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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

White choclate covered popcorn

Not sure why it's called white choclate when I doubt there is any choclate in it.  Maybe because it is the same consistency.  But today it's what we're having for snack.

Pop popcorn as usual.  Not sure how microwaveable would do if it has butter on it.  But we always make our popcorn on the stove.
Then we pour them into a bowl, and shake it, so the kernels fall to the bottom. Next we pull out the popcorn from the top, so that we don't get any of those "old maids".

Melt the candy according to the directions.  And pour over the popcorn - stir well.  It's even better with some crushed oreos mixed in with it.


Making the most of today

Monday, April 29, 2013

Taking a break from the boys' room

 I've decided that this year, I will not be the only one gardening.  I am hoping to give the kids bunches of projects to do so that they will not spend their days cooped up in the house.  Summers are great for things and when you have 10 kids in the house, schedules just make things go better. 

So I want to teach my nine-almost-ten year old daughter to bake bread.  I want to read Miracles on Maple Hill to the kids - the little ones won't remember it.  I want each child to have a little garden plot, to grow things they like.  Now, we can't ask the babies what they like so they'll just have to deal with whatever we plant for them.

So we started out with a box.  A four-foot by four-foot square - give or take a couple of inches.  Now I found out it should be less than four feet, but I think we should be able to reach all the spots just fine.  We laid it on the ground and dug it out in some spots so it could be level.

Then I took a pitchfork and dug up the soil about 6 inches down.  We turned it and then raked it, so that it would be loose and not packed down.  Roots like unpacked soil better.

Then we raked it and put more soil in and raked it even more.

Finally it was full enough and we are leaving it till this next cold spell is over and next week we'll probably be planting.

That night we sat down and drew "maps" of their plots so that we would know what is to be planted and where.  We'll draw out 16 one-foot by one-foot sections in each box and plant things in each one. Tall things go in the back and we'll have a trellis of some sort in the back. 

I think they'll enjoy harvesting out of their garden plot, but maybe not the weeding.  Regardless, they will learn about growing things. 

We divided them into three teams with one of the older boys as leader of each team.   They'll work together to help each other keep the weeds out of their spots. 

Making the most of today

Friday, April 26, 2013

Titus 2 Tea - chalboard contact paper and my entryway

 My entryway is pretty chaotic looking.  It's tight and crowded and really there is no sense of order for the kids I care for.  My kids know which hook is theirs, but the parents who drop their kids off don't ever know where to put the baby/toddler's coat. 

Now that spring is here (?), we just have lighter jackets.  I washed all their coats earlier this month and the winter weather hit and we had more snow.  BIG mistake.  Now we're just going to hang up their coats in their closets for a quick retrieval if necessary.  But we are really hoping it's not necessary.

We don't have a coat closet at either of the entries in our house and it makes things rather cluttered looking.  So in an attempt to work on this area, I used some chalkboard contact paper for my little signs.

The top hooks have two people per hook.  My older three each have a specific little one to look after.  So they share a hook with a little one.  This way Sharpie can grab his coat and the Little Miss's coat as we walk out the door to the park or whatever.  Jones is with Baby(um Toddler) A and Waterman gets Sweeties coat.

It has to be written in chalk but they are super high up so I don't think it will rub off too much, except for the coats below.

The younger ones don't share, but that's because they don't need to yet.  Their backpacks go on the lower hook and their coats go over top of that.  Now that AWANA is over for the year, they don't need their AWANA bags, so we put those away for now.
Another use for my chalkboard paper.  It didn't work on my other cupboards - they were too rough.  But this is my pantry so that works out great.  This was my original intent for the chalkboard paper.

Making the most of today

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts - They need us

This thought has been helpful to me.  Sometimes I get frustrated when my children do things that I wish they wouldn't or need more of me than I would like.   They need me because they are still growing up.  And not that when they are grown up they will be perfect.  They won't.  I'm not either.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday's Household

Cooking Tuesday - Another meal for a family

Another idea for a meal would be lasagne.  I don't usually do this because I assume that someone else will be making it for the family.  When Carpenter and I got married, we made a dozen or two of these lasagnes for our rehearsal dinner.

It's Mom-in-law's recipe and we love it.  In fact, when Mom and Dad come they usually bring a couple pans of it, because it's Sharpie's absolute favorite. Grandmas are so awesome. 

The recipe is easier than regular lasagne - no boiling of the noodles required.
  • 1 pkg of lasagne noodles (you can use oven-ready but the other kind works just as well - maybe better)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 32 oz jar of  thick spaghetti sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1 lb small curd cottage cheese
  • 3 cups shredded mozerella cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Brown ground beef and drain off fat.  Add sauce, water, sugar and salt; boil several minutes. 

In a 13x9 pan, layer 1/3 of the sauce, 1/2 of the uncooked noodles, 1 cup cottage cheese, and 1/3 of mozerella.  Repeat layers ending with sauce and remaining mozerella and parmesan cheese.  Cover with foil

Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.  Remove foil and let stand 10 minutes before serving.  Yeild 12-14 servings.

Add some lettuce salad and garlic bread and a dessert and you have a meal for your family.

Sorry this is late.  We had a great time with our family and they just left. 

Making the most of today.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Project Monday - Organizing a room Part 2

We will be having a "Part Three" in this series.  I need more time, so maybe even a "Part Four".  We are progressing.  It may not look like it to you - and don't even look in their closet.  But my world moves much slower than most people's.  I can't finish an organizing project in a day or two - this one would have taken a week even if I could give five or six hours to it daily. 

But progress is being made.  Clothes are being whittled down to what actually fits in drawers.  I need to get them more hangars and a tool to keep their clothes separate.  More about that later.  The room is now set up as we want it, except for the desks.  Only 11 more days of this school year for them (or less, if they work harder), and then the desks will go upstairs.

While I work at a turtle's pace normally, we have a couple of extra things that are keeping us from getting more done.  Grandpa and Grandma are here and Sharpie had a birthday on Saturday (I am not going to make you clean your room on your birthday, and less if Grandpa and Grandma are here.)  and today they have testing at the school the younger kids go to.

So while Grandma and Grandpa are away for a few hours, I'm working on a project to make the closet more organized.  I know you're laughing.  Why try?  That's the question I have too.  But I have given up for too long and it's not helping.  So I'm going to try and ask the Lord for wisdom with a balance - my teenagers need freedom to make mistakes, and yet still need some training and guidelines. 

 First I took a CD and used it as a template on some cardstock thickness paper.  I will glue my colored paper to this.

Then I cut out of the colored paper.  This didn't work super as I had to keep trimming so it would be the same. 

For red and blue, I glued the colored paper to the cardstock first and then cut out the shape somewhat free hand.  No extra trimming.

Next I put names on the rings.  They should fit over the closet rod.  They don't need names as they all know what their color is.  Sharpie is blue, Jones is red, Waterman is green.  It's always been that way with toothbrushes and towels and other things too.

It works perfect.  Nothing fancy, like I would like to do in my girls' room, but it will work great.  I still have to sort their clothes, but they need to be here.  I don't really know who belongs to what anymore.

Making the most of today,

Friday, April 19, 2013

Titus 2 Tea - thoughts on organizing

This will be short as we have family here and we're enjoying being together.

A few simple thoughts about organizing:

It can save you money.  You can find what you have and don't buy more of something when you already have it.

It can save you lots of time.  If you know where something goes and where to find stuff, it won't take you long to find what you are looking for.

It can save you money.   Did I already say that?  If your things aren't on the floor, you won't step on them and then have to buy it again.  Also you won't have to wash things that haven't been worn. 

Unless things are a problem where they are at, in a big family it's probably better to leave things where they are rather than moving them to a new place so that everyone knows where to find things consistently.

We're enjoying our family, and even more so as we watched the news with the bombings and families being devastated by the tragic events.  We're holding everyone a bit tighter.

Making the most of today,

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts - striving or growing

Romans 12:2 - And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Ever since I was little I have desired to have a close walk with God and I've wanted Him to change my life.  When I do something wrong, like yell at my kids or gossip about someone or whatever, I usually resolve to change and do better next time. 
Something that I've been finding, though, as I memorize Scripture is that as I spend time pouring God's Word into my heart, I start to get it - to understand what God wants me to know.  It doesn't take striving but continuing to study His Word.  I find that alot easier than pulling myself up by the "bootstraps". 

I have nothing in me that gives me the strength and ability to do the things that God wants me to do, but as I fill my heart and mind with His truths, I find I already have the strength and there is no "striving" about it. 

What a joy to serve Him!

When I was younger in the dorm, I had one dorm mom who had five kids of her own at the time - and one was deaf.  Every spare minute I saw her sitting in the living room with her Bible.  I will never forget her wonderful example. 

The only way we can know what God wants us to know is through His Word and therein lies everything we need to know about life and godliness (II Peter 1:3)

Making the most of today

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday's Household - A Mother's (and father's) Job

I heard a conversation the other day and at first I didn't think anything of it.  One mother was concerned that her boys were learning to fight and argue with each other from another family with boys.    She didn't want her boys to grow up fighting.

She was told, "Boys will be boys. You can't worry about it. That's just the way they will be."  And at first I thought that was o.k.

And then I've been working with my boys on cleaning their room.  It may seem like a totally different topic, but it's not - not really. 

You see, I've been told that they should be allowed to have their room just as they would like, even if that means that they can't walk on their floor.  But aside from the fact that their father disagrees, which is enough reason in and of itself, I remembered that I have a job.

That job is to train and teach my boys to be the kind of godly men they should be.  "Let all things be done decently and in order." It says that in I Corinthians.  A room like theirs is not decent nor is it in order.  Allowing my children to argue and fight is not teaching them to be loving and kind.

Yes, my children have a bent for unclean rooms and clothes lying around.  They also have a bent toward arguing with each other and fighting. 

Does this mean that I should just let it go?  No.  It doesn't.  If I were to do that, and trust me, I have (too many times), then I am not doing my job as a parent.

So I will continue to work with my children and teach them to be the men God wants them to be.

Making the most of today

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - Meals for a family

Recently a friend was caring for her mother night and day.  I was burdened for her and asked if I could share a meal with them.  The following is a simple meal that can be a blessing to a family in need.
One thing that someone mentioned to me recently is that when taking a meal to a family it's more of a blessing if you can bring it in disposable dishes.  Take it in something you don't need returned.  It will relieve them of the burden of remembering to get the dishes back to you.
The Shopping List
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 lb pasta - pick something fun
  • 1 12 oz container of sour cream
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup - I use a double one.  So if you're using regular size cans get two
  • 1 pkg of frozen corn
  • 1 box of vanilla pudding
  • 2 sm cans or 1 big one of fruit cocktail
  • 1 container (8 oz) of whipped topping
  • 1/2 bag of mini marshmallows
  • flour
  • yeast
  • sugar
  • eggs
  • salt
  • brownie mix
Main Dish recipe
  • 2 pounds of ground beef cooked and drained
  • 1 box of pasta - cooked and drained
  • 1 package of frozen corn or canned corn that is drained
Put these ingredients into a bowl.
  • 1 12 oz container of sour cream
  • 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
Mix together in a separate bowl and add to the pasta, in the cookware you choose.  Make sure it's greased. If I were sending this meal to someone I would choose something disposable.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes to an hour to reheat it through. It's probably best to cover it with foil as mine dried out when I baked this.

Main Dish is done.  Now for a little pudding salad - super easy, but I don't have any pics.

  • Take your fruit cocktail and do not drain it!  Pour it all into a bowl
  • Add the pudding to the fruit cocktail and stir until all the powder is dissolved.  You do not add milk to the pudding.  Use the powder only.
  • Now mix in the cool whip.
  • Finally add the marshmallows. 
Yummy!  This I put in a tall cool whip container, so that there was nothing for her to return.

I added a loaf of bread. White Bread Recipe  I put my bread in a ziploc bag. 

And finally make the brownies according to the recipe.  The brownies, I made in a tin foil pan that is disposable.

It's always a blessing to share with others, and I make double for the evening meal for my family.  They love to share with others and then enjoy a similar meal at home.

Making the most of today.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Project Monday - organizing a room Part 1

The boys' room - they are older and this is a normal look for their room.  I want to give them some liberty, but I also want to give them some incentive to keep things neat.  We have less laundry and the clothes get wrecked less when we take care of them.

My goal is to train them to care for their room, so I plan to ask them to be involved with the organizing.  If they do, they will more than like own it and do it themselves. 

I don't want to overwhelm them by doing this project in a day, so we started last week with some daily chores that would start the process to a clean room.

On the first day, I asked them to each bring down a laundry basket with things from the floor.  They only had to fill the basket and bring it down.  Then I helped them sort the things and get them put away.  The boys measured the room and I drew a map of it.

The second day was to clear a bookshelf of school books and prepare it for reading books.  We packed away the school books in boxes in the attic.

The third and fourth days were clothes from their drawers.  They figured out what would be stored in each drawer.  Then they took their clothes up to their room and put them away. 

Their room will need to be neat before they get Wii.  That is where I need to check it each day.    And make sure that they have done their jobs.

Over the next few days we'll be working on their closet and giving them bins and baskets to put their things in.  It's not likely but my hope is that they will use them. 

Making the most of today.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Titus 2 Tea - Organizing month

Some verses came to mind last night regarding some of my thoughts in yesterday's post.  They're in Isaiah 58.  I love so many verses from this chapter, in fact, one of them is up in my kitchen. 

Isaiah 58:10-12
10 And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday.

11 "And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

12 "Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.
And these verses reminded me that my fears have no basis and the surrender and the fully giving of myself will be worth it.  Because He will allow my gift to my family to bless me, to restore me.  He will give strength to my bones.

So yesterday, I organized some areas I've left sitting.  They've been bugging me, but "Nah, I'm too tired."  What was super interesting is that the five-year olds loved helping.  As I sorted through my basket that contains game pieces and everything that needs a home, they carried away toys and pieces that they could put away.

Then I worked on the DVD's (AGAIN!!!! but it wasn't near so bad as last time) and one of them came and wanted to help.  At first I found it a bit frustrating to have him getting his hands in the mix, but then I asked him to check the cases to see if they had a DVD in them.  And he was able to be a help.

Then I went through the CD's and put them near our stereo where I always put a ton of junk.  Now the junk will have to find somewhere else. And that makes me happy.  I really want things to have a place, but had given up every hope of it.  Now it seems like a possibility.

Last night I was able to sit and chat with a couple of friends who came over for our last Titus 2 Tea night for the year.  We didn't talk about organizing but caught up with our lives.  What fun!

Doing the things God asks will always be worth it.  Now, I have to figure out how to help the boys see that as I start tackling their room.  They need lots of help with it.  And that will be started on Project Monday.  It seems like a nightmare to me, but I think it will be better if they can find things. 

I'm hoping that a little organization will be a joy to them.

Making the most of today for His glory

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts - vigilance

As I look outside, the yard looks like someone sifted powdered sugar over it.  The trees hang heavy with the ice that came yesterday.  It's so beautiful.  The most beautiful thing is that none of it was on the roads - they were dry as I took my children to school. 

But it's mid-April and I'm ready for spring.  Ready to plant onions and lettuce and spinach, but I will wait and paint a few more rocks for placing out in the garden. 

I shared about the vigilance needed with a garden.  I need it desperately with my children.  Having seven, and three or four extras at times, means I should be vigilant and on the alert more, but I'm afraid that's not what happens. 

Generally, I go to my computer and escape.  I do all kinds of good things, organize this and work on that.  But I don't want to be bound by the kids, so usually I ask one of the older kids to take care of getting the milk for another or whatever is needed at the time. 

I am aware of what is going on mostly, but sometimes not.  One of the little ones found a stamp that shouldn't have been in her play area.  Her tongue and hands are coated with pink now, because I didn't catch it soon enough.

I'm not saying that I will catch everything.  But it's my job to really pay attention, to be the mom or babysitter that they need.  It's the task that God has given to me.  On Time-warp Wife's website I found a little sheet that is a helpful reminder to me.  It's in the front of all my binders.   Quote from Elisabeth Elliot

As you know, my blog is about things that I'm still working on - and this is one of those things.  I don't want to put everything I have into my day or I may not be able to stand up in the evening.  If I relax my way through the day, then I won't get burnt-out.  These fears have never or hardly ever become a reality.

So I need to give everything my best shot - take breaks when I need to and then do what God has for me.  And part of that is restricting myself to the kitchen table so that I can make sure that certain boys of mine get an education and finish the school year well.  And it's also about teaching them to learn to do the things on their own without me standing over them.

Each one is different and I've heard it said that I need to be a student of my children.  To learn who they are and they ways they learn best, so that I can train them in the best way.

This is what I'm working on today.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday's Household - more organizing

I just need to tell you that my house is NOT organized.  But I love going into places that are.  I guess this keeps me pursuing some organization in my own house.  I'm taking teeny steps toward this.  Since this is the month for organizing in my Titus 2 Tea posts, I'm pursuing it harder than ever.

The Bible says "pursue excellence".  While I don't (definitely) have it all together, this is the area I'm working on.   And I kind of think, I'll always be working on it.  I'll never have it all together.

So yesterday was the videos that have been bugging me in our bedroom.  Just want to get all things office out of there, but we don't have a room designated as an office so....for now, I'll just be happy with little steps.

The videos are always a mess, never stacked neatly and someone who is looking for a video always seems to tear apart the bookshelf.  Now, my new solution isn't all that great either.  There are some major problems with it, but it is a better solution so we'll go with it for now. 

First, I had the boys bring down all the videos (and when I say videos, I mean VHS cassettes - DVD's are store elsewhere).  Then I sorted according to little kid, older kid and family.   There are a couple of videos in the family movies that I wouldn't want the little kids to watch without me, but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't pick them anyway.

Then I started filling a crate with the little kids' movies - Winnie the Pooh and mostly all cartoons.
I labeled it with a ring clip. 
And then put them up on this shelf, way above the dryer.  As I said before there are a few problems with this, so I will have to think about it more.  One is that when you go to take the crate down, if you aren't on a chair, you end up with a movie or two bouncing off the head.  The other is that the older boys and I are the only ones who can get to the movies. 

There are a couple of good things about this solution.  The opposite of the negative - less hands messing with the movies means less mess, and that is especially when the little hands can't get to them. The other thing is that it's out of my room. 

One very quick fix to this is to simply make four categories and add another crate, if the movies weren't stacked so high in the crate they wouldn't fall out when I'm pulling them down. 

What cool things are you working on this spring?  Something about spring makes me want to get lots done and do spring cleaning etc.  But just wait till summer, then I'll be wanting to be inside on the couch again. 

Making the most of today for His glory

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - White bread

One of our favorite things if fresh homemade bread.  We usually finish off more than a loaf when it's hot from the oven. Spread butter on it and oh, my it's delicious.

I usually use the same recipe all the time.  If you want to make this recipe healthier, just use whole wheat for half of the flour.  I like this recipe because the yeast goes directly in with the flour.

First take 2 1/2 cups of flour and add 2 T of yeast.  I usually make two recipes so thankfully I have two red bowls.  You can double the recipe, but I like how the bread comes out when I do them separately.

 Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt to the flour

 Now take 2 cups of milk and add 1 tablespoon of margarine to it.  I put it in the microwave for 2 minutes, but you'll have to see how your microwave works.  The way I test the "water" is to put a clean finger in the milk and if it's too warm for me then it's too warm for the yeast.  But if it's comfortably warm, then it's ready to use.  You can also use a thermometer and it should be between 110 and 125.

Next use a whisk and mix the yeast, sugar, and salt into the flour.

 Now pull the milk out of the microwave.  This is how it will look - the margarine melting but not yet melted.  If it was in your microwave too long, it doesn't matter just give it time to cool down.

Use that whisk and thoroughly mix the milk into the flour mixture. 

 Add 2 1/2 cups of flour and stir it with a wooden spoon till it looks like the pic below.

When it looks like this, your hands need to get involved and start kneading.  If it starts sticking, add more flour to your hands.

Knead it till it looks like this.  Then it's time to let it raise for an hour.  When it's done raising, punch it with your fist. 

Divide the dough in half and then knead each half into a loaf shape, and put it into a greased loaf pan.

Let it raise for a half hour and turn the oven on to 350 degrees.  Put it into the oven and about a half hour later.  Yum!

Making the most of today

Monday, April 8, 2013

Project Monday - Gardens and vigilance

Every year, I plant a garden with the good intentions of making it through a season - not with a bountiful harvest - but with a victory over the weeds.  And every year, I might do a little bit better, but never coming out the victor. 

This weekend we planted our peas.   We have many little plants growing in our greenhouse, but the peas were planted in the garden bed.  I filled the whole bed with peas.  The bed is in the midst of the whole garden, and last year peas were one of the things planted in the three beds.  It worked pretty well.  Problem is I tore apart the other two beds. 

So we watered the soil on Thursday night, while I was working the soil on Thursday, I noticed it was pretty dry.   We decided that we needed to wait until the soil was a bit more moist.  The next day we planted the peas even though the soil was still quite dry.
Jules and Tractorman were out there helping me.  We pounded stakes that Jones cut for me on the ends of each row.  And then I started weaving string to make little things for the peas to climb.  Not sure how well they will work, but I tried chicken fence last year and it was bulky.

The Lord brought good rain last night, so they are good and watered.  And while I was in town today, buying a heat lamp for our newest babies (chicks), I found blueberries and rhubarb.   My grandma used to make some amazing strawberry-rhubarb jam and I would love to do that. 

The rhubarb won't really be able to be harvested for another two years, but I will be glad I did this now.  I planted the blueberries on either end of the three rhubarbs and all of this in a row at the top of my strawberries.  Now to paint some rocks to go near them so the kids know they aren't weeds.

My thoughts this morning were about the vigilance needed to maintain a garden that is free of weeds.   You can't just sit in your house and wait for your plants to grow on their own.  You really need to be out there pulling the tiny things that poke up.  And if you pull them often and while they are still tiny, you will have less to contend with. 

If you wait till the weeds are tall, you will find yourself with sore arms and a back ache and working like crazy in the heat of the summer.  But if you work in the springtime and while they are tiny, you will save yourself a lot of trouble.

Sin is a lot like that.  If you allow yourself to do things you know are wrong and you justify them and continue to walk in sin.  It will be a lot harder to eradicate the sin once it has taken root in your life.  Work on it often and early and it will be so much easier.

Making the most of today

Friday, April 5, 2013

Titus 2 Tea - Organizing - Week 1

As I am thinking of spring, I just want to organize everything.  What is it about winter that gets stuff cluttered where it's not supposed to be?  And then I look at a spot and think, "How and when did that get so terrible-looking?"

We haven't been able to buy bins and baskets and such, so I've given up the idea of getting organized.  Seems things stay where they go better if you have something to put them in.  But I don't think that I need to wait till I can buy a bunch of pretty and matching bins or baskets.  I  found that I have quite a few things that will work well.
They aren't pretty but they'll do the job.

The first thing I do is completely empty the shelves, and then keep the munchkins away from the kitchen table.  "No, you may not play with anything on the table right now."  Seems I've said it quite a few times as they look longingly at the things they haven't played with in weeks. 

Next I clean off the shelves and then measure them and draw up a plan. 

Then I sort the things from the kitchen table into the shoeboxes, and containers that I have on hand.  This is when I find out what my containers will be full of.   Today, I have labels of Guitar, Wii Remotes, Computer, Crafts, Coloring, Paints, Office and Star Wars.  I will make labels for my boxes today, so I don't forget.

Because I don't know what size of containers I need for each thing, I start by just putting things into a container - not neatly or how I want it, but just in there.  Inevitably, I will spend a ton of time making it look nice only to find that I need something bigger.

Now I pencil in where I think the containers will fit best on my plan.  I need measurements for that.  Also some of the things need to be higher, and some things need to be lower on the shelves - so I need to take that into consideration.
That's hard to see but you get the idea.  While in practice this sounds good, it didn't really work for me.  I found that for me it's easier just to move the bins around till they fit.  But if I was going to buy bins or baskets for this project, I would definitely draw it out so that I wouldn't buy the wrong size.

This is how the area looks with almost all of the stuff that came off of it, but I also put one puzzle on that hadn't been on there.  Lots of room!!!  So I added more puzzles, changed it around to suit and added labels.

My goal is to fill all the space with boxes and bins and baskets, so there isn't a lot of room for junk.  Though I'm sure they'll find the nooks and crannys.

Making the most of today.