Category Archives: Life

Thank you, 2015

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a relaxing holiday. This year was a bit crazy for us as we were driving back and forth every day from one family to the next. We split our time home between my family, Andrew’s mom and her side of the family, and then Andrew’s dad and his side of the family. We squeezed in a bit of time for lunch with friends – and that we even had to split into two different days because everyone else was just as busy as us! I was glad we got to see everyone, but it is good to be home again. Being constantly on the go really exhausted me. The details are all a bit blurry and I’m still wondering where all the time went.

2015 Ornament

Nonetheless, our Christmas was exactly what I wanted with time spent with those important to us. With that, I’m looking forward to the new year.

I’ve gotten in the habit at the end of the year to review all the big things that happened throughout the year. 2015 has been very monumental for me with a many big life changes. Change isn’t always easy to accept or handle, but it’s definitely easier when you have a hand to hold.

Andrew met my grandma. We went to Pennsylvania over our spring break so Andrew could meet her and also to see my dad’s side of the family again. She’s not doing the best health-wise, so it was really important to me that he met someone so dear to me.

I turned 21. While I didn’t have a huge lets-get-wasted kind of party, it was great to ring in the big 21 with my close friends. I also learned that no matter how many types of beer I try, they are all gross! :P I will stick with my girly, fruity drinks, thanks!

I married my BFF. This is hands down the biggest and best thing that happened this year. I spent so much time this year preparing for our wedding, and then wrote a ton of posts about our big day! It was so worth it, and it was so much fun – it all felt like a dream or a fairytale!

You can read about the morning of, the ceremony, the reception (part 1), and the reception (part 2).

We traveled to the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon. Getting there was an absolute fiasco, but once we were there we had so much fun! After all of the stress of planning the wedding and working all summer, it was like heaven to just sit on the beach and by the pool with a drink in my hand!

I received an internship in downtown KC. This is maybe one of the most satisfying things that happened this year because I got to quit the movie theater. I do not miss the long shifts, the horrible managers, horrible scheduling, and customers yelling at me all. night. long. This was a big confidence booster for me, too, because I had a really hard time finding an internship when all my peers at school seemed to be getting them so easily.

I finished my penultimate semester of my undergrad! This is very exciting. One more semester and I will graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in finance. Still not sure what I want to do, but having a degree in my hand will mean I have something to show for the last four years of my life.

I hope that this year has been just as good for you. Cheers, friends. :)

How I Plan my Meals for the Week

As a new wife, I have slowly started to become adjusted to some of the new roles that I’ve taken. One of those things that I’ve had to adjust to is cooking every night. I really enjoy cooking, but when I lived by myself, I wouldn’t say that I actually “cooked” that often. It was usually eating popcorn for dinner, eating a salad, or throwing in a frozen pizza. Whatever was easy, I did it because it was just me.

Now that I’m cooking for Andrew, it’s harder for me to justify eating popcorn every night – though there are still nights where I don’t feel like cooking so we have popcorn and pop in a movie and make movie night! At first, I was a little lost. I would come home from work or class, stare at the fridge and freezer and try to come up with something to make. I’d think of something but then remember Andrew didn’t like it or wouldn’t have enough time to make it because we had something going on later. After pondering for half an hour and finally coming up with something, I’d be halfway through prepping before I realized I was missing an ingredient (or four or five…).

It just wasn’t working.

So I sat down and I made a rough list of 30 dishes that I could think of that Andrew and I both enjoyed. This would give us 30 different meals for every day of the month so we weren’t eating the same thing over and over. I could only come up with around 23 off the top of my head (we are picky and boring, I know), so to find some inspiration, I went to Pinterest. I made a board for new dishes and a board for dishes that we’ve made and have been “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” approved.

Note: I wanted to make a list of meals and not just look at a recipe book, because there are dishes we love that you don’t need a recipe for. For example, we love grilled hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches, but we don’t need recipes to make those. So looking at a recipe book would not provide me with a meal idea for either of those. There are many more dishes like this. I find the list gives me way more ideas of meals to pick from.

Meal Blackboard

I found this cute chalkboard a couple of weeks ago at Hobby Lobby where you can write in the meals you plan to cook for the week. This was the best find ever and it was only $6! I usually go grocery shopping Saturday mornings, so before I leave I plan out the meals for the week. This way I know what I’m making and can make sure all of the ingredients are on my grocery shopping list. I like to sit this on my window sill – it makes for a cute decoration while still helping me remember what I’m cooking that night. :)

Picking out the meals for the week is now really easy, because I’m not restricted by not having proper ingredients or not knowing what to make. I can easily pull up our list of dishes that we enjoy, which is now way over 30 since we’ve been trying new meals and adding to it, which makes picking even easier.

This also keeps our grocery bill lower because I’m not buying fresh ingredients that aren’t being eaten for meals that I didn’t actually end up making. It also tends to make prep time a bit faster. If I know I’m making tacos tomorrow, I’m going to get the beef out of the freezer and let it thaw. Or if I’m making chicken tonight and I’m also using chicken in the dish tomorrow, I can go ahead and cook chicken for both meals, and then tomorrow I just have to throw it into whatever I’m making.

It’s not a complicated process, but just doing those few simple things have been making planning meals for the week so much easier!

Do you cook a lot? If so, do have a meal planning process or just do it as you go?