Tuesday, January 31, 2012

First Wrap Up

I only did my first month of the 12 in 2012 project for half of January but its already making a huge impact for me. I can feel the effects of the organization I have started in my life. It felt good to clean things up, sort things out and instill a sense of order to the physical things in my life.

I was able to get through my list of areas to organize except for one- recipes. When it came down to it, I just got too overwhelmed. I've collected recipes in an expandable file folder since I got married in 2003. As I started looking through them, I saw several that I could remember making and some that I never tried. I also found some handwritten recipes from my mom and even one from my grandpa. I don't know how to organize something like that. So instead, I put them all back in the folder, except the family recipes. I looked at my grandpa's handwritting for a long, long time and then put those aside. I put the expandable file folder back in my pile of things to work on. I plan to come up with a way to organize my paper recipes and my Pinterest recipes and my family recipes but I need more time.

I also did a lot of work on organizing me. To do this, I focused on figuring out what I want to do with my life and really concentrating on what's important to me and what I have to be thankful for. I started two journal projects (One Sentence Journal and a Gratitude Journal) I only spend a couple minutes each night writing the entries but the reflection on the one important moment and the 5 items that I am grateful for has really started to change my mindset. No matter how stressed I am during the day, I end the day focusing on what really matters.

I am excited to move onto the next month and my next goal. I look forward to continuing to grow in this goal, too! Onto February...

My one and five year plans aren't too exciting but I would like to share my Personal Mission Statement. I enjoyed writing it and recommend writing your own so that you can keep perspective on what matters to you.

I want to be known as a woman of patience and kindness.
I will seek to give more than I take and smile more than I frown.
I will strive to love what I do and make a difference while doing it
I want to dream big and never give up
I want to remember how blessed I am and I want to be thankful for what I have
I will believe in the goodness of people and let people see the goodness in me
I will be true to my priorities and never forget what is important to me
I will be the kind of person my parents and my children can be proud of

Monday, January 30, 2012

Daddy fun

Since they are getting more interested, I have been doing more craft type activities with Emma and Josh. They don't always last long and they normally end up with someone eating something and me running to fish it out of their mouth, but its still fun. Dan decided he wanted to get in on the action so he made paper airplanes, stars and hats with them and they loved it!

Dan folding a hat

Emma wearing the hat

Josh flying an airplane

And when they got tired of the paper items, they spent time just looking outside and the snow and the deer. I love how sometimes they can just find their own activities!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The organizing continues

I've crossed a few more items off of my ten places to organize. One area I really focused on was all of our cleaning supplies and underneath our bathroom and kitchen sinks. I couldn't believe how disorganized it was! What I did was:

1. Take everything out and put it in one central location
2. I cleaned and wiped down all of the items, they just felt better when any drips of cleaning supplied were wiped away
3. I consolidated items (I swear that I had 4 bottles of open Windex. Seriously? 4 bottles) I also got rid of old items
4. Under the bathroom sinks, I only put a couple items. Like one toilet cleaner, one shower cleaner, one Lysol, etc. I also stored the items in plastic baskets and so that they stay together and don't look messy

5. Under my kitchen sink, I also stored items in plastic baskets and organized them my type (soaps, detergent, cleaning supply)

Overall, I got rid of a ton of items and the areas feels a lot cleaner.

The status of my organization is as follows:

1. Spice cabinet- DONE

2. Sock drawer- DONE

3. Craft stuff- DONE

4. Toiletries

5. My car

6. Toys

7. Kid's clothes- DONE

8. Home inventory- DONE

9. Under sinks- DONE

10. Recipes

In reviewing the list, I have decided that there is not much I can do about the toys right now. The problem is that Emma and Josh really haven't outgrown many of their toys, they have actually just started playing with a lot of things. If I really think about it, the toys are pretty well organized. I use four canvas totes in the family room (one for trucks, one for cars, one for little people stuff, one for books) I use the wood crates for all of the Melissa and Doug toys and we keep those separate. Downstairs, we have two big toy boxes and although I try to keep stuff organized, a lot of times the toys just get dumped into there. But all considered, the toys aren't too bad. So I am going to cross that off my list!

