Sunday, March 30, 2008

Organizing Roundup: Dining Room

This month's Organizing Roundup is in the Dining Room. I don't know about you, but our dining room table is a terrible mess. It gets piled up with everything and then we have to clean it off to eat supper as a family. It's such a struggle for us, so I was thrilled to tackle this project!

Here is the dining room on a good day. Actually, I took this picture AFTER some purging. (I forgot to take a before picture.) It consists of bills, coupons, homework, and a whole bunch of other random junk... even potting soil in the window sill... We finally did some planting!

Our kitchen and dining room are combined. The house does have a formal dining room, but after Witt was born, we needed another bedroom and converted the formal dining room into Will's room (that's why this humongo table is in this little bitty breakfast nook area... besides the fact that it's the only one we have).

Anyway, as I was saying, the rooms are combined. I could easily just show you before picture and after pictures of the table and call it a day, but that's not the whole story around here. We have another "hot spot" that is almost in the dining area and it's where the other random things go when they don't fit on the table. Can you find it in the picture below? LOL!

(While you're here, take a peek at the floor tile, I have a decorating question for you at the end...)

So, here's our nasty little corner in the dining room. I bought the pretty organizer thinking it would help, but it didn't. I love it, but it just doesn't work for us here. I decided that instead of just trying to get rid of this shelf (which has crossed my mind) that I just needed to give in and make a home for the things that were already there. So, I sorted through and purged.

Yes, that is Will's Valentine's box there on the left... it fell among the purge file... shh, don't tell him, though!

After sorting, there were some distinct "categories" of stuff. Jeff's to-do items, my to-do items, coupons, writing utensils, candy, keys, office supplies, etc. All of this and more had found it's home on this little shelf and I needed a way to keep it separated and organized for easy access and clean-up. I didn't want to spend any money on this project, so I used what I already had: a few unused filing trays, tossable containers, and some of the kids' sturdy cups. Here's what I came up with:

Of course I used my label maker again!

This set-up has worked really well for us; we've been using it for about three weeks. My dining room table isn't always as empty as I'd like it to be, but with this set-up it is easily cleaned up. I can breathe now when I look at that shelf. (And in case you are wondering, yes, that is where the refrigerator is "supposed" to be. The previous owners put up a shelf there and moved the fridge elsewhere. We just never changed it back.)

In conclusion to this happy ending, here's a shot of my beautiful cherry wood table that I fell in love with over 5 years ago. Isn't it gorgeous!?!

Now for the decorating question... What color should I paint my walls? I really, really don't like this yellow/orange thing that's going on. You can see the floor tile above... kind of a natural beige and brown. With the dining room and kitchen being combined, it's a long narrow room. You can see a bit more of it here, although our appliances are all now white instead of black (thankfully!). Any suggestions? [UPDATE: To see the color we chose... click here]

Thanks to Org Junkie for hosting the Monthly Roundup! I can't wait to tackle the Master Bedroom in April! Woo Hoo! I'm hoping for a sanctuary away from kids... but maybe I'll just settle for being able to find my shoes quickly... :) You'll have to come back next month to see how it all goes!

post signature

Spring Planting

While my mom was here, we decided to do some spring planting since my flower gardens in the back needed some major help! Last summer the garden was only "tended to" by two little boys and two big dogs while I cared for a newborn. Poor plants... no water... no love... only lots of picking. I don't know that a lily bud ever got to bloom thanks to Nathan! :) Maybe this year will be better. The boys at least enjoyed to the planting party!

I gave Will some carrot seeds to plant. He's really excited to see if they grow and continues to check on them daily. He worked hard on them:

And then he took a break with his very own bottle of Our rule in the house is that you only get to drink the only if you're outside working and hot and sweaty! :) He deserved it!

Nathan "planted" some marigolds and snapdragons, I believe. They are getting PLENTY of water... I don't need to worry about lack of water for them!

And of course, he took a break with his very own bottle of, too!

And another break in the wagon while mommy planted her bulbs and plants.

Hopefully I'll have some really pretty and colorful pictures to show off this spring... if those DARN SQUIRRELS don't eat all my bulbs first! Anybody know how to get rid of squirrels? Those dogs aren't doin' their job! :)

Happy Spring!

post signature

Friday, March 28, 2008

Simple and Slow Fridays: One-on-One Time - Post Your's Here

To be honest, I haven't given much thought to one-on-one time this week. Life kind of came in and swept the rug out from under me, so the days went about their normal routine and I really didn't make an effort for more one-on-one. However, as I think about our normality, there is, of course, some one-on-one time that takes place every day: bedtimes.

