How is it already December? It’s like I blinked and it’s no longer fall. Before I know it, we’ll be building snowmen, shoveling the driveway (ugh!) and drinking hot chocolate. Oh! And celebrating Christmas. How could I forget the most important and exciting time of year?
Just for you, I’ve rounded up 15 of my favorite free printables from around the web. Hope you enjoy!
Good afternoon! Hope everyone had a fun weekend! I know we did. Dan took Friday off and, with the help of his dad, spent the weekend building a new swingset for the kiddos. It’s still not finished – the instructions state that it should take two people about a weekend to build (ha!) – but we should hopefully have it finished up by next week.
Here’s a couple of progress shots I took.
It’s going to be awesome when it’s finally finished!
Anywho, as I mentioned in a previous post about our new fridge, we are planning to add a mudroom of sorts to our garage. A mudroom is definitely something our home is lacking. We typically come in through the garage because it’s more convenient than walking down the boardwalk to the front door. Especially in the winter when it’s cold and snowy. So, inevitably, the backpacks and coats get dumped either on the floor or on the kitchen table. And shoes get left everywhere. So, between the shoes and the backpacks, I’m constantly tripping over things or kicking things out of the way.
So, I’ve been dreaming about turning this corner of our super organized, neat and tidy garage into a mudroom.
Because I’m neurotic a planner and designer by trade, I’m ultimately going to survey the space and draw the whole thing out, but for now, here are some mudrooms that inspire me.
I could almost stop at this one. It’s perfection. I love the drawers with open space below for shoes. The hooks for coats, hats and backpacks. Open shelving and cabinets. Ship lap. The light fixture. Slate flooring. Love!
The simplicity of this one from, In The New House Designs, speaks to me. It’s really just a series of shelves with some hooks. Super simple, yet effective.
Another simple design (can you tell I like simple?). This one features beadboard, a stained wood bench with open storage below, baskets for storage easy access and cabinets. It’s also free-standing which is how ours will be.
I can’t find the original source for this one, featured on Refunk My Junk. The millwork is beautiful and the flooring divine. Gorgeous!
Via Refunk My Junk
I like the taller pedestals on either side of the bench. Our space isn’t wide enough to accommodate this, but I love the idea. I also features a stained bench top, shiplap wall and a simple shelf.
This one has locker style cubbies, which would be great. One for each family member. Sadly our space is too narrow for this. There’s also a spot for the dog bowl and leash. Plus, the door is almost the same color as our front door.
Here’s another locker style mudroom with lots of hooks and open shelving.
The command center on the side of this one would be perfect for our home. A great way to organize all the paperwork that makes its way into our house every day. I love all the closed storage. And the dog bed. You definitely need a space for the dog.
Here’s a final inspirational image for those of you who don’t have a space for an actual mudroom. This one was squeezed in behind a door. It offers just enough space for a small shelf, mirror and basket. A couple of hooks under the shelf would make a nice addition.
Today I’m super excited to be sharing my first free printable with you! For those of you who frequent my blog, you already know that I love a good freebie. After I put together my most recent summer printables collection, I was inspired to create my own.
Bonus points to the first person to spot Bird Dog.
As much as I would love our home to look like this
I’m glad it looks like this
I took these pics in the afternoon and they’re still in their PJs, and their hair isn’t brushed. (Mine wasn’t either, but it never is.) But they were playing together and having a good time.
We have a designated toy closet. We try to follow a two bins out at a time rule, but it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the game involves Little People. And dinosaurs. And bugs. And blocks. I love their creativity and want them to have as much free play time as possible.
As much as I hate clutter – it stresses me out more than just about anything – we are a real family, with real messes. And very real clutter.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you like this post, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear what you have to say.
Today we’re getting our new fridge delivered!!! I’m so excited, it’s kind of ridiculous. There’s nothing really wrong with the fridge that we have. It works just fine. BUT it’s not counter depth. AND it’s a side-by-side and we really the French door. So, we cashed in our credit card points for some Home Depot gift cards and waited for the Fourth of July Sale. We ended up going with this one:
This new fridge is all part of our ongoing kitchen remodel that we started last summer. (It’s taken quite a bit longer than planned, but babies that don’t nap make home projects very difficult.)
The plan is to move our current fridge into the garage next to our freezer. Eventually we want to create a mudroom in that part of the garage. We don’t park our cars in there anyway, so we might as well make the space we have more functional. Once the new fridge is in place, we’ll finish building the cabinet surround. We’ve been hesitant to start the built-in before we get the fridge because we’re nervous that it wouldn’t fit and then we would need to take everything apart and start over again.
Here’s what our kitchen fridge area looks like now:
And from another angle.
Just for fun, let’s go back to what this area looked like a little less than a year ago.
Our plan is to add a base cabinet to the right of the fridge and build open shelving above. Kind of like this, except that there will be a cabinet on the bottom for closed storage.
Anyway, I’m super excited for our new fridge to arrive. Hopefully it comes as planned. It was supposed to be delivered two weeks ago, but it was damaged when it got here and they had to reorder a new one. I can’t wait to fill it with all sorts of organizational goodies. I’ll be sure to post some after pics of our organized fridge. I seriously love to organize things. It’s a sickness. That and correcting grammar, but that’s a story for another day.
If you like this post, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear what you have to say.
Now that summer is in full swing, I though I would do another round-up. Here are 15 more free printables for you to download.
Are you looking to add some summer fun to your gallery wall? I’ve rounded up some of my favorite free wall art printables for you. They would be great in any room of your home, from the entry, to the kitchen, to the bathroom. Click on the photo to go to the original site and please remember to pin from the original source.
Hello all! Hope you had a great weekend. We sure did! The weather was warm here in PA, so we rolled out the slip and slide and the kids had a blast! Baby E can almost sit now (she still topples over sometimes), so she had her first bath in the tub with her big sister, and she loved it! It was so cute to watch her splash and try to grab the water. I love my kids!
Anyway, enough about my kids and more about what brought you here. My new gift wrap station.
This past spring was filled with birthday parties. I was good about buying the gift ahead of time, but never the card or gift wrap. I always figured I had enough in my stash. Or the kids could just make a card. But every weekend, it seemed I was doing the same thing. Scrambling up into the crawl space in the basement to dig through the storage bins filled with gift wrap. (This was especially difficult when I was pregnant.) Ugh! Why didn’t I have a designated spot for wrapping paper?
I searched the world of Pinterest for inspiration.
Beautiful, right? Oh how I wish I had an “extra” closet. Do these actually exist? Does anyone actually have an empty closet in their home just waiting to be filled with gift wrap? I sure don’t. Aside from the bedrooms, we have 5 closets. One is in the laundry room, and we converted it into a pantry, so it doesn’t really count. And the others are stuffed full of toys, coats and linens. (They all really desperately need to be organized.)
Ok, so maybe I couldn’t turn an entire closet into a gift wrap station, but I could part of a closet or the back of a door.
I like the idea of using the back of a door for gift wrap, but I’m not sure which door would work. The two downstairs closets have hooks on the inside of the doors to store backpacks, totes and coats. (I’ve been meaning to share that with you for some time now.) I want to eventually utilize the inside of the linen closets for hanging our ironing board and for extra toiletries, so those are out. The guest room would seem to be a good spot for gift wrap, but it’s going to be turned into the nursery soon. Plus, I really want a place next to the wrapping storage to do the actual wrapping. There’s no way the wrapping paper would be put back in a timely fashion if I have to bring it downstairs to wrap the gift on the kitchen table, then bring it back upstairs to put it away. There just had to be a spot in our 3,000+ square foot house for gift wrap.
Then one day it hit me. I had the perfect spot.It wasn’t being used for anything. Save a couple of paint chips and a book, it was completely empty and without a purpose. The surface is even large enough to wrap a present. I just have to put the globe on the floor. (And hang up the pictures. They’ve only been leaning up against the wall for a year.)
So, one day when the kids were behaving, I climbed up into the crawl space and brought all the wrapping goodies upstairs to the landing. (I also grabbed some cleaning wipes, because I never wiped out the drawers.)
And, yes, we still have cardboard boxes attached to our railing. It’s to keep the kids from falling through.
The entire project probably took me only about 15 minutes. I quickly sorted through my supplies and stashed them in the drawers. One for cards and supplies.
Another for tissue paper.Wrapping paper.And gift bags.
About a month ago, Target had a ton of gift bags and supplies in their dollar section. I basically bought one of everything they had. I also grabbed a bunch of birthday cards at Trader Joe’s for $1 a piece. (Who knew?) So now I’m set.
Where do you keep your wrapping paper? Are you lucky enough to have an extra closet?
I can’t tell you how important it is for you to prepare and freeze meals for after the baby comes. This is seriously a must do for any expecting mom. It’s right up there with assemble crib and pack hospital bag. Though it night seem daunting, it really is doable. I swear! I stocked our freezer full of food and, at the time, my kids 4 and 2 and we were working on renovating our kitchen. I’m going to share with you my real mom tips on how stock your freezer.
First off, I do not do a marathon day of prepping 30 meals all at once. I can’t. I have young children. It’s just not feasible, and I’m not that organized. I also don’t do the crockpot dump meals. I know a lot of people really love them. I’ve done them before, and they’re just not my thing. Nothing personal.
I like to fill my freezer with a combination of one dish meals, like casseroles, soups and stews. As well as things like cooked ground turkey, grilled chicken breasts, shredded chicken and precooked rice. Casseroles can get old really fast, so I like to have a stash of pre-cooked meats that can be added to fresh ingredients. I also like to have a few breakfast items like quick bread, muffins and french toast. Who, besides my mom, doesn’t like banana bread for a breakfast treat?
Next, I start to compile my recipes. I started the process by first going through my recipe binders, cookbooks, and of course, Pinterest. I write everything down then made a note of where the recipe came from, just in case. Then, I print out any recipes and come up with a game plan.
When I do freezer cooking, I very rarely use glass or pyrex containers. For one thing, I don’t have room to store them when they’re not in the freezer. I also don’t want to tie up the ones that I have. I like to use foil pans because they’re inexpensive, take up very little storage space, and you can wash and reuse them or just toss them. I also really like quart and gallon sized freezer bags. They’re great for things like sauces and soups because you can fill them, squeeze out the air and freeze them flat. That way you can “file” them or stack them in your freezer. I also like them for precooked chicken, meatballs, rice and muffins. Make sure to label everything with a sharpie and any cooking instructions. I also like to write any instructions directly on the container that way you don’t need to look anything up.
chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and oatmeal cranberry walnut cookie dough, formed into balls and flash frozen
How I Did It:
To make my life as easy as possible, I spread the cooking out over a few weeks, incorporating freezer meals into my weekly meal plan. I did this by either prepping a double or triple batch of dinner or making things with similar ingredients at the same time. I wrote my weekly grocery list to accommodate our daily needs as well as the additional meals I was making to stock the freezer.
Here’s some of the meals I made at the same time because they share similar ingredients:
chicken enchiladas, chicken burritos and bean and rice burritos
chicken and biscuits and chicken noodle soup
turkey chili, turkey sliders, turkey meatballs, and rice (I have a rice cooker)
lasagna, sour cream noodle bake, and cooked ground turkey
pumpkin bread, banana bread and muffins
Most of my meats were purchased at Costco because their price per pound is consistent, and I didn’t need to wait for a sale. I’m definitely not a crazy coupon lady, and I don’t have the time to scour different grocery store flyers for the best prices. I have three young kids, remember? I also picked up a big bag of tortillas and a block of good cheddar. The rest of the ingredients I got at our local Wegman’s. It’s the best grocery store! I feel sorry for people who don’t have one nearby.
Freezer Friendly Ingredients & What To Do With Them:
Grilled Chicken Breasts
I love making a whole bunch of chicken breasts at a time using my grill pan to oven method. Then, I flash freeze them on a cookie sheet and put them in ziplock bags, 2 to 4 per bag. Just thaw them out and they’re ready to use for a whole bunch of things:
make a chicken sandwich with some melted cheddar cheese and some of the precooked bacon
add to caesar or cobb salads for a quick, healthy lunch or dinner
dice or shred them and add to soups or pastas
slice them and use in quesadillas
dice and make chicken salad
I toss a bunch of frozen chicken breasts in my slow cooker. (Try to remember to use cooking spray for easier clean-up.) Season them with salt and pepper and shred when done. I portion into smaller freezer bags so I can…
quickly reheat with some enchilada sauce and sauteed onions to put inside burritos or tacos
I precook ground turkey with a bit of finely diced onion and salt and pepper. Then I portion it into smaller freezer bags, so it’s ready for me to…
reheat with some taco seasoning for tacos or nachos
add to a taco salad – try a dressing made with yogurt and your favorite salsa
put on top of a pizza
make a quick meat sauce for spaghetti
For some reason I don’t do well cooking rice on the stove. So, a couple of years ago, I picked up a rice cooker at Costco, and I haven’t looked back. It’s simple to use and easy to clean, and it makes perfect rice every time. Every once and a while, I’ll make a bunch then divide it into freezer bags while it’s still slightly warm. It’s great to have on hand to…
make a quick fried rice using your favorite fresh or frozen veggies
defrost and add black beans, diced tomato, corn, onions, avocado, cilantro and chili powder for a simple Mexican inspired side dish
serve with some of the chili you made
Other freezer staples:
frozen mixed vegetables: great for quick vegetable or chicken noodle soup or fried rice
flash frozen chicken breasts: I buy a big bag at Costco
individually frozen salmon fillets
I also keep my pantry stocked with things like canned beans, dry pasta, quinoa, canned tomatoes and good quality marinara sauce.
Whew! That was a lot of information for one post! Hope this has given you some ideas on how to stock your freezer. I always serve some sort of vegetable with my freezer meals. Whether it’s a side of steamed broccoli or a nice, big salad, it’s important to have fresh veggies with your freezer food.
When I was about 7 months pregnant with baby E, aka dinosaur kiss, we decided to move T to a big boy bed. We figured that the two plus months would give him plenty of time to settle in, and he wouldn’t feel as though we had stolen his beloved bed to give it to a crying intruder.
I knew I wanted something wood that I wouldn’t need to paint. His dressers are painted a dark blue, which looks really nice in the room, but I wanted the bed to be a different finish. Not so matchy-matchy. So, I scoured Craigslist, as I usually do – I have an app on my phone which makes to search even easier and more addictive – and finally found a pair of twin beds for $80. We only needed one, but I liked their simplicity and the fact that they were solid wood – I believe they’re maple – and the price was right. But, because they are old, it wasn’t quite as simple as bringing one into his room, assembling it, and throwing on the mattress and sheets. We first had to clean it up and make sure everything went together okay.
We chose the best headboard, footboard and side rail, dusted them off and cleaned them with a mixture of 3 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar. The hope was that we wouldn’t need to actually strip it and refinish the whole thing. There just wasn’t time for that.
Fortunately, it cleaned up really well, and we like the patina of the old wood. Here they are in our driveway leaning up against Dan’s truck to dry.We weren’t going to use a box spring, because we wanted to keep the bed low to the ground to make it easier for T to get in and out. So, we needed some slats to keep the mattress from falling through. To do this, we simply cut some 1-1/2″ pieces of pine down to size. Then, Dan placed them on the bed frame and screwed the first and last rows to the frame. The other ones were spaced approximately 2″ apart, and I came along with some white ribbon and a staple gun to keep everything from sliding around.As a bonus, if we ever take the bed apart, we’ll only have 4 screws to unscrew and all the slats will be held together because of the ribbon.After the slats were installed, we put the mattress in place, and I began setting up the bed for the big “reveal.” We did the same thing when Charlotte moved to her big bed a few years ago. I think it makes it more fun for them, plus they won’t see their crib being taken apart and moved.I’d say it was a success! He was so excited to see his new bed.
In case you were wondering, we do have a guard rail, it’s just not installed in this photo. We decided to DIY one because we just weren’t finding what we wanted at a price were were looking to pay. Eventually, I’ll write a tutorial.