Monday, September 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Little late on this today, but here is my Menu for the week.
*Breakfast: The girls had hot brown rice farina with raspberries, I had a smoothie with banana, strawberry, kale, kefir, coconut flour, a little bit of juice and soy milk for blending.
*Lunch: AB & J sandwiches (Amelias made with her "crazy" bread :) ), grapes, chips.I had the lone piece of homemade pizza with banana peppers leftover from having the teens over last night -- I don't know why the teens didn't want the banana peppers. :) I made 4 pieces of it, I ate one, Isabella ate one, someone else must have mistakenly grabbed one and we had one left.

*Dinner: Turkey and Rice Casserole -- made from yesterdays lunch leftovers. Kind of like THIS recipe, except modified for things I don't have or don't want. But turkey, rice and cheese, how bad can it be?

*Breakfast: Breakfast Casserole -- Made with potatoes (I will julienne these like hash browns), eggs, sausage, cheese. I'm not a pork person, but I thought the teens would like sausage on their pizza, I was wrong, no one wanted it, so I have cooked sausage to use up. (I will be making this ahead of time, setting my alarm to get up and throw it in, falling back asleep for 40 minutes and then getting up with my hubby. He gets up and leaves really early so we don't usually eat breakfast together -- neither of us are morning people Who knows, he might enjoy it so much that he starts getting up everyday for breakfast. :)
*Lunch: Mac & Cheese with peas
*Dinner: Mushroom ravioli (I froze these a couple weeks back - made with spelt flour and cremini mushroom/bread crumbs for the filling) with some kind of cream sauce and a salad.

*Breakfast: Griddle Cakes and fruit. (Girls loved these last week and we had leftover "hot cereal" from today)
*Lunch: One of the leftovers
*Dinner: Open faced turkey sandwiches (A favorite of Isabellas!) and veggies

*Breakfast: Isabella has reg. gymnastics class at 9:15 -- probably the same quick breakfast as last week, Isabella normally asks for this: "Fire Ants on a Log" (Banana, with almond butter and dried cranberries)
*Lunch: AB & Js, grapes or applesauce
*Dinner: Meatless Lentil Chili. Kind of like THIS recipe, except I won't be using the meat and will add beans

*Breakfast: Egg in a Basket (or Egg in a Hole, like on THIS site) But too much butter, I won't be doing that. Made this a couple weeks ago and the girls really liked it - they normally just like scrambled, maybe it was just because Mommy had it and they didn't, but we'll see.
*Lunch: Let the girls make their own pizza. I have leftover homemade pizza dough in the freezer, so not much preparation with this. And they love doing that --- hmmm, don't think I posted those pictures, they'll be coming.
*Dinner: Probably bean/cheese quesadillas. Kenny's supposed to be home late because of parking lot duty at church again. If I don't drop another bottle of vinegar on the floor, have my child rip through my bread, or..... then I won't pray for the game to be cancelled this week. :)

*Breakfast: Whatever my honey wants me to make this morning.
*Lunch: I'm thinking simple, probably grilled cheese sandwiches. For me, I want to try THIS recipe, or one similar to it that I found in Southern living, but don't know if the rest of the family will like it.
*Dinner: Possibly out with the teens, if not leftover chili

*Breakfast: A repeat of last Sunday, whatever Daddy gets the girls to eat, Sunday mornings have been rushed. My hubby is so sweet to me and does pretty much everything except fot the girls hair for me on Sunday mornings.
*Lunch: I'm still thinking about this one. I wanted to say Lasagna, but then that's not easy to cook while we're at church. Anyone got any great healthy crock pot type of recipes? Roast, turkey breast, whole chicken have been the easiest thing so far because most of the meal is cooked when we get home from church.
*Dinner: Leftovers or something else quick.

