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I am always changing things.
Usually it’s because I love making lists, not doing what I write on them.
And so, when things don’t get done, I assume the problem is my list.
Not my motivation 😉

But whatever the problem is,
I am convinced I will go on making lists until the day I die.
This is my latest attempt at a cleaning schedule.
A while ago I chose the tactic of “a little bit every day.”
I’m done with that.
(for now)
I have decided that I like knocking it all out at once.
So, I’ve gone back to a “cleaning day” mentality.
To ease the pain, I’ve decided to do certain chores only twice a month.
Can anyone say bathrooms?
I have 3 in this house, which is way too many for its size.
So I refuse to clean them every 7 days.

Here is the link:

<iframe width="402" height="346" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src="https://r.office.microsoft.com/r/rlidExcelEmbed?su=-302936119232257110&Fi=SDFBCBC1345F86A3AA!124&kip=1&wdAllowInteractivity=False&AllowTyping=True&wdDownloadButton=True"></iframe>

I wish I was tech savvy enough to figure out why it won’t link under the simple text “cleaning schedule.”
Anyways, I recommend downloading it in Excel,
as Windows Live “does not support shapes”
😛
What good is a cleaning schedule without shapes?
My shapes happen to be check boxes,
because we all know that putting an X in a box
makes one feel much more accomplished.
(to download in Excel: you will see a dark gray bar at the bottom of the page.
click the far right icon that looks like two little squares.
It will take you to a different screen and at the top left there will be an option for opening in Excel.)

I plan to simply print out a new sheet each month.
And if you’re betting I will have a new list come this time next year,
you are probably right.

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I’m re-thinking my grocery list.
I just got an iTouch (thanks to my most wonderful, beautiful mother!) and am looking for the best ways to make it work for me, and not the other way around.
One of the ways is with my grocery shopping.
Look no further than Grocery IQ.

grocery iq

It is a free app that I can organize by:

Store (I have separate lists for Wegman’s, Trader Joe’s and Target.  Brilliant.)
Category (Because I always remember the tomato I should have gotten when in the produce section…when I’m in the dairy section.  Always.)
Aisle (if I want to get that specific)

It has:

– Coupons that I can “clip” or add to a Safeway store card (which I won’t because I don’t go to Safeway)
– Barcode scanning to compare prices (if you have a data plan or can access wifi)
– Check-it-off-my-list boxes.  the very best kind of boxes.
– The option to print my list
– Sharing options (in case you want to “share” your list with your husband on his way home from work 😉 )

Now, I have only made my list thus far.
I have not attempted to shop with it yet.
I am going to Wegman’s later this afternoon and will let you know how it goes.
I was just so very excited about this app that I had to share. 
I am afraid I’m going to become an app junkie.

Hope this helps your organization endeavors!

THIS…

DSC00087 DSC00092 DSC00094Had to go. 
It’s been driving me up the wall for months now.
Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork.
I had a system, but it was faulty.  It didn’t work. 

So, since Mike was working on a project of his own…

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Jules and I went out to Target to gather supplies to organize all of our records and paperwork.  In an ideal world, I would go completely paperless, but I am not there.  Maybe eventually.
The supplies:

– a filing box that is both appealing to the eye and functional
– an accordion file for medical records
– a drawer and shelf combo that is designed for scrapbooking, but works well for my purposes.
– a 3-ring binder with sheet protectors to house the zillions of instruction manuals that I have for all our various appliances.  Shout out to my MIL, Cyndi, for giving me this idea 🙂

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And finally, the finished product.  Clean and functional.

 
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Oh and a bonus of Mike’s project?  This bad boy:

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He needed a propane torch…so he got one that I could use for creme brulee 🙂
I am very much looking forward to using it.

post it life

Lately, I’ve been using Sticky Notes on my desktop for my To-Do list.
I love it.
I’ve gone back and forth between Teux Deux, actual post-its, and my Moleskine.
I don’t know how long this will last, but for now, it is my organization method of choice.

Maybe eventually I will switch to Avery labels, if only because I would very much like to be so brilliant.  Visual Learning.  Remember that.

Mike installed a lazy susan in my pantry, so I was able to move the rack that we’d been using as our “pantry” up to the third floor to house our college books, and voila!  just like that – I had a free wall! (wow- talk about a run-on sentence with free-spirit punctuations thrown in.  Good thing this isn’t a grammar blog.)

So I had to decide with all the empty space.
I made it into a planning wall.  An organization station, if you will.
Thank you, Target.
This wall houses:
– my recipes for the week
– the monthly calendar
– a place to stash receipts, coupons and circulars.
– my aprons
– coffee inspiration (to accomplish everything on my planning wall.)

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Having all my recipes for the week out and pinned on the boards makes everything so much easier when I go to cook.  No more rummaging in the cabinets or under the coffee table or in the tote bag, or frantically searching the computer for where I saved a recipe.  I love it.

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I am particularly excited about the bags.  Post-It makes these wall envelopes to hold receipts, papers, etc.  But they were $10 for 3 flimsy envelopes!  So I tried to find something else that would serve the same purpose at a better value.  The smaller bags were 49 cents, the bigger one 99 cents.
Much better than 10 bucks.

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And, while I was at Target, I couldn’t resist this decal that I found for another lonely wall in the kitchen.DSC07760
I’m hoping it inspires me to do more baking.

I like things that make life easier 🙂
So here is a smattering of recent things I’ve found work well for me. So, if you like them too, great. We can be friends. If not, I won’t be offended. I have been informed by my husband and sister-in-law that I am “different.” Hmmmmmmm.

Google Calendar. Need I say more?

Still Tasty. This site will change your kitchen life and hopefully remove any paranoia of whether or not to eat the Popsicle that’s been in the freezer for 3 months. Just type in what food you’re looking for, and it will tell you if it’s still good/safe to eat! Love it.

10 Unexpected Natural Cleaners. Some very helpful tricks. How do they discover these things?

Go Paperless. Reduce clutter. Not sure I can do EVERYTHING they’re suggesting here, but I like the idea. I think a shredder is on my list of things to get (and should be on my list of things I already have. oops.)

Grocery shopping on Saturday or Sunday morning. I did this yesterday and it was aMAZing. No traffic. No crowds. Out at 7am, back by 9 am. One of the reasons I really like it is because Trader Joe’s and Gentile’s Market are both rather far from me. But the roads were clear so I got there in no time!! And Trader Joe’s – i basically had the place to myself. I LOVE that. (also, shout out to Reenie and Traci who told me about Gentile’s. I have tasted and I have seen. I will be going back. If you haven’t gone yet, you should.)

Make a Discussion List.  What is that?  I make a list of things Mike and I need to discuss at a later time. This idea is actually not mine at all. It’s one of the wisest wisdoms my mother has ever shared with me (though there are many). It usually revolves around scheduling or finances or any kind of decision that requires joint-involvement and/or passing of information. And I usually choose the most inopportune moments to bring up these issues. For example: when shopping for a fridge, don’t ask your husband the maximum height of your fridge cubby at 1:00 pm when he’s in the middle of a project at work and miles from the fridge cubby and a tape measure….
I’ve been doing this since I was 8 years old I think. I am very much an i-need-an-answer-to-this-question-now-or-i-don’t-think-i-can-go-on-living-anymore kind of person. And old habits die hard. So, we are going to try this: every time I have a thought that does not need to be answered ASAP, I just jot it down in my Moleskine and then we discuss at dinner. (To figure out whether something is “urgent” I ask myself, will someone die if you don’t bring this up at this precise moment?  No?  Ok. Write it down. And breathe.)
I have high hopes for this system. Maybe I will even learn to be patient through it! 😉

And lastly, this is not something that will make your life easier. But maybe it will make it tastier and healthier. I am making this for dinner tonight:

Chicken Salad With Green Beans, Potatoes, and Peppers

Check it out!

Update:  This is what ours turned out like.  Not quite as pretty.  But it was oh so yummy!!!  Healthy, tasty and filling 🙂  I roasted the chicken and veggies and used White Balsamic Vinegar for the vinaigrette.  I am savoring these days when it’s just us before I have kids who won’t eat this stuff…..

evernote logo

This is changing the way I organize. 

What does Evernote do, you ask?

It lets you organize EVERYTHING.  And keeps it all in one, easily accessible place so you’re not searching everywhere for it.  I have a version for Windows that I’ve downloaded to my laptop, and it automatically syncs with my online account so I can access it anywhere at anytime.  Check it out by clicking here.

I am loving it.  It takes a little bit of time to figure out, but it’s well worth it!  They have video tutorials that are short and helpful, as well.

A few things I’m currently using Evernote to do:

– shop and compare baby items
– organize all the recipes I want to try
– keep lists of household items I need to buy (and then add pictures and links as I find what I want.)
– To-Do lists

And if you use Twitter or have a data plan for your phone, you can update/access your notebooks anywhere, no matter if you’re on the run!  I have not figured out how to do this yet, but apparently you can take a picture with your phone and send it to your Evernote account, say of a hastily scribbled note, and it can “read” your handwriting.  How cool is that?!

What I love is when I see something online that I like, Isimply highlight the part I want to keep and then click “add to Evernote.”   I can add any notes I want to make about the clip, and it automatically stores the url link.  So when I go into my notebook and want to go to the web page, I simply click “go to source.”  And boom, I’m there!  It’s so incredibly easy.

For a sample of one of my notebook pages, go to my Recipes: Desserts page.  As you can see, it clips all the dessert recipes I’ve added and want to try.  And whenever I need to go to that recipe, I just click “go to source!”  And I can add to it anytime.  Love love love it. 

So what do you do when you’ve accumulated years of issues of Martha Stewart, Everyday Food, and Real Simple and you no longer know where to find that awesome idea you saw….once….in one of those issues……in September?  Of 2007?  Maybe?DSC05037 

You ORGANIZE!  Because that is the solution to ALL of life’s problems! 😉

See, I don’t like all the ideas I see in these wonderful magazines.  Only some.  And I tried post-it flags, but that proved to be a fruitless effort.  I simply transitioned from flipping through thousands of pages to searching through hundreds of tabs.  And I could never find what I needed.  At least not in a timely fashion (which means…I wanted to cook that recipe I saw BEFORE 10 o’clock at night.)

So I went out to Barnes & Noble and picked up these Moleskines.  Can you tell it snowed today and I had plenty of time to find more ways to organize my life?

I gave them three categories:

1) Hospitality & Presents – gift and entertaining ideas

2) Food – recipes that either we would eat or that I would make for events

3) Home Life – household tips + decorating & organization ideas

And then I decorated them.  Because they were a boring cardboard brown and needed some lovin’.  And, again, because it snowed today.

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So, it’s SIMPLE!  When I go through an issue, I clip what I want to try and leave what I don’t.  Then, using photo tabs, I paste them in the book along with any notes I may have.  Such as which of the following chicken ideas Michael would eat for lunch.  I convinced him pesto was a good thing, but had no such luck when it came to parmesan cheese.  (The extra space also comes in handy if you want to write any helpful hints you discover along the way of trying out your new idea.)

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Never again will I have to page through tons of gross recipes that make me gag (remember, I’m pregnant, pot stickers, for example, make me want to lose it all…) and waste eons of time searching for that one tablescape I saw for Easter in….2008???

I admit, it’s a bit time consuming to get it up and running.  But if that dissuades you, try doing it while your husband reads to you by a fire, or while you watch 27 Dresses, or while you ignore the chores that pile up and up and up.  And drink tea.  Plenty of tea.  And pray to God that it snows.  🙂

When I saw this in Real Simple, it was love at first sight.

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moleskin color a month moleskin 3

All of you organizing freakazoids out there are agreeing with me right now, I know.

It is a daily planner, a separate notebook and color for each month.  This is exactly the kind of thing I need.

It is $40.00.  But it is for 12 months worth of notebooks. Which is……it’s Saturday…I’m not doing the monthly cost.  But it’s not that bad! (Mike just told me it’s a little more than $3 a month…I could have figured it out….I really could have….but like I said…it’s Saturday.)

Is it worth it??????

So, I am on the hunt for a kitchen cart.  You see, as my mother once said, I use every pot and pan possible when cooking.  Which means I usually have a lot of things out at once.  Which means I end up running out of space when preparing food.  Add to that the fact that I have no center island in my kitchen (just counters on the periphery) and I believe you will understand my desire for one of these.  Plus, most of them have wheels so they can be transported and also stashed away against the wall when not in use. 

Now, here’s the deal.  I am saving up some of my household monies each month until I have enough to go buy one.  So, the cheaper the cart, the sooner I will have it.  But I am willing to wait longer if it is really worth it.  Here are the four I’ve narrowed it down to, but I need your help!!

The first two are more expensive, but they have more features and/or have a larger workspace.  The last two are less expensive but also smaller.  But I must say, I am really intrigued by the 4th one’s pull-out cutting board.  Which, nevermind that the entire cart is one gigantic cutting board….these little things enamor me, ok!!

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Number 1 and Number 4 are from Target. 

Number 2 and Number 3 are from Ikea.

Which one???  Or if you are aware of one out there in cyberspace that is infinitely better than any I have here, please do show me.  Just please remember I am on a budget so don’t show me anything that is beautiful and worth thousands of dollars because you will probably make me cry.

Please do help me out here!

Collective Reminiscings

The Smittys

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