Clean

Save Money, Eat Better

We’ve all seen the meal prep plans where you prep a bunch of meals, throw it in a freezer bag, put it in the Crockpot and its an easy dinner. Well I’ve looked at quite a few, saved them on my Pintrest, but have been too lazy to do them. Well for those readers who don’t know I had a brain aneurysm about 5 years ago. Complications have landed me back in the hospital several times. So with my physical limitations we, that is my husband and I moved into my mom’s house. After my dad passed, my brothers took turns living there. They have both moved on and are starting families of their own. So we decided that with moms physical limitations and mine it would make a good compromise and save us both some money.

Up to now she does the majority of the cooking since I can not. However, with cataract surgery looming in the immediate future, we have to figure out an easy way to cook meals. She will not be able to bend over or lift more than 10 pounds.

My husband hates being in the kitchen, he’ll help me cook but, he must have step by step instructions and you can’t assume anything. He cannot boil water without the microwave. My sister-in-law now lives across the street and has offered to help out but, they have two small children at home and my brother works out-of-town for weeks at a time.

So an alternative is to try freezer to crockpot meal prep. It’s that or takeout and frankly its too expensive and very unhealthy. So here’s what happened…

After looking at various pins on the subject we decided to do a combination of our favorites and try very few we’ve never had. This required some adoptions of our normal favorite recipes. At the end of 2 days we have about 30 dinners in the freezer, ready to go. So here are the tried and true recipes we used.

Jensperspectiveblog.com

1 Month of Dinner Ready to go. Cannot believe we didn’t try this one sooner.

2 Meat loaves                           Chili                                                  Chicken Caprese

Orange Chicken                       White Chicken Chili                        2 Irish Skillet

Beef Stew                                 2  Moms Homemade Pizza             2 Spaghetti

Pepper Steak                           Beef tips with Mushrooms              Pot Roast with vegetables

Mongolian Beef Broccoli      Greek Turkey Burgers                      Pork Loin Roast

2  Lasagna                                 Beef Stroganoff

 

Most are ready for a full day in the Crockpot. Some like the Ranch or Korean pork chops, Shrimp Scampi, Bratwurst, Liver and onions, Creamy Tuscan Salmon do not translate well to the freezer and are very easy prep and time to make day you want to enjoy. If you only want freezer to table just skip those. (I included them because they are favorites.) We took our time and since this was first time through. We spent time deciding what to make, how much and grocery list and shopping. With the hard work done, all you have to do is enjoy.

If you have a recipe we should add to our list we are open to new ideas to answer the age old question of “What’s for Dinner”. I hope this makes cooking easier and you get to enjoy the extra time not spent in the kitchen. By the way Mom’s surgery went well with no complications. We had so much fun doing it and seeing the valuable time it saves it will be happening more often in our home. So when you are tired after a busy day this is quick, healthier for your family and economical. A home cooked meal beats a take out burger and fries etc… anytime.

One last note…. My husband and I are both Diabetic so the recipes have been talored for special dietary meals and we must be doing something right since neither of us require drastic medical for the condition. Probably to many burgers and fries that put us here, but that’s my perspective.

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Managing Your Year

Facing the rest of the year ahead.

If you’re like me we look at the year ahead and try to put habits in place that will make it easier to handle. My Pintrest boards are getting lots of added ideas. Every thing from recipes to holiday ideas, and don’t forget to update the calendars. I take this time out to both show myself some love, and get organized. Anyone who knows me has seen me go a little OCD when being organized. I try to start with the basics. Holidays, Anniversarys, home and garden, Birthdays and finance, parties, and other projects throuout the year. I start with the basics.

My planner/engagement/brain for the year. I like a full desk size book. Why paper you ask? In the digital world we live in things like smartphone, tablets, smart tv, and even the laptop & desktop give us access to technology at our fingertips. Paper and pen are still my go to medium. I will probably add it to my digital devices, but for my main list I prefer paper. It’s where I start from. If you’ve ever tried updating or creating a note when you were fast asleep you’ll know why I still keep my pen and paper.

I enjoy daily/weekly/monthly views in my planner. It helps me stay on track with both what I need to do today as well as looking ahead in the week or month. There are a lot of free pages available that can be printed however knowing myself, I would probably take a page out and loose it as I become involved in what ever project I’m currently working on. The last several years I’ve turned to Cat Naps.

It is wire bound so I can leave it open atop my desk for quick daily checkins. I have important dates, appointments, moon cycle, holidays, and contact info that I transfer yearly into everyone. I usually purge or make changes as I go. I know your reading this and saying I have all that in my phone. I do too, but the tangible works better to help me stay on track.

As the bills arrive by mail I enter the due dates, and mail by dates. Jot gift ideas as I come across them by person. I often hear people say I wish I had this or that, if appropriate I make a note of it and the name. As my husband and I do not have 9 to 5s it helps track both income and expenses.

My digital lifesaver is a financial program I read about in a top app review… from

I love it!!! There are lots of competition in this area, probably including your regular bank.

Prism is a safe and secure way to not only keep up with but pay my bills as well. “Prism is the easy personal finance app for managing and paying bills. • “Love, love, love this app! For those of you stranded by Mint Bills…..This IS your life preserver ..”

It gives reminders, schedules payments, income and current balances of both bank accounts and credit cards. It saves me a great deal of time, stamps, and energy. Unlike some I don’t have to go between apps to get all the info I need. it does take some time for initial setup but so worth it! Even locks the info on your phone if you left it up. Keeps prying eyes out of your personal information yet with a pin code it can easily be synced to all your devices.

With these two it’s easy to control the chaos in my world. Well time to finish this up because according to my handy book it says I have more to do before hubby gets home from his job. Weeding recipes for collection cookbook to be ready for Mothers Day, Plan Easter Family Gathering, and take some free time to catch up on my to be read pile of books. What do you do to stay on track in your busy life?? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Brrrr….  “Baby it’s Cold Outside”.

Turn on the volume and enjoy.


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Okay I know most of the country, are watching the weather maps and hating Florida. While we are not buried under several feet of snow, it’s too cold for us.

    Not to disappoint or irritate anyone, I do not live where we have subzero temps with bitting wind chill. We get our fair share of cooler weather. Last week our high was only in the 40’s. What gets us is the humidity down here. In summer the moisture in the air guarantees afternoon showers with only 20% precipitation. It weighs heavily on everything during our hot and humid months. Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Texas… you all get the same conditions. 

    What makes those frigid lows so bad here? We have no supplies nor experience with the snow and ice. Natives like me who were born here have very seldom even see it (unless on holiday somewhere north) or have moved here from cold climates. My hubby hails from Wisconsin,  and we have other family there and in Missouri.  He refuses to drive even with all his experience doing so.

    It’s not the sleet, snow, ice, or even blizzard conditions that keep us off the roads unless absolutely necessary. No my friends he will not drive with my fellow southerners who cannot drive in it.  “I freely admit this”.  We have no chains, snow tires, and the most salt we see is on the rim of a Margarita glass.

    This winter has been an interesting season so I thought with snow and ice reaching as far south as Tampa it would be a good time to remind ourselves of cold weather preperations since it’s not over yet.

    For most of us it’s not very different from hurricane prep. Batteries, water, food, prescriptions, and extra warm blankets are just a few.

    Hurricanes – What you need to know

    • Take measures to protect people, property, plants, and pets.
    • Store some extra gallons of water in case of frozen or burst pipes.
    • Have cold weather attire. 60% of body heat is lost from the top of your head. Warm knitted hats are helpful, and those that block wind can be added if needed outside.
    • I love my Isotoner gloves! The soft inner layer keeps hands toasty warm while the leather outer layer blocks both the wind and wet, your hands may come into contact with.
    • If your hat doesn’t cover them you may want to consider ear muffs. Since I have grown my hair long again I generally leave it down to help.
    • Invest in a warm outside coat. Wool pea coats ( I got mine at JCPENNEY) still one of the best and as most are lined they are very effective. I prefer mine in a longer trench length for days I may wear a long skirt.

      New Years Eve

    • Wrap outside or exposed pipes in fabric or foam. If you have something like a Dollar Store pool noodle,  cut for length and secure with zip tie. Protection that will hold up all year long.
    • Move potted plants inside or cover with plastic sheeting, to create green house warmth around the plants.
    • Bring animals indoors. If it’s too cold for you it’s too cold for them.
    • Make sure if you cannot bring animals indoors that they have heated shelter from the weather, and plenty of food and water.
    • Great story with happy ending for caring for community cats.

      Www.alleycatadvocates.org

    As for me well I just got a notice that the temps are going back into freezing this weekend.  I’m also goning to order some more Florida Sunshine, to go with the hearty recipes inspired by the cold.  We  are out of our stash we got for Christmas.  With colds and flu’s on the rise the citrus will help our systems ward them off.   Stay warm my friends.  How do you stay warm this winter?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments below or drop us an  email at.   jensperspective71@yahoo.com 

    Looking Forward

    New Year, New Hopes

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    365 New Days, 365 New Chances

    As we look forward to the new year, many of us are planning changes in our lives. New Years Resolution are the theme of the day. I am resolving to take better care of my self. Diet, weight loss and more exercise will go toward better health. I’m also going to obsess over organization. I’m following a strict schedule for blog and writing. I am also embarking on rigid physical therapy to regain my mobility.

    This will keep me very busy especially when combined with household redesign and organizing. Above all I want a lot less trips to the hospital. I have found lots of tips and tricks and hopefully great suggestions to stay on track. I’m starting with basic rules when setting goals.

    • Make the goal acheivable. Unattainable or very hard roads to successfully completing often lead to failure.
    • Break larger goals into smaller parts. It will make them more achievable and provide a sense of wellbeing when completed.
    • Smaller completed goals encourage embarking on the next. Just like children that sense of accomplishment spurs us to keep going.
    • Celebrate Victories even the small ones add up to progress. Rewarding your Victories reinforces your resolve to complete even more.
    • Make the reward something you really want. Loss of a few pounds can be rewarded with a favorite dessert, or a glass of wine. Bigger victories need bigger rewards. So keep that in mind when choosing both the goal and reward.

    Most of all make it fun. This along with reward upon completion will keep me on track the whole year through. So as we raise our glass of Champagne to toast the arrival of 2018, have your goals, defined and scheduled with rewards defined to spur us to finish.

    Video clips from Sex and the City Movie (I do not own any of the music, video, or titles. I make no profit from these items and all belong to thier respective owners.)
    Here’s to the fun and accomplishments to be had. What are you striving to achieve in 2018?

    More like this?

    New Year, New Adventures

    New year, new you?

    Hurricanes!  What you need to know.

    Most media forget to tell people that you have to be prepared to take care of yourself and family without government help for at least three days after a major hurricane.  I grew up in Florida so we are very accustomed to hurricanes every summer.  First off the media likes to fuel hystaria!  Most category 1 and 2 should only concern low lunging areas and people who live in manufactured homes.  Unless you are hit by spinoff tornado, our regular storms are worse than these storms.  At 3, 4, and 5 long term locals start paying attention to local weather stations.  National new services are not able to give details and help to locals especially our smaller towns.  A great resource is a place called crownweather.com oddly enough they hail from Maine.  With a little preparation they are easy to deal with and you can reduce stress with hurricane party.  I’ve prepared an emergency list that you can print for easy planning to keep your family safe.  Three to five days is the minimum you should be able to survive on your own.

      It will take agencies like FEMA, or Red Cross to get into the area to help provide things like ice, water, and MRE’s, or medical help.     You may choose as we have after touring a medically needy shelter to take advantage of the electricity guarantee, or with adequate preparation we stayin home.  Our home generator and ample supplies made taking care of our selves the better choice.  My hubby is diabetic and cannot wait 3 hours for a bologna sandwich. We weathered Ivan at home quite comfortably.  The shelter had several difficulties procuring supplies. 

     Remember these must be multiplied for all family members sheltering with you.  Pets, children and the elderly have more specialized needs. For children make it a camping trip.  Add fun camping supplies to keep children occupied.  Camp songs and games keep little ones happy and on fun adventure until normalcy returns.          
    Poncho with hood for rain
    Emergency survival sleeping bag
    Swiss Army knife (with can opener)
    FM radio w/Batteries
    Pen and paper for notes
    60 feet Nylon Rope
    Pliers~ to turn off utilities
    Duck tape to shelter in place
    Dust mask (N95)
    Leather palm working gloves
    Rolls of toiletpaper paper in Ziploc bag
    Hygiene kit-tooth brush paste, wet wipes & femine items
    Mini hand sanitizer
    Garbage bags and ties for sanitation
    Complete First Aid kit with Prescription medication for all. You need emergency supply to last 1 week without refill.
    Shovel – to dig sanitation holes
    Several flashlights with extra batteries  I also add several lanterns both battery and oil to illuminate lager areas.  Candles, lighters and matches serve well in dinning room and living room to provide light for meals after dark or old fashion board games.  
    24 hour light stick
    Waterproof matches
    Food hard-working high in calories and don’t need to be cooked
    Backpacks if needed to move or carry supplies
    Solar charger for electronics
    Generator with reserve fuel
    Manual charger bank for cell phone
    Car charger plugin for phones
    Car converter to plug in laptops or other small appliances
    1 gallon water per person per day
    Clothing for 3 – 5 days per person both hot and cold

                          I. Important documents (I keep ours in 3 ring binder)  contains birth certificates, marriage license, copies of driver licenses, and social security cards on all.   Insurance documents both policy and deeds.  Bank account information, Usernames and passwords, list of credit cards, and numbers.  Account numbers for all utilities and services. Tax returns, and anything else I would find important if starting over again.  Don’t go crazy but, I keep all in one binder so if fire or flood I can grab it and go.  I try to update several times throughout the year. Irreplaceable family photo’s should have a book of their own…consider making scans stored on non destructible DVD Rom disks.
    Florida in particular the gulf coast has 1 more essential hurricane party must have…

    Make mine a double!

    Plan early, be prepared and stay safe friends and enjoy your summer!

    Ready, Set,Go!!!…

    Ok, kids are headed back to the classroom, school shopping done! Back to the world of conversing with people you can actually see, without bending double.

    Take a deep breath, a mini spa stay and start getting ready for the back/busy half of the year. Work, kids school projects, meetings, sleep overs, and Holiday traditions on the horizon.

    Me, I love fall!! Temperature drops, colorful falling leaves, Labor Day, Football Season, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and if you were wondering what people do when it’s too cold outside and the internet is down you should see the list of Birthdays in my family. Especially if they live north of the Mason Dixon Line (assuming you can find it)! So here’s to hot chocolate, sweater weather, cute boots and the extra caffeine I claim is needed to spread the love during the hectic seasons just around the corner.

    So, my posts have been very erratic lately as my Charlie kitty has been sick, I’ve been down with minor health issues. Have you ever tried giving both oral antibiotics and eye drops to a cat? I’m trying to put together, a very personal family gift for Christmas, along with other diy for Birthdays, and Holidays to come. I find early preparation and organization, let me spread cheer and not be overwhelmed. This year has also added intense physical therapy as I regain my ability to walk.

    So I’m asking for some help. I want to create a one of a kind cookbook. I’ll be chiding our top family favorites, traditions, and some new to try. I want to include both the memories they invoke like Mom’s Pizza and pictures if available. So what makes the top of the list in your family? Help me choose from the recipes I post. Have you tried it? What are your thoughts? Do you have a Holliday tradition that you love to share? I strive for the feelings of love that warm even the coldest months of the year. Like my childhood memories filled with hugs, more food than is possible to eat and extra kisses under the mistletoe in my grandparents foyer chandelier. My dad would take us on a holiday light drive since we did not put up one of our own. The only interruption, hot chocolate, from his favorite doughnut shop. My sister-in-law started the Halloween Decorations, which have bloomed into my Birthday/Halloween party.

    Don’t forget football season! Use any and every excuse to show some love and never regret giving enough!

    Happy Father’s Day

    Happy Fathers Day…. in society today that term is special.  Anybody can be a father,  but Daddy is a big job!!!  Growing up I can remember meeting my dad when he came home from work.  Blue collar all the way,  bear hugs, and tickles came with him.  He smelled of coffee, engine grease, and Brut aftershave.  He worked hard everyday, sometimes two jobs and had  very definate ideas that some find old fashioned.  For all our differences of opinion as an adult I can honestly say i’m greatful for being raised this way.  We learned the value of a dollar, manners, and respect.

    .                          Daddy’s  chase away monsters under the bed or in the closet.  He worked hard for our family and spent time with us growing up.  He took imaginary phone calls, drank tea at tea parties, and helped mom make the coolest blanket forts.  Daddy’s  are mysterious creatures and I’ll explain what I mean.  Mine was a real ‘guy’.  He didn’t do things in the kitchen unless it was a Saturday or Sunday.  He did not wear blue jeans.  Button up shirts, flannel in winter.  Dad made the waffles or pancakes. (Mom had to make the eggs and bacon… He didn’t do that).  Electronic toys are great but, I learned how I should be treated by my future husband, by watching  his example.  Mine wasn’t perfect but he was perfect for me.

    I remember having one of those moments in time where you realize how lucky you are.  At my younger brothers wedding I watched his bride dance with her father, of all my siblings I was fortunate enough to have a father daughter dance.  I miss the whit and gentle teasing.  I would meet him for breakfast, at a really early hour.  That was one of his quirks, if he had to be up extra early he thought we should too.  This sucked growing up on Saturday mornings.  Unless he was making bbq, he spent years perfecting that.

    I carry him with me everyday, as I passed on to others he lives on in my heart.  I see his example shine through when my brothers play with their children.  Even when they don’t want to admit it.  My dad lost his battle with cancer in 2011.  I vividly remember in coming to terms with his death how lucky we were to grow up in a world where more and more families fathers are absent.   I wish they had visiting hours in heaven, but until they do, Daddy I Love You.  To all the dads out there I hope you become the hero in your family.  Daddy’s help us see ourselves like this. 

    ​​

    To all the dads especially if you grew up without one and know find yourself in the role.  Spend as much time together as you can.  To my half siblings I hope you got to spend time with the same father I grew up with.  Children have no owners manuals and parents genrally do the best parenting they are able.  I hope both children and adults remember that word of wisdom mine left with me.


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