meal hacks

Hey, y’all!

So this post is a bit different than what you’re seeing on here but I believe it is plenty good so I wanted to share how I’ve been slaying mom life over here! So I’m going to share a bit of how I spend my time in the mornings & a bit of lunch and meal prep, too!

If you follow me on Insta (and you should!!!), you’ve noticed that my girls are newly obsessed with bringing their lunch to school. I’ve been sharing their daily lunches over there so if you’ve missed them, catch up on their lunches via my “Bento Box Lunched” highlight!!

I always, always, always… and have always…. gotten a ton of compliments on how I “do it all” (said in a variety of ways). From how I take the girls with me just about any and everywhere, how I am made up & in heels, how the girls look nice………..

y’all. It’s a choice.

Pieces of that choice I have no choice about ….. we have to go grocery shopping together. If I want to accept an invite and kids are welcome, we’re packing up and heading out. But, even when I have a choice (for instance putting on make up or wearing heels), my choice is an absolute hell yes. I mean, I don’t think 3 kids is a lot in the grand scheme of things (if I remarry I’m absolutely down for having a couple more before I hit 40) BUT what I also know is I enjoy making myself and looking cute. ***shoulder shrug**** and if I’m wrangling 3 kids, you better believe I’m going to look cute doing it. And, y’all…. cute isn’t always eyebrows filled in…. sometimes it’s a baseball cap (haircut or not), clean face, jeans, & tee shirt. There are levels to this, right?! Lol.

Point being, I choose what I say yes to and what I say no to.

When I am dressed up with a beat face, I wake up earlier, too. I believe deeply in waking up before the kids. Part of my early morning is devoted to just sitting in silence with the Lord, reading my Bible, & even getting some work done. Filling my cup is also having a quiet shower, putting in make up, and perfume. Those are life givers for me and because I hardly have any time to myself….. I have to choose to create it.

While Dylan has been the most unexpected joy, adding a third has completely wrecked my ability to multi-task and be productive in the way I was used to. The more mobile, opinionated, and engaged with her sisters she became ….. the more difficult it was to complete tasks I was used to knocking out without a second thought. Just adding another person has made the need to be ahead of the game mandatory, but it’s made such a difference.

I work really hard to get everyone’s clothes set out the night before, and some items prepped for the week. Wasting time is so frustrating to me, so using it to find socks or undies, a uniform shirt or even my own clothes is a waster. Some days I choose to not prep for whatever reason, and I just wake up a little earlier and suck it up the next day – which is a perfect ‘natural consequence’ that reminds me to spend that time at night so my mornings will be a little easier.

Another couple life hacks are around our meals. Y’all, I’m not a chef or a food blogger. I don’t know calories or anything like that. So, I hope your expectations about these food pics, recipes, and meal plans are underground low. But it’s working for me and, as always, I’ve gotta share what works for me because I know it could work for you, too!!

The girls were recently gifted Bento lunch boxes and they are obsessed with bringing their lunch to school. Which I don’t completely mind, but it does cause me to use my time differently.

(A lunch from last week…. these are documented in my ‘bento box lunches’ highlight).

Packing their lunch is a major night before prep. I put all the dry items in their box the night before, everything refrigerated or what I’ll warm in the morning is also prepped and ready to just drop in their boxes in the morning.

(Their lunch menu for the week… I pretty much stick to it unless I notice they aren’t eating something and/or they request something else.. on the menu) This is lunch prep for tomorrow. The pretzels, fruit snacks, & ketchup is ready to go. The cheese, mango, & hotdogs are already cut up. So in the morning, I just have to pop the hotdogs in the microwave and divvy up the cheese & mango. Easy peasy.

I also pack my own lunch which is some sort of remix of what the girls are having. I’ve also started making breakfast muffins on Sundays that last through the week! It’s super easy to warm that, add avocado or another fruit and get on out the door!

I posted the breakfast muffins last week and had so many people ask about the recipe, so I decided to just make it super easy and post here.

