Organized Mom on December 7th, 2009

Gadgets can be a lot of fun. Isn’t it cool to find something new? But some gadgets, while nice, are really just unitaskers. What’s a unitasker? It’s an item that only performs one function. That’s it. Beyond that one small purpose, it’s really useless.

Admittedly, we all probably have some things that are suited to only one task. It can’t be helped. I probably have some in my kitchen right now.

But tasks that only get done once in a while, say once a month, don’t really need a special gadget. Do you have a fancy item – maybe something bought off of an infomercial or QVC – that only serves one small purpose? Or maybe not much of a purpose at all?

What items do you have in your home that only get used once a month or less? Why do you keep them? Maybe it’s time to reduce the clutter and get rid of unused things.

I have a large, decorative bowl that came with a lovely sauce holder. I never use it. It will be coming with me to my mother’s house next trip. She has get-togethers and parties. We don’t have the room for them. So rather than store this bowl, I want it to get used. And it will.

Untouched margarita glasses are next on the list. As are a bunch of books. Outgrown clothing. Unused handbags and totes. It’s time to reduce clutter to make room for a bigger baby bed and all of the toys and things that will be coming home with us after Christmas.

That’s next on my list. What’s next on yours?

Hey Southern California friends – want to win your entire Holiday Meal for free? Go and check out my review and giveaway from Golden Share Foods. Hurry, contest ends on December 4th!

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Organized Mom on November 30th, 2009

In two weeks we leave to visit family for the holidays. It’s time to start making travel lists: what to take, what to pack, things we don’t want to forget.

It’s going to be a busy time. And I’d like to leave my house somewhat clean so we don’t have that to deal with when we get back.

I can’t believe it’s December already!

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Organized Mom on November 30th, 2009

Clock face I’m currently reading Never Check E-Mail in the Morning. At first, I balked at the idea of not checking my email in the morning. Well, of course I must see if something important came in during the night. Since I’m on the west coast, everyone else has been busy at least an hour or two before I get started. I wouldn’t want to miss anything. Right?

Not really. The idea behind this concept isn’t that you don’t check your email. It’s this: don’t check your email first thing. Go ahead and plan your day first. Figure out what items you need to work on. Is today a meal planning day? Laundry? Light cleaning? Deep cleaning? If you do outside work (but from home), what projects do you need to make progress on today in addition to household chores?

There’s so much to do, isn’t there?

If you plan your day before you open your email, you have an idea of what you need to do. And if some emergencies come up in those must-read emails, you can adjust. But if you already have your day planned out, you might not get sucked into a bunch of time-wasting emails. Instead, you can glance through, decide what you need to deal with today, mark the ones that can wait until tomorrow, and then get busy.

You’re immediately more in control of your day. (As much as any of us can be with kids around, right?) When I look at what I have scheduled that day, I know how much time I have to peruse blogs or emails. I don’t get behind by reading a bunch of emails and then realizing I had an appointment, or that I let time get away and I’m suddenly rushing to get everything done.

Give it a try. First thing in the morning, look at your calendar. Plan what you need to do that day. Then open your email and see if your priorities need to change. Then close the email and get to work.

Does checking email in the morning help you plan your day? Or do you immediately feel like you’re behind?

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Organized Mom on November 29th, 2009

Sometimes, you need to get away in order to gain perspective. It helps me remember what’s important: my health, my sanity, my mental outlook.

If the laundry didn’t get done today, it’s not the end of the world (especially if we all still have some clean underwear). A couple of dishes in the sink aren’t going to ruin my week. A messy desk (for now) will not kill me.

So tonight I went out to dinner with a bunch of incredible ladies. We had amazing food and great (and often hilarious) conversation. And I really needed that. Like I said, it helps me gain perspective. To remember that I need friendships like these to get me by.

There are more nights like this planned. I am looking forward to them. Building relationships with other women is so important to me and I’ve been letting it slide for far too long. We all need a support system. It’s about time for me to work on things for me. How about you?

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Organized Mom on November 28th, 2009

I almost missed it. I’ve been doing so well with posting this month. And we’re so close to the end.

I guess I’ve only had a couple of “I’m posting because I have to” posts – and that’s not too bad.

Tomorrow’s going to have to be a catch-up day. Still need to do some cleaning to make up for the holiday. I did the bare minimum in the kitchen and it sorely needs my attention.

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Organized Mom on November 27th, 2009

We’re still rearranging furniture in these here parts. And still not happy with the results. Basically, we have too much furniture for this place. Since there’s so little storage, you need other storage. And it doesn’t help that we don’t have a separate office area and are stuck with my desk in the living room.

To say it’s not ideal would be an understatement. So here we are, still trying to remap the living room and dining room to give us a little more open floor space.

I keep going back and forth on things, trying to find the optimal arrangement. It’s driving me crazy. Unfortunately, I don’t think it matters which way we do it. All of the options have drawbacks. Shall I sit with my back to the room and TV? Let part of my L-shaped desk hang out into the room?

It’s tough when you have such limited options. But we’re going to try some new things anyway and see how it works out. Our dining room will be a little less usable, but our living room will open up a lot. That’s good for the son and his ability to play. And I’ll have room to do my yoga. (I hope.)

What do you do when you have a limited amount of space to work with, no budget, and can only rearrange to try and make things better?

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Organized Mom on November 26th, 2009

Well, the meal went pretty well. I was scrambling at the end, trying to keep everything warm while I finished the gravy & rolls.

But it turned out okay. Everything was hot except the carrots, which were a little cooler than I would like. But everything else was good.

The turkey was awesome. The breast was incredibly moist and tender. In exchange, though, the dark meat was a little pinker than I would like. We didn’t cut any of it off of the bone anyway (for the main meal), so I’ll heat it really well before serving it in another dish.

The family loved the food, so I consider that a success. It can only go down from here, right? :)

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Organized Mom on November 25th, 2009

I have to tell you, I am a house cleaning, desk clearing, laundry washing, hard working, multi-tasking MOFO this week. And today, I just could not sit down. I kept thinking of “one more thing” to do. I knew if I sat down that’d be it for the day. So I kept going from thing to thing. But I was crossing things off of the master list. Woo!

I ran to the grocery store today to get some last minute things. Milk, marshmallows, whole cranberries, stuff for green bean casserole (I wouldn’t care if NO ONE ELSE in the house liked it – I would still make it), whipped cream for the pie, and some more rolls. Here’s the crazy thing, in the grocery store I normally hate. No, really, I can’t stand it. But today they had a great big Thanksgiving display right at the front of the store. Most of the stuff I needed was right there. Right there! I almost fainted! Within a minute of walking into the store I had over half my shopping list crossed off.

I practically did a happy dance right there in the aisle. It’s the little things, y’all.

The house is clean. We have a few more dishes to wash in the morning. The turkey doesn’t need to hit the oven until about 9, but does need to come out of the fridge much earlier. So we’ll still be getting up early. But here’s what’s great about all we have to do. Much of it can be done at a leisurely pace. A little chopping here, a little sautéing there. I will not put pressure on myself, no matter how long our menu is.

And I actually made up a menu to help me remember what we need to do. Otherwise, I’ll forget the carrots or corn or something. Our menu:

  • Turkey (duh)
  • Dressing (duh) (cooking this in the crock pot)
  • Gravy (DUH)
  • Garlic & basil mashed potatoes
  • Glazed sweet potatoes (recipe from my beloved Better Homes & Gardens cookbook)
  • Green bean casserole (cooking this in the other crock pot & finishing off in the oven)
  • White corn
  • Brown sugar-glazed carrots (another recipe from Better Homes & Gardens)
  • Rolls (simple brown-n-serve – doing the other rolls at Christmas)
  • Pumpkin pie

I think that’s everything off of the top of my head – because I’m too lazy to walk into the kitchen and double-check (hey, it’s chilly in here & I’m snuggled under a cover on the couch).

I am cheating and using boxed stuffing because I still need to have my mom teach me how to make hers. But I’ll also be sautéing onions and celery to add to it. And lots of sage (I absolutely cannot have turkey and gravy without sage dressing). It really tastes pretty good that way.

Are you feeling ready for tomorrow?

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Organized Mom on November 24th, 2009

No really. It’s amazing that a little work can make me feel so much better. I guess there’s just something about seeing your progress. When I was a paper pusher, you didn’t really see any progress unless you kept a to-do list and checked it off.

But when you’re cleaning and rearranging rooms in your house, you really see it. Our dining room looks awesome. It’s only temporary, as we’ll be doing some more shuffling after Thanksgiving, but right now, I’m just enjoying it. We removed some furniture for now. And it looks good. Like, insanely good. If we got rid of half our furniture, it could stay this awesome. And I’m really tempted to get rid of a ton of stuff just so we can keep it this way.

I am so over being cluttered and crowded.

I still have to clean the kitchen and bathroom. That’s on tomorrow’s agenda. And I really hope I remember to check on the turkey and make sure it’s thawing quickly enough. I have a feeling we’re going to have to immerse it in water to thaw it the rest of the way. Even though it has been in the fridge since Saturday, it’s still super cold. Like cold enough the innards are probably still icicles.

Everything is starting to come along nicely. And yes, I’m pretty happy about that. How’s your holiday progress going?

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