Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Organizing: Labeling those cords

In my earlier post about washi tape I couldn’t wait to do my first project. So here it is!

In our household we have two iPhones, chargers, two iPads, cords for cameras, Ethernet cords, wireless connection cords, cords, cords, and cords!

I wanted to avoid my husband picking up the wrong cord so I did a cute little thing and got out all my cords relating to my iPhone and iPad. I took my washi tape and wrapped it around the end to add a decorative strip. I don’t have a label maker (yet!) but printed out the name for the cord (iPhone or iPad) from my computer on clear labels as well as my name. On one side I placed the clear label (iPhone or iPad) on top of the washi tape, turned over the cord and placed my name on the other side. 

Now my cords are clearly labeled with what the plug or cord is for and who it belongs to.

Super cuteness, fun looking, and easy!

- Susan
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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Recipe: Homemade Fries and Ketchup

It all started when I noticed the ketchup bottle was getting low and I didn't have another bottle of ketchup in the pantry. I really didn't want to purchase another over priced, loaded with high fructose corn syrup bottle of ketchup, so I experimented and worked the ingredients until it came out just right.

Homemade Ketchup
1 (4 ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup honey
1/8 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup water (or more, if needed, if ketchup is too thick)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

I love French fries with ketchup. As I was making the ketchup I kept thinking about how perfect it would be if I could test my homemade ketchup with some hot, salty fries. It really couldn't be that hard right?? I remembered I had pinned a French fry recipe on my Pinterest boards awhile back. Now was my chance to find it and try those French fries. There it was pinned under my Food - Snacks board...Gwyneth Paltrows No-Fry Fries.

Gwyneth Paltrows No-Fry Fries
2 large russet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Peel the potatoes

Cut the potato in half

Using the half piece of potato cut it into smaller strips.

Soak the potato strips in a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes.

Drain the potato strips.

Dry the potatoes on a clean towel.

Add potatoes to a bowl and drizzle olive oil. Mix well to coat.

Spray the baking sheet with a non stick spray. Put potatoes on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake in oven at 450 degrees for 27 minutes.

Now, dip the French fries in your homemade ketchup. Yummo!! It is even healthy and you know exactly what is in it. Not to mention really easy and there is no deep frying mess to clean up. 


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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Recipe: Homemade Pizza Sauce

Tonight it was just the kids and I for dinner. Both kids wanted pizza, and actually it sounded pretty good myself. I didn't want to go out for dinner or order take out (too expensive!) 

I had no pizza sauce or pizza dough. I looked around my kitchen. It turns out I had plain bagels, pepperoni, cheese, and figured it had to be pretty easy to make my own pizza sauce. So I whipped together the following ingredients.

Homemade Pizza Sauce

1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Italian Herb Mix
salt and pepper to taste
a couple shakes of garlic powder, dried basil, dried oregano.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

Homemade Pizza Sauce

Bagel pizzas ready for the oven

Pizzas ready to eat

Bagel Pizza with green salad and blue cheese dressing

This dinner completely hit the spot. There was no pizza leftover. 

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Organization: Greeting Cards

I had completely lost track of how many greeting cards I had accumulated over time. I had one small box with dividers that just wasn't doing exactly what I wanted. I had other cards stored in a basket. It was time to find them all stashed away in different places, sort them into categories, and organize them all in one pretty place. 

I found a simple, standard box. I cut the flaps off so it was completely open at the top.

I went shopping in my own craft room and found some bright colored fabric I wanted to use.

I matched cardstock paper to my fabric. This will be the dividers for each card category.

I covered the box with the fabric.

I cut the cardstock to size and found a shape where the labels will go. I traced and cut out each divider. 

I created my greeting card categories and printed them on clear labels. I have a total of 17 categories.

I put my cards behind the correct label and had myself a cute, bright, and cheery new greeting card organizer. All my cards are in one pretty place. 

I love it. I am so happy with how this greeting card organizer turned out. It is so colorful and sits neatly on the corner of my desk for easy access.
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Friday, February 15, 2013

Recipe: Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce

Whenever I go to the mall, which is really rare, there is a soft pretzel stand near the food court. I can hardly walk by this pretzel stand. The soft delicious pretzels, with melted butter, sea salt, and a side of hot cheese dip is just so satisfying. When I saw this soft pretzel bite recipe, it reminded me of those pretzel stands and I had to give this recipe a try.

In the past I have attempted yeast breads and things just don’t work out so well. I rely on my bread machine to do the work or just purchase bread. After years of not making yeast breads I decided to give it another attempt, this time making soft pretzel bites. It turned out to be a huge success and so delicious!

Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce


1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
2 tbsp butter, melted
Pretzel or Kosher salt


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the water, sugar, yeast, and salt on low speed for 10 seconds. Switch to the dough hook and add the flour and butter. Mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer it to a well-oiled bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an wide 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Slice each rope into 1-inch pieces. Place a lightly damp towel over the pretzel pieces to prevent them from drying out while you roll and cut the other pieces.

Using a slotted spoon lower a handful of the pretzel pieces into the boiling water and boil them for 30 seconds, flipping them around in the water with the spoon a couple of times. Remove the pretzel pieces from the water using the spoon, drain as best you can, and place them on the baking sheets. Brush the top of each pretzel with the melted butter and sprinkle with the pretzel/Kosher salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 10 – 12 minutes. Brush with remaining melted butter before serving. Serve warm.

For the cheese sauce:


2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (not package pre-shredded cheese – shred your own)
Kosher salt


In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for 30 seconds, whisking constantly.

Slowly whisk in the milk until no lumps of flour remain. Stirring constantly, bring the milk to a simmer over medium-low heat until it thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the shredded cheese until all of the cheese has melted. Add a pinch of salt, if needed. Serve warm. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave on medium power at 30 second intervals.

Recipe from Smells Like Home

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Random Post: Scented Oil Refills

Do you know those scented refills you plug into your outlets and make your house smell really good, but you think they are too expensive? How would you like to continue to make your house smell really good without ever having to buy one again?

In our house we have the Airwick brand. Those little buggers can be expensive. Even with coupons they can still be a couple bucks. So instead here it what I do.

When the original scent is all used up. Take the empty glass refill. 

Pop off the plastic insert and take the smelly stick out too. Rinse the glass container in warm water.

Take your favorite essential oil. Add 10 drops in the bottom. Fill about 3/4 of the way up with water. Put the plastic insert back in and you now how a much less expensive version of a scented oil. Pop the glass refill into the electrical case and plug it back in.

Enjoy your fresh smelling home!
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Random Post: Washi Tape

My package finally arrived! I was so excited. I had heard all about this item for awhile and after seeing a few inspiring projects I decided to get some. 

It is washi tape!

Aqua washi tape

Blue washi tape

Brown washi tape

Green washi tape

Since I am redecorating my little corner in our office, I just happened to come across some washi tape (on sale - yay!) at JoAnn Fabric and Craft store.

I have some fun office projects I want to do using washi tape, as well as some small household projects to pretty up some items we have duplicates of so we know who's is who's item. 

If you aren't familiar with what washi tape is, washi tape is typically made from natural fibers, such as bamboo or hemp, but most commonly from the bark of trees that are native to Japan — the mulberry, the mitsumata shrub or the gampi tree. Most washi tapes are strong (as strong as duct tape in some cases!) and functional as well as pretty, making them wonderful for both everyday and decorative use. (source)

Happy crafting!

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Organizing: Our Laundry Room

It was time to get our laundry room in order. The shelves in the laundry room are open, no cupboards (I hope to change that someday to cupboards). I started by removing everything that was not cleaning or laundry related. Then I assessed what was left and made a trip to the Dollar Tree for organizing bins. Success! The walls are painted a light blue so I knew I wanted something fun and colorful.

Here are the BEFORE pictures. Yes, this mess is a little extreme since my hubby was helping me hang the iron organizer holder, but it isn't too far off from what our laundry room was looking like.

Hanging up the iron organizer
After organizing multiples of the same items into bins, and designing these adorable labels myself (laminated and stuck them with Velcro tabs) I put the final touches together and voila…a much more organized laundry room.

Here are the AFTER pictures of our laundry room.
There is nothing that sits on top of the washer or dryer. It needs to stay cleared off. The only thing I will allow on the dryer is a small green basket of my wool dryer balls.

The iron organizer is neatly hung up and easily accessible. 

Every item has its place. The containers are clearly labeled.

These are wool dryer balls I made. They are the only thing that sits on the dryer.
I was able to organize this whole room for less than $10.

Another organizing project in this house complete. Aaahhh! Such a wonderful feeling.
Here a BEFORE and AFTER picture

 Happy Organizing!
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