October 31, 2013

Monthly Menu Plan Review- October

If you have been a follower of my blog for a while, you know how much I rave about menu planning. I've attempted menu planning in the past but I've never stuck with it as I have these past few months.
Why do I like menu planning so much? Well, for one thing, it is a HUGE time saver. I save so much time at the grocery store because I already know exactly what to get and I know what I'll be cooking each night. I come prepared with my list (which I make alongside as I meal plan) and cross off each item as it falls into my cart. There's no standing around, no wondering the aisle, wondering what to get.

I also menu plan because it's a great way to save money! Seriously, I've noticed a huge drop in our grocery bills since I started. Since I'm not wandering the store aimlessly, there are no impulse buys, and nothing ends up in my cart that we don't need.

Under my header, you'll see that I have a Weekly Menu Plan tab. If you're ever in need of some inspiration, check it out! I typically post my menu for the week every Sunday. I link the source for each recipe if I found it online.

I thought it would be fun to start reviewing what I planned for each month. If the entree has been crossed out, it's because I didn't make it, probably because we had dinner out or I was in the mood for something else. Just because it's on the menu plan doesn't mean you have to make it!

I've made these chicken thighs many, many times and they never disappoint. Marinate them the night before, or, for at least for one hour. Serve with rice or roasted potatoes and veggies. 

So easy and so good! We love this pizza, Miss A included (without the BBQ sauce). I like to make my own dough, but of course you can buy a ready-made pizza crust from the store. 

A very tasty soup, that is done in no time. Perfect for the coming chilly nights. Toddler approved!

We were really disappointed with this one- won't be making it again. :(

A new favorite of ours that will be in regular rotation while butternut squash is in season. We LOVE gnocchi and I was so pleased when Miss A also fell in love with it. Gobbled up every last bite!

I raved about these enchiladas after we ate them. I've made lots of different versions of enchiladas and these are definitely one of my favorites. I swapped out the chicken for shrimp and it was delicious. 

We don't have meals like this very often and I'm thinking we need to more! A meatless meal, with lots of veggies which will leave you feeling full. I added extra cheese to ours. 

Tomato, Pepper, Cheese Quiche

Ham & Cheese Waffle Sandwiches

Chicken Pot Pie

I make my chicken pot pie like this- using a store bought crust, I fill the pie shell with a vegetable medley of frozen corn, carrots, and peas, a can of cream of chicken soup, chopped cooked chicken, and 1/2 cup of milk. Bake in the oven at 375 for 45 minutes.

Seared Steaks & Mashed Potatoes

A great way to eat broccoli, I must say. I used my panini maker to press and melt the cheese and roasted the broccoli in the oven. Serve wilth tomato soup and you have yourself a warm and comforting meal.

Chicken, Bacon, Avocado Salad 

If you're still not convinced, or need some help starting, I'm thinking about creating a "how to" series. It'd be great if you could answer some of these questions!

Do you menu plan? What do you like about it? Where do you get inspiration? What do you find challenging about menu planning? 

Oh, and I can't forget to say, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I'm off to take Miss A to a Halloween party! Hope you're starting off the day right with some candy. :)

October 30, 2013

What We Ate Wednesday + Giveaway!

It's time for another What We Ate Wednesday! I'm trying to eat more fruits and veggies and I'm doing my best to incorporate them into very meal. I apologize for the mediocre photos this time, I don't know what was up with the lighting in my kitchen yesterday. 

Oh and if you scroll alllll the way down, you're in for a pleasant surprise- a fun giveaway! 

Breakfast: 8:30 am

I ate: a slice of whole wheat toast with PB and bananas. I wasn't feeling breakfast and didn't want to eat much so I only had one slice. Sorry about the two bites..almost forgot to take a picture!

Miss A: toast, without peanut butter, and banana, a recent favorite fruit!

Lunch: 12:30 pm

By the time lunch rolled around I was pretty hungry! I did have coffee and a cookie before, while attempting to get Miss A to nap. She skipped her morning nap all together and didn't take a nap until late in the afternoon.

