Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Getting Organized...the Laundry Room

To make myself feel good I took some pictures of some of the 'organizing' projects I've completed so far.

The [To Do List]
I started out by making my 'to do' list. (Scott is always making fun of me because I have so many lists around the house. I admit I am a list addict.) This is a magnetic chalk board I have so I printed out the projects I wanted to get done, put a little magnet on the back of each slip of paper, and put it up on my board. I can't describe the joy it brings me to move a slip of paper from the 'to do' to the 'done' column. (I know its kind of weird, but I love it.)

Status: [DONE]
I should have taken a before picture, but this room had gotten out of control. All the counters were covered, and my utility sink was filled with dirty clothes. It was embarrassing. It also drove me crazy every time I walked through it. It had been like that for two weeks, but look at it now.

[The Mommy Cabinet]
Above my utility sink is this cabinet. Its my 'Mommy Cabinet.' I have everything organized so that when I am packing my diaper bag I don't have to run all over the house looking for the things I need. All my books are on the left. I have bottle/formula items next to the books. On on the far right hand side of that bottom shelf I have my food/water bin. That is where I pull my on the go snacks from so I always remember to have something for the kids to snack on while we are out. On the top shelf all the way to the left I have my diaper/wipe basket. Next to that is my weather basket. It has everything from sunscreen to swim diapers to lotion to aloe vera to sun glasses etc... Finally all the way to the right on the top is my toys bin. Its where I store all the toys I would possibly want to take with me in the diaper bag. When I come home from a trip out and about I unload the contents of my diaper bag into the different bins and fold the bag up and put it on the top shelf next to the toys. That way I only am taking with me what I need. I created the mommy cabinet a few months ago, and have been loving how its worked for me. Its helped me stay organized and get out the door faster. Which is a must when you have so many little kids in tow.

[Laundry Room Nook]
Here is another nook I have in my laundry room. I put a hook up to hang my purse on which helps free up counter space. The basket to the left is my take back/return basket. Its where I put things I need to return to the store or a person. Its right by the garage door so I try to look at it before I leave to see if there is anything I can return while I'm out. Next to that is my mail/paper trays. It helps me sort papers I need to look at and papers I need to file. Next to that are some important binders. One is my central binder that I am still trying to finish up. Its going to be where all my emergency information is located and other important family papers are. Next to it is a binder that hold lists and notes. It has all the notes I've taken from my readings, and my plans for me and my family. I also have a couple of spiral bound notebooks there that I need to go through and figure out what to do with them. They have random notes and lists I've made over the years. Now I have to figure out if I want to keep them and then if I do what to do with them.

[The Board]
Its hard to see, but a great tip I learned from an organizing gal was to use this magnetic board I have in my laundry room to organize my gift cards. So I finally did it. I put little strips of magnets on the back of all my gift cards and a couple of coupons I want to remember to use and put it up on my board that I see right before I get in the car. Hopefully this will help me actually use them!!

More organizing projects to come...

More Backyard photos

I know I've said this in other posts but I LOVE LOVE LOVE our backyard. Its only been done for a month or so, and just this week we are finally getting our backyard furniture all put together. Which is really exciting. We've been married almost 11 years and I've never had backyard furniture. Oh and we also purchase a grill (we've never had one of those either).

Today I decided to go take pictures now that its starting to look like a real backyard so I will have them for posterity. LOL!

Here's a picture of the swing set we got that has built in misters. We have really loved that feature, and have used it lots during this hot Arizona summer. I have to admit sometimes I wish we would have gotten a pool instead, but as soon as I remind myself that with the mister system I don't have to worry about someone drowning I'm glad we didn't. With so many little kids right now I'd be a nervous reck with a swimming pool in the backyard.

Did you notice our sunken trampoline in the back there? LOVE that...the basketball hoop next to it has been worth every cent as well. Scott had to do a little convincing to get me to agree to that, but I am SO glad I did.
Our little track that goes around the backyard. I love how curvy and un-uniformed it is. Also I am loving our raised planters and can't wait to fill them up this fall with lots of colorful flowers.
Here is one of the fountain and *new* sitting area. We found those cool chairs and sofas at Target. I love Target. My mom had our four oldest in the mountains so we were able to spend an entire Saturday looking for the perfect outdoor furniture set. When we finally found these we new they were for us. I love everything about them. One of my favorite things is that the two chairs rock!!
Here's another one. To be honest I was just playing around with depth of field on this one...trying to be artistic. Not sure it worked out so well. I have a long ways to go on improving my photography skills.

