Saving Money

Saving Time and Loving to Cook

Saving Time and Loving to Cook

How To Fall In Love With Cooking

I love to cook!  I love to plan my meals each week! Now, the shopping for the food – I could take or leave, but we need the food to cook so…I remember when I was a little girl, my mother bought me a cookbook for kids (I still have it…yeah).  I remember cooking with my mother and it was a lot of fun and I have wonderful memories of this.

I remember when I was a little girl, my mother bought me a cookbook for kids (I still have it…no kidding).  I remember cooking with my mother and it was a lot of fun and I have wonderful memories of this time with her.

Now with all of this said, I don’t want any of you thinking that I have everything together and there is never a time that I am scrambling to get a good meal on the table.  Please – that is so far from the truth, but when this happens, it’s because I didn’t plan.  Also, I don’t cook gourmet meals, I cook easy, good tasting, southern dishes that I know my family will eat.   Did I mention they were easy?

What I really love is when I take the time to plan my meals for a week and I have everything I need to pull off a quick, easy and tasteful meal for my family.  For this to occur, there are a few things that I do to ensure that when I start cooking, I have everything I need.  Here are my suggestions to bring joy back to the kitchen and things easy on you.  After all, isn’t that the name of the game?

Planning meals for the week

This really is the most time consuming, for me.  When you plan the meals, you need to make sure that you are planning all meals and snacks for the week.  I know that it seems like a lot of work, but think about it, when you do this part you will not only make your list of things you need at the grocery store – you will only have to go to the store once, which will save you time.

So, I make my menu on this cute DIY menu board that I made from a picture frame (from the dollar store) and a colorful piece of paper inserted into the frame.  Use a white board marker and you are all set.

Weekly Menu
Making List and Shopping

After I decide on what to make, I then make my list of groceries. When I decide on what to have for the week, I try and think about dishes where I can cook up the meat on the weekend and either freeze it or have it in the frig so all I have to do is put things together.  Cooking god healthy meals, doesn’t have to cost an arm or a leg.

So, back to my list.  I organize things on my list so that they will be easy to get at the grocery store.  This keeps me from running around the store getting things (although it seems to never fail that I am at the front of the store and remember that I need something in the diary department in the back of the store).

After I buy everything I need and I am back home, I go ahead and chop anything that I will need for the week and cook any meat that I will use for the week.  I know that this seems, as is, a little time consuming, but remember you have more time on the weekend than the week – so this will pay off during the week.

Prepping and Cooking

So, when I get ready to cook I first gathering everything that I will need and place it on the counter.  I use these awesome prep bowls from Pioneer Woman’s Collection

Love Cooking

to measure everything out and place in these bowls.  That way all I have to do when I am putting everything together is empty the contents of the bowl in the pan.  Easy enough.

This is where the chopping the needed food, after you brought it home, comes in handy.  If you need onions, and you chopped them up when you come home, all you have to do now is measure out the amount you need and wham…you are that much closer to a great meal – with time to spare.


I would like to take a moment and share with you some great cookbooks that my husband and daughter bought for me this past Christmas.

Easy and Quick Meals
Food From My Frontier

I just love Ree’s cookbooks because they are simple and she has awesome pictures that show you exactly the way things should look.You will also find variations in her cookbook, so if your family doesn’t like something, she shows you how to change it up.

Cooking is something that you can do as a family.  My daughter and I have great talks, even now that she is an adult, over cooking.  It was the way that I taught her fractions when she was younger and it was a time that we could experiment with things that we thought might taste good together (sometimes it did and sometimes it didn’t…)  It didn’t matter because I wanted to pass on the love of cooking and food like it was passed down to me.

I hope that you all enjoyed this information that I shared with you.

Take care friends.



Clean Green

Clean Green – Essential Oils

Clean with Essential Oils

Cleaning your home should leave you with a fresh, clean, wholesome smell, not a harsh chemical smell.  For years I cleaned with products that I have bought at the grocery store and thought that the strong smell was cleaning more.  Weird thinking I know.

When I had my daughter, I was nervous about having her (and my doggies) around all of the harsh smelling chemicals, so I would make sure that her father would take her out of the house when I was cleaning.

Now, why I wasn’t worried about my health, no clue! 

Then I started realizing the residue that the chemicals could be leaving behind wasn’t good for any of us.  So I started looking into detoxing my home.  Getting rid of all the harsh cleaning supplies and air fresheners (this goes for candles – unless they are organic).  If you look on the back of the cleaning bottle/candles and you can’t pronounce some of the ingredients-throw it out.

So, I had to find some cleaning products that would be healthy for my family and that when I started to research essential oils.  Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in different parts of the plant.  Essential oils are powerfully fragrant.  If you take a lemon peel and squeeze it, the oil that you see are in fact essential oil.

They have been used for centuries for medical purposes as well as therapeutic.  I use essential oils for cleaning, help with cold symptoms, lotion, and to keep bugs away- just to name a few.  The use of essential oils is endless.

I really love essential oils because it is so cost effective.  Buying just a few essential oils you can take care of all your cleaning needs for a fraction of the cost.  I buy a 3-pack of essential oils and pay around $8.00.  Since it is so concentrated, it will last me 6+ months.

So, which essential oils do I use to clean my house?  Let’s take a look…

Tub-   Use a glass jar with a lid (you can get one from the dollar store) and mix baking soda (1/2 box) and lemon essential oil until you get the consistency you want.

Sinks – Use a glass jar with a lid (you can get one from the dollar store) and mix baking soda (1/2 box) and lemon/lavender essential oil until you get the consistency you want.

Toilet Bombs

Toilet bombs –  Use 1 1/3 cup of baking soda, ½ cup of citric acid, 1 tsp of water and 30 drops of lemon (you can use lavender or peppermint).  Mix the baking soda and citric acid and essential oil in a bowl.  Use a fine misting bottle to add the water (so it won’t fizz in the bowl) until it in consistent enough that you can take some in your hand and it will keep a mold.  Using a cup cake tray or silicon mold of choice, add the mixture to the tray and pack it down tight.  Let them dry for a couple of hours.  Remove gently and place in a glass container.  Use as needed.

Counter Tops – Use a spray bottle and mix water with 20 drops of lemon essential oil.  This is an awesome smell and it helps with sanitizing your kitchen/bathroom.

Floors – I use a spray bottle (or you can use a bucket) and add water and lemon + lavender essential oils.  I works great and it smells delicious. Some people add vinegar to their water, but I don’t because it works great without it.

Air Freshener – I use a spray bottle and mix water and about 15-20 drops of lavender and use this as an air freshener, furnisher boost and linen spray.  I also use this spray on my dogs after their bath (or when they start smelling like a dog in between baths).  It is not harmful to them and it helps their skin.

Glass and Mirror – Use a spray bottle and mix water, 1 teaspoon white vinegar and lemon essential oil.  Make sure that you use a lint-free cloth.

Laundry – If you left some laundry in the wash and it has that musty smell, you can add some lemon essential oil to your load and it will take the smell right out.

Insects and rodents – I hate it when ants start appearing around my house and/or in my house (not to mention roaches and mice – YUCK!!!!).  These essential oils will keep them away and allow you to keep you home clean.

Mice – take a cotton ball and put peppermint essential oil on it and place it in your home where you think you have mice.  They will stay away and as they do not like the smell.

Ant/Roaches – if you use lemongrass or lemon essential oils, they will keep these critters away from your home.  You can even spray your counters down at night and leave it to dry and that will certainly keep these annoying creatures away.


Great Tool to Help You Save Money


Who doesn’t want to save money?

Have you thought about saving money by the way you spend it?  What?  Yes, how you spend it each month.  I want to introduce you to an awesome woman – Alexa from LearnVest – and how she has shown thousands of people how to save money by how we spend it each month.  She has a system that she lives by called the 50/20/30 Guideline that she recommends that will help anyone start saving ~almost immediately.

I had the pleasure of being present at one of her lectures at my college and loved the way that she was teaching the young college women at this college how not to rack up a bunch of debt.  She was so energetic and the audience was drinking in everything she had to say.

Now, what is this 50/20/30 guideline?

Well, 50% is for fixed costs (rent, mortgage payments, utilities, car payment, etc.)  You can include things like prescriptions, gym memberships, etc.  This would be 50% of your take-home pay.  This is generous and anything under the 50% is gravy for your savings.

So, next is 20% of your take-home pay which should be used towards important payments that will help your financial future to include things like paying down debt – credit cards, saving for retirement and always having an emergency fund to fall back on. You can also include in this section saving money to put a down payment on a house.

Finally, 30% of your take-home pay should pay toward daily expenses.  These of course will vary each month, like buying clothes, haircuts, eating out, vacations, etc.   This will also include groceries because this is something that will change each month depending on what you want and/or buy.   This is the most flexible category and it doesn’t matter what the money is spent on, just don’t go over your allotted budget each month and remember, anything you don’t spend can go into your 20% pot for saving.

This was a very quick overview of what LearnVest covers in their program.  Do yourself a big favor and head on over to their website and see what they have to offer.  I know that they would love to help you have the financial freedom that everyone strives for.