Saturday, September 24, 2011

Necklace Organization

This is how I organize stored my necklaces.  Not good. I was inspired by a project on Pinterest using a towel rod and S hooks to organize necklaces.  But I wasn't happy with how bulky and heavy all the towel rods were. I also didn't want it to turn into a $50 venture.  So, I took a trip to Ikea today and hit the jackpot!  
As my husband was running out the door to go golfing, I asked him to hang this for me, and being the sweetie he is, he did!
The rod is thin and streamlined,yet strong, and it was $1.99.  The s-hooks were 99 cents for a pack of 10.  I was silly enough to think that 2 packs were enough.  I had to take a 2nd trip to Ikea to get 2 more packs...
Then, I hung all the necklaces.

You may be able see in the background that I reused the jewelry tree for watches and bracelets.

Oh, how I love Pinterest and Ikea!!

Blessings to you,

Friday, September 23, 2011

Weekly Plans

Digging Deeper Into God's Word:  So excited to start the Ministry of Motherhood study this week!

Hiding God's Word in My Heart:   
Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Motherhood Ministry:   I want to show my children that they are a joy to me, not a just another thing on my to-do list.

Marriage Builders:   Working on being attentive to Brian!-this will mean closing the computer or putting down the phone to be an active listener!

What's For Dinner: (It's a slow-cooker-kind-of-week!)
Sunday- Jambalaya, bread, salad
Monday- Bible study in my home starts! So a slow cooker meal is in order! French Dip Sandwiches
Tuesday- Italian Chicken in the Slow Cooker (if it's good, recipe will follow!), rice, green beans
Wednesday- BBQ ribs in the slow cooker, sweet potatoes in the other slow cooker
Thursday-Taco Soup in the slow cooker, salad
Friday-The kids have friends spending the night so it's Pizza Night! 
Saturday- Dinner out

 Gotta Get It Done:    *Decorate for fall (I know I live in S. FL but I can still pretend it's fall!)
*Prepare for International Day at school on Friday
*Prepare for my iPad lesson
*Paint my nails- I WILL make time for this this week!

On the Calendar:   
*Monday-Ministry of Motherhood Bible study starts!
*Wednesday is my big iPad lesson in my classroom and I'll be videoed while teaching-lots of prep necessary for that!

I would love to read your weekly plans! Let me know if you post them!

Blessings to you,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Turkey Breast in the Slow Cooker

My friend, Lori, has been telling me for years about how she makes her turkey in the crock pot every year.  Well, I finally decided to try it!  It was a slow cooker success!

First, I bought a turkey breast-not a whole turkey.  I got mine on sale for 99 cents a pound at Super Target last week.

 Sprinkle with poultry seasoning.

Fill the crock pot 3/4 of the way with water.

That's it!  Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
I'm not a big fan of white meat because it's usually dry.
It was juicy and tasty!  I served it with mashed potatoes and turkey gravy and it was great!

Blessings to you,

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Pinterest has struck again!  Saw this recipe from and HAD to make it!  It came out great!

3 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. butter, melted

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. cinnamon

2 c. powdered sugar
5 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all the cake ingredients together saving the melted butter for last and pour them into a greased 13 x 9 baking dish.

Mix the topping ingredients together and dollop it on top of the cake mixture.

Use a knife to swirl the topping into the cake batter.

Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  This cake is going to make your house smell like a cinnamon roll!
Meanwhile mix the glaze ingredients together.

When it comes out of the oven it looks yummy.

But then when I poured the glaze on it -it took it to a whole 'nother level.


Blessings to you,

Friday, September 16, 2011

Your Kids Can Pack Their Own Lunches!

I've always disliked packing lunches.  I don't know why.  It's just such a chore.  Well, it could be because one kid likes sandwiches, one doesn't, one likes soup, one doesn't, one likes fruit, one doesn't, one likes cracker snacks, one doesn't, one likes caprisuns, one doesn't, one likes Gatorade, one doesn't.  Well, after 7 years of having kids in school I've finally figured out the solution.  LET THEM PACK THEIR OWN LUNCHES!  One less chore for me, and everyone gets what they like in their lunch.  It's a win-win situation.
Here's a few tips that have made it manageable for my kids to pack their own lunches:
1.  Pack lunches right when you get home.  Don't wait until 10 minutes before bedtime or in the morning before school when time is short and patience is shorter.

2.   Put all the refrigerated snacks and drinks in a container in the fridge.  The container keeps it all together so no hunting through all the shelves. It's easy to pull out the container and see everything that's there.

3.  Divide all the fruit into baggies and put the whole fruits in a large container in the drawer.  Again, it's all in one spot and ready to grab.

4.  Divide all the chips into baggies and put them into a large basket in the pantry. This is a time saver and a money saver.  I bought 3 bag of chips for $5 and made 20 baggies of chips.  It costs $6.49 for 24 bags of prepackaged chips.  And I guarantee my baggies of chips had twice as many chips in them.  

5.  Take all the snacks and crackers out of the boxes and stack them neatly in a basket.  It provides easy access and makes for an organized pantry.

Our new lunch packing system has been working like a charm for about a month now.  The kids have not complained once about packing their own lunches (go, figure!).  I've also noticed that I'm saving money, because all the snacks are eaten before I replenish them.   I'm able to look in those 4 key spots and see right away what I have and what I need. 
I spend about 30 minutes a week putting everything in baggies and taking them out of the boxes.  The kids spend about 5 minutes making a sandwich and throwing snacks into their lunch boxes.  Holly is my soup eater, so if she wants soup, I heat it up in the morning for her and put it in the thermos. That's my only lunch responsibility left and I'm lovin' it!

Blessings to you,

Friday, September 9, 2011

How To Be An {Organized} Mom

I love being organized.  It's a love that grows deeper as I get older.  When I was a twenty-something, organization wasn't high on my priority list.  Maybe because I had less to organize back then!

But now, with 2 growing kids, a full time job, a husband, and a home -organization is key to sanity.
I don't like chaos in my home and organization prevents chaos (for the most part!).

And more importantly, as I teach my 2nd graders, God is a God of order.  I need to have order in my home.
Let's be honest, the Proverbs 31 woman makes us all look bad.  But she is something that I need to strive for.  Her habits are modeled for me right there in black and white.  Just another reason I love God's Word so much.  It gives me direction for every area of my life!

Over the past 5 years I have become more organized than ever.  I have found some simple things that help my home run smoothly.  So I share...

1.  {Train your  kids to pitch in.}  Whether you work outside the home or not, this is a necessity.  If for no other reason, we need to teach our children life skills and how to become responsible adults.  Male or female they should have set chores.  I've shared this before, but my 13 year old son completely does his own laundry (operating the washer and all).  And I can tell you, he is going to be a catch some day for a lucky girl!!  My 7 year old daughter folds and puts her laundry away.  They both make their own lunches (starting this school year and it's working like a charm!).  Those are the 2 big things that they are responsible for.  There's many other "little" chores that they do.  But those 2 things take such a load off of me.  I can be more available to them on the evenings and weekends because I have 2 less loads of laundry and 2 less lunches to make.

2.  {Do everything the night before.} This is a must for me.  Some of the things we do the night before school/work: make lunches, lay out clothes, sign homework journals, go through school papers, decide what's for breakfast the next morning, make sure shoes are by the door, we even put backpacks in the van the night before (extreme? no! A couple of times a month I have students show up without a backpack in my class! Totally could have been prevented with a little organization!) This isn't just for the kids either. I lay out (and iron if necessary) my clothes, shoes, and jewelry for the next day.  I make sure my coffee pot is "loaded" and the cup is sitting by the pot.  Every little bit helps!

3.  {Have a folder for each kid}  I buy 2 extra folders when I buy my school supplies: one for Dylan, one for Holly.  I put all their school papers that I need to keep in their folder, i.e. weekly newsletters, field trip, party info, picture day info, etc.  I always know where to look for pertinent information. I also mark the calendar immediately with important dates that are mentioned in their weekly folders so I don't have to keep papers just for the dates.

4. {Don't keep it!}  When I go through their weekly folders I TOSS everything that is not pertinent.  No stacks of papers allowed around here.  I probably save 5 papers a year for the scrapbook.  I take pictures of art projects or science fair projects and throw out the originals! Yes, I do!! (thankfully with a 2nd & 7th grader we're passed the season of excessive craft projects!)  I act on papers as quickly as possible.  I send in the picture money, sign the permission slip etc. within a day of receiving it.

