Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thank You Notes

Dear Tami,
Thank you for sharing my birthday weekend with me! It really does make birthdays that much more special, knowing that whether we are together or apart during those days, having this bond of celebration with a wonderful sister like you.  Happy Birthday, and see you tomorrow!

With much gratitude, love and affection,


Monday, July 25, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

it's been another few weeks to catch up on what's been going on around here, summer is keeping me soooo busy!
~ my garden is looking great, only about another week and I can harvest most of it! my tomatoes are bigger but not any redder, we'll have to see about those. and I have a plan for the exploding oregano, but we'll see how that goes. in the meantime I'm munching on Farmer's Market goodies.

~ I finally finished a special project that, while I wasn't required to make my submission more than words, I had SO much fun making it pretty with my digital creative tools. seeing the finished product I was even told I was insanely talented at digital scrapbooking. awwww :)

~ I finally finished the book No Perfect People Allowed, I would highly recommend it! Now I have 3 more books lined up to read, and none of them were on my shelf a month ago, but at least 2 were borrowed and not bought :) I also have 2 recovery study books to read before the end of the August because.....

~ I just accepted the "Assimilation Leader" position in the new Celebrate Recovery program launching at our Church. I had expected I would just be another table facilitator again, but in the intro meeting I knew I could assist this position as well. turns out our Recovery Ministry leader thought I could do it all. after looking at her slightly revised job description I knew I could do it. basically I take care of all promotions and promotional material. it would be creating materials to print, for evisuals, for the website, etc., and maintaining and selling an inventory of the books, etc. I can still help facilitate, which I'd especially like to do if there is a group of people with financial 'hang-ups', but my focus is promotion. however, the next day after I accepted the role, I got a bit of my anxiety back because of it. this I am pretty sure is a spiritual attack to stop me from doing this, so pray for my confidence and trust in God's confidence in me.

~ Sean had family in from Edmonton this weekend so we were able to spend a few hours visiting and catching up with this cousin we only see every few years, plus Sean's Aunt, who although she lives in Winnipeg, we hardly get to see her either. we got to hear about many of his cousins I've still never met, and who he hasn't seen since he was a kid. another reminder we need to (translate, I need to finally convince Sean) to take a roadtrip out west soon!
~ the birthday celebrating has begun :) I bought myself a little present at the Forks on Wednesday, I've been looking for a mother of pearl ring and found one that's just perfect! I also found out I was getting money for my birthday so I decided to order a necklace I've been eyeing that is just lovely, and it's made by a local jewellry place, Jake & Cleo who use reclaimed silver, so it's even eco-friendly and sustainable! this is similar to it. I also received a lovely card that made me teary, and a bottle of sparkling wine from my MIL. tomorrow I go out with my birthday pal for our yearly pedicure and supper (her birthday is today, happy birthday!).
what a great, sun-filled week it's been! love the temps we got this week, a little more sun-kissed, a less weeds.  no complaints!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I need help finding this....

I have a fantastic gift idea but I need small (5-8oz) glass bottles/decanters with corks or some sort of stopper/lid. And I need quite a few of them, like 50-ish :) So I need them pretty cheap! Anyone know of a place in Winnipeg that would sell what I need?

Source: via Lori on Pinterest

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Titus Tuesdays - Meat for 90 Meals under $300

I have on my list things I hope to accomplish this year a task to compile a list of my staple recipes (I guestimated 60) that I would regularily rotate through for more variety and more even usage of the meat inventory in my freezer.  I ended up with 80 recipes, so I categorized them by type of meat, made a recipe/meal plan for each meat each week, so 16 weeks (5 planned meals per week, leaving 2 unplanned/spontaneous meals per week) worth were ready to be assigned to my recent Costco shop, which just so happens about every 4 months (how perfectly timed with a 16 week meal plan!).

There are some meats I don't get at Costco, but after I had bought all the meat I thought I needed I cooked that which I wanted to freeze pre-cooked, then divided and ziplocked it all and stapled the recipe/meal plan to the ziplock and stuck it in my freezer.  I found I was a tad short on some of the bulk meats, so I bought just enough extra to fit my plan, but I also got much more out of some packages than I thought, so I actually ended up with enough meat for 90 meals.

This is what I bought and how many meals (meals being for the two of us) came of it:
Whole Turkey (roasted myself) - 13 meals = $2 per meal
compare pre-sliced turkey @ 4 meals for $24
 prep time & basting = 15 min., 45 min. pulling the meat off.
 amazing how far it will go when 5 people aren't pigging out, lol

Ground Turkey* - 4 meals = $6 per meal
 (*mixed in with some Ground Pork for more flavor and moisture, included in cost)
Chicken - 16 meals = $3 per meal
Pork Tenderloin - 7 meals = $2 per meal
Italian Sausage* - 4 meals = $3 per meal
(*mixed in with some Ground Pork/Turkey to lower calories, included in cost)

Ham - 5 meals = $2.25 per meal
Farmer Sausage - 3 meals = $3 per meal
Ground Beef* - 8 meals = $2.5 per meal

(*mixed in with some Ground Pork to lower calories, included in cost)

Beef Tenderloin - 6 meals = $2.75 per meal

Roast Beef - 3 meals = $6 per meal
Shrimp - 7 meals = $4 per meal
Tilapia/Basa Fillets - 4 meals = $5 per meal
Tuna (cans) - 5 meals = $1.75 per meal

So, just the meat alone works out to about $3.25 per meal, $1.63 per person!

I was also able to get another 5 cups broth from roasting turkey, plus 4 cups drippings for future gravy making.

I also pre-packaged some of the freezable side-dishes that would accompany the meats. This is what my freezer looks like now :) It didn't even all fit, I had to put the seafood in my upstairs fridge freezer.
 I am so excited to start my new meal plan rotation system :) And I can't wait for my low grocery bill each week :) Between that and my Costco supply of side dish ingredients, the only groceries I'll need to buy for the next 16 weeks is dairies (but not much cheese, bought and froze that too), fruits, the occasional veggie, like mushrooms (the rest is already frozen, or will be from my garden or the farmer's market), bag lunch ingredients (and bag breakfast stuff too, I eat breaky at work), eggs, sauces/condiments, and the occasional snack. And I'm working on eliminating buying some of those things too, lol.

Here is the host blog of Titus 2sdays, a great place for house-wifery and godly woman(wife)hood!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Musical Mondays

Yesterday we sang a song in Church we've sung before, although it was sung in a slightly new way. We were hosting Jodi King for our worship yesterday, she used to go to the same Church as our pastor 19 years ago. I heard her first at The Lighthouse when we were checking it out because of friends who went there and loved her voice then. She's since been on the radio on the pop charts, I've heard this one I like in particular, and a few others.

I don't know if it was her, or just my mood that morning, but I felt this verse of Nothing But The Blood (Matt Redmans updated version) much more deeply.

Your blood speaks a better word

Than all the empty claims I’ve heard upon this earth
Speaks righteousness for me
And stands in my defense
Jesus it’s Your blood

I've heard a lot of 'supposed tos' in my day.
About my ex.
About bad jobs.
About love.
About motherhood.
Most of them are empty claims.
Nothing has spoken any redemption or hope into my life like the blood of Jesus.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Top Ten Thursday - Top Ten Apps I'm Addicted To

Ok, I realize I have a problem, I'm addicted to iPhone apps.  I can't seem to stop myself from looking at that little screen all the time! Here's a few reasons why:

Top Ten Apps I'm Addicted To
1. Pinterest - a mobile version of my addiction to cataloguing pictures/websites

2. Lose It - a calorie counter and exercise tracker

3. Daily Tracker - a daily planner on steroids! lists, check lists, calendars, distance trackers, etc.

4. Groupon - notifies me of the Groupons daily, I've already saved $55 (spent $50) on things I would have bought anyway

5. Mobile RSS - a way to quickly read my blogs I follow, with updates as soon as they are posted, and I can open full version blog if I want

6. Instagram - cool app for digitally enhancing photos, and you know how I love to do that! :)

7. Poynt - a great directory that detects your location and categorize your searches, restaurants, movies, etc.


8. Grocery Gadget - an easy tool to not only make a grocery list but track household inventory and make a list per store


9. Dragon Dictation - voice recorders are great for needing hands and eyes on something else, but a voice recorder that takes dictation and turns it into text! awesome!


10. Shazaam - you know when you are listening to the radio and love a song but can't identify it and they don't mention it? turn on Shazaam and it will identify the song and artist!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Stewardship Sunday

I finally feel like I've really been getting at my 'hope-to-accomplish' list (NOT my 'to-do' list :), after just updating it in May, I already have several more items to scratch off!

Stewardship of My Finances
Pretty much the same.

Stewardship of My Home
5. Schedule a small Fly Lady tactic every day
I may need to step this up a little, but I haven't had to tidy my living room or clean off my dining room table in about 2 months! So I'm happy!
 6.Establish a list of at least 60 staple recipes and rotate in a 12 month menu
Well, I finally have all my recipes sorted, entered them into my blog Recipedia, and I actually have more like 80 meals. I have sorted them into a spreadsheet by meat ingredient (as well as recipes, including sidedish and flavor type, so as to rotate those as well), and now that I've done my Costco shop I am half way to preparing/cooking them all and placing them in my new standup freezer according to meat.
I then intend to fasten a lamenated (in other words, re-usable) recipe name and list of ingredients to each bag/container of meat in my freezer, and then intend to pull up one of each meat type up into the upstairs freezer/fridge for the upcoming week's meals. How freakishly organized am I! Geeky girl strikes again.
7. Make as much food from scratch as possible to avoid unnecessary preservatives & packaging
And I'll cost to that list! I can't believe how much we are spending on groceries these days! I have looked at some of the things we spend the most on and am trying to find ways to make those items from scratch or something.
First thing I did, bought a turkey in July. No where near any typical turkey holidays, I intend to stick it in my roaster and relish in all the ways I can save money on all the poultry we eat. It was about a 12 pounder, and it didn't even cost all that much, about the same as 2 pre-sliced turkey packs we buy, they are like $13 each!! No More! I'll slice my whole turkey for the turkey melts we're addicted to lately. I will make the small bits I am good at scraping off a carcass (and use the carcass itself) for soups/stews....which goes a long way! And then I can substitute turkey in some chicken recipes, save money on the skinless, boneless chicken we buy (that's the only kind we buy).
Second thing I intend to try, homemade granola bars. I've done homemade granola and have a recipe I love, but hubby is buying granola bars for breakfasts and mid-day snacks, going through like 3-4 boxes a week, again that's about $9-15 per week depending on any sales. I could make that for a few dollars! Hopefully trying this out soon.

Stewardship of My Body
Pretty much the same, although I do have great intentions about starting weights and yoga again, AND I want to try to start running, see if I can build up to a decent 5 K so I know if I can do a decent 10 K next Manitoba Marathon. I think I need to try on my treadmill first though, could only run 15 min. on cement. That's still 13 more minutes than before my sketchers.

Stewardship of My Earth
15. Grow my own vegetables.
I should have some to eat in a few weeks, I've seen the first marble-sized tomatoes develop. I think I could have baby carrots and potatoes now if I wanted :) Hopefully will squeeze in my first Farmer's Market trip this next week to fill the gap until I have my own locally produced produce.

16. Have a 100 mile meal once a month.
Ack! I still haven't done this, even though the Farmer's Market has been open one month! Even though I found out about an awesome store near-ish work that has all Manitoba produced food, that is fairly decently priced. Even though I added to my recipe list which meals I could easily turn into Manitoba made! We had our first 100mm, this week, mmmm, homemade perogies.
17. Use organic/natural herbicides
Found one, at Costco of course. However, due to 'don't spray before rain' I haven't had the free time to use it on days it will be dry shortly after. So, manual weed pulling is organic, isn't it! And builds muscle! 18. Find 3 more ‘One Million Acts of Green’ I can try
I've been doing fairly well at shutting my computer down just about every night. I've been also working hard at using water pouring from the tap for shorter periods of time, or multi-tasking with it. I haven't air-dried clothes yet though...hasn't been all that dry outside in our province lately.

Stewardship of My Talents/Purpose
Pretty much the same although I did fit in another creation and finished that bracelet I mentioned last time.

Stewardship of My Communities
25. Volunteer to help someone with something they can’t do for themselves
We have become friends with a couple at Church who don't have a vehicle so we've offered them rides to and/or from Church a few times. Car Karma we call it, as when we were carless we appreciated rides SO much!
26. Babysit one or some of my nieces/nephew(s)
~Took the girls, Brooklynn and Avery for a few hours one Saturday afternoon in early May
~Babysat Teigon June 23rd
27. Organize/host at least one gathering of friends every other month
Have had 3 outings/gatherings with friends that I've either instigated or hosted.

Stewardship of My Growth
Pretty much the same other than...
35. Keep up prayer journal and bible study blog
The actual documentation part of praying and reading my Bible hasn't happened so much, but I have been praying and reading more consistently. Well, not really reading...listening to my NT CDs in the car :) Started the NT in one year reading plan, and even though not fully following plan, I am in Acts now.

Stewardship of Living My Life
Pretty much the same other than...
38. Go to at least one Folklorama pavilion
Plans in the works for another girls day/night out (my mom and sisters) this year on the same day we did it last year, Monday of August long. Since my hubby works and one of my BIL's, Kellin, has a retreat that week, it's perfect timing for us to spend a day together and I thought this year we could do the African pavilion, which is supposed to be one of the best, and will give us a taste of what Tami & Kellin experienced in their trip to Africa a few years ago.
39. Go out on the town by myself
I intend to have a spa night soon, very soon!

I'm really lovin' this kind of list, feeling very accomplished yet not stressed :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fill-in Friday

1. My plans this summer include Folklarama, birthday dinners, maybe a trip to the in-law's spot near Lake of the Woods.

2. The best summer I ever had was ....well, considering hubby and I don't have a lot of summer plans, ever, I would have to say it's likely it was a summer with my family. Last summer when we spent a week up at a lake in N.Sask. was pretty awesome, I loved everything about it, time with the fam, the kids, nature, camp fire, smores, BBQ every day, the beach....good times.

3. Summer is longer hours for more socializing and making excuses to be out in the sunshine.

4. My favorite summer food is any meat off the BBQ.

5. The best way to quench a summer thirst is with slurpees (we aren't the slurpee capital for nothing).

6. My summer uniform consists of shorts and skirts and tank tops.

7. The best thing about summer is all the energy I seem to have all of a sudden. It must be the vitamin D.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

~ it's been a few weeks to catch up on what's been going on around here. on the 22nd we took the day off to go to the Ex, but didn't know it didn't open up until 3 pm, so we went to the zoo first. it was overcast but still a really good day just hubby and I.

~ then on the 23rd I was able to babysit my nephew Teigon here at home while Tami & Kellin went to the Bomber game. cutie pie babbles a lot these days and is taking quite a few steps on his own. he likes to 'escape' when having his diaper changed and crawls across the bed as fast as he can until I grab his chubby lil' legs and pull him back to me to get tickled....that results in the cutest gurgly coos :)

~ a few days later I held a $5 sale to clear out some retired/retiring/extra crafty product, actually a lot of it is still for sale if you are interested check out the items here

~ next was the info night on the next steps for the recovery ministry I've been involved with at Church, I'm really excited about the program we're starting and how I hope to be involved. It will be a 12 step program, but not just for habits, but hurts (i.e. abuse) and hangups (i.e. anxiety, finances, eating disorders, etc.). so much potential for helping, so many things seeming to fall into place. tingles.

~Wednesday my friend came over and I've been able to finally give her the tea wreath and have a short visit. we've determined we have to spend an afternoon at the St. Norbert Farmer's Market together and then relax in my yard with some Reisling wine. Summer and hanging out with friends....the best.

~ Friday we just slept in, then I did some baking, Sean watched the Bomber game on t.v., and then we spent the evening on the downtown Keg patio hoping to see the fireworks, but decided against trying to stick it out to drive in the crowds flooding the area and thought maybe we could see them from our back yard. we couldn't, lol. but we could hear them.  we did see some though, when some neighborhood kids set them off behind the Y near our place.

~ Saturday we had brunch with some friends we hadn't seen in a really long time, especially for longer than a few minutes. it was a beautiful morning, sunny but not too hot, good food (baking from yesterday and some brunchy recipes I've been wanting to try), good conversation, a great catch up time, and it doesn't hurt they brought a fantastic present....for me anyway :)

~ we capped the long weekend off by having a spontaneous lunch with some friends from Church and had a really great visit. talked about everything from Spaceballs to bacon to house repair responsibilities. good times :)

~ there is just something about summer, the energy and life and relationships that summer blends together....rain or shine :) gotta love it!
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