Thursday, December 29, 2011

Say Mmm

I've discovered a new meal planning website that I think I am in love with. It's called Say Mmm. I've been looking for a site similar to this for over 6-months now, and there are a lot out there! They all have their pros and cons, but this is the first one that I have found that I am willing to try more than once, and would actually consider paying for the upgraded features. If you know me at all, you know that's saying a lot. But even without the upgrades, the site has a lot of things that I like -- FOR FREE! YAY for FREE!

Say Mmm has a website that is easy to use and access from your computer at home, and a website that is designed for your smart phone - so all of your recipes and shopping lists are right at your finger tips, even when you are on the go. I had a great time wandering through the grocery aisles with my shopping list in hand (on my smart phone), and crossing off items as I added them to the cart.

If you don't have a smart phone, don't worry! This site is still worth while because you can print your shopping list and do it the "old fashioned" way. Nothing wrong with paper and pencil! :)

I love being able to save my own recipes to the website. You can type them in, or if they are already on your computer, just copy and paste. If the recipe is on another website, you can just include a link to it, and the ingredients will still be added to your shopping list!

I love the "link" option if I am in a hurry, but ideally, I prefer to copy the recipe into Save Mmm. It's more work at the beginning, of course, but in the end I think it is easier because you don't need to click over to another website -- everything you need is right there, within a single website. This especially comes in handy if you are at the grocery store and need to double-check the recipe on your smart phone. Some websites are not designed for smart phone use, so again, I just think it's easier. Try it and see what you think!

It's easy to add your own recipes, because you are able to type into a large text box. I've used other sites where you have to type each ingredient into it's own little box, with a separate little box for the measurement, and it's T.E.D.I.O.U.S. This is MUCH easier! Once you've typed it in (or copy and pasted it), you are able to preview how the ingredients will be added to your shopping list, immediately below your recipe.

Your shopping list is divided into two categories: "Get" and "Check". You will find that some items (primarily spices) are automatically added to the "Check" list. These items are likely items that you already have on hand, so rather than being added to the "Get" category, they are separated out so you can check the list quickly before you run to the store and then move any items that you need over to your actual shopping list.

TIP: The website tends to organize your shopping list in alphabetical order (even within categories like Meat or Dairy), so I edit the items in my shopping list to read slightly different then they might read in the actual recipe. For example, the recipe might say 6 oz. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese. I will change it in my shopping list to read Mozzarella Cheese - Shredded. You could even change it to say Cheese - Mozzarella, Shredded. Then when it is added to your shopping list, it is actually alphabetized by the item, rather than the "description" of the item. I don't know - maybe it wont' bother you at all, but I found it easier to put the description/type of item at the end... just felt like it made it easier to deal with the shopping list in the store.

TIP: This goes along with the above tip, but when you first enter a recipe, double check your shopping list. I just added a recipe that calls for Cream of Broccoli soup, but when it was added to the shopping list it told me that I needed "Cream - 1 Can". Totally different items! So I changed it on the shopping list to read "Soup - Cream of Broccoli [1 can]" - and it will be accurate (and in alphabetical order) from now on!

Also, double-check the measurements in the shopping list too. My recipe called for 1/4 cup of green onions, but the shopping list said 1 ounce of green onions. I just edited it back to 1/4 cup of green onions (because that is a lot easier for me to visualize), and again, it will be accurate from here on out. Keep in mind that this is not always a bad thing -- for example, it's nice that "2 cups of Sour Cream" in the list of ingredients gets changed to "16 ounces of Sour Cream" on the shopping list. Sometimes I do want the program to do the math for me!

There is a fun sharing feature on this site. I'm still learning how it works, but feel free to add me as a friend. My username is utahmommy.

I need to run for now, but I'll try to come back to add some more tips as I discover them. If you decide to give this site a try, let me know what you think!

Added more information at 10:45 am (MDT) on 12/29/11 - more to come!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Quiet Book - Chick and Egg

This page is fairly simple, a baby chick hatches from an egg.


I decided that I wanted my chick to be a puppet, so instead of rounding the bottom, I opened it up a bit. Cut 2 and sew the edges together, but remember to leave the bottom open so your child's hand has a place to go.

The pattern has no face drawn on it, so you are on your own. My daughter made a paper version of this chick when she was in preschool, so I copied hers. Two small dots for eyes, and a V-shape for the beak.

I think that the baby chick would be equally adorable as a small stuffed animal. If you chose to do this, you could leave the bottom rounded. Cut 2, add a little stuffing to the inside, and stitch close.

The first step is to decide on the placement of your egg on the page. The egg is BIG, so arrange both pieces on the page at the same time to ensure that there is enough room.

Pin the bottom half of the egg to the page. The bottom-half of the egg is a pocket for your baby chick to sit in. Because of that, you want to leave most of the "crack" (diagonal cuts) open, but I did stitch the first "crack" on both the left and the right of the egg, because I thought it would provide more stability. Stitch around the bottom of the egg too.

Pin the top half of the egg to the page, being sure to line up the "crack" with the bottom half of the egg. The top half of the egg is a flap, so you stitch this one a bit differently. I stitched a straight line across the egg, about 1.5 inches (maybe 2) from the top of the egg, and then stitched around the edge of the egg ABOVE that line. So, only a couple of inches of the top-half is actually attached, the remainder of the egg is a flap that you can lift to reveal the baby chick hiding inside.