Sunday, February 28, 2010

28 Day Challenge - Small Space Before & After (Part II)

1:18 PM 4 Comments
Wow, I didn't think I was going to get the chance to do it, but I got my second small space done today! My bathroom isn't totally finished yet, but I am thrilled to present you with the before and after photos of my bathroom drawers/cabinet.

Under Cabinet - Before
This is the cabinet before I did any cleaning/organizing in there. It looked like someone just opened the door and started throwing stuff in.

Unbelievably, this is everything that was under the cabinet. Seriously. It amazed even me and it's my cabinet.

Cabinet - After
This is the cabinet afterward. Yes, there's almost as much under there, but now it's all put in neatly and I know precisely where/what everything is. Like items (cleaners, extra bottles of bodywash/shampoo, etc) are with like items and now I can reach right in and find just what I'm looking for.

Lower Drawer - Before
This is the lower drawer before I tackled it. As you can see, again, things were just tossed in there and we could never find anything.

Lower Drawer - After
This is that same drawer after. There's a ton less stuff in there. Some of the items (like extra shampoo and nail polish remover) are now under the sink in the cabinet portion. Other stuff is just gone! Now, I have my face cleaner, extra razor blades, thermometers, bandaids and spare toothbrushes stored in there. This drawer doesn't have even half of what it had before in it.

Upper Drawer - Before
This is the top drawer before I touched it. It's also our kitten, Mittens and my toes. Hello toes! As you can see, it was shove full of all sorts of stuff.

Upper Drawer - After
Yes, this is that same drawer after. I got rid of all expired medicines and a ton of sample sized bottles of things. In the lower drawer, I have one ziplock bag with sample sized items for when I travel. I also had empty bottles in this top drawer. I have no idea why. They're gone now.

Now, for the questions!

1. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and were you able to overcome it?

- The hardest part was honestly just taking the time to do it. I'm a master declutterer but I was using all sorts of excuses for not going in there and doing it. I think it only took 20 minutes once I went in. Looking at the photos, I think I succeeded!

2. Tell us what kind of changes/habits you have put into place in order for your area/room to maintain its new order?

- Like with like. I've known this rule forever and it's one that I've always practiced. I'm honestly not sure why, when I originally unpacked this room, I didn't put it into practice. I also got rid of a bunch of stuff that was either expired, empty or we just no longer needed. Less stuff means less clutter.

3. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?

- It went to one of three places: Freecycle (extra samples and usable items), the trash or the recycle bin.

4. What creative storage solutions were you able to introduce in order to create additional space as well as establish some limits and boundaries?

- Hmm..I really don't think I did anything really creative in this space. Then again, I don't think it needed it either. It really only needed to be gone through, sorted and either purged or put away. I didn't need additional space, I needed less stuff.

5. Why do you think you should win this challenge?

- Well, I don't know if I should but I sure would like to. I'm honestly just thrilled that my space is more functional and that I can now reach in and put my hands on whatever it is that we need. Really, that is a huge reward that and the feeling of peace I feel whenever I open one of those drawers. Now, if someone wanted to give me a prize for found peace, I certainly wouldn't complain!


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Save the Planet Saturday

12:00 AM 0 Comments
It's nearly midnight and your family is all tucked into bed and dreaming sweet dreams of when all of the snow is gone and you no longer have to shovel. Ok, maybe that's just what I dream about. Maybe you guys dream of much more enjoyable things. I sure hope so!

Now, you know where you are. You know where your kids are and what they're doing. Do you know what your vents are doing? They're gathering dust! I know! How dare they?!? Well, they are. Those sweet little vents are collecting dust and debris. Do you know what dust and debris do? They block the maximum airflow of those very vents that we adore. Ok, maybe we don't adore them but we do want them to work to their full potential, right? How do we do this? We spend some time dusting or vacuuming those vents. This will help our heating (and cooling) systems work easier and for shorter periods of time. What does that do? It helps them last longer and lowers our energy bills!


Friday, February 26, 2010


10:13 PM 0 Comments

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Cryo-Cell International. All opinions are 100% mine.

As all of you know, I'm a big fan of companies that do thing to help out people in need. Cryo-Cell International has decided for the entire month of February (yes, I know..all few remaining days left) they will donate $25 from each enrollment to the “Save the Children: Haiti Relief Fund”.

