More on Organization: The Laundry and Back Entry, More on Control Journal and Yummy

I love to do laundry!  It is by far my favorite domestic task that I get to do.  I love every aspect of it from getting all the dirty stuff sorted out, although that is one of the boys jobs typically, switching loads, hanging the clean clothes out on the line and listening to it flap in the breeze… the fresh air scent that follows… I love folding and putting away.  It is so nice to see the stacks of clean pants, rows of shirts and dresses, neatly folded under garments and the feel of those soft, fuzzy towels… Laundry is just plain fun!  I dream of a first floor laundry with a fold out ironing board, and spacious storage… it is free to dream. Right now I have a basement laundry that is damp and wet when it rains and there are lots of spiders and even an occasion toad! Now remember, I live in Michigan… and for those of you who understand the “Michigan basement” concept you will understand what I am saying. Although I am happy for what I have… it could be worse!

I wanted to touch base a bit more on the Control Journal today.  As I mentioned in my first entry your control journal can be as complex or simple as you the designer want it to be… it can and will grow and change as your home changes, children grow and renovations are done.  Here is how my control journal is set up:
*I use a leather bound 1 1/2 inch 3-ring binder for my journal; it is filled with top loading plastic sleeves and side tabbed divider sheets. 
*My sections are in this order:  Zones, Daily Routines, Daily Home Blessing, Menu Plans & Grocery Lists, Tools, Personal, Activity Frequency List.  Here’s what is in each section:
~Zones is one of the Flyladies buzz words and refers to each room of the house and gives a detailed breakdown of what needs to be done.  With this concept spring & fall cleaning can almost be eliminated.  You use a calender that each zone is tackled.
~Daily Routines holds my morning, daily, after school and evening routines~ as well as each day of the weeks schedule of routines that get done. (see below for a sample of one of my  daily routines)
~The Daily Home Blessing is another buzz word and can be compared best to a Mission Statement. I will share mine with you in an upcoming post.
~Menus & Grocery lists. I designed weekly menus to keep on the fridge each week. This helps in grocery shopping and meal prep every morning.  I designed two groups according to seasons: Spring & Summer have menus that are geared more toward the fresh produce we are growing and that is available to us; the other one is Fall & Winter which focus’ on what we have canned, frozen and what we have in the root cellar along with what we are still growing the fall garden and winter hoop houses.

~My Tools section has an outline from a Flylady conference that a friend attended and shared with me. It is called, “Tips For Not Getting Sidetracked”.   It is basically a breakdown of each chapter in the book and gives practical pointers to help you through the chapters.
~My Personal section holds things that give me inspiration.  I have several poems on mothering, being a help meet, cartoons, drawings from the children and cards from friends and loved ones.  Think of this section as your inspiration section.
~The Frequency of Activities section simply holds a list of how often I want to do particular things.
*Each section has a Title Page~ I have family photo’s, pictures the children have made, poems, cards and other special things to me.
… as I said, your control journal is exactly that- yours.  Let it be a reflection of what you love, who you want to be, your faith and your passions!  
Now onto the Laundry and Back Entry tips! Be sure to keep watching, next time will be on my personal favorite, my Office!
Here is my Zone cleaning list for the Laundry Room, I simply copied the Flyladies with a few alterations because it is pretty basic.
Laundry Room cleaning is a weekly chore unless otherwise stated:
*Dust around the ceiling lines and down corners of walls; behind all appliances & furniture.
*I don’t have any windows, but if you do, this should be the next step along with wiping down the window ledge; take curtains down monthly and wash- mini blinds same thing.
*Wipe down the tops &  sides of appliances; clean gunk from under the washer lid; I like to run my machines self cleaning cycle!  Be sure to check the dryers lint trap.
*Change garbage; fresh bag; gather up any other junk that got dumped out of pockets.
*Be sure to check you laundry supplies and add anything you need to buy onto your grocery list.
*Check behind & under appliances for any ‘lost’ items.
*Sweep the floor; mop.
Here are some helpful tips to keep things in their place in your laundry room.
*Hang a shelf above the washer & dryer where you can keep your detergents handy and available.  Put washer supplies over washer and dryer supplies over dryer. 
*Keep a waste basket right beside the dryer or even better between the two appliances where all trash, pocket liter, dryer lint can be easily pitched.
*Keep a recycle bin handy where you can put your clean plastic recyclable bottles in for garbage day.
My Back Entry can be a challenge, especially with living on a farm.  We have an attached garage to our back entry along with three entry doors~ one that comes in from the back yard, one from the garage and one from the driveway side of the house.  As you can imagine we have a lot of traffic coming in at this point of the house… an it looks like it despite how hard Taylor & I try to keep it clean & organized.  Over the years I have tried everything from dressers to baskets to store stuff in.  Again, please remember I have 8 people living in this house and six of them are males- who work & play very hard outside.  The amount of sand, dirt, mud, grit, manure, straw, hay, etc. that comes in is astronomical in my opinion!  So here is where we are at in the Back Entry today…
*On the one wall I have a full length wall mounted coat rack that has six hooks on it. Each hook has three prongs to hang stuff on… we still have stuff land on the floor!  On the other wall there is another coat rack that has four hooks.  The long rack is for all the guys and their work wear, hats and coats.  It gets pretty thick. They are supposed to line their boots up under the row of coats. 
Our back entry is not fancy by any means… although I have tried very hard to make it cute… it still is a back entry that gets too much traffic. 
*In the winter months we have a basket where hats, mitts and scarves get put in when dry. 
… other than this I can’t say too much on the Back Entry… Some day when I don’t have so many people tromping through I have big plans for a very cute entry way. Until then, I’ll let my boys be boys, and try not to grump too much!
**check out my for dragonfly blog to see photo’s of my dream back entries, laundry rooms and more!

More Market Fresh Canning Recipe’s! These recipe’s have been used and adapted from “Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats” cookbook.

Pear or Peach Honey Spread
6 pears or peaches, peeled & seeded
1 orange, peeled and seeded
1 lemon, peeled and seeded
2 tart apples, peeled and seeded
3 cups sugar

Grind all fruit together; add sugar. Simmer over medium heat until thick. Pour into containers.  Invert on counter for 24 hours to ensure seal was made.  If any didn’t seal, you can water bath for 10 minutes or store in fridge for up to 2 weeks for immediate use.

Believe it or not, here is a pickle recipe!
Dustin’s 5-Day Dills
4 cups water
1 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sea salt
2 Tbsp. pickling spice
1 tsp. alum
Fresh dill

1. Place fresh dill in bottom of a 1 gallon glass jar or crock; put all ingredients in jar or crock; fill jar with clean, sliced cucumbers.
2. Add more dill to top of jar; let set in a sunny spot for 5 days.
Ready to eat. Refrigerate after the 5 days.

Happy Day,

More Organizational Tips: More on P.M.S, Root Cellars, Freezers and Canning Room, Yummy Bar-B-Que Brush On Butters and Canning Recipes!

“Disorganization….. is merely the sign of a very healthy individual trying to do more in a shorter period of time than those lazy obsessively tidy types who can think of nothing better to do than  straighten objects in drawers and stuff like that which only feeds their own egos and makes them think that they are better than those of us who are truly gifted.”  Author Unknown… although it could be Neil!

Obviously this above mentioned quote is a joke… just in case you were wondering!  As many of you know from reading my blogs, I love canning! When I decided to write my cookbook, “Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats”, my main objective was not only to have all my favorite recipes in one book, but also to have a large canning section that wasn’t filled will all pickle recipes.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against pickles, even though I don’t much care for them… I just wanted interesting canning recipes… like Chocolate Syrup, Pesto, Marinara Sauce and stuff like that! I have a lovely canning room and Neil made us a root cellar in our basement that I am thrilled to have… and equally thrilled to fill every year!

P.M.S. is looked at in such a negative light… which I fully understand~ been there, done that kind of thing! Anyway several years back, even before I discovered Sink Reflections, my best friend and I were always looking for ways to organize and structure our homes and lives.  One day on the phone we came up with the P.M.S. Plan!  Prioritize, Minimize and Simplify our lives.  Now, my friend loves to make lists as much as I do… she is now a mother of six with bundle number seven on the way, Lord willing!  At the time of our P.M.S. she only had one child and I had three… life was a bit simplier in those days… but she is one of those ladies that likes to make really long lists and is filled with an exuberant amount of energy… she even chases ground hogs with brooms… at least back then she did.  As I am ten years older than her, her lists at times seemed unreasonable… she put too much work on her back… so was birthed our P.M.S. plan.  The motive was to help both of us look at what we wanted to accomplish in a day or week and then prioritize that list in level of importance; then look at the list and minimize it down to the most important and then simplify it down to what was really practical for our days.  After the list was P.M.S.’ed anything extra that was accomplished was just a bonus.  I have used the P.M.S. way for many things, especially when creating my routine’s.  


*Each spring we do an inventory of canned goods on the shelves as well as in the root cellar and freezer.  This way I know what we need to preserve that season and what I have plenty of.  I write this list in my Canning Journal… it is actually the first page to start each new season.
*After my inventory is complete I make a list of what items I need to can/freeze and the quantity I want to do. This is the second page in my journal for the current canning season. As each things get put on the can shelves, root cellar and freezer I have the sheer joy of crossing that item off my list!  A job well done!
*As mentioned above I keep a Canning Journal… of course! Every year I date the top of the first page with the year. I include the date of item canned, what was canned, the quantity and the size of the jars used.  If I purchased the ingredient, for ie. Blueberries for blueberry pie filling~ I will write down where I got the blueberries, if I picked or not, how much I paid per pound, how many pounds.  I also make notes of which children or friends helped.  I love making memories in my journals! 
*During the canning season, we often have to move jars and reorganize if there is not enough room left for a particular item.  I always keep similar items together. This makes it much easier for the children when I ask them to go and fetch me something.  For example, I keep all my tomato based products together; Spaghetti and Marinara sauces, Bar-B-Que sauces, ketchup, salsa, pizza sauce and V-8 Juice. The only exception to the rule here is Tomato soup~ that goes with the soups I can. I can apple, peach, blueberry and cherry pie fillings… these all stay together; Fruits, juices, jams and condiments are beside each other; potatoes, carrots, beans, beets are together as veggies; meats are right beside the veggies, then broth and soups, and so on.
*I follow the same rule for the root cellar and freezers.  I have several freezers: two hold frozen veggies and fruit, any freezer jams, and two hold meat items.  I try to keep all beef, pork, venison and chicken together… again this makes it easier for the children.
*Each spring the freezers need to be cleaned out and purged.  It never fails that things always seem to fall to the bottom and then the question, “where did that come from?” is asked.  Be sure to always date and itemize all items put into the freezer~ this way there is no question as to what & when! 
*The root cellar needs to be kept clean and organized through the winter.  Unlike the jars and freezers, the items in the root cellar will spoil much more quickly. Certain items should not be strored togethe such as apples and onions or potatoes.  My main goal is to always use the items that are ripening or not holding so well first and to be sure to purge and spoiled items. The old saying of one rotten apple will spoil the whole basket is true! 
  A great resource for root cellars is “Root Cellaring” by, Mike and Nancy Bubel, published by Storey Publishing,  I will be going into a lot more on root cellaring this fall when the crops come in, so stay tuned!


‘Tis Grilling Season… here are some BBQ Brush On Butter Recipes along with a few more canning ones from my cookbook! Enjoy friends!

To 1 stick of salted softened butter add one of the following and mix thouroughly.  Let set in fridge for at least 3 hours so flavors blend through! NOTE: The herbs are all dried. 

Cajun Style Poultry Brush On!
1/2 tsp. oregano, crushed
1/8 tsp. thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp. cumin, ground
dash of red pepper
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Lemon Basil Fish or Veggie Brush On!

1/2 tsp. lemon peel, finely shredded
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. lime juice
1/4 tsp. basil, crushed
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Parmesan Butter Brush On!~ great to brush on veggies or even use in pasta or spread onto bread to make garlic toast!
1 Tbsp. fresh parmesan cheese, grated
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. parsley, crushed
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Garlic Butter Brush On~ great to brush on veggies or to make garlic toast
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Chive~Tarragon Brush On~
great on red meat and veggies!
2 Tbsp. chives, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon, crushed
2 Tbsp. parsley, snipped

Canning Recipes taken from, “Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats”. We all love condiments but don’t know how to make them!  Here are two great condiments that most people enjoy!

            Chocolate Syrup, by Jean Smith

1 cup Dutch cocoa powder
3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cup hot water
1 Tbsp. vanilla

SPECIAL NOTE: These measurements are to make 1 quart.  Adjust measurements for how many pints or quarts you want to make.
1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl; pour 1 cup hot water into pot and add dry ingredients until thouroughly mixed; add remaining water; mix thouroughly until smooth.
2. Bring mixture to a boil; boil for 2 to 4 minutes, until sugar is dissovved, stirring constantly.
3. Revove from heat; add vanilla.
4. Fill pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
5. How water bath for 15 minutes.
NOTE: This foams up a lot while boiling. Stirring is crucial. You can take the pot off heat to let it go down a bit, always stirring, if it seems like it is going to overflow.

2 galons tomato juice
7 Tbsp. salt
2 small onions
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves, ground
3 cups white vinegar
4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup Permaflo (thickener)

1. Put 1 1/2 cups tomato juice and  peeled and quartered onions in blender; run blender until onions are well blended; pour into learge kettle with remaining juice; cook until juice boils down 1/3.
2. Add vinegar and boil again; bring to a gentle, rolling boil.
3. In a bowl combine remaining ingredients and blend thouroughly; very slowly stir the spice mixture into boiling liquid- if you dump it in, it will clump!
4. Boil for 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally so it does not stick.
5. Put boiling mixture into jars, placing lid and ring on each jar as you fill it.
6. Water bath for 15 minutes for pints, 25 minutes for quarts.

Happy Day,