Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Swap Sweets!

I've been waiting with anticipation for my swap gifts and as I opened the door, this is what I saw.

My swap mate Cas rocks! We had exchanged a few emails, just trying to get a feel for each others taste. Well, let me tell you, this lady is GOOD! She knows me oh so well like we were meant to be friends!
So I open my package and this is what I see...

OMG, my eyes can't even focus! I see pink, I see cookies, I see toile. I can't breath... has a magic fairy been spying on me and given in to all my hearts desires???? Well YES, her name is Cas and just look:
Beautiful, delicious sweet treats, a pink and brown sash that I am gonna use as a belt, a ribbon ornament and a star bath fizzy. Oh, there is more :

Yep, that's right, toile file folders. I heart toile, these exactly match my window treatments! I also love to file. I file everything. I just had to go to the Mart to get a box of 100 boring, icky Manila file folders. On black Friday Hubby and I went out and got me an antique 18th century hand carved desk that has a file drawer into which I will all my gorgeous toile file folders.

Oh yes, there is more:

Do you see that snowman tassel? Good Grief, I just may pass out! That beauty went right up on the light fixture in my living room! It is lush and gorgeous and I adore it! Check out the sparkly red boot and tree. They are so glittery, they make me smile! I put them in my foyer and they pop on my table. Do you see the ribbon just above the card? It has Fleur DE Lis on it. Another obsession of mine. I know just what to do with that but I can't tell yet...

This is Cass's sweet card. She is fabulous and got me every single thing that I told her I loved. Can you imagine opening a box full of things you adore? Well, leave Cas alone, she is my swap buddy and we are gonna keep our swap alive. Next swap, Valentines Day! YIPPPEEEEEEEEEE, I only hope she likes her gifts as much as I love mine!

Did I mention the toile file folders? They are so pretty that I don't even want to use them! This was my very first swap and Oh how fun. I can't wait for Cas and I to do it again! I am in heaven. Thanks Cas, go meet her at her blog but remember, she is allllll mine!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tip Junkie ( Is having a super fun give away. Run over to the site and enter. They have hand made items too! Have Fun.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Run, Go Organize Your Pantry

I love when things are neat, tidy, organized and clean. Well, ever since we moved into the new house things have been the exact opposite of that. I have organizing block AND decorating block. Two things that I am so good at I can't seem to do at all now??? Maybe it's because this is our last house, the one we will grow old in and have our grandchildren in. I want it to be perfect, so if I can't do it perfectly, I just don't do it. Smart, right? WRONG...This place is a wreck and because it is bigger than our last house we don't have nearly enough furniture in it to unpack our things "just the right way". We have a list of priorities of things to fix, furniture to buy, decorating idea...etc. It is slow going because of lack of money and energy but I am going insane.

So, any little step in the right direction makes me intensely happy. I am a lover of Blogs. I have "met" the nicest people and learned so much from reading them. One of those is called MeckMom. The site is (I can't make my computer do a link for some reason but here is the URL to:

Go check it out, it is fabulous! She has organizing tips, crafts, downloads, the works! One of her brilliant ideas is for organizing your pantry. Well, I jumped right on that. I already had a ton of matching plastic totes so I printed off her labels and emptied my pantry into the designated tote and OOOOHHHHHH, is it nice (well until DH unloaded groceries and junked it up) but that is the beauty of this system, even if it's thrown into the totes, it is still organized! There is a tote for each category like soups, desserts, snacks, dinner, lunch, breakfast... I made two totes for some categories. Hubby just went grocery shopping so we opened the pantry and put each item in its respective tote. It was so fast so I wanted to share this wonderful blog so you all can do it too. Here is a picture of what your pantry can look like:
Isn't she pretty and SO efficient! MeckMom even lets you download her pretty labels for the totes. I laminated mine and attached them with Velcro dots so if it gets messed up or I change the label I can just Velcro on a new one. This makes me happy. Thanks MeckMom!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Heart Tassels

OK, so last night I made my first tassel and I am hooked. I am searching the house for things to turn into tassels. I'm a crazed woman. Help me. Send me tassel supplies quick! I made two Fall ones and then this green beauty to match my bedroom. I hung it on my bed. Now I want to clean my messy room so my pretty tassel has a nice home...I'm going to make more!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Mess and A Tassel

I am the lucky owner of TWO Susie Harris Tassels! I love her and her art work. Not only is she talented but so sweet! Well, tonight I tried my hand at making my own tassels and I am hooked. It started with a bunch of shopping for materials. Then, because my craft room is not ready yet, I set up a make-shift craft table. Then the mess...

Oh, and this mess too...
BUT, after an hour and a ton of hot glue gun burns and a huge metal acorn, here is my tassel...

Not too shabby, I am happy and I want to make MORE. I know what friends are getting for Christmas!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day...

Dear Daddy,
I miss you more than words can say, not just today on Veterans day but every single day! I miss you calling for your daily "Lilly Report", I miss you making such amazing things out of wood and cry as I look around my house at the things you made and cry. I miss your calmness and rationality during stressful situations. I miss you decorating Woody for every holiday. I miss watching you play with Lilly and talk to her in your special way. I miss all of your stories about when you were a boy. I miss your army stories and you calling cadences to Lilly and I in the kitchen. I miss your annual Christmas story about "Scooter" and Once or Twice Upon A Time. I miss you so much I can hardly breath.
Daddy you fought for our freedom and you are my hero. I can't believe it has been over a year since you have gone to heaven, I still forget you are gone and want to pick up the phone to talk to you. I remember your last year and how sick you got. We tried so hard to take care of you but you just kept getting sicker. We never got tired of taking care of you Daddy. Not even when you stopped walking and were confined to the hospital bed we moved into your living room where , once, a Christmas tree stood. I never minded sitting with you all day and cooking your favorite food and running all over town to get all of your 'stuff'. I still can't listen to the tapes we made together, the ones when I interviewed you about your life and you loved to tell the stories but then you got so sick you couldn't remember anymore. I didn't even mind when you forgot my name...I always loved you and I always will.
You are a good man who worked hard for his family. You never let us go hungry or want for anything. You came from nothing and joined the Army to make a better life for you and Mom and eventually us kids. You did it Daddy, we had a great life. I'm so lucky to have had you even though you died so young. I am lucky my daughter got to know and love you like I do. I can't imagine another holiday without you.
You served in Vietnam and died from exposure to something that has made us all sick. We had to watch you die every single day for a year and had to stand helplessly by while you were in such pain. The rest of us are still sick and I am left to wonder who will be next.
I'm proud of my soldier father. I'm proud of my mother who is an Army wife. I am proud of my brother and I for moving every 2 years during the hardest years in a child's life. I am proud of every soldier and their families who all serve our country and fight for our freedom. I am a proud American and so was my father. I found a picture of you kissing Lilly today and cried until I couldn't cry anymore. Tonight I watched the service at Arlington Cemetery where you Rest In Peace and I am crying while I write this. I love you Daddy and I am so proud of you. I miss you...we all do.
Happy Veterans Day!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

To Do...

I am a list maker. Good thing too, otherwise nothing would ever get done! Tomorrow's list:
Get Princess up, dressed, fed, walk to bus stop
Clean Kitchen and 3 bathrooms
Pick up new kitchen table
Move old table to Formal dining room
Iron table cloth and chair covers
Go to gym
Unload minivan (went Christmas Shopping tonight, almost done!)
Hide Princesses gifts
Finish "Thank You" cone for teacher
Fold a literal mountain of clean laundry
Shower, dress, makeup
Make Princess clean her room (AGAIN)
Drop off books at library
Meeting tomorrow night
Cry because there is no possible way I can do all of this in one day!

Friday, November 7, 2008

swap+button.jpg (image)
I just found this Christmas swap on Clemson Girl's site. Click on the above blue link to get to her blog and find out about it. Basically you have to sign up by Nov. 9 and the price limit is $20-$25 and the items need to be Christmassy (is that a word?). I heart shopping and I really heart getting gifts in the mail so I figured I would try this out. I have never done a swap so if anyone has any tips for me I really NEED them. I want my partner to be WOWED (is that a word?) when they open their box! I need to go shopping...

A "Thank You" Cone

The Princess has the best teacher in the whole wide world! She lets me volunteer as much as I want (and makes me coffee too). She gives the Princess hugs when she is missing her Mommy. She takes time out of her busy schedule to talk to me about any issue that comes up. She allows me to use my teaching degree and read with the kids, which I just love. She calls me at home to keep me updated. She does fun learning activities so the kids stay focused. She is VERY patient both with the kids and us parents. But, most of all, she genuinely cares about her students. She makes sure that each child gets what they need to succeed and is an advocate for each child. We love her.
I often bring in little gifts and candy for her but I wanted to make something special. I have seen these cones for holidays and decorations so I thought I would make one to put some quality dark chocolate in for our teacher.
I made a cone out of scrapbooking paper. I glued a tassel inside the cone before I glued it shut. Then I hot glued a ribbon around the top and on top of that I glued fabric flowers. I put eyelets in both sides and inserted a wire that I had wrapped around a dowel to make it curly into both eyelets. Finally I tied matching ribbon to the wire. I found a frame card that says "Thank You" and put in a picture of the Princess and our Teacher. I wrote her a heart felt note and I will attach it to the front of the cone. I hope she likes it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Christmas is Coming!

Well, Halloween is officially over and it's time to pack up those decorations and get ready for Thanksgiving AND Christmas. All of the stores are decorated for the holiday and I feel panic setting in. Every year I finish my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving but with this Flu, I don't know if that is possible this year.
Today we went to Target and got 75% off of Halloween decorations but alot of the sale items were also Fall decorations great for Thanksgiving. I will post pictures tomorrow. I did get Halloween costumes 75% off that I will wrap for my Princess for Christmas so she can use them for dress up clothes. We are talking $5.00 for an outfit- Go Me!
I have also planned the class Thanksgiving party and am glad that is done too. Now I will just start putting stuff together.
Have a fabulous day...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

October in Review...

A Sickly Month...
Oh what a month, it seems to have last an eternity. My favorite month gone in a Poof with a sinus infection and now...THE FLU! Needless to say I have missed a whole bunch. But my dear husband and Lovely Lilly have had a blast. Here are the Highlights:
The fabulous Halloween Countdown I found on and made for The Princess and her friends. Notice the basket full of eyeball candy next to it. I figured I would make it a true advent and give her a piece of candy for everyday of the countdown. It was a hit!

Yes, that is her pink Christmas dress, it was picture day at school and I though she could get her pics in her dress for Christmas Cards. Of course, my dear friend Carol will be taking family pics now that the leaves are changing colors so we may use those instead. IF I can loose 35 pounds before picture time as I have been laying in bed gaining weight for the last month and can't fit into my clothes!

Carter's Mountain

Every year Big D and I take the Princess to Carter's Mountain Apple Orchard in Charllottsville VA. We love it: Fresh hot apple cider, apple chutney, apple pie, apple cookies and our favorite: Apple Doughnuts! YUMMY! We scarf down the D-Do's as Princess calls them and fight for the last one, Princess Lilly always wins :)

Halloween Day

From top to bottom:

1. Princess Lilly in her Halloween dress made by Meme (her Grandma, my Mom)

2. Her class party of which I organized but was too sick to attend so the lovely Moms in class along with Hubby took over and had a delightful time with the kids. I stayed home and cried.

3. Carving the annual pumpkin.

4. All dressed up as a Superstar to go Trick or Treat then home to a party in ours and our neighbors back yard also of which I was supposed to co- host but my dear friend Vandee, her hubby, my hubby and my mom took over and had a blast for all the adults and kids in our neighborhood. I stayed home and cried.

So now Halloween is over. I have missed it and all the fun too. I am still in bed but very thankful to my family and friends for helping me with my projects and parties and for making Halloween fun for my precious daughter.

I love you all.

Happy Fall!

Friday, October 17, 2008


My birthday with "My Girls"! These women have renewed my faith in friendship! I have had a tough time with so called "friends" recently and thought I could never trust anyone else as a true friend. I was wrong! These women and several more not pictured have changed my view of friendship for good. I now know what a real friend is. One who gives without thought of getting, one who makes time during busy and hectic lives to spend with you, one who takes the time to learn about you and knows you inside and out, one who loves your family as much as you love theirs, one who does kind gestures without provocation, one who wants to be with you and spend time with you, one who loves you despite your faults...these are true friends.
I have been "friends" with a taker and never a giver. One who never cared as much about my child and family as I did about theirs, one who only considered what was best for them and not for anyone else , and , most especially, one who would never admit any fault and only cast blame onto me... this type of sociopathic friendship is very sad and heartbreaking for me, the one who did love and care, for the friend and their children and family. I have learned hard lessons and continue to do so as this person still lives in their fantasy world. It is hard growing up and accepting responsibility especially if you are the type of person who only takes. For me, giving is the joy I have. I love to give and make my real friends happy. It is so sad that you must suffer the false friends to find your real friends!
I am so happy to say that, at long last, I have found real friends. Women who care about me and my family. Who call to check on us. Who come to visit because they love and miss us. Who give to us so unselfishly just to make us happy without expecting anything in return. Who are sad when we aren't around. I urge you to hang on to these people because there are such awful people in the world who only care about themselves and just take and take.
I have been blessed with a circle of friends who not only love us, but who care about our well being. This is so new to me and I am so grateful for these women and their families. After the harsh realization that people can be just BAD it is so nice to find that people can be just GOOD too! I am a survivor of chronic illness, the loss of a parent and the chronic illnesses of my other parent and sibling. This makes me grateful for everyday that I have and so sad for the ugly people I once though of as "friends". They are pitiful to me and I am so sad for them and such ugly heartlessness.
I can say with all my heart that I have found such happiness with both my family and my friends... That is so amazing to me. I have been so blessed to be where I am in my life surrounded by people who love me and laughing at people who threw us away... what a loss for them and a blessing for us. We are where we belong and so happy like never before! So, I send this out into the great big world to say... Thank you for all who love us and "too bad for you" to those who only care about themselves. I am a lucky girl and as for "those people" they will reap what they sew. It is what it is. I love you my friends and "Thank You" from the bottom of my heart.

