Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Automobile - Organizing Round-up

It is time again for the Monthly Organizing Round-Up at Organizing Junkie.
For the month of June it was all about our CAR.

We do a pretty good job keeping extra clutter from piling up in our car, but we are not very good at keeping the car clean or stocked. Our car needed some work.

I started by taking the car to the mechanic. That pesky check-engine light was on again. Whenever it gets really hot something triggers it, but it is not readily obvious why and there are no other symptoms. I took it in to test it and in the middle of the test it went off. We will watch it for another few weeks before investing serious money to fix our phantom problem.

Time to tackle the cleaning.
  • I started by taking everything out of the car - car seats, mats, papers, toys, maps, etc. It was amazing how much stuff was hiding under the seats.

  • Next I wiped everything down. There was about an inch of dust on the dashboard and the windows were desperately in need of cleaning.

  • Then it was time to vacuum. There were cheerios and gold fish hiding everywhere. I ended up removing the seats entirely to clean under them.

Finally time to organize:
  • First I checked and restocked the emergency kit: jumper cables, tire patch kit, flares, first aid kit, a few tools, blanket, etc.

  • Next was the glove box - only the registration info, a pad and pen, and the air pressure gauge made it back in. Two maps were refolded and returned to the door pocket.

  • Lastly were the random supplies that we keep, "just in case:" plastic bags (kept a paper towel roll), small umbrella, a few toys (doodle pads, most importantly), baby wipes, sun block, hand sanitizer, a few clean rags.

  • I also normally keep extra clothes, diapers, etc. in a small bag for emergencies, but I decided to keep a ready-packed bag in the entry closet instead. I can grab it quickly, but it doesn't have to take up precious car space all the time. Our kids are old enough that we haven't used this bag in a long time, but we'll see if I end up regretting this decision.

So, how is your car looking these days?

Thanks to Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie for inspiring me to tackle this much-needed project.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

For the next few weeks, meal planning is all about emptying our freezer and pantry - we are moving in just over four weeks. My hubby is not excited about that. The stuff that is still in the back of the cupboard or freezer is most likely still there because I bought it for a new recipe and no one liked the sound of it. This could be a big challenge...

Menu for this week:
  • Monday --Seafood Ravioli, green salad

  • Tuesday -- Grilled Chicken Breasts

  • Wednesday -- Chicken Curry, rice

  • Thursday -- Calzones

  • Friday -- Turkey Tacos

  • Saturday -- Baked Potato Bar

  • Sunday -- Chicken Fajitas

Check out more menu plan's at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Closer Walk with Him!

Create in Me a Clean Heart - Week 24
~ This weekly devotional can be found on Facebook. ~

"My dear child, don't shrug off God's discipline ... God is educating you; that's why you must never drop out. He's treating you as dear children. This trouble you're in isn't punishment; it's training, the normal experience of children.... At the time, discipline isn't much fun. It always feels like it's going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it's the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God."
Hebrews 12:7,11

I just loved this paraphrase of Hebrews 12. Discipline is really education, not punishment. Isn't that exactly how I treat my children? I am training them how to live with self control and wisdom.

But the most beautiful part, discipline can lead to maturity, and especially maturity in our relationship with God. Isn't that the true desire of my heart? To walk more closely with my God? I want to be stretched, corrected, taught.

Dear Lord,
Although it is hard to receive it at time, I need your discipline in my life. Teach me, correct me, train me, discipline me - that I may grow up to be mature and fruitful in my relationship with you. I pray that I will learn from my mistakes to avoid going through them again. Thank you that you love me enough to discipline me and that you desire me to grow into something better than I am right now.
In Jesus' Name,

Blitz-It Friday - Picture Organization Week #4

This was a great week for blitzing. I was able to accomplish so much on this project. Here were my goals and what I got done...


Goal 1: Spend at least two hours blitzing this project
I was on a roll several evenings in a row and spent about six hours blitzing this week.

Goal 2: Continue converting negatives to CD
I did not have any opportunities to get to the library for scanning this week. This part of the project is going to have to wait for some future occasion. Maybe a few years down the road the technology will be more available and affordable.

