Saturday, September 24, 2016

Fall in the Pantry and Food Storage --- How Nana Does It

Time for Spring Cleaning.
Okay, it's not spring and everyone is busy.   School has started, soccer, Girl Scouts, The Pumpkin Patch, you need to make Halloween costumes, plan Thanksgiving and Christmas is just around the corner.
And now, on top of everything else, you need to do spring cleaning?
Just a little.   And I promise it will save you $$$ and time.

Step into your food storage/pantry and take a look.
Dusty?   Dirty?   Unorganized?    Time to get it together for the fall and winter.
Today all items, food, house cleaning and medicines were taken off the shelves.
The shelves were wiped down and swept behind and underneath.
During the year I get in a hurry and put grocery items on the shelf.  Now with the weather changing every insect and rodent will be trying to crawl in your nice warm home or basement to invite themselves to eat your food.  
PROTECT your items:
All food and medicines should be in sturdy (old) heavy duty Tupperware or containers.
As I have said in previous posts, I buy most of mine at garage sales and thrift shops.   It doesn't matter what color they are just make sure they seal tight.    Cake mixes, boxed dinners etc. fit in the larger containers 2 or 3 at a time.
I am a fan of Mason jars.   When I buy large amounts of items such as flour or sugar at Costco I divide them up and put the dry ingredients in the jars.
The label maker is my buddy.  I label everything.   It saves time.   I don't grab what I think is flour and get powered sugar.   Yuck!     Make sure the lids are screwed on tight.

But don't cake mixes and other boxes have sealed food inside?    Yes, but this will not stop insects and rodents.  What if you have accidental water damage in your pantry area?   Tupperware or Mason jars will keep your items dry, the boxes will not.

When I say "Tupperware" I mean hard plastic or polyurethane containers.   When I say "Mason jars", I mean Mason jars.   Don't use old pickle jars, the smell never leaves you.   Also, pickle jars do not seal tight when reused.
DO  use the orange Tupperware and mark it Cornbread Mix.
DON'T  leave food out of a container and invite lots of extra furry little guests for Thanksgiving.

Another way to store items is in hard plastic containers that formerly contained dry items.  You might buy pretzels or nuts from Costco.  Perhaps your office buys these items for the lunch room.  Put a sticky note on the container with your name on it and ask for it to be saved.  These containers can be washed out when empty and used to store your food.

Tightly twist the top to seal.   For extra security, add a layer of strapping tape across the top.
Don't forget your toothpaste, medicines and bars of soap.   If they taste good or smell good to us, they will to Mr. Mouse.
Organize your items in containers that might normally be used for something else.   Think out of the kitchen and out of the box for these ideas.
The organizers pictured below are for a desk to sort pens and pencils.  You can also use these in your silverware drawer.   I used them in my pantry for my spices and flavored extracts.  
A few other organizing ideas:
Alphabetize your spices.   Think that's OCD?   I bet I can grab my Thyme, Cinnamon, and Allspice faster than you can.   It's not only a time saver, it also shows you what you are out of.

When looking at your pantry/food storage think of the holidays, how many people you might have at your table and what your favorite recipes include.   Add to your pantry the items you will need as they go on sale or when you have coupons.   You don't have to wait until the week of Thanksgiving to buy canned pumpkin.   They are on sale right now in some stores.    Want to try new recipes you found online or saw on a cooking show?   Try them NOW.   Don't wait until your company shows up and you use them for guinea pigs.   If the recipe is something you want to use, add the ingredients to your pantry storage.

When putting items back on your shelves, put "like" items together.   I put all my veggies on one shelf and the fruits on another.  Caution:  I separate the cream corn from the whole corn so I don't grab the wrong one when I'm in a hurry.  Rows of canned goods look so pretty.
Clean off each item with a damp rag or Clorox wipe.    Safely stack items so that the glass jars will not fall off the front of the shelves.
Be sure and look at the dates on the food while you are wiping them off.  Cull any items that are past the expiration date.  Look for cans that bulge or boxes that are torn.  Discard all of these.  DO NOT take a chance feeding your family food on the edge.
One extra measure I have taken is insulation for my food storage.  Our basement walls in the food storage area are concrete.  After moving we had so many boxes that I broke down to make them flat.  I put the boxes behind the food storage shelves.  This not only allows for more insulation for the food, but it also keeps items from falling off the back of the shelves.

All, in all, Fall is the time to clean and prepare your pantry/food storage closet.

 Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God's own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Closet

I like big closets. I can not lie.  I don't like putting away the winter clothes and dragging out the summer clothes.  sigh.   But most houses don't have huge closets.  In fact, it's only in the last few years that closets have become big.   In "pioneer days" most people had a hook or nail to hang their one set of clothes.
In parts of Europe they charge tax for closets.  That is why they have so many armoires in homes and hotels.

So, in each house I have purchased I have striven to have a large closet.
In the Glad House we have a big bathtub.   I mean HUGE.
It would have taken half a day and gallons and gallon of water to fill it up.  This costs money!! 
We had a normal size tub upstairs and since I prefer showers, I decided to rip it out. 
So I did. 

The bathtub and jet motor still worked very well so I was able to donate them.   I called my local Restore, Habitat for Humanity and they sent 4 strong guys to come pick it up.   AND I got a tax credit for donating to a charity! 
There were 2 small closets on either side of the tub so I opened up those too. 

