Friday, January 28, 2011

Five Question Friday (1/28) and various ramblings

Just a quick post before I get back to organizing. (I have to clean up the mess in the foyer that I made while organizing my desk yesterday.)

- I am working on organizing my desk area. Yea! Thanks to my BFF, I had an idea about getting a desktop file box to replace the overflowing box of papers, so that is what I worked on yesterday. Not a huge (visual) improvement, but a step in the right direction. (I will hopefully be posting pictures later this week of that before and after, yea!)

-My BFF and I are trying to encourage each other to declutter/organize one area per month, since we happened to be working on our office areas at the same time (again, I was inspired by her efforts)--so that will be extra encouragement and accountability in my organizing journey.

-Some movie non-recommendations: 3 Days of the Condor and State of Grace both sucked. You're welcome.

Now onto 5QF.....

1. If you had $1,000 to donate to a charity, which would you choose?
My old favorite charity is Native American Rights Fund, but since L has had health problems I really have two choices: American Partnership For Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED) and Phoenix Children's Hospital (PCH). While APFED raises funds for awareness and research, PCH saved L's life. So if I had $1000 to donate, I think I'd give it to PCH.

2. Snow days: Do you welcome them happily or are they a pain in your butt?
Haha all you snowdwellers, I live in Phoenix. Snow days are not a part of my life! {Don't hate, you don't have to deal with our summers.} But we have our share of cabin fever--we just got over another batch of illness--so I can tell you that I think an occasional break from the everyday routine is nice (and if you have snow, it's fun to throw snowballs or make a snowman), more than one starts to be a pain.

3. What talent did you wish you had and why?
I like to dance, love it actually, and I have a pretty good sense of rhythm. However, I am totally inflexible and slightly uncoordinated--so I wish I were a better dancer.

4. Are you a news, politics or celebrity gossip junkie?
I used to be a politics junkie. Love me some Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow. But with kids and no time and the state of the world, I can't handle the negativity. So now I bury my head in the sand. Oh and I HATE celebrity gossip. I used to follow it back in my younger days, I subscribed to Us and Entertainment Weekly. But now I think all that stuff is so toxic. AND I don't give a rat's behind about Britney, Lindsay, and Paris. Sheesh!

5. What is your favorite "cocktail"? (Are you a beer person, a kiddie cocktail junkie, or perhaps your more the "Cosmo" kind?! Anything flies...doesn't hafta be alcoholic!)
I don't drink alcohol. Not because I'm high and mighty, I just don't like the taste. (Which is too bad cuz some days I'd really like to end with a cocktail! LOL) I do enjoy an occasional Shirley Temple, but honestly if I'm at a happy hour or cocktail party (and I never am), I'm just gonna ask for a Coke. I've been taking care of kids all day, I need the caffeine!

Join the Q&A fun over at Mama M's.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Organizing Challenge, Weeks 3 & 4

For Week 3, Brenda gave us a printout to brainstorm all our tasks: daily, weekly, yearly etc. Ugh, I am nowhere on this list. Seriously, my page is blank except under weekly I've written "one bathroom" and "sort toys" (that means a real clean-up of the living room, where the toys go back into the armoire). I dream big, my friends! Yes, I have a long way to go, I will probably have to steal someone else's list. I'm creative like that. ;-)

For this week (Week 4), Brenda has challenged us to look at our work like pieces of a pie and prioritize. I think this is an excellent idea and certainly it goes along with my desire to improve my time-management. What's important and how should I divide up my time?

As an aside, I read this post at Amy's Finer Things, which is a nice post in and of itself (here's a totally-together mom admitting she struggles with time-management too, hallelujah), but what I noticed were some of the comments. Like from "Frenchy" who basically says "I hang out with my family, make dinner, and the rest I don't care about." Wow! Or "Gwen" says she keeps her eyes on the important stuff--time with God, with the kids, with her husband--and the rest falls into place. Bravo! Now clearly I've learned that I can't fly by the seat of my pants and expect everything to fall into place, if that works for you, that's awesome. But I'm hoping that examining my time and labeling my priorities will put me in the right direction.

