Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Solving one problem in the house

One problem I had in my bathroom was storing the toilet bowl cleaner.  See I use the Scotch Brite Toilet Scrubber and it use to just lay on the floor (it would always fall after I leaned it up on the wall) by my toilet.

Sorry I didn't put the lid down!

This drove me mad every time I walked into the bathroom.  But then when I was home in bed after surgery I looked up at this.....

Those were some of the flowers I got at the hospital.  The big bouquet was from my next door neighbor.  But what caught my eye was the vase it came in.  It was the exact green color used in my bathroom.  Hmmm.... wouldn't it be just right to hold my toilet scrubber??

From an empty vase to a useful holder... who knew?

Again excuse the toilet lid...I didn't realize I
hadn't put it down.

As I look closely at this picture, I can see the paint chips near the baseboard from where I used some harsh cleaners.  I also really wore off the metal finish on the water line.  Hopefully we will be working on the bathroom this summer so I can replace some things and use better, less harsh, cleaners!!

Monday, March 28, 2011


Someone is in need of a mani/pedi.  Any guesses??

It's been a long winter for all of us!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reflecting on my March Simplifying Goal

Thank goodness I took these pictures.  It snowed the next day
and now they've wilted and are gone!

This is the last of week of March and as I reflect back on my attempt to simplify my home, I am suprised by a couple things.

For one, it's an ongoing battle.  Because I work full-time out of town, my time is limited.  While I may get some tasks accomplished, others may get left to the wayside.  So yes my bedside table is looking great, but I've left the pile of magazines accumulate in the dining room.  Sometimes that is just going to happen.  I may want to have a picture perfect home but I know in reality it's not going to always be that way.

The second thing I have learned is that this season of my life is just not going to be as simple as I may want it to be.  Unless I quit my job (which I would love to do!!), some days are just going to be crazier than others.  My kids are not involved in lots of activities as we try to limit them to just one or two things at a time.  Jeffrey Michael is starting baseball and Paige has a once a week gymnastics training and she will start softball in the next month or two.  They both have to go to CCD (Catholic Sunday School) which for our church is on Wednesday evening.  Add on the fact that my husband is a Cross Country Coach, and then you can see how it does become busy for us and so we have to limit what extra-curricular activities we let the kids do.

Another thing is that I need to stop comparing myself to other bloggers that I follow.  Many of the ones I follow are stay at home moms or working bloggers.  So they manage their time differently than I do.  Maybe they are able to spend more time on their homes and blogging about it than I do and I need to stop thinking that I am failing in my own home if it's not living up to other bloggers. 

This final week of March does not mean that my goal of simplifying is done or that I have met/failed my goal.  What it has done for me is to really open my eyes to the fact that life does not stop for the living.  My house is never going to be 100% clean every day every minute.  There are going to be days where I am not going to have the motivation to work on cleaning and organizing and that's ok.  I don't need to beat myself up about it.  It is what it is.  Hopefully, tomorrow will bring a new day with motivation and energy to complete what was not done and even more. 

What I have done is to join Orgjunkie's 52 weeks of organizing.  I printed out her list and began listing all the things I would like to work on.  I'm up to 28.  Most of them are small (like cleaning out drawers) and many are big -like cleaning out the attic.  So although I am not going to end the month of March with a perfectly organized and simplified home (did I really think I could accomplish that?)  I am going to work on this goal slowly over the rest of the year.  Wish me luck!

I hope the daffodils survived the snow.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Still organizing

I'm still working on getting my house simplified and organized.  Some things I accomplished last weekend included- gathering all the toys my son dumped in my office and separating them (now that the toys are all in respective containers I can sell them on ebay), organized my undies drawer (definitely no pics of that!!), organized my pajama/loungwear drawer, got all my ironing up to date, and put together several bags of items to go to Goodwill.

I made a large batch of wedding soup for us to have for Easter.  But when I tried to put it in the freezer- no room.  I am definitely going to have to tackle the inside of my frig soon.  I also found some nice dividers to use when I finally get around to my maintanence manual.  I may try to fit that in Friday night.  I was going to try tonight, but some things got rescheduled and now I may not have the time. 

My office is really in dire need of cleaning again.  Since I finally got all of Jeff's unwanted toys separated and organized I can get them on eBay or put them in the yard sale box.  I'm still no where near as organized as I had been.  In fact the before photos actually make the office look organized compared to what it looks like now!  Total embarrassment.....

One thing I did work on was to organize my blog posts.  I never set up labels for my posting and so when I wanted to link back to something, well, it was a pain in the keister.  Now it's a little easier for me to refer to something whether I'm linking to another post here or on someone's blog.  Silly that I never did it before, but it only took a couple hours of re-reading my posts and labelling.  It was actually kind of fun going back over the last few years of my life. 

Time for the kids to come home and after school activities to begin.  I did take some pictures of the spring flowers that have bloomed. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Simplifying schedule

In my goal of New Year's Resolutions, I have chosen March as the month to really concentrate on simplifying.  I've accomplished a few goals so far such as my kitchen, my nightstand here and here, washed all my curtains, and even ventured under Paige's bed.  I still have a lot of big tasks to work on, but it feels good to have some of these little hot spots tackled.

Because I work full time and commute 30 minutes away, I have to be organized with my time or else I become frustrated.  I've tried to use mornings as a way of getting some extra cleaning done, but it doesn't always work.  What I have learned is that I have to focus my mornings on just getting me and the kids out the door.  That's it.  It's easier to try to get things done after work in between all the activities rather than try to use mornings.

My schedule for the week looks like this right now:

Monday- Friday                                            

Mornings-        7:15 - Get up (bathroom)
                        7:30 - Start waking Paige up (get her breakfast)
                        7:30 -8 Shower, get Jeff's breakfast
                        8-8:15 - Get dressed, fix hair, get Jeff in shower
                        8:15- 8:30 - Get Paige off to school (she walks a block to her school), pack Jeff's lunch
                        8:30 - 9:00 - pack Jeff's backpack, get my things together, Jeff dressed and teeth brushed
                        9:00 - drop Jeff off at school on way to work
                        9:00 - 9:30 drive to work
                        9:30 - 5:00 work

Evenings-         5:00 - 5:30 drive home
                        5:30 - 6:30 dinner, dishes, mail
This is where the evenings change depending on the day or time of year.  Right now it looks like this:

                        6:30 - 7:15/30  Mon & Wed work out
                                                Thurs - roll grape leaves from 7 - 9:30
                                                Tues- relax as Paige has lateclass                                            
                        7:30 - 8:00   laundry, bills, any small organizing orcleaning project/hot spot
                         8:00 -9:00  get kids homework checked and in pajamas
                                           except Tues as Paige has private gymnastics lessonfrom 8:30 -9:00
                         9:00           I'm usually in bed - watching tv, reading, or n computer. By 9:30 I'm asleep!

Friday evenings are not as structured as it's the beginning of the weekend and we may have other activities planned those nights.

My weekends are not as structured either, but I do try to use Saturdays to get extra cleaning and laundry done.  Sundays are for couponing and getting to the store.  I make up a list of things I want to get accomplished on Friday and fit it in on the weekend around other things. 

My schedule may not be all that simple with my husband and kid's activities, but I don't try to micro-manage every second of my day.  Some evenings I may come home from work and hang out in bed all evening reading magazines or watching tv.  Other evenings, I may be ambitious and clean out my refrigerator.  I let my mood and energy level gauge what I want to do most of the time.  It may not always be the best way to plan out my day, however, I also don't want to feel stressed about always having to get everything done at certain time on a certain day.  I like to be flexible. 

