Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Little Organization -- AKA how many containers can I have in one space...

In the pantry, I have two sides with shelves. One side holds all the food items and the other side holds miscellaneous things like my cookbooks, first aid supplies, paper towels, etc. It was pretty organized to begin with, but on Saturday I went to Ross and Marshall's and I picked up some goodies.

I got two of these baskets for $3 each. I thought that was a pretty sweet deal.

This one is holding a few items right now and the one above is probably going to end up holding lunchboxes.

This area is the paper arena. The brown basket holds papers that need to be taken care of within the week. I go through this at least once a week and take care of everything. The manila folder to the left is really ugly, but it holds the items that I need to shred. The metal tin at the back is for coupons. I organize these in order of when they expire. The two boxes in front of the tin are the cardboard boxes my checks came in. One holds recent receipts and the other is for stamps and other mail-type things. I get the mail first thing when I get home everyday and recycle the envelopes and get rid of anything we don't need. If it's important and needs to get taken care of soon, I put it in the basket.

There's probably a better system, but this works pretty well for now. =]

Below the "paper arena" I have about a billion paper towels. No, I'm not expecting a paper towel shortage. I had a coupon and stocked up. The bucket on the floor is holding my skateboarding gear -- my helmet and pads. Yes, I skateboard. No, I'm not a 12-year-old boy.

The green bags are our reusable grocery bags and the basket to the right is for holding supplies for in-progress household projects. It's been nice having everything on hand instead of having to dig it out every time.

There's an "overall" picture.

And now for the rest of my Marshall's/Ross goodies.

This rug looks AWESOME in the kitchen and it was only $7.

Snagged this super adorable cake plate for just 10 buckaroos. I'd been eyeing the Martha Stewart collection at Macy's, but could not see paying 30 dollars (and upwards) for one cake plate. My version feature and ugly red ribbon, but I changed that sucker out for this and now I'm loving it.

I also found these adorable melamine bowls for $3. I love all the colors!

I feel like my trip was successful. Got a lot of great stuff for not a lot of money. Always a good feeling! =]

Friday, June 25, 2010

You win TJMaxx!

As the house hardly has any furniture, I had been looking around for some chairs to provide extra seating in the living room. There were a lot of good options out there, but none at my price point. Checked overstock and all that, finding nothing appealing enough. I went back to one day and found this chair:

I loved the lines, but didn't want to spend as much as they were charging. So I marched on. And eventually marched right on into TJMaxx. I headed back towards the furniture and right there were two gorgeous brown chairs with the lines of the above chair. I was so happy! They were half the price of the Target chairs so I was ready for commitment.

These chairs have made me so happy. Now when I have guests, no one has to sit on the floor! Unless they just really, really want to.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Can my laundry room please look like this?

What about this?

Or maybe this?

I'm a dreamer.

All pictures from Google.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Vegetarian Dinner

The other night it was time to make dinner and so I walked into the pantry and quickly realized that I didn't have a whole lot on hand... Hmmm.... For most of my recipes, there were several items missing so I decided to just kinda do my own thing and hope it turned out ok. I went to the fridge and grabbed ingredients I knew I needed to use before they went bad and before I knew it I had a strange cooking menagerie on the counter. I've never been one to follow recipes exactly in the first place, I always change a measurement here and there and take out things I don't like or add things I do like. So, I figured I'd just take that up a notch and make my own "recipe".

I always have pasta on hand so I started the ball rolling by boiling some water for the pasta and then chopping up some veggies.

At first I wasn't quite sure what I was doing, but it came together.

I chopped up the tomatoes and then placed them on one side of a cookie sheet. I drizzled them with olive oil and then put a little salt, pepper and basil on them. On the other side I put some broccoli that I had steamed and then drizzled that with olive oil too. On top I added pepper and basil and then I squeezed lemon juice over all the broccoli and added the lemon slices on top. I put this cookie sheet in the oven for about 12 minutes.

I had this pan heating and then put in some spinach. I cooked the spinach for a few minutes and then took it off the heat.

When the veggies came out of the oven I put some parmesan on top of the broccoli.

For the pasta, I put some pesto on top and then added the spinach and tomatoes. I thought everything came out pretty well for just playing in the kitchen!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Some Organization

I don't know how other people store their necklaces, but I was having some issues storing mine. For the longest time I could not figure out how to organize them. I tried keeping them in a drawer, they tangled up. I tried lying them flat in my closet, they tangled up. I finally took two hangers and placed the necklaces on them thinking that hanging they wouldn't get all looped together. Nope, didn't work. But I somehow managed to live like this for over a year.

This was a horrible "solution" to my problem. So unfunctional -- every time I would try to get a necklace off, the hanger would move back and forth and all the necklaces would fall off and mix together! It was so annoying to deal with.

Instead of putting the ones that fell on the floor back onto the hanger, I'd usually just leave them there or pile them somewhere else.

This is so sad. Well, I finally came to my senses and decided to manage this situation. I considered these 3M Command Strips as an option:

But for 4-pack it was about 7 bucks and they didn't really seem all that amazing. I looked at regular hooks too -- the kind you screw into the wall and I wasn't impressed either. I'm on a budget people! Then I saw it, this key hook beauty.

It was six dollars and looked perfect for the job. I picked an open spot in the closet and put it up.

They're not all tangled up anymore! They are organized and I love it. And now I can use those two hangers for what they are meant to be used for: pretending to sword fight.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Adventures with my Kitchenaid Mixer

I made Pioneer Woman's Tomato Basil Pizza the other day. I've made it several times and it's always wonderful, but this time I used my Kitchenaid stand mixer to mix the dough and I used my Williams-Sonoma pizza stone.

Ready for action

Using the mixer to mix up this dough made me happy. It came out so much easier to work with than normal.

After the dough is pressed out, it's time for toppings!

When I make this pizza, I usually add spinach on top. I like the extra flavor it adds and the texture is nice too. But if you don't like spinach, obviously this isn't for you. ;-)

Straight from the oven. Beautiful.

And in other food news, I had a coupon to get a free Kraft Homestyle Deluxe meal. I wasn't expecting anything amazing, but I made the meal anyway.

This is what it looked like when I got done. Looks kind of like homemade mac and cheese because the sauce is different and they include "bread crumbs" to go on the top. I had it with some veggies and it was actually really good. So if you see it at the market and want to try it, it's a quick and easy meal that's pretty tasty too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

We can now have dinner at a table!

Since I moved in May 3 I've eaten dinner on the floor because I didn't have a table and chairs. I'm on a tight budget right now as I'm still working on getting all the essentials so I knew this table was going to have to be inexpensive. I didn't even go into a furniture store because I knew I'd be upset when I saw how much everything cost. So I've been looking on overstock, amazon and other sites for a while trying to find a good deal.

Found this table on Target for $169:

But the price was a bit high to me considering I'd still have to get the chairs to go with it and everything. So I searched on, not having much more luck anywhere else. I looked at some chairs on Target, including these -- 2 for $149:

That's when I started getting more distraught. Spending $169 for the table plus $149 per 2 chairs? Yikes! Not what I had in mind.

Finally I got on Craigslist and kept faithfully checking. Last Friday I was on there and found the holy grail -- a table and 4 chairs for $150! I'm OK with that! So I sent the poster an email telling them I'd like to come look at it and hoping they hadn't already sold it. Got a response back. They had not sold it and I could come look any time I wanted. So I said I'd be there the next morning at 9:30. Now, I do not own a vehicle large enough to transport furniture so I asked a good friend if I could use his father's truck. Sure enough, he said yes! So we headed out to see the treasure.

We got there and as soon as I saw the table and chairs, I was in love. We loaded them up and handed over the money. Once in place in the dining room, I realized I needed to move the light fixture over... but I also realized that the table and chairs I got were perfect!

Now, there were definitely nicks on the table from the previous owners. I'd heard of stain pens that can fill in scratches and cover nicks, but I hadn't ever used one. I went to Lowe's and sure enough, they had them in a few different finishes.

This is the brand I got and the finish is dark walnut. I just shook up the pen and ran it across the back of the packaging to get the stain flowing and then just applied it to the nicks and scratches on the table and then wiped off the excess with a white paint rag I had on hand. It really made the table look so much better. I'm loving it and I'm really happy with how affordable it was. =]

Yeah, my vase is devoid of flowers, but look how cute it is anyway! It could be the next new style....