Category Archives: Organize Home

Family Meal Ideas

Hey Friends!

I asked the ladies on the Mom Made Magic Facebook Group a question 2 weeks ago that I have been thinking about lately.  Basically the question was,  “What works for you to get family meals on the table every night?” It is a challenge to do sometimes but I think we can really learn from each other as we share and are honest about what really helps us and what doesn’t. And for those of you who aren’t even near this point in your lives, you are just fine. There was a point when I was didn’t do so well at it either. But now my kids in school and there is a need for more structure in this area, I am totally on board.

Some tips that have helped me are:

1 The behind the cabinet door trick: This means have some go-to recipes of things you can always keep a good stock of at home. Then write the condensed recipe on a note-card and stick it behind the kitchen cabinet wherever you typically cook.  There are only 2 recipes pictured here because I am starting up my collection again. I threw away my previous ones because I am ready to start learning some new go-to recipes to change things up.

This is by no means rocket science. I am talking easy easy recipes that you feel good about serving your family and you enjoy, too.  I like to put a number next to the name of the dish to signify how many ingredients are in it. Then once I decide on a meal, I can get straight to work going through the ingredients in my head without reading it while I check the pantry to make sure I have the ingredients on hand. For example, I read  “Chili ‘5’”  then I open my fridge and pantry and see if I can recall all the 5 ingredients as search for them.  It is sort of a fun game I made up that helps me start to memorize the recipe.  Spaghetti is a pretty basic one so that is why it is one of my first ones but not always some of the other ones with 5 or more ingredients.

Pretty soon I will to have 8-10 dinner recipes I have on hand all the time again. Behind the cupboard where I keep the baking stuff I put “baking” recipes which are different than the dinner recipes.  It is nice to have those for go-to treats to make but the dinner ones are the essential ones.

This helps me a ton! These become the staples, the go-to trusted meals I can rely on that save me time, brain power, and effort that I can definitely use elsewhere in my life.

(Please excuse the phone pics!)

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dinner42 Every now and then we really don’t feel like doing dishes so we cheat and use paper plates.  I am not advocating waste so I don’t do this all the time but sometimes honestly, no guilt is allowed, just do it. I like to use the flimsy paper plates for this very reason and not the Styrofoam or heavy duty plastic ones.

20161010_1812133 When I am rocking it with meal planning, I like to use my Meal Plan System! This means following this easy to memorize mantra:

Meatless Mondays

Taco Tuesdays

World Wide Wednesdays

Think Ahead Thursdays (Slow Cooker meals)

Freezer Fridays (a go-to meal from my pantry or freezer)

Soup or Salad Saturday (a big yummy dish to last us through the weekend)

Sunday (Leftovers)

I have a lot of recipe ideas for these categories that I’ve pinned on Pinterest if it helps anyone out there.

Love you all!

Marilyn

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Moving Around Furniture

So we are in the process of moving but this moving thing takes a long time. A month in a half is a long time to be in a “state of moving”. So to keep things feeling settled and still like home I moved all our our packed boxes so far and stacked them neatly in the garage. The sight of boxes is draining I’ve discovered because it was a constant reminder that I needed to pack and that things we not settle at the moment. So nope that was not okay. I got those out of my view and into their own home in the garage.

Then I rearranged the furniture and got things looking nice again. Yes, we are moving and some may argue that this is not necessary but I want the effect of moving to be as little minuscule as possible. Here is the new look. If you know me I have probably changed the arrangement and look of this living room 15-20x in the last 4 years. It doesn’t mean buying stuff necessarily. Often it is just moving around the furniture and changing the flow of the space. It is reinvents and defines the space. I highly recommend it.

Move things from different parts of the house into different rooms, change maybe one or two things that are dominating the color of the room like a rug, throw pillows, or picture. Listen within to how you feel about it. I personally like to get rid of things in corners or built up clutter and make it a space you could snap a picture of and feel good about. Try it! It’s fun and refreshing. 🙂

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Mom Trades

Today I did the makeup of my friend and her daughter who I do trades with for organizing help while I teach her daughter music lessons.  It was a lot of fun and I was glad I was able to help her when she has helped me so much.

Trading skills with other Mom friends is super helpful.  Not only is it fun to be social and be apart of each others lives but we are helping each other and additionally inspiring each other to keep up the good work. It is synergistic 1 + 1 = 5!  I know this may seem sort dorky but what I am talking about is true!

For example, when this friend comes over and helps me organize my house after she leaves I want to keep going and do a little more to finish up .  Also she has told me that when she goes home she feels inspired to keep organizing her own house. That or she appreciates her life of being a Mom of older kids a little more as I have spent the last hour and a half updating her on all the crazy stories of the 3-year-old drama episodes that are occurring over here. Ha ha just kidding it really isn’t that bad… well maybe partially. Check out my family blog to see what I am referring to.

Conclusion:  Do Mom Trades

If you are not a Mom, do friend trades.

Additional Tip: Always err to giving more on your side of the bargain so you always feel good about it. Plus when you find you someone who does the same, you know you’ve got a golden friend.

 

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Of course, my own daughters wanted a little makeup fix-up, too. Little Anna and Elsa…;)

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Organizing a Junky Drawer

Whoohoo! I have been meaning to do this for a while. I know it is not that spectacular but it is to me! My friend from my church has been coming over once a week to help me organize and in return I have been teaching music lessons to her daughter. Suffice it to say we have had a lot of fun. Plus, this organizing has inspired me to do it again on my own. Today I organized the office room my spouse and I share together and it looks soooo much better! Yes, it has been a long time since we have done this so it really needed it. Maybe 6 months or a year since a real serious dejunk organizing session?

It feels so great to have such a fresh, clean, and thought-out space again. I have found that organizing and dejunking helps me to prioritize what I am going for in life – my objectives of a space, analyze what is just clogging up my life, not-useful or low priority. Sometimes it is hard getting started but once you just bite the bullet and go for it, putting feelings aside, it is super rewarding and refreshing! Try it!!! Go organize something today even it it is just a single drawer.

You can do it!!!

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Patience in Home Searching

 

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Well, it seems not much “Mom Magic” is happening over here with only once a month posts but I am truly working at it! Do you ever feel like this in your life?

Although it sometimes appears we are doing the same thing day in and day out,  and not much is really getting done, be patient it is. Yes, the day is framed with the routines of wake up, get the kids dressed, fed and off to school only to begin sometimes an endless list of chores, but there is more to it than that.  It is not the same because each day we are a little different from the day before. We are now accompanied by the things we’ve learned from the previous day, year, and life we’ve lived so far.  This has been my mantra as of late.

These last couple of months we’ve been looking for a house.  We are currently renting and have been renting for the last almost four years now. It is time to get our own home. With so many choices to be made with such important details, I finally decided to make a checklist to see these houses objectively.

I share this with you in hopes that maybe this can give you an idea of how to handle your own momentous task of finding a house, deciding on a career, or ha ha even finding a spouse?  Through making a checklist it has helped me define exactly what I am looking for with a prioritized weighted list. As I share my list below, keep in mind these are what is important to us and you’ll want to put in what are your preferences.

If the first 5-6 categories are not met then I won’t even go about grading the house.

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Of course the extra credit points and personal scoring of each category can make a large difference. House hunting can easily take over your life I am learning but with this it gives me a way to see it in perspective, be patient, and not be driven by the emotional aspect of it all.

How it works: Once I see a house I like and it meets the top criteria then I put a number grade for how close it gets to what I’ve written in each category below. For instance if I wrote “the main level must have 80% wood floors” and it only has a small room with a wood floor on the main level then I would grade it maybe a 3 or 2 as opposed to the full 8 points it can get. I then move on down the check list grading category against what ideally I am looking for.

 

 

 

Keeping it all Together

Okay, so I’ve heard about this idea a few times but I always discarded it. Planning Dinners for an entire month? Yeah right. That is too much work, plus how would I know would ingredients to get in advance, and what if I didn’t even feel like eating the food that was scheduled for the night. But, if it kept coming to mind as something I should try, then maybe there was something to it.

So… I decided to give it a try this month. And it has honestly been, I hate to admit it, but very helpful. It has really saved a lot of time the time I usually spend interpreting what I am feeling in the mood for and then finally deciding. I’ve found that even if I don’t really feel like eating what is planned once I start making the meal and smelling all the yummy smells and such suddenly I think actually I don’t mind eating this after all. Or I just add something on the side that is a little more of what I was in the mood for but keep the main thing I had scheduled… like adding a sweet apple salad with caramelized nuts or yummy desert to satisfy my sweet tooth I am feeling that night.

I think part of the trick is using meals that you already know and like and them only have a new recipe a couple times for the whole month. If you are still deciding what you like and do quickly as a family then maybe this isn’t for you yet. You could start with planning the meals for the week. But, if you’ve been planning the meals for the week for a while, you are probably ready for this monthly plan like me. Try it!!!

It has helped me keep one step ahead to get the slow cooker going in the afternoon and extra leftover meat that I used for a meal earlier that week for meals later in the week. For example if I made shredded chicken tacos on Tues I made to make a few extra chicken breasts that I can set aside for my the chicken pot pie for Friday. It is awesome!!!

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Update :

So I no longer do this (write out dinners for the month)… but I do write out meals for the week on a small dry erase board on my fridge.  I believe I got it at Target in the dollar section.  For some people this may really work for you so go for it! You can do it! For me right now, one week is what I can handle.  I write this to encourage you to do what you can and be cool with it even if it is the meals for one day.  Good job!!! 🙂