Monday, July 23, 2012

What's for dinner??

I have a confession to make. I'm really bad at planning dinners for the week. I'm the kind of person that thinks "hmmm, what should we eat tonight" and then hops off to the grocery store with no regard for the following week. That is, provided the kiddies are cooperating. Otherwise its more like "hmmm, what can I scrounge up from the fridge/freezer tonight."

In order to remedy this bad habit, I created a menu board that lives in the kitchen and helps me prepare dinners for the week. My favorite part about the board is that just about everything is magnetic which means that things can easily be re-arranged, added, and removed. Here it is:

I made the board from an existing magnetic white board that just seemed to always be cluttered with things I never used. I covered the board with some decorative paper I bought at my local dollar store and some double-sided tape. I also made some pockets to hold menu cards, which I will talk about later.

 This is a closer photo of the menu side of the board. The cards are help up with magnets that I bought at Lowes. I found them much cheaper there than at the craft stores, and more magnetic than the ones at the dollar store. I wrote the abbreviation of the days of the week on each magnet Mon.-Sun., with the two weekend days hung vertically at the bottom.

The other two thirds of the board holds my pockets for my dinner menu cards, coupons, my grocery list, school calendar, and emergency contact list. I love how neat it stays.

The Grocery list is one of my favorite features. I bought it at Target relatively inexpensively. It's made by RealSimple. It is pre-populated with essentials that you can just check off, and this are grouped into categories like produce, meats, frozen, etc. When I am running low on milk, for instance I just check off the box. It helps me to keep a running grocery list for when we are out of something or running low as opposed to me getting to that point and thinking I will remember to put it on the list when I'm ready to head to the store... because I don't know about you but I never seem to remember and I end up heading to the store with about four things on my list.

I also love my menu cards. The front are labeled with the meal, and the back has a list of grocery items that I need to have in order to make said meal. So basically, I grab my grocery checklist, grab my meal cards, decide what to have for the week, and then flip the cards over and add anything to my grocery list that I don't currently have in my pantry, fridge, etc. I also have cards for things like eating out, trying a new recipe, and pizza and Chinese takeout. 

The system isn't flawless but its pretty gosh darn good. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Up the Creek Without a Paddle

I'm not entirely sure how, but I finished my block early this week... like real early-- as in, before the weekend hit. I'm speechless. Here it is for your viewing pleasure-- Paddle up the Creek.

Can I also just add that since this was the first time that my back has come out perfectly... flawless actually, I felt the need to share that picture too. Isn't it perttty?

Ok. Enough of that. I feel I need to clarify something. Despite the fact that my last SEVERAL posts have been about quilting, this is not a quilting blog. It's just that, well, with a two month old and three year old running around the house I haven't had time for much else, and for whatever reason doing a little bit of sewing seems to help me unwind and relax. Fear not, however. There is a cake that will make it debut after Little Loo's Christening in September... yes, I am crazy enough to do the cake for my own daughter's Christening. Plus I have a couple of other projects that I hope to complete between now and then, including a reorganization/redesign of the office/play room/sewing area. Was that enough slashes for ya?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

(Not) Going on a Picnic

This week the heat has been absolutely brutal, and the thought of doing anything outside almost brings me to tears. Unfortunately, or fortunately I guess, Diva is signed up for swim lessons and is destined to be a beautiful mermaid by the end of the summer. The unfortunate part is that I've had to haul Little Loo into the unbearable heat this week, and even though lessons are at 9:45am it has still been 90 degrees the last couple of mornings.

That being said, once I managed to get home getting into my sewing room has been last on the list of things to do. But I still managed to do it! I finished my block of the week entitled Going on a Picnic.

I also tried a new tool this week- the Perfect half-square and quarter-square triangles ruler by June Taylor, Inc. I actually bought this ruler for my cake decorating believe it or not... so since I had it I figured I might as well give it a go for its regular intended use. Maybe its because I already had a way that worked for me, but I wasn't a fan of this ruler. The way it works is like this: First you mark your sewing lines using the left side of the ruler. Then you sew down the lines, bring the stitched block to the right side of the ruler and cut the triangles apart, and press open. Then you use the grid in the center to square everything up.

At first I thought I really liked it. Drawing the lines meant I had a nice guide to sew off of, and cutting the square in half was a cinch too... but that damn squaring up nearly cost me my fabric. Something just wasn't working for me and I nearly lobbed off a quarter of an inch on one side. Oops. I'll give it another go...  but definitely on some scraps next time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Our family secret...

About a year ago, when Diva was just 2, my husband taught her a little saying. At first it was just "anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it." Over the last year, it has morphed into what you see in the photo above. It is our family secret, one that she was so proud to share with Little Loo on the day she was born just a few months ago. I asked Kendra of KendrasKreations on Etsy to customize the sign as a gift for my husband. The sign lives in our family room and reminds us all that anything is possible. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Falling Behind

Two months ago my newest little princess, Little Loo, decided it was time to make her debut... a month early! All things considered I've been keeping up with things quite well, but for whatever reason this week I seemed to be falling more and more behind. In everything. Laundry, grocery shopping, and definitely with this blog. I've decided since today is her two month birthday I would take this opportunity to post some photos of her room in addition to my BOW.

Here is the view from the door. We decided to keep the same theme from when we had our first daughter, Classic Winnie the Pooh. The sign above the tree reads: 
"Twinkle twinkle little star, Do you know how loved you are?" 
The quilt on the ottoman was given to me at my baby shower by a former co-worker. I used it with the first daughter all the time, and I'm happy that it has found its spot in this room as well.

Over the crib is a quote from Winnie himself that reads: "Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart." Truer words have never been spoken. 

As for last weeks Block of the Week, it happens to be called Count the Stars, which I guess works with my Twinkle, Twinkle sign! 

I'm not super thrilled with my fabric choices for this block. There just isn't enough contrast. Lesson learned I suppose. The photo quality doesn't help either, since I think it does look a little better in person than in the picture, but it will be fine for this project. I still haven't decided what I will be doing with this quilt once it is done. I may go ahead and donate it to a charity, or perhaps I will save it for when a friend is expecting a little girl. We shall see...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Jump in the Pool

This week's block of the week was entitled "Jump in the Pool" and I found it so fitting. With the 90+ degree heat here in NJ, and the 4th of July holiday upon us it all just seemed to make sense.

Among other things, this  week's block was a great review of the techniques we learned the last 3 weeks, and I found it comforting and encouraging that I could just look at the block and know how to make it without going back to review the instructions from previous weeks.

This quilt along is giving me so much confidence, and I want to try more and more things. I've started doing some research on learning how to do paper piecing as I have my sights on creating a quilt for Diva's school's auction. She's only 3, and the school goes through high school, so I figure I have plenty of time to finish it... if not for this year's auction there is always the one 15 years down the road!

Until next time, I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July!