Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A New You Resolution

At this time of year, most people start thinking about resolutions, lots of people make resolutions, and a few people actually see resolutions through for awhile. I have decided to do a New You Resolution instead.

I want to have a new me. I want to make changes so I don't feel like I'm cleaning all the time. I want to make changes so I have more time to do things with my kids. I want to make changes so I don't feel like I'm only a mother. I want to make changes so that I have time for me to do things I enjoy as a person. 

My New You Resolution can begin now. It doesn't need to start January 1st. I can make changes towards a new me anytime. It doesn't have to all be decided for January 1st.

And I've already started. :) For awhile I've been doing most of my cleaning in the afternoon. But as my son has gotten older, he's not napping which means the main floor isn't tidy for the afternoon. So tonight I started with a small change - I swept the floor after putting the kids to bed. It took only a couple minutes but now my floor is clean for another day.

Do you want a new you? Join me and make a New You Resolution. Start today. Start now.

Monday, December 26, 2011

I'm back...........

Okay, so you're probably wondering where I've been for the last month. Only one word - busy! We all have been sick, getting ready for Christmas and knitting. All these things have been keeping me busy that I just haven't found time to type too much. Definitely a crazy time....

But I have been doing lots of thinking. It all started when my friend and I prepped the next Words for WoMin newsletter. As many of you know, I write a column in there. Needed to come up with an idea to write about. The newsletter is focusing on change. Thought I could do something about that. [Article will be posted here soon.]

So.... please stay tuned in. More stuff to come in the new year. :) Looking forward to working on a better routine for myself that will help me post here a little more regularly. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and wish you many blessings for 2012.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I love my coffee..... containers

It may sound a little odd, but I love my coffee containers. My DMIL (dear mother-in-law) got me hooked on Folgers coffee. They have been drinking it for years. I was looking for a less expensive brand and she suggested their kind. She told me too that she cleans and saves all the containers as they're good quality plastic. My DFIL (dear father-in-law) uses them in the garage to hold nuts and bolts, miscellaneous little pieces of metal. And what's nice is they're all the same size. He writes right on it with a Sharpie. And they've got handles too.

Well, I have followed suit and use the coffee containers for everything! They are great for so many things. In the summer time, I put all the sunscreen and bug stuff in one to have by the back door. When the kids get sick, I fill one with their medicines on the kitchen counter. I use one under the sink to hold all my dish washing paraphernalia. My kids have two filled with dinky cars and miniature animals. The list of possibilities goes on and on....

Do you have any genius reusing ideas? Please share!

Domestic Diva: Your Best Friend for the Holidays

The Christmas season is a busy time for everyone: extra shopping, present wrapping, house decorating, parties, get-togethers, big family meals. The list seems to go on and on. How can you survive all the extra work? Make a new best friend - your crock pot.

No one wants to start cooking after a long day of shopping or after getting tangled up in ribbons and bows. So let your crock pot cook supper for you. It takes a bit of planning and preparation, sometimes the night before or first thing in the morning, but it will be wonderful to come home to a finished meal.

Roast Beef in the Crock Pot
1. Peel and cut up 4 potatoes and 3 carrots and place in the bottom of your crock pot along with 1 onion.
2. Place 2-3 pound beef roast on top of vegetables.
3. Combine 3/4 cup water, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp instant beef bouillon (1 pouch), 1 tsp dried basil (crushed) and 1/2 tsp salt. Pour over roast.
4. Cover and cook on Low for 8-9 hours.

Thanks to all the WoMin women who have joined me here on my blog. Some of the articles will repeat but I also do lots of new stuff. :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

October Basement Project: Surprise finish

Well, the Basement organization is finished. I know, surprise!!! Here's what happened....

Saturday morning, just before my friend and her kids arrived, hubby informs me that he's starting on the basement this weekend. WHAT?!?!? I just told him I needed a little more time since I lost a week with the kids being sicked. Sheesh! So Saturday after lunch, my daughter and I headed to the basement to do a quick finish while my son was napping. Unfortunately I wasn't able to sort everything like I wanted. I had some boxes of papers that I really wanted to go through. I started stacking the like-piles (I had already sorted stuff into piles of like things) with the rest of the already sorted stuff, while my daughter sorted through the kids stuff. She was able to get things piled up together so we could box like things together. I'm glad I was able to finish the piling so that I at least know where stuff is down there and things I don't think I'll need soon are piled at the back. Will have more sorting to do once hubby gets some shelves put in but that's okay. I know I did awesome! I've posted some pictures here so you can see how far I got. Now hubby has some walls to build.... ;) 
Last of the pile - unsorted stuff

All the stored stuff, mostly sorted, definitely organized

Cleared off for hubby to work....

Stuff I was able to throw out. :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Last Birthday...

My son has the last of our run of birthdays. Sometimes I wish it wasn't so close to Halloween. We still celebrate his birthday as it's own event, just don't need more sweets around the house. ;) Here's a picture of my now 2 year-old and the cake I made him. He is in love with Disney's Cars even though he hasn't seen either movie. Every time a commercial comes on, he stops everything to watch it. Ah, my little gear-head....

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Hope you had a great night. Here are my two darlings dressed up.
My daughter went out with hubby. My son got to help give out chocolate bars. Some kids wanted to come in and play with him. :)

And here are the cookies my daughter took to school today. We made them over the weekend so she could enjoy them with her class. 


Sunday, October 30, 2011

October's Project: The Basement

So I have been working away in the basement, a little at a time. I've made some great progress. Unfortunately tomorrow ends October and I won't be done. My kids got sick and were home for a week. I had no time for extra stuff that week. Now I've been trying to catch up and other things have started. Not making excuses, but facing reality. My sister and I do all our Christmas baking together and started this past week. Tomorrow is Halloween then Wednesday is my son's birthday. Lots of added stuff but I'm hoping to get done the basement in the next week or two. Hubby is happy that I've been making an effort. I told him tonight that I'm hoping to get it done soon. There will be a pile of garbage for him to get hauled away (which I'm quite happy about) and I'm also trying to sell a few kids items that are still in good shape but my kids have outgrown. All good for sure!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Christmas is right around the corner

Sorry to give you bad news, but Christmas will before you know it. It's supposed to be one day but it never is. There are parties to go to and in-laws to visit, plus all the other things that go along with these events, like shopping and decorating.

So how do we survive? Start now!!! Start your plan - what is important to you, what are your traditions, are there any new things you want to do this year, who do you have to shop for, how much can you afford to spend. I'm sure there is more you can add, but the point is to start thinking about what your Holiday Season will entail. It helps to get organized and start your plan.

I've already started thinking about the holidays. My sister and I usually do baking together and spread it over the months of November and December. She reminded me a couple of weeks ago that we should get rolling on our baking. (Sometimes the early arrival of these holiday surprise me.) So we've started discussing and came up with our baking list. We're going over the ingredients and amounts we need. That gives us time to do shopping and start our baking next time we're together.

Now to get on with the rest of my Holiday planning.........

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Key to Cleaning

So I was upstairs trying to clean the bathroom (I always delay cleaning it as it's upstairs and doesn't get used too much) and thinking at the same time. I am not a big fan of cleaning but don't mind doing a little every day - for the most part, anyways. While I was working on the bathroom, I realized that there is one key to cleaning - clutter free rooms. "OMG! She said it!!!" Yes people. Don't get upset now, but that really is the key to fast cleaning. No one wants to spend all day cleaning anything (at least no one I know). What if your cleaning could be uninhibited?

My neighbour's girlfriend worked as a hotel housekeeper. Did you know they only have 30 minutes to clean each suite? That's right, 30 minutes to strip and remake the beds, vacuum, dust and clean the bathrooms. But how can they get it done that fast? There isn't any clutter.

Now we all have clutter, but I'm working at getting clutter-free rooms one at a time. The upstairs bathroom is used by my son and I to get ready in the morning and a night so there isn't too much stuff in there. Still though, there is some clutter. The few items I leave on the back of the toilet I need to find a basket for. That will speed up cleaning. :) The only other things are soap, glass, toothbrush and toothpaste around the sink, basket of toilet paper on the floor along with the scale, garbage can and toilet cleaning tools. That isn't too much, but if everything is lift-able in one hand so I can swipe with the other hand it will definitely speed things up.

Now what room to attack next.....

Friday, October 7, 2011

The October Basement Project

So hubby has said he's going to start on the basement soon. I CAN'T WAIT!!! It would be so nice to have the extra space in our tiny little home. I recently moved our (soon to be 2) son's crib into our 5-year-old daughter's room. They go to bed at the same time and it's working out pretty well. However, this can't last forever. So the basement needs to get completed....

