Sunday, May 31, 2009

Organizing Our Computer Area

This month's organizing round-up is a surface or shelf. Mine that I'm showing you in this post is a combination surface/shelf. It is what used to be our computer desk, and is now two computer desks with storage cubbies between them, from Ikea of course.

Here is the before picture that was taken sometime between Christmas and the middle of February. Yes, took me that long to get it down. Come to think of it, I see a big dinosaur that was a birthday gift in the middle of January for Caboose, so I know it was after that.

After we took the tree down we temporarily put up one of those plastic white folding tables to hold the second computer. I was a little indecisive about what I wanted, and they no longer made the desk like the one we already had. Plus the movers broke it and glued the legs back on that far side (you might be able to see particle board showing above the black metal strip at the was completely broken off) so I didn't really know how long this one was actually going to hold up.

The night Hubby and I went to Ikea and measured the floor arrow, I wandered and stared at desks. The plan was to pick something. Wandering always gets my idea cells in my brain flowing. It doesn't happen very often. But I walked away with something totally unexpected that completely works for us.

This is on our second floor loft. Sometime I'll show you the rest of it, but I'm trying to stay focused here and not digress. It's challenging, but I'm determined.

The drawers are something extra that you can purchase to add in with this system (Expedit). I knew one set of drawers would be handy to hide a few things that would be necessary to have in this area.

Pencils, pens, scissors, tape, a couple of small notepads, small stapler, etc. The game box is there because I ran out of small cd cases that I move them all over to, so it's sitting in there for now.

I keep all the chargers we need to get to regularly in here, either electrical or the ones that hook up to the computer for cameras or ipods.

There are a couple of magazine files next to the drawers. One holds my current catalogs, and the other holds a couple of poly files. One of those files holds a bunch of odds & ends papers that would otherwise be scattered all over the desk area but that are notes or things that need to be kept for some reason or another, but not things that need to be filed. The other file holds recipes that I've printed off the computer that haven't made it into a menu plan yet...basically ones that I want to try soon.

The red cd boxes are from Ikea also. I posted about them and my favorite plastic bookends a little bit here. I still need to label all of them, but I thought I'd show you inside them, just so you could see how they are being used.

Kids' cd games. I have the Nancy Drew game cd's separated with a plastic bookend that you can't see. The newer ones come with two cd's that are necessary for game installation, but you only need the first cd to play the game, so I stick the second discs in the back.

School cd's, headphones for Rosetta Stone, my cd's (pictures, software, etc), and a few more game cd's.

My postage scale (usually my packing tape is in this box too, but it's downstairs ready to tape up a box), and an empty box!

One box has all the electronic/computer type cords that go to stuff, and the other box has video camera tapes, my old digital camera that will hold about 16 pictures, and some of our extra cords, because we don't need more than one out at a time.

Those wonderful brown woven baskets on top — one holds my extra printer paper, and the other holds items that need to be shredded. Of course I have a pile of papers and stuff over a foot tall piled up on top of the shredder right now, but we'll just pretend it's not there for the purpose of this post.

One of the woven baskets underneath is empty, and one holds files, primarily ones where I've torn out magazine ideas, but some are school files with catalogs or curriculum plans, and the green files are some that we have to keep from Hubby's military work travel for five years before we can shred them.

I put a couple of the plastic bookends in the back of the last file to hold them up since they don't take up the entire basket.

The blue lidded boxes hold files that we don't access frequently. Off the top of my head I can tell you that the red files are our taxes and my grandparents'/grandma's taxes, and the green files are Hubby's from the military.

The other blue box has a lot of medical records or school records that we need to keep. The brown accordion file doesn't have to be kept, but it has the insurance claims from the first 13-14 months of the girls' lives, and it's pretty astounding. I'm keeping it just for historical purposes.

I also used the plastic bookends at both ends of these boxes even though they were full. They are cardboard-type boxes, so the bookends helped to hold the files upright a little better and gave the boxes more stability.

I love how it looks.

You can check out what other people are organizing, or link up yourself, over at The Organizing Junkie.

