Monday, February 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday & Weekend Venting

I did do a menu this week.  In fact, I planned out the whole month of March!  I got the idea from my friend, Christine.  She got the idea from somewhere in the blogosphere.  I had a printout to use from my Organizing Life as Mom ebook.  So, I was good to go.  One thing that I really liked about it was that I was able to kind of use stuff I already had for this week and then buy what was on sale this week for weeks to come.  For example, whole roasting chickens were buy-one-get-one this week...so I bought 4 to use for recipes coming up and froze them!

Anyway - here is this week's menu:

Monday - Pasta in Olive Oil and Garlic w/Salad and Garlic Bread (book club ladies may want to sit at the other end of the table tonight!)


Tuesday - Pork Stir-Fry


Wednesday - Layered Mexican Chicken


Thursday - Nana's or Leftovers


Friday - Ham and Cheese Supper (in the slow cooker . . . this is a new one from my slow cooker cookbook) 


Saturday - Disney Princesses on Ice - so... we will probably be ordering something with my parents for dinner.


Sunday - Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes (or maybe twice baked if the kids cooperate!)


There you have it.

In other news - the boys are sick.  Danika is coughing.  No one is sleeping.  Everyone seems to be crying or at least someone is always crying.  It's been a rough weekend.  I'm so ready for spring.

Friday, February 25, 2011

52 Weeks #7 - and Project Life Pages


This week I did something that has been bugging me for WEEKS!  I went through these boxes and reclaimed the space under my counter.


When Danika's birthday rolled around, we decided to have some family and their kids at the house and then have a party with my niece (because her birthday is the end of January, too) at my SIL's the next day.  We were all still getting over colds and I wasn't in the mood to really clean and organize everything to get ready for the party.  So, I threw all the random stuff laying around into these boxes and didn't touch them for over a month.  I wasn't able to put the normal stuff I store under this counter under it because the boxes were taking up all the space.  I finally got frustrated enough with my kitchen feeling even smaller than it is and decided it was time to purge the stuff in the boxes.  I contemplated just throwing them all away because I hadn't missed anything in them but I decided I had better just check in case there was something that found its way in there that was important.

The end result?  One box and everything else the way it belongs.


I feel a LOT better now that that is done.  I feel a lot less guilty about spending way too much time on my new project now - Project Life!

I thought I would share last week's page with you . . . it's the first page that is complete because I'm still waiting on my free pics from Snapfish for the other pages.

Here it is:



I also surprised myself with coming up with a way to be a little ahead in my journaling while I wait for the pictures to get here.  I printed out my "cart" from Snapfish and cut the little pictures, that are on their way, out.  Then I taped then into an extra calendar I had laying around!



Now, I can start writing out my journal entries before the pictures get here so that I can (hopefully) catch up soon!

I'm linking up over at orgjunkie.com - head on over for some awesome inspiring organization stories!  She also has a link for a free ebook on house cleaning to get you ready for that spring cleaning!!!  Even though we are still seeing the white stuff out there - spring is on it's way!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

750 Words I'm Proud Of

I stumbled across 750words.com from another blog that I was reading.  I can't really remember what blog it was, or I would totally give credit where credit is due.  I will say, though, that I've found it rather therapeutic for me.  You may wonder why I would want to write 750 words when I write on my blog, too.  The answer is that sometimes I write things that I don't want everyone to read.  When that happens - 750 Words is PERFECT.  Apparently, I have a lot more to get off my chest than I think I do!

Anyway, I thought I would share today's 750 Words entry with you - so I don't have to type a whole different blog post!  Yes, I will be cheating when appropriate!

Here it is - remember that there is no editing or anything, so I apologize in advance for funky punctuation or run-on sentences.


I'm really really tired today and slightly disappointed - again.  It seems like everything I have high hopes for or really expect to be awesome always has something happen that makes it less awesome than it is.  Like a little fold in a cover of a new book or a smudge on a picture or a snag in a new sweater or a unexpected expense (like new tires) when you get surprised with extra cash in your paycheck.  The funny thing is, I really don't feel like I should complain too much about these things.  I mean after all I have that book or picture or sweater or car - my life is good.


