Monthly Archives: March 2012

Junk drawer? What junk drawer? Oh! The organized drawer!

I’ve been decluttering along with Simple Mom’s Project Simplify this month, and last week the topic was closets, drawers, and countertops. Well, since I focused on the countertops already (and my counters still look pretty good, by the way!), I turned to the junk drawer. That seemed like just the right speed for me last week: 1 drawer.

Here’s what we were working with:

I know it looks maybe a little like a trash drawer, but really, there’s some good junk there. I piled it all up on my nice clean kitchen island and started sorting.

Mr. RSS deemed me to be a rock star for finding the plug for our rechargeable work light. Ella was thrilled that I found her little black Lego hat. See how decluttering and organizing makes everyone so happy?

I knew that I needed to do some containerizing to um, contain some of these items in an organized way, so I went on a little search to find some things that would work. I am always able to find something around the house. Most of what I found was from The Crazy Cabinet of Avalanche-Ready Food Storage Containers. Perfect.

And of course some things I put in other places that made more sense and some things I tossed or recycled.

Now for the napkin notes. I love making these for my little girl to find at lunch. And they so often seem to come back in the lunchbox still clean (just maybe a little wrinkled), so sometimes I save them and use them again on a busy day. Plus I’m turning a napkin into a sentimental thing, so that sort of makes me want to keep it, too.  I had way more than I thought in there, though. I took some pictures, and I think this will help me feel a little more free to get rid of at least most of them. Maybe save a few?

Here are some examples of what I found:

 

Sometimes I use them as a flashcard, like that 8+2 one up there. The answer is on the other side.

Now I have them by the other napkins instead of crumpled in the junk drawer.

And now….

Here’s the finished drawer!! The organized drawer!

Let’s talk about those twist ties. Are you laughing at me for keeping so many? Mr. RSS was. I don’t know why it was hard for me  to throw those away. I’m sure I don’t need that many. Although I’m sure someone has posted something on Pinterest with a cute crafty idea for these, right? In fact, I thought of one myself. A garland!

Then of course there’s twist tie jewelry. Come on. Who hasn’t made a ring out of these things at some point in their lives? Mr. RSS even made a nose ring out of one. Too bad I didn’t get a picture of that.

How is your junk drawer doing? Do you have anything interesting in there?

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Menu Plan for the Week: 3/25 – 3/31

Steak Salad

How last week’s menu went:

Last week went very smoothly. Gotta love that.

Favorite meal from last week:

I’m going to say that our favorite meal was the Steak Salad, although I can’t take any credit for the steak part because our marvelous friends sent us home with it after a dinner party. But I did make the salad. And I did reheat the steak and slice it. I even made the dressing. So I say it counts. I added some lightly sauteed yellow peppers and loved that addition, too.

I could pick several dishes for second place, but I do want to say that the Make-Ahead Unstuffed Shells were really super easy and yummy and we all loved them.

Make-Ahead Unstuffed Shells

This Week’s Menu Plan

Sunday

  • Omelet Bar – cheese, a little bit of leftover ham, spinach, sauteed onions, mushrooms
  • steamed broccoli
  • homemade vanilla yogurt with blueberries (I use low fat milk and add 1 c. of nonfat powdered milk to thicken)

Monday

  • Quick spaghetti and meat sauce: 1 box of spaghetti + 1 pound of cooked ground beef (from my freezer) + 2 jars of spaghetti sauce = happy tummies in a hurry
  • green beans

Tuesday  

Wednesday

Thursday 

Friday

  • Homemade Pizza with a quick and easy crust (I use part whole wheat flour and knead the dough after mixing)
  • raw veggies

Saturday

 

I’m linking up with OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday, where you can find many more meal plans to check out!

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Menu Plan for the Week 3/18 – 3/24

How last week’s menu went:

There were definitely some changes to last week’s menu. I was a little indecisive about my Monday meal. I ended up making the Hearty Lentil Soup (I add celery, add chopped spinach instead of parsley, and only use 1/2 tsp of the balsamic vinegar) and the Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins. Both great choices.

On Thursday I realized that I had set myself up with a casserole-heavy week. The weather was beautiful and I decided to marinate some chicken breasts to be grilled instead of making the Chicken Divan, Lightened Up (but it’s still a favorite). We put the grilled chicken on a spinach salad. Perfect!

On Saturday we ended up going on a spontaneous day trip to visit some wonderful friends (Who fed us yummy things like  steak and homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream, by the way!), so I moved the Corned Beef  to Sunday. I’m sure you understand. :-)

Taco Casserole

Favorite meal from last week:

Of the meals we made here, I’m going to pick the Taco Casserole as the favorite. All 5 of us loved it. And there was not a crumb left.

This Week’s Menu Plan

Sunday I was really late getting the corned beef going, so the kids ate pizza quesadillas and we ate the corned beef after they were in bed.

Monday

Tuesday  

  • Steak Salad with leftover steak our friends sent us home with! So nice! I’m planning to make it kind of like this recipe. I think it’s hard to go wrong with a steak salad. Yum.

Wednesday

Thursday 

Friday

Saturday

  • I think we are going out to eat for my new secret shopper job. :-)

 

I’m linking up with OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday, where you can find many more meal plans to check out!

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Hi There, Kitchen Counters!

Tsh from Simple Mom was doing her Project Simplify in the kitchen last week, and I decided to join in. My kitchen counters were drowning in clutter and I needed to save them. And that is just what I did. I bet you would enjoy some before and after pictures. Here you go!

Before:

After:

Before:

Here are some of the things I had to deal with from the end counter there.

I had 4 mugs sitting on that counter holding pens, tools, and other miscellaneous stuff! I took it from 4 mugs to 1, although the paper towels are hiding the 1 mug in this after photo.

And let me tell you, I was serious about getting those counters clean. I took everything off the counters, including the microwave. This is the grossness that was behind and under the microwave and coffee stuff:

And here it is now:

Here’s another before of a little counter next to the refrigerator:

After:

Here are a couple more after pictures to enjoy:

I got a “Wow!” from Mr. RSS and it feels great to be in my kitchen right now.

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Filed under Before and After, Cleaning, Declutter

Menu Plan for the Week 3/11 – 3/17 Yummy!

Baked Ziti

How last week’s menu went:

I stuck to the plan last week.  Except for one thing. I decided right when the corn chowder was almost done (already late) that I had to have some Cheese Biscuits. I’ve never even made them before, but I decided to make them anyway. I have no idea what that was all about.  So even though we didn’t eat dinner until around 8:00 that night, it was really good.

Corn Chowder and Cheese Biscuits

Favorite meal from last week:

The Baked Ziti takes first place! I used all ground beef and left out the sausage. I may have used more of the various cheeses than the recipe states. Okay, I did.

I’m throwing the Corn Chowder in here, too as a second place winner. I use more bacon than the recipe states. Cook it up and crumble it up as a topping. Please. Turkey bacon works, too. So good. Sometimes I substitute chicken broth for part of the milk in this, too.

This Week’s Menu Plan

Shamrock Cake

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday  

  • Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole  (I’ll top it with french fried onions instead of whole wheat bread crumbs because I’m a rebel)
  • raw veggies and fruit

Wednesday

Thursday 

Friday

  • Quick spaghetti and meat sauce: 1 box of spaghetti + 1 pound of cooked ground beef (from my freezer) + 2 jars of spaghetti sauce = happy tummies in a hurry
  • salad or green beans

Saturday – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  • Corned Beef
  • Cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes
  • Irish soda bread
  • Shamrock Cake – I usually just make a cake from a mix and put green tinted icing on it with green sprinkles in the shape of a shamrock. The kids love to help and it has become a little tradition that they look forward to every year. I just cut out a shamrock shape from paper, tape the paper back to a shamrock shaped “frame” and hold it just over the cake to sprinkle the shape. Easy!
The cake I really want to try is this Chocolate Guinness Cake. Yum!
I’m linking up with OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday, where you can find many more meal plans to check out!

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Knowing when it’s time to quit

This is an unusual post for me because I don’t really have fabulous before and after pictures to show you like I had planned. How sad, eh? I mentioned on my Facebook page earlier this week that I was planning to participate in Simple Mom’s Project Simplify again this year. How could I not, right? The topic this week was Kid Stuff.

Well, I’m giving up. I didn’t do anything until today, and we only spent a few minutes on it. I think deep down I knew I was trying to do too much this week, but I wanted to do it anyway. I was tempted to stay up crazy late working all by myself to get it done and have something to show you, but I’m not going to do it.

Sure, a decluttering project could be finished, and we all like that to happen, but at what expense? I would be totally exhausted tomorrow and probably Monday, too. That’s not good for me or my family. And my dishes aren’t even done!

Dealing with the kids’ toys and clothes is definitely an area that I need to work on, and I will come back to it. The area I really want to improve is the living room. Here’s a before picture:

And in the few minutes the kids and I worked on it, we did decide on 3 things to get rid of.

One is the play table you see here.

And here are 2 more:

That ball popper toy is missing a few important pieces, so I need to hold onto it a little longer so that I can give it away in usable condition. And you might notice there is a Little People mommy stuck in there. I tried to get her out with the usual bang and shake methods, and I even tried a bent wire hanger, but nothing worked. Let me know if you have a brilliant idea. I may just need to totally unscrew the whole toy and take it apart to get her out. But once I get that figured out, this toy is outta here.

So that’s it, but I guess it is something. And getting a little more sleep should help my overall productivity and attitude this week.

If you want to see some before and after pictures from some people who might be a bit more inspirational than this, check out the results page for this week’s Project Simplify: Kids’ stuff organized: before and after photos.

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Menu Plan for the Week 3/4 – 3/10

Big-Batch Vegetable Soup

How last week’s menu went:

Last week went well. I played around with the new Spinach Calzone recipe a little too much, and I think I made it not as good as the original. I was trying a little too hard to use up all of the spinach I had. I might try it again sometime with fewer changes to the recipe.

Favorite meal from last week:

I’m going to pick the Big-Batch Vegetable Soup as the favorite. I love how healthy it was and that it allowed me to use up 8 cups of veggies! I added a bay leaf and some grated parmasan. Next time I will add a parmesean rind while cooking, as a couple of readers suggested. I also added some pasta. There’s alphabet pasta in the picture above, but in the other half I used macaroni, which was better for this soup, I think. The Shrimp Scampi was also really tasty.

This Week’s Menu Plan

Sunday

  • Homemade pizza with a quick and easy crust (I use part whole wheat flour and knead the dough after mixing)
  • raw carrots

Monday

  • Beanie Wienies – I’m not loving the name, but I do love that it’s quick, easy, yummy, and healthy enough (I added extra beans) I also found this recipe that uses turkey hot dogs and serves it over brown rice. I like that idea, too.
  • Sweet potato fries
  • grapes

Tuesday  

  • Corn Chowder (I use more bacon. Cook it up and crumble it up as a topping. Please.)

Wednesday

  • Baked Ziti (I’ll use all ground beef this time)
  • salad

Thursday 

Friday

  • Some friends are treating us to pizza :-)

Saturday

 

I’m linking up with OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday, where you can find many more meal plans to check out!
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