Monday, August 31, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - 4th Week! 8/31/09

Well, last week, I planned the menus and we switched around a lot! I managed to try one new pressure cooker recipe too. This week will be a busy week since we are going camping for the holiday weekend. Check on to see more Menu Plan Monday followers.

(See below for what last week was and what we actually did for supper).

Monday: New Recipe - Baked Chicken Chimichangas - Taste of Home Cookbook. Page 174 (Didn't get to make these last week. Making fresh salsa this afternoon so we'll give it a try!)

Tuesday: Spaghetti with italian meatballs and french bread. (Didn't get to make this last week)

Wednesday: Flank Steak Fajitas - Gotta use that salsa! :-)

Thursday: Cracker Crust Chicken with red potatoes in gravy and peas - I just use crushed saltines (with some seasoned salt) to coat chicken cubes that have been dipped in egg and then fry them. (Didn't make this last week)

Friday: Camping - Eat out on the way there

Saturday: Camp out - Fish Fry! (Hopefully!) - Potoato salad (make @ home) Chips, Dip and Campfire baked potatoes.

Sunday: Camp out - Burgers and Dogs grilled - Campfire corn on the cob, chips Dip

Monday (Labor Day): Back Home Something easy. (Raviolis & Spaghettios and lake leftovers.) I went ahead and planned this day too since we will just be getting home.

HOW WE DID LAST WEEK of 8/17/09:
Monday: Pepper Steak - Got busy this night so we ate Spaghettios and Raviolis.
Tuesday: BLT's - These didn't sound good, so I made the new pressure cooker recipe for Monster Meatballs. Family liked the meatballs and the potatoes but not the gravy. Said next time put marinara sauce on the meatballs. Maybe smaller and on french bread for a sandwich.
Wednesday: Monster Meatballs. - Made this Tuesday instead. Tonight I made Pepper steak that we were supposed to have on Monday.
Thursday: Cracker Crust Chicken with red potatoes in gravy and peas - Busy out shopping, so I used a gift card to a fast food restaurant I had.
Friday: Baked Chicken Chimichangas - Another busy night so we did Leftovers and raviolis.
Saturday: Spaghetti with italian meatballs and french bread. - Suprise! we went camping! SO we grilled burgers and hot dogs and had chips and dip with them
Sunday: Tacos with cheese dip and tortilla chips. - On our way home from camping we stopped to eat at Pizza Hut.

We only ate two things off of the menu this week and I switched around days on them. LOL! THIS, is a typical week for us. He he! So, I planned another week. We'll see how it goes. Either way, I'm still ahead cause it's just now midday and I KNOW what's for dinner! YAY!

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday (3rd week! On a roll!)- 08/24/09

A new routine?!? I am really loving planning the menus for our week. I couldn't ever do it before! For some reason what I found on clicks for me and is working!!!

My second week was great. I did switch around alot last week with the days of the week, but for the most part it worked really well. It was awesome knowing what was for supper! (See below for what last week was and what we actually did for supper).

So, here is this week's version for 8/24/09:

Monday: Eating dinner at school function.

Tuesday: BLT's - Our tomatoes have finally begun to turn red. We must take advantage of them for Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches! We will have Kraft mac n cheese or chips with them. Plus cucumbers maybe some squash cooked with some pesto a friend made.

Wednesday: New Pressure Cooker Recipe - Monster Meatballs with "Baked" Potatoes. From Miss Vickie's Pressure Cooker Book Page 174.

Thursday: Cracker Crust Chicken with red potatoes in gravy and peas - I just use crushed saltines (with some seasoned salt) to coat chicken cubes that have been dipped in egg and then fry them.

Friday: New Recipe - Baked Chicken Chimichangas - Tast of Home Cookbook. Page 174 (What's up with that? Page 174 again! LOL!)

Saturday: Spaghetti with italian meatballs and french bread.

Sunday: Tacos with cheese dip and tortilla chips. I make the taco meat with ground beef and Tone's taco seasoning from Sam's. The cheese dip is On The Border dip also from Sam's.

HOW WE DID LAST WEEK of 8/17/09:
Monday: Fajitas made with flank steak - Made them, ate them!
Tuesday: Sweet n sour chicken - I'm taking this off the menu for a while. It just isn't sounding good to us! So, we ate the Chicken Pot Pie I had planned for Thursday. (Made the gravy on my own though instead of from a packet this time).
Wednesday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn and rolls. - My sister in law came over with two roasted chickens and all the fixins ... So no cooking for me! Yay! Plus we had a chicken left over. I froze it to use on Sunday when she comes over again.
Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie - We ate this on Tuesday. Instead we had Chicken Enchiladas I had planned for Saturday night.
Friday: Manwich on buns, homemade Velveeta mac n cheese, cucumber salad and green beans. - Had some time today so I made Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn and rolls that we were supposed to have Wednesday. I also tried a new yeast roll recipe I found on
Saturday: Chicken Enchiladas - Ate the Manwich on buns, homemade Velveeta mac n cheese, cucumber salad that we had planned for Friday night.
Sunday: Grilled house burgers with home cut french fries and breaded squash. - We used the other chicken my Sister-in-law brought over on Wedensday and made some homemade chicken noodles and mashed potatoes. Had friends over and they brought a wonderful angelfood cake dessert with coolwhip, pudding, pineapple and strawberry frosting. Yummo!

So even though I jumbled it all around, we stuck pretty much to the plans only bumping off things to make way for what my sister-in-law brought over. She can do that anytime! It's fine by me! LOL!

Here's to another week of menu plans! Yay!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One year ago vs. Today

My oldest DD went back to school as a first grader today. It was much easier to walk her in this year. No tears from me. (Unlike last year I bawled like a baby as I drove away from the school!) My husband and younger daughter also went with us. (See photo to the left).
It was sweet to watch the Moms of the new little kindergartners be in the same place I was just one short year ago.
It's amazing how much the kids grow in one year. Last year they were all so small. Another Mom commented on how much bigger the class size looked this year. When I counted kids, the number was exactly the same as last year, just the kids are bigger! LOL!
My daughter loves school and couldn't wait to go back. She got in line and I had turned to chat with another parent and hardly noticed that her line was leaving for class! I had to call her name to get her attention to wave goodbye. It was funny. I am sooooo glad she isn't the clingy, crying type, but she was ready to go without so much as a wave bye! (I'm a Mom, I need a little bitty-eentsy-teensy bit of separation anxiety from her to feel appreciated! At least an extra hug or something! LOL!!!)

After school we checked out her class room. Nice, neat, clean and super organized!

The main thing I noticed about 1st grade vs. kindergarten was the lack of toys in the class room. For kindergarten, there were plenty of "centers" for play during free time. They rotated amongst learning game, and building blocks and a play area called housekeeping.

No toys in first grade. Lots of cool, cute, bright graphics on the walls all geared towards learning. There was a schedule written on the board and so many things on the walls to learn about. I'm pretty sure DD didn't notice the lack of toys. She loves school and learning. Today they counted and graphed M&Ms. Then, they got to eat them! Much better than toys and they were learning math at the same time! LOL!

This year they sit at little desks with cubbies in them to keep their stuff. Last year, they sat at tables with all the other kids. It was so cute to see her in her little desk with her pencil sharpened ready for the next day's work. (All the desks had a sharpened pencil on them!)

I sure hope some of this teacher's organizational strengths rub off on me this year. Lord knows I could really use it!

So, DD is now a first grader and still loves school. That hasn't changed!

Go, grow and learn, baby!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Menu Plan Monday (second week!)- 08/17/09

Last week I started planning menus (finally!) because of an idea I found on

Last week it worked really well. (See below for what last week was and what we actually did for supper).

So, here is this week's version:

Monday: Fajitas made with flank steak - I pre-slice the meat into 1/4 pieces almost all the way through before I marinate and grill it. Once it's cooked, I finish slicing it on a cutting board before we make the fajitas buffet style. (I just use McCormick's fajita spice packet but I mix it with a little water and use it as a marinade and then grill it outside. Make sure to get it down inside the cut meat grooves to marinate). I plan to make some fresh salsa from our garden. We have the meat, salsa, lettuce, sour cream and cheese on fresh tortillas. YUM!

Tuesday: Sweet n sour chicken - Had planned to make this last week (see last week for recipe). The ingerdients are easy to always keep on hand since they are pantry items.

Wednesday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn and rolls. One of my husband's favorite meals.

Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie - Got this recipe from a good friend and it is super easy and DH loves it too. 2 chicken breasts (cubed), seasoned add chopped onion to tasted and cooked til chicken is done and browned in oil. Drain. While chicken is cooking make 1 package of country style gravy to package directions. Thaw out 2 cups of frozen mixed veggies (corn, peas, carrots, green beans, lima beans). Mix together chicken, gravy and veggies and heat up. Pour over fresh baked biscuits.

Friday: Manwich on buns, homemade Velveeta mac n cheese, cucumber salad and green beans.

