I Love Lists! - I Need Lists to Organise Everything.

Gosh what a job it is "spring cleaning" or overhauling your bedroom and then what a time consuming job it is to make an inventory of everything in your bedroom.

So the only way I could tackle this properly was to break it down into smaller jobs.

This of course meant LISTS and I love LISTS.

Right so using my Todo list app on the iPad the one I prefer is


Unfortunately a short time ago I discovered there is an update to the app which has brought in a new icon.

This is a simple todo list app which is great for listing all the things you would want to do in your overhaul of a room and then checking them off one by one when you have done them.  It keeps a running total at the top of how many tasks are still to be completed and as you check them off they do not disappear but just go faint.  Then when you have checked off the last task you do not lose your list but get a message asking if you want to start over again.

This is ideal for regular task lists too and I use it for several things like prep list for the Kids Club I help to run, travel lists and I have used it for the list of toiletries I should always have in the Master Bedroom Ensuite (already mentioned in last week's post in this Series).  I also used this app for the "Wedding" Todo List last October for our son's wedding.

There are features like icons that can be applied to each list, streaming of todos by time they are due, reminders, colour co-ordinating, emailing lists etc.  many of which I don't bother to use.

I will now be using it for the "Overhaul" List for each room in the house.

As you can see from the list I had 15 items listed (there is one just off the screen at the bottom - washing all the woodwork) so I was able then to think roughly how long each would take and know how long I'd be working at the bedroom at any one time.  I did most of the tasks in order as I had them listed here (note: changing the order of the tasks is very easy in this app).
Sometimes I did one thing in the day some times I did as many as three of the tasks just depending on what else I needed to do that day or to be honest what else I preferred to do that day.  This meant that although it was a big job it was not so bad broken down into these more manageable tasks.

Of course a Notebook or File (Binder) would do the same job as my app.

Divide the notebook or file (binder) into 4 sections.

1.  Overhauling Rooms
Take a page for each room and list out all the tasks that would be needed to be done in that room

2.  Inventory of Rooms
Count the number of items of furniture in your room and allow a page for each one then add another page. On the page for each piece of furniture you can list your items it contains.
On the extra page you will list all the items on the walls or surfaces and the items which do not contain other things.

3.  Top Up Lists 
Use a page for each type of list of things you would want to top up or list of things that should be always available in the house and then it makes it easier for shopping too.
For example my Ensuite Toiletries list, and I also have lists for travelling such as contents of a toilet bag for short trips and a toilet bag for long trips.

4.  To do Lists
Take a page for each room to make a list of all the things you think about while working in that room.
For example when I was overhauling the Master Bedroom I had 3 boxes of photographs (yes we have many photos from before the digital age) and they are not very well organised so I have decided that I will make time later to properly sort them into smaller boxes to be better organised (throwing out the ones we really do not want) and then make another time for scanning them all unto a hard disc drive.  
This is where you can note down what decorating you want to plan
for the future too.

My top up lists and my To do lists will also be on my POCKET LIST App 


TOP UP LIST - Master Bedroom Ensuite
1.  Toiletries

TOP UP LIST - Master Bedroom
1.  Make-up etc.

TO DO LIST - Master Bedroom Ensuite
1.  Make DIY Toilet Fizzlers     (see how at WhileHeWasNapping ) 

TO DO LIST - Master Bedroom
1.  Redecorate 
2.  New Carpet
3.  Curtain or drape for Velux Window
3.  Sort photos to new smaller boxes
4.  Scan all photos

Now ready to do the end check list for January

Okay (I have to be honest) most of the things are done 
did you notice one thing not done yet?

I did not do the Games Room Window.  
It is a velux window on a room that is not used often at the moment and it is awkward for me to get at.  So my excuse is that my husband Fred was away with work over the last two weeks and I'm waiting for him to come home because he can reach it more easily than I can and I think he won't mind helping out with this.

Is there something we are forgetting?

In an overhaul like this and inventory surely some things need to be moved around or maybe even moved out of the room?

That is exactly what happened.   So.....

I got two baskets one for Fred's things and one for mine.

Anything I thought should not be in this room I put in the basket and then the basket could be taken downstairs and the items put it in their proper place. 

Is everything now out of the baskets?

No way, loads of things still in Fred's basket and some still in mine.

I just have to make sure that he does not slip the things out of his basket and back to the silly places he had them in to start with.

Do you allow me to get away without the window being cleaned?

I cannot say I loved all the work of the bedroom this last week because there was so much but the sense of accomplishment is fantastic, plus knowing that things are in sensible places and the fact that I have a note of everything is worth smiling about and when I'm smiling - I'm HAPPY.

DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated to any of the apps I have mentioned in this post - wish I was!


The Hotel Pool - A Dose of Encouragement

Our children have always been excited when we have had the opportunity to stay at a lovely hotel especially when it has a pool.  So the three years we lived in America were very happy as we had several opportunities to stay at hotels with outdoor pools whilst on various trips across the states.

 On one of our trips back home to Northern Ireland we stopped over in London for a weekend at a hotel with an indoor pool and of course the kids just could not wait to get into it.  Jonathan and Daniel had learned to swim reasonably well by this stage but Linda was only 6 years old and was only just getting confident.  

Unfortunately she was too confident too soon 
as we were about to discover.

          Fred and the children got their swimsuits and towels ready and headed down to the changing rooms while I headed to find a seat at the poolside to relax and watch them enjoying themselves.  
But there were no seats by the pool, in fact, I couldn’t get close to the pool at all as there was a 4 ft high barrier all around the area. The only access to the pool was through the changing area and showers. 

          I stood and leaned on the barrier watching as Fred played and swam with the kids in the pool.  There was only two other people in the pool and very soon one of them climbed out and went over to sit in the Jacuzzi.  A short time later he left the Jacuzzi and disappeared from sight.  

          Linda must have watched him because a little while later she stepped out of the pool and went over towards the Jacuzzi but neither the boys nor Fred noticed her leave the pool.  The boys were playing together and the other person in the pool had started talking to Fred.  Neither the boys nor Fred could hear me as I yelled to them about Linda. 


 I hoped she would not actually get into the Jacuzzi but that’s exactly what she did and almost immediately she disappeared down under the water as it bubbled up.  Still Fred couldn’t hear me and I couldn’t get near the pool, all I could do was pray as I saw her head appear up out of the water only to disappear again. 

          Suddenly Fred realised she was missing and looked round.  He hurried out and over to her but by this time she had been under the water several times.  He dragged her out and we both were afraid it was too late, but as he laid her down on the pool edge she coughed up a lot of water and started to cry.

            It all happened so quickly and I had felt so helpless.  

I felt alone and unable to do anything.
Linda must have felt so alone too and could not help herself.
I am so thankful to God that He never leaves us alone.
He has promised to never leave us.

Fortunately this incident did not leave Linda with a fear of water and she still enjoys going swimming.  

It did however leave me with the knowledge that we can’t protect our children from everything now or in the future, God is the only one who can do that.

Thank you God that you love us and watch over us 

and preserve us and answer our prayers.

You never leave us nor forsake us.

Have you experienced God watching over you and your family?

Do you know that you are not alone when you have handed your life over to God?


Why We Worship 4

I am taking time each week to ask myself

 "Why we worship"

One of the things about God that we may find hard to understand is that God cannot be measured or defined.

Our minds are so finite that we can not really understand that there can possibly be something that is infinite.

Except if you are a Maths teacher as I was and then you have often had to talk about positive and negative numbers both going on to infinity.
 ( I love the symbol used for infinity  ∞ )

infinite adjective
  1. limitless or endless in space, extent, or size; impossible to measure or calculate

Isn't that marvellous to think about?  

God has no limits!

So God has no start or finish.

Do you ever ask God to help you appreciate how different He is to us?        


5 Spring Cleaning Tips

Yes I love lists! 

So the inventories of each room in our house are very appealing to me.

Even though Spring Cleaning is NOT!!

But the Spring Cleaning has got to be done so why not have some tips to help us out.

I hate to spend a long time at any task (except things on the computer where I could spend my whole day if meals and a husband did not disturb me) so I don't intend to do all of the inventory of a large room at one given time.

This then was part of my reasoning when I chose to do the Ensuite of our bedroom first. Also because the first week of January is always busy for us so to work on a smaller room first makes more sense than our larger bedroom.

Developing on from the yearly Schedule found in How to Get The Housework Organised (see part of it below)

I took all the monthly, weekly and daily activities around housework and organising in our home and made another spreadsheet for these.

I know I will think of more things later that should go into my monthly / weekly / daily schedule below but these are my main things for now.  

The idea is to get into a regular system of doing things in small doses so that it will never get to be a real chore and take up lots of time.

Then I placed the bigger tasks into Weeks of the Month along with the monthly tasks and created the first two months of my Organising Schedule.

As you can see I used four weeks to each month and then in any month with five weeks I can either have a week off from the bigger tasks or have it as some catch-up time if I am getting behind.

I did not include the weekly and daily tasks into this as it would make it too cumbersome and probably better to keep them on their own perhaps into todo lists. 

Everyone's house is different and everyone's home life is different so anyone taking on this idea would have a unique schedule.  

Now on to the first main Task of January 

Master Bedroom Ensuite Overhaul

The room is only about 8 foot square so not a huge job.
There is a corner shower, a vanity unit with wash hand basin and a toilet.

TIP 1.
I always have a container with a handle, in which I keep the essential cleaning materials I would need for any room.  Then I can just grab it as I set off to clean.

TIP 2.
I keep one of these in all 3 of our showers.

These are the best ones I have found and I love them so much I bought our son in England one a couple of years ago for his apartment there and our son, who just got married in October, got one in his Christmas stocking (no kidding).
The family are all well warned that they should spray the shower glass doors and sides with a shower cleaner that is always sitting in the shower cubicle then spray with water and then use the squeegee.  This means it is easier when it comes to the bigger cleaning times.
They are from Lakeland and are cheap.

TIP 3.
I use my steamer throughout the house and it is great here for the floor tiles, wall tiles, shower unit base and under the rim of the toilet.  Steam cleans thoroughly.

When we lived in Belgium we had a much larger ensuite and I had a really large laundry basket in it.

 It was too big for this room now so last year I decided to get a smaller white laundry box instead.

I was rather pleased with myself because I managed to put it together without the help of my husband.

I also hated my ensuite in Belgium because it was so dark due to the colour of the tiles and bathroom suite in it and also because several of the tiles were broken.

I love my ensuite here because even though it is smaller it is so much brighter and in good condition.  
NOTE:  We rented our home in Belgium and the landlord did not believe in updating any of the bathrooms or even the kitchen and hall tiles. 

Here is our nice bright Ensuite

With everything cleaned down and round and up and under and the shelves in the vanity unit sorted out it was now time for a coffee and I could read some of my book.

Don't worry I haven't forgotten the rest of the tips.

Master Bedroom Ensuite Inventory

Out comes the iPad and my inventory app.

I have very little in this room so this was an easy job.

Although I could tell already that it may be more efficient in future (with larger rooms) to do the inventory of drawers and shelves while they are being sorted out and not leave it to later.

I have already started the inventory for the Master Bedroom so I thought I would show it as there is much more to it than to the Ensuite.

TIP 4.
Obviously I did not do a thorough inventory of toiletries in the vanity unit but I made a list of all the toiletries we are likely to want in the ensuite and have this on a Todo List app on my iPad which can be referred to at any time.

And finally

TIP 5.
I made a note of any toiletries that needed replenishing in my shopping list app so that I will remember to get these the next time I am shopping.

I have not spent a long time at any one part of the inventory or the housework throughout the week so not finding it a hard job so far.


Not a lot of  FUN but not bad either.


What a Face! - A Dose of Encouragement

Having grown up (as some would have described me) as a Tomboy; I made it into my teens not too conscious of my looks or interested in make-up.

Then when I was 14 I met a boy!

    And I didn't change.

I met him at a youth meeting and decided he was the guy for me.
(There really is a bit more to it than that but that might be for a different story sometime).

 I didn't go to the youth meeting all the time but we got to know each other a little as friends over the next 2 years.  There were things I wanted to know more about from the Bible and he was the one I talked to.

Two years after we met there was a Summer Youth Camp for a week and I wanted to go.
My problem was the week before it I was going to be on a School trip to France arriving back into Belfast on the day the camp started in Bangor.  The Pastor of the church which ran the youth group approached my parents and asked if it would be ok with them for him to meet me off the boat in Belfast and take me to the camp and they agreed.  I was delighted and even though I had been promised for a few years that I could go on this trip in my 5th year at the grammer school I was now looking forward more to the camp than to the trip to France.

While on the school trip I found I had a little blister forming on my cheek but just thought it would be ok. By the time I arrived at the youth camp I was greeted with remarks about how I really should go to the chemist and get something for my face but it was Saturday evening and they weren't open.  By the time it got to Monday morning the blister had spread up my cheek and was not very nice looking.  Walking me along to the chemist were two of my girl friends and this guy I liked, but when I got there I just didn't want to go in.  I dreaded the thought of anyone touching this cheek and even though they tried to persuade me several times I would not go.

It got bigger and bigger and when I think back now I can't believe anyone would have wanted to be near me at all as it could have looked as if I was contagious with something.

Towards the end of the week this blister thing was quite a sight to see and was rather ugly.  I was not looking at myself all day so I didn't have to see the ugliness but others did.

Then there was the day that we all went to walk up Slieve Donard the highest mountain in the Mournes (I believe).  There was a bunch of us who got lost and headed the wrong way but had a laugh anyway.  I'm not sure that everyone else would have been too happy had there been any accidents; as I was carrying the First Aid Kit.

Well who was I sitting beside in the car on the way home?
You've guessed it, that guy I liked.

Well I sort of (cough, cough) fell asleep on the way home and whose shoulder was conveniently there for my head to slip down unto?
You've guessed it, that guy I liked.

All during that week I was in his company a lot but never alone, always with other friends.  Then the last night of the camp we did get the chance to be on our own for a very short time during which he told me he loved me.  Quick work for the quiet lad everyone thought he was.

When I arrived home my parents were startled to see the "thing" on my face.
The doctor was called immediately and he did a home visit.
Apparently I had caught a virus while sunbathing in France and it had caused my skin to develop several small blisters as it burnt and these then turned into a horrible scab.  I was prescribed an ointment which was very effective and the scab seemed to dissolve and most of it just slid down off my face.  My family were relieved that my face cleared up very quickly with no scars, while I was relieved that there was not as much pain as I had feared.  This virus still lies dormant under my skin and flares up now and again.

When I would think back to that time and tell our kids the story of how daddy told mummy he loved her before they even went on a date together; the main thing in my mind would always be that this was our special story.  But one thing that my sister had said to me all those years ago always made it more special to me in particular.  She said

She told me that she couldn't understand how I came back from camp with a boyfriend when I looked the way I did.

Later when I asked Fred (the guy I liked) why he hadn't been put off by my ugly face, he just told me that he thought I was beautiful and that something on my face didn't change his mind.

So you see all these years I have been very happy and extremely thankful that Fred loved me when I was looking ghastly and I never would have thought I was beautiful.  He wasn't attracted by my looks,  he was attracted to me, the person I was.

Maybe I should explain that 4 years after this camp I married Fred and we have now been married for 36 years.

Even as the years have passed and I have not thought myself to be pretty, Fred has often told me that I am Beautiful.  That has always helped me to feel special.  This is just one of the reasons I still love my husband.

A lot of the attributes of God are hard for us to see, or to understand because we think as humans but He is God.  When I experience the love Fred has for me and how he sees me it helps me to see how God can love me and see me as beautiful just the way I am even though I am far from perfect for which I can never cease to be thankful.

Do you know that God wants you to know that you are beautiful?

Do you know that God loves you?


Why We Worship 3

I am taking time each week to ask myself "Why we worship".

I am not presuming that there is one overall right answer.

Perhaps because we are all uniquely different people we may also believe we have uniquely different reasons for worshipping God.

I believe we will have some uniquely different ways of worshipping but there are many reasons why we worship that must be common to us all.

In this series I'm really focusing on the attributes of God at the moment with

          God is GREAT

                    God is WORTHY 



and for today I'm taking the bible verse   1 John 4 v 8

How do we know that He is Love?

The Bible tells us He is Love as in the verse above.

Our pastors and leaders in church explain to us that He is Love

But most of all our personal relationship with Him cries out to us that He is Love.

We would not even be able to have this relationship with Him if He was not Love.

We would not have been given the only way of Salvation through Jesus if He was not Love. 

We would never be able to get beyond our sinful nature if He was not Love.

I am thankful that God is Love and I have experienced His great Love for me.

Without a doubt God is Love!

Do you have this relationship where you can say without a doubt that 

God is Love?


How to get the Housework Organised.

What has to be done on a regular basis to keep the home neat and tidy?

How to get organised with the housework for me means schedules, lists and plans.

It also means making it easier, throughout the year with less time & effort where possible.

I'm talking here of just being neat and tidy for us not particularly for guests arriving, but hey if some did we would want it to be good enough.

Well there is always the general tidy up of the kitchen
                        which (for us) as well as being an eat-in kitchen also functions as

1. A charging station for all things electronic

This area is always getting messed up.

Then my husband Fred had added his new shaver here to charge after Christmas but had just left it there, so it had to go.
He also liked to use the tissue box and the decorative boxes to rest phones, kindles, ipods on while charging so to stop him doing that I placed his bits and pieces organiser (which he never used in the bedroom anyway) behind the ipad charger and there are sections in it which will hold the kindle and phones etc. nicely.
There was also a pile of CDs in the back right corner but our CD player is not here so they were taken away as well.

I have to add that the decorative boxes do serve another purpose - one holds coins that would otherwise be found lying around in another corner and the other two hold all the little bits and pieces that appear out of no-where (well at least they are supposed to).

2. A sitting area

The Christmas Decorations had been taken down and packed into their boxes but then had been left here so now they have been placed back in the garage.

Some things we had bought a few days before had been put down and not lifted away again so they have now been put away and Fred's belongings which had accumulated on the chair to the right have now gone to the bedroom.

I know other people relate to this setting down of items when we come home and not getting round to putting them in their correct places until a few days later.

3. A "this is where we throw all our receipts, business cards, post and whatever is in our hands when we come in from the car" area

After I had done the clearing up and sorting out of this part of the kitchen I realized that I had forgotten to take the before picture so just image it all covered in supermarket receipts, petrol receipts, more pens, business cards, envelopes from opening post, etc.

A determined effort must now be made so that all things similar to those which were taken away do not mess it up again.

I revived my old Tickler File system in my Roll top Desk filing drawer and the post to be dealt with, bank statements to be checked off and other things for filing have gone in there to be dealt with on specific days of the week - to yet be determined.

I took all the extra pens, pencils and odds and end that had just accumulated to my study as that is a more suitable place for them.

So with the kitchen back in order & the dishwasher on,  it was

That wasn't toooooo much to have to do and
 I was happy with the result.

Now back to thinking some more about fitting in all the regular housework jobs with the overhauls and inventories etc.   So time really to think on a monthly basis and prepare a spreadsheet because I know I want to overhaul (spring clean - but not necessarily in the spring time) and have a good home inventory for each room once a year. 

What jobs do we need to do at other times that may also be part of the overhauls?
  The inventories can just be checked through each year but things like windows will need to be cleaned more than once a year.

So along came another time to sit down and think this out resulting in:

1.  Changing the Bed.

I do not change our bed every month, every other month is fine.
So I put changing our bed down for every other month starting with the assumption that it would also be on the overhaul list for Jan and then the next time would be March and so on.  

The only other beds that are not sofa beds etc. are in the Guest room but they will be taken care of when guests are coming and after they leave.

2.  Cleaning Windows.

The cleaning of the bathroom and Master Bedroom Ensuite windows will be included in the cleaning of these rooms every other month.

The Hall windows means the front door and adjacent window & I will clean these every 3 months.
The kitchen windows will also be cleaned every 3 months.

I chose to clean the windows of the remaining rooms just twice a year.   
This meant that I chose to put cleaning windows of each room in 6 months after that room had its overhaul. Then I can review this if there are ones which seem to need done more often. 

3.  Cleaning Bathrooms.

In this house I have a bathroom, 2 ensuites & a toilet which means I could be kept very busy so I had to think about this carefully.  

I decided that our ensuite and the main bathroom were the ones most used so should be done every other month.
The Guest room ensuite would be okay twice a year and then also any time we know someone is coming to stay. 
Lastly the toilet is rarely used so twice a year would look after that and any time we know we are going to have a full house I can clean in preparation for that.  
(You need to remember that there is normally only the two of us and I have never believed in cleaning for the sake of cleaning, only cleaning because there is a need for it.)

4.  Washing Floors.

Downstairs the rooms all have either hard wood flooring or tiles.  
Upstairs the rooms all have carpet except for the Master Bedroom Ensuite.

The washing of the Bathroom and Ensuite floors will be included in the cleaning of these two rooms every other month.
The Kitchen Floor & Utility Room Floor will need to be washed at least once a month so I can start with that and review later.
The Hall floor will be washed every 3 months

The other rooms with floors to be washed will be washed twice a year so that ties in with the windows of those rooms.

5.  Storage Room Tidy Up.

This is the walk-in cupboard off our Dressing Room which has bedclothes, shoes, handbags, scarves, tablecloths, towels, travel needs etc. 

Obviously the storage room will not remain completely sorted for a whole year, unless I am a perfect person and so is my husband, so half way through it will need a serious tidy up.

No washing involved as there are no windows.

6.  Dusting & Hoovering.

Upstairs every 2 months starting with January.
Downstairs every 2 months starting with February.
Dividing this nicely between the two levels of the house will hopefully ensure that I do not get fed-up with it.

Of course this will also be supplemented with the times we know people will be coming to our home but then only a quick run round with duster and hoover should be needed.

7.  Wardrobes clothes & Cloakroom Coats Seasonal Changeover 

This will be done twice a year and the obvious times would be March and September I think.

So this is what I came up with next.


I chose March for the Sun Room because we usually move into it from the lounge around Easter Time so getting it ready in March would be perfect timing.
I chose December for the Dining Room because this would mean it was ready for the more frequent use around Christmas.
I chose April for the Guest Room because that would leave it ready for the more predictable summer time visits.
I chose September for the Study because the new curriculum year of Kids' Work starts then.

Next I slotted in the other main rooms and then picked the ensuites to naturally go along with the Master Bedroom and the Guest bedroom and the storage room to go along with the Dressing Room.

Finally I was left with Fred's Office, the Hall & Stairs and the Shed so I chose the other monthas that had already not got what I considered to be a very heavy load.

So with the kitchen back in order, the dishwasher on & all this planning completed, it was now time for another COFFEE.

And the consideration  -   Have I made it  more Funwork than Housework?

My answer was - It's getting there because I had a satisfied look on my face and I was happy with what I had achieved so far.   But!  Boy did this take a lot of time!

And the other questions floating through my mind:

I wonder what I have not thought about yet?

Is this only almost fun for me because I love lists and spreadsheets and planning?

Is this too serious a schedule?