Friday, February 19, 2010

Lovely Links: Neglected Blog Edition

Errrrrr....uhhhhhh.....yeah, I slacked off a little this week when it comes to this blog.  I could rattle off the other things I've been doing to make you feel a little less neglected. My living room table says it all: attempting yet another sewing project, working on my novel, reading various books - all while enjoying the dark chocolate my husband gave me for Valentine's Day and drinking chamomile tea (love the stuff).  All this while doing the regular routine around the house (though that's been a little neglected this week, too), playing with my little guy, doing a Cub Scout den meeting, plus squeezing in a trip to the aquarium and a visit to my grandpa for his 85th birthday. AND there's the Winter Olympics to distract me nightly (did you watch the men's figure skating last night when Evan Lysacek won? Awesome.). As I've typed this paragraph, I can almost hear my dad telling me one of his classic adages, "Excuses are like armpits: everyone's got them and they all stink."  Now that's a saying worth cross-stitching on a pillow...

In any case, I promise to post regularly next week.  Until then, check out some of the links I've read and bookmarked over the last couple weeks.  Good stuff.

Menu Planning 1010 and 9 Tips to Successful Meal Planning- Simple Bites
I love the Simple Living network of blogs.  In addition to Simple Mom and Simple Kids, there's now Simple Bites (devoted entirely to cooking) and Simple Organic (about living a more eco-friendly lifestyle).  The new ones have only been up for a week or so, but I can tell they're going to be great.  Anyway, I thought these posts were good reads for anyone because effective meal planning can save a family a lot of money.  I have to confess: I haven't been so great about doing this lately, especially with my husband's recent work schedule.

When you have a plan, you buy less at the grocery store (no impulse buys) and even plan meals around store sales.  Having a plan also makes the whole dinner prep experience more enjoyable - I enjoy dinnertime much more when I have a plan, as opposed to letting 6:00 roll around and wonder what I'm going to make while husband and son are telling me they're hungry.  This leads to another benefit of meal planning:  it's so easy in those moments, when you have no idea what to make, to just give up and go buy dinner somewhere.  So, if you don't plan your meals now, these articles have some great info and ideas. And if you're like me and haven't been as good in this area as you could be, these articles will get you motivated to get back at it again (and offer some helpful tips, too).

Chicken Parmigiana - The Pioneer Woman
Speaking of meals and menus, I've just discovered The Pioneer Woman.  I guess she's pretty popular, so I don't know why I haven't heard of her until just lately. I've only looked at and read the cooking section, so I can't vouch for the entire site. In any case, I'm glad I found her blog because her recipes 1) look awesome and 2) look really practical.  I been looking through her recipe archives and can't wait to try this recipe for Chicken Parmigiana.  Now, I've made other recipes of Chicken Parmesan, but they didn't look nearly as good as these ones do.  And the recipe is really simple and inexpensive (unless you splurge on the wine she includes in the recipe.  I'll probably just omit that or use some kind of subsitution).  How could you go wrong with this one?

Green Goal-Setting, Part 1 - Simple Organic
I'm not a rabid environmentalist. I'm skeptical of the concept of 'man-made' climate change. I find it annoying when 'going green' is a trendy thing and especially annoying when celebrities preach about it. That said, I'm totally for living green - I believe everyone should be conscious of the way we use our resources and what condition we leave the planet in.  I believe that natural products and solutions are often a smart choice.  But the main reason I mention it on here because, in many cases, living green is a good way to live frugally. Even if you apply just a few 'green' ideas to you life, you can save money.  Check out this link for an introduction and some suggestions on how an eco-friendly lifestyle can affect your frugal goals and budget.

Managing Resources Wisely and Staying Out of Debt
In my church, we have a program called Visiting Teaching where two women are assigned as a companionship and go and visit certain women of the congregation that are assigned to them. It's a great way to make sure every woman is taken care of and each woman's needs are recognized and met - plus, it's a great way to make friends. Anyway, each month the women of my church present a message to the women they visit and I thought this month's message was worth sharing with everyone, no matter your religious views.  It's good advice for everyone!

"Thrift is not an affair of the pocket, but an affair of character."   - S.W. Straus

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