Monday, January 24, 2011

Home Management Notebook Makeover

As noted before, one of my resolutions was to dust off my household management notebook, refresh it and utilize it. On New Years Eve I did in fact pull it out and began the process of refreshing it, reorganizing it. It has served me well over the last several weeks, just as it had over the last several years, but it didn't seem personal enough. It was getting the job done but the organizational aspect needed tweaked in order to be more functional and it wasn't particularly pretty. It was a simple 1 inch binder and the cover was a printout from Again, functional but not pretty.
I wanted something pretty, more inspirational. Looking in my craft supplies I found a paper crafting kit by Cosmo Cricket that I had purchased years ago and I purposed to use it to makeover my notebook. This is how it looks now. Isn't it pretty?
Here's a look at the inside. On the left is my daily schedule utilizing a form from It also has a small tag with my personal information. On the right are notecards, one for each day of the week.
Then there are seven tabbed categories - weekly, monthly, meal planning, annual/seasonal, lifestyle of learning, business, and routines.
The notecards have daily information - appointments to keep, calls to make, things to do, the days menus and chores. Just behind these is the weekly category with next weeks set of notecards and a master to-do list.
Then comes the monthly section with month-at-a-glance calendar pages printed from and special days highlighted. After this would be the meal planning section where I have a list of our favorite dishes, meal-related ideas for upcoming special events and the weeks menus.
The next section is the seasonal/annual section. Tasks or events that are annual, bi-annual, or quarterly are noted on a yearly calendar. For example, it reminds me that property taxes are due in December, that files are purged and reorganized in February, and toys are purged in June and December.
Behind the yearly calendar are sheets of simple notebook paper where I jot down ideas relevant to each month. I brainstorm - what does each month bring to mind? January: Bishop's birthday, epiphany, stars, snow, black-eyed peas, a new year, Unschool Art Exhibit and decorate front porch for Valentines. As I run across seasonal information that is new to me I jot that down as well. January: national drinking straw day and squirrel appreciation day. Civic holidays, liturgical events, and seasonal food, craft activities, household and garden tasks are all noted here. These help me plan menus, events and educational opportunities.
The pursuant categories are lifestyle of learning where I jot down broad annual and monthly educational goals and ideas, business where I keep important phone numbers and spending records, and routines where I keep track of chores and tasks related to maintaining the home and property. This notebook is a gift to myself - the gift of organization wrapped in a beautiful package!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hollywood or Bust Update

A week ago I mailed three packages to Keegan and Ian via UPS. On Thursday they found 2 packages in the hallway outside their apartment door. After running the tracking numbers I discovered that they should have found 3 packages outside their apartment door. And, of course, the package that was stolen was the most important package, it was the package packed with the most care and thought. Ian searched every inch of the apartment complex until he discovered the opened package tossed in the garbage. Thankfully, every bit of the package was recovered with the exception of Keegan's passport. The passport has been invalidated but we must now take measures to protect her identity and we must also replace her passport. Is it two steps forward, one step back? Or is it one step forward, two steps back?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Natural Fun

Missouri is a beautiful state consisting of plains and rolling hills, lakes and roaring rivers, forests and varied wildlife. Not only are we blessed to live in this gorgeous state but we are blessed to have a conservation department that helps maintain that beauty and encourages us to enjoy all the natural offerings of our state. Our conservation departments mission statement is to protect and manage the fish, forest and wildlife resources of the state; to serve the public and facilitate their participation in resource management activities; and to provide opportunity for all citizens to use, enjoy, and learn about fish, forest, and wildlife resources. And, boy, do they do a good job! Walking the trails at our closest nature center is one of our favorite family activities. But the last two Saturdays have found us at the nature center doing more than hiking. One Saturday they offered virtual fishing and Bishop took advantage of it. He had a great time "reeling in" bass and trout. Those fish sure can put up a good fight.

The following Saturday they offered a fly-tying demonstration. It was fascinating to learn how bits of feather, yarn and thread could imitate insects or other food that would fool a fish. The member's of The Missouri Trout Fishermen's Association enthusiastically shared their hobby and knowledge with us. Bishop is now excited about learning fly-tying and fly fishing and we have all the information we need in order to pursue these new interests.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Life...My Life

This is a good representation of my life right now.

My life is full and somewhat scattered. There are remnants of the holidays and a birthday celebrated. There are plans to be made and homeschool related projects to prepare for. There are transitions to be negotiated as I still have to finish shipping or stashing Keegan and Ian's belongings and move the boys downstairs into what used to be Keegan's room. I have so much going on simultaneously and am only accomplishing bits and pieces at a time. Patience and persistence are being cultivated. Assuredly, it will all get done.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

She Took My Breath Away

Today I received copies of the Southern Bride magazine that features Keegan modeling 'chic couture inspired by world culture.'

I turned the page and there she was.

Beautiful. She took my breath away.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Post-Christmas Sales Have Been Good To Me

I had no intention of hitting any of the post-Christmas clearance sales this year. I didn't even make any purchases at any department or grocery store that I had to go to in the daily course of life. Today I opted to go to a Christian bookstore in order to attain a birthday card for Bishop and rather fortuitously they had just marked down their Christmas items by 90%. I was able to pick up a slew of gifts for a blessedly low price. I cannot post pictures of all my purchases as that might spoil some Christmas surprises; however, I can share a few little treats. I finally found a Christmas pillow that will match my living room decor and for only $2. The labels on the bowls stated that they were candy dishes but I see them as a special way to serve hot cereal or a little treat to the boys during the Christmas season. Altogether, the plates and bowls only cost $6.50.

After getting the birthday card and Christmas goodies at the Christian bookstore I headed over to Borders to buy a Lego minifigure to put on Bishop's cake and I ended up making a couple of Christmas purchases there as well. The cup will go in a care package to Keegan so that she can easily take her hot tea or coffee to school, the chocolates will be stashed away and pulled out as a treat on who-knows-what occasion, and the maple candle is a little indulgence for me.

Enjoying some of the purchases on Epiphany...

... and while watching Fantastic Mr. Fox with the boys!

Hollywood or Bust Update

Keegan and Ian spent a couple of days in Las Vegas allowing them an opportunity to refresh themselves. Keegan showed Ian around town, showing him where she grew up. They spent some great time with Papa and Helen. And brought in the new year with them and Helen's family. Papa and Helen, thanks for being such gracious hosts. I know they had a great time. Rested and rejuvenated, they headed to Los Angeles. The trip took longer then anticipated - it seems as though most of Los Angeles brought in the new year in Las Vegas and they all had to make their way home. It was raining when they arrived but they did secure their apartment and get the essentials in for that first evening. They had difficulty finding parking and woke in the morning to a parking ticket. Welcome to Los Angeles! The second day they finished unloading the vehicle and did some grocery shopping. The next morning they awoke to another parking ticket. The management at the apartment complex then informed them that they could get a parking permit at the DMV. With their lease in hand they went to DMV to attain a parking permit but were informed that a lease is not enough to prove residency on that street, they would need a driver's license with their current address on it. Attaining a driver's license in California can be quite time consuming, in the meantime they have to try not to get anymore parking tickets. Otherwise, things are going well - Ian is on a job hunt and Keegan started school yesterday, she believes that she is going to enjoy it. The adventure continues!


From the East came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures, they offered costly gifts: gold to the Great King, incense to the true God, and myrrh in symbol of his burial, alleluia!

Epiphany - the final day of Christmas and the day in which we get to recognize that the gift of Christmas was presented to Gentiles as well as the Jews. The light shines for all of us, all who are willing to follow the star. We prepared for Epiphany by making spiced muffins for our dinner...

and making pomanders, our gifts of gold and spices.

The magi are ready for the final leg of their journey.

I was inspired by the spices that the Magi gifted to Christ as I created the dinner menu for this Holy day. I served an egg and sausage casserole, cinnamon streusal muffins, applesauce spiced muffins, spiced baked apples, and spiced tea. The table was set in purples and blues. The wise men were added to the nativity that was placed beneath my metal 'candelabra' whose candleholders suggest crowns of kings to me, three of them, in fact. Also, at the foot of the 'candelabra' we place the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh and the pomanders that Bishop and I made as our representations of the gifts of gold and spices.

O Lord, Almighty God, bless this house that it may become a shelter of health, chastity, self-conquest, humility, goodness, mildness, obedience to the commandments, and thanksgiving to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Upon this house and those who dwell herein may Your blessing remain forever, through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Final inscription made with chalk above doorway will read 20+C+M+B+11
The three wise men,
Caspar, C
Melchior, M
and Balthasar, B
followed the star of God's Son who became man
two thousand, 20
and eleven years ago, 11

May Christ bless our dwelling,
and remain with us throughout the new year, +
and grant that our comings and goings, +
will be in search of truth. +

The inscription will stay up through pentecost.
Happy Epiphany everyone!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy 10th Birthday, Bishop!

