I just got back from BlogHer last weekend and it was a lot of fun. I got some really cool things and I will tell you about it soon. And what does that include? Some really great recipes from places like Hillshire Farms, Knorr, and others. I think I may even have a recipe or two from Gordon Ramsay!
Coming in the next week or so as I find all the flash drives that they handed out with all the terrific info.
So why the long silence? Well, I had a baby about 8 months ago. I work full time from home and I just haven’t been feeling very organized in my home. I am trying to remedy that since we’re talking about moving to a slightly bigger place very soon. I’ll need all my organizational mojo to manage a move with two little ones under foot.
Pray for me. Please.
About this time last week, I was sitting in my friend Theresa’s kitchen, drinking wine, talking, laughing, eating and learning. Wait, what? Yes, learning. And I liked it. Before you ask yourself what kind of freak I am, wait a minute. I’ll explain.
I love food. Always have. But as an adult, I really learned how to mix flavors and play with recipes to get what I want out of them. I love that. Sometimes, though, even when we’re comfortable with preparing food and managing our kitchens, we need help. Or inspiration. Have you ever gotten stuck in a rut? I have. It’s so easy to do. And last week I got a kick in the pants — something I desperately needed.
It’s easy to be lazy. Rely on processed, packaged foods. Buy what’s cheap. Convenient. After a long day of work & kid wrangling, I don’t feel like cooking. And don’t forget the cleanup afterwards. Ugh. I don’t have the energy. And that’s part of the problem. What I’ve been eating makes things worse. Low energy, lethargy. Weight gain. Oh, and don’t forget increased risk of diabetes! FUN! (Yeah, not really.)
What’s a girl to do? Lots of things, according to Chef Julie Frans of Dining Details here in San Diego. The biggest thing, which we all know we should do, but don’t, is watch what we eat. Use fresh ingredients. Avoid processed foods. Cut back on your sugar and caffeine (and stay away from those sugar substitutes). Use organic food when you can, especially when it’s food that is easily contaminated (“dirty dozen“).*
Julie cooked several dishes for us, including quinoa, millet, and lentils. As she cooked, she explained the ingredients and how they are good for us. Not only that, but watching the food you eat can naturally balance your body’s pH. And that can help you maintain better health, proper wait, and help strengthen your immune system. Did you know that? I did not. See why I said I liked what I learned?
It was just the kick in the pants I needed. No, really. Later, on Twitter, she asked if any of us drink Coffeemate. Oh, so guilty over here. I buy the 1/2 gallon at Costco. Hanging my head in shame. BUT, Julie gave an alternative. Try half & half, organic brown sugar, and a dash of real vanilla extract. So tonight I bought some half & half, mixed it with some brown sugar and vanilla in a jar. That will sit in my fridge and go in my coffee in the morning. You know what? I tried a little bit of it and it tasted just like vanilla ice cream (well, okay, melted ice cream. but still…). And I can’t wait to try it in my coffee in the morning. Not only that, I know it’s much healthier for me. Yes, even with the real fat and sugar. I may need to adjust the proportions (I did more than just a dash of vanilla), but that’s easily done.
See? Already trying to make healthier choices! I have a lot more to tell you, like a little more detail about the dishes she fixed, the awesome vinaigrette she made, and what else Dining Details does, like healthy, quality school meals for kids through their other company, Chickpeas. And personal chef services. Catering. Iron Chef-like competitions — how cool is that? Much more to come, but it’s getting late and I don’t want to make this too long. Stay tuned for more info!
*Julie includes meat & poultry, soy products, peanuts, eggs, dairy, and corn in her list, as they can contain hormones or be genetically modified (especially corn).
Disclosure: The cooking demo was provided at no cost to the attendees (that I am aware of). And while Julie asked us to kindly post about our experiences, she in no way indicated that the reviews need to be positive. I am not compensated for any posts about this event.
I honestly didn’t mean to go such a long time without posting, but it’s obvious I needed a break. When I feel overwhelmed and not terribly organized, it’s hard for me to write about it. I have had such a case of writing block. Not quite writer’s block, but some mental obstacle to sitting down and writing, even as I had many topics running through my head.
But I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do with this site and I think I’m finally ready to do more. I get a lot of searches for “organized mother” so there are a lot of people out there wanting to get more organized. I’m going to still talk about my journey to get organized, as well as point out resources and information as I find them.
I hope you’ll join me. And if you have any questions at all, a topic you’d like me to cover, or just a comment, please feel free to leave a note on any post or email me. Thanks for sticking around!
When I worked outside of the home, I was so much more organized. Maybe it was because I had to do be in order to get anything done. Or it could have been because I didn’t have a toddler running around underfoot, demanding attention. Those pesky kids, I swear. Always wanting something. You’d think that by two they’d be able to fend for themselves. I’m obviously failing. (That’s sarcasm, by the way.)
But I do feel like I’m failing at organization much of the time. Even though my desk is mostly neat – or on its way to being so – I still can’t always find things. After I rearrange, I have trouble remembering where I moved things to. I’m going to have to start writing it down until I get used to the new arrangements.
And if I can’t find things, but everything’s neat, is that really organization? I don’t think so.
So I’m still a work in progress (and still failing miserably with the whole clean sink thing). And trying not to beat myself up too much. What about you? What’s your sore point right now?
image by SheCat
My desk is so cluttered it’s ridiculous. Piles of papers, books, my son’s cars litter the desktop. And this is no small desk. It’s L-shaped and has a lot of space. As in, a lot of space to fill with clutter.
It wasn’t great when I left to visit family, and then the mail and other detritus crawled on top and died right there. It was an avalanche waiting to happen, and I’m pretty sure if it fell it would take us 3 days to dig out.
So I cleared it off. Everything. Yes, everything. No, seriously. It filled up a big reusable Ikea bag. Have you seen how huge those things are? Yeah. To the brim. Now, admittedly I did also clear out a shelf that hangs over my desk, and I left a few small items. But I just wanted to see my desk top again.
And I do! Yay!
Here comes the hard part. What do I do with all of that stuff?
I’m tempted to leave it in the bag for a week and see what I really need out of it. Things that I need will get dug out and placed back on the desk. And after a week, the other stuff gets stored or tossed.
I already went through the bag once, throwing out any junk, old flyers, expired coupons, unnecessary receipts. But there’s still a lot in there.
I’ve decided that I’ll only keep a couple of current projects handy. An art journal, a couple of books I’m planning to read and review. Everything else can go… elsewhere. I don’t need 10 books on my desk when I’m only currently looking at two of them. It just adds clutter.
I still have some receipts and paperwork to file. Others to shred.
It feels so nice. I’m really going to see if I can get by like this. I look around at it and go “Ahhhhhh.” It’s so much more serene. I highly recommend this. Take everything you possibly can off of your desk and only put back the essentials. Not what’s convenient — just essentials. See if it can work for you.
I bet you won’t even miss most of it. I probably won’t either. I’ll let you know what I discovered that I needed most.
image credit: morgueFile
Why does keeping to a routine require so much work? Why is sticking to a schedule so impossible for me? When I’m not at home it is so difficult to keep to our normal routine. My son’s bedtime is all over the place right now. Instead of trying to put him to bed around the same time every night, I find that I’m waiting for him to get tired.
The problem? He could go for hours and hours because there’s so! much! to do! And frankly, the crying and gnashing of teeth has been pretty hard on me lately. I only have so much fight in me. And struggling every single night at bedtime has taken its toll. I’m afraid we’re forming bad habits and we’ll have to start all over when we get home.
But when you’re staying with someone else, you have to make a few concessions. While I’d let him cry a little more at home, here I have to worry about it bothering my mom and dad. They say it doesn’t bother them, but would you want to sit and listen to your grandchild cry?
And he’s getting more willful. He fights everything right now, testing his boundaries. Crying when he doesn’t get what he wants. I don’t want to give in, yet I’m having a hard time distracting him from what’s making him upset. He can be so single-minded. I don’t have ANY idea where he gets it (*snort*).
Next week we’ll be back at home and I really hope we can get back into a good routine. One that incorporates the good parts of our time away with the structure we get when we’re home. I will have to find a way to build in much more outdoor time. We don’t have a yard where the kiddo can just run around. Here, at my parents’, we can just go out of the front or back doors. Back at home it requires more coordination.
If you don’t have a house with a yard, how do you build in lots of outdoor play time for your kids? I need to figure that one out.
Each evening, my living room looks like a bomb went off in it. We don’t have much of a dining room, so my son’s high chair is next to the couch. And he’s in the loves-to-throw-food stage. Kix. Cheerios. Toast. Various veggies. They’re all over the place. The kid has some range.
For quick cleanups, two little items have been indispensable. I use them daily. They’re quick, require no power (and therefore are quiet!) and are super easy to use.
They are my little sweeper and a broom/dustpan combo.
The set I have is similar to this one by Oxo, but I couldn’t find it online. Hence, this pic of the Oxo Good Grips Upright Sweep Set ($24.99). We call ours a disneyland kit, because it looks a lot like the ones you see workers carrying around disney to sweep up small bits of trash. Yes, I do use this on my carpet when needed, to sweep up bigger bits of food that the sweeper won’t get. It saves my back – I can’t keep bending over and bunch of times. It just kills me. So this little guy helps a lot.
The second item is my sweeper. You see them used a lot in restaurants for quick cleanups. And it really is awesome. It picks up all of those little pieces of cereal that he just loves to toss around. And that I hate to step on and crush into the carpet. Especially the slightly damp ones. Ick! So this Bissell Perfect Sweep Dual Brush Sweeper ($59.99) is similar to the one I got at Target. Mine definitely has the dual brushes, but I don’t remember paying as much as I saw it for at Amazon. It’s possible you’ll be able to find it cheaper. I saw another model, the Bissell Swift Sweep ($16.99) that is much more affordable.
These two little guys have saved my sanity more than once. There’s something about running over the carpet quickly and immediately seeing a difference. It makes you feel like you accomplished at least one little task that day. And some days, that is about all I feel like I get done off of my list.
What about you?
Images: Amazon. com; these are items I use in my household and not a paid placement. Links are from my Amazon affiliate acct.
I’m working on a post about a couple of things that really help me out in the kitchen and living room. But in the mean time I was wondering… what little household helpers are really making your life easier right now?
I’m on the lookout for a better blog template. I’m not sure I like how the tabs render on this one. It’s a pretty design, but I want static tabs, not dynamic ones. And I don’t know enough css (nor have the time to learn) in order to change it.
So I’m looking for a better WordPress theme. If you know of any sites that offer 3-column, nice looking themes, please let me know. I’m hoping to update soon. I’ve been keeping an eye out for something I’d like, but isn’t too difficult to adapt. Thanks for any help!
I’m still dealing with the clutter demon. When you live in a small place, you have to be brutal in culling your possessions. That’s something I haven’t been doing.
Sentimentality has not been my friend. I like to keep mementos reminding me of good times, happy things, and people I love. But when you’re so busy storing these items that you don’t actively display and enjoy them, you’re not getting any benefit, are you? I know I’m not.
So we’re learning to be a bit more ruthless. Donating books we’ll never read again (and being more discerning when we buy new ones), throwing out receipts and bits of paper that we no longer need.
There are two big lessons we need to learn and stick to:
1) Once you’ve started decluttering, don’t allow new clutter to take its place. Once you get that desktop or kitchen counter or dining room table nice and clear, keep it that way. Look for ways to embrace the clutter-free lifestyle and try to keep up – don’t let it gradually clutter back up. Be vigilant!
2) Fighting clutter is a continual process. Just one cleaning session will not be enough. Once you get an area clear, you must work to keep it that way. It will be much easier to maintain if you try hard not to let it get cluttered again. It’s not as hard as it sounds, as long as you don’t allow yourself to be lazy.
We’re working on our living room right now. Because our place is so small, we have my desk in the living room. It’ll be moving to the dining room as soon as we can get things cleared out in there. We have to do a section at a time.
I’m hoping that posting about these things will help us keep going, and keep us more accountable on doing what we planned. Does writing about it help keep you accountable? Or do you feel embarrassed by your projects and would rather just talk about them when they’re finished?