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Recent Posts

  1. 5 Ways to Keep Your Sanity
    Wednesday, November 13, 2013
  2. When Expectations Don't Match Reality
    Monday, November 11, 2013
  3. Slow Cooker Working Overtime!
    Sunday, November 10, 2013
  4. Thanksgiving Tips from our Facebook fans!
    Tuesday, October 29, 2013
  5. Gobble, Gobble! 1 month out!
    Monday, October 28, 2013
  6. BLOG. It Came to me in a Dream.
    Tuesday, October 15, 2013
  7. Arts & Crafts anyone?
    Sunday, January 27, 2013
  8. Game Day Inspiration
    Sunday, January 13, 2013
  9. Happy New Year!
    Tuesday, January 01, 2013
  10. Resolving to Keep Your Resolutions
    Monday, December 31, 2012

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Errands Etcetera
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5 Ways to Keep Your Sanity

The holidays can be a crazy time.  If you're part of my family, you know how literal this statement is.  My family is Crazy with a capital "C."  Don't get me wrong, I love them all to pieces, but they have some weird habits and qualities that is enough to make a normal person go completely mad.  

For instance, my father, God love the man, but he is habitually late for family functions- especially holiday meals.  This drives my uncle (his brother) absolutely wild.  While we are all ready and planning to eat at three, at 3:15 we're at our wits end trying to call him, to find out when he's planning on joining us.  My solution this year... well, since I'm hosting, and the last thing I want is cold mashed potatoes, I've told those late offender that dinner will be served a half an hour before I've told the rest of the guests.  If they do happen to show up early, I've just got a few extra hands to help around the kitchen with! 

Out of myself and my 3 siblings, I tend to be the healthiest eater.  This makes holidays difficult as anyone who is suffering from not having the metabolism of a 13 year old girl can attest to.  While I'm not picky, and will certainly try anything once, I prefer to load up on veggies and protein instead of starchy carbs and butter laced dishes.  There was a point in time where my cousin was a vegetarian, and also wouldn't eat anything with butter.  To help ease the burden of what's on the menu, and to avoid having a pot luck style meal, I've gone ahead and asked all guests when they RSVP to also let me know of any allergies, diets, or favorite items that Thanksgiving isn't the same without for them.  All of this was done of course, before planning the menu.  I want to be sure all of my guests have something to eat, and I don't want people to feel like they weren't included in the planning.

Football, football, football!  While my husband has promised me he will help in preparing the house for our 20-something guests, I can be sure that once Thursday morning arrives, he will be parking it on the couch to watch football, and take breaks between quarters to snack.  This is fine with me, as long as I know that I have his help before hand.  How am I going to ensure this?  Well, I've created a time line and a list of things that need to be done in preparation for the big day (that doesn't need to be done necessarily on Thursday, but previous to).  This way, we both have our expectations clearly marked out.  

Can you really have too much wine?  Since I can remember we've always been asked to bring something to holiday dinners with my family.  When I was really young it was a centerpiece that I crafted, and as I got older I was promoted to cheese and crackers, then dessert items, and finally side options.  This year it was really hard for me to delegate out and ask people to bring things.  I'm a big control freak and want everything done perfectly... but I knew I needed to button that up for the day and look at my list of guests and consider what they've made/brought before that left an impression.  For instance, my Aunt Gay will be bringing her delicious peanut butter and chocolate mousse pie, and my Grandmother has been asked to bring nostalgic small little bites that she used to put out of us when we were little (celery with cream cheese and olives, bread and butter pickles, and deviled eggs), and my brother will be bringing ice.  Giving guests direction with what they can bring helps to ease the burden on you, the host, and also will make them feel like they are contributing.  

When we first decided to host Thanksgiving for 20+ people I didn't think it was a big deal.  As I've gone around talking to folks and sharing this magic number their jaw drops with surprise.  My thinking is this: it's just one meal, and it's only for a few hours.  My family is only going to invade my home for a few hours, and eat with me.  They aren't moving it, they aren't event staying the weekend, they are just coming by for dinner, as a group, a very large group, and then, as a group, they will all leave.  I don't need to have the house painted, heck I don't even have to have the closets organized; they aren't going to be peeping around (well maybe they will be).   
Keep the perspective.  Thanksgiving won't last forever.  As long as there is food to eat, football to watch, and laughter to be heard, I will consider Thanksgiving 2013 a success.  


