Cookbooks & Mealplanning

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I love these cookbooks. I flip through them all the time and probably cook something from one of them 6 nights a week. They continually give me new, quick, easy, delicious meals for supper. They are all much more than a cookbook and are chalked full of cooking and nutritional information. The two Sandi Richard cookbook give you complete meals so you don't have to think about what side dishes will go with the main dish and what veggies you should cook. They also give you a the time it should take to prep and cook the meal so you can flip through and choose a meal based on how much time you have. Crazy Plates has more than just meals adding snacks, baking, & sweets and the recipes all have ridiculously crazy names. I know these authors have more books out there and I look forward to adding them to my collection because they never disappoint.

I've gotten in the habit of planning my week of meals ahead of time, making a big grocery list of everything I will need for those meals and then going for one big shop. One trip to the grocery store is enough for me a week with two girls and then if I need to I can make a quick stop for another couple jugs of milk later in the week. Its so nice when 4:00 rolls around and I know what I'm making for super, I know that all my ingredients are there and my meat is thawed. Planning and seeing the whole week of meals at once I can make sure there's lots of variety, a chicken, a beef, a pork, a fish, a meat free. We try for at least one meat free dish a week and have been pleasantly surprised by the last two "Lentili Chili" & "Jack & the Bean Stack" both from Crazy Plates. I have this idea in my head that because its a vegetarian dish and lacking meat that it won't be as good, but I think they have been some of the best dishes I've made.

There's my tip for today, plan your meals ahead of time. It makes the 4:00 crazies much easier to handle.

Anyway I've been loving these books so much I just thought I would share. Happy cooking.

Sleepy

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Luca fell asleep yesterday at the table while eating lunch. I guess that's what happens when you decide to get up at 5:30am

Genius

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I love listening to music, all different types. For the last couple years I have been in a bit of a lull listening to the same thing because I don't know what else to pick. We previously loaded our entire CD collection onto our computer so our music is all in one place but it almost became too much all together. I couldn't just open iTunes and put it on random because I would always end up with some rap or death metal or Christmas music coming on. I've thought (and mentioned) many times that the best gift would be if someone would just make me a couple of playlists of the songs that I like and maybe add some new songs in there too. It hasn't happened and I just don't have the time to sit and make one of my own without just picking the same few songs I always listen to. Now I discovered something awesome recently, exactly what I was looking for. iTunes has a new (I think) feature called Genius. Basically you choose one song from your library and it will make a playlist for you. It will even suggest some new songs that you may like. You can then just listen to it, or save the playlist or refresh it if you're not happy with what you got the first time. I love it! So far I've had good luck with it and rediscovered some music in my collection that I had forgotten about.

Here are a few of the songs I've used to make playlists lately:

"If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out" Cat Stevens
"California Stars" Billy Bragg & Wilco
"Anywhere from Here" Polly Paulusma
"Only in the Past" The Be Good Tanyas

Scones

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I made some scones fore breakfast yesterday...
and of course I had some help. The littlest of my little girls was up on the counter to assist me. After I confiscated everything fun from her (eggs, measuring cup of milk, mixed dry ingredients that she was scooping onto the counter) she settled on just putting Craisins into a measuring cup and eating them. This kept her busy while I finished up the mixing. Then out of the corner of my eye I caught her dump the cup that she had filled with Crasins into the flour container. Now really, why would you fill up a scoop if you couldn't dump it out, isn't the dumping the best part. No worries, a quick sift & I had the Craisins all out. I should have made a cake with all that nicely sifted flour.
The recepie called for orange zest and the only oranges I had were manderine oranges and just so you know they don't zest well (I had to try). Instead I opted for lemon zest alowing me to use up one of the lemons from the giant bag I bought.

Side Story: A couple of weeks ago I was having a bad day. The girls had been sick & I had been stuck in the house for most of the week. Since everyone was feeling a little bit better I was going to head to town for a necessities grocery trip. First my van wouldn't start (it wasn't even cold outside). Thankfully we bought a trickle charger that you can boost from so with the girls already strapped in I was able to get the van going. I went to back up and got stuck in my driveway. Agh, it makes me mad just thinking about it. I struggled with getting out for a while before a nice couple stopped by to help me. I was then on my way and completely flustered and so I made some ridiculous purchases at the grocery store, one being a giant bag of lemons. I didn't even need one lemon but that big bag full of brightly coloured fruit just looked so good. I guess I needed something to brighten my day.

Oh, the scones turned out great. Mmmmmmm.

FutureGirl 2009 Challenge

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Check out this post at Futuregirl's blog. She is Challenging herself to not buy any new craft supplies for the whole year and use up only what she already has. She has given herself a buffer budget of only $24 for the whole year to spend, what? Maybe she can inspire us to use a little more of what we already have and add a little less to our own stash, whatever it may be.

My real goal would be to have my crafting supplies as organized as hers so I could see all the stuff I have and get using it.

Scrapbooking

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I started scrapbooking again, joined a bunch of girls that get together every couple weeks. I know the only way I will get any scrapbooking done is to get out of the house. At home I feel like I should be working on closets or putting up trim boards or just hanging with my kids & husband. It would also be difficult to find a place at home to work, especially with the kids awake. I already had lots of "help" from the girls getting ready to go out, pulling paper out of the folders and everyting else out of the bin. I mostly spent the evening sorting through photos & getting organized but I think the next time I will be ready to power through some pages. It's just nice to get out of the house & meet some new people. I'm looking forward to the next one already.

I'm opting out of writing about the solar tubes that went on the roof on Tuesday. I'll post a photo & give an update when they are all working properly. Why is it that every project we do has problems the first go. Hopefully we can get it figured today because there's no chance of getting up on the roof with the snow that fell overnight and the wind gusting at 50km/h. They got hot though, really hot.

Things I was Reminded of in Jasper

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How much you have to pack to go away for the weekend
How beautiful the mountains are
I ride goofy, that's right foot forward
Snowboarding is like riding a bike, you don't forget
The snow is much nicer in the trees
The hill was much steeper in those trees
Somersaulting down the hill is not so bad
If you're not falling you're not trying hard enough
The importance of making a meeting point when on the hill
How cell phones are a good thing when you lose your group
To plug in your phone at night even if it looks like its fully charged
How good it feels to be outside in the sunshine all day working your body
Its OK to slide down on your butt when you're too chicken to ride
Snowboard boots are not easy to get off when you're having a foot cramp
The burn you feel at the end of snowboarding all day
A drink (or two) in the chalet after a day on the hill is amazing
Drinking all night does not make you feel like snowboarding all day
That its OK to take a day to just putz around Jasper because you're in no condition to board
That I'm too cheap to go shopping in Jasper
How good a latte from a coffee shop can be
The best way to stiffen up is to sit for 4 hours
How your kids can look like they grew & changed after only a couple days
How needy the girls can be after time away from mom
How much there is to clean up and put away after being away for the weekend
That vacations are a good thing

Snowboarding! Can I Still Do That?

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Curt & I are off to Jasper this weekend for his annual company ski trip. I'm really excited, however I'm already anticipating the pain I will be in on Monday. I have not been snowboarding in over 4 years. I couldn't even tell you the last time I did snowboard. All I know is I've been pregnant or loving an new baby for the last 3 winters so it definitely wasn't then. I'm sure it's like riding a bike and I'll remember how. Plus, you get to rest the whole time on the chairlift and I'm sure the hotel has a hot tub to soak my broken body at the end of the day. The weather is supposed to be great and there's been lots of snow lately, so long as it doesn't all melt off the hil. Did I mention that I'm excited.

I am not sure what I will do without the internet though. I've become quite addicted to reading and finding new blogs. I've started keeping track of them all in Google Reader where it will tell you if one you are tracking has been updated and suggest new blogs based on the ones you're already following. I'll keep adding to my list of favorites on the left as I find them. They're mostly crafty ones right now. I'm so addicted. Oh well, I've got my knitting project started, that should keep me busy when I'm not tearing up the hill.

Have a great weekend. Get outside and enjoy the sunshine.

The Story of My Scarf

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I've been wearing this scarf all the time lately. I'll put it on to go outside and then just not take it off. This scarf is the one and only knitting project that I've ever taken on, it took me 3 years to complete. Over 5 years ago (not sure when exactly) I decided I wanted to knit. I bought some yarn and needles and printed some basic knitting instructions off a website. I didn't have a pattern but instead just started to knit. I felt like I was getting nowhere, I would knit & knit but the scarf wasn't getting any longer. Eventually I just put it down & didn't pick it back up for about a year. This is when I decided the scarf was much too wide (I was practically knitting a blanket). I took it all apart & started again this time less like a blanket & more like a scarf. Now I'm not much of a finisher so at some point I put the knitting down again. I did finish the scarf however it was three years after I originally started it. I have not even tried to knit anything following that.

I'm now getting the knitting bug again and I've bought some more yarn, got a knitting book from the library and have a pattern picked out. I plan to get started this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes. Hopefully it doesn't take a long as the last one.

Tip of the Day - Frozen Veggies

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I can't remember who gave me this idea, I think it was someone at playgroup, but I love it. When a kids meal is too hot add some frozen veggies to it to cool it down. This is great because it cools down the food without watering it down and it gets more of the good stuff into your kids diet. At our house it becomes a game to find and eat all the added frozen veggies, getting some other food along the way. This works best for soups, stews & casseroles. Enjoy!

How many...

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With a sick family over the weekend I find myself wondering...

  • How many times have I said "Don't worry honey, let Mommy get a cloth and we'll clean you up?
  • How many times can we watch the monsters movie (Monsters, Inc.)?
  • How many times can I microwave my coffee before I get to finish drinking it?
  • How many more loads of "sick" laundry?
  • How much time can I spend on the internet? (with everyone else moving slow I found myself glued to my computer chair)
  • How many more days will this last?
  • How many times can we watch 4 Square
  • How many beads are all over my floor? (not related to the sickness)
  • How many times can I wash my hands in a day?
  • How much lotion have I gone through? (Dry hands from the washing)
  • How have I been so lucky to not get sick yet?

Hope it all passes soon.

Two Dollars & Eighty Cents

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I love checking out the Thrift Store in town. Here's a look at my most recent purchase. 16 books for $2.80. What a deal! Better get reading.

While the Kettle's On

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As you likely know I love games, especially board games. I also have little games that I play with myself throughout the day. These are the kinds of things that keep you sane when you are home with two little girls. One of my favorites it to see how much I can get done while the kettle is heating water. I turn the kettle on and then run around like a chicken with its head cut off to see how many things I can put away or clean up before the water is hot and if I'm having tea I have some bonus time while the tea is steeping. This way I can sit down and enjoy a hot beverage guilt free. Just now I gave the kitchen a de-clutter and clean, it looks much better. Not good enough for a picture to post but enough that I can enjoy my tea without running around cleaning things up.

List for 2009

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I love list, I make lists everyday. What I need to buy, what I want, what I plan to get done what is left to do on the house. I think this is my first time however making a New Years List that I actually write down. Here are a few items on my 2009 List.

  1. Finish the house
  2. Spend less time working on the house
  3. Take more photos
  4. Take better photos
  5. Organize belongings
  6. Sell/Get rid of excess stuff
  7. Plant a big garden
  8. Get some landscaping done
  9. Enjoy morning coffees on the deck
  10. Play more piano
  11. Sew more
  12. Start knitting
  13. Be on time
  14. Scrapbook
  15. Give more
  16. Blog more
  17. Take a summer vacation
  18. More family fun time
  19. Go the year without Satellite TV
  20. Spend less time in the van
  21. Sell an item on etsy.com
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HAPPY NEW YEAR

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2009!

Love The Buchans
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