My goals for the next couple days are toiletries, my car and my recipes. I have also been working a lot on organizing me and will be ready to share all of that in a couple days, too.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Friday, January 27, 2012


Emma's hair is getting long but she will not let me put a clip or bow in it. Well, she lets me put it in and them promptly yanks it out. (While telling me "Emma no like it!") So I decided to try a new option and bought tiny rubber bands to do pigtails. Success! She doesn't pull at them (although Josh tries to get them) and they look so cute. I need to try to get them in better so they are straighter and tighter but at this time, I am happy to get them in at all.

There is something about putting pigtails in her hair that makes her seem so, I don't know, grown up I guess. She looks older and the fact that she has enough hair on her tiny head to even put in pigtails just amazes me. Wasn't she just a bald cue ball baby?

View from the back

Side view

My big girl

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Hope everyone had a nice week, we had a good one here and are looking forward to the weekend.


1. Her newest phrase is "Emma no like it." She tells me this often, even if she really does like the item. She did it the other day with grapes (she would eat a full bag if I allowed it) and when I asked her "Really?!" she said "Kidding!"


1. He has a really good memory and good association. He can hear a couple notes of a song on The Einsteins and immediately know what episode it is. So smart!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


On Sunday, we still had several inches of snow but it was in the mid 30's so we bundled up Emma and Josh and went outside. Its the first time that they have actually played in the snow and they liked it. I even made us a snowman!

Rolling the snowman

The finished product. Everyone lost interest before I could "decorate" him so we just left him alone

Emma loved running in the snow

Josh was a little more laid back

Emma standing by our big pine tree. She loves that tree

Dan showing Josh how to throw snowballs

Snow fun

Monday, January 23, 2012


Dan introduced the kid's to "piggy back rides" this weekend. The problem? Dan has a bad back so he really shouldn't be giving a lot of piggy backs. The solution? Mom gives the kids a piggy back at the same time!

I also get a nice work out, carrying 50+ pounds of kid on my back. Of course, in typical toddler fashion, someone starts pulling hair and being crazy and the fun is over!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Socks, kid's clothes and crafts, oh my!

I spent a lot of time cleaning out and organizing some of the other areas of our home this weekend. I am up to two full garbage bags that were thrown out and 3 bags ready to go to Goodwill. Dan was gone a lot of the day helping his parents with some stuff so it left Emma and Josh to "help" me organize!

Some things I did to help organize these areas:

1. Socks- this one was easy. I through out a ton of socks! I looked through each sock and if there was even a tiny hole, it went in the trash. If they had dirt stains, same thing. After that, I went through and matched up the socks and put them into two boxes in the drawer- white sport socks and all other socks. And if they didn't have a match? Well most of those I threw out too. Except for a couple that I thought were "newly unmatched" But that black and white check sock that I keep praying will find its match? See ya!

2. Kid's clothes- I made huge progress in this area. I set up containers in their closet to collect the following:
1. Empty hangers
2. Items to donate
3. Items to sell at MoM club sale

By the time I got to their closet, I was out of Rubbermaid containers so instead, I just used empty diaper boxes and it worked just fine.

I also cleared out a drawer to store items that don't fit yet like Christmas Pajamas I bought on Clearance, cute summer items I picked up at the end of last season, etc. Instead of jamming up their closet, these items are out of the way.

Huge, huge difference and it feels a lot more organized!

3. Crafts- I would love to have the space to set up craft items for the kids and for me but right now, we just don't have the space. Instead, I got some of those Rubbermaid plastic drawers and organized all of our stickers, paper, pipe cleaners, play-doh, etc. Nothing fancy but it feels a lot better than bags of items all around.

Next items on my list are: Under the sinks and recipes

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Home Inventory

As part of my Month of Organization, I decided to tackle a Home Inventory. This item is near and dear to my heart because I am an insurance adjuster. I have stood in the middle of people's flooded basements or fire ravaged houses and seen every item they own destroyed, its very sad. If I ever am in that situation, however, I want to make sure I am prepared with a documented list of the items I own. So here is what I did:

1. Created a spreadsheet for each room in the home

With Dan's help, we went through each room and listed out all of the items. At first, we focused on big items like appliances and electronics. After that, I tried to list as many of the small items as I could list.

2. Photographed each room

I did a couple photos to show the overall layout of the room. I then took pictures again of the big items and photos of each drawer/cupboard.

3. Focused on valuable or high end items

Once we were done in each room, I did a separate spreadsheet for items like jewelery, higher end electronics, designer purses, etc. Its not like I have a ton of this stuff but I spent extra time photographing and listing these items since they do have a higher value

4. Organized receipts and owner manuals

We don't save every single receipt but we do save them for our more expensive purchases so we went through and organized all receipts and owner's manuals. We also made sure that receipts for jewelry and other important documents were in our safety deposit box

5. Store our Inventory

We loaded the photos and spreadsheet onto the computer but also backed it up onto our External Hard Drive. My plan is to also burn it on a CD and save it in the safety deposit box.

I am glad I decided to focus on this project. God forbid we ever have something happen at our home, I feel like we would be prepared to document and submit a claim for our personal property. My plan is to revisit the Inventory once a year to add items or re-photograph additional purchases.

Here is a good article that I found about doing a Home Inventory:


Friday, January 20, 2012

Marching to their own beat

You know what I love about my kids? Their ability to have fun, no matter what. I could give them some random toy that I found in the closet and they will treat it like its the coolest thing ever. This drum I gave them? Love it! They played it like crazy. Gotta love their enthusiasm.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Places to Organize

I thought about it and identified 10 physical places in our home that could use organizing. Those places are:

1. Spice cabinet

2. Sock drawer

3. Craft stuff

4. Toiletries

5. My car

6. Toys

7. Kid's clothes

8. Home inventory

9. Under sinks

10. Recipes

I started already with the spices and even took some after pictures. I had some before pictures, too, but they didn't make the cabinet look as disorganized as it was so I skipped those!

One important thing I did was go though my spices and I pitched a bunch of stuff. I didn't see many expiration dates on the items but if I remembered having it when we got married 8+ years ago, it went in the trash.

I also bought some glass spice jars from Amazon. I like that they are air tight and that the all look the same, I think it helps things to look cleaner. Other than throwing out a bunch of stuff and placing all of my spices in jars, I also placed other items in similar tupperware and cleaned everything up. I think it looks pretty good.

Full view of the three shelves

Close up of the jars I bought on Amazon:

I feel good about getting this done. Over the weekend, I am tackling sock drawers, my car, crafts and kid's clothes. Wish me luck!

I have also done a lot of work on my "Personal Organization" and will be sharing my mission statement and Life Plans soon, too!



1. They are really into repeating everything they hear. Dan and I took this opportunity to teach them some funny lines from movies or TV shows. The cutest one is from a SNL episode with Will Ferrell. If Dan or I say "Yikes" Emma and Josh will both say "That's rouuugggh"

2. I have to reach them at least 5 books before bed. They still love "Goodnight Moon" but also love "Guess How Much I Love You" and just about any other book they can get their hands on.


1. If she is sitting next to me, she will pull my arm around her and say "cozy." If I try to move my arm, she will put it back around her.


1. He is so polite! He is always saying "Thank you" if you give him and has even added "Thank you much mama!"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

They like me, they really like me

In this week's installment of "I promise, my kids really DO like me" I bring you this gem:

I swear I could do a weekly picture of one or both of the kid's not wanting anything to do with me in a picture. If the camera isn't around? They are all over me. If I ask Dan to grab it to try to get a picture, they either start crying or looking completely disinterested. Sigh.


Its funny that once I got my own house, I became a clean and organized person. My parents will gladly tell you stories of how disorganized and messy my room was when I was growing up. But then I got married, bought my own house and couldn't stand the sight of a pile of laundry sitting around for more than 2 minutes. Go figure.

I feel like my focus on organization is not solely about my house, although there are things in my house that do need to be organized. I will tackle some major organization issues with things like our sock drawers (and let me tell you, all those mismatched socks that we keep praying will show up are the first to go!) and my spice cabinet, but I also want to focus on some bigger issues like organizing my priorities, my day and well, my life. So yeah, a little bit deeper than our sock drawers.

My goals for the rest of this month will be:

1. Pick 10 areas of the house to organize
2. Fill two bags for Goodwill
3. Organize my Pinterest board and come up with a way to plan projects
4. Write a personal mission statement
5. Come up with a 1, 5, 10 year (is 10 years too long? I don't know!) plan

Lots to do in 15 days but I am up for the challenge.

"If you can organize your kitchen, you can organize your life"

Sunday, January 15, 2012

12 in 2012

After I posted about Happiness a couple weeks ago, I have been looking for ideas on how I could focus more on what matters to me. I came across a blog and fell in love with the idea, I really think it will work for me.

Melissa over at MaMe Musings is going a 12 in 2012 project. She has come up with 12 words that reflect her core values and each month, she will blog about each value. Love it.

I sat down last night and wrote down a huge list of things that are important to me and was able to come up with my list of core values. So for this year, I will focus on:

January: Organization
February: Health
March: Motivation
April: Kindness
May: Frugality
June: Faith
July: Family
August: Creativity
September: Joy
October: Companionship
November: Tradition
December: Happiness

I am really looking forward to this project and think its just what I need to restore full happiness to my life.

I am planning for tomorrow to be my first post. Even though I am halfway through the month, I have already been focusing a lot on organization this month so I think I will be able to back track a bit and be ok!

Friday, January 13, 2012

2 Year Appt

Emma and Josh finally had their two year appointment today. Josh didn't scream as much at first and honestly if Emma had not riled him up, he would have been fine. Emma started screaming the minute we got into the room and only quit when they were done weighing her and then for a few minutes when the doctor came in. Josh played with the doctor's tools when she gave them to him and even let her check him out a little. Im glad the appointment is done and that we get another 6 month break. I can always hope next time will go better! Here are their stats:

Emma: 36 inches (95th percentile) 26lbs (25th-50th percentile)

Josh: 37.5 inches (95th percentile) 27lbs 8 oz (25th-50th percentile)

They each grew an inch or more and and gained a couple pounds. The doctor was happy that they try so many foods and use so many words. She couldn't believe that they both have peed once in the potty and can use 3-5 word sentences sometimes, too.

I am glad its Friday. Oh and remember how I talked about blogging more about me and happiness and stuff other than the kids? Well I didn't forget about that, its coming!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Emma and Josh have been a lot whinier this week but also a lot more fun, too. Its a weird thing because when they are whiny, things are just so miserable around our house. (Josh will follow me around and say "Carry me, Mommy" about a million times until I finally give up and carry him and try to make dinner with one hand. During this, Emma is just screaming for no reason. Help) But then there are these moments that are just so cute and so funny, too. So its a trade off, I guess!


1. Before they go to bed, they now require a kiss and a hug. So we place them in their cribs and then I have to go to Josh's crib first and then Emma. I get a big kiss on the lips from each of them and a hug. Just precious.

2. If you ask them "Where is daddy" they will always say one of two things- either "work" or "sleeping" If you ask them "where is mommy" they always say "Zumba"


1. She is borderline obsessed with bodily functions. She toots often and tells you about it. She also likes burping. I try not to laugh so that she will quit doing it but its just so hard when her little face comes close to mine and she says "Emma tooted"


1. If you ask him if it's hot or cold outside, he will say "Nope. Freezing!" He is such a character.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012