Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Interview With Peter Walsh

OK - either my computer isn't cooperating, or I'm just an idiot. Here's Peter Walsh answering my questions:

If that doesn't work, try this link. Peter was so nice and friendly, plus he's good at what he does - real good. You could tell he was having fun, and enjoyed what he does. I love that. I don't know how they found me, but I am so happy I was included!

Thanks Peter - if you need my help for an Oprah show, I'm always available!

FYI Peter Walsh is a nationally renowned expert in organizational design and living, best-selling author and TV personality. Peter teaches people how to declutter their minds, homes and offices to improve their lives and personal spaces. His unique approach to clutter confronts the emotional and design obstacles behind the toughest organizational challenges with practical, easy-to-manage solutions. His talent and organizational philosophy have been embraced by consumers and media alike. Peter is now a regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show where he provides expert advice for combating clutter and host on Oprah & Friends Sirius XM Radio. Peter is also OfficeMax’s exclusive workplace clutter expert who has designed two organization collections for the company. In the coming months, Peter will have his own program, The Peter Walsh Project, on The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Peter also appears regularly on Clean Sweep on Discovery's TLC Network.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Peter Walsh!!

Are you as big of a fan of Peter Walsh as I am?

Peter is launching a collection through Office Max called You.Organized. Today, he had an interview session and invited a bunch of bloggers to ask questions relating to home office organization. I was absolutely THRILLED to be asked to participate, as well as a little terrified! I mean, this is Peter Walsh!

I'm still working on the video, and while I'm doing that I wanted to pass on some of his tips.

Workspace Organization Tips & Inspirations from Peter Walsh ·

Desktop Organization: There’s no faster way to inspire an immediate change in attitude than with an uncluttered, clear and pristine desk. Think of your desk as a reflection of your head. No matter how creative and brilliant you are, you’ll perform better with an organized desk. You shouldn't’ have anything on your desk that isn’t “active,” meaning it still needs to be dealt with.

To-Do Lists: When writing a to-do list, group alike tasks together such as making calls or running errands to increase efficiency. But avoid getting overwhelmed with your workload by breaking it into small, manageable tasks. Write to-do list items on individual sticky notes and put them on a wall calendar. Rearrange them as your priorities change. At the end of the day, review your checklist and cross off completed items. Move any pending items to a fresh list for tomorrow.·

Paper Clutter: Deal with new papers first. No matter how high the old piles are, begin by devising a system for the new arrivals. Decide immediately what to do with each piece of paper that comes across your desk. Do not postpone these decisions. Paper piles are messy monuments to a long series of small procrastinations. Once you are faithfully dealing with new papers in a systematic way, haul out all unfiled older papers and take them through your new system.·

Filing: Use a vertical file organizer for “active” files. Reserve your desk inbox for items that need to be dealt with pronto. Name your file folders with nouns. Use the ones that first pop into your mind when you need the material. Banish the concept of a miscellaneous file from your life. If something is worth putting in a file folder, it’s worth putting in a folder than has a specific label.

Binders: For travel, business and leisure create a different binder devoted to your important documents. For example, when creating a travel binder, include pocketed folders to store airline tickets and receipts, a contact section storing important phone numbers, and a location portion highlighting hot spots and destination details.

Calendars: You might feel like multiple schedules lead to more confusion. For a little planning relief, combine home and work calendars. Simply choose various colors to mark important dates: one for professional tasks and meetings, one for personal appointments, one for social engagements, one for your children’s activities, and so on.

Cork Boards & Sticky Boards: No need to hang lists, phone numbers and reminders all over your cubicle walls. Instead, create a one-stop message center with a cork or sticky board. Hang your daily to-do list, phone numbers, and a weekly calendar of events and meetings. That way, you’ll have all your need-to-know information in front of you.

Email: Stay on top of your electronic inbox. Check email when you arrive, and immediately sort each message into an appropriate folder. Even if you don’t have time to deal with the contents of a message or even read it fully, sort it for later action.

Closing Thoughts: Remember that your desk sends a clear signal about who you are and how you approach your work. You should have an organized desk at the start and finish of every day!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Work in Progress

I'm attempting to turn this:

Into this:

It is intmidating - it is a project that I'm trying to get the motivation to just go for it.  I don't want to mess it up.
I am armed, though.  
I've got:

See you on the other side!
PS - family and friends, I have started a family blog to replace my journals HERE

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Grateful Sunday

I'm home from church with two little sickos . . . sigh. This weekend we have had the craziest weather and I'm not sure the daffodils that brought us such happiness are going to make it.

Today I am grateful for:

tulips popping up behind the daffodils

Disney's CARS movie - still entertains all my kids on these sick days

friends who are so kind and supportive to me and my kiddos

a good sudoku puzzle

my faith and the peace it brings me - especially when our lives get so busy that we can barely catch our breath.

What are you grateful for?

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone. ~G.B. Stern

Monday, April 19, 2010

Life's Good

My daffodils have started blooming

I think there are more this year than last year! Could that really happen without planting more?

G. goes and checks them every time we pull into our home - they are there to greet us and they make everyone happy.

The tulips have busted through the ground and the delphiniums are making a come back!

Everything is blooming - the lilacs have leaves, the forsythias brighten our backyard, the flower garden we started last year is turning green, the pear tree is flowering - even the broccoli I started is ready to get transplanted in the garden (no luck with the tomatoes and peppers - but after talking to others, that was to be expected. It was worth a shot). We (I mean, Tom) shoveled a truck full of soil into our raised garden this weekend. Life is good.
Oh, and we ate all these in about 3 days!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Grateful Sunday

I am grateful for:

  • sunshine!

  • my husband is back in town

  • I'm registered to run the Bolder Boulder again this year, and although my BFF/running partner is due with her third child at that time and will not be running it, my friends came through and there are a bunch of us running it this year! It will be so fun. (There is no excuse for you this year - F.C. or Emily!)

  • Smelly lotion and body gel.

  • pictures for me drawn by my kiddos with TO MOM written in their adorable handwriting.

What are you grateful for?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Dishing It"

I'm linking up to Serenity Now's Dishing It party - what a fun way to meet new bloggers. I'm late, it's seems like that's normal this week.

How long have you been blogging? I started this blog a little over 2 years ago - it's ancient in bloggy years!

Why did you start blogging? At first, this blog was a way to communicate with my sister. After my sewing machine broke down, and we decided to go for a machine that sews and embroiders, I started doing a lot more sewing. We also have a new home, and I love working on it. My blog became a way to keep track of our progress and to receive inspiration.

Tell me about your blog's title. Why did you choose it? My blog is called "Ducks in a Row"- an idiom meaning "to organize things well." I love organizing, putting labels on, throwing things out, and usually share what I do on this blog. Here's a post that I wrote about this at the very beginning of my blog.
What do you blog about? Lots of things - I'm not sure you categorize me into one group. I share my organizing tips. I often will share things I have sewn. I love to decorate and work on my home and love to blog about that. Occasionally you'll get a yummy recipe or a freezer meal. We've been landscaping our backyard for three years, and I hope to have some progress there to blog about. Every Sunday, I write a Grateful Sunday post - it has changed my life.

What is your favorite thing about blogging? Hands down, the blogging community. I love the feedback. I love that there are other like-minded friends out there.

If you had to choose one famous person to become your blog's next devoted reader, who would you pick? Easy - Martha Stewart.

What's the funniest comment you've ever received on a blog post? Any comment from my sister - Arizona Lewis. Maybe it's just funny to me, though.

There you have it, a little about me. Now it's my turn to ask a question. What type of posts do you like to read here? Just wondering . .
PS - all images from various photographers on etsy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On Being a Stay At Home Mom

Before we were even married, Tom and I both knew that we wanted to have me stay at home with our future kids and raise them. It wasn't even a question. When I. arrived, Tom and I made sacrifices in order for me to stay at home and live off of one salary. We are still making several sacrifices and don't expect to have it all. We do without often. We know we made a choice and are extremely happy with our choice. I also know that we are fortunate enough to be able to make it work.
I LOVE being at home - and it seems as if that isn't acceptable. It seems that the image of a stay at home mom is a stressed out women, who can barely keep it together, and can't wait to get away. She finds happiness outside the home - at the gym, a kids free restaurant, at girls nights out. . . . I asked my friend to help me think of a TV mom, that doesn't work, that is portrayed as someone who has a great relationship with her kids and loves it. We were stumped. I see soceity showing that moms need "ME" time and that we are entitled to it. Please don't misunderstand me, I have my moments - but those are the extremes, not the normal. When I tuck my kids in bed at night, that's where I want to be. When we eat dinner around the table, that's where I want to be. It's where I choose to be.

I talked to my sister last week, who is a talented photographer. I asked her about her business, and she replied that while she loved it, she wasn't passionate about it. What she really was passionate about was raising her boys. I thought - I wish there were more moms like you.
So, I'll get off my soapbox. . . . it's just something I've been thinking a lot about lately. I think we need more positive role models of mothers from this generation - who are your inspirations?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Grateful Sunday

We had a week in Orlando for Spring Break with my mom and dad.

It's been a rough week trying to come off our vacation high - doesn't this happen to everyone?

Our trip was awesome. Just being able to spend a week with Tom AND Grandma and Grandpa made for happy kids - then add the Magic Kingdome to the mix. It was golden.They got along, played well with each other, were grateful, were dog tired, but seemed generally happy. What more could I hope for? We had an awesome resort to stay at, which was so nice when we didn't want to fight the Disney crowds.

I've got a great family - I could not be grateful enough.
Ummm. . . sorry if this is your backside.
So . . . now that we've already had a week to unwind, no excuses! Time to get back to the grindstone - I've got a garden waiting.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Trying Out My Green Thumb

I've gone on and on about our backyard - it's the biggest project we've ever taken . . . and if we're going to do something this big, it's going to be the way we want it and the price we want it. That price thing means we're doing it all ourselves, which means this is the fourth summer we've been in our home and I think our neighbors have been very patient with having to stare at mud. Spring is finally coming, and our first project in the backyard is to get our vegetable garden growing.

Last October, my husband built this. It's 186" x 88".

To say I've been obsessed about reading about vegetable gardens would be an understatement. I can't get enough. I've checked out books from the library, read blogs, asked around, and read the everything on the Douglas County Extension.

We first started out with a plan. After talking to the kids, we made a list of vegetables that we thought we'd like to try. The list included corn, beans, broccoli, tomatoes, beets, carrots, zuchinni, radishes, spinach, lettuce . . . .

Then, after reading and reading of course, I got out graph paper and came up with several sketches until we found one that we thought would work. A lot of tweaking, but Tom's an engineer and we had to make sure everything was properly spaced and in straight rows. At first I just drew a quick sketch, and now after I have my map, I'm glad we got it planned out.

I love reading about gardening from Thy Hand Hath Provided. She gives a great vegetable gardening 101 - perfect for a newbie like me. We downloaded their Spring Vegetable Planning PDF and have marked it up and think it's awesome! We have a calendar just for gardening where we are marking everything and the amounts of what we plant.

This week we made the newspaper pots and started our seedlings. This is the only south facing window we have, so we'll have to make due for some time. We've started tomatoes, peppers, and broccoli inside.

I have no idea if any of this is going to work - I really am hoping it will. Really really really hoping. Tom thinks I'm making it more complicated than it really is. I'm soaking up info like a sponge - so comment away and please bring on the tips!

This month our plan is to bring in a truckload of soil, and set up the drip system. We hope to be planting outside at the end of April.

This is just one of the many many many projects that are in our backyard! It's going to be a busy summer and hopefully we can get a lot done - we just need to get my cute hubby out of the office.

Monday, April 5, 2010

MacDougall Smoothie

This is how my babe and I start off our morning pretty much every morning. Since M. was diagnosed with her allergies, I've become the smoothie making queen!

There is no real measuring, but I'll try to come up with some approximations, and you can adapt the heck out of this - use fruits you like.

1 cup mixed berries - I buy them from Costco

1 banana
1 cup yogurt
1 huge handful of spinach - don't be afraid, the kiddos don't even notice it's in there!
1 scoop of protein powder

1 scoop of flax seed

Enough milk to make it runny - about 1 1/2 cups. M. likes it better when I use apple juice for the liquid, but I prefer milk.

Throw it in the blender and blend away. It makes about three servings.

Straws are necessary, candy cane cups are optional.

I make these about 5 times a week, and just use my Cuisinart blender that I bought at Costco over 5 years ago. I'd love a big fancy blender, but this one does the job.

This has become such a habit that a big hearty breakfast is usually too much for me. I usually work out in the early morning, so that also dampens my appetite. I rarely sit down to eat breakfast; I'm making lunches, pulling together homework folders, making beds, even teaching a piano lesson. I like having a breakfast that can come from room to room with me.

This is what helps me get through the morning - what do you do?

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