Friday, May 31, 2013

Instagram Lately

Instagram and I are a good fit. I don't like Twitter much. #toocomplicated. I do the Facebook thing but try to keep family and el bloggo separate. Don't ask why. Well, don't ask Ellie, ask Elizabeth. Privacy issues. 

Anyway, Instagram is one place where I freely mix blogging, family, outings, things I like and random things that I want to share with the world you. So if you're not on Instagram, I'd highly recommend it. And I'll follow you! If you're still not convinced, here are 9 reasons to follow me on Instagram.

1. This. This example of the cutest kid in the history of ever. 

 2. Lots of pictures of Mr. Cutest Kid Ever with his cutest ever big brothers just doing what cute kids everywhere do when they're being cute. 

 3. Cute kids having cute birthdays with cute (and simple) ideas on how to celebrate!

 4. Real time updates on room makeovers.

 5. Outings logged. Because what would you do if you didn't know our family ate a Pizookie? (It's ok, we made up for it with plenty of vegetables and a flight of stairs to the clouds.)

6. More home improvement updates. That mantel (correct spelling) was on Instagram weeks before the blog saw it. The chair was up a day or two before. I still haven't blogged about the twin sheets as curtains.

7. Oh look, cute kids on family outings! 
8. What is this? More pictures of the cute kids out somewhere? Oh, going for a walk!!! So glad you didn't miss that one, aren't you?

9. Nature. Nature is pretty. Especially in Ohio, or Missouri or California or wherever these cute kids keep popping up. 

Come find me on Instagram! I'm gibsongirl726. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thinking Outside the Silverware Drawer

I sacrificed a silverware drawer to have a junk drawer.

Of course it's not a really junky drawer. 

There's room on the left of this double-decker sliding organizational tray for papers too. It's a very serviceable junk drawer.

In this kitchen there are lots of other drawers for everything that isn't flatware. Spatulas and knives and peelers and everything have their own assigned parking places. 

You might have noticed in this picture from the post about our kitchen or the one about chalk paint that the spoons and forks and knives are out on the counter. Let me tell you, it's easy to put things away out of the dishwasher! But did you notice that the one jar is a little wonky?

Come to find out, I had completely broken out the bottom of the jar! So, tin cans to the rescue!

I think they held garbanzos--yeah, I'm pretty sure we made the best hummus ever with garbanzos, roasted red pepper, tahini, garlic and lemon. Yum! I washed the cans, peeled off the labels and tied twine around the tops just for fun.

Works for me!

What about you, would you give up your silverware drawer? What do you keep on your counter?

Have a beauty-filled day!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Rest of the Mantel

So someone shared with me after my last mantel post that I had spelled "mantel" wrong. I questioned, I checked, and found out it's true! A "mantle" is something you wear, similar to a cloak, among other definitions, like it being part of the Earth's crust. So now you know and I know, and I'm sure the rest of the blog world will quickly get on board because of my sharing it with you here. Right? Sure.

But anyway, I told you I never really change things once I like them, and I still like my mantel, but a couple things changed. Not major. Going back and changing the spelling in my original post would be major compared to this. 

See, my flowers died. And then I found new ones. And it's been a week and they're still mostly pretty. Except I went and bought one of those new-pretending-to-be-old blue ball jars and have the same flowers in that now, but all I had was a cell phone picture.

And I added the rest of the fireplace so you can see it.

I still cropped out most of the awkward angles though it's easier to see why I was thinking about white washing the brick a bit. 

I love our birthday card display! I used twine, thumb tacks and mini clothes pins.

So yeah, there's my tiny tweak. Mostly in the spelling of "mantel" and in showing you the rest of the fireplace. I updated you on the change in flowers but didn't share the change in vases. Wow, this is an info-packed post! 

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Simple Spa Water

It's not even June yet and we've already had a few days here and there when all you want to do is sit by a fan or in a pool! Another option that is somewhat more practical and still lets you get things done is to make yourself a cool, refreshing drink. 

I'm trying to make healthier choices this summer, and one thing I can do better is to drink more water. Not only is it good for your body to stay hydrated, drinking something cold helps cool you down too. I don't know about you, but adding some flavor to plain water means I'll drink more of it. Are you with me?

