Author Archives: Ready.Set.Simplify.

Menu Plan for the Week 10/23 – 10/29 | And please re-subscribe. Pretty please?

Subscribers: As you may know I have been making some changes to my blog mostly behind the scenes. It looks like if you are an email subscriber, you will need to re-subscribe in order to continue to get my posts delivered right to your inbox. You can do this by putting your email address in the box on the right.  Thanks for sticking with me! And of course, I always welcome new subscribers, too!

Comments seem to be acting a little wonky, too, so if anyone who is NOT a spammer wants to leave me a nice comment, I would be thrilled! The spammers are loving me right now. The feeling is not really mutual.

Now on to the menu plan!

Deep Dish Pizza

How last week’s menu went:

Last week went well! I made the apple cinnamon pancakes a little different than I usually do.  I usually just chop the apples, but this time I grated them. I think I’ll go back to chopping them the next time. It is easier that way, plus I like the variety in texture. But they are yummy either way. We had no complaints and no leftovers.

Speaking of leftovers, we had no leftovers to eat up on Saturday, so I baked some chicken leg quarters with Montreal Chicken seasoning, frozen mixed veggies, and some butternut squash.

Favorite meal from last week:

I’m going with the Slow Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches. Easy + yummy! I used a big shoulder roast that was on sale. We had some of the leftovers with cheddar cheese in a quesadilla for lunch today. Pizza is always a hit around here, too. The deep dish pizza was a nice change from my typical pizza night.

Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

 This Week’s Menu Plan

Sunday: I was feeling like a very good frugal-anti-food-waste-girl, because I used up the leftover chicken and veggies from the night before, plus some chicken broth that needed using, along with a few other things I had on hand, and… you guessed it….

Monday: 

Tuesday: 

Wednesday

Thursday Some friends are coming over after dinner, so I need something really easy!

Friday

Saturday

  • Leftovers

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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My blog might wonky for the next day or two

I just wanted to let you know that I am making some changes to my blog behind the scenes, so it might act a little funny over the next couple of days. It should be back to normal in a jiffy! I couldn’t think of a really great “wonky” picture to put here, so you are getting a “Happy Fall” picture instead. 🙂

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Hot Spot Check Up: Desk | Week 3

Every week I post about a clutter hot spot in my home. I’m currently working on my desk, including a box of paper clutter I filled up from the desk a few weeks ago. 

I started again with that paper clutter box. I haven’t touched it since last week, of course.  Except that one thing was added to the box. That’s not what’s supposed to happen!

Before:

I set the timer for 10 min. and went to work, with the same basic process that I used last week. I was moving a little slower today, so after 10 min. was done, I wanted to make more progress, so I set the timer for 5 more minutes. The recycle bag is not just from this week’s project. It includes papers from last week and some others from throughout the week.

After:

I gave myself 15 minutes to deal with my little piles and work on the desk itself. I was so excited to get to work on the desk, that I forgot to take a before picture, but here’s how it looked after that 15 minutes, plus I went just a few minutes over.

Desk:

My Take Action pile is there to the right of the computer, and some unopened mail is there on the left.

What I am learning:

  • I need to make time for actually dealing with the Take Action pile. You know, maybe I should spend some time taking action.
  • Blogging about my progress really motivates me!
  • If I keep the same pace on that paper clutter box, I should have it emptied in 2-3 weeks. I hope I can pick up the pace a little more!

What motivates you to work on paper clutter?

9 Comments

Filed under Before and After, Declutter, Hot Spot Check Up, Paper Clutter

Menu Plan for the Week 10/16 – 10/22

Slithering Stromboli Snake

How last week’s menu went:

I moved things around a little, but I stuck to last week’s menu quite well!

Favorite meal from last week:

I had everyone vote at dinner last night, and the Slithering Stromboli Snake won! I was not surprised. And by the way, if your Stromboli Snake busts open while cooking (it happens sometimes), just jam the stuffing back in while he’s still hot. No problem!

 This Week’s Menu Plan

I ended up giving myself a pretty easy week!

Sunday:

  • 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

Monday: Brinner (Breakfast for dinner – kids’ request)

  • Apple cinnamon pancakes (I’ll make them pretty much like this recipe)
  • eggs (maybe)
  • bacon (likely)

Tuesday: For my sweetie

  • Buffalo Wings (These are baked, and I do mix melted butter in with the sauce as it says in the “Tips” section) I’ll make some plain/mild ones for the kids.
  • raw veggies
  • maybe some fruit or garlic bread or baked steak fries…. can’t decide!

Wednesday

Thursday

  • Grilled hot dogs (Hebrew National brand)
  • fruit
  • coleslaw (I use less sugar) or raw veggies

Friday

  • Pizza – I might make a deep dish crust this time for something different. 
  • raw veggies

Saturday

  • Leftovers

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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Play Date Clean Up | Before and After!

A couple of weeks ago I invited my MOPS group over for a play date. Doing things like that is a stretch for me, mostly because my home is not usually ready to be seen by the outside world. But I love having people over. I love connecting with people and having good conversations.

And I think it’s important to connect with people in person, and not just through email or Facebook.

I also know that inviting people over motivates me to clean.

I focused on the main floor of our home, which includes our living room, kitchen, and powder room. I was just hoping that there would be no desire or need for the guests to explore further.

I took lots of before and after shots, so here we go:

Before:

After (Yes, there is some hidden clutter here. I’m sooo sneaky.):

Before:

After (This project was done by the marvelous Mr. RSS.):

Living Room Before:

Living Room After:

Closet Area Before (This is actually taken mid-clean-up):

Closet Area After (This is one of my favorites!):

And I promise I didn’t just jam everything into that closet!

Before:

After:

Kitchen Before:

Kitchen After:

And if you are looking for a yummy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffin recipe, my friend Kristen over at The Fugal Girl can help you out!

The play date was fun!

Reflections:

  • Starting early was important, and helped a lot! Of course, things weren’t perfect, and I acted like a crazy lady for the last hour before they arrived. I know if everything was maintained better, that would make it much easier…. we’re working on it… slowly… and that’s OK.
  • I didn’t know where to start, so I just started by the front door. It worked.
  • I tried to focus on having some cleared horizontal surfaces. I learned this from my sister, and Rachel over at Small Notebook wrote a nice post on the topic. Any cleared surface really helps!
  • I want my home to be welcoming, not scary. I think I achieved that goal.

Other Updates:

  • I swept the floor while I was on the phone this week, without even thinking about it. Strange, but good!
  • I’m thinking about an experiment where I make myself go to bed at 10:00 PM for an entire week no matter what and see how it impacts my productivity.

I’m linking up with Orgjunkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing!

 

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Filed under Before and After, Cleaning, Declutter

Hot Spot Check Up: Desk in 28 min. | Week 2

OK! I’m feeling good about things this week. I started to deal with that box of hidden paper clutter. The whole box was just too overwhelming and I knew I didn’t have time to do it all, so I set my handy-dandy timer (I use the one on my oven) for 10 minutes and I went to work.

Before:

After:

I decided to just make some quick piles and not bother with boxes/bags/containers. Part-way through, I made those labels for the piles using envelopes from the recycle pile, to help me keep on track.

My piles included:

  • To File
  • Recycling
  • Mr. RSS (That’s anything for my husband to deal with)
  • Take Action

Next I dealt with each pile instead of leaving them there for days to get all mixed up again by a certain toddler. Why didn’t I think of this idea before?? (I forgot to set the timer for this part, but I’m estimating it only took me 5 min.)

  • Recycle – into a recycle bag. Easy!
  • To File – The pile was so small and not so overwhelming, so I actually filed everything right then and there. I’m not even kidding. Crazy.
  • Mr. RSS – I put his pile on his desk for him. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled!
  • To Take Action – Well, I moved that little pile to the desk, right next to the computer. Not much action on it yet.  

But, wait! There’s more!

Desk Before:

I set the timer for 10 min. to work on the desk. After that, I really wanted just a little more time, so I did 2 more minutes and then 1 more for the finishing touches. So, that’s 13 min.

Desk After:

What I am learning:

  • Small chunks of time seem to work well for me.
  • The timer helps me stay on task, work quickly, and have the end in sight.
  • It was good for me not to set up boxes to sort papers because:
    • That takes time, or I need to find my old boxes which are….somewhere….maybe in my room?
    • I feel the need to keep the boxes to use again, or wait until they are full. Then I have boxes sitting around somewhere. Not good for me.
    • In the case of a quick sort, the papers are not getting out of hand, and It helps me to deal with them more quickly.

How is your desk doing today?

I’m linking up with Works for Me Wednesday over at We are THAT Family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Before and After, Declutter, Hot Spot Check Up, Paper Clutter

Menu Plan for the Week 10/9 – 10/15

Roquefort Pear Salad

How last week’s menu went:

I mostly stuck to last week’s menu except that the enchiladas got bumped to this week because of a date night that was happily added to Friday!

Oh, and the salad I made to go with the steaks last week was this Roquefort Pear Salad that I have made before and it is just. so. good. I think of it as a special occasion salad. Serious yum.

Favorite meal from last week:

OK, they were all great meals last week, but I’m going to pick the Autumn Sausage Casserole as the favorite because it’s easy, healthy, and just oh-so-fall. We all loved it. I used some apple chicken sausage that was on sale, and about a cup more of (brown) rice than the recipe says. And I actually didn’t get it into the crock pot in time, so this time I made it like the original recipe from Taste of Home. I also used both celery and carrots.  Mr. RSS requested that I double the recipe next time!

Autumn Sausage Casserole

 This Week’s Menu Plan

Sunday:

  • Easy Chicken Enchiladas (I add enchilada sauce on top before the cheese, and sliced black olives, too. We topped these with fresh tomatoes and sour cream.)

Monday:

Tuesday

  • Corn Chowder (I couldn’t find the recipe I usually use online, but this one is sort of similar. One difference is that my recipe uses more bacon. Lots more. Use it crumbled as a topping.)
  • Salad

Wednesday

  • Tuscany Pot Roast served over egg noodles mixed with sautéed mushrooms (no poppy seeds)
  • Peas
  • Maybe a salad, too

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

  • Leftovers

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

5 Comments

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Hot Spot Check Up: Desk! | Week 1

I’ve been checking in on a clutter hot spot each week. I take a picture of that spot and post it for all to see. I just spent 7 weeks on the kitchen island, and now I’m moving on to the desk (AKA The Desk of Paper Clutter Madness).

Tuesday night, I started instinctively clearing the island to get ready for my hot spot post. When I remembered that I was moving on to a new spot, I almost stopped….but I decided to keep working at it even though I wasn’t taking a picture of the island. Yay!

About 6-7 months ago, I did a major desk declutter/clean up/organize session, and the results were great. Some of it has stayed under control, some of it hasn’t.

Paper clutter is one of my biggest clutter struggles, and of course my desk loves to collect papers.

Here’s a picture of how it looked about a week ago:

But you might remember that last week I was hosting a playdate, so I was doing some major cleaning up. Our desk sits right between our kitchen and our living room, so it is very visible. I worked on cleaning it up, but in the end I did not have time to deal with all of the paper clutter, so I put it all in a box and hid it in the basement. Hey, at least it fit in just 1 box, right?

Here’s how it looked after the clean up/declutter/clutterhide:

And now, here’s this week’s picture:

Most of the clutter that was added there this week is actually because the kids were using the desk as their “teacher desk.”

I am planning to go through that paper clutter box. In fact, it is now sitting next to the desk. Feel free to ask me about it if I don’t report back with an empty box.

I hope you’ll join me as I figure out what works and what doesn’t with the desk and the paper clutter!

Other Updates:

  • I’m thinking about a post about the pros and cons of hiding clutter, since I’m becoming an expert on that, it seems.
  • I’m excited to show you some before/after pictures from the playdate clean up sometime soon.

I’m linking up with OrgJunkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing.

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Filed under Before and After, Declutter, Hot Spot Check Up, Paper Clutter

Menu Plan for the Week 10/2 – 10/8

 

BBQ Country Style Ribs

How last week’s menu went:

I moved things around a bit last week. I made the pizza for lunch one day instead of dinner, and added the Pizza Penne Bake (I add more sauce), which has turned into a new favorite “go-to” dinner around here.

Favorite meal from last week:

 I’m going with the BBQ Country Style Ribs.  I cooked them about 1 hour longer than the recipe and finished them on the grill. We all loved these.  The Chicken Tortilla Soup is also loved by all five of us and is a family favorite!

This Week’s Menu Plan

Sunday:

Monday – Celebrating Mr. RSS’s birthday!

Tuesday

  • Hearty Lentil Soup (I add celery, add chopped spinach instead of parsley, and only use 1/2 tsp of the balsamic vinegar – and I like to use turkey bacon, too)
  • Maybe some fresh-baked bread, like this Olive Bread

Wednesday

Thursday

  • Pizza: one Buffalo Chicken pizza (I use a bit less of the chicken and blue cheese dressing. You must use Frank’s Hot Sauce if you want it to be right) and one regular cheese pizza with this crust (I double the recipe and use 1 cup of whole wheat flour)
  • Raw veggies

Friday

  • Easy Lasagna
  • green beans or salad
  • maybe garlic bread (I love garlic bread.)

Saturday

  • Easy Chicken Enchiladas (I add enchilada sauce on top before the cheese, and sliced black olives, too.) topped with lettuce, fresh tomatoes, and sour cream
  • Chips and salsa

Other Updates:

  •  The MOPS playdate was a success! Things were looking pretty good around here, but I did hide some clutter. Again.

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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Let’s Talk Laundry: Part 2

You might remember that we were hit by Hurricane Irene recently. We got through the hurricane and 5 days without power/running water without any damage to the house.  (Yes, this is a laundry post. Hang on.)

About a week after that, Tropical Storm Katia came to visit. We weren’t really worried about her. It was mainly just a bunch of rain.

So the morning after the storm I went down to the basement to get something out of the dryer, and when I stepped off the last step, my foot slipped and I slid down to my back in about 2 inches of water that was covering our basement floor. It turns out that our sump pump failed in the middle of the night. So everything that was sitting on the floor of the basement was wet.

Including Mt. Laundry (I took this picture the day before the hurricane):

It’s funny what can motivate me to catch up on laundry. The thought of  a really big pile of dirty, musty, mildewy clothes was all the motivation I needed this time.

So I just cranked through it all.

I even collected all the laundry from all over the house.

From the stairs…

From the kitchen floor sweep pile…

And now we have a cleaned-up laundry area! Those white doors have not been closed in a very long time!

Take-Aways.

  • If I am able to maintain a mountain of laundry in the basement and still have clothes for everyone to wear, it probably  means we have too many clothes.
  • I need to keep up with my 1-laundry-load-a-day idea better. I said a long time ago that I was going to revise my weekly cleaning schedule. I need to actually do it and use it.

I’m linking up with OrgJunkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing.

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