How to Organize Your Purse

I’m so excited about a recent project I finished.  Today I’m sharing with you how to organize your purse. I don’t know about you, but my purse was a horrid mess!

Always digging for essentials and coming up empty-handed while we were out and about…no bandaids or breath mints…and lets not even talk about the days I forgot to put on deodorant!  Eeeek!
How to Organize your Purse ~ Purse Organizer & Essentials

While at a planning meeting for CC recently, I was oohing and aahing over how organized 2 of the homeschooling moms were…like major organization envy!  Their organizers inspired me!  They were so beautiful and compact!

I tried to resist the urge to be a complete stalker and I only asked them where they got their bag, an Orla Kiely bag.   Target.  I scored this baby for about $17, a little pricey in my book, but worth it.  These bags are in the makeup section and I have to say I love mine!  LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!

Orla Kiely Makeup Bag Purse Organizer

It can hold quite a bit of goodies.  There are 3 different sections and that middle section below, (labeled personal care) is it’s own little attached self contained bag that is easy to access when you unzip the zippers just to the point where the sides curve.

Makeup Bag Purse Organizer and Essentials

As you can see above, I keep my “stuff” compartmentalized and it makes sense to me.  So here is what I have in each section…

Medical

  • Cough drops (2 kinds – 1 for me and 1 for the kids)
  • Tylenol
  • Alcohol wipe
  • Neosporin type gel
  • Plexus Fast Relief sample (just had to use this the other day)
  • Tissue
  • Bandaids
  • Tweezers
  • Nail Clippers
  • Stick of Plexus of Slim (just in case I forget to take mine or someone wants to try a pack of it)
  • Throat Coat Tea (LOVE this stuff for sore throats!)

Look at all this stuff!!!  Keep in mind it’s winter.  For summertime this will likely look different, (bug spray, afterbite stick, etc).

Medical Section of Purse Organizer

Next we have the Personal Care section of my organizer.

Personal

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lip moisturizer (okay…so I KNOW this is lanolin but this stuff is awesome and I still have samples from when I was in the hospital with Zander)
  • Deodorant
  • Hand lotion
  • Mints
  • Sanitary pad
  • Travel dental brush/picks
  • Hair ties
  • Hair clip

 

Personal Care Items for Purse Organizer

My last compartment is for odds and ends.

  • Shout wipes
  • Grocery bag folded like a triangle (love this tip and have been doing this for years)
  • Pen
  • Sunblock Bar

Purse Organizer Odds and Ends

I LOVE my organizer and I finally have what I need contained!  My organizer has more room but I didn’t want to cram too much in there…here are some other ideas you could add to your purse organizer….

  • Mirror
  • Protein Bar
  • Lip gloss/ lip stick
  • Bug bite stick (to stop the itch)
  • Bug spray
  • Flash light
  • Extra cash
  • Bobby pins
  • Phone numbers in case of emergency
  • Note pad
  • Brush (but NOT for curly hair)
  • Safety pins
  • Sewing kit
  • Ginger chews (or Tums)

This is my list but I’d love to hear what tiny essentials you keep in your purse on a regular basis.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Mmmm.  I love pumpkin as much as the next gal but until recently I hadn’t ever made or eaten Pumpkin Pancakes.  Eli found a recipe for pumpkin pancakes in an old Highlights magazine the recipe called for pancake mix, which we never buy.  We experimented with a couple recipes and this one from AllRecipes is utterly delicious, (shockingly better than Pioneer Woman’s)!!

If you want ideas of how to make this with a pancake mix, head on over to AllRecipes, there seems to be a good substitute in the comments to that highly-rated recipe (linked above).
Let me explain our big changes:

  1. We added freshly ground nutmeg to ours.  All sweet pumpkin recipes should contain nutmeg.
  2. The recipe calls for 1 cup of pumpkin puree.  We’re using canned pumpkin and that comes in a 15 oz can, leaving 7 oz of pumpkin left over and not enough for my pumpkin bread if I was being a stickler about amounts.  So I just adjusted it to be half a can of pumpkin.  I don’t think you have to get crazy about measuring is my point really.  Waste not…want not.

Pumpkin Pancakes from Scratch

Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, (fresh ground is best)

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, butter, and vinegar. Add the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt in a separate bowl. Stir all the ingredients just enough to combine.  Do not be tempted to add more milk to the batter, it will be thick.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium high heat. Scoop 1/4 a cup of batter onto the griddle and spread the batter out with the back of a spoon. Brown on both sides.  Serve hot with maple syrup.

 

Trader Joe’s Fall Haul

I might be obsessed but I’m estatic that a Trader Joe’s opened up closer to our home!  Today I’m sharing some of our Trader Joe’s Fall Haul.

We have our favorites and seasonal (Fall) items we decided to try out.  Here’s just some of what we got…

Our Trader Joe's Fall Haul

Fruit Bars

These babies are just fruit and NOTHING else! Love them! They also have an Apple Coconut bar…that one is NOT a favorite of our family.

Trader Joe's Fruit Bar

Candied Ginger

My kids LOVE the candied ginger! They are sweet and spicy!  We use these for a candy treat, upset stomach, or for holiday baking.  Oh and they are SUCH a great deal per oz compared to your regular supermarket!

