Saturday, February 27, 2010

Check out Tasty Planner's Website

My brother emailed me this website Tasty Planner about a week ago and I really like it!  It's an internet community of people that submit recipes, try each other's recipes out, and give feedback on them.  The cool part is that there's this section in there where you can choose the recipes you want and then click on 'create grocery list' and BAM it pulls out all the ingredients you need from each recipe.

I love it!

It saves me a tremendous amount of time writing down what I need for the week, all I do is hit print and cross off what I already have at home.

I don't know about you, but I love real recipes.  What I mean is, even though I take a stab at some of the recipes available online, most turn out to be gourmet and have ingredients that I've never heard of.  That's all great for a special occasion, but for everyday dinners, I don't really need fancy, just healthy and edible.  This website is definitely not like that!  Check it out and tell me what you think!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Living the Optimist's Creed

As I've mentioned before, I'm working day by day not only organizing my life, but my soul as well.  One of the things that I keep in mind on my most insane days as I work my way back to some sort of sanity is The Optimist Creed.  Since taking baby steps works better for me than jumping right in, I focus on one line a day.  Here it goes:

The Optimist Creed by Christian D. Larson

Promise Yourself ...
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature you meet.

To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud word, but in great deeds.

To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

Trying to successfully do even one ALL the time is hard enough for a pessimist like me, not that I'm a bad person, but for me, the glass is always half empty.  I love this poem (I have it on my desktop) because no matter how hard I am on myself, I know that tomorrow is another day and starting over is okay.  One of my teachers once told me an old saying to live by to make me see how difficult it is to walk the fine line of unselfishness/selfishness/selflessness is:

You can please some of the people, some of the time,
some of the people, all of the time,
but you can't please all of the people, all of the time.

So no matter what you do or how hard you try to please everyone, it really means nothing if you can't please yourself first.  I've always thought of this as selfish, but sometimes being selfish and putting yourself first is the only way you can put others first without losing who you are.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Emma Bleu Designs Coming Soon to Etsy!

Can you believe it?  I'm almost done constructing my Etsy account, but I couldn't wait to give you all a preview of one of my products.

I showed this to my sister and she just about died!!!  She's already picked out her fabric!  The picture really doesn't do it justice.  Anyhoo, it's a must have for all mommies...or those that are accident prone :).  What is it?  A mini-emergency kit for your purse or glovebox.  Pretty isn't it?  It holds tons of band-aids and alcohol wipes...okay, okay...not tons, but if you really need so many band-aids you probably need to go to the hospital!  It holds about 3-4 in each row, it's trifold with a velcro closure and a cute decorative button on the outside. 

I gave one of these to my daughter's softball Team Mom last season (they have to have an emergency kit available for small scrapes and cuts) and she kept it after the season to use as a girly (feminine product) holder.  I thought that was a great idea and it's perfect, so instead of dragging your whole purse to the bathroom, you can discreetly put this in your pocket and no one's the wiser!

I love it!

For those of you wondering what's with the name, why Emma Bleu Designs?  Well, if I would've had it my way, that's what I would've named one of my daughters.  However, my hubby quickly dismissed that see...our last name is Gil.  Yup!  It's cruel, but it sounds so cute!  Imagine, Emma Bleu Gil...  My hubby was quick to point out how mean kids can be and what kind of fishy jokes can come out of that name, so, it was tossed.  But, since this baby is all mine.....I decided to name it Emma Bleu Designs.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

15 Minute Cleaning Routine

Okay, I know, we all hate cleaning!  However, I've realized that it's a chore that's never done and never stays done, so I might as well find ways to make it fun.  I know, fun and cleaning don't normally go together, but I'm going to try new things to make them. 

Although I have a great routine in place, I've noticed that I'm doing most of the work!!!  What can I do to have my kids join in the fun?  I decided to make cleaning a race...I don't know if it'll work or for how long...but what the heck, why not?  Here's the thing, my girls are still young enough to be tricked into playing games...LOL!

The object of the game is to get them excited about helping me clean. The rule is that everyone must participate.  The incentive (for me), is that I'm not doing all the cleaning by myself.  Hopefully, once they get into the routine, they'll learn how to clean up after themselves.  I know it'll probably take some tweaking to get it just right, but I'm sure either way, we'll have tons of fun.

Since their attention spans are short, I going to start with 5 minutes of cleaning in each room.  I figure with three of us cleaning, it's still a total of 15 minutes of cleaning.  If I get them to concentrate on three rooms a day, we'll each have cleaned for 15 minutes a day.  I'll be using my microwave timer for now, but I found this really cute (really expensive) timer that I'm sure will motivate them (if they each get to play with it).  I just ordered it and no, I don't normally spend so much on something so small, but an indulgence now and then helps jump start new projects.

                                     *image courtesy of Amazon

Friday, February 19, 2010

10 Fun Facts about Roscoe

P.U.G. = Pretty UGly - this perfectly describes Roscoe...

Fun facts:

 #1 - Roscoe is a snorer!  My hubby literally has to get up a few times a night to wake up Roscoe due to his snoring, he's louder than him!

#2 - When he wags his curly tail, it looks like his right blinker is on.

#3 - As with all pugs, his neck is bigger than his head.  We learned this the hard way when we first started taking him out for walks and his collar would just keep slipping right off.

#4 - This little booger can run!  But like a cheetah, he may be fast, but it doesn't take long for him to loose steam.

#5 - He loves to dress up!  We buy him teddy bear clothes (which fit him perfectly), it's much cheaper than doggie wear.

#6 - He has alien teeth.  I don't mean that they're weird looking or anything, but you know on the movie Aliens when the teeth come shooting out of the mouth to attack?  Well, that's Roscoe...he attacked my sister and he didn't even flinch, his teeth just came shooting out of his mouth and caught her!  LOL!

#7 - He drinks from a doggie water bottle.  We tried a water bowl, but he kept on drowning his short nose in it!

#8 - He's very sensitive, he cries when you cry.

#9 - He thinks he's a snow dog.  Every time we slap the leash on him, he thinks he's about to run the Iditarod and takes off.

#10 - He likes to be tucked in every night.  If I don't toss his blanket over him before I go to bed, he'll whimper and sigh all night until I do.

P.S.  One of the fun facts about pugs that I hope my Roscoe never has to go through is that if you hug a pug too tight, his eyes can pop right out of his head!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

CD Scrapbooking

I don't have time to scrapbook as much as I used to.  I would work on one page for hours trying to get it just right.  For those of you that are scrapbookers, you know what I mean.  So I wanted to share with you all my current scrapbooking scrapbooking.
I had so many empty cd cases laying around, it felt wasteful just to throw them away and I knew eventually I would find a use for them.  In the cover flap of the cd case, I placed the invite I sent out for my girl's birthday party.  I keep the orignial invite anyway and it was a great way to label this particular scrapbook.

As you can tell it was a safari themed birthday party and we had a mobile zoo come to the house with exotic animals.  When you open the scrapbook, you can see that I took out the black insert that the cd lays on, giving me more room to place pictures in it.  You can't really see it from any of these angles, but behind one of the pictures I hid a pocket to place the cd that had a complete set of pictures of that day.

I love it because it was quick, small enough for little hands, and it's personalized for my girls; they love taking it to show-and-tell.

I'm working on pre-made scrapbooks to put in my Etsy store (as soon as it's up and running).  I'll update you all when they're available.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Are Your Flowers Dead Yet?

All things die eventually.  However, can't Valentine's Day flowers last a little longer?  I know it really depends on when and where flowers are bought and how they were prepared, but seriously two days?  Ok, ok, I know I should be grateful that after so many years of marriage, at least I'm still getting flowers, BUT can I at least enjoy them!?!

When we first got married, I got bouquets once a month.  The girls at work expected them more than I did and as soon as they'd arrive, they'd all take a single bloom to enjoy at their desk.  They would beg me to have my hubby give romance lessons to their hubbies all the time.  Then seven years later, we decided to expand our family and with a difficult pregnancy, I was placed on bed rest and the flowers stopped coming.  As soon as I returned to work however, they continued to come and I loved it.  But as with all good things, this too came to an end.  The flowers started to come less frequently, then only on special occasions, and as the years went by, they no longer came on special occasions, but the day after...  And now that I'm home full-time, I'm lucky if I get flowers from my own garden!

It's true we've cut back on costs, but just because I'm a mom, doesn't mean I don't want to be romanced!  And now what do I get?  ...dead flowers!  LOL!  I love it!  I love my hubby and I know he desperately tries to be as romantic as before, but with two girls to chase after all day, it's hard sometimes for either one of us to find our romantic ol' selves.  Either way as my hubby now knows, I'd rather get dead flowers then to only get flowers after I'm dead!  Hmmm... does dead flowers = dead romance....NAH!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love is in the Air...

Honestly, I'm pretty much anti-valentine's day. Not that I don't love love, it's just that we should love those in our life on a daily basis and not on one lonely designated day in February. Needless to say, we didn't do anything traditionally Valentine's Day-ish, we did however, have a great family day!

 First, we made our way towards downtown Los Angeles and pit stopped at Olvera Street for breakfast. We usually eat at a different restaurant each time and this time we stopped in at La Golondrina, a great little Mexican restaurant. My hubby tried suckling pig for the first time and I tried the mole enchiladas (delish!), the girls played it safe and just had some scrambled eggs. Afterwards, we lit a candle at the Placita Church across the street and hopped on the freeway making our way to the LA Zoo.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I'm a HUGE animal lover! So frequent visits to the zoo are a must with me, especially since my gorillas have made their way back. Yes, gorillas are my favorite! They had been gone for about 3 or 4 years while their new habitat was under construction, but now they're back!!! My favorite is baby Glenda, she's a handful and you can tell Kelly (her silverback daddy) keeps a close eye on her. My hubby laughs at me because every time we go to see my gorillas (which is often), I can name all of them by sight. He'll usually walk around the zoo with the girls to see the other animals and I'll sit for a while with my friends (yes, the gorillas). This time however, we made our way through the whole zoo, start to finish. It was a snow weekend for some of the animals, so it was great to see them playing, digging, and eating the snow in their habitats. The snow leopards were fun to watch, it's almost as if they knew it was Valentine's Day, they spent the day hugging and licking each other and jumping around in the snow. My dream vacation of course would be a gorilla safari in Africa, but until then, the LA Zoo will do.
We finished off our day with some great drive-thru food for dinner and cuddling on the couch, watching T.V. until we all fell asleep. For being so anti-valentine's day, I still found our day to be filled with love!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Los Angeles Organizing Awards

            * courtesy of The Los Angeles Organizing Awards

This is just a quick blurp and proof to my hubby that I’m not so insane. I just found this website promoting organizing by giving awards for them!!! We just missed the 2010 awards, but so help me, if he’s not on board with me by next year, you better bet I’ll be dragging him to the awards next year! :)

Organization is a Mid-Life Crisis?

For the sake of my hubby’s sanity, I revisited my whole “organize my life” plan this week. You know what? I’m not as crazy as he thinks. Almost everyone at some point goes through some type of mid-life crisis, identity crisis, and/or mental breakdown. I’m probably not to far away from any of those…lol… but for the sake of my sanity, I need to make a change for the better. Change isn’t something he takes too well, but guess what? He’s just going to have to find another way to stay sane; it’s not good to be so dependent on me for that….especially since my sanity is slipping! :)

Since he’s a visual learner, I decided to work on a family vision board. I’m thinking that if he can see the direction that I’m going in, he’ll understand exactly what I’m trying to do, and hopefully join in to make the process smoother. As I mentioned in my previous post, routines are a great way to keep on track. So I figure, if we make a routine as a family to accomplish one thing a week to get closer to our goals, the rewards will be that much sweeter!

If he really thinks about it, we’ve already started the ball rolling by reorganizing our finances. I don’t want organization or routine building to be something that needs to be done when things start to go south; I want to do it to prevent things from getting that far…if that makes sense. Not to mention, I have little girls to think of and God willing, they’ll eventually be running families and households of their own, what better tools can I give them than my examples?

The family vision board, as with all vision boards is a work in progress. I’m sure we’ll be adding things and taking things off along the way as we accomplish goals and think of new ones. I’ll be sure to post it as soon as I can get everyone in agreement of this year’s goals.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sticking to a Morning Routine

I've found that my easiest days are the days that have been started off right.  Anybody that knows me, knows I hate to be late to anything (school, work, church, etc.).  So starting off the day right and not having to rush around to keep from being late is my incentive to keeping the rest of my day on track.  I've been able to (thanks to FlyLady) work out my morning routine, keeping me on time, motivated, and productive.  By making simple and quick changes to my morning routine, I can now get more household chores done before even leaving the door to take the kids to school.  I used to only have to time to get dressed before rushing out the door and then I'd come home only to rush to make dinner and do as much as I could around the house before bed.  No wonder I was always so exhausted, all that rushing around and never getting much done!  Here's what my day consists of now:

-Stretching before getting out of bed to get my blood flowing (just a tiny bit of exercise)

-Hitting the bathroom to wash my face, brush my teeth and do hair and make-up. (while I'm here, I put in toilet cleaner and let it sit, then wipe down the sink after getting ready)

-while the girls eat breakfast, I put all my clean dishes away (the last thing I do before bed is wash dishes and put in a load of laundry), this makes cooking dinner easier since everything is put in its place

-since the laundry ran during the night, I can now place it in the dryer

-I swish the toilet and get dressed to take the girls to school

-by the time I get back, the laundry is done drying and now I can put it away


-run errands, pick up groceries, pick up girls and start dinner

Of course, these last couple of weeks I've sprinkled exercising in there and since I no longer go to work, I have more time available to me to get done what I need to get done.  But with two little girls, I never know when I'm going to fall behind.  It was really hard at first to build up a routine, but now that I have one, it's worked wonders keeping me on time throughout the day.  By doing light maintenance in the bathroom each morning, doing one load of laundry a day, cleaning the sink each night for the next day, and toting around my trusty laundry basket returning everything to it's place each evening, I accomplish more without even thinking about it than if I were to dedicate a day to completely cleaning the entire house.  I'm not perfect, nor have I perfected my cleaning routine, but by having a routine I've allowed myself to have a presentable house (not spotless), spend more time with my kids, and not feel unproductive.  Like I tell my husband, "if I want my tombstone to say that my house was spotless, I'd have a spotless house", but since being a mother and wife and spending time with my family matters to me most, having an 'ok' house is ok with me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Disney's Coming to Hawaii!

                                                                 *Courtesy of Hawaii Magazine

Two things I love the most are coming together, Hawaii and all things Disney!!!  I heard about this possibly happening a long time ago, but I try not to get too excited about things before I know they're really going to happen.  One of the benefits of being a Disneyland Annual Passholder and a Castaway Club Member is that you get the insider's scoop of events, vacations, and movies on the horizon.

Disney will be presenting the Aulani Disney Resort and Spa next fall (follow the link for full details).  We were lucky enough to pull together some money a few years ago and go on one of the Disney Cruises to the Bahamas and have been dying to do it again.  I had just gotten the news that Disney will be hosting cruises to Alaska & the Pacific Coast next summer 2011 leaving from the west coast, which is perfect since we live in Southern California.  So I started to budget and plan for our next Disney trip, even though we promised the girls Hawaii this summer.  With a Disney cruise this close (and no 5 hour plane ride), how could we pass up this opportunity!?!  Hawaii will always be there....and now Disney will be there too!  My dilemma is....we promised Hawaii this year, how do I break it to the girls?  Since we only do a major vacation every other year, our trip would've been this summer, but pushing it back a year will push my little ones over the edge and my sanity out the window! LOL!  Not to mention, we'd be pushing Hawaii back to 2013!

Knowing my work-a-holic hubby, he'll want to pay off bills for the next three years and have no vacations at all.  I've only been able to convince him of fresh air every now and then because we have kids and no matter which way we look at it, we're going to be in debt for a long time (kids, school, sweet sixteens, college, weddings, etc), so we might as well enjoy ourselves (and them).  If it were up to me, we'd be taking three big vacations, instead of choose one or another, but life is about compromising....sometimes!  I have yet to price out all of the choices, which I'm sure will be the deciding factor.  Until then, I can be happy knowing it's at least one or the other!!! ;)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Successfully using organizational tools

No matter what your organizational type is, using the right tools makes all the difference.  I know that we all have tools at our disposal that we just can't live without and having them makes all the difference. 

Take for example our vacuums, we all have them, we all use them, but using the right one for your workload can greatly change how you do household chores.  I just recently retired (burnt out) my 10 year old vacuum and had to replace it.  I couldn't believe how many types of different vacuums are on the market now and how much they cost!  Needless to say, I came home empty-handed to do some much needed research.  Because I have Roscoe, we have a pet hair problem, so I needed one that could handle a pet hair covered carpet, as well as still do all the other stuff vacuums do.  After tons of research, reading reviews, and changing my vacuum budget I bought a great vacuum that does everything I need it to do and more.  I have to say, it has made all the difference!  Having the right vacuum for the job has cut down my household cleaning by at least 30 minutes.

Having the right tools makes the work that much faster, not to mention, slightly fun! :)

Here's a list of three tools I can't live without:

1. FlipFold Board - I hate laundry, it's one of my least favorite chores.  However, by folding laundry faster with my FlipFold board, I've cut down laundry time by half, making it a bit more bearable.  Not to mention, they have a junior size for my kids to re-fold their laundry if need be.

2. Laundry baskets - As much as I use these for laundry, I have to admit I use them more for toting things around the house.  I have one for each of the girls and after they've gone to bed, I go through the house picking up their things, filling their basket, and taking it to their room.  They know that in the morning, part of their routine is to clean out their basket, putting their things away, and giving me back an empty basket.  I go to bed with a clean house and they go to school with a clean room, it's a win-win!

3. Bissell's Pet Hair Eraser vacuum - This is the one I was bragging about earlier.  One thing I forgot to mention is that this vacuum also works wonders on hard surfaces as well, not just carpet.

As much as my hubby hates it, I'm constantly on the prowl for the next new, fun, useful, and time saving tool to make household chores, less of a chore.  I'll keep you all updated on any new toys!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Aching muscles!

Like most people that start out a new workout regimen, I've over exerted myself! The number one reason people quit their new workout routine is because they over do-it, they let pain and fatigue set in and throw in the towel. I'm not quite there yet, but I am severely sore! But I expected this, so I had a pain plan in place.

1. Medication - I usually have anti-inflammatories readily available anyway due to neck pain (my atlas slips every now and then), so I make sure to have a stash in cases of emergency.

2. Vitamins - Back in the day when I did workout at the gym, a little old lady (that was in great shape) told me that the best way to beat post workout pain was a daily vitamin C pill.

3. Water - One of the reasons we take so long to get over achy muscles is because we let the toxins build in them, instead of flushing them out.

4. Stretching - Stretching out the sore muscles helps release those toxins to be able to be flushed out faster.

5. Epsom Salts - I love relaxing in my whirlpool tub, so this is a no-brainer for me.

6. Reiki - Before my hysterectomy a couple of summers ago, I took a class in this ancient technique of moving energy in the body to where it needs to be to naturally heal. It did wonders; I had the staples out by the third day after my surgery and was off the pain meds by the fourth! So having this in my pain management arsenal is my secret weapon.

7. Arnica - It's very much like Tiger Balm and Icy/Hot. It's an ointment that soothes pain. I don't use this often, unless I'm in tremendous pain because of the smell and it can stain clothes, but when I do use it, it works immediately.

With my pain plan in place, I have one less excuse to bail out on organizing my body. I figure that with less excuses in place, I'm giving myself more of a chance in succeeding with my workout plan. I'll let you all know how it goes, but until then, I'll be soaking in the tub! LOL!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chair Exercises from Dr. Oz

Check out these chair exercises from the Dr. Oz show!  I started doing these on Tuesday and I love them.  After the whole running incident, I decided to start with slow low impact exercises and these are a great way to start.  Even though they look easy (which they are), you still feel the burn and it's better than doing nothing.  I figure doing anything is better than doing nothing when it comes to exercising.

I further researched Flirty Girl Fitness which is the fitness crew that demonstrated these chair exercises on the Dr. Oz show.  I found their website along with a few exercise videos on YouTube and they really live up to their name!  A bit on the risque side, but definitely a growing trend in the exercise industry.  I had a friend that did the whole stripper pole exercise routine and she swore by the results, it's a full body workout.  Of course with two little girls at home, I really don't think I'll be putting in a stripper pole, plus it doesn't go with my!  For now, I'll be keeping to my low impact and slow running routine until I build up my cardio and endurance, but I thought I would share with everyone. Enjoy!

Monday, February 1, 2010

I almost had a heart attack!!!

Not really, but sort of. Okay, so I have to admit going from zero running to running isn't very smart. I mean, seriously, I'm not that out of shape, or so I thought. I walk alot and I don't easily get fatigued, but I don't make a focused effort to do alot of walking. I walk out of necessity and not for exercise. So here I am, working on week 2 of organizing my life and since I concentrated on eating healty last week, I though this week I'd work on continuing to organize my body by putting it in motion. At first my goal was to lose weight, but after my run today, I think I'm just going to work on not losing my breath.

I was so proud of myself today, I got all dressed up in my running gear, I streched out, and got Roscoe ready to take quick jog. Since he has short legs and quickly gets winded I thought that I was starting off slow by taking him along. Little did I know, he's more in shape than I am! I kid you not, it only took me only a minute to get winded!!! He looked at me like I was crazy and I'm sure it confused him to see me with my tongue out, panting, chest pounding, and pulling his leash to a stop, it's usually the other way around!!!

Needless to say, I'm taking the girls along for a brisk walk from now on. At least I can blame them for taking it! Well, only until I work on getting my cardio up to a point of not passing out. Top it all off, I think I got bruises on my chin (I'm a bit top heavy), I need to invest in a good sports bra! Who knew going for a run would be such an event!?!

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