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hey there! I'm monica 

I pride myself on making amazing style and design accessible for everyone, regardless of location, budget, or ability! My design philosophy is rooted in authenticity + attainability - If I can do it, you can too! My work has been featured in countless publications, but I take the most pride in homeowners that have been personally inspired by my DIY ideas and have tried something in their own homes!

learn more about ME + MY BIZ

(created by Jones Design Company)

This is my motto for the year 2011. Lest you think I am superwoman, super-organized, or even know what I’m talking about, this is my first time ever that I’ve chosen a motto for the year. I have just been feeling motivated to do more with the beautiful, crazy life I’ve been blessed with. I’ll be sharing more about this in future posts, but there are endless possibilities and ways to be intentional. Remember the story in the Bible (Matthew 25) that talks about the men who were given talents by their master, and what they did with those talents? I want to be like the one who used his talents well, did more than was expected with them and turned them into something great. If everything in this life has been given to us, including our abilities and passions, then why I have I been so selfish with mine? You can be sure you’ll be hearing more from me about this!

For now, I’m going to share with you one practical, less abstract way I am trying to be more intentional. It’s with regular meal-planning and grocery shopping. If you know me, then you know I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants girl. I realized, however, that this was not serving my family well, nor was it managing my money well, in the area of meal planning. There are a lot of reasons that planning meals with variety and regularity don’t come easily to me, but let me tell you what has been working for me.
First, I begged and pleaded with my friends on facebook, and with family members, scoured my cookbooks, and hunted online for excellent, tasty recipes that met my very simple criteria.
1. Must have very few ingredients.
2. Must have common, not-too-difficult to find, or strange (I am an adventurous eater, but I’m in the minority in my family) ingredients.
3. Can be crock-pot-able (is that a word? If not, it is now.)
Secondly, I put those recipes in an easy to find, and easy to read form. For me, I picked up a set of color-coded 3×5 cards that were already on a ring-binder. Each colored card has a category (poultry, beef, side dish, fish etc).

Thirdly, (this one is so silly, but it works for me), I put a peelable chalkboard tile on my refrigerator (a gift from my sister, but you can find them here), where I write the next day’s meal. This keeps me on task, and makes me less likely to be lazy about making the meal that night.

I do a big grocery shopping trip twice a month (we do run to the store weekly for things like eggs, milk and bread). I plan ahead for 4 meals a week (8 dinners total for the 2 week period), because usually this is how many nights a week we actually sit at home together for dinner. Then I make my shopping list and shop accordingly. I’ve been doing this for one month, so far, and it has been great! Hunky has loved the variety and I actually feel that I’m being really effective with my time and money! Hooray!

Here are a couple places that might help you in your quest to be a meal-planning guru!

 E-mealz – sign up for $1.25 per week, and get specific meal plans, shopping lists and more for any size family (Bonus: if you have special dietary needs, they’ll give you a plan for that as well.)

Meal Planning Mommies give tips for meal planning, and lots of easy, kid-friendly meals, perfect for busy families.

Crystal and Co. is my personal favorite site for all things related to meal planning. From Menu Planning Mondays, to how to display your menus, to recipes, she’s got the whole thing covered! And maybe, just maybe, I would be a little better at menu-planning if I had something cute like this (below) to display my meals on. You may be seeing something like this from me in the near future. Stay tuned!


All Things Beautiful

What’s your method for meal planning? Organized or Fly-by-the-Seat-of-your-Pants?

The comments +

  1. I absolutely love your blog! I am very motivated after reading your meal planning post. Every night at 5 p.m., I am standing in the kitchen saying, “Hmm…what should dinner be tonight?” I really want to plan out meals and be prepared because I think it will cut down on stress and make my family happy! I can’t wait to check out the websites you posted for recipes and more ideas. I also love your motto for the year. I am going to try to come up with one of my own too! Thanks for the neat ideas and creativity on the blog–I will be following this daily!

  2. Sweet Love says:

    I am definitely going to make that cute meal board! How motivating and adorable is that ?!?! Thanks for the cute idea <3

  3. lori says:

    I started meal planning a couple months ago. I printed it from this blog http://confessionsofahomeschooler.blogspot.com/2011/01/monthly-meal-plan-february-2011.html
    I just change some of the meals to meet my families preferences but what I LOVE is that she has breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner on there. I know that seems overwhelming but really it helped me stay focused on healthy meals since I was dealing with 3 kids, homeschooling and being pregnant. Being intentional is such a great goal – how often we just go day to day trying to fill our time with things that make us happy but don’t necessarily fulfill our Christian purpose here.

  4. Thanks for all the tips! I need major help in this area. Love the chalkboard magnet!

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