Peak: {How to} Create Home Office Workflow

Better work flow: get organized

I’m over at Turnstone once again and this time I walk you through my workflow. Or lack thereof. Let’s get organized! And then use the dining room table, your buffet and the antique file cabinet as your main source of office space.

Clearing the clutter to get the productivity is a battle for me. My home office is either a kitchen table with dirty cereal bowls and a dinosaur brigade littered across it or our buffet top while I referee the bear hunt of the hour. Staying on top of our filing cabinet is right above “dust the baseboards” on my list of things I like to accomplish weekly yearly. So let’s be honest – I tackle this beast in a three year rotation.

For more of this article: Click here.

(I’m paid to write: Turnstone compensates me to contribute to their blog and tell you about it here.)

{How to} draw a map!

Welcome! If you’re passing through from another site, thanks so much for stopping by! There’s a lot of great ways to stay in touch: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Google + and Linked In.

Thanks to Anne from Give Studio I bring to you today a simple, quick and easy tutorial on hand drawing maps.

I had in mind to use maps as treasure hunts for my kids but also as a memento of the time we’ve spent living in an apartment smack dab in the middle of our town. I wanted to figure out how to make a memory of the walking routes, favorite parks and all the trees we’ve named as Chip and Dale’s.

A few emails later and Anne was totally willing to sit down with me & talk me (and my camera) through the process.

She hand draw’s maps for clients who might need one in their invitation – then scans them and tweaks them in photoshop. I don’t have photoshop so this tutorial brings you through the drawing of the map only. If you get to the fancy pants photoshop and figure it out – let us all know!

You’ll Need:

Your computer (or a map you’d like to sketch from)
Sketch paper
Markers, pencils … whatever your medium flavor might be.

{How to} draw maps

Having fantastic style and amazing handwriting might also come in handy … šŸ˜‰

{How to} draw maps

Seriously though – some times the best gifts are the ones we spend time on with our own pens & papers. Not everyone has legible handwriting – but a note from you, in your own type is something always worth saving. So at least try.

Anne started out by outlining the anchoring factors of the map: the lake for this one.

{How to} draw maps

It was quick, but efficient. She took her time on the details like writing and filling in spaces but also wasn’t afraid to just start drawing.

{How to} draw maps

Add pizazz at will.

{How to} draw maps

Pizazz can be interpreted as directional association as well. But pizazz sounds so much better.

From there use a larger tipped marker to ink the major roads.

{How to} draw maps

And build on your road system from there. Don’t feel that you have to include every single cross street. Depending on your reason for a map – maybe try using only the ones with large intersections or only the roads you know your guests are going to be using (turning on, etc).

{How to} draw maps

{How to} draw maps

Have fun with the identifying symbols you might use for road signs or names. Flair it up, baby!

{How to} draw maps

And you’re done.

{How to} draw maps

Simple, right? And painless too. I tried my first one this week and ended up doing a super small one (but it also included a lake) so I just went for it. (It took 3 try’s but I came up with this … )

So I drew a map. Totally fun.

Lets see what you guys can come up with – what are you thinking of for a hand draw map? Have a fun picnic spot you want to invite friends to via map? Or maybe just a little something extra for your cork board? Snap a photo and then add it to the jodimichelle Flickr group! Can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!

Thanks, Anne! (You guys seriously have to see her stuff, stunning!)

** This is self sponsored post wherein I get to share something beautiful with all of you.

Featured on One Pretty Thing.

How To {Build a cake!}

Welcome! If you’re passing through from another site, thanks so much for stopping by! There’s a lot of great ways to stay in touch: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Google + and Linked In.

It’s about time we talked about this. My son’s birthday was May 5th – he requested a Tractor cake and so I went about building one.

My most favorite memories of birthdays (of any one in our house) growing up are the cakes because my mom made shape-cakes that we requested for every birthday.

Butterflies, Trains, Bears, Under the Sea adventures with the Little Mermaid (Jodi’s turns 10!) and so on.

Build a cake!

I have the very same book my mom used while we were all growing up on how to build cakes. A tractor it did not include.

I turned to Pinterest for inspiration on the general shape. Then whipped up a PW Chocolate Sheet Cake.

Build a cake!

Go ahead, drool.

Build a cake!

Get a knife ready – I free handed the general construction of the cake by cutting it into squares that I would then later layer on top of each other to form a tractor.

You could get picky and measure things but maybe we haven’t met yet? I don’t do perfect.

Build a cake!

Build a cake!

The edges? Are discarded because they’re not “flat” … they round down. This means we eat them.

Build a cake!

I then wrap each individual cut/layer in plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer until I’m ready to decorate and build the cake. This usually happens over 4 to 7 days. (Freezing the cake that is.)

Build a cake!

Magically days pass by and now you’re ready to decorate a cake!

Remove from freezer and assemble your tray that you’ll later present the cake on, usually wrapped in foil (for easy clean up).

Build a cake!

Start by laying down your base – one larger square centered on one smaller square.

Build a cake!

The frosting I used I was not very impressed with. If you’re looking for a great cake frosting – may I direct you here.

However, with whatever frosting you have when you’re building the cake apply a crumb layer. My cakes are still frozen when I do this and it’s just a very thin layer that catches all the cake crumbs and fills in imperfections so when you’re ready for the real deal you can apply a smooth coat for a finished look.

