Monthly Archives: December 2011

Where no (wo)man has gone before!

Ok, so we only go there when we need something and try to squint to avoid the mess that’s in there. If we squint its not as bad, right?

It’s the linen closet.

Did I just hear you groan? lol Yep, that was me about a month ago. I had blankets and sheets falling everywhere, baskets of who knows what shoved in there, and clutter and more clutter.  I made myself tackle it one day, and I must say I’m glad that I did. It has not been hard to maintain as long as I give the boys boundaries about digging in their for fort materials, and as long as I fold things up and stack them nicely instead of shoving them in a crevice because something else was needing to be done or handled.

I wish I had a before pic, but  I don’t. I always love looking at before and afters. But here is my after…

The duffel bag on top contains another bag and some items that I don’t need access to very often. Next to that is a very large mattress cover. Down a shelf in the left basket are baby wash cloths, and the right one along with the clear plastic container has some random medicinal items, a back support brace, etc. Below that are obviously my sheets and towels. (Some of which I think I need to refold looking at this pic, lol!)

And the bottom…

Its hard to make out, but to the left are blankets folded up that the boys access a lot, and then a container for their shoes to the right. They’re still young enough that there’s no smell to deter me from keeping it in there. Ha! I see that changing in the future.

And you know, it didn’t take but about 30 minutes to tackle it. Its amazing what we can do if we just set aside a little time. I have many other areas that I know I could address. 🙂

And to inspire us, here are some fancy shmancy linen closets!

Yep, that definitely makes me wanna refold.

From the author of the blog, Simplified Bee. Love the tags on the baskets!

Mine may never look like these, but I’m glad I have put some order to it!

Organization after the Christmas chaos!

Well, the grandparents love their grandkids. And they expressed it with gifts for Christmas. The boys are thrilled, but what it means to me is time to organize and toss or store toys that are older! So, while the boys opened all of the boxes of stuff (wreaking havoc in our living room), I grabbed a garbage bag and headed to their bedroom. I dumped one bin of toys from their toy shelf into it and grabbed some larger items out of their toy bucket that I don’t think they’ll miss, and I put it in the garage. I haven’t decided if I’ll rotate them back in or donate them to one of the grandparents’ houses. And because they each have toys that are their own, I made one bin specific to Caleb’s toys, and one bin for Ethan’s. It looks like this….

Caleb’s is top left, Ethan’s is top right, then we’ve got blocks, cars and trucks, animals and people, and some random ‘invention’ items that Ethan has procured.

And what you can’t see is a toy bucket to the left for bigger items, and a 3 drawer container on the right that has K’Nex, dominoes, and train pieces in it. It’s a start. I still need to find better places for things but it was good to move some things out. Honestly, kids don’t need that much stuff. My boys definitely don’t even need all that they have. I am constantly scaling back to try and keep them using their imagination and to keep them from being overwhelmed with so much that they don’t even know what to do with it all!

The living room is also under reno-organization. We moved out our old bookcases and are putting a new white combo storage bookcase system from IKEA against the wall for all of our books and things! Until its all put together, though, we’ve got stacks of books and trinkets all over the room. But when its done we will have this system…

with this bookcase right in the middle of the smaller ones…

I can’t wait until its finished! If you’re looking for something affordable, this definitely was! Its from their Billy collection.

And here are some other pics of the boys enjoying their Christmas gifts!

Ethan checking out his color changing Spiderman shirt from Mam’ma and Pap’pa!

A rousing game of air hockey.

And both boys using their Computer Cool Schools from Mima and Grandpa. Its such a neat system. Its got science facts, math and reading games, and art and music fun. Ethan’s a pro already since he got his a couple years ago, but this was Caleb’s first time to play his!

I was also given a canning water bath with canning tools and cookbooks, and a care package from my mom full of things that we never enjoy buying, like paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc.

We were truly blessed this Christmas and I loved watching Ethan express that he knew it wasn’t about the gifts but about celebrating God’s gift to us. May we never take lightly what we have, the people around us, and what God has done for us! For He truly is the reason for our being.

Life Goes On

Remember that show?

I used to love that theme song…

I haven’t blogged in a while because, well, life goes on, lol.  Especially with the holidays here! I’ve been busy planning gifts, changing diapers, playing with my kids, homeschooling, drinking coffee, breaking up 5 and 3 year old arguments over who’s toy belongs to whom, *cough*browsing pinterest*cough*, more drinking coffee, cooking, you get the picture.

But, its important to me to keep the blog going, and I enjoy it. So here I type! Here’s the lowdown on the Reindl household….

I found a lovely quiche recipe that I had forgotten I had, that was given to me by the owner of a cute little bed and breakfast place near Glen Rose, TX. I cooked it and it was wonderful. So, here’s the recipe!!:

Broccoli Quiche

1 to 1 ½ cup broccoli (if frozen, cooked, drained and chopped coarsely), 2 eggs plus 2 large egg yolks, 1 c whole milk, 1 c heavy cream, ½ t salt, ½ t ground white pepper, pinch freshly grated nutmeg, 4 oz cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

 Pie Crust

4 c flour, 1 ¾ c shortening ( I used butter), 1 T sugar, 2 t salt, ½ c water,                1 T vinegar, 1 egg

Mix first 4 ingredients in food processor. In small bowl mix water, vinegar and egg.  Pour over flour and pulse just to combine. Mold into balls. Chill at least 15 minutes before using. Use large amounts of flour when rolling. Makes 4 crusts.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Partially bake the pie shell until light golden brown. Remove the pie shell from the oven but do not turn off the oven. Meanwhile, whisk all remaining ingredients except the cheese in medium bowl.

Spread the cheese and broccoli evenly over the bottom of the warm pie shell and set the shell on the oven rack. Pour the custard mixture into the pie shell (it should come to about ½ inch below the rim of the crust). Bake until light golden brown, a knife blade inserted about 1 inch from the edge comes out clean, and the center feels set but soft like gelatin, 32 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

I am not an egg person, folks, but this is super yummy, so TRY IT!                   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                     We are still plugging along with homeschooling, of course. Ethan is learning subtraction and doing quite well with it. I really like how Miquon teaches the concepts in many different ways to make sure they’re getting it. His pages look something like this…

5+___ =8

8-___ =5

3=8- ___

They’ll throw in different shapes around the missing answer to make it a little more challenging, and then ask for the student to think of his own problems, too. And he gets to use his Cuisenaire rods to help him figure it out.

We’re reading “On the Banks of Plum Creek” from the Little House series and are loving it. Who doesn’t love those books?!                                                                            We just finished a “One Wintry Night” by Ruth Graham that briefly tells the stories of the Bible all the way to the first Christmas. It’s a great read but I’m not sure why they make the angel that guards the way back to the Garden of Eden look like a Native American woman. (Please know that I have nothing against Native Americans. It was just strange in the story to see her there guarding the garden complete with feathers hanging from her hair and such.) In fact women angels in general throw me off…I’ve never seen one referenced in the Bible at all. Correct me if I’m wrong…

Ethan’s a little over halfway through with the 1st grade Handwriting Without Tears book, also. He’s been promised an ice cream trip when he’s done.

I’ve been a slacker with nature walks since its getting a little more chilly outside but there’s a lovely little patch of land about 2 acres big that’s within walking distance from the house with wild berries growing, pecan trees, evergreens, etc. that I love taking the kids to explore. One day I’ll post a pic. If I could build a house there  I totally would! It’s that cool.                                                                                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Our Christmas tree is up and decorated! Everything about it says “Little kiddos decorated me!”….and I’m ok with that. I love the little hands that helped make it. One day I know I’ll miss too many ornaments in one spot and multicolored lights.

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And my latest project has been researching about small homes and creative ways to decorate them. Check out some of these lovely shots!…

http://www.epicturs.com/2011/05/08/interior-design-ideas-for-modern-small-living-room/

http://ourvintagehomelove.blogspot.com/2011/09/fall-transitions-in-living-room.html

http://ourvintagehomelove.blogspot.com/p/our-home.html                                         *sigh* I pretty much love her whole house. Give me a cozy vintage house with charm and character any day…. :o)

http://lostandfoundbailee.tumblr.com/post/11386755393/the-colors-i-die

I’m too lazy to go and link all the pics. Sorry…                                                                         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jovie is now 3 1/2 months old and learning how to giggle. It melts me. And she is such a Daddy’s girl! She loves to listen to him talk! This melts me, too. Everything about that squishy little cookie face melts me.                                      (Cookie Face has become her new nickname from Daddy.)

Tis the Season…

for colds. Yuck. I haven’t posted in a while since we’ve had the sickies here, a nasty cold bug that my oldest brought home and shared. But we’ve almost kicked it out!

I did take some pics of our happenings on Kitchen Tuesday. Since we were sick, I made some homemade chicken soup. Yum. Homemade chicken soup is soooooo much better than the store bought kind. And I made a huge pot so we’re still eating from it!

I never follow recipes exactly but here’s an approx. of what I did:

I put 5 chicken legs ,                                                                                                                            1 box or around 4 cups of organic chicken broth,                                                          about 2 cups of chopped carrots,                                                                                                 a teaspoon of basil,                                                                                                                               a teaspoon of oregano,                                                                                                                        and a sprinkling of celery salt                                                                                                        into my crock pot and let it cook on low for at least 5-6 hours.                                  Then I removed the bones and skin from the pot.                                                                 I cooked a whole box (16oz) of penne pasta separately in vegetable broth and then added all of it to the soup. I added salt and pepper to taste and then added fresh lemon juice. We LOVE lemon in this house and it gives the soup a nice kick.

Any kind of meat works but we prefer dark meat in the soup. And I sometimes add about a cup of chopped celery but my son doesn’t like it so I alternate when I add it. Also, for leftover I add a little more broth because the pasta really soaks it up. Oh! and garlic is always a nice addition. (See. I don’t follow recipes well.)

Since this wasn’t ready until dinner, I heated up some frozen black bean soup for lunch. SO glad I’m starting to freeze batches of foods for days like this!

I also made homemade laundry soap for the first time! (I know, its not kitchen-y but I was really excited to do it!)

I followed what this gal did on her blog….http://beingcreativetokeepmysanity.blogspot.com/2010/11/homemade-laundry-soap.html

1 4 lb 12 oz box Borax, found in the detergent isle

1 4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, found in the cooking isle

1  box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz, found in the detergent isle

3 bars of Fels-naptha soap, found in the detergent isle

2 small containers of oxyclean or store brand oxyclean (try to get about 3.5 lbs total) found in the detergent isle. (this is optional)

You basically shred the soap and add it all together. It makes A TON of soap, but my only concern is that the Fels-Naptha soap seems to have quite a bit of perfume in it. I think after this batch I’ll try to find a different kind of soap to add. The worst part was shredding the bars of soap but I finally got a new shredder (woohoo!) which made my job easier. This one has a nice container

that attaches at the bottom with measurement markings!

And I scored 3 free food grade buckets from the bakery at Tom Thumb so I was able to store it in that. These will be great for when I start storing bulk foods, like beans and such! Just hit up any bakery dept and ask if they have any unwanted sugar or icing buckets! The lady on the blog said that her soap lasted about 9 months using a TBS per load so I’m excited to see how long this lasts. The soap filled about half the bucket, I believe.

And for kicks, I’m showing off my snazzy new salt and pepper shakers that were given to my husband by a coworker who visited Mexico recently. I love them.

Hope your day is full of blessings and productivity! I should probably get out of my jammies now to try and make that happen.