Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Reluctant Meal Maker: A Clean Slate

When we came home from Oregon after the holidays, we cleared all the old stuff out of the fridge and gave it a good cleaning. Raf even rearranged the shelves. Silly as it may seem, this small gesture: starting with a clean slate, has made such a positive impact with helping me stay on point.

I'm always in awe of the refrigerators of my most clean and organized friends. They're so sparkly and spacious and...well, bare! Frankly, I wondered how they ate! Or if their secret to keeping a wonderfully clean kitchen was eating out all the time! Well, now I know that's not the case at all. With a rock solid meal plan and a precise shopping list, I too can have a sparkly and spacious refrigerator. 

It's been a month and the fridge is still clean and organized. I know where things are. I know when we're running low. And I know what's on the verge of spoiling and needs to be used asap. It's no longer overwhelming to open the fridge. And (bonus!), it's no longer embarrassing when someone else does.

A couple side notes: 

1. I also cleared out the freezer this month. I love to freeze things, so it was getting a little unwieldy. I purged all the old, expired stuff, and reorganized like with like (meats together, veggies, fruit, etc.), all the while taking a mental inventory of what I have on hand that I can use in upcoming meals. It's still not nearly as neat as the fridge; maybe if I can ever find a spot to put a deep freeze...

2. Sticking with the FlyLady system and Shining my Sink on a daily basis is also really helpful. I typically do the dishes after each meal, every day. Annoying? Sure. But I'm so grateful for it every time I head in to start preparing the next meal. My head just feels lighter when I walk in and have a clean slate. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Reluctant Meal Maker

The overarching theme for my 2012 resolutions is: BE PREPARED! I was hoping to join the Boy Scouts so they could teach me a thing or two, but I'm pretty sure they won't take me. Not because I'm a girl or too old (that would be discrimination); rather, because I'm a lost cause. Guess I'm on my own for this one!

There are about 112 bullets that come to mind under the BE PREPARED! header in my life that I currently suck at. Let's just say that I'm a much less organized person than people give me credit for. One thing is glaringly obvious to me: I have frustration in my life on a daily basis because I don't like to cook. I have no imagination in the kitchen. I hate having to clean up a mess 3 (or more!) times a day. Meal planning is completely foreign to me (the concept is literally something I discovered in the past year). I could go on, but this is not the point. The point is: cooking is now my J-O-B. Feeding my family healthy, nourishing meals multiple times a day is now one of my primary responsibilities. And not liking it and not knowing how are not acceptable excuses. This is the year that I learn. This is the year I get organized in the kitchen. Heck, this may even be the year that I learn to LIKE cooking! At the very least, this is the year that I remove the daily frustration.  

I got started just after we returned home from the holidays, and am happy to report that so far things are going WONDERFULLY! I'm planning to share a few of my motivators, things that are working for me, and some pleasant side effects of getting organized throughout the week. Join me? If you can stand my rambling long enough, you may even be rewarded with something super special at the end of the week: our list of January Winners: recipes we tried and loved enough to pass along! It's a list of links you won't want to miss! 

Print of image above can be purchased here

What Does a Bear Say?


One of our favorite books is Bear Snores On. If you're not familiar, the plot goes something like this: a motley crew of woodland creatures gathers for an impromptu party in Bear's lair while he's hibernating. Then, "...a small pepper fleck makes the bear...."

For the past few days, Lana's been cracking up at Bear's sneeze. Then, yesterday, we were flipping through another book and when she saw this teddy bear, she said, "aaahh-TEW" 

Um...ok? Raf and I looked at each other, and I asked, "do you think she thinks that a sneeze is the sound a bear makes??!" Well, after another reading of Bear Snores On later that morning, it was confirmed. I'd point to Bear and ask, "what does Bear say", and she'd promptly respond, "aaahh-TEW!" Stinking cute. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I found this in my bedroom yesterday. And my heart melted. At some point, Lana had taken her boots out of the drawer where I'd put them away, and had put them away herself. {Sigh.} Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by her cuteness. And my love for her.

Excuse the blur in these photos. She caught me taking the picture above and ran in to claim her property, so she caught me a bit off guard. But, I figure, your need for a cuteness update is more important than my annoyance with bad focus. ;)

By the way, I know I haven't given a "what's she doing now" update in forever, but my goodness, she understands EVERYTHING. She probably has for ages, but now we can tell! So, when I tell her to go get her boots, she pops up with a panicked look in her eyes like "oh crap! my boots! hurry! find them! before she leaves without me!!" And then she goes and gets them! Just one of the many adorable things that is making this such an awesome stage.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Getting Acquainted

Have I mentioned what bad parents we are? We're the ones who didn't get a gift for our child for Christmas. Nope, not one. We packaged up a new coat on Christmas morning so that she wouldn't feel left out, but I didn't actually buy it as a gift.

I may be a terrible gifter, but I'm not a terrible person. I decided (before Christmas!) that I wanted to make a snuggly new blanket for Solana, but I couldn't track down the right minky (darn seasonal colors!) I had packed both the flowered cotton I had planned to use, and this Goldilocks print I adore to Oregon, hoping that I would have better luck minky shopping there. Well, no luck on that front, but Lana quickly adopted the Goldilocks print as her own after pulling it out of a box one day.

Judging by her reaction to the fabrics when I laid them out on the floor yesterday to work on the blanket, I think she's still a fan! So far, we know it's good for...

...identifying bears,

...downward facing dog,


....and snuggling, of course!

Now to turn it into a completed blanket! (Though it will likely not be nearly as interesting then.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Slide

We were planning to check out a new playgroup today, but when I headed out to load up the Bit, the truck was dead. Ugh. Between that and it's ill-functioning speedometer, I'm ready to upgrade to a plug-in. If only they made electric cars SUV size.

So anyway, we just walked over to our neighborhood park instead. Because really, even without new friends, the slide never gets old.

Happy New Year!

Don't you just love a new year? Everything feels so fresh and optimistic. I even have a clean fridge and a meal plan for the week. Boo-YAH!