my scraps

Monday, September 29, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - 2014 Week 40


Looks like we're having a touch of Indian Summer around here, as warmer temperatures return this week. I'm always disappointed when that happens, as I'm ready for soups and sweaters! So with warmer weather putting a crimp in my Fall meal planning and organizing, I'll plan on some summer foods instead.

While I use my grill almost all year-round, this week will be a perfect opportunity to fire it up. Here's what's on our menu this week:

Monday - Pasta, Garlic Bread and Salad
Tuesday - Easy Grilled Honey-Dijon Chicken, Small Grilled Potatoes, Salad
Wednesday - Pork Tenderloin, Sauteed Spinach, Wild Rice
Thursday - Ribs and Dogs, Baked Beans
Friday - Monster Jam Monster Truck Show
Saturday and Sunday - TBD

What's for dinner at your house this week?

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

Friday, September 26, 2014

How to Blog Like a Rock Star

Blogging Like a Rock Star - Lessons from Mack Collier

Last week, I traveled to Atlanta, GA to attend the Type-A Parent Conference 2014. Besides seeing old friends and meeting new ones, one of the things I was most excited about was hearing Mack Collier speak. I am a faithful #blogchat participant, and I love the ideas Mack and the other regular participants share each week.

Mack was not only speaking, he was the opening keynote - he was the guy setting the tone for the ENTIRE CONFERENCE (no pressure there). His topic? "Think Like a Rock Star - How to Create Fans and Build Community."

Now, let me tell you a little secret . . .I have always wanted to be an actual rock star. I spent much of my teen years singing into a hairbrush in front of a mirror in my room. Truth be told, that may be part of the reason I started my blog in the first place . . .to have my very own stage. And now with Mack's help, I'm going to rock it.

Mack shared stories about how real rock stars, like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, engage their fans and turn them into "super fans".  The poignant thought here:
Rock Stars don't think about the "new" fans - they think about the fans they already have.
So spending my time and energy in search of new people to "like" and "follow" me, may be growing my perceived "reach" - but it may also be leaving my faithful readers in the dust - not something I ever intended to do. So while I was sitting there taking notes, I got an idea for "Fan Friday". 

Each Friday, I plan to take a minute and recognize some "fans" from the week. That may be people that RT'd me on Twitter, engaged on one of my Facebook posts or left me a blog comment. It's a step towards showing the gratitude I feel for each interaction you take the time for.
"Reward the behavior you want to encourage." - Mack Collier
The second brilliant take-away for me was to find the "bigger idea" behind the content you create. So it's not really about the camera for your readers . . .it's about taking amazing photographs. What are some ways you, as a Blogger, can make your content more customer-centric? As a Blogger, it's my job, my responsibility if you will, to create amazing experiences for you, the readers that love (or at least like) me.

So in the weeks to come, I hope you'll start to see a little deeper-level post. A more customer (you) - centric presentation of the content I am sharing. If you don't - I hope you'll call me on it, so we can fix it. Tweet me, leave a comment - whatever you prefer. But keep me honest and help me keep improving the stories and experiences I bring to you.

Unlike a "real" rock star, I perform every day - right here on my blog, so I hope you'll come around and see what I'm up to. Rock on!

catch you soon -

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Are You An Unstoppable Mom? {#UnstoppableMoms}

Unstoppable Mom
--> I wrote this post as part of my participation in a blog tour for The Motherhood on behalf of the makers of Children’s MOTRIN® and received compensation to thank me for taking the time to participate. However, all opinions expressed are my own. 
As moms, I think we feel a lot of pressure to do everything. Make Pinterest-worthy crafts with our kids, help them with homework, prepare a healthy dinner with fresh, locally sourced food we shopped for, dress stylishly, take our kids to music lessons, sporting activities and join them in community service. . .just thinking about it is exhausting.

But we're moms so we do it and we do it every single day. (Some days better than others - right?) I bet you know a lot of Unstoppable Moms. When I think about all the Unstoppable Moms in my life, my mom is front and center. She was a teacher, wife, mother and so much more. When I think back, I wonder how she did it all. When I ask her about it, she says, "I just did. I had no choice."  Well that seems simple enough, doesn't it? But how did she get dinner on the table every single night after she worked all day?

She loves to tell the story about the time I threw a temper tantrum in the aisle of a local grocery store. Apparently I wanted a TV dinner - one of those old-school tin ones with the aluminum foil covering the pudding. See, my unstoppable mom cooked dinner every night, so there was no need for a TV dinner. We never even had fast food.  These days, I cook dinner on most nights, relying on my weekly menu plans to help keep me on track and make the job a little easier! (we DO have fast food sometimes =) )

Me and my Unstoppable Mom
Me and my Unstoppable Mom
In trying to keep my life organized and as simple as possible, I rely on great tips from other unstoppable moms in my network. You've seen them: the mom that's a nurse and manages to bring homemade cupcakes to school for the class party or the mom that travels cross-country with her kids and shares her printable car games online. Unstoppable.

We all have good days and bad days, and believe me, plenty of my attempts are NOT Pinterest-worthy, and that's ok. Part of this mom thing is just trying your best. But we all have a little something we can share with other Unstoppable Moms to help make life just a little bit easier for everyone, and that's a great thing!

Are YOU an Unstoppable Mom?


The makers of Children's MOTRN® are asking Moms to post their tips and tricks to the MOTRIN® Facebook page under each week's Kelly Ripa question video and for every post, Children's MOTRIN® will donate $1 to Safe Kids Worldwide, a global nonprofit that provides moms with the tips they need to help keep their children safe. While you're there, you can enter the weekly sweepstakes to win $100 gift card.* (Multitasking is an Unstoppable Mom's dream - right?)

The next topic starts on Monday, September 29, 2014 and it's about making breakfast. Would you believe my mom used to make awesome breakfasts too? I'm definitely going to have to check out these tips!!

catch you soon -

Please note - *NO PURCHASE NECESSARY, OPEN TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES & D.C., 18 AND OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Promotion ends 11:59p.m. ET 12/28/14 Sponsor will donate $1 for each approved Submission made as part of the promotion, with a minimum donation of $30,000 and a maximum donation of $50,000. For Official Rules, and complete details, visit www.unstoppablemoms.com Sponsor: McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc.  To learn more about Safe Kids Worldwide visit safekids.org

Packing for a Trip Without Bringing Your Entire Closet | What I Wore #ootd


Guide to Packing With a Color-Scheme

Last week, I traveled to Atlanta, GA for the Type-A Parent Conference. I do a fair amount of traveling (always looking for opportunities to do more) but most of it is by car. I rarely fly, so the idea of packing for four days, while keeping it light (under 50 lbs seems SO easy-but not so much) and versatile, can be a little overwhelming! My 2 biggest tips?
  • Get Organized
  • Keep it Simple
To get organized, I use a packing spreadsheet. Stay with me here. I sketch out a grid of the days of my trip, then divide the days by Daytime, Nighttime and Extra. I simply plug in the pieces I plan to wear at each time. This lets me see any gaps, duplicates or opportunities to pack less (or more) at a glance.

To keep it simple, I try to pack in a color-scheme. I find versatile, classic-style pieces work best in the Mid-Life Mom wardrobe.  For this trip, I went with a black, white and cranberry color-scheme. I added in a traditional leopard print (shoes) and also a black and white leopard print cardigan for variety (I never wore the cardigan).

What I Packed:
3 jeans (white, dark denim, black)
1 pants (black and white polka dot)
3 t-shirts (cranberry, white and black)
3 cardigans (black, black and white leopard and cranberry)
2 blouses (white shirt, black and white polka dot top)
2 tanks (black and white)
1 jacket (black)
1 scarf (cranberry)
2 bags (1 tote bag and 1 small bag for evening)

I only needed seven outfits for my trip, but I could have easily made several more with this combination. Here are some highlights from what I did wear during the conference.

