Friday, January 23, 2015

Week 3 - Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers

Cleaning kitchen cabinets and drawers
This week's cleaning and decluttering challenge was to work on our kitchen cabinets and drawers. I though it would be easy since Kurt and I just organized our cabinets last month... but them Michele mentioned the Junk Drawer. 

Technically, our junk drawer is in the dining room. . . but I knew it needed cleaned out. So I thought about it, and even took a picture of the mess, then I procrastinated. The odds and ends ended up here because when we purchased out home, there was only one drawer in the kitchen... and it was broken.  In all reality, this is probably the best the drawer has looked in the 11+ years we've lived here, still it needed work!

Hidden Junk Drawer

Our junk drawer tends to be the place to hide things we don't really want to take time to put away. . . especially those things that belong in the basement! While it's ok to keep a couple screwdrivers or pliers handy, we don't need all of our hand tools hanging out in the dining room.

I think it's called the junk drawer because no one used to use the word stuff. They called items by their real names. . . now we call it stuff. So in reality, it should be called our stuff drawer, because it is where we stuff our stuff instead of dealing with it. So let's deal with it already.

Ready, set, go!

All of this was in the drawer. I don't think I need SIX screwdrivers and TWO measuring tapes, or the ponytail holders the girls haven't worn in a decade in my Odds and Ends Drawer.

I put away the extra tools and caulk in the basement, threw away trash, cleaned out the drawer itself. Oh - what's this?! On the bottom of the drawer is the historical information about my china cabinet. It was purchased by my Great-Great Grandfather in 1891. Cool!

Now it's all clean and still has space for an extra set of house keys. Thanks for the encouragement to clean out my no more junk drawer Michele!

No more junk drawer

Much better don't you think? Did you get into the nitty gritty of cleaning this week? How are you cabinets and drawers doing? Hope you're joining in on this cleaning and de-cluttering adventure! Earlier this week the girls and I dropped donations off at the local Christian Center from the items we weeded out the end of December. I'm sure we will need to make another trip soon, since we're only on week 3 of this cleaning adventure!

In answer to your question - no - I didn't clean out the rest of the china cabinet this week. Remember - it's not in the kitchen?! This week was the Kitchen cabinets. I'm hoping Michele has the dining room scheduled for later this year. :)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - 1/22/15 - Sunshine, and the Library

This week the sun has come out - a lot!  It's not that we live in a place that is always cloudy, but rather the simple truth that when it's been cold and dreary, the sunshine helps my mental state tremendously! I am thankful for the sunshine. I am thankful that the snow and ice are melting off and that it is warm enough to go outside without bundling up like you live in Siberia! This week it hit 50 degrees. Considering the low last week was -4, that's a huge thing to be thankful for!


The weather can make us thankful, but so can other things. Like our library. We used to go to the library every single week, but now that the girls are older and their schoolwork takes more of the day, we don't go as often. I'm thankful for all the things our library offers, and I'm thankful we can put books on hold for pickup on the weeks when we're too busy to go browse. During this week's visit I spoke with two other home educating Moms who were at the library. Both conversations gave me reasons to be thankful, and added to my prayer list. In case you're wondering, neither conversation was about home schooling. :)

We live in a world with libraries and sunshine. In the midst of a trying week, God used both things to remind me how much He loves and cares for me. Have a wonderful week!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Week 2 - The Pantry

Pantry organization
Where do you store your extra food? Do you have a shelf, a cabinet, a pantry? We are blessed to have 2 small pantries. One is a cabinet under the back stairs (which is cold all winter long,) and the other is  a narrow upright cabinet style one we purchased at Lowe's a few years ago when we had our kitchen updated. We also have a few kitchen cabinets. Whatever your storage methods, this week's cleaning challenge was to organize your pantry.

I was actually happy to see that this was the challenge for week 2 because Kurt and I had spent an afternoon near the end of December organizing our cabinets. I opened the door to the back pantry and most of it was still fairly organized, but a few things had been placed in the front in a hurry (probably because it's so cold back there.) Just a minute or two and it was neat again. We only keep cans and jars out here, because, well, in a 100+ year old house, I don't want to attract any critters to my food.  I will just say this once - I HATE mice!

pantry organization, Home Sweet Life blogThe one problem we've always had with this back cabinet is how dark it always was. While we've discussed options for lighting over the years, we never got around to it -- you know, old house - other repairs always came first. Then in December of 2013 Kurt's parents gifted us with these awesome anywhere lights. I promptly came home and installed one in the pantry. It has made it SO much easier to find things this past year!

The inside pantry was still ok, but I rearranged a few things because I knew I was planning to go shopping soon and wanted the most room available to put groceries away. This inside cabinet is for all the things we use regularly that don't belong somewhere else in the kitchen. It's a little, tiny kitchen, so we have to keep it organized to find anything. Every shelf in this pantry was assigned a purpose when we bought it. One shelf is for lunch boxes, one for bread, tea, and extra flour or sugar, one shelf for cereal keepers, one shelf for baking tools (cooling racks, pie pans, muffin tins,) and the main shelf for food. This main shelf is the one that needs attention the most often. Peanut butter and olive oil get stored here, along with anything I don't want to freeze in the back pantry. This storage area is easy to clean, and one giant box in shape, so there's no entry way for critters.  One of my favorite new things is kept here - popcorn oil. It turns a good bowl of popcorn into an excellent one!

pantry, Home Sweet Life Blog, 34 Weeks of cleaning

So how did you do on organizing your pantry this week? Hopefully getting it organized has given you some meal ideas. Did you find something you forgot you had? Fit it into your menu plan for next week. 

I wonder what week three's challenge will be?! 

Keep checking in with us each week. We plan to keep going - hopefully for all 34 weeks!

If you'd like to know how other bloggers did on organizing their pantries, click on over to Michele's blog and see all the link-ups. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - 1/15/15 - It's the little things...

Thankful Thursdays, thankfulness
How often do you feel thankful? 

Could our busy lives and hard hearts be the reason why we're not thankful more often? Perhaps in this world of microwave popcorn and drive-thru restaurants we have forgotten how to slow down, how to be still, how to be thankful. Last night at church we were reminded that the gifts God has given us are for the building up of the Body of Christ. When was the last time you focused on building up someone other than yourself? I believe the two are often intertwined. If we stop and take time to think about the many, many little things we have to be thankful for, will that not spill over into us encouraging others? Would you like to be an encourager? I would.

What were the little things that God did for you this week that encouraged you? Are any of them things you have shared with your friends to encourage them? Have you rejoiced this week? Why not sit down right now and write out five things that encouraged you this week. Five things to be thankful for.

I'll go first:
1- the beauty of yesterday morning's frost - swirls and swooshes all over my vehicle
2- our girls made bread - warm, yummy, slather it with butter bread
3- Kurt told me he loves me... twenty years into marriage, it's still great to hear it often!
4- the house is warm
5- God is still on His throne, and He loves me! Through Christ's amazing sacrifice I have been forgiven and accepted.

These are all things I can talk about. These could each be an encouragement to someone else if I just take the time to tell about them, if I just take the time to slow down and recognize that there are people around me who could use some encouragement.

My friend Joy sent me a small package this week. It was a scarf. It isn't something that was a life-or-death need, yet it encouraged me. It reminded me that she thinks about others and wants to build them up. 

Won't you join me this week in being thankful for the little things and using them to build someone else up? God wants to use us - let Him!