February, 2012

Do You Split Meals At Restaurants?

posted by Andrea | 02/29/2012 | 44 comments

Dave and I don’t go out to eat all that often — and when we do, we will often split one meal to reduce our out-of-pocket expense. And even though we ALWAYS tip the waitress based on the cost of two full meals, I still sometimes feel super cheap when we split a meal.

So I’m wondering, what are your thoughts on splitting meals at restaurants? And do you have any other tips to save money while eating out?

Tips to Stock and Organize your Pantry

posted by Andrea | 02/28/2012 | 26 comments

I’ve been known to have a VERY well-stocked pantry. I guess that comes from my mom — because growing up, we always had 4 or 5 more of everything down on the pantry shelves in the basement.

And although Dave and I don’t really have a true “pantry” in our kitchen, we have several shelving units in our basement that house all our extra canned goods, baking supplies, cereal, chips, snacks, beverages, and loads of other non-perishable food supplies.

Organizing My Business Taxes with Outright.com

posted by Andrea | 02/27/2012 | 2 comments

About a month ago, I shared the REALLY simple way I organize all our tax documents. I still use that method for both our personal tax documents AND for my business tax documents… and so far I don’t have any reason to change or alter this system.

However, I’ve also been using Outright.com for the past two years and I’m thrilled with how easy it is to use. I can’t believe how much it has helped me to organize all my business tax information!

Organizing a Small Space on an Even Smaller Budget!

posted by Andrea | 02/27/2012 | 8 comments

Organizing ANY space can be a challenge — but if you live in a particularly small space {condo, apartment, dorm room, etc.} it can be EVEN trickier.

If your small space is feeling cramped, crowded, and cluttered, here are 5 tips that should help!

Inspiration for Our Kitchen Renovation!

posted by Andrea | 02/25/2012 | 23 comments

Dave and I are already starting to make plans for a massive kitchen/dinning room renovation we hope to start and finish this summer {with the help of my dad and many others I’m sure}!

I’ll be sharing more photos, ideas, and details in the months leading up to our renovation… but right now, we’re still in the “dreaming” stage and trying to decide what we want to incorporate into our new kitchen. Here are a few pictures of what my dream kitchen might look like!

Weekend Giveaway: Wooden Children’s Blocks {3 winners}

posted by Andrea | 02/24/2012 | 184 comments

One thing I’ve always said is that I won’t let my kids have too many toys — LOL!

However, I’ve always had a weakness for wooden toys — and specifically wooden blocks. Nora already has 2 full sets of wooden blocks… but that didn’t stop my from oooing and aaahing over these absolutely gorgeous blocks from the Sincerely Abi Etsy Shop!

Nora at 3 Months

posted by Andrea | 02/23/2012 | 19 comments

Our baby is already 3 months old… as of yesterday!

Some days, it seems like these past weeks just flew by, other days… it feels like I’ve been doing this for years! Although she is the cutest baby ever {small bias here} these last few months haven’t been all roses and butterflies.

Parenting and motherhood is hard work! But things are getting better… she is smiling all the time and her personality is really starting to shine through!

Increase Your Productivity at Home and at Work

posted by Andrea | 02/23/2012 | 3 comments

Each month, I write a few posts for other blogsā€¦ and for the month of February, my guest posts were all about productivity {one of my favorite subjects!}

I talk a lot about productivity, time management, schedules, to-do lists, etc. etc. but there is ALWAYS so much more to say! So if you’re looking for a few more tips and ideas to help increase your productivity at home and at work, the links below are filled with helpful tips and suggestions!

Which “Green” Products are Worth the Extra Cost?

posted by Andrea | 02/22/2012 | 20 comments

Now days, it seems like there is a new “green”, “natural”, “organic”, and/or “eco-friendly” alternative for every product on the market — and the main difference I see between these “green” products and the other “regular” products is the price! “Green” products ALWAYS seem to be more expensive!

I honestly don’t have enough information to know when it’s just a marketing ploy or when it’s “for real” — so I’m wondering what your thoughts are about paying more for “green”?

Hearty Sausage and Cheese Tortellini Soup

posted by Andrea | 02/21/2012 | 19 comments

We love eating just about any variety of soup or stew — especially on cold winter evenings. And I love making soup because we always end up with lots of leftovers for later in the week or for the freezer… so yeah, we eat a lot of soup!

I “discovered” this recipe two years ago when I was making soup to take to school for Dave’s birthday lunch. I wanted something that was a little different than all the “traditional” soups, but still really hearty and delicious. Thankfully, this recipe was a huge hit and my pot was practically licked clean!

SIMPLE Tips to Get Organized

posted by Andrea | 02/20/2012 | 8 comments

As the name of my website suggests, I’m all about keeping things as SIMPLE as possible — especially when it comes to getting organized.

Getting {and staying} organized might not be “easy” but it IS relatively “simple”. However if you are still feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, I have a few “SIMPLE” tips that might just help!

My Favorite WordPress Plugins

posted by Andrea | 02/20/2012 | 5 comments

One of my favorite things about using Wordpress as my blogging platform is the ability to quickly and easily customize my site with the thousands of free plugins available.

I have usually have around 15 plugins activated at any given time, and I love them all… here are some of my all-time favorites!

Gearing Up for Garage Sale Season

posted by Andrea | 02/18/2012 | 7 comments

Yes, I know, it’s only the middle of February — however, if you are serious about having a successful garage sale this spring, you should start planning now!

I’ve been to hundreds of garage sales, yard sales, estate sales, second hand sales, new-to-you sales, mom-to-mom sales, etc. etc. and in my opinion, there are a few things you can do NOW to make sure your sale is a success… and it really won’t take that much time or effort!

Weekend Giveaway: $100 American Express Gift Card

posted by Andrea | 02/17/2012 | 453 comments

I’m a big fan of gift cards — especially American Express gift cards that spend like cash!

And thanks to my partnership with Apartment Guide, they have generously offered to giveaway a $100 American Express gift card to one luck Simple Organized Living reader!!

How the iPhone Saved My Productivity

posted by Andrea | 02/16/2012 | 37 comments

Dave and I recently renewed our 2-year cell phone contracts… and we both got iPhones! Yes, it was totally against our ultra-frugal nature, but I have to say, the iPhone has completely saved any shred of productivity I had left after Nora arrived!

Now, 2 months later, I would honestly say that these iPhones are one of our best purchases. I can’t believe we lived without them for so long!

Organizing a Refrigerator by Temperature

posted by Andrea | 02/15/2012 | 18 comments

Several weeks ago we started having major issues with our refrigerator; and as we were trying to fix the issues, I noticed that the top shelf of our refrigerator was 10-12 degrees warmer than the bottom drawers — and the same was true for the freezer!

Now that things are “fixed” I decided to reorganize our refrigerator by temperature… and I can’t believe the difference it has made in the freshness of our food!

Motherhood: The Most Difficult Job I’ve Ever Had

posted by Andrea | 02/14/2012 | 115 comments

I’m the type of person who likes to be good at everything I do. I’m a fast learner, I work really hard, I’m willing to do things I don’t want to do, make sacrifices, deal with difficult situations, push myself to be better… and I LOVE a challenge. So I should excel at motherhood… right?

But for some reason, I feel like I’m barely staying afloat. After 13 weeks, I’m still quite overwhelmed, and have decided to give in to my new little “boss” who now seems to run the show over at the Dekker house!

The Best Apple Cake!

posted by Andrea | 02/13/2012 | 14 comments

It’s honestly the BEST apple cake/bread I’ve ever made! It tasted absolutely delicious plain {for breakfast} and with a dollop of whipped cream {for dessert}! And even though I cut out some of the fat by replacing half the oil with my homemade applesauce, this cake was still SO moist and very dense with a grand total of FIVE chopped up apples!

I think this might be my new “go-to” recipe for apples… I only wish I didn’t have to wait until next Fall to have a great selection of fresh Michigan apples!