father's day selfie

I hope everyone enjoyed the Father’s Day weekend. We had glorious weather and hosted a casual neighborhood BBQ. The kids ran around us, the breeze kept the bugs away and the men folk were very happy to relax and enjoy the night.

This feels like the first week of summer vacation for us. Last week was a haze of birthday parties, wisdom teeth removal and a road trip to Connecticut. The calendar is finally clearing as I intentionally said no to a few events to allow some free time for the kids (and myself.) We are preparing for our annual beach vacation and I want everyone to enjoy relaxing at home with friends and neighbors before we leave.

Dinners this week are a mix of easy summer favorites and cleaning out the fridge/pantry. I’m starting to tap into my round-up of summer dinner ideas. The other source of inspiration is the Dinner, A Love Story section on summer dining, complete with ideas for sides dishes and veggies. What inspires your dinner plans?

On the menu…

Sunday~ Grilled teriyaki chicken (homemade marinade), broccoli slaw and watermelon. Neighbors filled in the rest with home grown salad, amazing guacamole, tomato/mozzarella balls and ice cream sandwiches.

Monday~ Leftover chicken with greens from our garden. Both the baby spinach and assorted greens are doing great! Baking in the afternoon today and making Banana Walnut bread in the bread maker.

Tuesday~ Omelets with herbs from the garden, bacon and toast. Maybe this calls for some homemade bread

Wednesday~ Hot weather forecasted so it’s time for the crock pot. Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef will use up our last cut of meat from our share of a 1/4 cow. We will shred the meat and serve in tortillas taco style. I can whip up some rice in the pressure cooker too- no stove time necessary!

Thursday~ Stir fry chicken, veggies and rice.

Friday~ Pizza night with homemade pizza dough in bread maker.  Going strawberry picking in the morning so maybe we will make strawberry shortcake pancakes over the weekend.

Question of the week~ what’s your favorite summer beer or wine to pair with dinner? We have tried so many fun ones lately I’m curious what everyone else is enjoying! Leave a comment below.


Monday Meal Plan at Random Recycling.jpg

For more inspiration, see my past menus here, or the Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of meal plans.

memorial day patriotic fruit tray

Happy Memorial Day! I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend with family and friends to celebrate those who have served our country. On this leisurely Monday morning, I’m crafting a new meal plan of dinners for the week ahead. The Cobb salad we made last week was a huge hit and I’m trying out another fun, colorful salad this week.

Thai Chicken Salad

On the menu…

Memorial Day~ BBQ dinner with friends. I’m making Radish Salad with Orange Vinaigrette. I couldn’t resist them at the farmers market, along with some locally grown butter lettuce.

Tuesday~ Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad. It’s just so pretty with all the colors. I’m just going to swap out the green cabbage for romaine. The recipe comes from Gimme Some Oven, a blog with awesome recipes and great photography.

Wednesday~ Meatballs in slow cooker, linguine and green beans.

Thursday~ Steak Frites. (sweet potato fries) and Asparagus risotto

Friday~ Pizza Night. Pear, Bacon and Blue cheese pizza…yum!


Cobb Salad

Last week’s Cobb salad was a huge hit with everyone.

For more inspiration, see my past menus here, or the Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of meal plans.

After an amazing trip to San Francisco, it’s back to reality and making dinner. Last year this post for easy summer dinners was a big hit and we are starting to work of this list again. I can see our dinners slowly moving into the pattern of something grilled and a salad on the side.

The kids favorite meals involve “making” something themselves. I’m going to try out some new taco themes and see if they work for everyone. This week will have a fish taco night, future weeks will include a greek and mexican themed dinners.

On the Menu…

Monday~ Cobb salad. The kids like hard boiled eggs so I’m going to see if this could be a new summer dinner for us. It’s an easy meatless meal for a summer night if you leave out the chicken.

bbq chicken cobb salad

Isn’t this salad beautiful?! {source}

Tuesday~ Fish Taco Night.

Wednesday~ Pulled pork sandwiches. The kids are always ravenous after swim class so I need dinner ready. Now.

Thursday~ Grilled Chicken with Barley Corn Salad. The perfect recipe to use up the red onion, avocado and cilantro in the fridge.

Friday~ Pizza night!

For more inspiration, see my past menus here, or the Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of meal plans.


I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. #WalgreensOlogy
Tips for Under the Bathroom Sink Organization

Time for some spring cleaning everyone! Every March I tackle a few organizing challenges and up first is the bathroom. In my Organization Pinterest Board, I noticed one pin has over 5,000 repins- it’s an Under the Sink Organization pin. I had two thoughts about this. One, I wish all the traffic was going to my site, and two, why doesn’t my bathroom sink look like this?! Now is the time to clear out the clutter and restock with some new cleaning supplies from Ology, which is endorsed by one of my favorite organizations, Healthy Child, Healthy World. The Ology product line uses sustainable raw materials, doesn’t test on animals and uses a variety of natural ingredients.

Ology endorsed by Healthy Child Healthy World

Just a few weeks ago I bought my own Ology product- toothpaste. We buy the same natural toothpaste but I noticed the Ology brand next to my usual one. I compared the ingredients and they were nearly identical so I gave it a try. Turns out I like the Ology toothpaste, and the lower price. When I started my bathroom organization product, I decided to give the Ology cleaning products a shot. There’s just something satisfying about having all the cleaning things match too, don’t you think?

Walgreens Ology Shopping Trip

I have to say I had fun doing this shopping trip. As I went from the beauty aisle to get some Ology Castile Soap (for my homemade soap recipe) and then to the cleaning aisle, I was impressed with how many Ology products Walgreens now carries. It’s a line of products for those of us who are trying to avoid using products with parabens, phthalates, fragrances, triclosan and a few other nasty ingredients. They are safe for me, but more importantly, they help maintain my healthy home for the whole family.

Armed with new cleaning supplies, in very cute packages, I started the big purge under the sink. It was a little scary down there and I was able to toss a lot of old cleaning supplies. If I hadn’t used it in six months, I decided it was safe to say it was time to get rid of it. I also found six empty spray bottles for creating my own cleaners. Clearly I had high hopes, but it’s just not something that I’m able to do these days. Once everything was sorted, cleaned and repurposed, it was time to set up a new system.

Create Cute Labels for Drawer Organizers

My advice for tackling an organization project, take the time to make it pretty. It may seem silly to make fancy labels, but I think the better it looks from the start, the more likely you are to maintain it. I made the labels above using PicMonkey and printed them out on sticker paper. You can also print them out on regular paper and laminate them with packing tape. The drawers fit so well and help use the space more efficiently. I think I’ll buy one more and label it Baby and include the wipes and a couple of diapers.

Label cleaning bottles from the top to easily identify them

The only tricky thing with having all your cleaning bottles match is you can’t see which is which when they are down low. Time for p-touch labels! I may move my all-purpose cleaner to the kitchen, but for now I like having all of them lined up. Yes, that’s how we Type-A people work.

Keep cleaning rags handy to wash the bathroom

The worst offenders under the sink were the towels and rags. I bought two drawers to contain them and I love how easy it is for me to reach for a rag when I need to spray down the bathroom after the three-year old goes potty by himself…and misses. If paper towels are more your thing, the Ology paper products are all tree free.

If you want to learn a little more about Ology, you can watch this fun YouTube video and get a quick flashback to Melrose Place…

Here’s a peek at the full before and after shot…oh my is it better!

Before and After Under the Sink Organization

 What organization project is next on your list?

Oh, March. You have been such a lion. At least we got our fix of cute little lambs this weekend at Drumlin Farms Woolapalooza. Otherwise let’s just turn the page on the calendar and hope for warmer days ahead.

A few of this week’s dinner recipes come from the Dinner: A Love Story book I mentioned in last week’s books I’m reading post. I’ve made two so far (Emily’s Meatloaf and the Pork Roast Ragu) and they were both delicious. I’m most looking forward to seeing how the kids like Spiky Meatballs!

Meal Plan Monday March 31

S- Pork Roast Ragu from Dinner: A Love Story. (Awesome dinner with friends, post kids bedtime. Felt like grown ups for awhile.)

S- Lemon Chicken Stew

M- Clean Out Refrigerator Night

T- Breaded Chicken Cutlets (from D:ALS) , Roasted Asparagus

W- Spiky Meatballs, Salad

T- Dinner Out

F- Pizza Night

S- UCONN Game Night!! Their night at the Final Four calls for Chili and Cornbread. Go Huskies…I have to say that as my husband is a Husky. 😉

Kids are going to love these spiky meatballs!

Kids are going to love these spiky meatballs! Source

What’s on your dinner plan this week? Come back next week to see what’s cooking in April!

For more inspiration, see my past menus here, or the Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of meal plans. Affiliate links are included here. 

Welcome back to the meal plan. After not writing one last week I’m back and happy to have the week of dinners figured out. Even though it wasn’t written down and we didn’t go hungry as we are still working through our 1/4 of a cow. I did realize that I still appreciate having the dinners planned out in advance, and the time it takes on Sunday is totally worth it.

I have two new meal planning resources to share with you today as well. The first is an article in Boston Globe magazine written by fellow Boston blogger Christine Koh, also the author of one of my latest reads, Minimalist Parenting. The article shares 4 great sites to check out for more dinner ideas. I would agree with #4–my Pinterest boards is one of my first stops as I plan the menu for the week ahead.

Second tip is from The Kitchen Hour podcast hosted by Megan Francis of the blog, The Happiest Home. I love listening to podcasts while I’m doing dishes at night or folding a load of laundry. It can be a great way to learn something new, or just get a good laugh. In the most recent podcast, Megan interviewed Jenny Rosenstrach of Dinner, A Love Story. Jenny’s blog and book of the same name shares her love for the family dinner, and appreciates the challenges of getting it all done. I love her easy recipes that don’t take a ton of effort, but instead leave more time for relaxing at the dinner table.

On the menu this week…

Meal plan March week 1

Got a favorite podcast? Leave a note in the comment section.

For more inspiration, see my past menus here, or the Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of meal plans.

I recently heard someone talk about menu planning as the place where “Creativity meets practicality.”  This sentiment certainly rings true in my kitchen.  Menu planning helps us create healthy meals, but not spend wasted time in the kitchen trying to figure out what to do.

This week I’m reading In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed  and the chapter about food is eye opening. I know we are a little different taking the time to make home cooked meals each night, but I can’t help but hope more families will go back to spending more time in the kitchen. Hopefully you can get some quick dinner ideas for your family to make your menu plan come together a little faster.

On the menu this week…

Meal plan February 17th

Sunday~ Chicken piccata, orzo and salad

Monday~ Meatloaf, baked potatoes and peas

Tuesday~ Minestrone soup and garlic bread

Wednesday~ Chicken nuggets, corn and Annie’s mac and cheese

Thursday~ Clean Out Refrigerator Night

Friday~ Pizza night

Saturday~ Date night with friends

What are some of your favorite meals to make in your family? 

For more inspiration, see my past menus here, or the Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of meal plans.

Welcome to the first meal plan of 2014! Are you trying to get more organized this year and make meal planning a part of your routine? Each week I share our plans for family friendly, healthy recipes for dinner my hope it that it inspires some easy dinners for your family.

As we start the month of January, we have been trying to declutter everywhere. Including the kitchen and pantry. After the busyness of the holidays, it’s time to take stock of what we have to use up, and make room to refresh our real foods pantry. The deep freezer is also helping us save money this month as we use up some of our summer stash of tomato sauce , squash and our 1/4 of a cow.

Meal plan jan 6~ celebrate the new year and start meal planning

This week’s menu…

Sunday~ Soy ginger scallops, steamed green beans and jasmine rice. {Madison got more scallops than anyone as she kept poaching them off of her parents plate.}

Monday~ Chickpea Stew with Apricots. Awesome slow-cooker dinner for Meatless Monday. I swap out the turnip for carrots which I usually have on hand.  Serve over israeli couscous. I’ll also get to use up some of our tomato sauce for this recipe.

Tuesday~ Spaghetti and meat sauce. Peas on the side…the kids LOVE them frozen, but will not eat them cooked. Anyone else’s kids do this?

