Small Project Day: Dealing With My Desktop

It was one of those mornings around here.  The kind where I woke up to pouring rain, everyone overslept and was out of sorts, I ran to get gas in the pouring rain and returned to find cat puke to clean.

I had to use MY GREAT BIG TEACHER VOICE on the teenager as we were walking out the door(Stop hitting your brother!), everyone had to go back in the house for jackets (apparently kids who wear shorts to school in the snow require jackets for May rain), and the ride to the middle school was filled with terse silence.  I think I may need to go re-read this post about recovering from a bad morning.

Maybe I’ve already completed my small project for the day in just getting them to school.   One more day.  Moving on to another cup of coffee and today’s actual small project.    smallprojectday

I had to pick something simple again today as I have quite the list of larger projects that must be done such as cleaning the entire house, getting G’s birthday presents and cards, and taming the laundry mountain that grew overnight.  Somewhere in the middle of all that, I also have to attend some sort of awards assembly at the middle school.

When I say I’m dealing with my desktop for small project day, I mean the physical top of my desk.  I probably should deal with the desktop computer as well.  Someday, I’ll take the time to figure out the Windows 7 a bit better and add Word back on to it.  I really miss my Microsoft Word!

Let me tell you about how my actual desk top has become a small project.  I have my arms sitting on the ONLY foot of it that is clutter free.  Yes, every single surface area on this desk except for the part right in front of the computer keyboard is covered with stuff.

Stuff that is taking over.  I have a pile almost as high as my shoulder sitting in front of my printer.  I’ve had to print a few items and instead of doing the logical thing and putting all the things in the pile away first, I’ve simply moved the pile to the bed and then back to its spot on the desk.  That stuff has not earned itself a spot!

Why is the lint roller living on my desk top?  A box of hanging folders is conceivable although it belongs in a desk drawer.  However, the bag of trash bags certainly does not belong or deserve to be perched a top the printer like Lady Liberty’s torch.

Then, shifting my glance to the left side of the desk, I see a sack containing a teacher gift (thankfully, it was not lost amidst the chaos and can be sent merrily on its way tomorrow), I’m embarrassed to share this but looking in a small rectangular box…I’ve discovered it contains Christmas cards along with a grocery store receipt, here’s a box of crayons and a chocolate scented calculator sitting at my elbow.

Paper and notebooks and actual books occupy pretty much all the other spaces.  Papers that should be filed or recycled.

Most of this stuff has had a nice, lengthy vacation on the desk top but it is time to return it to where it belongs.   First though, I think I’ll put some of this lovely hand lotion I’ve just discovered on my hands.

What small project are you working on today?

Happy Homemaker Monday and Menu Plan

It’s the last week of school this week and G’s birthday and I’m working at least 2 days of it.  So much for a relaxing week of calm before the storm of summer arrives.  I am excited for summer to arrive and so are the boys.

It was a long week last week although I’m not sure why and I really don’t feel like I accomplished all that much.  I’m hoping to do better with this week’s plan.   Sandra over at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom hosts Happy Homemaker Mondays over on her blog.  If you like to plan your weeks, I encourage you to check it out and join in the fun.

The Weather This Week

After a week of lots and lots of rain plus thunderstorms on Saturday night, I was happy to see the sun yesterday and today!  We’re supposed to see it most of the week as well.  It’s was warm and a bit muggy Sunday but the rest of the week is supposed to be on the cooler side.  I wish Mother Nature would put her yoyo away!  I need my summer weather.

Things That Make Me Happy

Grocery shopping (I know it’s strange), seeing the Royals logo on the grocery bags, sunny skies and warm weather.

Weekly Menu

If you need menu planning inspiration, please go check out Menu Plan Monday hosted by Laura of I’m An Organizing Junkie.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Since this week is busy and we have G’s birthday Thursday, I’m keeping it really simple.

MONDAY:  Fake Subway sandwiches, chips  (J has a baseball game at 6 and I work all day)

TUESDAY:  Spaghetti (Bunco for me!)

WEDNESDAY:  Roast in the crock pot

THURSDAY:  We’re going to Golden Corral for G’s birthday (his choice).   I’ll be making this cake, of course.

FRIDAY:  Waffles and Sausage  (This will probably be shifted to a different day as I’m realizing the boys and I have plans to go to IHOP for breakfast in honor of no more school) or we may just do a Smorgasboard dinner.  It looks like I’m working in the afternoon as well.

Books, Movies, and Television

What else you going to read while the tornado sirens are wailing?  Actually, they didn’t…at least, not super close to us all warnings issued for our local county aside.  Last week I read The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Page.  It was the sequel to Dorothy Must Die.  It was very much another couldn’t really put it down kind of novel.  I found myself wanting more when it ended.

Because her books are about as addictive as the magic of Oz, I found myself reading all the prequel novellas using the Kindle app on my phone.  I paid money to read them!  I hardly ever pay money to read e-books so I guess you can gather from that how much I enjoyed the story of a darker side to Dorothy and Oz.

Didn’t watch any movies or television of particular note this week.  PBS was showing a rerun of my favorite Dr. Who episode with the eleventh doctor Saturday night but I was simply too tired to stay up and watch the entire episode of The Lodger.

Looking Around the House

The mess from the start of last week is still here under the mess that grew on top of it.   The kitchen table is covered with the collection of papers that have started to come home from school as the year ends.  I need to sort and recycle.

To-Do List

Two out of five is not very good.  I still need to do these three things from my list last week:

  1. Clean the house, focusing on the boys’ rooms
  2. Write and mail those thank you notes!  Add two graduation cards to that list.
  3. Plant our sunflower seeds (getting a super late start on these)

And new for this week:

  1. Gather items for the charity truck coming on Saturday
  2. Get G’s birthday cake baked and get the poor kid some presents
  3. Do some summer planning
  4. Focus on writing and publishing blog posts

 Blog posts and Plans

My focus for this week is simply going to be on writing posts.  I’ve been trying to do all the “required” stuff to try to grow my blog and it’s really sort of sucked the fun out of blogging for me.

I’d rather just write and post and interact with the few of you reading and commenting (Thank you!).  It doesn’t mean I don’t want to grow my blog but I need to take a break and go back to the part of blogging that makes me happy.   I’m still participating in the Blog Post Stockpile Challenge though (consider that part of number 4 on the to-do list up there).

Looking Forward to This Week

G’s birthday on Thursday (he’ll be 14!!!), The end of the school year (also on Thursday), and not needing to get up at the crack of dawn on Friday although I’m sure we’ll all be up early anyway.

From the Camera

Put your nose very close to your screen and get ready to inhale deeply…

Pink Peony

Pink Peony

 Lessons Learned the Past Few Days

If your total seems off, check your receipt BEFORE you get home from the store.  I went to a book sale over in Kansas (about a 45 minute drive) and realized after I arrived home, the cashier didn’t apply my coupon to the total.  The coupon was my reason for going to the sale in the first place!

Thoughts for the Week

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us  (Hebrews 12:1)

Wherever life plants you, bloom with grace (French proverb)


What are you looking forward to about this week?

Small Project Day: Emptying The EMail

It’s small project day time!  I am really fighting the urge to do another “do all the things!” project.  I’m forcing myself to keep my small project a simple one this time.


Do you ignore your email inbox also?  I admit it is one of those things I’m not very good about keeping in order.  Regular “snail” mail gets sorted, recycled, and filed as soon as it arrives.  Virtual mail is not so easily divided for me.

When I started on it this morning, I had 391 unread e-mails.  The number to me wasn’t that big.  I’ve had my unread number be much larger.   I’m down to 18 unread emails currently.  I currently have 778 total e-mails in my inbox not counting the emails I have in folders.

This is my yahoo email.  I also have a Gmail account.  I’m not looking at it today.  The only reason I know it isn’t as bad is because it is newer than the yahoo one.

Does your email inbox overflow also?  I know there are plenty of blog posts out there on managing the mail.  I really have only one preferred management tool of choice for it.  My beloved delete button!

Why not use the delete button right away?  Here are some of my reasons for keeping email around for a while before I hit delete:

  • If I order something on-line, I keep the confirmation email until the order arrives.  This is just good business practice.  It also is a lot easier for me to find an old email than a piece of paper.  Recently, I realized I had never received books I ordered from J’s Scholastic book fair.  I had ordered on-line and so was able without too much trouble to retrieve my confirmation to show the book titles to the school (since I really couldn’t remember what books I ordered 2 months ago).

  • The email links to something I want to read but don’t have time to read the very first time it appears.  Think blog posts and such.

  • It is a sports schedule or invitation to an event.  I don’t want to delete those things until I’ve made sure to write them on my calendar.  It’s helpful to go back and check those teacher emails (we get weekly newsletters here) for important information and dates.

  • I keep Pinterest and Twitter follower notifications since I mostly except in a few rare cases do follow back.  By the way, a lot of my unread emails were Twitter and Pinterest notifications, so if you’ve followed me on either of those recently, thank you!

  • Distraction.  I’m reading something and I get interrupted.  Then, the email is marked as read and doesn’t get my attention again until I’m on a delete button rampage.

  • The email contains pictures someone has sent me and I just don’t know how to move them or what to do with them.  Pictures of the boys, pictures of distant relatives (I haven’t worked on ancestry research in much too long), stuff I have to download to see.

  • I want to keep the person’s email address but don’t have time right then to add them to my contacts because my email program has changed and I’m too lazy to bother with it and I don’t have time right then to figure it all out.

  • It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a coupon!  I might need it!  I am getting better about being more real with this category and hitting delete sooner.

I’ve spent most the day working on my email between tasks (including working at preschool) and am happy to report that I currently have no unread emails in my box.  I’ll deal with more of my unread emails (via the delete button) tomorrow.

Are you good about keeping up with your email?  Or are you like me and extremely happy it is a virtual stack needing attention rather than an actual stack of papers falling all over my desk.  I certainly have enough of those!

School’s Almost Out Menu and Weekly Plan

Oops, yesterday was Monday and my Happy Homemaker  post  didn’t quite happen.  I spent most the day at the grocery store, then Target, followed by making dinner, and a late baseball game for J.

My goal was to keep my days this week and most of next open as they are the last 8 days of school for the boys.   I like to at least try to start summer with clean rooms in the house.  However, somehow, I’m working today and tomorrow for a few hours right in the middle of the day as well as next Monday and Wednesday.

I better get a weekly plan going around here before I look up and find it is the very last day of school already.  Sandra over at Diary of A Stay At Home Mom, the host of the Happy Homemaker Monday links, changed the categories a bit so I updated mine a tiny bit as well.

The Weather This Week:

After a rainy, stormy weekend, the sun was shining yesterday and is doing so again today.  However, it is a bit on the chilly side for the end of May.  Last night’s 8p.m. baseball game required 2 shirts plus a sweatshirt plus 2 blankets and I was still cold!  Rainy, stormy weather is supposed to return on Thursday afternoon and our highs are supposed to be in the mid-70s all week.

Things That Make Me Happy:

Family, writing on this blog, our silly little gray cat (who lost her pretty pink break away collar in ONE day…SIGH), spring flowers and all the green around them, the smell of rain, and even though it is no longer Monday…today, Coffee is definitely on this list!

Weekly Menu:

MONDAY:  Pork Chops, French Fries (my husband had mashed potatoes), and Watermelon

TUESDAY:  Vegetable Chili (with a side of ham steaks for the carnivores), Salad

WEDNESDAY:   BLT’s, Oven-fried Potato Chips

THURSDAY:   Fish Sticks, Corn (carry over from last week)

FRIDAY:  Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, and Onion Rings

*I always link my menu plans to Menu Plan Monday hosted by Laura from I’m An Organizing Junkie, her posts are always a source of great inspiration.  If you are even thinking of menu planning, go check out her site.

Books, Movies, and Television:

I watched two movies over the weekend.  G and I finally managed to get around to watching The Hobbit:  The Battle of the Five Armies.  I really enjoyed and think it is my favorite of the trilogy.  G said he was partial to the first movie.  On my own, I watched Mocking Jay, Part 1 since G and his dad had already seen it at the movie theater quite a while ago.  I enjoyed it but really wasn’t surprised that G didn’t want to watch it with me again.  It was my favorite of the books in the Hunger Games series but I know he preferred the other two books.

I was quite impressed with how well that particular movie followed the book.  It is hard though to watch a movie when you know it is “part 1″ and have read the book.  I kept thinking…and, they’ll end it here…I do have a theory about where part 2 will begin and so am anxious to see if I am correct but I have to wait.

Speaking of books, I did read one over the weekend.  Nothing like a bit of stormy, Midwestern weather as a backdrop for reading another book set in Oz.  Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page was just as intriguing as I expected.  I love that there is a young adult book out there with a different perspective on Oz.  I could see the influence of the Wicked books and yet it is definitely very much its own story as the heroine struggles to find herself and help return Oz to the happy place it used to be before the Wizard and Dorothy brought it to ruin.  Be warned, of course, it is not a standalone book (remember those?) but rather part of a series and I had to obtain a copy of the next one, The Wicked Will Rise, almost immediately.

My week has apparently started with a fairy tale theme since the only thing I’ve watched this week was the season finale of Once Upon A Time.  I had been watching Cupcake Wars on Netflix only to find it they only had one short season added.  So much for a new show to watch.

Looking Around the House

Do I have to do that?  It’s a mess!  Every single room needs attention.  I’m trying to focus on the boys’ rooms this week though.  I’ve seen a few of our May ants that like to invade as well.  Tis the season for them.

To-Do List

  1. End of year teacher gifts/cards
  2. Clean the house, focus on the boys’ rooms
  3. Plant our sunflower seeds (we have some planted but I want to plant a few more)
  4. Mow the lawn
  5. Write and mail a couple of thank you notes

That’s simply my short list for today.  I may have to make writing a master to-do list my task for Small Project Day on Wednesday.

Blog Posts and Plans

I have ideas for the blog post stockpile challenge but oh, that elusive time to do things!  I am simply trying to find that balance between posting, expanding my blog by doing all that “required” stuff, and reading and commenting on other blogs that I truly love.  I’m sure there’s a time-management lesson in there I need to learn (AND apply).

From the Camera

Some of Sunday's Storm Clouds

Some of Sunday’s Storm Clouds


Rainbow among the clouds

Rainbow among the clouds

Thoughts for the Week

I’m still thinking about my mother today…so my quotes for the week are the ones from this post.

What is it in the light of eternity?

There, but for the grace of God, Go I (John Bradford)

Not from my mom but I saw this bible verse over on Pinterest and it spoke to me:

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  (Isaiah 41:13)


Are you counting down to the last day of school with your children or for yourself?  What is on your agenda for this second week of May?





My Mother’s Quote

My mom kept a quote on the fridge for years.  It was in Latin with a translation written underneath.   The translation of my mother’s quote said:  What is it in the light of eternity?

As I’ve searched for the exact Latin words to my mother’s quote this morning, all I could find (oh how, I wish I could find that scrap of paper which is probably floating around somewhere), was this title of a poem:

Quid hoc ad aeternitatem

My mother loved poetry and would have loved this poem.  I know the quote she had didn’t come from this particular poem, however, since it was written after she passed away.

Lately, as my boys grow older (and so do I), the quote has been coming to the front of my mind.  The English words, not the Latin ones.  It seems to help me focus.

mother's quote

I’ve come to appreciate my mother more as I savor and struggle with motherhood as the boys grow older.  While all these “my mother was my greatest friend, source of inspiration” pieces are floating around the Internet this weekend, I’ll admit that I didn’t have that type of relationship with my mother.  I loved her and she loved me  but we did not have that “best friend” type relationship.

We seldom agreed, she got on my nerves on more days than she did not, she was anal about her housekeeping (obviously, I’m not), and we had mostly completely opposite tastes.  I still continue to marvel how she remained so dependent on my father while raising all of her children to be incredibly independent people.  I’m sure if I was to subject myself to some deep psychoanalysis that it would come up as a factor in why I’ve been so very hesitant to ask for help most of my life.  However, I also take more than a tiny bit of pride in being independent.  It is a skill that has served me well.

My mother’s quote on the fridge was just one among the many words she shared with me whether I was listening or not.  Usually not.  She loved words.  I have no doubt I get my love of writing from her.  One of her other “famous” sayings has also been on my mind quite a bit lately as well.

mother's quote

I can remember my mom speaking these words often.  This quote keeps me grounded, reminds me to be compassionate and empathetic.  Reminds me the distance between myself and others is not all that wide.  On a side note, the origin story of the quote is rather interesting.  I found it when I was checking for the source of who actually said it first (turns out it wasn’t my mother).

My mother had other sayings, of course, what mother doesn’t?  However, those two quotes have stuck with me as well as made me think lately about how little I appreciated the trials my mother endured and overcame during her life.  There were more than a few.

  • Her parents divorced while my grandmother was pregnant with her.
  • She had a sister who was sent away.
  • She had a sister who died as a young adult.
  • She grew up in a poor household during the depression (and kept absolutely everything as an adult because of it!)
  • She suffered multiple miscarriages.
  • She gave birth to a stillborn baby.
  • She lost a teenage son (an older brother I never knew) to mental illness (Did you know May is mental illness awareness month?)
  • She gave birth to a child at the age of 42 far before it was considered an everyday thing (hey, that was me!)
  • She raised 5 children to be caring, compassionate adults with a strong sense of family (our dad probably had a small part in that as well but he worked long hours and she was often on her own)
  • Some of her children (ahem, again that would be me) weren’t as kind, compassionate, or considerate of her as they should have been
  • She lost her husband of almost 60 years (can’t remember exactly how long) to pancreatic cancer
  • She was in poor health for much of the later part of her life

Despite all those obstacles and the fact we seldom agreed, I do remember my mom always being there for me (sometimes when I didn’t even know I needed her).

I used to think it would be horrible if I ended up like my mom.  However, it turns out I’m proud to have claimed a few of my mom’s traits such as a small amount of her compassion (even if it took me a while), the ability to stand back and let my boys figure it out for themselves (mostly), my faith, and my ability to speak my mind when necessary.   I can also lay on the guilt heavier than a summer downpour (again when necessary and thankfully, I don’t find it necessary very often).

What quotes, from your mother or not, guide your thoughts and actions?

And of course, Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there.

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