Build a cake!

I applied a thicker bit of frosting for the “filling”.

Stack another layer on top, apply more frosting.

Build a cake!

Build a cake!

From here you can eyeball how big you want the tractor to be. How many people are you feeding with this cake? We had a smaller party so I just added one more large square to build the rest of the “body” of the tractor and left the last smaller square off (which was building the front, engine part of the tractor).

Build a cake!

Apply final layer of frosting for crumb layer.

Build a cake!

Assemble your color frosting and decorative accents.

You’ll need:

Green Frosting
Dots Candy
Black licorice
Chocolate covered donuts

build a cake!

Frost the entire cake in green.

Build a cake!

Place 2 whole donuts for the rear wheels and cut one more donut in half for the front wheels.

Build a cake!

Place 2 yellow Dots candies in front for lights, cut a black licorice to length and place on front of larger squares for the smoke stack thing and place 2 red Dots candies in back for brake lights.

Build a cake!

Tractor cake

Enjoy!

Tractor Cake!

Featured on One Pretty Thing.

{How to} Make Curry and Rice

Curry and Rice is something I grew up with; we used to have these big Sunday afternoon lunches where everyone would gather at my mom’s house for a feast and Curry and Rice was one of the rotating staples of these get together’s. This is emotional comfort food at it’s best for me. But also? Healthy! Easy! And you can throw it in the crock pot ahead of time.

The idea behind this dish is that you make a curry and chicken (or no chicken if you wish, or even beef, steak, shrimp – whatever) sauce then serve it on rice and any number of toppings. It’s a buffet of sorts. And as you’ll see pretty soon, it gets interesting. Just trust it.

You’ll need:

# Chicken (may omit) (or other meat) cubed. About 2 cups.
# Chicken Stock
# Milk
# Butter
# Onion
# Fresh lemon or lime juice
# Curry powder
# Ginger
# Salt and pepper
# Flour

Curry and Rice!

Start by cooking the chicken. I used 3 breasts in a 9X13 baking dish and cooked according to package details in the oven until done. Let cool, set aside for later.

cook chicken!

Over medium high heat on the stove, measure 6 TBS butter and melt.

Curry and Rice!

melt it

Chop half a large onion.

Curry and Rice!

Add it to the melted butter and stir to combine, let the onions get a translucent yellow color.

Curry and Rice!

Curry and Rice!

Add 1 TBS curry powder.

add curry

And a 1/4 tsp Ginger.

Curry and Rice!

Curry and Rice!

Stir, combine.

Add 6 TBS flour.

Curry and Rice!

2 Cups chicken stock. (Water is a substitute if you don’t have any on hand.)

Curry and Rice!

2 Cups Milk.

Curry and Rice!

Cut your lime or lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the pan.

Chop and add lime juice

Stir, combine. Whisk. Stir some more. Combine. Stir.

Curry and Rice!

(You can be doing all of this in a crock pot as well if you’d like and set it to LOW for the day for an easy dinner later.)

While it’s thickening up and you’re stirring on and off – start your rice.

Measure 2 cups rice into a pan, add double the amount of water (rice is a 1:2 ratio for cooking) so add 4 cups water over medium heat, covered. Just let it sit until the water is absorded by the rice. It will boil – at that point you can reduce heat or turn heat off entirely and let it sit for another 15 minutes or so. Remove the lid of the pan and you lose the steam that works so hard at puffing your rice. So … unit it boils: hands off. If it’s out of control boiling – lift or tilt the lid just a bit to let steam escape but don’t remove the lid entirely until ready to serve.

Curry and Rice!

Curry and Rice!

Curry and Rice!

This is how my rice always turns out:

Curry and Rice!

Fluffy, slightly sticky. Delicious!

Cube your chicken and add it to the curry sauce.

Curry and Rice!

Curry and Rice!

Curry and Rice!

You’re done! Kind of. Here’s where it might get interesting: Toppings.

Suggested toppings are as follows:

Peanuts
Hard boiled eggs
Celery
Raisins
Banana’s
Red peppers
Mango
Avacado
Cheese
Mushrooms

And on and on. The sky is the limit here. The most surprising one that taste the best (in my opinion?) Banana’s. No really.

Curry and Rice!

Everyone’s plate will look different – our daughter LOVES sprouts so we add those for her. I like it all … this was my dinner:

Curry and Rice!

Enjoy!

Recipe

From my mom’s kitchen.

Chicken Curry

6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup minced onion
1 Tbsp curry powder
6 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
3 cups cooked cubed chicken
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Melt butter. Saute onion and curry powder. Blend in flour and seasonings. Cook over low heat until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Add meat and lemon juice. Heat.

Download a printable copy of the recipe.

{How to} Roast Asparagus

Asparagus!! I love this stuff. It’s easy, too.

Let’s roast some and retain all kinds of yummy nutrients that you lose when you boil them. Steaming is good too, but I enjoy a little crunch.

{how to} roast asparagus

You’ll Need:

# Asparagus
# EVOO
# Salt and pepper

Rinse the asparagus and cut the tips off.

{how to} roast asparagus

Drizzle with EVOO.

{how to} roast asparagus

{how to} roast asparagus

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

{how to} roast asparagus

Put in oven on broil for 5 minutes.

{how to} roast asparagus

Enjoy!