Kitchen Tip Tuesday–Kitchen Organization

Kitchen Tip TuesdayI was tickled when I read on Tammy’s blog that this week’s kitchen tip didn’t have to be a tip at all, but rather, a request for one.  I am declaring the month of January the month of the kitchen, which means I’m going to work on making my kitchen what I really want it to be–organized, efficient, comfortable, pretty, and clean.  Steady Eddie and I did some major overhauling of a few of the cabinets during his Christmas vacation, but it is still far from where I want it to be.  One of my biggest problematic areas is the pantry:

cabinet               

The pantry (this is only the upper portion; the bottom now holds large containers and small appliances) is deep so that packages of snacks, bags of chips, etc. easily get lost back there.  There is really no organization to it at all.  What I really need is some way to organize the little containers of things that get lost so easily, as well as make the pantry easier to see into somehow.  It’s at just about eye-level, so looking into the back of it is impossible without standing on a chair.

 The other most problematic area is the gadget drawer:

drawer

It is just a hodge-podge of measuring spoons, a small cutting board, a grater, a couple of small strainers, mixer attachments, etc.  I envision putting my measuring spoons into some sort of container (maybe a little tray or something), but I really have no idea how to go about organizing the rest of the stuff.  As you can see, both areas need help!

So this is my question:  what suggestion(s) do you have for me in making these two areas of my kitchen both more efficient and more organized?  I am open to anything within reason (‘though I already know that getting rid of the junk food in the pantry cabinet would half-way solve my problem!)

Are you a whiz in the kitchen?  If so, head on over to Tammy’s blog to offer your help to other bloggers!

New Year's Eve

We had a rather low-key night tonight, which is what I really like.  Our church is having a New Year’s Eve service, but since we have two little ones, we decided to forego it in lieu of an earlier bedtime.  I cooked a big meal tonight of oven roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, English peas, and homemade biscuits, and then Steady Eddie gave the girls their bath.  After that, we played Dora bingo as a family, and then Steady Eddie played with the girls for a bit while I rested because I had a headache.  After a few chores and more playing, we gave the girls their snacks, did our evening reading and devotion, and then put them to bed.  Lulu has gotten up twice already to ask me something (Can we see the dolphins when we go on our trip tomorrow?) and tell me something (she hurt her foot when she was getting back into bed).  Because Louise is still in a baby bed, she can’t get out to tell me things, but she can still talk.  And talk she does, often until Steady Eddie and I go to bed.  I think she talks just to keep herself awake. 

I love the beginning of a new year for the promise it holds.  2007 has been a difficult year in many ways, mainly because we have had more than our fair share of sickness this year.  However, this morning when I was reading God’s Word, I came upon this verse which I feel like the Lord quickened to me.  Although I wrote it in my calendar as a reminder of His promise to me, I want to share it here so that it can perhaps inspire and comfort some of (one of?) my reader(s). 

For He has delivered me out of every trouble, and my eye has looked [in triumph] on my enemies.  Psalm 54:7 Amplified

I want new vision this year to see things the way God sees them.  I know that my trouble, no matter how big it seems to me, is nothing for Him, and so I need to learn to look “in triumph on my enemies.”  Lord, may I always remember to see things through the lens of Your Holy Word.  Amen.

I don’t think Steady Eddie and I will even attempt to ring in the new year tonight.  We’re both tired (and we both love to read in bed), so I think we’ll turn in fairly soon and read a little before we go to sleep.  We’re planning to take a little day trip tomorrow to see some Christmas lights at a big hotel before they take them down, and while nothing surprises me anymore, I really don’t think we’ll see any dolphins. 

Have a beautiful New Year!

Books to Be Read in 2008

Semicolon is hosting her usual Saturday Review of Books, only this week she gives special instructions to link a book list which details the books you read in 2007, your favorites from 2007, books you want to read in 2008, or some combination thereof.  I had already planned to do this, but this challenge gave me the motivation I needed to get it done today!  Here is my TBR list for 2008:

Classics

The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Catcher in the Rye

Cry, the Beloved Country

Les Miserables

A Tale of Two Cities

Newbery Award Winners and Honor Books

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron

Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson (finished January 2008)

Rules by Cynthia Lord (finished February 2008)

Criss Cross by Lynne Ray Perkins

Whittington by Alan Armstrong

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Nonfiction

The Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman (finished 1/3/08)

A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola

The Right Choice–Homeschooling by Chris Klicka

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

The Well Adjusted Child by Rachel Gathercole

Christian Fiction

Zion Chronicles by Bodie and Brock Thonee

The Key to Zion (finished January 2008)

Zion Legacy by Bodie and Brock Thoene

Jerusalem Vigil

Thunder from Jerusalem

Jerusalem’s Heart

Jerusalem Scrolls

Stones of Jerusalem

Jerusalem’s Hope

A.D. Chronicles by Bodie and Brock Thoene

First Light

Second Touch

Third Watch

Fourth Dawn

Fifth Seal

Sixth Covenant

A Garden to Keep by Jamie Langston Turner

Miscellaneous

The Kommandant’s Daughter by Pam Jenoff

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

I tried to keep my list to a manageable length to allow for those extra “gotta read its” that I find at the library or read about on someone else’s blog (the Saturday Review of Books is a good place to find these).  I used to read much more and much more quickly than I read now; having small children really decreases the time and energy I have for such pursuits.  However, I like having a list to keep me on track and going forward.

The books I have listed under classics are books that I have never managed to read in all of my education.  I am a little bit embarrased about this, but I am trying not to let myself get stuck in the embarrassment and guilt and simply rectify the situation. 

The Newbery books are obviously the winners from the past few years.  Because I was once an elementary schoool librarian, I kept up with children’s literature fairly well.  However, once I became a stay-at-home mom, I got out of the loop.  My goal is to recitfy this this year. 

The nonfiction list is  mainly comprised of books on parenting that I’ve wanted to read and have actually purchased but have simply not committed to reading.  I enjoy reading fiction so much more than nonfiction, but I do want to glean what usefulness I can from these.  I also have a few homsechooling titles thrown in because I am thinking about homeschooling.  (Gasp!  I can’t believe I said that aloud wrote that on my blog!) 

 The Christian fiction list is mostly made up of Bodie and Brock Thoene books I haven’t read.  I love their books, but I often get bogged down in the historical detail.  I am going to make a concerted effort to read these because I do feel that these series books are best read in quick succession.

The miscellaneous titles are books I’ve read about elsewhere I just want to read for myself. 

There you have it–more books that I can probably read in a year.  Now I need to finish up here and head off to the library to see what I can find. . .

Happy reading!

Please excuse the strange formatting.  I cannot get wordpress to cooperate with me at the moment!

Book Review–Backwater by Joan Bauer

Backwater

TitleBackwater

Author:  Joan Bauer

Publisher:  Penguin

ISBN:  0142404349

Length:  185 pages

Synopsis:  Ivy Breedlove is well on her way to becoming the black sheep of the family.  Born into a family of lawyers, Ivy is passionate not about the law, but about history.  Because her family believes that their profession is hereditary, Ivy has a real fight on her hands just to be who she is, let alone to collect and record her family’s history before her great aunt’s eightieth birthday.  The test of Ivy’s determination to follow her passion comes in the form of finding the other black sheep who left the family fold years before to live on her own in the mountains.  Ivy braves hazardous winter conditions and tests of both physical and mental strength to reach her Aunt Josephine.  In Aunt Josephine, Ivy finds a trailblazer who has learned to skills necessary to forge her own path, just as Ivy desires to do.  In the end, the family is reunited, and Ivy has the tools to become who she wants to be. 

My Thoughts:  I love Joan Bauer’s humorous and sarcastic style.  This book, like all the others of hers I’ve read, has a strong female protagonist who does not quite fit into her world.  This book is very similar in plot and theme to most of Bauer’s other books–i.e. female protagonist must go on a journey to find the strength to be herself in a world that wants her to be someone or something else.  However, there are enough differences in this book to make it worthwhile.  I particularly like Aunt Josephine.  I appreciate her need for silence, and reading Bauer’s descriptions of her and her life of solitude almost makes me want to become a hermit in the Adirondacks.    The only real problem I found with this book is that it is poorly edited, with numerous glaring errors.  Other than that, I think this is a fun, easy book to enjoy. 

Christmas Musings

Mary and JesusI was busy in the kitchen tonight baking and cleaning and listening to the radio.  The song “Breath of Heaven” came on, and since I had no distractions, I was able to listen to the words for the first time.  Once again, there into the dishwater, I shed a few tears.  Why is it that God so often seems to speak to me while I’m washing dishes?  The challenge of modern parenting seems to be a theme here on my blog, and while I have very compliant children by all standards, I will admit that being a good mother occupies more of my mental time and energy than anything else.  The lyrics of this song really spoke to me and the inadequacy that I so often feel for being the mother my girls need me to be.  For a moment, I was able to peer back through time and realize that Mary, Jesus’  mother, probably felt all the inadequacies I also feel.  Sure, she might not have had to worry about the influence of popular culture, technology, etc., but she, after all, faced the daunting task of raising the Son of God.  I loved hearing what might have been Mary’s own heart cry in the lyrics of this beautiful song:

I have traveled
Many moonless night
Cold and Weary
With a babe inside
And I wonder
What I’ve done
Holy Father
You have come
Chosen me now
To carry your son

I am waiting
in a silent prayer
I am frightened
by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone
Be with me now
Be with me now

[chorus:]
———————————–
Breath of Heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of Heaven

Breath of Heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me, your holyness
For your holy Breath of Heaven
———————————–

Do you wonder
As you watch my face
If a wiser one, should of had my place
But I offer-all I am
For the mercy-of your plan
Help me be strong
Help me be
Help me

[chorus]

Lyrics by Amy Grant

May I always remember to depend on God to “hold me together” as I walk the path He has chosen for me–to be the mother of my two precious little girls. 

(Graphic from www.hellasmultimedia.com/webimages/.)