Saturday: Chicken Enchiladas. Cube a couple of chicken breasts and cook in oil til brown, drain on paper towels. Shred with forks and return to pan. Add taco seasoning to taste. (I use Tone's taco seasoning from Sams and follow package directions for 1lb of hamburger). Put meat on tortilla add some shredded cheddar cheese and 1 spoonful of Old ElPaso enchilada sauce. Roll up and place open side down in glass baking dish. Repeat til all chicken is used and dish is full. Pour over remaining sauce and top with more shredded cheese. Bake according to instructions on can of enchilada sauce. Serve with Vigo Mexican Rice. (In an orange package with the authentic Mexican food).

Sunday: Grilled house burgers with home cut french fries and breaded squash. DH's burger recipe of ground beef, sausage, green peppers and onions. Breading for squash is made with flour and Paul Prudhomme's Magic Salmon seasoning. Dip squash in egg then in flour mix and deep fry.

HOW WE DID LAST WEEK of 8/10/09:
Monday: Hamburger Rice - Cooked it, ate it.
Tuesday: Homemade Veggie Pizza - Cooked it, ate it.
Wednesday: Sweet n sour chicken - We had company over this night, so we made the Sirloin Steak dinner we had planned for Sunday night.
Thursday: Ham and Turkey Sub sandwiches with provolone cheese and chips. - It was a very busy evening and we were not home, so we ate out. (Whoops!)
Friday: We will be traveling this evening so we will stop to eat out. - We did this according to plan.
Saturday: Fish Fry - YES! My DH did catch fish for us to eat! Soooo yummy! (We even brought some home to freeze for later!
Sunday: Sirloin Steaks grilled outside, fried potatoes, Velveeta mac n cheese and corn. - We had this on Wednesday (see above) but we got home from the lake late enough that we just ended up having grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.

Not too bad for our first week!

Monday, August 10, 2009

My First - Menu Plan Monday - 08/10/09

Keeping with the theme of trying new things ... I found this great idea on!

Hopefully planning a menu for the week will help us use what we have on hand and help me save $$ shopping. I've always wanted to do this, but got stumped along the way. On Laura's weekly post, you will find links to others that participate in Menu Plan Monday. I'm thinking it is a great place to get ideas from real ladies that also have the quest to put good food on the table for their family.

Here goes:

Hamburger Rice - Chili seasoned hamburger with stewed tomatoes, rice and Velveeta cheese over Doritoes. YUM!

Homemade Veggie Pizza - This is to use up veggies from the garden. We grow it, it goes on the pizza! I use refrigerated pizza crust with Ragu spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese of course!

Sweet n sour chicken - Haven't had this for a while. It is easy to keep the ingredients on hand. Frozen chicken breasts coated in a cornstarch soy sauce mix and stir fried. Add in Kraft sweet and sour sauce and 1 can of pineapple chunks drained. (Save the juice and let the kids sip it for a sweet treat!) We eat this over jasmine rice (or minute rice if we are in a hurry) cooked in chicken bullion.

Ham and Turkey Sub sandwiches with provolone cheese and chips. - A busy evening so something easy it is!

We will be traveling this evening so we will stop to eat out.

Fish Fry - Hopefully! Keep your fingers crossed the fish are biting on Saturday morning!

Sirloin Steaks grilled outside, fried potatoes, Velveeta mac n cheese and corn.

For this week's menu, I only need to buy milk! (If only it was this easy every week!) LOL!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Unorganized Camping - Still Fun!

This past weekend, we went with some of our best friends to a nice lake a couple hours' drive from where we live. We planned it at the beginning of the week and found ourselves cramming to get ready on Thursday and Friday. Cramming always means packing/buying more than what you need to do in a last-minute effort not to forget anything ... Then what happens? You forget something really necessary!

So, the night before our trip my girlfriend and I made our lists and went shopping, were out really late but got lots done. Who knew that camping for the first time as adults with children would be so much work to get ready for??? (All of our families camped when we were younger, we just hadn't been as adults with our own little ones).

Friday, I found myself running around purchasing last minute things we HAD to have and ended up tossing things into boxes thinking, 'I can sort that out later once we get to the lake, but at least I will have it'. We ended up leaving 2 hours later than we anticipated and had to stop to eat as a group so we finally pulled into our reserved campsite at 10:05pm. Then we had to pitch tents and make a homestead in the dark from all of our stuff we had tossed into the van to 'sort out LATER'! ACK!

Of course I purchased, but forgot to put on my list a very important item ... the coffee percolator! That set the tone for the next few hours for me and I was in a really bad mood towards myself and I managed to make everyone else in my family grumpy in the process. Once I let that go (and apologized profusely), we had a really good time!

We ended up having everything we really needed except the coffee maker and salt and pepper.

Got some great ideas of what we brought that was really not needed ... board games, extra shoes (we took like three pairs each!) Got some good ideas of how to pare stuff down. We don't need to take as many snacks and food for just a weekend! I brought a whole gallon of milk! We almost don't drink that in a whole week. Not sure why I was thinking we would use all that with an endless supply of juice-boxes and kool-aid, the kids would drink so much milk! LOL!

I also brought 500 paper plates, napkins and forks. Guess I thought we should supply the north side of the lake!

Once I got my boxes of supplies in order, I noticed that I could tell someone where to find something instead of ME digging through stuff endlessly. That helped a lot because the first night and morning we were there, it felt as if that was all I was doing.

So, overall, I think the trip was a great success! We came home with all the kids and only minor scrapes and one fire-ant bite. We slept under the stars and a beautiful, bright moon. We saw a shooting star Friday night. It was a tad windy, but kept the heat bearable and we didn't have to use bug repellent at all!

I loved cooking outside on the campfire and being "unplugged" for a while.

I caught myself wondering what time it was on Saturday ... I decided to give that up and just enjoy the day, knowing we would eat when we were hungry and go to sleep when we were tired. Ahhhhhh, much more enjoyable than watching a clock.

It was fun watching our kids camp for the first time. The first night and morning, they were a little confused, just like us, still trying to figure out what camping was all about. They were relentless that first night with requests as we were trying to sort out where that bag of tent stakes went to! On Saturday night, they were so tired from a full day of camping, boating (thanks to another great friend), swimming and total fun, they ASKED to go to bed and were asleep when I got back to the tent while bringing them the night-time token "drink of water"! LOL!

By Sunday, they were acclimated and played the entire morning on their own, thinking up games and entertaining themselves with piles of dirt and discovering bugs. (See note about the fire-ant bite above!)

I was excited we actually made the decision to go camping. In year's past we would have been so overwhelmed by the whole thing we wouldn't have gone. Once we get even more organized, we will be able to "do" a lot more enjoyable things!

Well, now that we we had a chance to nap (and plug back into the Internet) we're gonna unload the van and get stuff put away and some things organized for next time. We brainstormed all the way home about how plan better for the next trip so we will be able to stress less about the "stuff" and have more time to play!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Here's to trying new things!

I love to learn and try things new. So, here goes a blog.

After losing my job last spring and dealing with the death of my Mother, I find myself in a whole new place with lots of decisions to make. We all have plenty of practice making small decisions every day. Like, coffee or tea? Brown shirt or green? It's the BIG ones that throw us for a loop. I have a lot of them in front of me and I'm working on them.

Here's a little about me:

I have an awesome husband, Carl. We have been together for over 20 years! He is the love of my life and is truly my strength. We have two wonderful, spunky, ornery daughters; Lauren and Lindsey. We love them with all of our hearts ... Even as they are learning new ways to challenge us as parents every single day! (Did I mention they are ornery?!)

I am a clutter-bug and have tried many things to get organized and get my and my family's stuff together. All of it. And keep it together! I love FlyLady but after seven years, I'm still not there. So, I prayed the other day for help getting things together. I mean, really prayed hard. Yesterday, on a bulletin board I frequent, someone mentioned a book called Getting Things Done by David Allen.

I had seen the book before and didn't think it was for me, but this time when God showed me again, I was ready. (Prayer answered!) I Googled it and found the author's website and spent most of yesterday learning. I bought the book yesterday afternoon. It was only $16. If this is to be my solution, it will be a well spent $16.

So far, the system seems very good for me and what I gravitate to: Lists, getting it all down, systems, reminders. Stuff I already know, but it's in one big pile in my head, kinda like the pile in my craft room! LOL!

The book is showing me how to get things out of my head, into a system and organized so I can process them and get them done.

Once I get my stuff together and our lives organized, I will have more time for things I love to do, like; crafts, sewing (especially for my kids), scrap booking (digital and traditional), helping other people, fixing stuff, cooking and trying new recipes. Heck, I may even have time to get some laundry done! LOL!

Some things I am working on right now are: Dresses for the girls for back-to-school. Working on my household routines-cleaning, bill paying, menu planning, grocery shopping, saving money, cleaning closets, etc!

I have been blessed with an awesome supportive family and great friends.

I want my home to be nice for my family. I want to be organized so I will have more time to spend with family and friends instead of looking for misplaced junk.

There! How is that for a goal? Whew, I have a lot of work to do. I'd better get started!

Check back for updates!