April 29, 2010

May Goals

I fell off the Goal Wagon during the months of March and April. I reined it in, and hopefully will accomplish some of my lofty goals this month. Since I never posted about my accomplishments for February, I did the following:

YAY! Goal #1 Organize ALL my craft items, including what is in our basement and bedroom. It needs to all go in one spot. YES - I did this. I now have a Craft Closet! wahoooooo. Now I just need to put it to some good use.

BOO Goal #2. Walk twice a week. ----- I have not completed this at all.

YAY! Goal #3. Make and mail valentines. Half of this was complete. I mailed out valentines, but I did not make them.

YAY! Goal #4. Organize books and magazines. ALL my magazines are gone. They are finito.

HALF yay! Goal #5. Organize basement. It WAS organized in February, but not so much now......

BOO Goal #6. Tell my husband that he is great. I am ashamed that I didn't do this enough.

Goals for MAY?? UGH. I don't think I can even put that pressure on myself now to formulate goals, though I should have little to no excuse as I didn't post anything for March or April. So here it goes...May:

1. I would like to write a budget and stick to it.

2. I would like to organize our closet.

3. Sell Jetta.

4. Re-Clean basement.

5. Hold a garage sale and weed through the garage!!

I think that is enough for now. Maybe it's just the day, but all my tasks seem overwhelming and daunting....

April 28, 2010

Menu Plan Sunday

Mr. and I have all the intentions of cooking home meals every day each week, but I'm not sure what happens. After work, we both are tired and don't plan well. We will realize at 6pm that the chicken is frozen and we don't have peas. Or we will need two eggs and butter, both of which we are missing. We have started planning out our weekly menu and loosely scheduling when we will eat a certain meal. But I have a new idea for blogging (though I have a hard time keeping up with the old ideas!)
I have found on Organizing Junkie, a list of do's and don'ts for Menu Planning. The bold steps are from the website, and then I remarked on each step.

1. Pick a day to get it done: This for us would be a two day process. We (or really I) look through the store circulars on Thursday/Friday when they arrive in the mail, and compare them to the coupons I have. This starts the menu process! After figuring what is on sale, we start to look through our cookbooks and determine what we would be in the mood for. I currently only plan dinner meals but am going to start planning other meals and snacks, as soon as this actually becomes part of our routine. For me the best day of the week to shop is Sunday. I’ve tried various days including Monday but have found Sunday is the best because it allows me to take my time in the supermarket, without rushing through the store.

2. Look at the week ahead: "When it comes to picking meals for the week you’ll want to grab your calendar and consider what’s going on that week." This could never be so true - between Mr. working late, my tutoring and aftercare programs, and Little's sports schedule - it is mayhem!

3. Let each family member have a say: My husband and I generally like the same things but I like to include his favorites (as well as mine!). I usually let Little pick out a meal or two, and when American Idol was on, we would invite my parents over for dinner. He would even cook part of the meal.

4. Ensure Balanced Nutrition: This is SO hard because we usually just focus on the main dish (the meat/fish/chicken part) without putting much thought into the rest of the meal. This does not make for a balanced dinner at all. I am hoping that in the future we will have a more nutritious dinner planned out!

5. Incorporate simplifying techniques: I have found that picking “theme nights” makes planning easier and more fun. UM. right up my alley!!

"The last simplifying technique I use is pre-prep. Every night before bed I look at what’s for dinner and do pre-prep if needed. It’s either taking meat or fish out of the freezer, chopping fruit and vegetables, making salads or putting together slow cooker dishes for the morning. The key is to do most of the work ahead of time so the preparation part is easy." Organizing Junkie couldn't have said it better.

If found this menu chart with meal ideas. If you don't have a chart yet, this could come in handy! I happened to find a really cute shopping list/menu planner at Target. It is currently on the side of our wine fridge - where we can write down what we may need for the following week.

Happy meal planning!!


April 27, 2010

I'm speechless for sleeveless

A flame has been lit underneath me. I am currently a gym-goer. Can it be?! You may be asking yourself, well gee I mentioned working out and fitness once before. What happened? Life happened. And before too long, I found that my pants were tight, and my shirts resembled candy wrappers around me. My friend and I are attempting to go to the gym every other day...and so far - I have been keeping up my end of the bargain.

I am hoping that a few months from now, this dress could be in my wardrobe. The Vera Wang dress would be smashing, on me and to my wallet.

Nonetheless, I am motivated and I want this. I want the weight to drop.

Any advice? Any recipes?


April 23, 2010

Friday Night Date Club

You've lost that loving feeling...now it's gone. gone gone. oh no!! What to do?

Perhaps instill a Date of the Month Club featuring you and your sweetie. Each month, you swap between who plans one night out/in.

Something cheap and easy? I found this on The Whimsical Princess. For Valentine's Day, she gave her husband something wonderful. A Date of the Month membership.

