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How I plan my monthly menu...

             A few people have asked me how I plan and prep meals in advance each month so I decided to share in a blog so it shows up on my wall lol if you are interested.
 
               I pick the meals I want to make from a binder of recipes I have collected over the last couple of years. Many recipes come from the books “don’t panic, dinner’s in the freezer” and “more don’t panic dinner’s in the freezer”. I also have many Skinnytaste by Gina recipes as well as some from magazines or cookbooks or that I have found online….
 
I typically need 4-5 meals depending on the week. Thursdays are always Chinese takeout and Fridays and Saturdays are usually TBD with kids eating free choice and Mike and I eating leftovers, burgers or sandwiches depending on our plans. One Tuesday a month, the kids and I do kids eat free at Applebee's and Mike has a meeting. I know what my workouts are supposed to be for each day/night so I try not to plan heavy meals for those nights but instead Mondays which are my rest nights. Having a schedule has been the key to this working well in our house. Also having a hubby who works from home who is able to pop stuff in the oven has helped too. He might be moving to a job out of the house soon so we may have to adjust and have showers and pjs before dinner if one of us has to start dinner when we walk in at 6. But we'll cross that bridge later if we have to.
 
Every other month I do a day of menu planning, grocery list, shopping & meal prep. I shop at bjs first for all the meats and whatever else I need in bulk from there. Then I hit up Publix for my other groceries including fruit, veggies and dairy plus whatever is b1g1. I end up shopping at Publix about every 10 days or so for milk, fruit and fresh veggies to replenish the fridge or if there are great b1g1 sales on snacks or staple pantry items.
 
I come home and unload and leave all my meat in a big cooler in my kitchen. I make each type of meat together and clean up in between to avoid cross contamination (pork with chix with beef). I'll typically make 3-4 chix dishes, 2-3 pork dishes, 2-4 meatloaves and then marinate 2-4 steaks. I bag each meal up and stick in our garage freezer after labeling the bags with the date and the recipe name. 
 
I sometimes make a big batch of chili on that day too for individual lunch portions for the freezer. That is the only thing I cook though. All the meals I make are just seasoned or marinated meat that freeze then thaw and are cooked on the day they are on the calendar. I usually take out all the meat from the freezer for the week on Sunday night to thaw during the week based on the menu.  
 
The 2nd month I plan based on what meals I have leftover in the freezer plus whatever "plain" meats I have in there. 
 
I try to only do one crockpot meal per month because my kids don't like "mixed" dishes. I always have fresh veggies and fruit for each meal. I buy extra chix and pork chops to cook plain as nick is fussy about sauces. So even though I'm making "2" things it's really the same. We eat seasoned chix, he eats plain - but it's all chicken. 

             Hope that helps….please ask if you have any questions

6 years of mother's day pics...

for me the best way to see my progress is to look at pictures from year to year...

i went back and looked at mother's day pics from 2007 on in my computer at work and in online photo albums...

2007 - I was 4+ months preggers with my daughter and it's the only pic i had readily available - it's of me in the pool with my son versus a family photo for mother's day (i may have more at home in the computer but this worked)

I started my journey in January 2008 when my daughter was 3 months old....

We have been going to lake worth beach since mother's day 2008 when my daughter was 8 months and my son was 3 1/2....

I love this family tradition and I love taking family pics every year...here is a collage of 2007- 2012...

i swear by picture comparisons to truly SEE where you have come from...

2007 - 2012 Mother's Day Comparison mothersday

Merrell Down & Dirty 10K Mud Run

I'm participating in the Merrell Down & Dirty 10K Mud Run on Sunday morning in Miami with a group of 5-6 other runners.....i'm excited but nervous and thought I'd share the course info with you all...

Here's the 10K Course Description

Mile 1 -The entire course is fast and flat and the first mile is no exception! Runners race on dirt and limestone tails that wind around the perimeter of Zoo Miami and the surrounding forests.
Mile 2 -Mile two continues on the perimeter trail. On the runners left is a moat and on the right are thick woods. The trail opens into a field of avocado trees at the 5K/10K split. 10K’ers continue down the perimeter trail as the 5K turns and heads back through the inner zoo trails.
Mile 3 -Runners are back on the perimeter trail with a great opportunity to make up some time or put some distance between themselves and the racer behind them.
Mile 4 -Mile 4 takes runners through a brief section of trails in Larry and Penny Thompson Park and then around the beautiful lake situated outside of the animal enclosures at Zoo Miami. Keep an eye out for animals!
Mile 5 -As runners make their way around the lake, they will have to opportunity to witness the exotic wildlife of the Zoo off to the left side.
Mile 6 -The 10K course joins the 5K course just past the open field and finishes with a straight away sprint before emerging from the trees and getting into the mud

Here's the obstacle list:

5' Walls
These walls are 5 feet tall and require athletes to climb up and over. The walls are smooth and do not have foot holds.  No aid station at this obstacle.

The High Wall (Ladder Style) will stand 8’ tall and consist of beams that run parallel to the ground creating a ladder. Racers will climb up and over the structure.  No aid station at this obstacle.

The Tunnels Obstacles is a series of cloth tubes that require athletes to crawl the tunnel length. No aid station at this location.

The Low Crawl Obstacle is a cargo net about 16 inches off the group requiring athletes to crawl the length of the obstacle.   No aid station at this obstacle.
 
Inflatables + Aid Station - Look out!  This monster is 20 feet high.  Racers will climb over a wall that will have a cargo net on it to assist them to the top before they slide down the backside of the wall. Aid station at this obstacle.
 
Tires - This obstacle will consist of 100+ tires in a row. Racers will have to navigate the tires as fast as possible.  No aid station at this obstacle.

Water Crossing - Racers plunge through waist deep water. Although participants will not have to swim the will GET WET! No aid station at this obstacle.

The Marine Hurdles Obstacles is a series of horizontal hurdles at about five feet of the group. This hurdle requires athletes to swing a leg up and over the hurdle. No aid station at this obstacle. 

Sandbag Carry - Participants must carry a 20-40lb sand bag across a designated distance. Any grip is allowed as long as racers do not let the sand bag touch the ground. There is no aid station at this obstacle.

The monkey cross is a 24’ wide, 20’ long box. Participants will cross the 20 gap using a 2” slackline under their feet and a 1” rope above their heads.   There is an aid station at this obstacle.

Balance Beams - The balance beams are 2’ and 3’ from ground level and each participants will have to walk along the top of two beams, lined up end to end. Each beam is 4” wide and 12’ long. There is no aid station at this obstacle.

The Mud Pit Obstacle requires athletes to crawl underneath the flagging the length of the mud pit. No going around! It's time to get dirty!   No aid station at this obstacle.

The Low Wall Obstacles is about four feet tall and requires athletes to climb over. The walls are smooth and do not have foot holds.   Aid station exists at this obstacle.

The Cargo Climb is an 8 foot high structure which requires races to approach the cargo net and proceed to climb over the structure using the netting as their ladder.  No aid station at this obstacle.
 
High Wall - Racer will summit a 10’ tall vertical wall with climbing holds to assist the racer to the top. Once over the wall participants will land on a platform 6’ off the ground before making their way to the ground. For racers hesitant to scale the 10’ wall there is an 8’ option as well. No aid station at this obstacle.

The Slippery Mountain Obstacles requires users to enter the obstacle under the flagging then assisted by a rope, crawl to the top of the sloped surface and step down the other side.   No aid station ...

The Final Mud Pit Obstacle requires athletes to crawl beneath the flagging the length of the mud pit. No going around! It's time to get even dirtier! Don't worry you can shower off just past the finish line.
 

May Menu


29-marinated steak, 30-whole cut up chicken roasted, 1-Jamaican jerk pork roast, 2-beef fajitas, 3-Chinese takeout, 4-baked monte cristo sandwiches, 5-tbd

6-Dijon Parmesan chix, 7-meatloaf, 8-Applebee's kids eat free (chix ceasar salad), 9-cheddar pork chops, 10-Chinese takeout, 11-free choice (mommy has Bunco), 12-tbd

13-chix cordon blue, 14-kalua pork in crockpot, 15-marinated steak, 16-mahi mahi, 17-Chinese takeout, 18- Maui chix sand, 19- tbd

20-ham/cheese quiche, 21-beef stew, 22-honey chix, 23-marinated steak, 24-Chinese takeout, 25-tacos, 26-tbd

27-herb crusted pork chops, 28-tbd (memorial day cookout), 29-meatloaf, 30-honey grilled chix, 31-Chinese takeout, 1-burgers, 2-tbd

May Menu


29-marinated steak, 30-whole cut up chicken roasted, 1-Jamaican jerk pork roast, 2-beef fajitas, 3-Chinese takeout, 4-baked monte cristo sandwiches, 5-tbd

6-Dijon Parmesan chix, 7-meatloaf, 8-Applebee's kids eat free (chix ceasar salad), 9-cheddar pork chops, 10-Chinese takeout, 11-free choice (mommy has Bunco), 12-tbd

13-chix cordon blue, 14-kalua pork in crockpot, 15-marinated steak, 16-mahi mahi, 17-Chinese takeout, 18- Maui chix sand, 19- tbd

20-ham/cheese quiche, 21-beef stew, 22-honey chix, 23-marinated steak, 24-Chinese takeout, 25-tacos, 26-tbd

27-herb crusted pork chops, 28-tbd (memorial day cookout), 29-meatloaf, 30-honey grilled chix, 31-Chinese takeout, 1-burgers, 2-tbd
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