Thursday, September 30, 2010

Artsy-Crafty Thursday

Thursday posts will now be about what I am working on as far as my art and my slowly-but-surely growing business is concerned.

The easiest thing for me to do, to catch you up, is to refer you to my other blog that is dedicated to my fabric portraits and nothing else. So, I will! Go here and you can see all of my creations since May.

More recently, I just had a show in Charlotte, MI last weekend. It turned out to be a very good show for me. I got lots of great feed-back, some new ideas and I met some wonderful people. All in all, it was a good experience for me and affirmed that I am on the right path.

Currently, I am filling a good-sized order for a customer and I have begun work on my Christmas creations. So, as I get further into Christmas, I'll start showing you my works in progress.

Check out my other blog and keep an eye on the side-bar which I will up date with any projects in-the-works. And from here on out, I'll try to focus on something different that I'm working on each Thursday.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thoughts and Things Tuesday

Tuesday's post are going to be about something I do or like or found or think that I want to share with you. Today's "Thing" will be menu planning.

Ooohh, exciting.

I know. But here's the thing. I'm a busy, stay-at-home mom, trying to build a business. Anything that will help me stay organized, save me money, save me time, insure that my family gets fed- well, I'm gonna jump on that!

A few months ago I found this blog through this blog. If you have the time and/or inclination check them out. Both are informative and offer great ideas. What attracted me most was the thought of being able to reduce my grocery budget. As I researched it, it seemed like it would take me more time but I decided to give it a try. If it didn't work for me I'd move on. Well, as you can guess, I love it. We are saving money/spending less and I am saving time.

So, here are my thoughts on menu planning:

1. Make a menu plan for a month at a time. I know that seems like a lot and it even seems like a waste of time. Trust me- it helps! Take a blank calendar page and fill in the meal (I just do dinner) for every day. After getting it figured out, it only takes me an hour to do the plan.

2. Make a list of recipes. I had separate pages for one-dish meals, main dishes and sides. Put everything down that your family eats, even if it is as simple as corn or pork chops or dinner rolls. When I do my meal plan I have my recipe list beside me. I t helps me to not have to think about it too hard :) and it helps me to insure variety in our meals.

3. Think pattern. I have a pattern that I stick to to help me fill in the planks on my calendar a little faster. For example, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, my husband works and doesn't eat with us. So, on Tuesday, I have something kid-friendly and on Thursday, I have leftovers. On Saturday nights, I choose a breakfast (pancakes and bacon) for the main meal. On Mondays, I choose a 1-dish meal. Etc.

4. Don't forget your family calendar. I sit down with my family calendar and fill in appointments, holidays, birthdays, etc. on my meal plan calendar so that I know if I need to fill in a special meal or if we won't even be home for dinner.

5. Think weekly and be specific. After you have your month figured out in general, you can get more specific with each week as it approaches. As in, what kind of vegetable, do you want bread, how will you cook the chicken...

6. Make your grocery list from your plan. I do it one week at a time. I look at my plan and check off all of the food that we have in the house. Then, whatever is left, I add to the grocery list. I try to be focused and organized (and fed) when I go to the grocery store. If not, look out checking account!

There you go! I know it seems like a lot but once you get started, each successive time gets easier and quicker. And, the bonus is... except for one hour a month, I don't have to think about "what's for dinner"! Yippee!!!

Give it a try. I started out doing it a week at a time. Then I spent one afternoon combing through cook books and recipe boxes. I keep everything in one binder that I refer to often. It has been a big help to me- not to mention the money we've been saving.

Let me know what you think, check out the blogs and comment with your money/time saving ideas in the "what's for dinner" department.

Monday, September 27, 2010

It's Momma Monday!

So, we'll keep this first post simple and I'll give you an update on home and family.

Asher. The most exciting part of my summer was Asher getting potty-trained! Amen!! After the way we started (My getting a horrible, anti-potty training flu) I was worried that I had missed the boat. Alas, I was wrong. It took almost two weeks of cold-turkey, potty training but that was it. Done! Again, Amen!!

Asher has also developed his collection of words. For the most part, I understand him. Every once in a while, I don't. Then he gets angry. Very angry. Never fear. A couple of hours later it usually dawns on meet just what he was trying to say. Asher is more than willing to pick up the conversation then. He sure does love to talk! Well, not just talk but have a conversation. Which means I have to pay attention. And, heaven forbid I misunderstand something. So angry...

Nathanael. He made it through the summer in pieces. What I mean by that is, he lost a whole bunch of teeth... all at once. He looks like a veteran ice hockey player. Sometimes, when he is talking to me, I find myself staring at his empty mouth, thinking, "how does he eat?". And, he has developed the cutest lisp. I've stopped giggling out loud now but it is still quite cute!

Nathanael is now in second grade and he has a male teacher. I was happy to find that out. However, his teacher is about 15. He is the first teacher that isn't older than me. That (and the fact that my hairdresser is only 20) bothers me more than turning forty in a week.

Garden. My bountiful garden is finally slowing down. I still get an absurd amount of tomatoes and I'm still getting lots of broccoli. It did good, though. I learned a lot and I find that I am looking forward to planning next years garden.

Chickens. Sadly, we had one chicken die. We don't know why, she just died. This happened just before they started to lay eggs. Then, we had two chickens stolen. By people. Bad people. Now, all is well. They are giving us beautiful, yummy, brown eggs. I've only gotten locked in the coop once. (My 2 1/2 year old super hero saved the day by finally getting his 7 year old super hero brother to understand what "Mama stuck" meant.) Dave got stuck in there yesterday- my parents saved him from a certain and unpleasant pecking. (The ladies like me better.)

That's it in a small nutshell. I've been busy with my art work but more on that on Thursday! I'm off to make my meal menu for October. I'll see you tomorrow (I'll be filling you in on the whole meal menu thing.) Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Here's the plan...

I need structure and routine in my life. I function better, plain and simple. So, I'm going to try structuring my week as far as my blog is concerned. Hopefully I can be more faithful about posting. Someday I want to be able to look back on this, show my kids, show their kids... That's the plan.

Here are the specifics:

Mondays will be known as "Momma Monday"- these posts will be about home and family, my job as Momma.

Tuesdays will become "Thoughts and Things Tuesday"- a chance for me to share something new with you; something new to me or something I think or do or found that is new to you.

Wednesdays are post-free.

Thursdays will be known as "Artsy-Crafty Thursday"- this post will be for my art; a chance to update you on anything related to what I am working on.

Fridays are "Five for Friday"- simply put, a list of five...anything!

Saturdays will become "Summary Saturday"- I will post a review of something or someone on this day.

Sundays are post-free.

So, that's what I've come up with. I'm going to officially begin on Monday as I have a show this weekend. In the meantime, have a great week and I'll see you Monday!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Something new this way comes...

In other words, I have felt the need to give my blog a 'once-over' , if you will. I need to give it (therefore, me) more structure, more routine. That way, I hope to stick with it better. Be patient with me while I shake things up. Thanks!
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