Goal 3: Finish sorting the pictures to be scanned
I have sorted through what seems like a million pictures this week, but still have not determined what needs to be scanned.

Below you can see the stack of albums that I pulled from the shelf.

I sorted through all these books to see if I really needed to keep everything. I was inspired by Organizing Mommy at Organized Everyday to keep only the pictures that are actually good. I cleared out doubles, blurry pictures, shots of the back of heads, those with weird looks, etc. It was very freeing.

I reduced the keepers to the stack you see in the picture below
(leaving 11 albums, down from 18).

Goal 4: Begin scanning pictures
I did not have a chance to start scanning pictures. This is going to take some time, but at least I can do it at home in the evenings.

Goal 5: Sort through remaining stuff in the closet
I am almost done sorting through everything on that closet shelf. There is still one box of unsorted pictures that needs to be organized. I left the biggest mess for last ... and the pile has grown as I sorted through the letters and cards in our file cabinet.

It was a great week, but I am out of time. This project has to be done by this Tuesday, so I can move on to the next project. Here are my goals for the last few days ...

  1. Spend at least two hours blitzing
  2. Finish scanning pictures
  3. Condense the storage space needed for negatives
  4. Finish organizing the unsorted pictures
  5. Pack up the albums and pictures for the move

Stay tuned for the announcement of my next summer blitzing project.

Stop by Organized Everyday for more projects that are being blitzed.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I had no time this week to find new meal ideas. But the meals from last week were a nice change from the norm. Things are becoming increasingly busy around here, and meal planning has saved us from starvation several times this week.

Menu for this week:
  • Monday --Seafood Ravioli, green salad

  • Tuesday -- Turkey Tacos

  • Wednesday -- Chicken Alfredo with Artichokes

  • Thursday -- Calzones

  • Friday -- Dinner with Friends

  • Saturday -- Baked Potato Bar

  • Sunday -- Chicken Picatta

Check out more menu plan's at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another family update!

I can now announce that we are moving to Aberdeen, Scotland. My hubby officially accepted the offer for PhD studies at the University of Aberdeen.

For more details, you can check out my update at our family blog!

And the countdown begins...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blitz-It Friday - Picture Organization Week #3

I had a great week working on this project. But sorry, no pictures this week. Here were my goals and what I was able to get done.


Goal 1: Spend at least one hour blitzing this project
This week I was able to spend three one-hour blitzing sessions. I spent two hours sorting letters, notes, souvenirs, etc. I decided to tackle all the letters and cards that have been waiting in my file cabinet at the same time. I was able to reduce everything down to one box of letters and one box of souvenirs.

Goal 2: Begin converting negatives to CD
Last week I was bemoaning the fact that it would cost over $650 at Sam's Club (the cheapest option) to convert our 85 rolls of film.

I was talking with my hubby about how much we could actually budget to spend on this. In the middle of our conversation, he paused, grabbed his computer, looked something up online, then smiled at me. The school has a negative scanner that I can use for FREE. WooHoo!

I spent one hour at the library this week, to learn how to use the scanner and to start actually scanning. Now I have a pretty good idea how long it would take to scan everything. TOO LONG! I do not have 80+ hours to scan every roll of film. I will need to prioritize the rolls to scan and just leave the rest for another time.

Goal 3: Sort the pictures that need to be scanned
I started sorting pictures that need to be scanned, but haven't gotten very far. First I need to determine which pictures that don't have negatives, but that are important enough to spend the time scanning. I will need to work on this more next week.

Goal 4: Create a more-detailed project plan
I was only planning on spending another 11 days on this project. That should be enough time to finish sorting all the remaining stuff on the top of the closet. However, that will probably not be enough time to complete all the scanning I was hoping to get done. Once I am done sorting, I will have a better idea how much time I need for scanning.

  1. Spend at least two hours blitzing
  2. Continue scanning negatives
  3. Finish sorting the pictures to be scanned
  4. Begin scanning pictures
  5. Sort through remaining stuff in the top of the closet
  6. Finalize the project plan and time line.
I am getting more aggressive with my goals for this week. I cannot afford to spend all summer on this project. There are too many other areas that need my attention.

Stop by Organized Everyday for more projects that are being blitzed.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Faith to Move Mountains

Create in Me a Clean Heart - Week 23
~ This weekly devotional can be found on Facebook. ~

"Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction."
Mark 5:34

Did I walk in faith today, or in doubt and fear? How quickly I forget my faith! It is so easy for the daily tasks and unknown future to drown out the quiet faith that should rule my heart. In this devotional series, as we seek to overcome the disorganization in our lives, it is too easy to look at the to-do list and lose sight of the work God is doing in our hearts.

This small verse was a strong reminder to me this week to set my sight on God and how he can do the impossible. It is not my strength, or my determination that will bring about real change in my life. It is the work of Christ in my heart, transforming me to his image, as I set my eyes on things above.

Dear Lord,
I pray that I will be focused on you, and that I will walk in faith and not in fear. Do not let me be consumed with the things of the day. And do not let me stray from you while trying to get things done. I pray that you would guide me and heal my afflictions. Bring me peace, and let me rest assured that you do know the answers. Thank you, Lord, that in this world of confusion, I can walk in peace and trust in you.
In Jesus Name,

Menu Plan Monday

We are starting our fifth month planning meals and I am realizing that our list of meal options is pretty short. We keep having the same things over and over. The family is starting to bore of my cooking ... I think that's why we starting eating out so much in the first place.

So, this week I am trying a few things that I know I can do, but we don't have very often. And I hope to spend some time looking for some new recipes to try.

Menu for this week:
  • Monday -- BBQ Pulled-Pork Sandwiches, green salad

  • Tuesday -- Grilled Chicken, roasted potatoes

  • Wednesday -- French Dip, veggies

  • Thursday -- Calzones, green salad

  • Friday -- Cashew Chicken Stir Fry, rice

  • Saturday -- Chicken Fajita

  • Sunday -- Chicken & Rice Casserole

So, help me out this week finding new recipes to try: What is your family's favorite meal?

Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Blitz-It Friday - Picture Organization Week #2

This was the first full week of my big summer project - the top shelf in our bedroom closet, full of pictures, photo albums, etc.

  1. One hour sorting / purging.
  2. Research negatives-to-CD.

Although I technically met my goals for the week, but I am beginning to realize that this project is going to take more time than I originally expected.

I started my hour long blitz by pulling out all the memory boxes that were stacked on the shelf. This will be the first part of the closet shelf I will tackle. When I opened them, I was pleased to find that the boxes were fairly well organized.

The first three were full of letters from friends and family. I am so sentimental about cards and letters that people have given me. In addition to these boxes, almost a quarter of our file cabinet is filled with correspondence that needs to be cleared out. Although I need to tackle this, it is not a good place to start -- I would be overwhelmed by my project before I accomplished anything.

The next two boxes are filled with unsorted memorabilia and souvenirs -- more stuff to sort. Eeek! These boxes will also have to wait until later in my project.

The last three I opened were full of pictures and negatives. I was surprised at much film we have here. These are what I am hoping to preserve digitally on film. There are about 85 rolls worth negatives from the last 20 years. I was originally planning on having everything transferred to CD, however, because the film is already developed, that option may prove to be too expensive.

My hour was spent going through the pictures and negatives, putting them in order and becoming familiar with what we have.

I also started the research on converting these negatives to digital files. The best option I have found is Sam's Club. They charge $0.21 per picture -- I would have to sort through every single roll and choose every each picture that I wanted transferred. Now that sounds like a lot of work.

  1. Spend at least one hour blitzing this project.
  2. Begin converting negatives to CD.
  3. Sort pictures that need to be scanned.
  4. Create a better plan and timeline for this project, so it is completed before our move.

Has anyone else transferred their negative to CD? Do you have any recommendations? I could really use a better option.

Stop by Organized Everyday for more projects that are being blitzed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

River of Chaos

Create in Me a Clean Heart - Week 22
~ This weekly devotional can be found on Facebook; the group is called "A Clean Heart." ~

"The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; he turns it wherever he wishes."
Proverbs 21:1

Why does everything seem to come back to control? I try to control the details of my life – my family, my kids, my time. Yet I am surrounded by things I cannot control – my family, my kids, the economy, our country, the world.

But in all the chaos all around me, I find peace in the fact that God is truly in control. Nothing is outside his reach. If he can turn hearts, if he turns and directs the rivers, then surely my small stuff cannot be outside his hands. This was my meditation this week – God is still in control.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for your work in my life. Forgive me for the times I’ve been overwhelmed in doubt by the chaos around me, for complaining when I should have been praising you for leading me through it. Guide me in my chaos today, and help me rest knowing that everything is under your control.
In Jesus Name,

Monday, June 8, 2009

Blitz-It Friday - Project Plan Week #1

Instead of just blitzing the regular house work this summer, we are going to blitz projects. I have so much that needs to be done, but it has been a little tricky coming up with a project that can be blitzed. But I have finally chosen a project...

The top shelf of our bedroom closet containes a huge stack of pictures, photo albums, mementos, souvenirs, etc. This stuff needs to be purged, organized and preserved (especially photos).

  1. Sort through everything on the shelf (purge, purge, purge)
  2. Preserve pictures and other “non-replaceables”
  3. Organize and store the remaining stuff

June 8 - 30, 2009

  1. Spend at least one hour this week sorting / purging.
  2. Research where to digitize all my 35 mm negatives (any suggestions???).

Stop by Organized Everyday for more projects that are about to be blitzed.

Menu Plan Monday

For all intents and purposes, we took the week off last week. My hubby and I were ready for some down time after all the work toward the yard sale. This next week we need to get busy again, though. This starts with planning our meals so I don't have to spend time and energy coming up with last minute ideas.

Menu for this week:
  • Monday -- Chinese Chicken & Cabbage

  • Tuesday -- Spaghetti

  • Wednesday -- Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry

  • Thursday -- Calzones

  • Friday -- Chicken & Rice Casserole

  • Saturday -- Baked Potato Bar

  • Sunday -- Chicken Curry

Check out more menu plan's at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Blitz-It Friday

Grab My Blog Button!

Does Blitz-It Saturday count?

I didn't read the Project Blitz post until I was ready to publish this post, so I'll have to do some thinking about what to tackle. I definitely have plenty...

What a crazy week this has been! I had to start digging into all the stuff left undone by our focus on the yard sale.

We ate outside this evening, with all our neighbors. It was kind of an impromptu goodbye gathering for our neighbors who are moving tomorrow. When we came back inside, and got both kids to bed, I knew I had to tackle the kitchen. It was piled high from all the day's dishes and the dinner preparation.

This was the perfect situation for a blitz. I decided I could wrestle up 20 minutes of energy to finish whatever I could in that time. I actually ended up cleaning for 35 minutes (15 minutes past the timer). Once I got moving, it was easy to push a little further to finish.

Here is what I was able to accomplish:
  • Unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher - it is ready to run when we go to bed tonight

  • Washed the pots & pans, and other misc. items by hand

  • Cleaned the sink, stove top & counters

  • Swept and mopped the kitchen and dining room floors
I was definitely not moving at my top speed, and now I am wiped, but it feels so good to know that I won't have all those dishes waiting for me in the morning.

Check out more great blitzing at Organized Everyday.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

This was such a busy week leading up to the yard sale that I didn't really keep to our meal plan. Food this week was mostly about eating whatever my hubby was willing to make. We'll try again this next week.

Menu for this week:
  • Monday -- Beef & Broccoli

  • Tuesday -- Hamburgers and Green Salad

  • Wednesday -- Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry

  • Thursday -- Chinese Chicken & Cabbage

  • Friday -- Taco Bar

  • Saturday -- Pasta Primavera

  • Sunday -- Chicken Curry

Check out more menu plan's at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!