Monday, January 30, 2012

Week 4: Fridge and Freezer

I managed to finish week 4's project from Home Storage Solution's blog - organizing the fridge and freezer. As I wrote my notes, I tried to figure out what the simplest way would be to organize the food. Here are the categories I decided I needed to try to organize my food into:

1. Food for Liam - he has allergies, so he eats different food than everyone else. By giving him his own food section, it makes it easier for someone else to come in and know what they can give him.

2. Leftovers/lunch/snacks - basically a free for all that my husband knows he can take food from that section for lunches or when he wants a bite to eat.

3. Food for planned menu - basically food no one can touch - it's already been planned to use for the menu I have planned for the week.

4. Space to thaw meat

5. Sauces/dressings/condiments

6. Beverages

7. Vegetables

8. Potatoes/onions - yes, I put these in the fridge. I know I don't need to, but I don't have space anywhere else to store them.

9. Extra food. Basically things I need to try to incorporate into next week's menu, or staples that I always have on hand like butter.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a before picture, but it looks so much better than it did before! Even better, my husband knew exactly where to look to pack his lunch this morning!

Below is a picture of my little kitchen helper peeking from behind the fridge... notice the table in the background is completely clear!!

Here is the kitchen freezer. We also have a freezer downstairs. Some food went back downstairs, and I organized the rest into these sections:

1. Food for Liam (french fries, frozen meat)

2. Fruit/vegetables

3. Frozen meat for week's menu

4. Other misc boxes and ice cream

5. Ice and ice packs for lunch

The freezer downstairs took a little more organizing. There was a big bag of ice that has been sitting in there for 3-4 years that hasn't been used, so that went out. Here is a list of what I put on the shelves, from top to bottom... The door just has chocolate candy in a basket on top.. away from little 4 year old fingers.

1. Frozen meat
2. Desserts - ice cream, italian ice, frozen fruit
3. Frozen vegetables/prepared meals and snacks
4. "mystery" containers (plan is to take out 2 a week to thaw, if good we'll eat, otherwise I'll have a backup dinner to eat).
5. labeled frozen soups/meals

This makes it much easier to know what I have, and to plan meals around what I have in my inventory.

And lastly, I leave you with this image... this is what happens to unopened bags of microwave biscuits when they expired 4 years ago... I wonder if they even still sell these?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Organized Home Challenge #3: Pantry

Last week's challenge from Home Storage Solutions' Organized Home Challenge was to organize the pantry.

As you can see, my pantry was a mess. Things started piling up on the floor, and the shelves are so deep you have to dig around to find something if it's in the back. Things are kind of in order, but not so my husband can understand, and things didn't always stay on the shelf they were supposed to be on.

This is my after picture. Definitely organized much better, and a system that my husband understands! Here are the close ups:

Floor: cereal boxes, sodas, juices, paper goods, and special baking supplies.

Bottom shelf: Collin's pediasure and spices.

Second shelf: canned goods, sorted into rows from left to right: vegetables, soups, gravy and other misc cans, fruits, and tomatoes.

Third shelf: Jarred items to the left, bagged pasta and beans are in the basket, behind the basket are boxed pasta and rice/potato mixes.

Fourth shelf: baking ingredients. Stuff in plastic bags are in the basket.

Fifth shelf: snacks and cake/brownie/cookie mixes.

Sixth shelf: Alcohol, extra paper goods, and way in the back are extra lunch boxes for Liam. (he went through them really quickly last year so I stocked up in September when they were only $5.

My plan is to get into the routine to plan menus once a week. Once I have a menu plan, I go through what I have in the pantry and make a list of what I don't. Everything I need for the week goes into this cabinet in the kitchen, so I should only be going through the pantry once a week. I also got a basket for Liam's snacks making it much easier for everyone else to know what he can eat. I'm thinking I should make up a label to put on the basket too. On the top shelf I have all the open packages of rice, potatoes and pasta that need to be used up.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Card Set

I made this card with my counterfeit kit using CPS sketch 251...

I liked how it turned out so much I made a set of 6 cards!

Nummy Nose

Here's another layout I did with my counterfeit kit, using sketch #303 from sketch inspiration.

And a close up of the journalling...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Here is a layout I made using sketch #65 from Sketches in Thyme. Digital kit is Scrapaholic by jmc designs.

Monday, January 16, 2012

52 Wks to an Organized Home: Wk 2

Okay, so the second week's challenge at Home Storage Solutions was to organize the kitchen cabinets and drawers. I knew that this would be a big task for me. My first issue is that I don't have much cabinet space, so stuff is crammed everywhere. Second, when my husband moved in with me, he rearranged the cabinets so that it would feel more like home for him.. which meant that things weren't exactly where I needed them to be for the best workflow.

I started out by figuring out how I wanted the workflow to go in the kitchen, and that would determine how I would set up the workzones. We start out with the fridge to the very right. I take out the food and prep it on the counter between the fridge and the stove. I cook the food on the stove, and serve/store the food on the counter between the stove and the sink. Having this workflow in mind made it very clear how I wanted to organize my cabinets. Here are the results.. cabinet by cabinet...

Above the fridge, before:

Um, that bottle of champagne doesn't belong there.. so that went into the pantry on the top shelf with the rest of the liquor. Not sure how that got there... does champagne go bad? And that punch bowl has only been used once.. we don't have big parties anymore that call for making punch. So this bowl left the kitchen for other storage possibilities (can we say craft room?). The big thermos is not being used right now, so instead of being readily available on top of the fridge, that went into the cabinet. 


I decided to use this space to store extra storage bags, and Liam's extra lunch box (sometimes he leaves his at school so we have to use a back up).

Cabinet to the left of the refrigerator, before:

This cabinet was a mish-mosh of food storage.. some snacks.. spices that I've used, half used packages of food, storage bags, and baking stuff. I took everything out of the cabinet and put most of it into the pantry, throwing out a few things.

This cabinet is now much more organized. The bottom shelf has the instant oatmeal packets (that's a cracker storage box it's in); peanut butter which is one of the go-to lunches so it's used frequently, crackers, cereal, and snacks for Liam. The second shelf is mommy/daddy only snacks (stuff Liam is allergic to or won't eat), and the food taken out of the pantry for meals for the week. The top shelf is opened packages of pasta, rice, and potatoes, as a reminder to use them up. Liam's snacks will be going into a plastic bin next time I make a trip to Big Lots... it will be much easier for a babysitter to know that way what he is able to eat. The food on the second shelf will be put away at the end of the week when I've cooked all the planned meals, and when I plan the menu for the next week, I'll dig through the pantry for the ingredients and put them here. That way I only go through the pantry once a week instead of daily, and it makes it much easier to write my grocery list knowing what I have.

Cabinet to the right of the stove, before:

Okay, so there is a big pile of not used very often medicine. That definitely went, we have a different area where we store the infrequently used meds, and it's not in the kitchen. Then we have piles of plastic storage.. bowls were matched up with lids and stacked properly, and extras were tossed. There was an apple shaped dish that I never used that went away, and a few baking dishes and pie plates in the deep recesses.

In planning my workflow, it doesn't make sense to have the plastic storage here. This cabinet I wanted to use for my meal prep items. So I removed everything from the cabinet and started from scratch.

The bottom shelf I have my frequently used mixing bowls and measuring cups, and other tools. I need another basket from Big Lots for this shelf to corral all the awkward shaped tools. The second shelf is my ceramic mixing bowls, my blender, and to the side are a few square baking dishes I don't use very often. The top shelf I have several pie plates - there's only one showing here because I've started using them frequently and the others are being washed. They work great to hold a couple chicken breasts as they thaw on the counter, or for dipping the chicken in bread crumbs or whatever else.

Above the stove, after:

Okay, so nothing really changed much in here, and I forgot to take a before picture. I basicallly just straightened everything out, and there was a package of flour that ended up in here that went back into the pantry. Up here is where I store the foods that are too tall to fit in the other cabinets or pantry.

Left of the stove, before:

This is where I had all my meal prep supplies before. There were quite a few things I ended up getting rid of... like the pampered chef food chopper that I've had for 15 years and only used a few times.. I much prefer cutting with a knife so I had no reason to hold onto it. There were even a couple extra wine glasses hiding in the recesses of the top shelf with a logo from a winery I went to for a wine tasting.. don't need to keep those!

Now I use this cabinet to store the supplies for putting food away. I have the strainers on the bottom shelf because it just makes more sense to keep them on this side closer to the sink. I also have the oven mitts and hot pads on the right, and the storage bags to the left. The second shelf is all the storage containers, and I only kept the sizes we use most often. I tossed all the chinese food containers. They were great when I was working full time at the office and I could pack a salad in them, but they weren't really good for much else. Then on the top I have the large storage containers that we don't use very often.

Cabinet to the right of the sink, before:

Okay, so this cabinet pretty much works for us, I just needed to clean up the clutter a bit. I got rid of extra mugs and wine glasses that we don't use, and the plastic cups went into a different cabinet.

