Corner Office Feed

File Crate System: Refreshed & Ready to Go!

Fixing File Crate 1

Happy Tuesday, my friends! I hope your week is going well ...

I have a quick post to share today - just a glimpse of my file crate all spiffed up for the spring. :) But what has me really tickled this morning is I just figured out how to add "text"  or "talk bubbles" to my photos! Lol, I've only been blogging, what - nine years now? - and finally figured out how to do this!

Anyhow, it's been a while since we talked "file folders," and though I have been using mine, it's been somewhat neglected ... sitting out in a corner of the living room on a desk I'm never at ... so I decided to move it front and center on the kitchen counter where i do most of my work. I also just added new folders for the coming year and got them all written out and it just all looks so pretty (I think anyway ...).

Fixing File Crate 4

(Aren't those talk bubbles neat?)

I use plain manila folders and hanging folders in a "recycled" brown shade. Each hanging folder holds one season (two months) worth of folders. Generally, that's about eight or nine folders.

Fixing File Crate 2

I found a really neat washi tape with a "date" stamp that works well here! And it lifts easily so I could most likely reuse these folders next year. I also used another tape that has the months printed in rainbow colors - this works well, too. In each hanging folder there is first, a folder for general seasonal things - clippings, printouts and planning pages - and then come the individual weekly folders.

I park the crate itself (a plain plastic bin I bought at Staples) right on my kitchen counter, in front of my work station. It's a bit of clutter, yes - but I can move it very easily somewhere else if needed. I will do a separate post about the rest of this work area - which currently includes a master planning binder, my reading pile, a bills basket and ... a calendar ... or maybe two.

I'm having a bit of a calendar crisis which I need to hash out with you all, lol.

Fixing File Crate 3

I have my main planning calendar in my binder (shown above) but there is also the one hanging on front of the file crate ... and the one hanging on the kitchen wall ... and the one sitting on the counter NEXT to my binder .... sigh. I'm hopeless, lol!

Ok, this is all I have time for now and I do apologize (yet again) that I am so slow at posting these days. I honestly think about this blog and all of you all the time ... but free time just does not materialize on most days! I know I don't have to tell you all this - and I know you all are in the same boat, lol! Busy people we all are - busy with the important things, first and foremost - our families! I will never not blog though, so even when it's been a bit of time, please know I will be back! I'm also trying to devote time each week (if not each day) to writing that book I'm always talking about ... and I've toyed with the idea of taking a blog hiatus while I do that ... but! I think instead I will just try to post on occasion, as I can, and put more of my writing time and energy into the "book" project. Because as much as I like to imagine it might - it's not going to write itself, lol!

As always, I thank you for your patience and understanding ... and for reading! Always, for reading ... and please leave a comment if you have time! Are you using a file crate these days? How is it working for you?

Looking forward to catching up again soon ... take care and be blessed! 


Sweet Little Red Tables

Happy Friday, my friends!

I wanted to show you a couple of neat new things in my home office space ... both are gifts from my mother. The first is a pretty red and blue skirt, tailored to fit around an old table that serves as a second desk in this room.

Red tables 2 

This table is actually the bottom half of a little white hutch we had in our very first kitchen! The skirt dresses it up a bit and hides the age/wear and tear. I picked the fabric out and Mum sewed it up for me - we attached it with sticky-back velcro dots!

Red table print

Next is this tiny and cheerful red table, just the right size for Little Bear ...

Red tables 1 

Long ago, it was once mine (though it was a soft yellow then) ... and before that it was my mother's ... and before that, it belonged to my Great Aunt Frannie! We think it's about 80 years old or more. Clearly it's well made to have lasted so long!

For now I placed a favorite puzzle of LB's and a few books on it. Eventually I'll add a small chair and he can sit and draw/color etc. while Mama works at her desk just beside. 

Red tables 4

(And p.s. I know it's been some time since I followed up on that Desk Do-Over post ... it's a-comin' I promise!)

My friends, I hope you all have a lovely weekend ... did you see any snow today? We woke to the prettiest, softest snow falling ... everything was just covered ... but then it melted away as the sun came out later in the day. Still very cold, though! Unseasonably cold through the weekend!

Thanks so much for stopping by, everyone ... see you here again very soon!


The Desk Do-Over (Part 1)

My friends, do you have a desk of your own? A place where you can sit and work on whatever it is that needs your attention - bills, letters, lists, correcting, computing, etc.? I myself do have a desk and I'm very grateful for it ... though these days it's not quite my own. These days I'm sharing it with Crackerjack ... and between the two of us, we've made it a right mess!

So ... I've decided for Mother's Day I am going to ask Bill and the boys for time to work on my workspace and get things back in ship-shape. Because for goodness sakes, it really is getting out of hand! And besides being a real eyesore, it's also quite inconvenient in regards to household paperwork and management.

Case in point: This morning I searched in vain for a particular piece of paper that I was really quite certain I would find in one of these drawers. This was after stashing yet another page-a-day calendar page in one of said (overstuffed) drawers. I got a bit frustrated with my desk - and myself - and decided it was time for a do-over!

So, I thought it would be fun to share my do-over here at the blog. (How could I not?) And in the spirit of full disclosure, I start today with the "before" pictures ... I'm hoping the "afters" will look a lot better!

***

Here's the desk in question, as it looks this very minute, in the corner of the living room/library:

Desk do-over 1

There's really just too much stuff here - extraneous stuff at that - and not enough open space for working. The computer is Crackerjack's as is the sweatshirt, the action figures, artwork and headset. Everything else - and the baby - is mine.

:) 

Ok, drawer one, upper left ... *deep breath* ...

Desk do-over 2

This is supposed to be a budgeting drawer ... I see no evidence of "budgeting" here, do you?

Drawer two, lower left.

Desk do-over 3

I don't even remember what this one was supposed to be. It's just a deep pile of junk right now.

Now, in the very back corner of the desk we have a random stack of books and comics, cables/wires, and a pair of binoculars because, hey - where else would you look for binoculars when you need them other than behind the computer monitor?

Desk do-over 4

Drawer three, upper right ... yikes ...

Desk do-over 6

This was my correspondence drawer which rapidly became THE place for bags of stickers.

Drawer four, lower right ...

Desk do-over 7

The household files drawer. These aren't so bad, actually - just way under-utilized.

And ... this is the cabinet at the base of our liturgical bookcase. I call it my "molly mcgee" closet ...

Desk do-over 5

Little Bear calls it Heaven.

;)

Ok, so there we have it! I have laid bare all my desk secrets, lol ... and as you can see I have my work cut out for me. I will have a Part II post ("the after") up sometime next week ... assuming I get the Mother's Day gift I'm truly hoping for! :)

Now, some of you saw on my Facebook page a tease of a nursery photo ... but a quick note. I am working on a post about Little Bear's nursery, and I thought I would post it today, but I need a little more time ... we still have yet to get his crib in there! Yes, my friends, Little Bear is finally ready to move out of our room and into his own ... I can't wait to show you his new digs. Fingers crossed it means better sleep for all!

For now though, I'm wishing you all a happy week ahead! Let me know in the comments below how your desk is working out for you these days, if you have one. Do you ever let things get as messy as this? (Please say yes, lol.)

Thanks so much for stopping by, everyone ... see you here again very soon!


File Folder/PaperTray Center

As I mentioned in a recent post, I went to the Container Store this past weekend - with a generous gift card burning a serious hole in my pocket - and this is one of the things I picked out:

File tray center 1

File tray center 2

Pretty neat, huh?

The whole kit and kaboodle was on sale, and I just could not resist; I thought the white mesh would look nice on my white desk. And though I have great hanging file drawers in said desk, I really need to keep my weekly folders somewhere visible and convenient. So I set this up, arranging my folders by date and season ...

And today being Thursday, it's file rotation day, and wasn't it nice to pluck a new file folder from my new file folder center?

:)

So that's all for today - just wanted to pop in and share this little bit of organizing happiness with you all. Snowing like crazy here, but very light, and mostly wet ... just one of those late winter days reminding us that no matter what the calendar might say, Nature always does her own thing.

Hope your week's going well, my friends ... see you here again very soon!

**


Spring Nesting: Getting things started ...

Ok, I'm pushing things a bit because really, spring is nowhere in sight, but ... Lent has begun and that naturally turns my thoughts to spring cleaning. And though I may be only six months pregnant, my "nesting" instinct has really kicked in! So Wednesday morning, with the sun streaming through the windows, and the screens letting in just a little breeze, I set to work in the learning room ...

My first stop was my reading corner which had become a complete mess.

Lr 13

(Convenient, how I only got the "after" shot, isn't it?)

The chair was pulled out (not by me) and the floor and walls were vacuumed and wiped down. Everything came off the shelves - the books were sorted and the shelves dusted before they were rearranged.

Lr 2

Lr 4

Lr 3

Lr 8

Even when I don't even have time to crack open a book, just seeing them all lined up so prettily is enough. Sometimes. :)

Next, I cleaned up the chair itself and then had the boys push it back into place.

Lr 10

I next sorted the bins in which I keep my reading materials, journaling stuff and weekly file folders ... then I washed down the desktop (oy, was that a mess), under the chair mat (ugh) and organized my end of things ...

Lr 16

(The notebook on top that says, "Nov 2" is indeed my current active journal - the date indicates when I started it, and I've been slow to fill in this one.)

*Meanwhile, Archie enjoyed being right in the middle of things. Natch.*

Lr 7

I cleaned out the seasons corner, and asked the boys to bring the bulk of our winter books back downstairs. I am hoping to get our spring/Lent books organized this weekend. 

These are the seasonal books (and videos) for this week ...

Lr 6

And finally, I started re-working the classroom "calendar" wall.

Lr 14

I love this large family-sized calendar!

Lr 12

I'm tweaking it to reflect liturgical seasons and days that are important to us. (For this post, I'm showing the March calendar because it doesn't have any personal family information on it yet - e.g. activities and schedules, etc.)

After a while the room shone with sunlight and possibility ...

Lr 9

I still have more to do here - the windows all need to be cleaned. Badly. But that task will most likely not involve me ... and the ceiling will need dusting, and floor will need to be washed  ...

But all in good time. :)

Lr12

(This is where I'm posting to you from, my little corner of the world.)

My friends, when do your spring cleaning urges kick in? Is spring cleaning a part of your yearly routine? Do you schedule it at a particular time, perhaps in accordance with Lent?

I like to spend time over Lent working through a spring cleaning plan - mostly decluttering and general cleaning - and then I spend the first half of Holy Week really giving things a nice polish and airing out. This year will most likely be a little different because I'll be in the last trimester of my pregnancy, so I'm slowing down a bit and getting decidedly less agile! Bill offered to hire someone in to help but - call me crazy! - I just can't do that. I figure I have three able-bodied and energetic young people here who, with a little direction, can help out in numerous ways. Spring cleaning is something I relish - feel free to call me crazy again! - and with a few adjustments and a little forethought, it should continue to be a relatively simple and deeply satisfying endeavor.

**

I'll be posting more on spring cleaning over the next couple of months, so stay tuned and please share your own thoughts on seasonal cleaning. You know I love to hear from you!

Have a great weekend, everyone - see you here again very soon!


It's File Folder Weekend!

File folders weekend 1
Well, here's my weekend project ~ going through last year's file folders and preparing the boys' school reports. It's a good day for working inside - it's quite clammy and cool. It's always interesting going back through these folders - so many things I've forgotten, all the different ways I used (and re-designed) the weekly planning sheet that's stapled to the front of each folder. I pull some things to re-file - into storage or a future dated folder - but the bulk of it all I recyle. It always catches me by surprise when we're here at this time of year once again! How is it nearly August again? Already?

