Sunday, August 31, 2014

Method to my madness

Back on January 1st of this year my main goal was two fold...first, try 52 new recipes and, second, eat at home more to see how much money I could save. While browsing pinterest one day I found a great meal planning strategy. It was a pin by RubyGirl that was a meal planning board where you planned a whole months worth of food and put it on a monthly planner. At the bottom of the planner you added all the recipes for that particular month on an O ring. I went to RubyGirl's website and there was a template you could purchase to get you started. Back in April I decided to give it a try. I was already well on my way to trying all my new recipes but I wanted a way to plan better. So, I purchased the template and haven't regretted it a single moment! It has made my life so much easier.

I built my planner from the template and basically what you do is start out with a calendar white board. I purchased mine at our local Staples. Then you print out the dates and months and add magnetic strips to the back of them so that you can change them monthly. You then print out little stripes of paper that have all of your favorite meals on them and add them to the board. As an extra glittery bonus I took flat back rhinestones and glued them to round magnetic pieces to use as my holders for the meal ideas. Who needs a boring magnet when you can glitterize? RubyGirl also suggested printing all of your favorite recipes on recipe cards and hanging them on the board for easy access. I must admit that the first month or two I was wondering if it was really worth it because I felt like I was spending a whole lot of time getting recipes typed and printed.  Now, almost 4 months later though, I don't know how I lived without this for so long!

This board works out great. Especially on days that Sammy is off or gets home before me because all he has to do it look at the board and see what's on the schedule to eat that night. He then goes right to our little recipe ring, finds the recipe with ease, and cooks us a great meal without once ever having to call me or ask questions. The board also works wonders when grocery shopping. By making out my meals for the month I already have a good idea as to what types of groceries I will need. I simply sit down on Friday night and look at all I plan to fix for the next two weeks. I then go the recipe ring and look to see what ingredients I will need. Once I have a pretty good idea of what I need, I  then look in our pantry to see what we already have that I won't need to buy. This has worked out great in the fact that before I was meal planing like this I would spend $100.00 or more a week on groceries that would go bad because I had no idea what I was going to fix. Now for 2 weeks worth of groceries I am spending less than $60.00 and we pretty much go through all the food that I buy. If it's not on the list, we don't buy it.

Saturday is my grocery shopping day. Right after work on Saturdays my first stop is ALDI, a local discount grocery chain. I get all that I can purchase there and I then  go to Ingles, a larger grocery store, to purchase the rest. At first I was anxious and nervous to try some of the food from AlDI, especially food that I had been used to eating for a long time that was name brand. In the end though I found that most "generic" brand food that I found at ALDI was really good. Now, because of my list, I'm in and out of the stores in no time and I have saved lots of money because I didn't buy name brand. I used to hate grocery shopping but my meal planning and food lists have made shopping a lot easier. Another great reason I love grocery shopping now is because most of the time I go by myself. I stick my ear buds in and listen to my latest book on audible. Before I had Grayson I would sit for hours on end reading but since he's came along reading has gotten complicated. Audible has allowed me to still be able to "read" while I'm grocery shopping, cooking, beading, etc. I found out recently that our local library offers free ebooks that you can "check out" so I'm going to try that out too!

If you've ever thought about meal planning I would highly recommend it. I wasn't disappointed and neither will you! Like I said, the first few months can seem overwhelming and daunting but after you get the hang of it, it works great! I tried to find RubyGirls website so that I could share the link to the food board but it says that the website has been taken down. I hope that you can get the gist from my pictures.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Goodwill obsessed!

They say that the fastest way to start the road to recovery is to admit that you have a problem. Well...My name is Kelly Dale and I'm obsessed with the Goodwill stores. It all started a few months back.

I was sitting at home one afternoon with Grayson watching 19 Kids and Counting. Now weather you agree or disagree with there choice to have so many kids, one thing is for sure...I love their family and christian values. This episode lead me to read their second book which talks a lot about how they are able to live and raise 19 kids. One thing that they spoke about was how they never buy clothes new. They shop at thrift stores for all their goods. I sat and started to think about the last time I went shopping and how much I spent on clothes. Being plus size I have to pay more for clothes and Lord help me if you shop at Lane Bryant or other name brand plus size stores where the cheapest shirt you can buy is $39.99! So, Goodwill shopping started off as a challenge to see if I could find clothes my size and if so how much money could I save.

After my first "real" shopping trip to Goodwill I was hooked. I found quite a few Lane Bryant pieces, a super cute Duck Head polo dress, and a few Cato brand shirts. I got all of these pieces for a fraction of what I would pay for it new. My new yellow Duck Head dress cost me $6.00 and I would have paid almost $50.00 for it brand new. It started out as a once a week trip. Now it seems like every time I pass a Goodwill I have to stop!

Above is the yellow Duck Head dress that I found on one of my first trips to Goodwill. I'm pairing it with white leggings that I found on Amazon, white strappy sandals from Shoe Show, and jewelry that I made. I'm wearing the Lovely Laurie hoops that can be found on my youtube page and a crystal cuff bracelet that was designed by Cathy Lampole. Both are made using Swarovski Turquoise 2xAB crystals.



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

First project from Bead Along Finished!

Knowing that the next few weeks of my life are going to be crazy I sat down over the weekend and worked on the first project from the new Bead Along Book...Shaped Beadwork and Beyond. The Diamond and Rivoli Earrings are found on page 99. The earrings are pretty easy to make and quick. I made the pair in about an hour and a half. All the project takes is two 12mm Rivoli's, size 11 Delica's, and size 15 seed beads. For those of you who are going to do the bead along you may want to take note that there is one thing that needs to be corrected on the pattern. On page 100 Row 8 you will Peyote 4 with A's. The pattern says to Peyote 5 with A's but I made both earrings and you can only peyote 4. 

This project isn't due until August 25th so get busy and then send me your finished project pics when your finished!