A MUST Around My Household

I don’t know about you, but there are certain grocery items that are a “must” around my household. For instance, if my husband is out of mayo, it ain’t a pretty sight around these parts, ya feel me?

In all seriousness though, he doesn’t put it on everything, but when he wants his mayo, he needs that mayo. Winking smile

The same can be said of me when I’m out of oats, or greens, or some type fresh produce. So, in order to keep things happy around here, when I make my weekly grocery trip there are a handful of items that I make sure to purchase, or at least make sure we’ve got enough on hand to last us through the week.

I’ve seen a few of these types of posts recently, and I enjoyed seeing and reading about the different items others keep on hand, so I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring and share, too.

A big thanks to Jenn for hosting yet another delicious WIAW party – you should definitely go check out the goodness!

I’m going to divide items into a few different categories: things I always have “just to be safe” (I don’t necessarily use these items every week, but always have them just in case I want to whip up a batch of cookies..or somethin’ Smile), items I typically always have in the pantry, in the fridge, and in the freezer.

Sooo…let’s hop to it!

“Just to be Safe” items I always make sure to have:

  • flour
  • sugar/brown sugar
  • baking soda/powder
  • butter
  • eggs

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Eggs from my mom’s hens. How pretty is that blue egg?!

  • bananas – because, honestly, who doesn’t eat a banana everyday (or every other day)?
  • condiments: ketchup, mustard, mayo, ranch, etc.
  • spices: ALL.THE.SPICES – y’all, our spice cabinet is out of control – so much so that they are now taking over a drawer too! But, what better way to add some variety to a meal than with a little seasonings?!

Items I typically always have in the PANTRY:

  • oatmeal
  • peanut butter (although, sometimes I like to put it in the fridge)
  • whole wheat bagels
  • sweet potatoes
  • dried pasta
  • rice/brown rice/quinoa
  • canned beans
  • canned tomatoes – diced/sauce/paste
  • olive oil
  • almonds/ trail mix
  • coffee
  • dark chocolate for me/ Reece’s Cups or some type of bite size goodies for John

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In the REFRIGERATOR:

  • milk/almond milk
  • tomatoes/cherry tomatoes
  • spinach
  • whatever other produce is in season or on sale – peppers, asparagus, broccoli, snap peas, etc.
  • lettuce
  • deli turkey
  • hummus – because it goes on or with pretty much everything, ya know?
  • Mtn. Dew for the husband (I have my coffee, he has his Dew)
  • strawberries – or whatever is in season, love my fresh fruits!
  • cheese – parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella

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In the FREEZER:

  • meat that was on sale – I try to keep some type of frozen meat in the freezer to pull out if we’re in a pinch for dinner.
  • overripe bananas – what do you do with your overripe bananas? I usually toss ‘em in the freezer to use later on for smoothies or banana bread…mmm!
  • bread that was on sale – if there’s a sale on bread, pitas, etc. I usually buy it up and toss it in the freezer until I need it.
  • leftovers that will be great to grab and reheat on a night when we need something quick – I typically try to keep at least 1 “freezer meal” in the freezer for those inevitable nights when you really haven’t had half a second to put a thought toward dinner and you and your husband/family are staaaarrvvinng. We’ve all had those nights, right? Please tell me it isn’t just me!
  • baked fries for an easy side item when I’m uncreative or in a hurry

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I know that if I have most of these items in the house, I can usually whip up some type of a meal that will be pretty quick and relatively healthy. There’s nothing worse than having a busy day, eating crap for dinner, and going to bed feeling completely exhausted and icky! Plus, I want to keep my little family healthy – which of course, means a balance of greens, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and treats!

I think that about covers it, which means I probably left something out. Winking smile

Let’s chat…

1. I’m interested to know…what do you usually always have in your pantry? fridge? freezer?

2. What do I need to add to my list of “staples?”

3. What’s your favorite, easiest dinner to whip up with ingredients you have at home and time is short?

Party Planning and a Birthday–Weekend Wrap-Up {4/28/14}

I swear, I don’t know what happened to this weekend! We were go, go, go!

