Friday, March 30, 2012

Week 4: Blackboard organizer & Freezer Cooking

Alright!  The last week of the Simple Mom Project is done!  Honestly I am sad- I enjoy the accountability to organize my house.  But hopefully I can continue to be diligent with the time and energy God has given me to continue on even without accountability for these chores!

This week was tackle your own project.  I chose two different challenges that have been on my mind for months but never took the time to get them done.

I have wanted a home management notebook and last year I even started one.  It is super organized, cute, and green (I use plastic covers with marker so I only have to print out one page making it reusable), but I find myself not taking the time to open the notebook on a regular basis.  I need something more tangible and visible.

I turned our homemade blackboard into a visual home management sign.
So my craft area went from looking like a wreck with no rhyme or reason to organized space I can now use.

This way I can plan the meals for the week and not have to think last minute what to cook for dinner.

I am able to have one major house cleaning task a day to focus on.  I don't have time with feeding/playing/taking care of a 6 month old to do 12 cleaning things a day like so many of the home management notebooks say.  So I was able to adapt it to reality for me right now.

I have a scripture section.  I always want to display scripture so it becomes ingrained in our brains.  I found this particular idea for my scrapbook scripture page on Pinterest.  The idea originates from this blog.

My second task for this week was to get a huge jump start in the planning stage to Freezer Cooking.
Honestly the main reason I haven't tried to freezer cook yet is because it takes a lot of time up front.
At she has steps to Effortless Freezer Cooking... so that is what I started, with no effort at all... ;-)

  • First step is to brainstorm what we like to eat on a regular basis.  
    • Honestly this is hard for me because we have our hand full of recipes we like consistently but probably about 3 nights a week I am always trying out new recipes.  But I was able to come up with a good start. 
    • I wrote down a grocery list of items I would need to buy
  • Second Step: Go to the grocery store and buy in bulk the following items:
    • Chicken, beef, onions, carrots, celery, peppers, mushrooms
  • Third Step: Prepare the food.  
    • Chop the red/yellow onions, red/green peppers, celery, & carrots.
    • Cook chicken
      • Shred half
      • Cube half
    • Cook the beef
      • 1/3 plain meet
      • 1/3 with taco seasoning already in it
      • 1/3 with onions and mushrooms already in it
  • Fourth Step: Store the items in a freezer safe container. 
    • In Ecuador the freezer bags you can't zip- so I found this idea on Pinterest with how to seal a bag.  
    • Make sure to label the bag with the date the item was put in and what is in the bag.
Now when I need to throw in some chicken and chopped onions in the new recipe I want to try it cuts way down on the prep time! Excited!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dear Zane

Dear Zane,

Today you turned 6 months old!  I am SO overjoyed God gave you to us.  Let me show you how much you have grown these last 6 months. 

I can't believe you're already half a year old!  What a true blessing from God you are. 

Today I am praying 2 Timothy 2:1-7 over you.
Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.
I read a blog post by Ann Dunagan who runs Harvest Ministry that inspired my socks off.
Here are excerpts from the article found here that I copied below.  

vs. 1 “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
KEY # 1: Let’s train our boys . . . to to be strong in God’s GRACE — We need to teach our boys to love God and to obey whatever He says, not relying on their own strengths or abilities (or being discouraged by their weaknesses or inabilities), but trusting in God’s grace and relying on His power. What God will tell our sons to do, He will enable them to do.
vs. 2 “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
KEY # 2: Let’s train our boys . . . to LEARN and to LEAD. — We need to train our boys to be teachable and completely submitted to God. They need to learn how to be under authority, and how to be servant-leaders — so others can eventually follow their leadership.
KEY # 3: Let’s train our boys . . . to ENDURE HARDSHIP.– Let’s raise our boys to not be wimpy, but strong and uncompromised; to have a heart for the persecuted, the lost, and the needy; to stand-firm against injustice; and to boldly advance God’s kingdom and His righteousness.
vs. 4 “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”
KEY # 4: Let’s train our boys to be . . . UNENCUMBERED and SOBER-minded. — We need to train our boys to not be like the world, bogged-down, selfish, or distracted. They need to learn to guard the gates of their lives (their mind, eyes, ears, and tongues) — to focus on God’s glory.
vs. 5 “And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
KEY # 5: Let’s train our boys . . . to GIVE it ALL they’ve GOT! — to be men of integrity and character, with discipline in every area of life — spiritually, mentally, financially, educationally, socially, and even physically.
vs. 6-7 “The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.”
KEY # 6: Let’s train our boys . . . to WORK HARD. – We need to teach our boys to understand the value of money, and to know how to invest in the future — to make a generous difference for God’s kingdom, with self-control and financial patience.
vs. 19-22 “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
KEY # 7: Let’s train our boys . . . to be SET-APART for God.–We need to raise our boys to more than “ordinary” and “common” guys, but boys who are God’s chosen vessels — set-apart to push back darkness, and to advance God’s kingdom.
Zane may you grow up to be a strong leader who is passionate beyond anything about Christ and His name proclaimed throughout the world.  WE LOVE YOU!
Love your parents,
Alaina & Loren

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

small adventures

Small adventures in life is where we live the dream!

We went to the park that is literally in our 'front yard'.  It was a joy to watch 5 month old Zane touch and taste the grass!

A few weeks ago I was able to re-arrange the sun room. We had a student stay with us while her parents were in Uruguay.  It was a blessing to have her here to help with Zane and dishes.  Loren and I even got to go out on a date Friday night while she babysat!  YEAH!  First time we have been out for dinner and a movie all in the same night since Zane was born!

