Organizing Ideas for the Rest of Us

Prelude to Easter Brunch, Menu Plan Monday

We’ll be hosting Easter Brunch for a bunch of family, my count is not complete but varies each year between 15 and 25 people, on Sunday so our menu this week is going to be pretty low-key.  Of course, we will still have all our typical activities happening as well so the menu will also be super simple (think heat & eat) this week.
Part of the Easter Brunch Spread from last year

Part of the Easter Brunch Spread from last year

I’m hoping to have my Easter Brunch menu finalized and possibly posted on Tuesday.  If you are searching for Easter Brunch Ideas, please consider following my Pinterest board on the subject.  While I do not have the brunch menu finalized, I do have some standby dishes that I typically make ahead of time and so I’ll be including those in my not so exciting menu plan this week.

MONDAY:  Chicken Legs, French Fries, and Salad (carry-over from last week.  The chicken legs are already cooked which is good since I work until 6p.m.)

TUESDAY:  Taco Salads (G has an activity at 6p.m.)  Make Ahead Easter Brunch Item:  Caramelized Bacon Twists

WEDNESDAY:  Fish Sticks, Baked Potatoes (J has baseball practice at 5:30p.m.)  Make Ahead Easter Brunch Item:  Ham and Cheese Quiche  plus (new for brunch this year) Sausage Rotel Quiche

THURSDAY:  Pork Chops (already cooked from freezer), corn on the cob, and grapes  (J has baseball practice at 5:30p.m.)  Do Ahead Easter Brunch Item:  Finalize Menu and do an ingredient check.

FRIDAY:  Probably pizza or chicken OUT or I may clean out the fridge and make them eat from those choices. Basically, I have no idea!  My Do Ahead Easter Brunch Item for this day will depend on the finalized menu.

If you are looking for a bit more exciting menu choices for the week, please go check out Menu Plan Monday hosted by Laura over at I’m An Organizing Junkie.   This is when I start paying the price for my procrastinating habits and begin to feel a tiny bit overwhelmed.  Thankfully, I’ve hosted our Easter Brunch enough years that I’m not really panicking because I know things have a way of coming together.   Do you have plans for Easter weekend?


Saturday Success Stories, Three Cheers!

It’s been too long since I’ve been able to declare a complete success in regards to my Follow Through Friday tasks.   Today, I get to do just that!  Three cheers for three tasks completed!  I had a long and somewhat stressful day so I didn’t really expect that I would manage any of the tasks.   However, by keeping them simple, I was able to get the tasks done in a fairly short amount of time.  It is nice to feel like I made a small amount of progress.  Here are the details:
  1. Fill out the microchip registry for the cats.

    I also consider it a success that I could easily find this information.
    I also consider it a success that I could easily find this information.

    Guess what?  I apparently had already begun to the process at some point so my contact information was there.  That made this task a bit of a cheat, I suppose.  I did go ahead and update the pet profile page which was not complete for either cat.  I also uploaded pictures of our cats.  Hopefully, I’ll never need to make use of the registry but it is ready to go now.

  2. Mail the Netflix DVD back.

    Ready for the mail.
    Ready for the mail.

    I did this at 10:45p.m. last night on my way to pick up my son from a church function.  I did get the envelope ready to go and put it in the car earlier in the evening though.

  3. I also spent some time updating my PTA notebook.  It is not finished but I did not have finishing this as a goal.  My main goal was to take out all the extra papers and a few personal notes.  I have a nice pile of “recycle” papers now.  I simply need to add new calendars and tabs for the next person now.

I would probably feel more accomplished if I weren’t still super tired from yesterday (not from the 3 tasks) and looking around at the scary status of the house.  A morning cleaning is definitely on the agenda!  How did you do on your to-do list?

Follow Through Friday, The Busy Times Edition


Ever notice how starting sometime in the early spring, things just get busy?  Even if you don’t think you’re going to have a busy spring, you end up having stuff to do and usually at least a few of the things will fall on the same night?   I don’t know if that is just us (is it?) but I do know that it is exhausting!  It’s also not good for the general cleanliness level of the house especially if you start at the low-level our house was already sitting at on the clean-0-meter.
I agreed to work the entire day tomorrow so my list of Follow Through Friday tasks is going to reflect that.  I’m not sure if it is a good or bad thing that I still have plenty of simple tasks left from last week (and earlier) where I can focus my efforts.  Here are my three tasks that I’ll be completing sometime before or after (probably after) work tomorrow:
  1.  Complete the microchip registry for the cats!  This is one that should have been done last year but I didn’t give it serious thought until of course, I had a scare.  Our little gray cat went missing for a bit this morning and I thought to myself “well, she has a microchip at least” and then promptly realized that I never did all the steps.  I thought I saw her cross the neighbor’s fence this morning over toward a busy road and then, she wasn’t under my feet and meowing for attention as usual.  Thankfully, she found her way home sometime during the day.

    Saturdaysuccessclutter928 020

    Chelsey, our busy gray cat

  2. Mail my House DVD back to Netflix.  They put the show on instant!  The boys are excited that mom won’t have the que filled with all the seasons of that show.  Of course, I’ve already watched a few episodes on instant streaming but have I bothered to mail back my disc so we can get something new?

  3. Spend some time updating my PTA notebook to hand it off to the next person.  I’ve been quietly serving as a Vice President for the elementary school PTA this year and I haven’t really used my notebook other than to stuff random notes in the side.  I do need to make it pretty for the next person.  I don’t think I’m getting a notebook for next year and that is not a bad thing.  Not a bad thing, at all.

Three simple tasks that need completed but aren’t overly hard for the end of what will likely be a busy day at the end of a busy week.  What are you going to cross off your to-do list today?

Ten Minute Motivation Trick For When Nothing Else Is Working

Ten Minute Motivation means pretty much what it says.  Finding ten minutes of motivation.  Last week I had one of those days.  I felt like doing nothing.  NADA.  Well, not nothing but nothing that I actually needed to be doing.  It took almost all my willpower to turn off the television after just two episodes of Breaking Bad.  Never mind the plan was to only watch one episode over lunch.  It was time to pull out my Ten Minute Motivation Trick.

The Ten Minute Motivation Trick is my last resort effort before I just accept that nothing is going to get done.  It’s okay to have those kind of days as long as you are willing to accept them.  Some days though I need to feel like I actually DID do something other than shower and get dressed (sometimes, it even takes motivation for those things to happen!).

These are the days I take out my Ten Minute Motivation trick.  Actually, it is not much of a trick at all and it is probably not for everyone.  I am about 98% certain the Ten Minute Motivation trick I use would not work for my husband.  He doesn’t really buy into the idea of using a timer though.  He’s one of those lucky self-starter types that just does what needs to be done.  What is so hard about that?

The rest of us sometimes need extra incentives to complete our chores.  It’s that wants vs. need thing along with a lack of discipline that makes it so hard.  I like to think my Ten Minute Motivation method I use does require a fair amount of discipline.  Here is how it works…

Ten Minute Motivation

Wax on.  Wax off.

What?  Ten Minutes of Work.  Ten Minutes of Play.  I pay myself with an almost instant reward for ten solid minutes of work.

It does help to focus on tasks that take about 10 minutes to complete.  Ten Minute Motivation is not meant to inspire cleaning out the hall closet or re-organizing the kitchen pantry.  It is for tasks that need to be done but have just been sitting.  Kitchen table clean off usually takes me about 10 minutes…if it isn’t too bad (rare), I can also clear the kitchen counter and load the dishwasher in the same 10 minutes.

Then, I get 10 minutes to play.  I usually use the time to surf the internet (hello, Pinterest!) or read in my book.  It is not advised to try to use the “play” time to just watch 10 minutes of television or call a friend (it would really be rather rude, I think, to say my timer is buzzing…goodbye!).  I pick tasks that I like to do but that I can easily (with some discipline) walk away from to do 10 more minutes of work.

If nothing else, I get in 10 minutes of work before just accepting that it is going to have a lazy day. 


Slept Late Still Trying To Start Successful on Monday

It has been pretty much a typical Monday so far, J slept late and I’m trying to salvage the motivation I had prior to the chaos of it all.  Of course, the chaos was completely my fault.  I firmly believe that if a child has slept late and you have the luxury to let them do that, you should.  They obviously need the sleep.  And let’s face it, dealing with a sleep-deprived grouchy child is not very fun.

Slept Late

I have found that sitting down and planning out my week, an idea from Felicia over at Felicia’s Red Door Life, is such a big help to me in actually accomplishing a few things that I do it each week.   Although J is the only one who actually slept late, I feel like I did also.  The whole having to take him to school (as well as say “you need to MOVE!” a few dozen times) really threw my morning off and I admit I was tempted to skip this since it does take some time.  However, a little time spent now will help me so much later that I think it is worth doing.

Scripture of the Week:

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

(Proverbs 16:3)

Focus of the Week:

Routines and Better bedtime.  The fact that J slept late this morning reminded me that we’ve been pretty lax on bedtime around here lately.  With all the upcoming testing coming up at their schools (in May..right at the end of the school year, seriously?), we should probably get into a better routine with it all.  I do better about not slamming down the snooze button on the alarm when I don’t stay up late watching reruns of sitcoms as well.

The Weather this Week:

It is supposed to thunderstorm at some point today but then the rest of the week is supposed to be pretty nice (and finally, fairly warm).


I’m trying to take those deep breaths and focus on planning the week instead of thinking of all the things I should be doing right now!  The phone just rang and I’m now working all day on Friday (and next Monday).  Updating to say our Internet service went out mid-post this morning and I’m now trying to get back on track for a second time today.

To Do List:

I’m trying something new in the spirit of using the scientific method for my housework, an idea from Andrea over at The Distracted Housewife.  I’m picking one “daily cleaning focus” for each day.  I’m hoping that will help me stay motivated and that maybe the whole house will be in just a tiny bit better shape when the weekend arrives.  It is sort of what the Flylady does but on a much smaller scale as I think she spends one week on each area.  This just seemed more manageable to me.

MONDAY:  Publish Menu Plan Post (DONE) as well as Weekly Planning Post (in progress), Change Cat boxes (DONE), open windows to air out house (DONE), laundry (In progress with main goal of the day to find G’s jacket), and keep today’s daily cleaning focus in the kitchen.  I’m hoping starting in the kitchen each week will help keep the fridge a bit more organized (once, I actually complete that project).

TUESDAY:  Go VOTE, solve the how to be 2 places at once problem (not likely) or simply let it all go and get G to his activity, clean out hall closet, and keep the daily cleaning focus on the living room/hallway area.

WEDNESDAY:  It’s haircut day.  Hooray!  Keep daily cleaning focus on the bedrooms for today.  Check deadlines on some summer activities that I’m considering for the boys.

THURSDAY:  Make bathrooms my daily cleaning focus.  Prepare and schedule my post for Follow Through Friday.  Do a quick 15 minute clean up in all rooms in the house.

FRIDAY:  Complete whatever 3 tasks are on the Follow Through Friday list.  Leave a list of chores for the boys.  Maybe take G to see Captain America depending on my husband’s work schedule (or I could be nice and let them go see it) since J has no desire to see the movie.

What I Read Last Week:

It shouldn’t be the Earth shattering news it feels like but I actually read TWO books last week!   Of course, I still haven’t finished the book from the last week (I wanted to be astounded by it and frankly, it’s just leaving me a bit cold).

These books were both Young Adult selections and I have pictures because I can’t find one of the books in the cesspool that might be my son’s room and he took the other one to school with him.    I read The Final Warning by James Patterson.  This was G’s school library book that I also borrowed.  He’s about done with it as well.  I’ll be curious to see what he thinks as I really wasn’t as enamored with this one as the previous books in the series.

One of my husband’s clients gave him a book for the boys that I read just because the author’s name caught my eye.  Did you know that Jeff Probst from the show Survivor co-authored some books aimed at kids?  Stranded really wasn’t too bad although I could definitely tell it was aimed at younger readers.  It’s the first in a series so if J shows interest, we’ll probably find the next two.

From the Camera:

Slept late

These cover our front yard every spring driving me crazy. I don’t mind them as much this year after the winter that didn’t seem like it would end.

Slept late

Blooming Forsythia always remind me of my mom. She loved these.

Shopping List:

I’m glad thunderstorms haven’t moved in yet because I have to go get the pork chops for tonight’s menu when I was at the store last night.   I’m also running very low on make-up.

On the Blog:

Settle on some official blogging hours for when I’m at home.  I usually do my blogging first thing in the morning but sometimes my blogging time stretches longer than it should and I should probably set some limits for it.  And not combine my blogging time with my computer “fun” time.


Somehow this week just feels busier than it actually says on the calendar.  Maybe it is simply because J slept late starting the day a bit off-kilter. Ever have weeks like that?  What is on your agenda for the week?


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