Friday, September 4, 2015

A Happy Pantry

I'm pretty sure almost every home has a pantry. Ours is no different. But we have one that manages to double as a dumping ground not only for food (of course), but also for kitchen appliances, paper products, party supplies, leftover Halloween candy from who-knows-how-many-years-ago and... light bulbs, apparently.

I've been in the midst of a love-hate relationship with our pantry since the day we moved in. It's pretty spacious, which is AWESOME, but that only leads to extra space to clutter with random stuff. So plenty of space for the food (win), but lots of space filled with junk (boo), making it harder to know what we have or what we're out of (double-boo).

I stumbled across a pantry "Before" pic from one of my favorite blogs, Two Twenty One, on Facebook earlier this week and was immediately drawn to click and see the "After" photo. It. Was. Awesome. All of the things I wanted my pantry to be when it grows up!

You've got to see her pantry Before & After.

Wow. Am I right or what? Pretty amazing transformation! And those bins... So adorable and the perfect color to match my kitchen!
So the kids and I stopped by our local Office Depot yesterday while we were out running errands and picked up 10 of these beauties. It just so happened that I wanted 10 (to start with) and that the store had exactly 10 in stock. Win!

The kids were down for naps/quiet time and I got to work. I should mention here that one of the things my pantry DID have going for it was the white boards we had cut to size from Lowe's and used them to line our wire shelves. We did this a few years ago and it's been great because we haven't had to worry about stuff falling through the wire shelving. ;)

Let me give you a few photos of my pantry's condition before the transformation (please pardon the poor lighting):

See how stuff is lurking in the corners where the shelves meet? I could never find anything in that abyss back there.

Note: I bought that vat of cheeseballs from Walmart once. My kids hated them and oddly enough I was quite happy at this revelation. I'm ashamed to admit this container has been on the floor of my pantry for a few months just taking up space.

Not sure why, but I also feel inclined to mention the bottles of soda on the floor are on hand for a science experiment with my schoolers (soda + mentos, anyone?). SO looking forward to that, but haven't decided where to do it...

Old Halloween candy. Opened packages of old Easter Peeps. Because of course we need to keep such things handy...?

One word: Terrible. It was "kind of" organized with certain stuff in certain areas where we knew how to find most things, but it was so cluttered and messy that I would start twitching as soon as I entered. Not good.

Ready to see some Afters?

NOTE: There is no reason to my knowledge why any family should have THREE open boxes of Cheez-Its at any given time.

Seems like our pantry is rather bare now that it's all organized and cleaned out. Of course the real test of the success of my organized pantry will be after returning from my next grocery run... ;)

These bins make me SO happy! I love walking into the pantry and knowing exactly what we have and where everything is! And not having expired food or 20 half-full boxes of stale cereal cluttering the shelves is priceless! I even added a jar full of snacks on the bottom shelf for the kids to select from when it's snack time. WIN!

It's amazing how a simple project like this can inspire other organizational projects. I can't wait to get to work on several other areas in our home!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Random Summer Fun

Here are some details on the other random things we've been up to since I literally had only posted one time in 2015 (back in January!).

We colored Easter eggs. This was especially awesome since LO didn't get to color eggs with us last year.

LO went on her first overnight trip WITHOUT MOMMY OR DADDY. It was a Mission Trip with the Children's Ministry at our church. It was literally ONE NIGHT but it may as well have been a week! I hated not going with her, but she was in good hands and had a great time sharing her love of the Lord with others. I'm so proud of her! ((Sorry I don't have any pics to share.))

We went blueberry picking last week and the kids had a great time, although none of them seem to be fans of blueberries (yet... I'm still working on them!).

This boy!

Love his face in this pic!

This kid. He has my heart!

Oh how I love him so!

This crazy, 8-year-old, faux tattooed girl is all mine! Love her bunches!!

Oh. Right. We went on a family trip to Great Wolf Lodge a few months ago. It was a lot of fun! The kids especially enjoyed this MagicQuest game thing they were able to play throughout the hotel. Oh, and the waterpark was cool, too!

Just my kids being, well, you know, my kids! Goofballs.

Speaking of goofball... here's my handsome hero chilling on the new hammock (LOVE).

The bike that Chase refuses to give up is now the perfect size for his LITTLE brother. I'm hopeful he'll let us get him a new bike for his birthday in a few months...

We went to a cool Make-A-Wish event at a minor league baseball game, which included face painting! I think this is the first time Chase had his face painted! He of course chose Mario! He and LO also were able to run out on the field during the lineup with the center fielder, which was super cool!

Can you believe it? LO chose Rainbow Dash. ;)

Our local museum had a cool exhibit for Magic Tree House books series... and here is LO and Chase dressed like Jack and Annie from the books.

Pretty close, right? Hahaha!

We took this little DUDE rollerskating for his very first time! He did great and really loved it!

This guy clung to the wall almost the entire time. He's not so comfortable with wheels under his feet. We gotta work on that!

I guess that's a pretty good summary on some of the things we've been up to over the past few months. I'm hoping to get back to regular posting on the blog mostly because it's a great reference for me to remember some of the fun we've had as well as to see how the kids are growing up so quickly!

Stay tuned for homeschool updates and maybe even some pics from an upcoming (early) anniversary trip -- just the hubs and I!!! ((insert gasping shock n' awe here))

Summer Catch Up: Beach Edition Part II

In addition to our beach day trip back in June, we recently spent a few days at Myrtle Beach at the end of July. Here are some pics of the kids enjoying the beach as well as the hotel's waterpark. And lots of ice cream, of course. ;)

P.S. I don't know why my watermark is crazy huge on some of these pics... but it's like 1AM and I don't feel like figuring it out right now... ;) Please forgive me!

I'm guessing he saw one of those airplanes with the message thingy behind it. Or maybe just a regular airplane. Or a bird. Or a cloud. Or the moon even. I don't know. This kid really likes to point out things in the sky.

Yes, she was glaring at me. No, I didn't adjust the shadow in iPhoto before posting. #tiredandlazy

Love this girl!

What a rare sight! Three little monkeys in a bed... all smiling and/or not fighting (for a brief moment).

What?! Talk about a rare sighting! Non-prompted sibling love caught on camera! WIN!

Meanwhile, back at the table...

She's buried!

He's buried!

He's buried, too!

Lazy river. My fave.

Okay, so this was Chase after daddy literally forced him to go down the waterslide... something he's refused to do every summer at every other waterpark we've ever visited. For one reason or another, this stubborn little guy has not wanted anything to do with waterslides! He wasn't very happy about the experience.

The next time around (because yes, we, like the amazingly awesome parents we are, forced him to go again even after he was kicking & screaming the first time), this joker was ALL SMILES. We knew he'd love it once he was over the fear and newness of it!

Aaaaaannnnddd... guess what Chase did for the rest of our time at the waterpark?

Over and over...

...and over and over again!

Here's a little panoramic of our view from the 10th floor of our hotel.

I know this is super grainy, but I had to capture the morning snuggles I had with sweet E. He woke up waaaay earlier than we wanted (think 7:00 AM, folks), so I let him cuddle up with me in my bed. It was pure heaven!!!

We ate some ice cream on vacay.

Lots and lots of ice cream.

Our final morning on the beach. I so love this little beauty!

E loved the waterpark, too!

We put our 2-year-old to work on this vacation. He's pretty strong for, well, you know, a 2-year-old. ;)


Surprise! More ice cream!



We had a great time in Myrtle Beach and can't wait to go back again next summer!