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Friday, September 29, 2017

September Reads

Zero stars = hated it
One star = did not like it at all
Two stars = eh, it was okay
Three stars = liked it
Four stars = really, really liked it
Five stars = absolutely loved it

1-Star (1)
*Ikigai (Non-Fiction).  Ugh.  I picked this book up because it was recommended by Marie Kondo (my organizing guru).  The authorS (yes, apparently it took TWO authors to write this nonsense) could have saved themselves a lot of time and just wrote two words on a page for this book:  Stay busy.  That is the secret for the people in Japan that have super long life expectancies.  Stay busy.  They somehow managed to throw in tai-chi exercises and ancestor worship and a whole bunch of other garbage into the mix too (including exotic fruits that you should be eating but can’t be found anywhere but Japan).  Bye-bye book!!

2-Stars (2)
**Hillbilly Elegy (non-fiction).  I would not recommend this book.  Although I learned a few things, for the most part I felt it was a waste of my time and the writer contradicted himself all throughout the book.  (audiobook borrowed from Hoopla)

**What I Saw and How I Lied.  YA.  It was just okay.  I found most of the characters unlikable, therefore I didn’t really care what happened to any of them.  (audiobook borrowed from Hoopla)

3-Stars (10)
***Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.  A blast from my elementary school past.  Still good.  (actual book, owned, but passed along to a Little Free Library)

***A Man Called Ove.  This one was good, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that the story has been done before.  Grumpy old man gets won over by his next door neighbors that have two little girls.  (owned, but I listened to a free copy of it from Hoopla.  Passed owned copy on to a Little Free Library)

***The Stars Beneath Our Feet.  This was an ARC YA book.  It was good.  Sad, but good.  A quick read dealing with some heavy issues.  (owned, but gave away to Little Free Library)

***Baker Towers.  This one was kind of all over the place for me.  I LOVED Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh, so I was hoping this one would be just as good.  It WAS good, but not 4-star worthy in my book.  (owned, donated to Little Free Library)

***See What I Have Done.  This one was also good, but it was told in the perspective of multiple people.  Which I am usually totally okay with, but I found myself skimming the chapters that weren’t told from Lizzie’s (as in Lizzie Borden) perspective.  Maybe I’m morbid?  But still really good. (e-book borrowed from Hoopla)

***Peter Pan.  I had NEVER read this book, unless you count the Little Golden Book ha ha.  It is awesome.  A little slow at the end (hence the 3 stars and not 4), but it’s really good.  Although there is some swearing!  And did you know that Tinkerbell was MEAN?  Like, really mean.  Ah, the things Disney covers up ha ha.  (audio book borrowed from Hoopla)

***The Stars Are Fire.  Anita Shreve has always been hit or miss for me.  Her last few that I’ve read have been misses.   But this one I would consider a hit.  It kept me listening!  (audio borrowed from Libby)

***It’s Not Yet Dark (Non-Fiction).  This was another ARC I picked up about a film-maker from Ireland that gets diagnosed with ALS.  It is heartbreaking.  A very quick read.  A lot of people are comparing it to When Breath Becomes Air, but to me, When Breath Becomes Air was WAY better and much more substantial.  I literally could not put When Breath Becomes Air down.  And while this one was like 1/3 of the size, it still took me about a week to get through it.  (owned, but donated it to Little Free Library).

***The Four Tendencies (Non-Fiction).  I am a big Gretchen Rubin fan (The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, Better Than Before AND her Happier podcast) so I HAD to get her newest book.  It was good.  I found myself primarily only interested in MY tendency (Obliger), and the book has substantial chapters on each of the four tendencies.  That’s why it got 3 stars instead of 4. (owned, keeper)

***Body Love (Non-Fiction).  Mixed feelings….I love the concept (very Keto, which is great) and the recipes, but….it seems like a LOT of work (even though she insists it isn’t).  So we’ll see.  I’m going to try a couple of the smoothies she recommends, but even that will require a trip to Whole Foods (which I try to avoid like the plague). (owned, keeper)

4-Stars (2)
****Little Women.  A true classic.  If you haven’t read it, go read it NOW.  And watching the movie doesn’t count.  (Owned, keeper)

****The Light Between Oceans.  From what I’ve gathered online, people either love this book or hated it.  Obviously, you can see where I stand.  It’s about two good people who made one bad (devastating) decision that changed their lives forever.  It pulled at me in every which way and I am STILL thinking about it.  You root for one person, but you understand the pain of another person and then root for them.  The writing is really, really good.  They made a movie out of it, and I want to see it now, especially because it takes place on an island off of Australia.  It is heartbreaking.  But….everything ends up how it should be, even if you’re torn about how things should have ended up (I still am).  Sooooo good. (audio borrowed from library, but want to get a real copy for my collection.)



Total Books Read: 15 (5 non-fiction, 10 fiction)

Formats:
E-Books: 1
Audio: 8
Real Books:  6

Abandoned books:  Zero (yay!  I hate abandoning books….although I almost abandoned Ikigai…thankfully it was a short book of nonsense.)

All in all, a great month!  No five-star books, but look at all those three and four star ones!!  That makes me happy.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Forgotten Room That Now Has a Purpose

Our new house has 4 bedrooms.  One of those bedrooms belongs to my mother-in-law and is on her side of the house.  One more bedroom is our master bedroom upstairs.  Another one we use as a guest room.  And the other one…well, we kind of forgot about it for a while.  It’s in the front of the house right off of the formal living room and at the bottom of the stairs.  It shares a hallway with my mother-in-law’s door to her portion of the house.

We weren’t exactly sure what we were going to do with the room.  We thought about using it as an office.  But we didn’t really need an office, because we have a built in desk upstairs in our room.  We thought about making it a second guest room, but I decided that I didn’t really want more than one set of guests at a time ha ha.  We tossed around the idea of making it a gym, but then thought it might be nicer to have our exercise equipment in the sunroom.

Well….it WAS nice, but at the same time it wasn’t.  We spend LOADS of time in our sunroom.  More than I ever imagined.  And the bulky treadmill and exercise bike took up a good portion of it and just looked….ugly.  And…we weren’t using them. 

So, I started clearing out the front bedroom.  It had a bunch of miscellaneous totes.  I unpacked them.  There are two closets in there.  One of them we use to store our luggage.  The other one my mother-in-law uses for storage.  I tidied both of them up.  There was also a futon in there, which got moved out as well. 

I first stacked the 3 trunks to use as a TV stand of sorts.  Then I moved the exercise bike and my husband moved the treadmill in there.  I added our few weights, exercise DVDs, blew up the balance balls, etc.

And now we have a little home gym! 







I like that the ugly gym equipment is all together now in a room that we can shut the door.  We don’t have cable in there, but we have a TV and eventually will have a DVD player (we have an extra one, but it’s whereabouts are in question at the moment) for exercise DVDs.  And the location is great too…if my mother-in-law wants to use it it’s not like she has to go through the rest of the house to get to it.  She’s much closer to it than we are!

And it really opened up our sunroom.  We moved the futon out there and my mother-in-law’s outdoor rocking chair (she wanted it protected from the weather).

So it’s another project I can cross of my list.  I’m just so glad that that room has a purpose now.  I hated that it was a storage room for a while and just couldn’t deal with it being a storage room long-term. 

Now we just have to actually use it!

Random

*People that chew gum with their mouths open should not be allowed to chew gum.  ESPECIALLY  at work.  ESPECIALLY when their cubicle is right in front of mine.  Don’t even get me started on the bubble blowing and popping.  #unprofessional

*I am an anxious person by nature, but buying/selling/moving houses pushed me to a new level.  I got stressed out about the strangest things.  Like…I was super concerned about where and how to pack my Oscar the Grouch doll that I’ve had since I was a newborn.  Each time I tried to put him in a box, I get stressed out.  Would he end up in a box that went into our pod?  Because I didn’t want that.  I wanted to keep him in a box that I moved myself.  And a box that I unpacked myself.  And then when I unpacked him he needed to be put somewhere safe until I found a permanent spot from him (‘safe’ meaning away from the dogs who like to used stuffed things as chew toys, and when I say ‘dogs’ I mean Watson).  So I would pick him up and then put him down (he was in a gallon sized ziplock bag).  It was so crazy to get stressed out about it!  And then other things that I should have been more concerned about, I wasn’t (like just haphazardly throwing things into boxes with no rhyme or reason).  Anyways…it all worked out.  I packed him and moved him myself in the car and  Oscar has a permanent home in my bedroom closet on the top shelf.  He’s the first thing I see when I round the corner (I have a large closet/dressing room).  He makes me smile.

