Category: Organization

Chopping Day (and Crockpot Mashed Potatoes)

Much of my time is spent chopping vegetables… lots and lots of vegetables.  And I knew there had to be some way to not compromise our health and save myself some time.  This week we’re trying out making Monday a chopping day.  We’re chopping onions (which will be stored in mason jars so the whole fridge won’t smell like onions), celery (into dices and sticks), carrots (peeled & cut into sticks – the baby carrots from the store have been terrible lately), potatoes (soaked in water to keep them from browning – this also has additional health benefits, just ask google 😛 ), and bell peppers (in slices and dices).  Today I used 5lbs of those already chopped potatoes to make our weekly potato based dinner and also give “crockpot mashed potatoes” a try.  It turned out so well, I just had to share!

 

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Ingredients:

  • 5lbs of potatoes, chopped in 1 inch pieces
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp each of salt, garlic power, & onion powder
  • 1 stick of butter, cut up into pieces

Recipe:

  • Take a piece of your butter and rub down the inside of the crock pot
  • Add 1.5 cups of water to the bottom of my crockpot and whisk in the salt, garlic power, and onion powder
  • Dump in those potatoes and drop pieces of butter on top
  • Cover and cook on high for 4 hours (or until soft)
  • Mash right in the pot when soft and you’re done!

You could sub broth for water, or you wait to add your seasonings, and you could add additional ingredients like yogurt or cream cheese, etc.  But this was my easy peasy way of doing it and I will definitely be doing it again!

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Staying Sane

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Daily rituals… we all have them.  Some are helpful.  Others?  Not so much.  I have a few daily rituals, and they’ve always been a source of comfort and calm in the midst of the moment to moment unpredictability of raising 8 (soon to be 9 *grin*) sweet children.#1. Taking the time to really enjoy my coffee.
I love the smell.  I love the warmth.  I love the creamy goodness.  I love how I perk up about 30 minutes after drinking it.  It just always hits the spot.  I drink it in the morning, and in the mid-afternoon.  I usually try to sit by myself for a moment (hard to do around here) and don’t talk for a few minutes.

#2. Turn my mind off from thinking about the things I do every day.
I do this for a few minutes before bed, usually with the help of *sudoku* puzzles.  All day long my mind is usually focused on all the things I it takes to do daily life.  Sudoku has nothing to do with any of it and it challenges me to think differently that I have been all day long.  It also helps me to go to sleep.  If I don’t change my train of thought before laying my head down on my pillow, I usually lay awake for some time with my thoughts racing about the day.

#3. Listen to my Audio Bible (thank you “YouVersion” app on my iPhone!)
Normally this would happen while I make breakfast or take my shower.  It helps me get in my general daily bible reading.  A must if at all possible!

What daily rituals do you have that help you “stay sane”?  🙂

“Whose cup is that anyway?!?”

I’d love to say we have some sort of wonderful organizing tip on this one, but we don’t.  I’m constantly amazed at people who can keep up with “drink bands” and the like, but my poor limited brain power just can’t make it that far :P.  So here is what we do, are you ready for it????

We have a bunch of different kinds of cups and the ones that are the same come in various colors, and none of them are the same.  Everyone gets their own kind of cup, problem solved!  Seriously. 😀 Before we had this particular problem though, we would use masking tape or just write directly on the cup with a sharpie because the sharpie always washes off anyway.  When using a sharpie, we would draw a picture (like a flower or smiley face) instead of a name, just in case the marker didn’t wash off in the dishwasher.

This is our counter yesterday – no editing, no rearranging… we ALWAYS have more cups than people.  I’m really not sure how this happens 😛

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31 Days to an Organized Home – Day 5

As you can see, I skipped day 4 *insert sheepish grin*, but, ah, so goes life. Today was PANTRY day! 🙂 My poor coat closet will have to continue to wait.

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Here is our humble pantry…

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I started by taking everything out and sweeping the bottom.

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This gave me a great view of the walls that need to be painted (but I will leave that for next month).

I took out things that were not used frequently and moved them up to the very top shelves in a cabinet that have been empty for a while. I also moved the grilling tools to the garage, with the grilling wood chips and moved once a year baking pans (you know the ones!) to a high cabinet since I only use them… once a year :P.

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Spices on the left
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Vitamins on the right
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Top shelf – snacks (chips and goldfish), cereal & two cans of peaches that we need to eat lol
2nd shelf down – largest bags of herbs (labeled on the side so I don’t have to pull them out to figure out what they are), roots (also labeled on the very top so I can figure out what they are without pulling it out) and some spices. On the far right are two bags of loose tea (Redrooibos and White Peony – Yum!)
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3rd shelf – seeds, cooking spices and various herbs.
4th shelf – baby food, formula, nuts (and nut products), honey, frequently used condiments, oils as well as vinegars.
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5th shelf – this shelf is kind of flimsy so I put light weight items on it
Very bottom – Onions, Potatoes and Garlic in baskets, lemon juice, glycerine, white rice & sugar
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ALL DONE!
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See you tomorrow!

