Dream Dinner Challenge Wrap Up

30
Sep
2014

Dinner-Challenge

Earlier this month I partnered with Dream Dinners  with the 30 Days of Dinner Challenge.  I was blessed with a fabulous way to provide great meals to my family by using the simple and easy meals you pre-make in their store locations.  We have had a very busy month and it was such  treat to just pull something from the freezer and not have to worry about grocery shopping or coming up with an idea and prep time.

We took care of that when we went into Dream Dinners and made our dinners in just under 1 1/2 hours!

We exceeded the challenge I took by two meals.  Our schedule is tricky – but this month I had challenged myself to 15 family meals together – we actually had 17 (and that is not including several breakfasts and lunches!)

What we ate

This is our spread from Dream Dinners – remember I am not a food photographer, but this will give you some ideas of the yummy meals we had.  We also of course had leftovers and a few other family favorites mixed in.

Steak-Provence

Steak-Gorgonzola

Outlaw-Chicken

Monte-Cristo-correct

Kentucky-Pork

Cranberry-Buttermilk

Cola-Pork

Chicken-Soft

Bueno-Steak

Wasn’t all that looking very good??

What I loved

Going to a location where we made our meals all in advanced was FAB-U-LOUS!  They cleaned it all up and I came home with 12 meals.

The best meals in my opinion were the two steak dinners – I was absolutely amazed at the quality of beef we had.  Remember here, I am rather spoiled as we buy direct from a farmer, grass-fed beef – and it is incredible.  I was very surprised at the tenderness of this meat and the sauces used were very tasty.

Going to the freezer and just pulling a meal out was incredibly easy and saved a ton of time.  We have never been real big on just heading out the door to a restaurant for dinner when I end up empty handed in the evening – we always find something.  But this made that idea of ‘going out’ because we didn’t anything an excuse we couldn’t use.

What I found difficult

To be honest, there was one thing that was a bit hard for me, since I have unique dietary challenges, mostly being gluten free.  It was hard to determine exactly what I could eat when choosing the menu items off the website, so we ended up arriving to make meals that did in fact have gluten in them.  If there had been a better description or list of ingredients I could have chosen more wisely or even brought different ingredients to substitute.  

For example, the meatloaf has bread crumbs, I could have brought my almond flour to use instead or these corn flake crumbs and substituted those.  So, for me it was a bit more challenging to eat this month and stay on track.

All in all it was a great success!  I loved making all the meals ahead of time and also finding new things to share at our dinner table.  We were extremely blessed!

Did you commit to the challenge too?  I would love to hear how it went – leave a comment.

9 Musts for Marvelous Mornings

25
Sep
2014

More manageable mornings

I was running frazzled, raising my voice and my four year old because we were going to be late to preschool AGAIN this week.  WHY?

Then it occurred to me, I had chosen to bypass my routine for the morning and everything was tubing down.

Sound familiar?

There are certain aspects of our lives that need to be in check – and for me and I feel for most moms – we need routine for ourselves and for our family.  Managing our homes does not come by chance and we need to be intentional to make things run smoothly.

I want a great morning and thought these tips might help you have a Marvelous Morning too!

Regular Wake Up Times

This is for everyone – you and your kids.  The particular morning I shared about earlier was one where I got up a few minutes later than my normal time and then I let my four year old sleep in a bit later because I wasn’t finished with my regular morning routine.  Big mistake.

Why I do this I will never know – but it has now been proven to me multiple times – I cannot expect everything to go smoothly when I change the routine.

Wake Up Oily Routine

I have a routine…..oh yes I do!!  It gets me off to a great start – so thankful for my Young Living essential oils instead of popping pills.  I love my Progessence Plus, Harmony over my heart, EndoFlex and some En-R-Gee – it’s what I do first thing in the morning.  Oh, and then I also love some Citrus Fresh in the diffuser!   {You can check this post out for more of my routines using oils during the day too!}

Your Favorite Beverage

For me, it’s coffee – yep – COFFEE!!  I especially love that I switched about two years ago to brewing only one cup at a time with a Keurig and it is fabulous. Fresh, hot, rich….. perfect to snuggle down with to spend some quiet time in the morning.  {This is my favorite coffee to brew in the morning!}  If you are not a coffee drinker – no worries – grab a beverage that you enjoy!

bible

Me Time

In order for me to be the best I can be, I have to get some quiet time to myself when I first wake up.  I have a spot on my sofa, I curl up with my iPad (which holds my kindle and also YouVersion Bible APP) a journal and headphones so I can listen to some praise music to start my day.  There is nothing better to fill my tank – nothing!

