Simply Sweet Home

Recipes, Decor, Crafts, Product Reviews, Giveaways and more.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Organizing Round-Up: Filing Cabinets

Organizing Blog

I file pretty frequently so I didn't really have much to do in the area of filing for the Organizing Round-Up, but I did manage to do a few things. As I worked, I took notes so that I could share with you exactly what I did, as the pictures don't really show much of a transformation.

-First, I went through my temporary file box and processed and filed everything that was in it. I also managed to throw a few pieces of junk mail away.
-At this time I also made a new folder for tax stuff and placed it in the temporary box, so I'd have it ready for all the tax documents that get mailed to us.
-Within my file cabinet drawer, I went through all the files and threw out any old or unnecessary papers.
-I also rearranged a few folders; since I have one large file drawer instead of a few small ones, I try to keep similar/related files together, and I decided to move a few folders around to make it a little more orderly.
-And for those who may be curious, the order of the files is (from front to back): Household Bills, Bank/credit card statements, Insurances Papers & Bills, My Husband's Student Loans, My Student Loans, Legal Documents, Tax Documents, and Misc.
-I also made a few new labels for my green hanging folders; my labelmaker broke, and I haven't bought a new one yet, so I had to make some temporary handwritten labels, but at least now all the sections in the file cabinet have labels. And I made labels for each of the banks that we have accounts and/or credit cards with. Previously I would have 2 or 3 banks inside one hanging folder, but I decided to separate those out into separate hanging folders.

Here's the before picture:

And Here's The After: See? Other than a few new handwritten labels, there isn't much of a transformation to look at. But I guess it's the thought and action behind the pictures that really counts!

And here's a picture from another angle. I tried to separate the folders and make spaces so that you could see all the different "sections" of files that I described above, but didn't work out to well. (Again, it's the thought that counts!)
Also, check out my other posts that are related to filing:

The Secret To My Success (With Filing) - The Temporary File Box

Organizing Tax Information - Part 1

Organizing Tax Information - Part 2

Join us over at Org Junkie for the Round-up!



More Awards

I'm happy to announce that Barbara over at Barbara Bakes was kind of enough to pass on the following awards to me. Thank you, Barbara, for thinking of me! I just love getting new awards! I also have to say thanks to Nina over at Nina's Culinary Creations who also awarded me and all of her followers the Kreativ Blogger and Amazing Blog awards!

The rules for recipients are:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.

2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!

3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.

4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

I'm passing these awards on to:

As For Me & My House

Cherry's Jubilee

Life in Focus

Forever Wherever


Cooking And The City

The Happy Housewife

Keep up the great work you guys!



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Secret To My Success (With Filing)

As many of you know, Laura at Org Junkie hosts a monthly Organizing Round Up. The project for January is filing cabinets. Before each round-up (assuming I participate in all of them) I thought it would be informative to do a post, telling some strategy that I use or something that I learned while doing the current project. So this month I decided to share with you the secret to my success (at least in the area of filing and ridding your desk of clutter).

My secret is the Temporary File Box. When I worked as a receiving clerk, I had several file trays and racks that held folders (all labeled nicely of course), and each folder or tray had a specific purpose and was a temporary home for a particular kind of paper work until it could be processed. I also had a box with green hanging folders (just like the one above) to hold all the recieved purchase orders until I had time to file them away.

After getting married we were plagued with paper! Mail would sit on my desk, my husband's desk, the kitchen counter, and of course the kitchen table! So I decided to buy a simple file box and put some folders in it; the folders would help me, not only to organize the paperwork, but hide it away!

And unlike other solutions I tried in the past, I like this one because the box stays out in our office, and the folders are labeled, so the box itself is a constant reminder to stay on task and process and file paperwork!

The labels for the folders obviously depend on your own individual needs. But to get you started, here are some of my folders and their purposes:

  • Bills - Where I place new bills until they are paid
  • To Be Filed - Where I placed any paper work that needs to be filed (of course), and where bills and all the other paperwork goes after it's processed (if I don't have time to file immediately)
  • Personal Reciepts - Where I place grocery store, resturant, and other receipts, until I can enter the amounts into my expense spreadsheet.
  • Business Receipts - Where I put receipts from my husband's business and other tax deductible receipts until I have time to enter & file them.
  • Requires Action/To Do - For paperwork that needs to be signed or filled out and mailed off or something we have to call about.
  • I also have a folders labeled "Misc," "Scrap Paper" (for doodles), and "To Shred." My husband and I also have our own individual folders, and I have a folder that's labeled "Blogging" for ideas that I get or find, and I have a folder labeled "Etsy."

