My quest to stay on top of organizing my life continues. I've made good use of utilizing online banking and paperless billing whenever possible, which has kept the quantity of paperwork at home under control. I really like being able to keep data organized online, as I'm almost always connected to the internet via the computer, my iPad or my phone. While I've used online banking and bill paying easily, I needed a tool to help with other personal data regarding my family. A couple of stressful experiences that occured in the recent past, such as when my son was unexpectedly hospitalized and I needed data, left me unprepared. I was introduced to AboutOne, an online family organizer tool that has bank level security. I've been using it for about a month now and am still discovering new ways it can help me stay organized.
While my phone is great for keeping numbers on hand or for texting, I still wanted a system for keep just the people and numbers I need the most organized, such as preschool friends, doctor office info and family addresses. With a free AboutOne account, I was able to set up a contact list that is easy to read, easy to update, and simple to use. Before we went away on vacation recently, I made sure to have my doctor's info as well as my son's pediatric practice info on my contact list in case of an unexpected illness. I also was able to input my son's buddy's address so that he could send him a post card.
Another way I have used this online organizer is to list the medications my family takes regularly. With two people on inhalers in the house and a multitude of other meds and allergies, AboutOne is a simple way to keep all of that data in one secure place where I can easily access it as needed. Back to that time I had to take my son to the ER...I was such a mess that I couldn't even think of what his birthdate was, let alone who his pediatrician was. I even gave them the wrong insurance card because I was that upset. With the AboutOne family organizer I know I could at least access all of our medical data and confirm names, phone numbers and medications. I also realized that I do not know all of the medications my husband takes. I am able to update his profile on my AboutOne account so that I can have all of that info there, just in case it's needed.
Other features on AboutOne that I am updating as needed include a possessions inventory, including our home and cars. What I like about AboutOne is that I do not feel overwhelmed by incorporating it into my life. When I have time I can add new details. I can even add photos and memories to make a sort of online journal of family activities. I was able to add the rental property details to my inventory of the beach house we stayed in recently. This way when we want to contact the owner in the future about renting it again, I have all of the contact info, a photo of the house, the location and the owner's website.
To learn more info, below is a funny video made to describe just how to get organized using AboutOne.
Disclosure: I was compensated by AboutOne to review their online organizer. All opinions and text are my own.
So last week's menu plan was sort of vague, as we were away on vacation at the beach. We did cook most of the time while there, as we had rented a house with a full kitchen and a gas grill in the back yard. We cooked on the grill most nights, ate quick lunches either on the beach or at the house and enjoyed a couple of meals out too. Because I was away, I missed picking up my CSA share for the week, so I had to stop by Whole Foods today to pick up some produce.
This week we are keeping it simple in order to use up the stock in the freezer. I really need to make some space, as our second small freezer in the basement needs to be defrosted and I keep putting it off! The ice build up in there is really bad. Since it's hot out, I'm hoping that it will thaw out fast so that I can put it back in use before next weekend when we have a family party planned for Independence Day. We are planning to make a bunch of homemade popsicles and I definitely need the freezer space for them.
We are making popsicles because I have a lot of differnt pop molds and a kid that loves popsicles! I have found a few store made kinds that are ok ingredient-wise, but so many of them use articfical colors and flavors that most of them I will not buy. Last summer I made some blackberry pops with blackberries we picked, but my kiddo did not like them. So, I'm on the hunt for some kid-friendly pop recipes. So far, the request has been to make frozen lemonade ones.
The first time I saw the Nutcracker ballet performed was on a PBS TV special filmed in 1977 with Mikhail Baryshnikov performing as the lead. I just loved that Christmas ballet and Tchaikovsky’s score. When I was older, I began going to see the Nutcracker ballet performed by the Pennsylvania Ballet at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. For years, it was a tradition to go with family or friends to see the Nutcracker and that magical growing tree each year. When I had my son, I recall thinking that when he turned five, he would be old enough to see the Nutcracker performed live. Since our recent theatre experiences have been so positive, I am excited that this Nutcracker season, he will be five and I can’t wait to start a tradition with him. It isn’t Christmas to me without seeing a performance of The Nutcracker.
This year the Pennsylvania Ballet will be celebrating 25 years of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™! To kick off Nutcracker Season there will be a special event on Monday June 25 at noon at the Kimmel Center Box Office at Broad and Spruce Street. The first 25 people to arrive can purchase Nutcracker tickets for only $25, which is a great discount. To continue the celebration through the year, mark your calendars for more special offers and surprises on the 25th of each month through December. First Niagara is the Presenting Sponsor of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™.
“Pennsylvania Ballet first performed George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ back in 1987, and 25 years later it remains our most beloved production,” Artistic Director Roy Kaiser says. “The brilliance of Mr. B’s choreography, the timeless story and score, and spectacular sets and costumes make this ballet a must-see every year.”
Meet the Mouse King!
On Monday, June 25 at noon, join your favorite Nutcracker characters at the Kimmel Center Box Office for activities, special ticket offers, and more! While you’re there, you can become part of Pennsylvania Ballet’s Nutcracker ad campaign. Just pose for their photographer at the event and tell them how you know it's Nutcracker Season. Don't have time for a photo? Just finish the sentence: "I know it's Nutcracker Season when..." and email it to email@example.com or tweet @paballet using #pabnutcrackerseason.
To get in the mood for Nutcracker Season, my son and I will be waiting to meet the Mouse King on Monday. It will be a great way to beat the heat and think cool thoughts!
Disclosure: The event on Monday is a free event and the details were provided to me by the Pennsylvania Ballet. I have not received financial compensation for this post.
We enjoyed some mild summer weather the other day and met up with some great friends at the Philadelphia Zoo. I had heard about the trail of the Lorax exhibit and we had fun finding some of the "trees" there. We were given those old-style red/blue 3-D glasses to view the trees, but frankly they usually give me a headache, so we checked things out without them. The exhibit focuses on saving the orangutans, who's lives are threatened with extinction. I love the orangutans. They are just such an amazing animal to watch.
According to a handout about Orangutans that I picked up while at the Zoo, there are fewer than 7,000 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild. The deforestation in the Sumatra peat lands was predominantly driven by the expansion of oil palm plantations. Palm Oil is a common ingredient in many packaged products we consume. Most of the palm oil is grown in a non-sustainable manner. It is important to check the label of the products purchased to see if the company is using sustainable palm oil. For a list of companies that are doing such, see www.rspo.org.
For the first time we saw one of the polar bears actually out of the water and snacking on the grass in his exhibit. Sort of reminded me of a scene from Lost!
We are members of the zoo and really enjoy having the opportunity to visit with friends and learn about the animals and our environment. Membership has really paid off for us and takes the pressure off from feeling like we have to see everything in one visit. We will be back again soon to spend the day there with our favorite animals!
That's right, the invitationers. They would be the bad guys in my son's and friends' imaginary world of cops and robbers. This past preschool year, the boys played police every day, until the second to last week of school. They had official police roles and they identified who were the bad guys, named invitationers, that they tried to put in jail. One of the invitationers, a little girl who loved to egg the boys on, came full circle and was officially made a "police" by the end of the school year! This was a big move, as up until then the girls were not allowed to be police, despite my efforts to discuss equality and inclusion. (That went right over the 4 year old's head!)
My son is very interested in the police now. He thinks that all they do on their jobs is shoot people, bam-bam. One of these days I'll have to have an officer actually explain to him that they rarely use their guns, if ever.
While I am very much anti-gun, I did allow water guns. He has two, one for himself and one to share if a friend is over to play. I have a feeling they will be put to a lot of use this summer!
It's been a busy time of year for us...the start of summer and getting into high gear for trips and other summer adventures. We've been doing lots of salads, grilling, and simple meals. Our CSA produce has really helped with meal planning, as the weeks I have a CSA pickup I can plan to have lots of salads.
This week is a busy one for us, so the menu planning is quick and easy.
Monday: dinner out
Tuesday: turkey burgers on the grill, watermelon, baked beans
Wednesday: grilled chicken fajitas....marinated chicken grilled along with slice green pepper and onions, salsa on whole wheat tortillas; rice
Thursday: Pasta night, salad
Friday: BBQ....hot dogs and burgers again! (using up leftovers!)
I made kale chips last week...wow. I honestly do not know if I've ever eaten kale before. I had a huge head of it from the CSA and wanted to try making chips. A few different moms told me about how they made them, so I borrowed ideas from them. I washed and dried a bunch of kale leaves. Then I cut out the spines and cut the big leaves into smaller pieces. I tossed them with some olive oil and fleur de sel (the salt I bought in Noirmoutier, France) and baked them on a cookie sheet at 350 F for about ten minutes, then tossed them again, and baked for five minutes more, tossed, baked until they were crispy. I used too much salt, but otherwise they were tasty. My son refused to try them, but my husband liked them. I will try making them again with different seasonings, maybe a seasoned salt?
I'm linking up to Menu Plan Monday on Organizing Junkie. Check out all the menu plans there.
This past weekend was an annual fund raiser for our local hospital. The June Fete celebrated their 99th year this year! The fairgrounds are in our neighborhood, so we drive by all the time. It's a large plot of land, about 40 acres or so, that were donated to the hospital. The grounds remain empty all year long, except for one weekend in June each year. It is nice that the land is safe from development so we won't have to see a cookie cutter development pop up there.
Every year on the Friday night of the Fete there is a fireworks display at sunset. We can hear it from our house each year, but because of the trees all around we've never had a view of it. This year we decided to take the kiddo to see them, his first experience with fireworks. My good friend lives very close to the fairgrounds and let us "crash" her party to watch the fireworks from her back yard. She has a great view! (and a pond with frogs and fish that a certain four year old loved!)
The fireworks were amazing and very loud. The kiddo wasn't too thrilled with the sound, but sat with his ears covered watching. My husband tried to calm him by having him identify the colors of the fireworks and he decided red was his favorite, so he spent most of the time shouting out "red!" Later he said that while they were nice to watch, he really didn't like how loud they were!
I rarely post videos, but now that I have an iPhone, it is really easy to record little movies. I recorded a bit of the fireworks for my kiddo to watch later. He much preferred the muted sound!
On Saturday we headed over to the June Fete for the carnival part. I am not a huge carnival person. The rides are creepy and seem unsafe to me. BUT, the kiddo loves them. He went on lots of rides, some alone, some with us (his dad) and loved it all. Some of the ride attendants did not take his tickets, so he ended up having extras to go on more rides!
We stayed for dinner, at the kid's insistance, although he refused to eat his dinner. We ate while the equestrian's were competing which was really fun. I've never ridden a horse, but I do enjoy watching them compete. We ended the night with....Cotton Candy!