29 November 2016

The Essential First Step to Meal Planning - that Everyone Forgets!

by Robin



Meal planning saves!  Meal planning will save you wallets full of money.  It will save you time every day.  It will flatline your stress level.


Big promises, huh?  But I firmly believe it.  


In my work as a Registered Dietitian, I have taught more families than I can count how to meal plan.  I always start with this essential first step.  And I'm often surprised at how most meal planning advisors skip it.  It's only the most important - in my opinion.


Until I got this true first step figured out I'd had many starts and stops with meal planning.  It just took so much time!  And then making all these new-to-me recipes took even more  - reading through long ingredient lists and instructions took the amount of time I had set aside to do the actual cooking!  And THEN the little tyrants loves-of-my-life at the table would refuse to eat it or complain loudly/glare at their plates.


And then I'd give up.


Then I figured out this essential first step to meal planning and meals became more manageable and pleasant....



22 November 2016

How to Make a Built-In Stair Top Bookcase with Planter (It's easier than you think!)

By Ed





Do you have a staircase in your house? Does it have a landing or a ‘dead zone’ at the top where usable space is just sitting there, doing nothing?  Or is there some other nook or cranny that would benefit from a built-in? (Your house has a cranny? Really?)


We did. In fact, we did several years ago when we first did this project. (Note: please excuse the amateurish step-by-step photos - they are a few years old - back before we even started blogging! We weren't the professionals you see today. 😉) 


Robin looked at this wasted area at the top of our staircase and knew we could use it better. She then got creative and re-imagined it as a location for a built-in bookcase and a planter. The huge window behind it gets great light - and plants would be very happy there.



Imagine this as a blank space - we forgot to take a before picture!
(Also, notice the electrical outlet we needed to move.)


Then we built it.


This was my first-ever built-in piece of furniture or -in all honesty - my first piece of anything, ever that was built from scratch and not just adding shelves or paint or whatever to something pre-made. I’ve preached the virtues of beginners working with MDF in the past; this was the project that convinced me of that. And as “sought after” as custom built-ins are - they offer a lot to like in terms of simplicity for the first-time DIY-er.

How did we do it?  Read on.

18 November 2016

How to Make Window Clings: an easy craft for all ages

by Robin

I don't know about you, but I never realised you could make your own window clings.


I thought they were made with exclusive technology only found in Roswell, New Mexico (or possibly Area 51).



  • Surely only alien beings held the secret to how these wondrous plastic creations could stick without being sticky! 
  • Could a mere human family create such a marvel?
  • Could such works of art be made on a frugal budget?



Why, yes!  My good friend Lynette showed me, and the Mennonite mothers we work with, how to make these awesome little snowflakes.  I knew this simple craft needed to be shared.


Gotta love a craft that is easy for kids to do AND isn't kinda crappy looking.


Here's how....

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The Essential First Step to Meal Planning - that Everyone Forgets!

by Robin Meal planning saves!  Meal planning will save you wallets full of money.  It will save you time every day.  It will flatline ...