Planning a Trim Healthy cooking day

As you know, we are preparing for “back to school” in our house. One way that we’re doing this is planning and prepping meals.


To do so, I have planned and created four separate meal planning days: one for breakfast, one for lunches, one for dinners, and one for condiments/sauces and snacks. 

My family follows the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating, which is a sugar free plan. Natural sweeteners, such as stevia, are used, as are gluten free flours. 

Today I’d like to show you my breakfast planning day. I cooked for four hours and ended up with almost three weeks of breakfasts. 

Pictured below: breakfast burritos (S), waffle breakky sandwiches (S), chocolate waffles (S) and regular waffles (S). 

Pictured below: breakfast burritos with egg, cheese and sausage on low carb tortillas, and some with bacon, egg and cheese. Both of these are S breakfasts.


Pictured below: six chocolate waffles (e), six regular waffles (e), two loaves of sprouted grain bread (e).


We are often in a hurry in the mornings, so having these breakfasts already prepared means we can just grab what we need and take it with us, if need be. This way no one goes without breakfast and everyone is well nourished and happy!

To see recipes, click the links below. All of these recipes are in the cookbook, but these links go to other websites.

Trim Healthy Waffles (e)

Chocolate waffles (e)

Wafflized breakky sandwich (S)

Breakfast burritos (S)

Soft sprouted bread (e)

In the next few weeks, I will show you the lunches and dinners. I hope this has been helpful to you!

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Simplify Your Daily Routine: Mornings

morning routine

Mornings at our house can be super stressful. We’re often in a hurry, stressed out, and in a bad mood. Last summer, when I was expecting Aubrey, I knew I needed to get a handle on our rough mornings before  we were the parents of two!

I decided the easiest way to combat the rushed, stressed morning was to plan ahead as much as possible. The night before, we set out tomorrow’s outfit, pack lunches and pack school bags and bottle bags. We put any non-refrigerated items by the door so we won’t forget them. I even load the coffee pot and set out my coffee cup.

We’ve taken that a step further. When we first walk in the door in the afternoons, we immediately unpack dirty bottles, repack the bags, and repack the lunches. Doing this first helps me have plenty of time to remember something I may have forgotten, It also helps us to get the important things out of the way so we have more time for fun.

Eventually, I’d like to get even better at this and prepare lunch items on Sundays I can grab and toss in mine and my daughter’s lunch boxes. I’d like to plan all my outfits on Sundays as well, but this can be difficult in North Carolina with our fickle climate. There really isn’t a way I can prepare bottles in advance, though 🙂 I’ve decided there is no need to wait until she starts kindergarten in August- why not try now?

I’ll keep you updated as we try to get better at simplifying our daily routines. What do you do to simplify your daily routine?

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate Addict, The Turquoise Home, A Place of My Taste, The Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My Pinterventures, The Lady Prefers to Save, The Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish Cottage, Bluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential Mommy, Christine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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New banner June 2014

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Organization: a new command center

The whole purpose of a command center is to help you manage and organize your home.

download (13)

When we first made our command center, it did a great job of organizing and managing our home. Over time, though, it was a different story. Oh, it was still nice, attractive, and useful, we just didn’t use it. We talked about it and we realized why we weren’t using it: the command center was located in our office, and we don’t walk by it unless it’s intentional.

We began looking around our home for a more traveled area in which we’ll pass by the command center several times a day. We don’t currently have a mudroom, but it is on our long term list of things to do. We didn’t want to put it in our living room and there isn’t a good place in the kitchen.

download

One side of our pantry (the side that isn’t pictured above) doubles as a coat closet. We also park our shoes in here when we come in the door. I also have to go in there in the mornings to collect my purse and the diaper bag. It’s kind of like our “mini-mud room.” Therefore, the pantry seemed like the most logical choice.

DSC_0298

I started by moving the hanging rack down a bit to accommodate the command center. I also removed any unnecessary bags from the hooks- for instance, Emorie’s swim bag was still in here. The child is not currently in swimming, as it is February. Out it went!

I simplified the command center quite a bit, by reducing its size and making it function better for us. I sometimes felt the large command center we had before seemed overwhelming. The cleaning checklist was moved to the laundry room, since that’s where the cleaning supplies are stored. Just made better sense to me.

DSC_0298 DSC_0300

Sorry about the boob light reflection in the glass 🙁

DSC_0301 DSC_0302 DSC_0303 DSC_0306

All in all, I really like how this turned out! And it’s getting way more use as well 🙂 Send me pictures of your command centers. I’d love to see them!

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate Addict, The Turquoise Home, A Place of My Taste, The Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My Pinterventures, The Lady Prefers to Save, The Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish Cottage, Bluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential Mommy, Christine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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New banner June 2014

WIW_Logo-1

monday-meetupnew

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Best organizing apps for your Smartphone

As a part of my blog series Getting Organized, I will share some of my favorite smartphone apps for organization. First, let me clarify that I own an Android OS phone (Sony Experia z3), so there may be far more Apple OS apps out there for organizing, but I have no experiences with those. Since most of us today own and use smartphones, why not use them to organize and simplify our lives? 

I mentioned in last week’s installment that I am totally into making to-do lists. Most phones come equipped with a built-in to-do list, but if mine has one, I’ve yet to find it. I always used the built in list in my old phone, but now, I’ve learned to use and love Google Keep. 
google keep icon
Google Keep is an application that can be used on your phone, tablet, or computer. This is why it’s so useful to me. In any given day, I use two out of three, if not all three of these devices. I can use Google Keep to create a daily to-do list, create shopping lists, take notes and they save to my account. I can also delete lists, move them around, and edit them from any of these devices, 
Google Drive Icon
2. Google Drive 
I have to use Google Drive a lot at work. We use it to create, store and share documents and lesson plans. I began using it to create and store lists, home organizing documents and other things at home shortly after being introduced to it at work. I can also use this on my computer, phone and tablet, as well. 
3. Savingstar is an awesome app- you can get coupons delivered right to your phone for groceries, diapers, baby food, and anything else you can get at a grocery or drug store. You pay full price at the store, but the savings accumulate in the app. You can then cash in your savings in a savings account, exchange them for an Amazon gift card, or you can donate the cash to charity. 
4. Shutterfly
This one doesn’t seem to belong on this list, but it does. Most smartphones today have an equal or higher pixel camera than the digital camera you bought ten years ago. I love it because I can take a picture with my smartphone and instantly upload it and archive it in an album on Shutterfly. I can also purchase a print of the pic if I want. 
I am not a frequent user of this one yet, as it is only available on IOS devices, but I am counting down the days until it’s available for an Android market. I have played with this app so much and I can’t wait til I can download and use it. You can create a family calendar and sync it to up to four phones. You can create to-do lists, grocery lists, and there’s even a family journal app. This app is currently rated #1 iPhone app by Circle of Moms. 
I hope you all have enjoyed this post, and are enjoying the #Getting Organized series. Tune in next Monday for the next installment.

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Organizing tools of the trade: Time management

I can organize a drawer with the best of them, but time management and organizing my time are not always my strong suits. Like many people, I’m very good at wasting time or just simply doing a poor job of managing my time. I’ve gotten significantly better at this in recent months, and I’ll happily share some of the things that helped me become better at managing my time. As always, I’m not an expert. I’ve still got a lot to learn. If you have things that have worked well for you, please feel free to share them.

1. The Home Binder-

It’s a monthly calendar, a budget tracker, a weekly calendar, a meal planner, and many other things all rolled into one. There are even sheets for project planning, shopping lists, and books I’d like to read. It has made my life significantly easier. I made this one, but I drew upon some home binders I found on various blogs and Pinterest to create something that would suit my needs. My mother-in-law graciously agreed to bind it for me. One thing I’d change- next time I’ll have Staples or Kinkos bind it instead of using three inkjet cartridges to do it myself. If you like this idea, but you don’t want to create it yourself, Jen Jones at I Heart Organizing has an amazing home binder you can purchase. 

