Saturday, January 30, 2010

12FOR2010: January Wrap-Up

This is a pretty scary sight, but I'm posting it for a reason. To show you how crusty I've looked all month. Except for a three day long break, I've been sick since before Christmas. Just can't seem to get over these colds when I'm also making a baby.
So January kinda slipped away in between my naps. I'm in the middle of a few projects to finish up my January goal, but mostly, it wasn't completed as I would have liked. I am trusting that God knows best and that's why he wanted me to rest this month instead of getting things done. It's been tough, but I know it was from Him so I'm okay.
To wrap-up January, I'll look back at what I did/didn't accomplish:
1) As far as meal planning and a grocery list, found a solution that combines both of these. It's been three weeks now and I'm still loving this list. YAY!
2) I've found some healthier meal options this month, but I never blogged about them. I do plan on putting up some more recipes in the near future and some of those are healthy ones I've found. Stay tuned.
3) I've determined that coupon clipping is sorta worth my time. It's hard for me to plan all my meals around what's on sale, but I will be clipping from the local paper and the BJ's newsletter when and where they help with my meal plan. Perhaps I'll reexamine this approach at some point...
4) And speaking of BJ's, I love BJ's. I love that you can use coupons there (you can't at Costco). And I love that they have some smaller sized things, like half-gallons of milk and only three hearts of romaine. And I've decided that there are definitely some things that are worth buying in bulk. We have kept our membership there and will continue to use it.
4) I've decided that for now, it's best to not make all our own bread. I did get a bread machine making cookbook from the library this month and tried a few recipes but I've yet to find something that really works for sandwich bread. Plus our local supermarket carries great bread for not that much money. So for now, I'll make the few bread recipes that we like (a good honey wheat, a good herb bread, and a good pizza crust) and we'll buy the rest.
5) I found some local farmers markets (here, here, and here) that are open on days besides Sunday. YAY! Unfortunately, they won't be open until May. BOO! But I'll let you know how shopping goes then!
6) Finally, organization. I've halfway organized the pantry. I haven't started on the fridge. But I will finish both of these projects and post the pictures soon.

And that's how January wrapped up for me! I'll post February's goal on Tuesday!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

RECIPE: Morning Mix

As part of January's focus on food, I've been meaning to post a few recipes. This one is for Morning Mix. My friend Carrie's mom made the original recipe and I adapted it to what you see below. It is a very hearty breakfast cereal - full of fiber to get you going if you know what I mean.
Morning Mix:
6 cups Oats
2 cups Grape Nuts
1 cup Cranberries
1 cup Raisins
1/2 cup Toasted Slivered Almonds (I didn't have any when I made the batch above, but it still tastes great)
1/4 cup Flaxseed

Just mix the ingredients together and store in an airtight container (like this old gingerbread cookie tin!). Add milk and a spoon for a yummy healthy breakfast!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

12FOR2010: Pantry Part One

I can't believe I'm actually posting these pictures.
Isn't our pantry a total mess?!In an effort to clean it out, I am making meals that use items from our pantry. Once I've cut down on some of the excess food, then I'll organize things better and take more pictures. This is all a part of helping our family to make better food decisions.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

12FOR2010: Grocery List

Everyone knows not to go to the grocery store hungry. You will buy things you don't really need because you want to eat. Likewise, it's very risky to go to the store without a list. So I always write a list. But I've always wanted custom list.
I tried to come up with my own list like the one above (from -- LOVE her!) but I am no graphic artist and mine was ugly. And, in thinking it through, I realized our menu changes too often for this type of list to be really helpful/time-saving. So I was back at square one.
Then on designspongeonline there was this fantastic post all about Kate's fantastic Grocery List. This puppy is genius! It is going to be SO perfect for me. I have been planning meals on one sheet and writing up a grocery list on another. But Kate's list combines the two.
You write your meals on the top of the page. Then, in the middle section, you write what items you will need for that meal. Finally, there is a bottom section to put additional items/staples that you need to restock. Honestly, I never thought I could get so excited about a grocery list. But I am! I've downloaded the list and filled it out for the rest of this week.
A final note, based on advice from my sister Sarah, I'm going to try planning just one week of meals at time. Our schedule is relaxed and often things change last minute so I don't want to waste a bunch of food by buying too much at one time. It might be inefficient for others to go to the store once a week but I think that might be just right for our household. And we can walk to our grocery store so I can get groceries pretty easily. If only I wasn't so lazy...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

12FOR2010: January's Goal

Proverbs 31: 14 She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings food from afar.
Like I said in my previous post, in doing 12FOR2010, January's Goal will be based on Proverbs 31:14 (above) and is all about food. More specifically, I plan to make some changes around here that will change what we eat and the way we eat it.
While I like to cook, my meal planning has been sporadic. Since Rock was born I have tried to do the two-weeks-worth-of-menus planning thing but I've never had a really good system so it's never really worked. So I will research some good meal-planning methods.
Because of my lack of planning and because of fatigue with this pregnancy (and lately because I've had a wretched cold/bronchitis/sinus infection that just won't quit) we've developed some pretty bad eating habits. Shin (our nickname for baby #2) has been very interested in eating Taco Bell and Doritos and I've been indulging her. This has got to stop. Thus, I'll be looking at healthier meal options during this month.
I'll also be looking at how to save money while eating well. Is coupon clipping really helpful/worth my time and energy? Does it really pay to buy in bulk? Should I start making ALL of the bread we eat (right now I make some of it)? Is there a local farmers market that's open on a day besides Sunday? What should our food budget be?
Finally, organization. The space in our fridge is not being maximized. It's even worse in the pantry. We aren't eating what's in there 'cause we don't know what's in there. I'm going to clean out and organize both of these spaces.
I'm sure I'll come up with some other ways to work on this goal, but that's the vision for right now... And I'm off to take inventory of the pantry!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


How COOL are these suckers?! Made by Modern-Twist, these pillows are secretly storage containers!
Twist them up to look neat and tidy. Open them up to store a few items. Perhaps your pajamas? Your diary? Your passport? Anyway, just thought I'd share how clever these things are! And mention that my birthday is coming up soon... and that I like the red lemon twist pattern the best.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Twelve Resolutions for Twenty-Ten (12 for 2010)

WARNING! AGAIN, THIS IS A LONG WORDY POST! I have a feeling they are going to be this way in 2010. Sorry! I'll try and break things up with pictures!
Anyway, have you ever read Proverbs 31? Allow me to quote:
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
"Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all."
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
I know that there is debate on this passage. Is the writer describing a real woman or personifying wisdom or just describing a wise woman/person or describing what a man should look for in a woman? I'm not here to debate any of that. But I recently read this passage and thought of how little it describes selfish me.I would love to become more like the woman in this passage. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You can stop laughing now. I know I'll never be this diligent/motivated. But there is a desire somewhere deep down in side of me to 'work with willing hands' in devotion to my husband, children and household. As I said in my last post, I feel that it's time to get my priorities straight and serve others.
And again, the reason why I want to serve others is to bring glory to the Lord. I know that He has given me the roles of wife, mother and household manager and I want to do them to the best of my ability in gratitude for this great life He has given me.
Thus, my New Years Resolution for 2010... I have decided to meditate on this passage and apply it (in an broad/allegorical way) to my life. Instead of breaking down my goal into 25 chunks (as I've done for the past 5 years or so), I will be breaking it down into 12 goals for the 12 months of the year. Each month will have a theme verse from this passage and a handful of specific ways I plan to live out this goal.
For example, January's theme verse is Proverbs 31: 14 She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings food from afar. Thus, this month will be devoted to using food wisely to provide for our family... exploring the world of coupon clipping, organizing the pantry, meal planning, etc.
Now that doesn't mean that at the end of January I'm going to stop making meals for my family and move on to something different. Hopefully by taking a month to focus on a specific goal and set up habits in that area of my life, I will be able to keep it up and proceed to a new area.
Oh man, doesn't it sound exhausting? I think I might have bitten off more than I can chew. But I'm excited to at least spend time thinking about something besides myself and with the Lords help I hope to make some changes. Thanks again for your prayers and support. Check back soon for a more flushed out description of January's goal.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Reflecting on 2009

Looking back at 2009, I have to admit that I am glad that I completed my New Years Resolution (NYR). I was devastated in 2006 when I didn't finish my "Watch Every Movie That's Won the Academy Award for Best Picture" NYR on time. So I look back at all the things I made/fixed this past year (many of which are featured in this post to break up all the words!) and I am pleased with this accomplishment. But as the year was drawing to a close, I began to think about the impact this particular goal has had on me...
I have always struggled with materialism. I can remember being 10 years old and standing in the Disney Store thinking how awesome my room would be if my mom would just let me redecorate it and buy EACH AND EVERY DISNEY CHARACTER in stuffed animal form. I can covet like no one's business.
However, because of my relationship with Jesus Christ, I also know that, like Transformers, there is more to life than meets the eye. And the most important things in life are not made of plastic or wood or cashmere or silk. I know that this world is not my eternal home, but it is a continual distraction for me.
In doing 2009's NYR of Design Fixes I have become more and more focused on the material things in my life. Instead of delighting in all the home improvements I've achieved, my list of things to 'fix' has continued to grow and grow. Seriously, I have a list of over 25 things that I could start in on for 2010! Yikes! My home (and improving it's decor) has become an obsession for me. As I said, this has always been the case, but over the past year, it's gotten much worse.
In 2009, there were many nights where we had to choose between Mac n' Cheese, Taco Bell or eating a real meal at 9:30 pm. I just got so absorbed in working on a project that I didn't stop to make dinner. There were many times when I longed for a nanny or for my parents to take my child off my hands because he was such a nuisance while I was trying to sew. And cleaning? My least favorite activity in the world?! There was no way I could possibly get that done while I was focused on making a dress for a design contest!
Yes, it is true that some of my NYRs really did improve our lives... Fix and I have commented again and again on how awesome it was to remodel the laundry room and how much space that freed up in other closets.
And it's true that our living room is much more cozy now that the couch is not suspended between two different styles while I took FOREVER to recover it! But for the most part, my projects have been fueled by my selfish desire to bring praise to myself by having everyone see just how awesomely I can decorate. My focus has been on myself and my projects.
I can honestly say that I have neglected my God-given roles of wife and mother and home manager over the past year. This has been to the detriment of our whole family and it has made any accomplishments I've had feel very unfulfilling to me.
I see specific ways that both my son and my husband have suffered because I have focused on myself instead of them. Lord-willing, in March of 2010 we will add a new baby girl to our family. That would make it three people I would have to shove out of the way in order to have continual "me time." And while I'd love to check a few more projects off my list, I can't imagine continuing to be so neglectful of my family. My priorities have got to change.
So, my New Years Resolution this year will be to devote myself to my God-given roles of wife, mother and home manager. It sounds rather lofty doesn't it? And you are probably wondering how exactly would one start to quantify such a goal? But come on now! You know me! I can't just plunge willy-nilly into a new year without a tangible way to complete my resolution. Thus, I have come up with a specific plan for how to execute this goal and I will outline that in a post tomorrow.
For now you can know that this year, instead of focusing my creativity on my own desires, I plan to focus my creativity on serving others. Yuck. Service just not "me." But as I've thought about it and prayed about it, I know that it is a word that I need to embrace. It is an attribute that God longs for me to display and I long to glorify Him by putting others needs first. So come back and track my progress with me if you are interested! In the meantime, please pray for me and my family. I know this NYR is not going to be the easiest, but again, I'm excited about it and ready for 2010!!!
p.s. Also, if you know me, you know that while I work on my new goal, I will continue with my creative attempts so keep checking back for posts on that too!