Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blogging Binder

I am jumping on the bandwagon for this one!  Recently several of the blogs I love have posted their blogging binders.  Both this one by IHeart Organizing and this one from Simply Organized inspired me to create my own binder.  Before this binder, I was using a spiral notebook.  Not exactly efficient since my notes weren't in any particular order and I was always flipping pages to find what I wanted. 

Using a Martha Stewart 50% off coupon to Staples (love!), I purchased the binder.  I also bought a few sets of dividers and used a pencil case, pens, and post its that I already had from back to school sales. (I have realized from these pictures that I really need to learn how to use my fancy camera correctly.  I'm sure there is a way to make these look much better:)

Here is the inside of the binder.  I used my label maker to label each of the dividers.  I had 5 sections.
1.  Posts Done - I record the name of the post, date, and any link parties I participated to help me remember.
2.  Posts To Do - completed projects that I need to post on the blog
3.  To Complete - projects I have started that need to be finished before posting or that I have the materials for, but haven't completed yet
4.  To Buy - materials I need for a project, or items to keep my eye out for as I'm shopping
5.  Ideas - brainstorming and ideas for future projects or things I want to do around the house that could potentially be a post as well

I also included a calendar.  I may use these to track posts, or when I plan to post to the blog.  I haven't totally decided but a calendar is always useful:)

Here are two examples of the pages I have in the binder.  I used the same template as the "Projects to Complete" but changed the heading for different topics.  The back of the binder also contains a pocket divider which may be useful for ideas I find in magazines or papers to keep in the binder.

I created the documents I used in Powerpoint.  This is my new favorite way and I'm finding it really easy to use.
Creating this binder is leading me to some reorganizing of my desk so you'll see some future posts on that.  While I love the green bin on the corner of my desk (see my desk organization here), I have two binders that I don't want in the bin and I need to find a new system.  Stay tuned for how that plays out...I have some ideas:)

I linked up with:
Shaken Together - What's Shakin' Link Party
My Turn (For Us) - Freedom Friday

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, I found a recipe on Shaken Together (new blog find for me that I love!) and was really excited to try it.  The recipe was for Harvest Spice Chocolate Chip Pudding Mix Cookies (check out her recipe) and it sounded so yummy with the mix of pumpkin spice and chocolate.   The best part is that I hate to bake (yes, I know...but I love to cook so hopefully that redeems me:) and these sounded easy enough that I couldn't screw them up.

Yesterday, while grocery shopping for the week, I decided to pick up the pumpkin spice pudding mix that the recipe called for and give it a try.  I have three grocery stores within a half mile and none of them had the pumpkin spice pudding mix!:(  So, I ventured outside my comfort zone (by a lot!) and tried tweaking the recipe a bit.  I used a chocolate pudding mix instead and just made a chocolate cookie with chocolate chips.  And they turned out pretty yummy...says the 5 year old taste tester and myself.

Here is the recipe for the version I made:
1 box chocolate instant pudding mix
1 cup Bisquick baking mix
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine pudding mix and baking mix with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the oil and eggs and mix until incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet.  Bake for 5-8 minutes.

My cookies definitely took the full 8 minutes but I may have made them a little larger than the 1 inch size that the original recipe called for.  You want to watch them closely because you still want them to have the gooey pudding taste and not dry out.  My batch made 18 cookies.  FYI - These cookies are smaller sized.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Laundry Room Part 2 - The Shelves

Bear with me as this post has a lot of pictures:)  As I said in Part 1 of my laundry room organization, I have a fairly large laundry room (almost the same size as our smallest bedroom) so we use it for a lot of storage.  However, it had become a dumping ground and I had nowhere to craft and felt overwhelmed every time I walked in.

The second part of the process was organizing everything on the shelves which run the length of one wall.  Here are the shelves before I started....

The insides of bins looked like this!

To start, I took everything off the shelves.  As I took it off the shelves, it was sorted into piles to keep, sort through, give away, or trash.  Once I'd gotten the trash and give away piles out of the way, I went through the keep and sort through piles.  I went through all the plastic containers and bins and sorted everything into categories.  I then put the categories back into bins so that like items were together instead of just thrown out of sight.  Some items were also moved like all the paper and pens above.  These were sorted into two separate smaller containers and put into the cabinet with my office supplies.  

I also found some items that needed new homes.  My earlier post about organizing user manuals came from this process since they were all thrown on the shelves in this room.

Once I sorted everything, I labeled the categories I created.  I printed the category onto a mailing label in word and then put it on some colorful paper to make it prettier:)  I used glue dots to attach the labels to plastic bins and ribbon to tie them to baskets.

And finally, my shelves now look so much better!

Two great reasons that this laundry room clean out was a good idea...
1.  Hubby knows where batteries, light bulbs, cords, etc. are and does not have to ask me every time he wants to look for something.  He can also put them back when he needs to instead of throwing it on the shelf because he doesn't know where I want it.
2.  I have extra room on the shelves.  If needed, I can add more categories and containers because I actually have extra space!  


Monday, October 8, 2012

Laundry Room Part 1 - The Cabinet

Wow!  I had no idea how crazy life would get with going back to work, being in grad school, having a child in school, etc.  I've had a bunch of projects that I just haven't had time to post about.  Hopefully I'll have some time to start catching up.

One of my big projects over the summer was to organize our laundry room.  We remodeled our laundry room a few years ago and installed lots of shelving and a cabinet for me to fold laundry and craft.  It had become a dumping ground for everything due the size of the room and needed a good clean out.  Since some of it was hubby's stuff I had to rope him into helping me before I could purge any of it:)

Since there was quite a bit that we did, I'm just going to show you the cabinet organization today.  I'll post about the other parts of the room later.

Here are the first pictures of the cabinet.  I'll warn you, it's not pretty!

The cabinet holds crafting supplies, gifting supplies, and extra office supplies.  It is a big cabinet, but it was a disaster.  I pulled everything out including what was in the red boxes.  I purged a lot of old scrapbooking supplies that I no longer use and office supplies that were bent, old, etc.  I re-purposed and relabeled the red boxes and some other baskets I already had so the cost for the project was free!
Here are the after pictures. 

So much better and I've tried to be really good about putting things away and keeping the top clear so I am always ready for a project I'm waiting to start.  Woohoo!