Archive | July, 2011

Feeling the Love

29 Jul

Thanks to Monica from The Atypical Housewife for awarding me, not only one, but two awards!  I am so honored that she thought of me.  Seriously, when I started blogging a few months ago, I never imagined that I would come into contact with so many amazing people!

Here’s are the awards:

Cool, huh?

So, as I am learning, when you receive an award there are always “strings” {a.k.a. rules} attached.

These awards are no different.  Here’s what I’ve got to do:

LINK TO THE PERSON WHO AWARDED ME.

To visit my bloggy buddy, Monica, over at The Atypical Housewife, click HERE.

SHARE 7 THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF.

1. I have ZERO musical ability.  I mean, I’m not tone deaf but I’m no rock star either.

2. I consider shopping to be a sport!

3. I prefer gift cards as gifts over an actual item {unless it’s one I’ve specifically asked for} because to me it’s “the gift of shopping”.

4. I love to go out to eat.  Yes, there’s the benefit of not having to cook the meal or clean up afterwards, but I really just like good food.

5. I’m addicted to sodas.  I’m not proud of it.  I know they’re bad for me but I just can’t seem to quit.

6. My husband and I only dated for two months before getting engaged and then were engaged only 6 months before getting married.

7. If I could live anywhere in the U.S., I’d pick New York.  Anywhere in the world?  London.  And since I’m dreaming here, my southern accent would magically turn into an English one immediately upon arrival.  🙂

ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

Name your favorite color-
Pink
Name your favorite song-
Right now it’s “Your Great Name” by Natalie Grant.  Hear it on YouTube HERE.
Name your favorite dessert-
Hmm.  Believe it or not, I’m not really a dessert person {I’d rather have pasta!}.
But if I had to choose, I’d reach for chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.  Hands down THE BEST ice cream ever!
What wizzes you off-
Hmm… it would have to be rude people.  I just don’t get why some people just insist on being mean.  Being rude or snobbish just makes people ugly, no matter how pretty they may be.
When you’re upset you-
Get alone and talk to myself.
I know that sounds crazy but I have to talk through my problems and sometimes it’s nothing I need to be sharing with anyone else because it would turn into a husband-bashing or gossip session.
Plus, it’s when I quit running my mouth that God begins to speak to my heart and tells me how to handle it.
Your favorite pet-
I have to choose my childhood dog, Bogey, because I do not own any pets right now {unless my son’s beta fish counts}.  We got him when I was eleven and he was such a smart dog!  I say “was” because he died a couple a years ago.  He really was a wonderful family dog and was almost like a brother to my sister and I.

Black or white-
Undecided.
I usually gravitate towards black clothing before white ones but I’d choose a white accessory for my home over a black one any day.
Your biggest fear-
Being robbed at gunpoint {knock on wood}.  Sometimes I lay away at night worrying about it.
I know it’s crazy but that really is the thing I fear the most.
best feature-
Depends on who you ask.
Ask my husband and he’d tell you it’s my backside.
If I must answer, I’d have to go with my eyes because the good Lord knows I’m not liking much else these days {gotta get back to working out!}
Everyday attitude-
Content but hopeful.
I’m happy with my life but I’m so excited about the future.
What is perfection-
Outside of Jesus there is no perfection.
So, if you’re asking me to define what perfection is today, I’d have to say “a myth”.
Guilty pleasure-
Right now it’s watching shows like “Cashmere Mafia” and “The City”.
I know this probably makes me a total dork but I kind of like to think of myself as an “undercover dork”.  🙂

AND FINALLY, AWARD THESE TO 10 OTHER BLOGGERS.

1. The Scott’s Crib

2. A Simple Life

3. Home Preferred

4. Erin’s Fit Life

5. La Buena Vida

6. Life {Sweet} Life

7. Joy in the Jumble

8. Walnut Acre

9. Getting the Skinny on Getting Skinny

10. Intentionally Living…

I hope you ladies like the awards!  🙂

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Decorate Your Home for Free

29 Jul

So, lately I’ve been talking about the fact that I want to start my own organizing/decorating business and I know that my home could {should?} be where I am able to showcase my abilities.  However, my problem is that I have, like, zero dollars to put towards personalizing my space.  What’s a decor-loving girl to do?  Well, I brainstormed some ways that those of use who have more style than cash can spruce up their home environment for nothing {or at least, next to nothing}.

REARRANGE FURNITURE

{Via}

You probably already know how much change can be brought about by simply moving your furniture around.  However, it’s worth repeating because the change is sometimes all you need to get out of a decorating-funk {otherwise known as: lack-of-funds-pity-party}.  When you do decide to mix things up a little bit, keep in mind that you don’t always have to follow the rules.  Most of us tend to line our furniture up along the walls like a bunch of wallflowers at the school dance.  Pull your sofa away from the wall and let it “float” {a.k.a. dance} a little.  Even putting a console behind it so that it floats just a smidgen is better than nothing.  Plus, that console will add an extra surface for some lamps and a place to keep your remote control {out of the hands of babies}.  So, go ahead, break a few rules.  Or at least bend them a little…

SHOP YOUR HOME

Suzie:  Jonathan Adler  eclectic, feminine, chic foyer design with pink geometric wallpaper, ...

{Via}

Think about what happens when you go to the store.  You grab your basket or shopping cart and peruse the shelves.  You pick up a few things here and there, thinking about where it could go in your home.  Those items that make the cut are placed on the conveyor belt, pulled across the scanner and placed into a bag as you happily pull out your debit {or credit} card and dream of how that item is going to look in its new home.  Now, do that in your house.  Don’t look at me like that… I know it’s not necessarily easy but you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find.  Start at your front door and begin looking for items that can be used in other rooms.  Can you take that picture in your foyer and make it work better in your hall bath?  Would those bedroom throw pillows also work in the living room?  You’ll never know until you try.  I’m giving you permission to spend an afternoon {or even a whole day if you want} to play in your home.  Just keep in mind, you may get some funny looks from the hubs and kids.  But, then again, don’t moms always get those looks?

HOST A SWAP

Valua Vitaly – Fotolia.com

“Swap” is a word that used to be all verb.  Now, it has graduated to a noun, thanks to some genius person out there who gave this idea a name.  I’m sure most of you have heard of this one too, at least on some level, but did you know that you can easily host a “decor swap”?  All you have to do is call up several of your closest friends {it would be a good idea to chose those with similar tastes} and tell them to bring a certain number of items {say, 5} to your house next Saturday at 2 pm.  Everyone shows up with their goods and swaps.  At the end of the day, you’ve released 5 things that you no longer love and you take on 5 new things that are a better fit for you!  Everyone wins!  {I may do a post in the future featuring a full how-to on a decor swap.  Interested?

TIE UP LOSE ENDS

CandyBoxPhoto – Fotolia.com

Are there any project around your home that you meant to start but just haven’t yet?  Now, this tip is only going to be 100% free if you’ve already bought the supplies needed to complete the project{s} that just crossed your mind.  I should also mention that, depending on the project, the difference may not be earth-shattering.  However, fixing things like a leaking faucet or squeaky door will  dramatically improve the way you feel about your home because you will no longer be bothered by those little annoyances.

BOTTOM LINE

There you have it!  Four ways that you can revamp your home TODAY without having to pull out your wallet.  Gotta love FREE!

How do you spruce up your home for little to no money?

Decorator vs. Designer

28 Jul

To sum up what I wrote about on my farewell message over on my Blogger site yesterday: I have decided to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Business along with some training in Interior Decorating so that I can open up my own Organizing/Decorating business in order to make up the difference in our income once my husband enters full time ministry.  If you read it, you’ll remember me talking about my struggle with choosing between Interior Design and Interior Decorating.  Well, today I wanted to talk about the differences between the two and explain a little more about why I chose decorating over design.

INTERIOR DESIGN

When you think of an interior designer what comes to mind?  If you’re like me, you tend to picture your favorite HGTV host: Candice Olson, Genevieve Gorder, Emily Henderson, David Bromstad….just to name a few.  Because this is who we tend to think of, we often equate them with decorators when, in reality, they do so much more.  You see, not only does a designer work with fabrics, furnishings and paint colors; they also work with blueprints, building codes and safety standards.  A designer has to concern themselves with the function of the room (ergonomics, acoustics, etc.) as well as with the overall appearance of the space, while the decorator’s primary concern is the way the room looks.

Still Representation – Fotolia.com

An interior designer does have the potential to earn a six figure income but they generally start out making between $22K -$40K {depending on location and experience}.  Add to that the fact that they also take on almost $100K {if not more} in debt when they obtain their Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design.  If this is something that you definitely want to do, then go for it!  For me, however, it wasn’t the right choice.  The school debt turned me off of this degree as well as the fact that I would have a hard time finding a job {and an even harder time starting my own business, which is my ultimate dream} in my current location.  The easy thing to do would be to move where the jobs are but my husband feels called to the church we are already serving in, so there will not be a U-haul sitting in my driveway anytime soon {unless we sell our house and move to a different part of town – again, not in the plans}.

Jose Manuel Gelpi – Fotolia.com

INTERIOR DECORATOR

When I say that a decorator is primarily responsible for the room appearance, this doesn’t mean that he or she is completely oblivious of all safety concerns.  I simply mean that decorators are hired to work with spaces that are already finished {yes, even new constructions, but they are generally complete}, whereas a designer is on the project from the very beginning.  The good thing about this is that a decorator really gets to do the part of a designer’s job that the designer probably likes the best.  A decorator doesn’t have to worry about building codes and acoustics.  We get the fun job of picking out fabrics, furnishings, paint colors and accessories.

Sebastian Duda – Fotolia.com

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a tough job.  A decorator has to work with difficult clients from time to time and because many of them own their businesses, they are also responsible for the marketing, accounting and other daily operations {less fun things}.  All of this appeals to me, though {well, minus the difficult client thing.  But that comes with the territory}.  After obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree in Business, I’ll have a better idea of how to handle those day to day operations.  In the mean time, I can offer my organizing services while I pursue some formal training in interior decorating {and increase my confidence in this area}.

So, were you already aware of the differences between decorators and designers?

Do you have any questions about this topic or would you like to add something?

Welcome!

26 Jul
Welcome to {the all-new} Taylor Made Home!  My name is Alana Taylor and I am “the woman behind the blog”.  I’m so excited that you’ve taken some time to visit me today.  If you’re a “newbie”: welcome!  To read more about me and my little corner of the world wide web, click HERE.  If you’re a “regular”: it’s so good to see you again!
I say that Taylor Made Home is “all-new” because when I started this blog in February 2011, I used Blogger to get started.  So why the change to WordPress?  Well, when I first began blogging, I was simply looking for a creative outlet; somewhere I could share my love of organizing and decorating.  However, as time went on, I knew that my ultimate goal was to start up my own home interiors business and blogging could help jump start my online reputation, as well as help establish meaningful connections with all of you.
With that being said, I have taken the switch from Blogger to WordPress as an opportunity to completely revamp my blog.  This means that the purpose of Taylor Made Home has shifted a bit from what it was before.  Here’s what you can expect:
* FROM DREAM TO REALITY*
Right now I am at the very beginning of my journey towards small business ownership.  When I say beginning, I mean that I haven’t even created a business plan or took the first college course yet.  The good thing about this is that you get to come along with me as my dreams become a reality.
*MORE ORGANIZING GOODNESS*
Home organization has always been and will continue to be my first love {at least, when it comes to home interiors}.  A room is only as good as it’s functionality; which means that you could have one of the most beautiful, expensive rooms in the world but if it doesn’t meet your organizational needs, then you have wasted a lot of time and energy on something that just doesn’t work.  However, you can have a home that is BOTH pleasing to the eye AND highly functional.
*MORE DECORATION INSPIRATION*
As far as hobbies go, decorating comes in second only to organizing.  So, you can expect to see a lot more interior decorating inspiration, tips and projects.  Of course, this includes some things I’ve already been doing on the “old” blog, such as House Tours and Inspiration File posts.
*UNDERLYING THEME: INTENTIONAL AND SIMPLE LIVING*
This one overlaps organizing from time to time {which is probably why I have a soft spot for it}, but really it hits on all aspects of life.  However, here at Taylor Made Home, I will be focusing on how we can be more intentional with what we bring into our homes as well as how we can simplify our home life.

Now that you have an idea what the goal is for the “all-new” Taylor Made Home, I hope that you will make yourself at home and enjoy what you read.

Feel free to email me at ourtaylormadehome@gmail.com and introduce yourself.

I’d love to hear from you.

Almost Forgot…

21 Jul
I just published a post a few minutes ago but totally forgot to mention anything about the weekly Taylor’d Home Party or show you what some fabulous ladies have linked up.  My apologies!
Obviously, we’re not having a linky party this week.  {See this post for more information.}  However, I did want to recognize and “publicly” thank these ladies for adding their amazing tips and projects.
First up, we have Sinea of Ducks ‘n a Row with more great ways to organize for birthdays.  In her post, she shares several helpful links that are sure the days leading up to the party is just as enjoyable as the actual celebration.  For that post, click HERE.
Next up is Noelle from Home Preferred, where she shares about her journey to create a warm and welcoming home.  This particular post is all about how she transformed her bland laundry room into something of beauty.  Plus, she was able to create a little craft supply corner within a closet. 
To read her post, click HERE.
Last, but certainly not least, is a sweet lady who is quickly become a dear blogging friend of mine: Latoya from The Scott’s Crib.  She is a working mom who also has a heart for creating a home that her family can go to in order to escape the chaos of every day life.  The post she wanted to share with us is one where she shares a quick, easy and {most importantly} inexpensive way to gain some privacy.  To read more, click HERE.
Now that you all have some blog-reading material, I’m going to go watch Faith Like Potatoes with my family.  If you haven’t already seen it, I highly recommend it.  It’s a great family movie with an inspiring Christian message.
Talk to you all soon!

Where I’ve Been

21 Jul
Yuri Arcurs – Fotolia.com
I know it’s been about four days since my last post and those of you who are regular readers know how unusual that is.  Speaking of you, the reader, if you have written me a comment anytime during those days, please forgive me for not responding.  I have read and appreciate each of them.  Life has just been a little, um, trying lately.
Without going into too much detail, let me just say that my husband and I have several important decisions ahead of us and we really need you to pray for wisdom and clarity.  I cannot say anything more and if you know me in person, please do not ask us any questions about it.  I don’t mean for that to sound rude, so please don’t take it that way.  I just want God to reveal His will for our lives to us and then we will turn around and share what He’s doing in our lives at a later date.
xxknightwolf – Fotolia.com

With that being said, I’d really appreciate it if you all would allow me to take the next week or so to pray about things and then I’ll jump right back in with {hopefully} some more information.  {Not to mention, a normal organizing-related posting schedule.}
I will say that there is going to be a slight change soon here at Taylor Made Home.  I am making the switch to WordPress.  I’m not going to do self-hosted just yet because I’m going to attempt to learn how to use WordPress first and then once I’m comfortable with it, I’ll make the switch.  So, stay tuned.


Elena Schweitzer – Fotolia.com

In other news, my birthday is coming up next week!  Yay!  I will be turning a quarter-of-a-century years old!  🙂  I’m excited about another birthday yet the age of “25” just seems to be such an “adult” age and I don’t exactly feel like an adult yet.  Although, from what I hear, no one ever really feels like an adult, which is a good thing, I guess.
So, there you have it: a request for prayer, a switch to WordPress and an upcoming birthday!  Lots going on, but I’m so grateful for the family and life that I’ve been given.  I’m also really excited about how God is going to use my family and I in the future.  He’s already done great things for us, but as the song “God of This City” says: Greater things have yet to come.
Not sure what I’m talking about?  I’ll leave you with the song:

How to Organize Anything

16 Jul
The task of organizing can be an overwhelming one, especially if you don’t like to do it.  Even though I like to organize, there are times when I still feel a bit intimidated by the task ahead of me.  But, like anything else, if you break down a large project, say “organizing the garage”, into smaller, more manageable tasks, you will begin to feel a little less overwhelmed.  With that in mind, I’m going to share with you the 5 steps I use to organize anything: Sort, Purge, Assign, Contain, and Maintain. 
{And, no, it’s not some fancy or clever acronym.  Unless “S.P.A.C.M.” spells anything. 
Which, I don’t think it does.}
Step #1 – SORT

martinlee – Fotolia.com

The first step is to sort through everything within the space.  Think about what you do when you sort through your laundry.  More than likely, you separate your clothes by color: lights, darks and whites.  When you begin to organize, you’re going to separate using these categories: keep, toss, and donate {or: yard sale}.  Consider using laundry baskets {inside} or tarps spread out on the ground like they did on the TV show “Clean Sweep”{outside}.

The “keep” pile should be filled with items that you use on a regular basis.  The “toss” pile should consist of trash {broken items that cannot be recycled}.  Lastly, the “donate/yard sale” pile will corral those items that you no longer wish to keep but are still in good enough condition for someone else to benefit. 

Depending on what area of your home you’re focusing on {clothes closet, for example}, you may want to also have a fix/mend pile.  However, give yourself a time frame to have those items fixed or mended by and if they are not, go ahead and toss them.

Step #2 – PURGE


reb – Fotolia.com

Once you’ve removed all of the items you no longer want, it’s time to get rid of them.  If it is beyond repair and cannot be recycled, then throw it away.  If it can be recycled in any way, please do so.  {Use this phone app to find recycling locations near you.}  Lastly, if the item is in good condition, be sure to donate it to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army.  If you’ve got plenty of items that are in working condition, consider having a yard sale and using the process to go out and celebrate your organizing success with your family.

Step #2 – ASSIGN


Byron Moore – Fotolia.com

So far, you have sorted through your belongings and gotten rid of the items you no longer need.  The next task is to categorize the remaining items.  For example, if you’re tackling your pantry, you may use these categories: breakfast items, snacks, dry goods, canned goods, condiments and sauces, beverages, etc.  Another example is the categories you may use for your books: romance, science, mystery, home decor, crafts, etc. 

The important thing is that the categories make sense to you {or whoever uses the space the most}.  If it is an area that the whole family uses, such as the living room, make organizing a family project so that everyone takes responsibility for that particular room.

Step #4 – CONTAIN


Graça Victoria – Fotolia.com

Using your categories above, decide how the items within each category should be contained.  For example, you may be able to use baskets to contain some of your pantry items.  In your clothes closet, you may decide that an over-the-door shoe organizer is the best thing for keeping your collection in order.

In the same way you should personalize the categories, you should also personalize your containers.  Keep in mind, if the container is going to be out in the open, you may want to splurge for something attractive, such as a pretty basket.  However, if it is going to be out of sight {read: behind closed doors}, you do not necessarily have to go for something pretty.  Clear plastic bins are not necessarily the most attractive of organizing products but they work just fine in spaces where guests are not likely to peek, such as your linen closet, laundry room, pantry, etc.  If the plastic bins are too plain for you and you’d like to dress them up, all it takes is creating cute labels with your computer!

Step #5 – MAINTAIN


Tomasz Trojanowski – Fotolia.com

This is THE MOST IMPORTANT step of them all.  It does you no good to organize a space in your home if there is no maintenance plan.  Why?  Because things will go right back to the way it was before you exerted all that time and energy trying to get it all in some kind of order.

In the week or so after you’ve completed an organizing project, it’s a good idea to evaluate how you or your family is doing in the area of upkeep.  If things are leaning towards “messy” again, ask yourself this questions:

“Is it not working because the necessary habits have not formed yet or is it because I need to make a change?”

Just because your kids have failed to use the hooks you’ve provided them, doesn’t mean that the hooks are not the answer.  It may mean that they haven’t formed the habit yet.  In this case, you will want to work with them to create that habit.  Give yourself some more time and see if things don’t improve.

Maybe your kids are using the hooks like you’ve asked but something just isn’t quite right.  This is when a change may need to be made, such as switching out smaller hooks for larger ones, hanging them a little further apart, or removing them all together and trying out something completely different.

BOTTOM LINE

Like I stated in the introduction, these steps can be used to organize anything!  By breaking the project down into smaller tasks, you are less likely to feel intimidated and more likely to make progress.

If you’ve used this method to help you organize something,
I’d love to hear about it.

Do you have another process you use to get organized?
{Maybe something with a more clever acronym?}  😉

Tweakin’ the Linkin’

13 Jul

The first “Organized Homemaker’s Linky Party” went as good as I could have expected – 6 links.  The second and third parties though, were kind duds – only 1 link a piece. 

This past week, Sinea of Ducks n’ a Row was the only person to link up, therefore she is officially my co-host this week.  This means, you must be a follower of Taylor Made Home and Ducks n’ a Row to participate in this week’s linky party.
Here’s what Sinea shared:
Want to make sure you never have to send out a “Belated Birthday” Cards again?  Then, create a Birthday Binder!  Click HERE for the full how-to!
Due to the more recent parties being somewhat unsuccessful, I’ve decided to tweak it a bit.  With that being said, here are the details of the new linky party:
NAME:
TAYLOR’D HOME PARTY 
WHAT TO LINK UP:
ANYTHING RELATED TO HOMEMAKING – 
ORGANIZING, DECORATING, CLEANING, CRAFTING, COOKING, ETC.
PLEASE NOTE:
You must be a follower of Taylor Made Home &
Ducks n’ a Row to particiate.
Favorite links will be featured at next week’s party and someone will be chosen at random to co-host next week’s party with me. {meaning, it will be a requirement that your blog is followed too!}
Now, LET’S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS PARTY!

Get Organized With: Lisa from Simply This.That.And the Other

12 Jul
Hey, all you Taylor Made Home readers!!  Have I told you lately how AWESOME you are?  No?  Well, I may be partial, but I think you all are the best readers any blogger can have.  That is why I am giving you the priviledge of hearing from a woman who shares my belief that homemaking (including being a wife and mommy) is THE best job in the entire world.  She is super sweet and has such a knack for hospitality and ministry.
With that, I will pass the keyboard to our guest {enjoy!}…

Hi, I’m Lisa. I am married to my college sweetheart, Scott, and am momma to two very fun children, Laurissa{19} and Caleb{17}.
Homemaking {laundry does NOT count}, date nights, a house full of kids and friends, recycling, entertaining, and finding a bargain are on “my favorite things” list.
Simply THIS.THAT.AND the OTHER is where I journal about marriage, parenting, faith, picnics and parties and whatever else comes to mind. I hope you will visit my blog and consider it a “home within your home!”
Showing hospitality by taking meals to people when they are sick, have had surgery or just need a little extra tlc when life gets overwhelming can be such a JOY! Sometimes it is easy to become so focused on our own families that it becomes difficult to think of others around us who are in need of our encouragement and help.
There have been PLENTY of times in my life when I have been taken under the wings of others and have been shown mercy. It is still a blessing thinking back to so many times others have cared for me and for my family. I can’t help but to think of how it feels to be taken care of. It is one of the best feelings in the world!
When I think of hospitality, I think of the root word “hospital”. So, I looked it up…just for fun. I know we are all familiar with what a hospital is, but my old 1963 edition of Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines it as follows: “a charitable institution for the needy, aged, infirm, or young, an institution where the sick or injured are given medical or surgical care.”
While we are most likely not giving medical or surgical care, taking a meal to someone is comforting beyond words and it is always appreciated and welcome. For those of you who may struggle having people in your homes, this is the perfect alternative for you!
If your palms are starting to sweat, hold on. Showing hospitality to others does not mean fancy schmancy. It does not have to be homemade and it certainly does not have to be a complete meal…unless you signed up for it. If you did commit and are feeling like it is more than you bargained for, ask a friend to help. Maybe you can split the meal.
What is the first thing you do after you commit to taking a dinner to someone? Do you start to stress and wish you would have never offered? Do you ask a friend to trade dates in hope that the recipient will no longer be in need when it rolls around to your turn? Anyway you look at it, it can be a daunting task, to not only need to fix your family dinner but somebody elses family as well!
I think my favorite binder is the “MEALS TO GO” binder. It has made taking meals to people so easy…and might I add…FUN! I am not even kidding! Taking the guess work out of what to prepare and take allows me to make quick decisions and spend a little extra time embellishing it. It is a great way to pamper people and I no longer feel like I am just doing crafts “to do” crafts, but it allows me to be a little creative while being able to share with those who are in need!
Here is what works for me, but I would love to hear what works for you. Others ideas are always welcome and appreciated!!! I think we all enjoy hearing how other people do things!
BINDER ORGANIZATION:
Label your binder
The first page has the list of meals I choose from…if your recepient loves something in particular that you are aware of it makes it even easier to decide!
Keep this list simple and doable. If it is a chicken from Costco, a loaf of bread, bag-o-salad and lemonade, write it down. If it is a box of cereal, milk and bread write it down. This has to be what works for YOU! If it is having a pizza delivered write the phone number down so that you can call and have it DELIVERED! Are we all on the same page? Onward we go!
Each Meal has a complete list of what I will be taking to make it a “meal”.
I would encourage you to come up with one menu for each season…start with one meal that will be a JOY to make!
The next page has the recipes, so I am not spending all my time flippin’ through different binders trying to track down what I need to make dinner.
Have you ever thought about taking breakfast the evening before? This is AWESOME. You can deliver it in the evening after your evening has “settled” down and it might be a very welcome change for one VERY happy recipient. You may want to try it!
While we have been talking about “meals to go”, I wanted to make sure that I mentioned this: there are certainly seasons in our lives where helping others is easier than others. Showing hospitality is nurturing. It is showing you care. Simple as that.
A few of my favorite things I have received as a “bedridden Momma” are: {1}a little bag with a card, a peppermint plant and a box of tea, {2}a bottle of sparkling water and a fresh lemon, {3}a bag of epsom salts etc. Even a sleeve of Saltine crackers and 7 UP is something you could keep on hand to deliver when the need arises!
Simple meals to go:
taco salad
bbq beef or chicken
roasted chicken from the deli, a salad and bread
potato salad and chicken strips
pizza
pasta salad and crusty bread
tortilla soup and cornbread
So, as we have all been given the gift of TODAY, I hope that you, too, will find JOY in showing hospitality in a very real way wheather it be a meal, a note or a cup of lemonade!

*****************************
To Lisa:
Girl, laundry is NOT on my favorites list either!  And, a binder?  You are a woman after my own heart.  Or is it, sister from another mister?  Anyways, point is, I appreciate you taking the time to share how you use organizing to become more hospitable and participate in ministry.
To my readers:
I know you’re going to want to head on over to her blog and immediately follow her.  It’s okay.  I won’t be jealous!  🙂
See you all back here tomorrow!
God Bless

Menu Plan Monday

11 Jul
I have never participated in a Meal Plan Monday before, but I figured I’d give it a shot and see what you all think about it.
Before I get into this week’s menu though, I’d thought I’d share a meal-planning-related orgnizing tip first:
Sort & Clean the Fridge
Before you even sit down to think about meals for the week ahead or create a shopping list, take a few minutes to clean out your fridge. 
Step #1
Sort through the contents one item at a time. 
If it’s expired, toss it!  Take out all those leftovers that your family never ate.
By doing this, you’ll be better able to see what you have to work with in the week ahead as well as what your family really didn’t like, so you can avoid wasting food in the future.  For example, if no one ate the chicken leftovers, simply make less of that dish next time.
Step #2
Wipe down interior.
 
After all, it can easily become one of the most bacteria-ridden places in your home (ranking right up there with your toilet, if you let it).  By making a habit of wiping up spills immediately after they occur and giving the inside a complete wipe-down every week will work to keep the germs at bay.
(Fridge Cleaning Recipe – 1/4 cup of Baking Soda + 1 quart of warm water.)
Now that you’ve got a fridge that is ready to take on a new week’s worth of ingredients, snack and beverages, you can sit down to plan your meals.  Checking to see if you already have certain ingredients on hand will be a cinch and you won’t have sticky finger prints glaring at you when you put the new purchases inside.
Here’s what my fridge now looks like:
(Sorry for the terrible cell phone pictures)
Now, on to what you really want to see:
My Menu for the Week of 7-11-11
Breakfasts
Wednesday – Strawberries + Yogurt
Thursday – English Muffin + Sunny Side Up Eggs
Friday – Peaches or Strawberries + Cottage Cheese
Lunches
Tuesday – Pasta Salad
Wednesday – Grilled Cheese w/ Swiss Cheese, Mushrooms & Spinach
Thursday – Fiesta Pasta (Made Up Recipe – Rotini with Black Beans, Corn, Pepper Jack Cheese & Spices)
Friday – Cobb Salad
Snacks
Monday – Apples + Peanut Butter
Tuesday – Hard Boiled Egg
Wednesday – Carrot Sticks + Ranch Dressing
Thursday – Raw Brocolli + Cauliflower with Cheese Dip
Friday – Celery + Laughing Cow Spreadable Cheese
Dinners
Monday – Spaghetti with Salad + Garlic Bread
Tuesday – Salmon with Brussels Sprouts + Couscous
Wednesday – Pizzas (Church Night)
Thursday – Puerto Rican Chicken with Asparagus +
Friday – Sloppy Joes, Brocolli + Sweet Potato Fries