Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stuck on Day 11

Such a metaphor for my life. I simply cannot commit to doing something every single day of my life. Hell, I even try to take days off from parenting, which is not as easy as it sounds. I really, really want to do it but then I just get soooo tired. Driving home from class last night (because yes, hell grad school is back)I had decided to scrap this whole thing and just keep plugging away over at Broken Bananas. But I like having separate blogs. It's sort of an extension of my multiple personalities (not officially diagnosed). I have high hopes for this little space. If only so I can look back a year from now and see all the things I've accomplished and feel overly superior. So I guess you get a little reprieve while I decide what to do. Just don't piss me off in the meantime.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 11

I am really into making homemade bread lately. Just ask my ungrateful daughter. I am trying out recipes until I find "The 1". I have made a loaf only using whole wheat flour and I liked it but I'm afraid I'm in the minority. Then I tried a half whole wheat/half white flour. It went down better but didn't last more than two days because we ate it all. And by we I mean mainly me. This week I tried a whole wheat/white flour combo with the addition of oatmeal. It is very tasty. Don't know if it will be "The 1" but I like it. And it made two loaves. I will provide the recipe so you can torture your children.

Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day 10

Isn't it great to start cleaning the house at square 1 every week?

No, it is not great. Not great at all.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 9

Today we did our part to support local eateries. It's such hard work but someone has to do it. I will selflessly indulge in local barbecue and ice cream for the good of the community. And the service is so much better.

If you live in the A-Z area and you have not tried these places, go there immediately. Like drop what you're doing and just run there.

Joe's Real BBQ


Udder Delights


Joe's will make you love being a carnivore and they even have red cream soda.
Udder Delights has the best ice cream I've had in a long, long time. And bonus, free cow erasers.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day 8

Walking 10 miles is not great. But it does give you more respect for pioneers and nomads.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 7


My friend Sara and I are on a whirlwind tour of local spray pads. Oh yeah, we take our kids along too. This is by far the best we've found. Simple, shaded, right next to a self-serve frozen yogurt place. The kids could do this for the remaining five months of summer.

Day 6

Finally found something that kicks my kids' messy butts.

Thanks Oxi Clean for all of your marvelous marvels.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day 5

"Eaters must understand, how we eat determines how the world is used."

-Barbara Kingsolver
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

I am aware this quote does not relate directly to my awesomeness but rather to the person I aspire to be.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day 4


I made a kick ass melon salsa from locally grown foods with a recipe from the book Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I highly recommend both.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day 3

Something I learned today:

Do not use peppermint soap to wash your "lady parts." Unless of course you like that sort of thing.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Day 2


My legs are far too hairy for shorts (though you can't really tell in this picture but it's the only one I took that didn't make my calves look the size of a beef shank). But I wore them anyway. Constant movement is the key to fooling the eye.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Day 1

Today I wore a bathing suit bottom because I was all out of clean underwear.

By Way of Explanation

My mother and I went to see Julie & Julia today. The movie was excellent and inspired a craving for French food and blog readership. Julie Powell started a blog, during the golden days of blogging, and ended up with a book and movie. She didn't even have Site Meter to verify her growing readership. But she ended up with thousands of followers who read her every word and yes, sent her gifts. Gifts. I can't imagine. Now it seems every good blog idea has been used up. Writing about going insane. Taken. Writing about how your kids lead to the insanity. Taken. Fashion, fitness, home organization and design. Done, done and done. I have racked my brain for a good hook. Something that will draw people in and keep them coming back. Something I could do for 365 days. People seem to love things involving "A Year of..." Or maybe that's just me. And that's when it hit me. Blogs are narcissistic shrines people build to worship at their own feet. Accusing a blogger of being self-absorbed is just repetitious. You have to possess at least a small fraction of healthy self esteem to write about yourself every day and to expect anyone to want to read it (more than once anyway). So I have decided to devote a whole year to myself. 365 days of why I am awesome. And I suppose I should care if people want to read about me (and I really do) but no matter what happens, at the end of the 365 days I will still be me. And I will always be awesome.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Freaking Out About Food

As if I needed something else to freak out about. I have been reading food books all summer. And now I have just enough information to be dangerous. I am reading these:




I am a little concerned with our national food supply and our American way of doing things faster and cheaper. There are so many statistics in both books that just make me want to crawl under the bed and live on dust bunnies. How did we get to the point that the majority of our calories come from three crops (corn, soy and wheat) that have been genetically modified to be resistant to the chemicals supplied by the very same supplier of the seeds? And what's the alternative? Luckily both books are pretty detailed in offering solutions. Obviously organic produce is an option. But you have to make sure it's not coming from too far away. And then there's growing your own. Which works much better in a climate not considered "hell." And we use a lot of water to sustain our desert crops. Then there's the farmers market. I have been frequenting a local market on Friday mornings and the produce offerings are abundant. I even bought farm fresh eggs last time and I am well stocked in local honey. Sometimes they even have grass fed beef for sale. I placed an order for grass fed beef from a farm in southern Arizona because I wanted to see if we could taste a difference and I wanted to support local ranching. I know some people think suburbanites have way too much money and time on their hands and are always looking for eco chic ways to save the planet. But seriously, grass fed beef beats store bought's butt. It just had so much more flavor and texture. I am a convert. Ultimately though, the trick is deciding to eat in season and giving up things from far, far away. I had to tell my littlest she couldn't have apples this week because New Zealand was far away across the ocean. She didn't really understand but her attention turned to peaches so everything worked out. And it's kind of cool to eat things just because you need to use them up. This morning I had cereal but no bananas. Do we even grow bananas in the United States? So I looked in the fridge and I had a delicious local peach in need of being eaten. Why didn't I think of that sooner? I know it may take a little more time and money trying to eat sustainably but if I can make up for a little human arrogance by spending an extra hour a week and a few dollars more, I'm all in.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Back to School

Since we live in Hades (otherwise known as Arizona) we do things a little different than the rest of the country. We don't have daylight savings time (who needs more hours of scorching sunlight) and we go back to school in July. Not all of the schools start so early but we are on a modified year-round calendar. We have seven weeks of summer and then two weeks in October, December and March. It works out quite well. This year I have a little man starting kindergarten and I was pretty sure he did not want to deal with the intricacies of the cafeteria. So he will be taking his lunch a lot. His sister is in the 5th grade and she prefers to take lunch but will settle for hot lunch if it's something she likes. In an attempt to be environmentally friendly I decided against using plastic bags. I also wanted something to keep their lunches cold that was not made up of weird blue goo. Sounds like a job for The Container Store. I love The Container Store. So many containers. I even made the 80 mile round trip so we would have the lunch stuff by Monday. OK I am aware that driving 80 miles is not environmentally friendly but there's only one Container Store here and it's far away. We took the kids (mistake) and ended up purchasing several lunch items and an Elfa storage system for Emma's clothes. She is complaining that her room is too small so we're trying to move the furniture around for her. I really like these:



Everything fits in the little compartments and nothing has to touch! I also bought these and fill them with juice and then freeze:



Today is our first experiment with these so hopefully they will thaw by lunch. At least their food will be cold. I also bought a little chip and dip container for carrots and ranch. I think we'll have plenty of options for at least the first semester! I may start googling lunch ideas if they start complaining. But at least my husband will eat the same thing every day, without fail.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Less Stress and a Clean Pantry


I'm back from our whirlwind tour of Oklahoma. It was exhausting but I realized when we made it back home that it was stressful in a different way than usual. I didn't have to worry about the house or being the primary caregiver for the kids or the million other things I stress about. I was just busy. When we walked in the door Monday night I looked around at the semi-clean state of our house and realized I need to get busy. If this is the place we want to call home for years to come, I should care enough to keep up with it. In reality my family should care enough not to trash it but that's a different battle. So for some unexplained reason I began feverishly cleaning the pantry. A little background here: the pantry was the one area I never finished when we were doing the kitchen organization. All of my other drawers and spaces were organized and still pretty much look neat and tidy. But I just could never finish the pantry. I even started putting contact paper down but stopped halfway through. And that was almost a year ago. By the time I started cleaning, the floor of the pantry was covered with sprinkles and goo and who knows what. But I just felt like that was the thing I needed to do. My very astute MSW BFF has a theory that I'm depressed because I'm stuck in the middle of my organization projects. And maybe she's right. I certainly don't feel good when I look in my funky bedroom or wash my face in my gunky sink. So I should start where I left off and finish what I started. After I completed the pantry I just stood back for about 10 minutes and marveled at the orderliness. And now when I'm feeling a little discouraged I just open the door and peek in. Is that obsessive? Maybe, but it works for me.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Blog-cation

I know I hardly need to post this here, since I'm so bad about updating, but I will be gone until next Monday. No big projects in the works but maybe I'll get some inspiration! See you then.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Another Weekend Trip

Things have been crazy around here. Gone two weekends in a row! How can we ever keep up with that? This weekend we were only away for one night. I could not stand the thought of being away until Sunday though the hotel bed was definitely much comfier than the tent. We went to Flagstaff so I could participate in my first 5K. I have the whole ordeal detailed on my newest baby Momathlon Report (you know, if you're interested). On Saturday I ran the 5K and then we went back to the hotel to swim. We promised the children a swim so we just had to fulfill our obligation. Funny how that works. The pool was heated but still a little chilly. We did take over the hot tub at one point so we were nice and toasty. The little kids did not want to get out. We finally made them. We then packed up our stuff and headed down to Sedona for a hike. If you have never been to (or heard of) Sedona, you are missing out. It is beautiful. There are red rock formations everywhere and it's supposed to be a new age spiritual vortex or something. I can't really help you with that part. Unfortunately everyone wants to come to Sedona in the summer. It is packed. And the new -seriously annoying- roundabouts on "Highway" 179 do not help. We had to wait to park until someone left the parking lot at the trailhead and when we left there was a line of at least 8 cars waiting to get in. Add to that a really twisty road, a crying three year old and drivers with a sense of entitlement and you have a classic summer vacation memory you'll treasure forever. There were plenty of good things too:


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Photo Game

Whew, just when I needed something to post about. Heidi from Hen House Diaries tagged me for a little bloggy fun.

The Rules:

1) Go to your photo files…Select the 6th photo folder

2) Select the 6th photo in that folder

3) Post that photo along with the story behind it.

4) Then challenge 5 blog friends to do the same!

Sadly the 6th picture in my 6th folder is a blog picture I used last year. Does this mean I'm a really prolific blogger or lazy picture taker? I have my husband to do that for me. And he takes so many pictures we will never get through them all. But lucky for me (and the children) he does. So here goes:



Just to make everything easier, and because I really am lazy, I've just included a link to the story of the picture:

Kate Spade Would Be So Proud (Possibly Horrified)


And I tag:

Rantings, Ravings and Musings (because I know she needs something to blog about!)

My Little Batch of Sky(because I know how many pictures she has of San Francisco)

Life According to Lizzi S (because I really like her pictures)

Every Day is a Miracle (because I love looking at pictures of green places)

Just Our Thoughts (because she always does such a good job of keeping her blog up to date)

Can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This Week

This week is all about catching up and getting stuff done. Sure the kids are being forced to watch television and play computer and actually find stuff to do (gasp) but I am accomplishing just a little. We went to Wildman Phil on Monday at the library. The kids got to see all kinds of desert animals (mostly the creepy kind, sadly not the furry kind) and they pet a tortoise, horned lizard and huge python. The kids did not seem bothered by the animals, which is good because I don't want them to be all shrieky around snakes and spiders. But I guess being cautious around 12 foot snakes is normal. They weren't at all bothered by the python but I will admit to being a little creeped out by the massive amount of snake in my face when Wildman Phil was carrying it around for the kids to touch. But all in all a good time (and free). Which we then followed by going to Krispy Kreme. Donut-ty goodness.

As for the rest of the week, I am trying to clean the explosion of stuff that is our house. I am also trying to get the laundry under control AGAIN. When will I ever learn? We are also going camping this weekend so I have lots of stuff to pack and plan. I should really get started on that. This is the campground where I would love to stay:



This is probably the campground I'll end up in:



Yes, our car. Because apparently if you want to go camping in the summer in Arizona you have to plan. And I did not. But there are like 15 campgrounds in a small geographic area so surely we can find two spots. Right? Or sleep in our car in a Wal-Mart parking lot. At least it will be cooler than here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Days 3-5

Wednesday turned out to be an unscheduled rest day. I don't know what came over me last week but I was so exhausted. OK maybe it has something to do with doing too much but that's just the simple answer. So Wednesday was spent on the couch while the children played Wii and computer and whinged.

Thursday we went to a puppet show at the Great Arizona Puppet Theater. We have been to shows there before and it's always a good time. Plus we get to go to downtown Phoenix and support local arts. And their shows and offices are in a beautiful old church. We saw Jack Rabbit and the Desert Tortoise. It was nice because it wasn't very crowded and the kids sat right in front. Kate was especially taken with the puppets. We might have to go back for Peter Pan.

I know Friday was supposed to be our day off but we ended up going to the Mesa Farmers Market. I am on a whole healthy and sustainable eating kick so we went to check it out. I wasn't sure what to expect. The few times I've been to the local farmers market I was a little disappointed by the small size and selection. Mesa's market is not huge but there was produce from two farms and a lot of small vendors giving out samples. The high point of the day was tasting raw honey from a small honey farm in Pine. I don't really like honey. That honey after taste is just gross. But this raw honey. I could not stop talking about it. I tried to use it for my coffee but it made it a little strange. I think I'll stick to sugar (am trying to stop using Splenda). After the farmers market we went to lunch at Joe's Farm Grill. If you are in the area and have never been there, just go now. If you ever visit you should check it out. The food is good and they use fresh produce. Plus, locally owned business. I'm all about the local.

We have many more adventures planned this week. Just need to find the right balance between busy and too busy. Anything to curb the whinging.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day 2-The Zoo



We love the zoo. Even though it is far away and we never quite manage to see everything we set out to. We have been zoo members for many years and even if we only go a few times a year the membership more than pays for itself. We don't feel so bad about going and only seeing three animals. It seriously takes about an hour to get from the car, to the bathrooms, to the concession, to the tables to eat. On and on. But there's no pressure since we can come whenever. Today our mission was playing in the new splash area. I intended to leave home early but you know how that goes. We didn't set out until 11:00 and even though it wasn't as hot today it was still humid. The kids were ready to play in the water (and I was ready to sit down and have a little rest). The only traumatic event was the closure of the carousel. Kate screamed all the way out, "I wanna ride the carousel." I'm sure the man closing the ride down was just crying inside. Meanwhile I just bribed them with ice cream and that seemed to work. The zoo is really good for tiring everyone out so we may be back frequently this summer.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Day 1-Project Summer Sanity

I just finished writing a post on my other blog about all of the plans I have for this summer. Every summer I think we will do activities and home projects and live the best life ever. And rarely does that happen. But this summer... I thought at least I would have something to document on my poor, sad, neglected blog. So here goes:

Today we went to Harkins Theatres for the Summer Movie Fun movie. The movie today was Horton Hears a Who, which I happen to love. And that's the important part isn't it? Actually I knew my children would probably sit through it and they did for the most part. The summer movie series is a steal if you buy the card ($7 for 10 movies) but in the past we ended up missing more than we saw so I just pay for the movies as we go ($2 per person). We have done the movie series for at least five years and since there are so many kids movies now they almost always have good choices, though I remember the summers when Shrek was a staple. Just add $1 soda refills and shared candy (or be prepared enough to bring your own) and it turns out to be a cheap and mostly enjoyable activity.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cupcakes!

I don't know about you but sometimes I need a cupcake. Stat! So today I decided to crack open my Hungry Girl 200 Under 200 recipe book. I have the first Hungry Girl book but I am a little leery of all the Splenda and non-fat stuff she uses. And I love Cool Whip as much as the next person but, hello, trans fats. I don't understand why someone is advocating a "healthier" way of eating but advising you to use fake food. But don't get me wrong, I do love myself some Hungry Girl. You have to pick and choose but she has some yummy recipes that are generally low in calories and fat. I perused the cupcake recipes and came across one I had all the ingredients for. Lucky I stocked up on cake mixes when they were on sale for $1! I made these:

Jelly Filled cupcakes (HG 200 under 200)

2 cups moist style yellow cake mix (1/2 of an 18.25 oz box)

1/3 cup no sugar added applesauce

1/4 cup sugar free strawberry preserves

1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350

Mix cake mix and baking powder. Add in applesauce and 1 cup water then stir until blended

Spray 12 ct muffin pan and evenly distribute cake mix. Bake for 20-22 min until a toothpick comes out clean.

Meanwhile place preserves in the bottom corner of a large plastic bag. Snip corner when ready to pipe preserves into cupcake.

Remove cupcakes and use a knife to cut a small hole in the middle of each cupcake. Use the baggie to squeeze the preserves evenly into the holes. Allow to cool and enjoy.


And then I proceeded to eat 3. Hey, they are only 2 points (92 calories) each. And now I think I'm in a carb stupor. But a yummy, yummy carb stupor. You should check out Hungry Girl if you do Weight Watchers (she has points for every recipe, which admittedly you could look up with the nutrition info but it saves a step), if you are looking for low cal and low fat alternatives to popular fatty foods or if you just need a little cupcake fix. You can check out her website here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My So Called Life

I think I've done a post with that title before. I also think I used to like that show. Isn't that the one with Claire Danes? OK, moving on. As you can see, not much has been happening here (on my blog). My life is another matter. I am just swept along on the current of my life. That sentence deserves its own Bob Ross painting:



Before my grandmother passed away she was a huge Bob Ross devotee. Every Christmas we would get a picture she painted. I wish I had saved some of them. I do have the hand painted flyswatter holder. Don't ask, we are Okies after all. But again I digress. My organizing journey has been heinously co opted by LIFE. Exercise and school and children and random excuses. I know I just need to make time for it. Right now I live in a bedroom with one and a half painted walls. I always think, "This summer we will do all the little projects we have and we will be so productive." HAHA. But really, this summer. I am on it. But I can update you on where most of my time goes. I finished my second class for my Master's. Only about 50 million to go. Whoot whoot. I managed to do my at home final in the midst of numerous crying fits and fights over who got to use the computer. That bad boy was 28 pages in length. I know that sounds impressive but it was mostly busy work. I am in Week 4 of the Couch to 5K. Yesterday I jogged 16 minutes total (divided into four 5 and 3 minute sets). Next week is the dum dum dum 20 minute nonstop jog. If I pace myself I know I can do it. Having the Garmin helps immensely because I know if I look down and see 10 minute miles I should slow WAY down. I mean to like 12 and a half minute miles. Which is fine with me. I amended my goal time for the 5K to 38 minutes (from 35) so I would have a little room to breathe, if you will. I also need to consider the altitude but I'm not. And then in a fit of optimism and excitement I signed up for a mini sprint triathlon this October. It's a 150 meter swim, 10 mile bike, and half mile run. I also signed Emma up for the kids event so I don't have to suffer alone. She is not happy. This may be a long summer. In 3 Day news, I recently did another dessert fund raiser and ended up with almost $475. It really pays to have friends with money! So close, yet still $600 away. But that seems so much smaller than $2,000. We start training at the beginning of June so hopefully all the money issues will be squared away. That's my life in two minutes. I am making a promise to myself to update more regularly, even if the focus changes. Maybe I'll get more hits from talking about exercise! And Weight Watchers. And C25K. And triathlons. Any other key words I left out?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Everything Pink





Just so you know where my time is going, I thought I'd show you a couple pictures from our 1st bunco Breast Cancer 3 Day fundraiser. It actually turned out to be a "Left Right Center" party but what can you do. Sara and I provided pink themed desserts and drinks (forgot to take photos of the drinks) for donations. Please disregard the funky stems on these strawberries. I think next time I'll cut the ends off. And I was so bothered by the fact that my pudding was not pink. Sara said it was "salmon" but that just grossed me out more. But I was impressed by my pink ribbon chocolates. I have another dessert event next week but my friend Heather seems intent on making 20 desserts herself so I might not have much work. I did buy the "fancy chocolate" at Williams Sonoma (Guittard) so the white chocolate ribbons would be easier and tastier - fingers crossed. I also needed more chocolate for strawberries and I did not want to spend half an hour stirring melted chocolate in order to temper it. I love to bake and especially love to make desserts so this wasn't a bad way to make $175 for our walk. I'm really hoping to have the whole $2300 soon but if anyone needs pink desserts...
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

My New Attitude

I am reading a book now that I hope will change my life. When I saw it as a recommendation on Amazon (how do they know me so well) I had to buy it.


I would like to be happy. And I would like to be happy without being perfect. I thought organizing my house would lead to feelings of competence and accomplishment but it's beginning to make me feel anxious about everything I'm not doing. The monthly tasks are just suggestions right? Not a concrete time line? I know I will put it off indefinitely if I don't have some sort of set schedule but right now I can hardly lift my head off the table at dinner let alone clean my bedroom. But some day, right? Right? I fully intend to continue, just at a slower pace. One day I will master my domain. But until then I will read this book so I don't have to keep feeling bad about all the things I don't do and start giving myself credit for all the things I do. This book is written specifically for women and I have enjoyed the first couple chapters. Now if I can put all of these ideas into action. She does specifically mention Martha and how detrimental she has been to our generation of overachievers. I must say I do love myself some Martha (and some neighbors call me Martha-bless you) but I only take her really, really easy ideas and leave the rest to the pros or Super Moms. But I will concede she has taken homemaking and entertaining to impossible new heights. Thank goodness all the people I know are not that fancy (OK save you Sara) and they impress easily. But I need to start being nicer to me. I know I keep writing that. Maybe if I write it enough it will come true.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My New Babies

I've been busy at home with the puking and whatnot. Detailed story on my other blog. Sick kids (and husband) totally derail everything. And as if I didn't have enough to think about, I am now the proud owner of two new time sucks:



I casually mentioned one day that I would love a really nice camera. I see pictures on blogs and think, "Wow, if I had a really nice camera I could take pictures like that too." Because it has nothing to do with the skill of the photographer I'm sure. The first time I mentioned it my husband was all, "We can take pretty good pictures with our little Elph." So I put it out of my mind. Well all of a sudden there's a flurry of Internet searching and he has deemed the Nikon D90 the best of the bunch. He's telling me all these things about pixels, and ISO and aperture...That's nice dear. And before I know it, he orders it. And now it's "my camera." I have my suspicions. But he seems to genuinely want me to take possession. Plus I have two new books about digital photography. And they have instructions like, "If you want to take this shot do this." Awesome. I don't have to know anything now. And just a side note to Sara, I do know how to zoom in now. I can actually take pictures with it and not walk around the park looking like a lost tourist.



The second addition to our family is a little man much like this specimen. Our little man has led a long life and is not quite as fancy as this one. But we like him. Our neighbors were desperately trying to unload a fish on Emma soon after the passing away of Odie and they finally succeeded. But being the obsessive person I am, I had to Google "betta fish" and learn they actually like living in larger tanks with a heater and filter. So we trudged down to Petco (not once but 3 times) and acquired everything we need to keep Shippo alive for a while longer. But I must admit, I walk into my daughter's room at least twice a day expecting to see him floating at the top. He is funny though and wiggles when he sees us. I just wish I could pet him.

So I'll be keeping busy for a while yet. Still have much work to do on the bedroom/office. I'll have to start using my new baby to document my journey (no, not the fish. But that would be kinda awesome).

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Well No Wonder

This weekend was a pretty good one. I managed to do much more than I ever give myself credit for. But I looked at my insane schedule and I'm beginning to realize why I'm always so tired and scattered. Friday I took my children to the zoo, as any mother of the year would (thanks Heather). Then I came home and suddenly had the urge to work on the bedroom. I cleared out such a space you can actually see the bookshelf! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It made a huge difference. To celebrate, well not really because I already had plans, I went for a drink with a couple of my homettes. We drank and laughed (and made fun of the canoodling couple behind us). Saturday I worked on my final paper. If anyone has an opinion on a hypothetical model of repayment of welfare benefits please let me know. And then I will lecture you (sorry Sara). In the afternoon I went to our first Breast Cancer 3 Day fundraiser. We had a booth at a school carnival and sold handmade bracelets and little pink things. Then I came home and it was Aaron's time to go out. I put the kids to bed early and started watching a movie (in bed!) Does it get any better? Sunday we decided to take the hike we put off the week before. I made a big breakfast of eggs, bacon, and fresh squeezed orange juice (just bought a new juicer) and doughnuts. We then took a long hike on the Peralta Trail. Well, long for three complaining but persistent children. It was a beautiful hike but we should probably start sooner next time and take snacks. We did see Desert Bighorn Sheep. In the wild! It was pretty cool and worth having to carry Kate the last bit of the hike. As I was reflecting on the weekend and everything I accomplished, I looked at the neverending pile of laundry that I cannot seem to control and started feeling bad about myself. Then I smacked myself in the head - figuratively.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I'm Still Here

I know it seems like I've given up. It sometimes feels like I've given up. I look at the pile of stuff in my bedroom and go take a nap. Maybe my bedroom/office was not the best place to start organizing. Maybe I should have had some successes before I tackled the "big one." But I know it has to be done. It will just be a while. I did manage to answer the journal questions. I think getting myself in the right mental state will go a long way towards the physical part. I routinely give myself a hard time for not getting everything done. For not being perfect. But there was a story in One Year to an Organized Life about a mom with young children that made me feel like it wasn't just me. And Regina made it a point to say that something has to give. Why do I know this (in my head) but not in my heart. If I took an honest look around me I would see a house that is not perfect but is certainly a lot cleaner and homier than even before. Sure we have a long way to go. But just as with my 3 day journey, it's one step at a time.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Birthday Cakes Part Two


