Thursday, February 2, 2017

Charlot's Birthday day out

 If you haven't figured this out by now birthdays are a big, let's be honest HUGE deal to me! My mom always made a big deal of our birthdays and still does so I feel it is my honor to continue her tradition! As the years of having a child and now two have gone on I have found a love for giving experiences instead of things. We live in a small house that is busting at the seams with stuff. I don't remember all the stuff I had as a kid I remember all the things my parents did with me!
With this in mind we decided to let Charlot have a day out doing what she wanted to do with a couple of friends (well one got sick so she couldn't come). And let me tell you my kid knows how to design a day out in style! Charlot's school is a four day per week district so they don't have school on Mondays, so this past Monday was chose as the official Charlot day out!
As you can see in the above picture every good day out must start with the breakfast of champions...a Casey's doughnut and chocolate milk.

Next it was on to grab her buddy Dani, and escape to Columbia for a day any little girl could love! The drive was the most fun, I heard about their love of their brothers, how they were sad that Maggie got sick and couldn't come, how they weren't going to ever get married, how they would never let some strange boy kiss them(praise Jesus), a nose picking discussion happened (this might prevent the previous concern, discussion of favorite restaurants (Dani's is the Crab leg place, and Charlot's is the Boat), what they are doing this summer (Dani is going to the Lake to live Charlot is going to Disney) and then it was decided that maybe they would just live together when they are older with Maggie of course.

Once we got to Columbia lunch was the first item on the agenda. Charlot chose Noodles and Company. "Mom they have the best lunches around, plain buttered noodles, raw broccoli, and a rice krispie...amazing." I was great with that too they have some pretty awesome stir-fry as well! Lunch was more discussions about life, sharing food, coloring, laughing, planing for next years birthday party. I could barely keep up. 

We had a little time to kill before our next appointment so I asked the girls what they wanted to do. In unison "Let's go SHOPPING!" Ha! Two girls after this Momma's heart! We headed to Kohl's for a little retail therapy. Books and a character from the book were purchased! I have since heard that Dani loves the book! Score one for this Momma!

After our short shopping trip, the next stop was Paint the Town, to get a little creative. I can not say enough about this studio and how incredibly kind they were to these girls. We had the place to ourselves (the perks of Monday Funday's), and the instructor showed the girls all they needed to know to create a beautiful work of art for their room!

They both loved mixing the colors and blending them on their picture. Each picture turned out so awesome and unique all at the same time.

 Happy little artists.

Focus on spreading the glitter on to their finished products.

And the final product. they both were so proud to take these home and show them off! Could they be any cuter?!?!?!

The final stop for the day was up next!!! How could you possibly have a fun day out without a stop at Chick-fil-a for a shake.

Dance party while we wait for our shakes!!!

Shake time! I have no idea why in the world they have these faces!

Thanks so much to Dani for spending the day with us! You two seriously made my day AWESOME!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

February Meal Plan Revealed!!!

Tomorrow is a new month!!! How in the world is it already February…well a new month means big things right here!!! A new monthly meal plan guide!!! Hooray! Someone asked me where I get all my ideas for meals, for me it really isn’t anything spectacular. Once I have a month’s meal plans set I start thinking about the next month. I just keep a note pad on my desk and if I think of a meal or come across a recipe I want to try I jot it down then as I am putting my meal plan together for the month I include those recipes.
If you are new to the meal planning world it may seem a bit overwhelming at first but once you start you will get the hang of it really quick! For me I break my month down into weeks for the plan then on Sunday night I get all the meat I need for the week out of the freezer and put it in the fridge for the five night’s meals. Then each morning I check the plan and make certain I have everything I need. Once I get home I cannot stand to leave.

Next are the shopping lists as you can see they are quite extensive, I wrote down practically everything you would need to make these meals. I do this for myself as well then I shop at home and cross off the items I already have. I realize that the first list is huge, I like to do all the shopping I possibly can the first shopping trip of the month. I get all the meat need plus anything else that will keep for the duration of the month. This will be a long grocery trip but the next three weeks will be short and sweet! I have included some items on the weekly list that I purchase each week regardless of the meal plan please feel free to adjust these to your needs. 

I spend a good deal of time on these meal plans because they make my life easier please let me know if they help you and if you have any ideas for improvement. I included recipe links for several of the meals. Just click the link and it will bring you to the recipe post. I am still working on getting these into a PDF printable format (I know that would help), but currently can’t. If you could help me with that I would owe you big time! If you would like the meal plan/grocery lists e-mailed to you please feel free to contact me and I will be more than glad to do so! Please ENJOY!

