.hello. beginning budgeting

Today is the day. Today is the day after 3 years I get off my butt and finally force myself to do our Household Planner. The hubs and I are not organized people. Well, he can be when he wants to stay on top of it, but apparently I’ve rubbed off my anti-organized gene off on him in the last 8 years so when it comes to budgeting and planning, we. are. a. mess. Literally. Especially when it comes to bills. I have no idea what is due or when, or the log in to the accounts, or anything. It’s a wreck. NO MORE! I’m starting my new job on Monday and the stable paycheck paired with the extra money from photography will get us back on track if I’m careful with it, which I intend to be!

What I’m working on is a bit of a balance of the envelope system and a traditional budgeting notebook. In ours though, I’m also printing out daily and weekly chore list as well as meal planning and scheduling sheets to try to get us back on top in those areas as well.

Here are a few of my favorite things I’ve found on my journey of putting my binder together!

This Blog- A Bowl Food Of Lemons is filled with lots of wonderful Home Management Binders as well as other organizational tips and budgeting how tos!

Of course, everyone loves the FlyLady! I’ve heard wonderful things about her program and I’m planning on starting it myself in the next few weeks. I’ll let you know what I think about it when I’m into it, but it seems to be really focused on cleaning, which is a very touchy subject at our house!: )

I grabbed this weekly cleaning schedule from Blooming Homestead!

Check out ALL of these printables from organizing home life!

This is pretty much exactly how I want the budgeting section of my binder!

And of course, no organizing binder would be complete without printables from I Heart Organizing!

As soon as I’m done with my own binder, I’ll show you exactly what I’ve done here! Fingers crossed this works for us! I’m ready to live a much more simplified life, especially with my sleep schedule taking the nose dive it’s about to hit!

.hello. One Pot Pasta (recipe)

We’re on a roll with our one dish meals, right?! Whoo hoo! Fast and easy and low clean up- the lazy gourmet’s dream!

I found this one on FB and made it then fell in love! My mother in law called me the next day to tell me all about this amazing pasta dish she just found on Pinterest that only used one pot, and low and behold, it was my new favorite dish! I actually made this 3 times in one week because I couldn’t get enough and we never had left overs. I was literally CRAVING it! Here is the original post I was taken to, but of course, I switched things up a bit semi homemade style just because it’s what I had on hand.  (please excuse the crappy instagram photo. I’ll take actual photos next time I cook it!)



12 ounces thin spaghetti
1 can (15 ounces) diced rotel with liquid (I used mild)
a handful of chopped frozen onion (I can’t stand the smell of onions on my hands so I buy this in the frozen veggie isle and I’m not sure how I cooked without it!)
2 Tbsps minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 teaspoons dried basil
4 cups chicken broth (not low sodium!(
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, and oregano in a large stock pot. Pour in chicken broth.  Drizzle top with oil.

Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a medium simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid is gone.

That’s it. You’re done! I really didn’t believe it would turn out. I really didn’t! And then I didn’t understand why I haven’t been cooking pasta this way all along! It was so fresh tasting and not heavy at all! I actually prefer it over regular spaghetti! Ours was a little spicy, but I’m not sure why, as I added nothing spicy to it, but I could literally eat this every day. The original recipe said to let it simmer, but my old stove is either boil or off so I left it on around medium high and it cooked nicely without burning. Just keep an eye on it.

.hello. one dish chicken and veggies (recipe)

Can you believe I’m actually posting something to do with food that doesn’t involve a crock pot or a casserole? WOW! lol! This recipe has been running rampant all over Pinterest and I’ve had it pinned for a while, but I’m not gonna lie, it looked gross to me. Something about raw chicken baking with potatoes. I was convinced I would get some sort of food poisoning. I was also raised in a Baptist church and when a Baptist woman tells you to try something more than once, you better do it, because it’s gonna be good. Not to toot our horn, but us Baptist know what we’re talking about when it comes to comfort food, especially chicken. It’s in our blood. Family, fellowship, and food! You don’t have one without the other! 😉

This dish was super duper easy and here is the original pin from my board that I used as a jumping off point. I’m not a fan of Italian dressing (anything vinegar-y, blech!) so I looked at the other seasonings from the same brand and found a garlic and herb dressing mix instead. YUMMO! Garlic? Herbs? Yes, ma’am! I also used a bit of ranch dressing mix because, well, it’s me, and everything is better with ranch dressing.

One Dish Chicken and Veggies

One Dish Chicken and Veggies

4 chicken breasts (I used 6 tenders, if using frozen, thaw first)
4-5 red potatoes quartered
2 cans green beans (I used 3, we’re big green bean fans over here!)
1 packet of Garlic and Herb dressing Mix
a handful of chopped onion
1 stick of butter

Chicken lined up in the center, green beans on one side, potatoes on the other arrange in 9×13 dish. Sprinkle with a packet of dressing mix and then top with a melted stick of butter. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour

How easy is that? And how easy is clean up! You have one baking dish and you’re done!

I didn’t know what to expect out of this recipe considering it wasn’t smothered in cream of something soup and it wasn’t served over rice (you can totally serve this over rice!!!) and I didn’t mix it up with pasta and I didn’t cook it for 4 hours on high. Obviously not my usual bag, but the hubs and I thought it was really good! Especially RJ. He said he loved it! I served it with some garlic bread and we snuggled up and watched a movie. A meat, 2 veggies, one dish, dinner done. Ahhh, this is the life!

I’ve heard people subbing the chicken for pork chops (not in this house with our pet pig, but it does sound good!) or the green beans with broccoli or asparagus, or  the potatoes with sweet potatoes, which the hubs would love! Sounds to me like this is one of those buildable meals you can do anything with and still get an awesome result! I LOVE stuff like that!

PS- totally making this in the crock pot next time! 😉

One Dish Chicken and Veggies-2

.hello. Miss Sara

I say it all the time- I have been blessed my entire life with being surrounded by exceptionally strong women. I often talk about my Mom, my Grandmother, my Aunts, but rarely do I talk about the women who shaped me as a small child, who’s faces I rarely remember, but who’s names and spirits I’ll never forget.
My mom raised me as a single mother for most of my childhood. This brought on a lot of challenges that I’m only now old enough to start to understand. We were not well off, but my mother assured that I would never want for anything, especially anything I truly needed. In order to do this, my mom always carried a full time job. In fact, every woman in my family worked full time jobs. Enter in the other women in my life. When I was a baby I was taken care of by a woman named Miss Sara. I can’t remember Miss Sara’s face, but I remember the love she had for me and the love I had for her. When I was small I would often think of her as a real life Mrs Buttersworth. Kind faced and sweet. I know when you are small and in a daycare, you are not ‘special’, but these women had a way of making you feel like you were. Like you were one of their own. My mother often talked about Miss Sara when I was young. You could tell she loved her as much as I did. She loved her for taking care of her baby while she was off trying to take care of me in a different way. I can only imagine the relief a young, single, working mother could have when doing the best to provide financially for her child that she had another woman she could take that child to that she wouldn’t have to worry about it’s safety and it’s well being.
When I was a year old my mom got remarried. During that time I was in daycare at times but most days I was taken care of by my Daddy (step).  During that time my daycare teacher was a lady named Miss Pinky. She is another woman who’s face I can’t place but who’s affect on my life I’ll never forget. When I was 3 my Daddy was in a car accident. That day was one of the first memories I can recall as a child. I remember being at daycare and I remember my mom not picking me up as she usually does. I remember Miss Pinky being so perky and happy towards me and telling me I was going to get to come to her house after the day was over. I remember going to Sonic and getting a BLT. It’s the only time in my life I’ve ever had that sandwich and enjoyed it, but I remember vividly eating it and loving it. I remember going with her to a baseball field for her son’s game. And then I remember a small bit that we went to her house. It had stairs with carpet and paneling on the walls. I remember that Miss Pinky never had me out of her lap and she never took a smile off of her face. I remember asking my Mom where my Doritos were when she came to get me (my Daddy brought those or a Sugar Daddy home for me every day). I remember my Daddy not coming home. I remember how no matter how bad it was that Miss Pinky was there, always giving my mother a safe place for her child. My mother, the once again single mother. The widow at age 30. When my Daddy was alive I was rarely in daycare unless he and my mom were at work at the same time. He spoiled me rotten and I was slowly becoming a complete brat. After my Daddy died, I had to go back to daycare full time. My first day back I bit a special needs child. We were all having a very hard time adjusting to this new life. Even at such a small age I was so affected by the loss of my father. Though he was not my biological dad he never made a difference and I was always his. But those ladies in those daycares never gave up on me. They took the time to understand the situation we were in and they never batted an eye when I needed a little extra guidance.
I tell you all this to share some good news. Today I got the call that I will now have my own chance to be someone’s Miss Sara, or Miss Pinky. I applied a few weeks ago for a teaching position at a learning center opening up here in town. I’ve prayed for it every day since my interview and today I got the call that my prayers were answered. I will have the opportunity to bless children and families the way I was blessed and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I will be starting in the nursery and we’ll see where I go from there. My heart is so deeply captured with children and from the moment I walked into the facility, I knew it was somewhere I NEEDED to be. It took all my composure not to cry when I was on the phone with the director (although anyone who knows me wouldn’t be shocked, I cry over everything). I am over the moon excited. I called my Mom and told her the good news and she told me how proud for me she is. Then she told me she knew God would find a way to give me babies, even if they aren’t my own, that He is putting them into my life while I’m waiting on mine. Then I cried. 🙂
I’m so very excited to see where this new journey takes me. It couldn’t come at a more perfect time and after a few very discouraging days. I needed a pick me up and boy was this one! Sometimes when life beats you down a little too hard, God uses that time to allow others to lift you up and to let you know, He’s got it all under control. I am blessed to be in the palm of His hand. Just like he did with those women when I was small, He’s always taking care of me.