Once I've gone through my folders, I'll sift through the work-baskets and school totes, as well as my own monthly calendar. I may even flip back through my blog archives if I think I'm still missing some things. As I "research," I'm taking notes, and when I'm ready to "report," I refer to last year's ed. plans so I can be sure I'm addressing all the points of our initial proposal ...

Phew!

Then I start in on a brand new plan for a brand new year ...

And that's my favorite part!

***

So I hope you're all having a nice weekend - wherever you are and whatever your weather - and whatever projects have you busy right now! Thanks, as always for stopping by ... I'll be back here again very soon.

p.s. Update on Dad ~ They're not springing him just yet ... but he's still recovering well. A little more slowly than he'd like I think, but I guess some things you can't rush. Hopefully another day of rest will bring him even greater healing and comfort. Thanks again for the kind thoughts and prayers!


A Corner of the Corner Office

Desk corner 1

Well, it's wicked hot here today (or super-duper hot as EB would say) so we've got the ole AC going ... After supper we'll open up to enjoy the evening air for a bit, muggy though it will undoubtedly be. Then, come bedtime, the AC will go back on so that sleep is easy to come by ... Triple H weather continues over the weekend, and into next week, so this will be our routine for some time. I do hope wherever you are you're able to stay cool, too!

Now, Friday is the day I clean up the learning room, so that's what I've been up to since lunchtime ... and as I puttered and pruned, I realized I never followed up on the file bin I showed you some weeks ago. You might remember I got a new desk back in January (as a birthday gift) with a drawer made just for my year's worth of file folders. (Well, not my file folders - I didn't consult the designer or anything, lol - but file folders in general.) I do like keeping the FCS in this drawer because it's so efficient and neat - and yet - I do miss having those folders at my fingertips. I do keep my "active" folder in my planner, but I often find myself filing things for the upcoming weeks, and not that it's a hardship to stoop down and open the drawer, but it somehow seems a little bit out of the way ...

I had actually been thinking about moving the files back up onto the desk (digging out that old plastic bin) but I was tousling over form vs. function - handy files vs. cluttered desktop. This issue had been pinging around in the back of my mind for some time.

Anyhoo!

When I was at Target that day, perusing their fabulous office supply aisle, I spied this sturdy cloth bin. (Honestly, what did we do before Target? Spent less money, that's what.) The bin has a frame inside, specifically meant for hanging folders and the whole thing's covered in a smooth chocolate brown canvas. I simply loved the look of it and the trim size, but what really got me were the handles!

Desk corner 3

It doesn't take up too much space on my desktop, and it holds several hanging folders quite nicely. I am using this bin to hold the current season's folders - only two months worth, or about eight or nine weeks. There is a colored folder in front that pertains to the season on the whole (not one specific week). So right now we're in "High Summer," which includes the weeks within July and August.

Just to give you an idea, the "High Summer" folder has a summer nature almanac from Mass. Audubon, a July-August night sky guide from Sky & Telescope Magazine, our local farmstand calendar, as well as seasonal crafts and recipes that I would like to do sometime this summer. (For example, I just added this cool idea.)

Behind the folders I have room for my 2012-2013 homeschool planner (currently under construction).

Desk corner 2

So the bin is usually found up on top of the desk, but sometimes it sits on the floor by my chair. Those handles make it pretty easy to tote along with you if you have the need to do so. (I recently grabbed it when I was heading out with the kids to the library.)

And it's been nice having those current folders so handy. Instead of setting things aside in a pile to file later ... I've been filing things right away - pretty much, anyways. Recently I added recipes for Monday's feast day (7/16), a doctor's appt. reminder (7/23), a recipe for Crackerjack's birthday (8/13), and information on viewing the Perseids next month (8/11).

**

In front of the bin is my reading basket (magazines only) which earlier today I emptied, vacuumed and reorganized. I usually keep this basket on the floor beside my reading chair ... and speaking of, I'm going to hop off the computer now - get supper started - and then sit for a bit to read. It is nearly the weekend after all. ;)

So I'll leave you at that, with my thanks for stopping by and my hope that you all have a nice weekend. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones ...

I'll be back here again sometime soon!


Friday Felines & Other Fun Things ... :D

All together now:

FF june 1 1

Awwww ...

FF june 1 2

Why yes, we did put those boxes under that bench, just for you guys. Why else would those boxes be there?

Ff june 1 3

This picture just cracks me up: Archie laying on top of Earlybird's stuff - backpack, sneakers and hat. He has a thing about being smack dab in the middle of things ...

FF june 1 4

Ff june 1 5

Ff june 1 7

Ollie, meanwhile, likes to curl up somewhere out of the way - for instance, in the basement windows:

Ff june 1 6

*

Today we had our last Book Group meeting of the year (June's title: A Wrinkle in Time). Bookworm gave the moms a break and led the kids' discussion this month (he's going to do this next year, too). After the meeting ended, my friend Jenney and I took the kids out for ice cream ...

Book group finale 1

Book group finale 2

A Beautiful Spring Friday - a great day to enjoy ice cream with friends. :) And while we were there we were visited by a red-winged blackbird.  

Red-winged blackbird

Later, back at home, we spotted this cool little moth(?) in the clover patch.

Orange moth on clover 1

And I'm very happy to report the lavender is blooming!

Lavender bed 1

*

Friday is desk day ...

Friday fun 1

Friday fun 4

Friday fun 5

 ❤ I'm a little in love with my desk. ❤

And guess what this is?

Friday fun 3

It's Crackerjack's new Lego Store Lego set!

Friday fun 2

He got this "exclusive set" last Saturday at the grand opening of a local Lego Store. It wasn't free, but you would get it for free if you spent $30 - which CJ was fully prepared to do. He and Bookworm had been saving money for some Lord of the Rings sets, so all in all, it was a pretty big day in this Lego neighborhood. :)

*

Well, my friends, I hope you've all had a nice Friday. Boy, did that week fly by fast! And now another weekend is upon us ...do you have any special plans? Bookworm is taking the SAT again tomorrow (prayers are much appreciated!) and Crackerjack's team (tied for 1st place) has its final regular game of the season. Also, my "little" brother turns 40 (40!) this Monday so we'll be having a special little dinner for him on Sunday.

