Sunday, August 31, 2008

Grateful Sunday

I am grateful for
  • the 3 day weekend - yeah!
  • my sweet children and their cuddles throughout the day
  • good friends who we can just be normal around - no pretense, those are the best relationships.
  • my nephew's blessing date doesn't conflict with my relatives coming to visit.
  • blogging friends and all your comments.

School starts Thursday, Tom's birthday is Tuesday - I love it when we have a fun weekend to look forward to. Have a great week!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Our "Drop Zone"

Because we live in a newly built house, we have A LOT of projects to make it our own. We have a 3 car expanded garage, which is quite huge and we have plans for a mini mud room to be built along the back, but for right now - this is what works for us.

This is the view coming in from the garage. We got the floor runner a couple of years ago as a set from a friend. We love the 8x10 and it is in our living room, but I never knew what to do with this. Right now, it keeps all the dirt off the carpet. The basket holds our shoes, and it works fine (not great) as long as I, personally, keep my shoes out of it - it fills up too quickly. I got the whiteboard from Hobby Lobby and had my friend put on the vinyl lettering. The hooks are designated and right now are holding their church bags, soon they'll hold backbacks or jackets, etc. The whiteboard is where I write down our chores for the day. They love to check it in the morning, or sometimes I let them write on it. What a treat. I' d like to put a big clock over it. The laundry room is to the right. At first, I thought I wanted the laundry room upstairs, which would be nice but didn't come with our model. But now, it's great having it off the garage - there is a big utility sink and that is where all the dirt goes before going in the house. There are over the door hooks, and we put our wet swimming towels on it, or wet snowsuits. What else is missing? Maybe a bench to sit on, but I don't think there is enough room. What do you do for a drop zone? I am ALWAYS looking for ways to improve.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ogranizing Children's Books

I love to read and I love to read to my children and I love it when my children read. Because of this, we have books - lots of books. Before I. was born, I taught 1st grade and accumulated many children's books. Now, with the book orders that come home, it's hard to pass up a 99 cent book! I noticed, though, that my kids always grabbed their favorite ones and there were so many that were never looked at. My solution: get 12 magazine files and label them for each month of the year. Then I sorted the books into the boxes - the Halloween books are in October, there are spring books in April, etc. I filled up the boxes. We grab the box for that month on the first of the month, and both kids love going through the box and seeing which "new" books we are going to read this month. If I didn't do this, I'm pretty sure we would have never discovered how much we like learning about bugs, or Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. We would always be reading I Spy or Kevin Henkes books.

Not all our books fit in the boxes. We left our favorite ones on the bookshelf - the ones we can grab any time. The bottom shelf holds our board books - so M. can grab them.

We also have a basket that floats around the house, right now it is on our landing that has all the Easy Readers in it. I got them out from my teacher boxes about 2 years ago, and daily, I'll catch someone reading them. Mostly, I. reads them to G. and he loves them.

Because that isn't enough, we go to the library every couple of weeks. We have a Library Bag, specifically for Library Books and a hook in each child's room where the bag hangs from. ( I plan on painting this room - but inside projects are for the winter).

I don't alphabetize them, or categorize them. I just believe the more accessilbe they are, the more everyone will read them. Tom would say this isn't "truly" organized, but that is the perfectionist in him. I'm not a perfectionist, just a mom who likes things in order and this is what works for us. I can't wait until we get our office built- I've been hinting to Tom that I want floor to ceiling bookshelves flanking the window and a bench under the window to read on.

Just thought I'd pass it on. How do you deal with books?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Grateful Sunday

G's "cool face"
G's silly face

This Sunday, I am thankful for:

  • the 9 years I've spent being married to Tom (and the 2 1/2 years we dated before that). We just had out anniversary, and Tom is my dearest friend.
  • In the past 9 years, we've lived in 4 different places, have worked with 3 different companies, 2 different elementary schools, had 3 kids, and the list goes on and on - we make a good team and can roll with the punches fairly well.

    My geraniums, which I had given up for dead, totally neglected it - is now sprouting more flowers - it's a miracle, but it is pretty and I like it.

    Sabruna - introduced me to chips and salsa with cottage cheese and I've eaten it every day for lunch, it's delicious!

This upcoming week, I've got some back to school posts planned. Not that I consider myself an expert, but it's a communal thing - I'll show you what you do, you tell me what you do and maybe we all get something out of it. Yeah!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Welcome Ade!

My sister had her baby - Ade Kesler Lewis. We are so excited - it makes 4 little McCain babies born within a year. I had to quick send something, so these shirts are coming her way.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What to do?

I love this fabric by Alexander Henry (it is copyrighted so I can't copy it, just post a link to get you there): I think I need to make something with it, but what? OK - all you friends out there, what's your suggestion? The kids already have blankets and pillow cases, anything else?

Can't wait to hear what you have to say.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


We went to the Butterfly Pavillion this morning, which was highly educational. We actually had a pretty good time. Here's some random shots:

That's all.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Grateful Sunday

The Olympics started and we watched Phelps win his first gold medal! Go USA - I love it!

Today I'm grateful for:

  • My running partner - we did it! We finished our half marathon yesterday. We ran the whole way, only stopping for drinks, but never to walk. It was more fun to have someone to talk to and try to take your mind off of the blisters forming! It was fun - yes, I did use that word and I am kind of sad it's over. We'll see what my next run is.

  • My husband that got all three kids up and dressed and in the car to drive for an hour to wait and watch for a few minutes of celebration, to then get back in the car and drive home. He did it and it was very important to me to see those smiley faces right at the finish line!

  • No one told me I was too crazy for my organizing post! In fact, I might be able to help others out - email me if you have anything I can help you with, I'd love to help.

We've got a fun week - hope you do too.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Why "Ducks in a Row?"

What a funny name! I've been asked why I picked that name. Well, let me explain. The free dictionary online defines the phrase as "to organize things well." There, for those who don't know me, that is what I am daily striving for! I love organizing. There, I said it. I crave order and get a little crabby when things aren't in order. I'd rather organize my closet, than go shopping to fill it. I hardly buy anything without knowing exactly where it is going to go or buying a container to put it in. I don't know when this obsession started. Surely, there might be many of you stalkers out there reading this thinking that I'm not that organized, which is also true. It's something I strive for. I started reading a couple years ago, and actually implemented several of the ideas. From there, it just grew. Throw in a move, a new house, a baby and now it has become a way of survival. My husband rolls his eyes when he sees that I've bought new bins - but secretly I think he loves going down to the basement and seeing them all in a row. He laughs that I buy things just so I have something to organize. He teases me that we have more Rubbermaid Bins than anyone on the block. But he loves that there is a place for everything and everything has a place!

So far, this blog has very little about my organizing habits. I think I might try to add a little bit of what works for us here and there. Take it for what it is worth - I've tried a lot of things, so when I find something that works, it usually has been really tested. My first must have: a label maker!! I bought mine for $30 at Costco and fell in love. I love that all my bins have a uniformed label. I love that the label has gone through the dishwasher and still stayed on! I love that I can pull it off without it leaving gooey stuff. The toys are labeled, the pantry is labeled, my piano music boxes are labeled, even the refrigerator is labeled. Now, my kids help me put away the groceries and know right where I would like them, and they can also get out things themselves and know where things should be. Now when we have friends over for a playdate, they can help clean up and know where things go - and also all the bins don't have to be dumped out just so they can find the cymbals ( a favorite toy). I love the label maker and Tom actually asked me if I could put a label on the baby trees he planted (It's a big deal when I've convinced Tom that what I'm doing, even if it is different than what he grew up with, is worthwhile).
So, ducks in a row - there, you have it!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Grateful Sunday

Yeah - it's August. My kids said "what happens in August?" They were so excited for a new month, but I had to break it to them that nothing happens in August - no holidays, just a long hot month. But . . . yeah, the Olympics start this month and we LOVE the Olympics in our family. I. has taken gymnastics for the past year, and I can't wait to watch them with her. Today, I am grateful for:

  • The help that moved this into our back yard (that is 40,000 pounds of concrete wall blocks waiting to be made into a wall).

  • We went out for dinner last night and everyone had fun with the babysitter. Any time I have left my baby in the past, I get the report that she cried the whole time. It makes it very difficult to leave - but last night, she cried for 10 minutes and then had fun. We got home before anyone had to go to bed and everyone, including the babysitter, was happy!
  • That I don't live in Phoenix - sorry dear family and friends that are stuck there. We think 90 is hot and I can't believe I used to go out and play in it and didn't think it really got hot until it was over 100!
  • Swimming and Dinner at the pool - so fun. Swim until we're tired, shower and wash hair at the pool, slip into PJS, and come home and fall into bed. I love it - so fun.
  • My sweet birthday girl, she makes me smile.

Hope you all have a great week - we will!

Friday, August 1, 2008

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