Schedules are good to keep track of what needs done, but I don't want to be a slave to it either.  Life happens.   While my kids are older now and I just have to supervise and not actually help them all the time, it is easier for me to plan my schedule around what I need to do and less on helping them.  That makes a big difference in how my day is compared to others.  But trust me, softball and baseball is starting soon as well as cross country and that's when my schedule gets unbearable at times!!


Friday, March 18, 2011

For Japan with Love

Please join me and share here

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More cleaning and organizing.....my nightstand drawer

My nightstand always ends up being a hotspot.  Just something about being in bed doing bills or reading magazines that causes me to dump it on my table or floor.  I did clean it up and even my kids commented how nice it looks.  But then if you opened my drawer you'd see this....................

It really does shut if you jam all the books down!

But in just about 10 minutes it transformed into this.....

And to prove that I've kept the top clean...

Not sure why blogger wouldn't let me upload before photo.  Most of the mess were books that I read or started to read and then stopped.  I also had thrown in some mementos such as photos and cards/pictures that the kids made for me.  Only problem is, I can't hide my chocolate stash!  Before I could keep some M&Ms hidden below the junk.  Now I'll have to be sneakier!  I moved the books to the office shelves and sorted through the magazines for the ones to keep and give away.

The bottom drawer holds my undies.  It definitely needs cleaned out and organized, but 1) I am too embarrassed to show my "things" and 2) I really need to replace A LOT of things and it's not in the budget right now.  I'll have to think a little more on whether I will post pics.  It is going to be done as I waste too much time looking for things in that drawer. 

Oh- some really good giveaways in blogland.  Over at Iheartorganizing, Jen is giving away 2 Dymo label makers. ***Giveaway is closed***

source iheartorganizing
                This giveaway is now closed

I've always wanted to try one as my sister in law has one and loves hers.  Again, just never budgetted for it. Hopefully, I get picked.  Younghouselove is also giving away a gift certificate for $75 for Initial Presents.  I commented on how Paige's initials are PMS.  I think I blogged about that but of course I never kept track of my blogs so finding past posts are hard.  That's another one of my simplifying tasks to conquer!

Another blog I've found is Laura at Orgjunkie.  She has put out a 52 Weeks challenge that of course I'm going to try to follow.  I'm a little behind, but I am going to just jump in and do what I can!

Happy Birthday Joanne!

I've posted before about Joanne Heim who suffered a stroke on January 11th.  Today is her birthday and in her honor, we are wearing our charm bracelets and praying for her.  Please click on the link to the right to go to her blog and read more about this amazing woman.
Whew is my skin white- hurry Summer!
I do have a lot more charms.  Just been too lazy to take them to the jewelers.  I think I may take the time this weekend in Joanne's honor to get them put on.  Joanne's charm bracelet is amazing!  Head over and check it out- and please pray for her continued recovery.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Friday the (13th) 11th

Friday turned into one of those days. Goofy things kept happening making me wonder if it was the 13th!!  The basement drain got clogged and with all the rain and snow we have been getting hit with, I awoke to a nice pool of water.  Yuck!  I don't have much in the basement as it is old and kind of dreary.  But I have 5 awesome clothes lines which make up for it being depressing.  I don't use my dryer for everything so all those clothes lines are a God send. 

Once the drain got unclogged, the water cleared out nicely.  It did get our old living room area rug wet as it was rolled up waiting to go to the cleaners.  Jeff doesn't want to take it to get cleaned as he just wants to throw it away, but I would like to put it up in the attic to help cut down on some of the noise.

I also got the rest of the curtains washed and re-hung.  Let me tell you, the office curtains were horrible.  They were stuck to the rod and came off and stayed in one piece as if they were still on the rod.  Embarrassing I know!!  Paige's curtains were not bad, but her windows were dusty.  

And speaking of dusty, underneath her bed lived the biggest dust bunny family ever.  Those suckers must have multiplied over and over!!  It was bad.  But at least now I can be a little smug knowing it's dust free.

I am putting together some items to put on ebay.  Not as much as Christmas time, but enough to get some junk out of my house.  Jeff and I are going to try to sit down tonight and put together our debt repayment plan again.  We fell of last summer as we had some problems with our rental homes being vacant(again!!)  and we used this as a time for some much needed repairs.  Now that we have some good tenants, and a nice tax return (again my apologies Damn Ramsey), we need to get rolling again.  We have small debt and it won't take long to wipe it away.  I also joined A bowl full of lemons weekly challenge to organize our finances, couldn't have come at a better time.

Jeff is at the grocery stores- my coupon binder is wonderful- and we've planned our week of dinners.  We did go out to eat with friends on Thursday night, but for the most part we have been eating at home 90% of the time.

Friday, March 11, 2011


This morning we woke up to a 2 hour school delay and about 3-4 inches of snow.  While the kids and I love it- I actually stayed home from work as they are predicting more snow throughout the day- one member of our family has definitely had enough of winter.

Chester is a tall skinny beige tabby that came into our lives around 7 years ago.  One night I came home from my job at the insurance call center and saw him on the corner.  I pulled into my driveway with the intention of putting some food out for him.  He had other plans.  He actually followed my car up the driveway and snuck into the house as I was opening the door.  He hasn't left.

He doesn't like being indoors and even in the winter is content to being outside chasing snowflakes.  But lately, he's been staying indoors.  It might be old age and the fact that he doesn't fatten up and get furry in the winter like other outdoor cats.  So he gets cold easy and is constantly going in and out.  Though I know he truly would rather be outdoors. 

Until the snow stops, he's been hanging out the office window keeping me company and secretly praying for spring!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring Cleaning

March is the month for me to begin simplifying my house.  To recap- I decided to try and tackle one thing every month for my resolutions.  January I basically used as a re- group month as I was going back to work after my medical leave.  February I decided to get my heart rate up by working out.  I am proud to say that I have really been doing good going 3x a week and if I happen to miss a work out - which only happened once- I have made it up.  Yay me!

So March is my month to simplify.  I created a nice organizer in my kitchen and created a coupon binder.
I even cleaned up my nightstand- pictures to follow.  I cleaned behind,beside, and above my refrigerator. 
I am still in the process of re-organizing my manual/maintenance folder- it's a biggie and I need to schedule some uninterrupted time. 

Today is my half day and after reading a couple blogs this morning-Hawkerswife and ABowlFullofLemons, I've decided to tackle some easy projects before bringing the kids to church for Ash Wednesday. It's CleaningPalooza at Hawkers wife and she is having some great giveaways and guest posts on cleaning- including some nice lists to help keep track of what needs accomplished. 

I've decided to wash my kitchen curtains as I can't honestly remember when I washed them last.  Heck, I may never have since putting them up originally almost 6 years ago.  Yup, I just admitted that cause I'm crazy like that.  Plus I would like to use the Scour Off that I just got from Toni's Autism Speaks fundraiser.  I should have done this a few days ago as last night I had my good friend's family over for dinner.  Really embarrassed to open the oven door!  But despite a gross oven, dinner was delicious.

I just re-arranged Jeffrey Michael's room around and wiped all his furniture and the his floor on Saturday.  I didn't take any before photos, but I did take a few photos of the new layout (his design choice of course).  I may have some old photos of his room that I can upload and post about. His curtains also need to be washed. And while I'm at it, I should do Paige's curtains and the office.  While I have those washing, I am going to wash the windows and wipe windowsills.  Should be a good test run for the Basic H window cleaner I got. 

 I have a huge list of posts that I need to get out of my head and off paper.  I tend to think about good posts to blog and compose them in my head as I am going about my day.  Sad part is that something will happen and I post about that completely forgetting I had something altogether different in mind. Someday I will get myself together.  One month at a time.....

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My messy little secret

Good morning sunshine

Yes this is my side of the bed.  I wake up to this every morning.  It's my dirty little secret.  And if you couldn't tell by the picture, it gets worse.

I leave just enough space to walk to and from the bed

Because I step on this!  The treadmill is to the right of the picture and so a lot of the time my pile will fall to the floor from the vibration of Jeff running.  Jeff just shakes his head.  He thinks it's funny that I am so busy making sure the rest of the house is clean and organized, yet I let this happen over and over again.  Oh and don't mind that the bed is obviously not made, my chihuahua digs up the covers and makes a huge cocoon in the middle.  So most days my bed is not made, though it does start out made in the morning! 

I used to just have things that inspired me but there's no inspiration now!

Waking up to this is not what I want to do everyday, so I have no idea why I keep letting it happen over and over.  Well, if I am honest with myself then I could just admit that it is laziness.  I like to spend time in my bed before I go to sleep, looking at magazines or browsing the web.  So I just dump whatever it is I am doing on the nightstand or on the floor.  Day after day after day.  That is until I really get sick of looking at it and I clean it up.  Yah- and it only takes about 10 minutes to get it back to clean and organized. 

Maybe that is part of the problem.  Because I know it is only gonna take me about 10 minutes to clean it up, I just procrastinate.  For me it's just one of those things.  It really doesn't bother me for a while and I know that in just a few minutes I can clean it up.  So I let myself have this messiness.  It's my strange indulgence.  It doesn't really bother me for the most part.  Could be worse right? I could feel like this about the public areas of my home. 

Do any of you have a dirty little secret?  One area that is not always clean and organized that you are honestly ok with?  Something that secretly makes you feel naughty about...haha!  Come on and share with  me!

Right after I posted this I did take the time to clean it up...................

Yes- I finally cleaned it up!
Even Walter the cat seems to be smiling!
What's this?
Why it's the floor by my bed!!

Update- it's still clean after 3 days!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Prayer thanks

Thanks to everyone who is sending prayer up in Chris's name.  He is scheduled for surgery today at 3pm.  The doctor's feel that the damage is irreversible and are trying to minimize any further damage to his spine. It heartbreaking and he is not in good spirits at this time.  Please keep praying. We're hoping for a miracle.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Prayer Request

 I really need some prayer help.

On my way home from work tonight, I found out a good friend's husband was injured.  He was on their property clearing some trees and one fell on him.  It was so serious that they airlifted him from his property and flew him to UPMC.  The latest is that he has no feelings in his legs and the doctors are very pessimistic about prognosis.  If everyone could lift up a prayer for him, he really could use it.  His wife works as a teacher in my son's school and is a close friend of the family.  They have 2 young boys and have just built a new home a couple years ago.  It is just a heartbreaking situation and they need all the prayer they could get!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Healthy Eating

I am very proud of myself for having worked out 3 times a week for the past 3-4 weeks.  The only time I missed was due to the snow last Monday. But I had worked out at the gym 3x and walked that Friday before so I'm calling it even!! 

What I would like to do now is to try to make healthier eating choices in addition.  But because I shop at Aldi's, sometimes I feel as though I can't find a lot of healthy items.  Aldi's does have their Fit and Active brand of food that is a good alternative.  I would like to get away from processed foods and offer better alternatives for myself and my family.  I have been going to the Save A Lot that opened up near me, and they seem to have a really nice produce section.  The produce section at my Aldi's is hit and miss.  Sometimes the produce is really nice and sometimes it's really bad! 

Next time I go shopping, I am going to have to plan it so that I will have a lot of time to really look at what they carry.  I'm guessing that there is some good healthy choices, but I'm always just running in and out quickly. 

The month of March I would like to work on simplifying.  This first week I am going to work on some key areas in my house.  I already started over the weekend with my coupon binder.  I had also started cleaning out on my household manual's binder but I ran out of time.  Maybe tomorrow night I can spend a few minutes on that. 

Last night Bethanny Frankel's new season premiered.  I really like her, we have a lot in common when it comes to families!!  Looks like it's gonna be a good season.