But, before I get into the weekend’s happenings, I need to pause for a moment to wish my mom a very Happy Birthday!! I I’m so blessed to be your daughter. You are not only my mother, but also one of my best friends. You’ve taught me so much, including how to be a Godly woman and wife, and I’m so thankful for all you’ve done for me. From spending countless hours in a hot, sweaty gym, to letting me take apart, re-work, and wear your wedding dress – you always selflessly give of your time, money, things, and heart. I love you so much! Happy 50th!

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Alright, back to the weekend…Saturday consisted of lots of birthday preparation. My sister and I planned to make mom’s birthday celebration extra special, it being her 50th and all.

I also had to purchase her gifts. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, eh? I am pretty proud of my purchases though.

I bought her super cute cooler thing (extra big coozie??). You can freeze the center, and then slide on the outside, insulated cover. Once in place, it will hold up to 6 cans. Mom is always on the go, and she loves her diet coke…plus it’s cute…so I knew it’d be perfect.

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I also bought this beautiful table runner. My mom is repainting and redecorating her kitchen, and I thought this would go perfectly.

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What I worked hardest on though, was this extra special book.

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A few weeks back, I asked all of my siblings to send me 10 things they love about mom. Since I’m the oldest of 5, I ended up with 50 reasons we love our mom. 50 reasons she is loved, on her 50th birthday.

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I should point out that “go-go” juice is Diet Coke. Winking smile

I also worked on a few of the decorations my sister and I cooked up.

On Sunday, we loaded up the car to drive to my parents house, about an hour or so away.

We arrived right after lunch, and my sisters and I got busy putting the finishing touches on the decorations.

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We made a made a “Sweets” station with lots of my mom’s favorite candies. We gave each candy a clever little saying, all about turning 50. She loves white chocolate. We labeled it “Still White Hot!” The Hershey’s kisses were labeled, “Kissing the 40’s goodbye.” Bubble gum was given the caption, “Blowing over the hill,” and the Zero bars (her favorite) were titled, “The big ‘5 – ZERO’.”

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My sister also made cupcakes which we topped with “50” medallions I made. There were also “Happy Birthday” buntings, and a refreshment station – filled with strawberry orange banana juice (is it juice, or drink? whatever you call it, it was delicious!)

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One of my favorite parts of the whole décor was the “50 Years Ago – in 1964” chalkboard I made. I had no idea so much has changed in 50 years!

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My dad had taken my mom to the beach, her favorite place on Earth, for the past few days, so we were all ready and waiting when they arrived home. She knew we’d be there to celebrate, since we can’t all be home tomorrow on her real birthday, but she was very surprised there’d be a party, too!

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We spent the next several hours eating cake and ice cream, talking and laughing with friends and extended family, watching my mom open gifts, and laughing some more.

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I sure do love my family! They are so fun!

Finally, John and I had to gather our things to head home. We were definitely sad to go. It was a great day celebrating the heart and soul of our family, and one special woman!  IMG_2790

Being as the whole weekend was pretty much taken up with party preparations, I have a feeling this will be a busy week! In fact, I know it will – with state testing, afternoon bus duty for me, travelling for appointments Wednesday afternoon, and going to my sister’s college graduation on Saturday morning, I’ve got a full week ahead!

Bring it on…only 5 more Mondays until this teacher is out for SUMMER! Smile Have a Marvelous Monday, friends!!!

Let’s chat…

1. What did you do this weekend?

2. Do you enjoy throwing and hosting parties and/or get-togethers? I LOVE it!

3. What is the last party you threw/hosted?

Friday Favorites {4/25/14}

Welcome to the weekend! Well, after we make it through today – minor details my friends. Winking smile

I’m excited about this weekend! My mom’s big 50th birthday celebration is Sunday, and I’ve got lots I still need to do. I’d better get my tush in motion! Sadly, I’ve got some kind of yucky crud – jury’s still out as to what it is, but I’m just keeping my fingers and toes crossed it’s not the flu. There’s been a strain of it going around that presents itself with a sore throat, and…….guess what I have?? Praying it’s just a cold!

Today I want to share some of my favorites from the past week. Join in on the fun in the comments!

I’m linking up with Clare at Fitting It All In and Katie at Running 4 Cupcakes. Thanks Ladies!

Favorite Photo:

Confession – I’m not a huge fan of this picture due to my awkward pose and ghostly pale legs, but these are some of my favorite people. Smile

Favorite Meal

Photo Mar 27, 8 23 26 PM

Avacado Chicken Salad Pitas…mmm!

Favorite Purchase

A birthday gift for my mom. Smile

Favorite Moment

Thursday afternoon when I got to come straight home after work for the first time this week. It’s the small things!

Favorite Workout

Love Tabatas! Day-after Xmas Crumble: Fast and Furuious Tabata/Strength Combo by @Gina Harney

This strength and tabata workout was a good one, in the sweatiest, most exhausted way.

Favorite Thing I got in the Mail

This super sweet Easter card from my in-laws. It got even better when we opened the card and checks fell out. We certainly missed John’s family over Easter, but are looking forward to spending Mother’s Day with them.

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Favorite Text Message

This message from my brother (in a group message about my mom’s birthday gift). Ohhhh 15-year old boy humor…

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Favorite Quote

Potential by Holley Gerth

Yes!!! I love Holley’s blog, and have read one of her books. She has a true gift for putting life into perspective.

Favorite Outfit

I bought this chambray dress from Gap a few weekends ago. It’s super comfortable, and cute too! It will definitely be making a frequent appearance in my outfit rotation.

Favorite Posts

There Is No ‘Right’ or ‘Wrong’ Workout – love Emily’s perspective! Very refreshing!

Share Yours- Top 10 Foods – So fun! What are your Top 10 foods? If you could only eat 10 foods for the rest of forever, what would you choose?

10 Awesome YouTube Workout Channels – Great resource from Julie for stellar at home workouts

Health benefits of exercise → Very informative! And props to Heather for earning her Group Exercise Instructor Certification!

I’m Thankful for Infertility – So gracefully said. I have so much admiration and respect for Brittany.

WIAW: Thoughts on Paleo – Very informative and thought provoking – as I can always count on Robyn’s posts to be.

These are just a handful of posts I enjoyed this week. I’d love to hear what you loved reading this week!

With that, I’m off friends! Time for a busy Friday and a fun-filled weekend! I hope yours is too!

Blessings!

Let’s Chat…

1. Tell me some of YOUR favorites from the week!

2. What are your weekend plans?

Thinking Out Loud {4/24/14}

How is it Thursday already?! Of course, I’m glad it’s Thursday, because that means tomorrow is Frriiidaayy! But, I need this week to slow down! I’ve got lots to do before this weekend rolls around! I’ll fill you in on that in a bit.

Since today IS Thursday, I’m going to participate in Amanda’s Thinking Out Loud par-tay today. My brain is pretty much always a mumbled, jumbled mess, so this is perfect for me. Winking smile

1. I may or may not have a problem.

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And I may or may not have almost had a crisis on my hands the other day. Good thing I stopped by the store to restock my “stash.”

2. My sister came in town today to attend a “meet and greet” with my school system. In my dreams, she would get a job at my school and teach next door to me. Never say never, right?!

3. On my “mental health” day last week, I decided to paint my nails for the first time in forever. I LOVE the polish color! My sister gave it to me for Christmas, and I kinda forgot about it (gasp! I know…). It’s Essie- Lady Like.

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4. Why is that I can never have a leisurely drive to work in the mornings? I feel like no matter when I leave, I’m always in a race. Maybe it’s the competitor in me? I don’t know.

5. So, this weekend we are celebrating my mom’s 50th birthday! It’s kind of a surprise. She knows we’re having a family get together, but it’s going to be a bit bigger than she expects. Seeing as my dad is taking her to the beach for her birthday, and they headed down yesterday, I’m left in a bit in charge – with lots of help from the siblings of course. Hence the reason I need the week to slow down juuuuust a bit. I’ve got lots to do…including setting up a candy bar similar to this one I found on pinterest.

50th birthday candy bar

I’m also planning to make a board like this one…

50th Birthday party chalkboard. - modify for 70th birthday - this is cute idea!!! fun research for the kids to do! ;)

In addition to making some cupcakes, a banner, a book from all of us kids, among a few other odds and ends. (I know she won’t be able to read this, so, I’m safe posting it! ) I’d better get busy!

6. I wanted a quick workout to do the other day. I came across this one from Popsugar. I mistakenly thought it would be quick and painless. It was quick, but it was deceivingly more challenging than I assumed.

I'm exhausted just reading through this workout.

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7. I typically don’t require much sleep (thanks dad), but I know I haven’t been getting enough lately. I always have good intentions of getting to bed early, but it just never happens. Recently I haven’t been falling asleep until about 11 or 11:30, and I’m back up at 5:15-5:30. Walking zombie much?

8. Does anyone watch American Idol any more? I had the TV on last night while I was prepping my lunch and waiting for John to get home from his tennis match, and American Idol happened to be on. I remember watching it religiously back when I was in high school/college. I haven’t seen it in years, but is there still the following that there was 5 or 6 years ago?

9. I’m a little hesitant to say this, but I think we’re officially past the cold weather. Woo Hoo!!! Every day this week, the highs have been in the 80s. Thank goodness! I’m ready for summer!

10. I don’t really have a tenth thing to add, but I really didn’t want to stop on #9, so…

Have a fabulous day friends!

Let’s Chat…

1. Do you chew gum? What’s your favorite brand/flavor?

2. What is a quick, yet challenging, workout you’ve done lately? I’m always in need of a quick, sweaty sesh.

3. How much sleep do you typically get?

WYAW–What YOU Ate Wednesday

Hi friends! Have I mentioned recently how thankful I am for all of you? I love interacting with you on a daily basis. Y’all are amazing!

So, as I’ve mentioned, I tend to eat the same foods for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and even dinners. So, being as I’m short on time today, AND the fact that I need some food inspiration, instead of a normal WIAW post, I want to know what YOU ate. So, perhaps I should call this a WYAW (What YOU ate Wednesday) post. <—Thanks for hosting the party again this week, Jen!

Below are the foods I normally seem to eat day in and day out. So, please, help a sister out and give me suggestions – what did YOU eat for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner? What are some of YOUR favorite foods? I know I can count on you to give me some suggestions for changing things up. Smile

Breakfasts – usually oats, PB, and berries.

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Lunches – whole wheat bagel, hummus, turkey, lettuce, tomato, served with triscuits and a cookie

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Snacks: Typically a Luna bar for an afternoon snack and a heaping handful of trail mix for a nighttime snack.

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Dinner – Guacamole chicken salad pitas served with roasted sweet potatoes (I can’t seem to get enough of this! Mmmm!) This is definitely one of my favorite meals in my tiny  rather small dinner meal rotation.

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Alright…suggestions, please?! Ready, go! Open-mouthed smile

Let’s chat…

1. Obviously – Give me suggestions for changing things up!

2. What is one food/meal that you seem to eat over and over?

3. What was the best thing you ate this past week? For me, it’s definitely my guacamole chicken salad!

Tips for Clear Communication

It has been beautiful around here the last 2 days. I could really get used to these sunny, temps in the high-70s/low-80s days. I better enjoy them, because before long it’ll be humid and hot!

Today, I want to talk about communication. As you probably know, communication is a vital  part of any relationship – spousal, friendship, family, co-worker, or business. Being someone who hates confrontation, I have made many mistakes while trying to communicate. Thankfully though, I’ve also learned a lot about communicating clearly through many of those snafus.

Communicating with your teen will take practice and may not come naturally.

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1. Say EXACTLY what you mean. I tend to beat around the bush sometimes because I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or seem demanding. For example, at work I might say, “Do you know who is doing the vocabulary powerpoint for next week?” When I really mean, “Will you please do the vocabulary powerpoint for next week since I’ve done it for the past few weeks?” Or, I might say to my sister, “Don’t you think you might be uncomfortable in that outfit?” When in reality I might mean, “That’s not the most flattering outfit on you.” or “I’m not sure that’s the best outfit choice for this occasion.” Sound familiar to anyone?

2. Address an issue earlier rather than later. If there has been a misunderstanding between you and a friend, spouse, or co-worker, correct it as soon as you notice the issue. Otherwise, it’s only going to get worse. 99% of the time, it won’t go away. Likewise, if there’s a conversation you’ve been dreading having, suck it up and like Nike, “just do it.” I promise you’ll be glad it’s done and chances are it won’t be as bad as you think. If you’re like me, the anticipation is the worst part.

Every moment we have the opportunity to make things better or make things worse. Not communicating always makes things worse.

3. Your spouse is someone you trust, so you shouldn’t be timid in communicating. You married your husband/wife because you trust them right? Or at least, that’s one of the reasons you married him/her. So, while they may be unhappy about what you have to say in the short term, he or she loves you unconditionally and will get over it. If not, there may be other issues you may want to address. Which, in the long run, will be a good thing for your relationship.

Sarah & John, 3-12-11

relationship communication | true #relationship #Relationship Quotes

4. Writing your thoughts is sometimes the way to go. I can sometimes much more easily communicate my thoughts and feelings through writing than I can through my words. When I speak, sometimes words come out that I don’t want to say or emotions get in the way. However, when you write what you want to communicate, you have the chance to thoughtfully choose your words and have the luxury of time – meaning you can take the time to write exactly what it is you want to communicate.

5. Make sure what you want or need to say is positive and worth saying. Sometimes, there are things we should just not say. Like you’ve heard a million times, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” or “Choose your battles.” Sometimes, it’s best to keep whatever it is that you feel you need to say, to yourself. If it isn’t positive OR constructive criticism, you may want to just let it go. Choose your battles – there are some things that just aren’t worth the fight.

3 Tips For Communicating In A Relationship --- “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” James 1:19 The first year of marriage is hard. You are just starting to really get to know each other and are probably seeing… Read More Here http://unveiledwife.com/3-tips-for-communicating-in-a-relationship/ #marriage #love

I hope you all have a Terrific Tuesday. Go Treat Yourself this Tuesday (thanks for the link-up, Becky!)!! I treated myself last week by taking Friday off of work, chalking it up to a much needed “Mental Health” day. For my mental well being, it was definitely necessary that I get away for a day. Winking smile

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Let’s Chat…

1. Do you have trouble communicating?

2. Tell me a tip you have for clear communication!

3. How have you treated yourself recently?

Easter Weekend Shenanigans–MIMM {4/21/14}

Wow! I cannot believe it’s Monday already! I guess it’s true that time flies when you’re having fun.

How was your Easter weekend? Ours was busy, busy, busy, but fun nevertheless. As I mentioned, my weekend started off a day early when I decided to take Friday off of work. It was MUCH needed, and I was so glad to get chores like, um, cleaning the house done. Saturday we drove an hour or so north to my parent’s house. All of my brothers and sisters were able to be home, and it was so wonderful to get to spend time together. They’re so much fun…and totally normal. Winking smile

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Saturday night we did the whole Easter egg dying thang. I went kinda fancy for the first two, then decided it was way too much effort.

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After staying up waaaayyy too late chatting and laughing away on Saturday night, we were up on Sunday morning to see what the Easter Bunny brought. I love how my parents still go all out for Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny even though their youngest child is 15. It makes the holidays so much more fun, in my opinion. It’s like a piece of childhood that those 2 holidays would not be the same without.

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John and I made out pretty well, I’d say (He also got a Nike Dri-Fit shirt for tennis).

Following church, my grandparents (from my mom’s side), aunts, uncles, and cousins came over for a delicious Easter lunch. I failed to get a picture of the Easter spread, but, I did manage to get one of the desserts. Dessert is more important anyway, right?

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After lunch, it was time for some Easter egg hunting. My grandfather stuffed some of the eggs with money. Once I knew that, I was fighting off the little kids, proving that you’re never too old to hunt for eggs. Winking smile

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Eventually, John and I packed up and headed home. It was a truly a wonderful Easter!

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My brothers and sisters (minus Kathryn, who was with her boyfriend, celebrating with his family) and all my cousins from my mom’s side.

Today is back to work. My students will be taking standardized tests next week, so we’ll be reviewing all week long. Have a Marvelous Monday friends!!

Let’s Chat…

1. What did you do for Easter?

2. Do you still get an Easter basket/ hunt for eggs?

3. What are your plans for today?