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Tag Archives: Homemaking

Getting Organized: the Kitchen and a Menu Plan

So, the theme for 2014 is going to be less stuff, more efficiency, and more time for family and friends.  I am the keeper of the stuff at my house and I’m tired of having so much to pick up, clean, and take care of.  So, I’m getting rid of it.  If it’s not essential and we don’t love it, then it’s gone.  (It’s also my secret plan to fund a fabulous girls weekend to Boston this summer!)

One of the areas I want to work on is my kitchen and menu planning.

I started by reading this awesome blog which helped me declutter my kitchen.  I now have one section of counter-top that is completely free!!  I even put away 3 appliances (toaster, bread machine, and food processor) by cleaning out my cabinets.  I LOVE it.  I used to think my mom was crazy for not keeping her toaster out, but as it turns out, she is not.

Also, I want a menu plan.  The problem is that I hate to menu plan.  Yep, HATE it.  For some reason it thoroughly stresses me out.  I finally decided that if I was going to have a menu and put in on my (newly cleaned off) fridge then it should at least be cute.  It is.  And I’m going to share it with you.  It’s pretty much the luckiest day of your life.  😉

Fridge with menu plan

Chalkboard Menu – blank  (a pdf that you can print and fill in weekly)

Menu Ideas (a word doc that you can edit to include your family favorites)

I used a white colored pencil to start with, but I think I’m going to need a white/silver marker.  How sad, I guess a trip to the office supply store is in order.  (Said in total sarcasm because a trip to the office supply store sounds like a great day to me.)

Please prepare yourself to be completely annoyed by my upcoming pursuit of less stuff and the fact that I might try to convince you to do the same.  😉

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What are 10 things you could eliminate from your kitchen TODAY???

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To be like Grandma and Grandpa

Call me a hippie or old fashioned or nostalgic, but there is something drawing me to the way things used to be done.  I want to think more like my grandparents did.  You know, when you grew some of your own food, when you shopped local and built lasting relationships with people in your own town, when you bought things that were actually made in America, and when you chose products that would stand the test of time and not made to break in a few months, when you actually planned on keeping your things for the long haul instead for a year or two when a fancier model came out, when you drove your car til it completely fell apart (which took a long time in those days) and lived without car payments and were out of style, but without the stress of debt, when you actually fixed things that broke instead of immediately replacing it.  I’m going to be honest, most of those things go against my consumer desires.  I like bright shiny fancy new things.  I like to throw things away.  I am a product of American consumerism and I kinda like it that way.

So, what started all this change in thinking?  My own Mr. Fix-It-Husband.  You see we own our business (a local American business, ha)  and when Husband buys tools and supplies he needs them to actually be built to last so that he doesn’t have to replace them every 6 months.  You see, even I understand that it’s not very cost effective to be replacing things all the time.  And you know who makes good quality products that they’re proud of?  Americans.  So when he can buy a product that’s made out of more than just plastic and made to last and it’s made by Americans, that’s a done deal in his mind.  He strives to give his customers the longest lasting and best products and work that he can and so he makes choices that will help him achieve those goals.

Now, the shopping world wants you to buy the trends, go in debt, and not care who made it or where it came from.  (I’m gonna be a hater for a minute on The Bank of Edwardsville.  Their bright flashing sign encourages people to take out loans for trips and fun.  I mean, c’mon.  If you don’t have the money for the trip, then you don’t go.  Moving on.)  It’s no wonder we make bad financial decisions.  It’s taking me a while to change my mindset and I still buy and do things without thinking.  But I want to strive to buy more American made products.  It’s both harder and easier than one might think.  It takes some work and thought and sometimes more money up front.

What do you do when there’s not an American made option?  First, be sad that there’s not.  Second, ask Husband what to do.  ha  The other day he was shopping for some tool.  There wasn’t one made in America.  What did he do?  Turned all the options over to see where they were made.  China.  China.  Germany.  German made it is.  If you can’t buy it made in America, then buy anything not made in China.  That’s his rule of thumb.

So there you go.  Buy American made, or at least not made in China.

Anyways, think a little more like your grandma, nana, meemaw, papa, grandpa, or pops.  There are a lot of things that we could learn from their lifestyle.

(The irony does not escape me here that we want to buy American made products, but adopt a non-American made baby.)

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What American made products do you buy?

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Don’t be a Hater.

Don’t hate me for this post…I’m really doing you a favor.  🙂

So, I recently joined Tupperware.  Yep, that’s right, it’s 1946 at the Stuehlmeyer house.  I have always loved loved loved Tupperware.  (Ask my mom, I threaten to take her and my Granny B’s Tupperware quite regularly.)  I mean, c’mon it lasts forever!  I’m talking the real deal here, actual Tupperware, not that fake stuff like Rubbermaid and Ziplock and stuff.  Well, I recently watched Plastic Planet and I had a serious moral dilemma with my love of Tupperware.  In fact, the irony is that the morning after watching Plastic Planet on Netflix I received a big box of Tupperware on my front porch.  Ugh.