Progress Report

Not making much progress. I'm even having trouble conquering my Bare Minimum. But I do like having that guide for what I'm supposed to be doing, and if I could just have a normal week, there might be some hope, but it's just been one thing after the other. (I know: excuses, excuses.) My one organizing bright point last week was that after I folded the kids' clean laundry, I went through each kid's basket {this is a post for another day, each kid has a laundry basket of clean clothes--it's my system and it works} and cleared out the stuff that shouldn't be there (such as out-of-season) so those are back to good working order. Also, I am way (like years) behind on cleaning the kids' humidifiers (one in each kid's room), because I have a pathological fear of bleach {another post for another day}... anyway, we were at a baby store the other day and they had a display of humidifiers and there were these bottles of humidifier cleaner. Brilliant! I thought the $7 (yes, way more than the cost of a jug of bleach) was worth it if it means I actually Get The Job Done. So I bought the overpriced cleaner and washed L's humidifier. Yea me! Then it turns out his humidifier isn't working and he'll need a new one anyway. Oh well. Next up: T's humidifier. And I wrote "humidifiers" on the calendar a month from now, so it should be a monthly date to stay on top of it.

How and How Often do you clean your humidifiers?

Also, on Sunday T woke up sick (she vomited twice) so I spent all morning in the living room with the kids (to keep an eye on her), mostly zoning out in the recliner. By lunchtime, I knew I had to get some stuff done and I did an interesting thing: I asked myself, what's the highest priority? First, it was give T a bath (duh, she'd been puking). Later it was make the grocery list, then run the dishwasher, etc. When I had a pocket of time to do a chore, I asked what's the priority. And it worked! Despite a "wasted" morning, I ended up having a pretty darn productive day (gave 2 baths, did laundry and dishes, even played a game with L, and of course spot cleaned the carpet). Not sure that's how I want to handle every day (I'd prefer some sort of plan, I think?), but it's a tool in my arsenal, right?

Week Ahead

I want to keep up with my Bare Minimum daily list. I want to work on last week's brainstorming chore list and this week's prioritizing assigment. And I want to continue reading the Tell Your Time e-book. My project for this week (if I can make the time) is to finally write Christmas thank you notes. (Hello, it's almost February!)

How are you doing on your organizing or other New Years Resolutions?

To read more about the One Year to a More Organized Life challenge and to participate yourself, go here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just stopping by

This has been an insane week. On paper, we had speech on Monday, I had a pap smear on Tuesday, today I took L to the gastroenterologist and then we all went to the mall in the afternoon--not awful, right? But I am exhausted/dog-tired/pooped! Oh and it doesn't help that L woke up at 5am yesterday and today and didn't go back to sleep. Meanwhile, from you know not being home, I'm behind on basics such as laundry and dishes.

So tomorrow I hope to accomplish relaxing and housework and hanging out with T (who has spent tuesday and wednesday mornings with a babysitter, my mom) and getting to the store and blogging a progress report for Week 3 of the organizing challenge (sneak preview: not much progress).

Okay, hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with more....

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Organizing Challenge, Week 2

As I mentioned yesterday, Week 2's assignment is to write out the bare minimum that I should be accomplishing every day. Well, there's a ton of stuff I have to do every day, like feed and clothe the kids, clean up from one meal to the next, brush my teeth, but I'm not going to list the things I already do by necessity or habit. Instead, my list is stuff that should get done every day, but I'm currently challenged to either remember or follow through. I'd like to add more things (like 10 minutes of de-cluttering or 30 minutes to work on a project) but I'm not there yet. Hopefully I can add those later as I get better organized. For now, here's my Do Or Die list:

-1 load of laundry. This has been my "system" for a year or so. I've tried other systems, like Mondays=dark load, Fridays=whites, but that didn't work; so everyday I try to throw in a load--it's not a perfect system, my husband still has to remind me when he gets low on socks or boxers. And sometimes (like this week), I go a few days without a load and things pile up and it's hard to get caught up {thank you, mom, for throwing in a load while you were babysitting today}. So this makes the list.

-go thru the mail. Ugh, mail drives me crazy! I can pretty easily take the bills out and put them in their folder; I put the magazines to the bathroom; and the junky junk goes in recycling; but then there's the other CRAP. We get tons of EOBs from insurance (Explanation of Benefits), and I do like to open that, throw out the extra page and envelope, then add it to its pile--but they aren't urgent. Then there are credit card offers and stuff with personal info that need to be shredded. It's that crap that, if I don't take the time, gets piled. Right now I have two piles worth of this junk to sort through. So my daily Do Or Die will include going through the mail till there is no pile--everything sorted. And hopefully little by little going through the backlog.

-run the dishwasher. I used to have a good system going. Do a load of regular dishes one day and a load of kid dishes the next (bottles, sippy cups, pitchers, plates and bowls). That was when L drank bottles and we'd run out in 48 hours. Then we switched to cups and we had enough for more than 48 hours and my parents moved in and we had to do regular dishes more often and so it was all a little more haphazard. We survived, but now I'd like to get back to the old alternating system--so we never run out of silverware or sippy cups (actually what we run out of in the kid load are plates and pitchers). {{Why do I wash regular and kid dishes separately? It started off because L was allergic to everything and I didn't (still don't) want food getting on his bottles/cups. But we also have an express cycle on our dishwasher for pre-rinsed glass and plastic--so that works great for the kid load. Two different cycles=two different loads.}} So for my daily Do or Die, I will run a load every day, alternating between regular and kids.

-get dressed. Thank you, Catie, for reminding me to put this on the list. I get dressed nearly every day, because I leave the house at least 6 days per week (barring illness or other change in routine), but I tend to wait till it's time to go somehwere before I get out of my pajamas. Even though I don't plan to dress up all pretty first thing in the morning (I like to be comfy around my house), I can at least upgrade from pjs to sweats.

-make my bed. This has been a goal for the last year and I've made a lot of progress, but I'm still only doing it about 75% of the time. So it goes on the list to remind me. I never used to care or bother; every few nights Hubby and I would straighten the sheets before going to bed. But what I like about making it in the morning is my bedroom looks instantly nicer and it makes a good surface for folding laundry or whatever.

Brenda also provided us a list for specific days of the week. For Sunday, I've written down "meal plan and grocery list"--that usually gets done by necessity, but it's good to have the reminder. And for Monday, I've written "clean out food from fridge" because Tuesday is trash day and that's a good time to throw out rotting leftovers. I couldn't think of any other day-specific tasks.

That's my start. Like I said, I'd love to add more to the list, to build on my success (if I have any!) so I'll keep you posted. To join the organizing fun, head to Unsolicited Advice.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Oh, the Productivity!

I had a great weekend. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were each good days (shocking--a three-peat!). Well today (Sunday) was a bit on the busy side for my taste, but the upside is I get to blog about how productive I was. ;-) Today I....

-made a double batch of gluten-free pancakes (to eat and freeze)

-(with Hubby's help) got a whole chicken and vegetables cooking in the crockpot

-loaded the dishwasher


-the whole family went to Sam's Club to look at furniture

-gave T a bath

{put T down for her nap}

-planned the week's meals and wrote a grocery list




-gave L a bath

-changed L's sheets

-changed T's sheets

My mom was kind enough to load bottles and sippy cups into the dishwasher while she was babysitting (and unloaded the clean as well). Yea, that saved me a chore. (It looks like she may have scrubbed my sink too. I should probably be insulted, but I'll just be grateful instead.) I know it's not an earth-shattering list, but that was a very productive day for me.

This post will be linked to Tackle It Tuesday at 5 Minutes For Mom.

Speaking of being productive, Brenda from Unsolicited Advice has posted the assignment for Week 2 of One Year to a {more} Organized Life. We are to come up with the Bare Minimum tasks we want to do on a daily basis. Eek, I'm gonna have to think hard about that one (and possibly "cheat" by reading other bloggers first). I'll have that post up as soon as I have (the beginnings of) an answer. ;-)

S0 tell me, what are your daily must-do tasks?!

What I'm Reading--January Booking It

If you've been here before, you know I like to post about what I'm reading. This year, I'll be joining Life As Mom for Booking It. As in all things, my reading is inconsistent, sometimes I read 4 books in a month, sometimes I don't read for 6 months at a time. Thus, I don't have a specific goal in mind for the year--12 books would be great, but maybe it will be five or 20. In this post, I'll tell you what I'm currently reading and some titles I have "on deck" and I'll keep you posted on my progress and review what I've read. Here's to a year full of good books and reading enjoyment!

Reading now:

I pulled a novel off my upstairs bookshelf recently: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. My sister gave me the book a few years ago as a gift, she'd read it and liked it, but I'm just now getting around to it. I read it when I'm upstairs, often when the kids are bathing (don't called Child Protective Services, I'm right next to them). So far I'm enjoying the writing style, we'll see how long I can handle the plot.

