Organization Survey Feed

Time to make the donuts ...

Donuts for st. joseph 1 

On St. Joseph's Day we like to bake donuts, and that's just what we did this morning, Earlybird and I ...

Donuts for st. joseph 4

This is a very simple, baked donut ...

Donuts for st. joseph 5

After cooling just a bit, I dipped them in a light maple glaze, but I left one plain for Little Bear ...

Donuts for st. joseph 6

Donuts for st. joseph 3

Very small bites ... a new taste and texture to enjoy!

Cake Donuts

2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup vanilla sugar), 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter (melted), 2 eggs (beaten), 3/4 cup milk (I used whole), 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly spray donut pan with cooking oil (aka Pam). In bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt. Add butter, eggs, milk, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Beat until well blended. (I used a rubber spatula.) Fill each donut ring 2/3 full. Bake for 8 minutes or until tops spring back lightly when touched. Cool. Remove from pan and dip into glaze.

I adapted this recipe from one found on the back of my Wilton donut pan. For the glaze, I just mixed some confectioner's sugar with cream and maple syrup. I pressed the donuts into the bowl of glaze (face-down) while they were still warm, then set them on a plate to cool.

And they were DELICIOUS.

:) 

Blessings to you all on this Feast of St. Joseph ... see you again sometime tomorrow!


Organizing the Nest Survey ~ Two Giveaway Winners!

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So this morning I went through all the names attached to each one of the 243 comments (wow!) and then randomly selected two names as winners of the giveaway books ...

And I'm very happy to announce that ...

Louise

... is the winner of Where Women Create: Inspiring Work Spaces of Extraordinary Women!

*and*

Greta

... is the winner of Where Women Create: Book of Organization!

***

Congratulations, ladies! I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have. :) I will be in touch over the weekend (via email) so we can set up mailing details.

And again I offer my sincere thanks to all who took part in my survey. I wish I had something to award each of you, because I really appreciate the time and energy you spent answering all those questions. (And so many of you answered each and every post!) But hopefully you all have enjoyed reading through the many thoughts and strategies as much as I have! It has been SUCH fun to discuss organizing methods and household habits with you all. And as I mentioned before, I do plan to answer each of the survey questions myself in a series of follow-up posts ... they will come slowly over the month of February. :) 

And speaking of February - Rabbit, rabbit!

Today is the Feast of St. Brigid - patroness of Ireland, dairy farmers, midwives and babies. I'll for sure be reading aloud Brigid's Cloak at teatime today. (Enjoying Irish Breakfast decaf and sweet little "oat cakes.") How I love that beautiful book!

(A quick aside ~ had this baby been a girl, Brigit was one of the names we liked. As it happens, the boy name we've chosen is also very gaelic. ❤)

And tomorrow brings Candlemas, another lovely feast day when we have our candle supply blessed and take down the very last bit of Christmas greenery. It is also Groundhog Day here, when we wait with bated breath to see if Punxsatawny Phil sees his shadow or not (predicting a long winter or an early spring). This American tradition ties in nicely with the old English proverb ...

If Candlemas be fair and bright,

Winter will take another flight ...

But if Candlemas be cloudy with rain,

Winter is gone and won't come again.

(Or something like that.) 

And Sunday brings the Superbowl - not that we're paying all that much attention in our New England home. ;) Still. We'll probably watch some of it - until it's time for Downton of course. Actually we're more excited for Puppy Bowl IX on Animal Planet! Earlybird gets SUCH a kick out of this every year ...

Special weekend meals? Well, because we're going meatless today, I plan to serve the shepherd(ess) pie tomorrow night for supper, along with a cheesy loaf of bread and some lemon puddings for dessert. The lemon puddings are also in honor of Candlemas because they are bright and sunny, reminding us that Spring - no matter what Phil says - is not that far away. :)

So have yourselves a wonderful weekend, my friends. As always thanks so much for stopping by ... I will see you all again sometime soon!

