Friday, August 12, 2011

A "Duh" Moment

Do you ever have one of those moments? You know, the ones where you suddenly look at something in your house and go oh, that is perfect for {insert project here}? And you've been wanting to do {previously mentioned project} forever? No? I'm the only one? Ok then :)

Well, I've been dying to have an island in our kitchen from the very beginning. It's a great kitchen with lots of floor space, but not a lot of counter space, so it's pretty ideal for an island. Of course, with all the other projects we have going on, buying something to use as an island isn't high on the priority list.

When my husband moved into this house, the family of the older couple who owned it before us had left a few little things around. A cheap bedside table. A nasty old lamp. An ancient vacuum that didn't really work. And in the laundry room, a cute little metal cabinet. Now, there's tons of storage in the laundry room, so I wasn't really using this little guy:

It needs an update bad, although it doesn't look too bad from this far away. But it just wasn't doing much good, until I had that lovely "duh" moment and realized it's pretty close to perfect for a kitchen island, at least for now! So I convinced hubby to bring it up an incredibly steep, uneven staircase the stairs into the kitchen. He's so sweet and helpful.

So much more useful now! I love having it here. I think we may paint it....RED! I'm so excited about that part. Someday when it's painted red and I get my white cabinets, it will all look stunning :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Menu Planning Project

I'm so thankful that after weeks of ridiculous heat, today is just beautiful! I was even chilly last night when I took the dog outside before bed! Wonderful!

So I'm going to share a project with you that I've been excited about for awhile, but it took some time to finish and I'm just now ready to write about it. The hardest thing for me to learn when we got married and I suddenly had to cook for two every day was how to pick what we would eat each day. I didn't want to choose something hubby didn't feel like having, and most of the time I can't decide what I feel like eating. It was a huge stress for me. And at first, I didn't have many recipes to choose from, which didn't help. But now that I've built up a good selection of meals I know we both like and that fit in our budget, I wanted to work on not waiting until 5:00 to choose what to make (and then usually end up making hubby choose anyway!).

I saw this on Pinterest and was totally inspired by it:

Source: via Abbey on Pinterest

This is right up my alley, with colors and categories and everything in one spot. I'd been wanting a new dry erase calendar anyway, and most of them now are also magnetic, so it was perfect! This idea is from BHG, and you can download the printable labels free, so check it out!

Of course, I wanted my own color scheme, because I'm crazy like that, so I made my own up real quick, and I typed out most of our meals into them in a font I love. I also printed out some blank ones because I knew I was missing some meals, and I'm glad I did. I've already filled in all the extras!

Anyway, I just printed these out on regular paper, then glued the paper onto a magnetic sheet. Then I just cut out each label. It really didn't take long at all! The next part did, though. I wanted to keep mine in something, rather than on another board like in the picture. And I wanted to make it easier to make out my grocery list while I was at it. Seriously, making that list takes me hours! After some thought, I realized the perfect container would be an old recipe box that I never use. Anymore, I print or write out recipes and keep them in a ring binder so I can just flip through them.

I have no idea where I picked this thing up, but I've always just kept it full of blank recipe cards and little recipes I've cut out of magazines and never used. So, some craft paint gave it a nice update, and the useless recipes got cleaned out. I took the recipe cards and wrote down just the ingredients for each meal we use, except obvious things like hamburgers or chicken nuggets. I know what we need for that. Then I glued a little plastic baggie on the back of each card to hold the magnet that goes with it. There's probably a much better way to do that, but I had little baggies and just wanted to get it done :) For the meals that don't have a recipe card, I just took an extra card and glued a couple little baggies on it to hold all of those magnets.

There's the back, and then the front has the list of ingredients and the name of the cookbook and page number so I can find it to make the meal!

And here's the box with the cards and magnets:

I really can hardly do a project without chalkboard paint these days! Please ignore how messy that paint is, I really need to go back over it! I might also get some ribbon to glue on it or something. It just doesn't look quite finished...

So every two weeks when I make out my grocery list, I just have to look through the cards and magnets and pick my meals, write down the ingredients, and shop! Then the magnets go on my new calendar so we have an idea of what dinner will be each night. I didn't do side dishes like the BHG version because I didn't want that many magnets on the calendar, but it isn't a bad idea.

In these pictures you only see a couple days lined up, but usually I do it for two weeks at a time, since that's how often I shop. This week the whole process went so much faster, and it's really been less stress for me!

Along with this, we're doing a complete bathroom remodel, just short of breaking out walls. We're getting so close to being done! I thought I'd leave you with a tantalizing look at what we've been doing....

Why yes, that is a giant hole in the wall straight through to the spare room thanks to pulling out this monstrosity and the lack of wallboard in the other room:


Can't wait to show you all the amazing finished product! We're so close!

I'm linking this up over at Remodelaholic! Check out the other great projects over there!