Thursday, January 22, 2015

34 Weeks of Clean -- Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers

Last week's 34 Weeks of Clean challenge turned out to be a bigger task than I first thought.

"Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers. No big deal." That is, until Michele included junk drawers in the assignment. I can't argue that our junk drawer isn't in the kitchen, but it's completely on the other side from all the rest of the cabinets.

I jumped in to get the junk drawer out of the way first.

Before:


After:



Since I was already on that side of the kitchen, I continued on and attacked the cabinets above and below the junk drawer. They weren't completely "junk cabinets" but they were teetering awfully close to that description.

Before:



After:



The polish pottery soup tureen looks out of place in the top cabinet, but it holds all of the medicine syringes and makes sense (at least to me) to be there.


A few of the drawers were fairly easy -- one has only a few hot pads and trivets, another has towels and dishrags. My spices were also well organized. I did them one day around Christmas time because they were all out of order and driving me batty. Confession: I have a thing for alphabetical order, and all the little bottles on the bottom shelf were mixed up on the lazy susans.



My biggest challenge was culling through all the miscellaneous kitchen utensils and gadgets that multiplied when I wasn't looking.

In one of the drawers:


Most of the collection gathered in one spot:


Some of them went in the trash, some are set aside for a church garage sale, and some are set-aside in a "just-in-case" basket. I was a bit zealous in paring down things, and I gave myself a small container in a cabinet for things I'm trying to live without. (This way I can rescue them instead of having to buy replacements if I change my mind in a few weeks.)

After:



I pulled out the label maker to put measurements on some faded measuring spoons, and I may have gotten a bit carried away with the labels on the tool turn-about. It's helping to keep some frequently lost items in an easily found spot.


As my final task of Michele's cleaning challenge, I even cleaned out the cleaning supplies under the sink.



While I was taking pictures, I took one more to prove that I was able to maintain a clean, organized pantry for another week in a row. It was a happy morning this week when I realized that Lauren's step stool could fit in there instead of just getting kicked around in the kitchen.




If you'd like to join me with the challenges, you can find Michele's posts on her Family, Faith, and Fridays blog, on the Facebook page, or by clicking the button below. She posts a new challenge every Friday and will also be hosting a weekly link-up for any other bloggers who are brave enough to share pictures of their progress.


©2009-2015 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

H is for How to Get There {Years Ago}

When we moved to Germany years ago, we didn't get a lot of support from Tim's official military sponsor. Thankfully, my parents attend church with another family who had a daughter who had already been living at Ramstein for a few years. She helped me get settled and shared some of the insider tips on living (and traveling) in Europe.


One thing she gave me was a copy of a travel guide written by American Military Wives. I wish I could remember the name of it, but I passed it along to another newcomer when we moved back to the states.

This travel guide had tips about all the important sites to see in (or near) each major European city, which Christmas markets were best for shopping, what restaurants were worth stopping at, and so on.


The funniest thing was the way the directions were written. The section in each listing for the directions was labeled HTGT, which stood for How to Get There. It didn't often include actual distances or even street names. It was a lot like the directions you'd give a girlfriend if you were telling them how to get somewhere.

"Drive on the priority road through town. Turn left at the church. Take that road until you come to a big tree with three rocks nearby. Turn a little past the last rock and go up the hill. The restaurant will be on your left after you pass two brick houses. If you get to the park with the babbling brook, you've gone too far."

Needless to say, we didn't have a great success rate in finding our destinations. 

Every once in a while, I'll start to give Tim vague directions and he accuses me of giving him "How to Get There" directions .


For most of the past year I've been sharing "Years Ago" stories as I've been Blogging through the Alphabet. There are so many stories left to share that I've started over again. This time I'm linking my posts with Kristi at The Potter's Hand Academy

Blogging Through the Alphabet

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Saturday, January 17, 2015

34 Weeks of Clean -- The Pantry

A little over a week ago I sent a picture and this text to a friend, "Because reorganizing the pantry the night before company arrives is a brilliant idea."


I'm working along with Michele on her 34 weeks of Clean and last Friday's challenge was to clean/organize the pantry. Since I knew I was going to be gone all during the week, I jumped in and started on Friday afternoon.


Before:

I need to point out all the tiny bottles of hot sauce on the middle shelf. They were so unstable that the jalapeƱo flavor fell and shattered about a week before the big organization project.



Lessons learned while working:

1. It was a good idea to pull out an extra table to help hold everything that I pulled out of the pantry.

2. It would've been a better idea to wash (and put away the dishes) stacked beside the sink so that I could've used that counter space to hold things.

3. When pulling stuff out of the pantry, it's a bad idea to block the door to the garage -- especially when the stash of extra bins, baskets, etc. are stored out there.

4. There's a working garage door opener in the junk drawer that allowed me to go out the front door and get into the garage.

5. Once I started using Michele's idea to store things in clear glass jars, I may have gotten a little carried away. It's a good thing I could walk around the house to the garage to look for more canning jars.


After:

Obviously my pantry stayed organized for the entire week while we were gone on vacation. It managed to hold up to a big test today, though. I went shopping for a week's worth of groceries, and I could put everything neatly away. I was also able to spend a bit less at the grocery store because I could easily check to see what I didn't need before I went shopping.




This week's cleaning challenge is Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers. I don't have time to work on them this weekend, but I should still be able to finish (and post pictures) before the next challenge is posted on Friday.


If you'd like to join the challenge, you can find Michele's posts on her Family, Faith, and Fridays blog, on the Facebook page, or by clicking the button below. She will also be hosting a weekly link-up for any other bloggers who are brave enough to share pictures of their progress.


©2009-2015 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

First Day Photos {January 2015}

In December, I had several requests to take a picture of Brennan with his eyes open. I tried this month, but it wasn't easy. Tim, Addison, and Brennan had all gone to Phoenix for a New Year's Eve lock-in. When they returned home, Addison and Brennan joined Lauren and some other friends from church to film more scenes for their video Bible drama. They didn't get home until nearly dinnertime; at which point, they were both way past exhausted.

I stayed up on New Year's Eve long enough to see the snowflakes that were predicted to arrive around midnight. The next morning all of town was covered with short-lived, but beautiful snow.

That evening we served our traditional New Year's Day feast -- all the junky finger foods that we didn't get enough of during the holiday season. This year's spread included sausage cheese balls, spinach artichoke dip, chicken-bacon bites, and several Chex mix variations (to account for varying allergy sets).






















If you want to join the first day fun, you can visit Nicole's Journey to Josie blog or click the cute paper airplane button below.


©2009-2015 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

34 Weeks of Clean -- Christmas Decorations

Sometime last December, I was talking about cleaning and organization with some of my homeschooling friends. My friend Michele (also an Air Force wife) decided to start a 34 week long cleaning challenge that will run for most of 2015. Every Friday she posts a new assignment, and my goal is to post some "after" the next week. Our first challenge was to put away all of our Christmas decorations.

We actually did not put up a lot of Christmas decorations this year. It seems like we jumped straight from Thanksgiving to our busy December schedule without much chance to get everything done the way I would've like to. The Christmas tree had taken over the living room, but there really weren't many things to be picked up elsewhere in the house.

Before:



After:



All of the ornaments are now nestled back into their designated storage bins in the garage, and the artificial Christmas tree is sealed back into its plastic storage bag. The pine wreath on our door still looks and smells nice so I haven't had the heart to take it down yet. I'll be able to easily slide the wreath hanger in the top of one bins when I decide that its time for the wreath to go out in the trash.

Once we had packed away the Christmas decorations, I got on a roll and started cleaning the rest of the living room. I even attacked the desk and surrounding area. (Since it's not easily seen from the rest of the house, I tend to ignore the mess that gathers there.)



It feels so nice to have a clean, organized corner of our house. I can't wait to see what next week's challenge brings.


If you'd like to join the challenge, you can find Michele's posts on her Family, Faith, and Fridays blog, on the Facebook page, or by clicking the button below. She will also be hosting a weekly link-up for any other bloggers who are brave enough to share pictures of their progress.


©2009-2015 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Looking Back at 2014

I took a bit of a blogging break over the past week or so just so that I could relax and enjoy the season.

We start back to our regular school schedule and routines on Monday, and this weekend seems like a good time to reflect back on blogging through 2014.

Our big news from 2014 was Tim's deployment to Afghanistan. For security purposes, I didn't post a lot about him being gone, but I happily shared pictures when he returned home.


Much of my blogging was devoted to a weekly "Years Ago" feature where I shared many of the stories that I often tell my children but have never written down. Some of the most popular stories include ones about Lauren's birth, her days in the NICU, and her heart transplant.




In other news, I decided that I was not going to let diabetes stand in the way of me reaching my exercise goals. The score currently stands at Cristi - 2, Diabetes - 0. I won both the sprint triathlon and the half marathon matches this year.





In 2014, I posted reviews of more than thirty different homeschool products, many of them with the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The most popular of those reviews were Spelling You See, Rhythm of Handwriting, and A Stand at Sinai.


I look forward to sharing more stories, more pictures, and
more homeschool products in 2015!


©2009-2015 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

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