Thursday, January 28, 2010

Little Tip

One small organizational thing I did last weekend was to put a basket by our front door. In it I will be putting all of the things that need to be returned to other people. So when I'm headed out the door, I can take a quick glance and if anything in the basket belongs to someone I'm about to see, take it with me.

(Recognize that reusable bag, Isabell? I'll have it with me next time I see you!)

It's a little thing, but I think it will go a long way in helping to keep our house organized and to return things to people promptly.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

One of these things is not like the others...

How insanely disproportionate is the Desserts file compared to the other recipe categories!? Send help.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Labeling lunacy

Like everyone else this time of year, I feel the need to declutter and organize. So I started this weekend with the task I've been dreading the most - organizing our home files. We had half done it over a year ago, but never finished and what was finished got out of control. I've put it off because it's overwhelming. There are categories and sub-categories and sub-sub-categories and AAAAHHHHHHH, I need a nap.

So I made a serious date with my label-maker. And I went bananas. I did the files for our properties.

I did our everyday personal files. I'm serious about fun this year. It's got its own file! I put info and magazine clippings about restaurants we want to try or places we'd like to visit in there.

I put all of our appliance and electronics manuals in an accordion file labeled by room...

I also better organized my home inspiration tear sheets. When I'm going through magazines and see a room or house idea I like, I rip it out and save it. I finally corralled them all into a file box labeled by room.
I also did this with my recipe tear sheets, using categories like Soups, Veggies, Desserts, etc. And I've decided I'm going to make one new recipe every week and share them with you.

Too much time on my hands? Maybe, but it feels fantastic to have finally tackled the scary files. Now the goal is to keep it organized and not let it get chaotic again by filing things immediately instead of letting piles build up, and purging info that is no longer relevant regularly.

How do you keep important information organized?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The weekend

The rain finally stopped on Friday night (where are my violins, right...I'm sure you were feeling very sorry for me), and this was the snowy view from our front yard on Saturday...

So we decided to go up (fun resolution rules!). It was only about a 25 minute drive from our house til we hit snow. Everyone else had the same idea, because it was crazy crowded, but so fun.

Snowmen were everywhere we looked, including on this car...

We worked up quite an appetite playing in the snow, so we checked out a new (to us) Peruvian restaurant near us. Excellent food. We'll definitely go back.

There was also lots of organizing this weekend. More on that tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What day is it?

Was it me that was just talking about our beautiful weather last week?

It has been raining here non-stop for days. Torrential rain. Thunder and lightening. There's a river running down our street and I'd bet money that our pool is going to overflow despite our attempts to pump it out. One of the weathermen actually called it "epic rain." LOL! We Southern Californians do go into a tizzy when it rains. But there was a tornado in Orange County, so that's serious.

I've barely been outside of my pajamas let alone the house, so I should have tons of projects to show you, but I got nothin. Mostly I've been reading, drinking tea, watching Tivo'd shows, trying to figure out my new Droid phone with little success, and taking way too many pictures of Bean.

I have a bunch of half started things around the house, so my plan is to finish a couple today to post tomorrow. I've got on my trusty pjs, I'm putting on my music, and I'm getting to work!

P.S. This Golden Globes fashion recap is hilarious!

Friday, January 15, 2010

For Moi?

The very sweet Kristen at Miss Prissy Paige gave me a blog award! Her blog is one of my daily reads, so thank you Kristen! So now, I'm supposed to share some things about myself. She did 25 things, but I'd be writing this post in 2011 if I had to think of 25 things, so I'll do 10.
  1. I'm obsessed with real car chases on tv, and we get a lot of them here. If the news starts showing one, I will sit there with my mouth open and watch it until it's over...hours sometimes. I'm riveted.
  2. When I'm looking at magazines somewhere I always grab one from the back because I don't like it when they've been touched a lot. It has nothing at all to do with germs, I just prefer a "fresh" magazine.
  3. I really only like American Idol for the bad singers, but then I end up covering my eyes and ears in embarassment for them.
  4. I have phone phobia. I hate talking on the phone. I'm filled with a sense of dread when it rings.
  5. I'll only write with black pens if I have a choice.
  6. My favorite seasons have always been Fall and Winter because I like cooler temperatures, but now that we have a pool, I'm really looking forward to Summer.
  7. I really wish ice cream was a health food.
  8. I don't get the Twilight thing. I just don't. And don't even get me started on Kristen Stewart. Ick.
  9. I failed my driving test the first time, but I'll swear I'm the best driver ever.
  10. Call me un-American, but I really dislike the Olympics, especially the Winter ones. I think it's boring and it dominates the tv for months.
  11. I guarantee I'll think of 10 better things the second I hit "Publish" on this post.

I'm not tagging anyone this time, because I'm fairly certain all the blogs I read daily have done it before. But if you're reading this, share something about yourself in the comments! I love learning more about blog (and real-life!) friends!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

For your listening pleasure (or not)

Songs in heavy rotation on my iPod right now:

And I can't help myself. I just love her...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Just beachy

I know much of the country is up to its ears in snow, but here, the weather has been in the 70s all week. So yesterday, in the spirit of putting fun first, we postponed house work to go to the beach.
The tide was extremely low, so we got to see some things we don't always see when we're there.
Mark despises mussels, so this was really creeping him out.

I'm thinking this resolution to have more fun is really gonna stick.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010 House Goals

If you follow this blog at all, you know we bought a new house in '09. We took possession in September and moved in in October.

When we first saw the house, we knew immediately it was the one. We had looked at a lot of houses, and we both finally had the feeling like this was our house. However, as much as we loved it, there wasn't a surface we weren't going to have to touch. And by touch I mean paint, stain, tear out, blow up, etc.

So we got to work on the front half of the house and stained the light wood floors darker, overhauled the living room, dining room, and the three bedrooms other than the master, one of which we made our office/crafty space for me. More on the finished parts in upcoming posts.

What we haven't touched yet is the bathroom in the front half of the house, which isn't that bad and will actually be the very last thing we reno in this house, and the whole back part of the house. Oh dear God, the back half. This includes the kitchen, laundry area, second bath, master bedroom, rec room, and backyard.

It's too big and expensive a job to do it all this year, but we've chosen a few areas to hopefully tackle in 2010. I'm going to show you some terrifying pictures now.

1. High on the list of priorities is the laundry area off the kitchen. It also currently serves as the hallway to the second bathroom. Standing in the kitchen, this is what you see:

What the hell is going on here with the two doorways? Here's the view showing the whole laundry space and doorway into the second bath:

The plan for this area is to wall off the second doorway from the kitchen (seen in the first picture), wall off the doorway into the bathroom (more on that in a minute), relocate the water heater which is in the cabinet on the right just before the bathroom door, move the washer and dryer to the back wall that will be created from losing the bathroom door, ditch the laminate floor and lay stone, and install tons of shelving to make this a walk-in pantry/laundry room.
This will be a big job, mostly due to the moving of pipes. But it shouldn't be a huge expense since Mark can do it all.

2. This is the current state of the little second bathroom (shudder):

The plan is to make this our master bath. Even though it's tiny, it's only separated from the master by a wall. So, we'll be creating a new door into the room right where the shower is, thus having to relocate the shower to another wall and of course changing every surface in there. Basically, it's a total gut job.

3. Now we're taking things out back. Let's start with the spa (jacuzzi, whatever):

Inviting, no? I know I wanna put my half-naked ass on that grody bench. Thankfully the pool isn't like this, so resurfacing/painting/tiling that will wait for another year. But this baby's getting a face lift. It will be a trial run in deciding what we want to do to the pool, on a much smaller scale and for a fraction of the price.

4. Speaking of the pool, it takes up about 70% of our backyard. It's truly enormous. But there are a couple of parts that aren't pool. Here's one:

I think we can agree this needs work. The concrete patio is in direct sun almost all day, so we need to construct a pergola of some sort. Still debating what if anything to do with the concrete. Beyond that will be lawn where there is currently a weedy dirt patch. Then we'll tame the unruly trees, do a little planting, and furnish the patio.

5. This is the other patio on the other side of the pool, off the kitchen:

The plan is to lay Plexiglass over the pergola to keep the patio safe from rain so we can use it like an outdoor room, while still allowing light to come through. Eventually (not this year probably) we'll replace our BBQ with a built-in one. And of course there will be furniture and potted plants.

6. Also, we'll plant a few citrus trees and our veggie garden in the front yard this Spring.

Whew! I'm exhausted already, and who are we kidding, Mark will be doing most of it with me freaking out in the background. But, if we can get at least most of these items done this year, it will make me happy as a clam and bring the house so much closer to the condition we imagine it in.

Any major undertakings at your house this year? Or any advice for us?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Goals for Twenty-Ten

Mark and I decided together sometime in early December, as we were running around like headless chickens trying to get things done and gorging ourselves on junk food to the point of nausea, that 2010 would be the year of "Fun and Health."

We definitely have our fun, but we often put off fun things to do more practical things. Fun was put on the back burner for most of 2009 for many different reasons, so this year we're making it a priority, hopefully with both the spontaneous and planned-ahead variety. We already have a few things planned, and of course there will be posts to take you along for the ride.

And is there anyone not interested in better health? With my family history it's high time I start taking mine more seriously. And Mark, though skinny as can be (we look like the number 10 standing next to each other), has high cholesterol. I'm not imposing any specific pound loss goal on myself. I just want to be more fit to keep up with Mark in some of the active things we do. Like when he wants to go on a hike, I want to be walking next to him instead of yards behind him, panting like a buffalo.

So, specifically, here are some of my personal goals for this year:
  • Take a multivitamin daily (6 for 6!)
  • Less meat and dairy, more fruit, veggies and grains
  • Less sugar
  • Less tv, more activity
  • More weekend trips
  • Improve my photography skills
  • Read more
  • Learn how to use a sewing machine

Nothing groundbreaking here, but I'm hoping to stay focused on these key areas, and I'll be sure to share the failures and successes.

Tomorrow: House goals, 'cause that's a whole other can of worms.

Dear Mama

Last year was a rough one for you, but you're so strong and brave. We love you to infinity.

Happy Birthday!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Coming up for air

The holidays were seriously a whirlwind for me this year. They always go by in a flash, but having a seasonal job in retail made it extra difficult to stop and smell the Christmas tree. (Only two more shifts, and I'm so ready to get back to normal!)

And please tell me how going from one Christmas tree to two exponentially increases the amount of time and storage needed. I took down the trees and most of the other decorations last night, and I have to say, I'm re-thinking my idea to have a tree in every room. It took FOREVER and I was so overwhelmed by the chaos at one point that I debated just throwing it all in garbage bags rather than spend one more second figuring out the best way to organize it for next year. Ten points if you can spot Bean in this picture...

Despite all that, there were many great times. Christmas day...

A weekend visit from our friends Jackie and Scott who moved to Seattle earlier this year...

And a New Year's Eve that went better than planned, because our friends Vic and Kerri had their sweet baby girl a few days early. They were supposed to come to our house for NYE festivities, but we came to them in the hospital first, then back to our house with the rest of the gang. We all took turns holding her. Even Mark, who thinks babies are made of glass, or dynamite. I took about a thousand pictures of it just to prove it happened.

The only bad thing was that their hospital is in Pasadena, and you cannot imagine the hoards of people there for the Rose Parade. We managed to avoid them on the way there, but by the time we left, they had shut down the nearest freeway entrance to hold all the horses that were going to be in the parade overnight, so we had to drive right through the mania. I wish I had taken a picture. But look at this face...totally worth it...

Happy New Year, everyone!