Monday, February 15, 2010

Getting Organized

I'm not a very organized person. My organizational system usually consists of piles of paper all over the place and a basket to shove it all in when it gets to be too much. I have a hard time throwing things away. I keep almost all my magazines - though I do tear out and recycle all the ads so the magazines take up less space! I enjoy cooking and have tons of recipes - torn out of magazines, free cards that come in the mail, printed off the internet, given to me by family members, etc. I have a recipe book with slots to fill with 3x5 or 4x6 cards and I use it a lot. It's special to me so I only put recipes in it that I love and make regularly. But I almost never recopy a recipe onto a card so that it will fit in the book.

All of this means that my cookbook shelf was being overrun with dozens (hundreds?) of torn-out, unorganized recipes of all different genres, sizes, paper types, as well as about a dozen different magazines I had saved. It's been like this the whole time we've lived here. I've wasted a ton of time looking through the stack trying to find a particular recipe, usually without much luck.

One day recently, inspiration struck. I decided to take a plastic file-folder box I wasn't using and create file folders for categories of recipes. I knew I wanted to file them mostly by food type (chicken, beef, pork, veggies, pasta, etc. I even have one for "Cooking Info," which is filled with how-to articles, ingredient substitution lists, and things of that nature). So I made the folders and finally went through that giant stack of recipes. I filed each one in the right folder and came up with this:

I've been so excited because this system is totally working for me! Because I created it, I was able to make categories that make sense to me and fit the way I cook. The folders are large so they hold any recipe, regardless of its size. If I know I want to cook chicken I just pull out the folder and page through it. If I have some broccoli that needs to be cooked I look for a recipe under "Vegetables." And since I'm someone who likes to alter recipes and combine two or three to suit my purposes, this system works great for that too. I can quickly see several similar recipes that might complement one another. I've completely organized that ginormous pile of recipes and have recycled at least a dozen magazines since starting this system. I love it and wanted to share it in case anyone out there might want to try something similar. (I have a goal of going through and recycling most of the other dozens of magazines I have stashed in various places throughout the house before we move this summer. Think I can do it?)

The other thing I'm excited about lately (though it's not quite at the same caliber as the recipes) is I came up with a way for us to keep track of leftovers and things we have in the fridge so hopefully we'll waste less food. I printed up a blank calendar page and posted it on the fridge. Any time I put leftovers in there or half a can of peaches or whatever, I write it on the calendar. And when we've finished something we're supposed to cross it off the calendar. This way I can quickly see what I have, how long it's been in there and what I need to either toss or eat soon. Here are pictures:

Like I said, this one isn't nearly as exciting as the recipes (for me), but it works for us and has already helped us make use of food we would have thrown away.

Thanks for reading and sticking with me as I celebrate this small victory. I wanted to share my excitement and maybe help someone else out along the way. Blessings!

Eventful Day

Hannah was off of school today and we were getting ready for a Valentine's Day party a friend and I hosted for some of the sem kids and their families. Hannah was looking for a balloon I wanted to take with us. She came out of the playroom holding her hand out and with a panicky voice said, "Mom, I got a paper cut." The end of her finger had a little smear of blood on it so I grabbed her hand and walked her into the bathroom. Now to back up, several times in the past she has gotten herself into quite a state when she sees her own blood. Her face loses all color and she starts crying that she's going to throw up. Of course she was doing that today so I sat her down on the potty chair/stool in the bathroom, blotted her finger and got a band-aid on it. She began crying and saying she was going to be sick, she needed the trash can, she didn't feel good, etc. I got the trash can out and she about fell into it. I realized her eyes were closed and she was falling off the stool. I eased her onto the ground, called for Don and began brushing her hair out of her face. She opened her eyes a few seconds later...she wasn't out for long, but she definitely fainted. From a paper cut.

So once she was feeling better, it was time to head out in the snow for the Valentine's party. We had about 34 kids and 14 moms/grandparents/caregivers. It was fun and exhausting. You know how adults always ask about kids, "Where do they get their energy?" They suck it directly from us!

I was watching Noah while we were at the party. He's 8 1/2 months old and he can roll pretty much anywhere he wants to go - the girls did too. He can pivot around in a circle and push himself backwards on his tummy, but he can't propel himself forward. He's been getting up on his hands and knees and rocking back and forth since before Christmas - about two months! Well, at the party I saw him up on his knees and he picked his hands up a couple times, like he was going to crawl but then flopped back down onto his tummy. Later this afternoon he was sitting up and I was feeding him pieces of graham cracker. He saw the rest of the cracker on the plate, lunged for it and began crawling! So far the only things worth crawling for are food and balls, but I bet within a couple days he'll be crawling absolutely everywhere. It's a fun transition (and much earlier than either of the girls) and it'll be interesting to see what else he gets into. I'm sure we'll need to do even more childproofing.

To add to the eventful day, my friend Mendy (who did all the work planning the fun party for the kids) had one too. Her son got his first bloody nose at the party and she set a potholder on top of her stove on fire this afternoon. Never a dull moment around here!

I've uploaded some new pictures. Here's the link to one of the albums:
February 2010

They don't have captions yet - hopefully soon! There are new albums for December, January, and February. You can see that we've been having fun at Hannah's school parties, at the Magic House, visiting Grammies in Tennessee, and playing in the snow. Noah's been having fun playing and learning how to eat (food, paper, chalk, etc.).

Keep Don in prayer this week. He's working on a paper (up over 15 pages now), has another paper due Thursday, and three final exams Thursday and Friday. He's been up late several nights in a row, which doesn't agree with him but there's no end in sight (at least until we arrive in CA). Keep us in prayer for safe travel and we'll see many of you soon!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Say What?

Hannah & Bethie were running back and forth across the living room in their underwear.
B: We're bein' the 'Credibles!
H: Yeah, I'm Bob.
Me: Who's Bethie?
H: She's Alaska.
Me: What?
H: You know, Bob marries Alaska.
Me: You mean, Elasti-girl?

Friday, February 5, 2010

A sample of my life

Bethie, running across the house toward the bathroom: "My flip-flop is wet!"

Me, while laying on the couch trying to muster the energy to start getting three kids ready for bed: "Why is your flip-flop wet?"

Bethie, hollering from the bathroom: "Cause I peed on it." (Long pause) "The other one's not wet."