Works for Me Wednesday

It’s another Works for Me Wednesday post!

First, thanks for your grace on these days when I don’t post until late in the evening.  With school back in session it is nearly impossible for me to get an early post out if it is not prepared the day before.  And since I’ve been encountering some “writer’s block”, prepped posts are hard to come by these days.  🙂

Three Tips for Today:

First, the recipe book:

I used to have a cabinet above my microwave stuffed with magazine clippings and random recipes.  It was a mess.  A few years back I got this fabulous idea to put all of my random recipes into a 3-ring binder to keep them organized.  It’s fabulous!  I bought a large binder, some vinyl page protector sleeves, and a set of tabbed dividers.

The categories are:  Beverages, Breakfasts, Breads/Muffins/Rolls, Appetizers, Salads/Soups/Sandwiches, Sides and Main Dishes, Desserts, and Kid Stuff (where I stash recipes for things like Peanut Butter play doh.  🙂 )

If a recipe is from a magazine, I typically just tape or paste it to a piece of white printer paper, and slip the page into my vinyl page protector.  The page protectors keep the recipe clean and safe from splatters during food prep.  I also will print out many recipes now and just slip the paper into the cover.  Instant organization.  Can’t beat it!

You could go all kinds of crazy with this thing.  I opted to tame my OCD and *not* alphabetize the recipes because I knew that this would wreak havoc on my psyche when I went to add recipes later and would then have to move things around.  It can make finding a recipe a little slower, but I still manage to find them.

Second, early meal prep:

This is one of those things I sort of *knew* from experience, but was encouraged by a friend to make it a daily habit.  And it is fabulous!  I don’t know that it will happen every day, but even three times a week could make a radical difference in my afternoon stress levels.

Basically, you have dinner prepped and ready to go by lunch time.  It could be a crock pot meal, assembling your casserole and putting it in the fridge for the day, or at the very least prepping all your ingredients for that must-be-made-fresh meal ahead of time.

This is a picture of our dinner which I had assembled and in the fridge by 9:45 this morning.

Third, hang it up!

This is another one of those super-simple things I stumbled across today and will make a new habit.  I get tired of having to look over my mixing bowls to see my recipe or constantly moving it out of the way.  So, today I taped it to the back splash.  Perfect!  Eye-level and out of harm’s way!

For more great ideas, head on over to We are THAT Family by clicking the button below.  And have a fabulous Wednesday!

Twisted Tuesday and Works for Me Wednesday

This has been kind of an odd, topsy-turvy sort of day.  I feel all kinds of turned around.  Today will be a Works for Me Wednesday post (even though it’s Tuesday as I’m writing, you won’t see it until Wednesday!  😉 ).  Scroll on down if you don’t want the details on our twisted Tuesday.

We rose early to serve breakfast.  Straight from there we went to get groceries.  By 10:30 in the morning we were home, unloading a week’s worth of groceries for six people.  It felt like it was about three in the afternoon.  😛

The groceries had to be put away and school still had to be done.  The oldest was going out with my mother-in-law for her (Grace’s) birthday lunch.

I also had to break the news to Grace that her sweet little dog had died this morning.  We both cried.  Then we cleaned a bit.  Then we cried some more.

I went down to the basement to put some groceries away and saw flies.  Too many flies.  My personal (local) friends that read this will remember our first experience with flies in this house.  Apparently it was like something out of Ammityville Horror.  I’ve never seen the movie, but that’s what I was told.  We had a rotting mouse carcass under some shelves, but didn’t find that until weeks after the fly incident.  Literally hundreds of flies. To this day I have a visceral reaction to flies in the house.  We have no idea what could be attracting the flies or where those bats of late have come from, but we have a bad feeling they’re related.

I keep trying to start dinner and keep getting distracted by things like Facebook, laundry, blogging, and children wandering in and out of the kitchen.

Anyway, on to those Works for Me Wednesday thoughts….

1.  Cleaning the Microwave

Ever have trouble with your microwave becoming caked with gunk?  The first ten years of our marriage I tried several different ways of cleaning out the microwave and nothing ever really cut it once the stuff was really baked on.  That is until I was researching a different issue (how to remove the smell of cat urine from a mattress – the culprit has been banished, though I do feel sorry for her out there).  I discovered vinegar – wonder of wonders!  Fill a small bowl (cereal size will do) with equal parts water and white vinegar.  Heat until boiling (about two minutes in my microwave).  Remove bowl and wipe down the inside of the microwave with a dry cloth.  Voila!  Clean microwave!  If your unit is particularly dirty, it may take a time or two.  Beware of strong fumes, btw.  🙂

2.  Kids Chores

Ok, I don’t know why I didn’t come up with this one sooner, but it just came to me yesterday and it worked so well, it’s going to become a habit!

Let me begin by saying that I have a love/hate relationship with chore charts.  I have used them many times in the past, but have noticed that after a while two things happen:  A.  the children stop “seeing” them and resume not doing their chores.  and B.  if a particular chore is requested of them that is *not* on their chart they act appalled that you would ask them to stoop to such depths as doing *someone else’s* chore.  Or maybe that’s just our children.  Ahem.

So, back to my new idea.  Yesterday I was writing the date on the white board in our school/dining room in an effort to avoid answering at least seven times that day the question, “Mom, what day is it?”.  That date sat so lonely at the top of the board that I wondered what to do with the rest of the space.  I believe the Holy Spirit spoke to me and told me to make a list of chores that needed to be done that day and assign a child to each one.  (Okay, maybe it wasn’t the Holy Spirit.  But who’s to say it wasn’t?  I firmly believe the Lord is present in the mundane things of life.)  This would prevent me arbitrarily figuring out each morning who was on dishes and cat feeding and plant watering and so on.  Then, when a chore is finished it can be crossed out and the next day I still know who did what and can assign the chore to someone else as needed.

This idea may not be for everyone, but it worked for me!

What about you?  What’s an idea that’s worked for you?