September, 2010

My Dream House; My Farmhouse

posted by Andrea | 09/30/2010 | 18 comments

Ever since I was a little girl I have dreamed of living in an old farmhouse. Honestly, I have no idea where my unwavering obsession with farmhouses comes from; or why my {extremely} practical nature allows me to continually fantasize about my dream house… my “someday house”… MY farmhouse. But I don’t think I’m going to change. Currently, we live in a ranch {and no offense to ranch homes…but I’m not a big fan}.  We love the location of our house, we love […]

Clutter-Free Gift Ideas — 85 Days and Counting

posted by Andrea | 09/29/2010 | 4 comments

We live in a small home with limited storage space so I’m always conscious of how much “stuff” we bring  in. Anything we don’t need, use, or love has to go. Period. Over the holidays, I try to maintain our clutter-free lifestyle as much as possible, but believe me; it’s difficult for someone who loves giving gifts as much as I do! So, I compromise by giving everyone on my list at least one clutter-free gift. This ways,I can still show my loved ones […]

Food Preserving Resources

posted by Andrea | 09/27/2010 | 3 comments

I’ve been in a major food preserving mode lately. Partially because I’m teaching a workshop on the subject in less than 24 hours, but also because the weather here in West Michigan is just screaming “Fall” — and fresh produce is aplenty! I’ll be the first to admit that food preserving CAN BE overwhelming. I’ve been preserving {either by myself or helping my mom} for over 15 years and I still fell a bit of anxiety when I know a […]

Peaches, Pears, and Apricots

posted by Andrea | 09/27/2010 | 2 comments

I don’t think there is anything more delicious than opening up a can of homegrown, home-canned fruit in the middle of winter. There is just something about it that tastes even better than fresh fruit — but that might be the added sugar! If you’ve never tried to can your own fruit, now is a great time to start. There is still plenty of time to pick up some fresh produce from a local farmer’s market or u-pick farm — […]

Berry Jams = ‘Berry’ Delicious

posted by Andrea | 09/27/2010 | 8 comments

Berries are my favorite foods to preserve each year. And I can’t think of a better way to preserve delicious sweet berries than homemade jams and jellies — can you? Not only are jams and jellies relatively quick and easy to master, they are also inexpensive to make, and far superior to any variety you can buy at your local store {if you’ve never had homemade jam, you’ll just have to trust me on this one!} Every year, I make […]

Organized Coupons

posted by Andrea | 09/27/2010 | 22 comments

Many of you know how much I LOVE using coupons and getting exceptional deals on groceries. Yes, it’s true! But I have good reason to be obsessed because it saves our family over $2500 a year! (Yup, I keep track!) So how do I do it? For me, the key is to keep my coupons neat and organized so I can always find the ones I need when I need them. If I can’t get to my coupons easily, I’ll forget about them. […]

Apple Butter

posted by Andrea | 09/27/2010 | 12 comments

Have you ever tried apple butter? If not, you are missing out on one of life’s greated condiments! OK, well maybe that’s a little extreme, but take it from someone who loves apples as much as I do — which is a lot — this recipe is to die for! If you’ve never tried apple butter, let me inform you about it’s deliciousness: To date, this is the best recipe I’ve found. There is no butter in Apple Butter! Apple […]

Clutter-Free Gift Wrap — 90 Days and Counting

posted by Andrea | 09/25/2010 | 3 comments

Don’t you just love looking through magazines and seeing gorgeous pictures of perfectly organized spaces like this amazing Gift Wrapping Station featured in Country Home Magazine?? Talk about eye candy! Photo: Country Living OK, so maybe your gift wrap isn’t so creatively organized — {but isn’t it lovely!} I suppose it wouldn’t be difficult to create a gift wrapping station like this; however, it would require that you have an extra room {or at least a spare wall} in your home — and I know […]

Simple Fall Decor

posted by Andrea | 09/24/2010 | 4 comments

I’m a big fan of decorating with disposable items; mainly so I don’t have to store them all year round. Since fall is my favorite season {I live in Michigan — it’s gorgeous!} it would be so easy for me to accumulate gobs of fun decor items, but I don’t. I only allow myself one (yes ONE) small tub. Honest! If you really think about it, I should have no trouble decorating with items from nature such as fruits, gourds, […]

Purse Organizing Tips

posted by Andrea | 09/22/2010 | 1 comment

I knew a purse organizer would be a fun giveaway…but I didn’t realize how many questions it would generate! I’ve gotten so many emails these past few days asking for different ways to keep purses neat and organized. I swear, after hearing some of the things you ladies are carrying around in your bags, I’m about ready to call a chiropractor for you! Anyway, with holiday shopping right around the corner (93 days until Christmas) now is a good time to get your […]

Space-Saving Freezer Tip

posted by Andrea | 09/22/2010 | 1 comment

I freeze a lot of food — especially this time of year when we have so many fresh fruits and veggies around. We do have an extra freezer in the garage, but it still seems like I need more space {or maybe just less stuff} Either way, I make the most of my freezer space by storing food in resealable plastic bags {with labels; of course}. I pre-measure fruits, veggies, broth, soups, sauces, etc. and freeze them laying down so they […]

Holiday Batch Shopping — 95 Days and Counting

posted by Andrea | 09/21/2010 | 3 comments

Want to know how I save time, energy, money and stress? I practice Holiday Batch Shopping — and it works for me! –> NOTE: even if you aren’t interested in saving time, energy, stress, or money you should still keep reading because there are cookies below! What is Batch Shopping? Basically, batch shopping is just like batch cooking. But instead of making a bunch of food all at the same time, you do a bunch of shopping {in this case, your […]

What’s In My Purse

posted by Andrea | 09/20/2010 | 12 comments

1. Wallet: I love all the different compartments for money, checks, cards, ID, change, ect. etc. 2. Planner: I couldn’t live without this —  yes, I know I’m old fashion, but I just LOVE crossing my list off! 3. Gift Cards: We always have a good assortment of gift cards  — one the benefits of marrying a teacher! I keep them organized in a small plastic photo album and secure it with a rubber band. 4. Phone. 5. Toiletries: I keep them […]

Reader’s Tip: Clearing Bathroom Clutter

posted by Andrea | 09/20/2010 | 1 comment

Some of the best things about running this website are the emails and comments I get from all of YOU — and my heart felt happy when I got this email from Becky: “I did it!!!!! I organized my linen closet and made room for so much more stuff. I like to shop sales and I found this $7 silverware organizer to store all my extra toiletries. Now they stay lined up and I can see them right when I open the door. […]

Holiday Cards — 98 Days and Counting

posted by Andrea | 09/18/2010 | comment

Holiday cards can seem like a waste of time, especially if you wait until the last minute to whip something together. Here are a few ideas that might help you simplify and organize your cards this year.

Planning Ahead — 99 Days and Counting

posted by Andrea | 09/17/2010 | comment

It’s day 2 of our Clutter-Free Holiday Countdown — are you excited? It’s Time to Start Planning: Are you tired of running around during the holiday season? Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holidays are so full of activities; it can be difficult to fit is all in. So even though you might think the holidays are still far, far away, it’s a great time to start planning ahead to save yourself a bunch of time and stress this year. Here are […]

Lemon Pound Cake

posted by Andrea | 09/17/2010 | 15 comments

I’m a sucker for anything lemon — drinks, desserts, breads, even this delicious lemon hand cream! My recipe for Lemon Pound Cake is so full of lemony goodness; it’s a crowd-pleaser anywhere I take it! I often make several loaves at a time and freeze them for whenever I’m asked to bring a dessert. Then, all I have to do is make up the glaze and I’m ready to go — looking like I slaved away in the kitchen all day! […]

It’s “Greener” on the Other Side

posted by Andrea | 09/16/2010 | 2 comments

I like to think I embrace life and take time to enjoy where I am right now — this very moment — but I know that’s NOT always true. I’m a competitive person and I’ve always pushed myself to be better, do more, and work harder. While I’m proud of my accomplishments, I also see the value in being content with my current situation. Let me bring you back a few years {OK, more like 15 years} to when I was in 5th […]