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


Menu Plan Monday


Well we spent most of last week and this entire weekend sick. It really helped to have our meals planned out ahead of time, I skipped a day or two and we ate leftovers

Here’s the menu:


Banana Muffins, Pancakes (Fiber One makes a pancake mix that is so delicious!), Quiche (I’ll try to post this recipe tomorrow – it’s so easy)


Leftovers, PB&J, Salads for me, Ravioli or Mac N Cheese


Apples, Grapes, Granola bars, Goldfish


Monday: Burgers on the grill, baked french fries and Salad (I’m going to try to make my own ranch dressing it sounds so good)

Tuesday: Lasagna (from the freezer, we never had it last week), Salad and homemade breadsticks

Wednesday: Soup and Salad Night – Basil Tortellini Bean Soup (I’ll triple the recipe and freeze 2 batches)

Thursday: Orange Soy Marinated Pork Chops, Green Beans, Rice and Applesauce 

Friday: Leftover Night – maybe a babysitter and a date night with hubby? Hint, hint. I wonder if he even reads my blog…

I submitted this post to this week’s I am Blissfully Domestic. Be sure to check out the other great posts.


On to the “tour”

I’ve had some request for an update on how the house is coming along. While we are moved in we still have lots of decorating to do, pictures to hang up, curtains to finish sewing and a few boxes to unpack. There is one room that I’m ready to share… the sunroom.

One of my favorite rooms in the house is the sunroom. It’s warm sunny and very welcoming.
I mentioned in this post that we were able to purchase some Potterybarn at the outlet for a bargain.
I was able to start sewing the covers for the cushions and pillows and I’m almost finished with this corner piece. I love sitting here in the morning with some coffee and having some quite time.

Sunroom Corner 2

Now here is a picture of the unfinished cushions and pillows – I’ve got to get motivated to finish these!! Behind this part of the couch there is a small table with 2 chairs that we usually have breakfast at. (table and chairs bought off Craigslist $20!)

Sunroom unfinished furniture

Also in the sunroom is an area for the kids to play. We put a little table (from Ikea) with 2 chairs (bought off Craigslist for $2 each) The built in shelves were a perfect place to put their coloring books, crayons and a few smaller reading books.

sunroom kids corner

I also recently ordered some beautiful vinyl lettering from my friend Sarah at Uppercase Living.  This is the one we have in the sunroom:

Let your Light so Shine

It’s such a good reminder:

“… let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” Matt. 5:16


And here is one that we have right inside the door:


I love the little birdie!


We’ve been here for 2 months now and I slowly starting to like how things are looking. We still have a lot to do!

Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday

Here is my menu for the week. Taking the time to plan the meals for the week has been saving me so much time and stress! I’m also realizing buying a chest freeze was a great investment! I spent 2 days last week bulk cooking. I made a huge batch of rice, beans, banana muffins, cheesy rice casserole and pancakes. It feels good to know that we have food in the freezer ready to go! Our “cooking club” does the exchange this week too so I have to figure out what I’ll make for that and prepare those meals this week too. On top of this I’m going to attempt to potty train our 2 1/2 year old daughter!! It will be a busy week!

Now for the menu:


Breakfasts: Quiche, Cereals, Banana Muffins, Yogurt

Lunches: Ravioli’s, Grilled Cheese sandwiches and soup, Leftovers.


Monday: “Cheesy” mushroom Chicken (recipe adapted from Everything Moms recipe) with Rice and Spinach Casserole

Tuesday: Chicken Enchiladas

Wednesday: Soup and Salad nite! I may try to make this Caesar salad recipe

Thursday: Lasagna w/ Salad (thanks to the “cooking club”)

Friday: Homemade Pizza

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Baked Chicken Breast, Parmesan Crusted Mashed Potatoes (*recipe below), Carrots and peas, no knead rolls

Parmesan Crusted Mashed Potatoes

3 lbs white potatoes, peeled and quartered


1 stick butter

1/2-1 cup milk or light cream

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2-1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese


Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling water with salt, 15-20 minutes, until tender. Drain. Put back in pot over burner to let extra water evaporate. Whip potatoes with butter, while whipping on low add sour cream and milk until desired consistency is reached. Pepper to taste. Fold in cheddar cheese. Put in a casserole or individual ramekin dishes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 minutes at 350° (you can also put the mashed potatoes in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake.) This is a great side dish to make ahead of time!

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!

Planning the Garden


Planning the Garden

 We sat down recently and tried to tackle the planning for our garden this year.

Last year we lived in a tiny apartment and had only about 5×10 garden space. We grew tomatoes, peppers, carrots, onions snap peas, cucumbers, zucchini and lettuce. Of these listed vegetables we only had successful tomatoes, snap peas and lettuce. The rest were a flop!

We are so excited to have a 47’x30′ garden area!! It’s huge! We’ve decided to try using the Squarefoot Gardening technique in part of the garden. Hoping that this will cut down on the weeding and make it easier to harvest the vegetables. It sounds like a great way to go.

Here’s the space we have to work with:

Garden space

Below are the two books that we used to do most of our research.

Gardening Books

Next we sat down with graph paper and pens (we couldn’t find pencils anywhere in the house, this was a bad way to go!). About 2 1/2 hours later we had little to show for our time. We just couldn’t decide what to do. Finally we decided to stop over thinking it and came up with a plan. I broke out the laptop and decided to use my friendly Excel program instead of graph paper. I’m not really a pen and paper girl, and I just love Excel! So we created a plan.

Garden Plan


This weekend we headed to one of our favorite shops in Lancaster

Space to Grow

The owner, Dwight gave us tons of help and answered every question we had – and there were a lot of questions! If you live in the area you’ve got to stop in and check it out! It’s right around the corner from Central Market!

So we bought a bunch of seeds and will start some seeds inside soon.


We wanted to purchase our seeds from Seeds of Change and were happy to see that Space to Grow sold them!

I’ll be posting updates as we start our seeds inside and get the garden ready once it’s warmer outside.

 Even Claire is getting in the gardening spirit – I wanted to get her excited about gardening so I bought her a little daisy plant at a craft store. She planted the seed a few weeks ago. We’ve been watering and watching the tiny pot every day. Last week to Claire’s surprise a sprout popped up!



Meal Plan Monday


Breakfasts: Cereal, yoguart, pancakes and fruit

Lunches: Leftovers, Ravioli, mac-n-cheese, PB&J sandwiches

Snacks: Carrots, crackers and cheese, granola bars, grapes



Monday: Burritos (made with leftover taco salad stuff) with beans and rice

Tuesday: Chicken with Rice and Spinach Casserole

Wednesday: Soup and Salad night

Thursday: Lasagna and salad (a freezer meal)

Friday: Some meat from the freezer (I’m sure there’s something in there!), Broccoli, Rosemary Potatoes (we usually do “date-night” on Fridays and lately they’ve been at home so I’ll try to make something nice.)

Saturday: Leftovers or Sushi if my father comes down for a visit – I’m dying to try sushi!!

Sunday: Homemade pizza