Getting Organized

I'm super excited to show you all my new household planner. I purchased this planner from The Confident Mom and I'm so happy with it! They send you a PDF file, and I got it printed and bound at the UPS store, or you can print it off at home every few weeks. I personally like to have it all together because I am the kind of person that would stop printing it out.....

On their website they ask:

Are you tired of always being behind in your housework?

Can’t seem to stay organized and keep up with everyday tasks?

Do you find it hard to enjoy time with your kids because you’re stressed and crunched for time?

When was the last time you spent time on yourself?


YES, YES and YES!

This is exactly how I feel all the time. I always feel overwhelmed when it comes to housework, especially living in a renovation with two little ones.

So I saw this link last week on one of the blogs I read, clicked on it, and bought it within 3 minutes of reading what it was about and the testimonials. This is exactly what I need to try and get my life organized.


Every day is organized with different tasks for you to tackle in regards to housework, rather than leaving it for one day (which is what I usually do and then I dread Saturday!). And then it also reminds you of different tasks .... change your sheets! Clean the bathroom sinks and floors and tub and the toilet! Disinfect your garbage cans - what a great idea! When I clean something it feels like I just did it, and so when 2, 3, 4 weeks go by it's like - oh I should probably clean the sheets again..... This wonderful planner does all the thinking for you!

And it helps with meal planning. Another area that is lacking in my household. My husband calls me on the way home from work every day, and one of the first questions he asks is "what's for dinner?". My usual response - "I don't know, haven't thought about it yet". Now I make an effort to plan my meals for the ENTIRE week! So when he calls, the meat is already thawed and dinner is started. So much less stressful!

And at the end of the book is a sheet specifically for grocery shopping. You plan your meals for the week and then create your list, helping you to buy only what you need and not the whole grocery store.


Each week is broken down on one page. And on each week there is a list of items you should do every day, including making the beds (something I don't normally do, but feel so much better when I do!), and pampering yourself (yeah haven't done that once yet, oops!). And below that is a list of items to do during week, such as paying bills and seasonal items. Last week it told me to get my tax information together. Good reminder - I would love to have my refund as soon as possible!


There is also a "supplement package" that includes a weekly calendar so you can organize your different activities and special occasions. And there is SO much more in there - from cheat sheets on how to clean your oven, etc, and a sheet of important information for your babysitter. 

Have I mentioned how much I love this planner?!

Oh and best thing is I bought the version that includes daily Scripture reading, so I can read through the Bible in one year. It's important to have quiet time everyday with the Lord, now I'm just trying to figure out what is the best time in my day. I've heard from many people that it's best to start off in the Word in the morning, but I am so NOT a morning person, so I have found that it works best for me at night, after the kids are in bed.

I've been using this planner for the last week, and my house is already cleaner and tidier and I'm feeling less stressed out. It's been wonderful!

If you don't want to purchase this planner, here's a link from one of my favourite blogs Imperfect Homemaking. She has a number of free printables at this blog post that are similar to what I have described in this post, and they are FREE!

Thanks for reading!



Breakfast Hashbrowns Recipe


I love potatoes! I'll eat them in any form - baked, boiled, mashed, fried, etc. So this morning when I was thinking of what to make for breakfast/brunch I decided on some yummy hash browns.

These are easy to make and take very little prep time and approximately 10 minutes of cooking time.

Ingredients:
(for 1 regular size portion)
2 medium sized potatoes
1 tbsp butter

Directions:
Peel and wash potatoes.
Shred potatoes using a cheese grater.
Put frying pan on stove and set to medium heat. Place butter in pan and melt.
Place potatoes in a thin layer into the pan.
Cook approximately 5 minutes on one side and then flip and cook another 5 minutes.
**Make sure you watch the potatoes - they can burn quickly if you are not paying attention. Because they are so thinly sliced they don't take long to cook. I like them nice and crispy so I cook them for a little longer so they have a nice crust on them.

To balance out my breakfast I fried up an egg and added some grapes to my plate. These hashbrowns taste extra good slathered in ketchup! Enjoy!

Valentine's Day on a Budget


Valentine's Day is only a day away! It feels like it was just Christmas! I feel like my life just flies by now that I have children.

My hubby and I never make a huge deal about Valentine's Day - he usually buys me flowers and I get him some candy and we go out for dinner. I would personally rather spend money on Christmas and birthday gifts than go crazy on Valentine's. 

This year I want to spend less and make it a little more meaningful.

Here are my thoughts on Valentine's Day on a budget.

Spend quality time with your kids during the day.

1. Do a special craft with your children.

     - Make a special Valentine's Day card for all the loved ones in your life. Mommy, Daddy, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts & uncles, etc. This will mean a lot to those who have recently lost loved ones and their Valentine's Day may not be the happiest.

     - Let your kids help you get ready for your romantic dinner at home. Let them help clean the house, cook the meal, set the table. 


Stay home and have some special adult time at night.

2. Plan a nice romantic meal for two.

    - Clean the house and set out a nice table for two. Bring out the candles and your best dishes, make a nice centrepiece (the flowers your husband buys for you will work!) - make the table look a little more special than normally. 

    - Feed the kids their own meal and put them to bed on time. You want this to be a special "alone" time. 

    - Cook a more fancy meal than normal. Maybe include a few more courses than your regular suppers. Have an appetizer, main course and dessert. Put some thought into your menu - make items you both like and items you don't normally eat every week. Why not make a cute cake for two like this one here.

    - Get dressed up. Just because you are at home doesn't mean you can't look nice. 

    - Dim the lights and put on some nice romantic music. Make it a restaurant like atmosphere, just in the comfort of your own home.

    - End the meal with a nice cup of coffee or tea. Nothing like finishing a cold winter day with a cup of warm liquid! 

3. Curl up on the couch together.

    - Bring out the blankets and cuddle under them with your nice cup of coffee/tea/hot chocolate. 

    - Watch a chic flick - it is Valentine's Day after all. If you really don't like chic flicks then find something you both enjoy watching.

    - Don't want to watch TV? Just talk - talk about your dreams, what you want to accomplish in the next 50 years. It's good to dream big and to talk to each other about them. It's important to always have goals you are working towards, and it's easier when you are on the same page together.

4. Give each other gifts and cards.

    - I ALWAYS want a card. For some this seems like a waste of money - for me it means so much that my husband spent the time perusing the card aisle to find the perfect one. He took five minutes out of his day and thought about me. For me it's really the thought that counts.

    - Men are so hard to buy for. So instead of buying your husband a gift, why don't you dust off that box of fancy sweet things you got at your bridal shower/bachelorette party - you know the one tucked away at the back of your closet? Any man will be sure to appreciate this. Enough said.

Valentine's Day is all about love and spending time with the ones you love. However you plan on celebrate I wish you a day full of love and happiness! 

Thanks for visiting It's a Wonderful Chaotic Life!





15 Things to Do with Your Kids in the Snow


We got an amazing snowstorm over the past weekend, and I'm so thankful the temperature has been cold enough that the snow has stayed around. The last few winters have been pretty pitiful when it comes to snow, so we were pretty excited about the almost 2 feet of snow that fell. It makes everything so clean and pretty outside!

Snow only lasts for so long and on one warm day it can all melt away. So it's important to take advantage of it while we can.


Today we bundled both kiddies up and went and played in the back yard, building a snowman (well a snow pile with a face), and pulling little A around in the baby sled.

I decided to create a list of things to do with the kids outside in the snow. I'm sure there are so many more, but here's what I've come up with. I aimed for 10 and came up with 15. Enjoy!

1. Build a snowman - get a carrot out of the fridge, grab a scarf and hat, dig on the driveway for some rocks - the kids will love it!
2. Go for a walk on the snow covered sidewalk.



3. Pull the kids on the sled down the sidewalk, through the woods or the park, in the backyard.
4. Make snow angels.
5. Build a fort. 
6. Have a snowball fight. Use the above built fort as protection!
7. Go tobogganing. 
8. Go skating. Some lucky people have a backyard rink, if not most cities have an outdoor rink you can skate on.



9. Go snowmobiling. My parents live "in the country" so K was able to go for a fun ride with Daddy on Sunday.
10. Go skiing/snowboarding/tubing. Even if your kids are little a lot of ski resorts/hills have spots for the little ones to enjoy themselves.
11. Have a scavenger hunt. Hide different items in the backyard and help your kids find them. Or get them to find different nature items - this may involve some digging in the snow!
12. Walk on snow shoes.
13. Stand outside when its snowing and try to catch snowflakes on your tongue. 
14. Jump in the big drifts that line your driveway.
15. Get out the sand toys and play with the sand snow. K is constantly asking to go to the beach and every day brings her sand toys upstairs from the basement.

Thanks so much for visiting It's a Wonderful Chaotic Life!


Living Without a Kitchen

As our kitchen renovation is getting closer to completion I am looking forward to emptying out all the boxes in the basement and begin to get life organized again.

I am looking forward to start cooking full meals again too! I didn't think it was possible to get sick of takeout or crock pot meals, but it has happened! We've been without a kitchen since the beginning of January, and without a stove for four weeks now (we had an electric and upgraded to a gas, so the stove got disconnected when we had to redo all the wiring). So we've had a lot of sandwiches, cereal, crock pot meals (I packed away my electric frying pan without thinking), microwave meals and lots of takeout. And we've been eating at my parents quite a bit too.

Needless to say, here are some tips that I've learned the hard way for living without a kitchen:

If possible, keep your stove and dishwasher hooked up for as long as possible. Life is so much easier when you have a stove and can still cook full meals. And I'm not a fan of doing dishes by hand so I would have loved to keep my dishwasher attached (it wasn't possible for us).

Keep a sink hooked up in your kitchen. It's not fun to have to go down to the basement, or upstairs to the bathroom every time you need some water.


If you have no dishwasher or sink, invest in a dish bucket and drying rack. We (sorry I) have to do all the dishes in our disgusting laundry sink downstairs in the basement. So I have a dish bucket I place inside the sink and a piece of plywood that I have the drying rack on place this on my washing machine.


Set up a space for all your small appliances. We have an old workbench from the previous owner set up downstairs in the basement with all our "essentials". The microwave, toaster, kettle, Tassimo, waffle maker and crock pot. I would also include an electric frying pan if you have one (I forgot), a griddle, a portable cooktop. And your BBQ would also be helpful in creating meals (ours it at the back of our yard covered under 2 feet of snow!).


Spend a little bit of money on paper plates and bowls and plastic cups. This will cut down greatly on the amount of dishes you have to do. We still use our regular cutlery and all the large bowls and cooking dishes, but it is really nice to just toss the dirty plates into the green bin to be composted and the used cups in the recycling bin. I didn't buy any styrofoam as these go straight into the garbage.

Stock your fridge with fresh fruit and vegetables, cold cuts, drinking boxes and bread. Breakfast and lunch are usually cereal or sandwiches. Lots and lots of sandwiches. Fresh fruit and veggies, cheese and crackers, and cookies are regular snacks. Drinking boxes are a great way to get little ones to drink their juice and cut down on dishes at the same time.

Take advantage of those offers for dinner at your parents! We have eaten a lot of meals at my parents. You can only make so many meals in the microwave and crockpot and it's nice to be able to just pack up the kids and eat a meal that you don't have to prepare. 

Make healthy choices when eating takeout. We definitely haven't followed this rule - it's so much easier to just go through the drive-thru at McDonalds. But it's so much better for you and your kids if you make more healthy choices.

Set up your table and eating area so you can still sit down and eat your meals together, or you have a place to prepare your meals. Our table is set up in the basement, and sometimes we eat there, sometimes we eat in the family room on the couches. I have A's high chair set up downstairs, and it just so happens that he is right at the age where he is starting to eat solid foods. Not a fun time when you don't have a kitchen!

And finally - be organized and try to get the renovation done as quickly as possible. By the time our granite arrives we will have been without a kitchen for 2 months. This is not fun when you have 2 kids under 3, but so far we have managed to make it work. 

My drinking glass as I write this post.
Our cabinets went in this weekend and we ordered our granite today - stay tuned for before and after pictures of our kitchen. I promise you won't be disappointed!



Wonderful Chaotic Life

So what's with the title of this blog?

When contemplating my blog title I wanted something inventive and something that really described my life where it is today.

My life is wonderful! Growing up my main goal in life was to be a wife and mother. I feel so blessed that this dream came true! We live in a great house, have food on the table every day, have jobs to go to, great extended families (most of the time...haha), a great church family and a God that loves us and takes care of us. So I can't really complain.

But my life is also extremely chaotic! My husband and I always joke that we don't want to live a boring life, and if life was boring we wouldn't know what to do.

Here's some background/reasons on why my life seems so chaotic:
- on the day I graduated from university I met my husband, and exactly one year later we got married
- we moved into our first house 2 months after we got married, and found out we were pregnant a week later
- we welcomed our daughter into this world 10 months after our wedding
- when K was 8 months old we packed up and moved into a "renovation disaster"
- we started renovating the week we moved in, and 2 years later we are still going strong
- 2 years and 2 months after my daughter was born we welcomed our son A into the world (and I had him at home in the two "finished" rooms in the house)
- I don't know how to relax - I'm either working from home, taking care of the kids, keeping the house "clean", making dinner, crocheting, on the computer..... etc. etc.

This may seem like a normal list for any mom. I'm not saying my life is any more crazy or better than any other moms out there. But I can tell you that it in my eyes I never seem to "have it together".
My house is always a mess.
I feel like I never spend enough time with my kids.
I feel like I don't spend enough quality time with my husband.
I feel like I work too much and it deters from the whole point of being a stay-at-home-mom.
I don't spend enough time reading the Bible or praying.

So yes my life is wonderful, but I feel like its quite chaotic. As we come to the end of our renovation, my goal is to try and organize my life better and to have a longer list on the wonderful list, and less on the chaotic. Will you take the journey with me? I'd be honoured if you did!



First Post!

My first blog post! I'm SO excited!

I love to write and since finishing university almost 5 (gasp) years ago I have really missed it. Since being home with my children I have been following a number of different blogs, and I decided this would be a great way for me to write. My husband on the other hand is not so sure about this - "since when do you like this blog thing? What are you going to talk about?"

Well, to answer his questions - I am going to write about a number of different things.

We have lived in our current home for 2 years and are doing a whole home renovation, so I'll be writing posts on that and will show you some amazing pictures of our before and after. Trust me - you'll want to see some of these. We are currently doing the kitchen - here's a hint - I've been without a kitchen for almost 6 weeks now!

I am a mom to two very energetic amazing kids - K is a little girl and almost 3, A is a little boy and 7 months. I'll share some tips (but I am FAR from an expert on anything), our ups and downs and how it is to live with 2 kids in the midst of a renovation.

I work part-time as a warranty administrator (not the most glamorous job but I enjoy it), and I also have my own Etsy site where I sell sewn baby items and crocheted hats and scarves. So I'll be having new product updates on my blog and giveaways and more!

I will also be including my thoughts and struggles on marriage, family, faith and so much more.

Please follow my blog and my journey as I enter this new world! Thank-you so much for reading!