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Books…The Hard Desicions

Oh, how I do love books! I think they are one of my most favorite things in the world. When I am not busy, caring for children, cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, spending time outside, sewing, or crafting I am reading ūüôā I love many kinds of books but I have a special place in my heart for children’s books. That is why the kids books have been the hardest part of my simplifying journey. After emptying the book closet I looked at the huge pile of books and wondered, can you have too many books? I have to say my mind had a hard time answering that question, I mean really how can you have too many books! But then I began to think about books from when I was little and one book jumped right out at me.

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My¬†Treasury¬†of Rhymes is a book that my Grandma Violet would read to me and my sisters when we were at her house. She did not have many children’s books from what I can remember but this one I remember well. These pictures and rhymes run through my head to this day. This book is special. We read this book so many times that even as an adult I coan see Curly Locks sitting on her cushion to sew a fine seam and Wynken, Blynken, and Nod sailing off in¬†their¬†wooden shoe. So what made this book so special that I can remember it as an adult? I know, it is because I heard it over and over again, because the pictures are beautiful, because the language is rich,¬†because¬†my Grandma Violet read it too me.

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I want my children to read as many books as pleases them but I also want the books that we own to be special. So after all of that thinking and looking at a big pile of books I made a list. This list helped me figure out what kind of books I wanted to own so that we could weed out the not special books that clutter up the closet.

 

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For a book to be special:

1. It must be a story we all want to read over and over again.

2. If there are pictures they must be beautiful.

3. The language must be rich and the story line/rhymes/poems timeless.

4. They must be something I would want to pass on to my grandchildren.

 

After I made my list I went through the books with the kids and we found the special books. Many fit this all of these categories but many did not so I also made a secondary list for books that were good but not quite special.

For a book to be good:

1. It must be a story we all want to read over and over again.

2. The pictures must be beautiful.

 

These books include easy reader books like the Piggie and Gerald, book that are good now but I wouldn’t save for the grandchildren like The Hippo-Not-Amus, anything Aurthur, and The Magic Tree House Series, and of course non-fiction books as well.

After going through all of the books, picking only the good and special books, I made categories to organize them. I made seasonal groups to bring a certain amount of books out at a time so no one gets overwhelmed  This way that small pile of books can be read over and over again during a season and then they can be put away to make room for a new set of books. The non seasonal books were put on three shelves in small groups to make them easy to look through.

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I put the chapter books and books we are not quiet ready for in Killians closet and I put a group of books aimed more for Delaney in her closet.

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So I did it. I got rid of books and it feels good. The books we want to read are front and center. Now, I wonder which books will be on each kids speical list when they grow up, hmmmm.

 

p.s. The book My Treasury of Rhymes was given to me by my Grandma Violet when Killian was two. I had always wanted the book but never said anything and she gave it to me as a surprise. Now the book is even more special than before and I tell my kids about it whenever we read that book together. That kind of specialness is something I want to pass on to my kids.

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Homemade…Dishwasher Detergent

Well today I ran out of dishwasher detergent and decided to try making my own. I have planned on it for a while now, I even bought the¬†ingredients¬†two weeks ago but just never got around to it. Well I have to say, it is so easy, quick, ¬†inexpensive, and effective. I just finished my second load of dishes and they came out great. I’m sold! So here is the recipe for¬†dishwasher¬†detergent.

 

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1 cup borax

 

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1 cup baking soda

 

 

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1/4 cup salt. (I know I have a 1/2 cup here but I couldn’t find my 1/4 cup anywhere. So I estimated and it worked fine.)

 

 

 

 

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1/4 cup citric acid. (Once again I had to use the 1/2 cup and had to estimate the 1/4 cup.) You can buy citric acid in a jar but I also read you can use sugar free lemonade mix. This brand is from Aldi but you could use any sugar free brand. It worked fine but I think I will be buying the big jar in the future so I have less packaging to throw away.

 

 

 

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30 drops lemon essential oil. I bought mine at the health food store in town.

 

 

 

 

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Put all ingredients in a container and shake to mix. Use 1 Tablespoon per load. If you have hard water you could use 2 Tablespoons. I also used white vinegar as a rinse aid.

Well there you have it. Homemade dishwasher detergent. Enjoy!

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Homemade…Whipped Coconut Oil Moistureizer

Today I wanted to show you what I usually use for a moisturizer, coconut oil. Coconut oil is great, it is natural, absorbs completely into the skin, and smells great.

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But coconut oil can be difficult to use depending on the weather. This time of year in Wisconsin the oil is completely solid. To make it easier to use I whipped it with my stand mixer. I started by scooping half of the coconut oil from the jar into my stand mixer.

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Next I put on the¬†whisk¬†attachment¬†and whipped it until it was smooth and fluffy. I didn’t time it, I just waited until it looked good to me.

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I scooped the whipped coconut oil into a container and put it on my bathroom counter. I use this on my face, lips, and body. I like it and it has helped with some of my eczema problems.

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This is just one way to use coconut oil. This post has some information about why coconut oil is so awesome and how to use it.

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What is Enough?

‚ÄúSimplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.‚Ä̬†‚ÄĒ Charles Dudley Warner

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As I was putting clothes away in Liam’s closet, I realized how many clothes he¬†actually¬†has. ¬†I looked through all of the clothes and thought about where they had all come from. Most came as hand me downs from Killian, some came from other friends with older boys, some came from rummage sales that I couldn’t pass up because they were just too cute. But really, how much is enough? How many clothes does a three year old boy need? Well, that is a hard question to answer exactly but I know it is less then he has in his closet right now.

So today I made piles of all of the pants, all of the short sleeve shirts, all of the¬†underwear, etc…Then I took out any clothes I knew we were done with to send to the resale store. Next I found all of the summer shorts and most of the t-shirts to put in the basement until later. I went through what was left to narrow down how many pieces would make it back into the closet. I looked at the 15 pairs of pants and narrowed them down to 7. I chose 7 because that is at least one a day and I know there are some in the laundry basket right now. So really, there will be more than 7. The left overs I put into the basement pile. I didn’t want to get rid of them completely until I know we really have the right amount. I did this with each pile and now the three piles below are leaving Liam’s room.

 

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This picture shows the clothes that will be going back into the closet. I think it may still be too many.

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After taking the next picture, the closet is looking good. I feel like he has enough clothes and now he does has less too look through.

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I am also hoping that by downsizing the amount of clothes in Liam’s closet, and soon Killian’s and Delaney’s, ¬†I will reduce the amount of laundry I have to do. Less clothes means less in the laundry pile, right? ¬†I know I will be washing the same things more often but there will not be enough to form a gigantic pile if I get behind. I think the other question is if I do get behind will the kids run out clothes? Hmmm….I guess we will see what really is enough.

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Project Simplicity…Laundry Room Complete

Well the laundry/mudroom is complete! This time I had a lot of help from Justin and Killian. They stayed up late into the night assembling a cabinet, putting up shelves, and putting up hangers. The next day I put everything back in the room and I have to say, it is still a lot of stuff in a little space. Now it is much better because there is nothing on the floor, which is very exciting because that was the main problem in the room. With the new storage spaces we have utilized more of the wall space and that has made all the difference.

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Justin and Killian assembling the cabinet that will replaced the white shelves.

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Cabinet in place with a new counter top too! Justin also put up a new wire shelf above the cabinet. We have plans for one more shelf above it. On the right you can see coats hanging. Justin added the lower hanger for the kids coats and snowpants.

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Not a huge change here, but I pared down the cleaning supplies and we added a hanging basket.

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Ahhh, a place for shoes and boots! They used to be piled on the floor but we have gotten most of them onto these shelves. I tried to keep the kids to a pair of boots and one pair of shoes. I have two boots and one pair of shoes in this room and Justin has them same. We also put the grown up snowpants and snowmobile jacket on the back of the door. In the past, these things could not fit and they went, well I¬†don’t’ know just not here. In the hanging bag I have the kids snowmobile gloves and face masks. They bags that used to be here now hang above the bench.

So there you have it. A laundry/mudroom you can walk in and everything that we need packed in as well. Now time for some laundry!

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Little Moments

Some days it really is the little things that count. Today it is smiling faces ūüôā

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Liam

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Delaney

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Killian

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Gaia

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Unexpected Organizing

Today Killian decided that he needs his own room, which is not gonna happen. But still he spent the morning coming up with ways for him to have his own room, for example my craft room, the dinning room, Liam could sleep in the closet, we could construct a wall, you get the picture. All of this led to¬†rearranging¬†the room Liam and Killian share. We decided they could each have a side. Killian already had shelves and a wire to hang pictures on so we did the same for Liam. I found some Liam size shelves and hung a Liam sized wire. Since there are two closets in¬†their¬†room we decided they could each have one. Up until now one was for clothes and the other was for toys and books. I brought the shelves up, hung the wire, and then told Killian I had to make lunch and we could finish up later. Well, he decided to take matters into his own hands and switched the¬†closets¬†all by himself, with a little help from Liam and Delaney. I think he did a pretty good job. Here is a look at Killian’s closet project.

 

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What a disaster! This was on my to do list but it was so easy to close the door and forget about it ūüôā This will become Liam’s closet.

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This is the clothes closet the boys were sharing. This will become Killian’s closet.

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Here is the rest of the clothes closet. Liam’s clothes are on the right hand shelves and in some boxes on the ground.

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The kids are folding all of Liam’s clothes before they go into his new closet.

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Here is Liam’s new closet. There were a few more clothes to put in after the picture but it looks pretty nice. Let’s see how long the books stay on the shleves:)

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Killian now has all of his toys and games in this closet.

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The shelves that held the Liam’s clothes now house Killian’s books.

Killian did a lot of hard work and he was pretty tired by the end. I am glad he took this on himself and proud that he did not complain or rely on me when things were getting difficult. Maybe this will inspire him to keep it clean.

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Project Simplicity…The Next Step

After the great success in the basement I decided to keep rolling and tackle my next enemy, the laundry/mudroom. This would be a fine space for a mudroom or a laundry room but when you put both together it becomes tiny and messy and sometimes you cannot even enter the room. This time of year is especially tough with big coats, snow pants, boots, shoes, accessories for different levels of cold, and snowmobile gear, plus I need to leave space to dry wet things. It is hard to fit it all in but fit it all in I must. I started this step by again clearing everything out of the room and here is how it looks.

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There was a white shelving unit in the open space that held shoes, socks, and other miscellaneous things.

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As you can see I did not take everything off the shelves this time. The snowmobile helmets will stay and the laundry detergent and some of the other cleaners will stay too.

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The back of the door holds bags, shoes go on the floor, and before someone ripped the hangers off the wall, all of the kids had coats hanging there. Do you like those rips in the drywall :/

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Now for all of the things I took out of the laundry/mudroom. Here we have the shelves from the corner and baskets of things that used to be hanging or on the floor.

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Oh yes, one more basket of hanging things and more baskets.

So now that the room is cleared out and I am ready for the task of getting almost all of these things back into the small room without chaos¬†ensuing. We have some new shelving planned along with a cabinet and more hanging space. It will take some good organizing skills but I am confidant I can make it fit ūüôā At least for now I can get to the washing machine, better start another load while I can!

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