Sunday, May 29, 2011

Meal Planning

I'm in the process of finding the best way to buy groceries while staying in our budget.  I tried going once a month, which was super fun.  I LOVE getting a ton of groceries at one time.  :)  The down-side?  We run out of SOME things before it's time to go again.  Also, it's easy to spend more money than I need to when I shop that way.

So, now I'm trying going every two weeks.  I have a certain amount to spend on groceries, and then a little to spend on household items.  I HAVE to stay under a certain amount because I'm paying cash.  The only problem I see with this so far, is that there are going to be times when I run out of big things all at once, which is going to use up all my cash.  I'm not sure how to handle that yet, but it's a learning process I suppose.  :)


I'm going to share how I plan out meals in order to simplify my life a little bit.  :)  (I do NOT plan breakfast or lunch, because at this point at least, those are simple and easy.)

First, I go to my handy-dandy list of meal ideas.

Seriously.  WHY does it turn my pictures?  Grr.
 This is simply a list of supper ideas so I can just pick meals off of it and write them down on my monthly calendar.  I try to plan two weeks at a time.  (Obviously, I hadn't written anything down on here yet)  ;)

After I've planned out meals, then I check to see what I need to buy.  This helps me make sure that I only buy what I need for the next couple of weeks, which of course, keeps my grocery bill down (hopefully)!

More specifically, I want to share with you how I make meal preparation even EASIER.  We all want that, right?  I love to cook, but I also like things simple!

Since my family eats a lot of things with ground beef, I try to buy a family-size package.  It's pretty cheap for the amount of meals we can get out of it, which makes it a staple in our house!  We use it to make Hamburgers, Sloppy Joes, Meatloaf, Taco Meat, and Spaghetti.  I also lay aside a portion to use for baby food.

I always bought a big portion of beef, and then would split it into different bags to freeze until I needed it.  The problem with this, was that when I needed just a little bit for spaghetti, I had to thaw out a big portion of beef.  This was annoying.  So, here is what I do now!

Here's my 5 1/2 pounds or so of beef...

Now I separate it into sections, according to how much I need for a meal.  For example, I take a small portion and set it aside for spaghetti, or a large portion for meatloaf.

Then I take some freezer bags and label them with the meal I'll use that package of beef for and the date I freeze it.

Next, I place the beef in their 'assigned' bags, and flatten them out as much as I can.  This saves a LOT of freezer space!

This is such a simple process, but makes things SO much easier for me.  Now, when I see that we're having tacos the next day, I can just go ahead and take out the bag labeled 'taco meat' and let it thaw in the fridge overnight.  SO EASY!  I also do this with chicken, which is a little more involved, since it takes a while to cut up all of the chicken.  It is really worth that extra time in the long run though.

And again.

Anybody else have some good meal planning tips??  :)

Y'all have a fantabulous weekend!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cross-Stitch Birth Announcement? Check!

After (almost) a year and a half, I have completed M's cross-stitch birth announcement.  I should have finished it long ago.  Memo to me:  Don't save all the less fun parts for the end!

So, here it is in all its glory.  Well, all of its glory minus the actual info about my baby girl.  ;)

And, a couple of close-ups...

The frame was actually kinda ugly and black, but thanks to some 'ballet slipper' (pink) spray paint, it's looking cute and fabulous.  :)

It feels AWESOME to finally check this off my list!  Next, I need to finish the tie-backs for her curtains.  :)

Have a happy Monday!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Future 'Big Girl' Room

To answer your first question--no, this is not a fun way of telling you that I'm expecting again.  I'm just planning ahead, because it's fun to think about!  :)

M has a Winnie-the-Pooh nursery, and I love it, because it's perfect for a girl OR boy, except for her pink curtains, of course.  I HAD to add as much pink as I could get away with in there.  ;)  I would have loved to go all out and do a girly nursery full of pink and purple butterflies, but I restrained myself and tried to be practical.  (Now watch us have all girls..)  ;)

My time is coming though... eventually Little Miss will need to move to her new big girl room, and I would be lying if I said I wasn't super excited about going all out with girly decor in her room!  These plans won't be carried out anytime soon, but I just want to share my ideas and plans with y'all.  Of course, what makes this slightly MORE interesting is that I'm trying to plan on a budget, because we can't exactly buy her brand new everything for her room.  So, we'll either be making most of these things or getting them online really cheap!  Craigslist will probably be our best friend when it comes to her furniture.  ;)

So, here are my thoughts... pink, pink and more pink.  Elegant pink though, not hot pink.  (I don't think my husband could handle that..)  Here is what I'm thinking about for her bedding.  I probably won't go with this bedding exactly, because it may not even be in stock by the time we get this going, but you'll get an idea of the style I'm looking for.  I actually have a different set in mind, but I'm keeping that one a secret, in case I decide to go ahead and get that one later on.  ;)

From Walmart

I have no plans for furniture, because I highly doubt that I will have the luxury of being picky about that, but I THINK I would like white or beige furniture, if I had my pick.  My big sis and I had that color furniture in our bedroom when we were little, and it's just so very girly.  :)  I DO know that I would like some super cute knobs to go on her dresser, like these below.  I probably won't get these unless I can find some really cheap ones, but they're just so cute!!  Plus, if you know me, I HAVE to have some butterflies in her room.  :)

Girls' Knob Collection
You can find these knobs at Pottery Barn Kids
On the same note, I also love these hanging hooks!!

Butterfly Hooks & Flower Hooks
These can also be found at Pottery Barn Kids
I already have her curtains depending on what color her bedding is and if it will match.  I'm ALMOST done with her curtains!  Just have to finish the tie-backs and then I'll blog about that.  :)  (In case you don't know, these are her curtains BEFORE I gave them a makeover to fit her new windows)

I'm loving the whole organize-your-room-with-cute-baskets trend, like below.

You can find these baskets at
For books, we have a bookshelf that we could move into her new room, or we could do something like this, which looks pretty easy and SUPER cute.  :)  It's made of fabric!!  How fun!!  

You can get a tutorial at the Penny Carnival blog
For a lamp or two, I want to get a couple of old ones and redecorate the shades with ruffles, like the one shown below.  Of course, I would use fabric to match her bedding.

Tutorial at Homemaker in Heels (Can you tell I'm obsessed with blogs??)
Just for the fun and cuteness of it, I might like to make a flower wreath like the one below.

From Blissful Meandering Blog
Also on her blog, I just saw this idea, and I totally want to do this!!!  How cute would these be?!

Blissful Meandering
I also am loving the idea of adding some chalkboard paint to the walls somewhere.  Maybe not a whole wall, but at least a small section??  It's just so cool!  Or, would that be a bad idea??  Would she start writing all over the rest of the walls?  Hmm.. I'll have to think more on this one. 

Last, but certainly not least, I have to add MORE butterflies to her room.  I don't know if I would go this route or not, but I also have some hanging butterflies that I can just pin to the wall.  We'll see!

Butterfly Dance Wall Art Stencil
Cutting Edge Stencils
Then, of course, I also have a few other things I would hang up, like her cross-stitch, which I'm SO close to being done with!  (forgive my sentence structure.)  Plus, I'm going to paint a scripture for her like I did earlier for my precious nephew (I need to see him again!).  :)

So, those are my plans.  Can you tell that I've put WAY too much thought into this?  I tend to be a little obsessive when I get excited about something.  Now, the trick will be keeping all these ideas for when we actually make a new room for her down the road.  Remind me of all these things later, kay?  ;)

Have a fabulous weekend!!  :)

Link Party List HERE :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

An Audience of ONE

I have this problem.  I LIKE to be liked, and HATE being disliked.  I want everybody to approve of my decisions and to agree with me.  This, of course, is impossible.  So, this leads to my feelings getting hurt whenever somebody disagrees with me about something that I'm really passionate about, or disliking me.  Sound like anybody y'all know?  I know I'm not the only one that feels this way, although I may be on the extreme side as far as getting my feeling hurt so easily.

I was talking with my husband about this the other day, because I DO want others to approve of the things I do, but this doesn't always happen.  Actually, I want to not care if people approve of the things I do, which leads to what my husband reminded me.  As a Christian, I serve an audience of one.  When it gets to down to it, all that matters is what God thinks of me.  What the creator of the universe, my Lord and Savior thinks of my decisions. If He is pleased, then it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks.  Does this mean that as long as I know that I'm doing what He wants, then others' opinions don't affect me??  No.  I wish they didn't, but I'm only human, and I have a long way to go to reach that kind of maturity as a Christian.  It IS something that I'm striving to do, though.

If I don't want negative comments to affect me, then I don't think I need to let positive comments affect me greatly either.  Let me explain what I mean.  On this blog, I get SUPER excited when somebody comments or becomes a follower.  It makes me feel special.  Yet, the first time I get a negative comment, it has the potential to hit me deeply.  I'm not saying that it's bad to enjoy a compliment (or a comment on a blog, in this scenario), but if I put my feelings of worth into how people view me, whether positively or negatively, then I'm going to run into trouble.  Does that make sense?  Even though it seems silly, complete strangers can hurt us deeply with their words or opinion of us.  It is VERY possible that I can receive a hateful comment because of this post.  Then I'll really have to exercise what the Lord is trying to teach me!  This is why we have to live for an audience of one.  If we place our worth in how God views us, and strive to please Him, then we don't have to worry about what anybody else thinks.

My husband and I have done a lot of things that seemed crazy over the past few years.  That's for another post though.  We're NOT wild and crazy by any means--in fact, by most people's standards, we're pretty laid-back and boring.  ;)  We're okay with that though!  There have just been several times in the past (almost!) 5 years of our marriage that we have felt like God was calling us to do something, and then we jumped.  He gave us the faith in Him, and the boldness to do what we felt like He wanted us to do.  I'm sure there were those around us (including family and friends) who thought we were going off the deep end sometimes.  I don't blame them--we wondered if we were a little crazy too!  Yet, each time that we have leaned on what GOD wanted us to do, rather than what those around us thought, He has blessed us tremendously.  When we've done something 'crazy', we always prayed REALLY hard about it, and then we tried to decide what we felt like HE wanted.  We knew that if we were doing His will, then we would be just fine.  Would it be difficult?  Most likely, yes.  Yet, when times are most difficult, that is when we can REALLY become more like Christ.  We learn things like patience, perseverance, selflessness, etc.  These are the kind of qualities I want to have, but can't get immediately.  They take time.

So next time you find yourself worrying about what somebody else thinks of you, try to think of what God thinks of you.  I guarantee that He loves you.  Think of what He thinks of your decision.  In the grand scheme of things, His opinion is all that matters.

As always, feel free to email us if you need some encouragement, or just wanna chat.  :)  Have a happy Monday! :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Home Management Notebook

UPDATE:  I have made a few alterations, and am slowly making these files available to purchase in my Etsy shop.

I have a coupon for 50% Off every item until March 31, 2014.  The code is GRANDOPENING.

I have dropped the prices on everything!  Prices range from $.99-$2.99. 

Click HERE for the Cleaning Checklist.  :)
Click HERE for the Meal Planning and Budgeting Set.
Click HERE for the Medical Contact Sheet.

As I was 'stalking' blogs the other day, I came across the IHeart Organizing blog, and found this super cute idea!!  It's a way to organize tasks and other information in/about your home, and I decided I wanted to make my own notebook.  I've mentioned a few times how much I want to be organized, but I ultimately fail.  It's just not a natural part of my personality, but I'm working on it, only to make my life a little easier, not to mention keeping the house cleaner!  ;)

I decided to make all of my pages on, which is a free program you can download.  I don't know half of the things I can do on there yet, but I LOVE it!  SO much better than using the old paint program that's on every computer.  ;)

Allow me to show you how super cute (in my own, humble opinion, that is...) our family notebook turned out!  :)

I still have a couple (or more, we'll see!) pages to add, but you'll get the main idea.  ;)  First I have a "Cleaning Checklist" sheet.  It has things for me to complete daily, weekly, monthly and annually.  I laminated it so I can just check things off if I'd like.  I think it will be helpful.  :)

To purchase this cleaning checklist, or have it customized to fit your needs, please check out my Etsy Shop--FairyTinkBoutique.

Then I wrote down a list of meal ideas as well as side dishes.

Why does it turn my pictures?! :(

Across the page I have my "May" meal planning calendar.  Now I can look at my list of meals to get ideas and write them down on my monthly calendar.  I try to plan out every couple of weeks or so, to make sure that I have everything I need for our meals.  Plus, it sure does take the stress out of thinking of what to make for supper!  I'll still use my planning board though--I LOVE that thing!  (I just realized a mistake I made.... I laminated my calendar so I could use dry/erase markers, but it says "May" at the top, so I can't use it every month...ptth)  Well, I guess from now on I'll either just print out a calendar for each month to place in a page protector, or print out a blank one to fill out each month.  I'll probably just go the first route.  ;)

Now that I have planned out my meals, I have a grocery list, along with a list for other items I need to buy.  I'll be honest here and say that I'll probably print out future grocery list pages in black and white, but it's so pretty like this!  ;)

Next I have a list of doctor's numbers as well as insurance information.  Now when I'm on the phone with my doctor and they ask for my insurance info, it's all in one spot.  :)  (After all, it's SUCH a chore to go get my card out of my wallet...*sigh*)  ;)

I'm also working on an emergency contact list, which includes the local hospital, poison control number (?), family phone numbers as well as neighbors' numbers.  I think this would mainly be helpful if somebody was babysitting for us and needed to contact us while we're out.

Here are my 'fun' pages!  I have a list to write down craft ideas as well as things I want/need to organize.  This may seem pointless to some, but there have been several times that I've had an idea and then forgot about it when I had time to do it!  So now, that problem is fixed.  :)

The next page is mainly for my hubby.  We have an old house, so we have a lot to fix up!  Note that I made this page slightly more manly with the darker colors, although the little hearts that dot the 'i's probably take all of the manliness away, oh well.  (Not that I don't love blue too!) ;)

The last page I have finished is my travel list.  EVERY time we go somewhere overnight, I make a list of my things as well as M's things to pack.  I always over-pack, but that's beside the point.  I just want to make sure I take everything we need.  Since a lot of my list is the same each time, I went ahead and typed up a few things.  I also left space to write down the rest of my list whenever we go places.  :)

I'm working on a budget sheet as well, but y'all don't need to see that one.  ;)  I may add more pages when I think of things, who knows?  It was really fun to make, so we'll see how useful it is over time!  I'll be testing out the meal planning/grocery list system tonight.  (I have never enjoyed grocery shopping as much as I do now that I'm a stay-at-home mom, can I get an amen??)

Y'all have a fabulous day!!  :)

Linking up to THESE parties  :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Homemade Easter Dress

So this post is a few days later than I planned.  I'm sorry, I lied.  It was an accident though.  ;)

Since I have a precious little girl, I try to make the most of all the girly-ness that I can.  After all, she may end up being a tom-boy for all I know!  I want to enjoy dressing her up while she can't fight me about it.  Then again, evidently when I was little I liked to wear 'twirly' pink dresses with shiny red shoes, and make mud pies in the backyard.  So, maybe she'll have the best of both worlds too?  ;)


I decided to try and make her an Easter dress this year.  Making clothes scares me a little bit, because they have to actually FIT the person that will wear them.  If I make something like curtains, it's okay if they aren't perfect.  Well, her dress is FAR from perfect, but it's also adorable on her!  Allow me to show you...

I would show you a close-up, but then you could see all the imperfections.  ;)  It's MUCH cuter on my baby girl too, but again, for her safety, I'm not going to show you a picture of her.  (As if I was able to get a good picture of her wearing it on Sunday anyway...)  ;)

I used THIS pattern from Walmart, where is it much cheaper, by the way.  ;)  I made a couple of changes to it by adding a sash so it would fit her, as well as a little iron-on butterfly.  It was pretty easy once my sewing machine started working.  ;)  Maybe this has inspired me to make more clothes for her??  Perhaps.

On a side note, my hubby and I have been trying to redecorate M's nursery.  By we, I actually mean me.  My husband painted her room for me though.  He's a WONDERFUL husband and dad.  :)  Anyway, I think I'll post pictures of the process so you can rejoice with me as we make improvements.  I would say that I'll do that later today, but I don't want to lie again, so we'll just see what happens.  Fresh (and non-ugly) paint?  Check.  New curtains?  Check.  Clean, organized closet?  ..........

Have a happy Friday!  :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Homemade Baby Food: Sweet Potatoes

Sorry for the delay in posting!  I was gone last week.  ;)

Did anybody make some spaghetti?  Probably not, but if you did, I'll tell you that I found my daughter likes it better when it's watered down a LOT.  So, once I defrost some spaghetti, I just add enough water to make it smoother.  Whatever floats your (or your baby's) boat.  ;)

As I've been making baby food, I realized that a lot of what I make is super easy.  So I may just group together a couple of things, otherwise there are going to be some super short posts.  Today is not one of those days though.  Don't worry, this is still easy, just not as easy as peeling a banana and smooshing it up!  ;)

Moving on... let's make some sweet potatoes!  :)  (Note:  Again, this is just the way I choose to make this.  I'm only giving instructions the way I made them, so keep in mind that I'm not an expert by ANY means.)

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Then I suggest getting some foil paper ready so that it's easy to wrap up each potato after you rinse it off.  (Foil...whatever you call it.  My husband makes fun of me for calling it foil paper.) ;)

Now I take my potatoes and scrub them well under running water.  Thankfully, I have my trusty little potato-scrubbing friend.  Isn't he cute?

Once they're scrubbed, I place each one on a sheet of foil paper and wrap them up like a baked potato.  (See?  This is why it's easier to prepare the foil ahead of time.  It's a simple thing to do, but it just makes it a little easier during the process, which I'm ALL for!)  ;)

I let them bake for about an hour, maybe more, depending on how many potatoes I'm baking and how large they are.  Then I take them out of the oven, open up the foil and let them cool for a little while.  Once they've cooled off, I cut it into four sections, just to make it easier.

I take one section at a time and peel off the skin.  Sometimes it comes off pretty easily, and other times, not so much.  Sometimes I take a knife and cut it off, then I cut the 'meat' of the potato into little chunks before placing it in the food processor.

After I puree it, I add either beef or chicken (even turkey--haven't tried that yet though) and puree it a little more to get it mixed together.  (I've been adding water to this 'dish' when she's eating it to make it smoother, so I might add water when I puree next time.)

Then I line a cookie sheet with wax paper and add some 'clumps' of food.

Now I just cover it with cling wrap and place it in the freezer until it's frozen through!

Once it's frozen, I place all of it in a labeled freezer bag!  :)

I told you it wasn't difficult.  ;)  Now all I have to do is take out however much I want and let it thaw in the fridge for Little Miss to eat.  :)

Next up: Grapes and Chicken (I know it doesn't sound appetizing, but it's a big hit with Little Miss!)  :)

I'm going to try and post a picture of a craft I just finished later today, fyi.  ;)