My Halloween Candy Boquet

Tomorrow night my husband and I are attending a charity event for FANA (Foundation for the Assistance of Abandoned Children). My friend Tracey hostesses the event each year and it is always so lovely with all of the proceeds going to charity. I wanted to donate something for the silent auction so I thought a Candy Bouquet would be perfect...Halloween themed (Of Course!). I love making these, they are such unique gifts and always a crowd pleaser. I make them for all holidays and seasons. I have every kind of container to put the bouquet into. I have plush baskets, ceramic, popular characters like Dora, Spider Man, Princesses...etc.
The problem I always have is my own perfectionism always standing in my way. When I get an order for one or make one as a gift I want each one to be perfect. So, then I start worrying and fretting. I always have my supplies ready to go, all I need is to get the candy. I try to get holiday themed candy or whatever the theme is and I always try to have a centerpiece. Making the bouquet isn't the problem it is during the process, I start second guessing myself! Do I have enough candy, enough decorations, are both sides even, does it look evenly distributed??? AAARRRGGGGG! I must go back and fiddle with the bouquet 100 times until I just have to walk away.
Flylady ( always talks about perfection getting in the way and how it can really be an obstacle! I now realize that it is a huge obstacle in my life and really paralyzing! If I can't do something perfectly, I don't want to do it at all. Well, that can get you into big trouble because nothing is ever perfect! So, I am learning to do my best and let that be enough! I hope that my bouquet raises money for the children and I am going to stop messing with it! It is what it is!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Organizing Your Shower Routine???

While I was taking a shower today, I realized that I do the exact same thing, the exact same way in the exact same order every day when I take my shower. I never take baths, the though of laying in a tub of water with all your dirt and yuck from your body just sitting in there with you is just...GROSS! Now, everyone I know LOVES taking baths. They have special bath salts and scrubs and bubbles and they light candles and relax. I admit, it sounds great, but I have a Biology degree and I think I learned too much about germs, bacteria, skin cells and all that other gross stuff that no one thinks about except me. My new house even has a huge, jetted tub and The Princess love taking her baths in it, she says she can even see the TV in there. I use the tiny shower. One day I want to take the bath out and make a big, humongous shower with tons of sprayers and lots of space... Oh, to dream!

Anyway, does anyone else have a shower routine? I didn't even realize I do until today. That just goes to show you that if you do something everyday it becomes a routine and you don't even have to think about it. So this is my shower routine if anyone cares:
  • Get the water nice and hot
  • Get all wet and wash my face with special facial scrub
  • Put shampoo in my hair
  • Soap up body
  • Rinse hair and body
  • Put in hair conditioner
  • Shave my legs and under arms
  • Wash face again
  • Rinse hair, face, body

I think that's it...when I get out I lotion up, put hair product in and blow dry hair, put on makeup, get dressed. After dressing I straighten and style my hair, put on matching jewelry (I just love matching my jewelry to my outfits), perfume then go. Oh, I also change my purses to match my outfits and shoes. You know, brown purse for brown shoes, black purse for black shoes... I have pink, blue, yellow, green and white bags...mostly Coach Bags. I am addicted to Coach. Some are years old but look brand new. They are made so well. I do have several Louis but Coach has my heart!

So, that's my organized shower routine. Does everyone do this or am I a wierdo? Oh well, it is what it is!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fabulous Halloween Countdown!

I found these adorable Halloween Countdown posters at MeckMom. Go here and check it out. She is letting us download and print them for free and I can't wait. The countdown actually starts on Oct.17 so you have a few days to get your stuff together. Here is what I plan on doing with these fabulous posters:
  • Print posters and glue them to a larger sheet of black or orange construction paper.
  • Use my Cropadile to put eyelets at the top of each corner.
  • Treat some cute Halloween ribbon through each eyelet and knot in front.
  • This will create a ribbon hanger for the countdown.
  • Next, get a medium sized white or brown paper bag with handles and decorate them with Halloween stickers or stamps .
  • Fill each bag with 14 Googly eyes(that is the amount needed to fill the countdown) and a bag of chocolate eyeball candy.
  • Tie some cute ribbon onto the bags and you are finished!

These gifts are perfect for your friends who have children. Each day someone gets to put an eyeball onto the poster and then get a piece of candy, just like a Christmas Advent Calendar. I can't wait to put these goodies together and Post a pic for all to see!

Ornganize Your Week

So, I've already discussed my planner and the love I have for it. This is how I organize my week. I have already written down weekly events such as my volunteering commitments, going to the gym, weekly discussion group and weekly lunch date with my girlfriends. I have already written down any appointments I have made. I have already written down any invitations to events that I have received....So now what?

Well, now you have to actually look at your planner! I look at mine 100 times a day, at least. Now that all of my commitments are in there, I can plan my errands and anything else that comes up around my posted appointments. I try to do my errands when I am already close to the store I need to go to. For example, my gym is by Wal Mart and the Dollar Tree so I know that I will plan to go to those stores on one of my gym days. Here is how my week looks:
  • Monday- Gym, Dollar Tree, Wal Mart, Clean kitchen and mudroom,start work on Charity Auction Candy Bouquet, discussion group
  • Tuesday- Class Volunteer, Eat lunch with Princess, Clean living room,playroom,bathroom (downstairs), laundry, dust
  • Wednesday- Gym, work on stuff for teacher, clean master bed and bath,finish Halloween gifts for girlfriends, Dr. appointment, Award Ceremony Dinner with Meme
  • Thursday- Class Volunteer, Birthday Lunch with friends, laundry, change sheets, Birthday Dinner with friend
  • Friday- Gym, Finish cleaning house, make dish for Bunco, Help Princess into Halloween costume for party, Bunco, Princess has friends sleeping over
  • Saturday- Drive friends home, clean house from sleepover, laundry, help with teacher stuff, Charity Auction
  • Sunday- Busch Gardens with family...Pass out from a super fun, too busy week!

