Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Sister-in-Law is a Bad Person

I got your attention, didn't I?  She's not a bad person, not by any stretch.  A bad influence? Yes, most definitely!

Back in May of this year, she started a blog Sue at Home, and the other day she wrote about the new Nate Berkus collection that was about to debut at Target.  You can read all about it here.  Back in the days when Nate used to appear on Oprah's show, I used to love watching him get excited about design ideas, room/house makeovers and the like.  His design philosophy is to choose things to decorate your home, things that you love.

So my bad influence, ummm....I mean my sister-in-law opened my eyes to something that I might have stumbled on, during a casual shopping trip to Target.  Today was debut day. I decided that the carrots & Q-tips that were on my shopping list, could be found at Target, where I would find the Nate Berkus Collection.  That was in a perfect world and clearly the Target just up the street from us is FAR from perfect.  I looked all around with little success.  Finally, I asked a sales associate, who radioed a supervisor who answered where I could find what I was looking for.  Off I went, only to be disappointed to find Nate's bath collection only.  Since I wasn't shopping for my bathrooms, I was very disappointed.  I kept looking around, found a huge selection of Clearance items, where I figured I might find Nate's goodies.  Nope.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  Harrumph!

Sadly I went home with just my bundle of carrots and box of Q-Tips.  I figured that was it and I sent a text to my sister-in-law saying how my Target stunk.  Later in the afternoon, I popped 'round to my folks house.  My dad is a consultant for his old company and part of his job is to review new legal cases as they come in.  Last winter when he was laid up with his knee replacement, he hired me to be his assistant to print things off, save them to the computer and set up the files.  I've continued to help him since and decided that today was a good a day as any to get caught up on my work.  There's some downtime while waiting for many page documents to print.  And I got thinking about the Nate Berkus Collection again.  And in my brain, I'm plotting out the various Targets in the area.  Meanwhile I had heard from my sister-in-law, she too had little luck finding what she wanted.  We agreed, if she found the brass bowls that I wanted she would pick them up and if I found the brass lamp she wanted (and that I was trying to talk myself out of) I would pick it up for her.

Yes, I wanted my little brass bowls, as well as a nifty wooden round tray.  After I finished working for Dad, I set off, determined.  As I approached the second Target, I decided that I wouldn't get a cart.  I wouldn't need one.  Sure enough, I would need one. I found the Nate goodies and started calling my sister-in-law, "Do you still need the brass lamp?"  We went on for a bit.  And the more I looked at this lamp, the more I fell in love with it.  But I didn't need it.  But I loved it.  Nate says to surround yourself with things that you love.  Conveniently, there was an empty, abandoned cart right by where I was standing.  And they had the hammered brass bowls that I had spied on Sue's blog.  I didn't find the tray that I originally wanted, but I did find one that I thought would look snazzy in my bedroom.  I even bought one of the white sea urchin looking things that you see in the picture.


I'd place the brass bowls in the tray with the urchin.  Where, that was to be determined.

When I got home, carrying my goodies, my husband said, "What are those?  I thought we were purging things, not bringing in more stuff?"  He's right.  We are in a purge mode, but I also want to freshen up our home, which hasn't had a make-over, beyond a coat of paint in the living room last November.  But my husband didn't stop there, he likened my funky, quirky lamp to something that would have been found in the yard of Sanford & Son.  Oh no, he didn't!  Oh YES he did.  We debated rearranging the lamps in the living room.  He likes everything we have and where it is.

So now, my Sanford & Son lamp is in our bedroom on my bureau.  Next to it is the tray with it's goodies. And I love it, all thanks to my bad influence and Nate Berkus!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Beef & Guinness Pie


One of our favorite meals at my house is called Beef & Guinness Pie.  The key ingredients, beef & Guinness beer are never considered a bad thing around here.

I adapted this recipe from Margaret M. Johnson's The Irish Pub Cookbook.  It's a fabulous cookbook that not only has wonderful photographs of the food, but of locations around Ireland as well.

The key to this dish is letting the beef marinade for 24 hours before you cook.

Day One:
2 pounds stew beef, cut into 1/2" chunks
2 cans Guinness stout
1 clove garlic (or more, we love garlic here)
2 bay leaves

Combine all this in a bowl and give it a good stir.  Refrigerate until you are ready to cook the next day.

