Camp and Kids

Summer camp.  Did you go to summer camp?  I never had the opportunity, but my hubby did.  Our kids have gone every since they were old enough, including a couple of mother/daughter and father/son weekends.  Camps and mission trips for kids are so awesome!!  My kids have such a great time with friends, creating memories and so much more.  But my favorite thing about sending my kids to camp is what it does for their growing spirit.  

Summer camp is a wonderful way for kids to gain confidence.  It gives them the opportunity to be independent in a safe, kid-friendly environment.  They are supervised, but not at the level they are at home.  They are required to take care of their own basic needs for a few days away from mom.  Before leaving for kids camp, our children’s minister always asks these questions:  “can you make your own bed?”, “can you take a shower by yourself”, “can you fix your own hair?”.
These are things they will have to do while at camp, and away from mom :). They will also need to make good choices when it comes to food and snacks.  Speaking of choices, they will be making a lot of these all by themselves.  Now, don’t panic.  It’s okay!!  I promise!!  Most likely, the sponsors that you entrusted your precious one with are not going to let them go too crazy, but they might let them do some things that they wouldn’t be able to do at home, and that’s ok, that’s what camp is for.

Let them go to camp if at all possible.  Letting them go says “I trust you”, “I know you can do it”, “You will be fine without mom and dad for a couple of days”, “You are big enough”.  For many mommies, it’s much harder for us to put them on the bus, then it is for them to get on the bus.  Take a chance – do it, you won’t regret it.

Also, if you are able, go with them.  Not because you want to follow them around and make sure their okay (they will hate that, trust me), but because you want to see what it’s all about.  Sharing this with them will create so many blessed memories.  

If you can’t go, but you can visit – visit.  Again, not necessarily to check up on them, but to experience a little part of what they are experiencing.  It will bless your heart.

As I am now the mother of older kiddos, I do occasionally get questions from moms of younger kiddos who are just starting the things I have done over and over :).  As our summer camps at church were ramping up, I had more than one momma say to me – “what are your tips for sending kids to camp?”.  I would say the same thing every time – let them pack themselves!!

No, I am not insane.  Many camps provide a list of what to bring.  If a list is available – let them have the list.  I started doing this early on, honestly for my own sanity.  My younger two were not alone in wanting to pack way to soon for camp, my older two did as well when they were younger (now they pack an hour before they have to leave).  Rather than argue with them or listen to the begging any longer, I said “fine, here’s the list, knock yourself out”.

For the first two or three years, I would recommend having them lay everything out (rather than putting it in the suitcase), and then you have a chance to go over the list with them and check for any missing items like underwear and socks – this was what my kids always seemed to forget to put it???  I haven’t checked my teenagers bags in years.  Have they forgotten things – yes many times, but you know what they survived, and they didn’t forget it the next time :).    My kids are now better packers than I am, and much quicker.

I know some of you are hyper-ventilating right now.  It will be fine.  Their outfits don’t have to match -it’s camp- nobody expects them to look cute.  It is such a small thing that I promise will give them so much confidence.  It’s a good time to teach them tips and tricks – for example my oldest never goes anywhere without packing a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans – because you just never know (even in the middle of July in Oklahoma :)).  In my opinion, there are so many kids out there who will have a hard time adjusting to life on their own, purely because us mommas have done everything for them.  Yes, I know we love to do it – but when are they going to learn if we don’t let them.  As my son approaches 18 and “adulthood”, I have begun to notice some of these hangups.  Some days I think “yes, he will be fine”, and then other days when he is acting helpless, I think “oh my goodness, he is never going to make it”.  I have a year, right?  🙂

And, just think, if we start letting them do things on their own, we will have all sorts of extra time to do whatever we want!!  🙂

Blessings to you!!  Have a wonderful weekend!!
Continue Reading

Tips and Tricks for Garage Organization

This should be the last post on our garage.  But, I thought you might want some details on a few spots. 

First, some general tips for organizing your garage.
#1 keep like things together – one of the most frustrating things about cleaning the garage was how things were all over the place.  For example I found paint supplies in several different locations – and when I got it altogether, there was a lot of it!!
#2 keep as much off the floor as you can
#3 plan spaces for things based on frequency of use and location of use