Now, will I be able to do everything on my list even with this stupid sinus infection? No Way! BUT, I still write it all down and do what I can do. I know that my energy level is low and now even lower because of my sinus torture so I will take one day at a time, one minute at a time and prioritize as I go. Some things simply HAVE to get done, other things I can postpone or do in steps. Right now, I'm going to bed so I can start the week off right and go to the gym. This does not give me lots of energy like some people but it does make me feel better about myself and motivates me to do more.

By the way, I realize no one reads this blog, I'm not crazy. I love to write and this not only helps organize my thoughts, one day this will be a great diary or maybe a book? Who knows?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

NOT Organized But Cute!

Today I dragged myself out of bed and began to tackle my mile long "To Do" list. It felt really good to get some things done, even though I still feel yucky. So, here is what I worked on today:
  • A class sign for The Princesses teacher
  • Book labels for teacher
  • Adorable invitations for our Halloween party
  • Super cute Halloween Countdown for The Princess and some of my friends' kids
  • Helped Hubby in the yard with the Halloween decorations... Hubby has done some fabulous landscaping. I'll post pics soon!
  • STARTED working on some of the many piles around the house

It felt great to cross these off my list. I have lots to do tomorrow to get ready for an insanely busy week. Every day is booked! Not only with work and obligations but also with some fun activities too. I am meeting a friend for coffee, I am getting my butt back to the gym, I am going to lunch with my girlfriends for my birthday (better late than never!), and, of course, volunteering at school and eating lunch with The Princess. I try not to pack my days too full because I get tired very easily and usually must lay down at least once a day. I also try not to only plan yucky things that make me dread getting up in the morning. It's hard enough for me to get up, I am so not a morning person, so I like to schedule things to look forward to.

As I was tidying up the Master Bedroom today, I noticed a bunch of toys that The Princess left in there. I was thinking "Geez, this kid leaves toys everywhere, what am I gonna do with her? I need to.... BLAH, BLAH, BLAH." Then, out of the blue, I noticed a pattern to the toys. She had her little bench at the end of my bed. She had some favorite stuffed animals IN my bed. She had her megaphone by the bench and her favorite monkey blanket (she is obsessed with monkeys) IN my bed too. Well, I guess you have to know my daughter, but all of this adds up to PURE CUTENESS on her part. I have been sick in bed all week and my precious angle dragged in her bench and megaphone and placed it at the foot of my bed so she could sing me songs. She left her favorite blanket and stuffed animals in my bed to comfort me! I actually have tears in my eyes writing this.

My child is the sweetest girl on earth. She always wants people to be happy and to be well. When ever I get sick she takes care of me, getting me drinks and snacks. When she spends the night with Meme (my mom) she always has to take something of mine and leave me something of hers. She carries a picture of me to school everyday... she was getting sad each day but her fabulous teacher told her that whenever she got sad for her mommy, she could come and get a hug from her instead. It worked too, her teacher tells me that The Princess starts getting sad and runs to get a hug several times a day :) -how adorable is that? I started sending in a picture of me too and now she takes it to school and she sleeps with it.

Now, don't misunderstand, The Princess is very independent! She has tons of friends and is highly social. She can go to the park and walk right up to a little kid and ask them to play. The sensitive side of her comes out when she is in new situations or when she is tired or not feeling well. Every night she wants to cuddle with me and we have "5 minute slumber parties" which are just us laying in her bed with the lights off talking and cuddling. I cherish those moments...

So, all of this leads me to my bedroom is not organized right now and, in my rush to put everything in its place, I almost missed my daughters' symbols of love for me. Stop and Smell The Roses comes to mind. I was so close to overlooking the cute things that my Princess did just for me! So, I left her things right where she put them. I am looking at them right now and knowing what she was thinking when she put them there and just overflowing with love for my baby girl who is growing up so fast! I have decided to take a closer look at things around my house and maybe, just maybe, all those piles aren't just random messes but maybe they are there for a sweet, innocent 7 year old reason!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Organizing Books

OK, so everyone knows I'm sick and have been lying around looking at my ever growing piles of stuff growing on every horizontal surface. Well, I am also looking at the bookshelves in my bedroom and noticing how many organizing books I have and, amazingly enough, I have read every single one. Well, that got me thinking... I have also read countless organizing books from the library too. AND, I also have organizing books on Cd's that I listen to in the car. AND, I subscribe to and read every organization type magazine there is. AND, I read articles about organizing. AND, I read organizing Blogs obsessively. AND, have ordered organizing ebooks. AND, go to organizing seminars and classes. AND, watch all those organizing TV shows. AND, organize my family and friends homes, cars, purses, you name it... So what does this all mean? How does one become a "Professional Organizer"? I don't mean as a job, I mean, when is someone considered Professional? I have a degree in Biology and another degree in Secondary Education and a minor in Marine Biology so I guess when I graduated and got those degrees that was a defining moment. Now, I have done more work, studying, researching, writing, reading and well, learning about anything as intensely as I have organizing. So, does that make me a professional? Well, If anyone saw my new house the answer would be "NO" for sure but as far as knowledge is concerned, I would have to say "yes". HMMMMM, just a thought.

As far as my new house goes... I am considering this my biggest (literally) organizational challenge. So, maybe, this is like my thesis... my final exam...the big defining organizational moment. As I embark on this long term journey, this house will surely test every piece of my organizational knowledge and thus, make me a "professional". Wow, I just answered my own question. What do you think. This is going to be some journey making this house into a home one baby step at a time. And, for a girl who want everything right now, a test in patience and the necessity to let go of my perfectionism and remember that... it is what it is!

Organizing Paper Clutter, School Supplies and Some Funny Memories

OK, so the kids have been back in school for a few months and now (hopefully) we have all gotten back into the swing of things. It's fun to get the kids all ready for school and shop the Back to School sale, I mean, who doesn't LOVE new school supplies??? At the beginning of the year it's easy to organize...get all the supplies on your child's supply list. Remember to buy extras while they are on sale because the kids will run out and need replacements AND the teachers will run out and these are great to give to the teacher mid-year... Teachers work very hard for very little money and usually spend their own money to buy their students just basic school supplies, never mind EXTRAS for the class! Alas, that is a post for another day.

Once the school supplies are purchased, then what? Organize, of course! Send the supplies to school, then divide your extra supplies into two different areas. One set of supplies should be stored at your child's desk or homework area. Your child should have their very own place to do homework away from TV, toys and other distractions. Clear the space so your child can spread out and have the area set up with supplies like paper, pencils, rulers, dictionary...and extra, backup school supplies. The other set of extra supplies should be put away into your gift closet to be used later in the year for teachers.

