Monday, August 24, 2015

Meal Planning with a Magnetic Calendar

Usually my meal planning is fairly laid back. I look over the sale ads, pick out 2-3 meals I feel like making this week, and try to do as much of the cooking as possible on Sunday so we can ride out the work week on leftovers. But this does sometimes lead to dinner ruts or accidentally making two very similar meals super close to each other (tacos and enchiladas a few days apart). I figured keeping track of what we're eating for longer periods would alleviate the dinner ruts and help us remember some of those recipes we just haven't made for a while. 

I saw this idea on pinterest and liked it immediately, but it's taken me seemingly forever to just DO IT. I gave up on making it pretty like the original and that made all the difference. 
Completely fictional menu plan to give an idea of how it will look - I don't cook nearly this much, considering there are only two of us to consume all the food. And don't mind Monkey's tail, the turkey sketch, or that I forgot to write September :)

This project is pretty low key. I bought a magnetic calendar (so nice for appointments!) and business card magnets. The magnets got cut into four pieces and rather than stick fresh paper to the adhesive, I just left the protective covering on most of them. A few got fresh paper because I messed up when I was writing.
Only the first 30ish meals to come to mind earned a spot on a magnet - I want to make sure I use and like this system before I make a million of them! Besides those 30 meals, I also labeled about ten with "leftovers," "takeout," and various side dishes, like fresh fruit, buttered peas, roasted veggies, etc.

What I like about this idea is that it's easy to change my mind - it's as simple as moving a magnet to a different day. Or if we end up with a surplus of leftovers, I can swap out a meal for later in the week or push it off completely. And when I ask Mr. G what he's in the mood for this week - he can glance over the magnets for inspiration instead of saying he doesn't have any suggestions. 

The only thing I'm unsure of is how I'm going to store these little magnets when they're not in use. It would be great to have enough space to display all of them near the calendar, but that's just not practical. I may have a small basket around the house to corral them in though.

What do you think? Do you use a calendar for meal planning or make a list?

Monday, August 10, 2015

My Maternity Wardrobe

Most of my maternity wardrobe
One thing I've really struggled with this pregnancy is getting dressed! Sounds silly, right? It's tough to find blog posts about how much maternity clothing you'll actually need because it's so personal. What one person considers appropriate work attire or "enough" doesn't always match your situation. So I figured I'd throw my experience out there :) 

Here's what I've bought and my thoughts! 

Oh, and I linked to something similar when I could. Links are not affiliate - these companies don't even know I exist!  

Work Appropriate - 19 items for $298
1 pre-maternity cardigan
tank tops - $20 (worn with pre-maternity cardigan)
6 short sleeve blouses - $70 (1 from a yard sale, 1 from a thrift shop, the others buy 3, get 1 free)
4 long sleeve shirts - $25 (1 from a yard sale, 1 from a thrift shop, 2 from Pink Blush end of season clearance)
1 formal dress - $88 (worn with pre-maternity cardigan, needed for 3 formal work events this fall)
3 dresses - $55 (from Pink Blush end of season clearance, 1 from Target)
1 pair of black capris - $20 
1 pair of black pants - $20 

Casual/Weekend Wear - 17 items for $101
2 pre-maternity tank tops 
5 tee shirts - $30 (1 free from discarded clothes given to my dad, the others buy 1, get one 50% off)
2 pre-maternity dresses (only good for around the house, and won't be able to wear either one for much longer)
2 pairs of maternity shorts - $20 (1 free from discarded clothes given to my dad, 1 pair from Old Navy)
2 pairs of jean capris - gift from my mom (they were buy 1, get 1 free so I got regular blue jeans and pink jeans - I do wear these to work on Fridays)
1 pre-maternity super stretchy skirt
1 pair of yoga leggings - $11 
1 pair of printed pants - $10 (I could wear them to work on a Friday)
bathing suit - $30

Underwear - 13 items for $77
2 bras - $25 (I only buy one each time my size changes and my mom paid for the first one)
bra extender - $2
10 pairs of underwear - $50 ($5 each when bought in groups of 5)


49 items (6 pre-maternity, 2 free, 4 used, 37 new)
$476 spent

My Thoughts
This seems to be enough clothing for me. Though I will probably be sick of most of it by October, haha. I moved everything that doesn't fit me now to the guest bedroom closet so I can easily glance at my closet and pick an outfit.

Everyone talks about buying used or borrowing from friends to get through the maternity season cheaply, but I didn't find that as easy as it sounds. No one in my family or circle of friends has any maternity stuff to lend/give me. Moms for the win, though - mine generously bought me 3 items. I also received 2 items for free from a large bag of discarded clothing (so nice!), found 2 items at yard sales, and 2 others at a thrift shop. But I couldn't find anything maternity in my size on sites like craigslist and freecycle.

I did try to save money by choosing things that were on sale - and I still spent nearly $500! Could I have done it for less?

  • My most expensive purchases was the formal dress from Nordstrom and I bought it fairly early before I knew about the great discount maternity stuff at places like Old Navy and Pink Blush. Live and learn! 
  • Many women say they could wear a lot of their regular clothing, and for much later than I could (I was uncomfortable by about 12-13 weeks for bottoms and 16-17 weeks for tops) and I didn't think stretching things out made sense.
  • I could get away with only 7 pairs of undies, but I got a better price by buying in multiples of 5.
  • I wish the Pink Blush sale had been earlier in my pregnancy so I could've shopped more of their deals - seriously some of the lowest prices. 
  • The buy 3, get 1 free sale on blouses suckered me in - I only had 2 at the time and was looking to buy 1-2 more but ended up with 4 more. 
Overall though, I'm happy with my purchases and we could afford the splurge. In a normal year, I barely break $100 on clothes so really I'm just spending the surplus from years gone by ;)  The ladies in this thread also made me feel better about what I spent, due to the wide range of experiences there. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Library Freebie

It's common knowledge that you can borrow books for free at the library, but look what I got to take home with me (forever!) from my library: 

a new bookcase/bookshelf display-type item! It used to hold children's books but a bigger, two-sided shelf replaced it. So it was outside with a free sign on it! I couldn't believe my good fortune - I think it will be perfect in the baby's room. My plan is to give it a good scrub to try to remove those adhesive marks and then fill it with books! Thankfully my parents saved some of my books from when I was younger and I've received a few as gifts so I'm excited and ready to get set up!

Acquired anything for free lately?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Gender Predictions from Old Wives' Tales

Mr. G and I aren't finding out early if our baby is a boy or a girl - we're happy to wait until the baby is born. Of course I've heard a lot of predictions (adamant predictions!) so I thought I'd go through some old wives' tales for fun.

Morning sickness - nausea = girl, little/no nausea = boy

For me:  on/off nausea depending on the day = girl

Chinese Gender Chart - a chart matching your age and month of conception

For me:  girl

Mayan Gender Prediction - add the year of conception and the mother's age. Even number = girl, odd number = boy

For me:  girl

Baby's heart rate  - over 140 bpm = girl, under 140 bpm = boy

For me:  the baby's had a range of heartbeats, so inconclusive! Besides, our midwife said the heartbeat gradually slows down over the course of the pregnancy anyway.

Season of conception - winter = girl, summer = boy, spring and fall = equal chance

For me:  conceived in the winter = girl

Cravings - craving sweet = girl, craving sour/salty = boy

For me:  I couldn't stand anything sweet at first, but sour/salty have been tasty all along = boy

Skin - acne = girl, clear skin = boy

For me:  a good amount of pimples/blemishes = girl 

Final Tally:  Girl:  5    Boy:  1    Inconclusive: 1

Leaning heavily toward girl! Anyone want to add their guess? Would you/did you find out the gender of your baby before it was born? 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Vacation in St. Michaels

We've returned from our trip to St. Michaels! 
The weather was a warm, comfortable temperature for the whole visit, but there were some wild thunderstorms and a little flooding. To be expected this close to the water, I suppose? Many of the roads had ditches cut beside them to hold excess water and runoff so the sidewalks and roads were in good shape again pretty quick. 

Most of our time in St. Michaels was spent walking around town. There are a ton of cute shops (we saw one with handmade three-dimensional wooden maps of various coastlines around the world) and lots of places to eat. I was impressed that one of the restaurants, Ava's Pizzeria, even offered a vegan cheese and veggie pizza!

We spent a lot of time in the water too, since our B & B had a great pool. They also upgraded our room to a suite with a soaker tub next to the bed. It was awesome! I've never used one, but my pregnant self loved all the space and how light I felt. Super relaxing!
On our last day, we took a short ferry ride to the nearby town of Oxford to explore and eat lunch at the Robert Morris Inn. This is the oldest tavern still being used as a tavern in North America (so we were told - couldn't find that in writing anywhere) and interesting to look around. The tavern portion looked as you'd imagine - slate floors, lots of brick, and a big fireplace to huddle around in the winter. Cozy :)
While in Oxford, we visited the Scottish Highlands Creamery which came highly recommended. They only take cash and we had $6 between the two of us, so that made our decision easy since a Double is exactly $6! Plus a Double is actually four scoops of ice cream in one bowl - confused us too! - so we each selected two flavors and shared. Mr. G chose Red Raspberry Coconut and Birthday Cake and I picked Chocolate and Cookie Dough. It was the best ice cream I've ever had and came close for Mr. G - he gave it his #2 spot! We had a great view while we indulged

And to cap it off, we're returning to work for a short week - since the 4th of July (Independence Day) is on Saturday, we have Friday off! Yippee :)

Had any good ice cream lately? Have you tried a supersize soaker tub?
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