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Monday, August 4, 2014

Dinner time Dilema

    If you're like me you run, run, run, non-stop, 24/7, all day...well you get the idea. Women don't know how to slow down. Ok, so maybe we do know how to but never get a chance. Whether a career woman or domestic goddess, we are a super-busy group of ladies.

    Although I've had summer free from my day job (SPED teacher's aide), I am still a mom, wife, church worker, full-time college student, home business owner (I sell both It Works Global products  www.wrapwithDonnaLynn.myitworks.com and Spirit Lockets  www.Spiritlockets/#LynnFoster), and on the janitorial staff at 2 churches. So I wouldn't exactly call my summer free. Anyway, one of the worst parts of my day is when 5 pm rolls around and for whatever reason, I forgot to thaw the roast...or got engrossed in business-building, or taking an algebra test, or just playing with my kids at the pool. And now the younger two kiddos are absolutely famished  *swoon swoon*. My oldest son and husband are about to walk through the door hungry from 12 hour-shifts at the factories where they work. And dinner is NOWHERE near the table....or in the fridge, thawing...or even in the most remote parts of my mind for that matter. And the scramble to the deep freezer or pantry begins. I do not like that feeling. A good mom, I tell myself, is June Cleaver...and the roast is ALWAYS on the perfectly-set table in TV Land.

  I really like cooking and looking at recipes. I really do. But the planning ahead of the meals and trying to change things up a bit is what catches me off guard. So before we get too far back into school this week, I am going back to a tried-and-true method of meal planning I used as a busy homeschool mom many moons ago. It's simple, and easy, although it will take some time to pull it together in the beginning. But it is a HUGE time saver in the end.

  First, grab a cup of coffee, a stack of your favorite recipe books/cards/Pinterest boards...wherever you glean meal ideas from, and a spiral notebook or paper.

  Ok, here we go. Start with one sheet of paper and thumb through those books (or look through those pins) and write down EACH recipe that you've tried and loved, or always wanted to try (just the name of the recipe for now, and where you found it is enough information). Do that to all your tried-and-true books. This will take hours if you have anywhere near the recipe collection I have. You can stop yourself at say, 90 main dish recipes. Include sides and maybe 15-20 dessert ideas as well. Now add to the list things you know your family likes to eat but that you don't need a recipe for...pot roast, mac-n-cheese, chili dogs, etc.

 Now go through the rest of the notebook and make lists of 7 complete meals...this will be good for one week's worth of meals.
Night 1
Night 2
Night 3...and so on. Mix the main dishes and sides. If you want to add salad or rolls, add that in as well. And don't forget to allot yourself one or two free nights by writing in "leftover buffet" or "eat out" or "frozen dinner". This way on your busiest night you have a little extra luxury of an easy dinner and still know that *most* of the week your family is eating healthy and getting a good, home-cooked meal.  My family likes deli meat sub sandwiches and breakfast for supper, so I add those nights in occasionally as well.

  Mark off the recipes as you list them. Add more sides if you run short to compliment your main dishes.
At the end you should have at least a couple of months worth of complete dinner ideas that look something like this:

Week 1:
Sunday night: chicken noodle soup (Taste of Home, Dec. 2006, page 15) and sandwiches
Monday night: roast with potatoes and carrots, apple pie
Tuesday: Grandma's baked spaghetti (church cookbook, page 33) with salad and garlic toast, pears and cottage cheese
Wednesday: frozen dinner plus fresh fruit
Thursday: chili with grilled cheese, chocolate-peanut butter oatmeal no bake cookies
Friday: chili dogs (using last nights chili) and slaw, baked french fries
Saturday: baked fish with wild rice (Pinterest "favorite recipes" board), steamed broccoli

Now that you have a few months of ideas planned out, you can laminate them, punch a hole in them, and string them together with a binder ring.

