Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Whose Hands Are Those?

It happened the other night as I rocked my littlest baby to sleep. She was drifting off to sleep and I was dozing in and out of sleep myself. Then I looked down and thought: "Whose hands are those?"

And I felt dead serious. Like, what the heck happened to my hands?

Maybe it was the lighting or simply my lack of sleep but I did not recognize my own hands. The wedding ring? Yes. The baby they were holding? Absolutely. But my hands looked so foreign to me. I've never had very delicate looking hands. They're small, but smooth and pretty? Not really. But now? Now they look just so....old. And tired. And worn.

When someone says parenting ages you, they are not kidding.

Before we had kids this was me (fancy, I know):

And now this is me:

I swear it's only been 6 years.

The old woman that laid dormant in me all these years is leaking out of my pores and digging crevices along my skin. There are endless bags under my eyes and I could use a good teeth whitening because COFFEE is LIFE right now.

And my hands. Oh my HANDS. They seemed to have aged overnight. Where is my old Mary Kay silk hands when I need it??? I even have a callous on my pinky knuckle. No idea why. The old lady in me is definitely making an appearance. (I mean I even wrote the words "need" and "Mary Kay" in the same sentence. WHO AM I?)

There's the other side of being an old lady though. One I quite like. I'm pretty jolly. I understand that the most worthwhile things are often the simplest. I enjoy simply spending time with my people. I let things go faster. I'm more patient. I know it's easier to forgive quickly than to wait for an apology. I'm better at letting people live their own life and loving them through it. Motherhood does this to us. I am certain. It is one of God's great tools for refining us as women.

There was a time in college when I thought I wouldn't have kids until I was at least 35. Marriage? Maybe 30. Clearly God put some things and someone in my path that made those plans drastically change. So I've had to reinvent myself into a mother. And I'm pretty damn good at it.

So many people told me to not lose myself in motherhood. I get how easy it is to do. Parenting is a jungle. But I've found that I really like my monkeys. I don't mind being lost in this jungle with them for a while. Even if it ages me from the inside out, leaving me a little weathered and worn but also wiser.

Whose hands are those? They are mine. They have fed and bathed and cuddled and held and loved, loved, LOVED; and I am proud of the work they have done.

"Honor her for all her hands have done, and let her work bring praise at the city gate."
Proverbs 31:31

Saturday, April 22, 2017

26 Meals for $200

I know I've been very absent from blogging lately and that's only because I've let real life take priority. And real life right now is busy. Good, very good but so busy. Emmie is crawling now and getting into everything and Spring sports and activities are in full force. But we still need to eat so I've been meal prepping like crazy, of course. If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen plenty of my instastories how-to's. And if you've followed my most recent insta-story, you've learned my secret: gangster rap.

So yes, after shopping at the store, throw some of that on in the car and get pumped up for prepping the next 6 weeks worth of meals.

For this round I did a lot of burgers and sandwiches because two nights a week we have t-ball games that fall smack dab in the middle of dinner time so I have to pack something. Sandwiches and burgers are super easy to turn into a picnic dinner.

So here it goes...

Menu |
Pulled Pork
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Caribbean Jerk Chicken
Zesty Herb Chicken
Sesame Ginger Beef Stirfry
Sirloin Burgers
Veggie Burgers
Chile Mango Sausage and Broccoli
Mango Salsa Pork
White Chicken Enchiladas
Chili Dogs
Turkey Burgers
Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches

Grocery List |

1 giant pork loin (to divide into 4ths)
3 3-lb. bags of chicken breasts
1 3 lb. package of beef chunks or stew beef
2 packages of sirloin burgers (comes in packages of 8)
3 packages of veggie burgers (comes in packages of 4)
4 packages of chile mango sausage
3 lbs. ground beef
2 packages of hot dogs
4 lbs. ground turkey
2 chuck steaks (or roasts)
2 bags pre-made meatballs

