Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Week 10 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 10 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on cleaning supplies. 

Way back in the first post on kitchen organization, you got a glimpse of my cleaning supplies that I keep under the sink.

I like to keep my cleaning supplies in a basket that I can take to every room while I clean.

Having everything in one place, where I can easily grab it and move from room to room is a huge time saver and helps me to keep the house clean. I don't have to spend time looking for the right cleaner, since they are all in one spot.

Since I clean mainly with homemade, green cleaners, my cleaning supplies aren't really all that much. I have a glass cleaner, an all-purpose, a degreaser, baking soda, liquid castile soap along with some natural sponges, trash bags and a duster.

I bought some bottles at the dollar store, so I can just refill the cleaners when I am running low. Since there were only two color options, I couldn't distinguish all the cleaners from each other, but I do us the blue one to signify the glass cleaner. Making it somewhat easier to just grab and go.

I also included labels on each bottle that list the ingredients and instructions. When I am running low, I can just look at the bottle and refill it without having to look up the recipe. It also give The Good Husband no excuse to not clean when we run out of cleaner and he claims to not know where more is.

And with this post, the kitchen should be completely and totally organized. Isn't it an amazing feeling?

We have organized the drawers and cabinets, grouping like items with like and keeping the things we use next to the appliances we use them the most often with. We have organized our food and those things - cookbooks, coupons, shopping lists - that allow us to make grocery shopping easier. Lastly, we organized the way we deal with recycle, trash and the supplies we use to keep everything clean.

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Week 9 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 9 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on creating a home recycling center (plus dealing with trash). 

I am a little stupid excited about this post (yes, which is AGAIN late). I haven't been this excited about something so small in a long time. I knew the topic of a recycling center and trash was coming up and I was dreading it. For the longest time I had a very disorganized way of dealing with recycling and trash. The Good Husband got a hand me down trash container from his uncle. Basically it is a large, very ugly wooden box that houses the garbage can. Previous to the ugly wooden box, I was begging TGH to build me something similar to this. But he refused and said that it couldn't be done or he didn't have the time or the space or the tools or something. So he brought home the fugly container and thought that would satisfy me. It didn't.

You notice no photo of the fugly thing? Yeah. B.c it is that fugly. I am ashamed it lives in our kitchen.

So for months our small trash can lived in the fugly box, taking up less than half the space in it, since it was built for another trash can which we didn't have. All of our recycling - paper and cans and plastic - were stored in paper bags next to the trash in the fugly box. And I hated that damn thing every time I had to throw something away.

I wanted a nicer container. Even better, I wanted a pull out one that all the nice homes have. So I lurked around the internet and found this baby. And she was beautiful and it was a happy day. But I am cheap and didn't want to spend that much money. Weeks went by and I wondered how I could get rid of the fugly container and trash can and have a recycle center.

Then it dawned on me to remove the last two shelves of the pantry, the ones that housed our pantry surplus, canning goods and 'taters and onions, and put the recycle center there. Yet, I waited to buy it. What would I do with the canning supplies? What would I do with the 'taters?

And then last weekend when it was Mother's Day and our anniversary, TGH took me on a romantic trip to Lowe's and we bought the containers using a 20% off coupon and he came home and installed them. And it was a beautiful and happy day.

On the bottom of my pantry, I now have a marvelous pull out recycle center - with lids!!

The white can I use for paper and cardboard. The green container I use for cans and plastic. We have to keep the glass in a trash can in the garage since the city only collects glass a few times a year.

But even with the awesomeness of the new recycle center, I had to deal with the problem of where to put the 'taters and the onions. Then a good friend pinned this on Pinterest and I found my answer.

I originally wanted all three to hang on the back of the pantry door, but there was no room for the onion and 'tater bag once we got the recycle center installed. So the garlic and shallot bag hangs on the pantry door.

And the onions (left) and 'taters (right) live inside the upper pantry that holds all the crackers and cereal and chips. I used Command hooks so I didn't even need to drill a hole.

I have solved the problem of a shitty recycle center, by replacing it with a new, efficient one and I found a great way to store my produce in my pantry.

The trash can, however, still lives in that fugly box until I can get TGH to make me a nicer one. We just ignore it for now.

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Week 8 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 8 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on meal planning and grocery shopping.

There are two distinct phases to my meal planning - eating during CSA/Farmer's Market Season and eating without. Eating within CSA/FM season is a little tricky to plan ahead since I only sometimes have a clue as to what I can expect. I also have to make more trips. If we eat completely local for the week, I have to make four trips:

~Saturday morning for all day Saturday, all day Monday and breakfast and lunch Tuesday.
~Tuesday night for dinner that night and all day Wednesday.
~Wednesday morning for all day Thursday.
~Thursday night for all day Friday.

It can be overwhelming and a bit tiresome and frankly why I don't do it every week during CSA season.

The next phase, which I wager is much more common among average shoppers, is more predictable and easy to plan. Typical meal planning involves using store ads to help plan meals. Most sales run Sunday through Sunday. Since I like to shop on Saturday, it gives me almost an entire week to go through the ad, choose recipes and make my grocery list.

Using the ad for the week of May 13 - 19 my meal plan looks like this:

The Shopping List
Certified Angus Beef,  Ground - $3.49/lb
Center cut, bone-in pork chop - $2.49/lb
Fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts - $2.19/lb

Shredded Cole slaw mix*
Green onion
Taters - 2/$5

Tomatoes - 2/$4

Store brand sour cream - $1
Store brand organic eggs -$2

Store brand cream cheese -3/$4*
Store brand shredded cheese - $1.88

Store brand ice cream - 2/$5*
Store brand frozen veggies - $1
Store brand frozen tater tots - 5/$10

Store brand pasta sauce - $1
Store brand pasta - $1
Store brand hamburger buns - $1
Store brand tomato sauce - $.69 
Frenches Mustard -$1

KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce - 2/$3

Hidden Valley Dressing - $2.99**

General Mills Cereal - 3/$10

The Menu
Monday - BBQ Pork Sandwiches with Cole Slaw
Tuesday - Pasta
Wednesday - Tater Tot Casserole
Thursday - Chicken Salad
Friday - Breakfast Tacos

The items on the list in bold are store sale items.
Items marked * have a store coupon
Items marked ** have a manufacture coupon

Since the template I have in my Brains of the Operation, aka Household Binder, have categories for each shopping item, it is easy to group items together to make shopping easier. I also star the items on the grocery list that have coupons and paperclip my coupons to the list.

We also generally eat the same thing for lunches and breakfast, so I add the same items each week without regard to sales and usually only meal plan for dinner. I have also left off a lot of pantry items, since I generally have all my spices on hand. At the end of the month or if there is a really good sale - such as baking supplies around Thanksgiving and Christmas - then I add the items to the shopping list.

All in all, it takes about an hour or so one night a week to meal plan and create my shopping list.

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Week 7 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 7 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on organizing coupons.

I will confess that I don't use a lot of coupons. I have found that for the things we buy - organic/local/whole foods - there just aren't a lot of coupons out there for me. Plus our Sunday paper is now something like $3. No thank you.

However, I have found there are some coupon tips that help me keep organized.

The first one is online coupons and mobile coupons. Two of the local stores I go to have mobile coupon apps that allow me to "clip" coupons to my account and then when I am in the checkout, enter my PIN number and apply all the coupons to my order. I can log into my account at any time to add or delete coupons and when I view the ones I have clipped, they are separated into different categories for me.

Online coupons are another great resource. I used sites like Deal Seeking Mom and Red Plum to score coupons on things I will buy. I also sign up for emails from my favorite stores - Target, Meijer, Kohls - so I can have coupons emailed to me. I save on trees and ink and the gas used to haul coupons to my door.

When I meal plan for the week (more in the coming post) I reference the coupons I have clipped, make note of them on my list and head to the store.

For the average, non-extreme couponer, having everything mobile or in a coupon holder I got from the Target Dollar Spot, helps me organize my clippings.

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Randoms - Mommy War Edition

By now you have no doubt seen the newest cover of Time:

The cover story deals with the topic of Attachment Parenting and how it can drive women to extremes. I haven't read the Time article yet b/c I am too cheap to buy either the online or print edition, but this article comes after some hot debate in the feminist blog world.

I read several feminist blogs. Some of them are Mommy centered while some aren't, so it is interesting to see one side argue that parenting styles like AP are decidedly unfeminist while the other side argues AP is nothing, if not feminist.

First, let's outline the 3 basic principles of APing: co-sleeping (which IS NOT bed sharing, more in a second), breastfeeding and baby wearing. The Good Husband and I practiced all three but only after the arrival of The Good Daughter and only as a natural extension of our own parenting choices. I had never heard of APing until TGD was a few months old and another mom commented on my sling at the Farmer's Market and said something about APing. I went home and Googled and shit! Lo and behold, we were APing without ever hearing about Dr. Sears, which is probably a good thing since all his opinions on vaccines make me want to take a hot poker to the eye.

For the first six months or so, TGD slept in a bedside bassinet. We wanted her close at hand, but we didn't want her in the bed with us. And just so everyone knows, sleeping with the baby in your room but with the baby in their own bed is CO-SLEEPING. Sleeping with a baby in your bed is BED SHARING. We bed share now on occasion but TGD is almost 3. I wasn't comfortable with her sleeping in our bed until past the age of one. So I hope that clears up some of the :::gasp! looks of horror::: I see pregnant women get when they spit out they "would never!!!!" co-sleep, thinking they might roll over on their precious and smoosh them. I also nursed for 4 months before, due to latch issues, pumped for another 7 months. This allowed TGD to get all that wonderful stuff that is in breast milk, but it also allowed TGH or anyone else to feed her. Baby wearing was just easy for me b/c I am lazy and wanted my hands free when carrying the kiddo around.

The idea behind APing is that by having a close attachment to your baby in the beginning, by sleeping next to them, not allowing them to cry excessively, to have a lot of physical contact, you lay the groundwork for a confident, independent child later.

Now the argument floating around feminist blogs is that AP is the very much a tool of the patriarchy in order to keep women oppressed and in a state of mommy martyrdom, since it is implied that only really good moms are the ones that stay at home with a kid on the tit 24/7 for the first two years.

I disagree with that and only some of it is due to the fact that I self identify as an AP. First of all, there is nothing that states only moms can AP. Yes, men are lacking the biology to allow them to lactate but thank god for the breast pump, b/c it allows anyone to feed the baby breast milk. And as far as I know, it is the actual milk and not the time on the tit that is of the most benefit. A baby and the person feeding it will bond even if no tits are a-swingin'. Also, as far as I know, a penis doesn't hinder co-sleeping or baby wearing at all. To imply that only a mother can do all these things and AP her baby is actually sexist to all the great and supportive men out there and diminishes the important role they play in the lives of their babies.

Let's not forget too that while infant formula has been around since the time mothers were giving cocaine to babies to help with teething, it wasn't until the post war era of better living through science that formula really took off since there was no way something natural a woman could produce would be any way as good as what a man in a lab could create. Then misguided feminists of the 70s and 80s took up the formula loving battle cry as a way to free women from their natural bonds as they entered the workforce in droves. Its no wonder then that breastfeeding rates were at an all time low in the 80s.

I work full time, as does TGH, so someone else is raising our daughter and soon to be son for us. But having a caretaker that believes in the same basic principles of APing, someone that is attentive, interactive and loving with your child means they will still form all the basic attachments AP spouts.

The idea that only women can provide a nurturing and loving environment for babies is sexist at best and dangerous at worst. It fails to acknowledge the importance supportive people of both genders play in her life and that of her child. By focusing on the idea that APing is mommy centered  it is creating the impression that it is oppressive and mothers are the sole responsibility when a child fails, when the opposite is true. APing can be about taking the easiest and laziest way out with the help of everyone in the life of the baby. It is very much a "takes a whole village" type of approach when it is often painted as isolating and lonely.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Winner of the Complete Customized Household Binder Giveaway

The winner of the Complete Customized Household Binder Giveaway is Tamara!!

Tamara will receive one complete, customized Brains of the Operation, aka Household Binder.

Don't be sad, kittens if you didn't win. You can print all the templates for your own OotO, right here.

Thank you so much to everyone that entered.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Week 6 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 6 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on organizing recipes and cookbooks.

I imagine like most people I have a collection of hardback cookbooks as well as a ton of recipes saved online.

For the cookbooks I use almost everyday, I like to leave them on my kitchen counter. These live next to the fridge. I have the cooking bible - the joy of cooking as well as the first cookbook - better homes and gardens - there as my go to resources. You would be shocked to know that I still haven't memorized a damn pancake recipe and have to look it up every.single.time. I also have some special fatass diabetic cookbooks and some baby cookbooks as well. I try to keep these at a minimum, one - out of shame that I can't memorize a recipe and two - to keep my counters clutter free.

But I also have some cookbooks that I don't use as often. Those live in the cabinet above these cookbooks. They include some old Rachel Ray cookbooks, slow cooker cookbooks and some passed down to me that I don't use but feel bad about getting rid of.

I also have a collection of recipes I have saved from magazines over the years. These live in my Brains of the Operation, aka Household Binder, in a folder in the back. I like to try a new recipe three times before I decide to keep or toss it.

The next type of recipes I have are all the online recipes I have collected. Pinterest has fueled the addiction, especially since they all come with pretty photos. I have a board for cooking, for baking, for cocktails and for freezer meals and once a month cooking. Just for fun, I have a canning board too.

I also love the site and app for Epicurious. The app allows you to save recipes and create shopping lists. I also recently joined All Recipes, but haven't had a lot of time to really get a feel for the site yet.

Eventually I might create a master list of favorite recipes that I can add to my BotO, but for now, both the online and IRL collections will have to make due.

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges