Planning Makes Perfect

Lists make the world a better place. At least they make my world better. I love to make a list almost as much as I love to cross things off. To do lists, grocery lists, lists of lists- I don’t discriminate.

While, I keep my life line Erin Condren Life Planner up to date and I use the goals and to-do sections pretty regularly, I’ve been seriously slacking on my list-making. This means I’ve also been slacking a bit on my productivity.

But not this week. This week, I brought lists back and better than ever. Let’s start with general “to do,” lists. I’m not that busy, but it helps and actually energizes me to write down what I need to do, even just tasks as simple as “make lunch.” And I want it to be easy so I invested in these little journals from Target and they are list making perfection.list making and meal planning

I can make my daily list and pop it in my purse for safe keeping and frequent checking.list making and meal planning

Where I’ve struggled even more than general “to do’s,” is meal planning. It works. It saves time, money and stress but I just can’t seem to be consistent with it. I even bought this amazing meal planning pad from Anthroplogie when I was Christmas shopping. (I needed a treat, too. Don’t judge.)list making and meal planning

At first I think all the details overwhelmed me, but I really embraced it this week and I hope to never turn back. I planned on Saturday, shopped on Sunday, made one little extra trip to the grocery store on Thursday to replenish produce and this week has been ah-mazing. Less stress, less money, more time for other things. Another bonus is we’ve eaten really well and wasted much less. Having a vision of the week, helps me know when and how to plan ahead and that is priceless. list making and meal planning

I am hoping that I can keep this up because it is amazing how much more smoothly the week goes. How do you plan ahead? The comments are a perfect place to start a list of your favorite tips :)

Hope you have a wonderful weekend- put that on your to do list! :)

Advertisements

Easy Christmas Recipe: Peppermint Bark

Alternate Title: I’m too tired to bake a seven layer cake but I still want to make a special Christmas treat.

Peppermint  Bark

Christmas is hard! There I said it. I love it, it’s magical and meaningful and it really is the most wonderful time of year. But if you’re anything like me, you’re starting to feel the “it’s almost Christmas, I’ve only finished half my shopping, none of my wrapping, I didn’t even send Christmas cards, there are tons of year end things happening at work and when I come home I want to fall asleep” time of the year.

It happens. Seven layer cakes are great, but sometimes you just need a quick fix for a Christmas treat. Hello, Peppermint Bark. Easiest recipe ever, but everyone will love you and think you are a culinary rock star. Seriously, I have people who expect this every year and it could not be simpler. Christmas Cheer in a hurry=everyone is happy.

Are you ready? You need White Chocolate Bark and Candy Canes. Unwrap them and crush them up.Peppermint Bark

Melt the chocolate. You can add some peppermint extract if you like, but it’s still good with just plain old yummy white chocolate.peppermint bark

Pour the chocolate out on some wax paper and spread it. Make it thick, thin or however you like it. Then just sprinkle on your peppermint pieces on top and gently pat them down into the chocolate. This year I did the same thing with Oreos. Yum! But use whatever you have. Leftover halloween candy? No one is judging, it’s called repurposing.peppermint bark

Pop it in the fridge. When it’s set, break it into chunks.Peppermint Bark

peppermint barkPackage it cute, spread some Christmas Cheer all around and go to bed happy that you made something homemade and yummy but didn’t spend hours. Go to bed happy with visions of sugarplums peppermint bark dance in your heads.Peppermint Bark

Peppermint  Bark

 Do you have a favorite treat this time of year? Want to see some other yummy recipes? Check out the Recipe Link Party over at Shue Love. Yummmm…

Girl’s Night In: Pizzeria Style

I live with a boy now. It’s one of the consequences of getting married. While that’s a very good thing, it does tend to limit the Girl’s Only nights so I like to try to take advantage of the few times that Robb leaves for the weekend and host a fun night with my BFF. (BTdubs, she can come over when there is a boy here, I’m just talking about those real girl’s only nights. And this way I don’t have to kick anyone out. Thats rude :))

What was I saying? Girl’s Night In-Fun! While Robb was away playing (boring) golf all weekend, I made sure I planned a night where it would be just me and my BFF.

And that meant there had to be a theme. And girl friendly food. When Sarah and I think girl friendly food- that usually means cheese, not cucumber sandwiches. We went with Margherita so that means Pizzeria theme!

I grabbed a little gingham fabric at Joann, topped it with some craft paper and picked plain white dishes and napkins. Pizzeria=simple!

A simple salad with lettuce fresh from my garden and homemade vinaigrette we can count and coloring on the table until the wee hours make for a pizza perfect evening!

Recipe Favorite: Cornbread Salad

It never fails when I make this no one wants to eat it. It’s too pretty! But someone finally tries it and the rest is an empty triffle dish history.

You know Paula Deen is one of my favorites and this is one of her recipes that contains no frying or butter but it is still delish! For the whole recipe, go see Paula here, but this is how I make it. It is as simple as layering up all the ingredients- cornbread (that you can make yourself or pick up at your grocery store, I’ve done both), beans, corn, onion, bell pepper, tomatoes (that I forgot-oops!), cheese and ranch dressing- and letting it sit in the fridge for a few hours.

And that’s really it! So simple, so pretty, so yummy! What’s your favorite go-to summer salad recipe?

2012- How you doin’?

Well, hello there! Long time no see read :) I had to travel a bit for work this week and the bad news is I had no time for blogging. The good news is I got to go to Ikea all by myself. You’ll be seeing some more of that soon but for now I thought I would take a little time to check in on my 2012 goals.  Let’s see how I’m doing. I kept the goal and updated in red below…

Around the House:

1. Bonus Room – We use the bonus room lots for watching TV and just lounging around. It is really comfy and cozy but it needs some love and color. And it needs it to be cheap. We’ll see what happens. I actually have a plan for this- curtains, paint, a new chair and some super fun accessories. I’m going to count this as progress. 

2. Guest Bedroom– It’s not awful but it needs a little something. We’ll see how we can spice it up a bit. Nothing here yet, but I am starting my mental plan. That does not quite count as progress. 

3. Laundry Room– this is a teeny room that gets a lot of use so I know I can’t have one of those luxurious, chandelier-ed laundry spaces, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be prettier. Things can always be prettier, right? We hung the hooks I got for Christmas which has drastically helped in the organization department and, like the bonus room, we’ve got a pretty good plan for some shelving and lighting. More progress, it just needs more money. 

5. Grow something- At my old house, I had the most wonderful little herb garden. I would go out there and cut whatever I needed for for whatever I was cooking right then. I would add some veggies and fruit in the spring and I just loved it.

In this house, I added a few herbs right out the back door last year, but I am ready for a real garden in the back yard. It will happen!– I count this one as a major success so far! I’ve started seeds, almost lost my whole “crop,” and made them a little bed.  I can’t wait to show you the progress (next week, hopefully :)) 

And then planting some tulips in the fall. Watch out Spring 2013! This one isn’t even “due” yet. Check back this fall. 

6. Hang Curtains- in my BFF’s house. Yes, BFF, this is important enough to make the list. She painted her bedroom the most fabulous teal-ish color and bought these at World Market. I just need to pack up my drill and level and head to her house. I wonder if she would even let you peek at the finished product? (hint, hint :)) CHECK! This one is done and looks GREAT and she even let me share here. Thanks, Bff! 

4. Light It Up- I have 2 sets of lamps from the flea market that are in desperate need of a make-over. One set is even on our bedside tables and gets used every day! I have been waiting seriously over a year to redo them. I even bought the paint so I need to get those done! Half success? I actually got the ones below completed (thanks to some wiring help from my daddy- THANK YOU!) but I just haven’t had a chance to write it up yet. The others, I have no idea what I’m going to do with. Oh, and I added another lamp to the redo list. And I may have gotten a shade for it at Ikea, but you’ll see that soon enough :) 

5. Christmas in July- Well, maybe not quite that early, but I hope to start decorating, shopping, planning, wrapping and all that jazz way earlier this year. Christmas came so fast last year, I want to be ready this time around so we can just sit around and enjoy every second. I have a few more months. I’m not even procrastinating yet. 

 In the Kitchen

1. Add Some Variety- I cook, lots. And I love it. I can have a stressfull day then come home and chop up veggies or bake something yummy and it really makes me feel better (the eating it part helps too) but sometimes I just run out of time to try new recipes. I have some really, really great cookbooks so I want to use them more and try new things. I’ve tried several new things and used both of these books and a few other new ones, I just haven’t written them all up yet. I’ve also fallen madly in love with Pioneer Woman. Her meatloaf is life changing. Yep, I really mean it. Life Changing Meatloaf. 

2. Try Some Classics- For some reason there are a few things I’ve never tackled. I would like to change that this year. Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Lasagna- I’ve made the veggie variety but never the classic stuff and I love me some lasagna. no attempts, yet, but P-Dubs recipe may be all I need to inspire me. Yummmm. 
  • Chicken Broth- I’ve heard it’s easy, so why not try making my own? Not yet. Boo. 
  • Roast Chicken- We eat just about every kind of chicken out there. If you really are what you eat, I would be clucking this to you. But I’ve never roasted a whole chicken.   Let’s change that this year. Not Yet, I’ll get there, right?
  • Real Biscuits- I have made real biscuits before, but its been awhile. Like it may have been for a 4-H project. I got a new pastry blender for Christmas so I am armed and dangerous ready for some fluffy, yummy biscuits. This past weekend I made some super yummy homemade biscuits. OMG, they really were great. I will share STAT!! 
  • Fried Chicken- My Mama makes the BEST so this is probably the most ambitious but worth a try. I’m still really good at eating it, but haven’t tried to fry it. Mama, teach me, please?
  • Creme Brulee- Have torch, will scorch. Eventually. You can guess the answer here- not yet. 

Organization

1. Jewelry- I’m not a crazy jewlery wearer, but somehow I have a drawer overflowing with it and various boxes in the closet. It’s insane. I forget what I have. It’s not working. I need therapy organization. Check! And it’s still working. Yay for successful organization! Read about my FREE project here

2. My Closet- I may not be a crazy jewelry wearer, but I am that crazy shoe girl. I have some shoes. Don’t ask me how many. I also have some clothes to wear with said shoes. Sometimes these items end up on the floor. And sometimes they stay there. What I’m saying is my closet does NOT look like this.

It needs some love this year and some regular maintenance. PROGRESS! It’s no where near perfect, but we’re getting there! 

3. The Office– Papers beware, I’m coming for you. It took 2 tries, but CHECK! The office is working much better thanks to some initial purging and some help from the Container Store! 

Blog Goals

1. Home Tour- I have blog stats. You’re  clicking here, I see you! I bet you would like something to look at, right? I’m working on that. Maybe I’ll show you a room per week? What do you think? One word- FAIL!

2. Design/Mood/Inspiration Boards- I am always seeing things that maybe wouldn’t fit in my house but that I love and they inspire me so why not put together and show you what I’m thinking. Just maybe they’ll work in your Home Sweet Here. Ditto.

3. Get to know you- This is for you. There are not a bajillion of you out there reading, but there are some of you (see #1- I see you!) and I love you already. When I get a comment notification or a new follower, or even a “like” it makes my day week. I just ask that you don’t be shy! Let me know you’re out there. Say hi! If you don’t want to leave a comment where everyone can see, email me or use the contact page. This is just a side hobby for me, so it may take me a day or 2 to get back to you but I will, that’s a promise. So many of you have told me that you were working on a similar project- show me! I want to see. Let’s share. Sharing is fun. How are we doing here? You tell me, maybe in a comment :) 

And a few personal things

1. Take a vacation- Yes please, stat. My little work trip does not count, but we’re hoping for sun, sand and relaxation in the fall. When all the kids are back in school. Peaceful :)

2. Paint my fingernails- Sounds ridiculous but I never do this. Ever. Sitting still for that long is hard, but I covet pretty painted fingernails. I actually did this a few times. I need to do it a few more. I may get all crazy someday and get a real manicure. Living on the edge for real. 

3. Enjoy- Everything. Simple enough, but that vacation will probably help ;) A work in progress, but I think I’m doing quite well. 

So, I’m thinking I’m doing pretty good for May, right? There are still lots to do but it’s nice to have a few checked off. How are your goals going for the year? Are you enjoying checking things off your list? It kind of makes me feel like I can accomplish a few more things, maybe I’ll go paint my nails and roast a chicken. See you next week :)