Monday, April 30, 2018

Have you entered the fabric giveaway?


LET'S BREAK 1,200!


As I review today's website, I see that as I write this post, I currently have 1,143 views...of which,

I AM 1000% GRATEFUL 



To encourage those last few views, I'm doing a

 FABRIC GIVEAWAY!  

(Photo courtesy of the seasonedhomemaker.com)

The WINNER will receive a gift of 5 fat quarters of NEW quilt shop quality fabric! 

What could be better than MORE FABRIC?  

To enter into the giveaway, just leave a comment below this post.
Everyone who enters will be entered into a drawing.

The contest closes once 1200 views is reached!  One comment per person please.

Good Luck Everyone

POST YOUR COMMENT HERE TO BE ENTERED!  

Friday, April 27, 2018

St. Mary's Quilt Show - Part 2

You have one day left to make it to the St. Mary's Quilt Show this year...Tomorrow...and it's done.  Do you really want to wait a whole year to see it?  The answer should be NO! 

I went yesterday, after getting a surprise babysitter for Bailey...I had pre-ordered a Quick Pass.  And I highly recommend you do this next year!  I requested the time of 11:45 AM for Thursday.  My thoughts were that I would beat the rush of all the amazing quilters in our state.  Well, I arrived at the Welcome Desk at 11:41 AM to get my ticket.  The people who were in line without a quick pass - those who wanted free admission (donations were accepted), were already getting tickets for 2 PM!  WHOA!  It was totally worth $15! 

The parking attendants were wonderful and very polite.  No one yelled at you and you were greeted with a loving smile and a friendly greeting.  It's a church afterall...what did you expect?  I expected different...I've directed traffic before and sometimes it can be just nuts and sometimes people lose their tempers.  I'm no saint.  There was one guy who had Mickey Mouse gloves on while he directed traffic.  It was a great idea!  It was large and bright enough to see.  WONDERFUL! 

I walked onto the gorgeous grounds and immediately you see quilts and quilt squares everywhere.  It was so delightful to see.  I followed the signs to the Welcome Desk and got my ticket from a volunteer who advised me to go immediately to the church for entry.  I'm so glad she told me!  I made it to the church doors where a line of other 11:45 AMers were waiting.  It appeared to be a group and they were casually talking to each other.  Just casual conversation...and then...we were allowed to enter the beautiful historic white church. 



Now I don't want to overwhelm you...but I did take nearly 350 pictures in just a few short hours of being at the quilt show.  I won't show all of the pictures I took, but I will share with you my favorites! 

Now back to the quilt show...






So you walk into the door on the far left, where you see people standing around in the above picture.  That's where your ticket was checked.  When you walk in, you hand in your ticket for a blue little ticket.  After viewing all of the quilts, you can select your favorite one and vote for it.  I'm not sure what prize they get for winning, maybe some bragging rights?  Once you trade in your ticket, you will see a few people demonstrating hand quilting.  MY FAVE!  I heard several people make comments about how tedious it was or how hard it looked to them.  You should have seen their faces when I said that hand quilting was my favorite.  PRICELESS!





After viewing the demonstrations, you turn the corner and WHAM!  It took my breath away...




My little iPhone camera just does not do this justice.  The beauty of the church alone was amazing...and I would have been so happy without the quilts being there.  The history nerd in me wanted to come out so badly.  If you don't know already, my bachelors degree is in history...





 I have a friend who does historic preservation...and it was everything I could do to not stop and call her. 

I'll have to send her a link so she can see the beauty and appreciate this church as much as I do. 








The ceiling was so beautiful it made my neck hurt!  I just wanted to soak it in and stare at it. 
Whoever painted this...did an amazing job! 





The painting details alone...the stain glass in every window...the architectural details...











Oh!  It's a sight to see...let me tell ya! 










The quilts were everywhere and simply drapped across the pews.  If you wanted to see one for closer inspection, you were asked to get a volunteer who had gloves on to handle it for you.  (I really like this idea!)  The volunteers were so nice and spoke to everyone and answered all of their questions about the quilts and the church. 






Now for some of the quilt pictures...Better sit down...There's a lot. 






This was the only hexi quilt I saw at the entire quilt show.



Hand quilted...over 1900 yards of thread.  
















Each quilt had a story tag that the quilter had the option of telling.  Some were very detailed and some were not.  Each one had a number and that was the number you used to vote on your favorite.  




There were so many quilts...so many different patterns, styles, fabrics...you could really sense the creativity that was used in the making of all of these quilts.  You could even feel the LOVE that was put into these quilts. 

Afterall, these are quilts...NOT blankets.  Quilts are multiple pieces stitched together with LOVE.  A blanket is just a piece of fabric you cover yourself with.  There's a difference.  If you need further explanation, just ask a quilter.  LOL.  (Don't get your feelings hurt...I'm being funny.)

The quilts also had different skill sets.  You could tell some were very detailed and they took years to create.  There were layer cake quilts, jelly roll quilts, embroidery, applique, scrap quilts...the list goes on and on.  Children's I spy quilts, quilts made with old scarfs and some made with baby clothes, some that were handed down several generations before being completed, and some quilts that honored different professions: nurses, law enforcement, EMS, and the fire department. 

And if you had to guess which one I voted for...

Check out my Instagram page for the answer!  LOL. 

Under the covered pavillon, were tables and chairs (and more quilts) for everyone to gather and eat.  There was food available for purchase and live entertainment!  During my visit, I enjoyed the acapella group - The Chord Blasters.  An all woman's group of acapella...who sang hymns/spirituals while we eat or sat with a free bottle of water.  They actually did a great job and encouraged the audience to sing along with them. 

Now, with all the beauty of the gardens...the photo opps, the love of the quilts screaming into your soul...I do have one complaint

Of course, right?  Nothing is perfect. 

When I went into the area where the vendors were...they would look at me...and would not talk to me.  Not one vendor approached me and asked if I needed help.  Not one vendor greeted me.  Not one.  I couldn't figure out why...I walked into several booths and looked at items and never did anyone acknowledge my existence. 

I did finally feel that maybe I should approach them...So I did...and after I asked a vendor where they were located (while pointing to the sign that had their business name and city/state)...I was immediately answered with "Do you sew?"  Not an answer to my question.  I knew the town very well and did not know this vendor's location within the town.  When I answered her question and said yes I also quilt...she then just gave me the town again as her answer.  I told her I see that and pointed to the sign again and said where in the town because I know the town very well.  THEN...and only then...did she seemed to enjoy the conversation with me. 

I have a rule...when I go to quilt shows/shops...I believe in purchasing from local shops and not corporate businesses.  If I can, I will.  That being said, I love to go to quilt shows and support small business owners.  I will NOT, however, make a purchase from any business (local or corporate) if I'm not shown politeness.  You don't have to know everything, you just have to be nice.  If I say hello, say hello back... (Yes, there was a vendor who did not say hello back.)  I don't think that's a very hard requirement, especially in business.  I don't care how much I want something...I won't buy it.  I will take a picture of it, barcode if possible, and find it elsewhere. 

Needless to say, no purchases were made.  It was a sad day for my sewing room.  They were so looking forward to meeting new friends: fabrics, notions, threads, etc.  Not one came home. 


HOWEVER!  I'm still elated with joy from seeing all the quilts in the church.  It was really an experience.  You MUST go.  The church staff/volunteers were so wonderful and helpful.  Everyone seemed to be enjoying their meals too!  I didn't see food getting thrown away, only clean plates.  That's a good sign!  I'll try out the menu next year.  SUPPORT ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH QUILT SHOW by going and enjoying yourself.  Make a donation...Eat a plate of their delicious meals! 

The only question left is which quilt show should we go to next? 

Post in the comments which quilt show you are going to next!  



Wednesday, April 25, 2018

St. Mary's Quilt Show

This week - TOMORROW actually, will start the St. Mary's Quilt Show in Plantersville, Texas.

-Photo from St. Mary's Quilt Show Website-


I can hardly stand it!  I'm so excited to go!

I've only heard about how gorgeous this church is and how wonderful the quilt show is organized.  This is not a show to be judged...it's really a quilt show and there will be vendors there, hopefully with some awesome deals!


Thursday, April 26 - Saturday, April 28, 2018 
9am - 5pm

There is NOT an admission fee for viewing the quilts, however, they will accept donations.

Check out their website for additional details!  This quilt show is usually packed!  You may even have to wait for a ticket to be allowed into the church because it fills to capacity quickly.  I went ahead and purchased a ticket for $15.00 to reserve a time slot for entry.

I hope to see you there!  If you see me, please say hello!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Two Short Years





Monday - today - is my wedding anniversary.  We had plans to celebrate over the weekend, but things came up and we were without a babysitter this year...so we had a nice dinner at home together...with the baby.  LOL. 

It's hard to believe that we've ONLY been married for 2 short years...We both were married before, but it feels like we've always been together...in a good way. 

In both of our first marriages, we did not have the wedding OR MARRIAGE either of us had wanted before...When Hubby and I got engaged...he said I could have the wedding I wanted (within reason).  Thank goodness he didn't marry someone who wanted a $500,000 wedding!  I had a backyard wedding at the cabin and loved every minute of it.  It was my dream wedding.  I absolutely loved it. 

Hubby and I only invited our family and our closest of friends to the wedding...we wanted only the people that would be there - to be sincere.  If you were family, you were invited...This saved us a ton of money with the cost of food.  There are only two people that I wish I had invited for our special day.  I wish I had invited a dear friend of mine named Brandy and my Sergeant from the Investigations Division.  These are my only two regrets for my wedding day.  Knowing now how many people RSVP'd and still didn't make it...we could have invited them and not had to adjust any of the head count numbers for the food.  Hard lesson learned...

Food was largest expense for my wedding...I did pay for someone to cater and set up and serve in a buffet style.  Hubby and I love Mexican food.  It only made sense to have it at our wedding.  Pappas Catering saved the day.  We had fajitas with ALL the fixings!  It was delicious...and the price was very affordable.  We even had some leftover and thank goodness...the next day started the rains for the Tax Day Floods in Houston.  We were flooded in the very next night.  Cutting the people we worked with and friends/acquaintances for our wedding also saved major money!  We only paid for food for less than 50 people.  It was a lovely intimate backyard wedding.  It was also an affordable wedding. 

I did not want to start our marriage with any added debt from our wedding - number one priority!  I actually had/have friends who ended up divorced because they couldn't seem to pay off the debt and it snowballed into their lives and into other areas.  Money can do some amazing and evil things at the same time. 

I have had friends and acquaintances who have asked me how did I get married on such a low budget.  I didn't think it was that low, but I only spent $5,000 and that included buying his ring and my dress.  I researched what items cost first before setting my budget and I knew I would never be a bride with a $10,000 wedding budget (which was the average cost of a wedding when I married Hubby).  I could never afford that.  $10,000 spent for one day seems a bit extreme...

I found that venues have a lot of control over your wedding day.  A lot.  I went and toured many venues.  You could only use their vendors with their set prices...alcohol was a huge issue - so many rules - so many needed law enforcement/security per number of people.  However, renting a very nice tent, some tables and chairs...very affordable.  I had the flowerbeds fixed up with some fresh plants and new concrete borders and spent some money fixing up the driveway.  I found this very satisfying as I was putting money into my home and not just wasting it for a one time use.  With the venue being my backyard - I had control over what would happen for our special day. 

I made the centerpieces with my mom and sister...a few mason jars with some ribbin and pearl ribbons wrapped around with flowers.  Have you priced what centerpieces cost for a wedding?  As soon as you say "wedding" it triples!  Holy moly. 

I knew someone who just started her own cake business after taking professional decorating classes.
She's amazing.  I had tasted her cakes while working as a school resource officer for a middle school.  She always made amazing birthday cakes for the staff.  Not only were they gorgeous, but they tasted so wonderful...My wedding cake was less than $100.  As my wedding gift - she delivered it for me. 
THIS WAS HUGE!  I found that most cakes even for 50 people/slices would cost several hundreds of dollars just because I mentioned "wedding" cake.  I purchased the cake topper on Etsy for around $10.  My friend, Tina who made the cake - added flowers for me when she arrived with the cake. 

I found a wedding planner who was just starting out and my mother paid for her services as her wedding gift to me.  Her name is Tammy...with Tammy's Table...She was well worth it.  She decorated for me and brought extra decorations to "finish" the look.  She helped plan the ceremony with the timing of things.  She was such a joy!  Her portfolio is amazing and if you don't believe me, just click on her link...she doesn't even know I linked to her page.  This is an honest review....

 Another great find was a local photographer who loved to do weddings!  I found Kate's Creations through a wedding app on my phone.  I met her at a local restaurant where she showed me her portfolio.  We had a drink and talked like we were old friends!  I instantly knew she was the one for me.  She is very creative and I always recommend her as a photographer - especially if you are in the Houston area.  I still know Kate very well...She has become one of my best friends.  We met at the same restaurant when she gave me my wedding photos and we were also pregnant together.  Her son, William, is destined to be best friends with Bailey.  We even joke that they will marry one day.  Kate's photography business has exploded!  She is an expert baby photographer!  I cannot believe how many awesome and amazing ideas this woman has.  I fall in love with each of her photo sessions that she shares on her Facebook page.  She does weddings in a remarkable way!  I'm still in awe of how wonderful her photos are.  I still have the USB flash drive she gave me with all my wedding photos.  I carry it in my purse and is one of my prized possessions.  Kate speaks of giving you an experience instead of just photographs...and she delivers.  One of my favorite moments is when and how she gave me my photos on my flash drive. It was wrapped up in the cutest way - that also happened to match my wedding style/theme.  I almost cried.  I'm tearing up just thinking about it now.  I knew I wanted a great photographer to cherish these memories...and Kate worked within my budget and I'll never forget that! 

I found my dress on Ebay of all places.  I had started looking at styles online and found this one on
accident for around $300...I couldn't believe it.  I ordered it and then paid for alterations (I'm short).  I wore pearls I already owned...my headpiece came from Etsy...The candles with ribbons were a wedding gift from my partner at work (and one of my best friends)...My flowers were from a local florist and I choose flowers in season and my bill was around $300 total.  That's a steal in flowers!  The man who married us was a preacher that Hubby knew from long ago.  He married us as his wedding present. 

It's amazing to have a day all to celebrate your love to your special person...better half...and it not break the bank.  It's an amazing feeling!  It's almost as amazing as marrying your best friend. 

From the start, my life with Hubby has been completely unexpected.  If you had told me just 4.5 years ago how my life would be today, I would have laughed in your face.  My career was very successful...my personal goals had all been accomplished, except for a spouse who would truly love me.  I found that person in Hubby.  I accepted a dare from a great friend and joined Match.com.  I met Hubby on match.com.  Crazy, huh?  Cybercrimes detective....finds love on the internet.  Sounds like a horror film's movie plot. 

Even Reyna, my German Shepherd, was there!
We were flooded in the first week of our marriage...not a bad start, eh?  LOL.  The next week as the flood waters receded, we left for our honeymoon to Fredericksburg, Texas and stayed at Baron's Creekside in the old farmhouse.  We took an extended weekend for our honeymoon before returning to work.  We had so much fun in Fredericksburg.  I'm not sure how Hubby did it, because when I called to check dates they were full...Hubby just said he would find a place and it would be awesome.  It was.  He scheduled a couples massage and lots of other treats.  He really took the time to make it special.  I, of course, found a real quilt shop...a real one...off the beaten path and off the main street.  That was a nice shopping stop! 


We've changed and lost jobs, had a baby, built a second home/deer camp...all the major stressers a couple could have...all in two years.  It's been a bumpy ride, but an amazing one.  We have amazing friends....wonderful and supportive family...it's going to be a great life and an even better marriage. 

If you plan on getting married soon, or recently engaged...I encourage you to think of the most important things to you for your wedding day...spend the money on them and remain reasonable.  If you take the time, you can find some amazing deals for your wedding day. 

The other item I recommend is to remember why you are marrying this special person in your life.  Why are they so special to you? 

It's not about how much money you spend, but how you celebrate your love.

Does it show both of your personalities or have you taken over the wedding events?  You may want to go to the courthouse and get married in a small ceremony and then celebrate with a reception at your favorite place.  You may want to elope to Vegas and spend the first weekend together touring the strip.  The options are never ending...Just find the right option for both of you! 

Today, I will celebrate our marriage...not just the date of our wedding anniversary.  Today marks the date of the birth of our marriage and yes, we may have only been married a short time, it is a strong God-filled marriage.  Hubby is truly my better half (although I won't tell him that! LOL) and we balance each other well.  We have similar interests and hobbies (he doesn't sew or quilt though) and we have the same image and concepts in mind for our family. 


***

Hubby, today I will celebrate our love for each other and I will bask in the love you show me and our family.  It is truly wonderful to share our lives together and to be "one" with each other. 

"So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."  - Matthew 19:6  (NIV)

Friday, April 6, 2018

Time to Update the Resume

After a few provoking thoughts, I've come to realize that I have cut myself short on my resume.  Lots of moms are...anyone who stays home and manages the home should have a killer resume and amazing job skills! 

Let's think about this..  Humor me if you don't agree right now...you will shortly. 

Since I have become a stay at home mom, I can add numerous items to my resume.  Did you know I'm a party planner?  Currently I have 4 years in this area and have always had a happy client.  They always got what they wanted for their party.  How many party planners can say they have 100% success rate in their customer service and their reviews?  Need party entertainment?  It's taken care of.

I'm also an expert in sanitation disposal.  Need poop out of something?  I can do it.  Have a massive mess that needs to be cleaned up, wiped up, and sanitized?  I can do this too.  I can do it fast.  Have poop in the tub?  It'll be gone in 5 minutes.  Carpets need to be cleaned after years and years of never being touched with a cleaner?  I know what can get it out. 

I'm a personal chef.  Nutritionist...I can meal plan and meal prep for the month at a single moment...Need to find an awesome recipe?  I can do that too. 

Personal assistant/secretary...whatever word you want to use. I keep the family's (I mean company's) calendar.  Need to know what you are doing in a month, in a year?  I have it documented.  What time is the birthday party?  When will the dry cleaning be ready? 

I can manage a budget better than any CPA...Accounts Receivable?  Accounts Payable?  I cover those departments with multiple accounts. 

Educator with early childhood development specialty...Education Specialist?  Maybe. 

Emergency Coordinator Extraordinaire...someone coming down with a fever?  Bad weather on the way?  Food storage is ready with all possible medical supplies for my home...or company, again - whatever word you want to use.  I like company.  Meltdown or tantrum on the way?  I can tell you which routes are your best exits from the scenario.

Chafeaur...Exellent driving abilities with abilty to multitask and continue company needs with focusing on childhood development.  The ability to be in two places at one time is currently almost possible.

I also am the maintenance/lawn crew for the company with managing a small garden in two locations two hours apart.  Light bulbs go out?  Paint needs to be touched up in a corner?  on a cabinet?  How about the whole room? 

Personal shopper: clothes, toys, food, supplies, and other necessities.  Need a gift?  Forgot about Easter basket gifts?  Christmas coming too soon?  I got ya. The kids, your colleagues, your family...friends...they won't even know you didn't have a clue. 

Shipping department operator...Packages shipped?  Receiving boxes?  Need something mailed certified?  No problem. 

Alterations/Seamstress.  Lose a button?  Need the hem fixed...just hand it over.

Life Coach...I can definitely motivate you in the mornings to put clothes on for the day, keep you moving...with a smile on your face. 

