Friday, November 4, 2011

Fun Fall Kid Photo's

I thought it was time to update with kid photo's.

Aren't they cute?!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Couch!

Those of you who have talked to me in the past two years probubly know I have been on a hunt for a couch. Well, the hunt is over!!! Yay!!! It took Hans and I longer to pick a couch than it did our car, but the end result is the perfect marriage of comfort and style! What do you think?

The rest of the photo's are recent photo's of the kids and also our new pets.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


A dear friend of mine asked me to do a little presentation for our Co-op on organization. Now I would like to preface this by saying my house is never all the way organized or all the way clean. (except for a couple of months a few years back when our old house was for sale!) How can our house stay perfectly clean and organized while we are breathing and trying to enjoy our children? Right?

Here are some photo's of organizing tools I have implemented with the help of my hardworking husband:

So one of my chores as a homemaker and organizer for four kids and a husband that usually works from home is controlling the clutter! Oh, and did I mention I like to buy stuff?

But one of my biggest attempts to keep our household running smoothly is to try to create kid friendly straight forward organization. We like things that have our names on them at a height we can easily reach. Notice the last photo where my wonderful husband hung two rods in the closet using otherwise wasted space. He also installed two rods on the other side so each kid has their own place for clothes with room to spare! And to top it all off we put in shelves for the off season clothes right behind the rods!

When my budget allows, I like to do things like buy the kids different colored towels so we know by color who has left their towel on the floor (and needs to be asked nicely to pick it up!) Or which person's towel is missing off the wall.

One key organizing skill I have adopted is to decide a size of container or shelf space or the number of hangers needed for the right amount stuff. For instance is three large bins of toys enough, or 30 hangers for clothes for each person, or is 30 board books too many? Then whenever possible remove old, outgrown, or least favorite things when new things arrive. And empty everything out and reorganize whenever the bins or shelf or hangers get too full. This changes year by year as kids get bigger and the number of kids you have might have grown as well (or shrink when they move out!) So you have to be flexible and don't get discouraged.

In an ideal world I would reorganized everything every three months.

We have at last gotten to the point where while my older kids are putting away their own clothes they now bring me things they don't want or have outgrown so there is room for new things! I'd say don't expect this behavior before they are 9 or so. But be proud of yourself for setting a good example when it does happen!

I think it is showing a lack of faith that God will take care of me if I hold on to stuff "just in case I might need it". I know the older an item is, the less likely someone else will want to use it. So, if it sits in my attic waiting to see if I might need it, than it is only rotting up there. Plus in my opinion, it will be more work to go find the stuff in the attic and sort through it to see if any of it will work than going to a resale shop and buying stuff that is new to us when we need it.

I think this works well for clothing storage. I do save my favorite things from one daughter to the next if I think it will still be in style and the right season. But I don't want to save all of it just in case I might have another kid. How likely will it be that the saved clothes will be the right gender and the right season for a baby that isn't here yet? But I see nothing wrong with saving a few of my favorite things for nostalgia. We have one big Rubbermaid container per person for our keepsakes. This is a good place to store a few old homework assignments as well. If the boxes get full than we get rid of the least sentimental things.

Something I am working on is not buying stuff unless I need it or REALLY want it AND I can think of a good place to put it once we get it home. I feel like I have done a good job if it fits in the budget, the new item replaces something else, and the older item that I have replaced gets donated right away.

I keep big Rubbermaid containers on each floor of the house for donating things. When one bin is full I empty them all and either call for a pick up or drop off my donations. I particularly like the option of having someone pick it up because it helps me stick to a deadline since we take a photo and list every item we donate for tax purposes.

Thank you for helping me think about this stuff. I spent some time purging our family room and the kids bathroom of old stuff today!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

home improvement

I know it has been a long time since I updated. These kids home all of the time might be a good excuse. But, actually they are so much more independent than even just a year ago. Since everyone is helpful with Evangeline, I will really miss them terribly when they go back to school in one short week!

I decided to prepare for the chaos of next week by cleaning house and organizing as much as I can. I wanted to show my before and after of the bookshelf wall in the living room. Here was some cost free decorating! What do you think?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

School is out!!!!

Let the summer fun begin!

The Stauffer kids finished school last Friday. Mom picked the girls up right from school and the girls began our long trek to visit Aunt Carol and Uncle Dan in Chincoteague. We had so much fun! And the week just flew by. The weather was absolutley perfect and the wildlife was abundant (except the mosquitoes yay!) We went on a boat ride with the neighbors and also favorite family friends Wayne and Jean. We are tuckered out in a good way!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Gabriella's month

On March 20th Gabriella turned 9 years old. April was a whole month of special events for her. We had a visit from Mimi and Papa, she performed with some good friends in a community theater production of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and she chose to be baptized! What a way to show us how fast she is growing up! Hope you enjoy all of the photo's (don't you just LOVE the one of Hans and Evangeline!). Thanks for sharing in our joy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

spa time!

So our spring break is underway with a forecast of snow this weekend! But we are good at making the best out of whatever we have to deal with. This is my favorite picture from today. At least one of us knows how to relax and play at the same time!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Here is a special shout out to my Mom-in-law, Pat,
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
We love you, Mémère

OK, so it has been a while. My only excuse is a potential computer issue. Our computers are aging. Oh No! Hans removed some stuff so we would have enough room to download more pictures. Wasn't that great of him?

Spring is in the air!

Evangeline and I spent a half an hour outside today looking at the crocuses and running up and down the small hill (huge mountain to her!) next to our house. She is energetic, but what a great way to run off some energy! Her favorite play thing write now are crayons and pencils. Even me "the experienced Mom" learned the hard way not to leave a pen where she can reach it. My computer chair will never be the same! See the crayons behind her in the photo of her on her sit n spin!

Gabriella got a part in a community theater play! How exciting for her! She has practice twice a week.

Tim wants to run track again this year and has been practicing with the team.

Annelise is moving to the end of elementary school. She is so sweet and innocent, I am concerned that middle school will be so mean to her! We also recently discovered a great book that has been helping us both with caring for her hair. It is easier to take care of and less frizzy! It is called Curly Girl and we got to meet the author at our local book store!

enjoy the pictures! I tried to get a video too but I gave up after 5 hours.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Good Bye 2010 Hello 2011

What a lovely Christmas and Thanksgiving we had with family visits and many days off of school. Here I tried to capture the Stauffer kids outside after Christmas and before the new year (notice the short sleeves?!). We pray you all have a marvelous 2011 (I wonder if Evangeline will be able to say "marvelous" by 2012?)