We have had lots of struggles and challenges in our lives, but we've had even more blessings!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas with our kids (2010)

    part 2 -
    Everyone (including Analyse :-D) slept in the next morning. I had 'scheduled' a big breakfast for 10, but it ended up being served a little bit late. They survived. ;-p What was for breakfast? French toast, bacon, fried eggs, and a teeny bit of applesauce (I thought the jar in the fridge was fuller than it was 8-/).
    Before breakfast, at EVERY-bodies insistence, Benson called his friend Crystal and she came for breakfast and their 'real' Christmas stockings.
    No, I did not take a picture of their real Christmas stockings. Why not? Because all of them are not made yet. There were some real Christmas stockings hanging along the stairway railing, and some plastic grocery bags. The material I had recently picked up for Analyse and Kayla's Christmas stockings were in their bags, but I can NOT find where I had put the material for Cyndi's ... grumble, grumble, mutter.... ! My goal is to have them made before Feb. 1st!!! I might just buy new material for Cyndi's. I can always make her something else when the original material shows up. And then this summer after the arrival of our second grandchild, I'll make one for them too! I'll probably be making ones for new family members on a regular basis for a few years. I'm o-kay with that!!! o:->
    All four of our sons got Lego's in their stockings. Yes, they are all in their twenties. Their response to finding them proved that Lego's are not an age limited thing! They also got a couple of other items each. The adult girls got socks. Lots of socks! All kinds of solid colored socks. They too got a couple of other things each. Last week Crystal had called asking if we had an apple slicer she could borrow. Her 'stocking' contained an apple slicer. ;-) See, I do too pay attention! o:-p Oh, and Boo got a candy cane shaped raw hide thing, which he went right to work on! Which was funny, cuz usually he sniffs at them for about three days before he deems them chewable on. Maybe it was the red colored part the packaging described as chicken that made this one so good. And was he ever protective of it! Mercy!! I hope they have some more still in stock when Brian gets to Meijer's today!
    After that, Kayla had to leave for a bit for a family thing, Crystal had to go tend to some details, and Brian took Byron, Cyndi and Analyse to visit his folks. It had been several months since they had seen them.
    But there was also a second purpose behind the trip. Brian left "the kids" at their grand parents for a bit while he drove on into K-zoo and picked up Nate M. That evening we were hosting a dinner party for some of our "kids" friends, and Nate made the list!! It had been w-a-y to long since he had been here last!!!!!
    Brent's best friend Adam B. also came, as did Joel and Jeannie. Josh C. was going to, but then Brandon got called into work, and with Josh's condition, he's leery of going places sometimes... We missed you Josh!!! But Brandon, we totally get why you said yes to working! The rest of you whom were invited but didn't come, we wish you had! It was wonderful!!! NO DRAMA!!! TONS of laughter!! The way that Brian orchastrated the inexpensive gift exchange turned into hilarity! Oh my goodness!!!
   The dinner? We tried a new way of cooking the pork loin, which we aren't doing again. Not as moist as we like it, and it took way to long to bake (or maybe that was just our oven...). Mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, leftover fluffy stuff. And they had their choice for dessert - there were three types of pie and three types of cake. And yes, they could sample all if they wanted too.
   All of the "kids" were sitting around the table playing a game Crystal had brought along when Brian and I deemed we needed to hit the sack. The benefit to having adult children! ;-)
    The following morning Brian and Brent had to work (they'd taken the day before off as a vacation day). Byron took Brandon shopping for his Christmas gift from them (they had drawn his name). Brandon wanted and ended up paying half of the price for an Under Armour (T) long sleeve shirt. He wanted it to wear under his uniform shirt when working the drive through window at work. Byron had waited to get it to make sure they got one that would fit.
   While they were gone, Cyndi started packing their stuff up and I started picking the house up. Between the two of us, we conquered the 'Christmas mess'!  A-n-d, I haven't yet stumbled upon something they left behind. Well, besides the mattresses and Analyse's chair... but that's going to be a different posting ;-).
    They needed to leave around noon due to Byron having to be to work by 5. Too short of a visit!! And yet, it was a wonderful visit!!!! Thank-you Lord!!!
    Here are some pictures of our sweetheart amongst some of the Christmas 'mess' ;-p

Yes, she is standing IN the magazine part of the 'breakfast in bed' table Brent and Kayla gave me. Silly girl! ;-p

Daddy's sleeping and she's playing with the pillow pal from great-grandma and grandpa 'honey'.


"Help me, I made this mess but now I can't get up" ;-p  The 'Bosco Sticks' box is proof that you can't always judge what's in the box. ;-p  And the soccer ball... her uncle Brandon couldn't find the right kind of potentially really noisy toy he wanted to get her, so he got a possibly destructive one instead. Chuckle, chuckle. And yes, she definitely already has good enough coordination to kick it!!! Her mommy deemed it was going to be an outside toy only!

Wearing grandpa's Kermit The Frog (T) shirt. Cute!!!

This concludes this edition of you having to view 'slides' (;-p) of our adorable grandchild. o;-p

"tidbit" from chapter 12

     "MASTER HOME COOKED MEALS (REALLY!)" is the title of Chapter twelve (12) in the book "PRETTY NEAT - the buttoned-up way to get organized and let go of perfection" (which was co-authored by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, from 'Get Buttoned Up' ). Chapter twelve (12) is the final chapter in the book, thus ending the skim through of sorts our blog has been doing of it this month.
    Today is also December 31st, 2010, which means it is the final day for submissions in the two drawings. Drawing #1 is for the blog owners who agreed to review and post about their new book. We did.  The winner of drawing #1, will be the blog owner whom has the highest number of comments on the posting about the book. HELP US WIN!!! (Yes, I'm unashamedly begging here). Leave us your own organizational tips or shortcuts !!!  Drawing #2 then, is for all of the 'commenter's'. That's YOU!! "The reader who submits the best tip ("organizational tip or short cut") across all participating blogs will also win $250.00." The winning 'tip' will be selected by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, the books co-authors.  The dead line for having submitted your tip, is Midnight, December 31st (New Years Eve). The winners will be announced on their blog 'Get Buttoned Up' on Jan. 10th, 2011.

   And now, back to chapter twelve (12) - "MASTER HOME COOKED MEALS (REALLY!)"
 I find it rather amusing, not only is organizing one of my hot buttons, but so are cooking and baking. I think it's the 'warm fuzzes' you get from home cooked meals, that make them trump the mass majority of restaurant meals. To be clear - I'm referring to 'warm fuzzy' type feelings, NOT some type of food poisoning ... o;-p
    Seeings how this subject matter is one of my hot buttons, I kept skimming... my eyes are telling me I shouldn't have... but since I did, I'm going to share several different exerts with you. ;-)  Your Welcome! :-0

    The first exert come from page one hundred and forty nine (149), the first part of the first paragraph on the page. "There's getting a meal on the table and there's getting a real meal on the table. And boy, at the end of a long day, trying to get a relatively healthy real meal on the table can be one of the most challenging things to do. ... "
    The second exert come from page one hundred and fifty one (151), the first and the last part of the first paragraph on the page. "After a long day in the trenches, most of us are ... too tired, too overwhelmed, and too full of doubt in our own capabilities to do anything more than just muddle through the evening meal... . ... the biggest impediments to getting a good meal on the table."
    Beginning of the second paragraph on page one hundred and fifty one (151). "I don't have enough time or energy. Lack of time is a very real issue."
    Beginning of the fourth paragraph on page one hundred and fifty one (151)."Picky eaters also make dinner prep more stressful. If you have to go out of your way to accommodate limited palates, it can be the thing that puts you over the edge and causes you to give up on serving a good meal altogether." Parts of the fourth paragraph on page one hundred and fifty two (152). "Experts call our tendency to cook around picky palates the "pampered palate syndrome". ... No wonder we don't want to face the dinner hour."
    Beginning of the fifth paragraph on page one hundred and fifty two (152). "A lot of the people we spoke with along the way just plum never learned to cook." Parts of the sixth paragraph on page one hundred and fifty two (152) and the first paragraph on page one hundred and fifty three (153). "The fact of the matter is a lot of people lack confidence in their ability to cook anything. ... Whatever the reason, if you think you don't know how to cook, you're not going to go out of your way to cook anything you deem difficult at mealtime."
   Beginning of the second paragraph on page one hundred and fifty three (153). "The siren call of processed foods. To get by, we increasingly rely on processed, packages, and semiprepared food, as well as takeout, to help us get something on the table quickly and relatively easily. ... "
   The second paragraph on page one hundred and fifty four (154). "Fortunately, there are plenty of people who have figured out ways to make healthy weeknight meals at home, quickly. Examining their tricks made us realize it doesn't take any more effort, really, to prepare a healthy meal then it does to prepare a less healthy one."
   Parts of the fourth paragraph on page one hundred and fifty four (154)."The first few times you cook anything, ..., it's going to take some time. ... The people who are naturally good at preparing healthy meals quickly didn't get there overnight. They practiced making the good dishes often enough that it became second nature." The first paragraph on page one hundred and fifty seven (157). "It's amazing how a little bit of practice can make something that was once complicated and time-consuming easier. Start small, make up one or two healthy menus, and master the dishes in each. Then gradually add new ones to your repertoire. The next thing you know, you'll be a pro."
   Parts of the second paragraph on page one hundred and fifty eight (158). "The second trick of those who magically throw together healthy meals is that they look to reduce drag anywhere they can. They streamline their what's-for-dinner process by making a plan for the week ... . They streamline their shopping with lists ... . They streamline their prep by having essential tools within arm's reach."
   The fourth paragraph on page one hundred and fifty nine (159)."Let's face it, there are going to be days that just suck the wind out of you. On those day's, there is just no way you're going to want to cook. Have a "free" night scheduled into the week, just in case. Know what your healthy backup plan is - - whether it's reheating something frozen you made earlier, eating leftovers, or ordering a pizza, so you're not heading out for super-fatty fast food at the eleventh hour."

    So... what shortcuts do you use in order to get healthy home cooked meals on your dinner table? We REALLY want to know!! Yes, in part for the sake of the drawing. But also because we're personally curious! We're always looking for such tips!!!

~  > - ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <
    Reminder: use the "link" in the side bar of our blog, to go back to the original posting which introduced this book and the connected drawings. Then, leave your "organization tip or short-cut" (methodology) under that posting. That way, it will be counted for our overall number and they will be sure and find it to consider it in drawing #2. :-)  Thanks!!! ;->

     Brian and Cheryl B. from, The Bz House That Love Built

Thursday, December 30, 2010

"tidbit" from chapter 11

     "TAME YOUR INBOXES" is the title of chapter eleven of the book, "PRETTY NEAT - the buttoned-up way to get organized and let go of perfection" (which was co-authored by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, from 'Get Buttoned Up' ), which our blog has been doing a skim through of sorts this month.
   
    Today's exerts come from page one hundred and forty eight (the last page of the chapter), starting with the last part of the second paragraph on the page. "... You can take control in three simple steps."
   " * Set Clear Parameters: The first step to regaining some semblence of control is to set parameters - - for yourself and for others. That means cutting down on the number of modes you use to communicate. ...."
   " * Reduce Unnecessary Volume: You can't focus on the important stuff when you're inundated with messages you don't really need or want. ..."
   " * Establish Simple Systems: Set up a simple, easy - to - manage system that keeps your inbox organized. ..."

    How many "inboxes" do you have? Such as, how many email accounts do you personally have? Facebook pages? Blogs? Twitter Accounts? Tweets? Snail mail? Answering machine? Cellphone? And in today's world, the possibilities go on... What have you done to get or keep control over your inboxes?  We really would like to hear!! And we would be thrilled if your idea won you the $250!!!!!

   Remember, tomarrow is the last day to submit your organizational tips or short cuts, due to the deadline being Dec. 31st! (FRIDAY OF THIS WEEK!!!!!)

~  > - ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <
    Reminder: use the "link" in the side bar of our blog, to go back to the original posting which introduced this book and the connected drawings. Then, leave your "organization tip or short-cut" (methodology) under that posting. That way, it will be counted for our overall number and they will be sure and find it to consider it in drawing #2. :-)  Thanks!!! ;->

     Brian and Cheryl B. from, The Bz House That Love Built

The flowing of Christmas with our kids (2010)

    part 1 -
    Early in November of this year, Byron and Cyndi had decided that they were coming back to MI for ALL of Christmas this year! Due to having gone to school and working retail jobs out of state, Byron had not attended extended family Christmas gatherings in about six years. This year, they were going to!
    Then two weeks before Christmas, his boss let it be known that he was denying Byron's days off request. In-fact, he had scheduled Byron for the overnight (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.) shift for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Night (as well as New Year's Eve and New Year's Night - insert rolling eyes here).
    So we shifted plans a little. They were going to head this way just as soon as his Christmas night shift ended.
    Then near the end of the week prior to Christmas, Kayla's mom's side of the family decided they were going to do their gathering the day after Christmas - at 1:00.
    So we shifted plans a bit more. We let Byron and Cyndi know that we were moving times back to 4:00. If Byron wanted to get some sleep before heading here, he could. We'd have the big meal we had planned and then open gifts.

    The day after Christmas, Byron, Cyndi and Analyse arrived around 1:00. By 1:40, we sent the fighting dozing off Byron, on up to bed for a nap. About 20 minutes later, Analyse was ready for a nap as well. So when Brent and Kayla got here early, both Byron and Analyse were still napping. Nobody had a problem with it. In-fact, it was then decided to let Byron sleep till around 6. That way he'd be a bit more rested, and yet still want to go back to bed in a few hours. We were glad we had gone with the flow. Here is a picture of our fully rested little sweetheart when gift opening time came.
     Yes, I was referring to Analyse, not Byron ;-)

    Oh, and we had shifted yet again and decided to do gifts before eating. So we did gifts and then ate this wonderful meal Brian had headed up the preparing of.

         (St. Julian's non-alcoholic white bubbly :->)

    After the meal, we did stockings. ;-p  Why the smirk? See-e-e, our sons have always quibbled that we loved their girlfriends/wives better than we loved them. They based this on their perception that we did nicer things for the girls, and on a more frequent basis, than we had e-v-e-r done them for "our boys". Then a grandchild entered our lives. Oh my goodness. To listen to the "boys" take on things, you would think we had plumb forgot they existed. Chuckle, chuckle. Poor neglected guys! More chuckles....
    So Brian had decided that he was going to get an enormous stocking for Analyse this year just to egg the boys on. Then without even knowing our plans, Benson brought home a huge one from a party he had attended. God does have both excellent timing and a sense of humor!!!
    But it got even better! During our stop at Kohl's the day Brian had taken me shopping, he stumbled upon small sized stockings, with an initial embroidered on the front. And their original inexpensive price was even lower due to them being on sale. A bargain he could not pass u!! Smirk, smirk.
   Here is a picture of this years schemed on and God provided stockings. ;-p
    We put four different mini candy bars in each of our "kids" stockings. But there was no way we were going to fill Analyse's huge stocking with just candy!! Nor did we want to fill it with tons of toys. We already had two 'big' gifts for her (I'll be posting more about them soon). So I kept my brain working on the project while we were shopping, and the Lord guided me to perfect solutions. What did we get? A big bag of animal cookies. And two box's of different flavored kids fig type bars. And teething cookies. And three cute plastic bibs, that were larger sized and have velcro at the neck (bib ties and Analyse are not a good combination!!!) And a toy phone that makes noises and talks. And an adorable dollie. I intermittently stacked things in, rolling the bibs up so they filled better. And had the dollie sticking out the top.
    Side note about dollies here. I had no clue that finding a cute little dollie was going to be challenging!!! My goodness! Some of the dolls currently on the market are just not cute! And the majority of them have some type of an electronic part to them, such as a beating heart. I wanted a cute, simple little young girl dollie / cuddle toy. Finally found one at Kohl's. Definitely not where I would think to go look for a dollie! But now you too know where to get one. ;-).
    Yes, we did give our kids different stockings later.... I'll cover that in a different posting ;-)

    Oh, and for the record, while we had originally 'planned' this time for this and that time for that, and then changed it, and then changed it again ... we finally started opening our gifts around 6:45p.m. or so, and ate dinner around 8:00. Everybody here was completely fine with all of it. There were no negative comments at all. :-D We have learned that you plan, then life invariably happens, and if at all possible, it is best if you can flow with it, rather than creating white water rapids out of the situation. While white water rafting might be fun, it usually only is when you plan to go to Colorado and do it. ;-p

    After dinner we sat down to watch our yearly viewing of the movie "The Muppet's (version of) The Christmas Carol". We got about a third of the way into it, and over half of the family was sleeping. Cyndi and Benson chose to stay up and watch the rest of the movie. Life kept our plans flowing ;-p.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"tidbit" from Chapter 10

      This month, our blog has been doing a skim through of sorts, of the book, "PRETTY NEAT - the buttoned-up way to get organized and let go of perfection" (which was co-authored by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, from 'Get Buttoned Up' ). We are now up to chapter ten (10), which is titled,"CLEAR  THE  CLUTTER  AT  WORK".

      Today's exerts come from page one hundred and twenty two (122), starting with the second paragraph on the page. "Clutter at work is a silent killer. It drains you of energy, saps productivity, and potentially costs you the esteem of colleagues and bosses. Psychological researchers have found that the constant barrage of clutter we face at work leads to higher levels of cardiovascular stress, impaired judgment, and a noticeable drop in civility to others. (1) Stress, bad judgment, and crankiness - - -  not high on the list of career-advancing traits, are they?"
    (Third paragraph on page) "Why is clutter at work such a problem? For starters, it acts as a visual white noise that your eyes and brain have to process. The additional stimuli constantly distracts you from work you really need to do. And it's not like you can just close the door and pretend it doesn't exist. You spend roughly half of your waking hours working, so your constantly reminded of your general state of disorganization and your lack of gumption in tackling it."
   (First part of fourth paragraph on the page) "Clutter is a time suck, too. According to a recent survey of the National Association of Professional Organizers, people who are disorganized at work estimate that they waste between thirty minutes to an hour each day hunting for a lost document or something else they need. (2)"

     What short cuts have you taken at your place of employment, which has helped you keep things organized and findable?

    What things have you done that you can give us a 'tip' about?

    Remember, you only have two more days to do so, due to the deadline being Dec. 31st! Believe it or not, your simple little trick really could earn you $250!

~  > - ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <
    Reminder: use the "link" in the side bar of our blog, to go back to the original posting which introduced this book and the connected drawings. Then, leave your "organization tip or short-cut" (methodology) under that posting. That way, it will be counted for our overall number and they will be sure and find it to consider it in drawing #2. :-)  Thanks!!! ;->

     Brian and Cheryl B. from, The Bz House That Love Built


> * < - > * < - > * < - > * < - > * < - > * < - > * < - > * < -
(1) P. Waddington, "Dying for information? A report on the effects of information overload in the UK and worldwide," 1997, www.cni.org/regconfs/1997/ukoin-content/rep-13.html.

(2) NAPO, 2009 Get Organized Month Survey, June 30, 2009, www.napo.net

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Good Intentions

     We are absolutely sure that a whole bunch of you have had 'good intentions' regarding posting at least one of the organizational methodologies you use in your home. You know, an organizational tip or 'short cut' that then automatically earns you the possibility of winning $250.00. ( If your not sure what we are referring to, go HERE. )
    Right now, we're sure your muttering such lines as, "I've been meaning to", or "I'm fixin to", or even "I figured I would after Christmas".
     Well, it's now after Christmas. But even more importantly in conjunction with these drawings, is the fact that the deadline to enter is New Years Eve. You know, December 31st, 2010. THREE days from now!!!!
    So behold, NOW is the time to do so! No-o-o, not tomorrow - NOW!!!

    Can't remember what it was you were thinkin on givin an idea about? Go to our blog, scroll down the right hand column, and click on the titles from the postings we did in the month of December. We're quite sure a whole slew of things will come to mind. Go ahead, submit each and every one of them! Really!  Remember, what seems ever so simple and basic of a solution to you, might be just the tip that somebody else is going to slap themselves in the forehead and declare, "Why didn't I think of that?!?!!!" over. (Please, only tap yourselves! Refrain from knocking yourselves out!!!  o;-p) And then there is also the possibility that the books editors might decide, that that is just the type of tip they were hoping to stumble across, and award you the $250!

~  > - ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <
    Reminder: use the "link" in the side bar of our blog, to go back to the original posting which introduced this book and the connected drawings. Then, leave your "organization tip or short-cut" (methodology) under that posting. That way, it will be counted for our overall number and they will be sure and find it to consider it in drawing #2. :-)  Thanks!!! ;->

     Brian and Cheryl B. from, The Bz House That Love Built

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~
    The above is in reference to
the skim through of sorts, which our blog has been doing of the book, "PRETTY NEAT - the buttoned-up way to get organized and let go of perfection" (which was co-authored by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, from 'Get Buttoned Up' ).

"tidbit" from Chapter 9

    As most of you know,  this month our blog is doing a skim through of sorts, of the book, "PRETTY NEAT - the buttoned-up way to get organized and let go of perfection" (which was co-authored by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, from 'Get Buttoned Up' ). We are now up to chapter nine (9), which is titled, 'TEMPER THOSE TOY TSUNAMIS'.

    Today's exerts come from the first part of the very first paragraph of the chapter, which begins on page one hundred and nine (109) : "It starts out slowly; a rattle here, a play mat there. But my, how quickly it escalates. Within one or two years of the arrival of your first born child, your home will have been hit by an inevitable toy tsunami."

   Quite a chapter to touch on immediately after Christmas, huh?  o;-p

   What tactics have you tried and actually had work for you in implementing toy control in your home? Yes, we really would like to know! What seems ever so simple and basic of a solution to you, might be just the tip that somebody else is going to slap themselves in the forehead and declare, "Why didn't I think of that?!?!!!" over. (Please, only tap yourselves! Refrain from knocking yourselves out!!!  o;-p) 
    And then there is also the possibility that the books editors might decide, that that is just the type of tip they were hoping to stumble across, and award you the $250!

     Looking forward to reading what methods you use (you are going to share them with us, r-i-g-h-t ..?  o;-p)  Don't worry, if you do not have a blog of your own, you can use "anonymous" to leave your comment under. HOWEVER, you MUST include your name in order to get credit for the organizational tip or shortcut ("methodology")!!!

