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!
I’m excited to introduce you to Roxana a working mother of two! This post is a part of a blog series of stories of working in motherhood. 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!
You don’t forget meeting Roxana. She is such a force of nature (in all the right ways). She is outspoken and passionate about what she believes in. She is kind, caring and funny. I met Roxana about three years ago at a blogging event. We’ve since caught up at different parties, girls nights and Facebook.
I was fortunate enough to get to join Roxana for brunch for this interview which felt like the best way ever to get in a catch-up-on-life session AND learn about how she feels about being a working mom. Our conversation also veered into being a mom to girls and the challenges that that can present. I’ll be bringing back some of that part of the interview for a future post!
I’m very pleased to get the opportunity to introduce to you…Roxana!
Roxana and her partner have been together for nine years. She has two kids, Kamilah and Xamara. She had her oldest Kamilah in 2009. Before and during her pregnancy she worked as a cocktail waitress on night shifts. She left her job as a waitress when, at seven months pregnant, the job became too physically demanding. After having her first child the couple decided it was more financially workable for Roxana to stay home with her than going back to work and paying for childcare.
“So, we did that, it was a couple of years of being pretty tight on money,” said Roxana of that time, “The economy tanked and [my partner] works in the car business and it was really, really rough on the car business, especially like domestic cars. It was pretty rough.”
She continued, “It definitely humbled me at the time. I remember having to stand in line at a church, waiting for a food box.”
Roxana said that while she had been really poor in her life before it was never on her shoulders to feed others but rather her mother’s shoulders. Roxana looked back and remember the different sources of where food came from when she was a child— her mother provided for the family in different ways including brining home leftovers after volunteering at the farmer’s market or from her grandfather brining by foods while they lived in Mexico.
Roxana is currently living with her two daughters, partner and younger sister. Her mother-in-law also lives on the property.
After Xamara, her youngest, was around two years old she and her partner were looking to purchase a house and decided that they needed the extra income of her working. Roxana has worked in the optical industry for a large portion of her life and it felt natural for her to look for a job in that field because it is a pretty stable field and because she has a lot of experience it would pay her well.
“We decided that I needed to make a certain amount and I needed to have certain days off just because logistically my mother-in-law couldn’t watch them on Fridays,” she said of her new work needs.
“I had a few interviews and the one that seemed pretty solid asked what I wanted to get paid and what my schedule was like,” Roxana said of the interview process. She was shocked to find that the interviewer was open to what Roxana thought might be a ridiculous amount of pay or schedule demands.
“It was kind of like if they meet this ridiculous list of demands then I’m going to work. If they don’t then I’m not gonna. But, they did… so, I started working,” she said.
She is now at a different office but is still currently working as an optician.
“[My employer is] really flexible with my schedule. I am really lucky. I work Monday through Thursday. If I need to go pick up my daughter or my kids are sick they are really understanding about stuff like that, which is really great,” she said of her new job that is less of a commute than her previous job had been.
“It’s hard to find places like that,” she continued, “I feel like usually when you find it, it is with small businesses which is where I’m at now.”
After getting out of bed for the day Roxana typically makes the girls breakfast while her partner irons Kamilah’s uniform. The girls are able to get themselves dressed for the day so Roxana is able to clean up after breakfast. She then goes up and does the girls hair.
“I have to do their hair every morning. Curly hair girls have to have it in braids,” she said.
Roxana’s partner takes Kamilah to work. Xamara will either go to her grandma’s house or stay home with her father if it is his day off.
After work Roxana likes to make a meal for the family.
“I do a meal planner that I loosely abide by, like I usually I do have all the ingredients. I loosely abide by it. Like, if I don’t feel like having chili that night then I’ll do a recipe from a different night,” she explained.
“Sometimes even when I have the ingredients and a plan I don’t feel like cooking, so we have peanut butter and jelly for dinner or cereal for dinner—which, actually, the kids love,” she said.
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!
Today my TimeHop app reminded me that it is a very special day for this blog… it’s our birthday!
Six years ago today I finished my blog designed, purchased www.awellcraftedparty.com and set up everything to publish my very first blog post on April 27, 2010.
Six years! Holy cow. In the last six years I’ve published 853 blog posts with 2,471 comments and approximately 400,000 page views. I started the blog before kids were even really in our minds. I started it to be solely a party blog featuring my parties and DIY party items. It has evolved to be such a wonderful avenue for me to connect with people. It now is a lifestyle blog—still with plenty of party emphasis to fulfill that personal need— about everything from DIY tutorials to motherhood.
I feel so grateful for this blog and what it has brought into my life. I’ve made some of my best friends through this blog. My sons have been announced and celebrated here. I’ve experienced some seriously amazing experiences— such as this dinner at Urban Farmer— restaurants, locations and brands. I was able to stay home with my first son for the first two years of his life because of A Well Crafted Party. I owe my current job to the work that I did on this blog. I’m pretty sappy about it all really.
My recipe for a classic Amaretto Sour is the top pinned post of my blog and is currently the top visited post. All I can say is my readers have great tastes because the Amaretto Sour is both delicious and EASY to make!
Hands down the most popular download I have on my site (and I have a lot) is the free printable Blog Planner. I love writing about blogging and working with other bloggers so much that I run (with a lot of help from the leadership team) a local blogging resource and community called Portland Bloggers. This printable was an idea that happened because of this passion around four years ago and I keep refining it and adding to it year over year.
My blog has changed designs quite a few times over the years… I’m already itching to change things up again! After my last redesign I really went through my past designs and my new goals for the blog. It is one of my favorite posts and often one that people stumble upon when looking for blog design ideas.
I really, really can’t pick a FAVORITE party because there are so many that I like. I’ve done a lot of styled shoots over the years— and I feel so fortunate to be able to do that— but, real parties are where my heart is because I want people to get to enjoy an experience.
I am pretty sappy right now about my blog and what this little space means to me. Part of that is that I have a space where I get to share about things that matter to me and that I think might matter to my readers. One great example of that is getting to write about working mothers. It means so much to me and I know it means a lot to the women out there that come across these stories while struggling with their own journey in working in motherhood.
I so appreciate you taking the time to read and share this blog. You’re awesome.