5.  {Say No!}  One of the quickest ways to NOT be organized in your daily routines is to be too busy.   We have a strict limit on activities.  Only one extra curricular activity at a time per kid.  We rarely have any other weeknight activities.  This gives my kids time to do homework.  It allows us time to sit down and have a family meal time and devotion time.   I also say no to working late unless absolutely necessary.  As much as I love my job, my family is my priority and I always need to keep that in perspective.  We say no to too many weekend activities, as well.  As I've shared before, we only go to birthday parties of family and very close friends.  Maybe once a year, we break that rule and attend another party outside of those parameters.  There's no way I can keep up with my home if we are running the entire weekend, weekend after weekend.  I've learned this the hard way!

6.  {Plan your meals and plan ahead} This is huge for me.  I generally don't go to the grocery during the week. This robs me of valuable time.  Not to mention that it's the last thing I want to do after work! I plan my meals on the weekend.  I don't always stick to it exactly, but I know I have everything I need for meals for the entire week.  I also do all other shopping during the weekend-birthday presents, cards that need to be mailed out, supplies for the kids for school-whatever I have to get to avoid the stores Mon.- Fri.!

7.  {Have a daily devotion time}I NEED to start my day with God's Word.  It sets the tone for my day and keeps me on track.  Nothing can derail a well organized day faster than not giving my day to Lord!

Do you have any great tips or tricks for staying organized at home?

Blessings to you,

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Real Recipes for Real Moms {Wednesday}

I have declared this week "Real Recipes for Real Moms" Week!  Each day this week I will feature a "real recipe" for you!  I hope to give you a few new recipes to add to your regular recipe rotation.  

Wednesday's recipe is an oldie but goodie: Chicken Pot Pie.  I made these as mini pies.  But you could make the same recipe in a premade pie shell.  Or if you like the mini size, small ramekins would work as well.
So here's the recipe:
1.  Boil boneless skinless chicken in chicken broth.  I used thighs because they're cheaper and tastier in my opinion.  But you could certainly use breasts.
2.  Cut up the chicken.  Then in a large bowl combine a can of cream of potato soup and a can of cream of chicken soup. 
3.  Add frozen vegetables of your choice.  I used corn and chopped up fresh mushrooms since my family does not like most other veggies. Combine all the ingredients.
4.  Using the refrigerated pie crust (I use the store brand since it's cheaper) cut circles that are a little bigger than the jar opening.  Cut slits in the crust.

5.  Fill the jars with the mixture.  I was able to fill 6 jars. 
6.  Place the crusts on each jar creasing the edges to look pie like.  Bake for about 30-45 minutes on 350 degrees.
The end result was deliciousness.  I would even make these when I entertain.  I was worried that the jars were a little small and might not be a full individual serving.  But it was plenty.  The kids and I each ate 1 and my hubby ate 2.  I served with a salad.

Blessings to you,

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Real Recipes for Real Moms {Tuesday}

I have declared this week "Real Recipes for Real Moms" Week!  Each day this week I will feature a "real recipe" for you!  I hope to give you a few new recipes to add to your regular recipe rotation.  

Tuesday's recipe is an easy, new idea for breakfast.  Waffles!  I saw this idea on Pinterest and had to try it out.  You may remember my previous attempt at a Pinterest recipe using the waffle iron.  It didn't end well.  This recipe, however, is pure success.
You need 2 things:

I used the honey butter biscuits because I like the idea of the sweetness.
I put the biscuits on the waffle iron.

I closed the waffle iron for about the same amount of time that it takes to toast frozen waffles. (O.k., maybe a minute more)-and wa-la!

Aren't they pretty?  And what's better is they tasted a-mazing!  I can give my kids a yummy hot breakfast even on school mornings using this technique-and so can  you!

Blessings to you,

Monday, September 5, 2011

Real Recipes for Real Moms {Monday}

I have declared this week "Real Recipes for Real Moms" Week!  Each day this week I will feature a "real recipe" for you!  I hope to give you a few new recipes to add to your regular recipe rotation.  

Monday's recipe is Coke Can Chicken.  This is a twist on the old "Beer Can Chicken" recipe.  This is a favorite of mine because it takes less than 10 minutes to prep. Then,  I can pop it in the oven, and while it's cooking make lunches, prepare the next day's clothes, and help with homework-just like real mom's have to!

You'll need:
1 whole chicken (be sure to take out the yucky insides)
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. taco seasoning or 1 packet
1 can of coke

Combine the taco seasoning and brown sugar for the rub.

Then rub that chicken! {I spared you the photos of that because it's just messy and gross.}  Don't forget to sprinkle some rub under the skin and in the main cavity of the chicken.

Empty half the coke and drink it, of course.

Then stick the can, you know where, and stand it in a baking dish.  I like to use a deeper dish just in case it falls.  Make sure you put it on the lowest rack in your oven. My chicken started to get a little too brown on the top so I just put a loose foil tent on top of the chicken for the last 30-45 minutes of cooking.  

Bake it for 1.5 hours.  Hopefully, this is long enough to get all the other things on our weeknight to-do list done! 

Taking the can out of the chicken is a two-man job.  Remember, the can will be super hot!
The chicken will be moist on the inside and crispy and flavorful on the outside!

Serve it with some sweet potatoes-check out my easy sweet potato recipe here.

And since you're a real mom-I wanted to leave you with some real good advice from God's Word-my verse for this week:
Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
 Strive to make all of your responses and attitudes sweetened with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience as you interact with your husband, children, co-workers and neighbors this week! 
See you tomorrow with another real recipe!

Blessings to you,

I'm linking here: Jam Hands

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Weekly Plans

Bible study:  All 4 chapters of Philippians

Memory Verse:   Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Train Them Up:  STILL Working with Holly on keeping her room clean daily so it's not a big mess come the weekend.   As a family, committing to using the prayer list from our church to pray for the pastoral search committee.

Husband Encouragement:  Was not consistent with this last week! So keeping this same goal this week: A small thing this week-but a big thing-greeting my hubby at the door with a kiss when he gets home!

Monday-BBQing burgers and baked potatoes-maybe try a new dessert recipe since it's a day off...????
Tuesday-Turkey breast in the crockpot and mashed potatoes and turkey gravy
Wednesday-Sonny's (kids eat free!)
Thursday-Chicken tacos (didn't make these as planned last week)
Friday-Boys camping-which means cereal or whatever for the girls all weekend!
Saturday-Boys camping
Sunday-Boys camping

To Do List:   *Get AHEAD on lesson plans at work
*Grocery shop and prepare food for the boys camping trip
*Deep clean my van this weekend

On the Calendar: Tuesday night: Dylan's 7th grade back to school night
Wednesday night: Awana starts
Thursday night: viewing for Brian's dear friend 
Friday: boys leave for their camping trip

I would love to read your weekly plans! Let me know if you post them!

Blessings to you,

Chipotle Dorito Casserole

This is a great week night meal.  It's also a great one for potluck dinners!
Gather these ingredients:
2 lbs. Ground chicken
2 packets of taco seasoning mix
2 bricks of cheddar jack cheese (or 4 cups)
2 cans of chicken mushroom soup
1 bag of Spicy Sweet Chili Doritoes (a.k.a. chipotle flavor)

I buy my taco seasoning in bulk.  If you eat tacos almost weekly like we do, I recommend you do the same.  It's less than $5 and I use it for months.  When you figure that a single packet of taco seasoning is about a $1, it's a huge savings! And you don't have to worry about not having the seasoning on hand.

I also find it healthier and more cost effective to grate my own cheese.

Brown the ground chicken and add the taco seasoning.

Add the cans of mushroom soup.  Pour 1/2 of the mixture in a 13x9 cassrerole. (I only made a 1/2 portion and used a 8x8 in this pic)

Put a layer of Doritoes and 1/2 the cheese.  Then add a second layer: meat, Doritoes, cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes on bottom rack (to keep the Doritoes from getting too brown) or until cheese is melted.

Top with lettuce, tomato, sour cream and enjoy a new twist on a taco salad!

Blessings to you,

I'm linking here: Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays


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