Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kitchen Catastrophe

I use my kitchen A LOT. I'm trying to learn to make more things homemade. (Pasta dough, pasta sauce, chicken stock, etc...) A large portion of our meals are from scratch. The kitchen is where I spent most of my time (when I'm not playing with the baby...but there are times when he'll play happily on a pad on the kitchen floor while I do whatever) So, when it came time to start really organizing I chose the kitchen first.

I had a bunch of Rubbermaid containers in the cabinets. These were frustrating because I was always hunting for the lid that matched whichever container I needed. Half the time I couldn't find it. My solution?


I bought a couple of storage containers from Walmart (I think the big one was $6 and the smaller one was $2) I put the lids in the smaller one and the actual containers in the larger one. I put them in a lower cabinet instead. Voila! Easy, organized, and kid friendly. I put the glassware baking dishes up where the containers used to live:



Now they're out of kid reach and easy to grab!

I also found a neat way to store plastic grocery bags. It's called Grocery Bag Origami and it's really easy. Now my bags look like this:


 

So much better than a mass under the sink. And now I can use that space effectively! (I put the blender there)

Other tips to keeping a clean kitchen:

- When making dinner make sure that your dishwasher is empty or running. Keep a sink full of hot, soapy water. That way you just have to drop dishes in and they immediately start soaking. While dinner is actually cooking you can load the dishwasher with some of these dishes.
- Put everything away each night. That way you don't have to clean up right before starting to cook again. (It was frustrating me to have to clean seconds before dirtying things up again)
- Make it a habit to do SOMETHING every single time you enter the kitchen. Got 5 minutes? Spray and wipe down the surfaces (counters, handles, etc...) Got 10 minutes? Unload and load the dishwasher. Did you just heat up a mug of water for tea or hot chocolate? Take a second to wipe the inside of the microwave. (the steam will help loosen the stuff inside)

Little changes are what matter. Don't feel like you have to change everything at once; you won't stick to it. Vow to make 1 or 2 changes this week and go from there.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ghost Cookies!!!



This is one of the easiest cute cookie recipes.

You need:
- Nutter Butter Cookies
- White Chocolate or White Almond Bark (melted)
- Mini M&Ms

Dip the top half of each cookie in the white chocolate. Place it on a sheet of wax paper. Pu the M&Ms down for eyes. Repeat. Leave until set.

See? EASY!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tidy Tuesday (How I Get Things Done)

Okay, first of all here are a couple of my favorite blogs:
http://myblessedhome.blogspot.com/
http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/blog/
http://thehappyatheisthomemaker.blogspot.com/

Don't get caught up in reading all day! Set a timer and read for a set period of time (an hour?)


Some tips:
- Set a schedule.
Don't overwhelm yourself. Only do a few things a day. I have a Daily Three Load of Dishes, Load of Laundry, Load of Diapers I try to get those three things done each and every day (well, sometimes I can only do diapers every 2 days..but you get the idea) If nothing else, I get THAT done! and I try to clean the kitchen every day (because it's the most used room in the house)

- Pick a Daily Task.
This is the one I'm trying to get used to...My week looks like this:
Monday
Master Bath

Tuesday
Kitchen Appliances

Wednesday
Master Bedroom
Kid Bath

Thursday
Guest Bath/Room

Friday
Living/Dining Room

Saturday
Sweep/Vacuum House
Shopping
Kid Bath

Sunday
Light Cleaning

If I don't get that goal done for the day (like, I didn't clean the bathroom) I just move on and do it when/if I have time. OR I wait until it rolls around again.

-Don't do it all at once
I do it in chunks. I set timers, give myself goals, or just work as long as the kid will play on the floor. Put on 15-30mins worth of your favorite music and get started. Just pick a point (maids will tell you work top to bottom, left to right but do whatever works for you) and go! Or, set a goal like: I will clean off the dining table, or gather all the laundry/dishes, or clean X corner of the room. When you're done be DONE for a while. If you look at your house and go "It must all be done TODAY" you'll get overwhelmed and talk yourself out of it.

-Assign chores if you can.
Split things up with your husband if you both work. I'm a stay at home wife/mother so taking care of the house IS my job. If you both work then assign chores. Example: If your daily chores are dishes and laundry split it up. Person A unloads the dishwasher and gathers laundry and handles transferring it to the dryer. Person B loads dishwasher and folds laundry. (My husband and I split up the laundry. He hates folding so the deal is he puts stuff on hangers and I fold everything else. Cuts it in half for both of us) Stefan's family has a rule: The person that cooks doesn't do dishes. Maybe that can apply in your house too?


I am NOT superwoman LOL I should upload photos of how cluttered my house is right now. There's clean laundry (folded) to my left, an empty chip bag/Sonic bag/bowl to my right, and a bin of clean (unfolded) laundry behind me. My kitchen looks amazing, though!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My husband's post on Swine Flu

President Obama has officially declared H1N1 a national emergency, and I'm left shaking my head and laughing at people that actually worry about this. Read the news, and you'll find headlines like "Over 1,000 Dead in US from Swine Flu," or - to tug at more heartstrings "Over 100 children Killed." These numbers mean absolutely nothing. One thousand out of how many? A report I read recently says "millions" of Americans have been infected. Really? Okay. Let's do a little math. For the sake of argument, let's say that only 1,000,000 people have been infected. With around a thousand dead, that gives H1N1 a mortality rate of 0.1%. To put that in other terms, you have a meager 99.9% chance of surviving swine flu! Well, in fairness, the headline did say "over 1,000." Let's go crazy and say by more than, they meant ten times as many. With ten thousand deaths, that brings the mortality rate to 1% and your odds of survival are now reduced to 99%. Remember, they're saying that millions, that's plural, have been infected. Forget about death for a moment. There have been a reported 20,000 hospitalizations. Again, numbers-wise, that's 2% of our proposed one million cases (even less in reality). Now, of these thousand or so deaths and tens of thousands of hospitalizations, how many of the infected had preexisting medical conditions that would make them more susceptible to complications from swine flu? What's that? No one seems to be taking that into account? But surely the media wouldn't just throw numbers out like candy for the sake of ratings...

Now, one hundred dead children is sad. Let us not forget, however, that during the 2003-2004 season, there were 153 deaths in children seventeen and younger forty states that were studied. Estimations give a grand, country-wide total of around 200 child deaths. That's twice the amount of what we're hearing now, but I don't recall a national emergency back then. Never mind the fact that the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (people that count flu deaths) include deaths from pneumonia in their flu mortality count.

While I'm talking about flu, please don't be foolish enough to get the flu-mist vaccine. This is not like the shot in that the mist contains a live virus. After getting it, you're contagious for a few weeks. Most people don't seem to know that one. In conclusion, there is no need to worry. Calm down!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Meals for the Week Oct 11-17

Last week's meals didn't work and got tossed around...and I know I was MIA all week. Franklin has been a Velcro Baby lately...


Sunday: Fried Chicken and Mashed Potatoes!
Quick, easy, but messy...I do need to clean the kitchen anyway...

Monday: Pulled Pork (BBQ) and Roasted Potatoes
First time trying this...maybe I'll be better about pictures this week.

Tuesday: Chicken Fried Rice
Another easy one dish meal!

Wednesday: Mexican Shepherd's Pie
Recipe Here So GOOD! It's one of our favorites!

Thursday: Chorizo, Egg, and Bean Tacos
This is one of my favorites. I'm the little white girl that loves chorizo!

Friday: Roast Chicken
I didn't do it last week so I'm doing it this week!

Saturday: Homemade Ravioli with meat sauce
That's right, homemade! I'm trying my hand at it because I can't have normal ravioli (it all has CHEESE) I'm making chicken and mushroom ravioli and a tomato/meat sauce...we shall see!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Meals for Sept 5th-10th

We still haven't made the Mushroom Cube Steaks! So that goes up today!

Tuesday: Pesto Tilapia

Wednesday: Pan Seared Pork Chops and Mushroom Sauce

Thursday: Spicy Sausage and Rice Casserole

Friday: Salmon and Rice  (I've been craving this lately)

Saturday I'll be roasting one of the chickens I got on SALE (88 cents per pound!!!)


With a few of the meals I'll take pictures and put them up on Saturday :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Frugal Friday

I know, I missed posting yesterday. Franklin is working on a new skill (pulling himself to standing...yes, I'm serious. Yes, I know he's not quite 6 months old) so he's been frustrated lately. The same thing happened when he wanted to learn to sit up by himself. He's also been a very Velcro Baby as of late. This keeps me from doing a lot of things around the house...


But I'll try to get some frugal tips in today!

Breastfeeding and Cloth Diapers/Wipes

Most Americans spend tons of money on formula and disposable diapers/wipes. With my son, it would have been extra expensive as he has a dairy sensitivity. The way we do it, I just have to avoid dairy. The formula route means buying special formula (special = expensive). I have a friend who's son is allergic to dairy AND soy...so if she's used formula it would mean the super expensive allergenic kind. That's crazy. Plus, all of the bottles and brushes and blah blah blah.
My son also has sensitive skin (another genetic gift from Mommy) We've done disposables a few times here and there and he gets a horrible rash each and every time. We even tried the "All Natural" kind only to get a bad rash. (We also can't use Johnson's anything...but I've heard that's normal for a lot of kids...apparently, it's bad stuff) The only time he gets a rash now is if I have dairy (food allergies cause diaper rash), if I have too many acidic foods (orange juice for example), or if he sits in a wet diaper too long (sometimes he'll have a slight rash for the first part of the morning). However, this is the exception and not the rule. I love that we don't have to spend money on expensive diapers AND creams.

Honestly, we save thousands a year just by making these choices...think about it.

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