 And if you feel REALLY productive, go back and grab yourself some index cards and write down the actual recipes and put them in a recipe box, just like in the good old days. No more wasting time thumbing through all your cookbooks or logging into Pinterest to locate the ones you listed. Handy. At your fingertips. You could even divide the box of recipes by week to match your newly-planned menus. WHOA.  I am amazing myself right now. ;)

  The point of all this is no matter what you and your family like to eat, everyone needs a meal plan. It will save you time and sanity. It will help you grocery shop. You can always add new recipes as your family tries them into new weeks of collections. By the time you're done you may have 12 weeks worth (or more-- you little busy bee!) of ideas to use. Ideas that you can shop for in advance by week or even by the month.  No more of the "I'm hungry Mom!" dinner dash that stresses you out after you've already put in a long day. And the real beauty of this is you can hang this little list right on the fridge or a pantry door...then when Hubby or kids are being really, really whiny (hey it happens) and asking for dinner, you can put your tired piggies up and say, "The menu is on the door...go look up tonight's plan and  *gasp...COOK it." (You might have to help them get started on that project with some smelling salts).

  Wishing you the occasional free moment and many happy meals together!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Spirit Lockets June sale

On sale!!! Try out Spirit Lockets now and bling up your summer wardrobe with happiness!

Shop Spirit Lockets now

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Spirit Lockets affiliate and wholesale program

I am so excited! I have been looking to make some cash to supplement my teacher's aide job and get me through the summer months off work, and I found not one, but TWO excellent opportunities in direct sales.

The first opportunity is a company called Spirit Lockets. I fell in love with these lockets the first time I saw them. Maybe it was the hot pink and teal ad banner or the itty bitty charms...I don't know what exactly but I thought to myself  1. Why didn't I invent these things?  2. How can I get hold of some of these babies?!

I was thrilled to find out that I could indeed buy them AND sell under the company's affiliate program for FREE. Yes, FREE. So I signed up right away. And then I discovered that they have a wholesale program where you can buy items at 50% off to resale....I started thinking about selling their product to people locally...in my Etsy store...at my own shows...and I just got more and more excited. I will eventually sign on as a wholesaler and start hosting "socials" (jewelry parties where the hostess earns freebies just for hostessing). Right now they don't have an official party plan, but a few team members have invented their own and I am learning all about becoming part of a team. Then I will work my way up to a home party...ahem...social.  For now I just want to get myself a locket and some charms and bling this momma out! ;)

Check them out; you know you want to. 

If you have questions or just want more information on making money with Spirit Lockets, feel free to email me at dfoste8@wgu.edu


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Very Pinteresting Evening: April party

      My mother, sisters, daughter, and I just had another "Pinterest party". We were past due on this one by a few months due to sickness, weather, my change of jobs, work,  schooling, etc. My daughter and I were so looking forward to this one.

    On the menu for the night was Dr. Pepper Pot Roast (courtesy of Pinterest),  roasted potatoes, rolls, and salad. Our dessert also came from Pinterest and was called Chocolate Lasagna. YUM!  For those of you who recall when KFC had those little chocolate parfaits (our KFC doesn't anymore that I am aware of), well, that's basically what the chocolate lasagna was....everything was delish!

   We spent the night (and I do mean the night...as in almost all of it...until 3 am) performing karaoke with my new karaoke machine. My sweet husband hooked it into our TV set and surround sound so we could really croon the night away. He opened the windows as well. Pretty soon the dogs around the neighborhood were barking along (I think they were trying to sing with us on "Unchained Melody" but hubby thinks they were howling in pain). FYI: we did close the windows at a decent hour, not subjecting the poor neighbors to our 3 am rendition of the "Shoop, Shoop" Song and Whitney's "I Will Always Love You".

