Monday, February 6, 2012

How We Do It - the Rambling Bits

Happy Sunday Erm... Monday!!! Normally by this time of morning I am starting to get a little grouchy from being up WAYYY too early every day and having my dear grouchy non-morning person husband gripe about getting up. Today is NOT that day! I was very blessed this morning and he got up with the Monster and let me sleep. It. Was. Glorious.

Now. Onto How We Do It. Conspicuous title, isn't it.... A couple weeks ago on twitter I caught the tail end of a conversation between Sharon from A Prairie Sunrise , Amy of The Needled Fig, Rachel of Sweetteamom Designs, and Julie whose store is currently on vacation but can be found here. This conversation was all about grocery shopping and how often each of us does this monstrous task. I said twice a month, Sharon said monthly, Amy was SHOCKED (she said multiple times a week), Julie was also taken back (she goes every few days) and Rachel - well, honestly, Im not sure what she said because I literally put my two cents in at the very end.

I try very hard to sit down with my recipe box and a list of what is already in the freezer and start planning dinners for the next 14-21 days. Let me be completely honest - this is NOT an easy task. AND I don't always hold to it. Being pregnant and trying to do this has been the worst. When something doesn't sound good, instant gag reflex. Planning this way used to be a good habit, it has now become a necessity. If you hadn't heard, I live in California, and am paid by a state funded agency. It is INCREDIBLY expensive to live here and pay cuts have been dished out across the board - HOWEVER I am still VERY grateful to have a job - there are many who don't have that essential piece of the puzzle.

So. Today is Sunday (yesterday...). I am now planning for the next 10 days or so, knowing that payday is Friday, I am also looking at the grocery store ads to find out where the best deals are. For example, last week at Safeway they have meat specials on 'buy one get one free' making each package roughly 1/2 off - we tend to look for packages that are priced as equally as we can to try to get the best deal. In the freezer right now I know I have a roast, 4 tri tips (these will be saved for when we are having company), 4 packages of ground beef, a few packages of pork chops, four packages of chicken breast, multiple packages of smoked sausage (hit an AWESOME sale).

From the things already listed we will have shepherds pie one night, sausage and peppers over rice (I buy rice in the large bag and store it in the garage in a cool place double wrapped), Santa Fe Crock Pot Chicken from Skinny Taste (SERIOUSLY! Check out this site - WAY budget friendly recipes that taste good!), maybe some corn chowder from Rachel of p.s. i quilt (seriously this girl has some awesome recipes), as well as a few others I haven't decided on yet. Hubs is requesting 'enchilada pie' - I have the recipe written down, but cant remember where I found it online, so if you are interested let me know and I will type it into a post.

The big deal right now is that I am having to figure out all three meals instead of two as I am home on maternity leave and hubs is only in class two mornings a week. Usually we pack lunches, but eating them at home makes them much more of a production. I usually look at our local Grocery Outlet for sourdough bread - good for breakfasts of french toast (Adrianne's favorite), regular toast, grilled cheese, etc and they are FREEZABLE. So, paying $1.50 a loaf and having the ability to freeze it, makes buying a few loaves at a time worth it because I know it wont go bad.

Alright. Enough Rambling. This week when I get serious about REALLY planning and budgeting I will fill you in more on How We Do It - maybe I can get my friend Melissa to write a post for us about how SHE does it. The woman is UHHH-MAZ-ING!!!


PS. On the Corn Chowder - if it is only two or three of you, cut the recipe in half. It makes a TON and is wayyyy yummo, but I cant eat all the leftovers alone!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Year in Rugs

Here's the deal. A nice crazy SUPER AWESOME bloggy friend came up with this zany idea and collaborated with a "partner in crime" (ahem, whats the crime for collaboration??) and we decided we would like to have a bunch of us get together and have a "holiday mug rug swap" which means starting with Valentines Day through Christmas of this year you will make a mug rug for a new partner for each of the holidays listed below. I (ME? HAAHAHA! Said crazy friend...) will send out a news blip to tell you who your partner is for each Holiday and will post the details here and on her blog as well without revealing who has who for the holiday. So you can join up here but can also follow Jeanne on her blog The Learning Curve for details or better yet  follow us both. It is all for the fun of getting a sweet "gifty" from someone new 8 or 9 times a year!!!!

Holidays/Seasons/Events & mail out dates:

February: Valentines Day Mail Feb. 7th

March: St. Patrick's Day Mail March 7th

April: Easter or April Showers Mail April 7th

May-June Spring Break

July: Independence Day/4th of July Mail June 28th YES -  June 28th

August: Summer Break

September: Back to School or Labor Day or End of Summer (your choice) Mail September 7th - Please email in August stating if you are going to want to send for Labor Day so we can get partner info out early enough!!!

October: Halloween Mail October 7th

November: My (Jeanne's) Birthday you all have to send me one ( just kidding!) Thanksgiving Mail November 7th

December: Christmas or Winter Time Mail December 7th

Birthdays: Who doesn't love birthdays??  Let us know if you are interested in this aspect and when your birthday is

We think if we all hurry and sign up we can get this done in time to get to your partner for Valentines Day. That means you have to ship it on February 7th to arrive in time in the US. If you are interested get with me or Jeanne before next week Tuesday the 17th (yes, short turn around!) and we will have your partner's name to you on Wednesday the 18th.

If you want to play sign up by posting a comment here or here.

Message from Jeanne: YaY, I love love, love valentines and Love LOve LOVE my friends. Hurry, let's do this.


For this swap, you will make one Mug Rug with a Valentines Day theme. A nice size for finish is approximately 10″x6″ (or 9.5″/10.5″ x 6.5″). Let's make them with 100% cotton, quilted, and bound securely (no raw or zig-zagging or serging the edges). You can piece, embroider or applique your design just make sure it is washable, I would love a small label or at least written on the back who, what, where and why so let's do that too. And make sure you have it in the mail by February 7th. We have to be diligent on this one so everyone gets a Valentine please. I will set up a

Flickr page and you can post your works in progress but don't disclose your swap-pee's name. (I love that "swap-pee" LOL)

The Rules

1. Make one mug rug to send to your secret person.

2. Use a Valentine Day theme.

3. Use 100% cotton. (Batting/filler optional)

4. Can be pieced, appliqued, embroidered.

5. Must be washable.

6. Label or write on the back: To: partners name From: your name Date: Valentines Day 2012

or February 14, 2012 (something like that).

7. Last day to sign up is Tuesday Jan. 10th.

8. Add pictures of WIP to Flickr account if you want

9. Keep secret who your partner is.

10. Mail it out on February 7th NO LATER or they might not get it.

****Anyone not able to meet the shipping deadline needs to actively communicate around this - lack of communication will cause one to not be welcome to participate in any other of either of our swaps for the rest of this year.****

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year, New Attitude?

So, first off, Happy New Year! Now that that is out of the way, I've been thinking. I think I need an attitude adjustment. This year my goal is to be grateful. That's it. Just grateful. I thought I would make a list of the things I am grateful for, good idea, right? Like a reminder that life is good. Well, I have that reminder every day. The little voice that says 'good morning Mommy' - that truly is the best sound in the world.

Things I Am Grateful For: my child (soon to be children), the impending birth of my son, my husband (no matter how much we don't see eye to eye), my family (even with all the chaos), my friends - even those that I don't really talk with anymore - I am still grateful that they are at some level a part of my life, creativity, having a roof over our heads when so many don't, the ability to grow and learn.

By no means is this a comprehensive list. Along the way I am sure I will discover more things to be grateful for, and maybe I will remember to share, but those of you who know me, also know that I may have to be reminded to.

2011 was an intense amazing year full of adventure and change. Lets be realistic. I am NEVER going to catch up with sharing the events of 2011. And I may be just as horrid at sharing in 2012, but here's to hoping I can get a little better at it. WITH the Attitude of Gratitude.

After all, how can you not be grateful when you wake up every morning with food to eat, a roof over your head, gainful employment, friends and family, and the knowledge that today is another day to try your best?

This being said, welcome to post number one of Attitude of Gratitude.

I invite you to be Grateful.
I invite you to join with me and show your Attitude of Gratitude.
You may have to remind me to share mine, but lets do this!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tired and Uninspired

So, I never promised this blog would be upbeat ALL the time. I did promise it would be REAL. So, if you aren't in the mood for real and probably more than a healthy dose of a little BIG pity party, then click away, my friend.

This morning something 'serious' happened in the Maxman household. Well, 'serious' is all about perspective. I was bummed but really unaffected, the Hubs was devastated. He came out of the bedroom and went straight to the TV (normal daily practice for him) and it wouldn't turn on. {Backstory: It is 8 years old and has outlived its 10k hours of life, I'm sure, and has been temperamental off and on for a few months} So, into tantrum mode he went. {which totally set me off on my own hormone fueled tantrum}

The TV has always been a point of contention between us. I am completely unattached. I could easily live without a big fancy TV. Sure, I like watching movies and cartoons with Adrianne, but I don't NEED a TV. He *NEEDS* a TV. In his perfect world there would be a TV in each room. (Yes, even the loo)  The longer he sat and stewed on how he was going to replace his TV the more irritable he became. {Note: we are a single income family and a $500 plus TV purchase is not in budget} At one point during his silent tirade he stated that he would not be fun to live with if there was no TV in the living room. I turned to him and asked him how it was okay for him to punish Adrianne and I for his TV dying. Of course, that turned into something else entirely with him getting upset and stating that isn't what he was saying.

After a couple hours of this nonsense he had come up with a plan. I put the entire thing on him - taking the path of least resistance. Part of the ensuing discussion was about priorities and establishing a hierarchy of priorities for one's self. I very pointedly stated that I did not want our children to have the same OCD tendencies regarding television or the lack of a TV. I told him that his mother did him a very large injustice when she made the TV his keeper at a very young age. At one point in this conversation he stated he felt guilty about needing to buy a new TV and that he felt that I was judging him and 'giving him the guilt trip' At this juncture I will defend myself - not once did I raise my voice, tell him anything negative or derogatory regarding the TV or himself. I did state that it was time for him to find a hands on hobby and be a better example for our 2 year old. After a bit of silence, he agreed.

This entire thing had gotten me thinking. Having the expectation that you will have the fancy schmancey TV and that it will operate without question boggles my brain. {This is where I get to the tired and uninspired - maybe I should add selfish??} During this entire roller coaster ride this morning all I could think was 'WHAT ABOUT ME!?!??' What about my need to unplug? My need to be creative? My desire to make beautiful things for myself? When do I get to have all that? I can honestly state that I haven't made/sewn something for myself in MONTHS. While I find great joy in creating for others, I am to the point of disgust with myself and the world at the expectation that I will create to give to others with nothing for myself. {I warned you that it was going to be a bit selfish with a pity party}

I sat down today to make a gift for a friend and I have NO inspiration. None. I have shelves full of beautiful fabric but nothing is speaking to me for her. I see things that say 'USE ME' but I want that end product. I don't want to give it away. I like giving to others. I like making things by hand to give them for birthdays, holidays, just becauses. I am just having the feeling of "WHAT ABOUT ME!!!"  Where are my gifts? Where are my just becauses? Where are my nice gifts that have had thought and inspiration and love put into them? {I told you there was selfish in here...}

I will always continue to be happy for others and their accomplishments. I support and brainstorm and give love and inspiration. From those in my 'real' life to those in my 'cyber' life and those brief instances where the two worlds merge and blur. Maybe it is the hormones, maybe it is just a pity party, but I need to be the recipient, I think. The constant no-strings-attached with no judgement and no expectation of reciprocity kind of giving has brought me to the edge of my ledge, figuratively speaking.

I'm tired. Mentally, physically, emotionally. I'm uninspired. This entire thing goes back to the TV {icing on the cake but I don't know that I want to dissect the cake}- You get another new TV and I still don't have a new sewing machine. How ungrateful am I. {I warned you that it was a pity party}


{Note: this does NOT include any of the wonderful swaps I participate in. I know that my creations are cherished and that just as much time and love are put into the things sent to me as the things I send to new homes}

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We All Do It

You know we do.
We stand in line at the grocery store, 
we look through the magazine racks,
we ALWAYS pick up the magazine with the 'quick' dinner ideas
RARELY do we buy them. 

Well, I bought one. 
I broke the rules. 

But this recipe made the entire purchase worth it. 

As most of you know,
I am expecting baby #2 late in February. 
I don't exactly have a ton of energy to be standing at the stove for hours.

In the Spring issue of the Betty Crocker 
115 Super Simple Recipes 
I found this: 
Looks delish, right?!?

Chicken & Pasta with Creamy Basil Sauce
Start to finish time: 30 minutes 

3 Cups uncooked bowtie (obviously I used Penne) pasta
2 Cups fresh broccoli florets (I actually had this in my fridge!)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, 
cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon garlic-pepper blend 
(of course I don't own this! I used garlic powder, garlic salt, and black pepper)
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
1 small red bell pepper, chopped 
3/4 cup Yoplait All Natural Fat Free plain yogurt 
(this is me rolling my eyes because you KNOW this 
is such a staple in my shopping list... I used low fat sour cream)
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
(I used about three teaspoons dried basil)

1. Cook pasta as directed on package, adding broccoli during last 4 minutes of cooking; drain.

2. Meanwhile, in 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. 
Sprinkle chicken with garlic-pepper blend (we discussed this!
Cook chicken in oil about 3 minutes stirring occasionally, until no pink in center
 (I cooked much longer giving the chicken a nice caramelized glaze)

3. In small bowl, mix broth, cornstarch and sugar.
 Add broth mixture and bell pepper to skillet. 
Cook about 3 minutes or until sauce is thickened. 
Stir in pasta, broccoli, yogurt (we discussed this!) and basil. 
Heat over low heat until hot - do not boil! 

Seriously this came out amazing. 
Your picky children (my two year old) will eat it. 


Sunday, November 6, 2011



So many different images float through my head when I say this word.

The ranch in the valley where I learned to ride my bike, ride a horse, shoot a gun
The house on the hill where I found arrow heads and jack rabbits
The  apartment in the college town where I started to figure life out
The house I shared with four phenomenal women
The mountain top in Montana where I felt free and alive
The beach where I can feel my soul pulsating with the waves

The smiling face that met me when I got home from Houston
Ft Bragg, CA 2011

Of course she was accompanied by her Daddy
Oct 15, 2011

Wherever these two faces (soon to be three!) are is where Home really is. 

Make sure you click over to A Prairie Sunrise and see who else is sharing stories of Home. 
I bet they will warm your heart. 


Thursday, October 27, 2011

And The Journey Begins

Well, I've now been up for 24 hours. It is 5:02am and I am sitting next to the gate waiting to board.

Yesterday consisted of work, errands,  work, packing, driving. In roughly that order.

Nate drove me to the airporter and had me there at 10:15pm. (This was Wednesday night AFTER he had class!!)

I got to SFO a little before midnight, right after I got the call that nate made It hone safe.

It is now 5:08am. I am still at SFO. But it is worth it. In a few short hours I will be meeting up with awesome people and experience all the glory of Quilt Market.