Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Remember the Milk

Following along the lines of my last WFMW post, I'd like to tell you about another favorite online tool: Remember the Milk. This is an online to-do list that I've enjoyed using over the past month or so. I first heard about it from Simple Mom, who says she uses Remember the Milk strictly for her online tasks.

Here's why Remember the Milk works for me:
  • It's one convenient place to keep track of multiple to-do lists.
  • It lets you add notes, due dates, priorities, and personalized list categories.
  • You can share lists or individual tasks with others.
Just a side note - it may take a little bit of exploring to learn a few of the "advanced" features, like sharing. The basic features like adding tasks to lists aren't too bad, but personally I feel like there are a few aspects of the site that could be more user-friendly.

Overall though - I LOVE being able to see all my tasks in one place. My husband & I share a "This weekend" task list so we can both add to-dos before we forget, then we're able to look at the list together & discuss which ones we want to/need to do.

I hope this works for you, too! Check out my older Works for Me Wednesday posts here for more ideas, or hop on over to Kristen's blog to see all of today's WFMW posts.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Gracie Girl

Meet Gracie! Our almost 2-year-old precious dog, who has quickly become very central to our family. We got her from a local shelter a few months back, but now constantly ask each other what we did before we had her. :)

A few things about Gracie:

* LOVES walks and loves to run - she starts jumping in circles when she sees me pick up shoes
* LOVES people - and will jump all over you to show you
* likes to dig - our backyard will prove it
* is about as happy-go-lucky as you can get
* recently decided that she would get up at 6 AM everyday - great alarm clock!

Glad you could meet Gracie today - she'll definitely be back on here another day to visit, maybe bringing a few of her own tips. :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: July 27 - Aug. 2

Still stickin' to simple meals... but I also want to enjoy some yummy summer vegetables this week. 

Monday: Grilled veggie sandwiches (one of our favorites - thanks for the reminder last week, Carla!)

Tuesday: Jambalaya with chicken

Wednesday: Leftovers - Wednesday nights are busy for us so extra-quick suppers are in order

Thursday: Breakfast for dinner: grits, eggs, muffins

Friday: Homemade pizza

Saturday: More pizza for one meal, creamy zucchini with linguine for the other

Sunday: Celebrating our niece's 1st birthday for lunch! Then - probably leftovers for supper, or if we need something new we'll grill some chicken.

Lunches will be sandwiches/leftovers/easy pasta with fruit as a side. 

Please let me know any suggestions you may have for our menu plan or for things you'd like to see in my future menu planning posts!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: July 20-26

I spoke a little a few days ago about how we're trying to eat more simple meals. This worked pretty well for us last week, and we're keeping at it this week. The only problem is that I don't want to eat the same thing every week - so it's tough to find lots of simple meals. Or rather, I may think that a meal is simple, but end up cooking & washing dishes much longer than I anticipate! (As happened tonight...)

Without further ado... this week's plan!

Monday: Hamburger stroganoff & tomato/basil/mozzarella salad (tomatoes & basil from our garden!) 

More hamburger stroganoff, this time with congealed salad

Wednesday: Tacos, made with our dinner kit from Publix (see Southern Savers' Publix deals)

Thursday: Again, tacos

FridayBaked yellow rice & veggies (we won't use the chicken, this feels like a pretty complete meal even without meat)

Saturday: Leftovers for lunch, out to dinner with friends.

Sunday: Homemade pizza for lunch, breakfast for dinner!

Overall, a pretty simple week. Today I probably cooked more than I will the rest of the week, which works just fine. One other note - we do eat sides with our meals, just often I don't know what we'll eat when, so they don't always make it into the meal plan. I guess when there's only two of us, we have a little more flexibility. We'll try to eat a good bit of fruit this week on the side, though.

Please let me know any suggestions you may have for our menu plan or for things you'd like to see in my future menu planning posts!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Newlywed Tip #6: Goal-Setting Together

About a week ago, SimpleMom posted about creating a family mission statement. It's a pretty inspiring post and makes a ton of sense. The basic premise is that as a family, how do we decide what our priorities are? If we create some type of mission statement, we can always ask ourselves whether or not something falls under our main priorities, especially when life feels too cluttered and we're trying to decide what activities to back away from.

While Javier & I have yet to create a mission statement, SimpleMom's questions have helped us have some very meaningful conversations about our goals and priorities.

Benefits of this process so far:
  • Increased communication between us. We're naturally both talkative, but our conversations have taken a turn that's a little deeper than normal - getting at the heart of who we are and the direction we'd like to go as a family.
  • Seeing what's most important to each other. I think it can be pretty easy to lose sight of this on a day-to-day basis - this is helping us appreciate each other for who we are, not who we want the other person to be.
  • We get to think about our priorities as a couple. 
  • We already have somewhat of a sense of "Is this really important to me right now? Or is there a better way I could use my time?" While everyone will have different priorities and different Most Important Resources, we're realizing that ours is definitely time - and we want to make the most of it.
So, whether or not you want to actually make a family mission statement, I strongly encourage you to talk with your spouse or family or just think through for yourself what some of your main priorities are. Hopefully it will be as much of a learning process for you as it has been for us!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Keep Track of Your Reading

I used to read A LOT. Like, I would get in trouble for reading when I was supposed to help set the supper table, and my punishment would usually be that I wasn't allowed to read for a certain amount of time. My sisters & I were about the only kids I knew who had this problem. :)

Now I don't have quite the time I once did to read, and often I go to the library with no idea of a book to check out. I come home with some duds - I read a few pages then try to figure out why on earth I checked that book out. 

A few months ago, I found Goodreads. While I won't exactly say it's changed my life :), it certainly has helped me find my love for reading again. With Goodreads, you can keep track of books you've read, are currently reading, and ones you'd like to read in the future. You can also find your friends on it, (similar to Facebook...) where you can see what they're reading or have read in the past. You can post reviews and rate books. 

So, why is this so great? If I hear of a book that interests me, I add it to my Goodreads list. I also see what my friends (who happen to have pretty similar book tastes to me) are reading and if any of those are interesting. Just having a list of books that I want to read and somewhere fun to keep track of them (that I won't lose - I've tried regular old lists before) is super motivating!

To see other things that work, check out my other Works for Me Wednesday posts, or mosey on over to Kristen's blog to see all of today's WFMW posts.

*By the way, I am in no way affiliated with Goodreads - I just happened to find their site one day and enjoy using it!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Simple Meals (or meal-planning redefined)

One thing I've struggled with constantly since getting married is planning meals. We both work right now (more or less...) and have little time in the evenings to prepare a nice dinner. We also both usually take our lunches (unless we can make it home for lunch) which creates a little rush in the morning. Meal planning, while time consuming, has overall saved us much time, headache, and money, but especially since J returned, why couldn't we "keep up" with our meal plan?

Solution: Simplify our meals from Monday - Thursday! It sounds so obvious, but agreeing on this was rather freeing. J is perfectly content to eat simple weekday meals (really, he'd eat about anything!) and I don't have to cut my work short every day to try to have dinner ready.

We need to think of some healthier options, because it seems like most of our "simple" meals aren't the best for us, but this is a start.  A few ideas are grilled foods, salads, bulk cooking on the weekends then pulling portions out during the week. I know a lot of people try weekend cooking, but our weekends tend to be pretty busy around here, so we can't completely rely on that.

We're also attempting to plan our meals on Sunday afternoons/evenings, allowing me to grocery shop first thing Monday morning. (Which, while I "work", I'm in grad school and have some flexibility at least.)

Look for menu plans to be here again soon, and any simple weeknight meal ideas are welcome as we try planning meals with this mindset!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Why, Hello Again

I realize that I haven't posted for an inexcusable length of time, especially in the blogging world. I don't expect you to keep reading, unless of course, you'd like to know where I've been. :)

Well - I've been right here (for the most part)! My husband, however, had a six month work assignment away from home from January through the end of June. We are so thankful to have that behind us and to be back together now. 

And while I know that doesn't exactly explain my disappearance on this blog... well let's just say I was suddenly handling a different set of responsibilities and the ways that I needed to be supporting J and our home changed, leaving me little time for this blog. I love blogging, but my family comes first. :)

So here we go again! Join me as J & I get re-adjusted to life in the same place, as we tackle new projects, introduce you to our new dog, find more exciting grocery deals, and who knows what else along the way...