Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Get It Together

I love to organize. You may take one look at my house and think otherwise but really....I love to do it! How do you break into the professional organizer business anyway?

These past couple of weeks I've been working on a home management binder to help me keep track of important, day to day tasks. I have seen examples of home management, also called home keeping, binders and my first thought was WOW. These people are NUTSO! Some women had huge binders with categories for everything from cleaning schedules to ovulation charts! But the idea stuck with me and I realized that I could create a binder for my family that wasn't fussy and ultra functional. Here's how I broke it down:

  • Important Numbers-These are frequently used numbers that I always have to look up on the internet if ever I need to call them. My list includes police, fire, poison control, my children's schools, doctors, dentists, my husband's work numbers and the local pizza place.
  • Birthdays and Anniversaries-I am good at remembering the months of these occasions....just not the day! So instead of calling my mother-in-law or my mom for the umpteenth time, I emailed everyone and created a chart with room to grow. I printed it out and BAM! Never an excuse to forget to mail that card on time!
  • Calenders-I included both of my children's school calendars as well as my husband's work calendar. It's easier to make plans when I can see what everyone is doing all at the same time!
  • Finance-This is my favorite tab. I have never been very organized when it comes to money. Can you believe I haven't actually balanced our checkbook in years?? I have tried using various computer programs to keep track but I never got in the habit of using them. I like to write things down. I included a register to keep track of purchases and watch our balance, and a list of automatic debits so I know when they will be taking money from my account. I also created a tax worksheet to keep track of our out of pocket medical expenses, car registration fees, and charitable donations.
  • Contacts-This one is pretty self explanatory. Putting my address book with all the other paperwork just makes things easier for me.
  • Meals and Nutrition-This is where I keep my list of my family's 21 favorite meals, along with my weekly meal planning sheets. I used to just write my meal plans on scrap paper but I'm hoping to keep them all in the binder and when I'm absolutely stuck I can just pull out an old plan and use it. Also, I find it helpful to track my food from time to time and this is the space where I'll keep my food journal.
The binder was incredibly easy to put together and I love that I have all the necessary paperwork in one place instead of stashed in drawers and piled on counter tops and desks. I like that that the binder can grow and change with my family's needs by adding or subtracting categories. I am fully aware that the "greener" option would be to digitize all of this information but  a)I spend enough time on the computer already and b) I wouldn't keep up with it! I like to write. It's cathartic. It makes me feel in control. Entering things into a computer program just isn't the same. This works for me and makes my life so much simpler!

Do you have a home management binder? If not, how do you keep the papers from piling up?


Thursday, August 23, 2012

That's Just Peachy

As summer draws to close, I've been scrambling to eat as much summer fruit as I can get my hand on. Cherries, peaches, plums and apricots....oh how I will miss you! A few weeks pack I hit up an amazing sale and bought 10 pounds of peaches for 59 cents a pound. I blanched, peeled and chopped them and stuck them in the freezer until I had time to do something with them.
Today, my son and I made peach jam with half of my frozen peaches. The other half will be dried into fruit leather I think. I am out of jam and actually had to buy (gasp!) jam at the store. When my children declared that the store bought jam "tastes weird," I knew I couldn't let my jam stores run dry again. And so, with minimal work and just a little bit of our afternoon, we have nine jars of summer-y goodness waiting to be eaten. Delicious!

Licking the jam spoon


Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. School is starting (my son started pre K this morning!) and with that comes the end of my long, leisurely mornings where I had all the time in the world to make breakfast for my children. My daughter starts first grade this year and will be in school from 7:45 until 4:15. Not only I am responsible for packing a healthy, nourishing lunch and two snacks each day, I have to make sure she has a hearty breakfast to provide her with the energy and nutrients her little brain will need to concentrate in the classroom.
J's first day of preschool
Being the huge fan of sleep that I am, I don't forsee myself getting up early and preparing a morning feast. I have to get up early enough thankyouverymuch! To make sure my poor kids aren't eating cold cereal every day (even though they'd probably like that!) I have been doubling my recipes and freezing the extras for busy school mornings. Making sure my kids have a good, real food breakfast, along with eating momma made lunches and snacks, makes me feel a little better about the onslaught of the not so good for them snacks that may get doled out at school.

So far, my breakfast freezer arsenal contains:
  • whole wheat waffles-served with peanut butter, real maple syrup, or summer solstice jam that didn't set and therefore is being used as syrup :)
  • whole wheat banana pancakes-served with same as above
  • whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins-served with fruit and almond milk yogurt
  • carrot and zucchini mufffins-served with same as above
  • bacon-cook it, cool it, wrap it in wax paper and done! Served with eggs and toast.
That's a LOT of waffles Momma!
Building your own breakfast arsenal isn't that hard. Double EVERYTHING! It is much less expensive than buying packaged breakfast foods, and it cuts back on waste as well. You control the ingredients. And most importantly, you might even get a few extra minutes of sleep!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

So Sweet

I'm baaaaack! I told you I would be. July was a supremely BAD month for me and my family. And though everything is still a little....off....things are slowly getting better. There will be many challenges ahead but I think we're past the worst of it. I hope!


All the stress from the previous month has taken a toll on my body. I've been suffering from insomnia. My hair is falling out in handfuls. And my skin....oh heavens. My skin. My skin is behaving like the worst of teenagers. I have struggled with acne for quite some time now. Getting pregnant and having babies did something to my hormones and I don't think they've ever quite rebalanced themselves. Cleaning up my diet helped a LOT. Using more natural products and make up helped too. But still, especially when my day to day is topsy turvy, I experience large, tender, swollen cysts on my chin. I can feel them coming and they stick around for weeks!

As I was complaining (for the 876th time) to my mother about my complexion woes, she mentioned that she had been using honey to heal up a recent stress induced breakout of her own. She claimed her nightly honey mask not only took down the swelling and redness, but it was actually helping to heal the blemishes. And on top that, her skin was less oily, more glowy and just better all around.

This is not the first time I've heard of using honey to care for your face. A while back, one of my favorite natural beauty bloggers, Crunchy Betty, preached about the wonders of honey and even went so far as to challenge her readers to wash their faces with honey and only honey for two weeks. I figured I had nothing to lose. Honey is antibacterial, antiseptic and a humectant. All good things. So I went to the cupboard, pulled out the honey, and smeared it all over my face.

I've used nothing but honey, morning and night, for four days now and here's what I've noticed:

1. My have-their-own-zip code cysts have shrunk significantly, to the point where they are no longer painful. And the marks from previous blemishes seem to be fading.

2. My face is significantly less oily during the day. I'm not shiny ten minutes after washing!

3. My skin looks....glowy. Brighter. I could be imagining it but I really feel it looks less dull.

This is the honey I have been using.

So what are you waiting for? What have you got lose? Go put some food on your face! If you do decide to wash with honey, make sure you are using raw, unpasteurized honey. If it's got floaty bits in it all the better. Your typical honey bear honey has been heated (pasteurized) and all the good stuff has been cooked out.

Here's to naturally beautiful skin!