Archives

Wacky Wednesdays: Good Meal Gone Bad!

As a full time working single parent, one consistent goal I have is to provide healthy home cooked meals to my son each day. It is so tempting to eat food from a drive-thru after a long day of work, and I’ll admit that I have given in to this temptation at times. Yet, as I’ve said before, Making Life Magnificent isn’t about perfection, but progress. We are all striving to do better and to be better, so this is one area I am striving in.

But as you know, it takes more than good intentions to achieve a goal like this. Cooking home cooked meals everyday when you also work outside the home everyday can be plain ole’ HARD! You have to think of something to cook, then do the prep work, then actually cook it! I work as a school teacher, so I’m on my feet all day. There are times when the thought of being on my feet more for cooking just isn’t a happy thought for me. So I….well, rush a little and try to cut corners. One day in particular, I had such a good idea for a quick and yummy meal: Broiled Lemon Pepper Chicken with Yellow Rice and Green Beans. Sounds easy and healthy doesn’t it! I came up with this one all on my own. (usually I steal ideas from all the great ones on my Pinterest Food Board!)

Anyway, as I was rushing cooking, I ran out of steam and decided to change it to Broiled BBQ Chicken instead of Lemon Pepper. I slathered the BBQ sauce on the baked chicken and put it under the broiler that was set on high. My plan was to get the outside of the chicken just a little crispy, so while it was “broiling,” I went into the living room with my son to watch a little Wild Kratts. (such a great cartoon!) That’s when I smelled it! No, it wasn’t the sweet aroma of BBQ sauce tickling my nose! I had no idea that sauce would burn rather than broil. Instead of my chicken coming out like this: (which is what I envisioned)

It came out looking more like this:

My burnt chicken

      I can hear you now….OMG, What did she do to that chicken?!? Go ahead and get your laugh on…I was certainly laughing at myself when I stood back and looked at my finished product. I laughed even more when I saw the look on my son’s face! But before you roll over laughing, just think back to your own Good Meal Gone Bad. We all have one if we’re honest with ourselves. Since I am still learning to balance work and motherhood (and it seems a hundred other things), I have more than one Good Meal Gone Bad, but it’s ok. I’m a work in progress 🙂

I’m glad you’ve gotten a good laugh out of this. I know there are other parents out there who are striving to put decent meals on the table each day, and going to a fast-food place all the time just isn’t ideal. Not only is it more costly, but it’s not as healthy. I could look at this chicken meal and feel the urge to just throw in the towel, especially since I have The Triple Threat very near my house (McDonald’s, Zaxby’s and Arby’s). Instead here are some things I now do to make this area of my life less of a struggle:

  1. I make a written meal plan every month
    I don’t use any fancy templates, just a notebook where I write some of our favorite meals (that I know I can cook!) and I match these recipes with the food inventory in my house to make sure I have what I need.
  2. I bulk cook on weekends, then freeze those meals for later
    This one change has made a huge difference in my life! Freezer meals are healthy & convenient! And there are TONS of ideas out there with step-by-step instructions. See here. freezer meals Just don’t forget to take them out ahead of time so they can thaw properly.
  3. I use my Crock-Pot!!
    If you don’t have one of these glorious inventions, please invest in one. It is a life-saver! Great meal ideas here. crock pot
  4. I plan which days will be restaurant days
    Ok, sometimes you do really need to take a break. If your budget allows it, choose at least one day a week to pick up something to eat or go to a restaurant. For my son and I, Fridays are pizza nights; I pick up a pizza instead of cooking to give me a night off. There are lots of restaurants that have kids eat free night. Check them out in your area using this site: www.mykidseatfree.com

      With planning and focus, this area of your life can truly be magnificent! My meals may be wacky at times, but not all the time. My Homemade Blueberry Pancakes were a hit this morning! Homemade Blueberry Pancakes So don’t quit. Keep cooking. Keep smiling.

Wacky Wednesdays: Kids Really Do Say (and Do) The Funniest Things!

Everyone needs to laugh! Laughter is like medicine. Since we know that life can be a beautiful struggle, we should do ourselves a favor and laugh out loud!  I can tell you for sure that as a parent and teacher, some of the funniest things I’ve ever seen or heard were from KIDS! The thing that makes them so funny is their sincerity in what they say and do. For the most part, they are being as honest and as real as they know how to be.  Remember the show by Bill Cosby from the 90’s Kids Say the Darnest Things? I still remember some of those episodes…cracking up laughing at those cute little kids.

To lighten the load on this “hump day,” I thought I’d revive the spirit of KID COMEDY! I’ve collected (from my own crazy life and from others) funny things kids say and do!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When my son Caleb was 2 years old, decided he wanted to look like paw paw. So he pulled up his shirt to let his belly out and put on my dad’s shoes, but then he couldn’t stop watching the tv!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Caleb decided to show up for dinner one evening dressed as his favorite character from Super Why!

markers

We get upset when kids draw on walls or on their clothes. What would you do if your child made a work of art out of his siblings?!


ambercrombie kid

poop picture When asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” 4 year-old Caleb said, “A daddy in the daytime and a ninja turtle at night.”

7 year old Kayla was outside with her mom when a ladybug landed nearby. With a puzzled look on her face, she turned and asked her mom, “What is the daddy ladybug called?”

As we were riding home from church one day, Caleb (whose now 5) says to me from the backseat, “Mommy I always wanted to pet a squirrel. That’s my real dream.”

A grandmother was in the store with her small grandson and he saw something that he really wanted. He began to plead with his grandmother to get it for him and she kept responding, “Well I don’t have the money right now.” Finally, the little boy–with a puzzled look on his face–said to his grandmother, “If you don’t have any money, why you in the store for?”

  I could go on and on all day with this! I’m sure you have funny stories and pictures to share as well. Keep laughing and keep Making Life Magnificent!

Related Articles:
15 Cringeworthy Things Little Kids Say in Public
Kids Say the Darndest Things (22 Pics)
Wacky Wednesday: My Weird Food Habit

Coupons Aren’t Just For Crazy Ladies!

Save

Now that we are into the New Year, one “resolution” you may be saying or hearing often revolves around being more financially smart. We want to save more, invest more, spend less, but keep our quality of life in the process.

When my son was born, money really needed to be stretched, and the help I needed to stretch those dollars even further came in the form of coupons! Now that I know how to use coupons and I’ve seen first hand how much you can save using them, I will never go back to paying full price for certain items.

Now, before you tune out, hear me out…coupons are not just for crazy ladies taking tons of time in the checkout line. I just recently saw a man in a Bi-Lo grocery store with a stack of coupons and his shopping list. SMART man!  If you are curious about couponing, below I’m featuring a blog post from one of my favorite coupon blogs Southern Savers.

This site features great info about how and where to coupon (and no, I’m not getting paid to say this!) Just click on the picture to get started couponing.

From Southern Savers

     If you want to know more about how to get started with coupons, take a look at their list of how to do that. Then stay tuned as I compile a list of my own with tips for how to Make Life Magnificent with coupons! 🙂

My New Baby

     I have a new baby…here he is!!

photo

     Hopefully you aren’t too disappointed that I’m not talking about a real human child! My one child has enough energy to equal about three kids, so for now, I’m content on the number of actual children I have!

      In my pursuit of Making Life Magnificent, I believe in trying new things and challenging myself to grow. I encourage you to do the same. Don’t become stale! Get out and experience something different. Especially when that “new thing” you want to try is something that could really improve your life. And let’s face it, anything that will get those brain engines firing up and create anticipation should be good for you! It certainly beats feeling that “same old, same old” feeling day after day.

      So I am exploring a new hobby: sewing. This may seem second nature to some of you, like breathing! For me, however, it’s like learning Rocket Science. But I am not going to quit! I’ve been pinning all sorts of great things on my Making Clothes and Sewing Pinterest Board, but I’m still thirsty for more tips and ideas on how to sew. Here are some things I am especially interested in:

  • Taking in shirts or dresses at the waist

  • Hemming pants or long dresses

  • Any sewing related to kids clothing

  • Upcycling/Upgrading shoes  (is this even possible with a sewing machine?…if not, no prob. I still like the idea of it!)

