Thursday, January 29, 2015

January Update

January has proved to be fruitful in some ways and quite challenging in others.

First up on the update.... how I am doing on my goals for 2015.

I posted about my goals for the year here. I made a general goal list, project list, cleaning and organizing schedule, etc. I think writing those things down is very good for me. As a former school teacher, I know I always like to plan out things on paper to guide my instruction over the course of the school year. I always kept that in my plan book and referred to it often to keep me on track.

One of the many lists I made in my planner.

Now for the progress on my goals. 
SEWING: I have started a project for a friend, but really more practice for me than anything, but I got sidetracked on it. Bottom line, I haven't had much time for sewing (more on the reason why later).

The only project I have touched.

COOKING: I have done fair on this one. I do have a few recipes picked out to try very soon.

CLEANING SCHEDULE: This one is a kind of winner. I have found that I do very well with that printed cleaning plan. Must be like having a lesson plan on my desk!!! If a distraction happens that gets me off schedule, I try to pick back up and get back on track much like I would have done in the classroom. Bottom line, I think it is working for me because I am thinking of it as my work. 

I love my everyday tasks. I sort of think of them like the things that I would never skip in the classroom (daily math review). I also love my daily cleaning schedule. I go down the list and pick up on the next day if something happens which it does!!!

ORGANIZING: I am working on that bit by bit trying really hard not to stress over things. Rome wasn't built in a day kind of thing. I have picked a few things to work on such as photos and have done well there and am trying to do the room by room weekly challenge at A Bowl Full of Lemons. I was doing well until Week 4 (this week) and here it is Thursday, and I haven't been home to even start this challenge.

My photo organization is slow but steady. I am taking all of the loose photos that I placed in bins and slowly adding them to albums. I am only starting with those that I know who the photos are of. I am using regular sized 3 ring notebooks, tagboard, the old fashioned photo corners, and page protectors. Hopefully, the closet will one day be a collection of photos in labeled albums that anyone can open up and pull the one out they want to look at. I will then occasionally leave one out of the coffee table for  a month to look at and rotate them out. I want to enjoy them.

Lots more ideas floating around in my old head.

READING: I have kept on schedule with my reading. It never ceases to amaze me how truly the Word of God is alive. It doesn't matter what passage I read, just that I am faithful to open His Word. He always has a message for me.
I am also reading other things as well. Currently, I am reading George Washington's Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade. I really enjoyed the History Channel's program on Samuel Adams.

ENJOYING THE CABIN MORE: I will post an update on this one later. I plan to share my little cabin with you. We call the place "Serenity".

SPENDING TIME WITH MAMA: I have been going once a week to her home and spending the day with her. However, she has given me quite a scare. She has nursed a sinus infection since October when she came down sick on a trip with her brothers and sisters on their annual trip to the mountains in the fall. I had to take her at Thanksgiving and Christmas to the immediate care clinic here. She hates taking antibiotics and has failed to finish either of those that have been prescribed to her. I have truly never seen anyone as sensitive to medicines as her. Everything has so many side effects with her. This weekend, my aunt and uncle were with her (PRAISE THE LORD) when her blood pressure shot up to the danger zone. I do think she almost had a stroke. I am so grateful that they got her to the ER in time. We have spent the week in doctor's offices, and I am sure for the next few, we will be doing more of the same.

To sum it all up, I have learned that no matter how much you plan, there will be life's happenings, interruptions, tests, whatever you choose to call them and that we must learn to keep going and not let them overcome us.

I will be back soon, because I have some thoughts I want to get out on blogging, projects that I want to do and share, but first things first....getting Mama well.

Counting my blessings and naming them one by one...
_My daughter is celebrating her 1 year anniversary to the most wonderful man for her.
_That man has a birthday today, and I am so thankful for him.
_Mama has good friends in her town that look out for her.
_I have a wonderful hubby and son who look out for me.
_and many more.

Be back soon,

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Organizing Photographs

I mentioned yesterday that one of the things I had done over the weekend was to sort and organize a closet that had housed all of my husband's family photographs. When we moved into his parent's house back in 2002, I had so many other things to go through that I just left that closet untouched. I can tell you it is a unique experience to move into a home that is not empty and ready for the new family. I had many things to clean, sell, and well go through.

The picture below is after I had worked in it. 

There were many albums that had been put together in a very easy to follow order, but there were just boxes and boxes of pictures from all decades. There were some pictures that obviously date way back thrown in with pictures since I have been on the scene.

So, I set out to put some order to it. My hubby has two siblings so, I took loose pictures of them and made each of them a tub. I figure if and when either of them wants to take them and put them in albums they will be ready to go quickly. I then proceeded to take my hubby's loose ones and put them together.

Next up, I made three boxes...

#1 - one box ---with pictures of people I recognized that were post 1984 when I married in to the family. I figured I would be able to go back in my spare time and place those in albums or organize them into categories and label them.

#2 - a second box ---made with pictures of people I recognized, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends that was pre 1984. I figured at some point Hubby could help me with those. 

#3 - a third box contains the "I have no clue!" pictures. They are corralled and maybe one day between Hubby and his siblings they will be identified and labeled. 

Now, the closet is much more organized and at least my kids will have some knowledge of what is in those boxes. 

Now, what did I learn from all of this on photo organizing. Quite a bit actually...

1.  I learned that I am not the only one who had gaps in life where it obviously got the best of me and I let the task of putting pictures into albums get the best of me.

2.  I learned that I really do like pictures in albums. Here is why...  My mama is the queen of photo albums, and you can easily go into the room she stores them in and find any picture easily.

I know that she always kept our family photos that she took in albums and kept up with like you wouldn't believe. 

At some point in time, probably when she was about the same age I am now, she sorted through all of the loose photos of her family and my dad's family and put them into albums. She made an album with categories for example, one for each of her brothers and sisters. So, all those pictures of them in school that she inherited from being the oldest were organized and put into albums. When she passes on, I can hand each of those families an album.

Another thing she does is the when pictures are changed out from being on display in frames, they go into the albums and are labeled. I have far too many of those just in a tub with no date or label.
I am going to do better about that.

Bottom line, in an album or at least a small tub with names and dates and organization makes them much more enjoyable to look at!!!!

3.  My daughter got married in February of last year. In an attempt to not let that slip away too far, I started putting them in albums right away. I discovered the albums I like in this process. I actually did a lot of looking for albums and I found these black albums at Target. They are very sturdy three ring binders that you can use photo fillers or whole scrapbook sheets in.

I used two of them for her engagement and wedding photos. Here is the link for the brand at Target...
They are available on Amazon as well.

As for the sheets that hold the photographs, I started out with the ones I found at Target, but they had photos going in two different directions in one pack. That drove me nuts trying to find landscape vs portrait to go in them. I ending up just buying all one direction at Amazon. This is the link for them.

I found that I liked putting the pictures in one way and just turning the album if need be. I wanted them in there and organized by date.

Below is an example of what they look like in an album.

I loved these albums so much that I went on a tear back in June when I first retired and didn't feel like doing much else and put all our family photos in these albums. I had the old stick on kind for so many of them and had planned to take them out of those anyway. 

Now, I have all of our family's photos in one kind of album stored by time. Below is a picture of some of them. They are so easy to go grab and look at and I love the albums. It was costly to do this, but worth it to me. 

Back to the lessons I have learned....

4. I will take the time at the end of each month to upload the photos I want to keep and print and put them in the albums once a month. NO EXCUSES!!! I have been using Walgreen for the last few months. Easy to upload from my computer and phone and then I just run down the road to pick them up. 

As you can see from the photo below, I throw in a paper label with the date and names if needed. Nothing fancy, but it does the job.

My goal for the next year with photographs is stay on top of the family albums and eventually sort and label all of those tubs with pictures just thrown in.... and one more thing is to upload the photos that I care about to a back up drive that I purchased. It is called My Cloud and I got it at Best Buy. Here is the link for it...

