Family · food · health · Planning · Recipe

Meal Planning -Delivery Kits Review

Coffee time equals quiet time around here and I was reviewing blog ideas realizing I owe you an update on some of the other meal kit delivery programs we tried: Sun Basket and Martha & Marley Spoon.

If you recall, I posted a few weeks ago about out family pleasing experiences with Home Chef. This Friday another delivery will be at my doorstep and I am excited. Next week’s meal planning is practically a fait accompli thanks to Home Chef.

The past couple of weeks we tried a couple of other offerings.

Sun Basket

I immediately unboxed and loved all of the paper packaging knowing how easy recycling would be.

I was not excited about the recipe book. A magazine style that included EVERY single recipes shipped to any customer. That meant I had to find the recipes by flipping through the pages. (Each time I made a meal.)

I was slightly annoyed that the ingredient list didn’t include measurements. Now, I get that it is all pre-measured but I am a girl that wants the ability to re-create a winner. What if I really like it and don’t want to wait to see it again in rotation?

We received a few meals and the first one we tried was the steak meal.

I really enjoyed this meal. It was easy and light. My dauggter, however did not. She thought the steak was bland. We both were not impressed in the quality of the steaks. We had much better cuts from Home Chef.

My daughter wanted nothing to do with the vegetable dish but I loved it!

The other two meals were really pretty tasty as well. As far as quality goes, if I were cooking foe just myself I might try it again, but no one in my family was adventurous enough to try. I, myself had plenty of options for lunch and dinner all week.

If you recall, Home Chef has very little waste for us. Sun Basket had far too many vegetables. Yes…even for me.

I have skipped the next few weeks because I want to browse the rotation of menu options to see if there may be another week to try again. But our initial review is only moderately pleased. Also, the cost per person was $1-2 more per meal on average. We all have to love it to make the cost worth it.

Martha & Marley Spoon

Did you know Martha Stewart had skin in the game too? I shouldn’t have been surprised.

So we ordered a box.

The unboxing made me smile. I loved the recipe card! The note making it seem more personalized was a nice touch. And the small magazine that introduces the team and concept was a nice addition. They didn’t send a binder like Home Chef did. And I guess that little organization perk tickled me. Not having one from Martha was disappointing but not a show stopper.

Did you notice the quantities and measurements? I was so happy to see them. Re-creation is a possibility. That made me happy.

When making this dish, the recipe was hard to follow. It is based on 2 servings with notes for 4 servings. I really struggled because the formatting, amounts, and discerning the difference between 2 and 4 servings just didn’t jive. Not sure it hurt the outcome but this wannabe mom chef did not find this experience enjoyable.

The dish was delicious! And I would make it again. My daughter is not a fan of rice so I may have over served myself and ate leftovers the next day as well. We went with the lower prices cut of meat and it was a good cut: much better than Sun Baskets option but still not on par with Home Chef. We could have spent a bit more for higher end cuts of meat. I didn’t and wouldn’t feel it made a difference.

Now Martha is new skin in the game and the menu options from week to week are very limited. Especially if you are trying to align to dietary needs.

I am not compelled to order in the next couple of weeks as the menu choices just do not interest me nor my family. I am going to skip a few weeks and jump in again. I feel Martha deserves another go to see if the one meal we tried was an anomaly in my struggle to discern the recipe and instructions.

Overall we were pleasantly surprised and are sad the menu isn’t more robust yet. Martha does give me hope to try again.

So many more to try: One Potato, Blue Apron, and Platrf to name a few.

Next month maybe we will give them a spin. But for now, I am sticking with Home Chef because they have delivered consistent winners.

Have you tried any meal kit deliveries yet? Which ones? I love having these as options on busy weeks.

Family · Goals · Planning · Reflection

Managing Mondays-Mom Priorities

It is coffee time! Quiet time is so very precious to me. And this time at the beginning of every week as I sip coffee feels paramount to how the week can go. I take time to think on all that I need to do plus what I would like to do. It is my way of getting out of the bed on the right side.

