Tag: Crazytown Trish

Prepping for Once a Month Cooking

Posted 1 October, 2016 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 27 Comments

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For the month of October (OMG it’s October!), I’m undertaking a crazy experiment. The plan is to prep as many meals as I can this coming weekend to use for the month. Once a month cooking!

How did I get started on this path? I was checking out a book in the cooking section of the library when I came across Fix, Freeze, Feast and Once-a-Month Cooking (OAMC). I also grabbed Ina Garten’s Make It Ahead and started researching. At first I thought “NO WAY this is insane!” but the more I thought about it and the more I researched, it started to feel really doable.

I’ll outline the different books in a separate post, but there seems to be different camps when it comes to OAMC. The first method, from Once-a-Month Cooking, is to prep single meals for every day of the month (or a two week block, if preferred) using set menus and a specific prep plan. Each meal is different so by the end of your prep day the freezer should be full of 15-30 meals.

The second method, outlined in Fix, Freeze, Feast, focuses on making meals in bulk–using the large meat trays from warehouse stores (Sam’s and Costco). Each recipe yields 3-4 different meals for the freezer. Another book I have, Don’t Panic- Dinner’s in the Freezer, uses this same method with different ingredient tables for multiples of 2 and 3.

I’ve decided to take an approach in between these two methods. I am leery of cooking 3-4 meals of a recipe I’ve never tried before only to have it be something that my family will not eat. A lot of those Pinterest “make 50 crockpot meals in a day!” type recipes rely on making several bags of the same meal. I would hate for that food to go to waste. On the other hand, making 30 individual meals seems crazy, especially if I’m using someone else’s recipe (like the official Once A Month Meals website, which has paid plans).

The Plan

The most daunting part of the planning process is coming up with a month’s meal plan. I’m terrible at meal planning as it is but generally only like to plan out two months and allow for lots of wiggle room. Planning for an entire month seems like a lot of commitment! But one of the least favorite parts of my day is trying to figure out what to cook for dinner. Hopefully this will help.

I started by taking stock of what’s already in my freezer. I already have one jar of homemade spaghetti meat sauce, pork bolognese, and pulled pork in the freezer. I also have a lot of uncooked meat–meatballs, steak, pork chops, brats, and salmon. Between these items, I already have several meals in the bag.

Once I had a handle of what I already have in the freezer, I made a list of meals I tend to make every single freaking month (those people I live with are creatures of habit). Tacos, salisbury steak, enchiladas, manicotti, rice and beans, fried rice, teriyaki chicken, chicken piccata. Are any of these meals that I can make ahead? In many cases yes!

I listed out 30 days of the month and started filling in the blanks–first with the stuff I had on hand and next with some of our family favorites. I ended up with a list of about 24 meals. I’m leaving some wiggle room for eating out (or take-out) for special treats or dinner with family. Or even just leftovers. If I make lasagna, chances are we’ll be eating it for two nights.

24 meals. Is that doable? Am I insane? And how do I prep these meals? My pork chops are already frozen, so I can’t really prepare them at this point but I can assemble the spices I would use for particular meals. Do I cook the meatloaf before or after freezing? Should I freeze the sauce for the salisbury steak or just make it the day of? Will breaded chicken really freeze well?

Ultimately will prepping all of my meals ahead of time save time?

One of the things that seems to take me a lot of time each evening is chopping vegetables for our sides. While I can’t do this all at the beginning of the month, I’m going to try to do as much nightly prep as I can on Sundays. I usually hate doing stuff like this on Sunday, but I’m beginning to see this as a case of making the time now to save it later.

I’ll report back at the end of the month and let you know how it has gone. And if you have any tips I would LOVE to hear them in the comments. Do you have a favorites that seem to freeze well? Anything that you avoid freezing?

What tips and tricks have you adopted to help your nightly cooking go much more smoothly?






Linking up with:

weekend cookingEvery weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  “Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.”  Hope you’ll join the fun!



