Sunday, December 26, 2010

We Are Back!!!!!

Happy Holidays everyone! we are celebrating so much here! After a few very difficult and sad months, we have gone back (mostly) to our old plan. I have left my baking job and now have 3 of my 4 boys home with me,Homeschooling again. (My 12 YO has chosen to stay in school. it is a wonderful school and it is, at this point, his choice) No more tears (well ok that might be reaching) and no more broken hearts. I will try to post again on a regular basis. We are very excited about our first lesson unit. it will be dinosaurs.(hmmmm who chose that one??) We will be sticking with a somewhat Waldorf style. lots of creating, lots of rhythm lots of gentle loving days. Indigo is beyond happy. This is truly where he wants to be...ME TOO!! My husband is so wonderful to change his plans. I guess seeing his family so unhappy was too much. For the next week we will be playing and knitting,and resting and decompressing. I would love to know what you all have planned for your new year. I have truly missed my internet friends. I just felt I had to remain quiet until I again had something nice to share. I want this blog to be a happy space. So... We are home......It's been too long. Thanks for sticking with us.-paula

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trying to adjust

I don't think things could be much more different here. Mike is in school full time so I am working early morning. I work 4 days 5:30 AM to 11:30 am. I bake for our local coffee shop. It's really the perfect job for me. I have a good amount of creative freedom with what I bake. The cafe is super cute and the customers, for the most part, are awesome. The problem is that I just feel a bit overwhelmed with trying to balance everything. I am also a little sad about not being home full time and homeschooling the kids. The three oldest seem to be adjusting very well. My six year old tells me constantly he "loves school!" So that is good. My little guy is at a little Montessori pre-school. It's great. His behavior at home however has been steadily declining. I just know its because of the constant going going going. The fact is there is nothing I can do about any of it right now. This is how it has to be for a while. Job options aren't plentiful in Rural Maine and I am very lucky to have what I do. I don't think different hours would make a huge difference any way. I've done the night thing before. It's really no better. To top it all off, Mike rolled his van a few weeks ago (he is absolutely fine, thank God) so we only have one car. Luckily I can walk to work and the schools, Everything else is 25 minutes away. It is just virtually impossible to be here (rural Maine) without a car. Ya know, just to add to the chaos. This whole thing is a means to an end and will not be forever. I just have to keep telling myself that.

Now that the whining is through.....We had a pretty great year with our little bitty new garden at the new place. Tons of tomatoes and carrots. We have just brought in the GIANT sunflowers to dry. The boys can't wait for the seeds. And there are just a few more bunches of carrots to grab. Next year we will go bigger. Our yard is huge so plenty of room.

The view here is amazing right now. We are at peak foliage here. The mountains across from our house look gorgeous. I still look out constantly and state how lucky we are to live here. People come from all over the world to see this view. Leaf Peepers, we call them. But we get to see it every day.

We are making apple butter in the crock pot today. Smells so good! We have also found an awesome source of local raw honey. Like right here on our street local. I am fascinated by the variations in the honey from season to season. Both in color and taste. Pretty remarkable what those little guys do. We are contemplating getting hives next year. It will just depend on how "under control" things are around here.

We have started some minor work to the house. We pulled out the hearth and woodstove. We just don't have room in the house right now. We also had an energy audit and a ton of insulation and weatherization done. Should make a big difference in our heating costs. We have also started painting rooms and are planning to build new front stairs this weekend with the recycled bricks from the hearth. I am excited about halloween. I am just a little nervous about getting everyone's costumes done.

I have also been knitting a little. I started a little Stitch and Bitch group with some other girls in the area. We had our first get-together last night. It is likely we did more eating than knitting but I really needed the girl time. Working at the cafe, I have met a ton of new, wonderful, people and I am thrilled to be able to hang out with them when I am off the clock.

All right then. I Would love any advice from you working Mom's out there. Any moms really. How do you do it all? Do you sleep? Maybe that is the problem? Now I am off to do some laundry so as not to send the boys to school Naked tomorrow.

Friday, July 30, 2010

We've Moved!!

So, Sorry sorry sorry! Things have been truly nuts here! We bought our first house! (more on the house later) Then the week we passed papers, my husband was unable to find work and was out of work for 3 months!! he's self employed and it happens, but the timing really sucked! So, i guess i had nothing good to say and chose to spare you all and keep my mouth shut! Things are better now. Still behind, but at least he is working. So much has changed in just a few months. We moved to an amazing little town. We are within walking distance to everything downtown which has been so different and really great! The boys love it! The dogs....not so much. I don't think I realized how the isolation was affecting me until we were moved. We have a huge yard, around an acre. lots of garden space. no, it's not 186 acres, but it is ours and comes free of dealing with others and all of their issues. Our payment is also less than our rent! The other big change may come as a shock to many. My boys are going back to public school this fall...........It's a big one, I know! My stomach flips just thinking about it. We spent a lot of time investigating the local school. It's 4 doors down from our house. The principal spent 2 hours with us answering all of our questions. He is really awesome. the average classroom size is 15!!!!!!! just 12 in Harland's class. I could go on and on trying to explain why, but, it just feels right for now. We have big future plans which involve two parents as full time students, So I would not be here next year any way. Honestly, we have cut all possible corners, and, well, we are barely getting by. I need to work for a while and finish my nursing degree so I can make a little money. We may go back to homeschooling at some point. I still love it and am a huge supporter! We ultimately left the decision up to the boys and they are very excited. I feel nervous, like nauseous nervous, but i won't tell them. I am also feeling mighty sad, but i will keep that to myself as well. We are giving this a shot and will take it one day at a time. I'll keep you updated.
Forrest (15) has been away for the summer at Upward bound. It's a summer program at the local college for bright, college bound kids. He loves it! He does come home on the weekends, but i still miss him terribly.
Gaynor(12) got braces! he has a major issue with a tooth not coming in so they are working to fix that. He looks so grown up. He will be taking both drum and steel drum lessons this fall as well as skiing with school. He has been placed in the advanced math program and is talking about joining the high school math team. He definitely did not get this math gift from his mother! His only question is how he will find enough time to read a novel a day like he does now! ha ha!
Harland(6) got glasses, he tells everyone he looks just like Harry Potter! He is also wearing a patch on his strong eye for a few hours every day to strengthen his weak eye. It was a challenge at first but going fine now. Harland is very very excited about the first grade. this will be his first time in public school. He will also be skiing twice a month with school this winter. He has been super into skate boarding lately and seems to be a natural. Imagine how happy his dad is!
Indigo (3 in 3 weeks) is growing up way WAY too fast. Potty trained in 3 days! This is soooo unbelievable to me! 2 of my other 4 were very challenging to train so this was a huge gift for me. I am working on his birthday sweater and crown (will post pics at some point). One good thing about public school is i will have lots of one on one time with my buddy. something we almost never have. The boys are at camp this week so I got a glimpse at how my days will be this fall. Honestly, I am all ready reminded of how I hate the morning rush!!! I am working on a plan to cut down the stress. Other than that, I have to say, so far, having just one is rather breezy! I imagine my house might actually be clean for a minute. Too Quiet, but clean! Ok I'm off for now. I am going to my sister's this weekend....ALONE!!!! to make soap and deodorant and toothpaste. I missed you all and I'm back to stay. Tell me what you all have been up to!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's Official!

Ok so crazy hectic but, I wanted to share that we have purchased our first house! We are in the process of moving and will be off line for a few. But, when I get back, I'll tell you all about it! I'm excited, scared, happy, nervous you name it! See you all soon

Monday, April 5, 2010

Breastfeeding Welcome Here

Saw this article on Yahoo this morning and couldn't resist posting it. As a Lactation Counselor, fighting big business at ever turn while trying to help new moms nurse their babies successfully, I am secretly thrilled someone is finally relating Successful breastfeeding to saving money on a large scale! its about time! Sad that it takes this to initiate big changes, but I will focus on the "big changes" and ignore the $$$$$$$.

By LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner, Ap Medical Writer – 1 hr 53 mins ago

CHICAGO – The lives of nearly 900 babies would be saved each year, along with billions of dollars, if 90 percent of U.S. women breast-fed their babies for the first six months of life, a cost analysis says.

Those startling results, published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics, are only an estimate. But several experts who reviewed the analysis said the methods and conclusions seem sound.

"The health care system has got to be aware that breast-feeding makes a profound difference," said Dr. Ruth Lawrence, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics' breast-feeding section.

The findings suggest that there are hundreds of deaths and many more costly illnesses each year from health problems that breast-feeding may help prevent. These include stomach viruses, ear infections, asthma, juvenile diabetes, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and even childhood leukemia.

The magnitude of health benefits linked to breast-feeding is vastly underappreciated, said lead author Dr. Melissa Bartick, an internist and instructor at Harvard Medical School. Breast-feeding is sometimes considered a lifestyle choice, but Bartick calls it a public health issue.

Among the benefits: Breast milk contains antibodies that help babies fight infections; it also can affect insulin levels in the blood, which may make breast-fed babies less likely to develop diabetes and obesity.

The analysis studied the prevalence of 10 common childhood illnesses, costs of treating those diseases, including hospitalization, and the level of disease protection other studies have linked with breast-feeding.

The $13 billion in estimated losses due to the low breast-feeding rate includes an economists' calculation partly based on lost potential lifetime wages — $10.56 million per death.

The methods were similar to a widely cited 2001 government report that said $3.6 billion could be saved each year if 50 percent of mothers breast-fed their babies for six months. Medical costs have climbed since then and breast-feeding rates have increased only slightly.

About 43 percent of U.S. mothers do at least some breast-feeding for six months, but only 12 percent follow government guidelines recommending that babies receive only breast milk for six months.

Dr. Larry Gray, a University of Chicago pediatrician, called the analysis compelling and said it's reasonable to strive for 90 percent compliance.

But he also said mothers who don't breast-feed for six months shouldn't be blamed or made to feel guilty, because their jobs and other demands often make it impossible to do so.

"We'd all love as pediatricians to be able to carry this information into the boardrooms by saying we all gain by small changes at the workplace" that encourage breast-feeding, Gray said.

Bartick said there are some encouraging signs. The government's new health care overhaul requires large employers to provide private places for working mothers to pump breast milk. And under a provision enacted April 1 by the Joint Commission, a hospital accrediting agency, hospitals may be evaluated on their efforts to ensure that newborns are fed only breast milk before they're sent home.

The pediatrics academy says babies should be given a chance to start breast-feeding immediately after birth. Bartick said that often doesn't happen, and at many hospitals newborns are offered formula even when their mothers intend to breast-feed.

"Hospital practices need to change to be more in line with evidence-based care," Bartick said. "We really shouldn't be blaming mothers for this."


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Where did she go?

ok so it may seem as if I have fallen off the face of the earth. Not true. You know how when you have something important and big going on, you find you can't talk (or think) about anything else??? Well, that is why I shall remain quiet for a few more weeks. Just send my you positive energy, it can't hurt.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fiber LOVE................

So many ideas for this gorgeous gift of yarn from South America.....but i think i need to go with Sarah's idea of a lap blanket. We all snuggle under blankets when we watch movies or listen to stories and this will allow everyone to share and enjoy our gift. looks like it will knit up pretty quick. can't wait to see it finished.

Monday, February 1, 2010

One Small Change,,,,,,,,or a few small changes

So it's time to tell about our family's change for February. It has ended up we have made a few changes here so I will talk about them all. First, I will again warn there will be words about feminine hygiene products, not interested? skip this post.

So first off we bought an awesome drying rack for clothes.(did you notice the tarp with all the dirt? pretty awesome huh? try not to be jealous. Here in Maine we had 6 straight -yes literally, weeks of rain this summer. This has made for some wet fire wood. We have to bring grips of it indoors to dry before we can burn it. As a bonus, when we first bring it in, we are blessed with usually about 10 mosquitoes, as if all the bugs in the spring and summer weren't bad enough) we normally hang clothes to dry in the good whether. But lets face it, cloths dry rather slowly when its below zero outside. So, basically my dryer runs all day. I imagine it is a huge chunk of the electric bill. Drying racks have never before entered the picture for two reasons. one, they are tiny and I do three loads of laundry a day, really they would be pretty useless here. Also, I see one and immediately think "that thing is so flim-flam, it will be broken within the week. Sorry, but things break here. 4 boys, 2 puppies! Well we found a giant GIANT Maine made high quality one at our local small time department store. I love it! it fits about 2 loads of laundry at a time. And thanks to the wood stove, they dry quite fast. It also helps add moisture to our house. The wood stove makes it very dry. I have not run my dryer since Friday. I think this should make quite a difference in our electric bill. Next month we will likely buy a second one and that should eliminate all dryer use.

Next, I started the family cloths. I did cheat a little and purchase them, but I knew if I had to sew them, it would never happen. So I went to my trusted Cloth diapering site and bought organic cotton terry wipes. Only 20 for now. They are not cheap! I also made it optional. They are there for those who choose to use them. I'm guessing that will make 4 cloth wipe users(one during diaper changing) and two toilet paper lovers. I can understand. I likely would have run away if my mom tried this when I was 15. I think they will come around eventually. I also explained that if we end up building a house and using an outhouse, they will have to use them. If you want more info, click the one small change link to the right. Basically for us, we keep a cloth washable water proof bag(also from that site) in the bathroom for used wipes. Then, I will take the bag, dump it into the wash with the diapers (the bag as well) and wash it up. I do one cycle cold cold no soap (I sometimes add 1/4 cup baking soda) and then one cycle hot/cold with my o-nature-l detergent. This is the only "hot" wash I run here.

While on the Nurtured Family Sight, I also bought cloth menstrual pads. They are almost too pretty to use! They too will go right in with my cloth diapers which I wash about every other day. I have been using the Diva cup for about 6 months now and am very happy with it, but wanted these to supplement it's usage. This diva cup is pretty awesome. I'm not going to get into detail of its use, but do check it out. It takes a little getting used to, but other than that it's pretty great.

So those are our February changes.

On a side note, our good friends returned from their three week honeymoon to South America and brought us the best gifts! Totally unexpected, and totally loved! I will show some fiber love later this week. Damn we missed those two! Seems like it was three months!

Friday, January 29, 2010

lest you think i haven't got anything under control with less and using what you've got.

so i have a lot i want to do, but there are some things i have been working on for years. At this point, we are trying hard to pay off all of our debt. It's been tough, a lot of ups and downs, but we are getting there. Ideally we want to buy a home with out a mortgage. But, that is a post for another time. Today I will talk about the raising kids on a ultra tight (that's an understatement) budget.

There are the more obvious things, cloth diapers, cloth napkins, everything homemade and from scratch. This is where you see how "green" and "frugal" go hand in hand. We also buy in bulk and are trying to buy more this way. The first thing for us was oats. we eat oatmeal every day for breakfast, all six of us. When I get too many complaints, I make granola, but they eat twice as much. So we buy 50lb bags of organic rolled oats. We bought food grade barrels with lids to store it in. We also buy 50lb bags of Maine grown organic whole wheat pastry flour. The pastry acts more like an all-purpose, we do still mix for some recipes. We also are lucky enough to have an awesome health food store that will order just about anything in bulk at a 10% discount. So we get cases of Silk yogurt, we eat about 4-6 quarts a week. A yogurt maker is in our future but the art of making soy yogurt has yet to be perfected. We also now buy our laundry detergent in bulk. A 3 gallon bucket of an all natural bio-degradable cedar smelling laundry detergent made by a local family of 7. it works out to I think about 15cents per load. It's called o-natur-l and it was designed by this mom for her baby with extreme exema, so you know it's gentle. I love it, does great with diapers too. this week I will be ordering Chick peas, lentils and black beans. The bonus, along with savings is not running out of food. The weather can be wacky here. Its like -12 right now and then there is the snow. You don't want to get caught with a storm coming and no food.

Now for entertainment, here are the boys bean pictures,

and here is indigo playing in the left over beans like a sand box. Use what ya got and get creative. Check this out....
ya we eat a lot of yogurt and our town won't recycle the containers, i can't bare to throw them out.
We are trying to cut way back on videos so we have been borrowing books on CD from the library. AAAHHH the library, the most frugal, green entertainment ever. We try to get to story time every other week. and books come home with us, lots of books. Ok so here is a list of simple easy things to get you going on the greenugal (ya, thats green and frugal, I know! I am quite clever) road to a better life.

cloth napkins and rags (seriously, how many paper towels do you think a family of 6 would go through!) we bought ours at thrift store over time, quite an ecletic collection! I have also made them as gifts pretty quick to sew up

cloth diapers, even buying a few and trying part time would make a huge difference

no plastic bags (like ziplock sandwich bags) we use containers for everything, trash free lunches for mike when ever possible.

high quality long johns or "base layer" if your young and hip, did this one throw ya? Well clearly this is only if you live in a climate like mine, cold! and about six months of it! but i really REALLY like to be warm so in order to cut down on the wood we burn, i wear long johns, I mean a silk or wool base layer every day. The boys wear high performance synthetic (it's cheaper and washes very well, someday I will step them up to wool but the budget does not allow it right now)

So there are a few things we do here that you can try. so many more and so little time My next post will be my February One small change post. Please, be prepared for some over sharing! If you don't want to talk Feminine hygiene or worse, steer clear. until then here is a pantry minestrone recipe. sooooo yummy!

2 onions chopped
4-6 cloves of garlic pressed or minced
3 tbls olive oil
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
3 carrots chopped
1 can kidney beans
1 1/2 cup small shell pasta
1 tbl oregeno
1 tbl basil
1 tbl thyme
fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste
1/2 of a 120z bag of frozen chopped spinach
64 oz of veg broth or water

saute carrots, onions and garlic in oil in large stock pot until soft, add spices saute for 3 more minutes add all ingredients except pasta, simmer for 30 minutes to 3 hours, add past and cook until pasta is tender, about 10-15 minutes serve with homemade bread. n

you could make this in the crock pot too, just wait on the pasta until about 30 minutes before serving

Saturday, January 16, 2010

how it's going so far..... and Goal # 4

Well, The de-cluttering is going great. I find it easier and easier to part with things. Honestly, the hardest part is what to do with it. Let's face it, some of it is just junk. No one wants it. I hate to throw anything away. Socks! this has been the biggest one. I have simplified by buying each child many pairs of the same socks, each child's socks are different from the next. This way I don't pair anything, I just stack them, or put them in a basket. No more matching. But, unfortunately, I went through several different types of socks before I found ones that would stand up to my boys. So I have about a billion stray socks, many with one little hole in them. Lets just say, we have plenty of rags now. I have 3 full trash bags of clothes to go to one of the three local non profit thrift stores. We have recycled or burned sooo much paper. Paper is a real issue here. I am looking for suggestions, homeschooling and drawings are our biggest problem. I was thinking about slates, like little house in the prairie? but realistically how many math problems can be done at a time. I have started to limit how much drawing the littles do. They love it, but they are not very mindful of how much paper they go through at 2 and 6 years old. Truth be told, they would just assume play in the sink or draw in salt on a tray.
goal # 2, inner peace. It's going quite well. ok, a good amount of the time it is. Still a long road ahead, that is for sure. I am trying to have 5 minutes to sit quietly in the AM. unfortunately, I am pretty convinced my sitting up, silently, on my bed, sets of some type of alarm in Indigo's head ( he sleeps in the next room mind you, not with us). Then the shouting starts, "MOM, MOM! M O M!". This makes it tougher to "concentrate on the breath". Its a work in progress.
Goal # 3 ...I am pretty proud of myself here. Probably seems silly, but it is really hard for me. I have realized I have three addictions, The computer, Sugar and raw carrots. Clearly raw carrots is one I can live with, 2 lbs a day on average and haven't turned orange yet, The sugar, I am working on it, But the computer, I have only slipped twice with the no computer before 1:00 pm rule, and it started with turning it on to pay a quick bill, or check the balance in the checking account. then comes downward spiral into " did i get on this web page?" and an hour has gone by. But then I get right up and shut it off. Two days this week I did not turn it on at all. Can't wait to see if my electric bill goes down.
I have been cooking more on the wood stove. On sunny days I really can't. It just gets too hot in here. Not really complaining, as it is often below freezing outside and 72 inside!

Now for goal #4...........Saying YES. I just seem to say no so much. I will still be saying no to TV and Wii and computer usage in the middle of week days. But hopefully I will get back to a place where I say yes to playing, yes to having help with all things in the kitchen, even by a two year old, yes to a picnic in the snow,

yes to helping build an igloo, "A REAL IGLOO" and yes to more stories and games. That is the idea.

On a side note, I am feeling neglected in the comments area! I can see that I am getting lots of visitors, but not many messages. Ummmm, I have no shame here in saying, "talk to me" What are you up to at your place. And if you are new here, introduce yourself, I want to know who is out there! I want to check out your blogs! Dare I declare anti-stalking day!!! come out from behind your computer and say Hello!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Goal # 3...

One Small Change

this is an idea that some moms put together to get us all hopping on the green wagon. I think it is an awesome motivator. Lots of other families making small changes, one at a time to improve our world and our lives. So I got all excited, then I couldn't think of anything to do. Most of the suggestions listed are things we are already doing. Bringing bags to the store, cloth diapers, composting, etc. Family cloths is something that is going to take a little convincing here, especially with a teen and tween, who already looked at me like I had 3 heads when I merely mentioned the idea. I'm hoping to make this our February change. So, what to do, what to do. Well here is what I came up with. It might be cheating, but I came up with a way to incorporate this into my goals for the new year. So in the spirit of halving our clutter, I will be halving our computer time. This is our one electric vice, More often than not, we turn it on in the AM and shut it off before bed. It is our music, our way to pay bills, how we communicate with friends and family, my sometimes baby sitter, (Bob The Builder anyone?) We use it,,,,,,A LOT. So, starting today, during the week (Mike may not cooperate on the weekends) We will not turn the computer on until 1:00 pm. I will also try to find two days a week to not turn it on at all. It's small i know, but huge for us. And, lets face it, this is going to do big things for our family and my lack of time. As a bonus, I will be trying to cook 1/2 of all meals on and in the wood stove. This is sometimes tough as I usually make dinner around 3 pm and that is when the sun is strongest and warmest in the house and we don't usually burn wood at this time. Breakfast should be no problem if I get my butt (or mike's butt) out of bed to stoke the fire before oatmeal goes on. So there it is, Goal #3 and one small change. Click the link and join in. Let me know if you get on board with this.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Goal # 2.......

Bring Back My Inner Peace. There have been two stretches of time when I felt like I really had it together. One of which was when we lived in Tennessee. As I mentioned, I'm sure part of the reason for all the peace was the great lack of "stuff". But I also had a sort of calm there that I have never had before and haven't had since. I was meditating almost daily(this might mean 3 minutes, and sometimes I was lucky to get that with 3 home schooled boys and one on the way) and I spent a lot of time focusing on my new found spirituality. I have searched and researched and tried all sorts of forms of religion or spirituality and finally felt something click when I discovered Kabbalah. It just made sense to me. I am a firm believer of "to each their own" I am very happy for, sometimes even envious of, my friends and others who are so sure and solid in their faith. It seems to be harder for me to find it and stick to it. Any way, the point is, I need that feeling back.
Some things have been going on here. not quite ready to discuss them out loud, but lets just say circumstances that our out of our control are beginning to have quite an effect on our lives. It is taking a toll on me mentally. I suddenly have headaches almost daily and the mere mention of certain people and or situations starts my blood boiling and brings on the anger. This is really not like me. And quite frankly, I hate the feelings I am having. The worst part is, it effects my home live and my interactions with my boys. Mostly, I just feel like I am not fully present in what we are doing, and, ok, I am yelling a lot more. It's stinky. So....It needs to go. So I dug out my Kabbalah books and cds and have started at the beginning. I already feel better but I have a lot more work to do.
Its a big one, but so far so good. I just miss being able to recover from bad feelings quickly. I still can't keep other people's issues from interfering with my family's life, but I can stop it from sending me into a downward spiral that can last a day or longer. I can keep it from taking my focus away from what I am doing at the moment. I can help to send the tension away from our home quickly and quietly. I have come across this sign multiple times on blogs in the past few weeks. I think it should be another new mantra around here. I have also got my, often angry, tween reading The Celestine Prophecy and listening to the Power Of Kabbalah, I hope he can get something from it. I'm afraid he is heading down a long and cranky tantrum filled road. Maybe I will glue the above sighn to his forehead? hope you all are finding peace in the new year. We are searching hard here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Goal number one.............

Cut our "stuff" in half! Yes HALF!

A few years ago, when we moved from Massachusetts to Tennessee, we had to transport everything ourselves. This led to a mass purge of stuff. It was strangely freeing and fun! We set up a table in front our home and gave it all away. yes, for free! It was great entertainment and felt good. My only regrets...the big television, I'm still not sure how that happened. The pogo stick, this has been a sore spot with a certain child ever since. It was an accident. And lastly the big furniture I actually left at the apartment. My kitchen set, it was a steal at $50 and I don't think I realized how pricey they really are! My TV table, mostly because Mike made it for me and I loved it! And the Ethan Allen living room set mike rescued from a fire rehab job. It was awesome! The fact is, these things just wouldn't fit. Other than that, the "stuff" I don't miss a thing! I've been thinking about it a lot, then seeing photos of a certain SIL's spotless and "stuff free" home was the the straw that broke this camels back! So it's time, time to do it again. This week I cleaned the big boys room with them. We put the bunk beds back together and moved the dogs crates into the room. We set up good work spaces for school and are working on a simple clothes system. I am thinking 9 or 10 outfits hung on hangers, everything else goes? these are boys remember, they would wear pjs all day if i let them! Does any one else have something that works for them? I will admit to being frustrated all ready as they simply refuse to pick up after themselves. But, if I pause and think back to My bed room and Mikes, during our teenage years, ummmm, I guess I have nothing to say. I just want more peace and less chaos for them. I truly understand how hard it is to concentrate with all that crap, I mean stuff everywhere. So I am working on a control journal for them. Its a fly lady thing. Check lists of basic things to do in the morning and at night to keep it all under control. They are less than thrilled, but it should help. They were great about getting rid of stuff. We packed up the books in boxes(book hoarding is a family disorder and I don't expect them to just change their DNA) we are just storing them for now. less distractions ya know? Thew were able to part with posters, endless paper and even Lego creations (this was a hard one) they went back into the Lego box with a deal of one creation on the desk per week. It took all day, and nothing else got done. Luckily we have MRS P to keep one kid busy, the other little, well, he took advantage of the absence of supervision to dump out anything and everything he could get his hands on.
Next I worked on the play room. I have been working towards truly simplifying this area. So I ousted the remainder of the plastic toys with a few exceptions. All train sets stay. I packed them into crates in the closet. I also kept the plastic animals, these are a favorite and the wooden versions are absolutely out of our budget for the time being. Then I hit the books. Why is this so hard for us? We go to the library weekly! I boxed up about 3/4's of what was in this room. I kept our favorites and special gifts. We listed our toy storage shelf free on craigslist and were able to find a local teacher who was thrilled to get it. She is also taking the books and toys. That makes me happy. I know just how much teachers have to buy out of their own pockets and these are good toys. They will now have a good home. The kids are loving all of the space and there were no complaints about the missing toys. Interestingly, even with the few toys available, they still can completely trash the place, and fast! The good news is, everything has a place, so they can also clean it up!

Today, I will tackle the art/school shelves. I am trying to work towards each child having their own high quality pencils and crayons in a homemade case. This will help them to appreciate them. It will also help with the constant stream of broken and lost crayons, pencils and markers all over the house! so my new mantra ....LESS IS MORE LESS IS MORE LESS IS MORE.
What are you all working on for the new year? Does any one else feel that January 1st is officially, "start over day"?