Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Random Thoughts-Old Habits

Wow, another late day.  Got off to a late started today.  Started the day off with reclaiming my inoculated surfaces and claiming another, the living room sofa.  Then I went back to dress to shoes and scratching out my morning routine.  

Before I realized it, I was back to old habits and cleaning in circles.  I would start a project in the sitting room (I am working on changing this room from a catch all room to Elijah's space) and then I would find myself working on a paper pile in the living room. Susan Olins of  Life Goes Strong worked with a professional organizer who kept her on track.  A couple of her tips were, "Never to travel to another room without an armload." and "Finish one thing at a time."  Not all of us can afford a professional organizer but we can definitely take their advice and do what we can on our own.  

Right now, the sitting room seems like an overwhelming task but I am convinced that if I chip away at it a little at a time, it will get done.  I made some pretty good progress in there today and each day I will devote 30 minutes to clearing the clutter in this room until Elijah has his own space.  Another piece of advice given by the professional organizer was to break large tasks into smaller, much more manageable ones.  Definitely a piece of advice I need to put into practice with this room.

Another helpful hint I got from Life Goes Strong is to make a list of your pockets (random accumulations or hot spots) and figure out which projects can be completed in a smaller interval of time when finding a full 30 minute chunk just isn't possible. My next mini project to tackle will be the pantry closet.  Mom and I devoted some really productive time to it last week and the only thing that needs to be done is to group like foods and make of list of things that need to be replaced.  The perfect project for a day that is filling up quickly.

Not only did I revert to my old cleaning habits but I seemed to be off my game entirely today.  I even got off track with my diet changes. I really am not sure what happened, but I think that I missed my first step in my new morning routine and it was down hill from there. Will definitely have to get back to the basics tomorrow.

 Do you have trouble changing old habits?  Would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Crock Pot Tuesday-A Departure-Getting Back on Track

Well it's always hard to get back into your routine after a a holiday weekend, isn't it?  That is especially true for me.  Back to the routine, dress to shoes, check, reclaim inoculated surfaces, check. 15 minute declutter?  Ummm, not today, I think certain areas may need a bit more attention.

As you may know I am on an organizational journey, so each day I am attempting to devote at least 15 minutes a day to decluttering my home and I am working on managing my time so that I can keep myself from being overwhelmed and running around in circles trying to get everything done in a given day.  Well this weekend I fell off the wagon.  It started late last week when I came down with the cold my sons had the week before and it was all down hill after that. So today, I pick myself up, dust myself off and away I go.

I found this wonderful resource for organizing my time and getting into a routine that will become so natural, I won't have to think much about it.  Fly  At first glance, she may seem a bit extreme, but then again, my need for organization is more than a bit extreme.  I have been mesmerized by this site.  She has you start out with baby steps and begin with small routines.  I am currently working on my Before Bed and Morning routines and working on putting together my Control Journal.  Of course, all this takes time that I never seem to have so I have set aside time into my routines to work on these things.

Some of the things on the before bed and morning routines seem a bit obvious but with my 3 boys there are days when I don't get a chance to stop for a moment until noon and I realize I never got to wash my face that morning.  Having it all laid out for me will help me to get into a routine where all this is second nature and even a hurricane won't deviate me from my routine.  OK, well maybe a hurricane, but I think you know what I mean?

Do you have before bed and morning routines?  What are they?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Manic Monday-Remembering

On this Memorial Day take time to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and their families who are struggling with the loss of their loved one.  Lord, please grant comfort to the grieving, healing to the injured, strength to the recovering and peace to all those who have suffered in service to this country. Amen

Spirit Sunday-Trading Our Sorrows

In church we sing a song that that says, " I'm trading my sorrows...I'm trading my pain, I'm laying them down for the joy of the Lord."  What does this mean to you?  That we make a conscience effort to find joy even in the hardest of times where it seems that joy just can't be found?

In God's word He tells us that Jesus was "...sent to bind up the brokenhearted," (Isaiah 61:1 NIV), in the Hebrew, the word used for "broken" here means, "shattered into pieces". So Jesus came not only to save me, but to bind: to make secure by tying; to wrap around with something so as to enclose or cover; my broken, shattered heart.  Wow, I think I can find some joy in that.  Chapter 61 goes on to say that not only did he come to "bind up the brokenhearted", but He came to "...provide for those who grieve: beauty for ashes, oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of the spirit of despair."  Found your joy yet?

Although we go through hard times, and we all know that there WILL be hard times, we can take comfort and joy in the promises of His word.  Psalms 30:5, ..."weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning." Psalm 126:5, "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy." Isaiah 35:10, "and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Matthew 5:4, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." John 16:20, "I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy." Revelations 7:17, "For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

Now that is what I'm talking about!  May the joy of the Lord be your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

To Do Lists

Feeling a bit better today so time to compensate for yesterday.  Dress to shoes, almost.  Shiny sink, how about empty sink?  Reclaim inoculated surfaces, check!   This Mami is on a roll...

What's next on the list?  Attic time...need to bring the fans down and find that missing box of summer clothes.  20 times hotter in the attic than it is in the house, 3 of 5 fans blocked by suitcases and other clutter.  Too hot and congested to go on the hunt for the box of summer clothes, I descend the ladder discouraged and deflated.

I've been looking for a good online task master to help me stay organized.  How many of you are list writers?  I am a master list writer.  What I'm not so good at is keeping up with my lists.  They get lost, tossed or I write them and forget to look at them.  I've been researching some online task masters and Freelance recommends and  I found the terminology of Vitalist a bit too much for me but I liked Todoist.  You can enter a project like: Clean the Bathroom, and then enter each task in the bathroom like scrub tub, polish mirror, etc. and then each item can be clicked off.  This can be good for those of us who feel a great sense of accomplishment when each task is crossed off the list.

Google Calendar has a task option.  This seems helpful because you can have your tasks listed in your calendar and you don't have to go to more than one place. The problem with this is that you can only list your tasks and only mark the list as complete.  Not quite what I am looking for.   

What I would love is a way to list short term and long term tasks, as well as daily, weekly, monthly tasks and have them show up on my desktop so as soon as I log into my computer they would all be there.  Oh well, I will keep searching and keep you all posted.

How to you keep track of all the things you need to do?




Friday, May 25, 2012

This Mami is Down for the Count

 I've come down with the worst cold.  My children are really good at sharing and all the adults in this house are down for the count.  Wish I could just crawl into bed and wake up next week, but Mami needs to keep truckin, right?

Ok, so get out of bed, dress to shoes (not today), brush teeth/wash face, shiny sink (I don't think so), deal with the boys (Diapers, potty, clothes.  Thank God someone already got breakfast!)

Now to reclaim inoculated surfaces.  Been doing pretty good with this but this morning I just want to cry.  Already feeling pretty bad last night, I didn't do my regular "peruse for clutter" rounds so this morning things are a bit out of control.  

Have no idea what to make for dinner, don't feel like cooking anyway.  Any ideas?????


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Changes...Weight Loss & Wellness

Oh boy.  What did I hear about creating new habits, that is takes 21 consecutive actions to change a behavior?  Well this morning was a bear!  Trying to keep up with all the new routines I set in motion was difficult because everyone around me wanted to revert to the old way of doing things.  But I AM STRONG!  This Mami will prevail!

Taking control of the clutter in my home is just a small part of a much larger decision to make changes in my life.  For years I have struggled with my weight and at the beginning of the year I joined Weight Watchers. I was doing pretty well until I totaled my van and was no longer able to attend my meetings.  Admittedly a bit depressed and discouraged by the loss of my vehicle, I fell off the wagon and began reverting to old habits.  Soon after, my cousin introduced me to It Works and it's line of health and wellness products and I was hooked. So much so that I became an Independent Distributor after using the products myself.

I am happy to report that although I can not report specific weight loss (my boys killed my scale), I was able to tighten my belt an extra notch and I wore a skirt on Sunday that I hadn't been able to wear for more than a year.  How'd she do it, did you ask?  I started small. I did a wrap and began taking Greens.   Then I started my day with a simple shake in the morning and taking the Advanced Fat Fighters after lunch and dinner. I've since added Ultimate ThermoFit and Confianza to my routine and I have never felt better.

These products are all natural and I finally am doing something good for my body.  I think Mamies are the last people that get taken care of, at least that was true for me, and we need to realize that if we don't take care of ourselves, we can't take care of those we love.

Are you taking are of yourself the way you should?  Remember, hubby & the kids will thank you!   

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Random Thoughts...Family

Family: group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head; a group of persons of common ancestry.  Lately the word family has been tossed around a lot and I've found that there are very many different definitions of  the word depending on who you are.  

Some of us have been blessed with the traditional definition of the word: Father, Mother, Brothers, Sisters and it is truly as God  intended it. Loving, nurturing, supportive.  But for many of us, this has not been the case.  Whether you grew up the only child of a single mother; children of divorce; estranged from extended family for any of the countless reasons Oprah so creatively covered in her 25 years on the air; the definition of family for you may have very little to do with genetic code but more to do with strong bonds and relationships.  I was recently struck by this principle while watching popular genealogy programs.  

