Friday, February 25, 2011

The Contrasts of Winter....

Here in northeastern Ohio, as in so many parts of America this year, we have been hit with winter storm after winter storm. We've had inches of ice, face numbing wind and countless inches (feet) of snow.

Giant puffy beautiful flakes slowly falling to blanket the earth. While we are nestled in the house with a steaming cup of hot chocolate and a good book. Christmas lights glowing from under that icy blanket. Or a babbling stream as the snow begans to fade into Spring. These are the images we enjoy about winter. Children with rosy cheeks screaming happily as they fly down the neighborhood hill...yep winter can be invigorating and exciting. Horse drawn sleigh rides through central park...ahhh.

Then there is the side of winter that we are not so fond of. As our kids are home for their 7th snow day not to mention countless 2-hour delays everyone has had enough of 'old man winter'. The slush, the icy roads, leaving an hour early for a trip that usually takes ten minutes...ENOUGH ALREADY!!! Did I mention the endless snow shoveling! Who needs the gym?! The kids are ready to ride their bicycles and ride in the car with the windows down, hubby is ready to drag race and I am ready to not have to wear a coat (something I loath). Is sunny and 65° with a warm breeze too much to ask? I don't think so!

In summation...I still LOVE living in the beautiful state of Ohio. I still love the changing seasons and wouldn't want to live anywhere else. Although I wouldn't mind visiting sunny Hawaii about now!!!

Stay warm and be safe everybody!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Household Notebook...

I have been promising the last two post to show you my Household Notebook (HN). Well today is finally the day!! I started keeping a HN several years ago at the advice of Flylady but it was too overwhelming...I spent more time taking care of the notebook than my actual house. However there were several parts of it I incorporated into my everyday...especially the Financial portion.

For todays post I cleaned out my current HN, updated the tabs and added a prettier cover. There are eight tabs in my binder and they are: Calendar, Contacts, Finance, Menus, Projects/Cleaning, Health & Fitness, Printables and Holiday. I will give you a brief explanation of each.

Calendar--Pretty straight forward. I used word to make up a 2-page 2011 calendar. There's never enough room to right for me and I included a column for notes down the right side.  The greatest part of making your own is YOU customize it to your needs.

Contacts--I still keep an address book. This tab is for numbers I keep for future reference...mostly professional type contacts. i.e. veterinarian, piano tuner, school numbers, etc...

Menus--I am a big advocate of menu planning. Wether its a few days, a week or an entire month. Whatever suits your lifestyle. Look in your freezer/pantry, check grocery ads and your calendar...this allows you to plan ahead and take advantage of sales. It's a great way to cut down your food bill and always have a hassle free sit down dinner with your family.

Projects--This is my dream section. I keep pictures from magazines of rooms/areas I would like to have and use some of the ideas. Also listed is my "to do" list of bigger projects.

Health & Fitness--Exercise routines, calorie counts, healthy foot advice are kept in this section.

Printables--To-do lists, shopping lists, menu planners...anything to help me stay organized with a plan. I print a master and make copies as needed.

Holiday--When you have ideas for someone for Christmas, record it in this section. Favorite holiday recipes, Christmas card lists and receipts all get kept here together.

Financial--I saved this section for last so I could explain a little more in depth. This method works for me. In Word I made monthly sheets containing a table that lists the date, creditor, amount owed, date paid and a note column. Bills are listed down by date due. For example, the mortgage is listed first because it's due the 1st of the month, below that comes my electric bill - it's due the 7th of each month...and so on. After I pay something and record how it was paid and a confirmation number if I paid it online I highlight the row. This allows me to see what is or isn't paid yet at a glance.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's an all-skate...

In the words of Robin -- Holy Icecapades Batman!!! We had another snow (ice) day today...for good reason. This is how my day went...

6:45am Kiss hubby good-bye and tell him to "be careful", wash his slowly back out of the drive onto the road and slide to the bottom of the hill. Promply run downstairs, grab the ashes from the woodburner, wake my daughter and throw on a jacket. We spent the next 40 minutes trying (and ultimately succeeding) to get him to the top of the hill and onto work.

7:30am Well I'm all sweaty now so I might as well go get my barn work done and then get my shower. Now you have to picture jeans tucked into barn boots, pink nightshirt and hubby's flannel. Yup everyone should get to look out their window and see their neighbor looking so fashionable.

9:00am Paid for a guy to spread salt around our driveway then spent the next THREE hours chipping and shoveling at least an inch of ice off of the driveway. my cardio AND strength training in for the week. The kids were such a big help. They hung in there with me...and when Mom decides something is getting done, we don't stop until its done. A few breaks to get a tissue or regain feeling in their hands but they stuck with me until the end.

The rest of the day was filled with tax clients, dishes, grocery shopping, 3 loads of laundry and another trip to the barn. A busy but very good day! A little snow this evening but nothing too severe. Tomorrow I plan to do some work with the household notebook, hopefully!

I had to include a picture of our dog, Sidney! She was running and playing and thought the ice was super cool. When she should run little pieces of ice would skid across the surface and she would pounce on them. Plus she LOVES to play and chew on sticks and how elated she was to see Mother Nature had showered the yard with so many "toys".

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Making up for Lost time...

WOW what a winter it has been! I'm just recovering from my 2nd illness, the first being a nasty cold and this weekend the flu -- YUCK!!! And we have all been really getting hit with storm after storm...#7 on the way.

School was canceled this morning because everything was covered in a thin (1/2") sheet of ice and by the looks of things out there now tomorrow will be another snow (ice) day. Walking to the barn was downright dangerous! I had to stomp each step to keep from going down...all the while my 13 year old is running and sliding---ahhh to be young and not afraid of breaking anything.


As you know I have been following A Bowl full of Lemons and she continues to inspire me to clean and organize. Well when we were all home today I thought it was a perfect day to clean out the hall closet. I live in a home built in 1920 and closet space is at a premium so while it is still full -- it is organized. I started organizing my Household Notebook and will share all the ideas and details when I'm done.