Sunday, June 30, 2013

Menu: July 1-7

I know I promised y'all a garden update last week, but I unapologetically spent my week having fun outside, and recovering from my cold. I'm feeling much better now, thanks for asking! (And I know you did! Because my readers are pretty awesome and caring like that.)

The heat last week was murder. Cooking in that heat was even worse. So this week we made a point of creating a menu that is all salad, all the time! But rather than getting stuck with the same dinner every day for a week, we still switched it up a bit. During our meeting I made the joke, "How many ways can we make pasta salad?" It's not quite that bad, but let me show you what I mean.






What's on the menu?

Breakfasts: Yogurt and honey sprinkles (AKA bee pollen, great for allergies and really seems to help); yogurt and granola; eggs.

Lunches: Leftovers; pizzadilla; cold cut sandwiches.

Snacks: Yogurt; hard boiled eggs; fruit.

Dinners:
Monday: Sunny, 92 degrees! Mr. Moon works the early shift, then we have the evening free. Food prep for the week this night will include pre-cooking pasta and rice and chicken breasts, and maybe even the taco meat.
I made meatballs with the leftover thawed ground beef from our burgers the other day, since I needed a little more than one package for all of us but not two. Thus, our only hot meal this week, on the hottest day, go figure: Meatballs Marinara. Haven't yet decided if it will be over pasta or hoagies, depends on our mood when we make it. [beef; pasta; freezer]

Tuesday: Sunny, 90 degrees. Busy day with an appointment and grocery shopping, so I'm happy we have a toss-together meal on hand.
Chicken pasta salad with broccoli and cheddar. [bird; pasta; salad; cold; freezer]

Wednesday: Sunny, 89 degrees. We are hoping to get up super early and rearrange our storage unit that's gotten out of control, before the heat of the day sets in. But Mr. Moon informs me the plums will be ready to pick then, so we might have to focus on harvesting that day.
Taco Salad will only require some quick browning of taco chunks, and throwing toppings in a bowl over salad. This is why I keep canned beans on hand! [beef; salad; cold; Mexican]

Thursday: Sunny, 88 degrees. Happy Independence Day, America! Going out to dinner with a friend and his parents, so the 'Rents are on their own for dinner.
On Your Own Night [OYO]

Friday: Sunny, 88 degrees. Mr. Moon works a double, so dinner needs to be prepped ahead.
Mediterranean Rice Salad is something we can toss together that morning and will be good to marinate over the day. I'll be throwing together a Greekish rice (lemon and oregano rice), chopping up parsley and tomato and cucumber and onion, mixing it all together with some cooked chickpeas (canned), and topping with a greek dressing. Might add some tahini to the dressing, and/or tzaziki to go along. I've got some feta left over from Greek dinner date night, for mine. [rice; salad; vegetarian; Greek; cold]

Saturday: Sunny, 76 degrees. Finally a break from the heat! If we don't get to the storage unit on Wednesday, hopefully we can do it Saturday. Or perhaps we will be processing plums from the tree if we get a good haul.
Egg Salad Sandwiches and Carrot Slaw. [sandwich; salad; vegetarian; cold]

Sunday: Sunny, 85 degrees. Mr. Moon works the evening shift. By the time we get the white boards done in the morning it will be time for him to head to work!
On Your Own; Leftovers Buffet for me! I'm sure there will be bits and even whole servings of these salads left over, so I'll load up a plate and be on my merry. [OYO]

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What's on your menu this week? Need planning ideas? I'll be linking up at orgjunkie.com, if you need other ideas!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Menu: June 24-30

Mr. Moon's party was a blast! The cheesesteak sloppy joes were a real hit, we got to meet some new friends, and had a nice evening around the campfire.

His new job is going well, too. Everyone seems to love him there; bosses, coworkers, and guests alike. Not paying income tax is a nice little pay raise too.

I'm working on a garden update for later this week. Sadly, there isn't much good news in it. But we will get to that.

Getting back to menu planning has definitely been met with relief from both of us, but some kinks need to be worked out on our to-do list system being separate from the menu board. Food isn't getting thawed in appropriate timing and it then either requires running water (wasteful) or using the microwave (which I don't like) to keep to our plans. These two evening shifts each week are clearly going to be a source of temptation for us to scrap our cooking plans and go out to eat, or end up eating junk food whether we plan to or not, so some new habits need to be developed to avoid that. Pre-built casseroles, crockpot meals, those sorts of things.

Restful week ahead for me. Mr. Moon is hoping to keep up on his chores because finishing our checklist early means free time for video games! I'm cheering him on, as long as he keeps my tea refilled and changes my handkerchiefs regularly.





What's on the menu?

Breakfasts: Eggs & Bacon; Eggs & Polenta; Yogurt & Honey.

Lunches: Sloppy Joe's (leftovers); Pizzadillas (pizza flavored quesadillas); BCuTs.

Snacks: Fruit; yogurt; veggies.

Dinners:
Monday: Mr. Moon works the early shift. I've got to get this cold checked out and then we have to pick up Pops from the train station. Feeling under the weather and I think that shows in our menu plan: lots of comfort food.
Spaghetti with meat sauce [pasta; beef; Italian]

Tuesday: Afternoon appointment, then grocery shopping, then REST! Maybe the gym in the morning if my cold is any better by then.
Salad for the 'Rents and Mr. Moon, easy comfort food for me: mashed potatoes and gravy with a side of broccoli[salad; vegetarian; easy]

Wednesday: Nothing scheduled except begging a judge not to penalize me for reversing the numbers in a due date for a traffic ticket. I paid the ticket on time for the day I thought it was due! Cross your fingers for me to have luck. We are planning date night that evening, but with this cold settling in it might be date night at home instead of dinner out. We shall see.
On Your Own Night [OYO]

Thursday: Busy day, Mr. Moon is pulling a double with just enough time to knock out some chores in between.
MexiCasserole [vegetarian; Mex; casserole]

Friday: Gym in the morning, Mr. Moon works in the evening, daily grind in between.
Potato Leek Soup from the freezer. [vegetarian; soup; freezer]

Saturday: Big day planned! Really just re-arranging and cleaning some stuff out of our storage unit. Getting the extra couch put in there (perhaps, if I can't freecycle it by then), pulling some supplies for a couple sewing projects out, getting a broken desk that was left in there taken care of, and all that while the sun beats down and the temp is forecasted at 89 degrees!
Burgers (stuffed with bleu cheese for me), potato salad, carrot slaw [burgers; beef; traditional; summer; grill; American]

Sunday: Gym in the morning, then putting some more "finishing" touches on the garage, or just relaxing and enjoying a nice summer day.
On Your Own for the 'Rents; Mr. Moon and I are planning a Bloody Mary flank steak with quinoa salad and roasted tomatoes[OYO]

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What's on your menu this week? Need planning ideas? I'll be linking up at orgjunkie.com, if you need other ideas!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mr. Moon!

Glad my love made it to 31 years of life. We're having a fire pit party tonight to celebrate and wish him 31 more!

I chickened out on baking a cake. Picked up a chocolate fudge cake from our favorite natural foods store, instead. Less stressful that way.

Hope everyone has a weekend as blessed with friends and joy as our certainly will be!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Menu: June 17-23

The 'Rents come back from their vacation today, so it's back to the usual routine, hopefully with some improvements. We took a week off of menu planning, then the next week ended up being a completely moot point as it was scrapped almost as soon as we'd finished it. Oops. But this week, well, this week we will do better. Clean slate!

The last two weeks of focusing on using up and doing without have been good for us and a nice change of pace, but it's hell to plan a menu that way. This week we are back to planning ahead, with perfect timing since Mr. Moon's new job just gave him his set schedule. It's nice to be able to plan things a little further than 5 days out!





What's on the menu?

Breakfasts: Eggs & Toast; Polenta & Eggs; Yogurt & Granola; Smoothies.

Lunches: Bagel Pizza; Bacon, Cucumber, Tomato sandwiches/wraps; Leftover greek dinner.

Snacks: HB Eggs, yogurt, cheese and crackers, fresh fruit.

Dinners:
Monday: Mr. Moon works the early shift, and we have Aqua Yoga during dinner time. The 'Rents are still recovering from their trip, with lots of heavy foods, so we want to give them something light and easy.
Salad for the 'Rents and Mr. Moon. Chicken wings and green beans for me. [Salad; chicken; freezer]

Tuesday: Mr. Moon has the day off. I have an appointment, we have grocery shopping to do, and otherwise it's just another day at the homestead.
Spaghetti for everyone! Easy to say everyone gets the same thing, but each of us has different noodle and sauce and presentation preferences. Using a pot with a built-in strainer allows us to do noodles in batches, so everyone gets their meal exactly how they want it. Plus the starch water is good for the veggies. [pasta; vegetarian]

Wednesday: Pops leaves the next day for another vacation, we have Aqua Yoga in the evening, and party planning/prep to do for Friday.
Corned Beef dinner in the crockpot. [meat; crockpot; freezer]

Thursday: Pops leaves for another vacation. Mr. Moon works the late shift. This is a source of temptation for us, but hopefully with our dinner made already for us at home we will avoid eating out.
On Your Own Night (for mum); Mr. Moon and I have personalized bowls of chili waiting at home. [soup; vegetarian; OYO; freezer meal]

Friday: Mr. Moon's birthday party!
Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes, relish tray, fruit platter, and birthday cake. And my favorite party supply: rotating vodka punch! "Rotating" because you start with a couple kinds of juice, and as it gets low you add more complementary juices without worrying about waiting for it to completely empty or trying to perfectly match the previous bowl's recipe. This one will have some combination of: apricot nectar, pineapple juice, grapefruit juice, raspberry lemonade, and mango strawberry lemonade. And vodka. Of course. [buffet; party food; meat; sweets]

Saturday: Maybe helping a friend move, depending on how we feel (that vodka punch can pack a kick!) and whether we have sleepover guests. Party clean up, lazy day.
Leftovers if there are any. Freezer meals if there aren't. [leftover; freezer]

Sunday: More moving help. Homesteading work. Ah, the good old days.
On Your Own for Mum and Mr. Moon. I'm having Myndian food, AKA I tried to make tikka masala before but the sauce came out wrong, still delicious, don't know what to call it. It's a red curry sauce and I'm adding rice and paneer. Yum. [OYO; vegetarian; Indian]

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What's on your menu this week? Need planning ideas? I'll be linking up at orgjunkie.com, if you need other ideas!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

90 minute To-Do List Rehab

A couple years ago it must be now, I realized I could use wet and dry erase markers on glass. I saw a suggestion somewhere to put pretty fabric in a frame and use it like a white board. An idea was born.

Months later, I found myself building a home office, and I needed a dry erase board to keep track of my project list for the business. I went to the thrift store and bought a frame, but since there were three more to match it, I bought them all in case I wanted more space for some reason. Boy, am I glad I did!

This blog has featured my white board A LOT. I've wanted to upgrade to something nicer, but without a safe space to hang something with glass in it (since the white board lives on the pantry door), I hadn't done it yet. This week we moved our To Do list into our bedroom, right next to Mr. Moon's side of the bed. The 'Rents weren't using it, it allows more space for the menu AND for each day, and it allowed me to put some more personal notations on it that I didn't want available to the public. Thus, this project was born. Bonus, when it's the end of the day and time to arrange the to-do list for tomorrow, even if I'm exhausted and in bed and DONE for the day, I'm right there and we can adjust it while looking at the list instead of having it in the kitchen.


  • For this project I used four 10x14 frames. They need to have the glass front (for writing on), cardboard filler, and a back with hanging mechanism. 
  • You need some sort of paper or fabric for the backing. 
  • You also need some sort of adhesive--spray or tape, up to you. 
  • You MAY want to print off something to put in the frame, as I will show you later, or you can use it like your average dry erase board and just have a nice neutral backing where you can read what's written on the glass.

To Do List:

  1. Decide on your To Do List style. 
  2. I made a print-off that has the daily tasks for each day, and the weekly tasks that are assigned to each day, and formatted my page so that I had two days per sheet, side-by-side. Since I had some awesome rainbow-patterned printer paper from the dollar store, I made sure to keep my margins such that it wouldn't interfere with the pattern at the bottom of the page.
  3. Each day has daily chores stuff: Breakfast, empty dishwasher, garden (10 minutes, just enough to water and maybe pull some weeds and get any additional tasks scheduled), and the night time routines like scooping the litter box, sweeping and mopping the kitchen, and making sure every dish is clean. 
  4. Each day also has some weekly chores, which are assigned to days just like we had it. Monday is bathrooms, Tuesday is vacuuming, etc. 
  5. At the top, each day has a goal. It could be a simple as "survive" or "smile" when it's going to be a rough one. It could be a complicated as "get the storage unit done." This is the one thing that, even if we have to sacrifice some daily routine to do it, we really want to accomplish. The hardest part is going to be trying to keep it from always being about chores, or letting ourselves let the routine slide to get the goals done. It's supposed to be the focus of the day, or maybe the thing you get when everything else is done. Whatever works for you, or in our case, whatever we need that day. 
  6. There are empty spaces between the morning routine and the night routine for adding tasks. Errands to run, projects to work on, laundry day, work shifts, job hunting tasks, whatever else we need to add that doesn't happen every day or even every week or at least not on the same day every week. 
  7. There are spaces to check things off when they're done. Mr. Moon is really motivated by being able to check things off, he says it feels like getting a gold star by his name in kindergarten. 
  8. There is a reminder at the end of every day to check tomorrow's to do list. Oh shoot, I didn't get the vacuuming done today, add it to tomorrow's list. Hey it looks like we have some place to be at 11am, we should have a plan for breakfast. That sort of thing. 
  9. There is a reminder right after breakfast to check the dinner plan and get any prep done we need to do. 
  10. The list is in roughly chronological order, in that morning stuff is at the top, night stuff at the bottom, with the empty spaces in the middle of the day. But it's not a rigid schedule. 
  11. Since there was an empty half page, the last one is a spot for weekly, monthly and yearly goals. They're not allowed to be housework- or chore-related, these are LIFE goals. Priorities that our daily lists should be working toward. It's nice to have them right there to keep us focused. 
  12. Made columns, made the list, got it printed on pretty paper. Yay!

Prep:
  1. Separate the parts of the frames. 
  2. Figure out your pretty backing pattern, if there is one. I used scrap fabric, and ended up making sort of a rainbow pattern. 
  3. Adhere the backing to the cardboard. If you can avoid going over the sides at all (like the purple on the right), great! If not (as I have in the yellow one on the left), you'll have to tape or glue it down all the way around (which is a pain and I don't recommend it!). 
Assembly:
  1. Place the frame face down on the table. Add the glass. 
  2. Add the filler paper (with your checklist) if you're doing that part. You may want to tape to your cardboard piece. I didn't and a couple are a little off-center. 
  3. Add the cardboard and foam backing (if you have that, one of mine didn't but it's definitely more stable with it in these frames). 
  4. Add the final back piece. 
  5. Repeat steps for all the frames you're going to do and Voila! 
To Hang: 
If you've got more than one frame to hang like I did, there are a number of ways you can get them hung evenly. This is mine:
  1. Decide how much space you have total and how much space you want between frames. 
  2. Find scrap piece of yarn that is long enough to do the whole line of frames. 
  3. Tape one end of yarn to the wall. Use a level to make sure the line is straight, then tape the other end. 
  4. Figure out how you're going to hang these buggers. Mine were heavy enough that I didn't want just one picture nail holding them in place, but the usual picture hanging parts in my kit didn't work either with the backs of my frames. My best bet was to use two nails, placed close enough together that there was some wiggle room in my placement so I didn't have to measure too precisely, and could adjust for leveling a bit. 
  5. Measure how far in you want the hanging nails, and add that number to the space between frames. The spacing between my frames was 4 inches, and I needed the first of two picture nails 5 1/8 inch into the framed area, then another 3/8 inches or so later for the second one. So since I was using the door frame as the starting point and keeping my frames 4 inches apart, my total measurement was 9 1/8 inch. 
  6. Measure along the yarn line to the first (or only) nail and tap in place. Eyeball the second one and tap in place. I tapped the nails into the wall immediately below my yarn line, for reasons which will soon become clear in step 8. You can go right above it too if your angles work better that way, just pick one or the other and don't go through it. 
  7. Hang pictures on nails. Adjust for leveling. Step back and make sure it looks right, adjust anything as necessary. 
  8. Remove the yarn by untaping from one end and sliding up (or down) from behind the frames. Now you don't have to take your pictures down or wrestle with unwinding yarn from picture nail heads! 
Step back and admire your work. 

Now we just need to decide a way to keep the wet erase markers by these, and the project is complete. Day 1 is a success, Day 2 is a success in progress. But as Nony says, it's when the newness wears off that we will see how successful it really is. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Menu: June 3-9

The wedding we went to last week was lovely. Just my luck, lack of sleep and allergies combined to make me absolutely miserable, and we almost didn't stay past the grand entrance. But by the time we'd said our goodbyes, the toasts were starting so we stuck around for that and the first dance. But we made it home safe and sound, no sleeping on the freeway, and got home to rest.

With our new lounge area up and running, we've had to set some ground rules. Such as "no video games after 10pm," or else we just end up staying up all night. We may need to set a rule of "no screen time" after 10pm, instead, but we will see how this goes for now. As counterintuitive as it sounds, and contrary to our meal plan, we've been eating through some of our junk food last week so that this week we can focus again on better eating habits. The problem with me driving Mr. Moon around on his job hunt is that even if the job hunting takes only as much time as any job he could get, I'm used to using the time that he's working to rest so that there's any chance of getting things done together when he's home. Instead, that's more energy than I have to just get him around, and I have nothing left in me by the time we get home. We are working on getting him a driver's license sooner rather than later. But it's resulted in some lunches out that could have been avoided if we'd planned a picnic of sorts, and then we haven't had it in us to prep a lot of food for lunches OR dinners. Not helping. And of course it means there was extra wasted food last week that was purchased or leftover from the week before and never eaten. It's very frustrating!

This week I didn't even have it in me to do a menu plan. I don't know if it's allergies or the continued effects of a night of not sleeping or what the problem is, but I woke up at 1pm and took a nap from 3-5pm and then another one from 9:30-10pm! I don't see how I can possibly expect to sleep tonight. We got the To Do list done, but when it came to meal planning, I was just too overwhelmed. Still am, really. We have a rib roast thawing that we will cook tomorrow, and otherwise we are just going to play it by ear this week. We have fresh fruit and vegetables for snacks. That's as much as I'm planning today.

Maybe sometimes we just need a break, and without his parents here I'm not feeling pressured to have a plan because we have the time and ability to decide when we're home for the day what to eat for dinner, which would be later than we'd have to be serving his parents. Not having to have dinner on the table between 5 and 7pm helps us be a little more flexible. But I don't want to get into a habit of this, either! I expect within the next couple days I'll sit down and scratch some ideas out. When I'm feeling a little less overwhelmed and exhausted.
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