Happy Birthday, My Sweet Girl!

My Sweet Girl,

You are 13 today.  Wow!  Only five years from 18…how the time flies.

You’ve grown so much over the last year…

  • you’re almost as tall as me.
  • you steal borrow my clothes now, but your feet are too big to borrow my shoes.
  • you finally got those mean old tonsils and adenoids removed!

  • you help me by making dinner and are great at it…my little foodie!

  • your entrepreneurial side has become evident–you get it honestly.
  • you’ve learned a lot as a Girl Scout and have taken on leadership.

  • you are smart; don’t ever think otherwise.  You are doing great in your schoolwork this year.  Grow that Science brain!
  • you are a great friend who loves at all times.
  • you have wisdom beyond your years.

I look forward to this year…watching you grow and learn and mature.  Every year of your life has been wonderful to be a part of.  I thank God for the blessing of you!

Love and Blessings,

Mom

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“A little privacy, please?!”

My cat does crazy things that make our family crack up and usually has one of us yelling, “Come here, quick!” and “Bring the camera!”

This is one of those things.

Blessings,

Mel

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Blogging Conferences

 

Opryland Delta Atrium

Blissdom, BlogHer, Relevant…. I’m sure I’m leaving others out, but these are the biggies and the only ones I know about.

Blogging conferences are a great way to meet your favorite bloggers, hear from wonderful speakers who’ve been there..done that, and just get away with other like-minded people.

I would like to go to one of these blogging conferences, but can’t for various reasons.  The most important being I am not independently wealthy.

  1. I totally missed the boat on Blissdom; it’s this week.  I can picture myself shmoozing with Nester Smith and Tsh Oxenreider (though, she might be a little buzy since she’s one of the speakers), blogging alongside other bloggy-minded women, laughing and crying and walking all over the Opryland Hotel.  Alas…it’s not to be this year.
  2. BlogHer has three conferences this year:  BlogHer, BlogHer Food, and BlogHer bet.  BlogHer Food is self-explanatory.  BlogHer bet (bet stands for Business, Entrepreneurship, Technology) is for women who have a business, are looking to start a business or want to use technology to further their business.  BlogHer expects  thousands–yes, you read that correctly, thousands–of attendees!!  This is a little scary to a first-time blog conferencee.  Maybe after I get a few under my belt, I’ll be brave enough to attend one of these.
  3. The Relevant Conference is in October.  While it’s later in the year allowing me to plan better, they (wisely) limit the number of attendees and registration starts on March 1st.  I’m betting this amazing conference will sell out fast.  I don’t know that we’ll have the money by then.  I also don’t know anyone going and so have no one with which to share a $190-a-night room for two or three nights.  Maybe I can talk my best friend into going.  That would be great!

So, I’ll be living vicariously through Nester, Tsh and any of my other favorite bloggers who’ll be rubbing elbows with each other and blogging about it.

Blessings,

Mel

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Organizing Links

After posting some of my cluttered cabinets and rooms yesterday, I thought you’d like to see the sites and blogs I frequent for ideas, tips and inspiration.

  • Organizedhome.com — a great site for organizing every area of your home, even your refrigerator.  Also great ideas for getting started with freezer cooking.  I created a Household Notebook several years to help keep track of, well, the household.  Cynthia has created all sorts of printables for practically anything you want to keep track for your home.
  • Realsimple.com (and the magazine) — another great site, and publication.  I love the simple, clean ideas they show for everything from the kitchen to your closet.
  • LaurelPlumonline.com — Laurel has lots of great ideas and offers a 10-step program, if you will, for the organizationally challenged called Fresh Start.  She also has a home planner with various printables.
  • Life.yourway.net — Mandi is the author of Life…Your Way and offers a plethora of information on more than just organizing.  She too has free printables.
  • Bhg.com — Better Homes and Gardens has been around forever.  I receive their magazine every month and also get weekly emails.  I have found great ideas on their site for organizing my craft room.

Some of my favorite stores for organizing my life and home are IKEA and The Container Store.  You can also find great stuff at Target and Walmart or even in your own home if you think outside the box a bit.

Have a great weekend and happy organizing!

Blessings,

Melanie

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National Organization Month

I bet you were thinking I was gonna miss a day in my Post A Day promise.  Well, I thought I was too.  I was feeling quite run down today, then I helped my children with their Math.  I do not recommend this prescription.

I homeschool my two teenagers and they usually don’t need much help with Math, but some days they do.  This was one of those days.

My son was quite frustrated right off and slammed his hand on the table and shouted at me.  Yes, I kept my cool.  I don’t always, so the fact that I was not feeling good and responded appropriately means I deserve a little recognition for not being the psycho-crazy, scary, screaming mama.

Today.

Anyway…I was determined to not give myself an out, because I do that too much and then feel disappointed and depressed and hate myself and my ridiculous proclivity to procrastinate.

While I had a post I was working on thinking it would be published this morning, I just wasn’t feeling it.  That meant I had to come up with a new idea.  But what?!

Then I remembered that January is National Organization Month.  You can figure this out by watching any daytime talk or morning news show this month like  The Nate Berkus Show or the Today Show, my two favorites.

I really enjoy organizing and never seem to have it done.  If you are married and have kids, I’m sure you can relate.  Do you have a cabinet that looks like this?

The top shelf doesn’t look bad, but trust me, most of that stuff doesn’t go there.  I have organized this cabinet three times:  once when we moved in, of course, and twice since then.  I love that my family helps with the dishes, among other household chores, but they seriously need help in keeping it organized.

The same goes for our pantry.

My family must have serious short-term memory loss.  They can’t seem to remember where the chips, pretzels, peanut butter or dog treats go when they get just pulled it off the shelf.  This causes great frustration for this slightly OCD woman.

The cabinets that have stayed organized are the ones I’ve labeled for items like the toaster, cutting boards, or crockpot.  This is my solution.  I’m going to label everything.  EVERYTHING.

Toothbrush?  Labeled.  Towels?  Labeled.  Dog?  Okay, no living creatures.

This means they can’t say, “It’s not mine.”  All I have to do is point to the label and walk away.  Ahhhh….  Rest for mama; work for them.

And this helps me with one of my 2011 goals for our home:  getting my family to rely less on me by easily finding things they need.

One disorganized cabinet that is my fault?  

This is my cosmetics graveyard.  Those two baskets are working well, but that’s it.  I need more baskets for my OPI nail polish, extra body wash, lotions, etc.  So, I’ll be making a trip to IKEA soon.  I love IKEA!!

An entire room that needs help?Do you see all those white magazine holders on my shelves?  IKEA!

This room is not too bad considering we’ve lived here almost a year.  It took me almost three years in our last rental to get semi-organized.  I told myself  it would not take that long this time.  Since it appears we’re gonna stay here til we pay off our debt and save at least 20% for our dream home, I want to get everything done and then simply maintain it.

What will you be working on organizing this month or this year?

Leave me a comment and let me know.  And if you have a blog with a post on this topic, be sure to leave the link to your post in your comment.

Blessings,

Mel

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Tips for Sticking to Your Daily Blogging

I know what you’re thinking. Who am I to be offering tips on daily blogging when I literally just joined the Postaday crowd three days ago?  I have two answers for you.

First Answer: I’ve been writing off and on for over 25 years. I started writing stories and poems as early as third grade.  During difficult teenage years, I wrote a lot of poetry.  I’ve written for a women’s ministry newletter as a contributor and an editor.  And I’ve filled quite a few journals.  My point?  I know how hard it is to get started and continue writing.

Second answer: I’ve been a blogger for three years.  While I’ve mostly been a hit-and-miss blogger during that time, there were short stints of daily posting or several-days-a-week posting.  A lot of that writing got done when I was on a creative roll.  Ideas would flow in so fast I would be drafting three posts at once.  I didn’t always get those extras published, but they were saved ready for a later date.  Some are finished, some are still raw.

So, how can you be sure to post daily (or weekly)?

  • Get a notebook or sketchbook just for blogging ideas. I have a simple five subject notebook that I’ve divided into ideas, tips for blogging, etc.  I not only get ideas about what to write, but also about photos I have or photos I’d like to take.  Try to keep it with you all the time so whenever an idea pops up, you’re not using a napkin or an old receipt.
  • Write two or three posts at once and schedule them for publishing. When I discovered this feature on my first blog, I was ecstatic.  You can schedule your posts to publish any day and time you choose.  Just be sure to finish a post you’ve started and scheduled.  Once you click on Schedule it’s going out for all to read, unless you edit your publish date and time before it posts.  I have published unfinished posts and it was embarrassing.  Especially when it posted to my facebook account.
  • Make an appointment with yourself and stick to it. I learned about this from a Franklin Covey planner, Leadership, a few years ago.  It’s too easy to set aside something we want to do for everyone and everything else.  Sometimes it’s procrastination.  Sometimes it’s family or friends, housework or schoolwork.  I find I am a better person, wife and mother when I make time for me and write what’s on my mind.

Those are my tips for daily blogging.  Enjoy what comes to mind.  Get it out of your head and into the blogosphere!

Blessings,

Mel

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No Meats, Sweets or Soda for 21 Days…9 Days In

So, I’m back on my vegetarian diet and trying to eat gluten free, as an experiment–which I’m sure I’ll write about at some point this year.  I’ve also been avoiding sweets and soda.

Why is it so hard to quit soda? I am addicted to it, mostly Dr. Pepper.  Then Coke started to become my nemesis while I tried to avoid the evil Doctor.  I know it’s not just the sugar, it’s the caffeine.  That’s a huge part of it.  I also don’t like how I feel when I go without; I get major headaches.  I can go without sweets without too much withdrawal, but soda?  Forgeddaboudit!

To borrow a phrase from Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin in their book Skinny Bitch:  “Sugar is the Devil.” So, let’s apply some logic.  (Being a homeschooling mom, I can’t pass up the chance to teach you something.)

  • Sugar is the Devil.
  • Soda is made with sugar.
  • Therefore, soda is the Devil.

So, why am I doing this for 21 days? For two separate reasons, one of which I’ll share.  I am always craving something sweet and I want to be free of the “need” to eat sugar.

To make it doubly hard right now, my daughter’s birthday is next week and I have to try a tiny bit of her cake.  It’s also Girl Scout cookie season and my sweet girl is a Girl Scout.  Lemonades, Thin Mints, and Thanks-A-Lots are my weakness.

I fell off the wagon and ate two.  Cookies, not boxes.  I guess that means I have to start over.

*Note:  Dr. Pepper/Seven Up Inc. and Coca-Cola Company, please don’t sue me for libel.  I still love you.

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