Meal Planning Sundays, March 19th-25th

Meal Planning Sundays

Whew.  Like I said in my last post, this past week has been a whirlwind! So crazy busy!  It was fantastic, but I’m reading for routine again.  I’m pretty worn out!

One part of routine is meal planning!  I have so much food here that meal planning should be a breeze!

Here’s my plan:

Breakfasts

  • Eggs in tortillas with cheese (and Cholula)
  • Green smoothie (I use cashew milk now and collagen for protein to cut down on dairy… I might also use some of my homemade Greek yogurt) and toast
  • English muffin with fried egg and cheese
  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Granola and homemade Greek yogurt

Lunches

  • Sandwich (ham and cheese or peanut butter and raw honey), veggies and hummus (or ranch), and Triscuits or Flaxseed and Quinoa chips
  • Cottage cheese, boiled eggs, veggies and hummus, Triscuits or Flaxseed and Quinoa chips
  • Quesadillas with sour cream and salsa
  • Bean and cheese burritos
  • Dining hall
  • Leftovers

Dinners

  • Monday- Homemade meat sauce (though I don’t have squash and zucchini so it will have less veggies), pasta, and steamed broccoli
  • Tuesday- Tacos
  • Wednesday- Burrito bowls (pinto beans, brown rice, cheese, sour cream, guac, hot sauce)
  • Thursday- Dining hall
  • Friday- Pizza (homemade or frozen… not sure yet)
  • Saturday- Dining hall (lunch and dinner unless we decide to take a day trip somewhere)
  • Sunday- Leftovers

Snacks

  • Veggies (carrots, broccoli, and celery) and hummus
  • Fruit (apples, apple sauce, and oranges at the moment)
  • Triscuits and cream cheese
  • Flaxseed and Quinoa chips
  • Tortilla chips
  • Mixed nuts/almonds
  • String cheese
  • Triple Zero yogurt (or Simply Gogurt for the kids)
  • Boiled eggs
  • Goldfish
  • Peanut butter/cheese crackers
  • Pop Tarts (I love them)

As always, there are a mix of “whole foods” and processed foods.  I have learned a great balance with this and feel content with this.

I hope you have a great week ahead!

Simple Living

Simple Living

Over the years, due to my mental illness, I have had to simplify my life so much.

I have tried working so many times and can’t; I’ve tried homeschooling (many times) and can’t.

These cause severe anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.  Also, with my bipolar 2, I never know if I’m going to be able to function from one moment to the next.  I haven’t been stable for more than a month at a time for years.

Because of this, I am working towards getting disability.  I have a hearing soon and I’m using a lawyer.

Simple Schedule and Routine

Recently, I decided to get rid of a lot of things and truly simplify.  I organized well in order to keep things easy to keep up with.  I take one day at a time.  I try not to over-plan because I know that that usually means anxiety.

The only things on my plate are:

  • Time with family (though the kids are gone from 6:30 till 4:30 every day, so that means I’m alone a lot)
  • Self care
  • Bible study (personal daily and women’s once a week) and Church (a few times a month)
  • AA (twice a week, at one hour each time)
  • Counseling (sometimes) and kids’ counseling (every other week)
  • Coffee with friends (when I can handle it)
  • Cleaning (I have a daily routine that I keep up with so things don’t get out of control)
  • Cook/make simple meals
  • A few small hobbies as I can handle it (mostly blogging and baking)

That’s it.

Our kids also have very simple lives.

  • Chores (daily they make their bed, fold and put away laundry, and clean up their rooms and living room if they leave things there)
  • School (of course, they are gone a long time every day for school)
  • Homework (very little… reading for 20-30 minutes and math and/or spelling)
  • Play (they spend a lot of time outside and with friends)
  • Play games and read
  • Counseling
  • Church
  • Electronics, limited

Karis does choir (one hour a week), and Ethan does some mountain biking (a few races a year).  No large amount of time doing sports or other extra curricular activities.  This isn’t for everyone, but it’s best for our family.

Simple Planning

I basically just sit down with my Happy Planner the night before or the morning of and plan my day.  It tends to be a lot of the same each day and I’m good with that.  Other than that, I go by my daily/weekly routine.

