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Sanity for the School Hustle

For those of you who have your lives all pulled together I applaud you. I don’t know how you do it! I seem to be one hot mess after another but that’s all fixing to change.

On a positive note, I did find my sign. And it’s absolutely true. Every word.

I’ve been about the business of simplifying life lately. If its not useful in my life RIGHT NOW I just don’t want it up in my space anymore. So what’s a scatter brained gal who is trying to improve her quality of life supposed to do beyond the basic decluttering? I’m So glad you asked! Ok, so maybe you didn’t but I’m going to tell you anyway! 😄

Currently I have reduced my clothing options into a capsule( ish) wardrobe as seen here:

Which should help get me dressed much quicker without looking like a slob. Nice, right?

I have also bought a new planner that has more writing space to give me room for detailed planning. I ended up getting more of a student planner as I will be using this for my lessons as well as personal appointments. Have I mentioned how many appointments I have missed this past year? No? Well, I would tell you but I kinda lost track…..😶

Next on the simplify list is my menu board. I down sized for the actual board size but the process is the same. Make a plan and work it! You have to know what is happening for dinner when everyone is hungry and nobody (including mama) is wanting to figure out what to put on the table.

Finally, my trio of kitchen helpers helps me to make a plan for healthy meals and stick to it!

I just bought a veggie Spiralizer so I can have delicious noodles without the gluten. Yes, please! If I didn’t already have a dinner plan I would be using this bad boy right now😀

Next is my adorably wonderful time saving genius of a product….instant pot, I love you! This guy is the Farberware version which I like for the nonstick surface on the liner.

And to round out our kitchen trio I recently purchased a cookbook that promises to deliver quality breakfasts, lunches, dinners AND snacks!!! Yes, I said snacks. All designed for the school year hustle. Um, sign me up!

It is appropriately titled ‘The School Year Survival Cook Book’.

As the school year rolls on I’m sure there will be a refining process as we settle into a routine. I don’t know about you but this gal is ready to get some sanity back in the schedule.

What are your top tips to keep things running smoothly?

Being Mama, Organize

Capsule(ish) Wardrobe to Simplify Life

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I posted. Life. You know how that goes! 😶😯😄

Today I am working on school prep. I’m sure you are wondering how that applies to my closet…Well, when you have chores and kids and animals all crammed into your school morning anything you can do to streamline is a big plus. So in with the capsule(ish) wardrobe! Ok, so I kinda cheated. I narrowed it down to 40 pieces and a true capsule wardrobe would be half that ( or less). But to be real I live where the weather is very changeable so I did repeats of some items in different fabrics. For example I have 3 black toppers: a sweater cardigan, a lightweight layering cardigan and a heavy neoprene hooded vest. That easily could have been one item instead of three but, again, the weather… I also have three denim skirts because I live in them and I don’t want to wear the same thing 2x a week. (Yes, I’m an over washer and if you think I’m “saving” that shirt for another wearing you are wrong)

So here was the 40 piece capsule(ish) wardrobe

If you will notice the bulging suitcase above… yeah, those are summer clothes. And down the hall there is this…

This is back up in case I just get sick of the whole idea after a while. So yeah, I definitely cheated but I have to be real here. I know that things get stale after a while and I may want to swap my color palate around.

For this capsule I used denim, black and beige tones for neutrals. I added blue/ greens, gray and berry colors to liven things up. My goal was to create fast and pulled together outfits every day that consistently looked good and saved me time.

In my capsule:

10 bottoms- black, denim, beige

10 tops- blue, green, berry, black , cream

2 vests- black, beige

10 toppers (cardigans or jackets to layer)- black, beige, denim, green, gray

8 dresses- beige, berry, green, blue, gray, black, patterned

I feel like this is a good amount to get me through 2 weeks if needed but not so much that my closet is crammed.

Why bother with all this work you ask. Well, the great thing about a capsule wardrobe is that each item is supposed to easily mix and match with the others so that you always have a pulled together look without all the time matching an outfit while you are standing in your towel and late for work. Basically, all your outfits are preplanned to go together in a snap.

So the big question is – does it work??? I didn’t want to wait a week to do a test run so I did a BLIND sample.

I turned off the lights and walked to my closet and closed my eyes. I grabbed a bottom and a top and then peeked to see what I ended up with.

Test 1:

Test 2:

Test 3:

To be fair I could feel the nubby texture of the sweater vest in test 3 and the cream bell sleeve was next to it which also had lacy fabric in it so I guess my tactile senses helped on that one.

I’d probably toss a denim jacket over the top in test 2 but I would wear all three of these out so I consider it a success!

Tell me how you save time in the morning!

Uncategorized

Living Lighter

I’ve been vigorously decluttering for the past couple of months and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I can also think more clearly and make decisions more easily. It’s been great! I also learned more about myself (and my family) along the way. It makes me think about who we really are when I sort through the things we collect.

I seem to have a very strong attachment to first aid kits. As in, I had at least 4 of them….( not counting the extras for camping). I have down sized to 2 kits (one for camping and 1 for the car) and sorted what was useful to be left in my cupboard at home. That may seem odd but the truth is I absolutely love bandaging up booboos and being prepared for any emergency. Yep, I’m the lady who always has a bandaid or cough drop or Tylenol when you need it!

My husband seems to have an envelope fetish. I’m really not sure why any one person needs to have 300 envelopes at any given time but maybe he’s secretly a collector. I asked him about it and he’s not sure either. Its a mystery…. He also owns a LOT of wire. Like big 50-100 lb spools of wire. I know nothing about computers or electricity but he tells me its invaluable for such things and to keep-my-decluttering-mits-off-of-it-thank-you-very-much! *sigh* I guess everything has its limits.

Daughter #1 is as neat and tidy as can be. She keeps all her things in order and regularly purges all her drawers. She also stole all my matching white hangers with the rubber grips…I guess its a price I’m willing to pay for not having to nag at least one of my kids! Yes, she is the middle child and truly falls into her role.

The boy is more or less a train wreck. But an organized one. He is a “piler” and he knows where his things are for the most part but nobody else could possibly make sense of his system. I gave his room a complete overhaul while he was at camp and set up little areas in his room for his various projects. He plays his guitar in a comfy chair and he repairs/builds small r.c. motors at his desk. He reads a bit too. True to form he is a bit scattered in his ways but I think he appreciated that I thought out what his needs/wants were. Each activity was given a zone and appropriate storage. I hope it lasts!

Daughter #2 was a walking disaster. She can destroy a room in nothing flat. I guess its the “baby” syndrome. For her I had to start from the ground up. I gutted her room (there were 6 trash bags of unneeded items!). Then we had to do a whole learning process. I asked her a few questions to find out why she was struggling so much. She just couldn’t reach the hanging bar in the closet very well and was over run with toys! Oh, and blankets…she’s the one with the blanky obsession and being the “baby” she is the snuggler of the 3. Anyhow, we went with the dresser for nearly all of her clothes and greatly reduced her toys and blankets. I did daily reminders for about a week for her to make time to tidy up and… BOOM! She’s got this.

I’m no minimalist. Not even close! But I have learned that less is more. I love cleared surfaces and now if an item is going to have a place in my home its going to have to work hard to keep it! Bye-bye clutter home and cluttered life!

If you are feeling overwhelmed and things just seem to keep piling up clearing out a drawer or 2 is pretty good therapy! And its free! Who knows, if you sell a few things you might even come out ahead!

Have a great Saturday!

DIY, Food, Frugal

Fun in the Kitchen

Here’s a fun little afternoon in the kitchen for you.  I had some oranges ready to be used up and it got my wheels turning.  I knew of at least three ways to use them up and I decided to make a video to show how we used each part of the orange for a kitchen project.  I always feel a bit like a depression era mama when I cook up these little DIYs but it makes me happy to use what I have to the fullest. What can I say, I’m an old soul!

 

Home, Organize

Multi Tasking and Taming the Paper

The stack of things going with me today are as follows:

  1. A Bible
  2. A lesson plan book
  3. A planner filled with scraps of paper that need to be dealt with
  4. A plain notebook filled with bubbling ideas
  5. 2 manuals on 2 completely unrelated subjects
  6. A clipboard

What can I say? I like to get stuff done. And I’m feeling optimistic.

Since my son has been driving with a permit it has enabled me to use the time for office tasks that ordinarily would be left undone. I’m not saying I’m finally getting everything nailed down but after a major purge of the house (and more to come) I’ve cleared a bit of room to work and space in my brain. Now I’m beginning to see the light if day and make sense of the mess. *Sigh!*

If car drives are how I can conquer the mounting paper piles the, by golly, I will use my mobile office as often as possible!

So tell me, how do you tackle projects and keep your life clutter free?

DIY, Frugal, Home

Laundry Soap Video Tutorial

I love making everything I possibly can! And so I bring to you this humble video because I also want the rest of the world to fall in love with the DIY life.  A special thanks to my dear husband who helped me put this together. Also, thanks to all you MOPS ladies who introduced me to the amazing (and addictive) benefits of making your own household cleaners. I’m hooked for life. Thanks.

Hope you like it!

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Get It Together Woman!

So I have been a busy bee lately. I am currently on summer break and while I would love to read all day and lounge in the sun (ok, maybe I did that for a couple of weeks already) I am feeling an urgent need to simplify life.

Let’s be honest, things can get harry sometimes. For me that looks like a wild woman running around 9.7 acres trying to keep 2 cows, 20 chickens, 4 goats, 5 cats, 1 dog, 3 kids and 1 husband from destroying everything. Yeah, you can see how well that might work. So I have started clearing the clutter in a major way. Like, they know I’m coming to the thrift store EVERY. DAY. (to donate, not shop)

I’ve decided to keep only what is useful in my life RIGHT NOW. Not in a few years or even a few months. I do have seasonal things but I’m not holding onto the “just in case” items. No more unfinished projects lying around. Not more “maybe it will fit me” or “it was such a great deal”. If it doesn’t add value to my life in some way it’s out the door!

Guess what I found in those closets and boxes? Stuff that I never wanted in the first place! Weird right? Who in their right mind would even bring this stuff home? Um…..this girl! I am always on the look out for a project and I have found that my creative nature sees the possibility in EVERYTHING. This is all well and good when you want to remodel or maybe repurpose something, not so great when you are taking a slow meander through a yard sale and you are chock out of storage.

In the past week I have taken an average of 3 bags to the thrift store every day. That may not seem like a lot but remember this is DAILY for a weeks worth of days. I have also filled the large trash can outside 3 times. It holds about 6 bags of trash and we usually have at least 2 bags of garbage in a week.

The result? I feel so much lighter. I can see what I have and what is important to me. I don’t feel overwhelmed or weighted down by stuff. I like my rooms. Every one of them! I can easily find things and get them out because I know just where they are!

We had a real struggle with our move to this new place last year and we have had to just let things be and learn the ‘lay of the land’ for that time. We have done a lot and made many changes but it’s just now starting to feel like home and I am just so thankful for the space of time to get things to a point that I feel like is manageable. I love where I live and I wouldn’t trade it for anything but this girl has got to get organized!

Get Happy!, Life

Thankful 365- May 2018

I began this series of posts after seeing the idea of practicing daily gratefulness. I thought it was so good I had to blog about it!  I have been unable to blog lately for a variety of reasons but this was very important to me and I intend to see the whole year through with a thankful thought for each and every day. Happiness is a fleeting emotion but gratitude can be cultivated. What are you thankful for today?


 

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May 1- A new month and its the last frost day so I can safely plant out my garden! Yes!

May 2- One of my students had a birthday today so that was fun. And I got to see a few old friends!

May 3-Again, care group…I’m seeing a pattern here!

May 4- The sun is shining AND it’s Friday. So naturally I had to dress up!

May 5- I’m thankful for my family and friends. They make my life fuller and sweeter

 


 

May 6- My bus kids. I mean can you be sad when you see this?

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Me and one of my goof balls

May 7- This!

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Simple reading assignments can be a blessing too!

 


 

May 8- A short work week 🙂 and getting 2 cards in the mail. My MIL and Granny in law love me!

May 9- Church!

May 10- Church!

May 11- Wonderful conversations with friends and ….church! (My church is awesome)

May 12- Treated myself to an early mother’s day gift and bought a couple of flowers to plant in my hanging baskets On the porch. I love my front porch during the warm months!

May 13- I’m not gonna lie…..when your kids pretty much expect you to wait on them and your husband leaves for not 1 but 2 calls from work it kinda makes for a poopy mother’s day. On a positive note, I did buy myself treats and got to chat with my mom for a bit. After I was done feeling sorry for a fairly unimpressive mother’s day I was pretty thankful that I have these brats around. *sigh*

May 14- I had a bad attitude today. (I’m struggling with PCOS and it can be unkind) but my husband took the day off so it was nice having him around. Even if he did ignore me (he was installing flooring) I got a fab new floor out of the deal. And he fixed my sprinkler and went grocery shopping with me. That hasn’t happened in a looooong time and it was pretty nice- and much faster than me and the monsters!

 


 

May 16- I’m thankful for changes. I feel like we are on the brink of a breakthrough.

May 17- A get away! Its finally happening!

May 18- The Hennekes hit the big city. We aren’t on the farm anymore! We enjoyed Pike Place and a fun Ferris wheel ride over the water.

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Seattle, WA

May 19- More together time! It was lovely in lush green Washington state.

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Bremerton, WA

 


 

May 20-We enjoyed a few stops on the way home today. I didn’t want to come back! (its not often I have my hubby to myself)

May 21- My hubby starts his new job TODAY! Yes, its a new adventure and we are hopeful for the future😀🚛

May 22- Last week of school starts today and then….SUMMER!

May 23- Church (Yes, it really is that awesome)

May 24- Graduation!

May 25- First day of summer vacay😛😊🎉

 


 

May 26- My daughter is 13 today!!! Thankful for this girl

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My lovely little lady on her 13th birthday!