I don't know enough about it to tell you whether I like it or not, but I have placed the wedding photos on there.

Well, that sums up my lessons learned about chronicling the history of the family with photos.

I  do know our family does like to browse through the albums and having them labeled makes it easy to pick one.

Blessings to you,

Linking up with....

Monday, January 5, 2015

Organizing and Goals Accountability

I didn't have to get up and go to work this morning, so it feels like August all over again! I could get used to this retirement thing. I felt so sorry for my hubby. I am going to have a good hot supper tonight for that great man of mine.

The sun is shining this morning, so that makes the day even better. It has been so cloudy for the last week. I love that sunshine. It makes a cold day tolerable, not that we have too many of those. 

I am up starting on some of the goals I set for this year.

I shared last week that I was using my Erin Condren life planner for the 4th year in a row to keep me organized. I am using it more this year like the school teacher in me. Let me share what I mean. In the back of planner, I always had a going forward plan such as how many chapters, objectives or standards I wanted to cover in a 9 week period. Just that visual reminder of what I had to accomplish. I Love checking things off. In the back of my calendar this year, I have a list of goals for myself and a project list that can grow.

I am hoping this visual reminder will keep me cued in on the things I have chosen to focus on.

I have decided to put specific projects on a list to keep me focused as well. I tend to get distracted and not ever really finish things. Maybe this will help.
Stay tuned to see if it does.

One of the things that I have always done is read my Bible. I always feel my day goes better if I stop in the morning and tune into Him before I hit the work day. When I was teaching that was usually a quick devotional, but it was simply amazing how often that devotional was what I needed that day. The Holy Spirit is just incredible that way. Simply mind boggling! Anyway, I am determined to read the Bible through and through now that I have more time to devote. Not so much a hit or miss, but a fixed plan to read. I started this in the middle of the year, so I am hoping to finish this goal by June. 

I started out with one I downloaded that had you read Old and New Testament every day with a Psalm and two Proverbs. I loved reading Proverbs that way. Just two simple thoughts to mull over!!! Well, I was reading something from Proverbs 31 Ministries about reading the Bible chronologically, so I have merged my two plans to finish the Bible out. I am loving the chronological study. Oh my word, it is great.

Another goal I am really working on is getting my house in order. I have worked somewhat on my cleaning schedule since September and it is semi working, so I will keep that. I have a daily list and a weekly list to use as my visual. I am such a visual person.

I tried the wash day, because I really don't like washing clothes for some reason, but that didn't work out, so I am finding that I am doing much better with a load or two a day. Start to finish.

For the decluttering and organizing that I so WANT to accomplish this year, I am joining the A Bowl Full of Lemons weekly challenge.
I have somewhat used it while I was working, but no time for all of it, so I am going to try and stay on her schedule this year.


Anyway, over the weekend, I decided to tackle some closets that I have that weren't on her list. They were smaller projects, so I figured that would be a bit manageable in between weekend activities. 

I finished up my indoor closet for Christmas decorations. This closet houses all indoor decorations with the exception of the tree. In the top, I also have some memorabilia boxes.

Then, I tackled the under the stairs closet where we house memorabilia. More on this for a later post. I am sentimental to a fault, but I will share more on that later in the week.

And finally, I cleaned out a closet that houses pictures of my husband's family. The closet had not been touched really since we moved in 2002. I hate to admit that, but I always felt it was a bit of a daunting task, so I just left it. I sorted and made my way through all of yesterday. I know what is in there now and will do more to it later, but for now, I at least know what is in there. Found some treasures too. I will share later.

One more page from my calendar/life planner.

I am using the left side of the week to keep my visual cues of goals for that week and at the bottom I am giving myself stars when I exercise! I have decided to try bike riding more for my joints. I have RA and it stinks big time. I made it 4 of the last 5 days. 

Hoping for a bit more of a planned day and things accomplished.

Well, I am off to take care of Monday's cleaning and then start on the organizing the kitchen challenge from ABFOL.

Looking forward to the day,