Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

Home Organization– Keepin’ It Real

Surely you don’t EVER start to think that Auntie Em has it all together, do you? Because you would be sadly mistaken. I think you know the truth, but love me anyway. That is what I have discovered about my little corner of the blogosphere: Bloggers and blog readers — at least the ones that run in my circle — are the kindest, most gracious people anywhere. They cheer you on when you need it; encourage you when you are down; and laugh at your corny jokes.

THANK YOU! You are appreciated!

Over the Christmas holidays, between motorcycle accident (Mr X) and upper respiratory infection (me) recovery, I managed to do my normal bit of beginning to organize the house. It’s been a dream for about 15 years, to lay my hands on everything in the house and make sure it’s up-t0-date and where it should be. (We have lived in this house 15 1/2 years.) I’ve never finished, but I’ve done parts. This time I did my closet, my bathroom cabinets, the refrigerator, and the pantry.

A friend of a friend organized a community garage sale to raise money to send to the Sandy Hook families, so I took some things there. Mr X’s co- worker was holding a blanket drive so we sent a couple that we had replaced there. A church members works for a community charity that aids needy families, especially when their homes burn, and I sent my dishes that we replaced with her. I had a zillion hotel shampoos and lotions that I sent to a friend who works with the Christian Women’s Job Corps.

What I was happy to find lurking in the depths: 1 bottle of Lancôme eye makeup remover; 1 queen-sized thermal blanket; 1 bottle of Zyrtec. I put these to good use.

Several friends brought food for us when we got back from the hospital, so I was forced to clean out the refrigerator. I have always used a turntable but got another one, even before the latest Pinterest pin began circulating!


What I was embarrassed to find in the refrigerator:

Sour cream … May 14, 2012


Beef broth… September 22, 2011


UGH. Cottage cheese… May 12, 2011


Feeling better about your life now??


21-day Challenge Update #1

Self-discipline ChallengeIt’s already November 10, halfway through the 21-day Challenge. I’ve been aware of it every day, and I’ve done more than I would have done. Not everything I would like to have done, but hey, every little helps! And a big improvement is that I’m doing better about putting things away rather than dropping them wherever they are. Flylady is right about that shiny sink being an incentive to keep your dishes washed!

Thursday, Nov 1– Picked up and put away leather jacket, red coat, shoes by door, shoes I wore that day, sweatshirt and pants from the morning, goodie bag from dentist last week, piled-up mail on the table; emptied trash in my bathroom and laundry room; brought trash can back from the road; watered plants and ran the soaker hose. Plus supper, beefy vegetable soup. (Featured in Second Generation Meals)

Friday, Nov 2– At work– went through student forms for Booster club and requests for crim check forms and updated that info; at home, motorcycle ride to dinner with friends.

Saturday, Nov 3– ADD housecleaning. Goodwill, recycle, Walmart, computer tome only with a timer so I wouldn’t stay on forever. Cleaned my bathroom. Cleaned and straightened under kitchen sink. (Mr X replaced faucet.) Got 2 posts ready for A Biblical Marriage Holiday Minefield.

Sunday, Nov 4-– church, met in-laws for lunch (They are working out of town with the Volunteer Christian Builders.) Folded and put away ALL the clothes that had been germinating in the basket– probably 3 loads of towels and socks.

Monday, Nov 5– All- Region choir rehearsal. I took 19 of my kiddos right after school; we had a quick supper then went to a 2 1/2 hour rehearsal for our Region concert Tuesday night. I conducted all but 1 piece in the choir I was working. My self-discipline was that I stayed on my feet! (I did finally take my shoes off though!)

Tues, Nov 6–  swept kitchen, watered plants. I think maybe more, but I can’t remember!

Wednesday, Nov 7— wrote Second Generation post.

Thursday, Nov 8— Veterans’ Day program at school- my kids sang the National Anthem (a cappella) (click here if you’d like to hear them- this is in class, not at the program.) and the Salute to the Armed Forces with our band.

Friday, Nov 9— ??? Took a load of donations to Goodwill. Seems like more, but I can’t remember!

Saturday, Nov 10— cleaned house! Dusted, vacuumed, mopped, cleaned kitchen countertops; washed sheets, bedspread, and a load of towels and jeans — ALL PUT AWAY! And the biggest deal– I walked for half an hour.

Knowing that it’s only 10 minutes has helped a lot. It gives the perfectionist (recovering) in my permission not to eat the whole elephant! How are you doing?


Every Little Helps!

“Every little helps,” said the old woman as she wet in the sea.

                                                                              My mother was raised by her grandmother, Lizzie Adkisson Forrest. This is one of the sayings she liked to quote! (And you’re right, I wondered too why she didn’t put “bit” in there!)

This is a great mantra for recovering perfectionists. I say it to myself and my friends over and over. Here are a few instances where my great-grandmother’s wisdom helped this week:

A friend and I were talking about how we loved Pinterest. I was admiring the wonderful elementary classroom ideas she had collected. She said disparagingly, “Now if I’d only USE them I’d be a good teacher!” But I  reminded her that even if she used just a few, she would be a better teacher than she was last year. Every little helps!

Blue Ribbon For First Place Royalty Free Stock Photo - Image: 10708795Along the same idea, my colleague and I have come up with a methodical system of skills and checklists to move our choir students from “zero to hero,”  so to speak. There are ribbons to be awarded, and videos to record… lots of bells and whistles. We’ve put the checklists and lots of the material we use for teaching all on a website, with the idea that the kids can practice at home. I don’t know how much that happens, and we’ve been hit-and-miss about ribbons, but I can tell you, we’ve brought our kids much further than we ever did without the whole system. Every little helps!

I am really realizing that I need to exercise! My mother had her first stroke and retired early at 54. I plan to live a long, healthy life, so I won’t have to move into Sis’s guesthouse, so it’s really hitting home. But I’d so much rather read or write! It’s so hot outside! My feet hurt! But I did bicycle for 21 minutes this week with TeeKay. It’s not great, but it’s something. Every little helps! 

And finally, for the job at hand. One of the projects I always put on my to-do list at the beginning of any period of time off, is to straighten every closet, drawer, and storage receptacle in my house. (A perfect goal for a perfectionist, no?) And I have one week more until I go back to work. So I think I’ll start today with my freezer, and when I’m done I’ll be one step closer. Every little helps!

How do you deal with big projects that weigh you down?


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