You might also be interested in these posts:
The entire surface of my garage floor! — Garage: Before & After
Last month's round-up — Organizing the Master Bedroom Closet

Menu Plan Monday — June 1st

You might just want to jump down to the menu and skip my whining and complaining. Because that's what I think Hubby would say I'm going to be doing when he reads this tomorrow.

See, I didn't do a menu plan last week. It was sort of a mini-strike. I did have a couple of things planned, but only because I had them left from the previous week.

That got me through Monday, and should have got me through Tuesday with leftovers. Plus if I'd made my spaghetti earlier in the week I'd have been covered through at least Wednesday. As it was, I was covered through Monday.

My family — not really sure if they noticed. I did get the regular question, "What's for dinner, Mom?" My answer, "I don't know."

Because see, I wasn't cooking anything. There was enough peanut butter and stuff that nobody in my house would starve. And there is always plenty of cereal.

I mean, come on. They add plenty of vitamins and minerals to that stuff. Plus you eat it with milk.

Okay, see. I don't really like to cook very much. If it takes very long it makes my back hurt — my bad arm even worse. Plus it just seems like such a waste of good time. So I like to cook where I have leftovers for the next night if I can.

But you know what. I don't like to warm them up. It's not that I can't or it grosses me out, it's just that if I cooked the night before, I kind of think that someone else could warm it up the next night (hint, hint).

So here's what I found out last week when I mentioned, in a not-so-happy way to Hubby as I was throwing out uneaten leftovers, he doesn't like to warm up leftovers. His is in an it-grosses-him-out kind of way. It sort of nauseates him to see it all cold prior to heating it up. Almost 24 years of marriage and I just find this out. I should have gotten a memo on this a long time ago.

So now I have to change my whole theory on cooking and menu planning. Does this make me happy? Not so much. But I'm going to roll with it for a while. Although someone in our house is going to owe me big. I haven't figured out what yet, but when I do, they'll know (hint, hint).

Whining and complaining done.

Monday"Really Good" Noodles and Chicken. Without the chicken, because it was really tasty and I'm going to be thrifty, and then I'll make some Kraft Macaroni & Cheese as a back-up for my little pickies just in case.

TuesdayTacos. Using Homemade Taco Seasoning with no msg. This is my kids' favorite meal.

WednesdayTaco Salad. I always make extra taco meat when I make tacos so that we can have Taco Salad the next night. This is a leftover I can get away with.

ThursdayFettucine Alfredo. Sparky and I will eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. She's trying to be my favorite kid!

FridayPancakes, with this Strawberry Topping. The topping is a new recipe, and I'm hoping that it tastes a lot like the one at IHOP.

Saturday — Homemade Hamburgers. Hubby will have to make them indoors with our stovetop grill pans. Guess he'll find that out when he reads this, too. Sparky has a double-header, so it will be a mid-afternoon meal.

Sunday — Eat out since we ate in all week, and hopefully without complaining and with grateful hearts!

For more great menu ideas, visit The Organizing Junkie.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Garage — Before & After

On Memorial Day Hubby and I finally dealt with the garage.

We still can't fit our vehicle in it.

It's a three-car garage.

But in a couple of weeks after a garage sale, the van is in.

I also use the word after loosely in this post, because it's a temporary after, and sort of an incomplete after. In the after pictures there were still a few odds and ends laying, or is it lying, around. Eventually we will finish off the garage and put up some nifty shelving, but that is about the lowest priority on our list. So someday it will look much, much better. But clean is still better than chaotic.

When we moved into the house in November, the week before Thanksgiving, Hubby just unloaded all 400 or so boxes into the garage to be dispersed one by one to the appropriate room as I was ready to unpack them. Prior to them being unpacked, the moving company that had the heaviest of our items from Virginia came and unloaded the majority of those things into the garage (a few of those items went straight into the house, but the majority got left in the garage). Here's a picture of one side of the garage from that day, complete with rows of boxes. You know, so I could walk down the aisles and pick the ones I wanted.

On Monday, here is what we started with. Our BEFORE pictures. The double bay side:

The single bay side:

DURING pictures, because I actually thought to take them. The double bay side:

The single bay side:

Looking from the front outside corner of the double bay to the far inside corner of the single bay:

AFTER pictures. Same shot as before, except of course it's the after.