Book Catalog Spreadsheet

Posted 7 August, 2016 by Trish in Reading Nook / 28 Comments

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Book Catalog Spreadsheet


Happy Sunday y’all! I’m hoping that today can be a lazy day around our house. It’s hotter than hot outside and this is one of our last few Sundays before we start the back to school grind. Except in our case it’ll be the start of school grind. I’m a ball of anxiety thinking about sending Elle to Kindergarten. Not because it means she’s growing up (though, wahhhhhhh), but because of how much more juggling it will add to our days. But, let’s not talk about that today.


Keeping a Book Catalog Spreadsheet

Earlier this week Goodreads rolled out a new webpage format. While I have tried and tried throughout the years to get onboard with Goodreads, I just can’t seem to keep up with it. Part of it is the daunting idea of adding my entire backlog of books into the database and the other part is the lack of half stars. Yes, my biggest hangup with Goodreads is that I cannot use 3.5 or 4.5 stars to rate a book. Put into percentages, there’s a huge difference between 60%, 80%, and 100%. I want to use 70% and 90%!

Years and years ago, I briefly shared my method for cataloging books and talking with a few gals on twitter this week prompted me to finally share again and in a little more detail. Book Nerd Alert! Though, I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you can relate in some shape or fashion.

Once upon a time, I was able to hold all of my books on a single shelf in my bedroom. I didn’t pay much attention to what I read or which books I owned. When I was a high school senior, a teacher asked us to write down all of the books we had read that year for pleasure. I was surprised at the list that I came up with and this started my habit of tracking books that I had read.

A few years later, my great-aunt passed away. She had the most amazing library in her home. I loved visiting her and just scanning through her bookshelves at the treasures she had. When she died, she had roughly 10,000 books in her home. One of her nephews cataloged all of her books for her and each niece and nephew received a list to select a few books to keep. I loved the idea of this list so much that I created my own list of books that I owned. And the book catalog was born.

I started using Access but transferred everything to Excel a few years later. Each of the spreadsheets below can be enlarged for easier viewing. I’ve thought about transferring each to Google Docs, but honestly I can’t be bothered.

Tracking Bookish Data

I keep track of the title, the author, binding, publication date, the edition I own, the genre, source, date received/bought, how much I spent, and the date that I finished the book. One thing I wish I had kept track of is the publisher as I think this would be fascinating to analyze, but with almost 600 books in my house I can’t imagine going back now. The source, date received, and cost are all columns that I added after reading the comments on my original post in 2009. I’ve definitely become much better about not buying so many books. At least physical ones. You’ll see I have a tab for e-books as well.

Book Catalog - All Books in Personal Library


Types of Media Tracked

I have a separate spreadsheet for audiobooks and ebooks. While not all of the columns from the Books spreadsheet is applicable, I’ve added in a few other columns. One thing I would love to add to my Audiobook spreadsheet is narrator. But just like adding the publisher, who has time!

While I am better at listening to my audiobooks than I am reading my ebooks, keeping spreadsheets of both helps keep me on track. I love to sort by the “Date Read/Listened” column so that I can see which of my oldest books I still haven’t read.

Audiobook Catalog


The Books Read Tab

It wasn’t until much after creating my original spreadsheet that I thought to create a tab for books that I’ve read. Before this, my list was either on my blog or just included the books I had read from my own library. Thankfully this was most of my books as I rarely borrow from friends or the library, but it definitely wasn’t a complete record. This became a bigger problem when I started culling my shelves and didn’t have the books I had finished in my “books” tab anymore.

I started by copying the books I had finished from my “books” tab and then tried to fill in the holes where I could. Now when I finish a book, I copy the line from one tab to the other. The trick with using a books, audiobooks, and ebook spreadsheet is making sure that the columns line up with one another. Sometimes I have to do a minor bit of formatting, but I’m despite the trouble, I’m glad to have a full list of books I’ve read now.

It’s not a perfect system, but it works well for my needs!

Books Read - Book Catalog


So, crazytown Trish? The hardest part is keeping up with it, especially the past few years. Adding books hasn’t been as bad now that I’m not accepting ARCs, going to library sales, and most of my acquisition is through the ereader, but I still get behind. I still find it easier to input here than in an online database and I love that I can sort by alpha, or publication date, or genre, date acquired, date read, etc. I can filter for how many books I’ve read in a certain year or for how many books I’ve received from a publicist.

Does any of it really matter? No–not really. But Book Nerds gonna Nerd Out, right?

Do you keep a list of all of the books in your library/books that you’ve read? How do you keep track?



Books Recently Finished: I can’t remember the last time I talked about books finished? In July I listened to I Am Legend and read/listened to The Fireman by Joe Hill. Earlier this week I read Confess by Colleen Hoover for book club. It’s been a busy couple of months with a bit of reading here and there on the side. Hello summer!

New Books in the House: Leveling the Playing Field by Rod Scher, Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook (library copy).

New Books on my E-Reader: Oh dear. The Nazi Officer’s Wife, The Girls, A Little Life, Unlatched, Sophie’s Choice. Four of these were Kindle deals.

Books on the Nightstand: Should I say IN the nightstand? I started Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer at the end of June but put it down when I needed to read The Fireman. Then I needed to read Confess for book club and was up against a library deadline. So it’s still sitting in my bedside table drawer. Along with Rules of Civility by Amor Towles and Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko–both which I set aside for some reason or another. I’m slowly making my way through Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (mostly on my phone) and The Cuckcoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (on audio).

What’s going on in your world lately–bookish or otherwise?






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Pleasure Delayed Reading

Posted 19 June, 2016 by Trish in Reading Nook / 23 Comments

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Mount TBR

Happy Sunday!! Who’s suffering of heat exhaustion now that we’re a day away from summer? While we haven’t officially broken 100 yet, our heat index has reached above and I’ve been avoiding the outdoors at all costs. Yay summer!

Perfect excuse to stay in with a book, right?

I’ve recently noticed that I have a bad habit when it comes to books. I love to scour bookstore shelves for books that I’m dying to read. I stack up daily deal reads on my kindle like books are going out of style. Sometimes I can’t resist buying the hottest new book.

No big deal, right? Not like dogearing a page or breaking a spine?

But the real crime is that I wait years to read these books. Sometimes when I’m choosing my next book, I’ll skip over titles that I’m sure to love because I want to save them for another day. I’m a pleasure delay reader.

Reading is a hobby I partaken in solely because I find it pleasurable to get lost in a story (ok, so there are lots of other reasons why I read, but this is the most obvious). If reading is a hobby of pleasure why…WHY would I delay reading books I’m sure to love so that I can save them? This strikes me as ridiculous, but it happens time and time again.

I just finished listening to The Happiness Project (a book we’ve had on the shelf since 2009), and in the chapter about money Gretchen Ruben talks about Spending Out. As I listened to her describe what this means, I realized that I am guilty of not spending out. When she talks about spending out, she says to “to stop hoarding, to trust in abundance.”

I started thinking about why I hoard good books and came up with a number of reasons–each more ridiculous than the last.

Why I Haven’t Read That Book Yet

  • I’ll run out of new material from my favorite authors (somehow this is why I haven’t read Margaret Atwood in years–because I’m afraid I’ll run out of books by her. Snort).
  • If I read a book right after purchasing it, perhaps I won’t get as much bang for my buck than if it sits on my shelf for years.
  • After I read the book and love it to pieces, I won’t be able to experience that feeling with that book again–at least not for the first time.
  • What if the book doesn’t live up to the hype? Should I let the hype die down first? Or what if I try to read it at the wrong time and it doesn’t suit my mood?
  • Sometimes I hear spoilery things about a book that I try to forget in time so that I can read the book with a clean slate–nevermind that I can’t remember the ending to the book I read a month ago. :-/
  • I might run out of awesome material on my shelves and be stuck with the remaining drivel. OMG what if all the good books disappear? What will I be left with?

I’m rolling my eyes while I type these–are you, too? NONE of these scenarios makes sense!

With all of this in mind, when it came to pick a new book to read, I finally downloaded Station Eleven onto my device and settled in.

And you know what? I loved it. Why did I wait so long?

Do you pleasure delay your reading? Please tell me I’m not the only insane one!




Books Recently Finished: The Happiness Project (on audio)–I really loved it, even if it did bring to my attention just how irritable I’ve been lately. Sigh. I also devoured Station Eleven over the Memorial Day weekend and quick re-read through Me Before You for a book club meeting.

New Books in the House: None! I was SO tempted when we went to Barnes and Noble the other day–my first time in a real bookstore in months–but I only walked away with a guidebook to the Smoky Mountains.

New Books on my E-Reader: Not as good in this realm. I picked up The Wee Free Men by Pratchett and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah as recent daily deals. I also put The Fireman by Joe Hill on hold at the library…because the ebook is only $2 cheaper than the hardcover?!?!

Books on the Nightstand: I’m ever so slowly making my way through Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver on my kindle. I’m enjoying it, but 600 pages is long for someone who can normally only read 5 before falling asleep at night! I’m currently listening to Gulp by Mary Roach. I love her zany nonfiction!

*Amazon links are affiliate. If you purchase anything through those links, I will receive a small commission which will help support this blog–at no extra cost to you. Thank you!


What’s going on in your Sunday today?



Bullet Journal Show and Tell

Posted 9 June, 2016 by Trish in Crafty, Life / 38 Comments

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Bullet Journal Show and TellOver the years I’ve tried and failed at many different ways to get organized and to journal my life. I’ve always kept little notebooks with lists and I tried a planner last year, but I could never find a way to keep up that worked for me–or that I didn’t forget about in a few weeks.

About six months ago, I posted about my Big Fat To Do lists and several people mentioned Bullet Journaling in the comments. I looked up the Bullet Journal method and found myself incredibly overwhelmed. There were so many parts–and did I really need an index? I pushed the idea of bullet journaling into the back of my brain.

But at the beginning of 2016, Debi posted a picture of her Fauxbonochi/Bullet Journal and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. It was gorgeous and functional and suited my love of lists.

I started looking at Bullet Journals again and fell down the deep deep rabbit hole on the internet–blogs, YouTube, Instagram. These things are everywhere!

Five months later and I’m LOVING my Bullet Journal. This is the longest I’ve been able to keep up with a planner/journal and I don’t see the end anywhere near. I love that I can house all of my information in one little notebook–in the past I’ve kept a little journal with me at all times for lists (mostly blogging related) but kept separate to do lists. Now I have all my lists, including things I need to do, as well as an occasional diary of events all together.

Starting a Bullet Journal can be overwhelming, so I thought I’d share mine with you to see just how versatile this little gem can be.

Let’s back up first…

What is a Bullet Journal?!

According to the official Bullet Journal website, a Bullet Journal is an “analog system for the digital age.” In the most traditional sense, a bullet journal is a way to rapidly log events, to dos, and ideas. The example provided on the website shows a monthly list as well as daily tasks. The next component–where customization and personality really come through–is collections. Collections are essentially any kind of list you want to keep track of.

Because I’m mostly stay at home right now without a lot on my plate (snort), I really struggled with the best way to set up my bullet journal. Did I need a daily to do list? Would I even keep up with a daily to do? Did I need to see all of the days of the week listed out like a traditional planner? What is the difference between a Daily Spread and a Weekly Spread? I took some deep breaths and realized the following:

The best part about the Bullet Journal System is that customization is unlimited!

Turns out that with little modifications, I’ve been using the same set up since I started. I try to keep my set-ups simple–if you browse through bullet journals on Instagram, you’ll see that some get very artsy. Don’t get too bogged down in the aesthetics of the journal. Add a little bit here and there if you’re interested, but I always remind myself that my journal is for me.

How I set up my Bullet Journal

Ok ok, enough intro–now to the fun part to show you some of my Bullet Journal and how I’ve made this system work for me. You should be able to click on any of the images to enlarge.

Annual Calendar

The Annual Calendar is where I keep all of the main birthdays (mostly family) and important events for each month of the year. I reference this when making my individual calendars each month.

Bullet Journal - Annual Calendar


Monthly calendar

The monthly calendar is a quick snapshot of important appointments and dates like birthdays. I try to keep this spread simple which is why it only takes up one page. Yes I had to do some math to make sure my calendar fit the page. The first time I tried to make a calendar, I miscalculated and ended up with six days across instead of seven. Still trying to figure out what to do with that blank grid!

If our month starts looking busier, I will contemplate using a full two page spread for a calendar but for now this works.

Bullet Journal - Monthly Calendar and Brain Dump

Brain Dump

(See above, right) My Brain Dump list is a quick list of all of the things that I would like to get done throughout the month. I don’t assign dates to these items and they generally don’t have strict deadlines. I add in future dates below the brain dump to remember things that don’t fit on my monthly calendar.

I’m still playing around with how to keep track of future appointments as this will start getting busier for us when Elle goes to Kindergarten in the fall. Some people have a “Future Log” but I haven’t had a huge need for this yet.


Meal plan

Last year I recorded all of our family meals on calendar print outs each month. Now I keep track of all of these in a list form each month. I use a sticky note on the page to plan for the upcoming week since our meals aren’t set in stone and tend to change quite frequently. Blue dots indicate eating dinner away from home or take-out.

Bullet Journal - Meal Plan


Daily Tracker

I love the Daily/Habit Tracker idea that I first saw on BohoBerry. Some people use the tracker to log/create habits; I use mine to see how often I do something rather than a checklist of things I must do. I admit that sometimes I get behind in keeping track, so guess on some of the items, but it’s a fun snapshot (and I’m a sucker for color).

Bullet Journal - Daily Tracker


Weekly Calendar

At the top of my weekly calendar, I list the events for the week. Below this I rapid log my to do list. These days I don’t have many strict deadlines, but once Elle is in Kindergarten I might have to amend my weekly spread to something that looks more like an actual planner with specific days outlined. We’ll see! For now, this very simple method works just fine for me and if I have empty space at the bottom I use this for quick journaling.

As per the Bullet Journal system, round bullets indicate an event and bullets indicate an action item. Once the action item is complete, I make an X. If I have to forward the task to the next week, I use an arrow.

Bullet Journal - Daily Log



In my various notebooks that I’ve had over the years, I’ve created all kinds of lists–the books that I’ve read/listened to each year, songs that I adore, blog posts to write, blog maintenance, things to pack for a trip. Sometimes these lists end up being blog posts–such as Musicals!

I didn’t want to include allllll of the lists I have in my notebook, but as an example, I have lists for my 2016 things, blog post ideas, Bloggiesta (blog maintenance), cleaning chart for deep cleaning days, craft projects in limbo, fitness goals/status, and more.

There are also a number of lists that I think about making–favorite family meals for a quick glance when I need inspiration, vacation/camping bucket list, things do with the girls around Dallas, household/honey-do list.

Below are some of my favorite go-to collections in my Bullet Journal.

Runkeeper/ #C25K

I love seeing my progress–both in distance and in pace. Hopefully by the time I finish out this particular page I’ll be ready to move onto 10K training…as it’s one of my 2016 Things.

Bullet Journal - Runkeeper


Reads of 2016

The columns: Pages | Paper, Audio, Ebook | Fiction, Nonfiction | Male, Female Author | Classic, Diverse, Graphic Novel, Library, Young Adult, Shelf (owned before 2016) | 1700, 1800, 1900, 2000, 2016 Publication (yes I took these pictures over a month ago!)

Bullet Journal - Book Log


Currently/Because I Suck at Journaling

No really, I use the heading “Because I Suck at Journaling” most of the time and then rapidly log with bullet points things I want to remember (kind of like the short list on my daily log above). “Currently” is a list that I have periodically blogged here under the title “Right Now I Am…“.

Not including the “Currently” lists, I have journaled 11 times since I started this bullet journal. That’s 11 times more than I journaled last year! I find that keeping it really low key works for me.

Bullet Journal - Currently Diary


Oh the Places We’ll Go

Slightly deceptive title as these are all of the states I’ve been to (did you see my debate about it on Instagram?). I’ve toyed with coloring starbursts in the parts of the states we’ve stayed, but who knows. I do need to include Alaska and Hawaii–I’ve been to both! How did I draw this? Printed off a map and traced it–so my New Jersey and Delaware are only as good as what I traced. Ha!

Bullet Journal - State Map


Sources of Inspiration

@TheRevisionGuide (GREAT account for tutorials–I’ve learned how to make all of my headers thanks to her!) |@Boho.berry |@christina77star |@passion.themed.life |@showmeyourplanner|@tinyrayofsunshine


Products Used

After I bought my Moleskin, I discovered that the Leuchtturm seems to be the preferred notebook, but I love my Moleskin and haven’t had any problems with it. I think the bonus to the Leuchtturm is that it has an index and numbered pages–neither of which I use at this point.


So, does this seem entirely insane? Or do you do something similar with your jouranling/planning? I’d love to hear what “Collections” you’d include if you were to start (or have started) a Bullet Journal.




A Day in the Life with Three Littles

A Day in the Life with Three Littles

First things first…tomorrow (Wednesday March 23rd) is the Day in the Life Blogger Event. I’ll have a link-up ready first thing in the morning for you to add your posts. Haven’t recorded a day yet but want to participate–record today!! Or record Wednesday and add your link Thursday, etc etc. I hope you’ll join in the fun. Ping me on twitter if you have any questions. Friday March 11th 2016 Day in the Life The […]

Posted 22 March, 2016 by Trish in Life, Mommyhood / 52 Comments

A Day in the Life with a Two Month Old

A Day in the Life with a Two  Month Old

Ignore the title–you all know that I also have an almost 5 year old and 2.5 year old in addition to the 2.5 month old. Just needed a way to distinguish this post from some of my other Days in the Life posts…including one I have planned for next week with all three girlies at home. I recorded below from Thursday March 10th. I recorded the below in part in preparation for the Day in […]

Posted 15 March, 2016 by Trish in Life, Mommyhood / 35 Comments

Tracking a Year of Meals

Tracking a Year of Meals

  Near the end of 2014 I was reading Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach. Rosenstrach started keeping track of her nightly meals in 1998 and has kept up with her food diaries through meticulous journaling. I’m notorious for being a failure at keeping a journal, but I wondered if I could keep up with a monthly calendar of what we ate each night. I printed out a blank calendar for the month and […]

Posted 23 January, 2016 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 29 Comments

Current Quilty Works in Progress

Current Quilty Works in Progress

The other day I decided to make a list of all of my current quilting works in progress. Ha!!!!! The amount of time that I spend in my sewing room comes and goes. Sometimes I’ll make the 15 minute drive home at lunch just to get an extra 20 minutes in the room without the girls. When the girls are home, I can usually entertain them with buttons or scrapbooking paper and scissors for a […]

Posted 18 November, 2015 by Trish in Crafty / 19 Comments

Le Tote Subscription Service Thoughts

Le Tote Subscription Service Thoughts

Remember a few months ago when I told y’all that I’m trying to be more mindful of what I’m wearing and the clothes that are in my closet? I signed up for Stitch Fix and have had a fun run with the service (though I put it on hold for the remainder of my pregnancy). I have been trying to add pieces to my wardrobe that are versatile and in classic style–but this is all […]

Posted 3 November, 2015 by Trish in Life / 17 Comments

On Announcing a Pregnancy: When to Ask if Someone’s Pregnant

On Announcing a Pregnancy: When to Ask if Someone’s Pregnant

  I’ve taken four positive pregnancy tests in my lifetime. One of those times I was over the moon excited. And nervous. And filled with so many emotions. I spilled the news excitedly to our families and started gathering up all of the pregnancy books I could find. I filled out my pregnancy journal with all of the days of my pregnancy leading up to my August 17th due date. For one of those positive […]

Posted 18 June, 2015 by Trish in Life, Mommyhood / 28 Comments