Weekly Meal Plan for 3/19/18

March 19, 2018

I decided to order my groceries today through Walmart Grocery pick up because it's calling for rain all morning and I really didn't feel like dragging my kids out of the car in the rain. The irony is that as I look out the window, it's sunny....

But you KNOW as soon as I spend time getting the kids dressed, writing down my grocery list, and driving to the store, it would be raining. That's how the world works, ladies and gentlemen. My life is a lesson in irony. ANYWAY...

I've never done Walmart grocery pick up (mostly bc Aldi's prices win every time), but since it's my first time, I used a $10 off code "WOWFRESH" and still spent under $50!

I'm also feeling particularly lazy, so I'm mostly using this sample meal plan for the Budget Friendly Family Meal from eMeals. I know this is the second time in a row I've posted about them. No rhyme or reason, just happened to go this route this week :) So here's our meal plan!

Monday: Mexican Chicken Skillet, Baked Creamy Rice and Green Beans. Total for meal $3.73 

Tuesday: Chicken Nuggets, Homemade Mac and Cheese, Broccoli. Total for meal $1.85

This looks suspiciously like a meal we had last week ;) Clarence is out for a meeting again, so we are revisiting the easy meal from last week. It is actually on the sample emeals list, I just adjusted it slightly. We already have chicken nuggets so I'll use those and some elbow macaroni I bought last week. 

*I'm also taking dinner this night to a couple in our small group who just had a baby. The mom is a vegetarian, so I'll take them this Easy Vegetarian Chili with Buttermilk Cornbread/Muffins. Total for this meal $4.50

Wednesday: This is the night I lead a local evening MOPS group. We set up at 6pm, so we usually meet the hubs there a bit early and eat dinner together. I'll probably grab a hot and ready pizza from Little Caesars. #highclass

Thursday: There is a new Chinese Immersion School, East Link Academy, opening in our town this fall. We plan to put both our kiddos there and are really excited! They are having a fundraiser spirit night at Chick Fil A this night, so we're going to go and help support the school. 

Friday: Date Night! I'll probably do grilled cheese or something exciting for the kids ;)

Saturday Lunch (and leftovers for Sunday Lunch): Real Taco Pie with Smoky Corn. Total for meal $7.48

Saturday Dinner: Garlic Roast Beef and Onions, Red Potatoes and Peas. Total for meal $7.57 

Sunday Dinner: Chicken and Rice Soup with Cheesy Cornbread Muffins. Total for meal $8.74

Monday morning I have my morning MOPS group and we usually don't get to the store, so I have dinner prepared for that night too.

Monday (next week): Creamy French Dip Sandwiches with French Fries. Total for meal $9.20

Total at the store this week: $46.88

Also bought: 2 Kefirs, milk, chicken bouillon powder, beef bouillon powder, yogurt, mini muffins. The meat prices kill me as compared to Aldi! That's why the meal totals above are so much higher than usual. But still within budget, so I'm happy :)

Weekly Meal Plan for 3/12/18

March 12, 2018

Oh, look...this thing still exists!! Well, it's only been TWO YEARS since my last blog post. I'm basically killing the blogging game over here.

I've been sharing on my Facebook page recently about our family's goal to spend about $50 a week at the store on groceries. Not easy for a family of 4 and, I'll be honest, we don't always succeed, but that's our goal and we usually stay relatively close to it. This does not include toiletries; JUST food. A couple friends suggested posting my meal plan here so more people could access it. So here you go!

Monday: Vegetarian Lentil Soup with tortilla chips. Total for meal $4.71.

Thanks to my friend Taylor for this recipe. I had some stuff already on hand which brought my cost down some. Planning a meal based on what you have in the cabinet is a great way to save on your grocery budget!

Tuesday: Homemade Mac & Cheese, Chicken Nuggets, Peas. Total for meal $2.13.

The hubs has a meeting after work, so I'm making it easy! We had some leftover cheese sauce from a dish last week so I'm using that over some elbow macaroni.

Wednesday: Cabbage with Kielbasa and Peaches. Total for this meal $1.85.

We had half a head of a large cabbage left over from a meal last week that I'll use for this. I also went to a food and craft swap this weekend and got a jar of peaches which we will pair with this meal.

Thursday: Sausage Pizza Puffs and Roasted Broccoli. Total for this meal $3.90

I had a lot of stuff on hand for this recipe and we are omitting the pepperoni. I bought a package of mild Italian sausage and will just use part of it for this meal and part for another.

: Eating at a friend's house warming. FREE!

Saturday Lunch: Parm Pork Chops with Sautéed Kale and Roasted Potatoes. Total for this meal $5.39

Grabbed this recipe from one of my old eMeals sheets. We used them for awhile and probably will again in the future. They send you 7 dinner recipes (you also have an option for breakfast and lunch) every week with grocery list and instructions. There are so many meal plans to choose from and it takes the guesswork out of everything! We loved it. Here is a referral link for two free weeks if you want to check it out!

1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 boneless pork chops
2 tablespoons olive oil
Combine Panko, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper in a shallow dish; dredge pork chops in mixture, pressing to coat. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook pork chops 3 to 4 minutes per side or until done.
1 lb new potatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 slices bacon (I'm omitting this)
1 bunch fresh kale, chopped
Preheat oven to 425. Combine potatoes, olive oil, rosemary, and half of the salt and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are browned and tender. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; remove bacon to paper towels, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in skillet. Add kale to skillet; saute 8 minutes or until tender. Crumble bacon, and stir into kale. Spring with remaining salt and pepper.
Saturday Dinner: Sausage Zucchini Boats with rice. Total for this meal $4.90

Sunday Lunch: Our church is hosting a volunteer luncheon so lunch will be provided for us!

Sunday Dinner: Leftovers

Total at the store this week: $49.19

Also bought: apple juice, 2 kefirs, milk, smoothie, american cheese slices, corn, 2 packages of fruit bowls, penguin crackers (aldi's version of goldfish), eggs, cantaloupe, and bread.

There you have it! Hope it's helpful!

Abel's Nursery Reveal

April 19, 2016

I wanted to wait and post Abel's nursery when I finished decorating and styling it, but let's be honest, it could be a long time before that happens! #momlife. I figured I would just go ahead and show you how it looks now.

Way back in August I shared the mood boards for both a boy and girl nursery before we knew the gender of our precious boy. Here is what I created back then:

We started by painting the walls from an ugly brown (sorry for the fans of brown paint), to a rich navy blue. I seem to have misplaced the paint we used so I can't share the exact color. FAIL. 

Holy hole filling batman!

I kind of freaked out when the color first when on. It looked sooooo dark. Every other color in our house is light and bright, so this was totally out of my comfort zone. It is such a fun, masculine design though, so I just powered on. 

I had seen a photo of herringbone shutters and thought they would look so cool flanking the windows in this room...on the inside. Why not? Something that cool should be indoors where you can look at them everyday. All I had was a photo and a dream....and a handy husband. I literally showed him the photo and helped scour Craigslist for free pallets and he did ALL the work. Superman. They took him awhile to finish because he worked on them little by little (not to mention had to figure out HOW to do it), but they turned out AMAZING!! They are my favorite thing in the nursery and the rest of the room design revolves around them.

We used the dresser from Haven's nursery for Abel, just made a couple tweaks. We sanded down the drawers and stained them and bought some simple ring pulls to finish it off.

dresser as it looked in Haven's room

Now in Abel's room
Clarence used some leftover pallet wood to make the two arrows above the changing table. 

I found the cute basket at a yard sale for .25 cents. It wasn't so cute when I bought it, but it had potential! It was the original brown wicker and totally stained. We taped off the bottom and painted the basket white and the bottom a simple gray. It makes a great place to put toys! 

I made a simple crib sheet and crib skirt using some fabric I bought online. The crib fabric is from Spoonflower and skirt fabric from Joann Fabrics. I spent some time on Pinterest to figure out how to make the two and am happy with how easy it ended up being! 

Crib courtesy of his older sister, complete with teeth marks
Modeling the sheet like a pro
Photo by Julia Elle Photography
I bought these cute prints off etsy and stuck them in inexpensive frames from Walmart in a wood tone to play off the shutters.

Photo by Julia Elle Photography
I saw a really cool sign selling on etsy and used it as inspiration for a sign above the crib. This is not how it really looks, but I can't share the actual item because it is a copyrighted design, so I just edited and made a different sign :)

The chair is also from Haven's room that we bought from Walmart.com in late 2013. It's held up great and we are happy with the quality and price!

This is the side of the room that has yet to be decorated. We have various ideas for this big, blank wall that I'm sure we'll complete sometime this century. 

Here are a few final shots of the room. Rug can be found here and is SO soft!

It's a fun room that Abel can easily grow into. I hope he ends up loving it as much as we do!

Abel's Birth Story

April 02, 2016

After birthing Haven naturally, we knew we wanted to do the same for Abel. We planned to deliver similarly, in a hospital with a family doctor we could see for prenatal appointments as well as postpartum. Unfortunately, there are no providers in Greenville who perform in this way anymore.

After some research, we decided to go to Greenville Midwifery for our prenatal visits and to also have them deliver our child, as midwives tend to be more understanding and supportive of natural childbirth. We still planned to deliver in the hospital, but we soon found out that the midwives had recently opened their own birth center. We decided to go to orientation just to check it out and were very impressed! The birthing rooms were like nice hotel rooms. Real beds, huge tubs, large bathrooms with beautiful finishes. All of this right across the street from the hospital in case we needed to go over there for some unforeseen circumstance. It just seemed like a much more comfortable environment to give birth. We were sold!

We also decided to try a different method for childbirth--Hypnobabies. It basically uses self hypnosis to help during labor. The first time I heard about it I thought "that sounds hippie and weird", but I heard lots of good things about it and figured I'd try almost anything if it would give me an easier birth! I went to the six weeks of class while Clarence stayed home and took care of Haven. Our doula taught the class and it was full of great information and helped me feel ready...as ready as you can be.

Since Haven was 10 days past her guess date, I tried to prepare myself for another long pregnancy. A week before Abel's guess date, I was laying on the bed during Haven's nap and felt a small leak. It was clear, and not a whole lot. I spoke to my doula and she said labor should begin within 24 hours if my water had broken, but nothing happened. No continued leaking, no contractions, nothing. While most people at this point would call their doctor or midwife, I did not want to be induced and knew that if I called, that is what they would recommend. Since I had no continued signs of labor, was not feverish, and could feel Abel moving regularly, I figured it was a false alarm. Still, this put my head in a place of thinking he would be coming any moment. This made the wait for labor very difficult!

The further past his guess date we got, the more sure I was that he wasn't coming. Every morning I would wake up, still be pregnant, and feel so frustrated! It was much harder this time to wait than with Haven. Also, increasing the stress was the fact that the further past the guess date we got, the more pressure I received to think about what interventions we needed to do to make sure we didn't hit 42 weeks. A week after Abel's due date, I started having random contractions, but nothing consistent. By the end of that week, I went into one of my appointments and let them strip my membranes. Kim, the midwife who performed it was said to have "magic fingers" and always put women into labor. Sure enough the next day at 41 weeks and 3 days, on Friday morning, my contractions started coming every 8-10 min. I listened to my Hypnobabies tracks to prepare mentally and tried to relax and wait for labor to progress.

Around 2:30, my doula arrived and I asked her if we could head to the birth center. I really wanted to get in a tub and labor because it helped so much during Haven's labor. When we arrived, around 3:30pm, I was checked and dilated to a 4. They only admit at a 5 or 6 so recommended I walk around the garden for an hour or so to try to get my contractions to speed up. I put on some worship music and walked with Clarence, pausing as each contraction came on.

Photo by Julie Byers
Photo by Julie Byers
As it started to get cold, we went inside and sat on a birthing ball and walked the halls. I asked the midwife if I could please get in the tub as the contractions were getting stronger. She agreed and admitted us around 5:30pm.

For the next 4 hours, I labored in the room, both in the tub and out.

As we neared 9:30pm, the midwife said she needed to check me again to make sure I had progressed. Though my contractions hadn't increased much in intensity or frequency, I was sure I had progressed because the labor was very similar to Haven's. She checked me....and I was still at a 4. I felt dejected and could not believe nothing had changed since 3:30pm. To make matters worse, I was given a choice; either go home until my labor sped up, or allow them to break my water to move things forward.

I was so torn at this point. I remember at the end of my labor with Haven when my water broke on it's own, how intense my labor became. Thinking now that I was only at a 4, I wasn't sure I could deal with that intensity for hours. Also, I felt that my water would break when it was ready to. At the same time, I did not want to go home at that point. After a lot of discussion, we finally decided to go ahead and break my water around 10pm.

Pretty quickly, my contractions became more intense. I laid on the bed while my midwife did some acupuncture and massage on my feet to try to encourage labor to progress.

Photo by Julie Byers
After only about 4-5 contractions, I was pretty overwhelmed by the intensity of everything and feared I couldn't make it through the next contraction, much less hours more of them. Later I would realize I was likely going through transition, but didn't think it would've progressed that fast. I immediately said "I need an epidural", which of course they don't offer at the birth center and I knew this. I didn't want to think of the logistics of moving to the hospital and how long it would take to actually get one, I just wanted one. My midwife and doula laughed to which I responded, "I'm not kidding." They immediately suggested I get in the tub. This helped a lot, but everything was still very intense.

Before long, I could feel my body transitioning into the pushing stage. I felt a sense of relief remembering how Haven was born in about 10 minutes once I reached this stage. What I didn't know was that Abel was a big boy and would not come as easily into the world!

I was kneeled in the tub with my head on the side, grunting and pushing with each contraction. He felt so close each time, but still was not ready to be born.

After about 45 minutes of pushing, my midwife told me to move onto my back so that Abel had room to exit the birth canal. I continued pushing and could feel it was time! My large, big-headed son had a much more powerful entry into the world. The pain was quite intense as his head exited, but then I felt a sense of relief once it was out. I kept pushing, but his shoulders were stuck and my midwife told me to quickly stand up and let gravity do it's work. I stood for a few seconds and out he came!

Abel Yong En (meaning "eternal grace" in Mandarin) Wong, born on Jan 30th, 2016 and 12:06am while "Lord I give you my heart" by Anthony Evans played in the background.

They quickly sat me back down and placed my son on my chest.

Clarence got to cut the cord and then hold Abel to his chest while they moved me onto the bed.

I got Abel back and enjoyed some skin to skin time while I delivered the placenta (such a weird feeling) and they sewed up my 1st degree tear (not bad considering how big we later found out he was).

After an hour of skin to skin and making sure I was ok, they finally weighed and measured Abel and we were SHOCKED to find out he was 9 pounds, 21.5 inches!

Haven was only 7 pounds 7 ounces and we thought he would be similar. No one was expecting such a beast :) He is big and handsome and we are so blessed with this precious miracle! We spent some time thanking God for a safe delivery and prayed for Abel's future.

Delivering at the birth center was a great experience. It felt much more relaxing and I could be calm knowing that I would not be pressured to use medical interventions I was not comfortable with. One downside? You typically stay only 4-8 hours after delivering. Since we delivered at midnight, we figured we would leave about 6am. Unfortunately, a nurse entered at 4am, about 45 min after we finally were able to lay down and rest and told us she would check Abel's stats and then we could head home. It would've been nice to get a few more hours of sleep, but on the plus side we went home and were able to rest in our own bed. I think the timing was due to a nurse shift change and it just made more sense to send us home then have a nurse come in for 2 hours.

My doula, Julie Byers, was great to have throughout the whole process and we were so grateful to have her assist us! Hypnobabies was a wonderful help during the early stages of labor, but once my water broke, I completely lost focus with the intensity of the contractions and was not able to return to a state of hypnosis. Each labor is different though and I know some who enjoyed a wonderful childbirth experience with it from beginning to end.

Just like last time, I told Clarence I'm not doing that again haha. Right afterwards, when it's all fresh in your mind, there's no way you can imagine doing it again. Still, it's amazing what our bodies are capable of! God created an amazing miracle in how He designs a body to grow and birth a child, and I am blessed to see how He brought our son into the world...and used me to do it.

We are now a family of 4!

All photos taken by Julia Elle Photography unless otherwise stated

The Look for Less - West Elm Ikat Ogee Curtain

September 24, 2015

I'm cheap.

I know that's not usually something you brag about, but since being married to an Asian, I've embraced the notion of being a bit of a penny pincher. Now, my husband would probably disagree with that title at all applying to me, but I'm the one writing this blog so...HA!

There are so many beautiful things I would like for my home, but I'm just too cheap to buy them. I'll DIY them or search the web for an alternative. Example: many of the things in Haven's nursery.

Well, I've been searching for some matching curtains to go in the living room and dining room which are open concept. The ones we had in our previous home are now too short. That's not a fun problem to have because curtains are not cheap! Now, while we've jumped on the IKEA bandwagon for some of the curtains in our house, I wanted to subtle gray print for these two rooms. One I loved? The West Elm Ikat Ogee Curtain.

Ikat Ogee Linen Curtain - Ivory/Platinum

But hi, I'm not spending $71 (on sale) for ONE panel. Just not happening. But while searching for a more affordable option, I came across this jewel...

Better Homes and Gardens Ikat Diamonds Curtain Panel with Grommets 

Thank you Walmart.com! And at $15 a panel, I am sold! They just came today and at first glance, I'm really impressed! 

I'll let you know once we have them hung (probably tonight, let's be honest...I'm impatient) how we like them, but for that price...I doubt I'll complain. So if you're cheap like me (it's ok...be proud!) there is your public service announcement for today!

It's a.....???

September 05, 2015

This morning, we did our gender reveal and found out that baby Wong is a....

As you can tell, I was super surprised!! We were not expecting a boy, but are very excited!

Here's a video my brother took for your viewing pleasure...


So many things!

August 24, 2015

As you can imagine, there are tons of things to update! Most of that has nothing to do with completed decor in the house. The fireplace is really the only thing we've done up until a month ago. Clarence built doors for the bottom of the built-ins that are amazing! Is he good or what?

And just to remind you what it looked like before...

We finally painted Haven's room in preparation for her big girl room. We're moving her out of the crib because...we are expecting baby #2 in January! We are so excited and find out the gender in a week.

Last night we painted a few walls in the main living area, though we still have quite a few left to do. There are three different shades of green currently going on...why? We want to unify the space so I've been on the hunt for a soft gray, which we all know is the impossible color!

Wall O' Paint Samples (I swear they're gray)
We ended up settling on Moonshine by Benjamin Moore. Here is an inspiration pic:

It's perfect! Not too dark, not too blue. Just a great, light gray and it works perfectly in our space which doesn't get enough light. Two walls down...8 to go...I'll share when it's all complete.

I've also put together a few designs for the new baby's room. Since we're not sure if it's a boy or a girl, I decided to design one for each. I can't wait to get decorating for my new, sweet little baby! More to come!!!

boys nursery

Girl nursery


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