Simple Eating

We typically eat a lot of the same things consistently.  I try to mix it up sometimes, but pretty much every meal I do is simple.  I use my instant pot a lot, and I usually make meals that don’t take very long.

I have a weekly routine to do some food prep so that things are simple through the week.  I fill my veggie tray to pull out for lunches and sometimes for dinners.  I sometimes make homemade Greek yogurt, but this time around I just bought some.

I try to buy some things that are convenience to be easy to use/eat.  For example, I buy already cut broccoli and baby carrots.  I buy some granola bars and peanut butter crackers.  I LOVE buying pre-boiled and peeled boiled eggs (I hate boiling and peeling them).  The boys just grab a bag and eat a few for snacks. And I eat them at lunches often.  Sometimes I buy pre-made salads but they are much more expensive than buying leaf lettuce.  So sometimes I buy leaf lettuce, tear/cut it, and add some bagged spinach to it.  I have taken a break from salads for a while, though.

I meal plan each week so that we all know what we will be eating.  It helps keep the guess work out of it, and I am able to do any prep ahead of time (like thawing meat, etc).

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We also eat in the dining hall when we can because it’s free, and I don’t have to cook and clean up.  Sometimes I can’t handle being in a loud dining hall, but I’m getting to where I can these days.

The Little Things

I try really hard to enjoy the little things each day.  I have learned to be content with what we have and where we are in life.  I am at peace with where we live and know that this is life from now on (unless God has us move on, but I highly doubt it to be honest).  I light candles every day, and start out with a good cup of coffee.  I have been slowly decorating our home (on a tight budget) because I want to enjoy being here.  Having coffee with friends has helped me to grow closer to others here and it has given me a ministry (other than AA).  I enjoy getting up in the morning now and watching the sun rise.

I love hiking and am so glad that we have the hiking trails right outside our door.  We live on 1400 acres.  We try to take family hikes on weekends as we can.  It doesn’t always work out.  This is basically the only form of exercise that I like :-).

Our Home

I love our home.  It’s not very big (about 1300 sq ft), but it’s perfect for us.  The boys share a room, Karis has her own room (that is so fun and perfect for her), and our bedroom has a comfy love seat in it (that I got for $30 from a Thrift Store).  I have an amazing “bonus room” with my office area, a couple of shelves with books, a chair with side table and books, my guitar (that my brother gave me and I want to learn how to play), curtains (that were $20 for 4 panels), a fun rug ($30 on Amazon), and a bunch of art that I already had or got for $1 at Dollar Tree.  It’s my favorite room in the house.  I also have a succulent plant on the windowsill by my desk :-).

Our living room is so great.  The tree wall was here when we moved in.

I spent a lot of time working on the kids’ rooms recently and it’s so much easier to keep clean.

I love our kitchen and our food storage.  It makes me happy.  I spend a lot of time in there.

This is the view from our back windows/back porch.

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My office and bedroom are my sanctuary.  I just love them.

I just love life and feel at peace with where we are.  I am also excited about our future and what that looks like.

Self Care Sunday

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Usually on self care days, I still do some chores.  The reason is that having a clean house is self care for me.  I like to keep up with everything so I don’t get behind and start to have anxiety and depression.  I mean, anxiety and depression still happen (hello mental illness), but if I can prevent it, I will try :-).

So basically that means keeping up with the daily chores: one load of laundry (from start to finish), sweep/vacuum, make my bed, pick up things that are laying around (and the kids will clean up their things), and keep up with dishes.

I need to do a bit of food prep.  This means cutting veggies for my veggie tray, and I will make an instant pot breakfast casserole.  It won’t take very long.  I also need to make dinner.  Pasta and sauce in the instant pot and steamed veggies.

The self care things that I’m doing are: sleep in (till 9!), morning meds (buspirone, lithium, propranolol, lipitor, lexapro, and birth control that I take for my moods) and supplements (B-complex and Vitamin D3), blog (self care and meal plan), plan my week (in my Happy Planner!), and maybe nap :-).  I am trying to drink more water so I have that with me through the day.

I also hope to play some games with the kids.  I might go for a short walk.

Typically we go to church on Sundays, but when Robert works (every third Sunday), the kids and I stay home to rest and play.  I have worship music playing all day.

What are your plans for self care today?

Pursuing What Sets My Soul on Fire (Jesus)

Being in a constant state of worship and adoration, service, gratitude, prayer, and confession are what set my heart on fire. Unfortunately my life has been just one struggle after another and my spirit has gotten lost in all of … Continue reading

More Organization and Update

This weekend and yesterday I worked a little more on my bonus room.  It is where I want it for now :-).  I want to eventually do some painting in there but it’s fine at the moment.  It’s cozy and practical all in one.  I spent a total of $39 on the room.  Curtains ($20, Walmart), desk lamp ($6, Family Dollar), curtain rods ($8, Family Dollar), and prints ($5, Dollar Tree)

I also changed a few things around in my bedroom and moved some canvases from my room to Karis’ room because it fits better in there.

I want to get some curtains for my bedroom :-).  One thing at a time.

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On another note…

Robert shot another deer last week.  So we have gotten about 70lbs of axis venison in the past couple of months.  Of course, we have gone through it pretty fast :-). We currently have 26lbs of ground, 3 roasts (10lbs worth), a package of tenderloin (about a pound), 3 large backstraps (at least 9lbs worth), and 4lbs of stew meat.

I love my food storage :-).

 

I am worn out.  I have been going, going, going for weeks now and the night before last I only got 3 1/2 hours of sleep.  Today I slept a lot.  I hate sleeping during the day.  I’m so worried that I’m going to be depressed again.  I try to fight it.  But sometimes I just can’t.  So I allowed myself to rest today.  I’m hoping I sleep well tonight and that tomorrow is better.

I just cannot go back to sleeping all day every day.

I’m a little worried that maybe I’ve been hypomanic and that I’m headed back down again.  But I cannot base anything on one bad day.  So tomorrow I will try to get up early again (when they kids get up) and see how I do!

I am still struggling to come up with things to write about.  I have a beautiful space now to write in, and I just stare at my computer.  I want to type up a bunch of my recipes, write about my journey/story, talk about sobriety, discuss mental illness, friendship, loving who I am, self care, etc and I just can’t seem to get started!  I guess I’ll try again tomorrow!

What are some things that you would like to see more of?  That might help give me some inspiration/motivation!

Finally Thriving, Not Just Surviving

The past 2 weeks have been long and stressful and amazing.  I was in town 10 times in those 2 weeks (either Kerrville or Rocksprings).  Karis broke her arm and we went to urgent care on Monday the 9th, Karis started school on the 10th, choir was on the 11th, we went to the orthopedic doctor on the 12th, the 14th we went to Wild Seed Farms and Robert and I had a date day (amazing day!!!!!), the 15th we went to the Alumni meeting at La Hacienda and I got my 1 year chip (and we picked up the kids), the 16th I went to AA (and Robert took Ethan to the ER that night for asthma), the 17th I went to town to get Ethan’s steroid med filled, the 18th was choir, the 19th Karis met with her partner for science fair at the library, and Friday Ethan and I went to the doc for a follow up and we got groceries.  The urgent care, ER, and doctors were not good (well, the docs and stuff were great but having to go wasn’t good), but the rest was!  And I’m really starting to feel better.  I’m having a few physical symptoms that I’m not sure about, but I’m still just taking it one day at a time.  I might go back to the doctor eventually.  It’s nothing extreme.  And tomorrow I will see my psychiatrist.  That’ll be good!  I don’t think I really need to make any changes.  I feel like things are going better and while I do have anxiety still, I don’t want to take more meds and I think it’s just something I have to live with.  I’ve learned a lot of coping skills and put those into place when I’m struggling.  Things are going well for the first time in a long time!

Tuesday we had “HAF (Home Away From) Homes.”  This is time with our gap year students (well, 3 of them).  We share with our neighbors who we love deeply.  It’s such a sweet time!

Friday was so fun.  I had an entire day with Ethan.  The appointment with the doctor went super well.  We got all of his asthma meds refilled and we’re going to focus on getting him completely stable in that area.  He got a flu shot.  Then we got donuts and got some blood work done to see what he’s allergic to.  We got groceries (I spent very little and am so proud of myself!) and we got Halloween costumes.  Then went to eat at a Chinese restaurant (Ethan’s choice).

This past weekend was so productive.

Saturday I cleaned the house nearly spotless.  It has been a long time coming!  I have just been having the kids clean it and obviously that means that things weren’t being cleaned super well. So I deep cleaned the bathrooms.  I cleaned the floors.  I cleaned and organized my bedroom (desperately needed to be done… I had piles everywhere).  I got caught up on laundry.  Washed some sheets (I need to finish that this week), and washed towels and bathroom mats.  The kids cleaned their rooms (not spotless, but good enough for now).  I did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen.

After the kids cleaned, they enjoyed time with their friends and Levi enjoyed time reading fall and Halloween books that I pulled out :-).  At the end of the day we watched a movie as a family (Spiderwick Chronicles… so good!).

Sunday I did a bunch of food prep!  Mini whole wheat pumpkin banana muffins.  Homemade whole wheat bread (though it didn’t rise real well).  I made lunches for 4 days.  I bagged snacks.  Cut cantaloupe.  Cut veggies for the veggie tray.  Froze pumpkin in candy molds for smoothies.

The kids were out playing with friends this whole time.  The boys went fishing in the river.  Karis played with her friends.  I love that they have each other!

Robert worked, then he had to go pick up the camp jeep because it broke down.

At the end of the day I did a quick pick up of the house, finished the dishes, set the coffee up for the next day, signed the kids folders, and did a little bit of spot sweeping.  I went to bed exhausted and fell asleep pretty quickly!  It was so great!

I really think having all three kids in school is the best for our family.  I feel so much better mentally/emotionally.  The kids are thriving.  Karis is actually doing so much better this time.  She feels somewhat stressed, but she’s handling it very well.  I encourage her constantly and she has amazing teachers.  She’s making A’s and B’s!  A 100 in science and even an 86 in math!  This is HUGE, especially since she came in late in the school year.  Also, she’s doing well writing with her left hand since her write arm has a cast on it!

Yesterday I went to AA (always amazing!), then I had a nice lunch on the patio of Chili’s afterwards.  Then Walmart, then home!  We had dinner with friends last night.  It was so amazing!

I always get my Sonic Coke Zero with lime before AA.  And there’s a dollar there because they take up donations to pay for the fee for using the building, material, etc.  That’s my AA Big Book.  We read “How It Works” last week and this week.  It’s my favorite chapter in the book.  It tells you how to work the 12 steps.

The burger was a Smokehouse Cheeseburger.  It had a special sauce, crumbled bacon, 2 amazing onion rings, and all the veggies.  It was so amazing, and of course I love their fries.

Today I’m hosting ladies’ Bible study here.  It’s always a sweet time of fellowship.

Life is good!!  Praise God for this!!

Happy Monday!


My day started at 5:15.  I love waking up early these days.  I got up, made coffee, woke up the boys, helped them get ready, did my Bible study, planned my day, ate breakfast, and did dishes all before 8:30.

I hung some stuff up in the school room.  I found a map and decided to hang a frame to make less white space.  It feels more cozy now.

We did school (mostly independent but I worked with her on some things such as writing, grammar, and spelling).

 

I did my AA step work for the day and read handouts and listened to audios from my dietitian.

Next up is online AA.

Lots of hard work and self care!

What is your plan for this beautiful Monday?  How will you take good care of yourself?

A Sunday Well Spent and Coming Up This Week!

We didn’t go to church today because Robert is working and we really can’t afford to drive this week (we had about $300 worth of medical expenses this pay check plus counseling, gas, groceries, etc).  Life is expensive.  Especially with mental illness (or any illness for that matter).  I’m looking forward to less expenses this coming check.  We can get through!

The kids touched up the house again and we got caught up on laundry.  I made a big pot of oatmeal for Karis and I this week (she is now gluten free so we have to find whole grains for fiber that aren’t wheat).

I spent most of my time today finishing up lesson plans and organizing binders.  I also enjoyed some time looking at Teachers Pay Teachers for writing and reading curriculum.  It was fun :-).

I’m so excited about the writing and spelling that I have bought (and the reading that I had previously bought).

The spelling is very simple, but that’s exactly what I wanted.  It’s a menu of options for practicing the words on the page.  It was only $2 for an entire year.  Well, we’ll just stop whenever Karis has gone through the whole thing (since we are starting in March, we’ll just continue it after summer).

The writing is my favorite part!!!  I bought a 5th grade informative writing bundle and a narrative writing bundle!  They are so amazing!  I have struggled with writing all along as I’ve homeschooled and this is exactly what I wanted.  I let Karis decide what we are starting, and it will be informative.  This is a research paper (5 paragraph)!  She has never done one, I don’t think.  I already bought 6th grade informative and narrative bundles, and I will be buying argumentative, poetry, and writing a novel bundles!  I have decided that we will just use these formats from now on.  I think she’s going to do really well with them.

I’m also excited about the simple grammar that I bought (decided against what I had from TpT).  It’s called Easy Grammar and it’s just that… easy and grammar.  I printed the sample lesson for this week!

Karis told me this afternoon (while looking through her binder) that she wants to start today!  She doesn’t want to wait till tomorrow :-).

Through planning our history (Story of the World Volume One) the past few days, I’m super excited about it and think that we may actually keep using this instead of moving to Notgrass in the fall.  We’ll see!  I think it’s more what Karis will like because it’s written in story form and has lots of fun activities to go with it.

We’re also going to do morning time again (Bible study, devotional, and poetry memorization) and art.

Karis is excited about it all.

In my binder I have the lesson plans for writing (obviously these were written for classroom teachers, but I will make it work for homeschool):

These are in her binder:

Reading

Writing

Math (this level is WAY too easy for her, but she doesn’t have a good grasp of long division so I went backwards… she should breeze through it and on her level soon!)

Grammar

For some reason my pictures of the spelling and history (maps) won’t load.  The history is just maps and spelling you can see by clicking the spelling link above.

She will have 3 notebooks: A reading response journal, a writing journal, and a history journal.

She and I are both ready!

Robert will be heading to Rocksprings in the morning before I leave to withdraw her.

Her teacher responded to my email and was very supportive and thinks we’re doing what’s best for her.

She’s excited that she still gets to do choir.  She’ll get to see her friends there.

She also has friends here, so she will have plenty of chance for socialization.

I’ll update in the next few days about how things have gone!  Check back!

Self Care Saturday and Planning for Summer!

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Typically I spend Saturdays preparing for the week ahead, but I’ve decided to spend today just taking care of myself and my family.

I slept till about 9:30 this morning.  It was wonderful.  Then I had breakfast and coffee.

I woke up feeling so much better today after a rough several days.  I was feeling almost suicidal yesterday I was feeling so bad.  It’s so easy to allow thoughts to get me depressed.  I need to work on that!

 

Robert and I got the kids up and moving to get their chores done (clean the house).  They dusted, swept, vacuumed, cleaned bathrooms, cleaned their rooms, folded and put away their laundry, did the dishes (unloaded and loaded dishwasher), and cleaned the living areas.  They got to earn some of the things from the treasure box that they’ve been wanting.

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There’s all sorts of fun stuff in this box.  Candy, Jeep cars (for Ethan), Star Wars hot wheels (for Levi), emojis, Shopkins (for Karis… she hasn’t outgrown these yet), and some other treats.  They get the big stuff after they get 15 stickers.  Candy is 5 stickers.  They’re learning to save up for what they really want.  Levi wasn’t willing to save up so he used his 5 stickers for candy.  I was going to be paying them money, but they prefer the treasure box!

We had an easy lunch, and now I’m just having coffee, listening to Bethel Music, next to my “peaceful waters” candle.

I have been chatting with a few friends.  I have been missing homeschooling SO much and I got a few ideas from friends about how to incorporate some things into our schedule to make learning fun for the kids and to kind of get some of my homeschooling fix.  We will have “Sunday Science Night.”  I will make a point to make sure we do our read alouds and devotional readings at night.  I just got a new devotional: Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for the Family.  

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Karis and I are starting a new mommy/daughter devotional: Between Us Girls: Walks and Talks for Moms and Daughters.

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I also have plans for summer.

I ordered Summer Bridge Activity books, Reading Journals, and we will do science labs from Apologia.  We will have a weekly library time and will play at the park in Rocksprings.

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This afternoon I’m making dinner for a sweet family here that had a baby recently.  Can’t wait to get some baby snuggles!  Whole roasted chicken and roasted veggies (with salad).  I like cooking for others.  I think the fam and I will have sausage and cabbage in the instant pot.

Tomorrow is church!

What are you doing for self care this weekend?