Archive for the ‘Organization’ Category

We have been terrible procrastinators since we moved in January. We had started a lot of projects but they have been sitting unfinished for a while now. This past weekend we kicked it into high gear and got stuff done!

Here is a run down of the projects we’ve finished up:


Made cute sign for the garden:

(thanks to Sarah at Uppercase Living)





Our sunroom looks like a greenhouse with all the seedlings. We started a few dozen more seeds:


And at last my shelves are up for the spices:

(note: we actually had some shelves up and they were super weak so I went out to Home Depot and got these, they can hold up to 85 lbs! Much better than the other shelves that could only hold 3 lbs)



Curtian Rods are hung in the livingroom:


Finished Pillows for the sunroom furniture!

While I was away in CT I stopped in at Pottery Barn and walked out with these yellow cushion covers. It was a lot easier than sewing them myself (which was my original plan).



The picture above is where I took my nap after we finished all of these projects! I’m still pretty tired!

Today is Wednesday, so be sure to pop over to We Are That Family  for other great Works for Me Wednesday posts!


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I’m participating in Works For Me Wednesdays today! Be sure to check out all the other great ideas at We Are That Family

I’m an idea person. Is anyone else out there like me? I always have a ton of ideas in my brain but if I don’t write them down then it’s a lost cause. I love projects, crafts, cooking and planning events. To keep all of that organized I used to have papers all over the place and a Microsoft Word file for  each idea. It got very unorganized, until I found Microsoft One Note!

One Note is like having a notebook on your computer. Sounds so exciting right?!? Not really. But it is. Here is a screen-shot of one of my “Notebooks” in One Note…

My Cookbook:



I’ve been using this cookbook to record all the recipes that I find online and want to try. All I do is copy the recipe off the web and past it on to a ‘page’ in one note.

Each notebook has tabs at the top and tabs down the right side. The top tabs are used as “Catergories’ or ‘Sections. I use the top tabs to divide my cookbook in to catergories like you see above (Appitizers, Breakfast, Breads, Beef Entrees, Beans, Baking, Chicken Entrees, etc.).  The side tabs are the individual ‘pages’ or recipes.

If you copy and paste something from the web or from another document on your computer a link will appear at the bottom of the page. That link will direct you back to the original. This is super helpful when you copy things off of websites and can’t remember where you found it! I love it!

Here are a few other ‘notebooks’ that I have in One Note

  • Craft Notebook: I use  to copy and paste tutorials and ideas.
  • Blog Notebook: I use to organize the ideas and posts for my blog and a
  • Home Notebook: I use to organize ideas I find online for decorating, gift ideas, planning holidays and garden. Many of these pages will soon be printed out and into my Home Management Book – more on that soon!)

What?? You don’t have One Note?? You can read more about it at the official Microsoft website. If you don’t want to shell out so much dough I found some similar products onine that do pretty much the same thing. I’m sure there are others but this is what I could find this morning. Some of these are free so check them out! 

Google Notebook, EverNotePersonalBrain, Circus Ponies

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The tickler file

Yes I’m ticklish, no I’m not laughing – but I am smiling…

I’m so happy with my new tickler file system.

Tickler file


Yes these things make me happy! Who named this a “tickler” system anyways – kind of silly-  in my opinion!

I had mentioned in the File Overhaul post  that I wanted to try out a “tickler file”. I had heard of them years ago when a co-worker who used to work in a lawyers office mentioned that she always used one. She was always very organized and never going crazy working on something at the last minute. I think the system helped her to be prepared. At the time I had no idea what she was talking about, and I quickly forgot all about it.

Well when I was working on our home files I realized that I really don’t want to have to have a pile of bills sitting on my desk only for me to find the phone bill in the toy box a week after it was due. This happened – last week!! I also wanted a way to remember to RSVP to events, to send cards for birthdays, remember to return library books… you get the idea. I didn’t want to clutter my calender with some of these reminders… so I looked in to the Tickler system.

I found some great ideas online some companies even sell a Tickler file all set up for you. I had no desire to spend $30+ on a bunch of file folders that I could make for myself.

What you need:

  • A file box or file drawer depending on your preference. (I like to have mine on the desk so I found a nice looking one for the desk.)
  • 43 file folders-I would recommend using 5-tab file folders not the 3-tab one’s that I used. It would just look nicer in my opinion
  • A Labeler or labels– I just saw a really great labeler at Staples last week for only $9.99.
  • Your pile of bills, appointment cards, birthday card you have to send, directions, travel plans, letters, reports,

All you have to do is label your file folders with #1-31(for each day of the month) and one for each month of the year. 

Day files


Monthly Files

And you’re all set! Really it’s that simple!

Take your pile of paperwork and start to fill up your system. For bills I usually put them in 7 days prior to their due date. If I have to RSVP I put it in about 3-4 days before the RSVP date ( I have major irritations with people who don’t RSVP, more ranting on that later)

Some also include these other categories:

Send—letters to write
Errands—a folder to hold shopping lists, claim receipts, etc.
Call—a place to store phone messages until you have time to return calls
Data Entry—addresses, phone numbers, business cards to enter into address book and/or contact management system
Calendars—calendars for classes, meal planning calender, etc.

I also have a TO FILE, COUPONS and DAD’s FINANCES (I do my dads accounting). I may add more as I see a need for them, but so far this is working great. I think it’s important to keep it simple!

If you have a hard time keeping track of all of the odd paperwork, forget to pay bills or just want a simple way to organize these papers – try it out! I think you’ll like it!

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Freezing food is one of the easiest ways to make your mealtimes easier and it’s one of the easiest ways to preserve food. For those like me who don’t have a nice big chest freezer in the basement don’t worry you can still take advantage of the freezer space you have!
What can your freezer do for you??
1. Save you time when preparing your meals
2. Always have a meal in the freezer
3. Stock up when there are great sales!
Save yourself time
One of the biggest time saver when I’m making dinner is that I usually have some of the ingredients prepared in the freezer already.
Cooked ground beef and chicken are perfect for making cassaroles or crockpot meals that require pre-cooked meat. Chopped onions, peppers and stirfry mix are all great for easy prep of recipes that you might saute or stirfry. I love having strifry veggies prepared in the freezer, then all I do is add some chicken and a splash of soy sauce, olive oil or other seasonings and make some rice and Voila! you have a quick meal! Frozen Bananas are great for making smoothies or banana bread.
Always Have a Meal in the Freezer
Many of you have heard of Once a Month Cooking (OMAC), when you take time each month to cook a bunch of meals so that you have food for the whole month. While I love the concept, it’s pretty unrealistic for me with two little one’s and not much storage space.
I do this a little at a time. If I’m cooking a meal like lasagna, which usually makes a 9×13 size pan I always make it in a 9×9 pan and make 2. One I will cook for that night, the other I will prepare and then freeze for another time. This can be done with many different meals and can be a lifesaver when you “forgot” about dinner. I do this with cassaroles, sauces, waffles, pancakes, and quiche.
My latest favorite way to have meals in the freezer is our Small Group’s “Cooking Club” – at least that’s what we call it. A friend of mine, Rebekah, started this great group and it has doubled in just 3 months! We all love it. Sometimes I think I love it the most!!
How it works: Each person cooks or prepare one meal for all people involved, (for example, instead of making 1 lasagna for yourself, make 5) then we lug our coolers to church where we exchange meals. You don’t have to be as cool as us showing up at church with your Igloo cooler, you can exchange your meals wherever you’d like. The best part is that I get to stock up my freezer with 5 meals!! We do this once a month and it’s perfect I always have one meal a week in the freezer, ready to go! So I go home with 5 meals for my freezer! This is a huge time saver and so simple!!
Here are a few great links about freezing meals or food exchanges:
Stock up When There are Great Sales
There are a few stores in my area that have great meat sales a few times a year. I usually use those sales to stock up on meat. This is especially a great deal because my husband works at one of these grocery stores so we get 10% off!! Ok Ok enough about our nice little discount, back to stocking up…
For those of you who know, I’m addiced to couponing – yes – addicted! This has been such a financial blessing to our family and to our friends who I’ve shared my “coupon experience” with.
There are times when I have come home with 10 bags of Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers for FREE or very close to free! I also stock up on butter, bread, chicken nuggets
Sometimes I spend a few hours baking and freeze a bunch of muffins, pancakes, breads and other goodies. Doing this can be a real timesaver! I have been known to make extra cookie dough and freeze that for a quick snack. You can even make your own babyfood to freeze! (I may just do this this spring!)
C O M M E R C I A L B R E A K…….
I want to take a minute here to do an un-paid advertizement for Ziplock’s new Vacuum bags.

I’ve used them a bunch now and I’m ready to give them my stamp of approval!

Basically it’s a very inexpensive way to vacuum-seal your freezer bags. It comes with a hand operated pump and the bags are really reasonable (especially when you have coupons!)

See that tight seal on the lovely red peppers I just stocked up on last week. Beautiful – and no chance of these peppers getting any frost burn!
The Ziplock company can feel free to send me one of these starter kits to giveaway if they want to be daring enough to be my very first official giveaway!! — anyone out there— no—oh well it doesn’t hurt to ask!

I could go on and on about all the things you can freeze but I’ll save that for another day. I hope to share more details about all of this in the .

Let me know what intrests you the most and I’ll be sure to discuss those topics first! Be sure you click on COMMENT below to leave me a comment!!

I’d love to know what your best trick for freezing food or your favorite meal to freeze is? Leave me a comment below!

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Meal Preparation – Part 2 – Starting a Stockpile

I had discussed in the previous post that I like to have a good stockpile of food on hand. I think that it really helps when you’re on a tight budget. Because of the move I’ve decided to focus on having a good size stockpile of food in our new place. This includes canned goods, frozen meats and prepared meals. I think that stockpiling food is becoming a more common thing because of the uncertainty with our economy. That is not why I’m stockpiling. I’m doing it because I want to save money!

What should I have in my stockpile?

It depends what you eat. Don’t stock up on black olives and artichoke hearts if you don’t like them or if you don’t have a recipe for those ingredients. I usually have a bunch of casserole and crockpot recipes that use the items that I have in my stockpile. Usually I only have to get meat (unless it’s in the freezer) and some kind of side/starch.
Here is a good example of what could be in your stockpile:
Assorted Pastas
Cream of soups (mushroom, Cream of chicken, Cream of celery)
Canned Fruits
Spaghetti Sauce
Enchilada Sauce
Canned Veggies – Corn, green beans, olives, Carrots
Tomato Sauce
Diced Tomatoes
Stewed Tomatoes
Tomato Paste
Dry Milk
Condensed Milk
Evaporated Milk
Black Beans
Kidney Beans
Northern Beans
Chick Peas
Pinto Beans

I usually have an extra one of each of the following so I don’t have a melt down when I use the last drop or when I grab the mayo and realize that the bottle had been put back in the fridge empty!

Soy Sauce
BBQ sauce

In the next post I’ll discuss what’s in the freezer!

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