How I Am: Taking My Family’s Future Back

taking my familys future back


If your family is like mine, then you know that everyday life is cluttered. I would love to be one of those people that have learned to live slowly and simply. Someday I will learn those secrets. That day is definitely not today. I currently have a fussy child on my lap, a to-do list that desperately needs more check marks, books that need to be returned, hair and makeup that needs doing, groceries needing to be bought – like I said, it is cluttered. In these messy, filled up days I often forget the big picture.

Over the past month, it has become very clear to my husband and me that we are near-sighted. We see where we are. When we think about our family in the future, we know how we want it to be. We know the feeling we want it to have, the attitudes and values and practices we want to have and share with our children. But we also expect it to fall into place when the time is right. In my experience, it doesn’t work that way. I am still waiting for my magically reshaped pre-preggo body! We have no plans, and no goals. We just hope that someday we will miraculously be the people we want to be.

God has made it clear.

To achieve our goals, to become the family we want to be, we MUST be intentional.

                Ugg! One thing I seriously lack is will power! I suppose this is God’s way of beating it into me. But when I think of the alternative, I know that this is worth every effort that Steven and I can put into it.


Starting Off

                After several eye-opening conversations between me and Steven, I began wondering what I could do to become an intentional parent and spouse, and what my family as a whole could do. I am very blessed to belong to a Mothers Of Preschoolers group at my church. Last week our lesson was about having a vision for your family (God Thing #1!) The speaker discussed how his family sat down and wrote out what they wanted their family to be. WOW! That is being intentional.

Then, my husband randomly decided that he wanted to watch Courageous (God Thing #2!) Now if you have not seen this movie, I highly recommend that you do. If you have, then you know that the plot focuses around families and fathers taking back their family’s values and priorities.

Steven and I feel it is important for us to have a better grasp on what our family should be, so we have taken several days to talk, pray, and prepare what will be “Our Family Creed.” This is going to be an actual written document that we can hang on the wall so that we will always be reminded of how the Haney family should behave.

This creed is pretty extensive for us, and we are not taking it lightly, so it is taking some time to prepare. We are excited to see the finished product.


Sneak Peak

Our document is going to include as many aspects of life that we can squeeze in. We will be listing characteristics that we want to be examples of, standards we hold to, and goals– everything from being honest to showing our children how to love and respect their future spouses; from walking with Jesus daily to keeping their bodies healthy; from persevering in school and work to being active in our family. Like I said, there is so much that we want our family to be, it has taken time to work it all out.


What are ways that you are intentional in your family? Do you have plans for your family’s future?

We would love to hear about them!

Dani Tag


The “Favorites” Date

Are you one of those people that have a TON of “favorite” things? I am! I will be talking to someone and they will mention some movie or band or song or food and the first thing I say is “that is my FAVORITE!” I can’t help it. There is just too much good stuff in this world that I love! But sometimes I get tired of the same favorites over and over. Or something isn’t quite as much of a favorite as something else ; )

So knowing how I am always makes me wonder about my hubby. I mean, I know what stuff he likes, but does he get tired of the same things, the same kind of dates, and gifts, and meals I give him over and over? To remedy this, I made a reference sheet. Lots of times I want to surprise Steven with small gifts or special “Steven Days” filled with his favorite things. I designed these reference sheets so that when there is something I want to do for him, I have a lot of ideas that I can choose and get ideas from. Steven also has a cheat sheet I filled out for him.

Not only are these sheets great for planning future dates, they are a date on their own!

Plan an at home date or go to a park or local coffee shop and spend time filling these out. It is amazing how much you will have to talk about just by reading each others answers! I suggest picking a special time every year (like an anniversary) to fill out a new set of answers. Tastes and movies change and you might even have a lot that you have already done with each other the past year. Get creative and have fun!

My favorite things page 1

favorite things page 2

favorite things page 3

Dani Tag

So, You’re Living On a Shoe String?

Yes, we all know that things like fresh fruits and veggies, lean cuts of meat, and organic ANTHING is what we are “supposed” to be eating. But, here in the real world we know that these things are not always practical, available, or within budget. So the question becomes, how can you feed your family healthy, delicious food on a shoe-string budget? It can be done!


First things first. When your family has a limited about of money to spend on food, whether by choice or by circumstance you must get your mind set right. Spending less on groceries isn’t the easiest thing to do, but it is very possible!

Shopping cheap will sacrifice on convenience. That doesn’t mean that the meals you prepare will be hard, only that you are less likely to be buying things like bagged salads, frozen pizzas, or lunchables. There are a TON of recipes out there for making your own frozen meals (a series of posts on frozen meals will be up soon!) that can help you with convenience but you do need to consider the initial prep time.

What is cheap AND healthy? We all know that fresh vegetables are packed with the most vitamins and minerals but they often come with a hefty price tag. So, don’t discount the canned and frozen options! These are still healthy, hearty, and keep for a lot longer than the fresh varieties.

Be willing to prepare what you can from scratch! When you are looking for recipes to make for your family begin by deciding what you will have on your shelves and what you can make from scratch. Things like tortillas, bread, and pizza crusts are easy and cheap to make from scratch. You may even get inspired and want to branch out! Try homemade noodles, hotdog buns, or corn chips!

Spending less on food isn’t always easy, or fun. You can be easily frustrated when you have had a stressful day and more than anything want to order a pizza “like everyone else!” But, when you put your family first and chose to stick to the means that God has provided, you will have a sense of accomplishment. Jumping one difficult hurtle gives you momentum to continue on to another. I am the worlds worst at buying all of our groceries for the month and then eating dinner out because I am “too tired” from shopping. We are all a work in progress! When you fail, try again. Your budget and life will reflect your perseverance!

To help you get started, here are some of my favorite recipes that are cheap to make! Don’t forget, make what you can from scratch and don’t be afraid to change ingredients to match what you have on hand! Be creative and experiment! One not-so-great meal won’t kill your family! (Mine ate an interesting mush that was supposed to be soup not once but twice last week, because I WAY over cooked the rice in the recipe… they didn’t die, they didn’t even complain! I guess they are used to me making mistakes. hehe.)

Black Bean Quesadilla   – These are so good, and can be filled with whatever you may have on hand! Just beans, corn, and a little cheese on a homemade tortilla would be great! Don’t have shredded cheese? Use sliced. It is all about being versatile.

Sausage Cheese and Grit Casserole – What is cheaper than grits and eggs?! Don’t have sausage? Use ground beef or turkey and season well. Or you can even use left over steak, ham, even chicken! Chop it up and add it to the recipe. Casseroles are very forgiving so don’t stress if you don’t have a full 2 lbs. of meat. Pair this hearty meal with some canned green beans (we like ours with garlic salt and chili powder) or use it as a breakfast with some applesauce on the side.

(not) Refried Beans – These are great to use as a side dish or in homemade bean burritos (using your homemade tortillas of coarse)!

Bean Chili – This recipe has very few ingredients which is a must when trying to save money! Don’t have ground beef? Leave it out and add more beans! We eat “bean-only” chili all the time. This recipe uses canned beans but if all you have is dry then by all means use what you have.

Corn Casserole – This is more of a side dish but it is pretty cheap and VERY tasty! If you don’t want to buy a dry corn bread mix you can make your own (recipe here) but the jiffy packages are super cheap!

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup – This recipe may be a little more pricy depending on what you already have on hand. Feel free to make substitutions or leave out what you don’t have. We don’t use beer so any recipes that calls for it I substitute beef broth.

Beans and Rice Soft Tacos – There are several bean recipe on this site, this recipe is #5. Sometimes you will be surprised what you can make meatless! It’s not exactly the same as when you have meat but sometimes you just have to learn to love what you can afford.

Applesauce is pretty inexpensive and if you are on any sort of government assistants program for food, the odds are you have it coming out of your ears! If your kids are sick of just plain applesauce try changing it up a bit. Here are two recipes for homemade fruit roll ups! (Recipe 1Recipe 2 is made with baby food!)

How about canned or frozen fruit?

A Very Intense Fruit Smoothie – If you only have canned fruit, substitute a canned variety for the frozen and add ice, OR open a can of fruit and freeze it the day before you want to prepare the smoothie.

Pancakes and fruit are a forever favorite! Here is my family’s Vanilla Cinnamon pancake recipe!

We all have those times when we want a sweet or need to take something to a party or potluck. Sweets can be made very cheaply!

Million Dollar Pie – This recipe has few ingredients. You may already have canned pineapple on hand!

Fruit Cobbler – This particular recipe calls for fresh blackberries but I use canned fruits in my cobblers and they turn out great.

Applesauce Brownies – Or if you want a low calorie brownie option try these Zucchini Brownies

Most of these recipes haven’t been “low-cal” per say but when making due with what you have AND trying to lose weight, sometimes you just have to choose to eat less. On the bright side, that will stretch your food farther. LOL

When we were first married we had no choice but to live on $10 a week for groceries, even that was a stretch! When you don’t have more than that, you need to realize that some meals may end up being ramen or mac and cheese and that is OK! Do your best with what God has given you, and don’t feel guilty when you aren’t able to keep up with the Jones’.


leah tag






Last month was H-A-R-D, hard!

I was sick, we went on vacation, we were out of the house a lot so we ate out often, and so on and so on.

Therefore, this month’s goal is to get back to it!  I would normally report my weight loss here but the scale has been crazy the last few days going UP and DOWN (about 4 pounds) so I decided not to weight again for 2 weeks. This will give me a little rest from thinking about weight and let me focus more on eating right and exercising without that added pressure.  Hopefully the scale will reflect a good loss when I weigh again.


This just made me laugh!

So, for April my goals are to…

1) Be very strict with my calories! (Pete’s birthday is tomorrow, so that will be a challenge) March wasn’t a complete bust with my calories. I actually managed to stay within or at least close to my 1525 limit almost every day last month. But, this month I want to tighten up the lax habits I have begun to form.

2) Continue to exercise. I have been running on the treadmill this month. I am using a couch to 5k app (because I am a runner in the loosest sense of the word!) and I can already tell a difference in my stamina already. Woot.


3) Meal plan! This month I won’t be cooking from scratch as much because of our hectic schedule, but I bought plenty of “no excuse” meals to keep in the freezer. Things like frozen pizza, or lunch meat sandwiches are easy to fix after a late night of baseball, and by putting pen to paper and making a plan of what to eat when, I should be able to keep up on track. I bought tons of vegetables to keep us full as well. There will be quite a few eat out meals that can’t be helped because of some extra meetings and trips we have to make this month.

Over all I think this will be a revitalizing month for my eating plan and exercise habits! Just exactly what I need to get some momentum going into summer!

I am ready to get back in the swing of things and I honestly thank God for helping me to not stray too far from where I need to be. The more lax you become the harder it is to get back! If you have made a commitment to change your eating habits, I hope you have been able to stick with it. If not, take this post as a challenge to climb back into that saddle and try again. YOU CAN DO THIS! And so can I.

leah tag