9/22/17

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

Forgive me, this is not a real clear recipe but it's hard to mess up...and it's amazing!

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry makes a lot and it gets better after it has been refrigerated and reheated.

Seriously, this is one of my favorite meals. We eat it over white rice and top with cilantro and Sriracha (for the adults). It took a few tries for my kids to warm up to this meal, but I now have 3/4 of them eating it. I call that a win.


What I love is that you can use all kinds of vegetables. I usually put handfuls of frozen spinach and green peas and make it a really veggie heavy dish.

.......

large diced onion
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs

tons of veggies - suggestions...

diced bell pepper
carrots
cauliflower 
cabbage
frozen spinach
frozen peas

1/2 can of coconut milk (more if you like)
chicken broth (I use this)

teaspoon minced garlic
salt

red pepper flakes - 1/2 teaspoon is a good starting point, less if you are sensitive to spicy

curry powder (2 tablespoons, more if you like)
turmeric (1 teaspoon, more if you like) (optional)

toppings:
cilantro
Siracha

............

This is how I make it...

Dice onion and put it in the slow cooker first, then layer chicken thighs. Salt to taste. Then add coconut milk and garlic. Give it a stir. Throw in tougher vegetables like carrots and peppers but hold off on vegetables like cauliflower or peas so they won't get soggy. You can add them at the end.

Pour in enough chicken broth to mostly cover the chicken and vegetables.

Add remaining spices.

Cook it on low for 4-6 hours. Add more delicate vegetables 30 minutes to an hour before serving.

Serve over white rice, add toppings.

9/20/17

Fall Meals

A while back I learned the magic of having a meal bank, a list of meals our family eats regularly that I can easily refer to when meal planning.

I recently switched out my summer list for fall and winter foods, whoo hoo! Though it's still summer temperatures where we live, it is time to change up the menu and embrace soups, glorious soups.

The beauty of fall and winter food is that much of it freezes well and is even better the 2nd or 3rd time around.

Today, I'm sharing my fall meals. I will link to some of the recipes, but honestly I am not a strict follower of recipes. I'm always substituting up and improvising. If I left a link off a recipe, it's because I can't find one close enough to the one I use. I will do my best to do separate posts on those meals....especially this slow cooker chicken curry pictured below.


Fall Meals

taco soup
turkey chili with black beans
super food soup
chicken and quinoa soup
lentil soup
vegetable soup
chicken tortilla soup

red beans and rice
chicken pie
hot ham and cheese sandwiches
sloppy joes
hamburgers/ turkey burgers
greens, black eyed peas, corn bread
sheet pan chicken

roasted sausage and veggies
tacos
enchilada casserole
slow cooker chicken curry
spaghetti
fish and roasted vegetables
homemade pizza

We don't strictly eat from this list. I do a lot of roasted vegetables and salads as sides. I use up leftovers and make random soups. Also, I use a lot of ground turkey instead of ground beef. This list is here for reference when times are tough and I'm stuck.

What are you favorite fall meals?

.....

P.S. Using Walmart's online grocery pick up is keeping me sane!

8/26/17

A Few Things I'm Loving Lately

Hello out there!

How was your end of summer, your start of school?

We have transitioned semi-successfully, and I must admit I like the structure and routine school provides. We are getting more sleep, eating better meals, and benefiting from a little separation as all 4 of my kids are doing some school this year. Hallelujah!

I thought I'd pop in to say hello and share a few things I have been LOVING lately.


1. I bought a THIRD LOVE bra and it is 100% amazing, probably the only bra I've ever worn that actually fits and is comfortable. I can't wait to buy another one.

2. Wal-mart grocery pick up has changed my life. I used this service all summer, and it spared me the torture of taking kids with me to the store.

3. I just finished reading Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. I found it totally fascinating!

Margo has some thoughtful insight on this book.

4. After all that reading about French parenting, I simply could not resist buying a 10-pack of these baguettes at Costco. They're made in France! Though how un-French to buy them in bulk. Ha!

5. For the past couple of Friday's we have had family movie nights. This is new for us, to enjoy a movie with the entire family. I think we've found a new weekly ritual. Last week was Beethoven, this week was Swiss Family Robinson.

What have you been loving lately?!

Some links are Amazon affiliate links.

7/26/17

No Spend Month...A Few Things

I'm having a no spend July and all my blogging this month will be about managing the financial side of home life. I'm sharing what I'm learning and ideas about saving, spending wisely, and generally being responsible with our resources.

.....

I have a confession. I bought something.


I have been stalking this GAP, 100% cotton open cardigan that has been out of stock for quite some time because it's awesome and everybody wants one.

The other day it popped up in an ad in my sidebar. When I clicked over, my size available in one color - the gray. I had to snag it, on sale for $15. Open cardigans are my favorite, and it's very difficult to find one that's not made out of synthetic materials.

I'm a cotton girl through and through.

This was worth the splurge.
.....

My goal for groceries this month was to spend only $600. I had a ton in my freezer that needed to get eaten and I wanted to challenge myself to not be so lazy in the kitchen and to really stretch our food supply. I'm so close to the finish line! I have enough food to get us to the end of the month and $40 left in the budget. I think I can...I think I can...


One little tip if you love tomatoes as much as we do, save the little bits and leftovers and freeze them in a plastic bag. Also, if a tomato is mealy or partly bad you can salvage the good part and freeze it. Later you can use them in soups or pasta sauces. Lately I've been making pizza sauce with our freezer tomatoes bits.

Don't waste! Food is $$.

.....

This month, I evaluated the money we spend on subscriptions. I decided that my Audible subscription of 2 books per month is definitely a keeper. My 8 year old Stephen and I enjoy it the most.


I'm currently listening to and LOVING America's First Daughter.

Stephen is on the second Harry Potter.

A subscription I decided to cancel was to a Pilates site that was costing $13/month. I wasn't using it much any more. It was perfect to jump start my exercise plan when I was struggling with the craziness of school. But lately I have been walking in the evenings and finding great workouts on YouTube.

.....

Over all I'm loving the no spend month. It's not as hard as I thought it would be, and I find it very freeing to not have to decide or agonize about spending. Of course, it's not sustainable. I have to buy things. But the spending break has brought so much clarity and taught me how to be more disciplined with money.

7/24/17

Spending and Saving + Girls' Clothes

I'm having a no spend July and all my blogging this month will be about managing the financial side of home life. I'm sharing what I'm learning and ideas about saving, spending wisely, and generally being responsible with our resources.

.....

Girls' clothes are my weakness. If I have a tendency to impulse buy or make an emotional purchase, it's usually with little girl's clothes or my clothes.

Lately, I have found the best defense against overspending with little girl's clothes is to buy what I  love to begin with and be selective with hand-me-downs. To love what we have and have what we love.

Because you are only a mom to little girls once and childhood goes so fast, I think it's important to
LOVE your little girl's wardrobe. If I only had boys, I would be more into what they wear. But since my boys are destroyers of all things nice, I choose to spend more time, effort, and money on dressing the girls.

I enjoy dressing Laurie and Caroline in pretty and playful prints and understated pieces. I like mostly simple, classic children's clothes, not ladies clothes shrunk down to children's size.

Even if it means spending a little more, I think it's so important to LOVE what your girls wear. Even pj's. Especially pj's.

.....

One way I'm finding to save money is to take a really good inventory. Every few months I have been going through my girls' things and evaluating what we already have. We have tons of hand-me-downs from cousins and friends and sometimes it all piles up and we just have SO MUCH that I get overwhelmed.

When I sort it out and decide what to keep I play this little game where I shop my own stuff. I'm very selective in what I keep. I ask myself "What would I pay for again if I was building my daughters' wardrobes from scratch?"

Another trick is to cull enough to "pack" for an imaginary 3 week vacation in your climate.

I find that these games help me make decisions. After a big inventory, I will make a list of needed items and then I try to buy exactly what I want so that it is a satisfying purchase.

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One last idea...

One day I was scrolling Instagram and I spotted a little girl wearing a summery dress that my daughter owns. This little girl also had on leggings and a sweater with that dress. It was styled so cute.

I don't know why this was such a revelation to me, but I realized I could definitely do more layering during the fall and winter instead of putting away summer dresses and replacing them with all long sleeved items.

Especially since where I live we have mild falls and winters. I think we will try hanging on to all the summer items as long as they last and still fit.

Laurie was a sweet little model for me for this post. Watch how she takes the same dress from summer to fall to winter.

summer...



fall...
 

winter....

See how that works! So fun reinventing the same dress. It's like getting a little shopper's high without shopping.
.....

So what are your thoughts on spending and girls clothes?

P.S. I appreciate all your comments on the previous posts in this series! Thanks for reading.  

7/12/17

Classic, Low-Cost Way to Dress Little Boys

I'm having a no spend July and all my blogging this month will be about managing the financial side of home life. I'm sharing what I'm learning and ideas about saving, spending wisely, and generally being responsible with our resources.
......

Today, I'm talking/typing about boys' clothing. My boys are wonderfully hard on their clothes. They frequently have holes and rips from climbing trees or grease stains from messing around with boats and vehicles with my husband. 

I think their destructiveness on their wardrobe started around age 4 for each of them.

I remember sending Stephen to preschool in the cutest Honey Bee Tee, feeling like such a proud mama, dressing him so cute! He didn't wear his shirt two times before he took a pair of scissors and cut a huge hole in it.

It's pretty much been down hill from there.

So here is the most practical and economical way I've found to dress my boys during the summer months.

100% cotton, solid color tee from Walmart 
shorts from Old Navy (toddler and big boy)


I buy solid tee's on sale from Old Navy and Gap, too, but the Walmart Fruit of the Loom ones are less than $3! And they have great colors. I'm a total stickler for 100% cotton, and I always check that before buying. Sometimes the manufacturers change on you and sneak a little polyester in there. Beware.

They have other random t-shirts from school or wherever, but if I'm buying I stick to this solid, boy-friendly uniform.

For shoes, we are loving Natives. They are a sneaker and a water shoe all in one, and they have held up really well.
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In addition to being low-cost, I really like the way the solid t-shirt and shorts combo looks.
I love understated, simple clothes on children. No obnoxious sayings please!

I do think sewing something cool like their age or a robot would be so cute, and a fun way to personalize the shirt. Inspiration from Margo. Maybe I'll get around to that.

My boys really don't have an opinion (yet) about what they wear, so let's hope we can hold off on the sports wear as long as possible. I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

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Do you have outfit formulas for your kids? Boys or girls?
How do you manage the costs of children's clothes?
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