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Friday, January 30, 2015

34 Weeks of Clean: Week 4


I hate my fridge.. (Heck, if you remember my post from last week, you'll know I basically hate my kitchen in general.. haha).  When we moved into this house, it had a really nice fridge, granted it was a bit older but it worked well.. A little over a year ago, the housing office here on base decided we needed updated appliances and so they came in and replaced the stove, dishwasher, fridge and added an overhead microwave. The stove and the microwave are very nice, I can deal with those. However, the dishwasher and the fridge lack alot to be desired.  The dishwashers are well known on base for breaking down  (mine broke down about a month ago and still is not fixed). The fridges have proven to be the worst as they can't regulate a temperature and usually freeze better than the freezer portion does.  When we received it, it was obviously used and refurbished as it has scratches and stains all over it and looked as if it had been covered with white out, had ripped seals and a water filter that leaked everywhere.. The shelves are very oddly positioned so things are placed inside it like Tetris rather than with any organization.

We make do with it..

So you can imagine my groan when I saw that this weeks 34 Weeks of Clean was to clean the Freezer, the Fridge and the Floor.. It was probably the groan heard around the world. However, it was a chore that I knew needed to be done and so I set off with a bowl of sudsy warm water, a sponge and the mindset that I would get that fridge looking better than it had the day housing gave it to us.

Freezer stuffed full

Old veggies and Yup, thats Doggie Ice Cream.

Tetris Fridge.. with lots of leftovers..


I quickly realized something. There were things in my fridge and freezer that I did not buy. There were things in my fridge and freezer that I honestly had no clue were even IN my fridge and freezer. There were things in there that other people who had moved away from base had given to us rather than throw it away and it had been sitting in my fridge ever since. I quickly determined that all of that stuff needed to go - so I tossed a jug of marinade that I knew I would never use, a bottle of alcoholic Eggnog that I knew we would never drink, and tossed out frozen meats that I had no clue what the heck they were.  I did decide to keep a bottle of wine that was given to us, who knows, I could probably give it to someone else..


In the process, I found an Arby's cup in the back of the fridge. It had been at least a month since we ate at Arby's so I know that had been there for a while. My youngest informed me she put it in the fridge after filling it up with water because she wanted cold water without ice. Sure enough, the cup had cold water in it.. That got poured out and the cup was tossed.



In the freezer, I found a few unidentified meats and a package of shark meat that was at least 3 years old.  If I didn't know how old it was or even what it was, it got tossed..

Each shelf, drawer and barrier was removed and washed and wiped down.


When everything was said and done, I had to admit, it looked MUCH better.. All the ancient, frostbitten and decrepit veggies were gone. No more shark meat hidden in the back corner.  I even emptied out all the ice so that it would be replaced with fresh ice.



The fridge isn't quite such a Tetris level. I tossed out three jars of pickle relish that had maybe a tablespoon or two left in it and kept one jar of relish, 1 jar of pickles and 1 jar of jalapenos. 


Most of the random alcohol that we won't drink is gone and everything is much more organized (although, now I'm looking at this picture and realizing that rather than putting the cheese where it goes, my husband shoved it in the door tonight after tacos. ) 

Notice my cat in the background supervising?


I will admit, I did not clean under the fridge just yet.. When I saw exactly what was under it, it was obvious to me that the last few times he'd stripped the floor and mopped that my husband didn't bother with under the fridge so I'm leaving that job for him this weekend ;) But I did sweep and mop everything else


Its still not too late to join Michele over at Family, Faith and Fridays and the 34 Weeks of Clean Challenge. Just click on the link below and sign up :)




Thursday, January 29, 2015

hummingbirds



Right now while the Northeast portion of our country is getting hammered in several feet of snow, it's probably hard to think about spring and warmer weather but it's right around the corner. Warmer weather means that many of the hummingbirds who made their way down to Mexico for the warmer temperatures will be heading back to our areas for the spring and summer months.


Starting in mid February, the hummingbirds start showing up at our house. We've been feeding them for the last three years and so as soon as they make their way back to town, they're checking out my yard to see if I have food for them. We usually get a few Anna's, Costa's, Black-chinned, and occasionally an Rufous and Calliope.  Our front yard tends to be a mini airport from sun up to sun down.  My husband and I like to sit outside at the table on our front porch and watch them and they've gotten very use to our being around them. (All the photos on this page are taken here in our front yard to give you an idea of how comfortable they are with us sitting there taking pictures of them).