Since 1992, Cryo-Cell has been helping families preserve the umbilical cord blood from their newborns. Cord blood, or umbilical cord blood, is blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta at the time of birth. In the past, this blood was discarded after delivery. But once scientists discovered it was a rich source of stem cells, umbilical cord blood became a viable substitute to bone marrow in thousands of successful transplants. Cells taken from your newborn are a perfect match for your baby for his or her lifetime. Along with cord blood banking, Cryo-Cell Cord Blood Bank is pioneering the way in research, to find more solutions to preserve stem cells in a noncontroversial way.

I know that stem cells is a touchy subject with a lot of people. However, as the parent of a child with Cerebral Palsy, I do wish that I had known about having cord blood banked. I wouldn't have hesitated to use it to try to help Ben. Unfortunately, I wasn't aware that this was a possibility. I want to encourage all of you, whether you're pregnant or planning on having another child, to look into Cryo-Cell to see if it's a good option for you and your family. If you do decide it's something that you want to do, don't hesitate to enroll now.


Visit my sponsor: Hope for Haiti - Save the Children

Finish It Friday

9:09 PM 1 Comments
Wow, I'm not getting to write this until Friday is nearly finished. I had planned on writing it this morning but had to go into Hastings a few hours earlier than I had planned. Thank goodness Peter texted me and told me that the kids didn't end up having school today. I'm glad that he did because the roads between here and there weren't great and if I'd waited until regular time, they would have been absolutely miserable.

Donna was great and had the boys all ready for us to go when I got there. She's actually really good about that. She seems nice. I haven't gotten to know her super well. I sometimes get the feeling that she's not comfortable being friendly with me. I dunno. Maybe someday we'll all be friends. It would be best for the boys plus it never hurts to have friends, right?

So, the boys and I ran out to Walmart and got what we needed there and then tried to hurry through the grocery store. That didn't quite go as quickly as I'd have liked but we got through pretty quick. The drive back was pretty tense because the roads were just getting worse and worse and I think I've become a bit paranoid about driving the van. I was sure glad when we got back into the driveway. I'm also glad that I spent all that time shoveling over the past two days. Even with all the snow coming down, we pulled right back into the driveway and because of the path I'd shoveled out, we pretty easily got all of the groceries inside and put away.

What did I finish? Well, I'm counting that stressful drive. My other goal is to finish having the tension headache that it gave me. I've popped a couple of tylenol and I'm just waiting for them to kick in. Since it's so late in the day, I'm not going to give you guys an organizing mission. Enjoy your snowday!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

28 Day Challenge - Day 25 (Final Photo Update)

12:05 PM 2 Comments
I promised you pictures and I have pictures! I'm sorry for making everyone wait so long but it seems that my body decided it was going to sleep in some this morning. No worries, though. I'm obviously awake now and I have all of the pictures downloaded off of the camera and ready to go right here onto the blog! So, without more of me are the photos!

The Wall - Day 24
Photo #1: From the doorway, looking in on the two desks. The two pieces of paper you see are actually my work space. I do a lot of stamping and this protects the table cloth.

The Wall - Day 24
Photo #2: Welcome to the tech table. As you can see, it holds my pazzles, scanner, stereo and just to the left is my printer. Above the table are two shelves, holding craft supplies and other things that make me smile.

The Wall - Day 24
Photo #3: This is the PC corner. The tote and containers to the left of the desk are holding office supplies and some smaller scrapbooking albums and supplies.

The Wall - Day 24
Photo #4: This is to the left of the desk area. The box on the floor is full of wall hangings. It has my certificates from college, some photos and other hangings. The reason that it's still sitting in the room is that it's too heavy for me to move out! Some of those frames are darned heavy. As I find places for them to be hung, I'll take them from the box. When the box is light enough for me to move, I'll move it out!

The Wall - Day 24
Photo #5: Here you can see my bookshelf, dresser and part of the boys craft table.I just realized I need to tidy up on top of the dresser, but have no fear.. I'll do that as soon as I hit post on this. You can just see the handles of the two baskets that are on the floor in front of the bookshelf. One is holding all of the cables and cords that I found. I still have electronics in a box in the laundry room, but once I"m sure we don't need these, out the door they will go. The containers on top of the paper sorter hold 12x12 papers and the albums on top of the bookshelf are empty and waiting to be filled.

