Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Weekly Meal Plan July 29 - August 4

Well the heat wave is over and instead of returning to normal temperatures, the weather is unseasonably cool. We are having some cozy meals as well as some grilling this week.

Breakfast for the week - Pancakes, Cereal, Yogurt, Fruit

Lunch for the week - Leftovers, Sandwiches, Fruit, Veggies, Cheese and Crackers.


Monday - Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Cheese bread.

Tuesday - Marinated Flank Steak, Potatoes and Green Beans

Wednesday - Grilled Chicken, Rice, Corn on the cob

Thursday - Big Salad, (Mixed Greens, Sliced Chicken, Bacon, Hard boiled Eggs, Grated Cheese, Tomatoes, Peppers, Cucumbers)

Friday - Quesadillas with all the fixings, Spanish Rice, Salad,

Saturday - Baked Rotini, Salad, Garlic Bread

Sunday - Breaded Pork Chops, Roasted Potatoes and Glazed Carrots

Whats on your meal plan for this week?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Linen Closet Organization Updated

A few weeks ago I organized my linen closet. I was really pleased on how it had turned out but decided that I could make a small change to the way I had labeled some of the items.

Previously I had not labeled the baskets, but have just labeled the shelves under each basket. I felt like I could do better than that. I created new labels and attached them to the basket with rafia.

What I did was create a template for the labels in excel which I can use over and over again. I printed them off in black and white and cut them out. After that I affixed them to some Amy Butler (i heart  Amy Butler) paper. I am not sure what the name of the Amy Butler design is, but it is a stripe pattern. Once that was complete I affixed them to some creamy coloured cardstock and hole punch them to attach them to the baskets.

Here is the finished product. I am very happy with how the labels turned out. It adds just a little something something to the linen closet that was lacking before. The best thing about this is that after creating the label template, the entire project took about 20 minutes to complete.

What can I label next.......

Monday, July 22, 2013

Cleaning Tip - Keep a Toilet Brush In Each Bathroom

es I am going to talk about toilet brushes. It is a topic that needs to be discussed. Well maybe it does not need to be discussed, but I do have a tip that I wanted to share. I do not know anyone that enjoys cleaning a toilet. If you are one of those people that actually enjoys it, well I am not sure what I can say to that.

While I understand the cleaning effectiveness of a toilet brush, the thought of dragging one from bathroom to bathroom just grosses me out. This brings me to my cleaning tip. Buy a toilet brush for each bathroom in your home. I know that I am not the only person to do this, but to me a bathroom is not complete unless it has one of these babies on hand. They are inexpensive to purchase, and if you are lucky you can even get them on sale !

I purchased mine from Kitchen Stuff Plus and they are stainless steel. They were on sale for $14.99 which is not too bad. Now when I have to complete the daunting task of cleaning a toilet, the toilet brush is right there. It does not make the task any better, but it does lesson the blow.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Covered Storage Boxes with Scrapbook Paper DIY

If you have not noticed I love scrapbook paper. You can find such beautiful papers and they only cost about $1 a sheet or less. What I also love is storage boxes, but I do not love how much they cost. It is hard to find a really pretty storage box for under $5.

While working on another project I was sidetracked by the white photo storage boxes that I had on my book shelf. They needed something extra. At first I thought about painting them, but than had a brilliant idea! Why not cover the top of the box with scrapbook paper.

I pulled out my scrapbook paper and found some papers that coordinated with the decor, pulled out my scissors and trusty glue stick.

At first I thought I could just wrap the top of the box like a present, but that was not  going to work, since the boxes are 11.5 inches on the top and the paper is 12x12. Ok Idea #2.
 What you will need is a photo box, and about 1 1/2 sheets of 12x12 scrapbook paper. I used a lighter weight paper, as I think card stock would add to much bulk to the lid and make it hard to close.Also you will need a glue stick and scissors. By the way, I purchased these photo boxes at Michael's for $2.50.
I decided that I would cut out a piece of paper that covered just the top of the box and then wrap the sides separately. 
First place the lid on the backside of your 12x12 scrap book paper and mark where you are going to cut. You only need about 1/4 inch of overhang on each side of the box lid to cover the top and you are going to use what is remaining from this sheet to cover part of the sides.
Cut out the paper and apply glue to the back of the paper. Be liberal when applying the glue and be sure to get the edges. 
Apply the paper to the top of the box smoothing out the paper, being sure to have about 1/4 inch of overhang on all side.

Cut a slit into all 4 corners, directly from the corner of the paper to the corner of the box. Be careful not to cut to far, just to the corner of the box.

 Take the long side of the paper that is overhanging the box and apply it to the box, wrapping the little triangle piece that you have left over to wrap around. I hope you can understand from the picture above. Than do the same to the short side of the box until it is all wrapping the sides like in the picture above.

This is what you will have now. The top is covered and you need to tackle the sides with the paper that you have remaining.

Take the piece of paper that you had remaining from when you cut the piece for the top, and cut it in half lengthwise. If you had not used to much paper for the top, you should have enough to cover the 2 long side of the box.

Apply glue liberally to the back of the strip of paper and affix to the box, just a little bit down from the edge.

Wrap the paper around the sides of the box and then fold like you were wrapping a present. Then fold over the remaining edge and affix to the inside of the box. If you work quickly the glue will still stick, but if the glue is starting to dry, and a bit more glue to the flap before you fold it down. Do the same to the other side of the box so that both long sides of the box and paper affixed to the sides.

Next measure and cut a piece of paper for the short sides of the box, just like you did for the long sides, leaving a little bit extra to wrap around the edge to the inside. This piece should go from edge to edge of the short side of the box, without having an extra to wrap around the sides. You just want extra to wrap to the inside of the box.

Glue to the paper to the side of the box, and wrap the overhang to the inside. Do the same to the other side.

 And that's it. You are done. It's not that hard to do, and really only takes about 10 to 15 minutes per box.

 You can see that with using a patterned paper, you can not even really see that the edges are put on separately. It just blends together. If you use a paper like a stripe, you will notice that the sides are from a separate piece but again that will just give it a different look.

Here is what the top of the box looks like when it is done. Now all you have to do is create a label and your box is ready to be displayed.

I love how these turned out. The ones in this picture are from a different paper, but the same colours. They coordinate very nicely together. The paper adds colour and texture to these plain white boxes for very little time and money. What could be better.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Organized Cleaning Supplies For Your Home

While I like having a clean home, actually doing the cleaning is not on my list of most enjoyable tasks. For myself what I noticed is that if the cleaning supplies are easily accessible on each floor of my home, it makes the mundane task of cleaning much easier.

What I have done is created a cleaning center on each floor of my home. This cleaning center includes all the cleaning supplies that I need to keep a clean home.

To create a cleaning center is really quite simple. Just grab a basket and include everything that you need to keep your home clean in that basket.

What I include is:
  • Furniture polish
  • Glass Cleaner
  • Cleaning wipes
  • All Purpose Cleaner
  • Mr Clean Erasers
  • Paper Towel
  • Bathroom Cleaners, such as toilet boil cleaner etc.
  • Carpet Cleaner
  • Garbage Bags
  • Vacuum Cleaner. Yes I have a Vacuum cleaner on each floor of my home. Saves lugging it around.  
When you need to do a little cleaning, everything is right there. You can not use the excuse that you do not have what you need on hand to clean up because everything is right where you need it.

What is your cleaning tip?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Weekly Meal Plan July 15 to July 21

We are in the midst of a major heat wave here so our meal plan for this week was designed to try and not use the oven, and make everything either on the barbeque, Microwave or in the Toaster Oven. Hopefully the weather will cool down a bit next week.

Breakfast for the week - Pancakes, Cereal, Yogurt, Fruit

Lunch for the week - Leftovers, Sandwiches, Fruit, Veggies, Cheese and Crackers.


Monday - Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Salad (sauce and garlic bread already made an frozen, just need to heat up)

Tuesday - Souvlaki, Pita Bread, Rice, Tomato Cucumber Salad, Tzatziki

Wednesday - BBQ pork tenderloin, BBQ packet potatoes, Corn on the Cob

Thursday - Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Salad.

Friday - Chicken and Veggie Stir fry, Rice

Saturday - BBQ Chicken, Pasta Salad, Carrots

Sunday - Ribs, Pasta Salad, Green Salad

Whats on your meal plan for this week?


Bathroom Organization

I thought I would share with you some of my bathroom organizing tips. First I am going to start with my son's bathroom. His bathroom is still a work in progress, but I am pleased with the progress we have made organizing the vanity.
For my son's bathroom, we have painted the walls, removing the pink that was once there (yes everything in this house was pink when we purchased it). We still need to change out the mirror and the counter tops.
On the counter you will see a picture frame.

That is for our bedtime routine. I purchased an acrylic frame that has a stand on clearance at bed bath and beyond. The bedtime routine idea come from iheart organizing. I created our own bedtime routine in word, printed it off, cut it out and glued it to cardstock.

Next in the vanity I have organized a few things. Since this bathroom is only used by my son and guests, I used the vanity to keep all of his bath towels and bubble bath organized. I also added my bathroom cleaning basket in his vanity.

Next I have all of my son's bubble baths, lotions and creams in this basket.

In the middle cupboard I have his bath towels, wash clothes, and behind the wash clothes I have a vaporizer for when we are sick. I wish the towels were all the same colour, but since my son likes different kinds of towels, I will just settle for them being clean and organized.
Didn't the labels turn out well. I used my silhouette cameo to make them!

I have not shown the bathtub and bath toys, because I am working on something for there. Once that is ready I will share.

What have you organized lately?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cleaning and Organizing Tips

This is one of my favourite times of year. The sun is shining a little bit more, and Flowers are blooming, Veggie Garden is almost ready to start harvesting.

Summer is a great time to freshen up your home while you are packing up all the winter gear. Organizing your home does not have to be a daunting task if you break it up into smaller tasks and tackle them in small amounts of time throughout your day or week.

Here are some tips to organize your home this spring.

  • Make a list of the areas of your home that you would like to organize.
  • Breakdown the list into small tasks or sections. For instance if you want to organize your bedroom, break it down into closet, dresser, nightstands, etc. This way you will not feel overwhelmed before you even begin.
  • Look at each section that you would like to organize and decide what it is you want to achieve in that space. i.e. declutter, make the space more functional, pretty up the space etc.
  • Make a list of the areas that you need some containers for, the dimensions, colour scheme, style of storage you need. Keep this all in a little notebook in your purse. It is also a good idea to carry a small tape measure with you (the paper measuring tapes from ikea are great) as a lot of times the product may not have the dimensions listed. You can just whip out your tape measure when you need it. This book will evolve over time as you add new areas that you want to tackle and when you complete an area.
  • Go Shopping ! This does not mean that you actually need to go out to the store and buy stuff, but look around your home for boxes, baskets or other containers that you are not using to their best ability and look to re-purpose them in a new space, one that you are going to tackle. If you do need to purchase items to organize your home, think about what it is your actually need before you even leave the house. Buying organizational items just because you think you will use it will not help you organize your home. Utilize your notebook that has all of the areas you are working on written down and refer to that when you are shopping.
  • Check out your local dollar store and thrift store for items that you might need. You never know what you will find. An item from a thrift store might need a coat of paint to freshen it up, therefore you can customize it to match your colour scheme and decor.
  • Basically plan plan plan ahead. The more you plan ahead, the easier and rewarding the tasks will be.
  • Check out organizing blogs or websites for inspiration. It is amazing the ideas that you will find when you start looking. For instance the other day I was looking for a way to organize my sons book, and come across this idea to use inexpensive Ikea spice racks attached to a wall as bookshelves. I would have never thought of that idea. I will definitely use that idea to organize my sons books.
  • Tackle one area at a time when you are ready. First thing you need to do is purge the area. Look at what you are going to keep, give away, sell or throwaway. Maybe one day purge the area, the next pretty it up! When you are purging really think about what you are keeping. A lot of the times our homes are cluttered because we are afraid to throw something away. If you have not used something for 5 years but are keeping it, really think about why are your keeping it. 
  • Once you are done organizing an area, pat yourself the back and admire what you have achieved.

Organizing your home is an ongoing process. Area's that you organized beforehand, you may realize can function better if you change things around. Don't stop thinking about better ways to organize areas of your home.

What do you have on your cleaning agenda?

Friday, July 12, 2013

How I Organize Our Dinner Hour by Meal Planning

Something that I learned a while back is that meal planning can save you from the aggravation that everyone faces when you realize that it's 5 o'clock and you have no idea what to make for dinner.

Organizing your meal times by creating a meal plan is really easy to do and will save you time and money in the long run.

For my weekly planning I will sit down one evening a week and create our meal plan, taking into consideration what our plans are for that week. Whether we have any evening activities that will require us to have a quick meal and leave the house, if we are going out for dinner or just want to have a night of take out pizza. If you think about all of this ahead of time, dinner time will be a breeze. (other then the cooking of course)

When I create our weekly meal plan, I do not include breakfast and lunch as these meals are always the same every week and I can easily just add the items that we need for that week to my grocery list. If you would like, you can also plan out these meals as well. For our family it works best not to include them on our meal plan.

Another way that you will see a benefit from meal planning is how you will save money. I am sure everyone has experienced a time when you run into the grocery store for a loaf of bread or a bag of milk (yes our milk comes in a bag) to only discover that you just spent $20 or more. When you meal plan you will not be running into the grocery store 5 times a week, therefore you will save money.

In my Etsy Shop I carry an assortment of Meal Planners and Organizing Templates to Help Organized your life. For the month of July everything in my Shop is on sale for a Christmas in July Sale. Be sure to check it out.

How to Organize Your Linen Closet

Most everyone has a linen closet that could use some organization. I know that my linen closet was in serious need of some organizing. Over the years we had accumulated a lot of linens, either from wedding presents when we got married over 6 years ago, to purchasing new linens to replace some older ones and then just not purging the old stuff.

A few weekends ago I decided that it was time to clean out the linen closet and purge anything that we did not need any longer. The first thing I did was take everything out of the closet and then organized everything into piles. One for Keep, one for Donate and one for Trash. I was astounded by the amount of stuff that we had in our linen closet that we should have gotten rid of a long time ago.

 After sorting everything, it was time to organize what was left. I grabbed some baskets that I had purchased to help organize this closet and my trusty label maker (who does not love a label maker).

I refolded all of the linens so that they we are all neat and pretty, because pretty is just as important as functional. The top shelf I decided to place the items that are not used as often, such as extra face cloths, decorative towels and hand towels. The next shelf I included our bath towels and bath sheets as these are needed most often. My son made all of the labels and put them on the shelves (please excuse any labels that are crooked).

Next I decided to grab one of the baskets to put our toilet paper in (mental note, fill the toilet paper in the linen closet), as I did not want to look at the packaging that it comes in. I thought this was a great idea to make it more functional and "pretty" of course. The bed linens are on this shelf as well.

On the bottom shelf I included more baskets for Table clothes, napkins, table runners etc. I was thinking of moving these items to my buffet in the dinning room, but decided I liked it better in the linen closet.

At the bottom I had enough room for laundry baskets, my bathroom shower cleaning wand (may still move this) and our inflatable bed for when guests stay over.

And here it is ! I think it looks great now. Everyone knows where everything goes, and it looks neat and organized. I am still thinking of painting the closet because it needs a little freshening but for now I am very pleased.

Ok, now I am off the fill the toilet paper basket.

What have you organized lately?

Pretty Up A Magazine Holder with paper - DIY

While cleaning the office the other day I got a little sidetracked.
I looked at the magazine holders that were on the bookshelf and decided that I could not stand looking at them any longer.  As you can see they were just black plastic and needed some freshening up.
 I decided that I would cover them in paper so that they would match the decor of the room. First thing I did was cut 2 pieces of white cardstock and glue it to the top and bottom of the magazine holder with a glue stick.
After that I found some scrapbooking paper that would match the room and cut it to fit the magazine holder.  I used my trusty glue stick again.
In total it only took about 30 minutes to cover 3 of these magazine holders. The cost was about $4 to cover all 3, as I already had the holders and all I used was some scrapbook paper that I had laying around.
I love this idea because it takes something that you already have at home that is ordinary and kicks it up a notch. Now when I look at these Magazine holders I do not see that plain old black hole and instead I see a pretty paper that softens the room.
Be sure to check back soon as next week I will be posting about other ways to use scrapbook paper to pretty up your office space, and other rooms in your house.

Framing Scrapbook Paper To Create Artwork DIY

I have to admit that I am addicted to scrapbook paper. You can find some really beautiful papers and they are inexpensive.

I had a few pieces of scrapbook paper that I just loved but could not think of what to do with them. While working on the magazine holders that I showed you the other day, I got a little sidetracked, this happens to me all the time. I thought that it might be a good idea to add a picture to our bookcase in the office. I did not have any artwork and did not want to spend any extra money going out to purchase something.

What I decided to do was frame a piece of scrapbook paper!

I had some frames sitting around in the closet that my husband had purchased on clearance and decided that they would be perfect for this. The frames were black and the picture of the pretty bird (isn't that bird pretty) would look better in a lighter frame.

I pulled out some paint (Martha Stewart Heavy Cream from Home Depot) and painted the frame. The Scrapbook paper was 12x12 so I had to but it down to fit the frame. Once the frame was dry I assembled everything together and added it to my bookcase, or otherwise known as cookbook storage bookcase (I am obsessed with cookbooks).

I think it looks perfect. The great thing about this idea is that you can change the paper when you get bored of the one that you used and the cost to change it is about a dollar!

 Look at that pretty bird. I don't really care for the bookcase, but the framed bird paper I really do love.

 Oh and did you see these photoboxes in the other picture. I will be showing you how to pretty up these photoboxes soon as well.

 What are you working on right now?

De-Countrify a Potato Bin

|We are currently working on remodeling our Kitchen. There is nothing exactly wrong with it, but it definitely does not reflect our taste.

One of the projects I decided to tackle was to refinish this potato bin and make it a little more modern and simple.

This is the before picture

I purchase this bin many years ago, I would say around 15 to 20 years ago. Since my style has evolved over the years, this bin just does not match the decor that we now prefer.
Instead of going out and purchasing a new Bin that I liked better, I decided that I could easier change it up and de-countrify it.
The first thing that I did was give it a good sanding, and removed the brass hinges that were being used for the top bin. Next I painted the entire bin with CIL Smart paint from Home Depot in Martha Stewart Colour Heavy Cream. I really like the CIL Smart Paint, as there is no need to prime beforehand. It has the paint and primer built into one. Saves having to prime the item first which saves you time, and we all could use a little more time here and there.
I let it cure for a couple of days just to be sure that everything was really dry.  The Brass Hinges I spray painted in a satin nickel finish using Krylon Brushed Metallic Spray Paint. I think I bought it at Michaels with one of their 40% off coupons. I applied a few very light coats and let it dry well between them.
Once all of the paint was dry enough I used my trusty Silhouette Cameo to cut out the words Potatoes and Onions on a lightly metallic grey vinyl. (The font is Sofia)
And here is the finished Bin.

 I think it turned out great. We also added a satin nickel handle to the bottom drawer to bring everything together. I love the slightly off white colour against the nickel finish.

And that's how we changed this old Potato Bin, into our new and improved version. I am pretty proud of how it turned out.

What have you changed, refinished recently?  I would love to see it.

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