We keep several hummingbird feeders in our front yard, each with multiple ports allowing them to
feed. Hummingbirds are very territorial and will fight over feeders so we find that having two or three feeders spread out helps with the fighting. There are many great commercial feeders out there but I tend to prefer glass feeders opposed to plastic because I live in a very hot, sunny climate. The glass doesn't turn cloudy like plastic and it's easier to clean.

Feeders should be cleaned at least once a week and your feeding solution changed out. This is important because the sugar solution will spoil and bacteria and mold will grow on the insides of your feeder. Once a week, I take down my feeders, regardless to how much solution is left inside it and I give them a thorough cleaning with hot water and vinegar before I refill them and hang them back up.


So what do I feed my little friends?  Well, there are plenty of commerical solutions available both premixed and in powder form that you just add water to. I do not like any of these. For one, they are expensive and for two, it is unclear if the red dye used in these solutions are safe for hummingbirds. Hummingbird solution is extremely easy to make yourself and you only need two ingredients: sugar and water.  The solution you put in your feeder is only a supplemental source of food for hummingbirds who get most of their nutrients from bugs and nectar from flowers, so basically you are just providing a quick and reliable source of energy for them so don't be too concerned about buying solutions that provide protein, ect.

I tend to use the 1 part sugar to 4 parts water ratio when making sugar solution for my feeders. I try to only make enough for what I need for my feeders at any given time so usually this equates to 1/2 cup sugar to 2 cups of water which fills my feeders.  NEVER EVER use anything beyond regular sugar in your feeding solution - do not use honey, food coloring, sugar substitutes, brown sugar or jello in your feeders.   In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil and then mix the sugar into it, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved into the water.  Remove from heat and allow the sugar water solution to cool to room temperature. (Putting the  solution into you feeder could cause the sugar to crystallize not to mention could cause thermal damage to your feeder).  Once the solution is cooled, then fill your feeder and hang them outside in an area that's easily accessible to your feathered friends but also high enough for them to safely visit without threat of cats and other predators. I tend to hang mine under the eaves of my front porch so that they are high enough for safety but keep them a bit cooler in the shade then if they were out in the sunlight.

Beyond feeders, a hummingbird garden is an excellent way to attract birds to your feeder. Hummingbirds have no sense of smell, so don't worry about finding flowers that are really fragrant in an effort to attract them.  Instead, find plants that are brighter colored and are high nectar producers. Many places that sell flowers and plants have their plants tagged for being attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies but some great suggestions would be  Cardinal Flower, Latana, Columbine, Fuchsias, Impatiens, Petunias, Honeysuckle, Geraniums, Butterfly bush, and Azaleas.

My hummingbirds tend to come and take sips of sugar water all throughout the day but they are most active early in the morning and late in the evening (about an hour before sun down).. Their acrobatics in the air are always a hit with my kids and make great bird watching subjects for any bird units in homeschooling.  I do hope you will consider adding a feeder to your hard this spring and inviting them into your lives :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Busy Busy Busy

It's actually been a while since I've blogged as to what we're actually working on in our school so I thought I would touch base with that today.

We've been talking about base-10 this week,
something I am not entirely sure why we hadn't discussed before except the fact that our math book didn't cover it at all and just went straight into addition and subtraction.   Garrett figured out he could make rods of 10 with his Legos (but was NOT thrilled when I told him he had to put a shirt on for pictures as you can tell by his face). Ash then figured out that single Lego's could be used to represent a unit of 1. Which makes me wonder why I bought a tub of math manipulatives when they're gonna use Lego's instead.. lol




We've really been pushing Garrett on his reading lately. Ashleigh is reading well above her 1st Grade level, however Garrett is a bit slower at it then Ashleigh. Part of Garrett's problem is the fact he does not like reading and therefore will spit out any random word in an effort to guess the right one and be done with it. Right now, Garrett is required to read approximately 50 words a day in order to earn 2 hours of gametime on the PS4. Garrett has recently discovered Minecraft which is right up his ally as far as games go. He was playing Little Big Planet because he really enjoyed the building portion of the game. Minecraft in creative mode, however, is nothing but building and so he took to it like a fish in water and has been at it ever since. I don't think he has bothered with LBP since we upgraded Minecraft from the PS3 to the PS4. I wish I would have known about that before I paid 60 bucks for LBP3 and instead could have just paid the 5 bucks for the Minecraft upgrade..


The reading has been a real issue though. In order for him to earn his game time, he has to read his 50 words. We started with trying to get him to read books, that was a no go as he wanted absolutely nothing to do with them. So we started with rebus chants that we picked up from Rainbow Horizon Publishing on Currclick. I picked them up back when they had a huge sale, not knowing if I would ever use them or not but the price was super cheap. I'm really glad I got them as for the last few weeks, that's all I could get him to read without him throwing a fit.

This week, we moved on to reading Level 1 books. This has been an issue as he doesn't want to read books but is being told he can either read or have a "no game day", his decision. The decision usually results in him reading, however there have been lots of tears before we actually get started.  He's doing a great job of sounding out words and figuring them out once he gets it into his head that he's going to have to read whether he wants to or not if he plans on playing the video game.. lol

Now with half the school year done, I'm starting to think long and hard about curriculum choices for 2nd grade. At this point, I am debating if I want to invest in Math U See but I do know that I need to figure out a Geography or History curriculum as well as an English/Grammar curriculum for next year. I'm also considering attending a Homeschool convention this summer to actually look at various curriculum but unfortunately the convention is the week before we leave for Florida so I'm not sure if its going to be possible. We will have to wait and see I guess.

How We Spend a Tuesday Night

Alyssa decided to teach Ashleigh the "Apache (Jump on it)" Dance.. I guess Alyssa learned this one at school at P.E. and had fun teaching Ashleigh it. If you notice, Garrett is in the background having a snack and playing with his Lego's and is having absolutely nothing to do with this craziness.


To make it that much more crazy, make note of the party lighting.. LOL

Upcoming Educational Reviews

I've got a full schedule of products that I am getting the opportunity to review and I can't wait to share them with you.  However, I wanted to give a little teaser to let you know what will be coming in the near future. For now, here's what you can look forward to seeing in the next two months in addition to my Destination Education series :


In Freedom's Cause - I am so excited about this one. This is the first audio production from Heirloom audio that I have had the opportunity to listen to and it's about SCOTLAND!!  We love Scotland in this household and it doesn't help that we're related to (well, my husband and the kids are, I'm not) not one but two of the historical characters in this recording. Expect this review in Feburary.

IndoctriNation - A DVD documentary about public schools and the decline of Christianity. This movie was a real eye opener for myself and my husband who had no clue as to some of the problems with public schools. Expect this review in Feburary.

The Critical Thinking Company - The kids are having fun testing the Math Analogies Beginning software for Grades K-1. Expect this review in March.

Koru Naturals - With all the homeschooling and testing new products for review, Mom needs some Emu Oil as well as their Manuka Oil and Manuka Honey Shampoo and Conditioner.  Expect this review in late Feb or early March.pampering. I'm getting to try out Koru Naturals

Egglo Entertainment - Just in time for Easter, we will be having an early Egglo Glow in the Dark Easter Egg hunt while the kids learn about the Resurrection as well as how Jesus is the Light of the World.  Expect this review in early March.

Visual Learning Systems - My kids absolutely love Science so we're going to enjoy reviewing the Elementary Edition of Digital Science online. This review should be completed in Mid March.

Great Parents Academy - From GPA LEARN, we will be getting to try the GPALOVEMATH online curriculum for elementary Grade 1 (although we will most likely also take a look at the Grade 2 levels as well).  Expect this review mid to late March.

So as you can see, we're got a pretty crazy schedule for the time being but we're really enjoying the opportunity to review this items and tell you what we think. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Destination Education - Part 2: United Kingdom Pavilion



 Welcome to week 2 of my series about incorporating educational topics into your homeschool leading up to your big Disney World trip. While this series is going to concentrate on Disney World in Florida, some of the attractions in Disney Land.

Last week we talked about the Canada Pavilion in Epcot. Today we will be discussing Canada's neighbor to the right – The United Kingdom.

The official name of the UK is the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
The name refers to the union of what were once four separate nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (though most of Ireland is now independent).
The United Kingdom is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


It's unfortunate that most people pay very little attention to this particular pavilion. With no attractions to speak of, the UK pavilion's appeal is more about the surroundings. In just a few hundred steps you can stroll beside an country canal or take a picture in front of Hampton Court. Pay special attention to the details put into this pavilion that contribute to its charms: the half-wood structure on High Street leans a bit, the years of soot painted on the chimneys to give them an aged look.

Cute Hidden Mickey in the United Kingdom Pavilion


Attractions:


None


Shopping:


The Toy Soldier sells toys and memorabilia usually associated with the UK, such as; The Beatles, Paddington Bear and The Rolling Stones. There are also traditional wooden toys as well as Disney merchandise.
The Crown and Crest Sells Keep Calm and Carry On merchandise, including, books, shirts, cups and mugs.
The Queen's Table sells Belleek pottery from Ireland and various other brands of fine china as well as native music and books from the UK, Scottish or Welsh tartans, bagpipes and the Welsh “Love Spoon”.



HRC The Historical Research Center. Sells coats of arms, swords, tacky merchandise and lets you look at the history of your last name, insisting on a hard sell.
Sportsman's Shoppe sells football team apparel from Manchester United, Celtic and Liverpool Football Club, footballs and books. This shop also sells Guinness merchandise.
The Tea Caddy sells Twinings Tea, teacups, teapots, and British sweets
UK Cart sells Walt Disney World Trading pins, lanyards, Minnie and Mickey Mouse Plushes, Shot glasses and UK shirts.



Dining:



Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room - A full service restaurant that serves British cuisine. The inside resembles a British Pub while the outdoor seating is located on a patio overlooking the lagoon (and one of the best places to see the Illuminations Fireworks). Be sure to try a Scotch Egg.
Yorkshire County Fish Shop - A quick service fish and chip counter restaurant that serves only fish and chips. Outdoor seating only.



Entertainment



The Paul McKenna Band has joined the entertainment found in the United Kingdom Pavilion. This 4-piece acoustic folk band performs outside The Crown and Crest shop several times daily



What We Can Learn from the UK

As last time, I always like to start with a video introduction to the pavilion we are discussing. Once again, iThemePark provides a wonderful Point of View video of the UK Pavilion.





Also, Amanda Bennett has a really great unit study to cover the geography and quick overview of the UK with a lesson for each week. Unlike last weeks Canada study unit, however, the UK study unit is part of the “Passport Geography” series – meaning that it comes in either the Scout level (for grades K-6) or the Explorer level (7-12). She also offers a combo with both the Scout and Explorer for a discounted price of $12.95. Some of the spots includes in the unit are Buckingham Palace , Westminster Abbey, The Giant’s Causeway , The Roman Baths and Hadrian’s Wall as well as discussions about William Shakespeare, Queen Victoria, Sir Isaac Newton and King Arthur.


Now, the fun stuff..

If you have a student who doesn't mind holding conversations with random people (and if you have free long distance on your phone), you might want to write down these numbers: Right -(407)827-9861, Left-(407)827-9862 and Center-(407)827-9863. There are three bright red phone booths in the UK Pavilion and those are the numbers that ring each one. This would be a fun project to count down the days til your trip: each day have your student call one of the phones and ask general questions like what the weather is like that day and where the person who answered the phone is from. (Make sure they call while the park is open – you can find the hours for Epcot online). When you finally get to Disney and visit Epcot, they will most likely be looking for the phone booth they've been calling and who knows, maybe the phone will ring for them too. :)

*Note* Unfortunately, this bit of fun is no longer available. Seems people were calling the phones and telling those who answered that they had won prizes and to visit one of the stores to redeem .. So a few bad apples spoiled this for everyone. Disney has no made it so that no incoming phone calls can go through any of the phones in the parks :(  


My husband on the phone in the UK
UK lends itself to be more of a literary unit for homeschooling with a lot of great authors to choose from at any reading level. For older students you have William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, George Orwell, J.R.R. Tolkien, the Bronte Sisters, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, J.K. Rowling and Jane Austen. For younger children who either can read to themselves or whom enjoy being read to: C.S Lewis, Beatrix Potter, Lewis Carroll, A. A. Milne, P.L Travers (who wasn't born in the UK but lived there when she wrote Mary Poppins), and Roald Dahl.


