Sunday, February 22, 2009

Meal Plan Monday & the beginning of Lent

You're probably wondering how these two things can even go together in a post. lol Let me share.......I've been wanting to do this weekly posting of meal plans for quite awhile and I've been just HORRIBLE about planning our weekly meals. This is another one of those things that are so good for you, and you know that's it's good for you, and you know how much easier it makes your life, but you still just don't stick with it! Arugh! I mean, my life is so, so, so much easier when I plan our meals for the week. No stress every day about what to make for dinner that night. No blowing our grocery budget by quick trips to the store every day for less-than-adequate meals (a.k.a. prepackaged meals full of who knows what that are full of salt & preservatives and just not good for ya and cost a bundle!). And worst yet, eating out. That really kills our grocery budget and our wasitelines! So, this kind of ties into my whole get-it-in gear mantra I've been telling myself since January and now that the Easter Season is almost upon us, for me, it ties in Lent. I say this because it is custom for Catholics to "give something up" during Lent. Usually people give up coffee, soda, t.v., etc. You can also give up bad habits, like gossiping or being judgemental. So I'm going to give up my being unorganized and unhealthy and give it up to the Lord and put these parts of my life that are in such desperate need of help and guidance in His hands.

That said. lol Here's my menu for this week. In a different post I will share how I have my recipes and such organized to make planning my weekly menu easy as pie!

Homemade Tomato Soup (this is so good and easy!)
Loaded Baked Potatoes

Pasta w/ Artichoke Sauce
Green Beans
French Bread

Tuesday- Mardi Gras
Spicy Asparagus
King Cake

Wednesday - Ash Wednesday
Crock-Pot Vegetable Soup
Hot-Cross Buns

Crock-Pot Ranch Stew with Rice

Fish Fry at local parish
Salmon Loaf with Cucumber Sauce
Provencial Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

I plan on adding some of the recipes listed above, but at a later time!

God Bless,

Friday, February 20, 2009

paper purge success & other news

Well, I have finished purging out all of my unwanted scrapbooking paper. When I was done I had 5 inches of paper, one zip-loc bag of stickers and one zip-loc bag of scrap paper. Wow, does it ever feel good to pass those on to someone who can really use it! I donated all of it to our Girl Scout Council's In-Town program.

It has been a busy week, even though I feel like I haven't accomplished a thing. I have been able to keep up with my photo-a-day project, but I've been doing a bad job posting daily pics at my other site. I did get the first layout for this week finished today, so that's good!

It seems like all we've been doing is spending money, which is not good! Our clothes washer died so we bought a new washer on Valentine's Day. Our hillbilly root were showing that night as we sat on the floor in the mudroom watching our new, front-loading washer clean it's first load of dirty laundry! lol Joe and I had our favorite dinner that night, Thai Pepper, and stayed up watching a cheesy horror movie on fearnet, oh and a bottle of delicious pink champange! We also bought a computer desk for the basement, so now the kids have a computer down there to use instead of the one in Chris' room. Is he ever happy about that! I finally broke down and started buying American Crafts 12x12 linen binders for my scrapbook pages. I have stacks of completed layouts that haven't ever been placed in an album. How sad is that? I finally decided which albums I wanted and what colors (following the Stacy Jillian method in Photo Freedom/Library of Memories) and was thrilled to use a 40% off coupon for them at Hobby Lobby and a 30% off coupon at Archiver's. I have 3 albums (so far!) and need many, many more! I can't wait to start sorting out my layouts and putting them in my new binders. How pitiful am I to be so excited about a binder? lol

I have totally failed on my wanting to eat healthy...........the good thing is that Joe totally feels the same way. Now I just have to get it in gear and get my weekly menus going again. That is what causes us to slip the most; no menu plan. So, we eat whatever sounds good and it's usually something fast and pre-packaged and full of everything we are wanting to avoid. Not home-made goodness! It's just been so crazy these past few weeks and I haven't been able to get it in gear enough to start making any of the changes that I so long to make. Tomorrows another day, right?

God Bless,

Friday, February 13, 2009

my new mantra.......

I am still working away in my scrap area. More purging and now I am really starting to try to think of how I want to organize things in there. It's time for a change in how I have things. They are okay. But, that's just it. It's okay. I want it to be awesome! But, I need to finish going through all of my paper before I start thinking a lot about reorganizing my area.

Something did pop into my head today and now it's my new mantra:

It's not what you have, it's if you use it!

It seems like so much of scrapping is what you have and the massive quantity of it that you acquire. Almost like "Keeping up with the Jones' " type of thinking. I can't do that. First of all, I can't keep up w/ the Jones' because I don't have the money to do that and second, I don't have the room! So, I'm going to keep telling myself that it doesn't matter what I have and how much of something I have, what matters is if I use it!

Okay, so back to cleaning my scrap room I go!

God Bless!

the great paper purge....

........goes on. Last night (late last night!) I started going through all of my 12x12 patterned paper to sort out the stuff that I no longer want/need/will never use. Wow! It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be! At first I was like, "Oh, I'll use that!" and only taking out a few from each color group. Then I started thinking, "Okay, this is INSANE! I have to get rid of this stuff! I will NEVER USE IT!" I decided that if I need something like it I will buy it for that layout and be done. I will tell you this much: NEVER, NEVER, EVER, EVER will I buy another Slab or massive pack of patterned paper!!!!! I can't believe that I used to flip out over those things, because I'm going through all of this paper last night and realizing that I don't like a lot of it and that it's just totally nothing that I would ever buy if I was at my scrapbook store. I must admit that the one thing that really got me going with doing this and being able to start the true purging was knowing where my purged paper was going to go. I had decided before I even started that I was going to donate it to our local Girl Scout Council. I think that having that planned out is what made the biggest difference in my being able to purge out so much paper last night. I know if I didn't have that planned out when I started, I would have managed to talk myself into keeping a lot more of that paper than I did. So, if you are wanting/needing to do a craft/scrap supply purge, I suggest you decide where your unwanted items will go. I kept telling myself that it was going to a good cause and someplace where it is really needed and could be enjoyed by so many girls. That really helped me out a lot. When I came to going through all of those papers from Slabs, if I liked them I kept 2 sheets and got rid of the 3rd. They all come with 3 sheets of each pattern. This way I have enough paper for a 2 page spread, if needed. The third piece went into my "give away" pile. I was up until 3:40 a.m. doing this! I didn't start until almost midnight! But once I started and really started getting serious with sorting through all of that paper, I didn't want to stop until I was done. I might go through it again and see if I can get rid of some more. When I look in my cabinet where it's all at, to me it doesn't seem like I got rid of that much, but in reality I got rid of 3 inches of 12x12 paper and another 2 inches of 8.5x11 paper. I also started a big zip-loc bag for stickers/die-cuts and another for usable pieces of scrap paper. Now I have room for all of my great kits from The Scrap Room and even some extra paper holders so that I can sort out the paper that I'm keeping a bit better.

So things are going good in my scrap area! I am determined to do some serious organizing in there and making room for the things that I really love is the first step in this huge process for me!

God Bless,

how pitiful is this?

eek. I'm ashamed to say that this is my scrap's a horrible mess! I guess it's not as bad as it has ever been, but there's no excuse for my piles of junk here on my work area. I haven't done any paper scrapbooking in a long time. Way too long actually. I have been doing digi layouts since the beginning of January for my Project 365, but that's just not the same. I'm too much of a touchy-feely crafter. lol But, I'm also painfully aware of the fact that I have a ton of patterned paper that I will never use that's hogging up precious space in my cabinet. So, tonight I'm going to start the big, paper purge. I has to happen. I've thought about it many times before but was just too chicken and kept telling myself, "I'll use that some day!". Well, I can't keep doing that. I have all of these awesome kits from The Scrap Room needing a place to stay until I use them and this old paper just has to go! Since the last 4 weeks of my life have revolved around the Girl Scouts (thanks to it being cookie time!), I have decided to give my purged paper to our Girl Scout Council. They have many inter-city programs who could use it and it could also be used at camp for the girls craft projects. So, I'm going to tell myself as I look at that darn patterned paper from a Slab that I bought 5 years ago and my mind is saying, "You will use that some day!".....I'm going to tell myself, "No you won't, you haven't and you need to give it to some place whoNEEDS it and WILL use it some day!" That's my let the purging begin!

God Bless!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

digging out of paperwork mountain & some organic favorites

Yep. That's me. And that's where I've been all week long. Knee-deep in Girl Scout Cookie paperwork. Another reason why this was the wrong time for me to decide to go healthy! Stress and lots of time spent auditing paperwork = lots of coffee/soda and munchies. But, I turned in all of my paperwork on Monday and now I'm just trying to remember how to function right now. It's a huge job, this cookie business, but I've been doing it for 11 years now and I think I'm in it for life. Or so I've been told by the Head Cookie at the council. lol

I did make it to Whole Foods a couple of times, which is bad, because I can easily get carried away in there and spend too much money. I switched us over to organic, French Roast Allegro Coffee. It is $11.99 a pound, which is a little high, but we decided that we love coffee too much and won't skimp on getting something we won't enjoy. I also picked up some Madhava organic, light agave nectar as a sugar replacement for my coffee. Be sure to click that link to read about it. It is a natural sweeter with a low glycemic index and it is kind of like thin honey, but has a light, sweet flavor and it working wonderfully in my coffee. I am curious now to try it in some real recipes. I also picked up some Calming Aromatherapy Spritzer from California Baby to spray on our pillows at night. This really seems to help Gracie relax a bit better and fall asleep peacefully. I love California Baby products, they are all safe not full of harsh chemicals, and so far I have used their: Calming Botanical Moisturizing Cream, Calming Diaper Rash Cream, Calming Aromatherapy Bubble Bath, and their Natural Bug Blend Bug Repelant. Everything from the "Calming" line has lavender in it and I am a huge fan and believer in the relaxing properties of lavender.

I am planning on sitting down tomorrow and working on my menu for next week. A new week and a fresh start. This time I should be able to start working on eating better and other things mentioned in my earlier post!

God Bless,

Sunday, February 1, 2009

what was i thinking?

So, obviously I wasn't really paying any attention to the calendar when I decided to kick all things junky and go healthy! Today is the Super Bowl! And, we traditionally have quite a spread of food to munch on during the game. Like that massive, cheese ball pictured above. lol (By the way, I'll share the recipe at the end of this post. It's really good!) Not a really smart time for me to shape up w/ my eating habits. But, I guess that I will view this as my unhealthy eating habits getting to go out with a bang! Nothing says "Bad for You" more than a cheese ball and a huge relish tray full of super, salty olives and pickles. The only thing that I have going for me is that I don't eat meat, so I won't be eating any of the greasy, hot wings. I did get some Morningstar Farms Chick'n Tenders and I'll have those w/ some honey-mustard and some BBQ sauce.

I did make it to Whole Foods today and will share what I got in a bit. I am going to keep track of my favorite products and their prices.

So here is a great cheese ball recipe that was given to me by my dear friend, Lisa. The original recipe calls for 12 oz of shredded Colby cheese but with little ones always running around it is just easier to use 2 -8 oz. packages of shredded cheese. We love Sharp cheddar, so that's what I use and even though it's more cheese than the recipe calls for, it turns out just fine. More cheesey, than cream cheesey this way!

Creamy Cheese Ball

2 - 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup finely chopped green onions
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped green bell pepper
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 - 8 oz. packages shredded Sharp cheddar cheese
paprika and/or dried parsley flakes
your favorite crackers

Mix cream cheese, onion, garlic, green bell pepper, parsley flakes, Worchestershire sauce and paprika. Add shredded cheddar cheese to cream cheese mixture and mix well. Form into a ball and sprinkle well with paprika and/or dried parsley flakes. Cover and place in refrigerator over night. Let sit out an hour before serving, to soften the cheese ball for easier spreading and less broken crackers! Enjoy!

God Bless,