Meal Plan Wednesday<– see what I did there?


I have been on some what of a roll with meal planning again- and since we are trying to work the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University program I have to be intentional about my grocery budget anyways- which means I really have to meal plan. Summer is always much easier for me to blog my meals plans because I love the veggies and fruits that are available which give us such a variety of side dishes to have. Historically looking at my blog you can see I do better at blogging my meal planning this time of year and then taper off and quit blogging it come holiday time- I still meal plan I just don’t always blog it…anyways- Meal plan blogs will be back for now.

What I hope to see evolving in my meal plans are:

Improved planning that includes lunches or at least leftovers that can feed Jason AND myself for lunch the next day

Improved consistency- even if it means we are eating the same stuff each week at least I am planning it out.

Improved use of planning to the sales- I really have no pantry space and I want to be efficient with the staples I have in there –and while we have a deep freezer- we routinely are tossing freezer burned meat that is 6 months old and was at the bottom and forgotten under the big box of eggos and the bag of potstickers. I really prefer meat that is fresh or only frozen for a week or 2 at most anyways–So I need to do better at not grabbing a butt load of meat cause ITS ON SALE and we HAVE A FREEZER—that said I need to do better at portioning it out —we got lazy and were throwing the full trays of meat directly into the freezer….which means I have to thaw 9 chicken breasts and we eat chicken all week…so I need to do better at those things.

Right now planning and shopping on Wednesdays for the following Thursday- Wed seems to be working for my schedule so thats what I have been doing–that may change come summer but for now thats what it is.


Mississippi Roast (crock pot)

potato and green beans


Sloppy joes

fries and fruit


Brunch French toast casserole and bacon and eggs

Maybe something with mom and dad for “linner”

FUN FRIDAY NIGHT OUT– maybe a few cocktails and an appetizer at the karaoke bar after the comedy club


Hot dogs- pasta salad and grilled zucchini

boys raviolis for dinner (fend for themselves)
J2 at Taryns wedding


Peanut chicken,+20+Meals

Fried rice

pot stickers? (if we get to costco)


Copy Cat Olive Garden Five Cheese Baked Ziti Al forno and garlic bread


Jas and Connor at science camp
Mom and Ty Red Baron Pizzas


Last weeks hits:

Laloosh’s Asian Meatballs are a big winner here- boys even gobble them up
I follow the recipe except I use 2 pounds of ground turkey and it yields 35 ping pong sized meatballs which satisfies me the hubs and 2 teen boys which served with a little jasmine rice- everyone is usually hankering for a snack after this one though so I may try adding in egg rolls or pot stickers next time to stretch it

We LOVE Herbed Basmati rice or what we call “wife rice” cause that’s what our friends who gave us the recipe call it. I cheated and used 2 of the 90 second Uncle Bens basmati rice packets in the microwave rather then cooking regular basmati in chicken broth and this totally was still really good –the fresh herbs and the cheese and pine nuts just really make this so yummy.

See hundreads of other Meal PLans at OrgJunkie’s Meal PLan Monday- here

STEM Science club trip

I got to chaperon Connor to the STEM Science club trip to California —30 5th and 6th graders on a bus for 7 hours…WOOT


We went to Disneyland to learn about physics



and to the California Science center to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor.


It was a pretty fantastic trip with lots of amazing memories for me and my boy.

Cruisin’ for our 14th Anniversary

I don’t know what happened to me since my last post on January 11th either folks!

Oh wait–yeah I do.  The hubs was super sweet and booked us on a fun get away for our 14th wedding anniversary.  Thanks to mom and dad who stayed put with the kiddos and dogs we jetted off to Cali and had a blast staying at the Queen Mary






The next morning we boarded the Carnival Imagination and jetted off for a 4 day Baja Mexico cruise.  We really had a blast and would do this same itinerary again and again.


Catalina Island we rented a golf cart and putzed around- then made it back to the ship just before a downpour of rain- perfect nap time!



In Ensenada we chilled out on the deck of the ship and then wander into town for a a fabulous 90 minute couples massage- then we had some of the very best tacos we have ever had and did some shopping.



We made some great friends on our table at dinner and we all got a group shot to remember everyone by:



The last day was a sea day and we took advantage of the relaxation



After we disembarked we headed to Hollywood to be tourists for a bit (don;t even need to do that again- pretty lame) then we flew home




Only took us 11 days into the new year to get our Christmas thank you notes done. …. We are getting better! !!


We were incredibly blessed in 2013 and so happy to host family and friends for tons of holiday gatherings filled with love, fun and food all in our new home.

Can’t wait to make more memories with every one in 2014

January 2014 Meal Plan

I can’t seem to get into the swing of meal planning anymore- so when I get the bug I just bust through- Last month I was able to do an entire month–but there was a lot of party planning and attending so it cut down the days I have to cook considerably— this month though..with its glorious 31 days…was a bit more challenging.  But I busted a Month of ideas out- which will at least get me started on grocery lists and push me when I am unmotivated.



The boys return to their weekly Wednesday Night Small groups again where they eat pizza- so Jas and I usually plan a date night for just us two…So that cut down 5 meals that I have to cook–most every other night I have something planned—Without further chit chat  here are the meals (and by popular demand the LINKS to the recipes) I plan to make at some point this month:

Image courtesy of


Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole
Sloppy Joes
Kahlua Pork
Pumpkin Stuffed Shells
Pizza night at small group/date night
Easy Chicken Parm
White CHIcken Chile
sub sammies and grammy miracle whip chicken pastasalad
Onion CHicken
Turkey Burgers
pizza night at small group/date night for J2
CHicken tortellin Alfredo
Bacon Party??
Mississippi Roast
Chicken and Spanish Rice burritos
BBB Meatball sliders
Guys at ASU game Jess FFY
Broccoli Cheese soup
Baked Ziti
* Image courtesy of Weddings with Insight blog post



Out of the Box 2.0



This month our church is partnering with others in our community to try and gather 10,000+ food boxes for families in the Gilbert area.  The boys and I got to participate in the fun video promo above (watch for our cameo- Ty is a big star ) and this weekend we loaded up our boxes to take back to kick off the season.  It was a fun experience and something we really like to do as a family together.  Connor even shot a vlog for his own youtube channel and it really touched me how much he seemed to really get out of the giving part of it all.




If you would like to participate it is easy– the list of items is posted below or you can even print off a bar code and shop at your local Albertsons—have them scan the bar code and automatically without “shopping” or packing or lugging any boxes on your behalf you are able to donate as many boxes of food as you choose!


If you really like to get into the spirt of the Our of the Box event you can even join us for an Albertsons INVASION!!

Join us on Sunday, December 22 from 9:00pm to 11:00pm for a fun way to take part in Out of the Box 2.0.  Sun Valley has joined forces with Albertson’s and the Salvation Army to not only take care of the needs in our community, but to have fun while doing it.  That Sunday night you and your family will be able to go into Albertson’s and purchase all of the items on the list for one, or multiple, boxes.  After you pay for the purchase you will then be able to put it in a box and then directly into the Salvation Army truck that will be there.

There will be coffee, hot chocolate, cookies and even caroling while you are in the store and in the parking lot.  This will be an incredible event for the entire Sun Valley Community.  We can’t wait to see you there!!!

When: Sunday, December 22  ::  9:00 – 11:00pm
Where: 861 E. Warner Rd. (Corner of Lindsay & Warner) in Gilbert


Merry Christmas!!–speaking of Christmas- wanna come to Christmas Eve services with us this year??? Let me know ;-) Jason and I are serving at all three services on the 23rd ;-)


The REASON for the season



It’s that time of year again when people get snippy about Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Santa and Jesus, Star verses Angel, Nativities with the three wise men verses without, giving vs. receiving etc etc.2013-11-28 23.27.42

I could go on a big long spiel about why we choose to do this silly game-

People think its creepy, people think it glorifies naughty behavior, people see it as yet anther marketing ploy designed to distract away from the REAL meaning of Christmas etc.

As a Christian I feel even more like I have to justify it- cause there is an awful lot of “parent shaming” that goes around on the internet when it comes to the whole concept of Christmas traditions—-be it Santa or Elf on the Shelf-  Some of it is blatant shaming filled with holier than thou snark— others simply boast about their traditions while explaining why its better then the traditions of others so its less intentional but still comes off as somewhat snarky.

We started it the year after the boys learned that Santa is not real. (which-too be honest as I have grown in my own walk with Christ- I think I would still do the Santa thing all over again- but I digress)- that’s all fodder for a different blog post

Even if I still want to see them like this

Tyler 2000

Tyler 2000


Connor 2004

Connor 2004




The fact is that I have blinked and they are so much older now

2013-11-30 12.38.45


but even with the years having passed they still have a tremendous sense of wonder and awe and I like to tap into it and drink it up like an ice cold tea on a hot summer day–so we started the Elf on the Shelf-  if you read the whole story about him being essentially a spy for Santa etc you tap back into that Santa story-line—we don’t do any of that–what we do is put him in a new place each night for the boys to discover —and the joy on their faces is priceless…so priceless I just ENJOY it for the moment that it is occurring- I don’t try to capture it I don’t even carry my camera or phone with me- I just watch them and laugh with them. (I do snap a pic the night we place him–  for the memory books–see this years spots here)

I bond with my husband for the first several weeks while its fresh new and fun and we figure out new spots to put him in— then when it wears off and we are laying in bed on Dec 10th and recall– oh shoot– we didn’t move the elf– we tease over who has to go do it…

I went all out that first year and did a little breakfast to welcome him even.


2011 Elf breakfast

The whole thing is ripe with memories, togetherness, fun and love. Even if there is a little mischief mixed in.  We also have some absolutely cherished Santa memories as well.


2006 Polar Express

Twas the Night Before Christmas 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas 2008

Caroling over cocoa at Santa's Workshop at the North Pole Experience 2010

Caroling over cocoa at Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole Experience 2010



Is Christmas about the birth of Christ? YES- it is. We have traditions rooted in making sure that we sharpen our focus every year so our hearts zero in on that fact more and more.




We also have other Christmas traditions as well- and that is ok.

The holiday season is a great time to focus on family and traditions, giving and fellow-shipping. If you spend too much time critiquing how people do this- you are missing The Reason for the Season yourself.

Merry Christmas

2013- Elf on the Shelf

Rather than do a post every day I will make this one a “living post” and add our new photo each night.

Our Elf on the Shelf “Bing Mr Amazing Geroux” made his appearance the morning after Thanksgiving this year






















***if you are interested in reading my spiel about the parent shaming that goes around about The elf on the Shelf tradition…click here