Unfortunately, the UK Pavilion holds a lot more possibilities of study for an older student then for the younger ones. (The younger kids will enjoy the hedge maze more than anything else in the pavilion). Older students can use this pavilion for a great study about British Architecture. The buildings in the UK Pavilion represent different eras and period styles through history. In total, there are eight architectural styles represented while walking the streets of the UK Pavilion: Victorian, London, Yorkshire Manor, Tudor, Georgian, Hyde Park, Regency and Shakespearean. The Tea Caddy pays homage to the cottage belonging to Anne Hathaway (William Shakespeare's wife, not the actress). Located in Stratford-Upon-Avon, the wattle-and-daub cottage was built in the 1500s and was the family home of Miss Hathaway. While the original had a straw thatched roof, Disney's version has plastic broom straw in order to adhere to current fire safety codes. Directly next door, the Queen's Table is housed inside a building with an overhanging 2nd story. Common in the 1600's when the British were taxed on how much square footage the footprint of the ground floor equaled, homeowners would build the second story larger then that of the first story. This overhang also served a second purpose: since there wasn't running water in that time, people used chamberpots and emptied them out the window. The overhang provided safety for pedestrians to avoid having the chamberpots spilled on them. (Be sure to look at the stained glass crests in the second story windows – they represent the four prestigious Universities of the UK- Oxford, Cambridge, Eton, and Edinburgh – a great research question for kids to find out before they go.)

Architecture in the UK Pavilion with Sundial in the middle

As your passing through the UK Pavilion, you'll pass a large post in the middle of the walkway. Often overlooked or just used for a photograph backdrop, this large post serves a purpose. Now would be a great time to study sundials so that when you make your way to Epcot and your kids see this large post, they will know exactly what it is (this particular style is called a vertical sundial but they will also encounter another style sundial in the French Pavilion). Older kids can research the worlds largest sundial (also owned by Disney and is located in Florida).
Another shot of the Vertical Sundial and the Hampton Court
One cannot talk about the UK without talking about music. Most notably: the Beatles. However, teenage and pre-teen girls will be able to tell you that One Direction is from the UK as well. Other notable bands/musicians from the UK include The Who, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, The Spice Girls, Elton John, and Duran Duran. How did musicians like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Queen influence music styles in the United States? What led to the breakup of the Beatles? (Can you see the plethora of research possibilities here?)


For younger kids, English tea is always a hit. Did you know that tea does not refer to the drink but instead to a meal and that there are different ways to have tea? Tea can either be afternoon tea or high tea. Afternoon tea is typically served around 4pm and usually has much lighter offerings as to not serve the later meal. This is typically the tea people thing of when they think of an English tea – having the small finger sandwiches, scones with cream and fruit spread, pastries and crumpets. Afternoon tea was a bit of a luxury for the higher class. However, the working class did not typically have afternoon tea and instead would have high tea (or just Tea) after they got home from work. High tea was a much more substantial meal that had more heartier and savory foods like meat pies or another hot dish, followed by cakes and bread, butter and jam. Occasionally there would be cold cuts of meat, such as ham salad. Have fun making some homemade scones in the kitchen (here's a great recipe from Alton Brown from the Food Network) and then visit this website to learn proper tea etiquette and host your own Tea time. Then, when you finally visit Disney, make your way over to the Grand Floridian Resort and the Garden View Tea room for Afternoon tea.

 


There are a lot of fun things for younger kids to see while your visiting the UK Pavilion. If you took the opportunity to read (or watch) Mary Poppins, then make your way into the Toy Soldier shop and head to the back of the store. There you will find a library with a large coat and umbrella rack with a bundle tied with string addressed to Mr Banks, 17 Cherry Tree Lane, London.
For those who read Winnie The Pooh, to the right of the umbrella stand you'll find a small grouping of pictures. One is of Christopher Robin Milne, son of A.A. Milne who created Winnie the Pooh. Christopher can be seen holding his beloved bear that inspired the stories although the bear's name was Edward. Winnie got his name from Winnipeg, a brown bear at the London Zoo. Below the photographs you'll find some letters on a shelf waiting to be mailed off. One of the letters is addressed to Mr. Alexandre Milne (A.A. Milne) and one is addressed to a Mr Sanders, 100 Acres Woods West. Students familiar with Winnie the Pooh will recognize the address but also the name above Pooh's door.


Last but not least, for those teaching your kids Latin, there's some hidden in plain site in the pavilion. There are three stained glass windows to the left of the Crown and Crest sign that represent the three flags of the UK (England, Scotland and Wales). There are mottos written in Latin on each one: Tria juncta in uno (Wales: three joined in one which is the motto of the Order of the Bath), Nemo me impone lacessit (Scotland: Nobody assails me with impunity, motto of Scotland and the Order of the Thistle) and Honi soit qui mal y pense (England: Evil be to him who evil thinks, motto of the Order of the Garter). What are each of these orders? Hint hint. A fourth latin phrase is written above the Rose and Crown doorway: Otium Cum Dignitate which means Leisure with dignity, the restaurants motto.


Thank you again for joining me for this trip through the United Kingdom Pavilion. If your just joining with us, you can get go back and read about the Canada Pavilion here. Next week we will be talking about the International Gateway and the France Pavilion. I hope you will join us then :)


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

34 Week of Clean: Week 3



There's two things you need to know when it comes to my cooking/kitchen.

1.) Pepper is the bane of my existence
2.) My cabinets are NOT designed for people under 6 foot tall.

I should explain, as these two go hand in hand..  I can NEVER find the pepper.. I usually have no problem finding any of my other spices, but pepper almost always eludes me. Salt tends to hide from time to time as well but it's very rare I add salt to anything, that I usually don't care.. However, pepper is essential and that lil rectangular box tends to grow legs and walks.

The biggest problem, however, is that I am short - 5'2 - and my kitchen is not designed for short people. The cabinets are not very deep to begin with and they are pretty high off the counter. So beyond the first shelf, I can't reach anything. If the cabinets were long, this wouldn't be an issue, as I would just put everything I need on the first shelf, but the cabinets are about 10 inches wide and 10 inches deep. Even the cabinets under the drawers are tiny so I have to turn everything on its side to fit. There is one cabinet that is normal size that we can use for plates and cups, but outside of that, it's a creative process to use our cabinets. To store everything, I have to use the other shelves that are way above my reach. In order to reach the other shelves, I have to use a step stool.  It's military housing: they obviously didn't think about the design LOL

Because of this, when the pepper comes up missing it quickly turns into a game of grab the step stoll and start climbing all over the kitchen to see where the heck I put the pepper last time. Everything gets moved round in the cabinets while I am cooking so while the pepper may have been on the bottom shelf of the right cabinet two days before, somehow it ends up in the cabinet on the other side of the window.  To compound the issue, the stepstool over the years has lost its rubber feet, so it slides easily across the floor.. My husband is always scared that while I am climbing, it will slide out from under me and I'll tumble to the ground. Finding the pepper has become hazardous to my health.

Not the most planned out kitchen design


Three weeks ago, I joined up the 34 Weeks of Clean Challenge hosted by Faith, Family and Fridays. I figured it would help me start getting my house cleaned better than just wiping surfaces.  I hate cleaning. Deep cleaning?? Not a fan of it. I've got dust bunnies that have already had families and are planning for their retirement in Florida soon.

This week we were challenged to clean our kitchen cabinets and drawers.. The goal was simple: "clean out and off all those surfaces and pare down what we don't need or simply do not use anymore.  Remember- we are trying to clean AND declutter!".  No problem I figured..

HA!!

First, I decided to go in and start taking pictures of my cabinets.. as I opened the drawers to take pictures, I realized that out of 6 drawers, 4 of them had become "junk drawers".. Originally, we had 1 junk drawer.. Everyone has one..  Over the four years we have lived here, I guess we accumulated one junk drawer for each year.

While it is embarrassing, I'll post the pictures.. This is what joining something like the Clean Challenge is all about, right??



Wow, I didn't realize how much stuff we accumulated.  Not only that, but the dirt/grime that has accumulated along the lip of the drawers is unreal.. I swear I clean those from time to time (but obviously not often enough).   

And I should also show what the cabinets look like.. Not too bad, could use some organizing, right??  The issue I was having was that because I was constantly climbing up and down, my spices were constantly getting moved around. Some where in my small drawer, the rest were in one of the two cabinets. And the elusive pepper?? Good luck finding it..



Sorry for the poor quality.. The Sun was not cooperating. LOL


I have ALOT of spices..  Hi Ashleigh!!


Well,  after lots of work,  my kitchen is much more organized. I still have a junk drawer, but the "junk" in it is stuff we actually need (but I don't know where to put) as opposed to anything that happened to get shoved into the drawer.






The dreaded step stool that my husband swears will be the death of me!


Notice the lack of spices??  That's because I found a use for one of those 4 junk drawers that I cleaned out :)


And most important:

The Pepper now has its own designated place!!!


If your interested in joining up with the 34 weeks of clean, head over to Family, Faith and Fridays and sign up - it's still early in the challenge.. Just click the link below to join :)


Fire In The Sky

I'm working on two blog posts right now but I wanted to share these photographs we took this evening.

One of the nicer things about living out in the middle of the Mojave Desert is the clear skies. It's especially good for astronomy, which our family is big into.. But it also lends itself to some pretty incredible sunsets that are unmatched anywhere else.









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