let's do a quick summer clean up

It's practically the weekend.  Go out to where you store you Summer gear.  Coolers, tents, sleeping bags, camping stoves, bike bags, outdoor games, bikes, bike racks and take a quick inventory.  Does everything work?  No, fix it or toss it.  Call Veterans Pick-Up and they will come to your home and take away your stuff.  Clean it.  Did you leave a cooler dirty.  Spray it with an all-purpose cleaner, let it sit for 15 minutes and wipe it clean.  I always leave a few paper towels in my coolers to absorb any unwanted moisture.  Bikes.  Do they all work?  Take them in to get them fixed.  Bike racks, ski racks, rocket boxes . . . is everything in working order?  You get the point.  If your gear needs LOVE, or to be tossed do it.  And if you find something needs to be replaced, woo hoo another Christmas present to buy.

pick one

Today is the day you will pick one junk drawer in your home.  Turn on some music, pull EVERYTHING out of the drawer.  Yes, I mean EVERYTHING, even if it's something you plan on leaving in that drawer take it out.  Once everything is out, spray the drawer, wipe down the drawer.  Now . . . take a deep breath . . . put back ONLY what you need in that drawer.  Put the other stuff where it should go in your home and throw everything else away.  Next up . . . another drawer.

where's the plug-in

In our world today, everything has to be charged!  Keep a surge protector handy and you can charge everything at once.  If you think you need it, travel with a surge protector so you can easily get your charging done on the plane, at restaurants, the spa, doctors office, anywhere.  David, Ian and a few friends rode their bikes from Portland to Canada a few years ago.  I told them to take a surge protector so they could easily charge their phones at camp sites and other areas.  They said it was the best thing besides bike shorts on their trip.  ;)

refrigerator toothbrush

My husband is known for purchasing a lot of books and phone chargers.  No he doesn't read a lot or give away free phone chargers.  He leaves books in the back of airplane seat pockets and leaves phone chargers scattered around the globe.  A few weeks ago David had to travel with his Multiple Sclerosis medicine because he was gone over the weekend.  He takes a weekly injection on Saturdays. We both knew this was risky, his track isn't great.  He called before he went to bed the first night of his trip and after a while he said, "I'm not sure how to remember my meds (which have to be stored in the refrigerator) when I leave this hotel."  He still had a few days before he was scheduled to take them.  I said, "Put your toothbrush in the refrigerator with your meds.  In the morning when you go to brush your teeth you will have to get your toothbrush out of the refrigerator and you can get your meds at the same time."  This worked perfectly.

wrapping paper

I went to pick up xmas wrapping paper yesterday.  I know it seems really early, but I feel like the holidays are going to come at me fast.  Plus I want to start shipping gifts off to family and friends.  And I wanted to buy 'Santa' wrapping paper.  The point of this post is wrapping paper lengths.  Read the labels!  As I was digging through the bins picking out my favorite patterns I was paying attention to pricing.  All the rolls were priced the same $5.99, but some rolls had 2 yards while others had 6 yards.  :)

party season . . .

Guests at your house . . .

  1. Use an aromatic cleaner (pledge, windex, method . . . ) to clean the area around your front door before your guests arrive.  They will think they are entering a very clean house, even if they aren't.
  2. Light a candle in the bathroom.
  3. Simmer some apple juice with cinnamon sticks on the stove.  Toss some oranges and lemons in there too if you have them.
  4. Double or triple line your garbage and recycling cans with trash bags.

XO

don't hold onto it . . .

Don't hold onto things you aren't using.  Please, please, please pass your extras along to someone in greater need.  It's just stuff folks and most likely someone else doesn't have those extras you are hanging onto because you "may" need them someday.  Here are things you should pass along or donate . . .

  1. Extra bedding.  Lots of people don't have a warm place to sleep during the winter months please share your extra sheets, pillows and blankets with those in needs.
  2. Kitchen utensils.  So many folks are getting out on their own and could use your extras . . . utensils, mixing bowls, dishes . . . donate your extra stuff.
  3. Clothing . . . if you haven't worn it in the last year pass it on.
  4. Furniture.  A cluttered home is a messing home.  You do not need six end tables, even if they all have meaning, it's just stuff pass it on.

Have fun donating your stuff.  And remember the Veterans will pick it up on your door step in most locations.

Decorations . . .

So you put all your Halloween stuff away (or you should have)!  And now it's time to think about Turkey.  It's exactly two weeks away so get planning.

  1. Where are you eating?
  2. Are you a guest?  Do you have a hostess gift?
  3. How many are eating?
  4. What are you cooking?
  5. Will you have place cards?
  6. Do you have enough dishes?  Silverware?  Cups?
  7. Is everyone getting their favorite food?
  8. Do you have enough booze?
  9. What is your before dinner plan?  Movie?  Walk?  Shopping?
  10. What is your after dinner plan?  Movie?  Walk?  Football?
  11. What am I missing?

P.S.  I cannot answer any of these questions.  :)  What I do know is we will have Thanksgiving and it will taste good.

fall wardrobe swap . . .

It's time to find everyone's hats, boots, scarves, jackets, etc for the winter.  Check to see that everything fits everyone so you are ready for the chilly days ahead.  If you are feeling crazy, get your nice winter coats laundered and wash your jackets in the machine.  SIDE NOTE: Use the cold cycle and skip the detergent, it's good to run your machine without it, there is always leftover suds in the machine and running a cycle without soap gives the machine a chance to get rid of old suds.  Then dry your jackets (60-70 minutes, if you have a full load) with a few tennis balls in the dryer to put the fluff back into your coats. Can I say, it drives me nuts to see dirty jackets . . . especially the ones with makeup on the collars.  Come on ladies, wash your jackets!  We all know you wear make-up, but let's keep on your face.  And let's keep our kids jackets clean too.  Washing them will NOT ruin them, I promise.

XO

getting your yard ready for fall . . .

BULBS:  It's time to purchase your flower bulbs for the fall.  This is not my program, but now that I have hit age 41, I have kids, I'm kinda a soccer mom, isn't this my calling?  Probably not.  But I'm gonna try it anyway.  I'm going to attempt to fill our yard with color. LAWN:  If you have not replaced your lawn within the past year it is time to aerate and re-seed your lawn.  I have no idea how to do this, but I'm gonna give this a shot too.  Well kinda, I printed out four pages of HOW TO DO IT, and I'm going to give it to Ian, David and Teddy for chores.  It should be done this weekend.  ;)

SPRINKLERS:  If you have them, you need to get them serviced for the fall.  This requires getting all the water blown out of them to avoid freezing and breakage over the winter.

Happy Fall!

mattress . . . .

Tonight is the night!  Well go ahead and do that too if you want, but I was thinking about flipping and rotating your mattress.  And while you are at it, send your dust ruffle to the dry cleaner.  Yes, I said the dry cleaner.  Don't roll your eyes, when you pull that dust ruffle out of the dryer and it's wrinkled you will be coming for my head.  But, if you simply drop it off at the dry cleaner you will be thanking me. XO

another thing for your car . . .

Store a permanent marker somewhere in your car.  Yesterday Teddy took a soccer ball to soccer, four other kids had the same ball.  So I whipped out my sharpie from the car and he wrote his name on the ball.  It was important no one accidentally took his ball, it had a bunch of teeth marks from the dogs and a slow leak. You can also use the permanent marker to write your child's name on a jacket, lunch box, backpack, whatever.  Or you can leave a note on someone's car and the ink won't run on the paper.  There are lots of times when a permanent marker just might come in handy!  So keep one in your car.

XO

a disposable cup . . .

Ladies and gentlemen - Keep a stack of these babies in your car and you will think how did I EVER live without.  Here's why?

  1. Your kids are hungry.  If you buy individual packs of pretzels or peanuts it will cost you $10.  If you buy one huge bag, divide the contents into the cups you keep in your car, you saved yourself $8.  And the possibly of a HUGE spill from passing the big bag around is gone.
  2. Your kids are thirsty.  I always have water in the car, but it's a huge jug.  Not a kid friendly jug.  I pull out one of my disposable cups, and share my water!
  3. You find a drinking fountain that barely works, you got cups handy.  Fill those babies up.
  4. You stop for ice cream.  You decide to hop in the car before everyone has finished their cone.  The kid in the third row says they don't want anymore (oh and I failed to mention it's 95 degrees out).  Throw the cone in the cup, zero mess!
  5. You run out of windshield wiper cleaner on a road trip.  You buy a jug at the gas station.  You can easily pour it in with your cup.
  6. You go to the beach and don't have the perfect sand castle building set.  No worries, you got something better, you have cups!  Go ahead and drink the ocean water kids, cuz mom brought cups!

I am sure there are a lot of other uses for keeping disposal cups in your car.  If you think of something fantastic please share!

XO

me . . .

Yes, I am pretty organized . . . BUT NOT ALWAYS.  I had a friend rejoicing because I screwed up on an evite to her party.  It was an adult only party and I RSVP'd for the six of us.  I didn't read the evite, I just figured since they have four kids it would be a kid friendly party.  I had to scrambled to find a sitter, I found a sitter and we went to the party.  Last week Teddy had a party at school and the point of the party was to drop off school supplies.  I didn't read that part.  I just skimmed the headline, put it in my datebook and made sure either David or I could take him.  Yesterday, I had to get two kids to a doctor appointment and another one to his internship at the same time.  I didn't schedule that one well either.  David had to skip a meeting to help me.  So to all you friends who think I have this thing called "LIFE" buttoned down, streamlined, perfectly organized . . . I DO NOT.  I am outnumbered right now, four kids and one of me isn't really so streamlined.  But you know what it's still summer, I don't set aside twenty free minutes without kids to make a phone call or check my calendar or make sure I perfectly have this or that day schedule.  And I don't really care.  It's all getting done, it's just getting done on MY summer schedule. Oh and for the record, yes this is driving me nuts!  Nuts!  But for those of us with a little bit of 'control freak' in us it's good.  It's good for me to get things wrong, even though I loathe it!  It's good for me to not have everything under control.  It's good, because you know what in the big scheme of things, it just don't matter if I RSVP to something wrong, at least I RSVP'd.  If I don't drop off Teddy's school supplies two weeks before school starts, if David has to miss a meeting (well that one isn't great) . . . . it A-L-L still works out.

As some of you may know or figured out, we lost our baby back in May.  Yes, it was a horrible experience, I was four months along.  For those of you who have been through this, my deepest apologies to you, your body, your head and your families.  This was a tough nut to crack.  I had to carry the baby around in my body knowing she was deceased and put on a smiley face for our children until I could have the dreaded D and C (Dilation and Curettage Procedure) in the morning.  It was unpleasant when the anesthesiologist walked in to confirm they were performing an abortion on me.  It was awful to be pregnant, then pregnant with a dead baby and then not pregnant all in 24 hours.  How does your head catch up?  Slowly.  We have a very small pink urn on our mantle.  There isn't much left after a D and C and the size of a four month fetus isn't big (the size of an avocado), but I thought we should have her cremated and keep the ashes.  I now have a collection, my grandfather, my mother and our baby that didn't make it.  Sad.  Wow, I didn't think this post was going to go this way, but it did so I'm going with it.  I learned a lot from loosing our daughter, I can't control everything.  And although it's rewarding, powerful and calming for me to be right, be organized, it's OK if I'm not.  It's just OK.  It will all get done.

When we lost the baby I had to deal.  I had to get my head on straight and quick.  I had the D and C on a Tuesday and Teddy celebrated his 5th birthday that Saturday.  I still had a huge belly with no baby in it and we had to host a 50 person party.  David sent out an email to our guests begging them not to discuss the issue with me.  Most people followed our request, I understand that some just couldn't and wanted to give me a huge for me and possibly for themselves.  I learned a sense of calmness from this experience, a sense of acceptance and a feeling that life is a journey good and bad.  Loosing our baby was awful, but I am a calmer person for it.  I swear that baby girl left a very calm spirit inside me.  Yes, this sounds very 'WOO WOO and crazy', but it's true.  Yes, I still loose my cool from time to time, I'm Italian for f's sake.  I can't control everything, I can't have everything organized and that is a nice feeling because controlling everything and getting everything right is a VERY big job.  I have other things to do.

XO

P.S.  This post is really tripping me out.  All of this just rolled out of me and today is my Birthday.  It was out of my 'control.'  Happy Thursday to you and to me!

organizing . . .

My whole blog is about little tips to organize your life, kids and yourself.  Here are a few things I do around our house to keep things easy.

  1. I keep tons of toilet paper on hand.  And I am constantly restocking bathrooms.
  2. I keep a pair of scissors and a measuring tape on each floor.  Laundry room (basement), 2nd floor in our bedroom (in my dresser) and in the junk drawer in the kitchen.
  3. I keep an all purpose cleaner on each floor.
  4. I have a spot for missing socks in the laundry room.
  5. I have a drawer in the kitchen for kitchen towels.  Instead of kitchen towels I use white wash clothes.  I like the size.  I like the fact that I can bleach them.  They are cheap (IKEA in the kids section).  And they are very absorbent.
  6. Every night before I go to bed, I clean up the house.  This is NOT a full cleaning, I just make sure everything is put away.

Those are just a few of our tricks.  XO