Monday, November 26, 2007

Deck the halls

So now that Thanksgiving is done, everything is going to be kicking into high gear soon. There's going to be presents to wrap (and buy), cookies to make, cards to mail, parties to attend (and host), and who knows what else will come along. One thing I have found myself having to make time for is repairing all the stuff that gets broken this time of year. Those fragile ornaments and figurines don't stand a chance around my house. We put our Christmas tree up and the first ornament I gave Zoe to put on the tree smashed to the floor sending glittery shards of glass everywhere. Now did we learn from this? NO, I proceeded to give her three more bulbs and smash, crash, kerplunk, they all broke. OK, I remained calm, I didn't yell, although I wanted to, I just started giving her the plastic or wooden ornaments. So here comes Parker, by golly he's gonna break one too, he finds a little bear holding a basketball and I think he can do it, it's plastic. Oh yeah, he did it all right, he pulled that basketball right off the bear. "Baball mommy" and hands it to me. Thanks buddy. So my organizing tip for families of young children, buy a couple bottles of super glue. Be ready to stay up late watching TV holding pieces of your favorite ornaments and decorations together waiting for the glue to set. Have fun decorating!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


It's that time of year when my husband makes us go around the table and say what we are thankful for. Most everyone groans and moans but really we should be comfortable talking about the things we value, things we are proud of, moments that make us happy. So of course, I am trying to prepare my answer ahead of time, I love to organize, even my thoughts! The obvious things always come to mind first: my family and their health, our home, our happiness and contentment, a safe place to live, the right to free speech, I could go on. The things I am really thankful for are those little moments that might otherwise be forgotten. When Parker says, "Zo Zo bed, shhh" (in the morning as he is getting out of bed, he knows Zoe is still asleep), that's pretty priceless. When Zoe tells me I'm pretty, I take that as a huge compliment coming from my 4 year old fashionista. When Paul lets me watch "Antiques Roadshow" instead of his HGTV gardening shows, I know it's true love. So trying to say what I'm thankful for is a little harder than I thought, I still have one more night to get my thoughts organized! An organizing tip for today: write down what everyone in your family is thankful for, save it to read next year at your Thanksgiving feast and compare answers. (Maybe keep with your family calendar or tucked in with your Thanksgiving decorations so it won't get lost.) Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

cookies for preschool

One of my mommy dreams came true today! I sent in my first batch of cookies for a school party. (OK so last year I sent in some for Zoe's birthday but this was an official Thanksgiving party.) As a little girl, I just wanted to be the kid who got to pass out the homemade goodies she made with her mom to all the kids in the class. I imagined that girl must have felt so much pride in giving everyone a treat she helped make with her mom. Zoe and I made (Parker licked the beater) sugar cookies (Martha Stewart's Sugar Cookie 2 recipe- large batch) and then I decorated them with candy corn, M&M's (of course), and icing to look like turkeys. They turned out so cute. I got the idea from I've had the recipe for a long time, I kept it stashed in my "Cooking for Kids" cookbook, just waiting for the invitation from Zoe's teacher to send in treats. I hope Zoe has fun passing them out. Now is a good time to get all your baking recipes ready and organized, while you are sorting out Thanksgiving recipes. Figure out what you are going to make and compile a complete list of ingredients needed. Grocery stores will have all kinds of baking goods on sale these next few weeks and the Sunday coupons will be filled with baking items. I think now would be a good time to get bulk items (chocolate chips, flour, etc.) so you can have the things on hand in case you think of a last minute person you want to give a gift to, who can resist homemade goodies? Mmmm, can't you just taste those cookies?!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Deer in our headlights

OK, last night was a crazy one. On the way home from the movies, we hit a deer. Oh my goodness if you have ever done this, you know how traumatic it can be. The sound of brakes squealing and that awful "thunk" is enough to turn your stomach. Then there is the long list of expletives that are uttered after you realize what has happened, that would be me spewing the foul words, not my husband who was actually driving. After calling 911 and waiting 10 minutes or so you see those glaring flashing lights of the police car, I'm telling you even though we weren't hurt (and no other cars either) there was no convincing my heart of that. It was racing like I had just ran a 100 meter sprint. I was feeling trauma, stress, anger (now we have to get my van fixed), anxiety (just thinking of all the hassle is giving me a new zit), and sadness (I hate thinking about a maimed deer trying to survive out there). I obviously said a prayer to our guardian angels for watching over us, it definitely could have been worse. Those deer just come out of nowhere and there isn't much you can do to prevent it. I was so thankful that no one was injured and our car was drivable even though it does have a lovely tuft of hair stuck in the broken head light. It made me glad to be an organized person in general. I was pretty shook up but I was still able to get out all the necessary papers (registration, etc.) and I had paper and a pen to write info down as the insurance guy is talking to me. Thankfully, my cell phone was charged as well. So an organizing tip for today: make sure you have all your car and insurance information updated and readily available, just in case. Buy a car charger for your phone and be careful during this busy time of year especially in inclement weather.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Weary in Wal-mart

Disclaimer: I LOVE Wal-mart, this is not a reflection of their stores, just an isolated customer!

OK, so yesterday I had to go get some green onions and vinegar for a new recipe I was making at dinner and I stopped at the super Wal-mart by our house. #1 because it is conveniently located 4 minutes from my house on the way to Zoe's preschool and #2 because I just love those greeters, sometimes they're the only nice people you see all day. Anyway... the kids are standing in one of those carts for two kids and they are actually being really good in the checkout. I promised them M&M's so they were being super good, I told you we're addicted! A lady with a stroller comes up behind us and I smile as I wait for the customer ahead of me to finish. Parker, my 2 year old, says, "babee!" and jumps off the cart. He runs over to stroller lady and touches her stroller, not the baby, just the stroller. I am like a lightening bolt, charging to get him away from what I assume is a newborn infant in the baby carrier seat. Stroller lady says in a very loud, stern voice, "don't touch the baby!" I said, "oh, I'm sorry, he just loves babies" which he does by the way. I am slightly embarrassed but I am assuming she is a sane person and knows toddlers are crazed little maniacs. Well Parker just wants to check out this baby so bad and he is lurching to reach her, I hold him up and say, "look at the pretty baby." Stroller lady says, "what is that on his hand?! Is that chicken pox?" Just a note, Parker had a red stamp on his hand from his gymnastics class that was partially washed away. I said, "nope, just a stamp." Then I took Parker back to our cart, thinking hurry up lady in front of me with the gift card! I say to Parker, loud enough for psycho stroller lady to hear, "don't touch the baby unless mommy says it's ok." My sweet boy says, "kay" and then starts talking about the yellow Wal-mart smiley face which he thinks is a balloon, we have this same conversation every trip. THEN, stroller lady says, "you should really teach him not to touch little babies." Oh my goodness, I swear if this cashier doesn't hurry, I am going to go postal! I just smiled (again) and said, "yeah, you know 2 year olds are just so independent and this darn cart doesn't have any seat belts" which it didn't. I could not wait to get out of there and away from stroller lady. This was the first time I really felt like someone else didn't think I was a good mommy. I am usually very pleased with my kids, I drag them to the grocery every week and they are generally pretty good. I always take lots of treats and pennies for the pony rides. So then I remembered a skit Bill Cosby did in his "Bill Cosby Himself" show from the 80's. He talked about parents who had one child versus those who had more than one and the parents who only had one child basically didn't know squat about kids and parenting. I highly recommend watching this DVD, it is hilarious, even more so now that I am a parent. So to the mean stroller lady from Wal-mart yesterday, pbbbbbssst (razzberry sound) to you! You don't know anything, just wait until you have two kids and you have to get green onions and vinegar to make dinner and get your child to preschool on time and make sure your toddler gets home in time to have a nap! Then maybe you won't be so quick to dish out parenting advice to others! Hmmmf, I think I've said enough. My organizing tip for today: find a shopping cart with seat belts or avoid annoying stroller ladies.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dog days

We have the cutest pug you'll ever see, no, the cutest; cuter than any you've ever seen in any TV movie or commercial and way cuter than any you've ever seen at the dog park. But let me just tell you, cute ain't enough sometimes. He thinks if you sit down, you are his bed and he instantly jumps on your lap.Pillows from our bed are his bed too. All visitors are coming to play with him, at least in his little doggie brain. Parker's food is his food, especially cookies. If you get out the peanut butter, you'd better give him a spoonful or he'll stare you to death. We still put him in a crate when we leave so he won't get into any mischief, namely trash and dirty laundry. Recently we put his crate upstairs in our guest bedroom. Since the move, he has been "marking" his new territory. And boy does that make me mad!He's 6 years old for goodness sake, he should not be peeing all over our house. So like the good doggie mommy I am, I thought what can I do to make him stop? (I really don't want his dog stank crate in the kitchen anymore so that is not an option.) Remembering the advice of Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer on National Geographic, I decided a daily walk was just the thing my little Max needs, I'll wear him out so he doesn't have enough energy to pee in my closet. I should mention my husband has to be at work around 6:30 AM and is home for dinner most nights and back to work for evening events so trying to find time to walk Max regularly was a challenge. So for the past week or so, I have been taking him in the pitch black cold at 5:30 AM on a walk hoping to stop the spraying in our house. Getting up to walk him is brutal. I literally have to drag myself out of bed and I like to consider myself a morning person but like I've said before, being cold makes me cranky. I am just hoping it stops his current bad behavior. The only thing that helps me is to be organized. I keep baggies, a flashlight and his leash together so I can grab them when we head out the door. I also try to remember to have my clothes ready to layer on the night before. Otherwise, I don't think we'd make it. Hopefully, walking my little pug man will help us both relieve some stress or else one of us will have to go, and I don't mean potty!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


There is just something exciting to me about going to a thrift store. I love the thrill of the hunt for that certain something I find that I didn't even know I wanted or needed. I love antique shows, antique malls, flea markets and garage sales too. I love looking at other people's junk and/or discards. I love seeing things I had once too (like old toys or knick knacks). I love seeing something I've never seen before and trying to figure out what it is (this is usually at antique flea markets and shows, that's where all the weird stuff is). I love finding a picture frame for 25 cents or a glass jar for a dollar. I just love it all. The only problem with this love of mine is that it is in direct conflict with my other love of organizing. Too much junk around me makes me cranky. I feel like I am always looking for things I can donate to the local Goodwill or AmVets. Today Zoe and Parker and I took about 10 boxes of "stuff" to the Goodwill. OMG, they have a drive-thru now! It was sooooooo... easy to just load up the old mini-van and go. The nice guy there even helped me unload them. Then Zoe was asking me why we were giving them all Parker's old diaper boxes and so I went on a (probably too) long explanation about how it's good to get rid of old things because it might help someone else and it makes room for new things (she's no dummy, she knows Santa is coming soon!) So then she wanted to see what was in the store, of course, as a former teacher I recognized a teachable moment when I heard one! We high-tailed it inside and they had a ball. They loved looking at everything, I swear it was better than Toys R Us! We bought some Barbie and Blue's Clues books and of course a picture frame (green for our yearly Christmas photo- only 50 cents!). I hope my kids inherit my love of thrifting, if today was any indication, I think I'm in luck. I foresee in the future long Saturdays at the local flea markets with my little bargain hunters in tow... hmmm, bliss! So today, my organizing tip is to load up a box or two or three and take it to your local donation center. You still have time to get that tax-deduction receipt and make room for those goodies from Santa!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Just around the corner...

Well everywhere I go it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. That stirs up excitement and anxiety. There are so many fun things I want to do this Christmas, go see Santa with the kids, bake goodies, craft with Zoe, watch Christmas movies, all that and more. But I know that sometimes my body can't keep up with all my brain wants to do. I have been trying to be on top of things. This year I made my own Christmas cards, they are done (I started on them in August), yeah me! Hopefully, I'll have the envelopes ready soon and they'll be mailed quickly. I am crafting a few gifts for friends and family this year and some projects are complete while some are still in the beginning phases. So I am really trying to get things done early this year so I can really spend time doing the fun stuff as Dec. 25th approaches. Something I did today that I think might help me to be more organized is to gather up all my wrapping supplies. I put them in a big rubber tote so I can carry them to my kitchen island or work on the floor of my bedroom in front of the TV when I want to wrap (gonna try to wrap early too... we'll see). I thought this would be a great way to take inventory of what I have and what I need (might need some more tape!) so I won't be tempted to buy stuff while I'm out doing my shopping. Those end caps at the stores are very tempting and Target, Walmart, Home Depot and Loews already have all their holiday gear by the front doors, just begging to be bought. Nope, they aren't going to get me this year, I'm so on the ball, at least for now anyway!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

It's getting colder

So it's getting colder here in our little part of the world. This morning when I took the dog out for a walk it was 36 degrees. And that's about 50 degrees colder than I like. I still haven't figured out why I live here as opposed to somewhere tropical where it is always warm. I really do not like winter. Actually, winter is pretty, snow and ice look beautiful from the warmth of my home. So I should correct myself and say, I do not like to be cold. When I do have to go out in the frigid air, I pile on as many layers that will permit me to move, not quite as many as that kid in "A Christmas Story" movie ("I can't put my arms down!"). My husband jokes that I walk around in full military gear. But like I said, being cold makes me grumpy. So as I was putting on my sweatshirt, fleece pull-over, gloves, scarf, hat, and slipper socks (over regular socks) it made me think of a good organizing tip to share. I put a basket for each of us in our coat closet, labeled with our names of course, and that is where we keep our cold weather accessories. It makes it convenient being able to grab my gloves and not having to sort through every one's. We don't have a mud room in which to put the cute cubbies from Pottery Barn (don't I wish!) so our coat closet is where they are housed as of now. At least when I do have to brave the elements I can find what I need quickly. Brrrr!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Laundry Duty

So call me a little bit obsessive if you want, but I really like to organize things. I never would have thought I did and I'll bet if you asked my mom about 20 years ago she would have said "no-way is that girl every going to be organized." Somewhere between hanging Madonna posters on my wall and hanging my kids' artwork on the fridge, I became a sorting, filing, labeling, stacking, and ordering maniac! Sometimes, I wake up at night thinking of just the right way to sort my daughters hair doodles (bows, ribbon, barrettes, etc.) That is no joke!

So today I was thinking of all the chores I need to do (I even organize in my brain!) and laundry seems to always be on the list. I try so hard to stay on top of it and no matter how long I spend washing, folding, ironing, and putting away, there is always a new pile somewhere that needs attention. Now I can't say I have a fool-proof method of staying ahead of laundry, I am still trying to perfect that. Sometimes I do a load every day. Sometimes I do it all on one day. Sometimes I avoid it like the plague. But once I wash, dry, and fold the laundry, I always feel better, like I accomplished something, and then there's that pile of garments Zoe tried on for five minutes before deciding to wear her most "fashionable" outfit that needs to be taken care of. So like it or not I have to do laundry and lots of it. One organizing tip I'd like to share is to keep a bottle of stain remover wherever you put your dirty clothes when you take them off. For my family, this is our closets (we don't have a laundry chute or community hamper, we each have a basket in our closet). I have put a squirt bottle (which I just refill with the giant Shout refill when needed) in everyone's closet so that when we take off our dirty clothes anything that has a stain can immediately be pre-treated so it doesn't sit in the basket until I get the urge to wash clothes. This helps a lot. I have found that most stains do come out fairly easily when pre-treated. By the way, my 4 year old loves to squirt the stains, my 2 year old is also a master squirter, I'm startin' em young. Someday, they'll probably be organizing maniacs too!

Thursday, November 8, 2007


I used to be a "Survivor" junkie but honestly, the show has become a little cookie cutter. Don't get me wrong, I love on some reality TV. I am currently hooked on "The Hills", oh to be 21 and living in L.A, hmmm. I also am a big "Bachelor" fan. As a fellow Greek, I hope DeAnna is the girl who gets the final rose this season, she is so cute and her family seemed so nice. So anyway... I was thinking about surviving as a mom and I promise I would have to run away and leave my family to fend for themselves if M&Ms did not exist. They are by far my favorite candy, and believe me I have tried it all. A good Snickers will call my name from time to time but nothing satisfies my sweet tooth like M&Ms. I love all flavors, plain, peanut, dark chocolate, crispy, peanut butter, giant Shrek ones, all of them! I usually go for the peanut if I have a choice. Mmmm... so yummy. I must have passed something on to my kids because they love them too. My two year old could say M&M right after his first word (which was "ball" by the way)! He can also spot them at the grocery check out lane faster than I can say, "no M&Ms today". Because of this, we end up buying them often, hey I know you do too, don't try to deny it! Thank goodness I do because without these little candy coated chocolate miracles we (me, Zoe and Parker) might not make it out of the grocery alive most days. One of us would be taking the other ones down, I'm talking ugly! So instead of buying 2 bags, hey we're not total gluttons, we buy one and share. How do two kids share one bag you say? Easy! When we get to the car, we split them into two baggies and each child gets their own. I get a few too. See we all win! So my organization tip for today is to keep a box of snack size baggies in your car for those emergencies when you're fighting to survive the weekly grocery trip.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Do you believe in karma? You know, what goes around comes around? Well I always kind-of did and now I completely do. Parker, my two year old, has begun channelling Herve Villechaize You might remember him from the show "Fantasy Island", his character was Tatoo, the little guy who announced when a plane was arriving. Parker can (and does) spot any airplane within a ten mile radius and then he will yell "a-pane, a-pane, a-pane" until someone responds to him. He will yell it louder and louder until you point to it and say something like, "yep, there is an airplane." I really noticed it yesterday while we were driving around town, doing errands and picking up Zoe from school. I was trying to just zone out and listen to the radio but he wasn't having it. So after I acknowledged him, I remembered Tatoo. As a young girl in the late 70's, "Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island" were must-sees on my weekend television schedule. I always thought Tatoo was so cute and funny. I'm sure I probably even imitated him a few times. Well it has come full circle, I get to relive Tatoo's famous lines almost every time I play outside or ride in the car with Parker. Yep, I have to say, what goes around comes around.

Wishing I could see an old episode of "Fantasy Island" got me thinking of a good organizing tip for today: Take a few minutes to look at your DVD or VHS collection. Evaluate what you really like, what you really watch, and what is just taking up space. If it's just taking up space, it's time to get rid of it. If you regularly watch it (even if it's only a few times a year), keep it. If you just like it but don't watch it, really consider if you want to keep it. Are you really going to watch it or are you just keeping it to say you have it? An incentive to clear out- you can sell old movies and tapes at many different stores (I take mine to Half Priced Books), who doesn't need a little extra cash this holiday season? Or you could donate old movies and tapes to charity, maybe daycares would want children's movies? With all the movies and DVD's about to be released for the big holiday shopping season, you'll want room for new additions.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Hello World!

Oh my gosh, here goes!

Hi everyone out there! I can't believe I am really going to do this...

I have been reading all kinds of blogs and I thought why not? I really just want to share some of my family life on a day-to-day basis. I hope everyone likes reading along!

Right now, my two year old is napping, he should wake up anytime now and then we'll run off to get my four year old from preschool. I have about a million things to do, dust, take the dog out, vacuum, wash dishes, etc., but I thought I'd give this whole blog thing one more try (I tried earlier but no success). Who knew I could actually do it!? Isn't that kind of like everyday mommy life? Did we moms really think we'd be driving a mini-van listening to Disney Cd's, coordinating snacks for the road, retrieving the ball your baby just lobbed at your head and now wants back, while playing I-spy with your preschooler....everyday!?!? I never thought I could, but I guess I can.