Thursday, April 30, 2009

Entryway Closet - Organizing Round-Up

This month, I was inspired by the Monthly Organizing Round-Up at Organizing Junkie. For the month of April, it was all about a closet or cupboard.

I had to tackle the entryway closet. This closet degrades into chaos so quickly, but this time I tried to set up a few systems that would help slow the mess.

Back in February, I installed a new system for holding our winter hats and scarves. You can see the shoe holder hanging on the back of the door. It has worked well for us these last few months. And now that sunny weather is here, our sun hats and sun screen have found pockets here, too.

Before the big purge, the coats were crowded overflowing; the bottom was stacked with fallen coats, food, picnic stuff, paper recycling and who know what else; the top shelf was stuffed with bags and everything random you can think of.

Here is the closet last week before I started cleaning.

I had to clean this closet in small steps. I could only make a mess that could be cleaned before the kids got up from their afternoon naps.

I started by pulling everything out that had been stacked on the floor of the closet. I tried to put things in general piles as I pulled them out, to make the sorting a little easier. I then spent the next hour sorting, putting things where they go and finally putting a few things back in the closet.

What a mess! I could not believe all that had been on the closet floor.

I didn't get any pictures of the two additional times I attacked the closet this week, but here is what I did:

The next step was to clear out the the top shelf. There was some weird stuff up there - far too many empty paper bags, some empty boxes, a long lost brownie mix, more winter hats, etc. Again, after pulling everything out, it was the same sorting and tossing process.

A few days later, I pulled out all the coats for sorting. Some were stored for next winter, some given away and some put back in the closet for cool summer nights.

Here is the after picture.
It may not look that different, but it really is!

It feels great to finally have my closet back. Now I just need to tackle the linen closet...

Check out more great closet organization at Organizing Junkie.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fine Motor Skills - Practice with Scissors

My son loves scissors. He loves cutting paper.
See that look of concentration on his face!?

Whenever we get the chance, I pull out some old recycling papers and his little scissors and let him cut until his hand is too tired to cut any more. Then we switch hands...

Although he is definitely right handed, we practice cutting with his left hand as well to strengthen all those little muscles in both hands.

This exercise helps develop fine motor skills, works his eye-hand coordination and gives my son confidence in his own abilities.

Happy Cutting!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cast Your Burden

Create in Me a Clean Heart - Week 16

"Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy! Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan ... My heart is in anguish within me ...

'Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest; yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.' ...

Cast your burden on the LORD,
and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved."
Psalm 55: 1-2,4,6-8,22

Do you ever feel like running away, even just for a little while, to escape it all? Sometimes I hide in the bathroom for a few minutes, just for a little break from the kids, the noise, the house. But what I really need is a long-term solution.

I am slowly learning how to find refuge in my God. I know he is my strength and my hiding place, but I struggle with the practical application of this truth in my life. How do I practice this on a daily basis, so I am not worn down by the cares of life?

How do you find refuge in God? What ‘rubber-meets-the-road’ solutions do you use in your life to “hide in the shadow of his wings”?

Some days I feel so overwhelmed and wish I could escape it all. Today, I cast my burden on you, and I pray that you will sustain me through this. I lean on you for strength. Thank you for being my escape. I rest in your peace, keeping my mind steadfast on you.
In Jesus Name,

Menu Plan Monday

This was a great week for our meal planning. Because I knew exactly what I was doing for dinner each night, I was able to have everything ready in advance and quickly pull it together when everyone was hungry. I was so excited to have the extra time with the kids outside. Planning ahead can be so wonderful.

For the kids, we did pretty well adding raw veggies to our meals. I want to keep working it this week. Maybe some fun 'dips' will help - hummus, catchup, ranch, etc.

New "kid" foods:
  • raw veggies - broccoli, carrots, etc.

Menu for this week:
  • Tuesday -- Grilled Brats, Pasta Salad
  • Wednesday -- Salmon Caesar Salad
  • Thursday -- Grilled Veggies and Sausage

Check out more menu plan's at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Blitz-It Friday

Grab My Blog Button!
Organized Everyday is hosting a new carnival called Blitz-it Friday. If you have no idea what a blitz is, check out the original one hour blitz and staying focused.

On Sunday afternoon this week, my husband reminded me that we were having friends over that night, after the kids went down. I had completely forgotten and our house was in need of some work before it was even casual, company ready. I knew I was going to have to super blitz it to get everything done. Here is what I was able to get done in just over an hour of work:
  • Picked up the kid's bedroom
  • Picked up the living room and play area
  • Sorted the paper pile on the table
  • Cleared off the kitchen table
  • Loaded the dishwasher and turned it on
  • Hand washed the pans
  • Wiped the counters and stove
  • Swept the floors - living room, dining room, kitchen and hall
  • Vacuumed - bedrooms, living room, play area, hall runner
  • Spot-dusted the living room
  • Cleaned and polished the kitchen and living room tables
  • Cleaned the bathroom toilet and sink
  • Swept the bathroom floor
  • Shook out the bathroom rug
The timer went off just after I started the bathroom. I'm not sure how long it took, but I was able to finish it before my kids went crazy.

Whew! I'm tired just thinking about it. I started to lose my momentum about 45 minutes into the cleaning. A couple big gulps of water helped get me going again.

How do you tackle your cleaning?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cleaning Our Closets ... again!

This week I am focusing on cleaning out our closets ... again. We do this every spring and fall, as the seasons change. And I am inspired to get this done before the PTS community clothing exchange this coming weekend.

A few days ago, I spent several hours working on the kid's closet. We filled five garbage-size bags of clothes to donate to the clothing exchange. At least two of the bags are full of summer clothes from last year that I was saving for the spring exchange.

Sometimes I wonder how these kids end up with so many clothes. But it is not something I am going to complain about. I am so thankful for all the hand me downs from friends and family that keep my kids well clothed throughout the year!

I'm not sure if I will have time to clean out my own clothes by tomorrow, but that is my goal. Either way, I am very pleased with all that we got done this week.

Family update!

For those of you interested, I have posted a family update over at Check it out to learn a little more about what is happening (or has not yet happened) in our family!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The Way of the Heart – Part 4

Photo courtesy R. Pelisson -
I am currently reading The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen.
Check out the other posts in this series.
After reflecting on solitude, we next move to the topic of Silence in the life of the Desert Fathers. I found myself struggling against the idea of silence and my attitude about it. The Desert Fathers' ideas of silence seem too extreme, too impractical. But after contemplating the many points Nouwen made in this chapter, I am left with the conviction that I need to practice more silence in my life.

In our society, silence has become something uncomfortable, almost to be feared. I remember a co-worker at my first job in high school. She was a few years older than me and a cheerful, chatty person. One day she got upset at something someone said to her and she decided to spend the day in silence. We later talked about this day and she shared how uncomfortable her silence had been. She was stuck with her own thoughts, with no place to hide, no distraction.

Our culture does not see silence as a virtue. "We have become so contaminated by our wordy world that we hold to the deceptive opinion that our words are more important that our silence." We are encouraged to “share” with each other and taught that sharing our feelings, emotions and thoughts is the true virtue.

But our words are actually the easiest way to sin. James 3 described the tongue as a “whole wicked world in itself” and silence as putting a bit into a horse’s mouth. The Fathers believed that “speaking is dangerous and easily leads us away from the right path.” James leaves little doubt that speaking without sinning is very difficult. Proverbs 10:19 states that “a flood of words is never without its faults.”

"...we have become inundated by a torrent of words... [they] have lost their creative power. Their limitless multiplication has made us lose confidence in words and caused us to think... 'They are just words.'"

Nouwen goes on to argue that silence can actually teach us to speak. "A word with power is a word that comes out of silence. A word that bears fruit is a word that emerges from the silence and returns to it." We speak about the events of the world, but how often do we really change them for the better? ... We speak a great deal about God and religion, but how often does it bring us or others real insight? But "a word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." (Prov 25:11)

As the chapter concludes, Nouwen gives us great perspective on how silence can be applied to our daily lives. "Let us not be too literal about silence. After all, silence of the heart is much more important that silence of the mouth." Abba Poemen said: "A man may seem to be silent, but if his heart is condemning others, he is babbling ceaselessly."

