Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Tonight I'm sitting drinking tea, and watching the snow fall outside. Our kittens are sleeping with mouths open and tongues hanging out (aren't those the best sleeps?) and I'm looking around the room at our Christmas decorations. Our tree is decorated in silver and blue, and our home is drowned in twinkle lights.
Jake humors my obsession with Christmas.

We've almost wrapped all of our Christmas gifts, and they are sitting under our tree, awaiting the inevitable wrapping paper destruction that happens every night by the kittens as they attempt to eat as many plastic pine needles as possible.

We are settled in Englewood, CO for this Christmas. While we will be traveling back to three separate states in the Midwest, and going to three separate Christmas's for each occasion, we have a home in Englewood, we have friends here, and we are happy to have a warm place to live, and I am very happy to have someone I love to go to all of those Christmas's with me. Someone who offers to wake up at 6:30am to scrape off the car if I decide to go to work tomorrow.

I'm not sure how my job will turn out, I'm not sure about finances, I'm not sure about all of the other things that normally make people worry in life. But one thing that I want is to remember to be grateful. I still have so much, I want to be grateful for what I have. I don't want to forget that just because I'm worried about money, or a job, or a other things that I don't know. So I'll just have to remember that whatever happens in my life, I am still more blessed than I know.

Happy December everybody:)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Moving Organization! Scheduling Your Packing

So the last few posts I talked about sorting your items, garage sales, and my packing box. Next I promised to talk over my packing system, and how to schedule your packing.

I did a lot of research into the best way to pack items for the move. 
Basically, it seemed to boil down to time
To pack my items, I went through my house, and separated the entire space into specific projects. 
Packing the bathroom is one project, packing the storage closet is one, packing the coat closet is one, etc. etc. through every area of the house.
However, this only works if you are realistic with your time. If you make "pack the garage" one packing project, you're doomed to failure. You know why? It needs to be separated into two or three projects, depending on the size of the area. There's no way you'll be able to complete a sizable project in a day. Pretending you can is a wonderful way to fall instantly behind. 

SO. After numbering your packing projects, including a day for cleaning, and then the final moving day for packing up bare essentials and loading, you'll have a number, which represents the number of days you need to pack. 
For me, I realized that I would have 12 separate projects, and would need 12 separate days to complete them. I traced back from our moving day, and counted that I would need to start packing on the 23rd of September to finish everything on schedule. 
Next, take your list of separate projects, and order them so that you pack the least needed items first, and work your way towards the big moving day. 
For instance:
1) Storage Room
2) Unnecessary/Out of season clothing
3) Decorations
4) Kitchen items
5) Toothbrushes, etc.

After lining up everything in the order they needed to be done, I wrote them in on a scheduler, so that I can know what I need to do, and when. 

There are a lot of benefits to using a system like this: 
Without separating my work into these separate projects, I maybe would have started a few days ahead of the move. Because I've given myself time I can: 
1) Take more time to pack my breakable items, so that each thing is handled with care, and stands a better chance of surviving the move
2) Have more time to live life, spend time with people before the move, etc.
3) Have a more organized move - making unpacking at the destination much easier. 
4) Be more relaxed - getting to the task early, and giving yourself smaller, separate projects, means less stress about deadlines.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Moving Organization! My Packing Box

Okay, so call it over-kill, but one thing that I am very proud of is my packing box.

First, I got an extra large cardboard box, with a sturdy bottom.

As I went through all of the items in my house for The 50 Things Challenge, I collected all kinds of items that would make my moving day easier, or aid in packing.

In my packing box I have all of the supplies I need to pack the items I am taking with me, and several items to make the actual moving day more pleasant.

Starting with items for packing, everything is fairly self explanatory.
1)Tape Gun
2) Extra rolls of packing tape
3) Scotch Tape
4) Note cards/Post-Its
5) Lots of Sharpies
6) Highlighters in many different colors
7) Packing labels
8) Multi-color stickers (if you are going to color code)
9) Newspaper/packing paper
10) Packing peanuts and bubble wrap
11) Ziplock Baggies
12) Scissors

Items for the moving day:

1) Travel sizes of deodorant, mouth wash, shampoo, condition, body wash, and lotion.
2) Paper towels
3) Dust cloth
4) To go pack of Clorox disinfecting wipes
5) Lint roller (you never know....)
6) Febreze To-Go
7) Travel pack of tissues
8) Nasal Spray, Tylenol, Airborne, and Young Living Deep Relief Essential Oil roll on.
9) Pliers (regular and needle nosed)
10) Breath mints
11) Candy!
12) Entertainment: Sudoku and Madlibs

Now, all of these items aren't just stuck in a box, they are organized. Big surprise, right?
My system is as follows:
In an extra large cardboard box I have organized three smaller boxes.

Box One: Small Item Organization
In an extra small Sterilite ClearView three drawer case I have organized all of my small packing items. This includes highlighters, markers, scotch tape, scissors, note pads... anything an appropriate size, that is needed for packing specifically. Each drawer is organized with like-items.

Box Two: Packing Materials
In a small cardboard box I have packing peanuts, newspaper, bubble wrap, and everything else I might need to pack fragile items. Also, Ziplock baggies, in both the quart and gallon size.

Box Three: The Moving Day Box
Everything for the day of! (listed above under "items for moving day")

Ta da! This is how it all fits into the large box!

So that's my Packing Box, everything that's in it, and how it's organized.
Now, when I start packing, I am going to have a folding table, and take my box, and I can set up in whatever room I am packing, and have literally everything I could need, right at my finger tips.
I'm very happy I put this entire box together because I when I'm packing I won't be running around looking for items like tape or scissors, and when I get to moving day, I'll have some nice items to make the day more fun, and more relaxed.

 So....if you're not like me, and you don't feel the need for a packing box, what is the ONE item I would say you should get?
If you don't do anything else, get a tape gun, and plenty of actual packing tape.

Duck tape is great, but it peels off super easily, or is a pain to cut. Actual packing tape is great, but very difficult to use (rips down the middle, hard to find the end, hard to cut).
A tape gun is completely worth the money. Don't have the money? Borrow one!

The next post! So you've heard my plan to weed out excess stuff in my house, and you've heard about my packing box. We are almost ready to start packing, but not just yet.
The next post is going to be about how to organize the items you pack using a specific system.
I fully expect that an organized packing system (a vague thing to call it, but you'll read all the details tomorrow!) is going to make sure that I don't go insane. Hooray!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Moving Organization! The 50 Things Challenge

Okay, so, the moving season is upon us.
I am fairly compulsive about organization. Not because I "need" to, but because it helps everything.
Being organized makes life easier, and it especially makes moving easier.
After encouragement from my husband (he wants other people to know how nerdy I am), I decided to post my moving organization and packing process for all to see.

I'm so proud of this system. I think it'll show :)

The first thing I did to prepare for moving was to begin The 50 Things Challenge!
I love this idea. And it was incredibly useful, in more than one way.

I found this idea researching different ways to make moving and organization easier.
The idea is this: You go through your home, and you try to get rid of 50 things.
It's based on a book, I believe. However, what I did was a variation on the prescribed method in the book.

So here is what you do:
1) Select a standard size box, and collect a good number.
2) Get a pad of paper, and number lines 1-50
2) Go through your home, one room at a time.
3) Find 50 "things" you can do without
    For something to qualify as a "Thing" it needs to be:
           1) Large (an item of furniture, etc)
           2) Expensive (something expensive you have but don't use)
           3) A box of items

Honestly, most of my "things" were boxes full of small things. I picked a particular size of box, and used that to measure. Every time a box was full, it counted as a "thing."
It may seem like a lot, but you will find there is a lot you can do without.
At first it was very hard to sort my items, but as I went through every area of the house, from the coat rack to the bathroom, I found a wealth of things I didn't use, or didn't need. Starting to clear out the house felt great, and there was a deep sense of accomplishment to go with it.

After having your 50 items, have a garage sale! Have a yard sale, donate, or throw away, EVERYTHING.
Once it's sorted, it has to go.
To get rid of these items I had a plan with a few steps:
1) List items online: Facebook Swap Pages, Craigslist, etc.
2) Organize and ADVERTISE a garage sale
           - Many newspapers have an option for free ads if they are under a certain number of words. The Sioux Center Shopper is 30 words.
           - Use plenty of bright colorful signs with clear directions and your address
3) Have a garage sale over several days, and be open optimal hours when the most people can see your signs and stop by.
4) Organize your sale so that all of your items can be seen easily - you'll sell more stuff!

 A benefit of the garage sale is extra money. Make time to sell at reasonable prices, and if you're moving, you'll have extra funds for the move!

The last step? After the garage sale, I plan to donate everything that is left to Justice For All.
It's not enough to sort out and try to sell the "50 Things", you actually have to make sure that every last item leaves your possession.

For us, we should reach that point on Monday! Our sale ends Saturday, and unsold items will be boxed up and donated!

Okay, I'm very excited for the next post!
My next post, I'm going to talk about the next step of moving, which is putting together my "packing box."
It's way more fun than it sounds. Promise.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Adventure Is Out There!

It's been awhile since I've written, partly because of work, and partly because nothing has happened.
I wake up, shower, go to work, come home, and relax with my husband and friends. It's a nice routine, but it's a routine.
We talked about staying here in Sioux Center for a few years, but.... the best laid plans of mice (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Anyone?) 
After talking about staying in Sioux Center, feeling comfortable with our jobs, and feeling comfortable with our lives, both Jake and I were smacked in the face by a realization: this is not what we want. Yes, being secure and comfortable is good, and that is what we want. But we don't want that here.

Our goal is to live in Colorado; to make our home in a place that we love, in a place that both of us can work, and a place that provides us with interesting new experiences. That is not Sioux Center, Iowa. 
I know some people who love it here, and while we actually love it here, too, that does not mean it's the right place for us. 

I always believed that a life without adventure wouldn't mean anything. I imagine failing to move forward because it's easy to be complacent would be the worst waste of life. Yolo. Right? 
Not that there is anything wrong with that life, or Sioux Center. But it is not how I am built. That is not how we are built. Jake and I know where we are headed, and we know what life we want to have.
I am happy to say we're going hike in the mountains, go water rafting, enjoy the city, make new friends, find jobs we love, and head in the direction of where we ultimately want to be. We're going to travel Europe, hike in the Andes, see the pyramids of Egypt, and eat the wonderful food in France. Just to name a few.
Why would we waste our time, prolonging the life we want, for no reason?

We want to get closer to our goals, and that is why I am happy to announce that we are moving to Broomfield, Colorado! We are leaving Sioux Center on Friday, October 4th, for Omaha, and then leaving Omaha for Colorado on Saturday, October 5th.

Leaving behind this place is going to be incredibly hard. But, the right thing is generally the hardest thing, in my experience. So here we go! I'm excited and terrified.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

An interesting observation.....

The anthropologist in me is always amused by the fact that people never change. Everyone is different, but in a large way, anthropology studies similarities more than differences. 
One ritual I had the opportunity to observe is a primitive mating ritual. This mating ritual serves as a rite of passage for younger members of the tribe, signifying they have reached maturity. For older members, participation is necessary for attracting a mate before one passes acceptable breeding age.
For the ritual, females don ritual garb that accentuate fertility features to maximize their chances of attracting a mate for breeding. The females then travel in groups through the center of the tribe, to signal that it is time for the ritual to begin. The males then collect their tribal status symbols, displaying their wealth and position in the social hierarchy. As the males circle the females, the mating ritual has begun. In most cases, music is played with elevated bass level, especially by those with less impressive show of wealth. The added sound draws attention, and compensates for lower status in the social hierarchy, or for less impressive muscular structure.
This process may continue for hours, or as long as outdoor light permits. At this point, younger members who participated to assert their eligibility, return to the dwellings of their biological parents. Older males who present higher wealth status are often selected by the most fertile females of the tribe, and begin the post mating ritual, which generally includes alcohol. 

Sound familiar?

Sunday Cruise Night in Sioux Center. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I've learned a few things today, and I just thought I would share with all of you.

1) There are people that eat lasagna for breakfast. Really. 8:30 in the morning.

2) Shin splits hurt. I'm considering amputation.

3) First grade through third grade are my favorites to grade for. They have cute handwriting, they write their letters backwards, and 2nd grade and below get stickers on well done assignments. How adorable is that?

4) It is possible to confuse a sticker with a piece of celery.

5) Other people have no problem with making a beverage that is 1/3 powdered creamer, 1/3 sugar, and 1/3 burned coffee. Yummy yum.

6) Even though offices are poorly lit, people still don't often turn on their desk lamps. It looks like a nocturnal exhibit in here. 

7) I am too easily amused - I set my desktop to rotate through pictures of plants and fish, changing the screen every 15 minutes. It *might* be one of the most entertaining things to happen today.

8) I love my job :) Even when grading is slow and I read training manuals and watch my desktop background change.

9) Last but not least .... my husband is the best. He came home at 7:15am right before I left for work to bring me donuts to take to work and say good morning :)

In awhile I'm sure I'll have some funny stories from my new job.
But for now my few revelations of the day will have to do.