Friday, May 28, 2021

Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Ordinary Days of Small Things
Summer Day Keeper!

 





**FREE DOWNLOAD** 
Available Friday, May 28!
Live intentionally this summer and savor the things that matter most!

An Explanation and Apology

But not for the reason you might think. I've known since early last week that I was going to take a break from Wednesday of last week through yesterday. My daughter was off work for five of those seven days (a rare thing), and we had company over the weekend.  BUT, I HAD POSTS SCHEDULED!, including one explaining why I wouldn't be responding to messages, or . . . at least, I thought I did. But then it always helps if you move the posts from the draft mode to the scheduled mode, and that never happened! 

So imagine my embarrassment when I signed on to my computer for the first time in a week today to discover that NONE of them had posted! I am SO sorry! Some re-launch, huh!!!???? But now that I realize that none of them posted, I'm just going to save them and post them going forward. It's actually a good thing, I guess, I'm now three posts ahead of the game! ALSO, the link to the download for the Ordinary Days of Small Things Summer Day Keeper  was among those posts, which I had originally promised would be available on the 21st! That will post tomorrow, still in plenty of time to start June 1! I'm also going to confess that somehow I had it in my head that Memorial Day was this past Monday and it had been my intention all along to post the link to it the Friday before Memorial Day, and in my ditziness, now it actually will, just on the 28th.

My apologies if you've been wondering what happened, maybe you didn't even notice, but either way, I'm sorry for the confusion! The link to the Day Keeper will post tomorrow and then I'll be coming at you strong again on Monday! 

Until then, I pray your weekend is blessed! 

Kim

Monday, May 17, 2021

And The Winner Is . . .

CONGRATULATIONS, PAM!
Please email me at ordinarydaysofsmallthings@gmail.com to make arrangements to get your prize to you!

*The time stamp says Central Standard Time, but I am in the Eastern Time Zone.
The winner was chosen at 10:03 p.m.

A BIG THANK YOU!
to everyone who commented and participated in the give-away!
And to those of you who didn't win, I've got something for everyone
coming this Friday, May 21!



The Ordinary Days of Small Things Summer Day Keeper!
If you've enjoyed my seasonal planners before, or if this is your first time 
downloading it,I pray you'll be blessed!  And did I mention, it's **FREE**!
Look for the link to the download first thing Friday morning!

~ Enjoy!



Sunday, May 16, 2021

My Home Organization Cart - A Work in Progress


A few years after we finished homeschooling our youngest, I noticed a number of families still in the throes who were implementing some neat tools into their school rooms, namely rolling carts! I have to admit, I was pretty jealous that this trend missed me by about five years! It might seem odd that I continue to follow homeschooling pages on social media, but I guess after 25+ years of raising and teaching numerous children, it's kind of in my blood. I'm still toying with the idea of whether or not to resurrect my old homeschooling blog or just implement the information here. I have a WEALTH of resources archived at the moment, just trying to figure out what I think would be the best fit? If you happen to homeschool and that's something you would like to see here or by linking to another blog, I'm all ears! But for now . . . back to that cart! 

After seeing how streamlined and portable the carts appeared to be, I decided that I might be able to put one to a different use. Since moving into the apartment, I have been moving files and binders twice a day from the bookshelf in my bedroom to the family room which is where I do most of my planning, pay bills and work on my blog and book. So when Bill gave me some money for Mother's Day I decided to bite the bullet and give it a go.

I purchased the cart from Amazon and it arrived within a few short days. Right out of the box I was a little disappointed to discover that the trays were not metal.  I was really hoping to be able to use some magnetic clips on the sides, but quickly decided that wasn't that big of a deal. If I had read the description better I would have known. The trays are made of ABS plastic, which apparently is sturdier and holds up better, so that's a plus. Once I started filling it up I ran into my second disappointment, it didn't hold as much as I expected it would! I've seen some of the carts homeschooling families use and they look loaded down with binders, books and school supplies, so I don't know if this one is just smaller, or . . . . maybe I just have too much stuff! But I didn't think I could possibly have as much stuff as a homeschooling family did, but I guess I was wrong!

One of my good friends, Dawn, at By Sun and Candlelight, has been inspiring others for years with her file crate system and home planning and organization printables, and I've personalized and implemented a number of her ideas. What's that old saying?,

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!"

- OSCAR WILDE

So I thought I'd take a few minutes today and share what's on my cart.  If these types of posts bore you to tears, then please feel free to move on. But I know for myself personally, posts like these and the ones Dawn has shared over the years have really helped me with organizing and stream-lining my life!

❊ TOP TRAY
The top tray is the one you see in the very first picture in this post.  It holds;

- MONTHLY/WEEKLY FILES
I have a file for the month itself in the front, and behind that are five additional files labeled Weeks 1-5. Week 5 is seldom used of course, except on their rare months when the days fall just right. As today is the first day of the third week of May, later today when I work my files (which I do every Sunday), I'll move the file labeled "Week 3" to the front and rotate the previous weeks files to the back. Then behind that I have a file for each day of the week labeled Sunday - Saturday. These files hold a number of things, but in order to keep this post from turning into a novel, I'll elaborate more on the specifics at a later date.

Behind my files are two binders, my Homekeeping Binder and my Recipe and Meal Planning Binder, which is a work in progress. Again, I won't elaborate a lot on how I use these because at I'm on a learning curve with at least one of them, ha, ha! But I do plan on sharing about both of these binders in upcoming posts, so stay tuned!

This tray also holds my current planner, which is where I keep my daily to-do lists. I used to use a much more elaborate system, but these days I find a simple spiral notebook works just fine. I'm not on the go that much so there's really no need to block certain hours of the day for specific tasks. I just sit down every morning and look over the lists and check things off, easy-peasy! 

And finally, as you can see in the photo on the right, i also keep a small amount of office supplies in a little container on the side, just general stuff, scissors, pens, pencils, etc. There are also a few other small odds and ends but nothing worth mentioning as a few of them are brand new and while I have great plans, nothing has actually been implemented as yet.

- TO DO  and BILLS TO PAY
Behind my monthly/weekly/daily files I have two other files, - To Do and - Bills to Pay. Pretty self-explanatory and much less exciting stuff, :).

❊ MIDDLE TRAY
The middle tray is where I keep my binders, and I have, uhmm . . . a few! But it was with this shelf that I ran into my next disappointment, it wasn't as deep as I needed it to be. I was hoping my binders would sit up vertically but they barely fit horizontally.  I had purchased these magazine holders and my original idea was for them to fit on the cart, as well and hold some smaller items, like my Seasonal Day Keepers. But in the end they didn't fit and I put them on a shelf in my bedroom, which is fine, still pretty and functional. With that I tucked my current Seasonal Day Keeper in the back of my Homekeeping Binder. But while I was at Targer, I also bought this and I'm not really sure what the plan is but . . . they matched and I couldn't separate them! :) I'm thinking I'll use it for something related to my blog or my book.  So here's what is on the middle tray;

- BLOGGING BINDER
My blogging binder is simply that, it's where I brainstorm and plan posts, keep running list of ideas for future posts, and **try** to keep track of my social media presence (related to my blog), etc.

-WHAT WE KEEP - A Binder Devoted to My Book
I've mentioned before that I'm currently writing a book. That got interrupted while we were on the road because without consistent internet I was never able to get into a routine. But now that I'm back home and settled, routine is the first order of business on my agenda so you'll be hearing a lot about that in the days and weeks to come. But . . . I do have a binder devoted specifically to my book with dividers for each chapter. I do 100% of the actual writing on my computer, but my binder is where I brainstorm ideas and take notes. I also try to track how many words I've written each week and how many hours I've devoted to it, but like I said, I'm just now getting back into routine.


BIBLE STUDY BINDERS

- BOOK BY BOOK
I've decided that beginning in June I'm doing to begin an in-depth study of the entire bible. I'm just going to start at the beginning with Genesis and with no set-time frame for when I'll finish, and delve long and deep and squeeze the juice out of it, so to speak. I've read the Bible several times using yearly plans, but this go round I don't want to just read it, I want to study it, so naturally, it need a binder!

- SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
I've mentioned in previous posts that I've been listening to this series, Practicing the Way, produced by Bridgetown Church. There is so-much-here, and it's going to take me awhile to work through it all, and I had already accumulated a hefty stack of notes and they needed a place. Naturally . . . nothing works better than a binder!

Behind these two binders are three different Bibles, because . . . I need three different Bibles (pictured). Two of them I've been using regularly for awhile now, but the third one I bought specifically for my in-depth Bible study. I've also got my eye on another. I might have a problem. You'll also notice in the picture above I'm did end up using one of those cute magazine holders I mentioned earlier, only laying horizontally. It holds my Bibles and helps to give them some support, so we'll see how it goes.  

And finally!


❊ BOTTOM TRAY

- OFFICE SUPPLIES
The bottom tray is where I keep my most-used office supplies, and you might notice a few things that look familiar because they are part of our GIVE-AWAY that is happening first thing tomorrow morning! I have my own set of each of the items I'll be gifting to one lucky reader and I can't wait to see who it is!
If you want a chance to win this little prize, you still have until 10:00 p.m. tonight and then I'll be tallying the comments and announcing the winner tomorrow morning! Remember to scroll back through the posts I've written since the announcement and comment on each one for an additional chance to win!

And that's it for the tour or my cart! I've only been using it for a couple of days now and this coming week will be the first full week I've put it to use, so I'm sure it will need some tweaking. I'm already thinking my Bible Study supplies need another home, probably back where they were before since I do most of that in my bedroom, anyway. I've also contemplated a second cart, and while I haven't completely ruled out the idea, that's probably not the answer.

As for the cart itself, once it was put together I loved it and I'll be keeping it. I looked at the dimensions of some other carts and while there are larger ones, they are also pricier. I couldn't really tell if I was going to like it until we put it together (Kate is my handy-woman). So even if I didn't like it, once you've gone to all the trouble of assembling it, it's hard to consider un-doing it all. But thankfully I like it well enough. It rolls easily, has locks on the front wheels for when I'm using it in place, and the plastic baskets actually make it lighter, and with all that stuff in there, it's heavy enough!

And so ends my little tour! I hope I haven't bored you. As I said, I'll be elaborating some more on some of the contents in upcoming posts as I begin in earnest to get back into routine! June is just around the corner and Summer seems like a good time to begin anew! If nothing else, be sure to comment for a chance to win the give-away, and to each of you who has commented so far, thank's for participating and good luck!


For a chance to win my blog-relaunch give-away, leave a comment on this post.
You get one entry for each post you comment on, but as an added bonus, tell me what your favorite home organization tool is for an additional chance to win!
Winner will be announced TOMORROW, May 17!

 

Monday, May 10, 2021

May Get-Away: A Day Trip to Black Dog Salvage, Roanoke, Virginia

If the picture above looks familiar to you, then you might recognize it from the popular HGTVshow, Salvage Dawgs. Located in Roanoke, VA, Black Dog Salvage is where it all began! Founded in 1999 by Mike Whiteside and Robert Kelp, Black Dog Salvages now boasts two locations featuring architectural details, custom upcycled designs, furniture paint, regional artisans, and salvage-inspired furniture. Their latest editions include The Stone House, a fully renovated guest house and event venue, and The Dog Bowl which is an outdoor music and event venue.  

My friend and I made the trip to Roanoke on Saturday, May 1, and Black Dog Salvage was our first stop. This was my fourth time visiting and it never disappoints! There is so much to see that I'm sure I miss a lot, and being a salvage company, their inventory is constantly changing. They have large architectural pieces, like vintage doors, shutters, lighting fixtures and some beautiful stained glass windows, but I'm usually drawn to the smaller antique items like vinyl records, old coke bottles in wooden trays, and on this trip there was an entire bin of candy cigarettes! Does anyone else remember those? It's distasteful to think of it now, the way it encouraged children to transition from candy to the real deal, but it was the 60's! Neither of my parents smoked when I was growing up, yet I still recall buying a package of these from time to time and imitating the movie stars I saw on tv. I can only vaguely remember what the candy itself tasted like, but it wasn't very good, I can say that. I'm surprised the ones I found at Black Dog had lasted, which I discovered by gently rattling one of the boxes. Though I almost always leave with something in hand, I didn't come across anything I couldn't live without this go around, but it's still so much fun just walking around and perusing the wares. My friend found a couple of unique pieces for her garden, and I was tempted to buy a t-shirt as she was checking out, but even on clearance the price was too high for my blood. 
As we were about to leave we noticed a Loveworks on the property, probably one of my favorites. Loveworks are a really popular thing in Virginia, and are a take on  the state theme, "Virginia is for Lovers". But the one at Black Dog Salvage, in keeping with the theme, is made entirely of salvaged materials.
We spent a few more hours in the area, and had lunch at Taaza, which has the best Indian food around. There Samosa is to DIE for! I could easily make a meal of it. But we split it as an appetizer and I had the Mugulai, which is SOOO good! We also ordered Garlic Naan, and I'm just saying, if you've only ever had what you buy in the store, you're missing out! The restaurant is just a couple of blocks from Black Dog Salvage and located in the Historic Grandin Village, which is also home to my favorite movie house, The Grandin Theater. A couple of years ago we went to dinner at Taaza, took in a movie after and then finished the night with ice cream at Pop's Ice Cream and Soda Bar.  But for this trip we skipped the movie and dessert! 

While we were in the area we made a quick trip downtown to the Roanoke City Market. My friend bought a few succulents, but all I managed to leave with on this trip was a disc of Taza Dark Chipotle Chili Chocolate, which I first discovered in New Hampshire and was excited to find again. It is stone ground mexican chocolate that has a unique texture and flavor, but I personally love it, especially the Chipotle Chili flavor which is probably my favorite chocolate combination. Keep an eye out for it if you're interested. It's typically carried in specialty/touristy shops, but if you have trouble locating it, you can also order it online.



If you're ever in the Roanoke area I highly recommend checking out all of the places I've mentioned, ESPECIALLY if you like Indian food, Taaza is a must! And I also can't recommend the Historic Grandin Village enough! It's small but quaint and lovely to peruse!

I'm hoping to be intentional about sight-seeing and visiting some of the little towns in the region this summer and I'll be highlighting them here, so be sure to visit again!

Don't let the little things pass you by!

Kim


For a chance to win my blog-relaunch give-away, leave a comment on this post.
You get one entry for each post you comment on, but as an added bonus, tell me about a favorite day-trip 
you took and what you loved about the place you visited for an additional chance to win!
Winner will be announced on May 17!

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Follow Me On Pinterest!


Are you on Pinterest?  Follow me and look for my board dedicated to this blog, Ordinary Days of Small Things! I am going to **try** to post a link to each blog post, we'll see how it goes! But I have a LOT of other boards and pins for you to peruse if you care to!  Apparently I should have a business account dedicated solely to my blog, but I don't know about all that! That would mean two different Pinterest accounts, but I'm considering it! I'm also working on re-launching my Facebook Group page. One-thing-at-a-time. :) But if you don't follow me on Pinterest and want to, click the link below! 

FOLLOW ME ON PINTEREST!



For a chance to win my blog-relaunch give-away, leave a comment on this post.
You get one entry for each post you comment on, but as an added bonus, if you're on Pinterest 
I'd love to follow you. Leave a link in the comments for an additional chance to win!
Winner will be announced on May 17!

Friday, May 7, 2021

Tacos and Spanish Rice


Good Friday afternoon, my friends! Are you ready for the weekend? I know I am! As a stay-at-home wife 
it might seem that weekends wouldn't be much different than any other day of the week, and I suppose to some degree that's true. But in my efforts to live intentionally I set aside the greater part of Saturday and Sunday for rest from the busier tasks that fill the rest of the week, so I look forward to them, too. 

One of the things I do to simplify the weekend is cooking meals ahead of time. I enjoy cooking, but I am thankful to be at a place in life where it isn't required that I cook dinner every night. With Bill traveling and Kate working or out spending time with her friends, most nights it's just me. That being said, I typically cook 2-3 meals and either freeze the leftovers or stretch them over two days, but on the weekends especially, I try to make sure that dinner is prepared ahead of time.

I mentioned in my previous post that I am currently working on putting together a meal planning and recipe binder. I have kept a recipe binder for years, but it's looking a little shabby and it was time for an update. I'll be sharing more with you on that subject in the days ahead, but for today I wanted to share two recipes from the first section of my binder labeled, EASY DINNERS, because who doesn't love easy any day of the week, right?

The first recipe I am going to share with you is for my favorite BEEF TACO MEAT.  For years and years I seasoned our taco meat with store bought taco seasoning, and maybe you do, too, so no shame! But after making this recipe I've never looked back! It's just so easy and so good, and without all the preservatives, so better for you!

 BEEF TACO MEAT

1 lb. ground beef
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
4 ounces tomato sauce

Add ground beef to a medium size skillet. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain the grease and add the seasonings and tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Use in tacos, burritos, taco salad or breakfast tacos.

I encourage you to give this recipe a try! Just this past week I cooked up three pounds of meat, had tacos for dinner one night and froze the rest in 1 lb. portions. Now when I get hungry for tacos again, which is almost daily, the meat is ready and just needs to be thawed! Nothing could be simpler or taste better!

But of course if you're going to have taco's then you typically want the traditional sides of rice and beans to go with it.  I've shared my recipe to GRANDMA'S TEXAS STYLE PINTO BEANS before, and this is my go-to for any Mexican meal I prepare. I suppose you could re-fry them, but we like them just as they are. But it wasn't until a couple of years ago that I finally found a recipe for spanish rice that mimicked what is served at most restaurants, and the rice has always been my favorite! I made it just as the recipe called for, until one day I realized I didn't have tomato sauce and so I substituted salsa instead and the rest is history! But the real key to the flavor is browning the rice, it really makes all the difference!

❊ RESTAURANT STYLE SPANISH RICE

2 cups long grain rice - long grain is ESSENTIAL for restaurant style quality!
1/8 salsa (or tomato sauce)
1 tsp salt 
1 tsp minced garlic 
4 cups lower sodium chicken broth 
Dash cumin 
Dash garlic pepper

Heat oil in large frying pan on medium heat. Add rice and cook until golden brown.  When rice is brown, add broth, salsa OR tomato sauce, salt, garlic, cumin and garlic pepper to pan.

This rice is just so good, and in addition to the meat and the pinto beans, you can make up a big batch and freeze it which makes putting together a full Mexican meal so easy, just pull it all out of the freezer, heat it up and enjoy!

If you like Mexican food then I hope you'll try out one or both of these delicious and easy recipes! They are perfect for a simple weekend meal, and even if you don't make it ahead of time, it all comes together so quickly, you'll be out of the kitchen before you know it!

And now I'm off my friends, and I do hope that you enjoy your weekend! The days are longer and sun is brighter, summer . . . is just around the corner!

Cherishing the days,
Kim


For a chance to win my blog-relaunch give-away, leave a comment on this post.
You get one entry for each post you comment on, but as an added bonus, share
your favorite go-to easy dinner recipe in the comments for an additional chance to win!
Winner will be announced on May 17!


Monday, May 3, 2021

Welcome, to Ordinary Days of Small Things,
I'm So Glad You're Here!


Good morning, friends! And welcome to Ordinary Days of Small Things!

As I mentioned a few week ago, today marks a re-launch, of sorts, of my blog. After traveling full time for six months last year and then spending four months in and out of doctor's offices, I haven't had much time to devote to writing.  But now that I'm back home and my health is on the mend, I'm ready to resume sharing with you again, and to begin I thought we'd start off with a little introduction!

Hi! I'm Kim, the keeper of this blog! I've been writing online for close to fifteen years now, most of that at my previous blog, Life in the Little Nest, which chronicled our homeschooling years in a small farmhouse in rural Virginia. Fast forward to today, our daughter's are grown, several of them married and with children of their own, and our baby is about to turn twenty-two. Where did the time go?

Now that there is no one left to teach I'm devoting more time to my hobbies and interests, which are varied and numerous.  I enjoy . . .

- Cross-Stitching (my primary hobby!)
- Crocheting and Knitting (I've tried knitting several times without much success, but I'm determined!)
- Cooking and Baking
- Reading, My favorite genre's are vintage children's literature from the 50's and 60's, self-help/inspirational and biography.
- Watching old movies and listening to oldies on the radio.

This past year, a bit late to the game, I began focusing on living a more simple, sustainable life. I am currently experimenting with making my own non-toxic cleaning and beauty supplies, as well as developing a home apothecary for treating minor injuries and illnesses naturally and holistically. 

Some of my favorite things are Sunday mornings, the colors red and green, that first cup of coffee, full moons, the smell of rain after a storm, and old black and white photos of my ancestors.

If any of these things. appeals to you, then I hope you'll pour a cup, pull up a chair and join me! I love comments, they make blogging so much more enjoyable, so I hope you won't be shy! But as the self-proclaimed poster child for Introverts Anonymous, I welcome lurkers, too! I have so much I want to share with you, a broad mix of topics, many which I've mentioned in this post and then some! My goal is to show up here two to three times a week, so be sure to visit often.  If you ever have questions you can leave them in the comments or email me at ordinarydaysofsmallthings@gmail.com.

Until next time, I hope your work week is off to a lovely start! My goal this week to take a full inventory of our freezer/refrigerator and pantry and plan meals based on what we already have. I'm putting together a recipe/meal planning notebook, and I'll be sharing more about that soon! If you're interested in learning a **little** more about me right now, you can read my "About Me" page. 

Savoring the moments,

Kim


For a chance to win my blog-relaunch give-away, leave a comment on this post.
You get one entry for each post you comment on, but as an added bonus, tell me
what your favorite hobbies and interests are on this post for an additonal chance to win!
Winner will be announced on May 17!