It was Bishop's 10th birthday today. Keegan typically makes and decorates the family birthday cakes but, alas, she is not here so the cake making became my responsibility. It was a simple chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. The decorations were also simple, actually the lego minifig is my way of dressing up the cake. Simple but Bishop loved it.

The cake withstood the wish-making and candle-blowing but began to fall apart soon after the cake-cutting. Oh well, it did taste sooooo gooood!!!!!

As per family tradition, Bishop got to choose the menu for the evening. He chose stuffed sopaipillas. I couldn't get a single one of them to fluff properly. Despite the imperfections, they were devoured; just as the aforementioned perfectly imperfect cake was. After dinner came gift opening From Grandmama, Aunt Christie, et al. he received an insect identification kit complete with a magnifying glass and an insect guidebook. I see lots of buggy fun when spring arrives.

Then he got to the gift from his immediate family. He looked in the gift bag and found targets and bb's but "where is the gun?" he asked.

Ahhh, there it is. Bishop is now a proud gun owner.

Happy 10th birthday, Bishop! You are in the double-digits now!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Household Management Notebook

I have been making good on one of my resolutions - to dust off my household management notebook, refresh and utilize. New Years Eve I pulled it out and began to sort through its contents, discarding outdated items and figuring out what items were still relevant to my life. I organized the organizer. My notebook contains a daily schedule, master to-do list, weekly routine, weekly and monthly cleaning checklists, blessings for each area of my home, monthly calendars for the year, yearly calendar, lists of monthly events, activites, related foods and activities, important phone numbers and addresses, and other cleaning-related information. There is more yet to do - I need to add menu planning information and chores and responsibilities for the kiddos. I may also include broad educational goals for the year and each month. Yesterday I gave alot of prayerful consideration as to how to structure my time, how to be a good steward of the time that God has gifted me. My kitchen, laundry room, and mud room will be tended to on Mondays, grocery shopping and errands on the north side of town on Tuesdays, bedrooms and baking on Wednesdays, bathroom and errands on the south side on Thursday, dining room, living room and hall on Fridays, and Saturdays will be used to clean the van, front porch, art studio, and the (soon-to-be) rec room. My daily schedule will include quiet time, exercise time, "school" time, meal prep and clean up, time for the chores and for addressing business, planning, and blogging, 'independent' time, family worship and family read-alouds. Although I have not clearly defined every aspect of the plan, I have begun to implement what I do have in place. Today, I have not completed everything that I set out to complete (ie. I didn't get my exercises in because I am fighting something bronchial; I failed to get my floors done in today's designated area) but I have accomplished a great deal. Among other things, I read the book of James and I completed two loads of laundry, cleaned the fridge and freezer and inventoried the contents, cleaned all the appliances, and began to catechize the boys using Training Hearts, Teaching Minds. I feel more balanced, focused, and productive. I will continue to tweak my organizer, making it more functional. I also want to personalize and prettify my binder just a bit. That particular task I will place on my p.m. list. The p.m. list is another aspect of my organizational plan that I need to put into place. The p.m. list is a list of tasks that I can complete during evening down time, tasks that could be done while watching a movie or listening to a radio broadcast. I remember my granny, after a long day of cooking and cleaning, would sit in her green upholstered rocker doing some mending or crocheting an afghan while the evening newscast was playing. My granny had her p.m. list that allowed her to be productive even during her "down" time. My p.m. file presently includes organizing recipes that I have clipped, assembling my traditions notebook, working on scrapbook pages or other art projects, writing letters, painting my toenails and prettifying my household management notebook. I have to decide how to keep track of my p.m. file ideas. I used to jot them down on a dry erase board but I don't have that board anymore nor do I have a place for it. I will come up with something creative. I also plan on getting an index card file with monthly tabs and setting it on my kitchen counter after prettifying it. This file would allow me to quickly store seasonal ideas that I might spontaneously come up with. I suppose that this is another project for my p.m. list. I have so enjoyed getting my notebook out and refreshing it. There is so much peace to be found in an ordered life.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

Praying that you have a richly blessed new year!!!