Friday Favorites: Saving Money Edition


I’m a big fan of saving money. I pick up coins I find on the ground, I check store flyers for weekly specials, and I even return our empty soda cans to the grocery store. (I paid for that deposit, and I like to get it back!) There are countless ways to save money, and I try to use as many as possible, within the time constraints of my life. Here are some of my favorite, easy ways to save money:


I clued into the idea of buying discounted gift cards fairly recently, and I’m so glad I did. It’s like getting a discount on my purchase, right off the bat! I use Cardpool to purchase my discounted gift cards. Their website says you can get cards for up to 35% off the value, but I’ve generally saved in the range of 10-20%. Since I do a decent amount of shopping online, I always check Cardpool before I make a purchase, to see if I can snag a discounted gift card to use. (They sell both physical and electronic gift cards.) And I haven’t done this, but you can sell them your unwanted gift cards for cash, too.


I’ve been using Ebates for over ten years!! If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a great tool for saving money when shopping online. Before I make a purchase, I check to see if the store is an Ebates partner. (I’ve encountered very few stores that aren’t partners. Amazon, Gap, Macy’s, Target, Ann Taylor, Gymboree, Best Buy, and many, many more are all there.) Then I simply click through the Ebates site to go to the store, and shop like I normally would. I earn 1%, 2%, 3%, 6%, and sometimes more in cash back on these purchases. In fact, since I started using Ebates in January, 2006, I’ve received $863.78 in cash back!! I haven’t tried it yet, but Ebates recently started offering cash back on in-store purchases at some stores, using credit cards that you link to their site.

Rewards Websites

In my view, sites like Swagbucks, InboxDollars, and MyPoints are fairly similar. They all award users points for engaging in a variety of relatively quick and easy tasks: answering daily poll questions, clicking through links in promotional emails, printing and using grocery coupons, taking surveys, watching videos, and more. Once you’ve accumulated enough points, you can cash them in for gifts cards. I don’t use any other them to their maximum potential, mainly because I don’t have the time. But I always click through the emails I receive from MyPoints, answer the Swagbucks daily poll question, and occasionally, if there’s a higher cash-back percentage for a given store than offered by Ebates, I click through the store’s shopping link on one of these sites. I know some people earn hundreds of dollars or more each year with these sites, but I tend to collect a few $10 Amazon gift cards from them each quarter.

Grocery Savings Apps

Inspired by the show, Extreme Couponing, I went through a phase of religiously clipping and using paper coupons when I went grocery shopping. I still clip and use the occasional paper coupon (and earn rewards points for doing so!) from MyPoints, but these days I mainly use three apps to get cash back on my grocery purchases: SavingStar, Ibotta, and Checkout51. All of them work with my favorite, regular stores – Price Chopper, Hannaford, Target, and CVS- and all of them use either my store loyalty card numbers to automatically credit me for my purchases, and/or simply require a quick submission of a photograph of my receipt. Over time, I’ve earned $262.52 in cash back from SavingStar, $38.50 from Checkout51, and $18.75 from Ibotta, all for items I regularly purchase. I’m talking milk, produce, and toilet paper, not just processed food! (If you want to try Ibotta for yourself, click here and use my referral code, rbkhnjf, when you sign up. You’ll receive a $10, just for signing up!)

Amazon Prime

While it may seem counter-intuitive that a service with a $99 annual fee actually saves me money, hear me out. Amazon sells pretty much everything known to man. My husband and I purchase a couple of things from them every month. Before we decided to spring for Prime, the item(s) we purchased didn’t always meet the ever-increasing minimum dollar amount for free shipping, and we would play Amazon’s game of adding something else to our cart to qualify. When the minimum amount for free shipping increased to $49, we decided it was time to sign up for Prime. Now, it’s much easier – and less costly! – for us to make smaller purchases from Amazon. Plus, we love that the free shipping takes only two days, and our daughter loves that she can listen to as many KidzBop songs as she wants for free through the Prime music benefit.

What are your favorite tools for saving money??

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Dwarfism Awareness Month


This is a guest post from my sister, Lynn, about my adorable nephew, Charlie. 

Meet my son Charlie.  He is a cheerful, smart, handsome 7 month old – an overall great guy.  On the day that he was born, Charlie was diagnosed with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism.  As his mother, one of my greatest fears is how he will be treated, by a sometimes unkind world, simply because of his stature. You see, Charlie is like most other 7 months old, only a bit shorter. (Note from Aunt Amy: Charlie is actually one of the sweetest and most joyful babies I’ve ever encountered.)


Prior to my son’s diagnosis, I knew almost nothing about dwarfism.  I had seen the occasional TV show – some exploitative and some not.  Though I had sometimes seen Little People (LP) out in the community, I have never actually had a conversation with an LP.  When I learned about Charlie’s diagnosis, I initially struggled with our new reality.  Though it was certainly an unrealistic expectation, I imagined having an easier time with a second child.  Suddenly, I had a baby with a genetic condition about which I knew very little.  I was concerned about the possible medical complications associated with achondroplasia.  I worried that Charlie’s potential would be greatly limited by his stature.  I wondered about how he would be received by the world that still feels free to openly mock Little People.  Before even leaving the hospital with my new baby, I was lucky enough to be connected with the Little People of America.  This amazing organization provides a variety of services to Little People and their families.  I have connected with many people through our local district and around the country.  They are a source of support, resources, and social connection.

The last seven months have not always been easy but Charlie is an amazing guy.  He is sweet, social, and charming.  He is a great addition to our family.  He has introduced me to a world of amazing people – LP’s, parents of LP’s, and families of children with medical special needs.  I have learned more than I ever could have imagined.  As an advocate for Charlie, I believe that it is important to share some of this information with others.

Here are some basic facts about dwarfism:

  •  Charlie’s form of dwarfism, achondroplasia, is the most common.  However, there are over 200 different types of dwarfism with an estimated 30,000 Little People in the United States and 651,700 LP’s in the world.
  • 80% of Little People are born to average sized parents.  Most often, dwarfism is the result of a spontaneous genetic mutation.  My husband and I are both average height.  Neither of us have any family history of dwarfism.  One set of Charlie’s genes are now altered and carry the mutation for achondroplasia.  Should he choose to have children with an average height partner, there is a 25% chance that each child will have achondroplasia.  If his partner also has achondroplasia, the chances increase to 50%.
  • People with dwarfism are usually no taller than 4 foot 10 inches.  The average height of a man with achondroplasia is 4 foot 4 inches.  The average height of a woman with achondroplasia is 4 foot 1 inch.  People with achondroplasia have an average-sized torso, a larger than average-sized head, and shorter than average arms and legs.
  • The word “midget” (often referred to as the “m” word) is considered highly offensive.  The term was used to describe LP’s who were put on display in sideshow acts.
  • Most types of dwarfism have medical complications, some more severe than others.  Charlie has severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  He was oxygen dependent since he was three weeks old.  Just last month, my husband and I made the difficult decision for Charlie to have a tracheotomy.  This immediately eliminated his OSA.  Learning to care for an infant with a trach has been a bit overwhelming but we are all literally sleeping easier.
  • Dwarfism occurs in all races and ethnicities.
  • Such terms as Little People, LP, Person of short stature or Person with a form of dwarfism are all acceptable. Most people with dwarfism see the word “dwarf” as acceptable. Most people would rather be referred to by their name than by a label.  When he is older, Charlie will decide what language he prefers.  For now, we refer to him as a Little Person.
  • In the dwarfism community the word “average” is used instead of the word “normal.” Example: “Average sized parents” rather than “normal sized parents”.
  • Dwarfism is not a reason to assume that someone is incapable. Little People can do just about anything an average sized person can, just sometimes in a different way.  Charlie will live in an averaged-sized world.  My husband and I will make some accommodations at home and in school.  Beyond those, we will encourage Charlie to try anything he would like to do and be resourceful to make it happen.
  • Dwarfism is not an intellectual disability. A person who has dwarfism is typically of average intelligence.

October is Dwarfism Awareness Month

Sometime this month, please take a moment to educate yourself and make the world a kinder place for Charlie and all Little People. Here are some fantastic resources to learn more:

When I first learned about Charlie’s diagnosis, I did a little research, since, like Lynn, I was not particularly at all knowledgeable about achondroplasia. I was relieved to learn that Little People have average lifespans and no intellectual limitations. The only differences are physical. At the same time, I was concerned that people could be unkind to Charlie, because somehow a social acceptance of making fun of Little People seems to persist. Please share the information in this post with others, and help ensure that Charlie and all Little People receive the love and respect we all deserve. Many thanks!!

Monday Meal Plan #8

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Our weekend started when I took my daughter to a Brownie bonfire on Friday night. I was a Brownie for a year when I was a girl, and it wasn’t for me. But this is my daughter’s second year as a Girl Scout, and she’s really enjoying it. There are a couple of after-school meetings each month, many great activities and events, and lots of time with her good friends. As a parent, I really appreciate the positive values of team-building, self-confidence, and leadership that the Girl Scouts teach.

I was thrilled to have a pretty relaxed day at home on Saturday. I spent some time reading The Bucolic Plague, planted the last of the spring-blooming bulbs, made pumpkin bread, and did some laundry and cleaning. Yesterday, my in-laws came for a visit (from New Jersey), and they took us out to lunch at a yummy restaurant in Saratoga Springs, Scallions. We then checked out the fall festival at West Mountain. I got to chat with my in-laws, while my husband and daughter went on a haunted hayride.

The Week Ahead

My daughter has the first of four, fall early dismissal days today. School is dismissed at 11:40, and the teachers spend the rest of the day holding parent-teacher conferences. I’ll be hitting the grocery store in the morning, then taking my daughter to her doctor’s office to get her flu shot after she gets home.

This week, I’m working Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and home again on Friday. I’ll be using that day to bake a cake or cupcakes for my daughter’s family birthday party at my parents’ house, (about 2.5 hours away), on Saturday. We’ll get to see a number of my family members, including my sister and one of my nephews, who are coming in from the Boston-area. We’re spending the night there, which means I won’t be cooking that night – woo hoo! On Sunday afternoon, we’ll drive home, so I planned a quick and easy dinner for that night. With all that in mind, here’s what’s on my dinner meal plan this week:

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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I’m Throwing in the Towel


I really, really love checking things off of lists. It’s one of the reasons I chose my Day Designer planner when I was looking for a new one: each day has a to-do list on the same page as my hour-by-hour calendar. Swoon… In many ways, this is a positive trait, since it pushes me to finish things I’ve started. However, it also makes it difficult for me to throw in the towel before I’ve completed something – even when it’s clear that I need to.

In recent years, I’ve come to understand how limited time can be, and have started pulling the plug on things, rather than spend waste more time on them. Exhibit A: I used to force myself to read all of the articles in magazines, because I didn’t feel like I’d really read the magazine if I didn’t. These days, I give an article a paragraph or two, before deciding if reading on is really how I want to spend my time. I’ve also made this shift with books, and today I’m sharing the decision I just made to stop reading a book I’m only a little more than halfway through.


If you’ve read my fall reading list post, you know that I Know How She Does It, by Laura Vanderkam, is on it. I heard the author interviewed on several podcasts this summer, and her time management message really resonated with me. As a result, I picked up several of her books at the library, and decided to start with this one. I started out strong, but have lost my momentum, and haven’t read a single paragraph in several days. (No, the irony of struggling to finish a time management book is not lost on me.) Coincidentally, I read another blogger’s post about the books she had read in September, commented with the books I had read, and mentioned that I’d just started reading I Know How She Does It. The blogger commented back that she had not been able to get through it, and asked what I thought of it. When I read this reply, something clicked, and I knew that it was time to throw in the towel on this book.

What’s Wrong With It?

I don’t dislike this book, but there are two, big reasons that I’ve lost interest in it. First, I heard the author talk about it several times, so I already knew the message. A little more than halfway through, I haven’t discovered anything that different from what I heard on the podcasts. As I said, I like the author’s premise: that many of us think we’re busier than we really are, and that while it’s difficult to achieve balance every day, most people achieve a good amount ofbalance throughout any given week. To demonstrate this, she recommends that people track their time for a week, then review how they spent it. I tracked my own time for a week, and while I wasn’tsurprised about how I spent most of it, it was helpful for me to see just how unfocused I can be when I’m not at work, and juggling home, blog, and parenting. Adding more structure to my at-home days would definitely be helpful. (If you’d like to track your time, Laura Vanderkam provides free documents for doing so here.)
The second reason I lost interest in I Know How She Does It, is that it’s not exactly applicable to me. The messages about prioritization and time management definitely apply to everyone, but the target audience for this book is full-time, working mothers, who earn $100,000 or more per year. Mother? Check! Work full-time? Nope. Earn $100,000. Negative. The women profiled in the book all met these criteria, and the descriptions of how they spend their time were interesting, but not particularly relatable for me.
So, after renewing the book from the library, and carrying it around my house for several days, I’ve pulled out my bookmark and set I Know How She Does It in the library return pile. What am I picking up next? Drumroll please…

Have you decided to set aside any books before you finished them?

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Monday Meal Plan #7

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Monday! I hope you’re enjoying a relaxing, holiday weekend.

We’ve been having a lovely fall weekend. On Saturday, my husband took my daughter to her gymnastics class, then we hung out at home for a while, before I made a quick grocery run. That evening, my husband and I went out for a belated anniversary (11th) celebration dinner. We went to an Italian restaurant, and took a short walk around downtown Saratoga Springs. Yesterday, we met friends for a picnic in a Spa State Park. The moms went for a walk in the park after lunch, while the kids played on the playground, and the dads supervised them. The weather was lovely, and the fall colors in our area are approaching peak. It’s such a gorgeous time of year!!

Our family’s schedule this week is kind of unusual. We’re all off from work and school today, back at work and school tomorrow, and on Wednesday, I’ll be home with my daughter, who has another school holiday. We get back on-track on Thursday, and I’m working a third day again this week, this time on Friday. After work on Friday, my daughter has dance class until 6:00, then a Brownie bonfire with her Girl Scouts troop. We’ll grab a quick dinner out in between dance class and the bonfire, and my husband will fend for himself, which probably means a bowl of cereal. With that in mind, here’s what’s on my dinner meal plan this week:

  • Monday: Burgers on the grill and roasted asparagus.
  • Tuesday: Slow cooker coconut curry lentils (didn’t happen last week, as planned)
  • Wednesday: Red burritos with beef and beans and roasted veggies
  • Thursday: Leftovers
  • Friday: Quick dinner out for the ladies, and my husband is on his own
  • Saturday: Ground turkey chili w/ avocado and cheese (and maybe some chips)
  • Sunday: Leftovers

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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A Barefoot Books Giveaway



For a few years, I had a small business selling children’s books from the independent publisher, Barefoot Books, out of my home. My daughter was about a year old when I started, and it was a great way for me to get out of the house, engage with the adult world, and make a little money on the side. I was drawn to Barefoot Books because of the quality of their products, the beautiful artistry, the multicultural stories, and their commitment to sustainability. A few years later, life became busier, and I was no longer able to commit the necessary time to running my Barefoot Books business. Although I haven’t been an active Ambassador for them in quite a while, I still love their books.



The board book, Listen, Listen, was my introduction to Barefoot Books. My daughter received it as a gift for her first birthday, and I fell in love with it right away. I’m a sucker for seasonal change, and Listen, Listen walks the reader through the natural beauty of the four seasons. My husband and I read this book to our daughter countless times, and it actually gave us our first window into her understanding of language. Before she could speak a single (clear) word, we would open up Listen, Listen, and tell her to point to the owl, or the sunflower, or the bee. Much to our amazement, she pointed right to the objects we named for her! I’m certain that she learned quite a few new words from the time we spent reading this book to her.

The rhythmic, rhyming text by Phillis Gershator, highlights the sights and sounds of the seasons. To this day, I often find myself saying, “Sizzle, sizzle, summer sun,” on hot summer days. But it’s Alison Jay’s illustrations that I absolutely adore.

Listen, Listen_text Listen, Listen_text Listen, Listen_text

A second favorite Barefoot Books title of mine is I Took the Moon for a Walk, also illustrated by Alison Jay (and written by Carolyn Curtis). This one is about a boy who, well, takes the moon for a walk one night. It walks the reader through the nocturnal sights and sounds the unlikely pair encounters on their excursion together. This is an especially good book for kids with a fear of nighttime or darkness.

interior2_image_3294_1 interior3_image_3294_1


Although I no longer actively sell Barefoot Books products, I still have some remaining inventory, and I’d like to share it with my much-appreciated readers. The first books I’m giving away are these two gorgeous board books, Listen, Listen, and I Took the Moon for a Walk. To win  this set, enter below. This giveaway will end at 11:59pm on Wednesday, October 12th. Good luck!!

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One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler

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Monday Meal Plan #6

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Monday!! I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Weekend Recap

Our weekend was a nice blend of relaxing and productive. My daughter has dance class from 5-6pm on Fridays, and we’ve gotten into the habit of picking up take-out food on our way home. Last week was no different, and we went to one of my favorite local spots, Sushi Thai Garden. As is almost always the case, I had green curry with shrimp, and as always, I thoroughly enjoyed it. (Note to self: plan better for dinners at home on Fridays to save some cash.)

Saturday was our 11th wedding anniversary, but we postponed our celebratory dinner for a week, because I wasn’t able to get a babysitter in time. Instead, I slept in a bit, read for a little while in the morning, and took a nap. During the afternoon, we picked up some pumpkins for outdoor decorating, I made a quick grocery trip, and my daughter and I went for a early evening Target run. (Have you ever been to Target on a Saturday evening? It’s absolute bliss.)

Our pumpkin haul

Yesterday, I slept in a bit later, got the ragu (see below) going in the slow cooker, made Rice Krispie Treats, and took another nap, before heading to a friends’ house for lunch and football viewing. These friends are great and generous hosts, and we always love going to their house.

The Week Ahead

I typically work two days per week at my part-time job, but for the next few weeks, I’ll be working three days per week. I can hear the full-time working mothers groaning as they read this – and I don’t blame you – but this is going to take a little adjustment on my part. (I’m not a big fan of change.) I’ll be working Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday this week. In addition, my daughter has a Brownies meeting until 5:30 on Monday, a doctor’s appointment Wednesday afternoon, and dance class on Friday evening. Nothing too crazy, but a lot going on during the afternoons and evenings. With that in mind, here’s what’s on my dinner meal plan for this week:

(A word about this week’s plan: I’m terrible at estimating sizes and quantities. As a result, we usually end up with more leftovers from recipes than I anticipate. This happened several nights last week, and I ended up not making a couple of the dinners I intended to. So if some of the meals on this week’s plan seem very familiar, it’s because I didn’t get to make them last week, as planned.)


What’s for dinner at your house this week? 

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Friday Favorites: Organizing Edition


The more blogs I read and podcasts I listen to, the more excited I get about becoming more organized, in all aspects of my life. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a complete mess, but there’s definitely work to be done on many fronts. Fortunately, over the past few weeks, I’ve found some great tips, tools, and ideas that I’ve been able to implement, or at least give some serious thought to. Here are a few of my favorites – old and new – that are helping me take control in various areas of my life:


My Day Designer Planner

Until fairly recently, the planner I carried with me was a tiny, monthly calendar that I got in the dollar bins at Target. (It’s a two-year calendar, so I actually got two years of planners for just $1!!) The daily squares are tiny, so I had trouble writing anything at all in them, let alone more than one thing on a given day. Then I read another blogger’s review of her Day Designer planner, and I knew I had found a great tool. I ordered the Midyear (because I bought it over the summer) Flagship Mini Edition, and I love it! Not only is it beautiful and high-quality, but it has so many of the things on my planner wish-list: daily pages, divided up by hour; space for a look at the week ahead; daily to-do lists, with top three daily priorities; a monthly overview; and even space for daily gratitude. It has helped me add more structure to my days, especially the ones when I’m not at my job.

Laura Vanderkam’s Time Tracker Documents

This summer, I heard the author, Laura Vanderkam, interviewed on at least two podcasts, and I really liked her message. She has written several books on time management, and I’m currently reading her most recent one, I Know How She Does It. The (greatly) simplified premise of this book is that we have a lot more time than most of think, and while we can’t always achieve perfect balance every day, we can come close to it on many days. She believes that the first step in managing our time more effectively is tracking how we’re currently spending it. To facilitate this process, she offers free tracking documents (in spreadsheet and PDF form), for tracking your time in 15- and/or 30-minute increments. I’ve found 30-minute increments to be more manageable, and today is my fifth tracking day. Stay tuned for an update on what I learn from this exercise…



My FitBit Surge and the FitBit App

My husband surprised me with a FitBit Surge for our tenth anniversary last October. I started wearing it immediately, and it’s barely been off my wrist since then. (Seriously, I wear it in my sleep, which it measures.) However, I got pretty lazy over the summer, and stopped worrying about whether or not I was actually meeting the daily goals I set for myself in the app. Fast forward to my return to work this fall, when I realized that my work clothes, which had been hanging unworn in my closet for four months, had apparently shrunk. All of them. Clearly the ice cream and kettle corn I referenced here had taken their toll. As a result, I increased my daily and weekly activity goals, and started to track them religiously. I love all of the different metrics and screens available in the FitBit app, and I find myself checking in with it several times a day. (And eating a lot less ice cream.)

This Amazing Chore Chart

Getting my daughter to complete her daily tasks – especially on school day mornings – is an ongoing battle. I’ve tried both positive and negative reinforcement, and while she’s made some progress, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. I want the system to be easy, self-managed, and reward-driven. I’m not even remotely crafty, so I had basically settled on using a simple checklist on a clipboard, when I came across this idea. It meets all of my criteria, is pretty, and looks like something I could actually create myself. It’ll take a small investment of time and money, but I think I can handle it, and I think it’ll work well for my daughter.


The Organizher School Memories Keeper

My mother kept very detailed baby books for me and my sister. She filled them with photographs and specific dates, milestones, and memories. I still get a kick out of looking through them. So when my daughter was born, I got myself a baby book, and started filling it out. But I was quickly swept up in the busyness of being a mom, and forgot to note the dates of pretty much all of my daughter’s milestones. Now that she’s in school and I’m better at managing my time and projects, I have a kind of second chance. I knew I had seen memory books that were organized by grade, so I hopped on Amazon and found the Mead Organizher School Memories Keeper. In addition to being organized by grade, it has a place to affix each year’s school picture, a large pocket for holding documents and other mementos from that school year, and spaces to fill in basic information about the year, like teacher’s name, friends, milestones, and current events. It’s a perfect way to capture all of this information.


What are some of your favorite organizing tips, tools, and ideas?

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What’s Up Wednesday: September, 2016


I’ve been reading What’s Up Wednesday posts for a while, so I’m very excited to do my own this month…

What We’re Eating This Week: I dusted off my slow-cooker when the temps cooled and I went back to work. This week I’m using it to make two, new-to-me recipes. We’re also having taco salads and breakfast-for-dinner, two family favorites. You can see my full meal plan for the week here.

What I’m Reminiscing About: Because my daughter’s birthday is coming up,  I can’t help but reminisce about her arrival in our lives. She hung on for a few days past her due date, my doctor induced me, and she ultimately was born via c-section, seven years ago. Sniff, sniff…

What I’m Loving: Apples, and pumpkins, and squash – oh my!

What We’ve Been Up To: Settling back into our school-year routines. In addition to my daughter being back in school, I’m back at work two days per week, and my daughter is doing several extracurricular activities (hip hop dance, gymnastics, and Brownies). I’m also blogging (obviously), and in the midst of my semi-annual purge of my daughter’s outgrown clothes.

What I’m Dreading: Darkness. Even though the days have been getting shorter since the summer solstice, I only really started noticing a difference in late August. By the end of next month, it’s going to be very noticeable, and once we set the clocks back in early November, well, I don’t even want to think about that…

What I’m Working On: This week I’m tracking how I spend my time in 30-minute increments. I’m reading I Know How She Does It, by Laura Vanderkam, and she suggests that better time management starts with tracking how you’re already spending your time. I’m also trying to complete an editorial calendar for October for this blog, and starting to understand my least favorite social media tool, Pinterest. (I consider it a black hole, where I end up spending way too much time, and come out feeling incredibly uncreative.)

What I’m Excited About: Fall decorations!! It took me a while to warm up to them this year, but I’m thrilled to have mums, corn stalks, and pumpkins out at our house now.

What I’m Watching/Reading: I don’t really watch any TV shows, but I’m a bit of a news junkie. However, I’ve scaled it back this summer and fall, since I just can’t take any more election coverage. November 8th cannot come soon enough for me! As I mentioned above, I’m currently reading I Know How She Does It, by Laura Vanderkam. (You can see everything on my fall reading list here.)

What I’m Listening To: Podcasts galore! In particular, I just started listening to Her Monday with Jean Chatzky, and I’ve been binge-listening to catch up on the episodes I missed.

What I’m Wearing: Fleece, sweaters, long-sleeve tees, jeans, and boots – my kind of clothes!

What I’m Doing This Weekend: Saturday is my 11th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, I didn’t schedule a babysitter on-time, so we’ll be enjoying a family anniversary dinner, followed by a date night next weekend. Other than that, we don’t have any plans at this point. (And that’s just how I like it!)

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month: Our anniversary, my daughter’s 7th birthday and two parties to celebrate it, and Halloween!

What Else Is New: Work, school, fall… isn’t that enough?!?

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Monday Meal Plan #5

Monday Meal PlanHappy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Weekend Recap

This weekend, I let go of my sadness about the end of summer, and fully embraced fall. I wore fleece (it was chilly!), went on a hayride, took a long walk, put away my summer pajamas and sweaters, planted bulbs, and even allowed my husband and daughter put up some Halloween decorations. (It’s still a little early for jack-o-lanterns, if you ask me, but they really enjoy getting that stuff up early.) I also finished reading Columbine, and started reading I Know How She Does It. I learned a lot from the former, but it was not a light read. I’m not too far into the latter, yet, but I’m really enjoying it. And, because I’m a podcast junkie, I listened to several good ones. My favorite was the most recent episode of the My Wife Quite Her Job podcast, about local business, Death Wish Coffee. Because I prefer my coffee mild, I haven’t tried their products, but I loved hearing the story behind this success business.


The Week Ahead

This week looks to be a pretty normal, fall week for my family. I’ll be working on Tuesday and Thursday, and my daughter has a full week of school, plus dance on Friday, and gymnastics on Saturday, and my husband will be travelling to Buffalo for work one day. With that in mind, here’s what’s on my dinner meal plan for this week: (Curious why I meal plan? You can read why here.)

  • Monday: Crock pot Apple Bacon Pork Roast w/ couscous
  • Tuesday (work day): Leftovers
  • Wednesday: Taco salads (not sure if I’ll use ground beef or turkey yet)
  • Thursday (work day): Brinner! (Maybe pancakes, maybe eggs, sausage, and toast, but definitely “breakfast for dinner”!)
  • Friday (dance 5-6pm): Pasta w/ Sunday slow cooker beef ragu and salad
  • Saturday: Leftovers/fridge clean-out (If I can snag a babysitter, my husband and I will go out to celebrate our 11th anniversary.)
  • Sunday: Curried rice with shrimp (from Real Simple Easy, Delicious Meals) w/ roasted veggies

What’s for dinner at your house this week? How was your weekend?

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