Thursday, January 28, 2010

Really brilliant calendar!


Click above to see a great post from Chez Larsson . I think this is the perfect layout for a family wall calendar. I was always frustrated trying to put everyone's schedules into the monthly boxes or too skinny days of the week formats in calendars here! 

The only problem with this one's Swedish!  It works for me because of my Swedish heritage and all the family history research I've done ...but it would be so nice to have this in English and in this format - which I have never seen!  Being an empty nester I don't need this anymore but it would have been nice a few years ago.  If I had seen this then I would have made my own!!

Has anyone ever seen anything like this in English??

Monday, January 25, 2010

mother-in-law advice

Grandma died a year ago. She was as close to perfect as any person I have ever known. She taught me to love home.

 She survived living through Nazi occupied Holland with very little food or anything else. Her husband survived  work camps ( concentration camps) and other horrors of the war.  They emigrated to America in the late 50's and began a new life with their family of 7. They were sponsored as "war refugees" by the congregation of a church in Newark NJ. A year and  half later, her husband was killed in a work related accident. Even though she was alone in a strange country, she continued the dream they had of moving to Utah to raise the family. Her English was as limited as her options.

She eventually got  a job as a cook in a school lunchroom and became a manager years later. She was an engaging storyteller (of her life in Holland) a fabulous cook, and an extraordinary homemaker....which is the point of this blog. We lived with her as newlyweds and I learned so much just watching how she did everything. I learned how to be a homemaker from her and to love it! She taught me that keeping a homey home for your family; being a home-maker,  IS the coolest thing!

Here is a little of her good advice:

  • buy food storage items in small sizes. Yes it's cheaper in larger sizes but for freshness sake and less waste buy in smaller packages.
  • make your own slice and bake cookie dough. Make dough, roll into logs, wrap in wax paper, freeze, thaw, slice and bake. She always made the dough for her Christmas cookies in November.

  • this one's for me...keep up the house during the week so you don't waste your Saturdays cleaning up and reorganizing.
  • Fix your meals with a variety of color. She would never give you a plate of all white food (chicken. potatoes and cauliflower or corn and a roll. A variety of color gives you a variety of vitamins.
  • Change your dishcloth every day. Her father said this was the mark of a good housewife.

  • Another mark of a good house wife is a clean fridge top.
  • Since you are pregnant for 9 months, you should stay down for 9 days to recover. (I loved having her come after I had a baby - she did everything for me, made all the meals, cleaned the house and guarded the treats from the kids.
  • She believed in olive oil as a"keep skin young" treatment. (She got that bit of wisdom from an old Italian lady with beautiful skin)

  • She dried her sheets outside so they would smell good, was diligent about spring cleaning and started cooking her Sunday meals on Sat. night (My husband loved being home on Sat nights because the house always smelled so good!)

  • and finally..."never raise your hand to your parent (in anger) or you're hand will come out of the grave" !!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I have a new goal...

 A few years ago, my computer crashed, along with all my digital (and scanned) photos. It made me sick to my stomach. It was expensive but I hired someone to get my files back. Since then I have been trting to decide the best way to store my photos and not keep 6000 + on my computer (its just so handy though..)

I had decided that  the easiest and cheapest way is just to make your own CD/DVD/s of everything. Several of my techno mac geek design friends did it this way also. (I would also like a cyberspace backup but I don't want to depend on that totally.)

I found this photo today of how one organized mom (from Real Simple) stores her digital photos. A great photo always motivates me. So.....this is how I want my photo storage to be/look like!

She color codes the disks ; blue= trips,  yellow, parties etc.  I wouldn't get crazy here. I think I'll just date them and list the contents. I do like how she divides the years with empty disks sitting vertical instead of horizontal though.   I LOVE this!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Meals in a Minute!

Impossible I know, but that's what I'd like.   I don't get home from work until 6:00...and I'm hungry and have an equally hungry husband.

His name is "Sugarboots".
That's what the girls called him in high school
so from now on, in this blog he shall go by that!

Back to  I want dinner fast!  I made a list of quick to fix  meals on a 5x7 index card.  I'll start referring to that each night or on Saturdays when I plan meals for the following week. to see what I need to buy and what has to be pre prepped (Is that correct grammar?)  Yes, meals in a minute will involve some advanced prep and it's totally it's worth it.

Here is one meal I can make quickly this week. Grilled steak (defrosting in the fridge during the day, slice and grill when I get home) salad (out of a bag  plus some crunchy stuff), and garlic (opt) mashed potatoes.  These delicious potatoes will be ready in a minute! Here's how....

I will get out my freezer bag of mashed potato balls and take out however many I want. Nuke them for a 30 seconds or so in their little bag (explanations in a sec) ...stir or smoosh heat a little more and scoop onto a plate which has  the lovely meat and veg already on.

Here's the back track. Today I made garlic mashed potatoes. Here's how.

1. boil a 5# bag of Yukon gold potatoes (no peeling necessary and they freeze well, (russets do not)

2. drain when soft and add 2 T butter, 6 oz cream cheese, a handful of bacon bits (I used Hormel bottled bacon bits), and some garlic salt or 4 cloves of garlic finely mashed.  (or leave the garlic out, this is all to taste.)  Add milk, 2 green onions, finely chopped, 2 T. seasoning salt, and cup or so of shredded cheddar cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.

3. Scoop out the mashed potato mounds with an ice cream scoop, put on a tray and freeze.

When frozen enough to pick up, put each ball in a baggie...

 twist shut  (no air) and put all little wrapped balls in a larger freezer bag.

Voila!  Fab mashed mashed potatoes that can be heated through and have on a dinner plate in...seriously...a minute.   Isn't this a great idea??

Cool new way to tie a scarf - love it

click here to see

Monday, January 11, 2010

Why must a family tree be a tree?

I had never thought of that question before this morning when I saw these "modern family tree" charts for sale. Brilliant!! Who else loves this??

Why can't it be a an ever blooming  flower?

or a ray of sunshine?

or ripples in the sea...or cosmos??

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

To keep track of the end of the packing tape

just stick to the end of more clawing to find the end. Another "why didn't I think of it before idea!
(photo courtesy of Real Simple)