Happy New Year- Learn How To Get Organized!

How to Get Organized - Tips for Cleaning Out and Organizing Clutter

Happy New Year! 2016 is here! Have you made any resolutions for the new year ahead? For me, my top priority is learning how to get organized! I have been trying to organize and get rid of stuff for the longest time – but – there’s still multiple piles of clothes I need to go through, stacks of papers and magazines, a box of stuff waiting to be donated and then just everyday clutter. It seems like whenever I try to start, I get sidetracked or busy with something else and it never gets done. I go through a pile of stuff just to have it pile up again – the never ending cycle of clutter and “stuff”!
Well, at this point, I’m fed up with the clutter! Just taking a look around my house makes me feel anxious and stressed. I think it is starting to affect my productivity. So, my number one goal this year is making a determined effort to really clean out, organize and get rid of stuff throughout the entire house!
Now that I have a 7 month old, we have accumulated a lot of stuff. There are things that need to be stored somewhere including: baby gear, outgrown baby clothes and maternity clothes. And then there are things that I haven’t used or that have gotten their fair share of use and need to be tossed. The hardest part is setting aside time to plan, sort, clean, and find the space to store everything. It quickly becomes overwhelming when I think about the amount of work and effort it will take to finally get the house organized.
My solution is to break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Instead of spending an entire weekend trying to tackle everything all at once, I will work a little each day on a specific task so as not to get burned out.

Here’s my plan of action on how to get organized:

Step 1 – Create a plan
Mentally go through the list of things that need to be stored away. Think about how the best way to store them might be and where you want to store them.

Clothes: For maternity clothes and baby clothes that no longer fit my little man, I bought some space saving bags where you remove the air and I plan to store them in the closet. I thought about getting plastic bins but the bags were a better solution since we have limited closet space.

Baby Gear: For larger items like the infant swing and bassinet, I plan to take them apart as much as I can and put them in large plastic garbage bags to protect them from dust. I will wash and store any removable cloth separate in an inside closet.

Paperwork: Decide on a file system and come up with a designated spot for important documents/action items, papers that need to be filed away and documents that need to be shredded. I try to get rid of junk mail immediately so it doesn’t pile up.

Step 2 – Start Sorting
Before you actually get to packing clothes away or filing paperwork you need to sort through and decide if it’s something you actually need/want to keep. Make 3 sorting piles: keep, donate, trash. Once you have your items sorted it’s a good idea to immediately throw out the trash items and actually take that box to drop off at the donation site.

Further sort through the keep items:
Baby Clothes: Sorted by size and will be packed in separate bags for each size: Newborn, 0-3mos, 3-6mos, 6-9mos etc.

Paperwork: Sorted according to your filing system and categories. Action items go to their location, shred documents go to a pile by the shredder, documents that need to be kept are separated into their respective filing categories (credit card statements, bank statements, utilities, mortgage documents, taxes, etc).

Step 3 – Take Action: Pack, File & Shred
After planning and sorting you can now start to pack things away. Purchase the bins/bags or other supplies you need to pack or file items away. Once items are packed and clearly labeled, put them in their designated storage spot. File away papers and shred those documents! 

Step 4 – Keep it up!
When new documents come into the house don’t wait until they pile up, take care of them right away. Every so often, go through clothes, toys, and items that come into the house: Plan, Sort, Pack, Repeat!


Hopefully at this point, you can look around and sigh with relief at how clean and organized everything looks! I’m just starting with this process so I’m looking forward to getting it done and enjoying a clean and organized home!

Tips:

  • Remember to work on a certain task a little each day. Don’t feel like you have to finish it all in one day.
  • Once you complete one task, move on to the next until you have gone through the entire house.
  • Start with the things you can see and then move on to closets, cabinets, drawers, and boxes that need to be sorted. This way you can see that you are making progress and will be more motivated to keep going.
  • Try to keep piles of paperwork from accumulating by getting rid of junk mail immediately and filing or shredding documents. Go through magazines weekly and get rid of any you don’t use. If you see a recipe, article or coupon you want to keep, clip it out right then and have a designated spot to put it, then toss the magazine.

