Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Automobile - Organizing Round-up

It is time again for the Monthly Organizing Round-Up at Organizing Junkie.
For the month of June it was all about our CAR.

We do a pretty good job keeping extra clutter from piling up in our car, but we are not very good at keeping the car clean or stocked. Our car needed some work.

I started by taking the car to the mechanic. That pesky check-engine light was on again. Whenever it gets really hot something triggers it, but it is not readily obvious why and there are no other symptoms. I took it in to test it and in the middle of the test it went off. We will watch it for another few weeks before investing serious money to fix our phantom problem.


Time to tackle the cleaning.
  • I started by taking everything out of the car - car seats, mats, papers, toys, maps, etc. It was amazing how much stuff was hiding under the seats.

  • Next I wiped everything down. There was about an inch of dust on the dashboard and the windows were desperately in need of cleaning.

  • Then it was time to vacuum. There were cheerios and gold fish hiding everywhere. I ended up removing the seats entirely to clean under them.

Finally time to organize:
  • First I checked and restocked the emergency kit: jumper cables, tire patch kit, flares, first aid kit, a few tools, blanket, etc.

  • Next was the glove box - only the registration info, a pad and pen, and the air pressure gauge made it back in. Two maps were refolded and returned to the door pocket.

  • Lastly were the random supplies that we keep, "just in case:" plastic bags (kept a paper towel roll), small umbrella, a few toys (doodle pads, most importantly), baby wipes, sun block, hand sanitizer, a few clean rags.

  • I also normally keep extra clothes, diapers, etc. in a small bag for emergencies, but I decided to keep a ready-packed bag in the entry closet instead. I can grab it quickly, but it doesn't have to take up precious car space all the time. Our kids are old enough that we haven't used this bag in a long time, but we'll see if I end up regretting this decision.

So, how is your car looking these days?

Thanks to Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie for inspiring me to tackle this much-needed project.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Closer Walk with Him!

Create in Me a Clean Heart - Week 24
~ This weekly devotional can be found on Facebook. ~

"My dear child, don't shrug off God's discipline ... God is educating you; that's why you must never drop out. He's treating you as dear children. This trouble you're in isn't punishment; it's training, the normal experience of children.... At the time, discipline isn't much fun. It always feels like it's going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it's the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God."
Hebrews 12:7,11

I just loved this paraphrase of Hebrews 12. Discipline is really education, not punishment. Isn't that exactly how I treat my children? I am training them how to live with self control and wisdom.

But the most beautiful part, discipline can lead to maturity, and especially maturity in our relationship with God. Isn't that the true desire of my heart? To walk more closely with my God? I want to be stretched, corrected, taught.

Dear Lord,
Although it is hard to receive it at time, I need your discipline in my life. Teach me, correct me, train me, discipline me - that I may grow up to be mature and fruitful in my relationship with you. I pray that I will learn from my mistakes to avoid going through them again. Thank you that you love me enough to discipline me and that you desire me to grow into something better than I am right now.
In Jesus' Name,
AMEN

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Trip to the Toy Store

Today we took a trip to Toys R Us. We had a gift card that was about to expire, so we went to find a new train for Joshua.

We played with the balls and the stuffed animals. We checked out all the Wiggles stuff. Then we encountered all the bikes and cars.

Joshua enjoyed the cars and vehicles.


But they was Abigail's favorite part of our entire trip.
Every few minutes she would take off toward this aisle yelling, "Car, car!"



Joshua soon forgot the cars when he discovered the Thomas train table, complete with several display trains and Harold the helicopter.


He must have played at this table for over 30 minutes -- Darren played with him while I followed Abigail back and forth to the cars.
Every time we would mention leaving, he would tell us that he was not done working.
What a funny choice in words! I think he was referencing the books we read where Thomas had to work pulling the cars.

At the end of our play time, Joshua picked out a green Percy train engine to come home with us.


On the way home ...

Joshua repeatedly told us how excited Thomas and Gordon (the two trains he already owns) would be to play with Percy.

And Abigail promptly fell asleep.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy Father's Day!


We had fun hanging out with Daddy on Father's Day!
There were no special plans or events, but it was so nice to have a quiet day to just be together.

Hope you all had a Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Scotland, Ho!

Yesterday, Darren sent in his acceptance to the University of Aberdeen for their PhD degree in Divinity,a three to four year program. And the countdown to Scotland officially begins!

Most of the details are still up in the air, but here is what we know so far. The PhD programs begins on October 1, 2009. We will remain in Princeton until the end of July. After putting our stuff in storage, we will be staying with family in the Northwest until mid-September.

The school does not have family accommodations, so we will need to locate off-campus housing. Darren may be going over in August for a week or two, if we cannot successfully locate a place to live via networking.

We are very excited about the adventures that God has planned for us in the next few years. For now, there are a million details that need to be done before we leave.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blitz-It Friday - Picture Organization Week #3

I had a great week working on this project. But sorry, no pictures this week. Here were my goals and what I was able to get done.

GOALS FROM LAST WEEK (JUNE 13 - 19):

Goal 1: Spend at least one hour blitzing this project
This week I was able to spend three one-hour blitzing sessions. I spent two hours sorting letters, notes, souvenirs, etc. I decided to tackle all the letters and cards that have been waiting in my file cabinet at the same time. I was able to reduce everything down to one box of letters and one box of souvenirs.

Goal 2: Begin converting negatives to CD
Last week I was bemoaning the fact that it would cost over $650 at Sam's Club (the cheapest option) to convert our 85 rolls of film.

I was talking with my hubby about how much we could actually budget to spend on this. In the middle of our conversation, he paused, grabbed his computer, looked something up online, then smiled at me. The school has a negative scanner that I can use for FREE. WooHoo!

I spent one hour at the library this week, to learn how to use the scanner and to start actually scanning. Now I have a pretty good idea how long it would take to scan everything. TOO LONG! I do not have 80+ hours to scan every roll of film. I will need to prioritize the rolls to scan and just leave the rest for another time.

Goal 3: Sort the pictures that need to be scanned
I started sorting pictures that need to be scanned, but haven't gotten very far. First I need to determine which pictures that don't have negatives, but that are important enough to spend the time scanning. I will need to work on this more next week.

Goal 4: Create a more-detailed project plan
I was only planning on spending another 11 days on this project. That should be enough time to finish sorting all the remaining stuff on the top of the closet. However, that will probably not be enough time to complete all the scanning I was hoping to get done. Once I am done sorting, I will have a better idea how much time I need for scanning.


GOALS FOR NEXT WEEK (JUNE 20 - 26):
  1. Spend at least two hours blitzing
  2. Continue scanning negatives
  3. Finish sorting the pictures to be scanned
  4. Begin scanning pictures
  5. Sort through remaining stuff in the top of the closet
  6. Finalize the project plan and time line.
I am getting more aggressive with my goals for this week. I cannot afford to spend all summer on this project. There are too many other areas that need my attention.

Stop by Organized Everyday for more projects that are being blitzed.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Faith to Move Mountains

Create in Me a Clean Heart - Week 23
~ This weekly devotional can be found on Facebook. ~

"Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction."
Mark 5:34

Did I walk in faith today, or in doubt and fear? How quickly I forget my faith! It is so easy for the daily tasks and unknown future to drown out the quiet faith that should rule my heart. In this devotional series, as we seek to overcome the disorganization in our lives, it is too easy to look at the to-do list and lose sight of the work God is doing in our hearts.

This small verse was a strong reminder to me this week to set my sight on God and how he can do the impossible. It is not my strength, or my determination that will bring about real change in my life. It is the work of Christ in my heart, transforming me to his image, as I set my eyes on things above.

Dear Lord,
I pray that I will be focused on you, and that I will walk in faith and not in fear. Do not let me be consumed with the things of the day. And do not let me stray from you while trying to get things done. I pray that you would guide me and heal my afflictions. Bring me peace, and let me rest assured that you do know the answers. Thank you, Lord, that in this world of confusion, I can walk in peace and trust in you.
In Jesus Name,
Amen

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


We are starting our fifth month planning meals and I am realizing that our list of meal options is pretty short. We keep having the same things over and over. The family is starting to bore of my cooking ... I think that's why we starting eating out so much in the first place.

So, this week I am trying a few things that I know I can do, but we don't have very often. And I hope to spend some time looking for some new recipes to try.

Menu for this week:
  • Monday -- BBQ Pulled-Pork Sandwiches, green salad

  • Tuesday -- Grilled Chicken, roasted potatoes

  • Wednesday -- French Dip, veggies

  • Thursday -- Calzones, green salad

  • Friday -- Cashew Chicken Stir Fry, rice

  • Saturday -- Chicken Fajita

  • Sunday -- Chicken & Rice Casserole

So, help me out this week finding new recipes to try: What is your family's favorite meal?

Happy Monday!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Blitz-It Friday - Picture Organization Week #2


This was the first full week of my big summer project - the top shelf in our bedroom closet, full of pictures, photo albums, etc.

GOALS FOR LAST WEEK (JUNE 8 - 12):
  1. One hour sorting / purging.
  2. Research negatives-to-CD.

Although I technically met my goals for the week, but I am beginning to realize that this project is going to take more time than I originally expected.

I started my hour long blitz by pulling out all the memory boxes that were stacked on the shelf. This will be the first part of the closet shelf I will tackle. When I opened them, I was pleased to find that the boxes were fairly well organized.


The first three were full of letters from friends and family. I am so sentimental about cards and letters that people have given me. In addition to these boxes, almost a quarter of our file cabinet is filled with correspondence that needs to be cleared out. Although I need to tackle this, it is not a good place to start -- I would be overwhelmed by my project before I accomplished anything.


The next two boxes are filled with unsorted memorabilia and souvenirs -- more stuff to sort. Eeek! These boxes will also have to wait until later in my project.


The last three I opened were full of pictures and negatives. I was surprised at much film we have here. These are what I am hoping to preserve digitally on film. There are about 85 rolls worth negatives from the last 20 years. I was originally planning on having everything transferred to CD, however, because the film is already developed, that option may prove to be too expensive.

My hour was spent going through the pictures and negatives, putting them in order and becoming familiar with what we have.

I also started the research on converting these negatives to digital files. The best option I have found is Sam's Club. They charge $0.21 per picture -- I would have to sort through every single roll and choose every each picture that I wanted transferred. Now that sounds like a lot of work.

GOALS FOR THIS WEEK (JUNE 13 - 19):
  1. Spend at least one hour blitzing this project.
  2. Begin converting negatives to CD.
  3. Sort pictures that need to be scanned.
  4. Create a better plan and timeline for this project, so it is completed before our move.

Has anyone else transferred their negative to CD? Do you have any recommendations? I could really use a better option.

Stop by Organized Everyday for more projects that are being blitzed.

Waiting for the Bus!

The other day I was in my bedroom during Abigail's nap time. I could hear Joshua playing in the living room, then he became quiet. I went out to check on him and this is what I found...


All the little people (and a few animals) were waiting in line at the bus stop for a ride. Joshua was driving a bus full of people around the table telling them about all the fun they would have when they arrived at school!

It is wonderful to see how much Joshua has grown over the last year! What a fun little boy!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Numbers!

Joshua loves numbers and letters.


Tonight I was looking for a good way to interact with Joshua while I was making dinner in the kitchen. We started with a "letters" game -- I name an object. He tries to figure out what letter it starts with and finds the letter on the refrigerator.

After filling a cookie pan with letters, he decided it was time to turn to numbers. We only had a five numbers that were in a bag of magnetic letters that I had picked up from a thrift store. But I had a whole pack of numbers hiding at the top of the closet, waiting for the right time ... this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I didn't want to open the entire pack, but I pulled out the numbers 1 through 10.

Joshua was so excited about these new numbers. He quickly started laying out the numbers in order. Then started creating number combinations. First, he put four and zero together to make 40, then 41, 42, 43. He froze as he realized that he only had one four. How could he make 44?

I suggested that he simply pretend there were two fours. He started scanning the fridge for something that could "pretend" to be a "four," but looked at me with disappointment when he found nothing appropriate. Finally I stuck out four fingers and placed them next to his four on the floor. Joshua lit up with a scream of pure joy. He loved this solution and repeated it several times with equally joyous reaction.

Kids are so amazing! Just this simple play brought me such pleasure, and showed me how much my little boy knows. It also stretches both Joshua and I to think outside the box.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thank heaven ...

The other day, Darren was getting Abigail ready for lunch. He was talking so sweetly with her. He grabbed the nearest bib and told her how cute she looked as he quickly fastened it. Then he stepped back and noticed the bib he had put on her...


"thank heaven for little boys"

We had a good laugh about that!

Isn't she the cutest!? She loves to "cheese it up" for the camera!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

River of Chaos

Create in Me a Clean Heart - Week 22
~ This weekly devotional can be found on Facebook; the group is called "A Clean Heart." ~

"The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; he turns it wherever he wishes."
Proverbs 21:1

Why does everything seem to come back to control? I try to control the details of my life – my family, my kids, my time. Yet I am surrounded by things I cannot control – my family, my kids, the economy, our country, the world.

But in all the chaos all around me, I find peace in the fact that God is truly in control. Nothing is outside his reach. If he can turn hearts, if he turns and directs the rivers, then surely my small stuff cannot be outside his hands. This was my meditation this week – God is still in control.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for your work in my life. Forgive me for the times I’ve been overwhelmed in doubt by the chaos around me, for complaining when I should have been praising you for leading me through it. Guide me in my chaos today, and help me rest knowing that everything is under your control.
In Jesus Name,
Amen

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"Yeah!"


Abigail has learned the art of answering yes/no questions this week. It makes me laugh every time she does it.

I ask her a simple question like, "Would you like some milk?"
Last week, her response would have been, "Milk, milk!"
But this week her reply is an enthusiastic "Yeah!"
She says it clear as can be and it always catches me by surprise.

Darren asked me yesterday when our little girl went from being our baby to being a little toddler, wandering around, talking all the time. Sigh... it happened some time between February and May!

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