• Apr

    5 Every Day Home Organization Tips

    It is simple to get your home organized by simply taking a few little steps every day. Getting your home organized does not need to be overwhelming. The following five home organization tips can get you organized in simply a couple of minutes every day. All of these tasks should not take longer than 15 minutes each day.

    1. File 10 pieces of paper every day.
    Now if more than 10 pieces of paper that have to be filed come into your home every day, you’ll need to up this number. One of the biggest challenges in home organization is finding a place for the paper that comes into your home. You would be surprised by what a big difference it makes to take this small step daily. It will help that overflowing “to-be-filed” tray slowly shrink down and help you feel like your home is getting organized.

    2. Toss one thing from your kitchen that you do not use.
    Your regular everyday trash does not count here. It has to be something that has been hanging around your kitchen for a long time and is something that you know you do not use. I have included this home organization tip as a daily one because the kitchen is one of those places in the home that tends to collect things. Gadgets, spices and that great item that was on sale for such a good deal but is something that your family will never actually eat. If you do not use it or do not like it, toss it out or donate it. It is just hindering you in your home organization journey.

    3. Find a permanent home for one thing in your house.
    If you’re like many people, getting your house organized has seemed like a big job because nothing in your home seems to “live” in one spot. Your kids’ toys end up in the living room, kitchen, bedroom and sometimes even in your bed. One of the best ways to get your home organized is by just giving every item in your home a place where it “lives.” Every day find a place for an item in your home that is currently homeless. And if you want to keep your home organized, then make sure that everyone in your home knows where that item’s home now is.

    4. Get rid of one piece of clothing from the closet.
    The closet is one of those places that seem to defy all home organization attempts. Often because there is simply too many clothes for the space. The absolute best piece of home organizing advice I can give you here is this: downsize. Every day take one thing from your closet that either no longer fits you or that you know you would not be caught dead in anyway.

    5. Organize one drawer or shelf.
    For this particular home organization tip, I suggest that you start small. Start off by organizing a small drawer. If you have small drawers in your bathroom, that is a great place to start. Now when you get one shelf or drawer in your house to organize, make a point to really organize it. Take everything out, toss what you do not need anymore and put back the things you do need in some sort of orderly fashion that makes sense for you. There will be areas where you will want to reconsider how that entire place of your home is organized. Going through the drawers and shelves of that area separately will help you know what you have in that area and will help you get that part of your home organized more easily when you are available to take on that project later on.

    Get more home organization tips to help you in your home organization journey at http://www.YourHomeIsOrganized.com. You can also get product recommendations from a professional organizer.

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  • Feb

    We started off with a Curious George party, then did the Cowboy thing and finally the lego party. I was starting to run out of fun ideas for my boys parties.

    One thing Landon loves to do is draw and color, seemed only obvious to throw him an art inspired party.  Now that he and most of his guests are 5 they are able to keep the mess to a minimum so I forged ahead in making this happen.

    I bought dollarstore white placemats and cut them into the shape of a painter’s palette.  I then adhered plastic die cut circles to mimic paint which are easily washable.  Yet another trip to our dollarstore yielded plain canvases on which the kids could paint their masterpiece just like the professionals.  I am convinced the one to the far left will be worth money some day.

    I knew this cake would be perfect for our art party.  No wimpy food coloring for this one, the real dark vibrant food paste was brought in to pull this off.  Beware!  If you get this on your counter be prepared to love the tie die look because it does not wash off easily.  Better yet pawn the job off on your poor unsuspecting parents.  It’s amazing what you can get away with in the name of grand kids.

    For favors I simply picked up some small tubs of Play Doh, a plastic painters palette, some paint brushes and a few tubs of washable paint.  Ironically last minute I forgot to pick up favor bags and tossed the stuff in small green recylcing garbage bags.  I figured everyone at some point can use those and will more than likely come in handy when letting your toddlers paint or use play doh…or as in my case both at once.

    With three kids I am sure to be repeating one of these parties, or better yet I may even take them bowling.  Problem solved.

  • Feb

    If I had to choose one dish that I whip up more than any other, this would be it.

    I always have a ready made stash of frozen cooked turkey or chicken pieces in the freezer and who doesn’t have half eaten bags of various veggies or nearly expired ones in the crisper of your fridge.  With these two items, some chicken broth and the important Magic Mix you can have a warm hearty meal in minutes.

    Whenever I cook homemade broth I freeze some in 2 cup portions for receips such as this.  Simply thaw and add it to the magic mix, thicken and add some veggies and frozen chicken.  Normally I spoon this over some whole grain rice I had frozen or you could simply boil whole whole grain pasta for a base. 

    Not only is this dish easy and quick it’s frugal and makes good use of leftovers and lone stragglers left in your fridge.  Great way to clean it out.

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  • Feb

    I was so excited to get my frozen container of Dr. Bronner’s cleaner I recently ordered from well.ca

    I love Dr. Bronners, I use their cleaner to tackle every job, some require full strength but I mainly dilute it.  A 16oz bottle is priced below $10 and my last bottle last me a full year.  Not a bad investment.  I have since purchased their baby soap and their famous peppermint castille soap of which we use to bath and to fill our soap dispensers with. The best part about Dr. Bronners is the fact they are certified organic, not tested on animals and certified fair trade.  In addition to all of the above his labels are thoroughly amusing.

    Well.ca is an on-line store I frequently purchase from.  Not only do they have an excellent selection of products for you and your family’s well being they have the best customer service ever.  Seriously, they practically call you when the Canada Post truck is turning into your subdivision.  Obviously I ignored that e-mail and left the bottle until the following Monday upon which I found it frozen solid.

    The best part about Well.ca is free shipping resulting in fewer shopping trips with children…..priceless.

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  • Feb

    I am not going to lie and say my journey to eating a whole foods diet was easy, it was an uphill journey and still is.

    It takes time, patience, organization but most of all an open mind.  An open mind to try new things, ingredients you can barely pronounce let alone pay money for, cook and serve to your family.  Take Quinoa for example, it sounds weird (pronounced Keenwa) but with some creativity and experimenting with new recipes this little nutty grain could easily replace plain rice in your favourite family dishes….except for you mom, I know you hate the stuff.

    Start with one small change and work from there.  I started with spelt flour and continue to use this in the majority of my baked goods and breads.  Spelt easily replaces white flour in most recipes without too much change in flavor and texture.  The next time you bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies, try substituting one cup of spelt in place of white and from there go wild and work yourself up to a half.  Contrary to what my Dad thinks you are not going hippy by eating spelt and quinoa….and so what if you were, you will be one healthy hippy.

    Baby steps are key to incorporating alternative ingredients into your diet but with small minuscule changes the transition will be seamless without an uprising from your family members

    Here is some information on spelt flour…by far an easy first step in a whole foods diet.

  • Feb

    Now that I am starting to settle into a routine with 3 kids, I am hoping to get back into a routine of eating more wholesome food.  I used to cook with alternative grains, beans and legumes but in the past months found myself neglecting to include them in our menus.  Granted it does take a little more prep work than simply opening a can but with a little pre-planning beans will be making a welcome come back in our meal repetoire.

    I recently made a trip to my favorite bulk food store armed with my mom and two $3 off coupons.  I divided my order in two and got $6 off a total of $25.  I stocked up on my ol’ stand by pinto beans, spelt flour, whole grain flour but went out of my comfort zone and purchased black beans.  I m anxious to try a few new mexican recipes of which I plan to use my homemade yogurt or strained keift in place of commercial sour cream.

    If you are a bean newbie and would like some ideas on this protein packed gem check some of these out.

    Stephanie’s baby steps series on beans (Still working on her Say No! to Kraft Dinner, I confess I am guilty of dishing out this one now and then)

    Black Bean quessidillas

    refried beans

    You may want to space out your bean meals until one gets accustomed to their effects….can’t say I didn’t warn you.

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  • Feb

    We spent the better part of our weekend nailing, cutting and gluing boards to our ceiling.  Although we only have a quarter complete we have worked the kinks out and it should be smooth sailing from here on in. 

    Amazingly I managed to pull off a big meal for the extended family amidst the chaos of construction.  We did have a little mishap of hubby turning on the dusty mitre saw as I was mixing cornbread for the casserole which may have resulted in a little extra crunch.  Oh well! nobody complained and their all still standing.

    Now on to the rest of the week.

    Sunday – Wings and corned bread veggie bake

    Monday – veggie soup and grilled cheese.  A few weeks ago I made two large batches of soup, chicken fricot and vegetable.  Although my hubby is not a soup kind of guy when accompanied by warm rolls or crusty bread it is a nice light alternative on a cold night.

    Tuesday – Sticky chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans

    Wednesday – Chicken parmesan, carrot sticks and dip

    Thursday – leftovers

    Friday – meatballs, tex mex rice and broccoli

    Saturday – cabbage sloppy joes

    If you are stuck on ideas for dinner check out Laura’s site for plenty of them.

  • Jan

    How’s this for chaos? Last May little Mclaren was overdue by 2 weeks, we closed the deal on our home and attempted to move all in the span of 2 weeks For for the record, I did NOT scrapbook this moment.

    The painter was here so long the kids started referring to as their uncle, the furnace had to be unexpectedly replaced and through all of this we were dealing with false labor pains. Brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.

    But we survived, a few grays emerged on my head and a few gray hairs left my hubby’s. But the key word is we survived, and I am so glad we did because I love the new house. Our home.

    Don’t get me wrong, I was reluctant to leave the farm and the security of my parents. If it was not for the no more children clause they strategically (in minuscule print I might add) placed in our rental agreement, I probably would be still there protesting the eviction. In all seriousness we knew it was time. My parents were in the basement apartment and the overhead noise was only going to get worst with the not so tiny pitter patter of heavy clunky toddler feet. We needed our very own place as they did theirs. So we found this little gem complete with a dozen contrasting floral wallpaper…all of which were not placed over primed walls. Feel my pain? I will never support a wallpaper comeback regardless of who on HGTV says it is the in thing, I cannot stomach the stuff.

    Wanna see my once pink kitchen? I didn’t zoom out for a full shot, too much pink, way too much.

    I can see all of your curled up noses now.  Believe it or not that is a pink painted brick back splash.  No, that doesn’t sound hideous enough.  Here’s a better description, it’s a painted pink zebrick backsplash.  That is right up there with fuzzy textured snot green wallpaper circa 1970 surprisingly enough I have not unearthed any as of yet.

    So here is my new, but not quite complete kitchen

    I still have a wood counter top and apron front sink to install, bead board ceiling and outdoor light fixtures to get up. Note how I strategically centered the picture to avoid showing off the hideous ceiling and floors, not to mention the pile of junk that was there a mere 10 seconds before.  I should seriously learn to photoshop to avoid such hassle.

    When all the above has been checked off my honey “do” list,  I will zoom out and take the full shot.

  • Jan

    Life Happens

    Filed under: about me, family; Tagged as: , ,

    The dust is starting to settle so I thought I would begin to dabble in the world of blogging once again. I miss learning new tricks from other frugal moms, venting my frustrations but most of all the friendships that emerged.

    Since I last reported, our family went from this

    To this

    Yes you counted right. We now have three little ones.

    As one can well imagine, life is crazy. Heck, why sugar coat it, it’s downright insane! I don’t have the luxury of closing my office door for a much needed break (although the bathroom has proved to be a decent substitute) but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

    This past year has had it’s share of challenges, mainly due to my little girls health scare at birth. Life gets put into perspective in the blink of an eye and so did my focus. Now that I have settled into a chaotic routine I hope to share some new and improved ways to save money, time and hopefully your sanity (although I may ask for help on that issue from time to time)

  • Jun

    For nearly 12 years my family’s farm has run a disabled horseback riding program.  Throughout the summer we have the privilege of working with and witnessing first hand children with special needs blossom.  For once in their lives they are equal to others and can maneuvre a 1200 lb horse as easily as an able bodied person can.

    We never knew how much that program meant to us until it personally affected us.

    DSCF4259 Our beautiful little girl, Mclaren Faith was born over a week ago.  Unfortunately she suffered asphyxiation and suffered damage to a portion of her brain. Miraculously she survived and after several heart wrenching days watching her cling to life she pulled through… but not without damage.   In what way? only time will tell but in an instant our life as we envisioned it will never be the same.  Needless to say our family is in shock and numb and need to make this little miracle our primary focus.

    I cherish all of those whom I met through blogging, many of you have become a great source of support.  No doubt I will continue reading some of my favourites, continuing to be inspired by all of the great mom’s that are out there.  Please take care, all of you.

    God Bless


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