8 Ways To Menu Plan With Happy Planner

Girl, Happy Planner makes menu planning fun. At the very least, you won’t mind doing it! Today I’m going to show you 8 Ways to Menu Plan with Happy Planner. You can thank me later.

8 ways to menu plan with happy planner

This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. Your support helps me offset the costs incurred with this blog. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Hey there and welcome! Today we’re going to talk about menu planning. No wait, don’t go! I have good news. Happy Planner makes it fun. If you don’t know about Happy Planner, make sure you read my post How Happy Planner Changed My Life.

Now we aren’t going to get into how to create menu plans, as in how to choose which meals to rotate. I actually discuss that in another post. If you haven’t read my post, Easy Menu Planning, go read it. Go on, we’ll wait for you.

Today we’re just going to chat about how to record your menu plans. So I’m going to show you 8 ways to menu plan with your Happy Planner.

Ways to Menu Plan With Happy Planner

Menu Planner Half Sheets

Okay, you may even wonder why I bring this up. Chances are if you’ve been using Happy Planner ®, you’ve been using these forever. Well, I’m sharing it because there are still a bunch of newbs out there! Every day, Happy Planner converts more people into the obsessive, creative planning world. That’s right, come to the dark side…we have stickers! God knows I have converted more than 30 friends and acquaintances.

In all seriousness though, I’m writing this first idea for the planner newbie who isn’t sure about the basics. Happy Planner actually makes half sheets that are specifically for meal planning. On one side are the days of the week. The reverse side has a grocery list. Super. Easy.

Whether you are doing a online grocery order or heading out to a bricks and mortar store, this will save you time. A piece of advice: splurge on the Food Value Sticker Book. It will make menu planning extra fun!

ways to menu plan with happy planner

The Weekly Spread

This is probably one of the more popular ways. This is how I used to record my meal plans until I was more selective about my weekly planner space. It doesn’t matter what layout you have, there are stickers for every need and every space. Can I get a Hallelujah?!

Also, don’t rule out the power of the dash board. I love using it to write sticky notes to myself. Additionally, the Happy Planner came out with a meal planning coordinating pack and clear stamps.

Menu Plan Weekly Spread

Household Extension Pack

Back in the old days, one of the first extension packs was the Household Extension packs. I loved it and helped me keep my chores done so I could sip wine and have a bubble bath instead of folding clothes at the end of the day. #WINNING

Then, like always Happy Planner outdesigned themselves and came out with an updated version of the Household Extension Pack.

It includes:

  • Chores
  • Menu Planning
  • Budget
  • Projects

On the front you have all seven days of the week with a side-by-side grocery list. On the back, the grocery list continues as well as a planning section for snacks and quick bites. It also includes an area for meal prep or for a recipe. I love this section for writing down recipes so I don’t have to search for it on Pinterest when I’m trying to make it on a school night.

Menu Planning extension pack

Monthly Spread

Wait…the monthly spread? Hear me out, girl. I know planning a month at a time scares the bejeezus out of you. Let me tell you, you can actually save money by doing so. You can include staples over the month so things like Costco and Sam’s Club make sense. You can plan to actually use leftovers. I know what you’re thinking. What if my plans change?

Monthly spread menu planning

If you’re really freaked out by planning so far in advance, don’t. You can fill it in a week at a time. Also, don’t forget about those super cute Happy Planner post-its. Like the ones you’ve been stashing away in your craft cart? Come on, girl. Use them! Post its are great for things that you don’t want to memorialize (e.g. like concrete) in your planner. If plans change you can easily move it to another day. Also, if plans fall through completely, simply throw it away and you haven’t lost any prime real estate on your planner. I always use post its for plans that are tentative. You’re welcome.

Daily Half Sheets

My next suggestion is to use any weekly half sheet. What?? Like the ones that just have the days of the week on them? Yup, those! They can capture any schedule you choose, including your dining schedule! Again, it’s up to you if you plan on capturing all three meals or just dinner plans.

Below, is a picture of one of my actual menu schedules. As you can see, it’s very easy to use. Just don’t judge me for having Tuna on Rye twice. I love it.

Menu Planning with Daily Schedule

Sidebar

One of the simplest, yet best features in a Happy Planner is the sidebar. The sidebar can be used for so many things, but personally, I love using it for lists. Enter…menu planning. That’s right, girl. Just go ahead and park that sweet little menu plan in that parking spot. It makes it easy to refer to it all week! In fact, some value sticker books have heading stickers and list style sidebar stickers. However, the Household value sticker book contains weekly menu plan stickers that fit perfectly in the sidebar.

Menu plan sidebar

Fitness or Wellness Planner

Both the fitness and wellness planner can also be used to track menus. In fact, if you’re dieting, it really does help to write down what you eat because it makes you conscious of what you put in your mouth. Take it from someone who once lost 183 pounds.

There are two fitness planners: the classic fitness and Healthy Hero. Both allow for tracking meals. One thing I started doing this year, was merging my fitness into my wellness planner. If you aren’t familiar with the wellness planner, it’s a planner that focuses more on your body, mind, and soul as opposed to just your body or fitness. But you can certainly adapt it to include your menu or dieting plan.

Ways to Menu Plan with Happy Planner
Menu Planning with the Wellness Planner

Dry Erase Boards

Okay, now for the pièce de résistance…dry erase boards. Dry erase boards made their appearance with the late year / New year release. The dry erase boards were part of the Super Mom, Socialite, Faith Warrior, and Healthy Hero product lines.

I would make one small caution. The dry erase can sometimes smudge off if you are opening and closing your planner a lot. I don’t have that problem because I keep it open all the time on my desk or counter. However, if this becomes a problem for you, simply use wet erase and the problem is solved. I’ve put some of my favorite dry erase and wet erase supplies below.

ways to menu plan with happy planner

There you go, 8 ways to menu plan with Happy Planner! I hope I’ve made this humdrum chore a little easier!

If you currently use a Happy Planner to menu plan, I’d love to hear which is your favorite way to plan in the comments below.

Broccoli Slaw

This yummy blend of shredded broccoli, carrots and red cabbage is a new take on an old favorite. Learn how to make zesty, crunchy, Broccoli Slaw.

Broccoli Slaw

This post, Broccoli Slaw, may contain affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, a may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. I only link to things I love.

Yummy coleslaw! Who doesn’t love it? Well… me! Yup, you read that right. I was never a huge fan of it. As I’ve grown older, I certainly like it more than I used to.

But it’s a staple in the summer. You’ll find it at every BBQ and summer picnic or potluck. I don’t know if it’s regional, but here in the South, you’ll also find it often paired with fried catfish and other seafood.

Broccoli Slaw Ingredients

The Slaw

I’m a cheater! It’s true. I cheat a little with this recipe. My local store already has the basic broccoli slaw starter. It comes in a 14 oz bag and all you have to do is mix in your dressing. If you aren’t as lucky as me you’ll have to shred the raw broccoli, carrots and red cabbage.

That being said, I make my own dressing and it’s super easy. Honestly, I can’t believe they actually sell bottled coleslaw dressing. Because this whole salad takes less than five minutes to whip up if you already have the vegetables shredded.

The Dressing

Traditionally, coleslaw dressing is made up of white vinegar, lemon juice and granulated sugar mixed with mayonnaise . I hate vinegar, with balsamic as the exception. So I did a slightly different take. After all, I’m Hispanic, so I tend to cook with lime juice. That’s what makes this recipe different. I mix fresh cilantro with lime juice. I cut the sugar down by half the amount so it is more zesty than sweet. Then I add mayo and stir to a perfect creaminess!

Broccoli Slaw

Try this new take on an old favorite. This new recipe substitutes cabbage for broccoli and adds zesty lime juice and fresh cilantro.
Course: Salad
Keyword: broccoli, cabbage, coleslaw, lime juice, mayonnaise, picnic, potluck, salad, summer
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup Lime Juice
  • ½ Cup Fresh Cilantro Shredded
  • 12-14 oz Broccoli Slaw Prepackaged
  • 1 Cup Mayo
  • 1 Tbsp White Sugar
  • Pepper To taste

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl add the broccoli slaw. 
  • Mix sugar in lime juice, then pour over broccoli slaw and toss well
  • Mix in shredded cilantro and toss well
  • Add mayonnaise and fold in until fully combined.
  • Add light pepper if desired.
Broccoli Slaw

I hope you’ve enjoyed the recipe, Broccoli Slaw. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments!

How To Make A War Binder

Maybe you’ve watched the hit Christian movie “War Room” based on the book “Fervent.” Today, I’m going to show you how to make a war binder – a mini war room from which to pray.

how to make a war binder

Supplies

  • Travelers Notebooks
  • A Travel Notebook Cover
  • Art Supplies (stickers, markers, highlighters, etc)
  • Washi Tape
  • Pens

A travelers notebook is a long notebook. It is typically a thin book and contains blank, lined, graph, or dot grid pages. A travelers notebook cover is just a cover designed to hold anywhere from one to six notebooks. Inside the cover are bands that hold the books in place like a spine. Travelers notebook covers can be found at Michaels craft store. However, I wanted something more personal. So I had someone make one for me on Etsy. It has a sewn cover and I chose an anchor theme because of all the sea and water references in scripture, but you choose whatever resonates with you. I’ve provided a few links below, but you can find them at other places both online and at craft stores.

War Binder
Elastic bands hold the books in place
how to make a war binder

War Binder Subjects

Honestly, this is totally up to you. This is how you personalize it and make it your own. Your war binder should reflect your personal relationship with Christ. But to give you idea of what sections you can create, I’m going to show you what I do. Hopefully it will spark your creativity. I have six books:

  • Scripture (memory verses, important scriptures, devotionals)
  • Prayer & Gratitude (prayer lists, answered prayers, blessings)
  • Book Notes
  • Bible Study
  • Sermon Notes
  • Miscellaneous (anything that doesn’t fit in the above categories)
How to Make a War Binder

The inside pages are where the magic happens. The photo below is a page from my Book Notes notebook. I’m always reading and it’s here that I write down the main takeaways. You decorate it as little or as much as you want. Don’t worry if you aren’t artistic, there are lots of ways to fake that (more on that in a minute). I got these notebooks from May Designs.

Book Notes

Book Notes
Use stickers and washi tape to decorate pages

Sermon Notes

As you can see below, I’ve written down my sermon notes. These are really helpful as I try to implement what I learned on Sunday, throughout the week. Personally, I like to scribble notes in church and then come home and organize my thoughts in the war binder. Remember, no one is going to see your war binder unless you want them to. Make sure to make it your own instead of copying others. Making a war binder is all about inspiration.

Sermon Notes

Scripture

My scripture notebook is where I keep memory verses I want to remember. I turn to these during rough times or during my prayer for praise. Personally, I prefer to decorate the pages with something the scripture inspires within me. I did this page with colored pencils, but you can use any art supplies you want to decorate your pages, if that’s the way you want your war binder to look. Remember this is YOUR war binder. It doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.

If you aren’t artistic there are other options. You can decorate with stickers and washi tape. Illustrated faith has lots of accessories like stickers and die cuts for those who don’t want to draw or need inspiration to get started. Washi tape is a Japanese masking tape. It is very colorful and comes in a variety of patters, colors and widths. It can immediately brighten up a page. Use it for creating borders and columns. You can cut it into shapes, ribbons and flags. Get creative!

Scripture

Prayer & Gratitude

In my prayer book, I have my gratitude on the opposite prayer page. Some people dedicate a separate book for gratitude. It’s up to you. Personally, I love writing down my blessings and answered prayers in my war binder and thanking God for them before I ask for more. Again, do what feels comfortable to you. I love writing down answered prayers. When I feel like God isn’t moving in my life, I open this up and look at all He has given me and how he has answered me so many times before. If you aren’t sure where to begin, read my Gratitude Journal Prompts.

Prayer & gratitude
Prayer & gratitude

Miscellaneous

Finally, I keep a miscellaneous notebook for anything that doesn’t quite fit in some of my other notebooks. These might include prayer cards that someone gives me, devotionals, book lists and other types of things.

War Binder Support

Lastly, if you need additional inspiration, Facebook is a great place to look. The main war binder group has over 35,000 members. There is also a sister prayer group and pen pal group.

In closing, I hope I’ve help you get started with your war binder. I’d love to hear what you put in yours in the comments below.

Gratitude Journal Prompts

Get your mind off your problems and on the good things happening in your life with these gratitude journal prompts.

Gratitude Journal Prompts

This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. Your support helps me offset the costs incurred with this blog.

Why Gratitude

Gratitude can totally change your perspective on life. Being mindful about the good things in your life help you focus on happier things instead of problems. The truth is everyone has problems and we face one problem after another. If you’re waiting for your problems to go away before you can be happy, you’ll be waiting your whole life.

Choose to be happy where you are, right now. There is always something for which to be grateful. Keeping a gratitude journal has show in studies to directly impact our happiness.

If you’re interested in additional journaling ideas, see my post 50 Journal Prompts. Here are just some of the benefits to keeping a gratitude journal.

  • Brings a feeling of calm
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Takes the focus off your negative problems
  • Helps you find what matters most to you
  • Learn more about yourself
  • Aids with depression
  • Makes you more mindful
  • Notice that small good things really are happening in your life

Today, I’m providing a list of gratitude journal prompts to help get you started.

Gratitude Journal Prompts
Courtesy of Unsplash

Gratitude Journal Prompts

  1. What are you grateful for financially?
  2. List things that have helped you get through hard times.
  3. What are you glad your parents taught you?
  4. Name 3 things you’re glad you learned in school.
  5. Describe a time you thought something wouldn’t work out, but did.
  6. List 3 things you love most about each of your children.
  7. Name a physical feature you love about yourself.
  8. What do you love most about your job? (If you’re at home, what do you love most about it?)
  9. If you could go back and thank someone from your past, who would it be and why?
  10. What do you love most about your spouse?
  11. Name something hard that ended up being good for you.
  12. For what talents are you most grateful?
  13. What has been your best experience this year?
  14. Describe a time you were grateful to be forgiven.
  15. List 5 things you love most about your personality.
  16. What do you think friends love most about you?
  17. Name 10 people you are grateful for.
  18. What was the best part of your day today?
  19. Write the last compliment you remember receiving.
  20. List things that make you feel comforted.
  21. Why are you grateful for your freedom?
  22. Which of the 5 senses are you most grateful to have?
  23. Describe a memory from your childhood that makes you happy.
  24. List ten things you take for granted.
  25. Why are you grateful for your family?

I hope these prompts help you realize you have reasons to be happy and content. In the comments below, I’d love to hear some of the things you are grateful for.

Goat Cheese Fondue

Goat Cheese Fondue is full of Mediterranean flavors like warm, bubbling goat cheese, fresh Rosemary, tomatoes, olive oil and Kalamata olives.

Goat Cheese Fondue

This post, Goat Cheese Fondue, contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

I love fondue! I mean, come on, who doesn’t love a big bubbling pot of melted cheese? My husband and I make fondue at home quite a bit. Honestly, it’s a great date night at home if you can’t go out. We’ve got little ones and so it’s really rare if we get a date night out. We’re taking anniversaries only. So when the kids are in bed, we’ll often create a special evening together and that is where the magic of fondue happens!

This is a great appetizer, even for a weeknight meal or an intimate dinner party. I’m surprised at how much this upscale, yet easy appetizer wows dinner guests. As soon as you pair these ingredients together, people automatically feel like it’s a fancy dish.

Making Goat Cheese Fondue

I love traditional fondue (Swiss & fontina cheese and white wine), but recently, I decided to do a different take on the Swiss classic. This recipe combines a several Mediterranean flavors. Goat cheese, also called Chèvre is combined with Kalamata olives, fresh rosemary, tomatoes and extra-virgin olive oil. The flavor is like fireworks on your tongue. Seriously, it’s delicious. And best of all, you don’t need a fondue pot!

I love serving this dish with grilled baguette! To make it, just purchase a baguette from your local grocery store. After cutting into slices, brush extra-virgin olive oil on both sides of the bread. I use a cast iron grill pan, but any grill pan will work just fine. On medium heat, toast each side for 5 minutes or until grill lines appear.

Goat Cheese Fondue

I highly recommend serving this dish while still piping hot. Once, out of oven the cheese will start to solidify again as it cools down. After experimenting with the recipe, I don’t recommend adding wine or anything else to the cheese. I found the consistency isn’t good otherwise. So keep it simple and just melt the cheese as-is.

Goat Cheese Fondue

This delicious new take on fondue fuses Mediterranean flavors like Goat Cheese, Kalamata Olives, Fresh Rosemary, Olive Oil and Sweet Tomatoes
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Appetizer
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3-4 Small Sweet Tomatoes
  • 4 Oz Goat Cheese
  • 1 Tsp Fresh Rosemary
  • 6-8 Kalamata Olives Pitted

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • In a small dish, place goat cheese and place in the over for 5-10 mins until softened. 
  • While in the oven, pit olives (if not pre-pitted) and separate rosemary from stem.
  • Once goat cheese is semi soft take out of oven and spread the cheese to fully cover the bottom of the dish. 
  • Sprinkle fresh rosemary. Add 3-4 tomatoes and add olives
  • Turn broiler on low and place cheese in oven
  • Melt under broiler for approximately 5 mins. Pay close attention to the cheese as things can burn quickly under the broiler. 
  • Once melted, remove from oven. Drizzle olive oil on the top. Best served with warm bread.
Goat Cheese Fondue

I hope you love this appetizer as much as I do. I think it will become one of your favorites! If you try it, I’d love to hear what you think of it below in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more easy recipes!

10 Things You Dont Know About Me

I’ve shared some deeply personal things on My Beautiful Mess. I’ve opened up about my bipolar illness, postpartum depression, even our journey with my son’s clubfoot. However, I thought it would be great for my readers to learn more about me. People that know me well, probably know these facts already. But for those who don’t, I’m going to share 10 things you don’t know about me.

1. I Was On TV

About a decade ago, I was working part time as an actress and model. I did some local theater and some low budget movies from local filmmakers. However, for a few years I worked as a specialty extra for NBC’s Friday Night Lights. If you squint really hard, you might see an out of focus side line reporter at one of the overnight football games – that was me. I was also an extra in NBA player Tony Parker’s music video Balance Toi. I did some commercials and some local modeling. It sounds glamorous, but it isn’t. It’s lots of standing around and repetition. It was fun though. I met some great people and made some extra cash.

Mary Lentz

2. I Was Married Before

This is harder to write about than I thought. I was married briefly in my early 20’s. I had met him in England and lived abroad for a number of years. We married on my 20th birthday (forever changing how I feel about my birthday). Looking back, I feel fairly certain he never really loved me. The relationship felt very one-sided. Ultimately, the marriage ended when he had an affair with another married woman. It was incredibly painful and it took me nearly a decade to recover from the rejection and hurt. Today, I’m married to a man so good, it feels like a fairytale. At the time, I felt like my life had ended. If only I knew the amazing man that was waiting for me ten years later.

3. I’m an Accomplished Artist

When I was living in Europe, I was a artist-in-residence. I worked as a full-time artist, curated works within the gallery and experimented in many different mediums. I had previously shown my work at galleries. In fact, at the age of 13, a figurative cubist piece I did was prominently displayed in an Indiana library. My favorite genres are cubism (both figurative and abstract), expressionism, and colorist work. I prefer working in oils or mixed media. But I’ve worked in just about every medium except for marble. These days, I sell things here on the blog and on my Etsy shop. It’s a great way to get out my artistic yearning. Your purchases help support the costs incurred with running this blog, so thank you!

4. I’ve Written For Years

Gee, where do I start? The first time I was published I was about 12 or 13. My poetry was published in a national chapbook of poetry. Over my teenage years, I wrote for lots of small media outlets and small press publications. In my twenties, I continued to write as a freelance writer and I was also the editor-in-chief of my own magazine, SWAG (Southwest Actors Guild). I started this blog when I first got married, but never really took it seriously. I can’t tell you how much I regret that decision. When I think of where I could be today if I had just kept going, I could slap myself. Take a lesson from my life – don’t wait for tomorrow.

5. I’m a Perfectionist

Hi, I’m Mary and I’m a perfectionist! It’s true. I have a deeply rooted problem with perfectionism. Perfectionism is a sign that you are out of control on this inside, so therefore you have the need to control external circumstances. However, perfectionism and control are just an illusion. The truth is, no one is ever in control. I have a bad habit of getting my self worth from accomplishments. As a second child, I always felt overshadowed by my older brother. In fact, as a child, I only remember receiving positive attention when I had accomplished something good. I became addicted to praise. I needed it in order to feel loved. The bad part is that we can start applying perfectionism to other people. I’m working on my perfectionism. I’ve not arrived, but I’m a work in progress.

6. I Love Horror

It’s true. Now, this isn’t to be confused with a love of the occult. I’m opposed to that. However, I do love a good horror movie for fun, in particular ghosts and supernatural stuff. But I also love some good zombie flicks. I know, I’m weird. But I get weirder. I also love true crime. I love to watch Investigation Discovery channel. You can keep your CSI shows! I love watching true crime shows. Everyone knows about my love for Joe Kenda! My husband affectionately calls it “Murder Porn” because most of the shows are about murder and it’s so addictive to watch. I know, it’s terrible. Don’t care.

7. I’m Obsessed With Happy Planner

I don’t care how ridiculous it sounds, but I have an obsession with Happy Planner ®. If you haven’t heard about how much I love it, you need to read the post, How Happy Planner Changed My Life. You might say I’m addicted. I’m embarrassed to say this isn’t even my whole stash. I use one to run this blog, one for fitness / wellness. I have one I use as my regular daily planner and teacher planner for my homeschooling. I don’t always have time for artwork, so being able to decorate my planners, really helps get out my desire to be artistic.

Happy Planner

8. I Once Lost 183 Pounds

Early in my 20’s I was over 300 pounds. After my first husband left me, I was determined to get the weight off. I did Weight Watchers and it took me 18 months to get from 325 to 140 lbs. I kept it off for eight years without gaining. But I started to regain weight after 2014. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve regained a lot of the weight back. In fact, I feel a lot of judgement from people because of it. I’m utterly disappointed in myself and for the last few years I have felt completely defeated by it. But since I did it once, I remind myself I can do it again.

9. I Was Born With My Hip Dislocated

As strange as that sounds, it it’s true. When I was born my hip was out of the socket. So for the first year of my life I wore a harness. My parents jokingly called it my “parachute” because that is what it looked like. It was a fabric brace that held up my leg into the socket and was leveraged by shoulder straps, hence the parachute look. It didn’t stop me from walking or crawling. I was walking by the age of one. But the really odd thing is that it is hereditary. My dad was also born with his hip dislocated! True story.

10. I Was An Insurance Professional

I worked for 15 years in the insurance industry. I held a variety of jobs within the same insurance company. However, I worked the longest as a property adjuster. Obviously, people close to me know this. But I handled large property claims like fire and water damage. It was a very demanding job. It had long hours, coupled almost impossible deadlines. Additionally, the job was naturally combative and argumentative. Hurting people lash out and hate insurance companies. The job was so stressful at one point, I had a full-on nervous breakdown. They called me the human dumpster because I would fix the awful claims that had gone sideways. I was planning to quit after giving birth. But a manager insisted I work a fire while I was pregnant, so I ended up quitting before I expected. Let me tell you, I don’t miss that job one bit.

Your Story

Someone once told me, “your life sounds so exciting, it makes mine feel boring.” I was never sure how to answer something like that. First, it’s a compliment wrapped in an insult. I don’t see my life as exciting. I’ve just decided to try passions of mine and see if it leads to something.

Let’s be clear. No one’s life is boring. Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes you are up and other days you are down and out. The truth is my life has been filled with depression, suicide attempts and hardship. Everyone’s life is a unique story and one that deserves to be told.

Never compare your life to someone else’s. We’re all on our own path, trying to do our best and figure out life. Jealousy is hatred and love at the same time. Don’t worry about people who aren’t happy with you. They likely aren’t happy with themselves either. Go out and be the person you were made to be!

In the comments below, I’d love to hear an interesting fact about your life.