Words To Live By:

"The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you finish the work."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I'm Hungry!

I've gotten out of the habit of creating a meal plan and/or grocery list... and I always go way over budget at the grocery store and run out of food well before I should.   (This also happens if I grocery shop with a) Kevin or B) children.   With Kevin, items randomly appear in the cart.  With the kids, I tend to just want to get in and out as fast as I can so I fly through the aisles grabbing whatever I *think* we need.)   

With two FUSSY monkeys, (ohmygosh they drive me crazy with their complaints at dinner, breakfast and after school!) and lately, no desire to spend lots of time in the kitchen, I want quick, healthy, yummy meals that will make table time a breeze.   Unfortunately, when we do find something that the majority (3 out of 4 ain't bad!) enjoys, it gets added to the regular rotation and *I* get bored of it quickly.   (The "men" get spaghetti and meatballs... mommy makes toast and eggs, or a bowl of cereal.)

Today I went shopping for a 10 day meal plan - with some ingredients on hand and NO COUPONS (whoops!) - $300+ later, my cupboards are full, my fridge is overflowing and there's no "hmmm, what's for dinner?" happening until next payday.

Here's what we're planning this "week":

Chicken Veggie Flatbread - think restaurant style loaded with yumminess.   This is a quick one that I can do using left over chicken from a previous meals and hit's the "thanks for dinner, mom" mark because it adds variety to our rotation while playing on the pizza factor - lots of toppings, no tomato sauce or pepperoni.

Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry -  This is not always a hit with the boys (not big fans of peppers) but I add enough veggie variety to the stir-fry that they can pick out what they like and leave the peppers.   Served over rice or noodles.

Pulled Pork -  I originally planned on ribs (they love ribs!) but they weren't on sale and little pork tenderloins were.    This is my no hassle meal for the week, and while not necessarily healthy -hello, bbq sauce! - it's tasty and because I make it in the crockpot, it's "quick" (or slow I suppose, if you want to get technical.)   Usually I'll serve it on buns - but occasionally with rice - and always with a side of slaw with a sesame dressing.   The leftovers are great on tortillas or as a pizza topping.

Dutch Meatball Soup - My kids don't like this.  They'll eat the carrots, some of the noodles and dig out the meatballs, but on a whole, they're not really soup people.   Too bad, so sad, because in this case, I don't care if they like it or not.  This is a staple from my childhood and makes good comfort food.  This is pretty close to the recipe I use - I always tweak it to what I have on hand.  Freeze the leftovers for lunches or another quick meal.

Grilled Chicken Club Sandwiches - Easy, peasy.  Grilled chicken breasts topped with tomato, cheese, bacon (or whatever anyone wants) on foccacia.  Served with a side salad and I'm thinking yam fries done in my T-fal Actifry.  Simple and delicious!

Maple Salmon - I still haven't made this even though I've pinned and bookmarked a few recipes, usually as kebabs. (Funny side note, Justin is adamant that fishing bobbers are called "kebabs".  There's no convincing him it's wrong.)  This week, I'm cheating and going to use a grilling rub, Maple Peppercorn from Gourmet Village, just to keep things easy.   Serving with fresh veggies and rice.
Ginger Beef & Pineapple Kebabs - I know one monkey will definitely complain about this - he has issues with the beef texture.  He just keeps chewing, and chewing, and chewing - even though he likes the taste.  Weird.   It's a yummy recipe though and kebabs are always fun!  Just a note - I don't necessarily use the listed marinade - I use what I have on hand (usually my own.)

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells - This recipe makes a semi-regular appearance in our rotation, so we're not quite sick of it yet. The boys like tex-mex inspired and usually this will go over okay.  I don't use the taco sauce but just use extra salsa on top.

Beer Can Chicken - I've tried a few recipes and somehow whole chicken isn't my thing.  I've had some that turn out AMAZING (a lemon stuffed one from Chatelaine) and the next time, it's an epic fail.   I haven't tried this beer-can one yet - but they're pretty much all the same.  We'll see how it goes.  I'll probably serve it with mini roasted potatoes and a side salad.  The leftovers will come in handy for that flatbread I listed first.
So that's my plan... hopefully the meals will hit the spot and keep complaints to a minimum.   You know I love new recipes, so feel free to share your favourites in the comments below.   This breakfast one got my mouth watering while browsing for other ideas this morning - I plan on serving it Saturday morning:


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ginger Snap Scraps: Mega Mother's Day Giveaway

Do you ever stop to think about how social media has changed the dynamics of consumer, business, and even personal networking? Do you ever dial "0" for the operator or call 411 when looking up a telephone number? When you need to get in touch with someone - for a quote, for an order, for a quick question - do you pick up the phone (forget writing a letter or sending a fax!) or do you send a text, an instant message, or an email?

The internet and social media are amazing things - providing access to information and ways of interaction to an extent we never imagined even 10 years ago. Here's an example of how you can just stumble across something wonderful.

On a random blog, I found an example of some paper crafting projects and stamping products I loved. Unfortunately, I didn't know anyone who was a rep for Stampin Up. ---->

Head over to Stampin' Up website and locate a local consultant. ------>

Place an order online and find out said consultant has a blog and a Facebook page - both of which I now follow. ---->

Via Facebook, learn that my consultant knows someone who is opening a new (FABULOUS!) online scrapshop called Ginger Snap Scraps. ---->

Impatiently wait for online shop to open, follow Facebook page and the store's blog --->

Browse amazing product lines and earn reward credit when I place my first order with Ginger Snap Scraps. Now excitedly wait for my delivery (hello, amazing grand opening deals and shipping special!) ---->

Regularly check both blog and Facebook page for Ginger Snap Scraps and see this amazing post:

Ginger Snap Scraps: Mega Mother's Day Giveaway at Ginger Snap Scraps!: Welcome to the Mega Mother's Day Giveaway with Ginger Snap Scraps!  ....One lucky mom will be the winner of over $300 worth of scrapbooking and paper crafting items from Ginger Snap Scraps.

Well, let me tell ya, that is an exciting contest.  Seriously!    You should head over and check out the multiple ways you can enter... and if I'm the lucky winner and you just happen to be selected, you'll share, right?   Check out the store - Cori has amazing product lines in her store, the customer service is fantastic, prices are affordable (cheap, cheap Cricut cartridges) and it's all so user friendly.   And check out the blog - earn some entries - good luck!

And to think, if I hadn't stumbled across the random blog entry so many months ago, I'd never have indirectly learned about Ginger Snap Scraps.  It's a small world with so much at our fingertips.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Black & White

Nothing in life is as simple as black and white.   Yes, there are obvious rules and morals that are clearly defined, but not everything fits so neatly into such a categorization.   Black & White is the inspiration for today's second photo-challenge inspired post - I'm back on track!  

When talking photos, black and white can hide some not-so-perfect elements in an image you'd like to capture.   I find sepia can do the same.  Using basic camera settings on newer digital models or a decent image-editing software, you can pretty up those pictures that otherwise just look "blah."    Generally while crafting with images, I use a sepia or black & white - it just eliminates distractions in the photo and gives everything a more polished look.

When talking about my life, nothing (minus a good extent of my wardrobe!) is so boring (or is that sophisticated as?) black and white... but here I present three of my favourite "things" - in monochrome.

This is one of my favourite features of the new house.  The fieldstone fireplace sits opposite a bank of  large, bright windows.  It shares the focus of the living room with the tv (of course!)   It's no longer wood burning - it's had a propane unit installed, the mantle needs improving, and there are some cracks in the stone hearth - but I love it!

The living room is one open space with a patio door entrance to the deck, stairs to the basement, and and eat-in kitchen.  It has lovely tall ceilings and a few skylights.   The fireplace makes the room.

I need to take down that lamp and we have to figure out our lighting situation - so for now it stays.  See those boxes on the right?  All books... I want to put a floor-to-ceiling built-in where the dog bed and boxes are now sitting to make better use of that space.   I took the photo in black & white because I can't stand my yellow-painted walls.  Isn't the fireplace itself lovely though?

In my colourful world, I need a reminder to live not so colourfully.  This is currently my favourite Bible verse if I can actually pick just one favourite.   Believer or not, the words are just so true and applicable to everyone.   Life would be so much more peaceful if we all took them to heart.

"...let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath."  James 1:19      One day, you may see this tattooed in a nice script inside my wrist - because I am NOT always a good listener, I OFTEN speak without thinking, and I have a very quick TEMPER.   It's a lesson I need to learn!

Finally on this very short tour of my life in black & white, I share one of my all-time-keep-it-framed-on-the-fireplace pictures of my boys.   (Edit:  I can't find the actual digital file... but I found one taken the same day!  Darn.   The memories are still the same though even if the photo doesn't quite invoke the same feelings of heartmelting awesomeness.)

This photo (and the one that has gone AWOL) was taken in the summer of 2008.   Justin would have been just a year and a bit, and Kaleb was almost 3.    I love seeing the Kevin interact with the boys... and this day, even though they were far too young to interact with the RC car Kevin still has tucked away in the basement, the day was filled with giggles, grins, and maybe a few tears if the car came too close.   Aw, sweet memories - no doubt about it, this guy loves his boys!  

It's In The Cards...

I haven't been crafting as many cards lately as I did, say, oh the 2 months before Christmas.   For some reason I find it harder to create all occasion cards that are attractive.   I find inspiration on Pinterest, through some magazines, various blogs - but when it comes down to it, Christmas cards just seem to be my thing.

This is one of my most recent cards, a set of 4 made for my Wisdom & Whimsy group.

It's blank inside... which makes it perfect for a girlfriend's birthday, a wedding shower, or just because.   It's simple... but I feel like it's just missing something.

Here is another simple card I've created for Wisdom & Whimsy since "the move."  I found the charms, used as my sentiment, at Michael's in the clearance department and thought they were too good a deal to pass up.  I wasn't thinking 'card' when I bought them, but I saw a similar idea through an online print shop for wedding stationary and thought they would work perfectly well on a thank you card.  

I'll have to set aside some time to card-make using the tons of photos and cardmaps I've clipped and saved.... first I have to find the desk in my craft room.  Why is it so hard to keep my creative space neat?

PS - I'm off a day on my photo-challenge-inspired blogging...   cards were yesterday, black & white is today.  I had to get some broken molars repaired last night - again - and wasn't feeling up to blogging when I got home.  This is the second time they've fixed them and I have no idea how I keep breaking them in the same spot.  I really wish they'd stay 'fixed' though - the ladies at the dentist's office and Dr. Gold, himself, are all lovely... but it's not my favourite place to hang out.  I like my space and hands in my mouth is just way too invasive *shudder*.  I walk away from every appointment with a tension headache and my poor gums are so bruised.  I deserve chocolate.  Or a frappucino.  Or a Tim Horton's mango smoothie because they're my new favourite drink in a town that has limited coffee shop options.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Burst of Colour

I know it's been so long since the last post... and I feel like every new entry I'm apologizing for the span between... but life get's busy and some days it seems as if we're just settling into a working routine after "the big move."

We've been in the house just under 3 months and haven't even begun to scratch off the items on our to-do list.   We've survived the move, the school transfer, the bus mishaps (they forgot to drop off my kids not once - but twice - since mid-January!) We've survived a small basement flood, a larger basement flood, a thunderstorm, a snow day, and March break.   We've met some neighbours, met the original owner, met (& sheltered overnight) 2 runaway Kuvasz dogs  - one who decided to walk right in the house when I opened the screen door to the deck.   Needless to say, life goes on, life gets busy, life is seldom without it's adventures.

I really want to maintain the blog now that we seem a bit more settled and our internet isn't so sketchy.  (Ok, it's still sketchy - rural internet generally is - but fingers crossed, it will continue to work as smoothly as it's working today!)

I decided that this month, I'm going to try to follow as many prompts from the Scrapbooks Etc. April photo challenge as I can.   It will give me a springboard to launch a post from - even if it's just a sentence or two to capture the thought behind the image.... and maybe someday I'll actually scrapbook them.

April 1:   Colour Challenge

I've had this clivia for some time and it's just sat there - green and not so pretty.  It was an offset from my mom's plant.  After we moved, I put my houseplants (all 4 of them!) in the hot tub room.   It's all enclosed, windows on all sides and a few skylights but not so warm as the main house.  On a good day it retains a damp heat but through the winter months it could be chilly.   I wasn't sure my plants would survive.  

Earlier this week, I moved my pots back into the house.   My rubber plant & some other green one I can never remember the name of boasted tons of new shoots.   My tropical grass didn't survive.   My clivia was finally full of buds!  Woohoo!   I've been waiting impatiently all week to see these beauties open - and this morning they finally provided a burst of vibrant colour for an otherwise dreary day!

Tomorrow... I'll share a new card or two I've made.