Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cleaning Plan and Personal Goal Chart

Spring is almost upon us . . . can't you hear the birds warming their voices for their sweet Spring songs?

Along with snow melting (ha!) and leaves and flowers budding and blossoming comes Spring Cleaning. No longer do these words instill dread in our hearts! I finally have a system to keep my house in spic-and-span shape year-round, thanks to  It's an incredible site that I could spend hours poring over. You can find her post that gave me the idea here.

I took her idea and created our own family list of chores to be accomplished. I created mine in Pages, a program for the Mac. We started this last month and have been adding the jobs we forgot about. I think we have a full list now, but we'll see!


IHeartOrganizing had a great idea. Instead of laminating her chore sheet, she put it in a pretty frame and hung it. Dry Erase markers work wonderfully on glass, so we chose to do the same thing. Here is our list!

(Let me apologize for the way this appears on the blog, but I wanted the words to be as clear as possible and a smaller sized image was blurring them.)

You will notice that there are items listed that are "no-brainers." For example, on the Daily list, I have Make Lunches and Boys' Naps. I realized one day when I looked at our list that I didn't have much filled in (we color in the corresponding bubbles and Husband and I each have our own color).  

It appeared from the chore chart that I had not done much, but I hadn't sat down all day! Thus, the "no-brainer" items appeared on the list so I felt a sense of accomplishment, which is the purpose of the chart, after all!

I also decided I needed a list for just me. A personal list to hang in my room in a super-pretty frame. *wink*  

I added the "no-brainers" to this list, as well, not to remind myself to brush my teeth, but so at the end of a long day of running after a pre-schooler, picking up after a toddler, caring for a two-month-old sweetie, and helping dear Husband, I could see that yes, I had taken care of myself that day. . . even if it meant I was able to slip away for two minutes to brush my teeth.

You'll notice the salmon-colored heart and the black swooshes. Let me explain.

Last year, I received a photo Christmas card from friends of ours whom I think the world of. I was in our bedroom when I opened the letter and instead of adding it to the kitchen cabinets with the rest, I taped it on my vanity mirror where I could see it every day. 

I felt God telling me to pray for them daily, so every time I looked at their picture, which was often since it was on my mirror *smile* I would say a little prayer for them. They are unaware that I did this and I am continuing to pray for them, even though I think their picture "un-stuck" and fell behind my vanity!

This year, I felt the same "urge" with another Christmas card I opened and although their photo card is still on my kitchen cabinets, it will be moved to the bedroom soon. Thus, the heart is hiding the names of the two families that I feel led to pray for.

The "black swooshes" are hiding the names of my family and doctors. No story there!

I hope the organizational charts are helpful! Happy cleaning!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

One of my favorite soups is Butternut Squash soup. 

My first bowl of homemade soup.
My first experience was Campbell's V8 version. Delicious. 

My next savory bowl was in Texas at the Omni restaurant. Velvety smooth. Out of this world.

My third kind of butternut squash soup was at Crispers. It had a deep nutty flavor that I can't quite sort out to replicate.

I didn't plan on making butternut squash soup from scratch, but I accidentally bought one instead of a spaghetti squash.

Blending squash and cream cheese

My recipe is tweaked slightly from

1 butternut squash (3 cups?), de-seeded, pealed, and cubed
3 cups chicken stock
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp oregano or marjoram
4-6 oz cream cheese
spinkle of nutmeg

**can also add sauteed onions, garlic, celery, and carrots if you like.

Roast de-seeded squash in 375 degree oven, cut in slices, for 10 min to make peeling easier and give squash a nice flavor.  Then peel and cube squash.

Bring to boil chicken stock, squash, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and oregano. Boil until squash is tender.

In blender or food processor (or use a hand mixer), blend squash, nutmeg, and cream cheese until smooth.

Add back to pot to warm through, but do not boil.

Serve with sour cream and red pepper slices to garnish, if desired.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Word for the Year

Each year, the women in my family choose a word for the year instead of a resolution (some of us do both!)

The goal is to choose a word to help you become a better, more well-rounded person. The word you choose is to help you grow.

My word two years ago was Assertive, and actually I used it for 2008 and 2009. Last year, I had a hard time choosing a word because I wanted to be more domestic, but "more domestic" is not a strong, single word. I bounced around the idea of the Stepford wife without the brainless, robot-idea, but again, not a strong, single word.

I settled on Domesticated, but that made me sound like a dog that has been trained, so it didn't really work either. However, I was more domestic in 2010 and am extremely proud of the growth I have achieved in regards to my house being cleaner and more organized.

I wish my house looked like it does during the average day when my mom comes over, though. Once she gets there, I think I let things get crazy because I would rather spend time with her than keep on top of the housework! She is a great help to me when she does come over, though!

So, choose a word for the year! It's a great way to grow as a person.