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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Magnetic Denim Pen Pocket

Here is a quick easy project I have been wanting to do for a long time. We have a markerboard on our fridge where we write our lunch and dinner menu plan, as well as the start of the shopping list as we run out of things. But the markers have just been sitting on top of the fridge. No more!

I had a pair of jeans with a broken zipper, so I decided to cut one of the back pockets off for a marker pocket. I just stuck two of my magnets from making bubble magnets on the inside, and voila! marker pocket.

No more losing markers! I may still add some sort of pretty embellishment to the front of the pocket, but it works just fine as is.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I planned part of this week's menu a few weeks ago - we do big grocery shopping twice a month, with occasional fill-ins, so I planned the last few days of February already. That's a good thing, because I really had no desire to meal plan or grocery shop over the past few days.

  • PB&J x2
  • Leftovers
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Quesadillas
  • Muffin Tin Lunch
  • Eat Out

Monday: Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches
Tuesday: Veggie Pot Pie (we did some rearranging last week and this was a leftover)
Wednesday: Church Lenten Dinner
Thursday: Dollar Dinner at the Beacon
Friday Veggie Stir Fry
Saturday: Homemade Mac & Cheese with Hot Dogs
Sunday: Veggie Minestrone Soup & Homemade Bread

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What I'm Reading...

I'm on an organizing and decluttering kick. Proof: In the past week, I've sold a few kitchen items I'm not using for $17! With many more to come...I'm working on this 100 Things Decluttering Challenge, and it's not that hard to come up with 100. You should try it!

Simplify & Minimize Your Home Life
. I think my favorite part was the pile of unmade decisions. It's so easy to have stuff pile up because you decide not to deal with it. (The Better Mom)

Do You Want to Earn Extra Money? Lots of good tips for selling things on ebay, Craigslist, and so on. (Be Simply Organized)

Toy Trucks Organized
. Oh to have the space for one of these. Maybe I need to make the space for one of these for all of our Little People sets... (Family Love Home)

SIMPLE Tips to Get Organized
. Acronyms are always helpful. (Money Saving Mom)

And finally, a non-organizing related post (although it was posted on an organizing blog), because this one just absolutely resonated with me. Motherhood: The Most Difficult Job I've Ever Had. I'm a Type A person too, and that makes being a mother very challenging at times. Like lately, when sleep schedules have been so varied and shifting that it's just about driven me crazy. (Simple Organized Living)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cinnamon Banana Bread Mini Muffins

I had a few bananas getting ripe on the counter, but I didn't want to just make plain old banana bread again. It's good, but I wanted something different. So...Cinnamon Banana Bread Mini Muffins!

Please excuse their massive muffin tops, as I filled the pan a wee bit too full.

  • 2-3 bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (for topping)
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar (for topping)
Melt butter and mix in mashed bananas. Add sugar, egg, and vanilla, and stir. Add baking soda, 1 tsp. cinnamon, salt, and flour, and mix just until combined. Spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick spray (or line with mini muffin liners), and fill 3/4 full with batter. Not all the way full like I did. In a small bowl, mix 1 tsp. cinnamon and brown sugar. Sprinkle on top of batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 16-20 minutes. Makes 22-24 mini muffins.

I basically took my standard banana bread recipe, added cinnamon to it, and added a topping. I did have to baby-sit the oven to find out how long they would take to bake, but otherwise, this was an easy kitchen experiment, and now I have another option when I get some older bananas!

Also, thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Probst, who brought us back freshly ground cinnamon from Mexico, which inspired this recipe. Thanks!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I'm excited for this week, because I don't have a ton of cooking to do! That means some baking may be in order. I don't love cooking, but I do enjoy my baked goodies!

  • Quesadillas x2
  • Grilled Cheese
  • PB&J x2
  • Leftovers
  • Eat Out

Monday/Tuesday: Crockpot Beef Stew and Homemade Bread
Wednesday: Lent Supper at Church
Thursday: Dollar Dinner at the Beacon
Friday: Steak and Mashed Potatoes (to celebrate Jesse's defense of his MDiv, which will be his second thesis in 2 years - my honey is smart!)
Saturday: Crockpot Corn Chowder
Sunday: Veggie Pot Pie

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What I'm Reading...

