Monday, January 29, 2018

Simplify | Dinner

I hate to cook. Some may think that's a strong word to use. But it's mighty close to the honest truth. Cooking brings me no joy. I wish I could just hold it in my hand and say, "This does not bring me joy, it must go." But I cannot. And my amazing hubby, who is actually an outstanding cook works far, far, far more hours a week than I do, so it would be insane for me to expect him to take on the task of cooking for our family too.

Most days I am able to figure out something to do with the meat in the freezer. However, there are two days of the week that are particularly hard and I am more tempted than any other day to say, "Let's just go out to eat." Tuesday and Sunday, every week.

For the last month I have created a rhythm to help me avoid asking if we shouldn't just go out to eat. Every Tuesday we have the same thing. And every Sunday we have the same thing. The key for making this work for us was choosing something that was both sustainable and enjoyable to eat every week. To complicate things, I am back on Weight Watchers to take off the baby weight, again. (I didn't have another baby, I just gained back the baby weight I took off the last time I had a baby... almost ten years ago. Are you laughing? It's not funny. What? I'm not allowed to call it baby weight? But it's almost the same amount of weight I gained with my babies!)

Tuesdays Eric and I both usually walk in from work about the same time, dinner time. So I decided we should do Taco Tuesdays at our house. Tacos are great because they are so easy to pull together and I can turn it into a salad to minimize the Weight Watchers points (when I'm counting, which is every single minute of the week, of course).

Sundays we do homemade pizza. I put the dough together before we leave for church (about 8:45) and it's risen beautifully by the time we get home (1:00). I use The Pioneer Women's Pizza Dough recipe. It has never, ever failed me. Ever! It rolls out so easily and cooks up in ten minutes on my Pampered Chef pizza stone (one of the best small investments ever). We're eating within 30 minutes of getting home, a Sunday miracle. And if I am trying to be good, I mostly eat a salad with just a little pizza. (Who am I kidding, that never happens.)

These meals happen to be our family's favorite meals, so I think we'll be able to go a while without anyone getting sick of Tuesdays and Sundays. But now, even if I don't menu plan the rest of my week, I always, always make sure I have the ingredients on hand for these two meals. It's helped me simplify feeding my family.

And if you feel the need to point out that tacos and pizza are horrible meals to feed a precious family EVERY SINGLE WEEK, feel free. I'd like to point out that if it keeps my family out of a cheap fast food restaurant, we might be making a better choice, even if it isn't the absolute best. Remember I am looking to simplify my life this year, not perfect it. I'll save the word perfect for the year after my death.

The other thing I've done to simplify dinner the past month... I've stopped pinning a thousand recipes I am never every going to make.

What do you do to simplify dinner at your house?


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Becoming a Minimalist

I don't think I will ever be in danger of becoming a true minimalist. Five of us live in a 1400 square foot home and we have stuff. I love our house because it's the space our children are growing up in. We don't need more space, we need less stuff. I am trying my best to discover what stuff we need and what stuff we would live better without. It isn't easy. Maybe you struggle with the same basic dilemma too.

I recently joined a Facebook group called Minimalist Mom. I appreciate scrolling through the posts and conversations. It's fascinating that those attempting go go minimal focus on the purging. Sure some degree of purging should happen, maybe even a lot. But purging usually follows binging. Won't we just continue to binge and purge if we view the solution as continually purging? Maybe. Maybe not. What do you think?

I am wondering if the real solution is to stop buying so much stuff. If I bought less stuff and wore out what I own, wouldn't that minimize the stuff in my house, granted more slowly, but more effectively. I would be learning a new way of consuming. How often do we buy stuff, because we like it better than what we already have? Do minimalists sometimes use minimalisms as an excuse to buy more stuff? Is it the mentality that I am justified in buying a few pieces I totally love (at least in the moment), because I just purged six bags of clothes I didn't really like anymore?

I've just been wondering some of these things as I have been examining ways to simplify my life this year. Downsize my closet, for sure. If I am never going to wear that lime green dress because it was on clearance ten years ago when I had a brave out of character moment and $7 seemed like such a steal. But not so that I can turn around and buy again. Up cycle it into a doll dress or take it to a thrift store so it gets used by someone who will actually wear it.

Just some of my rambling thoughts.

What about you? What do you think about the minimalist journey?


Thursday, January 18, 2018

How To Up Cycle Jeans into 18" Doll Jeans

I have been cleaning out my closet in an effort to simplify. Maybe we'll eventually have a post about that... capsule wardrobes are so appealing to me. I'm not quite there yet, but I have been getting rid of some clothes and have wanted to try up cycling old jeans. I've been on a 18" doll clothes kick lately, so I thought I would give it a go. Man, it was easy!

I started with size 12 skinny jeans. I cut about ten and a half inches off the bottom of one leg. I put the doll on top of the cut leg and marked about where the crotch was.

To draw the line I folded the pant leg in half to mark it, so I would have even legs.

Next I just cut down the center, then sewed it up again.

I turned them right side out and made sure they fit. The fit is more of a straight leg, boot-cut. Then I pulled them off and turned under the top and sewed it about 3/4" for the waistline.

I couldn't find a safety pin, so I grabbed paper clip. I think a safety pin might be easier, but it was still easy to thread the elastic through. Before threading the elastic I measured the piece around the doll's waist.

I threaded the elastic through, cinched up the waist and sewed the ends of the elastic to make the waistband secure. Then I tried them on the doll, and they fit!

In the summer I wore these particular jeans rolled up once, into capris.

But they are cute without the roll, too.

What are you up cycling these days?

And here is a link to a pattern for 18" doll slippers. It's free for one day (1/19/2018).


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What I Made | 18" Doll Skirt

I made a fun skirt for my daughter's doll last night. Super easy. Here's where you can get the pattern.

I even used a stitch on my sewing machine that I had never used before, the triple zig-zag. You use this stitch so that the elastic still functions like elastic without you having to stretch it out as you sew, which is what I used to do when I sewed with elastic, because that's what I though you did.

What did you make with your free pattern? I'd love to see your creations in the comments. I love to check out what others are creating. Leave me a comment so I can see what you've done too.


Friday, January 12, 2018

Freebie Friday | 18" Doll Skirt

I have recently discovered Pixie Faire. They have some great doll patterns. The best part is if you get on their list, they send you free pattern links every so often. And this free pattern link was in my email this morning! So this is what I am going to be doing over the long weekend, making doll skirts. The pattern is only free today (January 12, 2018), so head over there and get your free pattern! Next week I will show pictures of what I made. And if I can figure out how to do a link up party, maybe you'd show me pictures of what you made too! If not, you could sent me links to your posts in the comments.