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Author: Becky Cox

Monday Meal Plan: Week of July 31

 

It’s been a crazy month of July around here. My grandma was admitted to the hospital and passed away a week later. Everything was put on hold and life just sort of went by. I am going to post about that in the near future. There were no set meal plans and we ate out more than we ever do normally, but it was an unusual circumstance, and thankfully, not one that happens often.

Last week was a catch up week and I just could not get things together in time for this post. So here we are, almost into August, but life is settling down again somewhat, and I can get back to planning.

 

 

 

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Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom: How I Survive Without Going Crazy

Two weeks ago I started this series looking at how I became a stay-at-home mom and took a closer look at some of the things that make this the hardest job ever.

So the next question I thought about was, “How do I survive day after day?” Honestly, in the beginning this was really really hard. Now, it’s just regular hard. And some days it really is just getting up and putting one foot in front of the other, like any hard thing in life. But I don’t count down the hours as much as I used to. And sometimes I even enjoy myself.

I am a list person who likes to physically do tasks. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. Being a mom is not really like that. Sometimes I can get some tasks done, but more often I feel like I am going in circles doing the same things over and over with nothing really getting done and nothing to show for all my “work” at the end of the day.

I had to go through a major mental shift when I became a stay-at-home mom, and that didn’t happen overnight. It’s still happening, in fact. I had to learn what would work for me and my kids in this new role. I can guarantee you that our everyday family life will look different than yours because I am not you.

But I also know that some of what has helped me is universal, and may be able to help you too. So here is a list of 5 things you can do to help with the transition to motherhood or becoming a stay-at-home mom: Read more

Monday Meal Plan: Week of July 10

 

We survived the wing-it week with my in-laws. I did end up cooking a few meals, which I have recapped below. Overall, it worked out well. We went out to Sweet Baby Ray’s one day, and the Taste of Chicago another. I miss having them around already. Now it’s back to the daily grind, and back to meal planning, which I have done for this week.

Recipe Recap from last week:

Vegetable Lasagna:  I can’t find the exact recipe link online. I pulled this from a magazine, but don’t know which one. Oh so good!  I doubled the recipe with slight variations because the ounces needed for exact doubling and container sizes available did not match up. I also forgot to add the parsley, and I basically blended everything except the lemon zest and mozzarella in the blender first so it would be nice and chopped for the kids. No one complained and seconds were requested. They ate broccoli and spinach again!

Peaches & Cream Baked Oatmeal: Had some peaches on hand I needed to use up, came across this recipe, and love baked oatmeal. A perfect match. The only change I made was instead of the heavy cream, I used creamer, because I didn’t have heavy cream on hand. It was well received, and not overly sweet, which I always appreciate for the kiddos. I have found many good recipes over at Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures.

Coconut Curry Kebabs with Coconut Couscous:

This is one of my favorite kebob recipes. The grapes add a nice sweetness, and the chicken always comes out so juicy and tender. It’s again from a magazine that I don’t have a link for. Kebabs: But basically, marinade the chicken in 1.25 cups coconut milk, 3 T curry powder, 1 T lime juice, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp cayenne for at least 30 minutes. Then just thread your kebobs with the chicken, peppers and grapes and grill. The couscous is easy as well. For 1 cup of dried couscous you boil 1 cup broth or water with 1/2 cup coconut milk. Stir in the couscous and remove from heat. Cover and let sit for about 5 minutes. Easy peasy.

We also grilled some veggies using this recipe as a base, but basically it was just veggies mixed with a jar of pesto and grilled. I didn’t have regular pesto on hand so we used sun-dried tomato pesto. Very good as well! Even the kids liked them.

 

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Monday Meal Plan: An Unplanned Week

 

This week I don’t have a very good meal plan in place. My in-laws are in town and while I have a general game plan and some meals on hand, I don’t have a specific day-by-day plan like I usually do. So I am not going to post any recipes this week. But I do have a few from last week that our family really enjoyed. Happy 4th of July!

Recipe Recap from last week:

Avocado Spinach Pasta– This was a big hit with the family. So quick and easy to prepare, and healthy, so I was thrilled! I have no picture because I forgot again. I made it without the cashews because I didn’t have any on hand, and it was still yummy.

Taquitos – These were also really tasty. Unfortunately, I didn’t add in the spinach because I was running short on time, so they weren’t as healthy, but they were still very tasty. And I found another way to sneak meat into my son. Score for mom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom: Hardest Job Ever

It’s been a little over 3 years since my husband and I decided I would leave the workforce and become a stay-at-home mom. We were pregnant with our first when we made that decision. I cannot say the road has been easy. There are many days I want to quit, but it has been worth it.

I want to challenge and encourage any moms out there who want to be home, who are home and struggle, or even those that work outside the home. Being a mom is an all-encompassing job whether you are home full time or not, so I know that even if you work outside the home there will be something you can relate to.

Over the next few weeks I am going to take a look at three aspects of Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom:

1. Hardest Job Ever!

2. How I Survive Without Going Crazy

3. How We Can Afford to Live on One Income.

I wish I could say that I have all the answers for you, but I don’t. I’ve only been at this for three years. Lots of moms have tons more experience than I do, but I can share my experience, and hopefully you will find something that you can relate to, especially if you are in the early years of your kids lives as well.

Hardest Job Ever

That pretty much sums it up. I’ve worked many types of jobs: customer service, manual labor, printing, project management, etc. But this is, by far, the toughest job I’ve ever had. Granted, it is also the most rewarding, but toughest nonetheless. Some days I am ready to throw in the towel. While my daughter throws a tantrum and my son bangs continually on the closet door I question if I should do something about all this or just walk back in the other room and put my head under the pillow. Did I mention it’s not even 6:30AM yet? Yeah, it’s gonna be one of those days. Read more

Monday Meal Plan: Week of June 26

 

This past week we tried some new recipes and I found a few that are definite keepers. I look forward to trying a few more this coming week. I wish I had more pictures for you, but I did remember to take a few. Dinner time is so hectic that I often forget that you might want to see what the meal actually looks like. I’m working on it.

During the summer months, John is off on Fridays, so my meal plans are going to be from Friday to Friday during the summer because I have to plan everything and shop a day early so we can maximize our family time on Fridays. Just in case you were wondering.

Recipe Recap from last week:


Broccoli Apple Salad – Brought this as a side for a get-together and it was a big hit. Even my kids ate some. I still had trouble getting them to eat the broccoli, but they ate everything else. I will definitely keep this one.


Coconut Lime Chicken – This was another good one. I’m not a huge chicken person, but this chicken actually came out very flavorful and moist, which I tend to have trouble with when cooking chicken. So I was thrilled. If I would make any changes, it would be that I might add some chopped mango or pineapple at the end to just give it a little sweetness. The tartness of the lime seemed to need a little something to offset it. But overall, we liked it! And when I say we, I mean, everyone but Asher, who refuses to eat any sort of meat that is not hidden. He liked the coconut rice.



Mango Salad – Everyone enjoyed this salad, and this time when I say everyone, I mean our entire family, including Asher. I think this would be a great side for a potluck or get-together because the ingredients don’t need to be refrigerated. Healthy, tasty, and the kids liked it. What more can you ask for?

Tator Tot Sloppy Joe Casserole – A big hit in our household! Healthy, no. But when both kids want seconds, that does not go unnoticed. So I think this will get added to our recipe book for sure! Maybe I can find a way to sneak in some veggies too next time.

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Wisconsin Vacation Recap

A couple weeks ago our family visited Wisconsin for a much-needed vacation with my parents, sister and nephew. We were quite the crew, but it was perfect. Only a 3 hour drive away was very do-able for the kids.

Day 1: Arrival

We stayed in Mishicot, WI at the Fox Hills Resort. The resort was ok. It was quirky and definitely needed updates, but it served us well. We were able to have many adjoining rooms, including a full kitchen and living/dining room. That helped with food. It is such a chore to take 3 little ones out to a restaurant. We did a few times, but it is much easier eating at home.  Everyday we ate breakfast at the resort, some lunches, and most dinners.

I think one of Maddie’s favorite things about this vacation was that she got to watch cartoons in the morning. Our kids are early risers, earlier than my nephew, and most people,  so we tried to keep them corralled in our room as long as possible. This meant Maddie got to watch PBS kids, while we chased Asher around. She discovered a new show she likes, call Wild Kratts, or as she calls it, The Brothers.

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Monday Meal Plan: Week of June 19

 

I am so loving this summer weather, perfect for swimming and trips to indoor places, with a walk or two outside during cooler moments. I feel like it’s always a challenge to plan dinners without using the oven, but now is the time. So here is my oven less (minus breakfast) meal plan for this week.

I have lots of new recipes we are trying this week. I’ll do the recap next week to let you know if there were any keepers.

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Monday Meal Plan: Week of June 12

 

You may have noticed that I did not post my meal plan last week. That’s because I did not plan any meals, as our family was on a Wisconsin vacation. We had a blast and I will share more about that soon. Even though we did cook a lot of meals, I didn’t have to plan them so I took a week off.

And after going to the doctor and getting some antibiotics I finally got over my sinus/cold issues that have plagued me the last month. So I am feeling much better. I am happy to get back on my feet and get back to blogging.

This week I had to plan quick, easy meals on Saturday night when we got back from our vacation, so they are simple and many use parts of things we had on hand already. Nothing says welcome home from vacation like grocery shopping. *Note the sarcasm.

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Monday Meal Plan: Week of May 29

 

Have I mentioned this cold that totally knocked me down? This week by mid-week I finally started feeling more energetic. But it is still not 100% gone. I am just thankful I have a lot more energy and stamina. I need it to keep up with my littles.

I really need some warmer weather too so I was thankful that the end of last week brought some sunshine and temps warm enough to get outside and play. That is just what we all needed.

This week is the last week before our family heads out to Wisconsin for a much-needed and anticipated vacation. So I am trying to keep things simple and use up everything we can. We managed, yet again, to not use all the meals I had planned last week, so some are carrying over.

We did try the Lentil Tortilla Soup though and it was a hit with me and John, but not so much with the kids. Toddlers can be so picky. At least they enjoyed the avocado, and we did manage to get some in them, but leftovers were not as successful. Oh well, at least I found a recipe for us that we enjoyed. We topped the “soup”, it was more like stew, with crushed tortilla chips, chopped up jalapeños, red onions, cheese, cilantro and some salsa. It was tasty!

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