On a certificate, she wrote the following:

Prince Charming
You have received a gift subscription to the
Date of the month club

This exclusive offer is only available to loving couples like you and your wife. Once a month you will receive an exciting date package in the mail including two destination dates. As a special offer to you we have included our exclusive love notes mailbox. We ask for nothing in return, simply complete the confirmation card and place it in the love notes mailbox. This mailbox is linked directly to your wife’s heart and when you put the flag up she will receive a special signal. Hurry don’t wait, these exciting dates are in high demand and we are certain you will be pleased with each one. We are so certain that you will enjoy being a member of the Date of the month club that we offer an automatic renewal with every paid membership. If you are enjoying your membership do nothing we will automatically renew your membership after 12 months, and provide 12 more exciting dates. But you must hurry this exclusive club is filling up quickly.

There is more! Because you have joined in the month of February we have included 10 Romance reward coupons. These coupons are exclusive of our club and you can not find them anywhere else. These coupons can be used at anytime throughout the year. Simply place the coupon you wish to use in the mailbox and it will be honored!

But wait there is more, for our very special customers we have included 20 kisses that can be redeemed at any time for a real kiss. Our clients find these especially rewarding and we are sure that you will use them up quickly. We know you will want your dates to start right away, and as an added bonus if you return your confirmation card within the next 48 hours we will rush you 10 extra kisses!

As we mentioned our exclusive mailbox is linked directly to your wife’s heart so we encourage you to leave notes for her, and she will do the same for you. Simply place the note in the box and place the flag up it is that simple.

I thought this was so neat! The certificate went inside a mini-mailbox, which would hold other goodies, in addition to "love notes".

Inside the mailbox, there was the certificate, a confirmation card, 20 coupons, and 20 kisses.

What I love the most is the Confirmation Card which has two boxes to check, which say the following "I can't wait to start my subscription please rush me my first date package right away!" AND " I am submitting this within 48 hours so please also include my extra Romance Reward tickets."

How thoughtful and romantic. Kudos to you Whimsy Princess!


April 22, 2010

Strawberry Fields

It's days like this that I wish I had a strawberry patch in my yard. How wonderful would that be, just to walk outside and sit amongst the berries -and eat until your heart's content!

I found a recipe for Strawberry Scones that I really would love to make. Especially for my grandmother, who not only loves scones and berries, but would agree that they are somewhat nutritious!

When she makes scones, she also prepares a batch up to just before baking, and then freezes the shaped dough. Then you can bake the frozen scones anytime!

Recipe as adapted from Good Things Catered

2¼ cups (10.8 ounces) all purpose flour ¼ cups (1.75 ounces) granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling 1 tablespoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, chilled and cut into small pieces 1 egg ¼ cup plain yogurt ½ cup milk 1 teaspoons orange zest 1 cup diced fresh strawberries

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

2. In a small bowl, combine the egg, yogurt, milk and zest and whisk to thoroughly combine. Set aside.

3. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine (or mix with a whisk in a large bowl). Add the cubes of butter and pulse several times, until the butter pieces are all smaller than pea-sized (or cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter or two knives). Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

4. Add the strawberries to the flour mixture and toss to coat. Add the wet ingredients and fold them into the dry ingredients, mixing just until the dough comes together and all of the flour is hydrated.

5. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and pat it into a large ball. Cut the ball in half, and shape each half into a flat disk about ½-inch thick. Cut the discs into 8 wedges.

6. Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle sugar on top. Bake until slightly browned on top, about 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the scones cool on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. The scones are best served when still slightly warm.

I can not wait to make this delicious sounding breakfast treat!


April 21, 2010

New dream

I have decided that my next step in life after my teaching thing has run its course (and that could be thirty years from now), I would like to do TWO things.

Open up a coffee shop. I have the details planned (minus how I will fund my dream) The name, the style, the colors, the menu - all picked out. I also have the fictitious town (think Gilmore Girls mixed with Eastwick). I have already started looking for props for my shop - but of course NOT buying them (because that would be plain silly. of course.) I would love to have a patio/porch attached to my building, with vintage furniture. Think eclectic. I would like to have theme nights,with board games and fun for all :) I have no pictures of course because all the designs are in my head.... I realize in this day and age, the thought of opening your own business and actually being successful is daunting. Till then, I will dream.

Secondly, open up a consignment/bookstore. How fun! In a perfect world, my successful businesses would be neighbors. So if you were shopping and suddenly had urge for a frozen coffee treat - yippee! You can get it.
I would love to display the crafty items I will be crafting ( I wanted to see how many times I could use that word in a sentence!)

Till these fantasies become a reality, I will continue slaving away teaching our future in humid, damp, and sweat-reeking conditions. (If you didn't guess, I teach in a high school and yes. without air conditioning. )

Always dreaming.