Check the Schedule

If I haven’t looked at our day the night before (which I often have) I will quickly check the calendar and outline my list of errands, to-do items and what is for dinner.  This gets my mind focused on the day ahead.

Shower

We all know this one and I even resist and tell myself, “Oh, I will do that later.”  Well, guess what – it doesn’t end up happening.  If I end up taking two showers a day because I work out later in the day, so be it.  I know that I can focus better and am in a better state of mind when my body is fresh and clean.

Simple Breakfast

Scrambled eggs, cereal, toast with apple butter – simple choices.  Do not have too many choices either or you will be battling little ones who can make decisions!  I love that I can add on a breakfast menu option to my eMeals plan – making simple and easy breakfasts even easier!   You can save 20% with code SCHOOL on any eMeals Meal Plan until September 30th.

Have Buffer Time

It seems like the mornings can tend to be scheduled to the second.  Instead of rushing from one thing to the next, fix some buffer time in your morning so you don’t have to beginning raising your voice to get everyone out the door.  If I do my part and keep things moving in the morning and do not let people sleep late, including me – tasks get done easier and with less fuss.

GO TO BED

This is almost the most important part of any morning routine – you need to get to bed at a time that allows your body to get enough sleep.  Your body needs sleep to re-set and restore itself, and if you are compromising your time in bed, your body will fight back.  Make sure you are getting to bed at a descent hour to get the sleep you need.

What is your favorite tip?

5 Time Management Hacks

14
Aug
2014

TIme-Management-Hacks-Intentional-Day

It is time to stop all the fun and games of summer and begin getting back to organized days and routine.  If you are anything like me, summer means you lose a bit of routine and feel a bit less productive – which can be good, but there is a time for everything as they say – and now we must think ahead and move forward.

As the school year begins, it is the perfect time to take a look at organizing our day with intention and purpose. The real key isn’t to hope to pull extra time out of nowhere, but to learn to use the time you do have more effectively. Being intentional with your time management can be the key to success and a life with less stress and anxiety

Here are my tips to jumpstart you back into an organized day!

An Effective To-Do List

This is one of the most essential tools in time management.  Find a system that works for you.  I know many have so appreciated combining their to-do list in the Weekly Household Planner – especially the version that is all ready to use, with all the household tasks listed out.  I love using my planner and adding other tasks that I need to accomplish in the line available for each day or in the notes section.  I also at times up a sticky note attached to my planner for tasks that need to be completed.  Adding tasks to the list the night before helps me organize my day and realize what needs to get done and what I might be able to put on another day.  Some moms have printed the blank version and used that exclusively for “other tasks” – making it easy to write on and organize.

Prioritizing what you need to accomplish will help you to understand what is truly important to get done and what may be able to wait.

 Next is to prioritize them. Be honest when you do this. Figure out what you need to get done and put those higher on the list than what you want to get done.

Use a Calendar

Keep track of important dates, birthdays, appointments and upcoming events. Our family uses the Apple iCal system to keep things in order and all 6 of our calendars easily synced.   I love it!  From myself to my husband who travels 3-4 days a week and a college age daughter – we all need to know what is going on.  This has been the easiest system for us to use.  Find a system that works for you and use it!  I have also used Cozi previous to our Apple conversion, or you can grab a paper calendar as well. This Amy Knapp 2015 version is great because it is big and easy for little ones to see what is coming up and is 17 months, so starts with August 2014!

Keeping a visual calender at arm’s reach does wonders for making sure you are on track and is a central place for everyone to see what is going on as well.

Command Center

Take some time to find an area in your home where you can keep your calendar and tasks items located. When things are in their place you won’t lose time looking for them. This also makes it easier to concentrate.  Having a central location for spare paper, pens, envelopes, sticky notes and your task lists will help you be intentional with staying organized.  Put stuff away when you are done it and file paperwork as soon as it is ready to be filed.

Schedule Breaks

This may make you laugh, but you are working too – so just like you would have scheduled breaks at an “office” job, plan time in your day to have a couple 10-15 minute breaks. They are important for staying refreshed so scheduling them will make sure you take breaks as well as helping some other little ones in your home expect them each day – routine makes everything  bit easier!  Use a timer to remind yourself if you need to, but take some breaks throughout the day. 

Be flexible, yet firm

It is great to have a plan and a routine that works for your family, but remember that each day brings it’s own set of issues and it’s not always possible to stick to a set routine.  I admit, adjusting to curve balls in my day can be a bit overwhelming to me, and is something I have to work on.  When something comes up that needs to get done or you need to give attention to, stop and determine if there is something that will need to be deleted from your day or rescheduled.  

Time management can save you a lot of trouble and stress. Through planning and organization you can save time and get more done. It may have a small time investment to get started, but the benefits can be amazing, plus you will open time up for things that are FUN things to fit into your day!

I’m Too Busy!

8
Nov
2013

Finding-balance-jam-packed-schedule

I wanted to throw in an additional post this week sharing about the book, Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung.  I mentioned it previously in our study and then yesterday shared a bit more during the video post talking about our schedules….but felt it was such an important book and message that a separate post would be beneficial to everyone.

First of all, the book is short…..which is perfect.  It is clear and concise…. to the point.  Not filled with just a bunch of fluff to make you feel like you are getting your money’s worth because the book is thicker and bulkier.  The tagline says it all:

“A (Mercifully) short book about a (Really) Big Problem”

Isn’t that the truth?  You will be able to breeze through this book, but will encounter some really great points as the author truly shares his perspective and even his own story of struggle with all the aspects of a ‘too busy life’.

So many issues can be connected with this epidemic of busyness….like pride.  In that chapter I felt really convicted with some of the things I have been struggling with over the past few months……issues in my heart.  I think as we’ve done this study I Used to Be So Organized….we are finding out a lot of things that are causing a problem for us are born in our hearts.  Kevin offers this line:

“The chaos is at least partly self-created.  The disorder of daily life a a product of disorder in the innermost places of the heart.”

We’ve talked about being people pleasers…..he talks about that too.  In addition, are we seeking “pats on the back” for our efforts and he goes on to cover an issue which I think we all can relate to wondering,  “You are trying to do what God does not expect you to do.”  We’ve discussed that too.

But the chapter closest to my heart and especially for moms, is the Diagnosis #3:  You Can’t Serve Others without Setting Priorities.

We talked priorities last week, but it will never get old and it will be an area you will always have to address, over and over again.  Examining things and truly being honest with a real life overview of things.  

“Some of our priorities may change over time.  I’m not giving you one more thing to do.  What’s important, however is to think about what really ought to matter compared to what is really mattering.”

I could enter quote after quote after quote, the book is filled with so many good ones!  I underlined like crazy…..I know I will keep this book and make it a read every 6 months.  It is that good and I need to be reminded of how critical my set time her on earth is and how I can serve Him with the best of me.

Put this book on your list for next reads – it is a must!

crazy-busy

 

Being Realistic

31
Oct
2012


Welcome to Day 31 of 31 Days of Mom Mojo – Tackling Time Management. WOO-HOO – we made it!

When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target. ~George Fisher

As I wrap up this 31 Day series I thought it best to tackle the topic of perfectionism. It could be very easy for you to come away from this series thinking that it is all about doing everything perfect and 100% all the time.

That is NOT what I want you to leave with.

Perfectionism has been defined as when someone strives toward goals that are usually impossibly high but won’t settle for anything less. If it’s less than perfect they view it as unacceptable.

That is me – I struggle with perfectionism and will everyday of my life. But I have come to understand that I have the ability to recognize it and make choices that are better for me and my family.

You see, my perfectionism has led me into depression and often into extreme procrastination due to the fear of not doing a job or task “good enough”. For those who struggle with perfectionism, you may be able to understand. For those who do not, probably think I am a little whacko! {There are probably many who do think that anyhow! LOL} [Read more…]