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Spring Fever?

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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.

Do You Hear What I Hear?  

We have probably heard the song “Goin to the Chapel” and “Ding, Dong , The Wedding Bells Are Gonna Chime”. It’s wedding season in Florida. The mild spring temperatures, especially in Florida, gives us the opportunity to enjoy the outdoor venues before the heat and tourists descend on our beautiful beaches. I hear they are very popular spots for weddings.

. Pensacola Beach

As a native I considered several parks and indoor/outdoor locations. A beautiful oak shaded round gazebo surrounded by historic buildings. Across the street a 650 year old church neatly kept behind a white picket fence. Whatever your dream location, I know how quickly the sunshine turns liquid here, so mine had both indoor and out.

Take a Beautiful Step back in Time

As we celebrate 14years this Tuesday, so even though it’s not always rosy, we’ve made it this far. We must be doing something right if we’re still happily together and happy 14years later. I would say our stubbornness, patience, and positive vision has served us both well over the years.

As I look back almost all our squabbles, they have stemmed from miscommunication. He speaks apples, I speak oranges our stubbornness keeps us going until we figure out where the issue is. Our patience with each other runs from infinite, to really short, yet here we are. 20 years ago I would have said some very different qualities make for a good, lasting, happy marriage.

The last five years humor, patience, fortitude, and hopefully Grace have seen us through.

. Dinner for 2

Do you cook up something special, or let him treat you to a favorite? I save new recipes for occasions other than this. I’ve done this before so no anxiety during cooking. I try to surprise him. I’ve tried several themes over the years for these special evenings. Do your hair, makeup, fragrance, and decorate and or dress according to your theme. We’ve traveled for candlelit dinners in France, picnics on the beach, or English countryside. My goal is to make it memrable. A rustic country picnic with the family, might be right, or a sultry night with Spanish flair. Lower the lights, move furniture, get creative, choose a soft music to reflect your locale and theme. Without leaving our home.

Special for 2

Did our marriage happen like a romance novel not exactly. 14years strong, is a testament to our faith, love, and humor. Even more important the ability to adapt, meet life as it comes and never let those forces tear us apart. To the man I love twice as much today as when we first fell in love, Happy Anniversary. I love you, today, tomorrow and always.

Hoppy Easter Eggs

Dust off your Easter bonnet, and get ready to put a spring in your step! For those of us in Florida spring temperatures came early again this year, so we get to put on our sunny dispositions now. All the flowers will soon bloom, and so will my allergy season. Cue my box of tissue that go every where with me. My favorite spring fun is watching the children as they help color the eggs, and search for hidden eggs to go in thier baskets. I always hoped to have a little girl just to dress for Easter. Sadly thst will not happen for us. So we live vicariously through our extended family and friends. While the advent of social media makes access to family photo’s much easier, here are several tips to help keep everyone safe.
Sadly, this fun-filled occasions must be tempered to keep our loves safe. I love Easter family photo’s!

  1. If you use a cell phone to take photos please make sure GPS/location function is turned off in the settings menu.
  2. Make your profiles private. I love social media, but after my ex-husband started spying on me, mine went to ultra private. The only people who can see anything have to be a friend first and approved by me.
  3. Tag your private photos to let people allowed know they are online. Control who can see these albums by invite only.
  4. If sharing even the aforementioned ways do not include child’s name, school, age, or other sensative info. A family member or friend knows any private info about your child. Apparently the bad guys can use this info at a school or other places to help them abduct children easier.
  5. Do not list the church you attend with your children. I know, I always want to be inclusive and have more members at my church too, alas not over social media posts, with pictures of your children. Cyber safety is both a new and scary reality in our world. Parents and extended family, and friends need to know this info to safeguard tour most vulnerable, just like locking our doors and windows, setting the alarm, or having a secret password that must be given if someone else tries to pick them up.
  6. Have fun! If you’ve taken these steps before like for school selfies, you’re all set. If not they only take five minutes to do. Relax enjoy the laughter, triumphs, and everything eggs. With the important tasks finished you can focus on coloring eggs, what to put in an Easter basket, and the menu for Easter brunch with familyfamily, the perfect egg hunt before everyone retiring for the evening. So the adults can relax and the children, go to bed dreaming of chocolate bunnies, and multi-colored peeps. Check out Spring cleaning tips, recipes, and easy decoration in our next posts!

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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.

Opt to Adopt

OK that’s the tag line of the commercial for adoption from our local shelter. As they say “if the shoe fits”. What better way to get love the whole year through. Bringing home a new best friend will reward you with love, hugs, kisses, comedy, and snuggles all year round.

Are you a dog person or cat person? Both require care although cats are less hands on and more independent. Keep the crunchy’ s dish full. The litter box clean and let you vet get them out in their office. They are extremely independent. They give love and affection on their terms and in their own time. We have two cats that we have adopted. One was abandoned in our apartment complex. The other we adopted from a Pet Smart adoption center coordinated with Jr Humane Society. We have nothing but great luck with our two black babies. Hubby teaches them to talk… You should see him have a conversation with our kitties.

Charlie is about 5 now he is not one who takes things lying down unless, it’s on the window seat soaking up sunshine. Every night he demands that you follow him to the cabinet in the dinning room and give him a treat from the bag we keep hidden there. Lady coo’s when the food bowl is empty.

We have cats because they don’t need the level of care as a dog. Anyone who says dogs are more affectionate than cats has not met our Charlie.

Charlie and hubby

Every night following dinner he appears. He waits till he gets the signal to jump up. Within 5 minutes he assumes this position.

Lady takes her spot as close to me as she can get. Either on me or beside, she settles in for her evening nap.

Dogs are also wonderful. We’ve had a dog or dogs always while growing up. My mom’s last baby crossed the rainbow bridge last year after 17 years.

17 years old

I’m taking a friends advice and recommending the next family dog should be a husky. After seeing their talkative side on YouTube. I think my mom would love a dog who speaks to her. We hope keeping him inside air conditioned house will help temper our Florida weather.

Whether dog, cat, or other a pet will shower you with unconditional love. Our cat meets us at the door when we come home and even carries toys through the house. Lots of bundles of love are awaiting adoption so find a new friend in need of a forever home.

Make sure you do a little research before deciding if this is a good choice for you. Be prepared for time to train, veterinary needs, special diet needs or restrictions, and type of home recommended for the pet in question. I like to choose from Jr Humane Society or Humane Society because they foster pets and give a pretty good idea if they do well with small children, other pets, highly social with people, or the product of past neglect or less than ideal treatment. With an unlimited budget I would have a hard time not adopting “The Crazy Cat Lady” reputation.

I’ve listed some resources below to help you find and care for your new friend.

https://jensperspectiveblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/aspca-group-1024x592-1.jpg

Pet Smart Adoption Days

Days

My veterinarians office may have one or more residents in need of permanent homes. They also keep a bulletin board patrons can post fliers, services, or lost pets. So in honor of both Friendship Day and Valentines give yourself love from a new addition to your family.

Mr Fuzzy. My best friend of 18 years. He has moved on now but, I still miss him. He left us two years ago.

Unconditional Love The Whole Year Through

Tidy cats works very well in multi cat homes

Our vet recommended this. She feeds this to her kitties. Drastically reduces problems like hairballs. Best of all they Love it!

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