Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Preparing for Pascha!

Pascha prep is officially underway in our house! As usual, I started the preparations by baking our kulichi (Easter breads). I made 11 this year (it varies every year, depending on how high the dough rises, and the sizes of cans used)...and the house smelled so tempting all day! I have frozen and stashed all the kulichi and cannot wait to defrost the largest one on Holy Saturday, so that we can fill our basket and take it to church to be blessed on Pascha!

I initially baked 3 small for each of my kids. But I ended up with so much dough that I baked in 2 batches, so I re-used some of the small cans and ended up with many little kulichi instead!

Next up is buying farmer's cheese and then making our cheese pascha! And cleaning, of course!

A Kitchen Nook

I'm really excited about my kitchen desk has turned into such a cozy nook now that I have managed to organize it nicely! 

I was so excited about this area when we were first moving in...until I realized that it can easily become a dumping ground for miscellaneous items (which did happen)! I spent a lot of time looking around on Pinterest for ideas for a kitchen command center and the result is a little mix of a command center and a cookbook keeping area. 

All the way to the left, you can see our family calendar (a photo calendar), with a wooden Long Island above it. I love that Long Island souvenir!!! Someone gave it to me a few years ago from my home parish, and I chose to use it only as a decoration and not as a real cutting board! I love that my first home is hanging above my desk for me to see in such a prominent spot. 

The inside of the cabinets were not easy to arrange because of the funny sizes of the side cabinets. But I took my time and things really came together nicely, I think. In the left cabinet I have my 3 home keeping binders. One is a general binder of my housekeeping routines (I have them written in the form of checklists). The other 2 binders are a recipe binder and a binder of magazine articles I have collected through the years, all pertaining to homekeeping. 

Looking at the center cabinet, all the way on the bottom I have cookbooks. I do have many of them, and this is after getting rid of a handful, too! These are ALL from my wedding shower and very few of them have actually been my own purchases. The shelf above the cookbooks houses my most-used parenting books, as well as a few books I use on a regular basis, such as my current Lenten reading. These books extend onto the top shelf, where I actually had to lay them flat due to size constraints. I think they look kinda cool that way, though! 

You'll also see in the left center cabinet that there is a light blue basket...that's where I am currently keeping my knitting. It needs to be in an area where I can reach it easily so it's not forgotten, but also out of the reach of children (until now it has been hanging out on my desk, which is so dangerous!) Next to that basket I have a black basket which is filled with miscellaneous items, such as missing puzzle pieces that I find at random times, and odds and ends that I find while cleaning...but all of these things are ones that will be gone back to later, and not junk that should be in the garbage. Instead of keeping them on our window sill, I put them in that basket. Then, once the basket is full, I can go through these things. 

Now, all the way to the right, up top, I have our play dough storage container (so cool!) which has not only all our play dough in it, but also all the toys that go along with it! (I got this idea from Pinterest. It's a Sterilite 3-level container...perfect for this!!! The play-doh is in the 2nd level, in round balls, and the other 2 levels store the tools for the play-doh). Next to this is our art caddy...again, out of reach of the kids. One day I can hopefully keep the caddy out regularly, but that has proven to result in a disaster for our family at the present time. 

Below the play-doh is another blue basket, in which I keep all the chargers. I HATE having chargers laying around when they are not being used!! They look so hideous! This was a perfect solution. (BTW...I got these blue baskets at Hobby Lobby on sale...less than $3 a piece). Next to the chargers is my little sewing kit (this doesn't really have to be here, but currently there's not a better home for it). 

And last...the lower level of the right cabinet. Right now, I'm keeping something current there, and that's our easter egg storage bags because we have to stow away an easter egg each day during our Paschal countdown. Next to this is a huge box of greeting cards that I have collected to use for whatever occasion is necessary. 

Now, on top of my desk... I hate having piles and piles of stuff laying around, so I really tried to think this through. You'll see that all the way on the left of the desk is a pen/pencil holder, my Mall Money piggy bank, and a little container of note cards (used regularly!) Next, I have a mailing station...this has in it stamps, envelopes, any current OUTgoing mail, and our return address labels (I have my own, plus ones for our whole family). Moving on to the letter tray. In here I am holding anything VERY current...such as something I am currently working on with the kids (right now that is our Serbian Easter carol) planner, and any mail that I need to take care of ASAP. That's about it. Everything else is either thrown away as soon as I have taken care of it/looked at it, or is upstairs being filed away in my little filing cabinet. 

I decided to use the magazine file to store current catalogs to clothing or home stores that I may need to refer back to, plus coupons that are current. I hate digging for coupons, so this is really a great way for me to keep them within reach. I need to find a better way to keep them together, but currently they are all clipped together using a ginormous paper clip, and neatly placed next to the catalogs. 

I love my new, tidy area! I should mention that the beautiful desktop organization items are from the Container Store. I thought very wisely before choosing my items...I easily could have bought the entire collection! 

Update on our icon corner....

I finally found the beautiful icon cloth that I have been looking for for our icon corner. I think it makes the little corner stand out so much more, and looks so beautiful (though now I see I need to pull the cloth down to the right a bit ;-)).