This recipe made 12 breakfast muffins!! And, they are so so so good!!! Don’t taste funny at through the week!

Just wanted to share a few tips and hacks that have helped me, and I hope they help you, too!!

If you’ve got any great hacks or super easy recipes, leave a comment or shoot an email! I’d love to hear!!

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… the beauty of freedom

I love next to nothing  more (besides Jesus) than I love a fresh hair cut.
And, next to no one I talk to (who knew me pre-fade) can hardly comprehend this chop.
But, let me tell you….. It’s been one of the best acts of self care that I’ve done for myself in years.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who pressed me about cutting my hair.
The same responses were given that had been repeated for nearly two years.
This is the thing:
That answer was repeated almost verbatim (mainly because I legit practiced the response) because I knew I’d be questioned, I knew those questions would come hard and fast, semi-judgmental and I wanted to be prepared.

Prepared to defend doing what I wanted for myself.
Defend something that affected no one else.
Isn’t that… interesting?

However, I believe the core of choosing to chop all of my beautiful, long, and thick hair off was dug up and unearthed a week ago.

My hair was cut lower than it had ever been and I then dyed it rose gold.
And, I loved it. The color has since grown out a bit, but I love this look. I love the cut.

I felt beautiful.
I felt free.
Capable.
And, that’s when it dawned on me.

While yes, I cut my hair because I did not have the time nor want to spend 3-4 hours every other week washing/conditioning/twisting | sit for 3 days (super inconvenient) | untwist every morning (15-30 mins every morning) | retwist at night (30-45 mins) | toss in a  puff for a week…… my hair was damaged, breaking, thinning and completely unhealthy and I didn’t want to deal with it anymore.

Not to mention the girls destroyed the house/their room while I was trying to do all of this. It was stressful, induced anxiety, and was insanely frustrating. Combining the the hours it spent washing/braiding/combing Rhy & Lo’s hair, the last thing I wanted to do was do my own hair. While all of that is true…..

I cut my hair because it’s my hair. on my head. that only I have to deal with and I wanted to.

And, I have never felt more beautiful and at peace with who I am or my appearance. 

One thing I cannot do is bend and confirm to another person’s idea and perspective of what is
beautiful, acceptable, or attractive.

Which is one main reason I value my singleness.
When we are married we sort of have to (or it will greatly benefit us to) take into consideration
our partner’s likes or dislikes and if your goal is submission, to fall under their leadership
and go with their final say.

However, as a single woman……
No one else’s preferences are taken into account when it comes to what I like for me (tattoos/cuts/color/piercings), what I need and what is best for me (from the supplements I need to take in order for me to feel my best to a new ______),
or how I choose to do anything.

My body. My hair. My choices. 
Especially since none of these things are affecting/hurting/harming another human.

(This likely isn’t a mindset you should take on as a wife….)
I cannot give someone that much power over me, that much say over what I do for my own emotional, physical, or mental health. I cannot allow someone else to control how I want to wear my hair, and live in their box of what they like or feel is attractive.
I can’t lose or dishonor who I am and what I need for another person.
or their ever fleeting and changing thoughts.

“You can’t cut your hair!”
“That was a bad idea….”
“Why would you want to do that to yourself?”
“You are going to grow it back, right?”
“What are you doing?”

Limiting, short sighted, fearful, and judgmental thoughts and ideas imposed on another person.. for what?

I love the freedom of experimenting with length and now color.
I love the freedom of not being held back by my very own fears or being limited due to another
person’s struggle with what other people will say, think, or feel.
I love that fear does not reign here.
I love that taking chances and calculated risks are a huge
aspect of living a full life of no regrets.

At the end of the day, our lives are about no one but Christ and if he isn’t offended… why are you allowing someone else’s preferences dictate your life?

Join the MLM (they aren’t the devil and we can chat about the best one when you’re ready).
Take the supplements. Travel. Take the kids with you.
Be bold in that space. Have the convo. Take the lesson. Take the job.
Go back to school.Don’t go back to school.
Trust the Lord and do the things, above all else.

“… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things and the God of peace will be with you…….”
Philippians 4:8

That scripture there is the standard and barometer. 
Do I miss my curls?
No.
Were they absolutely beautiful?
Yes.
And, hot. Also, very hot.

But, that season is over.
I don’t regret a moment of chopping my relaxed hair to embrace my natural hair.
I don’t regret a moment of chopping my natural curls and wearing a fade.

Look at me.
Joy, peace, & happiness rest here.
Fear doesn’t reign.
Boxes and limits don’t exist.
Just freedom.
Embracing opportunity.
Trusting the Lord.
Raising these babies.
Serving others.
And, enjoying each day of this life.
Yes, it’s full of trouble,
but it’s also full of so much grace, goodness, and promises
of comfort, a future + hope, and abundance.

The more I allow myself to step out of my comfort zone, follow the steps the Lord is
laying before me (as confusing and uncomfortable as they may be),
the more I experience just that.

Hey, girl, hey.
My name is Alaina.
I am not bound by fear, limits, boxes, or my own comfort zone.
And, let me tell you, that thing you’re afraid of doing…
isn’t your obstacle.
What’s holding you back is how you think of yourself and who you believe you are.
That’s it.
I love the own versatility.
I love my growth.
My bravery.
Boldness.
That smile.
This season of life.
My openness to change, possibility, and the unknown.
My beauty.
Unapologetic.
Unashamed.
Free.
Fully recognized.
Fully embraced.
Unconditionally loved.
.

Go be great, sis.

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”
Song of Songs 4: 7 

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… to be like you

Our creator is brilliant isn’t he?

I mean, he specifically created creations to worship him. Nature (sun, moon, ocean, our gut health + its impact on our overall health) and the our very nature causes us to know him and to worship him. God is relational and because we are made in his image, we deeply crave relationships, as well. And, him being his all knowing self and so dang on intentional about us getting him, he allowed two relationships to demonstrate his deep, unending love for us:

1. marriage
2. parenting

These relationships are both rooted within the family… a unit based on what is supposed to be the forever commitment between a husband and a wife that mirrors God’s forever commitment to us, the relationship between Christ and the church first within their home, then those mirrors shared with their world. That husband and wife unit are to mirror the role of Heavenly Father to their children. Those two roles are heavy and hard in their impact and duty, but God’s grace is sufficient and his forgiveness is efficient and forever (because we need it that way, amen?) to enable us to carry out that model.

One of the ways the Lord has revealed himself to me over the past few months is in how he is a father, and he has challenged me greatly as a mama and as his daughter. Who we are as individuals and how we respond to our children as earthly parents will absolutely dictate how our children think about and relate to the world and Lord. Does our abundant way of thought teach our children that the Lord truly has good things stored up for them and is willing to… delights in.. blessing them in abundance, with overflow? Do we teach them that they have worth simply because of who & whose they are and not for what they do? or how they behave? Do we teach them that they deserve good things? Do we pour positive affirmations and belief in them that’s rooted in the Word and tells them that they can do all things and excel? Do we show them that we delight in giving to them just as the Lord delights in us or do our actions tell them not to ask for anything? Do we model listening and hearing the way we tell them the Lord does? ugh. Do we freely give or does scarcity in thought keep our fists clinched and calendar schedules and when/what we give centered around our own wants and conveniences because we don’t believe there is enough time, enough money, enough ____ to share with others?

Y’all, it’s hard. It’s heavy. And, this is where I’ve been challenged.
It sucks because I have plenty of reasons why I can’t, don’t, shouldn’t have to, etc.
But, gracious it has been so fulfilling and beneficial and sweet.

Parenting is as much fun as it is hard. Some days it’s a lot more fun, yet some days you’ve got to force some fun to shake off the hard. But, if there’s nothing else that teaches us about the overwhelming burst our heart, protect to death sort of love the Lord has for us it is parenting.

The way we love our children should show us the depth & recklessness of his love for us and and observing the way our children respond to us is the most incredible example of  how trusting we ought to be of Him. I mean, can we talk about how natural those two acts are? Without a second thought as parents we give and forgive, surprise and plan well, provide and protect, correct and guide.


If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven (as perfect as he is) give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him? 
Matthew 7:11 AMP

And, our children… especially our babies… are the best examples of how we should engage and interact with God. I mean, do they literally not open their mouths every time we move anything towards their face? And, do they not grab for whatever it is we have? They have no idea what it is we are feeding them, but they know that if we have it, it is also theirs and it is good for them (usually, ahem). But they have a natural instinct to receive what is offered to them…  until they are full. Then, they look for us again with expectation that their needs will be met when they’re hungry again. Is that not the must trusting act? They know that when they have a need there is someone they can go to who always provides for them without question. whoa. Without question, they trust us that much. They search for us, cling, when something is pulling us away from them they protest with a ferocity that breaks our hearts. They want us. The way that we should search for and protest about separation from our God…….

sweet right? Ugh, yea. Warms your heart.

….. Until we talk about how we receive them when they come looking. Not at pick up from school, that’s cute and sweet. But, when we’re at the park and siblings are fighting… or when they are pumped about showing us something after a really long day and we just want to get in the house! … or the bed. Are we pointing them to Jesus in our responses?

Parenting these little people who initially can do nothing for themselves who then grow into these small people who say (repeat!) the sassiest things is mind blowing … it’s even crazier that the Lord gave us (entrusted us) with the responsibility to mold and shape these little people who mirror us to be little mirrors of Him. So deep.

They come as blank little white boards and we are these markers that write info on them. We give them our limits, our mindsets, our triggers, our responses.. from the moment they are conceived we are writing on their hearts……. from the moment they’re born, we’re giving them a foundation and beliefs they will stand on for years and years to come. But, not with good, fresh out of the pack Expo markers… with awful where-did-you-get-these markers that don’t fully erase. No matter how hard we try to erase or what we spray on that board… it’s not coming off. Who we are, how we think, how we live out what we say we believe is written on those little boards.

I have been so blessed to make the sweetest friend and we talk regularly though motherhood and lifehood…. and all the things. And, in our convo it is like we have our arms around each other, facing Jesus. Supporting, sharing, empathizing, sharing scripture, and videos with each other as we look to Jesus. And, it has been incredible. She and our relationship has been the real life “grace is sufficient” during this AH-HA, real life lesson of real-life learning another attribute of who the Lord is and who he is calling me to be in my home. We were chatting late into night a few days ago, both of us in the throws of exhaustion but up late because we’re working while simultaneously trying to get some quiet alone time as it’s the ONLY time we have to ourselves, and after she communicates my heart in how she’s feeling she says, “We were given all of these commands [to love, serve, care for our families etc] and it’s so hard…. but we can be so focused on the command that we lose sight of The Commander.” MIC DROP. Whoa, right?

The Lord has commanded us to love, forgive, seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly, to give,  develop fruits of the Spirit… but he never expected us to do any of these things in our own strength. He never expected us to work so hard doing anything he told us to do that it makes us miserable and our homes to display the complete opposite of who he is…. he never wanted us to focus so tough on the commands that we stop focusing on Him. That focus reminds us to cast our cares, gives us the ability to endure, teaches us how to do the things he’s called you to do, discloses wisdom and discernment, allows us to forgive… The work is still difficult, but we are no longer hustling for an outcome or trying to obey the command. We are focused on Christ, walking in freedom and faith as our relationship with him changes us so that we are fulfilling the commands by being, not doing.  We aren’t trying to make an unforgiving heart speak kindly to someone. Nope. Not focused on the common and checking off a box.  But, we are giving our hard hearts and hurts to Jesus, he heals and softens it and then we are able to act in love and kindness because of the changes Christ is making within us.


“Dwell in me, and I will dwell in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from me (cut off from vital union with Me) you can do nothing.”
John 15:4-5 AMP

Tough road, but blessed. So sweet and fulfilling.

What has the Lord been teaching you recently?

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