Monday, December 31, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 2013 ~ week of December 31 (2012)

Since today is the last day of the year and the rest of the week begins the new year, I figure it's safe to date this menu plan with 2013.  The number thirteen is a good number for our family and I hope to make it a great  year!  More about that in another post!  For now, I'm working on getting back on track with my menu planning and keeping our grocery bill as low as possible, something I plan to do all year long!

I've been away from menu planning and cooking for over a month now and it's about time for me to get back into the swing of things.  I already started by making a wonderfully frugal and flavorful soup that I'll be sharing with you all later this week.  Making that pot of soup was all I needed to get me interested in getting back into the kitchen to whip up some great meals for the next several weeks!

Here's what's cookin' this week:


Our days of going out and partying on New Year's Eve are over!  
Long ago, we started a tradition of getting together with friends 
and preparing a huge meal of all of our favorites.  
This year, it'll just be the three of us.  
We'll snuggle on the couch with a movie 
and MAYBE make it 'til midnight!
*We ended up having a short visit with friends
over some Chinese takeout.
At 9pm, it's still not certain if we'll last 'til midnight!  


photo credit:  Extraordinary Life 

 Crock Pot Pork and Sauerkraut
I've been in the mood for pork and sauerkraut lately. 
So I was really pleased when I was taking inventory of our chest freezer 
in the basement and found a pork loin that I had forgotten about!  
Some mashed potatoes and a frozen veggie will finish off this 
delicious, comfort-food meal!  


Since we have leftover ham in the freezer,
I want to make this dish using some ham in this recipe 
in place of the turkey bacon that I usually use.  
I have all the ingredients on-hand, so this will be both easy and frugal!  


Right now, as I am typing up this menu plan, 
I am making broth from a meaty rotisserie chicken carcass.  
I will pick the meat from the bones, strain the homemade broth 
and set aside in the fridge for this recipe.  
Leftovers will be turned into a soup (shown above) 
and put in the freezer for next week!  


Leftover Night.  
With all of the wonderful meals made throughout the week, 
there's bound to be a lot of leftovers!  
I LOVE leftovers!  
Not only does it use up stuff from the fridge so it doesn't go to waste, 
it also allows me to have an easy, no-cook night!  


While I prefer to use regular bacon for this recipe 
since the grease is so great for frying up those potatoes, 
I'll be using either turkey bacon or leftover ham this time.


I'm still undecided on dinner for this night.  
I'd love to do a big Sunday dinner and invite my family over
but we might actually be out of town for the day. 
(Depending on the hubby's schedule.)  
In the end, it might just be another leftover night!  

Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week! Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.

You can also find this week's menu plan linked to On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bear River Photo Greetings Review

We're into the second week of December and Christmas isn't too far off!  As usual, I'm running way behind!  There's still baking to do, gifts to buy and I haven't even started my menu plan and shopping list for Christmas brunch or dinner yet.

In the past, this is the point in the holiday planning where I would decide if I'm going to send out Christmas cards or not.  I would debate on if I had time in our schedule to go look for cards at the store, fill them out, and would I still have time to get them out in the mail.

Since Grace was born, sending out Christmas cards has gotten much easier and I have Bear River Photo Greetings to thank!

It all started when I was checking out birth announcements on Etsy.  I found the perfect one at an affordable price.  This was my first time ordering photo cards and the owner of the shop, Angie, was really friendly and helpful.

Once I decided on which of her beautiful designs I wanted for our announcements, all I had to do was email Grace's photo to Angie and she created the perfect card for us.

Within 48 hours, our design was ready and the file was emailed back to me, all ready for me to have my convenience!  I could order as little or as many copies as I needed at my favorite photo lab!  At the time, I used a couple of online photo printing sites (such as Winkflash, Shutterfly, and Snapfish) but I also find that one-hour photo options (such as Walmart, Target or CVS) work well when in a pinch for time!

I knew right then, that I would be using Angie's shop for all of my future orders.  I will admit that we didn't send out cards last year since I was unable to get a decent Christmas photo of Grace.  She just wouldn't cooperate at all!  But Angie did create a wonderful invitation for Grace's birthday that year!

This year, I was able to pair one of Angie's beautiful cards with the talents of my favorite local photographer for a really great holiday card.  One that I'll share here closer to Christmas when I'm done sending them out to our family and friends!

So, if you are running behind schedule and are still in need of purchasing your Christmas cards, check out the holiday selection in Angie's Etsy Shop.  Angie suggests placing your order by December 14th at the latest, to allow time to get your cards printed (at your favorite overnight or same day photo printer) and get them in the mail on time!

Also, I want to mention that 20% of all Bear River Photo Greetings sales will go to "Hands at Work in Africa", an organization that helps Orphaned and Vulnerable Children in Africa. Please read Angie's Profile to find out more.

You can find them on facebook, too!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

California Wine Club Review (part 2)

It's already a week into the month of December and each new day is bringing us closer to Christmas.  I wish I could say I was one of those people that has all of their Christmas shopping finished by August, but sadly, I'm not one of those people.  Usually, I'm that person running around that last week before Christmas still without gift ideas.

The week before Christmas, I often find myself in the local wine and spirits shop trying to find a bottle of wine to pair with a warm scarf or gloves.  The only problem with that scenario is that I spend way too much time mulling over my choices, since I don't really know too much about wine other than the old rules of red with meat or white with fish or poultry.  Rules that I think don't always apply these days.  

After enjoying a two-month membership to the California Wine Club, I decided to let them help me pick out some wine for family and friends in the form of their Wine of the Month Club!

As part of a blog campaign, I received a two month membership to the Wine of the Month Club.  This is the first time I've ever had wine delivered to my door.  I couldn't believe how well it was packaged.  Two bottles of wine were shipped safely in a snug-fitting, foam holder that fit perfectly into the shipping box.  I was impressed with how much nicer it presented than the bubble wrap and packing peanuts I thought would be in the box!

Since the gift is delivered right to the recipient, it's one less thing I have to gift wrap (by the way, in the shipment I received this month the bottles were festively wrapped in red and silver foil gift bags) or haul out to the truck when we do our holiday visiting!

This year, I'm all about making the holidays a bit easier on myself and the California Wine Club is helping to alleviate some of the holiday stress!

Now that I've taken care of a few more people on my Christmas list, it's time for me to sit back, put my feet up and enjoy a glass of wine!

If you have a wine lover on your Christmas gift list, you should definitely consider the California Wine Club and the Wine of the Month Club.  Note: Shipping Alert! Ground Shipping Deadline is December 12th, orders placed after that date incur expedited air charges for Christmas deliveries.

For more information about California Wine Club's subscription plans, or to find out how the company got started, check out their website at

Also, look for them on the web:

California Wine Club is also offering a bunch of prizes in their Blogger Palooza Giveaway

Prizes include:

  • One of four, Three Month Wine Club memberships (A $150 value you can give as a gift, or keep for yourself)
  • One of 50 handy Two Bottle Wine Totes ($25 value)
  • One of 50 Red Tulip Music wine country CD's ($15 value)


  • This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own. I received a 2 month Membership to the California Wine Club for the purpose of this review.

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