OC Weekly Challenge #2: Cords, Cables & Media Stash

Wow! Such a great turnout for the first challenge!!! :) Hah! Oh I said before, I'm doing this to get myself organized and if it happens to inspire anyone else to do so, then great. If not, I'm still getting organized!!! :)

This weeks challenge is to organize all those loose cords and media "stuff". I store all of my media stuff in the TV cabinet in the living room. I don't know about you, but it's IMPOSSIBLE to get a cord out of my stash without spending an hour pulling and untangling and typically giving up! And I never know exactly what I have. In fact, just yesterday I bought an extension cord at Target and then found the EXACT one just hanging out in my stash once I started organizing it!!!
Here are the before photos (no laughing!):
I found some mini rubber bands for little girls' hair in the haircare section at Target and decided they'd be the perfect size to use to keep these cords bundled and neat. It was like a dollar for 100 of them! I used them for all of the cords except the really fat cable cords and things that I rolled into a circle...I used zipties for those (Home Depot). Here is what it looked like after I bundled each cord"

Then I put all the TV and computer cords in the bin and the extension cords on the shelf next to the bin, since I'm usually pulling those out the most. Then I organized the camera/camcorder supplies and bags and put them all back into the cabinet:
And here is the result:

Looks better, huh? It still contains all of the stuff it did before, but now the doors close easily!!! :) Please send in some pics of your BEFORE and AFTER pics if you decide to take on this challenge!


Natural Beauty Layout

This layout is based on a sketch by Pencil Lines (#149). I always like to try new things to keep scrapbooking exciting and interesting... This is my first circle layout and I must say that I think it's really fun! The paper line by My Little Shoebox is just tooooooo cute, and perfect for the subject of "natural" beauty.

I layered a coordinating paper over the circle paper. Then I tied a sheer polka dot bow. I matted my photos and placed them according to the sketch. I used some pre-made flower embellishments with a little "sparkle" and then cut my title (and layer) with my Cricut (Opposites Attract cartridge). Ta-da! TFL!!! :)

Recipe: The CEO's Shrimp Tacos :)

I treid two new recipes this week...the chicken stroganoff (YUM!) and another recipe from the Taste of Home cookbook called "Spicy Shrimp Wraps". However, when it came time to start preparing and cooking the shrimp wraps, I decided to modify the recipe to suit our taste (it calls for mango to be put in salsa...not our thing) and a couple of other things I decided I didn't want to use. So I basically just used the base of the recipe for the shrimp and then modified it to be "my own". :) So here is my recipe:

The CEO's Shrimp Tacos

1 C salsa
1 small avocado, pit removed and chopped
1 envelope reduced-sodium taco seasoning
1 T olive oil
1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 small flour tortillas, warmed
1 C shredded cabbage
6 T reduced fat sour cream
garnishes: sliced olives, shredded cheese, tomatoes, etc.

Combine salsa and avocado. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a ziploc bag, combine the oil, taco seasoning and shrimp. Toss/shake to coat.

In a non-stick skillet, cook shrimp over med-high heat for 2-3 minutes or until pink.

Top tortillas with cabbage, shrimp and salsa mixture. Garnish with sour cream and other garnishes as desired.

SUPER-quick, SUPER-easy!

6 servings


Recipe: Chicken Stroganoff

OMG...I was looking through my Taste of Home cookbook for something new and I found this recipe...I looked at the ingredients and thought, "No way is this going to be good." NEWS FLASH: DELICIOUS!!!
This stroganoff recipe is made with chicken which cuts the fat. It also uses fat-free sour cream and no-yolk noodles. I made this recipe even better for me by substituting olive oil spray for the butter and using reduced-sugar ketchup. And you definitely don't miss the full-fat sour can't even tell it's fat-free!
Try this one tonight....yum yum!
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 T butter (I used olive oil spray)
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch strips
1/4 C browning sauce
1 1/3 C reduced-sodium beef broth, divided
1 C white wine
2 T ketchup (I used reduced sugar)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. salt
3 T flour
1 C (8 oz.) fat-free sour cream
6 C cooked no-yolk noodles
Saute mushrooms and onion in butter in a non-stick skillet until tender. Remove; set aside.
In same skillet, cook chicken with browning sauce until cooked through. Add 1 C broth, wine, ketchup, garlic and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Combine flour and remaining 1/3 C broth until smooth; stir into chicken mixture. Add reserved mushroom mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat to low. Stir in sour cream; heat through (do not boil). Serve over noodles.
6 servings:
Only 7 grams of fat and 535 calories per serving!!!!!!

