Food Prep For A Healthy, Happy Week

Meal planning, Meal prepping, healthy eating tips

Managing a full time job, travel, home and family, our website, community outreach, church, fitness, and finding time for our hobbies means we are all about productivity around here. One of the biggest pieces of this productivity is food prep and meal planning. This is key for managing a busy schedule, staying in budget and making healthy choices. KEY!

Food prep, freezer meals, meal plan

 

Seriously. People make fun of me a little because I could talk about once a month cooking, crockpot and/or freezer meals for days and somehow end up finding a way to bring them up in any conversation. Haha!

Friend: So I was wondering how to do gel liner but I think it will take too much time in the morning

Me: Oh no, it’s super easy and there are so many ways you can use it. Plus the staying power is amazing. It’s very quick once you learn it.

Friend: Well I just don’t have the extra time to learn.

Me: Oh, well if you just meal prep on Sunday it only takes an hour freeing up HOURS during the week that you can use to learn all sorts of new techniques.

Yep. See how I just slipped that in there? Too bad none of the MLMs out there are for meal prepping. 😉 haha!

If the thought of prepping food ahead of time overwhelms you, start small. You can ease into food prep by simply washing and chopping a few fruits and vegetables and hard boiled eggs to snack on. As it becomes more of a habit, try throwing some chicken or steak or both on the grill to eat throughout the week, cooking up a batch of brown rice or quinoa and making a big pot of soup or a casserole.

Food prep, freezer meals, meal plan

 

 

In the Make Over Your Evenings course Crystal even brings up food prep! Reaffirming my testimony of it’s greatness.  You can read more about the program in our post here. So if you want to learn how to food prep but are feeling overwhelmed, here are 6 simple tips for beginners to help you get started.

Food Prep: 6 Simple Tips


  • Start with a plan.
    • Make a list of everything you want to prep for the week. Use your weekly menu if you have one or decide on basic staples that can be used in a variety of meals (like meat, beans, grains etc).
  • Multi-task.
    • The best way to ensure you get the most out of your allotted food prep time is to make sure you’re doing multiple things at once. You could, theoretically, have something in the crockpot, something in the oven, a couple things on the stove and be chopping vegetables on the counter all at once.  This is where your list comes in handy! Think long term and start crockpot and oven items first. Since baking typically takes the longest, I always make sure I have something on-deck, ready to go into the oven when the previous thing comes out. Then I fill in the remaining time by working on the items on the stove, counter, etc.
  • Keep it simple.
    • Most leftovers are only safe in the fridge for 3-4 days, so don’t prep more food than you and your family can finish by Thursday if you’re doing your prep on Sundays. Remember that if you reach Tuesday or Wednesday and realize you have too much food you can always freeze a few things.
  • Double your regular recipes.
    • If you’re making something like soup, burgers or casserole, consider doubling the recipe and putting half in the freezer for later. It won’t be much extra work for you and it’s an easy way to make sure you have food on hand for busy weeks when you don’t have time to food prep.
  • Choose good tools!
    • Crockpots, rice cookers, steamers, high-quality blenders, and pressure cookers are your best friends. Get a few different cheap cutting boards and a really sharp knife or two. Using good tools will make things more efficient and less brain work.
  • Target your trouble times.
    • Think about what time of the day you struggle most with healthy eating. Do you have a tough time eating breakfast but usually do fairly well with dinner? Focus your prep time on making a few breakfast options ahead of time – I make breakfast muffins and sandwiches for my husband every 2-3 weeks and store some of them in Ziploc bags in the fridge and freezer so he can grab one on his way out the door. If you always make time for breakfast but find yourself snacking on crap in the middle of the day focus your prep on healthy snack options. Our go-to snacks include sliced apples with almond butter, quinoa bars, hard boiled eggs and baby bells. Don’t feel like you have to prep for every single meal of the day. Start with your trouble spots and then expand from there as you get more skilled and effective and food prep.

Remember that you don’t always have to prep entire meals. Look at your meal plan and prep some of the common denominators in various meals. Do several of the recipes you’re making this week include chicken? Why not make a rotisserie-style chicken in the crockpot?

Food prep, freezer meals, meal plan

When you have cooked quinoa, fish, and chicken in the fridge, along with some pre-washed and chopped fruits and veggies it suddenly becomes very easy to throw together some burrito bowls or make a big yummy salad! You could have dinner on the table in under 10 minutes with very little effort. Food prep, freezer meals, meal plan

Each weekend, I make it a goal to head to the kitchen and do some Saturday or Sunday Food Prep. I am usually able to do an entire month of breakfast and dinner in a little over an hour! I am then able to just do snacks and any extra food prep needed based on our meal plan for that week.

This system has not only helped us stay in our budget, save time AND eat healthy, but because it takes the guess work out and has freed up our schedule, meal time is enjoyable and cooking is fun. My kids LOVE to help with meal prep and it is a fun scheduled family time of the week.

We are so passionate about this because what we eat has such a huge effect on our skin and overall health. So make sure to subscribe! We will be talking about some snack tips, menu ideas, freezer recipes, etc. coming up soon! What are your best tips or what would you love to see us cover in this area?

 

XOXO~ M&D

Transform Your Wardrobe | Organization

Transform your home, wardrobe organization

Organization is my love language. Seriously. Every part of it. Am I the only one who gets excited perusing The Container Store? Or Ikea with their small space functionality? Seriously. It’s better than chocolate!

Organization, transform your homeI am not alone in this and because of that, there has been oodles of research going into organization. This research has  found that when your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment.

The clutter competes for your attention in the same way your toddler might stand next to you repeating, “mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy …” (anyone else ever been there)? Even though you might be able to focus a little, you’re still aware that a screaming toddler is also vying for your attention. The annoyance also wears down your mental resources and you’re more likely to become frustrated.

 

Organization Science

Back in 2010, the researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute published the results of a study where they used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and other physiological measurement tools to map the brain’s responses to organized and disorganized stimuli and to monitor task performance. The conclusions were strong — if you want to focus to the best of your ability and process information as effectively as possible, you need to clear the clutter from your home and work environment. This research shows that you will be less irritable, more productive, distracted less often, and able to process information better with an uncluttered and organized home and office.

Icon-FridgeFreezerIf you follow along with us on social media you know we are in the home buying/building season of life here on the blog! Deynece and her husband just closed on their home and we were given our estimated close date for the home we are building! Hooray!

Organization only works if it is functional so new homes make it necessary to re-evaluate your systems. Plus, one of the biggest pieces of advice I can offer after multiple cross country moves, is to prepare by purging what you can. It is certainly obnoxious to spend time, money, and space to move a box of crap. One that as you unpack it realize why did I bring this? We thought this would be the perfect time to re-organize our homes and lives and share the journey with you all.

Where To Begin

In the course Make Over Your Evenings, she urges you to dress for the day you want. This is not a new concept and there is research that suggests there is a strong link between wardrobe and emotional state. Combine this impact with the fact that this is an easy area to take control of so we are going to start with our wardrobe.

What if there were a FOOLPROOF way to declutter and organize your clothes? What if, as an amazing bonus, you were left with a wardrobe filled with only things that you LOVE? There is a way. It’s a new program, the Transform Your Home, Transform Your Life Wardrobe Bundle. It teaches you a simple, extremely effective and long-lasting technique for creating the wardrobe of your dreams.

Organization, transform your home

Transform Your Home, Transform Your Wardrobe

TYHTYL Course Bundle Image 2

 

With simple daily tasks (that take only 15 minutes ), you’ll totally make over your closet in 21 days or less. Even the busiest person can complete this program and feel awesome when they are done.

If you want to be able to tell at a glance exactly what is in your drawers! If you want to re-discover those hidden gems smashed at the back of your closet!

Don’t wait. Because for today and tomorrow only (May 25th and 26th, 2016),  The Transform Your Home, Transform Your Life Wardrobe Bundle is on sale, but only for special people with the coupon code. Special people like our readers 🙂

Just use the code “transform16” at checkout for 20% off your purchase. Closet nirvana awaits! Go find out everything that is included in this amazing program! Click here for all the details!

We can’t wait to get to more organizing! What areas do you love to organize? What areas do you dread to organize? Suggestions for our next organization project?

XOXO~ M&D

Red, White, & Blue! Perfect Memorial Day & 4th Of July Fashion

RED, WHITE & BLUE Fashion

**This post contains affiliate links and we will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through our links. 

Red, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of JulyCan you believe Memorial Day is a week away? Before we know it, it will be the 4th of July! And MAN are there some cute red, white & blue pieces out there this year! It may seem a little early to worry about 4th of July Fashion but the 4th also happens to be my hubby’s birthday so I have already started party planning. Naturally, along with party planning, I have been looking for clothes to wear for said party. Priorities right? 😉

I was so excited to find out about an awesome sale of up  to 40% off at ModCloth!

So after searching all thing Red, White, & Blue I CAN NOT decide what to wear. So I am turning to my online friends to find out what you think I should wear! Please help! 🙂

 

Here are the things I am loving! Anything popping out at you too?

Memorial Day & 4th of July Fashion

Red, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of July

Red, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of July

Red, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of July

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of JulyRed, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of JulyRed, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of July

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of JulyRed, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of JulyRed, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of July

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of JulyRed, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of JulyRed, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of July

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of July FashionRed, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of July FashionRed, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of July Fashion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of July FashionRed, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of July FashionRed, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of July Fashion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of July Fashion

Red, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of July Fashion

Red, White & Blue Fashion, Memorial Day, 4th of July Fashion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So it is definitely “Red, white, & ‘WOOHOO’ — with this Memorial Day sale at ModCloth! Not only does this sale take care of your Memorial Day plans but it also has you covered for 4th of July Fashion!

Up to 40% off ModCloth sale items
Start: Monday 5/23 @ 9am EST
End: Tuesday 5/31 @ 9 am EST http://www.modcloth.com/shop/sale

This is just a round up of items I am loving, check them out and see if there is anything you love and PLEASE let me know what you think would be perfect for 4th of July fashion and birthday party #whattowear! 🙂

XOXO~ M&D

 

P.S. We are beginning pre-sale for our Custom Skin Care Package! You can sign-up to be notified when it launches!

BE Collection | Empowering Fashion

Be Inspired Free Wall Art

 

While I was pregnant with my baby toddler (yikes, where did the time go) I read ALL the baby books. I am a researcher by nature so it was my “project” for 10 months. One well-known and probably well-meaning book urged the mom-to-be to find a quiet place each day and sit and dream about your babies future for 15 minutes or so. Think about all your hopes and dreams for this child’s future, where they will go in life, what they will accomplish, what they will be like, what they will like to do, what they will be when they grow up.

As well-meaning as this exercise probably was meant, I had a BIG problem with it. I think that is exactly the thinking that leads to a lot of heartache raising children. Because it isn’t your hopes and dreams that are important with this new life- it is THEIR hopes and dreams. THEIR life to live.

Be InspiredThat being said, it caused a lot of introspection on my part. What ARE the hopes I have? The hopes I have for my children’s future are based on the unconditional love that I feel. Do I hope they are smart? Sure, but if they aren’t, that’s okay too. Do I hope they are active? Sure, we are an active family, but if they aren’t? That’s okay. Do I hope they are funny? Or ambitious? Or hard working? Or love to learn? Yes! But as I really thought about it, I quickly eliminated some typical hopes and dreams. I hope they find something they love to do, but they don’t need to pursue post grad school like their parents.

Most importantly I hope they are happy and Cinderella’s mother had the ticket when she said “have courage and be kind”.  That little phrase sums up the hopes and dreams I have for my children, the rest they can fill in the blanks.

This little phrase from Cinderella reminds me of the words on the wall in Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta. They were based on a work of writing originally published by Kent Keith.

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. 
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. 
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. 
Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. 
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. 
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. 
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. 
It was never between you and them anyway.

“Have courage and be kind”… When that movie came out, the whole thing really resonated with me. Sure I loved the magic and the ball gowns but it had so much more.

Be_Kind_large“Have courage and be kind”… These words seem to be the essence of what we love about Cinderella. Despite the way she is treated, she loves anyway. Despite the attempts by her stepmother and stepsisters to ruin her joy, she continues to find joy anyway. Her best is never good enough, but she gives it anyway.

This is a story about having the courage to overcome obstacles while still maintaining a true sense of self, innocence, and goodness within, without letting the darkness build walls within the heart. I believe what has stood the test of time in the story of Cinderella, and why it continues to attract audiences, is the idea that kindness conquers meanness and good wins out over evil. And, to go even deeper, maybe what speaks to the hearts of attendees is that there is an invitation waiting for all of us: inviting us to be authentically who we are called to be— beautiful examples of heroism, love, and kindness.

Cinderella teaches us to have courage and be kind.  We shouldn’t do those things for the purpose of having people notice us, but rather because those are the things that make our humanity beautiful. Those are the things that draw people into goodness. At the end of the movie, we learn that the greatest risk is “to be seen as we truly are,” and Cinderella asks the handsome prince who has gone door to door in search for her, “Will you take me as I am?”

These words inspire me so much that I created some wall art to hang at my makeup table, which we posted about here. I hung it next to my mirror because more importantly than the makeup I put on my face, is carrying that message in my heart.

Blank makeup table img1

 

You can download your free printable below! We hope it inspires you to “Have Courage & Be Kind”

Courage 1

Courage 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our friends at Cents Of Style have a beautiful “BE Series” and today it is HALF OFF!!! w/code BEYOU this includes FREE shipping!

Deynece wore her “Be Brave” shirt to the Abolitionist premiere, because that embodies the work they are doing!

Be Brave

 

Fashion Friday Story – Be Series Collection for 50% Off + FREE SHIPPING w/code BEYOU.

Collage-Cents-of-Style_02

 

These pieces are so easy to wear and when you wear them you not only wear it for yourself, but you never know who will be watching and that message may speak to them.

 

HatCollage-Cents-of-Style

 

Fashion Friday Story – Be Series Collection for 50% Off + FREE SHIPPING w/code BEYOU

So BE Inspired! Like Cinderella, we too can impact generations to come as we let the world be drawn into goodness through our courage and kindness. Doing so may cause us pain, we aren’t guaranteed the prince, and no one may even notice our generous actions, but like the poem written on Mother Teresa’s wall said, “In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.”

We may never get back what we give in goodness, but let us have courage and be kind—anyway!

What words inspire you? We would love to hear! Have a beautiful and inspired weekend!

XOXO~ M&D

 

 

 

 

Better Nights For Better Days

A few weeks ago, I bought the Make Over Your Evenings Course from Crystal Paine. If you haven’t heard of her she is the author of several best-selling books including: 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, the Money-Making Mom and more.

She also has a course, Make Over Your Mornings, I had heard rave reviews about. So when she launched her new program I knew it was the time for me to try it out and see what all the buzz is about.

Since April 21st I have been hooked!!

Crystal set the program up so that it is broken down into 15 minutes increments. Giving you things to reflect on and implement over the course of the 14 day program. Some of the things to expect from the course are learning how to:

  • Establish a Realistic Evening Routine that works — and that sets you up for amazing success!
  • Design a Prioritized To Do List for each day — one that you’re actually excited to wake up and tackle!
  • Create a Best Stuff List of the most important activities and commitments you should be invested your time, life, and energy into right now. 
  • Eliminate calendar conflicts once and for all — and how to do so without guilt or frustration. 
  • Nourish your body, nurture your soul, and no longer put your health on the back burner — even in the middle of a busy and full life. 
  • Assemble a wardrobe of simple outfits you love and that make you feel great!
  • Develop a contagious, positive attitude — so you can experience and express more joy in your everyday life.
  • And more…

 

I am a pretty goal oriented, motivated, well-scheduled (although usually probably a little over-scheduled) person so I was skeptical if this was going to work for me the way I knew it worked for others. But it did.

The first evening I actually ended up watching the first three videos. I then sat down and read through several chapters of the work book and basically “brain-dumped” everything I was thinking.

Day 1. What is your why?

I then had my husband do the first three days and then we sat down together and talked about our “whys”. It was such a great way to check in, mid-year from our family goal setting we do at the beginning of each year. To align our personal whys and the why of our family.

Why are we hustling (this year especially)? Why is our family important? Why am I taking this course?! Those were just a few things we were able to really dig down deep and talk about.

Crystal urges us to write down our “why” and display it in a prominent place. I created this printable you can download to display yours too!

My Why Printable

As much as I loved this reflection it wasn’t until I finished the course that the power of some of the first few exercises really sunk in. So guess what I did? I started over. I love that it is self paced and I have it forever. If you have regular family meetings or family nights, this course will give you SO many nights of great discussion.

I have been able to listen to the quick videos and read through my workbook as well as the amazing extra resources she gives while driving in my car, working out at the gym, waiting in line for car-pool, etc.

Defining your why is just the first part and over the next couple of weeks I am going to be touching on a few of the things that have made such a huge difference in my day and in our family. Some of these were things we have done in the past or do at times, but beginning with the end in mind and doing them all together and with a purpose has made all the difference.

Our goal is more joy, more quality time and more fulfillment. More time for connection and passions. More peace. Escaping that cycle of exhaustion or guilt from the to-do list.

This course is not about following a one-size-fits-all system (because Crystal recognizes every woman and family is different!). Instead, it’s about creating an evening that is in line with your life, your strengths, your family’s needs, and your unique situation and that is why you begin with YOUR why. Your ideal.

Begin with YOUR END in mind.

One of the things I love is that I see the power this course has in any woman’s life. Whether you’re working, stay at home, married, single, have kids or not. This would fit into the many seasons of life I have experienced and that is why I am so excited to share it with everyone I know.

The things I will post about in more detail include:

  • Creating a prioritized To-Do list
  • Sleep
  • Plan to Dress for the Day You Want to Have
  • Prep for a Successful Day
  • Calendar Conflicts
  • Character Flaws

These are just a few of the pieces that make up the program but I am excited to share what is working for us right now. Make sure you subscribe so that you can follow along as we discuss these things in more detail. Or even better, if you sign up for the course I would love to find out what you have gotten out of it!!

As Crystal says in the course “Remember, a successful day begins the night before!”

 

XOXO~ M&D


P.S. If you are still sitting on the fence right now wondering whether or not you should take the plunge and buy the Make Over Your Evenings Course, here’s why you should: it’s a risk-free purchase.

That’s right! There’s a 100% money-back guarantee on it for up to a 15 days after you purchase it! So if you purchase it and then decide it’s not as helpful as you’d hoped or that it’s not worth the price you paid, you can get a full refund — no questions asked.