Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Organization Continues

Well it snowed in Michigan....and it keeps snowing....Last week it was 68 and I had my windows open, enjoying the fresh we're packed in the house enjoying the smell of hot tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

So while we were stuck at home (literally because while my little HHR is great on gas efficiency, it's not the best on drift busting),  I took the opportunity to make another attempt at overcoming my organizational struggles. I had two goals today. One organize the boys' toys and Two fold and put away ALL the laundry....

After - Our living room has so much room!
This morning, I cleaned, sorted, threw away, picked up and picked up toys again thanks to Gauge trying to help me by emptying everything out of the tubs...I thought that if I just threw Toy Story 3 in, I'd have a good hour and a half to just focus my entire energy on the toy situation....

A place for everything (for now!) 
Well of course that's never how anything works and after getting snacks, changing diapers, keeping the laundry going, attempting the potty, making lunch, one Toy Story 3, Two Handy Manny shows, some weird elephant cartoon and bits and pieces of What Not to Wear because Mommy was over the whole cartoon thing....I now have a clean living room with an organized toy closet....that is until Gauge wakes up and Gunner comes in from the pole barn...but for the moment, I'm enjoying the fact that I did accomplish one organizational adventure!

As for the laundry...... maybe we'll have a snow day tomorrow....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's been a while...

It's been almost two weeks since I last social media...that's YEARS.....I'd like to say I've been so busy organizing my life I just had to put the blog on hiatus, but I was actually just trying to tonight my goal is to catch my blog up to speed while I stare at my coupon box and the pile of coupons I need to catch up on......

Jordie being honored after her Retiring Address as the
Michigan FFA Region III State Vice President.
Last Thursday and Friday, I spent time as a judge and supporter at the Michigan FFA Convention on the campus of Michigan State University. Public speaking ranks number one on most people's fear lists. Yet, seventh and eighth graders took to the stage discussing the swine industry, organic and conventional farming practices and invasive species.Confidently, I can say we have a strong wave of future agvocates.

 Then I switched hats and watched my friend Jordan Henry, along with her State FFA Officer Team, direct the convention. Serving as a State Officer, one of 12 in the state, for an entire year puts you in a position to be a role model for younger students, an advocate for agriculture education and an ambassador for the agriculture industry. I'm proud to say Jordan served the organization with a sincere heart, pure joy and dedicated passion.
My husband says if I keep this up,
I might just be able to paint the whole wall with samples!

Over the weekend, my plan was to paint my bedroom and bathroom. Well, it takes me an hour to decide what earrings to buy for an outfit, so currently there are three different blues on our bedroom wall, while two orange paint samples and several paint chips taped to the wall are now what I'm calling "original works of art". Maybe by August, I'll figure out what color I like....but I'm not holding my breath (I hate to paint!)

And this week has been filled with Ag in the Classroom activities - connecting Gratiot County Farm Bureau members with elementary classes, helping students learn about how farmers care about the food they grow by reading books, answering questions and leading them through hands on activities. It's National Ag Week, National Nutrition Month and March is Reading Month - so we were able to hit all three and reach almost 300 students. Next month we're working with four local schools on growing their own pizza gardens!!

One of our Gratiot County Farm Bureau farmers sharing
his farming experiences with elementary students.
Finally, our church - Mount Pleasant Community Church hosts a four night Women's Night Out. A hilarious variety theme show, with AMAZING volunteers who make the whole event happen. It seems fitting that I would help organize the food for volunteers and performers...though I think they might look at me a little odd if I put information about what a farmer does to grow the hamburger, veggies, cheese, etc. Maybe I should have lined up one of my farmer friends to come and stand by the food. It's all about finding those teachable moments :).

For more teachable moment ideas check out my guest blog at the Michigan Ag Council's Farm Fresh Food Blog. Then make sure to follow it daily - it's full of recipes and information about your food - straight from the people who grow it!

WHEW - now my blog is organized.....and I'm on to at least placing all the clothes on my bedroom floor into baskets for the appropriate person....maybe I could pass it off as "original works of art"!?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hi, I'm Katie....I'm unorganized....

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem....

...... Hi, I'm Katie....I am unorganized......

There I said it - I feel like I can breath a little easier just admitting my inability to sort, categories and put items into a cupboard with out shoving them in, slamming the door and running fast before they all spew to the floor.

Still I feel the need to clarify. I am not lazy, nor unproductive. I get things done....I just think I could get a LOT more done AND without stress...if I had a system. Yet, I'm stuck. I have no system to have a system. I don't know where to begin, because it's all such a huge undertaking. I get caught in the following thought process: If I could just take a week off of life (or just even work), then my basement would have beautifully labeled boxes filled with like holiday items. If the boys would sleep for just an hour longer I could fold the clothes and put them away. Maybe if I stayed up an hour later or woke up an hour earlier for the next week I could pick a room and organize it each day.....hahahahhahaha.... I'm laughing at myself just thinking about how long that would last! Can you relate?

Part of me thinks if I just throw everything away, the simpler the better - but I don't just want to throw it away - It could be donated or used at a camp or what if I need 15 glass baby jars for an art project.....

Plus when I start a project - say organizing my closet - I am easily side tracked. Some clothes will need to be cleaned before I put them in the donation box. Well as I put the laundry in the washer, I notice the shelf holding the detergent needs to be wiped down. So I take a couple minutes to wash the shelf (because I'm in stealth cleaning mode). As I come back to the sink to rinse out the dish cloth, I decided to quickly switch the dishwasher. While putting away the plates, I notice the streaky window over the sink. I wipe down the one window and decide to wipe down all the windows leading me back to the window in our closet, which low and behold I find a couple more dresses to put in the donating box.....see how my mind works...

I realize this seems crazy - it's okay, people call me crazy quite a bit so I'm use to it....but seriously.... I need I've decided for Lent instead of giving something up, I'm going to organize one thing (well with my mind it'll be like three random things) each day. Small baby steps, here and there so then by the time Gauge's second birthday is here (Good Friday) I'll have an organized home to host our guests!

Today I got a jump start - Organizing My Coupons! I cut them, I print them, I usually leave them in a folder and when I think about it I'll use them - but I know I can do much better. So thanks to my friend Jami Haase and several others, I'm motivated! I also found to be a very helpful site as well! Below I've photographed my attempt. In theory it'll work!

I'll keep you updated on this as well as my other adventures in organizing! Do you have an organizing tip please share!!! Or need to take that first step in admitting your obstacles.... Hi, I'm Katie and I'm it's your turn :)

In theory:
I'll clip and print all coupons and put in sorting box. Then I can look at items for sale and match them up with coupons. Those coupons I decide to take to the store, I'll put in my smaller coupon organizer and take that to the store.

Making A Coupon Sorting Box
Coupon Sorting Box: shoe box
Dividers: Cut up old file folders
Sub Dividers: Paint Sample Cards
Date Dividers: Paper folded and taped on both sides (you could use envelopes, but I didn't have it)
Magic Marker

Divider Labels (thanks to Jami Haase!)

Dry Goods (divider)

My Shoe Box turned Coupon Sorter

  • Baking & Spices
  • Breads
  • Candy
  • Canned Foods
  • Cereal & Breakfast Foods
  • Chips & Crackers
  • Coffee & Drinks
  • Condiments, Dressings & Sauces
  • Jello & Pudding
  • Rice, Pasta, Potato & Box Meals
  • Snacks
Frozen Foods (divider)

  • Breads
  • Desserts & Breakfast
  • Fruit
  • Meat
  • Ready to Eat Meals
  • Veggies
Fridge (divider)

Dividers & SubDividers
  • Bread, Cookies & Rolls
  • Dairy
  • Dips, Premade Food
  • Fruit
  • Meat
Cleaning (divider)

  • Air Supplies (candles, sprays, etc.)
  • Bathroom
  • Batteries, Trash Bags & Ziploc Bags
  • Kitchen
  • Laundry
  • SubDividers with Date Dividers
  • Paper Goods
Personal (divider)

  • Contacts & Eye care
  • Deodorant
  • Female Products
  • Hair Care
  • Lotion & Body Wash
  • Make Up
  • Medicine
  • Oral Care
  • Razors
Baby/Kids (divider)
My Smaller Coupon Organizer
Made By Tawnya Stock
  • Diapers & Wipes
  • Food
  • Clothing & Toys
  • Supplies
Pet (divider)

Store, Restaurant, Rebates (divider)

Office (divider)

Misc. (divider)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Dad the Agvocate

I just spent 45 minutes on the phone with my dad. He is sitting in his hospital room recovering from a very successful back surgery. I am an hour and 15 minutes away sitting at the dining room table in front of my lab top. I answered my phone and he says... "Yeah - Hey Katie, I want to get on the internet." 

Mom and Dad

Well, if this was a man who had actually been on the internet - not just looking at the internet over my mom's shoulder - but who had actually used a touch pad and right and left buttons, the request might have not come as quite the shock....but I'm proud to say that after our "session" I could work for Dell Customer Service and do a pretty darn good job. Though at one point, I seriously considered just driving down, spending the 30 seconds it would take me to get him to the site he wanted and drive home. I'm not sure Dell could support those travel expenses...

After explaining how to make a window pop up by slowly moving his finger across the pad so the arrow was on top of the picture (cause "What's an Icon?" and "How do you make a dot?" wasn't getting us anywhere), we slowly but surely progressed to the Michigan Dairy News Bureau website. 

The McCune Family Farm

See he is a farmer. And he's proud of what he does and what he has. He should be, he's been farming since he was 12 on the same farm his great grandfather farmed on - in the same milking stanchions. The stories and insight he has on the dairy industry and agriculture overall are fascinating. He has a high school education, but I confidently think he could teach at the university level. Ag is in his blood, he doesn't need books to tell him what to do, he's lived it and he could write the books. 

Yet, his reasoning to check out the site was not to read the latest dairy trends.... no.....he wanted to show the nurses his farm. In only the two days Dad has been at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, MI, he has interacted with just about every employee. This does not surprise me. Nor was I shocked when he told me there was a nurse he met who has a father farming in Ethiopia and the nurse asked if he could come visit our farm.....

This is my favorite photo of my dad ever. It's him.

So when I received the request to get online, I knew this was a big deal for him and it became important to me....and with a glass of wine and a long phone call we finally found exactly where he wanted to be - on our family's feature page. And now with some pictures online, he can proudly display our farm and write down directions so the nurse can come visit. 

And if the hits on the MI Dairy News Bureau site go up tremendously, it's probably because the entire 6th floor staff have been stopping in and checking out our farm thanks to my dad, the Agvocate.

The Michigan Dairy News Bureau is the center for science based information about Michigan Dairy farming including cow care, environmental/sustainability practices and dairy food safety. Our family farm was featured, among many other great Michigan dairy families, last summer. Check out all their stories, find science based information from the experts and read blogs written by dairy farmers and their families!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Give Me an "A"!

Last fall, after giving a presentation in a Young Farmer contest the judge said, "well, all I can say're kind like of a cheerleader for agriculture."  I wasn't sure if I should be offended or grab my mega phone and somersault into the "perfect cheer".

So I'm deciding that based on the intensity of cheerleading around the Central Michigan area, it was a compliment determined by my enthusiasm, focus and dedication to share my passion with others. (I refuse to believe it was my pig tails and spirit socks I sported for the event- just kidding, I wore my hair in a pony tail :)!) Seriously though, the squads around here spend hours perfecting their performances, making sure the end result is a system moving in pristine unison.

Yesterday, I participated in my own type of cheerleading training at the Michigan Farm Bureau Voice of Agriculture Conference, designed to offer tools to county Farm Bureau members on promoting, educating and communicating agriculture.

During one session, the presenter expressed the need for farmers and agvocates to share the same message no matter the category: small, large, organic, conventional, niche, livestock, or crops. Consistency, support and unity - these words should be on a sign somewhere on every farm, greenhouse, board room or pole barn located right on the inside of the door so you hit it each and every time you go by... pumping yourself up with motivation as you begin  your mornings and end your nights. Reminding you so many others are doing the exact same thing in the name of ag.

Every sector of our industry must support each other - not only for the benefit of ourselves, but for the perception of our consumers. There is a competition among industries and the winning team receives more money, more press - essentially more support. If Team Agriculture has internal issues (people not showing up for practice, bickering behind backs, failing to take the same steps) then the judges such as HSUS, governmental agencies and consumers will put us at the bottom of the podium.

I've stated before, I don't like to lose. Especially when I know I could win. And right now I'm not addressing a particular situation or issue - I'm just saying at the end of the day I hope we're all wearing the same team shirt, we're supporting one another and we're cheering in unison with faces painted, spirit finger waving and pom pons shaking....and if you feel compelled...with the strong foundation we have...we can start doing flips.