Sunday, February 26, 2012

Getting Organized

I'm not a very organized person. On a scale of 1-10, my level of organizational skill probably lies at around a 2. Does it drive my family crazy? Yes. Does is drive me crazy? YES! Why can't I learn? I spend more time looking for things than I would if I just took the few extra seconds to put it where it belongs. I know this. In a sudden burst of energy and motivation, I started myself down the path of Better Organizationhood. I created this weekly cleaning chart for me. Now each day I have a checklist of things I need to get done. Not only do I have concrete goals for each day, but it also makes the task of keeping a clean home seem less overwhelming. My kids basically have two daily chores during the school week--do homework and clean their room. On Saturdays we spend a good portion of the day doing the bigger chores. This is when they are learning how to mop, vacuum, sort laundry, etc. It's a great teaching opportunity and I enjoy working side-by-side with them - most of the time. Ok, maybe half of the time. :) You know what I mean. It's great to teach them how to do chores correctly and work with them, but the almost constant stream of whining is draining.

Another organizational thing I've done this past week is organize my workout schedule. Kevin and I are going to wake up 30 minutes early every day and do an interval workout together. I'm kind of excited. We don't get to spend a lot of time together, and since this is something we both want to do I think we'll be more successful and get more time together. Kevin has way more willpower than me. Thank goodness.

I know I have a long way to go, but it feels good to at least start somewhere. You can print off this weekly cleaning chart if you'd like it. I know it's filled in with my schedule, but you are welcome to it if you want! Just right click on the image to save to desk top and print there. I plan on framing mine so I can use a dry erase marker to cross off my chores daily.

Chart made with free digi kit called Feeling Groovy. I've looked and looked and can't find where I downloaded it from. I've had it for a few years.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Arizona Birthday Cookies

I never realized how much I love the state of Arizona until I married a Utah boy and had to defend AZ all the time. It's too hot, too allergy-ridden, has bad traffic and bad pollution, too brown, too dry...blah, blah, blah. :) While all those may be sorta true, I love Arizona. There is so much that is good about her. Yeah, it's hot. Yeah, it never rains. But I love the warmth. I love the smell of desert plants and orange blossoms. I love the citrus that grows everywhere. I love the diversity...both in the land and the people. You can drive 3 hours out of Phoenix and hit the ski slopes or go camping. You can hike the various mountains surrounding the valley. I could go on and on. But to me it's home. Hubby is coming around. I think he'd miss it if we left. Sorta. :) Anyway, in honor of Arizona's 100th birthday on February 14th I decided to finally do something I've been wanting to do for a long time:

Ta-da!

I know it's far from perfect, but this was my first time. I found this cute AZ cookie cutter a while ago at ABC Cake Decorating Supplies in Phoenix. If you love to bake anything containing sugar, this is the place for you. It has so much stuffed into a little tiny store. Anyway, I finally decided to take the plunge and decorate some cookies. I've been researching this topic for a long time now and slowly collecting supplies. I've read tons of tutorials, watched tons of youtube videos and perused tons of cookie decorating websites and blogs. There is soooo much information out there. And so many talented people! These are a few of the blogs I went to the most often to learn:

Bake at 350
The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle

Sweetopia

These ladies generously share their tips and secrets. And they are super talented. I went with this sugar cookie recipe from Sugarbelle. The recipe calls for powdered sugar instead of regular white sugar. It makes a such a difference. And tastes so good! I also went with her royal icing recipe.


And since Valentine's Day is coming up, I made some conversation heart cookies. For the hearts on the AZ cookie and the wording on the conversation heart cookies I just used Americolor food safe markers. I just wasn't ready to try that with icing.

It was a good first experience with royal icing. I think I beat the icing too long, because it's a little to hard and crunchy now. But maybe it's supposed to be that way?? I also had to go buy more tips. I started off with a 5, but that was too big. I only had a 1, and that was way too small. So I bought a 2 and 3. The 3 was perfect to outline with. I also chose to decorate after the kids had gone to bed. I needed every little ounce of concentration I could muster. :) It was fun! I'm excited to try again!

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