Posted in Family Life, Uncategorized

My Top 10 Meal Prep Ideas

I decided today that Saturday’s would be my meal prep days. Since my husband works that day and everything is more crowded on Saturdays, I thought it would be the perfect day since I pick up groceries on Friday, that Saturdays should be my meal prep days. Besides reading to the kids and watching some WW2 videos, I was in the kitchen all day. It’s worth it though. I can relax a bit more while my husband is off the new few days. Here are my top 10 meal prep ideas.

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1. Grains & Beans I like to cook some grains ahead of time to be able to make a quick stir fry or barley, quinoa dish. This is super convenient to have on hand and with an instant pot it cooks perfectly without me having to watch a pot. For dinner I tossed some of the barley with grape tomatoes, garlic, chopped red onions, pomegranate cider vinegar, and lime and added cucumbers when plaiting. It was husband approved! I also cook up a huge batch of pinto beans and or chick peas to make hummus. There is a lot you can do last minute with pinto beans, they come in very handy. Even a simple lunch of corn bread and a pot of beans can be fun for the kids if you let them top the beans with whatever they want (spices, sour cream, cheese etc.,).

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2. Eggs– Again the instant pot got the credit for making these in 4 minutes cook time. The kids peeled them for me and now I have them handy for salads, a quick egg salad sandwich, deviled egg or just as is for a quick Weight Watchers 0 point snack.

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3. Cut Up Fruit- I cut up a bunch of watermelon and pineapple. When I am hungry late at night or when the kids want something to snack on while swimming, I am already covered. I saved the pineapple juice for dressings and marinades.

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4. Baked Goods– Today I made banana bread, blueberry muffins and carrot muffins. These make a great breakfast item for the kids while I sneak away to the treadmill for 15 minutes. They can make a quick lunch in a pinch too with some yogurt and fruit.

5. Juicing- Might as well dirty the juicer back to back one day, than every day. I juiced carrots, made a refreshing energy mix with celery, apples, kale, and then also made a special ginger tea that I can reach for and just add honey and lemon.

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6. Chop up Veggies- I took my spiralizer and did all the zucchini, except one that I cut up for stir fries. I am stoked to have all my supply ready for my favorite breakfast and pasta copy cat. I also cut up a lot of cucumbers to that make a great snack with some Tajin powder!

7. Grill lots of chicken- At 7am I was firing up the grill. In Phoenix, the earlier the better. I made a huge batch of grilled chicken with my favorite trader joes seasoning. For that night’s dinner I tossed the cook chicken in the instant pot just for a few minutes with a dressing, marinade I made to warm it up and infuse a bit more flavor. I feel like the oven and stove really dry out cooked chicken but not the instant pot.

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8. Oatmeal- You can make a big batch of oatmeal and then warm it up as you need it. I like to add blueberries, coconut nectar, a little granola for crunch and milk.

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9. Marinades- Mixing up your favorite oil and vinegar dressings will make it so much easier to put together a healthy salad quickly.

10. Deserts- My husband and I are on weight watchers so I have to plan for some healthier options. I froze a lot of super ripe bananas so I can easily make some banana ice cream in the vitamix. Yummy, sweet, cool and refreshing and 0 points win-win.

In short- When making up your own plan, try to plan for a couple of proteins such as fish and chicken. Cook up a big batch of a couple of grains. Make some salads leaving the dressing separate. Cut up some fruit and have it handy. Plan for some healthy snacks such as hummus, no sugar applesauce, low point yogurt etc., it will make your week so much easier.

My tools- Couldn’t pull of days like today without it!

7TECH Professional Spiral Vegetable Slicer, Handheld Spiralizer

*Prime day is almost here so make sure you check to see if your favorite things are on sale that day!
What do you like to prep for the week?

 

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Posted in Booktube, Family Life, Homeschool Life, Uncategorized

10 Tips For Bible Time With Children

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In my quest to be better at story time read alouds, I realized many of the tips found in read aloud handbooks are actually a perfect fit to also make Bible time more memorable.  These tips have really helped me and I hope you find something useful below.

  1. Before you begin ask your children where you previously left off. Ask the children to give you some highlights from the previous day’s reading. This will rejog their memory as well as get them interested right away instead of trying to figure it out while you start reading.

“But for this book we could not know right from wrong.”― Abraham Lincoln

2. Ask questions during your reading. As adults, we have the attention span for continual reading, but kids need a little help sometimes to stay engaged. I like to pause when I start to feel like I am loosing them and ask questions such as, “What do you think is going to happen next?” “Do you think this will be a bad king or a good king, why?” “Who do you think wrote this book of the Bible?” etc. I find this instantly engages them again and who doesn’t like to vote or give their opinion.

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3. End the reading on a suspenseful part. I use the One Year Bible and the passages are marked for me and they do a good job of ending on a point that makes sense. However, sometimes I like to scan a little bit ahead or a little before and stop on a suspenseful part. The kids undoubtably will be more eager to find out what happens the next day and you might even catch them reading ahead on their own.

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4. Encourage participation. I mentioned this in my Bible video, make sure every child has a Bible and stop at certain key words, pausing to let the kids say the word out loud. You could also call on a child to read the following verse and keep them on their toes calling on them throughout the reading.

5. Use your voice. This is the same advice from the reading magic book review I did. Just like you would with read aloud books, avoid using a monotone voice. Speed your voice up in dramatic parts, slow down during sad parts and when the mood turns. Change your pitch for different voices and don’t underestimate the impact of dramatic pauses.

6. Slow it down. Sometimes as a parent you are thinking of all the things you have to do or places to get to and you might read through the Bible quickly without even realizing it. Reading slowly enough for the children to build mental pictures of what they are hearing is important. Reading quickly also will hinder your ability to do the previous tip of using vocal expression.

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7. Act it out! This is one of my favorite things to do when we have the extra time. Assign parts after you are finished reading and let the children recreate the scene. If you have an extra 5 minutes you could all probably whip up some props or even costumes.  This is one way to really have the stories sink in, young and old.

8. Be a good Bible coach. So many of these tips are great for read alouds and the Bible. When we get to a character that I know will be important later on, I pause and say something like, “Mmm, this (person/place/thing) could be important later on.” That way when it is, I can remind them of the previous marker when it was first introduced.

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9. Answer questions. I realize this is something that you have to keep in balance or else Bible time will last all morning. I encourage the kids if they have a question during the reading to raise their hand. If they hold all questions to the end, after a lengthy reading they might have forgotten. Some of our best conversations happen as a result of a Bible question. It’s ok if you don’t have all the answers and search for the answer together.  Think of the interruption as an opportunity to expand the child’s biblical knowledge.

10. Don’t confuse quantity with quality. Even on a bad day if you can only manage a chapter or 10-15 minutes, if they are 15 minutes filled with full attention and enthusiasm, they will last longer in a child’s mind than 2 hours of Bible cartoons.

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Do you have any tips for me? Please leave them in the comments below!

 

Posted in Booktube, Family Life, Uncategorized

Documenting Delight 9/365 & 4th of July

4th of July being on a Wednesday threw us off big time. We worked on some home improvement projects and I continued to read aloud Tucket’s Gold to them.

After church we made the last minute decision to be crazy and even though it was 8.30, we made out own 4th of July party. We fired up the grill and made burgers and hot dogs. I put out some cut up fruit and chips and dessert.

We all went night swimming since it was still *very* warm outside and the water was perfect.

We ate, we swam, and we did out own little fireworks display. We all went to bed super late and I was hoping they would sleep in…well they did….7am.

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I woke up and made a big breakfast of bacon, eggs, pancakes and a double batch of banana muffins and bread (had to use up all the brown bananas). I was excited because I got to use my fancy new whisk I got at the Anthropologie summer sale.

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It’s beautiful, the most lovely utensil I owned and wouldn’t you know it, it rolled off the counter and broke into a bunch of pieces on the floor. I wanted to cry but that’s life. My son immediately got a piece of paper and drew me a whisk to make me feel better, that made me laugh.

Posted in Family Life, Real Talk

Dress For The Job You Want

“Cooking is 80 percent confidence, a skill best acquired starting from when the apron strings wrap around you twice.”

― Barbara KingsolverAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

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Making my favorite weight watchers breakfast.

According to this website, work uniforms, instill a sense of pride and responsibility and can convert employees into “brand ambassadors” outside the actual workplace. Schools also report favorable statistics when switching to uniforms. There is a connection in how we are dressed and how we feel. This is why we tell ladies to ditch the pants and wear skirts and dresses for a whole month before they try on a pair of pants again. As much as people don’t want to hear it, dressing like a lady does make you feel like a lady.

When I worked before I had children, I was a flight attendant. In between trips, when I would lounge in the lobby and stuff my face at all the free hotel buffets, I didn’t really feel put together to say the least. However when I put on my uniform, tied that scarf around my neck and put on my pumps, I did feel different. I did take pride in my job, even if I only greeted people and picked up their empty food trays.

So what is the homemaking uniform? I guess there is no wrong answer as long as you are keeping the home, however I find putting on this simple article of clothing has transformative powers. Exit tired mom, enter domestic super hero.

My apron is basically a cape worn backwards.

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Juicing before breakfast.

Long ago an apron was necessary to protect clothing, in a time where not everybody had washing machines and thrift stores. There are many other benefits to wearing one besides protecting clothing such as drying hands and tears from a crying child, you also won’t feel lazy wearing an apron. An apron is a working article of clothing.

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Instant Pot Strawberry Oatmeal for the kids.

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Zucchini Noodles and Egg for my breakfast.

An apron gently guides you back to the task at hand when you are likely to get distracted. Wearing an apron doesn’t just send a message that you are embracing homemaking, but that you are actually busy at work.

If you are not in the habit of wearing an apron, I encourage you to try it! It single-handedly HAS improved my cooking and mood in the kitchen. I read somehwere else of another mom buying a new one every year, and that sounds like a fun tradition. I would like to start that for my birthday every year…reminding me that I am older and still very much needed, and “employed.” Ha!

The one I am wearing is currently on sale at Anthropologie. They have a lot of summer stuff for sale with an extra 25% at the store so I scored a cute mug with it for the same price it is online.

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I wish I could have bought them all and displayed them like this picture I found online!

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Photo Credit

I did find some pretty cute ones on Amazon with prime shipping, so you won’t give the store associates a heart attack with all your small children touching all the breakable stuff.


Do you wear an apron regularly? Let me know in the comments below!

 

**This post contains affiliate links, thank you for your support**

Posted in Family Life

New Morning Routine

I *was* doing so good when I was practicing the miracle morning routine. When we moved to this house though, it slowly stopped. I want that mountain back. It was such a powerful tool and the secret to my gusto throughout the day.  There is no comparison to waking up that way vs. having your kids wake you up.

My husband wakes up at 4.30am every day and I feel him get up but I just pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep. I decided no more. If he got up at 4.30am, I should do the same. I should work just as hard as him. In order for this to work I was going to have to go to sleep early like 9pm the latest.

I woke up this morning NOT tired. I felt great, excited. I sat at the edge of the bed and asked my husband, “What do we do now?” like a little kid on Christmas morning. It felt so wonderful to have time alone in the morning with just my husband and all our little angels still fast sleep. We had coffee, we read the book of James and we talked about Sports. Yes, I am that wife that will try to take an interest in what my husband likes to have some interesting conversations and I like the expression on his face when I try to talk to him like I know what I am talking about (most of the time I don’t just read a headline tweet!)

“So Lebron is probably going to go to the Lakers right?” -Me trying to sound like I know what I am talking about.

It was fun. We talked about the book of James, a little of this and that and then it was time for him to go.

It still gives me an hour before the kids wake up, which is when I will do my blogging. This counts as my “writing” miracle morning part. It wakes up my brain and sets the tone for the day…Words. My enjoyment will come from words…scripture, books, what my children talk to me about etc. Now I’m off to sneak in the exercise portion.

Have a great day!

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Posted in Family Life, Homeschool Life, Uncategorized

Our 2018 Summer Schedule

I have been a school year round gal. In the past I took off whenever I had a baby or when the weather was nice or simply when I felt I needed a break. I realized that it was a lot harder to start back up after a long break so I avoided them.

This year I am going to actually try to take a whole summer off and see how we do. I am admittedly nervous so I am still going to do a fun math curriculum twice a week at least.

I thought I would share with you how I put it together.

-First fill in the routine staples..3 meals and clean up.

-Add a Bible and memorization time, while you are already reading to them maybe add a story book.

-Add more reading before nap time and bed time.

-Add in a time or two for chores or a “reset” time to clean up messes from the day.

-You will see you have two main chunk open. One is the a.m before lunch and the other is p.m before dinner after nap time.

-Write down the 5 or 6 days of the week you want to be intentional in. Check out your local library schedules and regularly occurring events. Is there a reading time that works for you? Maybe the regular coding classes are of interest or the Lego club?

-Pick a few and schedule no more than 2 things a day, preferably one home based activity and one outside on. Make sure you still have lots of down time to be bored and come up with your own games and ideas.

Lastly be flexible and have fun!

Here is a copy of my schedule.

Rodriguez Summer Schedule

Morning Routine-

Get Ready/Dressed
Clean Room
Breakfast
Table Chores
House Chores
Bible Time
Bible Memory
Story Time

**ACTIVITY

Lunch Time
Table Chores
Reading Time
Nap Time/Quiet Time

Snack Time
*PM Activity
Dinner Prep
Dinner
Table Chores

Get Ready for Bed
Final Story Time
Bedtime

*****Monday- Life of Fred Math a.m –Minecraft Monday 3:30 p.m

Tuesday- Preschool Library Story Time 10.30am OR POGO Pass fun

Wednesday- Swimming and Relaxed Day a.m —p.m Church

Thursday- Life of Fred Math a.m- Coding Club at Library 4-5:00pm

Friday-10am Library Activity & Friday Family Fun Night

Saturday- Keepers at Home/Contenders of Faith Skill Badge Work