*The Tidy Cats Breeze litter box system has changed my life.  If you have a cat, run to the pet store and get this litter box NOW.  No tracking.  No clump scooping.  It is a BREEZE (get it?) to deal with.  I started using this at our old house about 2 months before we moved.  I love it so much that I set up an automatic shipment on chewy.com for the pads and pellets.  And I NEVER set up auto ship (or auto pay for that matter) for ANYTHING because I am highly against anything coming out of my bank account that I didn’t initiate.  But I love this product so much that I bit the bullet and put it on autoship.  So the supplies are automatically delivered to me every six weeks.

*I buy cans of mixed nuts, then I pick out all of the cashews (cashews are my favorite).  I suppose I could just buy a can of ONLY cashews, but then I would eat the whole thing.  For some reason, it feels better this way.

*I HATE wet grass.  Hate it.  My husband takes the dogs out in the morning Monday – Friday, but I usually do it on the weekend mornings when the grass is all wet and dewy.  UGH!  It’s not so bad in the winter when I’m wearing closed toed shoes, but for 9 months out of the year here I’m usually in flip-flops.

*Did you know that drywall sandpaper is EXCELLENT at removing those hard water rings from toilets?  Yep.  Works WAY better than a pumice stone.  But not just regular sandpaper, it has to be drywall sandpaper.  Which is almost metal-like.  I have a stash of it underneath my sink.  In a perfect world, I wouldn’t let the toilet get to the point of having a hard water ring, but every now and then it just happens.

*When I take foil off of something (like a dish in the fridge), I MUST roll it up into a tiny little ball before throwing it in the trash.  I can’t imagine NOT doing this.  In fact, if you don’t do this, something is probably wrong with you.

*When you wear dangly earrings, a lazy pony-tail looks intentional. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Reading

Lately I have been reading in my spare time (although my previous post would lead you to believe that all I do in my spare time is watch TV).  I’ve been reading.  A LOT.  Especially now that we are more settled.  It calms my mind, even if it’s not a ‘calming’ book.  I’m planning to do a ‘what I read this month’ post here each month.  Last month, I read 9 books.  Two non-fiction, 7 fiction.  I’ll primarily focus on the four and five star reads in my monthly summaries. 

Zero stars = hated it
One star = did not like it at all
Two stars = eh, it was okay
Three stars = liked it
Four stars = really, really liked it
Five stars = absolutely loved it

How I Read
I read in many formats.  Actual books.  E-books through various apps, such as Nook, Hoopla and Libby.  I also listen to audio books (which I count as reading) via Hoopla and Libby.  Hoopla and Libby are free, which is really nice.  All you need is your library card AND for your local library to be linked with these programs.  Most of them are, and if they’re not, they use another app.  It works just like a ‘real’ book.  You check it out, have it for 2-3 weeks, and then it will automatically return (or disappear from your device).  Some books (especially newer ones) you have to place a hold on, just like you would at the library.  And then you get an email or notification that your book is ready.



I LOVE having a variety.  I am always listening to an audio book in the car.  Always.  It’s nice because you always have the option to speed up the audio books.  So I can get through an 8 hour book in a couple of days between car, work, and home.




I also have been re-reading some of my childhood favorites.  I count those as books read too, since it’s been at least 25-30 years since I’ve read them ha ha.

I read more fiction than non-fiction, but not much.  I would say maybe 2/3 fiction, 1/3 non-fiction.  Lately, my non-fiction pile is growing more rapidly than my fiction pile.

How I Track
I track my books 3 ways:

1.      Goodreads.  After I finish a book, I log it into my Goodreads account and   give it a star rating and mark the date that I completed it.  I never write   reviews, I just give them star ratings. 




2.      Book journal.  Once I’ve read a book, I highlight it in my book journal,      and also write it on my ‘Read’ page with the star rating and the date I  completed it.

3.   Book Buddy.  This is an app that I use to keep track of all of our owned books (not including e-books and audio books).  These are books that we currently have in our house.  When I get a new book, I just scan the bar code and it will add it to the app.  If I decide to keep a book after I read it, I mark it as ‘read’ in the app.  If I’m going to pass it along or donate it somewhere, I delete it from the Book Buddy app.  I keep all of my husband’s books in there too.  When you have a lot of books, it helps to know which ones you already own so that you don’t accidentally buy a 2nd copy (this has happened to us before we got this app).



It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s not.  It takes maybe 30 seconds to log all 3 ways.  And then I’m done!  It works for me.  I like Goodreads because it goes wayyyyyy back.  Plus, I can easily search for a book that I’m unsure if I’ve read or not.  I like Book Buddy to track our owned books.  And my book journal is handy to bring into the bookstore.  I have my To-Be-Read lists and Wish lists in there (alphabetized by author of course).

