Monday, May 31, 2010

Goals Update - 31 Projects: # 7 - #32 (and counting!)

I've been plugging away at my 31 Projects in 31 Days! Since Rachel's husband ended up in the ER with what they think are gallstones (ouch!), I offered to add a couple to my list for her. It looks like she might actually make 31, but if not, hopefully my added 4 to make it 35 Projects, will help. Not sure if I'll actually make 35 but we'll see. It's not yet the end of the day and I have a couple of projects in the works....

Go here to read the first six, and here's the next bunch!

Project #7: Installed a new mailbox to replace the one hit by the snowplow this winter! (With help from my Dad!)

Project #8: Revamped our recycling and trash area in the back entryway by hanging 3 corner shelves, and a plastic bag holder (from IKEA!). (With help from my Dad!)

Project #9: Hung the curio shelf in the kids' room. (With help from my Dad!)

Project #10: Read The Concept of Heat and It's Workings Simply Explained by Morton Mott Smith for school project.

Project #11: Wrote a paper on that book.

Project #12: Cleaned out under the desk in the office. All of that stuff was leftover from the class I taught in Fall 2008! And, yes, it's been sitting there ever since. Uff da!

Project #13: Opened savings accounts for both the kids - until now we've just had a subset of our savings account. They had a cool piggy bank promo at our bank one Saturday so we took advantage of that!

Project #14: Finished the last bit of a birthday gift for my nephew!

Project #15: Finished my Dad's birthday gift (only 2 1/2 months late! Yikes!).

Project #16: Cleaned out my closet.

Project $17: Cleaned out the kids' closet.

Project #18: Cleaned out Missy's drawers

Project #19: Cleaned out Buddy's drawers

Project #20: Purchased the materials we needed to gets the kids to where they need to be academically for kindergarten this fall. (Where does that time go?) Yikes. (And yes, that's a long story!)

Project #21: Got a plan together for actually having the kids use those materials this summer!

Project #22: Wrote thank you notes for the kids' birthday presents (with their help).

Project #23: Wrote thank you notes for a retreat we went on back in March (better late than never, right?).

Project #24: Decided what I am actually going to do for the quilt top comforter cover for our down comforter on our bed. Yes, this was actually a project because I had a pattern, some (but not all) of the fabric, and no idea what to do for the rest of it! :) Now I know what I need to do and buy. Love that feeling.

Project #25: Reconciled some spots in our budget bookkeeping that hadn't matched up.

Project #26: Cleaned out a pile of papers that had been sitting in our living room since January.

Project #27: Put together a curriculum for some adult education at our church - with 7 other people.

Project #28: Read Organize Your Life: Free Yourself From Clutter & Find More Personal Time by Ronni Eisenberg with Kate Kelly

Project #29: Organized my terribly messy fabric stash.

Project #30: Managed to get my children (and me and John and 12 other people) to and from a dance rehearsal and recital with the appropriate amount of curled hair, pressed shirts, and snacks! And then fed everyone a full meal afterward.

Project #31: Planning for June! I have a ton of things to do and without a plan, I'm betting it's not going to happen! But, now I have a plan. And some optimism!

Project #32: Typed up 1 interview transcript for my dissertation work.

Projects in the Works:
#33: Finish re-reading Reflective Lifeworld Research by Karin Dahlberg, Nancy Drew and Maria Nystrom.
#34: A fence for our garden so the bunnies don't help themselves. I just need to stake out the staple gun! :)
#35: "Finishing" a fruit topiary I started quite a while ago. I ran out of fruit, and keep thinking that I'm really going to buy more. Reality check: I bought that plastic fruit 10 years ago (*ahem*) and if I do get to that particular craft store the chances that they'll actually still carry that exact match are just about zero. So, on to plan B!
#36: More typing of interview transcripts for my dissertation.
Hopefully I can finish 4 of these today to make a total of 35 projects done in May!

Hopefully I'll post some pictures this week of these projects. And tackle some of the remaining several dozen projects on my plate! Yee haw!

What have you been working on?

Menu Plan Monday - Week of May 30th

I feel like summer is a run-away train at the moment! I am revamping a lot of things in my life right now, and how we prepare for our meals is one of them.

We've quit buying meat, except for seafood, from our local grocery stores and started buying locally grown and processed. This jacked the price way up, so we're cutting back on meat consumptions in general. I'm also looking at how to handle teaching evening classes this fall. John is perfectly capable of cooking (in fact, he did the cooking the first 9 1/2 years of our marriage!) but his plate is even more full than mine right now and I want to make things as simple as possible.

So, starting in August, we're actually going to experiment with freezer cooking. I hate just the thought of it, since I'm all about fresh now, but we'll see what we can do!

Anyway, this week we're eating pretty much like we have been:

Sunday, May 30:
Breakfast: Cheerios with Bananas
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Baked Eggs, Oatmeal Muffins, Bacon and Fruit Salad

Monday, May 31, Memorial Day:
Brunch: Picnic with PB&J sandwiches, Strawberries and Popsicles
Dinner: Steak, Pasta Salad, Corn on the Cob and Fruit Salad
Desert: Rhubarb Crisp and Vanilla Ice Cream

Tuesday, June 1:
Breakfast: Waffles with Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam and Pecans
Dinner: Bagel Pizzas, Spinach Salad, Apple-Strawberry-Blueberry Salad

Wednesday, June 2;
Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon and Pecans
Dinner: At Church

Thursday, June 3:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon and Pecans
Dinner: Salmon, Rice, Steamed Carrots, Apple-Orange-Banana Salad

Friday, June 4:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with Apples and Cinnamon
Dinner: Macaroni and Cheese with Fruit for the kids, Out for Mom and Dad

Saturday, June 5:
Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins and Oranges
Lunch: Wrap Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks, Apples (after the American Heart Walk)
Dinner: Chicken Kabobs, Rice, Spinach Salad, Fruit Salad

What are you eating this week? Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie! for menu inspiration!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - Flowers!

I think I wrote about this before, but I just can't help it - I love, love, love my garden! I'm kind of a 'ball twine and duct tape' gardener (as a friend of mine once put it), meaning I love easy to care for plants that I can kind of just let go and have them do their thing with occasional watering and weeding.

So, most of my garden in perennials - things like day lilies, peonies, irises, cone flower, and columbine. I love the splash of color. I love the burst of growth in the spring. I love the fragrance. I love the joy of my children as each new bud appears!
I have three peonie bushes - this lovely white one, a light pink one, and a fuchsia one. All of them have a story. The pink one and this white one were from plants that grew on my great-great-grandmother's farm near Faribault Minnesota at around 1900. The fuchsia one grew on my grandparent's farm near Fargo North Dakota starting in the early 1930's. I will I had more of the history of that one! I feel so privileged to have all three of these - and heritage from both sides of my family!
I do add some annuals, marigolds, snapdragons and cosmos (which sometimes reseed themselves!). I also add begonias for all-summer color under my big tree out front. I have roses that bloom next to the front door but the rest of the flowers out front are done by mid-June. All of those are low-care annuals that I feel are worth the work to have that added little bit of all-summer color to fill in the holes in my perennials.

Don't these just make you happy? I know they do me!

Truly they are some of my favorite things. What more can I ask for?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Super Savings Saturday - $20 Budget

In the interest of having money to spend at the Farmer's Market tomorrow, my goal was to spend no more than $20 today. I spent all of $19.57! Whoo hoo! I have $15 from this pay period plus another $10 from last pay period to spend at the Farmer's Market tomorrow. I'm happy about that!
I only went to one store and bought the following:
Store Brand Big Marshmallows $1
Store Brand 5lb Flour $2.29
Store Brand 8ct Hot Dog Buns $0.58 (store coupon)
Post Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal $2 - $1 Coupon = $1
Wacky Mac $1 - $0.50 - $0.50 (doubled coupon) = FREE
Post Honey Comb Cereal $2 - $1 coupon = $1
Kemps Itibitz 4x$1 = $4 - $1 - $1 (doubled coupon) = $2
Payday Bar $0.50 (to replace the Starbucks Ice Cream I had planned to get!)
Bananas 2.44lbs @ $0.48/lb = $1.17
Cucumber $0.50
Sweet Corn B6G6 = $3 for 12 ears
Grape Tomatoes 1pt $1.50
Blueberries 1pt $1.99
Strawberries 2lbs/$3 = $3
Total spent (including $0.04 on the candy bar!) = $19.57
How did you do this week?
Visit Money Saving Mom for more shopping inspiration!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Last 20 Days at Our House!

It has been a crazy last 20 days here! In the last 20 days we have....

...Eaten this cake....
...And what seemed like a million cupcakes...

...cleaned out a lot of stuff that looked like this hidden stash under the desk in the office...
(I can't believe I'm actually posting this picture!)

...weeded, watered and picked things like this....

...and we enjoyed them as well...

...visited a place that had this...

...sewed things like this...

...and several other things as well....
...installed these shelves (and another, different one in another room)...

...installed this mail box to replace the one the snow plow hit this winter...

...played on this and watched the kids and my Mom playing on this...
...spent waaaaayyyyy too much time on this...

...both at home and at school and the local library....writing, writing and more writing...
...and attended a rehearsal and recital that involved these...

....and we've...
...hosted 7 different people (2 of them continuously)...
...hosted a birthday party...
...attended 2 meetings for church....
...sang in 4 worship services...
...cleaned out my closet...
...filed what seems like a mountain of paperwork... 4 books...
...done more laundry than I care to think of...
...gone swimming 3 times...
So, I'm taking a 'blogging break' until the weekend to get back to normal and into the swing of things again.
See you either Saturday or Sunday!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Week of May 16th

I think my idea of a relaxing summer before diving into a new 'real' job has officially gone down the tubes! Bummer. I was looking forward to a few (relatively) relaxing days and then jumping in full force starting in about August or something.

My folks are still here for another couple of weeks, so we're cooking for 4 adults and 2 kids. We spent $50 and change on groceries at the stores this week plus $2 for a huge bunch of spinach at the Farmer's Market today. So, only $12 over our weekly budget - not bad for adding two extra people. Throw in that Mom tends to buy the groceries when they're here (thanks Mom!) and we're staying nicely in budget! Love that!

Mom also did some baking this weekend - 2 loaves of Amish Friendship Bread (starter from a friend a week or so ago), and a huge rhubarb crisp. She also made rhubarb-strawberry jam to take home with her (they live in the south and rhubarb doesn't grow well there) and we get to eat the half-full jar! Yum! I'm lovin' this!

So, what are we eating?

Sunday, May 16:
Brunch: Out (thanks Dad!)
Dinner: Leftovers with Spinach Salad and Fruit

Monday, May 17:
Breakfast: Waffles with Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam and Strawberries
Dinner: Easy Black Bean Soup, Baking Powder Biscuits, Spinach Salad, Fruit

Tuesday, May 18:
Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins and Orange Wedges
Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Bread sticks, Spinach Salad, Fruit

Wednesday, May 19:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon and Pecans, or Cheerios with Banana
Dinner: Steak Stir Fry, Rice, Orange Wedges

Thursday, May 20:
Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins and Banana-Strawberry Smoothies
Dinner: Chicken and Kielbasa with Corn (new recipe!), Homemade Bread, Fruit

Friday, May 21:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon and Pecans, or Cheerios with Banana
Dinner: Taco Salads with Fruit Kabobs and Yogurt Dip

Saturday, May 22:
Breakfast: Out for all (Bible Studies)
Lunch: Wrap Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks, Fruit
Dinner: Out for all (Dance Recital celebration!)

That's it! We have busy nights Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the kids have their first dance recital on Saturday afternoon! Busy week! And easy food! :)

What are you eating this week? Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie! for menu inspiration.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Goals Update: 31 Projects in 31 Days

Rachel over at Keep it Simple is hosting 31 Projects in 31 Days! I'm game! Are you?

So far, my projects look very different from Rachel's - only one crafty thing in the bunch! - but I have a lot of 'projects' on my plate, so I'm hoping to knock off 31 one of them this month! Some of them have been works in progress for a long time so crossing them off the to-do list will be very freeing!

So, here's the projects from last week:

Project #1: Mother's Day gifts for my MIL, 3 SILs, and 1 cousin. I made homemade potpourri and made sachets - three in netting and 2 in little mesh boxes I'd bought on clearance a couple years ago. My SILs got candles - 2 each and their gifts were put in those cute little buckets I picked up off Target's $1 section on 50% off clearance about 3 years ago. My cousin got the roll of ribbon for her card making and her sachet was was put in a gift bag with the ribbon. My MIL got three $1 sample packs of flavored coffee and they were put in a basket that was in my clean out pile. I had already purchased something for my mom.

Project #2: Weed front flower beds.

Project #3: Clean out living room file drawer (don't ask me what I was thinking when I had paid bill stubs from 2006 in there! **Blush**).

Project #4: Organize everything for my kids' birthday party on Saturday! We had 10 pre-schoolers, 2 school age kids, 1 baby, and 22 adults in our little house! I think we overwhelmed on grandma (not one of ours), but everyone else reportedly had a GREAT time. We did. The kids did. And we can take the leftover food to a potluck at church tonight! :)

Here's the cupcakes from the party - yes, I cheated and ordered them from Sam's Club. These last two weeks at school have been super busy and with cleaning the house and getting ready for the party and out of state company, I decided not to push it and order them.
Project #5: Finish 1 paper for school.
Project #6: Fill out drafts of 2 sets of paperwork that will get turned in this week.
Well, those are the first 6! Are you joining in? Hope so...

Menu Plan Monday - Week of May 9th!

We've been super busy around here - yes, even more than we have been previously! :)

My folks are here, my in-laws and my cousin were here over the weekend for Missy and Buddy's Birthday. Throw in a party with 12 pre-schoolers, 1 baby, and 22 adults and our little house was bursting at the seams! A good time was had by all. And I'm ready for a nap!

This week we're pretty normal around here. My folks are sticking around for about a month (or "30 days!" as Buddy and Missy like to say), so we're cooking for 4 adults and 2 kids for a while around here.

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, May 9th (Mother's Day):
Brunch: At the St. Paul Farmer's Market
Dinner: Steak and Hot Dogs on the grill, leftover potato salad and fruit salad, and lettuce salad

Monday, May 10th:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with cinnamon and pecans, or Cheerios with Strawberries
Dinner: Pancakes and Fruit for Grandparents and Kids; Church Potluck for John and Lea: Bring Potato Salad

Tuesday, May 11th:
Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins and Fruit
Dinner: Chicken Noodle Soup and Baking Powder Biscuits, Fruit for Grandparents; Work Recognition Dinner for John and Lea

Wednesday, May 12th:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with cinnamon and pecans or Cheerios with Bananas
Dinner: Beef Stir Fry, Rice, Lettuce Salad, and Orange and Grapefruit Wedges

Thursday, May 13th:
Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins and Fruit
Dinner: Baked Ham, Roasted Potatoes, Lettuce Salad, Fruit

Friday, May 13th:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with cinnamon and pecans, or Cheerios with bananas
Dinner: Pan Fried Walleye, Rice, Lettuce Salad, Fruit

Saturday, May 14th:
Breakfast: Waffles with Pecans and Strawberries
Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches, Carrot sticks, Fruit
Dinner: Scalloped Potatoes with Ham, Lettuce Salad.

As you can see, we have a lot of lettuce in our house right now. We also have a fair amount of fruit. I'm excited to have my parents here and we've got projects around the house and fun things planned with the kids.

What are you eating this week? Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie! to share!