Meal Planning…Months Later!

My Wild Friday Night

A Few Months Ago, I Told You About My Journey of Meal Planning

I am here to tell you that I am still in love with it. Every. Last. Bit of it!  Click here to see the beginning of my journey.

When I first started my journey of meal planning, I knew things had to change.  Not only was I wasting valuable time every week grocery shopping, but I was also breaking my budget every darn week.  We all know how an unplanned or sometimes planned visit to the grocery store goes. Two words-Budget Buster!  It also wasn’t helping that I did not have the room in my budget to be doing it every single week.  I needed to find something different and I was desperate.  After the discovery of several blogs, I was very inspired to do meal planning, and it has been one of the best things ever.

Here are the BEST things about meal planning:

  1. Less Grocery Shopping Time= More Family Time or Time For Yourself.
    • This has probably been my most favorite thing about the meal planning!  I have actually stretched my big grocery shopping trips out to once a month!  It wasn’t hard to do, I was ready to do it after the first trip!  In fact, it is more difficult NOT needing to go the grocery store.  I still haven’t completely adjusted to it since it is one of my most favorite types of shopping!  I sometimes just stop by the store to help with the withdrawals…or because my family may need some milk. 🙂
  2. Less Grocery Shopping Time= Less Chance of Breaking Your Budget.
    • I do make a 45 minute trip to the city so I can go to two different stores.  These two stores not only save me a TON of money, but I also get everything I need in those two stops.  Normally when I make these large hauls, I spend around the same amount I used to spend on two weeks of grocery shopping.  On a side note, last time I went, one of the stores had really increased their prices. I was a little disappointed about this, but I still saved a lot of money.  Anyone else experiencing this?



  3. No More Frantic Race Deciding What Is For Supper
    • I used to start thinking about what I was going to make for supper at lunchtime.  My thought process would constantly swing back to that nagging question all afternoon. When I would get home, I would still be drawing a blank!  Secretly I was just hoping something would magically come to me, and, it almost never did.  When I would get home, I would wander around the kitchen, opening cupboards and the fridge thinking something would pop out and me-that didn’t work either. Now with meal planning, I can just look in the morning to see what is on the agenda for the day.  If I find that the meal I had planned for the day isn’t going to work, I just swap it with another already-planned meal.  If I need to pull out meat to defrost-my meal planner is going to tell me to. Easey-Peasy
  4. Again, More Time!!
    • Since I have been trying to add working out back into my schedule(read about that here), I use this extra time to work out for a half-hour.  I can’t seem to get my butt out of bed lately (anyone else?), so this extra time has been amazing!   Although, depending on your needs, it could also be spent with your children or catching up on a quick project.

These reasons may seem like small, but I cannot emphasize enough how much all of them have helped reduce some stress!  Everyone may have a different object to their meal planning, but what do you hope to accomplish out of it?

Get my Meal Planning Printable here!

~Jessi

My Kids Are Getting More of My Time, And Yours Should Too

Ugh, the weekly grind gets so long, and you just want to come home from work and have some “me” time!!

But, the kids are still awake, and not to mention, supper needs to be on the table in 10 minutes…

Your friend is texting you about something not important, and as much as you love her, really?  Right now?

Oh, and work today-ugh… I might not go back tomorrow-well if I didn’t need the paycheck I wouldn’t!

Yes, most days may not(or maybe they are) like this, but you get the drift.  Things seem like such a rush at night during the week, it is a wonder we have enough time to really get everything done.  I have thought about sleep training myself so I do not need more than four hours of sleep.  I haven’t figured that one out yet…

But, I cannot add more time to the day-I only have 24 hours-and as of right now I still need 8 hours of sleep to function.  I have started making changes in my life to start making more out of the time I do have.  I have found one that has really allowed me to spend more time with my kids, and it is so easy, you can incorporate it into your day.


Ready?… Put down your phone.

When I used to get home from work, I would be busy going through my personal emails-catching up on days worth of things that could wait.  Oh, and the social media- I had narrowed myself down to using only one social media platform, but then I would sit and scroll, scroll and scroll! Oh, and maybe I should call my sister and text back so and so.  Then-poopy- I need to get supper made and I didn’t even enjoy any time with my kids.  Then, eat supper and the rest of the night is spent getting the day wrapped up with them.

Putting down the phone is so much easier said than done, but it is important! I have weaned myself off of social media slowly. It is painful at first, but then I get to a place where I do not miss it, and actually feel happier without it. I have also set aside times of the day when I am going to use my cell phone-and these are times when I cannot be playing with my kids.

So, what has this lead to?  I get to push my kids on the swing for an extra five minutes- and they get all of my attention, not half of it.  Or, they can tell me a story and I am actually going to listen, not just do the “one ear and out the other.”

Does weaning yourself off your phone “scare” you or are you already doing it? What was or is the hardest part for you?

~Jessi

How Having Kids Changed My Thinking

I was the kid that wasn’t supposed to have kids-because I wanted it that way…

Then, life gets thrown at you.  The person I was dating already had a child and I became an instant mom.  Walking the fine line of being a part-time Step-Mom went to full-time Step-Mom.  (This a has been a challenge and a blessing, for many more reasons than what you are thinking).  Then, a positive pregnancy test comes along when I wasn’t expecting it, even though I was well aware of what can happen.  I still remember my moms confused reaction when I told her I was pregnant…

Before having kids, I was completely career driven(and even for a little while after).  Why would someone sacrifice themselves for kids?  Even if they did, use daycare, grandparents, and babysitters so they do not become a huge distraction.  I used to wonder why more people didn’t do this, but I think it is a hard one to answer for some until they have children and are able to reflect on it-if they ever do.

I know people who have not let children slow down their careers or social lives.  But, after having a few hills to climb, I have found that is not the path for me.  It is not always the most “fun” way to spend my time, but I am a big girl that also has to be a mom.

Having kids has changed my thoughts on life.  My focus has changed-and for the better.  I no longer want to jump in a rat race to have the largest house, the best cars, and the prettiest clothes- in other words, I no longer feel the need to keep up with society.  Why would I?  Is the sacrifice of not knowing my children worth it?  No.  This doesn’t mean that you cannot have these things, or that you should completely sacrifice yourself for your child.  I DO NOT believe in that either.


Here is what I challenge you to:

  • Yes, we all need some time away from the kids, BUT, maybe only allow one time a week or month to go out without your kids. It is important to have some time with your significant other.
  • If funds do not allow you to go out, do things that you could do is find a way to include the kids-maybe do a family game night. After the kids go to bed, continue to play the game with your significant other.
  • Spend time with another couple that has kids around the age of your own.  Or, trade off babysitting the kids so they can go out one night and them you another.

Let’s face it-did you want to hang out with your parents when you were a teenager?  I bet most of you would say a…um, well, NO(ugh, so embarrassing)!  Enjoy the time with your kids when they still WANT to hang out with you!  Use that time to bond and build a good foundation for the (sometimes difficult) years ahead.  Do not completely sacrifice yourself for your children.  That is not healthy for anyone, plus what will you have when your children leave? You may be viewed as a clingy parent and a child-in-laws worst nightmare.

Maybe you do not agree with my thoughts, and I am no expert!  I am just a parent trying to figure it out…

If you had to challenge yourself as a parent to do something different with your children, what would that be?

~Jessi

Why I Stopped Letting Work Take Over My Life

“You will need to make more sacrifices with your family if you want to go anywhere-ever”

These words cut right through me after a supervisor told me that.   I was already working 60 hours during the week and working the weekends* and taking over my life.  I had developed constantly being short with my family because they were always bothering me(yes, bothering was the attitude I had developed)when I needed to be working.  The work wasn’t going to do itself after all…  The icing on the cake is that this supervisor was leaving work often for her own children.  That one still stumps me…

About a month before this conversation, it was Mother’s Day, and I remember it like it was yesterday.  My house was a disaster and I was trying to get my daughter to take a nap so I could get back to work-hopefully it would be a long nap, my fingers were crossed.  Then, something snapped in me, why was I trying to get my daughter to sleep just so I could work?  Was work becoming worth more than missing out on my daughter’s life just so I could crunch some numbers? NO, it was not.

Change Needed to Happen

I had to start looking for a new job, and I was lucky-like an answer to a prayer-a new job presented itself fast.  It was time to put in my notice, and  I told my supervisors I just wasn’t going to put my family second anymore, and they were all very supportive of it…well, except that one.  She was different…you know the type where they tell you that you do everything wrong, but then pet you on the head and tell you it is ok because they still love you?  Yeah, that was her.

After that conversation with her, the one where I had to give my family up, I knew my life had to be different.  I wasn’t going to sacrifice my family for a job anymore.  My job will not be there to take care of me when I am old, but hopefully, my kids will be.  It is important to me that my kids grow up knowing the benefits of hard work, but I don’t want them to feel second either.


Yes, I know some people do this all the time.

As in, they work hard to provide for their family-they do not have a choice.  I do not have a problem with that, and I think it is amazing that people are willing to work so hard to provide for their families!! (These people do not get enough credit)   The difference is that I think these families hope this hard work is only temporary,  and the hard work will hopefully pay off.

I did it, but it wasn’t easy.

I did change jobs, and luckily fast-and it was incredibly difficult. Leaving something I was so used to(even if it wasn’t healthy for my family and me), leaving people I loved working with and changing careers entirely was very scary.  It was incredibly difficult to adjust to at first-I didn’t know what to do with this “free” time and it drove me crazy! The challenge I had to get through was engaging with my family again-which I am still learning.

Now, I have a great job where I have really learned to appreciate the little things.  I sleep at night since I do not have the added stress of things that are out of my control.  The best part is,  I  do not cry because I have to go to work or because I have to miss work to take care of my sick child.

Where will you or have you drawn the line with work?  What goals and values do you have that are not willing to sacrifice for your family or yourself?

~Jessi

* I know that this is a typical week for some people, but it did not work for my family.

Things I Do To Make My Week Go More Smoothly

Ugh, Monday…Monday. (Are you singing with me?) or, should I say, hello Smonday

Mondays are typically rough even though I like where I work.  On the weekends, I get up within an hour of when I normally do, I think because I “have to” get up is why I despise it so much.  I would consider my self an early riser, except during the work week-during the work week I am not an earlier riser. Then when I finally get up and going, the week is go-go-go until the weekend comes.  The weekend is go-go-go on fast-forward, and don’t blink!

I have started trying to get some patterns down to make my week not as crazy(is there such a thing?).  I find if I can really prep for the week, I can start the week out a little calmer and not feeling so far behind.  Doing these small things have helped me feel like I have not had a such a successful Monday, even though, HEY, it’s Monday.

When I read around on the internet, I will see articles about how you should break up your cleaning during the week.  I have to disagree with this.  maybe I disagree because my house is smaller than the “average” sized house.  (On a side note, it is twice the size I used to live in-I think it is like 1,500-1,600 sq ft, so I am moving up in the world…)

I also do several other things that maybe would help you feel like you are starting off the week right:

  • Every Sunday I vacuum, sweep my floors, mop the floors, clean the toilets and showers. It takes me MAYBE 2 hours

    • I personally feel better about my week when my house is a little more put “together” during the beginning of the week.  I then just address chores around the house on an “as needed” basis during the week.
    • If you have large cleaning chores around the house you would like to do, break it into groups and do one group a weekend.  For example, I had Easter at my house this year and wanted to deep clean my house before hand.  I started with the bedrooms and least used bathrooms. I saved the rooms I know we use the most for last.
    • Helpful Hint: Have your kids chip in with age appropriate chores!  My daughter sweeps and cleans her counter top in the bathroom
  • Do most of your laundry towards the end of your weekend

    • My hampers are not full right away on Tuesday.  If I really need to do a load of laundry, I do not need to do it
      towards the end of the week, as I feel like I normally have more energy as the week draws to an end.

    • Helpful Hint: If your kids are old enough to fold/hang their pants, shirts or socks, let them!  It is a good life skill and it is a great way to help you out!  My daughter actually finds is to be fun…

 

  • On Sunday afternoon, get ready for your Monday morning

    • I get water bottles and my coffee cup ready to go.  If I have to pack lunches, I get them done.  This prevents a Sunday night rush!
    • Helpful Hint: Have your kids pick out their outfits for the week or even the next day.  Heck, if you want to be really proactive, pick out 5 outfits for yourself!
  • Recap with your significant other and/or children what you each have going on during the week

    • Look at the calendar and just take a moment to make sure everyone is in the loop of what is going on during the week.  This can help(but not prevent) someone from forgetting. If also can help communication in the household in general-and hey, whats wrong with that?

 

 

I challenge you to incorporate one or two of these things into your weekend to help with your week!

~Jessi