February Meal Plan
Week 1- 2/6-2/10
Monday –Bacon Cheddar Quiche with tossed salad Recipe Link
Tuesday-Chili (Crockpot)
Wednesday-Chicken Portobello Stacks with rice Recipe Link
Thursday- Hawaiian Fried Rice
Friday –Shrimp and Spinach Pasta

Week 2- 2/13-2/17

Monday- Chicken and Pineapple Quesadilla Recipe Link
Tuesday- Tomato Soup (crockpot) and Heart shaped grilled cheese
Wednesday-Jambalaya with Smoked Sausage Recipe Link
Thursday-Steak Tacos (crockpot)
Friday- Baked Honey Garlic Chicken with Rice and Steamed Broccoli

Week 3 2/20-2/24

Monday-Pork Chops, Green Beans, Stuffing
Tuesday-Crockpot Mushroom Beef Tips with Mashed Potatoes Recipe Link
Wednesday- Shrimp and Spinach Salad 
Thursday-Creamy Sundried Tomato Chicken with Pasta
Friday- Pizza

Week 4 2/27-3/3

Monday- Breakfast- Pancakes, Bacon, Eggs
Tuesday- Nacho Soup (crockpot) Recipe Link
Wednesday- Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Tossed Salad
Thursday- Chicken Teriyaki Bowls with Broccoli
Friday- Ranch Pork Chops and Potatoes with Green Beans

Grocery List (monthly-this includes fresh products for the first week)

Bacon- 2lbs
Chicken Breasts (3 of the large packages)
Diced Ham
Smoked Sausage
Sirloin Steak
Pork chops (2 four chop packages)
Stew Meat 

Dairy and Eggs- 
Cheddar Cheese (2 bricks)
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Refrigerated Pie Crust
Sliced Cheese
Sour Cream  
Eggs (2 dozen)

Peas and Carrots

Canned Goods-
Canned Pineapple Rings (2)
Crushed Tomatoes (1 28oz)
Chili Beans (1) 
Chili Tomatoes (1)
Diced Tomatoes (2)
Black Beans (1)
Nacho Cheese (1)
Corn (1)
Green Beans (4)
Cream of Mushroom Soup (1)
Spaghetti Sauce (1) 
Salsa (1)
Honey (1) 
Sun dried tomatoes (1)
Box of Chicken Broth (3)
Box of Beef Broth (1) 

Dry Goods-
Teriyaki Sauce
Soy Sauce
Pasta (spaghetti)
Taco Shells
Cajun Seasoning
Taco Seasoning 
Ranch Seasoning  

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables-
Romaine Lettuce
Portobello Mushrooms 
Roma Tomatoes – 4
Onions (1 bag)
Berries (if on sale) 

Grocery List (week 2)


Fresh Fruits and Vegetables-
Bell Peppers
Shredded lettuce
Roma Tomatoes (2) 
Avocado (2) 
Berries (if on sale) 

Grocery List (week 3)


Fresh Fruit and Vegetables-
Basil (if you don’t have any left from last week)
Berries (if on sale)
Grocery List (week 4)


Garlic Bread

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables-
Avocado (2)
Romaine Lettuce
Roma Tomatoes (2)
Berries (if on sale)

Monday, January 23, 2017

She turned style!

This really happened! Charlot my sweet itty bitty Charlot turned six last week! Now yes she is still very sweet and I want her to grow and change and develop into an awesome lady but she could slow down just a bit! Plus this picture makes her look like she is 15, oh lord we are in trouble! 
But turning six is quite a big event and needs to be celebrated in super awesome style, American Girl style that is! So everything had to be shades of pinks and reds with stars everywhere.

It was such a fun party to plan this is a picture of the kids table complete with American Girl activity sheets and color sheets that you can actually print for free from the American Girl company website or through this LINK
These sheets were super fun and provided entertainment for both kids and adults alike. There were coloring sheets, cross word puzzles, word searches, design your own t-shirt the printables were endless. If you have a  American Girl loving little girl you should check these out!

I thought these turned out super cute and Charlot pretty much made them. I punched out the little circles, she taped them on the popcorn box, decided they needed to be filled with chex mix and popcorn, the she filled them and put them in the plastic bag. I just had to tie them up! So each guest had a little something to take home if they wanted or they could snack on it during the party.

The cake backdrop turned out really cute as well, I had never used Staples for large prints but thought I'd give it a try. After I designed this in Word all I had to do was uploaded it to their website and select how big I wanted it. The sign was ready in about 24 hours and it was perfect!

No party is complete without a Happy Birthday banner! I used the same color scheme as the large banner and created this. She loved it and told me exactly how she wanted it hung. Oh yes this year she had to come with me while I sat everything up. She told her Pap she had to make sure everything was JUST THE WAY SHE WANTED IT! HA!

Minus my wonky eye I think we are a pretty good looking group! Yes she is wearing her Christmas dress but she deemed she needed to be fancy for this party and this dress was as fancy as it gets.

She even picked out her own cake via Pintrest for her momma to create I suprised her by adding the number 6 topper and the stars. She was pretty pleased with how it turned out and I must say I thought it was pretty danged cute!

 No party is complete without food, and man alive was she specific on what she wanted. Those cranberry cookies in the middle were not on her menu but she said they were ok since they had red in them. 

 And no little girls party can be complete with out cupcakes with sprinkles, plus macaroons and eclair's in the background there. 

I sure hope she remembers these parties forever because I will forever remember planning them with her. I think she liked her cake! HA! Happy Happy Birthday to the little girl who holds so much of my heart, hopes and dreams. Momma loves you more than words will ever be able to describe!

Oh and she fully believes in birthdays lasting over the course of several days, this was only one of her celebrations. We has brownies and ice cream with her class, dinner out with Dairy Queen for dessert, Dairy Queen again this weekend, and next week she and a few friends are doing a girls day painting What can I say she gets it honest I LOVE BIRTHDAY'S!!! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Meal Planning Basics

What's for dinner tonight...???...!!! This seriously used to be my most dreaded question. I would sit at my desk and try to think what in the world am I going to fix for supper, I wouldn't have meat out so that would lead to having to run to the store multiple times per week to grab fresh meat which would also always lead to buying more than I actually needed which also lead to so much waste in my life. Waste in the form of not using what I already had in my freezer to waste of buying things we didn't really need all of which lead to a GIANT waste of money.

In February of 2016 I started seriously monthly meal planning and I stuck with it so well for quite some time. But then late this fall I found myself back in that same rut of cooking the same things over and over again and making frequent trips to the grocery store mid week. I knew I had to get back at the meal plan. Come the first week of  January I quickly got organized and quickly got back into my meal plans and I can't tell you how much stress they remove from my life. If you'd like to give it a try I am going to outline my process and give you a few tips that I have found help my planning. So basically keep reading.

First and foremost look at your weekly schedule and see what types of meals will fit into that schedule. For us we don't get home until later on Tuesday and Thursday evenings due to gymnastics so this is reflected on my meal plans with crock pot meals or super quick meals that I can do the bulk of the prep for the night before. I will point out that I only meal plan Monday through Friday nights basically because, I do my weekly grocery shopping on Saturday's so this is the evening I typically try out new recipes, plus we go out on Saturday night some. Then Sunday's are kind of a simple supper, leftovers kind of nights.

Second you need to decide if you are going to do weekly or monthly plans. I do monthly mainly because then I only have to think about it once per month. I lay out my calendar mark out any special dates I have planned, for instance Charlot's birthday dinner out. I then break it down by the week on a piece of notebook paper and write out what the meal will be. I have found this helps with not having chicken 4 nights of the week. I try for one night of each meat product, beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, turkey. Now there are some repeats but this allow for variety in our meals. Get some help with this step ask your kiddos to plan a night of what they want, asks the hubs for ideas (mine actually is pretty helpful in this area if I ask plenty in advance).

Next once your plan is laid out it is critical to make a very detailed grocery list, typically I just go through the meal plan and write everything I am going to need for the entire month, including totals like 4 cans of green beans. Once this list is complete I take an inventory of what I already have at home and cross of the list what I can. Now this might be the crazy part for me but it helps I swear. I rewrite this list by department, produce, meat, frozen, dairy, canned goods, dry goods.

From the list it is time to hit the store, now since I do monthly meal plans I do one big shop day for all that I can for the month, then each week I only have to shop for the fresh produce. I shop as much as possible at Aldi I just save a ton of money there, then I head to Walmart and my local grocery store for the rest.

Once it is all at home and unpacked (the worst part), it's time to start taking that plan into action. Stick the plan on your fridge so it is easily reference. I typically get two nights worth of meat out of the freezer and stick it in the fridge so it is ready to go when I am ready to cook.

This plan has made such a difference in our lives I seriously am a better Momma because of it!

Please let me know if this helps you and any suggestions you have or what works for you! I will take a picture of my actual meal plan and post it when I get home.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A reminder of the importance of blogging...

So I have been a terrible blogger lately I'll be the first to admit it. I want to be better I really do and sometimes it just takes a kick in the rump to do just that. Today I was checkout another ladies blog and I saw all the pictures of her kids from over the years and instantly I knew I had just gotten my kick.

You see I started this whole blog as a way to scrapbook our life that our family and friends could see. As to start off I want to catch you to a little bit of speed in our life. We enjoyed an amazing little Christmas break I was able to be home with the kiddos from the 15th of December until January 3rd. It could not have been more amazing, thinking of Christmas break home with my kids is what gets me through the hot long summer hours of my job.
We enjoyed sleeping in late, going on lunch dates, making Christmas ornaments, playing board games and pretty much just being together. These pictures are a small look at the fun we had.

The Christmas tree and the baby met became friend and nearly came face to face as he nearly pulled it over.

A little snow occurred which called for snow you think she possibly needs new snow pants???

RaRa came home that's a happy pair right there.

And she brought Christopher, Conrad is finding him to be a ok.

Snuggle time reading the night before Christmas. Please don't mind the Hubs creepy facial hair.

Christmas morning joy.

I got many wonderful gifts this year at Christmas more than I deserved but this one was my favorite. Hand selected and made by my sweet daughter. She knows me so well, inside that wrapping paper...a peanut butter cup, that's the way to momma's heart.

This year was the best, I'm pretty sure I say that every year but each and every year I feel more and more blessed to lead the life I do. Thanks for sticking with us and continuing to read.