A Little Homework Might Help You Reach Your Objective. I was really good about getting things done while I was still in school, but since then, I find it easier and easier to slip into wasting time. (Unclutterer)

Greetings! How We Organize Holiday Cards. I love the idea of having an album for all of the announcements and photos we receive throughout the year. Ours have been stuck on the fridge, and then put into a pile. (I Heart Organizing)

Real Married-With-Kids Romance. It's all about the little moments. (The Happiest Mom)

How I Purged 91% of Our Stuff. Impressive. (Money Saving Mom)

How We Manage Without a Washer and a Dryer. We do this not necessarily by choice, but it mostly works. There are times I would love my own machines (like when we go through diaper covers extra fast, or there's an entire load of wet towels because someone spilled water three times in two days), but mostly, using our shared apartment laundry is fine. (Money Saving Mom)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Coffee Bag Bag

I love crafting with duct tape! Trivia: My freshman year of college, I made a dress out of hot pink and orange duct tape, and wore it to our formal dinner at the end of the year. So I have a fond place in my heart for duct tape. I also have a fond place in my heart for coffee.

I have been saving my empty coffee bags for awhile now (this project used 6 total), and I knew I would find a great way to use them. Enter: the coffee bag bag.

I didn't take any pictures of the process, but it was pretty simple. I started out by taking the 4 bags for the outside and opening them up and flattening them out. The 2 orange ones show pretty much the whole thing, and the blue and gold ones show just what was the front of the package. I used clear packing tape to attach them all together in a line, and then taped the ends together to form the main part of the bag. The folds of the coffee bags actually work with you for this part. I also folded down the top and bottom edges and taped them with their first layer of duct tape so they would look pretty. With me so far? Good.

Then I moved on to the bottom of the bag. I taped together two miscellaneous other brand bags I had saved, so that they were slightly longer than the bag. Then came the tricky part of maneuvering that into the bottom, and taping it in. I used small pieces of duct tape to keep it in place, and then went over the entire bottom with tape (so from the outside, it just looks black on the bottom). I taped all around the edges of those bags on the inside as well, so it would be nice and sturdy.

I put an extra layer or two of tape around the top and bottom of the bag for extra support, and to make the edges prettier. Then I made the handles. I cut 4 pieces of craft wire (2 for each handle), put them on the sticky side of a piece of duct tape, and taped another one to it, carefully lining up the edges. And then I added another 2 layers, again, for sturdiness. I taped them to the top of the bag and voila! it's done! The craft wire is optional, but it helps the handles keep their shape a bit better.

I think it turned out really well, and while the tape edges aren't perfectly lined up, it's still a really cool one-of-a-kind bag. I think I may even get some of the small 2 oz. coffee bags from the grocery store so I can make some little pockets on the inside from them.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fridge Deep Cleaning

My February goal was to deep clean our refrigerator. All of the shelves needed to be wiped down, and those little ridges in the door had been collecting yucky stuff for far too long. I didn't take a before picture, because when I got in the mood to clean the fridge (or at least as close to "in the mood" as I was going to get), I didn't want to waste a minute!

I promise we normally have more in our refrigerator than butter and wine. This was the day or so before shopping, and since it was extra empty, it seemed like a perfect time.

And here's our fairly empty (really!) freezer. I wiped that out too.

I'm super excited to get this checked off my list of to-dos, and it actually motivated me to clean out my dish strainer and clean off my counters too!

On a side note, I actually think it's really interesting to peek into other peoples' refrigerators and freezers. So now you've seen mine. What's in yours?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • PB&J x2
  • Leftovers
  • Eat Out
  • Quesadillas
  • Grilled Cheese

Monday: Early Valentine's Day dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings
Tuesday/Wednesday: Slow Cooker Jamaican Red Bean Stew and Cornbread
Thursday: Dollar Dinner at the Beacon
Friday: Green Noodles
Saturday: Broccoli Mushroom Alfredo
Sunday: Waffles

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What I'm Reading...