A Perfect Night

So its 10:10 and we are still up (I mean the kids and all). Does that make me a bad mom? Oh well if it does...sometimes its worth breaking the rules! Anyway like I said the kids and Scott are still playing in the backyard I came inside because I just had to blog these pictures and tell you about the perfect night its been.

We had Mac 'N Cheese for dinner which most of you would say how in the world can that be part of a 'perfect night.' I say it was because everyone ate their entire plate with no complaints. PERFECT!! Then we ate pop cinnamon rolls for dessert. Can you say delicious?

Then for the next two hours we've been playing outside in our backyard. Its probably only 90 so it feels cool to us compared to the 100 degrees its been hitting during the day. Our evening outside began with Cooper challenging me to a race around our backyard track. What a crack up! I totally lost...I am so completely out of shape. However that is going to change soon. (More details on my weight loss/get in shape plan soon.) Then everyone got into the races. Eventually we got more sophisticated and pulled out the stop watch and started timing everyone. It was pretty funny when Jarom and Scott's time were the same. I guess Mom and Dad both need to get in shape.
(above: the kids cutting out their newly invented cardboard Frisbees.)

The races ended abruptly when Scott threw a piece of cardboard (from our patio furniture boxes) like a Frisbee and it went over the back fence (its a green belt thank goodness). All the kids thought that sounded like fun and started making their own cardboard Frisbees. Eventually we all ended up riding bikes around the backyard track again. Oh what a perfect night!! We all had a ball and enjoyed eachothers company so much. That is what you call good old fashion fun. (Oh the backyard was even more fun thanks to our patio speakers that were playing John Mayer. He is our favorite chill singer right now. Scott and I think everything is better with a little back ground music.)
Hyrum getting ready to throw his new cardboard Frisbee...

The follow through...Watching in awe as the cardboard Frisbee flies...
Cooper getting ready to launch his Frisbee...
Watch out here come a determined Frisbee thrower... Doesn't Cooper look a bit angry no I think its more determined...right?
Here's the crew getting ready to launch their newly made cardboard Frisbees across the backyard...
I loved this picture. Even though its not totally in focus its so great to capture their reaction after they threw the pieces of cardboard. Don't they look happy!! I think its so funny that we spend hundreds of dollars on expensive toys and then our kids end up playing with the remains of the cardboard boxes the backyard furniture came it.
I had to get a couple of Scott working on finishing up putting the chairs together. What a great husband!! He's determined to get our backyard looking like a million dollars.
Here is another one of Scott working on the chairs. The reason I put this on here is because he's looking up at the kids standing on our upstairs balcony throwing the cardboard Frisbees off into the backyard. Isn't that funny...the things kids think of.
Look at all that cardboard. Want to make a cardboard Frisbee? I think we have enough to make one for everyone in our neighborhood. To bad that won't happen. First thing we are doing once we get Scott's truck back is taking a load to the dump to get rid of all the packaging from our new backyard furniture.
This is kind of random picture, but I thought it was so cute I had to post it. Hyrum is showing me his new Frisbee creation. I just love how you can only see his little eyes peering over it.
And how could the perfect night end without Megan licking the frosting off the cinnamon roll pan, getting yet another drink of water, and doing a final good night pose. I love Megan!!

Tonight reminded me of what is really important in this life. FAMILY!!! One of my goals is to spend more quality time with them making real connections with my kids and husband. That is why tonight was the perfect night. I made real connections with them just by hanging out in the backyard.

UPDATE:: I'd better go get the kids to bed. Its now 10:40 and I think they are all inside now, and are in the other room playing the Wii. It's officially way past their bed time. Good night.


Okay, so I haven't started cooking this week. That is why I haven't posted any cool photos of the meals Meg and I have whipped up. Oh well. :( The reason? I do have one. First one we ran out of cash. We started running our house on a cash system. We pull out the cash we need to keep our house going for the month (not including bills), and divide it up by week. This week due to some SUPER fun trips to the mountains and a local resort we kind of nearly ran out of money already. Thank goodness the month is almost over. We only had enough to pay for the essentials, and since I had enough food in the house to make basic meals we've made due this week. Its actually been kind of a fun challenge to see what I can feed everyone out of what we already have. Its always amazing how much you have. Last night we had pancakes and hash browns. It was definitely a crowd pleaser.

The second reason I didn't start cooking is I started organizing again, and when I am in organizing mode I can only think of one thing ORGANIZING!!! I made my list, put it up on my magnetic chalk board, and started plugging away like a mad woman yesterday. I LOVE ORGANIZING!!! It makes me feel so good, and its always nice to be able to find things when you need something. I should have taken some before and after pictures of the projects I've already done. Maybe I will with some of my upcoming organizational projects. So far I have reorganized the laundry room, all the toys, pantry, fridge/freezer (inside), and put together and organized the baby's room. Last night Scott (I helped a little) worked on cleaning up and organizing the backyard. We had some out door furniture we bought right before Becca was born in June that we hadn't ever gotten put together. We also just had some trash and random toys scattered around the yard too. The backyard is really looking amazing now, and we only have three more chairs to put together. WOO-HOO!!

I have lots more on my list to do, and when I am done I know I am going to feel like a new woman ready to conquer the world.

We are leaving for a family reunion tomorrow so I am going to try and get TONS done today. That may be tough since we have swimming in two hours and art class right after that. So I have from between now (8:30) and when we leave for swimming (10:30) and I won't be home again until this afternoon (2:30ish). Oh and I have to get the car cleaned up and ready for another trip. No worries...I can do it!!

This July we've had swimming lessons almost every day of the week. Its been fun, but also a good reminder that I don't really like having to run around every day. Its nice to have stay at home days. I am going to remember that for the fall when I am working on our family's schedule.

Okay I am out of here. Time to feed the kids breakfast and start on some organizing projects!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Swim Get Away

On Friday and Saturday we had the first ever Martineau Swim Get Away Weekend. It was totally fun. We all stayed the night at The Arizona Grand Resort and enjoyed swimming at The Oasis (their water park). When we got there it was really busy. Thanks goodness Charisse got their earlier than we did!! By the time we got up to the lobby to check in there were 10 or 15 people waiting to check in. However, Charisse was the next one to be helped. We jumped in line with her and she was able to check everyone it. WOO-HOO! I asked the guy checking us in if it was always like this and he said every weekend this summer had been out of control. We could all attest to that when it came time to find a parking spot. I think almost every spot was taken. Eventually we all found somewhere to park, and met in one of two rooms (the only ones that were ready) to get changed into our suits. That was exciting to say the least. I guess everyone was just really excited to get swimming.

Since it was July the resort had a Christmas in July theme going on. (The first night they showed The Grinch Who Stole Christmas after dark while the kids floated in the wave pool.) On the second day a big pile of 'snow' showed up by one of the pools. Of course this turned into a day filled with snow ball fights in the pool and ice sculptures. Here is Jarom with one of his many ice sculpture creations.

Thanks goodness Scott's sisters thought ahead and brought snacks, because I totally blanked on that one. Here Megan is enjoying a little snack after a long day of swimming.

Once we found the 1.5 foot baby pool Hyrum rarely got out of the water. So this picture must have been taken during a quick snack run...but by the look he's giving I am sure he was annoyed that he had to stop for a picture and is on his way back to the pool.
Out of all of my kids Hyrum is the thirstiest kid I have, and his beverage of choice is WATER. So here he is posing during one of his water breaks. Cheers!
Cooper was also a total water bug this weekend. He LOVES being under the water. In fact most of the second day he just floated around the baby pool comming up for a breath only when necessary. I even had a gal tell me that Cooper was scaring her to death because she kept thinking he was drowning because of the way he was floating around on his belly. He is such a great swimmer though I wasn't worried, although, I did keep my eye on him.
Megan shares Cooper's love to be under the water. This summer she has discovered goggles, which has helped her fall even more in love with swimming underwater. Most of Saturday she was swiming underwater with Eliza and Maddie and having a fantastic time.
Here is Cooper getting in on the 'Snowball' fight. Only in Arizona would you ever combine snow and a swimming pool!!
We took this picture right before we left the swim park, so if we look tired and a little burned we are. BUT we had a great time hanging out with Scott's family and enjoying a nice super HOT Arizona summer weekend by the pool. Let's do it again next year!!

