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.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Papaya salsa with swordfish

I tried a new recipe tonight when we had guests for dinner and it was great!! We had swordfish with a papaya salsa. Just grilled the swordfish 6-8 minutes on each side (oil the grill or fish basket first). Papaya salsa: finely mince one ripe papaya, 2-3 green onions, 3 T. fresh cilantro. Mix together with juice from one lime. Prepare this less than one hour before you serve it and let it sit at room temperature. Serve over the swordfish and the rest on the side. Really good!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Check out our fun stuff!

We've added some new items on our fun stuff: books to help you write your family history and to write your family cookbook, and some beautiful notecards. Check it out at www.1-2-3GetOrganized.com.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Quick summer meal

If you have an herb garden or buy fresh herbs, try this quick summer meal! As an experiment, I picked a handful of various herbs - cilantro, parsley, chives, and basil - and chopped them finely. I sauteed them in butter for a minute or so and added tilapia fillets, salt and pepper.

These fillets are so thin they cook in just a few minutes. When you turn the fillets over, they are covered with those yummy herbs and look wonderful. If you're not a big fish fan, tilapia may be for you - it doesn't taste fishy. We first discovered tilapia when we lived in Kenya, where we bought it from fishermen who fished in Lake Victoria. And now we can find it at Sam's! (www.samsclub.com)

To complete the meal, I had put a couple of potatoes in the microwave, cut some watermelon, and served some fresh veggies.

I'm going to try the same routine with chicken tenderloins today. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Finished the Garage!

We finished the garage yesterday. All told it took two of us about 5 hours, and we did it without having to buy any organizing products - my specialty. We just used what we had on hand to organize. One item that really helped was a tall rectangular wooden box in which we stored rakes, brooms, and other things that had long skinny handles. We had originally thought we would need to mount all these on the wall, but our one box solved that problem. We got our box in Kenya - it was given to us as a goodbye gift by our friends who worked in the tea company and it was filled with the most wonderful tea in the world! But I digress. Any tallish, sturdy box could do the job.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Chopping Big Chores down into Bite-Sized Chunks

If a cleaning, decluttering or organizing chore seems too huge to tackle, break it down into small chunks. Set a time limit of 10 minutes to an hour - whatever you can handle - and tackle one aspect of your project.

Yesterday, my husband and I decided to spend one hour cleaning out and organizing the garage. We started by breaking down all the cardboard boxes for recycling. It was amazing how that cleared out a lot of the clutter! Then we took all the things we had stashed in the garage that really needed to go into the attic above the garage. That took another significant amount of stuff away.

We still haven't finished, but we can sure see the progress! We "accidentally" spent two hours out there - it seemed a lot less because we were so encouraged by what we were accomplishing.

Apply this same principle to your area of greatest need. Break it up into small tasks and determine how much time you want to spend on it each day. For example, spending 15 minutes a day for the next five days will allow you to make significant headway as you see task after task completed. Celebrate and congratulate yourself on the accomplishment of each task! Even if the task is huge, over time you will be able to chip away at it.

For more on cleaning and decluttering, check out our 1-2-3...Get Organized series at www.1-2-3GetOrganized.Com.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Decluttering Tips

I read a couple of good decluttering tips the other day:

1. If it takes less than two minutes to complete a task, do it and get it off your mind. Examples: cleaning out or filling the dishwasher; dusting a room, wiping down the sink in the bathroom.

2. Never go to another room empty-handed. Look around and see what doesn't belong in the room you're in and take it to its home. This takes care of clutter a little at a time without taking a lot of time

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Helping Your Kids Pack for Vacation

Before you start packing for vacation, do some preliminaries first:

1. If you are flying, check with your airline for current luggage allowance/weight and carry-on restructions.

2. Count how many days you are going to be gone (including travelling days).

3. Knowing how often each child is likely to spill something or get dirty, add an appropriate number of outfits.

4. Consider where you are going. Check the weather ahead of time, if possible, so you know if it will blazing hot, rainy, or have some cool temps. My first trip to Montana in May required me to buy a coat, closed shoes and long pants for the snow!

5. Make a list for each child and for yourself or a generic list which can be used by everyone. Whichever you choose, each person should have a list. Create your list on your computer, so you won't have to reinvent your list for every trip - just update it, if needed. We used to travel quite a lot, and having a packing list kept us from forgetting important items.

With list in hand, each child can put together the appropriate number of outfits, including socks, underwear, hair accessoriies, and jewelry as needed. Have your children stack each outfit on their beds so you can check to see if they match and don't have holes or stains.

Armed with gallon ziplocks, place each outfit, socks, underwear, and accessories in one bag. Squeeze all the air out to save room in the suitcase, and mark the bag with the child's name on it. Sure makes it easy when it's time to get dressed - the entire suitcase doesn't need to be rifled through to find an outfit for each child! And you don't end up at the end of the week with non-matching outfits.

Make sure you leave one outfit out for the day you begin your vacation. :-)

For those with children still in diapers, you can toss an extra set of clothes in the diaper bag and use the ziplock for soiled clothes if needed.

Have a backpack for each child in which they can pack items to entertain themselves. Make sure they realize they must carry their own backpacks so they don't overload them and make them too heavy. I always tried to purchase some small toys, games or activity books - one for each child for each day - so they would have a surprise to look forward to and reduce the boredom factor, especially on long car trips. Bring along some Dramamine just in case someone might have a tendency to get carsick.

I aslo tried to have some car games in mind to make time go faster - alphabet/sign game (look for letters of the alphabet on road signs), 20 questions, etc. One summer my brother and I made a list of all the Dairy Queen, Dairy Marts, Dairy Kings, Dairy-ettes, etc. on our vacation. We could rattle them all off for years afterward!

Audio children's books are a lifesaver! We listened to many children's classics on our long trips - Tom Sawyer, Gulliver's Travels, etc. Children's music is also fun. And if you have a DVD player in the car, it makes time fly. Just don't overdo it - you want to have some quality time as you travel with your family.

If your children are old enough, buy a small scrapbook for them to fill with postcards and mementos of their trip. Buy them disposable cameras to document their vacation adventures, if you wish. Or bring along crayons or markers so they can draw pictures of their activities each day.

Happy travelling!