Witt is in bed at 7:30PM, Nathan at 8:00PM, and Will is between 8:00 - 8:30PM. If - I mean WHEN - they get a bath, Witt is always first. I have that one-on-one time with him and Jeff maintains - I mean PLAYS - with Nathan and Will. After Witt's bath, he gets a kiss on the head from each member of the family and I take him into his room to rock and sing. He gets the torture - I mean PLEASURE - of listening to me sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and my rendition of Hush, Little Baby before a kiss from me and a pat on the butt after he's in the crib.

Then, hopefully, maybe, the other two boys are already in the tub. If not, that's where I put them (if they get a bath, that is). Jeff and I have a little one-on-one time to talk or cleanup or just veg-out while they are in the tub. We check on them from time-to-time to make sure no one has drowned, of course.

After their bath and pjs, there is another round of "night-night kisses". This past week I have started a new book with the boys, Five Minutes Devotions for Children. It's a quick and easy read with beautiful illustrations. Each night we read about a different animal, why it is unique and that God created it. The book also has simple questions to ask the kids about the story and a couple "Why do you think..." questions as well. I love to hear the answers Will comes up with!

After the devotion time, Jeff takes Nathan for rocking and a song or two. Jeff usually sings His Grace Reaches Me. (When I have Nathan, he gets You are My Sunshine... I'm a little less talented than Jeff in terms of singing!) Will and I go to his room for another book of his choice. Lately he has been very interested in the books from the Help Me Be Good series on Lying, Cheating, Disobeying, etc. They are pretty good books about teaching those concepts.

After a book, I ask Will what he wants to thank God for and what he would like to pray for. Usually, it's: "I want to pray for Madeline; that she will be my wife. And for the first dinosaurs; that they will come to life again. And for the trains; that they won't become derailed. Oh, and for my teacher and my family." Just about every night... the same thing. So, we pray about those things in some form or fashion (we pray for his future wife (whoever she may be), that we're glad the dinosaurs were here and that we have fun learning about them now, to keep people safe while traveling, his teacher, and family).

Then it's a short conversation about something random, one more "night-night kiss" and an "I love you; see you at 7." (We ask him to wait until 7:00 before getting up... if at all possible!) :)

With the boys in bed before 8:30PM, that gives Jeff and I a nice chunk of time to be alone, too. Not only is one-on-one time important for children, it's important for adults, too. I have seen such an improvement in our relationship since we moved Will's bedtime earlier (it used to be 9:00PM).

So even though this week is about one-on-one time with our kids, I think it is also important to have that special time alone with your spouse, and truth be told, it's important to have time to oneself. I'm sure you'd agree.

Now, how do you spend your one-on-one time with the kiddos and how do you make room for it in your day?

Pick up next week's topic of Surrender here.

post signature

Simple & Slow Fridays: Surrender

I wish I could copy this whole chapter from Mitten Strings for God. As a mom, for me, every day is about surrender. I must surrender my wants for the needs of my family. Just becoming a mom is a huge process of surrendering ... at least it was for me. I had no idea what it meant to take care of someone else, but this is for a future post. Let me recap some of the passages from the book:

Jon Kabat-Zinn, a meditation teacher who writes about mindful parenting, suggests that we think of our children as Zen masters housed in small bodies, who come into our lives to push at all of our fixed ideas. They are our best teachers, he says, and one way or another they will teach us whatever hard lessons we most need to learn. (p. 87)

This is one thing motherhood has taught me: Living according to my values does not necessarily mean being rigid in my convictions about what's "right". Sometimes our children's needs do not coincide neatly with our own beliefs. And therein lies a challenge. Do I try to control every aspect of our family environment, or do I allow others to help shape it, too? Do I always enforce the rules or do I sometimes step aside and trust my children to find their own way? Surrendering is always an act of faith, and letting go is never easy. (p 88)

When we try to hold on tight to anything, we find ourselves grasping at air; when we struggle to possess - a person, a time, a way of doing or being - the very thing we seek slips away. So it is with my most treasured rituals. The moment I try to carve them in stone or to institutionalize them in any way, they seem to vanish before my eyes. Then, rather than try to force the family back into old vessels that no longer fit, I must shape new ones. As soon as something fails to work for us, it is time to let go and create something fresh. This kind of surrender is not easy, either - but necessary if we are to continue growing together as a family. (p 89)

In surrender, I clear a space in which
something new can grow. I place my faith
in something larger than me. I trust.
(p. 92)

How's that for some things to ponder?! :) Come back Friday and post about how you surrender. This week, post about one-on-one time.

post signature

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lots of Quizzes

You paid attention during 97% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

What type of person do you attract?
Your Result: You attract geeks!

