Using Microsoft OneNote (a Digital Notebook) for Meal Planning for the Holidays

Using Microsoft OneNote (a Digital Notebook) for Meal Planning for the Holidays

Menu-planning has been sort of all over the place. We plan menus every week, but when it comes to holiday planning, we have never been really organized. Mostly we had planned our menus and created Google Docs for each year with links to recipes as needed or references to where to find the recipe in the cookbooks. I will tell you this has been totally messy and hard to find previous menus. Even typing menu into google doesn’t always bring up all of the documents.

In an effort to decrease clutter and focus some of our digital mess into a more organized fashion we have begun using Microsoft’s OneNote to website recipes clippings (I still do a bunch of it on Pinterest) and paper recipes. It’s our digital cookbook. We had scanned tons of stuff a while ago that’s just sitting on a Google drive and hard to search, so moving forward we have started adding them into the Microsoft’s OneNote

This year, we tried using OneNote during Passover for our meal planning and organizing. It was surprisingly awesome! We had just installed Microsoft Office 365 on our computers and phones. We didn’t get to everything in our plan and had to readjust because our oven died when I was cleaning it for the holiday, but it did help with the process. This probably could be done with Evernote too, but I haven’t ever use Evernote.

We created the plan and then we linked to the recipes that were in the notebook. We also created a shopping list on the side with check off boxes. Because I could access the shopping list, menu, and recipes all at the same time, it made shopping easy. I could go back to look at recipes if I wanted clarification or know if there was a specific type of ingredient that needed to be purchased and make the adjustments as I was shopping.

One of best parts of having recipes available through the web, computer, or mobile device is the access to them from anywhere. For the recipes we use all the time, we can add them to the notebook. An advantage of having them with us is we can plan a menu on the go and can quickly reference the recipe and add ingredients to our shopping list even when we are not home.

 

 

Baby led Weaning – Getting Started

Baby led Weaning – Getting Started

 

There are a lot of books, blogs, etc about doing Baby-led weaning (BLW), so this is not a definitive guide. This is basically a resource on how to get started and some of the tools you might need.

What is Baby-led weaning?

This is my explanation: It’s basically allowing your child to feed themselves by introducing foods after 6 months of age. There are a number of foods you can begin with, but begin with foods you can cook and make so soft that they can easily swallow the food. Here are a few examples:  Potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.  You don’t wait to introduce new food and you basically allow the child to decide what and when they want to eat. Don’t worry about how much they are eating. By 7-8 months they should get the hang of it.

A benefit we saw is that our child was able to use utensils and a cup earlier. He had a lot of interest in different foods and while he is older now and a little bit more opinionated, he is still a pretty good eater and will try lots of stuff.

Don’t worry about a lack of teeth, they can figure out it out.

With baby-led weaning the child might gag, be sure you know the difference between gagging and choking.

And just one thing, it’s messy!

What do I need?

You don’t need to do anything special for baby led weaning. Just cook what you might already be cooking, but here are some of the things that were suggested that might be useful to you.

A mat for under the high-chair can be helpful to help contain the mess. You could easily use an old vinyl table cloth as well.

I love these Ikea Bibs. I have a bunch and have bought them for Passover and during the regular year. It’s clear which ones are for Meat meals and Dairy Meals. And they go right into the dishwasher.

The Mandoline was suggested as an easy way to cut the vegetables. I am so worried about cutting a finger off, but it really does speed up the process.

A friend of ours suggested these gloves to help protect your fingers.


This is the book about Baby-led weaning, but try your library, you might find a copy there. The recipes also has some great ideas.

Resources

Baby Led Weaning – Starting solids with foods straight from the dinner table!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2855840155/

https://www.facebook.com/babyled/

https://www.facebook.com/BabyLedWeaningRecipes/

 

 

 

Glider Deal

Check out this great deal on a glider from Amazon. It’s under $100 from Stork Craft.

  • Constructed of solid wood and wood products
  • Metal, enclosed ball bearings for a smooth glide
  • Made from plush, polyester/micro-fiber blend
  • Cushions are spot cleanable
  • Meets or exceeds US and Canadian safety standards; Coordinates perfectly with other Storkcraft furniture; Assembly required
  • This item is eligible for free replacement parts. Contact Amazon Customer Service for more information.

It’s a great glider for a budget.

Passover Articles & Recipes Round-up

passover-round-2016

I’ve put together a list of resources from blogs, facebook groups, etc. I am happy to add other interesting articles or recipes that are your go tos.

Cleaning

How to Clean for Pesach (Passover) in One Day (Out of the OrthoBox)
Passover Decluttering Challenge
A Halachik Guide to Cleaning and Kashering for Pesach (Beltway Vaad)

Shopping Resources

How to Shop for Passover on a Budget Part 1 from 2011 (Kosher on a Budget)
18 Foods That Don’t Require Special Kosher for Passover Certification (Kosher on a Budget)

Passover Guides
OU Passover Guide
Kashrut.com Passover Guide
CRC Passover Guide
OK Passover Guide
Beth-Din Sephardic Guide
2016 Recommended Passover Product List For Sephardic Communities (JSOR)

Seder

9 Haggadahs That Will Make Your Passover Seder Perfect (Kveller)
Cocktails for each of the 10 plagues (Tablet)
The Pardes Companion to the Haggadah (Pardes)
Passover Party Ideas (Party Idea Pros)
Doily Placecards (Intimate Weddings)
4 Question Placecards (Almost Makes Perfect)
Jewish Placecards (Crafting Jewish Style)

For Kids
10 Passover Freebies (Kosher on a Budget)
Passover for Kids-20 Great Tips for a Kid-Friendly Seder (Jewish Mom)
5 Kid Friendly Seder Ideas (Mazel Moments)
Passover Shtick
Passover for Kids

Haroset
Charoset from Around the World (Beth El, Omaha)
Nut Free Charoset Recipes (Brith Shalom)
Chowhound Haroset
Tropical Charoset (Epicurious)
4 Simple Charoset Recipes (Chabad)
Rachel Willen’s Morrocan Mortar (Sephardic Charoset)

Meal Planning

How to Survive All 8 Days of Passover (Epicurious)
Does your Passover Seder menu need a few new ideas? (Shari Rozansky)
My Family’s Meal Plan (Kosher on a Budget)
Passover Menu Plan 2013 (Kosher on a Budget)
Passover Meal Planning made Easy (Kosher on a Budget)
Passover Meal Plan 2016 (Kosher on a Budget)

Food

Pesach Potato Gnocchi (Family Friends Food)
Spinach Potato Nest Bites (May I have that recipe?)
Gourmet Passover Cooking 2016
Gluten Free Meatballs & Zucchinni Noodles (Chabad)
Zucchini Mina (Jewish Food Hero)
Mini Potato Kuggles (Kveller)
Quinoa with Thai Flavors (New York Times)
Homemade Matzos (MyRecipes)
Potato & Mushroom Pie (All Recipes)
Grilled Different Color Frogs (The Homestead Survival)
Matzah, Mushroom, & Onion Kuggle (Delish)
Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake (Kalyn’s Kitchen)
25 Delicious Ways to use Matzah (BuzzFeed)
Cauliflower Mac N Cheese (Food Network) * Skip the mustard (or buy Kosher for Passover Mustard)
15 Modern Recipes for your Passover Seder (Real Simple)
7 Easy Passover Recipes (Parenting)
Easy Passover Recipes for Tots (Popsugar)
34 Healthy & Delicious Passover Recipes (Greatist)
Top Passover Recipes (Fine Cooking)
18 (Delicious!) Things To Do With Potatoes This Passover (Overtime Cook)
Passover & Passover-Friendly Recipes (Kosher Eye)
Pesach Kani Salad (Joy of Kosher)

Cauliflower Dishes that can be made for Passover
Cauliflower Tortillas (Paleo Leap)
Cauliflower Pizza Crust (Dear Crissy)
Cauliflower Pizza Bites (Damy Health) * Kosher for Passover, if you exclude some of the optional items

Breakfast
4 Ingredient Pancakes (Family Friends Food)
Grain-free Zucchini Bread (Couldn’t Be Pareve)
Eggvocado (The Traveling Spoon)
13 Breakfast Ideas (Diva Indoors)
Passover Breakfast Ideas (Kosher4Passover)
Joy of Kosher Passover Breakfast Ideas (Joy of Kosher)
Passover Chocolate Toffee Recipe (Oh Nuts)
Passover Pancakes – Nut Free (Food)
Passover Pancakes – Nut Free (Cara’s Cravings)

Desserts
14 Craveable Desserts for Passover (Epicurious)
Passover Recipes in a Pinch (Lulu & Lattes)
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble (Epicurious)
Flourless Chocolate Cookies (Overtime Cook)
4 Passover Desserts better than the Bakery (Joy of Kosher)
Best Chocolate Cookies for Passover (NotderbyPie)
Passover Apple Cake (Shari Rozansky)
Frozen Lemon Meringue Pie (Joy of Kosher)
Salted Matza Crack (Brokeass Gourmet)
Chocolate Truffles (Keep it Sweet)
No-Bake Chocolate Matza Cake (Tori Avery)
Cheesecake Brownies (Kosher in the Kitch)
Chewy Gooey Flourless Chocolate Cookies (Recipe Girl)
Flourless Chocolate-Almond Torte (Zoe Bakes)
Passover Chocolate Chip Cookies (Lil Miss Cakes)

Crafts

Passover (Pesach) Crafts that enhance the Seder
10 Playful Passover Crafts (iVillage)
Matzah Holder (Challah Crumbs)
Elijah and Miriam Kiddush Cups (Creative Cynchroncity)
15 DIY Seder Plates (Huffington Post)
Ancient Egyptian Collars (Art History Mom)

 

Walkers Mini-Festive Stars

starshortbread[1]Recently, I received a sample of Walkers Mini-Festive Stars shortbread cookies. Walkers cookies are certified kosher, dairy. My kids had a play date last week and I put the cookies out for a snack and they devoured them instantly. They kept asking for more of the star cookies. The nice thing about them is that they are really small, so I didn’t feel like they would ruin their appetite.  You could use them to decorate or dip them in jam. You could also use them to for Purim Mishloah Manot. They also offer Gluten Free Options.

Birthday Gift Ideas

The links in the post may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.


I find that some parts of the year there is a birthday party every weekend. So I have been looking at a variety of options for birthday gifts. Here are some I have found.

Stomp Rocket (8+)



  • Kid-powered: You stomp on the launch pad to send these Ultra Stomp Rockets up to 20 stories high — that’s 200 feet in the air!
  • Winner of the Dr. Toy Award, iParenting Media’s Hot Toy Award, Preferred Choice Award, and iParenting Media’s Excellent Product Award
  • Includes a Stomp Launch Pad and 4 foam-tipped Ultra Stomp Rockets
  • No batteries required
  • Super easy, fast assembly
  • Ages 8 and Up
 
Lego Vehicle Transporter



  • Features a tilting cab that reveals a detailed engine, folding trailer ramp for vehicle access, large exhaust stacks, warning beacons roof spotlights
  • 3-in-1 model: rebuilds into a tow truck towing a yellow car, or a mobile crane
  • Vehicle Transporter measures over 2″ (6cm) high, 9″ (25cm) long and 1″ (5cm) wide
  • Tow truck measures over 2″ (6cm) high, 6″ (16cm) long and 2″ (7cm) wide
  • Mobile crane measures over 1″ (5cm) high, 7″ (18cm) long and 2″ (6cm) wide
Soda Can Robot (8+)

  • The 4M Soda Can Robug teaches the value of recycling by repurposing a used can into a fun and functional robot.
  • No special tools or knowledge required; the kit contains detailed instructions and all the necessary parts. Just add a used soda pop can and let the fun begin.
  • Perfect for young science enthusiasts, especially those with an interest in robotics and green science.
  • Requires two AAA batteries (not included).
  • Recommended for ages 8 years and up.
  • Challenge your child’s imagination with 4M toys and kits.
  • 4M educational toys cover a wide range of educational subjects and include science kits, arts and crafts kits, robotics kits, and more.
  • 4M offers a wide range of toys and kits to let you build a clock, crochet a placemat, or turn your room into a planetarium–all in the name of making learning fun.
 
Snapcircuits (7+)


  • Electrical parts provide students grades 2 and up (age 7+) with hands-on experience designing and building models of working electrical circuits
  • Snap-together parts require no tools and ensure correct connections
  • Includes 30 parts, and instructions for over 100 projects, including working models of a photo sensor, a flashing light, and an adjustable-volume siren
  • Requires 2 AA batteries (sold separately)
  • Awards: The National Parenting Center-Seal of Approval, Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products, Dr Toy Best Educational Products
  • Valuable component to a rounded STEM curriculum
  • Build working models of a photo sensor, a flashing light, and an adjustable-volume siren. More than 100 exciting projects in all with included 30+ snap together parts
  • Electrical components provide students ages 8+ with hands-on experience designing and building models of working electrical circuits
  • Clear and concise illustrated manual included and available online

Ideas for Mishloah Manot Containers

The links in the post may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.



Purim is less than a month a way and I have been searching for different kinds of containers and ideas for Mishloah Manot. Here are some of the ideas I have come across for containers on Amazon. There are tons of deals. And Amazon can change their prices at any time, so the widget will provide the current pricing available.

Containers

  • 100 16 oz. Clear PET Plastic Cold Cups & 100 Straw Slot Flat Lids.
  • Great for Iced Coffee, Smoothies, Bubble/Boba Tea, Milkshakes & Frozen Cocktails.
  • Approximate Dimensions : Top Diameter : 3 7/8″ , Bottom Diameter : 2 1/4″ , Height : 4 5/8″
  • Proudly made in the USA with a BPA free plastic.
Total Price: $17.40 for 100, 17 cents a cup set



  • 24 Gift Boxes
  • Measures: 2″
  • Cardboard
  • Hot Pink

Total Price: $5.79 for 24,  24 cents a box.
You could have your kids decorate it with stickers.


  • Package of 50 – 5oz. Plastic dessert cups with lids
  • Great for all occasions
  • Perfect for parties and everyday use
  • Disposable – reusable – easy clean up quality plastic cups with lids
  • Polar ice brand quality
Total Price: $13.35 for 50, 27 cents a cup


  • Paper Black And White Gift Boxes
  • Package contains 24 2″ square boxes
  • Simple assembly required


Total Price: $8.95 for 24, 37 cents a box
 

  • Paper gable boxes in stripe, chevron and polka dot patterns
  • Measure 4 x 2.5 x 4.75 inches
  • Ship flat for easy assembly
  • 36 per package; 12 of each pattern
  • Perfect touch for birthdays, weddings, baby or bridal showers, candy buffets and gift wrap
Total Price: $19.98 for 36, 56 cents a box

  • Cardstock favor box decorated with light blue watercolor and white stripes with rope pull
  • Personalization available at additional cost
  • Measures 3.25 h x 2.25 w
Total Price: $14.99 for 24, 62 cents a box




  • 1 Dozen Oriental Clear Frosted Takeout Boxes.
  • Boxes Measure 2 1/4 Inches x 2 1/2 Inches x 2 1/4 Inches.
  • Metal Handles Measure 2 1/4 Inches.
  • Plastic.
  • Simple Assembly Required.
Total Price: $9.07 for 12, 76 cents a container

Make Your Own Mishloah Manot


Check out Tori Avery’s Woven Baskets.

