enjoy the experience and not get too caught up in t picture-perfect shots.  It took me a few years, but I'm better now!
The spot we went to was so beautiful.  And they let people come in to visit and explore.  We are already planning a picnic ASAP.  I thank God for my spunky, happy boys and my perfect-for-me husband!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Quick Clean up

When the house it kind of out of control, my favorite method to get it back is a quick clean up.  I take a trouble spot and hit it hard for 10-20 minutes.  Here is the office/guest room:

Notice the little people.
 This can be done with kids around!

I got a little out of hand piling things up everywhere!

Boxes and papers and other stuff were put away to their homes or
 holding areas (to-be-filed).  

So much better.  :)  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Some schooling

 I haven't been taking a lot of pictures of work and projects.  Here is a day I had the camera handy, though.  We were learning about nomads and the first villages.

Sean coloring a map and Luke "reading" something (in a cape, of course).
 They did "cave drawings."  Sean drew 2 deer and a corn stalk.

Sean  wanted to make a village out of blocks. Luke was kind enough to not knock them down.  At least not right away.

And what do you do with all those Shaklee boxes?
Make a town!  Sean wrote on each box what he wanted it to be (strr, mol, chrch, wtr prk).  We need to work on vowels. :)

And the creatures created from Zoobs are super-carnivores attacking the town.
Thank you, dinosaur documentaries.

Can't forget this cuddle-bug.  With the remote...it starts early with boys, doesn't it??

Sean has been keeping up with Explode the Code and Miquon math.  Our days have been a little crazy lately, so not a lot of planned out schooling going on.  But I am thankful for grace and that my boys soak up learning in everyday stuff, too!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Coffee Chugging at my Shaklee Grand Opening

 So, I didn't actually get pictures of the coffee chugging (or apple eating contest).  But, seriously, you just can't make this stuff up.  This goes on the list- reason #121 why I love college students.

But first, the preparation for the Grand Opening.  Here is my super-wonderful husband making his famously delicious coffee. Yes, I am an adjective abuser.

Here is our snack set-up.

First sign that something is amiss with this Grand Opening guest list.

Onto the fun part- setting up all the products!
The Get Clean line.  I feel like a dork, but I love this stuff so much!  (Not as much as my husband or children, per say, but still... a lot!)

All the other health lines share a table.

Here are all the cool kids.  Seriously, we are so blessed to have these (and others not in attendance!) in our lives.

I made these extra large because there are some people making faces.  They may or may not be the ones who need Coffee Chugging intervention.

Can you tell I'm proud of my Shaklee products?  And of our other "kids?"  :)
It is a good life indeed.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Satisfying that taco craving!

I used to loooove going to Taco Bell.  And recently I find myself with a taco craving!  When Jeff goes out of town I usually pick up lunch or dinner somewhere to eat at home.  A treat for us all, plus one less meal for me cook and clean up after when I am flying solo.  But there are not a lot of options anymore that I feel good about feeding us.  So, off to Wal-Mart (we ran out of bananas again) to get a few things, I decided we would make tacos at home.  And just the idea of "Taco Night" is so fun.  Except we had them for lunch.  Though we do eat meat now, it is sparingly.  These tacos are my vegetarian version of convenience food.
I got a pack of Boca burgers.  They do have crumbles and while I like the taste fine, they are a bit too crumbly for some recipes.  I cooked the burgers and then broke the patties apart.  I added some water and homemade taco seasoning and let it simmer.  Side note: I love the homemade seasoning because, not only is it better for you, you can adjust the ingredients.  I always thought the store-bought ones were too salty.

I like to chop everything on the cutting board and use it for serving, as well.  Less dishes!  
You see Eli peeping over the gate?  :)  He kept throwing junk over.

Sean was so excited!  "We're making our own tacos??"

I kept telling them to wait for me to sit down before they started eating.  Sean volunteered to pray... I hate to question his devotion, but I'm pretty sure it was intended to hurry things up.  

No tacos for this cutie.
He had leftover sweet potato, non-seasoned Boca,
and re-fried beans on pita.
 He is such a piggy these days!

Here is Sean returning from making his 4th taco.  And, yes, those are his pajamas.  As of this writing it's an overcast Saturday and I am totally letting them watch as much t.v. as they want for a few hours.  

Leftovers went into one dish.  I do this a lot, especially when they'll be eaten soon.  Like at the next meal.  My kids and I eat a lot of repeat meals. 

So, this is not necessarily a completely cooked from scratch meal, but you do what you can!
And I am happy to have some tacos in my belly!