Want. Need. Have.

So here’s the deal.

I love cooking. I love being creative in the kitchen. I would 110% win on Chopped. Give me a basket of groceries and 30 minutes and I’m going to knock your socks off. The meal that secured me a husband was a recipe I made up when I was 14 or 15 out of pantry staples….

BUT

I hate, hate, double hate, loathe entirely grocery shopping and meal planning. It just hinders my creativity, spur of the moment recipe creating.

However, as much as I dislike it, planning is necessary. Especially in this season of my life with a full time job and a toddler.

Of utmost importance to me with this blog is helping y’all (and me) shove the “motherhood has to be hectic to be done right” mentality in the garbage. So I came up with a way to meal plan and shop to get good, home cooked, dare I say healthy meals on the table relatively quick and easy.

The planning method I use is super simple!

Want. Need. Have.

What do we want to eat this week?

This is where I take suggestions from my husband (and myself) on something we’ve been craving, wanting to try, etc.

Example: I’ve been wanting to try a new acorn squash recipe, that goes into the “want” category.

What needs do I have to meet this week?

This is where I evaluate the “needs” for the week. What is our schedule like? Do we have any extra curricular going on that will hinder our usual dinner plans? Any specific nutritional needs? Do I need to plan ahead for a crock pot meal on a late work night?

Example: We plan to go see Christmas lights after work one evening, so a crock pot meal that is ready right when I get home would be ideal to save us from hitting a drive thru.

What do I already have?

Simply, what groceries do I have on hand that need to be used before they end up in the compost or the trash. This is normally where I list all of my Misfits Market (more on them later) produce, left overs, random items from a recipe test-I’m looking at you, 3/4 block of cream cheese. Often times we over shop and overspend because we don’t get creative with what we already have on hand.

Want. Need. Have.

I’m a visual organizer, so I normally take a blank sheet of paper and literally draw 3 columns and fill them up and then use the back of the sheet to plan out the meals for each day. I cross out each item in the 3 categories until I have used them all, and I can easily flip the paper over for reference.

Ahhhh. Something about crossing things off of a list just does something magical for me.

I hope this method helps you get organized on your next grocery trip, and inspires you to get creative and have less waste!

Stay tuned for a sample menu as I get my list together for the week.

Leave a comment if you would like recipe specifics!

Whiskey in a Tea Cup

6413DDD3-F2FB-4ABA-92F9-0F4A5CF6723FSometimes I feel like a chameleon, that’s really bad at being a chameleon. Like I may try to turn green to blend in with a leaf but I’d probably still have bright purple feet sticking out, because I’m not really good at blending in, or fitting in. No matter how desperately I’ve tried. In fact I’m almost certain that the only label I’ve achieved through years of trying to fit in is “the weird girl”. 

In hindsight, I’ve put myself through the ringer trying to find the spot where I fit in. 

During middle school, I tried to be “scene” with blue eyeliner, and fallout boy playlists, and black clothes. Which is not very becoming for me. Let your imagination go crazy. I tried to be popular and put my parents out a pretty penny because if it wasn’t Hollister, it wasn’t good enough. Like my mother grounded me by taking away my Hollister jacket. The horror. I straightened my hair religiously and changed my part to do what the pretty girls were doing. Even though my hair is naturally straight as a board, all that heat damage for nothing.

Continuing into my teen years…..

I tried to be the “hard ass” with no feelings. But I have a tender soul from time to time.

I tried to be in with the party crowd at all costs. Yeah…. that never got me in trouble. But it was fun while it lasted.

I tried being the redneck girl that likes hunting and fishing. But Camouflage doesn’t look good on me and I like fishing better.

I tried being boho Mrs. Daisy. And I do like boho…. but not like I can summon the moon boho.

I’ve tried to be the girly girl that never leaves the house without lipstick and pearls. That lasted one minute. 

I’ve tried to be the classy one that drinks wine and fruit spritzers and always has her nails done. But wine gives me a headache and just doesn’t taste as good as beer. Yeah, I said it. 

I’ve tried to be the wild one that only does whiskey shots with no chaser and line dances like no ones watching. Okay this one might actually be me….

 

This is so embarrassing. I remember a few years back all my friends were wearing Rainbow flip flops and so I, of course, had to go spend $60 on these stupid flip flops that didn’t even fit my foot right and made me slide everywhere. I still wear them though because I mean $60 is $60. 

Shoes, people,shoes…

 And even now as a mom and wife I struggle with this “one or the other” mentality. 

I think I should be the crunchy mom that does everything natural and heals any and all ailments with the fruits of Mother Nature, but then I think I should be the kewl mom that has a giant tub of cheese balls on the counter as part of her decor. 

I think I should be the wife with a clean house and an iron and wear aprons and look fabulous while I’m doing it. I also think I should be the wife who shoves everything in the closet 5 minutes before anyone comes over and wears the same over sized T-shirt for 3 days. 

But I’m slowly making myself realize that in order to set a good example for my daughter, that who I really should be is whoever I want to be. 

Not who fits in, not who has a “group”, not who has every single characteristic of a specific stereotype, not who I think someone wants me to be…..

Who I want to be.

And that person is the weird girl. The one who does things a little differently. I don’t fit in, and it’s perfectly fine.

I’m whiskey in a tea cup, if you will. 

So if you ever decide you want to be in the no-group-group, give me 5 minutes notice to shove everything in a closet and open a cold beer. Don’t mind the essential oils going. And BYOCB(bring you’re own cheese balls). It may be a lipstick and apron day or it may be a messy T-shirt day. Just know that I’m doing my best being me, and you’re welcome to be you. 

Bees & Billionaires

About 6 months into wedding planning, richard and I decided we should just “elope”. Not really  elope, because it wasn’t a secret, but have a simplified destination wedding. I have Dom Perignon taste on a Natty Lite budget. I was trying to put on a Beyoncé-esque production with dollar tree DIYs. It wasn’t going accordingly, as you can imagine. But alas, my husband was the voice of reason. He was all “it’s about the marriage not the wedding”…. makes since. So in the end we decided to head to the Virgin Islands and get hitched. Because the beach is my happy place, margaritas are my kryptonite, and reggae is the soundtrack of my soul. I know what you’re thinking, budget???? but getting married in the Virgin Islands was extremely reasonable compared to the 25-30k price tags most weddings boast. 

My family was coming along and when they got there they were greeted by their travel agent at the ferry dock. The ferry dock can get a little chaotic, with a mixture of tourists, frequent flyers, and locals dispersing and congregating here and there, but thankfully there is Joe’s Rum Hut and they make the absolute best margarita. If you told me there was a better one, I would call you a liar. I could use some colorful adjectives to describe that margarita and the way it touches my soul, but I’ll keep it PG. 

Anyways, their travel agent said there was a “little problem” with the rental they had booked. It was infested with bees! My sister is highly allergic to bees. I mean I wasn’t there, but I can see my mother’s face when they said that and I’m sure it was hysterical. 

The travel agent said, “well, there’s only one other rental available and so we have to put you there”. They really thought they were going straight to the slumps, but they were wrong… 

I’m sure they were all moaning and groaning and eyes rolling as the travel agent drove them to their “make shift” housing. Thinking their vacation was going to be ruined. My mom was probably cussing, sloshing a margarita around as she waved her hands talking smack (I had to get it from someone). I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall when they got driven to the top of the cliff in Peter Bay and pulled in to the gated community only to realize they were going to be living like Billionaires for the week. (Okay maybe just millionaires, or hundreds of thousands-aires but for title’s sake, Billionaires) 

These lucky dogs get taken to a palace. I’m not being dramatic(for once).

It was a palace. 

Y’all, I was waiting for Kenny Chesney to knock on the door and ask to borrow a cup of sugar.

It’s called the Cliff House because, well, it’s at the very top of the cliff with an infinity pool that meets the Caribbean over looking Cinnamon Bay, which is of course the beach we were going to be getting married on. It was the ultimate house on a hill.

This house was one in a million for these small town Alabamaians. I cried over the master bathroom. The fixtures and flooring were made of coral. It was a work of art, but the tears were mostly due to the fact that mine and my husband’s rental house had a compost toilet (not even going there at the moment). 

For the remainder of the trip we spent most of our time at the house, because when would we ever spend a week in a house that normally costs $25,000 per week again? Never. Unless we hit the lottery, which my dad says won’t ever happen because all of our luck was spent, thanks to the bees. We sunbathed, danced on the bars, drank from the stocked mini fridge by the pool(okay we emptied that the first night), celebrated our marriage, and acted like the rich fools we weren’t. 

Needless to say, I got my Dom Perignon wedding on my Natty Lite budget because the Lord works in mysterious ways and my sister gets hives. The End. 

A+ Mom, A- Student

If you’re anything like me, being a mom is your greatest joy. It fulfills desires that you never knew you had. Your once empty spaces are full to the brim and all is well in your soul now that you have this precious little life with you always. Mommin’ is basically your calling in life, but you still have more to offer, to learn, to achieve. You want a career that’s meaningful, that will encourage you to grow, and that will allow your family opportunities and adventures that would not be possible without the extra income.

If you don’t follow the rules, like me, you probably didn’t stick to “the schedule” i.e. high school, college, career, marriage, babies, happily ever after. Your story might look something like this- high school, undecided, college, undecided, career, nevermind don’t like that, college, undecided, marriage, career, nope that’s boring, college, baby, etc…. Finally something will stick, and you find yourself as a student yet again. Except for this time you aren’t 18 with a part time job at a burger joint whose only concern is if you favor the girl on your fake ID enough to get into the pub. This time you’re married, with a baby, or maybe 2 or 3, and a home to manage. You have responsibilities and to-do’s for days.  Bellies to fill, heinies to wipe. From patty cake to dishes to diapers and laundry, your time is spent, but you add college to your plate because why not? It’s full, but you came to eat. 

You’re well in to the semester and one day, when the baby is finally taking a nap, you think to yourself should I do the dishes that have spread from the sink to the counter and next stop is the floor (that could probably use a mopping)? Should I study for my exam? Should I do that assignment that’s due tomorrow? Fold the clothes that have been in the dryer for 3 days (or let them tumble to “get the wrinkles out” for the 89th time)? Or should I sit on the couch and mindlessly scroll through Pinterest for an hour because my brain has officially shut down and been taken over by the lyrics to the baby shark song…

Doo doo doo doo doo. Shit.

I say all this to say, you are not alone in your struggle, Mama.

I know it’s hard.

It’s hard doing work on your laptop while curious hands try to push all the keys.

It’s hard to study your books while teething, drooly mouths chew on your pages.

It’s hard to sneak out for class, praying they won’t wake up because those little arms stretched out towards you make it harder to go.

It’s hard to focus during a lecture when you’re wondering if they’re okay, how they’re feeling. I wonder if her belly stopped hurting… I forgot to take more milk out to thaw I hope she has enough for the day…. She was really cranky this morning I hope she is felling better and having a great day…. I forgot to tell the sitter that her favorite blanket is in the dryer, she’ll be looking for it…. Before you know it you’ve missed a solid 5 minutes of physics and you pray it wasn’t too terribly important. 

And some days the baby is screaming, or the kids are fighting, and you’re just trying to submit an assignment on time and you think to yourself “this isn’t worth it” but it is.

Because you made it through birthing a child (a walk in the park…Jurassic park), and you’re conquering motherhood (the scariest hood of them all) , and you’re going to kick ass in this, too. 

So read bedtime stories and then your school books.

Watch Puppy Dog Pals and then watch your online lectures.

Do crafts and then do assignments.

Load up diaper bags and book bags. 

Teach them while you learn. 

Wish them sweet dreams while you chase yours.

And some days, do nothing. Put those kids to sleep and get a cold beer because, in the words of Kris J, “you’re doing amazing, sweetie.”