What works best for me to achieve #1 when organizing a space is to empty out the space.  Don’t try to move things around in the space – you will just end up moving things too much.  Empty everything out and make piles – use buckets if you have them, or just use the floor.  There is no real right or wrong categories for sorting – it just needs to make sense to you and your family.  
garage organization
To achieve #2 we added a couple of shelves to one side of the garage.  We inherited the large shelves that cover one whole side, but the other side was lacking, and we needed something simple and shallow to store homeowner type supplies.  
garage shelves
garage storage
I also purchased a simple wooden shoe rack for by the door for outside shoes – water shoes, fishing shoes, mowing shoes, you know the ones you never want in the house :).  
shoes in garage
We also utilized pegboard in two locations to hold tools – my hubbies tools and garden and yard tools. 
tool storage
garden storage
The pegboards got a coat of the blue paint we used on the shelves, just to spice them up a bit.  By this point we were on the home stretch, so I didn’t get too decorative with the paint, but I still like the pop of color :).
You can see the garden area got a shelf too, for all those sprays and liquids that you prefer to have up high – this is actually a laundry shelf hung upside down, but it was the perfect size.
shelf to hold bug spray and other chemicals
Also, hooks, nails, etc. are great to hang things you need easy access to – some frequently used tools, sports equipment, brooms, etc.  
garage storage and organization
To achieve #3 we took a. lot. of. time. thinking, planning, discussing the location of things.  Because as I said before, we had half-done this project several times, and I really hope to never do it again.  So, the things we rarely need access to – went on the top shelves, then we worked down from there.  Things that we wanted on hand went on hooks on the walls, or on the pegboards.  
As to my inspirations – for paint storage, I loved the idea of the mason jars and being able to SEE the color of paint, however glass and my family is not really a good idea, so I went to my standby plastic containers from walmart.  These will hold about 1/2 gallon of paint.  
leftover paint storage
I had a few cans that had around 1/4 gallon of paint, so I found some other plastic food storage containers with a screw on lid, and they worked great.  Two tubs for other paint supplies and this is what I ended up with :).
paint and paint supply storage
For homeowner type supplies – you know those random home repair items that you have because you had to fix something and you bought way more than you needed so you need somewhere to store it, because you will surely need it again. I again went with CLEAR tubs.  Even though I did label all of these, I still wanted clear tubs, so there was no confusion, and besides I just like the look of them.
storage tubs in garage
labeled tubs in garage
As for the cordless charging station…nothing was built, but we did attach a power strip to our work table and rigged up a “table” below for the chargers to sit on.  To be honest when we were going through tools we discovered that only one cordless item would still charge, so not too much to plug in at this time.
garage charging station
I feel very confident that this is going to make a huge difference in how we use this space.  I pulled my car in yesterday finally and there was plenty of room. We could honestly pull both our trucks in but we probably couldn’t open any doors :).  Just so nice to have space!!
Maybe you feel stuck right now by all the stuff that seems to be closing in on you.  In our culture today it seems stuff reigns supreme.  I mean seriously storage facilities are popping up everywhere.  Run out of room in your garage? – go rent one on someone else’s property.  What is the purpose of collecting stuff?  As my grandma used to say – “you can’t take it with you when you die”.  I like pretty things, and we all have our things that we must keep for fear we might need it someday – mine is bags.  About a year or so ago I got inspired to clean out our home and our lives of all the excess stuff.  When the stuff is piled up I feel overwhelmed and I just want to bury my head in the sand.  When things are clear and clean I feel relaxed.  How about you?  Do you like stuff or do you prefer space?
Continue Reading

Garage of Doom to Organized Happiness

Well, a little more than a month later and my Garage of Doom is D. O. N. E. done!!!  Can you tell I’m a little excited?  I have been forcing myself (and my hubby) out into that now hot garage – seriously why do we always try to do this in the summer – to finish.  You have no idea how many times I wanted to just shove everything back up against the walls and say “good enough”.  But, I knew from 11 years of experience that would not do, and we would be right back where we were in a couple of months.  So…we trudged through the massive piles of stuff.  Many things were deemed worthy to be kept.  So, if worthy to be kept, then worthy of it’s own special spot – right?  We store A. LOT. of stuff in our garage because we are 6 people in a not-so-big 30 year old home with not a ton of storage inside.  We have an attic, but that is for the things we don’t really need easy access to because, well, it’s not easy to access.  🙂  Enough with the talky, talky and on to the looky, looky!!  If you are anything like me than the pictures are what you are waiting to see 🙂  I shared with you the before’s in this post, so here are the afters!!
Shelves for garage storage
shelves for garage storage
hanging storage by the back door
garage tool storage
bikes and sports storage for the garage
 Yes like I said there is still a lot of stuff that we store in here, but man it is organized, and by that I mean like things are with like things, and things make sense to us – things are where they need to be based on the amount of use.  If you follow me on instagram you know I took plenty of in-between/progress photos.  I just needed to see it for myself!!  🙂  I will be sharing this week some specific areas of interest but for this post I just wanted to share pics, and some thoughts on the process.  
This all started with me being fed-up with the mess.  I can never find anything!!!  When I put stuff in the garage I never know where it came from so I would just throw it wherever, which just adds to the problem.  We have lived with the garage plan that the previous home owners left us, because honestly it’s the garage and I would rather spend my time and energy inside the house ;).  But, when we were honest with each other, it just didn’t function for us, and we needed a change.  I mean, seriously, the walls were PINK.
garage wall paint
Ya, that color on the left – really?!?  So, we I decided that if we were going to clean the garage we were gonna take it to the next level.  Strip it clean and start over.  So, everything got pulled off the various shelves, and out of the various corners and shoved into the middle.
garage clean out
This is one of the various pics of this process.  There was sooo much stuff in here that we had to work our way around the room digging into one space at a time.  We went through EVERYTHING!!  Sorted EVERYTHING, grouped EVERYTHING, discussed logical placement of EVERYTHING.  We got rid of a lot of things, and relocated some things to their appropriate place elsewhere.  A lot of stuff stayed here and we found the perfect place for it – really I couldn’t rest until everything had a perfect place.
As I mentioned I did my best to keep this project on a low budget.  In the end the total cost came to around $220.  Our biggest expense being the shelves that we added above the work bench.  The rest was spent on paint, plastic storage, a few new hooks, and a couple a small shelves.
I’m so satisfied with the results and the time spent!!!  I just keep going out there and looking around – amazed!!!  My hubby and I are exhausted!!!  I’m so thankful for his patient endurance with me to the end.  I’m sure there were plenty of things he would’ve rather been doing :).  He is a good man!!
Stay tuned this week for some highlights!!

Linking up with Kristen at We Are That Family here
and here with Toni at A Bowl Full of Lemons
One Project at a Time Link party - ABFOL
Continue Reading

Garage Inspiration

We have been working tirelessly the past couple of weeks to get this garage project done.  Although I like taking my time and thinking things through and getting things right.  Having a big project like that looming over me keeps me from enjoying myself.  Silly, I know, but hey that’s who I am.  I am working on a post to share with you all the loveliness of the completed garage – 99.999% there – but I was thinking I would like to share with you my inspiration.  I have seen many great garage organization posts on the web this summer and I have pinned a few ideas on pinterest as well, of course.  I shared with you before that I had seen some ideas on leftover paint storage.  Aren’t these cute?  Same idea implemented by two awesome bloggers.

From Jen at IHeart Organizing
Hi Sugarplum | Organized Garage
and then from Cassie at Hi Sugarplum
Isn’t this just the cutest!!  And functional – you can see what color paint it is without opening the container!!

My next favorite thing is clear storage containers with labels for all those odds and ends things that are necessary to have when you are a homeowner, but you never know where to put them, and they always end up in a jumbled mess, and you can never find anything, so you just end up going out and buying more.  (tell me this happens at your house too!)
Organized and labeled storage tubs in plain sight and easy reach seems like a better idea.  Something like this:
from Toni at A Bowl Full of Lemons
Then there is the tools…a pegboard is an obvious solution, and we actually have one of those, but I love how Cassie spiced hers up a bit with some paint 🙂

Hi Sugarplum | Happy Organized Garage
from Cassie at Hi Sugarplum
I love this idea for the cordless things and their chargers.  Nothing is ever charged, we can never find the charger, and there is never anywhere to plug it in even if we do find the charger.  I think something along these lines would be great.  I cannot find instructions to this, but I think it might be something you could DIY or at least something similar.

Shop organization
Honestly, part of my master plan is to get as much off the floor as possible.  I like the idea of using wall-space like in this pic:

DIY Tips for Your Garage
I know some things just can’t be helped, but this is how things get junky.  Everyone in my family, including myself, is in the habit of just throwing things down.  I desperately want to break this habit.  These kids are gonna be grown soon and the least I can do for their future spouses is to teach them to pick-up after themselves :).

Stay tuned to see how it all comes out!!

Continue Reading

Insta-Friday {July 19th}

I am cheating and sharing two weeks of photos this Friday, cuz I forgot to share last Friday.  

Sometimes in the summer the kids are so bored that they agree to go run errands with you!!  🙂  Love time with my kiddos!!

It has been plenty hot the past couple of weeks so I was more than happy for this random little rain storm – so happy that I sat out on my front porch to watch and listen to its loveliness.

Finally, it was the little boys’ turn to go to camp!!  Can you see the excitement on their faces?!?  They wanted to start packing like a week before they were supposed to leave!!  

So…the little boys got on a bus to go to camp and the teenagers and I went to the outlet mall for a little summer shopping!!  

Love hangin with my girlie!!  Happy hour at Sonic makes us happy, happy, happy!!

So thankful to have all three of these boys back home.  {Hubby went to Spain on a mission trip for 10 days – was really happy to have him back home :).}  They took advantage of another fabulous summer shower to bike ride in the rain – one of their favorite activities :).

We have been spending endless hours in the garage, trying to get 11 years of mess under control, cleaned-out, repainted, and organized.  

Now that EVERYONE was finally home altogether we took a much needed break from the garage chaos and went to see Despicable Me 2!!!  Loved it!  LOVE the minions!!! 

More work in the garage – progress is being made.  I think I needed to post these pics for myself more than for anyone else. 

Thankful for helpers of all sizes!!  🙂  Hopefully I will be able to post about the completed, glorious garage that we are creating – soon.  

Blessings to you and your this weekend!!

Linking up with Jeannett at Life Rearranged here
life rearranged
Continue Reading