Meal Plan With Me

If you’re looking to save money on your grocery bill and stay within budget, then this method is for you! I wanted to dive in deeper into how I plan our family’s meals for the week. So far I’ve been using this plan for the last couple of weeks and it has worked beautifully! We’re trying to cut back on eating out to save as much as we can. I wanted to share my method if you’re feeling overwhelmed – believe me, I’ve been there! Anyway, let’s get to it!

Meal plan from a couple of weeks ago.

*You can get this free printable here!*

So every Saturday or Sunday I take some time and write out what we are having for dinner. I also go above and beyond and get out my calendar on my phone and write it down on the days I planned them for. That way I can see what meals I’ve made in the past so as to not make the same meal too close together. Obviously you don’t have to do this step – I just like to be hyper-organized.

Here is the key: I figure out what meals I make for the week by shopping my pantry, fridge, and freezer! I would recommend writing down what you have so you don’t forget and to help reduce waste! Another benefit is that your grocery bill goes down because you should use what you have on hand FIRST, then go and get the items you need from the store.

Now, if you’re not a paper and pen person, I would recommend putting everything on your notes app in your phone.

I write it down on paper and I also use my phone. It helps me to keep everything organized – plus you can delete and rewrite on your notes app so you never have to make the outline again.

Now, what about your inventory items you used up?

Take your grocery budget and designate a portion of that amount to load up on items you’re running low on. This is why you write everything down and keep a stock. If you know that you’re running low on chicken broth, put it on your list so you can replenish. (Want to really penny pinch? Make your own!)

I hope this helps anyone intimidated by meal planning – I know I was! Pinterest is a great source for recipes, and once you have a good arsenal of tried and true meals, you will have a healthy rotation of delicious dinners. You can do this!

What are your favorite recipes? I’d love to know in the comments!

With love,

Em

Waking Up Early

I need to disclaim this right off the bat: I am not a morning person. I really wish I was, but it is so hard for me to get up. Sleep is a valuable thing for me right now – especially since my little one still gets up in the middle of the night to comfort nurse. I find that when I actually do wake up early, I absolutely love it! It’s time I have to myself…alone…with no one needing anything. I’m not mommy or honey yet. I’m just me.

Granted I don’t wake up early every morning. However, this morning in particular as I’m writing this seemed like a perfect opportunity to challenge myself to waking up earlier before the official day starts. My little one got up ten minutes before my alarm this morning. TEN MINUTES. At first, I was really annoyed. Yet then I decided to shift my perspective and think of this pre-alarm wake up call as an opportunity to start waking up and actually get up before the alarm went off. I’ll admit, it was perfect for me. Usually I snooze the alarm to kingdom come and never get up, later kicking myself for not getting up and spending time with God or working on my blog (like I am now).

This week I’m challenging myself to wake up and actually get up and spend time with God, get ready for the day if I want, read a book, write a blog post, etc. I’m loving this so far so I’m hoping I can stick to it this week. Today is Monday. Let’s see what happens when Friday comes! I’ll update this post on Friday and let you guys know how I did.

Do you want to take the challenge with me? Got an iPhone? Good. Set your bedtime schedule to have your alarm go off at 6:30 A.M.. To some it may not seam early, but we’re doing baby steps here. My hope is to gradually wake up earlier. My only condition is to make sure you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep. So everyone needs to have lights out by 10:30 P.M..

I’ll see you guys on Friday!

Mama, You Are Beautiful.

Yes, I’m talking to you.

Every stretch mark.

Every scar.

Every stitch.

Every bag under your eyes.

The milk-stained shirt.

The yoga pants with baby food splattered on them.

You are beautiful. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you haven’t showered in days. Believe me, I’ve been there.

It’s been almost a year since I’ve had my little girl. I still cannot believe she is going to be one! It’s been the most rewarding and the most challenging year of my life. With everything going on, sometimes I forget about myself. Honestly, I feel weird for wanting time to myself when I know I should be doing other things. So I usually come last. Last to eat, last to shower, etc. I haven’t gotten my nails done or my hair since she’s been here. Granted, the coronavirus happened and shut everything down, but my point still stands. It’s a good day when I put on makeup. It’s a MIRACLE if I can do my hair as well. I know I’m not the only new mother who feels this way.

I’ll let you in on a little secret – it’s okay to be a little selfish and do something for you. I know, I know. I heard the gasps and saw the large eyes in my head as I was typing that. However, I believe we need to be a little selfish once in a while for our mental health’s sake. I suffered with the baby blues, which almost turned into full blown postpartum depression. Thankfully I had my husband, mom, and mother-in-law to help me through it. They told me to go take a nap, to go out and get some air, to go and just take a break. They told me to take care of myself.

Sometimes it’s hard when you don’t look the same. There’s new rolls that you’ve never had before. Your hips grew. The pooch isn’t going away, even though you’re breastfeeding and you thought that would be the answer to losing the baby weight (if you can’t tell, I’m a little bitter about this one in particular). At the end of the day, we have to remind ourselves that our bodies are incredible. God designed us so intricately and gave us the ability to grow a new human. Our organs shifted and our hormones went crazy all for this little one we so desperately love. When my baby runs up to me and gives me a big hug, it reminds me that every change we go through is worth it.

I want to challenge you. Take twenty minutes for yourself every day. I’m not talking about your time alone with Jesus. I’m talking about your time alone with YOU. Read a book. Go get your nails done. Rest your eyes. Ask your hubby to take the baby and other kiddos for a little while. If you’re a single mama, first of all you’re a rockstar, but maybe that time alone is trickier. I would suggest getting a friend or someone to come babysit for just a little while. Yes, I’m giving you permission to leave mom duty aside.

When the guilt starts to creep up on you, I want you to remember this: if you want to be the best you can be for your spouse, your children, your job, etc., you have to take care of yourself.

With love,

Em.

Mama, Get Off Your Phone.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

I’ve wanted to write about this for a long time. This is also to myself because I struggle with this daily. It’s something that I think many of us struggle with, regardless of whether we have kids or not. Our phones are a thief of our time. They also destroy our self-esteem. They create monsters inside of us called jealousy when we see an influencer’s new wardrobe, or their third new home in the last few years; each one more grand than the last. I should know because I’ve experienced these emotions and consequences. Yet it does have its virtues believe it or not.

Our phones connect us in ways past generations thought impossible. My daughter loves to FaceTime our family that lives 1,000 miles away. We can send pictures and videos instantly to our friends and relatives. Our phones also give us the ability to find the best deals on Facebook Marketplace, for example. Youtubers give us opinions and advice about products for our littles so we can make a sound purchase. See, I told you our phones have some good qualities!

Yet how many moments have I lost scrolling through Instagram, or watching video after video on Youtube? Moments of my daughter’s life and mine that I cannot get back. I believe that we would have so much “more time,” if we took a minute to see how much we waste on our devices. I love the screen time feature on the Apple iPhone. It was a rude wake up call to see how many endless hours I was wasting on my phone PER DAY. I’ll get transparent so you don’t have to feel as bad. I was averaging about five hours a day on my phone. What the heck?? I will also admit that it was mainly social media that was stealing that much of my time. Endless scrolling and mindless viewing.

I got to work and thought about what I could do with five hours of my day. I could definitely work on laundry. I could finish that book that’s been sitting on my bedside table for a year. I could throw in a thirty minute workout that I keep telling myself I don’t have time for. I could work on a mommy blog that I’ve been dreaming about (hello!) and make it a reality. There’s so much you could do that you “don’t have time for” if you looked up from your phone.

You know, it’s incredible how much comparison steals our happiness. I have to keep myself in check every day when looking on Instagram. I see her immaculate house, her expensive wardrobe, the endless hauls of hundreds of dollars she spent on a whim, the exotic trip that we all know cost her nothing because it was sponsored. That green monster of jealousy rears its ugly head and I become ungrateful for everything I do have. Do you want to know the secret to squashing that annoying monster? Get off your phone. If you’re a christian, get in your Bible. I cannot tell you how much better my day goes when I reach for His Word in the morning when I wake up before I open social media. If you’re not a christian, then I suggest keeping a notebook and write down a list of what you’re thankful for. How about the roof over your head? The fact that you were able to eat dinner last night? The fact that you and your family are in good health? How about the realization that it’s a luxury to have a smart phone? (Obviously these are examples, and it is different for everyone.) I remember always hearing, “If you have breath in your lungs, thank the Lord, because He’s the one who put it there.” How many times do we ever think about how blessed we are to be alive? Probably never. We’re too busy complaining about things we don’t have.

I hope this was encouraging for someone. I’m talking as much to myself as I am to someone else. No one in particular, I promise. I meant in general. I want to challenge you to utilize that screen time feature on your phone and schedule a part of your day where social media is blocked. Put your phone in your bedroom, in a drawer, in a safe, I don’t know. Just leave it somewhere you can’t get to it. Take a minute and breathe. Start on that hobby you’ve wanted to learn. Read a book. Journal. Go on that walk you didn’t have time for. Crack open those dusty recipe books and find a new one that looks delicious. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve done this. Leave me a comment or connect with me on the contact page! Or we can add each other on social media (I know it sounds ironic, but if it’s in your allotted time I’ll allow it ๐Ÿ˜‰) and let me know that my blog sent you!

Let’s to this challenge together. Starting the month of July. Let’s go.

With love,

Emily

 

How I Plan My Week

Everyone has their own way of planning out his or her days and weeks. You’re probably thinking, “Girl, I don’t just plan my days. I micromanage every minute and color cod it.” Perhaps you’re thinking, “What are you talking about?? I just go day by day and see where the day takes me.” I have to ask, though, is the latter question truly working?

I’ll have to admit, I am not a planner by nature. Having a baby changes things. I have to constantly check my watch to know when to put my baby down for naps, when she has to eat, etc. So I hunkered down and bought myself a planner, some pretty colored pens, and got down to business. I want to show you how I do that! If you’re a new momma, this schedule will be ideal for you!

I believe writing it down is so important. Did you know that if you write things down, it will boost your ability to retain information? Now as I say this, I am all for the digital planners and calendars as well. I use them both hand in hand. Once I write everything down for the week in my planner, I will then put it in my calendar so my phone will remind me of important appointments or events. Pro tip: sync your digital calendar with your spouse. You’re welcome.ย 

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

I break my days down into three blocks:

  • Morning Block
  • Afternoon Block
  • Evening Block

Let’s take a closer look at one day of the week:

(Keep in mind that this is a day in the life of quarantine)

Morning Block:ย 

6 a.m. Wake, Devotionals

7 a.m. Noelle Wakes, Change, Play

8:30 a.m. Breakfast

9:30 a.m. 1st Nap

10 a.m. Mommy time – this is where I use my time to workout, work on the blog, get some cleaning done, meal prep, etc.

11:30 a.m. Noelle up, play

Afternoon Block:ย 

12:30 p.m. Lunch

2:30 p.m. 2nd Nap

3 p.m. Mommy time

3:30 p.m. Noelle up, play

4:30 p.m. Start Dinner

Evening Block:

Dinner Plans: (Whatever we are having for dinner)

6 p.m. Dinner

*Bath Night*ย 

7:30 p.m. Noelle Bed Routine

“…the block system and using those timers are key – they help you keep track of time and manage it properly and realistically!”

And that’s it! That is a typical day in my life right now. I keep times open to account for running errands, going to the park, etc. I don’t micromanage my day, because I tried to do that and it didn’t work. If you can’t get everything done you wrote out, it doesn’t make you feel good. In fact, it can be pretty discouraging. I want to fill you in on a little secret: You don’t have to do it all, Mama! That is why the block system and using those timers are key – they help you keep track of time and manage it properly and realistically! When you see how many hours you have in your block, you can schedule realistic goals for that time period. One important rule, though. Honor those timers! Once the block is done, it is done. Finished. Gone. You get the idea.

Another thing to keep me on track is wearing a watch. I know it sounds pretty obvious, but I tend to lose track of time often and my Apple Watch syncs to my phone and I can keep track of my calendar much easier. Timers are a life saver as well! If you’re anything like me, I need a timer or else I could stay up for hours and not know when to press pause. Figure out what works for you and stick to it! And if you try my method, give it a week and I will wait with a big smile on my face and say you’re welcome.

Now, I know some of you will have completely different schedules, and that’s okay. This method is adaptable! You don’t have to do three blocks – make as many and you need throughout the day. We all have the same amount of hours in our day; we just have to figure out how to manage them!

You got this. Feel free to leave a comment with your own tips and tricks, or you can leave me an email under the contact link! Who knows, another printable may be coming soon!

With Love,

Emily

Planner I use: Link

Pens: Link