Sunday, February 23, 2014

Book 12

The Monuments Men:  Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert Edsel started slow, but was an amazing read.  I guess I would say that it moved faster after I stopped going back and forth and trying to remember who everyone was and what everyone was doing.  I just hung on tight and went for the ride; what a great ride it was.  My daddy and I both read this book; then we went to see the movie.  I finished with an hour to spare!  The movie was great, too!   I'm not sure why they made some of the changes that they made, but again I let go of the book and just enjoyed the movie the way it was.  It sure helped understanding some of the movie having read the book, but my mom didn't read the book and enjoyed the movie as well.  

2014 - 6, 7, 8, 9

#6 - Clean out the papers you don't need

I moved several smallish boxes from my bedroom to my kitchen table.  They were full of papers.  School papers.  3 years worth of Christmas cards (for the record, I finally finished my Christmas cards on Super Bowl Sunday and mailed them shortly thereafter.  I've gotten lots of positive feedback, too!  I cannot count it as a resolution, however, because it was a resolution in December that I am just finishing.).  I have gone through all of the boxes and I  have whittled the group down to one with pictures that I need to do something about, one with recipes that I need to do something about, and a box of gifts to mail.  In the meantime, I've also accumulated another bag of stuff to donate, filled the paper drawer with partially used notebooks/notepads and eliminated countless piles of papers.  So satisfying.  In saying this, however, I realize that I have more to do.  Over the desk are several cubbies that I once cleared out and have now filled up and I have 2 two-drawer file cabinets in the basement and file boxes on and under the desk.  But, since February is the month of the KITCHEN, I am focused on clearing out the excess papers in the kitchen.

#7 - Do your taxes.

There are many reasons for completing these in a timely fashion.  Now that I have college students, they need me to get them done in order to fill out the FAFSA application.  We usually get a refund, so that is another reason not to put it off.

In my world, I spend more time preparing to do the taxes than actually doing them.  For example, I donate stuff throughout the year, document it in a spreadsheet, but usually only partially so I have to finish that.  Many years, I have used Quicken, which makes keeping track of my other donations easy, however, in the last couple of years that has gotten to be too complicated for me to keep up with so I have to search through my credit cards and emails to discover some of my good will.  I also spend time on the road doing deeds of a voluntary nature.  Did you know that you can deduct money on your taxes for that very thing?  I do and I do.  Right after I search through my calendar and document it all.  I am trying to put into place a system so that my prep time is less next year; my goal is to do it monthly.  Let's see next year how that all pans out.

#8 - Clean out your kitchen cabinets

Since February is the month of the kitchen, I am tackling what I truly consider to be a multi-week project of cleaning out the kitchen cabinets.  I mean, really... what do you do with those college fraternity glasses?  Sure they hold good memories... of another CENTURY!  I also have some beautiful cut crystal up there.  That I'm moving into my hutch, I think.  Maybe Teen Boy will sell it for me.  That is my goal for him for Spring Break... sell stuff on like EBAY or Craig's List.  I have the dinner plates from the last set of dishware we used.  I don't know why, but at this rate, I will have several more bags of donations.  It is a slow project that involves me climbing onto counters to reach stuff and then climbing down to put it someplace, then back up, down, up, down... you get the picture.  I might have some empty space when I am finished, but I am OKAY with that.

#9 - Strength Training

A couple months ago, I started one of those 30 day challenges.  Actually, I started two, at the same time. Why did I think I could do two?  I did well for about 2 and a half weeks and went on vacation.  This week I am starting a 30 challenge, but with a friend.  We're going to do it together and motivate the other to stick to it!  The benefits of strength training can be found here:  and here:

Fabulous abs, here I come!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Book 11

Recently, someone posted a link to an article on Facebook "14 Books to Read Before They Hit the Big Screen."  I thought it was a great source to find some novels.

I didn't check to see that the article was more than 6 months old primarily because one of the books/movies mentioned has been advertised all over the place for the last month as it is being released this Friday (The Monuments Men).  From that list, I decided some of them looked interesting (in the moment) and I ordered them up from the library.  One of them was The Spectacular Now and when I updated my Nook this weekend, I discovered it had almost expired.  During the last couple evenings, as the snow drifted down and we were cozy inside, I dove into this novel.

As I began reading this juvenile novel, I was wondering what on earth possessed me to choose this book.  I have nothing in common with the characters and I wasn't sure the main character was even likable.  It was like Breakfast Club for this new century of cell phones and internet.  I was compelled to finish (and have ordered the DVD from the library) yet I cannot say I enjoyed it.  My big boys grew up just a minute behind the new technology, but my LRHB is in it to his eyeballs.  Third graders with I-phones, REALLY!? Yet, this isn't about technology, but teens and rights of passage and making choices and living with them.  It is growing and learning and pain.  Did I love it?  No.  But, I didn't walk away from it either. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Book 10

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber was her Christmas book.  It came in at the library while I was gone for Thanksgiving.  Then I was in the middle of other stuff and missed loading it from the E-library.  Finally, the stars and planets aligned.  I started it last night, I finished it this morning  and it left me all happy inside.  I love a good romance, a good story and spending some of my anniversary in a good book. 

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Saturday, February 1, 2014


I don't want you to think that the only thing in my life I have been changing is my bedroom.  Although, it is true that it is a much more peaceful space, I needed to make some changes for my health.  During the holidays, I had slipped into some poor habits.  Grabbing the can of soda rather than filling the glass with water.

#5 Drink Water

Ironically, what brought the fact to me being off my water the most (other than my dehydrated state at the doctors office) was my husband.  He's heard me blah blah blah about water through the years.  However, seeing his cousin at Thanksgiving and hearing him talk about how drinking water has helped HIM (lose weight, feel better, get off of medications that were necessary for his health), well it made an impact.  I'd noticed.  Since the first of the year I would hear him fill his cup with ice from the freezer and instead of the pop of the can, I'd hear the water tap being turned on.  But I didn't comment.  Finally, he said one night at bedtime (perhaps with the clutter gone, he feels better about sharing life changing habits... just sayin') that his cousin was right about drinking water.  He explained how much he'd cut back on soda during the day and how much better he felt.  He even felt that it was helping his blood pressure (we've done this dance before - it's called selective memory - less soda, lower blood pressure).  Thank you Cousin for leading my horse to water.

Now, it is time for me to get back to drinking half my body weight in water.  Mind you, that's my goal.  Your goal might just be replacing X with water at meals.

2014 - 4

#4 Clearing out the closet

I did it.  I got rid of the jeans from last century and the honeymoon outfit.  And 4 other bags of stuff.  I have one of those personalities that sometimes I get a bit uber organized:  my people all have their own color hangers.  So I went through and reorganized my husbands clothing so that all of his summer clothes are on one shade of green hanger while his pants are on another and his winter tops on a third.  Yes, I did that.  I took down sweatshirts from hangers that he hasn't worn in the last year and folded them and put them on a shelf out of the way.  There was space there because the clothing that I put there last year went into a donation bag.  It was painful for me to pass on clothing that I really like, but do not fit into.  However, those clothes can do someone else good while I'm working on or thinking about losing weight.  The good outweighs the negative thought.  It helps that Sweet LM has been purging herself and in a tougher way.  She inspires me.  Other things I found and kept are some treasures that have been delivered to us from our mothers:  my husbands baseball card collection and my china tea set.  Right back up on the shelf.  I may or may not grab it if we have to evacuate, but these are treasures we want to keep.

2014 - 3

#3 Clean out your dresser drawers... you'll never know what you might find.

I found an old, tiny Church Missal that MY grandmother had sent me, with a dollar tucked inside for each of the boys.  Since next month she will have been in HEAVEN for 9 years, I guess it has been there awhile.  Also, I found some of the boys' keepsake art.  Better known as sentimental stuff cause my people don't have the art gene.  Snapped a picture and moved on.  Socks with holes or that don't fit.  A yo-yo.  My piggy bank from my childhood.  I have stuff sitting ON my dresser because there is no room IN my dresser due to all the extra stuff.  A long sleeved shirt I might need one day.  Since I have four long sleeved shirts that I DO wear, that got donated along with other stuff.  Cute PJ's that fit in a different decade.  Actually, there were even a pair from a different century.  If I haven't gotten back to teeny tiny by now... My husband has one of his largest drawers that is filled with shirts he doesn't wear, but might one day.  I rotate stuff down and then a year later out.  Into the donation bag some more shirts went.  I didn't get rid of his old high school football program, though.  It is still in there.  I did get rid of the losing lotto tickets from two years ago he had bagged up.  

Getting closer to bedroom paradise.

2014 - 2

I started my Room Resolution with my bedroom for many reasons.  First, during the holidays, all the extra stuff in our world gets piled up in there and often never goes away. In there right now are TWO tables (small, but still) that were not in there before Christmas.  Imagine this, they have stuff piled on them to include (I just went to look) gift bags, old mail, games, shopping bags, clothing, a Christmas DVD and a DVD player that got moved there during some holiday party so LRHB could watch a movie.  Underneath one of them is (get ready to laugh) the PACK AND PLAY.  Yes, my son is 9, however I did home day care and my sweet girl angel slept in it (  That was nearly 2 years ago.  Next, the closet has SO MANY CLOTHES that DO NOT FIT.  On both sides.  I have the going away outfit I wore for my honeymoon.  And the negligee and matching gown.  My husband has jeans and a suit from BEFORE I MET HIM.  Tomorrow we'll have been married 23 years.  Additionally, a cluttered bedroom leads to sleep issues.  When I began having sleep issues, my lovely doc spent some time discussing it with me.  Oprah started 2009 discussing it (  And if you Google it, you get LOTS of other folks weighing in on the same subject.  Finally, I needed a place to start and my relaxation zone was not a relaxation zone (nor can I walk easily around the room).  

Resolution #2 - Clean out the stuff that doesn't belong in your bedroom. 

Your bedroom is for loving and sleeping.  Creating an environment that fosters that will impact your entire life.  And it sets the example for everyone else in the home.  I was very tempted to move the furniture in the family room in such a way that I could just haul it all out there, but then that would have just created other issues.  So I started on one side of the room and worked my way across, piling up things to go to good will, having LRHB carry things out to correct places.  I took my large kitchen garbage can (cleaned) and put a bag in it and filled it with books for donating as well as other stuff because that is where the donating stuff gets put, on the floor of my room.  I discovered every extra pillow we own was in there in a pile under a blanket;  who knew.  LRHB had a tent in there left from a "sleep w/mom & dad night" we had LAST SUMMER.  I also discovered several other items that people had offered to me (sure, I'll take it) and I stashed in my room not knowing why I said yes.  GONE.  

Sleeping and Loving.  

2014 - Room Resolution Plan

Somewhere I read an approach to clearing out your house one room at a time.  I decided that this would fit into my resolution revolution.  However, it now being February 1st, you might be wondering where I've been all year!  Well, I couldn't decide WHERE to start.  I wanted to start in my bedroom, but I needed to start in my kitchen/breakfast area room.  This would be because in looking for stuff I've managed to dump out two drawers onto the kitchen table which we haven't been able to use since.  I was right back to where I was when I started this whole thing with wanting to do everything at one time.  Throw in a couple weeks of illness, umpteen trips up and down the highway to colleges, plus, you know that whole job thing and January has VANISHED.  Let me be clear, however, that even though I wasn't HERE I was a work in PROGRESS.

So my schedule looks something like this:


Now, looking over this list, I have decided that there area a few faults in my plan because it doesn't cover yard work, which I would love to be in the plan.  Also, it doesn't include the main living areas of our home - the two great rec rooms - which are a constant work in progress or our dining room.  It doesn't include our dining room, because it is our toy room (See March). Except for my china hutch which yes, sits in my toy room.  At some point, it needs to be cleaned out, cause when in doubt, put it in a drawer in the hutch.  In putting this plan together, it has lifted the burden of doing it all at once NOW from my shoulders.  Sort of.  I mean, I would love to be snapping pictures and selling toys NOW instead of March.  However, this is not a quick project for me cause I have never done that stuff (Ebay or Craig's List) so it would (for me) be an entire weekend project or month long project, therefore it is being pushed out to March.

I also feel compelled to explain why I feel that 2014 is the year I really need to clear out.  The last two summers, we've lived near areas that burned down homes.  Friends evacuated; some losing everything.  I look around my home and I have SO MUCH STUFF.  Most of which I didn't want to take with me when I thought about what I would pack up and take.  Pictures take.  Homemade quilts and blankets (at the time strewn across the home) take. Hard drive for the computer (and/or the entire computer) take.  Even when it came to clothing, I realized that I had so much stuff that I would never take it.  I took the stuff from the dryer cause let's be honest, that is what I was wearing. 2014 - the year of clearing OUT.

Books 7, 8, 9

When I am sick, I lose myself in a good book.  Unable to kick the horrid cold I had, I ended up home sick for two days.  During that time I read a most POWERFUL book.  It is frightening and real and compelling. Brain on Fire, My Month of Madness by New York Post Reporter Susannah Cahalan recalls, poor word choice, her survival of the the battle between her body and brain.  Her parents were just, WOW.  Their persistence in following that "mommy gut" I often refer to, helped this woman to emerge on the other side.  We are parents for life, as this tale reminds us.  And the more we learn about our bodies, the more we discover what we truly do not know.  I just recommended it to another friend and I thanked my lifelong BFF Ria for sending the title my way.  It is the type of real stuff I like to read even if I don't like the subject.  Make sense?  Probably not.

The next two books I read this week have some back story and are juvenile fiction, but I read them and I am adding them to my list.  First, The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies was checked out of the school library for ME by my sweet LRHB.  His teacher was reading the book in class and he just knew that I would like it.  He checked it out in spite of classmates teasing that he just wanted to read the end before the rest of the class. He owned right up to them that he was checking it out for me!  Oh, and I did like it.  Moms/Dads that do read aloud with your kiddos, I recommend this one.  There is no movie to follow it up, but if you have children that perhaps ever have sibling competition (and if you don't please message me so you can let me in on that secret), this is such a great book to read.  It was a quick read (and would be even if you were reading it aloud) and the message was fabulous!

Next, The Journal of Ben Uchida by Barry Denenberg is part a "Dear America" Book.  I find this series a wonderful way to introduce young readers to historical fiction.  I chose this book for LRHB because he had just finished reading about the bombing of Pearl Harbor and I wanted him to see what happened to the Japanese Americans following that tragic event, perpetuating tragedy here at home.  He is developing a passion for historical fiction and since his mom was just short of her history minor in college, I am thrilled.  I love to share this passion of mine with my people.  However, I didn't want to hand it off and let the story do the work of educating him which is why I sat up last night pre-reading it.  He's currently snuggled under the blanket, having shoveled snow already, and reading away.  Happy Mornings!