Monday, September 17, 2012

Sept. 17, 2012

well I am 10 days away from the end of my "40 bags in 40 days" clean up! I was way ahead, but now I'm falling behind! But, I'm not worried! I have not been counting any of the stuff I have put aside for the annual homeschool swap, because it is not out of my home yet! But I know it will be gone soon (just not before the 40 days are up!) So it is day 30 and I have removed 22 bags of stuff! YAY!! I am able to notice a bit of difference. I have some room to organize some things. It is so nice when I need __, I can say "that is in this spot." It is incentive to continue and do it throughout the house with everything! Definitely has made it easier to part with other things, too. I just say "I'm getting rid of ___ which I have stored for many years, there is no purpose for it, and with it gone I will be able to use that spot for things I do use and want to be able to find." I'm getting there.....slowly!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I think I can, I think I can.....

well, I am making SOME progress. Not as much as I would like, of course, but I'm getting there. I hear that clock ticking LOUDLY that I only have about 8 weeks left before my focus shifts completely! The little ones are begging to do school, but I just don't have the time, energy, or space to start on that yet! I really wanted to teach Z to read this summer, but time got away from me. I've decided all this extra stuff in my house is sucking my time and life away from me and my kids, and it's all got to go! I've sold a few books and a couple of other items. Hopefully I can sell some more, at least enough to purchase a new laptop to replace the two year old one that just died on us. I don't "need" a laptop, but I prefer having the kids use that for their homework. so I guess we are going to try having a garage sale next weekend. I've never had much luck with those, barely making back what I spent on the ad (which used to be $5-$10, but are now a whopping $22 bucks) I hate spending that much money only to make a few dollars and all that work setting the stuff up, then having to repack it when we are done. Plus there is all that time you spend sitting out there watching your stuff, waiting for customers. Hmm, maybe I'll set up a little table with my sewing machine and sew some baby diapers while I'm out there! Sounds good to me! So as far as the two challenges go, the simplify for fall, and the 40 bags/40 days: well, the first three days were good. the first I got rid of 2 bags, the second was clothes and laundry - I did get all the laundry washed, but I just couldn't get into going through the clothes, so I worked on the livingroom instead and got rid of 2 more bags from that room. the third day was kitchen and menu day - I cleaned out 2 upper cabinets and condensed all the "two or three of the same kind of opened spice jars" and ended up with a whole shelf and a half completely empty!! All of that junk filled up a bag! the fourth day was my regular "errand" day, so I didn't get much done for the challenges. I woke up and went to check my emails and the internet box wasn't lit up. luckily they have a store in town and I took it in saying I needed a new one. they decided to check first to see if it was the electrical cable that was bad, and it was! GOOD DEAL! the box would have cost $100, but the cord was only $10! So I went on with my grocery shopping and regular Wednesday stuff. Afterwards we put together 2 cubbie shelf units to put our books on in the livingroom. I cleaned in there as much as I could but it was already 9pm by the time we finished putting the shelves together (they didn't take long, we just started late!) so I only ended up with getting rid of half a bag of stuff. Today I had an appointment out of town in the morning. We made it back home by early afternoon, but the 3 hour round trip wore me out! So, I took a nap! Then we worked on some of the routine chores and ate dinner. I've been working on going through stuff in our schoolroom and had the kids try to finish the living room for me. Again, I only got half a bag, but I'm still ahead from the days I got two bags! Tomorrow should be a "stay-at-home" day, so hopefully we will get some things done. Friday is our bathroom cleaning day, so I'll have to do that first before I get to working on more of the challenge. I really want to get this school room done, so we can try to start school and get into somewhat of a routine that hopefully they will carry on and do even if I'm resting with the baby (we've been working on that with chores for the last few weeks.) Once I finish the school room I want to do the playroom - which for now has turned into my clothes sorting area, so the kids cannot get to their toys and they have no where to play! Once that is done I need to get my room cleaned up and ready for baby! And somewhere in there I need to make a bunch of newborn diapers because right now I think I only have TWO!! I don't think it will work to wash one while he wears the other! Gee, I'd better get off this computer and get busy!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Quest to Declutter!

