Sunday, February 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I've been a little behind posting my menus.  So, I'm hoping to get back on track by sharing my plans here.

Monday:  Broiled London Broil w/ spinach, broccoli and cauliflower casserole

Tuesday:  Slow cooker French dip sammies and Caesar salad
Wednesday: Baked French toast, bacon, and eggs

Thursday: Italian style chicken breasts, broccoli, and brown rice

Friday: Grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and broccoli

I linked up to two slow cooker recipes I found on-line.  I'll let you know how they turn out.  I'm planning to make a few changes to both in hopes of making them a little healthier.

Short and Sweet

I wanted to post a quick update.  I made a decision on the chandelier.  I picked #3, and I was able to get it reduced (albeit not as much as I would have preferred).  Also, my mom owed me some money, so she paid the difference between #4 and #3 (I was cheap and going to buy #4 because I didn't want to pay the extra amount).  She thought I was being ridiculous!  Here is a photo of the one I chose.  I hope to have pictures of my office next week.

Also, I hope to have some good news to announce at the end of the week.  I don't want to jinx it, but I'm pretty excited (now just praying everything works out)!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

When I first moved into my house 6 years ago, I wanted a loud and vibrant office.  I think I was at that young and creative point in my life where hot pink and lime green was fun and funky.

I guess at 30 years old, I hit that stage where I just want calm and relaxing vibes all around.  So, after taking my house off the market, I decided to repaint and try to create a place that doesn't make me stress just walking through the door.

Well, I'm almost there.  I need to finish a couple more things (new light fixture, hanging some artwork, cleaning up, and deciding about the is always in the way).  However, I need your help.  I've narrowed down my light fixture search to four chandeliers.  I love glitzy and crystal, so I thought a crisp white or silver fixture would be perfect.  I went to my favorite antique store (Dupree's on the Marietta Square), and here are my selections.  Sorry for the quality of the pictures.  They were taken with my iPhone and in a dark warehouse type place.

Chandelier #1
$395...Love the pineapples

Chandelier #2
$345 and 20% off

Chandelier #3

Chandelier #4

This is where your assistance comes into play.  Please leave a comment telling me which one you would choose.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Little Clarification

So, if you recall I posted about my lenten journey on Wednesday.  If you missed it, you can catch up here.  Quite a few people have commented or sent me emails about the 40 bags in 40 days.  I wanted to be a little more specific and answer some questions.  

1.  I'm not a hoarder.

2.  I don't have 40 bags of stuff lying around my house.

However, I do have extras of things I've stocked up on...extras that can benefit someone else.  

For example, today's bag was dog food and dog treats.  I love my pups, and I treat them way too well.  However, there are a lot of dogs in the pound that don't have daily treats.  So, I dropped off a bag of dog food and treats at my animal shelter. 

So, don't think you have to push away stacks to walk in my front door.  You don't.  However, I know my pantry and my closet are a little fuller than most.  So, I'll share a little bit of goodness and help someone out over the next 40 days.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Yummy Yummy Goodness


Just wanted to show you what I came home to tonight!
God Bless the Slow Cooker!

And the best part...leftovers!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Slow Cooker Lasagna

Tonight is the first of my 40 nights of cooking.  I love this recipe, and it has been a while since I've made it.  Luckily, it makes a lot of leftovers too.

If you're interested in downloading a copy of the recipe card, click here.  Let me know if you make it, and what you think.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Lenten Journey

Ash Wednesday is tomorrow…such an inspiring day.  I will walk down the aisle of my church, receive the mark of the cross upon my forehead and know that I am forgiven.  What a special moment!  Ash Wednesday service is one of my favorites.  It is a smaller and more intimate group than Sundays, and its symbolic nature is something I hold close to my heart.  There is just something extraordinary about this day and the weeks to follow.

However, tomorrow also starts my Lenten journey.  In previous years, I’ve given up a range of things from Diet Coke to meat or added and incorporated practices into my life.  This year I’ve struggled deciding what excessive part of my life I am going to give up.  Then, I stumbled across this post.

40 bags in 40 days

I began collecting tonight.  I have 2 bags prepared, and I wonder where the remainder 38 will come from.  However, I know without a doubt I can find 38 more.  It is time for me to put away some of my materialistic ways and at the same time help others who don’t have their basic needs met on a daily basis.

I’ve decided as well, that I am going to cook or “eat in” during lent.  This may seem meaningless to you, but I think it will be a fantastic opportunity to be still and truly moved by the opportunity to grow. 

I hope you’ll hold me accountable, ask how it is going and encourage me along the way.  I’d love to know if any of you have decided to alter your current lifestyle over the next forty days (excluding the Sabbath).

Monday, February 15, 2010

WANTED: Warm Weather

So, have you ever checked out the Monogram Chick blog?  Well, I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  The Monogram Chick was my sorority sister, and she lived on my freshmen hall.

Anyway, the Monogram Chick is having a fantastic giveaway (and not only can you enter, but you can also help me win).  They are giving away a phenomenal duffel bag...which only makes me wish for some serious warm weather!

You too can win.  Here are the details about how to enter...

~Leave a comment with the bag color you'd chose if you're the winner.
~Tell us for where you'd pack this glorious bag (mine would be St. Maarten bound)
~If you don't have a blog or webpage linked to your username leave an email 
{pretty please}
~Grab the graphic, add it to your blog, telling the blogosphere about the AWESOME GIVEAWAY MonogramChick is hosting
~Tell your bloggy friends to tell me that you sent them and you'll be entered an 
additional time for each friend you send!
~Giveaway ends Wednsesday, February17th at noon!

Guest Blogger

I hope you'll take a quick moment to jump over to Crafty Storage and read my guest post about how to maximize your crafting storage!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Penny Pinching

So, I'm on this new kick of pinching pennies.  In fact, I'm following a budget for the first time of my life.  In an effort to save some money, I've been paying close attention to store ads and buying only when items are on sale.  Then, I'll buy A LOT and freeze.  So, today I took a quick trip to Kroger with my sister (and all three of the girls).  I bought 4 large containers of chicken (at $1.99 lb.).  Then, I came home and created some freezer friendly chicken.  After washing and trimming the chicken, I did the following:

Step 1:  Cut a square of foil.  Cut a square of plastic wrap and place it on top of the foil.

Step 2:  Place the washed and trimmed chicken on top of the foil/plastic wrap pieces.

Step 3:  Wrap the chicken in plastic wrap.

Step 4:  Wrap the chicken in foil.

Step 5:  Label a freezer bag with the date and item.  Place wrapped chicken inside the bag, and freeze!

Now, I am able to defrost one piece at a time or multiples.  I read (and heard many times over the years from my grandmother) that the extra layer of plastic wrap will help protect the chicken from freezer burn.  Anyway, I now have plenty of chicken for the next month or two.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Photo of the Week

I don't know who took this picture, but I think it is super cool.  I am from Mableton, which is a really small town.  Basically, our claims to fame are Six Flags and Crystal Springs Water is bottled there...pretty pathetic, I know.  Anyway, the reason I love this picture is because it is taken on the "main road" of Mableton and in front of one of our family's hardware stores.  The stores have been in existence for over a half a century, and they provide a fondness and history for the town (at least I hope).  

Monday, February 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Menu for Week of February 8th

·      Monday: Beef Tenderloin and Garlic/Cheese Orzo

·      Wednesday: Chicken Tortellini Soup

·      Thursday: Crock-Pot Salsa Pork Burritos

·      Friday: Mini Beef Wellington (from Tuesday leftovers)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Job/PhD/Life Update

Several weeks ago, you'll likely recall I expressed my nerves about the job search (If you've forgotten, you can refresh your memory here).  Well, I wanted to give you an update...

When searching for jobs, I applied for three positions: (1) policy job in DC, (2) assistant professor of early childhood education at a local college, and (3) assistant professor of special education at a local university.  A little over a month ago, I received notification that position #1 in DC is on hold because of budget cuts.  Two weeks ago, I participated in a phone interview for position #2.  I am a finalist for the position, and I went for my last interview/guest lecture on Thursday.  Last week, I participated in a phone interview for position #3.  Monday, I received notification that I will be participating in an on-campus interview/guest lecture next week for that position.  

The on-campus interviews are filled with meetings and guest lectures.  It is slightly intimidating, but I am anxiously giddy about the experience.  So, I hope to know something in the next couple of weeks.  I'm once again requesting your thoughts and prayers over the next couple of hectic weeks!  Thanks again for all of your support so far.  

Hopefully, I can secure a job and get back to more crafting!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Quilt Project: Week 2


Remember this post?  Well, the tasks for week 1 included very minimal work:

Purchase 10 cuts of 1/3 yard of print fabrics
Purchase 1 cut of 2 yards of neutral/solid fabric
Wash fabric
Hang to dry

Pretty easy, right?  Well, I finally took care of that on Monday.  So, week 2 includes a little more work:

Cut 100 rectangles from print fabrics
Cut 100 rectangles from solid fabrics

I think I better get busy.  This might take a little longer than I planned.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fuji Instamax Mini Camera

Have you seen this new little handy dandy?  It is the Fuji Instamax Mini Camera.  For those of us "old school" folks, it is similar to the Polaroid.  Well, I'm dying for one.  However, with the new and self-imposed budget...not going to happen.  

Albeit, if I could win this fabulous contest...well, then it would be fabulous.  Check it out here.  However, if you win...I must get some usage out the hot commodity.  

Crafting Organization

My crafting supplies are taking over my house!  I spent the past month or so (since the unfortunate flood) purging my office of all sorts of supplies.  Now, I've moved to hanging organization.  That is the only area of my office that is not overflowing.

With a jewelry organizer, I was able to separate my chipboard letters.  The organizer is front and back, and it holds A LOT of chipboard.  I love using the organizer because of it's quick and easy accessibility.  Plus, the clear pockets, make it even easier to see exactly what I need while in the midst of the creative juices.


As always, I'm looking for more organization tips for your crafting supplies...nothing makes me more giddy than some great organization (I'm well aware I'm a dork)!  So, what are your favorite tricks?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Photo of the Week

The back story to this picture...

During my first year teaching, I applied for an educator grant through the Raymond Cash Foundation.  The grant paid for one person to go on an Earthwatch Expedition.  This organization focuses on solving environmental issues.  I chose to travel to Africa and work on a research study investigating the declining population of the Grevy zebra.  I met some of the most interesting people and saw the most gorgeous earthly treasures which exist.  While on one of the expeditions, I met a little girl named Daisy.  Her mother cooked for the researchers and scientists at the camp.  Daisy was adorable, and I loved spending my early evenings entertaining her.  So, here is the picture of us one evening.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Menu Monday

I cannot believe it is February.  Time is flying by way too fast.  On a different note, I'm trying to get some food out of my freezer.  So, my goal is to stay out of the grocery store this week and use only what I have on hand.  I will admit, I had to borrow a chili seasoning pack from my sister...I'm not counting that.  Anyway, this is a hectic week with school/job related appointments.  So, nothing on my menu plan requires much time.  I hope to create two printable recipe cards this week (since I am behind from last week).  That will all depend on how diligently I accomplish everything else on my "to-do" list.

Monday:  Homemade Chili

Tuesday:  Athens Teaching and Dad's Gubernatorial Debate

Wednesday:  Leftover Chili Bake

Thursday:  Herb Chicken and Rice Crock Pot Meal