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Frozen

19 Feb

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Okay so one of my goals when I became a stay-at-home mama was to be on my shit when it came to meal planning.  And I gotta say…I have been on my shit.  I am obsessed with make-ahead freezer meals.  It makes life so easy and convenient and we have saved a ton of money in the process.  Basically I spend a ton of time browsing the internets for awesome freezer crock pot meal plans and go from there.  I am trying to choose healthy options for us which means I buy, like, 24 chicken breasts every time I hit the grocery store.  But recently I have been mixing it up with meatballs and soup.  What can I say..I like livin’ on the edge.

The photo above shows the results of my most recent freezer meal adventure.  Shopping on Sunday, assembly on Monday.  All of the recipes came from this post at Our Jolly Life.  I made everything except the Butter Chicken (I did Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken and Orange Chicken instead) and the Jambalaya…we bought the pre-made mix instead of doing it from scratch.  Total fail, I know.  I also made Mandy’s Big Mess, a sausage, pepper, and pineapple concoction that you can find the recipe for here.  I also made a couple dozen freezer biscuits using this recipe – I figure they are good to have on hand for weekend breakfasts or to go with dinner soups.  So that’s that.  We are all stocked up for another week and a half or so.  It’s silly, but I am so much more relaxed knowing dinner’s ready to go every night and all I have to do is whip up a salad or steam some veggies.  It.  Is.  Awesome.

Lovely, Lovely Love

10 Feb

Welp.  I’m officially one of those people.  The kind that decorates for whatever holiday or season is next on the list.  Throughout the month of January, our house was filled with motivational quotes about new beginnings and cheers all around.  I was actually super excited to decorate for Valentines Day.  And, thanks to Target, our whole house is covered with love for less than $15.

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Falloween.

3 Oct

Okay, okay, I know it’s still nine thousand degrees in southern California but that doesn’t mean it can’t feel like a New Hampshire November or some shit inside my house.  Since I am at home right now it’s basically up to me to decorate our abode.  Oh also raise our child but you know.  Katherine and I spent waaaaaaay too much time at Hobby Lobby last week but the end result is pretty damn good I think.  I went more fall/harvest feel as opposed to traditional Halloween feel.  I’m pretty sure black glitter lanterns and skulls and stuffed ravens would not mesh well with a happy-go-lucky first grader.  Or maybe it would but I don’t wanna be the one to find out.  So here’s what we ended up with:

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Wreath.

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Trick or Treat banner.  Vases & flowers throughout from Michael’s and Hobby Lobby over the years.  Play mat.

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Fall vase and flowers from previous years.

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You can use this for about 349237402 different things.  Current state: napkin holder.

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Flowers from previous years.  Glitter pumpkins from Hobby Lobby.  High chair.

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I also found fall art printables online and had them printed at CVS.  Then I dropped them in these frames from Michaels and placed them all around the house for tidbits of fall all around.

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Our bedroom dresser.  Glitter pumpkins from Hobby Lobby.  Candles.

So there you have it.  Nothing over the top, but I think it works.  I wanted there to just be little sprinkles of fall throughout the house.  A bit more in the living room since that’s where we spend most of our downtime.  It looks like harvest.  Harvest with the AC blasting.  What can you do.

A Room With A View.

1 Oct

My sister and her man came to visit a few weeks back.  We had a blast just hanging out eating Mexican food and it was so fabulous to see them bond with their niece.

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Aunt Winnie and Katherine.

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Uncle Mike and Katherine.

They also basically saved my ass a ton of time and stress and finished up the nursery.  It got put on hold with our early bird’s appearance and has been kinda sorta in limbo until a couple weeks ago.  I had an idea of what I wanted, I just didn’t know quite how to go about it.  All I knew was that my mom and sister were working on a mobile so don’t go out and buy one.  Anyway, we got it all did up and it is basically perfect.  I would not change a thing.  I am in love with her room.  It feels so happy and cheery and light.

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Crib.  Mesh Bumper.  Mobile by my mom and sister.  Lamp.  Chair from my Nanny.  Yarn letters by me (I know, right?!) – tutorial here.

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Paper lanterns.  Changing table off Craigslist.  Hamper.  Car Seat.  Changing table pad.  Baby wipes warmer.  Diaper Dekor.  Frames.  Sea Animal prints.

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Frame, link above.  Cloud print.

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Bookcase.  Rug.

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Adorable creatures handmade by my Aunt Marge.

We also did a bit of decorating in Audrey’s bedroom:

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Paper Lanterns.

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Frames.  Cloud and rainbow prints.  Dream Big print.

So there you have it.  I can’t thank my family enough for helping make the girls’ rooms super spectacular.  We love, love, love them and they were a fantastic surprise for Corey when he came home from his business trip that weekend. ❤

I’ve Got the Need, the Need to Feed…

21 Aug

Okay.  So basically my new life goal is to be a fabulous mama/domestic goddess.  Katherine is growing and happy AND my bathrooms are clean so I think I’m off to a decent start.  We’ll see how it goes.

I had read on numerous blogs/websites/forums etc. while pregnant that freezer meals were the way to go with a new baby in the house.  It seemed like an easy way to make sure our family didn’t starve or become best friends with the Papa John’s delivery guy or move in with the neighbors across the street because they have non-expired milk and clean forks in the silverware drawer.  There were quite a few sites I found through Pinterest, or browsing the web on my own, but the one that struck a chord with me was Once A Month Meals (OAMM, formerly Once A Month Mom – they are in the process of renovating and improving their site, yay!)  They have a wide variety of meal plans, including traditional, vegetarian, gluten free, and baby food.  They also offer mini meal plans, which have five or ten day options as opposed to an entire month.  What I love most about this site is the way it lays everything out for you – you pop in the number of people you are cooking for and it adjusts the quantities accordingly on the grocery list and recipes.  They also give you recipe labels with reheat instructions, and a step-by-step guide on how to prep and cook on your big day.  Love, love, love it – it makes it so easy to plan and shop and cook.

It was my plan to make a month’s worth of food while on maternity leave so that we would be prepared when Baby Girl was born, buuuut…plans schmans (if this child has taught me anything, it is this: plans are ridiculous and stupid, and life and God and the universe are gonna give you what works so don’t even try).   Freezer meals got put on the back burner until about two weeks ago.  I signed up for the monthly membership (only $8!) and decided to attempt the Traditional Mini Menu from June 2013 – 5 meals for about 10 days worth of food.  My aunt was in town so we loaded Katherine in the car and went grocery shopping.

I had gone through the grocery list the previous night and checked off what we already had on hand.  First stop was the 99 Cents Only store (don’t even knock it until you’ve walked through the door – I cannot even tell you how many hundreds of dollars we have saved since we started shopping there), then headed to Stater Bros for meats and anything I couldn’t obtain at the 99.  All in all, we spent about three hours shopping and I got everything pictured below for about $120 (and I’d say a third of the stuff you see was not menu-related – school lunch stuff, house goods, etc.)  You get it though – I got away for cheap!  And ignore the pile of crap on the table…it is a much, much smaller pile of crap now, FYI.

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I did all of my prep work (cooking meats, chopping veggies) the night before I was going to cook.  Took about two hours.  I labeled everything and bagged them in the fridge.  I started the big stuff the next day around 12:30.  You can see I had some super helpful helpers:

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I tweaked a couple of things (lightened up on the onions for Corey) and had to run out to the store for a few things (I underestimated the amount of pie crust I needed…or overstuffed with meat…either way…I needed more!) but I was done with 90% of it by 4:00 that afternoon.  I finished up the empanada recipe that night, once additional pie crust had been obtained.  That took maybe another hour.  All in all, I am super stoked on the way things went and am gonna take on a full month of food here in the next couple of weeks.  I cooked a week ago and we still have a TON of food left.  So far we’ve tried the empanadas and the burgers and both have been a hit.

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Quick & Simple Empanadas.

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Slow Cooker Jerk Pork

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Smoky Monterrey Jack Burgers

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Skillet Spaghetti Pie

So…I am going to stick with this freezer meal planning thing.  I think it really is the easiest, cheapest way to put food on the table.  Not having to worry about what we’re gonna have for dinner that night (or who’s gonna cook it) has made a huge difference in our house.  It’s just one less thing to think about with a newborn and a first grader and a dog and a traveling man.  So yay for Once A Month Meals!  I am one happy mama with a freezer full of food.

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