***

The list continues the more I think about it...

What have you noticed that we could add to the list?  
Add it in the comments section below.  

We've cut ourselves short in this area.  Imagine if we could actually get paid for doing all of it!  WOWZER!  I think I should put in for a vacation!  LOL. 

Monday, April 2, 2018

We have joined SPOONFLOWER!

It is now official! 

We are now on SPOONFLOWER with fabric designs you can purchase for your own special projects.  Simply search by the store name "mycharmedcabinlife" and you will be able to see which designs are available for purchase. 


Check back weekly for more designs to be added to the shop!  There's more to come.  LOTS MORE.  Currently, we have Unripened Blackberry, Summer Garden Flowers, and Chocolate Cupcakes!  

If you are not familiar with Spoonflower, why not?  If you don't want to search fabric store after fabric store looking for a fabric because you know exactly what you want but you just haven't found it yet, SPOONFLOWER is for YOU!  Use their search tool and you will find tons of unique and one of kind fabrics that meet your search criteria. 

Photo from Spoonflower Blog
You can even combine multiple fabrics onto one section of fabric like this swatch sample.  Visit the website for more details!


If you want custom fabric of perhaps a person's face to customize a gift for them, this is the place to do that.  You do not have to sell your designs at all.  You can keep it in your own design gallery in your personal account with Spoonflower. 




There are over 16,000 designers on Spoonflower and over 600,000 shoppers per month on Spoonflower.  You will find a unique design for fabric, wall paper, and gift wrap! 

I know for Christmas this upcoming year...I'm uploading faces of the kids and that's how they will know their gifts...instead of the regular old gift tags taped to the box.  Wouldn't that be funny to see the kids' faces on their real face when they see theirs' on a present!  Oh, I'm laughing just thinking about it. 

Remember to comment on the fabric giveaway post to enter into the **FABRIC GIVEAWAY**!  Deadline is quickly approaching!  This giveaway could include a fat quarter of the latest fabric design: Unripened Blackberry.  (Hint...Hint...)   

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter Everyone!



Happy Easter everyone!  I'm so excited for today...I have the girls' dresses laid out with their Easter baskets filled with goodies ready for them to find when they wake up...I'm having a cup of coffee...Hubby is already up getting dressed...Life is good. 

I love Easter...Not just because of all the chocolate that's everywhere, but because it recognizes that Christ rose on the third day and that because of him, Christ - who defeated death - we are now closer to God and all of our sins have been forgiven.  It's an amazing feeling to know Christ.

I love to celebrate Easter as much as I love Christmas.  I feel that they should both be huge holidays.  Huge in the terms that families should be together and take the time to recognize what Christ has done for our relationship with God. 

As my Easter gift to you, I'm posting my April Meal Plan along with with a few tips for quick substitutions.  I have recently been asked by a friend how do I manage to meal plan every single night when life happens and doesn't give me time to make the meal I really want to give my family.  Well, I try to be as flexible as possible and I have some backups ready in my house at all times.  Let's face it, some nights you may not even want to make dinner at all but rest and enjoy your family...or sneak off for an awesome bubble bath.  So I'm going to tell you the tips that I told her. 

Here's my family's April Meal Plan.  I've also posted it on the page for a list of meal plans that my family uses.

Copy it, modify it, use it...in whatever way works for your family.  Just please don't change my google document...make yourself a copy and modify it for your family.  Then you can keep track of your meal planning and once you do, meal planning does become a whole lot easier.  You start to see a trend of which meals your family likes the best and then looking for similar recipes becomes easy!

You will see a lot of meals from March and well, here's why.  I felt like life hasn't stopped being in warp speed since Halloween.  I was so looking forward to a month where nothing would be going on and life could slow down.  Did I say that out loud?  Yeah, I jinxed it.

Guess what is in April....EASTER!!  For one - just a huge holiday.  There's also my grandmother's birthday and my own wedding anniversary.  Lord, have mercy.

Bailey also got an ear infection.  If you know Bailey, you'll know that when she is sick - apparently the cure is for me to carry her around and never put her down or risk listening to screaming and crying all day as the result.

Does this mean that my family sticks to the meal plans like glue?  No way.  We modify things all the time to fit our schedule.  If we find out that we could do something as a family, but cuts into the time to cook - I look for what I can make within that amount of time within what I have available in my kitchen.  I usually write a meal down for every day of the month.  Usually life happens and I have to change our plans...so I'll try to include them in the next month's meal plan if I still have the ingredients on hand.  From March's meal plan, we didn't have the Pierogi Lasagna, Pioneer Woman Bowtie Lasagna Pasta, Chicken Piccata, Lemon Pepper Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo or chopped chicken salad.  I do however, have most of the ingredients, if not all, to make them on a whim in April.  These are some of my favorite meals.

A good back up plan is to keep some frozen pizzas in the freezer.  Hubby and I love Costco pizzas.  We buy two boxes: one for the house and the other goes to the deer camp.  Each box has 4 pizzas.  The cost is less than $5.00 a box.  Compared to ordering Domino's pizza - we were paying $30 or more just for a pizza or two.  I count this as a huge success for my pocketbook.

Another backup plan is taco night.  Every single person in my house loves tacos.  I tend to keep ground meat in my freezer, so thawing is not a problem.  I have a stockpile of taco seasoning and now, tortilla mix.  There is always cheese at my house so I just pull out the cheese grater (cheese by the block is also cheaper and tastes so much better than cheese already shredded in the bag...waiting for someone to buy it).  My family loves just meat and cheese...sometimes I throw in refried beans and it becomes a party.  Sometimes I purchase a small container of pico de gallo, sometimes I'll make it...and if I really want to go all out and crazy - add some guacamole!

A cheap meal that I have added to our weekly menu is sausage, beans, rice, and cornbread...If you know about some awesome family time opportunities but don't want to spend the time cooking - Pull out the crockpot!  This is a huge money saver for us because we already have this in our food storage.

Another cheap and easy meal is to have breakfast for dinner.  Omelets, pancakes, waffles, quiche, or even just a bowl of cereal can be dinner for a super busy day and it's quick to make.  Cereal is not a parenting fail...no mom shaming allowed. 

I even have chopped onions in the freezer ready to throw in my meals.  I purchased a giant bag of onions from Costco because I couldn't believe the price!  I brought them home and used the food processor to chop them up, then scooped them into ziplock bags for the freezer.  I hate chopping onions.  It burns my eyes...but I love the taste and the flavor!  I have to have them.

One of the tricks to meal planning is to meal prep what you can ahead of time.  Tonight, I'm making a different meal than what is on our calendar because Hubby brought home some meat he wants to try...While it's in the oven, I'm also going to make some taco meat.  I already have the meat thawed because tonight is suppose to be taco night, but we will be having chicken instead.  We didn't have chicken last night as the calendar states, instead I found a pork tenderloin that looked lonely in my freezer...so I gave him some friends and threw him in the oven for a party!  There are no leftovers!  It was amazing.  Here's the link to the recipe I used from Pinterest:  Brown Sugar Garlic Tenderloin with potatoes and carrots.  Did I make it exactly like the recipe calls for?  If you have to ask, you don't know me at all...

I didn't have any potatoes laying around and I wasn't taking a sick baby to the store, but I really wanted pork tenderloin!  I used dehydrated potatoes from my food storage...I also had a bunch of carrots to use up from J's ladybug party...a few green beans, a few broccoli pieces, and some sugar snap peas...I used that instead.  I threw it all in a cast iron skillet, seasoned as the recipe called for and cooked it for 45 minutes.  It came out perfect!  I highly recommend you give this super easy one pan recipe a try!  I liked it so much, I tagged my own picture to the recipe in Pinterest.  Can you find it?  Post it in the comments if you do!  Here's the hint: cast iron skillet.  LOL.

You don't have to spend a lot of money to eat well....

Happy Easter Ya'll!