When Expectations Don't Match Reality

When I started Errands Etcetera, LLC I envisioned myself help busy people around the house, and getting their errands done.  Every so often I take a look at my calendar and am surprised at where my business is vs. where I thought I'd be.  

Here are some of the biggest surprises: 

1. My clients are not who I had expected to work with.  When putting together my business plan I thought I'd be working with bachelors and senior citizens.  I thought I'd be busy doing laundry and grocery shopping for the single fellas, and running around town to the banks and post offices for all the little old Grannies and Grampies that had traded in their license and cars.  No one is more surprised than me that this is not the case.  As it turns out, bachelors don't really care if they have fresh fruit and veggies on hand, and are just as happy having take out on speed dial for those last minute hungry horrors!  As for my elder friends, I do have a few senior clients, but I think they just like having me around as company, and the fact that I'll do some chores and errands is only a bonus for them.   

2. I do A LOT of laundry.  For all those people that complain about parking lots, long lines, and dealing with the general public at the grocery store, and at other locations, I thought I'd be racking up grocery receipts, but alas, surprised again!  While I am at the grocery store a few times a week for different people, more often I can be find folding socks and making sure that there are no grass stains left on the kids pants.   

3.  My clients are normal people.  Again, when visioning my services, I thought I'd be filtering out the demands of the high power CEO types.  Truth is, my clients are the most thoughtful, down to earth people.  They are for the most part, working Mothers that may be struggling with the work-life-mom balance and just need an extra pair of hands to help save their sanity.  There is nothing they appreciate more than coming home to a neat house, with dinner ready to be reheated and served.  

4. I am not my own boss, and I don't have the luxury of making my own hours.  This is the biggest misconception of being a business owner.  I do anything but make my own hours.  I am at the mercy of my clients and their needs.  This is not a complaint by any means, but when a client calls, I do my very best to fit them in, and 99% of the time, everything works out.  After being in business for almost five years, the random lunch dates with friends, or taking in an afternoon movie are things of the faraway past, I'm busy working with clients, or working on admin and office work to keep my business moving forward! 

Even if I had a crystal ball, I don't think I could tell you what the next five years have in store for me or for my business, but I can tell you that we will adapt to any challenges that are thrown our way! 

Slow Cooker Working Overtime!

Well, it's been a pretty productive Sunday around here.  With Thanksgiving right around the corner, my phone is ringing off the hook, and my inbox in the cloud is on virtual overflow.  The holidays are our busiest season, and while I love being able to give my clients the gift of their time, at the end of the day I, too, only have 24 hours in my busy day.  
I find that during these busy times, I have a hard time sticking to my healthy eating, and making my own domestic chores a priority.  Being frustrated with trying to find my own balance, I decided it was time for my crock pot to pick up the slack for me! 
After stocking up at the grocery store, I went to work and prepped enough meals for the next two weeks.  Storing them in air tight zip lock bags, and hiding them away in the freezer, the intention is to pull out one of the bags the night before to defrost and then drop into my trusty crock pot to enjoy after a long day of work! 
After the meals are all enjoyed, I'll be sure to post up the recipes to share with you! 

Do you have any time saving tips to share? 

Thanksgiving Tips from our Facebook fans!

Thanksgiving has always been my second favorite day of the year (my first true love, will always be the 3rd of July).  So, you can only imagine how excited I am that this year I am hosting this special meal for 20.  I've started planning the menu in my head, and yesterday I asked for tips on the Facebook page, and I got some amazing ones! 

Yarn's End suggested prepping and freezing side dishes in advance and reheating on the day of- same goes for pies.  This to me seems GENIUS!  Normally we don't keep a lot in our freezer, so space shouldn't be an issue. 

Courtney suggested using a turkey fryer.  We experimented with this last year.  My uncle brought his fryer over to my Grandmother's, set it up in the back yard and cooked away.  This was great for keeping the house cool, and freeing up lots of space, but the house didn't have that holiday smell that I always long for.

Tamara and Jaclyn suggested buying the bird before Thanksgiving Day (which, if my memory serves me correctly, Wednesday is not Thanksgiving, and Bloom was not 18 miles from my apartment! Couple of fresh ladies!!)  Jaclyn, perhaps you could read up on some Green Bean Casserole ideas.

Rosemary suggested cooking the turkey upside down... maybe I'll make the pineapple cake that way, but hopefully not the turkey!

Angela was looking for some crock pot recipes-  I'm planning on doing a cider in my crock pot to help warm up my guests up and keep the aroma of cinnamon and spices strong!   

I LOVE Kristin's tradition of skipping the sides, and skipping right to the best part- Thanksgiving Sandwiches!!  That is BRILLIANT, and a total time saver!


What tips do you have for creating a time saving Thanksgiving?

Stacy
www.ErrandsEtcetera.biz

Gobble, Gobble! 1 month out!

Well it's official.  The Doherty's are hosting Thanksgiving Dinner 2013.  Invitations have been sent and there is no turning back now.  Hold on to your seat folks, the next few weeks are sure to be full of Pinterest inspired ideas, recipe suggestions, and tips for not killing your husband or other family members in preparation of a big dysfunctional family style dinner!
 
This all started last year when we moved.  The house we are currently in is much better for entertaining than our last pad.  Not 100% ideal with one bathroom, and only 5 couch seats in the living room, but still much better than in the past.  We've upgraded to a dining room (with a table), and LOTS of parking.  I began to fantasize about hosting a holiday meal, but was convinced that at the same time as planning a wedding I should hold off (sometimes my husband is a genius). 

A few weeks ago, I called him at work (I've found the best way to get what I want without a big discussion is to call him when I know he's preoccupied), and suggested that maybe we should break out all the wedding toys we got, and host Thanksgiving dinner.  He surprisingly approved instantly (I'm not telling him how many people I've invited... or that they are welcome to bring their 4 legged friends to play in the back yard). 

Since then, I've been dreaming of place setting ideas, menu inspiration, and activities to provide while my guests are mingling.  The next month of my life is about to become a little ridiculous, and I could not be more excited. 

Since we're one month out, I did send out an evite to my guests with a cute little Thanksgiving themed poem to invite them to our dinner.  Next step: create a calendar to prepare (complete with cleaning/chores/food prep)!

Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year?  Any tricks you'd like to share? 

BLOG. It Came to me in a Dream.

Did you ever wake up feeling like you'd been given a secret message in your sleep?  It's happened to me quite a few times.  On a rare occasion, I'll wake up in the morning (or sometimes in the middle of the night,) with the sense that I've either come up with a solution to a problem, or with the most amazing idea. 
This morning when I woke up the word BLOG struck a major cord with me.  I wasn't sure what it meant, or what I was supposed to do with the word, so I kept playing with ideas while enjoying my tea, and I got to thinking. 
There was a point in my business where I had the time to blog.  I also had the time to come up with new ideas for the blog.  Lately, I've been so busy working IN my business, that coming up for a blog post seemed like quite the feat, much less scheduling in time to type away at my keyboard.  I haven't posted to my blog in MONTHS, yet this word kept coming to me; BLOG.  I thought, maybe I'll recycle some old posts and link them to Facebook. "No, no, no" said something deep inside of me.  So, here I am; hunkered down at my laptop trying to figure out what the message meant.  

I'm growing in my business, about to launch into our 5th year,  for a small business owner that is such a major accomplishment.  It wasn't always easy, and there were days (sometimes weeks,) where I thought about sending my resume out to see what else was available.  But, I'm resilient and I'm still here.  
This last quarter of the year, instead of jumping right into planning for 2014, I'm committed to suck everything that 2013 has out of it, and really reap the benefits of the next 2.5 months.  I'm going back to my grassroots to grow.  Blogging more, networking effectively, following up with potential and past clients, and of course, being more visible.  Those are all on my radar for the next 12 weeks, which is maybe why the word BLOG came to me this morning.  Maybe today was supposed to be the day that I start working on my plan for the next 12 weeks, and get to work!   
Maybe today was supposed to be the day that I made sure to carve out time to do what I said I was going to do, and not slip into what's most comfortable for  me.  Or maybe BLOG was just a weird word that popped up in my subconscious, like a Taylor Swift song haunting me in my dreams.  Whatever the reason, I'm going to just go with the flow, and listen to the message in the way that seems like the best fit.  

 

Arts & Crafts anyone?

Weekends are the perfect time to work on my arts & crafts skills...

Here's a sneak peak a what I've been working on- full unveil after the wedding!



 

Game Day Inspiration

I don't want to jinx anything for all my fellow New England fans, but it's a great time to start thinking about either hosting or attending a Super Bowl party. 
Last year we bought a new television, and part of Rick's plea to purchase was that we would have people over to watch the game- I just can't say no to the opportunity to entertain!  The game was fun, the company was great and the food was delicious.  I made pizza dip, buffalo chicken dip & a chocolate cake decorated like a football field (complete with mini white chocolate chips as markers). 
 This year, I'm not sure what our plan is, but whether we are hosting, or will be visiting, I'm starting to think about game day food.
I've put together a list of a few things to keep in mind while planning your menu.

1. Stay Fresh.  Because the game tends to be hours long, you'll want food that will stay fresh for either the length of the game, or until it runs out- pizza, sandwiches and dips are usually a great idea.  Things that can be easily reheated, or don't need to stay cold are always a great choice.

2.  Finger Food Favorites.  When engrossed in a game, lots of people forget their surroundings and maybe their manners.  Finger foods are an excellent choice- you don't want forks (or knives) flying when a major play is made, or people to drop dishes when jumping up to high five. 

3.  Super Simple Clean Up.  I love that party stores have tons of options for decor- especially football themed plates, napkins and plastic cups.  The last thing I want to do on Superbowl Sunday is a bunch of dishes at 11pm.  One dish casseroles, meatballs in the crockpots, or wings on the grill are all easy ideas, that take minimal effort while yielding maximum results. 

4. Be A Crowd Pleaser.  While you may love trying new things, and food fusion, it's important to remember your audience.  If you've got little ones running around, make sure you've got snacks that they will enjoy.  I love the idea of having cookies in the shape of footballs ready for kids to decorate, or having fruit skewered and ready to snack on.

5. Stay on Track.  Maybe it's just in my life, but so many events are based on food.  With a wedding just a few months away, I know I want to stay on track to eating healthy and avoid overloading on unnecessary calories and carbs.  While putting out a tray of tofu might not be the best option, consider putting out a plate of vegetables and low fat dip or providing whole grain crackers or multigrain rolls as a healthier choice!


These are just a few ideas to get the your menu in shape- what are some things you'll be having on your table for the big game?

Happy New Year!

Well, it's officially 2013, we're just about 12 hours in- how are you doing with your resolutions and promises?

My first few moments of the new year were much like any other night at midnight, but I wouldn't want them any other way.  How did you ring in the New Year?

Resolving to Keep Your Resolutions

It being the last day of 2012, posting about resolutions only seems natural. 
Resolutions,to me, are kind of like your own personal mission statement.  All the choices you make and all of the actions you take should reflect in what you believe your calling to be.
For instance, last December when planning my resolutions, I found they were for the most part, all about growing my business.  I created a visual business plan for the year, with very bright paper and poster board.  Allowing me to hang up my business plan was a daily reminder as to what I wanted and how I was going to get there. 
In my previous life, when I was an Avon representative, I would write down my campaign goals and post them on my mirror.  Every morning, I'd wake up, look in the mirror, and be reminded of what I wanted. 
Obviously, I'm a visual person, and having my resolutions written down, and placed strategically is incredibly helpful to me.  Of course there are things that I want to accomplish that I keep in my mind- the perfect example; eating better.  I've been toying with the idea of trying out the Paleo Diet , but so far it's still just an idea that hasn't made it onto paper just yet.  Would having it written down have stopped me from ordering creme brulee at dinner the other night?  Probably not, but it might have make me at least think twice about indulging in such a sugary treat so late at night. 
Can I point my success to my 2012 Business Board?  Probably not all of it, but a good chunk of it, yes.  Seeing a list of 55+ people that I've worked for in the last year is incredibly motivating, and writing down my monthly income helps me to keep on track with my goals. 
What are some of your resolutions and how to you plan to stay on track?  Do you write your goals down like me, or do you have another way of holding yourself accountable?


Stacy
703 304 4067
www.ErrandsEtcetera.biz