Deliciously easy weekday meals

Deliciously easy weekday meals

Making meal plans is easy.

Following through with them? Not so much.

When you’ve got a busy household your weekdays can get away from you and it’s time for dinner before you’ve finished your last cup of (now cold) coffee.

But making dinner doesn’t have to be hard, there’s so many deliciously easy meals out there. Here’s my favorite, super easy meals for busy nights.

Tuna Alfredo

Ingredients

  • 2 cans tuna
  • 16 oz fusilli noodles
  • 16 oz jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Spray 9×13 casserole dish with cooking oil
  3. Mix Alfredo and milk in a small bowl
  4. Pour a thin layer of milk mixture on bottom of pan
  5. Fill pan with noodles
  6. Add peas and tuna evenly across noodles
  7. Pour the remaining milk mixture on top
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until noodles are tender

Hamburger stroganoff

  • Ingredients
    • 1 pound ground beef
      16oz egg noodles
      2 cans cream of mushroom
      1 cup milk
      1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

    Method

    1. Brown the beef in a skillet
    2. Add in the mushrooms until cooked through
    3. Stir in the milk and cream of mushroom
    4. Add noodles and cook until tender

    Cheesy bacon wrapped chicken

    Ingredient

    • Chicken breast (I used 2 large ones)
    • Bacon (2 slices per breast)
    • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
    • 8 oz cream cheese
    • Optional: minced jalapeños

    Method

    1. Preheat oven to 350°
    2. Soften cream cheese if needed, mix in a boil with shredded cheese and jalapeños
    3. Halfway fillet the chicken, so you can stuff it with cheese
    4. Stuff with cheese
    5. Wrap with bacon
    6. Bake in a casserole dish for 40-45 minutes, until chicken reaches 165°

    Turkey cabbage stir fry

    Ingredients

    • 14 oz cole slaw mixed
    • 1 pound ground turkey
    • 2 TBS soy sauce
    • 1 Tsp ginger
    • 1 Tsp garlic
    • Optional: sriracha

    Method

    1. Brown the turkey in a skillet
    2. Add in garlic and ginger
    3. Stir in cole slaw and soy sauce
    4. Cook until cole slaw looks good
    5. Top with an appropriate amount of sriracha

    Taco Salad

    Ingredients

    • 1 pound ground beef
    • Taco seasoning
    • Spinach (2 cups per serving)
    • Tomato (1 per serving)
    • Avocado (1/2 per serving)
    • Shredded cheddar (1/2 cup per serving)
    • Tortilla chips
    • Sour cream
    • Salsa
    • Other options: olives, cilantro, corn, black beans

    Method

    1. Brown the beef in a skillet
    2. Add taco seasoning as per package instructions
    3. Chop or slice veggies as desired
    4. Layer your salad: tortilla, beef, cheese, spinach, tomato, avocado, other toppings, then sour cream and salsa

    5 ways to simplify life with 2 kids under 2 years old.

    5 ways to simplify life with 2 kids under 2 years old.

    I’d like to introduce you to my boys. These guys fill my life with joy, and cause a lot of stress doing so. I’m so grateful to be their momma!

    Desmond is 2 and a half years old now and Dash will be a year old in June.

    If you’ve already got 2 under 2, I don’t have to tell you how hard this life is. I don’t have to tell you how absolutely rewarding it is either.

    For those who don’t know, caring for a toddler is like constantly cleaning up after a tornado, while it’s still happening. Babies aren’t much easier, it’s like having a gremlin that you’ve accidentally fed after midnight.

    This is scary business, raising sweet little monsters angels. It’s the most important and under appreciated job, and it’s yours! Congratulations.

    The good news is, there are lots of things we can do amidst the chaos to make this mom life easier. I’d like to share just a few of my best tips with you.

    1. Evening prep time

    Every night before we head to bed, my husband plays with our boys while I get the kitchen ready for the next day.

    I prep the coffee maker and program it to start before we get up, I make my husband’s lunch, and ensure that my kitchen is clean enough to make me feel excited to see it in the morning.

