Thursday, March 31, 2011


She asked. Nicely. Then she patted my cheek and said "They're my favourite" so how could I say no to my kid?!?!

So we have cookies at our house. Please come eat them.


Pork Chops and other beige foods

36.25 and 36.26 Try 50 new recipes

I don’t particularly like pork. So I don’t cook it. But I discovered that I was wrong last summer when my dad made yummy pork burgers. I like pork. What I don’t like is tough, dried out pork.

So I decided it was time for me to learn how to cook pork.

Easier said than done…

I picked up some boneless pork chops on special at the grocery store. I figured that if they were a disaster then at least it would be an inexpensive disaster. But once they were home I realized that boneless pork chops were probably not the best place to start. I asked the various cooks I know (in particular my mom and dad) how NOT to overcook pork chops and got some tips. The most prevalent tip was “FIND A RECIPE.” So I did. I broke out Alex’s copy of Jamie's Food Revolution, figuring if Jamie Oliver didn’t have a boneless pork chop recipe, then I was out of luck.

jamie oliver dinner
So, the end result might be a bit beige and brown, but these were so good. And so easy. And not tough. And didn’t overcook them. And J ate an entire one. And some of us had more than one. And some of us had random non-alcoholic German beer too.

cauliflower cheese
While I was cooking them, I realized that I hadn’t really thought beyond the pork chops and the mashed potatoes Alex requested. And because it was the day before grocery day, we were out of salad and most other vegetables. But I had a head of cauliflower. So, I decided to go with a second Jamie Oliver recipe: Cauliflower Cheese. I didn’t have quite all the ingredients (missing some bacon for sure, maybe some whole milk or cream or something) but it turned out anyway. I think the next time I’d follow the directions more closely (the bacon would make it divine!), but my alterations were fine too. Cauliflower Cheese is remarkably like macaroni and cheese…I haven’t had it since I lived in London. I love that Jamie Oliver has you add a “glug” of oil to the bread when you make bread crumbs and they’re delightfully crispy when the casserole is cooked.

YUMMY! I can’t wait to try more of his recipes!!

Australia - Wildlife


Postcard from Karenk from Australia

Description: Three of Australia's fascinating wild creatures. Left to right: the Dingo is a wild dog that came to Australia with seafarers about 3500 years ago; the Orange-eyed Tree-frog lives in the canopy of tropical rainfoests; the Koala eats only the leaves of certain eucalypt trees.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


One more day and I'm done...

It's been a challenge...but I've done it...I'm not sure if I'll do it again...

Germany - The Sistine Madonna


Postcard from doctorbrunja from Germany

Description: The Sistine Madonna (detail), vers 1513 - Raffaello Sanzio dit Raphaël



Postcard from Alice2882 from the USA

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


After my super productive night last night, I felt like I was very productive at work today.

But tonight? Not so much.

I got J into bed, load some laundry into the machine (and promptly forgot about it) and did nothing.

It was kind of nice.

But now I need to strain the broth in the stock pot, do the dishes, hang the laundry, make lunch, and get breakfast, oh, twelve minutes.

When I am going to learn to do the chores first and do nothing later?

The Netherlands - Cornelis Jetses


Postcard from Babette from the Netherlands

Description: Cornelis Jetses (1873-1955)/detail: Leesplankje

Monday, March 28, 2011

Nothing Elaborate

It's Monday. That means it's menu day (and I'm linking up with Laura at I'm an organizing junkie).

Last week's menu got moved, more than once! We did alright up to Thursday and then salmon just kept getting pushed back. I thought I'd switch things around and do pizzas on Friday and the meat and potatoes loaf on Sunday, but J was sick, so Alex picked up Chinese food on Friday. I made the loaf on Sunday and remembered why I don't make it very often - it used three mixing bowls, two smaller bowls, a pot (or two) my little food processor, and the regular sized many dishes. But it was yummy. Even J liked had "flat meatballs!"

This week I'm aiming for low maintenance foods - and ones I can make ahead!

Monday: leftover Meat and Potatoes Loaf

Tuesday: Mini Pizzas (from last week)

Wednesday: Chicken and White Bean Soup

Thursday: Mushroom Soup

Friday: Tuna Casserole (J picked out bug pasta...)

Saturday: Dinner with my in-laws

Sunday: Peanut Butter Chicken

What are you eating this week?


I've had a busy and productive night...tackled a few piles I've been ignoring, made muffins (need to make more...the bananas on the counter look very sad), did some chores, all to the sound of rain falling.

I love the sound of rain...except when I need the weather to be dry. But tonight it was the perfect accompaniment to a night of work...All this work organizing our home is going to pay off...because it will mean that hopefully sometime in the near future, instead of listing to the rain while I work, I'll be listening to the rain, curled up on the couch with my book and a cup of tea!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


We've been sorting through stuff and making piles and tossing stuff...because, almost three years after we moved in, we're ready to get our living room organized. J has been helping me put stuff in the garbage and the donate pile and has been fine with that. She even picked out some of her toys to donate.

But today we sold a piece of furniture. It has never fit well and most recently was a source of stubbed toes for all of us because it was IN THE WAY.

J helped us carry it outside to the lady's car and said goodbye. But tonight, at bedtime, we had a long conversation about why the lady took our stuff and how it was something that J really, really, really liked and how we were eventually going to get some great new stuff to replace it and no, the new stuff was not going to have a special treat (read: food) in it, but maybe it would be a place to keep toys. And the whole time all I could thing was, "I can't believe someone actually paid real money for that piece of junk..."

I wonder what else people will buy...

The IKEA Solution(s)

So, I mentioned that we ventured to IKEA last weekend…and came home with lots of STUFF. Tons and tons of stuff. But it meant I got to cross a few things off my 52 weeks of organizing list (for the 52 week challenge at I'm an Organizing Junkie).

Some of the stuff was used to make J’s bedroom a little tidier and some was used to corral J’s stuff and some is waiting. Because once again I jumped the gun and got a few steps ahead of myself in the organizing/sorting/decorating process. There are a couple of things I need to do first – like I bought a couple of things to hang at the front door, but first I need to move some furniture. But before I do that, I need to move some other furniture…etc. etc. etc.

I love the shelves we got J in the summer, but they are deep and tall and while I’d like them to look like this:

j's room in the summer
In reality, they usually look like this:

j's bookcase before
The books spilled out onto the floor. The toys spilled out onto the floor. UGH. Even when they were put away, they weren’t nice to look at because J usually just shoved them in the shelves.

So we got two things: bins and special shelf dividers.

j's bookcase after
This looks better. It’s easier to clean up. It’s great. The library books are all together in one bin. The few toys are in another bin. The other two bins have J’s books - they're in no particular order, but they all fit, spine up, so we can easily choose the books we want. She chose her “favourites” to put in the divider shelf and board books fit in this addition perfectly! I love how it looks!

We also got some Samla bins to corral art supplies, colouring stuff, and playdough. I love containers! I actually got four of each size, knowing I had purposes for three of the biggers ones, but figuring a could find a use for all of them. The bigger ones fit two stacked into an Expedit and that was something I considered when I picked them.

I used two of the smaller ones for her tea sets and they are the perfect size - everything (except for the tray) fits perfectly and they will work well when we get rid of the ugly black bookcase they're sitting on now and finally replace it with something more functional!

tea sets
(I forgot to take a before picture)

I used another small one to corral all the envelopes of pictures we have...they just need to be put into an album. I used the big ones for J's art supplies (up high - things like paint, markers, extra paper), J's personal art stuff (down low where she can get it - crayons, colouring books, sticker book), and playdough.

The playdough was pretty much all in one spot, but it was loose and not nice to look at.

playdough solution
Now it's binned and the bookcase (which will also be going away in the near future) looks much better. I didn't take pictures of the art stuff because it was literally strewn around the house. The box I don't want her get is on top of the playdough box and the other one is low, where she can get it (you can see it on the right side of the picture of the puzzles below). She loves it - she can get her colouring stuff out whenever she wants to colour and so far she's put the stuff away on her own...I'm sure THAT novelty will wear off!

Last week, I sorted the stuff above, but the other bins were still hanging around with no purpose.

j's stuff in the living room
As I contemplated J's stuff that was still hanging out in our living room, my brilliant two and a half year old said "Mommy, maybe the puzzles can go here." And put her puzzles in one of them.

After we did the puzzles, she asked for the last small one for her "special stuff" and found a place for it on the bookcase. She was a big help and very proud of herself.

j organizing
J organizing her things.

Back to the theme of puzzles, you can see this puzzle in the picture above. It was a pain - it came in a huge, heavy box with the accompanying book, but it wasn't an appropriate place to store either of them. We usually tried to stack it nicely but it inevitably tumbled all over the place. I tried it in a small container, but it was just too tall and too wide (that's the container J ended up using for her "special" stuff).

princess puzzle
Alex gave J his old lunch kit, and for a while she used it to cart stuffed animals around, but it's been abandoned for a while and I thought it might be time to get rid of...although, I felt bad doing that because Alex is not sentimental very often, but I think he was a bit sentimental about this...

lunch box
Look at how perfectly they fit and it closes up and they don't spill and J can carry the whole puzzle in one go (this was previously a source of great frustration for her). I love repurposing things!

Anyway, our IKEA trip turned out to be a success. There are a few more things that we picked up, but they're getting their own posts (on project isn't quite done) We’ll also be heading back to IKEA in the near future…stay tuned!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I can't wait for the sick winter to leave our house. I have high hopes that it will happen soon since it's finally spring! I spent two hours putting J to bed and went straight to bed myself. I was anticipating a long night. Looks like I might be in for it. I just spent 45 minutes settling her again...and realized, in the nick of time, that I hadn't posted today!

EDIT March 17 @ 8:22 am: And didn't post or even save this last night...just closed the computer. Talk about frazzled. Thank goodness for auto-save!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Russia - The Altai Mountains

Postcard from Russia from mentha_piperita

Description: Ak-Tru and Kurkurek Peaks. The Kurai Steppe.

I LOVE this picture. I really, really, really want to go to Russia and to the steppe.


I lost track of the number of days I've had to take off work or work from home since January a long time ago. This afternoon I got a call to come get J because she was sick...again.

And we spent a long time at the doctor's office.

And she still has a virus. Maybe it's the same one. Maybe it's not. But she just needs fluids and rest. And she can go back to daycare on Monday. But our weekend plans are thwarted...we were having our Stewart cousins over for dinner, but the doctor said no way to babies with no immune system hanging out with J....sigh...

Week 12: Daily Maintenance

I've figured out that maintenance is key...and that daily maintenance is the best's pretty obvious when J gets sick and I fall off the schedule....


Week twelve questions:

Tell me what got crossed off your list this past week, what you are hoping to cross off your list next week and what one habit you are going to put into place to ensure your newly organized spaces will be maintained.

I crossed three things off the list and they'll be up soon:
Edit stuffed animals again (with J's help)
Get clear plastic boxes for J's supplies - colouring, art, play dough - March 19, 2011
Get box inserts for J's bookcase

I've also managed to cut the laundry pile almost in half...I know once I get it down it will be easy to keep it that's just a matter of sticking to the plan Alex and I figured out.

This week I'm hoping to get J's room back together and the living room sorted out.

To keep the space organized, I'm going to add things that are missing to my list of before I go to bed stuff....

Yeah....and now, because once again I have a child who is under the weather, I'm going to bed so that I can spend my weekend getting organized.

Follow Up Friday - Email

I have no pictures today, but I somewhere recently (I can't find it) I did mention that I’d sorted out my work email...I got my inbox down to less than 20 messages and my sent box was clear. It was lovely. As I read email, I responded and filed it or deleted as necessary.

And then my kid got sick again.