The Wall - Day 24
Photo #6: Another shot of the tech desk area.

The Wall - Day 24
Photo #7: One last look towards my craft table. As you can see, I have my craft bags stored under one end of the table.

And that's it! It's done! I'm so excited! I know there's more purging to come but I am in love with this room right now so I'm going to enjoy it.


Time for Me Thursday

12:00 AM 1 Comments la la la...

No, I have no idea why I'm singing that again. It just seems to get stuck in my head when I see this graphic. I'm just hoping that today turns out to be as warm and happy as this picture. If it snows more, I'm going to scream. I shoveled so much yesterday and I didn't get the entire driveway done. There's still the chunk from the sidewalk down to the street. On the radio they kept mentioning all of these accidents and sheets of ice. Ugh! It doesn't make me look forward to the drive into Hastings, tomorrow. Hopefully even if it's cold, it stays clear so they can get out and clear up these roads.

As for today, I don't have a ton of plans. I'm going to move some stuff so I can get to the laundry room and clean the bathroom. Those are the big plans. Oh and I also need to call FedEx to come out and pick up the broken satellite box. The new one came yesterday and I got it all hooked up and working. Yay, me! I won't say that I don't need a man's help, but you know, it feels good to accomplish things on your own. In the past, I might have waited for some man to help me, but this time, I unhooked the old one and hooked up the new one all by myself. Now, I won't tell you how easy it is because I want y'all to be!

I also need to do something in the time for me category. I know! I'm going to spend some more time in "The Wall." I'm not sure what I'll do yet. I might use the pc in there to work on some more changes to the blog. I might light my candle again and relax, listening to some music. How can I do these things you ask? Because the room is done! Woohoo! I finished it! I can't wait to show y'all the pictures! In fact, I might even go ahead and put them up today. Not yet though, you're going to have to wait at least a little bit longer.

That's because I have to give you today's challenge! You didn't think I would forget, did you? Let's head into the bathroom, again. I know that we cleaned out the cabinet under the kitchen sink, but now it's time to do under the bathroom sink. I know that this area seems to collect things for me. For example, it's currently holding crafting items like shaving cream and hair gel because it's a safe place to keep them where they won't spill. Since I'm going to be cleaning my bathroom, I'm going to join you in this challenge. I might even do before/after pictures and submit them to the 28 Day Challenge. I did say I was going to do 2 small areas, after all!

Keep your eyes open for those pictures! I'll be back later!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

1:06 PM 1 Comments
Happy middle of a darned snowy week, everyone! I cannot believe it. I went outside yesterday and cleared the snow from the porch and the porch steps. Then, I shoveled a pathway to the driveway and shoveled half of the driveway. What did I wake up to today? More snow! Nononononono! C'mon weather gods, have pity on me!

Well, I'll deal with all of that outside later. For now, I need to deal with the next phase of "The Wall." The end is within reach and I'm not giving up. I also need to show you my photo for this week. The theme at Sunday Shutterbugs is Door. Well, since I've been so focused on The Wall and getting stuff handled around here, I didn't take the time to go take a cool picture. I had some awesome photos from England that I wanted to share, but I can't find them anywhere. I'm a bit freaked by that. So, instead, I went back to May of last year and found this photo.

Hallway to Robing Area
This is actually a set of doorways. These are important doorways. These are the doors that I walked to on my way to Commencement 2009. I almost didn't go because I didn't have anyone there cheering for me, but I went because I had walked through a lot of doorways and up a lot of hills to get to that point. I won't say it was easy. It wasn't, but I don't regret any of it for a moment.

I want that for all of you. I've learned that sometimes the most rewarding things are the most difficult things to achieve. I count cleaning, organizing and decluttering in that. I know just how hard it can be to start, let alone to finish. When your physical surroundings are in chaos, so are you. I want you to find peace. So, your challenge for today is to go through your bed linens. Do you have those that have holes in them; that are just plain wearing you? Donate them to a local animal shelter. Get them out of your house and keep only those that will surround you in comfort and peace while you sleep.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tackle It Tuesday

12:31 PM 0 Comments
And here we are, another day and another blog post. I do love my blog. Do all of you love yours? I mean really you should. It ought to be the one place you can go and just smile when you see it because it's all yours. If you don't love it, you should change it until you do.

Now, after that bit of deep wisdom, I bet y'all can't wait to see what I'm going to be doing today. Of course, really you already know because I told you yesterday. Today, I am tackling my craft table. I am thrilled to report that not only did I get those other 2 tables done yesterday, but I also started working on the desk. That's mostly because I was bored and when I'm bored I start to putter. Well, I puttered my way to a nearly finished desk which is just a nice head start.

So, did any of you get to see ice dancing last night? I am so bummed. Our satellite box decided it no longer wanted to work the other night. According to tech support, they say the hard drive in it must have failed. What is it with me and technology lately? I still haven't heard back from Dell and now this. Calgon, take me away, eh? Sheesh. So, no television for me until the replacement box comes which will probably be a couple of days. Not to mention that we just lost everything that we had recorded which is a major disappointment. They say to back up your hard drives, but how do you back up a dvr? lol!

Well, no use fussing too much over it. It's only tv, after all. It's not as if it's a hurricane or an earthquake where you could lose everything. It's just hours and hours of mindless entertainment. There, I think I feel a little better...hehe

So much better that I'm going to give you today's challenge. Are you ready? No? Well take a few deep breathes, stretch and do what you must and then scroll down a little bit and see what I have in store for you.

Challenge -- Let's go to the linen closet. I don't think we've stopped in there yet. How many towels do you have? Now, how many do you need? I'm actually putting a new towel "law" in practice around here, come the Spring (when I can easily access our camping gear). I have 4 levels of towels: bathroom, laundry room, barn and camping/outdoor events. The ones that we love and that are in good shape get to stay in the bathroom. We get to have 2 each of those. If I'm doing laundry regularly (which I ought to), that's basically one dirty, one clean. The camping/outdoor ones are those huge beach towels. I'm thinking one each of those, stored in the giant ziplock bags and tucked into our camping equipment out in the barn. Then, there's the laundry room towels. These are the ones that are starting to wear out but have tons of use left in them. I use these for dusting (the small kitchen sized ones) and for emergency spill/oh my gosh, there's water everywhere events. Once the towels get too bad for know...where they're starting to wear thin or whatever, they go to the barn for use when we wash cars and stuff like that. Now, if there's any towels left after I divide them up, they'll be donated to a local animal shelter.

Did you manage to make yourself read all of that? I just want you to go through your towels, wash clothes, etc and decide if you need/love all of them that are stacked there. If not, find them a new home or a new use. Good luck!

Monday, February 22, 2010

28 Day Challenge - Day 22 (Photo Update 3)

12:15 PM 1 Comments
Day 22..Can you believe it? After today there are really only about 5 more days left in this challenge. Since I'm going to be gone a good portion of Friday, that means only 4 more days left for me. It's hard to believe how fast this month has zoomed by and how much work I've gotten done. Of course, it's hard to believe how much work there's still to do, you know? I can't wait though. At the end of this week, I get to see how all of you did and that's exciting for me. You guys have been my teammates, my partners and yes, my challengers. When I see what one of you has gotten accomplished, it's only pushed me to work harder. Thank you for that. Now, let me give you the update.

The Wall - Day 21

This was taken from the doorway, looking in. As you can see, there is still plenty of clutter on my tables. However, I do have my boards hung on the walls and my shelves up, as well. You can't see the shelves in this picture, though. Shoot! Now, the box on the floor is being filled up for freecycle. The trashcan is full of items that go up to the boys room.

The Wall - Day 21

This is the arrangement that I put together on the lower shelf. The bottle and vase were picked up at a thrift store in Buffalo. The sand bottle was a Mother's Day gift from Ben. I've very carefully moved that on the last two moves, praying that stopper didn't come out. The kitten..well, I plain don't remember where I picked her up at but she always looked so happy and content. I just love her.

The Wall - Day 21

And this is the PC corner. As you can see, I still have some items waiting to be gone through and put away. That poor desk is totally covered in things. I've decided that my goal for Wednesday is to work in that corner and get it tidied up. Goals are good, right?

The Wall - Day 21

And this is the boys crafting table. As you can see, I've started getting it put together. Each of the photo boxes has different crafting items in it. I still need to do labels for them, though. The clear box under those holds items that are too big for the photo boxes, such as their scrapbooks and such. The items in the corner are waiting for me to go back through them, again.

It's really starting to come together and I'm thrilled with it. Today, I'm going to be working on clearing the boys table and the tech tables. I figure I have 4 days left so I've broken the room down into 4 segments:

Monday - Tech Table/Boys Table
Tuesday - Craft Table
Wednesday - Desk/In front of file cabinet
Thursday - Pile in corner in front of bookshelf

So folks, that's my plan. I just have two more things I want to mention.

1) For Sale - One Flute - $350 or best offer. I have all of the details on this but on the other PC, of course. It's an Olds French Style Open Hole flute. It was used for about 2-3 years in high school band and college pep band. It's in great shape and comes with the cleaning rod and hard case. It originally retailed for $880. If you know of anyone, please have them get in touch with me. I will ship this if need be.

2) Your challenge - For some of you this one will be quick and easy. I want you to walk around your home and take a look at your knickknacks and all of the little items we seem to find on our shelves. You know, those things we grumble about when it's time to dust. Yep, now you know just what I'm talking about, don't you? Do you love them? Are you holding onto some of them for purely sentimental reasons even though it's really not you? Well, today I want you to let go of any of those that you don't love. If you're keeping it for sentimental reasons, take a few pictures of the item. That way, you still have something to trigger the happy memories, but it's taking up far less space!

I'm off to grab something to eat and then back into the wall, I go! I will be back in Twitter and such today, so feel free to tweet at me and to retweet. I'm still working on my goal of 30 followers here, so your Tweets can only help!

Menu Plan Monday

11:47 AM 0 Comments
Happy Monday, all! Yes, it's Monday and I am officially back from my self imposed internet sabbatical. It was a well needed break but I am very glad to be back. I missed my blog world and popping into some of your blogs to see how y'all are doing. How are all of you doing? Are those of you who were doing the 28 day challenge still making good progress? I bet some of you are done. I'm going to take some time tonight to do some popping around. I can't wait to see what's happening with folks.

As for me, well not much is happening. The Dell representative still hasn't gotten back to me as to how they're going to handle one of their other reps admitting they goofed up. Keep you fingers crossed folks. I really need them to take responsibility and fix my laptop. While I love this one, it's just not capable of doing some of what I need a computer to do. Thank goodness Jim gave her to me though. She's been a real trooper while I've needed to use her.

Let's see, what else? The van now has a shiney new tie rod. I can't get the alignment done until a week from Friday but that's going to get scheduled and done. Then, as my mechanic said, we wait for the next thing to break and we see about handling that. I have no doubt that something will need replacing. In fact, I'm fairly certain that the brakes need to be done soon. Oh, and it needs an oil change. Don't forget folks, the van fund is always accepting donations. *grins*

I guess that's about all the excitement in my life. I've been working on "The Wall" and have pictures for you. It is Monday, after all and y'all are my accountability force. I'll be posting them in a separate post right after this one so you can see my progress. I still don't know if it will be done in time to submit for the prizes, but it sure is a heck of a lot better!

Now, for this week's menu...I've been in a bit of a cooking funk lately. I just don't feel like doing it. So, keeping in that mode, this week is going for quick and simple and mostly brainless. So, here we go:

Monday- Mac n Cheese
Tuesday- Chicken and Rice
Wednesday- Spaghetti w/ hamburger
Thursday- Sizzle steak sandwiches
Friday- Pizza
Saturday- Chili
Sunday- Leftovers

One menu! Tada! Hopefully next week I'll be back in cooking mode and have made a trip to Family Fare for some real amounts/qualities of groceries. I think that's part of the problem. IGA is convenient but unless you want Kraut juice or Sauerkraut, the selection just isn't there. I bought 3 boxes of mac n cheese from them the other day and that was their entire stock of that sort. Anywhos, I'm off to post my photos. Your daily challenge will be cleverly (or not so cleverly) added to that post!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Save the Planet Saturday

12:00 AM 3 Comments
Since I've spent time under my tech table this past week, I thought I might write just a little bit about power strips. This is going to be nice and short because I know that we all have tons to do today and I want us to enjoy our weekend, not sit here reading.

Did you know that your electronics will probably use up more electricity, in their lifetime, while they're turned off than when they're on? That's because electronics continue to draw power as long as they're plugged in. That power has to be there, ready and waiting for you to hit the on button. So, how do you prevent this? It's easy! Grab a power strip and plug your devices into it. Then, flip the switch when you go out or it's time for bed. Easy Peasy, folks!

Your quick challenge for today: Do a general inventory of your electronics. Do you have any that are broken down? That you're no longer using? If so, say goodbye to them and let them go. Make room for the things you love and clear the clutter right on out of your homes!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Finish It Friday

12:00 AM 0 Comments
I told you I'd be back and here I am! I had a really productive day in "The Wall" today so I'm thinking that my day off from technology was a good thing. Ok, I admit that I played games on Facebook when I would stop to take some breaks. However, I didn't deal with email. I didn't sign into Twitter and I just work work worked. I think the best part was laying under one of the tables, plugging in a power strip and talking to the cats. It was actually kind of peaceful. Plus, did you see what I said? Under one of the tables! Woo! Suddenly, I'm actually looking forward to the pictures that will be posted on Monday. Nope, no sneak peaks this week. We're too close to the end and I'm planning on spending my weekend in "The Wall" to push it towards completion. I have another box of freecycling going out tomorrow and one more that I actually need to post. I'm sure it will get snagged quickly because it's baskets and crafting items. I'm so excited to finally be able to really start to see changes happening!

As for today, I'm going to be out and about, at least for the morning. I'm taking the van in to have the tie rod replaced. I'm so blessed to have someone who is helping me with the cost of the van repairs. I can't afford to have the front end alignment done yet but hey, progress is progress. After that, I need to make a stop off at the IGA to get some emergency food supplies to get me through the next week. I'm hoping that even without the front end alignment, I'll be able to get into Hastings next Friday to pick up the boys and to get some serious groceries.

After that, I need to do my Finish It for this week. My goal is to finish clearing out from under the craft table so that I can start getting the "organizational" units placed under that. If I can do that, I'm going to be so excited. It will make for some really good progress over the past couple of days.

As for all of you, we're going to go someplace that we haven't gone to yet this month. Are you ready? I want you to go to your laundry area/room. Collect up all of the empty soap bottles, empty dryer sheet boxes and any other garbage that may be floating around that area. If you're like me, you empty one out with the intent on taking it to the recycling bin or trash can in the other room and there it remains. While you're in there, take a quick inventory. Are you low on anything? If so, make a note on your shopping list so that you don't forget them when you next go shopping.

And that's it for me, folks. I have a busy day coming. Have a great Friday and I'll see you back here tomorrow for another Saturday tip!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Time For Me Thursday

11:53 AM 0 Comments
Sheesh. IE does not like blogger at all, does it? Well, I'm on a different computer and back to using FireFox which seems to do a better job for me.

I don't know about all of you but I can feel my stress levels rising. Part of it is totally hormonal, but another part is just that things are happening that are out of my control. I'm not good with things not being in my

So, I've decided to take today off. Not in the total day off sense, but in the checking email and being online sense. I'm not going to launch Tweetdeck. I'm not going to leave my email up and running. I'm just going to have a technology free day. I guess it's a bit like getting back to my roots. The only reason the computer will be on is so that I can have music playing while I work on the wall. It's just going to be me and the clutter today. Don't worry though, I'll be back tonight to post the Friday post. I really am sorry for dropping the ball on that one.

Now, you guys have been getting off easy since I've been all netshy the past few days. Honestly, I'm ok with that because I know that all of you have lives and doing challenges isn't always easy. Today, I want you to go to your desk and sort through the papers that may be lying there. Recycle what you don't need and file what you do. If you don't have a filing system, that's ok. Pick up some file folders and just tuck the things into logical groupings for now. You can setup something more "official" later. For today, I just want you to create a clean workspace. I know you can do it. I have more faith in you than I may even have in myself.

Until tomorrow, I am signing off the internet!

Follow Us @lifewithkatie