SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks











{August 9, 2014}   The Recipe Binder

I am one of those people who would love to be a stay-home mom. If I could ever stay home! I get a taste during school breaks, but end up running around so much that I’m always ready to face the 8th grade again.

One of the things I love about being home is the idea of cooking. Notice, it’s the idea. I try to cook nearly every night, but often it’s something I throw together (beer pancakes and eggs, anyone?). Or, on really busy nights, a can of store brand ravioli (gasp!). I have several cookbooks and a box of recipes that I really like, but our schedule often limits my kitchen creativity.

And, honestly, how many of us really explore every recipe in a cookbook? I have one cookbook that I’ve tried several new things, but with most of my collection, I have only one or two. And what good is my recipe box if I can’t find Aunt Fran’s cocoa mix recipe when I want it?

This is where my recipe binder is coming in.  I will have a place to maintain those frequently accessed recipes, while decluttering my cabinet.  My dividers will have pretty traditional categories, with a few exceptions.  I need a divider for clipped recipes I’d like to try, as well as one for my freezer to crockpot recipes.

Where is my binder?  It’s still all in my head, totally in the planning stages.  I’ve copied and pasted all of the freezer recipes I love to a Word document and can print those any time now.  And I sold off several cookbooks in my garage sale last week.  So I’m getting there.

It’ll be a fun distraction when I should be lesson planning.

The dividers I’m planning so far include:
1. Freezer to Crockpot – this is for the recipes I’ve collected since starting to freezer cook – a lot of Sidetracked Sarah and Six Sisters.

2.  DIY Convenience Foods – breakfast burritos, oatmeal, granola bars, etc.  Things I might buy but should save money and do myself.

3.  Appetizers – I don’t do a lot of appetizers, but this is where I can include yummy dips and such.

4.  Sides, Fruits & Veggies – “Car-house” grandma’s macaroni & cheese, her applesauce, and that sort of thing.

5.  Main Courses – sorted by meats

6.  Casseroles

7.  Desserts & Snacks

8.  Beverages – grown up as well as kid-friendly! I will probably color code these….

9.   Family Favorites – tried and true things that I need quick access to regularly.  This should be near the front.

10.  Test Kitchen – recipes that I want to try.

11.  Miscellaneous

I thought about including DIY household and beauty, but I think my cleaners will better serve in my cleaning binder, and beauty stuff in my self-improvement binder.  I love a good binder.

So that is my next project, with the added bonuses of decluttering my cookbook collection and some Pinterest boards.  How do you handle recipes?

~ Katie

Posted from WordPress for Android

Advertisements


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

 

 

 



A woman’s home management binder should be like her purse: organized in the way that works best for her.  Because I have a specific purpose behind my binder, I also have an idea of how it will be set up.  As much as I’d like to focus on making it pretty, it first needs to be functional.

Section One will be Emergency Information.  Those numbers must be front and center, easily accessible to whomever is running the House of Cheaptitude at that time (babysitter, Grizzly, PaPaw, Nana, etc.) I only need one page in the emergency section at this point – Emergency phone numbers, our address and directions to our house.

These are the emergency numbers I think need to be included:

  • Police/Fire/Ambulance – I’m lucky enough to be in an area with 911 service, but not everyone is.
  • Our home phone/address/directions from the main road – This is good to have for a 911 operator.
  • Poison Control Center – According to the CDC, over 2,000 people are treated in the Emergency Room and 87 people die daily in the U.S. from accidental poisoning.  Those numbers terrify an overprotective mama like me.
  • Family doctors/after-hours numbers – Our pediatrician is AWESOME and if we call her office after hours, we’ll be put in touch with a doc on call.  My doctor, however, does not take call, so I have to use a different number after about 4 in the afternoon and on weekends.
  • Dad’s name/work number/cell number – The monkeys know their daddy’s name, but I may someday have to quit relying on the kindness of parental units for child care (shudder) and hire a sitter.
  • Mom’s name/work number/cell number – See above!
  • Grandparents‘ names and phone numbers where they can be reached – We are so blessed that our parental units live so close by!  Even Granny-at-the-Farm could be here within a half an hour, if necessary.
  • Close friend’s name & number – One of my BFF’s lives right around the corner and she’s super-dependable, which makes her a great emergency contact.
  • Neighbor’s name/number – This one is more problematic, as we’re not very close with most of our neighbors.

In the past, I’ve used a cute form from Delight in Real Life, but I have it in my head that my binder will be more uniform this go-round, so I’ll make my own, based on what worked from those I’ve used in the past.  Organized Home offers a good one, too, if you’re not feeling very creative.

*UPDATE* I’ve added a printable at the end of this post.  Let me know what you think!

Are you working on a home management binder?  What will you include in yours?

~ Katie

Emergency Information



{February 15, 2013}   If the Aliens Abducted Me….

 

A pair of homemade sock monkeys.

A pair of homemade sock monkeys. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Sometimes I wonder what would happen to Grizzly and the monkeys if something ever happened to me, like I’m abducted by aliens or something.  How on earth would they function?  Their activities are pretty well lined out on the kitchen calendar, so Grizzly could handle that.  But I pay most bills online.  I have set days when I send lunch money to school.  Certain days the monkeys ride the bus to PaPaw’s house and have to have a note.  There are so many things that I do on auto pilot and the more I think about it, the more I realize Grizzly might not know how to run the House of Cheaptitude if I weren’t here.

 

Because of this, I’m going to dust off my Household Notebook.  My HN is simply a binder with need-to-know information.  It was great as a planner and kept me fairly organized.  It was my best friend about 12 years ago, but it fell out of use after a while – I think because I was trying to make it perfect.  My HN was originally based on the one touted on Organized Home, a site I still love.  But like so many systems in my life, I have to make it my own.  And, by extension, it has to make sense to the rest of the Cheaptitude crew.

 

Over the past few years, just like coupon organizers, I’ve seen more and more kits for sale.  You might get something cute for your buck, but it seems wasteful when you can find so many freebies.  Or make your own, like I like to do.

 

So, along with my other organization and crafting projects, I’ll be working on my Household Notebook.  I’m only going to tackle a section at a time, posting the forms I’m using as I go.  Most of the forms will probably be my version of some that are already out there. (Man, I do love a binder!)  Anyone else want to work on this with me?

 

Let me know if you have an idea for a form you would like me to put together!

 

Would your significant other be able to run your home if the aliens abducted you?

 

~ Katie

 



three ring binder

Couponing.  I LOVE it.  I stockpile, I shop smart, and I save money.  I’ve written before about my tight budget and my love of couponing.  One of the most important things to remember with couponing is that you must be organized or it just won’t work.

If you watch that show or if you’re an expert Googler (like me), you’ll find there are MANY ways to obtain and sort your coupons.  I’ve tried a bunch before finding what worked for me.

Couponing is not a part or full-time job for me.  I am a teacher outside the home, which often carries over into my home, and at home I am trying to run a household for four 2-legged and one four-legged individual.  Saving money is crucial, but I do not have the time to devote that you see on tv.   Nor do I want to.  I spend and hour or so each month printing coupons from the internet.  I buy 2-3 Sunday papers each month for the purpose of clipping coupons.  I’m saving money.  I’m saving a good bit of money.  But I cannot allow couponing to take away from my family.

Internet Coupons

  • I suggest sticking to well-known sites when printing coupons from the internet, such as Coupons.com.  If you just Google for coupons, you are liable to infect your computer.  I speak from experience.
  • Many companies offer coupons through their Facebook pages.  I received a great coupon for Kool-Aid last summer by “liking” their Facebook page.
  • I personally subscribe to some “Extreme Coupon” newsletters.  The Krazy Coupon Lady is one of my favorites because she shares really good store bargains, as well as letting readers know about upcoming coupon availability and Facebook promotions.

The Sunday Paper

If you already subscribe to your local paper, good for you.  Unless you know there are some really amazing coupons that week, I would not run out and buy extra copies.  That’s your personal choice, but I coupon to save money, not spend it.

The way I know ahead of time what coupons to expect in the Sunday paper is by subscribing to The Sunday Coupon Preview.  It varies, of course, depending on region, but it’s usually very accurate.  I also know ahead of time if there will be no coupons that weekend.  This saves me $1.50-1.75.

Another thing I’ve done, if I have friends or family who will be out-of-town over a weekend, I have them pick up a paper for me.  Monkey 2’s godmother travels a lot for her job and Atlanta or Los Angeles will have different coupons (and MORE) than we have in my neck of the woods.  Someone is headed to Dallas for the Cowboys’ game?  Forget Tony Romo’s autograph.  Bring me back a paper, please!

Clipping Services

There are clipping services where you can order a bazillion Kotex coupons if you so choose.  Just kidding.  But you can order multiple coupons for a fee.

I’m in this game to save money.  I believe my sister has used a clipping service, but I do not know how that worked out for her.  I am not familiar with any in particular, and won’t recommend any.  Google is your friend.

Share and Share Alike

If you have a pile of Pampers coupons, see if you can trade with someone for the Dog Chow coupons you’re needing.  People even have “coupon trains,” where they mail each other coupons.  What a great way to get coupons without spending a bunch of extra money.  Be organized about it and kind of keep track of what you send to whom. (Sounds like a form is needed here)

Not only do you need to be organized in the acquisition of your coupons, but you need to have them  organized once they’re in your possession or they won’t be of any use in your shopping excursions.

The Envelope System

With the envelope system, you have envelopes for each major category and coupons go in the envelopes.  Within the envelopes themselves, I imagine you could sort the coupons by type or expiration.  When I used envelopes, I had to do a lot of digging to get to what I needed, coupons expired before I used them, and I couldn’t always remember what coupons I had.  Envelopes are nice because they slide into your purse.  If you use envelopes in a great way, please let me know!

The Shoebox System

This would be for your hardcore couponer, I think.  What I’ve seen is shoeboxes or those awesome photo boxes (Michael’s and Hobby Lobby often run them on sale!) with category dividers.  As long as your box isn’t cram-packed, I think this would make for easier access.  Never having so many coupons, I’ve not tried this one myself.  If you’re a box couponer, share your tips!

The Binder

I love a binder.  Even before I started teaching, I have always loved a binder.  When I was five or six, my Grandpa Lew bought me my first Trapper Keeper and I was hooked for life!

On TV, I notice they use lots of zipper binders with huge rings. Monkey 1 has to have one of these for school since they don’t have lockers.  They’re really expensive. I just recycled an old 3 ring $1 binder to use for mine.  The seams are starting to separate after almost two years of good use, but I imagine I can come up with a dollar or so for another one.

I made my own dividers.  I printed the categories on pretty paper through my computer and then put the pages into page protectors.

I have a pencil pouch at the front, to keep up with a pen, various store loyalty cards, sometimes a calculator, etc.  Some of the store cards are the small, keychain version and I keep those on a keyring.  I also have a binder clip on the front cover to hold my grocery list.

My coupons are kept in trading card pages.  Sometimes I have to fold them, but I’m ok with that. I keep like coupons together, with the newly expiring at the front.  For example, I may have a Yoplait $0.40 off 6 in the same pocket as $0.60 off 8.  Like coupons.  This is what works best for me.

Behind those trading card pockets I keep my store policies for the stores I frequent most often.

And of course there are more organizing methods out there, but I’ve really only tried the envelopes and the binder.  The box is kind of appealing.  There is also a file system but I feel like I would miss a lot of deals…..I may write about that one once I know more.

Couponing should not be excessively time-consuming, stressful, or costly.  It should be organized, or it really will not garner the results you seek.  Are you a couponer?  What works best for you?

~ Katie

Coupon Sorting Mat

 

 



et cetera
%d bloggers like this: