Thursday, February 13, 2014

DIY Display Shelves

The Mister built these display shelves to house DVDs at our last house.  After we moved our organization system changed (downsized!) for all of our CDs and DVDs and these three shelves were left without a home.

I don't have pictures of the building process but we basically used three 10' poplar boards that are about 6" wide.  The Mister routered the other edge to round it over and sanded all surfaces to get rid of any rough spots,  and we attached black brackets.  Super easy and fairly inexpensive.  When we were storing DVDs we had the shelves basically upside down so the brackets doubled as ends to keep everything from falling off.

Enter the new house and a large expanse of wall with no real purpose.  After the shelves rattled around in the office for six months, we finally got them up during the holidays and displayed our collection of nutcrackers.  It was perfect!  Once all of the Christmas stuff was packed up I was left with twenty feet of empty decorating glory!  I gathered some things from around the house and purchased a few new things.

I was going for more winter but it mostly became a mishmash of things we love.  Please excuse the black cord, we're still working on our projector set-up.  I just changed it all up for valentine's day (didn't buy anything this time!) so I'll share that soon.

I LOVE this map!  Fount it at W*Mart

Black frame from W*Mart with Family Subway art from here, shadow puppet hands in thrift store frame from here

 These movie reels came from JoAnn Crafts several years ago.  The little black owl peeking into the picture came from W*Mart's clearance aisle.  It had a gold votive holder in it that The Mister pried out for me.  I was thinking about painting it white, but haven't decided yet.

I scavanged the wood box from my dad's shop stuff, the candle holder came from a thrift store, it was previously gold but a couple coats of metallic spray paint and a little epsom salt made it feel like winter.

 I scored two of the window frames at a garage sale ages ago for about a buck each. Black spray paint, easy peasy. The twine wrapped bottles were a project from a couple of years ago and have been used in a variety of ways.  I found the lantern and small mirror, along with the two red stars at a local gift shop.

The two other pieces of artwork, which I apparently didn't get pictures of, came from here and here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Daily Six

I remember coming across the idea of a "daily six" some time ago while reading a book, and recently I came across this blog post from Forever Organised.  I loved the idea to help me focus and not get overwhelmed with a crazily long to-do list.  It's also really helped me do things that might normally get pushed aside, like a craft project, or that science experiment J has been begging me to do.  Basically if I get done with my daily chores, and what's on my daily six list, I feel pretty dang accomplished for the day.  Sometimes my daily six includes a chore (put away massively huge pile of clean laundry!) and frequently it contains a reminder to make school time a priority.  I've been using one for about two weeks now and love it!

Since I'm also obsessed with tinkering in iPiccy, I put together some cute lists to print and use.  I just load them into my photo program one at a time and print a sheet of 4 (3.5 x 5), they come out in a nice size. 

Right click and save image as to get yours!

I pre-printed a bunch, cut them out, and store them in this cute straw holder that didn't have another job yet.  These are right next to my desk so they are easy to grab, I fill one out each night for the next day and leave it on my desk right next to the computer. I am in and out of the office/schoolroom a hundred times a day so leaving it by the computer means I'll see it and have a reminder through out the day.   

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Christmas Scrapbooking Pages

I didn't get much organizing done, but I did shut myself up in the office for a couple of evenings and put together a few scrapbooking pages while watching Netflix.  Plus I learned a new technique on my Cricut!  Gotta love YouTube.

These are from several different years, I have my photos sorted with holidays from various years all together.  It makes it easier to work on multiple pages while I have seasonal paper and embellishments out.

 I used THIS YouTube video to learn how to do the circular text. I had no idea my Cricut even did this. The Mister gave me a set of mini gel pens and the holder for Christmas last year and I love it!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: The One With New Recipes

 We're back to school this week, back to the gym, back to science class at the children's museum, back to a regular work week, generally we're back to our regularly scheduled program.  My revamped organizational system and homeschool schedule made getting back into the school groove a breeze!  We've even managed to get through a whole week of school with very minor complaining.
I spent some time reworking the boys' chore charts, and mine since I can delegate a few more chores, and I even sneaked in a couple of evenings to put together a few scrapbook pages.

If you need something to help you with your goals, or resolutions, or whatever you want to call them, check our MapMyFitness.  The mister and I are using it to keep track of our health goals, there's a free version for iPhone users. 

My meal plan for the first couple of weeks worked out wonderful!  We tried several new recipes that I had found on Pinterest and liked most of them.  I had to revamp the next couple of weeks because we rejoined the local gym and started working out in the evenings.  J and The Mister go to Taekwondo class right at dinner time so I had to shift some things around.  Time to break out more crock pot recipes!

Here's what we tried and what we thought:

Roasted Veggie Mac and Cheese - Comfort of Cooking
Roasted Vegetable Mac 'n Cheese  FULL of veggies, NO butter 
This was incredible!! Well The Mister and I loved it.  The kids wouldn't even taste it after they spotted the veggies.   It has cayenne pepper and a dash of red pepper flakes to give it a bit of a kick and since it's full of veggies, I could almost convince myself it was healthy. 

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup - Key Ingredient
For winter... Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup My update: just made this minus the sun dried tomatoes and it was SO good, we'll be having it again for sure. 
This was actually the second time we've had this, and everyone in our house likes it.  Yeah!! I actually got a "mom, you're the best cook ever!"  Of course I made the roasted veggie mac and cheese the next night and fell headfirst off my pedestal, but I'll take what I can get.  No one in our house particularly likes sun dried tomatoes so I just leave them out.  Served up with some crusty french bread, this soup is perfect for a cold winter day.

Salmon with Brown Sugar Glaze - AllRecipes.Com
 Salmon. 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp dijon mustard, 4 boneless salmon fillets, salt/pepper to taste//Broil 10-15 mins!! Update: made this tonight and loved it!
I made this strictly for myself since I'm the only one that eats salmon around here. I really liked it and will be making it again. There's only two ingredients, brown sugar and dijon mustard, which are always in my fridge, so it's a quick fix while I'm pawning off leftovers on the littles.

Crispy Cheddar Chicken - Jamie Cooks It Up
Crispy Cheddar Chicken 
This was another family pleaser!  I ended up using two large chicken breasts and it was more than enough for our family of four.  Coating the chicken was super messy, but worth the effort, these cheesy chicken tenders were so yummy! This one even got me another "best cook" award! Hey...twice in one week, I'm on a roll.

We also tried this breakfast casserole (for dinner!).  It wasn't a complete fail, but I probably won't do it again.  I had to bribe suggest to the boys they might get root beer floats during our movie night if their plates were clean.  I'm a really picky bacon eater, I like my bacon c.r.i.s.p.y.  Obviously cooking bacon in a crock pot doesn't achieve this, and apparently I just really don't like turkey bacon.  Live and learn. 

Since I'm trying out all of these awesome recipes I went looking for a cute (and organized!) way to keep them on hand. There are so many cute printable recipe cards out there, but I really wanted something I could type on easily.  I found these editable cards online and went to work. Bon Appetit Recipe Cards  - Free editable and printable
Whenever I have a recipe that I know I'll make again, I type it into the card and save it.  When I have a stock pile saved up I'll print them all out.  I was going to use cardstock, but now I'm thinking about using regular paper and laminating them for durability, and cleanliness!  We'll see...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Scrambled Zucchini

It wasn't until the ripe old age of 27 that I discovered my love for zucchini.  That's a lot of years to be missing out on a culinary treat! While I like it many ways, this is one of my favorites. It's an easy breakfast (or lunch, or dinner) to throw together, and it packs a big helping of veggies and protein.

I like to use olive oil rather than nonstick spray. Pour a small amount of olive oil into your pan and give it a minute or two to warm up.

While the olive oil is heating, dice up a small/medium zucchini. I will also use sweet peppers if I happen to have them on hand. The peppers take longer to cook so if you choose to use them, make sure you add them to the oil a couple of minutes before the zucchini.

Once the oil is warm add your peppers if you're using them and then the zucchini. Toss every few minutes until it starts to soften.

Once the zucchini is starting to soften, break two eggs into the pan.

Stir everything together and let cook until the eggs are done, stirring every few minutes.

Top with shredded cheese and pepper.

What is your favorite way to cook zucchini?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: The one with the laundry room organization

I had a wonderful first week of 2014! I was able to cross off everything on my weekly to-do list, and I had time for a few extras!
My menu planning paid off, we had a home cooked meal every night this week AND I found three new recipes that we loved. 
All of the Christmas stuff is packed up and put away. I'm working on decorating some display shelves we put up just before the holidays and I'm having a great time digging up some treasures to put there.
I'm still in clutter busting mode and took a load of stuff to the thrift store today. While I was there I had to take a peak around of course and found some treasures I'll share soon.

I continued on with some reorganization all around the house, but especially in the laundry room. It still needs some work, but here are some photos of what I have going on right now.

I didn't get a before of this one, but here it is in all of it's organized glory.

 Above the folding table before

Above the folding table after

Pantry/food storage before

Pantry food storage after

I'm an organizing junky so I had a ton of bins and boxes on hand that I used. The bigger bins that are holding most of my pantry supplies are from Walmart and I love them! I've used them all over the house. They are sturdy, stack nicely, come in a variety of sizes, and the handles fold over the lid to help lock them in place. Every box has a label on it that I made using Word and laminated. I use velcro dots to attach the labels so they are easy to change and move around.

I have four baskets going across the folding table. One for each of the boys, one for The Mister and I (guess who needs to put their laundry away, oops!) and one for towels. When they remodeled the laundry room they were going to put a sink in that counter, I'm actually glad they didn't. I put all of the boys' clothes on hangers (that go on hangers) as I'm folding the laundry and hang them on the edge of the counter, when they do their chores they take their clothes and put them away.

I put a tension rod diagnoaly in this cubby and used Ikea pot hooks to hang up brooms and mops. Love this! It keeps everything off the ground and easy to find.

How did your first week go?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Command Center

My first step towards making 2014 a more organized year, was getting my command center set up. I've used a 3-ring binder for several years and it works the best for me. I can customize the sections and pages, and change things as needed.  

I still need to create a fabulous cover for it, so I won't bore you with the ugly white. Inside I have it broken into sections with page protectors to separate them:

 The first section has a 2013/2014 year at a glance calendars (I use these for homeschool planning), a quick reference holiday page, and monthly calendars. The monthly calendars I found via Google, they were free to print.

The next section houses blog planner pages from Confessions of a Homeschooler. The pages are printed so that the month layout and that month's notes page are facing each other when the notebook is opened.

Next are weekly goal pages from Money saving Mom. I have a running list of projects that I want to get to, and at the beginning of the week I go through the list and fill in my weekly goals based on what else we have going on. I can also add things in as the week goes along. I don't do well with daily to-do lists, this helps me keep track of what I want to get done in a set number of days, but lets me move things around as I have time.

I also have our homeschool planning pages in this binder, which is actually the largest section. I will go more into detail another time, but the pages are part of a planner from here.

In the very back I've added a holiday planning section to keep track of gift ideas and such. I generally don't take my notebook anywhere. If I'm out and about and need to put something on the calendar I can make a note in my phone and transfer it later.

The second part of my plan is to keep things accessible. At our old house these clipboards were hanging in our hallway to display some of the boys' art. Here they are hanging just to the right of my desk so I decided to put them to good organizational use.

So far I have four of them being used: weekly goals, current month calendar, current month blog planner, menu planning. It's easy to add to them and my to-do list is visible at all times. The clipboards are hanging on small nails so it's easy to take one off if I'm actively using it.

 There are tons of free planner pages on the web, you just have to search around and find something that works for you, or make your own.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Word of the Year

I'm a terrible goal setter, and while I do make a strong effort as January 1st rolls around, I've generally moved on to other things by February.  A couple of years ago words of the year were flying around blog land. I loved the idea but bogged myself down trying to do too many things.  This year I'm going to give it a try again using two words that are already an integral part of my day, but that I want to expand upon and make more time for.  2013 had some HUGE changes for our family, we moved (major downsize), The Mister earned his RN degree and returned to work along with beginning classes for his bachelors, and I started working for an online business which means for the first time in eight years I get to be a stay at home mom, sort of.  

My focus words this year are:

This year I'm going to focus on organizing (creatively!) areas of my life which will hopefully lead to better habits, more time for leisure (I got some new scrapbooking gadgets I'm dieing to try out), and finished projects.  I've already dug in and have a few small accomplishments under my belt that are keeping the motivation strong.

Next week brings a new semester of college for The Mister, and the boys and I are returning to our homeschooling schedule, which I'm excited to embark on as it's one of the things that I've already been rethinking and reorganizing.   

 My first step towards organizational bliss...revamping my command center and getting my calendars ready for 2014.   

What goals are you hoping to accomplish in 2014? 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Setting Up A "Getting Rid Of It" Station

I'm on a mad dash to get things organized and settled before we hit the books again in September. This summer has been beyond crazy with moving, family events, and normal summer activities. I plan on spending the next couple of weeks gets things back under control. I came across Organized in 365 by The Happy Housewife via Pinterest and started scrolling through her tips.

At the top of the list was creating a spot in your house to stash items on the move. Things that need to go back to mom's, those pesky store returns, and small items that are in limbo between your house and the local thrift store or CraigsList.
I've had this in the back of my mind for a while now and decided today was the day.

I whipped up some cute tags using free printable paper I found here and iPiccy (which if you haven't used it you must go check it out!). I decided to use three different boxes: give, donate, sell.

Fortunately the tile floor was just finished in our laundry room, freeing up an entire shelf that was previously housing tile supplies. I figured I better scoop it up before it was piled high with jumk. 

I will most likely add a fourth crate at some point when I decide what I need it for.

Time: about 30 minutes
Cost: Free!! I've had the crates since highschool, they've been used for a hundred different things. I created the tags using free digital paper and iPiccy online (also free). I generally don't count printing costs or laminating sheets into my projects, these are just things I always have around. The miniature ric-rac came from my stash of scrapbooking supplies. 

"I love it when a plan comes together!"