Hearty Meals on a Budget

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Lately, we have really been focused on planning out our meals for the week and shopping only for things we need.  We are certainly starting to feel the financial strain of having a baby, and with daycare and diapers it’s hard to afford anything extra.

Here’s what we have done to reduce our spending:

  1. Utilizing coupons and deals for diapers, wipes, clothes, food and more from the free app called, Retail Me!
  2. Make a list of meals for the week on a magnetic marker board!  We found one for $5 on amazon – Here it is!
  3. Find tasty, affordable recipes on Budget Bytes at www.budgetbytes.com

We have tried:

Sundried Tomato Pasta

Slow Cooker Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken

What tricks are up your sleeve for affordable, fast and easy dinners?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What up, Body Issues?

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Photo from The BULLY Project Facebook page. Follow them! Photo credit : Meg Gaiger/Harpyimages

I know I am a beautiful person from the inside out, but I sometimes struggle to feel confident even as a 30-year-old woman.  You know why?  I have been conditioned to think physical fitness and beauty equals success.  A successful life, career and even a successful marriage.

It took a lot of commercials with supermodels, movies with perfectly-toned legs, and even a few pokes and prods on the playground to instill a permanent, tiny voice that whispers in the mirror, “You’re fat.”  But most of all, I think it was the lack of confidence my own mother had when she looked in the mirror at herself.  She was then, and is now, a beautiful, average-sized woman, but she hung on to those high school jeans that were a size 3 and only looked back.

I still remember putting my feet together and feeling between my thighs to hope that their was a space when I was in the 8th grade.  I never did have skinny legs.  I have always had an athletic build, and then some.  But way back, before there was a tiny gap between my thighs for a few short years,  I had body issues.

I remember refusing to get on the scale at the doctors office when I was 11 and about to enter fifth grade.  The doctor finally convinced me to do it, and then showed me on a chart that I was not “obese”.  I, in fact, was just one box to the left.  She reassured me that I had nothing to be self conscious about.  I was just the shortest, and most round in my class.  I wish I could go to my 11-year-old self and say, “You’re perfect the way you are.”

Of course, like most kids, I was bullied and awkward through elementary and middle school.  After four years of doing my best to fit in in high school, I went to college I realized that everyone was remarkable in their own way, and that physical beauty had nothing to do with success.  I wish someone would have told me sooner.

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Ethnicity, height, weight, physical and mental ability does not make you better than someone else.  The way in which you carry yourself; with confidence, and purpose, let’s others know that you love yourself, and that’s what’s attractive. Love yourself.

 

 

Xmas Kraft DIY

Last Saturday Rachel my fellow 5andwhiner and DIY master, got the great idea to make a craft for the holidays.  I choose something that neither of us had in our homes and would come in handy.  A holiday card holder, I mean lets face it there’s only so much room and so many magnets for the fridge.  This craft also only cost us about $15 each since we split alot of the supplies.   So after a somewhat exhausting trip multiple stores we had all the supplies to get us started.  Below is a list of items you will need to get started.

Supplies 

-Chicken wire (we chose the hexagon wire)

-Staple Gun

-Inexpensive frame any size (we picked ours up at Goodwill)

-Tiny flag banner (optional)

-Black acrylic paint

-Pack of varying mini clips

-Artificial wreath

-Fabric/ribbon

Ainsley’s Dedication 

Little Ainsley Kay was dedicated at our church this past weekend. It was such a great day to gather as a family and pronounce our desire to teach Ainsley about God’s word and purpose. She is lucky to have so many people who love her and are willing to guide her as she explores her relationship with Jesus. 
After the service, we met in the lobby to snap a few family pictures and then headed to brunch. We ate at the John Wright Restaurant in Wrightsville. The view of the water was beautiful as we enjoyed our delicious meal. We couldn’t have ask for a better day to celebrate Ainsley’s dedication.  
[I love these pictures, especially the candid family shots. :)]    

    
 

  

Game Night Snacks!

Michael and I have some friends that like to have the periodic “game night” !  Its such a great time.  We look forward to sharing snacks and stories, have a few cold ones, and tease each other for hours while we all try to win!  I enjoy this time with friends very much- and always try to contribute by bringing a few munchies to thank our hosts.  The week of this past occasion I was busy as usual- and I was in need for something quick/easy/cheap  (I mean, when are we not) to throw together quickly in between Friday rush hour and our game night start time.

Of course pinterest will always be there for you in your time of need.  I introduce to you the easiest snack I have ever made in my entire life:

Chocolate Pretzel Bites !

This takes 2-3 ingredients and no more than 10 minutes.  What more can you ask for- except to hope your friends will love them (and that I believe was accomplished!)

Ingredients:

  • Small bite size pretzels (In my opinion “Snyder’s Butter Snaps” will ONLY do).
  • Your favorite type of Hershey Kiss (I prefer the semi-sweets or special darks).
  • Your choice of topper (This time I used Reeses’ Pieces)

*In the past I have used Rolos in place of Kisses and nuts in place of candies!  You might even try red and white peppermint striped kisses with red and green M&Ms for a holiday theme! Get Creative!

  • Preheat oven at 325
  • Line cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • Line your sheet with as many pretzels as you have candy to top
  • Unwrap and add a kiss to each pretzel (this is the hardest part!)
  • Bake for 3 minutes
  • Top with final candy
  • Let cool

 

 

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Let’s get started!

 

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I ran out of kisses so utilized my emergency back up Costco sized bag of chocolate chips from the pantry- not as pretty, but my friends would say “Oh I got lucky, extra candy!”

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I tried first to hold the candy topper between my thumb and index finger, and with out releasing press into the kiss- I soon learned you need to drop the candy just above the kiss, and then press the candy topper with one finger.

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Final result- adorable, and SO tasty!

 

This is the perfect game night snack, no fuss, no mess.   Your hands are mostly free to hide your cards- it only takes two fingers to pop one of these guys in your mouth!

 

Enjoy !

5 Ways to Make Mornings Run a Bit Smoother

Mornings are super hectic in our house, between two busy toddlers running around, me frantically trying to get everyone (including myself) out the door on time, and trying to make sure my husband gets more than just a quick “good morning” has become some sort of strange puzzle that I attempt to put together every morning.

Although most mornings end with me shuffling the girls out the door at the very last minute, I have perfected a few ways to save a little bit of time:

  1. Pick out everyone’s outfit the night before.  I usually know what everyone is going to wear the night before, I don’t lay it out but in my head I know exactly (down to the socks) what I need to grab first thing in the morning.
  2. Dresses save a ton of time.  I recently read that throwing on a dress in the morning saves at least four minutes of your time.  I tested this theory out and I definitely saved tons of time wearing a dress rather than pants and a top..
  3. Feed your kids in the car.  I know this sounds so detached and rushed but if your kids are anything like mine, they aren’t hungry until an hour to two hours after they wake up, which puts us exactly at the time we need to be out the door.
  4. Plan out your lunches before the week starts.  My girls lunches are pretty much the same every week.  I alternate fruit and chips/crackers everyday but as far as the main part of the meal goes, it’s pretty much the same thing everyday.  This helps me to grab what I need and quickly get lunches made and packed.
  5. Get a good dry shampoo and have a quick make-up routine.  I usually can go about four days without washing my hair, and dry shampoo can usually get me through the work week.  It gives a little extra body and gets rid of the oily/greasy look I get on day four/five.  If you don’t have a quick routine, check out my post from a few weeks ago, 5 Minute Mommy Makeup.

How do you save time in the morning?   What are some ways that help your mornings to run smoother?  Any suggestions would be appreciated 🙂

Rent the Runway Review

I had a little teaser last week for my Halloween costume and you guessed it I went as a bond girl…sort of!  I was going back and forth on something to wear and finally Sunday before the event/Halloween I decided to check out Rent the Runway and see if they could ship me something before Friday (procrastinator i know)!

I found that the website was super easy to navigate and they had specific sub categories so that I could narrow in on my vision.  I decided to go with the an all over gold sequin Badgley Mischka gown that was gorgeous and came in a short which was another great little surprise.  Since it was so glittery I didn’t even have to add any large accessories everything else I had at home!

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I picked up a coupon code online for first time users so I ended up with an additional $25.00 off.  The dress came in a bag with straps, a return label that slipped in the front and it doubled as a garment bag ( I was obviously very impressed with the packaging).  As for the dress it was the most amazing fit in the bust but I made it work and for the 6 hours I had it on it was amazing, I received so many compliments and gave out so many recommendations to use the site.  Overall I will definitely use this service again it was a lifesaver in this situation and they have so many options for so many occasions!

 

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Swim session 

A few weeks ago, Ainsley started swim lessons and the girl can’t get enough. Seriously, if she could talk, I can guarantee she would say, “I loooooovvvvveeessss it!”

The 6 week class meets once a week and lasts for 30 minutes. Oh, and the pool is heated so everyone’s happy about that!  Babies are required to wear swim diapers to prevent any accidents that may occur during the lesson, but since it’s the off season for swim wear, I ended up ordering a long sleeve swim shirt and reusable swim diapers from Amazon. Is there anything cuter than a baby bathing suit!?

Here are the happy swimmers on the first day:

 
The class is filled with a variety of activities and movements to get children acclimated to the water. They sing songs, practice kicking their legs, and even squeeze in a few minutes of tummy time.   

  

  

  
  The lessons have been a fun way to incorporate new skills and encourage physical development. Plus, I love watching the daddy/daughter time from the side of the pool. Biggest.mom.win.ever!!   

My life, my love, my Bridal Party!

Everyday the Knot.com kindly reminds me that the days until our wedding day are quickly disappearing (214 to be exact).    Although I am confident that I will be able to get it all done- it certainly has not been with out help, encouragement, and recommendations.  My bridal party has been my reference each time I am unsure, for dress shopping, and vendor recommendations.     Besides the idea of marrying the love of my life (I still can not believe I am so lucky) – sharing this process with my closest friends has been the best part thus far.   I would have canceled the day already had I not been able to vent to each one separately about my concerns.   Here is my CREW- whom all I love so dearly!

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Each girl got a small gift bag, with a bracelet, and a few pieces of candy with clever sayings – the bracelet was tied in a knot with a note that says “I cant TIE THE KNOT, with out you by my side”, a ring pop “He POPED the question, now it’s my turn” and some gum “He may be marrying me- but now hes STUCK with you!”

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A gift for Taylor!

My sisters are my Matron and Maid of Honor – and I am so blessed to have these natural born organizer’s to help me along the way.  They know me inside and out, and every single life experience who has built the women I am.  I have never felt luckier than when I take a look at my family.  Our love and loyalty is thick and strong, and it never waivers.  There is no judging nor censoring.  We rest on each other often, and never think twice.  I love these ladies with every ounce of energy in me.

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My NEW Sisters (Michael’s Sister) Beth and Tricia.  There is no other way I would like to start our forever friendship than having them each be by are side to help and support us on our wedding day.  (BONUS:  I get the worlds CUTEST flower girl, Tricia’s daughter Taylor- yay!)  I still can’t believe a family this wonderful, smart, and loving is there with arms open to invite me in.  I didn’t know I could love another family as my own, until I met the Slick/Schuyler clan.  I have instantly felt a part, and look forward to every event that allows us to get closer.

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My college roommate, best friend, and sorority ‘little sister’ Amber.  I always thank her for being there in the weirdest/changing time of my life and still loving me!  We have never grown apart, despite how vastly our lives have changes post college.  She is as honest as you will ever find, and keeps me straight!

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And of course my ‘Ride or Dies’ – Meagan, Kristina, Katie, and Carolyn.  My inseparable/no matter what/no matter where  friends since Middle School. Co-Author’s of  5andwhine!  I can’t be happy if things are well with me and these girls.  They are so important to me, and I am so proud of how tight our bond has continued over the years.  From our first beers to first babies, we have been there through it all.

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I love you all and I am so proud to have you stand beside me!

#SeeYouOnTheSlickSide 6-11-16