Our Home

Today is a pretty special day.

It’s been one year since we moved into our first home together. A home we’ve made ours and will continue to do so.

A home we will bring our second baby home to and continue to raise our first born.

A home we’ve already shared so many memories in.

I can’t wait to build more memories together in this beautiful home. I can’t wait to spend many holiday seasons making it beautiful.

My favorite guys in my favorite room of the house.

Sometimes

Sometimes you feed your kid fuffins (muffins) for dinner.

Sometimes you just give up on a well balanced meal because he just screamed for 25 minutes straight in the car because you refused to give up your phone to the demanding little guy.

These things happen.

Then, your curl up with a blanket on the giant pillow and play hide and seek and trucks and his devilish little grin reminds you he just can’t help his big emotions in his tiny body.

Being (almost) two can be rough….on everyone. 
Sometimes you give in to his favorite food while watching his favorite movie. Just to make the screaming and tears fade away. 
Because, sometimes, it’s worth it. 

Pajama Day

Every once in a while I feel the need to have a pajama day.

Today was one of those days.

A day we never left our pjs. We snuggled. We played. We watched LOTS of movies and some were, unfortunately, on repeat. We napped. We watched more movies. We played more.

We never left our pajamas.

It was glorious.

I mean you can’t tell by the look on his face. But he totally enjoyed it too. 

It was nice to have one day of rest before the excitement of the holidays begins!

Fall Fun

I love fall.
I love traditions and making new ones.
I love making memories.

We always cram as much fun as possible into our two week break away from work and some on the weekends too.

Here’s a glimpse at what we’ve conquered this fall season.

Naked pumpkin painting party with cousins.
Okay, not entirely naked but it was warm enough we could spare the clothing. 

Tuttle’s is a must. 

Lark Ranch with Kiki. 

Tuttle’s again and again. 

Zoo Boo!

He clearly enjoys the train rides everywhere we go!

Trick or Treating!

Meeting his new cousin, Baby Mike

A trip to the Newport Aquarium

Meeting a mermaid!

Getting his eyes checked with Dr. Scott

LOTS of time with his BoBo!

And maybe his favorite part of fall – tractor rides with Papaw Tractor!
We are truly fortunate to get to do so many fun things!

And then there were 4….

We are so blessed to announce that in May Easton will be a Big Brother….and 3 will become 4!

I have every good intention possible to be more present on this blog.  I have a crazy (almost) 2 year old.  Pregnancy the second time around is a whole new ball game.  
Truly, since getting pregnant, it’s been nothing but exhaustion and nausea.  Is the exhaustion the 2 year old or the pregnancy, though? That’s the real question. 
I’d love to be better about documenting this beautiful life we live.  Beautiful – as in crazy and screwed up.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  
Well, maybe a weekend away in Nashville with the girlfriends when I’m NOT nursing or pregnant. 

The Truth Behind Meal Planning

Here’s the truth behind meal planning

See that August calendar?  See all the changes? 
That’s real life people.  
Shit happens and momma don’t feel like cooking.  
Or, poppa goes out of town and momma finds all the possible excuses to go to dinner with girlfriends and their cherubs.  
Lots of arrows.  Lots of crossing out.  
That’s the truth behind meal planning.  
The best part about meal planning is.  I buy groceries for the week based on my meals I’m planning.  BUT, if we didn’t get to eat a meal I purchased groceries for the week before….then guess what? 
We are eating it the following week instead and that is less groceries to purchase!
It’s a beautiful thing. 
Wanna know what’s not beautiful? 
A 1 year old who refuses to eat a decent meal. 
A husband who works his ass off and is hardly ever home to eat my home cooked meal. 
A wife who basically cooks a meal for herself. 
A raging toddler who throws that delicious meal at the dog. 
A beastly little 1 year old who claims he’s “hungy” and wants to “eat” all the time but once it’s time to sit down at the dinner table he screams like a lunatic at what you’ve prepared. 
Those things are not beautiful at all. 
In fact, they’re enough to make me lose my shit on a nightly basis. 
But, I’ll try again. 
Here’s my plan for September and maybe there won’t be as m any arrows? 
One can hope!

What’s for dinner?

Before long I’m sure my sweet blonde baby will be asking, “Momma, what’s for dinner?” and in just a few days it is time for us to settle back in to our school routine.  Summer is carefree and poor planning.  Frosted flakes for dinner after I put the cherub to bed and lots of pb&js for him on his picnic table outside.

I do my best to relax during the summer, including my lack of dinner planning.

Sadly, that time has come to an end.  The beautiful relaxing mornings will fade away come Friday and it will be back to strict bedtime routines, mornings before the sun comes up, and dinner on the table by 5.

How do I do it?

Meal planning and prep.

It’s not your Whole 30 Super Healthy kind of meal planning.  It’s just meal planning to avoid the question, “What’s for dinner?” and (added bonus) to simplify grocery shopping every week.

Each week I order my groceries from Walmart Pick-Up and it saves us a lot of money.  I usually pick up on Thursday’s on our way home from work and I get our groceries for the following week.

My biggest tips for meal planning would have to be:

  • Plan out your meals for the month in advance if you can, but if that seems like too much….go for one week at a time.  That is truthfully how I started out meal planning over a year ago.  
  • Store snack items in a special spot in the fridge.  We have a drawer full of applesauce, yogurts, and cheesesticks.  
  • Grocery shop once a week and I highly recommend Walmart’s Pick-Up if you’re from our area.  I’ve had no problems with it and can’t say enough amazing things about how it saves my life (and sanity).   You can get $10 off multiple times by sharing a code.  
  • Shop for pantry and bulk items with Amazon so they arrive on your porch for FREE or make a monthly Sam’s Club trip.  
  • Take care of prepping for your meals as you unpack your groceries (marinate, chop, etc.)(
  • Keep a running grocery list on your phone and immediately add things when you’re running low.  I like to use Google Keep for my notes on my phone.  
  • Look for a creative way to use a meal multiple times.  For example, I like to make chicken tacos on a Monday.  Then, on Thursday I use the leftovers to make quesadillas.  

My friends have often asked me how I come up with so many meal ideas to fill up a monthly calendar.  Honestly, I have more than a months worth but so many meals feel like they only are fit to eat in the winter and same goes for summer.

Here are the list of meals I keep in my find for when I sit down to meal plan:

  • Ham and Cheese sliders (I love to make these the day before and then just bake them after work the next day.  They also are great as leftover so make plenty so you have some!)
  • Beef Tacos
  • Chicken tacos – Super easy crockpot meal.  Frozen chicken breasts, salsa, taco seasoning.  Cook on low all day and come home to dinner!  I eat with taco shells or fritos!
  • Salmon and rice – I usually do butter and lemon pepper seasoning with my salmon.  
  • Roast, mashed potatoes, corn – Super easy crockpot meal
  • French dips – Another easy crockpot meal
  • Lasagna – I love to split this recipe up into two 9×9 pans and then freeze one for the next time!
  • Fajitas – I love the oven baked fajitas.  It takes about 10 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to bake.  
  • Steak with grilled veggies
  • Pork BBQ – This is one that Mike usually takes care of.  He smokes it and we have enough for 3-4 meals.  
  • Chili – More of a winter meal
  • Homemade pizza – I like to use leftover pork bbq and make a bbq pizza!
  • Vegetable beef soup – I like this one for a Sunday because it requires more prep.  It does, however, make a ton of leftovers which is great for the week. 
  • Grilled or baked pork chops
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Grilled chicken – I like to marinade in ranch or italian dressing all day. 
  • Buffalo chicken sliders, or wraps, or just dip!
  • Chicken fried rice
  • Cheeseburgers
  • Tilapia
  • Fried Chicken (my speciality….just like momma made)
  • Beef stew
  • Salmon patties
  • Baked pesto stuffed chicken (Pinterest!)
  • chicken fingers and fries (for those nights you just simply can’t cook)
  • grilled cheese and soup of choice
  • Quesadillas – We have a little maker….amazing!
  • Breakfast – waffles, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches….this is a family favorite because we often don’t even get a big breakfast on the weekends
  • Spaghetti
  • Beef and noodles – crockpot!
  • Meatloaf
  • Ribs – Mike handles this one on the smoker!
  • Smoked sausage
  • Cubed steak
  • Parmesan Herb Salmon
  • Butter Chicken – Sooooo yummmmy…..newest favorite from Pinterest
  • Lemon chicken Piccata
  • Chicken and broccoli stir fry
  • Pork fritters (yes, frozen ones in a yellow/blue box and don’t hate)
  • Garlic shrimp and pasta
When I meal plan, I don’t really consider sides.  I have enough sides stocked in the fridge or pantry.  I keep vegetables and potatoes or rice on hand always.  I just like to wait and see what sounds good.  We are creatures of habit and do tend to eat the same things with each meal. 
I hope this has helped some of you who struggle with the question, “What’s for dinner?”  
I suggest starting small with a weekly plan and build from there! If you’d like specific recipes for any of my meals above don’t hesitate to ask!  I’d love to share.