Trader Joe's Candied Ginger

 

Pumpkin Spice Rooibos Tea

Mmmmm….pumpkin!  I’m not a huge tea drinker but I enjoy this seasonal tea (and I’m a sucker for a cute tin).

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Rooibos Tea

 

 

Crushed Garlic

I just discovered this little gem and I’m happy with how it flavors our food.  I cook a lot with garlic and I have a nifty little Pampered Chef press for fresh garlic, but this makes cooking with garlic SO much more convenient.  The 2 ingredients in the crushed garlic are Citric Acid and Crushed Garlic.  I love simplicity of ingredients.

Trader Joe's Crushed Garlic

 

Cinnamon Graham Crackers

We’ve been getting this little crackers for a while.  They are totally old-fashioned and yummy!!  One day, I’ll be supermom and make homemade graham crackers.  Until then, these will more than suffice.

Trader Joe's Cinnamon Grahams

 

Green Fin – Cocobon – Benefactor Cellars – Dark Horse

I’m not a connoisseur of wines but here is my take on these 4 wines all in the “cheap wine” price range.

Green Fin – This Cabernet Sauvignon is an okay wine.  Nothing to go crazy about but it is suitable in my opinion. I’d buy it again especially since it’s only $5!

Cocobon – I bought their Red Blend and I LOVED it!  Loved it!  I HIGHLY recommend it and I’ll buy this one regularly, (it was only $7)!

Benefactor Cellars – I’m not a wine expert but I know a terrible wine when I drink one.  Benefactor Cellars ~ Cabernet Sauvingnon is a TERRIBLE wine!  Terrible!  I never throw wine away…but I don’t even think this one is suitable for cooking.  I should have noticed there was a screw cap which is pretty much a sure sign that a wine is less than par.  Listen to the skeleton pirate below!

Cheap Wine at Trader Joe's

 

Dark Horse – Uh -yeah this was a big winner!  $8 and relatively smooth!  I’d still choose Cocobon over this one but this was a close 2nd place.

Trader Joes Dark Horse Wine

 

Ginger Cats Cookies for People

Again…we got ginger thing going on here. These are a nice treat for my little people.

 

Ginger Cats Cookies Trader Joe's

 

Macaroni & Cheese

I debated about including this macaroni and cheese.  Seriously. it’s mac n cheese and not a complicated food.  To justify this inclusion, I must tell you that my kids eat mac & cheese about once a week.  They don’t care for the Annie’s brand which has better ingredients (though more clumpy to make) than Kraft. But they liked Trader Joe’s macaroni and cheese and it’s only $1.  Win!

Trader Joe's Macaroni & Cheese

Pumpkin Cereal Bars

This were just okay.  A little too sweet for our tastes honestly but good flavor in-spite of that.

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bars

Dark Chocolate Coconut Caramel

Yum!!!  Have gotten this for a while now.  Very good chocolate with crunchy coconut in there!

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate

Pita Crisps with Cranberries and Pumpkin Seeds

These are REALLY good but our dipping choices are pretty limited right now.  I think they’d be great with some sort of cheese ball…but my creativity is lacking to pair them with something deserving.
Trader Joe's Pumpkin Cranberry Pita Crisps

Goddess Dressing

Ever tried to find a salad dressing without sugar?  It’s tough but I’m happy to report the Goddess Sauce doesn’t have sugar.  I’m not 100% sold on it yet, it’s pretty tart.Trader Joe's Goddess Dressing

Popping Corn

Love non-GMO popcorn.  Win!
Trader Joe's Organic Popcorn

Fluoride Free Toothpaste

We generally avoid fluoride.  This toothpaste is less than $3!  Yippee!!Fluoride Free Trader Joe's Toothpaste

Halloween Joe Joe’s

FYI – these are NOT Oreos. But for a store-bought Oreo substitute these fit the bill wonderfully!

Halloween Joe Joe's

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

These have been a favorite of ours for a while, creamy peanut butter…mmmmm.Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Onion Bagels

Now if you compare these to fresh from the bakery bagels, you’ll be sorely disappointed.  But compared to other shelf stable bagels, they’re pretty good.
Trader Joe's Onion Bagel

 

So these are just a few of the things we’ve been buying.

And of course, Trader Joe’s doesn’t know me nor have they ever heard of me.  I’m just sharing what works and doesn’t work for us from Trader Joe’s.  How about you all?  What are some of your favorites from Trader Joe’s that I missed out on?

 

 

 

Crockpot Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Mmmmm…fall.  I love this time of year! In South Texas, I get my soup on during the cooler weather and this Crockpot Chicken Wild Rice Soup is one of my favorites.  It’s hearty and oh so good!  While we were slaving away painting our house one recent Saturday, I threw this in and we got to enjoy it after a long day’s work.  Yum!

We do VERY limited bread but I suggest you don’t skip out on serving this with crusty bread.  Perfection!

