Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Year's Goals and a Few Tips

Hello all!

I know I have been very negligent about blogging lately.  One of my New Year's Goals is to blog more often.  I'm shooting for once a week.

We had a great Christmas.  We enjoyed the day together opening presents and playing.  Gracie loved her skates as I knew she would.  Robert enjoyed his lamb dinner as I hoped he would.  I got a new lens for my camera (Nikon 40 mm 2.8 micro).  I haven't tried the macro part out yet, but I have done a family portrait session with it.  I've barely started editing photos, but so far, I'm very happy with the photos.

We spent the weekend after Christmas at my mom's.  Gracie always loves seeing her Mia, Papa, Uncle Steve, and Buster.  It was just a short two-night stay.  Then we went to Georgia to visit with Robert's brother and sister and families and had a great time there as well.  Gracie loved playing with her cousins.

Most of my New Year's Goals are monthly goals in various areas.  I think, mentally, it's easier to stick with something for a month and then continue than to try to do something for a year and get discouraged when it doesn't last.  At least that's what I'm hoping.  My overall goal for 2014 is to get more healthy by losing weight and increasing my overall physical fitness.  For January, my goal is to cut way down on sugar.  I am not drinking sodas and am drinking more water.  I haven't had much sweets (just some pieces of fudge because who can resist fudge at Christmastime?), and I do drink juice in the mornings to give me a little extra boost.

My goal is also to be more consistent with reading my Bible.  So far, I've not missed a day!  I do my reading at night because that's what suits my schedule best. (I wish I were a morning person, but I am not!)  Our church is reading the whole Bible collectively this month, and it's fun to participate in that (I am reading Mark and Leviticus this month in addition to my regular schedule; Robert is reading a few books, but I don't know which ones; and I signed Gracie up for the book of Jude which I will read to her.)

I have other goals which I can share later.  I wanted to share some tips with you.  Today was kind of a If You Give a Mouse a Cookie kind of day because one thing led to another.  (A bloggy friend of mine wrote a blog post about HER recent If You Give a Mouse a Cookie day entitled If You Give a Mom a New Chair.  I like her blog and recommend you take a look!)

First, I needed to change the tablecloth to a new one.  I get the vinyl ones to protect the tabletop, which is almost a waste of time because the tabletop has already lost some of its color from packing tape accidentally getting stuck and then being ripped off of it.  (Not happy about that - I would expect that stain would be more soaked-in than that.)  I like the vinyl tablecloths because they are easy to clean, but a problem I have with them is that they slide around too easily.  I figured out a solution a few months back:  use shelf liner (the rubbery stuff) in between the tabletop and the tablecloth.  It doesn't work perfectly because my husband and my daughter are not as careful about keeping the tablecloth straight as I am, but it does work better than not having it on.

Use Shelf Liner between the tabletop and tablecloth to keep the vinyl tablecloth from sliding around.

Here is the new vinyl tablecloth.  I prefer the ones that have a small print or are almost solid so it doesn't look so busy with all the stuff on it.

While I was at Dollar Tree today, I bought some large stretchy headbands to put on the (children's) game boxes so that they would not come apart and dump the contents all over the place.

Use large, stretchy headbands to keep game boxes closed.
 While putting the bands on the games, I took the opportunity to straighten up the games at the bottom of the closet.  (My not-for-little-kids games are at the top of the closet.)  This is our front closet.  Ever since putting in our Mini Mudroom*, I emptied out the closet of our coats (except that Robert put a few of his back in), and my plan is to put shelves in this closet to hold games, some toys (Legos, play-doh, Lincoln logs) and whatever else I can fit in there.

I just realized I never blogged about our Mini Mudroom.  I will put that on the docket to do soon.

I straightened up the children's games at the bottom of the closet.

I keep Gracie's portable DVD player that we mostly use for car trips.  I have the case hanging on a hanger.

Use a hanger to hang up your portable DVD player.

I also keep a few blankets in this closet, but, until today, they were kind of shoved in there with games on top, bottom, and in between.  Until I get my shelves put in, I decided to hang them on hangers to be more accessible.  The white blanket in front is one that I bought at Hudson's Salvage Store in Hattiesburg, MS, in 1991 or 1992 when I was a junior in college.  I bought it for only $3!  It has served as a doggy car blanket, picnic blanket, and a curl-up-on-the-couch-on-a-cold-day blanket!  It is a thick cotton blanket that is easily washable.
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Hang blankets on hangers to make them more accessible.

A day or two ago, I read a great tip on Organizing Made Fun (or maybe watching her video when she appeared on a KTLA talk show, can't remember) where she hung her husband's hats on shower rings that are on a hanger.  Before today, my husband's caps were on an over-the-door coat/hat rack on the inside of the front closet door.

Hang ball caps on shower rings which are on a hanger.

Here is the inside of the front closet door with the empty hat rack.  The flowery bag is our library book bag, and the thing on the right is Gracie's tool belt.

We also have Gracie's bike helmet hung on this door.

My mom will be visiting us in a couple of weeks for Gracie's birthday.  Since the closet in the room where she sleeps (The Learning Room) is full of stuff, I moved the hat rack to that closet door for her to use to hang her clothes on.  There is also room enough in the front closet for her to hang more clothes if she needs to.

My very messy closet in the Learning Room.  It houses photography supplies, craft supplies, and who knows what else!
This is the door going into The Learning Room (formerly called The Room with the Big Window).  I did have just the hook on the right with various bags and aprons hanging on it.  The hook on the left also used to hang on the front closet door and was only used to hang Gracie's felt play scenes (which I never got out this year because I thought they were in the attic and only just realized a few days ago that they are in the messy closet shown above.) and a Spring wreath that my sister-in-law made me a year or two ago.


My husband just put up a Family sign (which can hold small photos) and Gracie's Baby Dedication certificate which pretty much completes the gallery wall in our living room.  I will post a photo on Instagram (Follow me here) later tonight.

Today pretty much caps off a fairly productive week around here despite my having a cold in the middle of it.  I was able to take down Christmas stuff and straighten up most of the rooms in the house, AND mop the kitchen floor!  Gracie's room is currently a disaster, so I think I will work with her on cleaning that up tonight.

Thank you for your patience in waiting for me to blog!  I hope to pop in at least once a week with projects and to continue various series that I started but never finished.

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