Category Archives: organizing

Kitchen tools I cannot live without

I think some of the best tools in the kitchen can make you want to spend more time in there cooking and creating. I have rounded up a few of my personal favorites….these are tools that I have used for several years…and if they have broken…I have replaced them the same week. You get so used to using a great tool you can’t live without it! In no particular order….here are some of our favs….

 

olive oil

Olive oil brush and holder

I adore this olive oil dispenser. It is on the counter at all times. You fill the container with oil…place the top “brush” on and it is always ready to go! I use it for dabbing olive oil on veggies before I roast…and I use it in a pan before I sauté. You just lightly squeeze and the oil comes out the brush top. Love it! (I originally bought mine at Williams Sonoma…but I placed the link for an online shop that is carrying it now…)

 

 

 

garlic

 

Progressive International Garlic Press

Another everyday tool….fresh garlic on everything please! This little garlic press makes it so easy…you don’t even have to peel the garlic. I have used mine for over 5 years…a value for $12!

 

 

 

knives

Brandani Inox Italian Style Steak Knives, Set of 6, Rainbow

These Italian steak knives I actually found at Homegoods….but we loved them so much we ordered some more online for 3 times the price! They are simply the best knives for every meal. I know that sounds weird….but they cut steak like butter and are easy for my kids to use…

 

 

3-piece-oxo-good-grips-peeler-set

 

 

3 piece peeler set from OXO

I love this set for a very silly reason…but it seriously makes all the difference—they are so easy to find in the drawer. Grab and go! They are well made, stay sharp forever and makes peeling a potato uber easy and quick.

 

 

 

parchment

 

parchment paper

I love using parchment paper! Lining the cookie sheet with parchment first makes clean up a breeze! I cook bacon on it, cookies, veggies, potatoes brown up so nice and no sticking! I use Reynold’s brand from your local grocery…but these sheet would be nice too because they are pre-cut to fit. Lining a cake pan with parchment will make it so easy to pop out of the pan too. Many uses….for something so inexpensive!

 

Do you have any favorite tools in the kitchen that you couldn’t live without??

I would love to hear!

(FYI, some links are affiliate links—meaning if you purchase from them I receive like two pennies:)

Tracie Stoll is a wife, mom and has a passion for creating new things. On her blog Cleverlyinspired.com she is constantly sharing ways to inspire her readers to be clever in their own home. Since 2010 Tracie has been sharing DIY projects, crafting, remodeling and decorating along with some easy tasty recipes…all on a mindful budget. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton where she studied visual art and communications. Tracie has been featured on popular sites such as Country Living, CNN living, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Huffington Post, Apartment Therapy, Seventeen and Design Sponge. She is also a member of the True Value Blog Squad & Martha’s Circle of trusted bloggers.

10 tips for getting dinner on the table

New Year. Fresh start. Sometimes we make resolutions around this time of year….getting dinner on the table might be on your list. I wanted to give you some ideas to help. I am only sharing things that work for us…in hopes that it will help you too.

I get it. You’re busy….places to go…people to see…kids to be carted….but dinner is important. Like really important. It is a non-negotiable in our house. We literally plan our entire day around our family dinner. To say that it is sacred would be an understatement. It is the 30 minutes of the day…that nothing interferes. We talk about what’s going on….we talk about school, work, fun things on the calendar…we connect. Does it matter what we are eating? Not really. It is definitely more about the time we are spending together. But we gotta eat right? So here are a few tips that really work for our family…and hopefully they will work for you too.

10 tips for getting dinner on the table @cleverlyinspired

 

1. Ask every member in your family to tell you their 3 favorite meals. Depending on the size of your family…you should end up with about 10 go to meals that you know people will eat.

2. Create a family meal sheet/binder/system. Once you have about 20 meals that are family favorites….create a “system” of sorts to collect your information. I use a binder with sheet protectors. I have each recipe printed out…with the master list on the cover. I throw in new recipes too if it was a fan favorite. Soon enough you will have lots of recipes to choose from every week. My friend Melissa uses a “clothespin” system. She has all her family favorites written on clothespins. Every week, the kids pull out 5 clothes pins and clip them to the fridge (where the grocery list is)…then she makes her list and the kids know what’s for dinner too. Also, since she and her husband both work outside the home…he knows what to start cooking if he gets home first…and vice versa.

3. Take a day or night to plan. This is the most important step. Every Sunday, I take 20 minutes to plan the weeks meals. I use my binder of family favorites along with any new recipes I would like to try. Create a shopping list as you pick out the recipes. You will feel like you concurred the world when you have a plan for the week.

4. End the dreaded questions. What’s for dinner Mom? It will put some people into a complete state of rage…including me. So, after I have figured out the plan for the week….I post it on the fridge. Period. Done and done.

5. Who else can cook? My daughter happens to have a love of cooking. She has just started to cook a weekly family meal. She will tell me what night she wants to cook and what she needs from the store. 13 year olds are handy….

6. Do what you can…when you can do it. Do you wait in a long carpool line? Do you have a long commute to work? Do you have 20 minutes at night when the kids go to bed? Surely you can find 20 minutes to make a list. And if you can find more than 20 minutes…maybe you can even make a meal ahead of time. Sometimes I cook soup, or lasagna…meatballs…on Sunday..so that during the week I can just heat it up. Use your time.

7. Make one grocery trip. I tend to go to the grocery on Monday’s. My family knows that if something isn’t on the list by Monday…they will probably have to wait a few days for it. I dislike going to the grocery….but when I have a list…it is quick and efficient and I am buying things I know I will use.

8. Be available. You need to be home in order to eat dinner at home. Figure out what time is good for most family members and plan it.

9. It’s ok to get off track. Your whole day is a mess…no one is in a good mood. Been there, done that. But you have to eat. Rather than stopping for something unhealthy…maybe instead stop in the grocery for a ready made rotisserie chicken and a bagged salad. Dinner is done when you walk in the door. Leaves you more time to slowly drink a glass of wine;)

10. Cook one thing. My kids don’t like everything I cook….but they do know that what I serve is what’s for dinner. There will always be one thing on the plate that they like. And if there is a veggie that isn’t their favorite…they have to at least try a bit and give me a “score”…1-10 how much you hate/like it…Taste buds change and something they may have hated last year…they will grow to like more this year.

 

What works for your family? Do you have some tips to share to get dinner on the table? We would love to hear….

Go plan dinner for next week and feel like a super mom;)

xo

Have a great weekend!

Tracie Stoll is a wife, mom and has a passion for creating new things. On her blog Cleverlyinspired.com she is constantly sharing ways to inspire her readers to be clever in their own home. Since 2010 Tracie has been sharing DIY projects, crafting, remodeling and decorating along with some easy tasty recipes…all on a mindful budget. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton where she studied visual art and communications. Tracie has been featured on popular sites such as Country Living, CNN living, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Huffington Post, Apartment Therapy, Seventeen and Design Sponge. She is also a member of the True Value Blog Squad & Martha’s Circle of trusted bloggers.

Shoe Organization (closet organizing)

It never fails. I am all ready to go out…and I am searching around my closet for a good 5-10 minutes for a pair of shoes to wear. I had great intentions when I bought these cheap plastic shoe boxes….the only problem is that I have to open each and every box before finding the ones that I want to wear! Sound like you!?! So I was so pumped when my friends at Zink HaPPY print sent me a printer to test out. PERFECT!! This is just what I needed to get my closet in tip top shape!! This little printer is the modern day label maker…it is such a perfect gift for the tech lover in your life. Feeling very “Judy Jetson”…I love telling you about fun, new, innovative products. It is the wave of the future I tell ya!

shoe organizatoion with Zink Happy printer @cleverlyinspired (2)cv

The possibilities are endless when you think up all the uses for this printer. Scrapbooks, labeling kitchen items, kids room organization….a ton of possibilities. You will love how easy this little printer is to operate too. Just download the Zink Happy app on your smart phone and get to creating. It took me about 5 minutes to get up and running….

So I started with the hot mess that is my closet….Hot. Mess. Anywho, I tried to stay focused and tackle just my shoes. I set up a mini photo shoot for my shoes….I wanted to take similar pictures to make it look nice and organized…..

shoe organizatoion with Zink Happy printer @cleverlyinspired (4)

I loaded the 2” “paper” (it is basically a blank sticker that comes on a big roll). Took my pictures and printed them out….EASY!!!

shoe organizatoion with Zink Happy printer @cleverlyinspired (3)

I found shoes that I hadn’t worn in a while….like these lovelies…..hubbahubba….

cleverlyinspired

Now. I can clearly see what shoe is in what container without opening. So so so much better!!

shoe organizatoion with Zink Happy printer @cleverlyinspired (2)

 

shoe organizatoion with Zink Happy printer @cleverlyinspired (1)

What would you organize with the Zink Happy printer?? I want to know….

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(below is an affiliate link to purchase on Amazon…if you wish:)

 

I am a brand ambassador for companies that I believe in myself and I believe my readers are interested in learning more about. I work with Social Spark and Clever Girls, along with individual companies that are targeting their products to my readers. I will always be mindful of your time and needs…and keep with the mission of CleverlyInspired; which is to inspire you to be clever in your own home. I appreciate your understanding. I have been compensated for my time, however all opinions and thoughts are 100% mine.

ZinkHappy sent me a printer to review. All opinions, projects and pictures are my own.

Tracie Stoll is a wife, mom and has a passion for creating new things. On her blog Cleverlyinspired.com she is constantly sharing ways to inspire her readers to be clever in their own home. Since 2010 Tracie has been sharing DIY projects, crafting, remodeling and decorating along with some easy tasty recipes…all on a mindful budget. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton where she studied visual art and communications. Tracie has been featured on popular sites such as Country Living, CNN living, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Huffington Post, Apartment Therapy, Seventeen and Design Sponge. She is also a member of the True Value Blog Squad & Martha’s Circle of trusted bloggers.

25 things to do now (Thanksgiving Prep List)

The holidays seem to fly up and hit us in the rear sometimes….for real. I like to get a jumpstart on as many things as I can to make the whole season a whole bunch more enjoyable. Here are a few things that you can do now….so that you can enjoy your Thanksgiving too. (this list is mainly for people who will be hosting the big meal…but hopefully you all can apply it to some function that you will be having too…)

To print this list, click on the image and then right click,  select print (or save it for later and print from the file)

thanksgiving to do list @cleverlyinspired

Here is a list I compiled last year to use for November to prepare for Christmas

Getter done friends:)

xo

Sharing at

Tracie Stoll is a wife, mom and has a passion for creating new things. On her blog Cleverlyinspired.com she is constantly sharing ways to inspire her readers to be clever in their own home. Since 2010 Tracie has been sharing DIY projects, crafting, remodeling and decorating along with some easy tasty recipes…all on a mindful budget. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton where she studied visual art and communications. Tracie has been featured on popular sites such as Country Living, CNN living, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Huffington Post, Apartment Therapy, Seventeen and Design Sponge. She is also a member of the True Value Blog Squad & Martha’s Circle of trusted bloggers.

Updating the Bookshelves with FrogTape

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of FrogTape brand painter’s tape for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

The family room. Do you wonder why I never post about the family room? It is thee hardest room for me to photograph. I feel like I have tried every trick to the trade…I have bounced light with the reflector…I have used my flash on low…I have opened the windows real wide….it is a challenge. It is blue…which tends to absorb light instead of bouncing it…which doesn’t help. But I love this room…it is warm and cozy…comfy in summer and in winter…it allows for plenty of seating…and it has lots of personal touches including tons of trim work that my hubby built. This bookshelf is on the right side of our fireplace. Underneath is tons of storage for board games and kid stuff…the top is stained…and above are bookshelves. They were looking a bit neglected…so I set out to make them a bit more special for fall with the help from my friends at  FrogTape painter’s tapeupdating the bookshelves with FrogTape @cleverlyinspired (8) Here is where I started….(btw…color on the wall is Phillipsburg Blue by Ben Moore)updating the bookshelves with FrogTape @cleverlyinspired (10) I cleared everything off the shelves and cleaned them off….Hello dust…how are ya? Then with the help of some fabulous Frog tape…I created this wide strip down the center. What is nice about FrogTape is that the edges are water-tight and sealed. You will not have any paint run under the tape ruining your beautiful design….It is perfect for this application.updating the bookshelves with FrogTape @cleverlyinspired (11) updating the bookshelves with FrogTape @cleverlyinspired (6) I love how just a bit of paint and tape can wake up an entire corner. This bookshelf feels special again…here is how I went about creating this look… Supplies: Frog tape paint of choice level measuring tape chalk or pencil

1. I took my shelves out because they are removable. Measure and mark the center of your shelves. Measure 2.5 inches on either side of the middle mark.

2. Using level…gently mark a level line from top to bottom creating one wide strip in the center. Place your frog tape pressing to adhere.

3. Mark 1/2 inch from that piece of tape and draw another level line. Tape and press on wall creating a thinner strip on the sides of your wide strip.

4. Once you are all taped up….roll on paint with a small roller. Don’t completely go over the tape …try to just stay on the edges so that the center of the tape will remain adhered to the wall. I did two coats of white.

5. Remove tape while paint is still drying…look at at that fresh clean line!

When I was all set to reload the bookshelves I tried to edit a bit… updating the bookshelves with FrogTape @cleverlyinspired (4) I tend to like things symmetrical…so I started by adding back the books that  I wanted to keep. Stacking them by color gives them a bit more “presence” and more put together. Then I added the basket up top and balanced that darker color with a wire basket full of pinecones (cinnamon smelling pinecones…bonus!! :) I already had the goodwill bird…but “she” used to black…I sprayed her yellow. She is much happier now;) I balanced the yellow bird with the gold coral thingy…(Home goods) and the fake green apples in a vase. I finished the look off with my family treasures like artwork, and my Grammy’s vase and “captain dude” and our new “old fashion” record player. Nothin like the original ;).updating the bookshelves with FrogTape @cleverlyinspired (5) I think the stripes on the wall make this space so much more special! And how easy! I finished it in under an hour:)

 

To find out more about Frogtape be sure to visit them on Twitter…

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BeDifferentActNormal, The36thAve, Whipperberry, TipJunkie, Tatertots&Jello, TodaysCreativeBlog, SerenityNow, PositivelySplendidByStephanieLynn, TheDIYClub, CRAFT. MadinCrafts. HomeStoriesAtoZ, InspirationGallery

Tracie Stoll is a wife, mom and has a passion for creating new things. On her blog Cleverlyinspired.com she is constantly sharing ways to inspire her readers to be clever in their own home. Since 2010 Tracie has been sharing DIY projects, crafting, remodeling and decorating along with some easy tasty recipes…all on a mindful budget. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton where she studied visual art and communications. Tracie has been featured on popular sites such as Country Living, CNN living, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Huffington Post, Apartment Therapy, Seventeen and Design Sponge. She is also a member of the True Value Blog Squad & Martha’s Circle of trusted bloggers.
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