Category Archives: Family

Banishing Clutter

Clutter and I…we’re like this.

*fingers crossed*

Two peas in a pod. Salt and pepper. Peanut butter and jelly.

I’m not a clutter hater. I can live with it for a short while until I reach my limit. At which point I clean Hyperbole and a Half style:

Then I wear myself out with the crazed cleaning and ignore the clutter until the cycle reaches melting point again. The problem with this method is that clutter multiplies like mad, especially in a home for a family of five. In order for the house and the people living in it to function properly, I have come to the conclusion that clutter is not helping the situation.

The problem is I don’t have an intense hatred for clutter. I don’t even have a mild dislike. We coexist. No biggie except this cannot continue. I found a blog post a couple weeks ago about monthly decluttering that inspired me to make some changes. Jamie at Steady Mom wrote this post making the case for monthly decluttering. Just one look at her pics was enough for me!

I found this inspiration and motivation mid-June. Rather than put it off until I had a full month to dedicate to the mission, I decided to tackle our school room first. Our homeschool group was having a used book sale and I had already begun going through all of our books.

I am so happy to report that my project is complete with two days to spare! Here are my before and after photos.

See the pile of things around the keyboard? It is previously decluttered stuff from other rooms. It needed to be donated, but sat there waiting for me to remember or have time to drop it off. And our school table was in sad shape before. Not only did I sort/purge/put away all that stuff, I also scrubbed a what felt like a school year’s worth of dried paint and glue sticks off.

This last pic shows the less dramatic changes, including the insides of the cabinets. I forgot to take a “before” picture prior to sorting the books for the book sale. I plan to slowly purge even more of the books as we read them.

The last look at the school room.

This is a good feeling, y’all. 

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Filed under Homeschooling, Household

Llamas on film

This is what happens when your camera gets into the hands of a four year old.

And the gallery would not be complete without the standard ceiling shot. Someone needs to put CFLs on the shopping list.

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Snow!

We are getting a rare, wonderful snowfall today and tonight.  The kids anxiously awaited the first snowflakes and greeted them with sheer joy.  We have played in it three times today.  We have about 4 inches and the snow is still steadily falling.   Tomorrow should be gorgeous.

The 4 year old sums up how we all feel about the snow at the end of this video:

 

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O Tannenbaum

I don’t have a fancy tree.  This one was bought from Craigslist in 2009.  I prefer real ones, but this one fits our budget for now.  And for only $35, I can’t complain about a tree that goes all the way to the floor even if it is made of plastic.

The tree never has a theme.  It is filled with an eclectic collection of ornaments.  Some new, some old.  Some cheesy, some homemade.  And we love it.

We have a family tradition of buying one ornament for each family member that goes back to the first Christmas my husband and I spent together.  We bought each other an ornament every year until our first child came along.

This is the first one he gave me.  Isn’t it the sappiest ornament from Walmart ever?

When we had our first child, we upgraded to Hallmark.

There are ornaments from my childhood.  I don’t remember how old I was when I made this Rudolph…early elementary, I think.

And this one that was given to me by my babysitter when we lived in Indiana.  My only other memory of them is that they had an Atari video game system.  It was awesome.

I picked this one up at a Garden Ridge store long before I had kids.  It looked just like my cat, Figaro.  I still miss that kitty.

Another ornament tradition of mine is to pick up an ornament when we travel.  I have ornaments from various caverns, one from Greune, TX, and this one from our trip to San Francisco.  We had just found out I was pregnant with our first child when we went to San Fran.   I also bought a Golden Gate Bridge ornament.  We rode the cable cars a lot and we walked across the Golden Gate.  That was a LONG walk.  And I smile every time I hang them up on the tree.

There are ornaments from our honeymoon in the Bahamas, one of our many trips to New Mexico, and a trip to Melbourne, FL.

The ornaments reflect our personalities.

Papa Llama likes to fish.

All three llamas have seen The Nutcracker ballet and they give the children an ornament to mark the occasion.  The tree is also covered in ballerinas, soccer players, and race cars and whatever else interested my children at the time.

This one commemorates my PEZ collection that I used to have.

As my faith grew, the ornaments began to reflect the changes in me.

This ornament was bought a couple years ago while visiting the live Nativity at the Heifer International Ranch.

Fair trade llama ornament made with alpaca yarn.   It was the year the kids nicknamed me “Mama Llama.”

Some of my favorite ornaments are the ones that you cannot buy.  They are the ones my children and I have created together.

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Filed under Christmas, Family, Just Me

Thankful Thursday: Little Llamas

A goal of mine is to consciously be thankful more frequently.  I also want to post on my blog more frequently.  So Thankful Thursday is going to be similar to “Wordless Wednesday.” I will post a picture (or two, three, more…) of something that makes me feel thankful.  What better way to kick it off than with my own offspring.

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Filed under Christmas, Family, Little Llamas, Thankful Thursday, Thankfulness

The Mute Button

I was 12 when my little sister was born.  My brother had just turned 9.  We had a significant advantage over her when she was a child.  I don’t remember exactly how old she was when we pulled a funny (to us) prank on her.  I think she was around 4 years old.

Older siblings like my brother and I enjoyed watching television.  Younger siblings like my sister enjoyed being noisy and bothering us while we watched television.  She was especially aggravating that day.  Or we could have been especially mischievous.  Either way, what happened was funny to all of us except her.

We were fed up and I told her I was going to mute her with the remote if she didn’t chill out.

She did not believe me.

<sinister laugh>MWAHAHAHAHA</sinister laugh>

She did not chill out and I dramatically pointed the remote control at her and pushed the button with fanfare.  I said, “Katie, I muted you.”

She did not believe me.

I said, “Katie, I can see your lips moving, but I can’t hear you.”

My brother backed me up.

She did not believe us.

She ran to the kitchen and said to our mom, who had heard and seen everything, “MOM!!! Tell them they can hear me!”

My mom said, “Katie, I can see your lips moving, but I can’t hear you.”

My brother and I laughed so hard.  Of course,  I now know that it is very wrong to get a laugh at someone’s expense.  But my immature self still thinks it’s a funny family story.

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Comedic Kids

My kids are funny.  ROFLMBO funny.  Snicker funny.  Giggle funny.  I always say “I should write this down” when they say something hysterical.  That’s exactly what I’m about to do.

My two youngest llamas asked why some trees were green and some trees didn’t have any leaves while we were driving to town last week.  An impromptu CARschool homeschool lesson about the differences between evergreen and deciduous trees began.  I asked for an example of a tree that is green around Christmas time that is not a pine tree.   They were stumped so I gave them the answer.

When I said “Christmas trees are evergreen,” my oldest daughter said “Right! Because they are plastic!!!”

Obviously our tree is not a live one.   I think it is still pretty anyway.

What kind of tree does your family use?

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Filed under Christmas, Comedic Kids, Homeschooling