Archive of ‘Homemade’ category

Life Lately

By Natalie

hipster

My sister called me a city hipster recently. I have no idea what she means.


Our schedule has been all over the place this new year. While I’m ready to slow down and take a break I have to admit that I’ve enjoyed our busy schedule.

Bing hotel

We kicked things off in January with a week long hotel stay courtesy of our apartment complex. They had been undergoing some renovations for the past few months and needed to do some work in our apartment. We were grateful to get away from the noise and have our own mini staycation.

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Geese

Grant is learning the difference between a duck and a goose.

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Bing tent

We thought we’d take advantage of the warmer weather and plan a camping trip the first weekend in March. Of course we ended up enduring 30 degree nights, but the days were warm and we had the perfect amount of quality friend time.
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kabobs

Pam camping

Pam makes a stinkin good S’more.

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We spent our second weekend in March taking the Coggins up on my Christmas present. A weekend spent at family’s condo in Atlantic beach. We’ve really been missing out on off season beach trips and have totally decided to do it more often.

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Brandon Beach

It was just about exactly what we needed.

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I finally tried Hex coffee. Definitely in the top five.

Your coffee won’t last around here if it can’t stand on it’s own. There’s just too many places that have it figured out.

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I took a break from social media and have a whole new outlook on it. I know, myself and everyone else right? I simply realized that I wasn’t living as much in the small moments that I could be. Through taking a break I was able to appreciate the small things for what they were and not for what others thought of them. Before I took a sip of my mocha at Hex I started an Instagram story.

“How do you like it?” Brandon asked.

“I haven’t taken a sip yet. I’m doing an Instagram story.” I told him.

“No one really cares about your cup of coffee babe.”

You see after nearly six years of marriage the truth sometimes comes flying out without any sort of sugar coating.

While I wanted to take complete offense I quickly noticed he had a point. It’s not so much that nobody cares. It’s more so that I was diverting my attention away from Brandon. He was excited for me to try Hex. He took time out of his day to take me out, why would I spoil that to sit and sift through a dozen photo filters? Nodding my head as he tells me what’s new in his world, while my full attention is zeroed in on that little device. Is it because it feels normal? Because I seek gratification in the opinions of others? I started to really question my reasoning for sharing.

This is a deeper issue and a touchy subject for most. But it is something that’s been on my mind and my heart. We do live far from family and to a certain extent social media has become a way to keep up with them. Lately I haven’t had the energy, or the words to compile a single blog post but I do wish to share a tid bit on Instagram. I think reasoning for sharing is different for everybody. For many social media can be a healthy and useful place. For a while there it evolved into a toxic place for me to compare myself to my peers and seek their approval for my own life. That caused me to seriously shift my perspective. It’s still a place for memories to be captured and shared with those I love. But now I’m more mindful of where I am and who surrounds me in that blurry space beyond my phone.


I made this beauty one weekend recently. I was in love with similar wall hangings I’d seen on etsy and knew I could come up with something from my yarn stash.

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Our allergies hit us like a ton of bricks again. When I finally had the stamina to make it to Trader Joe’s for our weekly groceries my cashier made small talk with me. He asked if I had plans for the weekend. I told him I was getting sick so I’d be resting all weekend. He asked if we’d lived here long, that allergies can be rough for newcomers. Yada yada. I said yes, could be allergies. Then he grabbed the pink tulips I picked out and said “You know, I’m going to give you your flowers for free so you feel better. You get lots of rest this weekend.”

How sweet is that? I told him that wasn’t necessary and he insisted. He made my day with his kind gesture. He also ensured my loyalty to Trader Joe’s for life.

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DIY: Christmas Bunting

By Natalie

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Here’s what you’ll need…

  • 2-3 feet of Fabric (Depending on how long you want your bunting to be.)
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Pinking Shears
  • Double Fold Bias Tape
  • Matching Thread
  • Pencil
  • Iron
  • Stencil
  • Sewing Machine

I have been sewing for about three years, and I still make some serious rookie mistakes. Since I purchased pinking shears, buntings have been my favorite easy sewing project. I found this fabric, and thought I was being conscious of getting only as much as I needed, only to find out that once I cut out my triangles, half of them would reveal upside down christmas trees! Apparently I’d never used a print that it mattered which way I cut. Rookie mistakes.

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Sometimes even the easiest of DIYs can turn out to be a headache. Don’t fret! You are not alone.

I made a stencil a while back out of a piece of cardstock, and would highly recommend doing so, as it makes your tracing much quicker. I simply used a straight edge to measure out how large of a triangle I wanted, and cut my piece of cardstock.

Once you’ve made a stencil lay it on the back of your fabric and trace away. (This is where I bring the ironing board into the living room, and start a netflix show)

When you’ve finished tracing, use your pinking shears to cut the triangles out. Pinking shears keep your fabric from fraying. Which is why you won’t need to sew a front and back piece together for this type of bunting. At some point I’m sure the fabric cut with the shears would fray after a little wear and tear, but since buntings are merely decorative, and I swap them out through the seasons, I’ve never felt the need to make them double sided. It should take a long time for them to actually start fraying.

imageOnce you’ve cut out your triangles you’ll want to iron out any wrinkles or folds before you place them in the double fold bias tape. Bias tape can be found in most craft stores near the threads, zippers, and other bindings. Just a tip I could have used when I found myself walking up and down the ribbon aisle looking for whatever that stinking bias tape was.

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Pin your work together like so, and carefully carry it over to your sewing machine.

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I like to use a zig zag stitch, to match the look of the cut outs, and just because I feel like it holds better.

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Keep your pin cushion close to discard each pin as you go. You may need to readjust as you go, and be sure to keep your cut outs pushed all the way up to the bias tape fold.

Once you’ve finished your work should look something like this↓image

Hang it up, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

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DIY: Side Table

By Natalie

Last summer Brandon and I found ourselves walking through the aisles of Home Depot to find materials for our latest project. We had collected all of our wood, and were looking for the best set of nails when an older man passed by us chuckling. He said something along the lines of this project being my vision, and contracting my honey to create it. He was exactly right. I found a picture of a side table that I liked, and it seemed easy enough for my craftsman to put together.

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B had this project finished in just a few hours. Sawing, sanding, and drilling together this magnificent table with measurements of his own liking.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • 3/4 inch Wood Planks
  • 4 Wood Posts
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Sander, or Sandpaper to smooth the edges
  • Tape Measure
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Saw, or have the planks cut into the sizes of your liking
  • Stain

And then put it all together however tall, and spaced apart as you’d like. All you’ve really got to do after sanding the edges is screw the wood planks to the side, front, and top of the 4 wood posts. Then apply your stain. We actually had a stain that we were hoping to apply but never got around to it since I’ve loved the look of the natural wood.

Here she is…

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Blue Apron

By Natalie

imageBrandon recently discovered this meal delivery service going by the name of Blue Apron. He sent me this honest review to look over, and we decided we should give it a shot. The service offers a 2 person plan with 3 meals a week, and a 4 person plan with 2 meals a week, charging 9.99 a person, per meal. The thought of 3 less meals to plan and shop for was intriguing enough for me, because time is money, and my least favorite chore is meal planning. I fall back on the same recipes often, stick to the same meat and veggies, cooked the same way, and blah blah blah blah blah. I made a pretty good crockpot chili recently, so two weeks later I made it again. And this crockpot chili.. it made A LOT of chili. So here we were eating chili two days in a row for lunch and dinner two weeks apart. Worse things have happened at dinner time I absolutely realize this, but after four years of cooking for two I am fresh out of ideas.

I signed up for Blue Apron after I found a $20 off coupon from a Facebook ad. I was sold. Half the time wracking my brain for yummy meal ideas I hated cooking, and slicing off some time in the grocery store. Absolutely I’m in.

With Blue Apron you can view the menu for the week before it ships, and you choose the day it ships to you.. What the what? We buy everything we can on Amazon, and that’s not a big deal. We order Bingley’s food from Chewy, because it’s not sold just anywhere, and it’s cheaper online! So sure I’ll take a 28lb bag of dog food autoshipped straight to my DOORSTEP every 6 weeks.. because hello? Convenient. Why on earth have we not ordered dinner straight to our door that’s not take out sooner? Beats me! You can also check off certain meats you do not want to receive, opt for the vegetarian meals.. And you can cancel at anytime. Sold. Right?

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A few days ago I recieved my first box, and I have never been so excited to see a box full of vegetables in my life! Our ingredients came in a refrigerated box, along with step by step photo recipe cards, and a letter stating where the vegetables had been grown. I started pulling out these vegetables I had never cooked or even heard of before like Celeriac, or Celery Root, Fennel Bulb, and Fronds. I placed the veggies in the fridge unsure if I was going to be a fan of the mushrooms, and mostly certain I’d be in over my head with those radishes.

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After putting the veggies away I placed the ice packs that covered the meat in the freezer, cause they fit perfect in our cooler, and once we start to collect too many Blue Apron suggests that you recycle them, or donate them to boy scout troops, or food shelters.

Saturday night I made our first meal and it was fantastic! Hello tastebuds, I never knew Salmon I cooked with these two hands would ever taste so good!

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Dukkah-Spiced Salmon

I always thought that I hated cooking. Hated the planning. Hated the shopping. Hated the preparing, and measureing, and figuring what veggies go well together, and with what meats. I’ll admit the majority of meals lately have been chicken, and pork chops, baked with some generic seasonings, and breadcrumbs. Salad, frozen steamable veggies, sweet potato, or asparagus on the side. Zucchini is about as exciting as it got with veggies in the kitchen. Simply roasted on the stovetop with some salt, pepper, and olive oil. Cause.. I don’t know.. what else do you do with a zucchini? I’m a twenty three year old wife trying to cook an appealing dinner. I need to learn these things like what on earth else to do with that zucchini.

…So I’ve hated cooking for a long long time. Settling for Breakfast for dinner way too often, or eating out more than is necessary, or Brandon’s personal favorite, griping and complaining about how now I have to make dinner because it’s already 5:30, and that’s about dinner time, and never mind the fact that I was perfectly comfortable on the couch, I have a husband to cook for.

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But now… Blue Apron has made me appreciative. I have a husband to cook for. I have a husband I get to show off my fancy meals to.. And he delights in their flavor, and sends compliments across the table. Giving kisses when his plate is clean, and his belly is full.

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Sirloin Tip Steak with new potato, asparagus, and radish hash

I realized in the midst of this meal prep that a diced red onion, fresh green parsley, finely chopped pistachios, and freshly squeezed lemon juice all smells pretty dang good together. So good my eyes were watering from the potency. Those smells are welcome to stay in my kitchen forever.

When I signed up for Blue Apron I was only expecting to have a few meals a week taken care of. But it’s been so much more. Not only is their website an excellent resource for recipes, but I’m also familiarizing myself with several different foods, and spices I’ve never heard of, or would have tried otherwise. Which I hope will allow me to eventually create my own new recipes.

I understand meal delivery plans are not for everyone, but I had to share our positive results. Just keep in mind they’re not particularly cost effective, but they are super tasty, and a great kick start if you have a bad case of the meal planning blahs.

And guess what? I was a fan of the mushrooms.

Weekend Update

By Natalie

This fabulous piece of art was completed last week, and it’s even better than I imagined. When making your own furniture you experience this moment of fear once you have all your supplies. And you think “Hmm.. is this really going to come out the way I want it to?”

Lucky for us, it always has! You can find the craft desk B and his dad made for me here. Brandon had this genius idea to make a table with wood flooring, and I’ve been wanting to make something with pipe. So we merged our two ideas, and voila! We ended up with this glorious creation!image

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In other Poe news…

imageI got some much needed quality friend time with Chloe this past weekend. She conveniently dropped her pup off for some gun dog training in Georgia, and on her way back home, she stayed with us for the weekend. All weekend I had some girl time. Which you never realize you need, until you’ve had it. I could tell you all about our time together, but I usually find it difficult to put Friendship into words. There’s a certain comfort I feel when I am in the presence of an old friend. A comfort where I can be silly, and honest, and true to myself. Where we can spend our time together reminiscing on events past, and speak our own language of care to each other. I’ll spare you the girly details that Brandon was unable to escape, and tell it to you simply. We basically shopped, and crafted our little hearts out all weekend. That’s right, apparently when people come visit they bring along their latest diy project, cause they know I’ll be down. A friend who can be by my side happily while I sew, is a good friend.

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imageimageIt’s 80 degrees in Charlotte, can you believe it? I started swinging Grant in the backyard baby swing today, when I caught a glimpse of a line of ants. They were bustling with life, carrying whatever crumbs they’d found back to their ant hill. Grant smiled with every forward swing as his cheeks caught a little vitamin D. During this beautiful time of year that breathes life into the air, I figured why not invite a little bit of spring into our home? Greenery in the home is a good thing friends. My plants are adoring this sunshine, arching themselves toward the light, spreading their leaves wide to bask in it’s magnificence.

If you remember this post then you know that I have succesfully pieced together my little indoor potted garden. Quite a transformation right?

Here’s a closer look at some of my little green guys. image

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Don’t they just make you happy? Inspiring life, and growth with their vibrant green hue. Now you want to go get yourself some house plants. Don’t you?

And to take us out Bingley wanted to say that he had a pretty good weekend too.image

Happy March Everyone!image

DIY: Layer Candle

By Natalie

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Here’s what you’ll need…

  • Glass JarPreferably with a wide mouth
  • WicksFound in craft stores
  • 7-8Depending on the jar size used candles from the same scent family
  • Tongs
  • Pot
  • Pot holders

I’m a big fan of candlelight, so I needed to find a way to use up every drop of my candles. Candles typically blow out with about 1/2 an inch of wax left over. When this happens stow your candles away together to be made into a new layer candle. This project is fairly easy, but keep in mind it can be time consuming to do all at once.

I used 8 left over candles in a wide mouth, pint sized mason jar. Be sure to only layer scents in the same scent family. i.e keep fresh linen with sea breeze, and hazelnut with sugar cookies. My candle was a vanilla, pumpkin, apple pie, lemon, sweet scented combo.

imageThe trickiest part of creating this candle is getting the wicks to stay in place. I’ve tried hot glue before, adhesive, and nothing seemed to work. Your best bet is to place 2 wicks in the center of the jar. In the case of one sliding off to the side you’ll have another to even it out. I’d recommend placing the wicks in the center of the jar, and pouring your first candle’s wax in, allow it time to harden, and then continue. I placed little skewers on the jar to try and keep the wicks from falling.

image To melt down the wax boil a pot of water and set your candle inside being careful that no water enters the candle. The thicker the jar the longer it’ll take. Swirling it around often with tongs will help to distribute the heat, and melt the wax faster.

image  imageOnce the wax has fully melted pour it into your jar and allow it time to harden. You could place it in the fridge in between pours to let it cool. Continue doing so until you have melted down, and poured all of your candles.

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Originally I started with 6 candles, and they did not quite fill the mason jar I had. I decided not to cut the wicks and wait until 2 more candles were finished off. I had one candle that was almost out, and all the wax was liquified. That’s when I realized a shortcut. I grabbed the unfinished layer candle and went ahead and poured the wax in.

Essentially you could skip the time consuming boiling pot of water step, and whenever your candles are about to go out, and are completely liquified pour them into a prepared jar. It’s much quicker, and easier that way.

Look at all those pretty layers. Cut the wicks and enjoy your new candle!

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DIY:Fabric Scrap Light Garland

By Natalie

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Christmas Light StrandI used a white strand
  • Rotary Cutter or Fabric Scissors
  • Fabric Scraps

This is probably one of the easiest DIY projects I’ve ever done. I had an extra strand of christmas lights sitting around so I decided to put together a garland on a whim. Sift through your scrap fabrics, or grab a few squares of fabric from the craft store. I’ve been experimenting with mixing textiles so I chose to go with  flannel, cotton, and lace fabrics.

Slice up the fabric of your choosing into about 1in strips. Some of mine came out skinnier than that, some wider. That’s the beauty of this project, it still turns out great! My strips were different widths, and lengths.

A rotary cuttter is the easiest way to cut your fabric for this project. I used this Fiscars set.

imageAfter you’ve cut as many strips you think you’ll need start tying your fabric around the light strand in a single knot. I did three strips in between each light, which seemed to flll the space well. This is the time consuming part.

imageYou’ll end up with this heap of cozy lit fabric. Place on a mantle, stair well, entryway, or wherever needs to be decorated! I placed ours in the kitchen which mirrors our tree in the living room.

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image Happy Crafting!

This November

By Natalie

Well it’s November. In my mind that calls for a few really good cups of apple cider and caramel. One really bad change of weather head cold. Mittens and scarves, and a few loaves of homemade Pumpkin Bread for good measure. I’ve been abiding by all of these lately including the rather unfortunate cold. I’ve survived it ladies and gentleman, and have returned to tell you the tale. There was a whole lot of coughing, and sniffling. Tea, tissues, Nyquil and I even broke out the snuggie while resting up with some classics on Netflix. That was this past week in a nutshell. Me sadly making my own chicken soup, realizing I’d long past the age and independence where my mother would make it for me. What a sad day that was. She makes the best chicken soup. But I’m on to her, she adds an extra pinch of love I think. Here’s the Chicken Soup Recipe.

Back to being ill. I was a mess.

I’m telling you, if you can find someone who loves you through the crusty nose, fatigue, and vicks vapor rub on your chest you’ve got it all. You don’t vow in sickness and in health for nothing. Because I’d argue that when you’re sick, you come closest to the truest version of yourself. Trading stye for comfort, loving for needy, and daily tasks for extra sleep. That’s why it’s so important to have a companion who’s aware of the real you. Because no matter how independant we try to act it’s nice to be taken care of every now and then.

Do you want to know a secret? I’m feeling better now, and I’m sort of bummed out because B has been learning through every sickness how to better care for me. He’s been by my side just to keep me company. Reminding me to laugh at my severe congestion, and succumbing to most all of my silly requests. So yes, I’m going to miss it. Not only was it the extra hubby care but the snuggles with a pup who knows I’m not feeling well, and the ‘Woe is me’ on the couch talk that got me whatever I wanted. During this month of thanks I’m grateful for my health now, but even more grateful for a husband who’s there when I need him most.

As for my plans for the rest of the month I’ll be loading up on my chewable vitamin C, because as much fun as it is to cuddle with the kiddos at work while I’m sick it’s even better to run around and play when I’m well.

B and I will be traveling to Fredericksburg to see the fam for Thanksgiving. We’re signed up for green salad, and pumpkin bread this year, because I make a mean pumpkin bread. In fact, I’ll even share my recipe with you…

Homemade Pumpkin Bread

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15oz) Pumpkin Puree
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2/3 cup Water
  • 2 3/4 cups White Sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
  • Glaze (Optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 7x3in loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl mix pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. Stir dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture until blended. Pour into loaf pans.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick comes out clean.

In years past I’ve made this pumpkin bread as more of a dessert item adding a sugary  glaze to the top of the loaf. Either way turns out delicious! Enjoy!

30 Lists

By Natalie

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I discovered the 30 Lists project on Pinterest a couple years ago, and thought it would be an easy way to get back into crafting, and writing. The challenge is to commit to writing one list everyday compiled in a journal. I decided to do a compilation of lists that I found from Pinterest, and of my own choosing. You could do anything from your wish list, to future goals for yourself, to what you had for breakfast. If you’re interested in starting a 30 lists notebook all you really need is paper and a pen. But, being the crafter that I am I needed to decorate each journal page.

What I used:

  • Journal
  • Stamps
  • Stickers
  • Pens
  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Pictures
  • Buttons
  • Washi Tape
  • Adhesive
  • Corner Rounder

The best part about writing is not only how therapeutic it can be, but the ability to leave something behind. My mom writes her grocery lists and to-do lists on these little 3×6 index cards. A few months ago when I was at her house I found a pile of these index cards stacked in a row on her kitchen table. They were doodled on, and captured her cursive spanglish handwriting. I hadn’t seen them in a few years, and memories from my childhood came flooding through my mind. Those index cars would be everywhere. On the table, on her dresser, nightstand and in her purse when I was searching for mints. Most of them were covered in different colored highlighters, according to her own memorized key. Those are the things I’m going to want to keep of hers forever. Her words, her handwriting, her doodles.

I love documenting my stories, and experiences, because it allows me to easily reminisce on not only the major changes I’ve gone through but the small less significant, and sweeter moments. I get the chance to see how much I’ve grown through writing, and of course keep track of when Brandon grew his hair long.

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I created my 30 Lists notebook in 2013, and looking back on it now I’ve already seen things that have changed, answers to prayer, and silly phases I went through. The great thing about it is that we are ever changing people. I could do the same 30 lists every year, and the content would be different every time.

Here’s a few more details that went into my journal…

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10 Recipes from the Meal Planning Board

By Natalie

As difficult as meal planning can be it is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Budget wise, and family wise, because let’s be honest who wants to look around for enough ingredients in the pantry to whip something up? All the while starving for dinner after a long day. Husband, and possibly kiddos rummaging around for a bite to eat. In order to assist in your efforts, I’ve decided to share with you my top 10 Natalie approved Pinterest recipes! Most of these I continue to make on a regular basis, especially the s’mores!! They’re a quick and simple dessert perfect for a hubby with a sweet tooth. Here’s a peek at what appears on the Poe table. Click the photos for a link to the recipe. For more yummy recipes you can follow my Meal Planning Board here.

chicken parm

Chicken Parmesan

turkey soup

Turkey Soup

stir fry

Stir Fry

veggie soup

Veggie Soup

foil dinner

Foil Dinners

bbq

Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

skinny

Skinny Spaghetti

mex lasagna

Mexican Lasagna

straw

Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs

smores

Oven Baked S’mores

 

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