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Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by Darla | 3 Comments

Part of staying organized is having healthy go-to meals, preferably going in the slow cooker. One of my family’s favorite dishes is chicken with wine and olives, and it’s a great recipe with very few ingredients.I’ll warn you that this has more drama than my usual blog posts.

chicken with wine and olives recipe

But even something fail-proof can fail. I threw this together one Saturday morning, and then we all headed out for the day.

This dish goes great with a side of couscous and grilled zucchini. Doesn’t it look yummy?

chicken side dishes

But don’t grab that fork just yet. It seems we might have a problem. At some point, we might have had a power outage. No, even better, my Crock-pot died. Minutes before I’m set to serve dinner, hubby and I are looking at a crock of cold chicken. Sadly, those sides are the only thing we had for dinner that night.

Sigh.

Let’s start again. The only tricky part about this recipe is the red wine. Cook with the same wine you drink with, and it’s sure to be a recipe you love. I like my reds sweeter, so I tend to stick with the zinfandels. And be sure to use chicken thighs, not chicken breasts.

Chicken with Wine and Olives
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This hearty main dish is a winner even with the kids.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4 services
Ingredients
  • 4-6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 can of pitted black olives
  • ~1 cup red wine (dry or semi-sweet, to your taste)
  • 1 tsp finely crushed dried rosemary
Instructions
  1. Place chicken in slow cooker. Can be cooked from frozen.
  2. layer olives, then wine, then rosemary on the chicken.
  3. Cover and cook for 4-6 hours.
  4. You will likely not need to baste at all, but you may check during the last hour of cooking to be sure all the chicken is in the liquid.
  5. Serve with suggested sides such as couscous, mashed potatoes, and grilled vegetables.

 

ingredients for chicken with wine and olives

Yes, you could make this in the oven, but why, when a slow cooker makes it virtually impossible to overcook? This time, I used my swanky new Calphalon slow cooker that I also love for tacos. Ah, that’s better. This is what it’s supposed to look like!

slow cooker chicken with wine and olives

This time I paired it with mashed potatoes and carrots.

slow cooker chicken meal

During this busy season, this is exactly the kind of easy-peasy no-fuss meal you’ll be thrilled to come home to. Enjoy and share with friends by pinning it to your dinner and crock pot boards.

chicken with wine and olives recipe

 

 

Posted on: December 16th, 2014 by Darla | No Comments

Every DIY-er and most homeowners have come across that one drawer that sticks or doesn’t quite slide correctly. I’ve found the most excellent fix for drawers that stick!

How to fix drawers that stick

This Nylo-Tape Drawer Tape is the answer. It not only fixes sticky drawers, but it also fixes the other problem that older furniture and cabinets often have, which is when the bottom of the drawer is slowly wearing away.

sticky drawers wear away the bottom of the drawer

It’s bad enough that the bottom of the drawer is wearing unevenly from the little roller guide.

drawer roller causes wear

The sawdust it leaves behind inside the cabinet isn’t pretty.

sawdust from cabinet drawer wear
For this situation I actually bought two solutions. I thought I could use the drawer glides, but the Nylo-Tape 10 mil thick x 1/2” x 10 feet ended up being the better solution.

drawer tape makes sticky drawers slide again

It just sticks onto the bottom of the drawer. You apply it either to the bottom of the drawer (as in my case here) or to the top of the drawer shelf (if the dresser or cabinet has a wood shelf or wood runners that the drawer glides on). You only need to apply it to one surface, not both.

fix sticky drawers with Nylo-tape

For years I’ve coated sticky surfaces with either soap or candle wax, but this tape stuff is really excellent for getting the glide going, and it stops the sawdust. I could not believe how nicely it worked on old dressers and even my own little cabinet. Did I mention that there’s no more sawdust?

Thanks to the magic of the internet, you can unstick your drawers in less than a week or two by ordering your own Nylo-Tape Drawer Tape here. It comes in a couple of widths, so check out your drawer frame before ordering what will work best for you.

I’d love to know if you are getting unstuck. Please comment below.

Posted on: December 13th, 2014 by Darla | No Comments

This jewelry frame organizer project was originally a DIY workshop for Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, PA. If you decide to DIY it, please consider purchasing a Project Pak from the ReStore in Norristown, or visiting your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore to purchase the items needed. Your purchase will go directly toward the mission of ending substandard housing.

