Sunday, August 1, 2010

TSS: The First of August

It is August first which signifies a couple of things for me.  First of all, the August Break challenge has officially begun (yippee!!) and secondly, my carefree summer must begin to include some back-to-school planning or I will be significantly behind in a very short while.  So I have found myself in a rather pensive, reflective mood today.  Not sad or depressed, but rather purposefully thinking about ways to simplify my life so that I can enjoy the journey that fall will bring, rather than becoming my typical workaholic self.

The August Break challenge should be a lot of fun and by taking nearly 500 pictures yesterday at the Omaha Zoo, I don't think I will be lacking too much material this first week.  Since the challenge does not have too many rules (in fact, one could argue that there are really no rules), I have decided that I will experiment taking a few creative shots to post to the webpage, as well as several shots to document the events of my life.  While I will strive to post a photograph a day, and I want to challenge myself to take  pictures every day (that is the ONLY way that I will become comfortable with the camera), I will not pressure myself into posting a daily photo taken that day.  You may see some pictures taken last week, last year, or even a few years ago.  You may see a narrative attached to the story (in my effort to hone the Journalist Photo concept) or, as school starts and I am easing in to a new routine, you may just see the photo itself.  This rather laid-back laissez-faire attitude is quite a change for me, but hopefully this will be the beginning of a new lifestyle and mental attitude.

I have already started working on some back-to-school items.  I have all syllabi written and finalized about 90% of them, I have acquainted myself with the new communication software system, and I have read and annotated most of the text that I will be using in the new college-credit writing course.  Since I know my pay will decrease due to lower enrollment figures, and I know my free time will be reduced due to the addition of two new classes to my schedule, I have decided to implement a menu plan into our daily lives.  This is something that I should have done years ago, but somehow I never made the effort.  

Most of today has been spent pouring through favorite cookbooks and tried-and-true recipes in order to help me develop a master list of recipes.  I am typically very organized, and so in devising the monthly menus I have decided that I would try to assign a certain food group to each day of the week.  For example:
  • Sunday = family meal day (roasted chicken, beef brisket, baked ham....etc)  These will provide leftovers to use throughout the week.
  • Monday = slow cooker meals - since Mondays are the longest day of my work week.
  • Tuesday = pasta night
  • Wednesday = stir fry night
  • Thursday = leftover night - or if no leftovers, then some kind of hot or cold sandwich
  • Friday = pizza night (this has been a long-standing family tradition)
  • Saturday = impromptu meal - either based on the day's activities and/or the weekly grocery circular.
Hopefully this will be a good start to a more healthy diet - both dietary and monetary.

I am not sure what the week has in store as far as reading is concerned.  I am hoping that my daughter and I can catch some matinee movies before school starts.  I am very interested in seeing Toy Story 3 and Inception.  I have a number of photography books that I have ordered from the library to coordinate with the August Break challenge, and I also have a few books on writing left to browse through before I am inundated with high school textbook assignments.  I have organized all of Mandy's photos and expect to receive the prints in the mail by the end of the week.  I need to scan about 8 more years worth of her pictures into the computer (so that I have a copy for myself) and then I am ready to begin her scrapbook.  I am hoping to spend some of Labor Day weekend focused on this creative activity.

All in all - it has been a good weekend - and I look forward to my last week of summer.

What does the month of August look like for you?


  1. Goodness--can you believe that August is here? I hope it's a great month for you, Molly.

    I really look forward to your new photography sessions. I really think I'm going to sign up for the course at my community college, but probably not starting until September.

    I love your idea for an organized menu. I used to be so good about planning ahead and making a list for two weeks worth of meals. Not recently, though! I bought a nice looking binder with page protector inserts in hopes that I could combine all of my clipped recipes and recipes jotted down throughout the years into one place--maybe tonight?

    If you find any good slow cooker recipes (or have any), I'd love if you shared. The only thing I know how to cook in the slow cooker is pot roast! :)

    Hope you're having a lovely Sunday.

  2. Molly, I am sooooo glad that you posted about the August challenge...this is just the thing I would love to do. Looking forward to seeing your pictures and posting some of my own!

  3. Enjoy your August break from teaching. Too bad August is not a break for me but September might be as I'll not be teaching in the fall. Here's what I'll be doing instead: My Sunday Salon.

  4. Hope you enjoy your August break! Those menus look delicious...I'm hungry

    Your photos are really good and I'm looking forward to seeing more.

    Here's my salon:

  5. Aren't you Miss Organization?! I love your idea for meals by theme. As for me and mine, I cook enough for two days, so I only really cook two big meals and one small one a week (as we usually eat out Friday and Saturday). Since I've come back from France, I've been attempting to cook simply...baked chicken...fresh vegetables...homemade bread.

    "...reflective mood today. Not sad or depressed, but rather purposefully thinking about ways to simplify my life so that I can enjoy the journey that fall will bring, rather than becoming my typical workaholic self."

    Wise words. I am copying and pasting these into my brain for future reference.

  6. Sounds like you are organized and prepared for what is ahead. I've been doing the meal planning thing lately also. I have saved tons on my grocery bill by following a schedule similar to the one you posted.

  7. You were in Omaha??? I'm so bummed I didn't know! I was just home putzing around and would have loved to have met you at the zoo. I'm ashamed to say that I haven't been to the zoo in several years since the kids were all out of grade school.

  8. I think you are off to a great start with your new way of thinking by (paradoxically) organizing the daily details so that they are secure and you can focus on the now. You taught me quite a bit with this post! Thanks.

  9. My motto: Cook once, eat twice. Love your menu plan, as well as your new life plan.

    August here? Busy. A family reunion right smack dab in the middle and the reunion right smack dab in our house. My Big Fat Greek Family Reunion. Can't wait to see everyone, but, oh my, lots of preparation.

    Good luck with you photos, Molly. I usually take my little camera out each day and just hold it as I walk around the garden. You never know who will be out there posing.

  10. Best of luck on your August Break challenge. I would love to do something like fact, I was earlier this year, but changed my mind. It would be just too much.

  11. 500 photos at the zoo? I went to Alaska for three weeks and took less that that. Wow, I need to take more pictures!

  12. I'm a pictureholic too! Yay for cute animals.

    And also, the past couple of weeks I have begun planning out my weekly meals (similar to what you posted) and it is so nice. I'm hooked.

  13. i really have to get with a menu program for the upcoming school year. my school day is a bit unorthodox--our private school hours are 8:30-5pm but i don't work on fridays. :) my hubby gets home at 4pm and if i had menus and food on hand, i'm sure he would help out and get dinner going. you have inspired me to get a weekly menu plan in place. we eat out 5 nights out of 7 so this might help curb that! :)

    --nat @book, line, and sinker

    ps. would you be able to allow comments on your blog for name/url? some other blogger blogs have that option and it makes it much easier for those of us with self-hosted blogs who don't love using google. :) thanks!

  14. The August Break Challenge sounds like such a fun project! I really like your menu planning idea - it's something we should do around here.

    And I want to hear more about your scrapbooking adventures. I know you used to do it a lot in the past, and I'm very glad you're doing it again, because scrapbooking is something I've always wanted to do (I am one who cannot pass by a scrapbook supplies store) but have just never found the time for. But you're inspiring me to really give it a try!

    Inception sounds like such an incredible movie. It's on my list too.

  15. thanks so much for changing the comment option!!! :)

  16. You sure have some good plans for the month. The August Break challenge sure sounds engaging and fun! I'm trying to simplify my life too. I realized the busier I am, the more activities I add to my life. Now I'm saturated, so I need to weed out what's unnecessary.

    Have a great August!

  17. WOW! Your August Break sounds full on! How wonderful. Autumn..and we into spring.. I love the way our seasons dance together through our blogs! I dreamt I visited you last bizzare! I've forgotten most of it now but I was visiting Molly!


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