April 06, 2010

Tuesday blah blah blah blah hotness

Work is hot. and not in ways I wish....hot as in kids do not believe in deodorant hot. And that thought alone should gross you out, but try being in a stuffy classroom with no air circulation. It's enough to make you lose your lunch.

On that lovely and foul note, I have decided that I am taking the Organizing Challenge. (I am sure there really is a challenge out there, but I am making it up). I started a book called "One Year to an Organized Life." hmph. I don't think the author has seen my basement. or garage. or filing cabinet.

However, I am up to the challenge. I found a notebook, unused, on the bookshelf in the basement, and started journaling last week. The book is broken into Months - then each month broken into weeks. Each month is a different area in your life, and each week is a different task to better organize it. The first week of the month is always journaling. You assess your area, and answer questions that will be better help you figure out where you have the biggest problems.

This book helps you break down tasks and build routines over time so that life becomes simple. Some parts of the book, like buying a calendar, a planner - and how to use it - are silly for me. ANYONE who knows me, knows I live by my planner, and this isn't something I need a "how to" book for.

What I like about this book:
The tasks are broken down into categories (kitchen, bedroom, garage, paperwork) and are assigned to you during a specific month of the year. Each month is broken down into weeks, and each week is given a specific assignment. This is meant to avoid the overwhelmed feeling ( I like.) Baby steps will get you far (Think What about Bob. Baby steps to your kitchen. Baby steps to your pantry.)

What I didn't like:
I am a person born to list making. There were no lists.

Some of the fixes for a kitchen were silly and not economically friendly. Her suggestions were to look at the color of the walls, and furniture. It would be great to repaint - but that costs $$.

There is also an entire chapter on moving. I will not be moving in the near future, so that chapter is wasted on me.

The first two weeks for January deal with routines, and time managements. I am someone guided by routine - so again, this did not apply to me. But I could see the benefit (as my husband doesn't get always follow routines...so he may benefit).

After reading over some of the lessons, I feel this is something I already do. But I do like to follow an order. Therefore, this is why I think this book is helpful. It will force me to stick to only one project- not jump for room to room. The organizing part doesn't take a brain surgeon, but it does ease the overwhelming feeling.
Overall, I am excited to start on this new organizing adventure. I think by the end of this month,the kitchen (the first place to organize) will tell how well this book worked.


April 05, 2010

Monday Blues

Alas, the house seems to have been destroyed by a tornado. a hurricane. There is no possible way a force from Mother Nature herself did not blow through the home. It can't be possible that it was my own doing!
With the risk of sounding silly, I love stuff. I love everything and I have a million hobbies, or like the idea of having a million hobbies. Books take the top of this list. Sadly, the house we are currently residing in does not have room where I can proudly display all my treasures. Most of my treasures involve a book to go along with the hobby - causing hundreds of books to be displayed (or boxed) around the house.

I don't know how I feel about this (at first glance I loved it) but the more I looked at it, the more I felt claustrophobic. A book lined staircase. This would definitely give me room, and everyone else room! The only problem I could foresee, how would you grab a book and have someone walk up the stairs? I like to gaze and gaze at my book collection before choosing a reading for that day, so I may have to alter my reading process to allow for traffic flow!

I think this would force you to be organized, but a wall of shelves could be interesting! Perhaps you could display it behind a curtain, and voila! Books appear!


April 01, 2010

Easter Goodies

Dressing the table is not like dressing yourself. I guess it kinda is, as you want your table to look neat and presentable for guests; you wouldn't want to wear a coffee stained shirt and tattered pants to a dinner party!

Steering away from the true meaning of Easter, and discussing only the party aspects - there are a ton of ways to dress your table. For example, folding your napkins to look like bunnies. Cute - heck yes! Unnecessary, definitely. If you have the extra time, or an extra pair of hands, I say go for it! Otherwise, napkins are napkins.

Bunny napkin folding


Flowers would definitely brighten up the table for the holiday - why not add a little sugar to the mix? Putting tulips in a square vase, surrounding by peeps (sugary goodness - that I'm not a fan of. WHAT?!) Found on MANY websites, but my favorite designs were the following:

How to make your peeps the center of attention:

You need 1 large clear glass vase, one thinner vase that fits inside larger vase (leaving at least an inch between the two), cut flowers, and 20 or so Peeps bunnies or chicks

1. Fill the smaller vase with water and place the little vase in the big vase. Arrange the flowers in the smaller vase.

2. Fill the space between the two vases with Peeps, so the inner vase does not show. It may be easier to add the flowers at the end, so you don't have them in the way.

At Pampered Princess Parties, this picture was listed - but I think it's actually from a magazine. Either way, super cute!

However you may decorate your table - as long as you have loved ones by your side, I don't think it matters how it looks :) xoxo. Happy Easter!