I ran across this blog that is doing a Simplify for Fall challenge which starts tomorrow! I'm definitely going to give it a go! I'm going to combine it with another challenge I ran across at Clover Lane which is a 40 bags in 40 days challenge. I figure I have around 56 days before my baby comes, so this should be a do-able project, and around the time baby is due, our homeschool group is having a free Swap that I can unload all my stuff I collect to get rid of. Basically, we all take our unused items (mainly clothes, books, and toys) to a church which has graciously offered to let us use their space, lay out all our stuff, garage sale style, but everybody's stuff is altogether sorted by size and gender, and then we "shop!" FOR FREE! There's usually a ton of really nice stuff and it's great to swap out what you no longer use for what you can use. We have been doing it once a year in the spring, but thankfully, this year we are having a second one in the fall! I already have 3 tote bins and 6 large cardboard boxes full of stuff to take. That's not counting the 6 boxes of books! So, while I am doing the "simplify for fall" I will be trying to gather up at least a bag of stuff each day to get rid of. I'm starting the 40 bags today. I got rid of 1 grocery bag of half used coloring books and threw them in the recycling! 39 more bags to go!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Making progress (a little anyway!)

So, while I didn't complete my goal of totally removing everything from the "old" school room, MOST of it is out! We could have had all of it out, but then I wouldn't have room to move in the "new" school room! It's hard enough moving around with this 29 week pregnant belly without having to climb over things! So I had to tell the kids to stop hauling stuff down until I can put some of it away. Hubby moved the small wall shelf down there last night after I had quit for the evening, so I guess that's where I will start today. I'm hoping today to get at least enough put away down there so we can move the rest of the stuff down. As long as we are able to get the room painted by this weekend, I'll be happy! I'm sure Nicole will be happy, too, because then next week she can start moving her stuff into her new room and start setting up her baby stuff. Hard to believe she only has a month left! I guess before I get started on the moving and putting away today, I should get the kids out of bed, eat breakfast, and have them help me make another batch of apple butter out of the box of apples MIL brought over last night. They said this is the last batch of apples for the season. I'd much rather do up the apples than tomatoes - they are so much easier, quicker, cleaner, and smell so much better! Oh well, the tomatoes do TASTE good when we put them in the chili and lasagna!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Time flys!!

I can't believe it's been almost 3 weeks since I got on here! I need to put it in my schedule time to do this at least once a week! I would love to have a schedule. I think the kids would too. They told me they thought they would do better at getting their homework done if I had a schedule for them!! Ha! I have a schedule posted for them on the board, it's been there for about 2 years, so I asked "if you want to follow a schedule, why haven't you been following that one?" the reply "well, you haven't enforced it!" Oh, so now I have to be the schedule police? Actually, maybe I do, at least until it becomes a habit with everyone. Having a set schedule would mean I wouldn't keep waking up at 3am wondering "what should we do today? I WANT to do this, but I NEED to do that, and that, and that, and that. But that is too much to do in one day, so which do I pick for today. Plus I have all the other stuff I normally do in a day. bah!! But everytime I try to make a schedule, things pop up and make it so I can't even follow it anyway. How do people work on a schedule? They just don't seem to work for me and it usually ends up hardly anything actually gets done because I don't have a schedule. Maybe the kids are right, I just need to be the enforcer for a while until it becomes a habit for us. and why is it when I tell myself before bed "tomorrow I will be up before 7am and get this and this done, then wake the kids by 8" I will usually have a terrible nights sleep and maybe I didn't start sleeping well until 5am and when I wake up my back hurts and my arms are asleep and I just can't get out of bed? Well, I guess we'll try again, tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

checking in

bah! Life got in the way of my organizing progress! LOL! I did pretty good last Monday and Tuesday. Then Wednesday my two oldest daughters and I went to the big city for N's repeat ultrasound. At her first, her little man would NOT show his face. So we stopped and got her an extra large iced mocha (which she hasn't had since before she got pregnant!) and tried again. this time the little stinker put his cord and both hands in front of his face! they tried for an hour to see his face! when he would move his hands, he would press his face up against her side and the machine cannot differentiate tissue from tissue so he looked like a big blob! we were finally able to see one chubby cheek, his nose, mouth and chin and he stuck his tongue out at us like 'Nanny nanny boo boo, you have to wait!!' we decided that since we drove 2 and a half hours, we might as well do something while we were there. B found cards in the waiting room saying "bring this into our store and get a free newborn diaper!" Well, since all 3 of us are pregnant, and there enough cards for each of us, we decided we just HAD TO GO THERE. It was only 5 minutes out of our way, and worth it for diapers worth $13 a piece! We were very impressed with the store. The mama's working there all had their babies with them. Most were wearing their babies, and their cloth diapers were hanging up to dry behind the checkout counter! HOW COOL IS THAT! We all want to work there now! Wish we could open one of those stores here! We couldn't just get our free diaper because we would feel guilty, so we each bought a one-size diaper. So cute! Then we had to go to one of our favorite restaurants to eat some yummy food before our long drive home. On Thursday, my kids' youth camp they had been at all week, was having a carry-in dinner. So, I had to go to the grocery store and get stuff for that, and spent most of the day making icecream cone cupcakes, chocolate covered pretzels, and refried bean layer salad. Friday the younger boys had the last day of their camp and the youngest girl had reservations to see a performance at the library. But in between running, I did a little work in the sewing room. Did a little bit more on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. To look at it, it almost looks worse, but that's because I dumped out all the tote bins (one at a time!) to sort through. The contents are either stacked up on the floor, or on my dining table. The stuff on the floor will need to be sorted into the sweater boxes I use for storing my fabric, either by color or fabric type. The stuff on the table is waiting for a new home. I'm giving away 3 totebins full of fabric. I had many people say they could use fabric for crafts, or charity projects, so I told them first come first serve on what I have left. It's spread out on my dining table for people to go through. It will be there until Wednesday. On Thursday I have a friend who said her mother would take whatever was left to her quilting circle. No one has shown up yet to take any, she may be getting LOTS of stuff! I think I'm losing steam! I need more motivation to finish this project! I'm getting so close and it's starting to feel good to be getting rid of stuff. It's definitely getting easier, but you get to that point where you feel like you just can't do it anymore! I have 2 hours before I have to take a few of the kids to the library for the last movie of the summer. I'll have to see what I can get done!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

starting the "declutter!"

Ok, yesterday was my first big day tackling my sewing room. I started with that one because it's the worst spot in the house and we have to walk through it to get to the freezer and the laundry!! I made a goal of 1 hour per day this week. Here are the tools I used:
The empty box lid is for me to put things in that need to be put away somewhere else. I wanted something small so that when it's full, I'll actually go put it away, or if I need something I can find it. A big basket is too overwhelming later! The empty plastic bag is for my friend! She makes the coolest stuff out of "junk" she finds here and there. Anything I think she might like, goes in the bag. The garbage can, for garbage. I use a small one so it fills up faster and I feel like I've accomplished more! Using a great big one (unless you are doing a really large project) can take forever to fill and you feel like you are not making progress! The paper sack is to put over my head when I go out in public after posting my "before" picture of the room for paper and cardboard recycles. Not shown is a popcorn tin I use to put anything else that is recyclable that will need to be sorted later (glass, plastic, metals, etc). We usually end up recycling way more than we throw away, which is a good thing! Another thing not shown is a good size box for fabric scraps (nothing smaller than 2" squares) which get donated to a group that teaches beginning scrap quilting. Ok, well, here it is. The before pictures. I must warn you, it's not a pretty sight! It's the result of about 10 attempts at starting to clean/declutter! Plus it is a dumping ground for a ton of different stuff (working on changing that!) deep breath.. here we go...
Crazy, right!!? After an hour, here's what I had accomplished:
And another hour later (I was on a roll and decided to keep going, besides, with only 3 kids in the house for the day, what better chance to actually get work done!)
Yes, the pictures are in the right order. Yes, I know it looks like I took a step backwards (went from a clean table to one that's cluttered again!) but look at the floor under the table! Once I cleaned off the table I started putting things on the table to sort them out. Being 6 months pregnant, it's getting hard for me to crawl around on the floor. It doesn't help that my feet are more swollen than my belly! I forgot to take a picture, but my "somewhere else" box is full, my garbage is full, my recycle bag is full, my scrap fabric box is almost full, and my "friend" bag is half full. Not bad for day 1!!

Monday, July 16, 2012


 Welcome to Bigfamilybigdreams!  My name is Jeanie and I have 5 (soon to be 6) boys ages 16, 14, 12, 10, and almost 7!  I also have 4 girls ages almost 22, 20, almost 18, and 4, but this post is about boys!  (well, my 20yo dd is expecting a boy in September, that counts, right!!)  Today I am linking up to the M.O.B. Society's Boy Mom Blog Hop!!