In the interest of being the "Best Mother Ever" I decided to make cake for my children on their birthdays. In the interest of being the "Laziest Best Mother Ever" I used a mix. Don't judge me. They were on sale for a dollar each. In January I promised Miss Kate she would have pink cupcakes. All through her horrible hospital visit which included a catheter and x-rays. But when I started making the mix I realized I didn't have 2 cupcake pans. So rather than make a little cake or just make 12 or anything else approaching rationality, I decided to use a bundt pan. I liberally doused it with ozone killing Pam. But apparently that wasn't enough. Not to mention we only had 5 minutes before we were supposed to leave and I had to get the damn thing out of the pan NOW. So it fell apart. All over. But I would not be bested. I made "cake crumbles" and we went on with our ever so joyous celebration. My children ate the crumbles. That's all that matters. Now they are affectionately called "Kate crumbles" and we all have a hearty laugh. Except Kate sometimes tells the story for no good reason, except possibly that she will need therapy as an adult, and she proclaims the cake was "crummy." Well, yes it was. But not to be deterred, I so lovingly agreed to make a cake for Miss Emma's birthday yesterday. I gave myself plenty of time and a shot of tequila. Not really, but it would have made it much more entertaining. This time I stayed far away from the bundt pan. I still have not forgiven it. And the cake actually turned out, complete with Funfetti! Funfetti always makes it better. I have redeemed my good name. Only one more to go this year.

If you like laughing at baked goods and other people, you should check out Cake Wrecks. I can only say I'm glad my cake crumbles were not submitted. But I would totally submit your cakes if they were bad enough and made me laugh.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I Feel Blissy

You may have noticed I added a little button to my blog. My first blog button ever. I like saying blog and button in the same sentence. Anyway, I added a "Domestic Bliss" button because 1. I imagine it's a lovely place, though I've never been in to the actual store but have partaken of their yard sale, which was fab; 2. I was registered in a drawing for a gift card. Domestic Bliss is a shop in cute downtown Mesa with pretty (breakable ) things. This is why I have yet to visit. It's hard to get away without the little destructive band I affectionately call "children." I keep telling Sara we should go by ourselves but we have yet to take ourselves up on this offer. But we did make it to the yard sale. If that was any indication of the goods for sale in the store, I will so be there as soon as I talk trick my husband into watching the monkeys. We woke up early on a chilly Saturday morning for the garage sale and I took $100 and a dream of buying something awesome for my house. You see, I spend so much time surviving I give little thought to decorating. So as a consequence we live in a very drab, nearing institutional, hacienda. But I am on a mission to change that, one unfinished project at a time. I saw so many cute things. But I kept saying, "What will I do with this? Where will I put this?" There was this little white metal antique chair with a red tasseled seat and I stood there for five minutes trying to picture it in my house. Then I heard a rumor that Lin Sue Cooney (you would have to watch Phoenix news to know who she is) was interested and I almost just bought it right out from under her. But alas, where would I put it? So as I was perusing I came across the cutest quilts ever. I have a friend who is pregnant and for some reason I have the urge to buy things for her everywhere I go. Maybe it's the baby thing. I don't know. I just know I had to buy her a little baby quilt, whether she likes it or not. I then had to buy one for myself. Or actually for Kate's room. She has a little pink/black Parisian/shabby chic thing going on. And I have so many ideas and unfinished projects for her room. But I thought she could hang this on the wall (well actually Aaron will be doing the hanging but you know):



This was made by Sweet Baby Jamie, who has an etsy shop with all of her other cute stuff. She was such a nice lady, especially so early in the morning. And she just stood there patiently while I argued with myself (occasionally Sara stepped in) about which quilt I should buy. If you need a gift for a baby shower, consider a handmade quilt. Because even though you didn't make it, you care enough to find someone to make it for you.

The other item I purchased is currently hanging in my living room. It has generated much conversation already. This is an example of seeing something and just knowing you have to have it. I didn't think about where it would go, what is was, or if I would be able to get it home. I just grabbed it and threw my money at the seller.



Please do not adjust your screen, it is that lopsided in person. Which is why I kind of love it. I don't know what it is or where it was used but it is obviously handmade (without the use of a square, as my snorting father and husband pointed out) and it is now the only thing hanging in my living room. Now we just have to plan the rest of the room around it. That should only take five more years.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Addendum to Previous Post

OK if you are physically frightened by crafts you DO NOT have to make something for someone else to participate. Just sign up and let me make something for you. LET ME MAKE SOMETHING FOR YOU!

Friday, March 20, 2009

I Don't Know Why I Do It...

I just do.

This is an awesome idea from Hen House Diaries:

You make something, anything, for five people and they have to pass it on. Here are "the rules" (with my comments in italics):

- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. Very Important in regard to the things I will be making!
- What I create will be just for YOU.
- It will be done this year (2009). It''s only March right?
- It will be something made in the real world and not something over the internet. Pay no attention to that etsy tag. No, I will follow the spirit of the challenge.

In return, all you need to do is post this text into a blog of your own and make 5 things for 5 other people.

Make sure to comment here that you are interested in my little gifty and then post it in your blog.

Void where prohibited, use only as directed, for a limited time only, store in a cool dry place.
Let's keep it going!

So there it is. I know only about two people read this blog, probably less now that I've become such an irregular poster, but I can wait all year for five responses. I'm good under pressure. Now go out and make!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Have A Lot of Work to Do


Who would believe my office area could be worse than the first picture I posted? Well believe it. After clearing out the closet of everything but clothes, I have quite a pile of crap to contend with. Now where am I supposed to shove all this stuff? Oh, I'm supposed to go through it and throw it away? You mean like all my notes from high school? OK I am willing to go through them but I will not throw away the best ones. They only take up one small box. And they occasionally make me smile. I am looking forward to having a clean work area but where do I start? Better read up on Regina's advice. She will make it all better and manageable. Now if she would only come here and do it for me.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm Officially "Kreativ"

Thanks so much to Marie at One Year to an Organized Life for bestowing upon me this:



No one has ever called me kreativ before. And now I feel like a real blogger. So now I'm supposed to pick 8 blogs to pass this on to. I love fashion, design, and baking blogs so this shouldn't be too hard. Yikes.

My good friend Sara at My Little Batch of Sky has an aptitude and love for baking. Plus she gives away citrus fruit! She is an example of someone who saw her friends blogging and thought, "I can do this too." And she does.

Heidi at Hen House Diaries raises chickens and makes her own cheese! Plus her blog introduced me to Daring Bakers, which I signed up for this month. I'm sure her entry will be yummy.

Turtle Taylor is such a cute site from a fellow MOMS Club member. I'm no longer in MOMS Club and I'm sad we don't see each other more. She also has an adorable etsy shop. Now if she would just sell those cleaning gloves.

And that's it for the people I actually "know" on my blogroll but I have more to share:

Tip Junkie is seriously addictive and it makes me feel like I could do wonderful, marvelous crafts (if I could just use a sewing machine).

Recipe Girl is another food site. She takes great pictures and makes some yummy stuff. Please befriend me.

Today's Creative Blog takes all the work out of finding crafty sites on the Internets. It's full of pictures and so many links. You could spend all day here.

That should keep you busy for awhile. I know that's only six but I hear whinging and tormenting from the next room so I should probably check to make sure the house is still standing. Whew, I'm glad to get this done. I was really stressing about finishing this. Hopefully you'll discover something you love.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Progress

Apparently grief can be constructive. I promised myself I would finish the closet and I did. Aaron even started painting the bedroom. But now I can't decide whether I like the two colors of blue or not. My mother (who I do listen to, despite what she may think) likes the colors together. So I may leave them. I really like the darker blue but I think it might be too dark for the whole room.

Cleaning the closet was quite cathartic but I won't show you pictures of my bedroom, which is now an even bigger mess. Part of it is really my office so I consider that to be next month's job. I am glad we're starting to think about what we want to do in the bedroom and we have a plan, though lack the necessary finances to do all the work at once. We would love to have some sort of closet system (sorry Marie) but only because we don't have a dresser in our room and all of our clothes are currently in wire cubes in the closet. I just want drawers and a shoe rack. Nothing fancy. So now you can marvel at the before and after. Unfortunately the after pics have the hamper right in the foreground so just disregard the dirty clothes. And Aaron still needs to go through his shoe collection.

BEFORE


AFTER

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blogiday

I'm taking a little break until next week. Our beloved dog Odie passed away last night and I am sobbing like a maniac. I know it well get easier. 11 years is just such a long time to share a life with someone(thing). Thanks so much to Marie for the Kreativ Blogger nom. I'll get right on that as soon as I get back. I've never been nominated for anything (when I wasn't doing the nominating). Talk to you guys soon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Doing More Makes Me Tired

Not much progress on the bedroom front. In fact, it's even messier than it was. Life is cruel. But I have been really attempting to stick to a schedule (Excel spreadsheets to come). All last week I made a schedule of the things I need to get done. And it is depressing to look at all of the things that don't get done. I feel like I worked my butt off (unfortunately not literally but that would be an awesome side effect) and my house is still as messy as before. Maybe ignorance is bliss and avoidance is utopia. But I am determined to get a handle on my life. One day it will all fall into place, right? Right? I have a counter full of Girl Scout cookies I need to sell and a recliner and basket full of clean clothes. My kids have been doing more chores around the house, which is great, but I can't get them to clean up after themselves. Thank God I have a blog to whine to. Imagine having to hear this all the time. You would just nod and think to yourself, "You're preaching to the choir sister," or, "Shut the hell up." We do have the paint to start painting the room. I am determined to clean the closet this week. I have a plan. And isn't that really the most important part?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm Every Woman

Sometimes I amaze even myself. I am not what you might term a "crafty person," in the sense that I don't do crafts well. My Machiavellian craftiness is another matter altogether. But there are times when I find something that I think I can do and I just do it. Usually these ideas come from Family Fun magazine so they are easy enough for children. But not really. They still require a lot of parental supervision. Maybe that's where the family fun comes in. This week I decided we would make cute little Valentine's necklaces for Aidan's preschool teachers. Nothing like trying to ingratiate yourself. So I used the idea from aforementioned magazine and went to work. I was a little distraught that they were all out of giant conversation hearts at Target. Who do they think they are? But I went ahead with the idea. And the teachers even got chocolate out of the deal. What I didn't realize was the dimensions were for a child's necklace so they turned out to be more like candy chokers. No problem. They can just use them as bracelets. Crisis averted. I know it's getting close to Valentine's day and I probably should have put this up earlier so everyone could copy (unless you're smart and just buy the teacher a gift). But here it is:

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Fun Part

I did end up purchasing a duvet cover from Macy's last week. They didn't have as great a selection in store as online but I found something I really like. Though it was a challenge with two young children in tow. I tried to get them to help but they just said they liked everything and then went back to rolling on the floor or trying to crawl into the cubicles reserved for comforters. It's really a wonder I get anything done. So I took the pillowcase from the set to Ace Hardware yesterday to pick out paint. We have a Home Depot and a Lowe's not too far away but I wanted to support our local business. I know Ace is a chain but they are independently owned. Such a difference in customer service. At the big chain stores I have never seen the employees come out from behind the paint counter. But not only did the Ace employee come out to help, she also stood there and picked out at least 10 paint samples and asked her boss if she could give me $5 off. I highly recommend small businesses, even if they cost a little more. I ended up with two colors (Aaron and I were having a little trouble coming to an accord). When I brought them home we decided to use both, with the darker color as an accent. I even bought paint samples we have been eyeing for the living room. So much painting, so little time without small helpers. And we did go through all of our clothes. I simply explained the logic to my husband and he agreed. So we have two bags (one for recycling and one for Goodwill) and we've moved the armoire into the loft. I feel pretty good about the progress we've made. Can't stop now.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bedroom Intervention

I really should get started on the bedroom soon. If I wait until the 3rd week I'll be working on the bedroom until at least April. I told my husband he needed to weed out his clothes that don't fit and/or are torn. He insists that he must buy replacements for the clothes before he can get rid of them. So much for simplifying. I guess I'll have to do what I do with the children and wait until he's gone to go through his stuff. Then I will feign ignorance when he asks if I've seen his holey shorts. Except now he's probably just read my plan here. D'oh! Internets you've foiled me again. No, I plan on calmly and rationally explaining the importance of going through our crap. I mean, have you seen our bedroom? True, much of it is my crap. But if I have to do it so does he. Oh, I found a resource for something that is a nagging problem for us. A place that recycles VHS tapes. There may have been information on the Martha list but I didn't get that far. The recycling place is called GreenDisk and they accept all electronics and "technotrash." I can't wait to go through the two storage tubs of video cassettes. Or we could always give the blank tapes to our neighbors (they know who they are) who do not have a DVR and record everything on their VCR. HAHA, they're so old school.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Oh The Horror

In keeping with the tradition of before and after pictures, I have decided to show you my bedroom in all its glory. You should feel privileged (if you don't just feel pity for me) because no one gets to see the bedroom in real life. In addition to being a magnet for crap, it is depressingly stark. Not at all inviting. I envision a room where I can cuddle under my covers and watch television or use the laptop. I know people say you are not supposed to do these things in your bedroom but I want to. I answered all of my journal questions last night and brought out the measuring tape to assess the furniture situation. But doesn't it always seem like one project is dependent on finishing another project? I can't move the armoire until I have a place for the clothes and I can't move the television until I move the armoire. Vicious circle. I am so excited about the possibility of having a serene space of my own though. I spent all morning looking at bedding. My plan is to find a duvet cover I love and then pick out a color from that. I did find a king size down alternative comforter at Macy's for $99 and today until the 8th you can save 20% if you wear red. Awesome. I know you've been waiting for me to stop writing so you can see my shame. OK here it is:



Monday, February 2, 2009

Leftovers

It's February so we're supposed to move on to the bedroom. And my bedroom needs a lot of work. Luckily next month is the office, which is handy because my office is in my bedroom. I know this is not the ideal situation but it is necessary. There are still a couple of things I didn't check off my kitchen list. Maybe it's because I didn't have to start from scratch or maybe it's because I'm lazy. I'm still halfway through putting contact paper on my pantry shelves and I cannot seem to make myself do it. I should just decide I'm going to do it and dive in (like the junk drawer) but knowing me, I would make this decision when I actually should be doing something else. Which would just stress me out. And since we were on the subject of the kitchen, Aaron and I decided to tile behind the stove. We have the tile picked out. Now it's just a matter of doing it. We need a free weekend and a lot of beer. But I can't dwell on the kitchen because I have to start thinking about my bedroom sanctuary. It's my greatest desire to have a calming place I can call my own (OK Aaron can share) that is not just a storage area for all of the junk from the loft that gets thrown in when we have company. I am prepared for bliss!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Indispensable List

In the process of organizing you are supposed to get rid of a lot of stuff. I have a lot of stuff. Sometimes I know what to do with it and sometimes I don't. Broken CD player? Martha has once again come to my rescue. Yes, we are on a first name basis. She has provided me (OK and all of you) with a list of resources for getting rid of stuff. So start simplifying.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sometimes You Need Cookies


Organizing is tough work. And I haven't really exerted myself this month because I started on the kitchen a few months ago. But just keeping the kitchen counter clean is a full time job. And yesterday we reaped the rewards. My children begged to make cookies last week and I told them we would do it on the weekend. I had every intention of following through. I don't like to lie to my children after all. But we waited until Sunday and then we went on a hike and then it was just too late. So, after much crying and lamenting over how unfair life is (that was Emma not me) I promised we would make them this week. Monday was out because I just started classes again Monday night. And you do not want my husband in charge of baking. Actually, he did make cookies with Emma one time and they were quite festive and delicious. I'm just not sure how he would fare with three. So that left Tuesday. I put COOKIES on my calendar and underlined it three times. I want my children to know they can count on me to keep my word. So we made cookies. And not just any cookies. Sugar cookies. The from scratch roll out kind. Now you may wonder why there are reindeer and Easter bunnies. That is called self expression. In the interest of time we could not ice the cookies (which caused a near meltdown) but they used enough sprinkles to power a small sugar loving village. And all thanks to my clean counters.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mission Impossible Accomplished

Some of you have seen my rants about the state of my house and specifically my kitchen counters (if you have not stopped reading yet because you are tired of rants). Saturday I decided enough was enough! I just started cleaning the kitchen counter and as a bonus I cleaned out the junk drawer! I had to step up my game since Marie has been organizing like a demon. It's more the spirit of cooperation than competition. Here's the photographic evidence (lest you think I'm just lying to make myself look better):



BEFORE



AFTER

So cathartic. Why didn't I do this before? I've just realized though, your space has to be a complete mess in order to feel the accomplishment of getting it together. That's my excuse anyway.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Constant State

I think if I organized as much as I complain about organizing I would be the most organized person alive. This is my struggle:



And this is after I installed a plethora of organizers in the entryway:



On a side note, the framed chalkboard on the garage door was an easy little DIY project. It just involves a picture frame and metallic chalkboard paint. So easy. And convenient. But all of these don't keep me from piling stuff on the counter. I guess it comes down to changing my habits instead of buying more organizing stuff. That just might be the key to all of this. And it sounds harder than just buying out the Container Store.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Piles of Laundry

Yesterday, while watching CNN, I managed to put a dent in the huge mountain of laundry that seems to accumulate annually. I don't know why I can't stay on top of the situation and do two loads daily. I just can't. I didn't have the stomach to count all of the loads I washed, folded, and put away. Let's just say it was equivalent to this:



Yes, that was a few months ago. And it was back to that state. So I concentrated on laundry all day and meanwhile the rest of my house looked like a Wal-Mart after Black Friday. So many things seem out of balance in my life and one thing consistently tips the scales. I know, from talking to my friends, that other people struggle with this. So why do I feel so alone?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dreamy Dream Board

I did it! I started my dream board. I had been using the pictures as a bookmark for several months and I finally sat down, took out the glue stick, and glued them on. For your viewing pleasure:



Apparently I would like to live in a Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel catalog. And really, who wouldn't? Obviously there's still a lot of white space. That's so I can add on as I go. I posted the board above my desk so I can look at it several hundred times a day. One day my life will be so serene. The odd thing is there are no people in the photographs. Yes, because people mess up the serenity. How can I organize my life when my living room and kitchen look like an explosion of toys, clothing and various other things I can't categorize? How?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Running Out of Steam

Isn't it funny how little it takes to derail all of our plans. My youngest was sick last week and had two traumatic doctor's visits. I didn't feel like doing much beyond curling up in a fetal position. But today is Monday. The day of starting things. Evidently I was a little premature last week in my tasks and I realized I should have been working on routines and not actually starting the cleaning process. Always trying to get ahead of myself. So this week I have to work on routines and start the cleaning process. And I think we'll just keep working on that multi-vitamin and water thing. I need to get those down before moving on to the next thing. Simple Steps HA! I cannot seem to remember to take my vitamin. Any tips on that one? And now Kate has to take pill every day for a year. And Odie is on medication twice a week. Maybe I should consider a career in the pharmaceutical arts. This week I will complete my dream board and post a picture. That is my goal. That and totally wipe out the pile of laundry in my closet. Ready, set, go.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Blogtastic

Occasionally I like to Google myself or my blog. It's tough keeping your blog posts on the first page of Google search results. You can only imagine my struggle with "broken bananas." Actually, I'm always number one and two on that one. Because who does random searches for broken bananas? Apparently lots of people. So the other day I Googled the books I'm using to see if anyone else had my million dollar idea. And surprise, someone did. But I like her blog so I'll refrain from taking any steps to "reduce the competition." Plus, she did a blog post about me. No one (as far as I know) has done that. And if they have it probably wasn't pleasant. Her name is Marie and she writes One Year to an Organized Life AND Every Day is a Miracle. See, I'm not the only one with multiple blogs! And she is an Obama supporter living in a blue state. Must be nice. It's a lonely existence here. She is also organizing her house using Regina Leeds' book. So we are supporting each other through this fragile time (because she also has three children she is struggling to get involved in the organizing). I'm so excited to find a blog friend I don't know in real life. Because I'll let you in on a little secret, all the links on my other blog to "Moms I Actually Like" are moms I actually know (except for Dooce unfortunately). We really could just call each other to discuss our lives but we write it in blog form instead. At least we always have someone to comment on our blogs. But now I'm not alone in this undertaking. And I promise Marie, if I am invited to the Today Show I will take you with me!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This Week

This week I'm supposed to continue the tasks from last week and add a new one from Simple Steps. I'm having a hard enough time just drinking the water. But I know that's an important one. Especially when it's 4:00 and I realize I haven't had anything to drink but coffee and soda. Add caffeine to my list of addictions. And no, I will not be detoxing from it. Everyone needs at least one vice. So this week I should:

  • Continue to unload and load dishwasher (brilliant when I make myself unload in the morning)
  • Wipe counters (my kitchen counter is the bane of my existence but I do manage to wipe the one square foot I cook on)
  • Drink at least 48 ounces water
  • Take a multi-vitamin every day
I think the real task this week was walking 20 minutes a day but since I just went back to South Beach Phase 1 I thought that might be impossible. At least that's what I tell myself. I'm also supposed to work on my Dream Board (an idea from One Year to an Organized Life). It's basically an inspiration board and I can't seem to find the inspiration to be inspired. It always feels like too much work to drag out the pictures, glue and boards. Maybe I'm just resistant. I figured I would let my kids cut and glue too so it would be a family project. I also need to do a quick toss of unnecessary things. I think I've mentioned that my pantry and cabinets are in order already but my storage closet off the kitchen is a little bit of a nightmare. If I get that under control I will high five myself and buy me a drink.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunday Dinner

When I think of all the things I suck at, such as proper grammar, I have to admit there are a few things I've mastered and can be proud of. One of those things is meals at the dining room table. We always eat at the table, whether we have fast food or I actually cook. December was a stressful time so we probably ate out more than we should but now I'm back to cooking. I know Sunday dinner is a big thing for some families and in our family I usually like to cook something a little special. Last night I made walnut-crusted pork chops from Cooking Light. I love, love, love Cooking Light. I get the magazine AND buy the year end book at Costco. It has all of the recipes from the magazine for the past year arranged by month. I probably should just stop getting the magazine but I love looking at the pictures. I didn't actually make the rice from scratch. I just used boxed long grain and wild rice and added the bacon and salt mix. Our family is a pork loving family and to prove it, my children (and husband) ate almost all the rice just because there was bacon. In the past I've heard, "What's this black stuff? I don't like this. Do I have to eat it?" Last night, not a peep. I also used boneless center cut pork chops instead of bone-in. I was ambivalent about them but after everyone in the family ate everything on their plate and asked for seconds, I decided I would definitely make this again.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Totally Cool

I am such a child of the 80s. I can't stop using: totally, awesome, totally awesome, and cool. But yesterday I had a totally awesomely cool experience. Remember the books I showed you? Come on, it was only one day ago. Anyway. Regina Leeds, author of One Year to An Organized Life, commented on my blog. If my brief description of her book (which is much more than I have described so far) didn't convince you to buy it, the fact that she would take the time to comment on a random person's blog should. It makes me feel like she really does back up what she advocates. She "walks the walk" if you will. So thanks Regina, I'll give out a shout out to you every chance I get. I'll make you proud. OK now I've just gone too far. The whole point of this experiment (if it does have a point) is to show people that they are not alone in living in constant chaos and it can be tamed. I will die trying to tame it. And I know this is extremely overused but, "If I can do it..." If it would help one person to see pictures of my exploding closet then it's worth it. Because one day my closet will be neat and organized and my life will be perfect. OK maybe not that last part. But it will certainly be easier.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Phase One of My Super Plan

I have these two books and a plan to take over the world:



The Simple Steps book is from a few years ago and I don't even think their website is up anymore. But is has useful tips (apart from the kitchen dancing) and I've always stopped about a quarter of the way through. You're supposed to add four new steps a week but my life is such that one step a week is sufficient. The One Year to an Organized Life book was a gift. And no she wasn't trying to tell me something. I started it last year but only finished half of the kitchen. I wish I had pictures of my pantry before the cleaning. I promise pictures of my closet, which will disturb and amaze you. The premise of this book is organizing one space per month and doing tasks each week. She also has suggestions for starting habits that will keep your space organized. So this week my tasks from both books are:
  • Load and unload dishwasher daily
  • Wipe counters in kitchen after dinner
  • Drink at least 48 ounces water daily
Apart from the constant peeing, these tips are very useful. I routinely load the dishwasher but it's days before I unload it. Having it empty throughout the day really helps. And I've assigned Emma the task of loading it after dinner. I did have to show her my special way to load (which really is the only way). One week and already my children have some recurring chores. Maybe this organizing thing isn't so bad after all.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Why?

I originally wrote this post last September but it is as true today as it was then. I guess I didn't get very far on my organizational road map. But hey, it's a new year. Funny how that happens. So in the spirit of kicking a dead horse I thought I would unearth this insightful (and devastatingly funny) blog. Let's see how long it takes before I quit again. Because I'm an optimist.

I need another blog like I need another kid. Is that mean? I get these ideas (they just come to me) and I have to start another blog. One of the many challenges of my life is feeling so inadequate about getting everything done. I see people who make it seem so effortless and I wonder how they do it all. I want to be a better mother, housekeeper, student, daughter, wife, friend, volunteer, activist, fashionista and woman. But I just don't have the time. The consequence is I very often look at the state of my house or the state of my life and go take a nap because I am so overwhelmed. So yesterday I was thinking about organization and what it takes to be an efficient person. Phyllis Schafly was spouting her opinions on how easy it was to raise six kids if you were, "..a hard-working, well-organized C.E.O. type.” And I only have half as many kids. Now I don't usually take advice from the likes of Phyllis but maybe I do need to start approaching my life as the take charge CEO I know I can be. Unfortunately no huge bonuses for me if say, my kids complete college without becoming meth addicts or my husband and I save just enough for retirement that we don't have to eat cat food. The point is, I need some intervention. So I decided to take the step of mapping out a big portion of my day. I will have tasks and times to do them in. And I will include interacting with my family in these tasks. Because it is so easy to just let them watch Dora while you're scrubbing the toilet, or let's be honest, surfing the net. I'm hoping this little social experiment will lead me to a place of greater productivity and happiness. I will do a little research along the way. I will probably have a lot of trial and error. But I will make a change dammit! Only 365 days to go.