    I also do one super helpful thing. My youngest is on formula, and I use those formula to go containers every day. By pre-portioning the formula I never have to keep track of how many bottles he’s had that day. I can just look at how many sections are empty. Super easy!

    2. Ready to eat snacks

    Toddlers are bottomless pits. They will -loudly- demand a snack at the worst moments, like when the baby finally goes down for a nap. Having quick and healthy snacks on hand has been a big help around our house.

    Desmond now goes to the fridge and can get his own apple sauce or cheese stick when I’m wrist deep in a diaper change, or he can grab fruit or a bag of Veggie Straws off the counter.

    3. Car go-bags

    The absolute worst situation to put yourself in as a parent is to be unprepared while out of the house. Too many times I’ve found myself without enough diapers, or a change of clothes, that’s why I always keep a bag in the car for each boy.

    I like to use those little wet bags for cloth diapers, or a gallon size ziplock works well too. I do a bag for each boy for a specific reason: I often leave one with my mom or send one with my husband. When I do this it’s so much easier to have two separate bags. I can also throw both bags into a large diaper bag for family day trips.

    In each bag I always keep:

    2-3 diapers

    Wipes

    Spare change of clothes (usually PJs)

    Socks

    Larabars or Veggie Straws

    *in my baby’s bag I also keep enough formula for a single bottle.

    4. Get your toddler involved

    My first instinct was always to send Desmond out of the room when I’m cooking or cleaning. I’m so glad I didn’t follow that thought.

    I’ve got my 2 year old involved with cleaning, and now we cleans his own spills, puts away his toys when asked (most of the time), and even is in charge of vacuuming downstairs.

    Okay, he doesn’t really vacuum. He does turn on the Roomba though, and that’s a big help. If you’ve got hard floors, I highly suggest investing in an automatic vacuum like a Roomba. It’s greatly cut down on how often I have to sweep.

    5. Individual quality time

    It’s so important that your children feel loved and special. They don’t understand that every thing we do is for them. They don’t get that we can love both of them all the time. That’s why is so important to find just a few moments each day to make them each feel like they are your number one.

    I love when Dash naps and I get to snuggle with my toddler. He lights up when he sees me alone sitting on the couch, asking him to “come snuggle.” He doesn’t always nap anymore, so we have quiet time where we sit and watch a movie together.

    Most mornings my toddler will sleep in, and Dash will wake up first so we get some time together, just us. These are the moments I treasure most. I get to be their favorite person and see this gleam in their eyes when we have special times like these.

    It doesn’t have to be hard to find times like these, we just have to be intentional about it. Set our phones down and focus all our attention for just a few minutes on one child and see how their behavior changes.

    What things do you to make mom life easier?

    How do your kids help out?

    How do you spend quality time with them?

    How to stop hating housework.

    How to stop hating housework.

    I hated cleaning most of my life, you can ask my mom. I gave her such a hard time when it was time for chores, I always had a headache.

    At the time, I didn’t understand why I got headaches so conveniently when asked to sweep the kitchen. My mom always thought I was faking.

    Turns out I was giving myself headaches. I hated cleaning so much, the stress would boil up inside me and cause a tension headache.

    This hatred stuck with me into adulthood, into motherhood. I never liked to load dishes, fold laundry, clean toilets or mop. And because I didn’t like it, I didn’t these things as often as they need to be done, which inevitably resulted in my house being a disgusting garbage pit all the time.

    Clear Out The Clutter

    I’m just gonna say it: cleaning sucks and I never want to do more than the bare minimum.

    You know happens when we have more stuff than we need? We have to clean more stuff than we need to.

    Don’t like doing dishes? Don’t have more dishes than you’re will to wash daily. If you have 4 plates per person, you’re going to use ALL of those before you clean them.

    If you only have 1 dish per person, you’ll never have to clean more than that. You’ll be forced to wash them as you need them, but never have a chance to let them build up.

    Doesn’t that life sound lovely? Only ever having enough dishes to fill your dishwasher once. Never having a mountain of dirty dishes that require three wash cycles? Imagine the free time you’d have. Imagine how much less time you would have to spend thinking about those dishes.

    Cleaning gets so much easier when we have less to clean. The stress level goes down and confidence rises.

    I can clean my house. It’s not too much. I am not overwhelmed.

    I want you to be able to say those things, too.

    Use Purposeful Products.

    I used to use a lot of dollar store cleaning products that were full of harsh chemicals that just didn’t work. The strong odors made my chore related headaches worse. These products’ power were not as potent as their smells and required a lot of elbow grease, which I just didn’t have. I was always frustrated.

    A good friend finally convinced me to try essential oils for cleaning and that changed everything. The oils were far more potent and did an incredibly job at tackling these ancient messes that nothing else could touch.

    The best part: they smelled better! Aromatherapy has some major impacts on our mood. Citrus oils have a mean cleaning punch to them, but they are also uplifting and energizing. The last thing I usually feel when cleaning is energized, but thanks to aromatherapy I was feeling it.

    Get Into a Routine

    Once you get your house clean, the worst feeling is letting it get out of control again. The best way to avoid this is to stay on top of it all, all the time and that doesn’t have to be a ton of work.

    It takes some getting used to, but when you develop habits that help you clean as you go about your day, most of your chores will get done without much thought.

    I always try to start a load of laundry before I pour myself a cup of coffee in the morning, this ensures that I will wash a load for the day and avoid piles of unwashed clothes that turn into a mountain of laundry to fold later. This one load I start in the morning I will dry around lunch time and fold before dinner. I either put it away before bed, or first thing the next morning while the kids are still asleep.

    I also like to clear my kitchen counters and empty the sink every night while I pack my husband’s lunch and program the coffee maker for the morning. This way I get to walk into a clean kitchen in the morning with fresh coffee waiting for me, and there’s hardly a better feeling than that.

    Because I know the kitchen will need to be cleaned up in the evening, it helps to motivate me to keep it clean throughout the day. One incredibly valuable thing my mother taught me was to “clean as I go” when I’m cooking. This means rinsing mixing bowls immediately after use and putting ingredients away as soon as I’m done with them. I avoid a huge intimidating mess at the end by doing this.

    Know Your “Why.”

    Motivation and mindset are huge players in this game. If you don’t know why you’re doing something, it can be pretty hard to find the strength to do it at times.

    It helps to focus in on why having a clean home is important to you.

    I like to keep a clean home so I can have guests over without stress, because my family deserves to not live in a sty, and because I know God has called me to at least have this area of life semi put together.

    The Proverbs 31 woman is my role model for being the best wife, mother, and woman I possibly can be.

    How Do I End the Hatred of Cleaning my House?

    1. Declutter your hot spots. For me this was laundry and dishes. Thoroughly go through your spaces and ask of every item “is this serving me?” If it’s causing you more stress than it’s relieving, get rid of it. If you have multiple appliances, pare it down to one of each type. (I traded in 3 different appliances for an Express Cooker, that’s a lot of freed up space in my cupboards!).
  • Need help decluttering? Check out Decluttering 101

  • 2. Rethink your products. Declutter and organize your cleaning tools and products. It does a lot for your motivation to get excited to use your cleaning supplies. Don’t be afraid to invest in a new broom if that’s what will help you.

    If you’re interested in switching to oils for cleaning and aromatherapy, click here.

    3. Create a routine to keep on track. Think about what things are nonnegotiable tasks that need done daily. List these things out and find specific times of day or other tasks that are done daily (like meal times) that you can connect these chores with.

    Want some more info on creating habits? Check this out.

    4. Determine your motivation. Why is it important for you to have a clean home in the first place? Do you like to have company over? Does it make you feel more comfortable? Does it ease anxiety? Do you do it because your children and husband deserve it? Has God called you to have a clean home, to be hospitable at any moment?

    Have you overcome your hatred for cleaning? How did you do it? Let me know in the comments!

    Did this article help you? Leave me a note below.

    Don’t forget about your friends! Do you know someone who might benefit from this post? Share the love and repost to your Facebook or Pinterest!

    They’ll remember the love, but will they remember the mess?

    They’ll remember the love, but will they remember the mess?

    I can’t recall how many times someone has said this to me as a word of comfort:

    “They’ll remember the love, but they won’t remember the mess.”

    For a long time, I believed that. After years of struggling to keep a clean house I have to stand up and say, that’s complete BULL HONKEY.

    Yes, your children will remember the love you gave to them, that part is absolutely true. No, they won’t remember every time there was a pile of dishes in the sink, because honestly kids don’t care about that. But they WILL remember the condition of your home, and if your home is always a mess, if YOU’RE always a mess, that memory will stick with them.

    I speak from experience. My parents are amazing and I love them dearly. They taught me many important life skills, but there’s one very important one they neglected to pass on simply because they didn’t know it themselves: how to keep a clean and inviting home.

    I did not grow up in a minimalist home. I did not grow up in a clean home and I did not grow up in a hospitable home.

    My parents never would have anticipated the troubles this would cause me in my adult life. They likely believed that I would only recall all the things they did for me out of love, that I was blind to the mess around me, but that wasn’t the case.

    My parents are children of depression era parents. Their parents saved EVERYTHING on the chance that they may need it in the future. This is a completely fear based decision, to save things for a rainy day. Yes, you should absolutely have money set aside for emergencies, but you you shouldn’t keep old things that you MIGHT one day need.

    Last year my grandma moved into a fifth wheel, and left her house to my parents, which meant that I got the privilege of helping clear out what she left behind. Bless her heart, but the woman had a box labeled “STRINGS TOO SHORT TO USE.” What was in the box? Exactly that. It was full of tiny bits of strings that couldn’t possibly be used for anything. This is the kind of mentality I was raised with. Nothing was thrown away, because we might find a use for it in the future.

    What really happened was, my dad would go looking for something he knew he’d kept years before, and he would spend half a day looking for the thing. That time spent looking was all wasted, it would have been more productive to spend the money on buying a new whatever-it-was, than the spend more time looking for an old one than it would have taken to earn the money at work for to pay for a new one.

    This taught me to keep everything, I was a borderline hoarder, keeping things out of fear that I might need them. I’m so thankful that I changed this belief as an adult.

    Letting go of fear based decisions has freed me to use logic and faith to make my choices. Letting go of fear is what gave me my second son, deciding that I wasn’t afraid to take on two children under two years old, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

    Everything kept out of fear has an emotional value to it. Every time you look at the item you kept out of fear, you’re reminding yourself of your fears! Let it go! Let go of the fear and let go of the clutter.

    If you’re hanging onto an item out of fear that you may need it SOMEDAY, it’s not serving you and it’s useless to you and your home. It’s clutter and it’s needs to be cut from your life.

    My mom didn’t teach me to keep a clean house.

    My mom would take one day a month to deep clean, and that woman could CLEAN HOUSE! She got a lot done in a single day, especially when she’d recruit us kids to help out.

    But what she lacked was routine. She didn’t keep the house clean day to day, and I didn’t realize at the time that it was a matter of anxiety and overwhelm. I didn’t notice that was the problem, until it was my problem.

    I adopted the same mentality she carried. I held onto the same overwhelm and anxiety. If the house was a mess, I lacked all motivation to take care of it, until it was a HUGE mess of a beast that needed courage and ambition to slay.

    As a kid, there were always mountains of dishes and laundry to be done. I’ll give her credit here, because she does keep up on dishes now and has for the past few years. But the damage was done when I was young. That’s the habit I saw daily and I kept for myself.

    These chains took years to break because I didn’t know HOW to break them. It wasn’t until I discovered decluttering and routines that I began keeping a clean house consistently.

    Cutting the clutter in my home has reduced the feelings of overwhelm that kept me from getting housework under control. Getting rid of the unnecessary things in my life has freed up more time to clean, also.

    Developing the routines of always keeping counters clear and washing, drying, and folding one load of laundry each day, has given me a head start on house chores. I no longer have to say “I can give the dog a bath AFTER I do the dishes and have my sink clear.” I no longer have to feel guilty spending a day out, knowing there’s a mountain of laundry waiting for me at home. I no longer have to be filled with stress the moment I get home from a trip and see my house is just as filthy as I left it, because it was left clean!

    We weren’t very hospitable.

    We rarely had house guests. I remember my mom would always get freaked out when I asked to have friends over. It was always a big deal to have anyone come to our house and would send my mom into one of her cleaning sprees.

    As an adult, I kept this with me. My stress levels would peak when guests were coming over.

    1. Because my house was always a mess.

    2. Because that’s what I knew.

    My husband has always loved to host gatherings, and I didn’t. I hated having anyone over, because there was SO much to do before anyone could see my house. I was so ashamed of the house I lived in and I finally understood why my mom never liked to have guests.

    What she didn’t know would happen, was that she would raise a daughter full of conflict.

    I knew I was called to be hospitable, God tells us to open our homes and our hearts. I closed off both for a very long time. I was embarrassed of my housekeeping skills, I was afraid they would judge me for my home. I made it about ME.

    The point of being a hostess is not to show off your perfect home or your cooking skills, it’s about being there for others. Opening your home and your heart to those who need your care and friendship, that’s the point.

    I do remember the love.

    My parents love me with all they have. They give me absolutely everything they possibly can. My parents have always been there for me, even when they weren’t there for themselves.

    Children will always remember the condition of your home, but also the condition of your heart.

    If you’re under stress every day because you can’t keep up on the housework, that’s what they will remember and that’s the behaviors they will learn from you.

    I keep a clean, decluttered and welcoming home now, BECAUSE I love my children.

    Having experienced it myself, I know that my children will take MY habits and make them their own. I don’t want to see them struggle as I did, I want to see them shine. I don’t want their every day to be an uphill battle with a messy home, I want them to spend their time and energy on things they love.

    I want to spend my days enjoying time with my family, not constantly cleaning up after them. This is why I’ve adopted the minimalist attitude, developed my routines, and make the effort to reach out to those in need. I want them to see that this is normal. I strive to be the person I want my children to become.

    Are you ready to set the example for your family and to be present for their lives?

    Visit the Hot Mess Toolkit to find my favorite ways to make your life easier!

    How to Create Your Own Rotating Meal Plan

    How to Create Your Own Rotating Meal Plan

    “What’s for dinner?”

    “I don’t know, what do you want for dinner?”

    “I don’t know, what are my options?”

    “Whatever you want, just tell me.”

    “Spaghetti?”

    “We don’t have any noodles…”

    “Chicken.”

    “What kind of chicken?”

    “I don’t know, chicken fettuccine?”

    “Still don’t have any noodles.”

    “Baked chicken then.”

    “It’ll take too long to bake, it’s already 7:30.”

    “Pizza?”

    “Okay, pizza.” 

    How many times have you had this conversation in your home? I refuse to believe it’s just my husband and I who have this back and forth of never knowing what to have for dinner. 

    I can be incredibly indecisive. It’s a main character trait of mine. So asking me to choose dinner at a moments notice feels like a life or death decision. Too much of life is already complicated and difficult, why are we letting this simple decision ruin our night?

    No more. Never again. 

    Are you ready to always have an answer to this question: “what’s for dinner?”

    Are you ready to not only KNOW what’s for dinner, but to be prepared with all ingredients on hand after only ONE weekly trip to the grocery store?

    Are you ready to create a life changing meal plan that’s going to save your family time, stress, and money? 

    I’ll be honest, creating this meal plan initially took me a couple of hours over the course of a few days – but I also didn’t have anyone walking me through the process.

    I’m all about this new concept of paying it forward – to YOURSELF. 

    Put in maximum effort right now, so you can chill later, knowing that “what’s for dinner?” is already taken care of. 

    Here we go. 

    STEP 1 – Brain dump your meals. 

    Write out a list of every meal you know your family already likes and the ones you’ve been wanting to try out. Any meal you can think of, just write it down. 

    Need some ideas? Here’s a list of some of our favorite meals plus links to all recipes!

    • sub step: if you’re trying to eat healthier or follow a specific diet, cross off every meal that doesn’t work for your diet. Think outside the box though, there may be a lot of meals that don’t work for YOU, but still work for your family and can be modified by plate. For example, tacos may not work for a carb free diet, but it’s just as easy to make a carb free taco salad with most of the same ingredients. Keep those sort of meals in your plan. 

    STEP 2 – Structure your week. 

    Pull out your calendar or planner and look at your week. Be realistic with your time and your energy when you consider this: what sort of meals can you make each day? 

    If your day is chaotic and full of errands, you probably don’t want to make an elaborate meal. You’ll likely only have enough energy and the time to make a 30 minute, 1 pan meal. 

    If you’re home all morning but gone the rest of the day, until dinner time, then a slow cooker meal is more realistic for that day. 

    If it’s a day when the whole family is home, that’s probably a good day for a more difficult meal. 

    STEP 3 – Plug it all in.

    (Use my printable rotating meal plan template)

    Now just assign every meal to a day. Don’t over plan though. Only plan 4 or 5 days of meals each week. This gives you 2 or 3 nights each week where you can fill it in weekly, go out for dinner, have a frozen pizza, or left overs. 

    You might like to add variety to your weeks based on protein, meal type or ethnicity of the meals. Check out my Easy Weekly Meal Planning post for more info on how to do that.

    I only plan for Monday – Thursday and Saturday. I leave Friday, as that’s often a date night out, and Sunday for left overs or pizza. 

    SEASONAL MEAL PLANNING

    In a month or two I will go through my meal plan, and replace cold weather meals with burgers and sandwiches for the Summer. 

    You can see my 6 week meal plan right here!

    Now you know how to create a killer meal plan. Share with the people you love, so they can too!

    Tackling Your To Do List, Once And For All.

    Tackling Your To Do List, Once And For All.

    You know that never ending to do list that’s always looming over you, making you feel like unaccomplished garbage? The to do list that seems to grow quicker than it shrinks? That same list that you’ve maybe even written a dozen times because you keep losing it?

    I hear you girl. Been there. And I am so OVER that!

    I hated that list. I really really hated it. The same tasks would come and go and come again. You know the ones: dishes, laundry, floors, dishes, laundry, floors, and so on and on and on…..

    I hated that list so much, I finally did something about it. I had to first see my to do list as something different. I had to realize the end game. I had to shift my focus.

    Almost all the things on that list were aimed at having a clean home. They were chores, some daily, some weekly…

    Some of the other tasks on my list were actual, time sensitive, errands that needed to be done: doctor’s appointments, bills, etc.

    I took my tasks and organized them differently. I determined what was important and what was not, and what was time sensitive and what was not. Also set aside the items on your list that are daily things: like dishes, laundry, drinking enough water, exercise, whatever. We’ll deal with these separately.

    I’ve got a free printable here to help you out!

    From this new perspective, you have priorities. I want you to pull out your planner or calendar right now. Take the important/time sensitive items and schedule them this week. Cross them off your to do list. You’ve just scheduled an appointment with yourself to take care of each of those tasks.

    No planner? No problem. I’ve got a printable for that too! Check it out right here.

    Look the rest of your list, at each category, and put them in order of importance TO YOU. Create a list of priorities out of the remaining items. Open up your planner and assign each task to a day, keeping in mind what else you already have to do that day (grocery trips, taking kids to school, dance classes, whatever). Some days you may be able to do 2 or 3 tasks, some days you won’t have time for any, and that’s okay. Be realistic with your time! That’s important, I’ll say it again.

    BE REALISTIC WITH YOUR TIME.

    Don’t overbook yourself and don’t get burnt out. If there are things on your list that just aren’t important and don’t need to be done right away, don’t feel bad about putting them off during a busy time. You can wait an entire month to paint your kitchen cabinets (or whatever) if you’re too busy to comfortably set aside time for that right now. That’s okay! Some things are not important enough to cause you stress every day.

    Now your 4 categories should be done. Recycle that paper and get it out of your life. Keep your plans and appointments with yourself. Know your importance and don’t break promises to yourself. You’d keep these appointments with anyone else, so don’t go cancelling on yourself.

    Time to look at your daily chores. Now be honest with yourself, or this isn’t going to work at all. Ask yourself some questions here.