The past few weeks have been a struggle in changing priorities and I have had to shift even more to remembering what matters most. This focus adds a perspective like no other. I want to ensure I balance Mom priorities over work priorities because the family needs that right now. It isn’t just about my schedule. It is more about being “present” in mind and heart more.

I spent most of my time sipping my first cup in a retrospective state and looked back on what did and did not go well over the past couple of weeks. I asked myself what I could do differently because I felt like I was being too hard on myself and others around me. I realized that my expectations were perhaps set too high or not communicated effectively which can cause conflict on the home front.

Setting my plan for this week I designed a motivational and functional week spread in my planner. I wanted to see reminders of what is really important at work so that I can keep the negative noise and nonsense from others in perspective. And in doing that I can avoid the negativity from seeping over into other aspects of life. Most importantly self care needs to be at the front of the train and not in the caboose as a back burner.

My spread is full of motivation and focus areas. It gives me permission to delegate nonsense to the back burner. I am reminding myself to be the servant leader by focusing on my team’s needs and being a positive in the storm. Recently I have had an opportunity to observe leaders who are in the trenches with their teams and leaders who stay back in the tent barking out orders and then hiding in the shelter waiting and watching. The latter leader style sometimes seeps negativity out beyond the team and affects the bigger goal. And it is simply not my style. So while I am in the trenches I want to remember to be positive and guide my crew to the best outcomes with encouragement, gratitude, and course corrections that take us along the journey to the finish line celebrating together.

This week I want to make sure that I am focusing on the behind the scenes planning that sets the stage for every act in the play my team is cast in so they can be stars. I want to ensure the setting is right, the props are in place, and that they know their lines.

At home, I want to keep the work from seeping in. I want to protect our time so that it is of such quality that we all feel accomplished and grateful.

These may seem lofty goals for the week but I don’t think so.

In any moment of negativity I plan to step outside of it and ask myself:

  • Am I the engineer on this train right now?
  • Is this helping any of my three focus areas?
  • Should this be back burner?
  • Will this seep beyond work?

Knowing the answers to these questions should guide me to the right energy level in the moment and maintain perspective.

At the end of the week I aim to have positive energy to tackle that garage with my family: A project that we never seem to get to with our conflicting schedules and energy levels.

Share your spreads for the week and share the why. I always want to understand others why.

Family · Goals · lists · Planning

Managing Mondays-Plan with Flexibility and Lists

Oh how I love my coffee and my morning time! I haven’t yet cracked open the work laptop even though I probably should. It is going to be a big week full of planning meetings, important dates and appointments.

I thought I would share my weekly spread and some of the other lists I have at the or have plans to make.

I love my spread this week. I picked this sticker set because my best friend is celebrating her birthday and she loves teal colors. Even my Erin Condren pen is primarily teal for the week. Most of the stickers are from one of my favorite Etsy vendors, Joyful Planner. She designs beautiful weekly and monthly sets. It is always a treat for me to visit her shop and splurge a bit.

I really expect today as well as most of the week to feel a bit crazy so I am inserting few extras to help me keep my sanity and make lists as I go along. I am going to try a weekly master as a half page and use the daily as originally intended. I am interested to see how much I can actually get done in a day with the sometimes ridiculous conference call schedule.

As you can see, I haven’t put much pen on yet. I need flexibility in my functional plans because I feel the winds may change a bit as early as today so I focused on only writing the non negotiable events and my goals. I gotta trust my gut today and let my plans and lists take shape in the moment.

I hope you all have a great week and that you are managing just fine this Monday. I am going to keep on sipping coffee, making lists and planning the week day by day.

Share below how you plan. What kind of lists do you make? Do you track your hourly appountments?

Books · Family · Goals · lists · Planning · Planning · Vision · Writing

Managing Monday-Let’s Talk About Lists, Baby!

As I near the end of March, I start thinking about April. Planning does that to me. I see the next month coming as the pages turn. Ugh! My mind goes into overdrive. To control the chaos, I start thinking about monthly goals, important events and I make lists. Lists help me focus and allow me to be distracted by things in the process. My kids send me texts or come to the door of my room and interrupt. My dogs don’t care that I am in planning mode. If they want affection they get right in my face or sit on my foot. Whatever it takes. So lists are helpful because if I have written it down I won’t forget it. Well, that and it eases my mind.

What on earth do I need lists for? And why do I obsess over them? How many times have you gone to the store and forgotten something? Me? More than I care to admit. And hey, the lists on the phone work for some people but I love what I call a hybrid version of this.

Shopping lists

I have Google Home and I have my household conditioned to tell Google to add items to the shopping list. Best. Thing. Ever. Except for the fact that they cannot see the list so I end up with some items repeated three or four times. That annoys me when shopping from it. Since I meal plan before shopping, I tend to start that list on paper because that is my meal planning method. Pulling up the Home app and looking at the list created through the week to add the needed items is all part of the procesd. Honestly do I need four bottles of ranch dressing? My kids might think so but my budget would argue differently if it could speak. I consolidate to my paper list and chuckle every time I look at that Google list. My kids have jokes. They come up with crazy items. This last time the mystery item was “a stick.” My daughter confessed to this little gem. I mean go in the yard for that one. Obvious right?

Fun Wish lists

All through my planner, you will see wish lists and this is one of my favorites. Concerts and Festivals. Last night after dinner I was enjoying a glass of wine with the family (the legal age drinkers had wine too) and we were all playing music from our Spotify lists and talking about shows. I grabbed my handy wish list and asked which, if any, they would be interested in. What a great time we had looking at other events and finding common artists we all knew and liked.

Why do these go on a wishlist and not right to my calendar? Well, I have to admit that I am budget conscious and won’t put it on the calendar until I bought the tickets. I just don’t like disappointing myself in the reality on that monthly spread by marking something out. I like wishlists better. How about you?

Cleaning Lists

This is a re-try at an old method. My family is ignoring the list posted on the fridge. I suspect that is partly due to everyone’s crazy schedule. When I would like to see things get done seems more like a wishlist of disappointment. The dishes get done and the trash and recycle are taken out but everything else just gets ignored until I make a fuss. So, I am putting this back in my planner and not on the fridge. And when people are home, I will ask nicely and then track who complied. Then i will settle on doing it myself if it is really bugging me. Yesterday was a day where everyone asked what I would like done. So I guess the flow is changing and I will ride the ride.

I picked this format from my stash. I got it from Natalie Rebecca Design several months ago. I think I bought this from her Amazon Store. I am excited to switch it up and see how we get along with it.

Spring Cleaning

I love fellow bloggers who share great tips and tools on cleaning. In preparing for April, I decided this would be a great checklist as I plan my spring clean. De-Clutter Challenge. I actually started some of this last weekend on my own and was frustrated because I was in perfectionist mindset and spent far too long on each task. I went in search of a new method and ran across this saved in my favorites.

Master To Do List

I use a running to do list that follows me from day to day and sometimes week to week. It isn’t always the same format or paper style. This list sits in the middle of my weekly spread where I can note items while I am on conference calls, in meetings, and in those moments of meditation when there is a lot on my mind. The only way to give my mind rest at times is simply to stop and write it down.

Reading…I make lists for this too

I love this planner that Brenda Novak sent in her January Reader’s Box. My reading Vision in 2018 has been to read more. And I set a realistic goal of 2 books per month. Now, what has actually happened is that I have gotten to about 2 per week. Rediscovering this joy makes my heart sing. If you looked all over my house, there are books and my Kindle has a vast virtual library. So I don’t have to go far to make a pile like this.

Every month I have managed to build a pile of self-directed learning and pure enjoyable fiction. Did you notice Erma Bombeck in the pile? My mother always picked up those books. They were her version of the Reader’s Digest for the bathroom quiet time. Sometimes as a mother that is the only room where you tend to spend any amount of time with no interruptions. Well…let me have this moment of fantasy. I have been thinking about these books so I picked a couple up to revisit her wit and wisdom. She was always inspirational.

Oh and plots. Those Works in Progress are eating at me. I have an itch to write chapters after chapters. I am a seat of my pants writer and know I need to find a balance with some structure so this April, I am going to study on story plotting.

Managing Mondays and every day is built on the foundation of lists. What kind of lists do you make? Daily? Weekly? Wishes? Share in the comments. I would love to see pictures and read what you put on your lists.

Have a great week!

Family · food · Planning · Recipe

Corned Beef and Cabbage (Gluten Free) – Cooking Once and Eating Twice (or thrice)

While sipping coffee this morning I gathered the following list of ingredients:

1 Flat Cut Corned Beef package (3-4 pounds)

2 pounds of red potatoes, halved

1 large onion (peeled and cut into large sections)

1 pound of baby carrots

3 Tablespoons of Apple cider vinegar

1 half a head of cabbage, sliced (feel free to add more)

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon cracked pepper

1 Tablespoon Corned Beef pickling spices

Then I grabbed my slow cooker. I layered the potatoes, cut in half on the bottom first

Next, I tossed in the carrots and onions.

After unpackaging and rinsing the corned beef, I set it over the veggies with the fat side up.

I prefer Penzeys spice so I added my own, sprinkling it over the meat. You certainly can use the packet provided. But this picture may show you why I like Penzeys.

Add the vinegar, salt, and pepper.

What about the cabbage? I prefer crisper cabbage so I wait until the last hour to put mine on top. Feel free to put yours on sooner.

Water!!! Add water into the crock pot until the meat is half way in the water, at least. The veggies and meat will make more fluids so you don’t want to fill the whole pot.

Pop on the lid and set it on low.

After 8 hours, add the cabbage if you decided to wait like I did.

Cook on low for another hour.

Take the meat out and let it rest for a few minutes. Slice it and plate up the rest either as side dishes or right next to the main event!

Enjoy!

Tip: grain mustard goes great with it.

And if you have leftovers, plan for sandwiches tomorrow while you enjoy March Madness!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Family · Goals · lists · Planning · Vision · Writing

Unboxing – Erin Condren Haul

Every once in awhile I come home to a box waiting for me. It feels like Christmas.

So, here is the latest box from Erin Condren! Isn’t that a pretty box? The word “enjoy!” and the pretty design lend a subtle clue that EC has blessed my step. I kinda dig when the box does not blatantly display a company name.

And when I saw this pastel beauty next to my front door I was a giddy girl. Ready to see what is inside? Me too!

Let’s open it!

The enjoy! theme is mirrored inside. I just adore when I order items and they come packaged like a gift. Personal touches is a trend that big box retailers miss.

When I was browsing the site I wanted a new notebook (Her planning system is not what I use these days) and was hoping I could find something with my words for 2018. This little gem ties nicely to Strength. So I jumped on in and customized to colors that made me happy. That is the fun of Erin Condren. You can personalize with your name and change the colors within her palatte range. And the paper quality is amazing! Let’s tour this notebook.

The cover is laminated so the inside can be used over and over again with the wet erase markers.

Instead of the standard lined notebook, I opted for the productivity notebook with a list margin. We all know i love making lists! I haven’t decided what I will do yet with this notebook. I know it is going to be for writing projects. And as a lover of lists I thought I could brainstorm in bullets or list what I might need to research.

The notebooks are filled with quotes and reminders of positivity which make me smile when I use them. I need more positivity. How about you?

Did I mention I love the paper? Made in the U.S.A. and a nice thick paper that won’t tear easily. I am in love and can’t wait until I have a block of time to play.

What else is in the box?

These gift tags were a freebie. I realized I shop regularly with EC and prefer online versus going to Staples for their limited inventory. And I never signed up for the EC Insider program. I finally took the plunge for the perks. And as a thank you they sent me these! What fun! Watch for a post in the not so distant future when I embellish with them.

Markers! I have to hide these from my teenager. I really do. Not only because she would likely borrow them with no plan to return but because I have been organizing in my office in my spare time and my marker/pen/highlighter collection is already put of hand. These are my first ever from EC. They were 15% off and the Wet Erase are needed for some other items in the box. And those are…

These laminated beauties were also on sale. I wanted to see how they work with any and all spiral notebooks. And I wanted to explore laminated or permanent reusable inserts for planners would work for me. Now you know why I needed the wet erase markers. I just love these colors! Watch for some future blogs where I plan with them. I am so excited.

Oh…that isn’t all!

I love pen holders that can be stuck in journals, notebooks, and planners. And these were on sale making them under $2 each. I have never tried EC holders. I have several from Happy Planner and Michael’s but they are not plain and simple. I am into the thought of the pen holder blending in and the pen of choice standing out.

And the Coil Clip Connectors allow you to put anything inside the spiralbound notebook, journal, or planner. A custom-made dashboard or checklist might be good to pop into one…and I have always wondered what to use. So I grabbed a couple to play around with and maybe share with my readers.

Last…but certainly not least. I love these daily dots sets.

And I have been meaning to play around with this on one of my planners. I cannot wait to show you how. I will also compare these to other daily dots that I have found via other retailers.

All in all I am happy with my new unboxing. The notebook feels so personal and was definitely a treat for me. I did pay full price for it. It is okay to splurge every once in a while. All of the accessories were on sale so I went a little crazy while still staying under my budget for my splurge. Don’t you love when that happens?

Watch for some projects coming up in the next couple of months as I put these to good use and compare EC products to other brands.

Have you ever purchased Erin Condren products? The company has quite a selection and not just paper and planners. The colors and desings change regularly throughout the year. I tend to place an order every quarter if one of the new designs catches my eye.

What do you think of Erin Condren products?

food · Goals · health · Planning · Planning · travel · Vision

Planner for that: Focus on Fit and Healthy

Of course I am sipping coffee.

It was a rainy week. And today, the forecast calls for more. In Phoenix? Yup. Unusual to be sure! January is usually a rainy month and not February. So with the rain, I have been feeling lazy. No walking around the neighborhood. To be honest I am still recovering from some illness that took over my body while in Florida on business. I tell myself every morning that I feel better but by the end of the day, my body wants to rest. So I let it.

In January, I set simple goals.

And this post is a way of being real with myself and everyone else. I did not meet all my goals. Not in the pen and paper sense anyway. My fitbit does track some but my planner has a lot of white space left.

I started strong as you can see in week one.

And week two looks similar.

But the last half of the month looks like I fell off the wagon.

I didn’t completely fall off. I was definitely more focused on food. I did monitor my weight. I did work on sleeping better. I certainly focused on moving more. I just epically failed on tracking everything.

What do you do when you recognize you failed? Do you ask yourself why bother? Do you reset and start again.

Me? I sat in my chair and I looked at my vision board hanging on the opposite wall and I remembered that this is no New Year’s Resolution fail. This is a journey to a better me. It is where I want to be.

And the healthier me remembered that I should take time to reflect and reset.

After reflection, a vacation and a business trip have passed, I am picking right back up for the balance of February.

I am keeping the same goals and focus for the month and reminding myself to be kind as I reset.

The bonus to all of This? There is one. I may have not been perfect but I did come home from vacation and a business trip maintaining my weight within a pound. Oh…and as of today I lost two more.

Perfection is nowhere on my vision board. Loving myself and focusing on self-care in easy manageable ways one day at a time is. Let’s see how I do for the next 30ish days.

How are you doing with your plans and vision? I would love to hear. Please comment and share.