27 December 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Are you still full from all the Christmas dinner foods? And don't even start talking about the desserts & Christmas goodies. We've had so much food I feel like I might have to roll around instead of walk for a few days. Tonight we were all tired of the "traditional" foods & ordered pizza - yum! The Little Man & I are still hanging out with my parents & fam for a few days, but my poor hubs is back at home & has to fend for himself a day or two this week. My mom was sweet enough to fix a big plate of food for him to take back with him, which of course he forgot.I'm sure he'll figure something out...even if it's just his mama who lives only 10 minutes away!

So, here's my tentative meal plan for our mixed up week:
Monday: Christmas Leftovers - most likely prime-rib & swiss cheese sandwhiches
Tuesday: PW Lasagna that's in the freezer & salad (BTW - got her cookbook for Christmas & I'm so excited to try some more of her recipes!)
Wednesday: Magic Pot Meal since I'll be shopping all day with the bestie
sidenote: I refer to my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker as the "Magic Pot". It is amazing & can create DELICIOUS meals in your MICROWAVE which means it's FAST! Here is one of my favorite Magic Pot Meals for the winter, but I put my own spin on it using Yukon Gold Potatoes & White Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese (and much more than 4 oz!).
Thursday: Happy New Year's Eve! Undecided...
Friday: Pizza Night!

I have some major changes coming up for cutting our food budget (even more!) for 2010...check back to see my plans!

25 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Linus is so right. I hope you & your family have a wonderful Christmas!!

24 December 2009

Last of the Handmade Holidays

Here is my last post of my handmade holiday items for 2009. I have really enjoyed this & will probably try to be more organized to get things done in a timely fashion next year. 

You don't know this, but I come from a family of giants. I am the shortest child & I'm just short of 6 feet tall. Both of my brothers are over 6'2, my dad is 6'4 & my husband is 6'5. See, GIANTS. Sometimes people stare if we're all standing together in a crowd. Or maybe they're just trying to see over us. Not gonna happen people. Anyway, since we are giants regular blankets just don't cut it for us usually. My MIL made a 6' fleece blanket (made of fleece from our alma mater) for us a few years ago & I'm pretty sure we've used it more than any other gift EVER. Seriously, we use it everyday...it's wonderful. I thought it would be great to make one for both of my "little" brothers. The littlest bro's school does not have fleece by the yard that you can purchase (or at least that I could find), so I had to go with camo. Perfect since he's a hunter & general outdoorsman. The middle bro's alma mater is regularly available, even though it pained me to purchase it - I did it anyway. That's love people. LOVE. Of course, he loves me too - he took this picture with me right after we beat them for the 3rd year in a row in football. See lots of love in our family. Anyway - I purchased 2 1/3 yards of each, hemmed them up & here are some pictures. 

Told you they were big! This is hanging over a door.

We decided to do a "service exchange" with my BIL, the Reddneck (I promise this is not derogatory, he likes this name & has it as part of his business title - including this spelling which drives me nuts!). He might be a Reddneck, but he has a heart of gold & always helps us whenever we need him. And he loves Little Man to pieces! The only thing I really wanted from him was to detail my car. He did this once & oh my goodness. It looked better than when it was new! Since money is pretty tight, we thought it would be perfect to do a service exchange - free & exactly what we each want. He's a single dad & has his boys every other week, so I thought the following were perfect "coupons" for him:

Now, my wonderful husband couldn't think of a service to offer, so who knows what he'll end up doing with this coupon:

I made these "coupons" on my Digital Scrapbooking software. I can't remember where I got these kits, but I'm sure they are from a generous person who has free kits on the internet. If you recognize them, please leave a comment & I'll be happy to give credit where credit is due.

To recap, we gave away 20 jars of pickles to friends & coworkers, created 4 "Garden Goodies" Baskets for grandparents & friends, made one Kid Toolbelt for a friend who is getting a tool table for Christmas (now I need to make one for my own Little Man), sewn 2 HUGE fleece blankets, and made one set of service coupons. I am way more excited about these items than the things I bought in the stores, although those items are nice too.

And a follow up...Little Man's girlfriend LOVED her apron & chef hat. She put it on immediately & trotted around the house saying "Tank You! Tank You!" 

It's all adjustable, so it actually fits better than this picture shows. She just wouldn't stay still long enough for us to tighten it up.

And she loved pulling the hat down over her head...she's just too funny!

Happy Handmade Holidays to you & your family! I'd love to see your handmade presents, please leave a comment with a link if you've made some.

23 December 2009

DigiScrap - Favorite New Discovery

I was so excited to run across a great blog today with tons of FREE DigiScrap kits. I have fallen in love with Digital Scrapbooking because I can do it anywhere & all I need is my computer. Well, that is pretty much attached to me most of the time, so no problem! Anyway, Summer over at Summertime Designs has some great kits & they are all FREE! Although, I'm sure she would appreciate any donation you could make.  

I'm especially in love with this Christmas Kit - HOW CUTE!!

I use the Creative Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software, Storybook Creator Plus. I really like it a lot & use it for a ton of different things other than scrapbooking. 

So, what program do you use for Digital Scrapbooking? 
What's your favorite FREE resources?

21 December 2009

Meal Plan Monday - Christmas Week Edition

This is my first "Meal Plan Monday" link-up over at I'm an Organizing Junkie. How nice to see that I'm not the only overly organized, meal-planning mama! Although I must admit with Christmas upon us and a basement renovation complete & almost all moved in, I feel a bit discombulated. But that's OK...I'm trying to relax a bit & enjoy the season to the fullest!

So The Mama & The Littlest Bro are coming to visit to make Christmas Goodies with us today & tomorrow, so this week's menu is super simple.

Monday: Leftovers - I don't want to have to cook supper tonight, I'd rather concentrate on Christmas goodies...yummy!!
Tuesday: Chicken Pie, green beans, & carrots
Wednesday: Beef Tacos w/ rice (unless we still have lots of leftovers, in which case we'll be cleaning out the fridge before we head out for the holiday).
Thursday: Christmas Eve Traditional meal at the in-laws...fried pork chops, country ham biscuits, and all other kinds of delicious, angina-inducing foods.
Friday: Merry Christmas! Since Jesus & I share the same birthday, I don't have to handle any food prep for the day. The Mama will take care of it all, but I am hearing Ham for lunch & Standing Rib Roast for supper. I'll enjoy it all, I'm sure! :)

18 December 2009

Advent Calendar

I found lots of Advent Calendars that I really love, like this one from PBK, this one on Etsy is pretty cute, & this one that is made from a Cookie Sheet. Anyway, even though I liked all of those & could probably make something similar to each one, I opted not to do any of those. My motto was simplicity (1) because little man (16 months) doesn't really "get" Christmas yet, and (2) I didn't want to spend any extra money on something used for such a short amount of time.

So instead, I made a very simple Advent Calendar out of construction paper that I already had & taped it to our pantry door. I cut a tree & some stars, then punched out 24 red circles with a 1" circle puncher. On the red circles I wrote activities for us to do each day in December leading up to Christmas Day.

Some of our activities are:
  •  watch a Christmas special on TV (that I DVR'd because no way does little man stay up late enough to watch it in real time)
  • color a Christmas coloring page
  • read a Christmas book
  • play with our Little People Nativity Set (we do this daily - it's a BIG hit!)
  • bake cookies with Nana
  • make Christmas goodies with Mimi
  • surprise Daddy at work with Christmas treats
  • make a birthday card for Jesus
  • bake a birthday cake/cupcakes for Jesus (hope Jesus likes chocolate as much as we do!)
  • make & take treats to neighbors
I left some blank so we could come up with extra activities along the way. Nothing on this list is super special, nor does it cost a ton of money (they're pretty much free!). But it is nice to take a little time each day to remember why we celebrate this season.

I'm trying to remember & incorporate what our MOPS mentor mom, Janie, said to us right before the holiday season started..."Hospitality is in the heart, not the home". So, no, I don't have to have the cutest Advent Calendar out there, but it certainly has my heart in it.

17 December 2009

The Christmas Pickle

A summer with a prolific vegetable garden, resulting in LOTS of canning means homemade Christmas gifts. We had 10+ cucumber plants, which equals a TON of pickles. I wanted to give these to my MOPS group, but thought it was a little lame to just give a jar pickles. That's when I remembered the Christmas Pickle Ornament & German tradition that goes with them. I found the ornaments at Oriental Trading for just $1/pc, created a tag to explain the tradition & send our well wishes, add a little ribbon & fabric and you have a festive, homemade Christmas gift! 

16 December 2009

Project Completed: Kids Chef Hat

Yay! A finished a sewing project tonight that I've been really excited about. It's a kid's reversible apron & matching chef hat. It will be a 2nd Birthday present for my little man's best little girlfriend (whose mom happens to also be my best friend). 

I used these two tutorials to make these:

My little man will be getting a wooden, blue kitchen for his 2nd birthday (in July!) & will be receiving a boy version of this along with a bunch of felt food that should be going on my "To Do" right after the holidays.

Yay! One more completed project during this busy holiday season!

New Blog...

This is my new blog that is just about me & my domestic dabblings...you know, all those little, often monotonous & sometimes super creative things I do around the house. Anything from our weekly meal plans & grocery shopping, to quilting & sewing projects. Come along & enjoy my domestic ventures!