How Much I Read
I’ve read 51 books so far this year.  My goal was 52….I think I’m going to make it!

Most books I read end up in the 2-3 star range.  Four and Five stars are rare.  So far this year, out of the 51, I had eight books total that were four and five stars:

4 stars:             
Our Souls at Night (they’re making this into a movie!), actual book                 
Station Eleven (this NEEDS to be a movie), actual book
Milk & Honey, actual book
These Is My Words, audio book borrowed from the library

5 stars:
5 stars       All the Light We Cannot See (this book restored my faith in Pulitzer Prize winners after the disaster that was ‘The Goldfinch’ a few years ago), E-Book, owned
When Breath Becomes Air (non-fiction), actual book
The Storied Life of AJ Fikry (a simple book, but I LOVED it), audio book borrowed, but then I picked up an actual copy for my collection
The One in a Million Boy, audio book borrowed, but I want to get a ‘real’ copy for my collection.

I typically have anywhere from 5-15 books going at once.  So sometimes it seems like it takes me forever to finish a book, yet at the same time I might finish 4 of them within a week.  So it all works out.  Like today at work, I couldn’t decide on just one book to bring so I brought three books with me to read over my lunch break (The Four Tendencies, It’s Not Yet Dark, and Ikigai…all non-fiction).  I just don’t know what I’ll be in the mood for!

I save suspenseful/mystery books for during the day or right after work.  I can’t read those at night.  So I stick to non-fiction or ‘lighter’ books on my night table at home.

Where I Get My Books
I like to get as many books that I can from the library, especially audio books.  Except sometimes I just don’t like doing that because it’s a lot of pressure!  I NEVER actually go to the library to check out physical copies…I only check out e-books or audio books which is all done online.  But you still have to read them within a certain time frame.  And that’s not how I like to read.  I like to read what I want, when I want and if it takes me six months to finish a book (Boys in the Boat, I’m looking at you!) than so be it.  I can whiz through an audio book, but if I check out an e-book from the library I have to make sure I read it right away.

And actual books?
The ABQ Library Book Shop.  I discovered this store shortly before my sister came to visit in July.  Since we lost Hastings, I was searching for a GOOD used book store here in town.  The Book Shop is downtown in the basement of the main public library.  They sell newer fiction released in the last 4-5 years.  The books range from $1.50 - $5.  AND here’s the best part…they sell Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs).  These are copies of books that are sent out to libraries, book reviewers, newspapers, popular book bloggers, etc. to read and review BEFORE the publication date.  They have a little table of ARCs for $4 each.  Some of them have already been published, but some of them have not.  It is awesome!  I was at Barnes and Noble the other day and saw a new hardcover on the ‘new releases’ shelf and I walked smugly by it and thought ‘I bought that book for $4 a MONTH ago!!!’.  It’s nice.

Goodwill.  It’s hit or miss.  Sometimes I walk away with a good haul, sometimes I find nothing.  I try to go on Mondays (not every Monday…usually I go one Monday a month) because everything is 10% off.  And you have to dig, because there is NO rhyme or reason to anything.

The ABQ Library Book Sale (not to be confused with the Book Shop).  The second Saturday of every month, the ABQ library has a book sale.  It costs $2 to get in if you’re not a ‘Friends of the Library’ member (but I am of course) and they have tables and tables of books.  Small mass market paperbacks are .25.  Trade paperbacks and hardcovers range from $1 - $5 depending on how new they are and their condition, etc.  Lots of older books at this sale.  I’ve been twice so far.

Barnes & Noble.  I bit the bullet and became a member this week because their annual membership was on sale for $10 instead of the usual $25.  But anyways…you can save 10% each time.  And sometimes I just want a NEW book.  Plus, their selection is awesome. Plus….Starbucks.  And journals.  And planners.  And Bargain Books.  They just have lots of good stuff.  I know it’s an evil chain and I should be supporting my independent book stores, but I’m about convenience and a large selection.  And discounts and coffee!

Target.  Only sometimes.  Usually if I buy a book at Target it’s an impulse buy.  Or it’s one that I had planned to pick up anyways at Barnes & Noble, but Target carried it and I was right there.  Sometimes on Cartwheel (the Target coupon app) they’ll have specific books discounted up to 30% off.  So I try to check that regularly as well.

