Spring Cleaning & Crock Pot Cooking

Starting spring cleaning today…bathrooms are getting deep cleaned. Yay! (Yuck!) The bathroom is my least favorite room to clean so I’m getting it out of the way first.

Since I’ll be busy, this is going in the Crock-Pot Slow Cooker today.

Slow-Cooker Bacon-Ranch Chicken and Pasta
Source: www.bettycrocker.com
Cook 6 hr 10 min
Total 6 hr 10 min
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

1 lb chicken breasts
6 slices bacon cooked and diced
2-3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 package (1 oz) ranch dressing and seasoning mix
1 can (10.75 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
1⁄2 cup water
8 oz spaghetti cooked

Directions

1 Spray 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray; place chicken breasts in cooker.
2 In medium bowl, mix remaining ingredients except spaghetti. Pour over top of chicken.
3 Cover; cook on Low heat setting 6 hours or on High heat setting 3 to 4 hours.
4 When about 15 minutes are left, cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package.
5 Just before serving, shred chicken with 2 forks, and toss creamy chicken mixture with cooked spaghetti.

Organizing the Pantry (again!)

Organizing My Pantry (yes, again)…

EditHello. My name is Lynne and I am a food hoarder. 

Yikes. I was aggravated yesterday looking for something in my pantry and decided that organizing it yet again would be today’s project. I’m not sure why I have so much food, but man…I have a LOT. Maybe subconsciously I am preparing some unforeseen disaster. Seriously, though, I have ten (ten!!) bags and jars of rice! Rice! 

Plus approxi-mately eight boxes of pasta. And a basket of potatoes. And sweet potatoes. It’s a carb lover’s dream. 

I have an entire pantry shelf dedicated to canned veggies. They’re organic and all, but it looks like I’m expecting to never, ever find them at the store again. Ever. 



Please note that the stash of coffee does not qualify as a hoard. That just everyday sanity protection, so move your eyes along from that area. (Avert your eyes.)



Clearly – CLEARLY – someone needs to keep me out of the grocery store for an extended period of time. Someone could go for milk and eggs for me. 

Because in addition to the pantry, my freezer is full. As in, full. Why did I tell my husband that 72 waffles was not too many? I have frozen fruits and veggies to last…well, awhile. I also discovered three roasts, two pork loins, a ham bone, two packs of bacon, a pack of stew beef, and eight packs of chicken breasts. And here I was planning to hit the Fresh Market’s $2.99 Tuesday near sale in the morning. Oh. My. Goodness. 

I really had no idea that I had so much stuff. I’ve been going merrily along spending the money in my grocery fund envelope when I could have probably eaten from what I have and taken myself on a trip to the beach!

All that being said, I’m counting my blessings that I have food to eat. I’m also praying for some self-control. We need to eat from our pantry and freezer until they are depleted. I need to avoid sales flyers and the Publix app on my phone. 

Please…if you see me in a grocery store in the next month, take me by the hand – which may be tightly gripping the grocery cart handle – and escort me to my car. Remind me that I’m saving for a beach trip. If I tell you that I’m only buying milk, them you might just need to keep an eye on me.

I did get it organized, though. Here are some pics. 





Wonder what we are having for dinner. I might need to go…just kidding! We’re having leftovers!

Lynne

Happy Sunday!

Good morning!

As I drank my coffee this morning, I did my early morning devotional. This is what I learned.

God is beautiful. He created beauty: beaches, mountains, sunrises, sunsets, clouds…all of it. He is beauty and he created beauty for us to enjoy.

He also created each of us to be creative in some way – to be beautifiers. God is also a God of order. So when we created beautiful, organized, peaceful sanctuaries in our homes, it is God-honoring if it’s not done in a prideful way. Our home and our lives should point to God, not to self.

This really spoke to my little organizing heart. When I beautify my home, I do it so that it’s a place to come home to and feel comfort and love. When I organize, I do it so that there’s less stress and frustration – and thus, more joy.

I just wanted to share that with all of you. Maybe it will speak to you as well as we spend time “together” organizing and beautifying our homes.

I pray that you have a joy-filled, peaceful and relaxing day.

Lynne

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Monday, Monday…Challenge Day :)

Good Monday morning, y’all!

I hope you all had wonderful weekends! Mine was pretty restful so that was nice. Had a good morning with the kiddos in preschool at church yesterday morning. Didn’t get a nap yesterday but I did go to bed early. 🙂

My teriyaki chicken is in the crock pot. I’ll let you know how it turns out. It’s a new recipe for me but it sure smells promising.

I must confess that we did not get the porch painted last week. It’s been pressure washed and is ready…we’re just waiting for cooler temps. Supposedly, we’ll see some this week. If so, maybe dear hubby will get it painted. In the meantime, we’ll move on to what you see when you open the front door – your entry hall/foyer/entry way…whatever you call it. I’ll write that post later today. I’m off to work this morning.

A lot of the new folks (finally hit 350 likes – woohoo!) are from another page I follow and I’ve seen much about the pantry. The pantry challenge there is to inventory what’s in your pantry and make meals from that as long as you can. I post the link to that page in the comments section below.

I’ll repost my original pantry challenge this afternoon as well. It’s all about organizing your pantry/cabinets to make life in the kitchen a little easier.

Anyway…have a GREAT day! I’ll “talk” to you all later!

Lynne

September Challenge #1: The Front Door

Good morning, friends!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend! (Again, if you had to labor yesterday at your job, I’m sorry!) Ours was pretty uneventful and rather relaxing. That’s always good. Finished it off with a run last night just before the lightning came. I would have welcomed some rain, but I don’t do lightning. Thank you very much.

For those of you who are new to this blog/page, I usually “issue” challenges on Mondays, but who wants a challenge on a holiday? Therefore, I’m calling you out today. 🙂 I haven’t issued a challenge all summer so it’s about time I (meaning “we”) get back down to business, don’t you think?

But first, do a load of laundry. Just one load. Or one kind/sort of laundry…for example, if you have two loads of towels, do both loads. (If you’ve never taken the laundry challenge and you are being run out of your house by the Laundry Monster, please go to this link and proceed:

https://lifedoesnthavetobethisway.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/defeating-the-laundry-monster/

(I did not re-read this post so I hope it’s not full of errors!)

NOTE: There are several weekly challenges coming up.  I’m not about spending a lot of money, so don’t be scared. We are going to redo, update, rearrange…all without spending much – if any – money. So DO NOT BE ALARMED. I’m not asking you to pull out your checkbook or VISA card. Really. We are literally starting at the front door and working our way through our homes room by room. I plan to keep any spending to under $50 per room. (Dave Ramsey speaks inside my head quite often these days.)

Now, let’s carry on. I told you that this week’s challenge was a mental – not physical – one, so prepare your brain. For me, that means consuming some coffee. But that’s how I prepare for anything. You’ll also need your eyes. You might even need the opinion of a good friend. So…here goes.

Question: What is the first thing people notice when they drive up to your house? (Or condo, apartment, townhouse…whatever you call home. I’d like to call a beach house “home” but, alas, I do not.) Is it your nice, neat yard and welcoming front porch? Is it beautiful flowers and amazing curb appeal? Is it dead plants? A door that needs painting? Toys on the front steps? Does it look the houses on “Hoarders”? Bless.

Now, you’ll need to go outside for this one. Maybe even get in your car and turn on the AC if you live around here. But look at your house. Really look at it. Try to imagine that it’s your first time seeing it. Ask yourself these questions.

1. Does my house say, “Welcome, friends!”?

2. If I didn’t live here, would I want to go in?

3. I do live here. Do I want to go in?

4. Does it look like someone lives here who won’t let you touch anything?

5. Does it look like someone lives here who doesn’t care if you fall through the porch?

6. Does it look like a warm, welcoming, happy place to be?

If you don’t feel you can have an unbiased opinion about this, ask a friend or two. Ones who will be honest but not hurt your feelings. It never hurts to ask anyway. Your friends may see things you don’t – not just bad things. Good things, too!

If you answered “no” to #3 or “yes” to #4 or #5, this challenge is for you. Our goal is a “yes” for #1 and #6.

Once you’ve taken a good look at your house, you’re going to make a list. I love lists. (I don’t always get everything on my lists done, but at least I have a goal. I’ll eventually get to most of it.) You’re going to make a list of small things that you can do – for free or for “cheap” – to make your house look more welcoming. To say to people, “An awesome person lives here. You might want her (or him) to be your friend.”

So I did this on Sunday. And here’s my list – in no particular order. Most of these do cost a little. I will probably spend more money here than in room inside the house.

1. Get two pretty fall mums for the pots on my front steps.

2. Paint the porch rails and front door.  (NOTE: This is a project I’ve been putting off all summer because…well, because it’s been hot and I just didn’t want to do it.)

3. Get a new welcome mat. When the word “Welcome” is no longer visible, you might need a new one. Just saying.

4. Make new wreath for front door. (I saw one online yesterday that I loved.)

5. Bring small table back out to porch so there’s a place for the lanterns that are on the back porch. (Rearranging…one of my favorite things!)

6. Bring out the fall flag and hang it up. (Replace if faded.)

7. And finally – and this is a project for the hubby, I hope – paint the porch floor.

Like I said, the porch/front door is where I’m going to spend the most money. I’ll still try to keep it under $50. It depends on how much paint costs. I really don’t want you to feel you have to spend money. Before you go to a store, shop around your house. You might be surprised at the things you find that you can use to ‘beautify” your front porch/entrance and make your home more welcoming.

You know the saying about first impressions. When people drive up to your home, they get their first impression before you open the front door. So make it as good a one as you can.

Here are my “before” pics of my front porch. Now I think it’s pretty welcoming already. So most of the things on my list are things that are maintenance-type things that need to be done. You can clearly see that the paint on the porch floor is peeling badly. Yikes! (It did get pressure washed after these pics, so it’s cleaner but the paint is more peel-y.)

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the whole thing

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the walkway (steps are now clean!)

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My favorite place to sit and have coffee (despite the peeling paint)

I didn’t get one of the front door but trust me, it needs painting.

I’d love to hear/see your lists when you’re done. And, of course, before and after pics are welcome! They make me very excited, actually. If you’re entry is already a welcoming area, share your pics and inspire the rest of us!

Have a blessed Tuesday!

Lynne