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So we moved.  Click here if you missed that craziness.

The pantry in our new home was one of those 'pull your hair out' type spaces!  It was an average size, but laid out terribly!  The shelves were deep and wide, but there weren't very many!  We spent the first few weeks in this house digging through bins and shelves trying to find things, but most of the stuff just stayed on the floor.  (So glad I didn't get a picture of that!)


Before                                      After

To use the space more effectively, we decided to double up the shelf space.  AH (Awesome Husband) cut white laminate shelves to fit.  My DAD (Do Anything Dad) showed me how to iron on laminate edging. (That iron on edging is pretty spiffy!)  Now, I had shelves I could work with!

The first thing I did was organize my food items into categories, then, I divided my space into sections based on those categories.  I needed a fool-proof system that would work for my whole family.
(I didn't want to be the only one cooking or putting groceries away!)

Using plastic bins I already owned I loaded up my multiple food items and started arranging. (I forced myself to NOT go out and buy rustic baskets...maybe someday?)


I had quite a few old, white Sterlite bins lying around, so I used them all and added chalkboard tags with twine.  I found the tags at Michaels.  Small items that I had multiples of, went in the white bins. 

Things like drink mixes, jello, cocoa, spice packets, popcorn, Top Ramen and even dark chocolate!  I'm sure you have a dark chocolate bin in your home, don't you? What?  You don't?  Well, you're missing out...on a few hundred calories, that is!

My pantry is always changing.  New foods come in, old foods get eaten, products change, recipes change, new eating patterns emerge depending on the season...hopefully healthier habits as the season changes.
That's the beauty of a 'chalkboard' pantry.  All labels can be wiped clean and re-labeled when needed.  Got to love the flexibility of that!

I quickly ran out of white bins, so I used some leftover blue IKEA bins that I had.  Cookie cutters and sprinkles needed their own bin, so did some of the snacks for the kid's lunches! 


I also labeled the laminate shelves. 

This was easy to do using  Self-Adhesive Chalkboard Liner
You can cut the vinyl into any sized shape you need.  

I used this Chalk Ink Marker to write on the tags.

The majority of my food items are for baking. (Apparently, I would much rather make brownies, cakes and sugar cookies, than dinner?!  All with dark chocolate of course.)

Storage of bulk items:
Because of the high ceilings, I can go as tall as I can reach on my handy step ladder. Costco size boxes of dry cereal and fondue pots are being housed here currently.
Storage of crockpots on the bottom.

Health Supplies:
One important item we keep in our pantry is throat lozenges.  I keep cough drops and Airborne drink mixes in a container labeled health.  This allows any member of the family who has a sore throat, to take a few cough drops with them throughout the day. 

Meal Planning:
On the side wall of the pantry, I hung our chalkboard frame.  It's the perfect spot to write our meals for the week.  This not only helps me with the planning, but allows the kids to know ahead of time what dinner will be. (You know, so they can decide to eat at a friend's home because we're having something repulsive? That doesn't happen at your house, does it?)

So there you have it...Our Organized Pantry. 

Now, about those rustic baskets I've been dreaming about... like these Storage Baskets and these Lined Baskets and these Locker Style Storage Baskets.  A girl can dream, right?

Linking up to: BloomLovelyLittleLinkParty, ReasonstoSkiptheHousework,
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Finals are almost here for the college kids. 
We stopped by my alma mater last week with a little treat for some students finishing up their freshman year.

Orange foods and treats for gift package.

 Finals Survival Study Sack
'Orange' you glad you're almost finished?!

Orange foods and treats for gift package.

I used orange gift bags leftover from this post.
Then purchased 'orange colored' goodies to help the students get through their studying...or at least one night of studying?!!

Orange foods and treats for gift package.

Orange drink, Cheetos, orange TicTacs, orange crackers and granola bars.  And of course the 'teacher' in me-- threw in some orange mechanical pencils and highlighters.  The index cards aren't orange, but figured they wouldn't mind.  I went through a TON of index cards in college!  Maybe college kids don't use index cards anymore?

Orange foods and treats for gift package.

All tied up with these cute tags.

Orange foods and treats for gift package.

Click here to print your own tags.

Hopefully this little treat will bring them some motivation to study those oh so important theological principles and calculus derivatives...yikes!  Study hard, kids!

Orange foods and treats for gift package.

'Orange' you glad you're not in college anymore?!   Whew!

Here's some more college care package ideas for you:

Stick With It!           
Stick with it!  College finals care package ideas   

Orange Survival Study Sack                       
Orange foods and treats for gift package. 

Brighten Up Your Semester!
Yellow themed gift ideas

SMART Gift Bag                                     
Creative college care package ideas   

Caramel Apple Dippin' Kit
Package up apples, caramel and toppings to give as gifts.

SNAP To It!                                                            

Punny College Care Package

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I've searched my blog for my Top 10 Simple Teacher Appreciation Gifts.  Most have printables for you to print out and use.  Maybe you'll find the perfect gift for the teachers in your child's life?

1.  'Olive' Us Thank You.
For the pasta-loving teacher.  Gather a few supplies from the grocery store and attach the punny tag. 

2.  Worth More Than Gold
A showy gift that can work with any gold colored gift or treat.  

3.  'Fanta'stic Teacher and 'Ex-straw' Special, Too
This is very easy gift giving with only a can of soda and a cute straw.

4.  Thank You For Being a Great Mentor

Whip up these little mentor treats with a pack of Mentos candies and the printable card.

5.  You Knock Our Socks Off!
This 'toe'tally awesome gift only requires a pair of cute socks. You could even add a spa or pedicure gift card as well.

6. I am Most 'Cert'ainly Thankful for You!
Teachers always love mints.  This one is super simple using Certs.
Find Certs at the Dollar Store in packs of 3 or 4.

7. A Basket of Punny Thank Yous.
What teacher wouldn't appreciate a basket of thank you note cards?  Scroll through this post for easy card making ideas to give.

8.  'Orange' You the Best?  Yes!
Anything orange colored will work for this gift.  Foods, snacks, soap, papers, a bowl of oranges, etc.  Have you child make their own tag tied on with orange ribbon, and you're set!

9.  Hanging Off the Cliff Without Your Support
Clif bars make the perfect gift for your greatest encouragers.  Just tie on a printable tag. 'I'd be hanging' or 'We'd' be hanging options to choose from.

10.  Amazing 'Amazon' Teacher
And...everyone's favorite, Amazon gift cards.  Put together these cards with some cardstock, letter stickers and twine.

Here's a few more that require a little bit more work:

Thanks For Helping Me Grow

You're so cool!  Ice Cream Social in a box.

Chalkboard Flower Pot Teacher Appreciation

Linking To: SerenityNow Weekend Bloggy Reading,
LinkPartPalooza @TT&J,

The Idea Room

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