Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2 Week Meal Plan, My New Years Resolution!

You know the feeling, it is five o'clock, the kids are beginning to ask 'What's for Dinner Mom?'  You think to yourself good question... You realize you have nothing you WANT to eat in the house, so you wind up eating Spaghetti for the second time that week, or you order out.. (If you live in a place that has order out, I don't have many options where I live).

Um yeah, this has been happening way too much at my house lately.  The thing is I LOVE to cook, I really do, but I do not love being in a bind at 5 o'clock at night wondering what creation I can come up with... This by the way is the time my kids are the crankiest!  It makes meal time NO FUN for anyone!  So my new years resolution this year is to have a two week meal plan... My resolution last year coincidentally was to have a one month Meal plan... it did not happen, not even once.... WHY?

I think it is because I like to COMPLICATE just about everything!  I see the wonderful, amazing, meal plan binders, large color coded calenders, darling menu boards, and I think I need to do that.  But the reality is, I am not that organized, it is just not me.  I need to keep it very simple in order for it to stick.  So after a year of thinking about meal planning this is what I have come up with.

I created a simple layout in Word.  A table with days of the week on one side, and what we will have for dinner on the other side.  I include the meal name and where to find it, if it is in a cookbook, I put the page number, or if it is on Allrecipes, etc..  OBB stands for Our Best Bites by the way, I got their cookbook for Christmas (SCORE, LOVE IT).  Here is what I am eating for the next two weeks, want to come over?

Weekly Meal Planner
January 30-February5
Beef Barley Soup (Beef soup bone, beans, green beans, tomatoes, red potatoes, celery, beef broth, barley)
Guiltless Alfredo Sauce, with turkey/broccoli OBB p. 158
Shredded beef enchiladas
Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers, OBB  p. 113

February 6-February 12
Creamy Corn Chowder, OBB p. 97
Spaghetti Sauce
Orange Chicken with Snow Peas  OBB p. 118
Steak and Potatoes
Left-overs, Date Night
Cobb Salad

I am a PBS nerd, and totally love the show The Food Nanny.  If you have not seen the show before, The Food Nanny assigns each day of the week a different theme. This helps you come up with what to eat.  These are my themes:
       Soup or Salad Monday,  Keep it simple!
        Stock Up Tuesday, I make five freezer meals each month with my SIL, I try to stock up on 
                              Tuesday. I make a meal we can eat that night, and freeze two for the future.
        Freezer Wednesday, Wed is my busy day, so we use a freezer meal.
       Out of the Country Thursday; I love food from other countries, Mexican is probably my
         Flexible Friday, If we go out to eat it is usually on the weekend, so I try to stay flexible, so on
                                          Fridays we can have left overs or a freezer meal, if we are home.
         What’s New Saturday, I love trying new recipes so I decided to designate a day to try 
                                                 something new.
          Salad or Dessert Sunday; We usually eat at my Mother In Law's on Sunday and every 
                            week she tells me I can bring a salad or dessert.

I really like this method because it is pretty flexible.  I have been doing this for about a month, and I have found some weeks, I do not use all of the meals, so I just roll it over to the next week.
I also created a simple grocery list to go along with it.  I look at the recipes to see what items I do not  have on hand.  I organized the grocery list food categories to correspond to the layout of the grocery store I usually go to.  This really works great.  I print it out and pencil some additional things I need.

I have been trying this for about a month now, and I LOVE IT!  As a family we are eating healthier, and dinner is a lot less stressful!  This has worked well for us, it is really simple, it takes a little time to make the schedule, but definitely worth it in the end!  I tape the menu into the inside of one of my cupboards.. does not get much simpler than that!

How do you meal plan?

I now have a shameless plug... My little brother's band White Hot is trying to be Utah's Best Garage Band, would you mind giving his song FIVE STARS on Facebook?

I like to link at these parties!
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weekend Show Off Party 1/27/12

Welcome to the Weekend!
Ladybird Ln
I have an amazing giveaway, from a really neat company you will not want to miss it! 
Enter to a win a $50  N O V I C gift card HERE!

I am excited to have Jamie from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom with us this week!  She has some pretty fun projects, and great tutorials!  I want to try to make my girls a ruffled skirt from her tutorial!

Hi Everyone!  I am thrilled to be featured as blog of the week here at Ladybird LN!  Thank you so much Carlee!  Here is a little bit about me...

My name is Jamie and I have a blog called Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom.  I am a stay at home mom of 2 (5 year old girl and 6 year old boy.)  I love all things crafty; cooking, sewing, diy projects and kids crafts.  When not focused on my children or husband, I can be found either in my craft room sewing and crafting up a storm or in the kitchen attempting to create simple, healthy, budget friendly meals.  I hope some of what I do can help inspire others to sew, cook and create!

Here are a few of my most popular projects:

No-Sew Pillow Tutorial
Tiered Dress Tutorial
Tiered Dress Tutorial
Knit Ruffle Skirt Tutorial
Knit Ruffle Skirt Tutorial
Upcycled Patchwork Shorts
Upcycled Patchwork Shorts
Lined Curtain Panel Tutorial
Lined Curtain Panel Tutorial
If you want to see more projects like these, plus a ton of yummy recipes, come visit me at  Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom!  Hope to see you soon...

Thanks, Jamie.  Be sure to check out her blog!  I am so excited to see what you have been up to!

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EASY Valentines day treat hangers!

I am recycling this post from last year, I think these are so cute and fun, I wanted to share them again!  I am also going to make a couple more this year for some friends!

Yup, you read it right, this post is for an EASY valentines day treat bag... It may look complicated, but it really is very easy and FUN! I went to a 'Finish your Projects' ladies night at the local fabric store, and they taught us how to make these beauties, and I just had to share!

Isn't it so cute? Here is what you need, this is a great project to use up some of those fabric scraps you have lying around!

Items Needed:
1- 16" by 2" rectangle, for strap
1- 5" by 5" square, for picot
2- 10" by 10" squares cut into half-square triangles, for cone

Step 1: Make Strap

a) Press (Iron) the 16" by 2" piece of fabric in half lengthwise, to make a seam.
b) Open up fabric, and fold one edge of the fabric into the seam you created in the first step and press.
c) Fold the other edge of the fabric into the seam, and press.
d) Fold the fabric down the seam you made in the first step with folded edges together.
e) Sew down the sides of the straps about 1/8" in, I used my stitch in the ditch edge foot on my sewing machine because I am lucky enough to have one!
f) This is what your finished strap should look like.

Step 2: Make Picot

Don't you love the word picot, it is so fancy! And I better talk it up because it took me FOREVER, to figure out how to spell it! It might be a fancy word, but they are super easy to make.
a) Take your 5" x 5" square and fold it in half to make a triangle.
b) Picture of square folded in half once.
c) Fold the triangle one more time to make another triangle. All of the raw edges of your fabric should be on one side of the triangle.

Step 3: Put it all together!

a) Line up the center of the long side of one of the half square triangles, to the center of the long side of the picot.
b) Place straps on both sides of the picot. Baste the picot, and the strap onto your half-square triangle with your sewing machine, so you know they will stay put.
c) Place the other half-square triangle on top of the triangle you just basted the picot and strap to. Sew together at the long edge.
d) Your carrier should now look like a square.
e) Fold square together with right sides touching to form a triangle. (see pic)
f) Pin edges, and sew raw edges together leaving a 1 1/2" opening on the fabric you would like to be the inner material of the carrier.
g) Picture of edges sewn together, leaving a small opening in which to turn your fabric. Trim the points of the triangle, to make it easier to turn right-side out.
h) Turn fabric right-side out.
i) Press. Wow, your almost done!
j) Add bling to your picot. I made a heart out of left over material, and used heat and bond to place the heart on the picot. I put a decorative edge around my heart, and hot-glued a bow on to the heart. You can be creative as you want on this part, some of the ladies at the class I went to made yo-yo's which looked adorable as well!

Now all you have to do is fill with some of your favorite treats, and you are finished! What a great fast, fun, and easy project.. I made a few of these to give to the friends I visit teach, and I am also planning on making a couple more for Valentines gifts for my parents and in-laws. Just another way to share the love!

I like to link to these great parties, come join the fun!
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Blog Critique, and some changes...

I participated in a blog critique over at Truly Lovely!  It was fun, and I got some constructive feedback that will help me make some changes!  I also got to critique some really cool blogs that I have not been as familiar with... go check out,
                 Makeup Wished and Lip Gloss Dreams
                 Sweets and Shutterclicks
                 Life in the Thrifty Lane  (This blog is most like my style, I love it!)
  I know this post is kind of all about me, but maybe some of the suggestions I received can help you with your own blog!

Watermarking: I need to have a watermark on my pictures.  I think as fun websites as Pinterest emerge it is becoming more and more important to tag your work.  Often times on sites such as Pinterest people see only a picture from your blog, and it would be nice if they knew where the picture came from.  I am not dogging Pinterest, I love it, but that is the nature of it!

Design:  So I can honestly say I have been designing this blog as I have gone along.  And I still have some work to do... Such as buttons on my toolbar instead of the easy pages.  I also found out my about me page the print is super small... oops, sorry I never look at that!  I was also politely told, my blog header stinks, and I need my tag line to describe more of my blog... So I will be making some changes.  I have been a bit discouraged though because my external hard drive with EVERYTHING graphic design related quick working... So my header may look different--eventually.

Content:  This is something I have been struggling with a lot. One of my critiquers suggested that for the last while there haven't been enough original posts, and too much Weekend Show off party.  And I know this is the case so I am going to make some changes.

  As my blog has gotten bigger, it is so hard for me to keep up on everything.  I have tons of pictures from projects I have done... just not blogged about yet.  Something needs to give, I am spending too much time answering emails, guest posting, etc, etc. Which I love to do, but I need to spend more time with my family, doing projects I really want to do.  I definitely DO NOT want to give up my blog, it is honestly one of the highlights of my life.  I love to meet all of you, and be inspired by you, but I also need to find the right balance.  I have not been enjoying blogging as much as I used to.

So Here are some things I am going to try to do to get out of this rut. 
  • I am still going to do my Weekend Show Off Party as always (I really love it), but instead of having a post dedicated to Weekend Show Offs on Monday, I am going to feature projects on my Facebook page, which honestly I need a little help with!  I am not an extremely social person, I rarely post on my personal facebook page, so this will help me to remember to post something!  I will do some themed show offs on occasion!
  • I am also going to strive to do my original goal of posting a project and recipe each week.  The posts may be simpler, but at least they will be there.
  • I am going to limit the number of parties I participate in, the number of guest post opportunities I take, and the number of giveaways etc. that I choose to sponsor.  I only want to sponsor a giveaway, or be a part of a contest etc, if I feel passionate about it, and is something I truly believe in.  Like for instance the NOVICA giveaway going on now.  I feel like it is a wonderful company, I love what they are doing,  they had a great offer for me and my readers.  SO I will still continue to do giveaways,  and participate in blog events, but only if I think it is worth while, and I can dedicate the time needed to fulfill the obligations!
Thanks to my critique-rs for being honest with me, this has been a good experience that has helped opened my eyes a bit!
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

NOVICA giveaway!


A few weeks ago I was excited to be introduced to Novica!
NOVICA is one of the leading fair trade artisan websites. They work with National Geographic to give talented artisans around the world a place to express their artistic talents and provide access to the world market. They have thousands of top fair trade corporate gifts, accessories, jewelry and home
decor items on their website.   
I love the idea of helping artisans around the world, while purchasing truly unique and one-of-a-kind items!

 The items on Novica are so beautiful and unique, and they have something for everyone at different price points!  Novica has generously offered a $50 gift certificate to myself, and a $50 to giveaway to one of my readers 
Do you want to win a NOVICA $50 gift Certificate?
Let me show you a few things they offer.

I love this Pearl Strand Necklace from Thailand!  It is such an interesting and warm piece, and best of all you can purchase it for $30.59!

Isn't this Alpaca scarf from the Andes beautiful, I could totally see myself going down the slopes in this one!  It retails at Notica for $67.95!

Seriously how cool is this Soda Pop-Top belt from Brazil!  I think it is pretty amazing, she crochets them all!  What a fun look, it runs $55.95 at Novica, but has a retail value of $109!

 They also have stuff for the guys!  I love this Elephant Walking stick from Bali and Java! It retails for 79.95!

My parents collect musical instruments, I think my Dad and Brother could make some sweet rhythm on this Drum from Africa! At Notica it costs $132, but retails for over $180!

So after looking and looking for hours at all the beautiful arts and craft on Notica, I settled on this beautiful Holy Family Nativity, I just love all the different woods!  It will be a great addition to my other Nativity sets!  It is from an Artisan in the Andes and retails for $64.95

NOVICA also has some new and exciting opportunities for you, they just launched Novica Live, a new gifts and jewelry home party division. On there website they write, "Over the years, our customers have told us that they would love to see our products live and in person. For this reason, we launched our new party plan division giving Consultants the opportunity to do just that -- showcase beautiful gifts and jewelry through home parties in an entertaining way, while supporting artisans worldwide. If you're interested in hosting a party, please visit our Home Party Opportunities page or if home based selling is of interest, then view our Home Party Consultant page. Thank you!"

Do you want to win a NOVICA $50 gift Certificate?

Here is How you Can Win..
  1. Mandatory, Visit Novica, and tell me what you would like to buy with your $50 gift certificate! (You will be amazed at their selection)!
  2.  Follow Ladybird Ln via GFC or Google +, (I am new to Google + so hopefully that is correct!
  3. Follow Ladybird Ln on Facebook.
  4. Like NOVICA on facebook! 
 Good Luck!  Leave a comment below for each entry! Please leave me your email address below, if it is not linked to your account!
This giveaway will be open until Saturday February 4, when I will choose a comment, via random.org to be the winner!
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Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekend Show Offs!
Thank you all for coming to the Weekend Show Off Party!  Here are a few posts that caught my eye!

You can for sure  be my Valentine if it includesthese delicious looking cake batter pops from Scattered Thougts of a Crafty Mom!

 Speaking of Valentines, isn't this Crayon art so much fun from Loopy Loop creations?  I am planning on doing this with my kiddos!

 I also thought this DIY Wedding was fantastic from My Li'l Pumpkin, it is sparkly and perfect, and the food looks delicious!!

 I am still a little homesick... for HAWAII, but this Pineapple bread pudding, might help.  Simple and Delicious, you can find it at Sweet Temptations!

And the blog of the week is lucky linky....


Scattered thoughts of a Crafty Mom, made these cute hand warmers!  My children do not like gloves because they can not move their fingers, so maybe they would go for this!

If you were featured feel free to grab, 'I am a Show Off button' on the right side column of my blog!

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Weekend Show Off Party 1/20 edition!

Welcome to the Weekend!
It is (pretty) good to be home!  If you want to see some fun pictures from our Hawaiian vacation visit this POST!

Ladybird Ln
Last week Kassi was supposed to be my blog of the week, but I did not realize blog collaborators could not edit the post you created, so anyway we get to here from her this week!  Kassi blogs at Truly Lovely, and is Truly Lovely, she is a great friend, and has an inspiring blog!

Hello hello there lovely Ladybird Ln. readers!!

My name is Kassi and I blog over at Truly Lovely!

I am thrilled to be Carlee's blog of the week!!! :)

Kassi and Kayli

Truly Lovely is an 'all things lovely' blog created by me with snippets of fun from my sister, Kayli! 

You can click that pic above to learn more about us and our blog!

In the meantime here's a few of the things we've been up to lately....

*Click each of the pictures to visit the post. ;)

I started the year off right by tackling a to do I have been putting off... adding vinyl mailbox numbers!!!

From time to time I share a What I Wore post... 

Lately it's been all about my new riding boots! ;)

And every now and then you'll get some kind of tasty treat like these biscuit dough donuts...

Or these Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes! 

This last week we tried a little something new by hosting a Blog Critique Party. There will be a follow up post on Wednesday the 25th if you're interested... ;) 

We also host a link up every Friday where we want to see what you FANCIED up over the week! Hope to see you at the link up this week!!!

Fancy This

Thanks SO much to Carlee for having me over!!! :) 

Thanks Kassi!  If you are ready for a good time head on over to Kassi's lovely blog!

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