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Powdered Sugar Glaze

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Powdered Sugar Glaze | sprightliest.com

Today is such a beautiful day. The sun’s out and it’s a slightly breezy 65 degrees. As I look out my living room window I see the ducks are enjoying the sun and swimming around the lake. Flowers are starting to bloom and the grass and leaves are turning green again, Spring is here!
It’s been a long while since I last posted a recipe. Time just flies by these days. I’m 28 weeks pregnant and only have 12 weeks to go before we get to meet our little baby boy!
This pregnancy has given me a major sweet tooth so naturally I had to bake me up something sweet to eat. And since baked donuts have been all over Pinterest it was high time to give them a try.

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Powdered Sugar Glaze | sprightliest.com

I chose these Baked Chocolate Donuts with Powdered Sugar Glaze because you can’t go wrong with chocolate. They were really easy to make and while not quite as good as the full on fried version they were satisfying…especially dipped in a generous layer of sugar glaze. Sugar on sugar, give me more!

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Powdered Sugar Glaze | sprightliest.com

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Powdered Sugar Glaze | sprightliest.com

Next time I’d like to try these Carrot Cake Doughnuts or these Greek Yogurt Cinnamon Roll Donuts!
Baked Chocolate Donuts with Powdered Sugar Glaze
Yields 12
Old Fashioned Chocolate Donuts with a powdered sugar glaze. Baked instead of fried.
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
For the Donuts
  1. 1 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  2. 1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  3. 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  4. 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  5. 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  6. 1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
  7. 1/3 Cup Plain Yogurt
  8. 1 Large Egg
  9. 1 Tablespoon Butter, melted
For the Sugar Glaze
  1. 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  2. 3-4 Tablespoons Milk
  3. 1/4 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
For the Donuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, nutmeg, salt and sugar in a bowl.
  4. In another bowl stir together the melted butter, egg and yogurt. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  5. On a well floured surface, knead the dough a few times.
  6. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.
  7. Using a doughnut cutter, or cookie cutters, cut out doughnuts and place on your lined baking sheet. Place the doughnut hole centers on the 2nd lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake the doughnuts for about 10 minutes and then bake the doughnut holes for 4-5 minutes. Cool slightly.
For the Sugar Glaze
  1. While the doughnuts are baking in the oven, mix together the powdered sugar, milk and the vanilla extract. Add more milk a little at a time until you have the desired consistency. (More milk=thinner, more powdered sugar=thicker)
  2. Dip the top of each doughnut and doughnut hole into the glaze and allow to dry completely before storing.
Adapted from Heather's French Press
Sprightliest http://kaicreatives.com/
Do you have a favorite baked donut recipe? Share in the comments below!

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites | sprightliest.com

While grocery shopping the other day my eyes landed on the fresh strawberries they had placed near the entrance of the store. They looked too good to pass up and they had a special deal if you bought 2 packages. I loaded 2 packages into my cart and continued on with my shopping.

I had been craving strawberries and also wanted to make a special Valentine’s day treat so I got to work. I knew I wanted to pair the fresh strawberries with a creamy filling and so these Strawberry “Cheesecake” Bites were born.

Strawberry "Cheesecake" Bites - Fresh strawberries filled with a creamy center | sprightliest.com

Back at home, I washed and dried the strawberries and cut the tops off. I also cut off a small portion of the bottom so they would stand up on their own and then I used a small spoon to hollow out the centers. I reserved the bottoms and the centers of the strawberries and sliced them into very small pieces which I later added to the filling.
To make the filling I combined cream cheese, powdered sugar, a splash of milk and vanilla in a bowl using a handheld blender. I crushed up one graham cracker and mixed that into the cream cheese mixture along with the reserved strawberry pieces. Using a small spoon I filled each strawberry with a heaping amount of the “cheesecake” filling.
A sprinkle of more graham cracker crumbs finished off the sweet treats.

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites | sprightliest.com

Of course I taste tested a few of these right away before taking photos and they were divine.
The perfect blend of sweet, juicy and creamy all in one bite. Try ‘em out and let me know what you think!

