Monday, November 21, 2011

Holiday Grand Plan--Dining Room Week

This is Dining Room Week.  Here is the actual link to the page on
Deadline week! Week Thirteen, Dining Room Week, sees us move into the holiday season, and it's time for a reality check.
Thanksgiving Day falls on Thursday for our American friends and ushers in the holiday season, so this week's cleaning and organizing focus is the dining room. Holiday prep chores center on Thanksgiving and turn to planning the celebration ahead.
Ready? Let's get organized with Dining Room Week in the Holiday Grand Plan!
 Holiday Prep:
  • Deadline Week: If homemade gifts are not done, put them away. After Thanksgiving weekend and go buy something. This is not a contest, this is life.
  • Get everything out for Thanksgiving Dinner and prepare everything that can be done ahead of time. Make sure enough dishes are available.
  • Stock bathrooms and first aid kit.
  • Wednesday: Use one of the Freezer Meals, buy a salad at the store...
  • Friday or Saturday: Have children make/set up Advent Calendar.
  • Set up the Creche area and add figures each day as we read from an Advent book. Continue until Jan. 6 when the wise men come.
  • Let kids get out and inspect Christmas decorations; test tree and other lights, replace bulbs.

The recommendation to put away homemade gifts if they are not done, well, I'll still be making stuff till the last minute.  I'm plugging away and homemade stuff will be started in earnest on Sunday when I put all the Thanksgiving stuff away. 

I will definitely be getting everything out for Thanksgiving Dinner.  Dishes, linens, glasses, serveware, etc. 

I will also check the linens and make sure I have nice hand towels, etc. 

And I will most definitely be getting all the Christmas decorations out on Sunday.  No Advent Calender or Creche, but all the other stuff for sure.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Holiday Grand Plan--Twofer

Yes, it's a two for one week for the Holiday Grand Plan--I totally skipped last week.  Well, that's how it goes around here when I work six out of nine days.  Looking back, it was probably because I had a cuckoo ending to the end of Saturday's shift--three deliveries in the last hour of the shift, two beautiful, one scary with a good ending.  Emotionally, it takes me a while to get back on track, especially when I'm the charge nurse two nights in a row. 

So here you go--TWO weeks of Holiday Grand Plan! 

It's a good week to have a twofer as they are Garage/Storage Week and Attic/Storage Week.  Last week was Garage Week.  Here is the actual link to Garage/Storage Week.

"Week Eleven, Garage/Storage Week, at the Holiday Grand Plan gets us into garage and storage areas. The waning days of Autumn are a good time to rout out household storage areas, so we're ready to access extra tables, chairs and seasonal decorations.
In holiday prep, we look ahead to the Thanksgiving meal, and see to the family's holiday clothing.
Ready? Let's get organized with Garage Week in the Holiday Grand Plan!"

Deep Cleaning/Organizing Area: Garage

Holiday Prep:

  • Make one batch of Holiday Goodies.
  • Make one extra meal for freezer again labeled HOLIDAY MEAL.
  • Buy two canned food items from menus (get 2 of each item, one to use and one to donate to food drive).
  • Buy 1/8th of TO BUY gifts. Save all receipts, note return policy before buying. Ask for gift boxes.
  • Wrap and label packages. If needing to ship, get some shipping boxes now and store packages in them.
  • Work at least 1 hour a day on homemade gifts.
  • Review and revise menus and other plans.
  • Plan table setting
  • Plan centerpiece, make as much as possible now (or order it from florist).
  • Reserve any items needed to be borrowed or rented.
  • Get everyone's holiday clothes purchased/cleaned/pressed.

Attic Week
Cooler weather makes it easy to check and organize the attic and storage areas during Week Twelve, Attic Week. We continue to move toward Thanksgiving in holiday prep. Are you working on holiday gifts?
Ready? Let's get organized with Attic Week in the Holiday Grand Plan!
Here is the actual link to Attic Week. 

Holiday Prep:

  • Make one batch of Holiday Goodies.
  • Make one extra meal for freezer again labeled HOLIDAY MEAL.
  • Buy two canned food items from menus (get 2 of each item, one to use and one to donate to food drive).
  • Buy 1/8th of TO BUY gifts. Save all receipts, note return policy before buying. Ask for gift boxes.
  • Wrap and label packages. If needing to ship, get some shipping boxes now and store packages in them.
  • Work at least 1 hour a day on homemade gifts.
  • Make place cards.
  • Make 3x5 card for each serving dish, list what goes in it, garnish, how much before dinner can it go in and serving silverware used with it; tape it to edge of dish.
  • Be sure all dishes are clean!
  • Borrow or buy any additional serving dishes needed.
  • Buy reusable foil bakeware from party paper place.
  • Are linens clean and ready? Unfold and verify that all spots can be hidden by centerpiece.
  • Work on centerpiece.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I made a Halloween bag for Grandbuddy, using the pattern so graciously supplied by  The pattern was easy, well-written and very quick to make. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Holiday Grand Plan Week Ten

This week is the Family Room.

Here is the actual link to the page on the Holiday Grand Plan site.

Moving into the heart of the household, it's Week Ten at the Holiday Grand Plan: Family Room Week! We'll clean and organize this central area of family life as we begin to think ahead to holiday visitors in holiday prep. Keep working on those gifts!
Ready? Let's get organized with the Holiday Grand Plan!
I will definitely be deep cleaning in this room as it gets a LOT of use at our house. I will get out the step ladder to clean windows and wipe down the ceiling fan. 

The list of things to do this week are to make some holiday type breads and freeze them (recipes to come).  I will continue to work on the homemade gifts.  I will polish the silverware this week.  (Ugh, not a job I like, but Dear Hubby does like to, so I will snag him to help me and it will make it a lot easier to do for me.   I will take down the Halloween decorations, and put up more Thanksgiving-y type decorations.  And, lastly, I will make sure there is plenty of room in the front closet for hanging guest coats. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Holiday Grand Plan Week Nine

This week is Pantry and Closets Week. 

Here is the actual link to the page on the Holiday Grand Plan site.

I want to work on my front closet as the weather is getting cooler and I want to make sure we have enough hats, scarves, gloves/mittens and coats.  I will also be working on the linen closet--it needs some tweaking.  Sweet Husband will be reconfiguring his office closet.  The rest of my closets are in pretty good shape.

I will be restocking the bar this week.  I will continue to work on homemade gifts.  I will buy holiday cards this week.  I will resend the Thanksgiving invitation.  I am not expecting any guests, so no preps needed there.  I am hoping that despite all the cuts we have had in benefits and the other penny-pinching measures there have been at work that we will still be getting our free turkey. 

Holiday Grand Plan Week Eight

Thought I posted this last week.  Ooops.

Here is the actual link to the page on the Holiday Grand Plan site.

It's Kitchen Week at the Holiday Grand Plan!

Deep cleaning is in order for the kitchen.  I'll be adding to the Holiday Goodies.  I'll also buy a few things for snacks such as nuts to the pantry.  I will also continue to work on the homemade gifts.

This is also Checkpoint Week.  I will review the progress on Christmas prep and adjust as needed.

Part of Checkpoint Week is finalizing decorations and plans for Halloween.  I have decorated for Halloween and when I take pictures I will post them.  Just need to buy the candy for the kids. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Holiday Grand Plan Week Seven

Here is the actual link to this week.

This week I am hoping work will settle down and I can do some catchup on cleaning.  It is Guest Room Week, but I will be working on my Cra(P)ft Room.  I have a LOT of projects planned, and I am hoping to get each project and instructions in individual bags.  

Make one batch of Holiday Goodies.  Again, I am debating whether I need to bake anymore goodies at all this week.  So, recipe to be posted later?

I will buy several bags of frozen rolls this week for the freezer.  In lieu of buying frozen goods for the ACO pantry, I will buy flour and sugar. 

I will continue to work on homemade gifts.

Part of the activities for this week are to decorate for Halloween.  I have a few things to put up, but mostly decorating for Halloween is finished. 

If you are crazy about Halloween and need some help getting organized, you might want to follow the Halloween CountdownThe site,, is one I have linked to before and is very helpful for getting organized for various holidays.  I do wish they would get more holidays online, particularly Thanksgiving, but you can use the basic plan and adjust it for yourself.  I like this list for organizing Thanksgiving.

Catchup for Week Six Holiday Grand Plan

Because work has been so overwhelming, I did not post for Organized Christmas Week Six.  So I will attempt to catch up a bit and do that in this post and then do a post for Week Seven as well this morning.  Oh.  I will be doing some catch up in actual activity around the house, too, as I am expecting this avalanche of babies to slow down this week.

Here is the actual link to the page for Week Six.

And here is what I am going to do this week:

This week, I will focus on the guest bedroom for deep-cleaning, decluttering and organizing.

I will make a batch of Holiday Goodies for the freezer.  I think.  I am still debating which "goodie" it will be or if there will be any additions.

This week I will add items for the Fast Fruit Salad to the pantry and for the ACO pantry.  Here is the recipe:



1 large can fruit cocktail
2 small cans of mandarin oranges
2 small cans of pineapple tidbits
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen sliced strawberries
1 small pkg. of vanilla pudding

Drain all juice from canned fruit and SAVE.  Add 1-1/2 cups of juice to vanilla pudding, cook over medium heat till thick.  Stir often.  Cool, then add fruit and thawed strawberries.  Refrigerate. 


I'll continue to work on homemade gifts.

I'll get Hubby to check the smoke detectors and change the batteries.

I will replenish the guest bathroom with overnight stuff for the guests--shampoo, bath soap, deodorant, lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, kleenex, etc. 

Because of this----

Because of this

                                                                     there is this at work:

Only millions more.  It has been crazy busy!  Crazy I tell you!  Not only from the January 5th snowfall, but February 4th snowfall.  We are all praying for a small breather.  I know, I know, job security. 

Speaking of breathers, we had about two inches of rainfall yesterday.  Phew.  We are particularly glad for that.  It was nice to listen to the rain and veg out on the couch yesterday and recoup before I go back to work tonight.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I am about half finished with the Green and Brown Striped Scarf, Big Version.  I will have to order some green yarn so that I can finish it.
I tinked (that means un-knitted--see, tink is knit spelled backwards) the art sock, but I will keep it hidden shamefully for now.  That makes me sad.
I've placed the anne hanson sweater aside for now, as I want to concentrate on Holiday Knitting!
I am knitting the Big Snowy Owl, courtesy of purl bee.  Is it not adorable?  Bonus--I have all the yarn, except for a light gray.
I think the girls might like this cowl, and it appears to use about 200 yards of yarn, which should knit up quickly. And I went to Hobby Lobby to pick up some odds and ends, and found a ton of yarn ON SALE.  Wonderful navies and blues and creams, perfect for making cowls and scarves. 
I wanted to knit some winter white cable pillows for the holidays, but instead I may use some thrifted white cable sweaters and SEW them.


I finished the curtains I was reworking for Oldest Son.  We (the curtains and I) had quite the battle, but I won.  Geez.  Nothing else to report this week.

Anti-Procrastination Day

Today I am making phone calls.  I hate talking on the phone.  But I need to make some appointments and follow-up on some issues. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

Grandbuddy Day:

Today we played with the ball, working on running and kicking the ball, throwing it two-handed and we even laid on our backs and kicked the ball with our feet.  That was a good workout for both of us.  We especially worked out our laugh muscles.
We drew, and played with Play-Doh, and watched some TV.
We ate spaghetti and meatballs, and had a chocolate milkshake.
We played with the dominoes, doing some matching.
We read books and sang songs.
I went in my office for a moment and he called me--"Grandma, where are you?" "I'm here in my office." "Oh.  You're being quiet."  "Yeah, I guess I am."  "Grandma, are you pooping?"


I finished reading Einstein's Refrigerator.  It was very entertaining!
I also read My Heart Remembers.  It was very sweet and heartwarming.  I may be reading more of Kim Vogel Sawyer's books. 
I started reading The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.  I read her book, The House at Riverton, and enjoyed it very much.  Her writing makes me feel very dreamy and creative. 


We saw Contagion and enjoyed it very much.  It was an interesting story, especially in light of this past season of H1N1 virus.  (Hope another one like that doesn't come around.  That was a booger.)  We both loved the acting/actors.  Some of the storylines were a little off or annoying, but overall it was an enjoyable evening.
We watched Sorrell and Son, all six episodes over the course of two evenings.  It was very, very good.  If you like post WWI British dramas, this one is for you.
We've also been watching Reilly: Ace of Spies.  We just finished Disc 3, and are moving through Disc 4.  This is probably the third or fourth time we are watching this series.  It is that good.
Tonight we are watching Frankenstein.  I am also listening to Frankenstein on The Classic Tales Podcast by B.J. Harrison.  If you like to listen to audiobooks, do listen to him. 

Fall is coming!

Fall is coming, I know it is. I actually woke up this morning and it was chilly in the house. It may have been 100 degrees one day this week, but when I came out of work Friday morning, I didn't need my sunglasses. We had a lovely thunderstorm during the night, and everything smelled all wet and warm. The sky was clear and it was definitely darker than usual. The weather lady announced on the radio that the sun would be coming up shortly. Yes, fall is coming. I do love to decorate my house for the fall and winter holidays. I pulled out many of my fall decorations and here is what they look like: The rust and blue Imari plate and cup, and the rust porcelain leaves join the blue and white porcelain pot. (The cachepot is crying out for a big rust chrysanthemum.)
I draped the dining room table with a tablecloth, and placed the large maroon urn in the center with some fall branches, and plopped the grapevine pumpkins at either end.
The mantel is sporting some ceramic pumpkins and berry branches.
My cheapo wrought iron baker's rack is full of warmer fall colored decor. I love those plates.
The little red Asian console with its crooked candleholder and the blue and white pots has tiny candle pumpkins, artfully arranged by Grandbuddy.
A little bit of fall. Soon we will decorate for Halloween. I'm hoping to get Grandbuddy to help me.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Holiday Grand Plan Week Five

Week Five sees us into the master bathroom and linen closets for Master Bathroom Week at the Holiday Grand Plan. We'll clean and organize personal care and linen storage areas, and continue working on seasonal clothing plans. Holiday prep continues to move forward on to-make and to-buy gifts, and includes a wardrobe check for kids. Ready? Let's get organized with Master Bathroom Week at the Holiday Grand Plan!
And here is the link to the actual page on And here is what I will actually be doing on the list of things to do:
Holiday Prep:
* Make one batch of Holiday Goodies--first of all, I need to decide what more to make. Spritz?
* Buy two canned food items from menus (get 2 of each item, one to use and one to donate to food drive)--this week I'll add the pantry ingredients for stuffing.
* Work at least 1 hour a day on homemade gifts--I received the brown yarn for the striped scarf, and will cast on today.
* Take read books to Allen Community Outreach.
* Inventory clothing and have another list of clothing items needed. My clothing situation for fall is not so good. As this week is bathroom/closet week, I will be going thru clothes and making a plan to buy/make/knit clothing for us.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lightning Storm

We had a most beautiful lightning storm on Sunday night.

I am going to link to it on YouTube, because the file is about 75 MB. Forewarned is forearmed. Link.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Still chugging along on the knitting. I finished the knitted scarf for Grandbuddy, no pic. I cannot find the dark brown yarn anywhere in town, so will order a skein online. Ugh.

The Art Sock has a fatal flaw. I didn't even see it until I looked at the photo. I got off-pattern while I was concentrating on the annoying increasing for the heel and decreasing for the top of the foot, as well as concentrating on the put-these-stitches-on-a-holder-and-then-continue-to-maintain-pattern. Apparently it was too much for my pea-sized brain. And the whole project seems to be just rather annoying at this time. I am contemplating just frogging the whole thing, or, tinking back and making tube socks. I still have sock #2 to do, too. It's looking bleaker and bleaker that even one sock will ever be finished.

It's not like the flaw isn't obvious.

My Highlander is going nowhere fast or slow.


Redwork embroidery--the pillow, a little bit at a time.

I started a new project, too--The Red Cross pillow. I saw one online and just thought it would be perfect. Not only does it feed my burlap obsession, but it also nods to my nursing career. I made a waxed paper stencil, and the durn waxed paper wouldn't stick to the burlap, so used my handy-dandy spray adhesive. The stencil and paint part took, seriously, ten minutes.

I have been spending a lot of time at the sewing machine. Daughter-in-law wanted a stripe added to her curtains to lengthen them. Each panel is taking about two hours. Two down, two to go.
Here is a picture of the curtains and the gray fabric that DIL chose. Isn't it pretty?

Baby Son's quilt. Well. It's ready for sewing machine action. Major motivation problem.



I planted about 15 feet of green beans and a small hill of zucchini and yellow squash. Not much to show now except dirt, weeds and a bunch of struggling tomato and pepper plants.

I did transplant six mums into some of the big empty pots. Hope to get out and buy some more to transplant before I go back to work for another nine-day grind.

Peanut Butter Balls

Here is the promised recipe. It is a recipe that my mom has used for years; she got it from a neighbor, Marian Theobald. (Thanks, Marian!)


Peanut Butter Balls

* 4 cups sugar
* 2 stick butter
* 1 cup condensed milk
* 2 cups peanut butter
* 2 tablespoon vanilla
* 6 cups oatmeal

In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil, slowly. Add the sugar, butter and milk. Let boil for 1 minute then add peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal. Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. You may want to roll them into more compact balls with your hands--let the balls cool a bit first and butter your hands or you will have ten pound peanut butter ball covered hands.
This makes an enormous amount of balls, but you can easily halve the recipe.
They store GREAT in the freezer.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

What I am reading:

This week I finished reading "Secret Adversary" by Agatha Christie. It is the first book in the Tommy and Tuppence series. I really enjoyed it, and will soon download the other books in the series.

I also read "Mile 81" by Stephen King. All I can say is--SCARY!

I'm currently reading "Snake Skin" by C.J. Lyons. I dunno, read the first 5% and still not convinced I am going to like it.

What I'm watching on the TV:

"As Time Goes By"--delightful. On our local PBS station.

HGTV love--what isn't to love? I was sad to see Meg win, on "Design Star". Sorry, Meg. Nobody really stood out to me this year. I think Carl is probably brilliant, but just not on TV.

Cowboys--fairly exciting game.

"Top Shot". I watch it for the same reason I listen to sports radio. I get such a kick out of guys and guy talk.

I definitely watched other stuff, but nothing stands out to me right now. Night-night.

Holiday Grand Plan Week Four

This week is Master Bedroom Week. It also includes the master bedroom closets. Here is the link to the directions for this week. Week Four of the Holiday Grand Plan sees us move into the master bedroom to deep-clean and cut clutter. As the season changes, we rout out the closet and organize clothing. Our holiday prep tasks center on home-made gifts, and we'll begin budgeting "to-buy" items week-by-week. Things that I will be doing this week: * Make one batch of Holiday Goodies. I'll be making some Peanut Butter Balls. I'll post the recipe later. * Buy two canned food items from menus (get 2 of each item, one to use and one to donate to food drive). This week I will get the ingredients and extras for the stuffing. * Work at least 1 hour a day on homemade gifts. Good idea.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2011--recollections

I was driving to work listening to "The Ticket" on that beautiful morning. The sun was shining, the traffic was heavy, everybody jockeying into position to be first in line at the traffic light. I was way back in this pack, and not minding. I was being totally and thoroughly entertained as usual by the verbal sparring going on between the boys. They start talking about an airplane that had run into one of the towers in New York City. They commented on the video feed they had received, and one of them said, "That wasn't a little plane, that looked like a 747." They bantered back and forth, how could that have happened, how could a big plane have gotten so off track, it must have been a little plane as reported, not a big one. It was all very frightening even at that point. They even discussed a possibility that it had been done on purpose.
The traffic had stopped at the light, and when the light turned green, no one moved. No one. We just all sat there. Time really felt like it was standing still, a tragedy "seemed" to have just happened, and we were all stunned. A couple people started honking their horns, and we all moved on. Those of us who were listening to our radios drove a little slower, maybe even a little more distracted than usual. I drove as quickly and carefully as I could to work, about ten miles further. When I pulled up to the house where I was working that day, my patient's mom ran out onto the porch and hollered at me to hurry and come inside. We exchanged information quickly as we ran into the house. A few seconds later, another plane hit the twin towers. We were horrified. We knew this may not be the end of it, and we were right. The rest of the day we did very little besides watch television and make phone calls to make sure everyone we loved was okay. My patient's mom had several friends that were working in those buildings, some of them made it, and some of them didn't. I had friends that were working in the area that all survived. Watching the people jump out of the buildings was so horrifying. It's not something I will ever forget. Watching the smoke billow and envelop scores of people is an image that will remain etched in my memory forever. The screaming and tears and the shocked faces of the people affected by this insanity will never ever leave my mind. The bravery of the firemen and policemen and everyday people was awe-inspiring.
Later in the day, we realized that all the air travel had been suspended. Their house was in the path to Love Field here in Dallas, and I had grown accustomed to the windows rattling everytime a plane flew overhead. The silence was eerie. Suddenly I heard some fighter jets flying by, so loud and so fast and so close that I thought the windows and my eardrums would break. Heck, the whole house shuddered. I realized with a start that our President was probably moving around the country for his safety with a fleet of jets. I called out to my patient's mom and told her to call her mother, who lived in Shreveport to tell her to start looking for the planes, that I bet the planes were flying into Barksdale, the Air Force Base at Shreveport. She called back a little later, and they had.
We were all on pins and needles the rest of the day. Watching the heart-breaking fall of the Twin Towers, and seeing our beautiful Pentagon destroyed was so sad. Not knowing how many more strikes were going to happen or where they would happen made for a very nerve-wracking day. Most of downtown Dallas was evacuated, especially the courts.
I'll never forget that day. And the days of sadness and shock that followed. My husband's company was doing some business with a large company in the Twin Towers. They had sent some correspondence on September 11. Slowly, each piece of mail was returned. It was very eerie and very sad for my husband and his coworkers. I love my country.

Holiday Grand Plan Week Three

It is Week Three of the Holiday Grand Plan. Link to the page on the Holiday Grand Plan Site. Here is my plan for this week: Welcome to Week Three of the Holiday Grand Plan: Entry/Foyer Week!
This week, we tackle deep-cleaning and decluttering our entryway or foyer, to create a welcoming home for holiday guests. Holiday prep chores focus on baking and kitchen as we plan our baked goodies and start stocking up for holiday meals.
I can't believe it's all ready time to start baking. This will be a good time to start looking for that small chest freezer I want to buy. As far as deep cleaning the entryway, I will get out the ladder and clean the knickknacks in the front door window, wash the window, clean the glass on the light fixtures, and wax the entryway furniture. I also want to recover the seats on the chairs and replace the pillows. I will add some seasonal decorative items as well.
Holiday Prep: * Make one batch of Holiday Goodies.
I will start with the Snickerdoodles. They freeze well.
* Buy two canned food items from Menus (get 2 of each item, one to use and one to donate to food drive). * Keep 2 boxes in a pantry area or storage place to put these in so that they are not used in everyday cooking - make sure to label them so that when food drives start your holiday supply stays intact and the food drive gets the food purchased for it.
I will buy green beans, mushroom soup and Durkee's french fried onion rings for the green bean casserole. I purchase extras for the box. I also need to set up a box in the pantry. *
Buy all supplies for homemade gifts. Package each project with directions and other information in zipper food storage bag and place in a basket or box in craft/sewing area
Clearly, I have a lot of work to do here. I still need to decide what projects if any I am going to do.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Delicious. Make it.

I made a really delicious meal last night, Coconut Shrimp with Basil Spinach. Wowsers, and oh my gosh. Delicious! No pic, we ate it too fast! Thank you to (I do not use this system, but if all the recipes are this good, I would consider it!)

Holiday Grand Plan: Question Week and Living Room Cleaning

This week is supposed to be the Living Room cleaning week and "Questions" Week. My living room is all ready pretty durn clean, but could use some redecorating for the fall season. And some organizing of the storage. And I haven't even done the cleaning and projects for LAST WEEK. Ugh. Work. Travel. I. will. do. it. But for now, organizing it in my head will make it easier to actually DO when I DO get to it. Here is the link to this week's projects on the Holiday Grand Plan site.
Week Two? It's all about questions during Question Week in the Holiday Grand Plan. During this week, we'll continue making lists and planning our holiday. We'll get in touch with our values through important questions. In the cleaning component, we tackle the living room, decluttering and deep-cleaning to prepare for holiday entertaining.
Ready? Let's get organized with the Holiday Grand Plan! Deep Cleaning/Organizing Area: Living Room * Living Room * Living Room Cleaning Checklist
As I said, the living room is pretty clean. I want to redecorate for fall, organize the storage units (entertainment center and coffee table), and oh, yes, make some new pillows.
Holiday Prep: * Buy extra flour, sugar, shortening, etc. * Make one extra meal for the freezer labeled HOLIDAY MEAL. This should be large enough to feed the family plus two people. (Find recipes and ideas for freezer cooking at OrganizedHome.Com's Freezer Cooking Guide.)
I added flour, sugar, shortening, and some other stuff to the grocery list. I do plan to make some cookies/breads, etc. I like to have my everyday food cooked fresh, but have put some sale meats/veggies/fruit in the freezer.
Browse Week: * Develop ideas for gifts, decorations. * Order Christmas cards and address labels. * For your friends of other religions take the time to find out what their major holiday is and look for an appropriate card to send to them at that time. * Divide gift responsibilities with other family members.
Yes. I need to look at my pinterest ideas for Xmas gifts and stocking stuffers, and make some lists and plans. Christmas cards, hmm. Definitely will be say "Happy Holidays" kind of things, not Merry Xmas things. Dividing gift responsibilities is a given around here. Hubby is so good at helping out. And he enjoys it.
Ask these questions: * Do I see Christmas time primarily as a time for entertaining friends and renewing long lost acquaintances or as a time for family? * How much emphasis do our Christmas activities place on the spiritual side of Christmas? * How involved is my family in the Christmas preparation? * What activities are particularly important to our family at Christmas? To myself? * Why do we observe the traditions we do in our house? * How important is an elaborately decorated house, homemade gifts or food, to my feelings about Christmas? * What would my ideal Christmas be like?
This is definitely and primarily a time for family. Spiritual emphasis, not so much. Family involved. Activities? Traditions? Eating together. Decorating the Xmas tree. Talking. Opening presents. Decorating? Why, of course. More elaborate every year. Ideal? Well, it may not be ideal, but it is all good in the end.

Organized makeup drawer

I love having my makeup drawer organized. It sooooo helps me when I am getting ready for work to have all my goodies easy to find and, well, there. I snagged the idea for the trays that are velcro'd to the drawer somewhere on the internet. Let me tell you, it has really helped me to keep this area organized. I had the silverplate trays all ready, a wedding gift from long, long, ago. I bought the white tray at Target on the clearance rack. I think I paid $4.00 for it. So perfect. The trays unloaded:
And the trays loaded:
All the basics. In one place. Easily accessible. Simply stored. The black bag in the back right is my makeup. It is a hanging travel bag. On the inside I have all my makeup stored. I pull it out, lay it flat on the counter and when I'm finished, I roll it back up and slide it back into the drawer. The little black bag holds all my tools such as tweezers and brushes. In the front are my everyday skin care products. I have sensitive facial skin, and the Patricia Wexler products from Bath and Body Works are the only products I have been able to use that don't break out my skin. The Skin Regenerating Serum is magic. Expensive, but magic. The Shea Cashmere hand lotion is so luxurious feeling on my skin, and the smell is soft and vanilla-y. Deodorant. Good stuff.

Crafty goodness. Friday, September 9, 2011

Both of the striped hats are finished, and I am chugging along on the scarf now.
Made a teeny bit of progress on the Art Sock, an inch or so. Realized I lost my way on the heel. Reconsidering the whole project. Actually knitting two of these is looking--well, not good.
Also made some progress on the redwork pillow.
Finally for crafty goodness today, I finished two pages on Oldest Son's school scrapbook. Very simple. And, easy.


I have a lot of catching up to do. So much has been happening due to work and the Labor Day Weekend. Oh, and what a weekend it was. My sweet daughter-in-law and I were talking about the weekend and she commented that it was definitely a boys weekend. Both of us have pictures of all the stuff the boys did. Grandbuddy caught his first fish. Okay, well, Uncle J.C. actually caught it, but Gbuddy reeled it in and was quite proud of his catch.
We had a lovely view of the lake from our townhouse.
Grandpa, Daddy and Grandbuddy had a lovely time walking up and down a bridge we found on a back road, on the search for good fishing spots.
Grandpa made his famous chili, the first of the season, and everyone enjoyed it mightily. I would say that the other contestants in the Chili Cookoff had better beware. That was some good chili! We had a lovely four mile hike through the woods. Didn't take my camera, but the walk was oh so beautiful, and we had such good conversation along the way. The cool weather was so, so welcome, and when we got home, the temperature had cooled off some twenty degrees, also very, very welcome.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday, August 31, 2011

Sharing a recipe today--everyone loves Snickerdoodles, a creamy, rich cookie rolled in sugar and cinnamon. Yum.


(from adjustments by me. Buy a fresh jar of cream of tartar every year. I use King Arthur brand flour. I like to let the dough rest in the refrigerator for a day or so before baking.

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. In a medium bowl, cream together the shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Stir in the eggs. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until well blended. In a small bowl, stir together the 2 tablespoons of sugar, and the cinnamon. Roll dough into walnut sized balls, then roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar. Place them onto an unprepared cookie sheet, two inches apart.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be slightly brown. Remove from sheets to cool on wire racks.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011--Knitting

Both of the striped hats are finished, and I am chugging along on the scarves now. No pics this week. I also worked a bit on the Art Sock, not even worth taking a picture for as I just did another inch or so. Maybe after this weekend, I'll have some picture worthy progress to show.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ooops--posts didn't get out like I planned.

Today I went through the lists for List Week Holiday Grand Plan. I pulled out the xmas gift lift from last year, and the Christmas card address list, and I will update those this weekend.

To completely change the subject, I am so enjoying my Kindle. I have recently finished reading Howard's End, then watched the movie as well.

Currently, I am reading "The House of Dr. Edwardes". It was recently highlighted on the Kindle freebies, and it was Alfred Hitchcock's basis for the movie "Spellbound". I definitely want to watch the movie again.

I am a daily visitor to the Best Sellers page. I find I am reading things I wouldn't normally pick, but it's been fun to "expand my horizons".

Last night I picked up some Agatha Christie books. I've been wanting to read her books since I watched the recent Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple shows on Masterpiece Theater.

And, lastly, I pre-ordered some Stephen King books. That will be good reading for Halloween.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Holiday Grand Plan Starts Today

For many years, I have followed the Holiday Grand Plan. It not only helps me prepare for the fall and winter holidays, but it also helps me clean my house.

It takes a while to set up, but it is well worth the effort. Here is the page for this week if you want to get started. You will be given a list of things to do, pages to print in order to get that notebook functional, and an area of the house to clean.

Today Hubby and I sat down and looked at my tentative work schedule and decided which days we would celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It is our tradition to celebrate Thanksgiving on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I usually work the day before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Day. That way my coworkers will have those days free, and I will have a better chance of having the days off I would like to have. Also it is a lot easier for the in-law families to have T-day without having to try and compete with us.

We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. A little harder work this one out for work and family. We just do our best to get everyone together.

We talked about plans for a Christmas card, and this week I will review the address list. We will discuss other party plans and review the master gift list, deciding who we will include on the list and some general plans for gifts and budget some money for the holidays.

Holiday food is very important to us. We have a traditional menu for each of the holidays; each of the family members has a few special dishes. Sometimes they prepare the food themselves, but mostly I do the cooking. The older they get, the more they want to participate in the preparations.

This week the cleaning assignment is to clean and freshen the Front Porch. I'm hoping to squeeze in some cleaning in between work and Labor Day weekend plans. I need to paint the front door and replace the front door mat. I will review pictures from last year, and decide how this area will be decorated. I'd like to coordinate the plantings in the front porch area with the decorations, too. So I'll be reviewing and devising a planting schedule, too.

Seems like a lot to do, but spending a few minutes here and there, will make the holidays a lot less stressed.

Sunday is Weekly Review

Today is weekly review day. On my weekly review day, I strive to get things organized for the coming up week.

For this task, I follow the GTD (Getting Things Done) guideline.

1) All loose papers into inbox. For me, this consists of taking any papers that I have piled up on my desk/landing pad, etc. and placing them in one of two piles on my desk. The first pile is things I have to pay attention to this week. The other pile is placed in my file folder divider. It may be ads, coupons, magazines, papers with ideas for projects, or things that need to be filed.

2) Process your notes. I go thru the two piles and make notes in my Google calendar or on my Out of Milk app, or my Gtasks list. All of these integrate with my telephone, so I have all of that available whether I am at home or away from home.

3) Review previous calendar data--correct work times and use old data for new triggers. I zip through my lists on Out of Milk, and Gtasks, eliminating old "done" items, or outdated items. I also look thru last week's calendars to see if I missed anything, and use last week's data to trigger ideas for this week.

4) Review Upcoming Calendar : I go thru my calendars and make plans as to what I am going to be able to accomplish for the coming week. This will probably trigger items to add to the shopping lists, text messages or emails.

5) Empty your head: put in writing new projects actions, waiting fors, etc. and add to "getting things done":

6) Review action lists: mark off completed actions, review for reminders of further actions, steps to take.

8) Review Project Lists: review files, lists and pinterest.

9) Review any relevant checklists:

10) Review someday/maybe list: this gets done way too infrequently. nice for daydreaming.

11) Be Creative and Courageous: sometimes this is the hardest part. Keep repeating--JUST DO IT.

12) This is my final addition: Review lists and make sure everything syncs. Then sync to telephone. I am currently trying to use the most streamlined approach by having everything listed in my google calendar.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Car Organization, Boring But Necessary

Today is the day I do my Weekly Blessing of my house, which is a quick cleanup of the house for the weekend. I do a quick pick up, handle papers, dust, vacuum, mop, clean fingerprints off the mirrors and doors. I also clean my bedside table, closet, makeup drawer and purse. The car gets detrashed and wiped up once a week.

After reading about Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick's Clutter Nemesis (her car) I've been thinking about my car and how I would like to organize it a little better.
This is how it looks when it's cleaned up and ready for the work weeks. I discovered that the only thing I needed to do was add a trash bag.

Dash storage:

I put my pen, marker and id badge in here. No worries then about leaving them at home.

Glove box:

I store my extra napkins and car information here. Garage door opener velcro'd to wall of compartment.

Between the seats storage, top part:

Current CD's.

Between the seats storage, bottom part:

Here I have a box of kleenex and sanitizing gel. If we are on a trip, I put a baggie with wet wipes in there, too.

Lastly, the drinks area.

When I am traveling, I usually have a drink, my telephone, and my shuffle. If I am driving alone to work, I listen to my podcasts on my shuffle. I have yet to find a way to listen to podcasts on my phone that is reliable.

I did not take a picture of the back seat. I (now) hang a grocery sack from the passenger seat and dump the trash in there. I also have an umbrella and my huge sun visor on the backseat floor.

Next car will have automatic transmission, easily accessible space for a couple of grandkids, and some way I can hook up my music from my phone or ipod. My beloved Scion tC is six years old, and I've been getting car fever. The last time I got car fever it took me three years to decide what to buy. So that's pretty close to the ten year mark I want to attain on this car. And plenty of time to save for that car.

Boring. But that's what works for me. I remember the days when I had three little ones in tow, and getting back and forth to/from the car was a major ordeal. Trust me, it was not organized in any way, shape or form. The kids still talk about the carton of milk that got lost up under the seat and the smell that wouldn't go away. Anyone that can keep their car clean and organized when they have little kids gets an enormous amount of respect from me.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Long story made short--I dropped a lamp on my foot. Ice, elevation, etc., for the next 24 hours and this is what it looked like. Couldn't get a shoe on to go to work. Have kept it elevated 3/4 of the day today and it is feeling better, still tingly, swollen and bruised. I'm gonna try a shoe tomorrow cuz I gotta go to work!

Changes to the blog; Goodbye to the website

Made some changes to the blog--made the banner bigger to better fit the page as I have it configured as of now, added some gadgets, did some housecleaning and rearranging, and figured out how to make the pictures bigger.

Also peeked at my old website, which I have made NO changes to in ages. It seems silly to add to the website when no one but me visits it. I enjoyed learning code and it was fun to have a place for all the digital scrapbooking tutorials I wrote. The tutorials are so outdated, all of them written for PSE2; version 9 is out now. So I have decided to discontinue the website. A little of it will be added to the blog, little by little, not much of it bears repeating.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Revisiting the Blue Jean Quilt

I have been working on this blue jean quilt for many years, more than I care to admit. I made a quilt for my two older children when they graduated from high school, but I have never finished the one for my youngest son. I know it will turn out to be a really lovely and interesting quilt, but it is just one of those projects I am having trouble motivating myself to complete. So I am writing about it, in hopes that I can motivate myself through confession.

I can do this. As Flylady says, "Fifteen minutes a day."

I hemmed a pair of pants for my daughter today. Here is a tutorial I recommend for the method I use to hem pants.

I also worked a bit on the redwork pillow.

School Scrapbooks

One of the projects I have been meaning to do is to put together the kids' school papers. It is one of those things I should have done when they were IN school but unfortunately, did not. I did, however, save many of their papers with the intent of putting together scrapbooks someday.

I have begun a school scrapbook for my oldest boy, and here is a picture of his first grade page.

I used a vinyl Itoya art portfolio, purchased at Hobby Lobby for about $18. I think. It's been a while since I bought it. I'll check on that price "next
time" I'm in there.

I have his portfolio complete from kindergarten through the fourth grade, and I think I can finish up the rest of the stuff I have in another eight to ten pages. So, a couple hours of work=finished!

I can do it!

Knitting Progress--August 24, 2011

I finished a hat for Grandbuddy, and am working on a matching hat for his dad.

Here is the almost finished Art Sock #1, by Elizabeth Zimmerman.

and my last project on the needles is My Highlander, by Anne Hanson. I purchased the yarn many, many years ago. I was in love with it then and I am still in love with its beautiful colors and the lovely softly twisted fibers. (Mexican Wave yarn)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Freezer Organization

Saw this organized refrigerator and decided I needed to organize my freezer. I measured my freezer and took off for Container Store. I was able to buy three of these--

and placed them side by side in the bottom part of the freezer drawer. Here's what it looks like now:

and it functions so much better! It is so much easier to find things in there now.

The top shelf looks like this, no changes made there.

One of these days I may organize the refrigerator as well, but right now I like the way it functions.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I solemnly promise. . .

That I will blog more. Promise.

Organized Christmas starting in a few days--the 28th. I promise I will get with it and clean along as well as get organized for the holidays. That includes Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's/Valentine's. This is really my favorite time of year--the hustle and bustle of the fall/winter holidays.

I promise I will continue to strive for the best fitness/health level I can.

Today I am printing out the new Holiday Planner pages from the Holiday Grand Plan, and I will add the cleaning days to my Google calendar, which syncs beautifully with my Android. Have I told you how much I love my HTC Inspire?

Today I am also going to go through my notebook that has all the craft/sewing/knitting/gardening/house projects I want to do and pick a couple of them and just DO IT!

I also aspire to just get busy! Time to get out those New Year's resolutions, tweak and re-commit.

Monday, June 27, 2011

World Without End mini-series: Cast Chosen

The sequel to Ken Follett's "Pillars of the Earth" is "World Without End". I immensely enjoyed the books, and certainly got a kick out of watching "Pillars". So I am definitely looking forward to seeing this. More information here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Pillows-copied

Inspiration: the Mr. and Mrs. Pillows from Ballard Designs

My version:

I love Leo Reynolds

Leo Reynolds is a very clever photographer who uses square photos to create interesting graphics. Here is a link to his Flikr page. Beware. If you like this kind of thing, you are gonna get lost here for hours.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our neighborhood the wilderness area

Chip and I saw a female great horned owl on her nest last night. I knew I shoulda picked up the camera! Our neighborhood is quite the wilderness area--saw a bobcat in the neighbor's yard last month, a fox (I think) in my front yard, and several coyotes. Ugh, I guess I should mention the turkey vulture, too. UGH.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

a husband that spending his days off making a perennial vegetable/fruit garden--priceless.

Husband innocently bought a bag of asparagus crowns and announced he wanted to take off a few days to dig the perennial vegetable/fruit garden.
We had plans for planting a bed beside the driveway, but it was something that just had not happened, until yesterday, that is. We planted a fig tree a couple of years ago, and actually got some figs last year.
The garden as planned will have a fig, some fruit trees, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, asparagus and strawberries.
Yesterday Husband dug the asparagus bed. Oh, Lordy, have I told you how MUCH I HATE Bermuda grass? And our heavy clay soils? Man, oh, man! Bless my sweet Husband!
It was Friday, so Grandbuddy was with us, and he was a great help!

And then there was a break for lunch and a nap--

Pop-Pop was in heaven--

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I finished reading "Ape House" by Sara Gruen. I semi-enjoyed it. I guess my problem with it was that the book just had little depth.

I'm currently reading "The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield. and, so far, I'm enjoying it. I'll reserve my final recommendation for when I finish it.

I also read "The Red Queen" by Phillipa Gregory. This I did enjoy. The style was a bit different from her other books, but fit the character of the story, the terse Margaret Beaufort, grandmother of Henry the VII.

I also read "An Irish country Girl" by Patrick Taylor. And as usual, I was drawn in by the utter charm of the characters. Love, love, love it.

I'm a blessed woman. I love books and my family spoils me by buying books for me.