Thursday, November 29, 2012

This Week's Menu: A Dinnertime Moment

Nick and I make it a priority to eat together as a family.  Since we've had baby M, timing is everything to make sure that we can sit down and have a meal together.  Typically I prep dinner while Nick is playing with 2 year old B or doing something around the house.  Then when it is time to nurse, Nick will cook and by the time I'm finished nursing, dinner is ready and it is time to eat.  It sounds simple, but it takes a lot of thought and planning to make it all work.

Baby M is 5 months now and she's spacing out her feedings and taking less naps so suddenly I feel like dinnertime is less complicated and I can really enjoy the nights my husband does all the cooking.  On one particular night this week, 2 year old B was busy "washing dishes," baby M was cruising around in her activity center, Nick was cooking, and all I had to do was sit back and enjoy my family.

When the week started, there were a few nights that we weren't sure if we'd be home or not for dinner.  I decided to plan for 4 meals, leaving one take out night, and possibly 2 dinners with family.  Here is what I planned...

1. salmon, kale, bread

2. crock pot honey sesame chicken from The Comfort of Cooking (I put the chicken in the crockpot for too long and the chicken came out pretty dry so next time I need to follow the timing directions on the recipe), broccoli

3. breakfast sandwiches (we made them with asiago bagels from Panera - yum!), fruit, turkey sausages

4. Yakisoba with chicken, peppers, snow peas, and broccoli

The Yakisoba noodles come with a seasoning packet... so easy!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Office/Bar/Partial Playroom Project

We have this area in the house where we keep our wine fridge, bar items, books, office supplies, pictures, etc. and it opens up right into the playroom so it also functions as a partial playroom... you know, because filing, drinking, reading, and playing with the kids all go hand in hand, right?? The area needs A LOT of help, but I have a plan to make it functional.  Take a look at what it looks like now and what I'd like to do to change it:

I'm standing in the playroom that opens up into the office area in this picture... you can see how the space also functions as part of the playroom!

Yikes!  The tall bookshelf is not only an eye sore, but slightly dangerous.  The shelves are swaying and the back is falling off and for some reason it is leaning a bit toward the right.

In place of both the small & tall bookshelf, the black filing cabinet, and the unit in the corner that continues to have things piled on top of it, I want to get this unit from Ikea:
Before I start buying boxes and cubbies to go in the shelving unit, I need to think about how to organize the things I have.  If I don't really take some time to think about exactly what I need to organize, I'll go box crazy and buy way too much!  

There are some read for pleasure books, educational textbooks for me, and medical textbooks for my husband that will probably take up one whole row of shelves.  I REALLY need to organize the pictures, computer software odds & ends, and the greeting cards/stationary that are just kind of tossed in random places.  I think I'd like to use these to organize the pictures and computer software:

And possibly organize my greeting cards in this:

Paper and notebooks are another item that pile up and I never know what we've got.  I'd like to use these to be able to see everything easier:

I'm going to try these out for our files.  I'm thinking I'll start with 2 and go from there.

And finally, I need to have a place to put paperwork that needs to be filed, so I'd like to get this:

So that's my plan for now.  What do you think?  Stay tuned for the final product...

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving!  Thanks to pinterest, this is my contribution to the Thanksgiving meal this year:

For directions on how to make this lovely turkey veggie platter, click here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's an easy meal kind of a week!

Nick and I like to plan what we eat for dinners for the week on the weekend to help make the week run smoother and to help us figure out what we need at the store.  Nick was out of town for the weekend and it was just the girls and I for a few days.  When I woke up Sunday morning with a scratchy throat, I knew it was going to be one of those weeks where we needed to make easy meals for dinner.  Little did I know how tired we were going to be this week from Nick feeling run down from being out of town, both of us getting sick, and to top things off, we stayed up all night with a very sick 2 year old for a few nights in a row.  I'm so glad I planned ahead...

1. chicken caesar salad & paninis (I buy frozen chicken cubes to add to the caesar.  Nick usually puts deli meat on his panini and I usually just stick with cheese.)

2. breaded frozen fish from Costco, sauted kale, & rosemary bread

3. whole wheat spaghetti with turkey meatballs & broccoli

4. detox soup from Skinny Mom & rosemary bread

5. quinoa with sausage and peppers & homemade tortilla chips

You'll notice I don't assign meals to specific nights.  I like to plan 5 meals, leaving one day a week the option of eating out and the other day we usually do dinner at my mom and dads.  In the morning I usually think about what's happening that day and choose one of the meals and take out anything that needs to be defrosted.  You'll also notice that I used the rosemary bread 3 times this week.  Once with the paninis and then the other 2 times as a side... getting bang for my buck with the loaf of bread!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Dishes

This is my first post!  I have been a reader of blogs for quite awhile now and I finally decided to just give it a try and start my own blog.  This first entry is actually about a way that I am not organized, but work to be better at.  We all have our chores that we dislike.  My husband hates to put away laundry so much that he will just pile his clothes on top of the dresser and pick from that pile when he's getting dressed everyday.  My dreaded chore: putting away the dishes!  I have no problem cleaning the dishes, but I absolutely, without a doubt, cannot stand putting them away.  We used to have a dish rack next to the sink and my husband called it my Jenga pile because I would pile all the clean dishes on the rack and then precariously pull them out without making other dishes fall when I needed something.  I really wish I would have taken a picture of what my Jenga pile looked like because I'm kind of proud of it.  One day, my husband kindly asked if we could remove the dish rack and try a different method.  In the spirit of being compromising I went for it.  We said goodbye to the big dish rack and hello to a little teeny tiny towel where we could keep the sippy cup and toddler plate and utensils that get used for every meal.  My husband even showed me how to place the towel over my shoulder and dry the dishes as I cleaned them - thanks!  His goal was to have our kitchen look like this on a daily basis:

Guess what?  It worked!  The kitchen stayed clean for approximately one week and then I realized a couple of things.  If I dry each dish right after I wash it then I'm wasting time and water.  So, I tried a different plan.  I laid out a towel and placed each dish on the towel after I cleaned it.  Then, I would dry the dishes and put them away.  But I realized that I don't like drying dishes in the first place, so this system still isn't working for me very well.

If there is one rule to go by when keeping organized, it is to prioritize.  It may sound very cheesy, but my priorities these days are my kids, so spending time putting away dishes isn't at the top of my to do list.  What I have learned is that I can leave the pile of dishes on the towel and put them away at some point in time during the day when the kids are taking their naps or busy eating lunch or breakfast (and it surprisingly doesn't take that long).  So for now, my husband has also decided to meet me in the middle and has accepted that our counter looks like this most of the time...

I'm curious to hear... What is your dreaded chore and how do you get yourself to do it?

Thanks for reading my first post.  I hope you enjoyed it!