And now there are almost 200 emails in the inbox and probably close to the same in the sent box. How did I get back here? Well, easy…I got overwhelmed by the number of emails when I came back to work after a weekend and an extra few days off due to the sick kid.

If J had been healthy would the state of my email be any better? WHO KNOWS!


What worked:
My filing system
Taking ten minutes at the end of the day to file any items that didn’t get filed while I was working on them

What didn’t work:
Being away for a longish period of time

So…I think my system works…for now…I find email is an ever evolving beast.

(I'll link up to The Home Organisation Project when Sarah posts a Follow Up Friday)

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Tomorrow is the weekend...I'm so glad. This week has felt so hasn't been a bad week or a week of sick kid or a particularly stressful week, it just feels like it's been dragging...

Our weekends have been very full lately - I'm looking forward to a slower pace this weekend - J only has lessons on Sundays now...I think we will avoid the double header of toddler activities in the future!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


My brain is.

My kitchen is.

My laundry isn't. It's nicely folded but I can't put it away because the small person who lives at my house is currently sleeping on a mattress on the floor right up against her dresser.

My office is. But it's getting better.

My bedroom is. And it might be getting worse.

I need more hours in the day and more days in the week....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I have a terrible browsing habit...I've been wandering the real estate website again...when I should be doing other things: sleeping, washing the dishes, tidying my house.

We're not planning on moving anytime soon. But I keep getting sucked in. I don't even know what we could afford, but it's nice to dream.

I'd like an extra bedroom. I'd like a yard for J to play in and for me to plant a garden. I'd like a driveway and maybe even a garage. I'd love a den or office for our computer. I'd love two extra bedrooms.

But I like our little place and we're working to make it home...I don't think we'll be moving before 2012 hits (and apparently that's when the world is ending, so why move before that?!?!)

Monday, March 21, 2011


As we come out of the cycle of illness (AGAIN!), I am reminded (AGAIN!) of how much easier life is when we follow our routines.

Mornings are smoother. We usually get out the door on time. And we often have time for a quick story or two before we leave the house.

Meals are smoother. Doing some prep the night before and sticking to the plan makes it a lot easier to come home and get dinner on the table and into hungry tummies quickly.

Bedtime is smoother. We stuck to J's routine while she was sick as much as possible, but when the other routines are in place, bedtime is less drawn out. Tonight J even told me when she was going to bed - a whole 15 minutes earlier than I was going to suggest. But I'm not going to argue with that!

The laundry pile doesn't turn into a monster, capable of devouring a full-grown human. I'm in panic laundry mode right our house that means trying to do four loads a night - two that hang and two that can go in the dryer. That means counting the number of items that go in the hanging loads to make sure we don't run out of room on the racks (I miss the Blue House with the laundry lines in the basement and no rules against moving the rack outside when the weather is nice)

Mommy is less cranky. Because the house is tidier. There are fewer arguments. There is more sleep.

And on that note, I'm going to try to go to bed - I messed my own routines up tonight by falling asleep when J went to bed...

The IKEA problem...

Saturday morning arrived and J and I bundled into the car and drove over to pick up my sisters. We were headed for IKEA. We've all learned that you absolutely, positively DO NOT go to IKEA without a list because, watch out, you'll spend more than you bargained for.

So, the three of us, armed with three lists, some coffee, a stroller, and some orange juice walked in, aiming to be out and in the car in less than an hour and a half. Some of us had to go to swimming lessons, some had school work to do, and some had to go to work. More time was not negotiable! My only cheap and fast trip to IKEA was the night before I went to the hospital to have J. We were looking for some shelves for our bedroom and when we got there (even though we checked on line first) some of the shelving wasn't in stock. So we spend less than $5 on a container for our kitchen utensils (yes, it was on the list).

ANYWAY. Between the three of us, we filled up a shopping cart and J pushed a couple of things in her stroller. She wanted to walk and it wasn't busy and we were so proud of her. She "parked" the stroller whenever we needed to stop and didn't run away or pick up things we didn't give to her. I think it helped that we didn't go upstairs, just visited the Marketplace and Self-Serve because we'd done our research before we got there.

I even spent less than I thought I was going to spend.

But my house looks like a tornado came through and I'm blaming IKEA! There's IKEA stuff everywhere. Partly because I'm back to jumping the line trying to organize stuff. But some of the stuff that I actually got assembled and put away looks amazing...stay tuned for a the next few days...maybe...if my house doesn't swallow me first!

Sticking to the plan...

or not...

[Edited: Go visit I'm An Organizing Junkie...she has a giveaway that will help you plan your menu!]

Last week wasn't the best for sticking to the plan...we had way more leftovers from Sunday than expected so we had them for two nights, not just one...and then on Wednesday I used the extra chicken from Sunday to make chicken noodle soup (which I stupidly left on the counter overnight or it would have lasted at least one more day).

Wednesday's chicken meatballs turned into Thursday's turkey meatball soup (see the theme...we had a tiring week which resulted in comfort food) which actually lasted two nights (turkey because it was on sale and chicken wasn't).

Saturday we actually had pasta with red sauce and more meatballs. Yes, this seems to have been soup and meatball week at our house. We had leftovers again last night. Seeing as the meals we didn't eat were either pantry meals or were things I was going to pick up later in the week (salmon and the pork) nothing is getting moved to this week.

If you want to see if other people did a better job at sticking to their meal plans, you can visit Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday and see (I bet most people did a better job than I did!)

So the coming week looks like this:

Monday: Scrambled eggs with mixed beans, toast, and salad (small child has asked for eggs for every meal since we had them for breakfast on Saturday morning. And we're in a big rush on Monday nights, so simple is good)

Tuesday: Honey Chili Chicken (Alex request!)

Wednesday: Pita Tacos (another Alex request - usually when I ask him what he wants to eat, he says one of two things: Whatever you're making is good or Something with chicken (or fish or beef) in it. Not so helpful!)

Thursday: Salmon with new potatoes and vegetables (another small child request)

Friday: Meat and Potatoes Loaf

Saturday: Mushroom and Chicken Pasta AND Mushroom and Artichoke Pasta (we're having a family dinner and some folks are vegetarians, some are not)

Sunday: Mini Pizzas (ANOTHER Alex request...he's on a roll!)

With the exception of Monday's dinner, all of these will give us leftovers for lunch the next day. We likely won't have mini pizzas on Sunday because there will probably be leftovers from Friday and Saturday. But, if we don't eat the pizzas, they'll just be Monday or Tuesday's dinner next week.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Spring has sprung and it looks like Mother Nature got the memo. Sunny skies, mild temperatures. No rain. We've got an afternoon trip to the playground planned and we're taking sidewalk chalk with us. Because it won't melt into the's dry!

Our house is disheveled looking...we're not really spring cleaning because I try to be on top of that kind of stuff, but the pleasant weather is a motivator to get the house organized and sorted. Maybe because it hints at the lovely weather to come and I don't want to spend my summer inside, organizing. I want to spend it outside, playing.

Spring is my least favourite season, but I love it and I'm glad it's here. And maybe, just maybe the various bugs that have visited our house this year will take the spring hint and leave...winter is over. No more sickness please!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


My husband decided to bring a treat home for all of us tonight...

Just because.

And we loved our treats.

Except...well, it's long after bedtime and a certain two year old is still singing at the top of her lungs...we're pretty sure it's a sugar rush...

But I thoroughly enjoyed mine and am now heading to bed leaving Alex, bearer of the lovely treat, to look after the sugar monkey...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Follow Up Friday - Kitchen Counter

It's Friday...let's go back in time a bit and see what I was up to four weeks ago.

Apparently I cleaned off my kitchen counter clutter spot. I didn't post the finished product until much later, but that's what I did the week of February 18!

Follow Up Fridays

It looked like this when I was done tidying it up...

kitchen counter after

And now it looks like this:

kitchen counter four weeks later

Not bad...I've been trying to get through the mail every night if possible. We need a better spot for the recycling (it usually sits where that plastic bag is - that bag had something in it that needed to be returned to the hardware store and Alex took it with him when he went to work tonight). Alex takes the recycling out daily, mostly because we have nowhere to keep it. I think there's probably room in the cupboard directly below the spot for a bin except that J has claimed that as her cupboard and since it's home to just plastics, we let her empty it and fill it and "cook" from it and I don't want her playing in the recycling...

As for spending an unlimited amount of money on our kitchen, if that was the case, I'd actually move! I like our place, but I'd love a bigger kitchen that we could actually eat in...and a yard so that we could have our own garden...kind of hard when you live in a condo!

Roasted Zucchini with Garlic

36.24 Try 50 new recipes

I had some zucchini in the fridge for a recipe that didn't happen when life went sideways in the days of evil illness. And it was at the point where it wasn't going to be good for very long. We were having salmon with roasted vegetables, so I thought I'd see about roasting zucchini. I love grilled zucchini, but I wasn't about to get the grill out if I was already roasting stuff.

I turned to the every trusty internet and found this recipe at Simply Recipes.

roasted zucchini
It turned out pretty well, although J wouldn't eat it! I didn't brush my zucchini, I tossed it like I did with the carrots and broccoli. And I didn't use herbs de provence on the other vegetables, but I did sprinkle some on the steamed potatoes. I had a hard time getting the zucchini to brown - it was pretty soft...

And two zucchinis make a whole lot of roasted zucchini. Alex took some in his lunch and I chopped the rest up and added them to scrambled eggs. I sauteed them a bit before I added them to the eggs (no oil, there was enough oil on them from being roasted).

Yum...I think we'll have this again, but I'll probably only do one zucchini at a time!

Week 11: Consolidate and Conquer

I love that Laura used paper as her example because apart from laundry, the piles of paper are the biggest problem I have...Like seriously, paper everywhere...And storage for said paper everywhere. Although I've become much better about putting paper in only two (okay three) places when I think about...the kitchen book, the filing cabinet, and Alex. So Alex isn't a place, but there are certain paper things he looks after and I just hand them over. I know they're safe. I know he'll be able to find them...


Week eleven question:
What do you need to consolidate and conquer in your home (and for fun what movie are you going to watch while you do it)? :)

PAPER! And maybe toys. But they're fairly well contained, there's just lots of them relative to the amount of space we have...

I probably won't watch a movie, but I might watch a hockey game. Or my new indulgence, Off the Map. But I might watch Love Actually. Because I can. And I know it well enough that even if I get stuck in another room for half an hour, I'll still know where I am in the movie!


The day after a migraine, I wander around with a migraine hang over. How bad that fogginess is depends on how bad the migraine was.


Today I'm tired. I want to be in my bed. I need more sleep. I feel a bit foggy, but I'm functioning.

Which means it wasn't that bad.

I wasn't nauseated and didn't vomit yesterday. I could eat this morning. I don't have a lingering headache today. I'm tired but not crabby. I'll likely be tucked into my bed by about 9:00, maybe 9:30 tonight. I don't have the shakes. My eyes don't hurt.

It's all good.

Mother nature, please try not to have any more mood swings for a brain will thank you...

Thursday, March 17, 2011


in a word



Not conducive to blogging.

Potato Stamps

I know, I know, this is well over a month late. But I'm so thrilled with how it worked.

We decided that J would take Valentines for the kids in her daycare group, but I wanted to do something fun and I talked to Rebar who works at the art store up the hill and we decided that potato stamps with red paper and white paint were perfect for a two and a half year old. Nothing too elaborate!

I pulled out a cookie cutter to make our stamps and that was the best thing I could have done!

making a stamp
The edges were so crisp and clean and perfect.

See the choppy, uneven, not perfect inside of the one on the left? Not that it mattered...J preferred painting with the stamps over stamping with them.

two stamps
It was a project that required a lot of concentration...and a lot of wiping up smears from potatoes that fell on the floor!

They turned out fairly well...we did run out of red paper, but I had some pink and that worked just fine. And the white paint was the way to cleaned up really well and didn't leave pink marks like red would have!

selection of cards
We only made just over 20 cards...I can't imagine what it will be like when she has a big class (we made 18 for her class - 12 kids, 6 adults plus a few extras for some aunties and grandparents and Daddy)

All done...what next?

i love valentines day
J got some Valentine's chocolate...she loved it. She thinks Valentine's Day is the best - she got to make a bit of a mess with the paints and have chocolate. What could be better than that?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I don't talk about work much here...there are all kinds of reasons for that.

But things have changed dramatically this week. In a good way.

If you put all the little pieces of the puzzle that I've been dropping all over the place for the last year together, you've probably figured out that there was a bit of a shake up about a year ago (hello, no posts in March 2010, but I'm making up for that this month) that resulted in some major restructuring and a number of the people in my department being laid off.

I ended up in a new department. And for the first little while I didn't know what to tell people I did when they asked. Because I didn't do a whole heck of a lot. But in the last three days we've gone from zero to 120...we're in high gear and moving fast...and it's just going to get faster. I have three big projects sitting on my desk and I'm ready to get them done.

And I'm so excited! I love the way my job has evolved. I'm tired, but I expect that...every time I start a new job, I find I spend the first month exhausted as I adjust to the new routine...and somehow having less time to do things has made me more efficient. Working hard all day means I want to come home to a relaxing I'm super motivated to organize everything so that life can be as smooth as possible the moment J and I walk through the door before dinner.

The dreaded computer bag...

For Christmas my parents gave me a wheeled computer bag. I'd been working from home often enough before Christmas that it was a pain getting all my stuff to and from the car. Not only did I have to lug my lunch, my purse, my computer bag, and a bag will my notes, notebook, and assorted files, I had to drag J's daycare bag, lunch, and assorted pieces of outside clothing too. My mom figured this bag was perfect.

And it is...It has lots of room and my yoga stuff AND my runners fit in it. And because everything except my lunch fits in the bag, my hands are free for J's stuff. And because she LOVES pulling it behind her, I don't actually have to carry my stuff, just hers.

dreaded computer bag
But. Because it has lots of room, it collects lots of stuff. Extra stuff that I don't need. Stuff that I mean to take home (or to work) that I never remember to take out when I get there.

contents of the bag before
So, my bag has three compartments: a front one with pouches and pockets and slots for things like pens, cell phones, small stuff; a middle one for the computer; a big one at the back for overnight stuff (that's were my runners and yoga stuff go).

When I cleaned it out the pouches this is what I discovered.

Front compartment:
Empty case that came with the case
A stack of receipts
Two cheque books
Some (paid) bills
A spoon
A handful of pens
A toque
An MP3 player
Blackberry computer cable
A cell phone
A camera
A thermometer that needs a new battery
A bottle of special mouthwash for my dental surgery
A Vicks nasal thing
An address book
Two CDs
Plastic bags
Cloth bag
USB adapter for the SD card for my phone
One lone mitten belonging to a small child who lives at my house
One wet wipe

Middle compartment:
Computer power cord
Strap for bag
Random stack of paper

Back compartment:
More receipts
Day planner
Note pad
Book to read
Pictures for grandparents
A tin with stationery and birthday cards

I reduced it down to this:

contents of the bag afterI got rid of tons of in I spent half an hour shredding them there were so many of them. I put the power cable in the case that came with the bag. I didn't really move much around, just got rid of a bunch of stuff that needed a real home. Like the mouthwash moved to the bathroom and the spoon went in the dishwasher...

And all those pens...there are slots for three, so that's all I get to keep in there...The handful of extra pens is now in my desk at work. I kept running out of pens and couldn't figure out where they were going since there are only two of us in our department, we don't share an office, and we have different, very particular, pen preferences. Mystery solved. I think when I head home at the end of the day I must toss my pen in my bag before I leave...

Now I just need to remember to go through it once a week and put stuff away...I'm thinking Friday at home and Monday at work....we'll see how that goes.