Happy New Year

8cb005_23317aaac2fb43639f8e3962e93a68ab~mv2A few years ago I heard about choosing a word for the year. I tried to Google the origin of a word for the year, there is so much information, blogs, websites, books, ways to choose your word, even a word of the year generator. Wow! One little word, words of the year, my word; whatever you want to call it the idea is pretty much the same. It’s a word you incorporate into every aspect of life, family, friends, health, work. It’s how you think about everything.

One of my words for 2019 was intentional. I didn’t do a good job of being intentional at all last year. 2019 was a very busy year and I fell back into old comfortable (not good) habits. Eating well, exercising and de-cluttering are just some of the areas that my lack of intentionality shows.

I had a hard time choosing a word this year. I kept thinking consistant. This is the definition I found “the achievement of a level of performance that does not vary greatly in quality over time”. But that didn’t quite capture what I wanted. Maybe dependable or reliable? Well, not exactly.

Deliberate. I think this definition sums up how I want to approach 2020 “done consciously and intentionally“.  Consciously is defined “in a way that is directly perceptible to and under the control of the person concerned“. Adding consciously to last years word embodies what I want for 2020.

One of the old habits I fell into was failing to plan. “Winging it” may work for some people but not for me. It leaves me feeling frustrated and rushed which leads to irritability. Not a good combination.

The other comfort habit is telling myself I don’t have time. I do have time but I don’t always make the best choices in how I spend my time. I have time to play the bubble expode game on my phone, while telling myself I need to “make time” to read. I don’t need to make time I need to be deliberate in how I spend the time I have.

 

 

Kitchen Organization Done

At least as organized as it it going to get. My May/June organizing project has taken a long time. It was very close to becoming my July project. The last project was the awkward corner cabinet.

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There is a lot of mess in there! This was the inspiration for the kitchen reorganizing project when my teen said “Umm, Mom something leaked.” I didn’t find out what leaked but the oils & vinegars got wiped down and put on a tray to contain future mystery puddles.

The final step was to label my canisters. It took 29 years to get it done. But here they are finally…

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I wonder how old my canister have to be before they can be considered “vintage”? Yep, they are the original Tupperware set we received as a wedding shower gift.

Besides finally putting labels on the canisters, I put things that go together, together. Coffee stuff together, tea in one place and baking things all in one area. Including the extra bag of flour and sugar in the same cabinet instead of behind the boxes of cereal in a different cabinet.

I haven’t decided on a summer project yet. Summer is a very busy time in my office so it might be a good time to take a break from home projects. The projects will still be there in the fall, or when the heat and humidity get unbearable, which ever comes first.

May Organizing Project Update

My May organizing project isn’t going as quickly as I had hoped. I’ve made some progress but it has been very slow. My lunch prep boxes are on a shelf I can reach without a step stool and the pantry staples are organized. It’s small progress but it’s progress!

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I moved the canned goods from the upper corner cabinet to the pantry closet. I put the grab and go snacks in bins in the corner cabinet. So far this is working for everyone.

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The lower cabinets have gotten a little worse as I was grouping like items together, especially this one. I may have started cleaning and organizing this area when something leaked but it has a long way to go.

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Looks like my May project will also be my June project. There are 3 lower cabinets I haven’t even started. A fun part of the project I’m looking forward to is making cute labels for my canister set and coffee containers.

May Organizing Project

This month I’m organizing the kitchen. I don’t enjoy cooking, it’s a necessity not a passion, but I still need the kitchen to be functional. Like a lot of spaces in our house the kitchen hasn’t been re-organized since we moved in.

When we moved in we had two kids at home and one full time job. Breakfasts, lunches and after school snacks were a priority. Now we have one kid at home and two full time jobs, the priority is to get dinner on the table as quickly as possible between work and activities  and finding what I need to make dinner. These cabinets are not working for us! Hidden in the back of the top self of the corner cabinet (top right picture) I found a can of pumpkin that expired in December 2015. Gulp! I can’t reach that shelf or really see what’s up there without  a step stool. Out of sight out of mind.

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The lower corner cabinet (lower left picture) got a quick tidy when (one of) the coconut oils (we have three) leaked. The rest of the stuff in there is a hodge podge of everything from pasta to kitchen gadgets.

The other problem I have with the kitchen is like items aren’t kept together. Snacks are in more than one place and baking items aren’t together. Other things we use daily are in inconvenient places, for example the containers for my lunches.

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They are on the very top shelf. Nope, I can’t reach them. Yes, the peanut butter is in there with the dishes not other food items.

This is my organizing project for May and probably June. Please share your kitchen organizing ideas in the comments! I need all the help I can get!

April Simplicity Update

After misplacing Bean’s birth certificate, I was inspired to clean out our file cabinet. I had the bottom drawer packed so tightly when we took the folders out of the drawer we could hear them expand. Okay, maybe not actually hear it, but once the papers were out I couldn’t believe they had all fit.

I thought we’d find some paperwork for things we didn’t own but I was surprised at how many there were. The original class ring catalog and order form for my daughter’s class ring from the fall of 2008. The bill of sale and service receipts for my daughter’s 2006 car. They traded it in last year for a “new to them” 2014. All the paperwork for a car we don’t own. The owners manuals we never read, some were never taken out of the plastic wrapper.

Sorting through the folder with the kids art was easier than I thought it would be. The best art was already in their memory boxes. I did find a couple treasures, a paper with Bean’s finger prints and a poem and note from my Sweet Pea. Those I’m holding onto.

The rest went to the recycle bin. The recycle filled a paper grocery bag (I’m still able get those). It feels good to be able to find what we need when we need it. And it’s nice to be able to close the drawers without stuffing papers back in.

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I’m moving on to the the kitchen next. Bean and I were trying to make him energy bits when I realized oil had leaked in the cabinet. I pulled every thing out to clean up the oil and found 3 bottles of coconut oil and 3 bottles of corn syrup. Two of the corn syrups were expired. Yep, the kitchen needs to be cleaned and reorganize. The energy bit recipe wasn’t a keeper.

 

April Simplicity Project

This month’s project is more necessity then simplicity. I’m tackling the file cabinet! It looks IMG_0182pretty harmless but looks can be deceiving. It’s two drawers are packed full of I don’t even know what and conveniently hidden out of sight. The motivation for taking on the file cabinet was losing Beans birth certificate. Total mom fail!

 

 

The birth certificate should have been in the safe deposit box. We had a lot of activities going on that weekend. To help me out my husband said he’d check the safe deposit box because he was running other errands and would be there anyway. Yesss! Cross that off my to-do list. Then, I got a text. “Birth certificate isn’t in there.” Oh snap! Could it be in the file cabinet with the documents we used to get his driver’s permit? Could it be in the office? It’s probably in the file cabinet in the folder with his name on it (found out there are two files). Nope. It wasn’t in any of those places.

Before going into full panic mode, I went back to the bank to check the safe deposit box one more time before they closed.  It was there! Whew! Not in the envelope labeled birth certificates it was under something else in an envelope that said “vital records”. Both copies were still in the original envelope from the county. I need to do some orgaizing in the safe deposit box too.

 

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It’s very possible there are instruction manuals in there for appliances we don’t own. Maybe some paperwork for our last house. I’m guessing on the left is some art work that didn’t get put with the kids memory boxes.  This project may fill up the whole recycle bin.

Let me know how you organize paperwork. What do you keep? What goes directly into recycle?

New and Improved Laundry System

Apparently, this old mom can learn a new trick. I was inspired by the Minimal Mom’s laundry system. I didn’t think her exact system would work for us, we are a much smaller family and my high schooler (supposedly) does his own laundry. Basically she does one load of laundry per day, every day, and everything goes in. Doing laundry for just two of us, I didn’t think one combat load (as my military husband would call it) would be the best solution but the inspiration seed was planted.

My office is closed on Fridays, so that’s my day to do big cleaning projects, grocery shopping, and laundry. My system was to start early on Friday morning sorting the laundry, usually five loads, then start washing them. One, then the next, then the next…put one in the dryer, take it out, fold, put it away, repeat. Yes, it took all day, but that’s the way I have done it since I started working full-time. When my kids were little and I stayed home, I did laundry 2 days a week with the same batch method. The one load a day idea made me question my  laundry routine. What I was doing wasn’t efficient. We had one hamper and two laundry baskets to collect dirty clothes. Three different places for dirty clothes to pile up.

I decided to try having 3 small laundry baskets in the master bathroom for us to sort the clothes by load when we put them in the baskets instead of just throwing everything together in the hamper and baskets. I know. Duh! When a basket was full, I put it in the wash, dried it, folded it and put it away. Done before bedtime! I did two during the week like this. Laundry day came and I only had one load to wash. ONE! The solution seemed too simple, but this mom was stuck in a laundry rut. I don’t have less laundry to do, I’m just doing it in a more manageable and time efficient way, and not feeling so overwhelmed by it.

This is my new laundry buddy! One bag for dark clothes, one for white clothes and one for everything else!

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It’s was such a small change but it has made a huge difference in my routine. What small changes can you make to save time?

4 Steps to Monthly Meal Planning

Meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking are my least favorite chores. I’d rather clean the bathrooms or scrub grout with a toothbrush. But we have to eat, ordering meal replacement drinks or hiring a full-time cook aren’t options for us, so back to meal planning.

When my kids were little we got paid twice a month so I learned to do our meal planning and grocery shopping for two weeks at a time. Now I do the planning for a month at a time because we get paid once a month.

1. Blank slate. I start planning with a blank calendar page, one I print from my computer, purchase or get free from a local business. I mark off the days I don’t have to cook because we have activities or it’s the night I work late. I also make note of special occasions or nights we need to have something quick and easy. 

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2. Plug in the meals. I keep track of our meal on a Trello board, a paper or computer list, or index cards also work for this. I find it easier to keep a list rather than try to remember the meals we like. I also try to incorporate a couple new recipes each month.

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3. Make a list, check it twice. On the calendar squares I write what ingredients I need for each meal. Then I transfer the ingredients to a master shopping list. Having the ingredients listed on the calendar make it easy to quickly pull out what I need. Because I do my big grocery shopping once a month I also use the calendar as a reference for the fresh items I need for upcoming meal. If you want to shop weekly, you can still plan the menu for the month, then create the grocery list each week.

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4. Shop the pantry first. After the master list is made, I check what I have on hand and cross those items off the list or reduce the number I need to buy. Then I add snacks, things we are running low on and non food items.

A few last tips…

  • Make notes on the menu, use less lemon juice, big hit, or Nope!
  • Keep the calendars for reference
  • Keep season meals seasonal, heavy soups and chilis for cooler weather, and lighter meals for warmer weather
  • Leave room for fun, breakfast for lunch, chili dogs, make your own pizza night

Happy meal planning!

The Lesson I Learned from Failing to Plan

Routines and forming good habits aren’t fun. Getting into the habit of prepping lunches  and dinners isn’t fun. But they can help to manage days when unexpected events happen or the normal schedule doesn’t happen.

I learned that lesson last week when my schedule unraveled. I try to prep my lunches for work and I have a pretty good idea what we’re having for dinner. Our meal plan isn’t going to get us on the cover of a healthy life style magazine but it’s home cooked and less expensive than eating out.

Last Thursday my husband had to go out-of-town for a couple of days, the high schooler was having a problem with his contact and needed to go to the eye doctor. We had to be at school and work before the eye doctor’s office opened and I could schedule an appointment.  I didn’t know what time I’d need to leave work to take him to the doctor’s office. Our normal routine was out the window.

Last week I didn’t prep my lunches. Strike one. Thursday, I wasn’t sure what our schedule was going to be so I decided to just “wing it”. I didn’t take ANY THING for lunch. NOTHING.  Not a cheese stick or hard-boiled egg.  Strike two. For lunch on the way to pick the teen up, I had a bucket of soda from the mini-mart and sandwich cookies. For dinner we had fast food. Strike three.

Friday I felt the effects of the junk food I ate.  I woke up with swollen hands and my back and knees hurt. Yes, I know better. My body can’t handle eating like my teen. My lack of preparation or not being intentional about meals lead me to make bad food choices.

You don’t plan to fail, you fail to plan.

That is exactly what happened. I failed to plan. Being intentional about meal prep has moved up on my priority list. The time it takes to prep lunches is minimal compaired to feeling bad when it could have been prevented.

What are your favorite grab and go lunches? Any tips to make lunch prep easier? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

The Book Shelf

I love reading! Well, now I do but that wasn’t always the case. Reading wasn’t something I enjoyed, my mom tried to find books that I might like, teachers tried, I just wasn’t interested. I read for school, to my kids but not for fun. I didn’t start reading for enjoyment until I was in my thirties when I was put on restricted activity for health reasons. I was given some books to read, one of them was A Walk to Remember by Nicolas Sparks. I was hooked!

Now, I read more than one book at a time and know when new books in a series will be released. Sometimes I pick my next read by how many pages it has, if I’m going to pay for it the longer the better. I perfer to read non-fiction in traditional book format but fiction I usually read on my e-reader becasue I don’t need a light to read in bed. And a 400 page book hurts when you nod off and drop it on yourself.

 

I’m currently reading these three books

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Some of the books on my to be read list are

What books are on your to be read list? Please share in the comments I love book recommendations.