Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday- What's Cooking?

I HATE to cook! My husband works 4-5 Graves per week, so it's usually just ME and the Kiddos for Dinner. AND, at least half of those nights we are running around from activity to activity, so the last thing I want to do at the end of each day is spend hours in the kitchen. Therefore, I am ALWAYS looking for the easiest "prepare ahead of time" or crock-pot meal.

Here is what I made for dinner tonight. It was a HIT with all 4 kids. YAY!! That's hard to come by around here. Enjoy!

French Toast Casserole
1 long thing french bread, cut in slices (10oz)
3 cups milk
1/3 tsp. salt
8 large eggs
4 tsp. sugar
1 TBSP. vanilla
Grease 9x13 baking pan with butter. Arrange bread slices in one layer in pan. Beat together eggs, milk, sugar, salt and vanilla; pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or throughout the day for dinner).

To bake, remove cover, dot with butter, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until bread is bubbly and lightly browned. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with syrup, yogurt or sour cream, and fresh fruit.

Thanks Liz for the Recipe!

Tuesday- Temporal DeClutter

OK- I admit it. I LOVE to do almost ALL my Christmas shopping on Black Friday. Not just for the great prices, but for the pure energy of it all!

BUT, usually before I go out and do my Christmas shopping, I go through a NESTING period. I start to declutter the kids' bedrooms, closets, garage, etc. It's like I'm getting ready for a newborn baby to arrive. Make ROOM for Christmas. Not that the kids get TONS of presents (we have a surprisingly low budget for Christmas compared to most), I just don't like getting NEW things without getting rid of OLD things. Total Temporal DeClutter people!!!

The older kids (13 and 11 years old) are starting to catch on to my nesting "Pre-Christmas Phase" and are helping with the Decluttering. In fact, this year they sold their electronic items they received for Christmas last year (or the year before). That way they have money to either purchase the "newer/cooler" electronic item of the year or they can donate to Santa's bank account. I hate trying to keep up with the latest technology, it is TOO expensive. So, we have taught them to sell or save their own money for the newest gadget. Helps Declutter, SAVES Money and Makes a HAPPY Mommacita!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday- Mental DeClutter

I have been watching Oprah's Life Classes lately (thanks to a tip from a GOOD friend).
They are so inspirational and can be applied in every aspect of anyone's life!

One that I recently watched got me thinking. It was about ANGER. Lately, I have been SO angry and I can't get past it. I'm starting to let it out on my husband and kids and I DO NOT want that. What I LOVE about the classes is that it gives you additional topics to explore and write about in your journal after listening to the class. Here are the 4 things to think about and write about in your journal if you are suffering from Anger.

1. Look within yourself for anything from rage to slight annoyance. What's the object of your anger?
2. Thinking about the anger you've just noted, see if the underlying cause of the anger is fear. If you can find a fear, write it down.
3. Is there something you lost—or never had—that has created a wound or sorrow?
4. If fear and sorrow were absent, there would be no anger. What act of courage might help you defeat your fear?

Favorite Quotes from this Life Class.

"You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them." —Iyanla Vanzant

‎"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." -Buddha

Here is to good Mental Health!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Break

I'm taking a Turkey Break this weekend. AND, my internet has been down. I am hoping to be back on my blogging schedule by Sunday or Monday.

Hope you all had a wonderful THANKSGIVING! We have so much to be thankful for!!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday- Temporal DeClutter

What is the #1 chore (or pile of clutter) in your household that you HATE!! Mine is Laundry. ARGGG....(that's my pirate voice). It really can take over your life if you aren't consistent huh? Growing up, my mom did laundry on Tues/Thurs/Sat (and she had 7 kids). I feel like I do laundry EVERY DAY. Why? Why can't I have a consistent schedule like her. What is the problem here?

This week I decided to work on my closet clutter and laundry clutter. It really can PILE up with 6 people in the house. I must admit, I am not a consistent laundry person...I just do it when I absolutely need to or when I walk past the washer or dryer in the basement. But, this week it was starting to take over the master bedroom and I could hardly see my carpet. I know, I could I have allowed that to happen? I hate clutter. Well, I am not perfect...I am a mom who works part time and runs my 4 crazy kids around to all their "things". It just isn't reality to keep up with all that laundry.

