Sunday, January 31, 2010

Menu Plan for the Week 1-31-10

Our menu went a much better last week! This week is starting off well. We have Z's birthday on Monday, so he picked the menu. He is my adventurer, willing to try foods he hasn't eaten before. I love that about him, but K and I aren't sure where he gets it from because we were both SUPER picky eaters as kids. Wish me luck making Salmon. K and I are not fish eaters, so Salmon is new to my kitchen.

I think this is going to be a great week! The sun has been out for a couple of days so everyone is in a great mood! I am looking forward to my upcoming long weekend, so hopefully this week will move quickly.

Here is what we have planned for this week:

Breakfasts: Cereal, Oatmeal, Waffles , Pancakes, French toast, Fruit

Ham or PB & J Sandwiches, Leftovers, Fruit or Veggies, String Cheese, Hard Boiled Eggs, Granola Bars, Fruit Leather


Sunday- Spaghetti, Italian Sausage, Buttered Bread, Salad

Monday- Birthday Dinner for Z~ Lemon Basil Salmon, Broccoli, Rice Pilaf

Tuesday- Tri Tip, Baked Potatoes, Salad

Wednesday- Tacos, Refried Beans, Spanish Rice

Thursday- Poor Man's Meal, Salad

Friday- Homemade Pizza, Salad

Saturday- PW's Chicken Pot Pie, Salad

Find more menu planning inspiration at Organizing Junkie.

Until next time,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Improvise- Eat from the Pantry Challege Reflection

This week I had my menu all planned and I had already seen the inside of Costco and Winco. Then it happened. I did not have a key ingredient to make my scheduled lasagna. I was a little ticked at myself for not checking to make sure I had the Ricotta, but life happens. So did I march my little hiney over to Target to get it? I mean it's literally just down the street. I am proud to say I did not! I used what I had instead and modified my menu to keep me OUT. OF. THE. STORE. I decided to make Baked Ziti instead. I am so glad I did! I got the two thumbs up in between mouthfuls, which always makes me smile.

The moral of this story is that we have an abundance of food in this house for which I am eternally grateful. During this "Pantry Challenge" I have learned a lot about how I shop. I have always been a list maker, but I do mess up sometimes and forget something I need. During this challenge I learned to make do or do without. This new thinking has spilled over from the pantry into all areas of my household. I am not running to the store every time I run out of something. Instead I am using up other versions of my favorites. I am using up all the other lotions I have rather than running to go get more of my favorite scent. My whole mindset is changing for the better!

Right now we are working to stretch every dollar we have during our family's time of uncertainty. I am hopeful that these new "habits" don't go away when our finances change, but instead become part of how we function as a family. I am grateful for the abundance in our lives, but I do not for one minute ever want to take it for granted. Reminding myself to make do or do without is the new mantra continually running through my mind.

Until next time,

This post is linked to Gratituesday over at Heavenly Homemakers.

This post is also linked to Money Saving Mom for the Pantry Challenge.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Menu Plan for the Week 1-24-10

Our menu went haywire last week, but we still ate from home for every meal. YEAH! I am hoping we stay on track a little better this week, but you just never know. I will be doing my monthly menu this week for February and I am really hoping to continue my pantry challenge. I think I have plenty of meat, pasta, and side makings to keep us going for a few more weeks. I know we will need milk, other dairy, and produce, but I am confident I can keep us well fed without many trips to Costco or Winco!

By the way PW's Marlboro Man Sandwich (from Saturday's plan) was AWESOME! When I pick new cookbooks I usually have a flop or two from the recipes I try, but so far the PW recipes have been wonderful. I can't wait to try some more!

Here is what we have planned for this week:

Breakfasts: Cereal, Oatmeal, Waffles , Pancakes, French toast, Fruit

Ham or PB & J Sandwiches, Leftovers, Fruit or Veggies, String Cheese, Hard Boiled Eggs, Granola Bars, Fruit Leather


Sunday- Roasted Chicken, FRESH Garden Broccoli, FRESH Green Leaf Salad (a surprise find in our garden today, some weeds were shading it so it could grow! I didn't think I had any left out there.)

Monday- PW's Lasagna, Buttered Bread, Salad

Tuesday- Pork Country Ribs, Country Potatoes, Salad

Wednesday- Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Salad

Thursday- Chicken Quesedilla, Spanish Rice, Beans

Friday- Homemade Pizza, Salad

Saturday- Hamburgers, Fries, Salad

Find more menu planning inspiration at Organizing Junkie.

Until next time,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Mam

Tonight I am writing about a woman who has been a constant in my life, my mam. My grandma has been battling a horrible lung disease for many years, but two weeks ago she had to be taken to the hospital. It has been decided that she can come home with the help of a hospice nurse. I am so torn right now because I am selfish and I want her to be around to see her great grandbabies grow up to be men, but on the other hand I know she has put up a good fight and is so very tired. I am hoping for the peace that both my grandparents seek fills their hearts and maybe mine too.

I have such memories of this woman who is such a protector and nurturer. Her greatest joy is her family. She is stubborn, creative, sassy, and full of love. One of my favorite memories is seeing her standing on my doorstep to see her brand new (14 hours old) great grandson. She does not live close to me, but mam and pap decided after church they had to see this baby even if they had to drive 4 hours. She was so excited to hold her grandbaby's baby. Hearing her gush over something in my life was not unusual, but that was one of the most precious times between us.

K took me to see her this weekend. Her face lit up as we entered the room. I was happy and relieved to see her and talk to her. We didn't take the boys in the first visit, but we did "sneak" them to see her before we left to head back home. She had such joy in her face. I know I am biased about my boys, but she really seemed to glow when they piled in her way too small room.

So as I write this, tears fill my eyes and memories dance around in my mind. I am so very grateful for my mam. I have no control over how much longer she is with us; I will accept a will greater than my own to make that decision. I do not know what is best, but I have known her love my whole life and for that I will always be eternally grateful.

This post is linked to Gratituesday over at Heavenly Homemakers.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Menu Plan for the Week 1-17-10

We have had a crazy first week back to school! My grandmother has been hospitalized for about 12 days, but she gets to go home soon with a hospice nurse. Our menu went great until Saturday because we took a day trip to go visit my grandma and grandpa. It was a needed trip, I am so grateful to have had the ability to go and see her! Hopefully this week will be calmer and I will be able to have some peace and rest.

My pantry challenge is going okay, but we did have to go to Costco to restock the boys lunch snacks, milk, potatoes, and eggs. I am hoping we will be able to stretch our challenge into February; I need to use up some of that pasta! I think we have enough meat to get us through for quite a while. We totally scored at Costco; they had $5 off their chicken breasts packets. It was a great deal so I grabbed two packages!

Here is what we have planned for this week:

Breakfasts: Cereal, Oatmeal, Waffles , Pancakes, French toast, Fruit

Ham or PB & J Sandwiches, Leftovers, Fruit or Veggies, String Cheese, Hard Boiled Eggs, Granola Bars, Fruit Leather


Sunday- Crispy Ranch Chicken, Steamed Rice, Garden FRESH Broccoli, Lemon Sauce

Monday- PW's Enchiladas, Refried Beans, Spanish Rice

Tuesday- Breakfast for Dinner~ French Toast, Bacon, Hash Browns

Wednesday- Toasted Cheese and Chicken Noodle Soup

Thursday- Beef Tri-Tip, Broccoli, Rice Pilaf

Friday- Homemade Pizza, Salad

Saturday- PW's Marlboro Man Sandwich, Mashed Potatoes, Salad

Find more menu planning inspiration at Organizing Junkie.

Until next time,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Menu Plan for the Week 1-10-10

We are back to school this week. I am a little bummed, I love being at home with my monkeys. Anyway we have a lot to do when we get back to school, so the rest of the school year will fly by! We are still going strong on our "Pantry Challenge"! Now that I will be back to work I will have less time for random trips to the store with K, so we should be able to do even better with our goals! I hope everyone has a great week and stays warm!

Here is what we have planned for this week:

Breakfasts: Cereal, Oatmeal, Waffles , Pancakes, French toast, Fruit

Ham or PB & J Sandwiches, Leftovers, Fruit or Veggies, String Cheese, Hard Boiled Eggs, Granola Bars, Fruit Leather


Sunday- Spaghetti, Italian Sausage, Salad, Buttered Bread

Monday- Tacos, Refried Beans, Spanish Rice

Tuesday- Beef Tri-Tip, Broccoli, Rice Pilaf

Wednesday- Pulled Pork, Baked Potatoes, Salad

Thursday- Hamburgers, Fries, Salad

Friday- Homemade Pizza, Salad

Saturday- PW's Enchiladas, Refried Beans, Spanish Rice

Find more menu planning inspiration at Organizing Junkie.

Until next time,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cooking for my Boys Rocks!

I got my new Pioneer Woman's cookbook out yesterday and made her chicken pot pie recipe. Well, not exactly all of her directions, but for the most part. Let me just say YUMMY! We loved the pie crust and the filling. The whole thing was just how pot pie should be~ warm, comforting, and full of love! Here's the finished product!



I think feeding my family some yumminess when it is way to cold for California weather is definitely a finer thing!

Head on over to Amy's for Finer Things Friday to see what great things are happening around blogland for everyone else!

