Monday, January 27, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

Another chilly week  here in the South.  I will say that we are definitely spoiled.  It rarely gets below freezing but the past month has been full of extremely low temps.  We are not prepared!  Definitely looking forward to spring! 

We didn't exactly shop with a menu in mind this week.  That is a huge no-no for me but we ended up creating a pretty good menu.  Here is our week:

Friday - Baked bbq chicken - both drumsticks and boneless tenderloins, loaded potato casserole, and cream corn

Saturday - Taco Salads - speaking of has anyone tried the new bottled Taco Bell sauce?  OMG.  I am addicted to mild sauce and now that I can get it at home, I want tacos at least once a week.

Sunday - Amanda's Chicken Casserole, green beans, and crescent rolls

Monday - Shredded BBQ Pork and fries (we are cheating and we bought one of those ready in minute bbq packs)

Tuesday - Onion Baked Chicken, mac and cheese, and sauteed zucchini

Wednesday - Easy Homemade Pizza - crust, sauce, pepperoni, cheese

Thursday - Grocery shopping night! 

For hundreds of menu plan ideas, visit!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I Ran Today!

I ran today!

I went to the park in the 35 degree weather and ran/walked 1.5 miles.  It was crazy windy but considering some people are snowed in right now, I really couldn't complain.

The amount of time I spent running wasn't exceptional and the total mileage was really low but I did it.  I got back to it.  And it felt good.  At first, I had to force myself to walk.  I was itching to run.

When I stopped running in the summer, I hated it.  I was done.  But today I remembered why it is my favorite way to exercise. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

I had a long weekend since the institution I work for observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Of course growing up and living in/near Birmingham, a historical battleground in the fight for civil rights, I have always been well-informed (or at least informed) on Dr. King but it wasn't until I took a history class in college did the importance of Birmingham and the players in the civil rights movement really and truly impact me. 

Maybe it was the difference between being a school kid and being an adult, but the stories and images told a different story than what I was taught in elementary and high school.  My professor was a teenager in Birmingham during the 1960s so his first-person stories was event more beneficial to me.  I did a massive research paper on the role of Birmingham's black churches in the movement. 

While Dr. King's leadership and non-violent beliefs played probably the most dominant role in the movement, his speeches were not just relevant then but now.  With utmost respect but to completely simplify Dr. King - he wanted people to love each other.  No matter if it was Birmingham in 1960 or 2014, we are to love one another not just despite our differences but because of our differences. 

Here are some of my favorite quotes about love by Dr. King.

"Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it. "

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

"Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. "

So that's what we should do - love.

And here is our menu plan for the week -

Saturday - Spaghetti and garlic bread

Sunday - Fried Pork Chops, Mac & Cheese, Pinto Beans, and Cornbread

Monday - Crockpot Shredded BBQ Chicken, cole slaw, and home fries

Tuesday - Cajun Chicken Pasta

Wednesday - Ultimate Chicken Fingers, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Thursday - Grocery Day!

For hundreds of menu ideas, visit's Menu Plan Monday.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

A new week.  A different week.  My family suffered a significant loss last week.  That sounds so cold - significant loss.  That doesn't even being to describe my sweet cousin and her life.  I will get around to making a blog post about her but for now its all on the inside. 

Life goes on despite our loss.  It's weird but it does.  This week I planned for easy, comfort foods.

Saturday - Chili

Sunday - Vegetable Soup and cornbread

Monday - Cajun Grilled Chicken Sandwiches and fries

Tuesday - Homemade Pizza with pepperoni and hamburger meat

Wednesday - Homemade Chicken Strips with Mac & Cheese, Cabbage, and Red Lobster Garlic Biscuits

Thursday - Tacos

Friday - Out with Friends for Pizza

For hundreds of meal ideas, visit's Menu Plan Monday!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

A new year is here!  No real resolutions this year but to slow down and enjoy life.  I want to spend lots of time loving - people and moments.  As I continue to watch (and experience) this slow motion roller coaster my family is on, I am taking it from it how important it is to show those around you how much you love them. 

Hubs and I sort of planned our menu on the fly and we definitely need to get more organized.  We tend to buy things that we think of off the top of our head then we don't really want it when it comes around during our menu rotation.

Saturday - Out with Friends

Sunday - Chicken Noodle Casserole with Sister Shubert Rolls

Monday - Sausage and Potato Skillet with cabbage and macaroni and cheese

Tuesday - Chicken Quesadillas with homemade salsa

Wednesday - Hamburger Steaks, mashed potatoes, okra, and yeast rolls

Thursday - Chinese Chicken Salad, Fried Rice, and Eggrolls

Friday - Frozen Pizza (and grocery shopping night!)

For hundreds of menu ideas, visit's Menu Plan Monday!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Year in Review

2013 as came to a close and I have my toes in 2014.  2013 was a huge year for me.  It was a year of growth, completion, new challenges, loss, and happy memories.  I am beyond blessed.  I have decided it was a year of love.

I devoted the first 4 months of the year to completing my degree.  I have worked hard for several years towards a bachelor's degree in sociology.  I fully intended to continue my career in fundraising/donor relations but I needed my degree to move forward.  I graduated on May 11th.  My family and close friends came out to watch me graduate.  I was so proud to have them all there cheering me on.  Afterwards my parents threw me a lunch.  I don't think we took any pictures but I thoroughly enjoyed my big day.

Me and a sweet co-worker.  This was probably the best picture of the day.

It's official!
While working hard toward my degree, Bobby and I also started a running regime with out best friends.  The week after graduation was our first 5k.  It wasn't easy but I did it.  As I made the turn down toward the finish line, I was so proud of myself.  It wasn't the time that mattered, it was that I committed to something and finished.  Lately I have taken a break from running but plan to get back on board and see what else I can accomplish this year.

Sweaty and blurry.  But proof!

So proud of my hubs!

Our best friends and running partners/cheerleaders/coaches.
I think most of our year was really devoted to spending lots of time with our friends and family.  I love being with our friends and their kids.  I got lots of "Aunt Mel" time in.

October had some seriously sad moments.  We watched our friends mourn the loss of one of their very close friends.  I did a post about Coach.  Towards the end of the month, my great-aunt Carolyn also passed away somewhat unexpectedly.  She was one of my grandmother's younger sisters.

Also in October, I organized a team and participated in the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure.  I did this in honor of my sweet co-worker Sheri who was diagnosed in May.  She has been a true hero this year.  She has taken ever moment of this journey with grace and strength beyond comprehensive.  I was so proud to have her join us on race day.


November brought a huge family reunion.  While it was sad not having my Aunt Carolyn there to celebrate, we enjoyed getting our huge family together.

Also in November, I was there as my best friend, Amanda, gave birth to her sweet baby girl, Caroline.  I was so lucky to spend the day(s) at the hospital as we waited for C.  She made her arrival around 7:30 p.m. on November 23rd.

Me holding Caroline who is getting some love from her big brother.

In December, my dad's family got together.  I seriously love this group of people.

As December came to a close, I looked back on my year.  We are lucky people - blessed more than we deserve. 

Another monumental moment came on December 29th when my cousin Kim suffered a brain aneurysm at age 46.  The last seven days have been a roller coaster for her family/our family.  I spent the first day of 2014 with my parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, my brother, and my husband.  Someone brought a New Year's feast to the hospital and we had our lucky peas in honor of Kim.

While we don't know what lays ahead, I know who does.  I trust that God knows best.  He has Kim and our entire family covered with His love and grace.

While this is a sad ending to 2013, it makes me see what we should see everyday - love.  This strong woman and the family that loves her so.  It's all about love.  The family that gathers together just to comfort each other.  We are quite a force when we are together.

My cousin Tiffany, my dad, and my cousin Kim (also Tiff's mom) at our annual Christmas party.

So for 2014, I wish for more love.  Everyday should be treated as if we won't see tomorrow.

Just love.