Friday, February 27, 2009

Birthday Plans

This weekend we will celebrate the birth of our oldest child. I know this is a typical parental saying, however I can't stop the words from escaping from my lips--"How did she get to be 13 already?" Wasn't it just yesterday that our lives were turned upside down with the news we were expecting her? Wasn't it just yesterday that I grew big as a small moving van? Wasn't it just yesterday that the doctors tried to turn her stubborn little body around so that I could have her naturally? Wasn't it just yesterday that the doctors did a c-section and put this tiny (okay, 8 pound, 11 ounce) ruddy body on my chest? And I know it was just yesterday, when they released us from the hospital and sent us home with this little baby to love and care for.

Now she is 13.

It's been a journey of learning and certainly not all successes, however I can look back and see God's faithfulness, guidance and grace, lots of grace.

For her birthday, her and I are going on a mom/daughter trip to the Creation Museum. We are going to stay overnight and hopefully we will have a great time together. Her daddy and I got her a special gift that I'll have to tell you about when we get home. We will celebrate as a family on Sunday evening.

Making memories, reflecting on the past 13 years and praying that we make the most of everyday God gives us.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm Back

We finally have high speed internet. We've had a multitude of computer and printer problems, but I think they are all getting worked out. So thought I'd update the blog...the poor neglected blog. Some photos that loaded in less than 1 minute (yippee!!)

These are the crocheted coasters that I gave away in my 300th post bloggerversary give away! No, I haven't mailed them yet, but they are in the envelopes and ready to go to the post office.

I made this for my sister's birthday. I sent it to her and she framed it. It's now hanging in her kitchen.

My hunny found this helmet for little guy. He is enjoying it--and using it for everything from football to firefighting! Here, he is playing firefighter with Bethany.

Well, I'd better get off here. I've got more to talk about; so thanks for coming back and visiting!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Lots of Organizing Going On

I think my email rebelled against my cleaning and organizing! Saturday morning I woke to find that my juno account that I worked so hard to declutter, had a melt-down and threw EVERYTHING into the SAME email folder and named it "restored January 31". I almost had my own melt down. It has been difficult to sort through and reorganize it all again. I'm not done yet, but am trying to balance taking care of it with taking care of my children.

Being the Pollyanna that I am, here are the things I am thankful for:
  • I didn't lose my emails altogether
  • The computer still works
  • I didn't break down or break the computer
  • By having to go through all the emails again, I've deleted a whole bunch more!

I've also determined to get our meals, shopping list and food budget in order. So I've been working hard on organizing lists, recipes, the pantry and our budget. I received some good advice from a couple different friends on how to go about this huge's what I did: (Scroll down for our menu this week.)
  • First I went through and listed meals we eat.
  • Then I looked through my recipe book and box to rediscover recipes that I haven't made in a while. And I decided to make one new recipe every two weeks, so for that, I had Marissa look through recipe books and choose something that we wanted to try.
  • Next, I listed all ingredients needed for each recipe, followed by organizing all the ingredients in 'like' groups and crossing through the ingredients I already had.
  • Finally I made a list of all the ingredients I needed to purchase.
  • As for the food budget, I've been tracking our variable expenses for a while now and have a rough figure of what we spend on food and non-food items each month. I divided this figure in half and took that much cash to Aldi and Walmart. I prayed that God would help me stick to the list and that the money I had would cover the two weeks worth of goods.
The end result: I got everything I needed (except I forgot cottage cheese for lasagna) and I went over my budget $7. I'm excited and I feel good about having the next two weeks of meals planned. I need to mention that we invested in 1/8 of quality beef (we split a quarter with another family)--so we have plenty of ground beef in the freezer. Also, I stocked up on chicken when it was on sale. And a friend gave us a ham the first of January. It was already sliced and I packaged it up in freezer ziplocs. So I didn't have to buy any meat this time.

Here's what is on the menu this week:

Monday: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup* recipe below
Tuesday: Baked Potatoes
Wednesday: Spagetti
Thursday: Homemade Mac-n-cheese with bites of ham*
Friday: Lasagna and bread
Saturday: Breakfast for supper

Chcicken Noodle Soup:
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
dash ground pepper
1 medium carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 cup uncooked extra wide egg noodles
1 cup shredded cooked chicken

1. I've already cooked a whole chicken (from last week). I boiled everything down and bagged up the broth, saving out what I needed for tonight's soup. Heat broth, pepper, carrot and celery in saucepan over medium high heat to a boil.
2. Stir in noodles and chicken. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes or until noodles are tender.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese: (recipe from my homeschooling friend, Melissa B.)
8 oz elbow macaroni, cooked
3-4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
13 oz can evaporated milk
1 1/2 c. milk (we use dry non-fat milk for these purposes)
2 eggs
1 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/2 t. dry mustard
1 cup diced cooked ham

1. Combine all ingredients except 1 c. cheese in a greased crockpot. Sprinkle reserved cheese over the top.
2. Cover, cook on low 3-4 hours. Do not remove lid or stir until mixture has finished cooking.

I found this great recipe for french bread over at Pleasant View Schoolhouse. I really want to try this recipe...maybe I'll plan for it the next time I go to the grocery.

For more recipes and meal plans, run over Organizing Junkie's Meal Plan Monday.