Check out these cute Cookie Baskets or this Paper Plate Crown.

Day 4: Organizing the files on my Card

While I was transferring files last night, I noticed that I was nearing the end on of my room on the external card on my phone. Since cleaning off my card has been on my long to do list for a while, I figured it was about time to actually remove files. Some of the files are left over my three phones ago and are related to apps that wouldn’t run on my current phone. I used my extra card for apps because the phones had no room on them. I also realized how many files that I had viewed at some point were still on my phone and left lots of orphans. 
I need to go through the downloads on all of our computers also.

Day 3: Organizing My Closet

The links in the post may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

I am still unpacking from our Passover Vacation away. For the most part we got almost everything unpacked and in the laundry room rather quickly. But I left my suitcase until the end to try to keep the clutter to the mess. While we were traveling we did a side trip to the outlets in Maryland and I was able to find a bunch of really great deals at the outlets for pieces to just expand my options with outfits. I work at a more corporate building and when I started working I was pregnant, so this is the first time I am not pregnant or breast feeding, so my wardrobe was definitely in a need of a little updating.

Most of the time I keep my closet separated into sections. My dresses and long skirts in one area, my suits in another, my skirts in another, my summer weight shirts in another, my sweaters in another, and then all my jackets and cardigans. Over the last month as I was hoping for warmer weather, I started keeping everything I had worn in one section of my closet. I was hoping to try not to wear anything from that side of the closet until I had tried to use more of my wardrobe. The other reason was so I could figure out what was just sitting in my closet and no longer being worn.

Tonight as I was unpacking I decided it was a perfect time to go through the closet. I went through all of the items I hadn’t worn and asked myself three questions:
1. Why didn’t I wear it? (was it too cold, too warm, or not appropriate for work)
2. Would I wear this item in a different situation? (Like a formal affair, etc.)
3. Do I have something to match it?

I made pies of clothing to go away into my drawers that are no longer filled with Maternity/Nursing clothing. And then piles to try to sell or donate.

There are a ton of places to sell clothing to, but the issue with most of them is that they only want items from the last year or so to try to sell. I can understand they want to stay with the trends and styles.

We have a lot of great resources in our Jewish community to donate clothing. This is usually my first choice if I have the time. We even have a Jewish Freebay group on Facebook that I can post everything I have and give it to other people in the community.

There are also so many resources of places that will come and pick up. In other communities we have lived in that were not so fortunate to have a Jewish Freebay, we have donated to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, NCJW, etc.

I wear a lot of different scarfs in my hair, so I found this great hanger and they take up a lot less room.


I wear a tank top under a lot of my clothing, so I found these great to hold tank tops and camisoles. It works much better than trying to get them to stay on regular hangers or being lost in a drawer.

For my husband, we bought these in the fall and they have been great.

We inherited them from our first house because the previous owner made one of the bedrooms into a walk-closet and so there were lots of storage items and organizational items that were left over. My favorite thing were these crystal clear shoe box size stackable drawers. I think I have seen them at the Container Store before.

Do you need some inspiration for closet organization? 
I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately about pairing down wardrobes, but one of the ones I find most intriguing is Project 333. I’m not sure I can pair down to only 33 items. Could you?

Day 2: Laundry Organization

Today I am sharing something I started a couple months ago, that has helped organize us and keep up on at all the laundry that piles up with three kids. When the kids were in swim lessons, I also added bathing suits to be washed to the mix. It will definitely go back on the list at least one time a week this summer if not more.
When Shabbat ended earlier, I would get a head start on the week and run laundry, but now by the time Shabbat ends, it is too late to get anything done. If I do this, I just mark off the laundry I finished and work on the next set of laundry that has enough to merit a load of laundry. I use this more a guideline. It also helps me keep enough time between non-dryer runs, to let the clothing actually dry.