And that’s it!  So the majority of my books come from the ABQ Library Sales and Goodwill. 

How I Store Them
When we moved, the library was the LAST room to be unpacked in our house.  It was just pretty low on the list, sadly because it was just SUCH a big job.  Not only unpacking boxes and boxes of books, but shelving them in a way that made sense….very overwhelming.

Initially I separated ALL of our books by fiction/non-fiction.  Fiction was then shelved alphabetically by author, and non-fiction was by subject.  I soon realized though that this wasn’t going to work.  My husband has loads of books.  And mine were all mixed in with his. And I didn’t like it.  He has primarily non-fiction, mostly war/history related.

So I separated ALL of my books out from his.  On one side of the library, I have my TBR shelf, separated by fiction and non-fiction.  Next to it, I have my keeper fiction/non-fiction/reference books.



In the bookshelves, is my husband’s TBR books, both fiction and non-fiction, plus his keepers. It’s soooo much better this way.  He and I have very little ‘crossover’ with our books (I’m more likely to read one of his than he is to read one of mine).  Plus I like to see all of my books together.



My goal is to eventually have my left side shelves (my keepers) to be ‘heavier’ than my right side shelves (TBR).  My TBR is somewhat out of control, thanks to great finds at the book shop and the book sale.  And a hefty Goodwill haul like 3 weeks ago.  Who am I kidding, my TBR will probably always be full.  But if I can keep everything contained to these shelves, I'll be happy.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

TV

In my spare time (haaaaaaaa) I do one of two things.  I either read or watch tv.  Or sometimes I do both at the same time. 

Lately, here’s what I’ve been watching/re-watching:

Mad Men.  There are just no words to describe this show other than completely brilliant.  I’ve been through it about 4 times now and it gets better each time.  Jon Hamm?  Amazing.  Christina Hendricks?  Amazing.  Elizabeth Moss?  Amazing.  I love, love, love this show so much.  And according to the online history buffs, this show is COMPLETELY historically accurate.  PS:  It’s a PG-13 show. (Netflix)



Blacklist.  I’m now re-watching it for the second time.  I haven’t watched Season 4 yet, because I wanted to go back and watch Seasons 1-3 again.  This is a suspenseful, somewhat gross (at times) show.  James Spader plays Raymond Reddington, who is on the FBI 10 most wanted list.  He turns himself in (in the pilot episode) and makes a deal with the FBI that he will help them catch criminals out there that they don’t even know exist (all on the ‘Blacklist’) in exchange for SOME freedom.  I LOVE James Spader.  He is so delightfully creepy in this….he’s the bad guy you root for.  Well, I root for him (my husband thinks I’m crazy). (Netflix)



Grey’s Anatomy.  I was WAYYYY late on the Grey’s Anatomy bandwagon.  I didn’t start watching it until maybe 5 years ago?  Whenever it first appeared on Netflix.  I LOVE this show.  I’ve been through it multiple times.  And it’s still going!  Season 14 starts soon.  I love the characters, the emotions, the medical stuff, all of it.  It’s definitely ‘binge-worthy’.  Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) is one of the best characters of all time.  She left the show a couple of years ago.  But it’s still good! (Netflix)



Bob’s Burgers.  Again….I was late to the game on this one too.  I started watching this show just a few months ago.  It is laugh-out-loud funny.  Every episode.  It’s animated.  It’s about the Belcher family, who own a (usually-failing) burger joint in a coastal town.  They are weird, they have three weird kids, and even weirder friends and family.  My favorite character is Gene, the son.  His one-liners are fantastic.  He walks around with a keyboard that makes fart noises.  Or he walks around in a hamburger costume.  Just a couple of his many charms.  The mom (Linda) and the oldest daughter (Tina) are both voiced by men.  Which is weird at first, but then you get totally used to it and it makes everything funnier.  The parents are so supportive of their weird kids and it’s just endearing and hilarious.  (Hulu)



This Is Us.  If you’re one of the few people on the earth who haven’t heard of this show yet or even watched it yet, drop what you’re doing and go watch it NOW.  My husband and I watch this together every week and it is AMAZING.  Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia are awesome.  And the story lines are SO good.  (NBC)



So if you have Hulu or Netflix or cable or the NBC app and are looking for something new to watch, check out these shows.  You will laugh.  Or cry.  Or both!

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Room With Many Doors

The very first time we looked at this house, I was very surprised by the upstairs.  You know how most houses (in my head anyways) that have an upstairs also have like a hallway with other doors leading to other rooms that are up there?  

