SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks











{July 30, 2014}   Kitchen Adventures

I’ve been trying for the past few weeks to get my house clean/organized enough to take the annual back to school hit.  I have huge piles of *stuff* for my garage sale this weekend. I have multiple binders started. And, as of this morning, I really needed to go to the grocery.

Monkey #2 ate sweet peas for breakfast.

The 4-legged monkey had spaghetti.

I used a paper towel as a coffee filter.

Hmmm.

So, this morning since the fridge was mostly empty, I took all the shelves and bins out and cleaned them.  Most of the bins fit in the dishwasher. The 3 main shelves, cold cut bin, and crispers went through the kitchen sink. Dawn dish soap is amazing for degunking and defunking all of the spills “Ida Noe” creates in my fridge. The great big bottom shelf that gets so funky? It doesn’t fit anywhere and I thought I might have to clean it on the back deck. Instead, I took it to the  Monkeys’ bath. And realized they don’t have a hosey-shower head anymore. Oops. It worked, though. I love love love baking soda. And vinegar. And a clean fridge.

I’m beyond ready for a freezer session, so I pulled up a few favorite recipes and began planning.  But I knew I was low on ground meat (come on, deer season!) and wouldn’t be going to Albertsons yet (chicken breasts for CHEAP!).

Plan in place, list made, the monkeys and I loaded up, and armed with my coupon binder and reusable bags, headed out to restock some groceries. My grocery list was short and basic – focused around making breakfast ahead. My plan was instant oatmeal packets (we go through a TON of instant oatmeal!), granola bars as a healthier snack option, and breakfast burritos.

3 stores and a hundred dollars later….

My pantry and fridge are restocked.

I forgot cheese for the burritos.

I only had enough oatmeal for my oatmeal packs.

I figured out the blender does a great job of grinding oatmeal. Food processor? Not so much. I’m pretty sure my 30 snack sized baggies of instant oatmeal saved us several dollars. There are a bajillion recipes online, if you check with our good buddy, Google. I modified a recipe to fit what I had and what I wanted (no artificial sweeteners in the House of Cheaptitude!) and actually made 4 or 5 varieties as a test batch. So far, so good, considering Monkey 1 has tried them all. After a few more tweaks, I’ll post the recipe.

Breakfast burritos are also popular in my house, but it hurts my feelings to spend so much money at Sonic, especially when they jack up my order every time. It seemed like an easy enough process. A little time-consuming since people had special requests, but I put together 30 for the freezer. Again, Monkey 1 has been the official taster, and says they’re really good. He says the tortilla gets hard in the microwave but I think a damp paper towel during heating can resolve that. I think bigger shells would have been better, also, but I was taking advantage of a good sale.

And I had enough leftover fruit snacks, etc., for trail mix.

It’s not perfect, but I feel like I accomplished a little bit. With school just a few days away, at least I know everyone will have the option for hot breakfast for a while.

I still need a massive freezer day.

What new things are you trying in the kitchen this summer?

~ Katie

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Family photo from my favorite brother-in-law's wedding a few years ago

Family photo from my favorite brother-in-law’s wedding a few years ago

I love Pinterest.  I can spend Hours on Pinterest.  I swear, Pinterest was created especially for the House of Cheaptitude.  I have an entire board with over 300 pins dedicated to my Household Management Binder.

The one that I haven’t been using.

Because it had 6 million sections.

And I would forget all about it.

And I love organizing and using binders to organize, so what is my malfunction?

Seriously, it’s just too much crap information in one place.  I don’t need random recipes in with immunization records.  I use different information in different places.  So I’ve begun breaking it down.

Several months ago, my Money & Finance Divider broke out into its own binder. Don’t you remember?  It’s all crafty and pink and girly and cute?  I actually have used it.  Sort of.

You HAVE to have a system that works for you.

Monkey Management

Now the Monkeys have kept me hopping all summer.  Between church activities, karate, reading programs, and Shreveport Little Theater, I’ve put over 2000 miles on the PimpMobile just since May!  And Monkey 1 is starting High School this year.  So they’re in different categories now in all of their activities.  I may be rubbing off on my offspring – they’ve both asked for binders to keep their schedules straight.  At this point, not knowing how much the monkeys will actually use binders for organization, they’ll be in one binder, my “Monkey Management Binder.”  I’ve started putting it together (super cute cover!) and it will be its own blog post, just because I’m so freaking proud of it!

Recipes & Menu Planning

This binder is pretty cool, too.  I have my frequently used cookbooks and recipe cards, of course.  But this binder has freezer cooking information and ideas, menu planning ideas, frequently used recipes, recipes to try, shopping lists, etc.  I’m planning to make a menu board, also (Thank you, Pinterest!) This is going to be my kitchen brain.  And we all know I’m fond of playing in the kitchen.

Medical

O. M. G.  2 of the people in my house have had hospital stays in the past year.  2 have had surgery.  I think I’m getting EOB’s or bills on a daily basis.  Binderizing is a good solution to keep up with all of this mess.  Each family member has a divider, behind which are EOB’s, receipts, bills. When an EOB comes in, it will be stapled to the matching bill or receipt.  Easy Peasy.  I’ll also have a reminder sheet in the front so I remember who needs to be scheduled for what appointment for what doctor, etc. each month.

Mommy’s Idea Book

You know all of those pages you pull out of magazines because they’re so cool and you’re going to craft/cook/exercise/etc. just like this article? Yeah.  I have a mountain of clipped pages.  Because Pinterest just isn’t enough.  So that paper pile will be sorted, categorized, and put in a binder, too.

 

Now for the good stuff.  My re-vamped Management Binder.

Household Management Binder

There are 60 million ideas on Pinterest for setting these up.  I absolutely love the printables and such people have come up with.  I’m astounded by how many etsy sellers specialize in Management binders.  While I may tweak some of what I’ve seen, I’m creating my own.  I love crafting and I have the resources and I make the time, so why not?  There’s nothing wrong with buying stuff or using other people’s forms.  But I’m too cheap for all that.

I made a cute cover, using lots of quotes about family, and a picture of the four of us from my favorite brother-in-law’s wedding.  The back cover is pics of the monkeys when they were little and adored each other, with a sweet quote.

My dividers were super simple.  I printed out titles and glued to cardstock, trimming with other scrapbook paper. These went in frosted page protectors. Then I made tabs from cardstock and stapled to my dividers.  Easy Peasy.  The most important sections in that binder, I believe, are the Planning Section (Master Calendar!) and the Phone section.  My cleaning routines will probably end up in a small binder or notebook at some point.

For the most part, this binder is to help out the rest of the House of Cheaptitude.  I have my poop pretty much in a group, but they need to function if I’m not here.

 

So that is part of what I’ve been up to, in the midst of errands, organizing and cleaning, ferrying monkeys all of North Louisiana, and playing with craft supplies.  What have you been doing all summer?

 

~ Katie

 

 

 



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