The result of being a boy and having a big sister...

The Mess Maker loves him, she really does. But I bet this will be used as "leverage" when they get older... :)

She's a girl after my own heart...

I found a cheapo $4 toy camera at the grocery store and bought it for the Mess Maker. She absolutely adores this thing! I guess she sees me taking photos almost daily and decided she wants to be a photographer, too! :)
P.S. Ignore the hair! This is right before bedtime and we had just taken her hair band out and she had crazy-hair! :)


Layout: "Don't Laugh With Food In Your Mouth" (Friday Scrapsketch Challenge)

This layout was made from yesterday's Scrapsketch Challenge...I found three photos of the Mess Maker that I just had to put on a layout and I thought this one was perfect for them! 
I didn't have the scallop-frame paper, so I cut a piece of 12x12 patterned paper with the Cricut (Storybook).  Then I matted it with brown and orange cardstock. 
I made an orage scallop-edge border strip and pulled ribbons through the holes.  I cut a 1-inch strip from some packing material (brown ridged cardboard) and inked the edges and top and then sanded over the inking.  I inked another green strip of patterned paper and placed all three strips together in the center. 
I cut the title with the Cricut as well (PS and OA).  I matted the words "in your mouth" with cream cardstock strips. 
The flower embellishment is also made with the Cricut (AE).  I tied a ribbon through a button and centered it
in the flower.
Here's the original sketch:
TFL!!!  :) 

Craft: Budget Organizer (Altered Photo Book)

I have to admit that I am not great with finances.  Okay, I'm horrible.  I can't tell you how many different types of "budget systems" I've tried:  checkbook register, budget worksheet on the computer, printed worksheet hanging on the fridge, etc.  It doesn't matter what I try, I just don't keep up with it.  I swipe my card at the store, think to myself, "Hey, I'll record it when I get home and don't have two screaming kids in tow" and then forget by the time I drag myself into my house.

So I was talking to my friend on Thursday and she told me that her husband gives her cash and she budgets it out for the week...I've also tried this method.  Sort of.  I never actually created a system for keeping track of the cash...I just spent it, and when it was out, it was out.  Irresponsible, I know. 

So when she told me about her system, I got this idea to make a budget organizer that I could keep in my purse, that would separate the cash into specific funds.  That way, when I need something at the store, I pull from that fund's pocket and shove the receipt into the same pocket, therefore keeping a record of what I bought from that fund. 

I covered a plain chipboard photo album with decorative paper and labeled each pocket (photo sleeve).  Then I added a sticky note to each pocket to write down what I've spent.  When I get home, if/when I remove the receipt (into my handy receipt organizer), I record it on the sticky note.  At the end of the week, I subtract the amounts on the sticky note from the alloted amount for that fund and determine the surplus (if any).  I take any extra money and deposit it into my savings account.  Then I replace the sticky notes and add more money to each fund for the upcoming week.  Here are some photos of my organizer:
This is the inside front page, with my budget broken down into categories, or "funds":
This is an example of one of the pockets for the funds:


First Birthday 2-Page Layout (ScrapSketch)

I did a two-page layout for the Mess Maker's first birthday because I had so many photos I wanted to include.  I looked at several sketch blogs and decided to use two sketches from ScrapSketch.  These were posted at different times, but I thought the two desings complemented each other really well.  Here are the sketches:
And here is my take on both sketches:
I had to take some creative liberties with both, to accomodate my photos...On the top layout, I added a second photo to the blank space in the sketch.  Because I did so, I needed to move the title down.  On the bottom layout, I had to crop my photos larger than the suggested 3x3 because they were printed in 4x6, so I cropped to 4x4.  Due to a lack of room, I moved the top flourish to the bottom with the other one (by the flower).  I added the layered flowers to this layout so it would complement the other, and then used another scallop frame to record the date, instead of including a second title.  TFL!!!


SB Layout: "Coming Home"

Well, I'm back in the scrapbooking's about time!  I honestly haven't completed a layout in MONTHS!!!  I've been into cards a lot lately and kind of put my scrapbooking on the back burner for awhile...and the Mess Maker's scrapbook (or lack thereof) can prove it!  I decided it's time to start the Noise Maker's scrapbook and since I've barely finished any of the Mess Maker's, it was time to start making pages again.

The photos for this layout are from 2 1/2 years ago when we brought the Mess Maker home from the hospital...she was 4 days old.  I figured she'd want to see the house we lived in at the time (we've since moved).  I printed the photos in black and white and matted them on cream cs.  Then I used a stripe pattern for another vertical mat and a house pattern (adhesive backed canvas) for a horizontal mat.  I painted chipboard letters in brown and used the Cricut "Opposites Attract" cartridge to cut out "coming".  Then I just added some embellishments:  three layered flower accents, one house (cut from patterned paper), brads and rub-ons to form a half-circle, ribbon, a name plate, and date (made on the computer)...that's it!

TFL!!!  :)


Owl Card (BBTB Challenge: Wild Card Owl Challenge)

I was sooooo bummed that the BBTB Challenge this week was to use the owl diecut on the Cricut Wild Card cartridge...which I don't have.  :(  The examples were sooooooo cute and I sooooooo wanted to play along. 
But, I decided to play anyway!!!  This owl is from the Storybook cartridge and pretty cute, obviously doesn't meet the requirement for the challenge, but it made me feel better than I could make an owl card and pretend to be as cool as everyone else!!!  :) 
I made a pink card base and used a brown and pink polka dot print on top.  I cut out lighter pink cs cricles for the eyes and used some jumbo "eyeball" brads for the eyes.  I cut out the dandelion diecut from the Storybook cartridge and cut it in half and used them as eyelashes.  Then I went crazy with the stickles and highlighted the darker pink dots on the print, the beak, the eyelashes, the ears and the toenails.  I finished with a bow and flowers, dotted with a rhinestone.  It's obviously a girl...  :)


The Noise Maker loves his sister...and she actually loves him back.  She is really good with him and frequently gives him kisses (though they're typically on the arm or the foot)...  Here's a rare occasion I caught her actually attempting to give him a kiss on the face!


Craft: Baby Boy Card (Mojo Monday: Mojo Turns 100 Sketch 5)

I've got my "Mojo" back!!! (Thanks to the Mojo Monday Sketch Blog!) They came out with this nifty little sketch last week:
This was perfect for a card for one of the CFO's co-workers whose wife had a baby today...and this is my take on the sketch:
I used patterned (baby print) and flocked (polka dot) sea green papers (from a discounted paper pack at Michael's) for the circles and background. I tied a ribbon around the base and then attached it to a white cardstock card base. I used the Accent Essentials Cricut cartridge to cut the scallop frame (sea green) and shadow (white) out of plain cardstock. Then I used a flocked iron-on sentiment ("Oh Baby") on the frame and attached the frame with adhesive foam. I finished the frame off with a little heart clip. I made this with a boy in mind, but honestly the color is really a greenish turquoise so it could probably be used for either... TFL!!! :)

OC Weekly Challenge #1: Kitchen Drawer

Let's kick off this challenge with an easy one...

Pick one (or more if you're motivated, but don't rub it in!) drawer in your kitchen to organize. Take a BEFORE photo and and AFTER photo. I want to see some great organizational ideas for holding kitchen utensils, all of that "junk" in the junk drawer, baby bibs, etc....

**UPDATE** 8/25/09
I suppose that if I expect anyone else to participate, I should prove that I, myself, am actually going to follow along with the challenge!  Soooooooo, I decided to tackle my kitchen "Administrative Station" (aka Junk Drawer).  For some reason, this drawer always manages to collect a bunch of random stuff that doesn't belong...especially reciepts!  I keep my receipts 'just in case' and haven't had a system for storing them....until now!  Here is my BEFORE junk drawer photo:

And here is the AFTER junk drawer photo:
And this is my memory board which I will now term "Temporary Stuff Holder" for things that need to be in plain sight or need attention in the near future (invites that need RSVPs, appointment reminders for upcoming appts, etc.).  In front of it is a little recipe card box with some tabbed dividers for each month of the year and for each day of the month.  Each month, I will put the current month's divider in front (since it's the end of August, I'm starting this system on September 1st)...then when I buy something, I will put the receipt behind the number of the day of the month I purchased the item on.  At the end of the month, I can check the receipts, by day, against my checkbook register, or make locating them a little easier in case I need to return something.  Then, at the end of the month they can all be paper clipped together and stuck at the back of the box and the new month can be brought to the front.  I think this will FINALLY help me keep those loose receipts organized!
Let me know if you have some great organizational tips for all that random junk drawer "stuff"...  :)


I've decided that in my ongoing quest for complete and total household organization (yeah, right) I am going to start a weekly organization challenge. This is mainly for myself...because frankly I need some external pressure to get anything done. And, hopefully if I can figure out this "Mr. Linky" thing, others can post their projects and give me some ideas and inspiration! Sound good?

Okay, so here's how it's going to work: Each Monday I will post a new challenge (for me to complete by the next Monday). I will post my results, with photos, and ask that anyone else that wants to participate to post theirs as well... I'm thinking I'll give it a 4-month run to start...through the end of 2009. (We'll see how far I actually get!) Maybe we can all be Carol Brady by the end of this run. :)

Hope this accomplishes something (other than gluing me to keyboard more than I already am!)...


I couldn't resist these GIRLY papers either!!!

So obviously since I purchased some BOY themed papers (see below), I had to buy GIRL papers, too...right?!?!? Again, Abbey Road and Three Bugs had some super-cute papers with little birdies on them. And I don't know why (other than the fact that I LOVE birds) but I am quickly accumulating a large collection of bird-themed papers.

But again, I couldn't resist:

Abbey Road "Whirlybird":

Three Bugs in a Rug "Spread Your Wings":
Don't you just LOVE the little birdies on these??? :)

Finally...some CUTE patterned paper for BOYS!!!

I will admit that I am "impulse patterened paper shopper"...and I have the stash to prove it! :) I have an especially large collection of pink and floral papers and those geared toward little girls. I only a little girl for 2 1/2 years! But then the Noise Maker came along and I decided I would probably need to find something other than pink and floral papers to scrapbook his photos with. Easier said than done...

You know how when you go shopping for little girls clothes there are like 5,000 racks of super-cute things to choose from, and then over in the dark, musty corner you might find two racks of clearance clothes for boys??? Well, (for me anyway) that's how buying patterened paper for boys has been in the past...that is until I went to my local scrapbook store yesterday! I have scoured the local Hobby Lobby, Michael's, etc. but have been unsuccessful at finding much. I hadn't been to the sb store, though, in about 4 absolute miracle for me. Unfortunately, my wallet made up for missed time. : )

I found three lines of patterned paper for little boys that are absolutely TO DIE FOR!!! I obviously couldn't resist....

K & Company "Actopus to Zelephant Train":

Abbey Road "Stomp" and "Round & Round":

Three Bugs in a Rug "Snips & Snails: and "To the Rescue":

Have a look at these cutie-patootie papers next time you're at your local sb store...see if you can resist them! :)

The Mess Maker's "Swimmin' in the Tub"

I will admit that the Mess Maker (okay, and by default, the Noise Maker as well) bathe slightly "less frequently" in the summertime than the rest of the year. I mean, if chlorine doesn't kill the "funk", I doubt Johnson's Tear-free baby wash is going to do much better. :)

So, lately, what used to be termed "bathtime" in our household, has now been coined "swimmin' in the tub" by the Mess Maker. Hmmmm...I hope the lesson of personal hygiene hasn't been lost in there somewhere...