As I was sorting and putting everything away, I noticed that my girls (8 year old twins) had SO MANY clothes. No wonder my laundry is out of control. No wonder I don't have to do laundry as consistently as others. They can go weeks without looking for new clothes to wear (lots of hand-me-downs from 13 year old sister). WOW...time to declutter and condense. I brought the girls in and had them choose their 14 favorite shirts and 14 pants. Of course I let them keep their underwear and socks. The rest actually ended up being older clothes that are getting too small and are looking worn anyways....SO, I will donate them. Phew....mission accomplished. Now my laundry piles should be less and I may be able to get on a consistent schedule. Maybe Tues/Thurs/Sat like my mom.

If I could only get my husband to jump on the bandwagon and declutter his side of the closet. WHY does he need all those clothes? 75% of them he hasn't worn in YEARS....what's the point of all that clutter? It drives me CRAZY. I do admit, I have a LOT too. BUT, I am willing to go through them and donate or sell to a consignment shop the ones that I have not worn in YEARS. I'm gonna do that this weekend. Not him, he won't budge!! What do you guys think? How many clothes should you have in your closet? How long is long enough to hang on to them? For me it's all about simplicity and the basics. I'd love to hear your thoughts and laundry tips!

Maybe I will post before and after pictures of my side of the closet, if I'm brave enough to let you see!! OR, maybe I will just post a picture of HIS side of the closet and you guys can all comment on how insane it is to have all those clothes...hint hint!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday- Mental DeClutter

Mondays are always SO HARD. I don't really like Mondays. Today was especially yucky. I just was not ready to begin another week, even though it is Thanksgiving week and I should be looking forward to days off of work, school and spending more time with family. But for some reason, I wasn't feeling it today. I was reminded of this quote and thought it would be perfect to share on our first Mental Monday together!

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.” Charles Swindoll

HAPPY MONDAY EVERYONE! How was your attitude today?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday- Shopping with Coupons

My twins had a birthday party to go to today and I really didn't want/need to spend that much money on an 8 year old girl. Birthday parties can really add up. I found a great deal going on at Target on Such a great website for Freebies and Great Deals...hence the name!!! Here is the deal she posted:

The Glade Winter Holiday Room Spray is on sale at Target for only $2.50 through November 19th. Plus, they are also part of a Target Gift Card promotion right now. That means you may be able to score the following deal at your local Target.

Purchase 5 Glade Winter Holiday Room Spray at $2.50 each (through 11/19)
Use 2 of the $2.00 off of two Glade Winter Collection Products Coupon
You will pay $8.50 but you will receive a $5.00 Target Gift Card
Total cost $0.70 each when you purchase all 5

I printed the coupons and headed straight to Target with my twins. I got 5 YUMMALICIOUS Glade Winter Holiday Room Sprays for $8.50. (I'm gonna use these for cute neighbor holiday gifts- I'm keeping one peppermint spray for me). Then on a separate transaction, I used the $5 gift card I received from purchasing the Glade Sprays on the $10 present the girls had picked out for their friend. So, that only cost me $5 plus tax. I walked out of Target only spending around $14 for 5 air fresheners and a birthday present.

Not bad for my Shopping with Coupons Saturday!! Woot Woot!

Friday- Financial DeClutter #1

When all our financial trouble began, I started to listen to Dave Ramsey on the radio ( He has so many great financial programs and advice. We have used a lot of his advice in our own financial decisions.

If you are struggling financially and/or find yourself in overwhelming DEBT, here are his Seven Baby Steps to get you started on your road to financial freedom.

Baby Step 1
$1,000 to start an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is for those unexpected events in life that you can’t plan for: the loss of a job, an unexpected pregnancy, a faulty car transmission, and the list goes on and on. It’s not a matter of if these events will happen; it’s simply a matter of when they will happen.

