Wednesday, April 30, 2008

So Much To Do...So Little Time! Part 1

I've been rather overwhelmed lately with all there is to be done around my home. The clutter is piling up, spring cleaning has hardly even been started, the clothes need to be sorted out and changed for the warm months ahead, the storage shed needs to be cleaned out(so I can move the clutter from the house out there!). Painting, sewing,decorating, organizing...there's so many things!

I do well with my daily routine-cooking meals, general cleaning and the like. It's the little extras that continually crop up that get me!

Yesterday, I sat down and made a small list for tackling the clutter since that's the thing that bothers me the most.

An "all or nothing" person, I can easily get overwhelmed and stressed because I try to do everything all at once. Sometimes a small bite here or there is the better choice of action. I am having to learn that!

The rooms that are the worst right now are where my childcare kids sleep, so I can't get to these things during nap time, like I would normally do! Ideally, I should try to do these tasks first thing in the morning before they arrive!

I started with a list for the office, since it needs the most immediate attention. My issue with this room is that it needs to serve so many purposes. It is the main storage area so I end up tossing everything that doesn't have a home elsewhere into the office. You can imagine how chaotic that gets after a while! This room houses the computer, filing cabinets,all office supplies, musical instruments and amps, kid's supplies, sewing and craft supplies,special occasion dishes and all manner of anything else that needs a place.:-) One of the babies I care for sleeps in there, so there is also a crib and a small chest for his things.

I have large bookshelves on one wall which keeps most things within reach or out of reach, depending who you are-haha! The sewing stuff is fairly organized so I don't really need to do much there. It's the other shelves that need the most attention.

Here are a few things I listed for the office(my notes are in italics):
-Replace the small shelf with large bookshelf for extra storage.
Until last year, I had 3 large shelves then we did a furniture switch-a-roo and moved the matching ones to the living room. I ended up with only 2 large and 1 small bookshelf for the office. Big Lots has the put-together shelves like the others I have for $30. I just need to go get one!

-Replace the 2 small filing cabinets with one large filing cabinet. This will make a huge difference in space! I'm looking for one of these used since the new ones I've found so far are a little out of our price range for the time-being.

-Box up extra toys and take them to toy bin in shed.
I got this done this morning! I also boxed up some toys that belong to one of the kids that they aren't playing with here anymore and will send those home tonight.

-Get box of Ebay items ready to list and sell.

-Create bill-paying box/basket.

-Clear off computer desk.

-Weed out papers and STUFF! I did this last year but obviously, it has gotten out of hand again!

-Organize kid's art supplies and manipulatives.I worked on this for a few minutes this morning, but am still not satisfied with it.

I think if I work on these things a few minutes at a time, 3-5 days a week, I should be able to get some things crossed off my list as well as making my home a little more of a haven!

I'll be blogging about my progress probably once a week or so. Feel free to join in on the fun and leave comments sharing your best tips for keeping up with all these little tasks as well as what projects you are working on!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The $5 Chair

Ever since our couch broke last year, we've had our eyes open for replacement furniture. We still had a love seat and a rocker so we weren't sitting on the floor or anything. And we could bring in the dining room chairs for guests.

But I still thought it would be nice if we had some more comfy seating in the living room. And I prayed that God would provide furniture for us either by us saving up the money to buy something new or used or by giving us something that needed a new home.

We went to a yard sale a couple of weeks ago and found a nice armchair for $5! And they even delivered it for us. Wow! It's not that extra beautiful but cute in a 1950's way and in great shape. An afghan draped over it helps its looks tremendously.

That same week a friend offered us his futon. In our quest for furniture, we had decided that if we were to buy something, we would like to have a futon to serve double duty as a couch and a guest bed as we don't have a guest room.

This friend had stopped in on his way through town and as he was leaving, I remarked that perhaps next time he came we would have a futon so he could spend the night. He stopped and asked, "Are you looking for a futon? I have one that I am planning to get rid of. I'd love for you to have it."

What an answer to prayer! I am praising God for these reminders that He cares and wants to provide for us! He is our Source.

Has God answered a prayer in a special way recently? Please share how He has provided for your family!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

We were away this weekend so I missed my scheduled bi-monthly grocery shopping. Oh well! I scratched together a menu using what I have on hand and it doesn't look too bad or really much different than other weeks. LOL! I am relying on frozen veggies and a big bag of organic carrots I have in the fridge for my veggie supply this week. We'll make do and sometime this week I'll get out to stock back up!

Monday-BBQ Meatballs*, baked brown rice, veggie

Tuesday-Spinach quiche*, carrot sticks, muffins

Wednesday-chicken, veggie and rice stir fry/ skillet dish

Thursday-Israeli Spice chicken legs, falafel, veggie

Friday-attending a wedding

Saturday-waffles, sausage and hopefully some fruit by then too!

All freezer meals are marked with an *.

Breakfasts will be whatever I can scrounge up- frozen pancakes, oatmeal, whole-grain toast, maybe some eggs!

Lunches will be leftovers.

For more menu planning inspiration, please visit I'm an organizing junkie!

Baked Brown Rice

This is my new favorite way to cook brown rice. I read about how to do this in the comments of one of Tammy's posts.

This is the easiest way to cook brown rice and it turns out so fluffy!

Put 2 1/2 cups of rice and 5 cups water in a greased casserole dish. (I used a 9 x 13.)Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until rice is done.

This is great to put in with chicken or something that has to bake for awhile. If the oven is heated up anyways, I might as well cook more than one thing at a time. I am just lazy (or efficient) that way.

This makes a good amount of rice for a nice-sized family. I'm sure you could adjust the amounts down accordingly,(1 part rice to 2 parts water) although I haven't tried it. I make the whole amount and then use the cooked rice for other dishes throughout the week. Cooked rice can also be frozen to be used for recipes later.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Making Your Home A Haven: Anti-Procrastination

When I read Crystal's post declaring that today was Anti-Procrastination Day, I knew exactly what to do.

Plant my azaleas.

We bought 3 azalea plants for our front flowerbed about a month ago. And I still hadn't planted them! Sure, it has rained every weekend since then, but the real reason I kept putting it off was that I really dislike getting that flowerbed ready to plant in each spring. It seems like it is always so hard to hoe and weed.

Isn't it amazing that the things we keep putting off really turn out to rather quick and easy jobs after all?

This took me all of about 20 minutes. The ground was easy to hoe up and dig in, thanks to all the rain we've been getting, I'm sure! Those plants were popped into the ground and I was back inside in no time at all!

To read more inspiring Anti-Procrastination posts, please visit Biblical Womanhood!

Menu Plan Monday

Here's what we're eating this week.

Sunday: Lunch-We eat potluck-style with our church family. This week I made corn muffins and biscuits.
Dinner: popcorn

Monday:Honey-Mustard Chicken, Baked brown rice, steamed carrots, leftover biscuits

Tuesday:Split Pea Soup with ham bone, cut-up veggies, applesauce

Wednesday: Sausage and Pepper Stir-fry with rice

Thursday: Macaroni and cheese with green peas

Friday: Tuna sandwiches, veggies, cookies

Saturday: eat out

Breakfasts will be: muffins and grapefruit; eggs and biscuits;oatmeal and grapefruit; cold cereal and grapefruit;pancakes.

Lunches are generally leftovers, sandwiches or salads.

For more menu planning inspiration, please visit I'm an organizing junkie!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pardon The Dust

I've been cleaning, rearranging and decluttering the blog lately, so just bear with me. It'll be awhile. :-)I've been going through my archives, relabeling posts and deleting others to freshen things up a bit.

Since I've started doing this, all of a sudden I'm getting new comments on some of those old posts that I was getting ready to delete! Is that a hoot or what?

So if you see something one day and it's not there the next, you'll know you're not losing your mind!:-)

Cooking Chicken In The Crockpot

While browsing my favorite Crockpot recipe book the other day, I came across the directions for cooking chicken to use for casseroles, soups, etc.

This was the easiest and most wonderful way to cook chicken to put in the freezer! I can't believe that I've never done this before.

The original directions say to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I used bone-in split chicken breasts instead, since they were on sale for $.78 a pound last week. Skinless and boneless is, of course, the easiest way, but even with a few bones and skin, this was still easy, very doable and not too gross!

I had about 6-7 pounds of the chicken and the pieces were large so I cooked it in two different sessions. In the end, I had 12 cups of cubed, cooked chicken and 12 cups of homemade broth, both of which I froze in 2 cup portions.

The directions:

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons garlic powder
4 cups water( I added a bit more.)
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried bay leaf( I just crushed one bay leaf and used that.)
1 tablespoon dried minced onion(I used fresh.)

Place all ingredients in 4 1/2 to 6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high heat 3-4 hours or on low heat 6-8 hours. Remove chicken from water. Shred or chop chicken to use in casseroles or other dishes. Chicken can be frozen in individual freezer bags for easy use later.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Here's this week's menu.Most meals are served with a salad and/or veggie.

Sunday: Lunch- We eat potluck style with our church fellowship. I took Crockpot Lasagna, French bread* and some chocolate chip cookies this week.
Dinner- leftover homemade pizza from Saturday

Monday:Spaghetti and Meatballs*

Tuesday: Pinto beans, tortillas*, salsa, sour cream and cheese

Wednesday: Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry on rice

Thursday: Spinach Quiche

Friday: Baked salmon, Garlic-Butter Pasta

Saturday: Egg casserole*

*indicates prepared items in the freezer

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Enough Water

It seems to always be a struggle for me to be sure that I drink enough water each day. I think I'm drinking plenty until I start keeping track and I realize I'm not drinking nearly enough!

Recently I read an excellent article in the latest Beeyoutiful magazine on the benefits of drinking plenty of pure water. The article suggested filling 3 quart jars each day and being sure to drink each one as an easy way to make sure you are drinking your fill.(Change the amount of water based on weight and personal needs.)

That sounded easy enough. Mason jars are fairly plentiful in my house as well as lids to keep the water from spilling everywhere! And glass is so much better to drink from than plastic.

So now I fill 3 jars every morning and set them in the refrigerator. I keep one out where I can see it and be reminded to drink my water often. This has worked wonderfully for me!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fresh Biscuits From The Freezer

After trying Pillsbury's frozen biscuits, I really wanted to try freezing my own homemade biscuits for my own homemade convenience food!

About a year later, I have finally gotten around to trying this and it worked! It's so easy to simply make a batch or two extra when I'm making biscuits anyways and freeze the extras. They are wonderful to have ready for a quick addition to a meal.

I will include my favorite biscuit recipe here if you need a recipe to try. You can try using your own favorite recipe as well.

What I did was mix, roll out and cut the biscuit dough as usual. Instead of baking right away, I placed each unbaked biscuit on a wax paper-lined pan.

I covered it and let it freeze until solid. Then I transferred the biscuits to a ziploc bag with baking instructions printed on.

To bake, remove from freezer(heehee)and place on baking sheet. Let come to room temperature and then bake as directed. I tried putting them in the oven completely frozen but,in my opinion, they didn't bake as well that way(burnt on the bottom and doughy on the inside).

We love these!

Here's our favorite biscuit recipe compliments of my mom who has made these for years!

Mom's Cloud Biscuits
2 cups flour(I use unbleached white flour)
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 beaten egg
2/3 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients, cut in butter until crumbs are coarse. Combine egg and milk. Add to other mixture all at once. Stir with fork until dough follows fork. Turn out on floured board and knead 20 strokes. Roll out to 3/4" thick. Cut out with cutter.( We've always used the top of a drinking glass that's been dipped in a little flour!)Bake on ungreased sheet at 450 degrees for 10-14 minutes. Makes about 12 biscuits.

Serve warm with butter and honey or gravy or strawberries and whipped cream!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Our Pet Rock

This has got to be the cutest Rock we have ever seen. He joined our family on New Year's Day and life hasn't been the same since!

Our friends found him abandoned by their house right before Christmas and never received any calls or responses to the fliers they distributed so we decided to bring him home and call him ours!

We named him Rachmaninov(we're musical people around here)but call him Rock for short. It's easier to say in a hurry and he is a very strong and stout not so little pup. He 's about 8 months old now and weighs over 50 pounds already! He is a Lab/Staffordshire terrier mix. As well as some pit bull mixed in for fun!

He's got a great personality-quite easy going and loves kids. His hobbies include eating everything that's offered, sleeping in the sun and wrapping his cable in, around and through trees in our backyard.

We love our little fur-baby!

*This picture was taken days after we got Rock when he was around 5 months and only 35 pounds.