On the middle shelf I kept the frequently used mugs, and put the mugs that match the plates onto the top shelf for when we have company - which is the only time we use those mugs. I admit it.. I like oversized mugs!

Cabinet to the left of the sink, before: 

Okay, so the top shelf didn't change much, it just needed a little straightening out. We have our 4 cup coffee maker which we will still use when we have company over and need to make more than one cup at a time.. plus an assortment of coffees and drink mixes. I did, however, move most of the wine and margarita glasses. We usually don't use more than two (when my wine-drinking friend comes over), so the rest is going into storage in the basement for when we have planned parties that we would need them.

that gave me extra room to store stacked cups, and I was even able to put a couple of dessert dishes oon the wineglass rack. I don't use them very often, but they're great for taking pictures of desserts for my recipe scrapbook!

So those are my top cabinets... now for the bottom cabinets..

Under the sink, before:

Well, first of all, it's a good thing the cabinets were organized this week. When I started taking everything out from under the sink, I noticed a pool of water at the bottom. I called my husband over to inspect the problem, and it turns out that the garbage disposal had a crack in it. So he replaced it that day, and I was able to finish organizing. As you can see in the picture above, I already have my saran wraps stored on the door, and this system works for me, so they're staying there. I had some freezer storage bags down here, so I moved them to the upper cabinet with the rest of the storage bags. There were a few cleaning supplies that I didn't use in the kitchen, so they moved out. All that's left down here now are garbage bags and kitchen cleaning supplies.

Lower cabinet to the right of the sink, before:

Okay, this cabinet was a mess! I have my husband's grilling supplies in a pitcher, and kitchen towels and dish cloths are stuffed in wherever they fit. So the tools left this cabinet, and dish cloths went on the top shelf, and towels on the lower shelf, with my apron in the front.

Cabinet to the left of the stove:

Okay, so as you can see, this cabinet is a nightmare. I call this the "black hole" of my kitchen! The door is narrow so it's hard to see inside, and there's lots of storage space for things to hide. I usually keep things in here that I don't use very often, and I usually have to dig out half the stuff to find what I'm looking for when I do need it.

I actually ended up getting rid of a lot of stuff in this cabinet... and some things were set aside for potential storage organizers in other areas.

The barbecue tools ended up here in the very front of the door... a much better place to keep it, and it's easy to move out of the way to access the deeper recesses.

In the way back I have my different platters stacked up neatly.. and bowls stacked up closer to the front.

Lower cabinet, to the right of the stove, before:

This was becoming another black hole... if it wasn't right in front it was really hard to get. The white box is my hand mixer and that moved into the upper cabinet. I found a Winnie the Pooh cake pan that my mother in law gave me, and it will be going back to her - I don't forsee myself making a Pooh cake anytime soon, and I definitely don't have the skill to decorate it nicely.

I also managed to find my griddle in this mess, which I thought I had lost, or someone had gotten rid of it. Maybe I'll start making more pancake breakfasts on the weekend now!

I stacked the baking dishes on the top shelf, along with my ice cream maker that I haven't used for a while. I'll definitely be using it more this year for Liam - he's allergic to ice cream so I'll make frozen treats special for him with it. Of course, my two big pots are front and center, and my baking sheets and big cutting board are sitting on their side lined up nicely.

Lower cabinet, to the left of the fridge, before:

Of course, not much changed here. I do use most of these items. I have a paper sorter that I use to hold up the different baking pans and that works very well for me, as long as I keep it organized. I moved the loaf pans to the top shelf, and the pie plate went into an upper cabinet.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Here is another layout I made using my counterfeit kit. The first kit challenge is to use sketch 189 at Creative Scrappers.

Sgt Reilly

This is a layout of my husband in his army uniform when we were still dating... with my counterfeit kit and using a sketch from the Artful Delight blog. I am also submitting this for the Birds of a Feather color challenge.

Happy Day Bee Card

Bo Bunny has a card challenge to make a card using the following items: ribbon, at least two buttons, patterned paper with dots, and chipboard. I used Clean & Simple sketch #172

Happy Day

Here's a clean and simple card I made using Clean and Simple Sketch #173. I created this card for the CAS-ual Friday's challenge - to create a clean and simple project with scallops.


Bo Bunny has a challenge on their blog to make a layout inspired by the photo above.. I love the aqua color and the banner, and created this layout...

I also added in the above quote for CropStop's challenge #53... the quote reads: "One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar." -Helen Keller 

I am also submitting this for a challenge at Burlap & Buttercups - to use banners on your page.

Template by