Archive for House Keeping

He Never Promised Me A Herb Garden

I was wandering around my backyard last week, admiring the spring bulbs that had flowered. The hostas that I had planted the week before Easter started making their appearance. The fruit trees were in full bloom and gorgeous. It was a happy moment, and I felt pretty pleased with all the work my husband and I have done  over the 17 years we’ve lived here.  And then I turned the corner and saw it.  You can’t help but see it. The eye sore of the yard. The cause of bickering between my husband and me over the past few years.

It’s supposed to be a flower bed that runs the length of the walkway that connects the backyard gate to our back door. The previous owner had put railroad ties along the length of it to make it a raised bed. Over the years, we’ve stuck a couple of rose bushes in it, a couple of dwarf fruit trees, and a few spring bulbs. In short, it’s a hodge-podge of shtuff. To top it all off, the railroad ties have shifted over the years, claiming more and more of the walkway.

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to plant herbs in there. It’s right off the kitchen, so how convenient would that be? Before I could have fun planting, though, I wanted my husband to put the railroad ties back where they belong. (For those not familiar with railroad ties, they are long square logs that are heavy as all get-out. I have three of them along that flowerbed.) Before he would do that, my husband wanted me to transplant the spring bulbs. And round and round we would go about who needed to do what to get this project started, let alone finished.

When I looked at the eye sore last week, I heaved a sigh and thought, Hmpf! Since he’s not here, this is going to be another year it’s not going to get done. Immediately after that thought, came another one that pulled me up short:

When the hell did I become helpless?

Trust me, I’ve done a heck of a lot harder things in my life  than shifting a couple of railroad ties a few inches to get something I wanted.  Why I thought I couldn’t do this little project without my husband is beyond me.

And a “little project” was exactly what it turned out to be. Transplanting bulbs, moving dirt aside, shifting the railroad ties over five inches, and planting the herbs took all of three hours. Not only did I do this by myself, but with a toddler “helping” (and adding “replanting hostas” onto the project list).

Now whenever I look at the former eye sore, I grin. It’s going to be nice having such a gorgeous reminder of what a waste of time self-imposed helplessness is.

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WFMW: Mini Flylady Control Journal



I’ve been following  Flylady’s system for almost 9 years now. It’s been great! Most of her ideas work really well around here. One that didn’t, though, was making a control journal out of a binder. It took up too much space if I left  it out on my counter or table. It looked like clutter. And using a binder was an invitation to me to toss rogue papers into it. More clutter. 

Enter my cute little control journal! I picked up a checkbook sized photo album and inserted notecards into the slots. Using Flylady’s control journal as a guideline, I was able to make a control journal the was just right for me. Check it out! 


A mini control journal works for me! Check out what’s working for others at We Are THAT Family!

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Just Another Valium Monday…

I love new starts.  Give me a new week, or a new month, and watch me purr.

This morning was no exception. I made a mental list of things I wanted to do. My new yoga dvd. Get the house all shiny and ready for the  week. Look around for spring decorations. Cull some clothes that no longer fit me. Maybe play with my hair to figure out what my stylist did to make it look great.  Just little things to make me happy, you know?

And then I got out of bed. Oh. My.

My new yoga dvd gave way to wrestling with a toddler. Getting her dressed, getting her to eat, minor things were all a major battle this morning. On the upside, I probably burned more calories than I would have than if I had done the video. On the downside, I did not achieve the tranquil peace of mind that the dvd would have given me.

I then tried to give my house the sparkly look that makes me smile. After cleaning up five toddler spills and tearing apart the vacuum to fish out a sock, I settled for keeping making sure the house wouldn’t be sticky. For the most part.

And then it got better. My darling husband reminded me that his brother was going to stop by today. “But don’t worry, honey. He’s going to call before he comes over.” No sooner were the words out of his mouth than my brother-in-law pulled up, along with his girlfriend and her nephew. I barely had time to dive into a bra, let alone style my hair. I let them endure my dragon breath as a reminder to phone first.

I would love to give you a blow-by-blow of the rest of my morning, but it’s all just a blur now. After laying shoe rubber from going full throttle this morning, it all abruptly came to a halt. Naptime. Whew! A chance to get my bearings.

Taking a quick survey of the main living areas in my home, I came to the realization that it took me the entire morning (and all my patience and energy) to keep everything as it was when I got out of bed.

I don’t have a pithy observation or a brilliant epiphany to go along with this post. Just a growing hope that I can salvage my earlier optimism, and enjoy the first afternoon of a brand new month. It could happen!

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Prettying Up My Desk

I love my desk. It’s the first piece of “grown up” furniture I’ve ever bought. Come to think of it, it’s the only piece of furniture  in my living room that’s not second hand. But I digress…

I love my desk, but for all the love I hold for it, I did’t take very good care of it. I’ve piled it with clutter. I’ve let dust get so thick on it you could write your name. It was bad.

One dreary Saturday night I found myself looking at this piece of furniture that I love, and decided it deserved better. I deserved better. I (and it) deserved pretty.

Keeping the thought of “pretty”, I started by decluttering my desk. It wasn’t hard, to be honest. Most of the stuff covering it was just things I was to lazy to put away or throw away. After I cleared away the junk, I used what seemed like a half a can of Pledge on my desk until it gleamed. Pretty.

I needed a pen/pencil holder, so I grabbed a champagne flute that was collecting dust and filled it with my favorite pens. Pretty.

I looked at my plain Jane inbox. How plain was it, you may ask? It was an inexpensive, unfinished, wood inbox that I bought at a craft store to use as a drawer seperator in my then infant daughter’s dresser. (Holy cow! Try saying that last sentence in one breath!) I painted the inside of it wine red, and the outside of it dark brown. I then added white polk-a-dots around the outside. Pretty.

The desk lamp I’m not thrilled with. It looks like something Scrooge would use, had he had electricity. It’s fine for now, but I do have plans to scour garage sales and thrift stores to find something more pretty.

Since I’ve prettied up my desk, a miracle seems to have occured. It’s no longer a magnet for junk like it was in the past. It looks…fantastic!

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WFMW-Grocery Bag Holder

I love keeping a supply of plastic grocery bags on hand. They come in handy, don’t they? What I don’t love is devoting an entire drawer to them. My kitchen has limited storage space, so it’s really not an option. Enter the empty paper towel tube!

Yep, I stuff the grocery bags in a paper towel tube. Actually, I use an empty cling wrap tube–they’re sturdier. It doesn’t take up much space, and I can fit enough plastic bags in there to last me a few weeks.

And when I’m out and about? I use the paper towel tube’s little cousin, the empty toilet paper roll. I shove a few grocery bags in there, and toss it into my glove box or diaper bag.

That’s what works for me to keep my grocery bags in line! Hop on over to We Are THAT Family to see what’s working for other’s today.

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WFMW: Menu Planning, backwards and forwards

Don’t you love staring into the fridge at 5pm with no clue what to make for dinner? Yeah, me neither. 

About 4 times a year I list what we have for dinner each night for a month. It gives me almost 30 dinners appropriate for the season to choose from when I plan our menu for the week. And writing it on the calendar insures I know where to find my list.

I discovered early on that my husband and I are not “we’re having this dinner on that day” kind of people. Instead, we list the dinners we have ingredients for, and hang it on a cupboard.  We choose from the list the night before, grab any thing that needs to be thawed out of the freezer, and we’re good to go.

That’s how we do our menu planning over here, backwards and forwards! Check out what’s working for other’s at We are THAT Family.

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Works For Me Wednesday…Toddler Magnets

Works For Me Wednesday…Toddler Magnets

It’s so simple. So easy. Yet I would have never thought of it on my own…

I hated the alphabet magnets that my toddler loves. They were all over the fridge. That is, when they were not slipping between the doors, making the refrigerator hard to close. Or flying under the refrigerator. Or scattered all over the kitchen floor. Or causing my daughter to disappear into the kitchen when my back is turned.

Then a brilliant preschool teacher showed me a great trick: Use a metal cookie sheet for your toddler to put the magnets on and off to her heart’s content.  As we speak, she’s now happily playing with them next to my desk instead of making one of her stealth missions into the kitchen. Works for me!

I hope you’ll check out the other tips and tricks on We Are THAT Family!

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