Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Construction Themed Birthday Party

I just can't believe that my little man turned two this past weekend.  It really seems like time flew by.  Looking back at his pictures, I am in shock by how much he's changed, but really haven't been able to see all the changes until I look back at pictures of him throughout the years.  So when planning his second birthday party, I knew I needed to do something special to celebrate two wondrous years with him in our lives. 

Starting with a theme, we decided to do something with trucks, especially dump trucks, because the birthday boy is really into that right now.  I figured a construction themed party would be a perfect theme to match his high energy and interest.  We decided out backyard was a great space for the party since the theme is construction and there is lots of space.  I decided to create a big construction site for the kids to play with along with destroying!

I took empty boxes and painted them to look like bricks and concrete cinder blocks.  The kids loved running into them and knocking them over!

Thinking about food, we wanted an easy meal that people could eat anywhere.  Bagels and cream cheese were the perfect way to go!  And we had to have some of the toddler favorites like applesauce and cheese sticks!  The ladies over at Love and Lion really helped me out with planning the perfect finishing touches to the party.  They designed the labels for the food, the tags on the cupcakes and the favors. 
Since it was so hot, we decided to take out some little pools and a sprinkler to let the kids run through to cool them off.  Everyone loved playing in the water then running into the sandbox to play with the trucks!  All of the parents really loved having sandy kids when they left the party!
 I'm just so glad that our little man enjoyed himself!  It was the perfect way to celebrate his birthday!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I Tamed The Beast That Is Our Junk Closet...And Lived To Tell About It

I have been trying to hide the fact that I have a "Monica closet"...It is a Friends reference, to the episode where Monica has a closet full of stuff that is completely unorganized, which is very out of character.  Well the closet started to take over the entire basement, so I had to do something to clean it up.

The closet was home to everything from baby stuff, holiday boxes, coolers, suitcases, some of my old teaching stuff that I just can't part with, and all of the random items of childhood goodness of my husband's that my father-in-law would bring over for us to have!  I really needed to figure out what the purpose of this closet was going to be so that everything else that did not fit, would find a home elsewhere.

Since this space is much easier to get to than our attic, we decided this closet would hold things we needed to be easily accessible.  As I started to sort though all of the items in the closet, I decided to get clear bins to hold special items for each family member.  I wanted these bins to be easily accessible so we could add to them as the kids get older.  I also made bins for my husband and myself.  But more on that later!
Once I got all of the family stuff organized, I moved on to the remaining items in the closet.  All of my teacher stuff should be housed in the attic, along with some big suitcases.  All of the baby stuff was either relocated to the kids bedroom closets, taken out of the closet to use or we donated the things that we are no longer using.  While sad to part with, we just don't have the space to save a bouncy chair!

Then there were a few items in the closet that we did not need to be accessible, but they didn't fit in the attic.  They had to stay in the closet, but we could stick them in the back corner and place things in front of them that we needed to have access to.

All that remained was my wrapping paper, gift bags and tissue paper.  I decided to take an empty bin and turn it into a gift wrapping station.  Check out how I did it here.
Finally I was able to put everything back in the closet after I tore apart the basement.  I started with the cooler.  We don't use it that often, but when we do we want to get it right away.  I was able to stack some items on top of the cooler like a smaller cooler and a golf bag cover.
 Then I stacked all of the boxes based on what we use the most.  My daughter and husband's bins are on the top.  My daughter because I have been putting in all of her baby clothes/shoes/doctor's notes/etc.  And my husband's father keeps giving us random items of his from when he was growing up, so I want to make sure that I am ready to put that stuff away as soon as we get it!
 Lastly, I stacked the roasting over and small suitcases on the shelf.
Now everything is sorted and organized.  I feel so much better knowing that I can find things safely and easily in that closet now.  No more "Monica Closet" in our house!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Organizing My Gift Wrapping Stuff

I feel like I have so much stuff that goes with wrapping gifts.  I can never seem to keep it organized because I never keep it all together.  I had my wrapping paper hanging in a garment bag in the basement closet, gift bags stored in a grocery bag in my craft room and tissue paper stored in a baggie all crumpled up in my craft room.  This system that I thought was working really wasn't.  As I was cleaning out my basement closet, I decided that I needed to put all of my gift wrapping stuff together.

I started by grabbing an extra bin.  (This probably is a safer bet to keeping the gift bags from getting squished then my grocery bag storage solution.)  I took all of my gift bags and started to fold them so they are placed nicely in the bin.  If the gift bag got crumpled, I threw it out.
Next, I took all of my wrapping paper and lined the rolls up next to the gift bags.  All of the wrapping paper is standing up so it doesn't wrinkle.
Finally, I took the nice pieces of tissue paper and folded them up.  I put them next to the gift bags.
And wa-la...my gift wrapping station is almost complete.  I added a baggie that holds tape and scissors to make wrapping presents super easy.  I attached the baggie using a binder clip.
Now I have an easy to use, easy to find gift wrapping station!  How to you keep your wrapping supplies organized?  I'd love to hear more ideas!