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31 Days of Less Stuff: My neighbor and I decided to do 12 30-day challenges this year. Then it turned into a year long decluttering challenge and the 30-day challenges. And then the decluttering turned into deep-cleaning. So it's more work than I bargained for, but amazing.

The challenge for January was a spending freeze. John and I decided on eating out once or twice, $200 on groceries, and $100 on John's groceries. And not buying anything else. I think we spent about $1200 on groceries in December, so this alone is a huge savings.

The final totals:
$199 on groceries
No eating out, except free meals at chick fil a from receipt day
No spending during 9 Disneyland visits
No amazon orders

The kids' post-freeze requests: Dalton wanted chips, and orangsicle yogurt. Maggie wanted lunchables. John wanted orange juice. I wanted ice cream.

Meal planning is key to a challenge like this. I have plenty of food on hand, even at the end of the month, there was still lots of food. I mostly spent the budget on dairy, produce, and baby food. Unfortunately, I didn't shop much less. I had about 20 purchases made, including neighbors picking up stuff for me. So that was kind of annoying. I'd like to shop less frequently.

This month's decluttering area was the kitchen. I am doing double speed, since we are hoping to move this summer, so I did the dining room as well. This included cleaning out the fridge and pantry (worked well with the spending freeze), scrubbing the floor, going through the piano books, rearranging the cupboards, throwing out a lot of food, and getting rid of some items so I can now enjoy white space in my drawers and cupboards.

Next up: decluttering office and crafts, and EXERCISING.

Long Night:

I got a lot of twenty minute naps last night. About twenty minutes after I went to bed, I heard Sienna messing around in the bathroom. She gets up and goes potty, but seemed to be taking longer than usual so I checked on her and tucked her into bed. It smelled like throw up. She admitted to it, but wouldn't tell me where because she had "cleaned it up." Luckily/or not, I immediately discovered I was standing in it. She had dabbed with a handful of baby washcloths and put them in the sink. I cleaned everything up and went to bed. Twenty minutes later she was throwing up again. And twenty minutes after that. I slept about 1 1/2 hours, then woke up to check on her. All was good so I went back to bed. At 4:30, we got up to change a battery in the smoke detector. An hour later, Sienna was up throwing up. Half an hour after that, Arthur was up. I changed him and gave him a squeeze, and put him back in bed like I sometime do, but twenty minutes later he was up for good.

Surprisingly, the rest of the day went well. We ran a quick errand, I played lots of games with Sienna. Arthur didn't take an afternoon nap, but was fine. I made an easy dinner and a Texas sheet cake. Sienna and Arthur went to bed early.

Maggie's Testimony: I was home from church yesterday with sick Dalton, so John took the girls and they sat with our usual helpful family. Apparently Maggie decided to bear her testimony, and take Sienna up with her.

She told me she said "Hello, Brothers and Sisters. My name is Maggie and I want to bear my testimony. I know the church is true, and we should pass off Articles of Faith, not to get candy, but to learn the gospel." And then she helped Sienna say the First Article of Faith.

I told Maggie to take Sienna to Primary and help her pass off her First Article of Faith, but she says she didn't misunderstand, she just felt like doing it.

Quarter Feb Check In: We're already one week into February, but my challenges for this month are going great. The 30 Day challenge is to exercise every day. Other than Sunday, I have been doing 30 Day Shred every night, and actually putting some good effort into it. I thought I would hate having to exercise, but it feels good to have done it.

The decluttering rooms for this month are craft/office. For me, I am doing the Master Bedroom (not the closet, so basically the desk), and under the stairs. I've piddled through some stuff, but now I've gotten a few things done ruthlessly. First I did the shelf under the stairs where we keep church shoes and rain boots, ice chests and a couple other random things. Then I decided to hang my stroller hooks on the bar at the back of the closet so all the bags (extra backpacks, swim bags) aren't on the floor. I haven't finished with the bags but I love having them off the floor. Today I did all the writing utensils in the house. Tons. Of. Pencils. And Markers. And Colored Pencils. Tons. I got rid of a bunch, and the organized the two 3-drawer craft carts. With all the stuff I threw out, I was able to sort the drawers spaciously into writing/drawing stuff, scratch paper (there's a ton right now because, decluttering), and activities (construction paper, glitter glue, water colors, etc). The other cart's drawers are craft supplies (pipe cleaners, glue, scissors), sensory (playdough and tools, shaving cream), and paint and paint brushes. While I had the carts out, I vacuumed and clean the walls, and then I had to do the shoe basket so the floor wouldn't be covered in sand again. We each have a pair of sneakers and a pair of flip flops in the basket, but I'm open to other organization ideas.

In the office, the only thing I've done 100% is the Box of Important Files. I went through it, then I realized I did a poor job and went through it again, each paper. I've gone through data CDs, craft stuff, the other file boxes etc. but nothing else 100% yet.

Fun Mom: I used to be a fun mom, and did all sorts of crafts and activities with little Maggie and little Dalton. I've been getting some of that back the last couple weeks. Sienna has been asking to do "actibies", and why not? Part of it is that my overall productivity has increased. Part of it is that doing such things is less overwhelming in an overwhelmed house. Part of it is that the fewer toys lying around, the more interested she has in playing. Glad to be fun mom again. Hope I can keep it up.

Sick House: Everyone has taken turns being sick with a stomach bug. Sienna got sick Thursday. Dalton got sick Saturday. John got sick Sunday. And Sienna again. Arthur got sick Thursday. Maggie got sick Saturday. So it's been ten days already, and I am waiting for the 6th shoe to drop.

Told Ya: I started throwing up a few hours after my last entry.

Hard Worker: I told Sienna to get her shoes on for gymnastics and I heard her muttering "ugh, why do I have to work so hard like Tiana?"

She found a fold over elastic headband and has been wearing it around her waist as a "tool belt" day and night for over a month now. It's adorable, and hilarious. It was originally to hold her Handy Manny tools, but she also wears it to reference Chico Bon Bon: Monkey With a Toolbelt. My favorite is today she wore it over her leotard and tights to gymnastics and looked very much like a tiny Jane Fonda.

Secret's Out: On the 31st, John and I made 14 hearts for each of the kids with things we loved about them. Then, each night I hung a new one on their doors. Sienna asked me on the last day, "do you know who is putting these hearts on my door?" I said "it was me and dad!" It sure is nice to have a holiday where I don't have to lie about who's giving them stuff.

In the Night: Sienna woke me up at 2 am last night, wanting me to put baby Pegasus' blanket on him. This is just the sort of thing Maggie used to wake up and scream about. Dalton just wanted to come snuggle in our bed.

Forenose : Sienna: mom! Look what happened to my four nose!
Your what?
Sienna: my four nose! (Points to spot between forehead and nose.)

Can't stop laughing.

The Weekend: Friday night John and Dalton biked to Walgreens to pick out some treats. Then we had a family movie night, watching the last Indiana Jones movie (watched all four over the past couple weeks.)

We had a bit of a lazy Saturday. Sometimes it's nice not to go to Disneyland. The kids did chores. John worked. Everyone played outside for hours. The kids and the neighbors put on a fancy Valentines show for us. Then, John and I went on a date!

About once a pass year, we go on a Disney date and this Saturday was the night. First, we used a parent swap for Indiana jones I got when my cousin David and his family were visiting this week. We had reservations at Cafe Orleans so John could get a Monte Christo. We walked around, it was pretty crowded and the parade was about to start. We checked out the stores, walked to the front on the backstage. Then we used fast passes to Big Thunder. We got to see some of the parade on our way out.

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