Cotopaxi is so gorgeous right now! It is rare that we get to see a colorful sunset living right on the equator. The sun goes down so fast we usually don't get shades of orange and pink. But this night it was reflecting off the mountain and beautiful!  The construction won't totally block our view.  For that we are thankful!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Week 3: Nooks

This week with Simple Mom we cleaned out hot spots that piled up with clutter in drawers, counter tops, and closets.

First I cleaned out my dresser nook.
Here is the before and after photo:

I also accomplished my closet:

My husbands closet was already organized so I didn't have to work on his. Benefits to having an organized husband!

Our little nook where we keep our work out equipment needed some love:

I also started working on my scrapbooking nook- but didn't get that finished quite yet. Maybe that will be another project to accomplish later on!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Week 2: Project Simplify Wicked Kitchen

I really like to surface clean my kitchen- but it is extremely hard for me to dig down deep into all the nooks and cranny's and wash away the grime of the dark corners of my kitchen.  So this week with the De-clutter project I am joining with Simple Mom I can't have an excuse any more!  I was able to clean out my whole fridge! 
Here is the before shot of the freezer:

Here is the after!

I was able to take everything out of the fridge, disinfect all surfaces, and organize. 

You might not be able to tell tons of difference but I SURE CAN!  ;-) It felt good to get the goo that has been on the bottom shelf for 4 months off.
I re-filled mayo, mustard, and ketchup bottles.   Threw away items that were just taking up space and empty.  Got rid of some old food.  AHH.   If you only could smell it now.

I also accomplished a little project that I wanted to do for months but didn't ever take the time to get it done.  Make my own fridge magnets!  I got the idea from Pinterest and adapted it a little.  My aunt Kimbo got me these clear gadgets.  Then I glued words/pictures behind them.  And put a magnet on the back!
Sweet!  Another task accomplished!

Before and after shot of the cabinet I tackled to the ground:

Again probably no change in your eyes but I was able to disinfect, organize, and re-fill.  And found out we have a lot of Tuna right now.  I also got a pile ready to give away.  So many in this country don't have food- and we are more than blessed with provisions from God.
May we be a blessing to others who are in real need!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Handball tournament!

Run, dribble, pass, jump, throw! Defend, hold, fight, intercept, push, block!

We got the privilege to attend a handball Quito tournament this saturday. We went to watch a student who goes to the Mosaic on Sunday nights which is our youth group.

Here is the Quito team huddled getting ready for the game.

Our friend Johannes from the Mosaic is running down the court.

Our son Zane is cheering on the game with all of his 5 month old noises!

At one point it started raining really hard and dripping on the court! The team just cleaned it up with a jersey and kept playing... they really needed a bucket to catch all the rain drops that were falling! See in this picture 'cleaning up' going on.

During penalty shots they let people in the audience come and shoot in the goal. Loren got a chance to go and shoot. This blurry picture is him shooting- and its blurry because Zane was so excited and moving so much in my arms. But Loren is the red fuzz.

We won a little ball from throwing!

Zane really liked this little ball.

It was fun getting to watch handball but more than that hang out with this international group. I got to sit beside Tamara from the Mosaic and chher on our team!

By the way- at the end there was a raffle drawing- and we totally won a huge basket full of wonderful goodies!

Next time YOU will have to join us on this adventure outing with part of the Mosaic.



Friday, March 9, 2012

Week 1: project simplify

Pass the shelf on the way to the kitchen and think- ugh.  Pass the shelf on the way back to the bedroom and think- I should organize that.   1 month later pick up baby toys and place them randomly on shelf.  2 weeks later pass the shelf and run out of room to stash.  2 days later read about project simplify and get really excited about how we are starting with kids stuff.  And TODAY is the day!

If you want to learn more about it and want to join me- click on the box above.

Here is the before shot of the shelf...  


Here is the after shot!  


I had some construction paper that had been hanging out way too long in my scrapbooking pile.  So I decided to use different colors as the backdrop of the shelf.  (just taped it on- we will see how long it really lasts...)


These baskets I had gotten down in Santa Clara at our 'home market' here in Quito.  I had purchased some material to make pillows (in the picture on the stool).  And decided with the left over material I would hot glue them on the baskets to add some cuteness.


With little Zane 5 months old  and acting like he wants to crawl I knew I needed to get to baby-proofing the house at ground level.  The bottom shelf now has his toys in a basket and all our books with durable/hard pages for him to reach and pull off.  Now I won't have to worry about him getting in to something that he can't play with.  (I still have the rest of the house to do- but it feels good to start somewhere!)

I did start a pile for books/toys that we don't need.  Hopefully we can donate some items so children here in Ecuador can enjoy them as well!

As part 2 of this project I also organized Zane's dresser.  There wasn't tons to organize since I already have the top drawer as clothes he can wear now, the second as clothes he will wear next... (and so on).  But I did put away in a box the clothes he has grown out of.  (all the newborn outfits that are so TINY!)

Zane can still fit in some of the 0-3 mo. old clothes with being so skinny.  Yet anything with footsies he wears the 3-6 mo. pile because he is just so long.  

Here is the before shot of the dresser:

And the after!!!

The painting of the tree with the names of God on it was created by one of our students from youth group who graduated last year.  

He painted that design on his locker and I couldn't help but comment on it and just about drool over it every day with how much I loved the names of God portrayed that way.  

He suprised us this year for Christmas and gave us a copy of his painting!  I was ecstatic with joy!  It had been in our living room for a while and now I am rotating it around to different parts of the house- because it just looks so good no matter where it is placed.  Thanks again Brady! 


Overall I enjoyed the organizing.  Thank you simple mom for the accountability!