Monday, January 25, 2010

Love your place this Feb!

I'm thinking about doing a month long series for February. It would upgrade your home each day. Just little things you can do (between 1-5 steps) to make your home a place you can love even more than you already do!

What do you think?

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Proposition

I've been watching reruns of Top Chef in an effort to gain some inspiration for dinner. It hasn't worked. Seriously, who cooks like that everyday? Who just walks in their kitchen and has it fully stocked with fresh everything and every protein known to man? Who has a full kitchen with every cool appliance and pan available?

Freaks, that's who! =)

So, I have a proposition: Top Chef Homemaker Edition!

I was joking about it with Stefan last night and I decided it's a great idea. It would be HARDER than the actual show, in my opinion. Here's the breakdown:

- Instead of lots of money at Whole Foods ($150 for a dish and they're panicked?) I propose you get $50 at your local grocery (or Walmart).

- Quickfire Challenge Idea: The baby just fell asleep. You have 30 minutes to create lunch for yourself with minimal ingredients (leftovers from 2 other dishes for example) 10-15 mins into the challenge they stop you and hand you a bag of flour or potatoes "Baby woke up. Continue cooking while holding this bag of whatever. You may only use one hand at a time."

- At the beginning of the week you're given a set amount of money that you're allowed to spend for that week. You can't spend anymore than that amount. The "Top Chef Kitchen" is stocked with basic (dried) spices, basic milks and cheeses, and other basics like flour/sugar/etc...

- Challenge Idea: It's Super Bowl night. You have $75 to spend at Walmart and you must create 3 dishes and pair them with basic beers.

- Challenge Idea: Birthday party and the entire class is invited. Make a party (including decorations) for 15 kids. One is allergic to nuts and one is gluten intolerant.

See? Much harder AND something that the average person can relate to. I can just hear the moms at home laughing when they stop the challenge because the baby woke up. Or nodding when they're told that they have to be super careful about what to make for a party with a bunch of kids.

I would watch it. Would you?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Frugal Friday #1

Okay, these slots are going to be tips and advice on saving money. Usually I'll just share something that I've come across in my life...Pretty simple right?

Biggest money saving tip? MEAL PLAN! You'll see me do a lot of this on the blog. It's so easy!

Step One Inventory all food that isn't strictly storage. Make a list of all meats (especially meats), fruits/vegetables (canned, fresh, frozen), and other items (pasta, rice, etc...) Got it? Move on to step two.

Step Two Pull out the sales papers. Find the best sales in your area. For us (a military family) that means weighing prices against the commissary. For you, this may mean paying attention at all sorts of different stores. Okay, part two of this step? Make a list of the BEST deals. Occasionally our HEB will have chicken breasts at $1 for a pound. Only mark the great deals. If you pause and think, "'s okay..." Don't mark it! Alright, still with me?

Step Three Grab a calendar. Make sure you have one with plenty of room to write. Personally, I love the Meal Planner from Springpad.

Step Four Start planning! I try to stagger my meats. (pork, chicken, beef) And I try not to use the same meal in back to back weeks. Start by listing out possible meals and crossing off items as you "use" them. Get creative! I love to use AllRecipes and Supercook for this part. Some of the best meals have come from my grabbing a recipe and saying "lets try THIS." If you have cookbooks you should pull those out as well. Once you have it all listed out start dropping it into days. This is where Springpad comes in handy. It will save your recipes as you list them so that next time you just have to go "I need a pork recipe....oh, we liked that one" and drop it in the day.

And you're done! Now, you can buy meat in advance, freeze it, and pull it out as needed. I try to pull something out to thaw the day before it's on the menu. Also, it's easy to see what you need to grab for "quick shopping" during the week because it's all listed out for you. This keeps you from going to the store with a half list in mind and forgetting something...leadin to the inevitable return trip where you'll probably grab something you "want" in addition to the list.

Things I Don't Quite Understand....

I've been watching Hulu these past weeks (online TV basically) and I've been reminded of why I don't usually watch TV...


Most of the time they make me shake my head, scoff, or grimace; but lately they've made me tilt my head in confusion or just get angry.

watch this video:

It's for "Girls Inc." Girls Incorporated is a national nonprofit youth organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. With roots dating to 1864, Girls Inc has provided vital educational programs to millions of American girls, particularly those in high-risk, underserved areas. Today, innovative programs help girls confront subtle societal messages about their value and potential, and prepare them to lead successful, independent, and fulfilling lives.

That's fine. I believe everyone should be strong, smart, and bold.

Did you catch that? EVERYONE. Where is Boys Inc? Where is the organization dedicated to helping boys lead successful, independent, and fulfilling lives? Why aren't boys encouraged to be strong, smart, or bold?

Oh yeah, thanks to feminism we've become a society that hates men. Not fair.

The other thing I don't understand:

One Laptop per child.

Mission Statement: To create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. When children have access to this type of tool they get engaged in their own education. They learn, share, create, and collaborate. They become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future.

Again, fine. Let's help poor countries. I have no problem with that...

But can these children eat the laptops? Can their laptops purify water? Can the laptop provide adequate medical services if necessary? No? Really? How stupid. These people don't need freaking laptops. I've NEVER owned a laptop and I'm doing okay. I did, however, have food and clean water. Hmm. Which is more important?

This is a point that just frustrates me:

There have been people that want Congress to make circumcision illegal for boys. (It's already illegal for girls) They don't want it covered in the health bill. Fine, don't get your son circumcised. It's your call as a parent. I've read information on both sides and still come up confused. Both sides have fairly decent arguments. What I don't understand is why are so many people getting up in arms to keep circumcision out but it was okay to keep abortion? As a person that believes that by the time a woman finds out she's pregnant life has begun (there are nerve endings and a heartbeat for crying out loud) I don't understand why it's okay to have the choice to kill an innocent human being but it's not okay to have the choice to make a cosmetic change to your child. This makes NO SENSE to me.

And with this post, I'll probably lose a fair bit of my readers.


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