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Monday, January 31, 2011

Homemade Vegetable Broth

A couple days ago, I made homemade vegetable broth. I first got the idea here, and it sounded really easy (and it was!). I've been saving veggie scraps in a container in the freezer, and I cut up a bunch more vegetables, so I added the peels and scraps to come up with two pots full.


I ended up with two big bowls of broth. Next time, I will probably just use my slow cooker. That way I can trap all of the moisture inside - this time, some of the broth evaporated away. I can also leave it simmering for longer so even more flavor is infused into the broth. What an easy way to use something that would have just been thrown away!

Menu Plan Monday

Lunches:

Monday: Turkey Sandwiches
Tuesday: Pumpkin Soup (this may get bumped to next week since I'm out of applesauce)
Wednesday: Beans, Cheese, Tortillas
Thursday: Loaded Mashed Potatoes (the same recipe as the Hot Potatoes from last week, which turned into mashed potatoes because I cooked them too long)
Friday: PB & J Rollups and Apples
Saturday: Macaroni and Cheese
Sunday: Egg Salad

Dinners:

Monday/Tuesday: Mushroom and Black Bean Tortilla Casserole (from Everyday Food magazine, but I can't find an actual link, just where someone else posted the recipe)
Wednesday/Thursday: Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes (Real Simple magazine)
Friday/Saturday: Veggie Spaghetti
Sunday/Monday: All Season Vegetable Risotto (from 1,001 Low-Fat Vegetarian Recipes, my second favorite cookbook)

I am also planning on making some sort of peanut butter dessert, whether cookies or otherwise, because we are up to several containers in our cupboard, and running out of room.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What I'm Reading...

Fundamentals: Buttercream Frosting. Yummy. This post outlines a couple variations and the basics of buttercream frosting. (My Baking Addiction)

Jesus: The Lord of Order. A Biblical take on organization and time management. My favorite line was near the end - "A child who seems to be grumpy or sad may need affection and additional attention. Laundry, however, does not become grumpy or sad when not folded." (Passionate Homemaker)

Find Your Compass. Figure out which parenting method(s) work for you and go with them. Base them on your most important priorities. (Life Your Way)

Seven Monthly Bills Most People Have, and Seven Ways to Reduce Them. (The Simple Dollar)

Finding Fulfillment in Being a Mother Only. Being a wife and mother is the most important job I have. It's just hard to remember that sometimes, when there are other roles I fall into. (Keeper of the Home)

Fraudulent Coupons Hurt Everyone - Learn to Spot Them. (Freebies 4 Mom)

10 "Rules of Life" from Tolstoy. Reading this list makes me want to learn more about Tolstoy. (The Happiness Project)

How to Stretch One Chicken into Six Meals. Nifty. (Heavenly Homemakers via Money Saving Mom)

Transparent Office. This is just a really cool computer background. (Unclutterer)

10 Cheap (and Easy) Ways to Pamper Yourself. Every mom needs some pampering. (Simple Mom)

Important Facts You Should Know Before Using Coupons. I found the information about the B1G1 coupons most helpful. (Living Rich with Coupons)

I've never done a Freebie Day, but it looks like something I would have fun doing. (Pocket Your Dollars)

Proper Care for Kitchen Equipment. My favorite tip is to crumple a piece of newspaper in smelly tupperware overnight to get rid of odors. I may have to try that. Now if only I could find a way to get rid of spaghetti sauce stains... (Life Your Way)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Crafty Link-Up

This looks like one of the coolest kid birthday parties. I might be biased because I love food. (Pocket Your Dollars)


Fabric Valentine Hearts Garland. I'm pretty sure this would work with paper too. Pretty! (How About Orange)


I've thought about Recycling Cans into Art Supply Holders. I just don't have any spray paint at the moment... (Leland Family via Money Saving Mom)


Here's a list of Projects Using Toilet Paper and Paper Towel Rolls. I like #5 and #6 the best, although #4 is kind of intriguing. (various sites via Life Your Way)


Taggie Blankets! These look like so much fun for little babies. I've seen them before, but this is a good tutorial. (Full of Great Ideas)

Cake Decorating for Normal People. I really liked the ideas in this post, and I'm sure you could come up with a bunch more for turning "normal shaped" cakes into cool creations. (Life Your Way)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Last week's menu planning worked out pretty well. We did end up going out to eat for lunch once, and having a frozen pizza once instead, but I really liked having our lunches all set to go. This week's menu is still a work in progress, because I need to come up with a grocery list and go shopping midweek. Here's what we have so far:

Lunches:

Monday: Turkey Sandwiches and leftover Tomato Soup
Tuesday: Creamy Broccoli White Bean Soup (Whole Living)
Wednesday: Hot Potatoes (Rachael Ray)
Thursday: Egg Salad Sandwiches or Leftovers
Friday: Macaroni and Cheese
Saturday: Peanut Butter and Jelly Rollups
Saunday: Tortilla Pizzas

Dinners:

Monday/Tuesday: Spinach Mushroom Lasagna
Wednesday/Friday: Mexi Beans and Rice
Thursday: Chicken and Rice (my brother is coming over for dinner, so I figured I would make something new and save the beans and rice leftovers for Friday)
Saturday/Sunday: TBD after grocery shopping is figured out

JoAnn's Clearance Finds

Our JoAnn's Fabrics is moving to a new location, so they were having a store closing liquidation sale. I went when everything was 75% off and picked up a few things I had specific ideas for. I went back when everything was 90% off to pick up more odds and ends, but the lines were too long, and I had to get to work, so I wasn't able to get anything else.

I got two fabric scraps, which I'm planning on using for dinosaur and cow embroidered animal onesies, a package of envelopes for homemade thank-you cards, 2 spools of wire for wire picture frames, small pom poms (I was looking for these for Christmas ornaments in December, but didn't want to pay a lot for them, so I can use these for this year's ornaments), and ribbons, because I love finishing off wrapping presents with ribbons. Everything cost $6.16!

I really wish I would have had the time to stand in line the second time around, because I found some plastic canvas pattern books, styrofoam wreaths, more fabric scraps, and lots of scrapbooking papers when I went back. I guess that was God's way of telling me to use up what I have and to not be greedy!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sour Cream Beef Casserole

Here is another recipe from my mom which I can never get to taste quite like hers. I should probably just quit measuring.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey, cooked and drained of excess fat
  • 1 can mixed vegetables (can substitute 1 can corn and/or 1 can green beans)
  • 1 tsp. beef bouillion or 1 beef bouillion cube
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-1/2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • French fried onions

Dissolve bouillion in water. Heat to boiling and add noodles. Cook until done, about 5 minutes. There should be a little bit of extra water, but not much. Add cooked meat, vegetables, and sour cream. Cook on low about 5 minutes, until sauce thickens. Add French fried onions. Mom always stirred a few in with the meat and veggies, and then put some on top just before serving.

I would have taken a picture, but I used corn and beans instead of the standard mixed veggies, and I didn't have any French fried onions. So really, this was not quite the same this time around, but I still wanted to share the recipe, because it's been one of my favorites since I was little!

What I'm Reading...

Seven Habits of Highly Successful Spenders. Because saving only gets you so far, and eventually you do have to spend money. (Little People Wealth)

The Tabula Rasa Method of Uncluttering and Organizing a Room. I really think this would be the best way to tackle clutter, but setting aside time and space for it is the issue for me. Right now it's easier to do things bit by bit. (Unclutterer)

Developing a Personal Mission Statement. I like this not only because it's a good idea, but because a lot of my roles and priorities line up with the author's, which gives me a good jumping off point. (Passionate Homemaking)

Working to Lower Our Spending on Dining Out. This is easily the hardest category of spending for us to keep under control. (Proverbs 31 Living)

The Movement to Restore Children's Play Gains Momentum. This is why my living room is constantly messy. (NYTimes)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Homemade Tomato Soup


We had homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch yesterday. The recipe came from Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine. I have to say, the soup wasn't the best tomato soup I've ever had, but it was still pretty cool to have homemade instead of out of a Campbell's can...
Ingredients:
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz. vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup cream (I used whole milk)
  • pepper, garlic, etc. to taste

Saute onion and carrots in a bit of oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and broth. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer 20 minutes. Add cream and blend with an immersion blender. *Insert screaming child here. For some reason he really hates when I use my immersion blender, and I have yet to figure out why.* Spice to taste.

I garnished both my grilled cheese and my soup with some leftover kale, because that's what Rachael did in the magazine picture. It was kind of different on the grilled cheese, so I don't know that I'll do that again. I made Jonah's without the kale, and he loved it!

My First Roast!

Are you sick of me updating about my New Year's Resolutions lately? I've been on a cooking kick, which is why I've had more food than crafts. When it's as cold out as it has been the past couple weeks, being in the kitchen makes me warm and cozy.

I got my roast and veggies ready to go. First up, I seared the roast in some butter for about 10 minutes to seal in the flavors and moisture. This is what the handy Internet told me to do.


Then off into the crockpot it went! I added some veggie broth and water, garlic, pepper, and Lawry's seasoned salt, and my carrots, onions, and potatoes.

I cooked it on low all day long, but the meat itself was fully cooked after about 5 hours. I like to think the extra couple hours just sealed in the flavor. It was really moist, and quite delicious, if I do say so myself. And aside from the initial prep work, it was REALLY EASY! I love meals like that!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Morning Treat

This morning during naptime, I made myself some yummy hot chocolate in my favorite mug. Mommy needs a treat every so often, after all. It's just packaged hot cocoa mix, but I add a bit of French Vanilla creamer, some mini marshmallows, and some Hershey's syrup on top. Delicious!

Crafty Link-Up

Well this is just about the coolest thing I've seen in awhile: a church made out of frosting. (Na Miotle via Not Martha)

Road Trip Bingo. I don't know that we ever did a Bingo game specifically, but I remember playing all sorts of find-this-or-that games on long car rides. (Homemaking Expert via Deal Seeking Mom)

Old Book Pages Garland. This looks cute and easy, although I don't have a circle punch. Perhaps the next 40% coupon from Hobby Lobby will go toward that...? (Hey Lucy via IronCraft) Also linked in that post: This absolutely adorable Mini Bunting Birthday Card. (How About Orange)

Sheet Music Crafts. Love the candles. Love them. (Confessions of a Plate Addict via Life Your Way)

Homemade Oreos? Yes please. (My Baking Addiction)

These are cute wrapped yarn hearts. You could make them as big or small as you wanted. I could also see doing different shapes for different occasions. (A Little Hut)

I have yet to make any, but I'm a sucker for DIY Layered Fabric Flowers like these. (How About Orange)

I've seen (and probably posted about) several of these before, but since I have so many magazines, I'm always interested in more Crafts from Recycled Magazines. I've made #4 and #5 already, but how cute is #7? (Life Your Way)

DIY Fabric Wall Decals. These are pretty nifty. (How About Orange)

Homemade Bisquick Mix. Every now and then I could really use this. (Unsophisticook)

Homemade PopTarts. I think I would like to try these. I really like boxed PopTarts, but I don't like spending the money on them, and they're all sugar anyways. (Heavenly Homemakers via Money Saving Mom)

Coffee Filter Flowers. I want to say I've posted this link before, but it's worth posting again - these are so pretty! A friend is using them as decoration for her wedding rehearsal dinner, and they're going to be gorgeous. (Design Sponge)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Kitchen Binder

Another one of my New Year's Resolutions was to organize my Homemaking and Kitchen Binders. I'll have a post later this week about the first one, but I wanted to show you my Kitchen Binder, which I got more or less put together today.

It's just a standard 1-inch binder from Walmart, which cost about $1. I found a couple old blue folders in our office supplies to designate my sections, which are:
  • Dinner: Soups & Stews
  • Dinner: Other Entrees
  • Lunch and Other Recipes

I chose these categories because they work the best for us. If you're making your own binder, you'd obviously want to divide by what makes sense for you.


I got a 50-pack of these inserts on Amazon using my Swagbucks. I am part of the Amazon Moms program, so I got free shipping. The packs are regularly priced at $11.99 plus shipping. Each sheet holds eight 3x5 cards. I have a mixture of actual recipes, recipe names with corresponding page numbers from my cookbooks, and names of recipes that are either so basic they don't have a recipe, that I've made so often that I just know, or that change each time I make them. I went through a couple of my cookbooks today and I'm not even close to out of space in these inserts.

My main goal with this binder is to have all of my "usual" lunch and dinner ideas in one place, so that when I'm planning out our menu, I can flip through and decide what to make. I'm also attempting more new recipes, and if we like them, they get a card in the binder. This will hopefully be a lot easier than trying to remember what we've liked (or not liked!), and should make my meal planning go a lot faster. How do you stay organized in the kitchen?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I realized a few days too late that I never posted last Monday, but we actually stuck to our 2-week menu pretty well. As I've mentioned in the past, lunch is always our downfall. For some reason I have a really hard time figuring out what to have, and lately, that's meant eating out a lot rather than finding something at home. So, starting this week, we have planned lunches as well as planned dinners. I have several recipes to try that I've pulled out of various magazines, and some oldies but goodies as well.

Lunches:

Monday: Turkey Sandwiches
Tuesday: Taco Salads (Jesse and I have both been wanting a good salad lately)
Wednesday: Egg Salad Sandwiches
Thursday: Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese with Kale (from Everyday with Rachael Ray, but I can't find a link online)
Friday: Turkey Sandwiches
Saturday: Macaroni and Cheese
Sunday: Tortilla Pizzas

Dinners:

Monday: Mushroom and Lima Bean Stew (from Whole Living magazine, but I can't find a link to this one either)
Tuesday/Wednesday: I was going to do Butternut Squash Risotto (Woman's Day), but I used the whole squash making the Mushroom and Lima Bean Stew yesterday, so this one is TBD
Thursday/Friday: Roast with Carrots, Potatoes, and Onions
Saturday/Sunday: Sour Cream Beef Casserole (recipe to be posted later this week!)

Lunches:

Monday: Creamy Broccoli White Bean Soup (Whole Living)
Tuesday: Turkey Sandwiches
Wednesday: Hot Potatoes (Rachael Ray)
Thursday: Macaroni and Cheese
Friday: Egg Salad Sandwiches and/or Leftovers
Saturday: Peanut Butter and Jelly Rollups

Dinners:

Monday/Tuesday: Veggie Stir Fry
Wednesday/Thursday: Spinach Mushroom Lasagna
Friday/Saturday: Mexi-Beans and Rice

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What I'm Reading...

9 Frugal Hacks to Save Money in the Kitchen. I like the homemade cream soups recipe and the homemade salad dressing, one of my New Year's resolutions (various sites via Finances Your Way)

365 Bento Lunches. Awhile back, I won a yogurt prize pack that included a bento box. I haven't used it, partly because I don't pack a lunch to take anywhere, but also because I didn't have many ideas. Here there are lots, broken down by season. (Laptop Lunches)

Cost and Quality: Best and Worst Case Scenarios. I really like the knife example, and I can see how this would definitely apply to a lot of situations in life. (The Simple Dollar)

Uncluttered Benefits of Learning People's Names. Because everybody is somebody. (Unclutterer)

Decluttering Your Feed Reader. I just did this and got rid of 8 blogs that aren't really doing much for me. And then I added 2 more. It really is a never-ending cycle. Still, it was good for me to read this post and realized that it's okay to move on from blogs I no longer need or want. (Life Your Way)

10 Reasons Minimalism May Be Right for You. Living more minimally is one of my goals. It's still very much in the making, but it's definitely something I want to work on. (Life Your Way)

Here's a list of Lots of Available Rebates right now. If you have purchased (or were planning to purchase) any of these, make sure you print the rebate forms and save your receipts! (Northern Cheapskate)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Homemade Granola


One of my New Year's Resolutions was to make homemade granola. I am pleased to say it is delicious! A little sweet, but not too much.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped nuts (or so - doesn't have to be exact)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


Mix the dry ingredients together - everything but the butter, syrup, and vanilla. In case anyone was wondering, I used almonds and walnuts for my chopped nuts. The walnuts were pre-chopped, so they blend in. I chopped up the almonds, which is why some of the pieces are really big.


Melt the butter, syrup, and vanilla together. You can do this in the microwave or on the stovetop. Stir into dry ingredients until everything is moistened. Next time I might use just a smidge more syrup, because I like the maple-y flavor, but otherwise, this turned out really well.

Spread onto 2 jelly roll pans (cookie sheets with sides) and bake at 300F. Stir after 10 minutes, then after another 10 minutes, then after another 10 minutes. Continue baking and stirring every 5 minutes after that until you reach your desired crunchiness. I did a total of 40 minutes for mine, and it's a bit crunchy, but not too much.

You can reuse your oats container to hold some of the granola, and you'll just have to eat the rest! I got the idea and the baking temperature/timing for this recipe here, although I modified it based on what I had in the cupboard.

Yum!

Update: For a variation, I've been using 1/2 cup honey instead of the syrup, which is also delicious. I'm looking forward to trying a peanut butter variation one of these days too. I'll keep you posted.

Homemade Tortilla Chips

I made some tortilla chips today. The other day I bought 4 containers of hummus with a good sale, and we needed something to eat with it. Tortilla chips are really simple to make at home.


Grab a package of tortillas. Using a pizza cutter, slice them into whatever size and shape you want your chips. I do little squares, because they're the closest to the tortilla rounds we buy, but much easier than cutting little circles! Lay them out on a couple of cookie sheets. For even baking, try not to overlap too much.

Bake at 350F for 12-13 minutes, or until they just start to turn golden brown. Cool, and enjoy! You could also probably brush with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (or your choice of seasonings), but I like mine plain. Well, okay, almost plain. With hummus...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Split Pea and Ham Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped
  • 3-4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 1 large ham steak, cooked and cubed
  • 1 lb. dried split peas
  • 1 tsp. marjoram
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

Put all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low 4-5 hours. Start with 6 cups water, and add additional water as needed.

This recipe is a modified version of one found in 1,001 Low-Fat Vegetarian Recipes (4th Edition), one of my favorite cookbooks.

Update on New Year's Resolutions

I've started on a couple of my New Year's Resolutions, so I figured I would update on my progress.

For Matthew's baby blanket, I've decided to do a bunch of knitted squares in blue and white, and then sew them together in a checkerboard pattern. They're small, so it's going to take a lot of squares...



I also started to organize crafty corner. You can read more about that here...

And, in the next week or so, I'm going to attempt my roast with potatoes, carrots, and onions, because there was a deal on those exact items at Cub Foods this week!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Organizing Crafty Corner

Christmas, plus my general stocking up on crafty supplies, made my lovely crafty corner look like this:

Obviously some things do not belong there, but most of that just needed to be organized and put away. It's not completely done yet, but I'd say it looks a little bit better, wouldn't you?

I got one of those nifty 3-drawer storage units for my cardstock, scrapbook papers, and magazine pages that I'm using for projects. I put all of the yarn away in the 2 big drawers, and they are quite full. Looks like I'll have to work on some yarn projects next! You can kind of see my baby wipes containers on the bottom shelf there, which hold my ribbons, scraps, and other smaller items.

I also gathered my paintbrushes, pens, and miscellaneous utensils in a couple of jars from the kitchen. I kind of like how they look, although I still may work on a different organizer for those at some point. The binder has various crafty ideas I've pulled out of catalogues and magazines, but it still needs to be organized.
All in all, I could potentially use another big drawer for miscellaneous items, or some sort of compartmentalized shelving, but there's not really space for that at this point, so I work with what I have. In my someday house, I hope to have a larger craft area or even an entire craft room. How do you store your crafty supplies?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Crafty Link-Up

Make envelopes out of old calendar pages. (Simply Rebekah via Money Saving Mom)


Homemade baby shower invitations and other ideas for homemade cards. (Proverbs 31 Living)


Slim bookshelves for beside children's beds - Pottery Barn hack. (Full of Great Ideas)


Lots of crafty storage/organization ideas. (Better Homes & Gardens)


Absolutely adorable No Sew Baby Fleece Ball. I think this might have to be added to my project list... (Craft Bits)

I love the candy bar card my friend Sarah and her family got before moving. (Hartwig Happenings)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What I'm Reading...

The Benefits of Sleep. I am definitely one crabby momma when I don't get enough sleep. That unfortunately happens fairly often right now, but that what naps are for, right? (Keeper of the Home)

Top Company Mailing Lists to Be On For Free Stuff. This is an older article, but I absolutely agree with the choices listed. (Northern Cheapskate)

5 Time Management Tips for Busy Families. From the color-coded calendar to the blocked schedule to the "dumping bin", this whole post is right up my alley! (Money Saving Mom)

I love coffee mugs. As a result, I have far too many. Solving the Mug Clutter Problem. One day I would like to either install hooks below kitchen cupboards for a bunch, or have some sort of shelving unit with cubes which could hold one mug each, if that makes sense. (Unclutterer)

My Journey to Burnout: Proof That I Really Can't Do It All. I walk the very fine line between being productively busy and doing too much. I'm already trying to prepare myself to do less once Matthew is born. (Keeper of the Home)

The Unveiling of the James Book Club. I really like the idea of studying a part of the Bible verse by verse, writing the verse down, and following with your own thoughts and applications as a personal study. I'm starting with Proverbs 31. (Women Living Well)

Usernames and the Mom Identity Crisis. My username has been the same for about as long as I can remember, but I am definitely one of those moms whose kid took over her Facebook page as soon as he was born. (Offbeat Mama)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Crafty Link-Up

Iron Craft 2011 is starting!

In case you were curious, here's a post on Envelope Sizes. (A Little Hut)

DIY Drawer Organizer. Because sometimes, the ones in the stores just don't fit in the drawers. (Unclutterer)

Here's an easy recipe for a Homemade Cheese Spread. (Proverbs 31 Living)

If Jonah were more of a stuffed animal fan, I would totally make him a Funny Face Doll. (Full of Great Ideas)

If you need a printable 2011 calendar, here's a simple one. (Life Your Way via Northern Cheapskate)

Vintage Postcard Calendar. A nifty way to see what you do on a specific date from year to year, without the fuss of keeping a journal. You could make this as simple or fancy as you wanted. Okay to start on January 5? I think yes... (Design Sponge via Money Saving Mom)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

We are back home and hopefully back to normal...


Monday/Tuesday: Veggie Pot Pie
Wednesday/Thursday: Chili
Friday/Saturday: Veggie Spaghetti

Sunday/Monday: Enchiladas
Tuesday/Wednesday: Homemade Pizzas (we didn't get to them last time around)
Thursday/Friday: Split Pea and Ham Soup - we got a bag of split peas from the Seminary food bank, and I've never had split pea soup, so this will be an adventure!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What I'm Reading...

Choosing a theme word for 2011. I think if I were to choose one, it would be Thought. I would like to put more thought into my decisions, my relationships, my words, and my actions. Which word would you choose? (Women Living Well)

Hosting a Gathering on a Budget. My favorite is the potluck idea - I think that's a great way to get together and have good food without one person slaving away all day or spending too much money. (Northern Cheapskate)

Here's a post about organizing your craft room or area, something I need to work on in the next week or two. (The Inspired Room)

Turn Your Living Room Into a Learning Space for Kids. I guess I never really thought about putting up educational posters for Jonah, but he's the type of curious child who would definitely benefit from seeing something every day, and I would have fun watching him pick up on things. Maybe some posters are in our future...? (Offbeat Mama)

How to Remove Smells from Your Microwave, like burnt popcorn. If nothing else, I can definitely use this at work when someone stinks up the entire lobby. (Unsophisticook)

Tis the season for resolutions, and this post on Setting Reachable Goals gives you a lot to think about if you're not sure what your goals should be. (Simple Mom)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Awhile back, I had made a 25 Things to Do Before I Turn 25 list. And since then, some of the things have kind of become irrelevant to me. So, for the year including my 25th birthday, I've decided to just make a big list. And there are 30 items on it, so that way if I decide not to do some, it's all good...

Spiritual/Family:
  • Daily personal devotion time. I need to find a good woman/mother focused devotion. I think that would be helpful. Until I do, though, I think I'll probably start with one of the People's Bibles, because those are easy to read, and already divided into sections.
  • Show love to Jesse each and every day. Because I love him, but I'm not always the best at showing that.
  • Help Jonah adjust to having a little brother. He's been clingy lately, and I'm pretty sure that has something to do with it.
  • Breastfeed Matthew. Or don't. I'd like to, but if it's as much of a struggle as it was with Jonah, I am giving myself permission to quit.
  • Remember and acknowledge all birthdays and anniversaries. My master list is updated, and I really want to do better at this this year.
Baking:
  • Make a gingerbread house from scratch, then decorate it. This one will probably happen closer to next Christmas, and that's okay.
  • Make stained glass cookies. It's a recipe in my big Betty Crocker binder, involving melting candies, and it looks cool.
  • Make homemade cupcakes with homemade frosting and pretty decorations.
  • Experimental chocolate coconut cookies. My parents gave me some coconut pudding powder that they had gotten but won't use, so I'm going to attempt to make up a recipe.
  • Decorate a cake with fondant. This was on my original list, and I still want to do it...
Other Food:
  • Make a roast, with carrots, potatoes, and onion chunks to complete the meal.
  • Come up with a yummy homemade marinade.
  • Make my own salad dressing, probably some sort of viniagrette.
  • Bake at least one loaf of bread!
  • Make some yummy homemade granola.
Organizational:
  • Go through my closet and get rid of things I don't wear. I am planning on this being mostly post-pregnancy.
  • Scan bills, pay stubs, and other miscellaneous documents, save them, then shred the paper copies.
  • Pawn, donate, and get rid of miscellaneous items. Some are already gathered, and many could be added.
  • Start my homemaking binder and my kitchen binder. The homemaking binder is going to have my daily and weekly to-do lists, a spot to save recipes I want to try, ongoing project lists, a calendar, and so on. The kitchen binder is going to be where I keep my most-used dinner recipes (or at least a card with the name and page number of the recipe), which should make meal planning easier.
  • Sort through my crafty corner. Let's just say Christmas made it explode a little bit.
Financial:
  • Get a copy of our credit reports. You're supposed to do that annually, and I've never actually seen mine. Oops.
  • Find money for Rachel's wedding, my "maternity leave" (the three months after Matthew is born before we move), and possibly a new vehicle. We have money saved and/or designated for most of this, but it's more a matter of putting it where it needs to be.
  • Plan the babymoon. We are tentatively taking a little trip over Jesse's spring break or before, and we have free flight vouchers which we may or may not use toward this, but either way, I need to figure out what we're doing.
  • Rework our budget to account for fun money. That seems to be our biggest downfall each month, and I hope that by giving us a set amount, we can save the rest.
  • Start an emergency fund. Car troubles and unexpected trips came up this year, and luckily none of them were anything major, but I'd hate to have that happen and not have a way to deal with it.
Crafty:
  • Make Matthew's baby blanket. I think it's going to be similar to Jonah's (knitted patchwork quilt), only with smaller blocks. I still have to decide what colors I'm using, although I'm leaning toward traditional blue and white.
  • Make an embroidered animal onesie. Or maybe two. (Take a plain onesie, trace a simple animal shape onto a colorful fabric, and sew onto the onesie.)
  • Make a standard door hanger for our front door. We have a Christmas one, and a Valentine's Day one, but I'd like an everyday one too.
  • Make a basket to hold mail and/or bills and/or coupons to file. Basically all the stuff that piles up on the dining room table. I'm thinking one of the folded magazine ones, only rectangular, but we'll see.
  • Finish Jesse's Christmas present. In my defense, I just found the picture and pattern from a friend's picture the week of Christmas.

Yes, I realize there are many things on this list. And yes, I know that with a new baby, a wedding, moving, and whatever other big things come up, this may not all happen. But really, I love lists, and it's good to have goals and projects. What are your New Year's goals?