Friday, November 30, 2012

I did not quit...just been busy. Time to catch up!

I actually started this post on Saturday (Day 21), but just couldn't get it posted and I wanted to post the whole catch up completely.  And I'm not going to lie, I had some projects to make up to make sure all the days were accounted for.  I don't want to fall behind and I had been busy with Thanksgiving prep and recovering from all of that.  So here we go, it's Thursday and I'm going to finish this post now!!!

Day 25: Organize Under the Guest Bathroom Sink

This has been one of those places that in an effort to keep the bathroom decluttered, we just hid stuff under the bathroom sink.  It's a small bathroom so it doesn't take but one unneeded things "out" for it to appear messy. needed some attention.  Also, since my parents visit a few times a year, they have just purchased toiletries and left them here (SMART!).  I needed a place to put them and under that since is PERFECT!!!

I was able to use a diaper wipes box to put all of the toiletries and an old desk organizing box to put the hair dryer and flat iron.  I kept some essentials and that's it!  


Day 24:  Clear Off Scrapbook Room Countertop

You all know that I am trying to organize the scrapbook room.  Doing it in sections, this day was the countertop.  I am proud to say that when this was finished, the room was finished!!!  This room has never been so clean and organized.  Not even when it didn't have a bed and a had the whole room for crafting.  I am so happy.  There are some tweaking I will need to do with my actual supplies, but as for the room as a whole, I am totally stoked to use it.  I did have an incentive to get it done, my parents are coming and I didn't want them to have to stay in it the way it was anymore.  And I couldn't be in the middle of the reorganization when they got here.  Anyone who has really reorganized anything knows that you have to make a mess to clean a mess.  So without further ado, I present my new scrapbook room!
I apologize for the unmade bed.  The bedding was in the washer and if I didn't take the pictures when I did, they wouldn't get taken.  But since the bed isn't the focus, just ignore it! (if you can)  :)

NEVER has my workspace been this neat.  Not even when I first organized the room this way.  The countertop was custom made by my Father-in-law and even when it was installed, there was too much junk on it (waiting to be organized).  Finally, I remembered to ask my husband to hang the peg boards and the set of drawers for my loose letters.  (close ups will come later as I organize my supplies).

Yes I added a litle bit to the closet, but no I did not go back to my old ways.  I did remove the 2 drawer file and replaced it with the paper trays.  (I will post before and after pix in a separate post, trying to get this one finished first).

I noticed after I took the pictures that my bulletin board (plywood, quilt batting, fabric, ribbons, and furniture nails) is a little messy.  But when i went back to look at it, I kinda like it that way.  It just doesn't photograph well.  I LOVE MY NEW ROOM!!!


Day 23: (a boring one) Tie Up Loose Ends on Loans

Like I said it's a boring one.  But my list is about doing the things I put off.  A few months ago we paid off two loans.  Well we thought we paid them off.  We did not realize that there are extra fees to pay off a loan and one we had to send to a different location than the regular payments.  So, I got both of those payments out and they are now taken care of!!!  Sigh...


Day 22:  About 6 months ago, I went through my closet and separated any clothes that I could give away, throw away, put away (maternity so that I would stop wearing them).  I put away the maternity clothes, and I separated the give away and throw away (of course, they didn't make it to their respective destinations).  Sunday, (laundry day) I decided I had had enough of stuffing our clothes back in our "dresser."  (The ""s because we never did find a real dresser when we moved in that we liked that didn't cost an arm and a leg so we just got cubes from Target)  I knew I had plenty of clothes that I did not wear and was not going to wear so I finally mustered up the energy to go through them all.  I found shirts from 10 years ago!!!  WHAT IS MY PROBLEM???!!??!??!??!?

 Needless to say, I am so much happier now.  Don't ask me why I put myself through years of annoying torture when it just takes an hour to fix.

The left side is my side, and the right side belongs to DH.  No matter how hard I try to not let it happen, clothes always seem to gather on the top (probably cuz there's no room inside!!!)

Overflowing drawers!  This was before I put this weeks laundry away.  (Don't worry, you won't see any "unmentionables" it's just bathing suits and sicks)

Shocker!  Another overflowing drawer, t-shirts)

I went through each of my drawers (his aren't bad) and this is what I took out.  Stuff I wouldn't want to give away is in the trash bag, and the rest are going to Community Services.  There was enough to fill 3 reusable grocery bags (I even grabbed the clothes from months ago and took it all!!!  It's all out of my house!!!  Hip Hip)

Finished product.  (the doors don't stay closed)  All of my drawers close.  And not only do they close, but they close with ease!

Tanks are NOT overflowing


I actually separated this drawer for my long sleeved shirts.  It used to have my nursing tanks in there.  When I had Ayden, I got 7 nursing tanks, I had no where to put them, so I just them in the drawer that wasn't packed full.

It's not the best system but it works for me, long pants on the bottom (jeans organized largest to smallest size on the bottom), capri's top back with shorts in front.  I usually just stuff them wherever I could.


Day 21:  Organize Brads & Eyelets

While organizing in my scrapbook room I found multiple locations that I was storing brads and eyelets.  When I do get back to scrapbooking (and yes, I plan on it), it will be awfully hard to find them if I want to use them.  OR just to be inspired by them.  So I put them all in one spot and was actually able to condense into less storage for other embellishments.  :)

Before:  I had some here...

...and there...

...and EVERYWHERE!!!

And NOW, I have them all in this old spice rack.  I'm so glad I didn't throw this away the many time I looked at it and thought I would never use it.  It sits nicely on my shelf (those pictures to come soon) and I hope it will be a great inspiration!

Day 20:  Make an Ice Pack

Now that Ayden is movin' and shakin' he is also bumpin' and fallin'.  There was a time he hit his head pretty good and I was trying to keep a little ice on it, but he wasn't so much into that.  I found these two ideas for making ice packs on Pinterest and I'm going to make both to see which one is better.

There are more ideas, but these are the first two that I found.

One is one part alcohol to three parts water. 

The other is just to fill a zip top bag 1/2-1/3 full of any dish soap.

Wouldn't you know, the next day, the boy child took a dive into the wooden bench at our table.  I quickly grabbed the dish soap bag.  I could form it to fit his little head (although he didn't let me put it on there).  The alcohol and water one was more like a slushy and seemed to be a little messier and I think might turn back to a watery state quicker.


Day 19:  Make Carla Hall's Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

I saw her make this on The Chew.  And since I love all things pumpkin (well almost all), I make it for Thanksgiving this year.

Here is a link to the recipe.

I read the reviews at the bottom of the recipe page and made a few changes.  I put in a little less sugar to the cake recipe, maybe 1/2 cup less or so.  I used Chefmate cake pans (which I didn't think were dark pans, but maybe they were).  I baked them for 30 minutes (switching them at 17 minutes) and they were done.  They looked darker than her cakes on the show (and in the picture), but when I cut them in half, if I would have taken them out any sooner, I don't think they would have been done.

For the filling, I read that many people said that the cake altogether too sweet.  So I added my powdered sugar 1/3 cup at a time.  This also depends on personal preference, I think.  I got to 3 2/3 cups and thought it was ok.  I think I could have put the full 4 cups in and had been fine.  Again, if you like sweet, go for it, if you don't, add a little at a time and taste it.  The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie spice, reviews said they were ok with 2 teaspoons.  I ended up putting in 3 teaspoons because I was afraid of ruining it, but next time I might put in the whole tablespoon.

I did strain the mascarpone but didn't get much moisture out of it.  The pumpkin is what really needs to be strained.  I didn't let it sit for a few hours because I was waiting on the cheese.  Next time I will leave the cheese alone and strain the pumpkin for a few hours.  Instead I just squeezed some liquid out with a coffee filter, but I know I could have gotten much more liquid out.  For anyone who doesn't know how to strain the liquid...all I did was take a strainer and set it over a bowl.  I put a coffee filter in the strainer and put the pumpkin in the coffee filter.  If you let it sit for a few hours, the liquid will be removed.  I think you can also put it in a kitchen towel and wring it out, but I was afraid of staining my towels.

Instead of using dark chocolate for the ganache, I used semi sweet morsels.

I got rave reviews on the cake and will be keeping that recipe close at hand.


Day 18:  Redo the Apple Pie Cookies

After my first run in with these cookies (located at the bottom of this post), I made a couple mistakes, but nothing I couldn't fix the next time I made them.  So with that in mind, I made them for Thanksgiving.  I made sure to cut 36 crusts (instead of the 26 from the first batch).  And I tried to not put too much filling on the top.  I still had filling left over tho, so I'm not sure what's going on there.  These cookies are amazingly yummy and I urge anyone to try them.  You don't have to make the filling and crust if you are looking for a less time consuming recipe.  I'm sure you can use the pre-made crust from the dairy section and the apple pie filling in a can.  I'm kind of curious of how they would be if I added some pumpkin to the apple pie filling mixture...might have to try those soon, since I still have apple pie filling leftover.


