Wednesday, July 18

Introducing A Little More Structure In Our Day-To-Day

Daily Checklist
I was looking around my house after a weekend of traveling for work, and I felt this sense of defeat wash over me. The table was covered in clutter. There were shoes in literally every room. The entryway looked like someone's messy closet. It's a bad feeling to live in such a lovely home and not want to be there because you don't feel like nagging at your kids for the billionth time. Sure it's summer so they're home more and using our spaces more, but this house was just spotless 2 weeks ago.

So. I let myself acknowledge exhaustion and I wallowed for what felt like an appropriate amount of time, and then I did what I always do: assess how I can address the problem and RALLY. So here we are. We are a family with daily checklists, and I'm pretty excited about it.

Daily Checklist
This was my first time ever trying out Adobe InDesign, so one day I may look back on these and cringe, but for my first attempt I feel pretty good about these checklists. I jotted down the things that I'm constantly reminding the girls to do (I'm not exaggerating by using the word "constantly") and then added a few things they could pitch in on. I put them in frames so they could be used daily with a dry-erase marker, that way I don't have to print out a batch every week!

I know some people may balk at the "bonus" boxes on their checklists, but we don't do weekly allowances and I thought it may be good motivation for them to earn some money and pitch in on things they usually groan about.

Daily Checklist Daily Checklist
Hope has actually been doing a stellar job of keeping up with her own personal space, so her list was more about helping her maintain all the hard work she put into getting it there. Seriously, it was a month-long process to unearth her bedroom from all the junk she had let pile up and I've been really proud of her for keeping up with it.

When you peep her list you'll see 2 boxes for "clear table spot". That's because she often eats 3 meals a day at home and I want her table space clean at least by lunch and then after dinner. If you couldn't tell, keeping our dining table cleaned off is a huge struggle in our house.

Bedroom Makeover Bedroom Makeover Bedroom Makeover
These photos of Poesy's bedroom aren't current, but I think she can get back to this... AND do it on her own. I really want my girls to take ownership in their spaces and treat them with pride. We'll see how it goes. So far, Poesy has taken out the trash, recycling, and is waiting for a load of laundry to fold while I'm typing this. If nothing else, at least I know money talks with this girl. 😂

Monday, July 9

June Garden

June Garden
It's been one month and my garden had grown SO MUCH. I think June will be the garden sweet-spot for us. Almost all of the plants have started producing but the lettuce and peas haven't entirely dried out yet. Next month there will be lots more peppers and tomatoes, though, so I definitely have more to look forward to! Here's a peek at where we started. Now, let's see how much the garden has grown!

June Garden June Garden June Garden June Garden
Peas! Cucumbers! Squash! All of these things are producing now and I'm so excited! The beans I planted this year were all duds, but the peas popped up nicely. In addition to these things, I have tons of kale, one HUGE zucchini, and our arugula is still going strong. Oh yeah, and I have a baby pumpkin! Remember those pink pumpkin seeds I mentioned in the May post? One of my plants has a baby!

June Garden June Garden June Garden June Garden
In my second box, I have tomatoes that are ripening, tons of hot banana and cubanelle peppers, some poblano and anaheim peppers, and small bell and jalapeño peppers. There's an asparagus plant that I haven't paid much attention to and the sweet potatoes and onions are doing great!

While I was out at the boxes today, I noticed that I have squash bugs. These pests are flat bugs (they look a lot like stink bugs) that inject a toxin into a plant and suck the sap out. They are super annoying and can really mess with squash/zucchini plants and pumpkins. I'll let you know how getting rid of them goes.

June Garden June Garden
Otherwise, June was great to us! I look forward to seeing all that July holds. Now-- off to make some salsa!

Tuesday, July 3

What Katie Cooks

Katie Cooks
My favorite way to cook at home is to grab anything I have on hand and use my imagination to turn it into a delicious, cohesive meal. I mean, a wonderful meal doesn't have to be overly complicated and stressful. I've decided to start sharing some of our dinners here on the blog in a little series I've come up with called "What Katie Cooks". My goal is to help spark ideas for meals in your own home. You'll probably notice that we eat a vegetarian or pescatarian diet at home depending on the meal, but you can always sub whatever proteins you prefer.

Okay, so let's talk about the dish above. It's SO SIMPLE. But what is it?

*Sautéed kale in olive oil
*Fresh green beans cooked in a skillet with liquid aminos
*Crispy chickpeas with salt, pepper, a bit of yellow curry powder, and nutritional yeast
*Chilled rice noodles
*Cilantro, avocado yogurt dressing

I'm not all about heavy foods or overly hot meals in the summer, so the chilled noodles and cold dipping sauce make this dinner work for me. The sweetness and tanginess of the yogurt dressing compliments the saltiness of the chickpeas and green beans so nicely.

Katie Cooks
Oh, man- these stuffed peppers were something else. Plus, this is mostly a one skillet meal, so it's fast and easy!

What's in it?

*Cooked organic quinoa
*Black beans
*Frozen pineapple
*Fresh cilantro

Put all of that in a skillet and throw in some garlic and cumin to taste. Once you like it, pull your roasted peppers out and stuff them full! We upped the meal by grabbing some amazing pico de gallo and fried guacamole from a Peruvian/Mexican fusion restaurant that's just right up the street from us. Oh, and hot sauce is always a bonus!

Katie Cooks
I'm a huge sucker for two things: roasted cauliflower and cilantro on/in everything. As I post recipes over the next few months, you'll probably see quite a bit of both.

What is it?

*Roasted cauliflower with a generous amount of pepper
*Sautéed red and green peppers and onions
*Black beans seasoned with garlic, pepper, and cumin
*Smashed avocado (hiding underneath- I find it helps the corn tortillas from breaking as quickly)
*Fresh cilantro
*Warm corn tortillas

The nice part about tacos is you can feed a family with varied tastes just by doing a taco bar and letting them choose. Sometimes we throw in veggie taco meat or turn this into a giant salad with salsa as the dressing. So many possibilities!

I hope something in this post inspires your dinner ideas! These are just iPhone photos I have taken over the last several weeks so I can keep a log for when I'm feeling stumped about dinner. I'm guessing that as I stick with this, I'll probably have to break out the big camera and embrace my inner wannabe food blogger. 😉