Meatless March Memories + Project Life

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking62 Comments


Well, fellow omnivores, herbivores and friends, it's April now which means that my experiment known as "Meatless March" is now officially over.

I held off from ingesting animal protein for a few April days, until Monday night when I whipped up a batch of Lighter Beef Chili and I'm not going to lie: it was tasty.

Here's what I learned in March:

1. I adore vegetarian cooking. From the handful of new recipes I tried throughout the month, I found a few that I will be coming back to again and again. I love how my kitchen smelled of garlic and peanut oil almost daily. I loved discovering new things to cook with (quinoa…who knew?). I love the idea of using plants and grains to create a nourishing, delicious meal.

2. Meat isn't required to make an awesome meal. My family has never been super heavy on the protein as the center of the nightly plate, and luckily I have a hubby who also agrees. (Or at least he knows where the nearest White Castle is for a six-pack of sliders for a pre-meal nosh.)

3. I thought by not eating meat I would magically lose more weight. I didn't. In fact I gained, but I can't blame that on vegetarian cuisine. No. That would be from numerous bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios, for starters. And Honey Nut Cheerios are loved by meat-eaters and veggies alike!

4. I will change where and how often I buy meat. While I am still an omnivore, I'm pledging to only buy meat from stores who buy from farms supporting healthy animal welfare standards, including no hormones and antibiotics. This will mean either my local co-ops, Whole Foods or local farms.

5. I will commit to two nights of meatless main meals for my family. Of course, this doesn't guarantee that everyone will eat them and be happy, but that is what Cinnamon Toast Crunch is for.

6. I love oatmeal. I realize this doesn't flow with the list. I just really wanted to tell you that.



I have been eyeing the Project Life concept by the lovely Miss Becky Higgins since its original launch. I've been watching what my friend Ali's been doing with hers as well, and I finally decided I wanted to jump in and play with this weekly concept.

I've got The Monthly, which is my own approach to documenting my family's memories each month, but I have fallen off the upkeep, and presently find myself 5 months behind (gasp! say it's not so!).

So when my box arrived last week, I jumped in feet first and got down to the business that is Project Life.

Here's a peek at my first week.




I added in one extra page protector from We R Memory Keepers, and simply cut it in half to be able to add a few more birthday photos of my girl.



My favorite save of the week? Capturing Facebook Status updates from my various family members. I used the Mac app "Grab" to do screen captures, then compile them into one Photoshop doc to print. I think this is a cool idea for saving a bit of everyday life from our online worlds. (Okay, so maybe I'm more prolific than the rest of the family when it comes to Facebook. Still, fun idea.)


So far, so good. I ended up printing all of my photos at home on my trusty HP Photosmart 8750. However, I decided to place an order for some Ilford Gallerie Smooth Pearl 4 x 6 photo paper. I can't deal with printing all of my photos on 8.5 x 11 and trimming. I'm needing to simplify the process and 4 x 6 home printing sounds good to me.

I will keep you posted on my thoughts with this project. I like the idea that already, it's keeping me a little more aware of what's going on in our lives, especially how I can incorporate more of the daily ephemera of life.

And I'm remembering to take more pictures. Ain't no complaints on that one.

Cathy ZielskeMeatless March Memories + Project Life

62 Comments on “Meatless March Memories + Project Life”

  1. #1
    Kendra B

    Your pages look great!! I’m ordering some of those page protectors!!! I’ve been very bad about documenting anything in a long long while. What a quick and easy way to get some pages done and get me back into the goove!!!

  2. #2
    Lee Currie

    I’m just waiting for my box to arrive, I’ve decided to jump on board as well – so much inspiration. Thanks for being a part of it, Cathy 🙂 Oh, and will you be posting any of your favourite meatless recipes? I need all the help I can get with my meat loving family!

  3. #4

    Love that you’re simplifying and doing Project Life. I need to do a major clean and tackle Project Find My Scrap Desk first. 😉
    Oh, and congrats on Meatless March. You are an inspiration in so many ways. <3

  4. #5
    Sherry G

    Welcome to Project Life! I got my April March pics ordered last night and can’t wait for the orange envelope to arrive from Shutterfly. I love the look of your pages–the way you have made this clean and simple too!

  5. #6
    Marty Ward

    I really enjoyed this post! I am just working on February Project Life, and really enjoying it. Trying to keep it fairly simple. I love your pages. Cathy, I can’t find that app that you mentioned for the screen captures on your Mac, you called it “Grab” there is one on my Mac called “Screen Grabber”, but not just “Grab”. Am I on the right track? I love your Facebook Idea!

  6. #9
    Carol Zeitz

    So Cathy, did you go back to January or is your book starting with right now? I know it shouldn’t matter but I’ve been on the fence and now it seems weird to jump in and start in April, what the heck will this thing be called? Its not really 2011 is it with 3 months missing? Looking for ideas, support, a smack on the head for being stupid, whatever.

  7. #10

    love your project life pages, cathy! love the close-up shots of cole and aidan.
    i did buy a project life kit last year, but i just couldn’t keep the pace and document weekly. i’ve realized that what i like best about it were the page protectors! i’d like to try to fit some of “the monthly” goodness into those pockets – is it ok? not sure if i’m skilled enough, though. have you ever think about merging the two projects? maybe a “the monthly life” hybrid set?

  8. #12

    Just wanted to speak to Quinoa: why did it take me til 50 to find this product?? I orig. tried it to attempt to do better w/ proteins, but I also cook it with meat/poultry. Often just fake a recipe w/ Q instead of rices or pastas. Love it!

  9. #13
    Kirsten J

    Yep – the whole taking more pictures thing….I did P365 in 2009, and was pretty good about taking pictures. Skipped out last year, and I realized how few “everyday” pictures I’d taken. I’m back at it, and loving it. So…my family balks at beans and greens, which I love…I could skip meat and think I’d get my iron/protein, but I’m not sure about my family, especially my growing girl.

  10. #14

    I thought some of the Monthly cards might fit into this system too. Theyre not quite the right size.

    I would love to see Becky do a project life in 8.5 x 11. I know she offers one in fully digital, but… I do love my smaller albums!

  11. #16

    I just did the screen shot thing this past week with my daughters twitter feed. like you, she is super funny and comes up with some great hashtags.

  12. #19
    Marina D-K

    Hi Cathy- I got inspired by Ali’s chat for one little word and the way she integrates it with Project Life so I ordered on Saturday. My box arrives today…can’t wait!

  13. #20

    I, too, take screenshots off of my Macintosh computer…. I do it from my Facebook postings AND I often take a screen shot of the Weather Widget – showing our forecast for the week. I don’t use ANY fancy apps… I just do command-shift-4 to bring up a cross-hairs and then I drag across the area that I want captured. (It places a Picture file on your desktop that you can place/print for use in your PL book.)

  14. #21

    Welcome aboard PL! I admired Ali’s work… SHE was my inspiration to climb aboard, but when I tried – they were, sadly, SOLD OUT. It was worth the wait though… I am LOVING IT!!!

    I ordered my kit when they were back in stock on 1/23 and it arrived 2/1. We got a new camera for christmas so, I had already been increasing my photography to near-daily pics… just to practice… and I used my own blog, FB postings and our calendar to document what was going on in our lives to play catch-up once it arrived.

    I haven’t done a good job of taking photos of my complete pages and sharing them on the BPS PL gallery. (You can see my FB posting screenshots and 6×4 week in review journaling cards.)

    Here’s a peek of my first 6 weeks:

  15. #23

    Cathy, keep in mind that NO poultry can be treated with hormones or antibiotics in the US. So don’t fall for paying extra for chicken that has that on the label. You are just paying for their marketing not for a difference in quality.

  16. #24

    Hi Cathy,
    I too am doing project life and have the same printer as you. For some reason, when I print 4×6, they are not 4×6 – obviously you don’t have this problem. Am I doing something wrong? I print them directly from Photoshop. Any help would be great – right now, I have to order them from Shutterfly and it annoys the heck out of me that my pages aren’t complete until about 8 weeks later:) I live in Canada so I order about 6 weeks of pictures and it takes 2 weeks for them to get here.

  17. #25

    Just wish we could Project Life here in the UK with delivery charges less than the price of a 4 bedroomed house!
    Stupid question time but after years of wondering I have to ask – Oatmeal? Is that the same as porridge (rolled oats boiled in water or milk) to a kindo of sloppy consistency or is it more like meusli – cold and crunchy?

  18. #26

    Hmmm. Not sure. I always just choose the 4 x 6 option from the drop down menu. Do you have that on your options, a 4 x 6?

  19. #30

    I am also in the UK where PL was just way too expensive for me…so I am doing my own version with AC 4×6 photo page protectors in an AC 12×12 album. I make my own 4×6 journalling cards. They are pretty ordinary but get the job done. I would love to see some CZ designed 4×6 journaling cards in the style of PL…just a suggestion! Glad that you joined PL and looking forward to see your pages.

  20. #31

    I did a picture a day for 2010 and now this year I ordered the blank album and the page protectors in multiples and the cards and have been doing a spread each month with any other pages that I make in any size. My family and friends love this one, as it has more ephemera and more difference in page sizes. I will continue to do these each year for a while now.

    I am so pleased that you enjoyed your veggie month and are making worthwhile choices now for your body and for the planet. Congratualtions from a life long veggie.

  21. #32
    Marty Ward

    Thanks for that great suggestion! I just tried it and it worked! Never knew I could do that. That gets the wheels turning for alot of great PL ideas 🙂

  22. #33

    Love your work Cathy.

    You know someone was going to ask I’m sure….So how would we do the facebook trick on a Pc? Copy and paste into a word doc? Any other thoughts?

  23. #34

    I copied mine into PS. I first enlarged my web browser though, so they would be bigger. Then did screen grabs. Not sure how to do that on a PC though!

  24. #35
    Damiane Lucas

    Wow, Cathy, your PL album is gorgeous! You truly have a way with combining colors and scraps that “sing” and are a joy to look at.

    Since I don’t have children, I am having difficulty with my PL album. I love the journaling, but I am ever challenged with the photography. My husband is tired of taking pictures of me, and I have grown tired of running around on weekends taking photos of anything I see. Sigh!

    Your family is beautiful! Thanks for sharing your awesome PL album. I look forward to seeing more!

  25. #36

    Once you get your ipad, I wonder if it would be easier to do FB screen shots on there? Maybe do a post on screen grabs in general? Resolution settings in PS to get it to print ok? How to resize if you didn’t do the screen grab correctly? I tend to move the wrong thing in PSE and everything gets stretched. Cool idea. Good luck with the project.

  26. #38
    Shannon D

    Love it Cathy. I am really enjoying PL, I find it frees me from the need to make a whole page about such a little story that I wanted to record. SO I am looking forward to really enjoying the few stories that do get their own LO. I also love that you don’t need a pic for every day, and esp Ali’s week last week without pics. Looking forward to seeing more from you.
    Did you share with us these lovely meatless recipies which were your favs?

  27. #39
    Petra from NL

    Oh yes, the facebook idea is really nice! That would definitely be in my book if I did Project Life.

  28. #43

    Yes, I do, but for some reason they don’t print out properly. When I print them on say 5×7 paper, they turn out okay, but when I print them out on 4×6, they are much smaller. That’s a problem because I have about 10 boxes of 4×6 photo paper!!

  29. #44
    Anya L

    Awesome! If I see it a few more times I will jump on it too!

    Did you just start with April? You didn’t feel like you had to go back and do weeks that you missed at the beginning of the year?

  30. #49
    gypsy chaos

    Porridge and what we Americans call ‘oatmeal’ are the same – rolled oats.
    Have you tried steel cut oats or Irish oatmeal?

    The texture is different; it’s not sloppy-gloppy or slimy either. I like rolled oats oatmeal. But I **LOVE** steel cut oatmeal!

    I use the overnight method – bring to a boil, leave on stove, burner off, overnight, then cook for 10 – 15 mins in the morning. I also cook four servings at once. I stash each serving in a separate container, and zap in the microwave oven for ~90 seconds. YUMMY and quick.

  31. #50
    gypsy chaos

    On PCs – I use the ‘print screen’ button, which captures the entire screen. Then I paste into Word or Powerpoint, or PSE.
    I prefer Powerpoint over Word because Word has funky way of anchoring images to paragraph marks whereas Powerpoint doesn’t.
    MS Office picture tools allow you to crop the image so you get just what you want.

  32. #51
    gypsy chaos

    Let your need to take photos blow away with the wind.
    How about using more images or blog posts captured online? Or magazine articles? Receipts, hang tags from purchases? Packaging that grabs your attention? Do you have objects on display with stories? Take a photo and tell the story.
    Last week I noticed that there were about five things on the table that shared the same lime green. So I gathered them, took a photo – and now when I have a dull day, I’ll use that photo and some quip about lime green overtaking the table.
    I have a 24 yr old daughter, and twin 18 yr old sons. The boys are high school seniors so I include every little thing that is senior year specific or the last time they will do something. I am amazed at how many days something happens that fits in one of those categories!
    (In fact I started PL in September because I was being all cranky about this being their last year. Instead, I now look for those moments to capture them!)

  33. #52
    gypsy chaos

    I have a 24 yr old daughter, and twin 18 yr old sons. The boys are high school seniors. I started PL in September because I was being all cranky about this being their last year.
    I include every little thing that is senior year specific or the last time they will do something. I now look for those moments to capture them. I am amazed at how many days something happens that fits in one of those categories!

    I took a photo of the album’s progress last week. sniff, sniff – the left side is higher than the right side! Even though I have all the week and journaling cards in their slots for the entire year.

  34. #54

    Sorry to bug you again – where do I find the output setting?
    When I select print size 4×6, it scales it down to 21.09%. The “crop to fit print proportions” is not checked. Then when I select print, it says that “The image is larger than the paper’s printable area; some clipping will occur”. Then under that there is a box I can check that says “Scale to fit media”. No matter what I do, it doesn’t print 4×6.
    Again, thanks for your help.

  35. #56

    Are you on a Mac or PC? Not that it should matter…

    When i pull up the print dialogue, and i select 4 x 6 from the print options, i make sure that Scaled Print Size is all left unchecked, but I guess thats the only output option to scale the size. Maybe i was thinking there was an output setting I missed, but I guess not.

    I always have Center Image checked. Im sorry to not have the answer for you. I never worry about getting that some clipping will occur message. i get that everytime i send an 8.5 x 11 print to the the printer.

    Have you thought about contacting HP?

  36. #58
    Jill Harrington

    My sister-in-law loves your blog, and told me about your Meatless March. Congrats on going the whole month!
    I’ve eaten vegan for years, and have videos on how to cook simple, veg foods… that are low in fat and calories- so you can lose weight. Thought you might want to watch a few: http;//
    I love oatmeal too 😉 (with banana and blueberry or apples, cinnamon and raisins).

  37. #59

    thanks for the link! Im definitely leaning more towards vegetarian every day, and less meat now. I also picked up some Vegenaise today at the store and was shocked at how GOOD it is. Like, you cant tell the difference at all. : )

    Little by little!

  38. #60

    I’m sticking to The Monthly. I’m ping it all digital,for the second year in a row, and I love it. It doesn’t take me long to pop pictures into the template and throw in a bit of journaling. Then I just save the file, and get it printed into a photo book at the end of the year. My family loves last year’s, and I love how easy it is. I save my deeper, and longer stories for my LOM layouts. Project Life was tempting but not quite enough for me to buy it yet, even in digital.

    Regarding chickens. Even without antibiotics, chickens from large farms are treated abominably. And free range chickens really do taste better. We buy a large one every week, roast it dinner, and I throw the carcass into the crock pot & cook the dickens out of those bones before I make chicken soup. Of course there’s only 2 of us here, but we get at least 3 meals out of it.

  39. #61

    Jill, Im enjoying your links! Watching the Dragon Bowl video, and will have to try making some this week! You have a lovely presentation style, too. : )

  40. #62

    I did get it to work, so if I am unable to print in the future, I will consider contacting HP. I almost bought a new printer, so thanks again for all your help.

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