16 oz. sour cream
2 containers of mango salsa

2 cans green chilis
2 cans tomato sauce
2 cans black beans
2 cans chili beans
1 jar pepperoncinis
2 French onion soup
4 jars marinara sauce
2 cans cream of chicken

Memphis BBQ Pit seasoning packet
1 bottle Caribbean Jerk Marinade
1 Zesty Herb seasoning packets
1 bottle Sesame Ginger marinade
Brown Sugar
Chile Powder
Garlic Powder
Worcestershire sauce
2 ranch seasoning packets

2 bags of vegetable stir-fry
2 bags sweet potato fries
2 bags broccoli florets

6 packages of hamburger buns
4 packages of tortillas
2 packages of hot dog buns
2 packages whole grain noodles

*Hefty zipper lock gallon-sized bags
*slow cooker liners

When you get home, label bags. For this round of meals I had quite a few things that just needed to go into the freezer: veggie burgers, sirloin burgers, and chile mango sausage. For those meals, I'll just thaw and grill them. I know those aren't typical things I call "meals" but this time around I want them ready to go in the freezer.

I then like to pile each bag into a pile that has the same kind of meat (a trick you may have seen on my insta-stories). This helps me move through all the meals efficiently because I'm only dealing with one type of meat at a time.

Then I go through each one meal by meal.

Recipes| (make 2 of each)

Pulled Pork
1/4 of the pork loin (about 4 lbs.)
1 packet Memphis BBQ seasoning
1 heaping tablespoon of brown sugar

Add 1 cup of water upon cooking. Cook on low for 8 hrs. Shred and serve of buns with BBQ sauce.

Spaghetti & Meatballs
2 jars marinara sauce
1 bag meatballs

Cook on low for 6 hours. Serve with noodles (keep noodles in the pantry).

Caribbean Jerk Chicken
1.5 lbs. chicken breasts
1/2 bottle of Caribbean Jerk marinade

Thaw and grill.

Zesty Herb Chicken
1.5 lbs. of chicken
1 packet Zesty Herb seasoning packet

Thaw and grill.

Sesame Ginger Beef Stirfry
1.5 lbs. of chunk beef
1/2 bottle of Sesame Ginger marinade

Thaw and grill. Freeze stir fry bag with this and then steam it while cooking the meat. I'll probably add some rice to this meal.

Sirloin Burgers
Freeze with hamburger buns. Thaw and grill.

Veggie Burgers
Freeze with hamburger buns. Thaw and grill.

Chile Mango Sausage and Broccoli

To cook, simply thaw and grill. I like to roast the broccoli in olive oil, salt and pepper.

Mango Salsa Pork
1/4 the pork loin (about 4 lbs. of it)
1 tub mango salsa

8 hours on low. Shred and serve with the tortillas you will freeze with it.

White Chicken Enchiladas
1.5 lbs. chicken breast
8 oz. sour cream
1 can cream of chicken
1 can diced green chilis
Cumin and chile powder

8 hrs. on low. Shred and rolls into tortillas with cheese. Place in pan, top with extra sauce from the crock pot and more cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Chili Dogs
1 lb. cooked ground beef
1 can tomato sauce
1 can rinsed chili beans
1 can rinsed kidney beans
Chile powder
Garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar

6-8 hrs. on low. Grill hot dogs (or warm them in a separate crock pot) and serve on buns topped with chili, cheese, and all the fixings.

Turkey Burgers
4 lbs. ground turkey
2 eggs
3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Smoked paprika
Garlic Powder
Salt and pepper

Hand mix and form into patties. Thaw and grill. Serve on buns. The Worcestershire sauce is everything in these.

Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches
1 chuck roast or chuck steaks (3 lbs.)
1 ranch seasoning packet
1 can French onion soup
1/2 jar of pepperoncinis

8 hrs. on low. Shred and serve on buns. I like to add cheese and BBQ sauce because that's who I am.

Done. {Insert applause}