Saturday, March 31, 2012

One Shining Moment

We actually had one moment this Spring Break where the Williams' family were able to get out and enjoy a bit of our natural surroundings.  HIKING!  A favorite past time for our family (we haven't done in years).  We went out and captured the small and short moments of sun earlier this week.

We decided to go to Silver Falls State Park to hike around some waterfalls. We live so close we often forget about this beautiful place.  Of course there was still some residual snow, and large branches down, as well as some closed trails due to the recent March snowfalls, but we were happy to feel the sun on our faces and enjoy a bit of the outdoors!

The South Falls is a great easy hike. You can get up close, walk underneath and be as far back as this upper photo was taken. You can still feel the spray.  It is an easy hike for little ones too. My four year old was excited about this.

This is the top of the falls. We are right by the edge, (behind a fence of course) we enjoyed seeing the water rush over and did not want to get too close. We were being very careful.  We crossed a few bridges and decided we wanted to go underneath the falls or at least the two boys and I.  

A bit blurry but you can see  we hiked down into a cave underneath the falls. My four year old did not want to get too close to the rickety bar fence so he was gripping my hand. Of course we got wet from the waterfall and were waiting for daddy to give us the "okay" that he had taken a few pictures.  He is still learning how to use my long lens.  Look at the green moss too! With all of the wet weather we are having it's a wonder that there isn't more that is hanging from the caves.  

See the tree covering the walk way to the bridge. My son kept telling his dad to, "help mom!" Such a great and caring boy.  So, though I could make it over the branches of the tree myself, my wonderful husband gave me a helping hand over the trees, each and every time! Thank you honey!  Of course Ty wanted to wear my hat. See how cute he is in the WSU Cougar hat.  So love it. Maybe he will follow in my footsteps and go to school there.  We are already having conversations about college. Not necessarily the one I went to but what it is and what you can bring.  Ty wants to know if you can bring your toys... hmm.. I am sure you could... but maybe you would have different toys than what you have now is my response.  

In any case, we had a wonderful time being silly, walking, running, seeing the snow, trying to stay warm and enjoying the outdoors as a family. Even the little sock monkey did too! Thank you SUN for the little time that you shone for us to enjoy this particular Spring Break!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Whew.. A Tidy Office Week 4 Project Simplify

Well it is Friday, the last Friday of Project Simplify 2012! I wasn't sure I would make it but I did!  This week's hot spot was my lovely office. Click HERE for the before pictures. The office project was the biggest project I was going to tackle though I will say that week 3's bedroom closet was a close second.   I did it!

What a joy ride this has been. I now have an organized pantry, kitchen cabinets, bed room closet and office. I also had the luxury of being able to create a craft room in our extra bedroom downstairs. That is still a work in progress but I will post the before and after pictures when that task is completed. I am hopeful that it will be done this weekend.  This post is bitter sweet because this is the last post for Project Simplify 2012. The accountability and the camaraderie was great and that I will miss.  Thank you for the opportunity and the notion of living intentionally! 

This is also the last day of my Spring Break for 2012! Bummer. I am thankful for the time to have spent in the house reorganizing, de-cluttering, and spending time with my boys.  Now it will be back to the grind next week!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Popular, Witches, and A Date!

Popular.... I want to be pop..u..lar! (A song clip from the Broadway Show WICKED!) 

My husband and I recently attended a Sunday showing of Wicked at the Keller Auditorium in Portland, Oregon. I cannot tell you how excited I was to take in a show. This is a treat for me. One, because the tickets were a gift from my father to me for Christmas. AND.. Two, because it was our first date without kids since the recent birth of our second son! I guess there is a third reason, and that is that I am a sucker for Broadway musicals, children stories, and the arts.

I have been impressed with my husband as most men do not enjoy musicals on the big screen or on television but there is something different about seeing a Broadway show live! The last show we attended was The Fiddler on the Roof with Topol's retirement from the show. What a wonderful special treat. We were moved to tears, laughed with them and walked away from that last and final show feeling a sense of pride for the actors.

A few years back my husband and I were in Chicago, IL and were hopeful to take in a show at the time it was the first release of Wicked.  We didn't know much about the show itself but new it was getting rave reviews and what better place to see it then in a BIGGER city than where we are from.  Though New York, NY would have been even better Chicago was where we were.  Unfortunately at that time we were not able to attend because the show was SOLD OUT! Now almost 9 years later we were able to attend, (thanks Dad).

My mom and brother came to the house to take care of the boys (thank you Mom and Uncle Mike), and we headed up to Portland. We stopped at McCormick and Schmidt's for lunch and a drink and were able to see the many marathon runners who participated in the Shamrock run pass by the window.  We watched as the hail poured out of the sky, then the rain and then a small break in the nasty weather. It was enjoyable.  A few blocks away was the Keller and once we were finished with our lunch we headed towards a parking structure.

Love it, the crowds of people, the kids who were dressed up in costumes (their mothers obviously spent a lot of time getting them ready), the lines at the souvenir booths and the excitement in the air.  WICKED here we come.  We entered, handed our tickets and made way to the bathrooms, and then our seats.  It was perfect we were on the isle, had a great view of the stage and had easy access to the exit if needed.  I wanted to take pictures but because Wicked it copyrighted we were not able to even snap photos in the theater.  I was jealous of those who did and didn't get caught but I am a rule follower and respect copyright laws so I sat there and the best I did was snap a few photos of my playbill and ticket.

What a story. What fabulous singing. I loved how this story tied so nicely to the Wizard of Oz. It provided background knowledge and provided a deeper appreciation of characters than what I had had before.  Oh I could see Wicked again and again! I even caught Byron laughing a time or two.  I would recommend this show to anyone and everyone.  It was a great first date without kiddos, though Ty might have loved it if he were a few years older and had understood the Wizard of Oz.  I can't wait to share that story with him soon!

Monday, March 26, 2012


WOW excited about the recent snow, uh NO! So while playing in the snow with my sons I had my trusty camera ready and was trying to shoot something green! A little bit of life I would say!
I entered the Epiphanie Camera Bags Picture It photo contest. 
Green! Yes a bit of life. Yellow too! A shadow must be sunny a bit with the snow. Ahh life is around the corner and we are ready for Spring! Can't wait to see my yard again, the beautiful tulips, the hydrangea, the budding trees of all colors and of course feel the sun on my back.

Check out my FB page too!

Hey all just a plug. I have set up a Sweet Williams Family Facebook page. Check it out it is a great place to follow this blog!

Jessica Weige was the 20th person to LIKE the page and won a DIY project of her choice! Can't wait to see what she chose!.

Click HERE to check out and LIKE my page!

Spring Break Means Spring Cleaning: The Final Hotspot!

Okay everyone, not only do I have the magnet project beginning this week but I am finishing up the Project Simplify Challenge for 2012 that has charged us with.  I loved this project so much I think I am going to continue to institute some of this decluttering challenge within my blogging on a monthly basis rather than a weekly one.

This weeks hot spot is one of our choosing. What will you choose?  I have chosen my OFFICE (really my arch nemesis).  Take a look at the utter clutter.

As you can see I have too many projects going on to be able to be organized. I have decorations for my sisters baby shower that are partially completed. I have scrap book stuff on the floor and in the scrap book bin. There is the stash away something on the table with picture frames underneath to put away and figure out what do with. AND last but NOT least my computer area which is where I blog, pay bills, complete my work from home as well as my online continuing education course work.  Not the most organized room for sure.  A place where my husband and I need to share and have functionality!

I think this is what happens when you go from a house without an office to a house with an office? Maybe that is this weeks excuse not sure. But we will take care of the mess. I am sure I can get some of my family to help out since we are home for Spring Break!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Refrigerator Magnets It Is!

Recently as I launched my new page on Facebook which is directly tied to this blog, I had posed my first question to gain some direction with regard to Do It Yourself activities. Click HERE  to see the poll and results on my Sweet Williams Family Facebook Page.

So the next DIY project I will undertake will be making Refrigerator Magnets! I already have the "traditional" alphabet magnets and a few others that people have given me from their travels or shopping adventures. I have also purchased a few while on my own travels. So what out of the ordinary but very cute ideas could I come up with and on a dime (I am all about being thrifty for sure).

