Menu Plan Monday ~ July 28/14 Guest Host Today!

Menu Plan Monday for the week of July 28/14

Hi everyone, hope you are all doing well. This week while I’m busy enjoying a whole lot of family togetherness I asked my regular recipe contributor Melanie to come share with you what her family will be eating this week.  I’ll be back with you next week and I’ll let you in on what we’ve been up to :)

Menu Plan Monday for July 28th

Hello, Organizing Junkie readers!

I’m so excited to be guest posting for Laura while she’s enjoying some much deserved rest and relaxation!  I’m Melanie from Melanie Makes where I attempt to make everyday eats a bit more interesting.  I’ve been participating in Menu Plan Monday for five years now and it definitely makes our weeks much easier when I do!  It’s such a great source of inspiration and accountability for me as I help care for our family of five.  Having our evening meals planned in advance relieves so much guesswork and stress!

Melanie’s Menu Plan:

Here’s what we’ll be eating this week:

Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos.  Our absolute favorite taco filling!  Simply pour the ingredients into your slow cooker and four hours later, dinner is ready!  Leftovers are just as delicious.

I’ve selected Monday as a night of the week for our family to eat a meatless meal as it tends to be more budget friendly as well as a friendlier option for the environment. My meat and potato eating husband tends to go along with this idea because I also make him a yummy dessert in addition to his meatless meal. What can I say? I’m nice like that!

Tuesday: Ravioli and Spinach Lasagna.  Lasagna on a weeknight is possible thanks to this recipe’s shortcut!  A great way to sneak in vegetables for those that might turn their nose up at spinach.

Wednesday: Seven Layer Taco Dip Burger.  I’ve been on a burger kick the past couple of weeks and this is one of my favorites.  My favorite party dip in burger form – how can you go wrong?

Thursday: Weeknight Chicken Paprikash.  I’m a sucker for any type of pasta in a tomato cream sauce and this one comes together quickly.  Perfect for a weeknight dinner!

Friday: Blueberry Balsamic Chicken Meatball Pizza.  My newest pizza creation and absolutely a new favorite!


Filed under: Menu Plan Monday

Travel Organization: Children’s Clothing Bundles

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Rachel at Useful Beautiful Home.

I’ve had packing suitcases on the brain lately. I wrote about neck ties, bracelets, and now am sharing one more travel organizing post that pertains to children’s clothing.

Travel Organization: Children's Clothing Bundles at

I’m always searching for ways to guide independence in children and packing the suitcase is a great way to continue those attempts. Last summer I shared my FREE picture packing list for children (HERE). In that post, it explains how I let my daughter select items for vacation by following a picture list (beware, it’s an over-stuffed post – sorry!). She spreads the outfits out on her bed along with coordinating headbands, socks, etc.

Encourage your child's indepence even on vacation with easy-to-make clothing bundles

After she makes her choices, I help fit them into the suitcase by making kid-friendly bundles. That gives me opportunity to preview her selections and perhaps edit a thing or two if needed. ;)

These kid-friendly clothing bundles are little “packages” made out of her clothing. For example, this two piece outfit below (and several others like it) went with us on vacation this year.

How to pack a multiple piece outfit into a bundle for young children independence

To make a bundle, I fold the bottoms (whether shorts, a skirt, or pants) in half at the seam and fold the shirt in half with the front facing out, like the picture below. A pair of pants would have to be folded again to mimic the length of a pair of shorts.

Step 1 of folding child's clothing into a bundle for traveling

Then, flip the shirt over with the front side facing down and place the shorts/skirt/pants to one side.

Step 2 of folding child's clothing into a bundle for traveling

Finally, fold the side of the shirt over top of the bottoms.

Step 3 of folding child's clothing into a bundle for traveling

I purposely bundle the clothes with the shirts facing out because often kid’s clothing has some type of logo or picture on the front. Right now, my daughter wears clothes that she enjoys based on a picture, glitter, or embellishment of some kind. Placing those features on the outside helps her easily visualize an outfit without pawing through and unfolding clothes to locate whatever she’s looking for.

Simplify children's clothing choices while on vacation by making easy clothing bundles

Admittedly, this may not be the most compact form of packing but it’s condensed tightly enough for us. I usually roll my clothes, which saves space, and then can fit her “packages” in my suitcase with room to spare.

More suggestions; you could always tuck undergarments inside each clothing bundle too. I don’t because experience has told me that accidents happen and we may need more than one pair for the day. ;) Instead, I make one pile for the week in an outside pocket of the suitcase.

As for her little girl accessories, basically just hair ties & headbands, I toss those in one large reusable zip-top baggie. The clear nature of the bag makes it easy to pick a headband for the day while keeping the other pieces contained.

Child accessory packing

It really takes nothing extra for me to fold these little bundles and pile them in the suitcase. Not necessarily everything gets bundled; pajamas, undies, etc. all find homes wherever makes sense to me. Most of all, using this method simplifies our vacation when it comes to my daughter choosing/unpacking her outfits. Sometimes it’s helpful to see how other people do things differently and then find what works best for you.

I know of another blogger who packaged her child’s clothing into individual zip-top baggies for their vacation. I mean her no disrespect, but that simply didn’t work for me. I’m too lazy to stuff outfits and accessories into individual bags, so my bundle method works a little faster for me. Perhaps for you, something else may work better. Organization is such an individualized experience and I’m happy to share my methods as well as glean from others! Have an excellent weekend!


In the professional world, I’m a nurse by trade. But, around our house, I’m known as Mommy to our young daughter. My two worlds collided and began shaping into a blog. Useful Beautiful Home represents the hours I’ve dedicated to managing my household as efficiently as possible. I offer you motivation to keep your home healthy, organized, and welcoming. My goal is to share what I’ve implemented in my home to inspire you with fresh ideas and to encourage you to keep up the good work in yours! Learn more about me HERE or visit me at

Linking up: Your Homebased Mom, Skip to My Lou, Home Stories A to Z

Filed under: Guest Bloggers, Kid Stuff, Rachel, Travel/Auto Organization

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

chocolate peanut butter peanut butter cup ice cream mm

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Melanie at Melanie Makes. If there’s one dessert flavor combination I can’t get enough of, it’s peanut butter and chocolate.  A true classic.  One that will never go out of style.  And now?  I’ve perfected it in ice cream form! We’re huge ice cream fans in […]

Filed under: Guest Bloggers, Melanie, Recipes

Menu Plan Monday ~ July 21/14


Hello!  It’s time to do a menu plan for the week!  Having a menu plan makes for one organized week and you will feel less stress in your day especially when it comes to 4:00 or as I like to call it, the witching hour.  You know the one I’m talking about! So I hope […]

Filed under: Menu Plan Monday

Summer Homework for Kids

summer homework for kids

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Sharon at Mom of 6. We “do summer” a little differently at our house…. after a school year that is full of activities and sports and lessons and commitments- we take the summers off. My kids don’t go to camp, we don’t sign up for tennis/golf/soccer/chess/horseback […]

Filed under: Guest Bloggers, Sharon

4 Ways to Clear Your Mind When You Don’t Have Time

Clear Your Mind

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Emily at So Damn Domestic. It’s one of those days. I’ve got stuff to do and my mind is muddled. I haven’t been getting good sleep lately; dreaming all night every night (because my brain won’t stop) is exhausting. I’ve got to clear my mind. Have […]

Filed under: Emily, Guest Bloggers

Bathroom Reorganization AGAIN

Bathroom Organization

Okay friends I’m at it again.  Yes I’ve reorganized my ensuite bathroom again.  For those that might not know about my love hate relationship with my ensuite let me fill you in.  First let me just say that I absolutely love having an ensuite, I’m not complaining about that.  I’m not even complaining about the […]

Filed under: Bathroom, Before and After

Menu Plan Monday ~ July 14/14


Hello! Time for another edition of Menu Plan Monday otherwise known as the best place to start on your quest to get organized. So we are in for a super nice week this week so I don’t want to have to turn on my oven to heat up my house. So I managed to come […]

Filed under: Menu Plan Monday

His and Her Bathroom Organizers

His and Her Bathroom Organizers

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Kalyn at Creative Savings. When my husband and I moved into our new home, we made a pact that we were not going to let clutter take over our lives. Everything needed to be organized and in it’s proper place as much as possible, especially now […]

Filed under: Bathroom, Guest Bloggers, Kalyn