Happy Birthday to a Good Man

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Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday. The big 29. The girls are so excited to surprise him with the balloons they already told him about 😉 and the gift he doesn’t know is coming. I’ve planned a date night just him and I to play golf & enjoy dinner at Bell’s in Kalamazoo. I can’t wait to celebrate him all day!

But tonight, I’m sitting here in my chair, him in his usual spot on the couch, and I can’t stop staring at him. I love this man. There is so much good in him.

He’s a simple man. Laid back. Hard working. Smart. Loving. He’s predictable, and I love that!

He loves Jesus, hunting, fishing, golf, music, Detroit sports, and good beer. He’s good at everything. He’s pretty sarcastic and has the driest sense of humor (which I find funny on occasion ;)) He’s a handy-man, and hobby farmer!

He’s a man of integrity. He’s loyal, kind and patient.

He’s an amazing Dad. He invests so much into telling our girls about Jesus, reading stories to them, and praying with them. He models following Jesus, loving and serving others.

He’s my best friend. We’re teammates. He brings out the best in me, and forgives the worst in me. My heart is full of gratitude for this man.

Happy Birthday, babe! I love you.

Monday Meal Plan – March 14-27

meal planning made simple logo

On Saturday, my baby will turn 1. ONE. How is that even possible? She is the sweetest, chubbiest, funniest baby ever! brinn brinn

Brinn shares a birthday with her “twin” cousin, Sawyer. So of course we have to celebrate these two peanuts together at their First Fiesta on Saturday with family.

I pulled out quite a few of my trusties this meal plan. I’m also excited to try some new recipes from Six Sisters’ Stuff. I’ve tried some recipes before and we really liked them.

Monday  – Sausage Bean Burritos from my Mom!

Ingredients: 1-2 cups cooked rice (more will stretch the meal further) lb pork sausage,½ cup green pepper, chopped, ½ cup onion, chopped, can black beans, rinsed, 1 ½ cups salsa, Tortilla shells, Shredded cheese

Instructions:

  1. Prepare 1-2 cups of rice according to package directions.
  2. Brown sausage with onion and green pepper.
  3. Add black beans, salsa and rice and stir until blended. Heat through.
  4. Serve in tortilla shells topped with shredded cheese.

Tuesday – Thai Beef Stir-fry (that we didn’t get to last week!)

Ingredients: 8 oz rice noodles, 1 package frozen stir-fry vegetables, 3 tablespoons cooking oil, 16 oz beef (I’m using vension) stir-fry strips, ¾ cup bottled Thai peanut stir-fry sauce.

Instructions:

  1. Prepare noodles according to instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet cook vegetables in 1 tablespoon hot oil over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes or until just tender. Drain, transfer to a bowl.
  3. In the skillet cook and stir beef strips in remaining oil for 2-3 minutes or until desired doneness.
  4. Return vegetables to skillet; add sauce. Stir to combine; heat through. Serve over noodles.

Wednesday – Meatloaf, au gratin potatoes, and veggies

Ingredients: 1 lb ground venison (or beef), 1 egg, ¼ cup onion diced, 3 splashes of Worcestershire sauce, ¼ bread crumbs, salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl combine all ingredients. Work breadcrumbs in with your fingers. Add more bread crumbs for desired texture.
  2. Transfer mixture to a greased meatloaf (Bread) pan and cook at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Thursday – Easy Biscuit Pot Pie from Six Sisters’ Stuff

Friday – Baked Ziti from Six Sisters’ Stuff

Saturday – Tacos for Brinn & Sawyer’s First Fiesta

Sunday – French Toast, sausage links and fruit

Monday – Cheeseburger Macaroni from Six Sisters’ Stuff

Tuesday – Baked chicken, sweet potatoes & veggies

Wednesday – Sausage & Sauerkraut w/ mashed potatoes and veggies

Thursday – Five Bean Soup from Six Sisters’ Stuff

Friday – Taco Salad Casserole from Six Sisters’ Stuff

Saturday – Wendt Family Easter & bringing Green bean casserole

Sunday – Rookus Family Easter & bringing Spinach & Strawberry Salad

Happy meal planning!

