Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday! I worked on planning menus for a few hours yesterday. I got this week’s and part of next week’s menus finished. I’m trying to go back to healthier choices, concentrating on more whole foods and recipes from the Tone It Up Nutrition plan for 75% of each day. I consciously choose dinners that are healthier, but still are meals that my husband would enjoy.

We also have lots of special events this week, which made planning dinners easy!

Here’s the plan for this week:

Breakfasts:

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

Bikini Smoothie

Vanilla Bean Chia Pudding with mangoes and mint

Protein Pancakes

Snacks:

Peanut Butter & Jelly Balls (TIU Beach Babe edition)

Fresh juice

Rocky Road Greek yogurt parfaits

Lunches:

Brown Butter Fish

Zesty Quinoa Bowl (TIU Beach Babe edition)

Sweet Meadows Spinach Salad with Balsamic Citrus dressing (TIU nutrition plan)

Fried rice/quinoa

Dinners:

Monday – Pigs in a Blanket, fruit salad

Tuesday – College Group pool party/cookout

Wednesday – Anniversary date night!

Thursday – Chicken alfredo lasagna roll ups, Caesar salad

Friday – Crockpot Tuscan chicken & beans, whole wheat pasta

Saturday – Family summer swim party/bbq

Sunday – leftovers

 

What’s on your menu plan this week?

10 Weekly Goals

I did much better with my goals overall this week.

I’m really enjoying Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage by Gary Chapman. I already want my husband to read it, too. The Color of Tea is interesting, but it’s not omg-i-need-read-it-all-today good. I did start Drama Ministry this week, but since it’s for my drama leadership training, I’m taking it slowly.

I was able to begin a daily cleaning routine this week. I plan on reporting back on it later this week. I worked on cleaning out the nursery for about 4 days this week. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 15 minutes! Now I’m only waiting on my husband to take a load of stuff out to storage before I’ll have room to move around in there again. I did get rid of a huge box of books, several DVDs, and two large boxes of clothes. It’s coming along! We haven’t fixed the broken dresser drawer yet because the wood glue and clamps are lost somewhere in the nursery. It will happen soon, but probably not this week.

I slacked in my water goal because I forgot to track my intake on my app. I’m hoping to do better this week. I didn’t get out to go walking this week, but I did go to an extra Zumba class and had some unexpected work tasks to do that involved a lot of walking up and down stairs this week. So even though I didn’t WALK, I did exercise 4 days this week.

These next few weeks are going to look a little different for me. My boss is on a business trip, so I’m only working a few days at the office. I’m going to attempt to start doing some freelance work in writing/editing with my extra time.

Last week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

  1. Write a love note to Spencer
  2. Read part 2 of Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage
  3. Fix broken dresser drawer
  4. Spend 15 minutes a day clearing out future nursery
  5. Begin a daily cleaning routine

Personal Goals:

  1. Finish reading Judges and Ruth
  2. Drink 8 glasses of water daily
  3. Walk 2x

Financial/Hobby Goals:

  1. Post 4 blogs
  2. Read 3 chapters of Drama Ministry, 3 chapters of The Color of Tea

This week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

  1. Write a love note to Spencer
  2. Read part 3 of Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage
  3. Spend 15 minutes a day clearing out future nursery
  4. Continue with daily cleaning routine

Personal Goals:

  1. Read Ruth
  2. Drink 8 glasses of water daily
  3. Follow my exercise plan for the week

Financial/Hobby Goals:

  1. Post 4 blogs
  2. Spend at least 5 hours working from home
  3. Read 3 chapters of Drama Ministry, 3 chapters of The Color of Tea

What are your goals for the week? Do you have any tips for starting freelance work as a writer/editor?

16 Weeks

16 Weeks!

16 Weeks!

How far along: 16 weeks – 4 months already!

Gender: Unknown

Weight gained: I’m back on track. As of this morning, I’m .3 lbs away from my highest weight ever. That’s extremely discouraging to me. Now I need to figure out how to slow it down a bit!

