Home Organizers

I love organizing. And reorganizing. So over the last week or so I’ve decided to update my household organizers. OK, I guess the knitting one doesn’t really count as a “home organizer” per se, but having all of my Internet patterns printed and filed sure beats my previous system of disorganized bookmarks in my Web browser. Naturally the first thing I wanted to do was pick out pretty paper for the covers. Easy! Especially since Michael’s had a sale last week. Then I bought a bunch of dividers at Walmart. I can never find what I want there, though. I thought the dividers would probably be near the pens and pencils, right? No. They were next to the shipping boxes. Of course, that makes perfect sense! [/sarcasm].

At any rate, I did find them and buy some. The only bad thing is that they are smaller than my pages which kind of defeats the purpose of dividers. Sigh. They’ll do for now, though. It was a huge task working on my recipe binder, but I think it was really worth the effort. Not only did it cut way down on a mountain of magazines, but now I might actually be able to find recipes quickly! I’m still finishing up the Household Organizer, but at least now all the take-out menus, warrantees, and things like that are stuck in it. Next week I’ll finish it up. The School Binder is pretty self-explanatory. I made it last year (though I just got around to the pretty paper ๐Ÿ™‚ ). I keep a copy of the school calendar, communications with the teacher, receipts for extracurricular activities, etc. It has come in handy so many times!

I do have one more organizer, but I’m thinking of writing an entire post about soon: my coupon binder. Since I started playing the “drugstore game” in January, I developed a need for an efficient coupon system. My index card box just wasn’t working. I’ve been using the binder system for a little over a month and I’ve found it to be worth the time investment of filing everything because finding the coupons I need, and culling expired ones has become so simple!

What kinds of systems (if any) do you use for home organization or coupon organization?

Menu Plan Monday ~ Sept. 29

As I am typing this it’s about 6 AM and I’ve already been up for two hours. Ugh. To put it mildly. Noah awoke even earlier than usual, but this time with a cough so I got up and took him downstairs since it was clear he wasn’t going to be heading back to sleep. He begged me for strawberries, so I cut some up for him and made myself tea while he played with the magnets on the fridge. His cough seems to have improved a bit, which is great, but I know it’s going to be a long day. On the bright side, our wood stove is supposed to be installed today so I’m looking forward to that. Let’s just hope he shows up ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, onto the menus:

  • Sunday: Leftovers
  • Monday: Cube steaks in dijon mustard (Drew’s recipe), celeriac puree, roasted squash, turnip & fennel
  • Tuesday: Tacos
  • Wednesday: Roast turkey breast, stuffing, cranberry sauce, CSA veggies
  • Thurday: Tomato & mozzarella tart, green salad (homemade bagel pizzas for boys)
  • Friday: Probably grab something out – Jake has a birthday party to attend
  • Saturday: Breakfast for dinner: eggs, sausage, waffles or pancakes, fruit salad

Jake is off from school tomorrow (Rosh Hashanah) and it’s CSA pickup day so I want to make sure whatever I make is easy, and preferably easy to make ahead of time. That’s why very often Tuesdays have become “Taco Tuesdays.” I can make everything in the early afternoon and then just reheat the beef once I get home from the farm. Honestly, I’m not sure how closely I’ll stick to this week’s menu, but at least it’s a guideline.

For more menu-planning ideas, visit Organizing Junkie.

Weird Weekend

mum's the word This whole weekend has just been a weird one. It started yesterday morning. I was up in our bedroom getting my clothes for the day when I noticed an ambulance turn around in the driveway across the street. This was minutes after I’d seen a flatbed tow truck on the road. I put my flip-flops on and went outside to ask Drew (who had been stacking firewood) if he heard anything. He hadn’t. I walked to the bottom of our driveway and looked down the street and discovered there had been an accident! A car had gone off the road and crashed in our woods. Drew and I stood by the road watching them pull the car out and telling drivers that they couldn’t get through (unless they wanted to wait).

Afterwards, Drew walked down to check it out and was talking to one of the officers. They think the guy fell asleep while driving and just went off the road. The driver was OK, but pretty banged up. I’m not sure if he was from the area or what, but hopefully if he wasn’t he had some kind of travel medical insurance. But that’s not all. The night before, a pickup had spun out and crashed into the woods on the other side of the street! Though I think that incident had more to do with speed and a wet road. The speed limit on the street is 35 MPH, and cars regularly drive in excess of 55 MPH. The officer mentioned that they’ll see about putting a radar unit on this end of the road and I hope they do. We’re far enough away from the road that I don’t worry about the boys running down there, but it’s a very rural area and there are plenty of deer and wild turkeys running around. I wish people would use their common sense.

After that all happened I read an e-mail from my editor, who had given me the wrong deadline. I had to completely rearrange my plans yesterday morning so I could crank out two feature articles. Plus, it’s been so muggy because of Hurricane Kyle (though I was joking with my dad the humidity is here because I just put flannel sheets on the beds, LOL).

Other than that it’s been an OK weekend. Yesterday I bought two baskets of mums for our front entrance (though they are not the ones in this photo — those are in one of my flower beds). Maybe on Wednesday I’ll go and get some cornstalks to tie to the front stairs and place the baskets of mums at the bottom. The leaves are really starting to change, especially with the rain we’ve gotten in the last couple of days, so I want to make the outside of our house look festive!

Hope you all have enjoyed your weekends and that your week is off to a good start!

So… “The Office”

I was a little disappointed by last night’s “Office” premiere. At the end of last season, I feared that this season the show would start to go downhill and I have to say that the new episode didn’t impress me too much. There were a couple funny moments, but overall… eh. I also thought it was interesting that the main story line in last night’s episode was a contest among the Dunder-Mifflin branches to see which office could lose weight. The office with the biggest weight loss won extra vacation days. Why is this interesting? Did you notice all the commercials promoting “The Biggest Loser?” Coincidence? I wonder… Seemed to me like NBC was trying to make a little connection there.

Anyway. I’ll keep watching because aside from “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” there is little that interests me on a regular basis. Hopefully “The Office” will pick up steam.

CSA: Week #18

CSA week 18

Tuesday’s share was a fun one! I was really excited about the pumpkin and the daikon radish. I’ve never had one before, so I’m looking forward to cooking with it. Lots of good, healthy stuff that we’ve all been enjoying. I can’t imagine taking an appetite supressant like Phentermine when my fridge is full of food and my head swimming with ideas! Also in this week’s share: one head of lettuce (not pictured because we ate some of it with dinner that night and it just got put back in the fridge), turnips, beets, braising greens, tomatoes (a few nice heirlooms this week, last week was was mostly romas), peppers, fennel, celeriac, yellow squash, a huge head of broccoli, onions, radishes, and the usual PYO stuff. I still have a bunch of herbs from last week, so I just picked some flowers. They didn’t last more than a day though. Clearly, oh so clearly, summer is over.

Last night I made homemade French Fries with the Adirondack Blue potatoes we got last week. They are more purple than blue, but the boys got such a huge kick out of them! I even got out my old Fry Daddy to make the fries, somehow managing to NOT scald myself with oil. I can count on one hand the number of times in my life I’ve deep-fried anything, so I was a little nervous. But I might slice the rest of the potatoes thin, and slice the beets the same way and make some chips. Not today, but maybe this weekend. The bad thing about the deep fryer is that I have to do it outside, because the smell just lingers and I can’t stand it.

I think our CSA goes until November — I haven’t heard an official final date, but I am already wondering how we’ll get through the winter. We have been spoiled by taking part in this. That’s for sure.

Busy, busy!

And yet, I am not quite sure what I have been busy doing, but the week is just flying by. I still have to write my CSA post for the week, too. Yikes! Yesterday I watched Lisanne‘s two little cuties for a while while she did an interview for an article and then we had a great visit. She made an *awesome* tomato tart. Oh, it was delicious! I really enjoyed catching up with her and I feel so bad that she is not feeling well today ๐Ÿ™

With the colder weather here, it seems like everyone is getting a cold or the flu. I mean, it’s not winter-coat and UGG boots cold or anything, but the days of running outside while barefoot are over and sweatshirts are mandatory for the boys. I do love fall, though. We still haven’t gone apple picking yet and I am hoping to do that this weekend. I borrowed a great cookbook from the library yesterday — all apple recipes! Good stuff.

Well, I am about to run out to pick up a few sale items at Shop Rite. I hate going there (I swear it is worse than Walmart!) But some of their sales are too good to pass up. It is worth the suffering to save a bunch of money, LOL!

Menu Plan Monday ~ Sept. 21

Well, I did OK with last week’s plan. I never got around to the Greek Chicken, so I’ll try that another time. The calzones were a HUGE hit. Everyone enjoyed them and they were perfect for CSA pickup night because I put them together ahead of time and they just needed to bake for 10 minutes. Made for a quick, easy dinner when paired with a salad (fruit for the boys). The pork got bumped to last night (the recipe is at the bottom of this post). I guess my least favorite was Monday’s kielbasa. Usually when I do it in the slow cooker, I cook the kielbasa along with sauerkraut. This time I followed a recipe that called for cooking it with onions and peppers and I just didn’t care for the flavor. No one else seemed to mind, though. At any rate, this week is “Family Favorites” week. I think the pork dish I cooked last night is a new family favorite, and I have a couple others on there.

