post off: do you plan a weekly menu?

beans&onions

In our house, we pretty much make everything we eat ourselves. Mostly it’s a budget thing, but I have a few food sensitivities, and find it much easier to cook at home. I don’t know how we’d survive if I didn’t work in a grocery store — it makes it easy to grab the ingredients for what we need on a whim. I’ve tried making a weekly menu and done one big shop, but I find I often deviate from the plan, and sometimes end up having to throw ingredients out. I’ve looked at some of these helpful plans from SimpliFried, springpad, and Organized Home which may help me better stick to my plan. But honestly, I really prefer keeping a well stocked pantry and grabbing my fresh produce and proteins as needed, “European style”, so to say. How do you plan your meals? Are you regimented or flexible? Any helpful tips to sticking to a plan you’d care to share? — Megan B.

photo courtesy of Kletia Garies

site we’re psyched about: teux deux

teux deux

My biggest goal for 2011 (other than winning the lottery and retiring): to be more productive and organized. It’s a lofty one, I know, but thankfully I’ve got help — in the form of web-based productivity assistant Teux Deux. Instead of my perpetual scrap paper list-making cluttering my desk, pockets and recycle bin; I’ve got a minimally-designed running list on my browser, which is where I’m spending the bulk of my computer time anyway. Even better, I’ve got it synced up with the iphone app, so I can cross off those nagging to-do’s as soon as they are complete! Best of all, the site is free (though the mobile app has a nominal fee) — and did I mention it’s the brainchild of one of our favorite bloggers, Tina Roth Eisenberg, also known as swissmiss? — Megan B.

want it now: coffee bag burlap bucket

burlap1

Ever since my trip to Waialua Estate (more about that next week, promise), I’ve been obsessed with burlap coffee bags. I’ve been dreaming up lofty projects, like using them as a flooring material in our kitchen, but that, realistically, may never happen — and it definitely wont be happening anytime soon. Thankfully I won’t have to wait to inject a little caffeine into my home decor, as I’ll be picking up at least one of these recycled burlap buckets from etsy seller BeeCountry. They’d be perfect in the entryway, corralling those umbrellas, hats, and gloves that always need a home. I can also envision the larger buckets working well as an attractive (and green) laundry basket. And since they only range in price from $17- $40 each, I can still afford my real coffee fix afterwards! — Megan B.

post-off: there’s organized, and then there’s just plain crazy

pencils

I spotted these desk organizers by Less & More on Etsy last week, and my first instinct was to fall head over heels for them. The bright colors! The perfect styling! The extreme organization! It was all just too wonderful for my charming Type A personality to imagine.

And then I took a moment and asked myself whether I’d ever actually sort pencils on my desk into individual compartments in a pencil holder, let alone organize them by color and by size. Suddenly, my love was starting to wane. And yet…how fabulous would my desk look if I actually did go to the trouble?

So, since I’m torn, I decided to see if I was the only one: just how organized are you? Does this desk organizer feel absolutely perfect, or just a bit over the top? — Becki S.

holiday wrap up: store your holiday lights on paper tubes

xmas_lights

For those of us who decide not to leave up the lights

I finally got around to taking my holiday decorations down this weekend … my little fake Christmas tree gets stuffed back into its garbage bag, and my holiday wreath into its box. I also had several strings of holiday lights up on my porch that need to be tucked away. I got to thinking — every year I spend 20 minutes untangling lights, no matter how neatly I think I wind them up the year before. Next year will be different though! I did a little brainstorming and came up with a storage trick that I think will help – I wrapped my lights around a cardboard paper towel tube, cutting a slit in one end to keep the cord and plug from unraveling. I think this will make putting up my lights a snap next year! What storage tricks do you have? –- Rebecca F.