QuickTip Tuesday: Cleaning Cup Holders

Does the cup holder in your car get nasty? They can be so difficult to clean. Try slipping an old sock over a cup, spray all-purpose cleaner into the cup holder and use the cup-filled suck to wipe it out. Place the cup into the cup holder and twist it around to really get it clean. You’re welcome.

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Foodie Friday: Lunch Prep

In my personal experience, one area that can really mess up a diet plan is lunch. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this problem. I might be doing great eating enough fruits and veggies and staying within a reasonable caloric intake for breakfast and dinner, but then there’s lunch…. It’s so easy to just grab a hamburger at a fast food joint but chances are the burger-and-fries meal I would get has enough calories for my entire day, not to mention the salt and fat content.

Even with the best of intentions for bringing my lunch to work, I have found that it is difficult. Without some sort of  planning it is downright impossible. I have fallen on the “just bring leftovers for lunch” plan in the past but am currently discovering that as my kids grow, and I get better at planning and doing a leftover night, there aren’t always enough leftovers for me to bring that for lunch. I need to actually plan for my lunches. And not just plan, but PREP.

There are all sorts of ideas for meal prep on Pinterest (you know how I love Pinterest!) and this week I tried one of them, but adjusted it for me. I have always been curious about the mason jar salads. Turns out you need quart sized jars and all I have at home are pint sized, so I did things a little differently. First, I grilled 4 chicken breasts. When they were cooled, I sliced them and put half a chicken breast in snack size zipper top bags. This gave me chicken for 8 salads with approximately 3-4 oz of chicken in each one. Then I did up baggies for my toppings. I put fresh mozzarella, black olives, and tomatoes in bags together. Croutons went in bags alone, and then  my greens and bell peppers went in bags together. I happened to have condiment sized cups with lids and measured out my dressing into those. Now all I have to do each day before work is grab a bowl and all my little baggies and I’m good to go! My salad was greens, colored bell pepper, grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella balls, black olives, grape tomato, croutons, and Italian dressing.

Next week I am going to choose a different type of salad. I found a recipe with chicken, roasted beets, apples, and goat cheese. Sounds sooo good! I have also purchased some individual frozen meals for days that I just can’t eat another salad. I also found a really good blog called Damn Delicious where a woman shares recipes and… wait for it… LUNCH PREP IDEAS! I’m really excited about the ones I have found there. Not just for me, but for my daughter’s school lunches as well. Hopefully I will be successful in doing this, trying new salads/boxes each week until it is cold out and then switching to hearty soups!

What ideas have worked well for you? What do you like to eat for lunches? Do I have any other lunchbox buddies out there?

Successful Co-Parenting

When I teach co-parenting in Lincoln County, it seems that we spend a long time talking about how parents can really mishandle things. By the time we get to the part where we focus on how to do it right, I’m often afraid that I have lost my audience to doom and despair. If any of my former co-parenting participants are reading, I hope you will be encourage that we actually do have some tips on how to be successful at co-parenting. You can’t control what your co-parent does or how your co-parent behaves, but you can make a conscious effort to be on the same page when it comes to your kids. Here are 10 things you SHOULD do for successful co-parenting.

  1. Try to have similar rules for the children at the two homes. If  you and your co-parent absolutely cannot agree on rules, that’s okay. Don’t sweat it. 
  2. Give your children permission to love their other parent and encourage that bond.
  3. Help your children succeed in their relationships with their other parent by coaching them to talk with their other parent  without sugarcoating any bad behavior on the part of your co-parent.
  4. Respect your co-parent’s right to privacy in their home.
  5. Try to have a regular business meeting to discuss issues surrounding the children. This meeting could be in person, by phone, or via email.
  6. Do everything in your power to keep appointments with your co-parent and be on time!
  7. Offer your co-parent extra time with the children before hiring a babysitter.
  8. Truly desire for your children to enjoy their time with your co-parent. Help children plan out the things they might do with their other parent. Help them make sure they have all the things they will need, like reminding them to pack a swimsuit if they might be going swimming.
  9. Make sure your kids have what they need in each home so that a minimal amount of “stuff” needs to be carted between homes.
  10. Stay focused on the children. Don’t react to threats, insults, or criticisms from your co-parent.

Working with an uncooperative co-parent is difficult. It may take a lot of practice and trial/error to find a way to work together. However, the investment of time and energy is worth it. Learning to work with a co-parent can literally be the difference between the success and failure for the children involved.

Foodie Friday: August Menu

In celebration of a long awaited beach vacation this month, I made a special effort to include more fish on the menu! I do really like fish, but it’s hard to purchase good fish in rural Oklahoma, so we do not eat it as much as I would like. I hope you enjoy the August menu! You can find the recipes on Pinterest! (Please forgive me for misspelling “Cincinnati” on my handwritten menu!)

August 2017 Menu

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Christmas!

I love Christmas. I love it so much that I start planning way early. Today I printed out my Christmas 2017 planner! I usually search the internet for free planner printables because I also love free. This year, I am using this really cute planner from The Cottage Market. 

holida planner

To be honest, I had trouble with the zip file after I downloaded it, so I just printed it from the previews. While the pages ended up having a larger margin than I think they were designed to have, it is functional, cute and free!

I love that this printable planner has one-page calendars for November and December and plenty of gift planning pages. Another thing I love about printable planners in general is that you can take one page and make multiple copies if needed. Not enough space on the card list? Print another page. No big deal.

If you know me, you probably know that I have started my Christmas shopping as early as June in the past. My kids have entered a stage in life where it is getting very  hard to shop early for them. I hear this lasts for quite a while… but they are so susceptible to marketing and the Christmas marketing hasn’t started up yet so they won’t “know” what they want for Christmas until November at the earliest. I have started compiling a list of ideas though. Last year we did the 4-gift plan. Each girl got 4 gifts from Mom and Dad plus 2 gifts from Santa. I loved this! The 4 gifts from us were “something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.” It makes planning simple and it keeps us from buying things just to have “enough” for them to open. I worried last year that they would be disappointed, but they weren’t. Also with this plan, my whole budget for each girl only has to last for 6 gifts which means I can spend a little more for really good quality stuff. We also do stockings which include new socks, new underwear, a toothbrush, and a piece of nice chocolate. Simple.

Tell me your favorite Christmas traditions! How do you like to plan and shop? Do you start early or wait for the last minute?