2015 Clean & Organized Home Challenge: Week 3 Pantry

I talked about the 52 week challenge here and it's been great so far! This week is to tackle the pantry.

This past week I spent some time cleaning out and organizing our pantry. Oh it was a mess! We had been stuffing more than just food in there for a couple years and I wasn't sure what we even had anymore. I rearranged, pillaged through, and cleaned up the pantry and by the end of it I wanted to completely renovate it... but that's a whole new can of beans. ;)

Week 3 Pantry:

Before Picture:


  1. Start at the middle shelves. Finish the top and bottom shelves last.
  2. Remove expired items. 
  3. For similar items, put them in order by expiration date with the closest date in front. 


After Picture:

Side by Side Comparison:

Any pantry tips? I would love to hear them!

Have you joined the challenge? It's not too late! Join and follow along with me as I whip this house into shape. :) The challenge runs year round so you can start at any time and just go through 52 weeks.... I am thinking I may just make this an annual thing!



2015 Clean & Organized Home Challenge: Week 2 Kitchen Cabinets

Week 2 of the challenge I talked about here and this has been really helpful but it is a challenge! This week is the kitchen cabinets. Some of our cabinets could use some more organizers but it's not in the budget right now. Either way I took it as an opportunity to pull everything out and clean the cabinets. Let's face it, I haven't cleaned them like this since we moved in almost three years ago. I know, embarrassing, but hopefully I'm not alone in this? I won't make you admit it but maybe you'll be motivated to clean them out now. ;)

Week 2 Kitchen Cabinets:

Before Pictures: (Just a few)

  1. Start at the top cabinets and work your way down.  
  2. Rearrange dishes/utensils if necessary. 
    • Consider how often, where, when you use it. 
    • Silverware should be in a drawer closest to your kitchen table
    • Plates, bowls, cups should be located close to the counter top where you do the most prep for meals. 
    • Cups near the refrigerator. 
    • Cooking utensils/pots/pans/baking dishes near the oven and microwave. 
  3. Clean out and wipe down each cabinet as you go.
  4. Clean the doors as you finish up! Don't forget to sanitize the handles. 


After Pictures and Side by Side Comparisons:

I got rid of a lot of expired medicines and moved the shelves. We can fit more and it's all still within my short person reach. :)

I removed some dishes and added our blender to the middle shelf so that it's easily accessible because we are using it for smoothies a lot lately!

We moved the alcohol from the floor in our pantry to the cabinet above the microwave because we needed to think about a place out of reach of the kids. Plus there is an outlet in the cabinet (for the microwave but there is one unused) so we can plug our wine opener in and easily get to it without it sitting out on the countertop.

The spice holders on the door can be found here.

Where did the bibs go?? Moved to the pantry and and really easy to get to! Could also be done inside a cabinet door too.

I plan on getting an organizer for this drawer but in the meantime I got rid of a bunch of stuff we never use and that has helped with the craziness!

I cleared out this drawer of random cups, bibs, placemats, and containers. It is now dedicated to my kiddos plates, bowls, and cups. My son, 2.5 years old, now helps me get ready for dinner. He grabs a plate (or bowl) and a cup and I help him dish up and sit down at the table. It's fun to see him choose too. One day he wanted a bowl for his sandwich... I didn't fight it! He has a lot of fun with it and giving him the ability to choose gives him the power he craves. :)

Do you have any organized/clean cabinet tips? Did you complete this week's challenge? Please share!

Have you joined the challenge? It's still not too late! Join and follow along with me. :)



Mexican Stuffed Shells

Shortly after the new year my husband and I got our FitBit Charge HRs. We've been trying to be diligent in using them to help us with awareness... of what we eat, what we do, how we sleep, and how that affects our mood and energy. So far it's been amazing and eye opening, even for me who was decently conscious of calories and diet. I have lost 6lbs in about 2 weeks. Now part of that is holiday bloat. You know, the extra pounds from eating sweets and drinking booze. But it is definitely time for me to lose the last few pregnancy pounds since my second child is turning a year next month!

I will share how I'm getting active and some of the things that have helped me in the diet/nutrition department when I reach my goal (which is hopefully sooner than later) but for now I would like to share a recipe that I think you'll enjoy. :)

Pasta is not really a good food for weight loss but in moderation (just like most everything else) it is just fine. We had jumbo shells in the pantry from awhile back and the pesto chicken shells I originally made with them were delicious but NOT good for my calorie tracking. We love mexican food so here's my take on a different stuffed shell with some spice. 

Mexican Stuffed Shells:

17-20 jumbo shells, cooked al dente, drained and cooled
1/2lb grass fed ground beef cooked until brown, drained
1/2c mexican shredded cheese, separated
1/2c peppers, diced small
2c quinoa, cooked
1T grapeseed oil (or really any other oil will do)
1 serving taco seasoning (I make my own or you can buy a packet from the store)
Salsa to top, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix beef, quinoa, peppers, 1/4c cheese, oil and seasoning.
3. Line up jumbo shells in a baking dish. 
4. Fill each shell with the mixture. It was about a tablespoon for each shell.
5. Top with a little bit of salsa on each shell.
6. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
7. Cover with foil. 
8. Bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for 2-5 more minutes to allow all the cheese topping to melt.
9. Enjoy!

I did some rough estimations and found that each shell was about 80 calories. 

Servings vary but I will say I ate 5 and my husband ate 7. :)

Here are some possible variations to try:
- Add guacamole as a topping or switch it for salsa
- Use taco sauce as a topping instead of salsa
- Add corn to the mixture (we didn't have any)
- Add onions.. they aren't really our thing but would definitely add some flavor

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Let me know if you try this and/or tweak it. I am always looking for ways to change things up to keep it interesting!

Happy Friday!



2015 Clean & Organized Home Challenge: Week 1 Kitchen Counters and Sink

Week 1 of the challenge I talked about here and I am feeling really great about this! The first week is to tackle the kitchen countertops and sink. I am taking before pictures (and trying to be honest about it... because I am sure some of these are going to be real ugly) and after pictures so that you can see what a difference this challenge is making. I will try and follow the same structure in all my posts so it is easy for you to find what you are looking for- challenge information, before picture, steps, tips, after picture, side by side comparison (for dramatic affect). So let's get right to it...

Week 1 Kitchen Countertops and Sinks:

Before Picture:


  1. Empty the sink. Clean ALLLL the dishes. 
  2. Put away anything on the counters that you do not use daily and/or more than four days a week. 
  3. Clean the countertops. 
  4. Clean the sink. 


  • Try not to shove things into random drawers or other rooms because you want it to make sense. And also because at some point I would probably have to clean it up again since this challenge covers everything!
  • Setup a basket or a bin for a couple of things that you reach for often. We have our tablet, a phone charger, stamps, and a dog remote in our basket.
  • We use this scrubber and replace it every 6-8 weeks or so. 
  • I like Mrs. Meyers Countertop Spray. You could also use a vinegar water mix with a couple drops of lemon or lavender essential oil. 
  • I scrub the sink down with soap and water making sure to get the ring around the drain good. 
  • A note about the drain/garbage disposal- when you peel an orange or have lemon peels leftover then send them through the garbage disposal and it with freshen it up. :) 
  • Don't forget to clean the faucet!
  • Notice two towels? We use solid dark towels for drying hands. We use white towels for drying clean dishes. I don't like to use only one because lots of people don't clean their hands well and then use the same towel to dry clean dishes.
  • Wipe down the outlets with a Magic Eraser

After Picture:

Side by Side Comparison:

Any countertop and sink tips? I would love to hear them!

Have you joined the challenge? It's definitely not too late! Join and follow along with me as I whip this house into shape. :) Hey.. did I mention it's FREE? Yeeeah, why not??



2015 Clean & Organized Home Challenge

It's that time when we are all making resolutions and goals. We are pumped and excited, motivated even. Well this year my only resolution- to follow through. Yup. Just one. And it's actually kind of a hard one. I just want to follow through on anything I start. No time limits or constraints. I am hoping this will help me be a little more successful with my goals because I am now focusing on how instead of what.

On to one of my goals, I have a handful of those... Keeping my house clean and organized.

I found this pretty great organized home 52 week challenge through Home Storage Solutions 101. I am following this challenge which will help remind me, lead me, give me ideas and I am blogging about it each week to share my experiences, results, and my own tips/tricks.

I will be back on in a few days to update on the first week. I hope you'll stop by and check it out and follow the challenge too.  :)  You can sign up for email updates through the links above.

Are you going to join? Do you have any goals and/or resolutions for 2015?

Happy New Year!!