Friday, March 19, 2010


I know, growing up, I had perfectionistic ideals. But I never really considered myself a perfectionist because I knew I was far from perfect or the desire to be perfect. But I think God has been showing me otherwise lately.

I am the type of person who needs to explore every option before I settle on a choice. Like when I chose a font for a particular scrapbook page - I have to go through all 1000+ fonts on my computer, sometimes applying the best contenders to my paragraph that has been copied/pasted several times so I can see my options side by side. Even when I'm 90% sure I've found the one that I know will do the job. I've always just figured that's how I'm happy operating.

But lately, I have this desire to make my scrapbooking count. Of course, any type of scrapbooking counts. I'm quick to point out that for the person that feels that THEY think that their work isn't worth it because THEY think they aren't as talented that they always include very heartfelt journaling (even if it is just in Times New Roman).

But I am keenly aware that this trend of paper scrapbooking can get out of hand. I, personally, use their scrapbooks more as photo albums - all of their pictures will be kept in the books, whether they are "scrapbooked" or just stuck efficiently on a white page. I try not to do single picture layouts because it is a waste of space - most of my layouts have as many pictures as if I had just left them as 4x6's and taped them down on a grid, like in a photo album. When I'm dead and gone, my (hopefully appreciative) kids will have several books each. (plus the family one that they will have to split or copy) But what if they marry someone who's mother has done the same thing? Now they have half a bookshelf of heavy scrapbooks. And yes, my grandkids may like looking at them, but what happens when THEY inherit them? Who has the room to store so much, 2 or 3 generations down the road? I don't want the books to be a burden. I know I need to not dwell on it. I need to just scrapbook because I enjoy it and want it to speak to my children when I can't. I just know that our current culture has so much storage (both real and digital) at our disposal that we just don't know how to par down to what counts. I'm trying. Like deleting the 800 pictures taken in 2009 that were duds, repeats, etc. before I archived my 2009 pictures (which still numbered over 1000). And it seems like I'm always paring and purging - which feels good to do, but it takes a lot of time and gets to the point that it is overwhelming before it gets done.

I haven't been couponing much, either. So I haven't been grocery shopping much. I hate paying full price for things when I know if I'd just do my homework watching the sales and clipping the coupons I could cut my grocery bill in half. Yes, half. I can be a very savvy shopper. And since I'm a at-home mom, I feel like it's almost my job to. Especially since we are working hard at paying off our debt. Last Sunday, with over half of the month left and only $150 left in grocery money, the weather was so beautiful that we decided we wanted to grill at suppertime. We were driving home from church at 11:30 with 2 hungry kids in the back of the car when my husband mentioned that we were out of charcoal. Rather than turn around and go back to the discount department stores that would have charcoal cheaper we opted to go to the more expensive store on our way home and cut our losses, since we were on a time crunch. My husband came out with a bag of charcoal that was $12. !!!

TWELVE DOLLARS! I was prepared for $8.

On sale, with coupons, right around Memorial Day or the Fourth of July, I could get that same bag for $5.

I sent him back to town later that day and he bought twice as much charcoal for $15 at the discount store. The other bag is in the back of my car with the receipt waiting to be returned.



But I felt like we don't have much of a choice if we want to make a good effort stick to our budget.

Which leads me to this quote:

A man would do nothing, if he waited until he could do it so well that no one would find fault with what he has done.--John Henry Cardinal Newman

I do nothing.

That's bad.

Not that I'm worried about what OTHERS think - it's holding up to my own standard. And that's where I get the perfectionist thing from. But I feel like there is no other way.

But I don't think I have high standards...

I'm not a polished person. I don't wear makeup, my clothes are washed out, my house has migrating piles of clutter that I can't seem to get rid of any easier than the dustbunnies under my refrigerator. And anyone who's been to my house knows I'm not a fan of housework. I know I can be practical, like publshing this paragraph without polishing the flow and grammar. I will try to remember to spell-check, though.

But something is debilitating. And it's called Perfectionism. And it robbs people of joy and peace. It adds to feelings of depression and self-worth. And it's gotta go.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Still no Pop and Treasure Trove of Local Saving Websites (local to MN)

These are some local websites I subscrbe to or check often for local deals. I really don't know what to call them but "Savings Vouchers" but as far as I know, I have three radio stations that do their own version of them. Since doing my post way back at the start of my blog, I have since learned that Hutchinson MN's KARP radio station also does these vouchers (though as of right now there is no way to "subscribe" to the website, grr). I hope to add these to my sidebar at some point ---->

Savings Voucher websites:
St. Cloud, MN's Spirit 92.9 radios' Shop N' Save
St. Cloud, MN's WJON radios' Value Connection
Hutchinson, MN's KARP radios' Wheeler Dealer
(in order of user-friendlyness)

Other Local Coupons:
(which seems good to me because you can see what my local flyer drawer looks like below!)