So, you have your supplies and an organized homework area and it is a few months into school. The papers from school have piled up all over the house and who knows what paper belongs to what kid. Permission slips, PTA, class parties, invitations, homework, classwork, artwork...AAAARRRRRGGGGG! Now, I only have ONE child and it is overwhelming, the amount of paperwork that comes home each day. I have such enormous respect for All mothers and especially mothers with several ( or more than several :) ) children. I cannot begin to imagine how much paper traffic alone they must deal with! How do we re-organize or just spruce up our organization and keep it that way...

First, we need a system. I set up family mailboxes. I went to Target (oh how I love Target) and bought 3 stackable paper trays from the Home/Office section and a medium sized matching box. Each of us has our own tray that we must check daily. The box sits next to the trays and in it I have a jar of pens, pencils, a hole punch, sharpie and scissors. Another jar of paper clips and binder clips. And Post-it notes, a small dictionary, note cards and tape. It sounds like alot but really just picture 3 black stacked paper trays with a matching box next to it on the edge of my kitchen counter. This is our system: The Princess unloads her Daily Folder from school into my mailbox for me to check ( most days I check it immediately or while she is doing her homework), the mail is immediately sorted into the appropriate persons box or into the trash, any other paperwork is, again, placed into the correct person's box. Hubby and I check ours daily but The Princess will go through hers when it starts piling up ( she also uses hers to put her toys in when she doesn't want to clean them up...this only works because hers is on top so picture our boxes with the top box full of Webkinz :) ). I asked her why they are in there and she said " It's MY mailbox and I get to put my important things in it", Well, that IS what I told her, I suppose I should have been more specific!

Now you must be thinking "there has to be more to it than just that!". Well, you're right, I wish it was that easy! So, when you "go through" your box, what do you do with the paper from there. Many, many things my friend. I have mentioned before that everyone needs a planner or, at the very least, a calendar for the family. Well, I'm saying it again, get a Planner- I don't "do" technology well so I have a Franklin Covey paper planner. Mine is pink (OF COURSE) and has weekly and monthly calendars as well as divided sections for other things. ANYWAY get one that is comfortable for you and USE IT EVERY DAY. Mine is like a part of the family. My hubby even checks MY planner before making appointments or plans because I write everyones schedules and appointments in my planner and update it daily....

OH, back to the paper stuff, sort through your box, throw away trash mail, don't even open it. Cut it up and toss it. Write down all appointments, volunteering obligations, playdates, dates with friends, parties, EVERYTHING. My daughter's teacher gives out a monthly calendar and I immediately write down days school is closed, tests, quizzes, field trips, class parties...Now, forms to fill out, do them as soon as you can so you don't forget them. If I can't do them right away then I leave them in my mailbox so they don't fall through the cracks. My husband takes care of the bills and he has his own system for that but basically, they come in the mail, go into his mailbox then go into a basket in the office until he pays them on certain days of the month. Invitations, RSVP immediately then write it down in your planner. If it is an event that needs a gift, write it down on your shopping list and/or write a reminder in your planner a week before the event so you aren't frantically running around trying to come up with a gift an hour before the event ( Hint... Gift Closet).

Now, that takes care of most of the paper work except for the things you NEED or WANT to keep. For important documents (IE.. tax stuff, receipts, medical info., insurance info.) you need to have a file system in place. This can be as simple or complex as you make it. Some people I know do everything electronically. They scan in their documents and save them in files on the computer. There is software for this and really cool office equipment for scanning and saving. I am not one of those people. I love my label maker and file folders. I simply make a label stick it to a folder and file it away. Simple but it works for me!

The other category of paper work is of the more sentimental variety. Who throws away their children's artwork? I do! When she is sleeping, of course, and only after it is prominently displayed for a day or two. Funny story... I am the same person who used to LAMINATE my daughter's scribbles. Yes, I have come a long way. I just could never imagine throwing anything away that the precious angle created until I realized she created TONS AND TONS of "artwork" every day! Another funny story... when I finally realized that every inch of space on every surface of my home was covered with scribbles from my one year old, I started to painfully trow some of it away. Well, Hubby was Outraged! He would actually go into the trash and dig out the pictures and...get this...hang them in the garage! I didn't even know he was doing it until I went out there one day and saw all the wrinkled pictures taped to the wall. He covered every wall in the garage then started making piles until I had an Intervention and sat him down for "the talk". You know, the one everyone has about not keeping every piece of paper their only child touches... What? you mean EVERYONE doesn't go through this... Oh, well I'm embarrassed now!

Anyway, that was many years ago and now we throw most things away unless she loves it or it is a gift (I still do find piles of her art hidden in my Hubby's drawers and other spots, secretly I think it is precious how much he adores her). What in the heck was I talking about? Oh, the papers you want to keep... OK, I went to Wal Mart and got some 4 packs of corkboard in the office section. It comes with adhesive and I put it up on the inside of several of my cabinet doors. I use it to hang my daughter's: lunch menu, weekly class notes, monthly school calendar and any party invitations she receives. I also hang my invitations and PTA info, Class Mom info and flyers to event we are going to. I weed the corkboards out so they don't get junky and we all know where to look for lunch info or party directions ( even though I write directions in my planner too). As for artwork, we now have a stainless steel fridge that is not magnetic so Princess is not so picky about what to keep. She has a drawer and when that gets full, SHE has to start weeding out stuff. Each new school year, I pack up the drawers contents into a tote, label it and put it in the attic. She will have these as cute memories as she gets older.

These are some of the ways I try to tame the paper beast, although this past week I have been quite ill and Hubby has been in charge of the house so there are piles of STUFF everywhere! I am not looking forward to cleaning up but it sure was nice of him to take over while I have been a big, contagious, feverish, cranky ball of sinus infection! I have a To Do list a mile long to get done by Monday and I don't even want to get out of bed much less clean. Oh, and I STILL haven't finished my "Thank You" cards for all the fabulous gifts from mine and my daughter's birthdays! EEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK. I'll do it later, it is what it is!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Organize Your Car

I just can’t stand driving in a messy car! Now, my hubby has TWO cars of his very own but insists on driving MY car! Really, I don’t have a “cool” car, it’s a minivan for goodness sake but, no matter how much I yell and scream calmly ask him to stop, he drives my car every night to work. I also have a messy little piggy wonderful daughter, The Princess, who tends to be a bit untidy. Given these two factors, it is difficult for me to keep my car clean and organized. Here are my tried and true tips for maintaining your vehicle:

-Keep two trash cans in the car. One up front, one in back with the kids (if you have more than one piggy child, add another trash can to the third row of seats)
-Empty these trash cans OFTEN. I empty mine every time I fill the car with gas.
-Keep plastic bags (like from the grocery store) in the glove box in case you eat in the car or have a trash overload… You can also dump the cans into a bag and empty them more often.
-Vacuum, dust, and clean the windows and mirrors often.
-Just like in your home, have a place for everything and everything in its place.
-Take everything in with you once you get home (sweaters, gloves, coffee cups, toys and any purchases you have made)
-Make your husband Ask your hubby nicely to wash your car or do it yourself if you like that sort of thing.
-Make Car Kits with specific purposes and just leave them in the car. I LOVE kits of any kind. They keep things together and organized so there is no searching around to find things. I make EVERYTHING into kits. For the car, I have the following kits: Cleaning Kit, Beauty Kit, Emergency Kit, Craft Kit, Fun Kit, Office in a Bag… Wow this seems obsessive compulsive a tad much but they really work and we use them every day.

Ok, I now feel compelled to tell you what is in each Car Kit. I love these and even make them as gifts. A few years ago everyone got the Emergency Kit for Christmas, last year my “girls” (other Stay at Home Moms that I love) got the Beauty Kits, all the kids eventually get the Craft Kits for birthday gifts and the family have all received the Cleaning Kit at some point. These kits are not revolutionary, they are simply things we want, use, need or already have assembled With Style into cute, organized, ready to go kits. So now I will tackle each kit, one at a time so that you can make your own. Most of this stuff you probably already have and/or can be found at the Dollar Spot at Target or any Dollar Tree.

Cleaning Kit- small brush and dust pan (mine is pink and very useful to sweep off seats and the floor), mini car vac (plugs into AC adaptor), Swiffer Duster (I use this every day , the handle extends and I whip it out to dust the dash board while driving), glass cleaning wipes, Armor All Wipes, Clorox disinfecting wipes, Tide spot remover pen, paper towels, baby wipes all in a black flattish bag with several pockets that fits under my center console between the two front seats.
Beauty Kit- I love these! I have one and The Princess has her own! I also love giving these, there is so much stuff in these and it is all so usefull plus I put all the stuff in super cute Makeup Bags- mine is a Coach Makeup Bag! Ok, tooth flossers, tooth brush, tooth paste, breath spray, tweezers, mirror, brush, hair spray, oil absorbing pads, small deoderant, nail polish remover wipes, anti-bacterial wipes, nail file, nail clippers, small scissors, sewing kit, safety pins, stain removing pen, wrinkle releasing spray, static cling spray, q-tips, femenin hygine pads, first aid kit, band aids, liquid band aid, bug repellant wipes, after bite bug bite lotion, sunscreen, hair bands, bobby pins, barrettes, makeup: powder, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, lip gloss, perfume… Can you believe that all of this fits in a makeup bag??? Of course they are all travel sized but I always have everything I need!

Emergency Kit- I admit that mine is one of those pre-made kits that came in a nice black vinyl bag and I just added a few things to it. It came with jumper cables, emergency blanket, flares, Help sign, air compressor and I added a flashlight, tool kit, glow sticks, ponchos, batteries, water bottles and some other things that escape me right now. HMMMMMM, I better check out my kit tommorow huh?

Kid Craft Kit (grown ups like it too!)- I order cute, clear, vinyl back packs and stuff them full of FUN!!! Crayons, markers, colored pencils, assorted papers, scissors, foil ( yes foil, kids love this stuff. The Princess and her friends will play with foil for hours!), stickers, glue dots (not runny glue in the car), pom poms, google eyes, pipe cleaners, playdoh, coloring book, stencils, paper plates, craft sticks, index cards, hole punch, yarn, stamps, old magazines and hand wipes (for cleanup). I also keep a new cookie sheet in the car in the Fun Kit that can be used as a lap desk to do crafts on and because it has a lip around it, things don’t spill as easily!

Fun Kit- small pillow, blanket, outdoor blanket (the kind you can put on the ground and won’t get wet), Frisbee, balls, cookie sheet, magnetic letters,numbers, anything magnetic, sweater, swimsuit, water shoes, towel, sand toys, hats, trash bags, water, non perishable snack, books, card games…I change out some according to the season. The point of this Kit is so we don’t have to run home or go buy something to have spontaneous FUN. I use one of those collapsible, fabric totes with handles and I keep it in the trunk.

Office In A Bag- This is indispensable for all you busy Mom’s taxi cabbing your kids all over the entire worldlovingly driving your children to their very important activities. I have found myself waiting in the car, at doctor appointments, ballet, Kung Fu, gymnastics… Anyway, this is a great way to get a ton of work and correspondence done while you wait. I found an adorable pink and brown tote thingy with tons of small pockets, dividers, and spaces just perfect for an office. They are meant for Scrapbooking supplies and I actually got several on sale for $9.99 each! Then I added: an assortment of colorful pens (I like to match my pen color to my stationary or to the season, Orange=Halloween, Red and Green= Christmas…, an assortment of cards, paper and stationary for letter writing, electronic dictionary and thesaurus (I can’t spell at all!), new magazines I haven’t had time to read, scissors, index cards, hole punch, book rings ( cut out articles, write recipes… hole punch and connect with a book ring), stamps, glue dots, stickers, address labels, double sided tape, assorted ribbon, address book, book of quotes, paper clips, labels and a clip board. I can do anything right in the front seat of my car and look cute doing it!

So, this has been long enough and I hope you have found some useful tips for making your car clean, organized and super efficient!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Organize Your Doctor Appointments

So, after a long, long, long night of chills, fever, throbbing headache and intense body pain, I realized that this is no ordinary bug. First thing this morning after getting the Princess up and off to school (funny, I only vaguely remember anything from this morning except that I fed her a doughnut and juice box for breakfast...which she loved I might add. I think she even asked me for another one but I said "no" so that's not too bad right?) anyway, I crawled back into bed with my planner - which I will talk about in detail at a later day, for now I will just tell you that I wouldn't last a day without it and don't know how people survive without some form of planner or pda or other system. I digress, so I am in bed with my planner and the phone waiting until 9:00 am on the dot to make an appointment with my doctor. I call and they tell me to come right in so I grab my planner, purse and go.

First let me say that I am going to live... I don't even have the flu, just some sort of mean, nasty virus that is trying to kill me but the doctor gave me some medication , after a rather thorough exam, and sent me on my way. I love my doctor, she rocks... she leaves no stone unturned and has a wonderfully sunny disposition. OK, so now that we know I'm gonna make it, let me tell you that I am no stranger to doctors, testing, medication, hospitalization, surgery and procedures. You name it, I have probably done it. I say that only to assure you that I know my way around the medical field and have tried every organizational trick in the book to keep my medical history and records straight! So here is what I have finally come up with after years of trial and error...

There are many products on the market that you can buy just for this very reason is one example. Another option is and there are so many more just like these. There are also software packages you can buy to keep everything on your computer and even ebooks that you can download and print at home. I have purchased several of these organizers and realized that you don't need to spend so much money when you can make your own for a fraction of the price at home. You will need:
  • 3 Ring Binder ( I like the ones you can slip your own cover into because I like that I can personalize each binder and I use binders for many different organizational tasks)
  • Computer and a word processing program like Word or Excel to make tables
  • Notebook paper for taking notes
  • Dividers with labels
  • Pen- I like to attach my pen to my binder with a cute ribbon so I never loose it.

Now you have the supplies, get to work... Label your dividers any way you choose: by doctor, by month or year. Make sure you have a section for Medications you are taking and keep this updated regularly. Also make several copies of this because each doctor will want a copy for their own records and it keeps you from having to fill out all your medications over and over. Have another section for allergies and allergic reactions, again keep this updated. If you have several illnesses like I do then you can have a section with a list of your illnesses and when you were diagnosed and by which doctor. Always have a section for each of your doctors that includes their name, address, phone, fax. Keep notebook paper in each doctors' section and write down the date of your appointment, reason for appointment and any questions you have plus write down notes from what the doctor is saying. They come in so quickly and then they are gone so you may need the notes to read later to see exactly what the doctor said. Another divider should have your insurance paperwork, card, birth certificate and any other papers you may need if you must rush to the ER or be admitted to the hospital. If you are that sick than you are too sick to be running around looking for all of this stuff and someone needs to be able to grab it and go!

Another important section is a list of all of your surgeries, procedures, tests, lab work, hospitalization... include the date, doctor, location , reason and results. I wish I had done this at the very beginning of my "journey" because they always ask and I never wrote all of that down in the beginning so now I have had to try and go back and piece together my medical history. That doesn't sound too complicated unless you have moved around, seen many different doctors and had so much testing that it is all just a blur now!

So, now you have this beautiful Medical History Portfolio ( it even sounds organized doesn't it?). You have your name, address and phone numbers on it and in it just in case you leave it somewhere. You have beautifully labeled (I just adore my label maker!) dividers with all of your important information behind each one. So now it's time to go to a doctors appointment...

If you have never been to this doctor before, you will have to fill out a ton of paperwork but now, you are not scared! Why? Because you have every single piece of information that you will need in your handy dandy binder. If you have been to this doctor before, simply flip to that doctor's divider and there you will have the notes from your last visit, any tests that were done, the results, and any questions you may have for the doctor for this visit. Ask your questions, fill in the answers, take notes about your diagnosis, write down any testing or lab work that they may do so that you can follow up on it at your next appointment, gather your prescriptions ( record them or photocopy them for your binder) and you are on your way...

FABULOUS right? Well, yes UNLESS you are so sick that you feel like you may die at any moment and you are sure that you are suffering from an incurable disease that no amount of medication will ever cure or even help you to feel the tiniest bit better... Then, you... grab your binder or planner (your planner has paper in it as well as names, addresses, phone numbers and dates of all doctors appointments as well, it is just not quite as thorough as you Medical History Portfolio but will do in a pinch). You drag yourself into the office, they feel so sorry for you that they take you right back so you can lay down on the table (also so you don't scare the other patients) and you wait to die, um I mean , you wait for the doctor. You take brief notes in your planner, write down what you can then go home and hope your husband takes pity on you. Then, later, when you are feeling better, you transcribe your notes and tests and prescriptions into your Medical History Portfolio.

Geez this was long. I hope this helps you, it really does work. I made my daughter her own binder when she was born so she wouldn't have to go back and fill in history later. The sooner you take charge of your own medical care the better. It is vitally important to stay on top of your care and to be your own advocate otherwise, unfortunately, somethings do fall through the is what it is!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sick Days/ Tips

When I was little and was sick, my Mom took such great care of me! We only had one TV so she would make me a cozy "nest" of blankets and pillows on the couch and let me watch cartoons as I dozed in and out of sleep. She made sure that she gave me all my medicine on time and would make yummy comfort food like Chicken 'N Dumplings with little puff pastries to soak up the sauce. Then, for dessert, there was always jello or pudding. During the day we would read books, color pictures, tell stories and rest. No matter how sick I was, Mom always made me feel better!

Now I'M the Mom and I'm sick... so this is how Sick Days are NOW... my hubby works odd shifts so he isn't home this morning. I got up with the Princess who is very crabby because she refused to go to sleep last night. Luckily, we had done our evening routine and set out our clothes so she went potty and got herself dressed while I tried not to cry from the pain in my head. The Princess does not eat breakfast, not ever, even though she got to pick a variety of foods she PROMISED she would eat for breakfast so that was a battle I just couldn't fight today.... OOOOPPPPPPSSSSS, today is one of my volunteer days at her school, I am Room Mom and adore her teacher so I hate to let her teacher down but I really feel horrible. SO, as the Princess is throwing a fit because I am not going in today, I find the phone then the number and cancel at the last minute... I hate when I do that. I hate when anyone does that, I just hate to let people down and her teacher works so hard. I feel REALLY bad now!

So, the Princess is dressed, bag packed, called neighbor to give her a ride to school, cat is fed, but now I have to take care of myself. Yes, I know I am 34 years old and quite capable but I don't feeeeeeeeelllllll gooooood. Can you tell I'm whining. OK, I take my medicine, no comfort food, no food at all because yesterday was shopping day and I was sick yesterday too. I grab a green tea, lay in my rumpled bed feeling lousy for not volunteering, not feeding my child breakfast, not grocery shopping and feeling just plain lousy... I want my Mommy!

Since today is Tuesday Tip Day, here are some of my own sick day tips for taking care of your self or your little love

  • Make a Sick Sack- I used a canvas tote and the Princess and I used fabric paint pens to decorate it. I then filled it with fun, low key sick day activities from the Target Dollar Spot and the Dollar Tree... some examples are: coloring books, crayons, finger puppets/ puppet stage, collage making materials (clear contact paper, pom poms, sequins, jewels), yarn, construction paper, scissors...I look every time I'm in the store for little prizes for the Sick Sack, Santa's Stocking or just surprises for being good. I grab them up and hide them so I always have a stash!
  • Get a Lap Desk or Bed Tray- these are great for using in bed and on the couch. The little loves can do their activities on it and you can put your Laptop on it or write letters, lists...
  • Make a stationary basket- I actually use a plastic file box that has a lid and a place to put pens, white out, erasers and such. Stock it with an assortment of cards for every occasion, pretty stationary, address labels, stickers for sealing envelopes, fun pens and a little book of lovely quotes from which to "borrow" for your letter writing. Sick days are a great time to catch up on the lost art of letter writing and/or writing those Thank You notes or Christmas Cards.
  • Keep your pantry stocked with tasty, healthy snacks to munch on during the day.
  • Load up a mini cooler with ice and water or juice so you or your little love will stay hydrated!
  • Pull out your little lovey's favorite books to read or pop in a book on tape and listen together.
  • Put in a movie and snuggle up for some much needed rest.

What works for you on your Sick Days?

I found this video on You Tube. Has anyone ever heard of this? I have read a bit about it and at this point I will try anything, it seems a little different but it is what it is...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Organization at it's Finest!

I found these Days of the week corkboards through Ballard Designs. I drooled all over the place just thinking of all the ways I could use these to try and stay organized. I would hang some blank tags and a pen to write myself notes then pin them on the correct date. I could pin theater tickets to Saturday and know just where they are. Princess could decide which days she was buying lunch and which days she was packing lunch then pin a picture of her holding her lunch box on those days so we would know that we needed to pack her lunch the night before. Birthday invitations could be pinned to the party day. All quiz and test days could have their own symbol pinned to the day as a reminder. Oh the possibilities! Each Sunday we could start over and plan for the week ahead and stay organized with just a glance... BLISS.

However... these babies cost a whopping $80.00 plus shipping and handling. Yikes. What is a girl to do? I have my planner and the family all uses it to keep us straight but how nice it would be to have such a lovely hanging reminder. SO, I decided to make my own! YIPEEEEEEEE... Here is what I have done so far:

  • 8 black frames from The Dollar Tree (I wanted one extra for hanging blank tags and pens on)
  • 4 packs of wooden letters from Wal Mart (I decided to spell each day instead of just the first letter but in retrospect I should have stuck with the first letter as the wooden letters I bought were a bit pricey :(
  • 2 four packs of cork from Wal Mart
  • 1 bottle of black paint for the letters
  • A pack of cute thumb tacks
  • 1 Calendar pack from Dollar Tree (not for the calendar but it had cute shapes I can use to tack up on certain days like holiday shapes, dentist, doctor appointments, birthdays...)
  • All of this added up to be about $35.00 which, after shipping and handling, is about 1/3 the cost of the original BUT mine are cuter because the days are spelled out in really pretty font!

I have put the first one together and this is what worked for me:

  • Paint the letters and let dry
  • Take out the glass and cardboard from frame, put the glass aside and use the cardboard as a template to trace onto the cork board.
  • Cut out corkboard
  • Hot glue corkboard to cardboard (this makes it sturdier)
  • Place the glued corkboard into the frame facing out and replace the back of the frame.
  • Hot glue on the letters for the day of the week
  • I will label my extra frame "extras" or "stuff", unless someone can come up with something better!

Once you have all of your supplies, it really doesn't take long to make and they look just beautiful. I will post pictures of mine when complete and also when we hang them. I know just where I want them all in a row but Big D never agrees with me so we will have to wait and see. I'm sure anywhere will look nice and now I'm thinking "what great gifts these would make" HMMMMM, I'll have to think on that... it is what it is!

The New House

Last January we (my hubby-Big D, my daughter-Princess, my cat- Fatty, and myself) moved into our new home. This is it, the last move. Big D and I lived in an apartment then moved into our "starter home" then, finally, ended up here. I love it here. We live in a beautiful, quiet neighborhood. Filled with trees, plants and sidewalks. Beautiful houses filled with families and children for Princess to play with. Lots of Stay at Home Moms for me to play with. It is quite the lovely setting.

We had always said we would build our last house so we could fill it with all of the "just right" things we wanted. Alas, that was not to be... we did build our house but through a series of unfortunate events, it was sold to another family. How sad we were then but now being where we are and looking at that house and neighborhood compared to this one, we got lucky! This house is bigger, on a culdesac, backed up to a lake with a small forest all around! We can look out the entire back of the house at our lake and trees and it is amazing!

No, we didn't build it. No, it does not have all of the "just right" things in it. No, I would not have made many of the structural choices that were made in building the house. No, I do not think my house is very pretty to look at- the siding and shutters are just not my taste... BUT, this is our home and all of the little things that irk me are far outweighed by the big things that came with the house. To name a few: the sweetest next door neighbors on earth with children Princesses age and whom I could trust with our lives. We have become real friends and I don't know what I would do without them. The other neighbors who have welcomed me with open arms and also become friends. Monthly Bunco with the neighbor women. Walking in the mornings after we put the kids on the bus. Impromptu "parties" on random nights with friends just showing up carrying bottles of wine and ordering pizza. Weekly lunches with us Moms... just to name a few.

As for the house, I have had to re frame my thinking from moving into the perfect house with all the perfect stuff in into the almost perfect house that needs a lot of work to make it perfect for my family. So I will roll up my sleeves and make this house the project of a lifetime. Big D and I are still young and we aren't going anywhere so we have lot's of time to make this place whatever we want it to be. I will focus a good deal of my blogs on the progress of my house. Right now I am in the chaos stage with not enough furniture and too much stuff in piles. I will add pictures before and after as I clear the clutter and organize the house while being a chronically ill Mom and wife but that is another blog for another day and it is what it is!

The First Entry

Hello All, after much contemplation I have decided to start my own blog! I love blogs, I read them constantly. I consider blogs REAL reality. What are people out there in this big world doing, thinking and feeling at any moment? Read a blog and find out. I have a ton of blogs on my Favorites list and will eventually learn how to link them to my own. I am NOT a computer fact, I fell through the computer cracks as they were just becoming popular outside of office buildings as I was in middle and high school. I only "had" to learn the basics to get through college the first time then when I went back for my teaching degree I "had" to learn more. Now I know more than ever (which is NOT saying much) but I learn as I go. I am hoping that we can learn this blogging buisness together:)

Ok, so what is this blog about? Who is gonna read this? Well, I don't really know. What I can tell you is that I have a lot to say and even more to learn. What will I write about...everyone says to narrow in on one topic, my mind doesn't work that way. I don't want to paint myself into a corner. I named this post after a saying that I hear from a very respected person in my life every single time I talk to her... I am always asking "but why?" and she says it doesn't matter why "it is what it is". Wise words that I am trying to incorporate into my life. So, that is what this blog will be, love, happiness, sadness, things I can change and things that I can't, Motherhood, organizing, cleaning, not cleaning, sickness, health. Maybe this will guide me into a direction where I will want to stay for awhile and maybe this will continue to be the daily ramblings of a wife, mother, daughter, teacher, neighbor, friend and person just trying to find some happiness and not let life pass me by all while living with several chronic illnesses that zap my energy and zest. BUT, it is what it is:)