5 Places In My House That Make Me Bonkers

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My bedroom floor and craft area

The older I get, the more annoyed I am becoming with all this stuff. Oh my goodness friends, it does pile up fast! Yesterday, I cleared out nine grocery bags of stuff. Stuff I loved, kept for a couple of years, but finally had to just let it go because honestly, I was tired of looking at it. I was tired of it even being an option. I had held on to the fabric, the books, and the supplies for the “what if” moments that either (a) never came or (b) when they did come, the item I was hoarding wasn’t the right color/size/etc. and I ended up buying something new.

I’m fed up with it all. I’m over the shuffling and dusting and reorganzing. It’s time to let it go.

Unfortunately, my busted elbow is making me work at a less than preferred pace. Rather than go on a rampage through the house tossing anything that hasn’t been touched in a year, I am being forced to make a game plan and take it slow.

I’ve decided to start with the 5 places in my house that make me bonkers the most. I chose to not pick my children’s rooms, even though they are the clear winners, for two reasons. First, they have doors. Second, I never had hope for them to be “nice” places in our home in the first place. These five places are places that started out as purposeful, well-planned spaces, but things just went wonky. Here they are, in no particular order:

The Kitchen Shelf of Despair

The kitchen shelf of despair

This was a piece that moved to the new house with us. It fit in the corner of the kitchen nicely. The stainless steel finish matched the rims of my mason jars. It was supposed to hold my jars full of pasta and beans, and display some over-sized appliances, such as my Kitchen-Aid mixer. It ended up being the catch-all for everything. Cleaners and aprons hang from the bars. Fruits and veggies, get tossed on it’s shelves. When we replaced our stove, the new drawer was too small for all my pans, so they, too, moved to my shelf unit. For a while, everyone’s Awana’s bag hung from the post. I have considered throwing my super long tablecloth over the front of it, just to hide it from my sight. It is on my list to either make more presentable, or eliminate. Any ideas?

 

The Lost Things Basket

 

Basket of Lost Things

This is a beautiful, slightly tattered, basket we rescued out of Great-Grandpa’s attic. I love it. I have a thing for big baskets, never mind their impracticality. I placed the basket here, in the corner of the den, with the intent of using it to store toys “lost” throughout the day. You know, the ones you’ve picked up or stepped over 100 times before lunch. Initially, I scooped up whatever was left out about 4pm, and once a week the kids could dump it out and “find” all their lost things. As you can see, it never gets emptied. I could probably throw away that entire pile and it would be months before anyone missed a thing. *sigh*

 

The Hall Tree

The Hall Tree

 

This is another piece brought over from the old house. It was custom-built by my crafty Father-in-law, made to fit the tiny space we had behind our door at the old house. It’s been in three different locations at our new house. I bought fancy baskets from Michael’s to help it look nicer. (Let me just pause here to confess that I bought those baskets months and months ago, but they still have the tags on them)  It’s called a “hall tree”, and I’m convinced my children’s coats and shoes and gloves and hats are growing on it in the night like kudzu. There is another basket, two feet away that is for snow boots only. It’s overflowing. The madness has to stop.

 

The Game Closet

 

The Game Closet

This closet would traditionally be a linen closet. I used it for that purpose for roughly two months, when I acknowledged that keeping the towels and sheets there was horribly inconvenient. It works better to keep them closer to my bathroom, so we moved all the games to this space.  This picture is after I removed three trash bags of games because their pieces were hopelessly lost. This space doesn’t work well for linens. It also doesn’t work well for games. We forget we even have games, because they are out of sight, and when we do remember, the kids can’t reach the ones they want. This space needs a new purpose and our games need a new home.

 

Mom’s Bedroom Floor/Craft Space

My bedroom floor and craft area

The Mr. and I were so excited last year, when we trekked to Ikea and redid our entire bedroom! We had a bedroom suit that matched. We had a headboard for the first time in twelve years. I had amazing shelves to store my fabric stash. Despite being all matchy-matchy, it is still the catch-all room for EVERYTHING. I’d love to get back into the routine of doing a load of laundry from start to finish before starting another load, but one must get caught up to make that happen. I still have hope. In the meantime, I craft everywhere BUT my craft space and we keep searching the hampers for clean laundry because our drawers are empty.

I really hope to be showing you guys some amazing after photos soon. My great purge of 2015 is still going strong, paired with some new rules on what’s allowed to come in. What space in your house makes you the most bonkers?

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Crock Pot Hack for Picky Eaters

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Picky Eater Hack

I have ridiculously picky children. While I am all for the “if I cook it, you will eat it” parenting style, the bottom line is, my kids need to eat, and I need to NOT have a fight every night. I refuse to be a short order cook. I also refuse to eat plain baked chicken breast all the time. When I make Salisbury steak, I cook the patties, then remove two patties, and make the gravy stuff for the rest. This way the two bigger girls can have their patties plain (or with ketchup/bbq sauce) and the Mr. and I can have the yummy stuff. Sometimes they try ours, sometimes they don’t. It really takes very little effort on my part to pull theirs out and leave them plain, and there is less grumbling at the table.

One of my favorite picky-eater hacks is with my crock pot. Being softball season here, we are depending on our crock pot more often. The Mr and I love a good chicken crock pot recipe, but the kids haven’t yet acquired a taste for the sauces and such that usually accompany them. My hack? Well, I toss all our ingredients into the bottom of the crock pot, along with most of our chicken. The last of the chicken, gets wrapped in aluminum foil, like a little packet, and placed on top of all our goodies. With the lid on, the chicken in the packet cooks right along side the other chicken. Ours is juicy and flavorful, while theirs is juicy and plain-just the way they like it.

I’ve done the same for baking chicken in the oven, just set some to the side wrapped in foil.

Do you have a picky-eater hack?

Want more picky eater help?

Overcoming Picky Eating: Buffet Style

Favorite Five: Dinners for Picky Eaters

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Affordable Dairy-Free Holiday Treats to Share

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Affordable Diary-Free Holiday Treats to Share

Guest Post By Susan Yoo-Lee

We’re getting closer to fall, which means the holidays are just around corner. The first things that come to mind when I think of the holidays are presents and sweet treats. There’s really something to be said about grandma’s apple pie and mama’s pumpkin loaf bread. What’s better than sitting in front of the fireplace and drinking apple cider as you enjoy spicy aromas wafting from the kitchen?

While I love being on the receiving end of these wonderful treats, I’m also allergic to dairy. Over the years, I’ve tried testing a few dairy-free recipes to share with my family and friends. And because dairy prices are at a record high, it’s actually more affordable than many traditional recipes.

I’ve collected three of my favorite, tried-and-true dairy-free recipes to share with you. Not only do they each take less than five minutes to make, but you can give these as gifts for less than $5 apiece!

1. Gingerbread Cake Mix in a Jar (By Vegan Richa). Who doesn’t have fond memories of making a gingerbread house during the holiday season? If you want to give that special someone in your life a very thoughtful holiday gift, this is it! Not only do you package the gingerbread cake in a jar, but the person who receives the gift can microwave it in the jar or place it in the oven to cook. I think this is by far the cleverest idea and one that I will use and reuse in the coming years.

Gingerbread in a Jar

2. Pretzel Frozen Hot Chocolate (By Minimalist Baker). I love hot chocolate! When I think of the holidays, I think of sitting by the fireplace with a hot chocolate or an apple cider. While one wouldn’t think to have their hot chocolate frozen, it goes along the lines of ice cream tasting better during the winter (it just does!). Everything here is dairy-free, but people claim that it tastes better than any full-fat dairy version.

Pretzel Frozen Hot Chocolate

3. Raw Caramel Apples (By Fork and Beans). Need I say more? When you dream about pumpkin pies and peppermint-infused hot cocoa, you also dream about caramel apples. My kids love it, but usually I can’t join in on the fun. This recipe uses dates in place of the regular caramel sauce, which makes it possible for someone like me to enjoy it. The raw caramel apples also make for a great holiday gift for all ages.

Raw Caramel Apples

I hope you’ll enjoy and share these treats this holiday season. Not only will they make great gifts or treats for holiday parties, but they will keep your pocketbook fat — just in time for the New Year!

Susan Yoo-Lee is a mother of two and the editor at The Scratch, a Savings.com blog where professional funny people take a crack at saving you a buck. She founded Mommas in the House in 2009 when she was pregnant with her 2nd child. Currently, you can see some of her published work on LHJ.com, More.com, WomansDay.com, AJC.com, ClarkHoward.com, US News & World Report, Military.com, LearnVest.com and more.

This post may contain affiliate links. Proceeds from affiliate links go towards the cost of hosting the blog and helps to support our homeschool books, supplies, and classes. Thank you in advance for your support! If you would like to read more about our affiliations please see our Disclosures page.