Becoming the Domesticated Diva

Finding my inner homemaker… one flub at a time!

Rotel Chicken

So for tonight’s easy peasy, yummy to the max dinner.. I give you:  Rotel Chicken!

This is some seriously good food that is so super easy, you’ll wonder why you waited this long to try it!  The chicken is perfect for nachos,  burritos or just by itself with some rice.  And only 3 ingredients!

Yummy!

Yummy!

Rotel Chicken

  • 1.5 – 2lbs chicken breast (you can also use cutlets or tenders; I use whatever is on sale. :))
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 packet taco seasoning

Throw everything in the crockpot for approx 5 hours.  I usually put the chicken in mostly frozen, and leave it for 6 hours.  Shred it about a half hour before serving.

That’s it!  Easy, pretty healthy and delicious!  Let me know how it turns out for you!

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Planning ahead..

Having my baby 10 weeks early was certainly not in the plans.  I had every intention of working as long as possible so I could spend as much time at home afterwards.. but boy am I glad I started saving as soon as I found out I was pregnant.  By no means were my husband and I well off when we decided I should stay home with our child for as long as possible, we just knew it was what we thought would be best for our child.

I started taking half of my paycheck and putting it into an online savings account (ING which is now Capital One) and we lived off (mostly) my husband’s income.  It wasn’t easy saying no to some things, or limiting others.. but we knew it would work out for the best.  I was excited to see my savings pile up, and even more excited to see my belly get bigger.  🙂  And then November came, and things got crazy fast.  You never know how much to plan to spend on having a baby.. and trust me, things never work out as you plan anyway.  Now in the aftermath, where we are still getting bills 5 months later.. I’m just thankful for my little savings account.  We’ve managed to pay most of the bills (so far), have a few outings here and there.. and keep lots of food on the table.  Its not easy, and it is certainly getting harder… but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Here’s a checklist of things we did to prepare for those soon to be “stay at home Mom (or Dad)s”:

  • Start early.  Had I known then what I know now, we would have started to minute we even THOUGHT about getting pregnant, rather than waiting til I actually did.  The NICU bills are the worst, and those eat up your savings quicker than anything else.
  • Do your best to live off of one salary (ideally the one who will continue to work).  For us, I started with saving $150/week.. and then after a few weeks I would bump it up.  That way I had some time to adjust not having my own money to do things with whenever I wanted.
  • Plan for birthdays/holidays.  I started Christmas shopping in October when I still had a paycheck coming in.. which was lucky since I was done before my baby arrived at the end of November.
  • Do something fun away from home at least once a month.  This is important for two reasons – 1) since I’m at home a lot, it gives me something to look forward to and its a new adventure for the family.  2) It reminds us that we can still have fun on a limited budget.  We have gone to the park, to visit my parents down at their lake house, a date night dinner without our son, or to Disney.  We have Disney passes because we go often and receive a discount for renewal and in the park.  The cost is worth it.  Plus, we can’t wait to take our little one there!
  • Talk over your budget before hand.  You can be as detailed or general as you want, just make sure you are both aware of bills and whether or not you can actually do this.
  • Look for savings whenever possible in buying things.  I love http://www.southernsavers.com and http://www.retailmenot.com.  SouthernSavers is where I compare my weekly Publix ad and print off extra coupons.  I know everyone has their own couponing methods, but this one works for me – and I’ve started saving an average of $90/shopping trip, basically half of my bill.  Get to know your regular grocery store and their couponing policies.  It takes some time, but, hey.. I have the time now and if I can save that much money per week by spending an extra hour finding and printing coupons, its worth it to our budget.  I also love RetailMeNot because they have coupons for almost EVERY store, website, etc that you can think of.  I’ve gotten lots of deals this way.  Plus, they have a mobile app that makes it easy when you’re out.
  • Use what you have – or trade for what you need.  This one is big.  I think most of us are guilty of going out and buying whatever is new, cool, etc. – but think about what you may already have on hand first.  I’ve been spending lots of time cleaning out boxes we packed when first moving into our home and realized we have LOTS of stuff.  Some are things we’ve duplicated since then because we didn’t remember having it to begin with, or just wanted something new.  So now we’re of the mindset that if we can make it work, we do.  If we can use it up first, do that.  The things we don’t want or can’t use anymore, we toss, give away or try to sell.  Not only does it make our house cleaner, more organized – it makes us more appreciative.

What about you readers?  Have ideas do you have to help a stay at home Mom or Dad?  What have you done to afford staying at home?  OR – making money from home?  Can’t wait to hear your ideas!

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