 

May 27- My friend has her birthday today! Thankful for a girlhood spent with her❤

May 28- Memorial day! Thankful for our freedom and those who made it possible🇺🇸

May 29- A day with my crazy one – she is pure entertainment!

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Me and cray cray having a relax day

 

May 30- My animals. Yes, they are work and yes they can be expensive at times but I love their silly little ways and all they give us

May 31- My new baby niece! Yay! I’m an auntie again!

 


 

Overall this month has thrown us a few curve balls…. (hellllo job switch!) and it is going to be an adjustment but I’m keeping things looking up because that is how we can not only be blessed but be a blessing.

Wishing the best to you and yours,

Veronica

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Project Season

Here was my little project yesterday afternoon:

As you can see I had a little fun getting my little corner looking a bit better. My crusty mailbox had lost the ability to stay closed and the numbers were a joke. It was time! I cleared some sod, edged it and added a few flowers with a ladder trellis.

The honeysuckle and hollyhocks get to climb the ladder in the back and in the front I have a lavender plant on one side and a white flowering ground cover one the other. Rock chunks courtesy of my dilapidated side walk. I can’t wait for it to grow in!

The thing that really struck me though is that a year ago (or even a few months ago) I wouldn’t have been able to complete something like this. I was exhausted and my mind had no order or clarity. I was in a fatigue so deep that I ran strictly on autopilot and anything that took any amount of problem solving was beyond my capabilities. I am thankful once again for my doctor and the things that have helped me along.

And I do hope the mail carrier has an easier time of dropping off our mail!

Wishing you a spring full of lovely projects and new possibilities!

Being Mama, Get Happy!, Life

Thankful 365 – April 2018

I have been working on this little project since the first of the year and here is Thankful 365 for April.  This was an idea that I saw and decided to try it out for myself.  In order to cultivate a grateful spirit I have written one positive and specific thought for each day.  This will be for an entire year but I will post it at the end of each month.


 

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April 1- Easter. Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice

April 2- Gardening. Set my first plants in the ground TODAY. Ah, blessed dirt!

April 3- Gardening

April 4 – My doctor! She is pretty awesome.

April 5- Care group- they’re my tribe!


April 6- It’s Friday and its been a long week. FriYAY!

April 7- My husband took 2 out of town calls that kinda ate up our Saturday but I’m glad that my son had a job to do to keep him busy and productive. The girls and I spent the day cleaning so we made the most of a rainy Saturday.

April 8- I’m thankful for wonderful church services that change lives for the better!

April 9- It was a crazy busy day but I’m thankful I had energy for it. I may not have much left but I got through today and made a big pot of chili for a cozy comfort food. Yum!

April 10- My dog. She was at the vet and we missed her. Its good to have her home.


April 11- My seedlings have sprouted!

April 12- My husband. Its his birthday today and I’m thankful for him. And for seeing friends who came just to wish my man a happy birthday 🎂

April 13- I’m thankful for a day off. I was not at my best but a rainy restful day was just the thing.

April 14- lazy Saturday. And we hired out cleaning the chicken coop! Nice!

April 15- Had fun with my bus kids. Love those babies!


April 16- Monday workday. Gettin’ stuff done!

April 17-My husband! He loves me enough to buy me treats when I’m crabby #lovehim #hesakeeper #scottiedoglicorice

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These little puppies are sooo cute and tasty!

April 18- Bert and Ernie! Not the Muppets, our new cows!

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These guys. They are cute but come fall they will be huge. They certainly round out the farm! #hennekefarm

April 19- Care group…my sides still ache!

April 20-It’s Friday!

April 21-We were go getters today! So much done! Whew!

April 22- I’m glad we had a relatively quiet Sunday. Sometimes its hopping and a bit too busy for me.

April 23- Thankful for tea today

April 24- Got to show the animals off to a friend today. Their autistic son loved them! It made me happy that he was so taken with them and enjoyed being outside.

April 25- Today I realized that it is entirely possible that I could have ended up childless. I have 3 kids but after a visit to the doctor I fully realized that had I not had children at a younger age time simply would have run out for them. I had a very small window and I took it. I’m so thankful I did!


April 26- Its Thursday and I’m tired but I’m glad to be tired for a reason. I have a family a home and work to do

April 27 – Field trip! And flying with the Young Eagles program!Free flight for kids 8-18

April 28- Blood screening and church clean up and a NAP! Busy but happy day

April 29- Church. My resting place.

April 30- My amazing nephew who turned 16 today!


It was a busy month and as I look into summer it will only get busier.  There is just so much that I am thankful for and it increases daily!

 

Looking for the good and wishing you the best!

Veronica

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