Just be 

Today I decided to take the girls to the park.I’m running on 5 hours of sleep and getting ready to head into anither 10 hour shift. Exhausted isn’t even the right work right now but its all I got. I keep teeling the girls to just be. Just be good. Just be calm. Just be quiet. Just be patient. And sometimes I forget the most important one. JUST BE KIDS. Despite my exhaustion and problems I needed to get them oit and let them play.  Just in case anyone else needed the reminder. Let your kids be kids today!!
Also im working on some new stuff. Hope to get it out next week!!!

Thank you for reading my wonderfullyhecticlife

MIA and why!

I’m so sorry to have been MIA a lot lately. It was not my intention, just a lot going on. I have a new job! It’s a warehouse job that runs four days a week overnight. Please pray for me. That is the first of the exciting news. We also found a special Montessori program for my SPD kinder baby. She will start in one month. It’s only half days and we will fill in with homeschooling as needed. It’s great, everything is hands on and she doesn’t need to sit or do book work.

I wanted to talk about a new bedtime and morning routine that we have started in preparation for all the changes that are coming. I have 2 weeks to prepare them for sleeping in their own rooms all night and making sure I get enough sleep in the morning while still getting G to school on time.

First, I put them to bed at seven every night to insure early waking time. The most recent tool I have bought for them is this amazing kid’s alarm clock. We have an alarm set for 7:30 a.m. and that’s also the “wake up time”. It’s lit yellow all night and then when the alarm goes off the clock turns green so they know that it is OK to get out of bed. This way I know they are in their rooms until at least 7:30 a.m. and I can sleep a little later. Now, my kids normally wake up well before the alarm goes off, so after they fall asleep I put their tablets on the bookshelf so they can quietly play them in bed. This combo of schedule and alarm clock has given me at least an extra two hours of sleep in the morning, and, since I will be getting off at 2 a.m., it will be a life saver.

Next are the preparations we do the night before. Every night I clean up around the house and pack any bags that need to be packed for the next day. We have several types of bags. We have book bags, soccer bags, gymnastic/dance bags that I like to pack ahead of time in case someone else has to take the kids to their activities. The other prep that we do the night before is breakfast. We use Tupperware containers, and the girls help me pack their breakfast every night. Then when they get up in the morning they can easily grab the containers and eat them while they watch a show. I also gain a little extra sleep from this and they love being more independent. Tonight, they decided on strawberry mini muffins, grapes, blueberries, dried apricots, and banana chips. They also put a juice box in the fridge so they have their own drink. After they eat their breakfast, they clean up their mess and get dressed with clothes that were also picked out the night before. After getting dressed, they wake me up. The last couple of days, I have woken up when the alarm goes off in order to listen to them (just to make sure everything is running smoothly), but that may not be the case when I’m working.

I should have just enough time after they wake me to do G’s hair, throw on some clothes and run her to school. At least I do in my head. Then I’ll come home do L’s hair and get myself ready for the day.
Please let me know if you have any tips or tricks, or if you have any question while I embark on this new journey.

 

My next post will be my menu plan for this busy, working, schooling family! Thank you for sitting in on my wonderfully hectic life!

One food, many ways!

I’m currently working on another post but I thought I’d put this out in the meantime. I know I can’t be the only one who is not fond of leftovers. In fact, I hate eating leftovers. I wish I could only make exact amounts but that’s hilarious right? As much as I hate them eating leftovers is a must in my house. my greatest grocery budget savers is finding inventive ways to use leftovers. Many times I will make one meal and make a completely new meal using the leftovers. I’m going to share my secrets with you here!

 

Chicken: whether it’s a rotisserie or a bunch of breasts that you cook.

Meal one: chicken with veg and potatoes

Meal two: chicken and rice soup

Meal three: chicken quesadillas

You may not have enough chicken for all three but they are just ideas.

 

Steak: you cook a couple steaks on the grill.

Meal one: steaks, veg, pasta salad

Meal two: steak fajitas

Meal three: steak salad/steak wrap

This one we use frequently.

 

Chili: I tend to make big batches of chili. I really have no idea who I plan to feed with all this chili.

Meal one: chili with all the fixings

Meal two: chili cornbread casserole

Meal three: chili cheese potatoes

 

French bread/hamburger buns: we always use these but never finish them off.

Meal one: pasta and bread

Meal two: hamburgers and chips

Meal three: french bread/ hamburger bun pizzas

 

Left over veggies or unneeded veggies:

Meal one: stir-fry

Meal two: veggie soup

Meal 3: omelets

Those are the major leftovers we use to make new meals. I hope these ideas inspire you to use your leftovers in new and creative ways and help you keep your grocery budget low. please let me know the ways you use your leftovers!!

 

 

 

 

The all in one wonder-mom!

Lately, I have read a lot of posts on different forums from moms wondering how one does it all. I am always shocked by the comments that are left for this poor, exhausted mom. Most are saying to power through and just get things done or clean before and after the children and hubs goes to bed. It drives me crazy for any woman to say she has it all together. Her house is always clean, her kids are perfect, and she always has a healthy home-cooked meal ready when her husband walks through the door. There is no one who is that perfect.

Instead of tips that will just make her feel worse and overwhelmed, that someone should be honest with her and give her some real tips. So, here I am to give some helpful tips to poor, exhausted moms who want it all together.

Tip # 1 You’re never going to have it all together

Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Everyone forgets something, leaves the house with a stained shirt or has their mother over while the house looks like a muddy dog ran through it while eating crackers with peanut butter. At least, I hope that’s not just me. The sooner you realize this and accept it the easier your life will be.

Tip # 2  Get dressed

Sounds crazy but I find that I feel much more put together if I get myself and the kids dressed first thing in the morning. I don’t know why. Maybe I feel trendy, or maybe it’s because after wrestling what feels like two baboons into clothing, I feel I can take on the world. Either way – it helps.

Tip # 3  Clean in spurts

I hate cleaning. I hate it more than almost any other thing I need to get done in a day. What has worked for me is cleaning in spurts. I envy the women who do it all at once. They just take a couple hours and clean the whole house while the rest of the family is asleep. I can’t do that. I need the mere 6 hours of sleep I get each night and would rather spend my quiet time doing just about anything else. My kids tend to try and murder each other while I clean, so I do it one room at a time with many breaks. My house may never be completely clean at the same time, but everyone is alive and sane. I always pick up, do dishes, vacuum and wipe down my sinks. It gives my tiny house the illusion of cleanliness(and that’s enough for me). I do a lot of organizing and deeper cleaning when my husband is home or on the rare occasion someone has taken my kids.

Tip # 4 Is it dinner time already?

I used to ask myself this question every day. It’s always at the same time but I swear it would sneak up on me while I was playing with play-doh or my phone. I wish at that moment I could just order out and call it a day but our budget doesn’t allow for that. My biggest helper for this is my meal plan. I need my meal plan – it saves me. I look at it in the morning and know exactly what to do. Maybe it’s throw something in the crock-pot or chop up some veggies, but at least it’s planned and I have all the ingredients. It makes me look like super mom with minimal effort. I have a blog on meal planning if you are interested.

 

Tip # 5 Enjoy your kids

Having it all together is great but your kids won’t remember it. They won’t remember how clean the house was or how healthy the dinners were. They aren’t going to remember how trendy either of you looked or if you remembered everything. They will remember the memories and fun that you have with them. Remember how short of time they are little and enjoy them every day. The housework will still be there tomorrow and popcorn for dinner now and then won’t kill them, but growing up with an exhausted mom who is trying to do it all will impact them.

These are the only tips I can give to the tired exhausted moms who want to do it all. I hope they help. Thank you for sharing in my wonderfully hectic life!wp-1467689220816.jpeg

 

 

5 tips to mastering a meal plan

Menu planning is so not my favorite thing in the world. I actually hate it. I also hate grocery budgets but I really like vacations so I guess I will deal. I put together the 5 steps I use when I do our semi-vegan, two-week menu plan. It’s also easy to adjust to your families needs. So here we go…

Step 1: make a master list.

This is a list of meals your family will eat or at least tolerate. you can have a cookbook, a binder or just make a list on a piece of paper. I have a book somewhere but I put it in an easy place to find and can no longer find it. That happens to me a lot.

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Step 2: write what you have.

Make another list of all the things you have in the cupboards, the fridge, the freezer and the pantry. I know this can be a daunting task to go through everything, but you will feel so accomplished I promise. The only thing I did yesterday was the meal plan and I feel like I took on the world. The house looked like it was hit by a tornado but I did the menu plan!

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Step 3: Cross reference and get creative.

Now look at both lists and see how many things you can make with the ingredients you have or with minimal new ingredients. For example: I had pepper, onions and a steak. I can easily turn that into fajitas. I add beans for my meat, which I have. So all I need for this recipe is tortillas and avocado. Keep doing this until you can’t think of any more or until you run out of food. I always shoot for 12 meals for 2 weeks. we usually have one leftovers day and maybe we eat out another day. If I still have unmade meals at the end of the 2 weeks then I roll them over to the next week. If you still have days and no meals then you can either pick some cheaper meals and buy all or most of the ingredients or try something new. Pinterest is my best friend. This week we are trying a roasted garlic and cauliflower soup. I like this recipe because it only requires 3 new ingrediants even though it’s a new recipe. That helps me keep money in the bank.

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Step 4: Those other meals.

Now I know that there are other meals of the day but dinner is usually more difficult and its my favorite. I use dinners for lunches the next day and send them with my husband for his meals at work. We rely on leftovers a lot but I also plan a couple other things in case we are pigs the night before. We always have peanut-butter and jelly, meat and cheese, and bread on hand to make a quick-lunch. I also keep boxed mac and cheese or cans of soup around too. we are usually on the go for lunch so I keep easy to pack stuff. crackers, fruit, nuts, and veggies are our go to. Breakfasts are usually the same. Every week we have a box of cereal, eggs and toast, smoothies, mini pancakes, and fruit and yogurt with granola. so those are really easy just to add the shopping list.

Step 5: Write the shopping list.

The final step is here. Go through all the meals you have planned and the extras you will need and make the final list. The grocery list. This will have everything on it you will buy in the grocery store. Now, here’s the hard part….only buy the things on that list. you will have everything you need for every meal and you wont need to impulse buy. Sticking to the list will save your time, money and sanity.

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Those are the basic 5 steps I use every time I do our two-week menu plan. I’d love to hear if you try it and love it or if you have any suggestions. Thank you for taking a peek at my wonderfully hectic life!

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A weekend of camping!

Mississippi Palisades State Park near Savanna, IL is probably my new favorite camping destination. I have quite a few we frequent but we were on the search for a park that had it all. We have an awesome family canoe that we received as Christmas gift last year. I think we’ve only used it a handful of times because we hadn’t found the best place to canoe with kids yet. Plus, I’m a canoeing newbie. I still get confused which side to paddle to go the direction needed. They have back waters that are pretty mellow or if you are more adventurous there is the actual Mississippi River. We saw quite a bit of wild life on our 3 hour paddle. We encountered numerous colors and sizes of dragonflies, bull frogs, fish and a turtle. Plus there are islands you can explore but they are a tad overgrown.

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A look at us canoeing through a small side stream!

 

We also drove by some of the hiking trails and they looked fantastic. Unfortunately it was just too warm to hike. We stayed in the camper part of the hottest time and played UNO for little kids. My little girls loved it.

While at camp we reserved a spot right next to a handicap site that wasn’t being used. it had a large cement pad that the girls could ride their bikes on. We didn’t have to worry about them in the road or going to far out of range. It was also the closest site to the bathroom. We take a lot of bathroom breaks.

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We had a great and adventurous weekend and I would highly recommend Mississippi Palisades State Park if you want a park that has it all.

Here are a couple more random pictured from the weekend!!

Thanks for taking a peek at my wonderfullyhecticlife!

 

Next up: our 2 week menu plan!