Forget Spring Cleaning – Winter Organizing 101

Winter has us cooped up inside for most days, though Wisconsin weather HAS been quite kind to us as of late, so we’ve been able to enjoy playing in the snow. Still with all the indoor time it is a prime opportunity to get organized!!

A visit from one of my dearest friends, who has know me since 5th grade, was exactly what I needed to get inspired and start organizing.  Here’s how she helped me attack at least one room – our living room:

  1. Dump out one bin or focus on one area at a time. We have a lot of wicker and cloth bins, so we just dumped out their contents to see what toys were where.
  2. Start sorting like items. By doing this, we identified “themes” of play-things. We planned out bins for cars / trains, pretend-play, games, books, technology / music, dolls, blocks and one miscellaneous.
  3. Ask yourself – does this item need to be in this room? We had this conversation about my daughter’s hair-things. They were stored in a bag in the living room. “Why are they in the living room?” my friend asked. “Because I often do her hair in the living room,” I explained. “Why can’t they go in the bathroom?” she inquired. I thought about this, and realized, oh yeah, they CAN go in the bathroom closet instead. Good call, my friend!  You should also ask yourself, “Should this item be kept, sold or donated?” Build a pile each for keep, sell, and donate.
  4. Decide what fits where. Once we took some items out of the room to be placed elsewhere in our house, we started filling up my existing bins.  Before doing so, my friend (who is also a neat-freak) vacuumed out the cloth bins. We filled up bins and she found spots to place them that I didn’t think of before.  It was genius!
  5. Find “homes” for the remaining items. This meant I had a list of bins and plastic tubs to buy. I searched my own home first, so I could make the most of what I already had. Just shifting toys around a bit helped me find similar patterned cloth bins.
  6. Buy said bins / organizers & finalize the room.  It’s amazing what you can fit into bins that are more accessible for kids than a toy’s original packaging! Now I am ready to rotate my kids’ toys more often to keep them entertained this winter. Already, I feel like everything has its place, and we’re picking up before getting something new out.  Clean, organized house = one happy mama!

Here is my new & improved tv stand converted into toy storage:

organized toy storage

With a little help from my friend – the final result of my organization!

At my going rate, I hope to keep on organizing this winter, so come springtime I can be outside with my family!

How do you keep your home organized? Let me know if you have any tips that work well for you!

Fly on the Wall: Is it Kiddie Cocktail Time?

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 14 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

Fly on the Wall Post

I’ll take you back to Christmas for a few favorite phrases we heard over the holidays.

My FAVORITE came from big sister on Christmas morning (now 5 years old): We were good! Santa did come!

So precious!

Here were some picture highlights from our Christmas:

Mama O.'s Christmas with family - Elsa WAS under the tree for big sister!

Mama O.’s Christmas with family – Elsa WAS under the tree for big sister, as a doll and beautiful quilt from Grandma! I’m posing with my fun food processor – it’s AWESOME!

Big sister & Little brother (3 years old) would alternately say, “You’re going to be on the naughty list.” I believe this started up again the DAY AFTER Christmas! They are really understanding this Santa thing!

Daddy O. (who had a lot of time off during the holidays – yay) commented one day, “There is glitter everywhere.” My response, “I think it was Twilight Sparkle (a My Little Pony), but welcome to having a daughter.”  This also reminds me of the viral post about sending your enemies glitter – this probably wouldn’t phase our house!

As I mentioned in this post, I buy my own Santa presents and actually saw Daddy O. come home with the food processor that I suggested as a gift idea. It’s fine…I’m just more of the shopper in our house.  I DID have a little snafu with my own Santa system this year. On December 30th, while Daddy O. and I were watching a movie, I suddenly realized, “Wait, I think I have a Christmas present I didn’t open in my stocking.”  I was right!

Don't forget about small boxes you buy for yourself! This one was jewelry!

Don’t forget about small boxes you buy for yourself! This one was jewelry!

While putting together a Lego-like Barbie Dream House with big sister, she needed to take a break, explaining, “Mom, I have to go blow up the Death Star (her brother’s toy).” My my, she will be one well-rounded girl!

Fun with Star Wars

Daddy O. is a big Star Wars fan, so we’ve been watching some of the movies together and reading Star Wars books as a family.  As I mentioned earlier, my son received a “blow up the Death Star” car / race track toy that both kids enjoy. Some Star Wars related chatter in our home:

Big sister: I called my brother a wookie.

A lot of questions:

  • Little brother: Why did Anakin turn to the dark side?
  • Big sister: Is Darth Sidious the Emperor? Why did he turn to the dark side?

Both kids: Baby Ewoks are cute!

Daddy O.’s Birthday

To celebrate, I pulled out all the stops: I bought him bacon, telling him, “Because nothing says happy birthday like bacon.” Besides bacon, we enjoyed some time at an indoor water park, went out for sushi as a family, and watched another Star Wars movie as a family that night. It was a good time!

Polar Vortex – Best Quote from Daddy O.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather – only inappropriate clothing.”  This was so true during the polar vortex that dropped temps down to -25 with the wind chill. I dressed like this when bringing big sister to school:

#winning! Screw you polar vortex - we're still going out of the house!

#winning! Screw you polar vortex – we’re still going out of the house!

Little Brother’s Highlights

A lot of a three year old’s comments fall under a random category, so it is with his words that I will leave you.

Mom, I want one of those cheese-curdy things.

It was a cauliflower. And he ATE it! YES!

Last Friday at 10:00 am he says:

Mom, I want a kiddie cocktail!”

My reply:

No honey, I will not make you a kiddie cocktail. Maybe tonight.

Little brother was saying “governor” in place of “co-worker,” as in, “Daddy, do you need to take that Lego movie back to your governor?”

At the end of a long, busy day with the kids, I was tired and just sitting down to read a magazine.  My son scooted up on my lap, saying, “Can I come up?” I’m sure I grumbled something, but then he said one of the sweetest phrases that I have ever heard:

I love you more than anything!

I hope you hear a lot of sweet words like that in your home too! Have a lovely Friday and be sure to click on these links for a peek into some other homes too:

http://www.BakingInATornado.com                          Baking In A Tornado

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/                          Spatulas on Parade

http://followmehome.shellybean.com                          Follow me home

http://www.menopausalmom.com/                          Menopausal Mother

http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/                        Stacy Sews and Schools

http://dinoheromommy.com/                                   Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

http://www.JuiceboxConfession.com                    Juicebox Confession

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com                              Battered Hope

http://eileensperpetuallybusy.blogspot.com/          Eileen’s Perpetually Busy

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                       Someone Else’s Genius

http://thesadderbutwisergirl.com                            The Sadder But Wiser Girl

http://www.justalittlenutty.com/                             Just A Little Nutty

http://themomisodes.com                                       The Momisodes

Quote of the Day

My three year old says to me at 10:00 am:

Mom, I want a kiddie cocktail!”

My reply:

No honey, I will not make you a kiddie cocktail. Maybe tonight.

No, I did not have an adult cocktail at 10:00 am. I have no idea where he came up with that!

For more crazy things I hear in my house, check out my Fly on the Wall posts – including one new one next Friday!

Happy Friday!

5 Reasons Why I Love Being an Aunt

I truly love being an aunt! And I am so proud of all my sweet nieces & nephews just like I am of my own kids. My sister and siblings-in-laws are pretty cool people, and their offspring has followed their down their path of coolness (obviously).  I am blessed to be called “Aunt Cathy” by eight little people all under the age of six!  The youngest was just born this week (ALMOST born yesterday in fact).

Thinking of all of them and having spent a lot of time with them recently, has motivated me to share a few reasons why I love being an aunt:

  1. You help me reminisce – my younger nieces and nephews help me remember what my kids were like at their age.  The latest birth led to a trip down memory lane for my two kids, who HAD to see their baby books. I also enjoyed watching my almost 2 year old nephew, who needed some extra rocking before bedtime – something my 3 year old has outgrown!
  2. You give me a preview of the future – only one nephew is older than my own daughter, so I love watching him learn & grow into a school-aged kid. He is full of energy and so diplomatic in his word selection, saying “that isn’t my style, Aunt Cathy,” when he was out with our family. He has also taken my younger son under his wing. So precious!
  3. You may think I’m cool in ways my kids may not – I may do things a little differently than your parents do at your home. Maybe that means you can get away with certain things…maybe not. Certainly I try to do something fun when the kids come over. We do crafts and test out Pinterest projects here, so I hope that makes me a “cool aunt.” Let’s face it, it must be easier to be a cool aunt than a cool mom, so I’ll aim for that title!
  4. More fun / less work! Simply put – nieces & nephews go back home! Along with the fun theme, I know your time at our home has an end-time, so it’s easier to be focused on playing & having fun than trying to keep our house clean.  Your parents will pick you up, so it’s not a long-haul endeavor as it is with raising your own kids. Instead I think of their visits as little sprints versus the marathon of being a parent (which is also extremely rewarding & satisfying…not to slight my own kids in this post).
  5. You are / will be among my kids’ best friends – As I mentioned in #2, I love seeing the interaction between my kids and their cousins. They are all so close in age, so they all chum around together.  Who knows, maybe my nephew will even ask my daughter to prom someday (as friends of course!), just like my dad took his cousin to prom back in the day (as friends of course)!  ha ha

It’s so rewarding to be part of the village that influences and cheers for kids as they grow and mature. Similarly, I appreciate all of the aunts and uncles that my kids have to look up to and bond with throughout their formative years.  Life is good as Aunt Cathy!