I finally decided that I’m not going to quit using plastic wrap, or reusable plastic bottles, or my tv, or my clothes, or the 8 million other plastic components in our lives, and I’m certainly not going to be sending glass containers with my kindergartner for lunch (nor do I want to use 8 million little ziplock baggies).  I do believe in reusing plastic containers, reducing the number of plastic bags that I use, using safe plastic in the kitchen, and keeping my girls safe when they help me prep and cook.  Well, to make a long story short, I believe in Tupperware being one of the safest plastics, I believe it does help me reduce my overall carbon footprint, and since there is no way to completely eliminate plastic from our lives, why start with Tupperware?

Also, I might have shattered a mason jar on my kitchen floor on Tuesday morning and had to spend a ridiculous amount of time cleaning it up (since it magically spread across 3 rooms).  Then I had to re-clean it up, yep that’s right, re-clean it up.  My dogs decided to knock my trash can over later that day in hopes of getting some hot dog leftovers and they spread that dang shattered glass all over the kitchen floor again.  I realized twice in one day that had it been Tupperware I could have just picked it up and been done in like half a second.  Stupid shattered glass.  (That’s a cleaned up version of actually what went through my head.)

Judge me if you want, but I like my Tupperware and I’m keeping it.

All that to say…right now Tupperware has this super cool “The Place for Seals” on sale.  It’s only $11!  But, only til Friday (4/12/2013).

It organizes all your seals (that’s Tupperware speak for lids) in one place.  It makes me so happy I can’t even tell you.  (So, even if you have Pyrex or Glasslock or Ziplock or Rubbermaid, it will still organize your lids!)  Seriously, isn’t that the thing you hate most about food storage containers…the nightmare of the overflowing, lost, and mess of lids?

Can’t believe I’m doing a whole post on “The Place for Seals”.  Yikes.  Don’t.Shoot.Me.  But it’s only on sale til Friday so I couldn’t resist and have you be mad that I knew about this and didn’t tell you.

And if you owned one of these you’d understand.

If you’re smart, and you are, you’ll send me a message (sarahfae@gmail.com) and order one.

Fine print: I need your order by noon on Friday (4/12/2013).  It’s $12.94 including tax & shipping (for the locals only – Salem, Centralia, Mt. Vernon, Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, Maryville, Troy, etc., because I’ll be delivering it to you once I get them in).

And because I love you guys, I’m giving one away!  For every “The Place for Seals” that you order I will put your name in a drawing and one lucky orderer will win one on me!

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What is your favorite way to reduce, reuse, and recylce?

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A Jam Plan

I have a new plan.  A jam plan.  Name that TV show.

Moving on.

I have a new plan.  It has nothing to do with jam, but that episode just keeps rolling through my head.

It’s a cleaning plan.  It’s not new.  I’m sure lots of people have done it.  I’m going to implement it.  I will warn you that this has not been tested or approved.

I have a small house.  Basically just 5 rooms on the main floor.  5 rooms that I actually have to clean on a regular basis.  2 in the basement that I rarely have to clean.  I have decided that each Monday I’m going to take one hour to clean one room (or technically, one type of room).  However, right now my whole house needs cleaned.  So I’m doing a test run to start it out and this week I’m cleaning one room (type of room) every day.  But, normally, I’ll only have to deep clean for one hour a week.  I’ll do it on Monday afternoon and get it out of the way.  And every month my whole house will get cleaned.

I really dread cleaning for an entire day to do my whole house.  One hour, once a week seems much more manageable and I’m totally ok with each room only getting cleaned once a month.  If you think my house should be cleaned more frequently then I will let you know where you can send your donation for my cleaning lady fund.  Anyways, I’m going to pick up, sort out, dust, vacuum, and mop for one hour.  I will just spot clean in between.

Here’s the plan.  No jam.

Week 1 – Living room

Week 2 – Bathroom

Week 3 – Kitchen

Week 4 – Bedrooms

Week 5 – Bathroom – because it probably needs an extra cleaning

There ya go folks.  If you want to come when my living room is the cleanest then I recommend you scheduling your visit on Tuesday of the first week of the month.  Otherwise, you’re coming at your own risk.

As momma (and my aunt) always said, “If you’re coming to see me, come anytime.  If you’re coming to see my house, call and make an appointment.”  She actually said that.  A lot.  It’s one of our family’s favorite quotes.  And we lived by it.  Folks were always welcome, but we lived in our house and not on a magazine cover.  And you know what, we had a lot of people in and out because my mom was hospitable and people knew they were welcome.

I think Jesus would want it that way.  You may not be able to eat off my floors for most days out of the month, but you will be welcome to come and eat at my table.  You might have to watch me clear it off and wipe it down, but then you’ll know it’s clean.

And the story continues…

I seriously cried a lot.  I fought a lot.  And ultimately I obeyed.  And here’s how that conversation went down.

Well, husband, here’s the deal.

You want another baby.  Fine.  We’ll try for 6 months to a year and see what happens.  On three conditions.  1 – Three carseats won’t fit in the Jetta and I’m going to need a new car.  I want a Mazda5.  2 – I want to move home.  I’m going to need help with that many kids.  I sure can’t do it by myself.  3 – I need a new maternity wardrobe.  I’m going to need some money.

His response was pretty much a look of unbelief and excitement at the same time.  And with his usual reasonableness he told me it would be cheaper to just hire a baby-sitter than to move home.  The other 2 were understandable.

We’ll see, I told him.

I also might have warned him that this was going to be the hardest thing that I had ever done, that I was going to need his help, and there was a good chance that we would all be miserable.  But, yes, I was willing to try.  And, shockingly, there was part of me that actually wanted another baby.

We decided that we should probably pray about something like this and make sure this was how God was directing us before I went off all my meds.  You see, I was diagnosed with restless syndrome in college and have a sleep specialist that I see in St. Louis.  The bum thing is that he won’t let me taken any sleep meds if I’m pregnant or trying to get pregnant or nursing.  Dang doctor.  I also love my birth control.  I get a little bit crazy without it.

Chad did finally admit that he didn’t think I’d ever actually agree to this.  And he admitted that it was a little scary now that it was actually an option.  We were getting older afterall.  I completed agreed.  We were off our rockers.  Although if this worked like we thought it would we actually would be in a rocker quite a bit more.

Shameless Plug

So here it is.  A shameless plug.

Trailhead Church is having a women’s breakfast this Saturday (Feb 23).  It starts at 9:00 am.  Free breakfast, home cooked, healthy, fruit, there will be options.  Budgeting is the topic, presented by yours truly.

For those of you that don’t know me, I love budgets.  Yep, I’m a total loser and I’m not ashamed.

Women only.  No kiddos.  No men.

You should come.  Really.  It’ll be a blast.  I promise it won’t be too terribly awkward even if it is a roomful of women.  (Sometimes women get awkward, but that’s another whole post.)

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Truth or Dare:  Do you budget?

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Husbands, You’re Welcome.

Wives, you might just thank me too.

Warning: If you’re related to me, not married, or for whatever other reason you’re not supposed to be thinking about sex you might want to skip this post.  Proceed at your own risk.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Really, I warned you.

Moving on.  In a recent post I talked about making a new rule that Valentine’s gifts to your husband (or wife for the guys out there) relate to the bedroom.  I’m going to expand on that a little.  There are lots of things at any price range and I want to give you a few good ideas.  Some field tested and some not.

Lingerie.  This is a given, right?  But it can be a little pricey, especially if you’re a brand loyal girl like I am.  Trust me on this one.  Victoria’s Secret makes a lot of money for good reason.  If you’ve never bought from them and have the cash…splurge on buying something from VS.  It’ll be worth it.  It will fit well and hold up, pun intended, and it’s made to last a long time.

Silk boxers for him.

Your favorite chocolates.

Astroglide.  If you only take one thing away from this post, please let it be this one.  Throw that nasty KY crap away and go buy Astroglide.  This has been field tested by many army men.  They have a lot of sex, folks and they know what they’re talking about on this one.  Trust me, this comes highly recommended.  If you’re too embarrassed to buy it from the store, Amazon has it.  If not, get yourself on over to “the Wal-mart”.  Less than $7 I think.  There’s even a natural version now.  You have no excuse not to get this before Valentine’s Day.  Go.To.The.Store.Now.

Mentos mints.

Fine wine.  A little dust…  Gets sweeter with time.  Name that song.  Anybody??

Whipped cream.

Good stash of gum, mints, breath strips, and mouthwash.

New condoms if you go that route.  New towels if you don’t.

Satin sheets.

Young children at home…sound machine.  We have this one and this one.

A new candle.  Or ten.

If you don’t like my list you’re on your own.  And maybe you should talk to someone.  Seriously, those are some good ideas.  If you can’t even find one, email me, talk to a friend, you may have something going on.  Process through it so that Valentine’s Day won’t be so awkward.  I heard once that Christians ought to be having the best and most sex out of everybody.  Lets enjoy God’s gift and piss Satan off in the process.  He’s declared war on marriage and I say it’s high time we fight back, by getting naked.

Disclaimer: No store or company paid me to write these statements and opinions.  But I wish they had.  Then I’d have more money than I do now.

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I’m almost afraid to ask, but here goes, what would you add to this list?

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