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"Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed." -Linda Wooten

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping



 
Let me start with this disclaimer - I am NOT a couponer! I wish I had that gift, but simply, that whole process frustrates me and I just don't have the storage space to start a stock pile (I wish!!) So I am not the most savvy shopper.

I cook most nights of the week - granted, there are some weeks when we have a lot of sandwiches and take out - typically, we have a home cooked meal at least 5 nights a week.

Meal planning has saved my sanity! I am not one of those that can just load up a grocery cart and wing it at dinner time each evening. I NEED to know what I'm making each night!! The organizing nerd in me cringes at the thought of spontaneity.

I meal plan on Thursdays and grocery shop on Friday or Saturday.

I have a folder full of recipes I have found online and a Taste of Home cookbook that I have found a ton of yummy recipes in.

But...Comfy In the Kitchen is absolutely my go-to for most of my recipes. Janelle even has an awesome meal plan on her blog that I reference ALOT!! I highly recommend her recipes. I have tried a ton of them and they always DELICIOUS!!

I created a cute "Collins Family Menu" in word that I update each week. I print out 2 copies - one gets posted on our refrigerator and I keep one in my home management binder.

I often cook enough on certain nights of the week to leftovers for the next night. Below is our menu for next week.

Saturday
Date Night! :)

Sunday
Chicken & Dumplins *click title for link to recipe
Pinto Beans
Crockpot Mac & Cheese *click title for link to recipe
Rolls

Monday
Sunday night leftovers

Tuesday
Mini cheeseburgers *click title for link to recipe
Onion Rings

Wednesday
Tuesday night leftovers

Thursday
Sandwiches or Take Out

Right now - we have soccer practice on Monday evening, Thursday evening and Saturday mornings - so I try to schedule leftovers for those evenings (we, often, aren't back home til 7:30ish).

(If it will help you - I would be happy to post my weekly menu to the blog with links to the recipes - just let me know by commenting below!!)

I try to use all natural or organic ingredients when possible. But let's be honest - I try to cook things my whole family will eat!!

I grocery shop one time a week. I try to buy all non-food items at Wal-Mart, Dollar General or Family Dollar.

I buy most of my food items at Wal-Mart, Food Lion and Aldi.

Ahhh, Aldi!! If you want to save money - this is the THE place to shop. The selection varies - so I make sure Aldi is my first stop, so I can move on to Wal-Mart or Food Lion for the items I can't find there. They have the BEST prices on produce and, surprisingly, carry ALOT of organic items. My kids love that we get to bag our own groceries too.

I will try to find a way to post a picture of the template I use for my menu and for grocery shopping...until then...

How do you meal plan? Where do you shop for the best deals on groceries?





Friday, February 20, 2015

When It All Goes Wrong...

It has been one of those days - the kind where you just want to shut yourself up in a room - cut the lights out and make the world disappear for a little while.

We were running late (as usual) - the girls were fighting, tattling and just driving me up the wall. I responded with yelling and threatening and complete chaos ensued. I rushed them to the car, I rushed them to put their seat belts on, I rushed them to school, I rushed them out of the car and the I rushed myself to work.

I unlocked my office door - thankful that I was, at least, the first one there - dropped my stuff beside my desk and started my morning.

Checked my email

Checked my to-do list

Checked my calendar

Checked my attitude...

Checked my phone

And all of these posts regarding Lent filled my Instagram feed. I sat there - feeling like a total failure! 

Here we are 40+ days out from the recognized crucifixion of our Savior and I am drowning in the mundane, every day, 'makes no eternal difference' madness.

I am side tracked, unfocused and missing the mark.

My priorities are totally out of order. For a minute I felt sorry for myself...and then I remembered...

We have brothers and sisters in Christ giving their lives up for Him - facing persecution every day - and living for Him despite the risk - and here we are...HERE I AM in America -

comfortable
safe
with freedom...

And we're restless, we're bitter, we're angry, we're rushing...why?

Because my jeans are snug and I've gain ANOTHER pound. Because the kids pick at their breakfast and at one another and I'm late for work. Because it's 5 degrees outside today and its inconvenient for me...and the list goes on...

Friends - I confess - my priorities are SO out of order. God often ends up at the bottom of my list - I put everything else, everyone else, first - I get frustrated, and upset and cry and at the end of my day I go crawling to Him, complaining about the mess I'm making of my life - when what I really need to do is start off my day in WORSHIP of the one true King.

Thanking Him for hanging on that cross and taking on My sin...

Thanking Him for conquering death...

Thanking Him for returning on that 3rd day - proving He is the one true Messiah - and offering us redemption for our ridiculous ways.


I am convicted and shamed with tears running down my face as these fingers desperately hunt for the keys on this keyboard.

I am feel like a farce - I write blog posts hoping to encourage you as a mom - today I want to encourage you as a child of God.

I, too, am guilty of putting husband, child, job and ministry first - when Jesus is the ONLY one who should hold first place in my heart.

So, during this Lenten season - I will spend more time at the foot of the cross. I will spend more time today - and each day hereafter - seeking His face first!

Will you move your focus to Him with me? Have you become distracted? What changes will you make in your life to seek God first?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Crock Pot Potato Soup

 This potato soup is so EASY and everyone in my family 
(even my super picky Lillian) loves it!!


Ingredients:
1 30 oz. bag of frozen, diced hash browns
1 32 oz. box of chicken broth
1 10 oz. can of cream of chicken soup
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese (do NOT use fat free)
Bacon bits
1 package of dried Ranch dressing mix
Shredded cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Add frozen hash browns to a crock pot sprayed with non-stick cooking spray
  • Add in chicken broth, cream of chicken soup and small handful of bacon bits
  • Cook on low for 7-8 hours
  • An hour before serving - add in cream cheese (cut into small cubes) and the packet of dry Ranch dressing mix
  • Mix a few times, while cooking, to get the cream cheese mixed in well
  • Top with cheddar cheese and bacon bits (to taste) when ready to serve!!
I like to serve this soup with salad and Pillsbury honey crescent rolls!
Enjoy!!

Winter Finally Arrived in the South




I apologize for my absence this week!! I've been feeling a bit under the weather for the past for days - and then, over night, an ice storm hit our area.

We spent today outside playing and sledding - so I have not gotten around to posting yet this week!!

I will be back this afternoon with our Tasty Tuesday recipe!! Believe me - it is worth the wait :)

Wednesday - I will post the next entry in the 'Managing Mama' series (that usually goes up on Mondays) and hope to get back into my somewhat normal blogging routine.

How is the weather in your area? I would love to actually see some snow before spring hits - but if the snow isn't going to come, bring on the warmer weather!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thrifty Thursday: Wal-Mart Savings Catcher




We all like to save money!! And I know if you are a savvy mama like me - you are always on the lookout for new ways to save - well look no further!!

Ya'll - this little app makes me so happy!!

I don't shop at Wal-Mart that often. In fact - I've only loaded 10 receipts onto this app since September 2014 - but...

I got back $23.60. In fact - just this week I earned $0.76 on a receipt I uploaded back in December. The Savings Catcher retro-ed back (without me having to do anything) and found even more money to give me!!

What To Do:

*Go to your phone's app store and find and download the Wal-Mart Savings Catcher app (IT'S FREE!!!)

*Shop at Wal-Mart :)

*After your purchase - open the app on your phone and scan in the receipt.

*After 3-4 days - your prices will be matched. If the app finds ANY advertised price at another store - you get money back!!

*You can let your amounts accumulate - and when you're ready, just press "get it back" on the 'Your Rewards Dollar' screen.

*You will be emailed an eGift card that can be used at check-out like a gift card.

It's that easy!! If you EVER shop at Wal-Mart, this.is.a.must.have!!!

Do you use this app? What's the most money you've gotten back?

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