How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying: Make a List

Welcome to Part 2 of How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying! For part 1, you can go here.

Today, I'm going to talk about a strategy to help you get your mind in gear. I use this for cleaning, packing, organizing, cooking, and grocery shopping, and it has saved my life. It's three short words... are you ready?

I love these things

Make a list. It doesn't have to be long, fancy, or full of detail. Just make one. Most people respond really well to the sense of accomplishment and organization that comes with a list that's neatly crossed-off for the day.

Below the cut, I've shared with you some sample lists and ideas for how to incorporate lists into your daily life. Feel like you don't have time to make lists? You'd be surprised! Sometimes all my lists for a day take only five minutes, and I can write them while I drink my morning coffee.

I used to just jot all my lists down on the backs of envelopes and receipts as I thought of things. That's fine, but it's not super organized and if your list gets lost, you might be in trouble. So now I use Google documents to organize my lists online. I work on the computer all day, so if I think of something that needs to be added to a list, I add it right when I think of it.

Wooden Dice

I am really excited about this project idea from The 36th Avenue. Mr. Scrimp and I love games of all kinds, and I think a couple of oversized, antiqued wooden dice would make a great piece of decor for our living room.

Aren't those great? I love the wood grain and the distressing. They'd be wonderful on a corner table, or perhaps as bookends!

Wood Dice Tutorial via Dollar Store Crafts

Recipe/Tutorial: Canned Peaches

Edit: This recipe has been updated to include a variation using honey in place of white sugar.

I just finished doing a little canning, and it was so quick and easy that I felt like I just had to share with you how to take advantage of the tail end of fresh peach season. That's right--today's easy-peasy things you should always do at home lesson is how to make canned peaches.

The only special tools you absolutely need for this are canning jars and a pot that will fit them plus enough water to cover them by at LEAST half an inch. I used 1/2 pint jelly jars from Wal-Mart ($8/dozen) and a soup pot.

Project: Dixie Cup DIY Garland

I am totally in love with this dixie cup garland from Hey Gorgeous. It's so pretty! And I LOVE Christmas lights--I bought a few strings the year we got married and am constantly moving them around the house and putting them up places all year round. Who says white lights are just for Christmas?

One of the things I love most about this project is that it is totally customizable to match your own personal style and color preferences. Because the cups are covered with scrapbook paper, you can go as wild and crazy--or as conservative--as you want. I'm thinking a series of bright mustard yellows with some grays or brick reds thrown in.

Dixie Cups are cheap. I actually have a mostly-unused package sitting around that need to be used up. I think it's time to pick up some cheap scrapbook paper.

Alternatively: Recycle wrapping paper, tissue paper, newspaper, brown paper shopping bags, or magazines instead of buying scrapbook paper.

DIY Dixie Cup Garland tutorial via Pinterest

How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying: Stop Looking at the Whole Picture!

Welcome to part 1 of How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying. This is written particularly for those of you who see the blogs and magazines and tv shows of fabulous people and immediately feel guilty and inadequate.

You know she's watching Living right now.

That's right.. now you can discover the fabulous secret knowledge that successful home-makers have always known! 

Are you ready? I am about to give you five shocking domestic secrets that Martha Stewart doesn't want you to find out!

Well, not quite. But I am going to give you a piece of advice that you might not have heard before: Stop holding yourself to someone else's standards, and stop looking at the whole picture. 

Wondering what I mean?

Fruit: How to Choose the Best

Let's keep on with our back-to-the-basics approach of the last week or two and talk about some of the simple, basic skills that everybody should learn if they want to improve the way they eat and cook. Today, the topic is going to be fruit--specifically, how to choose the best fruit from that big, appealing pile at the market.

This is a skill that you have to practice, but it definitely gets easier with time. Whether you decide to choose local, organic, or conventional is a decision I will leave up to you. This is about making sure that when you go shopping, you find the best, ripest, tastiest fruit out there.

Five Essential Ingredients for a Functional Kitchen

If cooking at home is still a fairly new thing for you, I'd like to help you out by letting you know about a few tools that are really essential for having a successful, functional kitchen.  If I had to start my kitchen over again from scratch, these are the first five things I would insist on making sure I got.

It can be really overwhelming to know where to start when you haven't already been doing the domestic thing for years. I'd like you to treat this as a sort of quick-start guide for spending more time in your kitchen and being more productive while you're there. 

It's taken me a while to work out exactly what should be on this list. How long? Well, I've been keeping house with Mr. Scrimp for two years. Before that, I shared an apartment with my best friend. I've been responsible for several kitchens at this point, and I've worked in a lot more.

These are the tools I can't do without.

