With trying to keep with the plan of saving money, we have been trying to cook more meals for our nightly dinner and that we can use for multiple meals. So a lot of times, we use the crock pot. Our favorite recipe and one of the easiest recipes and is great for left overs:

BBQ Pork Tenderloin
1 – Pork Tenderloin & cover it with your favorite BBQ Sauce. Then place in the crock pot for 8 hours and serve. It is easy and makes 2 – 3 meals.

Pork Shoulder
1 – Pork Shoulder & cover it with vinegar, crushed red peppers, and water. Place in the crock pot for 8 hours and serve. Makes 4 meals.

Brisket
1 –  2 1/2 lbs Brisket – smoke for 6 hours on the smoker at 200 degrees

Spaghetti
1 – Package of Ground Turkey, pasta of your choice and homemade tomato sauce. (I add crushed red peppers as well) – This will provide at least 2 left over meals.

Hot Sausage with Penne Pasta
1 – package of hot sausage, cut into small pieces and fry. Boil Pene pasta until done, strain and place back into the pot. Once the hot sausage is finished, pour homemade tomato sauce over the sausage and fry for 10 minutes. – This will provide at least 2 left over meals.

Here are a few websites that I have found to have great recipes:

Food Network
My Recipes
Food.com
FoodPair
Foodily
Grilling and Beer


I hope that you’ll be able to find some good recipes that will help you and your family not only prepare healthy meals, but meals that will save you money. And if you have other sites that you visit for recipes, please share.

 

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Marriage is hard, but the first year of marriage with kids, is pretty rough too. Focusing on each other is important and shouldn’t be overlooked. Yes, the first priority should be the kids, but then, you still have to spend time for each other.

Here are some things that we do:

  • Date night is important and we have tried to focus on going out once a month. To help save money, find another couple and offer to baby sit for free so that they too can enjoy a date night and then they can watch your kids when you need a night out on the town.
  • Eat dinner together after the kids go to bed and talk about our day. I think that this will change once the boys are able to talk, as I hope that we will all eat together at the dinner table together.
  • We talk, and we try to avoid the basic small talk, but we talk about the kids, work, if we are on track with our goals for the year. And actually listen, not think about 10 things that have to be done tomorrow.

Remember, before there were kids, it was just you two and you have to spend time on each other as well.

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So we had a first this past week, we all got sick. Sunday night, we were feeding the boys and one threw up immediately after eating. After cleaning him up, which he was very happy in the bath tub and laughing a lot, we just blew it off as a fluke thing. The next night, same thing. So Tuesday while at work, I get a call from my wife asking me to come home, b/c she was now sick.I walk in the house, grab the boys and start feeding them their mid morning bottles and the other baby started throwing up.

Fast forward to 8pm that night and I had gotten the boys to bed and checked on my wife, when I realized that I didn’t feel well. It was then we realized that we had contracted a 24 hour stomach virus. One of the biggest problems that comes with this virus is how tired and weak you after getting sick. So, we had to call in reinforcements yesterday and we had my wife’s father come and watch the boys. Had it not been for him, we really aren’t sure how we would have survived yesterday.

 

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I know that for many, exercising more is at the top of your New Years resolutions.  For us, it is a goal too, but to cut back on extra expenses, my wife and I decided to cancel our gym membership for now. The gym offered daycare, but it was for children 5 and up. So, instead of paying $80 a month to go to the gym, we now take the boys to the mall and walk around. It is good exercise and we can all be together. Soon, when the boys start walking, this might prove to be a challenge, but until then, it saves us money, my wife and I are able to get a nice walk in and the boys are with us. Family fun.

First goal during the winter months: 1 – 2 trips to the mall for walks a week.
Second goal during the spring and summer months: 1 – 2 trips to the park a week to walk.

The family walks will help the boys get out and enjoy the fresh air, but it will also  help my wife and I with our goals of losing weight.

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After almost 9 months, we are still asked if the boys are identical twins. Anyone can look at the boys and see that they are not identical, they look nothing alike. Each boy has his own personality, his own mannerisms, his own uniqueness. This is what makes them so special.

I would have thought that by now, some of the questions would have slowed down, but I guess that this is something that we’ll have to deal with the rest of our lives? I think that it will be interesting now to see how the boys respond and deal with it as they go through life. But, it is amazing to watch them interact with each other, because you can tell that they will not only be close brothers, but best friends.

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As many people start the 2012, New Years Resolutions are being made and most will be stopped by March, as mine have in years past. I hope that by publishing my resolutions, I can keep track of them easier and focus on them more. So here goes:

1) Spend more time with my boys
2) Save more money – both for the boys College but for the family & I am hoping that by cutting down on eating out, using more coupons and the boys switching from formula to milk in a few months, that this will be an achievable goal.
3) Exercise more – I would like to start doing 2 – 3 days a week of cardio, which should be doable since there is a 1 mile walking path at work.
4) Pay down debt – Pay down at least 3 credit cards and finish paying off 1 college loan for my wife.

So, as we start the new year, let’s hope that I am able to do better this year than in previous with my 2012 New Years Resolutions.

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After a great week of Christmas, please take a moment to reflect on the 2011 year and both the good and use that as your foundation to 2012. So many times, people focus so much on the negative, that they look past the good things that are happening around them. So, out with 2011 and in with 2012. So what are you going to do different this year? How will this be the best year of your life?

For me, I have a list of goals that I would like to complete, which I will share tomorrow, but I want to be grateful and live for today. I want to live like today were my last, because if something where to happen to me today, I would want all of my family and especially my boys to know how much I love them.

So make 2012 the best year of your life, and from my family to yours, Happy New Year!

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Today was everything that I had hoped. The boys had a great Christmas day, we went to church as a family, we were able to see and spend a lot of time today with family and friends as well. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

As I reflect on the year thus far, we have been truly blessed. We have our health, we have two wonderful and healthy boys and we have a wonderful support system.

I am taking the rest of the week off to spend time with the boys and family. So from my family to yours, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years.

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As I type this out today, I sit with excitement in anticipation of my sons 1st Christmas. The boys will have no memory of tonight. We will take the boys to church tonight for the Christmas Eve Family Service at 5pm, then we will feed them, put them down at 7pm and then I will return to church at 11pm for the late service. The 11pm Christmas Eve service that I started attending when years ago and it is just a tradition that I will continue as long as I live.

And to keep with tradition, I am pretty sure that I’ll be checking on Santa’s progress with NORAD throughout the night, I just never disclose that I am 35 when I email and ask for updates of when Santa will be in our area. I can’t help it, I’m a big kid too. I’ll stay up late watching It’s A Wonderful Life when I return from church after midnight and fall asleep sometime after 3am. A few hours of sleep is all I will need, as I can not wait until Christmas morning and seeing the boys play with new their toys.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas.

 

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What does the true meaning of Christmas for you? Is it giving gifts or others or receiving gifts? Maybe you are like me and would rather receive nothing, but give to those less fortunate.

I watched the movie about Dax Locke and his mother’s goal of raising $1.7 million dollars to run St. Jude’s for 1 day in Dax’s memory. We are going to contribute, will you? Here is the link to read more about Dax Locke and be sure to get a copy of Matthew West’s song The Heart of Christmas. This movie will change your life.

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