Lots of nice things to look forward to ...

See you all again very soon!


Pretty in Pink

Because I know some of you are office supply junkies like me, I thought you might like to see my brand new stapler:

Pink stapler

It sure is pink, isn't it? (My old one was purple.)

The old one finally broke last week after many years of good service. I think this one's pretty nifty, though. Today being Thursday, I readied my new weekly file folder, and to do so, I stapled a planning sheet to that folder's front cover. It's such a satisfying thing, the way a stapler works ... I'm a big fan of staplers.

(Obviously.)

Well, I hope you've all had a lovely Thursday ...I'm now off to get a souffle in the oven. (My very first try - wish me luck!)



How Many Tools Do You Use?

Tools 1

When it comes to managing your time, household and family?

You all know it's no secret I love planners. I'm forever talking about them, tweaking them ... tempting myself with new ones. And I'm always curious about other people's planners - specifically, what they look like, and how they use them. And this is what I've been thinking about recently ... about the tools I use and the methods I follow. My "domestic management system" if you will. :)

{tools + methods = system}

But most of all, I'm thinking about how I can simplify it all!

It would be super convenient to have ONE THING that manages EVERYTHING, but I just can't make that happen. That "thing," whatever shape it took, would just be too big and unwieldly. That said, I feel like I may have too many tools currently in use.

I'm wondering then, as my title suggest, how many tools do you use? What do you use to keep up with - and track of - your domestic duties?

 The tools I have "in play" right now are as follows:

Homekeeping Binder

Yearbook Binder

Months @ a Glance Calendar Binder

Weekly File Folders

(a MomAgenda - which is kind of on standby)

Daybook/Homekeeping Blog

Daily Chore Cards

Marketing Binder

Curriculum Binder

Clippings Journal

In-Basket

Reading Basket

Financial Drawer

Correspondence Drawer

Recipe File Drawer

Household File Drawer

*

(Am I forgetting anything? I probably am. I'm looking all around my home office right now, reminding myself what's what ...)

Now, I highlighted the "weekly file folders" in magenta because these are my favorite tools of all. (And the color matches my new banner, lol.) I'll pin most of my planning onto these folders once I figure out how.

Well friends, I'm going to end this post here because A. it's all I have time for, and B. this is more or less, step one, and, C. I'm trying to make my posts a little more manageable these days. (In other words, not so wordy!)

So have a great Wednesday night ... we're keeping things simple here on the supper front, as I just noted in my homekeeping blog. As I was cleaning out the fridge today I realized we had a LOT of leftovers to use up ... so the chicken pesto pasta will have to wait for tomorrow and tonight will be a little mix of this and that. :)

See you all again very soon!



Cleaning Up the "Mom" Corner

Fridays are the day I clean the learning/sitting room, and today I decided to spend a little extra time on my "mom" corner. It is, after all, Mother's Day weekend, and it is my sincere hope I'll be spending most of it parked right here ...

:)

MD corner 10

So, I pulled the chair out and swept in back there (found Earlybird's long-lost Percy train) and then took apart the book shelves, which had become quite disorganized and dusty.

As you can see, I had the usual help:

MD corner 9

On the top shelf I keep my collection of Everyday Food magazines, my favorite food magazine of all. (I have every issue!) I'm going to look through them this weekend for meal plan inspiration.

MD corner 2

Next shelf down, I have yummy books I own or borrowed, and a few DVD collections, too.

MD corner 3

Just a few momentos on this shelf ...

MD corner 4

On display I have one of my favorite pictures of the boys, my reading glasses, cheerful little knicknacks and my Mary Engelbreit page-a-day calendar.

And then there's the shelf where I keep magazines to look through, and my clippings journal:

MD corner 13

I keep a pair of small folding tables beside my chair when I'm "working" in this spot. The table on the right holds my laptop, and the table to my left holds whatever it is I'm working on at the moment. 

Here I have a planning binder with next week's file folder on top.

MD corner 11

And I have to show you the cleaning checklist I stapled to the inside folder cover:

MD corner 7

This was an idea I gleaned from a kind reader, Suusi. (I loved reading how she utilizes her weekly file folders - her thoughts can be found in this comment thread.) I'm not sure I'll end up using this checklist (I already have those daily chore cards and now my online diary) but I thought I'd give it a try. I basically just took the whole weekly chore list (divided by days) and printed it out on one sheet of paper. Then I stapled it to the inside front cover (the weekly planning sheet is on the opposite side). I envision checking things off as I work through the week ... but we shall see how it goes!

And finally, here is my reading basket. I've let a lot of things pile up recently. :)

MD corner 12

I'm really looking forward to poring over all these magazines, catalogs, newspapers, etc. and working in my clippings journal a little. Puttering like this is a little slice of heaven for me.

Aside from all this reading, my Mother's Day weekend will also include an early soccer game, a trip to the nursery, and breakfast with my family after Mass. It will all wind down with a Sunday supper I have not prepared, and then my two favorite shows of the week: Once Upon a Time (season finale!) and Masterpiece Theater. (Can't wait to see what Sherlock gets up to this week!)

*

Well, my friends, I'm going to wrap up now, as my kitchen timer is ringing it's third alarm, reminding me I need to start supper early as it is the boys' practice night. So I'll be off ... but I thank you for stopping by ... and I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

(And if you're curious what I'm serving for supper tonight, pop over to my housekeeping blog. I'll be posting today's entry in just a few moments.)

:) 

See you all again very soon!


Home Office Day: in the Afternoon

Hello, my friends ... I hope you're having a nice weekend!

Well, yesterday got completely away from me, so I was not able to get my "afternoon" post up ... and today has been quite busy (running errands, etc.) ... but here I am finally sitting down to catch up!

As promised, I took pictures through our day of how I (we) work in and around the "home office." I thought you all might like to see them. :)

First of all, I'm not the only one who makes use of this "office" space ...

HO afternoon 4

Here we have Crackerjack working on a book report at the family computer, and Bookworm reading his current Brit Lit assignment. (Archie is working on "nature study" - aka birdwatching.)

While Earlybird - already on to something else - had been busy on the floor ...

HO afternoon 3

Up at the kitchen counter I began working on next week's file folder ...

HO afternoon 2

... and I pulled a recipe from this week's folder to work on during lunch.

HO afternoon 5

The kitchen is a natural extension of my "workspace," because goodness knows I do much of my "work" in there! Today I had a tuna-pasta dish cooking, good ole mac-and-cheese, as well as a strawberry-rhubarb sauce.

HO afternoon 8

Once the sauce started bubbling, I snapped a picture and sent a quick email to Bill at work ... I thought it might make him smile.

HO afternoon 9

(It did!)

I spent some time organizing my marketing binder ...

HO afternoon 6

... while Earlybird watched a Reading Rainbow episode on the computer.

HO afternoon 7

At last it was time for my lunch break!

HO afternoon 10

Two favorite mugs - one from my mum, one from my mother-in-law. I often eat lunch at my desk ... or next to my desk, lol.

The boys always take an outdoor break after lunch (weather permitting) and the weather was so glorious yesterday I joined them. I was pleasantly surprised to find the forsythia in full bloom!

HO afternoon 17

I brought a few branches inside, but they had to be tucked up high out of (Archie's) reach.

HO afternoon 14

On top of these shelves I also have a basket of saved school work and a basket of tealight candles. (The ones we had blessed on Candlemas.)

I sat down with next week's folder and looked up a few ideas for celebrating the Annunciation and Palm Sunday.

HO afternoon 11

I also spent more time clipping coupons ...

HO afternoon 15

... and I played around with a few new notebooks.

HO afternoon 12

(Temporary daybooks - more on that later.)

I like to keep my planning tools out on the island counter during the day (the bridge between the office and kitchen), as it's easier for me to stand at the counter and work when I have a moment. But at the end of the day, it's good to have a place where I can stash everything ~ notebooks, papers, planners, etc.

HO afternoon 26

(My "Martha" corner, I like to call it. :))

On Fridays I change up EB's reading corner - putting away last week's books (St. Joseph's Day, Spring Equinox) and setting out a few new ones (ducks, rain and salamanders).

HO afternoon 16

Earlybird (who obviously prefers working on the floor!) looked through some of these books. (With Archie's help, of course.)

HO afternoon 18

A bit later on, he did some drawing in his nature notebook.

HO afternoon 19

(I feel compelled to point out - that's dirt on his face, from playing outside. He did get cleaned up at the end of the day. :))

Part of my Friday housekeeping routine is to clean the sitting/learning room (aka my home office), so I did just that ... neatening corners, wiping surfaces, sweeping the floor.

HO afternoon 22

I love it when I can open the windows!

Now, I just gave the room a cursory "clean," but periodically (monthly or seasonally), I give it a deeper cleaning. This would include washing the windows, mopping the floor, cleaning/reorganizing drawers, vacuuming cushions, dusting the ceiling fan, etc.

 Once the cleaning's done, and lessons are done for the day ... I can sit down for a bit!

HO afternoon 23

I have my computer to my right - for checking email, the news and working on my blog. And to my left, I have my journaling stuff and a "to do" list for the weekend ...

HO afternoon 25

It's nice to putter like this when I can. :)

And one last shot ... the home office in the evening ... a glass of wine, a magazine and a little peace and quiet. 

HO evening 1

(Bill had the boys outside, lol.)

I love the softness of a Spring sunset ... can you see the forsythia *bursting* with life in the background? The light is so wonderful at this time of year!

***

So, a full day late, there's the rest of my "Home Office Day" post. I hope you enjoyed seeing our "workaday" unfold! Now this was a pretty usual Friday for us, for an "at home" day. Many days we are in and out, running to a class or activity.

I'm going to sign off now, as it's time to get supper underway. Thanks so much for visiting me today! I look forward to "seeing" you again soon. :)


Home Office Day: in the Morning

Today is National Organize Your Home Office Day!

I thought it would be fun to take pictures through the day as I work in, and clean out, my own little "office space." So to begin with, here are some pictures from early this morning (a typical morning) in my home office ... 

HO morning 1

This is my comfy reading corner (known to all in the household as "Mama's Chair," lol). In the very early mornings I have my coffee here ... 

I always open this window to let in fresh air and allow the cats their morning "bird fix."

HO morning 2

I love tearing a page off my Mary Engelbreit daily calendar. Her artwork and quotes always make me smile. :)

HO morning 3

And then, parked up at the kitchen island I have my laptop and assorted planning materials. I don't usually have my phone out, but my inbox was acting wonky this morning so I was checking mail on my phone instead. 

HO morning 4

At this early hour, I look over my calendar and start working on a daily page.

***

And now it's just about 9 a.m. and time to start up my own "office hours." :) I.e. it's time to get breakfast for my now-awake-boys ... and organize their lessons ... but I'll be back again later to chat more about my "Home Office Day." I hope your Friday is off to a nice start ... and THANK YOU all so much for your kind "blog-a-versary" messages yesterday! I appreciate your kind words and loving support very much!

See you again in a bit ... have a great day!



A New Batch of Weekly File Folders ...

A "new year" all ready to go!

New batch of folders 1

Don't they look nice - all fresh and crisp? I love how ... empty ... they are and yet, so full of promise. 

As you can see, I went with plain manilla folders this go-around (rather than patterned, pastel or primary) because I am currently fiddling with the weekly planning sheet (to fasten to the front of each folder) and I thought a plain background would work best.