Ours does not.

So you go up stairs, turn left, go up some more stairs and there is one door.  And when you open that door, you are in our bedroom.

However.....

Our bedroom has many doors.  (And please forgive the unedited, dark photos....I don't have time to edit and I took these last night).


See?  Lots of doors.  The door on the very left is the bathroom.  Then the accordion doors, which is my husband's closet.  The 3rd door is the door that leads to downstairs (no hallway or landing...you open that door and you go down).  And the 4th door is the door to the library (which can only be accessed from our room.  It's the door on the right side in the picture below....you can also see a glimpse of the built in desk at the other end of the room).


Confused yet?  

There's just one door on the other side of the wall.


That's deceiving too, because it's a teeny tiny door that leads to my closet.  Which is like a whole other world.  Ha ha.

But seriously....it's so odd that one single door at the top of a staircase can contain so many things!!  I kind of love it up here.  Even though it took me a while to get accustomed to all of the strange doors and nooks and crannies.  I'll do a separate post on my closet sometime.  And the library (although there is a little glimpse below...I've already made some changes since the initial unpacking!)



And because my new thing is random blogging, here is Howie, ready to eat dinner with us.

Look at him sitting all proper.  (about 2 seconds after I snapped this photo he hopped up on the table).



Sunday, September 17, 2017

Upstairs Downstairs

So....we moved.

I had written out this big long post about moving like a month ago but it was basically 6 pages of me whining about how stressful moving is.  Ha ha.  But really....it's the most stressful thing I've ever done.  Within six weeks, we put 2 houses on the market (both sold within 6 days), and we bought another one and  moved in.  In SIX WEEKS.  Two households into one house.  Five dogs.  Two cats.  Three people.  SIX WEEKS.  I know other people have done it quicker than that, but oh my.  Six weeks from the time the 'for-sale' sign went up to the time we spend our first night in our new house.  Yikes.

It's going really, really well.  We've been here for two months.  We have some big projects coming up (a small addition), so I've been trying to get everything unpacked and set up how I want it before then.  So far, so good.  In fact, as of today I'd say I'm about 95% done!  It's a good feeling.  The dining room (my nemesis) is officially unpacked. It became a dumping ground, because it's kind of the gateway from the kitchen to the front room to the upstairs, etc.  So I still had boxes of random things I didn't know what to do with in there.  Not anymore!  

Also, the front bedroom (aka the forgotten room...more on that later) is almost done.  We decided to make it into the gym.  Long story...for another blog post.  But it's cleared out and the bike and TV are in there...all it's missing is the treadmill, which takes some coordination and much more muscle than I have!  

I initially was going to do a room-by-room post of our house, but I got overwhelmed thinking about it, so I decided to just randomly blog and if I remember to take pictures of the room, I will and I'll post them.

So we moved to a house that has an upstairs.  This is a first for me!  Upstairs is our master bedroom/bath/closets and a library.  And a built-in desk/office at one end of our bedroom (where I'm sitting right now!)

I discovered that I was CONSTANTLY forgetting things from upstairs that needed to be taken downstairs, and forgetting things downstairs that needed to be taken upstairs.  And I REFUSE to have a constant pile of stuff on the stairs.  No way.  

So upstairs, I made this:




Anything that needs to go downstairs goes in here.  Easy-peasy.

And downstairs, I made this:


This is on the end of one of our kitchen counters.  The left basket is stuff my husband needs to deal with.  The right basket contains anything that needs to go upstairs.  I can just grab what's in there on my way up.  So far, so good.

It's just little things like this that I never thought of before that keep coming up. But trust me, after climbing the stairs 20+ per day on the weekend, this new system has REALLY come in handy!

And just for good measure, here's a picture of part of our laundry room.  The washer and dryer are on the opposite wall.  This wall is our freezer, plus a table with the cat food on it.  The only dog that has access to this table is Abby, because she can climb the stairs.  Every night, I feed the cats their wet snack and every night Abby patiently waits for the leftovers.  I usually try to intervene and take the bowls away before she gets up there, but she is sneaky.  (She has no interest in their dry food that is left out daily, thank goodness).



And one more....this.  This is consuming my life right now.  But, we only have a few more weeks of class.  It is HARD.  It's killing me.  I'm being dramatic.  But it is really hard.


That's all for now my friends.  More completely random blog posts coming your way soon!!