Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Quiet inside, snowing outside. We are expecting 5" today. Hurray, I'm not ready to come out of hibernation yet. Lots of crafting to do. I hope you find time for some quiet today too.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dinner time, ack!

It's a common problem, which hits home with so many of us. DINNER... If I plan ahead dinner runs smoothly, its cheaper and healthier. When I don't, it comes down to me finding something, anything, to feed the hungry kids and leaving myself and my husband to fend for ourselves. Which for me usually means the kids leftovers.

About six months ago some friends and I set out to try a bunch of ideas and see what would make a difference. We are all mothers of young children and needed the ideas to be easy and things we could stick to.
Here are the winners!
1. Set a theme for each day of the week. This helped us focus when we were meal planning and got me away from leafing through every cookbook I own until my head exploded. The theme's were different for each of us depending on our families eating habits. Here are mine:
Monday: Pasta
Tuesday: American (for lack of a better word. ie. egg salad wraps, grilled cheese with tomato soup)
Wednesday: Mexican
Thursday: New recipe/choice day
Friday: Grill/meat (I'm a vegetarian, my family is not. I cook meat for them about once a week)
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Community dinner (we have a neighborhood potluck on Sundays)
2. Repeating monthly meal plan. I figured we basically eat the same things over and over again, why menu plan every week. So I made a monthly meal plan to use over and over. Well, I learned we do eat the same things over and over again, but in about a three month rotation. We were very sick of those first months recipes by the end of month three. Now I have three months planned out, this seems to be the right amount for us. I don't stick to the calendar exactly by the day. I just buy all the groceries for those recipes and cook them as they seem to fit in that week. I am now adding lunches as they tend to be on the fly and causing me stress.
3. Dinner exchange. I started a weekly dinner exchange with another mom at my kids school. I knew they ate similarly to us (vegetarian, whole foods). The idea was I would bring her dinner on Tuesday and she would bring us dinner on Thursday. This proved to be too much. So now we alternate weeks. Nothing fancy just double whatever I made the night before for our family and hand off at preschool pick up. Amazing how much I appreciate the night off, when it's our week.
4. Freezer dinner exchange. Once every few months I host a freezer dinner exchange. Four of us meet at my house. We each bring the ingredients for a freezer meal pre-chopped and ready to be assembled for everyone. Ahead of time we email what we will be bringing and what type of dish, etc. you will need to freeze it in. We chat and catch up while we assemble and then leave with four freezer meals. We always talk about doing it once a month, but don't seem to get there. Our first attempt was a disaster. We did not prep/chop ahead of time and it took us all day and we didn't complete all the meals. Learning from our mistakes, we find doing the prep work at home to be easy as we have a deadline and just assembling together manageable.
5. Community Dinner. We call is "Sunday Funday" and it rotates between houses. 5:00 on Sunday, bring something to share. The kids love it and we find it an easy way to wind down the weekend. Sometimes we have theme's, last time was middle eastern. I made falafel, someone brought hummus/pita, someone else salad. Store bought items are ok, it you don't have time. Other times, just bring what is leftover in your fridge.
6. Freezer list. Why did I not do this sooner!!! I now keep a list of what I have stashed away in the freezer. When I use it I cross it off the list. It's so nice on those days that got away from me or we have babysitter to take a quick look at the list and then grab something. Also, having it on the fridge helps me remember to double things and freeze some for later.
These were our keepers, always looking for more ideas. If you have one that is tried and true please send it my way!
Happy cooking!
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Sunday, February 17, 2013


Besides the 300 days of sunshine a year, one of the most endearing things about living in Denver is the mildness of the winter. We do get snow, maybe about once a month and sometimes in great amounts (I'm sure you have seen the blizzards during Bronco games.) The mildness comes in the days after the snow when the temperatures go up into the 50's and sometimes like today the 60's. Mid February! It's like a little slice of heaven.

So in order to keep my Vitamin D levels up and to ground myself I worked for a bit in the yard today. Not much to show as we didn't get around to a fall clean up and everything is mainly brown. Still, it did feel great and i'm hoping as the weather holds for the next few days (snow forecast for Wednesday) I can get out a bit with the kids and soak in some pre-spring rays.

I also found a few surprises!
My landscape tip for this week, is winter watering. When the temperatures are above freezing and you haven't received any moisture for one or two weeks. You need to water your beds. For Denver that is once or twice a month. I have one hose that is self bleeding so It's not part of my winterized sprinkler system. You can also just use a watering can and your kitchen sink. Gray water from cooking, bathing, etc. is also wonderful. If you do use a hose, make sure and disconnect it from the faucet when you are finished. This will keep the pipe from freezing. So get out there and see if there are any surprises waiting for you! (Or for those in the north east, enjoy a walk in that winter wonderland, spring will be here before you know it!)

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Friday, February 15, 2013

A cup of tea

My tea kettle has whistled three times today and I am still yet to have a cup of tea. It is one of those days.

I was laid off at the beginning of January, expected to go back sometime in March when spring appears. I'm a landscape architect and have been working the past eight years in residential design build. It has been an interesting month. Full of really hard and really wonderful moments. I'm uncertain about where my career path will lead moving forward.

I'm trying to savor the new pace of my life, follow my instincts and give myself time. This is very hard. I'm a Virgo!

One thing that has opened that I am able to savor is an increase in my creative energy. This has been amazing. I am so full of ideas and projects I am almost unable to start on anything. It's all over the board: embroidery, sewing, cooking, decorating, parenting, gardening. Once again trying to savor the pace, follow my instincts and give myself time.

Hence, i'm back on my creative blog (ack, just noticed how old my header is and it's going to have to stay that way as I no longer have access to a computer and only have my ipad and my iphone. Apologies in advance for the bad photography.) Might have to catch up with the times and try instagram. Hoping to share the past year of projects and keep myself motivated and moving on all the new ideas.

I had a weekend away with my girls last weekend (heaven!). I always come away so refreshed and wiser when I have been with them. One friend recently published a book, amazing! When someone asked her how she did it, she said she followed a writing coaches advice and spent at least 15 minutes a day on it. Although simple, this feels like sage advice. I feel like I could carve out 15 minutes a day for my creative pursuits and have a feeling it might just stretch a wee bit longer than that once I get going.

A few pics of projects from the past few months. Talk soon!
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