Now, speaking of "office stuff" don't forget, this Friday is National Clean Out Your Home Office Day. I plan to do a little spring cleanup of my own "home office" ... and then of course, I'll post all about it. :)

And if you do have a home office (room, corner, space), I'd love to hear about it! I know many of my readers are stay-at-home moms, and I've always felt we have as much a need for office space as anyone. A quiet corner, a special desk, a small portion of the kitchen counter ... even just a big, roomy tote! What we need is a place where we can keep track of what we're in charge of ... and as moms, we're in charge of a lot!

Now, I'd like to take a moment to say that I have great respect for women who work outside the home and also juggle responsibilites at home. I know I'm very fortunate to not have to work, and that I can make our home and family my sole focus. I try to never take that for granted, and I thank God (and Bill) every day that we are able to live this way. The thing of it is, all of us moms - wherever we work - without a doubt, we have a lot on our plates. You know, those many, many plates we keep spinning above our heads on any given day? So a home office - any size or scale - is a good idea for all of us!

***

Well, my friends,  I hope you all had a nice day ... and I hope to be here again sometime tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by ... have a good night!


Putting Paper in its Place

Tweaking the desk 8

I finally got around to reading my January Better Homes & Gardens the other day, and I stumbled upon a wonderful article called "In-Box Rx." It featured a family desk all decked out with nifty office products - bins, baskets, drawers and the like. Of course I enjoyed all the pretty pictures, but I found the accompanying sidebar, "Keep Track in an Action File" even better.

As most of you know, I keep a weekly file folder system, and this has worked brilliantly for me for many years. Now, those folders hold timely papers - items for specific weeks of the year. But then there are those papers that come into the house that aren't assigned a particular date, but need attention all the same. What about them? Where do they go?

In the past I've had a slush pile for these items (a phrase from my newspaper days) which is a very dangerous thing, because often said items need action sooner rather than later. Well, the BH&G article described a neat system for sorting papers like this, and I thought I'd give it a go ...

I'm using the two trays seen above and below, as well as a clipboard.

Tweaking the desk 3

Tweaking desk 2

Suggested categories: Pending, Do Later, Do Now.

Now, I'm just trying this out, to see how it works with my file crate system. It might be overkill, I'm not sure, lol! But I figured it was worth a try ... plus I really like using those alphabet stickers. ;)

(And for Sarah, who asked where I got those ABC stickers ... I bought them at my local paper craft store, but they are made by a company called, Pebbles - here's a link.)

So I'll post later about what kinds of papers I put where, but my "online" time is quickly running out this morning. Before I go, a quick peek at two more Martha products I've set up on the fridge ...

Tweaking the desk 4

I swear I don't get any kickbacks for all these product plugs, lol!

(Though wouldn't that be nice?)

On the left side is an adhesive dry-erase sheet - my new "Honey-Do List" - and under the calendar on the right is a handy adhesive pocket. The list is self-explanatory of course - ;) - and the pocket will be used for some random papers we always keep on the fridge. Things held by magnets that seem to constantly slip off. These would be the allowance tallies, Mass participation sheets and such. (The soccer schedule will go here in the spring.)

After I put up the board, I decided to amend my phrasing a little ...

Tweaking the desk 6

The Honey-Do (please) List. ;)

Well, my friends, I'm going to sign off for now and tend to my homefront. Earlybird had a very rough day yesterday, but thankfully he slept well last night. (Thank you all so much for the well wishes and prayers!) So far this morning he's kept down some weak lemonade and he's had a few sups on a homemade popsicle ... and now he's begging me to "Ask Nana to bring us chocolate milk," which tells me he's getting his appetite back. :)

So have a good Thursday, everyone ... I'll see you again very soon!



Pretty Little Clothespins

I found these at my favorite paper craft store last month:

Pretty clothespins 7

I wasn't sure how I'd use them, but I knew I had to have them!

Well today I decided to try them out as part of an old-fashioned "clothesline."

Pretty clothespins 4

I just strung a length of twine along a sunny windowsill, stretched taut between two thumbtacks. Very much like our Christmas card display, only using twine instead of ribbon.

You could use a display like this for all kinds of things: alphabet cards, leaf types, art projects, photographs, birthday greetings ...

Pretty clothespins 5

(Or bits and bobs of pretty nonsense as I did.)

I'll admit, I was very tempted to line all the learning room windows with this "clothesline" but I held myself back, trying to control my "clutter bug" instincts.

;)

Well, my friends, I hope you all had a nice Wednesday! Our day was busy as usual, but I felt like I got a lot accomplished so that's a good thing. For one thing, I cleaned the refrigerator from top to bottom, and goodness did it need it! (I am loathe to tell you how old some of those salad dressings were ...) And lol, Bookworm just poured himself a glass of milk and when he opened the fridge door he said, "Wow, there's light in the fridge!")

But now our day's winding down, and since Bookworm has an evening activity, I'm trying to get supper done a bit early (baked ziti and sausages). So I'd best be off ...

So I thank you all for stopping by ... and I wish you all a nice night.

See you again sometime soon!


Martha in my Corner

Martha corner 2

I know many of you, like me, are Martha Stewart fans - particularly, Martha Stewart product fans. And I'm hearing her new line of home office products has created quite a buzz across the country! Now, some of you have not had a chance to check them out, and some of you don't even have the option, as her line is opening in select US regions at this time. Well, I bought some of her desk accessories this weekend and I thought I'd show you how they look and how they work. :)

*By the way, I'm sorry I haven't been around much this weekend ~ I had planned to follow up on yesterday's coupon post and catch up on comments but did not have the time. It was a busy day to start with, but then Crackerjack came down with a nasty stomach bug and that threw everything off. (Top bunk + stomach bug = ugh). He's feeling a little better today, but seriously bummed he had to miss - not only our parish pancake breakfast this morning - but the Superbowl party at Nana and Papa's as well! My poor guy. :(

Back to the corner office, though ... here are the separate pieces I purchased:

Martha corner 7

Shown here is the magazine holder, two in-box trays (purchased separately), and then two divided organizer pieces (also purchased separately). The desk accessories are available in a pearly white (as above), a soft aqua (that signature MS shade) and a deep chocolate brown. I picked the pearly white for obvious reasons. :) 

The trays stack neatly - you can stagger them so the lower tray is more exposed, or sit them direcly on top of each other as I have done.

Martha corner 8

And the neat thing about these products is that they snugly fit into each other using a beveled edge design:

Martha corner 9

They don't actually "click" but with a little wiggling the pieces fit firmly in place. (And they are also easily taken apart.)

Here is the larger organizer piece placed on top of the trays:

Martha corner 11

And the final piece - a lidded and divided rectangular piece: 

Martha corner 12

I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying out different configurations at Staples. It got to the point where I started feeling self-conscious, thinking the store associates must be wondering what I was up to, lol! Above the product display was a large poster showing different ways to use the pieces, so I was following that, but it was hard to picture how it all would look at my desk ...

But here's how it does look, in the corner of my corner desk: 

Martha corner1

(We get great light in this room, but it makes for tough photography sometimes!)

Martha corner

Now, to show you how I'm using the various parts ...

In the bottom tray I am storing my daybook and monthly calendar when not in use. (Yes, I pulled the monthly calendar out of my homekeeping binder ... I had an epiphany at the orthodontist's office the other day, lol. More on that later.)

Martha corner4

The top tray will serve as a true inbox - holding things I need to address in some way - read/review, file away, add to my journal, etc.

Now, in the front portion of the divided sections above, I have the bits and bobs I was keeping in those colorful little pots. (They were very pretty, but they proved to be kitty magnets!) And I like that I can place the lid on this area and not only does it look neater, but it protects those "bits and bobs" from my oh-so curious cats.

Martha corner5

Above that area I have some sticky note pads, a few notebooks (inlcuding my shopping notebook) and in the very back section I have my clippings journal and my "active" file folders. Sitting directly behind all this is my homekeeping binder. (It was too heavy and wide to fit anywhere else.)

The magazine holder currently holds my "special" magazines and a wonderful library book I'm savoring. I would add preferred catalogs here as well.

Martha corner6

So there you have it - my Martha corner all decked out. :) I'm glad to say I'm happy with how it looks - but I was prepared to return things if they didn't fit well here. 

Well friends, for now I will say goodbye and I will wish you all a good night. As for tomorrow - my posting will depend on the "state of affairs" here on the homefront, but it is my hope (and plan) to have my "morning after" Downton post up very early. 

{Yes, I DO know it's the Superbowl tonight - I'm from New England, after all! (GO PATS!) But I still plan to watch Downton when it airs from 9-10. Bill and Bookworm will be watching The Game with my family just up the road, while I'll be home with the younger two - both surely asleep by that time. Now, I certainly love football - and I'm very proud of my team! - I just can't miss my DA fix! So Bill - handy, tech-savvy guy that he is - is setting me up with a second TV so I can keep one eye on the game - while still enjoying my Downton. ;)}

So we'll see what tomorrow brings then, shall we? In the meantime, thanks so much for stopping by ~ and have a SUPER night, everyone!

:)


Outfitting a Home-Centered Desk

Deskdetails2

But first, a Good Sunday evening to you all. :)

Here we are at the very close of the week, and I finally have a desk post to share with you! It was such a nice sunny day (and fairly mild, too), so I had lots of light and fresh air to work in ...

And here's my new desk, situated in the southwestern corner of our learning/sitting room:

Deskdetails13

As you can see, I now have an honest-to-goodness "desk chair" for my desk! Bill and the boys brought it home from Staples today, and it's very comfortable, I'm happy to say.

So first off, I worked on filling in (i.e. organizing) all the drawers ... 

Deskdetails10

The lower drawers are for file folders. On the left I will keep recipe storage and household information. (Seen in the picture at the top of this post.) And on the right is my File Crate System (my weekly file folders).

The top drawers are devoted to the various materials I need as "home manager." On the left: a correspondence basket, stickers and labels, and a master to-do pad (suspiciously empty at the moment, lol).

Deskdetails5

On the right: my budgetkeeping drawer.

Deskdetails9

(It may not look very organized, but honestly - it is!)

There is a metal basket nestled in there, and inside that is another small basket holding coupons and gift certificates. Also in the metal basket are current bills to pay, weekly church envelopes, business cards (held together by a binder clip) and my calculator. In the front section of the drawer is a plastic zip-top envelope in which I will (temporarily) store shopping receipts. On the left side of the drawer is a stack of monthly statements (held together by a binder clip - boy, do I love binder clips, lol!). 

Now, I showed you the right hand side of the desk when I first arranged it the other day. It looks pretty much the same, only I made that little letter holder a bit more purposeful. (It now holds a task binder, the "active" weekly file folders, my notecards, shopping notebook, and daily routine index cards.)

Above the desk I hung my projects clipboard.

Deskdetails17

On the windowsill, just behind this side of the desk, I used those pretty planter pots for some tiny desk accoutrements. :)

Deskdetails14

Orange holds tiny multicolor clothespins (for a neat project I'll tell you about soon), yellow holds small binder clips, green holds nothing at the moment but I had stuck my reading glasses in there, and blue holds medium size binder clips.

(So far the cats have left these little pots alone, but that could all change in a moment - most likely an after-midnight moment - so we shall see.)

Now, the left side of the desk I've kept mostly open because I can't decide what I want to put here, but for now, I have a small crate with my clipping journal.

Deskdetails6

(Which was promptly taken over by Archie.)

Deskdetails21

I think I'd like to get a two-tiered inbox for this spot. A place in which I'd keep things to look at - correct, address, file, etc. I'm thinking about getting something like this.

So here's the desk view to the left ... my reading (and tea) corner.

Deskdetails16

And here's the desk view to the right ... the family reading corner.

Deskdetails22

A closer look at Earlybird's February "library" nook:

Deskedtails15

Underneath that table there are nature puppets, a portable dvd player and a basket of videos, puzzle buckets and a few games.

So I think it's coming together quite nicely! The desk fits in well here, and it feels great to have a space devoted to home management. The family computer is located here, so the boys do share this desk with me sometimes. In fact, as I finish this post, I'm sitting in my reading chair working on my laptop, while the boys are at the desk, laughing at some Star Wars website ...

And Archie's still in that crate!

:)

Well my friends, I hope you enjoyed this tour of my new desk, but I'm going to sign off now as it's getting late and I've kept you here long enough! I'm looking forward to a quiet Sunday evening with my fellas, having supper and watching TV ... but I'll be here bright and early tomorrow to kick off our Downton discussion, so I'll catch up with all again then! 

*★ Good night! ★*


File Folder Migration

Well, I took a few steps towards setting my desk up today! First off, I moved the file crate system (sans crate) into its new home:

File folder drawer 1

The folders fit perfectly in this drawer. :)

File folder drawer 2

Now, you all might remember how hard Bill worked to set me up with an under-counter, in-cabinet, rolling-cage scenario last year? (God bless that man, he is good to me!) Well, I am happy to say I made this file folder "migration" with his blessing. When he found this desk online and showed it to me, the first thing(s) he pointed out were the TWO file folder drawers!

(And not to fret - that rolling cage thingy will be put to good use - he's thinking he might keep his "upstairs" tools in the crate for easy access. OR we might keep seasonal baking supplies under here ...)

I also started laying out a bit of my "stuff" on the desktop to see how it would look.

New desk top 2

I'm really trying to keep my penchant for clutter under control, so I'm doing this little by little. (Carefully arranged and color-coordinated "clutter" is soothing to me, lol - but I know open spaces are more efficient, and to most eyes, more attractive.) Helene asked about a lamp and a chair ... and we're thinking on that. I'm not sure I need a lamp here, since we do have two soft lights in either corner of this room, as well as an overhead light. And then of course, there are all those sunny windows! But Bill mentioned something about a task light so we'll see ...

As for the chair, well the one we're using here is just a stand-in till we get a proper desk chair. (It's a lovely chair - an old family piece - but it's low and very hard!) Actually, we bought a desk chair at Staples a month ago for EB and it was not too expensive but very comfy and nice looking. Though I love the idea of a white, wooden "swivel" chair I'm going to opt for comfort over style ... or hopefully, a happy marriage of the two. :)

So the stuff I set up today included my Mary Engelbreit page-a-day calendar, which I set upon a slice of tree branch. The branch gives the small plastic calendar a little more presence, and compliments the woodsiness visible through the windows. I also set my pens, pencils and scissors in an old candle jar. The red goes with the room, of course, and I love the star motif.

New desk top 3

Also added, was this pretty metal letter/file holder. I used to keep it up on the kitchen island, tucked against the wall corner. In this, I keep odds and ends - some practical, some pretty - but I do display my current ("active") file folders here.

Keeps them handy and visible!

New desk top 4

Then of course I laid out my primary planning tools:

New desk top 5

The month @ a glance calendar, my household binder and my Daybook. The daybook is open to next week's planning page because that is what I worked on today. (I start my "next week planning" on Thursdays.) The little notebook is my "weekend errands" notebook. I start working on that on Thursdays as well.

And you can't see them too well here, but there are tiny ceramic plant-pots on the windowsill. I bought these at the nursery for all of $2 apiece! We may plant seed in them on Candlemas (or perhaps Ash Wednesday) or I may just use them to hold little desk things like camera batteries, flash drives, binder clips and such.

So that's all I've done so far! The other three drawers are still empty and the other side of the desk is still open. I'm slowly working my way around ... :)

Well, my friends, thank you so much for stopping by ... I hope your Thursday was a good one! Our day was busy (in and out, back and forth), but we're home now and the sky's growing dark - though it seems to stay "light" a little longer these days ... and that's a very welcome thing! 

So have a good night, everyone ~ I will see you again soon!



Flowers at the Office ...

My goodness, but it was a long and busy day! But I wanted to pop on quickly and show you a better picture of my desk ... as well as these pretty things:

Magicflowers4

Remember the tiny white carnations yesterday? Well, ladies and gentlemen ~ we now have ourselves rainbow flowers! (Honestly, they started turning color after only 30 minutes! I think the short stems do the trick.)

Anyways, here's a better view of my new desk, a birthday present from Bill:

My new desk!

I'm very glad it fits in this corner so well! Bill took numerous measurements to be sure that it would fit, but it can be tricky ordering furniture on the internet. And I like the location of the desk ~ the windows let in lots of natural light and give us a nice view of the birdfeeders (so of course, the cats think of this as one big window seat, lol).

So the learning room has changed quite a bit from when I first started this blog! Some of you might remember the deep wine-colored walls and the large, dark table. I can be funny about change - I tend to like things to stay as they are - but these changes have been gradual, so I'm feeling comfortable with it all.

And our needs as a homeschooling family have changed - one large table around which all the kids work is no longer necessary (or even sensible, lol). The older boys like to work at the kitchen island, while Earlybird and I "learn" all over, depending on what we're working on at the time. I've enjoyed sitting with EB on the loveseat with a library book, a magazine, the iPad, or just watching the birds. The wood flooring is ideal for puzzles and games and other random projects. I also like sitting here in my chair (as I am now) while one son is reading comics on the loveseat, another is playing on the computer and a third is talking to me from the family room just beyond ...

So it's all good! 

(And when it's all tricked out - with a few desk accessories and just a wee bit of clutter - it will be even better. ;))

But of course, this is still a learning room, so I still have baskets of books, puppets and seasonal displays like the nature shelf:

January nature shelf

As well as a special spot for the class mascot:

Archie in shelves

(Who seems to be feeling better ... thank you for your prayers!)

Well, Bill just got home so it's time for me to sign off. I hope you all have a great evening ... thanks so much for stopping by ... I will see you again very soon!