Check out other meal plans here:

//January 4-17// January 18-31// February 1-14//

//February 15-28// February 29-March 13//

 

 

 

Monday Meal Plan – February 29-March 13

I found this cookbook that I’ve never used, and thought I should give it a try! So this meal plan features all recipes from Better Homes and Gardens 500 Five Ingredient Recipes. Grab your own (cheap) copy here.

cook book

Only five ingredients…sounds enticing! I’m always looking for quick and easy meals, and let’s face it, this time of year I feel like I get stuck in a rut with the same meals all the time. And, when sickness is bound to end up in your home, quick meals are what keep us from getting take-out every day ;).

lenna brinn

Lots of cuddles around here this past week, while the stomach bug made the rounds. My husband took care of all of us, and amazingly didn’t get sick! Thanks, babe!

Here’s what’s for dinner the next two weeks. Only a few of the recipes from this cookbook were on Better Home & Garden’s website. I’m not sure if that means they’re the only ones good enough to make it?!? I’ll let you decide for yourself!

Check out the meal plan and grocery list for the next two weeks.

MondayQuick Chicken Tortilla Bake p. 122

Tuesday – Almond Tilapia p. 134

Ingredients: 4 8oz tilapia fillets, ½ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ cup ground almonds, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ¼ cup olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry.
  2. In a shallow dish, stir together flour, almonds, salt & pepper. Coat fish with flour mixture.
  3. In a large skillet, cook 2 of the fillets in 2 tablespoons hot oil over medium heat for 4-6 minutes on each side or until coating is golden and fish flakes easily.
  4. Remove from the skillet; keep warm. Repeat with remaining fillets.

Wednesday – Thai Beef (Venison) Stir-Fry p. 62

Ingredients: 8 oz rice noodles, 1 package frozen stir-fry vegetables, 3 tablespoons cooking oil, 16 oz beef (I’m using vension) stir-fry strips, ¾ cup bottled Thai peanut stir-fry sauce.

Instructions:

  1. Prepare noodles according to instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet cook vegetables in 1 tablespoon hot oil over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes or until just tender. Drain, transfer to a bowl.
  3. In the skillet cook and stir beef strips in remaining oil for 2-3 minutes or until desired doneness.
  4. Return vegetables to skillet; add sauce. Stir to combine; heat through. Serve over noodles.

ThursdayPork Chops Dijon p. 74

Friday – Kitchen’s Closed!

Saturday – Italian Sausage Spiral

Ingredients: 1 pound bulk Italian sausage, 1 lb loaf frozen bread dough thawed, 1 27oz jar tomato, garlic, and basil pasta sauce, 1 8 oz package shredded Italian-style cheese blend (2 cups), 5 cups baby spinach (5oz)

Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet cook sausage until no pink remains. Drain fat, set aside.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll bread dough to an 18×12 inch rectangle. Spread 1 cup of the sauce on the dough to within ½ in of the edge.
  3. Layer sausage, 1 ½ cups of the cheese, and spinach on top of the sausage.
  4. Starting from the short side, roll up the dough; brush edges with water and pinch to seal. Place seam side down on a greased backing sheet. Cover, let rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Uncover and bake at 375j for 25 minutes. Cover loosely with foil and bake 10 minutes more.
  6. Meanwhile in a saucepan, heat remaining pasta sauce. To serve, cut spiral into 8 slices; top with remaining sauce and cheese.

Sunday – Oven- Barbecued Chicken p. 96

Ingredients: 2 lbs meaty chicken pieces (breasts, thighs & drumsticks), 1/3 cup orange marmalade, 1/3 cup bottled barbecue sauce, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. Skin chicken, if desired. Arrange chicken pieces in a foil-lined 9×13 baking pan. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl combine remaining ingredients; pour over chicken.
  3. Bake, uncovered, in a 375 degree oven for 45-55 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Spoon sauce over chicken occasionally.

Monday – Leftovers

Tuesday – Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup with Salad

Wednesday – Saucy Meatball Sandwich p. 60

Ingredients: 1 ¼ lbs frozen cooked Italian-stye meatballs, 1 28oz jar pasta sauce, ½ cup coarsely chopped onion, 6 hoagie buns, shredded Italian style cheese blend

Instructions:

  1. Combine frozen meatballs, pasta sauce and onion in a crockpot. Cook on low 6-8 hours until meatballs are heated through.
  2. Spoon hot meatballs into split buns.
  3. Sprinkle with remaining sauce and cheese.