**


Organizing the Nest Survey, Part 10 ~ Correspondence

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Happy Wednesday, my friends ~ hope your week's going well!

So at last we have my final "organizing" survey, and my subject today is correspondence ~ written communication with friends, family and acquaintances through both traditional and more newfangled methods. :)

So without further ado, here are my questions!

1. Where do you keep your incoming/outgoing mail?

2. Where/how do you store your address book?

3. Where do you store your "mail" materials? (Greeting cards, note paper & envelopes, stamps, etc.)

4. Do you still hand write letters and snail mail greeting cards or do you primarily utilize e-mail (or social media) for these things?

5. Do you schedule time for keeping up with correspondence?

 ***

Now if you'd like to revisit previous survey comments (to read through or add your own), please click on the following links:

1. to-do lists (daily and someday)

2. family food

3. calendars

4. file folders and paper management

5. family finances

6. homeschooling

7. seasonal planning

8. arts, crafts & hobbies

9. reading materials

(Remember - each time you comment your name is entered in the contest!

Friday morning I'll go through every survey post, and jot down the name attached to each comment. ALL those names will be thrown into "a virtual hat" from which two lucky ladies will win one of these:

Where women create bookBook of Organization

I'll announce the winning names on Friday, roundabouts noontime. :)

***

So my thanks again to each reader who has helped me out with this project. I'm thrilled the survey has been fun for so many of you, too ... sharing ideas is really one of the best things to come out of the blogging phenomenon, in my humble opinion.

Have a good day, everyone ... and I'll see you back here again soon!

**

 What a wonderful thing is the mail, capable of conveying across continents a warm human hand-clasp.

~ Author Unknown


Organizing the Nest Survey, Part 9 ~ Reading Materials

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Just a couple more posts and our survey will be done!

(Though feel free to leave me suggestions for further survey subjects - we could always continue after the giveaway has wrapped.)

Ok, so! Today's survey focuses on reading materials: personal reading, library loans, kids' books, school books, blogs & websites, newspapers, magazines, etc.

Questions:

1. What kinds of materials do you read regularly, and how do you read them - on paper or electronically? Via purchase or loan?

2. How do you organize/store your personal reading *and* how do you make time for personal reading?

3. How do you organize/store your kids' books *and* how do you encourage reading in your home?

4. What are you reading today? :)

***

Now I absolutely love to read, but the truth is, I don't read nearly as much as I'd like to. I spend a lot of my reading time on newspapers, magazines and kids' books, and though I use the library faithfully, I often return items before making use of them. One of my favorite spots in our home is my "mama chair" in the learning room beside which sits my "beloved" reading basket. In this basket I store all my current reading materials - magazines, newspapers, catalogs, and usually one select novel. (Currently I'm reading Inkheart for Crackerjack's book group.)

I'd love to hear about your reading habits so please leave a comment if you have time. :) 

And if you'd like to revisit previous survey comments (to read through or add your own), please click on the following links:

1. to-do lists (daily and someday)

2. family food

3. calendars

4. file folders and paper management

5. family finances

6. homeschooling

7. seasonal planning

8. arts, crafts & hobbies

(Remember - each time you comment your name is entered in the contest!)

***

Well my friends, thanks so much for stopping by today and have yourselves a good one! A snowy morning here in New England ... a great day for curling up with a cup of tea ... and a good book!

**

 "The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books."

(Longfellow)


Organizing the Nest Survey, Part 8 ~ Arts, Crafts & Hobbies

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Happy Monday, everyone!

Today's survey focuses on the time, space and materials involved in arts, crafts and hobbies. Speaking in FlyLady terms, this is another "hotspot" for me. I love collecting (Bill might say amassing) craft supplies of all kinds, but I'm not always careful with how I store them ...

And finding time to fit crafting into an already pretty full schedule is no easy task either. When the boys were little we crafted regularly as part of our homeschooing week, but now that they're older it's not as big a part of our curriculum. I love to dabble in crafts and Earlybird really loves art projects - the messier the better! - and I suspect with the new baby coming, I'll l be back on the "kiddie craft wagon" before long. :) So I'm itching to get my supplies in order and figure out an easy (easier?) way to fit crafting - creative expression - into our week.

So, my questions for you all today are as follows ...

1. What kinds of arts/crafts/hobbies are part of your life?

2. Where and how do you store crafting supplies?

3. Time-wise, how do you fit crafting into your life? (On your own or with kids?)

***

Now if you'd like to revisit previous survey comments (to read through or add your own), please click on the following links:

1. to-do lists (daily and someday)

2. family food

3. calendars

4. file folders and paper management

5. family finances

6. homeschooling

7. seasonal planning

(Remember - each time you comment your name is entered in the contest!)

***

Thanks so much for taking the time to participate in my survey! I'll have a few more posts this week and then I'll announce the TWO winners on Friday. :)

Have a great Monday my friends ... see you here again sometime soon!

**

p.s. That crockpot cake I made yesterday came out great! Even after Earlybird unplugged the crockpot for an undetermined length of time ... it recovered beautifully! :)


Organizing the Nest Survey, Part 7 ~ Seasonal Planning

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Well, it's the weekend at last ... and I hope it brings you a little rest and relaxation. :) Too often we try to squeeze in all kinds of activity over the weekend - the should do's and could do's - and find ourselves anything but refreshed come Monday morning ...

But that's a topic for a future post!

Getting back to our survey, today's question is about seasonal planning, which as many of you know is a bit of an obsession of mine! And by "seasonal planning" what I mean is thinking ahead about activities and celebrations, observances and special foods ... those experiences that connect our family with the season at hand. Familiar traditions belonging to either nature or faith, or maybe both.

So!

1. Do you plan ahead for seasonal fun and tradition?

2. Where do you write down these ideas?

3. Where/how do you store resources for seasonal planning (ideas, print-outs, magazine clippings, craft & baking items, etc.)?

4. What are some of your favorite seasonal planning resources?

5. What season do you look forward to most?

***

I'm looking forward to hearing your responses! When looking for ways to enhance our yearly rhythm, I find planning ahead to be most invaluable. I can get a little lost in it, actually. ;) Holidays are wonderful, but often it's the "every days and little ways" that are best of all ... when we weave small yet meaningful moments into our family year, it brings such joy and makes the very best kind of memories.

:)

Now if you'd like to revisit previous survey comments (to read through or add your own), please click on the following links:

1. to-do lists (daily and someday)

2. family food

3. calendars

4. file folders and paper management

5. family finances

6. homeschooling

(Remember - each time you comment your name is entered in the contest!)

***

My friends, I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend. Thanks so much for stopping by ... I'll see you here again very soon!

**

p.s. I thought I shoud mention, tomorrow is National Chocolate Cake Day! It also happens to be Bill's mom's birthday ... and even though we can't be together tomorrow, we'll bake a chocolate cake in her honor. A crockpot cake perhaps, with fresh whipped cream on top ... Perfect for a cold winter Sunday. :)


Organizing the Nest Survey, Part 6 ~ Home Learning (& an Internet Query)

Nest2

Hello there everyone, and Happy Thursday!

So let's talk about home learning, a subject near and dear to my heart - *raises hand* - 12-year veteran right here! There's a lot to manage when you add home education to your family's already full plate - so naturally, there's a lot to discuss when it comes to organizing it all - but I tried to keep my questions simple. ;)

And so as not to leave anybody out, I have an "internet" question at the end of the post that I've been meaning to ask for a while, so if you'd like to leave a comment for the giveaway, please feel free to check that out ...

So my "organizing" questions for today are as follows ...

1. Do you work with a formal lesson plan each week?

2. (And if so) where do you write down/keep these lesson plans?

3. How do you keep your kids on task/aware of their responsibilities?

4. Do you have a separate learning room or space?

5. How do you keep "school stuff" in order? What do you find hardest to organize?

6. Do you find it a challenge to balance time spent outside the home (field trips, get-togethers, clubs, etc.) with time spent on academics at home?

***

And, my question for those who don't have homeschooling comments to share, is about two online activities - Pinterest and Instagram. Are you using either of these sites, and how do you use them? I'm somewhat familiar with Pinterest but I really have no idea how Instagram works. It seems as though everyone's using one of these sites these days - or both!

Information, please? :)

Now if you'd like to revisit previous survey comments (to read through or add your own), please click on the following links:

1. to-do lists (daily and someday)

2. family food

3. calendars

4. file folders and paper management

5. family finances

(Remember - each time you comment your name is entered in the contest!)

***

Well my friends, it is BEYOND frigid here in New England today - a high of 19 today, I think? We'll be in the deep freeze for some time, but there is relief in sight for next week. Rain, too - but I'll take it if it means temps in the 40s! I'm getting itchy for spring which is kind of dangerous when it's still only January! As for me and the babe, I'm still taking it easy here, and things have quieted down nicely. Well, except for the little boy himself who is VERY active inside his mama! He's now moving around so vigorously that others can feel him from the outside, and you can even SEE him moving my tummy around. (Sorry if that's TMI, lol!) It's a miracle, honestly - each day I give thanks that we have been blessed this way once again. Late May seems way off and yet, things seem to be moving along pretty quickly!

 Friends, please have yourselves a nice Thursday ... I'll see you here again very soon!

**

ETA - It seems some folks are having trouble leaving comments, and I have no idea what's up with Typepad, but I appreciate all the more the time and effort involved in leaving your thoughts! No survey post tomorrow - look for one over the weekend! :)


Organizing the Nest Survey, Part 5 ~ Family Finances & Budgeting

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Good morning, my friends ... and so we continue! :)

Today I'd like to focus on household finances ... an extremely important area of family life to keep organized! So I have quite a list of questions for you this morning ...

1. Where/how do you store incoming bills?

2. Where/how do you store receipts and statements?

3. Do you have a pre-determined household budget (weekly or otherwise)? Where do you write it down? How often do you refer to it?

4. Where do you keep financial goals and/or money-saving ideas?

5. Do you and your spouse talk about finances on a regular basis?

6. Any favorite financial books/resources to recommend?

***

Once again (and I know I sound like a broken record!) I want to thank everyone who has been participating in this survey. I have found your comments so interesting and helpful! I've taken to printing them out so I can read them a little more closely - reading glasses on, and hi-lghter in hand!

If you'd like to revisit previous survey comments (to read through or add your own), please click on the following links:

1. to-do lists (daily and someday)

2. family food

3. calendars

4. file folders and paper management

(Remember - each time you comment your name is entered in the contest!)

***

Now just to clarify, I'm not doing this survey for any other reason than to encourage the sharing of ideas between like-minded friends. (That and I'm kind of nosy when it comes to these things.) I'm not collecting data for a book on organizing ... in fact, looking around my house at the moment, that would seem like a rather humorous idea. ;)

But while I have you, I would like to mention a little book I just ordered for myself after seeing an excerpt in Parents magazine. The book is called, Family Inc.: Office-Inspired Solutions to Reduce the Chaos in Your Home (And Save Your Sanity!), and though I've only just started reading, I'm really enjoying it so far! The book revolves around a couple who found themselves quite disorganized and stressed out until they started meeting weekly to talk about family needs and responsibilities. They were both working outside the home at the time, and employed some of the strategies they used to keep on top of things professionally, in their household. I will report in again on this book once I've read the whole thing! :)

Well, until next time my friends, thanks so much for stopping by. Enjoy your day, and I will see you all again sometime soon!

**


Organizing the Nest Survey, Part 4 ~ File Folders & Paper Management

Nest2

Good morning, my friends! Hope your week's off to a great start. :)

I must thank you all again for the wonderful comments you've been leaving throughout this survey. I'm just relishing each one, and I truly appreciate the time you've taken to leave such thoughtful and thorough responses. My plan is to follow up this survey with a post (or more likely, posts) detailing my own answers to all these questions - and while that sounds rather ambitious at the moment, lol, that's my intention! I'll need some time to digest (and tweak!) before I start posting my thoughts, but I will definitely be addressing all these topics from my own perspective. :)

(Fyi, upcoming survey topics include family finances, home education, seasonal planning (faith & nature), arts/crafts & hobbies, reading materials, correspondence, domestic storage: clothes/toys/etc.)

Ok, then! Our 4th organizational topic is file folders - those plain or colored (or even patterned) manila tabbed folders that we use in a filing cabinet (or basket, bin, drawer). These basic office supplies have been around for ages for good reason - they're practical, flexible and really quite indispensible!

I'm quite a file folder fan as you can tell. :)

I'm also touching upon paper management - how do you tame the paper tiger in your household?

So, I have 4 questions for you today:  

1. Do you use file folders for organizing?

2. Where/how do you store them?

3. Where do you keep the "paper materials" you need to handle in a given week?

(Ex. info for activities, recipes to try, permission slips, things to act on/follow up on/read?)

4. Where do you keep "paper materials" you don't need on a regular basis?

(E.g. warranties, insurance matters, health records, sports & clubs info, education plans, etc.?)

***

Now, I've blogged A LOT about how I use file folders (as part of my file crate system), but I also use them for our general household files and temporary recipe storage. I absolutely adore file folders! And if the number of "hits" my file folder posts get is any indication, so do a lot of you! ;)

Currently I'm fine-tuning how I use my file folders as part of my overall planning. I just love my weekly folder and its contents and its planning page - it really helps me focus on this ONE WEEK, which is really the way I regard our home and educational life: What is THIS WEEK all about?

(For a quick look at how I set up my "FCS" folders and what I keep inside them, please this post and its follow-up.)

And to comment on -  or read comments on - the previous topics in this series, please click on the following links:

1. to-do lists (daily and someday)

2. family food

3. calendars

(Remember - each time you comment your name is entered in the contest!)

***

Well, I hope to hear from you! Goodness knows I do love me some file folder talk!

Have a great day, everyone! See you here again sometime soon ...



Organizing the Nest Survey, Part 3 ~ Calendars

Nest2

Happy Sunday, everyone!

 Continuing with my organization survey, today's topic is calendars... and as my regular readers know, this is a real hot-button topic for me!

Yes indeedy, I'm a bit of a calendar junkie ... forever trying to find (or make) THE perfect calendar. One that looks nice and feels right, and fits every possible need I might have as a woman/wife/mom/homeschooler, etc.!

But of course, this just doesn't exist (perfection that is, there are plenty of calendars out there), and yet - that doesn't stop me from searching! And it doesn't stop me from showing you all what new calendar system/style/brand I'm trying out next ...

Simply put, calendars make me crazy - but mostly in a good way. ;)

So! Today's survey questions are as follows:

1. How many calendars are you currently using?

2. What kind of calendar(s) do you use?

3. Where do you keep/store/display your calendar?

4. Do you take a calendar with you when you are out and about?

***

So clearly, we've discussed calendars here on more than one occasion, but I hope you'll still humor me! Also, some of your previous answers have been so wonderfully thorough that you may have answered my calendar questions already. If this is the case, just let me know below - ex. See my "to-do list" comment for calendar details. Today's comment will still count as another entry in the giveaway.

:)

To comment on -  or read comments on - the previous topics in this series, please click on the following links:

1. to-do lists (daily and someday)

2. family food

(Remember - each time you comment your name is entered in the contest!)

***

Now, I anticipate the next topic in this series will be posted on Tuesday, as I'd like to devote Monday's post to our Downton Abbey chat. :)

So our Sunday evening is quite jam-packed with fun television-viewing - perfect for couch-rest! - the AFC Championship game at 6:30, Once Upon a Time at 8, and of course, Downton at 9. A power nap is on my afternoon calendar, that's for sure. :)

***

Have a great Sunday my friends, and ...

GO PATS!!!


Organizing the Nest Survey, Part 2: Food for the Family

 

He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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First of all, I cannot thank you all enough for all your survey responses so far!! I have so enjoyed reading through your opinions and ideas about keeping track of all the things that need doing for our families. I'm excited to share the rest of the survey series with you all - this is going to be such fun!

Allrighty then! Today I'd like to talk about managing your family's food, so here are three questions for you:

1. Where do you plan out your family meals?

2. Where do you compose your grocery list?

3. Where do you keep your recipes?

***

If you have thoughts to share, please leave a comment below, and remember - with each comment your name will be entered in the giveaway (which is described here). If you'd rather not be entered in the contest, please let me know in your comment.

Also, to comment on - and/or read comments on - previous topics in this series, please click on the following the links:

1. to-do lists (daily and someday)

***

Well my friends, I hope you all have a lovely weekend ... Mine will be a quiet one for sure, as I've been put on "moderate" bed rest to quiet these Braxton-Hicks contractions! Apparently, the more babies you have, the sooner you can feel these harmless, but rather uncomfortable, contractions. I also got very dehydrated and that's probably what kicked them off. But rest assured - I saw the midwife yesterday and all is absolutely fine with the baby - I just need to take it easy for a couple of days. :)

See you all again very soon!

**


Organizing the Nest Survey, Part 1 ~ Plus 2 Giveaways!

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Good Friday morning, my friends! I hope this week's been kind to you. :)

So I've been working on all my planning stuff, trying to pare down the number of "tools" I use to run my life/home/family, etc., and in so doing, I have been questioning just how I keep track of each of those plates I have spinning in the air. 

(I'm sure you know the kind of "plates" I mean: housekeeping, family meals, budgeting, home education, calendar-keeping, faith formation, celebrating seasons, overall health & happiness, ETC.)

So I thought a little research might be helpful - I'm always nosy curious about, and often inspired by, your own thoughts and methods, so I thought I'd turn to my readers!

At first I had this huge post filled with all my questions but I know your time is precious, and I don't want to overwhelm you (or myself!) ... so instead I'll break this all down into a series of 10 or so posts (each post focusing on one of those plates). And at the end of it all, I will enter everyone who commented in a giveaway to win one of two things.

Either ...

Book of Organization

Where Women Create Book of Organization: The Art of Creating Order

or

Where women create book

Where Women Create: Inspiring Work Spaces of Extraordinary Women

Both of these books are filled with photos of women's studios and workspaces - lots of organizational eye candy! I've had them for some time and would like to pass them on to someone else to enjoy. Each time you comment your name will be entered in the giveaway, and the two winners will be announced on February 1st!

OK, so let's get started! My questions for you today are about writing down "to-do's."

1. Where do you write down what you have to do "today?"

(Example: return a call, make a deposit, pick up dry cleaning)

&

2. Where do you write down things you have to do "someday?"

(Example - book a trip, call the realtor, get an oil change, research a purchase)

(And how do you manage those lists - how often do you update them?)

***

Now, have we talked about all this before? Well, yes, I'm sure we have once or twice. ;) But I know many of you are "organization" nuts like me and love to revisit the same issues again (and perhaps again). I think your comments will really help me with my current project and I hope they'll be helpful to others as well ...

So if you have thoughts to share, and the time to share them, please leave a comment below! Thanks so much for your help ~ I really look forward to hearing from you!

**