Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lenten Cleaning: Kitchen Cupboards

I had several items on my to-do list yesterday, including my routine cleaning of the kitchen (refrigerator and floor), but it was all put on hold when I discovered a nasty surprise at about 8 AM: I was innocently reaching for a dishtowel, but instead… evidence of mice! Evidently, overnight a group of mice had a jolly time racing through my kitchen cupboards, but acting very irresponsibly by not cleaning up after themselves!

Fortunately, I had already made supper and had bread rising, so my other plans for the day were put on hold as I bravely worked section by section, emptying drawers and shelves, scrubbing the cupboard and all its contents. As a reminder, here’s what my kitchen cupboards look like:

I love this old cupboard, but because it is so old there are gaps that allow mice or other creatures to find their way in from the basement or under the floor. Until yesterday, I hadn’t had any visitors, but now we’ll be filling in those gaps as soon as possible!

It took me all day and countless buckets and sinks of water to clean everything to satisfaction. I also did a huge amount of decluttering! My kitchen table was full of a few extra appliances (rice cooker, anyone?) and gadgets and accessories (huge dip bowl that looks like a chili pepper!) that I just don’t use or need. My goal was to have the bottom shelf in the lower section completely empty, and I almost managed! All that’s there are several large serving trays, a basket, my Christmas plates, and a few extra settings of flatware!

I didn’t take any before pictures because, well, that’s just gross, but here is what everything looked like when I was finished (minus the dishes and mugs still drying in the dishwasher):

Left space for my crockpot which I was using. Look at that wide open pace on the bottom!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lenten Cleaning: Downstairs Closets

I wrote out long descriptions of my work today but I lost it all, despite Blogger's claim it was saving my work. I'm far too tired to type it all again, so you'll have to use your imagination and trust me when I say things are in much better shape now.

I didn't take a before of this closet since all I did was add the basket on the top shelf to organize hats and mittens and bring shoe boxes over.

If I feel up to it tomorrow, I'll come back and add more information!

Commitment to Loveliness, February 17

Here is my list this week:

  1. Continue my Lenten cleaning. I did the downstairs closets today (pictures to come), finish several small projects, and work on master closet.
  2. Compile several sections of my Home Management Binder.
  3. Go to the library! Somehow we've missed our visits the last few weeks.
  4. Make the bed. Again, something I stopped doing the last few weeks. I hate an unmade bed, but lately it just hasn't been happening. It's such an encouraging start to the day, though, isn't it?
  5. Go to Stations of the Cross Friday night.

Visit Charming the Birds from the Trees to join this week's Commitment to Loveliness!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Commitment to Loveliness, February 10

Well, my list from last week was only half successful, so a few items need to repeat themselves:

1. Write two thank you notes and one "catching up" letter.

2. Get those clothes out of here! One corner of my bedroom continues to be a disaster.

3. Make yogurt.

4. Reorganize my cookbooks and plan the menu for a lunch we're hosting.

5. Continue working on my toddler curriculum and plan next week's activities before Sunday night!

Visit Charming the Birds from the Trees to join this week's Commitment to Loveliness!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Lenten Cleaning: DVD Collection

Our DVD collection is housed in a corner of the master bedroom closet. We moved it in there and off a bookshelf almost a year ago, when a certain someone was going through a chewing phase and ruining the covers (it wasn't me!). We shifted some things around and moved the discs into a plastic Rubbermaid "bureau" that DH used for old sweatshirts. The drawers never worked right, though, and this morning when trying to put some DVDs away, I decided it was time for a change. I de-cluttered a small, folding bookshelf a few weeks ago (Freecycled old stationery), and it is the perfect size to tuck into the back corner of the closet!

Please forgive the picture quality. The closet is dark and fairly narrow, so it was hard to get full-length shots of the arrangement. I also had moved the new shelf into place before I thought to take pictures, so you'll have to use your imagination to imagine exactly what it looked like "before."

After (alphabetized of course):

As you can see, I had to do a little finagling to make everything fit. The top shelves are quite narrow and didn't allow for a double row, so I had to go vertical! I don't know how long the shelf will stay neat, but at least it's something to work toward.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lenten Cleaning: Pantry

Today is Ash Wednesday, and I decided to kick off my Lenten cleaning with a bang! My laundry room/pantry has been spirling into disorganization for some time, and it was time to change that!

Here are the before pictures:

Long and narrow!

Curtains hanging to dry and all sorts of odds 'n' ends on top of the freezer!

My extras "just in case."

Cleaning supplies in a lower cupboard. Green and non-green products all mixed together!

Empty containers and little used items.

The Dramatic Transformation! Ta-da!

What a refreshing change!

Now it's much easier to see what I have on hand. The upper cupboards have a few more food items and baking pans. They were already in pretty decent shape.

Little-used chemical products (I can't seem to throw them away-- so wasteful!) are in the back and my vinegar, buckets, and cleaning rags are right up front.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Our Daily Routine

We have fallen into a new routine around here over the past month or so, in part because DS is getting up quite early in the morning. It's been working well despite my bleary eyes, and I think we're actually getting more accomplished every day.

I don't go by the clock too much, other than getting supper on the table and plotting bedtime!

  • Awake and breakfast (anytime between 4:15-6:30). EARLY!
  • Make supper and/or bake
  • Read with DS while food cooks/bakes
  • Exercise
  • Shower and dressed
  • Snack time
  • Computer time
  • Depending on moods and the time, we either will have a nap or start work on daily chores/projects/laundry. If he doesn't nap before hand, it's definitely naptime once our housework is done.
  • Lunch
  • Finish household tasks/laundry
  • Playtime/school/outside/art
  • Snack, if necessary, or supper
  • Family time/prayers (if DH is home, but he usually works late or has choir and other church obligations)
  • Evening routine: bath, books, bed. DS is asleep no later than eight o'clock, and I usually follow before long.

This isn’t everything, of course. Lots of little jobs and distractions pop up, but the main highlights are there. Other than our morning routine (waking through snack time), the day is pretty fluid. I frequently stop what I'm doing to read or play with DS. Sometimes we don't do any housework and just have a "down" day (especially if DS doesn't nap).

My mom comes to visit once a week, and those days I'm usually able to have a longer rest or spend a little more time working on a project or cleaning. Once a week, we go to playgroup or out to run errands and those days we don't usually follow our plan other than the first and last parts of the day. Since we live so far off the beaten track in an area prone to very changeable weather conditions and gas is so expensive, we really limit our time away from the house and I try to combine errands and activities. It can make for long days away from home, but it’s worth it in the long run.

One thing I’d like to add for Lent, is attending daily Mass at least once a week (Friday).

Commitment to Loveliness, February 3

Emma is hosting another Commitment to Loveliness. Visit her blog for details and to join!

Here are my goals this week:

1. Write several thank you notes (Thanks for the reminder, Emma).

2. Plan a special Valentine's Day dinner and dessert.

3. Do something "creative" with DS every day.

4. Take time to slow down and rest-- even for five minutes and even is DS doesn't nap.

5. Finish sorting clothes and decide what to donate then get it out of the house!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Six Unimportant Things Meme

Earlier in the week Emma tagged me for this meme.

The rules for this meme are: (1) Link to the person that tagged you. (2) Post the rules on your blog. (3) Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself. (4) Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. (5) Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

This was really hard. I'm just not very exciting.

1. I hate ladybugs.
2. I almost always make supper first thing in the morning. As in: make DS his egg then cook in my pajamas. In the winter, it helps warm up our cold house, and in the summer it's nice to have it done before it's too hot out.
3. I have a secret desire to rid my house of every belonging we own and live in glorious empty spaces with one spoon and bowl each and only one change of underwear. (Okay, maybe not quite that drastic, but close!)
4. I almost never leave the house if there's any hint of poor weather. Since I live in snow country, this means I don't get out much six months of the year.
5. In a strange contradiction, though, I enjoy walking in the rain (when it's warmish).
6. I wear my comfy robe over my clothes almost every day during the winter. Our house is cold, yes, but it's a very comfortable article!

Since this Meme has made the rounds, I'm going to break the rules and not tag a soul. Unless you read this and feel like sharing, then feel free.