ThursdayPork and Noodle Bowl

Friday – Turkey (I’m doing chicken) Taco Panini

Saturday – Pizza Night

Sunday – German-Style Beef (Venison) Roast p. 68

Ingredients: 3 lb boneless beef round rump roast (I’m using venison), 1 can beer, 1 cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Place roast in a 4 quart Dutch oven. In a bowl stir together beer and ketchup. Pour over roast.
  2. Bake, covered, in a 325 degree oven for 2 ½ hours or until tender. Remove from Dutch oven, cover and let rest.
  3. Stir in brown sugar and pepper into the sauce. Bring sauce to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Slice roast. Serve sauce with meat.

Happy meal planning!

Check out some of my other meal plans:

//January 4-17// January 18-31//February 1-14//February 15-28//

Monday Meal Plan February 15-28

Some weeks I have our next meal plan done days before I need it, but this week I crammed it all in during nap time today. I almost skipped it because I wanted to sit on the couch had a million other things to do 😉 but I KNOW the benefits of having a plan together far outweigh the time it takes to get it together. This is how I felt about having to plan today 😉

brinn pout

Isn’t she a doll? I just love her!! (headband and bib from Zig Zag Rags)

Meal planning isn’t my favorite thing to do, but it’s important, so I do it. It’s important because: a) it saves us money. We take fewer trips to the store and we have a set list instead of grabbing things that sound good off the shelves. b) It saves time. I don’t have to spend time trying to figure out what I can make based off of what is in our fridge or pantry. c) Allows for flexibility. If we decide to go out instead or we get busy, we have options.

Patting myself on the back for getting this one done today…hope it encourages you to get a plan together for this week!

You can get the February meal plan here along with the grocery list!

Here’s what’s for dinner…

Monday – Chicken, broccoli, rice Casserole from Aunt Carolyn

Ingredients: 1 cup rice, 2 cans of cream of chicken, ½ can water, 1 package dry onion soup mix, 4-6 pieces of chicken, 1 bag frozen broccoli

Instructions:

  1. Pour uncooked rice in 9×13. Combine chick soup and water in a small bowl & pour 1/3 mixture over the rice and stir to mix.
  2. Spread evenly in bottom of pan. Lay chicken pieces on rice. Place frozen broccoli around open space.
  3. Pour remaining mixture over the top of the chicken and broccoli.
  4. Sprinkle onion soup mix over the top.
  5. Cover with foil and back at 350 for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked all the way through

Tuesday – Stuffed Peppers from my sister-in-law Trina

Ingredients: 4-6 peppers, ½ onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 can northern beans, 1 jar spaghetti sauce, 1 cup cooked rice, 1-2 dashes Worcestershire sauce, 1 dash red wine, 2-3 oz cream cheese, ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions:

  1. Cut tops off peppers, seed peppers and chop the tops up.
  2. Cook chopped green pepper in olive oil with onion and garlic until tender.
  3. Add northern beans, spaghetti sauce, rice, worchestershire, wine, cream cheese and red pepper flakes.
  4. Cook on stove until cream cheese is melted. Fill peppers & place standing up in baking dish.
  5. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes.

Wednesday – Veggie Soup from my friend Melanie

Ingredients: 1lb ground beef (I used venison), 1 bag frozen mixed veggies, 3 potatoes diced, 1 onion diced, 1 jar prego, 16 oz beef broth, 10 oz rotel, 1 can black beans

Instructions:

  1. Brown onion & meat.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 2-4 hours.

Thursday – Chicken Avacado wraps from Gimme Delicious

Friday– French Bread Pizza

Ingredients: 2 loaves French bread, 1 jar pizza sauce, 2 cups mozzarella, 1 package provolone cheese, any additional pizza toppings

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Cut French bread in half length-wise. Place halves on a greased backing sheet
  3. Top with sauce, toppings and cheese.
  4. Bake 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned

Saturday –Sloppy Joes

Ingredients: hamburger buns, 1 lb ground beef, ½ cup onion diced, 1 cup ketchup, ¼ cup mustard, 2 heaping TBL brown sugar.

Instructions:

  1. Brown ground beef and onion. Drain off excess fat. Add in ketchup, mustard and brown sugar. Mix until combined and let simmer on low until ready to serve.

Sunday – Out to Eat

Monday – Baked Penne from Domestically Speaking

Tuesday – Salisbury Steak, mashed potatoes, corn

Wednesday – Swiss Chicken from my Mother-in-law Julie

Ingredients: Chicken breasts or thighs (your preference), 1 can cream of chicken soup, sliced swiss cheese, seasoned bread crumbs

Instructions:

  1. Place chicken pieces in a greased 9×13 dish.
  2. Place ½ slice swiss cheese on chicken. Spoon 1 tablespoon of undiluted chicken soup on top of cheese.
  3. Sprinkle bread crumbs over top until well covered.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees, covered lightly with foil, for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove foil and bake 15 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Thursday – Meatloaf, Sweet potatoes, Veggies

Ingredients: 1 lb ground venison (or beef), 1 egg, ¼ cup onion diced, 3 splashes of Worcestershire sauce, ¼ bread crumbs, salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl combine all ingredients. Work breadcrumbs in with your fingers. Add more bread crumbs for desired texture.
  2. Transfer mixture to a greased meatloaf (Bread) pan and cook at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Friday – Taco Chicken Bowls from Budget Bytes

Saturday– Left-Overs

Sunday – Pancakes, eggs & bacon

Happy meal planning!

I’m always looking for quick family friendly meals, so if you want to share one, I’d love to feature it on my next meal plan! 

Quick & Easy Power Breakfasts

I am a cereal lover at heart. It has been my breakfast choice for many years, as well as my go-to late night snack, or quick dinner if I’m too lazy to cook.

One thing’s for sure, a sugar packed meal of cereal doesn’t sustain me very long. It has me coming back for something more in just a short time.

My husband and I gave the 21 Day Fix a shot in the fall, and our eating habits changed drastically. (I’ll have to do a re-cap post about 21 Day Fix another time). I wish I could say we’ve maintained all of our self-control and discipline since then, but we haven’t in all areas.

Breakfast, however, is one area where we’ve continued eating well (most days) and it has made a huge difference. A lot of people skip breakfast all together (how is that even possible, I think I would die), and others fall back on convenient options like cereal or a granola bar because they’re rushed for time.

We’ve found three breakfast options that are quick, healthy, full of protein to sustain us through the morning that we love. We rotate through these three, and a big bonus is our girls love them too!(although Lenna is a cereal girl like me, so we’re still working on her ;))

oatmeal

Oatmeal with honey & fruit – In less than two minutes you can have a filling breakfast with very little effort put in. Put 1/3 cup oatmeal in a microwave bowl with 2/3 cup water and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 teaspoon of honey to the oatmeal as your sweetener and add whatever fruit you would like. My favorites are raspberries, strawberries or bananas.

eggs

Eggs – we rotate between scrambled and fried. I will eat my eggs with either one slice of toast or a waffle with maple syrup. Eggs are a cheap and quick breakfast that you can mix up multiple ways. Some days I’ll add spinach to my scrambled eggs so that I know I’m getting my greens. (I hate greens. It is a BIG struggle to get enough every day)! Add peppers and onions as a quick way to get more veggies in your day.

yogurt

Greek Yogurt & Granola – Not only is this one of my favorite breakfasts, but it is my #1 snack choice. I will usually have this as my morning or late evening snack. I have not found a brand of plain greek yogurt that I can stand, so I splurge and buy Greek Gods Honey yogurt. I add granola and whatever berries I have on hand. If you are trying to follow 21 Day Fix to a T, you will want to purchase plain Greek Yogurt and flavor it yourself. Try adding honey, pure vanilla flavoring or maple syrup. All are great natural options.

water

Water – I pair every breakfast with a glass of water. On the 21 Day Fix your goal is to drink half your body weight (yikes, right?!?) in water, so beginning the day with a full glass, not only helps fill you up, but gets your body hydrated!

No matter how busy you are, take 2 or 3 minutes to whip up one of these power breakfasts. You won’t regret it. Fuel your body for the day. Get yourself started on the right foot, so you will be more motivated to make better choices for lunch and supper too!

Meal Plan Monday – February 1-14

HELLO FEBRUARYHello February, you came fast! January is notorious for draaaaaging on, but not this year. It. Flew. By.

Here’s our meal plan for the next two weeks! Don’t forget to add whatever breakfast or snack items you may need to the grocery list.

My favorite recipe from this plan is Sausage Bean burritos! It makes SO much and the best part…leftovers. It tastes even better the 2nd, 3rd or even 4th day 🙂 My girls also LOVE this meal. Win – Win!