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites | sprightliest.com

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites
Fresh strawberries filled with a creamy "cheesecake" center.
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Ingredients
  1. 1pkg Strawberries
  2. 4oz Cream Cheese, softened
  3. 1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
  4. Splash of Milk
  5. 1/4 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  6. 2 Sheets Cinnamon Graham Crackers
Instructions
  1. Wash and dry strawberries.
  2. Cut off tops and discard.
  3. Cut of a small amount from the bottom so they sit up on a plate and then use a small spoon or melon baller to hollow out the centers of the strawberries. Reserve the pieces you cut from the bottoms and the hollowed out centers for the filling.
  4. In a bowl add the cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Mix well.
  5. Place the 2 Graham cracker sheets in a zip top bag and use the bottom of a measuring cup to crush them up into small crumbs.
  6. Divide the crumbs into 2 equal portions and add 1 of the portions to the cream cheese mixture.
  7. Reserve the 2nd portion for topping the strawberries.
  8. Slice or chop the reserved strawberry pieces from earlier into very small chunks and stir into the filling mixture.
  9. Spoon some of the filling mixture into the middle of each strawberry and top with the remaining Graham cracker crumbs.
Notes
  1. You can also use regular Graham crackers but cinnamon Graham crackers add a little extra flavor.
  2. Only a small amount of milk is needed for the filling. Just enough to help mix everything through and to thin out the mixture a little.
Sprightliest http://kaicreatives.com/

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

The Christmas tree is up and it smells so good! The fire is roaring in the fireplace and I’m sitting here all nice and cozy on the couch as I write this.
I just love this time of year. All the lights, the Christmas spirit, spending time with loved ones, baking Christmas goodies, it’s all so magical.
What else is magical? How about a big pot of this Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup simmering away on your stove top!?

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup | Sprightliest.com

This is total comfort food in a bowl right here! A rich and creamy tomato soup is loaded with pillow-y cheese stuffed tortellini pasta and topped off with shaved Parmesan cheese. Mmmm mmm!

Creamy Tomato Basil Tortellini Soup | Sprightliest.com

“Souper” easy to make and oh so fulfilling, it’s sure to become a regular in your meal rotation.

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup | Sprightliest.com

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup
Serves 6
A rich and creamy tomato soup loaded with pillow-y cheese Tortellini.
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Cook Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  2. 1/2 Large Onion, chopped
  3. 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  4. 32 Ounces Vegetable Stock
  5. (2) 28 Ounce Cans Crushed Tomatoes
  6. 20 Ounces Cheese Tortellini
  7. 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil, chopped
  8. 2 Bay Leaves
  9. 1/8 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  10. Salt and Pepper To Taste
  11. 1/4 Cup Half & Half
  12. Parmesan cheese for topping
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Saute onions until softened. Add in garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Pour in the vegetable broth and both cans of tomatoes. Add chopped basil, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and bay leaves.
  4. Simmer on low for 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in the Tortellini and half & half.
  6. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until Tortellini is cooked through.
  7. Remove bay leaves.
  8. Transfer to serving bowls and top with shaved Parmesan cheese.
  9. Bon Appetit!
Notes
  1. I took the photos the day after I cooked this soup so it thickened up a bit. It originally had a more soup-like consistency.
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Sprightliest http://kaicreatives.com/

Minestrone Soup

The weather has turned chilly so what’s a girl to do on a cold Fall night? Make Minestrone soup for dinner and enjoy it in front of the roaring fire.

Minestrone Soup Recipe| Sprightliest.com

I actually eat soup quite often not just on cold nights, but I have to admit it’s usually pretty satisfying to have a warm bowl to cozy up with when its cold outside. It gives you that warmth from the inside out.

Minestrone Soup Recipe| Sprightliest.com

One reason I eat soup often is because its so quick and easy to make. Even on the busiest nights I can throw together some veggies, protein and/or carbs add in some broth and seasonings and dinner is served in no time. It’s a great way to use up leftovers, it’s low in calories and soup provides a balanced meal that comes together in one pot.
Tonight’s menu: Minestrone soup with a healthy sprinkle of fresh Romano or Parmesan cheese. Get your spoons ready!

