A New Year’s Challenge!

Happy New Year!  Hope y’all had a wonderful holiday break.  We had a blast with a ton of family in town.  Then my parents took the kiddos for a few days so Dave and I could work on a few house projects.  And, I’m working on a special project this year that I’m really excited about….more on that later!

But, I just wanted to share with you that Dave and I are once again hosting a New Year’s Biggest Loser Challenge.  It’s open to EVERYONE!  And it’s only $25 to play.  There will be weekly challenges and motivation….I’d love for you to play along with us!  Here’s the link to sign up, we’ll be starting on January 9th!

Biggest Loser 2017 Challenge {Facebook Group}New Year's Biggest Loser Challenge 2017!  Join the challenge and make a change!And in case you need some other motivation or ideas, here’s the link to one of my most popular posts from when I WON a Biggest Loser Competition and lost over 30lbs in 15 weeks.  There’s some worksheets on there, and some of my diet and exercise examples.

Let’s start the new year out right and start making some changes!

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Sunday Scripture: Slow

I generally don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions.  I’m just like the next guy, where I can’t help but feel rejuvenated every time that ball drops….like it’s an excuse for a do over.  And as much as my Type-A personality craves order in my life {and an excuse to reorganize},  I am usually able to reign myself in and and not officially create resolutions.  Because, when life sets back in and those resolutions get put on the back burner, there is nothing but disappointment.


I do think the transition from one year to the next is a good time to reflect on your life for a few moments.  And when I did this, I realized that  most of what was on my heart this past year had to do with clutter.

Physcially, I feel like we have accumulated a lot of “stuff” and it’s started to give me some major anxiety.  We’re already working on that a bit in the house…more on that later…

 But also, I feel like our social and emotional clutter has gotten a bit out of hand lately as well.  We’ve been super busy socially, both kids and adults…so much that I couldn’t tell you the last weekend we were all at home spending time with each other.  And I’d love to tell you that that will stop…but the truth of the matter is that I just added two more things to our plate by signing Jayna and Millie up for softball and dance, respectively.  But because I believe that sports and extra curricular activities are important for them, it’ll stay on the calendar.  But I plan on really picking and choosing some of our other social activities.  We have very limited time to spend together as a family during the week, so weekends need to get back to being for us.  Not for some random classmate’s birthday party.  So please don’t take offense if you invite us to something and we rsvp with a “sorry, we can’t make it this time.”  We love you, but family comes first.Sunday Scripture: Slow {slowing down in the new year...physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually}

But more importantly, I feel like emotionally and spiritually we need to slow down as a family too.  I’ve been noticing more and more that the kids respond much better to almost all situations when I am calm.  I may still show anger or frustration, but if I am calm, they are more receptive.  I will never forget one of the “mottos” of the camp that I used to work at as a teenager.  “Seek to understand” was one of the discipline techniques they taught us….find out what the situation is before you react.  And as a parent, it’s some of the hardest advice to follow.

Our knee-jerk reaction is to yell at someone.  And I’m finding that now, that the girls are a bit older and more responsible, that a lot of the times we get mad and emotional for no reason.  Dave will get frustrated with Millie crying {again}, and snap at her, just to find out that she actually hurt herself.  I”ll grab a toy and put it away when the girls are arguing over it, rather than stopping to find out what the conflict is, and encouraging them to figure out a solution on their own.

And I know we aren’t doing them any favors by doing this….it’s just a bad habit.  But the kids are just as bad at snap judgements and unnecessary emotions.  But….they are kids.  They are learning.  It’s our jobs as adults to teach them how to appropriately respond to situations, and I think we need to do a better job modeling this for them.

And finally, spiritually…obviously we all need to find more time to study The Word and pray.  But in this case, I think that all of this slowing down is interconnected….by seeking to understand before reacting, we are modeling purposeful behavior, which carries over into intentional prayer and quiet time.  And so today’s Sunday Scripture is a perfect reminder.

Today’s Sunday Scripture image was created by @meaningful_word and found on Tumblr.

Have a blessed week!

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Saving Money with Organized Meal Planners

Every  January, millions of people make New Year Resolutions.  And by every February, most of those New Year Resolutions have already been forgotten!  I am not a “resolution person.”  Sure, I want to start off each new year fresh and all that, but I don’t write down goals or anything.  But, I know a lot of y’all do!  And I know that Be More Organized and Save Money are two hugely popular goals.  So I thought maybe I’d create a post to help you out with that a bit.

One of the ways our family got out of debt last year, was by saving money on groceries.  We became organized in our meal planning, purposeful in our buying and ended up saving hundreds of dollars each month.  I used to clip coupons like a fiend.  I used a site called Southern Savers, which lists all of the grocery store adds and coupons in one place, so you could scan your store’s add each week, and click on links that would automatically print the coupons for the items on sale.  This site is           Ah-mazing.

However, it still took a lot of time to plan out exactly what we were going to eat each week, using the corresponding sales.  Then, we discovered eMeals.  This magical site emails you a week’s worth of dinner plans {all that take about 30 minutes or less to make} and grocery lists based on your local store’s weekly add.  So, they create a weekly meal plan around what’s on sale for the week.  Out of 7 meals emailed a week, we usually eat about 5….adding in a leftovers night and a eat-out night.  And the grocery lists average $80 a week {which also include staples, like Olive Oil, that you probably already have, so the budget ends up being under $80 a week for 4-6 people!}.

And eMeals is only about $5 a month.

And that’s without my super-awesome hook-up.  If you click on any of the links or pictures in this blog post, and type in DINNER15 at the checkout as a coupon code, it will take 15% off your bill.

eMeals Clean Eating Plan 15% off code from Palmettos and Pigtails

eMeals has tons of meal plans to choose from {and you can try out the different plans if you’d like!}: Clean Eating, Organic, Paleo, Vegetarian, Slow Cooker, Low Carb, Low Calorie, Gluten Free, Gourmet, etc.

Back to my story.  So, we use eMeals each week to plan our meals around the sale items at Publix {our grocery store}.  I still go onto Southern Savers to look for coupons for those items on my list that are already on sale {so I can get most things for under .50!}, to get the absolute lowest prices for my weekly trip to the store.  And I keep track of it ALL on my weekly meal planner.  Here’s what it looks like:

Meal Planner from Palmettos and Pigtails

{Click on the picture for a closer look}

Next to each Meal #, I write the day of the week that we’ll be eating that meal.  In the blank square below each Meal #, I write the name of the meal {on the eMeals printout, it lists ingredients needed and directions on how to make it…the eMeals grocery list is on a separate page}.  Then I list any staples and ingredients that I’ll need to buy that week below in the designated spots. eMeals also has breakfast, lunch and dessert options that you can add to your meal plan.  We don’t currently use any of those, although we probably will add the lunch choice next school year when Jayna will eat at school each day.

The combination of the meal planning worksheet and eMeals ensures that we eat at home most nights of the week {thus, saving our wallets and waistlines!}.  And even if we end up not using one of the meals one week, I know I have all the ingredients on hand…so we eat it the following week!  Hope this plan jump starts your year into saving money, eating right, and being organized!  Happy New Year!
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March Cleaning Calendar

Happy March!  Here’s your cleaning assignments for the month!  Please leave me comments with things you like/dislike about it, or anything you’d like me to add!  There are always plenty of cleaning/organizing things to do each month, and I don’t want to forget any!

Click HERE for the full sized document.  Feel free to use and share, but please link back to this post if you do!  Thanks

I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions

However, I do feel a sense of renewal at the beginning of every new year.  I feel obligated to get all the junk food out of my house.  Not to resolve to eat healthier necessarily (although I should), but I figure if I purge all of the Christmas goodies by January 1st, then at least I’m off to a good start.  And too bad in my house, we don’t like to waste, so by “purging” I mean “eating.”  So, I’m having a snack as I type! =)

On that note, I do not pledge to drop 20 pounds….but since I have been “purging” for the last week and a half….I do promise to call my trainer.  And maybe even show up for a session or two!

And finally, you’d think that since we’ve only been living in our new house for 4 months, it would be spotless and clutter-free.  Not so.  We have already had four major social events which required us to shove random things that hadn’t been unpacked into the corners of our new abode.  Where they stayed.  And I can’t remember where I put them.  Or what “they” were.  So, I do not pledge to keep my house clean, or even have a weekend overhaul to de-clutter.  I do however, crave a schedule.  I guess it’s my type A (slightly OCD) personality that craves some order.  I was so good when Jayna was born…..I could spout exactly when she ate, napped and pooped to anyone who even glanced my way.  Now, when the pediatrician asks me how many times Amelia naps a day…..I hang my head in shame and make up a number (um, three?).  Don’t even ask me about number of diapers….it’s just autopilot for those!

So this week I have been on a mission to find or create somewhat of a schedule.  I feel like it’s so easy for my days to get away from me….I have every intention to clean the house, get the girls dressed, shower, blog, make the beds, do a craft or two, make a healthy homemade dinner, sew a couple of burpcloths, and take a nap….every day.  And then, it’s 6pm and NONE of that has happened and I have three hungry children  two hungry children and a hubby to deal with.  I need to tap into my Special Education days and get me a schedule!!!

After posting a cry for help on my Facebook page, my friend Christy did some of the leg work for me and pointed me to Time Warp Wife’s weekly cleaning schedule.  It’s printable and very basic.  A good start, although I will have to tweak some of the days…but generally what I am looking for.  Another site Christy showed me was My Simpler Life.  Even better!  She has a free downloadable calendar for January that has 31 random things to do to clean up and de-clutter your house (like cleaning the tops of your cabinets!), but it’s just one thing a day, so it seems pretty manageable.

(Click to go to see the full document from mysimplerlife.com)

I just need to add in our personal schedule to these too, to figure out where to fit in these little chores, on top of my usual stuff that doesn’t get done. Hmmm…

Here is another one that I found and liked:

(courtesy of lifes-a-journal.com)

But after searching for three days…I couldn’t find that perfect one….so I just made one.  I wanted a decorative one to hang on my new fridge file (from Mead…bought from Target).

It has three clear pockets, but since they are double-sided, I have the possibility of having 6 available display spaces.  So, I decided to do a daily schedule in Excel.  It seems pretty rigid (and complicated) at first glance….but really it just condenses Jayna, Amelia and my schedules all into one.  Hopefully it will give our days a little more structure.  I’m sure this will end up being a rough draft, but here’s what it looks like for now:

(If you would like an editable version of this schedule, please leave me a comment…for a closer look, click on the picture!)

So I figure, this will be one page of my fridge file.  I also made a monthly calendar with one small item each day to do on it.

(If you would like an editable version of this schedule, please leave me a comment…for a closer look, click on the picture!)

My plan for now is to use the daily schedule as a guide for being productive on a daily basis, and in addition to that, trying to accomplish the one small housekeeping item in my monthly cleaning calendar as well.  We’ll give it a try this month, and I’ll let you know how it goes!  If you end up using any of my schedules, please leave me some feedback so I can tweak accordingly to help y’all out….and please link back to this post if you repost on your blog or pin me!  Thanks!

Happy New Year!

P.S. I’m linking up this week!

NOT my handiwork!

I just want to say, that yes, I am feeling pretty good about cutting Dave’s hair.  I, however have NOT yet attempted to cut Amelia’s hair.  Seems as though she has been taking care of that herself!

But alas, she really has taken after her sister….rat-tail and all!  Jayna had the same issue and I let it slide until she was about 9 months old.  Then I snipped that tail off myself, before subjecting her to her first real haircut with Ms. Kelly when she was a year.  Family-do you remember these pics of Jayna?

Terrible, isn’t it?  My New Year’s Resolution this year just may be to get my kid’s hair cut!