31 Days to an Organized Home – Day 2 and 3

So yesterday I spent time pondering what to do with my front closet per the suggestion of the original “31 day” blog posts, but that will be a bit of a bigger project.  We’re taking the week off of school and half the family is sick, so I spent a lot of time in my laundry room from all the pukey clothes and sheets, etc and so that is where I started! 🙂  I started by pondering “what’s not working” and began to come up with “what would work better?” ideas.

I threw things away (yay!), started a “give away” basket, and then sorted what we had in the laundry room and the two other available closet spaces I was using to store linens and diapers (we’ve got 3 in diapers at the moment, that’s a lot of diapers!)

I was able to empty the nursery closet of diapers and blankets – we always end up needing diapers or a new blanket when the rooms occupant (namely Henry!) is sleeping so this doesn’t work out very well lol.  So instead I put rarely used linens on the top shelf (beach towels, and extra comforter or two and extra shower curtains) and the bottom will just be for Henry’s clothes (the diapers use to live there).  It’s not organized completely yet, but it’s a step in the right direction!

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Next I put all the diapers (and my stash of “maybe I’ll cloth diaper again someday” diapers) in the hall linnen closet, accessible at any time of day! 😀 On the top is receiving blankets and the bottom is wipes. Lots of wipes. This closet use to try to hold all our sheets, pillowcases and crib sheets, but there were just too many and it was a mess!

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The extra bath towels moved into the “empty since we moved in almost a year ago” space under the hall bathrooms sink.

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The queen sized bedsheets were tucked away in *my* closet

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Now on to the laundry room (I’m so proud of it!) From the bottom up…
Bedsheet sets (the fitted sheet stuffed nicely into a matching pillow case)
Flat sheets (which are used for everything except on the beds lol, they make great picnic blankets), and extra pillow cases.
Thin fleece baby blankets and crib sheets
Thicker and special baby blankets (most of them are handmade!)
Hand towels, wash cloths and blue cleaning rags
On the very top (I couldn’t fit it in the picture) is a huggies diaper box full of cloth diaper covers and pocket diapers that I’m debating on whether or not to keep.

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All in all, it was a very productive day, despite illness and other challenges. I also managed to de-clutter one child’s clothing, but I’ll detail that in another post :). I ended my organizing morning with a nice cuppa tea.

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Next challenge, the coat closet… How is your organizing going?? 🙂

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31 days to an organized home – Day 1!

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In my searching for something, anything, that will help me get through this season of sleeplessness, illness, and dark grey gloom days, I discovered “Imperfect Homemaking” and the 31 Days to an Organized Home.

Day 1 is writing out the “why” you want to have an organized home and I echo some of the reasons she’s states in the first post in the series.

I want to

  • Clear out things that don’t matter, to make room for things that do
  • “Hearts and minds can only take so much chaos” – AMEN!  I need less chaos, my poor little brain can’t handle it!  Life really does have of it’s own without adding “stuff” to it.
  • I do need a refuge, in my home, in my mind.  I need a place of peace in the midst of the daily commotion that comes with raising 8 children, let alone managing their “things”.
  • Uncluttered space DOES create room to create and be creative.  If the house is already chocked full of things OR things that have no “home”, I’m much less likely to allow my children to let their creative juices flow.
  • And my favorite quote from her post “And because when we clear out stuff, we make room for people”  People are what matter (and we have an extra measure of them in our home!) and I don’t ever want my children to feel un-loved because I’m so stressed out about the stuff or taking care of the home.

Will you join me on this 31 day journey?  Please let me know!

Friday – Link Love

A wonderful web site that has blessed me in many ways!  It has a forum that I participate in regularly (the only one really) and in February this past year, we spent some time in Williamsburg, VA at a retreat organized by MOMYS.com.

Learn to cook online. Traditional foods, sourdough, cultured dairy, cheese and more!

This is a class my wonderful hubby got me for Christmas and I am enjoying it very much!  I am focusing primarily on Sourdough at the moment.  The website is a wonderful resource, even if you can’t afford the class.

A wonderful blog with LOTS of helpful ideas on home management, homeschooling, and generally raising up a large than average brood of children 🙂  Even if you have 1 or 2 kiddos, you would still greatly benefit from this web site!  It's very encouraging.

What links are you enjoying this week?