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Quarterly Goal Update

Back in January, I shared my 2012 goals. I set a few simple goals for this year since we’re adjusting to life with two children!

Here is my quarterly update:

Personal:
1. Read 1 book per month. I’m on top of this one! I’ve been reading a lot while nursing these days.
2. Memorize 1 verse/passage of scripture each month. Not doing so well on this one, I’m picking out a verse of the week but haven’t put forth 100% effort to memorize it and learn the reference.
3. Write at least 8 blog posts per month. I’ve been much more consistent with blogging in 2012 and have hit this goal each month!

Family:
1. Read 6 parenting books with my husband. Not doing so well. We’ve started one but haven’t even really got into it! It’s hard to make the time to read aloud together so I might take the approach of reading books separately and discussing them.
2. Daily family devotions and prayer. Since Paxton and Weston are so small, our devotion is reading a Bible story or two and praying. {There’s nothing cuter than a praying toddler!}  We do very well with this on ‘regular’ days but lately my husband’s schedule has been crazy.

Financial:
1. $8,000 towards the principal of our mortgage. So far we’ve paid off a little over $2,000 which means we’re right on track since we need to pay $2,000 quarterly.
2. $1,750 towards car savings. We got off to a bit of a slow start in 2012 since we had medical bills from Weston’s birth due. We’ve saved around $300 so far towards this goal.
3. Set up a legal will. No progress made here.
4. Start college savings accounts for the boys. We’ve done nothing so far.

I’m feeling pretty good about my 2012 goal progress!

Did you set goals for 2012? How are you doing so far? 

Organizing in the Kitchen

A small kitchen can be a functional kitchen but it doesn’t take much to make it very cluttered. Clutter and a small kitchen don’t go together at all! After having a baby in December, things in our little kitchen have been neglected. Sure, I was washing dishes daily and putting the dishes away but it wasn’t nice and neat and there were items cluttering the counter tops!

It was time for a little spring cleaning in the kitchen, clearing clutter and doing some scrubbing!

The kitchen sink after a good cleaning.

I washed all the dishes, scrubbed my sink, removed everything but the mixer, wheat grinder and gadget crock from the counter and washed the counter top!

We’ve been shoving bottles and cups up on this shelf and it was looking messy.

After removing a few items and tidying up, so much better!

Here’s our microwave.

Honestly, this picture does not do the ickyness justice. It was nasty. I really don’t know when the last time it was cleaned, I’m guessing before Weston was born {so probably 3 months ago!}

I finally cleaned the microwave!

It looks so much better and feels so good to have that little task knocked off of my mental to do list.

I didn’t take pictures of everything. The boys were napping and I was taking full advantage of that time by working hard in my kitchen.

Other things I accomplished:

  • Moved home canned goods to another cabinet.
  • Made a space in a cabinet for coffee supplies.
  • Organized the pantry.
  • Washed the outside of the fridge, oven and dishwasher.
  • Wiped down the cabinet fronts with a damp cloth.
  • Did a little decluttering.

Everything that left the kitchen.

A few things were recycled, a few went to the donation pile and the mason jar and cooler bag went back to where they belong!

Having a clean kitchen makes cooking more fun and keeps me motivated to keep it clean!

Is your kitchen neat and organized? Cluttered and chaotic? Or somewhere in between?  

This post is linked to Project:Simplify at Simple Mom.

Packing Organization: Part Two

Packing Organization: Part One

Having a master packing list is the key to packing organization.

Think about the time that’s wasted coming up with a packing list each and every time you travel. You always bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, undergarments and other necessities. Instead of writing those things out on a list for each trip, have a master list that you can refer to for the basics and then customize it for special trips.

Our master packing list*:

Rachel:

-Outfits

-Extra top

-Undergarments {panties, undershirts, bras, socks,nursing pads}

-Pajamas

-Shoes

-Deodorant

-Toothbrush/toothpaste

-Contact solution/case/glasses

-Shampoo

-Brush

Paxton:

-Outfits

-Pajamas

-Socks

-Shoes

-Teddy/Baby Doll/Blanket

Weston:

-Outfits

-Pajamas

-Socks

-Burp Cloths

Diapers:

-Pocket Diapers

-Wet Bags {large & medium}

-Detergent

-Wipes

Other:

-Snacks

-Chargers {cell phone, computer}

-Computer

When it comes time to pack, just pull out your list and add quantities specific to your trip. And the “other ” category can be used to customize for different types of trips such as to the beach where you’d add swimming suits and towels or a ski trip where you’d add coats, gloves, hats and scarves.

Here’s an example from our trip this past weekend:

Paxton:

-Outfits (4) {2 for the days we’re gone and 2 for accidents since he is 22 months!}

-Pajamas (1 pair)

-Socks (3)

-Shoes (boots) {He’s wearing his tennis shoes on the drive up}

-Teddy/Baby Doll/Blanket

Where to store your  master packing list:

  • Typed on your computer. Print a copy off and check off the items as you pack.
  • Written out on your planner. Just go straight down the list to make sure you have everything.
  • A laminated copy. Keep it on the fridge or your home management binder. When it’s time to pack, grab the list and a dry erase marker and check off as you pack.
  • As a note on your smartphone/tablet. Just pull out your phone and pack!

Do you have a master packing list? Do you think a master packing list will simplify packing for trips?

*I excluded my husband since his is similar to mine but he is included on my actual list!

Packing Organization: Part One

Packing for trips has become hard since becoming a parent. I tend to put packing off until the last minute. The procrastination just leads to stress, unpleasantness and a bad attitude about our trip.

With an hour or two before our planned departure, I’m scratching out lists to try to avoid forgetting something, throwing stuff in suitcases and overpacking. We finally get everything together and into the car past the time  we had planned. My husband and I are both feeling the stress by this point and inevitably, about 30 minutes into our drive we realize we forgot something.

Two weeks ago, we were preparing to spend the weekend at my parents’ home. Our first trip with Weston, packing for four and traveling with cloth diapers for two babies. I was not looking forward to our trip at all.

Instead of following my typical packing procedure, I began writing out my packing list days before the trip. The result of planning was a detailed list! The day before our departure, I completed about 90% of our packing, only leaving the necessities like toothbrushes, Paxton’s blanket and wipes unpacked.

The next day, after our morning routine, I finished packing and we were ready to go, stress free! The most amazing thing, we had packed less for two children {including their cloth diapers} than with one!

I realized packing organization was the key to stress free departures.

Since we were planning to visit my husband’s family the following weekend, I decided to keep my packing list since we would need the exact same things the following weekend.

When it came time to pack for that trip, I pulled out my packing list, grabbed our suitcase and begin checking items off of the list. Again, we departed happily, looking forward to our trip with no stress or tension between us.

Having a master packing list is so simple yet so helpful. You typically pack the exact same things so why write out a list over and over? Instead, have a master packing list you can refer to.

The next time you’re preparing to go on a trip, write out your list a few days early to make sure it’s all inclusive. Then after you use it to pack, keep it to make the process easier for your next trip.

To be continued…

Are you an organized packer? Or do you tend to procrastinate? 

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