children

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.

More recipe links to come

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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!

Brrrr….  “Baby it’s Cold Outside”.

Turn on the volume and enjoy.


Affiliate Links on this page.

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 

    It’s Beginning to look A Lot Like Christmas

    Ahhh as the song says break out the Holly .  As everyone gets ready Christmas.   Lights up outside,  tree with all the ornaments.   My first we’re kept and passed down to me so when additions to our family arrive it’s sure to be on a list.   At 37 my first halmark rocking horse holds a place of honor.   I find my self really missing my dad this time of the year.   Every year after my parents bought this house my dad took great pride in decorating the outside with lights.   For the last several years it was a special memory that we shared.

    I would take my regular day off and meet early for breakfast,  then spend the day getting them up.   I climb the ladders , he hands them up and helps with ground level,  and the front porch.   As grown children we all have our own families,  so usually we would be finishing when my mom got home work . She would cook something wonderfully homemade,  my husband would join us,  for a nice quiet evening to admire our hard work. 
    I thank God everyday for the time i got with my father before cancer took him from us.  
    “No more lives torn apart,  everyone will find a friend,  right will always win.   This is my grown up Christmas wish list”.  It hits home at this time of year .  I was lucky and reminded at my brothers wedding when I watched my brothers wife enjoy her father/daughter dance. 

    So as the shopping , decorating and general merry making goes full speed ahead,  make time for the special moments,  yes even adult children should hope to have them while parents and grandparents are still here.   I’m working on a family cookbook full of favorite recipes from mom, grandma, aunts and cousins before they disapprare.  I’m including photos and memories disks.  I look forward to baking with my mom every year it’s one of those special times .  I hope my nieces get to join in the fun.  You can be assured that powdered sugar and flour will dust a lot of surfaces,  and the adults will have “spiked egg juice”.   That’s eggnog according to my five year old niece .  So here’s to family recipe’s,  and Holly,  whatever the tradition share your favorites.   Enjoy every moment for time and those memories are what we take with us always.   In the meantime I know my dad will always live on in our hearts,  and what we pass on will shape them and our world in future years to come.

    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!

    Pizza …. Not Delivery It’s Mom’s

    Okay I grew up as an 80’s  kid.  Little Ceaser’s, pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Hungry Howie’s were the flavor of the day.  I made the BookIt Club, every month with my parents encouragement to read.  Even so if planning a menu and Pizza comes up our choice is not who do we order from, it’s more like do we have the ingredients or run to the store?  You see growing up outside of those awarded  pizza’s, we made ours at home by mom and my brothers and me.

    If our friends were lucky enough to get some they would come back just for the pizza. That tradition has been passed down.  I make it and if we go home we still request her pizza over takeout any day.  We still have a traditional round pan, yet we normally make two rectangle baking sheets to feed us all.

    The crust is home made from my dads, mothers cook book.  We prefer supreme and even people who claim they don’t like some toppings do not complain when they eat it on this.  Typically we top ours with olive oil, garlic, ground beef, ham, sausage (if we have it), onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni, we usually skip black olives due to salt content.  Cheddar cheese ( the sharper the better) mozzarella, and whatever else we have on hand or purchase for….Munster cheese, cherizo, multi color pepers and onion, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, pepper jack gives quite a kick.  

    Roll out dough on two baking sheets.  We leave it hand toss thickness or thin if watching carbs.  Regular tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce to lightly coat dough.  Layer Italian season, parmesan, pepper flakes(if desired).  Next up are onions, bell peppers, olives, mushrooms.  Sausages, ground beef, ham, and anything else we desire before a tight layer of pepperoni.  Add yellow then white cheeses in generous quantities.  Ours always looks like deep dish, we use plenty of toppings.  Into the oven at 350 for 20 minutes.  One pie at a time.  Cut into about 12 squares and use good spatula to lift weight of slices.  Give few minutes to cool.  Everyone will crave this and this is better than Pizza Hut, and the most you can buy.  

    Note:  When I said you can involve family it’s a great way to occupy children with supervision.  Growing up I always grated cheese, or as oldest used sharp knife to chop veggies.  True story… we were visiting my brother from another mother… not really but only time I’ll get to say it, before he deployed over seas.  Met my new sister in law..who brought 4 beautiful children into our family. After a long day exploring Savannah, GA. Where they were stationed we retired to our hotel pool for the kids.  When the subject of dinner arose it would take about the same amount of time and quite a bit more expensive to feed all of us so we swung into the grocery to get needed supplies. You can buy pizza dough mix you just add water to. I’ve used them before so we decide to buying instead of ingredients to make from scratch.  So we get to their house and we all take a task to hurry this along.  I cooked on stove, mom did crust, she loves making bread, sister in law supervised 7 and 10 year olds using knives.  My brother called from somewhere at front of house and with children’s tasks completed sister went to answer his call.  So mom is ready to roll out and knead this dough so niece goes to pantry retrieves flour to coat table, hands and rolling pin.  So she scrapes dough out on flowered table.  It’s sticky well this can happen even with great dough recpie.  So like any good baker she adds more flour. And adds, and adds and she’s asking me since i’ve used the mix and I’m like it never did that with me.  Now she’s making these funny noises, and it’s stretching out of bowl like slime and by now my sister in law has come back to investigate the uncontrolled laughter, punctuated with moms eeww sounds.  My father and brother have been drawn as well from hunger and sound effects.  Everything she makes 3 to 5 sounds she’s asking me…..and all I can do is laugh as she lets it slide back to bowl.  2 cups of flour and its getting worse not better.  We’re now discussing alternatives, when sister in law notices *flour* container and asks where it came from.  7 year old says I got it from pantry and shows her where.  As it turns out the exact same container, has powdered sugar in it.  She tells them apart by right or left side of pantry. I so wish we had thought to video this!  We laughed so hard and the pizza really could have used some pineapple, but we finally got everyone fed. 

    Memories like these are irreplaceable!  The retelling just does not match the look on moms face as her hands are covered in this slime.  I’m so glad my adopted brother got to take this with him when he deployed. He came home, but I have yet to see him since dad passed away.  If you ever read this please know that we love and miss you, and we’re still here when you decide to come home.  Dad would be so proud of the man you have become, that goes for all my other siblings as well.  Sending love to all my siblings and extended family, you’re all loved and I miss you guys so you have to come see me, since I cannot travel those distances yet.  How do you make lasting memories with your family?  See the recipe on Pintrest!  Click here!   Mom’s Pizza Recipe 

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