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Frugality is fun  

I have found several websites that I read often for tips on saving money and keeping things organized. I thought I'd share them, and I will update the list from time to time:

The Simple Dollar
Being Frugal
Get Organized Now



I got most of my container herb garden planted, with a good early start this year, unlike last summer when I started in mid-July, which was just too late. I planted tomatoes and parsley in two pots that are outside the office window in the front yard. I planted oregano, chives and thyme in another large container, bell peppers in another. I planted some coleus, which is attractive and easy to grow. I re-potted an aloe plant that is currently in the office on the filing cabinet. I still want to get an avocado seed or two. I need to get more pots to plant the rest of my herbs. It feels so good not to have all of my plants on a cramped patio. Most of the pots I used yesterday are in the back yard.

Jay did some caulking around the two doors we had widened; still need to paint them. He got a lot of unpacking done this past week while he was on break. We decided to do the planting in the garage, so he moved the card table out there, and we shut the girls up in the house so they wouldn't get out; we had the garage door open for extra light. Jay came in to get some water, and I heard him talking to Darla. I had done some laundry, and left the empty laundry basket on the floor. She had turned it upside down on top of herself, and she was effectively in jail.


A new and unique approach to typing  

I was born with, to quote a friend of mine, "different abilities." I have problems using my left hand due to one of these congenital different abilities, Cerebral Palsy. I type with only two fingers of my left hand. Another friend, who had a stroke two years ago, found a website that intrigued me.

About One Hand Typing is a site put together by a woman who lost most of her left hand in an accident when she was ten years old. She has created a system of typing using her right hand and minimal use of the rest of her left hand. I was very interested in the way she explains this, and tried a couple of her tutorials on the site. There is also a video of her actually typing with one hand. I noticed that she put her phone number on the site, and called her. She is genuine, so I ordered the CD. It's amazing. When I've had some practice, I will be faster, but it is so much less strain using one hand. I also recommended the site to another friend who said it may help her get a job.


The Nesting Instinct  

I made a comment to a friend recently that perfectly sums up what is happening with regard to getting settled in our home. I said, "It's just like the nesting instinct expectant mothers get...without a baby." Jay is on Spring Break this week, and when he is not studying for a test coming up next week, he is unpacking, cleaning, and working in the yard (once it dries out; we've had some rain.) Yesterday, he unpacked five or six large plastic crates and several boxes. It is so nice not to have to walk around those.

Speaking of babies....Lauren just called and said her visit with the OB/GYN went well. She had a sonogram, and her due date is October 20. She had thought it would be in December, and I thought it would be in November. The baby is doing well, and in several more weeks, we will know its gender. Dylan and Ryan both have well-child checkups (and shots for Ryan) today.


Another Blessing  

My grandmothers were both very wise women. They told me, "the more often you count your blessings, the more blessings you will have to count." That is a statement I have found to be true. I've recently discovered yet another blessing. My daughter is expecting her third (and last) baby. He or she will likely arrive in November or December. We hope this one is a girl, but most of all that he or she will be healthy and happy.


Mail Management  

Last summer, not long before we started working on buying our home, I decided it was time to get organized. I wrote about making a household notebook. That was the beginning of an ongoing (and surprisingly pleasant) process. I have decided to turn my attention to the paper that comes into the home. There is a constant flow of paper and mail in every household, to one extent or another. Maintaining control of this flow is imperative if the goal is to get organized and stay organized.

I have set up a filing system in our home to manage the bills, household records and other documentation that needs to be retained. The bills go into a cubby on my desk as they arrive, and the receipts for them are filed in a folder as they are paid. Any correspondence that needs immediate attention is dealt with promptly, and all of the documents related to the home itself are in an (ever) expanding file of their own. I do not let mail just sit on my desk or the nearest flat surface for days on end. It is much easier to just "do it" and get it done. All paper that does not need to be kept is recycled. Yes, it demands discipline, but I find a few minutes per day is really not too difficult. Besides, this system eliminates the "now, what did I DO with that piece of paper I had last week?" syndrome. When I cleaned out and organized my desk yesterday, I made sure my husband knows where to put the bills and other mail needing attention. He has been responding very well to my efforts to stay on top of things, which makes our home much less stressful.

I handle my e mail in a similar manner. I read it as soon as possible, and delete the messages I don't need. I file the others, and go through the folders and delete the older filed ones. If I don't use them, out they go.


Home Office  

Having a home office is not vanity. It is simple necessity. We had a "computer room" in the apartment, but it really was not much of an office. I do not use my computer in our bedroom, specifically because it is a place of rest. We have three bedrooms in our home, which is perfect for our needs. We have a guest room, and we created a home office in the third bedroom.

As you enter the room, there is an erst-while microwave stand that I converted to storage space for materials I don't access often but choose to keep. This stand, until last night, had been used as a television stand in the living room. We were given a smaller entertainment system than the one my Dad gave us, so we put the television, the DVR/VCR and some of our DVD and VHS collection in it. Then the stand could be moved into the office. We bought a three shelf bookcase (assembly required, but not difficult to do), and took the smaller bookcase into the living room. Fair trade, and it gave us more space for work, reference, and computer books. In the corner, we placed a cherry-wood four drawer filing cabinet that we purchased right after we moved in. Next, along the wall perpendicular to the window is my new computer desk. My CPU is on a shelf to my right, beside my desk. Jay's collection of games will go into the corner between our desks. He put a small plastic table under the folding table he uses for his computer, so his history references are handy yet out of the way. Jay's workspace is in front of the window. All in all, it is a very comfortable work environment.

We took time today to organize the office. I cleaned and sorted out my desk, and Jay set up his desktop. He's been using his laptop, but he has more options.


Happy Birthday....  

Texas! Today is Texas Independence Day. I'm proud to be a Texan!


A Sign of the Times  

When I was a child, my hometown had two editions of the daily newspaper. Eventually, the evening edition was discontinued. Yesterday, on the back page of the weekly television listings section, there was a printed notice

saying that it was the last edition of the weekly listings, because technology had changed, and it is now possible to get television listings from multiple other sources such as online and by phone. I'm surprised the entire newspaper hasn't gone away yet...


Getting better organized  

We are spending one day per week (usually Saturday) doing the laundry, cleaning and organizing.  Yesterday, we got the entertainment center organized; Jay initially wanted to throw away the doors that go on it, but I asked him to wait until I had cleaned them up to see if we wanted to keep them or not. Sure enough, they were extremely dirty, but I used some furniture polish and a lot of elbow grease, and they look nearly new. So he put them on.  The entire unit does show some wear, but it doesn't look bad at all.

We moved into the office and got some of the crates and boxes unpacked. We set up a book case in the office, and moved the stacking tables out, except for one level of one of them.  Still need more bookcases (or we need to sell some books!), but we did a purge while we were going through the crates and boxes.

I woke up this morning congested, so it looks like we may miss Dylan's birthday party this afternoon. He will be 4 on the 28th.

I've got some new downloads to install soon. I download and try a lot of freeware and open source software. I found one package the other day that I downloaded, and now I can dual boot Windows and Ubuntu. I found a new toolbar for Firefox the other day that includes a player for streaming Internet radio, and I really enjoy it.

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