2. Command Center

Again, I didn’t invent command centers. I wish this had been my idea, but just like the home binder, this is another idea I stumbled upon on the Internet and decided to make it more useful to my life and my needs. My command center contains a monthly calendar, a weekly calendar, a dry erase list of bills to pay, a weekly cleaning to do list, a menu planner, a bulletin board, and three bins for sorting mail.  For a more in depth look at my command center, here is a post about it. 
I  also do something similar in my classroom: one for me and things I need to do, and one for my students and things they need to remember. 
In addition to my command center, here are some other examples. These aren’t mine 🙂
One Creative Housewife: Time To Get Organized
Man Oh Man Command Center www.ciburbanity.com
[source
3. The Tried and True To-Do List! 
Honestly, this is probably my most-often used time management tool. I make to-do lists allll the time. I make them on a dry erase board at school to keep abreast of all my responsibilities and tasks. I use one at home to make sure I get everything done that I need to do and I don’t forget anything. I write out a list of home maintenance duties each year so I can make sure I get everything done that I need to do. You get the idea- the easiest way to make sure you get everything done that you need to do is to simply write it down. Seeing it all on paper helps you manage your time better, because you know exactly what needs your attention. 
to do list
I hope you enjoyed this post about time management tools. I am going to be talking about time management smartphone apps next week, so please stay tuned. Thanks for reading, and remember to share any ideas that you yourself use for time management. 

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Back to school…back to school…

A week from this Friday, this girl is headed back to work. I have to say I’m not completely ready to give up my summer vacation yet. It just seems like summer goes by A LOT faster than it did when I was a kid.

We’ve had a great summer and we’ve surely accomplished a lot. Our daughter “graduated from” pre-school level swim lessons. She attended Vacation Bible School for the second year. We went to WV to visit my grandparents, did a lot of swimming, and she participated in our local library’s summer reading program- she read 76 books! *proud English teacher mother moment* Around the house, we painted and started working on our nursery, we finally got a dining room table, and we finally got our closets organized. No wonder I am so tired!

Now, though, comes the hard part. It’s time to get back on schedule. Time to get back in routine. After examining our usual school year routine, I found that we are not only rushed and strapped for time, but we do not get enough sleep. Here is what a typical day during this school year will look like for our family: (*Note: We have church on Wednesday evenings and gymnastics on Thursday evenings, so there is a little variation on those days).

5:15- Get up
5:15-6:15: Get ready, get Emorie ready
6:30: Leave the house; take Emorie to day care
6:55: Arrive at work
6:55-4:15: Work day (Unless it’s Tuesday. We have staff meetings and are usually at work til 5)
4:40: Pick up Emorie
5:00- Start dinner
5:30- 6:15: Eat, clean up kitchen
6:30 to 7:45: Play time
7:45-8:10: Chore of the day
8:30: Bath time (For Emorie)
9:00: Bed time (for Emorie)
*The hubs and I try to go to bed no later than 10.

Like her mother, Emorie is a very routine-oriented person. To help our sweet girl get back into the school year groove, we created this for her:

It’s her very own “back to school command center!” It’s in her playroom, as she doesn’t really have a good place for it in her bedroom. Everything was deliberately placed low so she can hang her bookbag up and since she is just learning to read, there are pictures to help her see what she needs to do.

Our next “back to school project” will be to create a “homework station” for her. No, she isn’t yet in kindergarten and doesn’t have homework, but it will give us a spot to do some “mama school.”

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate Addict, and French Country Cottage!


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A little AWOL, but for good reason

Hey, all! No, I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth. I just went back to work. My students come back on Monday, but teachers started back last Friday. Since I have been either working or prepping for work for the past two weeks, the blog kind of ended up on the back burner.

We have been busily trying to perfect our back-to-school routines to make the transition easier. We do not have a school aged child yet, but she is in pre-school. She is also beginning gymnastics for the first time, so we have a little hustle and bustle to factor in as well.

One solution to stress busting before the school year starts is to plan, plan, plan. Sunday is our “get-ready-for-the-week” day. We go to church, go to lunch, and then we come home and plan meals for the week, update our family command center, clip coupons from the Sunday paper, and grocery shop. We also plan outfits for the week. This saves me so much time throughout the week!

We also try to firmly establish a routine and stick to it. I can already tell my kiddo is going to be exactly like me- very schedule driven and very routine-oriented. When her routine is off, even a little, WATCH OUT WORLD.

There are exceptions to the following schedule, of course. We go to church on Wednesday nights, and one night a week, she will have gymnastics. As far as my being a teacher, I try really hard to manage my time at school well so I’m not frequently bringing work home. It’s hard to do school work with a small child. I do usually do some sort of work on the weekends, though.

A typical day for me looks like this:
4:45 AM: Wake up
4:50- Devotional (I have been doing so much better! I’ve been reading my Bible daily for two months. Pray for me so I will continue to do this when school starts).
5:10- Run/workout
6:00- Get ready
6:30- Leave the house
6:50-4:30- Work day (includes morning tutoring- sometimes we have afternoon meetings and leave closer to 5)
4:50- Pick up Emorie
5:30- Dinner. Michael is usually home at 5:15
6:30- 8:30- During this time, we do our evening chores, take care of animals and play with Emorie.
8:30- Emorie’s bath
8:50- Emorie gets ready for bed (teeth brushed, jammies on, grab a bedtime book)

After she falls asleep, we get out our clothes for the next day, get the meal items ready for the next day and make sure our bags, etc. are ready to go. The mister and I are usually in bed by 10:30, although there are occasional late nights, of course.

The easiest and least stressful way to balance a home, a family and a career (I’m still learning to effectively do this, by the way) is to plan ahead as much as possible and manage your time well. Please share your tips for maintaining the balance, because this is something I am constantly trying to improve.

Continue Reading

A little AWOL, but for good reason

Hey, all! No, I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth. I just went back to work. My students come back on Monday, but teachers started back last Friday. Since I have been either working or prepping for work for the past two weeks, the blog kind of ended up on the back burner.

We have been busily trying to perfect our back-to-school routines to make the transition easier. We do not have a school aged child yet, but she is in pre-school. She is also beginning gymnastics for the first time, so we have a little hustle and bustle to factor in as well.

One solution to stress busting before the school year starts is to plan, plan, plan. Sunday is our “get-ready-for-the-week” day. We go to church, go to lunch, and then we come home and plan meals for the week, update our family command center, clip coupons from the Sunday paper, and grocery shop. We also plan outfits for the week. This saves me so much time throughout the week!

We also try to firmly establish a routine and stick to it. I can already tell my kiddo is going to be exactly like me- very schedule driven and very routine-oriented. When her routine is off, even a little, WATCH OUT WORLD.

There are exceptions to the following schedule, of course. We go to church on Wednesday nights, and one night a week, she will have gymnastics. As far as my being a teacher, I try really hard to manage my time at school well so I’m not frequently bringing work home. It’s hard to do school work with a small child. I do usually do some sort of work on the weekends, though.

A typical day for me looks like this:
4:45 AM: Wake up
4:50- Devotional (I have been doing so much better! I’ve been reading my Bible daily for two months. Pray for me so I will continue to do this when school starts).
5:10- Run/workout
6:00- Get ready
6:30- Leave the house
6:50-4:30- Work day (includes morning tutoring- sometimes we have afternoon meetings and leave closer to 5)
4:50- Pick up Emorie
5:30- Dinner. Michael is usually home at 5:15
6:30- 8:30- During this time, we do our evening chores, take care of animals and play with Emorie.
8:30- Emorie’s bath
8:50- Emorie gets ready for bed (teeth brushed, jammies on, grab a bedtime book)

After she falls asleep, we get out our clothes for the next day, get the meal items ready for the next day and make sure our bags, etc. are ready to go. The mister and I are usually in bed by 10:30, although there are occasional late nights, of course.

The easiest and least stressful way to balance a home, a family and a career (I’m still learning to effectively do this, by the way) is to plan ahead as much as possible and manage your time well. Please share your tips for maintaining the balance, because this is something I am constantly trying to improve.

Continue Reading

A little AWOL, but for good reason

Hey, all! No, I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth. I just went back to work. My students come back on Monday, but teachers started back last Friday. Since I have been either working or prepping for work for the past two weeks, the blog kind of ended up on the back burner.

We have been busily trying to perfect our back-to-school routines to make the transition easier. We do not have a school aged child yet, but she is in pre-school. She is also beginning gymnastics for the first time, so we have a little hustle and bustle to factor in as well.

One solution to stress busting before the school year starts is to plan, plan, plan. Sunday is our “get-ready-for-the-week” day. We go to church, go to lunch, and then we come home and plan meals for the week, update our family command center, clip coupons from the Sunday paper, and grocery shop. We also plan outfits for the week. This saves me so much time throughout the week!

We also try to firmly establish a routine and stick to it. I can already tell my kiddo is going to be exactly like me- very schedule driven and very routine-oriented. When her routine is off, even a little, WATCH OUT WORLD.

There are exceptions to the following schedule, of course. We go to church on Wednesday nights, and one night a week, she will have gymnastics. As far as my being a teacher, I try really hard to manage my time at school well so I’m not frequently bringing work home. It’s hard to do school work with a small child. I do usually do some sort of work on the weekends, though.

A typical day for me looks like this:
4:45 AM: Wake up
4:50- Devotional (I have been doing so much better! I’ve been reading my Bible daily for two months. Pray for me so I will continue to do this when school starts).
5:10- Run/workout
6:00- Get ready
6:30- Leave the house
6:50-4:30- Work day (includes morning tutoring- sometimes we have afternoon meetings and leave closer to 5)
4:50- Pick up Emorie
5:30- Dinner. Michael is usually home at 5:15
6:30- 8:30- During this time, we do our evening chores, take care of animals and play with Emorie.
8:30- Emorie’s bath
8:50- Emorie gets ready for bed (teeth brushed, jammies on, grab a bedtime book)

After she falls asleep, we get out our clothes for the next day, get the meal items ready for the next day and make sure our bags, etc. are ready to go. The mister and I are usually in bed by 10:30, although there are occasional late nights, of course.

The easiest and least stressful way to balance a home, a family and a career (I’m still learning to effectively do this, by the way) is to plan ahead as much as possible and manage your time well. Please share your tips for maintaining the balance, because this is something I am constantly trying to improve.

Continue Reading

A little AWOL, but for good reason

Hey, all! No, I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth. I just went back to work. My students come back on Monday, but teachers started back last Friday. Since I have been either working or prepping for work for the past two weeks, the blog kind of ended up on the back burner.

We have been busily trying to perfect our back-to-school routines to make the transition easier. We do not have a school aged child yet, but she is in pre-school. She is also beginning gymnastics for the first time, so we have a little hustle and bustle to factor in as well.

One solution to stress busting before the school year starts is to plan, plan, plan. Sunday is our “get-ready-for-the-week” day. We go to church, go to lunch, and then we come home and plan meals for the week, update our family command center, clip coupons from the Sunday paper, and grocery shop. We also plan outfits for the week. This saves me so much time throughout the week!

We also try to firmly establish a routine and stick to it. I can already tell my kiddo is going to be exactly like me- very schedule driven and very routine-oriented. When her routine is off, even a little, WATCH OUT WORLD.

There are exceptions to the following schedule, of course. We go to church on Wednesday nights, and one night a week, she will have gymnastics. As far as my being a teacher, I try really hard to manage my time at school well so I’m not frequently bringing work home. It’s hard to do school work with a small child. I do usually do some sort of work on the weekends, though.

A typical day for me looks like this:
4:45 AM: Wake up
4:50- Devotional (I have been doing so much better! I’ve been reading my Bible daily for two months. Pray for me so I will continue to do this when school starts).
5:10- Run/workout
6:00- Get ready
6:30- Leave the house
6:50-4:30- Work day (includes morning tutoring- sometimes we have afternoon meetings and leave closer to 5)
4:50- Pick up Emorie
5:30- Dinner. Michael is usually home at 5:15
6:30- 8:30- During this time, we do our evening chores, take care of animals and play with Emorie.
8:30- Emorie’s bath
8:50- Emorie gets ready for bed (teeth brushed, jammies on, grab a bedtime book)

After she falls asleep, we get out our clothes for the next day, get the meal items ready for the next day and make sure our bags, etc. are ready to go. The mister and I are usually in bed by 10:30, although there are occasional late nights, of course.

The easiest and least stressful way to balance a home, a family and a career (I’m still learning to effectively do this, by the way) is to plan ahead as much as possible and manage your time well. Please share your tips for maintaining the balance, because this is something I am constantly trying to improve.

Continue Reading