By sorting all incoming mail and paperwork into folders as I have described, it is very easy to stay organized, and when it comes time to pay bills, file, and do other office tasks, you don't have to waste time trying to figure out what everything is and what needs to be done with each piece.


This post is featured on Rocks in My Dryer.

Labels: ,

Monday, January 26, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Black Bean Spirals

With the Super Bowl coming up here soon, I thought it would be a good time to post an appetizer. Last year one of the appetizers I made was Black Bean Spirals. Actually I did the recipe for the filling, and I used about half of it for the spirals, and I used the other half of the filling as a dip for nacho chips. You could also skip the step of cutting them into spirals and have black bean wraps (adding toppings if you so desire).

I really like these. I can't really think of a good way to describe them other than to say that they're just different. There very light compared to a lot of appetizers out there, which also makes them a great snack for summer time parties. And this is another great recipe that you can use as a base and then add other ingredients or serve it in a variety of ways.

Here's the recipe:

4 ounces of Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese
1/4 cup of sour cream
dash of salt (optional)
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed & drained.
3 flour tortillas

-Mix cheeses, sour cream, and salt until well blended.
-Place beans in food processor and process till smooth. Add beans to the mixture and spread on tortillas.
-Roll up tortillas and chill for 30 minutes. Cut into 1/2 inch slices and serve.
-Optional: Garnish with pico de gallo or a little salsa, or serve salsa on the side for dipping.

I took these photos as I went through the process of making them:

This is the filling mixture...again, I LOVE this as a dip!

Spooned out on a tortilla.

Wrapped up.

The final product: Black Bean Spirals

Tips & Suggestions:

-Try adding shredded chicken to the filling mix....everything's better with chicken!
-The filling mix would be a great topping for tacos, taco salad, and other Mexican dishes.

-It could also be used for filling in finger sandwiches, pitas, and other bread items.


Please visit the following sites for more great recipes & other ideas:
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday is hosted by Blessed With Grace.
Homemaker Mondays is hosted by
11th Heaven’s Homemade Haven.
Making A Happy Home Monday is hosted by
As For Me and My House….
Kitchen Tip Tuesdays is hosted by Tammy's Recipes
Make Something Monday is hosted by
Go Graham Go! and Jolly Mom
Tasty Tuesday is hosted by Forever Wherever.


Labels: , ,

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Menu Plan Monday for January 26

As you'll see it's a very easy week for me in the cooking department. I had a whole week planned out, and then my husband reminded me that he's going out of town for a couple of days, so I had to take a couple of menu items off, and I moved the poulet to Monday & Tuesday. On Wednesday we're supposed to go to a business conference. And then he'll be gone Thursday and Friday, so I'll just kind of be winging it those days, grabbing something that's quick to make, or else driving up to Subway. Luckily he's back on Saturday. (I hate it when he's gone!) And then hopefully we can get back into a good routine for next week!

Happy Monday!

Breakfasts: waffles, banana nut muffins, cereal
Lunches: Leftovers from last week, chicken noodle soup, chicken salad sandwiches

Monday - Chicken Poulet
Tuesday - Leftover Poulet
Wednesday - going to a conference, will probably eat out afterwards
Thursday - Husband's out of town---I'll round up something quick.
Friday - Husband's out of town---again something quick.
Saturday - Cheeseburger Macaroni
Sunday - Superbowl; we'll probably have appetizers or order out whatever my husband wants to eat, probably chicken fingers, pizza, or subs

Join us for MPM at over at Org Junkie.



The New Simply Sweet Home

Welcome to the new Simply Sweet Home! Hope you guys like the new look! As many of you know, I've been looking around for blog designs for several months, and last week I finally purchased one.

It's still not completely finished; I have to customize and install all the sidebar graphics, which I'm having a little technical difficulties with right now, but hopefully in the next day or two I'll have all the kinks worked out and the new design will be complete.

I want to say a big, HUGE thank you to Emily over at Polka Dot Pixels for this awesome design! I found her shop on etsy and decided to inquire about one of her listings. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy she was to work with. For someone like me, who loves blogging but is totally clueless about the aspects of graphic designing, she made it a very pleasant experience and her communication was very prompt and easy to understand. I had a lot of questions, and she was very patient during the process and was a BIG help.

She did an excellent job customizing her design and making it into exactly what I wanted, including all the elements I wanted, and creating graphics that, I think, go perfectly with the image, ideas, and concept of Simply Sweet Home.

If you are currently in the market to purchase some graphics, a new blog design, or etsy banner, I highly recommend Polka Dot Pixels. Her work is of a high quality. The prices are very reasonable. And Emily is a real pleasure to work with. And I would gladly do business with her again in the future!

Thank You So Much Emily For Your Great Work!


Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Happy Valentine Crafts

As Valentine's Day is approaching, I figured it was time to post some crafts for the occasion. I love posting craft ideas, because I know that we have a lot of readers who are moms and like to do projects with their kids, and we also have a lot of teachers and home school moms as well. Plus, it's just fun!

I'm trying to post these kind of early so that people can use the ideas. And normally I would post on something I have on hand at my house or else use craft projects from around the internet, but this time I have only one source: Oriental Trading

When I got my catalog a few weeks ago I was thrilled at all the post worthy ideas they had. Sometimes I purchase beads and craft kits from their catalog, but I also look at it as a good source for ideas. In most cases, you can look at the photos of their crafts and pretty much tell what materials you need to complete the project, allowing you to skip the step of ordering the kit, and just get the materials from your local craft store (or your own stock).

Here are just a few of the ideas that I liked. Enjoy!

Quilled Heart Valentine Decoration


Labels: ,

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Easy Chicken & Dumplins

For this week's recipe I decided to post my Easy Chicken & Dumplin recipe. I posted the recipe previously in an MPM post, but for future linking purposes, and because I love the recipe so much and feel that it deserves its own post, I decided to post it again. (not to mention, it's a good time to do so, considering that I'm making it again this week!)

Originally I had found a recipe for Chicken Noodle Casserole and whenever I tried it, the taste reminded me a lot of these chicken & dumplins that a friend of ours used to make, so I decided to make a few changes to the recipe and relabel it "Easy Chicken & Dumplins."

This recipe can be made in very little time, and it also makes a great make ahead meal for those of you who like to do all your cooking the day before.

Easy Chicken & Dumplings

1 can Cream of Chicken Soup

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup

1/2 cup milk

2 cans of white chicken OR 3/4 - 1 lb of cooked boneless chicken breast (I like to have some of it in shreds and some it in chunks.)

3 cups of egg noodles

Chicken Broth (optional, I don't really measure it out, I just pour a little in, about 1/2 cup to a 3/4 cup, but you may put more or less, depending on how thick you want the mixture to be.)

Directions: Cook noodles according to package direction. When finished drain off water. Mix milk soups, and chicken in a large cooking pot. Heat through. Then stir in noodles.

Please visit the following sites for more great recipes & other ideas:
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday is hosted by Blessed With Grace.
Homemaker Mondays is hosted by
11th Heaven’s Homemade Haven.
Making A Happy Home Monday is hosted by
As For Me and My House….
Kitchen Tip Tuesdays is hosted by Tammy's Recipes
Make Something Monday is hosted by
Go Graham Go! and Jolly Mom
Tasty Tuesday is hosted by Forever Wherever.


Labels: ,

Menu Plan Monday for January 19

MPM time again! I had a time picking out all of this week's items. It's so funny how some weeks I struggle to come up with stuff for the entire week, and then other weeks I have so many ideas that I have to narrow it down and postpone some of the ideas till later. Hope you like my final choices for this week! Happy MPM!

Breakfasts: cereal, strawberry muffins, waffles & bacon

Lunches: tuna sandwiches, hot dogs, chunk ham sandwiches, vegetable soup

Monday - Easy Chicken & Dumplins, black eyed peas, and Spoon Bread (new recipe)
Tuesday - Sloppy Joes w/ chips or fries
Wednesday - Crockpot Roast Chicken w/ potatoes & carrots
Thursday -Chicken Stirfry (I'm experimenting) with Asian Fried Rice (banquet homestyle bake)
Friday - 15 Bean Soup
Saturday - Eat out
Sunday - Leftovers

Visit OrgJunkie for more MPM!



Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sweet Thursday: January 2009 Edition

Sweet Thursday time! I tried to pick some desserts that were kind of wintery. We have some cute Almond Snow Cookies, and then we have some wonderful fruity desserts that are perfect comfort food on a cold winter's day.

But my favorite thing in this post is the groundhog cookie. It is so adorable! I'm not sure if the little guy on the cookie can see his shadow or not, but either way, what a cute, CUTE idea!

Cherry Cobbler from Southern Living

Almond Snow Cookies from

Groundhog Cookies from Gourmet Mom on-the-Go

Pear Tart from Martha Stewart

Fried Pies from Epicurious

If you'd like to submit a dessert and be featured in the Valentine's Day Edition of Sweet Thursday, send your stuff to me at
The deadline to send in your submission is Wednesday, February 4, 2009.
For the rules and guidelines, check out the following post: Sweet Thursday Info.


Labels: ,

Sweet Thursday Revamped/New Format

sweet Thursday

I was working on the Sweet Thursday post for January when I came up with a new idea. For those of you who are not familiar with the Sweet Thursday Posts, you can read about the feature here: First Sweet Thursday Post. In a nutshell the feature is devoted to desserts. Usually I feature photographs of different desserts from around the net, and I include a link to the page where that dessert can be found. I've also left it open to feature resturant food and product reviews if need be, but the bottom line is that it has to be desserts.

And usually I go around and find between 5 and 10 different items to feature. I love doing the "research" and it's fun to see all the great sweets out there, but as I was putting it together last night, I had a thought: What if I allowed fellow bloggers to submit their own desserts for the Sweet Thursday post? (just as I did with the Christmas stuff) So I've decided I would try it. I figure it can't hurt anything. At the very least, I'll get no submissions, and I'll just go about my business as I normally would.....and at the most I'll get some great ideas to feature.

So if any of you foodie/baking bloggers would like to see your desserts featured here in the feature, please read the following.

Here are the rules and guidelines:

1. Each month I'll be doing a different Sweet Thursday Post. Upon publishing the post, I'll announce when the deadline will be for the next Sweet Thursday post submission, and I'll tell you if there is a theme for the month.

2. Your submission has to be a dessert or at least something kinda sweet. (Fruit is okay.) There's no recipe requirement; I've featured a lot of recipe links in the past, but I've also featured plenty of links to photo blogs and flickr pages. As long as it's something sweet, it should be okay. (So for example, if you've created a cake, cookies, or cupcakes that you want to share photos of, it's okay to send that in regardless of whether you have a recipe posted for the item.) And you don't have to have a blog!

3. Also, if you have a blog where you only feature recipes and do not feature pictures, you can still send me a link and the name of your recipe, and I'll put that up here as well.

4. Try to pick a dessert that goes along with that month's theme (if there is one). I wouldn't be very strict with this rule actually....if it seems like it kind of goes with the theme, I'm sure it will be acceptable.

5. Submit your dessert by sending an email to

6. In the email, include your name, the name of your dessert, your blog's name, a link to your post, and photo of your dessert. (Or if you'd like, send me your info, and I'll grab the photo off your site.)

7. In my hopes of getting others involved, I would appreciate it, if you would mention somewhere in the post that you are (it is) being featured on Simply Sweet Home and link back to (You do not have to use the banner or even title your post Sweet Thursday, but you can if you want to. It's optional, but I would appreciate a link.)

8. Also, it's okay to send in something from an older post or something that you've submitted to other events.


Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Award

I was searching on the internet to find which sites have linked to me, when I found out that I had been given an award last summer. I was visiting this blog back in the summer, so I don't know how I missed the award posting, but nevertheless I am happy to have found out about it now. It is the Arte Y Pico award for creativity, design, and interesting material. It was given to me by
Paved with Good Intentions.

Read below to find out more about this award and see my nominees:

Now, here are the rules and regulations, as well as my nominees for the next five deserving winners of the Arte y Pico Award:

1) Pick five (5) blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y Pico" blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award ( )

So here are my 5 nominees:

Tator Tots and Jello

Imperfectly Beautiful

Lamp Unto My Feet

Faery's Kitchen

Cooking and the City



Works For Me Wednesday: Bagel-Fuls

If you are looking for a new snack to serve to your kids (or to yourself, for that matter) consider trying Bagel-fuls. Bagel-fuls are one of the latest products from Kraft. A box of 4 sells for around $2, and they come in the following flavors: Original, Strawberry, Cinnamon, Chive, and Whole Grain.

I’ve personally tried the Original flavor, and I liked them very much. You can eat them straight out of the fridge, or you can warm them in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Either way, it is great for a quick snack. I totally recommend this product to anyone who’s looking to save time in the morning or anyone who rushes off to work or other appointments and is tired of eating the same old quick breakfasts.