Crockpot Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Crockpot Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 2 c. water
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 c. wild rice, uncooked
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • Additional water or broth for proper consistency

Directions:

  1. Place everything in a 6 quart crockpot except the heavy cream.  Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.  When finished cooking, shred chicken and add heavy cream to crockpot.  Add additional water or broth if needed.
  2. Serve with crusty bread.

 

White Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars

We LOVE these white chocolate cranberry granola bars!  I’ve made these countless times over the past 5 years for camping trips and playgroups. In fact, their inspiration comes from an AllRecipes.com recipe for Playgroup Granola Bars.  I’ve made some major tweaks to the recipe and they are oh so tasty!  Perfect fall flavors!

A few notes first…

These are best cut warm but wait until they cool to handle them.  Also, the honey is necessary.  I’ve substituted corn syrup before (in a pinch) and they were hard as rocks.

White Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars

White Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c. flour
  • 2 c. rolled oats
  • 1 c. white chocolate chips
  • 1 c. craisins
  • 1 c. sliced almonds (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 X 13 inch pan with cooking spray.
  2. Cream together butter, sugar, & honey.  Stir in egg, vanilla, & almond extract.  Add salt, flour, & rolled oats.  Mix thoroughly.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips and craisins.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared 9 X 13 inch baking pan.
  5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Cut while bars are warm but let them cool before handling.

Tin Whistle Case Tutorial

We are venturing into the land of Tin Whistle with Classical Conversations.  Today I’m sharing my tin whistle case tutorial. This pattern is super easy and fast if you have more than one to make.  The cases are just the right length for your tin whistle and have fleece for added cushioning.

Tin Whistle Case Tutorial

Supplies:

  • 1/8 yard fleece
  • 1/8 yard cotton fabric
  • thread
  • button
  • elastic cord **See my note below**

 

**NOTE: I originally used the elastic cord but due to the fact that the cord is so narrow, it’s difficult for the stitches to “grab” the cord.  I repaired a couple of cases with thicker, (but still narrow elastic).  The pictures below show the elastic cord but I highly recommend you use 1/8″ wide elastic instead.

Directions:

  1. Cut both the fleece and cotton fabric to a 3 1/2 inch strip the long way of the fabric.
  2. Trim both fleece and cotton to be 27 inches long.
  3. Cut 3 inches of elastic cord, set aside.3 inch elastic cord for tin whistle case
  4. Layer fleece on bottom and place cotton on top of fleece strip with the right side of the cotton facing the fleece.
  5. Mark one end of fabric layers with a semi-circle. (I used a mason jar to outline.)Flap marking for tin whistle case
  6. Take your cut elastic and fold it in half.  Place the looped end inside the fabric layers.  Secure it in place with 2 pins, one on each side of the elastic. Sidenote:  I NEVER pin, but in this case it’s important to pin in order to stop the elastic from shifting during the next step.
  7. Leave the unmarked 3 1/2″ end open and sew a 1/4″ seam allowance. When you reach the semi-circle marked end, curve around using your marking as a guide.  Reinforce the elastic by sewing back and forth directly over the elastic like a crazy person.  Seriously. *smile* This is very important for making sure it is secure.1/4 inch seam allowance for tin whistle case
  8. Trim the curved end of fabric, leaving the excess cording, (just in case any repairs need to be made to cording).Elastic end and flap on tin whistle case
  9. Turn your fabric right side out and iron (I also NEVER iron unless it’s absolutely necessary…it is in this case).
  10. Tuck fabric ends under and sew a 1/4 inch seam to secure the open end closed.Tin Whistle Case Sewing Ends
  11. Lay your case down and fold it so that the pocket opening to the end measures 12 inches.12 inch length on tin whistle case
  12. Turn top flap over and mark where your button will be fastened.  You want to mark for your button hole just a little past where your elastic loop falls.Button hole placement on tin whistle case
  13. Sew on your button by hand.
  14. Line your case up so that it is 12 inches long (for the pocket) again.
  15. Starting at the pocket opening, sew at 1/4″ (make sure to backstitch at both left and right openings) all the way around the case including the opening flap.  Your stitch should stop where you started to sew.Sewing Start Point for Tin Whistle Case

That’s it!  You’ve finished.

I tried to be very detailed in how I made these.  I made about 30 of these for a fundraiser in our community and this was fastest and easiest way I came up with.

You could add a tag to write a name…customizations are endless on these!

U.S. Presidents Miniature Cards – FREE Printable

This year is our first year doing Classical Conversations and we’re learning the U.S. Presidents and their order.  I needed something handy and with one President per card so today I’m sharing the U.S. Presidents Miniature Cards – FREE Printable I made up.

U.S. Presidents Miniature Cards - FREE Printable

We’re listening to the CC Song and they are learning the order…soon they’ll be using the cards to place them in the correct order.  I know we are early in the year but I like that we can be prepared ahead of time.

The last page has a card containing the answer key…because you know…I need to know the answers.  (My children are smarter than me).  Ha!

U.S. Presidents Miniature Cards - FREE Printable Answer Key

So without further adieu…here are my U.S. Presidents Miniature Cards for your viewing and printing pleasure.  Click link below to open PDF file for printing.

US Presidents Mini Cards – FREE Printable