  After the karoake finally died out we spent a little while researching the Illuminati and it the wild conspiracy theories out there. Mind you, this is what my family does for fun on a Friday night. We're easy to please. :)

  The next morning we carried the party over with a Pancake Buffet. Oh goodness gracious, that is some good eatin'! We made four kinds of pancakes...banana nut bread pancakes topped with sliced bananas, pecans, and maple syrup; "Fill 'er up Pancakes" stuffed with bacon crumbles, scrambled eggs, and shredded cheddar cheese; Pumpkin Pie Pancakes topped with Cool Whip, nuts, and Maple Syrup with a dash of cinnamon; and lastly, plain pancakes topped with Nutella and Strawberries and Cool Whip.
H E A V E N L Y    D A Y.    I might fall out just remembering.....swoon, swoon.

  Once we were fat and sassy from our little wanna-be IHOP breakfast, we tried our hand at some subway art and quotes on canvas. They look great! And were cheap and easy to make. Whether I Mod Podge my printed quotes and subway art onto canvas or simply frame, I WILL be repeating this activity. There are all sorts of free, printable subway art prints online. And if you can't find a free one you like you can easily buy them off Etsy or make your own using a free subway art generator like Wordle or Word It Out.

  This very Pinteresting evening was the most fun yet and we can't wait to do it again next month.

  Shoot me a line and share your Pinteresting evenings with me. I would enjoy hearing from you.


To make your own Dr. Pepper roast, visit:

And to test the lovely Chocolate Lasagna, visit:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

more jewelry making and my Etsy store is BACK!

I posted in December that Ash and I were crafting again. Well, my little holiday endeavor netted me just enough cash flow for some holiday shopping. :)

Here are some popular samples.

stardust finish initial

initial with a crackle finish

photo pendant

girly pendant necklace

crackle finish

monogram crackle necklaces

more girly pendants

up close of a crackle...the details are very pretty...these kind really shimmer in the light

school spirit...this one is for Warren County Pioneers  woot woot!

some people prefer ribbons to chains

bottlecaps almost finished

new stretch bracelets

pendant trays...photos and crackle initials

a cosmic stardust glitter finish...changes color in the light

If you like what you see I'd be happy to make you a custom item. Visit me on Etsy to place your order.

cool ways to earn money online doing what you already do

Getting paid for taking surveys online is nothing new. If you're like me you may not have a lot of free time to work on surveys that just pay pennies, or sign up for trial offers. But if you're like me, someone is always on my computer watching videos, listening to music, playing games, or using social media. How about getting paid to do that stuff that you are already doing?

Sounds great right? I thought so too. I found some ideas on a WAHM blog and thought I'd sign up and try them out since I was off work today anyway. So far I'm trying these nifty little sites: Cash Crate, RadioLoyalty, and Swag Bucks. There are a few more sites I'm checking into and will post about later on.

 If you haven't tried Cash Crate, you should definitely check it out. They have all kinds of ways you can earn money. Same thing with Swagbucks. Lots of ways to earn--and they  each have an awesome referral program-- so if surveys are not your thing, it's ok. Lots of choices. Lots of prizes and cash. Now I can tell you right now I will not grow rich doing this. But I am online already and so are my family members...it just makes sense to utilize these options, even if I earn only a few bucks a week. That's a few bucks I didn't have before for doing what I've been doing for years...FOR FREE. *sigh*

 Do me a favor please. If you get the urge to try Cash Crate, please copy and paste my link here into your browser window:

Swag Bucks has been around for a while now. You can try them out at: swagbucks.com/refer/craftymomTN

www.RadioLoyalty.com is an interesting concept. For those of you already familiar with internet radio sites like Pandora and Grooveshark, this is internet radio that you get PAID to listen to. Yep, you get paid. Not a fortune. But a few cents for each ten minutes of song time. After ten minutes of listening you have to enter a  code to continue getting paid and listening. Kind of annoying but understandable. I like to listen to music while I work on homework, blog, or net  surf so it's an idea I'm willing to try.

Thanks and have fun earning some cash! Post your favorite sites in the comments.