Over the years I’ve eaten a lot Nutri-grain bars, cereal bars, and other quick/instant breakfasts both at school, at the office, and at home, and I think Bagel-fuls are really good for a change. It is true that for just a little more money you can buy a bag of 6 or 8 bagels and a container of cream cheese and just make it yourself, but for a quick, convenient, mess-free, on-the-go snack, Bagel-fuls work just fine for me.

For more WFMW, visit Rocks in My Dryer.


Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Bacon Cheeseburger Skillet

I've been looking at a lot of new recipes lately, and a few weeks ago, I decided to make up one of my own. My husband really liked it. It's a kid friendly, and I would say a man friendly recipe. And best of all, it was relatively quick and easy! My husband called it Bacon Cheeseburger Surprise, but I called it Bacon Cheeseburger Skillet. You can use whichever name your prefer!

I had a good time visiting the other blogs from the memes last week, so hopefully I'll be able to join in on the fun every week. And now here's my recipe for this week.

1 pound hamburger meat
3-4 potatoes, peeled, & diced (boiled or fried)
3-6 bacon strips, cooked. (I think I used about 4 or 5.) Or use bacon bits.
Shredded cheese (I just sprinkled some over the top)
Mustard (poured on top & serve on the side)
Ketchup (poured on top & serve on the side)

Directions: Cook potatoes potatoes entirely. You can boil or fry them; it's up to you. Cook bacon (I actually used the pre-cooked bacon that you just microwave.) Brown hamburger meat in skillet. Drain fat. Add potatoes to skillet and mix. Crumble the bacon and place it in skillet. Mix all ingredients together. Top with cheese, ketchup, and mustard. (I only put a little; then everyone can put on as much they want on their plate.) Season with salt or your choice of seasoning if desired.

Tips & Suggestions

- You could spoon the mixture out on tortillas and have wraps, or perhaps roll it up inside refrigerated pizza dough and bake and make your own hot pockets or calzones. Or you could do sub sandwiches or pitas. It would work with just about about every kind of bread-type that you could think of. You could even load it up with lettuce, tomato, onions and other sandwich toppings.

-Instead of potatoes, use hasbrowns, french fries (possibly chopped up), or those little potato cubes from the freezer section.

-Instead of shredded cheese, use slice cheese, cheese cubes, or slices of block-cheese. I used cheddar with mine, but I know it would been great American or other cheeses.


Well, that's it. Pretty simple, huh? And best of all, my husband loved it!

Please visit the following sites for more great recipes & other ideas:
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday is hosted by
Blessed With Grace.
Homemaker Mondays is hosted by
11th Heaven’s Homemade Haven.
Making A Happy Home Monday is hosted by
As For Me and My House….
Kitchen Tip Tuesdays is hosted by
Tammy's Recipes.
Make Something Monday is hosted by
Go Graham Go! and Jolly Mom.
Tasty Tuesday is hosted by Forever Wherever.


Labels: , ,

Menu Plan Monday for January 12

Breakfasts - cereal, buttered biscuits, Bacon & Egg Sandwiches

Lunches - tuna sandwiches, Spaghetti Os, soup

Dinners -
Monday - Mexican Chicken Casserole (did not make last week)
Tuesday - Ranch Chicken, and I'm experimenting with some Ranch-Rice. I'll post the recipe later.
Wednesday - Buffalo Chicken fingers
Thursday - Pork Potatoes
Friday - Chicken Fettucini Alfredo
Saturday - pizza
Sunday - not sure yet...but it'll probably be something with hamburger meat.

Stop by Org Junkie for more MPM.



Friday, January 9, 2009

My Word for 2009

Tip Junkie is having a contest where everyone has to tell what their word for the year is. I decided that I would get in on the action too.

For some reason, the first word that came to my mind was Peace. I tried to think of something else, but my brain just kept coming back to Peace. And no, not world peace! I don't really believe in the notion of world's kind of a humorous concept actually.

It's more like inner peace. I tend to worry about things a lot and I get very anxious and apprehensive over the smallest things. I think my life would be 100% better if I worried less. In the past, I've faced a lot of challenges, and somehow everything turned out alright. This past my husband and I were faced with a ton of challenges, and I have a feeling that this year will be no different.