Monday – Sausage Bean Burritos from my Mom!

Ingredients: 1-2 cups cooked rice (more will stretch the meal further) lb pork sausage,½ cup green pepper, chopped, ½ cup onion, chopped, can black beans, rinsed, 1 ½ cups salsa, Tortilla shells, Shredded cheese

Instructions:

  1. Prepare 1-2 cups of rice according to package directions.
  2. Brown sausage with onion and green pepper.
  3. Add black beans, salsa and rice and stir until blended. Heat through.
  4. Serve in tortilla shells topped with shredded cheese.

Tuesday – Pineapple Cranberry Ham from Taste of Home

Wednesday – Goolash

Ingredients: 1 lb hamburger, 1 ½ cups dry macaroni, 1 can tomato soup, 1 can diced tomatoes w/ chiles, 1 can corn, 1 can mushrooms, ½ cup diced onion.

Instructions:

  1. Brown hamburger with onion. Drain.
  2. Boil noodles according to package. Drain. Add noodles to the burger.
  3. Then add remaining ingredients. Salt & pepper to taste.

 Thursday – White Chicken Chili from my friend Melanie

Ingredients:

2 cans Northern Beans, 2 frozen chicken breasts, 1 jar salsa (choose your temp),  1 cup frozen corn (1 can works also),  1 cup onion, chopped, 1 tsp cumin,  ½ tsp chili powder, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup shredded cheese (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Dump all the ingredients in a crockpot (except cheese).
  2. Cook on low, 7-8 hours.
  3. Shred chicken with a fork.
  4. Serve with cheese if desired.

Friday – Order Pizza

Saturday – Winter Retreat – eat at camp

Sunday – French toast, bacon, fruit salad

Monday – Crockpot Whole Chicken from 100 Days of Real Food served with mashed potatoes & veggies

Tuesday – Slow cooker Beef & Cheese Pasta from The Cooking Jar

Wednesday – Easy Chicken Pot Pie (from my Aunt Beth) using left over chicken from Monday night’s whole chicken!

Ingredients: 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 cup milk, 3 cups cooked chicken, 10 oz mixed vegetables, 1 box stove top stuffing.

Instructions:

  1. Mix first 4 ingredients and place into a 2 quart casserole dish.
  2. Make stove top stuffing according to package and spoon over top of the chicken mixture.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Thursday – leftovers

Friday – Stromboli  & Salad from my Aunt Carolyn

Ingredients: 9oz water, 3 tablespoons oil, 3 ¾ cups flour,  3 teaspoons yeast,  Tomato sauce, Shredded mozzarella, Pizza toppings you prefer (veggies, sausage, pepperoni, etc)

Instructions:

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients, knead, cover and let rise.
  2. Roll dough out into a large rectangle (size of a cookie sheet)
  3. Spread sauce and toppings in middle 1/3 of dough.
  4. Fold over 1/3 and cover with sauce and toppings.
  5. Fold over last 1/3 and seal edges.
  6. Transfer to cookie sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Saturday – Kitchen Closed 😉

Sunday – Crockpot Roast, Potatoes & Carrots

Ingredients: 2-3 lb pot roast, 6 redskin potatoes, quartered, 1 large onion, quartered,  2-3 cups baby carrots,  1 envelope onion soup mix, 3 garlic cloves, whole, ½-1 cup water

Instructions:

  1. Place garlic, onion, potatoes & carrots in the bottom of the crockpot. Pour water in pot until potatoes are covered.
  2. Sprinkle ½ of the onion soup mix over the potatoes and carrots.
  3. Lay the pot roast on top of potatoes and carrots. Sprinkle remaining onion soup mix over the top.
  4. Cook on low 5-6 hours or on high 3-4 hours.
  5. When finished, remove meat and veggies from crockpot and place on platter.
  6. Turn crockpot to high and heat liquid to high temp. Add corn starch to thicken for gravy.

What recipe are you excited to try?

Happy meal planning!

Monday Meal Plan – January 18-31

I’m playing catch up posting meal plans for the month, so that I can be on track starting Monday!

This two week plan is a combination of comfort food, quick meals, and tasty options. I’m all about quick and easy meals. The tortilla pie and stroganoff are two of those quickies! Both of them were big hits will the kiddos too.

brinn noodles

Look at her shoveling it in!

To make things easier for you, here’s the January meal plan and grocery list. Check out this post if you missed out on the last meal plan.

Monday – Tacos, chips & guacamole

Ingredients: 1lb ground beef (I use venison), ½ cup onion diced, taco seasoning, 2 avocados, tortilla chips

Instructions:

  1. Brown the ground beef and onion until cooked through. Drain off excess liquid and mix taco seasoning according to instructions. Or make your own taco seasoning using this recipe.
  2. Mix seasoning into beef w/ water and let simmer until ready to serve.

Tuesday – Easy Chicken Fried Rice from Recipe Knead

Wednesday – Slow Cooker Turkey Chili from Tamera Mowry

Thursday – Chicken Lettuce Wraps from The Kitchn (I skipped the ginger, green onions and added shredded carrots) 

Friday – Out for Pizza

Saturday – Winter Retreat – eat at Camp

Sunday – Pancakes, bacon, fruit salad

Monday – Slow Cooker Venison Stroganoff

Ingredients: 1 lb venison (could use beef) steak cut into stew chunks, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 onion quartered, 1 package onion soup mix, ½ cup milk, ½ water, 1 package egg noodles, 1 cup frozen peas (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Dump all ingredients except noodles into crockpot and mix until combined.
  2. Cook 2 ½ hours on high or 5 hours on low.
  3. 20 minutes before ready to eat, cook noodles according to package. If you want, add frozen peas to boiling noodle water for the last 5 minutes of boiling time.
  4. Drain noodles & peas and dump in crockpot. Combine and serve.

stroganoff

Tuesday – Tortilla Pie

Ingredients: 4 burrito sized tortilla shells, 1 can corn, 1 can black beans rinsed & drained, 1 ½ cups salsa, 1 tsp cumin, 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions:

  1. In a skillet over medium high heat, cook corn & black beans for 2 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle with cumin, add salsa and stir. Remove from heat.
  3. On a cookie sheet, lay 1 tortilla shell. Scoop 1 cup of mixture and flatten on shell. Sprinkle ½ cheese over mixture.
  4. Layer another tortilla on top of cheese. Add 1 cup mixture, sprinkle w/ cheese.
  5. Repeat one more time and top with the last tortilla shell. Sprinkle cheese on top of last shell.
  6. Bake at 450 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes until top is golden brown.

tortilla pie

Wednesday – Stew & Cornbread from Iowa Girl Eats (I didn’t use gluten free ingredients)

Thursday – Chicken Enchiladas from Melinda Besinaiz 

Friday – Leftovers

Saturday – Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Sunday – Kids eat free at our local Mexican Restaurant!

Happy meal planning!

Messy Monday – Why Working Hard Matters

It was pretty clear by the dried snot smeared all over my two year old’s face and the whiny “good morning” of my three year old that today was going to be one of those days. You know, the ones where everyone needs you. The kind where you give everything you’ve got to make them comfortable and happy and to no avail, tears…lots of tears. And whining. Oh the whining. When you know you’re in for a day like that, it’s hard not to throw in the towel right off and try to just get through the day.

I didn’t throw in the towel, but I called in a few of my backups this morning: coffee, an extra episode (or 2 or 3) of the girls’ favorite shows and some time reading the Bible.

By 10 am we ran out of Kleenex. The second cup of coffee must not have gone to my brain because I was using napkins…that’s right…napkins to wipe my poor girlies’ noses (I know I’m nuts. Stop judging. ). There was NO WAY I was hauling three little girls who didn’t feel well to the store. I’d rather stab my hand with a fork. Ok, I’m being dramatic, but really going to the store when they’re all happy is exhausting! It wasn’t until hours later that I had an epiphany…oh toilet paper! Toilet paper is much softer than napkins. Sorry children.

At any given time, one or two, usually two, wanted me to hold them, so I was pulling out all the stops trying to make them happy. The oldest two “washed dishes” code word for filling up the kitchen sink and splashing soapy water all over the place.  If I wasn’t holding the baby, she was at my feet begging to be held.Brinn

How can you say no to this cheesy face with a fat lip. That’s right, a fat lip. She smacked her face on the floor. She had blood pooling out of her mouth, but luckily it’s just a small puncture from one of her new chompers. She didn’t cry long, I just shoved a wash cloth in her mouth…Kidding. But no really, she loves sucking on wet wash cloths, so I quickly soaked one up with water and let her go to town and that made her happy and soaked up the blood.

At times I felt like a clown, juggling, riding a unicycle and making balloon animals. At one point I was feeding the baby and Lenna asked me to make her a fan. (They were watching Sofia, and Princess Amber had a fan) So I threw some pieces of muffin on the baby’s tray to keep her happy and grabbed a piece of construction paper, whipped up a fan and oh shoot. I need to make Reese one. So I grabbed another piece…bam another fan. I bring them over to the girls and let Reese pick the first color (the fans were blue & green). She says, “Pink” and grabs the blue fan. Lenna screams, “That’s not…” I cut her off, “It’s PINK. Just let her think it’s pink.” (Seriously?!? I know right.)

Throughout the busy (long) day, there were a lot of sweet moments mixed in with the snotty messy ones. Like this.Reese

Reese is on the go all the time, but today she didn’t feel well and took some time to snuggle with Elsa. (I know that thing is huge isn’t it?!)

We made banana chocolate chip muffins. They sat on the counter and sneezed and coughed all over the place. They licked the spoons, and there’s a pretty good chance I’ll get sick from eating one of those muffins, but they had so much fun. Lenna said, “I love baking with you Mom!” as she coughed in my face. Precious right?!

These days will come and go and I may not even remember most of them, but they matter. The nose wiping, fan making, snuggling, mediating, all of it, matters. My children might not remember being sick and whining, but they’ll remember how I took care of them. They’ll remember me letting them lick the batter off the spoon. They’ll remember me rocking them when they didn’t feel well.

If you struggle with not feeling like your Mommy tasks are important, they are. Whatever position or job we are in, the Lord has placed us there on purpose, and we must remember that it matters.

Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

What a great reminder in the midst of a messy day. It doesn’t matter if I’m scrubbing spit-up off my floor or teaching my 2 year old a lesson after pulling her sister’s hair, I must work at it with all my heart. Don’t throw in the towel because the day looks rough. Ask God for strength and patience to sustain you through the day.

When you can view your daily tasks as a means to please God, it can become a time of worship for you. Make the decision to glorify God in all circumstances – in the beauty and the mess.

Meal Plan Monday – Jan 4-17

I’m excited to be sharing our family’s meal plans throughout the year. If you’re new to meal planning and want a simple, helpful, and successful way to get started read this post!

I plan two weeks at a time which saves time and lots of money! I shop mostly at Aldi and aim to spend about $175 every two weeks on groceries.

Here’s our menu and grocery list from the first two weeks of January! Don’t forget to add whatever breakfast, lunch or snack items you may need to your grocery.

Monday – Easy chicken pot pie from Six Sisters Stuff (I skipped step one and used a bag of steamable mixed veggies instead! You guys it was so quick and easy, just popped them in the microwave while I sautéed some onion and oil and caught back up with step 2!)

Tuesday – Order Pizza – Dad’s home with the girls while mom goes out with friends!

Wednesday – Crockpot Chicken Alfredo from Smashed Peas and Carrots 

Thursday – Salisbury Steak, mashed potatoes, & corn

Friday – Community Group

Saturday – Friend’s for dinner, bring dessert

Sunday – Crockpot Pork chops from THE SLOWROASTED ITALIAN with sweet potatoes

Monday – Venison Stirfry with Rice

Ingredients: 1/3 cup water, 3 TBL soy sauce, 1 TBL corn starch, 1 tsp sugar, 1 lb beef or chicken (I used venison) – sliced very thin, bag of frozen stir-fry veggies thawed, three cups cooked brown rice.

Instructions:

  1. Cook Rice according to instructions
  2. Mix first 4 ingredients. Stir well. Set aside.
  3. In wok over high heat warm 1 TBL oil. Add meat & ½ tsp minced garlic. Stir-fry until browned. Pour in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Add veggies to the pan with 2 TBL water and stir-fry a few minutes. Pour into another bowl.
  5. Put meat back in the pan and reheat. Stir in sauce till thick. Re-add veggies and stir well.
  6. Serve over rice

Tuesday – Baked pasta, meat sauce and steamed veggies

Ingredients: 1 box of spiral noodles, jar of spaghetti sauce, ½ lb venison (turkey or beef), ½ onion diced, 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 packaged steamed veggies.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cook noodles according to directions.
  3. Brown venison and onion. Stir in sauce and mix well.
  4. Combine the noodles and sauce and pour into a 9 x 13 pan. Mix 1 cup of cheese into noodles. Top remaining 1 cup of cheese on top.
  5. Cover with tin-foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes.

Wednesday – Sloppy joes, pickles, and chips

Ingredients: hamburger buns, 1 lb ground beef, ½ cup onion diced, 1 cup ketchup, ¼ cup mustard, 2 heaping TBL brown sugar.

Instructions:

  1. Brown ground beef and onion. Drain off excess fat. Add in ketchup, mustard and brown sugar. Mix until combined and let simmer on low until ready to serve.

Thursday – Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti from Lauren’s Latest

Friday – Meatloaf, sweet potatoes, steamed veggies

Ingredients: 1 lb ground venison (or beef), 1 egg, ¼ cup onion diced, 3 splashes of Worcestershire sauce, ¼ bread crumbs, salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl combine all ingredients. Work breadcrumbs in with your fingers. Add more bread crumbs for desired texture.
  2. Transfer mixture to a greased meatloaf (Bread) pan and cook at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Saturday – Leftovers or out to eat

Sunday – Baked chicken, mashed potatoes, steamed veggies

Ingredients: 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, bread crumbs, mayonnaise, salt & pepper

  1. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Salt & pepper the chicken breasts. Spread mayonnaise on each chicken breast. Sprinkle bread crumbs over top of chicken breasts.
  2. Bake @ 425 for 25 minutes or until temp reads 160 degrees.

What are some of your go-to meals? I’d love to try some new ones.

Happy meal planning!

4 Inexpensive Activities for 2 Year Olds

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If you’re one of the lucky ones who has a two year old in your home, or are getting ready for that teachable twos phase, this post is for you!

I’ve made it through the 2’s phase once, and here is my current favorite 2 year old! She’s spunky, funny, and sweet as can be!

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The best word to describe a two year old is crazy BUSY. BUSY. BUSY. Constantly on the go. But oh do they love repetitive motions and activities. There are so many inexpensive activities involving mostly things you have around the house that keep their attention and engage them for more than two minutes at a time 😉

Alphabet Puzzle – even though most 2 year olds don’t know their letters yet, it’s never to young to have exposure. Hiding the letter pieces in the dry beans is an extra fun extension to the activity. This sensory activity allows for little hands to touch and feel, seek and find, and place letters in the puzzle. I found this puzzle at the Dollar Tree for, you guessed it $1! They also have a numbers version of this puzzle! Put the dry beans in any container you can easily close and there you have it! Hours  minutes of fun! Hehe – but really, this is one activity the girls pull out from our activity cupboard often!

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Pom-Poms – there could be an entire post just on pom-poms alone! These things are amazing. Honestly, you can do anything. Use tongs to pick them up. Sort colors in an egg container or cupcake pan. Glue onto paper. Stick onto contact paper. And of course, put in a container. I’ve cut a hole in an oatmeal container and had them drop them in the hole. I’ve also taped toilet paper rolls to the closet doors so they can drop them through the tunnels into a bucket. This variation calls for an old drink container and a package of poms! toddler activity 4

Play-doh – this seems like a no brainer right? Well I’ve got to admit, two year olds aren’t the best at flattening out their play-doh and demand your help the WHOLE time. With three little ones at home, I try to find ways to keep them engaged without needing my help every two seconds. So we’ve added tooth-picks and beads to our play-doh fun. They love sticking the tooth-picks in the play-doh and stacking the beads on the tooth-picks. Let me give you a fair warning that beads generally end up flying across the kitchen, but it is one of the favorites around here! toddler activity

Painting Snow – we’re in the dead of winter here in Michigan, and sometimes temps are so low we stay inside. A fun way to play in the snow is to bring it in! I scoop a shovel’s worth into a 9 x 13 pan for each girl. I mix food coloring and water in mason jars and let them paint away. Sand toys or little cars are also fun to play with in the snow! I lay old towels on the floor beneath them to soak up the snow that gets flung out of their containers. The clean-up is easy peasy. Dump the snow outside and you’re done! toddler activity 2

I hope you give one or all of these activities a try with your toddler! Don’t just survive these winter months, thrive!

Do you have go-to fun activities for your two year old? I’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment!