Monday, October 31, 2011

How things turned out -

Spanish Corn Chowder - enough to last for a week! (and the perfect Halloween supper)
The garage is finished! There's room for a workbench, lawn mower, garden tools, hurricane panels, freezer, food storage boxes AND two cars, but, admittedly, not a lot of room for walking between everything.
"My room feels like 'me' now!"
Fun as "Boo" at the stake Halloween dance.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Shopping is Exhausting!

But it is a lot more enjoyable with someone along to keep you company!
Candy for the trick-or-treaters - check!
Pumpkins for the porch - check!
Supplies for a costume - check!
Won't she be adorable? I think I'm beginning to get a little excited about Halloween after all. Have a wonderful week preparing!

Oh, and we even got a couple of Christmas presents - BONUS!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Time for a Quick Update

he past week has been nice and uneventful, my favorite type of week. The view out the back window is still breathtaking, and we're just fine with the snow staying in Utah.We took a picnic lunch to the neighborhood park in between conference sessions last Saturday. The only table was inside the dog-park fence - a little out of my comfort zone - but everything was fine and we had a great little break.For the first time ever (if I'm recalling correctly), all the boys got to go to the Priesthood session of conference together. They knew I'd want a picture of this historic event. Thanks Cody!We're still trying new recipes. Wayne made Collard Green Soup and we tried some bread from the book Elizabeth told us about. It would have helped if I'd read the "Day 2" instructions earlier in the day (let's just say the rising times were off) but it was still delicious. And there was plenty of extra dough to make a yummy pizza later.And, finally, all of the items on the garage workbench are hanging on the wall. There are even some empty peg hooks! Now it's time to open the next box and figure out what to do with it.
Best wishes for a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Never-Ending To-Do List

As I started writing this title, a similar one popped up. I guess that just goes to show that having a never-ending to-do list is nothing new. It's comforting to know that items do eventually get crossed off. And maybe someday they'll get crossed off faster than new ones get added! (I'm not holding my breath for that magic day!!) To help keep me accountable, I figured I would post that infamous list. I can always delete it, right?
  • Make this list
  • Clear off the kitchen desk
  • Fix tab on Michelle's valance
  • Complete baby afghan
  • Hang the pedigree chart
  • Hang pictures in kids' bathroom
  • Hang "Finishers Wanted" plaque
  • Replace the broken brick
  • Use up the rest of the "reject" toffee
  • Attach gate transponder to car window
  • Attach gate transponder to van window
  • Find "Sirius" list and put in car
  • Get my hair cut
  • Complete 50th anniversary book
  • Frame completed cross-stitch projects (lots and lots)
  • Finish Personal Progress
  • Compile list of unfinished craft projects (then work on them)
  • Clean up email folders
  • Clean up "My Pictures" folder
  • Test/check sprinkler system
  • Send care packages to boys
  • Get rid of duplicate hex drivers
  • Get a new can of rice out of the food storage pile
  • Buy replacement strike plates for the doors (count them first)
  • Replace sliding mechanism on double door
  • Repair sink drain plug
  • Re-grout master shower
  • Find unusual hinges for front door replacement
  • Purchase and hang ceiling fan for master bedroom
  • Do something with all the boys' trophies
  • Update the emergency binder
  • Clean the blinds
  • Plan Christmas
  • Find a piano tuner
  • Find a trustworthy auto mechanic
  • Find a new dentist
  • Follow through on ordering key for laundry room cabinet
  • Follow through on new high school receiving Michelle's official transcript (before she needs them for her college application)
  • Trip to Goodwill
  • Figure out what to do with "extra" workbench shelves
  • Empty two boxes of music (means re-organizing the music cupboard)
  • Etc. (not even going to think about the boxes in the boys' rooms yet, or new living room furniture, or replacing the vertical blinds, or planting a garden, or . . . .)
If your list isn't as long, you can feel lucky. If yours is just as long, you can know you have company. If yours is longer, you have my sympathy!

One Wednesday I paused before the elegant show window of a prestigious furniture store. My eyes rested on a small sign that had been placed at the bottom right-hand corner of the window. Its message was brief: “FINISHERS WANTED.” The store had need of those persons who possessed the talent and the skill to make ready for final sale the expensive furniture the firm manufactured and sold. “Finishers Wanted.” The words remained with me as I returned to the pressing activities of the day. In life, as in business, there has always been a need for those persons who could be called finishers. Their ranks are few, their opportunities many, their contributions great. From the very beginning to the present time, a fundamental question remains to be answered by each who runs the race of life. Shall I falter, or shall I finish? On the answer await the blessings of joy and happiness here in mortality and eternal life in the world to come. --Thomas S. Monson

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

WFMW - Finishers Wanted

Works for Me Wednesday
"Finishers Wanted"

In 2009 I had the goal to at least once a month finish something on the never-ending to-do list. I've felt the need lately to resurrect that goal, so this month we're starting again! I'm not even waiting for the new year (see this post which provided some motivation)! And I really need to make it a weekly goal, not a monthly one. Most of these tasks should take just a couple of minutes, and even those that take longer have intermediate "finishing" spots. It's really just a matter of taking the time to do them!

For example, we repainted the house this summer. After replacing the light switch covers, we noticed a half dozen that didn't quite cover the opening that had been cut out. So, for a couple of months I've had that "finishing" project on my list. I think part of the reason I procrastinated was that the job required a series of little steps (including getting out the ladder to reach a top storage shelf) with waiting time in between each one. This week I finally
  • got out the ladder to reach the joint compound
  • unscrewed the necessary light switch plates
  • puttied around the openings
  • got out the wood putty to fix a crack in some molding
  • waited a day for it to dry (and even put the joint compound back on the shelf!)
  • sanded everything
  • got out the ladder again to reach the primer
  • primed everything
  • did the regular errands while that dried
  • got out the ladder again to reach the paint
  • painted all the spots (six different colors, which meant washing the brush multiple times)
  • hauled out the vacuum to clean up all the sanding dust (which should have been done after the sanding, but oh, well)
  • waited for everything to dry again
  • screwed the light switch plates back in place
  • lost one screw so the job still wasn't finished!
  • found a replacement screw (actually Wayne did) so now it's done!!
I'm noticing that tasks that require getting out a ladder have a hard time making it to the top of the list! For example, last week as part of cleaning out the computer room I made a little pile of things that belong on the top shelf of one of the kitchen cupboards. The pile is still there. So, as soon as I'm done with this (and maybe even before!), I'll grab the step-stool and put them away properly.
How many "little things" do you discover that need to be finished? We bought Michelle's valance rod in August, made the valance last month, and also ordered her blinds. Once those come in we'll hang everything. However, she noticed yesterday that there's a small section that needs to be re-sewn. Another little thing to finish!
I finally went through and unpacked all the boxes with things the movers took off our walls. Now I need to decide what to do with all the pictures. We finally figured this would be a good wall for the circle pedigree chart. That was a couple of weeks ago. How long should it take to get a hammer and a couple of nails to get it hung?
Some things will definitely get finished, because they're fun to do! Here's the afghan I started so I'd have something to do while listening to conference and waiting for Michelle during seminary. Don't be surprised if it's completed before any of these other things!
Now that the switchplates are taken care of, replacing the broken brick at the front door is on the top of the "finish this" list. It's another multi-step project, and the first step is actually finding the replacement bricks. It would be easy (and already finished!) if Home Depot carried them, but they don't. Time to do some research!
Can you see that this list is just getting longer and longer and more overwhelming? No wonder nothing gets done! However, I'm trying to remember that Benjamin Franklin's wise saying, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" doesn't apply to everything. I shouldn't just "make do" when I have the resources to fix the problem correctly. And I also can't use the saying "A mother's work is never done" to rationalize not completing little chores. Yes, someone will inevitably track dirt over a clean floor or toss some dirty clothes into the hamper, yet I still need to mop the floors and do the laundry on a regular basis. I can definitely call certain things "done for now" and I need to do that daily.
There's my beautiful "Finishers Wanted" reminder plaque - hiding under another unfinished project (a baby quilt all cut out and ready to be tied) in the closet. I promise that it will be hanging up somewhere before the end of this week to remind me of my goal to not just start projects and tasks, but to finish them! Stay tuned to see what happens :)

P.S. If you're looking for ideas for projects to start so that you can finish them, you'll find a lot over at Works for Me Wednesday!

Monday, October 3, 2011

General Conference October 2011

Remember the post just before this one? It's time to review another general conference, and once again it was awe-inspiring and wonderful. There are SO many things I want to do better. How about you? I'm going to post my answers over on my other blog, but here's a hint as to what one of my favorite talks was: