Marley Spoon offered me complimentary meals from their service to explore some easy weeknight dinner solutions. All content and opinions are my own. To learn more about my posts regarding sponsored content please visit my policies page.
I love cooking and I love putting a homemade meal on the table. However, I spend a huge chunk of time each week with meal planning, shopping, prepping, and cooking. (Note: All of this time is in addition to the time my wonderful mother-in-law puts in to prepare and cook meals throughout the week as well.) I currently work full-time and then part-time on my blog. I don’t have a ton of free time throughout the week. Which means, every moment I’m working on a meal plan or shopping for ingredients I am also not spending quality time with my kiddos or working on other necessary projects.
When Martha + Marley Spoon asked me if I’d like to try their meal service I jumped at the chance for three reasons:
I chose two family sized meals that are meant to feed two adults and two kids. The meal photographed is the chicken, rice and tomatoes meal which is no longer an option because meals change weekly, but I’m sure it’ll come back on the menu because it was super tasty!
The service offers both meals for two adults as well as a meal solution for two adults and two children. The pricing, compared to my grocery bill, makes sense for the number of meals you receive and the added bonus of not needing to do the grocery shopping or meal prep. While it won’t be a budget solution for those who are using meal planning to stretch their dollar, it is an option for someone who is time strapped.
This meal came with everything needed—including coconut oil—other than salt and pepper. It also came with a whole head of garlic even though it only needed a few cloves. Nothing came prepped in the box, which while it adds a little time, preserves the overall flavor of the dish. A lot of vegetables tend to lose flavor and freshness once cut and left open to air.
The directions were simple to follow. This dish was created in two pans, one for the rice and another for the chicken and tomatoes mixture. The whole meal, with prep, probably took around 35-40 minutes.
I was pleasantly surprised with the size of this meal. My husband, son and I enjoyed large portions and still had a little bit leftover for lunch the next day. We did add a green salad on the side because while the dish included garlic, ginger, tomatoes and cilantro there wasn’t a full on green vegetable side. I’m a bit of a stickler about having a green vegetable at every meal.
I don’t know if there is anything better than chicken thighs that have been cooked well. Combine them with the tomatoes, ginger, garlic and rice. Well, it was one I’d happily put in my meal rotation. Kiddo finished his plate too!
Thank you Martha and Marley Spoon for sharing your services with me and A Well Crafted Party readers!
This post is a part of a blog series of stories of working moms. I’m excited to share 13 stories from real working mothers. I also really would like to hear YOUR story and I’d love to hear it. Keep the conversation going in the comments & on social media using #wellcraftedworkingmoms. A huge thank you to the women who volunteered to share their stories, Mary Boyden of Mamma Bear Magazine for her photography and Madeline Roosevelt for hair and makeup!
I met Jenny Owens several years ago at a mutual friend’s birthday party. We typically saw each other about once or twice a year at party or two… until this past year when our mutual friend found out that both of his friends named Jenni were pregnant and due within a couple of weeks of each other. I quickly messaged Jenny and very much valued her friendship though Facebook messenger over the course of our respective pregnancy and infancy weeks. Her little man is adorable and sure looks cute with my little guy. Jenny is funny, smart, kind and—possibly my favorite thing about her— knows how to use a sarcasm well. I’m excited to introduce you to Jenny O!
Jenny and her husband Nathan have been friends for over twenty years and have been married for seven of those years. She gave birth to their son approximately five months ago and it was not an easy road to get to where they are today.
“It took five years of trying, two miscarriages, and deciding we were done trying; and then I conceived unexpectedly. At the time we joked that it was either going to be ‘three strikes you’re out’ or ‘third time’s the charm’!” said Jenny. The third time ended up being a charmer for sure.
Jenny has worked for a a branch of Edward Jones, a brokerage firm, for the past eight hers. At the time of her pregnancy she was working full-time as an office manager— Senior Branch Office Manager. She worked right up until labor—literally!
“I didn’t think it was real labor, so I made it a point to work until market close (1 PM PST) before I had my husband pick me up so I could soak in a bath for pain-management. Five hours later I had my son in my arms!” she explained. (Check out her birth story here!)
Jenny elaborated on why she works which I hadn’t asked any of the women in the interviews, but now I wish I had! Some women have to work to make ends meet. Some women need to work to feel fulfilled. Some women feel that they need to work, but don’t feel they are in the right job. It takes all kinds, right? Jenny works for a number of reasons including feeling that it is just in her personality. But, beyond that, she has a very personal reason as to why she works.
“I work for a number of reasons, but first and foremost because I am the personality type that needs to work. My husband always says that he’d retire yesterday, if he could, whereas I’m pretty sure I’ll have at least part-time work for the rest of my life,” Jenny explained.
She continued, “Also, my dad died when I was barely a teenager, so I’ve seen that a person’s Happily Ever After can take a thoroughly unexpected nosedive, and it’s always been important to me to be able to take care of myself by myself, Just In Case. Having my own income is a large piece of that, and even more essential now that, should the worst happen, I’d also have a small child to care for.”
Jenny has chosen to work her particular job because she is good at it and that is satisfying. She genuinely loves helping people with their finances.
“And honestly? I love money. Rather, I love what money allows us to do- travel is very important to us as a family, and the extra money from my income (since we try to ‘live’ on my husband’s alone) makes it easier to go to some of the far-flung places on our list” she said.
While she doesn’t feel quite like there is a typical for her and her family yet Jenny shared a bit of what her day may look like on a work day. She gets up just shy of 6:30 in the morning to do the wake-up routine of feeding and dressing her son. She goes downstairs and does her morning yoga routine with her son watching from his swing. She’ll then make breakfast for herself and sit on the floor as her son is working on his tummy time while she eats. He goes with her as she gets dressed for the day, but around 7:45 AM she leaves for work and her husband then takes over primary care and getting their son to care for the day.
Jenny gets to work around eight in the morning where she has half an hour of quiet time to make herself tea and review emails before the office opens for business.
She notes, “I treasure that quiet time way more than I used to!”
Throughout the day she takes two pumping breaks and one short break for a walk. She says she is fortunate to have a large break room to herself that she is able to secure for privacy while pumping. Her walk in the afternoon helps her clear her head and stay focused on her work. In addition to the breaks she sets her alarm to go off every thirty minutes to remind herself to get up and stretch.
She leaves work around 4:30 and heads home to greet her family and then immediately goes upstairs and changes into her “civilian clothes.”
Jenny explained,” That’s a tip my mom passed on to me, as a way to really mark the boundary between “Working Woman” and “Mommy”, and I find it very effective from a mental standpoint. Not to mention a laundry standpoint! I don’t care if my son blurps all over my civvies, but it’s such a pain when he manages to get my office wear, because sometimes those stains just won’t budge.”
Her husband and she trade off food-prep duties, but lately it has been him taking point on that because she is in charge of the bedtime routine. The bedtime routine stats around 6:30 in the evening and he is typically asleep by 7:00 PM. After he is asleep Jenny will head downstairs to write or possibly watch a little tv with her husband. She starts getting herself ready for bed around 8:00 PM and tries to be asleep no later than ten in the evening.
“I really, really hope my son will understand that I work not because I didn’t like being around him- I actually like it quite a bit, certainly way more than I thought I would- but because it’s what’s right for me. The classic, ‘It’s not you, it’s me,’ bit” said Jenny.
She hopes that her example will show him that he can live a life that he wants—even if it’s hard— as long as he is willing to work for it.
She continued, “And I hope he internalizes the lesson that you should not make anyone but yourself the center of your Universe: it’s an unfair amount of pressure to expect someone else to give your life meaning and worth. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t devote any (or even a lot!) of your time and energy to someone you love, just that you shouldn’t let them take more than is healthy for you to give.”
I absolutely had to ask a few questions about some of the topics that often come up for the working mom such as maternity leave, childcare, and the challenges & joys of working. I love the answers so much that I felt it was best to just put it in their own words. Read on to learn about the ups, downs, ins and outs of Erin’s working mom experience!
My obsession with displaying photos began in high school. It started off as a small section of my wall that I taped up photos of my friends and family. That small section grew to include notes, drawings, and many more photos until I had an entire ten feet by fifteen feet wall completely covered. Every time I walked into my room I was inundated by all the faces of people I loved. It was perfect. Granted when I had to take it down before moving out of the house at the end of high school it was a bit of a complicated mess. I’d suggest that if you’d like to tape up photos to your wall that you use painters tape rather than Scotch tape!
As I got older the desire to take/be in/ display photos of myself and my loved ones never really disappeared. In college I insisted my roommates do a photoshoot with me so that we could have photos for our home. One of those photos eventually got displayed on the underside of a toilet seat as a funny gag when people went to our restroom. Said photo:
Now-a-days I typically opt to display photos in frames around the house rather than on the bottoms of toilet seats… but, I still enjoy the unexpected at times! I used to be totally against displaying huge photos of me and my husband around my house. But, that has changed since having kiddos. I still like to make sure that there are some photos in addition to my family images, but I live in my house and goodness knows I LOVE seeing photos of my family.
This is absolutely a personal preference, but lemme tell you WHY I prefer matte over glossy: no shine and no fingerprints. I can’t stand it when fingerprints end up on pictures before the frame goes on or when there is a glare off of a photo in a frame! Matte looks so neat and clean. If you are going to a store to get instant prints then likely matte is not an option. Though, if it is, always select matte! I typically order my photos via Shutterfly or Mpix and both offer matte prints.
I’m a firm believer that my family is much bigger than just the few people that live in my home. My friends and distant family members are very much a part of my family too. I try to sprinkle photos of moments we share together throughout my home. Sometimes I simply keep a bunch of images in one frame and switch them out from time to time. Sometimes I put up a fun gallery wall and include a variety of photos with similar color schemes.
I can’t recommend this enough. Sure, get smaller images to go around the house. But, I highly believe that one favorite image BIG can make a huge impact. And, there is nothing that makes me smile more than walking into a room and seeing the big photo of my family in the room. I usually shy from big photos of just one person, but decided to throw it out the window this past year and instead framed three big photos of myself, my husband and our son. They are silly and always get compliments. Perhaps a tad egotistic? Naw. 😉
I did a small illustration of my family based off of one of my favorite photos from a photoshoot with Moments by Macey. The illustration, though not a perfect rendition of the photo, is one of my favorite pieces in my house because it is unexpected. Photos of holding hands or your child’s favorite toy may be unexpected ways to incorporate family photos into your decor.
I spend a LOT of time at my computer at work. I surround myself with the photos of my family to remind me why I do the work that I do. Also, those little guys are just so cute!
Get fun photos of you and your family whether it be by hiring a professional (of whom you pay what they are worth) or by snapping images with your cell phone. Try unexpected poses and stolen moments. You’ll be happy you did!