Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Meals for the month!

As part of my mission to get organized and save money this year I have been trying to plan out an entire months worth of meals- not always easy, but such a saver in the long run. I am happy to report that in the month of January we have not run for take-out once (something we had grown very prone to) and we have saved so much money in the process, not to mention the nice family dinners we have been able to have gathered around our own kitchen table. My husband has loved knowing what was to come on the menu and it has made my grocery shopping much easier as I can make almost all my lists for the month at one time and combine ingredients so that I am only shopping for them once. Another big help to me has been being able to look at the whole month of what we are having so I am not repeating meals every week (which of course my DH also appreciates)!

With that said, it can be hard to come up with new ideas for meals! However, just the other day a friend tipped me off to an awesome blog with some great, family-friendly suggestions and I just have to share it with you: My Kitchen Cafe. This mama has compiled the best of her recipe adventures into a very clean blog and I love it! Her ideas are great and I think her meals will be too! Check it out!

Another good place I have been using to find new meals is the last half-an-hour of the Rachel Ray show (when she does her cooking). Sometimes a recipe that I may not have necessarily been drawn to on her site actually looks quite scrumptious when I see her prepare it on the show! Plus, it can be helpful to watch her make it once so that I already have a handle on the sequencing when I head into the kitchen to prepare dinner.

Well, I just wanted to share one of the helpful tips I have been using this year! I hope your family can be blessed by it as well!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tax Time Again- but I am still fluttering!

Well, that dreaded time of year is hear again- Tax Time! Ugh! It is one thing to have to do personal taxes, but it is WAY worse when you own a corporation (especially when it has been a slow year and you haven't exactly kept up on things the way you were supposed to... oops!). After a long, long week, however, I pretty much have everything done. A few more numbers to tally and things to input in the computer for our personal stuff and then it is in our trusted accountant's hands! Awwww... it will feel so nice to have that behind me.

With that said though, I can't help but speak the praise (once again) of the FlyLady! While I haven't done every little mission this week, I have managed to maintain a sense of order by keeping with the basic routines- I have yet to go to bed without a clean, empty sink; a load of laundry a day has kept that dreaded room surprisingly manageable; my bed has been made every morning and gives me a sense of satisfaction that I never expected; even our hotspots have remained fairly free of clutter! FlyLady allowed me to get through this week without COMPLETELY loosing my mind (only partially!).

Best of all I feel so much more organized heading into the new year. I know that by keeping with my routines and staying on top of the business this year, I won't be facing the same tax headaches I have been, next year. I even feel less stress about having a baby in the house again because I know the house will already be organized and in good working order and I can divide up my normal routines between the people helping me postpartum until I am able to resume them. What a load off!

So once again- Thank You FlyLady! And if you don't know who FlyLady is- find out now!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cloth Diaper Whisperer Giveaway!

This is the perfect giveaway for any CD mama, but especially if you are working on building your stash for a newborn! Check out what the winner will receive:

1-Six Pack of Thirsties Fab Fitted Wipes
6-Jolly Bums Velour Wipes
6-Kissaluvs Knit Terry Wipes
1-Little Comet Tails Cloth Diaper Pattern (customer gets to choose!)

Wow!!! You can never have enough wipes with a newborn, and from experience, the Thirsties wipes are so luxurious! Hop on over and enter at The Cloth Diaper Whisperer! There are lots of ways!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pregnant and Desperate are never a good combination!

For the past month or so I have been feeling especially shabby in the hair department. You see, I am trying to grow my hair out enough so that I can at least (hopefully) pull it back into a pony tail for my birth in May, while at the same time it has needed to at least be styled so that it didn't look horrendous in the growing-out process! Plus, the editor of the new blog I am on the writing team for (5minutesforgoinggreen.com) requested that I send in a photo to go with my bio. Well, there was NO WAY I was going to send in a photo with what my hair was currently looking like ("a brown football helmet!" All you Steel Magnolia fans will know what I am referring to!).

So, this week I finally made an appointment with a new stylist that I had heard great things about and was all scheduled to head over there at noon today. Well, yesterday afternoon I received a phone call letting me know that due to very unfortunate circumstances, my stylist was having to cancel all her appointments and won't be back to work for quite some time. Now, my heart went out to her and what she is going through, but I quickly found myself to be pregnant, desperate for a hair cut and sobbing! I simply could not go one more day without getting this mess on my head fixed!

After a round of phone calls to other salons I realized that there was no way I was going to get an appointment within the next twenty-four hours, so I made the decision to head to the mall! Risky and bold, but I had no other choice! I was simply going to loose my mind and refuse to go out in public for quite a while if my hair was not cut immediately!

As fortune would have it (finally), my parents happened to be working last night in the shop they own in our downtown mall (Labor of Love Creations- you should check it out!), and they weren't very busy. So, I headed to the mall where I met my mom (my best friend and ultimate shopping buddy), who left my dad to man the store while we made our way to the couple of salons in the mall, spying through the windows to see if any of the stylists looked decent. We decided that one of them did, indeed look sane and experienced, so I made an appointment for 7:45.

With just about an hour to kill we thought we might as well head over to Nordstroms and have my make-up done as well. I mean, why not go for the full pampering as long as we had the time? And hey, I needed to take a picture for my bio anyway, right?! It was perfect- the make-up artist was actually good and knew what she was doing, she was using a mineral make-up line (which is of course of utter importance to me), and I was able to feel like a new woman when I walked away- well... almost anyway!

There was still the matter of the hair. As it turned out, our judgement was correct and the stylist really did know what she was doing! She didn't take off too much length, just like I asked, but did make me feel human again, for which I am oh, so grateful! And here are the results (and yes, my new bio-pic as well!):

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A little Creme Brule' Anyone?

Tot School

This week I have tried to keep TotSchool as hands-on and active as possible, since that typically seems to be how my energetic little man thrives the best!
Being that he is also a very musical kid we decided to bring out his musical instruments, pop on a kid's Bible songs CD and let him have at it! His favorite, this particular morning, happened to be his drum, which he beat so wildly that I am sure even the neighbors could hear the ruckus (but then again, that is probably nothing new for them)!
He did manage to sit (or stand, rather) at the table for a bit and do some coloring in his Bible stories coloring book. I was amazed when he found a picture of an old man in a robe and said "Mama! It's Moses!!" It was ACTUALLY a picture of Noah, but hey, I'll take it anyway! I was just so impressed that he even knew the name of the old testament character that I was beyond thirlled!

The last good 3/4 of the time he spent "coloring" was actually put towards connecting all of his markers end-to-end, but he was having fun and experimenting with color, so once again- I'll take it!

This morning we attempted to make Creme Brule' for a treat for dad when he gets home from work today. I say attempted because our oven has been on the fritz lately and in order for it to stay hot at all you have to set the temperature above 400, which doesn't tend to work too well when your recipe calls for 350! Up to the actual baking part, though, everything was going great! Roman helped me pour in all the ingredients...
and stir them up... and then use the strainer as a hat... and as though he was a Samurai warrior!
All in all, it has actually been a fairly good TotSchool week! Oh, and if your oven does happen to be working, here is our Creme Brule' recipe- it really is amazing when cooked correctly!

Creme Brule'
1 Pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract

Topping: 4 Tbsp sugar to 1 tspbrown sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Heat cream over low heat until bubbles form around the edge of the pan.
  3. Beat egg yoks and sugar together until thick and smooth, about 3 minutes.
  4. Gradually beat egg/sugar mixture into cream.
  5. Stir in Vanilla and pour through fine strainer into 6oz. custard cups.
  6. Place custard cups in baking pan and add enough water to pan to measure about 1/2".
  7. Bake until set, approximately 45 minutes.
  8. Remove cups from water & refridgerate until chilled.
  9. Sprinkle cups with2 tsp sugar blend each.
  10. Place under broiler until top is medium brown.
  11. Chill before serving
  12. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Save Handmade!

Save Handmade Toys

Do you know what's at stake? Check it out and take part in the plan to amend this legislation! Keep our favorite WAHMs in business!

Find more soon on 5minutesforgoingreen.com!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Today's Giveaways!

Alright- I will try to narrow it down to one post per day with whatever good contests I find (obviously I'm out to win stuff right now! Free is highly appealing these days!)!

Mom Blogs

Check out the eLume Crock Pot they are giving away over at 5 Minutes for Giveaways! Not only is it beautiful but it's touch screen makes it easy to set and you can program your cooking time so that your food doesn't get overdone but does stay warm! What more could you ask for? I know I have wanted such a crock pot for quite some time! Give the contest a whirl- and if you don't want it you can always give it to me!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I'm not going crazy but...

I just have to post about another giveaway! I know, I know... it seems to be all I've posted this week, but I promise there are more non-contest posts to come! You have to admit though, these have been some pretty good giveaways!

Today's giveaway that I absolutely love, is for your choice of apron by The Hip Hostess on the Apronista blog! These aprons are so beautiful- there is no way you could feel frumpy OR grumpy in the kitchen with one of these on! My favorite is the Sheath style apron in Chocolate Mint- awww, I'm in love!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Alright, another giveaway- but these are so cool!

Northwest Mom Finds

I found another great blog today called Northwest Mom Finds and she has a few really fun giveaways on her site! One of which I totally love from Plum Creek Mercantile! They have all sorts of reusable (and cute) bags, for everything from snacks to bulk foods! So- hop on over to both those sites and check them out! I just know you will love them both!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Come Fly With Me!

Alright, many of you saw my crazy list of goals from last year. Needless to say- I failed many of them! So, this year I have decided to simplify things a bit. My overlying goal this year is to get organized and establish routines so that I am in turn able to accomplish the other things I want to with my time. Simplicity and peace are the key words here!

In order to accomplish this I have decided to subscribe to a popular internet organization program that many of you may know and have probably also (like me) tried it for some length of time in the past. It is called FlyLady.net. The FlyLady helps you to learn to Fly with BabySteps instead of insurmountable goals that allow you to develop lasting routines and habits to make your home more organized and peaceful. As you start flying you begin to incoporate something called a Control Journal to keep you on task and your routines organized. She has a Zone cleaning system in place that allows you to focus on only heavily cleaning one room a week, and she lays out specific tasks for you to do each day (in manageable 15 minute intervals) so that you actually can get your home and life inorder. There is much more to learn from her sight, including Hot Spots and something called the 27-Flig-Boogie, but you will just have to head over there to see for yourself!

I have been adding steps to my routine each day for the last week and our home already feels so much more peaceful and put together! I love waking up every morning to a clean kitchen and knowing exactly what I have to do to keep my house ready for someone to show up at my door at anytime! I also love that it is okay for me to only take 15 minutes to organize something and whatever doesn't get done in that time can be saved for another day! It is freeing! So check it out ladies and join me as we Fly into the new year together!

Check out the Give Aways!

The Cloth Diaper Whisperer

Alright all you cloth diaper mamas out there (heck, even if you aren't a cloth diaper mama)- you have to check out this blog! It is called The Cloth Diaper Whisperer and it is hosted by Kelly of Kellyscloset.com, diapershops.com (and a few other diapering websites!). It is an adorable blog with lots of great info, best of all- they have a giveaway EVERY WEEK!! With lots of opportunities to enter it is worth a shot! I know I am absolutely hoping to score something for the babe on the way! Enjoy!