Meal Planning and Back to School Routine

We just returned from our week long summer vacation on the coast of Maine.  It was a wonderful mix of relaxation and small day trips.  A perfect break from the usual day to day responsibilities, and we lucked out with some pretty great weather!  One of our day trips included Acadia National Park, where we saw the breath taking view from the top of Cadillac Mountain.  This picture doesn’t do it justice, but Brian stood pretty close to the edge looking out on everything below!
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Checking out the view from the top of Cadillac Mountain – Acadia National Park
My nephew, who is just shy of a year, got up close and personal with a lobster before our dinner.  I’m not quite sure what he thought, but he kept his distance!
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Checking out the lobster, very pensive!
 And it wouldn’t be a vacation without exploring some of the local cuisine!  We choose to check out two local vineyards/breweries.  It was the perfect way to enjoy each other’s company on a rainier day where the beach lost it’s appeal.
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Trying out one of the local vineyards
It was a really lovely time away.  We were able to spend time reading, kayaking, biking, resting, eating, drinking, and overall just enjoying our family and a break from work.  But we sure did miss our furry friend!  Cody got to spend a week at a doggy resort and spa!  He seemed like he had a great time, they were very friendly and helpful, and he seemed well taken care of.  It was our first time leaving him with someone other than family.  Came right home and fell fast asleep, looks like it was a week of lots of playing!
IMG_7688Cody sure was tired after a week of puppy vacation!
Now that we are back, reality of the new school year is setting in!  My center goes year round, so I don’t really have a “back to school” feeling, but my husband goes from a very relaxed summer schedule to jumping right into full school days and sports practices.  We need to get organized and prep for what our busier schedules will look like.  Our goals are to stay healthy and active while still staying on budget and saving where we can (the goal is to be buying a house this year!).
I have definitely found that the key to staying healthy, active, and on budget all comes down to organization and planning.  I have to plan my meals and plan my workouts.  I used to meal plan on sundays all the time, and then we would get our shopping for the week done.  It saved $ and having to make numerous trips to the store throughout the week.  But I fell off that bandwagon when things got busy.  We wound up with many late nights of take out and fast food.  Not only does that kill our nutrition, but we also spend way more than we typically would have.  So I knew it was time to get back into that habit.
I threw together a meal plan for the week.  When we shop correctly, we are both pretty good about bringing our lunches to work, which also cuts down on quick unhealthy food and spending extra money.  Before I decided on our meal plan I shopped the house first.  I know it sounds funny, but there are so many weeks where there are good sales and I stock up.  Now is the perfect time to put those ingredients to use!
IMG_7683Back to meal planning for the week

Our grocery list is pretty small, based on the number of meals we will be preparing.  And again, this includes breakfasts and lunches.  For the most part I had almost all of the vegetables, meats and fish in the freezer and rice on the shelf.  This Sunday when we go shopping we will again be keeping an eye out for sales.  Its better to buy when the prices are right and freeze, then plan a meal around it, then to have to buy an expensive ingredient just because your recipe calls for it.

So far I’m feeling good.  We have our meal plan, and have mapped out what days we will be going to the gym.  As long as I can get myself back into a routine, I know it will pay off!

What tips do you utilize to make your busy days go by smoother?

 

A couple little things

One of the biggest perks of being a teacher, are the school vacation weeks.  I get a built in week of no work…without needing to use up sick days, personal days, vacation time, or anything like that.  This is one of the first April Vacations I haven’t had a trip planned, but B and I were planning to use the week to go apartment hunting.  Since we got that finished ahead of time, we have plenty of time to relax!

After a hair raising day at work Friday, I kicked off vacation at the nail salon with sister #1.  A manicure was the best cure for a long work week, and a much deserved vacation!  Things only got better when I came home to find a package in the mail, with the ring I had ordered from LittleMissMomma!  So pretty, I just love it!

Saturday B and I got to spend the day together just hanging out.  It was lovely, after not seeing each other all week long!  We cooked a delicious dinner, which was ended by the most amazing white chocolate mousse ever…if I do say so myself 🙂  That recipe is definitely a keeper!

Sunday was the usual Nursery at Church, followed by taking pictures of all the kiddos getting pony rides.  How exciting!  Then we were finally able to escape for our mini-getaway in Rhode Island.  We stayed at this adorable little Inn, in this adorable little town.  We enjoyed the sunny, but windy, weather and took a walk around town and through one of the gardens.   It was really peaceful and nice to just enjoy some time away for just the two of us.

The Inn had this amazing jacuzzi up on the roof, so we took a little dip before dinner.  I had the most incredible Finnan Haddie for dinner, and B had an equally delicious steak.  After dinner we took a quick power nap, and then it was back up to the jacuzzi.  It was a full moon, and all the stars were out.  The roof deck was circled with cute little twinkle lights, and there was nothing nicer than hanging out in the hot water while the air surrounding us was cold and crisp.  It was quiet, peaceful, relaxing, beautiful, and so romantic.  I couldn’t have asked for a better night away.

The next morning we packed up, enjoyed breakfast at the Inn, and then headed off.  We stopped a couple times for some window shopping and ice cream.  Even though it wasn’t the typical school vacation trip, we both had a blast, and would do it again in a heart beat.

Now, it is back to reality!  With only 26 more days until moving day (insert slight panic!) I have to spend this week cleaning, organizing, and getting ready to pack things up.  We will also be looking at couches, and new washer/dryers.  So our vacation will be relatively jam packed…and it’s already Tuesday!

I’m embarrassed to say that there are still boxes that never got opened after my last move, just over a year ago.  So the first order of business was to open up all those boxes, and make spread sheets of what I have, and what I will need to get.  First up…the kitchen!  I made it through 5 boxes last night, but I’m pretty sure there are at least 1 or 2 more left in the attic:

Doesn’t look like I will be purchasing ANYTHING new for our kitchen…I’m afraid our pantry will be so jam packed there won’t even be room for any food!

In other news, we finally picked a color for the bathroom!  I’ll post more about that later!

Have a great week everyone!