Monthly Archives: March 2013

One Little Thing… Mixes

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I thought my system was working. It wasn't. bucketfulofcrazy.wordpress.com

I had a slight problem with my gravy/taco/sauce/marinade mixes. I had them nice and contained, or so I had thought, in a basket and reused bourbon box. When I did this update (a year ago, maybe?), it really did work. I had 3 little rows in the box, and the bigger stuff was in the basket. I’m not sure when it all went to heck, but there you have it.

you need to see what you have, purge what you should, and go from there. bucketfulofcrazy.wordpress.com

you need to see what you have, purge what you should, and go from there. bucketfulofcrazy.wordpress.com

I pulled everything out with the intention of tidying it up and putting everything back in the same box. I like the look of the box, and really wanted to use it. The problem is that the narrow part was too narrow to hold the mixes properly, even the small mixes. So I looked around to see if I could find something that would work to make it more contained and I saw the Coke box sitting next to the recycle bin. It was wider than the bourbon box, but not pretty, At All! However, right now I am aiming for done over pretty.

Organize in a way that makes sense. You could also put little dividers if you were so inclined.bucketfulofcrazy.wordpress.com

Organize in a way that makes sense. You could also put little dividers if you were so inclined.
bucketfulofcrazy.wordpress.com

I was able to get rid of a few things (Pampered Chef from 8 years ago… I’m lookin at you!), and I kept everything organized by type. I arranged it by frequency of use, and put the bigger mixes sideways in the back so they fit better. I thought about making little dividers so that I could really see what I have, and I may still do that. Probably once I figure out what to cover the thing with.

Put your new system into place. I will probably cover that with some scrapbook or contact paper, later. bucketfulofcrazy.wordpress.com

Put your new system into place. I will probably cover that with some scrapbook or contact paper, later. bucketfulofcrazy.wordpress.com

Then, I put it back. Easier to use, not prettier to look at, takes up less space.

I was able to find something to do with the bourbon box though… it fits 3 boxes of Pop Tarts perfectly! Also, note to the Pop Tart people… if you labeled the flavor on the foil wrapper, I wouldn’t need to keep the box! That’s just dumb.

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The garden experiment

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Today I started my garden. Sort of.

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This is my way of picking the best seeds to start a garden with… zip top snack bags!

The quickest and easiest way to start seeds is in a folded up wet paper towel inside a ziplock bag. This makes a mini-greenhouse, and is a great environment to sprout seeds. It is a great way to see which seeds will take, and which will be the strongest to actually plant. Usually I’ll start about twice the number of seeds as plants that I want. That way, if some don’t take, that’s fine. If I mess one up during the planting, that’s fine too. I also keep them for a bit after planting in case some don’t thrive once planted.

This is the most ambitious garden I’ve ever undertaken. Usually it would be a couple plants that rarely make it off the window sill! I bought a box of snack bags from the Dollar Tree (for snacks!) and decided instead of doing it the way I had planned (3 quart bags with a few seed varieties each marked with bag closers), I would use the snack bags. Makes it easier to know which seeds are which.

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This is the way I was planning on doing it, but changed it for snack bags instead. More bags, but less hassle!

Now I just put it in the window sill and wait for some sprouting to happen. By the time the garden bed is ready, the plants should be started.

One Little Thing: Recycle, garden style

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I have a long list of things that I want to do around my home. The cleaning is coming along, and so is some of the organizing. With more of a “normal” becoming established, I really wanted to think about what else I wanted to accomplish.

One of the things still needing to be done is my back patio. It’s a crazy mess, a lot of trash with the added aesthetic of my oldest son’s bunk bed set that was removed to make room for his new bed.

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On my list of things to do… Find my patio!!

I see that bed standing on end from my spot on the couch, and it pretty much makes me crazy. Many thoughts have been tossed around about what to do with the bed pieces, from reprinting and selling it to burning it in the fire pit.

After seeing a few Pinterest posts showing raised bed gardens and how easy they can be, I thought about turning this box into a veggie garden. My husband saw the “holes” in the box, and grumbling about how much work it would be, so I really told him to never mind I’d it would be too much trouble.

In his defense, the grumbling may be justified, as I have had a black thumb of death since he’s known me! Of course, I hope this time will be different…

He went to the tool store and got some wood, and I believe he plans to make my garden anyway. He hasn’t said anything, but I’m hopeful!

So hopeful, in fact, I bought some seeds today. (Shh!)
Tomato, peas, tarragon, carrots, pumpkin, and green onions. I’d also like to add rosemary (in its own container), parsley, and basil, also some celery, but I’ll do that from a celery stalk in my fridge (thanks Pinterest for showing me this was possible!).

Once I have something more gardeny to show, I will share. Wish me luck!!

One Little Thing… Contain your memories

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I am a memory hoarder. Also, a friend hoarder, but I pretty much suck at that.

I was going through the closet for something, and happened upon my letter box. I have kept every letter from everyone since forever.

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I don’t know if everyone does this, and its not like I even really look at them, but it makes me feel good just knowing they are there.

Of course, through the magic of Facebook, I have connected to so many of the people from my past, and that is awesome. I even shared and tagged this pic on there so my old friends know that I still have their high school words tucked away in my box.

I also found some pics and stickers in there, and had to laugh. I used to put stickers on every single letters! These were my favorites…

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I loved the checkboxes!

Do you have a memory box? Is it neat and organized, or a mess like mine? I should straighten mine out, and I still may. For now it’s put back in the closet, not organized, not better, just there. I’ll save that task for when I have time alone to browse back through the memories for a bit.

One Little Thing… Freezer Inventory

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Keeping track of what you have makes it easy to see what you can make!

Keeping track of what you have makes it easy to see what you can make!

I organized my freezer and decided that I needed a better way of keeping track of what I had and didn’t. I used to use that white board and write down what I had by category(ish) and use the Xs like I do here. Line one way for each item you have. Line the other way as you use them – making an X. It’s so much easier than changing a digit each time you grab something out of the freezer.

I took the one from this one from NW Edible (scroll down a little) and changed it up. The awesomeist thing about this printable is that it can open in Word, Pages, or as a PDF. I changed it up to make it something more usable to me by adding another column, changing the fonts a bit, and giving it smaller margins. It’s perfect for my needs.

If it were mine, I’d share my changes… but it’s not. Sorry.

I put mine in a sheet protector so I don’t have to reprint or erase. I also used a wet-erase market instead of dry erase so it is less likely that my marks will go away just by writing on the thing. It would suck to put all that work into counting to have it rub off! I also have this on my Menu board. I make a menu each week so that I can see what I need, and most importantly so I don’t have to answer THAT question 15 times a day! Posting a menu also helps me remember to get out the meat in the morning. MUCH easier than deciding what to make that night, seeing if I have all those ingredients, and then remembering to get the meat out!

Of course Pinterest has eleventy seven other freezer inventories, depending on what you like and how your family eats. Print one, protect it, fill it, out, use it.

It’ll help – trust me!!

House seasoning

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My version of House Seasoning – use it in place of plain salt & pepper in a recipe.

One of the staples of my kitchen is a variation of Paula Deen’s (http://www.pauladeen.com/recipes/recipe_view/house_seasoning/) recipe. I use it on and in nearly every recipe. For instance, right now I have chicken, seasoned with this, in a 350 oven for a recipe from Pinterest I’ll be trying later. (This one: http://www.amandathevirtuouswife.com/2012/12/pesto-chicken-alfredo-freezer-meal.html).

I used Paula’s recipe for House Seasoning for a long time, but found that I was constantly adding pepper, and sometimes garlic powder to everything I used it on.

My House Seasoning
1 cup salt
1/3 cup pepper
1/3 cup garlic powder

I keep this mixture in a Tupperware container in my pantry and use a shaker from an empty spice jar. I just fill the shaker whenever it gets low, and remake a batch when needed.

Plan for tomorrow

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Today I bought 2 soda can dispensers at Walmart to help get my fridge under control. It’s still not wonderful, but it is better and nothing is falling out when you open the door!

Tomorrow I will go through everything to see if anything is expired and can be chucked. I did chuck a few things, but probably not enough. I would also like to do something about the disaster that are my freezers, but that will have to wait until the Christmas turkey gets eaten for Easter and stops living in my big freezer.