Here's what you do.

Gather your ingredients: Fresh mint, a lemon and part of a cucumber.

Wash the mint and strip off the leaves.

Squeeze the juice of the lemon and slice the cucumber. 

Place the cucumber slices, mint leaves and lemon juice in a glass pitcher.

Fill the pitcher with drinking water.

Let refrigerate an hour or two to become chilled and to let the flavors steep.

Enjoy your spa water over ice to make it even more refreshing!

Anyone else out there trying to stay cool this summer? Or trying to stay healthy? 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Shared Boy Bedroom {Moodboard}

Happy Memorial Day!

I've shared this moodboard with you before, but I still love it and it's in keeping with the national holiday. What is more patriotic than stars, stripes and red, blue and kelly?

Stars and Strips Bedroom

I lightly based this design board on my boys' bedroom at our old house. I'm planning to show you their current bedroom this week. Remember that the fun of a moodboard is getting to throw stuff together instantly, without thought to budget, time, spacial constraints or ugly mauve carpet. Be warned!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Our Move According to Instagram

When we first moved to Ohio we didn't have internet. Once we did, we were up to our elbows in unpacking. Then my computer decided that it didn't want to connect to the internet anymore and I had to wait to get a new part for it. By then I was just exhausted, tired of moving, unpacking and fixing stuff, and the last thing I wanted to do when I wasn't unpacking was chat on my blog about unpacking! Well, I'm not done completely, but there are no more boxes sitting around. I crammed a couple in the basement and in my closet that need to get unpacked like... well, like two weeks ago. But now that I'm not tripping on them, I haven't unpacked anything in a couple weeks and it feels good!

All that to say, I think I'm ready to talk about the move itself.

At least an Instagram summary of it.

Ready? We have to travel way back in time to March. Our move took place in two stages: First we packed our temporary things we had in Missouri, then we drove to Iowa and moved everything into a moving van. Then we drove to Ohio where we camped out on the floor of our borrowed home for a few nights before our stuff caught up with us. Then we lived with wall-to-wall boxes and I wanted to throw up if I even saw another box... Fun times! 

But it looks and feels like home. So, yay! 

Ok, finally, here we go!

 A few pictures of the wonderful home we got to share for three months. We are so blessed by the generosity of my in-laws. Right before we left we rearranged the furniture. I was also trying to capture a few of the memories of just hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa.

 Crazy how you can love three little guys so much!!!

Stage 1 of our move! Three of the world's best little travelers, some common sights in Iowa--yes, there was snow on the ground while we packed the truck. It melted and there was mud everywhere. Yuck! As if loading the truck isn't bad enough!

We were blessed to have lots of help from church members. The boys enjoyed being at their "home" Sabbath School too!

 On Sunday we started our drive to Ohio. There was some pretty yucky weather along the way! We were so glad not to be pulling a trailer or driving our own Uhaul. By Monday when we got to Mt. Vernon, we were greeted by pretty snow on the ground! We share a driveway with the church and yes, that's our house on the bottom right.

 The utilities were on and we had our suitcases with us, but we were sleeping and on the floor for a couple days! Kinda fun, but I'm glad that's all behind us. Also glad for no more moving trucks or stacks of boxes. Ugh.

Gradually things have begun to feel like home! You all know I really like the kitchen here. The boys are enjoying all being in the same room. There's much more about Spring, settling in Ohio and about our family, but I'll save that for next time.

Are you on Instagram? I'd love to follow you--I'm GibsonGirl726.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to Organize Your Kitchen

I would like to start this by saying I'm not an expert. I don't think I have the answers, just some helpful hints that work for me. I cringe to show you some of these pictures because I always think I could do better: There could be less clutter, fewer items, better explanations... I just hope someone somewhere can learn from my experiences. So here we go!

  1. Easy Does It. I'm talking about size here. We all see beautiful kitchens on blogs and in magazines every day. I'm drawn to these kitchens because they were built with seemingly unlimited resources and were staged just so for the picture. But what is is really like? Do the owners use the space? Can it be lived in? Can your kids drink grape juice and learn to scramble eggs in a kitchen like that? I guess what I'm saying is that you might just be happiest in a space a lot smaller than that amazing feature kitchen in the latest issue of BHG.