Until next time,

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sticking to my Guns

It seems I've already changed my mind with my menu this week! We had yucky, gloomy, blah weather all day, so cooking something warm and comforting seemed more appropriate than fish and tri-tip. K had picked up some spinach and cheese ravioli a couple of weeks ago, so I put it to use today.

Now to the "sticking to my guns" part...we did not have any french bread in the freezer and I did not have time to get some made from scratch before we needed to eat. Did I run down to the store? Nope! I decided I would use what we had instead. I buttered and toasted some regular sandwich bread and it worked just fine! No one complained or even mentioned that we did not have french bread. I am very hopeful that the rest of this month will be great and hopefully we will be able to stretch it into next month too!

Our unplanned, but no extra cost dinner!

I hope everyone is making do or doing without in style during this challenge! I am having a ball challenging myself to stick to my goals.

Until next time,

I am linking this to Frugal Friday over at Life as Mom.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pantry Inventory

I usually have a good idea about what we have in the pantry and freezer, so it wasn't really hard for me to make my list (it just took a loonngg time). I hate to have things out of order; I'm just a little goofy that way! My oldest called me a "neat freak" the other day and I couldn't argue.

We have a lot of good things to use, so I may be able to extend the challenge for myself until part of February. We'll see how the shelves look in a few weeks!

This is what we have on hand right now:

  • Cereal (The containers are mostly full, but I'm not sure we'll have enough to get through the month. If we run out we'll just have to decide whether or not to buy more at that time.)
  • Oatmeal Packets (about 30)
  • Oats ~ 4lbs
  • Wheat Flour ~ 3lbs
  • Unbleached Flour ~ 25lbs
  • Organic Sugar ~ 20lbs
  • Pasta – 10 different kinds (Do ya think someone buys her pasta a Costco?!? I think I need to start using some of this for lunches too!)
  • ½ jar Dehydrated Scalloped Potatoes
  • 1 Canister Quick Oats
  • 1 Container Rice Flour ( for play dough)
  • 1 jar powdered sugar
  • 1 jar cornmeal
  • ½ jar peanut butter chips
  • 1 jar chocolate chips
  • ¾ jar cinnamon chips
  • 1 jar each chocolate and vanilla melties
  • ¼ jar coconut flakes
  • ¾ jar demerara
  • 1 jar Basmati Rice (+15lbs in a pail)
  • ½ jar orzo pasta
  • 1 basket tea bags
  • 1 ½ canisters Nesquik
  • 3 ½ bottles syrup
  • 2 jars grape jam
  • 1 jar apple jelly
  • 2 ½ jars peanut butter
  • 1 dill pickle relish
  • 2 mayoniase
  • 1 ketchup
  • 2 mustard
  • 1 ¼ bottle organic olive oil
  • 6 cans Albacore tuna
  • 3 cans chicken breast
  • 8 cans organic tomato paste
  • 8 cans organic diced tomatoes
  • 19 cans organic tomato sauce
  • 17 cans chicken soup
  • 17 cans other soups
  • 13 cans refried beans
  • 3 cans olives – whole
  • 3 cans olives – chopped
  • 6 snack size pineapple chunks
  • 1 can organic pumpkin puree
  • 5 cans evaporated milk
  • 4 cans condensed milk
  • 2 bottles taco sauce (I use it for enchiladas)
  • 2 bottles BBQ sauce (Z usually makes it from scratch)
  • 1 bottle balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 container mixed nuts
  • 4 juice pouches
  • 1 overflowing basket of red potatoes
  • 1 basket Russett potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 yellow onions
  • 3 bulbs garlic
  • 8 Frappuccinos
  • 19 packs microwave popcorn (leftover from classroom treat)
  • 16 simply fruit rolls (I will have to get more for school this month)
  • 6 granola bars
  • 20 chewy bars
  • ½ bag Doritos
  • ½ bag Kettle Potato Chips
  • 1 box saltines
  • 1 package marshmellows
  • 3 jars marshmellow cream
  • 1 container candy corn (probably going in the freezer?)
  • 4 boxes vanilla pudding
  • 5 boxes Jello
  • Hot chocolate packs
  • ½ jar honey (about 2 ½ lbs)
  • and I topped off all my spices, so we should be good to go for a while!

Wow! Did you make it all the way to the bottom? Goodness that is a lot of stuff!! Well, I think I will spare you the freezer today and stop here!

Until next time,

Menu Plan for the Week 1-3-10

We are well on our way to a great start for 2010! This is our last week of winter break, so I am hopeful we can get a lot of decluttering done before we are back to our normal routine. Eating from the pantry is going well; we haven't had to buy anything for our menu yet! I am hoping to only have to go to Costco to get milk and Farmer's Market to get produce over the next few weeks. I have meal prepping on my "To Do" list for the week. I'm hoping a little work now will save a lot of time when school is back in session. I'll be posting how we're doing over the month.

Here is what we have planned for this week:

Breakfasts: Cereal, Oatmeal, Waffles , Pancakes, French toast, Frittata

Ham or PB & J Sandwiches, Leftovers, Fruit or Veggies, String Cheese, Hard Boiled Eggs, Granola Bars, Fruit Leather


Sunday- Sloppy Joes, Corn, Salad

Monday- Talapia & Beef Tri-Tip, Red Potatoes, Rice Pilaf

Tuesday- Roasted Chicken, Broccoli, Seasoned Potatoes, Drop Biscuits

Wednesday- PW's Chicken Pot Pie, Salad

Thursday- Poor Man's Meal

Friday- Homemade Pizza, Salad

Saturday- Breakfast for Dinner~ Pancakes, Hashbrowns, Eggs, Bacon

Find more menu planning inspiration at Organizing Junkie.

Until next time,

Friday, January 1, 2010

Goals for 2010

Happy New Year! I am so excited for 2010, I know this will be an amazing year for my family! I was trying to sit down to figure out what I thought were the most important goals for our family and myself, but I was struggling until I checked my email. I used a list from Tsh over at Simple Mom to help me get some much needed structure for my goals for 2010. She has a free downloadable list of questions to help you ring in the New Year with a plan!

This is what I came up with for myself and my family. K and I still need to fine tune it, but I think it is a solid start!

Personal growth goals:

  1. Trust my ability and don't downplay my successes. I struggle with looking at the growth or improvement that is happening in my life. I don't want to come off as arrogant, but I do need to remember to celebrate my own successes.
  2. Get my portfolio together and try to get a new teaching position in the school district in my town. This makes me nervous because I am comfortable where I am, but the commute is too much anymore. I need to just get over my insecurity and go for it!
  3. Continue reading as much about nutrition, frugality, and parenting as I can. I love reading anything that will help me to make my family thrive even more!

Physical Health Goals:

  1. Use the park and my neighborhood to become more active. Try to ride my bike 3 or more times per week. I love riding and I need to make time to go for a ride.
  2. Encourage the boys to go with me as often as possible. Play outside with them at home or at the park.
  3. Continue to cook everything I can from scratch. Making sure I am using whole foods to guide my cooking choices.
  4. Use our garden for nourishment and as a form of exercise. Having my hands in the dirt always makes me feel good! K and I need to sit down and plan out exactly what we want to grow this year and how much of everything. I can't wait!
  5. Hopefully by this time next year we will all be leaner and have more energy with the changes we have been working on already.

Marriage and Family Life Goals:

  1. Continue to take time to sit and talk with each other. Communication in 2009 was so much better than ever before, I can't wait to see how we do in 2010!
  2. Have a date night once a month once K starts his new job.
  3. Try to get K to be in the room when I am reading books at night to the little boys. We all love it when Dad is in the room with us too.
  4. Plan another trip to Legoland, but include the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park this year. L and N are so into animals I think they would love it!
  5. Plan a couple of hiking trips in the mountains near us this spring, summer, and fall.
  6. Clear out the garage with a yard sale in the spring. Until then continue decluttering all of the rooms in the house.
  7. Get better bookshelves for the boys' rooms and repaint the rooms.
  8. Help Z to organize his space in a way that works for him. Remove one desk and replace it with a bookshelf.

Goals for my Children:

  1. I want them to continue to thrive in the classroom. Make sure they are understanding all of the concepts taught and prep them for state testing.
  2. More physical activity at home. Walks to the park, bike rides, scooter rides, playing tag.
  3. Get them a high quality microscope for use after their explorations.
  4. Continue to have them try new foods and expand their palates.
  5. Continue to work on problem solving without adult interference.
  6. Teach them how to do more tasks around the house. (Many hands make light work.)

Financial Goals:

  1. Set a firm budget and stick to it. Once we know K's new salary it will be much easier to set specific goals.
  2. Pay cash for everything. Have an emergency fund fully in place.
  3. Continue to bargain shop for anything we need. Stock up when we find a good deal.
  4. Look for ways to make extra money, but not take too much away from family time. Sell things we don't use or need. This helps make money and clear clutter, I love it! Maybe start I can start an Etsy shop and K continue working on his internet development company.
  5. Pay down debt as much as possible this year. Focus on credit cards and cars.
  6. Continue investing.

Well there you have it! My goals for 2010 are not too farfetched, so I think we will be able to tackle a lot of them as a family pretty easily.

For more New Year's goals visit Life as Mom. I'm linking up with the Happy Housewife too for Goals 2010 Link-up.

Until next time,