Under Appreciated Tool

There is one item I believe to be an under appreciated tool – the timer. Every home has at least one, most likely more. There are timers on microwaves, ovens, cell phones, computers/tablets, and even watches – does anyone wear a watch anymore?

I never gave timers much thought until after I was married and I started a direct sales business that sold kitchen tools. One of the tools was a kitchen timer. I started using it at home and I was hooked! Food in the oven didn’t burn anymore 🙂 As the years have gone on I have found many uses for my handy dandy timer.

I have used my timers for:

* cooking and baking

* to determine how long chores took

* timeouts for my daughter

* length of time she needs to read for homework

* track my exercise at home

I think the two ways I use my timer the most anymore is for cooking and baking and chores. I used to dread emptying the dishwasher. For some reason it seemed to take forever for me to do it. So one day I decided to follow the advice of FlyLady and time how long it takes to empty the dishwasher. I was making soup in the microwave – 3 minutes. So I decided to see how far I could get in 3 minutes. Well, much to my surprise I had about 2 or 3 items left at the end of the 3 minutes but those only took seconds to put away. From that day on, I stopped dreading the dishwasher. Quite often I empty the dishwasher while I have something in the microwave cooking.

So if there are any tasks you dread doing at home or at work use your timer. You can

1. set it to count up to see how long a task takes

2. or you could set it for a set time and when the alarm goes off, stop what you are doing and do something else.

Use your timer. I bet you will be fan just like me.


The Death of a Church

Today I attended the closing of a church I belonged to for about 12 years. It was where I was confirmed and married. I served as acolyte. My mother was on the Altar Guild committee. My sister received her first communion there. It was my spiritual home.

The pastor who served there while I was a member was progressive in my mind. He was the first preacher I heard admit that he was not perfect; he was flawed just like everyone else.  One phrase I remember him saying practically weekly in prayers “We are not accidents in time and space.” That was where my belief, my true feeling that God created each and every one of use for a purpose. We had a mission. Sometimes the mission is crystal clear and other times it is not.

I posted some pictures I took of the church and that it was closing. I have received many comments from friends and friends of friends saying how sad it was. Yes, it is sad. One person asked why it was closing.  Low attendance is the reason. People are not coming to church like they used to.

I am about to climb on my soapbox. People do not hold Sunday special or sacred anymore. Stores are open. Sports teams have practices and games. People, families no longer make attending a church a priority. It is more of a “if we can squeeze it in.” There are other reasons too. Younger people are not attending traditional church anymore because they can listen to Christian music on the internet and download songs digitally. They don’t need to attend Bible Study or Sunday School because they can attend book clubs or study groups in coffee houses or in an individual’s home. Mission projects can be done with any number of individual charities. Of course there is also the notion that people feel the church is hypocritical.  It is.

The hypocrisy of organized religion is blatant as well as the conservatives who tout scripture at the drop of the hat. In the past week the public was made aware of allegations that the oldest son of a reality show family had sexually abused young girls a number of years ago. Most of the victims – his own sisters. As Christians we are instructed to love one another as ourselves. We are treat people the way we want to be treated. That does not mean we can exclude a segment of the population because we don’t like what they do behind closed bedroom doors. Does this oldest son lose his salvation because of his alleged crimes? No. Once we become followers of Christ we are always followers of Christ. Anyone is welcome to believe. Yes we are to repent of sin and change our ways, but it is not up to other people to decide if we have done that. That, judgment, is up to God. That is a relief to me. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want that responsibility.

Anyway, the church as a whole needs to make changes. We need to be willing to accept “contemporary Christian” music. Open to having worship services outside, stepping outside the box in how we share God’s Word. To go along with that, we the people, need to show up to church. The pews need to be filled. It may be difficult for some people to understand but the church is a business. A church as expenses: mortgage, salary, utility expenses, landscaping. The church depends on the consistent donations of its members in order to pay the bills and help those in need.

If it has been a while since you’ve been to church. Go back. Go church shopping. Just because you were raised in a Lutheran, Baptist, or Catholic Church does not mean you have to stay there. Really. You have a choice. I was raised and confirmed in the Lutheran and now I am a member of the United Methodist Church. Think about what is most important to you in terms of a church home. How close is the church to your home? Do they have a children’s program? How about adult classes? What mission projects are they involved with? Is music important to you? Do they have a choir or praise band? Both?

It is very sad that churches around our country are closing, but it can be stopped. People need to start attending again. We need to be part of the process. Be part of the change.

Today I witnessed the death of a church. However, I have faith that a new Church will emerge and be stronger than ever.

Evernote – electronic notebook

I like paper. I love paper planners and notebooks. As a result, it means I have paper piles all over the place. My boss discovered an app of an electronic notebook called Evernote.  You can access Evernote on the web and on your mobile devices. Best part is there is a free version!

I was intrigued with the site at work so I installed it on my phone and computer. Soon I was creating “notebooks” for the church committees I am involved with, a rolling to do list and craft ideas. It is very convenient. No more paper lists. I’ve scanned in documents for committees so I don’t have to carry paper around with me all the time.

You can even record audio and capture website links too. I have over 20 notebooks and over 400 individual notes. It is a wonderful online, electronic filing cabinet of sorts. And of course if I no longer need a note or notebook, it can be deleted. Poof! Just like that. Check it out. Just go to www.evernote.com and give it a whirl. Let me know what you think.

Yippee! Toodledo!

I love lists. I make lists of the dishes for Thanksgiving that everyone will bringing. I make a list of everyone we buy Christmas gifts for. I have a standing list of what to pack for our annual beach vacation. And yes, i even make lists for things I need to do around the house. All the lists but the house list will be completely checked off. The house list is always a work in progress.

As you know I love paper for planners and lists, but I was introduced to this electronic list keeper called Toodledo (www.toodledo.com). It has a website and app for your mobile devices. Honestly, the website on my computer is better for creating new tasks with a lot of detail than the mobile app. But the mobile app is handy when out and about and I need a reminder of where I need to go or items to pick up.

You can add tasks and assign a due date, if it needs to be repeated and how often, and you can even create folders for the tasks and you can give it a number priority.

It also has tabs for Notes, Outlines, Lists and Habits. As I clean up my master bedroom I am finding many books that I have been meaning to read and haven’t done it yet. So in the notes section i will make a list of the books I am going to read this year.

The website and app are free – yay! And you can use it with as much detail as you want or just list tasks without a specific priority.

Toodledo has a look that appeals to me. I have tried lots of electronic list makers in the past and this one I keep coming back to this one over and over again. Maybe it will work for you.

LOVE wreath

As a scrapbooker I am subscribed to Michael’s Arts & Crafts email blasts. Usually I just click to get the coupons and that’s it. This one email caught my attention. A Valentine wreath. I know we are past Valentine’s Day, but this month got crazy real fast and I really wanted to share what I accomplished craft wise this month. There were just a few supplies needed: red, white and pink tulle, styrofoam wreath, wood letters, paint, and hot glue gun.

wreath with instructions

For the most part it as easy to do, but I had trouble with the knot they wanted me to do. Being impatient, I improvised. I still got the desired look and it is still holding.

love letters with hershey

As you can see, my cat Hershey, wanted to help me with the painting.

I really enjoyed putting it together. I decided I will make one for St. Patrick’s Day. I plan on using green, white and orange tulle. Orange is for my Protestant family – Props!  I decided the word I am going to use is LUCKY painted in green. I’ll let you know how that one goes.

love tulle wreath

The finished project!  I added a ribbon to hang it from a nail outside my house.  It has stayed together for a couple of weeks outside in this cold weather. I have what I need for St. Patrick’s Day…hmmmm Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July.  Ooooh, the ideas are starting to brew now.

Have you been crafty during this cold weather? Show me what you made.

Gray is the New Black

Gray as a color I think has now become a “standard” color to have in your wardrobe. It now falls in the Basics category with black, chocolate brown, and navy blue. If you’re expecting more fashion insight you need to look elsewhere. That’s about as fashion insightful as I get.

I have worn gray quite a bit this month. I guess that’s where this prompt came from. I have realized in the past few months that I have a gray outlook on life. There are a few things that I feel “black and white” about. You know, absolutes – no middle ground.

For opinions, being gray may be fine, but I am noticing it doesn’t work for accomplishing tasks. There is no gray, or middle ground,  you either do the task or not. If you do the task you must do it the best you can. There is no gray; no “good enough.” I have lived most of my life “good enough.” It never really bothered me too much before. Probably because I didn’t think of it much before. Why should I? Well, I am older and it is bothering me now. I am working on doing the best I can in each task. Each detail matters – I need to care. How can I expect others to do things for me with care if I can’t reciprocate?

It’s not easy moving from gray. Gray is comfortable. I need to keep pushing through it. Keep pushing to black..or chocolate brown or navy blue.

Look What I Made! A Button Snowflake

In a previous post I mentioned that I was breaking out of my rut.  My creative juices are flowing again. I feel excited! The crafts I take on are pretty simple for the most part. The skill level isn’t important to me. What was most important to me was just completing a project.

button snowflake


  • Canvas/shadow box/picture frame – I used a shadow box
  • Buttons – I used one light blue and the others are dark blue
  • Hot glue gun

I used a larger light blue button for the center of the snowflake. Then I placed the buttons for each arm of the snowflake to get the alignment right. Remember, I’m crooked 🙂  Then I hot glued one button at a time. Wala! A snowflake.

This is a great craft idea to do with kids. You don’t have to use blue – if you or the kids want to use red, yellow or many different colors for the buttons, go for it!

Craft, decorate, enjoy!  Remember, each snowflake is unique – just like YOU.