2. A Place for Everything and everything in its place. The secret to maximizing a modestly sized kitchen is to find places for things and put them away when you're done using them. It sounds simple enough, but it can really make a difference in the usefulness of your kitchen. I prefer to have most things put away, including the toaster, blender, food processor, etc. I keep a few pretty things out for display and sometimes clutter sneaks in, but I do my best to put everything away after each meal.

3. Create Zones. This tip is handy both for what's inside the cupboards as well as what happens on the counter. I try to keep the mixing bowls and spoons and measuring cups near the dry ingredients that I might need in a recipe, and all of that stuff is used in a certain area on the counter. Not that I'm rigid about it, but it makes more sense to have things centrally located. I have a food prep zone, a place I gather things to cook on the stove top, a place I always put dishes to dry when I hand wash. 

Bonus Tip: Put your most-used dishes and flatware in a lower cabinet so your kids can help set the table and unload the dishwasher. Even my two-year-old knows what it means when I ask him to get out a plate.

4. Create a Plan for Clutter. Things get left on the kitchen counter. I do it, my husband does it, even my kids leave stuff there. Mail, water bottles, charging cords, keys, toys, treasures, projects... I try to put them away by giving them a home, by taking the time to walk to another room to put something away. I found that this wall-mounted unit above keeps the mail, the grocery list, keys, sunglasses, my husband's schedule, even paint chip cards off of the counter. The drawer below is the other half of the solution: pens, paperclips, sticky notes and other little cluttery things have a home!

5. Find Creative Solutions. I had virtually no counter space in our last kitchen. I used to have one of those handy spice racks that sit on the counter, but between having to refill the small container so often and not having much counter space, I started buying spices in bulk and keeping them in small jars. I use a short, wide-mouth ball jar that I get at Walmart. I had planned to hang them on the backsplash with magnetic paint, but it didn't work. I could get a couple of those magnetic knife-holder strips, but they fit so perfectly in this drawer that I probably won't bother! I do want to buy or make some chalkboard labels though. Oh, hey, I have leftover chalkboard paint! Project!

 6. Buy in Bulk. As I mentioned with the spices, buying in bulk can save you money and time. I'm usually not out of parsley when the small jar is out. Dry beans cost way less than canned beans. Yes, it requires more planning to remember to soak those beans and cook them ahead of time instead of reaching for the can. But once you get the hang of it, you'll appreciate how much better the food tastes from scratch, how good it is to know what every ingredient is, and that there is more for meals later in the week. You can also put things in uniform containers with labels! I used plastic bins with lids that I got for less than $3 each at Target about 6 years ago. If I were to do it over, I would choose glass containers, but these are pretty easy to wash and hard to break. (I need more chalkboard labels here too!)

7. Keep it Clean. I don't know about you, but when I have to make a meal but my kitchen is already a mess... Not fun! I try to clean up as I cook. I put things back in the fridge, mixing bowls or cutting boards go in the sink, measuring cups go in the dishwasher, etc. After the meal, the kids help clear the table and I finish loading the dishwasher and putting prep things away. I wipe it all down and leave it tidy before I'm "dismissed". You know? Like don't start the laundry or sit down to blog before you finish cleaning up! If you're like me, it probably won't happen until the next meal needs to be made and, well, yuck!

8. Edit. As in periodically ask yourself when was the last time you used your hand blender since you got the food processor? Do you really need 7 spatulas? Which wooden spoon do you never have to wash because you just never use it? Then it's time to toss or donate that space hog! This tip works for cleaners under the sink to small appliances to kinds of fresh fruit you keep on hand. 

So where does everything belong in my kitchen? What does it look like to have "zones"? What should go above the fridge anyway? Here's a quick look at some of the organizing that is working for us.

That was fun! Now you know more about me. So much, in fact, that you could come over and make yourself at home in my kitchen! What's your specialty?

What organizational tips help you in your kitchen? I'm still working on the one where you plan the week's menu and then go grocery shopping.
Next up on the blog: Something that doesn't have to do with our kitchen!


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