I've had an article published at ehow.com! Nifty, huh? It's entitled: How to Pack Your Christmas Decorations using Recycled Materials
You can follow this link to read it. http://www.ehow.com/how_2170612_christmas-decorations-using-recycled-materials.html
Monday, December 31, 2007
I've had an article published at ehow.com! Nifty, huh? It's entitled: How to Pack Your Christmas Decorations using Recycled Materials
As you may have heard the south east, at least parts of it, are in a severe drought. And while I love, Love, LOVE snow... I'll settle for rain. And plenty of it. I never thought I'd be so happy to see it rain. It's such a cleansing thing. Like the whole world is getting a shower. :)
We've gotten around 2 inches in the past week and that's such a Godsend. It rained on Thanksgiving and I cheered. It rained on Christmas and I was so happy. Yesterday it rained all day and the birds continued to eat from the feeders, delighting in the rain. I almost wanted to remind them to scrub behind their ears. LOL That's how delirious I am with the rain. And yes, I know that birds don't have ears to wash behind. :)
If you have a spare minute, pray that the south east gets some much needed rain this winter. I'm sure God is tired of hearing me ask for the same thing every single day. *g*
Hope everyone had a happy holiday. Ours was relaxing! We got some great goodies. Our kitchen is a little more decked out thanks to a shiny new food processor, cool tools like a lime and lemon juicer, a garlic peeler, and a gorgeous new pan from Emerile's line (thanks mom!).
My birds are also eating in style. At least the little yellow finches are... thanks to a special new feeder just for them. Last night DH and I purchased a bird bath for the back deck. I've been wanting one for ages and I think we've found just the one. It clips to the edge of the deck and has a shallow end, a deep end, and a place to put a dripper. Not to mention the bottom is textured. These are all things that the bird magazine I recently read said a bird bath should have.
I'm so excited!
I've got lots of new "notes to self" and recipes to share.
How was your holiday? What did you get?
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I know the holidays are almost here, and I should be sending my Christmas cards. But my desktop is filled with icons which drives me nuts. So today's organizing challenge is to tidy your computer's desktop. Get rid of unused icons. Organize the rest. And maybe even add a festive background.
Monday, December 17, 2007
I've heard for several years that poinsettias are poisonous. Now I'm hearing they're not. Either way, I wonder each year how to best keep them alive and looking there best. BHG.com has an article on that very topic this month. Learn how to pick out a good one and keep it looking great all season long.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I hate diets that completely cut out something. I believe in balance.
But need to watch the calories since I'm not able to exercise as much these days. So I'm making an effort to be more carb conscious. There, I've said it. The carb-o-holic is going to be carb conscious. I'm so sorry all you wonderful little carbs out there. I still love you!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
from BlogHer - http://www.blogher.com/christmas-and-hanukkah-meme
1.Real tree or artificial or treeless? Any special traditions with the tree?
3 artificial and hopefully one real. I love, love, love real trees. Love the smell, the shopping, everything. But we have a TALL living room and anything under 10 feet looks really silly. So when MIL gave us her gorgeous giant tree, we accepted. It takes 4 hours to put it together. But once decorated, it's incredible. I still miss the smell though.
2. Eggnog or Cider or Mulled Wine?
Ugh, none of the above? How about hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream, chocolate syrup and crushed peppermint on top?
3. Spiritual or Secular celebration?
4. Favorite Christmas music?
5. One special holiday memory.
Getting engaged 2 days before Christmas. ;)
Monday, December 10, 2007
I used to handmake all my Christmas cards. First I'd design the card, reverse it, copy it onto a linoblock, carve it, ink it up and print each card individually. I hand stamped a special message on the inside and I did this for my mom's cards as well. So each year I'd make two different sets of Christmas cards. At some point, I stopped. Now we're doing store bought cards and it doesn't feel the same, so now I try to put a more personal message in each. Last year we wrote up a "newsletter" and this year we're including a photo.
I think the important thing is not how you make the card or what you include with it, it's the sentiment of the card and what you write. To me, a personal little note is the best!
I've been wandering around the net looking at how others are doing Christmas cards this year. Some seem to be boycotting the idea. Others are embracing it, tailoring it to fit their life and family. I encourage everyone to take a few moments and send a heartfelt sincere card this year. Even one will brighten one person's day. And that's worth the minute or two it takes you to write it.
A Christmas Postcard
Organizing your Christmas Card Writing
Ever wonder something completely random? As I was filing my fingernails this morning I wondered to myself if filing makes them grow quicker. Seems counterproductive doesn't it? But I've heard that getting your hair trimmed regularly keeps it healthier so it grows faster. So is the same true with your fingernails?
And random questions like that lead to different ones... such as, when should I replace my Downy ball? Is it possible to fixer a toaster or is it time for a new one? And simple questions inevitably lead to larger ones. But enough about that...
Any random thoughts or questions of the day? Anyone?
Sunday, December 9, 2007
I have a confession. I collect straws in my glove compartment. There, I've said it. The first part is admission right?
How do I collect straws? If we go in somewhere to eat, the waitress usually hands us two straws... my husband doesn't use one, so I stuff the extra in my purse and the stow it in the glove compartment later? There's nothing I hate worse than needing a straw and not having one... okay, maybe it's not the thing I absolutely hate worse, but you get the idea.
Today I got to thinking about how my glove compartment is seeming a little unorganized lately... so now I'm looking for tips on how to organize a glove compartment. And yes, I actually keep gloves in there too. And napkins, b/c I collect those too.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
How organized is your family? How handy are your emergency phone numbers? Are sending cards & thank yous a chore?
I'm looking for a way to be more organized about contact information. My mom has an adress book that lets just say has seen better days. There are some pages with long lists of scratched out phone numbers, new address after new address for the nomads in our family that are always on the move. And while I like the idea of being able to grab my important numbers quickly, I think I'd settled for having a central location to store all that as easily as possible. So I'm on the hunt. I'd love to know how you do it.
But for now, I like the software over at highrisehq.com. Makes it easy to keep all your contacts in one easy to use place. Plus, I can never lose my address book under a mountain of phone books and piles of papers.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Sometimes the smallest things make me feel better. Like having a small space be organized. As we use things, the tend to get a little disheveled. So it's good to take a few minutes every day to tidy things back up.
For instance, I have a cleaning tote that I carry around with me while I'm cleaning. Inevitably it gets disorganized b/c while I'm cleaning, I don't bother to put things back in an orderly fashion. I probably should. But why? I'm just going to pull out the Comet again in the next bathroom.
So I take 2 minutes (usually less) to reorganize the tote, line up the bottles, straighten the sponges... and a small piece of my world has righted itself.
What else can you organize in two minutes?
Make sure it's something that's supposed to be organized (as in, you've gone through a purge, sort, organize phase already).
* kitchen drawer
* utility / junk drawer
* cleaning supplies
* laundry room
* a drawer or basket in an entry table or living room
* DVD or CD collection
* your desk or maybe a portion of it
* your bathtub / shower (remember to combine & toss to keep your bottles to a minimum)
What else can you tidy in 2 minutes or less?
I'm always interested in what products other people love, hate, or would recommend or not. I have a few things I've come across in the last year (one way or another) that I really like.
First off, the Magic Eraser. Couldn't live without it. Really couldn't. It cleans things that nothing else can (at least without a ton of elbow grease). I don't know what this magical little sponge is made of but I love it to pieces and I'm always sad to throw an old one out.
ELECTRASOL® Powerball® Tabs I saw a commercial for these and thought what the heck, I'll give 'em a try. We have a dishwasher and lets just say, it's not top of the line. It's not at the bottom either, but it's probably closer to the bottom than the top. We used liquid Cascade. And I used a combination of Jet Dry or those jet dry baskets (which seems to run out FAST!) and never felt my dishes were as sparkling as they could be. After almost a whole box of the Tabs, I can say I love these things. They smell great, the clean really well, and my dishes come out sparkling! I was always embarrassed before if company saw my dishes before I had a chance to polish the water marks off the glasses. No more. From the dishwasher to the cabinet the only thing I now worry about are fingerprints. LOL
Now for a not recommend. I recently bought a small stereo from WalMart. The company name was Durabrand. The CD player skipped a LOT. After about 2 weeks the CD player stopped working all together. We took it back.
We went for a model up, from Philips. LOVE IT! Can't recommend it enough. The radio presets were so easy to set I didn't even need to read the instructions. CD player works great. You can even hang it on the wall.
So how about you? What are some of your favorite and not so favorite products?
Friday, November 16, 2007
I come from a long line of folks who "keep stuff" and "buy stuff." Attics and basements fill up quickly. As do closets. Sometimes it's just hard to let stuff go. You might need it some day, you say. You like the memories that object embodies.
I hate the feeling of clutter. I hate the look of clutter. Visual clutter is what I call it.
I hate it so much that I went with the simplest centerpiece possible for the tables at my wedding. Roses. That's it. Just roses. No filler. No leafy towering fluff balls. Just spherical glass vases filled to the brim with a single color of roses. It was gorgeous.
Now I'm trying to decide on a centerpiece for thanksgiving. I see plenty I like. But I keep coming back to something really simple. So simple it's elegant. And dressy while being casual. What's the idea? A pedestal of apples.
We'll see if that's what I decide on ultimately.
How do you let go of things?
Here's one tip that I've discovered.
Start with the trash. There's probably something in your room, wherever you are, that qualifies. Maybe it's a gum wrapper you just opened, or a box you just emptied. Perhaps it's an item surrounded by packaging. Maybe it's a leaf on the floor. Start with the trash. Get it out of your space. Throw things away.
It's cleansing. I promise.
Once you've gotten rid of trash, look for things to donate.
6 days and counting...
The table clothes are freshly washed and pressed. The dishes have been gathered and are awaiting a rinse. Everything is pretty much a go. I have some last minute shopping to do next week. And right now I'm just trying to decide how to fold the napkins and where to put the place card. Envelope style or book style? I can't decide.
Luckily I have a few more days to figure it out.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Since I posted yesterday about being Thankful I thought that today I'd post a meme called Thankful Thursday. I'll post what I'm thankful for. You post what you're thankful for on your blog and come back here and add a link to your post.
1. I'm thankful that my parents are still in good health and can come visit me.
2. I'm thankful that my grandmother is going to finally get to see our house next week when she comes for Thanksgiving.
3. I'm thankful that I can try new recipes with my husband and have food on the table.
4. I'm thankful for my pets and the joy they bring me and the love they lavish upon me.
5. I'm thankful for my husband.
6. I'm thankful for my health.
7. I'm thankful for my home.
8. I'm thankful for life.
9. I'm thankful for my talents and the things I can create.
10. I'm thankful for vacuum cleaners.
11. I'm thankful for my goals and achievements.
12. I'm thankful for autumn and colorful trees and big piles of leaves.
13. I'm thankful it rained last night.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Just stumbled across this post today at Nature Moms and I thought it was such a coincidence and wanted to share.
So how am I being green this Thanksgiving?
Well for starters, we put in new energy saving bulbs in the entry way today while waiting on lunch to heat up. This was a big deal b/c our ceilings are 18ft high and you can imagine the climbing, dangling, twisting and turning to get those bulbs in the light fixture. But it's done. I'm not thrilled with the look of the bulbs or the amount of light, but they should last forever (b/c the light is hardly ever on) and when they are on, it should save us $$.
According to the list in the post above... we are:
* using our fine china, not paper products
* using cloth napkins
* moved the compost can closer to the deck
And we made all those decisions without considering them to be "green." Not a bad step toward progress. IIMSS
Mom over at Garden Glimpses recently participating in the Getting Real Mondays and the habit she wants to cultivate is writing... the old fashioned, snail mail, put a postage stamp on it sort of writing.
I totally agree. This is a habit I want to get into and stick to. Birthday cards that actually get mailed and not just addressed and left on the pinboard. Packages that get sent on time. Thank you cards written in ink. Thinking about you and wanted you to know... written on paper, addressed in my neatest writing and stamped with a lovely stamp.
Surely it's worth a few minutes of my time and $.41. Surely.
Yesterday we discussed habits and I shared a few of mine. I have a new one to start.
I heard an author on a local radio show discussing her new book. The summary is that being thankful and saying thank you can really help you out in life. By being thankful you're seeing the positive things that happen to you.
Here's some info about the book, but whether or not you (or I) decide to read it, I think the message is powerful. Not just now because Thanksgiving is right around the corner (I have 2 turkeys in my freezer to prove it!) but all year long. I just feel better when I look at the positive side of things. There's too much negativity in the world.
"Thank You. Can such small words hold life changing power? Yes!
Deborah Norville's groundbreaking and persuasive book argues that gratitude is the secret key to unlocking your full life potential. Rooted in science, presented from a spiritual perspective, Thank You Power details the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude.
Norville brings together for the first time the behavioral and psychological research that prove what people of faith have long known: giving thanks brings life blessings. Beginning with those two small words, thank you, Norville shows how you can be happier and more resilient, have better relationships, improved health, and less stress.
The list of benefits is long. You'll exercise more, be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a higher immune response, live longer, be better liked by others, and have more creativity in solving problems. Each of these outcomes is backed up by published research. The key? Gratitude.
Ever heard the one about being able to catch more flies with honey than vinegar? If you want to eliminate many of the negatives of daily stress and better deal with the realities of your day, then read on. Deborah Norville may have found the real secret to happiness. You'll find the answer inside.
--Dr. Mehmet Oz, Vice Chairman and Professor of Surgery, Columbia University; and Author, You Series"
Monday, November 12, 2007
---What is one good habit that I have?
I work hard to make those around me comfortable, especially guests.
---What is one bad habit that I have?
---What is one habit that I would like to cultivate in my life?
Finding something good about each and every person I meet.
Monday, October 22, 2007
We finally got our carpets cleaned. And I'm so happy! I had this idea in my head that my carpets would just spring to life, looking brand new, maybe be a few shades lighter....
I'm not sure any of that is the case. But I do think they look cleaner. It's got a little more spring in it. And is definitely fuzz free. That won't last long. :)
What did you do this weekend?
Perhaps I need to go back in time and set this up a bit so you understand where I'm coming from. For the past two years, DH and I have hosted a Halloween party for our neighborhood. The goal was to meet our neighbors, have a good time, and make the kids happy. (Note, we don't have kids.)
This year the HOA decides "they" want to take over the Halloween party. (Note, they didn't talk to me about their decision or anything.) Then they wanted to change the name. To a Harvest Fest. So it wouldn't be as "offensive."
Long story short, they gave it up b/c of lack of interest and no one stepped forward to run the whole show. (I wonder why?)
So DH asked if I wanted to take it back over and I said sure.
So last night, like I've done the past two years, I printed up invitations, rolled them up, tied a festive ribbon around them and put one on everyone's mailbox. All 40 houses. I was finally feeling festive. Finally getting back into the spirit.
Woke up this morning to.... rain. (Note: There isn't a smilie in the world with big enough eyes or would accurately catch my expression when I looked out the window.)
It hasn't rained in forever. We're in a severe drought. They say the whole city of Atlanta could run out of water by January. It's that bad. It was that unlikely that it'd rain and RUIN all my hard work.
So I'm debating whether I welcome the rain (which I really love) or am irritated (make that depressed) that my invitations are likely ruined.
Note to self: put them in the mailbox next time.
Another note to self: don't have a next time. No. More. Parties.
Yep, ladies and gents, this is what it looks like when an Invitation Fairy's spirit dies.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
It's amazing how many list makers are out there. I'm one of them. My dh laughs b/c I have these journals of lists. He wonders how I ever find anything. Truth is, if I write it down, I remember it.
For those of you who are fellow list makers, let me introduce you to Ta-Da list. A free online service that lets you make all sorts of nifty lists to keep yourself organized. If you need a little more doodling space, meet it's older brother BackPack. I'm also a big fan of the free spreadsheet service that google offers. Simple. Easy.t
I'm always interested in learning how others take care of their home and what works for them. Rebecca over at No So Desperate Housewife gave me an idea today. When loading the dishwasher, load spoons with spoons, forks with forks, and so on. It'll make unloading easier.
AHAH! What a light bulb moment. I feel dumb not thinking of it before. Thanks Rebecca!
Monday, July 9, 2007
I'm so excited that my pumpkin vines are doing well. I have two main pumpkins growing right now. Each a little bigger than my fist. They're regular jackolantern pumpkins. The bigger one's name is Marvin. The other is Louise. :)
Last year my pumpkins got a little bigger than this and then they died. So sad. :( So I'm praying that they make it to the fall!
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
I have a family of birds hanging out around my back deck. Up on the curve of the gutter there's a nest with three baby birds in it. I haven't figured out what kind of bird it is yet. I'll have to take a picture as soon as I recharge the camera... which is a whole other topic. :)
But I'm enjoying watching these two birds take care of their growing family.
I found an awesome website for bird lovers: www.whatbird.com Really, check it out. You can identify all sorts of birds by color, location, etc.
Monday, April 2, 2007
My main project for the day (aside from finishing the laundry) is to organize/tidy/decorate my home office. We recently reorganized the furniture, but there are still a few boxes that need to be unpacked, get the floor tidied and vacuumed. So, today's challenge for everyone is to:
reduce visual clutter
My husband and I both have shelves next to our desks that are full of visual clutter and its time for it to get put away. It's things we do use from time to time... like CDs, notebooks, extra post-its, markers, extra pens and supplies.
So we bought a small unit with doors on the front to hide clutter. It also can hold the printer.
So I took everything off the shelves (and from anywhere else in the room) that a) wasn't used every day or b) wasn't decorative. Then I packed it neatly in the storage unit.
I'm hoping that by reducing visual clutter the room will look more streamlined and appealing and will increase productivity and reduce distractions. We'll see.
If you'd like to take the challenge, simply leave a comment and tell us where you're reducing visual clutter.
Monday, March 26, 2007
One of my next projects is to clean and seal the wicker chairs (see pic) on my front porch. You can tell the sun has taken its toll when you lift the seat cushion. I'm not sure what I should use to clean and seal, but it needs doing so I'll be looking into that soon.
If you have any ideas, let me know!
DH and I bought tuna steaks the other day and were looking for a good recipe for them b/c we've never eaten tuna steaks before. So over to Food Network we went and settled on Emeril's Atum de Cebolada (Tuna Steak with Onions and Tomatoes).
Overall the recipe is really good. Tasty. Smells wonderful. The potato fries are a nice touch. Our tuna steak could have been a little tastier, but I imagine it was the steak, not the recipe. If we make it again, which we probably will, I'd probably marinate the steaks in oil and garlic for 30 minutes or so before cooking.
Overall rating: A-
Sunday, March 25, 2007
It could be the reverse, I suppose. Domestic Men and not so Domestic Divas. Anyway... I read this post over here about Marriage and taking care of your man. I was always under the assumption that we should be taking care of each other...
It makes me feel great to take care of my dh in little or big ways. And I know he appreciates it. The problem is, sometimes I wonder why we don't tell each other we appreciate what the other does for us. If your dh is the breadwinner, when's the last time you thanked him for that? And when's the last time he thanked your for cooking dinner every night this week? :)
Sorry, rambling... I just find one of the most important things about this job as a woman, domestic or not, is the relationship with your SOS. I think I need to tell him more often all the little things I appreciate, rather than correcting him or trying to help him.
There are probably a dozen people who make mashed potatoes this way but I stumbled across it yesterday while making lunch for my dh and parents. I washed 5 regular baking potatoes. Peeled four. Then chopped them up into chunks and put them in a big pan with enough water to almost cover them. Then I put in two chunks of butter. A bit of salt and pepper. And a bit of roasted garlic (the kind you get in the jar.), just the tip of a knife full. Boil until fork tender.
Drain the water. Then put in more butter (hey, we're southern!), about half a cup of milk. And a half full of mozzarella cheese. Mash. Add more butter or milk if needed.
These were so yummy. And I just came up with it on the fly. Yum. Yum. Yum.
Friday, March 23, 2007
I was cleaning up after lunch today and as I was putting away the sponge I wondered when I should switch to a new sponge. So I looked it up on Real Simple. They've done a few sponge studies, definitely worth checking out.
So when should you switch sponges? They say it depends on how often and how well you clean and disinfect them. Visit this page to learn how to do that.
Not enough sponge info four you? Check out these four great alternate uses for your trusty sponge. I've personally used it as a pet hair picker upper. :)
My husband said to me one day "Why don't we have a cookbook bookshelf in the kitchen?" My reply... "we have one upstairs in the library." We stared at each other for a minute. Ahah! A bookshelf in the kitchen for cookbooks... where I actually read and use the cookbooks. That made sense!
I'd actually been thinking about this quandary for a while. I'd reorganized a counter so that I could in fact put some favorite cookbooks there.
Out entry table is a bookshelf. It's where I keep the books that have just been finished that I may want to loan out. They wait there until I take them upstairs to the library and put them away. Hubby mentioned putting the cookbooks on there. Then he mentioned moving the bookshelf. I'm a bit territorial over that little bookshelf and it's location. I've always wanted an entry table with a welcoming lamp and a small arrangement of fresh flowers. Moving the bookshelf meant I'd have to move the lamp and flowers... until I can get a replacement.
Well, we moved the shelf. Stacked cookbooks on it. And I love it.
And... I love the new home for the lamp and flower arrangement. So I'm not totally pining away for the entry table. I do miss it. And I've got my eyes open for a better one. But don't tell dh that. ;)
Thursday, March 22, 2007
I've been touring the blogosphere looking for good organizing tips and I came across a post about organizing your closet. I totally agree that it's a necessity. I spent most of last year hardly able to step foot in my closet (no, I don't have any before shots, thank God. It's embarassing enough just admitting it.). So, after the irritation mounted, DH and I cleaned out. Completely reorganized everything. It's going much better. I'll post pics soon.
My number one piece of advice is take everything out of your closet.
Then only put stuff back in that you have worn in the last 6 months to a year. Formal were doesn't count.
Don't wait to lose weight. Chances are, by the time you do the clothes you saved will be out of fashion or you'll be older and should you really be wearing short shorts? :\ And yes, when you drop the weight you do deserve new clothes. Go shopping!
Donate, donate, donate! You'll be amazed how good it feels to bag stuff up and take it to Good Will (or wherever.) We donated about 15 bags of clothes and stuff. Crazy, huh?
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
It’s a gorgeous day, almost too pretty to stay inside. It’s got me thinking of all the outside projects I want to tackle.
One thing on my list is window box style planters for the back deck. I have two older ones that I’ve been using for years and I’d like to get matching ones to go all the way around. Probably five all together… but what to put in them.
Southern Living has a great idea for winter boxes. I wonder if some of those plants could work for summer as well.