I wore this for my trip to Atlanta:

Mid-Life Mom Style | Color Scheme Outfit
Jeans - Coldwater Creek
T-shirt - Lands End
Cardigan - Ann Taylor (in stores now)
Shoes - Target (this season)
Bag - Vera Bradley
Necklace - Tiffany

For my first day at the Conference, I went casual and comfortable:

Mid-Life Mom Style | Color-Scheme Outfit | My Scraps

Jeans - Ann Taylor Black Skinny Jeans (in stores now)
Top - Ann Taylor (last year)
Cardigan - Ann Taylor (in stores now)
Shoes - Aerosoles
Necklace -Tiffany

The second day of the conference I stayed with my comfortable and casual style:

Mid-Life Mom Style | Color-Scheme Outfit | My Scraps

Jeans - Ann Taylor Dark Denim Super Skinny Jeans (now in stores)
Shirt - Ann Taylor (now in stores)
Shoes - Aerosoles
Bag - Vera Bradley
Scarf -Ann Taylor (now in stores)
Necklace - Tiffany
For an evening look, I went with basic black:

Mid-Life Mom Style | Color-Scheme Outfit | My Scraps

Jeans - Ann Taylor Black Skinny Jeans (now in stores)
Tank - Chico's
Jacket - Ann Taylor (clearance rack find)
Shoes - Life Stride/DSW
Necklace - Ann Taylor

So with a few basic pieces in mix and match colors, it's easy to create several outfits and looks to last through your whole trip.

What's your best fashion tip for traveling?

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

  FashionFriday2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How To Use Heat Rollers

How to Use Hot Rollers

I am blessed with good hair. While it's no longer the gorgeous strawberry-blonde of my youth, when I'm in the sun, there are more reddish highlights than grey, and for that I very grateful. Besides decent color, I have "good hair" - I can curl it, straighten it, braid it, pull it in a topknot or any other hairstyle I can master. But it does take some work.

The last few weeks, I've gone back to curling my hair - believe it or not - it's easier. My secret weapon? Old-school Jersey Heat Rollers. I KNOW RIGHT? But listen, you can multi-task once they're in. If I'm going to use heat rollers - I'll typically let my hair air-dry so I'm not using too many heat products. You can use whatever curl boosting product you prefer, sometimes I use Mousse.

I have a large set, and here's what I do:
  • I plug them in and wait for them to heat up. I use the 6 largest rollers on the very top of my head for volume and lift.
  • Then I use the medium sized rollers for the rest of my hair.
  • If there is still some left, I use the tiniest rollers on the hair around the nape of my neck.
  • Once they're in - I either get dressed or put on my 8 minute face.
  • After they cool, I unroll them and finger comb my waves into place.
  • Before during or after, I use a damp round brush for my bangs (until the grow out again).
What's your current hairstyle?

catch you soon-

Monday, September 22, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - 2014 Week 39


When you're in a regular meal planning routine, staying organized and planning meals can be pretty simple (if sometimes uninspired or even down-right boring). But once that routine - at least for me - is broken, all heck breaks loose.

I'm just back from the Type-A Parent Blogger Conference in Atlanta, GA. It's Meal Plan Monday, and I haven't been to a store in over a week and am not planning to go until tomorrow. Tomorrow's trip will only be one of the two regular weekly stops I make for my weekly meals.

So I call this "living off the land". We live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and a greedy groundhog eats any plants we try to plant. . .so we are far from farmers. But for me,"living off the land" is trying to make a meal plan mostly from what I have currently on-hand. That's where I find other blogs and the Meal Plan Monday linkup to be so valuable for ideas.

After raiding the freezer and pantry and making a small produce and meat list, here's what we have on our Menu Plan for this week:

Monday - Pasta
Tuesday - Mini Meatloaves, Broccoli Trees
Wednesday - Flank Steak, Baked Potatoes
Thursday - Salmon, Buttered Noodles, Spinach (we did NOT have this last week)
Friday - Pizza Night
Saturday and Sunday - TBD

What are you having for dinner this week?

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