How I changed my marriage with this one simple action I put in to place that also saves me time & money

Weekly Meal Planning

A few weeks ago my family and I decided to do a meal plan. I don’t know about you but the “what’s for dinner” question has stirred many arguments in my marriage more than money or s.e.x. Actually we don’t ever fight about those common topics but dinner has caused some heated discussions over the years. We decided it was time to do something about this.

We looked at a couple of different meal plans to use and we finally settled on The Fresh 20. We choose this plan because it takes 20 ingredients and provides 5 meals for the week. The best part is all the ingredients are fresh so we are shopping only the outer isles of the grocery store, which means less processed foods in the house! It was just a win/win for us. Another thing I like is that you will cook one meal and you save certain portions of the meal you prepared to use in another recipe later in the week. Such a great thing.

We have found ourselves falling off the plan and of course getting back in to arguments. My hubby has been doing all the cooking for several years now so I think it is hard for him to let go of control. We did this same thing when we did the Dave Ramsey debt snowball. I was diligent in following ever step Dave laid out but my hubby would go off the plan and I would have to reel him back in. Again, he does all the managing of our money so giving up some control is hard.

We’ve made a total of 6 meals so far and out of all those meals only one has been a flop. Each time I make a meal, we note what we like and what needs to be tweaked and then I write it down on the recipe for the next time we make it. I will also say, I am a very picky eater. For me it is all about texture and of course taste. For example, in the past my husband has tried to get me to eat brown rice. I hated it mainly for the texture. With the Fresh20 meal plan, they use a lot of brown rice, which didn’t thrill me but I kept an open mind. Because of the way they have you prepare it and what we are serving it with, I actually like it! I have eaten things I never thought I would eat and I actually have an open palate now.

One of the other benefits of doing a meal plan is it saves you time and money. It saves you time because you are only going to the grocery store once a week. My hubby did all the grocery shopping in our family and he would go to the store 2 to 3 times a week. He would come home with food but never planned meals so we had all these meats but no direction on how we were going to cook them. Thus the cycle of arguments began because I couldn’t understand why he just went to the grocery store but we have nothing to eat for dinner. We also save money because now we are buying ingredients for meals rather than just buying food because it is on sale or to stock the freezer.

Overall, this has been a great move for our family especially our marriage and believe me I’m not exaggerating there! If you follow me on Instagram, you can see photos of meals I prepared. I’d also love to hear from you if you do meal planning in your home and if so, how is it working for you? Be sure to leave a comment below.

Waiting for a bloom to turn into a harvest

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This year we decided to plant a small garden. We purchased two large above ground containers and planted cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, basil and thyme. I’ve never planted cucumbers before so I was excited to see if we would produce any. Imagine my delight when I went out one morning and noticed dozens of blooms on the plant. I was told that each flower represents a cucumber that will be produced so in my mind if that was the case, I was going to have one bountiful crop!

I patiently waited and waited and it would seem like little cucumbers were starting to grow and then they would disappear. Suddenly my bountiful harvest produced only 3 cucumbers. One of which we threw away because it was so curved it wouldn’t grow any more the other is still on the vine growing but not sure if it will fully develop and one that grew perfectly and we kept and ate.

I was so disappointed that what I thought was blooming suddenly didn’t. I feel like that in my life right now. There are certain things that I have been planing for and expecting a bountiful harvest only to get a small recognition. It has been frustrating and there are times where I feel like I literally can’t move forward as if my hands were tied on purpose and I just need to wait. Waiting sucks! I’m not going to lie or sugar coat it. There is this constant feeling like there is something you should be doing and then we you try to take a step forward you only muck things up worse.

I’m not sure when my harvest will start to produce but I’ll do like the quote says and just concentrate on the task before me.

What about you? Have you ever felt like you are in a holding pattern waiting for your harvest to produce? I’d love to feel like I’m not alone. Please leave a comment below.

Ways to Use Your Journal – Fashion Notebook

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Here is a short video that shows you how you can use your journal as a fashion notebook. I made this video some time ago so we are using on of our older journals in case you were wondering :) You’ll also see some major savings I scored on an outfit verses my inspiration piece.

Minimal efforts for greater gain

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Recently my hubby and I made the decision to turn off our cable. We decided to opt for an HD antenna and subscribe to Netflix. We did this gosh I guess about 6 months ago and we haven’t looked back. We haven’t missed cable at all. We actually find that we watch less TV and I feel like I’m more intentional and productive. Plus, I don’t miss all those stinking reality shows especially the Kardasian one.

I was on my iPad the other night getting ready to watch a movie and on the new release section of the account was a promo for a move called “Tiny“. It intrigued me and I decided to watch it. My eyes were opened to a world of people building what they call “tiny homes,” which is anything under I believe 500 sq feet. The average tiny home is about 186 sq feet. Not only did the home intrigue me but it was more the reason why most of these people choose to build a tiny home and downsize. I could so identify with their reasoning. There is a great article here that explains a bit more and has a great infograph on the “tiny home” movement. I also created a Pinterest board with some great images of tiny homes.

Maybe its because I’m getting older (like Clooney says) or maybe it is a movement that is up and coming but I find that I’m tired of buying crap to fill up my home just because I have the space. I find that when I purchase things now, I want to fewer things but better quality. That is the idea behind one company called Cuyana. Their philosophy is simple: “We believe in both beauty and intentional buying. We love the joy of finding treasures and the pride of spending wisely. We know that with less we are more and that the essence of insight is simplicity.” I just love this brand and their site is amazing so be sure to check it out. They certainly are inspiring me to want to simplify and how I can apply this approach to my own business.

One of my favorite podcasts is The Lively Show with Jess Lively. I love listening the show while I’m taking my walks. She recently had Dana Shultz of Minimalist Baker on her show. Here are some notes about the show, “Dana is a talented food blogger who crafts gorgeous, easy to make recipes that often have a vegan, dairy-free, or gluten-free slant. In the show, Dana explains what minimalism means and shares how she and her husband have implemented several big and small changes that have created more time, space, and freedom in their lives.” It is a really great show so be sure to check it out.

What about you? Does simplifying intrigue you like it does me? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

 

Finding Time to Journal – Tip #2

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Last week’s tip was so popular that I decided to share another tip. I certainly have plenty. If I can get you to journal just a little bit, you will begin to see the power of it. I hope this tip is helpful.

Finding Time to Journal – Tip #1

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We did a poll recently where we asked people what is the number one reason you don’t journal more and the majority of you answered that it is because you don’t have time. We’ll we’ve got you covered with tips we will be sharing to find more time to journal. Here is the first tip.

Is cursive handwriting disappearing?

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I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and she was sharing with me how they are no longer teaching cursive writing in schools. I don’t have children yet so I wasn’t aware of this but it shocked me. I decided to do a little research and came across this article. Of course my immediate thought was how are they going to sign any papers in life such as mortgage papers, wills, contracts, etc. I mean I think back to the Declaration of Independence and how John Handcock’s was the first signature and now when we want someone to sign something we often hear the phrase, “put your John Handcock here.” I mean could you imagine looking at our Declaration and not seeing all those beautiful signatures?

I am all for technology I mean one of my businesses runs on it but it is sad to see that handwriting is now becoming an art rather than a standard practice in daily living. To me a signature is like your finger print. I mean you identify yourself so much by your signature or your handwriting. There are even handwriting analyst out there.

There are some great articles on the benefits of the act of handwriting. This one by Psychology Today is great as well as this one from Mental Floss. One of the biggest benefits that struck me was it keeps your brain sharper when you get older. Here’s an excerpt from the Mental Floss article:

“According to The Wall Street Journal, some physicians claim that the act of writing — which engages your motor-skills, memory, and more — is good cognitive exercise for baby boomers who want to keep their minds sharp as they age.”

I shared the question, “What are your thoughts about taking out cursive writing in schools?” on Facebook and below are some responses I received.

facebook-commentsI’d love to know your thoughts. Be sure to share below or join us over on Facebook.

Recap of The Southern C Summit 2014

Last year I learned about The Southern C Summit and I was extra excited by the fact it was only an hour away in Jekyll Island, GA. I wrote about it here. I know most conferences are held in the mid-west or on the west coast so it was nice to have a conference that celebrates entrepreneurs on the east coast but more importantly the good ‘ol south!

