Monday Motivation: Transform your wellness with meal planning

Rise and shine, it’s Monday!  Another week to start new goals, work on current ones and celebrate the week ahead.  Our goal at Home with a Twist is to redefine Monday and make it the best day of the week.  Let’s dive in with some ideas.

Meal Planning:  This “new to me” practice has been very effective in my health and wellness journey.  It is a tool that is discussed a lot in my Noom community (Noom is an online weight-loss app you read about here).  The importance of meal planning is that it allows you to know in advance what you will be eating so that you are more likely to make healthier food choices.  Meal planning also helps you keep food costs down because there is less “hangry” food impulse buying.  Here is a terrific article on meal prep 101 .

One thing to consider is you don’t need to plan elaborate menus for the week.  If you like to cook, and that’s how you want to approach meal planning, then go for it.  Since I work and I am now in graduate school, my free time is not as conducive to cooking every night of the week even though I enjoy it.  Here’s how I approach meal prep:

Sunday — Mr. Bee and I discuss what our schedule looks like for the week and what evenings we have free to sit down together for a meal.  Let’s say this week we’ve got Monday, Tuesday and Friday evenings free.  After church we shop at Trader Joe’s and get all our fresh groceries for the week.  Maybe this is another day for you like Saturday.  The point is to pick a day that is your start of the week and stick with it.  The other days of the week we eat leftovers or a sandwich, or we might go out one night a week for dinner.

Dinner — We will go around the store and brainstorm three dinner meals always making sure to include a protein and lots of fruits and vegetables.  It might be their spatchcocked chicken (which is the THE most read of my blog posts.  I get comments on it daily and I wrote that post over two years ago. If you google Trader Joe’s Spatchcocked Chicken my blog is usually the third or fourth on the list.  I know!  Who knew a chicken would make me famous.).  Anyway, back to the current story.  Put the chicken in your cart, throw in a box of brown organic rice, which has enough servings for three meals, and a package of Brussels sprouts from produce.  Boom meal one done.  And you will probably have enough left over for lunch the next day.  Another great resource — the TJs staff.  They love to help.  Ask them for ideas for a quick and healthy dinner.  Maybe it’s ground turkey or chicken and one of their sauces and pasta (or spaghetti squash).  Add a bag of salad and there’s meal two.  We usually make omelets at least one evening of the week.  Toss in lots of veggies, herbs and some low-fat mozzarella cheese.  Add a slice of whole wheat toast and you have a well-rounded meal three.  So, there are three dinner ideas for you this week.

Lunches — I also shop for my lunches for the week like a fresh loaf of whole wheat bread, sliced turkey breast and veggies.  They sell the most delicious bag of tiny colorful bell peppers.  Slice those into strips and measure their hummus into a small container and you have a healthy side for your sandwich.  Add an apple for fiber for good measure.  TJs has lots of lovely pre-made salads that are $5-$7 you can stock up on for the week, too.  You can grill a few pieces of chicken on the weekend and have those for lunch during the week with a baked sweet potato.

Breakfasts — Studies have shown that breakfast eaters are all-around healthier, less likely to be obese, more likely to have good blood sugar levels, less likely to be hungry later on in the day, and may have improved cognitive function.  Embracing, and not skipping, breakfast kick starts your metabolism and boosts your energy after a long fast.  I love TJ’s steel-cut oatmeal in the freezer section.  Add in a tablespoon of almond butter for your protein and partner it with a hard-boiled egg and you will have a power breakfast that will keep you full for hours.  Here’s a guide to healthy breakfasts for the week.    Overnight oatmeal is so delish — here’s a recipe I have tried from Kathy Eats Real Food.  Unlike the crock pot oatmeal I made that tasted like barf (if you want that recipe click here and God, bless).

I’ll come back another time for healthy snack ideas to inspire you.  But, for now try these tips to make your Monday matter!

Monday Motivation: Holiday Cleaning and My Favorite Cleaning Products

It’s Monday and you know what that means…my day to launch something to keep you motivated for the week.  Today it’s housekeeping.  Pretty timely since your house was likely filled with family, friends and like me a college student home for the holiday.  They’ve all left you with full stomachs, great memories and a dirty house.  Well today is your lucky day!

If you don’t already know about Clean Mama’s website to help you “keep a clean house while still enjoying your family and life with simple cleaning routines that’s perfect for busy homes” you are going to love her free downloadable December calendar.

Visit her site for your own printable and tons of resources for all her cleaning supplies, books, recipes, oils, labels and tips she employs to keep her home clean and enjoyable.  I love a clean house, who doesn’t, but sometimes it is so overwhelming to think “ugh, I’ve got to clean the house today!”  Then you start with one project, see a stack of other stuff you go through, then you get distracted, go to change the litter box, wait wasn’t there something cute on Instagram I need to look at, go to the kitchen for a drink and see dishes in the sink, unload the dishwasher, notice the microwave is dirty, start to clean it, then go back to project #1, and start the whole process over….

“What if I told you that you could spend just minutes a day on cleaning and homekeeping and you’d have a clean home all week long? Those mundane tasks like laundry and loading the dishwasher will become part of your repertoire and daily routine and you’ll become one of those people that welcome visitors and guests. Keeping a house clean and tidy comes naturally for me and I love the practice of homekeeping.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, forget everything you thought you knew about keeping a clean house. Realize that it’s perfectly normal to loathe or resent cleaning. This is because you’ve let it control your life and you’ve set it on a reactive mode instead of proactive and automatic. Let’s change that!”

Here’s her calendar for December just in time for you to apply on Saturday.

Until Saturday, use this week to put stuff away from your holiday gatherings. Just do your simple routines, but wait to tackle your cleaning until Saturday and see if following her suggested routine helps you.

In the meantime, here are some of my favorite cleaning products.  I love Mrs. Meyers  products and this time of the year is perfect for the holiday scented line — like the orange clove, Iowa Pine and Peppermint multi-surface cleaner.  They also have a Peppermint candle that I think would be perfect as a hostess gift.

And during the holidays I love to have full bottles of liquid handsoap in the powder room.  How about the Mrs. Meyers Pine scent?  Visit Mrs. Meyer’s through 11/26 for 10% off your total purchase and free shipping!

And my favorite laundry detergent that I have been using for over a year — Molly’s Suds Original for Sensitive Skin. It’s scented with peppermint oil and is super concentrated.  I only use one tablespoon scoop that comes with the soap.  It’s formulated for HE washing machines and ever since I started using it my front loading washer no longer has a foul smell.  Plus, the clothes smell clean.  I have it on auto delivery with Amazon to save money and I never run out.

I hope this post leaves you excited about starting a cleaning routine.  Have a fab week ahead!

Monday Motivation: Eleven Things to do on Sunday and Shipt Coupon Code

One of my favorite things, as I approach the weekend, is knowing I am going to have free time to relax and make my own schedule.  Sunday, in particular, is a day I want to make sure is free of commitment so I can mentally prepare for the work week ahead.  When I came across this post for “Eleven things to do on a Sunday to prepare for a better week” I knew I wanted to share it with you in my mission to help make Monday the best day of the week — not your least favorite.

Here’s a recap (for the full article visit here and you can also find it on my Pinterest board).

  1.  Create a to-do list writing down everything you need to get done for the week.
  2. Once you know what you need to do prioritize your to-do list so you accomplish what’s most important first.  The rest is easy which will give you confidence to complete the remainder of the list.
  3. Go grocery shopping for the week.  Or, in my case, I use Shipt grocery delivery.  I make my list at Target (depending on your area you have several grocers to choose from), send it to Shipt and they do the shopping, delivery and drop off on my kitchen counter or porch.  Here’s a coupon code to use for $50 off your annual delivery fee (with unlimited deliveries as long as they are $35).  I haven’t been grocery shopping in over two months and it’s been a huge time saver.  You can also use their service to have groceries delivered to a friend or college student.
  4. Spend time decluttering.  I go through unopened mail, tidy up the house, take out the trash, stack up books and magazines from my weekend reading.
  5. Do meal prep.  This is when I place my Shipt delivery order for the week.  I have my groceries delivered on Monday after I get home from work and I have everything I need for meals for the week.
  6. Do laundry.   No one wants to run out of underwear mid-week and the weekend is a perfect time to look through your closet to determine what you will be wearing based on what you have put on your to-do list.  Have a funeral to attend on Tuesday, make sure your dress is clean and pressed.  This is also when I put on a new set of clean sheets for the week ahead.
  7. Clean out your email inbox.  I delete, delete and delete all those emails I don’t need or have already read.  Also sort into folders to save important emails for later reference.
  8. Get outside.  Right now it is cool in my area and I have really been enjoying sitting on the patio, sipping coffee and reading books.  Hazel loves to go for walks with me on the weekends because we aren’t rushed to get home.
  9. Take a look at your budget.  Do your mobile banking, check balances and make deposits for the week.
  10. Get enough sleep.  Weekends are perfect for napping — my favorite hobby.  It’s not indulgent to take naps.  There’s a whole lot of science out there to support the important of getting rest.  I think of a nap equal to how we re-charge our devices:  It’s necessary to operate.
  11. Enjoy the time off.  Monday will be here before you know it.

What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend?  Have a great week ahead!

Motivation Monday: Flowers on your desk, a mantra and a blanket of humanity

I found this Monday checklist from Business Insider. You can find the full description and suggestions for each task on their site.

I was intrigued by number 13 — “blanket of humanity” on your emails.

“It’s tempting to power through all your emails in the most efficient way on Monday mornings. But before you hit send, read them over to ensure that they’re friendly and clear. “Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes. It’s relatively easy to appear curt when you’re in a hurry, along with the impersonal nature of emails and texts. You want to mitigate false starts and misinterpretations,” Taylor says. One way to do this: Start the email by saying “Hi” and “I hope you had a great weekend.”

Want to know what successful people do on Sunday nights?  They have a post on that, too here.

Another idea I like to plan for Monday is to make time to leave a little early for work and stop at the grocery for a bouquet of flowers to enjoy on my desk for the week.Lastly, everyone needs a mantra.  Years ago, we made the life changing decision to be caregivers for my parents when they came to live with us.  During that time I met with a therapist to help me work through the transition of adding this new role to my already busy life as a wife, mother and employee.  One of the best take-aways she suggested for me to try at night before I go to bed was to say to myself “life won’t always be like this.”  It was a positive message for me to imprint in my brain so that it would hear a message of hope and relief.  We tell ourselves everyday negative messaging and as a result our brain hears nothing else and we start to believe we aren’t good enough, pretty enough, smart enough… This Monday morning message from Empowering Women Now is the perfect mantra.  Print it off and put it in a prominent place.

Make your Monday the best day of the week!

Monday Motivation: Take a bath, cook with garlic, self-care checklist

I’ve rounded up three ideas for inspiration to get you motivated for the week.

First, take a bath…I’ve blogged about the positive effects of using Epsom salts for foot soaks here, but let’s also add it to your tub.

Via Pinterest

Roasted garlic.  It makes the house smell like you have been cooking for days.  It is super easy to do and you can use it for so many recipes, including spreading it all over french bread, or on the base of your pizza dough.  Simply Recipes has the step-by-step directions and a video tutorial, too.

Lastly, how about a self-care checklist.  One of our readers, Stacy, said she printed last week’s “night before Monday” checklist and taped it to her bathroom mirror.  Maybe this will inspire you as well.

Via Pinterest

Have a great Monday out there, folks!

Monday Motivation

Years, and years ago, my Sunday night ritual was to watch the television show Murder, She Wrote.  Jessica Fletcher was my routine for easing into the work week solving the lastest crime in Cabot Cove (frankly, if that many murders happened in that little fishing town, I’d move). When the show was canceled, it threw my globe off its axis.  This weekly bonding with Jessica helped me prepare for the Monday morning blues.   According to a study conducted by the University of Vermont, Monday was named the worst day of the week with moods improving through the rest of the week and peaking on Saturday.

But, on the flip side, according to a study conducted by The Association for Psychological Science Monday is the best day of the week for setting new goals.  It’s referred to as the “Fresh Start Effect.” New research in Psychological Science suggests that we may be more likely to actually follow through with our professional and personal goals if we start on a Monday rather than a Thursday.

To help us approach Mondays, we have coined terms like “Move-it Monday“, Meatless Monday, “DeStress Monday.

I am seeking the positive route — Motivation Monday!  Here is a terrific idea I saw on Pinterest that I think could inspire us daily, but especially on a Sunday evening if we are facing a busy professional and personal week ahead. I have pinned it to my Joie de Vivre board (a collection of ideas to help me find “Joy in Life” in 2018).

This really could be adapted for everyday, but I think particular care should be focused the night before on a day you are worried about facing.  I love the last two suggestions.  “Pray” –  for gratitude of what your day did afford you and pray for grace to get through to the next day.  “Read” – you can start reading the book from Mrs. Twist Reads This!

I’d love to hear your ideas on how you can transform Monday to be the best day of your week!