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.

In Fact I am NOT a Supermom

22
Sep
2014

Super-mom-I am not

I get emails every single day from other moms, asking how on earth I do all that I do.  

I hear the desperation in their voice, even while just reading the text….. it’s hard, everyone feeling like the other person has it all together.  It is time to share with you all – in this big public space how in fact I do not do it all, nor do I ever want you to get the feeling that I do!

Last week my heart resonated with this post from my good friend Myra over at My Blessed Life.  She shared how in fact, she doesn’t do it all either!  I could relate to her post SO MUCH and felt it was time again…..to share with you all the stuff that is reality for me and my home.

I have a housecleaner

Yep, I do.  This started about a year and a half ago as my blog and coaching business began to require more time from me and I had to find something that could be done by someone else.   I honestly really do enjoy cleaning my house – I mean I developed the Weekly Household Planner so I could easily keep up with things and also wanted to help other moms, but there came a point when something had to give.

There was someone anxious to come clean my house and it helped their family as well.  A double win!!

My husband helps – A LOT

I am truly blessed because I have a husband who is very good at stepping in and helping me out.  You see, this can be very challenging as I HATE to ask for help.  I am terrible – or very stubborn is more the term.  Even though my husband travels three and a half days during the week, when he is home he is amazing.  He will do the grocery shopping for me, he will run errands and he loves to do ‘projects’ with our four year old.

I fail

There are many days when things just do not get done, even from me – the QUEEN of to-do lists.  I have yet to really find a balance for myself on what I can realistically expect to get done in a day, but it is a process for me.  Learning more about myself as I ‘grow-up’ here!  Yes, I am 47 and still not grown up.  I learn that when I cram too much in my day, I get cranky, bitter and lose my patience just like other moms.  Instead of dwelling on that, I pick myself up – brush myself off, apologize to the person whom I just lost it with, and persevere. 

“I don’t know where you are today, you may be hanging on by a thread.  I write this to remind you that even in the ashes, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  It is HIS Grace that will carry you.  Because it is amazing.”  –  Kristen Welch, We Are That Family

I do not have an organized pantry

I try….but rarely is my pantry organized!!  I like to keep things neat, but hey – I have a total of six of us in the house, plus a dog!  And I am out numbered with boys in my home too.  I will never have one of those Pinterest rated pantry’s.  Never, and I am okay with it!

I do not always get up at the crack of dawn 

This is something I feel strongly about, finding my time with God and settling into my day – even if I harp and harp on this topic, there are days where I just don’t make it early.  I may have stayed up too late or just need some extra sleep.  I have to give myself grace, I am in a season of my life where my body is fighting back and when I am not forgiving, everyone around me suffers.

Chronic Depression, which I have thankfully been able to managed well with a healthier lifestyle as well as symptoms from Lupus can really impact my ability to enjoy certain things others may take for granted.  I must celebrate the little things and be grateful.

So there you have it – the real side of who I am and what really happens on this side of the screen.  I have never said I was perfect or that I can manage it all myself, but I think it can often be seen that way, by those of you who come here.  My desire is to encourage you and empower you in your role in the home, so bringing a touch of reality into the picture is truly important.

I must keep in mind several things each day and I encourage you to keep things in perspective as well:

I am 47, not a young mom by any means. I have a house of 6 – a 21 year old, 17 year old, 13 year old and a 4 year old and my husband all coming and going (oh, and a dog that needs my attention too!)  Our schedules are really messy – especially as a blended family.  My life does not look normal by any respect.  Each day is completely different – and add in that each week my husband travels different days.  I have two home based businesses that need my attention, a home to care for and a body that had some unique challenges.  

There are some days I do not get out of my pajamas – YEP!  That is true!

So I give myself grace and try to keep perspective.

What areas do you find you need to give yourself grace?

Do You Have a Life Verse?

1
Sep
2014

Life-Verse-Motherhood

My morning quiet time is something I really hate to miss.  The peaceful morning, warm cup of coffee just the way I like it, a diffuser running next to me with just the perfect essential oil in it to start my day off right and my iPad – with my YouVersion bible app with my daily devotional picks as well as my Kindle App to read, “Jesus Calling.”

I cherish this time and so love when I am reminded of little things that used to be BIG things, but I have let slip away.

Yesterday I was reading my devotional in my YouVersion App, Simplify a 10 day devotional by Bill Hybels and was reminded of having a life verse.  I honestly really had not considered this, but you know…..I do have a life verse, and I have just forgotten and not really focused on it being my life verse.

Before I was a Christian and understood anything about who Jesus truly was, my kids were enrolled in a Christian school.  This was a particularly difficult season of my life, where I was in the midst of getting a divorce – yet, my children were in a Christian school and I was not a Christian.  I saw the joy in their faces and knew I needed to discover more about this Jesus they were learning about. 

I decided to memorize their school year verse and to me, this is my life verse.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3: 4-5

That is the very first verse I ever memorized – and it was even before I had given my life to Jesus.  

So this is my verse.

I loved what Bill Hybels said in his ‘Simplify’ devotion:

“Having a life verse is one of the most powerful tools I know for simplifying your life.  It keeps you on course and helps you make wise decisions about where to invest your time, energy, and gifts.   It drives you to live each day with fervency and passion.”

So perhaps, even if I wasn’t purely intentional with knowing that it was my life verse, I think I knew – there have been many times in my life I have had to just ‘hang-on’ when things seemed so out of control and did not make sense.  But I just trusted and you know……He’s made it all alright.

Not always exactly how I would have done things, but ……perfectly His way.

All Natural Homemade Bug Spray

20
Jun
2014

DIY-Natural-Bug-Spray-Recipe

I’m  sharing with you today a super quick and easy recipe to make your own homemade bug repellent spray that actually works.

Simple ingredients, including the essential oils that all come in your Young Living Premium Starter Kit will have you sailing through summer with out annoying bug bites ruining your time outdoors.  Plus, this recipe only cost me $7.36 to make and that included the spray bottle.  Talk about being frugal and healthy all at the same time  :-)

Most bug sprays have DEET in them and that can be nasty stuff.  If I don’t have to use chemical ladened sprays to protect my family I certainly won’t.

Here I am explaining this simple recipe – if you are reading through an RSS feed or email, you will need to click through to the blog to view the video!

Here is the easy peasy recipe!!

Bug Repellant Spray - For Susan

For those who want to start on the journey of using essential oils in your home and keeping the chemicals out, I have a special offer good until the end of the month.

Purchase a Premium Starter Kit as a member and become a member of my community and you will get my normal offerings which include:

  • A FREE Quick Reference Guide
  • A Private Facebook Page – perfect for finding support, encouragement and resources for incorporating oils in your home
  • Monthly ongoing educational classes and events

June-Promo-CM1

You can grab that cute “BUG OFF” printable label here to make your project complete!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information on this website is based upon my research and personal use of Young Living Essential Oils. I am not a doctor. Products and techniques mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Six Phone Apps That Make My Life Easier

19
Jun
2014

iPhone-Apps-Life-Easier

I thought it would be fun to share what APPS I have on my phone and why.  Normally I am a pretty minimalist kinda gal, so I am not into all the latest and greatest, especially when it comes to APPS.  But there are a few that I find help and can save you time, your sanity and make things just a bit nicer too!

YouVersion Bible APP

I have shared this one several times before, but I always have new moms stumble into my community so could not pass this one by.  YouVersion is a FREE Bible on your phone, iPad or Tablet, but honestly – it is way more than that!

You can access an entire bible in many different formats just with the touch of a finger, but you also have access to hundreds of devotionals, videos and more.  This is what I currently have for my morning quiet time. I am able to do several different devotions and it keeps track of my reading, making it very easy!

Website:  youversion.com

The Bible APP for Kids

This is a creative Bible story APP that is perfect for kids age 6-8, although my four year old loves it.  There are stories from the Bible read and activities they can do along the way.   There are stars to collect through the reading and this makes kids eager to keep reading.

Website: bible.com/kidsscreen568x568

Letter School

This is one for the kids!  Voted the best Younger Children’s APP 2013 – KAPI Award, you will see why.  It is a great handwriting APP for both numbers and letters right on your phone or iPad.  Perfect for little fingers to get the idea of how to maneuver their fingers to make letters and also fun in the process.

It is great for using while waiting for an appointment or driving in the car.  I am not a huge screen user in the car, but it does come in handy for sure – plus they are learning something useful with letters and numbers.  That I like!

iTunes:  LetterSchool

Period Tracker LITE

I admit, I am not the best at keeping track of my monthly cycle.  I know, probably lame.  But this APP I’ve been using for over a year has made it so much easier to keep track of where I am in my cycle, helps me understand any moodiness which may come on (which honestly has been really diminished with the use of Young Living’s Progessence Plus Serum) as well as quickly being able to see when my period is due to arrive, especially if I am traveling out of town.  They also have a version for $1.99 which has a few more options, but the free version is great for me.

iTunes:  Period Tracker LITE4067c5_3cff470ce0c249cf8af8763f1205a9e1.png_srz_237_445_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srz

EveryDay Spirit

My newest APP purchase and so worth $1.99!  Every Day Spirit is a collection of 180 beautiful, hand-crafted iPhone wallpapers designed to be a daily reminder of goodness, joy and light.  I love being able to change the face of my phone with a scripture or other inspirational quote.

You can choose from Kindness, Gratitude, Joy, Faith, Love, Prayers, Peace and more.   Funny enough, the shot from their site is exactly the first one I chose for my phone!   It’s $1.99, but in my opinion, well worth the Joy it will put in my day when I glance at my phone sixteen trillion times!

Website:  Everyday Spirit

Pro HDR

I learned about this APP from my friend Myra {My Blessed Life}  while we were in Hawaii together.  She kept taking stunning sunset photos and when I asked her how, she spilled the beans!  She was using this APP.  I am not a blogger who does a lot of photography, but lately it has come in handy to have an APP that really takes great photos – food, family, outdoor shots, sunsets, beach scenes and more.

I love it and so does my hubby who also downloaded it.  If you are looking for an APP to help you take higher quality photos, this is the one!

iTunes:  Pro HDR

Now go download Pro HDR and take some fabulous summer photos!!