Friday, October 21, 2016

Instant Pot, but for real!!

So a while back I mentioned the Instant Pot briefly because it was on sale.  I want to revisit this jewel of a find.  Well, I guess it wasn't really a find since a few friends had one and told me how much they love theirs.  It doesn't matter, this thing is A-MA-ZING!!!

My 6 quart Instant Pot with my 7 quart crockpot

Anyone who values their time ( ahem, everyone!) and cooks could use this appliance.  It will save you a ton of time two different ways.  The first way is obvious, it is a  pressure cooker so yes, it cooks faster. Dried beans in one hour!!  From bag to bowl in ONE hour.  The second way is that while it cooks, you are free to do other things.  It isn't something you have to watch once you start it.  You press the button and walk off.  You can also, program to come on at a certain time, though I haven't used this function yet.

A few of the meals I have prepared and loved are one-pot spaghetti, steak and gravy, beans and rice with sausage, and stuffed peppers.  Oh and don't let me forget, lemon blueberry cheesecake. YES, cheesecake!

My  husband has loved everything that has come out of the pot, but my son has a preference for spaghetti so we make it at least once a week.  With the instant pot, I use one pot and after sauteing the meat, I put it in and walk away until I hear the beep.

I would love to say that I used the instructions that cam with it and nothing else, but that wouldn't be true.  Although the instructions are good and it did come with a recipe book, my favorite place to find out how to prepare something is a Facebook group called Instant Pot Community.  It is a a public group so anyone can join.  The reason I like the group over the actual page is the search feature.  I can search for what I want to cook and get a list of posts.  Click HERE to take you to that page.

I will also include a link to the Instant Pot on Amazon for you to check it out.  Yes, it is an affiliate link but I choose what I put here and it won't be something I don't love!

This is the one I have:

But I will add, they now have an 8 quart that I would like to add to the family!  At the very least, I want to get another inner pot for it so I can just take it out and start the next thing.  Especially cooking something like beans and rice or rice and anything!

Well, I hope you can appreciate my love for my Instant Pot!  This pressure cooker has changed our mealtime so much!  If you have one or get one, let me know what you think about it!

God bless and have a good day!
Lee Ann

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Planners everywhere! Which one and what to do with it?

About this time last year, I fell into the hole of planners very similar to Alice in Wonderland.  I have yet to emerge from that hole and not sure that I ever will.  It is like those people that give you the samples or taste of something, once you get that little bite, you are done for!  Just put it in the cart and move to the next one!  LOL

A few of the planners mentioned! 

But seriously, planning is about finding the system that works well for you.  I am looking really hard for the best one for me.  I started by making my own planner last July out of a leather binder.  I just went on Google and found a lot of free printables.  I found calendars, cleaning pages, financial pages and a lot more.  

There are so many options for planning and it can easily overwhelm you, but if you take time and look around, you will find what works for you.  I have gone through several planners buying and then selling them or giving them away to be able to buy the next one.

I started with the binder I mentioned above and then moved on to the Happy Planner by Me & My Big Ideas.  I really liked this planner but I couldn't customize how I needed to so that it would fit our family.  I did get the fitness and recipe planners they have also.  Next I moved to the ringed binders, both an A5 size and a personal size.  You can find tons of free printables and then just print them to the size you need and hole punch them to fit.

my faux-leather binder

Coil planners are probably the most common ones you will see around.  I have a Day Designer I got at Target that is a daily planner and an Erin Condren hourly weekly planner.  They are both great planners with different purposes.

Travelers' Notebooks are the new black.  You can find them everywhere in the planner community and for a good reason.  You can put a lot or a little and whatever your heart desires in it.  There are several sizes so you can have a larger one to write in or a small one for a wallet.

This year, Me & My Big Ideas, introduced a Big Happy Planner and I didn't see a need until recently.  It has a specific purpose in my arsenal and I look forward to starting it next month.

Are you getting the picture here?  There are all sizes and shapes of planners, just waiting for you to find the one (or three) that work for you!  Some things I like separate but for the most part I like it all together.  Currently, I use my Erin Condren as my home planner and leave it sitting out most days.  I have a travelers' notebook that is my EDC (every day carry).  We also have a budget binder and I have a notebook for goals.  I also have notebooks that have other purposes.  It is a system and the best thing is to find what works for you and your family.  I have even sat down and planned out how I need to plan.  We are in a period of re-evaluating and streamlining things in our family so this is a big part of it for me.

Hopefully soon I will make a video on the planners I have used and why I am using what I am using now.  When I do, I will edit to include the link here.

God Bless and have a great day!
Lee Ann

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

My favorite new appliance, the Instant Pot!!

We recently got an Instant Pot pressure cooker on Amazon Prime Day, and I love, love, love this thing!!!  Seriously, it is amazing!  I recently made stuffed bell peppers and it took a fraction of the time,  Actually, I cooked them a little too long and the peppers just fell apart.  I have cooked one pot spaghetti, pork chops, honey chicken, taco spiced chicken, apple pie oatmeal and of course, my favorite, lemon blueberry cheesecake!!

The Instant Pot has saved a lot of time for me and I have only had it a few weeks.  I have learned a lot in a Facebook group for it and there are several you can find, just search Instant Pot.  I like a group over community because you have the search function.  It is so much fun, daily I find my self saving links or posts for recipes or ideas that I want to try.

I am sure there are a lot of YouTube videos but I haven't really searched.  There is one gentleman I like watching and I found him through the group I am in.  Here is a link to one of his videos, it is actually his get to know the instant pot video. :)

One thing that is on my list to cook is ribs!  My dad has always slow-cooked and smoked ribs that are delicious so I have never tried cooking them myself.  With two toddlers, I don't have time to babysit a cooker.  Also, I want to try a roast.  It is actually high on my list.

Trust me, this thing is worth it!! I try to find things I can use it for because I know it will save time!  I really want to get the 8 quart one now.

The link above is an associate link, but honestly, the Instant Pot is the best thing since sliced bread!

Have a great evening and hope you enjoy it if you get it!  I know I have! God bless!

Lee Ann

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

We just started . . . homeschooling!!

My daughter will be four in October, so we started a K4 curriculum with her this month.  Of course, this means little brother will be participating with his own worksheets and crayons and whatever else.

I am using the curriculum from Confession's of a Homeschooler. (Her blog is HERE and the curriculum is HERE)  I will say that I have used a couple of components from 1+1+1=1, (and her site is HERE)  Specifically, I used the printables she has to go along with Songs for Saplings, ABC Bible verses.  There are full page printable for each verse, as well as flash cards and a puzzle page for your child to put together.  The link for those is HERE.

We are taking a very laid back approach to homeschooling this year.  It will be structured some days and others we will vary what we do.  I see no reason to take away play time at this young age because I feel it is just as important.  Well, actually more important.

I want "school" to be fun for my children and not something they dread each day.  I know there will be times they don't want to "do school," as my daughter says; but overall, I hope they enjoy learning.

We will have music class once a week this fall and a few other things to rotate in and out.  I am still deciding on what we will do.  A friend has "Poetry and Tea Tuesday," and I love that idea!  She has a great blog over at Book Review Mama, you should hop over and check it out!  She is a book lover like no other!  :)

So, we are "doing school," in our dining room.  This means we have to be able to put it up and eat dinner at the end of the day.  Not too long ago, we put in cabinets with countertops in my work area so I happened to have a sewing cabinet I wasn't using.  We moved it upstairs and put it in the corner.  It is perfect because I can put a cabinet lock and keep the little man out of it!  You can see in the picture below, we have a board with all of our main areas on it.  I love this thing!!  Thanks to my mother-in-love, we had a big piece of chloraplast (plastic cardboard used in sign making) and I put it on the wall with command strips so I can take it down whenever I need.  I used velcro to attach each item on the board.  My daughter actually loves to take down and put up each thing as we talk about it.

So I will periodically update our homeschool journey on here as we go, so keep an eye out for that.  Thanks for reading and come back soon!

God bless!
Lee Ann

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Plan with Me Filming

So, I decided I wanted to try filming a plan with me video for youtube.  I thought it would be fun since it would be my first week in my Erin Condren hourly planner.  I learned a lot with my unboxing video.  First, I needed light and quiet.  The lighting I could do, but the quiet part was harder.  It is hard to find quiet time in my house and even if it is sleeping time, my little may wake up at any minute.

I also learned that I talk slow when I am nervous and trying to do something right.  I had to speed up a lot of my clips to make it a tolerable amount of time.  I know people don't want to listed to me for 30 minutes!!   I added some music to it also.
I had a lot of fun doing this and may do it in the future again, but I will not be doing weekly plan with me videos for sure.  I do want to do different videos though and so far have thought of a few topics.  Here is my list:  planning, homeschooling, meal planning, cleaning schedules and routines, goal planning, decluttering the house step by step, life with toddlers, Sephora play boxes, and working with my Silhouette Cameo.  Let me know if there is anything else you might want to see or read about.

So here is the link for my video, it is for the first week I did in my Erin Condren hourly, so it was a few weeks ago.  :)

Thank you for visiting and God bless!!
Lee Ann

Monday, July 18, 2016

Fears and anxieties

Fears and anxiety can creep up on you at any point in your life.  If you knew me before, say 22, you would know, I love people and being around them.  Today, you might question if I could even carry on an adult conversation some days.  There are a lot of reasons this might be so, such as I spend all day with two littles under the age of 4. This has had a little effect on me but the main thing that has affected me has been my recent miscarriage.  I don't understand why it has manifested this way but it has made it hard lately to even be around people much less carry on a conversation.

My friends have been great and reached out to me for comfort, just to talk or invite me to something.  One friend last week texted me probably 4 times and I never responded.  I love her and have no reason to be upset but for some reason every time I picked up my phone to respond, I froze.  It is a weird anxiety to say the least.  Another sweet mommy friend has messaged me to comfort me because she has been through this also, but I haven't responded yet.  I can't put the words down.  Like I said, I don't understand it.

So I am trying to work through it and recover a little bit of my confidence currently.  I have started back reading a devotion that speaks to me and trying to find a Bible verse each day to respond to that anxiety and hold onto it.  I am trying to talk with my husband more about how I feel instead of pretending I am okay until I explode in tears and have to miss a friend's little boy's birthday party because I just can't handle it.

This weekend I did something a little out of the norm for me and way against how I have been feeling.  I attended a planner meetup with about 80 other women.  When I bought my ticket it was supposed to be around 30 people and they changed the venue to hold more a few weeks later.  I almost didn't go.  I had myself talked out of it.  I needed to be home with my family, my husband had worked long hours and needed the reset.  He encouraged me to go and so did one other person.  I won't name her because she may not want me to, but she gave me just enough reason to get me out of the door.

The thing is, I had never met her before Saturday at the meetup.  We had just chatted online.  She is a strong lady who is very sweet.  We joked about giving each other a big hug when we met, and we did just that.  She was my anchor that day and she reminded me that the Lord will always be my anchor.  So that day, I met a lot of great ladies and had a lot of fun.  Hopefully, started new friendships with some.  I walked up and talked to several people, including some that I have admired online.  I even told them that and sounded quite dorky, but I did it.   I took loads of pictures even though I don't like how I look right now.   I put myself out there.

One thing I do know happened, is that I grew a little that day.  Another thing I know is there is one lady who has a tried and true friend when she needs me.  She helped me step out, and for that I am grateful.

So if anyone else is reading this, and feels this way, know that it can get better.  Also know that you can help someone else without even knowing it.

God bless!
Lee Ann

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Happy Mail!! My very first EC!!

Well, after seeing Erin Condren (and by seeing, I mean on social media) and her interaction at an international planning conference, I decided I needed to order an Erin Condren for myself.  (If you are wondering about the conference, it was Geaux Wild, hosted by Planners Gone Wild and looked the best time ever!)

So, on launch day, June 1, I began trying my luck as soon as the site showed the life planners available.  My luck didn't work so well that morning but early afternoon, it pushed through.  I ordered it and a few accessories as fast as I could!  So fast, I didn't pay attention to my name personalization and really wanted it a tad different.  As my daughter would say, oh poodle!

Today, I got my pretty purple box!!  Which is amazing, considering the amount of orders they must have had on launch day and since!

I am in LOVE with my new Erin Condren goodies!!  As I mentioned, I ordered some of the new accessories. In my order were some of the mini bookmarks, the new wet erase markers, the new sticker book, the sticky  notes and some of the snap in dashboards.

Mini bookmarks
wet erase markers

new sticker book
snap-in dashboards
snap-in sticky notes

And of course, I got my planner!  I ordered the colorful hourly 18 month planner with the mid-century circles cover.  Although it is taking some time to adjust to the hourly planning, I am in love with it!

I recorded an unboxing video and I will say it took about 3 tries before I got a decent video so things were already open!  In my video I show you the accessories and planner in detail.

Here is the link to my YouTube video:

Hope you enjoyed it! God bless and have a good day!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Hard days

Timing is something that can be good, bad or just unusual.  Last week, I posted for the first in a long time.  I posted about our family and where we are right now.   I mentioned that we were expecting our third child.  My daughter has been wanting a little sister and I told her to pray to God about that.  Well, a couple weeks ago, we found out I lost the baby.  I was very early but it was still such a shock not having any problems with my first two pregnancies.  It has definitely been a time for hard days.

I have found though, that I turned to the Lord for strength and He has helped me tremendously.  It is not to say I haven't gone through several emotions, because I have definitely done that.  The weirdest things trigger a cry fest.  Our parents came and helped me with the children to give me time to process.  I am blessed for sure.

Something I learned from a friend is that 1 in 4 women suffer a miscarriage.  Another friend said she was proud that I posted what happened because so many women have suffered in silence.  So these two reasons are what is pushing me to do this post.  Reach out to a friend if you are in this place, find someone to talk to about it.  You will be surprised who might have already been through it.  Hopefully, it doesn't happen to you or me, but statistically, it is going to happen to someone close to us if not us.

Take a few minutes to yourself, longer if you can and allow yourself to process.  It is what really helped me.  I cried and prayed to the Lord.  At times it was good but at other times it wasn't so pretty.   We are all different and process differently, but we all need to do it.  One friend shared with me that she and her husband pushed their emotions down when they had a miscarriage.  Later, when their daughter was sick, it all came back up and they had so many more emotions.

I am sure there will be more hard days to come, but I also know I will be able to handle it with the Lord and my family's support.

Good day and God bless!
Lee Ann

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Well, here I go again, blogging attempt #3894938420

I guess one thing I can say is I don't give up!  LOL  So here I am again, giving it another go!  Not much has changed in our lives but at the same time so much has changed.  We are still living in the same place, and working on the same house.  I have been told that will never end as a homeowner and now I believe it.


Here are a few pictures of our sweeties!!

What has changed is that our family has grown by one adorable little boy and the cute little one year old will be 4 in the Fall.  Time flies when you are having fun, right?  I have been so blessed to be their mother.  My husband is a wonderful father to them.  He spent the day outside playing with them today so I could rest.  I can't seem to catch up on rest lately. Oh and that is another change, we are expecting another little one.  We are thrilled and my daughter can't wait.  She wants to see the baby now and we haven't even been to our first sonogram yet.  

Because of our growing family and upcoming changes, I have decided to close my etsy shop for now.  Hopefully, I will open it again soon but I really don't know.  We will be homeschooling so my time is going to get squeezed even more.  So many good things on the horizon for our family.  God has been so good to us and He continues to bless us.  I am so grateful!  

I am trying to get organized better in the home and with our time.  The main reason is to be more intentional with my little cutie pies.  I want to truly be there with them and not distracted by things (ahem, especially my phone!).  Working on decluttering the house is a big part of this. A very BIG part of it!  I have been using a paper planner (or two) to try and help me.  I need direction or I will get distracted, you know like, oh squirrel!  Also, laundry has become my nemesis; well, that and dishes.  Hmm and maybe the floors.  Okay, well so maybe I need a list to go by for housework overall or I forget what I have done and what needs to be done.  I will share later what I have found to help me.  

Well, just a quick note to say hello again, and I am back.  Good night and God bless!