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When the announcement came that this year’s conference would be in Charleston, SC, I didn’t hesitate to sign up. I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity and to top it off, I have been wanting to visit Charleston as I have heard it is becoming really progressive and loaded with budding entrepreneurs. I even read this amazing article of all the great creatives that are coming out of Charleston.

The other piece that made me super excited was a chance to meet a designer I have been following, Alesya of AlesyaBags.com. I learned about Alesya from one of the presenters of last year’s summit. I started reading her blog and felt an instant connection to her. I devoured her blog because she shared a lot of the struggles and successes she’s had with her line of laptop bags. I identified with many of those in designing the journals.

I made it my mission this year to if nothing else at least get to meet her in person since she lives in Charleston. I had my struggles getting to the conference and was a little irritated when I arrived because of the down pour of rain that ensued. I made it to the conference and ended up connecting with a great lady named Judy. Her and her husband designed the Kebo, which is an amazing and beautiful bottle opener and it works beautifully. We sat together at the conference and made friends quickly since we both have products. I never did get a chance to connect with Alesya that first day much less knew if she was even there.

By the end of the first day, I was ready to go and get checked in to my hotel room. We then had to come back for a cocktail hour, which I was hesitant to go to out of shear shyness and fear. I then made the decision to step out of my comfort zone. I decided I would email Alesya on the off chance she was checking email and see if we could connect that evening. Within 5 minutes of sending her an email, she wrote me right back and said she had just purchased her ticket and would be at the cocktail reception. I was over the moon then!!! Stepping out of my comfort zone paid off.

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Alesya and I the last day of the summit.

Long story short, I hung out with Alesya, Judy and a new friend I made Tamara of Jem of the South, for the rest of the week. It was wonderful and we all connected so beautifully. Alesya and I even went to dinner where we shared thoughts, ideas, stories and frustrations. I didn’t think it was possible but I think this year’s conference was better than last, at least for me. The connections were so much deeper and stronger and the speakers were so honest, real and down to earth. They were all very approachable. I can’t wait for next year’s conference, which I have an insider scoop it will be in Charleston next year as well.

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Myself, Judy and Tamara

One last interesting thing I want to share. The last day we had a brunch at the Le Creuset headquarters in Charleston. It was such an amazing facility. It was right on the Ashley River and if I was an employee I would love to go to work there everyday. Before I left to start my drive back to Jacksonville, I decided to use their restroom. I had a huge chuckle when I walked in to the bathroom and saw their sinks below. Talk about branding. I plan to be at next year’s event. I’d love to see you there too.

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Sink at Le Creuset headquarters bathroom.

 

The Power of Meet Ups

quote-connectingFor the last 11 years, I have worked out of my home. I’ve met amazing people from all over the world but most of them I have never met in person and while I talk on the phone most days, I still feel very isolated and alone at times. My husband works at home as well so we are together 24/7 basically and bless his heart, he has been a girlfriend to me more times than he should.

I decided it was time to do something about this and stop feeling so recluse. I have used the Meetup.com website in the past and had major success with it but I had put it on the back burner and hadn’t really visited it in quite some time. For those who may not know what Meetup.com is, here is a very quick and dirty description. It is a website where you can go to find groups of people that meet in your area. You can find a group based on your topic of interest. For example if you love wine, you can find a vino group that meets.

When I first moved back to Florida, I used Meetup.com to start to find some friends. It was great and totally helped me to make some long term friendships. About a week ago, I was notified via Meetup that there was a new group for women forming so I joined. As I was looking at the members of the group, I came across one person who wrote the following description of herself:

“Hi everyone! I am a 40-something work-at-home Graphic Designer… so I don’t get to meet people. I love my husband but I need to meet some “girl friends” to do fun things with or even just relax and chat.”

It was as if I had written this! I knew instantly I needed to meet this person so I posted on her profile and she wrote me back. A few emails back and forth and this past Saturday we met for lunch and talked for 2 1/2 hours! It was so great to connect with someone in person. I have a new found friend!

If you work from home, what do you do to keep from feeling isolated? Have you ever tried a meet up group? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Be sure to leave a comment below.

(Source: simplybeingaisha)