My plan is:

  1. Research different magnet ideas
  2. Pose on DIY page resources for all ideas I come across
  3. Pick one
  4. Gather resources
  5. Initiate the project
  6. Complete the project
Ok let's get started. You can also participate provide comments under this post of different magnet ideas you know of or have completed. The more ideas the better the creativity! (AND finished product!)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

In the closet? (Week 3)

I spent much of my SNOW day in the closet! It was a great day to work on one of the two closets that is part of week 3 Project Simplify 2012 from I have been procrastinating lately, been really tired with lack of sleep and work and haven't even started. I was lucky to have a SNOW day! Although I will say having a snow day the day before you begin Spring Break is kind of a weird thing. So today was the day.  I decided I would enlist the help of my four year old who always wants to help me (or rather thinks that he is helping).

After playing in the snow, feeding my four month old and putting him down for his nap, Ty and I began the crazy huge chore of tackling my walk in closet. My husband and I have had this project in mind for a while now. A few months back (probably when I was on maternity leave) we frequented one of my favorite (but sometimes expensive) organizing stores... The Container Store.  We happened to find several canvas boxes with zipper lids on sale. They were the perfect size for our closet shelves. My husband has used one and left three remaining for me (I wonder why?).

Before I began this week I looked on Pinterest to see if there were any ideas I might end up using. I also read a few online articles about organizing closets. Most of what I learned were tricks that I used when working retail. Yes I spent some time working retail where most of my paycheck ending up paying for my clothing habits. I guess it was useful. But I also remember the "Denim" wall, how to fold T-Shirts, Jeans, and how to space your hangers with sleeves draped over. I remembered hanging clothing by colors, and sleeve length.  I think I have secretly hid all of those ideas away because it was at one time "work" for me and I am not getting paid to keep my "own" closet that organized.  It is time to change.

I began by clearing out all of my clothes (I left my husbands where they were at and will tackle his side another day). I had my son help make three different piles.  A pile of dry cleaner hangers (that we were going to purge), a pile of plastic hangers that we will use elsewhere in the house or get rid of, and a pile of clothes to go through.  My son was great help! He really got into it.

I got all of my clothes organized and hung, boxes used, and started taking stock of what else I will need to complete this project.  I counted the number of flip flops and sandals I had and remembered the idea I saw on pinterest about how to reuse old wire hangers and make shoe hangers.  This was my DIY project that I completed today.  I looked up the picture instructions and followed them. I did it! I created the basic version of this cute wire hanger for flip flops.
This is the basic format mine are better shaped now!

WOW how organized that made my closet and a great use of some of the wire hangers.  I have posted on my DIY links/resources page the link to that project which provides instructions.  I will make mine prettier another day! So the SNOW day was the day I accomplished a few things in this closet. I have a few more organizing things to do with my side and then I will tackle my husbands side.

Click here to see the before closet MESS.
Here are my AFTER pictures:

I will be finished with this closet today and hope to spend the other portion of my time in the second closet. Taking my time has enabled me to do a job that will help with maintaining in the future!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DIY Homemade Envelopes!

Recently I had a blast making Baby Shower invitations. I loved the research regarding themed invitations ours was the Build a Baby a Library theme, and loved making them. Once I had them made I realized I really didn't have any envelopes and really didn't want to go out and purchase any (as I am trying to stay on a budget these days much like many of us. Have you seen the prices at the pumps?).

I thought I could make my own.  So I starting taking stock of what I had around the house.  I knew I had paper, scrap book paper would make it cute and I had many sizes and colors.  I had glue and scissors. I needed to size my invitations and make a card stock template (for durability).  I searched on line for templates and even looked on Pinterest.  I found several but none that fit the size I was looking for. (AND I am not really that good on sizing up or down it just seemed like too much work.  I did however look in my basket of left over envelopes, you know the odd number of envelopes you sometimes get when you buy a box of thank you cards, Christmas cards or any other seasonal box of cards. I picked through there and found a perfect match!
I carefully peeled the envelope apart and traced it onto the card stock paper and made my own template.
The product was perfect. Look at the variety of colors and I had matching paper for cards or notes for future envelope needs. These were the perfect envelopes for the Baby Shower invitations! The cost was relatively cheap because I had most of the supplies already purchased, but I bet you could do these for under $20.00 total.

Items needed:
  1. Scrapbook paper ( I used 12x12 paper) 
  2. Scissors
  3. Glue stick
  4. Template (preferably on card stock)
  5. Pencil for tracing
  6. TIME
Once you have gathered all of your supplies begin tracing the template onto the back side of your scrap book paper (meaning print side face down). If you have two sided decorative paper choose the side you want to show and put that one face down. 

Once you have traced the template place an arrow at the bottom pointing to the top so you know which end is the end you will seal the envelope before mailing.

Cut around the template. Fold both side flaps toward the middle, take the bottom part and fold up towards the middle and reopen to put glue around that flap. 

Make sure to fold the top flap down getting a nice crease and leave open until you are ready to seal with your written notes, invitations or whatever you are mailing, inside.  

Now I used regular glue stick to seal the top down when I was finished and was ready to mail. However, you could purchase liquid sealant at your local craft store (which is the stuff you lick on real envelopes) but I didn't want to purchase that! Why lick something when you have glue!

How To Make and Maintain Your Own Sourdough Starter

How To Make and Maintain Your Own Sourdough Starter

I know Papa Pea! I have the cookbook Peas and Thank You and definitly love it! My kids love it too. Here is a DIY meal project. Take a look at what Mama Pea offers through the link above!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Really Week 3 Already?

I never win anything but winning a simple cookbook through Project Simplify Challenge 2012 has boosted my spirits, though I will say this weeks drawing takes the cake. I am sure I am out of the running for the desktop scanner (a bummer)!  However, I woke up this morning realizing that today was week three of my challenge to simplify my life! As I go through each week I feel better and better about the clutter around the house and have bigger and bigger ideas about maintaining what I have completed thus far! I am becoming more intentional with "things" and "time". 

This week I am tackling two closets! 1) My bedroom walk in closet that I use as my dressing area/storage for random things I hide from my kids :-)

What an utter and complete mess. My father would razz my husband from time to time about how clothes would be all over the floor when I was a kid. My excuse then was ... well I really didn't have an excuse Laughing Out Loud.  But both men (father and husband) would be proud that this week this is the closet I will tackle!.   Now I am setting the bar high.  I  have it in my mind to also work on the closet in the hallway, our coat closet/storage for things I don't have a place since we moved closet.  I am sure we all have one of those. 


Thank goodness it has been a crazy world of weather around our house, because it is forcing me to work on these things and not feel like I should tackle my yard yet.  Between hail, a ton of rain, snow in March and bits of rays of sun I am okay staying inside.  So here goes.. wish me luck on this weeks journey to a better more de-cluttered life.  Take the challenge yourself. It is not too late. Check out 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Project Week #2 Continuation!

WOW I really did it. Or at least partially did it! I cleaned out one of the messiest cabinets today in between feedings for my four month old, hanging out with my four year old and picking up the house (our Sat. regular chores)!  I did it.. See below..
Look at it isn't it pretty!

The left side I am still working on but what an accomplishment! I feel back on top.  I feel such huge accountability for what I say I am going to do. I carved out time today to complete this piece. A little bit at a time! Thanks and your Project Simplify challenge.

We had such a fun morning today is St. Patrick's Day and we woke up to little Leprechaun  footprints and gold coins throughout the house and on the counters.  My son Ty was enamored.

He tried to find the "tricky fella" as he called him and has decided that the Leprechaun must be at his school where his trap is located and that on Monday he will find the little guy and bring him home.  We shall see what Monday brings for us.  

I also tried a new dish tonight for dinner.  Thank goodness for ideas from  I love it.  I made meatloaf cupcakes topped with garlic mashed potatoes! YUMMY.  My four year old loved it as did my husband and I am sure that my little one will like it later. :-)

What a great day.  Maybe I will even get to the other kitchen cabinet later this evening if I decide I don't want to veg out on the couch and watch some T.V.  I do need to prepare for the adult date tomorrow where my husband and I will be attending WICKED at the Keller Auditorium (thanks to my dad)!

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Rule Follower Breaks the Rules with Week Two! UGH.

Whew you know how those weeks that are full of things that you feel compelled to accomplish or are required to accomplish but you don't have enough time for it all?  Well that was my week two of Project Simplify.  I found that with a school board meeting on Monday which put me home at almost 9 pm that this week was going to go by quickly and I would have to figure out how to manage my time to get those things on my TO DO list completed.

My TO DO list:

  1. Clean and organize kitchen cabinets to see the MESS click BEFORE PICs
  2. Finish creating and making Shower Invitations
  3. Put together Lucky snacks for Friday preschool class to celebrate St. Patty's Day
  4. Work (meet budgeting deadlines)
  5. Mail shower invitations
  6. Spend time with the kids
  7. Order the Auction Project for my son's preschool class
  8. Everyday items and schedule

WHEW what a list. Having several meetings after school days which put me home later each day, being exhausted because of a 4 month old who gets up a few times a night (minus last night thank goodness only one time) and a 4 year old who got scared one time and finally the loss of an hour with daylight savings you could see that I wasn't getting much else done this week.

So this is what I have accomplished from my to do list.  I was able to complete and mail out three quarters of the Shower Invitations. 
Yeah! Homemade envelopes too!
Thursday evening I put together the St. Patty's Day treats for my son's preschool class and even one for his teacher and teacher assistant!

(He was so proud to give the treasures to them this morning!)

I definitely spent time with both kids! Ty and I  were able to work on our reading each day, even snuggled and watched some television! Caleb and  I spent lots of time gooing and gahing at each other playing with his excercise saucer and having tummy time! He is getting so strong, smiles and has much to say! Such great times but also adds to exhaustion.

Of course I had to work all week long and had extra meetings each day with exception  of today (Friday) which is a great thing. I also wa able to order the Auction Project for the preschoo class.  All of this was on top of what I would regularl do in my own day.  How did I find the time?

Well regarding my  Project WEEK TWO:  Kitchn Cabinets, this is where I let things slip a little bit.  I am not feeling good about it and plan to address more of these issues and hotspots this weekend a little bit.  So  item number one on my TO DO list indicated that there were before pics. If you clicked the link there you would notice that there were 8 cabinets out of many in my kitchen that I was going to focus on.  ( I still will focus on those that did not get done by today but probably on Saturday or Sunday of this weekend!) Of those 8 I was able to take a few minutes this morning and organize 4 of them.  50% not bad but I must admit that the four I tackled were the ones that did not require a lot of time. Like the remaining four do. But I guess that is one way of tackling a hot spot.  Work quickly on areas that you can accomplish quickly which helps build self satisfaction.  Here are the before pictures of the cabinets that were tackled this morning.


Then there was a mess inside that I took out! Amazing what I put into the cupboards.

Of course there has to be the after pics! 

I have bare cabinets. This is great! I have places for everything and it will help for sure when I move things around with other cabinets.  I find that once you move it takes a full year to get things placed exactly where you want them to be.  You also purge things that you seem to hold on to that made sense in the previous home but doesn't make sense for the current one!  Doesn't that feel good.

The remaining four cabinets will require more intensive and focused time devoted to the organization of those spots.  It will be done! It needs to be done and YES I will blog about it to show you it has been completed so that I can feel like a more satisfied person with myself.

It is difficult when you are a Type A person, a person who is a rule follower and who doesn't want to feel like a failure to not meet your own personal goals.  However, I am giving myself a little bit of a break because even through reflection and in writing this post I have completed a tremendous amount of things that are truly important and there is always time to build organization back into your life.  It is okay to complete the task partially at this point because you can always complete the other 50% of the project. The point is we are all busy and we are all proud to feel accomplishment.  Thank you Project Simplify ( for showing us how to live intentionally and focus our lives to some extent.  It has allowed me to continue reflection and be intentional with my time! (Even though I didn't finish what I wanted to finish). More later on hotspot number two! Look forward to sharing those wonderfully organized 4 remaining cabinets later on.

( Don't forget there is a place for comments below it is small but below each post if you feel like it click the link and leave a comment!)