Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Easy microwave cleaning

My daughter shared with me a great tip: if your microwave gets cooked-on-food on the walls or ceiling, place a bowl of water in it and run it for 5 minutes on high. The steam will soften those hard- to-clean spots.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Intentional Summer

Instead of dreading the expanse of summer, be intentional! Consider how you might spend some time with your child each week to strengthen your relationship. Are there topics you need to talk about? Is there a project or challenge you'd like to tackle together? Is there a memory you'd like to make? A trip you'd like to take? Activities you want to do together? Ask your child for his/her ideas or requests.

In addition, think through areas in which you'd like to see growth in your child: physically, mentally, spiritual, socially, finanacially, and functionally. Growth produces a positive self-image. Sit down with your child and discuss what they'd like to accomplish over the summer in the following areas. Caution: know your child - don't impose a 10-ring circus summer on a 3-ring circus child. Provide rewards and celebrations as goals or milestones are met.

- Physical goals might include learning how to: brush teeth, floss teeth, ride a bike or tricycle, swing, swim, skate, run a mile, play a sport, read nutritional information, appy make-up, determin what colors look best on him/her, take care of his/her skin, do a manicure or pedicure, build muscles, dance, etc.

- Mental goals might include: learning or reviewing math facts, learning a foreign language, investigating a subject of interest, exploring a new place, reviewing difficult school subjects, reading books, learning how to read, creating a collection, learning colors, learning shapes, preparing for ACT or SAT exams, etc.

- Spiritual goals might include: learning about forgiveness, internalizing Biblical character qualities, practicing extending grace and mercy toward others, finding a place of worship that fits you, establishing an evening routine of reading age-appropriate Bible stories and praying together, learning to be grateful, memorizing verses, attending a vacation Bible school, doing a Bible study, attending a Bible study, attending a youth group, planning a family devotional with activities, begin a prayer journal, pray, etc.

- Social goals might include: learning to share, manners, how to ask in an appropriate voice versus whining, learning to compromise and negotiate, how to express anger appropriately, how to carry on a conversation, balanced assertiveness, kindness, volunteerism, etc.

- Financial goals might include: learning to save, resisting impulse purchasing, managing an allowance, budgeting, tithing, starting a small business, being generous, opening a checking/savings account, balance a checkbook, use an ATM card, etc.

- Functional goals might include learning how to: get dressed, put away toys, set a table, hammer a nail, build something, sew, iron, sew on a button/mend, change a tire, pump gas, do laundry, remove stains, do cleaning chores, etc.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

When to toss spices

Kelli B. Grant from www.SmartMoney.com says to replace your spices after one year. She quotes Tina Ujlaki, executive food editor for Food and Wine magazine (www.foodandwine.com): "Dried herbs and spices lose their flavor over time. Whole spices, such as star anise or coriander, may last slightly longer — less of the spice is exposed to the air. To tell if your spices are past their prime, open the bag or jar and take a whiff. "If there's no scent, there won't be any flavor."

Monday, April 9, 2007

5 things to do with 5 minutes

Nice suggestions for tasks you can do in five minutes from Joni Hilton in Woman's Day on 3/6/07 (www.Womansday.com):

1. Water your plants. It’s easy to forget, so they probably need a drink.

2. Turn over sofa cushions so they’ll wear evenly.

3. Wash the dryer’s lint trap to remove the buildup from fabric softener sheets. Water should run right through the screen, but softener buildup may prevent that.

4. Thumb through you recipes and choose a new one to try this week.

5. Tuck love notes under your kids’ or husband’s pillow. Include a favorite treat or toy. Bring back the element of surprise!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Cleaning burner pans

When you need to run your dishwasher, but you're feeling guilty because it isn't quite full, fill it up with the burner pans from your stove. You'll feel great because you're being efficient and because you're doing some cleaning with no effort!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Tickler files

Tickler files are files that tickle your memory, reminding you that you need to do something. The typical tickler file consists of 31 files, hanging files, or slots (in an expandable, wooden or plastic tickler file), each for a day of the month. Place items in the file that represents when action must be taken. For example, if your electric bill is due on the 15th of the month, place the bill in file #8. On the 8th of the month, you take out items in that file and deal with them. That gives your bill a week to arrive at its destination on time.

For those of you who do not have numerous items-that-need-attention throughout the month, four tickler files may suffice - one for each week of the month. Designate a particular day of the week to handle those items.

The beauty of tickler files is that your items-that-need-attention have a place to live until action needs to be taken. This eliminates piles on your desk, lost bills, and and late charges!