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?