Category Archives: Household Hints

What Do YOU Do? : Groceries/Meal Planning

I have recently decided that this summer shall be dubbed “The Summer to Get Organized” (I was going to call it “The Summer to Get My Act Together”, but “The Summer to Get Organized” has a more positive ring, don’t you think?).

What’s in store to get organized? Our house. Our stuff. My systems for organizing said stuff in said house. My systems for cleaning/laundry/etc. Schedules. Communication. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Oh yes, and the fun task of food planning/shopping/etc.

Bottom line: I need to come up with a system for planning/shopping that is somewhat simple *and* cost-effective. As much as it pains me to say it, having my groceries delivered to my door, while handy, is proving *not* to be the most cost-effective option each week.I definitely need to tighten up the ship in that area…but I don’t know how.

So I’m wondering…What Do YOU Do?

Do you plan meal menus? If so, how far in advance (a week? 2 weeks? a month?)

How do you handle your grocery shopping (how often to you go; do you get your dry goods at one store & produce/perishables at another, etc?).

Have you found any good, healthy (read: safe), reasonably-priced options for organic food (produce, etc.?)

Do you utilize coupons?

You get the picture.

Now I turn it over to you, and I BEG you for your answers encourage you to tell me true:

Just What Do YOU Do?!

Mmmmm: Taco Soup

My boys’ favorite meal is taco soup. I’m making some right now. Here’s how you can do it, too:

2 # ground beef, browned

2 c frozen corn

2 cans black beans, drained/rinsed

2 cans diced tomatoes

2 packets ranch dressing

2 packets taco seasoning

4 c water

Put all of these things in a crockpot.

Set the crockpot to “high” for 3-4 hours.

Serve topped with shredded cheese, tortilla chips and sour cream.

Finally (the very best part…) Eat half of it tonight and freeze the rest for another meal!

Yum-o!

(Thanks to Bethany R. for the recipe from so long ago! :))

Why I Haven’t Done the Laundry in 2 Days

This is our laundry hamper.

img_0772

Now take a closer look:

img_0772_2

Two days ago I was removing laundry from this green canvas hamper, when I saw this pleasant little friend.

So I immediately suspended my laundry activities and ran into the other room, hence the crumpled hamper with jeans falling out of it.

I haven’t returned since. I don’t do bugs, you see. Not big, juicy ones that look like they might jump on me, at least.

However, now that it’s been 2 days…and the bug is still there…and now that I’m noticing the brown gunk on the rim of hamper (bug guts?), I can’t help but wonder if the bug is dead.

Or if it’s not a bug at all, but some sort of leafy thing.

I’m not feeling brave enough to check.

Yuck.

The Joy of Purging

Don’t worry, I’m eating just fine.

I’m referring to the purging of STUFF. Yesterday I got a little taste of it, and…wow. It’s a rush.

I cleaned out the cabinet underneath the sink in the bathroom – which until yesterday contained all sorts of candles and candle accessories – used candles, broken candleholders, wall candleholder thingies that I got on clearance & will never use, cheap candles that I got as white elephants, etc. Too many candles, especially considering the fact that with a small child in the house, I don’t burn candles very often anymore! The unwanted candles are now at home in a bag marked “garage sale”, while the rest of them are safely tucked away in a box.

What’s funny is that even though I DREADED the thought of digging into that cabinet, it felt SO good – so FREEING to just get rid of stuff!

I felt the same way with my closet when I cleaned that out recently (though that was a little more depressing, since I had to give away most of my pants, which no longer fit). A high!

This summer one of our projects will be to clean out the pink room. The pink room is a room in our basement that serves as a storage room, pantry, scrapbooking room, & exercise room. It works well right now, but someday our office upstairs will have to become a child’s bedroom, which means that the pink room will need to become the office (and studio/scrapbooking room…we’ve got plans :)). So this summer we are going to go through the boxes in the pink room and….PURGE. It’s a little scary, since we already purged last summer, which means that this time around we’ll be purging things that we once decided were not purge-worthy…but I’m up to the challenge.

And I’ve decided that one thing I’m going to do to make it even more fun is to sell the unwanted stuff at a garage sale at the end of the summer, and give the money away…maybe to Rafiki…maybe to Compassion to buy mosquito nets for children in malaria ridden countries…who knows. Just an incentive to make the purging a little more sweet…

bring it on!

