Monthly Meal Planning Kit

UPDATE: As of March 27, this kit is ON SALE FOR ONLY $7!  Order now to cash in on this great deal!

Friends, I have been working on this kit for what seems like forever!  I’m so glad to finally be ready to share it with you!!  So many people ask me about my monthly meal planning, how it works, and how it saves my family money… so I decided to share my secrets with everyone!  Check it out!  

april sale
Click the photo to order your kit now!

So what’s included in the kit?

You’ll get the binder cover and directions/opening letter, a checklist for your tasks, along with a complete set of March-December 2017 calendars that are ready to print and write on.  You also get list sheets to record what’s in your freezer, fridge, and pantry, and list sheets to record your family’s favorite meals and new recipes you want to try.  Exclusively this right now for Lent, you also get access to five printable Bible verse cards that are available in either black and white or color for whichever printer format works best for you.

previews

 

PURCHASE YOUR COPY TODAY!
Simply follow this link, order your “ticket,” and the link and password will be emailed to you within 24 hours so you can open the files!

UPDATE!!!  Here’s what people are saying about this kit!  (And thank you to those who are already responding!  WOW!  I appreciate your comments and support so much!)

“It is an amazing packet, Christy!  Things that seem like easy-peasy when you are planning, but when you’re sitting down to do it, it’s not always that simple.  Now it is a packet that you can have it laid out in front of you.”

“I love what you have done!  It is very helpful for paper-planning.  The verses for the fridge are a nice addition, esp for Lent.  Would love to see more of those for just life in general.”  (And I like this idea – I’ll work on that – thanks for your feedback!)

“The Bible verse cards for Lent are beautiful!”

“SHARING!! I love this! Thank you for your hard work and sharing your amazing skill and insights with us!”

All Things Gingerbread

So, here we sit.  Just two days until Christmas Eve.  And if you are anything like me, you are frantically trying to figure out ways to occupy your children, who are more than ready to kill each other.  Y’all, I have even pulled out the “Santa doesn’t bring gifts to children who aren’t kind to each other and their parents” line.  It’s gettin hectic over here.  Plus, I still have gifts left to wrap, bows left to tie, a house to clean, and a whole mountain range of clean laundry to fold and put away (since I conquered the washing part yesterday, thank the Lord!)

all-things-gingerbread

The one thing that seems to be my saving grace the last two days has been All Things Gingerbread.  Seriously.  I threw together some gingerbread play dough, and since we made gingerbread cookies last week, the kids are so excited about this play dough!!!  I gave them the same little cookie cutters we used for our cookies, and they have had a blast making “cookies” and “cookie pops” and then yesterday they even got out Gray’s little construction trucks and informed me that the play dough looks like dirt, and it’s super fun to put into the construction trucks, apparently!  (So sad I didn’t get any pics of them playing, but y’all, seriously – they were happy, playing TOGETHER, and I was taking full advantage and fixing dinner – in peace!!!)

Today I plan to make another batch so they each have their own big ball of it, give them the giant gingerbread man cookie cutter (aff link thank you!), some buttons, some pipe cleaners (for hair or whatever else they get creative and come up with) and let them go to town making their own gingerbread friends!  (Fits great with the fact that we’re frantically finishing up our Christmas Around the World unit (link to the file on TPT) and today is Germany… which is where the gingerbread traditions originated!  Plus, I’m using a Gingerbread Girl organizational chart (it’s in this FREEBIE file on TPT!) today to diagram about the Gingerbread Girl book by Lisa Campbell Ernst (Aff link, thank you!)… dang, doesn’t this make me seem so organized?  HA!  Seriously, y’all… I’m not.  Being real, I originally planned to do this stuff yesterday, but can’t find the Gingerbread Girl book in the vast cavernous mess of books in Becca’s room, and if all else fails, I may try to find a youtube or just say screw it and forget the organizational chart and attempt to do it next year.) (Keepin’ it real here.)  (Also keepin’ it real – if you made it through the mess of links and () in this paragraph, I love you.  HA!)

The best part about play dough is it takes WAY less time to make than it does for me to write this blog post, which I’ve been intending to write for a couple days now.  So you can do it!  Buy yourself a little time (and patience!)… and better yet, stop everything and sit down and play WITH them.  Playing play dough is so calming for me.  Have you tried it lately?  Becca and I loved making “cookie pops” and then “selling” them to each other to work on her money skills!

Here’s the recipe for my Gingerbread play dough:

gingerbread-play-dough-recipe

And because I know some of you sweet mamas are going crazy and trying to find a gingerbread cookie recipe that your kids will actually eat… use mine.  It’s super easy and even my pickiest eater loves them!  I make these every single year.  Without fail.  Even if I don’t make any other cookies.  I’m in love with them.  Which is why I felt a picture of my tattered, dirty recipe card page was the best way to share it with you.  This recipe is WELL loved.

And so are you, dear blog reader.  Merry Christmas!  May you be richly blessed this holiday season.

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The (Very Explosive) Truth About Bath Bombs

bath-bombs

UPDATE OF THE UPDATE.  I give up.  Nothing works.  Something is wrong w all recipes linked here.  Read on, but don’t use these recipes!

So the other day I posted these pictures on social media, and my post exploded!  Everybody wanted to know how I did it.  So I shared this link with everyone – the original recipe that I followed.  WARNING – DO NOT USE THAT RECIPE!!!

OMG guys… not everything you find on the Internet is true (or correct)!  Sigh.  I could have sworn that was the recipe Hannah and I used this summer when we made them, but apparently not… if you watch the video on that page, you suddenly realize… they LEFT OUT AN INGREDIENT on their recipe list!  Sigh.

THIS link looks like it would make some amazing bath bombs!  And I plan to try them ASAP… so I’ll update and let you know.

Things to look for when you make your bath bombs – make sure that you have a mold.  If you don’t have a mold, a bowl will NOT work.  You HAVE to have a mold to press it into.  You can find them at Hobby Lobby or Michaels, OR you can use this affiliate link from Amazon and have three different sizes at your home with free prime shipping in two days!  (I learned that this summer when we made them without molds.)  

Note: I found some pumpkin plastic candy holders that would work as molds, and they looked adorable when they were first molded!! 

Keep in mind that anytime you’re making something that is going to fizz, it’s going to outgas as it dries.  Make sure it’s totally dry (open air, as it says on the correct recipe link) before you put it into the airtight container, or it might blow up your ziploc bag… (experience talking – yes, it can make a ziploc bag explode… just trust me).

This is science, folks.  One ingredient missing can make a HUGE difference… and mess up everything.  😦  I’m still going to try the other recipe and attempt to get these correct to give to the teachers we were planning to give to for Halloween.  I’m sad that it didn’t work, but hopefully it’ll help y’all the next time around… and I will definitely post an update and let you know how the new recipe link works!!  (I’m pretty sure it’s what Hannah and I used this summer, and I know that with molds, they’ll turn out amazing.)  Sadly, if Becca’s art teacher hasn’t already used hers, it probably looks something like this inside her bag…

explosive-truth

—–UPDATE!!!—–

Ok, so I tried the recipe, and it was WAY too dry.  It wouldn’t mold at all.  So, I added water 3/4 tsp at a time and stirred until I found that it would mold in my hand.  Now, they appear to be perfect.  We’ll see how long they last!  The texture is definitely very different than what I had before – this seems exactly right.  So here’s the correct recipe.  (Plus more water)

update

UPDATE- 5 mins later:


I’m done.  I throw in the towel.  Not everything I try works.  I’m sure it does for some people…

Homemade Gift Idea

So you’re looking for something quick and easy to throw together this week as a gift from the kids to mom… or for grandmom.  Or maybe your next door neighbor went above and beyond and now you feel obligated to return the gifting…

This is super easy, and you may have the supplies in your house already!  To give all the credit where credit is due, I’m linking HERE over to the original post where I got the recipe – you can get the recipe from her. 🙂

Processed with MOLDIV

If you like my jars, I found them at my local Hobby Lobby for $1.99 each.
One note I will make from the original poster – her recipe was not enough to fill one of my jars – we made a double recipe to begin with, and it filled a jar and a half.  So go into this with an open mind about how much coconut oil you’re going to need.  We got blessed/lucky/whatever and had the exact amount of coconut oil to make the four jars we needed for gifts, but when you’re shopping/prepping supplies, just make sure you have plenty of coconut oil.

Another tip for the coconut oil – if it’s too cold it’ll be hard to scoop from the jar, so you can zap it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to loosen it up a tad.

And to make it easier to put into the jars without making a mess, I used my medium size cookie scoop (from Pampered Chef), which fit easily inside the mouth of the jar so I could drop the scrub directly into the bottom of the jar without getting it everywhere.

Becca loved stirring, and doing the math to help me double the recipe.  She helped me count the drops of essential oils to add in, and got more than a tad frustrated with me when we got an extra drop of lavender in at one point. 😉  She sat with me as I got on the computer and designed the labels, and she helped type the words “Mommy” and “Becca”.

All in all, this gets recorded in the books as a super easy, wonderful gift idea that we’ll be repeating in the future!  I’m looking forward to trying some other oils as well, to make different scents.

Side note, as I’m always trying to raise awareness for hidden disabilities – Becca has anosmia (the lack of sense of smell), so I told her this smells really good – what did she think it would smell like?  She decided that if it smelled good, it must smell like peanut butter.  Because peanut butter is her favorite creamy thing, and this is creamy.  The glow on her face as she told me what she imagined it smelled like transported me to a different world.  She’ll never know what lavender and peppermint smell like.  But in her mind, she has happy things she can equate to various things, and the beauty of her disability is that everything smells pleasant in her mind.  She’ll never dread the smell of a skunk, or wrinkle her nose as she carries out the trash.  Blissful ignorance.  It’s hard for me as her mom to see the positives in this disability, but seeing her smile today as she said it smelled like peanut butter… made me smile, too.  Because I know she’s happy with her imagination.  Never take for granted the abilities you have – someone, somewhere in the world, can’t do what you can do.

Sausage Spinach Pasta

sausage spinach pasta

 

One of the things I think a lot of moms struggle with (I know I surely can’t be alone in this!!) is planning quick, somewhat healthy meals that are filling and, did I mention – QUICK?  The season we are in right now, it’s better for Cody and I to eat dinner after the kids go to bed on weeknights.  So that often results in us eating easy food for dinner.  Pop open a can of soup or make sandwiches, or heat up some ramen… or bake a pizza.  I’ve really been trying to step out of that box and cook more in the evenings.  I’m also trying out several new recipes in the crock pot to help make the evening prep quicker.

This pasta dish has evolved over time.  Originally inspired by a covered dish that a friend brought to us after Grayson was born, and then modifications inspired by something I saw on an episode of Chopped (I love Food Network when I actually get a few minutes to myself to watch mom tv!)… it has become one of our favorite, quick go-to meals.  And I love how flexible it is – I can use any pasta I have leftover in the pantry, or buy something new.  At first I made this only with penne, but now I think I’ve made it with pretty much everything except spaghetti, and ya know, I bet it’d be fabulous on fettuccine or spaghetti, too!

Here’s what you need to make it:

Your favorite kind of pasta (picture with potato gnocchi)
1 jar Vodka Creme Sauce (I buy the Bertolli brand – not sure where to find it?  Here’s their website: http://www.villabertolli.com)
Smoked Sausage links (I buy whatever’s on sale – either Hillshire Farm or Ekrich – we prefer the beef skinless)
1 pkg Cherry Tomatoes
Bag of Spinach
Olive Oil
Salt/Oregano/Garlic to taste

Slice your smoked sausage, and sauté with a small amount of olive oil in a large 12″ skillet.  Slice the cherry tomatoes in half – you can use more or less tomatoes to meet your personal tastes – I usually use quite a few.  Toss them in the skillet with the sausage.  Reduce the heat to low (I have settings 1-10 on my cooktop and I always turn down to 3).  Chop your spinach (rough chop) and fold it in to the sausage/tomato mix.  Stir together well.  Add your salt/garlic/oregano to taste as you prefer.

Meanwhile, you will have cooked your pasta – here’s where you need to know your pasta.  Gnocchi (as pictured) takes 2 minutes in boiling water, so I certainly don’t start it at the beginning.  But if you are using a hard pasta like penne or farfalle, you’ll need to start it boiling earlier.  The trick here is to cook it to an almost still hard al dente.

Add your jar of sauce to the sausage/tomato/spinach skillet, and add your pasta.  Turn it all the way down to a low simmer, and stir well.  Use about 1/4 cup of the pasta water to pour into the sauce jar.  Shake it well and pour into the skillet.  Stir well, cover, and let sit until you are ready to serve.  Test your pasta to make sure it’s tender when ready.  If not, you can bring the heat up to get it the rest of the way done in the pasta.

The thing I love about this meal is that not only is a warm bowl of comfort food, it’s QUICK to prepare.  The whole process start to finish typically takes me about 20 minutes (or less when I do gnocchi b/c it cooks )!  And… well, it’s got some great veg in it, as well as some fabulous protein!  Flavor is a 10, for sure.  It’s become a every three weeks kinda meal… that becomes something new just by changing up the type of pasta!  Enjoy!