Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Many of My Favorite Things

As I seek to live more simply and intentionally I have noticed that I have become a bit persnickety about items I select to use, which I'm sure is no delight to my husband as he searches for gifts for me. Sorry, my love. I just don't want to waste my time, money and energy using and maintaining products which don't serve me well. So while it may take me longer to shop for just what I am looking for, I am more often satisfied with what I do choose and keep those things which are non-consumable in use for a good long time.

Anyway, on with the list. These are just things I like to use and think are a good value for the use and enjoyment they see in our home. I'm not being paid for these endorsements, but I would welcome the opportunity. :) Since I don't want to steer you wrong, take this list with a grain of salt and consider that I am budget-and-value-minded, 30-something, family gal seeking a simple life.

Favorite things for the body:
* Kirkland Moisturizing Shampoo - paraben & sulfate free
* Kirkland Natural Citrus Body Wash - paraben & sulfate free
* SmartWool socks
* K.Bell socks - rival SmartWool in my opinion and at a fraction of the cost (2 pairs for $12.99 when Costco has them)
* Glysomed hand cream - The only thing I've really found to remedy my cracking, bleeding hands through dry Colorado winters.
* Keen sandals

Favorite things in the kitchen:
* Bosch Universal mixer and Nutrimill grain mill - The Lord provided an amazing deal on a gently used set 4 years ago and I use these all the time so even if I had to pay full price, I would definitely say it is worth it.
* Pyrex dishes with plastic lids for baking, serving and storing
* bowl scraper by Progressive - This makes managing large quantities of dough so much easier.

Favorite foods & flavors:
* Good Earth Sweet & Spicy Tea - great hot or cold
* World Market Extra Virgin Olive Oil - $6.99 for 1 ltr. in a dark glass bottle
* World Market coffee beans - We are part of their coffee perks program and often use high value coupons to get it even cheaper.
* Kirkland Saigon cinnamon
* Tillamook cheese
* Famous Dave's pickles - My current condition just might be affecting my taste for these. :)
* Jelly Belly jelly beans and most other fruity candies
* Dole Tropical Gold premium canned pineapple - to me it takes like fresh pineapple without all the work and guessing which one to pick in the produce section
* Dr. Pepper - old habits die hard

Favorite things for babies & children:
* Beco baby carrier - This was a big splurge for our fourth child, but I have no regrets. I especially love it for the back carry position when the baby is bigger.
* Hanna Andersson clothes - I've found some sweet and colorful dresses secondhand which have been well-loved by my little girl.
* Robeez slipper shoes
* Britax Blink stroller & Lands' End Little Tripper diaper bag - We were given these for our 4th baby and I've loved them for ease of use and compactness. The Britax B-Nimble model looks very similar to the Blink but is twice the price. Hmm...
* Lands' End hooded coats - I'm counting on these lasting through multiple children, they are well made and the hoods add warmth without keeping track of a hat all the time.
* Other random thoughts on caring for baby can be found in a post from a long while back here.

I'm sure I'll think of more after I hit "publish" but this list is a good start on stuff I like.

What are some of your favorite things?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Countdown to Thanksgiving Menu Plan

As Thanksgiving is just around the corner I thought I would plan meals from now til then, hoping to use up what we have on hand.

L - lunch with my husband, used a BOGO at Pei Wei...yum!
D - beef stew served over mashed potatoes, whole wheat bread
Prep: make batch of bread & cinnamon rolls

B - cinnamon rolls, yogurt & blackberries
L - turkey cheese sandwiches on whole wheat bread
D - beef stew (add chunks of potatoes this time around), garlic cheese buns, ceasar salad

B - w.w. toast or leftover w.w. waffles, yogurt, fruit
L - mac & cheese, fruit salad, carrots
D - beans & rice w/ leftover taco meat, lettuce, cheese, salsa, etc., apple slices

B - oatmeal w/berries, yogurt
L - rice bowls with assorted toppings (a hit with the kids and a good way to use leftovers), fruit
D - balsamic chicken, spaghetti squash, green salad

B - cereal, yogurt
L - soup, bread or sour cream biscuits (made w/plain yogurt)
D - chicken pot pie

B - "pumpkin" waffles - I'll use butternut squash puree I have in the freezer from this fall.
L - quesadillas, raw veggies
D - date night! It has been months, so when some sweet church friends offered to come watch the kids we didn't hesitate to say yes. I'll leave a prepped pizza assembly line for those here at home.

B - leftover waffles, yogurt
L - burritos, salad
D - buffalo chicken, baked potatoes, green beans

B - scrambled eggs, bacon, yogurt
L - chicken salad sandwiches, carrots
D - Colorado white chili, chips, sour cream
Prep: make batch of whole wheat bread (2 loaves) & cinnamon rolls(3 pans)

11/22 -
B - cinnamon rolls, berry/banana smoothies
L - birthday lunch
D - birthday dinner .....yes, I'll take full advantage of the day!

B - yogurt/cereal/fruit parfaits
L - turkey cheese sandwiches or quesadillas, chips
D - leftover buffet

For Thanksgiving Day:
green bean casserole
2 pumpkin pies & whipped cream (I'm gonna let Costco do this for me as they are delicious and big and priced close to what I would spend on ingredients alone.)
2 doz. cinnamon rolls

We have so much to be thankful for! Savor the season and count your blessings!