My husband bought us the Nook (e-reader) for Christmas. Woohoo! Hopefully this will provide another avenue for fitting reading into my schedule. It came preloaded with Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, which I've never read, if you can believe it. In my defense, I read a biography of Alcott in middle school and since much of Little Women is autobiographical, I feel like I know the story... anyway, I've only started the second chapter, but so far I'm enjoying it.

I am also reading A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie. This is the book I'm primarily focused on right now, as I'm reading it along with my BFF (like our own little long-distance book club)--so far the dead guy was much-hated and there are a variety of suspects. It's a Miss Marple mystery (my mom recommended Miss Marple) but she's yet to show up on the scene. Last year I read a Poirot mystery by Christie and was surprised how many clues I hadn't put together.

Coming up, I hope:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies {The first e-book I downloaded to the Nook (free!)--as a die-hard Austen fan, I couldn't resist.}

Roofwalker by Susan Power {This has been on my shelf for years, time to give it a try.}

Great Expectations {Hubby bought me several classics last year including this one.}

The Known World by Edward P. Jones {Another novel that's been on my shelves for years and looks intriguing.}

And I'm still in the middle of volume two of this biography of Eleanor Roosevelt.

For more book lists, head to Life As Mom.

What are you reading this year? And what's your favorite book ever?

PS These are not affiliate links.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Week in Review--1/7/11

Before I get on to Five Question Friday, I thought I'd share a few tidbits.

In my quest to get organized and cleaned up, today I:

-Printed out this January cleaning calendar from Clean Mama.

-Bought the e-book: Tell Your Time ($7 with code CLEANSLATE), recommended by Simple Organized Living--because time manangement is a huge problem of mine.

And I actually cleaned... because the exterminator was coming over to do our annual indoor treatment. Eek. I finally sorted all the little itty bitty toys that have been on the floor since before Christmas and were added to on Christmas {the place looked worse than ever!} and got them in all their various baskets and into the cabinet. Awesome! I left plenty of odds and ends, but it looks So Much Better. Then I wiped down my master bathroom, which was in half-decent shape because I cleaned it at the beginning of Nevember {I told you I'm a mess!}. Sadly, my bedroom was beyond the reach of a short cleanup time. Embarassing. I like to tell myself the exterminator has seen worse.

Meanwhile, we've been watching a French movie this week, Tell No One. It was weird and complex, one of those films that reveal just a little bit at a time so you spend much of it confused (and even annoyed--I almost gave up on it after the first night), but ultimately it all made sense and it was pretty good. Not great, but interesting and kind of romatic. Kind of.

Okay, on to this week's Q & A, some unusual questions so I thought I'd join in with Mama M. Here goes:

1. What is your current favorite book, and why?
I'm not sure I understand the "current" part of this question, do they mean of the books I'm currently reading or the book I would tell people (currently) is my favorite book ever? If it's the latter, my favorite book {that everyone must read} is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Awesome! If it's the best of what I'm reading right now, I'll say Memoirs of a Geisha, because I'm further along in it than the other novels I'm reading {more on those in a future post} and though I'm not sure yet about the plot (aren't geishas prostitutes?!), the writing is very good.

2. Do you go to the dentist regularly?

I am embarassed to say it's been YEARS since I've seen a dentist. I won't tell you how many years, let's just say more than five. {Hangs head in shame.} I blame the IBS as well as our lack of dental insurance.

3. What is your worst memory from High School?
I've said before that I hated high school, so let's see if I can choose one moment. Oh here's a good one. I was skinny in high school and had no boobs (not that I've got much more up top these days, I was not blessed by the boob fairy). One day in Geometry (I was a freshman, these annoying boys were sophomores), we got a test back. One boy saw my good score and said "let's give her {meaning me} a medal" and the other boy replied, "yes, and a chest to put it on." Yeah, good memories! (That's just off the top of my head, I can't say for sure it's the worst memory.)

4. What do you hope to be remembered for in your life?
I wish that I would make the history books or be a published author one day, but it's not looking like that's in the plan, so it will just be friends and family who remember me and I hope they say I was a good person, that I was kind, and I hope my kids have good memories of our times together, that they'll say I was a good mom.

5. Are you superstitious or do you have any superstitions?

Funny, this reminds me of when I was a kid and I was watching something, like beauty pageants or award shows, and I was rooting for someone, I'd cross my fingers--and then I went through a phase where I thought it was better to un-cross everything so I'd sit there with my fingers all fanned out rooting for Miss Tennessee to make the finals or for Janet Jackson to win best album. Funny to think back to that, now I hate beauty pageants with a (feminist) vengeance and I'm lucky if I catch the Oscars.

So am I superstitious these days? I guess a little, because I don't like to "jinx" myself (not that I actually believe in jinxing or tempting fate but I can't help it) by saying, for example, "my kids haven't been sick in 2 months" for fear they will promptly get sick. I like to keep an umbrella in my purse because, Murphy's Law, it will rain the one day I forget it. And so forth. Not really susperstitious in the black cat/broken mirror kind of way.

Or just now, I thought of putting as my facebook status that "I'm having a good day," but I can't because then surely the day would take a turn for the worse. So I won't post that--I can, however, wait till the end of the day and declare "it was a good day." So there you go.

For more Question fun, go here. Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Organizing Project

Catie from Newby at Home directed me to this exciting challenge for the new year: the One Year to a {more} Organized Life project, created by Brenda of Unsolicited Advice. If you've been here before, you know that I'm always talking about what a mess I am and how I'm trying to get organized and in fact just yesterday I put out a plea for help with time management strategies. If you're new here {welcome!}, I'll tell you that since my second child was born (my daughter, T, born in Sept '08), I've been a disorganized mess. Well, actually I've been a mess all my life, but after T was born I suddenly realized how much the mess (the clutter, the bathrooms that need cleaning, the lack of schedule) was in my way! But then I also didn't have the time to do anything about it. So I declared 2009 the Year to Get Organized--but working in such small time increments, I realized it will take more like a decade. Anyway, I'm slowly making progress, very s l o w l y, but still have a long way to go. I finally have the motivation to get the *crap* out of my house, but I need the time and direction and I hope this OYOL challenge will help with the direction and motivation.

Okay, so this week's assignment is to find our purpose. Like I said, I've made some progress, I'm not losing things as much, I've put some good systems in place, but on a daily basis I am surrounded by clutter and clueless how best to use my time--should I be playing with my kids or going through the piles in my closet? Should I clean the powder room or the master bathroom? And there's so much to do that I get overwhelmed and play on the internet.

Brenda recommends we dig deep for a substantial purpose/reason to keep us going in the challenge. I assume that's so when we hit that inevitable "why bother?" moment, we have a statement of purpose to remind us that life isn't going to get better till we get organized. So while I have a lot of practical reasons to get organized (so I can find my stuff when I need it), the *purpose* behind the effort is this: the clutter is keeping me from living the life I want. I want a life that includes less stuff, a house that I can invite people into, a clean shower that wouldn't frighten the health department. I want to be a happy mom who plays with her kids and a balanced mom who reads (and maybe puts together photo albums). I want my husband to be less frustrated and I want my kids to have happy memories of childhood. And so on....

Obviously the bonus is that I can blog about my progress! To see some of my past successes, click on the organizing tab in my sidebar. Also, Organizing Junkie is planning 52 Weeks of Organizing so every Friday we can share our organizing successes in the comments or by linking up. {Nothing like seeing other people's Before and After pictures to keep me motivated and excited to declutter!} So stayed tuned, hopefully I'll have lots of successes (and no doubt some failures/hiccups along the way) to share in '11.

Do you want to get more organized in this new year? Visit Brenda to check it out!

New Adventure--Homemade Lasagna

I'm excited to be participating for the first time in Alicia's Homemaking Try New Adventures Thursday link-up. I tried something new last weekend (New Years Day to be specific)--homemade lasagna! In case you didn't know, I hate to cook, I mean really hate, like washing-the-dishes hate. {Don't even get me started on the irony of me ending up as a housewife.} But I do it anyway, so I'm mostly drawn to quick and easy non-recipes. Therefore, it was a big step to make lasagna by myself.

Back in the day, we would eat Stouffer's frozen lasagna. Easy and yummy. But then they changed it or something and it became less yummy, plus we'd eaten it too often and we were just DONE. And we never really replaced it with anything. I have a baked penne recipe I like to make and I've made manicotti a few times, but it's been a long time since we had lasagna.

Meanwhile, my BFF has made homemade lasagna for a long time, but she also makes her spaghetti sauce from scratch, so clearly she's way ahead of me. But I was talking to her recently and she was saying how easy it is. So I asked for her recipe and she says she does it the way it says on the box of noodles (plus she doesn't even make her own sauce for it!).

I was thinking of taking the plunge, but of course L can't eat wheat. So do I make lasagna with gluten-free noodles?! First, we had to check the store (we shop at Sunflower, it's like Whole Foods but better). Hubby did the shopping and came home with what he found: no boil rice pasta lasagna noodles. But the recipe on its box was for Southwestern something lasagna--not helpful. So I found this recipe off the Barilla website, and got to work!

Basically it was super easy--I don't know what I was afraid of. I browned ground beef {I used ground beef instead of sausage in hopes the kids would like it} and added it to a jar of marinara sauce and then used extra sauce to coat the bottom of my pan, then layered noodles, cheese mixture, meat mixture and so on. It didn't take long because I didn't have to boil the noodles (I timed it, it took me 35 minutes to get it ready for the oven). That is not a picture of my creation. I took a picture, but couldn't wait to upload it, cuz that might take a while. This photo is from Barilla.

The bad news is the rice pasta was gross. Nasty! I couldn't eat it (I just ate the beef and cheese, but not the pasta) and the kids didn't like it. Hubby was a trooper and said it was good and ate it up. We decided next time to just use regular wheat noodles (and par-boil them) since L didn't like it anyway. (Also next time: sausage, yum.) I also thought it was heavy on the cheese so I might tone that down next time. But there will be a next time--really it was easier than the baked penne and manicotti I usually make.

So that was my lasagna-making adventure. Sorry there's no picture--I took one but if I waited till I uploaded it, well it might be June. For more adventures, go here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

WFMW--What's not working--time management

As I mentioned yesterday, I stink at time management. I need some sort of manual or how-to guide to my life! I would like to play with my kids, have some time to myself, exercise, blog, clean, organize--how do I fit it all in, with my sanity intact? Please share with me your best time management tips, be it general or specific--I need all the help I can get! {Also, if you have a blog post that's relevant, or if you write an organizing-time-managing-type blog, by all means, let me know in the comments!}

((A few months back, I actually shared a time management tip. Can you believe it? It's something that sometimes works for me, when I actually think to do it: setting a time to get the big stuff done.))
So, help me out--what's your best time management tip(s)?!
For more tips (or requests for tips), check out We Are THAT Family.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Resolutions 2011

Okay, so new year, new you. Yeah, not so much. I have no resolutions this year other than to keep working on everything I was trying to work on last year. Because I still have a long way to go. First, I'll review last year's goals:

-Thank you notes. I started off okay, but got behind at Easter. That's right, this month I will be writing lumped-together notes thanking people for all the gifts they gave us for Easter, L's birthday, T's bday, my bday, Hubby's bday and Christmas. And Halloween and our anniversary if you sent anything for those. Eek! But that will give me a clean slate for 2011. My plan for improving in 2011 includes me writing on my new calendar "deal w/ thanx" two weeks after gift-receiving holidays/birthdays in the year ahead. Fingers crossed.

-Be more friendly. Oy this could be a post in itself--I seem to have lost all my local friends in 2010. Sigh. But I was friendlier with strangers and acquaintances. And in recent weeks, I've given my mommy "business" card {like a business card but my job title is "L's mom" and it has my contact info} to 4, count 'em 4, moms. I'm hoping at least one of these will be new friends for me and the kids. This is way out of my comfort zone to put myself out there like this, so yea me, we'll see if anything comes of it.

-Go to church. This was really tough and we just weren't great about it. We'd have a good stretch but then not go for several weeks and then kind of gave up altoghether. But then my parents moved to town in November and we're Back In Action. ;-) My parents watch T while Hubby, L and I go to church (well, sometimes L stays home too, I don't care at this point). This new system should work to keep us attending church weekly. Yea!

-Make the bed. I lapsed on this one, but recently got back in the habit when my parents moved in (peer pressure). It's worth it for me to try to keep up with this one in the new year.

So obviously, I've got plenty of progress left to make on the above goals. I talked a little about my blogging goals yesterday, mostly to just follow through when I have post ideas, but I'd also like to comment more on other blogs, not just because it's often reciprocated but just for the golden rule of it--I know how much I like comments, I want to know if people have visited here, so as long as I'm there, I should leave a note.

On weight/appearance/healthy lifestyle (again this could be its own post)--always a challenge. I've gone back and forth the past few months about whether or not I care about these extra 10 pounds I'm carrying around and whether or not to try to do something about them. Where I usually come down is I need to try to be healthier--make better food choices (quality and quantity) and move more--and the weight will follow. Of course the last month, between Thanksgiving and New Year's, was a fiesta of bad food choices and I still haven't figured out way to fit in exercise--so it's a vague, ongoing goal.

And of course there's all the other stuff I need to work on--play with my kids more, read more, be more patient, do more housework, get organized! There was a point last year when I had a list of 4 things on a note in my kitchen--what were they? I know one was to drink less Coke--I succeeded in that, I went from 3 cans to 2 per day {baby steps}. Another was "no groaning"--I have gotten a lot better on that score, though as with yelling, I have my weak moments. Work in progress. What were the other two?! I can't believe I can't remember--oh one was to make L drink his sips--that was a project from a long time ago, no longer relevant. I'll try to remember the last one and report back. Anyway, I'll finish with the general goal of better time management--a huge weakness of mine. If I could be more intentional with my time, then all of the above would fit in, right? Playing with the kids, cleaning, organizing, reading. So that's the big goal of 2011.

Example: this morning I had time. It was about 10:30 am. L was at school. I'd already done breakfast, checked all my usual blogs, and played with T. So now what? I had a ton of choices--sort mail, play online, clean--but there was no guide book, no one to tell me what to do. No wonder I get depressed, I'm floundering here. In the end, I started a load of laundry, spent a few minutes online, then called my BFF. Pretty good choices (though cleaning or organizing would have been better choices). It was only after all that plus lunch that I realized I really need to put the Christmas gifts away (they are in various piles in my foyer), but by then it was time to pick up L and do afternoon stuff. So yeah, time management is a big ol' Work In Progress. ;-)

There you have it, my resolution-related ramblings for the new year.

What are your resolutions for 2011? And do you have any suggestions to help with my goals?!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to say a quick hello and Happy 2011. We had a wonderful Christmas, well mostly it was good, my husband had a little too much of my family. But we made it to mass on Christmas Eve for the first time in YEARS so that was super. L went with us (my sister babysat T). He does really well in church, I can't believe it, this kid who has boundless energy, perpetual motion, whom we often wonder if he has ADHD, is calm in church. Amazing. (So probably no on the ADHD, yea.) But he was a little extra fidgety at Christmas mass because we had to get there half an hour before it began in order to get a seat, so by the end he was surely bored. {A special thank you to the people behind us who engaged him in conversation while communion was lasting forever.}

I have in mind to do some sort of resolutions post--I'm still working on last year's goals so I'll do an update on those but I'll have to go through some old posts to even remember all the various things I was working on. {That speaks well of my progress, doesn't it?}

So is 2011 going to be the year my blog takes off? Haha, not even close. I've realized that as much as I LOVE comments and followers (keep 'em coming), I will never be a big blog. Because I would rather read blogs than write my own. {Is that horrible?} I started this blog to join the conversation and to have a place to say what I have to say, but when I don't have something to say or time to say it or the energy to write in my limited free time, then I'm not going to worry about it. That said, I do wish that more of those times when I do think of something to say, that I will follow through and write it. Whether or not people will see it or comment on it. Just as an outlet. Because that's the whole point really. Another goal is that when I do have free time and I've checked all my favorite blogs, that I will make content rather than just read others' content.

What will that content be, you ask? The same hodgepodge as ever--books, movies, life as a harried mom of 2, attempts to cook and organize. I enjoyed writing my memories in the two sessions of Mommy' Piggy Tales and I've thought of various other memories I'd like to chronicle on here for posterity (and perhaps a few laughs). I'd also like to comment on pop culture/current events--because I have all sorts of opinions on a wide variety of crazy topics and I've often thought "I should blog about that"--so again I need to work on that follow-through.

Wow, this actually turned into a decent sized post--once I decided to go make content. Thanks for reading, best wishes for a happy, healthy 2011!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Linky Love--Blog Edition--1/1/11

This week, Mandi suggested we link up some of our favorite blogs we discovered in 2010. Great idea! I found a bunch of new-to-me blogs this year. Here are the ones I like to check in on daily:

Oh Amanda {inspirational}

A Wife Loved Like the Church {friendly}

Alicia's Homemaking {motivational}

Stark.raving.mad.mommy {hilarious}

It's Come 2 This {real}

Merry With Children {down-to-earth}

And I subscribe via email to:

Simple Organized Living {organized}

Giving Up on Perfect {honest}

If you're not on this list, have no fear, either you're an old favorite (I discovered you before 2010) or I catch up with you on weekends.;-) For more Saturday Stumbles or to make your own list, go here.