DIY Jewelry Frame

This DIY Jewelry Frame is an excellent gift for yourself or others because:

  • It can be customized to your own taste, or that of your recipient
  • It is an easy, one day project
  • It uses materials that might otherwise be tossed in a landfill
  • It can be dressed up with an article of jewelry for the total package
  • It provides not only a gift, but a way to organize the gift, so it really is the total package
  • It is affordable, at only $10-15 for supplies. You could easily pay double that or more in a retail store.

Gather your supplies:

  1. A wood picture frame, the thicker the better. I recommend something approximately 16″ tall or taller. Choose a width that works for your space. Be sure to select a wood frame, and not a plastic frame.
  2. Designer fabric remnant, large enough to cover the frame.
  3. Paint and wax, if desired. Latex paint or chalky paint may be used. A brand like Annie Sloan will dry quickly and reduce your project time.
  4. Optional finish wax (Annie Sloan dark wax was used here).
  5. 4-7 small decorative cabinet handles and hardware or cuphooks.
  6. Scrap trim molding cut to the back of your frame.
  7. Picture hanging hardware for the back. Check your frame. It might already be attached.
  8. Small brad nails.

Tools needed:

  1. Power drill
  2. Staple gun
  3. Paintbrush
  4. Cotton rag for wax application
  5. Miter box and saw
  6. Hammer

DIY Jewelry Frame Organizer Project Steps:

Choose your frame. Be sure it is solid wood, because you’ll be drilling into it. Remove the backing, ugly picture inside, and glass. You won’t be using any of these.

choices for frames for DIY Jewelry Frame

 

Seriously, the less attractive it is, the more fun it is. Try to ignore the dated wood finish or details like cheap gold trim. Remember what kind of a transformation I got with just a quick coat of white paint on my Mirrored Memo Board? Paint can hide a lot of sins! Just look for thick wood and interesting details. Even though this one is a little on the thin side, I like the carved rope detail. Buy, oh, can you imagine where this was hanging before it came to rest at the ReStore?

$3 frome for DIY jewelry frame

 

Paint the frame with your choice of colors to coordinate with your fabric remnant, and let dry.

While the paint is drying, select your hardware. If your frame is thick enough, you may be able to use various hardware knobs. If the frame is thinner, stick with small cup hooks in your choice of colors.

hardware for DIY Jewelry Frame

Once the frame is dry, you may wax it for additional color variation and durability. Yes, we are waxing this frame to make the old yucky frame look vintage. But let’s not split hairs.

painted, waxed DIY Jewelry frameFlip over your frame and cut two or 4 trim pieces to frame the back. This will provide finishing for the fabric and possibly the hanging rail, depending on how your frame is made. Don’t attach the trim yet.

finishing the back of your DIY Jewelry frameSorry, no picture of this one, but this is where you cut your designer fabric remnant to an inch shorter than the overall size of your frame, and use a staple gun to attach it to the back of your frame. You can choose any fabric that fits your style, but I especially like ones that have a heavy weave, maybe even a nubby or burlap-style weave, in case you decide to use it to poke earrings through.

fabric for DIY jewelry frameOnce the fabric is stapled to the back on all four sides, inspect the back to see if you need to attach the molding either for stability for for a hanging rail. Depending on your frame, this might not be needed.

Drill holes in the top rail of the frame at even intervals and attach cabinet hardware by screwing in through the back. If you’ve chosen to use cup hooks instead, you can simply screw in from the front of the frame. If the frame is very chunky, you can chose to screw into the inside bottom of your frame, so the cup hooks hang straight down. As you can see, you’ll have choices based on the thickness of your frame and the hardware you choose. Generally use 3-5 hooks per frame.

cup hook hardware for DIY Jewelry frame

That’s it. You can repeat this process over an over again with any number of styles of frames and fabrics to create the perfect gift. You can make multiples of this frame in coordinating colors and styles to outfit an entire wall of a closet or dressing room. The options are endless!

fabric for DIY Jewelry frame

Your turn. What do you think of this DIY Jewelry Frame to organize your jewelry beautifully?

If you love it, you might want to Pin it to your Organization or Jewelry boards.

DIY Jewelry Frame

Posted on: December 11th, 2014 by Darla | No Comments

There is a weird magnetic field between my garage door and the stoplight half a mile down the road. So often I get pulled back to my garage five minutes after leaving to gather some forgotten item. Sometimes it happens more than once on the same trip!

