Enjoy this free printable to celebrate our Earth and what we can do for it.
Love your planet – she’s the only one we’ve got!
Happy Pi Day everyone! I am personally a HUGE fan of pie. I don’t make it because I was not born under a pastry making star and therefore, can not make a decent pie crust to save my life but I sure love eating it. We have a local grocery store that makes these AMAZING mini coconut cream pies. They are a current addiction. What I can make, however, is pretty pictures. So here is a lovely free Pi day printable just for you. There is a nerdy and non-nerdy version. The quote is from one of my favorite movies, Michael. Andie MacDowell’s character sings this adorable pie song and I secretly sing it in my head every time I eat, or think about pie.
I’ve been meal planning for the last several years and while I certainly have my off weeks, it has overall made our dinner routine far more successful. I used to plan a week at a time and grocery shop every weekend but once I had kids, going full tilt grocery shopping every weekend was exhausting, particularly since I have a complete inability to just go to one grocery store. Now I meal plan and do my major grocery shopping every two weeks. Typically I have to make a quick run out at the end of the first week but it is SO much easier and I actually SEEM to spend less overall (but I may just be imagining that).
For the first few years, my lists were haphazard – put on a scrap of paper or whatever I had handy. Then I met Plan to Eat and it has become my go-to online meal planning and recipe storage source. I use the calendar for creating my meal plans. For a while I also used the grocery list feature as well but as good as P2E is, I’m not in love with the functionality of the shopping list and while I love me my technology, there are still things in life I just like good old fashioned pen and paper for. For the last year or so I adopted a spiral journal for my list. On the left side of the spread, I put my two-week meal plan and on the right, my shopping list. That way I could easy reference my meal plan if I needed to adjust. It’s also much easier to grab for my notebook in the kitchen to see what’s on the docket for dinner.
Now I’ve taken this whole process one step further and created my own notebook. I’m a sucker for pretty printables and pretty notebooks. I’m handy with InDesign and just so happen to have access to a Rubicoil spiral punch so I finally hunkered down and designed my own meal planning/grocery list notebook. I’m super happy with the result.
The book has two sections. The first section is my go-to recipes. Those recipes that are tried and true and the family loves. I have several pages so I can have different categories. I always hit these pages first before I add anything untried recipes. I love trying new recipes but I have found that if I fill my week with nothing but new recipes I burn out and don’t stick to my plan.
The second section is my two-week spread. On the left side I list my meals and the right side is my shopping list. This way I can easily access my meal plan during my shopping trip in case I need to do some quick adjustments to the plan or list.
If you would like to make your own notebook you are welcome to download these free printable pages I’ve made. They should print two half-page spread, double-sided and then they would need to be cut.
I hope they help you as much as they help me!
Cobbler used to intimidate me. Seriously. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I could make it. It’s wicked easy. It was that there were so many variations of what cobbler was, I didn’t want to pick the “wrong” one. Ridiculous huh? I had tried biscuit topped to crumb topped and, while lovely, were NOT what I was looking for.
Then Ree Drummond came into my life. I love her. She’s gonna harden my arteries someday, but my taste buds are going to be happy as little clams when that happens. I have a little addiction to cookbooks. I love acquiring them but I tend to not actually USE them all that often. I will use one or two out of a book typically. Most of the recipes I use come from other blogs. This all changed with The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier. I have made more recipes out of that book (and they’ve all been divine) than most of my cookbooks put together. This, ladies and gentlemen, is where I found the Cobbler of my Dreams.
This is not a traditional cobbler (whatever that is), but it IS what I’ve been looking for. Pretty much it’s cake with fruit in it. Delicious, sweet, moist, cake. The edges get all caramelized and just…awesome. Best of all, it’s dead easy. Seriously, 5 minutes of assembly and an hour later – cobbler time. We make this often, especially in the summer. You can pretty much use any fruit you desire. Our favorite is blackberry and or peach. Top with some vanilla ice cream or not. A word of advice, in our opinion she calls for WAY too much sugar on top. I just sprinkle it on until it looks good and it never uses what she calls for. Also, juicier fruit seems to make the cook time longer. I made this with huckleberries once and while delightful I really had to cook the heck out of it. Also, she calls for self-rising flour, which I do not keep on hand but it’s easy enough to make it yourself.
If you’re inclined to check this out she has the recipe on her Pioneer Woman website. Enjoy!
You see something you want that is not easy to get or carries some (large or small) risk of failure. You weigh the pros and cons. Hem and haw. Change your mind a dozen times about which path to take and finally reach a precipice. At some point you have to make a decision – walk away or take that step off the cliff to see if you fly.
Fear is easy. Stressful, but easy. I have a pretty vivid imagination so I can make up all sorts of horrifying scenarios where I fail spectacularly. I can also make up the version where everything goes as planned, but somehow that version never seems quite as believable to the insecure mind. There are a lot of things I am fearful of. I’m not going to go into them here, but I will tell you that their roots are deep and I battle to stamp them down. Every. Single. Day. I will also tell you this: the handful of times that I have taken a deep breath, stood on that precipice of a large, life-altering decision, and stepped forward into the unknown, I have been rewarded in ways I could not even fathom in my imaginary world of failure vs success.
One of the reasons I have been so silent here is that I have been deeply entrenched in a project that is my next big cliff.
I have spent the last several years trying to find the “perfect” work from home career. I found inspiration in a handful of online entrepreneurs kicked off by discovering Scott Dinsmore at Live your Legend, and then moving onto folks like Chris Guillebeau, Johnathan Fields, and one of my favorites Molly Mahar at Stratejoy (seriously, she seems like one of the loveliest people in the world and I would love to meet her for reals someday). I drank deeply. These folks seemed to have the life I wanted. A business that they were profoundly passionate about that allowed them to work for themselves, put in the hours they wanted outside of the 9-5 grind, and choose the terms of their own life. Finally after MONTHS of reading and brainstorming and much inner work I looked up from the fog to realized I was no closer to my goal. I was stuck in what is quite appropriately called Analysis Paralysis. I had NO ideas. I could not, for the life of me, discover that big passionate thing that I could make into a career. What was wrong with me? I realized that I DIDN’T have a dream career. My dream job was being a stay at home mom. I wanted to homeschool, cook with my kids, read with them, play with them, and teach them about nature, life, the universe and everything. Then I realized I already knew this, I was just trying to fight against it with all my might because, sadly, that won’t pay the bills.
After a long conversation with my husband which pretty much summarized the above (with far more whining), he asked why I didn’t just start a blog. It was something I had considered off and on for a while and I needed to do SOMETHING. So I did. I tackled it with gusto. I made lists and mind maps. I poured over WordPress themes and color palettes. I made editorial calendars and planned my posts out into an extremely ambitious schedule. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. It was going to be awesome and it was going to be a huge success and somehow it was going to magically turn profitable and I was FINALLY going to have a career I was passionate about. I started in the Fall, my most favorite season. I had pages of ideas. I plugged along pretty well. Slower than I originally intended as real life consistently took precedence. After all, I still had real life stuff I had to do – day job, laundry, dinners, kids. Then Winter hit. Still plenty of ideas but now we had the winter doldrums to contend with. Then as we approached Spring I knew I was in trouble. I have far fewer ideas about this time of year. I can write about Fall and Winter until the cows come home but Spring and Summer? Not so much.So as my handful of followers have surely noticed, this blog has fallen into that place where SO many blogs fall – into the land of the neglected.
Blogging these days is about SO much more than writing, especially in the niche that I have chosen. Not only are you expected to produce interesting content several times a week, you are expected to be a food stylist, professional photographer, recipe tester/developer, marketer, crafty/domestic goddess extraordinaire, and social media maven. I am none of these things, nor I think, upon reflection, do I really want to be. I just want to make good things, live simply and authentically with the seasons, and share what I find valuable with those who also may find them so.
I was just desperately trying to find some way to have it both ways. I knew from the start I wanted to have that dream job not only to have something I could really feel passionate about, but that would allow me to work from home to be that mom to my kids. It just took months of spinning my wheels and a fizzling out blog to realize I don’t know that there is ever going to be a “job” that is ever really going to light me on fire. That’s not a popular statement to make in these times of finding your entrepreneurial bliss and I’m not saying there won’t be a time in my life that I won’t change my mind, but ironically while I was desperately trying to pull myself out of “the box” of the standard “working for the man” job, I was attempting to squeeze myself into a different box. A freer box, but equally unsuited to me as the other. I realized that right now, I just need to embrace this current “season” of my life. Find work that pays the bills, and raise my kids to the best of my ability.
The one thing I’m not willing compromise on is finding employment from home so I can can homeschool, and be at home with my kids every day. I have profound issues with public education and I want to do everything in my power to give my kids alternative educational opportunities. Realistically that work just isn’t going to be as sexy as having a calling as a career. My background, for better or worse, is administrative. Work from home admin jobs typically pay crap and frankly, I still don’t want to work for someone else. I would rather work with people. So, I’m diving into the world of Virtual Assisting. I’ve spent the last few months researching and developing a website.
This whole process has been a series of stepping off little cliffs for me. Starting a business is scary. I am not, by nature, particularly business-minded so wrapping my head around the business concepts has been challenging. I boldly reached out to an acquaintance to see if they needed help and I now have my first (of hopefully many) client. The next cliff is to start networking, something that truly sets my little, introverted heart aquiver. Even this blog, while not terribly successful taught me much about myself and my priorities.
Do I intend to keep this blog? Yes, for now. I really love this little space. I find I quite enjoy writing when inspiration hits. It’s going to be simpler though. Slower and hopefully more authentic. I will post when I feel inspired. There will be pictures. They will NOT be professional or particularly beautiful. Food will not be styled and I can’t promise the recipes will have gone through a rigorous development process. I may even have long, deeply thought out posts like this one on occasion. Maybe it’ll turn into something more, but probably not and I’m ok with that.
In the meantime, if you or someone you know finds need of a Virtual Assistant, my website is www.MaggiePMcKinney.com (because if you can’t promote yourself on your own blog, where can you promote yourself).