Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Something to Show For it.

What do we have to show for all of our hard work?  What do we have to show for all the children that we birthed, well, the children!  But, what do we have to show for all the times we've attempted to teach them something we figured they would never understand or remember?  Where are our awards for all the dinners cooked & not burned? For all the laundry stains we've miraculously gotten out of that favorite piece of clothing?  Where are the ribbons for First Place in Speedy Diaper Changing? Or the plaque for Most Dirty Diapers Changed in a Single Day?  Where are the ribbons for making it through another day?  Well, the new day is our award I suppose, but once again, my husband is about to embark on a new journey for him, for our entire family.  He will report to Officer Candidate School on Sunday, the 30th.  I could not be prouder of him.  He has received numerous plaques, coins, ribbons, certificates, trophies and titles these past 9 years in the Army.  I often become envious of all of his achievements & the fact that you can see them & touch them helping you to remember where you've come from & where you're headed.  I feel so inadequate next to him & as he proceeds through Officer School, I know he will get high marks. I know he will do very well & come out on top. He'll undoubtedly come back even more fit than he was before, which was pretty darn fit & me, I'll just be the same old unattractive size I've been since having the twins.  With him being gone for 12 weeks (the trial run) at first, it will be my first challenge with 5 kids to care for & not just 3.  And often when I see the twins wreaking havoc, they feel like 6 kids.  I have been challenging my own demons, banging & knocking them down each & every time I can, only to have another show me it's not quite done with me yet & just as I get a handle on that, will I be able to handle my own family?  It's nearly mind boggling doing all we do with Mark here, I cannot imagine how we will survive with him gone.  I know we will, but at what quality of living & what will it do to all my mental progress?  He asked me last night if I was scared.  I couldn't help but say, "Yes, wouldn't you be?" He had to agree I had the bigger burden to bear.  Well, at least we can agree on that & having someone sympathize with you can help a great deal.  I need another mom with 5 kids, a set of twins, a husband gone (12 weeks at first, a month break at home, then away again for 6 months!!), a 5 bedroom home to maintain, the entire family household's finances to keep up, doctor's appts. to go to to keep you from running away & a desire to be more, to be able to do more or be happy with where you are at.  Where are those moms?  

I had not looked at the header of this blog for quite a while & when I did, it instantly brought tears to my eyes.  I don't even know that Maria anymore. I don't remember what she was like, what she loved to do, how she made it through the day with a smile on her face.  I look in the mirror now & it's not the same woman.  This woman has sadness in her eyes, anger on her lips and regret in her heart.  This woman wears two sizes bigger than the girl in those pictures because she gave birth to twins, very healthy, wonderful, adorable twins who needed more room in her stomach than she could handle & now all that extra skin is lifeless and permanent.  And she doesn't have the time, energy or the faith to even try to do something about it, fearing all the hard work would only prove to do nothing, but make the lifeless skin more noticeable against a smaller figure.  The one & only thing that I know to be the same is the love she has for the main man in her life.  In fact, that love is even stronger because of what they've endured, but she feels unworthy to ask for this kind of love, yet she holds on with all her might praying he won't break when things get even tougher because she's sure that they will, they always do.  

I just wish I could take all my gratitude for my 5 healthy, beautiful, wonderful children; my gratefulness for a 5 bedroom home with so many nice things and closets full of necessities; my love for good things and good people & just magnify it so big that I can't deny that it's there, that it will overtake all the bad & cover it with good.  But, that's not reality, hahahaha, that's just stupidity.  I have to grapple and inch and fight my way through it all to get to the top where all that stuff lies.  

I'm tired.  But, there's just a little bit left in me to keep going, for today.

Monday, June 8, 2009

anything to give me that extra nudge...

It's been a great while since I did any crafting or card making or scrapbooking, but I did eek out some time right before we moved to make a few cards for a lady that won some in a service auction back during Christmastime.  I was way overdue on getting them to her, so I figured to give myself a little inspiration to get back in the crafting spirit, I would share the cards I did make for her.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Simple Things

When life seems so incredibly rough, stormy waters every day, impossible decisions to make, waiting for things to get brighter, easier, better.... the simple things mean so much.  Like ripe summer fruit & a new favorite container to hold them in.  I got the container at Ikea during our trip to Cincinnati & knew it was perfect for these fruity treats.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Vote for Maria's Design

Kroger is hosting the Design a Reusable Shopping Bag Contest. Please view one of my favorite designs and vote for it before May 15. You also can create your own design and enter the contest. Show your support and vote for this design.


To view this design and vote, visit

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Eventually, I will live in Europe for an extended period of time & hope that this happens to me one day while traveling by train, which in & of itself is so totally cool. 

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Irony

My 3 oldest children & I spent a bit of our afternoon yesterday talking about the meaning of Easter.  I was very proud that they knew why we celebrated Easter & the Easter Bunny was merely an extra element to get them treats & candy, hahahaha.  But, it got me thinking about how I celebrate Easter.  I check off the to do items on my list: Get Candy - Get Baskets - Get Treats - Plan out Easter Bunny Arrival - etc.  My mother-in-law & I briefly spoke of it & how many other religions have week long activites & ways to remember Christ & rejoice for his sacrifice for us.  Our religion, however, doesn't do this.  I think they leave it up to us.  So, what was I to do? How could I bring myself closer to the idea & reason for our Easter celebrations?  

This morning I was sent my daily e-mail from Meridian Magazine, a site I highly recommend, it has great LDS contributors that write articles on many different topics both religious & not.  This particle article was titled, The Irony of Gesthmane, the Cross & the Garden Tomb.  I can be an emotional person but often when I read of the Savior's journey into the city & then into crucifixion, I feel great sorrow, but do not shed tears.  I do not shed tears because I know he knew his role & his strength in overcoming brought to mind a child running in a race & you stand on the sidelines saying, "Go! You can do it! I believe in You!"  He knew he had the Father with Him & that He was fulfilling the prophecies spoken of for many years.  He chose this role.  Where I do shed tears is when he appears to Mary & she not realizing at first who He is.  The moment He speaks her name, "Mary,"  she knows.  This is where the tears flow freely.  

Here is the part of the article that really touched me:

It could have been any one of us.(referring to Mary being at the tomb at that moment). He chose to reveal himself first to a single individual and in that moment taught the world that the Atonement is utterly personal. He made it universal to all, but he did so by making it intimate to each one of us, as he did to Mary. It is universal one soul at a time. To my mind, it is utterly inevitable that the greatest story ever told should finally culminate and convey to the world in the sound of this single word, a person's name.

How quickly fortunes can change for the worse, and how quickly, on the other hand, fortunes can change for the better. In Luke, we read that by the end of the first Sunday after the crucifixion, just the third day after the Savior's death, he had appeared to Mary Magdalene at the Garden Tomb, and then to other women of Galilee, and he had appeared to Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus, and when these two returned to Jerusalem that evening to join the apostles, they were told that Christ had also appeared to Simon Peter. Three of these witnesses were identified by name, Mary, Cleopas, and Simon, and perhaps a dozen more were unnamed. And then Jesus suddenly stood in the midst of them, the apostles and others, and said “Peace be unto you.” Luke 24:36.

It may seem ridiculous but I struggle with a selfish feeling that our religion does not focus enough on women & I'm not talking about how we have Relief Society & Young Women's or how we are recognized in many ways by apostles & prophets & those around us.  I struggle with the fact that so much of what we learn was of men, written by men, experienced by men.  Thank goodness for sections of scriptures, like Ruth, to give me some hope.  But, it had been on my mind a lot lately, especially after returning to the temple after so long.  I didn't feel the message personal to me, as a woman.  Then to read the account of Mary at the tomb & how she was the first Jesus chose to present himself to & that he then visited other women of Galilee & then to the men.  I was overrun with emotion.  I put myself in that place & I could more easily do that because Mary was a woman.  And I tried to imagine her reaction, her feelings, her gratitude & joy & I felt washed in the Spirit.  

Why Mary? Why a woman? I thought about this for quite a while & my personal feelings are that we, as women, can feel love greater than any man. Only a woman can know another woman's sorrow at losing a child, just as Jesus' mother, Mary did.  Oh the sorrow she must have felt to see her Son so horribly treated, to know she would no longer have him near her to love and to protect. Oh the wonder Mary Magdalene must have felt at the tomb to see her Christ before her, not dead, but alive.  While Jesus prayed, seeming to bleed at every pore, the apostles slept.  A woman would see his anguish & want to run to Him to comfort Him, to help Him.  

How lucky I am to be a woman.  

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lost in La La Land

I haven't been the best blogger lately.  I started cleaning challenges & then lost sight of them.  My thoughts have been too scattered to really share.  BUT! I figured it was okay to share my successes.  

I am back to my cleaning schedule & it now includes scripture reading & prayer at the VERY TOP!  

I only have to go to therapy once every 2 months!!

I got a good report from "the pill doctor" today & I don't have to see him for another 3 months!!

I am hugging my kids more & more each day & willingly.  This wasn't so easy for me many moons ago.  

I have actually made cards & completed a craft this month.

So, although I don't have much to blog about on a personal level. I am still here, striving, thriving & living!!  

Friday, February 27, 2009

Weekly Challenge Preview - REC ROOM

Just so you can see what I have to work with.

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NEWS FLASH*********************NEWS FLASH*****************

I've actually been doing some reorganizing, dejunking, whatever you want to call it & I am ready for another Weekly Challenge! So, I'll work some more on it this weekend & have fresh pictures for you on Monday. We're going to do what I call the REC ROOM, but if you don't have one of these, it can be your "extra room" or your "big closet". It's basically the place you put what doesn't belong anywhere else. For me, it contains our craft dresser, board game cabinet, the babies' toys & our coat bench & closet. So, I have my work cut out for me.

Get ready for the challenge, you know it will feel so good when you can stand back & see what you've accomplished.

And on a side note, I was putting away clothing the other day & realized that no matter how much reorganizing I do, my husband is still a neater person than me. The top picture are his Army clothes & he folds them. The bottom picture is his shirt shelf. I folded those. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. When you look at the two together, it looks like a 2 year old did the shirt shelf, hahahahahahaha. I just can't stop laughing. hahahahahahahahaha If I went to Basic Training, I could accomplish so many goals in my life.

#1 - take orders from others without talking back
#2 - lose weight & gain more energy
#3 - learn to eat an entire meal in less than 2 minutes (I can just about do it in 5 now.)
#4 - learn to fold clothing & bedding in immaculate fashion - (you should see the corners of our sheets when Mark helps make the bed)
#5 - learn to be patient waiting around for hours doing nothing waiting for someone else that's going to tell you to do more nothing
#6 - learn to appreciate an extra hour of sleep even if woken up at 3:00 am to start your day
#7 - learn to keep phone calls short & simple


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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thrift Store Finds

My fellow thrift store junkie, Sybil & I were talking about the art of shopping thrift stores. I have two other people in my circle of friends & family that seem to never have the patience or luck of finding those one of a kind or much needed items. One friend mentioned how she might need to take me along to add a little bit of luck to the dig, hahahaha. It made me want to share my latest favorite finds. They're a bit vintage, I have been feeling very vintage myself these past few months so they were fantastic finds to suit my new mood.

I have always wanted a wooden salad bowl set, especially with matching salad bowls & 6 of them at that! I scored this at our local Goodwill for $3.50 & it is in excellent condition! Now all I need are the wooden tongs which I believe I saw there for another $3.50 but didn't want to pay that much.

These caught my eye as I was checking out. What a beautiful emerald green color & so they have the whole vintage crochet thing going on. I don't know who they'll fit, but I'll get someone to wear them!

I could have jumped for joy when I spied these shoes! They aren't the girls' size, too small for Mavaney, too big for Isabelle, but they will sit in a special place until Isabelle or Daphne can fit into them. These instantly threw me back to a time when mothers took their little girls to the nearest department store, filled with wonderful things neatly stacked or hung and as they head to the shoe department, the little girl is dreaming of beautiful, shiny, patent leather shoes with a big gold buckle. Oh, it was a divine find for me! And at a mere $2.50!! They look like they have hardly been worn & are so well made. They even have a shiny gold sticker inside the shoe that reads, "Red Goose Shoes" with a goose pictured. Wow is all I can say.

Even when you are poor there is still a wealth of treasure to find.
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Monday, February 23, 2009

Calling All Creative Minds!!!

We are planning out Relief Society Birthday Celebration for the end of this month.  Our theme is Relief & Aid.  We are focusing on the history of the Relief Society & how it was based upon bringing aid to others.  We plan on using basic birthday supplies, colorful paper products, balloons, but we need something along the Relief theme.  We are giving away these adorable charms that are shaped like Band-Aids.  So, I'd love to use gauze & band-aids, stuff like that.  I would love ANY ideas you have!!!  Thank You!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Kitchen Challenge Revisited

No excuses to give about why it's taken me so long, but I'm not going to be a quitter!! I tackled quite a bit yesterday: utensil drawers, linen cupboard, appliance cabinet, food cupboards, spice cabinet! The thing I'm happiest about? Getting rid of all the stuff I never used or didn't like. It feels so good to purge.

My Rules in Letting Go:
If you have not used it in the last month in 30 + days of cooking, you don't need it.
If you have not eaten it yet and it's expires, get rid of it.
If you have fabric napkins, but you haven't once used them, pass them along.
If it's an appliance you used once at Christmas, get rid of it. You'll figure out how to do without it next Christmas.

When it comes to utensil drawers, containers are key! I found out I also liked keeping my metals & plastics separated. If you can't do that due to limited drawers, containers would be a great way to make it happen. Think about how much fun someone else might have using that quesadilla maker or rice steamer! Because they surely aren't seeing any action at my house!

If you too have let go of the challenge in recent weeks - join me & pick it back up again!!! I think we might go for the office/desk area as our next challenge. What do you think?


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No before, but let's put it this way, there used to be two cupboards this size full. Now I'm down to this, I think that's pretty good.
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Leven Thumps for $1.99

Deseret Book has Book 2 & 3 of the Leven Thumps series on sale for a mere $1.99!!  Go here!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Just Commercials

If you're not a Super Bowl fan (which I'm not) & you don't even make the time to watch it for the commercials (which I don't).  Here is a link for you!!  Watch all the commercials from the Big Game here.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Free Bakeware!

Just grabbed a free baking liner that I cannot wait to use!  Go here & get yours today!  

**Be aware, shipping will cost you $1.00 along with a 7 day free trial to Home Savings Mall, BUT (and this is one of the #1 rules to learn in getting things for free) you simply call the 1-800 # and cancel within 7 days and you are charged merely the $1.00 to get your bakeware.  


Saturday, January 31, 2009

FREE Personalized Lovey Dovey Day cards!

QUICK - before the big lovey dovey day arrives!! Click HERE for free V-day cards personalized! 

I ordered this design with a picture of the kiddos on back!  So fun & totally free!  They even pay shipping! 

Free $10 from QVC

Passing on a great deal to my bloggin' pals! Go HERE and follow the instructions & you will receive $10 to spend absolutely free!  No catch. No gimmicks. 

**Ispyed this great deal here.

What I used my FREE $10.00 on!  An album to scrapbook Mark & I's backpacking trip last year for our 10th anniversary.  I am hoping to get it done & give it to him on our anniversary this year!  

Friday, January 16, 2009

Medication Malfunction A.K.A. Kitchen Challenge: Day Three

Medication is not fool proof. Neither is re-organizing your kitchen.  I'm sorry I have not updated you more on the kitchen challenge.  My human nature got in the way & please let me assure you there is plenty more that needs to be tackled in my kitchen, so there is plenty more to update you on, when the meds kick in of course, hahahahaha.  

As you wait, let me know what room you'd like to tackle next.  I'm  bedroom???  definitely not the bathroom, hahahaha.  

To Be Continued...................

Forrest Gump said WHAT?!?!?

Tom Hanks, an Executive Producer for HBO’s controversial polygamist series “Big Love,” made his feelings toward the Mormon Church’s involvement in California's Prop 8 (which prohibits gay marriage) very clear at the show’s premiere party on Wednesday night.

