$5.00 Dinner

I was cooking dinner tonight and thought I might share the benefits of meal planning….

For tonight, I had planned Shake-N-Bake pork chops, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.  Initially I just planned the meat and went to the grocery store to find my two veggie sides.

1. Pork chops

– I got these on a buy one-get one for $8.00 for both…so $4.00

– The Shake-n-Bake is about $2.00 a box for two meals….so $1.00

2.  Sweet potatoes

– Those were about $0.75 each, so $1.50.  When I started preparing dinner, I realized I had all the ingredients for sweet potato casserole. So I splurged and made that instead of just sweet potatoes.  All the ingredients were probably $1.50 if  I broke it up.   This is the best sweet potato casserole recipe ever, so easy too!! http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/10/soul-sweet-taters-step-by-step-recipe/

3. Broccoli

– I got this for $2.00  a bundle at Publix on Sunday.  Steamed with lemon butter on top.

SOOOO….the grand total for this planned, home cooked meal was…

$4.00 + $1.00+ $1.50+ $2.00= $8.50 plus $1.50 for the stuff for the sweet potato casserole…..$10!!!

This meal is enough for 4 large servings, so it was enough for Dan and I to have dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow.  NOT TOO SHABBY!!

And….very healthy!!



Fish Dishes

I’m really trying to make an effort to incorporate fish into our family meals more often.  I grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida, so I’ve always been around fish dishes, but I really don’t think about them when meal planning.  For the month of June, I planned fish on Sunday nights.  Fish is one of those meals that is really nice for a sit down dinner, but cooks really fast, which is great.   I’ll definitely blog when I make these to let you know how they were!

Here are the recipes I plan to try this month.

1. Giada’s Broiled Tilapia with Mustard-Chive Sauce:


She made this with a carrot and yam puree, which looked delicious, healthy and easy.  I think that will be one of my veggie sides when I make this fish!



2. Grilled Salmon with Peach Salsa





3. Pecan crusted grouper



Healthy Meal Planning

Several people have asked me about my monthly meal planning, so I thought it would be a good idea to share my meal plan for June on the blog.

Since January, I have been meal planning for the month and it’s one of the best things I’ve done. This has saved me so much time and money!    It’s a big priority for me to cook for my family and eat at home.  As a working mom, we’d be eating out every night without this done up front. Along with the savings, it also important to me that the meals are healthy.  I want Sarah to eat and taste lots of different things that aren’t covered in cheese, sauces,  bread/pasta or processed canned products.  Now, don’t get me wrong, we do eat those things, but only occasionally.

As I’ve said before, I don’t meal plan for leftovers, because we eat those for lunch.  Also, in the summer, we are usually at the lake on the weekends, so I don’t meal plan for Saturdays.  Friday is our night out, so that night is out also for no meal needed.  So if you follow this, you’ll have to adjust the meals for your family.  Just to give you an idea…in May…I bought everything I need for the month other than weekly produce and spent $276.  For the WHOLE month!!  Y’all this will save your wallet and your waist line 🙂

Hope you find this helpful!! 🙂 Happy, healthy meal planning!

Each week we have fish, chicken, and some kind of red meat (steak, ground beef, etc).   For the other meal, I throw in pork, spaghetti…etc.

So for June the list of the sixteen planned meals are:

  1. Grilled chicken with two vegetable sides (see below)- 4 times
  2. Roasted shrimp with white beans and one vegetable side http://cristinaferrarecooks.com/2012/05/roasted-shrimp-with-white-beans/
  3. Steak and two vegetable sides- 2 times
  4. Grilled or baked fish with two vegetable sides – 3 times
  5. Spinach and feta quiche http://www.duchessoffork.com/2012/02/spinach-feta-quiche/
  6. Hawaiian short ribs with rice and one vegetable side http://www.marthastewart.com/863079/hawaiian-style-short-ribs?czone=f&center=854190&gallery=274310&slide=863079
  7. Spinach salad
  8. Crockpot roast with carrots, onion and potatoes
  9. Spaghetti
  10. Grilled cheese (for a night I’ll be gone, but Dan will be home)

Vegetable sides:

As I’ve said, I don’t buy processed foods like macaroni and cheese, pastas, etc except when I’m in a bind or need a quick meal.  I also try to stay away from regular baking potatoes.  Those are heavy and seem to me a lot like bread….Usually I go to the store or farmers market and just look to see what produce looks good.  Here’s my go-to list of vegetable sides.

  1. Steamed or roasted broccoli
  2. Steamed haricot verde (sometimes I do this with mushrooms) http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2009/01/recipe-for-roasted-green-beans-with.html
  3. Roasted squash, zucchini and cherry tomatoes http://deliciousshots.blogspot.com.br/2012/07/summer-roasted-vegetables.html
  4. Roasted brussel sprouts
  5. Baked or roasted sweet potatoes http://www.fortheloveofcooking.net/2009/03/roasted-sweet-potatoes.html
  6. Roasted carrots http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2013/01/honey-roasted-carrots.html
  7. Boiled or grilled corn/corn on the cob http://www.marthastewart.com/352689/grilled-corn-cob?czone=f&center=276948&gallery=274928&slide=35268
  8. Mushrooms and leaks http://www.marthastewart.com/315341/grilled-mushrooms-and-leeks?czone=f&center=276948&gallery=274928&slide=31534
  9. Edamame and chickpea salad http://www.fitsugar.com/Vegetarian-Vegan-Protein-Snacks-After-Workout-16519560?slide=2
  10. Garden salad
  11. Roasted or grilled asparagus http://www.marthastewart.com/313604/garlicky-roasted-asparagus?czone=f&center=276948&gallery=274928&slide=313604
  12. Grilled eggplant http://www.marthastewart.com/317065/hoisin-glazed-eggplant?czone=f&center=276948&gallery=274928&slide=317065
  13. Sauteed spinach http://www.marthastewart.com/274928/quick-vegetable-side-dish-recipes/@center/276948/dinner-tonight#338294
  14. Roasted cauliflower http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/balsamic_parmesan_roasted_cauliflower.html
  15. Black beans http://www.marthastewart.com/314007/black-beans-with-lime?czone=f&center=276948&gallery=274928&slide=314007
  16. White beans http://mywholefoodlife.com/2012/10/08/super-easy-bean-salad-2/
  17. Vegetable skewers http://www.ahintofhoney.com/2011/06/grilled-sweet-potato-and-vegetable.html


My summer DIY plans for the living room

Home decor is not my strong suit…… now, if you need me to tutor your child in reading, I’ve got that covered.  🙂 When we first moved to Prattville in 2006, I had a decorator come in just to get me started on some kind of home decor and I’m now tired of all that stuff.  SO! I’ve resolved to spend time this summer redoing and DIYing to change the look.

Right now our color palette is more earth tones: red, gold, sagey green, brown.  I’m ready to lighten things up! Our pieces are good, so I think a lot of things I can take what we have and revamp them.

This is the palette I want to move to….



Yellow is my favorite color…so sunny and bright! I think the yellow, gray, and turquoise will be great and allow me to incorporate some of the pieces I already have! So excited….

I’ve already prepared my husband that we’re gonna be busy this summer!

In the living room…………

photo 1

We already have this print.  I really love it and all the colors in it.  I think this can definitely be used with my new palette…I just need to lighten up the frame.  Maybe that cream color…..

photo 2

These candle holders are also really cute, just the color won’t work.  I’m thinking either painting them yellow or turquoise…

photo 3


We have these red lamps with gold shades….I definitely want to paint them.  I’m thinking yellow with simple white shades.

photo 4


We have this large aged looking mirror. I love the texture on it, but it’s too dark. I want to lighten up the frame.

photo 5

Our coffee table…..I want to turn this into an ottoman!! 🙂 Like this one…



Our couch is in really good shape, its just dark brown.  I’m thinking about doing a slipcover….we have a 16 month old, so being able to take it off and wash it, I think will be a really good thing.



We have a few other things up on the walls that I can just paint and lighten up. So excited!! Stay tuned for master bedroom ideas!

Any other ideas???



Easter 2013

Overall, Easter 2013 was a fun day.  I was really excited about giving Sarah her first Easter basket! (I didn’t do it last year, because she was only 4 months old….)

Dan and I have had walking pneumonia in the past week or so and Sarah was diagnosed with the flu on Wednesday. Even though we all have been on antibotics and were feeling better, the doctor suggested that she not to go the nursery at church, as not to infect other children. 🙂 So…we couldn’t go to church on Easter. 😦  I was so disappointed, but had my own quiet time at home that morning.  So thankful for the sacrifice of our Savior.  I was reading the story of Easter book to Sarah that morning and just started crying….amazing and I am undeserving.

I was so excited to put Sarah’s Easter basket together.

photo 1 photo 2


-Bunny slippers

– Max and Ruby book and a mini-Max (that she hugged all day and called her “bay-buh”

– Two Easter books

– Two shiny new sippy cups

– Annie’s organic chocolate chip graham bunnies (she loves the cheddar and original graham…..these were also a big hit!

– Yogurt melts (she LOVES these!)

It was so fun watching her unpack her basket! She said “ooooohhh” with everything she saw.

This was so cute watching her unpack her basket, but the pics we took were not good....

This was so cute watching her unpack her basket, but the pics we took were not good….

After we had our morning at home, we headed to lunch at my parents’ house with them, my sister, and my brother and his family.  It was delicious!

Easter table Place setting photo 1

On the menu:

– Barbeque brisket


-Cole Slaw

– Deviled Eggs

– Pioneer Woman Sweet Potato Casserole (made by yours truly)

– Fruit salad

After lunch, my sister in law planned an Easter egg hunt.  So cute watching Sarah find a “ball”, and sit down to open each one.

photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 1

Overall, a very fun day! So many things to be thankful for!

Tips for the Working Mom: Part III

The final installment of “working outside the home” mom tips.  I hope you have found these helpful!

11.  Budget

Next week marks our 9th anniversary.  For these nine years, my husband has done the budget. Starting in February, I took over the budget. It sounds like one more thing to have to do and it is….but I am so glad that I did.  For the most part, I am the one buying gifts, groceries, paying bills, etc. For me to know about our money each month just make sense. When my husband did the budget, I really had no idea about how we were spending our money.   I guess my tip for this would be, you need to know where your money is.  If you don’t do the budget in your house, either take it over or play a role. It’s really important.

photo 4

12. Support other’s businesses

Sometimes I get sad that I can’t be that “crafty mom”.  I see so many people with all these cute wreaths and monogrammed clothes for their kids and I wish that I had the time to do these things for my family.  But…I realized that I can have the best of both. Many of these fun items, are for sale on Etsy or Facebook.  You can have the cute wreath and support these small businesses of others!  So instead of being depressed that I don’t have time, I’m happy to be able to purchase and show that support to these businesses!

photo 2

13.  Take time for you

As I mentioned before, it can seem as though the day to day things make life into one big to-do list.   In the midst of all the things you do to keep your family running, you have to take time for yourself every day.  For me, this happens early (4:45) in the morning….but yours might be in the middle of the day or in the evening…  I get up and have some quiet time before meeting my running group for a run.   I absolutely love running and look forward to this every day.  Its that one thing that is just for me.  Make sure you put in this time!

14.  Get a planner

If you don’t have a planner, get one.  I tried doing my scheduling online with google calendars, but nothing for me can replace that little spiral notebook. It helps keep everything together in one place and is truly a lifesaver.   I could not keep up with my crazy schedule, my husband’s schedule, church stuff, ministry stuff, and family stuff without it!

photo 3

15. Daily checklist

Finally, I made myself a daily checklist for the frig to help me keep up with everything that has to be done each day.  You can see on this checklist that I split up some of the weekly chores by day to help make the work on the weekends a little smaller.  Lightening my weekend load is so important, because those are the days I have to spend with my family and relax.  This checklist has been extremely helpful and helps sort out all the mess in my head that I have to keep up with.

photo 1

Tips for the Working Mom: Part II

Continuing on….. a few more tips to help make lives easier for those working outside the home moms….

6. Prep for dinner

Because I meal plan, I know each day what we are having for dinner that night. I always to the prep work for dinner either the night before or when I come home for lunch.  When I get home from working with the kids in the after school program, I don’t want to have to do a lot of work to get dinner ready. I purposely plan meals that are quick to throw together or are in the crockpot.  The most you can do to prep ahead of time will really help!  So if you are having a veggie, go ahead and get it all cut up and ready.  If you are having some kind of meat, get it thawed and in the marinade or whatever you are doing to cook it.   Any ingredients you might need, go ahead and set them on the counter with the recipe. That way when you walk in the door, you have what you need right there waiting on you.

7.  Pack up the night before

Each evening, it is part of my routine to go ahead and pack up Sarah’s diaper bag, my purse, and my work bag and put it by the back door.   I don’t want to have to track down the things I need as I’m trying to get out the door.  I go ahead and pack up Sarah’s food for the day and put it in the frig, so in the morning I just have to grab it and throw it in her prepared diaper bag.  This way it is all ready to put in the car!

8. Date Night

I don’t know about you, but it can seem for me that life is just one big checklist. ( I actually do have my weekly chores checklist).  I am always thinking about the next thing that has to be done.  Having those things you can look forward to are so important!  For me, I always get a babysitter on Friday nights.  This gives me the night off and gives me something to look forward to.  I love our Friday nights!  We’re lucky that both my parents and my husband’s parents are within 30 minutes, so most Friday nights Sarah actually spends the night away.  We can take our time, go to dinner, go to a movie, whatever.   If you can’t  go out, make sure you take one night a week with your spouse to just veg.  Watch a movie, order in dinner….. that time together and for me, the time off, is vital to my  sanity!

9. Gifts

March was a particularly crazy month when it came to gift buying.   This month, I purchased gifts for the following people: my mom, my dad, my niece, my mother-in-law, a wedding gift, and four baby gifts.   If I had gone out and bought these one at a time, that would have taken forever.  I made a list of all the gifts needed for this month and went out at one time and purchased them all. I also picked up all the gift wrap stuff, came home and wrapped them.  They sat on my closet shelf until the time came for the party they were for.  This saved me so much time. I loved having them all waiting on me, rather than me rushing out the night before each event to find a gift.  Thankfully April isn’t nearly as bad, but I’ll continue to follow this trend!

10.  Give yourself  a bedtime

With all the stuff I do before I go to bed, I am strict with giving myself a bed time (9:30)  I get up and run in the mornings (this will be on the Part III post) and I have to get enough rest.  Go ahead and decide what time you need to go to bed and stick to it.  It’s so important to get enough rest!  If you end up in bed a few minutes later than planned, no biggie, but hold yourself to paying attention to your needs and get in bed!

Stay posted for the final tips..Part III! 🙂