Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Easy Cereal Tip For Better Mornings

Something simple to make your life easier.

notice the labels!
the all important spoon

This is smart cereal storage. And it's vital cereal storage if you co-habitate with anyone, whether they be big or small people.

This saves you storage space, and most importantly - time.

All your family members can now serve themselves cereal. Without spilling. Or leaving an empty box on the shelf. You now what I'm talking about.

Plastic cubbies that fit your shelves are part of the answer. The remaining parts are labels and serving spoons stored inside the cubby.

Try it - you'll be glad you did.

And if you want to see some of my book now - get a free sample here.......no obligation, just click, enter your email, hit send and voila - more free tips for your kitchen. 

be organized.....evelyn

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's Fall - Let the Kettle Corn POP!

It's a foggy day here at my house, the humidity is about 100%, mosquitoes are everywhere, but the calendar says autumn.  So, autumn it is. And I recently discovered something autumnal.

As a result, I have another thing to add to the "things I didn't know I could make at home and it tastes BETTER then the one I buy" list.


The back story: A few weeks ago my kids had a hankering for some kettle corn.
Options: I could drive to the farmer's market and buy a bag for $7,
I could drive to Trader Joe's and buy one for $2, I could be my usual lazy self and make some at home.

I figured "how hard could it be to make?" I had all the materials on hand.

and "how hard could it be to find a recipe?"

Thanks to the Internet, the answer is really easy........and really cheap.

Here it is in all it's glory - (and I'm sorry, I don't remember where I got the recipe from!)

Homemade Kettle Corn

  • 1/4 c. of oil - whatever you have on hand
  • 1/2 c. popcorn kernels
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • salt
  • large pot WITH LID!
  1. heat oil and 3 kernels of popcorn in large pot over med-high heat with lid on.
  2. when you hear the 3 kernels pop, add the popcorn and the sugar. Give it a stir, then cover. It looks like it's not going to make much - but trust me.
  3. once you hear the popcorn start popping, give the pot a quick shake every few seconds until the popping slows down - just a few minutes. You will think only a few popped, but when you open it up, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
  4. remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Right away. Otherwise it will burn.
  5. sprinkle with salt - serve right away, or keep it for later (like that's gonna happen!)

Be sure to remember the lid, or your kitchen will look like a scene from a cartoon with popcorn kernels flying everywhere!

Now sample it. Yummy right?

After you finish off that batch, make some with your kids after school. Yes, it's that good that you'll want to eat the whole batch. And it's that easy to make a new batch. So, be the best mom on the block today! Bet no one else is making home made kettle corn!

And why is this on an organizing blog you may ask? Because it makes my life easier to make lots of  yummy things than run to the store. I'm replacing a dull errand with a fun activity. Which takes less time then going to the store! and if you want to see more - I also have recipes for The Best Muffins Ever & The Easiest Cake Ever!

be organized.....evelyn

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dreading Dinnertime Tonight? Here's the Secret to Organizing It!

So, raise your hand if you have no idea what you're having for dinner tonight.

I'm imagining I see a lot of hands.

Do you know how much time you're wasting by not knowing?

And I don't mean time that could be spent driving from point A to point B, or running an errand for someone else in the family.

I mean time that could be spent on YOU!

Here's the secret - planning out your meals takes all of 15 minutes, and saves you at least 2 hours a week. 2 hours you could use for something for you.

And you family never needs to know.

Here's how....
It's not pretty, but it works!

  1. once a week sit down with 3 blank pieces of paper. Small is fine - like 1/4 of a regular sheet. I use scrap paper.
  2. on small paper #1, write down vertically the following - beef, chicken, fish, veggie, fish, veggie, clean out fridge. If those 7 headings don't work for you - pick some that do.
  3. browse your fridge/cabinets and see what food you have on hand.
  4. using your mind, your recipe book, articles you've clipped, family favorites, whatever - fill in the blanks for each heading with a meal idea. Include side dishes.
  5. make sure you work off what food you have already.
  6. anything you need to buy, jot down on small paper #2. This is your shopping list. Or, if you have a computer generated/smart phone type of list, use that.
  7. on small sheet #3, list the days of the week.
  8. fill in menu ideas for each day. Consult your family calendar to make sure you work around sports practices, etc.
  9. recycle small sheet #1. Post small sheet #3 inside on of your kitchen cabinet doors.
  10. voila - you now know what you are having for dinner each day for a week. Advantages? one trip to the store, you can thaw out anything needed ahead of time, no impulse buys at the store since you are working off a list, no time spent deciding what to have.
And it's as simple as that!

But if you need a nudge - have you heard about the 6 O'Clock Scramble? It's a menu planning service that makes sure all your meals are healthy, balanced and great tasting. Less then $7.00 a month - and started by a stay at home mom! Click here to find out more about it.

Now go use some of that newly found free time on yourself!

 be organized.....evelyn

Monday, September 19, 2011

Today’s topic: How To Say No

School is back in session.
Phone calls are coming in asking you to do things. I got one the other day. And now this morning I have to "have a meeting" to talk about what I agreed to do. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't want to help out. It's just that when every free moment you have is allotted for, it's hard to squeeze one more thing in.  But squeeze I will.

It all goes back to the saying, "when you want something done, give it to a busy person."

But I also realized I myself need to reread an old post from my other bloghttp://www.comeongethappyblog.com.  Here it is -

How to Say No!

The single best way to simplify your life and bring happiness into it is to learn one little word. And that word is NO.

No, I can’t bake 6 dozen cupcakes by this afternoon.
No I can’t drive carpool every day, both ways because you have a standing hair appointment.
No, I can’t host every holiday, every year.
Simple in thought. Really, really hard in execution.
Why?  Because as women, we have been brainwashed to be everything to everyone. Everyone but ourselves. Time to take back our time and spend it where we really want to. Like reading a book. One that’s not for book club. One that’s not on your to do list.
But you need to take back your time for another reason too. For your kids. What skill set are you teaching them by saying  yes to everything under the sun? Parents today are not teaching children how to say no. This is not a good thing. With the speed of life today, by the time our kids are adults they will have  more demands on their time then even we do now. And if no one taught them how to say no, what kind of grown up life will they have? A very, very, very busy one. But will it be happy?
As parents, it’s our job to teach our children how to say no by example. So start now.
Some simple questions to ask yourself before you commit to one more thing:
  • does the thought of doing it depress you?
  • is there someone else who can do this?
  • will this take time away from my family?
  • will it disrupt dinner together?
Basic questions, but ones that reveal  a lot.
  • If you don’t want to do it, you won’t do a good job. Let someone else shine instead.
  • If there is someone else who can do it better, let them. Give others a chance.
  • If it takes time away from your family, who is really benefiting here?
  • And, if it disrupts dinner, JUST SAY NO!  Studies show that dinner at home, all together at least once a week is what keeps your kids on track.  I think this is ridiculous. Every night of the week is best, but shoot for at least half. Come on people, when did scheduling activities during dinner hour become the norm? It’s just wrong on so many levels. Here’s the info: reasons for dinner together
A challenge – the next time someone asks you to do something, run it through the 4 questions above. If the answer to any of the questions is yes, JUST SAY NO.
Then relax and enjoy your new-found time. What do you have to lose?
I have to go do my meeting...... and then squeeze in a trip out to put up flyers.....and then teach 4 art classes......
be organized.....evelyn

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Anyone Can Bake This Muffin!

You have got to try this muffin. Anyone can make it - and I mean anyone.

This is seriously the easiest, best tasting, healthiest muffin I've ever baked.

And I bake a lot.

Today we're off to The Whoopie Pie Festival in PA, and I wanted to get something healthy into the kids before we left.

Cereal - B-O-R-I-N-G!

Magic muffins to the rescue. Today I made them with 1/2 applesauce. I didn't have any applesauce, so I threw an apple, the milk, the 1/2 cup of oil (really, only a 1/2 cup of oil for a double batch!) and the milk into my VitaMix, & pulverized the lot. Then just added the dry ingredients, and added my new favorite thing, ICE CREAM CHIPS!  from Nuts On Line. And try the lemon chips too!

Seriously - did you know these existed? They're the chips that you would find in chocolate chip ice cream. And Nuts On Line ships same day - order them today, and if you live anywhere near NJ, you'll have them tomorrow! Can baking get any better then this?

So - to recap - in 10 minutes I just made a double batch of wholewheat (TJ's white whole wheat flour), low fat, low sugar absolutely yummy easiest muffins ever!

I don't think it gets better then this...........

Oh - you don't have the recipe memorized from my previous post?
No problem - here it is.......BEST MUFFIN EVER!!!!!!

be organized.....evelyn

PS - missed any posts this week? Here's the recap.......

Friday, September 16, 2011

How To Organize Your Clutter

Raise your hand if you think the title of this post is a ridiculous statement.

All hands should be raised.

You can't organize clutter - I think if you look up clutter in the dictionary it would say - "stuff sitting all over your house getting in your way".

But here's an interesting fact - interesting to me anyway. If you live with clutter all the time, you become immune to it. You don't see it. You "declutter", and all you really do is rearrange your old clutter.

A quick test to check your clutter level. 

If someone came into your house and left a stack of business cards on a table, would 
you see them immediately? Would the stack look out of place because everything else is neat? 
If the answer is no, you need to declutter.

This is clutter.

Time to take action.

Action Steps To Declutter Your Living Room

  • get a big box/bin/cubby.
  • go around your living room - anything that is sitting on top of a table/cabinet/flat surface and is not decorative/useful in that place goes into the box/bin/cubby. Clear off everything. (cable box - useful in that place, pile of papers from school, not useful in that place.)
  • look into the box.
  • you are looking at clutter. 
  • Get rid of it/recycle it/give it a home somewhere inside something so you can't see it.
  • take a look at your room. Does it looks better? It might not to you, yet - but then again, your use to seeing the clutter everywhere. But trust me, it will look better to everyone else who comes into your home. And in a week, I guarantee you'll love it.

Enjoy your decluttered room - decluttered in the true sense of the word.

Want some ideas for your kitchen? Click here, read about my book, and get the free sample.

be organized.....evelyn

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How To Organize Accomplishment

I was reading a passage from one of my favorite inspirational books today, and it was talking about how women don't give themselves enough credit for their achievements.

This really hit home. And not just for women. For everyone in the crazy age of "enough is never enough".

How many times have you completed one thing on your check off list and instead of taking a moment or two to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment, you just jumped on to the next item? Doesn't matter if the item was big, likepublishing a book, or small, like getting the kids out the door. I bet neither one made you feel good, made you feel like you did anything.

Time to reverse that. Time to take time and pat yourself on the back. If you don't take time to enjoy your accomplishments, no one else will either.

I, for one, have always kept my eyes on what's next, never actually enjoying what I've done so far.

I'm going to try and change that. Here are my ideas for me & for you:
  • pause for a second and say "I just did that!". Mentally pat myself on the back.
  • focus on what I have gotten done, not what I haven't.
  • don't be afraid to talk about your victories to friends! It's not bragging if you mention one thing, one time.
  • if you've been written up anywhere, frame the articles and made a "wall of pride". Do this for other members of your family too!
  • have anything you've been saving for that big celebration? Pick one of your past achievements and celebrate it today. 

I myself have a bottle of bubbly hiding in the fridge for years, just waiting until I sold more books, made more money, landed on the moon. Enough of that -  time to take it out.

Right now think of one thing you've accomplished recently. Now, stop for a moment and give yourself credit. Now go tell someone else about it.

be organized.....evelyn

Monday, September 12, 2011

How To Never Be Late For Anything Again!

Tick, tick, tick, tick. That's the sound of the clock ticking off the minutes that you are late.

Or is it?

All shapes & sizes!
In my house, the ticks aren't the tick of a clock, it's the silent tick of a timer. Why?

Because timers make the world go 'round.

What's that? Not familiar with this concept?

You should be.

Timers are one of, if not the best, time saving device ever invented.

Imagine, no more checking the clock every few seconds.

No more screaming at your kids that it's TIME TO GO RIGHT NOW!

No more craziness.

How? This is how.....

Simple Ways To Use A Timer To Bring You Health, Wealth and A Sane, Organized Existence:

  • First, get a bunch of timers. At least 4. And not the wind up timers that your mom had in the kitchen. I'm talking about an electronic timer. I've seem them in the dollar store and I've seen them in Williams Sonoma. Your choice. They all keep time. Just get ones that track minutes and hours. If your mobile phone has this function, use that. Just get a few extra ones to leave around the house.
  • Familiar yourself with how they work.
  • Now the world is your oyster.......
  • Taking the kids to the playground? Bring along a timer. Why? Cause when you have to go in  5 minutes, tell the kids you need to go in five minutes. Set the timer, when it beeps, hold it up so the kids can hear it, tell them the 5 minutes are up. They may balk at first, but do it a few times and, strangely enough, when you say time to go, they will come. It's the giving them the 5 minute warning, combined with the fact it's not you saying the 5 minutes are up, it's the timer. that makes it work. And work beautifully. You just have to stay consistent. Give the warning. Set the timer. When it beeps, tell them it's time to leave. Then leave.
  • Leaving for school? Set the timer to ring 5 minutes before you need to leave. When it rings, tell the kids to put their shoes on, get their backpacks. Voila, you are leaving on time.
  • Need to remember to do something later in the day? Set the timer. Doesn't matter if it's hours from now. Set the timer. Then you don't have to think about it again. For example, let's say I need to leave the house at 2:30 for a meeting. It's 7:30 am now. I set the timer to beep at 2:15 to give me enough time to gather whatever I need. When it beeps, I pack up whatever I was doing, gather & go. No way I can be late. Especially if I factor in a 5 minute buffer zone. Always, always plan to arrive wherever you have to be 5 minutes early. Adds years to your life by reducing stress.
  • Have 15 minutes to yourself to read a book? Set the timer. That way you don't have to keep checking the clock and you can get the full 15 minutes, which is probably the only time you have for yourself all day.
  • Bidding on something on eBay? Set the timer to beep 5 minutes before the auction ends so you are there if you need to up your bid. My kids do this all the time.

After you get the hang of the timer gig, I'm sure you'll find a zillion more ways you can use it to simplify your life and keep you on schedule. That's why you need a few. Your kids will figure out it works for them also, and jump on the bandwagon. Pretty soon the whole family will join in, (maybe!)

It's a beautiful thing when you realize you are teaching them life skills that they will actually use. And that make your life easier.

Now go set the timer for how long you should be on the computer. When it beeps, get off and go do something in the real world.

be organized.....evelyn

Friday, September 9, 2011

How To Organize Next Summer, This Summer (yes, really!)

There's no denying it, summer is actually over. The weather may say otherwise, but the newly jam-packed schedule says "bye bye summer".

Anything left over that you meant to do and never got around to? Of course there is.

That bike ride on a perfect path with the perfect picnic lunch.

That trip to explore the cool museum that's always been in your state but you've never gotten to.

That beach trip you planned, then it was raining and it never got rescheduled.

That trip to those far flung family members who have no idea what your kids look like.

Now's the time to do something about it.

Now's the time to plan so NEXT summer you get to do those activities. And so you don't forget.

Here's how:
  • sit with your family and make a list of all the fun things you wanted to get to this summer and never got to.
  • put the list into an envelope.
  • write Summer 2012 on the envelope.
  • go to the store & get a 2012 calender. Yes, they're out already, and you'll have a great selection.
  • paperclip the envelope to the May page.
  • store the calendar somewhere.
  • on this year's calendar, go to the Dec. 31st block and write down where you stored the 2012 calendar. Trust me on this. It's no fun turning your house upside down searching for the new calendar on Jan 1st.
  • When May rolls around, open the envelope and sit with your family again. Go over the list, add or subtract as necessary.
  • Write the activities on dates for June, July & August.
  • repeat next September.
There you go - easy, painless and what a sense of being in control!

Next summer is looking pretty darn good! Now go put your feet up with a cup of tea. Your work is done.......

be organized.....evelyn

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Easy Way To Organize School Fundraising

Wouldn't you like to be able to raise funds for your school, support sustainable businesses and local businesses all without hawking or buying a single fundraiser item you didn't need or want?

I'm here to tell you it's possible.

Have you heard about TheDoGooder.com?

The DoGooder.com has created a new hands free way to fund raise while offering you savings on things you actually need and want.

It's kind of like Groupon or Living Social, but with a better cause  in mind - your child's school. And they only promote sustainable and socially responsible companies. And - this is my favorite part - once you are a member (it's free) you can access news, pod casts, blogs, lesson plans, at home projects, healthy dinner recipes and nightly dinner conversation starters - all designed to heighten sustainability awareness.
It's kind of like a green Oprah show - you learn, you raise money for your school, you feel good!

Everyone wins!

Click here to go to their site and see a short video explaining it. Then you must register your school - looks like anyone can do it, you just need a bit of info.

Then the savings begin for you, and money goes to your child's school.

Since I didn't know all the info for my kid's school (like a tax #) - I'm going to forward this over to the powers that be - do the same for your school and let the money roll in.

No more bake sales anyone?

be organized....evelyn

Monday, September 5, 2011

Go Go Gadget Timesavers!

Go Go Gadget Timesavers

In honor of labor day & saving my labor, I've decided to re post an entry I did months ago on my other blog, Come On Get Happy. That and a friend just asked for the link to the peanut butter mixer, it's back to school time, it all just made sense to me!
So - here it is - Go Go Gadget Timesavers!
As you may know, I’ve written a book on home organization, 30 Days to an Organized Home. In the book I talk a lot about paring down the amount of stuff you have in your kitchen. One sharp knife can take the place of many useless gadgets. And take up less space also. But every once in a while, I’m proven wrong. (Yes, it happens, and more often than I would like!)
While making lunch today I reached into my drawer and pulled out one kitchen gadget I can’t live without. And what is it? Well, picture this – you are about to make some PB & J sandwiches and you reach for a new jar of peanut butter. We buy natural peanut butter, (click here if you want to see why)  and it separates. That means the oil rises to the top, like it should when your peanut butter isn’t full of junk like hydrogenated oils and sugar. That’s good for you and your family’s health, but bad for you at this exact moment because what was going to be an easy, quick-lunch has just become a process. And a process takes time. Which you do not want to spend on peanut butter. No matter how good it may be in the long run for your family, Right now,in the short run, it’s bad for you. So what do you do? Well, you have two choices -
  1.  pull out a butter knife and start stirring that oil back into the peanut butter. This, as you may know, is a messy and long job. The oil splashes out, the peanut butter is still hard. And you keep stirring and stirring and you’re not sure if your effort is having any effect on the peanut butter.
  2. or – just stick that jar back on the shelf, make ham sandwiches for lunch and next time you are at the store, buy a brand name peanut butter that is already smooth and creamy (and full of sugar and other yucky stuff).
Now you have a third choice. What if there was a gadget that was inexpensive and easy to clean that stirred oil into peanut butter with no muss or fuss? Well, there is! It’s called Grandpa Witmer’s Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Mixer – and it works great. In fact, the kids even like to crank it. (Free help for you!) Basically, it’s a lid that fits onto your peanut butter jar and has a metal crank going through it. You easily turn the crank and the peanut butter gets mixed. When done, just pull the crank out,  (the lid squeegee off the peanut butter) and wash it. Make the sandwiches, put the jar into the fridge, and it’s good to go until next time. You don’t need to restir it every time, you only need to stir the new jar. The oil stays mixed in the fridge.
Here’s the link for the peanut butter mixer. (And no, I don’t get anything if you order it, just mention you saw it here!) It comes in all different sizes, so know what size your jar is beforehand.
My other favorite gadget is my pineapple corer. This nifty device lets you remove the pineapple from the rind in one easy twisting motion. And you never have to cut off the black “eyes” that are left behind when you cut the rind off in the usual way with a knife.. And you are left with a cool pineapple shell for a pina colada for you!
That’s it for now….I’m going to go have some peanut butter on crackers.
 be organized.....evelyn

Friday, September 2, 2011

Weekly Round up - How To Organize Date Night, College, Happiness & Mornings!

Another Friday has rolled around - and that brings the round up of this week's posts. What's got your interest this week?

Feeling stressed? You Deserve A Weekly Date Night!

Nest emptying out this week? What To Do When Your Child Goes Off To College

Not as happy as you'd like to be? How to Organize Happiness

Mornings hectic? Is Your Disorganization Destroying Your Morning? 7...

Need more then this? Check out my two most popular blogs -

Best Organizing Tips For Closets
A Radical Way To Organize School Lunches

Need even more?  I suggest my book, 30 Days To An Organized Home,  - click here to head over to Amazon to look inside its pages!

be organized.....evelyn

Thursday, September 1, 2011

You Deserve A Date Night!

Okay, so yesterday I talked about taking my oldest off to college. A few traffic jams later, a few sad moments, and he's ensconced happily in his new dorm room.

That leaves two kids at home. With the first day of school next week.

Time to get schedules back up & running. Time to get the rules back in place.

Valentine Clipart Images
Time to actually put in place a weekly date night! 

Studies show that date night is vital to your relationship. Even more then clean laundry.

So why is it so hard?

It's so hard because everything - from vacuuming the rug to washing the dog always seems more important.

It's not. Your relationship is.

Here are some ideas for a low cost time out with your SO. (Significant Other)

  • weekly movie at the local small theatre. Doesn't matter what's playing - pretend it's 1950 when people would go see whatever was there. Explore new genres. If you have the Optimium Triple Play thru Cable Vision- you get free movies on Tuesdays - go use the perk. Walk to the theatre. Skip the popcorn.
  • pack a picnic dinner and take it to a free concert.
  • go window shopping with an ice cream cone in your hand.
  • go to a museum. Many have a free admission night.
  • go for a bike ride. Without the kids.
  • go for a stroll - no power walking. Actually talk to each other. Try and remember what you did for your last anniversary.
  • go out to breakfast. At a local hotel. Feel like your on vacation in your own town. While this isn't all that low cost, it's a lot cheaper then dinner!
Now go plan, then do. Let me know what you come up with!

be organized.....evelyn