  • Sunday: Apple-pecan pork medallions, roasted winter squash, turnip, and fennel
  • Monday: Spaghetti a la Daddy (Drew’s sauce from the freezer), green salad
  • Tuesday: Turkey melts, soup
  • Wednesday: Chili dogs, Adirondack Blue French Fries, salad
  • Thurday: Roast chicken, mac & cheese, corn bread, CSA veggies
  • Friday: Chicken picatta, pasta salad, broccoli
  • Saturday: Take-out (most likely)

Because I am too lazy to type out my piccata recipe (and honestly, I eyeball everything so it’s hard to give exact measurements), the recipes at Simply Recipes is pretty close. Though I add oregano, too. It’s certainly a family favorite and has earned the nickname “Yummy Chicken.” Here is the recipe for the pork:

Apple-pecan pork chops

4 boneless pork loin chops
Salt & pepper
2 Tbsp. butter
1 med. red apple, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup. chopped pecans
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar

1. Trim fat from pork. Springkle with salt & pepper. Set aside.
2. In a large skillet, melt butter over med. heat until it sizzles. Add apple; cook and stir for 2 min. Push apple to side of skillet. Add pork chops; cook for 4 minutes. Turn chops, moving apple aside as needed. Spoon apple over chops. Sprinkle with pecans and brown sugar.
3. Cover and cook 4-8 min. more, until done. Serve apple and cooking juices over chops.

from Better Homes & Gardens EAT, Summer 2007

For more meal plans, visit Organizing Junkie!

Argh, ye scallywags!

Oh come on, you all know it’s Talk Like A Pirate Day, right? LOL… I didn’t want to tell Jake before school, fearing he’d go a little overboard with it, but once he gets home I’ll fill him in. ๐Ÿ™‚

Not too much going on today. I got some new fish for our tank and had to run to Walmart for a few things. No one felt like pork tonight, and Drew requested Indian food so I needed to buy plain yogurt, and I also wanted to look for a new glass part for my hurricane lamp (I can’t think of the exact word). Yesterday morning at like 5:30 in the morning I decided to put up a few autumn decorations because I was awake with Noah and had nothing else to do. I got the glass part off easily, put my little wreath around the base, and as I was replacing the glass part it shattered in my hand. At 5:30 in the morning. Sigh… not a great way to start the day, but at least I wasn’t cut badly. It made more of a mess than anything. At any rate, Walmart of course did not have what I was looking for and I didn’t feel like running over to Michael’s, so I’ll have to look next time.

While I was driving home, though, I noticed that the tack shop in town has some clothes on clearance, including jeans, so I need to see if Drew needs any because they were cheap. (For you city slickers, a tack shop is a store that sells horse supplies, among other things.)

I am so tired lately! I don’t know if it’s the change of seasons, or because it’s dark pretty early now or what. But last light I saw maybe 5 minutes of “The Office” and I was zonked out! Then again, Noah has been getting up *really* early again, so that could have something to do with it. Well, I hope you all have a little more energy than I do. Anyone have exciting weekend plans?

One Day At A Time

Seriously, I wonder if it is just a coincidence that the stars of “One Day At A Time” have had drug and alcohol problems. Did you hear how earlier this month Mackenzie Phillips was charged with two felony counts of posession? She has checked into a drug treatment center, but she’s been abusing drugs off and on for so long I wonder if it will make a difference.

I also just read that Ryan O’Neil (remember him, from the movie “Love Story”)and his son were arrested on suspicion of drug possession. Plus, in June his daugher Tatum was arrested for trying to buy crack cocaine. Instead of jail time, she agreed to attend a two half-day drug treatment sessions in addition to paying a fine. It’s so sad how these people who you would think have it all, are so clearly falling apart. ๐Ÿ™

Slow Cooking Thursday: Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Thursday already? Wow, the week is flying by. That means it is once again time for Sandra’s Slow Cooking Thursday. Last week I started looking through some of my slow cooker cookbooks, anticipating the cooler temperatures that fall will bring. I found a recipe for garlic mashed potatoes and thought that sounded both a little silly, and a little interesting as well. I mean, it’s not that time-consuming to make mashed potatoes the traditional way. But I thought that using the Crock Pot could be convenient on days when you have a lot of pots on the stove.

Rustic Garlic Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 lbs. baking potatoes, upeeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, cut into 1/8-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 cup milk

Place all ingredients except milk in slow cooker; toss to combine. Cover. Cook on LOW 7 hours or HIGH 4 hours. Add milk to potatoes. Mash potatoes with potato masher or electric mixer until smooth. 5 servings

I substituted chicken broth for water and only used 1/4 tsp. of salt. I also did not add quite that much milk. The potatoes mashed nicely, but were a bit runny, so I decided to transfer them to a dish and broil them for a few minutes. The result was quite good! My six-year-old loved them. The three-year-old ate a bit without complaining. Next time I might drain off some of the broth before mashing them, but all in all, a success.