Day 17:  Make coffee station

I used to have my coffee makers on my kitchen counter.  But since I don't drink coffee every day anymore, I rarely used them.  However, they do get used too often to put them away in the china cabinet or something like that.  So, since we don't use our dining room table (and it seems to always become a clutter hot spot), I moved them to the table.  What good are they here if I don't have the supplies at arms' reach?

I would keep the coffee grounds here too, but since I don't make it that often, I keep the bags in the fridge so they stay fresher longer.


Day 16:  Organize kitchen cupboard

Most of my cupboards are in an okay organizational state, but my main cupboard (plates, bowls, cups, etc) and my main silverware drawers (cooking utensils, and everyday silverware) are in need of an overhaul.  When I try to put stuff away or get them out, it seem like I have to move something else or something falls.  I CANNOT STAND THIS!!!  So, a change we will make.

I removed the bottles (Ayden is one now so he doesn't need them anymore).  I took the Keurig K-cup holder and put it with the coffee station.  After rearranging and removing some things (another box for Community Services), it is much better now. 

The drawer on the left has never had any organization.
Improvise!  I cut the big box our trash bags came in and used that to keep some items separate.  On the right, I used a ziplock box to house the measuring spoons.


Day 15: (man...I was really behind) Redo the Memo Board

We have on of those boards that's half cork board, and half dry erase marker board.  It seems to not be big enough (like many things in my house) and gets cluttered quickly ( many things in my house).  I keep meaning to clean it up, but never get around to it.  So, since that is the point for my little list I've got going on became one of the items.

I have tried to have this be a picture board...or a board to hold Christmas cards...or important papers we can't lose.  But all that happens is they go up...and don't come down, ending up in a mess.

I left pictures of the nieces and nephew, the dogs and the baby.  I have a picture of our old neighbor's dogs (we miss them, and the neighbors too).  I left another binder clip on the bottom left corner for any important papers so they are easy to put up and easy to take down.


Day 14:  Clean up the scrap cabinet (the outside)

I tried to keep the items on my list to something that I could do in a day.  Which for most things, "a day" means a couple of hours (while Ayden naps).  Since my scrapbook room needs SO much time and attention, I had to break it up into smaller sections.  As I have mentioned before, I tend to fill up storage space which doesn't make it very easy to use.  I am desperately trying to change that.

So here's what it looked like before...
Rookie mistake, I forgot to take a picture of just the cabinet before I messed with it.  Oops...but it's better than nothing.

And here's the finished product...


Day 13:  Make a healthier version of Pumpkin Bars

I don't normally do that whole swap this for a healthy that when it comes to baking.  If that's the way I get the recipe, then that's the way I make it.  Otherwise, I use oil, eggs, and sugar.  I was going to my Grandma's for a lunch and was in charge of dessert.  I didn't realize these were slightly "healthier" than a normal recipe until after I picked it out.  They were actually really yummy.  I found the recipe here.  I used natural no sugar added applesauce instead of banana (same amount) and Publix non fat vanilla yogurt.  For the icing, I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese and margarine (which I don't normally work with...I'm butter girl).  With these changes I calculated them to be 370 calories per bar (if you divide this 9x13 pan into 18 bars).

I am so bad about stopping to take a picture for use later.  I took a picture of them in the carrier to go to my Grandma's house.  Learning...


 Day 12:  Apple Pie Cookies

Like I said, I was going to my Grandma's house for lunch, and I use these times to try some new recipes.  I can't bake just for us because then that yummy stuff is just laying around asking me to eat it.  And since I haven't figured out how to remove the calories (yet), I don't need to be eating them.

The problem with this post is I didn't make them correctly and they didn't turn out as pretty as the original picture.  But again...I forgot to take a picture of them.  I did the recipe right, but when cutting the crust circles I only cut out 26, only to find out later that the recipe makes 36 cookies.  So I had enough filling for 36 cookies to go on 26 crusts.  OVERFLOW!!!  Needless to say, the apple pie filling overtook the crust.  I had NO complaints about them tho.  Only mine that they didn't look perfect.

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