Your stunning intellect and love of sci-fi and video games allures the geeks like nothing else. Maybe it is the sparkle in your eye that makes them want to text you, who knows. Geeks make good partners, but tend to be arguementative. If you are a TRUE geek magnet, you will know if that was spelled correctly, and actually care. If it is a bad-boy/bad-girl you are seeking, you are barking up the wrong tree, unless they are just 'bad' behind a PS2 console.

You attract Yuppies!

You attract unstable people!

You attract artsy people!

You attract rednecks!

You attract models!

What type of person do you attract?
Quizzes for MySpace

Your score on this personality test was 51%

Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

Personality Quiz
Take More Quizzes

You are 80% Smarter than a fifth grader.

You are almost smarter than a fifth grader. If you just got a bit more right. Then, you would be considered smarter. Nice try. Try again.

are you smarter than a fifth grader?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

You know the Bible 80%!

Wow! You are truly a student of the Bible! Some of the questions were difficult, but they didn't slow you down! You know the books, the characters, the events . . . Very impressive!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?
Make a Quiz

What is your Future Job?
Your Result: Teacher!

You are great at interacting and communicating with other people, especially children. You would make a great teacher as you are confident and are really good at coming up with new, fun, creative ideas! Young children love you as you understand what pleases them most.


Social Worker!



What is your Future Job?
Make Your Own Quiz

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West

The Inland North


North Central

The Northeast

The South


What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

post signature

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I have a TV/Radio Voice

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
The Inland North
North Central
The Northeast
The South
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

post signature

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

ILL and IT

Just a quick little record of some cute little mispronunciations...

Nathan has started talking a little bit more and has finally given his brothers, Will and Witt, audible names: "Ill" and "It". ahahahahahaha!!! I think it's hilarious! :)

Will calls Nathan, "NayFee", so I guess in the end they're all crazy. They get that from their father... just so you know. :)

post signature

Friday, March 21, 2008

Simple & Slow Fridays: Stories - Post Your's Here

Stories are a HUGE part of everyday life around here. Will has always had a wonderful imagination for stories... about trains that is... always about trains. From around the time he turned4 up until and including now, he'd rather have had a story made up and told to him than have a book read; however, it must be about trains. Usually he will tell us which trains he wants in the story and if the story goes in the "wrong" direction (where he doesn't want it to go), he'll correct us and take over. Rarely does a story have a "The End". It's usually continued the next day or the next time we get in the car to go on a "journey".

Here is an excerpt from a story I took the time to record one day. Will was 4 years 9 months old at the time. I help him along through the story, but now he's very self-sufficient in telling a 15-20 minute story all by himself!

Me: Who is the story about?
Will: Engines
Me: What kind of engines?
Will: Oliver & Molly

Me: Tell me about Oliver.
Will: He has Toad the break van
Me: What color is he?
Will: Green
Me: Number?
Will: 11
Me: Where does he work?
Will: Coal yard

Me: Now, what about Molly?
Will: She's a yellow engine with no number on her side
Me: What's something neat about Molly?
Will: She's a new engine with two big wheels. She collects some coal and gets all dusty from the trucks... the trucks pull her back into the coal hopper.

Me: What is a coal hopper?
Will: Something that shoots down coal.

Me: What do they use a coal for?
Will: To burn up their firebox.

Will: Molly got dusty and she got so dusty she was really mad and she coughed. She cleared out her funnel of dirt.
Me: How did she do that?
Will: "Ahh... Ahhh...Ahh-CHOOO! She blowed dust right into the air and covered the other engines.
Me: Who else was there?
Will: Oliver!
Me: What did he think about getting dirty?
W: I don't know; what did he say?
Me: Did he say, "Molly, you just sneezed on me!"?

Will as Molly: "I just needed to clear my funnel."
Me as Oliver: Well, you should look for other engines around you. We don't want to get dusty. We might sneeze too.

Will: Toad became covered up, too.
Me: Who is Toad?
Will: He's a Brake van.
Me: What does he do?
Will: He just always gets coupled behind.
Me: Behind who?
Will: Behind Oliver's freight cars.
Me: How does he help?
Will: By watching behind what they ran over.
Me: Does he apply the brakes?
Will: Yeah, that's why he's the brake van.
Me: Oh, that makes sense.

Me: So, what did Oliver and Molly do? Did they get a wash-down? Where did they have to go?
Will: To the wash-down yard.
Me: What happened after they were clean & shiny?
Will: Oliver got a small tender that didn't get much heat.
Me: Tender? What's a tender?
Will: Something that engines pull behind them.

Will: Molly has a very small firebox and she didn't know what to do. Mom, what did Molly say to Oliver when she had a very small firebox and didn't know what to do?
Me as Molly: I think I might need some work done, my firebox is not working properly. Who would do some work on me?
Will as Oliver: I think some workmen and the workmen's yard.

Me as Molly: Will you come with me, Oliver?
Will as Oliver: Sure, but first I have to collect some cargo cars.
Me: What do cargo cars carry?

Will: They carry special stuff like hives. (bee hives)
Me: Are you collecting hives today?
Will: Yeah.
Me: Be careful with beehives... you know what can happens with beehives...
Will: But cargo cars are built with heavy wood and they won't break.
Me: Just remember, James got stung by a bee on the nose!
Will: Don't worry, I will just "weesh" them away!

This story with Will goes on and on with twists and turns and finally a "The End"(with my persuasion). I need to record another one of his stories now that he can tell one by himself. It shouldn't be hard to come across a story, Will tells them at least 2- 3 times daily...

post signature

Click here for next week's "assignment" of One-on-One Time.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Simple & Slow Fridays: One-on-One Time

Excerpts I liked from this week's chapter of Mitten Strings for God:

We all know that children need some special one-on-one time with their parents. But sometimes we forget that we parents need this kind of time alone with our children, too. And, unfortunately, when the pace of life speeds up, one-on-one time is often the first thing that gets squeezed out. Our schedules deprive us of each other. Yet when we do that bit of extra juggling required to make a special, separate place for each child, the rewards are well worth the effort. (p 79)

What makes all of these interludes special is the fact that they force us to slow down, to alter the rhythm of our daily lives in order to make time for each other. Given our other obligations and the length of our to-do lists, it is all too easy to forget the good stuff-namely, how much we actually like our own kids as people, how much we enjoy their company, and how important it is for us to have fun together. (p 81)

...I am amazed by the questions my children ask when we are alone together, by their breathtaking confidences and their acute perceptions of their world. It feels then as if I am being offered a glimpse of their true colors, pure and shining. I see not only who they are, but who they are becoming. (p 82)

How do you work in one-on-one time with your kids? Do you have any special things you do on a routine basis? Where in your schedule can you fit more one-on-one time in?

On a personal note, I'd really like to know how parents with more than two children handle one-on-one time... do you just rotate through each child? Do you have a "set schedule"? (ie grocery shopping every Saturday morning and stopping for breakfast alone on the way home) How do you make it work?

I look forward to reading your post on "One-on-One Time" next week! Click here to link up your post on this week's topic, Stories.

post signature

My Boring Life

You know what? I love my boring life. Of course we have ups and downs and lefts and rights, but for the most part... it's pretty streamline. Not a lot of drama. No terrible illnesses. Food to eat. A great house that we "just barely" fit in. Worship on Sundays and bible class on Wednesdays. It's all pretty routine. I think I like it.

Where does this come from? Well, it's actually leading up to a prayer request. I'm not going to give all the personal details; I'm just asking that you pray for my sister's boyfriend, Henry, and their friend, Chad. Both guys were in a severe auto accident this past weekend. Broken legs, fractures, and worse. Please pray that both will recover; pray that they will see this as a second chance and straighten out their lives a little more.

I pray that we all can find a "boring" routine life... and learn to see the beauty in it every day.

post signature

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Witt's Lucky Penny

post signature

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians

My mom made these Indian headdresses; both of our families have an Indian ancestry (Jeff's being much closer). Even if we didn't, though, those headdresses are so cute and so much fun!

Obviously, Nathan didn't want to cooperate again...

post signature

Monday, March 17, 2008

More Taggin'

I've been meaning to do these tags from Heritage Academy since January!

Tag #1

Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages.)

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the next three sentences.

5. Tag five people.

The nearest book to me is "'finding calm in the chaos: Christian Devotions for Busy Women" by Kathleen Long Bostrom.

"Perhaps if God has any trouble writing on our hears, it's a signal that there is something amiss in our lives, something that needs to be examined and fixed. It might be a problem that goes way back in our personal history, some "block" that keeps us from accepting our believing the word God wishes to carve upon our spirit. I also love the idea that God writes on our hearts because writing implies words, and it is the Word, after all, that brings all life, and new life, into our hearts in the first place."

Tag #2

Here are the rules:

1. You must post the rules before you give your answers.

2. List one fact about yourself beginning with each letter of your middle name. (If you don't have a middle name, use your maiden name).

3. At the end of your blog post, you need to tag one person for each letter of your middle name. (Be sure to leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged and that they need to read your blog for details).

L: Letters. I love mail! I love going to the mailbox in hopes of something great!

Y: Yawns, a lot. I like my sleep. 9 hours a night would be great!

N: No news. I don't watch the news... never have. I like being in my own little "boring" world.

N: Nip & tuck. One day I plan on getting rid of this belly pooch I acquired from those 3 boys...


Tag #3

First, the rules, which are important, because they also tag — randomly — six more people to join in the fun:

  • Link to the person that tagged you
  • Post the rules on your blog
  • Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself
  • Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs
  • Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website

Six non-important things about myself:

  1. I'm considering growing out my hair for Locks of Love.
  2. I love calamari (you know, squid). Especially fried... or in seafood gumbo.
  3. I had a C-section (only) with my third son after about 12 hours of induced labor... he was stuck and a hefty little man weighing in at 10 lbs 1 oz!
  4. I finished my degree in Chemical Engineering mostly to prove that I could... not because I enjoyed it... because I didn't.
  5. Two of my all time favorite movies are Grease and Grease II.
  6. I really hate to sweat. It makes me itch. And then I have to take a shower and then I have to dry my hair. That's a pain. I hate drying my hair. So there's the reason I don't exercise or work in the yard on a really hot day - I don't want to dry my hair! LOL!
(For 50 more things about me you can check out this post: Me... In List Form)

Well, since each of these tags require a different number of people to tag, I'm just going to tag the max (plus 1). Pick and choose which tags (if any or all) you'd like to do.

Here are a few bloggers that need to post something on their blogs before I write them off my blogroll... (haha!)
Happy at Home
Through My Window

Some frugal bloggers that might not be interested since this is a time waster, fun, but still a time waster! (no money to be saved in wasted time, ya know!) LOL!
Centsible Shopper
Coins In the Couch

A new organizing blog I've picked up along the way
Organizational Enlightenment

A tag back to Redefining Sanity, just to make her a little more insane.... :O)

And, the plus 1: The Adventures of T & Super B because she's a self-proclaimed Alabama hillbilly! LOL!

post signature

It's All About ME!

I've been tagged by Redefining Sanity for this meme. The rules are:

  1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
  2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
  3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

And here's the meme:

What I was doing 10 years ago: I was at Georgia Tech taking final exams... waiting for my next co-op quarter to start in Alabama!

Five things on my To Do List today:

  1. Laundry and more laundry
  2. make orange juice with the boys before the oranges go bad
  3. this week's meal plan & grocery list
  4. send out the giveaways
  5. find a file on our old computer and send it to a friend in GA

Snacks I enjoy: pretty much anything chocolate. Pringles are good, too. Oreos. I wish I liked fruit more...

Things I would do if I were a billionaire: set up college funds, pay off our house, build a new one, give to the church, some to charity, do some fun shopping, and there would still be... what? a few million left over to save for a rainy day, right? LOL!

Three of my bad habits: talking before I think about what I'm going to say, starting but not finishing something, looking off to the side while having a conversation (I don't know why I do this... it drives me crazy when I catch myself!)

Five places I have lived:

  1. Ocean Side, CA
  2. Bay City, TX
  3. Wilmington, DE
  4. Evans, GA
  5. Eau Claire, WI

Five jobs I've had:

  1. cashier at Kroger
  2. lifeguard at a local waterpark
  3. hoagie sandwich maker at a local sub-shop
  4. data entry clerk for the GA Tech Housing Department
  5. Process Control Engineer for Mohawk Industries

Five people I want to know more about (a nice way of saying TAG!):
1. Mama of Boys
2. Our Lovely Life
3. justkc
4. Not Trying for a Boy
5. orryally

post signature


This week's Unplugged Project is "Wood". Jeff and I thought it "wood" be fun to let the boys use a hammer and nails, a screw and screwdriver, and even a well supervised hand saw on a block of wood. Jeff had a project to do that day anyway, so it "wood" have been a family event. However, Nathan came down with some sort of stomach bug and these are the only pictures I got of Jeff and Will.

This was the piece of wood Jeff was using for his project.
He let Will use the hand saw with a guide.

Will got tired of that and Jeff gave it a try...

Apparently a hand saw is too much work and it was time to bust out the big guns! :)

Power time!

Jeff and Will were out in the shop for over an hour.

I don't know what Will got to work on (Jeff's nerves, maybe? LOL!),
but he had a great time with Dad!

post signature