Month: January 2018

14 Meals for the Busy Mom

As I’ve mentioned before, I love to plan my meals for two weeks at a time. It seems like a lot, but it really takes the stress out of thinking about dinner every day. Think about it: I take 2 days every month to plan meals and I’ve got the whole month covered. In addition, I make my grocery list when I make my meal plan. So I’m doing “big” food shopping twice a month. I do still have to run to the store to pick up a few things each week like milk, fruit, and bread, but at least it’s a quick trip – in and out. I bet you’re wondering how long this “meal planning” takes. Since I’ve been doing it for a few years now, it only takes me about 60 minutes.

So how do I plan these meals? Like many of you, I spend time pinning recipes, so I have lots of recipes pinned that are favorites and then there are some that I want to try. I typically go to my boards and pick out what I want to make. I check the recipe for ingredients and start adding items to my grocery list. I write down every ingredient needed and then do a quick pantry check when I’m finished my list to see if there’s anything I don’t need to buy.

What about the recipes? I print them out if I need them. If I’ve already made the meal, I already have the recipe printed. A word of advice: If you find a recipe you LOVE, make sure you SAVE it! Print it and put it in a safe spot or copy and paste it into a document and save it on your computer. Do not think just because it’s on the internet it will stay there. Sometimes recipes disappear. Trust me. I had it happen to me and it took a lot of digging for me to find the original that I loved.

I’m going to share our Meal Plan for 2 Weeks. I’m warning you… we like chicken. We eat a lot of chicken prepared different ways. Each recipe can be found through my Pinterest boards, but I’m going to link to them here to make it easier.

Week 1

Sunday: Alfredo Soup – I like to prep this one the night before or earlier in the day so that it’s less work at dinner time.

Monday: Smothered Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes

Tuesday: Crockpot Lasagna Soup with Garlic and Herb Pull Apart Bread

Wednesday: Chicken Patty Sandwiches with French Fries (Easy Meal: Check your grocer’s freezer!)

Thursday: Ravioli Bake – Super easy “go-to” meal that can be prepared in about 10 minutes and there’s only 1 dish to clean!

Friday: Chicken Taquitos with Chips and Salsa

Saturday: Loaded Potato Soup – I’ve tried a lot of potato soup recipes and this one is thee best in my book.

Week 2

Sunday: Baked Penne with Garlic Bread

Monday: Chicken Fajita Bubble Up Bake with Cilantro Lime Rice – This meal is one of our favorites! I also like to use my Homemade Fajita Seasoning for this . This is another meal I like to prep the night  before or earlier in the day. If you prep it ahead of time, just put the seasoned biscuit pieces in a separate bowl until it’s time to bake the dish.

Tuesday: Meatball Sandwiches (Easy Meal: Frozen Meatballs, Rolls, and Cheese – optional)

Wednesday: Chicken Cacciatore – Cook up some red and green peppers in olive oil, pour in a big jar of pasta sauce, fry up 4 boneless chicken breasts and cut into pieces; toss into peppers and sauce.         Add a little garlic powder, a little onion powder. Cook until all is combined. Serve over egg noodles. 🙂

Thursday: Breakfast or Take-Out! (Mom might need a break!)

Friday: Chicken Tetrazzini – This is one of my husband’s favorites.

Saturday: Homemade Pizza (Frozen Pizza Dough, Sauce, Cheese, and Toppings of your choice)

And there you have it… 14 Meals that are fairly simple to make – especially the Crockpot Recipes. I’m a big fan of throwing everything together in the morning and having a meal at dinner time. Besides, it gives me more free time to whip up a dessert. We all know there’s always room for dessert! 😉

Enjoy!

Denise

 

8 Tips to Make Grocery Shopping Hassle-Free

Raise your hand if you look forward to grocery shopping. That’s what I thought.

As a mom of two small children grocery shopping is not fun. I know there are options available for grocery delivery or pick-up, but there are times when I need to go to the store myself. Sometimes it’s because I don’t have the extra funds to pay for delivery service or because I would rather pick my own produce or meats. If I am going to do my own shopping, I don’t want to spend more time than I have to in the supermarket. Spending a few minutes at home preparing for the trip can save lots of time in the store.  Here’s how:

1.Keep an ongoing list handy – whether it be on the fridge or in your planner – and jot down items as you run low or run out. This saves so much time! There’s no checking the pantry as you are ready to walk out the door.

2. Meal Plan! Plan menus in advance so you know what you have on-hand and what you need to shop for. Be sure to check recipes for special ingredients so you are prepared.

3. Before leaving home, put your grocery list in the order of the aisles at the grocery store. If you aren’t a frequent shopper (because you’re more of a delivery kind of person), break your list down into sections: Produce, Dairy, Canned Goods, Dry Goods, Deli, Meats/Poultry, Household, Snacks, Drinks, etc.  This will keep you from circling the store!

4. Use a Coupon Organizer and arrange your coupons in alphabetical order or according to your store’s aisles.

5. Shop early! There is the least amount of traffic in the morning and you’ll get the freshest meats and baked goods!

6. Park close to the exit doors. You won’t have to push a heavy cart as far… unless of course you’re trying to sneak in a work-out while grocery shopping.

7. Shop with a partner. Grab your husband/boyfriend – or if you have teens – and split the list. Make it a team effort to grab everything on your list and meet at the check-out.

8. When loading the grocery belt, put the items in the order in which they’ll be bagged. Keep like items together to make it easier to put away when you get home. And don’t forget to put the bread and fragile foods, like eggs, last so they end up on top of the cart.

These simple tips will keep you on track and save you time the next time you have to grocery shop. Do you have a tip for saving time at the grocery store? I’d love to hear it!

-Denise

Posts on Happy Little Wife contain affiliate links. When you make a purchase through an affiliate link, your price will be the same, but Happy Little Wife will receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting me.

Some of my favorite products:





Top 5 Reasons to Use a Paper Planner

I’ve seen several posts on social media over the past few days about planners. Most of the posts were asking what kind of planner others use and why. I noticed a lot of comments from people asking why someone would want to use a paper planner instead of an app, to-do list, or calendar on their phone. I even had a discussion with a friend the other night about my planners and the person thought I was crazy for wanting to “write” stuff out when I have a computer that could very easily organize all my information. I have been using a Classic Happy Planner for two years now and I love it. I actually decided this year to add a Mini Happy Planner to the mix. My Happy Planner is mostly for myself – I put everything in there that I need to do to take care of the house, the kids, and my online business. I picked up a Mini so that I could keep track of our bills and other important information that doesn’t make me quite as “happy!” I understand that some people think it’s silly with all the technology at our fingertips these days, but here are my Top 5 Reasons for Using a Paper Planner (or two)!

1. Accountability

There’s something about writing things out that makes me more productive. I like to think about what I want to accomplish in a day or week and write it out. Once it’s written, I look forward to completing the task – no matter what it is – so I can check it off. It holds me accountable and putting that little check mark next to the item makes me feel good!

2. Keeping Organized

I like to plan my week out on Sundays. I write in everything that’s going on that week – appointments, phone calls that need to be made, bills that need to be paid, chores, meals, projects, activities for the kids, and family activities.

3. Tracking Habits

I am currently trying to drink more water, so I made a small tracker to add to my weekly spread that I can track how many glasses of water I drink in a day. I also want to make more time for myself, so I am going to attempt to write one thing I’ve done for myself every day. I know a lot of people like to track other things such as fitness, foods, moods, etc. These are all terrific ideas and, who knows, maybe I’ll add something else in as the year progresses.

4. It’s NOT Digital

That’s right, I want to use a paper planner because it isn’t on my computer, phone, or tablet. I spend enough time on these things for business, shopping, and social media. It’s a nice break.

5. Creative Time

It gives me some time for myself at least once a week and I get to have a little creative/crafty time. Between stickers, washi tapes, and pretty pens, I’m all set!

 

So there you have it – My Top 5 Reasons for Using a Paper Planner! If you use a paper planner, I’d love to hear your reasons.

-Denise

 

Posts on Happy Little Wife contain affiliate links. When you make a purchase through an affiliate link, your price will be the same, but Happy Little Wife will receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting me.

 





Word for the Year: PEACE

For the past several years I have seen many people choose a word for the year. This word provides focus and remains with you throughout the year. Instead of a resolution – which let’s face it – most of us break rather quickly – it’s a way to make yourself a better person without limiting yourself to one thing. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought over the past few weeks knowing that the New Year was approaching. I thought of several words and their meanings and ways to apply them to my daily life, but the one word that I kept coming back to was “peace.” I’ve noticed a decrease of peace in my life and in increase in stress lately. I’ve been thinking of ways to implement my word over the next 12 months and I’ve come up with a short list. The list may seem little, but the ideas behind it are BIG!

To start, I’ve chosen a quote to keep in mind: “Every day brings a choice to practice stress or to practice peace.” This is absolutely perfect for me because it’s just what I want.

Then I created my short list of ways to live peacefully:

  1. Set limits.
  2. Slow down.
  3. Unclutter.
  4. Accept and let go.
  5. Breathe.

Seems simple, right?! I hope so! My bigger thoughts or “goals” for each of those things goes much deeper… and here’s what I’m thinking.

Set limits. This means a few things to me, in no particular order. I have a tendency to take on more than I can handle at times because I don’t like to say, “no.” This almost always causes me stress because I never want to disappoint anyone, but I need to learn to set limits and know when I’ve reached my limit. For me, it also means setting more limits with my kids – again, not wanting to disappoint, but knowing when they’ve had enough screen time, snacks, etc. It sounds silly, but I’m always involved in taking care of devices and fixing food and this often stresses me because every time I start to do something that needs to be done, I’m interrupted and by the time I’m finished with the kids it doesn’t seem like I ever get to finish what I started. And lastly, setting a limit for social media. I  know I’m not the only one who can get sucked into mindless scrolling or pinning!

Slow down. If I can’t get it all done in one day, it’s okay.  Taking time to just stop and enjoy little moments.

Unclutter. Clutter and kids just seem to go together! So I’m not talking about the mounds of toys and games, but little things like letting the mail pile up because I don’t feel like dealing with it. That’s a big one for me. I truly despise the mail. I should really just put a trash can next to the mailbox and deal with it before it even makes it in the front door. (Hmmm… That’s not such a bad idea.) And then there’s the pantry. And my desk. Oh, my desk. The clutter of those things can really work my nerves, but hopefully I can tackle those things one day at a time and keep them clutter free.

Accept and let go. Easier said than done, I’m sure. But this one I really need to work on. I can get so worked up over situations and circumstances I cannot control.  I let these things consume my brain. Sadly, I often find that I’m the only one upset, while the person (or people) who have upset me move on, and quite frankly, could care less and I’m the only one who ends up feeling sad, hurt, or stressed. I need to practice accepting these things I cannot change and move on.

Breathe. That’s right — inhale and exhale.  This is another quote I found that I really like: “Inhale peace. Exhale stress. Inhale calm. Exhale worry.” – Mary Davis

In order to keep my Word of the Year close, I’ve created a special page that I inserted at the very beginning of my Happy Planner. I can leave it right in the front or I can move it to the beginning of each new month.

Planner Pic

Do you have a word for the year? If so, what is it? I’d love to hear them!

Happy New Year!

– Denise

Posts on Happy Little Wife contain affiliate links. When you make a purchase through an affiliate link, your price will be the same, but Happy Little Wife will receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting me.

 




© 2019 Happy Little Wife

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: