Sunday, January 8, 2012

Our New "Kitchen Command Center" for a New *Organized* Year!

The holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years) left me yearning for utterly routine and boring days and weeks.  The kind where I can go a few weeks able to simply go to work, make dinner everyday, keep the house clean, do laundry on Saturday's, relax with mu hubby at night and play with my sweet boy.  There was a time (before having a child) when several weeks of routine would bum me out.  Now that I have a two year old boy who is constantly changing and somewhat unpredictable I yearn for my basic routines to be mundane. 

The last few months have left me feeling so out of sorts that I feel the need to get more organized than just putting away Christmas decorations though.  This (in conjunction with my recent addiction to Pinterest) brought me to this weekends project.  I will attempt to give props to all of the awesome ideas I found on Pinterest but feel free to follow my "Home" board to see all of my inspiration.

Here is our freshly finished "Kitchen Command Center".  It's a combination of things we were already using in different formats (a weekly meal plan on the fridge, grocery list and single to do list) with idea's I found online including a Home Management Binder and mail sorter.

The basic structure of the board is a bulletin board that I had on hand.  I added some fabric (which not-so-coincidently matches the curtains on the play kitchen I made that is across the room - I love when things match!).  The calendar is the Everything Perpetual Calendar Kit from Clean Mama Printables on Etsy.  The grocery list and to-do lists/message boards are labeled J, K, and A for each member of the family.  They were prompted in part by my husband not always realizing the to-do list on the fridge can also apply to him ;) But I also found inspiration from these magnetic chalkboard's from the Creative Organizing blog on Simplify 101.  Mine are made with dry erase stickers on metal boards.  The Sunday-Saturday schedule is also dry erase but not magnetic.  The plan is to use if for our weekly dinner menu and daily chores. 

I'm hoping the addition of a mail sorter keeps mail from piling up on my kitchen counter and also makes it less of a frazzled search to find bills when it's time to pay them.  The structure was bought at Craft Warehouse which is quite possibly my favorite craft store. I modgepodged fabric and letters to it - so simple and fast!

While it looks pretty this is the part that is still very much in process.  This is my Home Management Binder.  I got the idea and guidance from a blog called A bowl full of lemons.  I am so excited to get it done but it will probably take me a few more weeks (depending how much time I put into it) to fill it up.  It will grow with our family and needs which I love.  I'm hopeful that it really will keep everything vital and those things that should be referenced daily easily accessible.  Mine includes sections for: calendars, schedules (work, kids activities etc), cleaning (someday I want to be on one of those amazing schedules that helps you deep clean your house in a few minutes a day. But for now it's empty), menu planning, finances, medical and contacts.  Please see A bowl full of lemons blog post on it which details each section.  She links to multiple forms to use in the binder as well.  I am using the Week at a glance form from that she recommends.  I am also using the Budget and Bill Pay Kit from Clean Mama Printables on Etsy.  I pulled some simple contact and medical information forms from Word in Microsoft. 

And a very important (not just decorative) "blessed". I saw a "blessed" sign posted over a calendar (Infarrantly creative) on Pinterest and absolutly had to use it here.  I can often get stressed while budgeting (shocking right?), scheduling, meal planning and general life as a family.  It's such a  great reminder that we have been blessed by a loving God who has taken care of us in very hard times and will carry us through the future as well. May all my friends and family be as blessed!

I hope you have enjoyed my first in-depth blog post and I truly hope I referenced enough of my inspirations! Always want to give credit when due.  :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Vegan Day 2 & 3 - Still Sick

I should probably point out right off that I am not sick because of going vegan.  I still have a bad cold that is making it a bit hard to be trying new foods.  Okay - more than a bit hard.  I'm craving comfort foods which for me include chicken broth, mac and cheese... seriously anything with cheese. Oh cheese how I miss you already... But I have stayed true to vegan!

Hubby is loving the spiciness of the vegan recipes we've had so far.  Funny since while shopping a few days ago he was less than thrilled about it.  The kiddo and I are not as keen on the spice factor.  I'm trying to do all of the recipes presented in the app as they are presented but I'm going to need to learn more about the various spices to tame them down.  I've found so far our vegan dishes are calling for spices I don't typically use (curry, cumin).  Also lots of green onion and red peppers.

Things I love? Homemade hummus, soy yogurt and popcorn with nutritional yeast. Kiddo loves the veggie burgers (I do too but I already loved veggie burgers).  Also loved the Pho recipe recommended by a friend as a good sick food - though I ended up watering it down since the broth was a little spicy for me.

I am starting to dream of vegan things off menu that I'd love to try - like marinaded and grilled portobello mushrooms and I'd like to find a vegan pizza recipe - or make one up. I'm thinking a pesto sauce with tofu and nutritional yeast in place of cheese with sliced tomatoes.  But those dreams will wait until I recover from this cold and have an appetite to (hopefully) enjoy them.

On a less than vegan note (though I believe it is still vegan) I'm wondering about hot toddy's for colds.  Watched a fav episode of Home Improvement when Jill gets drunk on a hot toddy while sick... which is pretty much how I act anyway when I'm sick :) I'd go for a slightly drunken sleep tonight just to get some sleep!

Monday, February 14, 2011

New to Blogging and New to Vegan

Here I am. A Wanna-be Hippie with a blog of my very own... Now what to do with it?

I actually have a plan - but only for the next three weeks so far. I am an iPhone free-app junkie who recently downloaded the Vegan 21 Day Kickstart.  My husband and I have been talking off and on for several years about wanting to try more vegetarian meals as a healthier option but I always found myself at a loss as to what to eat to replace that meat we knew and loved so much. So I would try a recipe and more often than not we would not like it and would not talk about going vegetarian again for months.  And until very recently I thought those vegan people were just taking it way too far! Take away my cheese and milk?? You've gotta be kidding me! My brother and his wife recently tried out the 21 Day Kickstart and have had great things to say about it. And I have a friend from high school who posts's on Facebook about her vegan eating. So here we are, ready to give it a try.

I downloaded the app last week and have been gradually getting more excited.  We even tried a recipe last week with broccoli, garbanzo beans and garlic that my hubby, our 15 month old and myself all loved!  So I was totally psyched yesterday when we did our shopping for the first few days. And I was excited to make today's lunch yesterday so hubby could brown bag it to work today. And I was REALLY excited about the strawberries and vegan mousse we found at the store - YUM!

And then I woke up this morning - sick.  My throat hurts, my nose is runny, my body aches and I'm tired. I don't feel like eating - much less new foods. As it turns out neither does the kiddo. My goal has been to follow the plan as closely as possible.  However; I've already given the kiddo yogurt and cheese crackers.  He's not a fan of couscous or carrot-roasted bell pepper soup which were on the menu for lunch. So the first adjustment to the plan is that I will be introducing my son to all the vegan foods - but he will eat his regular vegetarian diet if he doesn't like the vegan meal (he has been vegetarian his whole life).  As for me? I will stick with it, but likely not with the portions called for until I'm feeling better. The appetite always seems to go out the window with cold symptoms.