*Snacks: Just made some melba toast today (seeing that I really didn't want Amelia to have to have funky sandwiches all week. Ha!) We still have a couple yogurt popsicles; fruit; cheese; etc. My girls actually aren't big on snacks. Every now and then they ask after their nap, so maybe 1 a day, if that. By the way, I did try those cookies I mentioned last week. They were yummy! I even messed them up because I didn't have the right ingredient. I mashed up the bananas and wet ingredients, and then realized what I thought were rolled oats were steel cut oats and I didn't have any rolled oats. So, I used them anyway. They were chewier that way, but I still liked them, Kenny liked them, Amelia liked them, but my finicky texture eater Isabella said "They're really good mommy, but I'm just going to put mine here and I'll eat it later." How sweet of her to pretend she liked them for mommy's sake, but I know if that child puts down a cookie she doesn't like it. I now have rolled oats so I can make them the right way and see how I like them.

And that's it. If you want to see anymore menus go to Organizing Junkie. It definitely helps me to write it down and to post it on here so I know I have to get it done. And this week I don't think I need to make a grocery trip, so that's nice as well. I only have 2 small items that I need and my hubby can grab them on the way home from work.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Well, somebody enjoyed my bread

Shortly after I posted pictures of my day of bread baking. The above is what I found. The bread was still on the counter cooling (obviously it must have been cool enough) and it was helplessly attacked. Now before anyone is grossed out thinking we have mice (we don't), or really big cockroaches (I hope and pray not), or even that our cats have jumped on the counters and dug into my bread (they didn't, although the fat one has been known to grab onto a bag of bread while we are gone for a couple days, thinking surely we are not coming home and he is going to starve to death) --- No, this bread was ruined, I mean eaten, by a raccoon..... MY little Raccoon. Yeah, this one:
And just to keep it real, I will admit I couldn't post about this until today. Friday was one of those days, really one of those days, and I called my husband in tears over all the little frustrations like this one that had gone on that day. And to make it worse, he was supposed to do parking lot duty at our church for the HS football game, so I was expecting him to be home late. Well, praise the Lord for rain, very few fans came out to the game and my husband was able to come home and help me regain my sanity. And thankfully, I have this adorable picture to post of her, since I didn't take the time to take a picture of her standing in the corner. Isabella has informed me that she didn't want this part of the bread, so I guess for the next week, Amelia gets some crazy shaped sandwiches. But then again, she's my raccoon, and will eat anything!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Baking Day

Today, on our journey of trying to be healthier and more frugile I have been baking our bread. I really enjoy doing this, and there is nothing like the smell of baking bread coming from the kitchen and then a slice of fresh hot bread when its done -- yum! I had planned on doing this earlier in the week, but I wasn't feeling so good, then Wednesday night I forgot to soak my grains so I ended up doing it today instead. Not a big problem, just had to replace grilled cheese sandwiches on my meal plan -- no great loss there. Anyway, here's a picture of my bread, thought it looked rather pretty this time, or maybe it was just that I made 4 loaves instead of 2 so it looks all pretty sitting together. Now if I can just find room for 3 loaves in the freezer.... And if you are looking at the above picture and wondering why that 1 loaf is considerably smaller looking than the others (although they are all different sizes since I have 3 different bread pans, all different sizes, go figure) this is the reason -- or I should say, SHE is the reason:

She wanted to bake her own little tiny loaf in a tiny little loaf pan I had. I figured since most of the bread goes for sandwiches for them, we could handle having one a little bit smaller. She was quite pleased and actually asked me to take a picture of her with her "little tiny bread". We each got 2 slices of that bread with a little bit of honey drizzled on it after it was done baking. And she was sure to save the rest of the "loaf" for Daddy. I love that she enjoys doing these things with mommy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Pet **** Added a new link

Yesterday, we woke up to a Frigid 60 degrees (no that wasn't a misprint) - way too cold for Isabella to go outside, or so I was told. But she HAD to go outside to see her new pet so this is what she decided to wear:
Ignore the fact that the coat is a size 18-24 months, the gloves are mine, what matters is that she has shoes on to keep her feet warm. :) She is a true southern girl with her flip flops on. :) And this is her new pet:Her name is Dara. I'm not sure where Isabella got the name, spelled out it looks a little like Dora, maybe this was for her sister. But considering she named her fish Rexy-Keeko and has a stuffed penguin named Carlotta, there's really no telling. She's already agreed to name the baby boy that God is going to give us. Uh-oh. Saturday, we went for a bike ride at the park and stopped at Wal Mart on the way home. I was in the garden area looking at the herb plants and noticed these caterpillars on the parsley. The worker kindly told us we could have one (unconcerned that they were eating the plants) and Isabella was SO excited. She has spent so much time just sitting and watching this thing. Currently, she/he is starting to pupate. I'm thinking we will have a Chrysalis by morning. And since I am no insect expert, praise God for the internet. We've learned all kinds of things about this particular caterpillar and the butterfly she will turn into. What a fun science lesson. In case you were wondering, its a black swallowtail, she has bright orange "horns" that come out of her head when she is disturbed and emits some stinky odor (saw them, didn't smell it thankfully.) Isabella said that was a mean thing to do, so we got to talk about how it tries to protect itself.... she still says its mean. :) It stays a caterpillar for about 2 weeks, attaches itself to a tree (fake tree in this case) and spins its cocoon (didn't know that all caterpillars don't do this, some use leaves around them first and then spin the cocoon around that), then after around 2 weeks it becomes a pretty butterfly!! I'll post more pictures of it because I'm sure we will be taking them and making up some little scrapbook for Isabella.

Oh and just because she asked me to, here's a picture of Amelia with her best friend, Teddy. She obviously can withstand the freezing cold weather, much better.
**Here's a site at least for my friend Becky -- her kids will enjoy this. Once you get to the site under the title of the page, click on "Click here to see morphing of caterpillar to butterfly" Yikes!!! Isabella might have nightmares about that if she sees it. :) Seems to have some other good information for the kids to see. I haven't looked at every page though, so I'm not endorsing it and I'm not responsible if your kids have nightmares about molting their skin or about enzymes that will digest their innards and turn them into soup (yeah, it says that.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My recent Canning/Preserving

Thought I would update with what else I have canned or frozen the past month. You already saw the applesauce, then Kenny went and got more apples off of my parents tree before they went bad and I peeled, sliced, and put them in freezer bags and in the freezer. These will be good for a couple apple pies, apple crisps, etc around the holidays.
Then my mom and I picked up some tomatoes at the Farmer's market, not an abundance probably 10-12 pounds. We bought 1 bag I would say about 5-7 pounds of canning tomatoes for $4 and then 5 pounds at $.75/pound. I wanted to just try these first to see how I did with tomatoes before we bought alot. I made spaghetti sauce. Thing I learned about tomatoes: In my opinion if you are canning spaghetti sauce or salsa, unless you grow your own tomatoes, it really is barely worth it. Not very frugile at least. I saved a little money per jar of organic spaghetti sauce, but all together, I got 6 jars of spaghetti sauce, the pint jars, not the quart jars. Yes, cheaper than the organic kind I would buy at Whole Foods or Earth Fare, but not ALOT cheaper, not for all the time you spend peeling (even with the hot then ice water way of peeling), cutting, seeding, cooking, then canning. Granted, I enjoyed doing these and I'm sure I will enjoy the sauce, but since I am trying to figure up the health AND financial benefits, it doesn't work out as well on the financial aspect.

Solution: I will be planting at least container tomato plants next year (we really have a horrible yard for a garden, hardly any sun at all in the back)

My mom and I blanched then froze some green beans that we also grabbed at the Farmers Market. I like just steamed green beans, my kids-not so much, but I thought these would also be good to have around for soups this fall/winter. Plus, they make a pretty picture. :) Green Beans were cheaper at the Farmers Market than at the store and definitely cheaper than buying frozen green beans to use in soups, so that was good.

Then I grabbed a half bushel of peaches, froze several bags, and we peeled up several and made some preserves and then I wanted just to try and do a few jars canned as well. I don't normally eat canned fruit that isn't in preserves or sauce, but I was curious about trying it. You know, see if and how I do it. :) I only did 4 quarts of the peaches and added very little honey to the sauce. The preserves are a little tart, because the kind of peaches I used and because I wanted to make them as low sugar as possible. I used some white grape juice and about 1/4 cup rapadura for the sweetener. We ate some tonight on toast with dinner and they are yummy! All of us really like them. These I did save money on. I love frozen peaches for smoothies and tend to buy bags of those. My girls like AB & J sandwiches and to buy something made with a natural sweetener is about $3 for a small jar. Very happy about these!
Altogether, I'm enjoying learning and doing this. Isabella likes hearing the jars "pop" and we are all enjoying or will be enjoying these throughout the fall and winter.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Menu for this week

