Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Stop Grumpy in his Tracks!

Last Sunday, I was listening to the pastor read Psalms 100, and I had a lightbulb moment.

Psalm 100:1-2 KJV
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

If I have a dark room, I don't try to push the darkness out or bat at it with a newspaper. No, I just walk over to the light switch and Woosh! The darkness disappears.

Likewise, if I want negative, whiney feelings to leave, I can't just wish that they'd leave. It won't work to just "stop" grumpiness.

Nope, pushing grumpy out doesn't work. But turning on the light does! I just have to open my mouth and make some joyful noise!

When I feel really down, it is hard to make that joyful noise. Here are some ideas; I have to start with the easiest and work my way to the hardest. I've discovered that I want to stop with the quiet things; it's hard to make that joyful noise. But if I do, Grumpy comes right back. Yuk!
I try to do most of the list to make good and sure that Mrs. Sour Grump has left town! a children's story OUTLOUD, in which the character is excited. (maybe Pooh Bear, Roo, or Tigger). As you mimic his tone/words, your spirits will start to lift.

...Thank God for two things right now.

...take a 2-5 minute walk outside and thank God for everything beautiful that you can see.

...look at the sky and say, "God loves me".

...sigh with contentment (as much as you can possibly muster) and say, "i love being a mother/homemaker/wife (whichever hat you are wearing at the moment). as big as possible.

... clap your hands 3 times

...sing, "Put a smile on your face, put a smile on your face, don't let mr. frown come around."

...skip 3 steps. Do you remember how? :) Come on, you can do it!

...sing, "if you're happy and you know it say 'amen'. (shout AMEN!)

...laugh outloud for a full minute. For no reason. Granted, it feels ridiculous. It will become real 15 seconds into it because it feels sooo ridiculous!

...and just for good measure, shout, throw your arms in the air and twirl around!

Abraham Lincoln said, "People are as happy as they make up their mind to be."

Happiness is a choice! What are you going to choose?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I was spending some time with my aunt the other day, and dealing with interruptions from my toddler and baby.

She smiled and observed, "When my children were little I had little interruptions. Now that my children are bigger, the interruptions are bigger, too.

Instead of
Mommy, feed me!

now it's
Hey, Mom, I'm in the middle of a project and discovered that I need xyz; can you drop everything and run to town for me??"


That's something to think about.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

When you are feeling grumpy

When I'm feeling out of sorts, I focus on myself:
"Nobody cares about me."
"Nothing goes right for me."
"I don't like myself when I snap at my loved ones."
"I should choose to be happy, but I don't feel like it."
"Pity poor me."

Are you getting the picture? It's all about me!

But! My study in Psalms 40 showed clearly where my focus ought to be.

Psalm 40:3-4 NLT He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD. Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD, who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols.
Psalm 40:16 NLT, But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “The LORD is great!”.

Instead of trying to stop feeling grumpy, fill your thoughts with adoration of the Savior!

The morning after I wrote this post, I stumbled on these inspiring posts.
How to be a good mom on a bad day.
Breaking the negative cycle.

What do you do when you're grumpy?


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Make your own Yogurt!

Yogurt is really easy to make, especially now that I've learned a few tricks.

2 quarts milk
1 cup dry milk, optional
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 - 1/2 cup water, optional
3/4 - 1 1/2 tablespoon plain gelatin, optional
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup yogurt

Pour the milk into a large pan. Stir in the dry milk. This makes a thicker set, but isn't totally necessary.

Sprinkle the sugar over the top of the milk. Place on the stove burner. Turn the heat to Med-Hi. Cover with a lid. Turn on a timer for 11 minutes. Do not stir! If you stir just once, you will have to continue stirring until it is finished. So don't stir. And don't worry, it won't burn to the bottom because the sugar acts as a protector.

Meanwhile, combine the water and gelatin. The 1/2 cup water and 1 1/2 tablespoon gelatin will set thicker than the smaller amounts. DH likes it somewhat runny, so I use less.

Find a container with a sealing lid to pour the yogurt into. I use a whale-of-a-pail ice cream bucket. Several canning jars would also work. Place the 1 cup of yogurt inside. I buy vanilla yogurt, but any flavor yogurt will work as a starter as long as it contains live active culture (the label will tell you).

Put 3-6 inches of hot tap water into an insulated container. (as hot as you can get out of your faucet. It doesn't have to be exact) I use my 5 gallon drink jug or my cooler chest. An insulated lunch box would also work (make sure your other container will fit inside). If you don't have any of the above, find a non insulated container and wrap towels around it. I've even used my oven as an insulator.

Run 1-2 inches of cold tap water into your sink.

After the timer goes off, take off the lid. Watch to make sure it doesn't boil over. Do not walk away! When it begins to foam (just before it boils over), remove it from the heat. This may take 3-4 more minutes, depending on how hot your burner is.

Stir in the softened gelatin. Add the vanilla. Place the pan in the sink of cold water. The object is to cool the milk as fast as possible.

When the milk is cool enough that you can easily hold your finger in it, pour a little (about a cup) into your yogurt starter. Whisk until blended. Now pour in the rest of the milk. Stir. Put the lid on and place the whole thing in your insulated container.

Leave set undisturbed for 4-5 hours. The yogurt is set when you can take out a spoonful and it leaves a dent.

Place in the fridge overnight. At this point, If desired, you can add 1 quart any-flavor pie filling, any kind of chopped fruit, 1 cup flavored jello gelatin, or applesauce, etc. We like it plain, too.

Enjoy as a stand alone dessert or over pancakes, coffee cake, fruit, or granola.

This will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Haystacks is a wonderful dish. It can be ready to serve in 20 minutes, or prepared a day ahead. I've even frozen it. Everyone can assemble their own plateful or all the ingredients can be thrown into one serving dish. Fast and easy!
I forgot to take a picture... Maybe later.

(Egg-free, wheat-free, gluten-free)

Layer the following on 2-3 plates:
A handful of Crushed tortillas chips
1 can Chili beans or refried beans, heated in microwave till warm.
1/2 lb Ground beef, fried with taco seasoning or chili powder
1/2 c. Cooked Rice
2 handfuls Shredded lettuce
1 tomato, chopped
1/2c. Salsa
1/4 c. sour cream
2c. Shredded cheese

Other toppings: olives, jalapeno peppers, onions, corn chips, cheese sauce, etc.

Feeds approximately 2-3 adults

Alternately, layer in a 8x8 (all except tomatoes, lettuce, and sour cream) and refrigerate. To eat, bake 350° 30 minutes. Add toppings and serve.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Crash and Burn!

If there's one thing I've learned from FlyLady it's this: the biggest problem is our tenancy to crash and burn.

We "build up speed and crash right through" our mountain of work. The last task is finished just as the houseguests knock on the door for the third time.

And? We are sick of housecleaning; it takes 2 weeks to recover. In plain words, we are burned-out.

Of course, two weeks later we have another huge wreck! The cycle continues.

This is what I did with my Cooking Day. I love the idea of making a whole week of meals (12 meals) in one day. And it is do-able. If only I would have stopped at 2.5 hours instead of continuing to the point of exhaustion at 3.5 hours. Maybe then I would look forward to my Cooking Day instead of dreading it (and procrastinating for weeks on end).

Yep, I definately have a "crash and burn" tendency!

FlyLady's cure:
1) Do your routine every day. This keeps the essentials from piling up.
2) Only work on Huge Project for a reasonable amount of time (Fly Lady suggests 15 minutes) and then stop until tomorrow.

Let's stop Crash -n- Burn!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wheat Free Challenge

I took a break from blogging about meal plans this week... I am taking each day at a time right now.

And I don't like it, but so it goes.

I have just discovered a wheat allergy in our family and am experimenting to see if it is only wheat or all gluten.

Thankfully, I have discovered the world of blog to help me out in this transition - I'd despair if it weren't for all the gluten-free blogs that I have run across lately.

Of course, experimenting takes time (I have to come up with all kinds if new ingredients as well as purging out the old...

And to top it off, I'm exhausted these days. I must be working my brain too hard.

If I run out of time and energy, blogging will have to take a backseat. I love to blog, and hopefully will be able to do so periodically. Time will tell.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Ps 77... Remember God's Works.

Last week I spent some enjoyable time in Psalms 77. Here are some of my notes:

One of the most powerful ways to pass on the faith to children is to tell them true stories that show God at work, not only in Bible times, but also in your lifetime. Probably, the most potent stories are the ones that they see happen. It is important for me as a mother to notice God's handiwork and then point it out as such to my young ones:

The sun rising in the morning.
The way our bodies work.
Their friend who logically "should" have died, but lived.
The cycle of life (water cycle, plant cycle, the way the planets orbit, etc)

Making a list of God's work in my life also increases my own trust in God:

The story of how my husband and I "met."
The times I've been in crashes and survived.
The way God has led me to mature forgive in personal relationships.
The circumstances He has put me in for the purpose of teaching me how to cope with that particular situation.

Truly, God works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Import Recipes From Anywhere For Free!

I am singing about this one! Import recipes from blogs or anywhere else on the web? Have them in one place? For free? Yes!!

Cozi offers this! And that's not all. You can easily drag recipes from your list, drop them into the calendar and Viola! A menu plan AND a shopping list to print or sync with your smartphone! It doesn't get easier!

The one downside is that their website is not designed to use with a smartphone. They do have an app, but it does not support the recipe function.

Therefore, I have not used this import very often. I am assuming that it works as advertised. Be sure to check it out and let me know.

For those of you who work from your Android smartphones: ChefTap is for you! They are still in beta, so the cool features haven't been released yet (soon), but it does import recipes from anywhere! I use it every day! No more bookmarking web pages!

Let me know how these cool imports work for you! You are going to try it, aren't you??

Monday, March 12, 2012

Menu Plan Mar 12

Another day of mega cooking! Four recipes x4 = 16 meals. 4 to eat this week; 12 of them in the freezer. That equals a whole week worth of food in the freezer. Yea! I love a stocked freezer!

The four meals were:
Taco Soup

Pam n Peggy's Crisis Casserole

Beef Nacho Casserole
This was really good; I love nachos, why not in a casserole? :)

1 Dish Taco Bake

A little dry; we like to eat it with leftover Taco Soup!

Prep (the evening before): 35 minutes. Hey, not bad! I set out ingredients to thaw, dishes, and other ingredients (tin cans, seasonings, flour, etc.). I even measured rice and water so it would be all ready to cook in the morning.

The big day: 1 hour, 48 minutes. I rinsed dishes as I emptied them.

Clean up: 22 minutes

Total: 16 meals in 2 hours, 45 minutes!! It actually took from 9-2 ... because of childcare and lunch. But, hey! That's the only major thing that I planned to do today, so this is great! I still have time to pick up the house and wash my hair!

This week we also had:

Broccoli Soup

Chicken Taqitos

Mexican Chicken

I overdid the cayenne pepper on the Mexican Chicken. It was edible, but very hot. I said, to no one in particular, "This is hot!" My husband looked up in surprise, "This is good!" I frowned, "you serious?" "Yeah, this is really good!"
Oh! No wonder he isn't crazy about my cooking- I don't usually spice things up this much. :) Live and learn!

I'll be linking up to Menu Plan Monday and Susie QT Pie meal planning .


Friday, March 9, 2012

How To Clean Flower Vases

Do you have a drinking straw or a small-neck vase? How do you clean them?

Quick Tip: Put dry rice and hot soapy water inside and then shake and shake and shake till it's clean!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Menu plan... and How to have a clean fridge

I found the key for loving my weekly routine ! Now I tell myself, My routine is not a to-do list, it is just my focus for the day. If something doesn't get done on Friday, no stressing out. I'll just make it a priority when next Friday comes around. Honestly, I love having a weekly routine!!

On to menu planning. Here is what we enjoyed this week....

Tex Mex Chicken
This was good! I will probably use my own rice and spagetti noodles next time just so I don't spend money on prepackaged food. Hope I can make it just as good. :)

Crockpot Salsa Chicken
I shredded the chicken, stirred in sour cream and salsa. We ate it as a dip with tortilla chips. Yum! Any hot chicken would work for this delicious dip. Go ahead and use your favorite marinade.

Cheesy Garlic Pizza

This was good! We dipped the slices in spagetti sauce to compensate for the dryness. And we all wanted the leftovers the next day.

Chicken Bundles
Best chicken spread I've ever had! Super easy, too!

Cheesy Chicken Ranch Casserole
Yum! The ranch dressing mix took it up another notch!

This week's focus... I read a cleaning tip this week: "wash out your fridge each time you go shopping, before putting items away." I thought about that. Sounds like a good idea! But my fridge is filthy. And right after I get home from shopping isn't a good time; I'm exhausted... baby's crying... it's time to eat... Something is sure to keep me from following thru on this one.

I could wash it out before I leave for town. It would take less then 5 minutes (after a really good cleaning!). But that doesn't strike me either. Maybe someday I'll adopt that habit and add it to Monday's weekly routine. But for now, I found a method I like better. Especially, considering the deplorable state of my fridge.

So, my new habit for this week is to clean part of the fridge every day. Whichever part I feel like. At least half a shelf. I'll also reorganize, in hopes of finding a better system...

BTW, can anyone tell me how to keep these pictures from getting too big??

I'll be linking up to Menu Plan Monday and Susie QT Pie meal planning .


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tough Beans

Photo credit:

I'm so excited! I was beginning to think that I was the only person who could not cook dried beans. I have tried many recipes "maybe I used the wrong spices", and all the methods I could find "maybe I read it wrong"; they always turn out tough, and dry inside. I just discovered the reason! The calcium in hard water doesn't let the beans cook through. Oh!

Well, at least it's not just me.

AND THEN I also found the cure... a heaping tablespoon of baking soda in the soaking water and in the cooking water!

The first time, I put only a pinch of soda in the bottom of my crockpot and cooked it on low for 11 hours. The bottom beans were sort of done. The top beans were not.

Second time, I put a heaping tablespoon of soda in the soaking water and stirred to distribute the soda evenly. After soaking, I drained the beans and added another heaping tablespoon for the whole crockpot of dried beans. Stirred again and then cooked it 11 hours on low and they were WAY overdone. Yea! Baking soda works!

As a side, a friend told me that she lets her beans soak 24 hours and it has eliminated any gas "after affect" problems. Worth a try!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Menu Monday... Feb 28

This had been a crazy week! Monday, I went shopping and froze 80lbs of chicken. Tuesday I had the flu. Wednesday and Thursday I sat in meetings and ran errands. Friday I stayed home for once! And Saturday I went shopping (there was a big sale on clothing). By Sunday the house was a wreck!! And we wanted to throw an imprompto party! Thankfully, an hour of help from my husband went a long, long ways!

This week I'm going to focus on taking 15 minutes to play with the children every day. I love being a mother, but they won't be small forever. I want to enjoy them while I have them!

Here's a few things I've made in the past two weeks:
Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies
Oh, yum!! An egg free cookie that won't crumble!

Hot and Sweet Drumsticks

White Chicken Chili
I used leftover Hot n Sweet for the chicken and it was good! We aren't huge chicken fans, so we liked this better than eating the whole drumsticks.

Baked Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes
These are good! My husband even said they were, so they really must be. :) I've actually used this ideas to make other pancake recipes also, when I didn't have time to flip pancakes.

Menu planning this past week was sort of a joke; we survived from the freezer! This week I actually made a plan. Here are a few meals on the menu...

M... Meatballs and potato rounds

T... Baked macaroni n cheese

W... Salsa chicken

Th... Mexican chicken

F... Tex mex chicken n rice

S... Biscuits n gravy

I'll be linking up to Menu Plan Monday and Susie QT Pie meal planning .


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chicken marinade day...

I buy my chicken in bulk, so I was thrilled to come across this wonderful post on freezer meals. From it, I gleaned the idea of adding marinade to the chicken before freezing it. Then it will marinade while thawing!

Twice as fast! And, for me, twice as easy! I have to repackage my chicken anyway when I buy it, so why not add a few more ingredients to the ziplock bag, and be another big step ahead??

I put the ziplock bags in old containers, for ease of filling. Can you tell that we eat lots of cottage cheese? And that I'm a pack rat who can't throw anything away? :)

Put the marinade in first, then added the chicken. Mushed it around a bit and it's ready to freeze!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My New Weekly Routine

I have been working my brain for the last 6 weeks trying to make a perfect weekly schedule. This is the first true trial week. I'm not sure if I like it or not; I'm more stressed out then before.

But I think my problem is trying to deal with the future instead of just this week. "How am I ever going to get everything done when it's gardening season? When I start homeschooling?" Panic!

Or maybe I feel like I must finish EVERYTHING on my schedule each day, whereas previously I shrugged and said, "I've done my best; tomorrow's another day."
image credit

Whatever the case, I have GOT to relax in order to keep a shred of sanity!

I'm going to stick with it another 2 weeks, tho, and see how it goes. I think, deep down in, that I really do like my plan. I just need to realize that I'm not super woman and stop cramming too much into one day!!

Here's my schedule:
Everyday Wash dishes. Unload/load dishwasher. Laundry (at least one load).

Monday Cleaning Day. I usually have a lot of Laundry, too. Basically, I pick up clutter, Sweep n vacuum the dirty areas (entry and kitchen/dining room), and Swish n swipe the bathroom.

Tuesday Errand and Desk Day. You know, pay bills and go to town. This isn't new; I started doing this years ago.

Wednesday Mini Clean n Prep Day. Split purpose today: pick up clutter, swish n swipe the spare bathroom, do all I can to prepare for a big day tomorrow.

Thursday Cooking Day. I try to cook 12-20 meals to eat/freeze. Sometimes, when I get ahead, I'll use this day to make breakfasts or to bake instead.

Friday Cleaning Day. Pick up, swish n swipe bathroom, sweep n vacuum each room, wash bedsheets and other extra laundry.

Saturday Catch up Day. I lay out our clothes for tomorrow and then I use this day to do whatever I didn't get done all week. Or if I go away on Wednesday, I can shift all my days and still manage. I also want to work on sewing projects, which desperately need done. Baking, cheese making, etc.

Sunday is church and no housework! But even this day is seldom long enough; maybe child care takes more time than I thought. :)

For the rest of the week, I'm going to attempt to calm my spirit by
(1). getting a nap shutting my eyes for 15 minutes every day and
(2). Remind myself daily that "My schedule is not a to-do list that I must accomplish; it merely tells me where to set my focus for the day."
(3). Whenever I start to feel panicky, I'm going to stop what I'm doing, set the timer for 2 minutes and enjoy my family.

image credit

What do you do to remain calm in spite of your mountain of work?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday Feb 13

I have been focusing on one thing each week, which I would like to become a habit. Most of these are not new, but I'm not doing them regularly. So far I've focused on:

1. Singing while I work. Occasionally, I actually catch myself doing this without thinking!

2. Washing dishes every day. I'm doing better at this!! I still miss a day here and there, but there had been improvement!

3. Talking to God thru out my day. Better, but lots of room for improvement here.

4. And, my most recent: putting out my hotspot for 2 minutes every day. According to the Flylady, a hotspot is a place were you pile clutter. And, since clutter attracts more clutter, before long it gets out of hand!

photo credit

My hotspot is the island in my kitchen: certainly a collection point for anything and everything at our house!

My husband likes to sit down here, so he definately prefers to see a clear counter top. And I feel so much better when I have room to work. No clutter sounds like a good idea for all of us!

My progress so far? Fair: it isn't stacked to the ceiling, but it's not totally cleared off either.

A few meals from last week:
Pancake Sausage Poppers

Homemade Crunchwrap Supreme

Pizza Snack Cups

Day Before Mashed Potatoes

I've been working on a schedule for freezing meals each week and eating out of the freezer at the same time. Thursday I planned an all day long cooking spree.

First, I refried some cooked beans... That was an adventure! I probably will make my own refried beans again, but definately not on my Cooking Day. It took nearly an hour to make 3 cans worth!

Then, I quadrupled 5 recipes and prepped then. One of each recipe went to the fridge, and the other 15 found themselves in the freezer.

3.5 hours to make 20 meals! In reality, it was 7.5 hours from start to finish, since I made refried beans, we ate dinner, and I did lots of other things that mothers have to do. But I used a stopwatch and kept writing down how long I worked on the meals.

Quite frankly, I was exhausted till I finished. I immediately started to think of things I could do to make it easier... Maybe next time I won't plan to overdo it... Yeah, right. Planning to do too much is the one thing I'm really good at!

However, I'm certainly going to enjoy a week without cooking meals, even though I'll still be baking desserts and making cottage cheese.

My menu plan for this week is somewhat unplanned. There are some unknown meals in the freezer that need to be used up. I threw away lost the paper I'd written on, so who knows what kind of icky things we might be eating. :)

The few meals that I plan to make fresh are Cheesy Pizza and Cajun Delight.

I'll be linking up to Menu Plan Monday.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

An Expensive Grocery Shop

I just got home from a quick run to the grocery store for “just a few things to tide us over.” Whatever. My total was $129! It is time to review the receipt and figure out what I am spending so much money on!

photo credit

The definite #1 problem: Dry cereal. Groan. And cereal is so processed that it can’t even be healthy. Double groan. Oh well, at least the solution isn’t that difficult; there are many delicious and (fairly) easy breakfast dishes. Of course, I can’t use eggs or oatmeal because Bunny is allergic to both, so that does limit me. But there are still options! Pancakes, breakfast cakes, breakfast burritos (I go heavy on potatoes or rice, since I can’t use eggs).

The runner up “problem” is right on #1’s heels…Shredded cheese. I use shredded cheese in almost every lunch and supper. I think it’s time to learn how to make my own cheese! It is dumb that I have never learned this, because all I need to do is go visit my grandmother, who lives within 5 miles of my house, and watch her go through the motions! My cousin did exactly that and she tells me that making this kind of cheese is super easy.

Problem #3 is breakfast related again. We eat pancakes with cottage cheese. Lots of cottage cheese. Has anyone noticed the price of cottage cheese?? The books that I have read say, “Cottage cheese is the easiest cheese to make.” Really? I have tried to make my own cottage cheese in the past, to no avail. Maybe after I visit my grandmother I’ll be able to get a handle on this cheese, too. Here’s hoping!

Problem #4…Yogurt. Actually, I don’t usually buy yogurt; it is SO easy to make! I’ve just been lazy these past few weeks. I bought one pint of vanilla yogurt today, which I'll use for a culture, so I’ll be “fixing” this problem soon.

And #5 is laziness again. Or ignorance. Pie crusts can’t be THAT hard to make, can they? And yet, I have succeeded time and time again at failing in this area. Actually, my pie crusts are edible; they just aren’t “scoopable” because they fall apart. So what? It is cheaper to make crumbly pie crusts than buy “perfect” ones! Perfectionism, please move to the back seat!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Menu plan Feb 6

Another week, another chance to see how much God has blessed us.

I saw this picture of a church billboard on Laine's blog this week; it's enough to make you think!

Mini Goal for this past week... I wanted to focus on talking to God thru out each day. I am less frustrated when I remember that He is in ultimate control of my life. Prayer also reminds me to be thankful; I know I am happier when counting my blessings instead of griping.

Truly, I am blessed! I'm living every woman's dream: God loves me, I have a good husband who provides, and two delightful children. I'm healthy, except for this very contiguous cold. And we have enough money that I can take advantage of those wonderful meat sales! What more could I ask for??

Here are a few of our meals from last week:

Tater Tot Tacos
I added salsa. This one quickly became a favorite!

Busy day soup

Mexican Shepherd's Pie
This one is worth bragging about. Just a little dry, but we fixed that by smothering it in sour cream. Yummy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
These are my new favorites! They are good as muffins or bars (9x13). I've left the chocolate chips out at times, and they are still delicious! I'm thrilled to say that this recipe works well with my oil/water egg substitute! Need any more incentive? They even freeze well! You don't have to try them, of course, but it's your loss if you don't. :-)

Here is our menu for this week. There are only two carry overs from last week; I think I'm getting better at remembering to look at the calendar before I plan. :-z

Several of our meals will come from the freezer this week. And on Thursday I plan to mega-cook: I will make 3 meals and times each recipe by four. 3 to eat; 9 to freeze! I love a stocked freezer!

I'll be linking up to Menu Plan Monday.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

5 Dinners in 1 Hour

Have you ever visited the Living, Laughing, and Loving blog? It's one blog I definately enjoy!

I love the way Renee does her 5dinners1hour ! At first I thought, "No way; it can't be done that fast. I cook for hours almost every day." I kept reading; every week she times herself and takes a picture of what she has accomplished. I decided, "Ok, it can be done... if you cook the kind of meals she does. What about my kind of meals?" (as a side note, I have found many wonderful recipes on her blog!)

The only way to find out is to time myself, I guess... Monday, I tried it for the first successful time. I have a terrible time remembering to set the timer. Plus, I rarely can go very long without an interruption from some person or other.

But! I made 6 meals (3 recipes doubled) in 1 hour, 11 minutes! I didn't even make an ingredient list and had to run downstairs to my pantry stock several times to get something I'd forgotten. Pretty good time, if I do say so myself.

Wednesday morning, I made 3 meals (I tripled one recipe),

chopped and froze some onions,

and browned 10 lbs of ground beef. That was enough meat to last us more than 20 meals!

And it took me only 2 1/2 hours! I feel rather proud of myself. :-)

Have a great day and do yourself the favor of stopping by Renee's 5dinners1hour !


Monday, January 30, 2012

Menu Plan Jan 30

My update from last week's goal: I washed the dishes 3 days out of 6... What can I say? I have lots of excuses, but that is all - just excuses.

Mini Goal for this week... None. Actually, I do have one, but you'll have to wait till next week to hear about it. I know I'm simple, but I can't keep two things in my head at one time. So I'll chose my goal today and then I'll have all week to write about it.

We enjoyed some new recipes last week:

Sticky Monkey Brains

Spicy Whiskey BBQ Sliders
These are wonderful! I did omit the whiskey.

Taco Dip
Absolutely worth trying!

We didn't get to several of our meals last week because we had a few leftovers that I hadn't planned on, a friend brought us a meal, we went to an open house one evening (free food!), and then I forgot that we were going to be at my parents one day. Hence, a few repeations from last week...

Oh no! I just went to look in the freezer; I thought we had 2 pack of chicken, but there isn't any left! I guess the I'll have to redo my menu...

Here's the updated version:

I'll be linking up to Menu Plan Monday.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Trying to stay healthy

This spring I mentioned to a friend that our family had struggled with chest colds all winter. She sympathized and replied, "Yeah, my mom said that we were sick more frequently whenever we lived in a house with forced air heat."

Her comment interested me; I wondered if there was anything I could do to improve the air quality in our home without changing the furnace??

Later I heard that the local schoolteacher had put a humidifier in her classroom. She said, "Ever since, the children are not getting the flu or colds as frequently. And, when they do get sick, they recover faster."

Wonderful idea! I went out and bought a humidifier. I can definately say it made a difference the first part of the winter; we didn't have colds!

However, once it became cold enough that the furnace ran almost constantly, I could tell the humidifier was not keeping up. Soon we caught the flu and the chest cold in the same week. I started toying with the idea of buying another humidifier.

We run it in Bunny's room overnight, because his room is the most dry. One night my husband laid down in Bunny's bed for an hour. He said, "Wow, I could breath a lot easier there than in our bedroom!" I asked if it really made that much difference. He replied, "Oh yes! My mouth didn't dry out nearly as fast."

So we bought a second humidifier. And yes, the air is much easier to inhale now. I am looking forward to healthier days!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Menu Plan...Washing dishes.

My focus last week was on singing while I worked around the house. I didn't sing as much as I could or should have, but choosing to focus on that one goal helped.

Last month I stumbled upon, a really neat "program" to organizing your housework. The primary part being a daily routine. I was all ready to join Flylady until I discovered that she sends 10 emails a day. That's too many for me, so I decided to just go thru her Babysteps and also to look at her Flight Plan every weekday, where I try to follow the zones and Kelly's mission for the day.

This month I am still recuperating from Kitten's birth, so I trimmed my daily routine down to the absolute essentials. Therefore, instead of choosing to shine my sink, the first Flylady baby step, I'm going to modify that step to something that must be done. It is also something that my darling husband likes me to keep on to of. But I must confess, this is one thing I procrastinate doing...sometimes until there are no clean dishes left to eat off of. (Horrible, I know!) So, here goes:

My mini focus for the week... I want to wash the dishes EVERY day. Before supper. Evenings at our house are limited on time, so anything that can be done in the afternoon is a benefit. Wish me the best of luck and motivation!

On to my mega goal: Menu Planning...

Here are two meals we enjoyed last week:

These are good with or without the dip. Definately a keeper!

Crockpot Chicken Broccoli and Cheese

And here's the plan for this week:

I'm linked up to Menu Plan Monday.
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