Naming Your Closets and such

“Huh?”  Jabber looked quite perplexed and apoplectic.

“Hey!  Is that a furren word?”  Now Jabber was perplexed, apoplectic and confused to boot.

“What?”

Oh never mind, Jabber.  It doesn’t matter anyway–I’m just sort of poking fun at you. 

Reading another blog just now, I came across an article with a funny title.  The gist of the article was that this person had closets and he’d named them–and the title of the article was “Defeating Monica.”  This gentleman lives in San Fran and is a renowned interior designer.  It’s “Adventures of the Tartan Scot” website and I occasionally check in to see what he’s been up to lately.

The thought occurred to me that it might be much more entertaining to Jabberwocky if I named various closets and cupboards–this could then induce her to defeat various clutter areas and/or projects with a sense of humor, perhaps, or at the very least she’d have something on whom she could vent her frustration/anger.

I like the idea.

The Princess  Closet is becoming a bit askew, so I shall attack her first–she’s already got a name.

You recall the Princess Closet, don’t you?  Sure you do!

 

Next up will be Jean-Paul who resides in the guest bath area–he’s always a jumble of miscellaneous towels and overflowing cleaning products.  (Yes, yes.  He’s French.  It IS the French Bathroom, after all….  And yes, his last name is L’armoire.)

  

(Jean-Paul L’armoire above)

“His last name is “amore”?  Doesn’t that mean ‘to love’ in French?” Jabber asked, always inquisitive and almost always confused.

No.  And Yes.

He has a voracious appetite, too–always eating things.  Some things I KNOW I put on his shelves for safekeeping are simply not there the next time I look.  This I do not understand.

What?

Oh, no.

No, not all the  closets are ladies.  Some are gentlemen.  Some are cute and some aren’t.

I mean, Dentrix who lives in the office is in no way cute.  He’s a mess, to say the least.  He really DOES need to get his act in order and I suppose I’m going to have to help him at that.  Like many men, he’s relatively helpless when it comes to organization.

Dentrix (above)

George, however, is quite a gentleman and keeps his things neat and orderly.  (He was, it is rumored, a butler in a prior life.  But I can’t say for sure.  If he was, it wasn’t in MY prior life.)  This is because he has pull-out shelves which allow me to see what is what and where what is.  George already got a good bath earlier this year, so no need to worry about him.    He and Mr. Peroit often collude in adventures, I’m told.  But not by either of them.

Jabber.

George (above)

So there’s four of my closets named already!  It’s spring cleaning time, after all, ladies and gent mums, so might as well have a little fun and hop to…..

Thumper approves, I’m sure.

 

Organizing and Walking Your Bear Cub

“That doesn’t make any sense!” Jabber proclaimed, rightfully.

We need to take time to ‘smell the roses.’  “There aren’t any roses right now!” Jabber interjected.

Quite right, Jabber.  But what I meant is we need to take time to enjoy what we have, our surroundings, the beauty of the little things in life.

Yesterday I opened a cabinet in the kitchen and…..SMILED.  I was smiling because I was noticing how pleasing the dishes looked in the cabinet.  Not that I had planned them to look that way nor that I had just rearranged (I had not), just that I took the time to notice.  And it made me smile.

As you know, most of what I have is from yard sales–how lucky I am to have cheerful dishes to look at and from which to eat.  It’s one of those pleasing little things in life.

I rather like the look of the glasses stored in this cabinet too.

Three of my most fun accessories–canisters with bunnies on top!

  

Well, of course, where else do you think I got them!  A yard sale!  They are such fun.  (Frankly, not too useful per se, so I have other functional canisters in the cabinets–but I do store some things in them.)

So that got me busy cleaning out a few drawers–not that this is important, it’s just pleasing to have them clean and organized.

Kitchen ‘gadget’ drawer. I found all the trays at various yard sales–for a quarter or less. They work so well in drawers.

Narrow drawers for dish towels–I’ve found rolling them will accommodate the space.

There are always some things which we don’t use much, but like to have.  So they need storage facilities where one can see what one has without having to dig.  I found this cabinet at a sale–originally it was for CD storage, I believe.

But this is what I use it for:

The drawer at the bottom of the cabinet holds miscellaneous holiday items.

Enjoying what one has is a key to happiness.  While not all of my house is organized and I’m not the MOST organized and/or neatest person I know (some of my friends astound me at how organized they are!), it is still emotionally and functionally pleasing to have one’s things organized.

“Wait a minute here, ” Jabber interrupted just as I was about to sign off….”What’s with the ‘walking your bear cub’ in the title of this?”

Oh.  That.

Well, you see, yesterday I walked Poppy–we were training and she was learning how to heel and then sit down when I stopped walking.  For this she got a treat.  A man was walking two small dogs and I crossed the street so Poppy would not be distracted.  The man was frowning at me, and then said (in a rather unkind manner), “What kind of a dog is THAT?”  I replied she was a standard poodle, only a baby, and Poppy and I walked on.  He continued to look at me disapprovingly, but moved along.

Poppy has not been groomed and won’t be until after her last baby shot, March 25.  She is extremely furry, brown and round, with large paws and her ‘behind’ wiggles.  In fact, her entire being wiggles when she lumbers walks.  Many people have remarked she looks just like a stuffed teddy bear.

It dawned on me, later, that the man thought I was walking a small bear cub.  I laughed out loud at the idea!  Next time a stranger inquires what kind of dog she is, I’m going to say, “She’s an orphaned brown bear cub we are raising in captivity,” and see their reaction to that.

Small bear on the deck foraging for food, what else?

Circadian Schedules

I have a circadian schedule I keep with Christmas. 

Really.  I just know when the deadline is for each part of the process.

“Although circadian rhythms are endogenous ("built-in", self-sustained), they are adjusted (entrained) to the local environment by external cues called zeitgebers, commonly the most important of which is daylight. “  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circadian_rhythm

So today I wrapped Christmas presents.  All day.  Piles of yard sale treasures wrapped, marked in my document file (I keep a list of who is getting what).

Anyway, they’re all wrapped.  I am pleased, but the job isn’t completed yet.  There will be more wrapping, but at least I can look at a clean upstairs area, more or less.  Until the next wave hits.

However, with the available wrapping completed, it is time to take inventory of the items for Christmas trees for this year. 

The theme this year is going to be Holiday Christmas Movie Trees.  I’ll be posting how I made the invitations (done at the end of August—I told you I have a circadian rhythm with this!), some of the decorations (with photos) and ultimately the trees themselves.  Always my happiest time of the year, despite the chaos and clutter.  I love it.

I am nuts.

That’s alright.  I think it’s better to be nuts and have a good time than to not be nuts and be miserable.  At 112, it’s really quite an art and not a science to stay nuts.  Believe me!

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On to other thoughts, since I am in the mood to write and you must be in the mood to read? 

Next topic, close to circadian rhythms:  Politics and Zeitgebers (see above from Wikipedia).  If you don’t like the topic, quit reading right here.  (Personally, I think there is a whole article in my head about zeitgebers, but that will have to wait until later.  Jabber’s really into the issue of voting right now.)

If you are a voting citizen of this country, will you please keep up with at least SOME of the current issues with which our country deals?  There are lots to choose from, take just one issue and make it your business to be informed—at least a little bit.  Do this by reading a variety of opinions (or listening to a variety of ads from opposing points of view).

Make it a priority to vote.  Please. 

Get informed and vote.  It’s important.  We live in a country which still, at least ostensibly, honors the public’s opinions cast by voters.  Otherwise, there would not be so much money going into influencing us. 

But we have very low participation.  This is almost a sin……..close to it.  So, whatever and however you lean, please vote.  Lots of people died for this right—and we owe it to ourselves to be educated and participatory voters.

Will you PLEASE think about what these advertisements on TV and radio and newspapers are telling you?  I saw one ad last night on TV which literally turned a situation on its head—that is to say, what the ad said was exactly the OPPOSITE of what the actual issue was.  All one has to do is read a little bit—from various sources—to get a clearer understanding about an issue.

I’m not taking a stand here.  But I am asking you to get current with issues which WILL IMPACT YOU and your families and your financial future.

Take your choice—here are a few issues to consider:

Voting accessibility, environmental issues of all sorts, politics and money in politics, education, fracking (ever heard of it?), oil industry, alternative energies, local and state laws and amendments, pro-choice or anti-abortion issues, women’s rights, selection of judges, legalization of marijuana (especially medical), gay rights/marriage, WARS (the conducting of, for what purposes, with who participating), lotteries, treatment of military (especially injured), health care, immigration, banking and financial laws/oversight, local issues on development (zoning, schools, infrastructure, roads)—these are only a few of the issues we are facing as a community, as a state, as a country, as a society.  Maybe one of these interests and concerns you, maybe you have something else which you place in high priority.

First, be educated on the issues and who represents your point of view.  Do this by self-education or join a group such as League of Women Voters or a political party such as Young Democrats or Young Republicans (Jabber asks, “Why isn’t there a group called Old Democrats and/or Old Republicans?”), then attend some meetings and consider the issues at hand.  (And, as an aside, hold your elected officials accountable for how well they actually represented you!  In other words, if they didn’t represent you and your point of view, don’t vote them back into office.)

Friends don’t let friends NOT VOTE!  Make sure your friends and family, if eligible and registered voters, cast their ballots as well. 

Most of us do not have millions to donate to our cause or issues; most of us only have our vote.  While there is lots of money ‘thrown’ in the arena, we are many people—and that money is used to try to influence how we vote. 

This means our vote is VERY valuable.  So, use it!

VOTE.

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“A zeitgeber is an external cue which influences the operations of the internal clock in an organism. The classical example of a zeitgeber is light, which leads some organisms to wake up, while others go to sleep. An interruption in such cues can confuse an organism, potentially causing health problems and functional difficulties, as demonstrated in numerous studies.

The term was coined in 1954 by Jürgen Aschoff, a German biologist who studied circadian rhythms. In German, “zeitgeber” means “time giver,” so in a sense, you could consider a zeitgeber to be like a natural alarm clock, triggering some sort of change in an organism’s internal clock, like a cue to wake up, eat, or engage in various activities.

Light is such a powerful zeitgeber that numerous studies have been carried out on the influences of light over the lives of various organisms. Deprivation of light clearly has an influence on health, as does an excess of light, and many people struggle when they travel across time zones because they receive external cues to wake up or go to sleep at times which feel strange to the body.”

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-zeitgeber.htm

Tips and Tops (and pants)

“What are you talkin’ ‘bout this time?” Jabber jabbered.  “Be PLAIN about it, would cha’?”

Ok. 

Here is a cooking tip: Easiest BBQ pork ever

1 pork butt, place in Crock Pot.  Add 2 cups Coca Cola; cook 6 to 8 hours on high until meat easily pulls apart with fork.  Drain juices, serve with BBQ sauce.  This thanks to CCQ Daughter.  Serves a crowd, is inexpensive and oh! so easy to do!

Now for more tips (“arguably” you may already know about these, but if you don’t—and I didn’t—and you don’t want to “argue”–they were very useful to me—from the Internets, where else?)

“Why would anybodies want to argue ‘bout that?” Jabber was truly confused. 

Don’t know, Jabber.  It’s just a saying.

Now, as I was saying…………

How to organize

image

your underwear drawer!  Fold panties in thirds length-wise and then thirds width-wise so there is now a small and neat ‘packet’ of each panty…..and neatly fold bras—store stacked in your ‘narrow’ (the drawers are not high) chest of drawers.  You can see what you have immediately, no digging through to find the right underwear!  If you have different types or styles, they could be organized in sections.

And…………to organize your T-shirt tops and workout pants:

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Pants on right, tops on left—but WAIT!  There is more!

Go here to find out how to fold your T-shirts (or any shirt) in two SECONDS! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An0mFZ3enhM

Then, fold each shirt over in thirds and stack in your (narrow height) chest of drawers.  Believe me, this is much easier than the other method I used of  laying the shirts and pants flat in the drawer.  Another plus is that they do NOT wrinkle as much folded and stored in this way. 

(Other organization tips are from other Youtube videos.)

There you go!  Tips and Tops (and pants).

Simple Suppers for Six

KISS!  KISS!!  KISS!!!

What’re you doin’?” Jabber asked.  “Why’re ya’ sendin’ out kisses to everybodies out there?”

I’m not sending out kisses.  I am reminding everyone of the Keep It Simple Stupid phrase.  Not that I think you are stupid, Weeders.  No, don’t!  Just a reminder that simple strategies are likely to work more effectively.

If you are anything like moi (God bless you my friends, if you are), a little reminder of time-management and organization sometimes triggers one to action.  This isn’t new, I didn’t invent it, you already know it—it’s just a reminder.  (Hey, there is a gubment shutdown goin’ on—and I’m trying to do what I can to keep my own household in good order!)

The previous post was on some simple strategies I use for grocery shopping.  This post is a list of meals I have prepared or will prepare—can be switched around.  For the four nights a week I am cooking for six people,  I like to have one pasta night, one meat night, one soup night, and one ‘fun’ night for the kids (and adults!)  By “fun” I mean some meal like pizza, hamburgers or tacos which they really enjoy eating.  For some reason, these ‘fun’ night meals seem more sociable! 

When I don’t know what to add to a main dish as a side, I look in the freezer or pantry to find a suitable addition.  I keep vegetables pretty well stocked, although they are not all fresh veggies.  We (TMWLH and moi) like a fresh salad of some sort almost every night.  We don’t eat a lot of fruit, but I often incorporate it into salads or as dessert.  (Hint:  if you have vegetables which the kids won’t eat, chop in food processor and add to casseroles, sauces, soups.  Other flavors will generally overpower the vegetable flavor and the kids won’t even know you’ve snuck some vegetables into their dinner.  Won’t hurt YOU either!)

These are pretty simple and inexpensive to make suppers—a variety:

Chicken pesto pasta, salad, bread, cupcakes

Saturday Night Special (a chicken-based homemade sloppy joe recipe), sweet potato fries, salad

Roast pork with baked apples, green beans  (roast in crock pot)

Quarter chicken legs on grill.  (Bought from grocery store labeled “manager’s special”—meaning they were about to go out of date–and only $6 to $7 total for 6 large pieces.  LOOK for the special deals!  Then be flexible and use them.).  I also grilled two heads of cauliflower and the kids loved it!   banana pudding

(desserts depend on what I’ve got, what has been on sale, and how much time I’ve got available.  Usually small portions of dessert.)

Roast beef with potatoes, carrots, Cole slaw with apples (make with food processor—easy!)  (crock pot roast beef and vegetables)

Leftover roast beef stew with carrots, potatoes, celery and gravy, (crock pot), berries with whipped cream, some kind of bread 

Tuna noodle casserole with Cole slaw or lettuce salad, bread

Quesadillas (chicken, peppers, onions and cheese); salsa, lettuce and tomatoes, sour cream), ice cream

Chicken pot pies with salad and corn bread (frozen pot pies and are name brand—about $1.50 each at warehouse store)

Tacos with lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes, onions, cheese, baked apples with cinnamon sugar and topped with whipped cream

(I use brown sugar and the whipped cream is non-dairy, but in the can)

Enchiladas (chicken or cooked hamburger meat, refried beans, cheese, enchilada sauce, onions); serve with sour cream, salad, breads

Chicken breasts, rice, (can be crock pot if you like—but I prefer to bake in oven) salad, berries with whipped cream and cookies

Homemade chicken noodle soup (can be crock pot) with grilled cheese sandwiches and cake or pudding for dessert

Spaghetti with hamburger meat (can make/heat sauce in crock pot); lettuce salad; cupcakes

Hamburgers (on grill if possible) with salad or slaw, chips, fruit or cookies and ice cream

Macaroni and Cheese with cut up hot dogs or brats or some type of cooked meat.  Green vegetable; bread

Homemade soup (whatever is in freezer leftover and either chicken or beef stock) (can be crock pot), beans incorporated into soup, crackers, cheese

White chicken chili (can be crock pot) with corn bread, crackers and salad

Regular (meat) chili, (can be crock pot), corn bread, crackers, salad

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I make Cole slaw in food processor, a little at a time, so that it is eaten at one meal.   Very simple:  shred some cabbage, shred a peeled carrot, shred apple or a bit of onion if you choose, pour on some bottled Cole slaw dressing—a little at a time.  You don’t want to drown it!  You can add sliced almonds, Craisins, raisins, and/or other items to the slaw to vary it.  Much cheaper and BETTER than what you buy in the store.

I also make an Asian slaw which has a white vinegar/sugar dressing.  It is very good, but makes a great deal of slaw.  Everyone loves it, however!

Baked beans (canned) are good side additions to hamburger and/or hot dog nights; frozen French fries (I like sweet potato fries) are good additions as well—baked in the oven.

Substitute baked sweet potatoes for white potatoes sometimes—we actually prefer baked sweet potatoes.

Having a list of meals helps me in grocery shopping, time management, and actual preparation time.  This strategy will work for you, too!

If you have more tips, PLEASE POST THEM IN THE COMMENTS SECTION.  THANK YOU.

OPS

What does that mean?” inquired Jabberwocky as well she might. 

You might too–

“Does it mean you made a mistake?  As in oops?  You misspelled the word?” Jabber went on……..

No.  It stands for OTHER PEOPLE’S STUFF.

Of which I seem to have acquired quite a bit, for better or for worse.  My children groan when they consider the stuff, thinking that should I suddenly keel over and be gone, they would be the ones having to dispose of OPS not to mention the stuff I actually acquired which is MINE.  Well, then again, since I acquired OPS by legal means, it’s all mine.  So there you have it………

I’m a frustrated interior decorator. 

And gardener

and cook

 

and a whole bunch of things I’m really fairly mediocre doing, but I like to do anyway.

And I do like stuff, all kinds of stuff.  This is not to say I am attached to it.  Nope.  No sentimentality with moi, when it comes to stuff. 

But I love to find new uses for old things.  That kind of love.  (Has something to do with old me trying to find new things I can be useful doing…….you know, it’s all Jean Paul Sartre existentialism stuff.  Or something like that.  Look it up weeders, should you be curious.)

So, I want to show you some new stuff I have acquired of late—actually two items which I love, love, love!  One is this:

image  image

An old copper campfire coffee pot. 

Did I mention it was copper?  I’m in love with copper.  My kitchen has a copper range hood, a large copper farm sink, a smaller copper sink in the island; the gazebo has a copper roof.  I have copper items over the kitchen cabinets on display.

No, it is NOT clutter.  It is ‘staging.’  With interesting objects d’art.  (Interior decorator terms.                        I think.  See how I’ve picked up the lingo?)

What’s that?  When do I polish it?  Oh, you know……….once in a while.  When I am in the mood. 

Oh alright, you are such sticklers for precision! 

I don’t polish any of it very often at all.  It has what is called ‘patina’ which means no one has polished it for a while and it’s gotten dingy and all.  We interior decorators refer to that as ‘patina.’  Satisfied?  

What?

No, in answer to your question.

I have never polished the roof to the gazebo.  That was done once, when it was fairly new, but the polishing didn’t last. 

image

Wasn’t done again.  I’m not THAT crazy.

The copper campfire coffee pot will be put on display over the kitchen cabinets.  Not up yet, but it’ll get there.

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The second item I have acquired is another old suitcase! 

image

The internets are full of ways to use these things—even recover them, attach them to walls as shelves, all kinds of creative geniuses out there! 

But I just clean them up, open them up to the sun for a while, then spray some Febreeze inside and throw in a good-smelling soap (one of those you brought back with you from some motel stay, so it’s free) and voila! good storage that looks interesting, and smells good too.  

Cheaper than all those baskety things in the stores so popular right now—hides clutter, easy to open and easy to move. 

image

Use them as display items, for interest as ‘objects d’art’ in a room (above).

Below, these are used to hide cords to the TV and DVD and all those other cables which I don’t know what they do, but seem to be necessary–

image

And of course,

image

storage in your closet for out-of-season clothing.

*Yes, one shoe CAN change your life—ask Cinderella.  I, myself, am still looking for that one shoe……….

What do you mean, “Why?” 

PAY ATTENTION HERE!  To change my life! that’s why………

(In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to have one’s suitcases packed and ready to go, right?)

Okay, so that’s some of my new OPS.  You been out there on the ‘circuit’ searching for OPS you can use, too?  Tell me what you found and how you’re repurposing it?  (“Repurposing” is a new bloggy term I see being used all the time.  I’m not original, I just pick up what more creative types write.)

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first four pictures from here:

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=pictures+of+frustrated+housewife&qpvt=pictures+of+frustrated+housewife&FORM=IGRE#a

 

Eggs in a Basket—for Breakfast

“I always heard, DON’T put all your eggs in one basket, whatever that means…..” commented Jabberwocky as I began this post, “But then there is the Easter Rabbit who does.”

Well, true enough, Jabber.  Just one egg in one ‘basket’ for this recipe.  But they’re yummy!

image

I’ve been straightening out the pantries—yes, I have more than one.  Making lists, organizing and cleaning each one, one at a time.  This past weekend, I organized my spice pantry, finding I had duplicates of some spices, so I made a list.  And alphabetized them.  Because, well, you know how it is:  you go to the store, have a recipe in mind, can’t recall if you actually have a certain spice on hand, so you buy another.  When you get home you see that you already HAD that spice (or sometimes you don’t run across it for a while). 

image  image

The little white plastic trays were all acquired at yard sales for pennies, but they are perfect on this particular shelf.

image

I also made a list of the spices on each shelf for easy referral.  I just leave the list on the shelf so I can check it to see where a certain spice is located.  I loaded the list onto a new computer program called Evernote (Evernote.com) which I can pull up on my phone when I’m at the grocery store.  Evernote.com is a free software program.  You might check it out for yourself!

Sunday morning I fried up bacon—a whole pound of it, then stored in the fridge.  Four slices I partially cooked, not until crisp, for this morning’s breakfast.

It’s easy to make this—and fast, too, if you have the bacon partially prepared.  Here is what I did:

Cut off the crusts of four pieces of bread. 

image  Go ahead and cut up the crusts, you can make croutons for your dinner salad at the same time.

Spray muffin tin with baking spray and press the bread into the cups.  Wrap a piece of bacon inside the bread, then place some shredded cheddar inside the bread cup.  Place an egg on top and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.

image

Before you put the muffin tin in the oven, place your bread cubes on a foil-lined tray, use a little olive oil and some type of seasoning and toss.  You can bake the bread cubes at the same time, but they will be done before your eggs are.  Watch them!

I happened to find some Ms. Dash seasoning while cleaning out the spice cabinet, so I used it—they turned out quite good!          image

          image

 

 

The muffins were made with this:

image  to which I added about 1/3 cup of frozen berries I had in the freezer.  They needed to bake a little bit longer than the package said.  This makes 6 muffins, just enough to last the two of us a couple of days.

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These were tasty—the cheese ‘disappeared’ into the nicely toasted bread, the bacon was perfectly done and the eggs were as well.  They were easy to remove from the muffin tin.  You could also make these in ramekins.  You could prepare them in advance except for the eggs, and bake them the next morning.  I found this recipe here with a link to the original post:

http://www.recipebyphoto.com/breakfast-cups/

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