Monday, May 2, 2016

Minimize it Monday - Calendar Squares

What a super busy weekend we had! I am still recuperating from it today.

As I was contemplating what to minimize today, I saw my planner from the corner of my eye. Ahh. Yes, sometimes, minimizing our busy days is actually a wonderful project to launch, and what better place to see what our days are really like than looking into our family's calendar/planner?

Seeing some empty squares made me so happy. Nowadays, empty calendar squares are hard to come by, no matter what your age is.

Our calendar maybe fuller or emptier in the coming months, it all depends on how we want to use our days. My goal is not to fill it so full that all I would be doing is just to check off the boxes (or squares). We have many milestone celebrations this year so our calendar is mostly full for the summer. I am praying when Fall comes I will be able to minimize the busy squares on our calendar.

Increase empty calendar squares. increase our trust and rest in the Lord for our days.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thursday for Friday

I have always loved Fridays. It has meant different things through the years. But mostly, Friday always means happiness.

When I was in my youth, Fridays usually meant the beginning of a wonderful beach trip with my siblings promised by our father. We would wait *patiently* for him to finish his nap and then GO!

When I was in my late teen years, Fridays meant a fun weekend to be have with friends.

When I was a newly wed, Friday was always a movie and eating out combo (date night was not a normal term in those days for me)

When I was a young mom, Fridays meant house cleaning days. I was trying to live my newly changed life on other week days!

When we first decided to homeschool our children, Fridays had been mostly quizzes and tests days.

Now that we are homeschooling our last child, Fridays have become a welcoming break from the more strict routine of the previous weekdays. We will watch movies at home when the works are done and eat pizza or home made burgers and fries for dinner. Oh, and ice cream for dessert (ice cream is only served during weekend nights. It has been a "rule" since our first child could eat)

Fridays have always been a synonym of relaxation, easy-peasy days, most of the time, at least.

But for some reasons, our Fridays have become busy lately. Saturdays, too.  I somehow seem to be able to pack these two days solid with lots of to-do's. I feel it and I don't like it. I have noticed our weekends literally just zoomed by, every week!

Today, not sure how it happened, I felt like it is a Friday. I did a lot of errands but somehow in my mind, it felt like a Friday. So I rolled with it. We got our homework done. CC is over now so I mainly just do light review and Language Arts and simple math with P since he is still in the lower elementary level of learning. I spent the day like half Thursday and half Friday, if that make sense. I really like it, and tomorrow I would have a half Friday half Saturday kinda day, I assume.

I guess the weekend seems to last longer when I feel this way? Hmmm... we shall see.

Weekend means family time to us. Perhaps that's the reason I wish to have it last a little longer...

Anyway, I will try this Thursday for Friday mindset for a few weeks and see how we like it (mainly for P and me) and may report back here. :)

Happy weekend!

P feeding a giraffe on a Friday zoo field trip.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Minimize It Monday - Procrastination Piles

We all have them. You know, on the floor or in the bags, the boxes, the baskets, the bins.

When we throw those "to be xxx" into those containers, we had one goal in mind - the stuff will be taken care of after this time or event. The reality is, while it tricked us thinking they are contained (especially in pretty container), 90% of the time, the stuff just sit there. And the containers multiplied. So did our shoulder pain, aka stress.

I have  a few  many of these containers. I call them my Delinquent Boxes (DB). They are mostly papers. It shocked me because I usually process mails that got into my home immediately. Where did all these boxes come from? I decided to grab a box today and examined the content of that DB. Sure enough, most of them are school papers (we homeschool do CC) and bill invoices (regardless I have many bills paid automatically).

Why is that? Why is that I couldn't control this part of my life?

As I went through the DB, my mind was made up to make this my paper de-cluttering project for the duration of this year. I want to lick this monster. Paper piles stress me most out of all other kinds of piles. It is a constant cue that I am either avoiding certain reality or my priority is just not parked in the right place.

So first thing first, I eliminated one bin. Shredded many papers and sorted the copies (which I will go further to cut down before "filing" them) I will, however reluctantly, be sure to change some more statements from paper format to pdf on the company's website.

It is always good to set small goals. My humble goal of sorting through this DB today was reached! I took my first bite of this elephant. I am ready for another bin bite tomorrow.

This was the most recent DB so I started with it... the bin is not even mine....

An hour later... cleared box, clearer mind. The bin will be returned to its owner in a couple of days!

Now onto making a bill binder.

Do you have any Delinquent Boxes?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Above the Line Shopping List

I opened the refrigerator this morning and noting down items I needed to buy as the fridge is getting empty and my big shopping day is not till next week. I quickly wrote down some items on the back of a receipt. Moments later, My big boy came and said: "Mom, there's nothing in the fridge... when are you going to pick up some food?" Hmmm.... Guest I had no choice but made a dashing trip to TJ before lunch time.

On my way to the store, I was thinking why do I still write things down? Why didn't I just print out a bunch of the shopping lists I had created and just grab one whenever I needed it? Well, I know the answer, I just did not want to admit it - the list was the way I wanted it to be, not what needs to be. I had all my "wants" on it, whether we can afford it or not.

The list worked well for a while, a long while, mind you, as long as I put the "want" items on credit if I ran out of cash, which happened a few times too many. Slowly and by God's grace, I had come to terms with my shopping "wish list" and need it to reflect our current budget plan. The desire of wanting a new list finally caught up with me today.

When I was making the left turn to enter the shopping center, a light bulb went on. We are currently in one of Dave Ramsey's Money Make-over classes and last week he shared one of his experiences (on video) about how he and his wife had to sit down and made an "Above the Line" budget sheet. Basically, anything above the line got paid, anything below the line got paid when there's extra money. Thank the Lord we didn't have to do that with our finance. We have debt but not as horrendous as the one they had. We are in the class for a different reason, that's a post for another day.
Anyway, that "Above the Line" idea sat in as I was thinking about how to redo my shopping habit/list that I got so excited when I came home I quickly revised the list.

The new list gives me a very clear picture where all the dollars go (one of DR's strong teachings - give every dollar a name) Anything above the line of the shopping list we NEED to have in the house every week, even though some of the items lasts more than one week and only need to be purchased once in a while. None the less, it helps me to budget better and hopefully to avoid the question from my son: "Mom, when are you going to the store...?"

The old list - it served us well for many years. If anything, it helped me to try to stick to the list when I go shopping.

The revised list prints on both sides. Now I know the food budget allows me to get things that are "above the line" and if we have extra, I could shop something below the line. Lets you worry, ice cream is above the line. ;)

I also learned that instead of buying Tarter sauce, I can combine these two items and they taste exactly like tarter sauce and oh so delicious! I learned this trick from the "Chef" behind the TJ Taste station. Now I don't buy the use only a couple times and throw away Tarter sauce!

Maple Syrup, My kids love them. It is a staple goodness in our house. Because I am watching the budget like a hawk right now, I picked this smaller jar for this month. I usually buy the 32 Oz. one but since we are revamping our budget I decided not to break the bank for it on today's quick shopping trip. I don't buy a lot of stuff but I do try to buy the good ones whenever I can.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Minimized It Monday - A few years later (!)

Wow! As I clicked to start a new post I glanced over to see when was the last time I wrote an entry, it was THREE YEARS ago, on a Monday!

I am on the de-cluttering mode again, after living here three plus years. I want to start documenting our lives again. I really missed blogging. It was great soul therapy in the years past when I did.

The room I have started with is our school/library/office/guest room. Yes. It is in a dire need of tidying up.

It took me all this time to hate, to love, to accept, to accommodate this room. Then, all at once, in the beginning of this month, I FELT ready to tackle it. I am still in the tidying process. I took my time and because it's my Minimized It Monday, I thought it would be great to start blogging again and share my life once more on this small pad of Blog Land.

I didn't take a "before" picture, just imagine there were more bags and stuff all over the bed. This is a "during" photo.

Not the best picture but it's a start.

And I wonder how many of my old readers still check-in on my blog. :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Minimize it Monday: Start Over

Over the weekend I was bed resting for my lower back pain and I had a chance to go through my old blog posts and I found myself re-reading many of my Home-Making posts. Minimize it  Mondays were the posts I enjoyed re-reading because they reminded me the effect of less is more.

Since we moved, I have not really had a chance to make any plans or continue some of the wonderful habits we have established in our old home. It is over due and I am about ready to launch my minimizing effort again, now that I get to "know" this home a little better.

This Monday post is a "Start Over" but we actually tackled the tasks over the weekend. My goal was simple to attain since I had to be careful of my movement so not to upset my back pain any further:
~ Unplug and remove some small appliances from the counter top that are not in use constantly - toaster oven, coffee grinder, juicer, etc... you got the picture.
~ Replacing all the light bulbs to the "greenlite" economic types (Hubby's department and they were  mostly done!)
~ Pull out my "To-Do Notebook" and start jotting things/projects down.
~Clean the boys bed rooms. (Josh got his done and Peter was helping Daddy (since Mommy was out of commission) by making his own bed - we are still working on a better organization for his toys).
~ Going through Peter's clothes and continue to keep them in the "seven sets" way. Still working on this as I was not able to move/sit too long.
~ Assigning new "Hot Spots". Almost done.

I had to pace myself as any sudden movement would send me back to the excruciating pain in my lower back. None the less, I am glad I was motivated enough to start (actually, to continue) the belated Spring Cleaning.

Peter Helping to make his bed.

Joshua Made his the military style - Straight and no wrinkles!

We are in the process of replacing the whole house's light bulbs into this type of energy efficient ones.

 ~This post is linked to Amy's Tuesday AP Party~

Monday, April 1, 2013

Refrigerator Cleaning

The Spring Cleaning continues... Today, I decided to tackle the fridge. I have not really cleansed it since we moved in and it was time.


This is how I organize my shelves:
Top self - way in the back I keep the flours and the used coconut oil for deep frying. I also have added a shelf in there to hold the flat items.

second "layer" on top shelf - extras of the same stuff.

Top shelf - in the front is my daily stuff.

 Second shelf - Left overs and more daily stuff. I love using shoe boxes in there for easy access.

I love this huge drawer! I keep lots of "loose" items in there. I use a shorter tray in there for a compartment look. I also love my white hard boiled eggs holder - a TJ Max find.

Third shelf - More shoe boxes for veggies and fruit.

The two drawers' contents are obvious.
This is before I restock but it is bare because we EAT the stuff we buy. A lot less wastes these days.

Because we have the wall behind the fridge door, I remove the door shelf before pulling out the bottom left drawer to clean.

After = ♥

The door storage is the worst part of the organization. Before... 

 After. Love how the like items are next to each other. :)  Those white dividers are adjustable. One thing I learned is that milk goes bad faster if stored in the door shelf as the temperature fluctuates quite a bit with the opening and closing of the door.

Freezer door. Before.

Freezer door. After. Not sure why I keep the decaf as no one is drinking it any more...

Freezer - Before. Looking at this, I realized the way we eat these days are definitely not a monthly menu but rather, a weekly one.

After - not much work here. Merely rearranged the items.

~This post is linked to New nostalgia AP party.~