once a month food shopping

once a month food shopping.

it’s an actual “thing”… did you know this? i found a few many ideas about it online. i know this because i spent many hours researching the whole idea. my journey to be more frugal has led me here. wherever “here” is.

the idea intrigues me.

my hang-up with it all is the lack of storage for the many items in the beginning weeks.

we have a good size pantry, but if i put it all in there, i have a feeling that my family will devour eat it and it will not be there for said meal plan. we also have an extra freezer, but i am sure the food won’t fit…oh, and it’s all the way in the cold and unfinished part of our basement. yes, that’s a reasonable reason.

as you can see, the jury is still out on if i will attempt this….so i’d love to hear your thoughts.

have you tried this method of shopping/planning? if so, what did you like/not like about it? if you haven’t tried it, why not?

help!  pretty please?….

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holiday bake hop – christmas morning quiche

it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

i could write about all the reasons why that statement rings true.

or i could just show you… and by that, i mean with a mouth-watering photo of the yummiest breakfast ever (and a super sweet surprise at the end, so read on)…

or maybe it just seems that way because we eat it while relaxing around the Christmas tree, holiday music softly playing from Pandora and watching our daughters open their gifts.

as i thought about uploading the photo, i decided that i’d also share the recipe. you know, just in case you’d like to recreate the beautiful morning i described.

oh, and did i mention that  you can make this ahead of time? throw in the coffee pot that has a timer and your Christmas morning just got better…no hassle or baking! and may i suggest cute Christmassy (yes, that IS a word… maybe…) paper plates as well? because, really, who wants to do dishes on Christmas?!

quicheChristmas Morning Quiche

*1 prepared pie crust (didn’t i tell you it was super easy?!)

*10 eggs

*1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

*1/2 cup shredded motzerella cheese

*1 Tbsp minced onion

*4 oz chopped deli ham

*salt & pepper to taste

*unroll one pack of the prepared pie dough (or double the batch and make two since you already have the dough) and place it in pie plate, crimping sides, if desired. or you can just wing it and call it a “rustic” look like i do. no one will judge…and if they do, they will apologize profusely after digging in. i promise. in a bowl, crack eggs and wisk in onion, salt and pepper. mix in cheese and ham. pour into pie crust. bake 375 F for 25-30 min. Let cool and serve!

i make this Christmas Eve and after it’s cool, i stick it in the fridge (if we can keep from eating some…. it smells heavenly!) until morning… then i just slice it and reheat it in the microwave in the morning. usually, we take a bite, open a gift…take a bite, give a gift… and so on.

i assure you, it will make your Christmas morning less stressful! and it is embarrassingly easy! but…shhh… it’ll be our little secret, okay? okay.

but, wait!! there’s more… (I’ve always wanted to say that, by the way)

SURPRISE!! if you click on the gorgeous Holiday Bake Hop graphic below, it will take you to many more scrumptious Christmas recipes…all in one blessed place. clearly, a few of us bloggers have made this Christmas season a more joyous one for you… right? right.

ready, set… click!

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oh… and…

you’re welcome.

 

fall family fun

i love traditions.

they are heart-warming and fun… and full of… well…memories.

this year wasn’t any different.

each year i host a “fall family fun day” for my side of the family. it’s just a fun time for us to get together, eat, laugh and make memories. it has become a Halloween alternative for my family, so we make sure the candy is flowing. and that’s always fun. ya know, pump the kids full of sugar and hope the weather is nice so they can go outside to burn it all off before bedtime.

now that they kiddos are getting older, i think the adults eat more of the sugar (except what i hide in the cupboards… don’t judge).

i try to make the food fun as well. some years are simple and some I’ve gone all out. this year was fun to put together, so i thought i would share some snapshots.

fall fam fun 2.jpg

i chose a “chili bar” theme for the main meal… (chili, corn bread, baked potatoes, hot dogs and the extras that go with it). it was easy and could be made/purchased ahead of time.

fall fam fun 1.jpg

of course, the veggie dip had to go in a pumpkin. i saw it on pinterest… oh, it was a blast getting the dip container IN that pumpkin. my poor husband. he must love me… that’s all i will say about that. oh, and we don’t typically put candles in the brownies… clearly, we celebrated my daughter’s birthday as well on this particular day.

so while these parties take time and effort, the memories that come along with it are priceless. it was fun to find ideas, and my mom and sister graciously brought some of the yumminess to contribute. we ended the day with a huge bonfire outside… and hot chocolate. ahh autumn was in the air. totally worth it.

next year i think we’ll let the kids plan it…. hooray!

umm… maybe.

every day grace

there is not one single word that can easily describe motherhood.

and on top of all that it entails, we moms add our own description.

expectations.

expectations of our perceived views from people. from other moms. from our own moms. from our mother-in-laws. from the neighbors. from the seemingly perfect momma in the store with her angelic child sleeping in the spotless stroller. from our friends. from our very own children.

it hits hard. it sinks deep and begins to root.

and if we’re not careful, it can grow into a monster.

i was having a conversation with my daughter and, as we were (jokingly) telling each other what a “day in the life” of the other would look like, it was hilarious and hysterical. but as i walked away, the funniness seemed to dim as some words sunk in. i looked back on it and, from my perception, it appeared my child thought i rest often. okay, so pause a sec with me… rest? for a momma?! i know…it’s why i initially giggled when it was said. but when i thought about it more (why do we women analyze so much, anyway?!), i realized that, of course she would think that! let me explain…

i am a homeschool mom… an introvert… and suffer from frequent migraines.

my days  consist of surviving. oh, the joy it brings in my heart (for real!) but.. i am utterly exhausted each and every moment. i have not always been this way, let me assure you. but in this moment in time, it is fact. i am in no way complaining because my life is the dream i have always longed for… loving husband, 3 awesome daughters, a home to take care of … i could go on. it’s what I’ve always asked God for since i can remember. so, while it is tiring for me, i would not have it any other way.

but do i say that to my children often enough for them to know it?

my evenings consist of school planning for hours (some days) and preparing for the following day. and if i’m not doing it physically, i’m doing it mentally. nonstop.

but how would my children see that? they are sleeping or in their rooms. and they are certainly not in my head.

my mind is a never-ending cycle of thoughts… dinner, cleaning, laundry, family, thinking ahead (seasons, appointments, holidays), time with hubby, one on one time with each child, running places, etc… and when this happens, my mind and heart need a re-charge. due to how God created me, i re-charge differently than some. it’s not commonly talked about because our world has given mommas the stigma that you give and give until you go insane. that’s a good mom. really?! no wonder we all are trying and trying but not getting anywhere!

but how would my children see this or know this? i don’t teach myers-briggs or personality types to them over dinner.

Psalms says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

no matter what the other moms at the park think. or what our children think. or what WE think.

that is merely someone’s perception of us. they do not see us 24/7. they cannot see inside our heart.

i had to stop and think this morning…. am i looking at myself as God sees me?

i don’t think i do. and if it do, it’s only because i have the verses written in bold print hanging on my mirror. ha.

so… then, and in typical female reaction (i don’t disappoint! lol), i analyzed yet again. i analyzed MY attitude and thoughts of others. do i judge based on merely MY perception? i think we can all honestly say that we have. but we don’t see them 24/7. we cannot see inside their heart.

Pslams says they are fearfully and wonderfully made.

i believe there is one answer to this dilemma. this answer gives me peace when i worry if i’m doing enough, being enough or if I’ve “rested too long”.

grace.

grace for each other and grace for ourselves.

 

 

hope

comparison. alone. emotional wars. emptiness. judgment. betrayal.

all words that make me cringe. things that are apart of this world… apart of life.

today I can pretty much say that I experienced all of these things in the course of two hours. I am not going to whine and cry (this time anyway. ha.)… no, i’m just going to be mad. yes, mad. i’m tired of being sad, of feeling hurt. so, just for a minute, mad is what i’ll be.

but then.

but then I am going to put on my big girl panties, shake it off and run to the One who holds me. because, let’s face it, this is life. and it happens. if I sat and cried and covered up my head each time, i’d probably become a hermit (which, by the way, sounds extremely appealing at the moment).

and so… I put one foot in front of the other… toward Hope.

and if I can’t take that first step, I reach out my hand. sometimes, I reach far and with desperation. other times, it’s just a slight movement toward reaching. either way, it’s my small step of faith… reaching for the One who knows me. the One who is constant. the One who hears and sees it all.

so, my friend, on those days or in those moments where you feel alone or feel invisible…whether you are in a grocery store surrounded by strangers or in your church surrounded by familiar… wherever you may find yourself, reach out to hope.

because… Jesus.

food shop from home?

food shop from home… no, i don’t mean hopping on your laptop and going to your local grocery store’s website (although, i do wish our town had that nice little perk… i loath food shopping. maybe it’s the thinking involved. or maybe the rushing-to-get-home. or maybe i just don’t like it. yeah, that’s it.).

i have been thinking a lot about being more frugal with spending. this isn’t necessarily something new, but it comes in waves usually. anyone else? sometimes i just don’t feel like i have the energy or mindset to put into it. but that’s just a result of being selfish (in my case anyway).

you see, i tend to justify buying out of convenience. i tell myself a myriad of half-truths in order to do it.

“i had a hard week”

“i didn’t sleep well last night”

“i homeschool”

…and so it goes.

But, then, i was reminded of what my priorities should be. for me, up there pretty high on that list is feeding my family. i take it seriously. we rarely eat “junk” for dinner (hear me when i say, sometimes “junk” is in order… i am not opposed.. ha), and i typically try to have good meals every day.

that being said…. it can be pricey! can i get an amen?!

so, on my quest to be more frugal, i remembered something i used to do more often than i do these days… shop and meal plan from the pantry! it’s really a genius idea (kudos to whatever book i may have been reading at the time of inspiration).

Want to know how i do it?

i meal plan every weekend. i tried going to the store less often, but we use so many fresh items, that it makes sense for me to go weekly. by the time a month has gone by, i am usually able to “skip” a week by just using what we already have. it’s a great time to clean out the pantry and fridge (what’s in there, anyway?!). I empty it all out, clean/wipe down, and take inventory (write it all down)…. then i toss anything expired. i return everything back to its place (neatly and (hopefully) organized), and sit down with my list. i basically grocery shop in my kitchen… with a glass of wine and soft jazz music (which, by the way, i think if our food stores had these amenities, most of us food-shopping-loathing people would enjoy it more. just sayin… ).

you will be surprised at how much you have…and how much you save. i am tired of throwing away things or having the mentality that we have “nothing to eat” just because there’s an empty shelf in the fridge.

my next tip is to be creative. if you have a few simple key ingredients, you can make your own snacks or bake your own desserts (or bread!). it’s yummy and your family will think they hit the jackpot (hello June Cleaver!).

God wants us to be good stewards… of our time, money and resources. this is just one small way to begin (or continue).

i’d love to hear from you! do you do this? do you have anything to add? any suggestions?

even if

mommy, watch me!”

how many times do we hear that in any given day?

i can tell you that those very words are not taken for granted in my heart. i am all too aware at the beauty that they hold.

mom, can i wear a little mascara?”

the day had come and i agreed it made her eyes look brighter somehow.

hey mom, can you just drop me off at the door please?”

*heart sinks* …. of course but please be careful, my daughter.

mom, i think i really like this boy….” as we drink coffee together (coffee. together.)

*deep breath* you are beautiful on the outside, but even more on the inside, sweetheart.

momma, i’d like you to go with me to visit a college i’m praying about…”

*look up at the ceiling so i don’t cry* … maybe one tear (or two) slip out. yes, i will pray along side you to know God’s leading. even if that means you move across the country.

even if.

mommy, watch me!”…. i will watch you, my beautiful daughter… i will watch you, whether near or far… i will watch you follow God wherever He may lead you…

i promise…                even if….