Outfit Options or Lack Thereof

I stock my daughters drawers the same way I do everyone’s in our home, newly folded clothes to the back of the drawer to rotate them.  So it should be easy enough to just grab the first item in the drawer and put it on.  But, she likes some choices, and I learned she likes to see an outfit laid out, not separate pieces.  Plus, some tops just go better with specific bottoms.img_6722

So, I check my weather app for the week’s forecast and create 5 outfits on Sunday and hang them on hangers.  I try to use one hanger for each day, but tutus are simply hung beside a day’s hanger.

Jeans and shorts I hang on a hanger with a shirt using a belt loop…img_6720

or a tag if there isn’t a loop…img_6721

I fold leggings directly on the hanger. img_6719

Now there’s 5 outfits for 5 days and she has some choice (I often hold up two hangers, “This one or this one”), but not so many choices that it will keep her from getting ready and getting out the door in time for school.  I’m a big advocate for a lack of options.

How about you?  Do you lay out clothes for the next day or do you do it for someone in your family?

Marriage Savers

Marriage saving may be false advertising as nothing can save a marriage like Jesus, but as we’re coming up on our 10 year anniversary, we have found there are some helpful tools (like actual objects) that have either kept an argument from happening or solved a problem that was leading to grudgy (not a word but it should be) feelings.

Our first compromise… A toaster oven/conventional toaster combo.  When registering for our wedding we realized how differently we were raised.  He grew up with a toaster that springs, I was raised with a toaster oven.  Worlds apart, I know.  If this is you, there’s a product for that.

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My arguments for choosing a toaster oven was sandwich melts and butter storage.  (In our family, we put butter on a plate and kept it in the toaster oven for safe keeping.  I later learned that my mom did this because her butter dish broke and something about mice? )  Funny how the way things were when you were a kid creates a belief system for “the way this is supposed to be done” even when it wasn’t a preference of your parents but just a problem solver at a specific time with specific circumstances.   It’ll be great when my kids register for their wedding and they scan long handled tongs to reach things up high.  “Because that’s what you do.”  Ha!

Back to the toaster… We used our compromise happily until it broke then got a cheap pop up toaster.  I really didn’t make sandwich melts anymore and I started using a butter dish… and storing it in the fridge so it doesn’t go rancid.

My in-laws gave us these and actually called them “marriage savers.”

Are you a toothpaste tube squeezer who doesn’t mind if you’re pushing product toward or away from the opening or do you thoughtfully and wastelessly squeeze toward the spout?  Most likely you’re one and your spouse is the other and you need these cheap little plastic pinchers to appease the waste-conscious one.  We should all practice tooth hygiene grudge-free.

Do you wake up your spouse in the middle of the night when your fitted sheet comes off the corner of your mattress so you can pull it back down?  I Googled something like “fitted sheet suspenders” and I found these bad boys and got them for my husband’s birthday as the “Something you Need” present.  It was sure hard to wait until his birthday to give this gift.  These may be my new go-to wedding gift.

Finally, I do this to extension cords…img_6738Some may call it braided but it really is hand crocheted in a simple chain.  All you do is pull the ends and it comes right out if it’s crocheted right and if it is pulled correctly, but it drives my husband crazy.  He just winds cords in a loop, but that can make a knot really easily.  We nearly had to have his and hers extension cords.  Recently he bought this hand cranking spool to store our extension cord.

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I don’t intend to product promote with this blog, but these are my current marriage savers, and I want to hear yours too!  If you can think of a tool that you use to avoid petty arguments please share it; far better to have a list of marriage savers than deal breakers.

Puttin’ on the Grits

My dad eats a meal I call Grits Fully Loaded almost every morning.  It’s deilcious.  Quick cooked grits topped with shredded cheese, a salsa like Texas caviar, and a poached or fried egg.

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Grits is just a great vehicle for lots of food.  Including leftovers.

I’ve been experimenting…

Grits topped with pulled pork and bbq beans, sauteed peppers and mushrooms and cheese.

Leftover mango chicken samosa filling (mango, chicken, potato, spices and cilantro) and a poached egg.  Shockingly good.  I thought the mango would be too weird, but actually the potato threw me and the mango was awesome.

Quick cooked grits are ready in around 5 minutes making them faster than rice.  They taste like very little so you can doctor them however you like but they are extremely filling and I feel so nourished after eating my bowl.

Spice Update

Ooo that title sounds like a reunion announcement for a certain British girl band. Sorry. 

My first blog post ever was From Allspice to Za’atar.   After years, I have updated my labels to printed ones and all of my bags are now snack size. There’s still no going back to spices in their given containers for me. 


Exceptions to this…

Cinnamon. 


I keep ground cinnamon in a container so I can sprinkle as I need. 

I mixed one with sugar to keep because nothing is better on French toast. NOTHING. 


Whole cinnamon I keep in its bag not with the other spices because it absorbs the smell of the other Cs. Mainly cumin. I opened my cinnamon sticks to make stovetop potpourri, but no cinnamon smell was left. 


Pretty much everything else is in those four containers.

Functional storage of anything is beautiful. 

3ms How I Love Thee…

Gallery arrangements are my favorite way to hang pictures.  Mostly because I can’t decide on just a few pictures to put on the wall and I love that you can add variety.  Maybe gallery style is post-trend, I’m not sure, but I do know the easiest way to do one, 3ms.

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These are mostly before pictures of what our home looked like before we, and my in-laws fixed it up.  It is in our entryway and I love it!
I’ve seen examples of using butcher paper and outlining each frame, marking where the nail goes.  I’ve heard about people putting toothpaste on the hanging bracket and placing it on the wall just so, leaving a minty mark where to drive your nail.  Both good, but I still prefer no holes in the wall.

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The posters are heavy, so I used 4 of the medium velcro strips
I eyeball my arrangements and use Velcro 3ms.  Well, I eyeball and when I do my final sticking I do use a pocket level.  Usually I’ll lay out all my frames and items on the floor and snap a picture for reference on my phone, but it always changes as I’m sticking it on the wall.  When you’re hanging many frames or items, I find that I don’t have to be exact with the distance between.  I just try to line up one with either the top or bottom of the frame next to it leaving approximately the same distance around each one.

Are they more expensive than nails.  Yep.  Do you need to use enough so you don’t hear your frame go bump in the night.  Yep.  Do I still recommend them, ABSOLUTELY.

The velcro is my favorite for picture hanging for the ease of changing your picture out every now and then.  I also love that I can really get a frame level, taking it back off the wall if needed.

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Yes, those are Christmas lights with clear cups with cut up old jeans hot glued to them.
It’s as quick as a sticker so I waste no time doing a whole wall like this.  When we moved in, I had large things hung in every room in under a week.  That makes you feel quite homey.

I use other 3m hanging strips and hooks in other places too.  My kids’ light strands are up with tiny clear hooks.

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Mason jars with herbs are above my kitchen sink with strong 3ms, and my metal colander and library bag are both hung with double 3m plastic rungs.


Hang without holes!

 

Managing the Mess in the Toddler Boy’s Room

I walk in to my son’s room and I’m often momentarily overwhelmed by… 

So tempted to get rid of all of it. But, no. It just needs tidying. It won’t take long if I break it up. 

Dinosaurs

Bed…

No floor space. 

That didn’t help. Now it’s just more. 

Okay. Bed first and throw all of the stuffed animals to the back. It’s where they’re kept for now. 😦

Make the bed…

Stick the weapons in a bag on his chair. Someday I’ll do those awesome peg board walls with all of them on display, but not today. 

Using my dustpan (great for lego bricks and small toys) I scoop the dinos back into the fancy box. Ha!  It’s going in the closet. No one sees it. 

His favorite toys on the window seat. He loves things at chest level. 

That’s better. 

Then later we bought 50 cent brackets and hung shelves using boards from a broken down book case that we saved from being trashed. 


Now he has more chest level play surfaces and the floor is so much less cluttered!

I’m currently reading The Inspired Room (the book) by Melissa Michaels and she calls this “everyday on display.” 

Way Better than Progresso: Chicken Noodle Soup

I have a special place in my heart for canned soup.  But since I’ve been cooking from scratch more often, my preservative tolerance is lower.  Canned soups now taste so salty… because they are, unfortunately.  I’ve been perfecting my chicken noodle recipe over the years and I think I’ve got it just right now.

First… the chicken.  I use a boneless skinless thigh.  Just one to make 4 servings.  My husband and I each eat two bowls, so if you are only serving this soup, make more for more people.  Thighs render great tasty drippings for cooking your vegetables and boneless and skinless is so convenient.  Bonus, they’re typically cheaper than breasts.

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Next the vegetables.  Mirepoix, which is fancy and French for onion, celery, carrot.  (We read a lot of Fancy Nancy in our house.)  I’m using ¼ of a large yellow onion that I slice pole to pole, 1 large carrot (though sometimes I like more) sliced, and 2 stalks of celery chopped small.

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Broth – I use homemade almost always.  Actually, I wait to make soup until I have homemade broth usually.  Sometimes I want soup, but I don’t have broth so I plan to roast a whole chicken… for the broth and less for the meat.

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Noodles – Stumbled on using rotini instead of egg noodles.  We love egg noodles, but with rotini I can cook them al dente (by 3 minutes undercooking, and by the time I stir back in the chicken and seasonings and serve, it’s perfect and what’s left in the pot doesn’t overcook.  Plus the starch gives a great natural thicker mouth feel to the soup.  I’m using 6 oz (1/2 the bag) to only 4 cups of broth, so our chicken noodle soup is heavy on the noodles, like my husband likes.  It’s almost more a pasta in chicken sauce than a soup.

 

Flavoring – I want the balance of flavor the 5Ss bring in almost everything I make.  Sweet – ½ t sugar, Salty – I salt the chicken thigh before browning, I salt the vegetables as they cook down, and I salt again when I taste.  Sour – I add about 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice when the noodles cook.  Spice – Louisiana hot sauce, just a few dashes.  Savory – Granulated garlic in the last 10 seconds of cooking the vegetables before adding in my broth.

Herbs – Fresh parsley is so pretty mixed in and sprinkled on top for garnish.  I also use celery leaves too.  Waste-free kitchen.

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Happy Soup Season!