Each year I set goals for myself and my business.  I will not use the word “resolution” because I believe it is a long, four-letter word but goals are really important to set for yourself each year.  For me, as a business owner, goals are important because I want to know what I am working towards in the coming year.  This helps me plan where to concentrate the bulk of my time and efforts.  I like to set personal goals too, which will help me to improve some of the mishaps or time-wasting activities that happened the year before which may prevent me from spending more time with my family and friends doing fun things and socializing rather than working a little too much. This week’s goal is more sewing time.

Time in the Sewing Room

One of the major complaints that I hear from new designers is that they spend way more time in the office doing computer work than they do in the sewing room stitching up fabulous fabrics.  Well, kids… I’m afraid that is true and those of us that have been working at this job for a few years (15 years for me) know that getting into the sewing room, even to complete projects for Quilt Market, is sometimes a luxury. I will do just about anything to gain a little more time to stitch for fun.  Anything that gets me back into my creative space, whether to stitch for work or pleasure, is worth every penny to me.

I have the greatest hope that I will be able to participate in my friend Beth’s “Drop and Give Me Twenty” challenge this February.  Beth is challenging everyone to get into their sewing room/studio for 20 minutes each day in the month of February.  For me, this challenge will be even more difficult as I will be on the road teaching 10 days in the month of February alone so some days I will have to do double time.

You can check out Beth’s Facebook Page Challenge by clicking here and join us both in about a week.

Cracking the Egg – Less Time in the Store and the Kitchen

I will never answer the age-old question, “Why do women have to plan all the meals and do all the shopping?”  That’s not exactly fair.  My husband, like me, also loves to cook and is very supportive of my businesses. He also has a 2-hour one-way commute to work every day… and then back home again.  Since I work from home most days it falls to me to plan meals and to make sure we have a plan for collecting food in the house. A few months ago I broke down and tried a meal delivery service. My husband proclaimed that it was all a waste of money and completely unnecessary and we should just make more effort to plan our meals. Translation = He meant me… I should make more effort to plan our meals. It’s a lot of pressure and so I clicked on a free coupon offered by a friend to try Blue Apron for free. This lead to a rabbit hole of delicious goodness the likes of which I never expected.

*Disclaimer* We are not in any way being paid for this post and are not affiliated with any meal delivery service named in this post.

Thanks to a friend who regularly ordered, we were given a free week (2 meals for 4 adults) of food to try.  The box arrived and I was shocked.  How can so little food feed 4 starving adults? I was completely wrong.  The food came pre-packaged with everything I needed to make the recipes (minus a few basics depending on the service such as olive oil, butter, salt, pepper, and sugar) including the main course and everything was labeled and packaged in the quantities needed for the recipe.  No food waste and no leftovers. Well, not at first.

The meals were fresh, healthy, and perfectly proportioned.  The recipes we super easy to follow and always turned out delicious. My kids thought the adventure of trying new flavors and eating more vegetables was fun. We also began gathering more around the table. A completely unexpected benefit was that my husband and sons enjoyed helping to make the meals and learning how to cook using different techniques. My husband nearly forced me out of the kitchen one night so he could make everything himself. We enjoyed it so much we decided to try some of the other services. We have personally tried Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Home Chef, and Plated.

All of the companies we tried had basically the same service give or take.  Home Chef and Plated offered dessert add-ons as well as other things.  They varied from 4-12 meal choices each week so you can pick what appeals most to you and the services are very easy to skip if you are traveling or busy and just aren’t going to need a shipment that week. I also found them easy to cancel or suspend.

But what about the cost?

That was always my husband’s concern as well as mine.  What bothered me more was the amount of food that I seemed to throw out on a regular basis. Sometimes it was fresh vegetables and meats that went unused because we were too busy to plan to cook or gobs of leftovers from overcooking for an army and not planning to use up those leftovers. The amount of food waste was too numerous to count not to mention the experiments that I seemed to find in the fridge when I cleaned it… which was way too often and also kept me out of the sewing studio.  I also have a husband that likes to go shopping with me… while hungry… at warehouse stores like Costco and Bj’s Wholesale Club. I can’t tell you all about the giant jars of artichoke hearts and dips that have been purchased and discarded.  I would be too embarrassed.

So I sat down and did the math.  I also researched some other sites and news reports that calculated the costs.  What did we all find? Well… the cost is about the same as shopping for yourself give or take about $7 more or less depending on the meals chosen.  If you purchase pasta meals the service would cost more but beef might cost a little less.  There is much less waste and much more convenience. This also depends on how you eat regularly. If you eat fresh foods and not boxed meals then you won’t see much difference in your grocery bill.

Also, this depends on the service.  Some services offer options for other meals and desserts.  We don’t use those. Some allow you to choose from premium meal options which can really add up.  We don’t use those either.  Most research will agree that if your meal options/services offer choices costing less than $10 per meal/person that the convenience and lack of waste make meal services very affordable and nearly equal to buying yourself.  For us, the convenience has made all the difference in our busy house.  So much so that on a weekly basis we receive deliveries from 3 different services giving us meal options for 5 out of 7 days a week.  We have also found that we eat healthier, eat smaller portions, and are able to provide lunches for my husband each week saving money on eating out at work.

What’s in the Box?

I filmed a little unboxing video from our latest Hello Fresh order and put it on our YouTube Channel just for you. Check out the organization for each recipe.

How much time do you save?

Well… I save lots of time because my meals are already purchased, delivered, and pre-packaged. I also did not go to the grocery store.  Well… actually I did but I went to the virtual grocery store.  I signed up for Walmart Grocery which allows me to shop online (which took about 15 minutes) and put all the basics that I needed in my cart.  No forgetting my list, impulse buying or wasted time in the grocery line.  I scheduled to pick up my groceries the next day on my way home from an appointment.  I swung by the grocery store and they brought my bagged groceries out to my car and I drove away.  There are other grocery stores that offer free bagging services with pickup and some, like our local Wegman’s even offers grocery delivery if you spend a certain amount.  I think our local grocery delivery costs about $5 if you meet their threshold.  I would pay $5 to have someone bring my groceries to my house.

I know I have spent less time thinking up and searching for recipes, driving to different stores to find ingredients, and less time in general thinking about healthy options and portions.  We have all begun eating healthier.  I have even carved out more time for breakfast every morning which has always been a challenge for me. I have found that I have saved hours of time that I desperately need for getting into that sewing room.

I have also saved time cooking as most of the recipes take 30 minutes or less and my husband loves the services so much that he gets excited about what our options are each day and comes home from his commute to head to the kitchen to cook.  More often than not, I get called to the table for dinner that I did not have to make.  Productivity has definitely increased around here. Several of the services also reward you with free meals to give to your friends and family to try so I have delighted in gifting free meals to my husband’s co-workers, my massage therapist and several of my uber busy commuting friends.

Give it a Try and Check out the links…

I recommend you give it a try for yourself and see what you think.  There are lists below that talk about the different services and what they have to offer.  There are more than 150 meal delivery services on the internet and quite a few that deliver across the country. You may find the one that’s right for you. I have also included an article from Consumer Affairs about costs and an article from MintLife (a great resource for budgeting your home and meeting your financial goals) that discusses the cheapest meal delivery services. I really am very thrifty at heart so I don’t take the costs lightly.

For those of you thinking about trying the service… you can enter the contest below and the WINNER will get a free meal on me. You can provide me your email address and I will send you one of my complimentary meals from my personal meal account. Usually, the free meal is a $70 value and I would be happy to give you the opportunity.

I certainly hope you have enjoyed this little tip from me.  Leave me a comment with your own tips for saving more sewing time.


Helpful Links – Find the One That Works for You

Top 10 Best Meal Delivery Services

14 Meal Services that Delivery in the US

Consumer Affairs – Meal Services

4 Cheapest Meal Delivery Services  (Article by MintLife.com)


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