“The truth is this takes place in Utah, the truth is these people are some bizarre offshoot of the Mormon Church, and the truth is a lot of Mormons gave a lot of money to the church to make Prop-8 happen,” he told Tarts. “There are a lot of people who feel that is un-American, and I am one of them. I do not like to see any discrimination codified on any piece of paper, any of the 50 states in America, but here's what happens now. A little bit of light can be shed, and people can see who's responsible, and that can motivate the next go around of our self correcting Constitution, and hopefully we can move forward instead of backwards. So let's have faith in not only the American, but Californian, constitutional process.”

When informed of the "Forrest Gump" star's comments, Kim Farah, a spokesperson for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, told Tarts, "Expressing an opinion in a free and democratic society is as American as it gets."

Bill McKeever, a rep for the Mormonism Research Ministry, added, "Personally, I find it un-American to tell people that they shouldn’t vote their conscience. Hanks said he doesn’t 'like to see any discrimination codified on any piece of paper.' Considering that just about every law discriminates in some form or another, makes this comment ridiculous. Hanks’ comment shows that he very much believes in discriminating against people with whom he disagrees. I may not agree with Mormon theology, but I certainly defend their right to express their opinion."

I used to LOVE Tom Hanks. He made such great movies & seemed like the perfect gentleman, but I guess I was wrong. Good thing I don't base my movie watching on actors' opinions......I had no idea people saw the Mormon church as such a powerhouse.  Give me a Woo Hoooooo for the Mormons!!  Just the thought of people 'paying' the church to make something happen in the government, I'm cracking up, out loud....#1 because I think it's an absurd idea (he obviously has never met the Prophet of our church, any of them!!!) & #2 - even if it was true, well, it's still funny because that would mean everything is a total farse & we'll be hit by a giant asteroid one day & we'll all never know the difference.  

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Kitchen Challenge: DAY TWO

The fridge was my project for yesterday and I quickly realized this was even a job I could do SITTING DOWN!  Yea for that!  Running after two little ones all day doesn't let me sit down for too long, other than to do quick e-mails to my favorite e-mail buddies.  

I had cleaned out our fridge about 3 weeks ago, so it wasn't too bad on the dirty scale, but it did need some revamping in the organization department.  I just hate all the small stuff. It drives me crazy to have to dig through it to find something or to have things falling off the shelves while you move things around.  So, my goal was to change that.

Of course the babies are always there to help.  

I used a small basket for yogurt & fruit cups on the top shelf so they don't get lost in the mix.  I also used a leftover plastic container from cleaning out the plastics the day before that was great for fruit.  If you put it out where you can see it, it will get eaten faster & it can be one of the first things the kids see when they go searching for an after school snack.

I also moved the shelves so that the larger things were on the bottom & I had two rows above to be able to better see the miscellaneous stuff.  I like it much better. I also arranged the milk & eggs by expiration date so we would use the older ones first.

I'm a very pleased homemaker! Looking forward to today's task, which I have not decided on yet.  How are you doing on your tasks??
I should have taken a picture of the large drawer on the bottom. I used another small basket for sandwich items. We make a lot of sandwiches & I figured it would be nice to have a basket you could just pull out & you've got what you need; meat, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce - just grab the mustard & mayo & you're good & it also makes it easier to put it all away, the biggest problem about making sandwiches especially when you're between the ages of 5-9.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kitchen Challenge Day One

Today I tackled the plastics cupboard as well as my baking cupboards.  It wasn't as hard as I had first thought & I feel great having gotten it done.  The babies of course had to help me separate it all.  


I used a container with no lid to keep my small bowls from being lost.  I love to use them to prep spices & sauces for dinner & to use for syrup and sauces for the kids dipping needs.  

Used a green Dora bowl I almost tossed to hold all the lids for bigger items I don't want lids on all the time. Mark says the spinning container contraption is one of my smartest purchases in 10 years! And I found these great yellow & red baskets I completely forgot I had.  They will be so fun for burgers & fries!  

And even better, I found things way in the back of the cupboards that I didn't even know I had!  The shortcake basket pan - HOW CUTE!  And if you know my love of organizing, you will know how much I LOVE the brown box!! Can't wait to find just the right use for it.

A spice organizer?? NO KIDDING!  

And WHAT are these???  I wouldn't even know what to do with them. Any help??

Needless to say, today's task was a success!  I even had a medium sized pile of stuff to give away & several things I tossed in the recycling!  

Monday, January 5, 2009

Managing Our Homes Well - Challenge #1

Yesterday it was my Sunday to teach in Relief Society. I always look forward to these Sundays because I get to choose what to teach from a long list of provided materials & resources.  As I looked over the list, I saw the lesson from The Latter Day Saint Woman handbook titled, "Managing Our Homes Well". There was a multitude of resources & similiary titled lessons that I used to compile the main idea.  It's always amazing how you come upon a lesson hoping it will help others & you realize it was probably meant most for you, but the lesson went over well & I have decided to present a challenge to myself & my fellow sisters each week.  A challenge to help us maintain order in our homes & a higher level of functionality so that we can simplify our lives & spend more times caring for the life of our souls.  

SO..... Week One's Challenge is.....THE KITCHEN!!!  

(Disclaimer: I am by no means a professional cleaner, organizer or plan writer, but I am a bit obsessive about lists and plans and schedules and order.  I have read many, many, many websites, books, articles, magazines on organization and de-cluttering and all I want to do is share this wealth of information I have running around in my brain.  I only want to help myself and maybe even in the meantime help a few others to get that jump start they need to make more time for the eternally important things by getting our homes in order. If you don't like my suggestions or you know better ones, by all means, go for it & share your ideas freely. I know that in feeling you have a team of women all reaching for the same goal, it gives you that little extra push you need to keep going.)

You can pick a few tasks to do each day or take one day & do it all, it's up to you & your schedule & of course this comes after your more important duties, which you should be prioritizing as suggested.  Pick the top 5 most important things you need to do each day & make sure you get those done, that way whatever else you are able to fit into your day is just added to your success. 
Suggested Tasks for your Kitchen:
Task 1: Your fridge
* When is the last time you went through & got rid of all the expired food, the unused containers of leftovers, the science experiments?  And after you do that, clean that baby!  Get some cleaner, lots of papertowels or rags & make it sparkle!  Add a new box of baking soda to keep down the odors.  You can even go so far as to organize a few things.
* I have small, low baskets that I use for separating cheeses & meats on my shelves & the veggies in the big drawer in the bottom. The Dollar Tree has an endless supply & variety of baskets that can be used for organizing & believe me, they work just as well in your fridge.  There is even a basket for kid appropriate snacks that works great when my kids say they are hungry.
Task 2: The plastics cupboard
*Do you hoard all used plastic containers; sour cream, butter, cool whip? Do you have an over abundance of Rubbermaid & other plastic storage containers?  Do you even know if all of them have lids?  It's time to tackle that cupboard space & let go of what doesn't serve it's purpose anymore.
*A reasonable amount of containers is 10.  This is more than enough to keep leftovers in your fridge or pass along goodies to neighbors & friends.  If it has a lid, keep it, if it's doesn't, recycle it if you can or donate it.  Some containers can even be used in the garage to keep nails/screws separated or for paint containers.
* If you don't have the space to store your containers with their lids on them, you can use a container that did not have a matching lid to store your lids in & that way you have only have one place to look for the lid or put it back after washing.
Task 3: The rest of your dishes
*How many pots & pans do you have?  Do you have lids that don't even fit pans you have?  How many baking dishes do you own?  How many mixing bowls?  My suggested number for these items is as follows:
3 saucepans
1 large skillet
1-2 medium/small skillets
2 stock pots
And anything else you use at least twice a month.
3 cake pans
2 10x13 dishes
2 pie plates
2 cookie sheets
1 jelly roll pan
2 square (8x8 or 9x9) baking dishes
2-3 casserole dishes
And again, anything else you use at least twice a month.
5 good mixing bowls of varying sizes is more than enough
REMEMBER: The more you have, the more dirty dishes you create for yourself.
Task 4: Utensil drawers
* The same rules apply for utensils. If there are gadgets you have in your drawers that you have only used once or twice in the last 6 months, it's time to LET GO.  Use slim long containers/baskets in your drawers to separate your utensils whether it be the everyday kind or the cooking/baking kind. 
* As you clean out these drawers - take everything out & wipe down those drawers!  Odds are, there are quite a few crumbs in the bottom.  And you only need 2 sets of silverware per person in your house.  2 forks, 2 spoons, 2 knives for each person. Anymore than that, just causes more dishes to do & more clutter in your drawers.
*Are you a cookie cutter junkie?  Do you really need 4 Christmas trees & 8 stars?  Cut down to the basics, two of each & keep them in an oversized ziploc bag or a shoebox.   
Task 5: Linens
* How many dishtowels do you have?  How many tablecloths, placemats & napkins do you have stored away?  Cut down, let go of those you don't use on a regular basis.  If it's a holiday tablecloth, put it away with your holiday decorations.  It's a good rule to have at least 4 good tableclothes, 2 sets of placemats in a general color to match your tablecloths & 2 sets of fabric napkins if you use that sort of thing.  If you have one fancy set you only use with your fancy dishes, set it aside somewhere with your fancy dishes, don't keep them with the everyday linens.
Task 6: Food Cupboards
* Do you know where all of your rice & beans are?  Could you find the cake mix if you needed to?  Do you know where that box of au gratin potatoes are that you bought two shopping trips ago? 
* Take the time now to go through your cupboards. Pass along to friends or neighbors the food you know you or your family will not eat.  Sometimes I buy new snacks for my kids that they simply will not eat, but that doesn't mean their friends down the road won't think they're the best snack ever! 
*  Separate food types- potatoes, rice, beans- then pastas, boxed dinners, packaged sides.  Again I use baskets in my cupboards too.  I have a basket for envelope mixes, soups, spices.  I have a basket for muffin mixes and quick snacks in envelopes.  They work wonders for organizing your cupboards.  Make rows in your canned goods for veggies, fruits, soups, cooking needs. 
* Don't put out the new cereal boxes or the new packages of snacks until the old ones are gone. Find a closet or a shelf somewhere or your food storage area to keep the new boxes. People in your home will always go for the new, wasting the old, so don't even let them know they're there until all their other options are exhausted.  
* Go through your spices. Some spices do expire & there's no point in using them because they will add nothing to your dish.  Buy an inexpensive lazy susan to keep out on your counter to hold the spices you use on a regular basis, keep the rest in your cupboard.  Make a list of those you don't have or need to replace on your next shopping trip.
YOUR REWARD FOR MEETING THE CHALLENGING: The extra time you just saved by not digging for food in the fridge or cupboards, the time you just saved on not washing so many dishes, you can now use that time to choose a sister to serve the next week.  Write a heartfelt note, share a good article out of the Ensign that touched you, invite her to lunch, just give her a call & see if she needs someone to talk to.  It will be a reward for both of you!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Reflections on another year passed.

I'm sure that we can all say it's been a year of ups & downs because that's part of living, right? You can't have sorrow without having joy and you can't feel love without feeling hate.  But, there are years that you can honestly say you feel you've had more than your fair share of one or the other.  Then again, who would say they had had more than their fair share of good, happiness or love?  Bottom line, in all the pain, sorrow, hate, etc., I have seen much joy and love and support and good in people and in myself.  I had to work through the bad to see all of that though, so is this past year of heartache and struggles worth it to know what I know now.  Absolutely.  

Am I looking forward to another year?  You bet!  Bring it on because I am only stronger than when 2008 started.  What do I hope for this year?  To remember all I overcame last year.  To continue to feel like I am a good mom and that I can do my best and that my best is good enough.  To continue to love and adore the man I married almost 11 years ago.  To continue to better and love myself for who I am now that I have gotten to know myself better.  To increase my relationship with Heavenly Father, to thank him for all he helped us with in 2008. To cherish every single moment I have with my kids before they are grown up and I am not the first thing in their lives anymore.  To take the good with the bad and still keep a smile on my face!!

My resolutions this year?  I usually try to keep them pretty simple.....ths year, I'm going to work on learning to live on less.  Learning to use more of what I have before I go out and buy another one.  Learning to give more without trying to gain from it.  It's a multi part resolution of course, but you get the idea.

What are your final reflections on the year now passed?