Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!! As usual, I'm super excited it's the weekend!  I love the extra sleep, quality time with my husband and getting stuff done around the house!

Can't wait to see this!  All the feels.

If you watched Titanic (which is everyone), please watch this video.  SO TRUE!!  #sharethedoorrose
I've watched it several times and cannot stop laughing!

Did you catch my January Book Review?  I read two very popular books right now and shared my thoughts!

I shared my Top 10 Organization Tips this week!  I love to organize and hope you can use some of these tips to stay more organized too!

I shared my Baked Ziti recipe this week!  It's a major favorite in our house so I hope you enjoy it too!

Hope you all have an amazing weekend!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Baked Ziti

This is a favorite dish in our house!  It's easy and delicious.  The best part about it though is that you can make it ahead of time and freeze it!  I typically make 3 full size versions worth of ingredients, make 6 half size trays out of it and freeze them!  Sometimes, one of those pops into the oven that night for dinner though because it's yummy :)

1 box ziti (we like the regular size & mini)
1 jar of marinara sauce
1 lb ground beef
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Garlic Powder

Brown ground beef with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some garlic powder.
Heat marinara sauce on top of the stove.  
(I mix in garlic powder to taste and a few pinches of sugar to take the bitter taste from the tomatoes)
Drain the meat and mix in with the sauce.  Bring it to a boil and then simmer while the pasta is cooking.
Boil ziti until al dente.  (You do not want it overdone because it will cook more when baking)
Drain pasta.
Pour pasta in a 9x13 baking dish.
Cover with marinara and meat mixture and stir it all together.
Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top to cover.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until cheese on top is melted.

If you are going to freeze this meal, after sprinkling the cheese on top let the whole pan cool for a few minutes before covering with several layers of Reynolds wrap.  I write on the top of the wrap what's inside and when I made it.

I break this recipe in half and it's plenty for the two of us.  This is an easy weeknight meal if you're making the whole thing and even easier if you already have several of them frozen.  We put ours in the fridge around lunchtime to start letting it defrost and then pop it in the oven at 350 for around 45 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Typically halfway through I stir it up some and sprinkle a little extra cheese on top.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Top 10 Organization Tips

One of the most requested topics I get for blog posts is organization!  I love to organize.  Closets, my life, drawers, papers, just give me something to organize and I am one happy girl!

I have some more in-depth posts coming on ways I organize that will give you lots of specifics but I thought today I would go ahead and share my top 10 organizational tips!

1. Buy a planner.

You will never be able to stay organized if you don't organize your day, appointments, etc.  I'm not a phone or computer calendar kind of girl. I like a paper planner.  Always have, always will.  I want one that has lots of list making space and that is easily portable to take with me wherever I go.  This year I purchased this planner & love it!  

2. Meal plan.

With our crazy schedules, if we didn't meal plan we would be eating out and eating junk constantly.  Making a plan at the beginning of the week and having everything in our house and ready to cook keeps us eating healthy and cheaper!

3. Sort mail immediately.

Do not let mail stack up and pile up on your counters.  As soon as our mail comes, we go through it and toss the stuff we do not want/need, open bills and business papers and put it where it goes.  I normally come home for lunch and grab any bills and take those back to work, pay them and put them in our work outgoing mail.  I hate unnecessary paper laying around!  If you sort through it, pay any bills and organize anything you need to keep as it comes you won't have large piles to deal with.

4. Do a load of laundry every day.

Again, with our crazy schedules, if I get behind on laundry we can easily look up and be out of X, Y, or Z being clean that we need.  I almost always do a load of laundry every day to keep up!  I hate spending all day on a weekend doing laundry so if I do this it keeps it from being such a chore.

5. Pack lunches and lay out clothes the night before.

Mornings are the most hectic time of my day.  I'm trying to workout, do blog work, get ready for work, take all my meals/snacks with me, etc.  If I lay out my workout clothes the night before (and even my office outfit for the next day sometimes) this really helps.  I also pack any non-refrigerated items in my lunchbox the night before so that I only have to pack the cold items on my way out the door.

6. Keep a to-do list.

If you keep a visual of everything you need to do, you are more likely to get it all completed!  I personally love the satisfaction of crossing things off my to-do list.  I keep these on paper and in my planner.  Backspacing on my iPhone doesn't give me the same satisfaction as actually crossing through a task.  At the same time, realize you are not superwoman.  I have a long, everything I have to do list but I make a shorter list for each day that's manageable.  Picking a few items to handle each day keeps me from feeling so overwhelmed that i just freeze.

7. Spot clean daily.

We get very rare free time and when we do, I don't want to spend it working on cleaning the house.  I make a point to pick things up off the floor or put items that are laying out away in the morning, at lunch and at night.  Keeping the house more tidy allows me to feel more relaxed in our home and makes our house feel more put together.

8. Run dishwasher nightly.

I don't know how you ladies with families do it.  With just the two of us, we fill up our dishwasher so quickly!  I've gotten in the habit of if it's over halfway full running it most nights so that I can unload it in the morning while I let my hair dry in my towel.  This keeps our kitchen more organized and all the dishes I need clean and ready to be used the next night.

9. Organize as you put things away.

When we put groceries away, I rearrange our cabinets and fridge to keep like items together and keep everything neat.  All our canned vegetables are sorted by type, all pasta is together, etc.  If you do this, it will take an easy glance in your cabinets, pantry or refrigerator to see what you will need at the grocery.  I do the same thing in our closets.  As I put things away, they are sorted by category and if I'm in true Type A form by color most of the time too.  This makes grabbing the clothes we need a lot easier!

10. Budget and balance your checkbook/check bank accounts daily.

If you want to save money and get to your financial goals, you need a budget.  We have one that we try to strictly adhere to.  We have certain goals we want to accomplish and it will require staying focused on our budget to get there!

Almost every morning, I balance our personal and business checkbook and check all of our accounts. I also update my tracking of our income and expenses.  This keeps this task from being overwhelming and helps us stay on budget.  

There you have it!  My top 10 organization tips! I'm planning on doing more detailed posts on most of these topics.  Which ones do you want to see first?  Any specific questions you all want answered?