Monthly Archives: January 2013


Ashley isn’t allowed to play with our (non working expensive to replace) fireplace. yesterday she really wanted to touch it but listened when I told her no. Instead she spent a few minutes laying next to it and looking at it. Good compromise

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Family Goals 2013: The Dreaded Basement Project

I mentioned recently that we started some new traditions in 2012 and we set some goals for 2013. The first goal was family days, and our second goal is to conquer the mess that is our basement. Now, my lovely mom tackled this with me soon after Mark and I got married.

At that point, though, I technically couldn’t get rid of anything until I’d lived here a year (because of immigration/importing things). So, we just put stuff on shelves, etc.

Then, last year, we had an unexpected flood. A lot of stuff was off the floor, but there were some cardboard boxes that got wet. Our basement is miserable (barely 6 feet tall) and I was pregnant, so we just repacked stuff and left it for another day. In the meantime, we just kept adding stuff down there. We have made some attempts to clean it up, but it’s really been more about moving stuff around instead of getting rid of stuff.

It’s now gotten to the point of ridiculous. So, our family goal for 2013 is to conquer this mess once and for all. We’re going to get rid of stuff (kijiji, garage sales, trash, donations, whatever). Hopefully we can make a little bit of money, take stock of what we have, and make that space a little more functional (it’s never going to be the star of the house, but…). Did I mention getting rid of stuff?

I’ve also decided that I’m going to work on making our home more homey this year by working on 1 room per month, and hopefully by going through the basement, I can find things that can be used for that goal (helloooooo pinterest).

Anyway, to kick off this project, I decided to make a video, highlighting just how bad it really is:

(sorry- you don’t really get a comprehensive view).

I’m happy to report that we’ve started this- we tackled the random home improvement shelves…kind of. We sorted all of the stuff into tool boxes, made a small pile to give away and will ask my dad to go through the stuff with us this spring and tell us how much of it we can get rid of (it feels like we own a hardware store. Which is ironic because it’s not like we’re expert DIY’ers. let’s be honest: we’re not even¬†amateurs!) oh, and I folded the laundry and took a bunch of random boxes for recycling. Baby steps!



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Freezer Challege

The time has come. I need to do a freezer challenge!

I LOVE the freezer. I put everything in there (whether it really deserves to go in there or not!). Freezing things lets me stock up when things are on sale, in season, or I’m just stocking in Detroit. We joined Costco this summer, so my freezer is getting a work out!

In November, I decided that I needed to do a freezer challenge- I needed room for a Christmas turkey and some other things. I also wanted to get my grocery budget back under control. So, for the past 3 months, we’ve been eating from our freezer.

This is what I’ve decided:

Our freezer(s) are like Mary Poppin’s bag:

(photo source:

3 months of eating from our freezer and there’s still food in there! now, granted, I’ve been shopping some and in fact in November and December spent probably more than my grocery budget. But, we’ve been making an effort. In January, I’m over $100 under budget…and we haven’t missed anything! (well, except the cookie dough I usually keep in there…hehe).

The most remarkable thing about this…I don’t feel like I’ve cooked a meal from scratch in months. Which doesn’t seem possible (I really thought the freezer was on the empty side in November…much less December…much less January!) Every day, I go to the freezer, open it up and pull out something at least halfway prepped. The most brilliant meal was last week when I pulled frozen, cooked pasta out, cooked meatballs, and homemade spaghetti sauce to make a pasta dish. Mix it together, pop it in the oven, and call it good.

I just set aside our meals for the week, and I think I have enough meals/components for 2-3 more weeks in there. Let the freezer challenge continue!

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Family Fun: Colasanti’s

I mentioned recently that we have some goals as a family for 2013. One of those goals/traditions is to make sure we have one fun family activity every month (something outside of our regular, daily routine). We can always do more :), but this ensures that we’re being proactive about spending time together.

This month, we decided to go to Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens. Mark’s been wanting to take me there since we got married, and since it’s winter, it seemed like a good idea! It’s a petting zoo, flower shop, restaurant, arcade, mini-golf type place. I have to confess that it was more rustic than I expected, but there were some good points.

One nice thing was that the weather was gorgeous! It was in the 50’s that day, so we enjoyed not wearing coats! (It’s funny how 50 in January feels like a heat wave, but 50 just about any other time of the year is freezing!)

We stopped at the orchard to pick up our apples for the month, then headed to Colasanti’s. On the way back, we stopped at the butcher to pick up bacon and breakfast sausages).

Mark loved the petting zoo. He was like a little kid :). Ashley wasn’t so sure about it. She liked the goats, but everything else scared her. She and I smartly skipped the bat room!!

The fun wasn’t over when it was time to leave either! We decided to try for another family self-portrait…. we laugh every time we see them. Ashley had fun playing with Daddy through the car window before she went in her car seat too. She thought it was fun to climb around.

The activity wore her out! She fell asleep in the car, then went home to take a nap. So did we! It’s always a good day if it ends with family naptime!

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