Cook Like A Gourmet (In Five Minutes)

The holidays are coming and that means lots of entertaining, house guests and big meals.  I’m setting out to find somethings you can make ahead of time and take out of the freezer when the doorbell rings.  And, if plans get cancelled, no biggies, you just have dinner for another night.

I’ve always wanted to make my own pesto, but I was intimidated and thought it would be hard.  I did a little research online and thought I could give it a try.  I have a food processor and I love using it so I gave it a shot!

This was one of the easiest, tastiest and fastest things I’ve ever made.  It was as easy as getting the ingredients measured out (and bought from the store of course) and grinding them up in the food processor.  You can serve fresh or freeze this delight.

Pesto Steps I used:

3 cups of fresh basil (I bought this in the produce section of my grocery store.)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup parmesan cheese (I bought fresh)

1/3 cup Pine nuts

3 cloves garlic

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

I served this over baked chicken and pasta and it was a hit.  You can’t go wrong with this.  It’s easy to make and tastes like a meal that took you hours to prepare.

Posted in Weekend Cooking | Leave a comment

Wrapping Caddy

If you liked our Christmas Card Caddy, you’ll also love our wrapping caddy.  It’s all about checking your supplies and gathering them before you start the wrapping process.  I find that doing this allows me to pick up anything I need the next time I’m out and about running errands (instead of making a separate trip out).

Wrapping Caddy

I started with a small stackable tray from STorables.com.  You can find it here.

I then added the following supplies:

Twine

Tape (I use a hand held tape dispenser from Scotch)

Twine

Ribbon-Cloth and curling

Some tiny gift bags

Two Sharpies in holiday colors

Washi tape

Gift tags

Gather everything you need and set the wrapping mood with a movie or music and get started!

 

Posted in Christmas Organization Tips, Gift Giving Tips, Holiday Organization Tips, Holiday Organizing Tips | Leave a comment

Christmas Card Caddy

So every year I’m trying to get my Christmas cards done and I sit down with a cup of hot chocolate and put a holiday DVD in.  Then I remember, I want to use a special pen.  Then, I forget to get the seals for the envelopes.  Next, it’s the address labels.  I’ve also been known to not count my supplies ahead of time and have to place an order and wait for it to arrive before finishing this process.  What started as relaxing holiday evening becomes a slightly stressful, lengthy process.

Christmas Card Caddy

This year I decided to make it easier on myself. I dug through my office supplies and fond a small desk organizer that came from Staples a few years ago.  I gathered my supplies:

Washi tape

Gold and silver markers

Stamps and ink pads

Stickers

Cards

Envelopes

Address labels

Stamps

I just simply assembled the items into the organizer and it was ready to go!  It didn’t cost me anything as I had the organizer on Staples Desk Organizerhand.  However, a silver ware tray from the dollar store would also work well.  If you wanted to get a desk organizer, this one at Staples is about $10 and would fit the bill just fine.

This took me about 5 minutes total and that time investment will save me more than that and frustration when I’m ready to sent out my cards.

 

 

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Organizing Tip ~ Do The Difficult First

Do The Difficult First

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Holiday Gifts For Pet Lovers

We all know I love my dogs.  I’m fussy about what they eat, play with and what I use around them.  I recently came across an online store, based in Maine, called The Evolved Dog. Well, they sell amazing food, supplies and toys.  With The Evolved Dog, it’s all about quality, caring for the Earth and treating our pets with the care, we want them to receive.  Here are just a few of the products they sell.  Get a head start on holiday shopping!  I love bringing a dog toy or treats as part of a hostess gift.  It’s all about the details.

*Please note I received samples of some of these items in order to be able to test them out.  My opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.

Special Offer for Joyful Organizer Readers!!!!  Use code joyfulorganizer and receive 20% off now through December 19th.

The Evolved Dog

The Bumi-This is the most versatile toy in my puppy arsenal.  It plays tug, fetch and my dog can chew on it on his own.  AND, nothing destroys it.  Seriously.  It even floats. If you want a toy to give your dog one gift this holiday season, this is it.  It’s the toy I’ll be grabbing when I travel with my dogs. It does it all :)  It comes in various colors and is made by West Paw design. West Paw design is committed to helping communities, their employees and the environment.  They even have a plan for recycling old dog toys!  This toy is a great investment. Stop buying a ton of toys that will end up destroyed and buy one awesome toy, from an awesome company.

Whole Life Sweet Potato Treats-These treats from Whole Life will be sure to make your whole dog very happy. Another single-ingredient treat brought to you, from us, with love. Made in the USA and sourced from American farms, you don’t have to worry about the quality or safety of this product.  The great thing about these products from Whole Life is that you can feed them dry, or you can soak them in order to reconstitute the texture. Our dogs think they are yummy either way. Super easy to pack for day trips, hiking, camping, etc.

If you need a new leash, I’ve found one that’s amazing and looks adorable at the same time.  The Bayline Leash is made of the same rope used in lobstering. In fact, they are made BY a lobsterman (Cappy).  The leashes are SUPER strong, but feel great in your hand.  The colors make it easy to find too.  I know I’ve dug around in the back of my car for yes another black leash!  It’s made in Maine and every detail is amazing.  I particularly love the brash collar hook.  This leash was even easy to walk my super strong, full of energy border collies :)

So one of my dogs loves to play fetch, and one dog loves to sit and chew.  Well The Jive pleases both of them.  I really gave it a run for it’s money while dog sitting.  The dog I was watching chews everything.  Even if you think it can’t be destroyed (like a rope toy), he finds a way.  He sat happily with The Jive and did NO damage!  I’ll be buying a few of these for him this Christmas.  It’s light weight and awesome for taking to the park.  I love the bright colors too.

 

 

 

Posted in Gift Giving Tips, Pets | Leave a comment

DIY Cleaning Products

We’ve all heard about making your own cleaning products.  However, actually sitting down and accomplishing this task often seems out of our reach.  I’m here to show you it’s actually much easier, less expensive and faster than you may think.

DIY CleanersMaking your own cleaning products saves you money.  The ingredients are much cheaper than commercially packaged cleaning products and since you are reusing the spray bottles over and over, you’re also saving the Earth.

Home made cleaning products are safer for your family.  They are made from things you usually already have in the house and sometimes even eat!  No dyes, chemicals or random ingredients around your home!

Here’s one of my go to “recipes”.  It’s easy to make and I always have these things on hand.  First of all, I bought some spray bottles in the garden section of a superstore as they are on end of season closeouts.  Then I mixed together 1/4 cup castle soap (I love Dr. Bronner’s in Peppermint) and a few drops of peppermint oil.  This is a great cleaner for cutting grease and really getting at the mildew in a shower or sink.

I love this set of essential oils from Arbonne.  There are scents for every area of your home and every mood.  They are high quality and just the right about of scent.

Making cleaning products in bulk saves you from having to go to the store over and over again.  You’ll always have what you need on hand.  Make on big batch and then fill smaller containers and keep them around the house in areas you clean frequently such as the entry way or bathrooms.

ecloth giveawayWant to take it all a step further?  Use reusable and washable cleaning clothes like these from eCloth. Hard working and durable, they help your home made cleaning products work harder and give your home a super clean feeling.  They just go in the wash and come out clean and as good as new.  Stop buying and throwing away paper towels.  Invest in a nice set of cleaning cloths for your home and store them conveniently in the spaces you clean.  I have a white tile shower and it’s horrible to clean.  However, the scrubbing pads in this kit make it a cinch to clean!

Want to win a Bathroom Starter Kit from e-Cloth? Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keeping things clean is all about being able to clean quickly.  If you can Stick Vacuumgrab supplies and touch things up, often and quickly, then you will never need to spend days at at time cleaning your home.  It’s all about making it easy on yourself.  Another tool in my cleaning arsenal is the Jill Martin Hi-Performance Stick Vacuum.  It has a small head so you can get around corners and into nooks and crannies.  (Even though that your larger vacuum can’t).  If you have a pet, this is a savior!  It’s also a great tool to allow kids to start vacuuming with. It’s light weight and much stronger than you’d except.  Overall, it’s a great tool to keep your home clean with, all the time!  Affordable and cute too!

 

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Don’t know How to Clean It? We Do.

This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Mr. Clean. I was provided the featured product and compensations to facilitate this post, but all opinions are 100% mine.

So while dusting your home and cleaning the counters are easy tasks that you do without thinking about it, there are areas of your home that need some love and often get overlooked.  While you’re already busy during the holiday season, I do think it’s a great time to tackle these spots and items.  So often we focus on what we don’t have during the holidays.  We worry about the size of our homes and what our friends and family will think.  A good deep cleaning makes all the difference.  You’ll be amazed at  how great you feel with a clean home.

Magic Eraser Steps

One of the tools in my arsenal of cleaning is always a Magic Eraser. These little gems can clean just about anything. If it’s tough to clean, awkward to scrub or something you’ve always thought would just be dirty forever, the Magic Eraser can probably clean it.  In fact, there are about one million uses for the Magic Eraser.

Want to see what the Magic Eraser can do to that icky stuff price tags leave behind?  (Awesome if you’re buying vases, plates or other items to decorate for the holidays.)  Check out this Vine:

So what do I clean with Magic Erasers? First of all, my running shoes. I can have a few hundred miles on a set of shoes and they still look brand new thanks to Magic Erasers! I also clean my doors, baseboards, kick plates, light switches, desk surfaces and fridge handles. These are just a few things I tough up every few weeks. If you’ve never done it before, wait until you see the difference!

You can also use the Magic Eraser to clean tile, tub grime and even soap scum off the shower door. Yeah, you know it’s nasty….

So here’s what I want you to do…clean something with a Magic Eraser and comment below to let me know what you did!
Want to win a set of Magic Erasers? AND a $50 American Express gift card? (Yeah, I thought you did!)
Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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What’s On My Wish List #neatobestpetvacuum

This post is sponsored by Neato Robot Vacuums and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about the Neato Robot Vacuums, but The Joyful Organizeronly shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Neato Robotics is not responsible for the content of this article.

We all have our own wish lists. I try really hard to bring you amazing gift ideas that are unique, fun, and functional….or what I like to call clutter free.
So after all of this research and testing, what’s on my list?

Coffee Mug

Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Even with my own wish list I tend to want things I can use every day. I always LOVE a new coffee mug. I saw this one at Starbucks and it describes my love of coffee perfectly.


I’d also love a sun shelter for reading on the beach, camping and even just working in the back yard. Neato I know, I love to be outside, but hide from the sun :)

I’d also love a new running watch. There’s a new type out that takes your heart rate from your wrist instead of one of this chest straps.  I’ve been drooling over it for a while now and I’m hoping that there are some great pre Christmas sales so I can snag  one :)

The item I want the most is a robotic vacuum by Neato.  This amazing vacuum does the cleaning FOR you while you go about your life.  I’ve done a lot of research and it’s the best robot vacuum for pets.  I have two dogs and I swear, it’s shocking they are not bald.  There’s a LOT of fur and despite vacuuming every few days, I can barely keep up with it.

So while I wait for Santa, you have the opportunity to win a Neato Vacuum!  We are giving away a Neato Botvac 85! The sweepstakes closes November 30, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST. Please read the full rules by visiting the giveaway page and clicking on “rules”.  You can enter once a day!

 


In the meantime, take a peek at Neato’s shedding guide and get some ideas and tips on how to manage your pet hair once it’s hit the floor :)

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Glass Etching DIY

Glass etching is one of those crafts we’ve all seen on Pinterest and in magazines.  Every time I’d read about it, I’d think that it MUST be more complicated than they were letting on.  So, I decided to give it a shot.  He’s my step by step process and I can assure you, it really wasn’t hard at all!  You could do this with kids, to create gifts, and to make the things you already have in your home personalized and beautiful.

With the holidays coming up, this is a great gift that you can make.  It comes from the heart and it’s super economical!  You can buy glass items at discount stores and one jar of etching cream and one set of stencils will do a lot of items!

The first thing I did was to cut out the word treats using my Silhouette Portrait machine.  If you don’t already have one of these, it’s a great investment.  If you can’t invest, use a set of adhesive letter stencils like these from Plaid Crafts and Martha Stewart.

In the graphic below you can see what my screen shot looked like.  I used Copperplate as my font and I then cut it from Silhouette vinyl.

Glass Etching Steps

Once the vinyl was printed I used their hook tool to pull out the cut out pieces.  Then, I paid a piece of transfer paper over the design.  Make sure you stick it on there really well.

Clean the surface of the item you want to clean and make sure it’s completely dry.  Then, peel the backing off the vinyl and then adhere it to the surface.

The next thing to do is to grab your glass etching cream and something to apply it with.  I used a foam “paintbrush” but you could use a cloth or a sponge.

Apply the glass etching cream.  Follow the instructions on the bottle of the brand you have.  Then, use a sponge or cloth to remove the excess.  Make sure it’s dry enough to remove!  Then, wash off the excess.  Remove any fingerprints with glass cleaner and you’re good to go!

I etched a glass jar I had bought years ago and use for dog treats.  You can see all the steps in the graphic below.  It’s easy, affordable and fun!  You could do this for a casserole dish, jars for the pantry, or even glasses for your favorite bartender.

 

 

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Holiday Beauty With Colgate

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Colgate. I received a product sample for this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.”

The  holidays are about more than presents and food, they are are about visiting with family and friends!  Many times you haven’t seen those family and friends for a while. Of course, you’ll want to look your best.

Holiday Beauty

I make a few adjustments in my beauty routine when the holidays come along.  The first is that I really start to moisturize.  It’s hard to avoid dry skin and lips throughout the winter.  I like to stock up on chap sticks and stick them in my coat pockets, desk drawers, purse, and gym bag.

Secondly, I buy myself one fun item that I don’t normally wear.  This year I bought some unique and different mascara than what I usually wear.  Go a little crazy.  It’s a gift to yourself.

Most importantly, I want to have white teeth.  This year I started using Colgate Enamel Health and it’s made a big difference in my smile.  My teeth feel great but they are also less sensitive AND they look bright and white.  I will say that a great smile goes with any outfit.  When you’re meeting people, the first thing they see is your smile.  Don’t you want it to be amazing?

For all of these changes, take a peek at your local Walgreens.  You’ll be amazed at the brands and selection they have in stock. I live in a small town without a lot of chain stores.  However, we have a Walgreens!  I went in the other day for the first time (I’m new to the town) and I was so pleasantly surpassed with the seasonal items…in particular the fun items they had in the beauty department.

I did a lot of stocking stuffer shopping at Walgreens.  AND because I love Colgate Enamel Health so much I bought a bunch of tubes for my family’s stockings.  I also stocked up for myself :)  Learn about my holiday routine in this video:

#sponsored #colgateenamelhealth #mc

Posted in Beauty, Holiday Organization Tips, Promos | Leave a comment



… I will continue to use Bonnie Dewkett and The Joyful Organizer on projects in our home as our family expands and our needs continue to change…

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