Shoe organizer to the rescue – and not for shoes!

I have been trying to get my home a bit more organized now that Baby Boy is in day care and I can steal an hour or two here and there to get things back into their place. In the wee hours of the night while Baby Boy slept, I have searched on line for organizers I could buy to make my life a bit more organized. All of them have been pretty expensive. Two spaces I wanted to reorganize were my gift closet and my kitchen. The gift closet because its always been a big mess and the kitchen because I needed to make room for baby bottles and baby dishes and baby food. I will do a separate entry on how I organized the kitchen but I wanted to highlight my use of the shoe organizer in both areas to help make space for a fraction of the cost of the organizers actually marketed for such things.

The Gift Closet

I hung a shoe organizer on the door of the gift closet and used each pocket for different small items – tape (for gift wrap and for shipping in case I am mailing a gift), scissors, ribbons, bows, decorative flowers for gifts, small jewelry boxes, basket filling, and a glue gun. Now whenever I need these items, they are easily on hand – not just for gift wrapping but anytime I need these items upstairs.

The Kitchen

I hung a shoe organizer on the door to my basement (which opens into my kitchen). On that door, I put all the items that normally cluttered valuable drawer space in my kitchen: scissors, tape, aspirin, bandaids, sambucol (if you don’t know of this wonder drug, you are missing out!), a screw driver, plastic utensils, extra light bulbs, batteries, bag clips for closing snack bags, and other useful items.

I found another blog with useful uses for over the door hanging organizers:

21 uses for over the door organizers

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The one above is the shoe organizer for my kitchen.  The one below is for my gift closet.

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Sleep solutions – attempt 457

So we have been attempting to get the baby out of the bed. Here is what we tried:

The baby’s crib converts into a toddler bed by taking one of the three sides off the crib. Instead of dropping the mattress, we left it elevated at bed level to create a sort of extension of our bed. To keep baby safe, we put in a guard rail (bed bug bumpers). The idea was to put baby in his own space. So I plopped him there and wouldn’t you know it, I missed him being close. It seems baby isn’t the only one in need of sleep training.
Yesterday we had a baby sitter come watch the baby so I put the fourth side back on the crib. Hopefully he will be sleeping in there soon.

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Thoughts on Cooking Once and eating for all of Passover

So my latest obsession is cooking once and eating for a month.  I am an avid follower of several blogs – particularly some of the kosher blogs.  This is not because I keep kosher but because having been raised in a kosher home, menus which include pork or shellfish make me uneasy.  I am headed to my parents house for a week for Passover.  My grandmother who in the past did all the cooking is no longer able to make the meal.  My mother is a less than enthusiastic chef.  In my pre-baby days, I would jump into the kitchen to do all the cooking for family holidays – Thanksgiving, Passover, etc.   I liked to deviate from the heavy, fatty meals my grandmother traditionally made.  This year, however, I am inclined to minimize my time in the kitchen by avoiding delicate, gourmet cooking and leaning on my new cooking once eating for a month habits.  I am going to try to plan a cook once Passover week.

SOUP – a large pot of chicken soup will go a long way during the holiday.  It can be served during the seder, as part of a light lunch, or as the base for another soup.  You can add matzoh balls (which can be made and frozen on a cookie sheet.  They can then be put in a plastic bag and thawed as needed) or passover noodles.

ENTREES – Keep it simple when it comes to entrees for your seder meal.  A roast beef or roast turkey make a wonderful centerpiece to a seder meal.  Make more than you need and eat the left overs over the next several days.  On non-seder nights, go simple with roast chicken, bbq chicken, brisket, etc.

SIDE DISHES – Fresh salads, steamed vegetables and potatoes baked in the microwave can be quick and easy.  These additional dishes are good for making and having in the fridge to serve as light lunches if paired with a salad or as side dishes along with a meat entree.  Use matzo meal instead of flour in the below recipes.  All of them freeze well.

Passover noodle Kugel

Light Potato Kugel

Broccoli Kugel

Vegetarian Kugel

Carrot Kugel

DESSERTS – Desserts and sweets for Passover tend to be ridiculously expensive.  This is one time where making stuff from scratch is definately in order – especially if you have a sweet tooth like me!

Here are a few recipes that can be made ahead and will freeze well:

Passover Apple Squares

Passover Cheesecake

Passover Brownies

Almond Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

One other useful/versitile recipe is for passover crepes.  These can be turned into noodles by slicing them, used as a crepe for a quick breakfast or snack, filled with sweet or savory items, used as the noodles in a passover lasagna or any other way you would like.  The recipe is below:

Passover Crepes/Noodles

Ingredients:

  • 24 eggs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 cups      water
  • 2 cups      sifted potato starch

Whisk eggs salt and oil until well blended. In a separate container, mix potato starch and water. Then blend both mixtures and fry a ladleful in a heated, oiled crepe pan. Make thin layer.

Yields 50 crepes

Crepes can be frozen.

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Sleep walking after midnight: up all night III

So this is the third night in a row that baby boy has woken up for a 2-4 am “party” shift. I had been sparing hubby from walking the floors up until now but facing a third night in a row (plus a tinge of jealousy that he had been out playing poker with the boys while I was home bound) led me to rouse the sleeping bear. After the swing failed, I took over again and fed him some rice cereal and sweet potatoes (yes, I was praying for a sugar crash). I noted that the party hour seems to have started with the introduction of sweet potatoes but hubby insists this is coincidence. Finally at about 4:15 the sleepy signs appeared and I knew we were in the home stretch. Am now in need of a few words of wisdom on getting sleep schedules back on track (we went from 9pm to 8 am to 7 am – 7 pm to 5:30 pm – 2am and then 4am – 7 am). There have always been frequent wake ups in there but still, it used to be a quick nurse and back to sleep. Sigh. Ok, did I mention it’s 4:30 am and I need sleep before work tomorrow?

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Sleeping together and not sleeping at all

Last night was a hard night.  Baby boy was up for two hours in a row – from 2 am – 4 am.  We fell into co-sleeping by desperation.  Before baby boy was born, I went out and bought a co-sleeper.  Set it up like a sidecar alongside the bed all ready for baby boy.  He has never slept in it longer than an hour.  Soon I discovered he would only sleep in my arms and I would hold him propped up on a pillow as he slept just for a bit of peace.  Eventually I too would fall asleep from exhaustion — holding him.  This soon evolved into baby and Mommy sleeping in the bed.  Dad – who had to work during the days – had already moved to the couch in the first few weeks.  Baby’s insistance on sleeping with Mom has meant he has stayed on the couch.  Occassionally Dad passes out on the foot of the bed and we sleep together as a sort of family unit.

Five months later, I am loathe to make him “cry it out” but would like to reclaim my bed for my husband and myself.  Baby boy won’t sleep for longer than an hour in a proper baby crib and he still wakes up a few times a night to feed making co-sleeping still the best way for me to maximize sleep.  Last night though as 2 am rolled into 3 am, I got desperate enough to let him “cry it out” a bit.  He was laying right beside me whimpering because he was so tired.  He just wanted someone to help him to sleep.  Everytime he got close, he coughed and woke himself up again.  Finally he allowed himself to be nursed to sleep.

I am not sure how I will transition him to sleeping in his own bed.  I have friends who have children much older than him who are still in bed with them.  I can’t bear letting him just cry.  I can’t believe that is a good thing.  Has anyone else ever taught a child to self soothe themselves back to sleep while co-sleeping?

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Organization for newly married new parents

The first few weeks of the new baby were a trying time (more on that in another post) and my home got out of control.  Mostly it got out of control because (1) I was put on bedrest before the baby came and I did not get a chance to finish setting up for baby.  This meant my family and his family descended on our house to put everything in place.  This was extremely sweet  but it also meant that we couldn’t find anything and we didn’t always know who to ask where something was located since so many hands had been involved.  We bought a lot of things in those first weeks we knew we already had but couldn’t locate. (2) In what might be considered rather old fashioned, my husband and I did not move in together until we got married.  Since I got pregnant a mere three months later and then went on bedrest, we never fully integrated our two lives and households. My husband was attempting to move his household of nearly 40 years into my fully furnished house, not an easy task. (3) My husband and I could barely keep up with our own needs and that of the baby so any other housekeeping went by the wayside.  We ate a lot of take out, gratefully gobbled up anything anyone else brought over, and did the baby’s laundry.  That was about it.

I now read these blogs written by moms who prepared ahead of time and cooked all these meals and put them in the freezer, got the baby room all set up before baby arrived (I had friends putting up the decor while I was in the hospital), and were ready for baby.  Not us – we figured it out on the fly.  This doesn’t sound like us since we are not young kids.  When the baby was born we were both in our mid to late 30s.   I am a professional with advanced degrees who organizes large scale events as part of her job and my husband runs his own company.    Nevertheless, the baby threw us into a disorganized tizzy.  Nothing we had ever done or read before prepared us for the little creature who was to enter our life.

I am only now starting to get a grasp on my home organization (now that he is in daycare and I have a few hours here and there).  I started with integrating much of our common household stuff before turning to my nemesis –  my kitchen (pictures and ideas to follow) which had long been an unorganized mess.

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Introduction

I hestitated starting a blog on the basis that I am already so incredibly busy with being a professional, a mom (to my five month old son and my cat) and finding time for my husband.  We shall have to see how long I manage to keep it up.  I was moved to start this blog because I have been relying on the blogosphere for a variety of ideas and recipes and wanted to let people know what worked for me, what I developed myself and to have a place to talk about these issues.

My recent obsessions have included: pinterest, make ahead recipes – particularly cook one day, eat for a month plans, organizing my kitchen and other areas of my house, ways to deal with my baby’s cosleeping so that my husband can return to the marital bed and without traumatizing the baby, and trying to do my job which I once spent 60-80 hours a week doing and am now limited to doing within the hours made available to me by daycare.

 

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