Friday, July 31, 2009

31 Days to Clean - Day 5

Today's assignment is about organizing my work environment. Well, like the living room, this was a fairly easy one. My desk is in our dining room, which we treat as just an extension of our living room. Over the past few weeks, I've been spending time each day cleaning off my desk, getting rid of things I don't use anymore, and filing paperwork. So today's assignment really just felt like an excuse to tidy up. Fun!



I put away a clean pair of socks that had ended up on my desk, wiped off the cat hair from Bruno sleeping right next to my laptop, and filed some recent mail. The notebooks on the top shelf of my desk are 1) a pretty spiral bound notebook I use at church to take notes on the sermons, 2) July's morning pages composition book, and 3) a new composition book for August's morning pages. The notebook sitting next to my laptop contains my six most important things lists.

Someday, I'm going to accrue enough Amazon gift cards (from filling out online surveys) to purchase these cat bookends. I want to store my composition notebooks, reference books, and my current reading books on the back of my desk and need a way to keep them propped up!

It looks like day 6 is a continuation of the workspace cleaning challenge. On Sunday, as I'm taking tomorrow off for the Sabbath, I'm going to rifle through my file box and purge the really old files and paperwork. I think I have tax records dating back to 1999.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

31 Days to Clean - Day 4

Day 4 of the 31 Days to Clean challenge. Today's post talked about personality types and how we best clean. This week, listing out my "six most important things" is working very well for me. A strict schedule cramps my style, but telling myself that I will complete a, b, and c from the list by lunch and x, y, and z by dinner is working extremely well. Our house is actually staying pretty clean!

The cleaning assignment for today is the living room. Our living room is usually the cleanest room in the house, probably because we spend almost all of our waking hours here. A long time ago, the clutter drove me crazy and I spent a week long vacation cleaning and reorganizing our living room. We work, play, and relax in our living room and I try to keep it fairly clean.



The extra office chair is our cats' chair. Of course, they slept there more before we bought the new office chairs. They prefer whichever chair we are sitting in, not one that's designated the "official cat hair collector."

We also have a canvas library book bag that we keep next to the coffee table. When we finish a library book, we toss it into the bag and always have books ready to return. Of course, our cats love lying on the bag or rubbing on it and it is also covered in cat hair. Gotta love those cats!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

31 Days to Clean - Day 3

Today is day three of the 31 Days to Clean challenge. I'm asked to think of why I want a clean home. My first response is that it's supposed to be clean! Dirty, messy, cluttered homes are not relaxing or healthy.

I want a clean home so that my husband feels like this is a sanctuary for him. I want him to be happy to be at home, comfortable and relaxed. For me, I want a clean home because the mess drives me crazy. If it's not too noticeable, I can ignore it. But once the mess grows beyond a certain point, it makes me extremely uncomfortable even in my own home. There's no peace when our home is messy.

A secondary reason I want a clean home is so that we can invite people over with no notice. When you don't invite friends over because your house is too messy and would embarrass you, it's time to clean. When you're worried about what the maintenance man thinks it, it's time to clean.

I believe the home is a reflection of the husband. When people come over, they are going to judge my husband based on my cleaning or lack thereof. They will think less of him because I failed to create a clean home for us. I want my husband to be well thought of and comfortable inviting his friends or boss over at any time.

My mission statement - Our home is to be a place where God, family, and friends would be welcome at any time. It is to be a place for my husband and I to relax in God's company and our own.

The Cat

The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles is a great little story of adventure, perseverance, and curiosity. And it's told from the perspective of a cat! What could be better?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

31 Days to Clean - Day 2

Moving forward in the 31 Days to Clean series... Today is day 2 and Sarah Mae points out the importance of the "Six Most Important Things List." I've heard the idea before but I'm not sure where. I've been implementing the list for the past few days and my productivity has sky-rocketed. The only thing I haven't tried is to write my list out the night before. I've been writing it the morning of.

My six most important things list has some of the same tasks from day to day but most are different. I've reminded myself of upcoming bills, budget updates, work assignments, some research I'm currently doing, and various chores. Blogging is on my list today as I didn't want to forget to write about day 2.

Sarah Mae also talks about scheduling issues. I have a very loose schedule, especially since my husband works from home most of the time. I tend to go to bed when my body says it's time and I wake up naturally every morning. Immediately after waking, I write my morning pages (will blog about this some other time) and then exercise. Shower after exercise and then breakfast. By this time, it's usually 9 or so already. The rest of the day doesn't follow any sort of formal schedule. I complete my work assignment if I have one, work on my six most important things list, and attempt to tame our spare bedroom.

Maybe if my husband starts working out of client offices instead of home I will write out a time schedule for myself. But right now, I vacuum in between his calls. A formal schedule would not work with his current work situation.

My biggest productivity blocker is the internet. I try to limit my browsing time but I use the internet to work. It's literally impossible for me to work without it. I also use the computer to work on the budget, pay bills, do research for my writing, write, etc. I think the easiest way to conquer my biggest time waster is just to limit the amount of time I spend surfing. I'm allowed to use the computer for personal reasons for a set amount of time, usually 15-30 minutes, and then I move on to something else that's more productive.

In the spirit of productivity, I tackled the kitchen today and took before and after pictures.



Ahhhhh, much better.

Monday, July 27, 2009

31 Days to Clean

I like lists, programs, and schedules. They are my "love language" for productivity. When I saw this 31 Days to Clean challenge on a Christian woman's blog, I knew that I had to give it a try. Our house is relatively clean but I undergo spurts of productivity and end up doing massive cleaning on Fridays to ready the house for the Sabbath. My hope is that I can find a workable schedule and motivation to keep the house clean on a daily basis instead of skipping housework and then doing massive cleaning sessions.

Day 1 is all about priority. What are my priorities now versus what they should be? Right now, I have to admit that taking care of myself and making myself happy is way too high on the priority list. Here are what my priorities should be, my goal:

1. God - He should be the most important thing in my life. Without God, I have nothing. I want to spend more time in prayer, Bible study, and Scripture memorization.

Motivational Scripture:

"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30).

"In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10).

2. My husband - God gave me a wonderful husband and I need to focus more on him than I do on myself! My husband demands very little from me but I know he would be thrilled if I put more of my energies into the little touches that will bless his life.

Motivational Scripture:

"...Her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all'" (Proverbs 31:38, 29).

"Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord" (Colossians 3:18).

3. Home - I want to keep our home clean. I want to feel that we can invite guests over at any time without worrying about the kitchen floor. I would like our home to feel inviting to us, a place to relax and spend time together.

Motivational Scripture:

"She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness" (Proverbs 31:27).

Women are "to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled" (Titus 2:5).

4. Church - My husband and I are still church-less. We've been floundering for months since our church was closed. We've visited other area churches but have yet to find one that we can call home. I'd like to get to know other Christians, find a Bible study, and get involved in some sort of ministry/outreach.

Motivational Scripture:

"And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-13).

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20).

5. Personal - I have several hobbies that I'd like to learn more about and practice, mainly photography and writing. I also need to take care of my body with proper exercise, enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, etc.

Motivational Scripture:

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Preparation day

Last week, I promised myself that the only laundry I would be washing on Fridays is our sheets and pillowcases. So why is it that I have three loads of laundry to wash, dry, iron, and fold today?

I really should pick up some additional bread pans. Right now, I can only bake two loaves at a time. The first two loaves of banana bread are in the oven. If I can squeeze them all in before 1:00PM (after which is our expensive time of day for electricity), I should have 6 loaves baked. One for today, one for tomorrow, and four for the freezer.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I can't believe I slept for two hours this afternoon. I was sleepy after lunch, laid down on the bed, and woke up two hours later! Must have needed it.

Is it considered a good thing when I look around and am not sure if I have any housework that needs to be done? I know there is always housework to be done, but all the major stuff was done today. The kitchen floors have been mopped, all the dishes are washed, the toilet is clean, the carpets are vacuumed... I actually went into our spare bedroom and started cleaning.

Our spare bedroom is terrible. We still have stuff in boxes from when we moved in over three and a half years ago. That really makes me wonder if we need those boxes. If we threw them away, would we know what was missing? Some of the clutter is due to us selling our bookshelves a couple months ago, so there are piles and piles of books all over. We have nowhere else to put them. There is no furniture in that bedroom, so it's just boxes, stacks of books, and clothes. Our dresser broke a couple months ago and all our clothes ended up in the spare bedroom so that the cats wouldn't lay on them and share all their fur.

That bedroom is a mess! I've been going in there for the last couple days and (each day) finding five things that can be thrown away/recycled/given away. It's already made a visible difference, though I have a LONG way to go. There are also several boxes of old baseball, basketball, football, and hockey cards. Still not sure what I'm going to do with those... I don't want to keep them but I'm sure there are cards with value in those albums. Is it worth the time to sort through thousands of cards to find the few that are worth a few dollars? I haven't yet decided. And so they sit.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Keeper recipe

I made the Vegan Soba and Mushroom Soup last night. It was really good! I was a little bit worried because there are only four ingredients but it was really tasty.

I'm going to need to play with the recipe a bit. The recipe didn't specify how much noodles to include and I put in way too many. The dish ended up being pasta instead of soup. Next time, I'm going to decrease the noodles slightly, add an entire package of mushrooms instead of half, and use two cans of vegetable broth. The amount of tofu was fine. I also think it needed some green veggies, either spinach or broccoli.

We'll be making this again!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dishes and menus

I am happy to say that the dishes have been washed/dried/put away for the last two days! I don't know why I struggle so much with keeping a clean kitchen, but I'm slowly learning to prioritize.

I also created a menu for the next week. My diet is being overhauled again and I'm trying to eat mostly fruits and veggies with a regular, vegan meal at night. We have fruit for banana/peach smoothies and peach/strawberry smoothies, both of which are very good. I've found that the more fruit I consume on a daily basis, the less I crave desserts. I haven't had dessert in over a month.

Menu planning is always a challenge for me as I can never think of anything new to eat. We tend to rotate through the same meal options - haystacks, burritos, spaghetti, and orange tofu. All of these meals taste good but we have problems with variety. I decided to try a new recipe this week so I'll be making vegan soba and mushroom soup this weekend. It's a bit different than our normal dinner fare! Hopefully it turns out well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Hubby picked up a new water filter earlier this week. I highly recommend it. It's bigger than our old one and filters the water so much faster. We're not running out of water now, whereas the pitcher was often empty before.

It's been a pretty laid back day. I've been feeling very low energy for the last couple days so I've been taking it easy. I'm reading a lot and keeping up on the dishes, but that's about it. My desk is almost clean! Each day, I sort through 5-10 pieces of paper and either file, recycle, or shred each one. My pile is almost manageable now! Pretty soon I'll have enough room on my desk for the cats to sleep. According to them, that's what all the furniture is used for!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Animal pics

For some reason, I just feel like posting pics today. Last week, I was planning on writing a long post about our weekend at my brother's house but life interfered. Instead, I'll just post some recent pics that I took here at our house and some in Sierra Vista.

Laying on the top shelf is Susano; on the bottom shelf is Fiona. It is rare to capture a picture of the two of them together as they don't like each other much.

Our cats are so spoiled. One day we decided to place Susano in the window above our shower. Usually he lays so that he's facing outside, but occasionally he likes to turn around and watch whoever is in the shower. After we're done showering, we leave him up in the window until the bathroom starts getting hot from our ridiculously hot summers or until he meows that he's ready to come down.

These two are attached at the hip and love laying on my desk, whenever there is enough room. Bruno is our baby, the kitten we raised by hand last year. He was only a day old when he came into our house and Susano has been parenting him ever since.

