The Great Balancing Act: Achieving Balance

Jenn Marie Maxwell

Our weekend – Recipes Included!

Our weekend really began Thursday night because I had most of Friday off.  It was a pretty standard weekend for us.  One of the most exciting things was that Mariah (19 months old) used the potty – TWICE!

We kicked it off right with some Panda Express for dinner and then coloring & playing with Mariah until bedtime. After she went to bed, Kevin and I caught up on our favorite show, Nashville. That show is seriously the best! Then we talked about LinkedIn and making more connections on it while we watched the news before turning in for the night. Check out my LinkedIn – I would love to connect with ya’ll!


Mornings for this mama begin at 0510.  I start with some coffee makin’ and Kailee kitty lovin’ as she greets me good morning. Then I grab my bible and journal to get my mind and heart straight before anything else. Today, the small-group study went over Galatians 6:9 and asked, “In what ways in your life do you feel weary?  In prayer bring them to God.” Well…It did not take me long to compile this list but it take me a little longer to bring each and every item on my list to God.  What a relief to begin my day with Letting Go!

Sweet Mariah woke up at 0600 which is about 45 minutes earlier than normal so we made smoothies, poured her juice, and caught up on some Minnie Mouse as we cuddled on the couch.  She loves when we both have “juice” even if mine is coffee she says, “Mama’s juice and Mariah’s juice.”  We hold hands and cuddle the morning away until I have to log in to get some work done.

Smoothie Recipe:

*Note – I use a regular blender.  You don’t need anything fancy to make these

1/4 cup of reduced fat vanilla Greek yogurt (Great Value has an awesome one – I always use this one b/c of the vanilla flavoring)

1/4 cup of orange juice

six frozen strawberries

2 fresh strawberries

1 ripe banana

We met my dad for lunch at Chili’s. It was so cute to watch him draw pictures for Mariah. They are seriously two peas in a pod!

After lunch, we went to the outdoor mall, starting at Scheel’s. Mariah loved seeing the fish, running around, and playing with all of the sports equipment. It was a wonderful afternoon spent out in our unbelievably warm weather!

Mariah 1

Mariah 2

Mariah 5

Mariah 4

We spent the rest of the evening at home and I made lasagna.

Here’s my recipe. It’s seriously so easy and good!


1 Box of Barilla No-Boil Lasagna Noodles

1 Egg

1 (15 ounce) container of low-fat ricotta cheese

2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese

1 lb of ground turkey, cooked

1.5 jars of spaghetti sauce (We like it saucy)

Preheat oven to 375

Combine egg and ricotta

Combine sauce and cooked meat

Use a 13×9 pan (I use glass)

– put a small layer of meat/sauce on the bottom of the pan

– Begin layering your lasagna ~ noodles, meat, ricotta, and sprinkle cheese.  Repeat until top layer.

On the top layer I do cheese and any leftover sauce (sometimes the other 1/2 of the 2nd jar – saucy, I told you)!

Then get your foil out and spray the side that will touch the cheese with non-stick spray.

Cover and cook for 30 minutes

After 30 minutes, un-cover and cook for 10 minutes (or until cheese looks done).

Let cool

*I cut my lasagna before it is cooled. It is a lot easier to cut and then serve.


The morning was pretty slow and easy. I decided to sleep in a little bit (well mostly because my husband mentioned that my alarm kept going off and I obviously was not hearing it) we were up at 0630 with Mariah and went through the normal routine. We stayed in our jammies a little too long for any day other than a Saturday.

Here’s the smoothie recipe that I made today: 

1/4 cup of reduced fat vanilla Greek yogurt

1.5 cups of mixed frozen fruit – strawberries & peaches

1/2 of a ripe banana

1/2 cup of orange juice

During Mariah’s nap I went to a new bible study group and met some wonderful ladies!  We talked a lot about wanting to be a Mary and not a Martha.  I know after I had Mariah, I was obsessed with the details of the home. I wanted everything to remain clean and perfect.  What I really should have done is let go of some of that and just enjoy those special moments with her…Including some extra cuddles and naps!

When I got home, we went out to lunch at our favorite sandwich place, Port of Subs … Gonna insert a story here…

I love port of subs so much and during my pregnancy missed it dearly (thanks no cold deli meat rule) throughout my pregnancy I said as soon as the baby is born j just want a giant Port of subs sandwich… Well, we left the hospital and headed straight for lunch. The first place Mariah went after the hospital was Port of Subs. And then we went home to enjoy our new baby and some delish lunch

Back to Saturday… After lunch we went to Petsmart to look at all the animals and then the bookstore. Mariah loves books so much. I’m so grateful for that. She loved being able to run around the store and point stuff out to me. It was just a nice and quiet afternoon.

We had leftover lasagna for dinner.


After a great service at church we went home and did laundry and rested.  We did very “typical” Sunday things like meal planning (I will write a blog about this soon), grocery shopping, and some nice resting and movie-watching.  For dinner I made a great recipe that I found a couple years ago on Pinterest.

Sunday Dinner

All in all it was a great and very relaxing weekend – but then again – how could we NOT enjoy a weekend with such fantastic weather, bible time, and yummy food?!

How was your weekend and what are your plans for the next one?

Also, feel free to comment below if you have any questions about my recipes or have other ones to share!

I hope you have a great week and thanks for stopping by!


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Growth as a Pinner


I will never forget the day that I got the elusive Pinterest Invitation from one of my girlfriends. She had been raving about Pinterest for months before I text her with my main question, “What is pinning and why do you do it?” Her response basically was that it was a ton of fun and they have everything on it – recipes, dream house pictures, hair stuff…Wait…Did you say recipes? I’m sold. Let me in. I was pounding at the Pinterest door.

A couple years later, here I am…A pinning machine. Sure, I go through times of non-pinning. I don’t know why, just do. But here I am looking at my awesome main page where I have 77 boards. Yes, 77. I have 5,026 pins, 4,986 likes, and 159 followers. The most followers I have on anything.

Today, as I look at all 77 of my boards (I really think I need to organize them better) I wonder what the heck am I planning to do with all this stuff. I will say in my own defense that I do have 2 boards – a public one called, “what I have done or made from my pins” (yes, I’m pretty creative with my board names…I have one called Slow n Easy for my slow cooker recipes – It still makes me giggle) and then I have another private board creatively titled, “to do.” In the public board I have actually done 7 things. I think I have done more from my pins but forgot to document them. I will say, out of these 7 things, 4 of them are still being done or consistently made and absolutely loved by my family and one of them I’m actually making tonight.

In my to-do list, I have 19 things that I actually can’t wait to do once I get the time, money, energy…You know, any of the excuses that I typically have.

The main point of this is that I started to ask myself today, why do I pin? At the beginning of my pinning experience, I feel as though I was creating this dream world – kind of like when I used to pick out all of the things I would buy from the JcPenny catalog if I won the lottery; creating my dream home (Yes, I’m old -we actually used to get the catalog every year and it.was.exciting).

After I had my baby, I started using it for baby food recipes, advice, ideas for her birthday party, ways to organize our tiny apartment, and of course, how to look awesome in all of the clothes that I can’t afford. But when I really look at my boards, I see that I’m using it for cooking. I love new recipes and cooking with my family. My step-daughter and husband are very encouraging of new recipes as well.

So what do I do with these 77 boards now that I am a “matured” pinner? Do I delete boards I never look at? I’m not sure I’m there yet…maybe I am…Maybe I will publish this post and take them down about 1/2…I’m nervous. That was a lot of time spent sifting through pins…Oh goodness, now I’m just short of breath. Are you as attached to your pins as I seem to be?

I would love to share ideas with each other on Pinterest – You can find me HERE

So what do you use Pinterest for and why? Have you also grown as a “pinner?”

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