And apart from my personal life, I worry about world affairs. I don't talk about world events on the blog, because it's not that kind of blog. But I am an avid news watcher and political junkie with strong opinions, and sometimes I get a little worked up about things. While I don't think ignoring the problems is a good idea (everyone should be informed & involved), I do think it's a bad idea to live in fear all the time.

So this year, I am going to try my best to be at peace with myself, my circumstances, and the world around me. Whatever will be, will be.

The lovely clipart came from Gospelgifs.



Thursday, January 8, 2009

Help With Those Dreaded Taxes

With every year that rings in, comes the dreaded tax season. Last year in March I wrote some posts on tax information. I decided to post the links to those posts for those of you who need the information this year. I realize that last year, by the time I wrote the posts, a lot of people had already filed their taxes, but maybe if I post them up in January, they can be useful for someone.

I recommend that you read the over the deductions posts; there are a lot of things that I'd never know were deductions, if I hadn't read about them.

I also highly recommend that you take a look at the organizing posts. The accountant we went to last year said that I had a really good system. My systems are very easy and straightforward, and it's really helped me to stay organized. Anytime my husband has a question about a particular business expense, it's very easy for me to locate things on the computer or in our files, (Plus, because of this system, all our deductions are already added up this year...actually they were added up a couple of months ago....all I have to do is print out the spreadsheets and wait for the other forms to come in the mail. Yes!)

I didn't update any of these for this year, but I did add a link at the bottom to some information on environmental deductions (which I don't believe were in my posts at all last year).

Taxes: Basic Info - Information about how to file online/offline and information about deadlines, etc.

Tax Deductions for the Self-Emplployed and Other Job Related Deductions - A list of business deductions such as office & shipping supplies and uniforms. It also includes a list of deductions related to job searches.

More Tax Deductions - Misc. deductions such as medical & education expenses, moving, and others.

Organizing Tax Information, All Those Forms - This post teaches you my system for organizing the tax forms which are mailed to at the begining of the year. To tell you the truth, since I only do this once a year, I decided to re-read the post just to make sure that I do the same things this year that I did last, and it was actually helpful to me.

Organizing Tax Information, Personal & Business Receipts for Deductions - This post teaches you my system for organizing receipts throughout the year, including how I file the reciepts & how I keep the saved on the computer. The system is for businesses but it can also be used for business deductions. Or you could use it for non-tax related expenses & budgets if you wanted. This system works very well for me, and since it's early in the year, if you like the system if would be the perfect time to adopt it, so that you can use it throughout 2009 for an easy tax filing in 2010.

Environmental Deductions - Not a post of mine, but rather a list from Energy star of things that you can get tax credits such as energy efficient home improvements, appliances, and cars.

I hope you find these helpful!


Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Adventures in Shopping: Menu Planning Stuff!

Welcome to my newest feature. Well, actually it's really an old idea reimagined. In the past I've written some posts pertaining to shopping, such as product reviews, money saving tips, etc. And over the Christmas holidays I got this idea to combine these posts under the umbrella of "Adventures in Shopping." In addition to the things listed above, these posts will also include deals that I find. Sometimes I may share something that I got a good deal on (at the thrift store perhaps). Other times it may be a deal at a chain retail store or online that you guys may be able to take advantage of as well. Or it could just be anything that I think might be interesting or helpful to you guys.

I'm going to try to do this once a month. I've got so many different ideas it's hard to schedule everything. For instance, I'd like to do my Sweet Thursday feature once a month too, and then there are just so many other topics to cover in relation to the home plus seasonal topics. I like to get in as many "special features" as I can, but at the same time, I don't like to have a rigid I'm conflicted a bit on this. We'll just see what develops.

Anway, for the first Adventures in Shopping post I wanted to share these cute menu planning items that I found a week or two ago. I was at Wal-mart taking advantage of the after Christmas sale when I found them. Perhaps you guys can find them at your local store.

The first item is a notepad, and the second is a flat marker board. Both of these items were $1 each. Great Deal! I guess if you have one, you don't really need the other, but for a dollar, I couldn't pass them up. I had to have both.

The notepad is very cute and colorful. And it has 3 lines for each day of the week. There's also a magnet on the bag so that you can place it on the back of the refrigerator. In addition to using this notepad to write your menu down, I thought it would be good to have one for shopping list purposes. While planning your menu, you could use the notepad to write down extra ingredients that you need at the store. Just a thought.

Or here's another idea. You could use the notepad to write down several menus at a time. Just have one big meal planning sesssion, and then each week, just go to the next page. Your menu will be there, and all you'll have to do is check your inventory and go to the store.

And then there's the board. I love---LOVE this! I thought this was just the cutest! It also has a magnet on the back so you can post your menu on the fridge. And it comes with a dry erase marker, with a little eraser on the end of it and a magnet on the back so that you can place it on the fridge next to your menu board.

All in all, I thought these were excellent deals! Maybe you guys can find them too. I did look online at, amazon, and a couple of other places, but I didn't see any notepad or marker boards for meal planning. I guess if all else fails you could make your own!

**Update: I forget to mention that I found these in the lawn & garden (seasonal) section. They were on a four-sided cardboard display, like you might in between two aisles, or out in the middle by itself. It's like the kind where you might see greeting cards, shipping supplies, or calendars. Or you may find them with stationary/school supplies.**

While looking on Amazon I did manage to find this Betty Crocker Cooking Calendar. It's got menu ideas, recipes, and stuff. It's a reprint of an old book I believe, and it looks pretty neat and very retro. I looked at the "preview" of it, and it looks just like an old Betty Crocker cookbook that my mom gave me. I may actually buy this one myself, so itt may be worth your time.

Please tell me what you think of this feature idea. I hope you like it!

(A link to this post, along with tons of other great ideas can be found at WFMW sponsored by Rocks in my Dryer.)


Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Potato Soup

With so many people experiencing cold winter weather, it seemed like a good time to post a soup recipe. I made this potato soup a few weeks ago. My dad used to make this for me, and it's one of my favorites.

By the way, I am submitting this post to a few carnivals. I had a tough time deciding which one to particpate in, so I decided to try a few. I think I'm still going to use "Recipe of the Week" in the title though, or maybe I'll come up with something else.

Anyway I'd like to say a big welcome to everyone who's visiting my blog for the first time via those blogs. I just love sharing recipes, and I hope that by participating in these weekly events, I can not only get new ideas to try but also pass some good ideas along, and make some new friends at the same time.

1 bag hashbrowns (thawed) (I believe it's a 1 lb bag)
1/2 stick of margarine
2 cups of milk
1 can cream of mushroom OR cream of chicken soup (I've used both)
1 small onion (chopped, optional)

Directions: Saute onions (if using). Place all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low. Cooks in 1 to 2 hours on low. (3 or 4 hours if hashbrowns are still frozen at the start of cooking) Serve with cheese and bacon bits.

Tips & Suggestions:
-I've actually cut the recipe in half here. As there are only 2 of us, we can eat this size batch for 2 meals, sometimes 3. If you have a bigger family, you'll want to double this recipe.
-If doubling the recipe, you can use 2 cans of cream of mushroom/chicken, or use one can of each. I can't ever really tell much of a difference in the taste.

-The last time I made this I had some extra chicken broth in the fridge, so I added some to the mixture. I believe I added either a half a cup or a full cup. It turned out good.

-This recipe also freezes good.

-By the way, my crockpot cooks super fast, so if you have an older model, then this may take a little longer to cook.

-Now here's something that I haven't tried yet, because I only just thought of it while we were eating it this last time. My husband is a big meat-eater...well, I am too actually, but my husband really is...he hates meatless meals! So I was thinking the next time I make this I might put some chicken or even some hamburger meat in it.

Now for the memes...I plan on posting my link to the sites listed below. Normally I'd post their icons at the top of the post, but since I found more than one place to post it too, I thought that would look a little cluttered at the top of the post. I had never actually thought of placing the same the link on more than one carnival, until this last month with all the different Christmas events.

And then I was looking around at some of the people who post for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, and I realized that some of them were posting their link for more than one event, so I decided to do the same thing...I guess this means that if some bloggers decided to jump off a bridge, I'd have to do it too! (As long as the water's not too deep, and they're serving cake & cookies below.)

Not sure if I'll put the icons up every week...maybe just the links, and I'll see how these icons look in my sidebar. (And sorry if these are aligned all funny, I've worked & worked with it, but it just keeps formatting itself....does anyone else have this problem?)

Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life As Mom.

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday is hosted by Blessed With Grace.

Homemaker Mondays is hosted by 11th Heaven’s Homemade Haven.

Making A Happy Home Monday is hosted by As For Me and My House….

Make Something Monday

Make Something Monday is hosted by Go Graham Go! and Jolly Mom.