Friday, April 19, 2013

Clean Mama Printables GIVEAWAY!!

Hooray! It's giveaway day!

 Before we get to the giveaway, I wanted to share just a few more of my favorite pieces of the Starter Kit.

 Automobile Maintenance Log

Neither of our cars are new. They're in pretty good shape, but we're getting to the point where tracking the maintenance we've done on them is important, especially if we want to sell them some day. This log makes that so easy!

Emergency Contact Info

Everything, all in one place. All the information is there, and it's easy to pull out of the binder and put on the fridge for a baby sitter. 

Important Dates

I admit it...I am horribly dependent on Facebook to remind me of birthdays. Not the best system in the world. This will be a huge help!

Before I Forget

Ok, this one is brilliant! No one should ever have a three-year-old in the house and not have a place to write down all the ridiculous and silly things they say and do! No I have one, right there in my binder!

There are so many other fantastic pages in this kit. Becky makes it so easy to personalize your home management binder (or whatever your favorite format is) to what you need it to be. 

Now, let's get to the goodies! I have all sorts of entries for you, so enter away!

The giveaway will end on Sunday at midnight, and I will announce the winner here on Monday!!

Be blessed!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Keeping Up With the Cleaning

So, I'm not the best housekeeper...

(If my husband is reading this he's laughing...stop it, you!)

But seriously, I envy those people that need everything in the right place. I've never been that person that has to get the kitchen clean before they go to bed. As a matter of fact, it's a mess right now. #keepinitreal
My laundry spends more time in baskets then put away.

Now, don't get me wrong, my house isn't dirty. It's just not picked up and organized at the end of every day.

The hard thing doesn't bug me. I can't explain it. It just doesn't. But, you know who it does bother? My husband. He would never say it (at least not often), but living in a messy house increases his stress levels. He is calmer in a clean house.

I, as his wife, want to give him a clean house. And to do that, I need help.

God bless Clean Mama Printables!

I've already showed you how the make menu planning a breeze. Now let me show you how they help me stay on top of my cleaning.

First of all, I love the weekly cleaning list.

Part of my struggle is that cleaning the whole house feels overwhelming. I don't know where to start, so I don't start at all. No good. This gives me a simple checklist of the things to do. I don't do all of them every day, but if I can get a few done each day I feel like I'm keep up.

Now, obviously this isn't a comprehensive cleaning list. What about all the other stuff? Windows, baseboards, rugs and such? Well, Becky has something for that, too!

First there is her monthly cleaning checklist. The same things, every month. Just check them off. Boom, boom, boom!

Then, for everything else, there is the Seasonal Checklist.

She also has several blank lists for those jobs that are specific to your home and your life.

My house still isn't spotless. Not even close. But, I feel like I'm keeping my head above water, and that's a start!

Do you need help getting your head above water? I cannot recommend Becky's printables enough. She was so kind to share her Starter Kit with me, and we will be giving one a way on Friday! In the meantime, use the code 20LONGSTORY to get 20% off her shop!

Be blessed!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Menu Plannning 101

Hey there friends!

If you know anything about me, you know that I am NOT a natural planner. It's just not my natural setting. However, I am a HUGE fan of menu planning. There is something about knowing what I'm making for dinner that makes my whole day easier.

I know that menu planning isn't a new concept. Everyone and their mother has written a post about it, but I thought I would share my process, and some tools I use to make it all easier. I plan a month at a time, but you can absolutely tweak this to fit the way you plan!

Step 1: Grab your recipes. Some of my favorite source 
- Magazines (Taste of Home is my favorite!)
- Recipe card books: You know, those $5 ones in the check out line. I may have a mild obsession                             with them
- Recipe Box: Old family recipes, things clipped from magazines, all those cards are gold!
- Pinterest

I usually start by flipping through all of these things and seeing what jumps out at me. 

Step 2: Start with your "days off"
      Everyone has days built into their week or month. It may be date night, or pizza night, or whatever. Here are mine:
-Fridays: Pizza night at my parent's
-Saturdays: Leftovers 
-Sundays: "Snicky Snack" dinner: cheese, crackers, fruit, whatever is on hand
     Yep, you read that right, I only cook 4 days a week. It's pretty much amazing. I like it a lot. : )

Step 3: Fill in your staples. 
     Everyone has their go-to recipes. The ones that their family loves, are easy to make, and don't take much thought. Fill those in first. My go-tos are:
- Chili
- Tacos
- Spaghetti
- Baked Pork Chops
- Breakfast for Dinner

Step 4: Fill in the gaps.
     Now, take all those recipes you picked out earlier and fill them in where you still have gaps. Think about your family's schedule, lifestyle and needs as you do this. For us, dinners become lunches. Matt is OK with sandwiches, but gets pretty cranky if he has to take one for lunch every day. I try to make sure that there are at least 2 meals a week that will have leftovers. We also go to yoga on Wednesday nights, so I don't want something too heavy on those night. Do what works for you!

Step 5: Organize your recipes. 
     Make sure you know where the recipe for each night is, if there is one. On Pinterest I start a board for the month with any online recipes. Cook books get noted on my recipe calendar, and recipe cards get stored in a plastic sleeve behind my recipe calendar in a binder.

That's it! You should have a month's worth of recipes ready to go. I have loved this way of menu planning. I used to plan weekly, but this is my new way of doing things, for sure! I love that I can look at the month ahead and know exactly what groceries I need. I can get most of my shopping done at the beginning of the month, only taking trips later to restock on produce. It's been great for our budget, too. I only buy what we need for the month. Although, I will watch out for great sales and stock up on meat then. Then I can just shop from my freezer.

At the beginning of each week I transfer the week's recipes to the menu planner on my fridge. Then everything is at a glance, I can fill in anything I need from the store.

As we try new recipes, we find new favorites. Those get added to my "favorites" page. This is a great page to check when I'm short on ideas!

You know what else keeps me motivated to plan? My super cute menu planning printables! Did you notice them? They're from Clean Mama Printables, and I am in LOVE with them! I reached out to Becky a couple months ago, and not only was she generous enough to share one of her Starter Kits with me, but she wants to share with you guys as well! All week long I will be sharing about other pieces of the starter kit, ending with a giveaway on Friday! Make sure you stick around!

For now, you can use the code 20LONGSTORY for 20% off anything in her shop!

Be blessed!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Happy National Grilled Cheese Day!

Hi Everyone!

Did you know that today is National Grilled Cheese Day? Love it!

I'm a huge grilled cheese fan, so this is how I celebrated today:

Mmmmm...Colby Jack and Ham. Delish!

Now, I'm more of a real cheese, melt the butter in the pan grilled cheese maker. I know other people who are strictly American cheese, spread the butter on the bread people. Where do you fall?

A couple of my friends are sharing amazing grilled cheese recipes today, and I thought I would share them with you.

First, my friend Sarah of Linley House is sharing her low-cal recipe over at The Peanuts Gang (also a friend on mine. Isn't it great when friends play together? ha!)

My friend Aleks of A Slocum Story is sharing not one but two recipes....and they are not low-cal. They do look AMAZING though!

Go check these great recipes out!

What is your favorite way to make grilled cheese? Are you adventurous or a purist?

Be blessed!


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