Mini Italian Meat Loaves by Kristi Rose

How I turned a chore into a hobby

In my day job, outside of writing, I work in special education. There, I am often called upon to make schedules for children: picture schedules, sensory diets, and even therapeutic listening schedules.

Drafting up a table or chart is mind numbing dull to me and when I hand over the boring black and white image to a teacher it’s almost comical to watch their expression glass over as they try and find the motivation to use such an uninspiring tool. I get it. I totally do. I don’t even want to use it.

Then I discovered pretty printable.

As the mom of young children, I juggle more than my two jobs. There’s therapy appointments, sports, and all the business that comes with feeding, clothing, and maintaining said children. If I don’t stay organized we would up eating spaghetti two or three times a week and tacos and pizza the other days.  And my son would run out of underwear. I would try and make list or a memo on my phone but was never successful with that strategy. The notes tend to blend in and get lost with the other paper in my life. The long list in the phone overwhelms me.

Pretty printables to the rescue.

What are pretty printables? They’re word documents and graphs and ways to be organized that are lovely, and friendly, and make you feel good about doing things like meal planning. Or making a grocery list. Or even journaling.

Let me show you an example.  This is a printable that I had made for my newsletter subscribers.  We often talk about meals and picky kids and trying to make life a little easier so we have more time to read books.  I wanted to make life easier for them as well so I had printables made.  This was before I realized printables weren’t hard to make.

Printables are so much fun to create. I’ll confess that I’m still in the novice stage and I’m trying to find my creative groove with making them. But I am a printable making fool.  You can do all sorts of things like add chevrons or hearts or arrows. You’re only limited by your creativity. I now make really cute charts and graphs for my special needs students and their teachers and have found that follow through has improved. Buy in happens when some pleasure can be found, even if that pleasure is enjoying the pretty design of a piece of paper.  Plus, they’re easier to spot in the stacks of paper that consume our lives.

Printables might seem like work, but I actually like working on their designs. I love that they are functional and help organize my life. Often I will draft out design ideas on paper before trying to create them in a word doc. Yeah, in a word doc. You don’t even have to know excel. Bonus! There are lots of free online tutorials on how to make these. If you can’t find any them email me and I’ll share some sites I go to.

In the meantime, feel free to collect your free meal planning printable by going here:

Oh, also, here’s a bonus recipe that one of my newsletter subscribers shared with me. You can put it on your meal planner. You’re off to a great start 🙂

Mini Italian Meat Loaves

1 14.5oz can Italian stewed tomatoes-drain well, reserving 1/3 c. liquid
Mix reserved liquid with:
1 lb sausage (sweet italian) or ground beef
¾ c. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/3 c. finely chopped green pepper
½ c. finely chopped or grated onion
1 beaten egg.

Shape into 6 mini loaves. Place in lightly greased shallow dish and top with about ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375° for 20-30 minutes. I also use cupcake molds.



It’s tempting to ignore your heart . . .

Boutique owner Jayne Grandberry may be great at getting customers to treat themselves, but she’s even better at resisting her own desires. For her, love is like a sinfully rich dessert—a fleeting pleasure that will just make her crash in the long run. She has no time for such distractions, especially since she’s trying to open up a second shop in Atlanta. But she finds herself tempted like never before when her friends set her up with Stacy Cunningham.

A financial wizard, Stacy gives off a definite nerdy vibe, but he has skills that a businesswoman like Jayne can appreciate—and an indulgent one-night stand shows her a wildly different side of him. There’s nowhere for them to go from there, since Stacy, a single father, has complicated written all over him. But he’s not willing to settle for second best. And he’ll have to wait for Jayne to discover what he’s known all along: that when you open your heart to love, there will be room in your life for anything . . .