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Showing posts from August, 2011

Storm Clean Up

After Hurricane Irene moved up to our northern neighbors, we were left to clean up the mess she made. Due to lack of previous rain, we were spared a lot of damage from uprooted trees and severe flooding. Sunday morning dawned sunny and humid and this is what we found in our front courtyard. This branch was impaled into the ground - this is why you don't want to be walking around outside when storms hit (take note you crazy television storm reporters)  Our back deck was full of leaf confetti.  We had already removed the large branches before I took the pic.  After accessing our yard damage, we drove down the road to check on our neighbors.  We followed the city trucks for a bit as they made their rounds. Here is the wind instrument that was set up at the small airport near our house.  I'm not sure what the top wind speeds were.  Some neighbors (on West Road for you locals) had water front property for a few days.  The water in this neighbor's yard went right u

Treasure Hunt

A few weeks ago, when Hubs and I went on a quiet little camping trip, we found ourselves smack in the middle of one of those large, miles long yard sales.  We didn't buy much, but one thing that I couldn't leave behind was this treasure. . . A string holder shaped like a bee skep.  It sits in a little metal tart tin.  I fell in love with it and had to have it. Do you blame me?

Monday Motivation: Organizing Recipes

If you're one of those cooks who can whip up dishes without using a recipe, I applaud you.  I'm not one of those cooks.  I need recipes - printed recipes. Actually, I love written recipes. Especially ones written in the handwriting of the person who gave me the recipe.  I have recipe cards from grandmas, aunts, cousins, neighbors, co-workers, and church friends.  My problem is having too many recipes and trying to keep them organized so I can find them when I need them.  I've tried a few different types of organizing tools over the past 10 years and I've finally come up with a system that works for me.  Because every cook is different, there is no perfect system that will work for everyone.  I found that I really like to use recipe boxes.  I have a nice solid oak box and I'm looking for an additional one as my current one is a bit "stuffed".  I'd like to have all of my baking recipes (breads, desserts, and various breakfast foods) in one box an

Monday Motivation: Organizing Household Paperwork

If you're overwhelmed with paperwork, do Step 1 and Step 2 first.  Now we're ready to tackle other household paperwork that tends to spread around the house.  Some of that paperwork could include: Appliance manuals and receipts Mementos and keepsakes Phone numbers/addresses School work Correspondence Personal and confidential paperwork Tax records Emergency information Command center for daily paperwork For each category of paperwork, I'll give you some tips for how to weed through the mess, and some options for how to organize the information and be able to retrieve what you need. 1.  Appliance manuals and receipts:      First, go through each piece and toss out any information for items you no longer own.  Then, sort paperwork according to type. (kitchen appliances, camping gear, electronics, etc.)  I'm a fan of binders, so I keep my appliance info in a large 3 ring binder that has labeled pocket dividers.  For more information, check out my previou

Adventures at Sherando Lake

Several readers have emailed me, asking where we go camping.  Our favorite place to camp is Sherando Lake in the George Washington National Forest.  It's located right outside of Waynesboro, VA. It has a man-made lake with a small island in the middle.  Our children practiced swimming out to it every Summer and felt great pride when they accomplished that feat without any help. The lake is also stocked with trout and fishing with a license is allowed.  You can see the roped-off area where swimming is allowed. Small boats are allowed (no motors) and we've enjoyed canoeing and even just paddling with an inflatable dingy. One of the things we love about the lake is that it's surrounded by trees, so you can get out of the bright sun if you want to.  Many families spend the entire day at the lakeside, switching back and forth between the sunny sanded area and the shaded tree area.  There is also a bath house with showers and toilets.  The bark on this tree wa

Breakfast Ideas For Camping

Because camping trips are full of physical activities like hiking, swimming, canoeing, and playing, breakfast is an especially important meal of the day.   Country Living  The recipes I'll be sharing are for basic camping trips where you have access to a cooler and camp stove or camp fire.  For those adventurous folks who like to wilderness camp - well, that's a whole different type of camping - and eating.  First, I'll give you a list of breakfast ideas that have worked well for our family.  When our children were growing up, we'd allow them to each bring a friend along, so I was usually feeding 8 people for each meal. Breakfast ideas: Oatmeal with toppings French Toast and bacon Pancakes with campsite compote Cereal and yogurt Breakfast Burritos Egg and Cheese on an English muffin Premade muffins (for those non-breakfast eaters) Oatmeal with toppings: I like to use quick oats.  We add 1/3 cup of dried quick oats to a bowl.  Then add 2/3 cups boiling

Wrensday: And The Tomatoes Keep Coming!

Remember, back in the Spring, when I showed you the "Lazy Gardner's Way To Grow Tomatoes" here and here ? Yup, just bags of garden soil with heirloom tomatoes plopped down in them. Well, now that tomato season is in full swing, I've got tomatoes coming out of my ears - and my canning pot! We had to fence off the area with chicken wire to keep the chickens out.  After all, they love ripe tomatoes as much as we do.    We sprayed diluted fish emulsion every two weeks over the plants and mulched with compost and dried grass clippings.  Hubs dumps the grass clippings into the walkway to let them dry and turn brown.  Then we top dress the plants with the dried grass.  Easy peasy.  I've been canning around 20 jars of tomatoes or tomato sauce every week this month.  I'll be happy to have a full pantry. This was just one day's harvest. I've also been eating tomato sandwiches - my most favorite sandwich in the world!  Yummmmm!

A Few Camping Tips

Hubs and I managed to get away for a few days last week (hence, the lack of posts) to go camping. It was our first camping trip since my transplant and as empty nesters.  Over the years, I've streamlined our camping process and learned a few tricks that I thought I'd share. First, I make up a menu for the whole trip, including what we'll eat on the trip to and from the camp site.  I plan for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks as well as beverages.  After making the list and shopping,  I store the prepped items in zippered bags or Pyrex containers.  I keep everything together so I can quickly pack the chilled items into the coolers right before we leave.  All of the non-refrigerated items are packed in a bin with a lid. . I always bring my coconut oil.  I use it for cooking and for first aide.  (We'd only been at the camp site for an hour when Hubs was stung by a wasp.  We immediately washed the sting and applied coconut oil.  The swelling and redness

Monday Motivation: Handling Paperwork - Mail and Bills

If you're overwhelmed with paperwork, do this step first.  Now that all of your bills are compiled into one central place, you'll want to sort them again.  This time, sort them into sub-categories. First, remove all bills that are current and must be paid into their own pile.  Don't misplace this pile!  You'll need to tend to it sooner than later.  Next, decide how you want to sort your bills.  These are the bills/receipts you've already paid.  These should be kept until the end of the year for tax purposes or to help you prepare next years budget.  You don't really need to keep bills that are over a year old when you get a statement and pay your bills every month.  I've never referred back to a 2 year old cell phone bill - just sayin'!   You can sort them in a few different ways.  Alphabetically or by type (power, phone, automobile, medical). We file ours alphabetically.   First comes Auto, then Banking, then College, then Dent

Monday Motivation: Getting Control Of Household Paperwork

Out of control paperwork seems to be the number one problem most of my clients have.  I would say it has to be my number one problem as well.  I still struggle with it, but I've come up with some systems that help me to create order out of the mess pretty quickly.  If you're overwhelmed with papers, here's how to take control and set up your own system to make your life easier.  First we'll start with figuring out what you have. Let's pretend you have papers all over your house and they are totally disorganized.  Don't apologize - just get started: 1.  Start with a large surface, like your dining room table, to use as a staging surface.  Cover the surface with boxes or other rectangular containers to sort your paperwork in.  Some of the categories you might choose are:  Bills, medical, car, school, insurance, photos, banking, stationary, taxes, recipes, contact info., appliance manuals, etc.) 2.  Working one room at a time, collect every piece of pape

A Big Thank You

Congratulations to Donna Rae who won the 500th post give-away.  She chose the red and white apron from my Etsy shop .  It's one of my favorite aprons because red is my favorite color. For real, though, I'm the big winner.  I'm the winner because I have all of you who check in with my little blog and leave me encouraging and kind comments.  You've cheered me on through my surgeries this past year.  You've followed along as I delved into healthy eating.  You've encouraged me to continue with the organizing posts (even though I think I overwhelm some of you -  LOL)  I so appreciate each and every one of you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my blog.  I sometimes struggle with wanting to blog but wondering if it's worth the time and effort involved.  I'm constantly trying to juggle family time, time in The Word,  household chores, church ministry, working with clients, filling the Etsy shop, and blogging.  But doesn't that sou

Monday Motivation: 10 Minute Pick-up and A Winner

This little motivation will make a big difference in how orderly your home looks. As a professional organizer, I'm often asked how to keep a home looking neat. The answer is the 10 minute pick-up. Here's how the 10 minute pick-up works: 1. Start at your front door. 2 . Pick up anything that doesn't belong in that area. It helps if you use a small laundry basket to keep the items in. 3. Go to the next room (let's say the living room). Pick up anything that doesn't belong in that room. Put anything from the laundry basket away that belongs in the living room. 4. Continue through each main room of the house until everything is put away. Remember, you're not CLEANING the house, only picking up clutter. If you have little ones at home you might have to do this several times a day. I personally do this 10 minute pick-up every morning before I leave for work and every evening before I go to bed. And. . . now for the winner of the 500th post give-away!