More Organization Tips: The Office, The Daily Home Blessing and Yummy Market Fresh Sandwiches…

Our homes should be a blessing to our family… and whether we like it or not, we moms/wives/ladies can make it or break it!  We need to strive to create an environment that is welcoming, peaceful and cozy for all who enter.  A clean, well kept and organized home will make these elements much more easy to obtain.  As the ladies of the house, when things are out of order and chaotic, we too feel that and then in turn present that through our actions, attitudes and behavior… “if mom’s happy, then everyone is happy,” is too true a statement! In “Sink Reflections”, by Marla Cilley, she talks about having a Home Blessing (another Buzz word).  What this basically refers to is our Mission Statement for our home as women, wives and mothers… it our goal for what we want our home to be… what we want it to reflect. I took this very seriously because I have high expectations!  One thing to remember in all this is that even though we have routines and schedules, we must be flexible… we are not drill sergeants, even though I have been accused of that, we are still mommy and need to teach and train with a tender hand so our little helpers want to help and get excited about the process as well.  If you have children you fully understand what I am talking about… I have had some really good plans drawn up, but when the baby is puking up a storm from a sudden flu bug… zone cleaning comes to a sudden halt… so be what the Lord has us to be first… woman, wife and mommy!  Enjoy yourself in your organizational quests, otherwise it won’t last and it will be just another burden!

Here is my Daily Home Blessing…



DAILY HOME BLESSING

GOAL: To train our dear children in the Fruits of the Spirit and how to apply them to their daily life… not just our
dear children, but also myself.

  • Each day is assigned 1 to 2 fruits- 9 fruits of the Spirit in 7 days of the week.
  • That day at lunch we review the Bible verse, let them say one that they remember, how many; what book; etc.
  • Each one of us focus on one area to work on that day:  IE. Sat- Temperance/Self Control: Kyle work on self control with reading materials… devotions above hunting/sports; Ethan work on self control by doing a job even when he doesn’t feel like doing it… and so on for each family member.
  • Give each other encouragement- work together.
  • Try to create a more peaceful, happy environment~ especially for when dear husband comes home from working.
  • BREAKDOWN: Sunday- Love; Monday- Joy & Peace; Tuesday- Long suffering & Gentleness; Wednesday- Goodness; Thursday- Faith; Friday- Meekness; Saturday- Temperance/Self Control.

“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy ,peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such, there is no law.” Galatians 5:22, 23.

Next to my gardens I enjoy being in my office next best… that is probably because it is garden themed and very cottagy…  There are several elements in the office that need addressing so lets dig right in!

Zone Cleaning the Office: this is my weekly schedule unless otherwise noted.
*Dust ~around all ceiling lines and down corners of the room;
~inside wall pocket as well; dust shelf and all furniture- Book shelf, desk, all file cabinets, dresser, printer, computer and computer desk, white cabinet, all pictures/frames, knick knacks, lamps.
*Wash windows and ledges; take down curtains first week of month and wash
*Clean off all table top surfaces; organize all papers that need it; put all catch all stuff in proper places; file papers accordingly; clean up bulletin boards.
*Change garbage.
*Vacuum carpet.

Here are some tips on Storage and Organization that I use in my office… now please take into consideration I do all the paper and book work for our farm: meat/egg purchases; 50 member CSA; produce purchase; organization of what my growers will produce; my fields and gardens; seed saving & ordering; I am the Market Manager for our farms Winter Farmers Market and I have over 70 vendors and all the paperwork that goes with that, write three blogs, not to mention all my household stuff… and so on and so on… so I do a lot in my office. It does get out of hand at times… especially when ‘other’ people start putting things in my office and on my desk.
*Because I technically deal with five different elements within our farm and dozens of sub-categories within each element I need to keep things separated and very organized.  I have 3 file cabinets that help me with this.
~ One is for all Household Documents- such as tax papers, appliance manuals and warranties, large item receipts of purchase, bank statements, policies, and any other things that would fall into this category.
~One is strictly for our farm- one drawer for CSA and the other for market stuff/meat.
~The other holds catalogs, and any ‘other’ paperwork that I need space for.
*I use baskets to store a lot of stuff- they are cute & decorative and very functional.  I steer clear of round baskets- they take up more space then they provide.  I like shoe box size rectangle and square baskets.  They sit nicely on shelves and look very neat.  Books stand nicely in them and most containers fit as well. I have a five shelf bookshelf in my office that holds some office supplies; reams of paper, envelopes, files, etc.~ several baskets that hide containers of stapes, pens, rubber bands, paper clips, index cards and such. 
*This shelf also houses many of ‘my’ books- mostly the crafty ones, my cookbooks and several of my scrapbooks.
*On the top shelf I have a couple more baskets that hold all my rubber stamps and stamp pads… I don’t do stamping very often and this is a good, out of the way place for me… not to mention the baby hasn’t figured out they are there yet!

*I have a couple of those really cute storage boxes too: one holds my Cricut cartridges and small supplies and the other holds what ever scrap booking project I am currently on… which brings me to another point… my office is also my Craft Supply storage room… sigh!  I dream for a craft room along with a first floor laundry and a bathroom I can do cart wheels in too some day… just to be able to set up all my scrapbook and cricut supplies is a dream… no room and too many little hands for that these days.
*On the floor under the bottom shelf I have two more of those large rectangular laundry size baskets that hold back issues of my favorite magazines… Martha Stewart Living, Country Gardens and Organic Gardening in there.  I do a lot of referencing in these for blog ideas.
*I have a really neat old drop leaf table that is painted a light tealy green… this is my desk where I do my field plans, pay bills and keep my day planner. I have several family pictures, and other containers that hold pens, and misc. office supplies on it. 
*I have a Computer table/shelf that I picked up at a garage sale… really it isn’t a desk at all… it’s actually a long (6feet), narrow (2 feet) counter with a top and middle shelf… I love it!  I have my lamp, printer, and PC on the top shelf while I keep stackable file trays on the middle shelf with other totes that hold my Trade Publication magazines… Growing For Market and Farmer’s Market Today, along with any other ‘current’ documentation that I am working on. Under the middle shelf.  On the floor under the middle shelf I keep my Cricut, a few other totes that hold my other favorite magazines… Countryside & Small Stock Journal, Mother Earth News, Acres USA, and of course Country Living… among a few others like Hobby Farm, Mary Jane’s Farms, etc. I know the FlyLady says pitch those, but I truly do reference them all the time. They often give me inspiration for my blogs… they are a part of my work!
*I have several other pieces of furniture in my office that I store crafting supplies, current catalogs, receipts and more… but I don’t think necessary to get into…
Some key tips that I like to use in my office is to keep current!  Don’t hang onto years worth of catalogs… With my seed catalogs I keep the current year and one year back to compare.  With us being a farm, I get oodles & oodles of catalogs… If I don’t shop them, I don’t keep them!  Recycle them and do everyone a favor. 
*Paper work can be so troublesome!  My philosophy is pitch anything 3 three years or older. With exception of  tax & bank documents, large purchase receipts with warranties and any thing else you will REALLY NEED!
*I have two bulletin boards: one is above my PC desk and this has any current and due bills for the farm, CSA group name list & schedules, and of course some inspirational sayings, cards and photos… it has to be cute!
*I keep a wall calender right beside my office chair which is between my desk and PC counter, I only write ‘family’ appointments on this one. I keep my day planner on my desk as well as a full size desk calender on my desk top.  I use my day planner for everything; farm related, family and personal- it is my tell all!  The full size desk calender is where I keep my hired girls hours and any other farm related appointments. on.  They are all together and can be easily cross referenced.  Day planners are a girl’s best friend!    
We are abounding with all the good stuff coming in from the fields and gardens… here are a few yummy recipe’s to help you use it up!  Enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato Melt
1/4 cup shredded Colby jack cheese
1 everything bagel, split
2 slices of an Heirloom Tomato
2 Tbsp. fresh Parmesan Cheese, shredded

Sprinkle half the Colby jack cheese over each bagel half; top each half with a tomato slice; sprinkle half the Parmesan cheese onto each tomato; broil on low for about 4 to 6 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden.
Cornmeal Covered Green Tomato Sandwich1 1/2 to 2 cups finely ground cornmeal
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. season salt
2 large green Tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
Shortening for frying
2-3 Tbsp. butter, softened
8 slices french bread, cut 1/2 inch thick if not already sliced
1. Combine the cornmeal and all the seasonings into a 1 gallon plastic bag; mix thoroughly.
2. Coat each tomato slice gently, one at a time in the bag of cornmeal mix; remove from bag.
3. Heat shortening in a large skillet over medium heat; fry tomatoes until golden on both sides; remove from skillet onto several layers of paper towel to absorb excess oil; pat dry.
4. Spread butter on one side of each bread slice; arrange 4 slices, butter side down in skillet; top with tomatoes and remaining bread, butter side up and fry each side until toasted golden on both sides.
Happy Day,
Jean

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,
www.storey.com  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.

Ketchup
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,
Jean
www.fordragonfliesandme.blogspot.com
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