~  > - ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <
    Reminder: use the "link" in the side bar of our blog, to go back to the original posting which introduced this book and the connected drawings. Then, leave your "organization tip or short-cut" (methodology) under that posting. That way, it will be counted for our overall number and they will be sure and find it to consider it in drawing #2. :-)  Thanks!!! ;->

     Brian and Cheryl B. from, The Bz House That Love Built

Monday, December 20, 2010

Inquiring minds want to know!!!

    Where do you keep your vacuum?
      What about all of it's accessories? Things like the long hose, extra filters and belts, etc.?
    What about your broom and dust pan?
    Your mop?
    What about your supply of rags?
    Do you have a bucket? Where do you stash it so it's easy to get to?
    Where do you store your cleaning supplies?
       Are the ones for the bathroom stored in the bathroom? In every bathroom if you have more than one?
   
     Where would one find the suntan lotion and bug spray in your home?
     What about the wasp spray?

     Do you buy paper towels in single rolls, or do you buy them in the large bulk packages?  If you buy them in bulk, where do you keep the not yet being used rolls so that they are out of the way, yet you can get to them?
    Ditto about toilet paper.

    It's currently winter. Do you have side walk salt on hand? If so, do you have some by all of your outside accessible doors? In what?

    Where do you store extra light bulbs?
    Batteries?

    What about matches?
    And, do you have a candle near them in case the naughty north wind takes out your power?

     Next weekend is Christmas. Where and how do you store your seasonal decorations once you take them back down?
     What about gift wrap? Seasonal and non-seasonal.

     Come on folks, inquiring minds want to know! Or at least this mind does. o;-) But I bet others do to. Otherwise Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, from 'Get Buttoned Up', would not have co-authored the book, "PRETTY NEAT - the buttoned-up way to get organized and let go of perfection", [which we are currently in the eighth (8) chapter of skimming through. Chapter 8 is titled, 'CLEAR  THE  CLUTTER  AT  HOME'] because there wouldn't be anybody interested in reading it, let alone buying a copy. 
     But they did. And then they topped that by allowing us the opportunity to win $250 by submitting our organizational tips or shortcuts. The books authors will pick the tip or shortcut that they like the best, out of the ones readers submit. And you never know, while you might not think your methodology is all that impressive, you can't be sure that they  look at things the same way you do, and thus they might like something a LOT that you think is only 'okay'. ;-) So go for it! Submit your ideas! And don't worry, if you do not have a blog of your own, you can use "anonymous" to leave your comment under. HOWEVER, you MUST include your name in order to get credit for the organizational tip or shortcut ("methodology")!!!

    Looking forward to reading about where you keep yours! (you are going to tell us, r-i-g-h-t ..?  o;-p)

~  > - ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <
    Reminder: use the "link" in the side bar of our blog, to go back to the original posting which introduced this book and the connected drawings. Then, leave your "organization tip or short-cut" (methodology) under that posting. That way, it will be counted for our overall number and they will be sure and find it to consider it in drawing #2. :-)  Thanks!!! ;->

     Brian and Cheryl B. from, The Bz House That Love Built

CUTE gifts from Joanna :-D!

      Joanna T. is a very sweet young friend of mine. For the record, she is in her mid twenties. But that qualifies her as young, seeings how she is just over half my age. ;-p
      I always enjoy the times that we 'hang' together and I get to hear so much about her life. And she always has ways of making me laugh! As you know, I love to laugh!!!!

     One Christmas (I'm pretty sure it was last year) she made and gave me this adorable little snowman. Pink accessories - too cute!  The base is filled with some sort of stuff which feels like mini pop corn kernels.



    After Brian arrived home from church last evening, he came up to check on me. If I was asleep, or laying down due to struggling with high vertigo symptoms, he was gonna let me rest. But if I was up and about, he had some Christmas stuff for me and wanted to know if I wanted to go down and eat. I was up and about working on a project I'll tell you about soon.
    I sat down on our bed to look at the Christmas stuff.
   First he handed me this cute little basket. At the time, both of the gifts in it were wrapped.

     The basket itself has been sprayed winter blue and is lined with a blue background Christmas patterned material.
    The smaller package (that the tree is sitting on) smells oh so peanut buttery. And it looks like fudge. I meant to try some last night, but forgot to take a glass of water back upstairs with me after I ate. :-[  Is it lunch time yet? o;-p
    And then there was the Christmas tree she had made for me. The adorable 'cutesy' Christmas tree!

     It is seven (7) inches tall from the top tip of the star down to the base (I just went and measured).
    The base is a flat round wood dowel (?).
    Glued to the top of that, is a wood thread spool.
    There is a length of green yarn glued around the spool.

    Going up out of the center of the spool, is a round wooden dowel.
    The 'branches' (body) of the tree are made out of various Christmas patterned materials.
        I checked, but there are no seams in the material, I hope she leaves us a comment telling us how she did these!  The material is like it's folded in half (so that it can be 'puffed up') and then gathered in the center with the wood dowel thread through the middle of the gathered part. Does that make sense?


     I like the materials she chose! They compliment one another and yet have contrast, thus making each section visible. Nice!
 




    At the top of the tree, a wooden star is glued to the wooden dowel so that the middle of the star is where the dowel ends. The front of the star is swirly patterned, and has a layer of sparklie glue applied.


   In all, I would guess that the tree is about three and a half (3 1/2) inches round.  And cute!

   The reason that I gave so many 'details' about it is, I KNOW some of you are gonna want to make these yourself. Both for yourself. And to give as gifts. Let me know if you do so I can spread the smile to Joanna T.

    Brian also had several Christmas cards for me to look at  :-D.
    Amongst them was one from some friends whom usually give us fruit baskets. This year, it contained cash. THANKS friends!!!! I'll try to make sure I post about what we use it for. ;-)

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
   If you receive our postings via email and haven't yet personally visited our blog and seen how it's decorated for Christmas - we encourage you to do so! ;-)
           The Bz House That Love Built

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
  I 'plan' on linking this particular posting up to:
~ "Making Your Home Sing Monday('s)", are hosted by Nan, at 'Mom's the Word (I love to hear)' (http://momstheword--livingforhim.blogspot.com/).
~ "Homemaker Mondays ... Yours, Mine & Ours", are hosted by Jen, at '11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven' (http://rtheyallyours.blogspot.com/).
~ "Market Yourself Monday", are hosted by Sumo, at 'Sumo's Sweet Stuff' (http://sumossweetstuff.blogspot.com/)
~ "Whatever Goes Wednesday('s), hosted by Michelle, at 'Someday Crafts' (http://somedaycrafts.blogspot.com/)

The heart of a home

     The kitchen. It is often referred to as the center of a home. Other times, as the heart of a home. There's the ever so popular saying, "No matter where I serve my guests, they seem to like my kitchen best." The kitchen is an important room in a house. Often, it is the room that differentiates whether the building is a house, or a home.
     But the kitchen is also often the hardest room to keep cleaned, or at the least, not massively cluttered. I swear that if it wouldn't make rolling pie doughs out oh so challenging, I'd have my counters installed on an angle. That way, stuff COULDN'T pile up on them!!! o:-)
     But the counters are not the only area of a kitchen that we put thought into organizing. Or keeping de-cluttered. Etc..
     There's the inside of the cupboards. We knew some people whom did not use the 'designated cabinets for specific products' method. After they were done cooking, they'd just open doors and put stuff in. That would drive me crazy!!! Okay, further over the edge. If I want to use the pan coating spray, I expect to find it by opening one specific cupboard door! Not in one of the various 'foods' cupboards. If I want a serving bowl, I expect them to all be together in one specific place. Not 'somewhere' in the dishes cupboards. If I plan to use a crock-pot, I expect all of them to be in one designated cupboard.  Not somewhere in amongst the other stuff in the pots and pans, etc. cupboards.
    In addition to organizing cupboards so that like things are together, there are often other aspects we organize in those cupboards. Things such as: how do you store your assortment of Tupperware lids? What about your bottles of food flavorings and colorings? Or your various baking products, such as powdered sugar, brown sugar, corn meal, oats, etc.? Or your frequently used cooking utensils? Or your regular silverware, versus your serving sized pieces?
    Do you have a kitchen pantry? How do you have things set up, so that you can easily find what you went there after?
    Is the inside of your fridge an open and shove system, or do you have it organized in some fashion?
    What do you keep under the sink, and why?
    Where is your trash container kept?
    If you regularly eat your meals in the kitchen, how do you keep "stuff" (that always appearing out of the blue "stuff!") from accumulating on the table?

    As most of you know,  this month our blog is doing a skim through of sorts, of the book, "PRETTY NEAT - the buttoned-up way to get organized and let go of perfection" (which was co-authored by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, from 'Get Buttoned Up' ). We are currently in chapter eight (8), which is titled, 'CLEAR  THE  CLUTTER  AT  HOME'.

    What tactics or methodologies do you implement to organize your kitchen? Yes, we really would like to know about every single area we mentioned! What seems ever so simple and basic of a solution to you, might be just the tip that somebody else is going to slap themselves in the forehead and declare, "Why didn't I think of that?!?!!!" over. (Please, only tap yourselves! Refrain from knocking yourselves out!!!  o;-p) 
    And then there is also the possibility that the books editors might decide, that that is just the type of tip they were hoping to stumble across, and award you the $250!

     Looking forward to reading what methods you use (you are going to share them with us, r-i-g-h-t ..?  o;-p)  Don't worry, if you do not have a blog of your own, you can use "anonymous" to leave your comment under. HOWEVER, you MUST include your name in order to get credit for the organizational tip or shortcut ("methodology")!!!

~  > - ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <
    Reminder: use the "link" in the side bar of our blog, to go back to the original posting which introduced this book and the connected drawings. Then, leave your "organization tip or short-cut" (methodology) under that posting. That way, it will be counted for our overall number and they will be sure and find it to consider it in drawing #2. :-)  Thanks!!! ;->

     Brian and Cheryl B. from, The Bz House That Love Built

Sunday, December 19, 2010

more fun library 'details' :-)

    They recently aired the new animated version of the movie "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus", and Brian had set our DVR to record it. Due to everything going on at our church today, mixed with Brian being both the main sound guy and the church janitor, he only had a couple of hours of down time today. He decided that it was the perfect time to watch that recorded show.
    We really enjoyed it!
    But the reason I'm blogging about it, is to tell you about the librarian and her wonderful rolling along the shelves ladder.
    As most of you know, I have always wanted to have a big library in my home. One with lots of wonderful books in it. And comfortable seats to curl up in, when you weren't tugged to sit in it's fabulous window seat. And I want one of those attached to the shelves ladders. You know, the type that roll along on the metal rails attached to the top and the bottom of the extremely high shelves.
   The movie we watched this afternoon, had one of those in it. A WONDERFUL one of those!! It went around the entire room!!! And the librarian knew how to get it moving pretty quickly too ;-p.
   The librarian was delightful. She kept getting so excited, that her own volume would go up, and then she'd shush herself. Comical!  Delightful!!!
    I had worked in our schools library during middle school. I had mentioned this fact to both Debbie G. and Kate (separately) a couple of years ago, while talking about how maybe I should apply for the librarian position I had seen posted, while driving Debbie to the library. Of their own accord, they both pointed out identical reasoning's why they thought working in a library would probably not be a good job for me.
    According to them:
    a) I would be putting away returns, a different nearby book on the shelves would catch my eye, and I would end up sitting right there on the floor reading it, and not appreciate library patrons interrupting me wanting help. 
    b) I would start discussing with a library visitor, the book they were either checking out or returning, and get so excited about it, that I would be the one always needing shushed (or always shushing myself).
    c) Somebody would come up to the desk with a book they wanted to check out, and I'd be likely to tell them "you don't want that book!!! Here, I'll show you a better one!"
     Gee-sh .... do my friends know me or what? o;-p

   Well, since I shouldn't work in a library, I guess I need one of my own......  o:-)

What's yours used for?

    The dining room. Some people actually eat in theirs, on a regular basis even. While others use theirs as a wonderful 'pile it there for now' area. And in yet other homes, the dining room is reserved for only the specialist of guests, or for holidays.
   
    I don't really remember the set-up in the kitchen of the house my parents first rented, after we moved to this state. But I do remember the dining room. The front door dumped right into it. And you got to the other rooms of the main floor, as well as the staircase to the upstairs, via door ways out of it. And we ate all of our meals in there.
    The next house we lived in, had a 'formal dining room', but it also had the cutest breakfast nook off the kitchen, sticking off the back of the house. It had wonderful bay windows, that good breezes came through. And built in shelves on the top, a counter space, and cupboards on the bottom along one wall. My mom's collection of salt and pepper shakers came to fill those shelves. The toaster sat on the counter. The table fit in the middle of the room so that chairs could be all of the way around the table. Later, Craig's high chair took prominence at the kitchen end of the table. Can you tell that I both have fond memories of, as well as really liked that breakfast nook? It too is included in the list of things that I want in my 'dream home'. But today is about dining rooms, not breakfast nooks ... . We ate most all of our meals in the breakfast nook and thus the dining room was saved for special events.
     The next house my parents moved to, they had designed themselves. And while the kitchen did have the old breakfast nook table and chairs in it, we ate most meals in the dining room. It too had a bay window in it.

    Our current home most definitely does not have room for a table in the kitchen, so we use to eat all of our meals in the dining room. That was before it became such a piled in 'for now' area. Lately I have again been chipping away at it. I wish this vertigo would disappear, so I could out and out attack it!!! I not only am tired of looking at the mess, but I also strongly want to eat our Christmas dinners in there!!!

    This month, our blog is doing a skim through of sorts, of the book, "PRETTY NEAT - the buttoned-up way to get organized and let go of perfection" (which was co-authored by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, from 'Get Buttoned Up' ). We are currently in chapter eight (8), which is titled, 'CLEAR  THE  CLUTTER  AT  HOME'.

    Today obviously is about 'dining rooms'.   What is your dining room used for?  Do you eat most of your meals in there, or do you too have a breakfast nook or eating area in the kitchen itself?  Or, while your 'suppose to be' eating in there, has yours too become a 'pile it here for now' area?

    - What sorts of things do you like to keep stored in your dining room, and what do you use to store them in?
        - Examples:
           - some people use table cloths, centerpieces, etc. If you do, where and how do you store them?
           - in some homes, the dining room table is also the main home work station for younger kids. How do you keep necessary supplies near by?
           - some people fold all of their laundry on their dining room table. If you do, do you store hangers near-by?
   - What method's have you found helpful in controlling the things that have a tendency to collect there, but don't actually belong in that area?

     Honest, we really want to know! For one, there are others whom might benefit from implementing your tactics. And then there is of course the fact that it just might win you $250!! ;->  Remember, that while you might not think your methodology is all that impressive, you can't be sure that they (the books authors and contest judges) look at things the same way you do, and thus they might like something a LOT that you think is only 'okay'. ;-)

    Don't worry, if you do not have a blog of your own, you can use "anonymous" to leave your comment under. HOWEVER, you MUST include your name in order to get credit for the organizational tip or shortcut ("methodology")!!!

    Looking forward to reading what methods you use (you are going to share them with us, r-i-g-h-t ..?  o;-p)

~  > - ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <
    Reminder: use the "link" in the side bar of our blog, to go back to the original posting which introduced this book and the connected drawings. Then, leave your "organization tip or short-cut" (methodology) under that posting. That way, it will be counted for our overall number and they will be sure and find it to consider it in drawing #2. :-)  Thanks!!! ;->

     Brian and Cheryl B. from, The Bz House That Love Built

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We weren't allowed to enter

    Brian once worked as a sales rep. for a company, which at least at the time, was the worlds leading distributor of electronic components and computer systems in the industrial market. That job included such things as expense accounts, wineing and dining clients, etc.. They also hosted frequent parties and nice dinners out, for their staff and spouses. They did so as 'office moral boosters'.
    We were all instructed to meet up at the assistant managers house, of the branch Brian worked at, for appetizers before one such dinner out. Dinner that evening was booked to be at a higher scale restaurant, so all of us were dressed up!
    When we arrived at the assistant managers home, the front porch light was off and there were no lights shining out from directly inside the front of the home. However, one of the overhead doors on the attached garage was wide open and the lights inside the garage were on. "O-kay ...".  Tentatively we ventured into the garage and rapped on the door into the house. It was opened by our host. Yes, we were at the right place.
    Their home was in what was at the time a newer development. It was a nice tri-level home with the afore-mentioned attached garage. Once everybody was assembled, we were offered a tour of the home. It proved to be an oh so interesting tour!!!
    When we started down the hallway towards the front of the house, the hostess finally flipped on the lights in the front entry. We learned that the front door is reserved for only the specialist of occasions. To the point that it had only been used once. Normally she'd just shout through the attached side window for people to go back and enter through the garage.
     And then there was their living room. It was all done in white. White curtains. White upholstery on the furniture. White mini shag carpeting. WHITE!!! But the thing that really got us was, that the wide entrance into the room was blocked by a set of those metal poles and fabric covered chains like movie theaters use. According to the host, the room had only been occupied once (except for the hostesses every other day cleaning of it). By him. And he had never been forgiven for it, even though his reasoning for having used the room, was seeking refuge while his wife (our hostess) was hosting a 'girl friends' night (which she too admitted had been the case). No "living" went on in that room!!!

    There is a "living room" in a home that we frequent often, that while we are allowed to use the room, there are HIGH stipulations attached!  I like to sit with one foot up underneath me. I learned that feet are not allowed on the furniture! And no, I did not have shoes on - shoes MUST be left inside the back door!
    You also may not take your Pepsi in there with you. "All food must remain in the kitchen". Period.  And if you use one of the throw blankets that are in there, make sure you return it to the exact same spot, folded the exact same way as how you found it. I won't go on, I'm sure your getting the idea.

    And then there is our own living room. My old "don't just dump things on the floor" is apparently what led to them always depositing things on the couches - to the point that often every seat is full, and yet nobody is sitting down. 8-/. Instead of a regular 'coffee table', I use one of my old flat topped steamer trunks. At times, it gets moved out of the way so that wrestling may be pursued. At other times, it is used as a foot rest for long legged sons (or moved closer for the shorter legged one ;-p). And sometimes it's top is emptied so a delivered pizza can be set there. Ours is a MUCH 'lived in' living room!!!

    For the record, the first home mentioned did have a 'family room', the other two do not. We'll talk about family rooms in a couple of days.

    This month, our blog is doing a skim through of sorts, of the book, "PRETTY NEAT - the buttoned-up way to get organized and let go of perfection" (which was co-authored by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, from 'Get Buttoned Up' ). We are currently in chapter eight (8), which is titled, 'CLEAR  THE  CLUTTER  AT  HOME'.

    What is YOUR living room like?
    If yours is actually used,
      - What challenges with keeping some form of order in there, have you encountered with your family?
      - What method's have you found helpful in controlling what has a tendency to collect there, but doesn't actually belong in that area?
      - What organizational methods have you put to use for the stuff that you do want kept in there for easy accessibility?
    Honest, we really want to know! For one, there are others whom might benefit from implementing your tactics. And then there is of course the fact that it just might win you $250!! ;->  Remember, that while you might not think your methodology is all that impressive, you can't be sure that they (the books authors and contest judges) look at things the same way you do, and thus they might like something a LOT that you think is only 'okay'. ;-)

    Don't worry, if you do not have a blog of your own, you can use "anonymous" to leave your comment under. HOWEVER, you MUST include your name in order to get credit for the organizational tip or shortcut ("methodology")!!!

    Looking forward to reading what methods you use (you are going to share them with us, r-i-g-h-t ..?  o;-p)

~  > - ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <
    Reminder: use the "link" in the side bar of our blog, to go back to the original posting which introduced this book and the connected drawings. Then, leave your "organization tip or short-cut" (methodology) under that posting. That way, it will be counted for our overall number and they will be sure and find it to consider it in drawing #2. :-)  Thanks!!! ;->

     Brian and Cheryl B. from, The Bz House That Love Built

Friday, December 17, 2010

all decorated : - )

   We are now done with decorating our web blog for Christmas :-)

   Go have a 'look see'  - The Bz House That Love Built

The Front Door

     In some homes, the front door is a very seldom used appendage on the home. If somebody is at the front door, then it's either a delivery guy or a stranger. The front door on other homes however, see a steady stream of traffic coming and going through them.  Sometimes the difference is due to whether it's a country or city home. Sometimes the difference is based on where parking is, compared to where the door is. And other times the difference is based solely on the home owners personalities.
    I want you to go and stand on the inside of your front door, as though you've just walked through it. W-a-i-t .... that only works for those of you whom have lap top computers and wireless internet service. Those of you whom do, are now free to go. I would ask the rest of you however, to please stay seated. Otherwise you won't have a clue as to what it is I want you to do once your standing there. ;-p
    Those of you whom are standing there, look around. Those of you whom are sitting in front of your computer, without closing your eyes (or at least don't do so for very long ;-p), imagine yourself standing on the inside of your front door. Both sets - what do you see?
    Some homes have little to huge sized entry ways inside the front door, and yet other homes front doors dump right into the living room. If yours does have some sort of an entry way, what's in there? Especially if your front door and thus entry way is a highly traversed area.
    This month, our blog is doing a skim through of sorts, of the book, "PRETTY NEAT - the buttoned-up way to get organized and let go of perfection" (which was co-authored by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, from 'Get Buttoned Up' ). We are currently in chapter eight (8), which is titled, 'CLEAR  THE  CLUTTER  AT  HOME'.
    Today, we are thinking about the clutter that can collect, or even needs to be in your front entry way.
      - What method's have you found helpful in controlling what has a tendency to collect there, but doesn't actually belong in that area?
      - What organizational methods have you put to use for the stuff that you do want kept in there for easy accessibility?
    Honest, we really want to know! For one, there are others whom might benefit from implementing your tactics. And then there is of course the fact that it just might win you $250!! ;->  Remember, that while you might not think your methodology is all that impressive, you can't be sure that they (the books authors and contest judges) look at things the same way you do, and thus they might like something a LOT that you think is only 'okay'. ;-)

~  > - ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <  ~  > - <
    Reminder: use the "link" in the side bar of our blog, to go back to the original posting which introduced this book and the connected drawings. Then, leave your "organization tip or short-cut" (methodology) under that posting. That way, it will be counted for our overall number and they will be sure and find it to consider it in drawing #2. :-)  Thanks!!! ;->

    Don't worry, if you do not have a blog of your own, you can use "anonymous" to leave your comment under. HOWEVER, you MUST include your name in order to get credit for the organizational tip or shortcut ("methodology")!!!

   Looking forward to reading what methods you use (you are going to share them with us, r-i-g-h-t ..?  o;-p),
    Brian and Cheryl B. from, The Bz House That Love Built