SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks











By request of Georgina 🙂

Sometimes I just can’t find a recipe that exactly fits whatever it is I’m craving, or happen to have on hand.  That’s when some of my favorite concoctions are born. Sometimes they backfire, but this was yummy and filling.

Sausage & Potato casserole
1 package smoked sausage ( I always do beef)
1 bag frozen skillet potatoes
2 cans cream of whatever (I use potato) soup

Slice and brown the sausage.  Dump all of it in a labeled freezer bag.  On cooking day, dump the concoction in the crockpot with 1/2 cup of milk.  I also add a bag of shredded cheese – I really like cheese.  I’m sure sour cream or Greek yogurt would only make it better. Crockpot on low 6-8 hours.

If you try it, let me know what you think!

~ Katie

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The next section in my retired Home Management Binder is Meals & Menus.  With my new system, my plan is for Meals & Menus to eventually go in a separate binder, specific to the kitchen.  This section helps with meal planning, menu creation, and tracking supplies necessary to those tasks.  The things I’ve included in this section are:

  • grocery shopping lists: I have kind of a standard list I like to use and I add to it as necessary.  It’s ok to keep in the binder until I’m actually preparing to go to the store.  At that point, I need to check it against my inventories and my menu plan.  Then I’ll clip it to the front of my coupon binder and head to the store.
  • pantry inventory: I only keep the extra copies in here.  The pantry inventory has always been on the door of the pantry.
  • freezer inventor:  This works the same as the pantry inventory.
  • menu planner: I’ve tried the weekly planners in the past but I prefer to plan a month at a time.  If I pencil in generic meals/themes, they’re easy to modify and get specific later on. I love Jeepnmom‘s wipe off board on her fridge!  I could fill it in for the week and not have to hear “What’s for dinner tonight?”
  • price trackers:  This is something suggested by some other organizational sites and books, but I don’t keep up with price tracking.  For some reason the numbers stay in my head and I know I can get those chocolate chip waffles the last week of the month for $1.79/box without looking at a spreadsheet.  Sales cycles stay with me.  If you can’t remember cycles though, a price tracker is a great tool to use.  I’ll post more on that later.
  • recipes: old stand-bys (Mystery Beans), new favorites (Teresa’s Tagliatelle), and recipes to try (Peanut butter yogurt dip).  I’m in the process of decluttering cookbooks.  When menu planning, it’s best to have recipes close at hand so you know what you’re going to need.
  • kitchen appliance manuals:  I see the purpose in keeping them in a binder, nice and organized.  Right now, though, mine are in a cabinet over the stove.

I also keep basic instructions on how to use some of the every day appliances, like the toaster, microwave, etc., as the monkeys are using these things on their own now.  I need to add some cleaning checklists and maybe diagrams/pictures of where things go (Monkey #1 stacks dishes in the drainer when he’s not sure where they go!)

I’m recognizing a theme in my binder process: how to do it, where to find it, and what to do in case of _____!

Can you think of anything else that needs to go with a kitchen section in a Home Management binder?

~ Katie

 

 



Over the Labor Day holiday, I stocked my freezer with meals.  I could not see letting all of those perfectly good cans go to waste, so I ran them through the dishwasher to be repurposed.  MaMaw requested some, the monkeys hot glued crayons to some (pencil holders for favorite teachers, of course), and the rest I put with my crafty stuff.

During the Christmas Break, I decided to repurpose the hall closet.  I discovered many, many half-finished and never-started projects.  I organized the supplies to make room for the closet’s new inhabitants and promised myself to complete some projects as time allowed.

Today, I finally figured out that DROID’s cord connects perfectly to my Kodak Easy Share camera, and I found pictures of one of my projects!  One of the things I found in that closet was a Ball Canning Jar Decorating Kit that I’d picked up at the craft store years ago because it was on clearance for 25 cents.

I will not waste a good canning jar.

I will however repurpose a soup can.  Here are some pictures of what I did:

Project January 5, 2013 - Repurposing a soup can

Project January 5, 2013 – Repurposing a soup can

This kit was intended to decorate a Mason jar, but I can't bring myself to use a jar in that manner!

This kit was intended to decorate a Mason jar, but I can’t bring myself to use a jar in that manner!

 

 

This is the soup can after both layers of paper have been glued on.

This is the soup can after both layers of paper have been glued on.

 

 

 

 

Here is the end result. Not exactly like the kit, but hey, I upcycled!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think it turned out cute.  I tied some raffia and wooden tags on it and its set aside in the gift stash till needed.

Do you repurpose cans?  How do you use them?

~ Katie

 



{December 1, 2012}   Your Friend, Your Freezer

Refrigerator

 

The price of disorganization is high.  You end up with late charges on bills that aren’t paid on time, often leading to higher interest.  You duplicate purchases that you don’t intend.  Your spaces are not used to their fullest potential.

 

I’ve been there.

 

On my journey to the land of cheaptitude, I’ve really started to focus on my home.  If my home is running smoothly, everything else seems to fall in line.  For my home to run smoothly, I need the most bang for my buck.  This includes all of those spaces in my house, my real estate.  Today’s focus is the freezer.

 

My freezers are a vital component to my home.  If one stopped working today, I would find a way to replace it within a few hours because I am so dependent on these spaces.  That being said, it does no good to have freezer space if you don’t have a clue what is in there.  A disorganized freezer, like anything else, is a money-sucking waste of space.

 

My freezers are actually pretty organized.  They haven’t always been, and I understand how easily they can become a hot mess.  If you don’t have a deep-freeze, limited to just your fridge-freezer, you have to be much more conscientious about how you use the space.

 

I remember the days of breast milk bags piled next to hamburger patties.  I’ve come a long way since then.

 

I’ll begin with the set-up on my fridge freezer.  As it is in the house, in the kitchen, and more easily accessible, the only things I keep in it are my freezer-to-crockpot meals, one of each frozen veggie (I try not to buy canned anymore, unless it’s something like kidney beans), and basically anything I might use in the immediate future.  I will not keep more than one package of waffles or pancakes in the freezer in the house.  With the exception of my crockpot meals, I duplicate nothing in this freezer.  First, if it’s easily accessible, it disappears really quickly (ice cream, waffles, yogurt)  Second, I just don’t feel that it maximizes my space.  Any frozen stockpiling is in the deep freeze in the garage.

 

I used to have the most wonderful chest deep-freeze.  I think the reason I prefer that style is because that is what my grandparents always had.  Also, I could get more bang for my buck – space!  When we moved to our new house, we ended up with the fridge-style deep freeze, and I’m not crazy about it.  Most of our meat is game, processed locally, and the ground meat comes in little round packages that don’t stack well.  I have to use baskets on the shelves of the freezer to keep the meat from falling out every time the door opens, and as much as I love baskets/containers/organizing products, I’d prefer just to have my stuff sitting on the shelf.

 

I’m adapting, after 5 years.

 

  • I have dedicated one shelf of the deep freeze to bread and frozen pizza.  My maintenance number for bread is 6, so I keep 2 stacks three high on the top shelf.  My pizzas stand up like books on the rest of the shelf.
  • The next shelf holds a dish pan full of rolls of ground meat.  There are some roasts, back strap, etc. stacked in the small space next to the bin.
  • I keep veggies and other frozen dinners in the shelves in the door.
  • At the bottom of the freezer I keep juice pouches, water bottles, etc.  I do this for 2 reasons.  First, a full freezer runs more efficiently and stays frozen longer in a power outage.  Second, it saves me from buying cold packs for the monkeys’ lunches.

 

I used to use tracking forms, also, and am trying to figure out how to upload them.  With tracking forms, I always knew what was in the freezer, how many I had on hand, and so on.

 

Do you prefer a pretty, empty freezer?  Is that more organized than one that is full?

 

~Katie

 

Freezer Inventory Form

 

 



et cetera
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