Thursday, February 16, 2017

7 Easy Tips to Organize Your Pantry

Friends, you may have already guessed by the lack of organization posts on my blog, that a perfectly organized home is not my forte.  I am very organized in some areas, and horrible in others.  It is something I am learning (and getting better at little by little) and I am learning that even a little organization brings us bliss in our chaotic world.  So today I bring you 7 tips for organizing your pantry by Maurine Anderson.  Your pantry gets a lot of traffic and it's time to get it put together right.  
7 Essential Tips for an Organized Pantry By: Maurine Anderson
*This post may contain affiliate links.

Many of us have stashed on our Pinterest boards photos upon photos of insanely organized kitchens, only to let our own kitchen organization fall to the wayside. But why? Why not have an incredibly organized kitchen, or at least a well-organized kitchen pantry? Unlike the penny tile floor or built-in kitchen island refrigerator that may be sitting on your “dream home” Pinterest board, an organized pantry is something that anyone and everyone can totally have in their kitchen.

A well organized pantry can also offer a myriad of benefits. First, you’re more likely to prepare meals at home, as the thought of pulling out all of the necessary ingredients for cooking a meal will be less intimidating. In addition, you’ll keep better track of your food, which means having to throw less food away. (And as this article mentions, throwing away less food—and knowing what food you have—means more money stays in your wallet.) And then there is the simple pleasure of having a well organized pantry that is easy to maintain, which can only serve to boost your mental health.

Want to make your kitchen pantry a little more organized? Here are seven essential tips that I’ve found really make a difference in establishing a well organized pantry.

1. Store pantry staples in clear, airtight food containers.

Consider clear, airtight food containers—be they plastic or glass—your main pantry organization weapon. They keep dry goods fresh, organized, and easy to spot. To make clear, airtight food containers a part of your pantry organization, simply invest in a set of matching containers, and then move major pantry staples from their original containers into these containers. Opt for a few different container sizes to handle different quantities, and for the best use of shelf space, get containers that match the depth of your shelves. For bonus points, label each container with the contents. A few pantry staples you might consider moving to clear containers:

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Almond meal
  • Oats
  • Cocoa powder
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Salt

As an added bonus, storing these pantry staples in airtight containers will keep them safe from mice and other pests—a topic covered in this post.

2. Group other items in pull-out containers.

Not everything in the pantry is best stored in large containers with lids. Some things would be more conveniently stored in a pull-out container—something that you can easily pull off the shelf to access its contents (a basket, plastic bin, whatever). Anything “grab-and-go,” anything that is awkwardly shaped, or anything that hasn't quite reached “pantry staple” status, for example, is a perfect candidate for pull-out containers. Other pantry staples, like potatoes and garlic, simply store better when they have access to open air. Group similar items together and assign them their own container. Some things you might fill your pull-out containers with:

  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Different kinds of pasta
  • Various baking ingredients
  • Individually wrapped snacks
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Sandwich supplies
  • Salad toppings
  • Baking mixes
  • Seasoning packets
  • Oils and oil sprays
  • Condiments
  • Baby food

3. Add lazy susans.

Lazy susans are a pantry organization tool that many people don't consider, but they're ultra convenient—especially when placed at shelving corners where they can make use of an otherwise awkward space. You might use your lazy susan to store condiments, spices, oils, drink mixes, etc. Here's a lazy susan idea from Amazon to get the wheels turning.

4. Invest in a few can organizers.

Cans store fairly well on their own, but can organizers can help you make better use of your pantry space. Do a quick online search for “can organizer” like this one at Amazon to find something that were work perfectly for your pantry space.

5. Utilize back-of-door space.

There are a ton of ways you can use the space on the back of your pantry door. You might install a spice rack, for example, for convenient storage of spices, herbs, seasonings, and extracts. You might include a designated space for seasoning packets, as well, and a tall, narrow shelf space specifically for holding foil, plastic wrap, and parchment paper. If you’re in a pinch, even a simple shoe rack can help you make efficient use of that back-of-the-door space. You may like this over the door pantry organizer from Amazon.

6. Don’t forget about that space between the shelving and the door.

You know that awkward space on either side of your pantry, between where the shelves end and where the door frame is? Use it! Use the space for convenient spice racks or for hanging special items like garlic.

7. Get some bag clips.

Bag clips are cheap and ultra convenient, yet many people seem to put off buying them. Go ahead and buy a few packs of bag clips (like these ones!)—and use them any time the need arises. It may seem simple, but it will really make tossing things into your pantry much easier. Plus, no more worrying about messy spills!

Good luck with your organizing and may your pantry always be clean!

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Valentine Butterfly Box Craft

I know it's totally last minute but I wanted to share this easy Butterfly Valentine's Mailbox idea with you anyway.  If you are a last-minute kind of mom, you'll need this today.  This weekend my daughter and I had to make a Valentine's mailbox for her class party.  I had less than 30 minutes to devote to this and I needed my daughter to be able to do most of it.  This easy valentine butterfly box took us maybe 15-20 mins.  I originally saw this idea on I Heart Crafty Things, so you can see how she made it over there too.  This butterfly craft would also work as a fun preschool or school craft for your insect or nature unit.  It's a great way for kids to collect things too.

Also, I just want to thank you . . .  I hope you know how much I appreciate each one of my readers, followers, gurus, or whatever you want to call yourself.  I think of you as my friends.  What started out as a little hobby to write my thoughts, save my ideas, and fill an empty spot in my day when my kids all went to school has turned into something so much more.  I really didn't even expect anyone to follow or read my site.  It's now a labor of love.  This website is my little corner of the world to make a difference, to share, and to help others.  It's not much and I am constantly aware of what needs to be improved on it.  There's always something that I could do better.  But I hope you know that I think of my readers a lot.  I want this to be a place that will uplift us both.  What will inspire us . . . what will make us laugh . . . what will help us focus on what matters most?  These are all things I ask myself everyday.  So again, thank you for your time.  Thank you for your support.

Happy Valentine's Day my blissful friends!

Now onto the easy butterfly craft for Valentine's Day:

You will need:

1 large cylinder container (I used a hot chocolate can--oatmeal containers would work well)

2 colored pieces of paper for background, trimmed to size of can (I used 8.5 x 11 size and it worked perfectly)

1 colored paper cut into 6 strips (about 1 inch wide) for the stripes

2 heart doilies or large paper hearts

glue stick or double-sided tape

glue gun

2 googly eyes

1 pipe cleaner, cut in half

2 small fuzz balls (pom poms)


How to make your butterfly box:

1.  Glue or tape your background paper around the box.  We used double-sided tape and it was so easy!

2.  Glue or tape your colored paper strips along the bottom half of your box.  You will need 2 strips of paper per stripe to make it all the way around your box.

3.  Fold the bottom of the doilies about 1/3 of the way up.  Glue or tape them the bottom folded part on the back side of the box as shown above.  Let the rest of the doily hang loose so they look like wings.

4.  Glue on googly eyes and draw on the rest of the face.  My daughter really wanted to draw on eyelashes.

5.  For the lid:  Carefully cut a hole in the top for Valentine's or treasures to be put inside.  Leave room for the antennae.  Poke two holes for the antennae and and poke the pipe cleaners through.  Bend the pipe cleaners down on the bottom side of the lid and glue down with a glue gun.  This will help them be more stable.

6.  Using a glue gun, attach the fuzz balls onto the top of each pipe cleaner.  Replace the lid back onto the container.

The hole can be used for smaller Valentines and the lid can be removed for larger Valentines.

Hope this easy butterfly box will help someone today!   Remember to spend a little time with your loved ones this Valentine's Day!

What would you like to see more of on this site?  How can I improve it to help you?  Let me know in the comments below!

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More Valentine Ideas:

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Printable Valentine Bingo and Valentine Joke Cards

Today I have some super cute free printables for Valentine's Day! These two are perfect for a class party, or any fun with kids on Valentine's.  These Valentine's jokes can be used to pass around to your child's class as a valentine, or you can put them in their lunchbox for a fun pick-me-up.  And the Valentine's Day bingo printables are perfect for preschools, church groups, or parties as well.

Aren't these cute?  Scroll down to get yours at the link below.

The link to your Free Bingo cards and Valentine jokes are at the bottom of this post.

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get access to ALL of our Valentine Printables! 

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Click below for your free Valentine's printables!

We used these cards as little Valentine cards for my daughter's school class.  We printed them on cardstock, attached a little treat, and they made great little cards to pass out.

These would also work so nicely as a surprise in your kids' lunch boxes or as fun note left in their backpack or bedroom.  So many ways to use them.  Let me know in the comments how you used them below!


What will you use these free printables for?  Let me know in the comments!

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Easy Valentine Heart Scones with Rhodes Dough

Hi everyone!  It's cold outside and so I'm in the mood for some easy homemade scones.  Today I am sharing a very fun recipe over at the Rhodes Kids Baking recipe blog.  It's Valentine Heart Scones that you can easily make with Rhodes Bake N Serv dough.  The dough comes already made and all you have to do is thaw, shape, and cook!  Perfect for last-minute meals or boring afternoons.  These heart-shaped scones are a fun way to say I love you.  They are also easy for you to make with your kids.  Think breakfast, after school snacks, or a tasty treat to go with dinner.


Valentine Heart Scones with Rhodes Dough Recipe

Easy Valentine's Day Heart Scones

12 thawed Rhodes Bake N Serv Texas Rolls

Heart Shaped Cookie Cutter

Oil for Skillet

Cinnamon and Sugar or other desired toppings

Step 1: Thaw your Rhodes Bake N Serv dough until is soft, but still cold.  I used Texas Rolls.  I was able to get 2 heart shapes out of each roll.  You can use regular Rhodes dinner rolls too.  
Step 2:  Using a rolling pin flatten each roll like a thin pancake.  Kids can help do this part.

Step 3:  Use your heart cookie cutter to cut the dough into a heart-shape.  Depending on the size of your cookie cutter, you may be able to make more than one shape per roll.  Combine any excess dough and roll it out again for more shapes if needed.

Step 4: Heat your oil in a skillet on high for about 5-10 minutes. Get your cute heart shapes ready.

Step 5:  Turn the heat down to medium high and carefully place one of the dough shapes in the oil.  Let it cook for about 15-30 seconds.  Then carefully turn in over and cook the other side.  Cook until it is golden brown on both sides.  Remove from the pan and let it sit on a paper towel.

Step 6:  If desired add your favorite toppings.  We add cinnamon and sugar immediately as they come out of the skillet.  You can also add honey, drizzle with chocolate sauce, or jam.  You're family will love these heart-shaped scones!!!

Makes about 24 small scones

Looking for a deal at Oriental Trading? Visit their coupon page for the latest in sales.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Progress Not Perfection

I've been thinking today about goals and making things happen in my life.  I have always hated new year's resolutions because too often I find myself failing when I don't follow through on my resolutions perfectly and then I feel worse than ever before.  But I am slowly learning . . . and I mean VERY SLOWLY . . . that life is not about perfection.  Life is about progress.  Can I just say that again in case you just glazed over that part?  LIFE IS ABOUT PROGRESS.   NOT PERFECTION.

Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to be perfect that we never progress--we never get anywhere.  We stop completely.  We give up.  We feel like failures because we expect ourselves to be perfect, and that will never happen.  Life is not about perfection! It's about trying, learning, messing up, and trying again. Progressing is what really helps us on our journey--not being perfect. 

Now that does not mean we should not try.  Every time I give up on my goals doesn't get me anywhere either.  I do have to TRY.  I do have to take steps and work towards the place I am trying to get to.  Every little step in the right direction matters. The progression and the journey along the way truly matter.  Each time I choose to do something better or make an effort towards my dreams and goals counts for something, even if I mess up the next day.  Take notice of those little steps of progress.  Glory in them and move forward little by little.

Have a blissful day my friends and my you find peace in progression, no matter how slow.

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Printable Valentine Mystery Dinner Menus

Hey there! So now that you are all excited to plan a Valentine Mystery Dinner you will need some easy printable Valentine menus to go with it.  That's where I come in.  I've got you covered.  Print these free Valentine menus and you won't have to worry about a thing besides deciding what food you want to have.  These mystery dinner menus are perfect for a family Valentine dinner or a fun group activity.  See how we did it {HERE}.

{BEFORE YOU LEAVE click to sign up for more free printables and blissful inspiration!}

Here's how you use these Printable Mystery Dinner Menus:

1.  Plan a menu with food that your family or group loves.  

2.  Use the menu guide (see image below) to assign each menu item a number and code name and fill it in on the menu guide.  This will help you as you serve the food for each guest.  You can even assign napkins, forks, and spoons a code name, for a very fun and mixed up dinner. Do not show this to your dinner guests!

3.  As everyone sits down to dinner, give each person a printable Mystery Dinner Menu.  Each guest picks 3 menu items for each course and writes the numbers of what they want in the box. It’s more fun if they only get to use each menu item once.  Guests will have fun guessing what they will be having for dinner.

4.  Gather the menus and starting with appetizers, fill each person’s plate with the items they chose and serve.  As they finish the first course, continue in the same way with the main course and then dessert.  It’s fun to see their surprise as they get each course.

This is the menu guide for you to keep track of the code names/numbers you assigned to each food or item.

This is the menu for your guests to fill in.  They pick numbers on the left to go in the boxes on the right for each of their courses.

I hope this helps you have a super fun Valentine activity with your friends or family!  Happy Love Day!

For more information on how we used our menus and did our Valentine Mystery Dinner click to the PREVIOUS post:

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