my scraps

Monday, July 21, 2014

Menu Plan Monday (and my 4-Step Process) - 2014 Week 30

Meal planning doesn't have to be difficult. After all this time, I've boiled it down to a basic four-step process:
  1. What's our schedule look like?
  2. What do we have on hand?
  3. What recipes and meal ideas fit our schedule?
  4. What do we still need to round them out?
From steps 1 -3, I pick recipes/dishes and write them in the "Dinner" space on my calendar. From step 4, I make my grocery lists(s). That's really all there is to it. Some weeks I feel more creative, and some  weeks we have very basic, uninspired meals . . .but everyone gets a healthy meal and we don't waste too much food or money. It's not glamorous or perfect - but it works.

This week is pretty basic:

Monday - Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Buttered Noodles, Broccoli
Tuesday - Taco Tuesday, Guacamole, Corn
Wednesday - Boys Night Out
Thursday - Homemade Chicken Tenders for the boys/Chicken Caesar Salads for the adults
Friday - Pizza Night
Saturday and Sunday - Burgers and Dogs on the grill, Baked Beans, Potato Salad

What's on your meal plan for this week?

catch you soon -
This post is linked up at I'm An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Best Summer Ever | #Moms4JNJConsumer {sponsored}

Summer Party Set Up

This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.

Summer is the time for fun - right? And what could be more fun than having some friends over for  a little old fashioned backyard summer fun? Thanks to The Motherhood and Johnson and Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc, we got to share some backyard summer fun with friends and family and do a little summer entertaining.

We know that Target is THE place for all your summer fun essentials! Last summer, we bought the boys an inflatable pool to hang out in on hot days. Well they and their friends use that as a "filling station" for squirt bottles, water shooters, sponges and water balloons! Throw on a bathing suit, grab a towel and enjoy some good old-fashioned water play on a hot day.

Water Balloons

For the smaller kids, you can't go wrong with some sidewalk chalk and bubbles.  Target has a great selection and we keep a supply of both on-hand all summer long.

For family fun, lawn games like badminton, bocce and croquet are all making a big comeback. We picked up a few sets at Target and have been getting a kick out of learning new games. Through August 16, you can play a virtual soccer game, share your score and take a shot at instantly winning a $200 Target eGiftCard. You could also win one of more than $15,000 in prizes! Score savings with Target-specific coupons on key essentials for summertime (and all the time!)


Refreshing drinks and summer snacks are always in demand. When the boys have friends over, we serve up lemonade (traditional yellow and festive pink too) and iced tea to help keep them cool. Soda and Mixers for the grown-ups too. In between water battles, I like to have a variety of snacks to keep everyone's energy levels up! Some fruit, cheese sticks and pretzels keep active kids energized.

Summer Drink Station

After a full afternoon of playing, treat kids to a yummy and cool treat like popcicles or old-fashioned fudgcicles. I found a great recipe on Pinterest, that tastes just like the originals (see more ideas on my Summer Fun board). Don't have enough molds? Don't worry, paper cups and popcicle sticks do the trick too!


With all the summer fun, bumps, bug bites and scratches happen too, so I keep a small bucket handy with Neosporin, anti-itch cream and Bandaids in it for quick fixes! Don't forget the sunscreen! Hats and sunglasses can add layers of protection too for all your outdoor fun!

We sent our guests home with family favorite, everyday HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® courtesy of Johnson and Johnson.

Goodies from Johnson and Johnson

Sadly, we can't invite EVERYONE over this summer, but that's okay because the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® program is offering amazing printable coupons, tips and tools and so much more for all the products you and your family love! So be sure to head over to save! HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® Products are key essentials that can help you and your family keep going and stay focused on fun this summer, no matter what happens. You won't have to worry, because you're prepared for the Best Summer Ever!

How are you and your family having fun this summer?

catch you soon -

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Adding Pieces to Your Wardrobe | What I Wore #ootd

I used to shop 'til I dropped. When money and closet space were no object (they actually WERE, just not in my mind). These days I'm a little more careful when adding pieces to my wardrobe. It's more than a one night stand - I'm looking for a relationship.

Take this new top from Boden, for instance. I saw it on Instagram . . .yes, I really DO get inspired from online pictures and the things you share! So I searched the Boden site, using "polka dots" and found the shirt. Hey - it was on sale - that's good news. I also thought it would go with several pieces in my closet already (I have a vision of it with faded cuffed jeans and colored shoes).

Fit can be dicey when shopping online,  so I reviewed the charts and the reviews and decided on a size and ordered it. When it came, I love it. And I realized that the aqua dots, matched this comfy pair of cropped pants perfectly!

Boden Polka Dot Shirt paired iwth Aqua Cropped Pants

Pants - Lands End (last year)
Shirt - Boden (new!)
Shoes - Target (old)
Necklace - Tiffany
Bracelets - Alex and Ani, Tiffany, Stella and Dot and AnnikaLane

Boden Polka Dot Shirt

So what's a girl to do when she wants (ok needs) to add pieces to her growing wardrobe? I have a 3-part test that a piece has to pass before I lay out hard-earned cash.
  1. Fit - The fit has to be right - no pulling, no a bit too tight, no too short, too long. Unless the price is amazing (like jeans for a penny) it has to fit well.
  2. Compatibility - The piece has to play nicely with other pieces I already own. That means more than just a pair of jeans. I try to come up with at least three outfit ideas in my head before purchasing a new piece of clothing.
  3. Price - If it passes the first two tests, then I need to seriously weigh if the piece is worth it's price. I'm looking for easy-to-care-for pieces now (not a lot of dry cleaning). Also, I'm not a fan of exposed zippers, poor hemming, rough seams . . .I like garments that are made well.
What's your shopping strategy these days?

catch you soon -
This post is linked up to The Pleated Poppy and to Get Your Pretty On


Monday, July 14, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - 2014 Week 29

For our meal plan this week, we are taking it easy. That means 2-3 nights on the grill (pizza is a maybe), one night of "fast" kid food like nuggets, and one night of easy assembly. The only item I need to pick up from the store is the salmon and fresh produce. I love starting the week off organized and with a plan in place.

Here's our plan for the week:

Monday - Flank Steak and Shrimp on the grill, Caprese Salad
Tuesday - Nuggets and fruit for the kids - family event
Wednesday - Salmon over Asparagus packets
Thursday -Quesedillas with chicken, avocados and corn
Friday - Pizza Night
Saturday and Sunday - TBD

What's on your meal plan this week?

catch you soon -
This post is linked up at I'm An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Blogging : 3 Tips for Developing Your Own Success Story

Blogger Desk

When I graduated from college back in 1990, "Blogging" wasn't a career - heck, it wasn't even a job title at that time, computers were just starting to make their way to office desktops.

Now practically anyone can start a blog, and millions of people and companies have. For personal blogs there are generally 2 main types - hobby blogs (fun writing) and career writing (launch pad to other opportunities or monetizing your blog to earn income).

I'm one of those people that considers myself a Blogger (with a capital B) and uses my blog as a launch pad to opportunities with a small amount of monetizing via sponsored posts and affiliates.

What exactly does being a "Blogger" mean though? Well, there are plenty of great posts and articles written about it and how how to do it - I have several pinned to my Blogging Pinboard. For me, Blogging and my Blog, are an opportunity every day to research, analyze and communicate with you, my reader, while earning an income (some days smaller than others).  I try to bring a mix of humor and real-life narrative to my posts.

With so many "shoulds" and "musts" out there, it can be hard for a Blogger to know what to do and where to start. After having my hat in this ring for three years, I've come to a conclusion. As with so many things in life, you get out of it, exactly what you put in to it and success looks different for every Blogger. Don't try to be something you aren't, be yourself and let your ideas and voice shine through.

Here are 3 Tips for Developing Your Own Blogging Success Story:
  • Start with a Plan or Goal - Setting Goals can scare some people and prevent them from moving forward. If you're a Blogger, yu probably like to write, so craft a plan of what your Blogging looks like in a year from now. 3 years. 5 years.
  • Outline Steps to Reach your Plan - Now that you have a picture of what you and your Blog look like in a year, how will you get there? Here's where Blog Conferences, Tribes, and Networking Groups can come in handy. 
  • Work Hard - There's no magic formula (no matter what the "experts" say). As with so many of the greatest things in life, Blogging success takes time and effort. Sometimes it's simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time, or meeting the "right" person. So be open to possibility, don't fall victim to Blogger Tunnel Vision, and think you can only succeed in one way.
Three simple steps, and you can do them in an hour a day or in 10 hours a day. When I was championing working from home back in the mid-90s, I used to tell people that just because a person is physically in the office, doesn't mean they're working or being productive. So if you don't have 40 hours a week - relax, it's ok. Do what you can (the steps from tip #2) in the time that you have.

In the end, a personal Blog is your voice. It comes from somewhere inside you and is a part of who and what you are. So what are you doing right now, that just feels "right"?

catch you soon -