Monday, September 18, 2017

Cut Menu Planning Time in Half!

I don't know about you, but I used to waste a lot of time holding the refrigerator door open wondering what I was going to make for dinner. Kids are hungry, the bread winner will be home soon wanting some amazing, yet thrifty meal...Oh,the stress. That's the same time you're trying to help someone finish their homework while listening to another someone read, etc., etc.

I decided I had to have a plan of attack...
So here's what I did:
First, I made a list of all my family's favorite meals. Don't bother listing meals the kids absolutely hate. It's not worth your time and effort to waste the food anyway. Make sure they are nutritious, but tasty. If you haven't got many recipes, email or Facebook some friends and do a recipe exchange. Avoid fast food. Those are for the rare emergency. There are a lot of meals you can make ahead of time and freeze--just Google it. I love using my crockpot for busy days. There are a lot of set-it and forget-it type recipes out there. 

Next, I printed out 3 blank calendars and mapped out the meals. This helped me plan more variety instead eating chicken all week long. I could plan an Italian dish, maybe a casserole, or pulled-pork. This also prevented me from repeating the same recipe too often. A 3-month rotation is about right for us. With the one-month rotation my husband felt like, "we just had this." Three months gives him time to forget. If you plan for leftovers you only have to plan half the meals.

Next, I print out 5-6 pages of the Shopping list. List your menu items for one month at a time. It may take 2-3 pages depending on how many different meals you have on your calendar. Under each menu item list the ingredients you have to buy special for that dish, don't bother listing staple items. Keep each list behind the calendar they go with so your ingredients are easier to find.

Copy your master Shopping list and mark the items needed for your next shopping trip. If your list is sparse, write it down into one easy-to-read list.

This takes some time initially to make your list and list all of the ingredients, but it takes hours off the menu planning and shopping list.

Enjoy Always,

Monday, September 11, 2017

Track your Birthday Milestones and Gift List Easier with FREE Printables

When my kids were little we only had to keep track of the 7 birthdays of our immediate family. As they kids all married and had children, 7 turned into 30. What a delightful problem to have, right?

I have a pretty good memory. I've added these dates to many calendars over the years, but I started to forget how old each grandchild was and what year they were born. 

Yikes! I might miss a milestone birthday. I like being prepared ahead of time for the milestones. We celebrate every birthday, but we have traditions at certain birthdays, like blessings, baptisms, ordinations, acceptance to Hogwart's, etc.

On the Birthday Milestones page I write the name and birthdate complete with the year, then add their age in every year column. Then I highlight the milestones. That way I know how many milestones to prepare for in that year.
On the Gift List page I include the ages to remind me to find age-appropriate gifts as well as the milestone gifts. On this page I list all of the birthdays in order of the month they fall in, kind of like a perpetual calendar.

I list the birthdays in order and leave a couple of blanks in each month for additions to our family. I think we are done having new grandbabies but I have room for surprises.

You can also use the gift list page for Christmas. It's never too soon to plan.

Give it a try and see if it helps you. Remember, you can always access all of my printables in the Library of awesomeness (aka FREE printables) by subscribing to my blog. You will get the link in your welcome email.


Monday, September 4, 2017

How to Make Journaling Easier with FREE Printables!

I have a good friend who is interested in journaling, but afraid to start for fear of "making a mistake."

First of all, there's no such thing as mistakes, only experiments!
You have to explore and experiment. How else are you going to know what you like? Besides, you have to practice.

But, what if you had a little help?

In the Library of FREE Printables there are 6 pages of arrows, tabs, banners and icons in blue, red, yellow, green, purple and rainbow.

Print what you need onto full sheet adhesive paper and cut out. OR, if you have a sticker maker, print out on regular paper, cut and run through your sticker maker.

There is also a rainbow page of larger banners:
Subscribe to my email list and I will send you the link to access the FREE Library of Printables.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The What, Why, Where, When, and How of Morning Papers

Morning Papers is a writing exercise where you fill three pages of random, free-flow stream of conscious thought. It is preferable to write long hand if possible.

  • It is very cathartic. Writing a stream of conscious thought without editing brings out feelings I didn't know I had. It helps to empty my mind of the unnecessaries.
  • Consistent writing improves my discipline.
  • My handwriting has improved.
  • It helps me clarify my goals, what really needs to happen today.

My favorite place is my
front porch. 
Find a place that is comfortable and peaceful or at least away from distraction.

Find the best time of day that works for you. I prefer to sit on my front porch early in the morning because this practice sets the tone for the rest of my day. Unfortunately, I have to wait until lunchtime because of my work schedule. Oh bother.

  • Keep a notebook handy in a convenient spot with your favorite writing utensil. The notebook doesn't need to be anything fancy. Chances are it will get thrown away. I'm going to save mine because my random thoughts are better than no thoughts.
  • Relax. Let your arms and shoulders droop. Take a big breath in and exhale.
  • Write whatever comes to your mind, no matter how frivolous.
  • DO NOT EDIT! Refrain from that nagging need to review and correct every word.
  • Fill 3 pages OR set your timer for 20 minutes.

You may have already started this habit. Consistency brings rewards so Yay for you if you are consistent.

Keep journaling!


Monday, August 21, 2017

My Favorite Lettering Supplies

Starting with the Rhodia dot pad... I sort of got into brush lettering because I wanted that cool calligraphy look in my journaling. I saw fantastic journal spreads and wanted to learn more about it.

I could've spent all kinds of money on this craft, so I knew I had to watch myself. There are really expensive watercolor brush pens out there, and expensive paper. I also learned that you get what you pay for. If I wanted to do this professionally, then yes, I should invest in the best supplies. If I was really going to do this professionally I'd use the free fonts I collect. But for my journaling this is what worked for me:

The Rhodia dot pad
This has nice dot grid paper that doesn't bleed readily. There is one exception I'll show you later. The paper is smooth so it doesn't wear out your markers.
This pad is really great for practice. Practicing every day is the number one thing you need to do to build your skill. These are some of my first attempts. I don't practice near as much as I should.
I need to work on getting those flourishes down.

Lettering Books

These two books come highly recommended on Amazon. The Creative Lettering book on the left focuses more on traditional techniques while The Ultimate Brush Lettering Guide focuses on brush lettering, like it says. This is a comprehensive book that teaches about the types of supplies to use, different techniques to get those flourishes and composing signs using complimentary fonts. The practice sheets are specific to letters, phrases, and flourishes.

Brush pens

In most of the blog posts I've read about brush lettering Tombow Brush Pens are the most recommended. These are dual tipped, brush tip on one end and fine point on the other. They run about $20.00 a set. They are a little expensive for just practicing, but you really need to practice with them because they have a completely different feel in how you hold them. The brush tip makes drawing the letters a lot easier than regular markers. I have not used a watercolor brush yet. I don't think I'll get into it to that extent.

Don't forget about the inexpensive alternative to the brush pens--Crayola markers. Crayola markers give me a lot color selection. It takes some practice holding them just right because they are so different, but they work out really well.

The one set of markers I'd suggest you don't waste your money on is the Sharpie brush tip markers. The set costs about $12 but they smell very strong. The colors don't match the caps exactly. They come out a little darker. The other thing is:

They bleed. It is very difficult to control the amount of ink that hits the paper. As you can see, the ink bled onto the third page. I ended up giving these markers away. You can also see that still need a lot of practice.

This is on of my later attempts. I draw it out with pencil first. I used the Tombow markers, both ends. I really need to work on color choices, font choices, composition, and flourishes, but it's coming along. It is really quite relaxing. I enjoy practicing.

Keep on lettering!