Menu, Week of 8/3

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Summer is such a lazy time for me. I have been cooking, but without a real plan. My kids are going back to school next Wednesday, though, so I need to get back to planning ahead, or we will either eat out too much or starve.

Sunday: Homemade baked hot wings (we saw Guardians of the Galaxy, which was awesome by the way, so I just made wings and the kids had snacks at the movie)

Monday: Hot wings (because I defrosted too many wings yesterday, so I need to cook them up) Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs, Sukuma Wiki, buttered broccoli and yellow squash

Tuesday: Bratwurst, tahini greens, buttered broccoli

Wednesday: Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet

Thursday: Salmon patties with tahini sauce, roasted butternut squash, sauteed green beans

Friday:  Six Flags – we have a meal plan and season passes, and this will be a day at the park before school starts

Saturday: Coconut Peanut Chicken Curry

Menu, Week of 4/13

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It is spring cleaning time. My kids are not happy with me, because I made a schedule with tasks for every day. I don’t know what they are complaining about, though, because they get a break when they go to their dad’s house! I have tasks every single day!

Mostly I am trying to get rid of as many things as possible. We are in no danger of being on the show Hoarders, but we do have way too many things. I am a big contributor to this problem, I know. I have so much trouble getting rid of books and yarn. I am making an effort with the books–I have a pile of books that I have never read that I have to give one more chance, and if I don’t like them, I have to get rid of them. I am trying to use up at least some of the yarn I have before buying more. These are fairly long-term projects, though.

For the rest of the house, we are getting rid of whatever we can. Clothes purged. Old toys donated. Papers recycled. It is helping, some. We need to get rid of a lot more, though. At least I can remove one decision from my days: I have a dinner plan.

Sunday: Out to dinner with a gift certificatebratwurst

Monday: Breaded pork chops with mustard sauce, fried cabbage and pancetta, buttered broccoli

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: Bratwurst

Thursday: Seafood Alfredo with zucchini noodles

Friday: One skillet paleo dinner

Saturday: Doro Wat, made with chicken thighs rather than drumsticks

As always, lots more ideas can be found at orgjunkie.com

Menu, Week of 3/23

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I have been bad at menu planning lately, and I am suffering from it. I have still been cooking most nights, but it was a much more fraught experience, with lots of indecision and angst about how I could have made a better choice. I know that there are people who can look at what they have in the house and come up with a fantastic meal on the spot, but I am not really one of them. I mean, I can do it occasionally, but it is not a skill I can rely on.

I am diving back into the menu planning this week. My kids are relieved–I didn’t know they paid so much attention to the menu plans, but my daughter commented on how weird it has been not having a menu the other day. We’ve been eating late (see: indecision), and we ate out a bit more than normal. We didn’t go out a lot, but we did go to a restaurant one Wednesday for dinner, and my daughter thought that was just weird – “Who goes out to dinner on a Wednesday?” she asked. I guess I am teaching them good things about eating at home after all.

Sunday: Peanut coconut curry chicken

Monday: Chili spaghetti squash casserole, buttered broccoli

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: Salmon casserole with noodles on the side for the kids

Thursday: Fathead pizza

Friday: Rosemary chicken, bacon wrapped asparagus

Saturday: Steak, buttered broccoli, cauli-rice, salad

As always, many more menu ideas can be found at orgjunkie.com.

Menu, Week of 1/19

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January is always a bit of a downtime for me. Maybe it is because I run around like a crazy person before Christmas. Gee, you think? Hopefully I will do better this year, starting projects early, but it always seems there are plenty of projects coming up throughout the year.

This past week I have been busy with work and the kids, but we mostly ate at home. On Wednesday, I got home to find that there was a school program for my youngest starting at 6:00 and lasting until 7:30. It was 5:45 at the time, so we ended up picking something up after the event. Other than that, though, I cooked, so it worked out pretty well.

This week I am planning on getting more done besides work and dinner. I am cooking some extra food for a friend who had surgery last week. I want to do one Christmas project (yet to be determined, but probably something small). I want to finish the Creeper blanket I am crocheting for one of my son’s friends. I would like to do more, but I had better stop if I want to actually make my goals, ;).

Sunday: Cheeseburgers

Monday: Fathead pizza

Tuesday: Sauteed scallops and langostinos, sauteed cabbage (both sauteed in butter)

Wednesday: Paleo chicken taco bowls - the kids may eat the food separately, but I will enjoy it all together!

Thursday: Morroccan egg tagine, buttered broccoli

Friday: Spinach and goat cheese stuffed chicken, green beans sauteed with bacon, sauteed artichoke hearts

Saturday: Steak, cauli-rice, roasted asparagus and cherry tomatoes

As always, lots more menu ideas can be found on orgjunkie.com

Menu, Week of 1/12

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I know, it isn't Monday anymore--the cold must have slowed me down!

I know, it isn’t Monday anymore–the cold must have slowed me down!

January is such a depressing time, budget-wise. Even though I really try not to spend too much at Christmas time, I always go a bit overboard. I don’t go totally crazy, loading up the credit cards, but I do spend enough to make January a bit tight, money-wise. I’ve been pretty good about cooking at home and not eating out, though, so I am feeling pretty good, so far.

At times like this, I am so glad that I bought that deep freeze last summer. We are still eating pretty well even though I don’t want to go to the grocery store, because I have lots of food on hand.

Also, I just have to add that I know it is Tuesday now. I had this menu plan completed yesterday, but somehow I wandered away from the computer before it got posted. I try to stay off the computer on Monday evenings, so that I am not on it ALL. THE. TIME. So, better late than never, right?

Sunday: Peanut Coconut Curry Chicken (I know, we have this a lot–what can I say, it is easy and I love it, ;) )

Monday: Corned beef and cabbage, sauteed green beans and bacon ( added for the kids, who don’t like cabbage)

Tuesday: Sauteed shrimp with feta and lemon butter sauce

Wednesday: Chili Verde, low carb corn bread

Thursday: Pizza with almond flour crust

Friday: Crockpot Balsamic Chicken, sauteed green beans with bacon

Saturday: Bacon and eggs

As always, lots more menu ideas can be found on orgjunkie.com

Buy Nothing New Christmas: Final Report for 2013

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Today is the day I start planning and making Christmas presents for next year.When I started making gifts in June last year, I thought I was totally on top of things, but I did not give myself enough time. I found myself at the end of the season frantically buying supplies and completing projects (and adding last minute projects!) and I ran out of time to come up with good ideas that didn’t use anything new.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t do a terrible job. I made several gifts out of my stash of supplies. I made a large blanket for my brother that did require yarn purchases, but still met my rules because I started with stash yarn and only had to buy some additional yarn to complete the project. But I could certainly do better.

First, here is the list of projects that did fit my rules:

  • A scarf for my dad made with stash yarn entirely (I didn’t get a picture of this one)
  • My brother’s blanket–all colors started with stash yarn, but I did have to supplement that a bit. However, I did say buying supplies to finish a project would count for my purposesBlanket for David
  • A set of 10 coasters for my mother made entirely out of stash yarncoasters
  • The Christmas tree collage for my aunt, made with supplies I had on hand when I started the challengecollage
  • A set of ceramic plates for my cousin using the plates I finished up from my pottery class last fall (didn’t get a picture of these, either)
  • An ebook for each of my kids to read on their Nooks

And here are the things that didn’t quite meet the challenge:

  • Makeup and nail polish for my daughter
  • Magic cards for my son
  • Munchkin game as a family present
  • Scarves for a couple of my friends–I had my daughter sew them, but I did buy new material rather than upcycling old tshirts as originally intended (again with the no pictures–it was a busy time at the end of the holidays, finishing gifts just in time to give them)

Overall, I think I did pretty well. The majority of the gifts I gave were handmade, and I don’t feel too bad about the ones that were new. Makeup is even sort of meeting the rules, because it is consumable. The games are something I should have made an exception for, in retrospect. Anything that encourages the children to spend time NOT watching TV is a good thing, in my book. And at least the scarves were made by me (because I made the girl that made the scarves, ;) ).

I do think I could do better next year, though, if I start planning now. If I had started with a better plan for the gifts, I wouldn’t have been adding things at the last minute. I am still at the beginning stages of planning, but I will definitely need to have a plan in place soon. I hesitate to say that it will be a complete plan, because things always change, but I want to have at least a framework by the end of this month.

Am I the only one crazy enough to start thinking about this now?

Goals for 2014

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Goals

This year I am planning to be way more intentional. Less mindless TV and facebook gaming, more making, learning, and blogging. It is so easy to fall into a habit of coming home from work, doing something about dinner and settling in on the couch for some mindless relaxation. I am not entirely opposed to mindless relaxation–sometimes that is so healing–I just don’t want it to be the default mode.

With that in mind, here are some goals for the year. This is sort of a first pass on the goals. I would like to develop a longer, more detailed list, like the 52 Things in 52 weeks at Kincavel Korner, but I am not ready to dive directly into that list.  I am trying to put something quantifiable on each goal, because leaving things too open-ended is just a setup for procrastination, and then I can flesh it out into 52 items.

Learn to use the sewing machine. My mother gave me a basic sewing machine for Christmas in 2012, at my request. Since that time, I went out and bought lots of supplies for sewing and did about 6 inches of stitches just to get a start on learning to use it, but I have not even started making an actual project. Luckily, my daughter knows how to use the machine, and this year she is going to teach it to me. I am going to make at least one thing each month.

Crochet (at least) 10 blankets. This is an easy one–I love making blankets! I completed 12 blankets last year, and I have several that are close to being done just waiting for the last bit of work to complete them. I want to include it in the goals list, though, because it is not totally implausible that I will get distracted by other things and let this slip. For the purpose of this goal, finishing a blanket counts, even if the blanket was started before the year began.

Play more games with my kids. They love playing games, but I often feel too busy to sit down and play. I have been working on this the past month or so, but I want to make sure we keep it up. I’d like to play at least one game per week.

Do more upcycling. I make a lot of things, but I tend to go out and buy new supplies–new yarn, new fabric, new art supplies, etc. I wouldn’t say that I never reuse things, but it is more rare than I would like. I would like to do at least one project per month that reuses something that had another use–making tshirt yarn and crocheting something, making a blanket with old blue jeans, doing something with all those jars and wine bottles that I’ve saved in my basement.

Start an art journal. Technically, I have already started one, but I haven’t done very much at all–maybe 4 entries over the last year. I’d like to do at least one art journal entry per week.

Blog more regularly. I am aiming for three posts per week. This will actually help me with my other goals, as I need to have something to post about!

Get my finances under control. I don’t do bad here, but I spend more than I should, and I have a few debts I would like to get rid of, mostly related to my house and college loans. I pay my bills on time, and I don’t have creditors calling, but I would like to save more and be a bit more careful about what I spend. I don’t have a concrete goal for this one yet, but I want to have a plan by the end of January.

I am deliberately using the term goals rather than resolutions here. I don’t think that resolutions are really serious things. If I were substituting a synonym for resolutions, I would use wishes rather than plans. Goals are a bit more concrete–not quite plans, but a good basis for plans.