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House Rules - Click to enlarge

One likes to see what’s on display in others’ houses. I had been to my friend’s place where she hung a cute poster about the rules of the house which goes “If you open it, close it…. “. Being in the process of turning into a clean freak, I loved that little thing!

Once back home, i started searching for the poem so I can hang one too. Sure enough, I found not one but quite a few versions of the poem. I added one of mine too! Here is my modified version of it with a couple of lines added to the original one. Print it and live by those rules!

It’s a 7″X10” poster.

Download Rules of the House Poster

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Simple ways to clean

Organize with a Master Grocery List

Printable Recipe Cards


I had been wanting to do this at the start of the Spring Semester. They say, better late than never!

School is full of happening events. Professors give you new assignments, some of them get cancelled (because of snow, maybe?), a dance event comes up, a hot guy asks you for a date and you don’t know if that is going to be a busy week! It’s always useful to record everything in a central place instead of letting them free float in your mind.

Calendar Screenshot

Click to enlarge

This excel has the remaining weeks of the Spring Semester, each page devoted to a week. It is clean and simple, with no unnecessary bells and whistles. You can have the whole week at a glance. The week begins on Mondays, which would be more appropriate for students.

I’m happy to share it with you all. Click on the link above for a preview of the calendar. You can download it from the links below. The links open in mediafire, which is a free file hosting service and is absolutely safe to download from.

Spring Calendar 2010 (Office 2007)

Spring Calendar 2010 (Office 2003)

Stay organized with it and free up your mind for other important dreams!

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With Valentine’s Day approaching, I’m sure everybody must be making plans. What is always part of the plan is something good to eat.

If you’re thinking of heading out for good food, make sure your reservations are in place!

I cannot enjoy the food if the restaurants are crowded, so this time I have decided to cook at home from a few recipes online. I always jot down the recipes on my recipe cards which go into my cute recipe box. So, while I was searching for recipe card templates today, I decided to make some of my own instead and share them with everybody!

Here are 6 recipe card templates in 4″X6″ format. Click on the pictures below to download the cards. Print them out and stick ’em onto index cards for sturdiness.

Hope they help you make memorable meals!

Recipe Cards I

Recipe Cards II

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Organize with a master grocery list and menu planner

vegetables-mckaysavageI hate running to the grocery store in the middle of the week. It’s both a waste of time and money. Every time we go to a store, we buy at least a couple of items not originally in the plan. So for the most part, I try to hit the stores just once a month and maybe once in between for milk and other perishable items.

Last year I decided to follow a few steps to be more organized and also save money in the process.

Two of those were to make a monthly grocery list and a weekly menu.

I have been following these two rules quite consistently for over a year and two templates have helped me tremendously in this:

Since I shop for groceries only once a month, I have to make sure I don’t forget something that might be over in a month’s time. So i rummaged through the entire kitchen and conjured a list of all the items that I had. This is my Master Grocery List. All I have to do is go over the list and check the items I need. My husband and I love it now and can’t go shopping without it. Over the year, I improved upon the list and added a few other items that I seemed to use. Feel free to download it. Since I’m Indian and I’m vegetarian, the list is customized for my needs. However, you can edit it according to your requirements and print it out.

Download the Master Grocery List

I love going to the Farmer’s market to buy vegetables. They are so fresh, plus there’s a lot of variety. Yes, they are less expensive too. Initially we had no idea of how much to buy and we’d end up wasting a few by the end of the week. Also, we would buy the same set of vegetables all the time. So I started pouring some time into making a menu for the entire week before buying the vegetables. That way, both my problems were solved. Even now, there’s a dramatic difference in the food we eat when there’s a menu and when there isn’t. I visit the farmer’s market about once every 15 days, so my weekly menu planner is good for two weeks.

Download the Weekly Menu

I’d love your feedback on these two lists. Do let me know if you find them useful and if you think any other items need to be added.

Happy Organizing!

Who likes a messy bed? Or things lying all around? Most of them don’t, but won’t make any effort to clean it up either. It may just be too much work to do. Well, the truth is an organized surrounding reflects an organized mind. And even causes it. But if you are wondering how you will find the time to do all the cleaning, or how you are going to push yourself to do it, here is how.

The best way to live life is to develop simple processes for every task. It’s a matter of trial and error until you find what suits you. I tried vigorous cleaning programs and came up with different schedules for all the things, but none of them worked. What works for me now is a simple Clean-as-you-go procedure. It just requires a few simple steps:

1. Don’t fix a time to clean – I tried scheduling around 20 minutes everyday to clean up the house, but the truth is it is too much a chunk of time to set apart. It is easy to postpone it or it can get used up doing something else. So don’t fix any time to clean. Then what are you going to do?

2. Join the cleaning tasks to other regular activities you already do – We all get up from the bed. We all use the toilet. The trick is to do the cleaning immediately before or after any activity you do. That way all it takes is two minutes more and you won’t even notice you have spent time in a day cleaning.

3. Divide the chores into areas and attach activities to them – My daily cleaning chores can be divided into these : Bedroom, Bathroom, Kitchen, Living Room and Study.

4. Bedroom

  • Make the bed soon after brushing your teeth. All it takes is a max of 5 minutes
  • Keep a cloth/dryer sheet accessible and wipe the furniture – 1 mins
  • Throw any stray clothes lying around into the laundry basket – 30 seconds

The bedroom is now clean.

5. Bathroom

  • Clean the toilet right after using it. It just takes an extra 1 minute
  • Before or after a shower, scrub the bathtub. Use a mild cleanser if required. That way, the soap scum never accumulates – 2 minutes
  • Just before leaving the bathroom, wipe down the sink with a cloth – 30 seconds extra

6. Kitchen

  • Keep 2 towels handy. One for wiping the dishes and the other for cleaning the counter top.
  • As you cook, keep the ingredients back in their places. It makes the cooking process more enjoyable with lesser things around
  • Whenever there is a dish to wash, put it directly in the dishwasher. That keeps the sink from having a lot of dishes in it.
  • After cooking, spray some water on the stove and wipe it with the towel. It takes less than a minute.
  • Wipe the sink and the countertop too – 1 minute
  • Wipe the dining table right after eating – 2 minutes

Voila! You have a very neat kitchen without even setting aside time for cleaning.

7. Living room

Just before you sit down to relax, or while you are watching TV, pick up the pieces in the living room and wipe the furniture. It doesn’t take more than 2 minutes. And people will love to see a neat living room right when they enter. Their compliments will keep you motivated to follow it

8. Study
Just before you sit down at the computer or do some work, tidy up the table and wipe it. As simple as that. You will get your work done faster too.

So that is my simple plan to do the cleaning everyday. It takes the same 20 minutes I used to schedule before. But since I’ve split it and adjoined it to other works I already do, I hardly notice the time taken to clean. Do it for a few days and it will become second nature to you. You will then start wondering how on earth did you tolerate an unclean house before!!

Tip: Keep cleaning items handy and accessible in each room. Having to go elsewhere just to bring a towel or napkin is an instant put-off to cleaning.

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Why buy yogurt every time from the superstores when you can make the same at home? It is cost effective and healthier as well. It is a very simple process and the most non complicated procedure using the most simple of equipments is given here:

1. Take 2 cups of milk and microwave it for about 5-6 minutes. You can use any kind of milk – 1%, 2% or whole milk. The thickness of the yogurt varies with the milk used. Just when the milk begins to boil, take it out. You can note the time and time it precisely the next time.

2. Allow the milk to cool a little. Store it at room temperature for around 40-45 minutes until it is lukewarm. You can test by dipping your finger into it just a bit. This is the main step. If the milk is too hot, the curd will get ruined and if it is too cold, it might not facilitate the growth of the bacteria.(Don’t panic at the use of the word bacteria! It is nothing harmful. They are the ones which will turn your milk into yogurt)

3. Once it is lukewarm, take one cup of plain unflavored yogurt. This is the starter. When you are doing it for the first time, you can use the yogurt from the store. From the next time, you can use yogurt left over from the previous batch.

4. Add the yogurt to the milk and mix it well.

5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven for 2-3 minutes and switch it off.

6. Keep the milk-curd mixture in the oven for 4-5 hours. This is the normal amount of time taken for the curd to set. Leaving it in the preheated oven quickens the process.

7. You can check whether it is done by just looking at it. If you still feel it is still milk, leave it there for some more time. But if it has thickened, take it out of the oven and refrigerate it. Once the curd has formed, leaving it out without refrigerating it will make it sour.

Lo! The yogurt is ready! Enjoy it and don’t forget to save some for the next batch!

PS: The quantity mentioned here will last for two people for two days. Do not be baffled by the number of steps the first time. Believe me, it is very simple. And once you get used to it, you will never feel like buying yogurt from the stores again!

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