"Love, not silence, is the purpose of the spiritual life and of ministry."

All quotes are from The Way of the Heart, chapter 2 – Silence.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Follow up on 2009 Goals

So, back in March, I finally got around to setting some personal goals for the year. I decided it was time to check on how I'm doing. Here are the goals, and my progress...
  • regular exercise routine - Ooooo. Not so good. I have not really made any progress on this one.

  • read 25 books - I was off to a good start, but need to finish some of the books I have started. You can check out my reading list here.

  • purge / organize our entire apartment - I have not gotten very far on this either. We are likely moving this summer (plans are still not set), so this HAS to happen but much of the work can be done as we pack.

  • increase my time with God by 10 minutes per day - This has been the most successful goal. Now I just need to remain faithful in my new habits.
Do you have any goals you are working toward? How are you doing?

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Today Is Monday" - book review

We have a new favorite book in our house - "Today Is Monday" by Eric Carle.

The culinary text is based on a well-known children's song about food and the days of the week. Eric Carle uses his wonderful portrayal of colorful, exotic animals to bring these foods to life.

Each day has a food. "Monday, string beans" reveals a large, blue porcupine chewing on string beans, with several stray beans stuck in its quills.

"Tuesday, spaghetti" pictures a beautiful, green snake struggling with a page full of slippery spaghetti noodles. And so on.

My son loves this book because of the colorful animals eating silly foods. I, also, enjoy the animals and the food, but I love this book for many other reasons.

First, it has sparked my son's imagination in exciting new ways. We have worked with my son's speech therapist for a year trying to create situations to stretch his imaginative play, with the knowledge that this was stalling his progress in speech development.

Enter this book into the scene (along with other factors, of coarse) and he becomes so excited about "cooking" in the sand box. Now every time we go out to play, he is constantly making food for us to try. And what does he make? Some yummy creation mentioned in this book. His current favorite is roast beef. What wonderfully, imaginative play!

Second, this book has enticed my son to try the foods the animals are eating. He now happily eats green beans ... if I call them string beans and mention how the porcupine likes them.

And he willingly tried roast beef because the tabby cat had some. For a kid who has serious feeding issues (and was under the care of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Feeding Team for a year), this is a huge help to us, the feeders!

Third, our three-year-old has learned all the days of the week and loves to talk about what day it is today and what day comes next.

And it encourages his love for reading!

Menu Plan Monday

Last week was crazy and we only made one meal off the menu. I was out of commission (migraines) for the first few days and we ended up with two dinner invitations toward the end of the week. So, most everything will be repeated from last week.

We still haven't gotten any where with the bread, so I am going to set aside that goal for now. This week we are going to try raw veggies (the kids normally want everything cooked and squishy). Maybe some fun 'dips' will help - hummus, catchup, ranch, etc.

New "kid" foods:
  • raw veggies - broccoli, carrots, etc.

Menu for this week:
  • Tuesday -- Pan-seared Salmon, asparagus
  • Wednesday -- Beef & Broccoli
  • Thursday -- Turkey Lasagna Rolls, broccoli
  • Saturday -- Tuna Noodle Casserole, broccoli

  • Sunday -- Leftovers

Check out more menu plan's at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Through the Darkness

Create in Me a Clean Heart - Week 15

"I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight."
Isaiah 42:16

As a family, we are in just such a time described in this verse; I feel like a blind person wandering on a crooked road that is unknown to me. I need the light and the straight paths a fore mentioned.

My husband graduates with his M.Div. degree in May. We were hoping to be heading somewhere (or staying here at Princeton Theological Seminary) for a Ph.D. program, but did not get accepted to any schools. Originally, we talked about just staying at PTS another year for a Th.M. degree, and applying again next year.

But with the economic changes, PhD programs are becoming more competitive and my husband needs to be more aggressive about making his application stand out next year, which means looking at other schools that could provide a bigger impact on his application.

So, the applications have gone out to several other schools for one-year, Th.M. programs. And now we wait! In a few months, school ends and we have to move ... but to where?

Yup, very curvy roads; can't see around the next bend. But God has promised to lead, to bring light, to make paths straight.

Thank you for your promise of light and wisdom. Teach me to focus on you alone during this time of "blindness." Make the darkness light before me, and my crooked places straight. Remind me to see you for the answers, and rest in your peace while we wait.
In Jesus Name,

Friday, April 17, 2009

Blitz-It Friday

Grab My Blog Button!
Organized Everyday is hosting a new carnival called Blitz-it Friday. If you have no idea what a blitz is, check out the original one hour blitz and staying focused.

This week I did two 30 minute blitz's on different days.

Wednesday - 30 minutes:
  • Pulled last load of laundry from the dryer
  • Folded FIVE loads of laundry
  • Put away FOUR loads of laundry
It doesn't seem like much because it was only a few tasks, but it was a huge pile of laundry. The timer went off before I finished putting away the last load.

Friday - 30 minutes:
  • Unloaded the dishwasher
  • Cleaned out the refrigerator
  • Finished pulling the remaining meat off the turkey bones (yes, from Easter...)
  • Started the Turkey Lentil soup in the crock pot
  • Loaded and turned on the dishwasher
  • Took out the garbage and recycling
The timer went off as I was preparing to take out the garbage. It was a great half hour. I was able to get more done than I expected.

Happy Blitzing!

Balancing Bottle!

I am always looking for new ways to work with my son on his gross motor strength. Balancing on one foot is great for working his core muscles. But he is not strong enough to do it on his own and is easily frustrated.

Here is my inspired idea this week. We filled an empty bottle with water (and a little food coloring for excitement).

Then he stood with one foot on the bottle. It provided just enough balance to keep him from giving up, but was still wobbly enough to require he really work those muscles!

What do you do to encourage your little kids in their gross motor development?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Be Still!

Create in Me a Clean Heart - Week 14

"Be still and know that I am God."
Psalm 46:10

I repeatedly need to be reminded to STOP and bask in the presence of God. It seems that life continues to get busier, and I lose perspective so quickly. I almost feel at times that I don't even know how to stop.

The idea of contemplation is so appealing to me, and I can force myself to physically spend time in prayer and in scripture everyday. But I cannot physically force contemplation just by not doing things. It is a discipline of the mind.

I need to discipline my mind to focus on the task at hand (prayer, scripture, meditation), and not constantly jump to the next task on my list. This is my big challenge ... to be still and to meditate in the presence of my God.

Thank you that you are always faithful and will finish the work you have begun in me. I am tired of struggling, of fighting, of losing. I desperately need to listen, to "be still." I am willing, but I need your strength ... I need you.

I admit that many times in the past I have asked for you guidance and wisdom, but have not remained patient waiting for you to answer. Forgive me. Help me to rest in you, to "be still." Calm my worries and fears; give me your peace.

Thank you for walking beside me, behind me, before me, beneath me, above me through all the pressures of life. I submit myself to you. Transform me, in the solitude and quiet, into your image.
In Jesus Name,

Monday, April 13, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Welcome to another Monday and the start of another exciting week of meals!

The kids are doing great with new veggies, but they still won't eat bread. We're going to work on it again this week.

New "kid" foods:
  • toast / bread

Menu for this week:
  • Monday -- Turkey Lentil Stew
  • Wednesday -- Beef & Broccoli
  • Thursday -- Tuna Noodle Casserole
  • Friday -- Pan-seared Salmon, veggies

Check out more menu plan's at OrgJunkie.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Wondrous Cross

"When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"
by Isaac Watts, 1707

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

To Christ, who won for sinners grace
By bitter grief and anguish sore,
Be praise from all the ransomed race
Forever and forevermore.

Michael W. Smith recorded a beautiful arrangement of this hymn,
"The Wonderful Cross", adding this chorus.

O the wonderful cross,
O the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die
and find that I
may truly live

O the wonderful cross,
O the wonderful cross
All who gather here
by grace draw near
and bless Your name

For more meditations on the cross this Good Friday, visit Sarah over at Hindsight where she posted "Beautiful Scandalous Night."

Head over to Signs, Miracles, and Wonders for more Then Sings My Soul Saturday.

Blitz-It Friday

Grab My Blog Button!
Organized Everyday is hosting a new carnival called Blitz-it Friday. We are on week three! If you have no idea what a blitz is, read here: the original one hour blitz and staying focused.

What at great blitzing week for me!

I did an hour-long blitz on Sunday because my husband was coming home late that night and I wanted the house to reflect how excited we were for his return. (Nothing like a horrid mess to make someone sorry they came back from a pristine hotel, with daily maid service).

This was the first blitz where I deliberately got my children (son, age 3 and daughter, age 1) involved. It slowed me down, but was worth it. They had so much fun helping me, and were so proud of their own accomplishments.

I actually remembered to snap a few pictures before we started ...

... and after.

Sunday Blitz:
  • Unloaded the dishwasher - my son loves to put away all his and his sister's dishes.
  • Reloaded and ran the dishwasher
  • Hand-washed pan and misc. dishes
  • Cleared off the kitchen table
  • Put away all the living room clutter
  • Picked up and put away all the toys - this was mostly done by my son and daughter, though I think my daughter only picked up a few plastic eggs and put them in a bucket (we went to an Egg Hunt this weekend).
  • Vacuumed the living room, play area, hallway and kid's room.
  • Swept the kitchen, dining room, living room and bathroom
My son informed me after I turned off the vacuum that the timer beeped while I was being so loud (i.e. the vacuum was noisy). I decided that I really needed to sweep before I quit for the day, so I did that after the hour had ended.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Consignment Clothes

Twice a year, a local elementary school hosts a big consignment sale for children's clothing and toys. I love this sale, and normally find enough to last my kids the entire season. I also hit up our church garage sale, that was happening the same weekend.

This year I was not quite as successful, but still got some great clothes at a great price.

I got five sets of pajamas, one dress, two sweatshirts, seven jeans, three pairs of shorts and nine shirts - all for about $1.oo each. I also found six books, one wooden puzzle, a superhero cape, a fire chief's hat, a pirate's hat, a dress-up puppet set, and some great wooden blocks.

And to top it all off, I picked up two pack 'n plays for $5 each and gave them to my neighbors who I knew were looking for them.

I love getting great deals on kids clothes and toys.

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"Reminder" Cards

I made some scripture cards last week to post around my house. I have been thinking about posting "reminder" verses for quite a while - reminders to set my thoughts on "things above" - but only managed to get them done last week. With my husband traveling all week and me home alone with the kids, it seemed like a really good time keep uplifting verses "in my face."

So here are some that I made and have posted around the house.

I made seven so far and posted them in random places where I would be sure to see them. Three are in the kitchen, one by the family calendar, three by doors (front door, bedroom, bathroom).

They were super easy to make. I already had the 5 x 7 design card stock that I picked up on clearance for $1.24 (down from $6.99). I just printed some verses on heavy paper (in 3x5 sizes) and cut it down to size, and glued it onto the design cards.

I have ideas for how they could be even better, but I needed something really fast. I already have a list of verses to make for round two, whenever I get around to it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

My husband is returning tonight from his six day trip to Canada (Vancouver, B.C.). I am very excited! And it is back to meal planning again (though my week off from cooking was nice).

The kids did great with squash and broccoli last week, but we still need to work on the bread. That will be our only focus this week (unless I find some great sale on produce at the store tomorrow morning).

New "kid" foods:
  • toast / bread

Menu for this week:
  • Tuesday -- Beef Tacos
  • Wednesday -- Baked Potato Bar
  • Thursday -- Beef & Broccoli

Check out more menu plan's at OrgJunkie.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pressing Toward the Goal

Create in Me a Clean Heart - Week 13

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already made complete, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own ... I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:12, 14

What a beautiful reminder! I have become so consumed with fixing this mess I have made by my laziness and lack of attention to detail, that I have forgotten the big picture.

Is there anything in life that can compare to "the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord"? He is my "exceeding great reward." (Gen 15:1 KJV)

I can feel my heart stirring as I review this devotional again. There is nothing I desire more than knowing Christ Jesus, who is my life, my future, my hope.

Thank you that you always remain faithful, even when I am faithless (and distracted). I admit I have gotten caught up in my desire for organization and planning and schedules - in my desire to run a smooth household - instead of desiring You first and foremost. Forgive me! I long to have you touch me, reach me, each day that I may feel your presence. I yearn to be "complete" even more than for my tasks to be completed. Help me to stay true to that, to remain focused on "the upward call of God."
In Jesus Name,

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I Won?

I have recently won two giveaways online. I'm not one to sign up for contests much. The odds are so low that I would win that it hardly seems with the effort. But there is something about blog giveaways that has changed my behavior.

Maybe it is that normally there are a few less contestants. Or maybe they are just easier to enter (just leave a comment, etc). Whatever it is, I have entered a few blog giveaways recently ... and I have actually won.

Here is what I won:


Organizing from the Inside Out
by Julie Morgenstern

This was a giveaway at Organized Everyday, celebrating her new blog design. I had heard great things about this book and was excited at the possibility of winning it. I was new to this blog, but had started visiting fairly regularly, so leaving a comment to join the giveaway was easy. And now I'm a faithful reader!


$20 gift certificate to Shutterfly

This was part of the Ultimate Blog Party 2009 giveaways, from Scraps of My Geek Life. I had already decided that I wanted to join in the party, but I never expected to win anything, especially when I saw the huge number of participants. I am very excited about this gift certificate, and I have spent half of it on some prints for my grandma (pictures of her great-grandchildren).


I'm not ready to make entering giveaways a hobby, but I am much more motivated to enter it the prize is something I actually want.

If you want to try out the world of blog giveaways, The Diaper Diaries just posted a few great places to find giveaways. Have fun!

Friday, April 3, 2009

My 100th Post

For my 100th post, I thought about doing a "100-things-about-me" post, but that seemed a little excessive (and I don't know that I could come up with 100 interesting things to say). Instead, I decided to share a little more about me following the structure of the The Simple Woman's Daybook (even though they normally post on Mondays).

FOR TODAY April 3, 2009 ...

Outside my window...
the stormy, rain clouds parted briefly to reveal the sun, but I can still hear thunder rumbling in the distance.

I am thinking...
about what the coming year may bring. My husband is finishing his Master of Divinity here at Princeton Theological Seminary. He did not get into any of the Ph.D. programs to which he had applied. The current plan is to apply to several one-year Master programs for this year and apply for Ph.D.'s again next year.

I am thankful for...
my wonderful husband who has been out of town all week. I miss him, and realize that I have taken for granted all that he does for me and the kids.

From the kitchen...
I smell the cornbread cooking; we will have it with chili for dinner tonight.

I am wearing...
jeans and a sweatshirt - it's just that kind of day.

I am creating...
memory verse cards for display around my house, to help me keep my thoughts "on things above."

I am going...
to take the kids for a quick walk before the rain starts again.

I am reading...
Pain Free by Pete Egoscue (as a hope to find a real solution to my migraines) and Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern (which I won in a giveaway from Organized Everyday).

I am hoping...
for a wonderfully quiet evening watching a sweet, romantic chick-flick (with the children sleeping through the night).

I am hearing...
my son singing "Ring Around the Rosy" in his room (he's suppose to be napping). A few minutes ago the song choice was "Brown Bear, Brown Bear."

Around the house...
there are little people and animals scattered all over the living room from the kids play time earlier. My one-year-old daughter has discovered the joy of animal sounds and loves to "neigh" like a horse and "ba-ba" like a sheep.

One of my favorite things...
is the laughter of my children. Today, I pulled out my son's old rain boots to see if they would fit my daughter. It was so funny to watch her march around the house, getting the feel for the boots. Had you happened upon us, you would have found me sitting on the floor laughing at the wonderful giggles (and silly little walk) of my daughter, and the cheers erupting from my son at his sister's successful march down the hall.

A few plans for the rest of the week ...
Tomorrow morning we are heading to an Easter Egg hunt (if the weather stays dry). In the afternoon we are going to a Noah's Ark costume birthday party (my daughter as a monkey and my son as a dinosaur - were there dinosaurs on the ark?). On Sunday evening I am headed to the airport to pick up my husband (I can hardly wait).

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Children find such joy in the simplest pleasures (like finding a basket ball on the playground)! I should learn from her and rejoice in all the simple things in my life.

Blitz-It Friday

Grab My Blog Button!
Organized Everyday is hosting a new carnival called Blitz-it Friday. We are on week three! If you have no idea what a blitz is, read here: the original one hour blitz and staying focused.

What at great blitzing week for me! I did an hour-long blitz on Tuesday. I was hosting our Bible study group on Tuesday night and really needed to clean my house. A friend offered to play with the kids at the playground while I cleaned.

Here is what I got done in my hour:
  • Unloaded and reloaded dishwasher
  • Hand-washed pots and pans
  • Cleaned stove
  • Wiped counters
  • Cleared off kitchen table
  • Took out garbage and recycling
  • Cleaned under the sink (icky stuff had missed the garbage can)
  • Swept all the floors (kitchen, dining, living, entry, hall)
  • Vacuumed living room (until I sucked up a toy and broke the vacuum)
  • Cleaned play area
  • Cleaned cat litter box
  • Cleared out the entryway (stuff just piles up behind the door)
  • Picked up living room and office area
It was a crazy hour, focused mostly on surface cleaning and straightening so I wouldn't be completely embarrassed to have people over. It is quite obvious after all this work that I really could have used another hour (or four) of blitzing. My house desperately need some spring cleaning!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Diapers can save lives?

Pampers has teamed up with UNICEF to provide tetanus shots for mothers and children in developing countries. Tetanus has a fatality rate as high as 70 to 100 percent in some countries. Each year approximately 140,000 infants and up to 30,000 women in developing countries die from tetanus. But it can be prevented.

With the 1 pack = 1 vaccine program, Pampers will donate the cost of one tetanus vaccine to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF for every pack of specially-marked Pampers diapers and wipes purchased in the U.S. and Canada between February 10th – May 1 2009. Look for specially marked packages.

I don't normally buy Pampers, but for a product I already have to purchase, I figure I can buy a different brand and help provide vaccines to people in need.

Thanks to The Diaper Diaries for bringing this to my attention.
For more info, check out the Pampers-UNICEF campaign page.

Picture organization...

I was going to participate in Org Junkie's Monthly Organizing Round-Up this month, but couldn't seem to make enough progress. The project for the month of March was Picture Organization.

Digital photography is wonderful and horrible at the same time. I love being able to take a million pictures to capture that perfect look; and I love looking through the pictures before spending money to print them; and I love have the ability to fix red-eye and other picture issues; but I hate the additional effort this new technology requires to get to the final product.

I don't have a problem downloading pictures, and I even have an okay file structure for all the pictures, but I never get around to getting prints of my pictures.

One thing I have decided this month while trying to tackle years worth of pictures ... I am going to start creating photo books that come to me already printed. That may seem horrible to those of you who are wonderful at creating albums, but I really think this will work best for me (plus, I don't have a hair's worth of talent at scrap booking).

Org Junkie shared her system on her latest post Six Steps to Picture Organization. The step that I really need to add is step 2 -- "Copy." I need to start using a "to Print" folder and fill it every time I download pictures. That way I don't have to go back through hundreds of pictures to find the few that I want to print.

How do you organize your photos? And how to you get those digital pictures into albums?

On a side note, do any of you have a good recommendation for printed photo books (without paying an arm and a leg)?