How “Meal Squeeze” Meal Planning Service Saves my Sanity: NEW 25% off Code!

meal planning working momsMeal Planning used to be one of my most-dreaded tasks. I would spend literally hours every week trying to cobble together recipes from Pinterest, cookbooks and facebook, write grocery lists, and then forget to do prep steps or misjudge how long a recipe would take from start to finish. I would spend precious time at work worrying about what to make for dinner or wondering if I had the groceries in the house for a complete recipe. I don’t hate cooking and have a deep desire to feed my family a variety of healthy meals,  but I just didn’t know where to start.

Keep reading for how to save 25% on a meal-planning solution!

meal squeeze circle

For the past year, I’ve been using a super-affordable, convenient meal-planning service  called “Meal Squeeze” to take all the guesswork out of planning healthier meals that my family will enjoy. It has literally been life-changing and is my #1 “working mom hack” that I recommend to everyone!

Here’s what you get for a $39/year Basic annual subscription:

  • Weekly Meal Plan for 7 Dinners and 1 dessert (choose 2,4,6,8 servings)
  • Includes meal AND sides, ready at the same time (one of my biggest weaknesses)
  • Most meals ready in 30 minutes or less if you do the weekend prep list (perfect for busy families)
  • Printable Grocery list that’s easy to customize
  • Nutrition facts for all meals
  • Conversation Starters to make dinner meaningful family time
  • Access to lunch, snack, slow cooker and smoothies ideas
  • Members-only facebook group with cooking/prepping tips from a registered dietitian who will answer your specific questions! (one of my favorite perks)
  • $2 off $10 fresh meat/produce coupon good at Orange City, Sioux Center, Sheldon, Lemars, IA Fareway Food Stores. (this helps my subscription pay for itself)
  • $5 off $20 at Sioux Center, Sheldon, Le mars, Storm Lake, IA Hy-Vee grocery stores

My daughter LOVES to go grocery shopping with me!

grocery shopping

If you’d rather go digital, a Premium Plan is only $10 more per year. At $49/year, it’s the most affordable meal planning service I’ve seen. Additional services:

  • Meal Plans are sent to ModernMeal website and app
  • Mobile grocery list you can customize and check off while shopping
  • Access to ALL past recipes with a search function (great for finding your favorites)
  • Ability to customize serving size on any recipe or filter by allergens (great when hosting)
  • Calendar to customize and add additional meals – plan breakfast, lunch and dinner

LIMITED TIME OFFER:

Until January 31, 2019, I’ve been given an exclusive code to save you 25% off an annual subscription and your price will remain at the reduced price EACH YEAR as long as you remain a member!

MS25

  • Basic Annual Subscription: Reg. price $39.00
    • Use code COURTNEYB25 to join for $29.25/year.
  • Premium Annual Subscription: Reg. price $49.00
    • Use code COURTNEYB25 to join for $36.75/year.

Click here to subscribe and don’t forget to use the coupon code COURTNEYB25

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FAQ’s:
Does your family like the meals?

My husband is not a picky eater, but has REALLY enjoyed the variety and healthier options without ever feeling like he was on a “diet”. The kids (age 4-9) are apprehensive about unfamiliar foods sometimes, but have discovered MANY new foods they enjoy (my 6-year-old LOVES roasted brussel sprouts!!) and the recipes are family-friendly. My goal is to give them lots of healthy options and teach them to try new things but I do modify once in a while, leaving a sauce off some things or offering the ingredients deconstructed.

Does it use a lot of weird ingredients my store doesn’t carry or I’ve never heard of?

I have found this to be much more “midwest/small-town” friendly than other services. I shop at Fareway Food stores and can find most ingredients. Hy-Vee carries all of the ingredients and shopping at bigger chains like Walmart, etc. will guarantee you can find the produce, meat cuts, and spices that are staples. Modifications are also easy if you can’t find an ingredient or prefer a different vegetable.

Will I have to buy a lot of ingredients I’ll never use again?

The meal plan does a good job of using up ingredients from previous recipes/plans, so the more you use it, the more efficient you’ll be. I’ve bought more vinegars, cooking wines/sauces and spices than I did previously and definitely buy a wider variety of produce and meat cuts but have really enjoyed the variety.

Will I spend more at the grocery store on this meal plan?

That depends on your current habits! At first, I thought my grocery bills were a bit higher due to more fresh produce and higher quality meat than I’d previously purchased, but I noticed a BIG difference in how little we were throwing OUT because we had less leftovers that were forgotten, less ingredients spoiled before we used them (lack of planning) and although we don’t eat out frequently, having a meal half-prepped and already planned for the night GREATLY reduces the impulse to order take-out or make frequent “filler” trips to the grocery store. Overall, I’ve kept my grocery budget at $575/month for a family of 5 including ALL paper/cleaning goods as well. (LCOL area)

What are the recipes like?

A variety is offered every week, but there is usually one meatless option. Other things on the menu frequently: sheet-pan dinners including meat and veggies, whole wheat pasta dishes, stir-fries, soups, salads, Mexican and Asian-inspired meals, “meat and potatoes” meals, slow-cooker recipes (can be modified to Instant Pot). A LOT of the meals are stove-top skillet-type meals, so you’ll want a large high-walled skillet with a lid, but no other special equipment should be needed.

meals

How do I get started?

Click here to subscribe and don’t forget to use the coupon code COURTNEYB25 through Jan. 31 to get 25% off!

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The Mitten Habit

The Mitten Habit

The three little kittens, they lost their mittens, and didn’t know where to find them.

“Oh Mother Dear, we sadly fear, our mittens we have lost!”

“What! Lost your mittens? You naughty kittens! You know where your mittens go…

In your hat, in your sleeve, in your coat, in the closet.

In his first winter month of kindergarten, my son had lost 2 hats, 3 sets of mittens and both sets of boots. Only a few were recovered from the various Lost and Found boxes. I knew something had to change or pretty soon he’d be down to one black and one navy stretch glove and his little sister’s spare pom-hat.

What’s a mama cat to do?

We implemented the mitten habit. Every time. Like, E-V-E-R-Y time the boys come in the house, they take off their mittens, put them in their hat, stuff the hat in the sleeve and get the coat in the closet (usually on the floor, but you pick your battles around here.)

So, when it’s time gear-up and get out the door? The mittens are always in the hat in the sleeve in the coat in the closet. I didn’t even realize this was working until I saw my just-turned-three-year-old automatically carry out the ritual with no reminders. And saw my 16 month walk to her room, retrieve her coat and reach into the sleeve to get her hat.

After recently hearing Charles Duhigg speak at a conference and then reading his book The Power of Habit within 2 days, I was re-inspired to look for other places where developing intentional habits had the potential to make life much, much easier.

So try this exercise with me.

Think of something you lose the most. What are you always looking for?

Keys? Phone? Purse? Coat? Favorite Pen? Remote? The other shoe?

What habit/routine can you create so that you always put those things in the same place and therefore always know where to find them?

For example, my car keys live in 2 places when they’re not in the ignition of my minivan. When I’m home, they immediately go in the junk drawer. You know you have one too. Where else do you store the Box Tops for Education labels, mini screw drivers and random marbles? When I am ANYWHERE else, they go in the end pocket of my purse. Not in my coat pocket, jeans pocket, van console, desk drawer, or even the black-hole-main-pocket of my purse. Only one pocket. Now I don’t even think about, it: they’re just magically there every time I look!

So my challenge for you is to pick ONE habit. ONE thing you lose often and decide where that object is going to live at all times that it’s not in use. Then make a commitment to put it there every time. I don’t know if it will take you 7 days or 21 or a year, but you’ll know you’ve succeeded when you never think to youself “where is the [X]” because your feet automatically walk and your hand automatically reach for it…

and it’s there.

 

 

 

How to STOP Head Injuries from Falling Sippy Cups

sippy cups sigDUCK AND COVER!

This was my strategy when opening the cupboard containing our plates, bowls and cups. Among the why-did-we-pick-that-pattern Corelle place settings and the grown-up glasses was a rainbow of plastic drinking devices designed for the post-bottle and pre-breakable glass contingent. You know, the soft-tip sippies that were supposed to be the easiest to transition from the bottle, the hard-tip easy-to-clean ones that never fit in the stroller cup holders, and my personal favorite, the miracle 360 cups that dentists love because they’re most like cups but lose their magic when thrown defiantly from a high chair. I was sick.of.all.of.them.

I am embarrassed to admit how many times I have actually been injured by these topsy-turvy, falling-everywhere sippy cups. Like, give-me-a-minute-I-might-cry injured. This is dumb. I am dumb. There has to be a better way. Here it is:

Put sippy cups in a basket. Or a drawer. Just not a cupboard above eye level. Or they will hit you in the head. #organizinghack

There is no reason the infinitely more unstable sippy cups need to be in the cupboard next to their more mature glass counterparts. They don’t.  That is dumb. They will fall over. They will fall out. They will attack you.

If you can’t spare the drawer space, get a basket and throw them all in there. You know where they go, you know where they’ll be, and where they won’t be is smacking you in the face every time you open the cupboard to get out another snack bowl to hold goldfish because Child A picked a different snack but now sees Child B’s choice and wants some of that too and they can’t have goldfish touching their other less-cheese-product-dusted crackers. Because waaaaah.

Snack bowls, by the way, have the decency of staying in a nice stack, so don’t demote them. Let them live up in the cupboard with their equally courteous cousins, the cereal bowls.

But the cups, man. Just bring them down.