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Project Updates

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It’s Monday. Did you create a Monday “Master List”? I did! There are a couple resources I like for creating schedules or calendars. For a digital/online version I like to use Google Calendar.   It is a calendar that can be personally modified.  I was even able to type recipes for my menu items and make them click-able (only appeared when clicking on said menu item). One of my favorite features is the capability to share with those you choose — make it sharable with your hubby and he can add his schedule to yours! And of course you can sync it with phones and tablets. If you prefer a hard copy you can write on, I love this one from iHeart Organizing.

Find the free download here. This was a perfect “Master List” form for me with my over-view of the week, a spot for a master to-do list and even a place for my menu. I filled it out and added it to my home-management binder for easy access.

I also have an update on my recipe binder.

I can’t say it is completely finished because it is one of those things that will remain a work-in-progress.  Here is an over-view of my layout:

At the front of my binder I placed my favorite meals list.  This is a list, described in an earlier post is my quick reference for meal planning and a guide for finding a favorite recipe.

I used binder dividers to create the following recipe categories:

1 – Breakfast

2 – Lunch/Kid-Friendly Meals

3 – Beef/Pork

4 – Poultry

6 – Meatless/Fish

7 – Vegetables/Sides

8 – Breads

9 – Snacks/Appetizers

10 – Dessert

11 – Cookies ( I love cookies so they have their own spot rather than being added to dessert)

Within each section I added two pieces of colored card-stock — one blue and one yellow.  Behind the blue card-stock I added our favorite recipes that are worth repeating. Behind the yellow card-stock I placed recipes that I have collected and want to try.  After I try the recipe I will either add it to our favorites or toss it. I won’t keep a recipe we won’t eat!

  

I slid recipes cut from newspapers or magazines, printed from the Internet or even written on recipe cards into page and photo-protectors.

   

Currently, it all fits in one binder. Eventually I will have to add more binders as I add recipes.

The next couple weeks are exceptionally busy for me, so my organizing theme will be organizing projects to be completed in 30 minutes or less.  I’ll post my first project tomorrow. I have some ideas, but I’d love to hear from you . . . what organizing task can you complete in 30 minutes or less?

My Recipe Binder Update

I spent the afternoon getting my garden prepped for planting. My hands are raw and my backs aches, but it’s so pretty! There something about freshly turned and raked soil. I almost don’t want to disturb it with the planting.

I’ve also been working on my binder. It’s really turning out to be a Menu-planner/Recipe-binder.  Inspired by Decor-ganized Crafts use of a 30 Favorite Meals method, I put together my own list of our 30 favorite meals. The idea is to have 30 staple meals as a go-to list for menu planning. I admit that I don’t have it all together in the menu planning area. Too often I start thinking about dinner around 3:30 when we are finishing up our school day.  To remedy this situation, the first pages of my recipe binder will be our 30 favorite meals list (I may extend it beyond 30. . . I don’t like being restricted), and a monthly menu planner. Here is my list (click on the image to enlarge).

Using “Numbers” (it’s Mac’s version of Excel), I placed the meal titles in alphabetical order.  If the recipe is one that I will not find in the binder, but rather in one of my cookbooks, I made sure to note the title and page number for easy reference. Then for each meal I listed the main ingredients. I didn’t list every ingredient, just those that I may not always have on hand so I have a quick reference for grocery shopping or if I need to find a recipe with specific ingredients. Then I made notes for what I can do to prepare the meal ahead of time, either early in the day or the night before. Next I noted what type of cooking device it would require — crock-pot, stove-top, skillet, oven, etc. Last, I left a section for make-ahead plans in case I am looking for a meal I can make the night or week before and either refrigerate or freeze. It did take some time to put together, but I’m excited about how this will make my meal planning simpler. I don’t want to restrict my family to these 30 dishes alone. I do like to try new meals and I will continue to update my “Favorite Meals” list beyond the 30.

The monthly meal planner will be a sheet I print out at the beginning of each month, and using my “Favorite Meals” list, with the addition of some recipes I want to try, I can make my monthly plans and shopping lists. I started to create a meal planner document, but found some fantastic printable menu planners from Money-Saving Mom, so I’m starting there. I still have some work to do, but I have a good start. If you have any fabulous recipe binder or menu planning ideas, I’d love to hear from you!

Recipe Binder Ideas

Whenever I start a new project I like to see what others have done. To be completely cliche, there’s no need to “reinvent the wheel”. I’m working on a recipe binder this week, so of course I scoured the web to see what I could find. Here are some links from which I’m pulling ideas.

One of my favorite organizing blogs, iheartorganizing, provides her helpful tips for organizing a recipe binder using recipes collected from magazines or printed from online sites.

This binder from prudentbaby.com includes suggested categories, and printable downloads (always a favorite feature for me!).

And then there’s Martha (Stewart). She always has clever ideas, like her above use of photo protecters for recipe cards. A word of warning about the link, it takes you to the beginning of a click-through montage of kitchen organizing tips. This one is number 34 of 47. It is well-worth looking through!

This binder from Flaming Toes absolutely amazed me. I don’t think I have it in me to do this, but if you are crafty there is a detailed how-to for this really cute hand-covered binder.

Here’s another how-to that blew my mind (in a good way) from Crate Paper Blog. They show step-by-step how to make your own binder from the “ground up”.

If you’re like me and you prefer to purchase a binder, I found these from Klassy Kitchen on zazzle.com. Unfortunately I had already purchased mine from Target. I love the design on these.

I realize the above is not a binder picture, but I borrowed a photo from another fun organizing blog I enjoy, My Color-coded Life.  Check out the link to read some good home-organization tips. Number five is her use of a recipe binder to make holidays simpler. . . a really clever idea!

This last binder how-to is my favorite, because it comes closest to what I plan on creating with my binder. From Decor-ganized Crafts, it combines meal-planning with recipe collecting. I have my ideas, now it’s time to start creating.

Spring Break . . . in the SNOW!

We are enjoying our week off in a cozy little mountain cabin. . . with SNOW!  The kids are thrilled since our winter in the valley has been unusually snow-free. We’ve been enjoying tromping through the snow, exploring the nearby town, swimming at the hot springs, and a crackling fire when the day is done. I brought along my mess of recipes to work on this week’s project: an organized recipe binder. No guarantees it will all get done before we get home — I’m on vacation after-all. 🙂 Hope you are all enjoying your spring – break or not.

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Counters (Mostly) Complete — And My Next Project

Last week I attacked my kitchen counters, which were far too cluttered and had the tendency to become the catch-all for whatever.  After clearing the corner, I spent some time on the edges. They weren’t bad, but still needed some work. My biggest problem was my the wireless router for our Internet.  It sits on the edge with an ugly green cord and just looks out-of-place.

Laura, from Monkeys On My Back (a very fun blog, check it out), suggested a basket. I went to Target and bought and returned baskets twice. . . it was harder than I thought.  I finally settled on a basket I already have and use for a “miscellaneous-papers-I don’t-know-what-to-do-with-right-now” basket (my next project will be to do something with those papers :-)).

I still am not sure I love this particular basket here, and I would like to hide the cords a bit more, but it is better.

The other end of the counters I didn’t change much. My biggest problem area on this end was a recipe box that I continually shoved all my odd-shaped and printed-off recipes behind; it was quite unsightly.

I simply removed that pile of and placed it in a file folder. I have plans for a recipe binder, but that will be a project for another week.

I toyed with the idea of removing the toaster, but we use it frequently enough that I decided to keep it where it is. I think I may make a cover for it so it doesn’t look so toaster-y. 🙂 I have some decor issues I will be taking care of, but the counters are organized and I feel mostly satisfied.

This upcoming week I will be staying in the kitchen and taking care of my paper-work problem. My hutch, the purpose of which is supposed to be to hold and display my dishes, has turned into the place where we stash keys, nail polish, coupons, mail, books. . . anything that we just don’t want to deal with right now.  My plan is to create and organize a sort of command center for our family to deal with the paper-work and miscellaneous stuff problem; and to get my hutch back.