Monday, April 20, 2015

Tiny home for a large family!

We moved last summer.  Back into the house we bought 8 years ago when we had 4 kids. I knew going into this home that it was a bit smaller than our last home, but it is working well for us.  Then I started doing some research.  Have you heard of Tiny Homes?  While our home is not what you would think of as a "tiny home" when you look at our square footage per person....it fits into that category. :)

I'm preparing a series of posts about how I've organized our home.  I thought I'd share some information I found when looking up the average square footage of a home these days.

The average new home is about 2,600 square feet.  The average household consists of 2.54 people.  The average square footage per person is 980.7

Our home is 1,800 square feet.  We have 10 people in our family. We have about 180 square feet per person.  Hmm...

While it does take some thought and planning, and we do have to be careful about how much we bring into our home; it works for us.  We are happy in this home.  It keeps us together as a family, and makes us think about how we want to use our space.  We spend less time cleaning, because there is less to clean.  In the coming weeks I hope to show you, room by room, how I make this house work for us.  Hopefully it will be an encouragement to you and help spark some ideas of your own for your home.

*While we ARE happy in this house and are making it work; we do intend to purchase a larger house some time in the next few years; God willing.  We are saving, living out our last years as an active duty military family, finding joy and contentment in the home we've been blessed with, and waiting on God's direction before that happens.

Monday, April 13, 2015

I'm back! Spring cleaning and gardening!

Spring cleaning and gardening is what we are up to these days, and we're loving it.  It's been quite a while since I've blogged here.  Moving a large family takes a lot out of a mama and some things have to go.  Taking a break from this blog was one of those things.  Hopefully I'm back for a while.  If you want to see what the family has been up to you can check out my family blog Gabe's Babes.

Now that we're well settled and have been in the house for about a year the house is needing a good cleaning and some re-organizing.  As we go I'm planning to take some pictures and give you a tour of our little house.  My goal in that is to encourage you to use the space you have to it's full potential and to get your creative (and maybe cleaning out?) juices flowing.  Large families do not need HUGE houses; just some creativity and contentment.

We're all enjoying working in the yard/garden.  While we'd love to have more land some day we're very thankful that God has blessed us with a good sized yard in town.  We're learning and trying to make best use of the space we've been given.  Maybe we'll even get to eat some fruits of our labors?
The first signs on new spring growth in my containers!  Spring (or the last danger of frost) happens late in Colorado.

Friday, June 20, 2014

nut granola (nutola)- cooking for a crowd

As it begins to heat up again I'm thinking about our favorite summer breakfasts.  My kids enjoy a breakfast of granola (a mostly nut mix, very low on the traditional grains), yogurt, and fruit.  I make my own granola because most commercially available granolas are generally full of sugar and junk making them no better than a box of cereal (in my opinion).  I generally use what I have on hand and don't have a set recipe, I'll give the basics though as a starting point, this would be very easy to make gluten or grain free.  I do like to include the oats as they are a healthy inexpensive filler to help this stretch.

Nut Granola (all measurements are approximate unless otherwise noted)

1 c. sesame seeds
1 c. shredded coconut
1 c chia seeds (ground)
1 c flax seeds (ground)
(wheat germ could also be included if you don't mind having more grain in your granola)
1 c sunflower kernels
2 c almonds (chopped or pulsed in blender/food processor)
2 c macadamia nuts (chopped or pulsed in blender/food processor)
2 c hazelnuts (chopped or pulsed in blender/food processor)
(pecans, and walnuts are great choices too.  I sometimes include slivered almonds as well)
4 c rolled oats
(get creative, just about any seed or nut could work in this)

Mix all of the above ingredients in a very large bowl

(the below ingredients are more exact amounts)
1 cup coconut oil
1 cup honey
1 Tbs vanilla
2-3 tsp cinnamon (nutmeg could also be good)
1 tsp salt
(feel free to add any other flavors/spices you would like in you granola)

Melt the first three ingredients in a small sauce pan.  Just enough to combine, especially if you are using raw honey to avoid killing off the good stuff.  Then add the spices, vanilla and salt and mix well.

Combine all ingredients in a large pan (I use my turkey roasting pan) or two.  Place in oven heated to 350, remove and stir every 10 minutes or so until lightly golden brown.  I found that 30-40 minutes was about right for my pan/batch.  Allow to cool and then place in a large container (I like to use a glass gallon jar).


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Modest Swim Suits

It can be hard to find modest swim suits.  A sweet friend has a business sewing them.  We've been very pleased with them, my daughters LOVE theirs.

This is a link to her site if you are interested.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Zipzicles review and giveaway!

We recently gave zipzicles a try and loved them!  Now I get to do a review and giveaway for them.

What are they?

 -They are a long(ish) narrow plastic bag with a zipper top.   They are about what you would expect of a freezer weight zipper bag.

Why would you use them?

-Most kids enjoy frozen treats, especially during the summer.  Mine are no different.  I like to make my own treats for them whenever I can, so I know what is in them.  Additionally, because of various food intolerances most store bought frozen treats just do not work for my family.

How do you use them?

-Just mix up any (liquid/semi liquid) filling you want, pour in, freeze!  It's that easy!  My 13 year old mixed up blueberry smoothie, chocolate pudding and a layered fruit mix.  They make a great snack anytime!  They are great for on the go as well, since they are disposable.

Advice...

Don't over fill, when you close it filling will come out the top if you do.

The site says that these can be reusable.  I believe it, but have not tried it.  I bought these because they were fairly inexpensive and disposable.  I've heard they can last for 2-3 more uses.

You can order these directly from www.zipzicles.com Amazon sells them and the zipzicles web site also list retailers that sell them.

Now for the giveaway!  You can enter by following this blog through google friend connect (to the left on the sidebar) and leaving a comment.  You can also enter by leaving suggestions/recipes for great filling ideas.  Please do a separate comment for each entry.  I'll draw a winner on June 20th!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Move day to do!

The day before and the day of a move are super busy days.  Make sure you are well prepared.  The more you do ahead, the easier these days will be.

-We like to vacate the premises.  Get your family and everything they will need on the road out of the house.  Stay in a hotel or with friends (if possible).  We will be staying in our travel trailer.  *If you can't do this then designate one room to put the things you want to stay with you.  You may even want to pack things up in the car.  Make sure you have a good sized place designated as "do not pack" and keep all of your stuff for the trip in there.

  -Since you are not staying in the house you can wash all of the sheets when you get up the morning before the official move day.  Now they will be all fresh and clean for you on the other end (packing up a set for each bed and taking them with you is a good idea.  That way you are not frantically looking around for sheets at the end of your first move in day.)

-You need a Hardware box with a sharpie and lots of plastic zipper bags.  This is where you will put all hardware as things are disassembled.  Label each bag and put it in the box.   TAKE THIS BOX WITH YOU; do NOT send it with the movers.  This way you have all of your hardware and can put things together as they come off the truck instead of searching through boxes late into the night so that you can put the baby's bed together (or yours).

  -Is everything set up the way you want your movers to be packing?  In bins?  In the room you want it packed in?  Window treatments down (and washed)?  Electronics unplugged?  High value items marked (to make inventory easier)?  Professional (Pro) gear marked (if needed)?  Kitchen cleared out? (You really don't want any perishables or liquids packed.  The movers shouldn't pack these things, but sometimes they do).  Make sure money, jewelry, and medications are in your stash of things to take (this includes the kids' piggy banks!).  Think about any special instructions you need to give the movers.

-Are drinks, snacks and meals set up/planned for the coming day(s)?  These are junk food days for us.  I try to start our days with a healthy (but easy) breakfast.  Hard boiled eggs, yogurt, fruit, muffins are some great (easy) options.  Lunch is take out/delivery we like to do pizza and sub-sandwiches.  I'll try to do some home-made dinners; now is the time to pull out those freezer meals you prepared.  I'll have a couple of casseroles available and we will likely do tacos (pre-cooked meat makes this easy to do).

-Keep your internet connected as long as you can; if you are addicts (like us).

-Have your older kids hang out with your packers (and you wander around the house).  The kids will be able to spot things that should not be packed (or should be, that are not), and keep things moving along.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Moving Party! Join the live FB fun!

Our movers/packers are coming next week!  Yikes!

I'm hostessing a Thirty-One Gifts virtual party on Facebook where I'll be posting about our day and how I'm using some great Thirty-One products.  I'd love to have you join me!  This is a Mystery Hostess Party which means at least one lucky lady who places an order on this party will be enjoying the hostess benefits!  What fun that will be!

I'm going to leave the FB party "open" for a while so that anyone can join.  If you're curious about how a moving day goes for us (large family/military life), just want to see what we're up to, want to shop, or are curious about Thirty-One's great bags then come join in the fun!  You can always shop at https://www.mythirtyone.com/ShopHarder  For this party you will want to click on the "My Parties" tab and shop through the "On the Move/Mystery Hostess" party.

I do hope you will join me, it will make moving/packing day so much more fun!  This party will close on June 9th.

*I am an Independent Consultant for Thirty-One gifts.