The major problem with the basement is that we've been using it for storage for the last 5 years. In order to help my hubby out, I said I would finish going through the stuff down there and clear some space for him to start working on floors, walls and cupboards. Here are some before pictures. The first two is the area that needs to be cleared out and moved down to the end. The last picture is the stuff I've already gone through, pared down and has been re-stacked.

I've gotten some storage containers but really need to get a few more. I would like to see everything I'm going to keep in plastic rather than cardboard boxes. Some of the stuff is more transitional still - stuff the kids will use and grow out of soon.

My plan is to spend at least 15 minutes down there each week day. Even with the busy week I've had I still managed to do 30 minutes and 40 minutes this week so far. Still need to get down there today....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Birthday Season

All our birthdays are together over a few months. It starts with mine at the end of August. Then there is back to school (yippee!), my husband's birthday, and my daughter's birthday all in September. October holds Thanksgiving and Halloween. My son's birthday starts November. Needless to say there is a lot of eating of sweet things.

In some ways this run of birthdays is great - it's all over in one shot for the year. In other ways, it's bad - all the presents and cakes have to be bought or made. So I do my best to plan ahead.

I always make everyone's birthday cakes. I like to come up with something new each time. I let me daughter pick her theme as she's old enough. And this year I'm going to surprise her with some cupcakes at school. My darling husband doesn't care, so he's happy with whatever I make. And my son, well he's turning two so Mommy gets to decide.

As for presents... that can be difficult. No one really "wants" anything. Hubby's hobby doesn't require me to do any shopping for him so I try to pick up practical things. This year he got a fancy new super-sized deep fryer. My daughter doesn't really ask for many toys. She's not really "into" anything yet but I do usually pick her up a few things. My son gets mostly practical things too, probably a potty for training along with a few toys I think he'll like. I try to think ahead, and pick up things when they go on sale. No need to blow the budget. ;)

Whatever we plan for birthdays, it's nice to do something special and make sure to take the time to spend it together.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

MIA returns to balance

So I've been MIA for a few days, well 10 to be exact. Lots going on in my life and not all good. There have been so extended family issues that have needed dealing with and I just didn't want to talk to anyone. Sorry for being missing.

But today is a new day. Things are looking better and I'm working at getting more stuff organized. :)

I've realized that life is about balance. Even through the rough times I've been having (and I'm sure there will be more in the future), I still need balance in my life to keep things going. With the help of the routines I developed I was able to keep my home tidy, feed everyone and keep up with the kids and all they entail. And none of it was overwhelming. Most of it was done without even realizing I was doing it.

Still working on my Organization Station. I need to clean out the drawers in the little table. And I found a plastic folder thing that has come in handy for keeping my desk clean of loose papers. Pictures to follow one of these days. ;)

How do you find balance?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ready for school

My daughter starts school again tomorrow. Her second year of Kindergarten already. Wow! Where has the time gone? Summer disappeared so quickly. 

None-the-less, I'm ready. :) Today I printed up three routines for her - Before Bed, Morning and After School. Hopefully this will make things easier. She is almost 5 and can do a lot for herself, but I feel like the nagging mother, having to make sure she's done all the things she has to do, rather than her just doing it. Wouldn't it be nice to just say "welcome home" and she would know what to do? Or "time to get ready for bed" and everything would be done in speedy fashion? Some day......

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Organization Station is in the formation stage

Trying to work on some organizing. :) I must say it's a passion of mine - being organized. I would love it if my whole world felt in order (at least most of the time) but I'm not quite there yet. I have to admit that I'm a Born-Organized (BO) person but the lack of Domestic Knowledge has caused my BO-ness to be Sidetracked Diva-ness (SD). I get so wrapped up in the researching of how to do things that I don't get anything accomplished.

However, after finding FlyLady and learning some of her skills and ideas, I am doing much better. I actually have time for some SD-ness but am keeping my house in pretty good shape. I'm coming up with some new ideas and having time to do my hobby (knitting) too. How wonderful!

The latest idea is the Organization Station. It's a new concept I'm working on but I'm excited about it. It came to me last night after Hubby said he thought our daughter's swimming started next Saturday instead of today. I had the calendar posted on the wall by my desk with the swim schedule marked on but I guess Hubby didn't look too closely. I've got a skinny wall in our main floor that will now be the Organization Station. I moved the calendar to that wall. I've labelled all our coloured pens with our names on. There's a little two-drawer table there that will soon hold the Domestic Diva's Home Manual (more on that another day) and anything else I think we need to make our home run smoothly. Hubby even checked the calendar since I've moved it. ;) Maybe this is working....

Friday, September 2, 2011

More on Menus

So, a friend has asked how I have been able to shop without a menu plan. Well, honestly, I didn't know I needed one. Growing up, my mother always went grocery shopping on Saturday mornings by herself. Daddy was stuck with us kids while she was gone for hours. I recall her sitting down with all the grocery flyers, looking at what was on sale and making her list of things to purchase at each store.

I never understood her method. It always seemed like a waste of time and gas to drive all over creation to save a few scents on a couple of items. And I never understood how she knew what she needed for our meals.

For me, planning what to buy always went by what I needed. A lot of our foods require the same ingredients (like pasta sauce, cabbage rolls, stuffed peppers, for example), and those are the things I would constantly pick up. When we would run low on something or use something up, I would add it to my list and be sure to get it when I went shopping. When I found a new recipe to try, I would add the few ingredients I needed on my list. I'd also check through the flyers (of the two stores I shop at) to see what they had on sale that week and add any more items to my list.

Recently though, I've gotten frustrated by the lack of variety in our meals and my constant wondering of what to make. In came the idea of actually menu planning. Still haven't gotten as exact as a lot of you, but I'm working on it. I try to pick meals according to the weather (i.e. too hot to turn on the oven), what we've got going on during the day and in the evenings (i.e. I'm going to be gone all day), and what meat we've eaten last (i.e. we had chicken on Thursday, so beef on Friday would be a good choice). Also, I try to pick things I know we'll all eat or have some leftovers that the kids can eat with things that only Hubby and I like.

So I'm trying to pick a little bit ahead but it's still hard. Sometimes I just want to pick that night. lol Guess I'm stubborn like that. ;) The battle with my nemesis continues....

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oi! Menus....

Menus - I think it may be my nemesis. I love being organized but I can't stand deciding what to have for supper. And there is no sense asking the rest of the people around here. The answer always seems to be: "I don't know", "Whatever", "Food". Oh, those answers are all so helpful! Right! [insert eye-rolling here]

So what do I do? I thought I would start by listing all the meals we usually eat for supper, along with whatever side dishes came to me. Then I started a table in a Word Document, breaking the list up into: Beef, Pork, Chicken, Other, Sides. Today, as I was perusing blogs, I printed off some new recipes to try and added them to my Meal Ideas list. I also put in notes as to how to cook all the different dishes (crock pot, oven, stove top, etc.).

Hopefully I'll be able to decide better what to make. I know with my regular meals, I have a most of the ingredients on hand. The new stuff I picked is often similar and I'll have to pick up a few things. It's just the knowing what to make.

Domestic Diva: Getting back into things this Fall

Summer has been a great time of leisure but as Fall approaches my life gets busy. Hubby is at work again, my daughter is back in school, and my son and I are left at home to our own devices. What is the one thing that keeps me going and organized? ROUTINES!!

I am by no means a “morning person.” I don’t want to get out of bed. I don’t want to have to get things done early. So, with the help of “FlyLady” these last few years, I have been working away at developing routines to help me get things done and not be rushed or have to get up early.

I’ve developed a before-bed routine that includes making sure the coffee is set, laying out clothes for the morning, and checking the calendar for the next day’s events. My morning routine is getting the kids dressed and fed, packing a lunch and school bag for my daughter, and getting myself completely ready for the day. My afternoon routine is where I get all my housework done like a quick clean of the bathrooms, a sweep of the main floor, Zone (specific room) work for the day, and a break for myself.

The idea of Routines is to do things the same way frequently enough so that you can do it all without thinking and a big cleaning job is never needed. My house stays clean and tidy by doing a little each day. It’s about progress, not perfection.

For more on “FlyLady”, check out her website:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Domestic Diva: Introduction

Thought I would start a blog to share my domestic tips and ideas that I find along the way as I journey to Domestic Diva-hood.

I'm also writing articles for newsletters that the Women's Ministries group at Church publishes. Think those will be a good start for here too. Enjoy!