My husband patched the walls with mud and tape on the sheet rock and we decided to put down tile where the bathtub had been. 
We added studs and and sheet rock all the way across the back of the bathroom encompassing the full length of the room. 
About the same time a clothing store in our town was going out of business and I ask the owner about the fixtures.   I was able to buy sheets of Slat Wall for $20 each.   These are $95 each new.   
We added the slat wall at the end of the closet. 

Slat wall can be purchased at fixture stores.  They normally sell to retail stores to display their goods.  It is also online at KC Store Fixtures.  It is heavier than paneling weighing about 90 to 100 lbs.  a sheet.  It can easily be cut to fit.  The Fixture store also sells metal shelving, hat displays, necklace displays, and anything you see at your local Charming Charlie's or Khols. 

We purchased the cabinets at Home Depot.  I opted for the open cabinets and used my baskets for socks, hankies, hose, etc.
My husband put drawers in his cabinets for his underwear and socks.
The rods for the hanging clothes are hung between each tall cabinet.
There is also plenty of room to store hats, wigs, or sweater boxes on top of the cabinets.
We added lights and my husband surprised me by putting in a automatic switch.   When I walk in the closet the lights automatically come on.

MORE TO COME..........................................................

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Family Tree with Nuts!

Don't forget your stairs!
Why have a beautiful flat wall that is crying for attention be unadorned and boring?   
I decided I wanted a Family Tree painted on my stairs.   Not just a small tree, but the whole staircase! 
My friend and artist Krista Beyeler is always willing to get involved in my crazy schemes and she has talent to draw and paint that I only wish I had!    
At first I picked out brown paints to draw a tree, but Krista encouraged me to buy a teal paint.  I am so glad I did!   
I told Krista a wanted a big base or trunk for the tree to put photos of our present family.  The tree should then curve up the staircase and branch out for pictures of ancestors.  I told Krista a Weeping Willow tree would be ironic and perfect. 
Krista drew the tree with a pencil on the wall freehand.    Wow!!! 
We then painted in the lines. 
I added the photos in order of the youngest grandchildren being at the bottom then swooping up to me, my siblings, my parents, grandparents, and so forth. 
I used different sizes of photos and frames and painted the frames different colors. 
Most of the frames I picked up at a thrift shop on the day of their half price sale.  The older frames at thrift shops or garage sales are better than the plastic frames at the $ Store.  They are easier to paint and are different dimensions.   
It is now always a piece of conversation when someone visits and I am proud to show off My Family.
I enjoy it everyday. 

Grandchildren saved my life

My Secret Playroom

When remodeling your house, don't forget the children.  If you don't have children at home you might have a basket or tub of toys for visiting friends and their children.  It is always so much easier to visit when little kids have something to play with.

In most of my homes I have made a "Kid's Room" or even just a closet.  
This walk-in closet was decorated for kids and is full of toys for them.
Self adhesive stickers can be put on the walls and are easy to remove.   I put stickers of cars and trucks on one side and stickers of flowers and princess items on the other.   In this room I put plenty of light and safety measures.  Cover all outlets and be careful with wires.
I installed a old wall phone for the children to "make calls".  (Some of those conversations are pretty interesting!)     I also used a old small tv with a VCR for all those old VHS tapes..  Even my 3 yr. old grandson can put in his VHS tapes by himself.
The wire baskets are easy to install and can hold balls, and dress up clothes.
Baskets can hold Legos and small toys.
One word about toys, please clean and wipe them off often.   I use Clorox wipes before visiting children are coming and when I buy toys for the room at garage sales.
Shelves were put in for the VHS tapes and books.  
Several bean bags and small stools were added for comfort.
My husband installed a switch so when the children open the playroom door the light comes on automatically.
The kids even enjoy decorating their own room for the holidays.  We put in a small Christmas tree and let them decorate it how they like.
Outside the room are the two favorite items for the kids.    A doorbell and a mailbox.
I found the mailbox at a thrift store and spray painted it black.   Kids love to get mail and I often put letters or cards in the mailbox.    Don't forget to add stickers on those notes!
The doorbell is often heard in my house and MUST be used by any visiting adult.  

Hang It All!

Simple ideas of hanging items and How Nana Does It!

Cut a piece or block of wood or buy a pre-cut piece of wood.
I painted mine white.
I attached 2 old door knobs I got at the Restore, selling building materials for Habitat for Humanity.

This hanger I put in my master bath for my husband and I to hang our bathrobes.
No more searching for my robe!   I know right where it is!

What's Your Address?

Hate trying to find a house and you can't see the house address number?
Here is How Nana Does It!

I found some end of the season outdoor pillows on sale.   I also looked at thrift shops, garage sales, etc. but I wanted 4 that matched.   You can always get 4 pillows and sew covers for them but the pillows I found were cheap!

Visit the local hardware store and purchase 4 numbers for your address.  Most of these numbers are self adhesive but if they are not you can apply hot glue.  
Buy reflective numbers you can see at night.

Apply to the front of the pillows and have fun displaying them in your front yard.  
Put the pillows on a a old rocker.  Buy or make a bench .  There are lots of ways to display them!
Here are mine: