Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Works for me Wednesday - Sorting laundry

Here in South Africa, it is common to have a cleaning lady. My cleaning lady, Bea, comes in every Monday and for the most part, does an excellent job.

I have been known to say that I will do without food before I do without Bea! That’s how much I hate ironing.

The thing is I could explain to her what goes where but when I get home, she would still put things wherever she found a place.

So I’d end up running around the house looking for my gym shorts, or whatever, because Bea put things where she wanted to.

Until I made these tags for the laundry piles…

One tag says Gym clothes, one says Sleeping clothes, another says Leave this pile on the bed – I’ll pack away.

I took an A4 sheet of cardboard, cut it into 4, and then bent the bits in two.

Since I’ve started doing this, there has been no problems whatsoever. Bea packs everything away in the correct places, and I do the difficult-to-describe-to-someone-else places.

This works for me and now I have no more stress!

For more great tips, go visit Shannon over at Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tackle it Tuesday - Shoes!

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This week I tackled my shoes!

I know it’s not really bad but it’s bad for me because I’m a bit OCD about my stuff being nicely in place…

These are the BEFORE shots...

And these are the AFTER shots

Shoebag - all casual takkies together, and the sandals I wear most often

Closed, casual shoes at the back as it's still summer here.

My work shoes...4 pairs of court shoes right at the bottom in the yellow basket, 2 pairs of black sandals on top of the box and inside a pair of black shoes I wear with pants, and just because there's space, a pair of sandals.

These are my walking-around-the-house-shoes, stored under the towel rack

Monday, February 26, 2007

Menu plan Monday - 26 Feb 2007

It seems we are on a roll! This week we stuck to the menu plan 100%. Woohoo. Small things like this really make me happy.

I am really trying to stick to Weigh-Less 90-95% of the time so that I can reach my goals!

Stirfried chicken, veggies and noodles

If you've been visiting for a bit, you'll notice that we have stirfry at least once a's the quickest way to get my husband eating lots of vegetables. And I like it on a Monday as it just feels like we're starting the week off on a good note!

Baked potatoes with chilli kidney bean sauce

Spaghetti bolognaise and a green salad

Marcia - chicken lentil curry

Dion - beef and vegetable pie (we were out on the weekend and so we bought some "fun" food)

Egg on toast

Nice and low maintenance. I have a standing online chat from 7 - 7.30pm my time every Friday evening with Beth so I'm going to start doing something simple like this from now onwards.

For more menu plan Monday participants, go on over to Laura's blog.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Outlook... Not Just for Email! Using Your Outlook Calendar By: Janet Barclay, MVA

Outlook... Not Just for Email! Using Your Outlook Calendar
Janet Barclay, MVA

Microsoft Outlook is one of the most widely used software programs for email, but if you’re only using it for email, you’re missing out on a great productivity tool! Here are a few ways you can use the Outlook calendar to make scheduling easier.

Add public holidays to your calendar automatically.

On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click Calendar Options.
Under Calendar Options, click Add Holidays. Select the check box next to each country/region whose holidays you want to add to your Calendar, and then click OK. Your own country/region is automatically selected.

Color code your appointments.

When you select a label for each appointment, Outlook will assign it a color, drawing attention to your most important activities and allowing you to see at a glance how you are spending your time. The default labels are as follows, but they can be customized to meet your needs.

Important - Red
Business - Blue
Personal - Light Green
Vacation - Gray
Must Attend - Orange
Travel Required - Aqua
Needs Preparation - Olive Green
Birthday - Purple
Anniversary - Dark Green
Phone Call - Yellow
None - White

Unfortunately, this feature is not available in earlier versions of Outlook.

Turn a message into an appointment or task.

What’s the quickest way to deal with an email inviting you to a meeting or event?

Drag the message onto your Calendar and a new appointment will be created. The entire message will appear in the details section – all you need to do is edit the subject line, location, date and time! Send an RSVP if necessary, and now you can delete the email!

Not sure if you’re going to attend? Set Show time as to Tentative and the appointment will display with a dashed border rather than a solid one. In this case you should also drag the message onto your Task Pad and a new task will be created. Edit the subject line to be a reminder to register for the event, and set the due date early enough that you won’t miss out if you decide to go.

Print pages for your paper planner.

If you like the idea of using the Outlook calendar, but are more comfortable using a paper planner, Outlook allows you to print pages in daily, weekly or monthly layouts, formatted to fit a variety of commercial planners. Print the whole year, or just today’s schedule!

It’s not just about work.

There are many websites that allow you to download schedules right into your Outlook calendar, including sports teams and TV stations, among many others. You’ll never have to miss your favorite team or show, and just think of the time you’ll save!

About the Author
Janet Barclay, Organized Assistant, offers a variety of professional quality services to support entrepreneurs and other individuals who are overwhelmed by the demands and technology of the 21st century. For further information or to request a subscription to her monthly ezine, The Organized Assistant Resource, please visit her website at
Article Source:

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Works for me Wednesday - Beth's declutter calendar

For more Works for me Wednesday tips, go visit Shannon.

This is a wall in my kitchen/ laundry room area. As you can see, I have a calendar with stickers and
Beth’s declutter calendar stapled to it. (You could use Beth’s calendar as your normal calendar but I have other stuff I need to write on and I didn’t want it to look too busy).

The stickers are differently coloured according to the activity – purple for church, green for ministry, yellow for socials, etc. Those smiley faces are business appointments.

You can go over to Beth’s website and get her free declutter calendar. She has a really small task for every day so you can easily tackle one task a day. For example, the chest of drawers in your bedroom is done over 4 days so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Each Sunday’s task is “plan for decluttering”.

If the particular task in my house is already sorted out (paper pile in entrance, for instance) then I just skip over it.

This works for me because it is a clear plan to declutter without being overwhelming.


I'm so sorry the link didn't work earlier - I had a double http - if you try now, it will work!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tackle it Tuesday - photos and frames

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This week I decided to do something that’s been bugging me for a long time – picture and photo frames!

Our friends from Melbourne, Australia gave this photo to us about 4 years ago and it has been without a frame for all this time – shocking, I know. Anyway, I got my act together and just went to buy a frame to put it in. One down!

Next... we needed to print 6 photos for a big frame and one other. Then my sister-in-law gave me the bamboo frame for Christmas (but I only got it on Saturday 17th Feb! – long story, don’t ask) so now we needed 7 pics.

Well, I got that done and I am soooo happy. I feel great that this is finally done. The one extra pic is for me to put up by my desk.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Menu plan Monday - 19 Feb 2007

For more Menu Plan Monday participants, go on over to Laura's blog.

I’m very proud of myself as last week we ate everything on the menu plan. We mixed up the days and it was pasta alfredo instead of carbonara, but this is still excellent for us.

I'm hoping that this week will go just as well!

Rice, chicken lentil curry and pumpkin

Penne pasta with bacon/ mushroom/cheese sauce and a green salad

Baked potatoes with mince & kidney bean sauce (chilli, tomato, onion, etc)

Early supper with Nikki at House of Coffees – I’ll probably have something with a side salad

Stirfried rice, chicken, kidney beans and veggies

If you would like my recipe for anything, please just ask. I'm happy to oblige!

Have a great week, everyone, and remember to come back tomorrow for The Tackle!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Works for me Wednesday - Making beauty products last longer

I buy a fair amount of beauty products in these squeeze tubes, from face wash to moisturizer to hair products.

When it gets to the end of the tube and it seems like it is totally empty (even after rolling the tube as much as possible to get the last little bit out, I cut the top 1/3rd off, like this.

You can then reach inside and get the rest of the product out. I usually find that I get at least two more uses out.

The reason I only cut it around the one-third mark is because I want to be able to close it again without the stuff drying out (that has happened to me before).

It used to frustrate me, knowing that I couldn’t get it all out but now, this works for me.
For more great tips, go visit Shannon over at Rocks in my Dryer.

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tacke-it Tuesday - laundry & hardware cupboards

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I forgot to take the before pictures because I didn’t consciously think of using these for my tackles, but they do give me such a feeling of complete and utter contentment and peace!

Top shelf of cupboard in laundry
Stain remover, washing powder, fabric softener and the iron

Bottom shelf of cupboard in laundry

I love hooks to maximise space - dust pan and brush, peg bag (clothespins); standing - broom, ironing board and spare laundry basket (when things get out of hand)

This is a cupboard the previous owners built to hide the electrics. It is very shallow so I use it for our hardware area. You can see torches, spare adaptors, lots of lightbulbs (my husband is obsessed with having spares) and then some screwdrivers, curtain hooks and nails.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - 12 Feb 2007

For more Menu Plan Monday participants, go on over to Laura's blog.

Well, last week, I didn’t quite use up everything but my freezer was mostly empty so I have now restocked!

Beef stirfry, broccoli, pumpkin, mushrooms and basmati rice

Chicken salad with pasta

Wednesday ***
Pizza potatoes

Penne carbonara with a green salad

Toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches with tomato soup

***We went for our Valentine's supper on Saturday.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The red book

I tried to go back and update my post to add in this picture but Blogger won't let me, so here it is - our red book!

Works for me Wednesday - date night

Since this is the Love Edition, I'll tell you about something that definitely works for us. And that is date night.

Dion and I have a date night twice every month. During this time, we are not a boring husband and wife but we are dating. So he will send me a meeting request to block out the time (this is how nerds like us flirt with one another and hey, it works for us).

We dress nicely, I wear a bit more make-up than usual and wear clothes that he likes. And he wears navy or black because I happen to think he looks very handsome in dark colours (you will agree if you look at pictures on our travel blog).

this picture is in front of our dining hall, where we first fell in love

And this is key - we do not talk about paying the phone bill, chores in the house, etc. We just use the time to enjoy one another's company again.

We have a book of ideas so every time one of us thinks of a restaurant we want to try or something we want to do, we write it in the red book (red for love, see?) so we always have lots of ideas. Because I don't like to be boring!

And that's what works for us! For more ideas on the love theme, head on over to Shannon's blog to check out links to the other posts.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tackle it Tuesday - guest bedroom

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

We have 3 bedrooms in our house. The master bedroom, a 2nd one we use for a study and a guest bedroom. We use the first two a lot (obviously) but the guest bedroom is never used.

If I’m lazy to pack linen away, I dump it there. The result is a room of mismatched pillow cases, pillows, blankets and other linen that needs to be packed away and sorted.

Here is the BEFORE picture…. messy bed, mismatched linen, etc.

And here is the AFTER...much better

Monday, February 05, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - 5 Feb 2007

For more menu plan Monday participants, go on over to Laura's blog.

This week I intend to use up everything in my freezer so I can restock next weekend. So it’s going to look a little boring but it is necessary, believe me!

Stirfried chicken, vegetables and basmati rice

Ricotta & spinach panzerotti with tomato and mushroom sauce

Potato bake with lentils, mushrooms, tomato and cheese

Chilli kidney bean pasta

Those same baked bean sandwiches from last week Friday – because we ended up having leftovers

Saturday (friends for lunch)
Spaghetti bolognaise, salad and cheese focaccia

What's on your menu this week?
Go over to my take charge blog to see what I do for quick snacks on the weekend!