Tomorrow, I also plan to start working on a pantry re-do. The biggest challenge In my pantry is that it’s in 3 rooms and very disjointed. I have already made a list of the categories that I want to separate everything into.

I don’t really want to do cans with cans, boxes with boxes – but more along the lines of breakfast, baking, international, side dishes, etc.

I have been trying to figure out how store the extras – condiments and such.

I also need to consolidate the service/cookware. I was thinking about using a couple of the rarely used serving/mixing bowls as storage containers for things like snacks for lunches.

It’s a thought.

One Little Thing… Socks & undies drawer

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Get rid of ugly, holy, and lonely socks!

Get rid of ugly, holy, and lonely socks!

It’s time to purge the socks & undies drawer. If it’s ugly, holy, doesn’t fit, or doesn’t have a friend… toss it! You can only hold onto that 1 sock looking for the mate for so long. I’ve held onto them for months! I KNOW that I’ve done the entire houseful of laundry in that time and the socks are no where to be found… yet I still keep them.

No More! Time to go!!

It’s 2 minutes of your time, yet makes a world of difference because it lets you see what you have and what you need.

Day 5: lunchtime review

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I have done quite a bit today, actually.
I fixed my broken bathroom drawer – just 1 screw!

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I also discovered that recycled lunch meat containers are the perfect fit and work well to organize my drawer crap!

I made most of a batch of laundry soap. I’d have completed it if I actually had washing soda – I’ll have to get some later.

I did 1 load of laundry, and started another.

I went to the Dollar Store, Dollar General, the Big & Tall store, and the library.

I discarded the hair monsters residing in my shower drain and hairbrush.

Yay for stuff done.

Day 4: The Bathroom Project

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I went to Lowe’s the other day and spent about $8 on 20 sticky tiles. They were $.38 each (the cheapest), and although they weren’t my favorite, I was happy to settle for these at about 1/3 of the cost of the really cute “wood” ones. I had seen this idea on Pinterest (Here) and thought it was pretty brilliant, but pushed it aside until the other night.

I almost didn’t take a before pic, because it’s gross.

Before I started the Cabinet Re-Do

Before I started the Cabinet Re-Do

Seriously… there were things that have not been used in my home for years (why would anyone with no uterus need OB?) or had expired (Albuterol no good since 2007. Really?). In my defense, my boys have not had an asthma attack since longer than that, so it hasn’t been needed. I kept it just in case, but why? I also found 2 replacement filters for long-dead humidifiers. Ugh.

Step One… Clean it out!

Drag everything out. Throw stuff away. Don't hoard!

Drag everything out. Throw stuff away.
Don’t hoard!

Step Two… Clean the cabinet itself.

My Dyson helped me with this one. (This is the before I cleaned it. Ahem.)

My Dyson helped me with this one. (This is the before I cleaned it. Ahem.)

Step Three: Stick as many whole tiles as will fit. Then, measure whatever way you can – I used all manner of crappy ways! Use a pen on the back of your tile to mark the cutting spots. Turn it over to make sure that the part you want to keep is the part you’re cutting out. I made my measurements upside down (on the paper side) so I could mark the spots… but when I flipped it over it wasn’t what I wanted, and I had to re-do my markings.

Step Four: Stick down the cut ones. Be careful and press down as well as you can.

My rolling pin has handles and wouldn't get in the corners. This did.

My rolling pin has handles and wouldn’t get in the corners. This did.

Step Five: Fancy pants people may have an actual tile/laminate roller. I don’t. My husband suggested my rolling pin, and it worked except in the corners. I had to get creative, and since I’m lazy I found the closest cylinder I could. Tada!! Makeshift roller.

Step Six: Put all the stuff your keeping back. Make it pretty. Hey, why not use the organization containers that you unearthed while cleaning out the cabinet? Apparently I have tried to organize under here before! Also, clean them first!

Apparently I've tried this before!

Apparently I’ve tried this before!

Be happy that it's done. :)

Be happy that it’s done. 🙂

Now, just 2 more sink cabinets to go!