Baby Step 2
Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
List your debts, excluding the house, in order. The smallest balance should be your number one priority. Don’t worry about interest rates unless two debts have similar payoffs. If that’s the case, then list the higher interest rate debt first.

Baby Step 3
3 to 6 months of expenses in savings
Once you complete the first two baby steps, you will have built serious momentum. But don’t start throwing all your “extra” money into investments quite yet. It’s time to build your full emergency fund.

Baby Step 4
Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
When you reach this step, you’ll have no payments—except the house—and a fully funded emergency fund. Now it’s time to get serious about building wealth.

Baby Step 5
College funding for children
By this point, you should have already started Baby Step 4—investing 15% of your income—before saving for college. Whether you are saving for you or your child to go to college, you need to start now.

Baby Step 6
Pay off home early
Now it’s time to begin chunking all of your extra money toward the mortgage. You are getting closer to realizing the dream of a life with no house payments.

Baby Step 7
Build wealth and give!
It’s time to build wealth and give like never before. Leave an inheritance for future generations, and bless others now with your excess. It's really the only way to live!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday- Physical DeClutter #1

Here is the TRUTH. I am probably about 50 lbs overweight. That, my friends, is physical clutter!

I had FOUR beautiful kids in 5 years (I cheated by having twins) between 1998-2003. Here we are, eight years later and I am still carrying all of this extra baby weight around. Part of me has gotten used to it and another part of me wants to get my body back. I think now is the time. I've become a real LAZY person and I am not sure how to go about losing the weight, getting into shape, taking care of my body and just getting out of bed period. I think I ran, ran, ran so fast with my head cut off from 1998-2008 (with 4 toddlers and managing all my stay-at-home businesses), that by the time all our financial troubles happened in 2008, I crashed, shut down and gave up.

For my 3*th birthday this past May, I joined a gym close by so that I could attend the Zumba classes (I LOVE to dance) and maybe walk on the treadmill a couple of mornings a week after the kids went to school. Today is November 17th and I have stepped foot in that gym 0 times!!! 0 TIMES!! What a loser. NO, not the biggest loser.....a LOSER!!

What do I do? Where do I begin? I'm not a person to just jump right in and start going to the gym everyday. It has to be gradual. I don't think I'm too worried about what I am eating right now. That can come later. Right now I just need to focus on getting my butt out of bed (I work at home in my pj's) and doing SOMETHING, ANYTHING! My husband says it can be as simple as walking around the block a couple of tonight for my first Physical Thursday DeClutter I walked around the block a couple of times with my 11 year old son. It felt GREAT! We even ran a little just to get our hearts pumping. AND..we had a good talk. He is our only boy, so it's good to spend a little one-on-one time with him. Girl Drama is getting crazy around here!!

Like I said, I'm not gonna jump in and start doing this everyday. For sure every THURSDAY. And, hopefully from now and till then I will make it to the gym or at least another walk around the block. We will see. What are your thoughts and advice for me? I need all the help I can get.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Our Story

I am ready to share our story so that you can know how we got to where we are today. I know you are wondering.

In 2006 we had been married for 10 years and had 4 kids ages 8, 6 and 3 year old twins. We were BUSY! We bought our dream house, husband had a great job and I was able to stay at home with the kids while managing several at-home businesses. We thought we were set for life. We had everything we "wanted", more than we needed. We weren't exactly the "keeping up with the Joneses" type, but we were happy and comfortable. We had accrued "some" credit card debt along the way due to my 3 horrific, near-death-experience pregnancies and my many attempts to start and maintain several businesses so that I could stay home with the kids.

In 2008 the market took a turn (for the worse) and husband's OVERTIME hours were completely taken away. Can't complain...he still had a job. Ironically, we were pre-approved for our dream house based on his overtime hours, which we had comfortably been living with for 7 years. Overtime alone doubled his annual salary. We immediately put the house up for sale because we knew that we were in over our heads and perhaps living WAY beyond our means. AND, my businesses were not making enough to keep us afloat.

2008 was a HARD year for us. We found ourselves in A LOT of credit card debt (and nothing to show for it). We came close to foreclosure, car repossessed, creditors calling, unable to pay the was NOT GOOD!!! In fact, it was really scary. We had to go to family members and friends for help which was and is EMBARRASSING, HUMILIATING, DEPRESSING, DAMAGING and HUMBLING! We wish that we could have tackled the whole thing ourselves, but it all happened so fast. We had no idea how the choices we had been making financially for those past 10 years would all come to a HUGE CRASH in one year. We were naive. We will NEVER be able to repay our family and friends for the help and assistance they gave to us. It SAVED us. It has changed our relationships with our family members and we have lost some friendships along the way, but it has helped us to realize what is most important. FAMILY...not Money or Worldly Possessions.

Now it's 2011 and we have come a LONG way.....................

We are renting (the perfect size house and within our means, LOVE the low payment)
We have not used a Credit Card since 2008
The creditors have stopped calling
Our 2 cars are PAID OFF (Last payment on Mini-Van is next month)
Overtime comes and goes sporadically (so we have learned how to Budget that in)
I have a "REAL" part time Job from home (no more home businesses that don't make money)
We VACATION/TRAVEL A LOT (thanks to my part time job for an airline)
I have cut my grocery shopping in HALF by couponing (so worth it)
The kids know the value of $1 and save for all the things they "want"
The kids are now 13, 11 and the twins are 8....I haven't aged at all :)
We DO NOT spend money on unnecessary things drives me crazy
If there is a cheaper way to do something, I will find out how
Since moving from our Dream House I have given away or donated HALF of our "STUFF"....did not need ALL of that stuff to have a happy home.
We have everything we NEED.....Family, Home, LOVE!

So...that is our story. I know that thousands of Americans may be going or have gone through the same thing in recent years. Let's face it, these are not the best economic times. I hope that you will share your stories and comments with me. I truly believe that by sharing we can grow and learn from each others experiences. The following is from a fellow blogger ( I couldn't have said it any better.

From one extreme to another (at first by economic force, and then by choice), we’ve learned to simplify.

We have minimal stuff, but ample quality time together. We lack a permanent residence, but are abundant in freedom.

Rousing ourselves from the hypnosis of social conditioning, we’ve awaken to a new reality: We’ve discovered that it’s not things that bring meaning to life, but relationships and experiences.

I'm hoping to share with you on a DAILY basis. I have chosen the TOP 7 areas in my life that I think I can continually WORK ON and DECLUTTER. I will focus on one each day. I sometimes get really overwhelmed with all there is to do as a wife, mother, friend, sister, etc. Breaking it down helps me to focus on one thing at a time, even though I am truly working on all of these everyday. Here is my breakdown...

Monday is Mental Declutter
Tuesday is Temporal Declutter
Wednesday is What's Cooking?
Thursday is Physical Declutter
Friday is Financial Declutter
Saturday is Shopping with Coupons
Sunday is Spiritual Strengthening

I am so grateful for this JOURNEY. I am so much happier and life is more "SIMPLE". I now bask in Simplicity. I hope you can too!

Crazy Clutter Lady has Arrived!!!

I HATE clutter!
I absolutely CANNOT stand clutter!
It drives me CRAZY!
It makes me NEUROTIC!
Clutter gives me ANXIETY!
Nothing RUNS smoothly with Clutter!
Lives can be RUINED by Clutter!

My name is AMY and I am the
Crazy Clutter Lady!

I have an obsession with organizing and decluttering EVERYTHING! I know, it's a sickness.

So, what better way to manage my obsession (ok-sickness) than by sharing my talent and wisdom with YOU. Yes, YOU...the one with all the CLUTTER!

I have created this blog to provide you with weekly updates and tips for getting rid of your CLUTTER...not just Temporal clutter (our worldly possessions), but perhaps Mental clutter (anxiety, depression), Physical clutter (extra body weight, health problems), Spiritual clutter (sin, regret, forgiveness), and Financial clutter (DEBT, overspending). I believe that it's ALL related, a vicious cycle if you will. I feel that when I am working and focusing on Decluttering these areas in my life, things run more smoothly for me. I hope that by sharing you can find this peace and simplicity in your life too!