I feel the same way about my children sometimes.  I think about people who can't have children or who have tragically lost their child/children and I remind myself that I can handle the little things like cartoons on tv all day or peanut butter on my front door or a baby that isn't happy unless he is in my lap.  I think about these things and remember that life isn't about things being exactly the way that you think they should be.  Life is about you learning to want things exactly the way they are right now.  I know that I spend a lot of time wishing for things.  I wish I had a bigger house.  I wish the kids were just a little bit older and a little bit more independent.  I wish that we had a little more money to do things.  I wish I was thinner.  I wish I had better style and nicer clothes.  I wish for a lot of things but I always seem to include a tag line - like, "I wish I had a bigger house but am so grateful for the one I have."  "I wish the kids were a just a little bit older and a little bit more independent but I know that I will miss these days soon enough."  "I wish we had a little more money to do things but I am so glad that I have the job I do and can stay home with my babies as much as I do."  "I wish I was thinner but I'm so grateful we have food to eat."  "I wish I had better style and nicer clothes but at least my kids always look cute - I really think people stopped looking at me after they were born anyway!"


I sound like I'm complaining.  I'm not.  Really.  I just always feel like I have to make sure that the powers that be realize I don't want any more problems than I already have - in fact, I don't want any problems because I don't feel I have any that I can't handle right now.  I guess it goes back to the whole reason you shouldn't ask God for patience...


All that being said, there are some things I just wouldn't change for anything.  I wouldn't change the fact that my 5 year old is sneaking down the steps right now and will probably be peaking his head around the corner - even though I put him to bed about 10 minutes ago.  I also wouldn't change the fact that he will stumble into my bed at some point tonight and I will be so sound asleep that I won't realize he is there and then I will wake up with him snuggled up against my back and my daughter in front of me spooning up against me.  I know that Jerry and I complain about it being crowded - because it is - but I also know that someday they will close their bedroom door and not come out for 12 hours or so...I will start to wonder if they are even in there!


I don't want to miss all this.  I don't want to look back and say, "Where did it go?"  I don't think that it is possible to live a life with children and not do that but I am doing my best to try and pay attention.  I want to be able to remember the little things and remind myself of how good I had it - even if I was always wishing for more or wanting more or dreaming of a bigger and therefore, better, life.  I know in my heart that it doesn't really get any better than this.  It's not about the house or my clothes but the number of kisses I get before bedtime.


There you have it.  I'm off to fill in my Project Life with some picture I picked up today at Walgreens!  I'm really excited - Life is Good!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's HERE!!!

Guess what the UPS guy dropped off at my house today?


I had a REALLY hard time waiting until I had time to open the box and go through it.  I was planning on vlogging about it (I've never done one and I thought this would be an easy way to give it a shot - lots of things to talk about) but Danika insisted on holding the camera and when I would show her something from the box - wanting her to record it - she would move the camera to the side so she could look at it while I talked.  The footage is definitely keep worthy for entertainment value - but not vlog worthy.

So ~ you will have to see the contents of my box in step by step pictures.

The box - of course - which is actually going to be a nice box to keep all my materials in and away from little hands.

Right inside the box is a sheet that tells you what should be in your box, some tips and ideas on getting started and sticking to it, as well as a little note from Becky.  I love that she says that Project Life will not only help you preserve your memories but it will also help you, "...become more keenly aware of the blessings in your life."  

Then we have the binder!  I decided on the Turquoise Edition because it seemed more my style - I'm not a flowery person and the Amber Edition was kind of flowery.

Then came the little boxes - which really are made well - with the cards.  There are Larger Date cards, filler cards and journaling cards.  There are also cards for the first and last page of your project.

Here's all the contents of the box.  You will see the photo pocket pages and monthly bookmarks on the right and the extra cardstock for whatever you want to use it for spread out on the left.  I also forgot to take a picture or mention the date stamp and date stickers that are in the bigger little box.  

This was the first problem I noticed with my kit.  There are protective covers on these bookmarks - but mine was actually scratched on the other side.  I'm not super upset about it, though.  It isn't that noticeable.


There were 2 photo pocket pages that had the hole punch in the wrong place.  Can you see how much it hangs over?  I'm going to try to make it work somehow or maybe I'll just order an extra set of the photo pocket pages.

Other than those two minor things, the kit is pretty awesome.  It is going to take a while for me to get use to moving the pages a few at a time.  If I try to move them all at once, the bottom binder ring lets a few slip out - it's kind of a pain to fight to get them back on but I think turning one or three pages at a time will make it happen less often.
First page in the book - all put together

Last page in the book - all put together


Here are all the cards I stuck in the book already.  I figured if I have these in already, then I only have to add the pictures and little journal cards.  The rest will already be done.  One less thing to do later!

Now I just have to wait for the pictures I sent to Snapfish to show up!

Close to Perfect

I'll be honest with you - it's been a while since I had a day where I was pretty much happy the WHOLE day!  Aside from thinking I may have to go to work for the first half hour I was awake (for some reason the school district in question waited until the LAST possible minute to cancel), it was a GREAT day!

Here's some pictures:



SONIC
SONIC
Sleepy Twins

Tired Gal

In case you were wondering - yes, I've discovered Picnik and am LOVING it!  :)

So to recap - I got the call at around 7:30 am that we were not having school and I would not have to go into work.  Jerry was off already (because he is off on Tuesdays) and we had a little extra money laying around - not like we couldn't have done something MUCH more responsible with it.  We didn't blow it all . . . but we did blow about half of it.  It was on things that we will use and that we needed but it was more shopping than we have done in a while - considering that we have been really trying to stick to a budget.

So ~ we did what any family of 6 would do if they had been stuck in the house since Friday and didn't feel like playing in the snow.  We went to the mall.  :)

We ended up getting Crocs for Jerry, Nate, Danika and I - Danika got some really cute Jibbitz, too.  She got this 3D Dora and a 3D flower (pink Crocs, of course).  Nate got a Spiderman one and a blue car (red Crocs, of course).

Jerry has needed new scrubs forever - so I told him he was not allowed to leave the scrub store until he bought at the very least 1 pair.  Then, we went to the Sleep Number store to try out mattresses.  We didn't end up buying anything, but we are considering it.  Suggestions welcome!

We bought my nephew his birthday present and the kids ended up getting these annoying foam swords.  I told them they could pick something out if they were good and the swords may not have been my first choice, but at least we didn't end up spending a ton of money!

After our trip to the mall, we dropped the "big" kids off at CCD and I headed out with my Mommy Group friends for a yummy dinner, dessert and coffee.  We always have a great time together, and last night was no exception.  If I'm being completely honest, I may have had a little bit of a buzz!  I had 2 glasses of wine with dinner - which normally wouldn't do anything but I hadn't had much to eat so it didn't take much.  I wasn't driving (my DD is prego so I knew I was good!) and it had been a while since I'd been that relaxed!  I also enjoyed a cup of Campfire Mocha from Caribou Coffee.  Perfect end to close to perfect day.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Shopping adventures

I don't really feel like sharing my menu with all of you this week - I just don't feel like it, so I'm not going to!  (Seriously, though, it's a pretty lame menu anyway.)

I do want to tell you about the thrilling experience I had at the grocery store and how totally and completely stoked (yes, I said stoked) I am about what I just ordered from Amazon.

First, the grocery store...I guess a lot of you won't find this super exciting because you have probably done it, too.  It's a rush, though...saving some cash.  I've read a few places about how it is cheaper if you buy meat before it's cut or ground and then just ask the butcher to do it for you.  Truth is - it's INSANELY cheaper!  At least at this grocery trip it was.  We are having pork chops (the boneless ones, which my Dad said are really called cutlets) for dinner tonight (or tomorrow) and I needed to buy them.  Now, the kind I wanted cost $3.99 lb.  Right next to them were the pork loins which were $1.99 lb.  On the price sign for the loins it says, "Bring it to our butcher and we will cut it how you like - free of charge" (or something like that).

I wasn't going to do it...but I looked at them both there and just had to give it a shot.

The cutlets I was going to buy would have been 6 cutlets for close to $10.  I took a $14 pork loin over to the butcher and asked for cutlets for 3/4th of the loin and then end cubed for stir fry.  When I got back to pick it up there were. . . 21 cutlets and at least 2 handfuls of cubes!  I couldn't believe it.  Lesson learned - and I couldn't wait to go home and show Jerry!  I knew he would be proud of me.

On to my Amazon order - I saw this over at IHeart Organizing and decided that I had to have it.

What is it, you ask.  It's called Project Life and it was created by Becky Higgins.  I LOVED scrapbooking before I had kids.  Kind of funny, you would think that I would scrapbook more because I have all these new things to scrapbook about!  However, I just don't have the time or patience to spend hours on scrapbooking like I would want to.  When I saw this product I immediately got excited because I realized it could give me what I loved about scrapbooking (and a reason to actually print my digital pictures) but not make me feel guilty for spending hours cutting paper and making pretty pages.  I'm so jealous of those of you who are organized enough to be able to whip out scrapbook pages quickly but I always seemed to spend hours doing just a few pages.

Anyway, I ordered it today and it will be here Wednesday and I can't wait to share the whole thing with you!

In the meantime ~ if you are interested ~ here are two videos that sold me on it!




Friday, February 18, 2011

52 Weeks #7



My kitchen is small.  I have a lot of little cabinets but no place to store really big items and it's difficult to put all the same things in one place (for example all of the food in one cupboard and all of the pots and pans in another) so it's spread out and I do a lot of opening and closing cabinets to remind myself where I put something.  Not to mention, I switch thing around on a regular basis because I just haven't found a spot that I really like for things.  HOWEVER - I was actually really happy with how things turned out when I hit 2 of the cabinets this week and got them under control.  I think I'll be hitting 2 more next week!  I LOVE when things don't fall out when I open the doors!

Before


After
Before
After

 I'm linking up over at I'm an Organizing Junkie!  :)  Come see some inspiring Before and After pictures and get some motivation for a project you are trying to tackle!  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fragile by Lisa Unger

I'm quite proud of myself for already finishing my book club book this month!

Click on book for synopsis

 I didn't LOVE it as much as I did last month's book, Winter Garden.  In fact, I didn't LOVE it at all.  I did LIKE it, though.  I kind of had a tiny bit of a preconception about it because my friend, Christine, had already read the book the last time that we met for book club and she had said that she felt it was just "ok" and that there were a few too many characters.  I couldn't agree more.

Here are my problems with the book:

     1) There are too many characters.  There are 20 I can count off the top of my head that you have to connect to each other.  (Wait, 22...I just thought of 2 more!)  They do all connect, which is an accomplishment, but it gets confusing when you combine it with my 2nd major problem with this book.

     2)  I had a really tough time with the way this book flowed from one story line (in the present) to another one (in the past).  Essentially, there are 2 girls who go missing - one in the 80s and one in the present.  Both stories are played out at the same time in the book.  Often in the same chapter, with little or no warning, the author only uses a new paragraph to make the transition from present to past.  I've read a few books in the past year that deal with "flashbacks" and have found it much easier when chapters are set entirely in the present or entirely in the past.

     3) If you put these two things together - it gets really hairy.  In fact, there were a few times where the author would talk about one character in a paragraph and then talk about the same character in the next paragraph but be talking about them 20+ years earlier.  Ugh. I had to reread quite a few paragraphs when I realized we had switched from present just so I could get my mind in the right story line.


Lisa Unger - Author of Fragile
The book wasn't all bad, though.  Here are a few of the things I did like about it:

     1) I thought the connections between the people were very interesting.  I thought she really did show how everyone knows everyone in a small town.  I liked that every relationship had a little past and something to complicate it and make it interesting.

     2) The plot was pretty good.  At the very least, I had to finish the book.  There were a few times when I really thought I would put it down, but by the time I got to the middle of it, I knew that I would have to find out what happened in both stories.  I wasn't overly disappointed, either.  I actually liked the ending better than most of the book.

So - simply put, I would probably not recommend this book to someone unless they really liked mystery books.  I think there are better books out there to read if you are just looking for a good book.
 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday (Valentine edition)

Guess what I got for Valentine's Day?


I am so stinking excited about this because I waste a ton of coffee by making a whole pot but LOVE a cup in the morning to get going!  Plus - it's super easy, super fast and there is NOTHING to clean up!  ;)

I also got another wonderful Valentine's surprise!  I got an email this morning telling me that I won a copy of Clutter Rehab for submitting a recipe here!  I used Say Mmmm to make the printable grocery lists!

What a great start to a day!


In all honesty, this week is kind of lame...but it's a busy week, so what can I say...

Monday ~ Heart Shaped Pizzas from Papa Johns (a Valentine Tradition!)


Tuesday ~ Chicken and Rice


Wednesday ~ Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes


Thursday ~ Nana's or Leftovers (I have Open House so Jerry is in charge!)


Friday ~ Turkey Chowder (this is a push from last week...someday I'll tell you about how Jerry broke my crock pot.  :(


Saturday ~ Chicken Nugget Casserole and Salad


There you have it!  I did plan breakfasts and lunches, too...but they aren't anything exciting so I figured I would just share what we will be eating for dinner this week!

Hope you all have a great Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Celebrations

Valentine's Day has never really been a big deal for me.  I like chocolate.  I like flowers.  I don't necessarily think  they are money well spent, though.  I don't like jewelry.  Weird, huh?  I'm just not into jewelry...I've got my wedding rings and a few necklaces, some earrings and my watch...that's about all I need and all I really want.  My husband bought me a charm bracelet for Mother's Day last year and I like it...but it's kind of noisy and bulky to wear all the time.   So ~ I made a decision about Valentine's Day.  I'm going to teach my children to enjoy Valentine's Day as a holiday when we show people we love them in different ways...doing things to help them or making sure to give them extra hugs and kisses.  We will also enjoy a great "family" dinner tomorrow!


We are also going to make chocolate chip cookies.  :)

Jerry and I had an awesome Valentine Celebration last night!  My parents kept Nate and Danika and we sent the twins up to bed at 7:30.  Then, we dug into this:





It was SOOO yummy!

Then we watched a movie and went to bed!  It was relaxing and quite and wonderful!  To top it all off - we slept wonderfully because we didn't have little people (aka Danika or Nate) in bed with us in the morning!

Well - I'm off to go clean up the kitchen...shine my sink...and maybe get to bed early again tonight!

Happy Early Valentine's Day to all!  <3

Friday, February 11, 2011

52 Weeks #6



This week I was busy.  VERY busy and I'm still not feeling great - which meant that I couldn't take on one of the bigger projects on my To Do List.  What I did do was organize my online clutter.  I started by taking care of all of those emails that can't bring myself to delete for some reason or another - responding to those that need responses and even unsubscribing to a few newsletters here and there.

In fact, I unsubscribed a lot this week.  I hit my Google Reader hard and really looked at the blogs I read and the ones that I only followed because I wanted the follow back...yes, I'm guilty of that!  Honestly, though, I use FeedSquares to read my blogs and I LOVE it...but seeing that number climb and climb (85 unread, 146 unread, 238 unread) makes me feel crappy and over whelmed.  So...I cut down the number of blogs I subscribe to in hopes that I won't have that sinking feeling I get when the number is too big to tackle.

In doing all of that I realized something about myself...I try to do too much.  I don't stick with one thing.  I don't give myself time to really try something out and see if it works before abandoning it.   I'm not very good at following through.  I plan on really thinking about this discover and trying to come up with the one thing I want to try and ignore the rest for a while.  It might be the whole grocery thing...or maybe I'll get back to Flylady - I haven't given up on that, yet!!!  I'll keep you posted, though!

I did head out to Staples today and bought some awesome organizing supplies for next week's project!  I can't wait to get started!!!  :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Goings on...with pictures!

So...I must have felt like taking pictures today because I have some to  share with you!

First...remember when I did this post for Say Mmmm?  I talked about making some grub for the Super Bowl?  Here's pics of the ones I made for lunch with the leftover ingredients!



Totally yummy, right?

Remember my last post about Duct Tape and Velcro?  I figured out that I can get about 40 minutes of peace if I just give in and strap them to chairs and let them beat up  play on my table!



I also want to share this awesome Valentine hairstyle for little girls!  Here's the practice pic from our morning try out of the hairstyle.  We are going to redo it for her party tomorrow.  It was SUPER easy!!!



I also stumbled across this awesome post today - and pulled out my #6 plastic cups to decorate with the kiddos!  (Who knew #6 cups were made out of the same plastic as shrinky dinks?!?)






So - that's it for now!  We had an awesome day playing at home and just hanging out - tomorrow we start early Valentine Celebrations with Danika's party at school...then Nate's on Friday!  :)

Here are a few more pics of them doing their cards last night - Jerry is such an awesome dad!





Love this one!