Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Household Binder Challenge


In my attempts to be better organized for 2011, I decided I would finally jump on the "blog"-wagon and create a "Command Center Binder" (aka Household Binder).  I love organizing with binders and already have a "binder system" for bills and taxes.  I thought I'd expand upon my system to include a Household Binder too!

The Household Binder essentially becomes your family's ultimate reference tool and the home for all the paper that's currently plastered to your refrigerator or cluttering up your kitchen counter!  It's basically a one stop shop for all your most referenced information like emergency phone numbers, frequently called numbers, cleaning list, etc...

This is exactly what my family needed.  No more digging around for the plumbers phone number or having my fridge plastered with the gym schedule and magnetic business cards!  After a google search, I downloaded Aby Garvey's free guide "How to Create A Command Central Binder".  The guide helped me narrow down what I wanted to keep in my Household Binder.  I decided on the following sections:
  • Emergency Information - Address & directions to my house (in case there was an emergency and someone other then me had to phone for help).  The hubby's and my work information and phone numbers.  Secondary emergency phone numbers (i.e. close family and friends and next door neighbor). Numbers to the pediatrician, Poison Control and "Ask A Nurse". 
  • Service Directory - Plumber, cleaning service, electrician, dog groomer, babysitter, etc...
  • Frequently Called Numbers - Numbers of family and friends, doctor's office, etc...
  • Gym Hours and Group Class Schedule.
  • Health Insurance Information.
  • Pet Sitting Instructions & Babysitting Instructions - So I don't have to retype them each time.
  • Business Cards
I wanted to do this on the cheap, so I used what I had around the house.
  • One 3-ring binder
  • Page protectors
  • Label maker
  • Dividers
  • 3 hole punch
After gathering all my information and materials, I loaded up the binder with the dividers and page protectors.  I'll be dedicating a separate posts about my "misadventure" with the dividers soon (b/c you know I never do anything the easy way)!  So there my binder sat.  Empty and incomplete.  I didn't want my binder to be plain with black and white charts and checklists.  I wanted it to be "pretty", with a colorful binder cover and nicely laid out lists and charts.  But I didn't know where to start!

Then my prayers were answered when one of my FAVORITE blogs, IHeartOrganizing, posted the Household Binder Challenge!  Jen is amazingly organized and the best thing about her... she does it with STYLE!  My kind of girl!

Jen created a binder cover, one that you can personalize:


I was so excited, I quickly downloaded and printed it out!


 For the month of March, Jen is giving away free printables for IHeartOrganizing's Household Binder challenge.  So far, I've been able to snag a few goodies and add sections that I didn't think about to my binder:
Jen promises more freebies such as a Home Maintenance Checklist, Daily Schedule for the kids (for step in babysitters), Pet Info, Freezer Inventory and Important Contact and Household Information. 

You can also go to her Etsy shop to purchase other customizable checklist and templates.

Okay, so remember, these printables are only FREE for the month of March!  So even if you're not ready to start your Household Binder, I suggest you go over to IHeartOrganizing and download the templates before they're no longer available!  Then whenever you are ready to start the project, you'll have everything ready to go!

I've linked each of the printables to the specific blog posting, but if you want to see ALL of the FREE PDF printables for the binder, check out Jen's sidebar and they'll all be at your fingertips.


And before you ask, no, I'm not getting paid to endorse IHeartOrganizing, I just REALLY HEART Organizing and I TOTALLY Heart Jen's blog!  So, get on over to IHeartOrganizing and take the Household Binder Challenge!

I leave you with some images of IHeartOrganizing free printables!  They are so P.R.E.T.T.Y. and you know how much I like pretty!

{all images below are from IHeartOrganizing}








Seriously, what are you still doing here!

Linking to the following parties:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Address Book Clean Up!

Real quick post since I really should be in bed resting from this horrible sinus infection; nothing worse then being 25 weeks pregnant and sick!

The big and NEVER ENDING project of our laundry/home office reno is still going on.  Feels like I'm never going to get done before this baby comes.  Plus, there are so many other projects on my "TO DO" list.  My personal goal for 2011 was to get organized, well actually BACK to being organized and clutter free the house.  Before Little Muon, I was an organized fanatic!  Funny how a 7 lb 11 oz baby throws your world into chaos and next thing you know, you are closer to being labeled a "hoarder" rather then "organized"!

Before I become TOTALLY overwhelmed with the never ending list of projects, I thought this would be a quick and easy one!

How many of you have address books that look like this?  M.E.S.S.Y right?

For obvious privacy concerns, I blurred out personal information. So, no, my address book isn't filled with smudges!


My dear friend Stacy has moved THREE times in the past few years!  Every time she does, I cross out the old address and write in the new one in the next entry box.  Not only has Stacy taken up more then half the page, but my address book was starting to look like a doodle pad! 

I came across a blog that presented a solution to this dilemma, so this isn't something I came up on my own.  I can't seem to find the link to the post, so if you know it, please email me so I can give credit where credit is due!

Since I like the binder my address book came in, I didn't want to go out and buy a new one.  I got lucky and found this at Target and on clearance!

I just popped out the old pages and popped in the new ones.


Ahhh.... much better!

Next I used some Easy Peel Address Labels from Avery and used Microsoft Word to mail merge all my addresses onto the labels.  If you don't know how to mail merge, you can simply type in the addresses using the Label feature in MS Word (mail merge tutorial potentially in the future I think)!  I had already created a mail merge data source for my Christmas Cards a while back (which is essentially everyone in my address book) and leads me to wonder why I never thought of this before!

Print, peel and stick.  Now my address book looks like this:


 Now if Stacy moves again, I can simply create a new label for her and stick it on top of the existing one.  No more crossing out old addresses!  Well, what do you think?  Easy enough?  Are you ready to go clean up your address book too?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Office Reno Project: Document Holder

As you know from my "Laundry/Office Room Renovation - Part 1" post, my big project right now is putting the finishing touches on my newly renovated laundry/office.  Big reveal to come, that is, if I ever get done before the baby comes.  So much on my "TO DO" list.

Anyway, wanted to share some of the smaller projects I'm working on to "add" to my new office space.  This was a quick and easy project, but I loved how it turned out.  You really don't need a tutorial for this, but I'd thought I would do one anyway since it never hurts!

I had purchased a plastic thing-a mabobber (no, not the technical term for it) at Staples a while back ago.  I think it's supposed to be some sort of literature holder (like for flyers, pamphlets and brochures) for stores, but I wanted to have it to hold my notepads, stamps, frequently referenced documents, etc...  I had it sitting on my desk, with the thought of maybe hanging up on the wall someday.  But let's face it, this thing looks BORING!




I thought I'd spice it up with some scrapbook paper and Modge Podge.  I HEART Modge Podge!


I used scrapbook paper from Prima Papers "Breathe Paper Collection" by Corina Nielson (purchased at Michaels).  It's basically a collection of coordinating designs and colors.  I'm really into green and blue right now, so that's going to be my new color palette for the office.  I used the literature holder as a template and traced the shape onto the scrapbook paper and cut it out.


The holder actually has a removable plastic divider to split each level in half.  I'm using the divider for the first two levels (for smaller supplies).  That's why you see the piece above cut in half as well.

Using a sponge brush (also purchased at Michaels), I put a layer of Modge Podge over the paper (image side).  I then inserted the paper into each section and smoothed out the wrinkles and bubbles.  Easy right?  Here is the final result.  I think it gives a nice pop of color and doesn't look as plastic-y as it did before!




Cost:  Free!  Yup, I had all these supplies on hand, so I didn't have to spend any money for this quick and easy project.  LOVE IT!

For now, it sits here.  That is, until I can get the rest of the space together.  And then maybe it will find a different home.  K, so now are you ready to try your hand at Modge Podge-ing?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Kid Friendly Recipe: Ice Cream Cupcakes

Last weekend, I dragged Little Muon and the hubby to one of my favorite places, IKEA!  I could actually spend the entire day there if given the opportunity.  But unfortunately, like most 2 year olds, Taylor DOES NOT have the patience for being cooped up in a shopping cart while mommy drools at all the furniture, containers and possibilities the store has to offer!  What's a mom to do?  ....Well, negotiate and bribe!  I know, it's a horrible tactic, but it works!

"Just 5 more minutes and we can go get some ice cream", I promised Taylor, telling her that we would stop at the food area after we checked out.  This time, she looked at me and said, "I want ice cream cupcakes"!  I looked at the hubby and said, "now why didn't anyone ever think of something like that"!?  Little did I know, that Delish.com had and my hubby had actually saved the recipe on his laptop to share with me!

So we stopped at the grocery store and home we went to make "Strawberry Ice Cream Cupcakes".  Hope you have as much fun as we did making them!
 
Strawberry Ice Cream Cupcakes

(image from Delish.com)

Ingredients:


  • 2 pint(s)strawberry ice cream
  • 1  pound cake (store-bought or homemade) 
  • 6 teaspoon(s) strawberry jam (oops, I left this out in my picture above) 
  • 2 cup(s) heavy cream, chilled 
  • 2 tablespoon(s) confectioners' sugar
  • Sprinkles, for decoration (optional)
Directions:

1.  Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil cupcake liners. Take the ice cream out of the freezer for 10 minutes to soften enough to make it easy to scoop.

2.  Using a serrated knife, cut the pound cake into 6 slices, each about 3/4-inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter, cut 12 rounds from the cake slices. Put a cake round in each muffin cup. (If you don't have a cookie cutter, find a glass that's the right size, and use it as a guide as you cut the rounds with a paring knife. You want the cake rounds to fit in the bottoms of the muffin cups.)



(Shortly after this picture was taken, Taylor decided to taste test the pound cake.  And yes, I know, it's not Christmas anymore, but she still fits the shirt!)

Here's what you should have after step #2.


3.  Drop 1/2 teaspoon of strawberry jam onto each cake round. Using a 2-inch ice cream scoop, scoop 12 balls of ice cream, dropping them into the muffin cups as you scoop. The scoops should be large enough to peek out over the tops of the muffin cups. Put the muffin tin in the freezer to allow the ice cream to firm up again, at least 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.



Here's what you should have after step #3.


4.  Place a metal mixing bowl and the beaters from your electric mixer in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Pour the cream and confectioners' sugar into the chilled bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, begin whipping the cream until it gets very foamy. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat the cream until it forms medium-firm peaks.



 5.  Remove the muffin tin from the freezer. Gently spoon the whipped cream into a large ziplock bag, remove any excess air, seal the bag, and squeeze the cream over to one side. Snip a small corner off the side of the bag where the cream is, and gently squeeze the bag to pipe the whipped cream on top of each cupcake to resemble frosting. Start around the outer edges and swirl up in the middle.

6.  Decorate the tops with sprinkles, if desired, then place the muffin tin back in the freezer until the whipped cream firms up, about 45 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the freezer about 5 minutes before serving.


We had a blast making them!



Mine didn't turn out as "pretty" as the picture from Delish.com, but they were delicious and we had so much fun making them.

Here are some tips I thought I should share:

1)  The whip cream was not sweet enough to our liking; tasted too much like milk.  I would either double the amount of sugar or use Cool Whip instead!

2)  When the directions call for a "large Ziplock bag", this does NOT mean a sandwich size bag.  It's not going to be big enough!  Actually, the amount of whip cream we made was WAY too much for 6 cupcakes.  I'd cut the ingredients in half (except for the sugar, see #1 above).

3)  Make sure you explain to your child that the sprinkles are for the CUPCAKES!  Not for HER to eat up even before we begin!


Now that I think about it, maybe next time I'll just bribe her with SPRINKLES instead!

Linking this up to the following recipes swaps!
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