Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Plan and Prep!

Good Morning All,
It's a rainy Wednesday morning here on the coast of Maine and being the last week of April would we really expect any less? April showers bring May flowers! In our neck of the woods we are just happy it isn't snow.
I wanted to take some time to go over meal planning. In my facebook group, I am tackling Meal Plan May. I will go over easy, quick dinner ideas to keep you on a healthy, budget conscious path. So I wanted to blog about the many ways you can be successful in your efforts.
When I sit down to make a meal plan, sometimes for the entire month but mostly two weeks at a time, I have one important thing in front of me. My calendar. If you don't have a planner of any sort, at least jot down your committments so you know when you have busy mealtimes. For moms, make sure you are writing in all practices, games, meetings, fitness classes, etc.

Then, take a look at what you currently have on hand. We have a freezer with meats we bought locally, so those will be on my meal plan for May to try and save some money. I will add in grocery store meats as needed. Always check your pantry staples as well. If you don't you will inevitably end up with 8 boxes of pasta, and nothing to make a sauce. Been there done that.

Once you have an idea of what you have, check the sale flyers for good deals and coupons. (this is more of a meal planning refresher but back in the beginning of my blogging days are posts on strict budgets and ways to stretch your groceries, go check it out)
Is chicken on sale? Is haddock on sale? Well then it's time to get planning.
If you feel like you lack creativity in the cooking department, try sites like or Pinterest. What is great about those is you can enter in almost any ingredient and get dozens of ways to use it. So when you are trying to stay on a budget, use everything you have on hand.
Also, sheet pan dinners are easy, affordable and can easily adjust to the number in your family.
You can add so much variety to something as simple as chicken breasts and veggies.
Write down all of your meal ideas and the ingredients you will need. If you are like me, that list will be according to the layout of the grocery store. (I know, I know)

After you have a list of meal ideas. Plan a trip to the grocery store, pick a budget and stick to it.
If you are a compulsive buyer, take cash. You can only spend what you budgeted for that way. No room for the items you don't need right now. Grab your ingredients, trying to keep fresh and less processed foods in mind.

When you arrive home, take the time to prep! That really is the key to success both on your waistline and your wallet. If you have foods that are ready to cook or better yet, all cooked and ready for you and your family to eat. You will resist the phone call for take out.
I usually prep my veggies on Sunday afternoons or evenings. Little containers for snacking, meal kits and sometimes get the meats for the next day marinading. I will cook off chicken for salads and boil eggs...whatever I can do to set us up for a good week of healthy eating and have less chaos for me at dinnertime is important.

Fail to plan and plan to fail. This is in my head all of the time and I do believe it is a step to success.
Now, go make a list and save some dimes!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Detailing your ride!

Okay so how many of you spring clean your car? I once heard that the inside of your car can tell a lot about a person and how organized the rest of their life is. Part of this rings true to me, however, I could probably squander up a few excuses as to why mine is dirtier than I like. I also will not lie, we do hire out a deep clean on our vehicles a couple of times a year. With two dogs that travel everywhere with us, a professional detailing is much needed occasionally.
How many of us these days are in our cars for a good portion of one week? Eat meals in the car?
Get out your old toothbrush is a great detailing tool!

This is a great article to read about some cleaning hacks....what is a hack? Tips and tricks to use items intended for one use in another way.
While I have not heard of anyone using 1, 10 or 14....I highly recommend #9 for an all natural air freshener.

Washing the car can be a fun chore to do with the kids too! Pick a warm day, grab a bucket, soap and a few sponges or rags and make it sparkle!
This is a great mixture for cleaning fabric, it works great on car seats and booster seats too. Hydrogen peroxide is a great stain remover as well for floor mats and carpeting.

A small squeegee helps remove pet hair from seats and carpet, too. Vacuum everything the best you can before you start scrubbing.

When you deep clean your car, it is my recommendation to take everything out. Everything? Yes, everything! You want to clean all of the surfaces without the clutter in the way and it also gives you a chance to sort and reorganize the items that must stay in the car.

Did you know your car registration and insurance cards are supposed to be with your vehicle and not in your wallet? Do your wheels take a special lug nut key? These items should always be available. Your glove box is the proper place. Keep your vehicle manual too. You never know when you will be traveling and that "strange" light comes on. It's helpful to be able to pass on information if you are in need.

Do your kids watch movies in the car? Get a soft sided CD holder and ditch the movie cases and store them in a more compact way. If you need to keep the cases because you want to resell, store them in a box in your basement.

A first aid kit is a great idea....or at least some band-aids and a cleaner. Baby wipes are a great thing to store in your car even if you are way beyond the diaper changing stage. They can clean up sticky hands, boo boos, spills and are a great cleaning tool when doing a quick detail of your vehicle.

Do you work from your car? Make a small file folder mobile office and keep everything neat and tidy. A small zippered pouch can hold stamps, extra pens and necessities.

Do your kids need to eat on the road? Purchase a small bin at a dollar store to hold their food and keep it from sliding all over your car.

If everything has it's own compartment it is easy to toss those into a tote in your trunk, or a large console, when you need the space for extra passengers or pets. Don't have a tote? A small laundry basket is a great tool. It can also hold your groceries in your trunk so they don't slide around. Don't forget your reusable shopping bags too. Store them right in your trunk after you empty your groceries so you have them every shopping trip.

Now that we are back on the road my list of musts include......
*A case of water, yes it may get warm in the car in the summertime but my dogs won't mind and I almost always have a cooler in tow that I can get a drink cool for a little or big passenger.
*Snacks! We have a preschooler and a teenager, need I say more?
*Dog bones, water bowl and leashes (for my furry travelers)
*Baby Wipes and tissues
*DVD's for long rides
*Books, Toys and Crafts in a small tote for the ride. I can take this right into a restaurant too, if the need arises,
*First Aid Kit
*Mobile office pouch
*Tote for all essentials
*Trash tote - A great trash tote is a dry food storage container. You can add a small trash bag (fold a few extras up and put them in the bottom. All ready for when you empty) Or put a command strip hook somewhere in your car and re-use plastic shopping bags. Tie and toss when they get full.

It's time to get scrubbing! Hey, you might even find some dimes. Gather up that loose change and treat yourself for your efforts. A cup of coffee, ice cream? Or just go for a drive after, a clean car feels soooo good!