Archive | August 2012

Week of Sept. 3rd Menus

Here is the grocery list for this week’s menus: 9/ 3 Grocery list  

Breakfast Menu:

M: Eggs
T: Snickerdoodle Muffins NEW RECIPE!
W: Pancakes
Th: Toast
F: Chocolate Zucchini Bread Muffins
S: Bulls Eyes
S: Apple Brown Betty Muffins NEW RECIPE!


Dinner Menu:

M: Chicken & Dumplings – in slow cooker combine 2-4 chicken pieces, 2 cups of chicken stock, 1/2 cup water. Season to taste. Cook on high 4 hours. Add 1 large can cream of chicken soup. Continue cooking. 90 minutes before serving make this biscuit recipe and form into balls. Add biscuit balls to the slow cooker and simmer for 1 hour to 90 minutes to allow dumplings to “bake”. Serve with peas.
T: Spaghetti, salad
W: Church
Th: Roasted Turkey, Potatoes, Green Beans.
F: Pork Chops, stuffing, apples  NEW RECIPES!
S: Panini
S: Taco Cups – Recipe is just a suggestion. Fill the wonton wraps with your favorite taco ingredients.

Clothes and Closet Organizing

Keeping clothes in dressers or closets organized is a priority around our house, as I am sure it is in yours. Space is limited and in order to keep things well cared-for and neat, everyone must take part in keeping things organized. Here are some quick tips for closet and clothes organization:

#1. Add a rod. If your closets don’t have two-tiered storage, add a second rod half-way between the existing closet rod and the floor. Most clothes do not need the full 6 feet to hang. Adding a second rod will double your storage space for hanging clothes. Instead of installing expensive rods, use an expansion shower rod. These can handle the weight of clothes and can easily be removed if you move or if you need more long storage in the future.

#2. Hang it up. New homes and apartments closets are large. Whenever possible, hang clothes, even tee-shirts and shorts, to free up drawer space. This will allow for fewer large furniture items for storage (saving money on the purchase and floor space).

#3. Think use. Sort clothes by use. Have a section for everyday tee-shirts, a section for shorts, a section for jeans, a section for dressy clothes etc. This will help your kids (and possibly husbands) to keep the closet organized. A place for everything and everything in its place!

#4. Use the rainbow. Organize clothes by color in each section starting with white, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, teal, blue, navy blue, purple, black, gray. This will make it easier for kids to learn to put away clothes and to find things when you need them. Even my 4-year-old follows the system in #3 and #4.

#5. Get creative. Dish bins can be used for storing socks in the closet, all the flip-flops, or PJs under the bed. An over-the-door shoe organizer can store shoes, or socks, underwear, or hats and hair accessories.

Clothes Sorting

August/September seems to be one of the major times we sort through clothes. As school starts and the seasons change, we need to go through all the clothes the kids have and figure out what must be purchased. So here are some tips for sorting kids’ clothes:

  • Designate 5 areas that are separate from each other. Use laundry baskets, boxes, or anything that can contain the clothes. Label each area with one of these labels: keep, hand-me-down, give/sell, mending, rags
  • Clothes you are keeping go back into closets and drawers (more on storage coming soon!)
  • Clothes you are handing down go into that child’s closet or drawers if they will fit now. If not, place them in a storage bin that you label with the child’s name they are for next, season, and the size (Kyleigh- Summer Size 10)
  • Take all clothes that need mending to your sewing area (I have a dish bin in my closet where all mending goes.). Use a sticky note or pin an index card to the items with exactly what needs to be mended so that you remember when you go to sew things.
  • Clothes in the rags pile need to be sorted into rags that you will use as patches (put those in a another bin in your sewing area) and rags that are to be use as rags for cleaning etc. (put these with your cleaning supplies).
  • Clothes in the give/sell pile will need to be sorted further. Sort into clothes you want to sell to make some extra cash and clothes you want to give away. If you plan to give clothes to friends, sort into individual piles for each friend.

Once you have done this sorting you can look through the clothes you kept and decide what items you need to buy for that child. This way you will not end up with duplicate items and you will make sure you have what you need.

Saturday Project: Towels for Hooks

We hang towels in our bathrooms on hooks. But somehow the kids never manage to get the towels hung to stay on the hooks. Enter a simple solution…Ribbon loops on the towel. This makes for an easy way for the kids to hang their towels on their hooks.

