Saturday, April 2, 2011

B - is for Beer!

LOL, I really feel strange about actually starting a blog with this in the title. Really strange. But I also feel like it is appropriate for today. I love beer. Not in the alcoholic sort of way where I need it to function each day, but I love it in the sense that I really appreciate it.

I enjoy beers from all over the world in all different types. I can't tell you how many times I have ordered something like a Guiness and had people giggle like I didn't know what I was getting into, or actually scoff at me and act like I must be lying. What's wrong with a girl liking real beer? What? since I am female I should only drink fluffy sweet mixed drinks? Hadley.

So this is my post to say that yes, I am a woman and I am a beer lover. I have tried hundreds of different brews and have enjoyed all of them for the way that they were made and for the way that they taste.

Here's to Beer one of my favorite B words and the subject of this letter B challenge.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April A-Z blogging challenge

I have decided to be a part of this challenge for April. It is to blog about something each day, except Sunday, starting with the letters of the alphabet in a row. This should be fun! I think. I have a really busy month with a lot of traveling it might be harder than usual. If you want to come try this with me. A is for Arizona. I am from Arizona and all of its varied weather and people. I love where I grew up, there are so many amazing things to see, and so many great things to do. What? You don't know what I'm talking about? Really? Well lets start with the biggest, the Grand Canyon. Hello? Have you ever been? It is amazing, breathtaking, exciting and relaxing all at the same time. The Grand Canyon is the most famous piece of Arizona scenery, but it is far from the only place with that kind of beauty.

Arizona has amazing variations in climate. In just 1 hour you can drive from a mountainous forest with skiing, to a desert with the majestic saguaro cactus.

I love my home state. If you haven't been you should visit. You won't regret it.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

ThATh ~ Meal Planning

I love meal planning for a lot of reasons. The first and foremost being that once the planning is done my life is so much easier. I don't have to spend hours agonizing over what I need to make for dinner that night. I avoid getting myself into food ruts where I have Italian food 4 nights in a row. Also, it saves me money. When I grocery shop with an exact list of what I need I don't buy things that I don't need, and so my grocery bill goes down. I also save money because we rarely ever say "I didn't have time to get to dinner so we need to eat out."

My meal plan that I just finished will cover our family for the first half of the month, with a small trip for fresh fruit and veggies part way through the month. That is also an excellent thing since I tend to shop with children in tow. The less trips to the store the better. Starting to meal plan can be frustrating and confusing so I thought I would offer a few hints and tips that have helped me a lot.

1) Start a Meal Bank - a place where you keep your families favorite meals all in a list. Also a place where you keep a list of meals that you want to try. If you keep everything in one place it will be easier when you sit down to plan. You can organize this bank however makes the most sense to you, my personal choice is to organize them by who in the family likes them. So I have family favorites, DH's favorites, the girls favorites, and my favorites. That way I can make sure that in the course of a week we all get at least one meal that is something we love. You could also order them by the time it takes to prepare, the main protein (chicken, fish, beef), or by when you last served it.

2) Set Time Aside - Make sure that you have a dedicated time to plan your meals set aside. If weekly works better for you set that time aside once a week, if you like monthly plans then by all means do that, but make sure that you give yourself a block of time.

3) Be Prepared - Before you start planning your meals make sure that you take inventory of your pantry, fridge and freezer to see what you have and what you need to use. If you use coupons also get all of those together and ready. Ask your family for any special requests. Is your spouse craving Mexican food, do your kids want more chicken. Look at your calender, what is your schedule looking like, you don't want to plan a bunch of new or difficult recipes if you have a week where you don't have time to make them.

4) Don't Forget the Sides - A meal is more than a main dish, don't forget to add the vegetables and starches that you want to serve with your main dish. Make sure that when you keep meals in your meal bank you also list appropriate and or favorite sides with the meal.

5) More than Dinner - Don't forget to plan options for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. They don't have to be as complete as your dinner plans, in fact you can just list sandwiches, leftovers, mac and cheese, cereal, bagels, etc. and go from there. This way you won't forget anything when you transfer it to your grocery list.

Here is an example of my meal plans for April 1-15, 2011.

Sour Cream Enchiladas

Chili Lime Meatballs
Stir-Fry Veggies

Pork Chops, Grilled
Grilled Asparagus
Baked Sweet Potato Coins

Stuffed Shells
Garlic Bread

Green Beans

Chicken Supreme
Broccoli and Cauliflower with Bread Crumbs
Crescent Rolls

Sloppy Joes
Raw Veggies



I hope that this has helped give you some ideas and direction for how to plan meals for your family. Sometime later I will talk about how to take those meal plans and translate them into a great grocery list.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hodgepodge Wednesday

1. April rolls in at the end of this week and in celebration of that infamous date (April 1st) answer this question-What is something foolish you've done? Foolish? Probably the most foolish thing that I have ever done is to buy into the whole magic weight loss pills myth. They are costly and largely ineffective but I still dumped WAY too much money down the drain thinking that they would take the place of healthy eating and exercise. 2. With April comes Easter and that classic edible treat known as tell me...what's your favorite way to fix/eat chicken? That wasn't what you were expecting, was it? I 'fooled' you. teehee. I love chicken and if it was up to me we would eat it for 90% of our protein. DH disagrees and would want that percentage to be pork or beef, but I digress. If I had to pick one very favorite way to have chicken I would say that it is sour cream enchiladas. They are like the best blend of comfort food and Mexican food, which I love. The other great thing is that they are so easy to make so I don't feel like I am struggling. 3. What's the best museum you've ever visited? Or your favorite? Or the one you'd most like to visit? Oh I love museum's, big ones, small ones, famous or out of the way. I could live in museums a lot of my life, in fact my dream job is to work in one of the small restored house museums in the house, where the workers dress up in period clothing and give people a look into what life was like instead of just a view of the stuff. I can't really pick my favorite. I loved going to the huge museums like the Smithsonian (American History was my favorite) or the Louvre, but they were overwhelming at the same time. I love the small town museums. There is one near where my Grandmother lived that had been put together by the people who lived there donating family heirlooms which was beautiful. The museum in my hometown is great because it is focused on the unique heritage of that area, and includes a great kids dinosaur play area which my girls loved. So a favorite, I can't pick. I just love them all. 4. You know what they say about April showers...what's your preference-a shower or a bath? That depends on the situation. If the purpose is cleanliness it will always be a shower. If I am sticky, sweaty or dirty I don't want to sit and wallow in it, I also don't like rinsing my hair in the same water I just washed it in, it just doesn't feel clean. But if the purpose is alone time, mental or muscle relaxation it is a bath. I have been known to take a book into a hot bath and read for hours until the water is ice cold. 5. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"...fact or fiction? Why? Wow, hmmm. In my case I would say true, and that's a good thing considering how often DH gets deployed. I find that physical absence allows you to get more talking and heartfelt sharing in with people, when you see someone every day you tend to get stuck in the grind and not share with them how you feel. Another reason why I feel this way is that with absence comes time to forget the little things that annoy you and time to come to appreciate and miss the things that you love about them. 6. What's your favorite product made/grown in your home state/province? Hahahahaha grown in my home state. Northern Arizona is not known for growing anything. It does have an immense Ponderosa Pine forest which will always make me let out a breath of "home" when I see it. But that's not really a favorite just something that lets me know I am almost there. So something made in the area. I love Navajo and Hopi traditional arts. The silver work that they do will always amaze me. The blankets they make are so beautiful, and the katchinas are so intricate. If I could afford it I would have something to wear for every day of the week and a house full of it. 7. What is going on in the world today that affects you the most? So many things but the most obvious is the lack of peace throughout the world and Americas involvement in those conflicts. With DH's specific job field he is gone as much as he is home, so that is always at the front of my mind. 8. Insert your own random thought here. I should know better... I have never had a successful tan. Every year I say "I am going to embrace my natural skin color of white" and then the first sun of spring comes out and I am out in the sun without enough sunscreen and get burned. You would think that after 30 years I would know that I am never going to have a tan unless it is airbrushed on, but no I keep trying. And so I sit here with my first sunburn of the year kicking myself because I do know better, I just can't seem to help myself. Questions from Here thanks for the fun! ~DD

TPT - School Days

My picture today is of AJ doing some school work. I love how much she loves learning! I hope that this love lasts for a lifetime.

Monday, March 28, 2011

MM - Getting back to the gym

Monday this week is dedicated to two things. One of them I have already complained about, laundry, so I'll just move on to the next thing I am working on today. I am working on catching up and re-starting my exercise routine this week. I have added weight lifting and abdominal exercise back into my routine. It was a lot of fun to get back to feeling like I am accomplishing something in the gym. I find this totally funny since I was not an exercise person at all when I was younger. I hated to do anything that remotely resembled exercise and avoided it at all costs. Yet another time where I wish I knew then what I know now. I find that beyond the obvious benefits of getting active I have come to depend on the endorphins that exercise releases. If I do something every morning and every night right before bed I am a happier person as well as being a healthier person, and who wouldn't love that?