"Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding". Prov.4:7(NKJV)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Coupon Binder Update: Part 1

Back in 2009 I posted about the new thing I learned about called the coupon binder. I’ve been a dedicated coupon user since before my son was born (over 15 years). I went from carrying coupons in my purse to having coupons in an envelop. I even kept coupons in a small file box (the kind you store recipes in) with each section divided by index cards. I’ve used alphabet and naming specific categories. From there it was the little coupon file holder you carry in your purse but that wasn’t big enough for my growing needs.

I read books on coupon organization and started using a plastic shoe box with a top to store my coupons in. I still was using the index cards to divide the categories and took it with me everywhere I went. The problem with that was some coupons were too big, I didn’t have enough room for my sale circulars or the top coming loose. When it got dropped papers went everywhere and I had to fix it back up again :-( The last thing I tried was a plastic clear square box with a top that locks in place. I thought I would never ever need another coupon system again until I came across the coupon binder system.

I instantly fell in love with the setup. I love anything that has to do with organizing stuff and this was a project I could not pass up. I posted my coupon binder after it was all finished but it was brought to my attention I needed to update it and was asked to do a tutorial. I gladly accepted the challenge. FYI: You won't find that earlier post here because I took it down. Since I have much to cover I decided to break it up into different parts so the post would not be extremely long. That’s why this is part 1. Here are pictures of my binder I’ve been using the last 5 years:

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This is what my binder looks like on the outside. I bough it at Walgreens in Sept. 2009 for only $20.

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I love that it comes with a padded shoulder strap and a hand held strap to give you more than one way to carry it. When my hands are full I can put it on my shoulders and move right along.

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Here is a little zippered pocket on the outside to tuck something small out of the way.

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When I open it up this is the first thing you see. There’s a pocket that I use to store some sales papers or my store list. The little netted pocket I use to put the coupons (will cover these later) I’m using to the side so they are handy once I get to the checkout counter.








IMAG0391In this pouch I keep my scissors, pen, highlighter (will talk about this later), and a small calculator (not shown). Keeping these things handy are a must. We are organizing so these are things you will need for things to run smoothly.





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The next thing you’ll see is this part where there’s a place to hold some keys, a zippered compartment, and 3 netted pockets. I use this part to hold things like oversized coupons, deals, Bed Bath & Beyond coupons or just anything I need a place to store something.

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I love the way this binder opens/divides into two sections. I will tell you what’s in each on my next post.

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The back of the binder has a velcro pocket and a place underneath to write your name and phone number on it. This is very important because if you happen to leave it somewhere someone may be nice enough to take it to customer service or contact you to get it back to you. The back side has a pocket and a net one too. Everything can be kept nice and neat with little risk of losing anything. That’s why I love this thing. It has so many compartments to store stuff. You won’t run out of room or places to store things. Now that you’ve seen my binder in part 2 I will get into how I got organized. Hope you come back to see and learn more.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ham and Vegetable Soup

Fall 2014 is here! Time for some good comfort foods like soup, stews, casseroles, and homemade baked goodies. In our house we eat many different soups. I’ve been known to make soup out of anything edible I can find in the cabinets, pantry, fridge, and freezer. Yep it’s all but the kitchen sink. Haven’t had any complaints and no one is dead yet so I shall continue on. Today I want to share with you an easy soup that can be modified to include anything you like.

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Ham and Veggie Soup

Ingredients:
1-2 lb. Ham Steak cubed (bone discarded) or use 2 cups leftover ham
1 12-16 oz. bag of frozen mixed vegetables
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 Tbsp. of EVOO or oil of your choice
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Bay leaf (big size)
1 14oz. can of diced tomatoes undrained
1 8oz. can of tomato sauce
6 cups of chicken broth/stock (I make my own)

Directions:
Spray a 6 qt. crockpot with cooking spray. Add cubed ham and frozen mixed vegetables. In a skillet heat oil on medium heat. Sauté onion and celery for 5 minutes then add in garlic and sauté for another minute. Put in crockpot and add other ingredients. Stir and cover. Cook on LOW heat 6-8 hours or HIGH heat 3-4 hours. Serve with crackers, corn bread, or a good piece of crusty type bread with butter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Smothered Chicken

It's time for another "Recipe of the Week". Today I’m sharing a recipe for a tomato based smothered chicken dish. I may share my recipe of the one without tomatoes at a later time.

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Smothered Chicken (tomato based)

Ingredients:

8 pieces of chicken (I like using legs and thighs)
2-3 Tbsp. oil
1 yellow onion sliced
2 green and/or red bell peppers sliced
8 oz. of sliced mushrooms
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 c. flour (seasoned to your liking)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. white or red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

Wash chicken pieces and let drain. Coat pieces with the flour. Shake off excess. Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. Brown chicken pieces for 5 minutes on each side. Set aside to drain. Leave grease in skillet for sautéing the veggies. Spray 5-6 qt. crock pot with cooking spray. Lay chicken on bottom of crockpot. Sautee onions, bell peppers, mushrooms in skillet for 5 minutes. Transfer to crock pot (pour over chicken). Add remaining ingredients to crockpot and cover. Cook on LOW heat 7-8 hours. Serve however you like. We had ours over cooked angel hair pasta but you can replace it with cooked rice.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fish Foil Packets

I often get asked to share some of my recipes so I figured it would be a great idea to post some of my families favorites here on my blog. Pictures make the recipes look more appealing so I’ll share a "Recipe Of The Week" with picture (s). To get things started here is an easy, quick, and tasty meal that can be made to fit anyone’s liking.

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Ingredients:
-1 lb. boneless, skinless portion size fish of your choice (Tilapia, Pollock, Salmon, ect.)
variety of cut up fresh or frozen veggies (here I chose to use carrots, green beans, garlic, and sliced red onions. I use whatever I have on hand but you can use whatever is good to you)
-lemon pepper seasoning or salt and pepper to taste (can use herbs too)
-a pat of butter (for each packet)
-A splash of cooking or Real white wine---whatever you fancy (optional)
-Foil and a baking sheet for cooking

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and pat dry fish. Tear off good size pieces of foil (for each family member) to make each pack. Lay a piece of fish on a piece of foil. Sprinkle on choice of seasoning. Add a handful of your choice veggies. At this point if you’re using add that splash of wine and put a pat of butter on top. Fold sides of foil up together and roll to seal. Fold up each side and roll the ends to seal. Place packet flat on baking sheet and finish making the rest of them. Place packets side by side seam side up to cook. Put in oven and cook 20-25 minutes (depending on the thickness of your meat and veggies). Serve each person their packet with steamed rice and/or a side salad.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fall weather hair and tutorial

Can you believe summer is almost over? Fall will be here in 3 weeks…yay!  I love Fall. It’s my favorite season of them all. What do I like about Fall? I love the weather, the colors of the changing leaves, all of the delicious fruits and vegetables that are in season, eating my favorite comfort foods, and I start drinking more warm herbal teas during this time because the weather is not so hot. I also love that this time of the year we celebrate one of my favorite holidays…Thanksgiving! I wish I was born in the Fall but unfortunately I was a summer baby. I am thankful that God blessed me to have my son in the Fall. His birthday is next month Smile

With Fall being around the corner I’m thinking of how I will care for my hair. For the summer I posted about my modified wash~n~go’s. I plan to keep my hair up in twists for the Fall. I will put my twists in updo’s so I can wear them for 2 weeks then take them out to shampoo, deep condition and sit under the steamer. I’ll do a hot oil treatment once a month too. I will co-wash my hair every 5 days while still in the twists because I can’t stand to go too long without water touching my scalp. My head gets thirsty so I gotta give it what it wants to keep it happy. So here’s how my routine looks:

1. Shampoo my hair with a sulfate free shampoo.
2. Deep condition under the steamer for 20 minutes.
3. Rinse thoroughly and wrap hair in a T-shirt or terry cloth towel to soak up excess water.
4. Do the L.O.C. method and put hair in mini twists.
5. Let dry 90% or over night then put twists in an updo style.
6. Wear this for a week then take updo down to co-wash hair (still in mini twists). Use diluted ACV (apple cider vinegar) as a rinse. Apply leave-in, some Shealoe (my Shea butter mix), and put mini twists in flat twists to stretch back out. 
7. Air dry over night then put in an updo in the morning. Wear this for a week then take down updo and twists to shampoo, DC, and start all over again from the top.


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This is how my updo looks when in mini twists. Here is how I achieve this look:

 



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I usually put my hair in mini twists but this time I tried micro twists. This is the front.

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Here is a side view. As you can see my hair is growing back fast from the cut I did last year.

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 Now I just pull my hair back into a ponytail using an elastic ribbon (or any ouchless ponytail holder). I keep the front loose and only pull back what I need. Since my hair is shorter on the sides I use bobby pins to hold in place.



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I used a Goody ouchless barrette to hold the front out of the way.

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The ponytail gets put up into a bun and pin some more to be sure it’s secure.

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 Now I gather that hair in the front. I twist it around, tuck it under, and pin it into a pompadour.






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Here’s the finished look. That’s the end of my little tutorial. I hope you learned something new. I will be wearing updo styles like this and others to give my hair a little break from constant manipulation throughout the Fall months. This is in preparation for the cold winter to come. I'll come back in a few weeks with an update and maybe showcase another style I wear with my twists. Be blessed!
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