Monday, November 30, 2009

Organization Challenge Week 3

How did last week's challenge go for you? Did you get your schedule all planned out for the month? I don't have meals planned out for the month, but I did get out my planner and write down all of our appointments and commitments.

I also found a really cute 2010 planner at a local book store. If you're going to have to look at it every day for a year, you might as well get a cute one right? :) Mine is just like this one only smaller so it will fit in my purse. I love that it has a place for phone numbers and note pages in the back. It also has a couple of small pockets that I will probably use for things like receipts or grocery lists.

This week's challenge is to Organize your Cleaning Schedule.

The goals for the week are:
Make a list of all the chores that need to be done around your house. I have mine on note cards which you can read about here. Break them down into weekly, monthly and seasonal. It's a good idea to share this list with your family (and hopefully get them involved). Most husbands and children have no idea how much work is involved in cleaning a home.

Look at your weekly schedule and decide what days are going to be heavy cleaning days and what days are going to be maintenance. Lately I have been dividing my cleaning days into "wet chores" such as bathrooms and mopping and "dry chores" such as dusting and vacuuming. Laundry gets done everyday around here (yes, I even did laundry on Thanksgiving).

Take 20 or 30 minutes each day to straighten the house and do a quick "swipe" of the bathrooms. This will keep things from getting totally out of control. You can find a great daily checklist here. You might also want to read how to fake a clean house. It could come in handy if you have last minute guests.

Stay organized
Get to bed on time and try to write in your journal (week 1).
Check you planner daily and remember to write things down on your to-do list to save yourself the stress of trying to remember everything (week 2).

Find week 2: Organize Your Schedule here
Week 1: Organize Your Mind here.

If any of you are organizing along with me I would love to hear how it's going for you! Remember, this is a process and we don't have to get organized all at once! In fact, I'm pretty sure that's impossible. :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families! I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday in some ways...maybe because I like to cook and then lap up all the compliments. :)

I got my early Christmas present of The Pioneer Woman Cooks in the mail Friday (ordered from and tonight I made the chicken potpie recipe, except with leftover turkey. Everyone liked it and I don't have to feel bad about wasting all those good leftovers. I think this is the first year that I've had enough leftovers to actually make more than a couple of turkey sandwiches. Maybe everyone was too distracted by all the side dishes and pies to eat much turkey.

What do you do with your leftover turkey if you have any?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, Cooked Turkey
Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you. I'm so very blessed to have the sweetest, most encouraging readers anywhere on the internet. Thank you for taking the time to visit with me! You make blogging so much fun.

"I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Southern Pecan Pie

I originally posted this recipe last year. I will be making it for our Thanksgiving dinner again. We all love it! What sort of desserts are you making for Thanksgiving?

1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup pecan halves or pieces

In a bowl, slightly beat eggs and sugar, corn syrup, evaporated milk and vanilla. Blend well. Add pecans. (I usually save about half the pecans to arrange on top.)

Pour into unbaked 9" pie shell (You can find my pie crust recipe here). Bake in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 to 40 minutes or until filling is puffed in center and is well browned. Let pie cook before cutting. I probably could have let mine brown another 5 minutes or so, but it tasted just fine. :)

Paula Deen's Bourbon Pecan Pie is wonderful too. Why not have 2 pecan pies? :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Organization Challenge Week 2


How did last week's challenge go for everyone? Did you do everything on the list? I struggled the most with getting to bed on time. Last week was very busy for us and by the weekend I was completely exhausted. I'm going to continue to work on it this week and it should be easier because we have several days off from work and school and my mom is hosting our Thanksgiving Dinner. All I have to do is bake a few pies, which I love to do anyway.

This week's challenge is to Organize Your Schedule. As the author of Organize Now (my inspiration for this series) says:
Each day we are given the gift of time. By choosing to spend it wisely and efficiently, you will reduce stress, spend more time on the things you want to do, feel more fulfilled at the end of the day and enjoy a more balanced life."

This week's goals are:

Buy a daily planner to use for both work/school/volunteer activities and personal activities. This is the perfect time of year to find one almost anywhere. I have found that a purse size works best for me. Of course, you can always use an online calendar/organizer like Cozi or Springpad, just make sure that your computer is easily accessible throughout the day if you choose this option.

Sit down with your family and plan the next month. Plan meals, divide errands, schedule Christmas activities, write down when your library books are due, etc. By the way, you'll find great menu planning help here if you need a refresher.

Gather your to do lists and create a master list for your planner. Divide the list into daily, weekly, and future tasks. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day and break larger tasks down into smaller goals.

Go ahead and schedule next year's dentist and doctor appointments (vet appointments too if you have a pet). Early morning or first thing after lunch are the best times to get. You're less likely to be delayed. I try to get us all in on one day if possible. Might as well spend one whole morning in the dentists office and get it over with instead of one at a time over the course of weeks.

Be sure and leave room for "downtime". You need it and so do your children.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Childhood Favorite

Children Laugh as They Lay in Wrapping Paper from Christmas Presents

I have had so much fun reading about your favorite gifts to give! You are all so thoughtful and creative!

While we're on the subject of Christmas gifts, I would like to know what was your favorite or most memorable gift that you received as a child?

I have to say that mine was the year I got a horse (I do live in Texas after all). We lived on a farm and after opening all the presents under the tree I was a little disappointed. My brother had opened several gifts and all I had was some candy in my stocking and a book. I didn't say a word though. I remember thinking that I didn't want to make my parents think I was ungrateful. Then my mother called me to come out to the front yard. There was my step-dad with a beautiful horse with a bow in her mane. I was thrilled to pieces!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's Your Favorite Gift to Give?

Christmas Presents under Tree
Christmas Presents under Tree

I'm always looking for new and different gift ideas. What is your favorite gift to give? Do you have a "signature gift"? Do you go for practical or luxurious? I've known people who buy multiples of scented candles or a particular book that they give to everyone from their children's teachers to Grandma. I love scented candles and have thought about getting lots of them to give away this year. These smell really good and are on sale for $5 this week in the Bath and Body stores. I also saw these in a magazine recently and thought they looked like a good idea for the gals on my list.

I would also love to know if you do your shopping online and what sort of experiences you have had with it. I hear there are supposed to be lots of "Cyber Monday" deals this year, but I've never done much shopping online.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Organizing the Pantry

Photo courtesy of Country Living.

I have been organizing my pantry this week and I am loving it! Mine doesn't look nearly as cute as this one, but at least I can find everything now and I'm not in danger of something falling out on my head. :)

As soon as I get more than 5 minutes to sit at the computer I'll post some pictures and details of what I did. I'm seriously thinking of looking for a door like the one in the picture for my pantry. Of course that would mean I would have to keep the pantry organized at all times! I guess that would be good motivation wouldn't it?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

For Your Thanksgiving Table

The girls made these cute little candle holders in GAs for our Thanksgiving table a few years ago. They are just little terracotta pots and saucers glued together, painted and decorated. If your kids are interested in making a Thanksgiving craft, these are really easy and cute too! :)

In other news, I'm getting my pantry organized today and supper is already in the crockpot (it's a roast this time)! I've been inspired by a friend's pantry that is super organized with everything labeled. It's already looking so much better! I love it!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Crockpot Chicken with mushroom gravy

*Update below*
I'm trying a new slow cooker recipe today that I got from a friend at church. This will be the first time for me to try it. It sounds so good and easy. I'll let you know how it tastes. I think I'll serve it over noodles or rice.

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth (not both)
1 can cream of chicken soup
4 oz. can of sliced mushrooms, drained

Place chicken in slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper' Combine wine and soup. Pour over chicken and top with mushrooms. Cover and cook on low 7 to 9 hours.

*I served it over egg noodles and Mike and the kids loved it! This will definitely go into the regular rotation.