In Defense of My Pick-a-Pile

It has come to my attention that there are some who feel that my previous pick-a-pile posting did not feature anything that constituted a true “pile”. In reviewing said pick-a-pile, I can understand where they are coming from. There were only a few items on the table, after all, and it didn’t take me long to clean it up. However, I would also ask you to bear these facts in mind:

1). There are 3 people who live in this house: 2 adults and one not-yet-mobile child. There really is no excuse for a pile of any size, unless it is of baby toys.

2). Why I feel the need to defend my ability to create piles, I don’t know. Nevertheless, feast your eyes on this horrific pile that was our bedroom at the very same time as the table pictures, approximately 2 weeks ago* – and note that there is no “after” picture! (cue “Psycho” music):

7113.jpg

*I should admit that this is what the room looked like after I holed up in it like a sick dog for several days. It’s recovered since then (as have I)…though at present there are a couple of actual piles in there.

Yes, indeed…rest assured that this house regularly contains more than one true pile to be picked. One of these days I’ll pick another one. (Actually, my darling hubby has picked a few really bad piles over the past couple weeks for me…he just didn’t take pictures).

 

Deeper

I’ve lately found myself frustrated that I have nothing even remotely deep or profound to type about in this little blog. I suppose you could call it a “dry spell” of sorts – but I don’t think it’s due to a drought; I think it’s due to a lack of just “stopping to drink” – or feeling able to stop and drink.

Many of my days seem to be filled with a multitude of tasks that, while simple in and of themselves, furiously run together, one after the next, until they fill my day to (and over) capacity: waking the baby, feeding him every 3 hours, changing diapers, doing laundry, folding laundry, putting away laundry, putting baby down for his naps, cleaning at least one room of the house (my goal for each day), washing dishes, working, planning for co-op, trying to stay in touch with friends…all the while trying to ensure that I get the meals that I need, a shower (though blow-drying my hair is optional), and (oh yes!) that I love and pour my life into the beautiful little boy God has entrusted me with.

(and then, of course, nine nights out of ten I find myself – like tonight – sitting in a house with several baskets of laundry yet to be put away, a couch piled with stuff I’d meant to clean up today, a kitchen that is still somehow messy even though I just cleaned it this morning…etc).

What I’m discovering is that, if I’m not careful, I can get so caught up in the flurry of duties that fill my days that I forget why I’m doing them…Who I’m doing them for…until a week goes by and I feel like a hollow shell of a person, performing menial tasks…and I can’t quite remember why!

The truth is, I have one of the most rewarding careers a person could have – but I’m not “self-employed”. I was hired by God. He’s my boss. He’s given me quite a workload, at the moment, but it’s one with a purpose: to glorify Him. To raise a baby to glorify Him. To keep a home so that my husband can have a place where he can relax each night so that he may go back to work the next day glorifying Him. Colossians 3:23 – Whatever you do, do it with all your heart – Unto the Lord, and not unto men.

In fact, no matter what our earthly career is, as Christians we are all “hired” by God, aren’t we.

When I start to forget Who I’m working for…when I inadvertently begin working for no one but myself…this is when that feeling of emptiness hits.

The tasks aren’t going to go away – Heaven knows they need to be done, but maybe if I keep myself reminded of why I’m working, even thanking God for the chance to do it – even as I clean up another poopy diaper or scrape the inside of another dirty cereal bowl – I will find more joy in what I’m doing. Maybe I’ll become just a little bit more of a Mary than a Martha. Maybe this is the key, for one so busy, to ending those “droughts within”.

30 Minutes with the Seavers

Whenever I’m feeling like the house is a mess and I’m in a crunch to get things done, I think of my favorite episode of “Growing Pains” (yes, “Growing Pains”. Hear me out.) It’s the one where they are throwing a fancy party (which Donald Trump is going to be at), and realize that the date on the invitations was misprinted and they have a half an hour to get the party pulled together. Amazingly — they do it!

So this holiday season, if you find yourself stressed out with all that needs to be done around the house with not much time to do it in, do what I do: remember that if the Seavers can do it, so can you (and ignore that voice in the back of your head that keeps saying “It’s just a TV show”…)

gp.jpeg