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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cooking in the Crock-Pot & Easy Crock-Pot Chicken & Dumplings

      Today I want to talk about crock-pot cooking & share a super yummy & easy recipe with you!  Cooking in a crock-pot is nothing new, but lately it has definitely been making a comeback.  I have four big reasons why I love my crock-pot:


  1.  It's easy!  This is important for me on our busier days.  Especially if you can make a whole meal in there.  You can even prep it the night before!  Put all starting ingredients in the crock, put the lid on and throw it in the fridge until you're ready to start it in the morning.
  2.  It's fix it and forget it!  I can put everything in, turn it on and then I don't have to do anything for it for HOURS!  This gives me lots of extra time with my boys.
  3. It's cheap!  You can use cheaper cuts of meat in the crock and they'll turn out really tender and juicy.
  4. It puts less heat in the house.  It's still summer and I don't like to make it any hotter in the house than I absolutely have to.  I do not like the heat!

   
 Now for the recipe:

Easy Crock-Pot Chicken and Dumplings

  • 4-6 Chicken Breasts; thawed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Large Can (26oz) Cream of Chicken 
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1c Water
  • 2 10oz Cans Refrigerated Biscuits

  1. Add Chicken, Cream of Chicken, Butter and Water to crock. Cook on High 5 hours.
  2. Tear Biscuits into bite size pieces, put in crock.  Cook on High additional 1 hour. 
  3. Stir & Serve!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Back to Couponing

      I've started buying newspapers for couponing again.  I'm so excited to be getting back to the things I love.  Today I bought four newspapers.  That seems to be a pretty good number for my family of five.  Although I do use sundaycouponpreview.com to watch for diaper coupons.  When they are in the paper I usually buy eight, since we have two in diapers.  Not to mention that in this house, we go through wipes like nobody's business.

      I'm ashamed to say that I let a lot of great coupons expire when I took this break. 32 inserts to be exact.  And that's not even counting all the ones I had clipped and organized in my binder.  And now, from only having the coupons from this Sunday's paper, my binder seems quite empty...

      On the upside, I only couponed for about six months before taking my break and I just recently had to start buying things again.  That means that in six months time, I gathered a stockpile that lasted us almost five months!  Now I'm super excited to see how fast it will grow again!

      Do you coupon?  How about stockpile?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Proper To-Do List

      Today's post is about forming a proper to-do list.  This is something I personally struggle with.  I try to aim for Martha Stewart perfection, and that's just not fair to myself.  And then in turn I'm very hard on myself when I don't meet these crazy goals.  So now I've decided in my fresh start I'm going to create my own version of perfection.

      I'm still branching out from my previous systems.  Today I spent some time working on a room by room task list.  I used my copy of Sidetracked Home Executives to make sure I didn't miss anything.  But decided not to list how often they should be done.  Deciding how often something should be done should be a process.  There are things you know your family needs done everyday.  So you should start with listing all your daily tasks.  Then decide how long they will take you and how long you are willing to work on these things on a given day.  Then you'll want to figure out when you'll get the rest of the tasks done (weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually).  I plan to keep FlyLady's idea of a weekly home blessing, so that I can spend a few hours on one day instead of several.
      When doing this, if your really want your plan to work for you, you have to leave time for life.  You have to have time to take care of yourself and your family and just be with them.  Because deep down, that is what's most important.

      How do you keep track of what needs done?  Do you ever over-book yourself?

Pinterest Grows My Projects

      My new system became an even bigger project today.  Yep, I was on Pinterest again!  I'm going to be building myself a desk command center.  I'm going to use an old door as the back and build out from there.  I'll be adding a shelf to hold my binders, stapler and books.  Then adding a cup of some sort to hold pens, scissors and markers.  It will even give me a place to hang my clipboards and calendar.  And with adding the desk part, I'll have  a place to use all of it too.

      I got the door from my parents when they had theirs replaced.  I've been looking for an awesome way to repurpose it and making a new command center sounds perfect!  Now I've added a little more planning to this whole project, but that's usually one of my favorite parts!  Planning means you get to check out other people's awesome projects and put your own spin on things!

      Do you plan out your projects?  Or do you prefer to jump in head first?

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Beginnings of a New System

      Today I've been trying to brainstorm about what it is I really want from my new system.  What I am going to want to make it stick?  I've had a binder and a cardfile system, but they just didn't quite work for me...  So I spent some time looking around on Pinterest and rediscovered the idea of a Command Center.  You see, I know I need something that I will really want to use.  It's going to have to be functional and nice to look at.

      I looked through a few different people's versions, what all they included and how they used it.  Just so I could have a direction with mine.  "It has to work for me" has been the mantra of the day!  So here are just a few of the ideas I have come up with so far:


  • Desk Calendar: To have a nice big space to list all appointments, birthdays, holidays and bill due dates with amounts.
  • ClipBoards:  Right now I'm thinking I need three.  To-Do (five sheets: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Seasonally, Annually), TJ's Chores ( the first two used with printed lists inside sheet protectors to be marked off with dry erase markers ) and then one for a running shopping list.  
  • Recipe Binder:  For all the new recipes I've found online and printed, instead of having to search through my enormous Pinterest every time!
  • Personal Management Binder:  I really did like parts of FlyLady's Control Journal.  Other than not wanting to call it a control journal... In this binder I will have divided sections for:     Cleaning Recipes (laundry soap, all purpose cleaner, floor cleaner, homemade clorox wipes, etc) , Menu Planning ( Menu Planning Sheets, list of new recipes to try), Blogging/Writing (Future blog topics & ideas), Birthdays/Holidays ( Any party plans, or gift ideas, etc), Finances (Three hole punched manilla envelope to hold bills, monthly budget), Projects (a place to compile project ideas and plans)
  • Coupon Binder:  Near the shopping list  
      Those are my ideas so far.  I'm sure I'll be tweaking the plan over the next couple days as I see how I can put things together and get started on actually putting these ideas into reality.  Thank you Crystal  ( http://crystaltouchton.com/consistency-in-business-challenge-day-4/   )  for the clipboard idea!  It's brilliant!

      Do you have a command center for your family?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Previous Methods of the unCHAOS Process

      Today I thought I'd discuss what I've tried in the past.  Have you ever heard the term CHAOS?  (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome)  Well I first discovered this acronym on FlyLady's website:  (  flylady.net  ) and I knew instantly that's how I felt.  That was just a little over three years ago.  I was pregnant with Lexton and had Hyperemesis Gravidarum.  Basically I would vomit about every half hour, and continued to do so for the first half of my pregnancy.  Everything was a mess, I couldn't get any sleep and couldn't get anything done.  It was horrible.  I tried everything to calm my tummy down and get back to doing the things I needed to.  That's where FlyLady helped me.  With her system everything is broken down into teeny tiny baby steps, bite size morsels of things to get done.  Which at that time, was exactly what I needed.  And I absolutely love the idea of a control journal.   But then, I stopped feeling as sick.  I finally got to sleep at night and during TJ's naps and I just felt better.  So then her system, felt a little too broken down for me.  I felt like I needed more, to be able to do more without feeling like I was skimming her system instead of following it.  So I stopped.  And then Lexton was born and I had CHAOS again.

      A few weeks later I had everything under control, and kept it that way for a while, but then we moved, then moved again, and then again (within just a few months... Yeah I should have been a Gypsy!)  And my system fell apart.  We were in a new house and I was overwhelmed with boxes that needed put away, when I didn't have enough room to put them away.  I eventually did get it all done, and then I found out I was pregnant with Cullen, and then I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes and went into preterm labor at 22 weeks.  So I was put on bedrest, for the next 14 weeks I wasn't allowed to be out of bed any more than I had to be.  Tommy would bring the boys in on the bed, so I could read to them and cuddle before they went to bed.

       Once Cullen was born, I decided I needed a new system, I knew I wouldn't stick with FlyLady and felt I needed something more.  That's when I discovered the Slob Sisters.  ( Pam Young and Peggy Jones     shesintouch.com   )  I ordered their book off Amazon (Sidetracked Home Executives), and the day it arrived read it cover to cover in less than an hour!  Their book lets you know you really aren't alone!  They use a cardfile system, which worked for me for a little while, and it was nice to have everything in one central compact place.  And it was also really great of them to have outlined task lists in the back of the book so when making your own you run less of a chance of forgetting anything.  But for me, having a whole bunch of little index cards staring at me to get them done, was overwhelming.  How on earth could I ever get it all done?!

      So although I have used and loved both of these systems, I couldn't seem to put them to use in the long run as circumstances changed.  So my new plan is to take a little from what I learned from each of them, and coming up with my own personal management system.

      Do you have a system you use to manage your home?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fresh Start: Starting at the Beginning

      I've decided to give myself a fresh start.  I feel in order to do that I need to start at the beginning: determine what has went wrong in the past, decide how I will do things differently, and most importantly I need to just let it all go.  I need to let go of feeling guilty for being overwhelmed with everything when we found out Lexton is Autistic.  Let go of feeling guilty about falling behind, and let go of wanting a perfection that doesn't exist.

      My problem in the past is that I create half a plan, then jump in headfirst to get as far into that plan as I can.  Then come to a crashing stop when I realize I took on way more than I could handle all at once.  So this time, I'm starting fresh.  I'm going to develop an entirely new plan.  And really thinking about the goals I want to set to be sure they're realistic.
   
      Does anybody honestly dust everything in their house once a week?  I'm talking every knick knack, every picture, the baseboards, trim the whole nine yards?  If you do, please take a moment to pat yourself on the back!  Because although before I gave myself this fresh start, I thought it should be done.  I don't know why, but I did.  But sitting here right now, I can honestly tell you, it is NOT going to happen around here.  It's just not possible.

      So that's where I'm at, setting goals that I know I can achieve, and making a list of ideas to reach them.  I know I need a schedule, with a prioritized list.  So I'm starting there.

      Do you have a homemaking schedule?  How do you stay organized?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My AH-HAH Moment & Writing Challenges

      So yesterday, I joined a couple of pages/groups on Facebook.  Article Writing Challenge and Ultra Blog Challenge.  The goal for these two groups is to post 30 articles/blog posts in 30 days and to network with other bloggers & writers.  You write your articles/blog posts and then share it to the page for others to see and in return you visit their pages and that way everyone's views gets boosted, as well as some nice enough to comment.

      So I will be posting as much as possible over the next month, in order to make posting a habit that I will stick to.  Which brings me to the next order of business...

      Yesterday, I read an article by Crystal Touchton on her site:  http://crystaltouchton.com/consistency-in-business-challenge/

It was about one year of consistent action to build your online business.  She shared that consistency is something she struggles with in everyday life, not just in business.  Thank you for sharing Crystal!

      Ladies and Gentlemen:  AH-HAH!  I had never really given this idea much thought until I read her post yesterday...  This is definitely a problem I have.  Don't get me wrong, I love the concept and I can start on something like nobody's business, and I will EVENTUALLY finish it.  But consistently working on something, is hard for me.  I know that part of it is because we have so much going on right now.  But I've had this problem for as long as I can remember.  For example:  In high school, when given a project that would be due in two weeks,  I would work really hard on it for the first couple days, then think to myself: "Hey, I'm ahead of the game, now I can take it easy and it'll be a piece of cake."  Then, the night before it was due, I'd sit and stare at it for two hours trying to figure out my original direction and being frustrated at myself for not keeping on it.  It may have taken someone else realizing it in themselves and writing about it before I realized the problem, but now that I have I know it's something I need to work on.  Nowadays I still have the problem, only it's more along the lines of : "Hey I washed, dried and folded six loads of laundry today, that's a lot, I will just put it away tomorrow."  Then tomorrow comes and I have a ton of other things I want to get done, so putting the laundry away again takes a backseat (partially because for whatever reason I hate putting it away and five people create a lot of laundry!), until all of a sudden the baskets of clean laundry have turned into baskets of dirty laundry.

      So I'm using this blog challenge to hold myself accountable.  To work on my consistency, and to get myself back on track.  Do you struggle with consistency too?

Monday, September 1, 2014

It's been a while...

      Well...  I have fallen off the blogging wagon...  Actually I have honestly fallen off the almost everything wagon.  As a family we have had a ton going on these past few months...  We've moved into a house almost double the size of our old one, that needs a lot of work, My husband has switched jobs, I lost my grandpa, our oldest, TJ started online Kindergarten this year, our youngest, Cullen started walking and is into EVERYTHING, and our middle son, Lexton has been diagnosed with Severe Autism Spectrum Disorder with accompanying Language Impairment (He's completely non-verbal)and Developmental Coordination Disorder.  So now our weekly schedule includes Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapies as well as Lexton having two days of Early Intervention Preschool.  

       In all of that I have managed to fall behind on everything! My house, on most days looks like a tornado went through it.  I haven't had laundry all completely washed, dried and all put away since we've lived here.  (We moved in May).  I even still have a few boxes that I haven't unpacked.  On top of that, since I haven't couponed in months, my stockpile has dwindled down to next to nothing!  I've even paid full price for items that I know I shouldn't have.  
     
      So here I am... Sitting at the dining room/classroom table (I gave up my desk for TJ to have for his school computer) writing on the off chance that someone might be reading and feeling the same way I do right now, which honestly is a little overwhelmed.  But I am determined to get back on track!  I want to get back to my happy peace.  I'm done with letting life control me!  I know it's going to be a process figuring out a system that's going to work for me in this stage of my life, now that everything has so drastically changed.  But it's time to get back to basics... So, fresh start here I come!
      Anyone else on board?