New Home Projects To Solve All the Storage Problems

Moving is never dull. With a local move, we were able to get most of our things moved ourselves, with the help of local family members. God bless them! The big stuff with big stairs from the other house required the help of amazing local movers.

Amazingly, 3 days after the movers left, we were socked in with snow surrounding us. We are ever grateful that we chose to move in the week we did. The little rain we endured during our move weekend was nothing compared to the week that followed. 

We are filling our days with projects around here in our new home. I am unpacking in fits and starts. We are loving our gorgeous new home. It is amazing in almost every way…..except for storage. We are just getting started with some great storage solutions and I’m sure they will evolve even more as we live in the space even longer.

My office/craft room is in the “formal dining room” of this home because we are just not those people right now. I am slowly adding storage pieces here because there is no closet or built in shelves to hide all my crap treasures for crafting. As I add more solutions, I can unpack more things into their forever home. It is beginning to fill out and I love it! I always dreamed of having my own space for all the things and I don’t even mind my hubby stealing my comfy chair to work on his laptop when I’m at my computer. 

We have “just enough” counter space in the kitchen for what we need, but that means that we need other places to put things like the coffee pot, electric kettle rice cooker and pressure cooker that we use daily or every other day. Enter this gorgeous hutch from Costco which was delivered yesterday. It is the extension of my kitchen cabinets and counter that I didn’t even know I needed. We are expecting a kitchen cart delivery in the next day or so to tuck between the hutch and our kitchen counter that will actually house the cooking electrics. We also added an over the door “spice rack” for the inside of our pantry door because this family of four is just not accustomed to a tiny pantry. It holds everything from spices to oils to syrup to ramen to sprinkles. 

We also added a cabinet from IKEA with glass doors on top for pretty glasses to go right next to my wine fridge in my office. Yes, I have a wine fridge in my office and I think it’s the perfect spot! I kind of feel like I’m in an old timey movie and I can offer a beverage while making a high powered deal. Ha! The bottom of the cabinet has solid doors that hide some overflow from the tiny pantry.

I honestly have not even tackled my closet yet. My clothing needs are quite simple right now, so I have out what I need and there is no need for much variety. I’ll get there eventually, but it’s not a priority. 

I’m hoping this week to dig into more boxes with decor items to give our space a little more of a personal touch. I have to say, I’ve loved the simplicity of things around here for a couple of weeks. 

I’m also working on a family command center and will share that with you soon. It has taken a few weeks to see just where my family drops their things when we come home. Now, I have a plan to make it more functional and fabulous. I’ll share the details soon!

I’m just ready for the box piles to dwindle down and not have as many projects looming. We are loving life over here and can’t wait to share pictures of it all. 

Share with me your favorite storage hacks for your spaces. I’m dying to know what works for you. 

I am using my Yearly Planner to keep track of all of the appointments and deliveries for all of our projects and it is saving me from having post-it notes all over the place. I can’t seem to remember what day of the week it is anymore. Grab your own download of the Yearly Planner here

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The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Getting Dinner on the Table

I am a lazy mom. I admit it. I am all about looking for the easy button to manage keeping all of my humans alive. They need to be fed and I am in charge of that. Just because I am lazy doesn’t mean that I don’t care or place value on quality nutrition for my family. Enter these easy steps to make sure I get dinner on the table without too much fuss.

Make a plan. You will have a much harder time getting dinner on the table if you don’t know what is for dinner. Plan for your dinner early in the day so you can take away the guessing game later on. When you know what is for dinner, you can ensure you have everything on hand and eliminate frustration at dinner time. I go into detail about my meal planning strategy in this blog post where I share my favorite meal planning tool. 

Take shortcuts when you can. Go ahead and grab that pre sliced or shredded cheese if it makes your life easier. Pre chopped veggies can save your life, or at least your fingers. I am horrible with onions. I have tried every trick in the book and my best success is when I use my Pampered Chef Chopper that I have had for years. It recently broke from 2 decades of use and had to do something until I can get a new one. I have found that my grocery store has pre-chopped onions in the produce section of the store. If I want to have more finely chopped onions, I can chop them a bit more, but my time working with those onions is a lot less than if I started from scratch. 


Get the family involved. When my husband sees that we are doing tacos for dinner, he will grab the ground beef and brown it for me. When we are doing something with rice, he will start the rice in the rice cooker ahead of time for me. This frees me up to focus on the more detailed aspects of cooking, like measuring out ingredients, and following the steps of a recipe. One of my daughters loves to organize things and is awesome at lining up my ingredients for me. 

Pretend you are on a cooking show. You know how they have all their ingredients pre-measured and pre-chopped, ready to dump into the pan? You can do that too! I have a collection of small ramekins that serve me well in this endeavor. Why should we do this? For one, when you have all your ingredients lined up, you spend a lot less time going back and forth to the pantry or fridge when you are preparing a meal. It is so much easier to follow a recipe when you are able to just follow the directions without looking back at the ingredient list to double check if it was teaspoons or tablespoons. I literally line up all of my pre-measured ingredients in the order they fall in my recipe. Then I can just focus on making sure the pan is at the right temperature as I add my ingredients. I know that I have certainly overcooked things in the past because I was still chopping or measuring while the cooking was started. It just is not as efficient.

Be realistic.  I have found that I can only handle cooking with a recipe maybe two nights during the work week. What do I make the other nights? I make things that are easy and don’t require looking something up. You know, your staple family favorites like, pasta or frozen nuggets and fries or tacos. I am not a natural cook, but I’m working to change that by trying out recipes from Pinterest. I get exhausted easily when I am doing new things. If I do too much of that, I get overwhelmed and start to dread cooking. That is not a recipe for success. So, I sprinkle in those more labor intensive meals along with my autopilot types of meals during the week. The idea is that my newer recipe meals will eventually become autopilot meals for me, but until they do, I am not going to stress over it. 

You can do this! Make a plan, take shortcuts, get the family involved, pretend you are on a cooking show and be realistic. 

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Buying a Home in a Pandemic

Lord willing, this is the house that I’ll be writing from for my next blog post. I know it sounds dramatic, but it has been 9 months since we have truly been in a home that we can call our own. Surely, we were not homeless by any means, but between a “vacation rental,” my mom’s house and another rental home, we are thrilled to finally be moving into a place that is all ours. After all of the paperwork we have scanned and submitted, electronically signed and even re-scanned and re-submitted at this point, we finally get to close on our new house.

The real estate market during a pandemic is a funny thing. While selling our home in Texas was an experience that was relatively easy (despite “selling” our house 3 times), we are apparently still in a seller’s market. We have found that there is very little home inventory as they call it. Homes that go on the market right now are snatched up in a matter of days if they are priced reasonably. A lot of people have been moving into our area because it is a bit further out from the big city and many people are telecommuting now so they can work from anywhere. It has been an exhausting process, to say the least. 

We started out with goals in mind, as all buyers do. We wanted certain things in our new home. 

  • We wanted space to stretch out from our neighbors, because you just never know what kind of neighbors you will have. 

  • We wanted extra space for my husband’s theater room, because we love to watch movies with amazing sound.

  • We wanted a third car garage because we have 4 drivers now and that means cars that need a space to park off the street. 
  • We wanted a home that was not a full renovation in the making. We are fine with cosmetic things, like paint and flooring, but we aren’t crazy about trying to tear out a whole kitchen while living in the home.

As we began searching though, we looked through what is out there and we started to make compromises. Maybe we don’t “need” that thing on our list afterall. What if we tried this one that is a fixer upper and started working on it before we moved in? What if we had our teenagers share a room so they could have a separate study space? What if we have a 2 car garage but enough street parking to make it work? What if we get a smaller lot with less yard to maintain? So many questions to ponder.

We went to see some available homes in person about a month ago and it became quickly apparent that what we dreamed of was just not out there right now. So, we went a different direction. We entertained a serious fixer upper for a night and then saw some beautiful new construction homes that were finished and ready to move in. When comparing similarly priced homes and one was brand new and needed no work done to it, our decision was made for us. We put in an offer that was accepted the same day we saw the home. 

The new neighborhood is in the same town we have been living in with our rental. We will miss the amazing views that we have enjoyed for the last several months, but we won't miss the hilly drive. Our new home is in a quiet neighborhood within city limits which means that we have better access to a strong internet signal and we are a bit closer to shopping. It is all on one level which will make moving in much easier. We are excited to move in and set up everything in the new place. I can’t wait to share my favorite parts with you all soon. 

I've been using my Yearly Planner to keep track of all the important dates throughout the move. It has been lifesaving to make sure we have the rental house cleaned before the carpet cleaners come and ensure that we know when the last garbage pickup is for our rental and the first pickup in the new house. With all those balls in the air, I love having one place to anchor it all. Take a peek at it over here and get yourself a copy. 

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What is saving your life right now?

That is a question posed by author Barbara Brown Taylor. It is so easy to focus on the negative and what is going wrong all around us. I love the intentional thoughts that I have when I ask myself what is saving my life right now. 

As we make our way straight into the middle of winter, I ask myself this question. I love that I can answer this as philosophically or silly as I please. I can even do both here, because it’s my blog! Here are some of my answers. 

The series Schitt’s Creek is saving my life right now. 

I honestly can’t tell you why I never got around to watching it until recently. My girls and I have gotten into a routine of watching a few episodes each night. It is so cathartic to laugh when times are hard and this show is sooo funny! If you haven’t watched it yet, get yourself over to Netflix and get your binge on. It is absolutely worth it!

My planner is saving my life right now. 

Getting ready to move again from our rental into our own house means that we are scheduling all kinds of things from utility hook ups/shut offs to internet installation to movers to house and carpet cleaners to appliance delivery. It’s a lot to get our minds around and if I didn’t have a place to write it all down, we’d be in trouble. 

Our Ninja Foodi pressure cooker/air fryer combo is saving my life right now. 

We got one at Christmas and are loving making new things in it. We are using the air fryer more than anything and I’m loving how crispy everything gets. When new appliances bring you joy, you are definitely adulting! 

My kids are saving my life right now. 

They are at such fun ages being 16 and 19. We have some of the most amazing conversations about anything and everything. I feel like they keep me young while at the same time reminding me of how old I really am when I get to explain “how things used to be.” Their minds were blown when I came across an old manual from a flip phone. First of all, there was a manual? Second of all, how did you text on that thing? Ah, yes, the good old days!

Finally, my bathtub is saving my life right now. 

Even amidst our impending move, I need to take baths for my own sanity. Perhaps it is even more important because of the impending move. My bathtub is a space for me to get away and just be. I set up my diffuser, add Epsom salts to the tub and my tension and worries just get soaked away. I wrote a whole blog post about How to Add Some Zen to Your Bath if you missed it. 

There is so much to be grateful for, even when things are not going as planned. What is saving your life right now? Share in the comments below. 

I included this very same question periodically in my new journal: Journaling Through the Year. If you are looking for a user friendly way to tiptoe into the journaling world, you will love this new journal. Check out all the details here. 

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Coping When Things Are Crazy

I try really hard to stay positive in life. I am seriously a glass half full kind of person. Lately though, it has been rough with all the things going on in the world. 

What do you do when the world seems so off kilter?

Here’s how I cope when things seem crazy around me. I can’t control the world, but I can do these things.

I focus on being mindful. 

This means that I turn off the noise and just appreciate being present in the moment as I go through my day. I wrote a whole post about Mindfulness for Beginners awhile back. If you missed it, check it out here. 

I put on my essential oils. 

This can mean that I seek out the emotional support oils in my oily toolkit. My favorites for this are Frankincense or Palo Santo. Or I apply the ones that bring me joy like Believe or Bergamot. Sometimes, I walk up to my oil collection and just grab the first oil that really speaks to me. I realize that sounds super out there to some of you, but it actually works for me. I have a need and a particular oil jumps out to me as I scan the collection. Oftentimes, when I look up the properties of that oil in my reference materials, it turns out to be just what I needed. 

Not all essential oils are created equally. If you want to know what I use, send me a message and I can fill you in on what oils I trust for my family. 

I turn off the news and step away from social media. 

The endless chatter gets to me after a time and I have learned that for my own sanity, I need a break. That may look like completely shutting it all off, or it may be a matter of setting my own limits. Lately, I’ve been watching the top of the news hour for any actual breaking news. Then, I turn it off. I’ve also been spending a lot less time on social media. When I do go on there, it is usually for a specific purpose. Sometimes, I’ll set a timer for scrolling so I don’t waste half the day before I realize what time it is. 

I practice some self care. 

For me, that looks like taking a long soak in the bathtub with Epsom salts. When my family was annoying me this week through no fault of their own, I knew that I needed to get in the tub. I came out of it calmer and more appreciative of the individuals that live with me. For you, self care may look like taking a long walk by yourself, reading a book, going and wandering all the aisles at Target or getting a pedicure. It is up to you what works best to help you recharge. 

I turn my attention to others. 

I know this sounds strange, but hear me out here. I have found that in focusing on what others around me might need, I can often fill that need and support them. This gives me an outlet for my nervous energy. I can serve others, which is what I strive to do most of all. I check in with friends and family and I can control my response to their needs. This is something that I can wrap my hands around and do for the good of others. Do I get a benefit from it? You bet! My endorphins are firing all over the place and my mood increases by helping others. 

What is your favorite coping strategy? (Tell me in the comments below.)

There are some simple changes you can make today that will create a better world for you and for your children. You can get my FREE guide to living more sustainably called How a Normal Person Can Be Semi-Crunchy. You don’t have to live off-grid in a yurt and produce zero waste to make a difference, but that is totally an option. 

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