Archive for March, 2011

  • Meal Plan March 27- April 2

    Date: 2011.03.27 | Category: meal plan | Response: 0

    What are we having for dinner this week?

    Sunday- fried rice

    Monday- bisquick chili bake

    Tuesday- Kristin’s cooking!

    Wednesday- ham and bean crockpot ?

    Thursday- chicken and stuffing bake (we didn’t get to this last week)

    Friday- ? (maybe dinner out with my parents and brother’s family)

    Saturday- ? (maybe dinner out with my parents and brother’s family)

    This week’s plan may change since my parents are in town and my brother’s out of town!

  • Meal Plan March 20-26

    Date: 2011.03.21 | Category: meal plan | Response: 0

    What are we having for dinner this week?

    Sunday- dinner at my brother and sister in law’s

    Monday- overnight date night!  We’re eating out- my parents are in charge of feeding the kids.

    Tuesday- meatloaf

    Wednesday- chicken and rice crockpot

    Thursday- crescent roll ham and spinach quiche

    Friday- chicken and stuffing bake? (maybe dinner out with my parents and brother’s family)

    Saturday- ? (maybe dinner out with my parents and brother’s family)

    This week’s plan may change since my parents are in town and my sister in law will probably offer to cook some meals!

  • Late night crafting

    Date: 2011.03.14 | Category: crafts, saving money | Response: 1

    Last night at about 10pm I got an idea.  A brilliant idea!  I had to execute it right away.

    Do you remember the felt rosette wreaths I made back at Valentines day?  I wanted to make a “corsage” for my coat. Just a few weeks ago I had a beautiful snowflake pin.  Then it had a run in with the diaper bag and didn’t survive.  Bummer.  Plus Spring is in the air and I thought a flower would be a nice addition to my lapel.

    And I knew I could whip out a hair clip for Kate.  Or two.  Cause that girl doesn’t have enough accessories.

    (How to distract a girl so you can take photos of her hairbow?  Bribe her with her brother’s sippy cup!)

    I thought she might need two new hair flowers.  A tiny little white one AND a sizable pink one!  Because really, why not?

    I think I had all three items made in less than half an hour.  And that included a flashlight foray into Kate’s room to grab a hairclip I could glue one onto and a rummage through my hair items for a second hair clip.  Oh, and did I mention the whole project was free?  I had all of the materials on hand.  Just about the only thing I like better than a bargain is free.  Woo hoo!

    I waited until this morning to take her pictures though.  I know better than to wake a sleeping baby just so I can photograph the new clips I just made for her.  Though I was tempted!

    Happy crafting!


  • Meal Plan March 13-19

    Date: 2011.03.13 | Category: meal plan | Response: 1

    What are we having for dinner this week?

    Sunday- leftovers from Thursday night- I ended up making chicken enchiladas rather than mexican casserole- almost the same ingredients, just rolled up!

    Monday- Chicken Pizzaiaola (new recipe for us!)

    Tuesday- Tater Tot casserole

    Wednesday- Tuna Noodle Casserole (I admit- this is one of my least favorite dishes in the whole wide world.  And guess what?  This is one of Chris’ favorite dishes in the whole wide world!  So he’s making it for dinner on Wednesday.  I may have some.  Or maybe some leftovers.  Or a sandwich.  We’ll see!)

    Thursday- Pork Chops with herbs

    Friday- My parents arrive into town AND we have small group and dinner- I’m not sure what all is going to happen!

    Saturday- Dinner out for my dad’s birthday

  • Heavenly Chicken

    Date: 2011.03.08 | Category: recipes | Response: 2

    Heavenly Chicken

    10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach
    2TBS butter or margarine
    2TBS flour
    1 cup milk
    1 cup cooked cubed ham
    1 cup bread or cracker crumbs
    1 cup grated parmesan cheese
    8 boneless skinless chicken breasts

    Cook spinach according to package directions- drain well
    In a small saucepan melt butter, stir in flour and milk.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until bubbly.  Boil and stir 1 more minute until smooth and thickened.

    Combine cracker crumbs and cheese- dip chicken breasts in crumbs to lightly coat.  Arrange in a 13×9 pyrex.  (Save remaining crumbs!)  Stir spinach and ham into white sauce and spoon over chicken.

    Bake covered at 350° for 60-75 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle with remaining crumbs and bake 10 more minutes.



  • Shepherd’s Pie (or a close representation thereof)

    Date: 2011.03.07 | Category: recipes | Response: 8

    Shepherd’s Pie

    1 pkg crescent rolls
    1 pound browned ground beef
    1 can cream of mushroom soup
    1 can kidney beans (rinse and drain)
    2 cups mixed veggies (fresh or frozen- whatever you have on hand is fine!)
    2 cups prepared mashed potatoes
    1 cup shredded cheese

    Preheat oven to 350°
    Spray casserole dish with PAM and lay crescent rolls across the bottom.
    Mix beef, soup, beans, and veggies.  I throw in some flax too.  Pour over crust and top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with cheese.

    Bake for 45 min to 1 hour until heated through.



  • Meal Plan March 6-12

    Date: 2011.03.07 | Category: meal plan | Response: 0

    What are we having for dinner this week?

    Sunday- Salmon and mashed garlic red potatoes with a green salad

    Monday- Shepherd’s pie (using leftover potatoes!)

    Tuesday- Heavenly Chicken and green beans

    Wednesday- Crock Pot Beef Stew

    Thursday- Chicken Enchilada Casserole

    Friday- Cheesy Beef Stroganoff

    Saturday- Dinner out TBD

  • How in the world do I feed dinner to my family every single day? and other thoughts

    Date: 2011.03.07 | Category: meal plan | Response: 1

    If you’re like me (or at least the old me!) every day about dinner time you go into a panic realizing that you don’t have a plan and the natives are getting restless.  Not too long ago I decided to get proactive about our meals.  While I’ve always kept a go to, quick to prepare, I always have the ingredients on hand list of favorites posted inside the cupboard, that just wasn’t cutting it anymore.  So I added a new calendar to my google calendar creatively titled… get this… dinner.

    Once every week or two I clip the coupons that magically appear in our driveway every Sunday (I was throwing these away for years!) and purge the file of expired coupons.  Then I peruse the cupboards and freezer to see what I have available or I’m tired of moving to get to something else.  Then I brainstorm our dinners for the next few weeks.  I usually add one or two new meals, rotate through 4 or 5 favorites, and add in 4 or 5 ones that we like but haven’t had for a while.  I try to keep in mind what each day’s schedule looks like.  Wednesdays are always crock pot since that’s my work day.  Mondays and Thursdays are always low prep or make ahead since I am babysitting.  Sometimes I’ll look back over the past few months to see what meals I’ve forgotten about.  Sometimes I’ll bust out the recipe box or a cookbook to see what strikes me.  I usually ask my husband for ideas, but he’s so easy to please he usually says “whatever”.  Not so helpful, but at least it doesn’t leave him much room to complain about what we’re eating- and he never does.  My husbands one request is that we always have left overs on hand for his lunch the next day.  This means I need to plan our dinners around his lunch needs.  Some meals are consumed entirely while others provide plenty of leftovers and I try to alternate these dinners throughout the week so we aren’t wasting food and so that he’s not tempted to run out to Chick-Fil-A.

    Once I’ve put my plan together I pull all of the recipes that I’ll need in the coming weeks and use my super de dooper shopping list app to add any ingredients to the running shopping list.  (I LOVE this app by the way- I use it to keep our list going when I use up an ingredient or realize we need something AND it syncs to Chris’ phone so if either of us is ever going to the store we can easily check the list and pick up any needed items!  I can also add my “buy me” price to keep track of how much I’m willing to pay for an item or as a reminder of what a good sale price is.  Plus if there is something the store is out of stock of or if I don’t like the price the item stays on the list until I remove it- no need to transfer it to the new list!  LOVE!  It’s called… wait for it… shopping lists.  You can add several different stores too- I keep a Costco list, a dollar store list, and a Target list going as well.)

    Then I’m off to the store.  I know every family is different, but I greatly prefer to shop alone.  I like to meander the aisles and my coupon file at my leisure.  I would rather go at 8:30 on a Sunday night in the rain (like I did last night!) than take the kids.  But that’s just me.  I try to always compare the unit price and I check out the clearance section of the store for great deals.  (I don’t know if all stores have this, but mine has a section in the back filled with day old bread, products with out of date packaging, leftovers from the holiday aisle, etc.)  Sometimes I’ve found great products in the clearance section for half off or more, plus I have a coupon.  Woo hoo!  I also try to read all the labels for nutrition facts- particularly watching for whole grains and ingredients that I can pronounce.

    Now it’s time to actually cook dinner.  I usually check the calendar before bed each night (or sometimes while prepping dinner) to see what meat I need to defrost for dinner the next night.  I usually cook 5 pounds or so of chicken or ground beef at a time- so most days I can just pull a pound of already cooked frozen meat out of the freezer to thaw.  If it’s time to make another big batch I like to put the meat in the crock pot during breakfast so that I can separate it into one pound bags during nap time.  Sometimes I’ll do the ground beef in the stock pot on the stove depending on time.

    During lunch or nap time is usually when I prep most of dinner.  If it’s a casserole or a meal that will sit for a few hours I try to cook and assemble as much as possible.  It’s so much easier to throw an already prepared dinner into the oven at 5 o’clock than trying to cut up raw chicken and read a recipe with kids underfoot!

    So there you have it.  This is how I feed my family.  I know that some people also meal plan breakfast and lunch, but I’m not quite there yet.  Although I have been toying with the idea of improving my breakfast rotation.  I think I’m going to start posting my meal plan for the week here regularly and add more recipes too.  Not that I’m a chef by any means.  In fact I’m the opposite- my meals are simple and tend to be hearty rather than high brow.  But so are most of my friends… 🙂


  • words I heard today

    Date: 2011.03.03 | Category: parenting | Response: 0

    ‎”Mama, I’ll poke you with this and then you can have a treat!”
    “What will my treat be?”
    “Your fingers!”
    “So let me get this straight.  You’ll poke me and then I have to eat my fingers?  No thanks!”

    “Mama- I need new pants.  My pants are all wet.”
    “Wet? How did they get wet?”
    “Drew’s booger nose.”
    Oh- you got a HUGE glob of snot on your pants. Yah, I agree. That’s gross.

    “Mama I’m hungry.”
    “Ok, let’s go eat breakfast.”
    “But I don’t want breakfast!  I want a snack!”
    “Well, it’s breakfast time.  We’re going to have breakfast.  But you can call it whatever you’d like.”
    “I don’t want to eat!  I’m not hungry.”
    “Ok.  I’m going to eat now, you’re welcome to join me when you’re hungry.”
    “I’m hungry!  I want to eat!”
    Isn’t this where we started?

    “JT, don’t give Drew any of your popcorn, he’s too little.”
    “Drew’s not little!  He’s big!  He can have it!”

    “OK JT, now it’s Drew’s turn on the swing.”
    “Drew can’t go on the swing.  He’s too little.”

    “I want to carry you mommy!  I want to carry you!”  (he wanted to be carried)


  • Blind Hope

    Date: 2011.03.02 | Category: book review | Response: 1

    Hmmmm… I’m losing faith in this blogging for books business.  Number two- also a dud.

    I recently read Blind Hope, An unwanted dog and the woman she rescued by Kim Meeder and Laurie Sacher.  The true story of a woman who adopted a dog and how she learned lessons about God and His love for her seemed promising.  And if you are willing to put up with amateurish writing, false sounding conversation, awkward transitions from first, to second, to third person, and cheesy predictability you will find some good truths.  But I don’t recommend it.

    There was one quote from the book that resonated with me- enough so that I actually posted it on facebook.  “The grass isn’t greener on the other side- it’s greener where you water it. It’s greener where contentment flows.”  I really like this twist on how many of us feel- that if only we can get there– wherever there is, we will find joy.  This reminder that we create our own joy, by pouring ourselves into what we have now was a good one.

    Now that I’ve given you the highlight of the book you don’t have to read it.

    I feel like I’m in high school and am being forced to write book reports on lame books for a grade.  Maybe this program isn’t for me.


    My only compensation for this book review was the free book from the publisher.  My opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by the publisher.

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