Category Archives: organization

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summer schedule

photo of my Get To Work Book planner. going to keep myself more organized with everyday stuff as well as my book progress and goals this year.

Being a work-at-home mom, one of my biggest struggles in summer is keeping the weekends from running over into the work week. The days start to blur into each other and we get lazy around here – sleeping late, putting off dishes and laundry, skipping my writing time. Summer is supposed to be a relaxing time, of course, but if I hope to get anything done in the next three months, I’ve got to keep some kind of normal schedule. Or at least try.

Here’s how our summer “schedule” has been going so far:

My mornings consist of coffee and half a bagel or a slice of toast, checking and answering email, and blogging if I’m feeling led. I’m not putting too much pressure on myself to blog as much this summer. If I feel like sharing something, I will. Like today. No set calendar for that for the next few months. Feels good to take a break sometimes.

I try to get the kids up by noon. Seriously, they sleep forever, these growing kids of mine. I’ve decided not to force them up by 9 with all the grumbling and fighting that goes along with that. It’s summer, right? Late bedtimes. Late wake-ups. It’s all good.

Chloe has gymnastics practices, so we know we have certain days when we have to be somewhere. This has kept a sort of routine going for us so far since we’re used to that during the school year as well.

Evenings are pretty quiet. We’ll have dinner in front of the TV, usually watching reruns of The Office or a movie. Or we’ll fend for ourselves if Chloe has an evening practice and we’re not all home at dinnertime. Jake will work on his mini terrain stuff. Chloe will Facetime with her friends, if she’s not at one of their houses. Zach will play games on his computer with friends. And I write.

I’m an evening writer. I’ve been that way since high school. I would stay up late writing in my journal or letters to my friends. Ah, the days of no computers. ;) My family is pretty good about giving me the quiet time I need to write at night. I’ll turn on instrumental movie scores – the score from The Theory of Everything is on a continuous loop these days – and I’ll write and write.

I like our schedule, but I know it will change as the summer days go on and we have more plans. For now, it’s working.

How about you? Do you have a “normal” schedule in summer or do you let it all go until school starts again? ;)


You’re here! I’m so excited! On February 26, 2005, I started this blog, and for the next two weeks, I will be looking back at the past TEN YEARS of blogging!

Ten years has gone by in the blink of an eye. At least, it seems so at times. I’ve been browsing back through old posts and, while the style of my photos (lots of borders and filters in the early days) has changed, the core of the posts has not. It started with a few posts about my kids and that’s pretty much the same today. I wrote about things we did, places we traveled, movies I loved, following my love of photography into a business, family, friends, parties, scrapbooking, memories, happy times, sad times, publishing my novel. So much of our life.

Ten years is a really long time.

So, for the next TEN DAYS, I will be looking back, sharing old photos and favorite posts, and there will be GIVEAWAYS!!!

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)


I’ve got a paperback copy of my first young adult novel ready to sign. The Truth About Drew was published last May.
It’s a sweet, uplifting, heart-warming story full of friendship and family with a journey to faith and a mystery surrounding a boy and his notebook.
Enter below. Tell a friend! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions at all about the giveaway, feel free to ask.


icy sidewalks and chores

This is what we had to deal with this morning. The sidewalks looked like they were just wet, but there were large patches where the melted snow had frozen over from the cold winds early this morning and it was sheer ice. It was a pain. We had to walk along the edge or in the snow (ugh!) or in the road. We pushed on and finished our walk, though. But right about now is when I start asking “Is it Spring yet?”

On a totally unrelated subject, my kids are horrible with keeping their rooms clean. Yesterday, I decided that the dry erase board on the refrigerator would now be the kids’ CHORE list. They both groaned when they saw it, but I told them they each have a couple of small tasks that will take them no more than 10 or 15 minutes to complete and then they are free to watch TV or play computer/video games. It worked really well. I gave them each a couple everyday tasks – make your bed, take dirty laundry to the laundry room. They each have a LOT to do to get their rooms looking good, so I added one thing to each of their lists that will help them tackle the room one tiny task at a time. Rather than say “Clean your room”, which is so general and will never get done how it should, I broke it down for them. Zach’s task was to clean the floor in front of his dresser. He had a large pile of clothes, books, legos, etc. just piled up there. He did it and did it well. I can see the floor again. Chloe’s task was to hang up her clothes in her closet. There has been a pile of clean clothes on her floor ready to be hung up for over a week and she just kept ignoring it. They are all hung up now and in their proper place. This morning, I put another small task on each of their lists. We’ll see how they do.

