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Homemaking Articles - Imperfect Homemaker

Category Archives for Homemaking

Organize Your Fridge and Reduce Food Waste

Did you know that it's possible to organize your fridge and keep it that way?

For the longest time, I tried to organize my fridge and keep it cleaned, but it seemed like things were always getting shoved to the back and would end up rotten by the time I found them.

I finally had one of those “duh” moments when I realized that organizing my fridge and minimizing food waste didn't have to be difficult at all.

All it took was a few labels.

Sure, I could have just designated certain shelves for certain foods, but whenever I tried that, I would always forget (or my family didn't know what went where) and things would end up in disarray again.

In less than 15 minutes time, I came up with the world's easiest system for organizing my fridge.  Yours will probably end up looking different than mine due to the different setup of different refrigerators, but you'll get the idea of how you can create an easy-to-use system for keeping your refrigerator organized.

Organize Your Fridge (and keep it that way)

 

First, I took everything out and washed the shelves thoroughly.  I also threw away anything that had gone bad or that I knew I wasn't going to use. Then I set it up like this:

Top Shelf:

Beverages.  That's it.  Since I often buy 8 gallons of raw milk at one time, I need that shelf completely dedicated to beverages.

Drawer:

Cheese and lunch meat.  (Side note: lunch meat is not something I recommend consuming regularly.  We have it when we're really feeling the need for something quick and easy, but we make sure to buy a kind that is nitrate/nitrite free.)

Middle Shelf:

On the left side I put ingredients such as cooked meat, broth, chopped onions, or anything else that is pre-prepared that will be a component of a meal.  I labeled that side simply “Ingredients”.  The right side is labeled “Leftovers”, so I'm sure you can figure out what goes there.  I try to make sure to put the most recent leftovers in the back and move the older ones to the front.  It's a lot easier to make sure we eat the older stuff before it goes bad when it's looking me right in the face when I open the fridge.

Bottom Shelf:

The left side is labeled “Snacks” and holds things like granola bars, applesauce, and anything else that is meant to be grab-n-go.  Since snacks are such a frequented category of food in our household, having them all in one designated spot keeps people from digging through the fridge in search of something to eat, and eliminates the disorganization that follows. Since there will inevitably be something that doesn't fall into any category, the bottom right shelf is labeled “Miscellaneous”.  That way I have a place to put everything even if I'm not sure where it should go.

Produce Drawers:

I have labeled the produce drawers with “Week 1” and “Week 2”.  If not everything gets used up on the first week, it gets moved over to the “Week 2” drawer before I bring put any new groceries away.  When I'm deciding what vegetables to have with dinner, I always check the “Week 2” drawer and use up whatever's in there first.

In the door I keep condiments, supplements that require refrigeration, butter, and anything else small.  I try to group like items together and eliminate as many unnecessary items as possible.  For example, instead of having 10 different kinds of salad dressing in there cluttering things up, I make our salad dressing from scratch.  I usually only make enough for one meal so that I can make whichever kind we prefer and not end up with a bunch of things in there that end up going bad.

 

I've never considered myself an organized person, but ever since I labeled the shelves and started putting things in specific places, our food waste has been drastically reduced.  It's also easier to decide what to have for dinner because I can easily see what needs to be cooked up first.

And the best part is that it only took a few minutes to organize, and it has stayed that way for a long time!

I hope my system will give you an idea of how to organize your own fridge and reduce food waste!

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Being Your Spouse’s Prayer Warrior (and a free printable prayer calendar)

The Importance of Being a Prayer Warrior for Your Spouse, plus a free prinable prayer calendar.  from @mbream

 

It was just over one year ago that the Lord began working in my heart about praying earnestly for my husband.  Our life had begun to seemingly crumble around us as we learned of a major unexpected ministry change that would be taking place. Hard times were ahead- we could just feel it. As my husband came home each day and shared his burdens with me, the Lord seemed to impress on my heart that I could do more to support my husband. I could do the one thing that mattered the most- one that would have a lasting impact. I could pray.

You may be thinking, “Didn't you pray for your husband before last year?!”  Yes, I did. But not earnestly. And not specifically. And not consistently.

I needed to make a big change.

One day I came across a prayer calendar online. I don't even remember what site I found it on, but I knew immediately that I was looking at the perfect prompting to my prayers for my husband.  The calendar was not month-specific, so I could use it over each month. Every day's box had a different topic of prayer and a few verse references to go along with each topic. I printed it off onto red paper and presented it to my husband as a gift. He was very appreciative and I could tell that it meant a lot to him that I was taking this step and then making it known to him. After he looked it over, I carried it to the kitchen and taped it above my sink.

It's one of the best things I've ever done.

Every day for the past year (plus) I have prayed for my husband as I washed the dishes. (Yes, I've missed a few when we were traveling, but my point is that it became a habit.)  I even started knowing what the prayer prompt topic was before I got to the sink!

As the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months, I began to reap the rewards of my prayer time.

My husband would come home and recount the events of the day, telling me his joys and struggles, and of his own answers to prayer.

I was often amazed to find that the very things He encountered that day were specific to the topic I had prayed about! I shared those things with him, many times saying “I prayed about that for you today!”  These instances strengthened our faith together, and motivated me to pray even more consistently and more often as the Lord brought things to mind. Furthermore, as time went by, I found that God was changing me through my prayers for my husband. As I prayed about areas of character and Godliness for him, I realized that my own life needed God's stirring in some of the same areas.  Only God can give double blessings like that through prayer!

This year, I have designed my own prayer calendar. I've changed up the topics from last year and have added new Scripture references. It's time to begin a new cycle of prayer, and I'm looking forward to seeing how God is going to use it in my husband's life to encourage him.

Free Prayer Calendar

I'd like to make this calendar available to you and encourage you to pray earnestly and specifically for your spouse this year! Give the  gift of the blessings of prayer. My calendar is available as a free printable on my website. At the moment, it is an excel document that I hope will open for you! Click here to download your daily prayer calendar.

Expect God to do great things as you intercede for your beloved!

How to Grind Venison in the Food Processor

My husband got two deer this year, his first since we've been married.  That means I got my first experience at helping butcher.  Not exactly what I would call fun, but I'm thankful for the meat.  There are, of course, certain portions of the meat which are only suitable for grinding.  When I was growing up, my dad always had a big meat grinder that he would use.  Since I did not have one, I thought I would just try it in the food processor.  It works!  Quite well, I might add.

After a little trial and error, here is how it worked best:

  • Use the S-shaped steel blade.
  • Only grind a small amount at a time.  Turn the food processor on the highest setting, but be ready to turn it off quickly if the meat is too tough.  If it seems like the machine is struggling, turn it off right away, otherwise you will burn up your motor.  If you are having trouble getting your machine to cut through the meat, you will have to work at cutting away some of the sinew.  See all the white streaks in that piece of meat?  That's what you have to get rid of.  I found that it was actually easier to grind the meat first, and then pick out the white strands, but every once in a while there is some that is too tough and it has to be cut off before you can grind it.
  • It took about 10 seconds to fully grind each small piece.  Bigger pieces took more like 30 seconds.

This is a piece that has already been ground.  Now you need to pick out as much of those white streaks as you reasonably can without spending forever or wasting too much meat.  I wore disposable gloves for this part.

It will look like it has been crushed to smitherines, but once you cook it, it is the perfect consistency.  See?

Now you can use it for spaghetti, chili, or anything else for which you would use regular burger!

I apologize if that was a little gross for you, but I hope it will help someone like me who had no earthly idea how to go about grinding venison.

How to Remove Crayon from Clothing

Preschool Boy + Pockets + Crayons + Washer + Dryer =

Yes, that is one of my daughter's good dresses that is absolutely covered in yellow crayon.  I washed and dried an entire load of kids clothes with a yellow crayon.  Every article of clothing had lovely yellow splotches on it.  Rather than cry, I did a little searching until I came up with what I thought should be the least pain-free way of removing said yellow crayon splotches.
In case you ever find yourself in the same predicament, here are step-by-step instructions for removing crayon from clothing.
  1.  Spray each crayon splotch with WD-40.

2. After you have sprayed the spots, place the clothing into the bathtub with the hottest water you can get.  (It is very important to have your water very hot or you will end up with grease spots on the clothes.)

3.  Let the clothing sit for a few minutes and scrape each spot with your fingernail.  The crayon should come right off, along with some oil from the WD-40.

4. If you have tough spots, re-spray them and scrub them some more with your fingernail.  When you have removed all or most of the spots, put the clothes into the washing machine on the hottest water setting.  Use good laundry detergent like Tide if you can.

5.  You may have to send the load through a couple times and use some good-smelling fabric softener to get rid of the oily smell from the WD-40.

6.  Do not dry any of the clothes until you are sure the crayon marks are gone.  If you have any clothing that still has crayon marks, start over at step 1 and repeat until the crayon marks are gone.

7. NEVER wash a little boy's clothes in the future without checking the pockets!

2012: One Year of Anti-Procrastination

Look out 2012! I am challenging myself, not to a day, a week, or even a month; but to a full year of Anti-Procrastination!

I'd love to have you join me!

Let me explain what I mean by Anti-Procrastination. You know those crumbs you see when you open the silverware drawer? The messy closet that needs a good straightening? That pair of pants that needs mending? Anything that bugs you every time you see it but that you just never “get around to” is a candidate for an Anti-Procrastination project.

I really don't know why I procrastinate. I have million excuses that all seem valid, but really most of the time they aren't. “I'm in the middle of making dinner.” “We're getting ready to go out the door.” On and on I could go with the excuses, but they're getting a kick out the door this year. When I see something that needs doing, I'm going to do it right then and there!

I'm not saying that I plan to start deep cleaning the oven 5 minutes before it's time to go out the door. But those crumbs in the silverware drawer? Ten seconds and they'll be gone!

Here are my self-imposed rules for Anti-Procrastination Year. You can make up your own rules for how they will best suit your situation.

  1. I must do one thing every day of the entire year. On busy days I can choose a 10 second task like pulling that sock out from under the bed. On slower days I can plan ahead to do something that takes a little longer such as a craft project, deep cleaning, or organizing.
  2. If I start something that takes longer than one day, I must work on the same thing every day until it is completed.
  3. No task should ever take long enough to cause me to forgo my regular housework, cooking, mommy time with the kids, etc. If a task is taking too long it must be continued the next day.
  4. An Anti-Procrastination task is any task above and beyond my normal housework schedule. It can consist of cleaning, crafts, decorating, or anything else that I want. It can be something that really needs to be done or just something fun that I've been putting off until just the right time.

I'm sure I'll think of more rules as I get into this. I've already been trying to do one thing every day even though it's not 2012 yet (I decided not to procrastinate starting on Anti-Procrastination Year!). So far I've changed out my fall wreaths for the Christmas wreaths, pulled a sock out from behind the bed, and got rid of a pair of shoes.

I plan to post an update once a week of what I've been able to accomplish. I'm taking the plunge and publishing this so that I will be forced to be accountable for the entire year.

Please cheer me on, and join me in the challenge if you're up to it!