I have become really intrigued by family trees and ancestral roots since I have been watching shows like Finding Your Roots and Who Do You Think You Are and I was struck by the recent episode of Finding Your Roots that featured some popular Latin American people in the public eye.  It got me thinking, are breaks in the traditional definition of "family" more prominent in certain ethnic groups?  Although there truly is no such thing as the "perfect" family this seems to be statistically true.  So where does that leave the human need for strong bonds and relationships? We build our own families with the people we meet and the bonds we cultivate with those who become important in our lives.

I have been truly blessed with the people God has brought into my life.  Spending most of my life estranged from my biological father, the Lord blessed me with men in life that filled that role for me and I am eternally grateful to them and for them.  Sisters, brothers, I've got them all; people that I can turn to in times of joy and sorrow.  You all know who you are, I love you and couldn't love you more if we shared genetic code.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Slight Departure from Crock Pot Tuesdays-Grilled Skirt Steak

A slight departure from Crock Pot Tuesdays, today we are having Grilled Skirt Steak. I love this particular cut of meat, not only does it cook up easily but it contains tremendous flavor with very little fuss.

Today I am using a very easy marinade I got from My  The marinade calls for 1/4 C Balsamic Vinegar, 1 T Worcestershire Sauce, 2 t Dark brown Sugar and 1 Clove Garlic, minced.

Season the steak, front & back with salt and pepper to taste and warm your grill pan.  I use the "sizzle" test to let me know when my pan is ready by running my hand under water and letting a few drops fall into the pan.  If they sizzle, then the pan is ready.

Next place steak in the pan and don't move to allow the pan to do it's job and provide those lovely grill marks we all love to see. 

If you want to see a lattice pattern on your steak, turn the steak 1/4 turn about half way through the cooking time.  I cooked the steak for 8 minutes on the first side and then 4 minutes on the second side.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Time Management

This Manic Monday is devoted to time management.  How many of us have trouble with this skill?  Ooo, me, mee, meeeeee!

I find myself trying to start the day with a list of the things that I want to accomplish and as I write the list I get overwhelmed.  Then the boys get up and the list goes out the window.  Some days I consider myself lucky if I have an opportunity to look at my list a second time after I have written it.  Two words: EPIC FAIL!

Along with my 30 minute a day decluttering rule I plan to add some of these time management tools to my routine:

Using an online calendar:  I have a daily planner I keep in my purse but there are times I miss an important appointment or miss paying a bill on time because I go days without looking at my calendar. By using an online calendar, like Google Calendar, I can not only keep track of appointments and bill due dates but I can get e-mail reminders of when things are coming up.   Upon further review, I discovered that the possibilities are endless when it comes to customizing your calendar and using it as a tool to organize your life and keep you on top of things.

Using an online task list: As I mentioned above, I am a list writer.  I have lists and lists and lists and some days waste precious time rewriting them.  With an online task manager I can organize my tasks from day to day and keep recurring tasks current like, taking out the garbage, without having to re-type them. Ingenious.

Of course, all of these tools require taking the time to set up and customize them.  I will be devoting 15 minutes daily to this arduous task and will report back next Monday with my progress. Wish me luck!

Decluttering update:  Have managed to inoculate my kitchen table and center island from clutter, Also managed to purge and reorganize my pantry closet.  Photos to follow.

Please share your favorite time management tools, would love to hear about them.  Happy organizing.



Spiritual Center of Gravity

Spirit Sunday is all about food for your soul.  Today in church the pastor's message was about our spiritual center of gravity.  He spoke on Matthew 7:24-27, the story of the wise man who built his house on a rock and the foolish man who built his house on sand and when the storms came, the foolish man's house built on sand crumbled but the wise man's house built on rock prevailed.

God never said the storms would never come, a matter of fact, He said the complete opposite.  But what he promised is that when storms of life DO come, we would prevail against them.  If we have the Lord as the center of our lives, the rock foundation that our spiritual house are built upon, then He is faithful to be with us and help us weather whatever life may send our way.

What is your center of gravity?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Quick & Easy Bite Size Morsels

My church is having a Ladies Tea today and with the boys being sick all week I wasn't able to get to the store for the ingredients needed for my covered dish staple No Fuss Cheesecake Bars (recipe to follow in a later post).  So I scoured my pantry and decided to make Mini Quiches.

I used the recipe I got from a good friend of mine, Walking On Sunshine and baked my mini quiches in my Pampered Chef Mini Muffin Tin.

First mix together 4 eggs with 2C Heavy Cream.

Then add 10 slices of cooked bacon and one package chopped spinach, defrosted and pressed in a strainer until completely dry.  Because these were bite sized mini quiches, I chopped the bacon and spinach fine.

 Then add 2 cups of shredded cheese.  The original recipe call for Cheddar but I had a block of Munster on hand so I used that and the result was a slightly creamier texture.


 Then spoon the mixture into the muffin tin filling each section just shy of the full, leave a bit of room because the quiches will rise during baking.

Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden. YUM!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

I make the easiest Chicken Pot Pie EVER!  Hope you will agree.

It starts out with my very favorite cooking tool, my Pampered Chef Deep Dish Pie Plate.  You will see that I use this tool often and I am a lover of all things Pampered Chef.

Then I use store bought pie crust, to some this may be a sacrilege but for my family is works just fine.  After rolling it a bit, I gently place it into my pie plate.

Then I gently prick the bottom and sides of the shell with a fork. 

Then I add the filling.  This is so quick & easy.  First a defrost a bag of mixed vegetables then I add a can of cream of "something" soup.  This is where you can really make this recipe your own.  I have tried cream of chicken, cream of broccoli, cream of asparagus, cream of potato and cream of onion.  I've even tried cheesy broccoli.  All simply DIVINE.  I have even precooked some cubed potatoes and added that as well and it makes it all the more heartier.  Lastly, I add cooked chicken cut into bite size pieces.  Mix well. 

Then after rolling, I gently place the top crust over the filling and cinch the edges closed by rolling the bottom crust over the top and twisting while pinching all around the pie.  Lastly I cut small vent holes in the top to let the steam escape.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown . Enjoy!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rest in Peace Donna Summer

Oh no, Donna Summer has lost her battle with cancer.  So sad!  I remember growing up with her music, but she was so much more than "Last Dance" or "Hot Stuff".  She had a magical singing voice that could handle many styles of music.

I remember seeing her one summer on Penn's Landing in Philadelphia and thinking, "This woman has STILL got IT!"  She tore up that stage singing hit after hit and gave a better show than some artists in their twenties. She will be thoroughly missed.

What are your favorite songs? Here are a couple of mine...

On the Radio

I Will Go With You

Rest in peace dear songbird, you will be missed.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Random Thoughts...Sons


I came across this post on Facebook today and it gave me pause.  My greatest desire is that my sons would grow to be amazing men.  I didn't grow up with very many positive male role models in my life so when I found out I was pregnant with my first son my first thought was, "Oh Lord, what do I know about boys?"  The short answer was NOTHING.  Then with sonogram numbers two and three the terror just grew.  Each day I pray for patience and wisdom and for God to guide my hand while raising these boys.  This list, somewhat irreverent and not in any particular order, is just the beginning of the things I hope my boys will know for sure.

1. You will set the tone for the sexual relationship, so don't take something away from her that you can't give back.
2. Play a sport. It will teach you how to win honorably, lose gracefully, respect authority, work with others, manage your time, and stay out of trouble. And maybe even throw or catch.
3. Use careful aim when you pee. Somebody's got to clean that up, you know. (And most times it better be YOU!)
4. Save money when you're young because you'll need it some day.
5. Allow me to introduce you to the dishwasher, oven, washing machine, iron, vacuum, mop and broom. Now please go use them.
6. Pray and be a spiritual leader.
7. Don't ever be a bully and don't ever start a fight, but if some idiot clocks you, please defend yourself.
8. Your knowledge and education is something that nobody can take away from you.
9. Treat women kindly. Forever is a long time to live alone and it's even longer to live with somebody who hates your guts.
10. Take pride in your appearance.
11. Be strong and tender at the same time.
12. A woman can do everything that you can do. This includes her having a successful career and you changing diapers at 3 A.M. Mutual respect is the key to a good relationship.
13. "Yes ma'am" and "yes sir" still go a long way.
14. The reason that they're called "private parts" is because they're "private". Please do not scratch them in public.
15. Peer pressure is a scary thing. Be a good leader and others will follow.
16. Bringing her flowers for no reason is always a good idea.
17. Be patriotic.
18. Potty humor isn't the only thing that's humorous.
19. Please choose your spouse wisely. My daughter-in-law will be the gatekeeper for me spending time with you and my grandchildren.
20. Remember to call your mother because I might be missing you.

I recently lost a dear friend who raised 3 boys brilliantly.  She was my go to person for advice about my boys and I miss her dearly.  What is the best advice you would share with a mother of 3 boys and what is the one thing you hope you son(s) learn from you?