What's Working

So, January started off really really good but then I got a pretty decent head/chest cold, so it took a little bit to bounce back from that. Finally I was feeling ready to get back at it this week on non-everyday chores and organizing projects but I got the stomach flu! Luckily it was just a 12 hour deal but now two days later my "puking muscles" are so sore. But I've been managing to maintain a semi-functional household! (I also had a lot of help the day I was sick!! My step-dad was working close by and was able to take the afternoon off to come give me a hand, and Matt had a first aid course and was done by 3! Don't know how I would have managed!)

But now, after having down time where I was wishing I could do more, I can! I made a new "page" on my blog called "Decluttering Life" and I am slowly working away at it. I explain it more on that page, so you can check it out if you want.

I have to admit I was feeling pretty discouraged earlier in the month, and so I want to write down a few things that have been working well. Since there are some unavoidable things that are adding a bit of "crazy" to the mix. Like being sick, Anna in a big girl bed, trying to figure out when to stop giving her a bottle, suspected ring worm...ugh. The worst. So here it goes:

1. Toy bins

I went through all of Anna's toys and got down to what she really likes and plays with and will be donating the excess. I bought 4 pink and purple toy bins (they aren't very big, see picture) and I have divided Anna's toys into them. All of her toys are in 4 smallish bins and 3 medium baskets.

Bin 1: play food/dishes
Bin 2: Little People/Fischer Price people
Bin 3: ponies/baby doll accessories
Bin 4: baby toys (for when babies come over)
Basket 1: stuffed toys
Basket 2: dress up clothes
Basket 3: dolls and doll blankets

It might still seem like a lot but we have really decreased the all out toy craziness that was going on. Mainly the problem was that there was no organization to it. It was all just a big mess of things and she could never focus on getting into any kind of creative play on her own. Now what we do is keep the 3 baskets on the floor in her room and the 4 bins in the top of her closet. We keep her dollhouses in the living room with a few of the people and furniture as well. So now it isn't very overwhelming for her and I will bring out one bin at a time for her to play with. She loves opening it up and pulling things out. This morning she was playing with her food and dishes and was looking around and asking me for "hair" "hair". In the pony/doll accessory bin is a bunch of little hair tools, fake lotions, and pretend makeup, so we cleaned up all the food and put that bin back in the closet and pulled out the next one. It was really simple to do because the only thing that was on the living room floor was the food anyways. I also keep only a few books on her bookshelf at a time to avoid a book-plosion. I'm hoping this will all keep working! Also, if I have a boy the bins may change/double. But we can cross that bridge if we come to it!

The toy bin system

Anna's play area in the living room

New (to us) dress up clothes!


2. Frozen Chickens

We have been able to get frozen chickens for a decent price from the Hutterites in our area, and so I usually have quite a few whole chickens in my deep freeze. At the start of the week I will try to cook a chicken. It is way simpler than I ever thought, all I do is pop it frozen into a covered roaster with a bit of water and spices and put it in the oven at 350F for about 2-3 hours, depending on the size of the chicken. That night for supper we will have chicken, potatoes and a vegetable to keep it simple. While the chicken is cooking I prepare my big crockpot with onions, garlic, celery, carrot, and any other vegetable scraps I have been saving. After we take all the usable chicken off, I put the bones in the crockpot on top of the veggies, pour on some boiling water to cover and leave it on low all night. The next morning I strain out all the bones and vegetables and am left with the most beautiful golden healthy chicken broth! the broth is kind of concentrated so I add some water when I use it for the next meal. This is great because we get 2-3 more meals out of the chicken that week. The broth is so delicious in soups, plus we have left over chicken to stretch to another meal. So out of the one chicken at the start of the week we can get up to 4-5 healthy homemade meals. It has really simplified my cooking because I don't have to think too hard of what to cook for lunch or supper each day, other than a few extra meals here and there. Probably not revolutionary, but it has helped us to eat healthier because I'm not scrambling for supper ideas last minute.

My second hand crockpot, Mrs.Patmore

Straining the broth

The finished product!

3. Less Clothes

A few months ago I ruthlessly purged my clothing. It was so freeing! We have a few more clothing areas to conquer, but with getting rid of more than half of my clothes I have seen a drastic change in laundry struggles. There is not as much laundry, and when I go to put away the clean clothes there is actually somewhere to put them. I used to be in a battle of having overflowing drawers and the clean clothes would be in baskets and I would mostly wear a cycle of the clean clothes from the baskets, and they would never even make it to my drawers before I wore them again. Now I actually have a place for all the clothes I wear. I have purged Anna's current size of clothing of things she never wears, and packed away anything too small. Next is my dresses/formal wear, and all of Matt's clothing. Very excited for even MORE simplicity in this area!! Also not sure how things will be when I am very pregnant, and then post-partum, but I think most of my clothing options right now are fairly versatile and stretchy. I might need to add a few items, but I am not worried because now I am very thoughtful and critical of clothing coming in to my closet, so as to never be buried in clothes like I was before. Each piece of clothing must work well in many ways, as well as take into account changes in size and season, with some exceptions.

4. Blogging

I have been finding blogging to be very life giving. I am an extrovert married to an introvert, with an only semi-talking toddler. Blogging really helps me to get my thoughts out of my head and to process things, because I need to get things out of my head to really understand what I am thinking and feeling. My husband is great to talk to, but he has a very draining job for an introvert, lots of small talk! So when he gets home I could talk for hours and he would like to crawl into a cave. So, whether anyone reads my blog or not, I think it is something I would like to keep doing. I am also a terrible journal keeper, and this is a great way to hold on to memories and things as our lives move and change. I want to remember this part of my life, when I am a mom of one precious toddler, who is changing so fast. This time of not knowing who this little kicky baby inside of me is yet. Who knows what the future holds, so I want to remember things how they were now...the hard and the good!

I feel like each of these point could have been their own blog post! So many thoughts! I encourage you to look at your life and figure out what is working well and give yourself a pat on the back! It can get discouraging when we focus on all the areas that are falling behind, when really, we are doing great things in the everyday monotony of life just by choosing to get out of bed in the morning!

My current favourite outfit on Anna :)


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