This Is Me

Jessie Bee
I am a seeker of God, a help-meet to my husband and a mother to my 3 children. I love hot lattes, good books, cold weather and anything that inspires me to be creative. I desire simplicity and authenticity, but often have to remind myself to seek those .
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Saturday, January 28, 2012


I guess by this point it's pretty typical for me to go weeks without blogging.  But this time I come bearing an excuse.

You see, last week this happened:

Yes, that is my little sister getting proposed to by her awesome boyfriend.
At Disneyland.
In front of the castle.

How perfect is that, am I right??

So the past week has been spent shopping for things like this...

and these...

It's been a total blast.  

No really. 

Actually, I LOVE event planning.  Instead of doing laundry and vacuuming, I've been spending hours researching glitter and vases and I have the perfect excuse to do so!

That said, I apologize for my lack of blogging, but for you women readers, it should all make sense now.  As for my one male reader (aka my husband), just consider this an excuse to watch more Mythbusters.  =) 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Our Weekend

I don't have much to blog about right now because, for the first time since last year (hahaha.  yes, I still totally get a kick out of that), the one word that describes our weekend is "lazy."  And "awesome."  Err...."lazyawesome."

This past weekend, we had us some naps:

I made my best pot of beef stew to date:

And somehow my husband totally rocked it in the cookie department.  I'm not trying to imply that he can't bake a batch of cookies - he can - but he doesn't have a lot of baking experience to his name, so naturally I expected him to produce an average-tasting confectionery treat.  Especially when he had to make home-made brown sugar because we ran out (pretty sure my kids eat way more oatmeal in this house than is normal).

I distinctly heard some angels hollering when I bit into one.  They were crazy-good...sent directly to us from cookie paradise.  Mmm-mmm.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Menu Planning

Of all my budget categories, there is one that continuously taunts me.  Almost like fourth graders on a playground, but not quite because I'm not exactly in the fourth grade and it's my budget - not a fourth grader - doing the taunting.  So I guess not really anything like a fourth grader.  Nevertheless, it taunts.

I'm referring to my grocery budget.

When it comes to cooking, I waffle between being incredibly lazy (cereal anyone?) to unlocking my inner Cat Cora.  But most of my success at dinnertime has nearly everything to do with how prepared my kitchen is to accept the cooking challenge, and that same preparation (i.e. menu planning) also helps me save money.

I started menu planning last March after my husband and I paid off our debt.  I kept reading about how menu planning saves money, but it didn't make sense until I tried it out.  Ironically, when you're not running to the store 4 times a week, you don't spend money at the store 4 times a week.  I'm still not perfect, but I am much, much better.

My basic formula is this:

1. I open,, and  I search for recipes that use overlapping ingredients.  Well, and that sound yummy.  I add the dinner menu to my list, then print out the appropriate recipes.
2. I create a shopping list based on the ingredients I don't have.  Instead of writing "potatoes", I'm very specific.  I write "3 red potatoes" if that's how many my recipe calls for.  The only thing I buy in non-specific portions are the various fruits my kids eat because they ALWAYS get consumed before the fruit goes bad.  I also stay away from buying items simply because "they're on sale."  For instance, I don't purchase dressing that is on sale simply because it's on sale.  If we don't need it in the next week, I don't buy it (there are some exceptions to this rule, especially regarding certain meat).

3. I grab my reusable bags and go shopping (Sprouts and Target both knock off 5 cents per reusable bag).  I visit Sprouts for my produce and meat, Costco for bulk items (chicken stock, organic eggs), Target for pantry items, and Trader Joe's for the specialty stuff (frozen fruit for smoothies, buttermilk, etc).

4. When I get home, I start putting the food away, one shelf at a time.  I first clear the shelf, wipe it down, then put the food away.  That way I am reminded exactly what I have in my fridge and where it went.

My husband is a big fan of leftovers (yay!) so he often eats those for lunch.  I also make sure to have sandwich fixings or something quick (see: pizza) to throw in the oven on those super busy days.  

One of these days I'll be more organized and have a folder of past (successful) recipes to pull from, but for now I still just think of something that I feel like making and start my search from there.  

Other budget tips:
-We actually NEVER buy juice.  Other than water, the only beverage my kids really drink are smoothies, and that usually makes up half their meal. 
-If I have leftover produce from the week before, I try to find recipes that incorporate them.  For instance, I know we won't make it through the container of tomatoes this week, so next week will most likely include spaghetti.  =)
-Buy in bulk - but only if you'll use it!  It is WAY more cost-effective for me to purchase flour, chicken stock, butter and eggs at Costco.  However, our family can't make it through their huge bag of asparagus or cucumbers in time for it to be a worthwhile purchase.  

If you haven't tried menu planning before, I really encourage you to give it a try.  It really makes dinner-making WAY more doable.  If you need recipe ideas or any help, please feel free to email me.  There are also tons of websites dedicated to menu planning.  And for the simplest start for the non-cook, check out  It costs about $5 a month, but definitely worth it if you're clueless in the kitchen!  =)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Thimble List 2012

My blog is one year old.  Happy birthday blog, happy birthday to you.

To celebrate, I've compiled my thimble list for 2012.  And if there is anything I've learned in this past year, it's to not write down quite so many goals, because apparently I'm not as motivated to complete them as I thought I would be.

I mean seriously - I put down the goal to read 24 books last year.  How many did I finish?  23.  23!  Ridiculous.

So, here are my goals this year:

-Continue blog.  Make it wildly successful.
-Read 25 books.  (Actually my goal is 24, but if I say 25, then perhaps it means I'll finish 24.)
-Take 2 classes.
-Walk 2x a week.
-Read Bible regularly.
-And most importantly, love my family and make new memories with them!

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