What is the Boy Mom Blog Hop? The Mothers of Boys Society is hosting a blog hop for moms of boys!  Teaching Boys is joining the party!  This is an opportunity for moms of boys to gather together, find mom blogs, and connect with new friends.  You don’t have to have a blog to visit all these great sites! Check out  the Boy Mom Blog Hop for more details.

A little more about me and my blog.  I started blogging a few years ago when we bought some lots in our neighborhood (that contained one very old, very icky house that we tore down! - yeah, the boys loved that!) in the hopes of building a home that would actually hold our brood without bursting at the seams!  There were many delays and setbacks (I was treated for breast cancer most of last year) and a link to all the original stuff is in post #1 here.  Now we are back on track for trying to build that new house, so I just started a new blog (plus I couldn't figure out wordpress anymore!)  I've only just started this new one, but it's going to be about our journey into building a house (mostly by ourselves) while still homeschooling and having babies.  I'm also trying to organize and purge what I can from our current house so we are not dragging a bunch of excess into our new one (if we ever get it built!!)  This blog will share all the cool organizing, decluttering, cleaning, homeschooling, and dealing with all those boys, tips I can find along my way!

Please leave a comment with your blog address so I can visit you back!  Thanks for stopping by!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Ok, so I'm on a quest to declutter and organize my house, while hoping (and praying) to build a new house (quickly!!)  God is really trying to teach me patience here!  Things are moving slower than a snail, while I want to zip along like a jaguar!  (if anyone knows of anyone who does construction and needs an immediate job, let me know!  apparently everyone we have contacted must have plenty of work to do, because they say they will get back to us in 3-4 days and we are lucky if we hear in 3-4 weeks - and that is after hounding them!!)

So, I decide while I'm impatiently waiting, I might as well try to control the clutter we already have so I don't move it into a new home.  Just because it's bigger doesn't mean it has to be cluttered in the least bit!  Well, I'm having trouble sorting through stuff.  Mainly because as soon as I throw something out, there is someone who needs it for something!

Well, today's gospel hit me between the eyes!  In Mark he talks about how Jesus asked his apostles to take their walking stick and go forth!  He didn't even allow them to take a change of clothes!  Why is that?  because we are supposed to rely on God to supply us with what we need!!  So hard to do, I know!!

My goal for this week is to spend 1 hour each day in my sewing room decluttering.  I choose this room because it is the messiest, and you have to walk through it to get to the freezer and laundry.  Hmm, I should take a picture in the morning before I start and then take another one at the end of the week.  Or, maybe I could take one a day to show how much progress I make each day!  I'm going to try to do all the laundry tonight after 10pm because I just got a high price alert for the electricity tomorrow.  I try not to run the dishwasher or laundry if the price is over 3 cents/kwh and tomorrow afternoon it's going to be 14!  WOW!

Friday, July 13, 2012

gotta clean and organize to make room for my sanity!

I'm so overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I need to do!  I think the thing I need to take care of first is cleaning and organizing my house!  Not being able to find things drives me NUTS!!  Of course the kids ask me where something is, well, the heck if I know!! (OK, sometimes, I DO know!)  But it would be nice if there was room for everything to have a designated area, so if I need someone to put something away for me, I don't need to draw them a map or say "stick it where every you find a spot" (which is usually NOT a spot where you are going to go looking for it next time you need it!!)  So, I've been looking all over the web for help on where to start and how to stay on task and motivated.  I think I may have found something!  It's called 28 days to Hope for your Home written by Nony from the blog "A Slob Comes Clean," which she says is "not for the mildly disorganized!"  Oh yeah, that's me!! (click on the link to see  for yourself!)

  I'm also looking forward to reading her e-book on "Teach your child to clean" and taking part in "Summer of Clean!"  She states "tried and true home management methods that work for a real-life slob!" I'm going to start working on this ASAP! and will blog here about my progress!
well, I'm going to try this blogging again!  I did it off and on a few years at and I tried to get back to it, but apparently they changed things around and I can't figure it out!  I had buttons down the side and they are gone!  so I thought I'd start over using a new whatever you call this!