I am going to use this method on my own projects around here as well. I read this on a couple blogs recently, where you break things down into manageable step-by-step lists and tackle one step at a time. It’s so easy to look at all the things you want/need to get done and instantly feel overwhelmed. I never know where to start. I have so many ideas floating around in my brain. But I know it will help to break things down and do things a little at a time. I’m a list girl. I have made lists for as long as I can remember. Lists of things to pack for vacations. Lists of things to get at the store. To do lists. My lists will just have to get more specific. I think I might need a bigger notebook.



January 4, 2013

Outside my window… It is partly sunny and a little windy. The temps are in the 20’s/30’s today.

I am thinking… about getting organized around here.

I am thankful for… our health. So many people we know have really bad colds, flu, bronchitis. We’ve had a touch of it, but nothing too bad.

From the kitchen… We are enjoying leftover Italian Wedding Soup that Jake’s Mom made for us New Years Eve.

I am wearing… sweats and a long sleeve t-shirt and my new grey moccasin slippers and robe I got for Christmas.

I am creating… a knit blanket that will most likely lay over the back of our couch so we can snuggle under it in this old drafty house.

I am going… to our last family Christmas on the Noorman side.

I am reading… blogs mostly. I’d like to say that I’ve started some great book, but the only book I’ve read lately is the one I wrote while I work on editing it.

I am hoping… I can get this house in order, painted, fixed up and we can put it up for sale in the next year or so.

I am hearing… the wind chimes on the garage tinkling outside in the brisk winter wind.

Around the house… Zach is playing Lego Lord of the Rings video game he got for Christmas. Chloe is watching videos and taking pictures/video with her iPod. I am balancing the checkbook (exciting stuff!), catching up on blogs, filling up my “to do” list and calendar for the month.

One of my favorite things… Downton Abbey. I got the first two seasons on DVD for Christmas, so I have been watching a couple episodes each evening. I just adore that show. Looking forward to the new season starting this Sunday.
A few plans for the rest of the week… Noorman family Christmas, Jake has a run with his Road Warrior team, picking up a few groceries, getting the kids bags/lunch boxes ready for back-to-school on Monday.

A picture to share…Ringing in the New Year with Mom and Dad O.

This little list is something I saw on Ali Edwards blog several years ago and I saved it to my computer thinking I might use it one day. Kind of a fun list to record what’s happening on a day in your life. I guess I was saving it “for today”. ;)

summer and dancing and stuff

School’s out for summer! It’s only been four days and I am exhausted already. Mom and I had a garage sale last Thurs/Fri (a great turnout! yay!), then we went to Indiana for my cousin Anna’s graduation open house (fun time with family!), then a day at Lake Michigan with the kids (the lake felt so refreshing on an extremely humid 90 degree day), then a morning at the dentist for the kids, lunch with my Mom and brother Rick (our waitress accidentally dumped a drink all over Chloe’s pretty dress. oops!), then the first of several dance rehearsals for Chloe this week. I feel as though summer “break” hasn’t actually begun yet since I’m still running around here and there. Next week will be much quieter.

We’re nearing the end of Chloe’s first year of dance. A couple weeks ago, she got to dance at Festival of the Arts in downtown Grand Rapids. That was really fun and her first experience dancing on stage in front of an audience. She did great and had such a cute smile on her face the whole time. Her smile at the end when they took a bow was so big. It was cracking me up. :)

Chloe had a fun time dancing this year, but anyone who has been around her for any period of time knows that she is constantly upside down doing cartwheels and handstands and headstands and such. So in the fall, we’re going to sign her up for some gymnastics and see how she does with that. She’s really excited about it.

Feeling a little unorganized and chaotic lately from everything that’s going on. Looking forward to some downtime after this crazy week to work on decluttering the house, fixing up the kids’ rooms, catching up on my Project Life album this year, working on some fun photobook projects I’ve been thinking about.

Jake has been doing really awesome on his Plan 39 – his goal to lose over 100 lbs. by the time he turns 40. He’s lost some lbs. and inches and he’s been running the Couch to 5K program. So far I haven’t been able to join him, but I am itching to try it, too. Right now, he’s running a little logo contest over on his blog. Several people submitted logo designs and now he’s opened it up for people to vote on their favorites. Jump on over and vote for your favorite HERE!

a very cool concept

This new Project Life kit from Becky Higgins looks so awesome. It’s such a great way to document your everyday life for a whole year in a simple way without stressing about scrapbooking every single picture you take. Just print your photos, slip them in the album, write a little description on the journaling cards. Done. There is even a new digital version that you can make online and then have printed and bound into a Photobook at year’s end. I’m still trying to decide which one would work best for me. I love digital, but the kit looks so nice, too. Decisions, decisions. Click the above image for more details.

Here’s a video that Becky Higgins put on her blog introducing and explaining what’s included in the kit as well as the concept of Project Life. Enjoy!

You can order the kit HERE on Amazon.

august so far

– garage sale went well. thankful for that.
– total exhaustion. too many late nights working and getting ready for the garage sale.
– went to bed at 10 pm Saturday. that’s so unlike me.
– planned meals and grocery list on sunday. stocked up for the week. proud of us for doing this.
– chicken on the grill. yum!
– jake prepared salad fixin’s for his lunches while I pureed some veggies to mix into some meals this week. Lovin’ THIS BOOK.
– getting control of our budget feels great!
– swimming with the kids.
– worked late sunday.
– rainy Monday.
– my brother stayed with the kids so I could run a few errands. so much easier (quieter) without kids along.
– got embroidery floss at the craft store to teach kids how to make friendship bracelets. chloe is awesome at it. zach could care less.
– hot dogs and french fries for dinner. peanut butter banana muffins (recipe from book above) for dessert.
– drank two cups of coffee in the late evening and worked on wedding pictures until the wee hours of the morn.
– played Mamma Mia and Fool’s Gold in the background while I worked.
– woke at 9:30. sat down to check email and ended up sitting here for two hours.
– made lunch for the kids.
– spent a couple hours in the pool.
– started reading “Chapter After Chapter” and “Have A New Kid by Friday“.
– fixed “brinner” (breakfast for dinner) using recipes from the above book.
– It’s Amanda Bynes night – watched Sydney White and What a Girl Wants while editing wedding pics.
– The time is now 2:17 am and I’m hitting the hay. Nighty night.


Posted some fun pictures on my photo blog yesterday of my cousin Joel and his brand new fiancee Sarah! We had so much fun at the beach together last weekend, just walking around in the heat. Even Joel started getting all sorts of ideas for poses by the end. Had a great time and these are some of my favorite engagement pictures I've taken in a long time. Plus, it's family and I love shooting weddings and engagements for my family. I'm excited to shoot their wedding next June in Indiana!:)

so, what's happening around here, you ask?

jake's job
Well, Jake's had some good leads on jobs this week and a few interviews. One that's pretty promising. We're praying something comes of it. Pretty much the only jobs he's finding are factory positions, but this one would be more of a management position. So we'll see what happens. If nothing then we know it's not what God has in mind for us right now.

the bills
They're still there, but I'm feeling a little better about things. Our priority right now is to pay the essential bills (house, car, phone, electric, water, etc.) and deal with the others as we can. God is providing little by little so I know it's going to work out.  I have to give a big shout out to Anya for mentioning Dave Ramsey to me in the comments on my blog the other day. Thanks Anya!!! My dad tried to get Jake to go to see Dave Ramsey when he was in Grand Rapids earlier this year but it didn't work out because of Jake's class schedule. And I never really looked into what he was all about until Anya mentioned him again. I think this is exactly what we need to help us establish a good budget and work on paying down our debt. I asked my mom to get it for us for our anniversary this year instead of giving us money to go out or buy ourselves something like she usually does. :) So I can't wait to get it and start going through the program and changing our mindset about the way we deal with our money. I'm very excited about it.

the kids
I mentioned school the other day and Zach immediately told me how much he hates school. I really hope he does OK this year. He has trouble finishing his work when there are other kids around. We had such a hard time getting him to finish his worksheets in class last year. His teacher had to talk to us several times about it. My fear is that it's going to be even harder for him this year. He doesn't like a lot of noise and can't seem to work when there is chaos going on, which was one of his problems last year. They would have a time during the day when they were supposed to work independently on their worksheets and he would never get them done because he said there were too many kids talking around him, distracting him. I've been praying all summer that God would give both of the kids just the right teachers to help and encourage them this year. I'm going to be a disaster when we drop Chloe off at school. I just know it.

healthy living
Still holding at the same weight. I ate terribly pretty much the entire month of July so I'm really thankful that I didn't gain any of the weight back. And this week I'm finally back to salads and chicken and green smoothies.  I feel better already!

Well, I'm looking at my calendar right now and I see that this week is almost over already, which means we only have three full weeks of summer break left before school starts. I'm sad about that. I always have these great plans of things we'll do with the kids. This year, nothing really turned out how I thought it would. I guess I should just stop planning and let things happen. The kids are in no way disappointed with the summer they've had. They got to swim and hang out with their cousins and spend the night at all their grandparents houses. They've had fun and that's what's most important!

an organized browser
I read so many blogs and was checking each one daily for updates. What a pain not to mention a waste of time, especially if there are no updates for weeks. So I finally gave in and signed up on Google Reader. Oh my … why did I wait to do this? There were only a few of my daily blogs (mostly those with passwords) that I wasn't able to put on the reader. Now, I just wait until it tells me what sites are updated. Voila!

Then I discovered My own little Google dashboard and you can customize it with your Google Reader feed and all sorts of other things and cute little pictures at the top. You can customize your own picture, but I just chose a cute little whimsical drawing with the word "happiness". Here's what mine looks like right now. On the left is my google reader feed and a Twitter feed so I can keep up with all the people I'm following on there. In the center, I've got an iFrame Gadget that I found under the section where you can customize the page that allows you to embed a webpage into your igoogle page. I chose my Ta-da Lists page so I can keep track of all the stuff I've got to do each day without logging into Ta-da every day. On the right is a box to find Mapquest driving directions – very convenient since I use mapquest all the time – and a few games to keep me further distracted.

I love it! It's keeping my internet nice and organized and I'm able to see everything I usually check daily right there when I open the browser. And there are a ton of other things you can put on your iGoogle page if you click "customize this page" in the upper right corner. The whole thing makes me happy. I guess I chose the right header picture, huh?  :)

my weekend
I'm really looking forward to this weekend. Mom and I are going to see "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" tomorrow. yay!  I've been waiting for this all summer!  Love those books and I'm excited to see how they translate them into this second movie. From the preview, it looks like they combined the last three books all together into one movie. Not sure until I see it.  (Speaking of Sisterhood, I'm selling all four of my Sisterhood books over on our shop. If anyone hasn't read them yet and is interested in purchasing them at a discount, head on over.

Then on Sunday, Chloe and I are going to Ohio with my parents for a family reunion. My cousins will be there with their kids so I knew Chloe would love it if I took her along to play with all the girls. Plus, I just need to get in a little more time with my girl before she's off at school without me. ;)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Hope I haven't bored you too much with all my rambling today. ;)

for sale – everything but the kitchen sink

Kidding. But we are definitely decluttering this house. We’re selling everything that we don’t absolutely need in an effort to help with our current financial situation. This makes me extremely happy because I’ve been wanting to do away with all the little luxuries that we don’t really need for so long so I can get some order in this place. The first step was to go through all our CD’s, books and DVD’s and list them on Here’s the store so far:

Lots of CD’s and a few movies, but more will be going up over the next couple days, so feel free to stop by and shop. :)

We’re also thinking about having another yard sale. That would be 3 this year, which is craziness, but we have a lot more stuff to get rid of.

Gotta get back to sorting!

longaberger baskets

I have had a fascination with Longaberger Baskets since the mid 90’s when I visited the Longaberger Homestead in Dresden, Ohio on one of our summer girls days with my aunt and cousin. The corporate offices are housed in a building that is a giant basket. It’s awesome! Here’s a picture I found of the “basket” building online. :)

The baskets they make are really nice quality and hand-made there in Dresden. I have a bunch of these baskets that I’ve collected over the years that I am ready to part with. I was thinking of putting these on ebay, but I wanted to offer them to you guys first. :) Here they are:

1997 Dresden Tour Basket II with plastic protector inside – $25

1999 Cracker Basket with plastic protector inside – $25

1999 Button Basket with fabric liner and plastic protector inside – $50

2001 Woven Memories Basket with plastic protector – $50
signed by members of the Longaberger family – Jerry #3, Gary #10, Carmen #11

2002 Woven Memories Basket with fabric liner and plastic protector inside – $50
signed by members of the Longaberger family – Jerry #3, Judy #8, Gary #10, Carmen #11

2003 small oval American Cancer Society basket with plastic protector inside – $25

1999 Newspaper Basket with plastic protector/divider inside – $100
$15 shipping and handling

These have all been very well taken care of and come from a smoke-free home (thought I’d mention that since a lot of collectors don’t like to buy the baskets if they’ve been in a smoky house).

I prefer Paypal for payment.
Shipping and handling for each basket will be $7.50 (except the big newspaper basket, that one is $15 for shipping) unless you buy more than one and then I’ll adjust that rate.
Thanks! :) Email me if you have any questions.

AJAXed with AWP