Wednesday~ Whole chicken in the slow cooker with carrots and potatoesI love this meal as I get great stock out of making the dinner, then I save the carcass and make another batch of chicken broth overnight in the crock pot.

Wednesday Lunch we are making Pizza quesadillas from the Weelicious Lunch cookbook. It’s the one day we are all home for lunch so I’m trying to plan ahead a hot lunch.

Thursday~ Clean Out Refrigerator Night. Maybe use the chicken leftovers for chicken quesadillas.

Friday~ Family pizza night! Still enjoying our homemade pizza dough in the bread machine.

Lovely meatless meal in the slow cooker: Chickpea Apricot Stew from SimpleBites.net

Lovely meatless meal in the slow cooker: Chickpea Apricot Stew from SimpleBites.net


For more inspiration, see my past menus here, or the Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of meal plans. Weelicious is an affiliate link on amazon, if you buy it through my link, thanks!

As the pace of the month calms after the holidays, let this be a time to regroup and get organized in the New Year. Meal planning can be easy step towards a more organized week for many families. We had a lovely Christmas holiday and now enjoying some quality family time at home this week. The kids are playing with toys, Daddy is enjoying vacation time and I’m reading lots of the articles I find on Pinterest, instead of just pinning them! I love that so many planners are now available with meal planning space and I may be tweaking how I plan my weekly meals.

Without further ado, here is our last meal plan of 2013. Enjoy!

Meal Plan December

Sunday~ Chicken Tortilla Soup

Monday~ Meatballs and Spaghetti (Madison’s choice) and sautéed green beans with grape seed oil.

Tuesday~ Beef Tenderloin for New Year’s Eve with a red wine marinade. Roasted carrots and potatoes on the side.

Wednesday~ Basque Fish Soup for New Year’s Day and Popovers

Thursday~ Clean Out Refrigerator Night

Friday~ Pizza night with our bread maker pizza dough.

Do you make a meal plan each week? What tips would you share with people just starting out?

 chicken tortilla soup

For more inspiration, see my past menus here, or the Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of meal plans. 

Happy Thanksgiving week! And Hanukkah! I don’t envy my friends trying to coordinate both celebrations this week. Planning the Thanksgiving Day menu is enough for me. I will be hosting for the first time {ever} and very excited for the big event. The past few years, I’ve made a full Thanksgiving feast at home after the big day. There is something about having your own special recipes and of course, the leftovers.

Giving Quote

Here is our Thanksgiving Day menu plans

  • Turkey (17 lbs) from our local poultry farm
  • Gravy
  • Stuffing (one with sausage and one without)
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Glazed Carrots
  • Corn Pudding
  • Fresh Rolls
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Apple Pie
  • Brownies

I’m most excited for my sister and her family to join us on Thanksgiving. After spending five long years away on a military base in Hawaii, they are finally done and moving home the day before the holiday. I am so thankful to watch the cousins play together on the holiday.

Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? If you need some tips or ideas, you can find a bunch on the Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide on Pinterest. I also loved this blog post on how to host Thanksgiving, and enjoy it. Tons of great ideas for organizing the days before Thursday, recipes and decorating ideas. I’ve printed out this Give Thanks banner and will be setting it up tomorrow. Did you know you can recycle tons of your Thanksgiving day cooking props? Even the aluminum foil that tents the turkey can by recycled.

For the balance of the week, we are keeping things simple on our meal plan.


Autumn Chopped Salad from Iowa Girl Eats

Sunday~ Chopped Autumn Salad with Chicken. A new favorite in the family. The kids version made it onto my Instagram Sunday night.

Monday~ Spaghetti and meatballs, green beans.

Tuesday~ Chicken nuggets, sweet potato fries and annie’s shell.

Wednesday~ Omelets/C.O.R.N. to make room for the big turkey!

Thanksgiving~ yummy goodness all day

Friday~ Turkey sandwiches. It’s the only time of the year I eat country white bread.

What are you doing for the Thanksgiving holiday? Excited to host or excited to visit?

For more inspiration, see my past menus here, or the Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of meal plans.