24 October 2010

Sneak Peek...

A sneak peek of the wild & crazy quilt I'm working on. 
It's quite colorful, very scrappy, and lots of fun! :)

23 October 2010

More Quilt Productivity

It's been 3 months since my last productive quilting time, but I've finally had a bit more productiveness in my version of this Raw Edge Circle Quilt. My circles have been cut out, sewn on the larger squares, cut into fourths, and matched up to make larger blocks. Now it's time to sew the small squares into one large block. It looks so random, colorful, and fun - I just can't wait to get the top pieced together! Hopefully it won't be another 3 months before that happens...  :)

17 October 2010

Grocery Price Book

Lately I've been reevaluating my grocery & meal planning habits. I have gotten lazy and definitely not being a good steward of a grocery money. I haven't been wasteful, just not being as frugal as I'd like to be. I started planning our meals monthly to help with my meal planning, but needed a way to make sure I was getting the best grocery prices when I shopped.

I created my own version of a Grocery Price Book based on ideas in both $5 Dinner Mom and Family Feasts for $75 a Week. I made one page per grocery category that I typically buy (Fruits & Veggies, Dairy, Baking Supplies, etc). I included cleaning supplies and Healthy & Beauty items because that all falls into the same category for us. See below...

My goal is to write down unit prices for the same product at each store I regularly visit. Many of these will be store-brand items, but that will help me to figure out where I can get each item for the best price or take advantage if I see a big sale at a local grocery store (since most of my shopping comes from Walmart and Sams/Costco). 

I think this will really help with my couponing and stockpiling. I rarely stockpile by using food coupons unless Harris Teeter is running a Super Doubles or Triple Coupons event because I can usually find store brands that I like just as much for less than the price with coupon. However, now I'll be able to compare a store brand to the coupon price to make my decision to stock up or not.

If you're wondering how I'm going to keep this with me, I'm going to hole punch the pages (I printed on cardstock so it would be more durable) and keep them in the front of my coupon binder. Having my coupons with my price list will be very useful.

I don't expect to get this done all in a day, but my plan is to write down prices for at least one page at a different store each week while I'm there (childless during preschool hours) anyway. Hopefully over the next month or two, I'll have my prices filled in and will transform into a "Grocery Guru" - ha! 

15 October 2010

Organizing My Week

Each Sunday afternoon/evening, I sit down to plan out our week. First I look at our family calendar (with the fun pictures from the previous year that everyone gets at Christmas from me) and see what we have going on. I transfer any events to my "week-at-a-glance" sheet that I created to fit my needs. That may seem redundant to some, but it helps me to focus just on this week. I add in things on this calendar that aren't on our big family calendar...preschool days, errands that need to be run, and various other items that aren't "worthy" of the family calendar. I add in our weekly menu (which I'm now planning monthly), make our grocery list, and I'm set! Something about getting it all on paper just gives me a calm because I'll know what to expect each day. 

I know I'm anal retentive and love to have an organized life. But, I'm curious...does anyone else do something similar?

13 October 2010

Photo Class - Week 2

We spent a little more than half the class constructively critiquing each others photos during the second week of my photography class. This didn't really leave a ton of time to go over new material, but we did discuss exposure a bit more, including ISO, and the rule of thirds. Our assignment was to take 4 different shots of the same object and to take an interesting angle on an everyday object. I waited until the afternoon of class to complete my homework due to being out of town and struck down by a stomach bug, which means I only had naptime to work on it - not the best light. Oh well!

My four shots of the same object was of one of the Beauty Berry bushes in our front yard. Here are those 4...

This one is my favorite...love the berries & the picture doesn't do their color justice.

I attempted to take a shot of a crayon from the point. I pretty much failed, but I did get some questions answered, so I'll consider it a success.

11 October 2010

Meal Plan Monday - New Plan!

I've been meal planning week-by-week for a long time now. Lately it's gotten fairly laborious to decide what to eat each Sunday evening. My hubby and I have not had motivation or creativity in our ideas, which has resulted in eating out & grabbing something quick more often than we should. Not only is this bad for the waistline, it's bad for the wallet.

I had to come up with a new plan. I consulted two of my favorite books, Family Feasts for $75 a Week and The $5 Dinner Mom, which have lots of tips for meal planning, eating healthy but cheaply, and many good recipes. A suggestion was to meal plan by the month. I thought this sounded good, but a bit overwhelming. I decided if each day had a theme (Chicken, Pasta, Crockpot, etc), it would be easier to plan and our meals would be diverse. So I created this document to fill out for the next four weeks & nothing repeats (except pizza - I won't break that tradition!).

I quickly filled out our plan for the month and could think ahead to busy weeks to adjust accordingly (this week is a good example of a busy week - I'll be gone 4 dinners/nights this week, so we had to have something easy).

This week, we'll be eating...
Monday: Pork Chops, Rice, & Green Beans
Tuesday: Chicken Alfredo w/ Salad (chicken is ready to go)
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Chili (from the freezer)
Friday: Take-n-Bake Pizza (from Costco)
Weekend Meal #1: Cuban Sammys w/ Fries
Weekend Meal #2: Grilled Cheese & Can Soup Night (I've got Bunco, so it's got to be easy for my guys)

Looking forward to implementing this new monthly meal plan!

Check out other Meal Plans at OrgJunkie.

10 October 2010

Recipe Review: Butterhorns

I've been meaning to try out Life As Mom's Butterhorn Recipe for a while since my hubby LOVES crescent rolls. I finally pulled out my bread machine today and tried it out. They were a hit!

The recipe makes 32 butterhorns. I made 8 fresh for dinner tonight (4 regualar, 4 chocolate for dessert) and froze the rest. Now, let's hope I remember to pull some out enough hours in advance to enjoy them with future dinners!

06 October 2010

Photo Class - Week 1

One of my 101 Goals is to take a photography class (#27). We've had a DSLR for almost a year now and I haven't gotten out of an automatic or scene setting yet. I'm determined to get better, so I signed up at the local arts center to take a DSLR 101 class. So far it's been pretty good & I'm learning quite a bit. I've been shooting without the little green "Auto" box, so that's a good step in the right direction!

Our first week we learned about Aperture and Shutter Speed. We were to practice shooting in both of those priority modes. Our assignment was to bring back 5 pictures: 
(1)Great Depth of Field  & (2)Shallow Depth of Field (both related to Aperture), 
(3)Showing motion & (4)Stopping motion (both related to Shutter Speed)
(5)a favorite picture that we've taken.

I'm sharing the photos I took to class. I'm not sharing them because I think they're prefect (or even really good). In fact, I totally missed the point of one of them and didn't do a good job at all with another. However, I'm learning and supposed to get more comfortable showing pictures I've taken...what a better format for sharing than my blog!

(1) Great Depth of Field (should have showed more depth - oops!)

(2)Shallow Depth of Field

 (3)Showing motion (I should have focused more on the bee - he's tiny in such a big picture, but his wings do show he's in motion)

(4)Stopping motion

(5)a favorite picture that I've taken in the past
not sure if I love the actual picture or just the subject