Day Two:
2 cans Guinness stout
1 cup beef stock or broth
2 large carrots, peeled & diced
1 large onion, sliced
1.5 cups frozen peas
Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
1 bouquet garni (a cheesecloth bag containing 3 sprigs fresh parsley, 1 sprig fresh thyme, 8-10 peppercorns and 1 bay leaf)
Wondra Gravy Flour
Pillsbury All-Ready Pie Crust
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of water


On cooking day, drain the marinade and put the beef into a stockpot.  Add the 2 cans of Guinness, and the beef broth.  Over medium heat, bring this mixture to a boil.  Skim any foam off the top.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 1-1.5 hours.  Add the carrots, onion, salt, pepper and bouquet garni and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the carrots are slightly tender.  Add the peas and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.  Sprinkle in the Wondra Gravy Flour, cooking & stirring until the liquid is thickened.

The book has you making a pastry crust, but I don't have time for that.  That's where the miracle product of a Pillsbury All-Ready Pie Crust comes in very handy.  Let it warm up in your kitchen for about 10-15 minutes before using it.

Meanwhile, you want to preheat your oven to 375°F.  Remove the bouquet garni from your stockpot and transfer the filling into a 10" deep dish pie plate, spooning some of the liquid into the pie dish.  Reserve the rest for later.  Cover the pie plate with the pastry, cutting a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape.  This is where I like to use my little decorative cutters.  I cut a few vents out of the pastry, and then attach the cut-outs to the pastry with a dab of your egg wash.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until it is a beautiful golden brown.  I always put a cookie sheet in the rack below the pie dish, because it sometimes wants to bubble over.  While this is baking, run the cooking liquid through a strainer, into a saucepan.  Put it on medium-high heat, adding a bit more gravy flour, bring to a boil, stirring until thickened.

I love to serve this over homemade Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, drizzling this with the gravy.

Hope you enjoy this as much as our family does!





Sunday, September 16, 2012

Granola Gold

My husband's cousin, who lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, has started a fantastic snack company called Granola Gold.  Her goal, when she started the company, was to make a healthy, fun snack that people could feel good about eating.  Her & my husband's maternal grandmother used to own a candy-making business.  Grandma used to tell all of her grandchildren, when baking or making something special, buy the best ingredients you can afford.






Diane showing off two of her blends, First Tracks and (my personal favorite) Sailor's Blend.  She has done well at local farmer's markets and Ace At The Curve, in Steamboat Springs.  And the local press has noticed as well "Steamboat Woman Practices Cereal Entrepreneurship"

The different blends appeal to all tastes, including a nut-free variety called Sunshine Express.  Diane plans more nut-free blends this winter.  Personally, I can't wait to see what she whips up next!

Now you're asking yourself, "How do I get some of this deliciousness?"  Easy, go to Granola Gold's website and place your order! You can also find out the latest news on their Facebook page.


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Home Organization 101: The Kitchen (Part 2)

The kitchen project that I started back in July is progressing well.  The kitchen cupboards have had a good chuck out of stale, out-of-date, and unwanted products.  Some months ago, I had moved my spice cupboard contents from a little cupboard to the right of our stove, to the upper pantry cupboard.  The then spice cupboard, has been converted to my tea cupboard.

However all those little spice bottles & tins have floated around for months.  They never seem to be easily accessible when I want them.  Or it never fails, what I want is pushed to the back.  As a vertically challenged person, I need a footstool to reach the higher shelves.  Now I have the spices & herbs culled into three trays:


My husband is still making fun of me for sorting them alphabetically, but when it comes time to pull out something, I can easily pull out one tray instead of half the cupboard! And if you don't have to pull everything out, it means you don't have to put everything away.  Anything that makes kitchen clean-up easier can't be bad at all!  As for the other items that are in this cupboard, they are only things we need or use.  I will exercise more restraint when at a kitchen shop or a grocery store.  Unless it is an ingredient for something I know I will be making, it will be staying put!

Years ago, I went to a Tupperware party at a friend's house.  At the time, they were offering a special on their Modular Mate storage system.  Wanting to help my friend, I purchased one.  It was a selection of sizes.  I've always liked using them, as they seal beautifully and keep the contents nice & fresh.  When this project came up, I invested in some more containers.  The Modular Mates combined with my Brother label maker are a wicked combination and instantly jazz up the cupboards. 

When we bought this house thirteen years ago, the kitchen was 1970's U-G-L-Y!  Not to mention it was not an efficiently laid out room.  Our kitchen was designed by us through Home Depot.  My cupboards below are wonderfully roomy....too roomy.  They became catch-alls for everything.  At times, and yes I am saying this out loud, I would open a cupboard door, shove something in, and close the door quickly before anything fell out.  Two cupboards in particular, one that housed plastic storage containers and the other contained baking dishes, were places of dread.  To try to find something was always a nightmare.  The cupboards are adequately tall, but don't offer enough flat storage space.  I had seen other people's cupboards where there was a roll out shelf and wanted something similar.  My husband was tasked with measuring cupboards and finding suitable options to make these cupboards more useful.  He came up with the following items (well, similar to these):




It's funny how something so simple, can make one so happy.  It's a pleasure to go into these cupboards now, either to put something away or pull something out.  Ever since he installed them, I randomly say to my husband, "Thank you for my kitchen cupboards!"  He's probably sick of hearing it, but it's just wonderful!!!!!  The contents were culled and a number of housewares were also donated to Big Brother Big Sister.
  I kept the plastic storage containers for leftovers that could be easily stacked inside one another.  Some things will be moved to the bar area of our basement.  The previous owner had intended it to be a recreation room and built a huge bar area.  My goal for the fall, beside throwing out most of the basement contents, is to turn that area into a functioning storage area for the things we need, but not every day.

These cupboards were so bad, that I couldn't bring myself to take Before pictures of them, but I am happy to share the After shots with you!



This is my lower pantry cabinet.  The slide out chrome drawers are one of the best inventions....EVER!  No more lost food.  No more having to empty the cabinet to get the one thing that ended up in the back.



My "Tupperware" cupboard.  It's not perfect, that top shelf still needs some love.  However, until I get my pantry / kitchenware area of my basement in better shape, a lot of things like serving dishes that we don't use that often must live here.










These are the baking dishes I use only a couple times a week.  But again, having this pull out rack makes life so much easier for finding something and putting it away--now if I could just train the 12-year-old who empties the dishwasher to actually put these items away.  I know, I know, baby steps!









This is the same cupboard.  There is a little narrow space that is good for the tall skinny things that I had jammed all into one cabinet, next to the stove.  It was always a tug of war with a cookie sheet or the griddle.  Now, notsomuch!

Kitchen Table - Before a/k/a The Dumping Ground
Kitchen Table - After - We ate there for the first time in ages! 




Tea Cupboard - Before

Tea Cupboard - After


The before and after shots really aren't all that different.  All that I got rid of was Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas, there were about 5 tins of the stuff.  People who know I love tea, tend to give me Earl Grey because I think they think it's a quintessential tea.  And it is.  Hard as I have tried, I just don't care for bergamot, the main flavor of Earl Grey and so out it went!  But tea is a topic for another day.

My kitchen still needs some work.  It's getting there though.  I have a few more cupboards and drawers to empty out, wipe clean and then replace the contents.  But nothing all that exciting that warrants a blog entry.

Hope my kitchen Home Organization 101 has been helpful to you!


Sunday, September 02, 2012

An Organized Life

Every morning, I get up, fix a cup of tea (a cuppa) and sit at my computer to enjoy it.  My web browser is set up to open a number of tabs of the important (to me) websites.  Of course, there are tabs for my email and Facebook, and those are the first two I typically go to.  Then there are news, world and local, my calendar, Pinterest (a story for another day) and then there is the blog section.

One of my favorite morning reads is A Bowl Full of Lemons, a fabulous blog about organizing.  From the moment I discovered it, I wanted to organize my entire house.  What is great about this blog, is the owner not only shares her organization ideas, but offers readers a chance to link their own accomplishments to her site.  I've written about how she inspired my hall closet makeover in this post "The Dreaded STUFF".  In that one I didn't take any before pictures, but I have been trying to do that ever since.

ABFoL is challenging it's readers to a "Home Organization 101" over the course of 14 weeks.  Week 1 began yesterday focusing on The Kitchen.  I should divulge that I did not do any of this over the course of this weekend.  I started The Kitchen in July.  There is still areas that need attention, but I thought I would share the tip of the iceberg so-to-speak.


 Drawer 1 - Before

Drawer 2 - Before

Junk drawers.  Mine were typical, non-functioning, I-might-need-this-sometime-but-don't-know-when drawers.  Just as I was starting this project, a postcard came in the mail for the Big Brother Big Sister organization.  They were collecting homegoods to sell in their retail store that funds their programs.  Conveniently they were having a pick-up date at the end of July.  I found a box and started the purge.  Some of it was just junk, but some of it, could be utilized elsewhere.  Bonus!


Drawer 1 - After

Drawer 2 - After

The binder in the "Drawer 2 - After" photo is also a great organizational tool.  I will be the first person to admit that I have a cookbook and recipe problem. I love to collect them.  You know how it goes, "Oh, that looks good.  I'll have to try it sometime."  Then I never do anything with said cookbook or recipe.  Guilty as charged.  I'm also sick of eating the same old things all the time.  I'm sick of trying to come up with dinner, or going to the market more than a couple times a week.  

As a result, back in June, I made the conscious decision to make planned menus for my family.  It was easier said, than done.  I pulled out my binders that contained recipes that I have printed and saved, and at least organized into categories.  and I chose a couple of cookbooks.  The next step was to find a blank calendar for 2012.  But that didn't take it far enough, I wanted something that would help me make a shopping list.  My iPad & iPhone are two of the best pieces of technology I've ever owned, so I found a program called Meal Board.  It has taken a bit of effort of inputting recipes and ingredients, but it makes for an on-the-go grocery list when I'm out.  Below are a few screen captures from Meal Board's website.  It's a very easy program to use and you can sync it between the iPad & iPhone with the touch of a button.


Meal Board app iPad & iPhone Interfaces







 Recipe card & grocery list that generates from the recipe cards

The other thing is I print a calendar that gets posted on the family bulletin board.  No longer must I answer the question, "What's for dinner?"  They are all trained now to look at the calendar!  A small piece of my sanity was restored by that simple task.  The calendar will tell me where I can find the recipe, be it on a certain page of a cookbook, my Main Binders (where ALL the untried recipes are kept), my Favorite Binder (the one in the drawer) or my Recipe Basket.  Ultimately my goal is to print them out to go in the Favorite Binder or my Recipe Basket.  The front of the Favorite Binder also has the months calendars that have transpired since I started this phase of my organization project.  As I go forward, I can look back and remember what were out and out favorites that my family would want repeated more often.

I'll show the rest of the kitchen reorganization in my next entry.  Cheers!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

NOH8

NOH8 - Hartford, CT - May 2012 - Photo by Adam Bouska

mar·riage/ˈmarij/

Noun:
  1. The formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife.
  2. A relationship between married people or the period for which it lasts.
One of life's more controversial topics of conversation is over same sex marital rights.  I am proud to say that I live in the first state that legalized same sex marriage.

This year, I will celebrate my twentieth wedding anniversary with my husband.  On top of those twenty years, we had five years before that, where we dated, fell in love and got engaged.

I am of the belief that there is someone for everyone.  In my case, it was my husband.  For many though, that someone might be the right woman for another woman, or the right man for another man.  

People talk about marriage being defined as one man and one woman. That marriage is about procreation of children into a family with one father and one mother.  I would fit into that classic definition.  However, I don't think in 2012, that definition fits society as a whole any more.  

More and more heterosexual couples are having children out of wedlock, living together, breaking up when the relationship gets too tough and they don't feel like making it work.  More people are getting divorced for the same reason, because to work at it might rob them of something they aren't willing to give up emotionally.

I see same-sex couples who want to have the same basic rights as heterosexual couples.  They want the same legal recognitions when it comes to property, taxes, parental rights all because they love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives with one another.  Honestly, what is wrong with that?  

California became the second state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage, but in November 2008, Proposition 8 was passed to amend the California state constitution, to ban same-sex marriage.  Couples who want to be married, are not allowed now.

NOH8 (pronounced No Hate) was started by celebrity photographer, Adam Bouska and his partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8.  It is a photographic silent protest, photos feature subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world, with "NOH8" painted on one cheek in protest.

NOH8 - Boston, MA - March 2011 - Photo by Adam Bouska
Last year, NOH8 came to the City of Boston. It was a proud moment when my son and I joined a group of friends, comprised of fellow photographers and models from our photography group, and "voiced" our protest.  It wasn't just posing for the photograph that made that day special.  We met so many like-minded people--gay, lesbian, and straight.  In that lovely spring day, we all came together sharing the same voice, the same message.  That same-sex marriage is marriage.  And those who want to be married, should be allowed to be married.  Period.

Messrs. Bouska and Parshley, along with their dedicated staff, continue to get the message out to the world.  They continue adding to the protest, city-by-city.  

It was my honor to participate in this 'fight' again, this time in Hartford, CT.  I attended the day with a dear friend, who if she wanted to marry her girlfriend, she could here in Massachusetts. I have a friend who lives in California with her girlfriend.  For all intents and purposes, the life they lead is a marriage.  It is my hope that someday I can celebrate with them, their love for one another in the form of their legalized marriage.

mar·riage/ˈmarij/ (as defined by me)
Noun:
  1. The formal union of two people, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife, husband and husband, or wife and wife..
  2. A relationship between married people or the period for which it lasts.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Denied Comic Con Coverage

We are DirecTV subscribers. So this week's nastiness between DirecTV and Viacom, has been inconvenient.

At first I wasn't all that upset about it, a bit irritated about it, but not a huge amount.

Until this morning, when I found out from a friend, that Spike TV would be airing coverage from Comic Con 2012. Comic Con where there will be a Firefly cast reunion, where Henry Cavill will be there promoting his role as Superman, where all number of cool things will be covered. My irritation turned to irate anger at the injustice of it all.

So what it boils down to for me is this. Two behemouth entertainment entities are in a war of words, trying to turn the public against one another. They are in a giant game of chicken, to see who will flinch first and made a concession.

In the midst of this, I can't help but wonder what would happen if I pro-rated my DirecTV bill for the missing channels for as long as this outage lasts. Something tells me that I will have the threat of my satellite servie being cut off.

I'm tired of being under the thumb of corporations. And I long for the days of a simpler life.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Blast From The Past

It seems, all of a sudden, that all the parents are feeling the need to pare down their lives.  They are simplifying their lives, so that some day, when they are gone, we don't have a huge amount of work to get rid of their lifetimes.

My Mum's project this week, is to go through old photographs.  She's gotten rid of a ton of them.  But she's also kept a large amount of important ones.  Now comes the question, what to do with them.  I'm an only child, as is my cousin.  Mum set aside a number of pictures of her sister, my cousin's mother, and her husband, both of whom have been gone for 24 and 35 years respectively.  Mum wondered if she should give them to my cousin, or would they be a source of pain for her.  They talked about it, and my cousin said that she wanted them.

I'm a computer geek.  And a photography geek.  I love looking at old photographs. Growing up we would spend the weekend at my grandparents house. My favorite thing to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon was to look through the photo albums. I loved seeing pictures of my Mum growing up in England, pictures of ancestors that I had never met, pictures of my cousin as a little girl.

After Mum mentioned she was doing this, it occurred to me that I had few pictures of my uncle. And that I had a scanner at my disposal. Thus started the quest to scan as many photos as possible. But more importantly, I sat with Mum going through the photos. A lot of them I remember from my childhood. But there were also photos that my Nana never had. Like the ones of my Mum that Dad had taken in Montreal during Expo 67, where she was wearing a cute little green & white Sixties style dress. Or the one photograph that exists of when Mum was pregnant with me (you can't even really tell she's pregnant, but the date puts it in the right time frame). Or the pictures of my godfather, who was so young at the time that I didn't recognize him. Those were scanned and shared with his daughters, who were thrilled to bits, having never seen pictures of him from the Sixties.

Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Yesterday is a memory, but at least I have sat with Mum and made the attachments to those memories.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Birthday Parties

Tomorrow night my home will be invaded by 4 or 5 twelve-year-old boys.  The Dude celebrated his birthday almost a month ago.  We had planned to have a sleepover and mall trip with friends, but one-by-one little league commitments claimed his guests.

We will start our evening with a taco dinner, the guest of honor's choice, followed by a non-traditional birthday cake.  My Nana used to make a chocolate cake for me and now I make it for my crew.  It is a favorite of everyone in the family, since I also allow it be eaten at breakfast.  For those who are wondering what the heck I'm thinking, it's no different from a triple chocolate muffin from a bakery. 

My son has "plans" for the festivities.  Something that after dinner involves a Nerf war by twilight, movies and video games, and of course, junk food.  We have Hershey bars, popcorn, Doritos, Fanta orange, grape Crush, oh and cheesy poofs.

Twelve-year-olds are far too mature for goodie bags.  But let's face it, they still like the loot.  Dude has put together a comprehensive profile on each guest.  They will get a plastic red & white striped popcorn box filled with at least two of their favorite candies, and at least two packs of sports cards.  NBA cards for this one, baseball for these four, football for these two and hockey for this one, and a pack of Magic cards for Dude.  And then the popcorn boxes will be used for actual popcorn.

Sunday, after breakfast, we are planning on taking this crew to the mall "to hang out" for a couple of hours.  Mom & Dad will be at the mall without being visible.  I think we'll pull up a booth at one of the restaurants and order one appetizer or entree at a time to draw out the meal.  We will be a quick phone call from the mall cops should they need us.

I long for the birthday parties that only last a few hours and have a cute theme.  We made our way through Winnie-the-Pooh, Thomas the Tank Engine, The Wiggles, Blues Clues, NASCAR.  My favorite birthday party wasn't even at my home, but at Build-a-Bear.  It was for his fifth birthday and it was fun to watch him and his friends kiss little hearts, dance around in circles and pick outfits for their creations.

Oh that life were that simple still......  Sunday afternoon, we will collapse from exhaustion and frayed nerves.  Heaven help us!

-----------------
Edited night of the party:
11:42 p.m. EST - They show no signs of tiring.  All five of them are wound up on sugar and junk food.  Sleep is the farthest thing from their minds.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Dreaded STUFF

This week, I have been on an organizing kick.  It all started thanks to Pinterest (that is a blog entry for another day).  One of my pins last week was about organizing your "medicine cabinet".  Now I put that in quotes because back in the day, a medicine cabinet was typically something that hung in your bathroom.  In the pin, the "medicine cabinet" was an actual kitchen cabinet with everything from children's medicines, to first aid products, to sunscreen, to regular medicines.  In my house, it consists of two full and two partial shelves of STUFF.  Yes, the dreaded STUFF.  It was a constant jumble, despite some half-hearted attempts to tidy it up.  However, I was constantly being asked, "Do we have _____________?"

Ultimately, I followed the pin to the originator's blog, A Bowl Full of Lemons.  It was my idea of heaven.  Lots of great ideas for organizing your life.  Something that I often pine to do, but lack the motivation or am totally overwhelmed by.    What I found attractive about this blog, was she broke down a project into manageable pieces to deal with the dreaded STUFF.

My first step, was to go buy containers.  She showed a selection of sizes that complemented each other in stacking.  So I went and made my first purchase of the day.  Yes, you read that right "first purchase".  This project involved four trips to the store to buy containers, more containers, return correct lids.  First lesson learned, next time I would perhaps lean towards buying too many, that if need be, can be returned.  The time wasted going back and forth to the store, made the project longer than it needed to be.

Now to tackle the actual dreaded STUFF.  I set up containers and started sorting.  Beside the sorting area, was the trash can.  If it was out of date, it got tossed.  If it was partially used and there were more than one partially used, it was combined.  If it was something that we bought, was within date, but never likely to be used, it was placed in a bag to be donated to the local church food pantry, that also supplies toiletries to their clients.  One of the things that made me really crazy was the number of small tubes of toothpaste floating around, you know the kind that the dentist gives you.  So those got a special container on the bathroom counter, with a note saying, "Please use these up before using a full-size tube.  Love, Mum".

The final step was getting out my label maker and labeling the containers according to what they were for.  Most of the labels are straightforward:  Pain Relievers, Sunscreen, Supplements, Soap, Deodorant, Oral Health.  But I also had a little bit of fun with this phase of the project.  There are two boxes, one labeled Tummy and one labeled Tushy.  We had two boxes of first aid products.  The top box has a selection of band-aids, antibiotic creams, and the more common things you would need treatment for.  The bottom box has ace bandages and items you might need, but not as often as a band-aid.  I had initially labeled them both First Aid, until my husband said that the top one should be First Aid, and the bottom one, labeled Second Aid.  Again, I decided to make it a bit fun for the searcher.




I will admit, I was so pleased with the results, that I open the closet door just to admire my efforts.  The rest of the STUFF in the closet still needs serious attention, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Rise and Fall, and Rise Again of Random Thoughts

Facebook was the downfall of my blog.  I used to blog regularly.  Then I discovered Facebook.  Sadly, the blog fell by the wayside.

My sister-in-law recently started blogging.  Her blog, Sue at Home, got me thinking about writing again.  I used to love to write.  Sometimes it was hard to come up with a topic, but those were the times that my writing would be best because I had to work for it.  So thanks Sue, you've re-enervated my desire to write.

For many years I have thought that I had a book in me.  That dream faded somewhat.  But I still think it's there, somewhere.  Now I just have to figure out what it will be about!

Thank you Sue for inspiring me to write again.
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