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3 in 30 check in – September week 3

It’s time for a 3 in 30 check in. {Full details on my September goals here.}

Goal #1 – Clean up my Google Reader account {blogging}

Goal #2 – Clean up my favorites/bookmarks {blogging}

I’ve thus far managed to keep my reader account and bookmarks cleaned up.  I do find it slightly ironic that now that I’ve got things better organized, I’ve been able to keep up with most of my reader favorites outside the reader. The current count is 442 unread posts after 2.5 weeks of not checking it. About half of that are posts I’ve already read or dismissed.  *shrugs*

Goal #3 – Get started on meal planning {meal planning/homemaking}

Our first few days of meal planning went great.  By Wednesday I was faced with unrealistic baking needs for a school night, and changed up the menu.  As a result of the menu changed, I found this awesome Enchilada Rice recipe from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures.  Made with a homemade enchilada sauce and paired with grated cheese and fresh tortillas, it was a hit.

After that first week though, it went downhill and I was ready to throw in the towel and call it quits.  Well, okay, I kinda did call it quits for a week.  Now that I’ve had a week with meal planning and a week without it, planning is the way to go. I just haven’t figured out how to make it work with financial restrictions that don’t allow for wiggle room.  Hubby is on board with meal planning, but I’m praying that he’ll desire to sit down with me and help plan out the menu. Since he does the finances and he’s the one home to start/supervise the cooking, I think it would go much more smoothly if we worked it out together.

Question for you.

What do you do about the very minor tasks you find that need to be done, like sorting out old chipped jewelry or cleaning out the spice cabinet?   I’m tempted just to do it because it needs to be done and I know it will take all of an hour to finish the job. It seems kind of silly to wait and keep it as a project for a future month.

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Posted by on September 23, 2011 in Blogging

 

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My first weekly meal plan

Okay, so I’ve attempted to make my first meal plan for this week based on what we have on stock – which happens to be a lot of ground beef.  Hubby even okay’d it. 🙂

I don’t have anything for lunch because we usually pack sandwiches for school/work.  Andy made up a fresh batch of turkey sausage this morning, and I already have beef thawing in the fridge and rice out to soak  for dinner tomorrow night.

Day Breakfast Lunch Dinner Other
Sun 9/11 Tacos Spicy Chicken & Rice Soup, Buttermilk Cornbread Muffins 90 minute soft pretzels, Crispy onions
Mon 9/12 Oatmeal (soaked), Homemade Turkey Sausage Meatloaf, Soaked rice, Veg
Tue 9/13 Applesauce pancakes, Peanut butter topping Potatoes and eggs Texas flour tortillas
Wed 9/14 Breakfast tacos Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns, Sliders, Crispy onions & fries
Thu 9/15 Oatmeal (soaked), Homemade Turkey Sausage Easy Shepherd’s Pie
Fri 9/16 Baked Oatmeal Leftovers
Sat 9/17 Vinny’s Neptune Subs (lunch out with our friends) Lasagna, Salad, Bread

I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Blogging, Food & Fitness

 

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September goals: week 1 – A 3in30 post

September goals: week 1 – A 3in30 post

Okay, I know it’s just barely the beginning of a true “week 1” but I’ve made a lot of progress so I thought I’d go ahead and share an update.  [This is what happens when I have way to much free time on my hands.]

I thought my first 2 goals of cleaning up my bookmarks and reader would be horrible, time-consuming tasks.  Not so much once I actually got started.  🙂

Goal #1 – Clean up my Google Reader account {blogging}

It only took about an hour {I think} to clean up the reader, and the most tedious part of the task was clicking through different posts and sometimes the website itself to figure out if it was a blog I read. The majority of them were either recognizable by name or were obviously giveaway/product review type blogs and thus easy to save or unsubbed {rather than converting to another reader}.

Pre-clean up, my un-cropped screen shot only showed blogs through “M”, with another 3-4 screen shots to show them all. Now you can just see the top of “W” and a second screen shot would overlap with this one.  Maybe now I won’t miss any of my favorites.  🙂

My goal: (a) to pare the list down to only those blogs I actually enjoy reading posts from, and (b) to find a new reader to use for any blogs that I’m just starting to follow and are uncertain how much I’ll gain from them.  Complete!

Goal #2 – Clean up my favorites/bookmarks {blogging}

It was easy enough to import links from my original Google Bookmarks page and then use Chrome’s bookmark manager to drag and drop links into newly created folders.  Quick and simple clean-up, and it’s sooooo much easier to find things now.  The only downside is that I deleted the G.bookmarks after importing them (so as to avoid duplicates) and only after the fact discovered that for reasons unknown to anyone that does not work for Google, Chrome does not export back into G.bookmarks.  *grumble grumble*

I have a few workarounds already in place but none of them make access quick and easy from another PC. Unfortunately, my options are to either add the links back to Google one at a time, access a Docs file in order to find the link, or sync them to an external site and then remember *that* link whenever I need to find a link. This is a major Google FAIL.  😦

My goal: to streamline and organize my folders and links into a system that is manageable and usable.  Complete.

Goal #3 – Get started on meal planning {meal planning/homemaking}

I completely LOVE how God works!!
I posted my original goals on Wednesday night. Either Thursday or Friday morning, I was reading someone’s blog (sorry, can’t remember who!) that linked to this page where the author was sharing on a link she had found for the meal planning website Say Mmm.  Just what I’m looking for!  I’ve visited many meal planning and/or recipe saving websites but none of them have really called out to me enough to use them on a regular basis.  {Alas, that’s going to be an entire other project just trying to find all those sites and correlate links into one spot. LOL}  I loved Say Mmm though. Recipes are easily saved (even just a link works) but you do have to tell it what you would normally have in your pantry vs. what you’d need to buy  But to me that’s not a big deal b/c it’s a one-time deal as you add each recipe.  Once you have your recipes, you drag and drop into the calendar and voila – you’ve created a meal plan.  You can even enter in your favorite restaurants and drag the restaurant name into your meal planner for days when you know you’re eating out.   🙂
I love that it also has a mobile version of the site too, making shopping a breeze for whatever it is we need.  The one thing I did notice though was the mobile version does not show you full recipes for recipes that are merely linked. In order to view a recipe via mobile, you have to actually c/p it into the website.
During our normal Saturday night coffee chat, I was showing the site to Alicia, who was also suitably impressed.  She already does a minor degree of meal planning, and we made an agreement to spend one of our weekend nights sitting down with our laptops and working on meal plans together.  I know it’s going to take time to get things up to full speed, but it’s so nice to at least have made visible progress already.
My goal: (a) to plan and shop for at least one full week of meals and (b) to try at least 2 new recipes this month. 
  • Saturday I made my own turkey {and beef} sausage and it was good!  After reading several recipes from assorted sources, I decided to just make my own based on what I thought we’d like.  The top picture (just below the header) is turkey crumbles for breakfast tacos or casseroles.  The pictures below are the frozen {uncooked} patties. I cooked 2 for the boys (they were a little dry though b/c I was trying to cook and put up 20# of ground beef at the same time) and made 12 for the freezer.  In fact it was so good, I have 2# of ground turkey thawing in the fridge so I can make more. Then hubby said I needed to make beef sausage so I did.  I have a dozen patties and a pound of cooked crumbles in the freezer. I can honestly say I will NEVER buy pre-made sausage from the store again!  This definitely counts as trying 1 new recipe this month.
  • Update 9/7 – The sausage came out really good. I think the turkey patties need a little something more – additional pepper or maybe the maple syrup will make enough of a difference in the 2nd batch when I make it.  I loved the beef crumbles with the brown rice I had for lunch today, but hubby says the patties were missing something; he thought they tasted too “beefy”. LOL  I did add extra salt and pepper to my lunch, so maybe that made the difference?   Tonight, I made new recipes #2 AND #3. 🙂  Although I’ll admit that I apparently don’t follow directions very well b/c my soup recipe is nothing like what I started with, other than the chicken and rice.  Ha ha!   I’m still working on the whole concept of meal planning but I haven’t really had time to sit down and spend dedicated time on it.  Maybe tomorrow… or Friday…
  • Update 9/9 – We’re on a roll!  We made homemade pretzels last night, which makes new recipe #4.  FOUR new recipes in this household in a week’s time.  That has GOT to be a record of some sort! Ha!   Later tonight, or more likely tomorrow, will be those crispy onions that I’ve just got to have. 🙂
 
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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Blogging, Food & Fitness

 

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September goals – A 3in30 post

September goals – A 3in30 post

I can’t believe it’s already September and time for new goals!

Although I’m calling August goal #3 (reclaiming my mornings) complete, I admit that I am, by nature, not a morning person.  Getting up early will always be a struggle for me until I make it such an ingrained habit that my body and mind know no other way to exist.   I’ll just have to work more on my time management skills and work harder to get to bed at a decent hour.

My primary goal for September was to transition Coffee and Caramel from Blogger to WordPress. However, I completed that task over the weekend and it’s not really a goal, unless you want to say it’s a goal done early.  😉    Honestly, I should have known better because once I start messing with my site I don’t stop until I’m satisfied with.  {Well, I’m not 100% satisfied with it now, but until I have funding for domain names, hosting services, and personalized for me graphics, it’s as good as it’s going to get.}

So with that in mind, I started to think of what other things were really driving me bonkers.  I think those projects are the ones we really need to focus on for the upcoming goals, don’t you agree?

Goal #1 – Clean up my Google Reader account {blogging}

Pre-clean up – September project goal #1

Yes, I’m well aware of how much of a disaster this is.   I just cleaned it out 24 hours ago and it has 98 new entries as I type this. {Maybe 20 of which I’ll actually read, and another half-dozen I probably already saw in my inbox.} In case you didn’t notice, my un-cropped screen shot only shows you blogs through “M”  It would take another 3 or 4 screen shots to show them all.  I probably read less than 50% of what I subscribe to regularly ; I’ve just never taken the time to sit down and clean them out.  Plus there’s always those few blogs that I’ve subscribed to because every once in a blue moon I like a blog post from them. My goal: (a) to pare the list down to only those blogs I actually enjoy reading posts from, and (b) to find a new reader to use for any blogs that I’m just starting to follow and are uncertain how much I’ll gain from them.

Goal #2 – Clean up my favorites/bookmarks {blogging}

My bookmarks are far worse than my reader. You’ve already figured that out, haven’t you?  The background screen is what is in Google Bookmarks, the other menus are on Chrome. The list of links in my “recipe” folder is even longer – one screen shot only takes you to “N”.  I know these two projects go hand in hand, and if I work on them at the same time I can get a better idea of the sites I visit most often. My goal: to streamline and organize my folders and links into a system that is manageable and usable.

Goal #3 – Get started on meal planning {meal planning/homemaking}

For tonight's dinner...

[Please excuse the icky paint-chipped stove. Someday it might get repainted.]

Meals are the bane of my existence.  Okay, so I’m being overly dramatic but if you’re a mom, or a wife, or anyone that has to figure out what is for dinner, you know I’m not really that far off the mark.   Decisions on what to make before dinner are rarely made before 5pm, which means we typically don’t eat until 7 or later. Which I hate.  I had set a new rule for the just-started school year that dinner should be ready to serve by 5:30 and cleanup complete by 7.   I think that has yet to happen, except maybe on the weekend.  I’ve tried to get better about at least knowing what I’m making for breakfast in the morning, and setting out oatmeal to soak, which makes things so much less hectic.  I just need to get consistent about it for all meals, not just a few breakfasts a week.

Based on last night’s decision to have chicken/beef and rice, I put brown rice on to soak before I left for work and wrote instructions on the white board on what to do with it tonight.   When I got home, the boys were working in the kitchen and the rice was still sitting in a pot of water.  Then hubby decided we should have baked potatoes instead.  And so we did.   That’s okay though; brown rice is supposedly better soaked for 24 hours instead of 12, so I’ll cook it in the morning and stick it in the fridge for tomorrow night.  [Hmm, maybe if I take the chicken out to thaw he’ll cook it too?]

So in tandem with cleaning up and sorting out my RSS feeds and favorites, I’m going to work on meal planning. I have a ton of recipes that look like things we’d enjoy, I just can’t find any of them in the mess that is my current non-filing system.  We’re not even going to discuss the almost daily trips to the grocery store b/c we ran out of this or that or whatever-it-is that we need to finish cooking or eating a meal that’s already mid-progress.  Do you know how annoying that is?   My goal: (a) to plan and shop for at least one full week of meals and (b) to try at least 2 new recipes this month.  

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Blogging, Food & Fitness

 

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