From the front outside corner of the single bay to the far inside corner of the double bay:

Pretty much that whole little wad of stuff you see in the floor in the middle of the picture doesn't belong there and has to go elsewhere, either for storage or to be gone through. All those empty boxes in the back are from moving (there are more in our basement!) and we are going to try to sell them or something. The majority of things in this picture will be gone after the garage sale, except from the bike forward.

This next picture is in the single bay and is where we stored all the furniture that we are selling in the garage sale or are holding to give to someone in our church, with the exception of a couple of things.

We repurposed some nine-cube stackable cubbies that we had in our military quarters that got really beat up in the moving process. We never have enough shelving in our garage (or porch or shed) so this sort of helps out for now. While they were in storage waiting to be delivered here, they also got attacked by mice, so they definitely couldn't go in the house anymore.

I'm a little afraid of emptying out the garage too much though. Because if I do, I have one teenager that will want a car to fill it up, and another teenager that will want a boat to fill it up. And since Hubby has wanted a boat for 43 of his 43 years, I know where his vote would be cast.

Pun intended.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


We had a china cabinet living in our garage.

I know, strange place, but we knew when we moved to Michigan it would not fit in our house. I know that doesn't make a lot of sense to those of you who read my blog and know that we bought a new house that is much bigger than the military quarters we left. But let me explain.

We aren't really formal people. We don't have a dining room. We didn't really want a dining room, because we don't use a dining room. What we wanted was an area that was attached to our kitchen where a table would go that would fit at least all six of us, and then we have the kitchen bar that seats four more. And if we bothered to buy more chairs, we could actually fit two more around our table if we had to.

We also knew that our dining room table, which had been living unassembled in the front porch shed in Virginia along with the six matching chairs, would not really go in our new kitchen dining area, so we sold it before we left Virginia. But I held out the slight hope that I might somehow be able to fit the china cabinet in the area and that it might look good.

It would not fit in that area well, so that pretty much settled it, and there was no other sensible place in the entire house for it. Thus, it's been living in the garage waiting for a garage sale.

This last weekend when Hubby and I were doing a massive overhaul of the garage, he asked me what we were doing with it. Like we hadn't discussed it 32 other times. Finally I told him the only way it could go in the house was if the bottom piece went in as just the cabinet, maybe as a kind of sofa table.

Well, many grunts and groans on my part later, and some twirling directions, and it is sitting under the back windows instead. Repurposed just fine, we needed some lighting in that room, and I love closed storage.

Hubby was a little concerned about the wood not matching the other woods in the room, but when you look from the kitchen, it matches the lighter color in the two-tone table and chairs. Plus I think people mix woods. Don't they?

Hopefully someone wants to buy this at the garage sale, because I have no idea how to repurpose it.

And frankly, I don't want to have to lug it into my house anyway.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day ~ 2009

I've had the privilege of living with and around many of our country's heroes for the last 20 years. Thank you to all those who do and have served. Mari had this on her blog portraying the reason we celebrate the day (she got it from Mike), and I liked it so much I copied it to put here:

"Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 25 in 2009). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the Civil War), it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action. Remember freedom is not free, someone paid for it with their lives. If you can read this, Thank a Teacher. Since you have the freedom to read this, Thank a Veteran."

This picture was taken of Hubby and me with my grandpa in June, 2003 at my grandpa's WWII 250th Field Artillery BN reunion.

Oddly enough, this picture was taken exactly 66 years ago today in 1943. It is my grandpa and his younger brother Claude with their mother.

This is my grandpa and grandma, sometime after their wedding but prior to him going over to the war.

This is my grandpa when he 'ran into' his brother-in-law Bill, my grandma's younger brother. They were in Obermoos, Austria.

" Remember only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you...Jesus Christ and the American soldier.

One died for your soul, the other for your freedom."

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Universal Face, Nekkid Girls, and Having an Accent

Apparently I have the universal face. Everywhere I go, from Missouri, to Mississippi, to Louisiana, to Illinois, to Virginia, to Michigan, and everywhere in between, I have a twin. Or two.

When we lived at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, in the late 80's and early 90's, one Saturday afternoon we went with friends to eat at the Pizza Hut that was out in the little town just off post. The waitress asked me why I was back. I told her I wasn't. She swore I'd been in a little over an hour earlier. I told her I'd been with my husband all day, and he confirmed it. I still don't think she was convinced.

Today at Toys 'r Us, the lady checking us out told me I looked just like a girl that worked there, and that's why she kept looking out of her peripheral vision at me. I guess she felt like she needed to explain why she was staring, and I apparently was too oblivious to notice. I just told her she'd met the girl with the universal face, because it happens all the time.

The last couple of days the weather here has been absolutely beautiful and in the 80's. 80's, I tell you! I ran the air conditioner for 36 hours!!! Today it was in the 60's. But apparently when it is no longer coat weather, some of the female residents of our state feel the need to wear very little clothing. Maybe it's because they have to stay heavily covered for the better part of six months up here in the tundra, and when they don't, they let it loose. Shorts, halter tops, and tube tops were seen en masse today. Bra straps are usually not covered up. But the short shorts while Hubby and I were eating at the Bread Company took the cake though. I have panties that are bigger than this girls shorts were.

It's been a while since I've been pegged as an out-of-towner. Today at Sam's Club our check-out guy commented that I must not be from around here. When I told him I like to say I'm a Midwesterner and have no accent, he said, "Whatever you want to call it."

So then we go to Wal-Mart, and the check-out lady says, "You're not from around here." I'm floored. My first comment was to her, "That's twice today. The guy at Sam's said the same thing." And my second comment was to Hubby, "Am I talking funny today?" Hubby thinks he's funny and tells her we're from South Michigan.

So I decided to fully embarrass myself and make a little video with one of the girl's cameras and let you decide. I was able to keep my hands still for about zero point zero zero four seconds. What can I say? I talk with my hands. I did keep them under control pretty well though, because they get fairly animated usually.

On the phone I also get the "Is your mother or father at home?" If it's a call I don't want to take, that works to my advantage.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meet The Kids: Part 3a

Straight out of the shower and getting ready for softball practice...I know...doesn't make sense. But she didn't want to 'sweat grease.' There is a little girlie-ness in there after all. Shhh, don't tell her.

She told me she had to wear the white shirt with the white pants, because she wanted to wear those particular socks, and that was the only way they would match. Go figure. She doesn't usually care if she matches or not either. She told me softball practice is important enough that she tries to match for it.

Here's what is left of her toenail painting I did for Senior Banquet. She was a little concerned about the bruise showing on the one big toenail, but then Chatty reminded her that she's usually proud of her bruises.

This is my girl who has broken both thumbs playing softball. I think I forgot to tell you that. We skipped a year in between though. The first time was in Illinois during the final tournament of the season, so she was all done. The second time she was so tough that she practiced for the two weeks she had the cast on...her glove fit over it.

Meet The Kids: Part 3

Today started with a fancy shirt.

Not fancy in my book, but fancy in Sparky's book.

So I decided it was high time for you to meet her a little more up close and personal. You know, since it's been a little over six months since I did Meet The Kids: Part 2.

My, how time flies!

Now Sparky was not wearing said fancy shirt. Her sister was. I'm not even sure any more what started the conversation about the shirt being fancy, I just know that I made a snide comment about her probably thinking it was fancy. She started listing all the reasons why:

  • It has a V-neck (amazing, but I never knew that V-necks made something fancy!).
  • It's bunched up under here (meaning gathered under the bosom).
  • You might not see it in the picture, but there is a little bit of stitching that goes mid-way down the V kind of under the armpit. Not really a dart, but some stitching almost like a baseball sleeve...makes it fancy.
  • There's a tie at the bottom.
  • The sleeves have a cuff.
  • The fabric is fancy (no way, here, because it's 100 percent cotton that gets thrown in the washer and dryer).
  • It's pink. Bright pink. The deep V might have had something to do with it too, but hello, that's why we wear undershirts.

Do you see why I had a little bit of trouble shopping with her for a fancy dress for Senior Banquet? Feel sorry for me yet?

Okay, down to business.