National Websites with Local Deals: (this site is new to me - but you can browse local flyers by zip code and get restaurant coupons, etc)

(my restaurant flyer/phonebook/household phonenumber book/church directory/community ed directory/school information drawer) -- I could do without all those pesky restaurant flyers with the microscopic expiration dates - I'm sure I have some from last JUNE in there...)

If you aren't local to central MN, maybe these websites can give you ideas as to where to look and what to look for in your area. Feel free to send me links!

Oh, and I've now gone FOUR months now without pop! (Yes, I know I said "pop" and not "soda", you'll have to deal with it :) ) It took 2-3 weeks of headaches (I quit cold turkey) and a while of craving it every day, then only when I saw it, and now pretty rarely. I miss it to sip on when watching movies or scrapbooking. I encourage anyone to try quitting-even for 2 weeks or a month, to help you figure out WHY you drink it. I realized I'd drink it for any of these reasons: tired, headache, thirsty, I "deserve" it, too hot, bad taste in my mouth --even to help open up my bronchials when really my athsma was bothering me and I should take my albuterol!! Obviously, it has helped me get to the root of my habit on WHY I drink it and more pro-active ways to deal with the root of the craving.

I have taken to instant English Toffee cappiccino mix or chai tea, but were getting there. (I have NEVER been a coffee drinker - in fact when I was still drinking pop, these cappiccino mixes would be too coffee-y for me). I guess since I'm almost 30 now, it was a good time to get old and drink "coffee", lol. The holidays were hard since that was about all that was served at people's houses besides black coffee and water (and you hated to interfere with the cooks to find a glass and fill it with water and be in their way) but I did it.... by drinking some water and eventually a wine cooler, lol. Maybe now that it is the new year, I'll allow myself a glass/can of pop during these times - especially when it feels the only alternative is alcohol. It seems silly to stick to the pop rule only to drink alcohol (not that I have a problem with an occasional adult drink--when I actually WANT one!). I keep telling myself that the only opinion on this no-pop subject that matters is my own personal convictions -- unless I start drinking 32+ oz. a day of regular pop again, that is.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Steamed Winter Veggies (and an update!)

(Recipe is below)

Wow - it's been a while since I've posted! Since I've posted last, I've been cooking from scratch more - I made a quadruple batch of sweet potato pancakes for the kids to toast for breakfast during the busy Thanksgiving - Christmas stretch (we'll address the gallon of syrup used another time!). Can you tell I've been perfecting my batch cooking technique?

I've also been perfecting my home made bread recipe and adapting it to a loaf pan instead of using the bread maker.

We had a crazy Christmas getting snowed in at our in-laws (we left home a day early to avoid the weather and came home to THIS!)

See? That's about a foot and a half of snow. At least. Even the snowplow driver got in the Christmas spirit and left us a 3 foot tall present! I bet he enjoyed delivering those gifts Christmas morn! All I can say is thank you Lord that the 20+ year old snow blower worked! (it didn't last snowstorm)

I spent the last 2 days archiving my 2009 photos (I always seem to get duplicates when I'm downloading batches) and went through and deleted over 400 of the 1300 pictures I took (wow!) - that includes some duds, too. But I came across some pictures of recipes I intended to blog about months ago but never did - like this one!

My blog friend, Erin, started her $800 Annual Budget again for groceries/eating out this year. And she stocked up on some winter veggies to get her started for this year. So I thought it would be a good time to share it (finally!)

Steamed Winter Vegetables (I can't think of anything more creative for a name, sorry! ...I usually refer to these as my "steamer mixed veggies" or "steamed veggies"...real specific, I know!


Potato, unpeeled
1/2 onion (baseball sized)
handful of baby carrots (these were frozen but can be fresh)
1-2 TB water (depending on how wet the veggies are)

Season with your choice of rosemary, 1 TB butter, seasoned salt or regular salt.

Sometimes, if I'm eating this as a meal, I'll double the ingredients - they cook down quite a bit.

I got a Pampered Chef 1 qt. steamer (gulp!) 10 years ago as a wedding shower gift that sat practically unused until I started making this a few years ago - and now I bought the 2 qt. steamer to go with it! If you don't have one, you could probably just use a covered casserole dish - just check the liquids 4-5 minutes into cooking it.

I just chop these veggies into bite sized pieces and toss with some rosemary (fresh from my garden in this picture!) or dried. Pearl onions are really good in this as well - frozen ones are your best friend! (no peeling tiny onions!)... If you don't have the rosemary you could also use Italian seasoning. Or you could omit the herbs and just use some seasoned salt. Then throw in a pat of butter and a pinch of salt and some water. I then snap on the lid and give it a shake (while holding it over the sink to catch any drips) to combine. I then microwave on 70% power for about 5-7 minutes.
There - now can you really call that a recipe? This is one you write down just so you don't forget about it. I've made this as a meal for myself many times. I may today to update the title picture. It's yummy! Enjoy!
ETA: Had some today with the pearl onions - and got a better picture of the finished dish!

disclaimer: I have no idea why Blogger makes it such a pain to format posts. Sorry, but I'm calling it good!