Amy Beth

Thursday, October 22, 2015

These Days // 21

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Happy Fall everyone! Here’s what’s happening around here these days.

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wearing: a cute new headband from Lady Alexandra’s Etsy shop. Tina from Go Big or Go Home is hosting a giveaway from this shop on her blog this weekend, and since she doesn’t have a little girl she asked if Poppy would model the headband. I must say, Poppy rocked the photo shoot. To see more of her showing off the headband and to enter the giveaway, be sure to check out Tina’s blog!

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celebrating: my birthday earlier this month! It was lovely and low-key and included a cupcake castle.

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practicing: wearing my baby on my back. It’s still a little nerve wracking to try to get her back there, but we’re getting better and Poppy laughs whenever I try the Santa Toss.

moving: all over! After several months of pushing up and pivoting and accidentally scooting backwards, Poppy has finally figured out how to move forward! She’s using this new skill to go after all the things we had previously kept out of her reach.

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waking: up early. At least for me. I’ve signed up for the Hello Mornings challenge for the next six weeks and I’m trying to start my days more positive and prepared. I’ve successfully made it through two whole days! If you care to follow how I’m doing, I’m trying to post each morning to my new Instagram account. I’ll also post other things I’m doing and previews of what’s coming up on the blog, so be sure to check it out!

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loving: each other. I’ve probably mentioned this several times already, but watching these two become friends and love each other is probably my favorite thing ever.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Making a Monthly Meal Plan

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Have I mentioned before that I pretty much hate getting meals on the table? Meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning…all of it. Except the eating. I very much enjoy the eating part. I’ve tried lots of things to make this whole daily ordeal more enjoyable, or at least take up less of my life. So my latest project is one more attempt at streamlining the whole meal preparation process. The biggest change from anything I’ve tried so far? Planning for the whole month.

I started by making a list of all the meals I would consider quick and easy. When I actually sat down and wrote them all out I found I actually had a pretty good collection. For the most part they are recipes that I can make from memory, have a small list of ingredients, and come together fairly quickly. Some recipes are crock pot meals that take a while to cook, but only a few minutes to dump the ingredients in at the beginning of the day. I’m sure each family would have a different list, but ours includes things like tacos, spaghetti, parmesan tilapia, and roast beef.

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Then I made a list of easy and quick side dishes. I’m really bad about making the main dish and then realizing we have no vegetables once I get it on the table, so I knew I needed to think about sides ahead of time. I only have a handful that I’m planning to rotate though each week, but they are super simple. Mostly various types of frozen vegetables with some roasted sweet potatoes or carrots thrown in for some beta carotene.

Once I made my lists I realized I could fill out a whole month’s calendar and only repeat most of the meals twice. This sounded like a fabulous idea, but I knew I would miss some of our favorite but not quite as quick and easy meals. So I made a list of favorite seasonal meals. My plan is to put one “seasonal favorite” in a week, but with a list of favorites already made it’s still not something I’ll need to think very hard about. Some favorites that I’m planning for this fall include my stuffed acorn squash and chicken and rice chowder.

From there I filled in the calendar! I based the plan around our typical schedule for the week, so on grocery shopping days I always plan on just picking up a rotisserie chicken for dinner. On days when we tend to have more going right before the dinner hour I plan on crockpots that I can prepare earlier in the day.

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The last step was preparing a shopping list. Since I plan on repeating my “quick and easy” meals all year long, I knew I could go ahead and make a shopping list to refer to all year too. This took a bit of time, but I think I have a pretty thorough list now. I split it up into things that I can buy just once at the beginning of the month, and more perishable items that will need to be purchased on a weekly basis. My hope is that I can take one big shopping trip at the beginning of the month and get all the unpleasantness of that out of the way and keep all the rest of the trips short and sweet. Since I’ve only just started this system I have yet to find out if this is how it will actually work in reality.

Maybe in a few months time I can report back on how this system is working out. I’m hopeful that it will make at least some things easier and I’m already excited about the fact that the whole month’s meals are planned out.

Anyone have any fabulous tips for making meal planning and prep involve less time and stress? I’m all ears!

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**This is going down in the books as Project 1 for my 31 Projects goal!

Monday, October 5, 2015

31 Projects: A Year-Long Goal

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I’ve heard it said before that goals are dreams with deadlines.* I’ve been really good in my life at dreaming, but not so great at accomplishing goals. I’ve come to realize that a lot of this is due to a lack of deadlines. I do just fine at getting things done when there is some sort of external pressure. I did just fine at work. I was great at school. But when it comes to my own personal life I often feel like I’m not accomplishing very much. In the past I’ve balked at placing an arbitrary deadline on myself. I guess I figured that if the deadline is coming from me, then I can just as easily change it. And then it’s not really a deadline, it’s just procrastination. But after all that reasoning I still don’t really get anywhere.

So, to commemorate my 31st birthday this past week, I’ve decided to make this a Year of Accomplishing Things. I’ve made it my goal to complete 31 projects before my next birthday. October 1st, 2016 is the deadline. And since it’s my birthday I can’t change it. No procrastinating on this one! I’ll either meet my goal or I won’t, but at least it won’t just languish out there for all eternity while I wonder if I’ll ever get around to it or not. I feel like this will be good for me.

So what do I mean by 31 Projects? It’s pretty open-ended really. The purpose is to take all the many many many many ideas I come up with throughout the year and turn at least some of them into reality. Some of them will likely be craft projects. Some will probably be home projects (decorating, organizing, and the like.) Some may be projects for the kids. Hopefully all of them will bring about some sort of personal fulfillment, either by being a creative outlet or improving my life in some way.

I have dedicated a page in my planner for keeping track of my projects and have already started jotting down ideas. A few are already in progress. You can also expect a lot of 31 Project related blog posts. 31 of them, hopefully.

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My project tracking page in my Get To Work Book

When I do the math, it looks like I need to complete a project every one and a half weeks. This is a pretty lofty goal. So if you know me in real life, feel free to ask about what projects I’m working on. I have a feeling I’m going to need a little motivation to get this done. :)

*Pinterest tells me that was said by someone named Napoleon Hill.