29 April 2011

Recipe Review: Taco Salad

In this weeks MPM post, I mentioned a couple of salads were gracing our table since we are currently overrun with lettuce from the garden. Much to my surprise, I received a few inquiries about these salads, so I figured I'd post the recipes (well, they're more like non-recipes, but whatever). Here's the first...

Note 1: I like to serve buffet style because it puts up easier this way if there are any leftovers. Eating cold taco meat on leftover salad is just gross, so this way you can easily reheat the meat.

Note 2: I'm allergic to corn & corn products, so this is a completely corn-free taco salad (I thought you may find that odd if you didn't know the back story).

Diced Veggies: Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Red Bell Peppers, (any additional veggies you want)
Taco Meat - We love McCormick's Cheesy Taco Seasoning. (We usually only eat about half, so I freeze the other half for another taco night.)
Shredded Cheese - I used Monterey Jack & Sharp Cheddar (for the love of all delicious queso, please shred your own!)
Ranch Dressing (we make our own from the dry ranch seasoning - it's so yummy!)

1. Put lettuce in bottom of your bowl/plate.
2. Add taco meat & veggies.
3. Top with shredded cheese.
4. Put a smidge of ranch dressing on top - really brightens up the flavor!
5. Mix up & enjoy!

I think the Texas Toast Tortilla Strips or a few tortilla chips would add a yummy, salty crunch to this salad (although I'm just guessing since I can't eat those products).

This also serves up great on wraps if you're looking for a leftovers use for lunch the next day.

28 April 2011

Spring Cleaning: Bathroom Cleaning Caddy RAVE!

I'm sure you're probably getting tired of these cleaning posts, so I promise this is my last cleaning post for the week.

We have 2.5 bathrooms in our house - two upstairs and a powder room downstairs. Until now, I've been making multiple trips back & forth between the bathrooms to haul around these cleaners. It's always been a pain, but for whatever reason I never thought to do anything differently. Well, it hit me last weekend - CLEANING CADDY! Not sure why it took me that long to come up with such a simple solution...oh well! 

Bathroom Cleaning Caddy

One family trip to Target later, I found this awesome caddy...handle, plenty of space for cleaning products, and a separate place for paper towels. Perfect!
Bathroom Cleaning Caddy

In case you're wondering, this is the company that makes it.
Bathroom Cleaning Caddy

All the cleaning products fit perfectly with room to spare!
Bathroom Cleaning Caddy

A top view (in case you're really curious).
Bathroom Cleaning Caddy

Fits perfectly under the guest bathroom cabinet with the toilet brush & plunger. 
Bathroom Cleaning Caddy

Not glamorous, but that's life!

27 April 2011

Spring Cleaning: Under the Kitchen Sink

Have you taken a peak under your kitchen sink lately? If you're like me, it could be a bit scary! I decided it was time to clean out & organize underneath there. I started by taking everything out and what was left was pretty gross.


I vacuumed all the dust & debris (leftover from our kitchen renovation), wiped it down with a bucket of Lysol solution, and used the handy magic eraser on the tough spots.

Next, I needed to tackle all the junk I pulled out of there. I threw away some things (old sponges, cleaners we don't use anymore, etc) and lined up everything else that needed to be sorted. Here's what didn't get thrown out...


There was obviously WAY too much stuff underneath the sink! I sorted these into two groups: items to stay under the sink and items to go somewhere else.

After the cleaning and organizing, here's what's left. I just love the sparseness!

Our hand & dish soaps are by the sink, I only need easy access under the sink to the dishwasher detergent and the cleaner for our appliances. 

I did keep a few other things underneath, but they are tucked away in a corner because they aren't needed very often.

Of course, I still had all these products to deal with...
they scattered about the house into my canning box (a bottled brush helps clean a yucky canning jar so easily!), paint supplies, and the big cleaning product basket on the top shelf of the laundry room.

26 April 2011

Spring Cleaning: Kitchen Purge

I've recently discovered a blog that is right up my alley - it's called I Heart Organizing! From what I've gathered she posts a new project to work on each month and shows you how to follow along with her. April is all about "Project Purge" - something I seem to constantly be doing anyway, so I thought I'd follow along at my own pace. First up - the kitchen! I've needed to clean out the drawers and cabinets ever since our kitchen renovation (there was lots of dust & debris still hanging out). 

Of course, my little helper was around to "help", which usually translated to playing with my purged kitchen items. He was so helpful - ha!

Before I go on to show my pictures, it's important to note that I use my kitchen a LOT! I cook everyday, usually 3 meals/day since Little Man & I are home during the day. So, I do have quite a bit of kitchen gadgets, utensils, etc and the important thing is I use almost all of them on a daily-weekly basis. I also do a fair of amount of canning/freezing in the summer, so I have an entirely different set of gadget needs for those projects. Basically, don't be surprised if I still have a lot in my cabinets.

So here are a few of my before & afters...





And here are just some after collages (didn't want to bore you too much with so many pictures)...



Here is the pile of purged objects...some will be donated to Goodwill, others will be stored (like the knife block) until I'm really ready to part with it.

Due to time constraints, I skipped my spice cabinet & pantry. So, I will probably have even more to add to the pile! And now I'm feeling a bit guilty over the excess...

I'm also linking up to Thrifty Decor Chick's Before & After Party!

25 April 2011

Meal Plan Monday

Our spring crops are ready and the garden is overflowing with LETTUCE! We also have plenty of radishes, spinach, and broccoli. Looks like from here on out, our meal plans will be reflecting garden life...yum!

Monday: Taco Salad
Tuesday: Buffalo Chicken Salad
Wednesday: Lasagna & Salad
Thursday: Grilled Chicken, Ranch Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, & Roasted Carrots
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Hamburgers & Hot Dogs on the grill
Sunday: MOPS Family Potluck

Hop over to OrgJunkie for plenty of other meal plans.

24 April 2011

Project 365: Week 16

365 Pics - Page 108
iPhone Photo

365 Pics - Page 109

365 Pics - Page 110
iPhone Photo

365 Pics - Page 111
iPhone Photo

365 Pics - Page 112

365 Pics - Page 113

365 Pics - Page 114

We were on vacation last week, so there are several iPhone photos. Sometimes it's just better to capture the moment rather than focus on getting the "perfect photo" and missing a memory.

2011 Mommytography 365 Project

Happy Easter!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 
-1 Peter 1:3 

22 April 2011

This moment.

One day recently, I had been busy around the house while my Little Man happily played by himself (but near wherever I was working). Well, after several hours of paying only brief attention to him, it became clear that he needed me to spend some good quality time with him. He kept asking for play-doh, which is my least favorite thing to play, but sometimes it's good to be a "Yes-Mom". 





I'm so glad I said "yes" that day. We had so much fun together, even if my OCD was in overdrive while he happily mixed play-doh colors. It was well worth it!

20 April 2011

Such great advice...


I've had this little sign for a while (picked it up at Ross or TJ Maxx, no sure which). I recently moved it in front of my (corner) kitchen sink simply because the colors go well in there. However, it struck me that it's pretty great advice for people (including myself) to remember to leave the kitchen sink & dishes a little better than they found it. 

So, now I wonder if our dishes will end up in the dishwasher or hand-washed a little quicker than before?

15 April 2011

Friday Night Lights - Final Season

I shared last summer how much I loved the show Friday Night Lights. Over the summer, I watched all the seasons on Netflix and any newer episodes on TV. Well, tonight begins the final season and I've got my DVR ready!

I'm not sure how much I'll enjoy this season since my favorite character of the show is now on another NBC show, Off the Map (which I also really like). Guess we'll see!

14 April 2011

Toy Storage Labels

When I was in college getting my degree to become a teacher, we were taught to "Beg, Borrow, & Steal" any good ideas we came across and use them in our classrooms. Well, I'm constantly using that same principal as I run across great ideas on other blogs.

Last year I fell in love with Make It & Love It's toy storage labeling. It was adorable and so practical. I knew we needed that in this house! Fast forward to present day, we have the Ikea storage units loaded up with Little Man's toys and a Silhouette to make the vinyl labels. Employing on the "Beg, Borrow, & Steal" principal I learned in college, I pretty much copied her project exactly. No need to reinvent the wheel!



After - LOVE IT!

Close-up of the labels
3 Square Photo - Page 002
Little Man can easily identify which toys go in each bin by the picture, so clean-up is easy-peasy!

Aside from the cuteness, this is such a perfectly practical set-up for us! The unit is in our basement, so any mess can be contained down there out of sight. However, if we're on the main level we can easily choose one set of toys to bring upstairs. The bin slides right out and we can dump & play in the family room.  Then pick it up and return it downstairs, which helps maintain a bit more order in our main living spaces.

I love when function & form can work together!