I ate: a whole wheat wrap with turkey, sliced apples, and brie. So good! Along with chopped tomatoes, orange pepper slices, and cucumbers. 

Miss A: a whole wheat wrap with ham and cheddar cheese

Snack: 2:30 pm

I ate: sweet potato chip, trail mix, and some chocolate 

Miss A: a few crackers and her traditional favorite, watermelon


Dinner: 7:00 pm 

I ate: a variation of baked ziti with lean ground beef, orange peppers, tomatoes, topped with feta and mozzarella cheese

Miss A: the same, without the veggies. She's not a fan of tomatoes or peppers.

And now, a fun treat for you- giveaway time!

Recently I was contacted by Mujus to do a giveaway and I jumped at the chance. If you take a minute to look through their website you will see many unique creations. Mujus jewelry is all handmade and they use "sustainable and recycled materials to make beautiful accessories".  Here are a few photos of their beautiful work.

Mujus is giving away a $50 credit to anything you see on their website!

This giveaway is open to all, with a valid email address. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 28, 2013

Life as a SAHM- A Fall Weekend

This weekend we spent lots of time together as a family, doing all the Fall things. We went to a fall festival with friends, carved our pumpkin, roasted and ate pumpkin seeds, and watched Hocus Pocus, my favorite Halloween movie! Miss A sat still for about twenty minutes tops, which was surprising, as the only thing she will sit and watch from start to finish is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. My heart was happy and full this weekend.

 We took pictures on our front porch before we left to the festival. Reason #3538 why my heart was happy- Miss A LOVED her costume and I LOVED it too! I was squealing over how cute she looked. As soon as I put it on she walked around the house looking for Dada to show it off. I thought for sure she was going to take her hat off in .0 seconds but she kept it on the whole time!

It was chilly out so I put on her thick white stockings and a long sleeve T underneath her costume. Luckily her strawberry suit is pretty thick and warm!

Walking around the festival with Dada. There was so much to see- ponies (which she liked until they stuck their tongue out at her), bounce houses, games, food, and all the other kids in costume.

Must-have family photo op. Miss A was not in the mood for more pictures, clearly. Sorry little girl, Mama can never have enough pictures!

We met up with our friends and tried to take some pictures of the girls together. I love this one because it shows how hard it is to get two babies to look at the camera and sit still at the same time. Impossible! :)

 We tried to play some games but Miss A was not interested. I don't know what set her off but she was really unhappy indoors. Maybe it was the noise or all the people in strange costumes?

She was much happier outside on the playground. Until we went to see the ponies.

She was okay petting them, but the minute this guy stuck out his tongue or looked at her, she screamed! Haha.

On Sunday we carved and decorated our pumpkins. She was very involved; sticking her hands inside to grab the "guts" and playing with the seeds (I had to keep a close eye on her for that).

I think they turned out pretty good! If you're wondering why three of the spiders legs are red, we ran out of the black ink and I figured red would work- for blood, of course!

I think she liked them. 

How was your weekend? Did you do anything Fall related? I'm so excited for Halloween now, I wish it was today!

October 25, 2013

Five on Friday

Happy Friday! As always, I'm linking up for Five on Friday. Here's what I'm obsessing over this week.

1. Re-doing our guest bathroom

This week I was inspired by a recent post on IHeart Organizing to re-do our guest bathroom. We haven't touched any of the bathrooms since moving in and I'm itching to bring some life into them. I'd like to first tackle the guest bath on the first floor. It's the one that gets the most use and is obviously used by our guests. What I'd really like to do is paint the cabinets a dark gray, like the color you see below, and change our the knobs on the doors, and put up some cute bathroom wall art. I have the perfect sign sitting and waiting to be hung!

And while we're on the subject of DIY, how cute are these cereal boxes turned containers??

2. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Is it too soon? Because I've got the bug. I've been bitten by the Christmas wishlist bug. Sweaters, scarves, bracelets are all on my list...and of course, toys for Miss A! How cute are those ice cream scoops?

3. The Sleep Chronicles 

If you haven't seen it yet, yesterday I guest posted on Being Mrs. Beer. Jess is having a sleep series over on her blog, which would have been SO beneficial for me when I was going through severe sleep deprivation. Check it out for some new cute pictures of Miss A as a newborn.

4. Favorite food pins

It seems I'm all about breakfast this week. I've had breakfast for dinner twice and I really really want to make all of these breakfast treats!

5. New music

Have you ever wondered who sings that song while you're watching something on TV? Well, you can goggle it! I've been in a music rut lately, listening to the same albums over and over, or fumbling with the radio while driving in the car. I found some new music to love by, believe it or not, by paying attention to the soundtrack of our favorite TV shows. Like The Vampire Diaries, for example. They always have the best music. I'm now listening to The Lumineers, Sara Bareilles, and Metric. What are you listening to?

October 24, 2013

The Sleep Chronicles

Today I'm guest posting over at Being Mrs. Beer. Jess is having a baby sleep series on her blog and I jumped at the chance to share my story. If you or someone you know is in the midst of sleep deprivation, with a baby who isn't sleeping through the night (obviously, I'm not talking about newborns), then this series is for you! I hope you'll take a minute and visit Jess' blog.

"Adeline let us know right away that she was NOT a good sleeper. The first night in the hospital gave us a glimpse into what the next seven months were going to be like. Granted she was only a few hours old and I didn't expect her to sleep through the night (obviously), but I never thought it was going to continue like that for so many months. She was up the whole night, crying, wanting to be fed, and held.
In the beginning, Adeline slept ALL day, during the day. There was nothing you could do to wake her up. She slept through the vacuum, the TV, phone calls, and our dog barking. One thing I could count on was her getting enough to eat because she would wake up when she was hungry. She did exactly what all newborns do- she ate, pooped, and slept. Except at night.

She ate every two hours around the clock, which meant she was up every two hours, and sometimes more often than that, for about four months..." 

You can find the rest of our sleep story here.

October 23, 2013

What We Ate Wednesday

Breakfast 8:45 am

We ate breakfast later than usual. Miss A woke up at 7:00 am, decided she wasn't ready to be up for the day, and went back to sleep until 8:30! Mama was happy.

I ate: pumpkin oatmeal with walnuts. I've shared this on Instagram before and some of you asked me how I make it. It's nothing special- I use old fashioned oats and cook them as directed on the container and add a big scoopful of pumpkin, sprinkle nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt, and then add a tablespoon of brown sugar. I like to add a little bit more brown sugar on top and serve with chopped walnuts. 

Miss A: She also had the oatmeal, she LOVES it!

Yeah, she wants to feed herself nowadays!

Morning Snack: I had a cup of coffee and a cookie, Miss A slept right through snack time and woke up late for lunch! Talk about a long nap. 

Lunch: 12:45 pm 

I ate: An omelette with chopped red peppers, black beans, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese. Topped with sour cream and salsa.

Miss A: gnocchi with butternut squash, our leftovers from the night before

She also likes "wiping" her mouth with a napkin when she's done. 

Afternoon Snack: 4:30 pm

We ran errands after lunch and got home late for snack. She had some teddy grahams while we were out to hold her over.

I ate: an apple with peanut butter

Miss A: watermelon and crackers

Dinner: 7:00 pm

I ate: Spanish chicken with red potatoes, onions, and carrots. I usually make it with sausage or chorizo, like you see in this picture, but I didn't have any on hand.

Miss A: Spanish chicken with a few of the potatoes and carrots

After dinner I may have had a butterfinger or two...having Halloween candy in the house is too tempting!

Hope you're having a good Wednesday! Check back tomorrow where I'll be guest posting on Jess' blog about sleep training. If you or someone you know is struggling with getting a baby to sleep through the night, you'll want to read it!