If you have sewing tips or maybe you know someone who is really good at sewing, come my way and share your wonderful ideas. In the meantime, I’ll keep you updated with my progress and projects!

 

Happy 2014 New Year, Fun with Flipagram!

I am usually not one to get caught up in trends, but I must admit–this Flipagram was fun to make!! It really helped me to see that my commitment to Making Life Magnificent started long ago. These pictures with captions also illustrate the beautiful struggles of my life as a single mother, a teacher and a young woman who is striving to live a better life.  If you were wondering, this whole “magnificent” thing is not a quest for perfection! I believe in growing, improving, evolving–that’s what this blog (and my personal story) is all about: becoming the best me I can be.

So take a look at my journey so far…and let me know about your journey as well! Happy New Years! 2014, here we come 🙂

photo (1)

 

Help! How Do I Organize All These Christmas Decorations?

I LOVE decorating my home for the holidays, but now that it’s almost New Years, I need to take these Christmas decorations down before school starts again. So for all those great organizing minds out there, what are your tips for successfully storing away Christmas/Holiday décor? I’ve listed some ideas that I’ve already found from my Holiday Décor Pinterest Board below, but I would still love to hear your secrets. Don’t be stingy, share and help all of us Make Life Magnificent(and orderly 🙂 )

So Clever! 10 Smart Tips for Storing & Organizing Christmas Decorations

Toddler Tired of Toys Already?!?

bored

        As a mom and teacher, I am amazed at how quickly children, especially toddlers, grow bored with the toys and electronics we spent all that money on for Christmas! The credit card commercial where the little girl plays with the cardboard box instead of the item that came in it, hit the nail on the head! That just about sums up most toddlers’ behavior.

    Thankfully I was smarter this year; I purchased Christmas gifts for my son that would hopefully stretch his imagination: like a Superhero art set and Beyblades that he can spin until he spends out of energy! Yet, even with these, it’s still good to have lots of ideas ready for your little ones. (Otherwise it’ll be YOUR energy that spends all out!) Here are some ideas that’ll hopefully keep the family happy:

   shape sort
1- Reinforce Learning Shapes: 

   Jenae from ICanTeachMyChild.Com, came up with this idea and I was very impressed with how much fun my 5 year old son had while completing it.  With some basic masking tape and plenty of floor space, this “game” of finding shapes can keep your busy bundle of joy focused for quite some time without plopping him/her down in front of the t.v.

Fridge Letters

2-Reinforce Learning Letters:

  I got this idea from Jaimi at The Stay At Home Mom Survival Guide, where she lists tons of great activities for preschool age children. I ended up making two charts for my fridge, one where the alphabet was in order, and another more challenging one with the letters random. Just be warned that when your children complete the task, they will be yelling with joy and eager to show you all their hard work!

numbers parking

3-Reinforce Learning Numbers

    If you can’t tell by now, I am really into any activities that will be fun, engaging AND an opportunity for learning when it comes to children. (It’s the teacher in me!) I can’t stress enough to parents that those little brain engines are constantly firing away, so you are truly your children’s first teacher. Teach them well!
My son has tons of toy cars, so as soon as I saw this on Krissy’s B-Inspired MAMA blog, my heart was happy! Her instructions and pictures have larger cardboard boxes, which I didn’t have, but smaller boxes and even large construction paper work well also. I used cut up sticky notes to number my son’s toy cars and trucks.

 

   There will be times as a parent, definitely as a single parent, when you will need that 30 minute tv show or those video games to keep your “mini me” content while you get things done, but trust me, these ideas will keep your child busy enough so that the tv doesn’t have to be a constant go to. Between playing with these and warming back up to all those Christmas gifts, your son/daughter will have tons of fun around the house. If all else fails, pull out the art supplies 🙂

CAM00235

For more parenting tips to Make Life Magnificent, check out my Pinterest Parenting Pointers Board

Feel free to share some of your magnificent parenting ideas below in the comment section!

PS-I usually do all the prep work for these kinds of activities while my son is sleeping or when he is engaged with something else. If you try to set everything up while they are standing next you and bored, it could become discouraging for both of you. So always try to plan ahead! Happy Parenting 🙂