Minestrone Soup Recipe| Sprightliest.com

Minestrone Soup
Serves 6
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  2. 1 Cup Water
  3. 1 14.5 Ounce Can Green Beans, drained
  4. 1 14.5 Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes
  5. 2 Carrots, peeled and chopped
  6. 1 15 ounce Can White Beans, drained and rinsed
  7. 8 ounces of Orzo or other small pasta
  8. Salt and Pepper to taste
  9. 1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
  10. 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  11. 1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  12. 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary
  13. 1 1/2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
  14. 1-2 Cups Fresh Kale or Spinach
  15. Romano or Parmesan Cheese for Topping
Instructions
  1. In a large pot add broth, water, tomatoes, green beans, carrots, basil, thyme, onion powder, rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper.
  2. Bring to a boil over med-high heat.
  3. Stir in the Orzo or pasta, reduce heat and simmer until the pasta is cooked through.
  4. Add in the fresh kale or spinach and cook until it is wilted.
  5. Spoon Minestrone into a serving bowl, sprinkle with Romano cheese and enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you plan to have leftovers you may want to cook the pasta in a separate bowl and add it in when you are ready to eat. This will prevent the pasta from soaking up all the liquid and becoming mushy.
Sprightliest http://kaicreatives.com/

Almond Joy Cookies

Almond Joy Cookies - Chocolate Topped Coconut Meringue Cookies with an Almond Center| Sprightliest.com

I was daydreaming the other day about cookies…specifically coconut cookies. I’ve made these coconut meringue cookies before which are great by themselves, but then I had the idea to add in dry roasted almonds and top them with chocolate to make a cookie that tastes similar to an Almond Joy.
Success!

Almond Joy Cookies - Chocolate Topped Coconut Meringue Cookies with an Almond Center| Sprightliest.com

Almond Joy Cookies! Perfectly sized bites filled with coconut, chocolate and almond flavors.

Almond Joy Cookies - Chocolate Topped Coconut Meringue Cookies with an Almond Center| Sprightliest.com

What’s better than chocolate and coconut together in a chewy cookie? Well, maybe the fact that they have about half the fat, sugar and calories than an Almond Joy candy bar. Here’s the nutritional breakdown I got for each Almond Joy Cookie when I entered the recipe into a recipe calculator:

Calories: 48 Calories
Fat: 2.5 g
Sugar: 4.2 g

Hard to beat those numbers when it comes to a delicious cookie. I’ll take 2 please!

Almond Joy Cookies - Chocolate Topped Coconut Meringue Cookies with an Almond Center| Sprightliest.com

Almond Joy Cookies
Yields 40
What's better than chocolate and coconut together in a chewy cookie with a crunchy almond center? These cookies taste similar to an almond joy but have less sugar and are made with just a few ingredients.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 Egg Whites
  2. Dash of Salt
  3. 2/3 Cup Sugar
  4. 1/4 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  5. 1 1/4 Cup Shredded Coconut (you can use sweetened, unsweetened or a combination)
  6. 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips, melted
  7. 2 ounces Dry Roasted Almonds (about 40 almonds)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Beat egg whites with a dash of salt until soft peaks form.
  3. Add in sugar a little at a time.
  4. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  5. Fold in coconut and vanilla.
  6. Drop onto a parchment lined baking sheet. I used a rounded teaspoon to measure out my cookies.
  7. Bake just until very slightly brown, about 10-15 minutes. The center will remain soft.
  8. Allow to cool.
  9. Melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments at 50% power, stirring between each increment.
  10. Once the chocolate is melted use a spoon to drizzle/spread out chocolate on each cookie.
  11. Place in the refrigerator to allow chocolate to harden. Cookies will become nice and chewy.
  12. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.
Sprightliest http://kaicreatives.com/

Halloween Party (House Warming Party)

Last weekend we had our house warming party (even though it has been a whole 4 months since we moved in). We spent a good part of those 4 months working on home improvement projects getting our house in tip top shape. I’ve always thought it would be fun to have a Halloween party so since it was close to Halloween we decided to tie in our house warming party with a Halloween Costume party.
We had a lot of fun decorating and preparing for our party. I found some inexpensive DIY Halloween Party decorations on Pinterest and combined them with some store bought decorations.

Halloween Party Decorations | Sprightliest.com

I bought the door cover at Walmart for 0.97 cents. The green spooky looking light is actually a projection light we found in the Christmas decorations at Home Depot. It can do double duty since we can use it for Christmas as well. The farther away it is from the house the more it looks like snow falling, but putting it closer gives this nice spooky effect. For my goofy ghosts, I used a black marker to draw faces on plastic gallon jugs and put a glow stick inside.

easy halloween decorations | Sprightliest.com

We found these purple and orange lights at Target for $1 each. The Tombstone set came from Walmart ($14) and the 2 pumpkin balloons were in the party section. The balloons came with led lights inside, but only a few out the package worked. We also hung white balloons with blue and green glowsticks inside from the tree (not pictured).

Fall Mantel Decoration | Sprightliest.com
Fall/Halloween Mantel Decorations | Sprightliest.com
Halloween Mantel | Sprightliest.com Halloween Decorations | Sprightliest.com

This skull came out of the Tombstone set we bought, we thought it would be a nice addition to the fireplace :)

Fall Mantel | Sprightliest.comPainted Wooden Ghost Decoration | Sprightliest.com

I picked up this wooden ghost decoration at Michaels, painted it with acrylic paint and added the ribbon. It has a multi-color strobe light inside where the eyes are.

Halloween Bat Decorations | Sprightliest.com

I found the bat idea on Pinterest and used only the first page of this template to draw the outline of the bat onto folded construction paper and then cut out a bunch at once. I used scotch tape to attach them to the walls and ceiling.

DIY Halloween Decorations | Sprightliest.com

We served finger foods and mini sandwiches and I made these cute deviled eggs and cookie cup ghosts. Some of our guests also brought some goodies with them so we had a good amount of food.

Deviled Eggs | Sprightliest.com

I used this recipe as a base for my deviled eggs but wound up tweaking it a little bit. I skipped the hot sauce and added more mustard, mayo and pickle juice. The devil horns are made from a red pepper.

Ghost Cookie Cups Filled with Cream Cheese Icing | Sprightliest.com

For my Ghost Cookie Cups I used this recipe. I used a mini sized muffin pan instead of regular sized. The sugar cookie cups are filled with a cream cheese icing. The eyes and nose of the ghost are mini chocolate chips.

Vegetable Fried Rice

Easy Fried Rice | Sprightliest.com

Isn’t it great when you have all the right ingredients in your fridge and pantry to make what you are craving and at the same time use up leftovers?
That’s what happened last week when I was craving vegetable fried rice. The stars aligned and I had all I needed to put together this quick dish that’s way better than takeout (not to mention healthier too!)
I remember making fried rice for the first time way back in high school when I took a Food Production class.

Vegetable Fried Rice | Sprightliest.com

Food Production was one of my favorite classes. It was always fun to cook and then get to eat our creations while in school! The classroom was split into 5 or 6 groups and each group had their own kitchen. Sometimes we would have competitions like Iron Chef where our teacher would give us a tray with various ingredients and each kitchen had to come up with a different dish using those ingredients. Other times we would all have to make a specified dish following the same recipe. Vegetable Fried rice was one of the dishes where we followed a recipe but it was so easy to make!
Start by cooking your rice (or better yet, grab leftover rice from the fridge if you have it). In the meantime chop up the celery, carrots and cabbage and place a skillet on the stove to heat up. Add the veggies to the hot oil and cook until softened. Next add in all the spices, soy sauce, vinegar and rice. Mix all that up and make a well in the middle for the egg. Once the egg is scrambled, that’s it, time to eat!

Vegetable Fried Rice | Sprightliest.com

Vegetable Fried Rice
An easy fried rice recipe. Made with brown rice, celery, carrots, cabbage and an egg.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Cup of Cooked Brown Rice
  2. 1 Large Egg
  3. 2-3 Celery Heart Stalks, chopped
  4. 1/4 Head Cabbage, chopped,
  5. 2 tablespoon of Soy Sauce
  6. 2 teaspoons of White Wine Vinegar
  7. 1/4-1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  8. 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  9. 1/8 Teaspoon of Ginger
  10. 1/2 Teaspoon Granulated Garlic
  11. 1/4 Cup Shredded Carrots
  12. 1 Tablespoon Saffllower Oil
Instructions
  1. Sauté cabbage, celery and carrots in oil over medium heat, until softened.
  2. Add in spices, soy sauce, vinegar and rice.
  3. Mix that all together and then make a well in the center of the skillet.
  4. Crack the egg into the well and stir constantly, scrambling in place until the egg is cooked through.
Sprightliest http://kaicreatives.com/

Pantry Makeover with DIY Shelves

When we bought our house I thought it was move in ready – and it was for the most part. We loved the paint colors in the living room, dining room and master bedroom, the tile and carpet were in good shape, the bathrooms and kitchen had been updated. But oh the popcorn ceilings, they had to go. And then, we decided to do all these other little projects, like the pantry.
I was getting ready to clean the pantry shelves so I could move our stuff in. The wire shelves were sticky and discolored and just yuck. It was at that point that we decided to just get rid of them and replace them with wood shelves instead. I didn’t even bother to finish cleaning them since we were going to get rid of them anyways.
Pantry Makeover - Before with Wire Shelves | www.sprightliest.com

Pantry Before with Wire Shelves

Pantry Makeover - Before | www.sprightliest.com

Pantry Before with wire shelves

 

Our new wood shelves were based off the size of the previous wire shelves and we spaced them the same distance apart (13 inches).
We wanted nice and sturdy shelves so we used the knock test and then double checked that with a drill to find the studs in the wall. Knock on the wall in different points and see if you can tell where it sounds hollow or solid. The part that sounds solid is most likely a stud. We then drilled into where we thought the stud was and you can tell it is harder to screw in where the studs are than when just screwing into the drywall.
**I also came across this video that had a helpful hint – studs are typically spaced 16 inches apart and there is usually a stud on either side of an outlet.**
I wrote down the measurements of where the studs were located before patching up the holes we made with the drill. I also patched up all the holes that were left from the previous shelves. Then I cleaned the walls and added a fresh coat of paint.
Off to The Depot we go to pick out our wood. We knew we wanted something that wouldn’t need sanding so we chose a 4×8 sheet of Birch Veneer Plywood. We brought our measurements with us and had the store cut out our shelves. We even had some leftover wood that we will use for something else.
For the ledgers we used a piece of select pine. The ledger is what supports the shelves. We used a piece along the back of the shelf and a piece on each side so the 3 sides that are along the wall are supported.
To cover the rough edge on the front of the shelf, we bought a piece of decorative molding. We attached it to the front of the shelves using liquid nails and then nailing it in with small nails. We did this part before I stained the shelves.
Pantry  Makeover - Attaching molding to shelf | www.sprightliest.com

Attaching the molding to the shelves

I used 2 coats of Minwax Polyshades Stain and Polyurethane in Espresso for the diy shelves and ledgers. Using a natural bristle brush I applied the stain and then after a few minutes I wiped it with a cloth. The first coat wasn’t that dark but once I applied the second coat it got much darker and was the color I wanted so I stopped at two coats.
First Coat of Espresso Stain | www.sprightliest.com

First Coat of Stain

Staining Wood Shelves | www.sprightliest.com

Second Coat of Stain

My hubby had the fabulous job of installing the shelves. He first screwed the ledgers into the wall using 2 inch screws and then he screwed the shelves to the ledgers using 1.5 inch screws.
Pantry Makeover - Installing Shelf Ledgers | www.sprightliest.com

Installing the Ledgers

Pantry Makeover - Installing Shelves | www.sprightliest.com

Installing the Shelves

I later went back over the screws with wood filler and stain so they wouldn’t stick out so much. If you can countersink the screws it will have a much cleaner finish than screws that are flush with the surface.
**A tip on touching up with stain. Stain is not like paint where you can blend it in. It’s all or nothing with stain so you will be able to see the edges and/or brush marks where you touched up. To help avoid this I used a cotton swab to apply stain on just the top of where the screw or putty was. This worked out well for me and was much less noticeable than when I first tried to use a small paint brush. I had to do 2 coats for it to match the shelves.**
Our diy shelves look so much nicer than the previous wire shelves and I don’t have to worry about things falling through or falling over.
Pantry Makeover- After with Wood Shelves | sprightliest.com

Our New Pantry with Wood Shelves

Pantry Makeover - Shelf Molding | www.sprightliest.com

Close up of the decorative molding

Pantry Makeover - Stained Wood Shelves | www.sprightliest.com

Close up of the stain

Pantry Makeover- After with Wood Shelves | www.sprightliest.com

Pantry Makeover Completed

 
Pantry Makeover Before and After | www.sprightliest.com
Next on our list is finishing the ceilings in the other 2 bedrooms and then we are moving on to our master closet! I can’t wait for that project!
What do you think of our new pantry?

Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle

***The sale has been extended until 12pm PST (3pm EST) today. The Ultimate Bundles site was down for a few hours yesterday due to the amount of traffic it received.  What better way than to take advantage of the present and get in on this great deal before it’s gone!***
We all want to make better health and lifestyle decisions for ourselves and those we love. We want to lose some weight, have more energy, use greener products, create nutritious meals for our families, get fit, and feel confident that we’re doing all we can to prevent serious diseases. But it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the masses of healthy living advice out there – to the point where we’re frozen into complete inaction instead! That’s where The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle comes in. The Ultimate Bundles team has done all the hard work for you – finding the top experts across a number of healthy living fields and combining their products into one essential collection.
What do I think is so great about this Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle?
Well, not only are you getting a great library of resources, but you are also getting over $200 dollars worth in bonus offers. Many of these bonus offers are physical products, so even if you aren’t that into eBooks or eCourses this is such a great value!
First, I want to spotlight a couple of the eBooks and eCourses that I’m particularly excited about and then I also want to highlight my favorite part of the entire bundle – the awesome bonus offers!

Nourishing Cookies for a Healthy HolidayNourishing Cookies for a Healthy Holiday eBook

The holidays are just around the corner, and I’m always looking for healthier recipes for sweet treats. The Nourishing Cookies for a Healthy Holiday eBook by Diana Bauman, features recipes made with all natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup.
Recipes include:
  • Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
  • Mexican Orange Cookies
  • Spanish Polvorones (Almond Cookies)
  • No Bake Coconut Snowballs
  • Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Chewy Molasses Cookies
  • Buttered Cutout Cookies
  • Cherry, Almond, and Dark Chocolate Biscotti
  • Almond, Orange, Shortbread Cookies
  • Soft “Sugar” Cookies with Honeyed Buttercream Frosting
Plus 2 Bonus Recipes!
  • Turrón de Navidad
  • Buñuelos de Viento

Simply-Salads-by-SeasonSimply Salads by Season eBook

I enjoy eating salads quite often but I am always disappointed when it comes to store bought salad dressings. Most of the dressings are made with unhealthy oils and are filled with chemicals and preservatives, or they are expensive and don’t taste very good. I like that this Simply Salads by Season eBook from Kristen Michaelis, features 28 recipes for simple and easy dressings and condiments AND 99 pages of salad recipes. Salad just got a lot more interesting!

Let's Do ThisLet’s Do This! eCourse

I’ve been wanting to start planning and preparing meals ahead of time to save money and have healthy meals at the ready for those days when I don’t feel like cooking. This Let’s Do This! eCourse came at the perfect time.
Some questions answered by Let’s Do This! eCourse:
  • I can’t even keep up – how am I supposed to get ahead?
  • I don’t have freezer space for freezer cooking, how I can I make this work?
  • Will this actually help me save money on food?
  • Will this really save me time and energy?
  • How can this work for me if I’m not an organized person?
  • My family is picky. Will this frozen food taste good?
  • I want to get ahead, but I don’t even know where to start…
The eCourse includes 5 detailed lessons that are filled with tips and information, links and worksheets:
  1. Getting Ahead for the Day
  2. Getting Ahead for the Week
  3. Getting Ahead With Snacks
  4. Getting Ahead During Spare Moments for Busy Moments
  5. Using Your Make-Ahead Meals and Snacks

Many more eBooks and eCourses are available through this Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle with topics on Essential Oils, Gardening, Green Cleaning, Healthy Children, Meal Budgeting & Planning, Natural Beauty & Skincare, Real Food Recipes and Special diet recipes including grain-free, gluten free and paleo – See the full list of what’s included here.

Now, let’s not forget my favorite part – the bonus offers included in this bundle!
MadeOn Variety Pack The bonuses include free goodies aplenty: a bottle of Healthy Mouth Blend from OraWellness, a baltic amber bracelet from Sweetbottoms Boutique, and a starter culture from Cultures For Health. You’ll also get gift sets from Made On Skin Care Products and Homegrown Collective. There are virtual goodies, too – a 4-month membership to StayAtHomeYoga.com and a 3-month premium membership to meal planning service Tradishen. And as if all that weren’t enough, there are also $15 gift certificates for TheJoyfulGiraffe.com, Strawesome.com and Trilight Health. There is a nominal shipping charge for many of the bonuses, based on each company’s standard shipping rates, and is usually $3-5.

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle Sale ends on September 15th so don’t miss out on this great collection of resources that will help you make lifestyle changes to become a better, healthier, you!

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.