Monday, January 21, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Saturday - we were busy with a DIY project and ate cereal for dinner!  :)
Sunday - grilled hot dogs and baked tater tots
Monday - Breakfast Casserole and oranges (new recipe)
Tuesday - Spinach Lasagna Rolls, salad, and rolls (new recipe)
Wednesday - Fellowship Meal at Church
Thursday - Baked Cheddar Broccoli Cups (new recipe)
Friday - Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak (new recipe)

We have a really busy week, so some of the meals may change to sandwich!  But at least I'm prepared either way.

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

DIY Kitchen -- Curtains

Well, I am happy to report the sun is shining here again!   It was a very dreary week raining Monday - Thursday last week and then overnight on Thursday we got a light snowfall.   It is so nice to see the sun beaming through the windows!

Speaking of windows,  we are still trying to finish up the details of our kitchen.  Did I mention we started this project in July 2012?  :)   I hate to say Pinterest again, but so much of this project was inspired by pins.   Previously, we had no window treatments - just wood blinds.  I wanted to add something above the kitchen sink after finding this lovely fabric for a steal.

It's a Waverly print and I was fortunate to find it for $8.00 yard.  The background color is really close to our wall color - Sherwin Williams Tidewater.   Back to the window above the kitchen sink,  this window does not have wood blinds, but it looks directly onto our neighbor's carport.  Fortunately, we have great neighbors, but I wanted a little more privacy.  After pinning many options,  I decided to go with this one.  While it was posted as a no-sew project, my mom did end up sewing a pocket across the top for the rod.  (yes, people I can't sew - but it's on my "to learn" list).   Anyway,  I love, love, love how it turned out.
For the ribbon,  I simply looped it around and tied the bow!  Easy peasy!   The project was definitely under $16.00 because I had fabric leftover. Which made my wheels turn -- I was trying to think of ways to incorporate more of the fabric into the kitchen... and then - I thought more curtains :)   We have an eat-in kitchen, so the two large windows in the dining area have been left uncovered (with blinds of course but that's it) - I thought adding a window treatment would help set this area apart as a different "room" if you will.  I had looked for curtains to complement the fabric but they were outrageous - at least I thought so, remember this DIY was supposed to be on a dime  :)   Then, I found this idea on Pinterest.  Instead of painting stripes on the painter's cloth,  we took a strip of the floral fabric and then a strip of the ribbon to create the stripes.  I opted to put mine at the top (instead of the bottom as shown in the pin).  And, viola...
This was taken last night, so I apologize for the poor lighting - but I am in love!   Big thanks to my friend Sally for helping with this.  She did use the iron-on stitch witchery for the ribbon, but it didn't want to hold the fabric as well as it did the ribbon so she stitched it on for me. 

I forgot to mention - the rod.  I needed a rod that would extend to at least 94 inches - have your priced those lately?  Again - too expensive!  So, I headed back to Pinterest - surely I could find an idea.  I was not disappointed with this pin.  I headed to Home Depot with her list in hand and found everything I needed - the "rod" was electrical conduit.  I purchased a 10 foot piece for $2.00 (did you hear me TWO DOLLARS) and super-husband cut it down to size.  

I'm embarrassed to say the most expensive part of this project were the rings to hold the curtain.  I could not come up with a cheaper alternative or maybe I didn't search hard enough.  :)   I bought 4 packs of 10 and placed them every 4 inches on the curtains.  The drop-cloths are probably a little heavier than curtains and I wanted to make sure they were going to stay up.  I ended up using 3.5 packs and they were around $8.00 a pack I think. 

Overall, all the whole project was very reasonably priced! I'm still debating on whether or not I want to add a rug underneath the dining table.  It would add a little more color and again, help set this area apart from the rest of the kitchen.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rain, rain, rain

It's rained every day this week - I'm ready for a some sunshine!   However, tonight the forecast calls for snow.  Schools have already been cancelled tomorrow in anticipation of accumulation (that's how we do it in the South - haha).  

Meanwhile, I have a cake in the oven and hoping the weather doesn't put a damper on our Pinterest party tomorrow night.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Twist on a Favorite....

I know I've mentioned Pinterest more than once on this blog, but I can't get enough of the awesome website.  Some of my favorite pins are "new recipes" that I've stumbled across and pinned.  I'm not going to lie I do wonder how many pins people actually try.  In an effort to make sure I do attempt some of the pins, I created a "pins I've completed" board.

Tonight's menu was tacos.  While at lunch today, I briefly remembered pinning a baked taco recipe.  I pulled it up and realized I had all the ingredients needed, so I thought - why not.

Oh my word....
The recipe did NOT disappoint.  It was a definite 5 out of 5 stars.  I used the recipe from this blog .  My only modification was baking for 5 minutes.  I'm not saying it couldn't go longer - but my cheese was melted and I didn't want to overcook the shells.  I used taco seasoning I had on hand too - we usually use Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime as our "taco seasoning".   This would be a great family friendly Valentine's Day meal.  :)

Have you tried any new recipes lately?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Super-husband accompanied me to the grocery store this week.  Yeah,  I knew it was coming.  My menu-plan changed completely and over-budget for the week!  :)

Saturday - Nephew's Birthday party - pizza
Sunday - Lime Cilantro Steak, Salad, Baked Potato
Monday - Spaghetti
Tuesday - Pork Chops, Brown Rice, Green Beans
Wednesday -Tacos / Taco Salad
Thursday - Salmon Patties, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet peas
Friday - Chicken Tortilla Soup

I may change out one of these days for a grilling option depending on our weather.  :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Catching up...

Nothing much to say... the past week was busy I was semi-productive in the evenings, but didn't get nearly as much accomplished as I had hoped.  It was the first full week back at work / school, so I think it seemed like it was 10 days in the week instead of 7.

Our weekend has proven to be equally as busy.  The weather has been unseasonably warm - helllooo 70 and flip flops today!

Hope you've had a busy and productive weekend!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

I know it's Monday, but I'm going to start with the weekend and roll into the week.  :)

Saturday - Homemade Pizza
Sunday - Grilled Buffalo Wings and Celery
Monday - Greek Chicken and Salad*
Tuesday - Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos*
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Vegetable Soup*
Friday - Lime Cilantro Steak, corn on the cob, potatoes*

From 5 Dinners in 1 Hour, free sample of the clean-eating menu.
What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Getting Organized...

A New Year, a new resolve to try harder to stay on top of things and keep the 10 balls juggling in the air.  :)    Last year wasn't perfect - but I feel like I was able to stay on top of things better than previous years.  Super-husband and I had the discussion the other day - it seems like the busier I am - the more on top of things I am - how crazy is that?!   I certainly don't want to invite more "busy-ness" into my life, so for now I'll try to take advantage of some resources that have helped me.  (Note:  I'm not paid or compensated in anyway to say what I am about these services/products - but I thought I would share them with you)  :)

Erin Condren planner:   First off,  I will say that I do think these are on the expensive side.   For months, I read all the hype in blog land about how great they were;  how beautiful they were; and then around  March of last year I found a discount code and decided to go for it.  I'm not sure if I used it because it was the most expensive calendar I had ever bought in my life & I didn't want the money to go to waste or because it really worked for me.  

I like that each day is divided into Morning, Day, Evening -- 3 blanks boxes to fill as you wish - I like to put my "to-do's" for the day in those boxes.  Additionally, on the side of the week lay-out, there is list for "to-do's" -- here I put my list of "would like to get done" -- it helps keep items on my "radar" and if I get to them great.  It's a little on the larger size compared to another planners - but they have some really cool design and personalization options to make up for that.  :)   I didn't order one for 2013 but I put it on my Christmas "wish-list" and was happy to unwrap it from my brother.

Meal Planning:   I did meal-planning off and on during last year.  I subscribed to 5 Dinners in 1 Hour.  It was a great way to get a list of meals that weren't in my regular rotation.  She includes a shopping list and directions to make the meals ahead of time.  This was a huge time-saver when I was taking night classes.   She offers three different types of menus:  classic, clean-eating, and gluten free.  Not sure if it is for you or not,  you can view a free week on her website.    Not only does this help with meal-planning, but I found it helped with grocery spending too.    

In addition, I came up with a list of around 32 tried and true meals for us.   In October,  I tried to meal-plan the entire month & do one big grocery shop.  The one thing I didn't account for was how many meals would leave us leftovers, so on a good note - we didn't even go through all the meals I had planned.   Pinterest was another source of inspiration.  I had a new recipes board of eats that sounded yummy & delicious, but I found inspiration for meal planning too and created a meal planning board.

Household cleaning:  Once again, PINTEREST helped me find a system that worked for me.  I don't use it every week or follow it religiously.  It's a very reasonable plan and time efficient too.
Not sure who to give credit too - the link on Pinterest is a dead link.
Also, I try to email my pals (A&S) a list of to-do's that I would like to get accomplished each evening.  Sometimes, this proves to be very productive for me and other times I'm flat out lazy - either way, I have to report back to them the next morning.  Accountability!   If you are looking to organize your home, I recommend A Bowl Full of Lemons organization challenge.  

These are just a couple of things that help keep me on-track.  I can honestly say when I try to follow the cleaning plan or meal planning plan,  I am less-stressed and more balanced.  Do you have any tips for staying organized? 

Friday, January 4, 2013

An Interesting Twist...

A New Year often brings the resolve to do better - whether it be with finance, health, emotional well-being, spirituality.  The possibilities are endless.  If I had to guess, I said the most popular are getting out of debt/reducing debt and losing weight.  Yesterday, I shared a tid-bit about saving money this year, so today I thought I would talk about losing weight.

Earlier this year,  I learned about Healthy Wage.  It was being promoted through our wellness department at work.  Essentially, you create a team of 5 individuals committed to losing weight.  You pay out money and compete against other teams over the course of several weeks.  The team with the highest percentage of weight loss wins a hefty cash prize split among the team.  You're literally competing against thousands of other people.  There are other details and competitions too - you can check the website for more details.

Today, I heard about Diet Bet.  It's a similar concept - the focus is losing weight.  Teams are not limited to 5 people.  The team organizer specifies the "bet" amount ($10 and up).   Unlike Healthy Wage,  winners are not limited to five member teams.  Essentially,  as the team grows the money pot does too.  Team members losing 4% of the starting weight will split the pot.  Obviously, the larger the team - the larger the bet - the larger the possible rewards.  Diet Bet runs for 4 week periods of time - Healthy Wage runs for around 12 weeks (maybe a little longer - again, please refer to websites for specifics).

Anyway, I've been thinking about the two a lot today and I'm considering joining a Diet Bet team or creating a team.  I'm always up for extra motivation for a healthier lifestyle.  What do you think about the new angle on "dieting" (I prefer "healthy lifestyle").

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Dollar Saved is a A Dollar Earned

Money, money, money, mo-n-ey!
I saw this idea on Facebook and it didn't link to a website, so I don't know who to give credit.  I like this idea.  One person commented they would do it backwards - starting at $52.00 and decreasing by a $1.00 each week, so they were putting less in toward the end of the year.  Either way, it's worth trying - don't you think?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fashion on a Budget

I suppose I should start this post by stating I am not in anyway a fashionista, stylist, or fashion expert.  However, I do love to shop and pulling outfits together.  GW Boutique (aka Goodwill),  yard sales, and local consignment shops are some of my favorite places to shop. 

Sadly, it hasn't always been that way - I thought I had to pay full price for too long and in hindsight probably wasted alot of money.  I'm certainly not saying these are the only places I shop and that I never pay regular price, but if I can avoid it I do.  On the other hand - if I have a brand & style that fits me well,  I'll usually buy it.

Today, I thought I would share an outfit I pulled together over the holidays.
Talbots Sweater in fun, funky colors (yard sale find) - 50 cents  / paired with a white camisole I already had.
Chicos Platinum jeans (consignment shop find) - $5.00  - I love these.  They were still new with tags and on the 75% off rack.  I think they are sized wrong b/c it is smaller than  I usually wear.

Not bad for $5.50 huh?

(sorry for the bad picture - I'm not great at self

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Valentine Wreath -- Cupcake Style

I'm still trying to figure out the direction of the blog, so for now things may seem "out of order".  :)

Yesterday,  I was feeling crafty.  I searched Pinterest for some inspiration.  If you aren't on Pinterest, you have no idea what you are missing.  It can be a time-suck - but I've also found lots of tips, inspiration, and motivation from the site too.  I came across this awesome cupcake wreath tutorial.

Items needed:  cupcake wrappers;  wreath form;  straight pins

You simply take the cupcake liners & fold, twist, scrunch (whatever suits your fancy) and pin into the wreath form.   And then you have this ---

I plan on adding a few more for fullness.   This was a relatively inexpensive project.  I found the cupcake liners in the Christmas clearance at Michaels for 79 cents for a pack of 75 and I didn't use the entire pack.  The wreath form was 6.99 minus a 40% off coupon.   Other than the colors (red/white) - the print is not really "Christmas-y", so make sure you think outside the box when looking for after Christmas deals!

Linking up to a Bowl Full of Lemons!