Sunday, September 30, 2012

31 Days of Home Organization- Day One

Welcome to day one of 31 Days of Home Organization.  I am joining The Nester again for the series this year.  I participated last year with 31 Days of Hospitality.  Writing for 31 days in a row is challenging and writing on the same subject for those 31 days is even more so.  One thing I learned last year is to plan ahead and figure out what you're going to write each day.  Just like making a monthly meal plan makes dinnertime easier, planning your posts makes blogging easier.  So this year there should be no midnight posts for me.

Organizing our homes can really make our lives run smoothly.  We're all busy with families, laundry, cooking, shopping, carpools, appointments, working and many other things.  Flying by the seat of your pants over a long term is just downright stressful for everyone.  Each day I'll give you tips and tricks to organize things in your home.  Some will be super quick & some will take a while but by Halloween you and I will be more organized than we ever have been.

Join me tomorrow as I put together a Home Organization Notebook.  This one thing will change your life.  Trust me.

If you have missed any of the posts in this series you can find them below.

Day 2 - Home Management Notebook
Day 3- Junk Drawers
Day 4- The Basics
Day 5- Under the Bed Storage
Day 6- Organized vs. Clean
Day 7- Quick Tip (junk mail)
Day 8- Kitchen Counters
Day 9- Kitchen Gadgets
Day 10 - Under the Kitchen Sink
Day 11- Small Appliances
Day 12- The Pantry
Day 13- The Fridge
Day 14- The kitchen is organized, now use it & make this recipe
Day 15- Paying Bills
Day 16- Interrupted-or straw storage
Day 17- DVD & CD Storage
Day 18- When it's alright to let go
Day 19-Storing Seasonal Decorations
Day 20-Laundry Rooms
Day 21-Organizing for Kids-Quick Tip
Day 22- Lists
Day 23- Preparing
Day 24- Calendar
Day 25- Resources
Day 26- At the Front Door
Day 27- Closets
Day 28- Gift Wrap Storage
Day 29- Vertical Space
Day 30- One In One Out
Day 31- Recap

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts - Solitude

Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pumpkin Love....

It seems like everyone is pumpkin crazy this year.  Everywhere you look there is pumpkin spice something for sale.  From the Pumpkin Spice Latte to pumpkin ice cream to pumpkin candles.  Pumpkin is everywhere!

Some of my favorites:

The Pumpkin Pie ice cream from Safeway.  We tried it for the first time last year and I am hoping that I can find it again this year.  The graham cracker crust pieces swirled in the pumpkin ice cream give it a truly authentic pumpkin pie taste.  Safeway also had a pumpkin yogurt last year that was super tasty.

Pumpkin Spice LiquidCoffee-mate Pumpkin Spice Creamer.  Move over Starbucks.  This is the perfect way to easily recreate the PSL at home.  I have actually never bought this because I don't buy creamer but I have a friend who buys it (for me, perhaps?) and when we are at her house scrap booking it is my creamer of choice in the fall.  Maybe one day I'll purchase my very own!

Pumpkin Spice CoffeeGreen Mountain Coffee Pumpkin Spice K-cup.  The smell   brings everyone in to the kitchen when this is brewing.  I fell in love with this one last year and plan to stock up this fall.

And a few I'm eager to try:

Thomas'® Pumpkin Spice English MuffinsThomas' Pumpkin Spice English Muffins.  Although I haven't seen these at stores here yet, I'm hoping to be able to try these this fall.  Imagine one of those with your PSL - yum!

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies. Pumpkin & Cheesecake together?  I'm in.  With that combo, there's really no way they can be bad.

HERSHEY’S KISSES Pumpkin Spice Flavored CandiesPumpkin Spice Hershey's Kisses.  I admit I am a milk chocolate kisses kind of girl.  I don't care for most of the new flavors but this one has caught my interest and I will definitely give them a try because you just never know.

What pumpkin products are on your shopping list?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Looking forward...

I am excited that October is almost here for several reasons:
  • We are headed back to Disneyland during Fall Break.
  • There is a possibility that the temps will cool down in my neck of the woods.
  • The Nester is once again hosting her 31 days series.
I'll share our Disneyland stories with you sometime in November and I'll try not to talk about the weather for a while. So October will be 31 days of Home Organization here at September Acres.  This should be the kick I need to really get things organized around here.  

I'll be working for the next week getting organized so I can have some interesting and informative posts for you for 31 days.

If you missed my 31 Days of Hospitality series last year you can find it here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts-Autumn


It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life. 

~P.D. James

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fall Tablescape...

Fall starts on Saturday and despite the temps still reaching the triple digits most days I am getting into the fall mood with my decorating.  While I haven't pulled out the Halloween bins, I've spruced up the mantel and the coffee table (to be unveiled soon) with some harvest loveliness.  In addition, I have adorned my dining table with some fall charm just in time to participate in the Autumn Linky Party over at The Lettered Cottage.

We use our dining room table for homework as well as eating so I wanted to create something fun and festive that would be easy to remove quickly when the table was needed and this basket was the perfect surface on which to create the fall tablescape.  I love the shape, it's long and narrow, and the rich texture gives the entire design a rich, rustic feel which is perfect for the autumn months.

On top of the basket I've added some colorful glass stones, little white ghosts and wine corks which encircle the larger items like the vase and old paperback books.

The vase is one I got flowers in and painted the inside with metallic spray paint.  It was my original DIY mercury glass project that didn't end up looking like mercury glass at all but I still liked it and have used it quite a bit.

I usually think of butterflies as a springtime decoration but the chalkboard one I added to this tablescape seemed perfect with a black & orange polka dot ribbon and the word 'fall' written on it.

It just kind of fit in with the neutral with pops of color look I was shooting for.

And then there are the cute as can be polka dot flowers.  I am not a huge fan of fake flowers but I am in LOVE with them.  They add a bit of whimsy to the otherwise simple vase and they are clearly not real so it's not like I am trying to use them in place of real stems.

I am just thrilled with the result of this and love the ease of being able to remove the entire display from the table at a moment's notice for dinner or homework.

Here's the breakdown on where I found some of these items:

Basket - Hobby Lobby (on sale, of course)
Polka Dot Stems - Michaels (40 % off)
Chalkboard Butterfly - Michaels (for 25 cents!)
Colored Stones & Ghosts - Michaels (with a coupon)
Initial Balls - Micheals $1 section (back when things were still $1)
Paperbacks - Thrift store ($1 each)
Wine Corks - Friends and family - & a few from me!

I have had most of these things for a while and bought nothing new specifically for this project.  Shopping at home is what I love to do!

I am linking up to Table Top Tuesday & the Autumn Linky Party @ The Lettered Cottage.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Three Little Pumpkins - DIY

If you're anything like me you are always looking for ways to add seasonal touches to your home without spending much (or any) money.   Like many of you, I have oodles of scrapbook paper.  To be honest it's probably more than I could ever use.  So when I wanted to add a little more fall to the house without a trip to the store I headed straight to the scrapbook paper.

I started with three little pumpkins I cut with my Cricut, a piece of 12 X 12 scrapbook paper and a frame I had (part of my 90% off haul from Michaels a few weeks ago).

If you have a Cricut, the 'Stretch your Imagination' cartridge is fantastic for seasonal die cuts - it's filled with really cute images for every holiday and season.

I glued the three little pumpkins to the scrapbook paper (cut to 5X7) and put it in the frame (which ended up costing me 69 cents!)  I love the way it turned out and am deciding where to put it - it will possibly go on the mantel or in the kitchen window or I may incorporate it into my fall table scape.

Oh, the possibilities...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts - Creativity

Creativity isn’t about wild talent as much as it’s about productivity
To find new ideas that work, you need to try a lot that don’t. It’s a pure numbers game.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fall Mantel

I finished my fall mantel today.  I actually started it last week but it took awhile to get the inspiration since I am not ready to do Halloween yet so I wanted something that was fall-ish but not all witches and bats.  I am happy with how it turned out and plan to keep it like this until I'm ready to put up Halloween in mid-October.

If you have read my blog for any time you know that our T.V. hangs over the fireplace.  I need to work my mantel decor around the T.V. to make sure that it is not blocked by anything (heaven forbid).  Since I finished the mantel today, the first Sunday of regular season NFL games, the T.V. has been on since early this morning making it a bit of a challenge to photograph my work.  These first two photos are an overview of what I did.

And here are the closeups.  I did take a few pumpkins out of the Halloween bins to add a bit of fall.  I got the black and white harlequin pumpkin last year at Hobby Lobby and it's one of my faves.

My mom printed this saying for me.  I am not quire sure where she found it but I'll update this when I find out. UPDATE:  The printable is from Dear Lillie. Thank you, Sue, for letting me know that. The little ceramic pumpkins were made by my grandma in her ceramics class.

The burlap pumpkin was made by my mom.

The urn that hides the T.V. cords.

'Silver and gold, silver and gold'.  Actually it's copper but I don't know a song about silver and copper.

A large collection of wine corks in the apothecary jar.  I did not drink all that wine.  Honest.

Like I said, I am really happy with how this mantel turned out and I look forward to enjoying it for about a month.  I hope you enjoy it as well.

Linking up to Kate's Mantel Party Fall into Fall @ DIY by Design.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Four Menu Planning Tips...

As with so many other American families, we lead busy lives that sometimes mean we are out of the house during meal times.  I strive to have all of us home at dinner time each day but as LM gets older and we all get busier sometimes it doesn't work out that way.  When we are home (4-5 nights per week, usually) I like to know what I am preparing for dinner.  That's where the menu planning comes in.  Here's what I do:

  • Make a monthly plan.  I used to make a weekly plan and I never quite got that right or really enjoyed it.  Once I switched to a monthly plan I saw more success and enjoyed the process much more.  Of course, we have changes here and there but it's a pretty good system.
  • Write it down.  I use a calendar I print out from Printfree.  There are probably a million ways you could write down your menus but this works for me.  I print out the month I need and put them in a 3-prong folder (now's the time to get one, with all the back to school sales).  I have a pocket folder which is great for holding coupons or new recipes I want to try.  The first thing I do is figure out what, if any, dates we will be away from home, out of town, etc. so I don't meal plan for those nights.  Then I write each night's meal in pencil which makes it easy to make any changes.
  • Be creative. I try to add in a few new recipes each month.  Sometimes they are hits; sometimes they're misses.  I make notes of any hits so I can use those recipes again. And I put a big X through the misses.
  • Shop the pantry.  Before I start writing each month I check the pantry for things I already have.  This is another way to get creative. 
I don't write down our menu plan for breakfasts or lunches since we usually eat pretty much the same things for those meals & I make school lunch for LM (usually a sandwich).  

I love having all my menu planning in one notebook and being able to look back on prior months to see what I am able to make again.

Another benefit to menu planning:  it saves money. And you know I love that.  I am sure you do, too.  A monthly (or even weekly, if that works better for you) written menu lets you know what you need before you need it.  I scan the menu before each week begins for any perishables I need for the week.  Non-perishables I need are jotted down on a monthly shopping list.  This saves me last minute trips to the store where:

  1. I may will overspend if the needed item is not on sale and/or I am in a hurry.
  2. I may will overspend when I run to the store for 1 item and come out with 5.
I also find it easier to take advantage of sales when I plan ahead.

The first week of September looks like this:
  • Hamburgers on the grill with cheese, onions & tomatoes.  Raw veggie platter.  Cinnamon Apples.
  • Chicken Alfredo with salad and garlic bread.
  • Bratwurst with home made mac 'n cheese & grilled veggies.
  • Taco salad with ground chuck. 
Do you plan your meals for each night or fly by the seat of your pants?

I'm linking up to Frugal Friday over at Life as Mom.