Oh-So-Easy Fridge Mats (DIY)

Wow!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  This April marked my blog’s first anniversary.  Thanks to all of you reading my rants and raves on the One Whimsy Housewife blog!!

I have a rave for you today.  Pinterest has once again given me a winner.  (There have been quite a few duds that I’ve tried, too.)

Have you seen these fun things called fridge coasters?  They are so cute and really practical.  Fridge Coasters are mats that line the shelves in your fridge.  So, when you have a spill, instead of cleaning the entire fridge, just remove the coaster and wash it.  Genius!

But…they are not permanent.  They are a cardboard-like material that soaks up the spill, but can only be washed a few times then you throw them away.  A consumable product…great for Fridge Coaster…but not great for me and my wallet.

I found this simple and inexpensive idea from It’s An Organized Chaos blog.  She takes flexible plastic placemats and cuts them to size, then lines her fridge shelves with them.  How easy is that?!

I’ve been doing some spring cleaning, and cleaning the fridge was my weekend project this past Sunday.  Baby steps, people, baby steps.  It’s about all I can manage with a full-time job and an almost 3-year-old.

Fridge Before Here is the lovely before picture of my refrigerator.  Sorry, but this is after I cleaned it.  I’m not quite brave enough to share my family’s messiness with you just yet…  It does make me realize that I need to do some serious grocery shopping.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon some of these plastic placemats at Target.  Originally they were about $2.50 each, not bad.  But they were on sale for $1.88!  Even better!  They only had a couple in each color, but that was okay with me.  I only have four shelves, but I bought 5 placemats, just in case I messed one up.

Placemats

I took a tape measure and measured the shelves.  Cut the placemats to size (lengthwise) with a pair of scissors. Then placed them on the shelves.  They don’t fit perfectly.  There is still a half-inch or so of glass showing at the back of the shelf, but I’m okay with that.

Fridge After 1 Fridge After 2

I love how it adds some whimsy to my fridge.

Maybe it will inspire me to keep it clean!

One thing that I’m not thrilled about is that it makes the lower shelves pretty dark.  The light doesn’t filter through the plastic very well.  Since this was so cheap and simple, I don’t feel bad about trying other colors and options!

Cost breakdown – 5 placemats at $1.88 each= $9.40!

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Whimsy Crock Pot Week-Day 2

Welcome back to my experiment of nothing but slow cooker recipes for an entire week.  Today is Baked Potatoes!  Who knew you could bake potatoes in the crock pot?  Not me.  My sister told me about a luncheon she had at her work, where someone brought these.  What a great idea for a potluck!

If you have some leftover pulled pork from yesterday’s recipe, I bet it would be really good added to a baked potato.  You can view the pulled pork recipe here.

Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 baking potatoes, well scrubbed (or use enough to fill the crock, great for the next day lunch or dinner)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 4 sheets of aluminum foil

Directions

  1. Prick the potatoes with a fork several times.  Then rub potatoes with oil, sprinkle with salt and wrap tightly in foil.
  2. Place the potatoes in a slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 4 1/2 to 5 hours, or on low for 7 1/2 to 8 hours until tender.


How to Make a Hand Print Keepsake

I love a baby’s hand and foot print.  In my opinion there is nothing cuter, except maybe the baby itself.  I have seen hand print keepsakes everywhere and thought they were just adorable.  But me being a frugal and creative mama, I thought I could make my own.

I have a wonderful book with over 100 helpful hints on how to use baking soda.  In it is a recipe for “Play Clay”.  I like this recipe, because it’s really simple, you can keep it pliable for up to a week, and then dry your creations when your done.

Recipe for Play Clay

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water
  • Food coloring (optional)

Start by mixing the baking soda and cornstarch in a saucepan.  Add food coloring to your water if you choose.  I didn’t add any to mine.  Add water to baking soda and cornstarch mixture, stir to mix, then cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 10 to 15 minutes.  Don’t overcook.

Clay should have the consistency of mashed potatoes.  Remove from heat and transfer to a plate.

Cover with a damp cloth to cool.  Mine took about an hour to cool.

I then rolled out part of the clay with a rolling-pin to about 1/2 inch thickness.  The other part I put in a container and stored it in the fridge for later.  It keeps for a week, but my son doesn’t do crafts so it eventually was tossed out with some left overs.

Then I dragged my son kicking and screaming to his high chair and placed his hand in the clay.  Remember…he doesn’t do crafts, so I only tortured him long enough to get a good print. 😉

Once the print was made, I cut around it with a knife.

I then had a cute hand print in clay that needed to be dried.  Before you dry your print, punch a hole in the top big enough for a ribbon to go through so that you can hang your keepsake up.

There are a few ways to dry the play clay.

  1. Air:  Set on wire rack overnight
  2. Oven: Preheat to 350˚, turn off, then place finished object on a cooking sheet.  Leave in until oven is cold.
  3. Microwave: Place object on a paper towel, bake at medium power for 30 seconds, turn over, bake for another 30 seconds.  Repeat until dry.

I like things simple, but I also like instant gratification.  I opted for the oven method of drying.  Worked pretty well.

Get crafty and let me know what kind of creations you come up.  I like the idea of giving these as a Mother’s Day gift for the Grandmas!


Meal Planning Made Easy

Lately I have been trying to get into the habit of meal planning for my family.  It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be…the habit, not the planning.  I’ve found that when I do manage to sit down and make a weekly menu and then a shopping list, we actually eat healthier and save money.

(source) 

Here is how I plan for my family’s weekly meals.  Hopefully, you my wonderful friends, will hold me accountable and help me keep this habit!

  1. Map out my weeks meals using a good list
  2. Gather a few good recipes
  3. Always keep an inventory of what’s in my freezer, fridge and pantry

Let’s actually start the above list with #3 and work our way backwards.

Always keep an inventory of what’s in my freezer, fridge and pantry…

After a trip to the store, I would get home and realize that I already had a bottle of BBQ sauce in the pantry and what I meant to get was ketchup.  Oops!  So, I have started using this Pantry Inventory List from Organized Home.  It says “Pantry” at the top, but I print out 3 and mark in Freezer and Fridge for my other 2.  I like that it has a “in & out” check box.  Pretty smart!

(source)

Gather a few good recipes…

Whether you use your memorized tried and true family favorites, your school fundraising cookbook, or the blessed internet google search, you know what works best for you. One of my favorite ways to find new recipes is the All Recipes Dinner Spinner App.  This is so easy to use!  Just select your dish type (dinner, salad, side), then select ingredients (pork, pasta, veggies, etc.), then select the amount of time you want your dinner to be ready in.  Then it pulls up all the recipes!  I usually only use recipes with 4 or more stars.  Always read the reviews, because most commenters will add in their tips and tricks too.  Happy spinning!

Map out my weeks meals using a good list…

I have searched and searched for the perfect “map” for my weekly menu.  There are so many out there!  I needed something that would allow me to view my week at a glance, plus have a place where I could write down my shopping list.  I found many with just the weekly view and a separate list, or ones with the week and a few lines on the side.  But those just didn’t work.  So, I made my own version, & available in 3 different colors!  For a limited time only, One Whimsy Housewife readers will receive 30% off of the Weekly Meal Planner and Shopping List!!  Just enter in WHIMSY4U at checkout.

This allows me to look at each meal, check my inventory, then write under the specific day exactly what I need.

I sit down on Sunday and figure up my weeks meals and shopping list.

I hope this helps you in some way.  Send me a quick comment and tell me what works for you! I’d love to hear from you!!