Monday, January 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday!

SO! I had planned on havin a junk-y food week this week since I leave on friday for 4 days and 3 nights of childfree bliss and debauchery good ol' fashioned adult fun. in VEEEEGASSSS.........but apparently its going to be like end-of-the-world, day-after-tomorrow, apocolyptically cold around here for the next 4 days sooooo I'll be crock-pottin it most of this week.

side note - I live in North Texas...we don't get snow, or sleet, or ice, or even really cold temperatures that often...maybe twice a year, so when we do...its like NEWS BREAKING...seriously, if a dusting of snow hits the metroplex, you won't get to watch a single minute of your favorite TV show because the local news team will be running continuing coverage of the "Blizzardly Conditions"......ahhhh such is life in Texas....everything is bigger here, even our overly dramatic reactions to mother nature :)

so here ya go kiddos. This is a weak pics (yet...i'll edit with pics of it when I make it) but I'll share a recipe for my Taco Soup....its scrumptious.

Monday - Totally Cheated. Olive Garden did the cookin for me tonight....and it was gooooood mediocre at best.
Tuesday - Taco Soup (RECIPIE BELOW!)
Wednesday - Cheater Stroganoff
Thursday - Sheppards Pie

I haven't been on a vacation since Ms. Priss's 4th bday party...and that was to Disney World, though it is the happiest place on earth...I'm pretty sure every restaurants food is cooked in some giant basement cafeteria that resides under the Magic Kingdom...point being, it was no culinary adventure.

BUT...I'LL BE IN VEGAS IN 4 DAYS....and THIS is where I plan to eat...

Friday - Mesa Grill - Bobby Flays Restaurant yum :)
Saturday - Tao - Asian Fusion Food

so...what bout you...whatcha eatin this week?


Another one of those "I didn't go to the grocery store and I need to throw together dinner out of pantry staples and freezer meat....." its good stuff and can be prepared stove top or in the crock pot!

1lb ground beef browned and drained
1pkg Taco Seasoning
1pkg Ranch Dressing (the dry stuff...not the bottled stuff)
1 can corn (drained)
1 can beans (we like Ranch style, pinto & black also work well...just use what ya got)
1 can Rotel
1 can chicken stock
water to thin if you think its to "stew-like"

Put it all in to a pot/crock pot...let it simmer away, serve it straight up in bowls or garnish with shredded cheese, fritos/tortilla chips, sour cream and fresh cilantro.....great "warm ya up" food!

I've been busy boys and girls...VERY BUSY....working on this little bit of amazement that i plan on unveiling either tomorrow or Wednesday....its gunna be greatness...STAY TUNED :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Coupon Organizing *Lite*

Once Upon a Time I went on a couponing kick. I spent $25 monthly on a "membership" to a coupon "game" website....I spent $5 weekly on 2 sunday newspapers....I bought a 2 inch 3 ring binder and sports card page protectors...I then spent HOURS cutting. Filing. Researching. Listing & comparing making sure I was getting the BEST deals...then with my giant binder in toe, to the store I went...and thats where I stayed for the next 3 hours.

yes. I spent 3 hours in the grocery store.

and though i did end up with "$88 in savings" I also managed to come home with like 5 things of salad dressing (that we still have not used) and 10 toothbrushes. and a boxes upon boxes of pasta salad and boxed meal-maker dinners......WE DON'T EVEN EAT THAT STUFF! but. because it was "a good deal" i just had to get it.

two weeks later. the coupon book was shoved in the back of my bookcase.

Point being, I just don't care to be an extreme couponer. I'm sorry. for those that are on the extreme couponing bandwagon, more power to ya...I know what it takes for you to get some of those "big saves" but its just not for me. I feed a small family and I don't have a ton of extra storage space for a stock pile...nore do I really want to be eating BBQ sauce that I bought last March.

So right now, I'm going to try a new coupon system...Lets just call it, Couponing Lite :)
its a mix of my own couponing organization and some storage/cuteness ideas from Jen at I Heart Organizing (I'm def. copy catting her cutesyed up envelope system...she has a great tiny-tutorial on how to make stationary envelopes work for you as couponing envelopes)

I  buy ONE sunday paper, I thumb through the ads and heres the key part...I ONLY CLIP THE COUPONS FOR ITEMS THAT WE EAT.....I don't care how cheap I can get cans of tuna...I don't eat the stuff so the $1 off coupon is not going in my envelope!

Then I take my few (typically 15-20 coupons per week) coupons and paperclip them together. The only sorting I do is by category:
-Grocery (food, toiletries)
-Shopping (department stores)
-Services (oil changes, hair cuts, etc)
-Restaurants (duh.)
I don't sort them by type of food (cause think about a can of pillsbury biscuits a bread item, bakery item or refrigerated item?.....mind boggling, i know) I don't sort them by expiration date. I just clip the stack together. put them in their respective enevelope and walk away.

thats it.


Then, when its time to make my weekly menu plan and grocery list, I bring out my envelope of coupons, sort through the ones that I need and put them in to my "This Trip" file.

THEN I LEAVE THE REST AT HOME....I can't tell you how tempted I would be to buy 4 bags of chips cause they were on sale at the store and I had a coupon for $.50 off....but if i don't have the coupon for it, I'm not getting it. its that easy. and its a great way to help you stick to your list and your budget......and your diet.

As I said before, this system is not for everybody. Its far to simple for a die hard, and it might be a bit more complicated than a 'scan and save' clipper. but it works for me, and I'm sharing it with you because I'm sure there are a few others out there that are in the same [shopping] cart as me :)

Then when your all done and you have your basket of neccesary foods and your reciept of marginal but good can stick it in your fancy shmancy reciept envelope :)

then you can go to starbucks and justify spending $5 on a cup of coffee cause you just saved $20 on groceries. :)


I'm pretty sure that me and Toni @ a bowl full of lemons are on the same wave length. we are both thinking about organizing our organizers! I'll be linking up with her on her weekly challenge about Household Binders and posting lots of stuff this week about how I made my MOMager. Follow along and you can make your own MOMager!

Friday, January 28, 2011

A word about paint...

(Behr Porpoise Grey...Bottom left paint swatch)

So a project I'm working with right now has had me a bit stumped. I have searched. googled. spyed. looked. seeked (is that a word??) point being...i've done it all...i've been in search of the PERFECT shade of silvery grey wall paint for a bedroom remodle I'm working on. and you know what I have found? omg. its so hard! the line is SOOO thin between slate grey/blue grey/green grey/cell block wall grey...i just want to find a pretty, whispy, soothing, shimmery, loverly grey...IS THAT SO HARD!?!

yes. apparently it is.

but I think I have come to a conclusion...after considering ATLEAST 20 paint swatches...and 4 test strips I think we are going with Behrs Porpoise Grey. I'm pretty confident in my choice.

I was so bummed today when we went to sherwin williams...we found a color that we loved. it would have been perfect, when we put the tiny paper swatch under the little "true light" box thingy it looked lovely...a sweet silver with a lavender undertone (perfect because we are accenting the room in eggplant and lavender) then we get it home and its like ICE BLUE! wtf. sooo disappointing.

however, a trip to home depot proved to be pretty successful...Porpoise grey looks as close as I'm going to find to my dreamy grey color.

so. my words to you friends:

1. buy the tester might be $6 outta pocket now, but that will save you $50 and about 5 hours of time later when you realize you hate the color you picked and have to go back and do it over again.

2. Just because the lighting in that little light box makes a color look one shade...take it home and look at it in your room, under your lights, with your furniture and your windows...ESPECIALLY if you keep  your windows open and let a lot of natural light in, a few years ago, when I painted Ms. Priss's bedroom, we wanted it to be pink and butter cream striped...thinking the walls were already butter cream we painted our pink stripes and didn't think a bit about having to paint another color...boy were we wrong, when you opened the windows and let the light shine cast this horrid pea color all over her pretty butter cream walls (I was told it has to do with the tinting on the windows) therefor, forcing us to make another trip to home depot and spend another 4 hours painting stripes.

3. Trust your gut. remember this Office Redo? isn't it pretty? dontcha just love how rich the brown on the accent wall is and how nicely the light cream color helps to balance it? ya me too! BUT you shoulda seen the freak out that I had while I was painting it...I thought for sure I had made a horrid mistake in colors...all it took was for me to let the paint dry, bring in some of the furniture and watch my full vision come to life.

So there ya go friends. my words to the wise about paint colors.

The color goes on the walls tomorrow...send me some good design juju so I can make this work the way it looks in my head :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Clean Like a Maid!

So I was driving my lovely black range rover home from a delightful day of shopping and lunching at I pulled in to my pristine 4 car garage and walked through my back door I saw a sparkly fresh bright and shiney clean house...oh how I do love my maid..............................AND THEN I WOKE UP........and remembered that right now I drive the "Mommy Mobile" that is long overdue for a wash and vacuum....I am on a shopping hold until i loose 7 more lbs (got on the scale this morning...3 lbs down WOOOOOOHOOOO!)....My garage is a teensy one car that won't even fit MY car in it...and I'm currently living in a way too small for my family 3 bedroom apartment on the second floor....and heres the kicker. **I'M** the closest thing this family is ever going to get to a Maid.


such is life.

So when life hands you grab some vodka?

no...its too early for that.

when life hands you make lemonade...and become your own maid! (look at me bein all clever and rhyming...)

So here we go boys and girls:


So lets start with the supplies...
 You will need:

*Glass cleaner (If its blue, it'll do!)
*Bathroom Cleaner (I really like the Oxy Clean stuff but last time when I bought cleaning supplies I got them at Costco and they didnt carry the bathroom cleaner that I liked so Im stocked up on Scrubbing Bubbles until the Apocolypse)
*Comet (Bar Keepers & Soft Scrub are good too)
*Floor Cleaner (Depending on your floors...I've got cheapo linoleum in my bathrooms and laminate wood in my kitchen, entry & dining)
*Febreeze for a nice fresh smell on couches, curtains and pillows
*Gloves to keep your hands from gettin all yuck
*A lint free rag (Can you guess what I use? Old cloth diapers...I used to use them as burp clothes when my snooty girl was a baby and once she was done with them they found their way to my cleaning supplies)

Your also going to need your vacuum, broom, mop/swiffer/shark steamer/etc, and your washer/dryer.......also, if you have polished wood furniture, you will need some Pledge.

and one of these....or like 3 of these if you have a big ol' mansion :)

Ok! So now that we have all of our stuff together, lets get started. There are a few rules you must remember before you start cleaning like a maid:

1. Top to bottom, left to right - Always clean top to bottom and left to right to manage dust flow
2. Make sure everything is picked up before you clean...its SO annoying to be in a groove only to have to stop and pick up the entire Polly Pocket Collection off your 6 year old daughters floor..............resist the urge to vacuum it all up and say the "messy bedroom fairy took it"......So therefor...if a space isn't clean before "maid-day" that person gets to do the cleaning themselves!

There is going to be a very busy little 6 year old after school today!

3. Make sure your washer and dryer are empty...MAIDS ARN'T THERE TO DO YOUR LAUNDRY....but they will wash your sheets :)
4. Seperate your rooms as "dry" and "wet" rooms

Here is what I get done in my clean sweep (keep in mind, every house is different so every sweep will differ from person to person)

  • Bedroom (DRY)
    • Sheets
    • Dust
    • Vacuum
  • Master Bathroom (WET)
    • Mirrors
    • Counters
    • Tub
    • Toilet
    • Sweep
    • Shark Mop Floor
  • Living Room (DRY)
    • Dust
    • Vacuum
  • Dining Room (DRY)
    • Dust
    • Sweep
    • Shark Mop Floor
  • Kitchen (WET)
    • Microwave
    • Appliance exteriors
    • Counters
    • Sink
    • Sweep
    • Shark Mop
  • Guest Bathroom (WET)
    • Mirrors
    • Tub
    • Toilet
    • Sweep
    • Shark Mop
  • Girls Bedrooms (DRY)
    • Wash sheets
    • Dust
    • Vacuum
I know that sounds like a seems like its going to take a whole day right? but for any of you that have had the luxury of having a maid (or watching one while they work) you know that it usually only takes about 2 hours to get it all done and thats because they have a ROUTINE.

FIRST THINGS FIRST.......find something amazing to listen to....loudly :) (if your cleaning during nap time...bust out your ipod and headphones)

1. Start by stripping the beds and getting the sheets in the washer
2. Go through all of your DRY rooms and spray glass cleaner on your flat surfaces (night stands, book shelves, coffee tables, TV stands, desks, etc)
3. With your lint free rag, starting with the first piece you sprayed, wipe it from TOP to BOTTOM, LEFT to RIGHT picking up any picture frames or knick knacks as you dust (just pick them up, run your rag under it then put it back need to clear your shelf off just to dust)
4. Now head to your first bathroom....start by spraying your tub & toilet with bathroom cleaner (scrubbing bubbles) and let it sit while you spray your your mirrors & counter tops with glass cleaner wipe your mirrors down with paper towels and your counters off with a lint free rag. Wipe down your tub and turn on the shower to rinse out the tub (i get kinda weirded out by taking a bath with all that chemical residue in there so i rinse my tub out after i clean it) scrub your toilet. Repeat in your other bathrooms.
5. Switch your sheets to the dryer.
6. Soak a sponge in warm water and dish soap...put it in the microwave for 30 seconds...this will create a steam that will help loosen up any stuck on gunk in your microwave...use the same sponge to wipe down the microwave.............enjoy a sip of your redbull, check your text messages, change the song on your ipod while you wait for the microwave to beep :)
7. Rinse your sponge off, use it to get the basin of your kitchen sink wet, sprinkle on some comet, rub it around with your wet sponge making a wet soft scour paste and let it sit while you take your glass cleaner and spray the outsides of all your appliances and your counter tops...THOROUGHLY rinse out your sink, spray it with glass cleaner, let it sit while you wipe down the appliances and counter tops then wipe the sink shiny.
8. Sweep all of your hard floors (bathrooms, dining room, kitchen) 
9. This step will differ depending on what you use to clean your floors...I have a shark steam mop that i thats what i use to clean my floors, starting in the bathrooms I heat up my steam mop, pour a little pinesol cleaning liquid on the floor (NOT MUCH...JUST A LITTLE IN THE ICKY the sink where my hair spray tends to stick to the ground and around the toilet) then steam away! repeat this in all hard floored areas
10. Grab your vacuum and starting in the farthest corner of your home, vacuum from left to right backing your self out of the space.


Light some candles. kick your feet up. pop a lean cuisine in the microwave and watch some trashy tv. you deserve it ;)

The frequency of which you do this is dependant on how "clean" you like your house...if you would hire a maid to come twice a this twice a month...once a month? once a week? thats up to you kiddo.

oh. and heres your bonus. Free pass on getting to wear sweatpants until the job is done...and if you wear your tennis shoes and break a little bit of sweat while you clean you can call it your "30 mins of cardio" for the day. You. Are. Welcome :)

I linked up @

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Home Office Transformation

Client Profile: My Client, a Key Customer Manager for Nestle Waters, needed an extra room in her house to function as a home office, guest bedroom and personal Retreat.

Issues: Bulky Furniture that didn't fit her style or functional needs, No organizational system for files, no assigned homes for misc. items, This room had become a "catch all" for all things without a home leaving it cluttered and disorganized

The Solution: We did a hefty amount of purging...relocated some of the odds and ends to their correct homes within other rooms of the house and with a budget of about $1000 completely redesigned the room......

Take a look at this awesome transformation:

From the entry BEFORE: The space was cluttered with everything from an old futon, filing cabinets, work samples, even a folding table and chair set

AFTER a new coat of paint, some soothing art, a comfortable chair that folds in to a twin size bed, and an outtoman that doubles as a storage space helps create a peaceful place for work, guests and relaxing.

 BEFORE: With no storage for miscallaneous items, piles stacked up on the floor creating a cluttered walk way

AFTER: A 9 cube shelving system with canvas bins help control the clutter by offering space for pictures, stationary and other misc. items.

BEFORE: A too large filing cabinet was stuck in a corner, rarely used this piece was taking up more space than it was worth.

AFTER: A clean slate, a perfect place to put a small table and lamp for guests to use as a night stand or as a place to put your drink while enjoying a book on the comfy couch.

BEFORE: This closet was STUFFED with everything from business literature and giveaways, clothing, gifts & photos

AFTER: We got the clothes out and created a space for office supplies, work literature, and give aways.

With the use of magazine holders and organizing boxes she can simply come in, grab what she wants and get out again, no need to sift through the piles

BEFORE: Her desk was a large heavy piece of furniture with drawers that didn't function very well. The style of the desk was not to her liking and though she had attempted some desk top organization, she never came up with a system that worked for her.

AFTER: A rich coat of brown paint sets this wall apart from the other lighter walls. Complete with a new desk and shelving area the space is not only functional, but its more enjoyable to be in since it has a clean, calm design.

A floting shelf with boxes holds desk top office supplies, bill paying supplies and small note books. Small canisters on her desk top hold paperclips, push pins and binder clips

An At-a-Glance wall calendar helps with planning, and this desk top organizational piece gives her an "inbox/outbox" system that works for her. We also created a "Reference Binder" using a 1 inch leather bound binder and heavy weight sheet protectors to contain all of her instructions for reporting and filing expenses so she can access this information at any time.

 BEFORE: Her printer took up valuable desk space and she had very little writing room.

AFTER: the desk we purchased has a retractable "L" portion that she can pull out to expand her work space. We also purchased a seperate rolling printer cart located next to her desk to hold her printer (not pictured) as well as her files

This project was SO much fun. Seeing the transformation from start to finished really went to show how far a little bit of organizational help...a lot of purging...and some design changes can do for your space.

What can S3 Design & Events Do for You?

I linked up @

Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu Planning Monday!

Theres always an extra chair at our kitchen table :)

Monday - Chicken Enchilada Bowls **RECIPE BELOW!** 
Tuesday - Crockpot Meatsauce and Pasta, Green Beans, Garlic Bread
Wednesday - Garlic White Wine Chicken and Potatoes, Broccoli with Cheese, Bread
Thursday - Easy Sheppards Pie Casserole with Crescent Rolls
Friday - Family Night - Pizza and Games or Movies!
Saturday - Date Night Out To Eat <3 yum!
Sunday -Easy Eats! (Fast Food, Pizza, Leftovers) Samantha has a cheer competition and I have to work with a client that evening so it will be an easy eats day! 


Have you ever had one of those nights that you didn't make it to the grocery store in time, your stomach is rumbling and you have no desire to get out to pick up take out? So you find yourself in front of your pantry trying to figure out how to make a delicious meal out of frozen chicken and canned foods? ya...thats where this recipe came from :)

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
2 cans enchilada sauce (i usually do one original, one medium for a little spice)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
2 cups white rice, cooked

In a skillet combine your cooked & cubed chicken, drained & rinsed black beans and 2 cans of enchilada sauce, bring to a simmer. Stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Serve over white rice...ENJOY :)


If I Could Get Organized

The morning goes, the noon is here,
Before I know the night is near,
All around me, I regret,
All the things I haven't finished yet,
If I could just get organized!
I often times have realised,
Not all that matters is the man,
The man must also have a plan

I do this, I do that,
But I never finish what I am at,
I work as hard as anyone,
And yet, I get so little done,
I'd do so much you'd be surprised,
If only I could get organized!
-Baidurya Mukherjee 

Don't we all feel that way everyday  far too often? Like you wake around like a wild woman all day...then before you know it its midnight and you feel like you have NOTHING done? ugh. story of my life sometimes.

So this leads me to "THE BIG 10" ... come...sit with me...lets chit chat... your life is crazy busy like mine right? you have families and careers and chores and volunteer work to do and you just don't have time to make changes...but geeez how you would love to ____________ (insert guilt inducing task that you never get to) every day.

For me, I would love to get dressed every day. Seriously. I know it sounds SO silly but I work from home...I chase a toddler around all day and I'm pretty sure I am single handedly keeping Victoria Secret in business from owning so many of their sweat pants (Side note: OMG Victoria Secret Pink sweat pants are the bestttttt....they don't shrink, they are so comfy and their super cute...just an FYI lol) But EVERYDAY as I am pulling through the carpool line at my daughters school with my sweatpants and t shirt a mess and sunglasses covering my unmade up face I look at some of the other moms and say...UGH! why didn't I take the time to get myself together today! And on the days that I do take the time to get dressed/do my hair/do my make up, I always seem to be so much more productive...this is where the THE BIG 10 is going to come in and help me.

To start THE BIG 10 we are going to name 10 things we want to do on a daily keep in mind, these are not goals or resolutions...these are actual tasks...(i.e. if your goal is to lose weight...your task is to go to the gym) These are things that will be done DAILY so this isn't the place to say "I want to volunteer more" when you know that your schedule only allows you to volunteer once weekly. We will be doing another challenge with broader spectrums later down the road...right now we are starting small...we're just going to get through the day to day right now.

Think REAL hard when you make this list...and don't get to creative, be realistic...i highly doubt you are going to "mop the kitchen floor" every day...unless you REALLY like a clean kitchen floor...too each her own i guess ;) 

So lets start making a is mine...look at how SIMPLE some of my tasks are...THATS HOW ITS SUPPOSED TO BE!!

1. Get Dressed - no more sweatpants after 10am! 

2. Make the beds everyday - "help" Samantha Make her bed since this is one of her "Daily 5's" (look out for a future post on Daily 5's for kiddos!)

3.  Check my bank account and record all spending - every penny! even those $1.07 dr. pepper QT trips :)

4. Do a load of Laundry - wash, dry, fold, PUT AWAY

5. 30 minutes of cardio - at the gym or at home

6. Blog post/Facebook Update/Tweet - help spread the S3 word!

7. Complete a Project - organizing, crafting, etc from start to finish

8. Have one on one time with each of the girls - doing something fun...not just doing something that "must be done"

9. Take atleast 30 minutes of Me Time - Reading, going out with friends, napping, watching trashy TV (**JERSEY SHORE!!!** lol)

10. Make a To Do List - EVERY DAY

So there ya go....there is my 10. Some of these things might seem REALLY simple...and they are! thats how its supposed to be...if you fill your 10 with lofty expectations like "run 2 miles everyday" and you havent laced up your running shoes in over a year, your going to get burnt out, frusterated and the system won't work...and you will have just wasted some of your precious time for NOTHING.  So be simple in your 10...add a couple SIMPLE tasks that you know you can do, but don't currently do and be done. The point of your BIG 10 is so that at the end of one of those crazy days where you collapse in to bed feeling like you have been steam rolled by another day, you can look back and know that you at least got to the 10 most important things on your list.

So I challenge you...make your BIG 10 list...make a copy of it...put it on your fridge, in your planner, on the bathroom it on your blog..on your facebook wall...text it to your best friend...GET IT OUT THERE SO YOU ARE ACCOUNTABLE FOR IT! Its a great step in making sure that YOU are the one in control, cause remember...

"This is my dream, and I'll decide where it goes from here" ~ Alice in Wonderland