Tag Archives: Smart Living Strategies

Easy Meals by Formula

Bean and Rice Bowl
Bean and Rice Bowl
It is always something that is challenging about making dinner every night. Life is busy and chaotic, and now it is getting hot. Which means you can’t just make a bunch of casseroles to throw in the oven because it is just too hot! But I have a way to have dinner solutions that are quick and easy! It is cooking by formula! What else do you expect from someone called NerdMom;)?

What is the formula? Well the basic formula for a meal always seems to have certain components:
1)Protein (this is always #1 in our house;)
4)Optional sauce

That is it. That is all a good, healthy dinner really breaks down to. So to in order to have easy dinners you need to stock the components. Then (looking at math;) you will have multiple different meals in a snap! Here is my ledger of components!

Proteins (usually in meal sized portions in the freezer):
1)Chicken (batch cooked in the oven or BBQ’ed)
2)Shredded pork (out of the crockpot)
4)Beef (batch roasted, BBQ’ed or crock pot cooked)

1)Jasmine Rice
2)Brown Rice (that can be cooked ahead and stored in the fridge or freezer)
3)Bean Threads
4)Rice Noodles
5)Gluten Free Penne
6)Gluten Free Macaroni

1)Frozen Broccoli
2)Frozen Chopped Spinach

1)Red Pasta Sauce
2)Alfredo Sauce
3)Pesto Sauce
4)Butter and Garlic Sauce (I just melt butter, add garlic with salt, pepper & paprika. If I have an extra minute I might add white wine and let it reduce. And if I happen to have parsley on hand toss it in at the end;)

If you have some or all of the components you can whip up dinner in no time at all!!! This is so much better for you than fast food and cheaper too! It also doesn’t take an over or a lot of prep time at all! You don’t even have to have a meal plan!!!

8 Video Games to Keep Your Kids Moving

My girls shaking it to Smurfs Dance Party!
My girls shaking it to Smurfs Dance Party!

It is winter and around here that means rain and cold. But my kids are all still kids and they are homeschooled so that means I am stuck with the wiggles and all that energy. So what is a parent to do??? One of my answers is video games (or if they are really honery they get to do jumping jacks). There are some great activity based video games out there right now for all platforms. I only have experience with the Kinect and Wii platforms but I have hear the the Playstation Move system is pretty good too. But not all types of movement based games work for everyone so here are 8 games (separated out by game type) to keep your kids moving. Better yet, go join them and get some exercise too!!!

Sports Themed:
1)Wii Sports: This was kind of the original motion game that came with a lot of Wii systems, at least it came with ours;).
2)Wii Get Moving Family Fitness: This is made by Jumpstart and a ton of fun! We have played for hours and still haven’t tried everything! (Read move of my thoughts here)
3)Kinect Sports Ultimate Collection: This is a huge collection of sports all using the fabulous Kinect!!!
4)Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012 : This is a real trainer system for honest to goodness workouts. It can totally fill in for the gym but the kids enjoy the activities too! (Read some of NerdDad’s thoughts)

Adventure Themed:
5)Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth: Once of my favorites! It gives your kids all the thrill of fighting each other without touching! It is also quite a workout!!!
6)Kinect Party Base Game: It is free and is a download from the Xbox Live Arcade. There are paid add ons but my kids really enjoy the base game. It has things to hit like Fruit Ninja. In one scenario your are King Kong in the city with buildings to step on and airplanes to swat at!

Dance Themed: I am conservative as to the dance games both on moves and lyrics but these 2 I love for all ages!
7)Just Dance Disney Party: This is a great game with both old and new Disney songs!
8)Smurf Dance Party: Great songs with fun dance moves! It is only available on the Wii and DS so no Kinect on this one. (Read more of our thoughts here)

Here are 8 great options to keep everyone moving when the weather doesn’t want to work with you;). Here in Fresno we also need this list when it is 100 outside so don’t limit yourself to the winter;).

A Basic Look at Pinterest

Pinterest  has over 11.7 million users and it is a social bookmarking and sharing site that is all the rage. I get quite a few questions on what Pinterest is and how it works but it is super easy and more fun than it should be. The 1 warning, set time limits or you may do nothing else with your life;).

*Once you sign up (through twitter, facebook or just a login) you set up boards or set them up as you find material for them!
*You can see what all your friends (or people you follow)pinned and re-pin those items
*You can also pin things you find in 2 ways.
-By a link. You just click Add Link right on the Pinterest page
-From discovering something on a blog  and from there you can also usually follow the blog owner’s Pinterest boards too!
* It is a great way to find just about everything! Ways to cook, clean, learn and even just for inspiration!

You can follow me on Pinterest too!

Coupons, Coupons, Grocery Coupons

Click on the picture to get a chance to win this coupon holder!

We all know that I love a good coupon! Coupons can be an integral step in any smart living strategy. A little thought and planning means that you can make coupons work for you with very little effort!!!


Guidelines for good coupon use


* Compare prices! Coupons don’t always make it cheaper, look at the store brand.

* Make sure it is something you will use! A deal is only a deal if you would have bought it anyway!

* Wait for sales but keep an eye on expiration dates on family favs.

* Hold on to coupons for things you might want to try.

* Carry your best coupons with you! You never know when you are going to pop into the grocery store or see something unexpected on clearance.


Sources for Coupons


* Extra Bucks (CVS) & Register Rewards (Walgreens) are post purchase coupons.

* Sunday Paper

* Various Websites Like: , Store Sites, Manufacturer sites

* Blogs: MoneySavingMom, Saving The Family Money & various others have matchups


Note: Printing coupons & clicking through on freebie offers are a great way to support your favorite bloggers! Also, looking for specific type of coupons? Let me know & I will do a post with them!