Thursday, February 28, 2013

Oath's room clean-up: the table

Oh, that table... If you read the first part of this month's organization (or, more likely, clean-up) project, you have gotten a glimpse of the state of the table. I am not sure I am ready to show more than just that glimpse.

You see, this table was my desk back when there was only the two of us, Partner and I. I had my important files tray, my art supplies drawers, the colorful hanging folder for uni papers... Partner had his desk, as big as mine, on the other side of the room, with all his stuff. And then, we had to get rid of one of the desks to fit the bed in there, so we could have people over (I was pregnant and my family wanted to visit us). 
So all his stuff was moved over to my desk, and I started working on the living room instead of there, because there was so much stuff. And the stuff (are you tired of that word yet? Not as much as I am of seeing the actual stuff there!) just kept growing. Multiplying. I am quite sure it even bred.
And we got to the point we were then, were there was not a single square inch of free flat space on the table.

I was torn on whether I should clean it up completely and store it (it's only a board and two small sawhorses, nothing fancy) or keep it there but organized. So I just started cleaning, sorting and organizing as I went, as I did with the room.

And you know what?

It was easy. I had been dreading it until the last minute, and that made me wait until it was nearly too late, but once I got started it was a breeze. Fast and easy, as it happens most of the time.
Oh, well... Live and learn, eh?

Oath's Mom

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February 25th Menu Plan

I am back on track!

To be honest, I've had this menu planned for about a month: my little sister G. is here this week, and we decided together what we were going to eat while she stayed with us. We also included a list of breakfasts she'd like to have, and so I'll share it with you too:

  • Lunch: Green beans with potato, peppers, zucchini, eggplant and tomato sauce.
  • Dinner: Meat and peas pies. Typical where I am from, my grandmother sent some with C.! So good.
  • Lunch: Macarroni with tuna, tomato and cheese.
  • Dinner: Sandwiches. Both Nutella and ham&cheese ones.
  • Lunch: Chicken fajitas.
  • Dinner: Fish with onions.
  • Lunch: Rice "a la cubana" (egg, sausage, tomato sauce. She's not a fan of fried bananas)
  • Dinner: "Pizza-bread". Homemade (by my grandpa!) bread slices used as pizza bases. Easy, fast, and good!
  • Lunch: Burgers in buns with some extra salad.
  • Dinner: Puff pastry roll. Or braid, maybe.
  • Lunch: Spaghetti with bacon
  • Dinner: Scrambled eggs with shrimps and surimi
  • Lunch: Chicken Strogonoff & rice
  • Dinner: Salad

Possible breakfasts in no particular order
  • 3 minute chocolate cake-in-a-cup
  • Fried banana with chocolate ice-cream and drizzled raw honey
  • Mixed berries and strawberry yoghurt smoothie.
  • Croissants.
  • Eggs and bacon (this is so rare around here that we're not sure we'll dare!)
  • Oreo and chocolate milkshake.
  • Chocolate milk and biscuits.
  • Homemade lemon sponge-cake.
  • Mixed berry muffins.
  • Pancakes!
  • Crepes with sugar and lemon, courtesy of Partner. 

As you see, we have many more ideas for breakfast than days in the week, but it will all work out in the end (we can eat some of those as a mid-afternoon treat, can't we?)

Also, so I won't forget: I love it when somebody helps me meal plan! I can't wait until Oath is older and helps me with it (because Partner isn't much interested in it. As long as there's food on the table and it's not the same as the last day, he's fine.)
What about you? Do you prefer menu planning alone or are the other members of the family welcome to help?

Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday!

Oath's Mom

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Oath's room clean-up

This month was the month I was supposed to tackle Oath's room, the worse room in the house, and turn it into a place where people could sleep without fear of being drowned by a random piece of clothing.

Do you want to see how it's going?

It went from this... this.

Step by step:

Can you see the difference? When I look at it now, I can't remember how bad it was, but when I look at the photos... wow! 

And I even organized Oath's closet!

It is not an amazing organization feat, but now I know where everything is (again. When he was born I knew it also, but 8 month os use hat turned the order into a chaos!): onesies, socks and bibs on the top drawer; t-shirts and trousers on the second drawer; pajamas and sweaters on the third; bed linens on the bottom one that does not open well. Towels in the basket with the plushies on top. Extra wipes on top of the mini-dresser, along with diapers, booties and hats. Extra shampoos, soaps, creams and the like, in the box. And on the space on the right there are extra diapers, the few too small clothes that I love and want to keep, and clothes he has to grow into. And an empty basket (this was before the treasure basket, so now it's no longer there).
Everything else is on hangers (coats, shirts...) along with my coats. Yes, I'm taking over the kid's closet...

See? I know! And that's the point of organizing, isn't it?

Now only the table (that mess of things on the back) is left. And then it will be time for someone to stay over!

Oath's mom

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

And so Wednesday came to an end...

...and Oath's mom still hadn't menu planned.


Because she was very busy counting calories.

It's true. I've embarked myself in an eating journey that it's being, among other things, very interesting and quite surprising. I don't know where it will take me, hopefully to a healthier weight. As soon as I have found my footing in this new adventure, I am going to share it with you all, because I am sure I am not alone. And no, I am not trying to loose weight. Or just eat more healthy.

I am trying to gain weight. It maybe does not sound like a big deal to you now, but it is. Being underweight can be as unhealthy as being overweight. But that's something we'll discuss another day. Now, on to the food!

  • Lunch: Fried bananas with chocolate ice-cream and a drizzle of raw honey. I know, I know. I was too tired to cook, though.
  • Dinner: Fajita chicken. Because Partner looked at me weird when he knew what I had for lunch, so I was trying to make up for it.
  • Lunch: Cauliflower with cream and cheese.
  • Dinner: Hot dogs. Possibly followed by a cup of chocolate milk and some biscuits.
  • Lunch: Chickpea salad
  • Dinner: Fish with onions
  • Lunch: Pasta with cheese and bacon
  • Dinner: Strogonoff chicken
  • Lunch: Rice with Taiwanese sauce (I should look the name up, shouldn't I?)
  • Dinner: Bread with olive oil, brewer's yeast and sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Lunch: Spaghetti with bologna sauce
  • Dinner: Scrambled eggs with shrimps and surimi
  • Lunch: Fried rice
  • Dinner: Roasted peppers with tuna

Have you noticed that I am repeating past week's menus a lot? That's because lately I am not able to stick to the plan at all, so dishes get from one week to another to another without actually being cooked. Which, I have to admit, saves me time planning, but makes me feel kind of unsuccessful.
Oh, well. As long as I am eating well and enough...!

Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday and at Erin Branscom Menu Monday link-up.

Oath's Mom

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The rainbow basket

After writing my post about the treasure basket, I headed out to buy some yarn. Multicolored, rainbowy yarn. I went for some cheap acrylic, as I knew that if I bought nice yarn for a crochet basket I'd end up feeling too guilty, and the basket would never be crocheted. I hadn't much hopes to find enough colors, as my previous experience is that the shop where I was going does not have many shads. But oh, was I proved wrong! The only one I could not find was navy blue, but that precious minty teal made up for it. And the orange... such a vibrant, lovely orange!

I started crocheting as soon as I arrived home, while Oath played with the basket. The first rows went by so fast! The circle was growing, and growing, and I was smiling more and more. It's amazing how colors can change our mood so much, isn't it?

I found out too late, though, that in my excitement I had made a mistake. Or, rather, a couple of them. The yarn band says it is a "sport grossa", what I (in my little experience) would call DK. I was working with a 7mm hook in US dc / UK trebles. And I was crocheting a basket. I am sure some of you can go where this is going, right?

It was floppy. The sides would not stay up at all, and fell in a very blankety fashion. Which would be very nice if it was a blanket, or a pillow, or something drapey. But not a basket. But I wasn't going to go back. It's work is containing all the little toys, not being really stiff, and I can live with falling basket walls. So, it is floppy still. Want to see?

And doing it was so simple! The most difficult thing was the border, and I'm not calling it difficult seriously. I remembered Lucy's (from Attic24) "Spot-on" border (at least, I think that's how she called it...), and tried to replicate it without searching again for the tutorial. It doesn't look quite the same, but I think it's pretty. And it's not going to be seen much, anyway, as I have to roll down the border in order to make the basket stand!

Ah, I love looking at it. It makes me so happy, now that winter feels long already but spring isn't here yet. Don't colors make you happy at this time of year?

Oath's Mom

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Oath's first treasure basket

Do you remember my last (and completely unrelated to anything) 10 things... list? I managed to achieve 5 out of 10 (numbers 1, 2, 6, 8 and 10), so it wasn't that bad, but not a huge success either. But I'm not here today to talk about this. I am here to talk about number 1. Do you remember number 1?

  1. Start a treasure basket for Oath.

A treasure basket is a basket (duh!) or other open container full of baby-safe things, interesting for their colors, textures, materials, sizes... They can have an ongoing theme (nature baskets, made only with things directly out of nature, like rocks, leaves, shells, pinecones... for example) or not, and depending on the items they are suitable for babies up to 2 years old (or more, as everything, it depends on the kid!). As soon as they can sit unassisted they are ready for treasure baskets.
Oath has been sitting unassisted for a while now, but Christmas and the exams period got in my way and I didn't start the basket until late January. But once I started, it was so fast! First, I got the basket:

I plan on changing it as soon as I get my hands on some multicolored balls of chunky yarn. This one if wooden and not of the best quality, so I am afraid it can break if Oath gets rough, and don't want to risk it. For now it works, with the cloth lining and under my constant supervision, but I hope I can crochet a new, rainbow-y basket, soon and change it.

All the things I put in I already had around. There is:
  • A natural sponge
  • A plasticky fake lottery ticket
  • A black small bag
  • One of his spoons
  • A wooden spoon
  • A button bracelet
  • A red crocheted bin
  • A plastic telephone with a bell inside
  • Two metallic jar lids, one yellow, one red (the red isn't in the pic because he was playing with it at the time)
  • Comb
  • Two big corks (one plastic, one real cork)
  • Felt ball with a jingle bell inside
  • A crocheted brown arm-warmer (it appears as black, though)
  • A plastic Nutella lid
  • Two sheer fabric bags
  • A train-shaped teether
  • A crochet owl
  • A wooden blue E letter
  • A baby brush
  • A plastic measuring spoon
  • A wooden articulated snake/crocodile
  • A small mirror (the unbreakable kind, of course)
  • A small Tupperware glass/cup/measuring thingie.
  • A maraca.
  • A crocheted gecko bookmark like this one (not pictured because he was playing with it.)

There's a lot of space still left, and I'll keep my eyes open looking for new things, but for now I am glad to say it is kind of "finished". And such a success! He loves sitting there taking things out and (at times) putting them back in, biting, looking, touching, hitting, throwing them around. Win!

Oath's Mom

Monday, February 11, 2013

Menu plan 02/11

Here I am again!
I skipped another week but, thankfully, things didn't go too bad. We've eaten every day, mostly healthy food, with some scrambling the days that Oath refused to follow any kind of routine. Ah, that boy, he's stubborn! I'm afraid, though, that for the menus to really work for us, I'd have to go deeper and plan them in a completely different way. But not this week. This week the kid and the kid's room have me so tired that I can barely think straight. So a regular old menu plan it is.

  • Lunch: Pasta with tuna
  • Dinner: Oven chicken drums with onion soup
  • Lunch: Rice "a la cubana" (tomato sauce, fried eggs, sausages, fried banana. Yum!).
  • Dinner: Fish with caramelized onions
  • Lunch: Chickpea salad
  • Dinner: Pizza-ed bread slices
  • Lunch: Pasta with cheese and bacon
  • Dinner: Strogonoff chicken
  • Lunch: Cauliflower and cabbage cream
  • Dinner: Rice with Taiwanese sauce
  • Lunch: Beef fajitas
  • Dinner: Caesar Salad
  • Lunch: Spaghetti with bologna sauce
  • Dinner: Spanish omelette

Oath's Mom

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tackling a virtual mess

Last January I admitted that my computer is severely disorganized. I decided I would tackle it after my exams, and so I could start the new semester with a freshly organized working area (I use the computer as a notebook, and do not print any notes unless necessary, so most of my studying is done with the laptop. That's why it was so messy... or so I want to believe.)

And then?

Then I tried. As you know if you read my January evaluation, trying wasn't quite enough. I found myself easily overwhelmed just by thinking I should start working on it. And when I did, I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of files so out of place. Where to start? And, most importantly, how to start?

So I developed a system. Amazingly (and even though my results do not reflect it), a system that worked. I am willing to bet it would work for everybody. Why? Because it is simple. Easy. It doesn't require a careful pre-planning of which folders to create, where do they go, are they really needed... You can stop halfway through it and resume when you feel like it without any problem.

The cons? It is a bit tedious if you, like I, have let the mess get too big. But that's my fault, not the system's!

Are you like me and now you want to know how to do it?

  1. Open the folder you want to organize.
  2. Forget about the folders for a while and go to the first file there. Does it need to be there?
    1. If the answer is no, drag and drop to the desktop.
    2. If the answer is yes, can it go in a sub-folder?
      1. If not, leave it there.
      2. If yes, drag and drop to the sub-folder. If the one that you need doesn't exist yet, create it first.
  3. Repeat #2 until there are no more files to go through.
  4. On with the folders. Just act as if they were files. Drag and drop. Or leave them there.
  5. And then choose one of the sub-folders and start again! (once you reach a point where there are no more sub-folders nor need for them, go back until you find one you haven't tackled yet).

Really. That's it. Just two yes/no questions, so evident that I had never thought of them before.

A little example:
That's where I started.

That's my Documents folder. I had already organized the random files there into all those folders. I decided to not go in order, to save my sanity, and opened the Studies folder.

You could scroll down for a while, in there!

Time to repeat the process. Nearly all the files went into the UO folder, which is the one for the courses I am taking now, so it makes sense. All the others were mostly organized in previous attempts.

Ah, that's better!

When it was done (why is it that there's always a lone file that does not belong into any sub-folder and just sits there?), I opened the UO folder and started sorting. 
Now, I forgot to take screenshots of that process (or maybe you can say I opted for not showing it so I would not bore you with too many pictures of folders and files). You can see, though, that in there I have a folder for each subject, plus one for important things (like enrollment fees bills) and one named Old. There go all the subjects I have already passed, so I don't have lots of folders I don't need hanging around when I am trying to save a file in its proper place.

The end!

That's how it ended: two folders for my current subjects and the Old and important things ones. There is no need to add further levels, so this branch of my folder tree ended there.

Now I just have to go and organize all the others, but what about you? Do you also feel overwhelmed by organizing "virtual" messes?

Oath's mom

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Letter to my son

Dear Oath,

You are sleeping, so calm and relaxed, while I sit here and miss you. You are not even two rooms away and there's a hole in my chest with your shape, and it aches. Every second you are away, every beat that I'm not holding you, it stings. But you know what? It also hurts when you are near but just want to scream, when I think that I could well use a few hours by myself. Yes, my love, I am THAT mom.

I am the mom that can't stop kissing your cheeks, that keeps on hugging you, telling you she loves you. Every day, every hour, every second. It doesn't matter if there's people around, family or strangers, I am the mom that pours her love on you all the time.
I am the mom that, when you are napping, checks on you every few minutes, and each time stays for a while watching you sleep. I am the one that listens to your breathing, that bends until her face is about to touch yours. And then, my son, then I smile, because I feel your warmth on my lids and your sighs on my nose.
I am the mom that sleeps by your side, every night, the one that can't imagine sleeping in any other room. I am the mom that goes to bed and the first thing she does is snuggle up beside you and holding your hand, or she can't sleep. I am the mom that would rather have you sleeping on her chest than sleeping in any other room. I am the one that stays awake if you are not there.

But, my little Oath, I am also the mom that is about to break down. The mom that wants to cry when you start screaming, the one that wishes it was easier, that you were an easy-going baby. I am the one that hides under the sheets when you wake up in the mornings, too early for a night owl like her.

I am the one that wishes so much you would stop kicking and scratching and biting when you feed, you restless nurse, but I am also the mom who hasn't even thought of weaning you yet.

I am the mom that cries because she needs some time alone, and also the one that when she's alone she spends the minutes wishing you were there.

I am the mom that does not know where she is, or where she is going, but I don't mind as long as you're with me in this journey. I am the one that wishes the day you will want to leave my side and live your life alone will never come.
And I pray, my baby, that when that day comes (because it will, it always does) you will decide to stay with me for just a little longer, while I repeat, one more time, the deepest truth of all:

I love you.

Oath's mom

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A day in the life of Oath's mom

 The idea of taking photos of my usual routine during one day had been on my mind for a while when, yesterday, I found out about Simply Rebekah's link up "A day in the Life of... 2013". It was pretty early in the morning, so I decided to join and start taking photos right away!

So, this is what yesterday looked like around here:

I found about the project after having just got up, made the bed and got dressed.

Yup, that's me. With my hair freshly put up for the day.
While I cleaned, Oath watched some cartoons. I admit that every once in a while I stopped and watched a bit with him, too.
Time to start lunch! The pot was about to start a boil.
Partner was home: time for lunch!
With the kid down for the first (and, yesterday, only! yikes!) nap, it was time for a bit of computer time.

Video chat with my little sister. Oath was still asleep and the time passed by like a blur.
Oath had a surprisingly calm day, so while he played by himself I gave in to my newly resurrected obsession: Dungeon Siege!
Mid-afternoon snack time. And orange for me, a banana, pear and orange juice mix for Oath.
Tickling my boy and loving his giggles!
The timer found me longingly looking at the cured ham we were gifted for Christmas, and wishing I knew how to slice it.
After refusing to be put down to sleep, Oath was only interested in emptying my purse.
Finally alone, I decided on chicken nuggets and cheese fingers for dinner. A little pleasure.
Just took a sip of water. That was my second bottle refill for the day! Yay for drinking more!
I waited until the half hour struck to go to bed, just so I could take this one. Pajamas on, sleepy eyes... Good night!

I wish I had taken all photos in an horizontal format, because the 14:30 is bothering me. Oh, well. It's too late to change it, isn't it?

Now, believe me when I say that my usual days involve much more cleaning, much more Oath playing and way less computer time. Taking photos at every :30 seemed to capture just my lazy moments, but I promise I was more productive than that!

You can see my days start late and also end late, that lunch is our main meal and got to see a glimpse of me and my boy... so I guess you get to know me a little bit better!

If you join this challenge, please let me know! I love seeing all those different days and life through a handful of photos.

Oath's Mom

Friday, February 1, 2013

February plan

February is here! Time for a new monthly plan for my Ready, steady, clean! 2013 plan.

This month that's just beginning is my kid's room month, so all my efforts will go towards that room in my home. Which, incidentally, is also our guest restroom, and my sister is coming towards the end of the month, so I have less than 28 days to turn it from a storage room into a decent bedroom!

The facts:
  • The kid's room is a mess because:
    • Oath sleeps in our room, so he's never used "his" room.
    • We have no dryer, and no clothesline outside, so the clothes rack lives in that room and is used constantly.
    • I still haven't stored all the clothes that Oath no longer fits in. So, they live on the guest bed, and on the unused desk there, and in the now no longer used pram... So, a mess of clothes is everywhere.
    • The stroller also lives there, because it has no place anywhere in the house... nor is there space to park it anywhere else. The joys of a small flat...
  • We need a guest bedroom soon enough!

The plan:
  • Store the kid's clothes and bring them to the storage room, or to my in-laws, or somewhere they do not add to the mess in this room.
  • While I'm at it, organize the clothes that still fit him and the next size, so the closet stops trying to spill its guts onto the room's floor.
  • Organize the other side of the closet, with all the shoes and suitcases and coats.
  • Get rid of the desk and all the things on it. At least, of the things on it.
  • Keep the laundry routine going, closing the clothes' rack if the clothes are dry and the next load is not ready. It does not solve the problem, but at least some days it will look like the problem does not exist.
  • Clean! Sweep, vacuum, mop, dust. While I am at it, clean the window too.
  • Change the bed sheets, and make the beds.
  • Review the plans, see what worked and what didn't. Post. 

What are your plans for this month?
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