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  • Washington Loves Readers Luncheon October 25, 2014
    As you know (or not), I chaired the first ever Washington Loves Reader’s luncheon on October 11, 2014 along with author, Kimberly Kincaid. It basically meant I got to pick the lunch menu and assign seats. {Rubs hands mad with power} 40 authors showed up to wine and dine the readers, and well, when you getRead more...
  • Ladies of the 80s September 20, 2014
    The book takes place in 1980. I’m a total 80′s child, but I was young in the 80′s and only vaguely remember Reagan’s election. John Lennon’s shooting, I remember not at all. It was really fun doing the research for this book, because there were certain mindsets and mores I had to stick to. ForRead more...
  • Guest- Tina Donahue August 22, 2014
    I’m so thrilled to have one of my co-authors of the Brought to His Knees anthology here today. Tina Donahue has another release called Carnal Takeover! (Love the title) During the day, she’s in charge—at night, he’ll take command of her body, their desires…   Dominance and discipline. Alexandra hungers for both from Daniel, theRead more...

Posts filed under:  Home Organization

Get it Together Tuesday: What’s in your bag?

Last week my husband and I went on a 48 hour jaunt for our anniversary. I did very little in the way of prep and tossed some clothes in a suitcase and grabbed my purse on the way out the door.

It was only when we got to the train I realized my fare pass was MIA. I dug through the purse but no luck. What I did find was this:

credit card receipts, a small tube of sunscreen, a pencil, lipstick, my membership card to the Zoo (which I have not visited in more than 6 months), my wallet, uncharged cell phone, the school dental form for my kids, a hair band, pack of sugarless gum, a granola bar and some lint.

So, what does your bag say about you? I think mine says I have older children (no diapers or toys) and I’m a tad scattered in the organization department. (well, duh, hence this blog).

So, what do you think? Do the contents of your purse say anything about you? What about the purse itself? Designer? Knock-off? No-name brand?

What’s in your bag?

Into the fire

This is a cry for help. HELP! I’m drowning in papers. Literally. The daily mail, the things from the school, the health care forms, the worksheets from writer’s classes…My house is becoming a giant paper bin.

1 week of mail

Everywhere I turn are stacks of paper.  I’m told my husband likes to keep an insane amount of paper- every bill, every gas company statement, everything. I have no system for keeping it all. We have files, but I can’t keep up. For a while we tried spending 20 minutes every Sunday before date night to file the weekly mail. We weren’t allowed to go out until it was done. It worked well, but we let it slip.

What do you do. Do you a little bit daily? Weekly? Do you keep everything or keep things digitally? Inquiring minds need to know.

Overrun with Books!

If you’re reading this blog, I’m guessing you’re a reader, not just of blogs but of books. Lots and lots ofnbooks. If you’re like me, you have stacks of books in every room.  I live in a 1926 house which is overwhelmed with charm but short on bookshelves and closet space. 

Thanks to Container Store I have some storage solutions. I keep large flat rolling boxes under my bed filled with books. I try to keep them sorted by author but it rarely sticks for more than a few days. 

The public library helps keep my book madness under control. One basket on my night stand for the 5 or so “rented” books and swap them out biweekly.

 The biggest source of help has been my Kindle. With one thin device, I have hundreds of books! I like reading on my kindle. I love the instant gratification of chatting up a new-to-me author on Twitter and reading her book minutees later.  It’s awesome when we travel too. Now I have room for clothes and snacks in my carryon instead of a rolling library.

 What about you? Are you overrun with books? Are you lucky enough to have bookshelves, or eve, gasp, a library!?!?!?!?!  Are you a rereader and have trouble parting with any book, like me?  Or do you keep at most 4 to 5 books at any one time and have free book shelf space. 

Color me curious.

What’s cooking hot stuff?

 When I was in elementary school my brother and I complained one too many times about my mom’s meals. She’s an excellent cook, but I guess we were stuck in a food rut. So she placed the responsibility on our shoulders as any smart mother would do. Each of us got a week to lay out the meals for every dinner. On Sunday she’d sit us down and spend 15 minutes talking out menus so she could plan the shop, within reason, no Prime Rib on a random Tuesday. That was saved for special occasions. Best of all for her, no one complained. I didn’t make a peep about my brother’s requests for tacos, since I was getting my chicken fried rice the next week.

 It developed our interest in food and helped us see what it takes to keep a family fed.

 It was a great move for our family and it’s one I’ve kept with me even back when I WAS a  newlywed with no children yet. Every Sunday I spend 15 minutes brainstorming menus for the week. I’ve gone slightly more high-tech than Mom’s plan on notebook paper.

I use  an excel spreadsheet. Each day of the week has a box, and below I list weekly activities and the shopping list. Listing activities helps so if a kid has sports practice or an evening school event, I know I’m making pasta or a quick dish that night. I also breakout the shopping list into supermarket categories. (produce, snacks, dairy, freezer, etc…). This helps my nocturnal husband do the shop at the 24 hour Harris Teeter. (Yes, you read that right, he likes to shop alone at 3 am. I love it, cause I wake up to a stocked kitchen!)

 It also saves a boatload of time & money. I rarely do the 6:00 blank stare into the pantry. “Uhh, what’s for dinner?” I plan the meals carefully. If I make pasta with broccoli on Monday. You may see that broccoli in Tuesday’s veggie stir-fry. We generally only have to go to the market once a week because I know just what to buy.

 I hang the meal plan up on the kitchen bulletin board so the kids know to check it. I haven’t quite advanced to outsourcing the menu planning to the kids (we’d have pizza & pasta every night) but we’re inching closer.

 What do you do? Are you a planner or a panster? I’m also happy to share my spreadsheet if interested. Just email.  There’s also a great website called the 6 O’Clock Scramble.  Which gives the weekly meal plan AND healthy recipes.  Bon Appetit!

Get it Together Tuesdays

Hot times, summer in the city…

Oh summer. Kids are out of school, the days are long and the nights are hot. Being a Florida girl, I love it all. Except one thing: the extra stuff. The bathing suits, beach towels, goggles, sunscreen, hats, pool toys, and bug spray. Where do you put it all? How to keep it all organized without cluttering up the front hall, not to mention the additional laundry.

 You could argue that winter has its organization annoyances with the hats, gloves, scarves, coats etc…but let’s be honest, who washes their winter gear all that frequently? Not me. Not so with the summer gear. Every towel and suit gets washed after each use. So, how do you do it? How do you keep the stuff accessible but tidy, and the laundry piles to a minimum. 

Over the years, I’ve developed a few systems that seem to work. 

One: I have a large CLEAR shoe bag in the front hall coat closet. You know the type with multiple pockets for each shoe. Well, no shoes go in my shoe bags. In the summer, the pockets hold sunscreen bottles, bug spray, goggles, small pool toys. In the winter the bag holds scarves, gloves, hats etc… but that’s another post. 

Two: The ridiculously large beach bag from Lands End. I keep it at the ready in my closet with extra goggles, toys, sunscreen, the pool passes, some sealed packaged snacks and a tampon. The last two items have saved my ass a time or two. As soon as we call for a pool run, everyone knows to dump either their bathing suit or change of clothes in the bag. I’m in charge of towels and we’re on our way within 15 minutes. 

Three: A hamper in the bathroom devoted only to towels. As soon as the kids get home from camp or we arrive en masse from the pool, wet bathing suits go on the shower rod over the tub and wet towels go in the hamper. Once a week I toss it in the wash. It helps that we’ve acquired huge amounts of beach towels from Target sales or trips to amusement parks. 

So that’s how I keep my summer sanity. How about you? I’m always looking for tips to keep the pool prep time to a minimum without a lot of dashing back to the house because someone forgot or couldn’t find something.