Workouts:  Taught Zumba 2 times (Monday & Thursday), did “circuit training” at work on Wednesday (involving stairs, carrying boxes, and walking across the property) – See below for my plan for this week!

Clothing Choices:  Dresses! I got another new dress this week, and I LOVE it. I finally “outgrew” my only pair of jeans that still fit. I’m using a belly band with them, but I also picked up some maternity jeggings.

Belly button: Inny

Sleep: Didn’t quite get enough sleep on any night this week. I’m looking forward to sleeping in on a few days next week.

Best moment this week: Finding out I’m enrolled in MediCal! I’m going next week to pick up my card.

Hardest moment this week: Seeing that number on the scale, dealing with some lower back pain, and having to scrub out my shower tile (EW).

What I’m missing: Still sleeping through the night

Movement: Can’t feel anything yet

Cravings: A huge switch this week – I want all the sweet things! I’ve wanted some treats every now and then, but this is the first time I’ve truly craved sweets all the time.

Queasy or sick: Still feeling great!

Looking forward to: Our 4-year anniversary this week!

Strange Dreams:  Not any that I can remember this week.

I’m still loving having time to manage my home. I’ve been working on creating a habit of doing my housecleaning right after I get home from work.  I’m thrilled with how the house is starting to look and feel clean all the time! I’ve been working a little bit every day to clean out the bedroom that will be the future nursery. It’s coming along!

As far as working out goes, I’ve did some searching last night to find some free prenatal workouts on YouTube. I’m going to be incorporating some of these this week. I found a few low-impact cardio videos, as well as some short toning workouts. I’ll report back next week on what I tried and what I liked!

Pictures from this last week:

Father's Day. The rivalry continues to the next generation!

Father’s Day. The rivalry continues to the next generation!

New favorite dress!

New favorite dress!

Math is hard.

Math is hard.

Love my sister-in-law!

Love my sister-in-law!

This was the series of tweets after Zumba on Monday. Apparently it was hot (and everyone was hungry)!

This was the series of tweets after Zumba on Monday. Apparently it was hot (and everyone was hungry)!

My bedtime snack as of late.

My bedtime snack as of late.

Curse these stairs.

Curse these stairs.

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I’ve been craving holiday flavors lately.

My lap was captured.

My lap was captured.

Creeping on my friend at Starbucks

Creeping on my friend Carly at Starbucks

Mine.

Mine.

My face after I kicked my own booty at Zumba on Thursday

My face after I kicked my own booty at Zumba on Thursday

How I’m Building a Daily Routine

grocery-list

I have always been a list maker. I LOVE lists. I love having notebooks in which to write my lists. Some people like to use their smartphones for this. I do that, too, but only after I’ve worked out my list on paper. I think and process things better if I’ve got a piece of paper that I can write all over. Lists make me so happy, but one of the dangers of a habitual list-making is when I have too many lists in too many different places. It’s like I need a list of lists! Not really, but kind of.

I am also a creature of habit. I know we all are, but I really crave the simplicity of a routine. Routines are simplified by creating habits. Every year when I help my mom decorate for Christmas, I put the same decorations in the same place every year. My family likes to make fun of me for this, but it’s a habit that I’ve grown accustomed to! In reality, they always know who to ask if they can’t remember where something goes (ahem). Similarly, if you create a habit of going running every morning, after a while, you will automatically reach for your running shoes when you wake up in the morning.

Since school is no longer a part of my life, my days of driving from one place to another back to back have pretty much ceased. Sure, I still have days where I have lots of errands crammed in, but on the whole, my life is normalizing quite wonderfully. I work every week day from 7am to 12pm, but my husband doesn’t get home until close to 5pm. That’s a lot of time to where I’m left to my own devices! Sometimes I’ll take an afternoon nap, and occasionally I spend the afternoon in front of the TV (while tackling an organizing project), but as a creature of habit who wants to do more than just sit around day after day, I’ve started a new daily routine.

Each morning (or the night before), I print out a daily docket. I found a free printable from Money Saving Mom. I could use a blank notebook, but I like the structure of this one with spaces for an inspirational quote or mantra, a to do list, the top 3 most important to do items, a basic schedule for the day, dinner plans, a place to keep track of healthy habits, and a space to jot down notes that come to mind throughout the day.

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The first thing I do is write down what the dinner plan is. That way I know if I need to set out any meat to defrost. Today was a crock pot meal, so I set everything up before I left for work. I noted the items I still needed from the grocery store.

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Next, I look through my daily docket from the day before. Is there anything I didn’t accomplish? Is there anything I want/need to do again today? I import these items onto my to do list for the day.

2014-06-18 07.32.07

After that, I fill in the rest of my to do list for the day, including any meetings or appointments that I have. I put a star next to the top three most important items for my day and write those in “today’s MITs” (most important to-dos).

2014-06-18 07.36.54

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Then I’ll make a list of upcoming blog posts I want to be working on. I make sure to check my old daily dockets for any ideas I may have missed.

2014-06-18 07.38.28

I take the time to jot down a quote or mantra for the day. Sometimes it’s something I find on Pinterest, and sometimes it’s just a cheesy motivational line for myself.

2014-06-18 07.43.51

I’ll put everything together in a basic schedule for the day. I write down my other to do items in my schedule because otherwise, I may not do them. This way I see them three times!

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Finally, I’ll jot down notes to myself throughout the day. In this case, my husband mentioned he needed more deodorant, so I made a note of it for when I went out to run errands today. Sometimes I’ll use this section to jot down a grocery list or just random things that I’ll probably need to add to my docket for the next day.

2014-06-18 09.43.16

It’s not perfect, nor am I. But for now, this system is working for me really well. It satisfies my crazy compulsiveness to make lists, and it provides an avenue for habits to become a routine.

Do you plan out your day in advance? Do you use paper and pencil or your smartphone? Tell me in a comment!

Menu Plan Monday

Time for another Menu Plan Monday! Last week, I was sneaky and planned two weeks of menus at a time. It took a little longer, but the tradeoff is that I only have a few groceries to buy this week. This week is going to look really similar to last week’s menu.

Here’s the plan for this week:

Breakfasts:

Egg Mugs

Protein Pancakes

Snacks:

Greek yogurt

Fruit

Banana berry smoothies

Chocolate banana smoothies

Lunches:

Brown Butter Fish, Fruit

Cobb Salad

Dinners:

Monday – Homemade White Pizza, Caesar salad

Tuesday – Fried rice

Wednesday – Slow Cooker shredded buffalo chicken sandwiches, garden salad

Thursday – Cheesy chicken & rice bake, corn on the cob

Friday – Chicken alfredo lasagna roll ups, Caesar salad

Saturday – Pigs in a blanket, fruit salad

Sunday – leftovers

 

What’s on your menu for this week?

10 Weekly Goals

I’ve decided to move this series to Sunday in order accommodate Menu Plan Monday.

I didn’t actually accomplish many of my goals this week, yet I was still able to make some progress in planning out each day with a daily docket. I plan to post about how I plan out my days later this week.

I’m still doing well with my goal to drink more water. Unfortunately, due to some recent events in our neighborhood, I haven’t been able to get outside to walk lately. I’m still reading nearly every day, but I bounce around a lot, which might be why I haven’t finished any of the books I set out to read. I’ve adapted my reading goals to be more realistic this week.

It’s all about balance.

Last week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

  1. Write a love note to Spencer
  2. Read Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage
  3. Fix broken dresser drawer
  4. Declutter linen closet & bathroom cabinet
  5. Establish a daily cleaning routine

Personal Goals:

  1. Finish reading Judges and Ruth
  2. Drink 8 glasses of water daily
  3. Walk 3x

Financial/Hobby Goals:

  1. Post 3 blogs
  2. Read Drama Ministry

This week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

  1. Write a love note to Spencer
  2. Read part 2 of Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage
  3. Fix broken dresser drawer
  4. Spend 15 minutes a day clearing out future nursery
  5. Begin a daily cleaning routine

Personal Goals:

  1. Finish reading Judges and Ruth
  2. Drink 8 glasses of water daily
  3. Walk 3x

Financial/Hobby Goals:

  1. Post 4 blogs
  2. Read 3 chapters of Drama Ministry, 3 chapters of The Colour of Tea

What are your goals for the week?

 

15 Weeks

15 weeks

15 weeks

How far along: 15 weeks

Gender: Unknown. Our appointment to find out is scheduled for July 24th!

Weight gained: None this week

Workouts:  Taught Zumba 2 times (Monday & Thursday)

Clothing Choices:  Dresses! I got 4 new dresses this past weekend (one pictured above).

Belly button: Inny

Sleep: Getting about 7-7.5 hours each night, but it’s difficult when I wake up a lot in the middle of the night. Naps are wonderful!

Best moment this week: First prenatal appointment! I got to hear baby’s heartbeat for the first time!

Hardest moment this week: Re-applying for insurance and coming to grips with the reality of the financial burden this will be on us

What I’m missing: Sleeping through the night.

Movement: Can’t feel anything yet

Cravings:  Still salty things!

Queasy or sick: Still feeling great!

Looking forward to: Cleaning out the nursery

Strange Dreams:  I had one dream where I was in a classroom with a bunch of people. There were chalkboards on every wall. Each person’s greatest struggle was on display for the world to see on the chalkboard above their heads; mine said, “Proud.” Instead of trying to erase it amidst the taunting laughter of the rest of the class, I sighed, accepted it, and wrote “humility” underneath it.
This dream certainly seems like it means something. I’m just not sure whether it is blatantly for me, or if it’s meant to help someone else. That’s why I’m sharing it. I went through a huge struggle with this around 7 years ago when I went to Peru on a mission trip, and I continued to battle intensely with pride over the next year or so. I feel like I’ve made leaps and bounds in this struggle in my life, but I also know I should never become complacent about it either. Perhaps it may be time to revisit some familiar passages in the Bible.

More pictures from this week:

Where's Pippin?

Where’s Pippin?

The biggest homemade Cobb salad EVER

The biggest homemade Cobb salad EVER

Forced snuggles aren't so bad.

Forced snuggles aren’t so bad.

New novel! (Recommended by my friend Brit)

New novel! (Recommended by my friend Brit)

Breakfast on Thursday

Breakfast on Thursday

Story of my life...

#KeepingItReal

My #ThrowbackThursday post for this week.  For those who don't know what my sister and I looked like when we were young...  Upper left: the actual German sculpture from the 1800s.  Upper right: Christmas 1991.  Lower left: Yosemite 1994.  Lower right: last weekend at the Getty, recreating the statue from our past lives.

My #ThrowbackThursday post for this week.
For those who don’t know what my sister and I looked like when we were young…
Upper left: the actual German sculpture from the 1800s.
Upper right: Christmas 1991.
Lower left: Yosemite 1994.
Lower right: last weekend at the Getty, recreating the statue from our past lives.

 

Overall, I’m having a wonderful time adjusting back to life as a homemaker. I’ve been trying to make a to do list each day to make sure I’m being productive around the home, yet still have time to relax. I’m loving having time to cook homemade meals and time to organize and clean! I’ve got a 3-page (3 columns each) to do list for before baby comes!

Road Trip!

Last weekend, my mom and I hit the road for a girls’ weekend in Southern California to visit my sister.

Since I was leaving right after work, Spencer and I decided to get up early on Friday to have a breakfast date. He dressed up for me. I love my man.

After work, my mom came to pick me up, load my stuff in the car, and hit the road. I finally got to grab some broccoli cheddar soup from Panera on our way out of town. #craving
I also love their tropical hibiscus iced tea!

We arrived in Glendale around 6:30pm and headed out for dinner. We went to Soup Plantation in Los Feliz. I had never been before. It’s pretty much exactly like a restaurant we have around here called Fresh Choice. Ginormous salad bar? Check. All you can eat stations for soup, bakery, baked potatoes, pizza, and pasta? Check. Soft serve ice cream? Check. This was a great choice.

After dinner, we went to visit my friend Becky, who is going to be my doula in December! I’ve known Becky since high school, and I was very blessed to have her as one of my bridesmaids in my wedding.

June 25, 2010

Becky and I got to talk babies and episiotomies and labor pains and birthing positions and Enya and Target scarves and everything in between for a couple of hours before my family came back to pick me up. If you’re in the LA area and need a doula, make sure you check out her website.

On Saturday, we had brunch at this adorable café called Aroma in Studio City. It’s located on a quaint, dog-friendly street that was quite reminiscent of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Not only was their food great, but their service was incredible. Afterwards, we browsed some of the many boutiques that lined the street.

This book instantly went on my Amazon wish list.

This book instantly went on my Amazon wish list.

After breakfast, we went to the Getty Museum for a few hours. We took a scenic route through the Hollywood hills, including driving by Beverly Hills, before we arrived. It was beautiful!

I wish I had had more energy while we walked around. Even still, I enjoyed looking at ancient Greek sculptures, 18th century European paintings, the Byzantine manuscripts (the oldest of which was from the 500s!!!), and stained glass from early Western Christianity. It was surreal to be in the presence of artifacts that were so old. My favorite display was in the Impressionism room – Irises by Van Gogh.

Irises - Vincent Van Gogh

Irises – Vincent Van Gogh

Another favorite was this sculpture from the late 1800s. Coincidentally, it is an uncanny representation of my sister and I when we were young. We tried to recreate the sculpture here, though it took everything in us to stop laughing long enough to snap a photo. This was mere seconds before we burst out laughing again.

Next, we decided to go to a thrift store my sister had found a few weeks ago. After grabbing Starbucks, I napped in the backseat while we navigated traffic on the 101. We pawed through several racks of clothing before finally settling on our choices – a skirt for my sister and a brand new dress for me. I spent $2. Next on the agenda was going to Ikea in Burbank. By the time we got there, we decided to grab dinner at Market City Café. We mostly loved our meals, though my summer veggie lasagna was too rich for me to eat much of it.

Right across the way was a Gap outlet. My sister and I ended up buying the exact same grey cardigan and $8 workout pants. You’d think we were related or something, right? Also nearby was a two-story Ross. I made a killing there – three dresses and two pairs of shoes for $77. If you break down everything that I got for the day, it comes out to just under $13 per item. After my closet purge last week, I have almost nothing left in my closet that fits me. I’m so thankful for my awesome deals I found this weekend. Finally, we went to Ikea about 30 minutes before they closed. We able to accomplish our mission of acquiring a body pillow for me in about half that time. We were all exhausted after a full day of walking around and shopping.

Sunday morning, we got up much earlier to go to the Rose Bowl flea market. We were accompanied by our friend Jamison, one of my sister’s friends from high school. Much to my delight, we got breakfast at Porto’s Bakery. I got a baked ham and cheese, two ham croquettes, and a cheese roll. If you ever get a chance to go to Porto’s, GO. And get a cheese roll. Or two. Or five. And don’t forget to send me some.

 

I loved these marquee signs!

I loved these marquee signs!

We got to the Rose Bowl at 8:30 and shopped until 11:30. I love bargaining, but I don’t get many opportunities to do so. I came away with 6 Dr. Seuss books for $6, a large conch shell for $10, two bowties for my husband for $12, and a summer hat for me for $15. My sister bought a beautiful, delicate, gold bracelet. My mom bought a gold chain for a pendant I bought her in New Zealand. Jamison bought himself a bow tie. We went to Taco Stop for lunch, which was much more American than Mexican food, but it was delicious nonetheless.

After driving back to my sister’s apartment to get our luggage, we said our goodbyes and hit the road for the 5-hour trek back to Modesto. It was a jam-packed weekend, but it was so much fun. I’m truly grateful for the time I get to spend with them.

Menu Plan Monday

Welcome back to Menu Plan Monday!

Oh how I’ve missed these posts! We’re doing well going back to our cash envelope system for purchasing groceries, and I’ve been back to planning weekly menus for the last few weeks.

Although planning weekly menus is extremely time consuming for me, I find that it saves us money, I can use what we already have on hand, it keeps us from eating out too often, and we eat healthier meals. It’s a win-win-win-win!

I plan meals from Monday to Sunday. That way, I can use some of my time on the weekend to plan for the next week. My usual strategy is to rotate breakfasts, snacks, and lunches between two or three options during the week. This helps cut down on the amount of ingredients I need to buy each week. I try to change up dinners each week. If a recipe makes more than I know we can finish, we take leftovers for lunch or I plan a leftover night. I’ve been planning one slow cooker night each week, and I try to rotate in one or two new recipes to try each week.

This week, my husband has requested homemade pizza, burgers, ravioli, and lots more salads. I happily obliged.

Here’s the plan for this week:

Breakfasts:

Egg Mugs

Protein Pancakes

Snacks:

Greek yogurt

Apples

Banana berry smoothies

Chocolate banana smoothies

Lunches:

Brown Butter Fish, Fruit

Cobb Salad

Dinners:

Monday – White Pizza on homemade whole wheat crust, Caesar salad

Tuesday – Chicken & Wild Rice, corn on the cob, garden salad

Wednesday – Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken, rice a roni, garden salad

Thursday – Burgers, mac n cheese, garden salad

Friday – Ravioli, garlic bread, Caesar salad

Saturday – leftovers

Sunday – Build Your Own Loaded Nachos/Taco Salad

 

What’s on your menu this week?

10 Weekly Goals

Happy Monday! I’m recovering from a whirlwind trip to Southern California with my mom to visit my sister. We packed SO MUCH into this weekend. I plan to write a short weekend recap later this week.

I did pretty well on my goals for the week. I was able to cross off 70% of my goals. My biggest accomplishment was drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day! I know this might not seem like a huge deal, but I have a lot of trouble getting my water in. I started by trying to drink a certain amount while I work, and then I heard about a free app called Water Logged. I downloaded it and immediately began tracking my water intake. So far, I love it!

I also tried assigning certain organizing tasks to specific days. While it was a good idea in theory, I ended up doing different tasks on different days based on how badly I needed to organize them. It did add a sense of urgency to my to do list each day, knowing that I wanted to accomplish one organizing task each day before I left on vacation.

Last week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

  1. Write a love note to Spencer
  2. Finish reading A Faith Full Marriage: Building a Lifetime Love on Biblical Principles
  3. Meal planning
  4. Do a closet purge
  5. Declutter kitchen cabinets, cart, & cubbies
  6. Establish a daily cleaning routine

Personal Goals:

  1. Finish reading Judges and Ruth
  2. Drink 8 glasses of water daily
  3. Walk 3x

Financial/Hobby Goals:

  1. Post 3 blogs

This week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

  1. Write a love note to Spencer
  2. Read Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage
  3. Fix broken dresser drawer
  4. Declutter linen closet & bathroom cabinet
  5. Establish a daily cleaning routine

Personal Goals:

  1. Finish reading Judges and Ruth
  2. Drink 8 glasses of water daily
  3. Walk 3x

Financial/Hobby Goals:

  1. Post 3 blogs
  2. Read Drama Ministry

 

What are your goals for the week?