Organizing to leave the house

Do you often leave the house more than once?

Yes, I’m organized, but it still happens. Hey, no one is perfect.

I recently started investigating why this happens and whether it can be fixed.

Harold Taylor, a noted time management expert, told about how he takes a daily walk, after which he sits down to write an article or two. One year his kids got him a portable music device for his walks. He enjoyed the music, but he found that when he reached his destination, the articles wouldn’t come. What changed? His brain needed the quiet time during his walk for him to consistently write articles.

Many people today just don’t have any quiet time in their day. Certainly, those five minutes between the back door and the garage are hectic, and hectic is where chaos happens.

Hectic is where things get forgotten, accidents happen, and commitments are missed.

Unfortunately, my brain thinks the five minutes after I get in the car are my quiet time. After I’ve cleared the kitchen counter, grabbed my bags, and made it out of the clutches of little hands who want just one more hug, sitting in the car IS quiet time. With all of the household and family duties behind, my mind is captive in the car and starts planning the details of events I’m heading to and the commitments in the rest of my day.

That is when forgotten details pop into my head, usually right around the time I arrive at that first stoplight.

What’s the Round Trip Remedy?

If this happens to you more often than you’d like, there is an easy fix. Actually, two fixes:
1. Checklists- Similar to notepads that some people hang on the doorknob to remind them of things to take out of the house, I have one inside my car that I check before leaving for an appointment. Going through the checklist forces me to switch gears before I leave the driveway, and at least I don’t forget the obvious items. One of my clients often has a dead battery because she leaves her car lights on, so we created a checklist of what to do before she exits her car with 3 things on it:

  • Turn off headlights (her car doesn’t automatically turn them off),
  • check teeth and lipstick
  • grab purse and lunch bag.

Could you make a checklist like this?

2. Breathe- Give it a moment, maybe in the front seat while you are still parked in the driveway. It’s easy to stay on the go, not miss a step in your day, but 60 seconds with your eyes closed, mentally running through the task coming up next might be all you need. Picture what you’ll be carrying, where you’ll be going, who you’ll be seeing, and your essential items will pop into your head more times than not.

So simple, right? Simple, but not easy. If you do one of these fixes, you’ll be more organized and less frantic. If you do both, you’ll be an organizing rock star. I think I hear your band warming up now!

 

Photo credit: DepositPhoto Copyright littleny

This post was originally published on NAPO-GPC.

Posted on: December 9th, 2014 by Darla | No Comments

Lots of people just finished their extension tax filings, but it’s time to think about next year’s taxes already. Especially if you are a small business. Especially if you are historically not as organized as you’d like to be.

Getting ready for tax season starts now, even before the end of the year.

end of year organizing for taxes

The goal of good records organization is that it should take less than an hour to find and organize all of your receipts and records in preparation for your meeting with your tax preparer.

If you spend more than an hour on tax prep, you probably need a better system.

At its most simple, have a file, envelope, or box where all receipts, statements, and tax mail goes. Make sure it doesn’t go anywhere else! Even the busiest, most disorganized business owner or homeowner CAN do this much, especially if it saves you thousands of dollars in fees and deductions.

Actually, make that two folders. While you are closing out the old tax year, you’ll be starting the new one, so keep records separated now and save time later.

organizing for taxes, end of year planning

One of the most important things a business owner can do is meet with their tax adviser or CPA before the end of the tax year, preferably not during the busy season, review their general business operations and plans with their adviser, and see what records might be needed to maximize deductions and credits.

This step will also help answer the question of what papers and records need to be kept and for how long. The general rule of thumb is to keep tax records for 7 years, but it may be as little as 3, or as long as 10 years or more for IRS purposes. There may be other requirements for human resources payroll records that vary according to your state.

Paper organizing using FreedomFiler

Most business owners have two problems with their records: they don’t know how long to keep their records, and they don’t like to file. My favorite tool is the FreedomFiler. While not everyone needs an instant color-coded system, it really does accomplish the goal of helping folks easily set up files that actually indicate right on the file tab what to keep and for how long. It has the added bonus of keeping all tax records in a single place, identified by color, which makes tax prep even easier. There is no one system that works for everyone, but the FreedomFiler solves many problems for most people who implement it.

It looks like our next FreedomFiler class will (tentatively) be on Thursdays starting March 5, 2015. If you want to be on the list to get the registration information, please leave a comment below or email me at Darla@HeartWorkOrg.com.