Two great tutorials are out there…The Creative Imperative and Over The Big Moon both give instructions for this simple project.

TIP: By adding a strip of ribbon that coordinates with your bathroom you can turn plain towels into custom-matched towels for a fraction of the cost. Sew an additional ribbon strip about 3-6 inches from one end of the towel across the whole towel to add even more accents.

Week of 8/27 Menus:

Here is the grocery list for this week’s menus: 8/27 Grocery list  

Breakfast Menu:

M: Eggs

T: Chocolate Chip Whole Wheat Pancakes

W: Blueberry Muffins

Th: French Breakfast Muffins NEW recipe!

F: Toast

S: Banana Muffins

S: Egg & bacon sandwiches

Dinner Menu:

M: Meatball Subs, veggie sticks

T: Creamy Chicken Pasta with broccoli

W: Church

Th: Pizza, salad

F: Nebraska Beef Buns, peas

S: Roast – in the slow cooker, with potatoes and carrots

S: Panini

Beat the Back-to-School Blues

Many moms suffer from a case of the Back-to-School blues as kids head off to school this time of year. (I was never one of those moms!) Even if you aren’t so sad to see the kids head back to school, or if you home school and the kids don’t leave you, this time of year always brings change and often a bit of sadness at the passing of summer. Here are some ideas to keep your mind off the end of summer:

#1. Start planning next year’s vacation! No, it isn’t too early. Daydreaming about the possibilities and beginning to make plans will give you something to look forward to doing. Read Vacation Planning Tips for info and ideas on why now is the time to start.

#2. Project time! From Organizing with the Number Three, check out item #4 for tips to find 20 hours a month to give toward whatever projects you identify as most important to you.

#3. Me time. No, it isn’t selfish to take care of yourself. Read through Me Time and give yourself permission to take good care of YOU – physically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially.

How do you beat the end-of-summer, back-t0-school blues? Submit your tip or share in the comments.

Product Review: Woolzies Dryer Balls

Recently I was provided with Woolzies Dryer Balls and asked to use and then review them. These balls are 100% wool and designed to be used in the dryer as a natural fabric softener. The site says that they will last for 100s of loads and reduce drying time by 25%. Of these benefits I was most interested in the natural fabric softener part. Because we line dry most of our laundry things often have a “crispy” texture. We generally throw things in the dryer for 10-20 minutes to fluff the clothes.

Upon using Woolzies I noticed that the laundry was much softer. I would definitely recommend these dryer balls as natural fabric softener, especially for line-dried laundry. This was a great solution. Not only did the clothes get softer, but we also noted that it took only 5-10 minutes to fluff instead of the usual 10-20.

For the purpose of this review, I dried several loads of laundry straight from the washer. Loads generally consisted of 5-8 beach towels, sheets, or jeans and pants. Things dried in 45 minutes on high heat, which is a time savings of about 25%, which is what Woolzies advertises.

Overall I am pleased with Woolzies and would recommend using them, especially as a fabric softener to those who line-dry clothes.

Saturday Project: Tote Bags

I always seem to need a new tote bag. For taking things to the beach or pool, to carrying around home school books for doing school at the park, to grocery shopping, there seems to be no end to my use of tote bags. I also have an abundance of old jeans and other fabric items that have worn out to the point of not being patchable or worth donating so I am going on a tote bag making spree.

TipNut has tons of great patterns for tote bags that are FREE. My inspiration piece came from Crafty Recycling. I can’t wait to try some of these over the next few weeks before we start school!

Week of 8/20 Menus

Here is the grocery list for this week’s menus: 8/20 Grocery list 

Breakfast Menu:

M: Eggs

T: Chocolate Chip Muffins

W: Whole Wheat Pancakes

Th: Cheesy Egg Tacos

F: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

S: Omelets

S: Scones

Dinner Menu:

M: Beef Stroganoff, peas

T: Lasagna, salad

W: Hamburgers, veggie sticks

Th: Broccoli Cheese Soup – I make this in the slow cooker

F: Chicken Marsala, mashed potatoes, salad

S: Hot Dogs/Sausages, veggie sticks

S: Tacos