Friday, July 25, 2008


I have been terrible at cooking lately. I just don't feel inspired to turn on the stove and get something all whipped up for the family to enjoy for dinner. So I decided I needed to change that. I do enjoy cooking, and love preparing a tasty meal...when I am organized, know ahead of time what I am cooking, and have all the ingredients in the house.

So Megan and I formed a plan. We went through all the cook books I have and tore out or retyped the menus we like. Then we consolidated and put all the meals we wanted to make into one notebook.
Starting next week we are going to work as a team to tackle the evening cooking. We are even going to make a Cookbook Journal to record or efforts. Here is the plan. After we make the meal we are going to take a picture of the finished product. Then before we go to bed we will make one page in our cookbook journal using the picture, recipe, and a little description of us making the food. I think we'll also document us shopping and put that in the book too. How fun!! I can hardly wait.

Emmeline Apron Side OneEmmeline Apron Reverse Side

Emmeline Apron Side OneEmmeline Apron Reverse Side
Check out these fun aprons. I think Meg and I will make some vintage aprons like these to wear while we are cooking. We'll look so cute, and learn how to sew at the same time. I can hardly wait for Monday to begin Project: Cooking!!

Enjoying the Backyard

We moved into our house the end of January and after being vacant for over a year you can only imagine what the backyard looked like. A JUNGLE. The weeds were so bad that after calling in a landscaper it was determined that nothing could save our grass or rocks. They were too weed infested and if we didn't just get rid of them and start over we'd always be fighting a weed problem. Just what we always wanted. So we decided to take it all out and start over. WOW what a process that was!!!

A month ago or so we finally finished. (Although we still have lots of planting to do.) Its been so nice to start using the backyard in the evening when it cools down a bit. We have a mister system in our swing set, a fountain, and a water hose that all help us stay cool while hanging out in the hot Arizona summer evenings.

A few days ago we had a great time playing in the backyard. Here are some fun photos from that night.

What kids doesn't like spraying their friends with a water hose!! We have water guns on the swing set so Jarom is spraying back with the hose.
Here is Hyrum cruising around our backyard track with a wiggle car. Last Christmas I found these cars on ebay. I was remembered having something like it growing up and LOVED them. Of course these are the new and improved versions, but they are basically the same. I wasn't sure how the kids would like them, but they were the best gift they got for Christmas. They played with them non-stop. WOO-HOO! I always love it when I make a good gift purchase. I am terrible at buying people gifts. I never know what to get.

We love love love our sunken tramp with basketball hoop. The kids are on it constantly (even Brea). All the neighborhood kids love it too. That was definitly money well spent.
Here is another picture of the kids riding bikes in the backyard. I LOVE that they can do that. There aren't any cars that can hit them in the backyard.

Did I mention we have a fountain in our backyard?!!! I have always wanted a safe water feature the kids can play in, and I finally have one. I love this fountain. Its right by our backyard couch and chair so I can sit next to it, enjoy the water sounds, and watch the kids play in it. We are still trying to figure out how to take care of it though. Last week Scott ordered some stuff to put in the fountain that is suppose to help keep the water clean. YEA!!! I hope it works.
Here's Brea getting in on the backyard fun. This was the first time she was able to sit on the wiggle car without falling off. She really likes being outside. She especially loves playing in the sprinklers. She doesn't mind getting sprayed. What a cutie.
Well despite all our efforts we have found three weeds in our raised planters. I am still at a loss for how we are getting weeds in topsoil that our landscaper brought in to fill the planters. Oh well! Anyway we kind of forgot to pull the weed when it was little so a few nights ago Scott pulled it. Can you believe the size of that thing. WOW!! Now that's a weed. Scott was laughing all the way to the garbage can because it was so ridiculously big.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Scott's office did a parody video a few months ago and Jarom was the star!! Check out the video and see what you think. I think its pretty funny!!


One of my goals this new school year is to spend some time getting my hands dirty with my kids in our new raised planters. I want to finally learn how to garden. So in an attempt to aid me with my goal I just ordered a book from that had rave reviews and hopefully will help me out with my lack of gardening knowledge. I'll keep you posted once I start planting my veggie garden. Wish me luck.