    1. What of these chores do you already do every day, without needing a reminder to do them? Cross them off your list. You got this.
    2. How important are all the things you have left on your list? Do they all REALLY need to be done EVERY DAY? Maybe it’s something you can schedule once a week?
    3. Looking at what’s left on your list, you should only have tasks that need to be done every day, that you are terrible at doing everyday. Repeat 1 and 2 if that’s not true for you.
    4. Okay, here’s where we change things. Hold on tight and follow me here:

    We’re going to create helping habits for your home.  Habits are the things we do without thinking about them. When we fail to make a choice, and do what our brains are hardwired and trained to do naturally. When the things that you don’t want to do, but have to do, become a habit, they become effortless and you can spend a lot less time thinking about them. (And less time actively avoiding them!)

    “Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.

    [There is] a simple neuroligical loop at the core of every habit, a loop that consists of three parts: a cue, a routine, and a reward.”

    -Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habits).

    The best way to establish a habit it to attach it to a cue or a trigger. When this happens, I do that… If your goal is to empty the sink every day, then you need to attach it to a trigger. For example, when I’m done cooking dinner, I empty the sink.

    I only want you to take 3 of these things on your list, and work on making them a habit this week. When one chore becomes a habit, and you no longer need a reminder to do it, add another one in.

    Soon your to do list will be just a small part of your life. It won’t be cluttered up with things that aren’t important, or things that reoccur every day. Your list will be a legitimate to do list containing only a few items that aren’t a part of your every day life and aren’t huge projects that you’ve already scheduled in your planner.

    Your to do list shouldn’t run your life, and it certainly shouldn’t be stressing you out. It’s a tool, to remind you of those few little things that you are likely to forget it not written down.

     

    The Easy Way to Meal Plan.

    The Easy Way to Meal Plan.

    Planning our family meals ahead of time has changed my life and my grocery trips. I don’t bother planning breakfasts or lunches because it’s so much easier not to. I make sure I always have the basics on hand though. For breakfast: cereal, oatmeal, bagels, bacon and eggs. For lunches: bread, meat, cheese, mayo, chips, fruit, veggies, snacks, yogurt.

    For dinner, I do plan out at least 5 meals each week, and have two nonperishable options (pasta or a frozen premade meal). And if I truly want to be successful with my plan, they are not locked in with a specific meal for a specific day. I do write them as if they are, but I am always open to changing things up midweek, and you should be too. Things happen, and sometimes its best to make adjustments. Don’t be too tied down to your plans that they start hurting more than helping.

    As a guide there are two options for an easy way to meal plan.

    Regionally Inspired or Protein Based.

    An example of Regionally Inspired would be 

    • Monday – Italian
    • Tuesday – Mexican
    • Wednesday – Soup
    • Thursday – Chinese
    • Friday – European
    • Saturday – Mexican
    • Sunday – US

    The other option is Protein Based

    • Monday – Chicken
    • Tuesday – Beef
    • Wednesday – Bean
    • Thursday – Chicken
    • Friday – Fish
    • Saturday – Beef
    • Sunday – Pork

    Then you just plug in the recipes. I always ask my hubs for one or two requests for what he’d like to eat in the next week, and I try to pick at least one new recipe from the Pinterest board full of recipes that gets otherwise ignored.

    I went ahead and pre-plugged in some recipes that actually work for BOTH these meal planning guides.

    • Monday – Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
    • Tuesday – Beefy Enchiladas
    • Wednesday – Taco Soup
    • Thursday – Gen Tso’s Chicken
    • Friday – Fried Tilapia and Fries (Fish and Chips)
    • Saturday – Taco Salad
    • Sunday – Pork Chops

    This is where I really set in my plans. Go through and assign sides to each meal. I usually try to have a leafy green salad and vegetables with each meal.

    Now is where you will really start to feel like you have your life together; use this meal plan to write your grocery shopping list. Review each recipe and check your pantry and fridge to make sure you get everything you need. This way you should only need to go grocery shopping once this week – I usually go on Mondays and make sure to get everything I need for dinner because we only have a Safeway nearby and I hate their prices; its a 15 minute drive to any other grocery store and that’s just not worth it if I forgot to get milk. Preparedness is key.

    Remember to use your meal plan as a guide, not a rule. It is designed to help alleviate stress, not increase it.

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