Ok, so a new (to me) thing I'm joining in on is Menu Plan Monday. I have started realizing how much I really need to write out my menu for the week. It definitely helps on the grocery shopping, going once rather than running every time I need an ingredient. Granted, I only live 5 minutes from the store, but gas is gas and even 15 minute trip to the store ends up being at least 45 with getting 2 little ones in and out of the car, convinced they really don't have a toy aisle in the grocery store, and that no they are NOT getting that candy. It also helps me with variety and trying new recipes. Its great if I already have things in the freezer, but there are only so many days that my family is going to want baked chicken, cous cous and veggies -- or my every creative changing it up -- lets do baked FISH,..... So here it goes, I am posting links to a couple recipes as well. The crunchy chicken nuggets my girls LOVE and they love to make them. I think the recipe says something about making sure if kids help to wash their hands after handling raw chicken -- yeah them handling raw chicken is not happening around here, the fingers will be in the mouth before I get to the sink. What I do is marinate in the yogurt like it says, crunch up and mix the dry ingredients, then fill 2 ziploc baggies with the dry mix put in a few pieces of the chicken and have them shake like crazy. Then I get the nuggets out and put them in the dish and we repeat that. They love it and shake the snot out of those bags. So here it goes:

Breakfast: When they get up, the girls get to pick today (guaranteed Amelia will say cereal bar, but we have none)
Lunch: AB & J sandwiches, grapes, cheese if they're still hungry
Dinner: Leftover Chicken & Parmesan Dumpling soup YUM! I used Kale instead of Chard and it was good. Couldn't find swiss chard and probably would have chosen Kale anyway. I would choose a whole grain flour instead of just a regular if you are wanting to be healthier - it works fine too. And I used chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken because that's what I got on sale. (Oh and less parsley unless you LOVE the flavor of parsley, I used half)

Breakfast: French Toast & Fruit Syrup. I have a recipe that uses yogurt instead of the milk and egg for dipping, might try that. I like using frozen fruit, put it on the stove, pour a little bit of syrup over it (LITTLE BIT) and heat it up, we use less syrup that way because the juice/water in the fruit gives it enough liquid base -- and GOOD maple syrup is pricey. If you use more sugary syrup this would also be good because you wouldn't be eating as much sugary syrup, I know my kids never need that extra "energy" burst.
Lunch: Grab something at Earth Fare because Isabella has extra gymnastics class today at 10:45, I can also do my grocery shopping and save an extra trip.
Dinner: Shepherds Pie made from Sundays leftovers

Breakfast: Griddle Cakes (Found this recipe on back of brown rice farina cereal, first try this week)
Lunch: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (unless the girls convince me of AB & J again)
Dinner: Chicken Caesar wraps (Weds. have to be quick meals before Youth Group, anyone have any other great suggestions?? Really quick eating, hubby gets home at 6:15, leave at 6:45)

Breakfast: Isabella has reg. gymnastics class at 9:15 -- quick breakfast (or snack) that my girls love: We call it "Fire Ants on a Log" (I think Isabella saw a variation of this with a pretzel stick and raisins, hence the log, but we do bananas and red ants instead) Take a banana, cut in half lengthwise, spread with almond butter and put some dried cranberries on it.
Lunch: Corn flake chicken nuggets (See my above note on how I have the girls help)
Dinner: Baked Tilapia, cous cous, veggies (oops an old faithful snuck in)

Breakfast: Brown Rice Farina Cereal (Hot cereal to Isabella) with fruit and flax
Lunch: Black Bean and Cheese Quesadillas
Dinner: ?? Need another quick suggestion, Daddy might not be home because we have parking lot duty for high school game -- never mind the explanation, just another busy night. :)

Breakfast: A girly kind of breakfast, Daddy has breakfast with guys at church so we're going to make smoothies and muffins together and either have a little picnic or tea party (something to distract them from Daddy not being there on a Sat. morning)
Lunch: ??? Depends on what the day holds
Dinner: Probably cookout or do something easy like Baked Chicken Taquitos or Quesadillas

Breakfast: Whatever Daddy gets the girls to eat, Sunday mornings have been rushed for mommy lately. :)
Lunch (Isn't this actually the dinner time on Sundays in the South): Whatever type of whole chicken, turkey breast, or roast that I can find on sale, brown rice, and veggies
Dinner: Youth Group coming over after church: Homemade pizza, either make a few big ones or have the teens make them.

A couple snack ideas for the week: If we don't use the rest of the homemade bread in the first couple days of the week, I will make it into Melba toast and it will be eaten before I get a bite. Also, a favorite treat of my girls is popsicles made with vanilla yogurt (or plain if thats what you have/like) and fruit (blended up fruit is a little better I think) We also will be trying THESE "cookies": I'll let you know if they're good.
And there it is, I've just realized how busy this week is going to be. Slightly sad, my hubby will not be here, Monday night for dinner, Friday night, and Saturday morning -- its not normally like that, it just seems like this week was the week everything was planned for him. If you want more menu plans and recipes visit here: Organizing Junkie.

(By the way click on the green words to be taken to the recipe links)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Baby

While we were at the beach, we celebrated Amelia's "Gotcha Day." It was actually the Friday before, but she's 2 so dates don't really matter to her and it is so much more fun to celebrate at the beach than at home, right? :) I can't believe that it has already been 2 years since Amelia's adoption was finalized. It seems like just yesterday. (Look back to September 2006 posts for pictures) It still amazes me that God chose us to be parents to this fiesty yet shy, dramatic yet easily embarassed, stubborn yet sweet, beautiful, precious little girl. She has balanced out our house with one mama's girl (that's her) and one Daddy's girl. She is the complete opposite of her sister, which just makes us enjoy and glory in the way He has created them. (Well except for the potty training thing, Isabella was easy, Amelia is not -- I can't enjoy that. :) ) We got her a little Dora play camera -- she is some kind of Dora fanatic (and we don't watch it very often either so I don't know where it came from.) She was pretty excited about her camera. Here she is taking a "picture" of mommy taking a picture of her. Funny, the picture of me ended up looking like Dora. :) Thank you God for this precious blessing, for your timing, for your ways, for the beautiful way you created her!!! I pray that you use us to train her in the way YOU want and that she grows up to love you more than anything!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sand, Sun, Beach, RELAX....

Last Friday we headed down to the beach. We had been trying to go for several weeks but due first to Fay and then to Hanna we had to reschedule. I was afraid it was going to be mid November and we would finally get down there and freeze our tails off camping. :) We had a great time. As soon as we got there, the girls were asking to go to the beach. The last few weeks we've been so busy and had alot on our minds, but as soon as I sat down on the beach and watched my girls play it was like I instantly relaxed. I have several pictures to share, alot of Amelia because that first afternoon she cracked me up, she was singing and dancing on the beach -- eyes closed deep emotional singing, doing some new yoga ballet, and just enjoying everything. Isabella played for a couple minutes and then came running up to us and said "Oh Thank you mommy and daddy, thank you for bringing us to the beach." That was worth it -- she did the same thing when we took her to Tweetsie Railroad a few weeks before. Thankfully, she is still seeing this all as fun and a treat. I'm posting the pictures small so I can post alot -- I just had to post several of the pictures of Amelia because its such a cute sequence of photos.

These last 2, you probably can't really see, but one her mouth is wide open singing and then the other is where she has her eyes closed -- oh I wish I could have videotaped all of this. :) Then Saturday we were able to spend most of the day with friends. Kelly and her 3 kids came up to see us. We had alot of fun. We went and painted t-shirts at the nature center, did the marsh walk, and then spent the evening on the beach. I told her that I think Kenny enjoys doing "boy" stuff with her sons -- those of you who know Kenny well are probably in shock that kids think of my husband as one of them instead of as the responsible, mature adult that he is. I know, shocking! :) Isabella and Amelia loved having Logan to play with. She helped Isabella fix her hair once and I thought, yeah, I need her, a little older girl around the house to help me. :) They pretended they were either princesses or mermaids the whole day. I enjoyed visiting with Kelly -- I should mention that my first year of marriage, I "taught" (I'm not sure you could actually call it that) English and Kelly was a student in my class and also one of the youth in our youth group. Yeah, I know, I feel old, she has kids older than mine. She now forgives me for all the horrible grammar and it has been nice connecting on a friend level. Here are some pictures of the kids together that day:

Even with the typical big brother bunny ears, I thought this was such a pretty picture of Logan. And since they are so small, you probably can't even see that.

We ended our summer with a great time!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bathroom humor -- sorry

Isabella just hollered out to me from the bathroom, "MOMMY, I went bad poo poo." So I'm wondering, is there anything such as GOOD poo poo? :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A good laugh

I forgot to tell this story, but I was reminded of it again today and I realized I HAD to share it. When we were up at my inlaws in June, they had a youth group from another church doing their service on Sunday. They did a couple dramas and songs. One of the things they did was a poem called Rag Man, they did a great job and this was very moving. Along with this they sang an old song. I think it was like an old timey Sunday School song, "Oh the best thing in my life, I ever did do...... was to take off the old robe and put on the new." Well last month when Kenny was in Seattle, she asked me "What was that song we sang at Grandma and Grandpas?" Then she would sing the right tune, but would say "Jesus in my life" and that was it, no other words, just that first little part of the tune with the wrong words. When I couldn't come up with the song, I had NO idea what she was even talking about, she was SO frustrated. My mom was in the car with me and trying to help figure out what song this could be. Finally we just gave up. Later that night, it finally came to me, but I kind of confused Isabella because I sang it as "take off the old man and put on the new" then realized it was "old robe" and tried to switch the words on her. She was SOOO excited that we had figured it out and just had to call Noni and sing it for her. This is what she sang:

"Oh the best thing in my life, I ever did do,
Oh the best thing in my life, I ever did do,
Oh the best thing in my life I ever did do,
was to take off.... the clothes.... and give them to the old man." :)

It came up again today as she was wanting to sing it again, she did better today and said "to take off the old robe and put on the NEWS"

Oh, how I love all her silliness, it just makes my day!!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Isabella is just so smart....

.... or so she has told us. In the last couple days she has informed us that she knows what sap is, what arepas are, and she learned this knowledge all on her own because she "is just smart." Tucker had sap on him and Kenny asked her if she knew what sap was, she did and explained it perfectly, he asked her who told her that and she said "No one, I'm just really smart." Today Amelia and I were reading a book that talked about cooking arepas in it (Isabella was on the floor coloring) and she said "I know what those are, they're pancakes, well kind of, but a little like biscuits." Ok, so that one floored me a little bit. And again who taught her this? "No one, I'm just smart." I really don't think she's thinking that she's lying, she just remembers this and assumes that she really is smart this way. :) I'm sure we've talked about sap to her and unless she remembers hearing about arepas in the womb, I'm assuming Dora. Not to worry, if you think my child is too prideful, she admits her shortcomings as well, she was telling someone the other day (after having to ask her name a second time) "sorry, I can't remember names good." :)

Thursday, September 04, 2008


(Look at the determined look Isabella has in the above photo)

This year my parents apple tree had lots of apples. Its never had any before, or if it did they were tiny little ones not worth doing anything with. The tree came with the house so we don't even know for sure what kind of apples they are. Monday we all went out and picked some apples. The girls had so much fun picking the apples, climbing the ladder, watching daddy climb really high to get some apples and watch as the high apples fell when daddy shook the branches. Isabella was in love with the tiny little apple she has in her hands, she thinks anything tiny is "so cute" -- wish you could hear the little voice she says that in. Then Tuesday night my mom came up and we made and canned some applesauce. We had fun, and I think we've decided we're going to can everything in sight. Ok, not really, but we do want to hit the farmers market and get some things before the season is gone. That night we used what I think we figured out to be about a half bushel and made up 11 pints of chunky applesauce (I don't like it really runny, so we didn't add much water to cook the apples in.) The first half has no sugar in it at all (other than obviously the natural sugar of the apples) and some cinammon and a dash of nutmeg. The second batch had around 1/8 cup rapadura sweetener and the same spices. Yum! My girls ate the stuff we didn't can yesterday and then wanted more, now that means I'm actually going to have to open and use these pretty jars. :)
Isabella started a question yesterday with, "So when the customers come....." Glad she has given Noni and I a vote of confidence. :)