Seeing this rattlesnake was one of the highlights of my weekend with my brother. I had never seen a live one in the wild before. We had just finished doing some offroading in Josh's 4x4 and were driving along the dirt road back to his house. All of a sudden, we spotted a long snake traveling across the road. I'm sure we barely missed it with the tires. We stopped and ran back to look, just as he slithered into the brush at the side of the road. Josh identified it as a rattlesnake before I did and our suspicions were confirmed when he curled up and starting shaking his rattles at us. Hurray for zoom on cameras!

I recently spotted this dragonfly resting outside my kitchen window. I was washing dishes and feeling a little down when he flew by and landed on a bush. I snuck outside with my camera and managed to get a half decent shot. He stuck around for a few hours before flying off again. I love the deep orange color.

This little guy graces me with his presence every couple of days. There is a tall bush outside the kitchen and he lands on one of the branches sticking out the side of the bush. He'll sit there for several hours at a time, usually during the hottest part of the day and just look around or groom himself. Until he started visiting, I had never seen a hummingbird sit so still for so long. I hope he keeps coming back.

Someday I'll own a camera that allows me to zoom in and focus on hummingbirds without producing grainy photographs. :) Until then, I'll just continue to enjoy all the animals God sends my way.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Praise report

Praise the Lord! Today was a very good day for our car. We visited Jiffy Lube and had an oil change done (expensive, even with a coupon!). Then we had our emissions tested so that we could renew our car registration. The car passed!

I've been reading a lot lately. Today I finished the book Unveiled, the story of Tamar, by Francine Rivers. It was a quick read but very good. Tamar's story is a short one, covered in Genesis 38. Only one chapter is written about her, but the story covers years in time. I had always wondered why Tamar chose to disguise herself as a prostitute, of all things. The book gave me understanding of one possible reason she made that choice.

I found the book at the library. If you have a chance to read it, check it out. It's a great insight into a strong woman who is included in Christ's lineage.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I found my 100th geocache tonight! I told Jeff that my next goal will be 1,000 caches, but he said I should aim for 150 first. Probably a smart idea!

This cache is called When Cows Fly. I saved this one for my 100th find because I loved the mural and wanted a memorable cache as my first milestone. The picture shows only half the mural. It covers the entire side of a building and I had no idea it was even there! That's one of the best parts of geocaching - finding parks and memorials and art that you didn't even know was part of your neighborhood.

Friday, July 3, 2009


My friend Tommie is hosting a giveaway on her raw food blog. She's giving away a copy of the book The Whole Soy Story. Check out her blog and leave a comment if you'd like to be entered into the drawing!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I'm melting

It is almost nine o'clock at night and I'm melting. It's still 95 degrees outside!! Why do I live here?

I realized today that the state is requiring emissions testing on our car this year before registration is due at the end of the month. I hope it passes!

Today was pretty laid back. Hubby brought home his first full time paycheck. Hurray! I caught up on the dishes, washed some laundry, vacuumed, worked on cleaning off my desk for a few minutes (the never ending chore), and played with the cats. I also wasted a bit of time today playing a free downloaded game - Blocks Annihilator. It's very similar to the Yahoo game Collapse. A waste of time, yes. But fun. ;)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Is it July already? How did this happen? I just turned around and found that it's already July. How is it possible that times passes so quickly?

I recieved two great surprises in my email this morning! First, our car registration for 2010 decreased! We're only paying $89 for one year. I think last year was around $119. I guess that means the value of our car has also decreased, but that's ok. We're almost ready to pass 116,000 miles.

The second surprise was our electric bill. When I saw the subject line on that email, I cringed. We finally succomed to the heat and turned the air conditioning on. Last summer, our bills with AC were about $135/month. Our bills when we're not running heat or AC run around $80. Our bill for June is $100. Not bad! I will admit that the bill is low probably because we only ran our AC for about a week in June. I'm sure July will be much worse.

At least our emergency fund will be replenished by the end of the month! Then I'll breathe just a little bit easier.