simple pattern.

Not only is the pattern simple, but the bag looks simple in the best way. Perfect for summer!

weekly wishlist.

Not at all surprising to see this much blue.

magic juice.

Doesn’t this sound absolutely delicious? I have yet to make it – I’m waiting for proper patio weather, which according to the weatherman is just around the corner. I better get my supplies rounded up…

Edit: I made this today while my sister was in town – it’s so refreshing! The cucumber is fantastic with the fruit – I have to admit, we used a little more than called for. Now I just have to figure out what to do with the leftover fruit…

lamp dimmers.

Using a dimmer on floor or table lamps gives you a lot of control – if you’re watching a movie, you can just have enough of a glow to reach for your drink without it glaring off your screen. If reading in bed, it keeps the light concentrated on your side instead of interrupting your partner. They can save energy and lengthen the life of your bulb if it’s not always fully illuminated. And everyone looks better in that candle-like glow, anyway.

Ikea has dimmers in both black and white – I’ve got a few of these scattered around my house.

Rona has information on the different wall dimmers for ceiling lights – it’s a simple project even though it deals with electricity, and won’t cost more than $15 per switch.

If you learn better through videos, here’s one teaching you how to install a wall dimmer switch. It’s detailed, too.

photo book.

Shutterfly is having a 40% off sale on all their photo books. An 8×11″ hardcover book is less than $20, so get cracking! The code is APRIL40.

(I also never knew they made photostrips.)

wishlist.

I bought the matching earrings for my wedding, and I’m thinking this necklace is up next. No, not to wear at the same time…

I love pretty and simple things. And the shipping is so ridiculously reasonable.

menu planning.

I started planning out my meals a few months ago. I don’t follow my plans all the time, but when I do it certainly helps. If I don’t make something one night, I know I can bump it to another.

It’s made grocery shopping easier; I know exactly what I need, and I don’t have to wander looking for inspiration.

I waste less food. I plan around what’s languishing in the fridge, and I only buy as much as I need for the meals I’m making.

And best of all, meals get started sooner in the day. I don’t have to think about what we’re going to have that night, or what I’m in the mood to make. And if meat needs to be thawed or marinated, it’s already done the day before. I end up making better food instead of quickly whipping up pasta and jarred sauce with salami thrown in yet one more time.

I both looked for and made a few meal calendars over the past few months, looking for one that would work best for me. I finally made one that I like enough to hang onto for a while (despite the fact that it’s rather utilitarian).

Breakfast is always the same for us, and rarely requires planning unless we have guests so I didn’t bother including its own separate row. The other row is used for baking or prep work that I want to do during the week. I usually write ingredients that I want to use up along the bottom of the page to keep them in mind.

If you want to use this, click on the image for the printable pdf file (it prints two to a page). At the very least, give meal planning in general a try and see how it improves your meals and your ‘what’s for dinner mood’.

P.S. Another (prettier) meal calendar here. Or use a whiteboard or chalkboard in your kitchen – although it means the grocery list isn’t very portable.


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