Keeping Your Toddler Creatively Occupied Without Buying More Toys. They never seem as interested in the toys as in everything else anyways. (Money Saving Mom)

Creating a Wardrobe That Works for You
. I'm just starting this process, but it's been eye-opening to see what I actually wear, and how much I don't. (Simple Mom)

How to Measure the Days When You Work from Home
. This just made me laugh, because when we get packages/a lot of mail, it really does make the day better. (Offbeat Home)

5 Simple Chores for Kids to Complete Every Day
. Jonah helps set the table for breakfast, and he picks up all of the toys before bed. (Life Your Way)

The Question That Brought My Home Into Organizational Homeostasis. A place for everything, and everything in it's place. (Offbeat Home)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Homemade Wheat Thins

I've been meaning to make these for the past month or so, and I finally got to it. At first it was because I didn't have any parchment paper, and then life just got busy. Here's the recipe.

A close-up of the cooling crackers.

These actually taste pretty close to the real deal, from what I can tell. I have a bit of a cold, so I could be way off...but they're good enough that Jonah gobbled a bunch up today, at any rate.

The only thing I didn't like about them was that they weren't as crispy as I would have liked, but I was making them after dinner, with both kids awake and on the verge of crabby, so I didn't roll them out quite as thin as I probably should have. Lesson learned for next time!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Crafty Link-Up: Dessert for One

I don't know about you, but sometimes I get a craving for something sweet, baked, and yummy. But I don't always want to a) make a big pan of something or b) wait for it to be done. Enter: The coffee mug dessert. I don't know who came up with this, but it's brilliant.

First off, coffeecake in a mug.

Chocolate chip cookie dough mug cake: for when you want cookies.

If you're in a cheesecake mood, this one takes a little longer (chill time), but it's still a single serve dessert.

How about a two-minute brownie? I'm always in the mood for one of those...

And last, but not least, a list of 10 more. Because you need options...

Hope you have a lot of mugs!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Puzzle Pockets

We are always losing puzzle pieces, so when I saw this idea, I knew we had to do it! All you need is a sheet of felt and a hot glue gun. Cut to slightly smaller than the puzzle board, and glue three edges.

Once dry, give to your child to fill the pocket. Jonah hasn't quite figured out to put the pieces for each puzzle back with their own board, but at least getting them in the pockets is something.

This was an easy project that I had been meaning to do for awhile, and I finally got the felt over the weekend.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

  • Thai Chickpea Burgers (Peas & Thank You cookbook)
  • Quesadillas
  • PB&J x2
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Egg Salad
  • Leftovers

Monday: BBQ Chickpea Pizza (Peas & Thank You cookbook)
Tuesday/Wednesday: Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup
Thursday: Dollar Dinner at the Beacon
Friday: Veggie Loaded Pasta Bake (from Better Homes & Gardens magazine)
Saturday: Panera Broccoli & Cheese Soup, Homemade Bread
Sunday: Grilled Cheese & Homemade Tomato Soup

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What I'm Reading...

10 Containers to Reuse or Recycle for Craft Supplies. I use baby wipes containers for most of mine, plus a few jars. (Life Your Way)

How to Plan a Snow Picnic. This looks like so much fun when my kids are a bit older! (Simple Bites)

Dinner Organizing Advice from 10 Large Families. An interesting meal planning read. (Unclutterer) and 40 Pounds of Beef + 7 Hours = 40 Freezer Meals shows one way to use your freezer. (Money Saving Mom)

Words Will Never Hurt Me? This is true regardless of age. (Simple Mom)

The Real Debate: Cash vs. Credit Cards. I like to read others' opinions on this one, because there are always so many valid points on both sides. (Money Saving Mom)

Football Cake and Cupcakes

Happy Superbowl Sunday! We are having a party at our church today, so yesterday I made some cupcakes and a cake for part of our snacks. I did chocolate frosting, with simple white piping for the football laces.

For the cake, I used a can of Pillsbury Easy Squeeze, which I had gotten a free coupon for, but you could pipe the frosting on with frosting tips just as easily.

Here's a close-up of one of the cupcakes. Jonah actually stuck his finger in this one, so I made the frosting a little squiggly so I'll know which one to give him at the party...

Enjoy the game, or maybe the commercials!