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, September 15, 2008

Planning Interesting Lunches

Making lunches was never my favorite thing in the world to do. But when I did some planning, it made it a lot more interesting for me and for my girls!

I made a list of different options (so I would only have to think once!) and would try to provide variety and nutrition, so lunch would not be boring and would be eaten. Here are some of the things I came up with:

- peanut butter and banana sandwiches (the bananas would usually stay nice until lunch)

- peanut butter (in a container) with an apple or banana

- fluffy nutter sandwich (yes - I even did this occasionally - peanut butter with marshmallow creme)

- a bagel with cream cheese or peanut butter

- yogurt

- string cheese and crackers

- sliced cheddar, monterrey jack, or colby and crackers

- deli meat sandwiches on bagels, english muffins or bread

- cream cheese and olive sandwiches

- boiled eggs

- pistacchio nuts

- trail mix

- fresh fruit

- fresh veggies

I tried to be creative and put unusual things in their lunches that they liked - mangoes, kiwis, etc. Making interesting lunches was a little work, but it told my girls I loved them. And I wrote notes on their napkins, even through high school! (They said they liked it and all their friends wished they had similar lunches. If they had been embarrassed, I would have stopped!)

These days, green experts are saying to use foil and reusable containers for food and drinks - another thing to consider.

What do you put in your lunch or your kids' lunches?

Prioritizing Fall Projects

Fall is a wonderful time to do some of those home improvement projects, especially if you are wanting to put your house on the market in the spring. For many who wanted to sell this year, take advantage of the fall to prepare your home for sale next year! Hopefully the market will be more receptive.

It's amazing how just a few little touches can improve your curb appeal! Our house was built in the 1920's (I think) and had a black wrought iron hand railing along the steps going up to the front door. I decided to give it a little punch and painted it red. It seemed like a small project, but scraping and sanding and painting five coats of red was hardly a small project! But I loved the result - well worth it. Neighbors would walk by on all those evenings I was painting, and comment on how they liked it. :-)

We also got a new front door and storm door (all glass), so I painted the door light yellow, and it really looked nice with the red railing. And I painted wooden address numbers the same light yellow and put them above the door. They are very easy to see, and look friendly (if you can say that about numbers!) Just those few things made our home so much more inviting! And along with the flowers I mentioned yesterday, we added a lot of color to our brick home.

Indoor painting is another great fall project. You can open the windows and reduce the fumes. My father-in-law had a system in which he painted one room a year. So, at any time, his painting was pretty current. I have never known anyone so organized with painting! When my in-laws decided to move into a retirement community, they were able to put their home on the market in two weeks!! Amazing!

Whether you're putting your home on the market or not, doing a few projects is invigorating. Make a list of projects you want to do and prioritize them. Then decide how much time you want to spend each week/month. Start with #1, and see what you can accomplish! You're a step ahead for Christmas and spring cleaning, not to mention having created a more pleasant environment for yourself and those you love!
What fall projects are on your list?

Related Posts: Chopping Big Chores down into Bite-Sized Chunks, How to Clean the House

Fall Organizing for your Spring Garden

Plan ahead now to get that wonderful garden and lawn in the spring! Especially, if you're planning to put your house on the market next spring, this will give you a head start on your curb appeal.

My husband just put Scott's Turf Builder Winterguard on our lawn to beef up the grass over the winter. It comes in varieties that get rid of weeds and other pesky problems. For some reason crab grass has become very obnoxious this year in our lawn.

Another suggestion from Scott's: don't bother raking your leaves. Go over them two or three times with the mower until they are dime-sized. Next, feed your lawn. And the nitrogen and microbes will take care of the recycling. Sounds good to me!

Scott's website has helpful information, including a schedule for lawn care according to your zip code.

This is also the time of year to plant those tulips, narcissus, and other bulbs that look so inviting in the spring. A couple of years ago, we dug up our entire front garden, mapped it out, and planted perennials so we would have blooms the entire spring and summer.

One of those perennials, however, took over a lot of the garden and I'm not happy with the color, either. And not enough tulips and narcissus came up. So we're going to redo it again. I'm not so sure I would be motivated to do it again so soon, but we are having to have the drainage system redug because it is leaking into our basement. So if we are going to have to dig up the garden anyway, we may as well be intentional about it.

By now, I know what I like in the garden and what I don't want to see again. I've also learned what grows well here and what doesn't. A lot of it is trial and error, isn't it? I had the idea that once we mapped it all out, it would all grow just as we planned and I would love it. But some didn't come up and some grew too much and some I'm tired of. It's a lot of work, but it sure pays off when flowers pop up each year and it makes our house look so cute!

What do you do in the fall to prepare your lawn and garden for spring?

Related Posts: Using Your Snow Shovel Year Round - Another Gardening Tip, Winterizing your garden