Scattered but Resourceful

Frozen Doll Cake at

I may not think ahead far enough to check the instructions before I go to the store to get the ingredients to make a skirt-shaped cake for my daughter’s birthday . . . but I’m creative.

Creative enough to solve the oh-I-need-to-make-two-so-I-can-add-enough-length-to-the-skirt problem I faced last weekend:

Making the Skirt Cake Long Enough at

What’s easier? Have Hubby run out for 2 cake donuts in the morning, or run to the store at 10 p.m. and then bake another cake?

The donuts are easier. I promise.

Note to self: Photos taken from slightly above make anyone (even a donut-skirted princess from Frozen) look less hip-py.

Instructions for this cake.



Aaaaahhhh. Clean(ish) Kids’ Rooms! (And Decluttering Party Week 4)

Photo - Decluttering with My Kids at

Monday was a school holiday.

My kids were (not so) thrilled when I announced on Saturday that Monday would be a Day of Decluttering.

I narrowed my eyes (for effect) and warned them that I was thinking of implementing the “Sure, you can get on your Kindle Fire as long as your room is clean!” policy.

I was thinking about it, but knew it would be a recipe for disaster with the current state of their rooms.

So I casually encouraged them to start thinking about how much easier it would be to clean their rooms if they had less stuff in them. (A strategy I know well.)

On Monday morning, after they’d had a few days to let the concept percolate, I declared it was time to get to work.

I restated my theory about less stuff being better and gave the boys a black trash bag and a donate-able Donate Box.

I told them to do the easy stuff first. Like trash.

I pointed out that they rarely go looking in their rooms for things to play with anymore, so there was probably a lot they could donate. (They’re ten and twelve.)

I worked with my daughter on her room. She plays with her stuff, so I respect that she wants to keep it. She also knows, though, that it’s much easier (and more fun) to play in a clean room. We used the same tactics with her. Trash first, laundry in a pile and donations next.

And here’s where I give some encouragement to those of you who dread days like this so much . . . that you put them off forever.

It gets better.

While we don’t have the keep-your-rooms-tidy-all-the-time thing down, we definitely have ALL gotten better at decluttering.

Kind of like with the random five-minute pick-up paying off, repeated decluttering sessions pay off.

While they used to fret over how they would live without a certain broken or un-played-with toy, they now know they did survive after all. So they’re more willing to get rid of newly broken and un-played-with toys.

Where would you look for this first? isn’t a mind-boggling question like it was the first time I asked it. It still takes some talking through, but it’s not a completely new concept.

I really was proud of my kids. My daughter came up with the logic on her very own that she really only needs to keep one (of FIVE!?!) jumpropes. My boys were excited to find a dart board that had been buried under a pile, but then decided that some other kid would be REALLY excited to have it if they donated it.

Once my daughter and I were through with her room, I helped the boys. We made more progress in thirty minutes together than they had in two hours on their own, but whatever.

Floors are clear. Too-small baseball cleats are in the Donate Box.

Photo - Cleaning Out the Kids' Rooms at

And the boys decided it was logical to only keep their two favorite light sabers since they could really only play with two at a time.

Photo - Two LightSabers

Wow. Makes a Decluttering Mama’s heart swell with pride.

The Donate Pile at

Two bags of trash and a decent-sized Donate Pile later, the rooms are soooo much nicer.

And maybe the “Clean your room before you play with your Kindle” will work.


At least for a while.

(At one point a while back, one of my kids expressed dismay about me showing pictures of his room on my blog. Therefore, I didn’t take pictures this time. When I told them that, though, they assured me that they don’t care if I show pictures. So while there aren’t any boys’ room before pictures, there will be some in the future. Unfortunately.)

How was your week? Did you declutter anything?

I’d love to hear about your own decluttering adventures in the comments or you can link below to a post on your blog.

In case you link up a blog post, here are a few things to consider:

Be creative with your title. Last week, links with a post title showing instead of a name got significantly more clicks. If you want comments, please consider turning off your captcha code thingy. When I started blogging, I had that set up too because I was paranoid about getting spam or rude comments. But that extra hassle just discourages people from commenting. Seriously, don’t you hate entering those awful codes? Just put your comments on moderate.

Also, be SURE to click on the title of the post you want to link up. Once that one post is the only one showing on your screen, grab that specific url and use that as a link. If you link to your homepage, people won’t be able to find your decluttering post.



Last Minute Gifts for Kids to Make


Last-Minute Gifts that Kids Can Make at

I don’t know about you, but I have this thing about my kids only receiving at Christmas.

Money isn’t totally in their realm of understanding yet, so I try (but don’t always succeed) to have them make something to give as a gift to those who always give them gifts (grandparents, aunts and uncles).

Time and effort? Those have more of an impact on my kids.

But sometimes Christmas sneaks up on me and I need something ultra-quick to give.

Heating-Pad Rice Socks (a last-minute gift kids can make) at

These heating-pad rice socks are a perfect gift to make for any age. The ones in this post with instructions were made with deer corn, but in the last few years we’ve used rice because I’m not crazy about the corny scent. I made these with my Brownie troop this week, and a ten-pound bag of rice was just about right for ten socks.

They truly are finished in five minutes, are no-sew and best of all . . . we USE ours. My kids immediately go looking for it when they have an earache. (Put it in the microwave for thirty seconds at a time and the rice heats up. The rice-filled sock also conforms nicely to a shoulder or neck or whatever else hurts.

This year, instead of making the gifts, I’m going to have my kids make the wrapping like in the picture at the top of this post. (We did this in Brownies too.) We cut snowflakes out of white paper and mod-podged them onto plain, red, two-for-a-dollar-at-the-dollar-tree gift bags.

If you can’t remember the details of making paper snowflakes, search youtube. (While you’re there, subscribe to my channel!)

If you have a day to spend, fleece blankets are a nice gift. Last year, we spent a day “making” some and used this edging technique. (We used a safety pin instead of a crochet hook.) The kids really LOVED doing this, and the blankets were a hit.

All of these things are simple and quick to do.

What homemade gifts have your kids made?


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