How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying

I've learned a lot of things about housekeeping in the last two years. I've learned how to make pasta. How to make jelly. How to take smells out of a sink. How to decorate with no money. How to grocery shop on a budget. I still have a long way to go as a homemaker, but I am definitely getting there.

The one question that I have been asked most often since starting Scrimpalicious is "how do you do it?"

I have a full-time day job, I've had a broken foot for the last five months, I have hobbies in which I am very deeply involved. What I don't have are the oodles of time that a lot of blogging homemakers seem to have. Much as I would love to be a stay-at-home, I'm not. Between work, hobbies, and social life, I usually only have a few hours a day to do all the things I'm doing.

And yet, I get it done. How? Well, I guess I've just picked up a few tricks along the way. I'd like to share them with you, because if I've learned anything it's that being busy doesn't have to stop you from having a home that is, if not Martha Stewart, at least not worthy of a spot on Hoarders.

So, for the next few Wednesdays, I'll be sharing a series on How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying. You might be surprised how much you can get done with very little time.

Be sure to become a fan of the Facebook page or follow @scrimpalicious on Twitter so you don't miss a word.

Home Remedies: For Mosquito Bites

Mr. Scrimp and I spent quite a bit of time outside over the last few days. He was clever and used bug spray. I was not.

We both ended up with a truly ridiculous number of bites--although I admit, Mr. Scrimp got far fewer than I did. I started counting them and got bored after bite number 33 just on my legs.

Fortunately, my front yard is a source of an excellent bug bite cure, one which I learned about years ago: plantain.

That's right. I'm talking about the ubiquitous, find-it-everywhere annoyance that is the second most-common turf weed after dandelion. If you are responsible for yard care, I imagine that this little plant makes you tear your hair out.

But don't mow it down! If you have a yard full of plantain that hasn't been contaminated by commercial fertilizers or pesticides, there are a lot of useful things it can do.

Raw Milk and Food Freedom

Certain portions of the news and the blogotwittersphere (that's what we're calling it now, right?) are still going crazy over the raid at Rawesome in Venice, CA yesterday.
Photo from LA Weekly

Mostly, the outrage is coming from raw milk/raw food devotees who feel, with some justification, that they are being persecuted for choosing to drink raw milk. But here in Ohio, raw milk is strictly illegal, so it isn't really a personal issue for me. I would drink raw milk if I could get it, but I can't and so I drink the best milk I can get and I'm happy with that.

You don't have to drink raw milk, or even approve of it, to get involved in food freedom issues like this one, though.

Tom Kha Gai / Thai-style Coconut Chicken Soup

Well, I haven't posted a recipe in a while, so I thought I'd share the recipe for the soup that Mr. Scrimp and I had for dinner tonight!

This is by no means a totally authentic recipe--it's my copy of the soup served at a local restaurant, and it's not as good as theirs (but it's close). I usually make a big big batch of this in our stockpot so we can eat it for several days, so this recipe will make you quite a bit of soup. A half or quarter batch is probably plenty.

Fed Raids Food Club in California

Twitter and Facebook pages run by real food advocates are lighting up this afternoon with the breaking news that private food club Rawesome has been raided by the Federal government this morning. Rawesome is a private food buying club that gives its members access to, among other things, raw dairy products.

Blogger Cheeseslave is on the scene and reports: "Rawesome was raided again by SWAT teams. James the owner has been arrested. They just poured at least $10k worth of milk down the drain. Bail is set at $123,000. Warrant: selling unpasteurized milk. If you're in LA please come right now to Rawesome at 655 Rose at Lincoln in Venice. We are standing out front protesting."

Rawesome was also raided last year. Selling raw milk is not illegal in California. There is no evidence that Rawesome's milk has made anybody sick. Why is the federal government arresting law-abiding citizens for selling food?

DIY Chandelier Project

Do you love that mid-century look for home decorating? Or maybe you prefer something a little more homespun than that? Now you can highlight either look with a fun, cheap DIY chandelier project, courtesy of Young House Love.

I am in love with this project! For the price of some inexpensive wire mesh and a couple packages of clothespins, you can install a cool, unique chandelier in your home. The example above went into a laundry room (very appropriate) but I can think of several places in my home where I'd like to put something like this.

Head on over to Young House Love and check it out!

Reminder: Become a Fan!

Do you wish you always knew when a new Scrimpalicious post was going up? Wonder no more! If you become a fan of Scrimpalicious on Facebook, you will be automatically notified on your home page every time a new Scrimpalicious post goes up.

Or, you can follow @scrimpalicious on Twitter

In addition to new post notifications, if you follow Scrimpalicious on Facebook and Twitter you will see links, questions, notes, and quotes that don't necessarily make it to being a full-fledged blog post.

So, what are you waiting for? It's fun, private, and free! And while you're at it, why not suggest Scrimpalicious to a friend?


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