Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Easy Way to Freshen the Linen Closet

Have you ever gotten a towel or set of sheets out of your linen closet and they smelled…less than fresh?  For some reason, my linen closet tends to have a musty smell in it.  My central unit vent return is right below the cabinet, so I don’t know if that has something to do with it or not.  Anyways, I was noticing that the linen closet made my clean linens smell somewhat musty.  Almost like they had been sitting in the washer too long, but I knew that they hadn’t.  I cleaned the closet, but they still had the weird odor.

I did some research on the internet and ran across tip that has made all the difference.  It was so simple that I thought that it surely wouldn’t work.  But it did.  The tip?  Put a dryer sheet in the cabinet with your linens.  Crazy, right?!?

Our linen cabinet has four shelves and I just put a dryer sheet on two of them.  It has made a dramatic difference.  The towels now smell dryer-fresh and our sheets have a pleasant scent that lasts for the entire week.

I also took this tip and used it for our closet and office closet.  In our office closet, I house all of our jackets.  In the winter, we tend to use the same jackets daily but I keep our dress jackets in the office closet.  Then, in the spring, I move all the jackets to the closet.  I put a small nail on the inner wall, the wall that you have to crane your neck to see, and I poked a dryer sheet right on that nail.  The jackets smell nice and fresh and I just routinely change the dryer sheet out anytime I think of it, maybe a couple times a year.  I did the same thing in our main closet, too!  It’s a pleasant scent that wafts out into the room whenever you open the closet door…and it makes me happy.  And I like being happy. J

Monday, February 27, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I know I have mentioned this before, but I have really started liking how menu planning on Sunday seems to set the "organized" mood for the whole week.  It's almost like "It's one more thing that I really don't have to worry about."  The only thing I have to remember is to take stuff out of the freezer about two days before we need it.  Done.  (I usually take two days worth of meals out at a time.)  Without further ado, here's this week's menu:

Monday:  Leftovers for Frank, I will likely eat out tonight.
Tuesday:  Pizza Casserole
Wednesday:  Ham and Cheese Hawaiian Rolls, French Fries
Thursday:  Sweat and Sour Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, Salad
Friday:  Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Saturday:  Grilled Pork Chops, Mac and Cheese
Sunday:  You're On Your Own

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday: New Task Day!

Happy Sunday!  Today is the day of the week that I assign myself a new daily task.  Since I'm doing so well keeping up with my other daily tasks, I believe that this week's task will not be too much of an additional job.  This week's new habit is to do a quick 5 minute pick-up daily.  Ideally, this would take place in the evenings, right before bed.  But since I go to bed during the day and night (depending on my work schedule), I think that just a loose "tidy up 5 minutes before I lay horizontal" is sufficient.  *Grins*

Obviously, straightening up 5 minutes a day will not be sufficient in keeping the house looking nice.  But, since I have started timing myself doing my tasks and housework, I have been pleasantly surprised by how little time these tasks actually take.  This 5 minute tidy, however, is in addition to my other daily tasks.  For example, opening the mail and scooping the litterbox are not included in my 5 minute tidy.  I believe that a daily 5 minute touch-up is exactly what my home needs.

On another, unrelated note:  my blog traffic has increased dramatically!  And that has made me so happy!  In fact, yesterday alone had 21 pageviews.  Now if I can lure more commenters my way....  :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Feelin' Good Friday--Values

Okay, so it's not Friday, but I was a little overbooked yesterday and something had to give, so it was the blog.  But, keeping my promise from Thursday to discuss values, I have decided to post this a day late.  Besides, I think this is an important blog post...

From time to time, everyone will go through a "funk."  I recently had one of those funks.  For about 8 months.  It was a personal problem, that at this time, I am not comfortable with discussing with the world.  This "personal problem" made me feel very bad about myself.  I felt like a failure despite my family and friends' unending support.  Finally, a friend told me that I was not the same person she met several years ago.  In part, I think that some of the changes in me were a product of maturity and the typical nurse's "gallows humor."  But, I knew what she was referencing, because I felt it too.  There was a huge difference between my normal sarcasm and the pessimistic cynicalism that I had been subjecting myself to lately.  I decided that life was too short to life that way.  I spoke with a healthcare provider (that is also a good friend) and she and I came up with a game plan for me.  A pharmaceutical game plan.  *Grins*  In all seriousness, I didn't realize how bad I felt until I started feeling better.  Which, incidentally, was about the time this blog was born.  Over the last several weeks, I am noticing that I am starting to feel better...even better than the "Old Me."  In fact, I feel like Superwoman.  I am unstoppable.

Part of my transformation-in-progress was pharmaceutical-assisted, yes, but I have been working hard to fix/mend my psyche, too.  And it all comes down to knowing what is important to you, knowing what you're values are.  Values vary from person to person.  Technically, the definition of "values" is:  "the importance or preciousness of something." 

I think it is important to list your values somewhere.  Somewhere you access fairly often, maybe your Home Management Binder or a journal.  It is nice to remind yourself of what ranks as important in your life.  It makes making decisions alot easier, too.  In a world where we are overbooked and frazzled, saying "Yes" to one more obligation may not seem like too much of a headache right now.  But in two months, it might be very difficult to juggle this new obligation with your current life.  When asked to take on a new task (like hosting the work Christmas party or planning a family member's wedding shower), ask yourself if this task will be more of a burden than it's worth.  If this new task or obligation doesn't fit into your set of values, then maybe it just isn't worth it.

To make a list of values, you might want to start with these questions:
  • What are the most important things/relationships in my life?  What are my values or what makes a rich life?
  • Do I work at maintaining these important relationships?
    • If no, do I have a plan to start reconnecting with these important values?
  • Do I give back to others?
After you have made your list of values, start working to put those values into action in your everyday life.  Appreciating those things that are important to you, puts meaning into your life.  It helps you to appreciate life for the gift that it is. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thrifty Thursday: Burrito Casserole Recipe

Today is Thursday!  That means that I just have one more night of work until I’m off for the weekend!  Yay!  Over the last two weeks, I have seen traffic increase on the blog and that makes me so very happy!  So, I was brainstorming some clever ways to help bring even more traffic over here.  I really like how Laura at orgjunkie.com does “Menu Plan Monday.”  And Mrs. Flylady calls Wednesday the “Anti-Procrastination Day.”  I really like having a cutesy title for the blog posts, so I came up with a couple of my own.  (Note:  If your blog already has these names for weekly blog posts, my apologies.  Just leave me a quick note and I will definitely give credit where credit is due.  J)

I came up with “Thrifty Thursday” and “Feelin’ Good Friday.”  Aren’t they cute?!?  I will explain Feelin’ Good Friday in more detail on Friday, but for now, let’s explore Thrifty Thursday.

Thrifty Thursday is all about easy and frugal recipes, home management ideas, and any other tidbit that crosses my flighty little brain that I decide to write about.  *Grins*

Today, I am sharing a recipe.  I came up with this recipe during one of my showdowns with the pantry.  It was 5:30, I hadn’t been to the grocery store in over a week, and I was down to slim pickins.  After a few minutes, I realized I could make some random version of a burrito.  Thus, Burrito Casserole was born.  I have shared this recipe with many friends and it always gets rave reviews.  Here it is:

Burrito Casserole

1 pound of ground beef, seasoned and browned
½ of a 1 ¼ oz pkg of taco seasoning
2/3 cup water
16 oz mild salsa, divided
10 oz refried beans
8-10 tortillas
8 oz shredded Mexican cheese (Colby and Monterey Jack)
After browning and draining the ground beef, return the meat to the skillet.  Add water and taco seasoning.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the water has evaporated.  Then add 8 oz salsa and the refried beans.  Mix well.

Place 2-3 tbs of meat mixture on each tortilla.  Top with a sprinkle of cheese.  Roll up tortilla and place in a greased 13x9 pan.  Continue this step until you have used up all the tortillas.  (It usually takes me 2-13x9 pans.)  Top rolled tortillas with the remainder of salsa and cheese.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until everything is all hot, bubbly, and yummy-looking.  Enjoy!

Cost breakdown (As of 2/21/12)

1 lb 80/20 ground beef       $3.05

Taco Seasoning                   $0.55   (Remember:  You only use ½ of this package!)

Salsa                                       $2.39

Refried Beans                     $1.79

Tortillas                                  $1.29

Shredded Cheese                  $2.39

                        TOTAL           $11.46

This recipe is enough to feed my husband and I two meals a piece, that breaks down to $2.86 a serving.  And it’s super yummy, too!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How I Store Personal Care Items...Or At Least Some Of Them

Yesterday I blogged about my newly organized linen closet.  I shared pictures of the previous location of the medicine and I explained how the cabinet was just too small for our healthcare items.  You may remember my shelf of beauty products that was immediately below the area that I used to store medicine.  That area was a cluttered mess.  No matter how I straightened or rearranged, it was always a mess.  So I did something about it.  Here's the before picture:

Once I freed up the space in the top of the cabinet, I was able to move my seldom used and back-up items to that location.  The doors allow me to keep all the clutter hidden.  In the open shelf below, I have my items that I use daily or several times a week.  Since it is just a few items, I think that it is perfectly acceptable to leave those few items out.

My personal care products that I use daily.

On the very bottom of this cabinet, I have a little door.  This area of the cabinet I previously thought was useless.  For a while, I used it to hold spare toilet paper, but it would only hold two large rolls or three regular rolls.  The problem with that?  Out of sight and out of mind.  I’m the only person who uses this bathroom on a regular basis, so the few times that I ran out of toilet paper, it was my fault.  When I would grab the last toilet paper roll, I would forget to replace it with a few from our other storage space.  That’s a problem.

I have fixed that problem by moving the spare rolls to the very top of the cabinet.  When I use a couple of the spare rolls, I notice that there is a big hole on my shelf that needs to be filled.  So I fill it.  I know this seems stupid, but it is the little things like this that have made my life simpler over the last several weeks.

So, what did I do with that odd shaped space?  I put feminine items there.  My vanity is a little more than an arm’s length away from the toilet, so it was difficult to reach my personal care items.  I now have several of each of the feminine items that I use here.  The boxes with the remainder of these items are stashed in the back of my vanity.

Surprisingly, I actually do a pretty good job of keeping this area stocked.  Maybe it’s because I only have to access it a few days a month.  (TMI?)  Either way, these few changes have made getting ready each day so much easier.

My seldom used items.  I use these items less than once a week or so. 
There are also some back-up and extra supplies in this part of the cabinet.

Sorry for the picture quality.  My bathroom is literally four feet wide, so that makes getting "longview" pictures a pain.  But, I hope y'all get the idea.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Linen and Medicine Closet Makeover

A few weeks ago, I moved our “medicine cabinet” from our over-the-toilet cabinet in the master bathroom to the hallway linen closet.  In our master bathroom, if that’s what you want to call it, we have a miniscule cabinet that is over the toilet.  (See below.  And please overlook the 1980s wallpaper and gold lightswitch cover.  We are currently saving for some much needed home renos.)  Over time, the cabinet had become jam-packed with medicine, first aid supplies, and other various health items.  It was getting full enough that, when opening the cabinet, you had to be ready to catch anything that was going to fall out!  Truthfully, we didn’t have a great deal of extra medicine and such in the cabinet, we just had too small of a space.  Those are all my beauty supplies on the open shelf.  I will show y'all what this cabinet looks like now in tomorrow's post.

I went to Dollar General and purchased two 12 quart plastic lidded tubs.  I figure that those two tubs should be more than enough room to store the medicine/health needs for Frank and I.  I shucked anything that was expired or appeared to be damaged.  I then went to my linen closet and starting purging and reorganizing.  Some of our “less than beautiful” towels and washcloths went to a basket to be used for rags and to be used in my husband’s shop.  I also tossed any worn out and ripped sheets and pillowcases that I had.  I have at least one more set that will likely be purged, but it is in a little bit better condition, so I think I’m going to see if the local Humane Society would like to use it for bedding.  Here's a before picture.  Nice, huh?

I then labeled the two tubs I bought at Dollar General "Cold Medicine" and "Medicine and First Aid."  The top tub is filled with cold and flu medicine, cough drops, and our tubing for a nebulizer.  The bottom tub is filled with Misc medicine and first aid stuff.  Over to the right, you can see our blue heating pad and our peroxide and rubbing alcohol.

For now, I have two sets of regular cotton sheets and one set of flannel sheets for our bed.  We also have a twin bed in the guest room and I have two sets of sheets for that bed.  I do have several blankets and comforters, however.  And I have absolutely no intention of getting rid of them.  My blankets are all handmade quilts that were given to me as gifts (and I have many of them).  I actually use all of my blankets, though.  I have two twin size comforters that I love to cuddle on the couch with, so they are definitely staying.  See that striped comforter?  I love it.  My other big, fluffy comforter was in use when this picture was taken...the puppy was laying on it.

This is the top shelf of the closet.  Over on the far right are my two fabric table cloths and the dust ruffle for our bed.
Overall, I made a large impact on my linen closet.  I now wish I had made before and after pictures, but that was before I figured out how to upload pictures to Blogger.  It is so nice to see that I have room to spare! Here's another look!  Doesn't it just make your heart SING?!?  My goal is to one day paint the inside of this closet, because paneling makes me die a little inside...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Menu Plan Monday!

Today is Monday!  So, that means that I am participating in orgjunkie.com’s Menu Plan Monday.  I have mentioned previously about how much I like menu planning.  It makes me feel so much more in control knowing that the 5 p.m. “Pantry-Glare” is a thing of the past.

Am I the only one that does the “Pantry-Glare?”  You know, you open the pantry door and stare into it hoping some brilliant dinner inspiration will hit you?  Well, that’s a thing of the past!  I now do the Breakfast “Pantry-Glare” and occasionally the Lunch “Pantry-Glare,” but I’m taking baby steps into the right direction.  Here’s this week’s menu, filled with yumminess:

Monday:  Cheesy Tuna Casserole

Tuesday:  Chicken BBQ Pizza (Using leftover sloppy chicken from last week that I froze.)

Wednesday:  Burrito Casserole

Thursday:  You're On Your Own

Friday:  Cheesy Chicken Noodles

Saturday:  Steaks, Baked Potatoes

Sunday:  Dinner at my parent’s house.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday: New Task Day!

Today is Sunday and that means that it is time for me to assign myself a new daily task. (Yay.)  I have been doing great with keeping up with my Daily To-Do’s and I can definitely see a difference in my house and how I view my home.  So far, my Daily To-Do's include:

·         Feed the critters.

·         Mail call.

·         Check planner/calendar.

·         Purge something .

·         Scoop litterbox.

o   Microsoft Word says “litterbox" isn’t a word.  I say it is.

I have decided that I cannot be trusted to do the customary weekly sweep of the kitchen and dining room.  I like to think that it’s because I’m too busy, but I suspect that it’s really because I’m lazy.  (Hey, it’s a character flaw!)  Yesterday when I got home from work, I swept and mopped the kitchen and dining room floor.  It was awful.  I was embarrassed.  Not that anyone saw my pile of yuckiness, or anything, but I was still embarrassed all the same.  Truthfully, I’m not even sure when I swept and mopped last.  Anyways, maybe if I do just a quick sweep of the high traffic areas of the kitchen and dining room daily, I can keep the funk to a minimum.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Inbox's Other Job

In yesterday’s post, I showed the results of my 20-minute pick-up.  What I didn’t show was where I put all the stuff that didn’t belong in the main living area of the house.
When I do a quick pick-up of the house, anything I come across that doesn’t go in that room, goes to my Inbox.  Then, at the end of my 20 minutes, I quickly return those random items to their homes.  My Inbox has these nifty handles on it so it makes transporting it from room to room much easier.
After yesterday’s 20 minute pick-up, my Inbox looked like this:

Ten minutes later, it was empty and all those random items had gone back to their homes.
I got this idea by reading David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” book.  It is a great read and I totally recommend checking it out.  Anyways, in his book, he talks about corralling all of your “loose ends” into one space (I believe he calls it an “Inbox,” too.) and then making sure that you clear that Inbox daily.  What a cool idea!  It seems to be working well for me because I am focusing on clearing this one room and I’m not getting distracted by some other project in another room.
I tend to get distracted.  Easily.  For instance, during my livingroom pick-up, I may pick up a hair tie and some bobby pins from the table beside the couch.  I then take those items to my bathroom to be put away.  When I enter the bathroom, I see that I left out my hairspray.  So I put it up.  Oh, but wait, my mirror has toothpaste on it!  I get out the Windex and clean the mirror.  Well, I might as well clean the counter, too!  Hmm, the toilet could use a quick wipe-down.  Oh!  Here’s some dirty clothes!  I will go start a load of laundry now!  Hmm, the cat litter needs to be scooped, I will do that right now….

And this goes on and on and on.  Before I know it, I have spent two hours doing random jobs around the house but I never got back to picking up the livingroom.  Using the Inbox as a tool to corral all my stuff that needs to go elsewhere keeps me focused.  Also, the Inbox isn’t very big, so there’s a limit to the amount of crap I can pile in it! J

Friday, February 17, 2012

20 Minute Pick-up

Sometimes, I look around my house and realize that, although it isn’t truly “dirty,” it appears that way because it looks cluttered and messy.  Many times, Frank and I will come in the back door and drop whatever is in our hands on the dining room table.  Not surprisingly, our dining room table is our biggest clutter attracter.  But then, the clutter starts reproducing when we aren’t looking.  The clutter starts moving in onto the kitchen counters and onto the side tables in the living room.  Before you know it, the whole main living area of our home looks like a bomb went off in it.

In the past, I would just throw my hands up in despair and think that it just wasn’t worth the time and effort it took to keep my home straight.  Then, I actually timed myself doing a quick clean-up.  It took 20 minutes.  In 20 minutes, I went from an embarrassingly cluttered mess to a home that would allow me to throw open my back door and welcome visitors into the house.  (As long as they don’t look too close.)

Here’s the before pictures:

And here’s the after pictures:  (Remember, I only spent 20 minutes on this!)

The takeaway?  It really doesn’t take all that long to pick up.  The end.

P.S.--The pups say, "Hi!"

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Organizing Office Files...A Work in Progress

This weekend, I started a project of moving all the papers from my office 2-drawer filing cabinet to binders and banker's boxes.  While this project is still a work in progress, I am already pleased with how much easier it will be to access the appropriate paperwork in the binders versus scrounging around in the filing cabinet...AKA "The Black Hole."

This weekend, I found several piles of papers (like, an ungodly amount) that I had hidden in, what was I'm sure, a rushed "Oh my goodness, the inlaws are coming over in 10 minutes!" home clean-up Stash and Dash.  (Like my run-on sentence?)  Anyways, after coming across all these papers, I realized that I have to find a better system for my incoming papers.  As far as mail goes, I feel like I'm doing quite well with keeping up with the papers and processing them as soon as they come into the house.  But, it's all that OTHER paper that's been hanging around my house for years and years that I don't know what to do with. 

Here's some things that I found out:
*  I haven't balanced the checkbook since April 2011.
*  I haven't balanced our three savings accounts in over two years.
*  I apparently stashed an electric bill from November 2010.  (Thank goodness we have autopay.)
*  I also found three of Frank's paystubs from May and June 2010.

I'm still processing my paper piles, all the while cussing myself for letting it get so out of hand.  Meanwhile, I'm feeling much better about the amount of sheer crap that is leaving my house.

And that feels good.

Below:  Kiwi is helping me organize!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Freezer Cooking and Premade Meals

This weekend, I set a loose goal of trying to get some freezer cooking done.  I thought that having a few premade meals would make meal planning and preparation easier for me.  I was expecting this experience to be frustrating, messy, and time-consuming.  It wasn't.  In 2 hours and 20 minutes, I was able to get a great deal of cooking done...and my mess cleaned up.  When it was all said and done, I had over 4 pounds of ground beef browned (3 pounds of this went to the freezer), 2 casseroles made (one went to the freezer and one went to the fridge to be cooked later), a large bowl of chicken salad made, 3 cups of shredded chicken to freezer, and the dishes were done three times.

Here's how my timeline went:

1045:  Start
1045-1110:  Cooked spaghetti noodles.  Browned 4 pounds of ground beef, then seperated.
1110-1155:  2 Spaghetti Casseroles assembled and put in freezer/fridge.  Boiled eggs for salad.
1155-1210:  Took a break while chicken was boiling.
1210-1220:  Dishes
1220-1230:  Shredded chicken and put some in freezer.
1230-1250:  Made chicken salad.
1250-1255:  Picked up mess off kitchen counters, put away unused supplies/ingredients.
1255-105:    Dishes done and put away.  Counters and stove wiped down.

When I stepped out of my clean kitchen, I felt so accomplished!  I felt good knowing that I had nice meals ready for my family.  Sure, there are women who could probably make twice the amount of food I was able to...and in the same period of time.  But, for my first time, I'm pleased with how the freezer cooking challenge went.  I will definitely try to continue this very cool time saving idea!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Incoming Mail Organization

One of the fastest clutter growers in a home is incoming paperwork.  Without a system in place, the papers will quickly overtake a space.  It isn’t uncommon for a household to get two magazines/catalogs and four envelopes DAILY in the mail!  If those items aren’t dealt with today, the clutter will soon pile up to monstrous levels!  Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating some…but not much.  Each day it keeps collecting and growing and then it seems to be entirely too much trouble to sort the mail.  Then, on bill-paying day, you have to go through a huge pile of mail and other random papers that have somehow “migrated” to that pile.  It’s so frustrating!  For years, I lived this way.  I would let everything pile up and then go on a wild goose chase to find some random bill that needed to be paid (yesterday).  Not only is this stressful for me, but it also costs me extra money in late fees.

A few weeks ago, when I started my life transformation (That’s what I’m calling it.  Don’t judge me.), I decided that one of the nicest things I could do for myself is to stop stressing myself out over where in the hell I put the credit card bill.  I tried a couple of different systems, but I really like my current system.  So, here goes:

Everyday Frank or I will get the mail from the mailbox.  If it is me, I immediately begin opening the envelopes and sorting the mail into different piles.  If it is Frank, he lays the mail in our “Inbox.”  I then sort it later.  (Our Inbox also serves another purpose, which I will cover in another post.)

When I’m sorting the mail, I toss anything that is obvious trash:  flyers, envelope stuffers, catalogs (except for ABC Distributing, my favorite!), envelopes from other pieces of mail.  Then I start making piles:

Bills:  They end up in the office in a vertical file holder until they are paid, which is about once a week. 

To File:  Another pile goes to my little plastic 3-drawer organizer that sits on a shelf under my Inbox, this pile goes into the drawer labeled “To File.”  About once a week I take the papers out of this box and file them in the office in my short or long term filing systems.

To Shred:  Yet another pile is my “To Shred” pile.  It also goes in my little plastic 3-drawer organizer, and about once a week, I take the papers out and shred them.

Action:  These would be any kind of invitation or appointment reminder.  Since I now always keep my planner handy, I immediately transfer that important date or reminder to my planner.  I then toss that piece of mail.  (Exception:  Invitations to special occasions that I want to keep for scrapbooking purposes.)

Magazines/Newspapers:  The weekly newspaper that we get goes to the small table beside the recliner.  My husband reads it every Wednesday.  When the new one comes in, I toss the old one.  Magazines go to a hanging file folder that is situated behind the inbox.  After we read them, we toss them.

Sale Papers:  Go in the hanging file folder.  I reference them when I get ready to go grocery shopping.

Coupons:  If I get a Sunday paper, I grab the coupons out and toss them in this hanging file until I’m ready to clip and sort them.  I also put any restaurant coupons (pizza take-out, etc) in this file.

That’s pretty much all there is to it!  I timed myself today when I opened and sorted the mail.  It took me…64 seconds.  Now, I think 64 seconds is well worth the piece of mind I now have when I sit down to pay bills and I know exactly where to put my hands on a bill.  Why didn’t I do this for myself sooner?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Menu Plan Monday!

I'm participating in my first ever Menu Plan Monday, hosted by Laura over at orgjunkie.com.  I can see how menu planning can be an important role in getting organized.  It can also be good for your pocketbook to know what you are cooking ahead of time.  I know that I, for one, tend to just order Domino's when I don't already have something thawed/waiting to be cooked.  That's bad for my waistline, too....

Monday:  Spaghetti Casserole
Tuesday:  Chicken Salad Sandwiches for Frank and I am bringing dessert to the hospital potluck.
Wednesday:  Grilled Cheese and Chicken Noodle Soup
Thursday:  Sloppy Chicken Sandwiches and French Fries
Friday:  Chicken Enchilada Ring
Saturday:  Grilled Pork Chops, Mac and Cheese, Salad
Sunday:  Your On Your Own

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weekend Progress and New Daily Task

It has been a very productive weekend around here.  I wasn't able to get everything done that I wanted, but I'm still happy with the results.  Saturday was jam-packed full of productivity and today I was able to get some projects out of the way that I have been procrastinating on completing.  So, without further ado, here's the weekend's To-Do List with end results:

Get all laundry washed, dried, folded, and put away.  CHECK!  (Thanks to my sweetie!)
Finish reading Ch 3 in Anatomy.  CHECK!
Review Anatomy notes.  CHECK!
Dishes.  CHECK!
Vacuum.  Nope.
Dust.  Nope.
Sweep/Mop.  Nope.
Clean Master Bath. (I cleaned the front bathroom on Tuesday.)  Nope.
Pay bills.  CHECK!
Balance checkbook. (I haven't balanced it since April 2011. Nice, huh?)  Nope.
Sort mail that has collected the last few days.  CHECK!
Do blog post on my current Inbox/mail sorting method.  Nope.
Start process of moving paperwork from file cabinet to binders and banker's boxes. (Blog post later.)  CHECK! Menu plan for next week.  CHECK!
Grocery shop/Coupons.  CHECK!
Try to get some freezer cooking done.  CHECK!

I would have been alot more productive today had I not woke up at 3 this morning.  But, when I got up, I went to the office and spent some time reconciling our three savings accounts.  Which, by the way, I hadn't done in two years.  Once I found all the paperwork (which was a stack at least 4 inches high), I had to sort it by the three different accounts we have.  Then, I had to sort it by date.  THEN, I could start reconciling.  It took me forever to get everything sorted, but once I had it in order, it maybe took me 20 minutes to do two (Vacation/Christmas Fund, House Fund) of my three accounts and another 20 minutes to do my Emergency Fund account.  I was so disgusted with myself.  It is a very easy job, much easier than balancing the checkbook (which I also hate doing), but I still procrastinate doing it.  I venture to guess that if I just put 5 minutes every month towards those three accounts, it wouldn't take me but another 5 minutes to reconcile every three months when the statements come in.  Ugh!  Why do I do this to myself?  I spent more time looking for the paperwork and then sorting it, than if I just took care of the task as soon as it arose.  Anyways, once I got the headache of reconciling the savings accounts out of the way, it was 8 AM.  I played a bit on the computer and then laid down for a "nap" at 9:30...and woke up at 3:30.  I then got ready and Frank and I went to my parents house to help them set up their new TV and we ate supper over there.  We got home at 9 and I have been working on upcoming blog posts ever since.

Since it is Sunday, I have a new task assigned to myself.  I loathe, nay--HATE, scooping the litterbox.  Why can't my cat go do her business out in the yard like the dogs?  Anyways, I hate doing it...so I usually don't.  Frank will eventually get around to it.  When it's full.  Or stinks.  Anyways, I have decided that if we just scoop it everyday, it will never get too gross.

Overall, I'm pleased with how the weekend turned out.  I hope that the coming week will turn out to be just as productive!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Current Progress and Weekend Plans

The last few days I haven't been as rigid with my Daily To-Do's.  I have done the required tasks (feeding the animals and checking my planner and calendar), but I haven't been doing alot of decluttering.  The mail is piled nicely in the inbox (more on that in a minute), waiting to be sorted and dealt with.  This week hasn't been terribly busy but it definitely has been busy enough!  I was pretty booked Tuesday with appointments and trying to study for my test in Lab.  Then I had class all day Wednesday, worked Wednesday and Thursday night, and I had my Anatomy class today.  I hope to lie down for a nap in about an hour.  I decided that as long as I didn't feel guilty about not completing my Daily To-Do's, then it was okay to skip them for a day or two.  I'm off this weekend, so I will get everything back in order for next week.

Speaking of this weekend, I have a few things I want to accomplish:
   Get all laundry washed, dried, folded, and put away.
   Finish reading Ch 3 in Anatomy.
   Review Anatomy notes.
   Clean Master Bath.  (I cleaned the front bathroom on Tuesday.)
   Pay bills.
   Balance checkbook.  (I haven't balanced it since April 2011.  Nice, huh?)
   Sort mail that has collected the last few days.
   Do blog post on my current Inbox/mail sorting method.
   Start process of moving paperwork from file cabinet to binders and banker's boxes.  (Blog post later.)
   Menu plan for next week.
   Grocery shop/Coupons.
   Try to get some freezer cooking done.

I think I can get everything on this list accomplished or at least started this weekend.  Balancing the checkbook will probably take several sessions to get caught up, but I KNOW I can do it.  I have decided on a new way to balance it which I will start for Jan 2012...once I get to there. :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Decluttering Progress Underway!

After yesterday's mini-decluttering marathon, I was inspired to keep purging.  The laundry room looks so much larger without all the junk cluttering it up!  I was so proud of the overall improvement, I decided to declutter our upright freezer.  And since tomorrow is trash day, it was a good day to do it.  I have been procrastinating for at least a year on this project.  Now, I'm not sure why because it only took me five minutes to purge and then maybe another two or three minutes to reorganize the items that remained.

My husband enjoys deer hunting, and from time to time we will have alot of venison in the freezer (which I'm actually not a big fan of and we usually end up giving most of it away).  Then in the fall of 2010, my parents and I had a hog butchered.  Did you know that 220 pounds of meat goes a long. long. long. way?  Needless to say, I STILL have pork in the freezer!  But, those two items are still fine for consumption, but when we put the meat into the freezer, we quickly stuffed it in and was done.  Today, after I started moving all that meat around, I found alot of expired food.  Wanna know what I found and subsequently disposed of?
               *Cookie dough (two packages) that expired two years ago.
               *French fries that expired three years ago.
               *Hashbrowns that expired two years ago.
               *Fresh Crowder Peas that I put up in 2009.
               *Burritos that expired well over a year ago.
               *Vegetable Lasagna that I made and froze in April.

It's a shame that I had to toss all that food.  I probably disposed of $20 worth of food.  Food that could have been put to good use.  No one is so rich that they can afford to throw away food...and if they are, they need to be doing something good with it.

So, the point is that I made a HUGE impact on a very important room in my house in less than an hour.  I don't know why I procrastinate doing my decluttering/organizing/cleaning.  The more I put it off, the more work there will be later.  Maybe those organizing ladies have the right idea after all....

Today's To-Do's:  CHECK!
-Feed the critters.
-Mail call.
-Check calendar/planner.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Almost time for bed...but first....

It was an excitingly dull 12.5 hours at work last night.  Nevertheless, I came home tired.  Although I feel a great deal better than earlier this week, I'm obviously still not 100% over the crud.  The Daily To-Do's have been done the last couple of days, so I can at least take pride in that.  As I type this, Frank is changing the sheets on our bed and has already done a load of laundry this morning.  (Bless him!)

I have decided that before I lie down this morning for my nap, I'm going to declutter some boxes in the laundry room.  We STILL haven't sorted through alot of the Christmas presents we got over a month ago and there are still several presents sitting patiently in their boxes, waiting to be used.  Or at least opened.  So, that's what I'm tackling before bed.  Wish me luck!

Today's To-Do's:  CHECK!

...45 minutes later:  I thought I was finished with my blog post, but I was so happy with my progress, I wanted to share!  I decluttered two large trash bags of cleaning supplies, candles, and air fresheners that I don't like or use.  I was able to add two baskets to my "Yard Sale" pile that I decluttered all the junk out of.  I washed out the plastic bins that I currently corral my junk in.  And I "delegated" my husband to sweep and mop the laundry room (including baseboards) today.  I was able to get all the boxes of gifts off the floor (they were blocking the door of my freezer opening) and onto shelves or on top of the upright freezer, itself.  And a few well-placed nails to hold a flyswatter, cat litter scoop, and a dust pan...and I was done!  GO ME!

Friday, February 3, 2012

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

I think that I am finally getting over this crud that I have had since Monday, so I'm going to work tonight.  It's amazing how quickly the house can go to crap as soon as I quit my Daily To-Do's.  But, I'm back on track today.  First order of business is to clean out the Inbox (where Frank puts all the mail for me to sort).  Then I need to pay bills, get my uniform ready for tonight, and do my other scheduled tasks.

...Less than 7 minutes later:
Inbox cleared and mail sorted.
Critters fed and watered.
Checked planner and calendar.
Purged.  (Well, I actually only took out the trash in the office, but it counts!)
Uniform hanging and ready for tonight.
Bills paid.

Today's To-Do's:  CHECK!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Am I On the Mend?

I am feeling somewhat better today.  The fever is gone...for now.  I still have the upper respiratory stuffiness and runny nose and I have a horrible dry, hacking cough that makes my throat so very sore.  But, breathing is getting easier by the hour.  I hope to back to "full-steam-ahead" mode by tomorrow night when I go back to work.  We'll see.

As far as the Daily To-Do's go, they are obviously still on the back burner.  But, Frank or I have done the bare necessities.  I'm thinking that I'm probably not going to add another daily task to my list this Sunday since this week's tasks have basically gone to the crapper.  But, I'm not giving up this time.  I refuse.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Ugh.  I feel like poopie.  I started feeling under the weather Monday morning but was able to make it through class.  I came home and doped up on cold medicine and took a long nap before work.  I work up feeling yucky.  My temperature was 99.5, I took some Tylenol and got ready for work.  Over the course of the night, I was feeling worse and worse.  When I got home Tuesday morning, I took more medicine and dropped into bed.  I couldn't sleep because I couldn't breathe.  I got up Tuesday afternoon with a temperature of 100.1 and took more Tylenol and ibuprofen...and got ready for work.  The more I was up moving around, the worse I felt.  My face felt like it was on fire and I was so cold.  I took my temperature and it was 101.0...and they sent me home from work.  I then called a good friend, who is a midwife, and asked her to give me some scripts for antibiotics to clear up the crud I got going on.  She poked and prodded and listened to my lungs.  Flu swab and strep swab were both negative, but she said that I wasn't moving a lot of air in the lower bases of my lungs and my tonsils were full of pus pockets.  Nice.  Sooo, a shot of Rocephin, a shot of steroids, and a breathing treatment later...I was on my way home.

Frank banished me to the couch until I get better.  The last time I checked my temperature before falling asleep, it was up to 102.0.  I slept fitfully until I woke up at 5:30 DRENCHED in sweat.  I guess the temperature broke.  My throat still feels like razor blades, I'm coughing my head off, and I feel weak; but I guess I will live.

I have a doctor's note to miss school today.  Apparently, I'm contagious.  Go figure.

Anywho, I hope to be feeling back to my old self soon, at which time I will resume my Daily To-Do's in full force.  Until then, I'm just doing the bare minimum.