Wednesday, May 30, 2012

everything but.

okay, so, i never cleaned out my closet. time is kind of getting away from me lately. but i have managed to start, and keep up with, some smaller ongoing "projects" instead.. to keep organized, uncluttered.

i've been trying to open any mail i get immediately, instead of letting it pile up for a week at a time. and i've been organizing any mail or magazines as i go.

i have made a point to make sure my lunch is packed before i go to bed at night.. and my outfit is (basically) picked out for the day ahead.

i love to-do lists, but i have been trying to limit my post-it notes and, instead, just do whatever it is when i am thinking of it. sometimes this is just not possible (i wish i could get everything done at one time), but i am making an honest effort to just do it.

i cleaned out my email, which was a small, yet rewarding, project. i deleted old emails i didn't need any longer, and made files for my emails based on the people who email me. i like having this little organizational system going on and i'm making sure to keep my inbox clutter-free.

did i mention i like filing? i went through my school and work documents, certifications, etc, and placed them in separate, labeled folders for safe keeping.

so, yes, the closet still has yet to be cleaned out. but i still have a day left in may, right? truth is, it might not get done this month, but i've decided that's okay. this month was a very productive, rewarding month. even with a still-messy, still-in-need-of-serious-help closet, i still managed to get just about everything else finished that i wanted to this month. and i have to say, it makes me pretty happy (and excited to see what june might hold).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

small smiles.

With a little help from the month of May, I decided to start yet another ongoing project (I hope I keep up with all of this…) Anyhow. I heard one of my professors say a while back that it might be a good idea to keep a list of the funny, or sweet, things that kids say. That way, on those not-so-good teaching days, you have something to make you laugh and smile and remind yourself why you are a teacher. I started my list (see below) and also found a box in which to put special memories from students. For instance, I have all the Valentine’s I received from my preschoolers this year, along with some of their very creative drawings. The plan is to print out my "kids saying" list, cut out the individual sayings and place them in the box as well… to be added to for years to come.
Some of my favorites…
If you eat 100 hot dogs in one day, you become a hot dog. If you eat a bird, you can fly.
You can come to my birthday party and God and the tooth fairy can come too.
I went to Pump it Up for my birthday – kid one. I went to Japan – kid two.
The devil is in my heart, and he makes me do bad things. Jesus is in there too, but the devil always wins.
You can have a play-date at my house, and we’ll play cars and watch V for Vendetta (a five-year old).
How’s your new baby sister? – me. She’s bad. She lets food come right back out of her mouth.
 “This is how we do it!” – singing Montell Jordan
Laughter. Smiles. And happiness. All from a small, yet very meaningful, little project, and all from small, yet very special, little people.

Monday, May 21, 2012

return to me.

I've had this weird fear for a while that one day, I’d go to check or update my blog, and it would all be gone. All the writings from the last three years. And, since I don’t have the entries saved anywhere else, they would be gone for good. So, for a while now, I’ve been telling myself to copy and paste each post and save or print everything. Until this weekend, though, I still hadn’t gotten around to doing it. This month inspired me to do it, to get it done.

So, I copied and pasted every entry, all 151 of them, into a word document for safe keeping. Then, I printed it all out, all 170 pages of it, placed every sheet in a plastic sheet cover and placed everything into a binder. For some reason, I’ve always loved looking through finished projects like that. When I’ve completed scrapbooks in the past, nothing quite compares to flipping through the entire book, page after page, and having it all there. Altogether. Now, I can do the same with my blog entries.
I noticed some changes over the years with the blog. At some point along the way, I apparently decided it was cooler to use a center format than to align the text to the left. I got really into adding pictures there for a while, and I remember taking good amounts of time trying to find the right one. I moved from using lyrics and quotes as my titles to coming up with them on my own, something I enjoy. I've had several different themes throughout the years, the happiness commandments, lessons learned, firsts, and now, back to the theme of happiness.
I promised myself I would keep up with this saving and printing routine, and I plan on it. Of course, now that I’ve tackled the biggest part of it, it will be easier to keep up with the smaller parts of keeping up.
It’s a pretty big deal to me, not to sound conceited. But it’s a good feeling knowing I’ve kept up with this blog for three years now. Sure, there have been weeks or months when I stopped writing. But I have always come back to it. And to me, it’s a pretty neat thing. A pretty happy thing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

a life's to do.

the closet is just going to have to wait.
about two years ago, i started a word document i titled bucket list. but the document didn't just contain my life's to-do list; instead, it also held different lists: the books i had read and the months in which i had finished them, recipes i had tried and when i had attempted them, and the dates on which i had completed any bucket list item. for instance, become a registered nurse, february 2008; buy my own first new car, april 2010; go to a major league baseball game, august 2010. then, there are the to-dos left to do: go zip-lining, read the Bible from cover to cover, make my own bread. though some items were one-time experiences and could be checked off, others were ongoing, like my book list, the recipe list, and my daily journal, which i tried to keep up with fairly regularly (for whatever reason, this mini journal found its way into this same document). for the past several months, though, i have gotten away from my bucket list, my book list, my recipe list and the daily journal. i wanted to get back into the habit of keeping up with these writings, and i figured this month, in the spirit of organizing and decluttering (apparently, uncluttering and uncluttered are not words), was the perfect time to do it.
so, i started looking over the bucket list to see if i had anything to check off since the last time i'd visited it, but i didn't have anything new to check off. i hadn't ridden in a hot air balloon or learned to drive a stick shift, and i still hadn't made my own pasta or traveled to italy. but that is okay with me. the list is there, and i have been checking it off since i created it, and i know i will continue to be able to check things off the list, and add more to it, as the days go by.
then, i updated my book list with the books i had finished this year, adding heart of the matter and falling together, and soon, i'd be adding the happiness project. they joined a list of wonderful books from the last couple years, including water for elephants, beach music, eat pray love, a moveable feast, the last song, and so many others (and a very special one, family remains). and i already had books in mind to add to the list, including baby proof and stern men (as well as the books picked out in my new book club). on a side note, it's been a real joy having the time to read so much lately, especially on these rainy afternoons, with the windows open and the rain falling down outside. anyway.
next, i decided to add to my recipe list, because there have been many new dishes i have tried in the last few months, and they most certainly needed to be on the list: roasted two-potato salad, artichoke and spinach grilled cheese, parmesan-crusted pork chops. who knows, may i might even add the low-calorie enchiladas (but probably not. i'd like to forget that cooking experience).
now, the daily journal. i have to say, when i was keeping up with it regularly, it was fairly easy to do and stick with. i wouldn't write complete, descriptive sentences; instead, i would just write a short sentence or two, pointing out the major highlights in any given day, and sometimes, i would include my favorite phrases from a conversation or an email. i always love looking back on those days. i stopped adding to the journal in november. there was no reason for it, other than a busy semester, and then the holidays, and then, well, i just got out of the habit. but i'd like to get back into writing in that journal more regularly. starting today. and today's "entry" goes a little something like this: had lunch with julie at olive garden after work, read the happiness project, went to our first book club meeting with meg and casey, thunderstorm... i know one day, i'll be glad to have these memories, these moments, to look back on, all the while adding to my book list and recipe list... my life list.
i also liked something i read in the happiness project about writing one sentence every day about the happiest moment of that day. i may decide to add that to my daily journal, i may not. either way, i am happy here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

get cooking.

once the school organizing project was over, i decided to tackle another project i've been meaning to start for a while. organizing recipes. after cutting out various recipes from food magazines and printing recipes that i've found online, i set about arranging the recipes. i found a small expandable file folder and made different sections, appetizers, sides, soups, salads, main courses, desserts, and placed the recipes in their proper place. i'm not sure what it is about having everything in its proper place, in neat categories and in one neat container that amuses me. but it does amuse me.

now, i know this is another fairly small project, just like cleaning out my purse. but it was a project i've been meaning to do for a long time, and it felt good to complete. or, i guess, get started. plus, i've never had a recipe book before, so it's also a good first. i usually just look up a recipe online and read the ingredients and directions off the screen as a cook. i think now, by having the recipes at hand, i'll be more likely to use them, and will be able to use them more easily. i'll also be more likely to cut out and print as i find interesting recipes, and will be able to add to the book for years to come.

i read something in the book the happiness project last night about how doing small projects, like organizing recipes, can help give you more energy and, ultimately, happiness. the projects may seem a bit tedious at the time (for instance, cutting out recipe after recipe), and maybe not be the most fun while you're doing it. but, when they are complete, you receive a sense of satisfaction. so, even though i've been fairly tired this week, with work and with these mini projects, in looking back on the last four days, i feel pretty happy with what i've gotten done, and i feel energized and excited to do more.
next? my closet. it is a wreck and is in desperate need of help. the clothes are smothering each other, my shoes are all over the place, and i've stored the most random things in there for years (all my old nursing school books, for example). i already know, once i finish cleaning my closet out and organizing it, that will also be another check on the list of furthered happiness.

Monday, May 7, 2012


may's theme is organization, and i'm pretty excited about it. i have to say, organizing makes me happy. unfortunately, when the school semesters get busy, stuff seems to get a bit unorganized. so, now that i have a little break from homework and studying, i decided it was time to tidy things up and sort, sort, sort. the first project? cleaning out my purse. not the most significant project of the month, but still, a very necessary one. my second clean-out project, however, was a bit more meaningful.

this afternoon, i tackled my school books and materials. thanks to several very nice people, i have been blessed with many children's books, teacher idea books, supplies and even bulletin board materials. i have also been adding to my own collection, complete with markers and crayons and stickers, and all things an elementary school teacher has to have. up until today, though, these things were, well, all over the place. my closet, the car, a kitchen basket. but now, i've found a spot in the basement for all my school goodies to go.

my favorite school goodies? all the books. i love books. i'd love to build a book fort and.. read in it. some of these are books i've been able to share with my preschoolers over the past year, and some are books i look forward to reading to children in the years to come.

having it all in one place is.. comforting. for whatever reason. i like having one corner of the house filled with all the things i'll need to teach elementary school one day. plus, it's nice to able to see it all. i know that sounds simple and silly, but it's true. back when i first decided to take on teaching, i kept thinking of all the books and materials i would need one day, and at that time, it seemed like it would be impossible to collect all that i needed. seeing it all together now, and knowing that the piles and collections are growing more and more, i am comforted knowing i will have all i need.  as i always do.

being able to see it all also gives me the chance to look back on the past year i've spent teaching preschool. i've learned a lot, including.. stickers are gold, kids will put anything in their noses and mouths (including mini craft pom poms, mulch and play-doh), giving a child his or her own pencil or pen equals happiness, markers are way cooler than crayons, dora the explorer and thomas the train equal immense happiness, repitition is key, three words: criss cross applesauce, full moons almost guarantee a whacky day, and nothing calms or quiets a group of three-, four- and five-year olds like a book. especially one that rhymes.

may has just begun and so has the organizing.. and the reminiscing that goes along with it.

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