Meet Sparky, my child with the most nicknames. I don't even remember where they all came from, but a few:

  • Pebbles — had the Pebbles' (from the Flintstones) ponytail going on up on her head and pulled it off quite well.
  • Sleestak — Remember the show Land of the Lost? Saturday morning cartoons if you're anywhere around our age. They were the reptilian things and the sound they made was kind of specific. Sparky made that sound when she was little.
  • Shag — she picked at carpet fibers.
  • Beaver — she chewed on wooden blocks.
  • Mountain Girl — she could climb up us, and as she got older, she could shimmy the door frames and walls in the halls. She also climbed out of her crib when she was a teeny, tiny thing and probably wasn't even tall enough to clear the top rail. She got mad because we took her pacifier away and the adrenaline was enough to get her up and over. She had a toddler bed that night.
  • Spark Plug — a version of Sparky, for the way she plays ball (a picture from about a year ago, because I don't have any recent ones).

This girl, who loves to hook her own worms, will also hook her brother's worms, and kisses everyone's fish before releasing them, decided today when we were all out running an errand that she would never need to buy her own car. She could just drive our second one (that we don't have now). Then she told her dad that way she could take the money she would have used to buy a car and buy a boat. There was some fist pumping going on in the seat next to me. If I hadn't been driving I would have just closed my eyes and wished it all away.

What would you like for people to know about you?

I'm more athletic than my brother.

Which brother would that be?

Typically both of them, but Buddy. (They just got back from the Awana skating party, and people were commenting about him, so she's having some issues right now.)

What else would you like for people to know about you?

I love softball, fishing, camping, my newfound birding, and gum. Oh, and my favorite color is green.

What type of music or artists do you like to listen to?

Uh, Christian music. Not to make Chatty all mad or anything, but I don't listen to the Jonas Brothers all that much anymore.

What do you like to watch on tv?

Sports, especially baseball and hockey.

Anything not related to sports?

Not really. I only watch Disney Channel when I'm bored. Oh, I like Deadliest Catch, American Idol, and Meerkat Manor.

Do you know what it means when someone talks about bucks and points?

(Serious laughing.) Uh, yeah.

Do you like to shop?

No. Unless it's at Dick's (sporting goods). Or Play It Again Sports. I like that place too.

Do you like being the only child with really blue eyes?

Definitely, yes.

What do you think about having a twin sister?

I'm glad that I have twin, because everyone's always saying they wish they had a twin, and if I wasn't a twin, then I would always wonder what it was like to have a twin, and now I don't have to wonder, because I know.

What do you think about having two younger brothers?

I think it's cool having two younger brothers. One's the sporty one and one's the cuddly one.

Do you think Buddy is stronger than you?

I'm the one that can do push-ups and he can't! And when I make an arm muscle you can actually see mine. (I think I hear some fightin' words.)

Do you think Buddy is taller than you yet?

No, I was wearing flat shoes.

How do you feel about being so short, and knowing that everyone will be taller than you, at least until I start my old-age shrinking?

(Giggles.) As in normal life or in sports-wise?

Whichever you want to answer.

Normal life, it's you and me together. Sports-wise it's pretty cool, cuz you're like this little bitty person and it makes you stand out more.

Are you glad you are taller than Grandma? (4'10", although she always said she was 5' when I was growing up. Ha!)

Yes, that was my life goal.

Do you think Caboose is funny?


Do you want to learn to drive?

Uh, yes and no. My last experience in the vehicle was kind of freaky. But everyone else I know is learning how to drive, so I kind of want to learn.

What kind of car do you want?

Punchbuggy. I would except for the whole safety issue. It looks like half a ball, and I could paint it like a softball.

What do you want to be when you grow up?


What do you like most about Michigan?

It snows.

What do you like least about Michigan?

Their softball season lasts a month.

Why do you like gum so much?

It tastes good, it lasts longer than candy, you get to blow bubbles with it, and it takes care of bad breath.

When I was snapping these pictures, she took the gum out of her mouth.

But I got one with the gum wad anyway! In front of, surprise, a softball shirt.

You might also be interested in these posts:

Buddy — Meet The Kids: Part 1
Chatty — Meet The Kids: Part 2

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