Monday, August 31, 2009

Meal-Planning from the Shelves and Freezer

When I finally entered the enormous pile of receipts (for the entire month of August) into Quicken, I was shocked and horrified to realized we had already spent the next 15 days' worth of grocery money!! My heart pounded, I felt nauseous, and I began to sweat. [Now, on a side note, we incorporate diapers/wipes/pullups as well as "dining" receipts (including Stewarts runs and Dunkin Donuts) into the large "grocery" category. Our grocery store receipts are usually kept within the budget; it's the little stops here and there that add up, ($200 extra one time!!)]
Anyway, when I realized we now have $0 to spend on groceries until September 15th, I ran to the freezer and cupboards and was relieved to find I could pull a few meals together. Next, I took out my trusty meal-planning calendar and started listing my meals. Guess what? I did it! I was able to come up with enough off-the-shelf meals to get us to next pay day! It's true, we may need to stop for milk and a little bit of fresh fruit (but no mint cookie crumble spooner pints from Stewarts!) Here's what I've planned:
Chicken Nuggets/Raw Veggies Slices/Dipping Sauce
Grilled Chicken Salad
Stuffed Peppers
Tilapia in Ginger Sauce/Rice/Veggies
Spaghetti & Sauce
Turkey Meatloaf/Potatoes/Veggies
Oven Stuffer Chicken/Rice or Potatoes/Veggies
Hot Chicken Sandwiches/Stuffing/Veggies
Homemade Pizza
Chicken Noodle Soup/Biscuits
Egg/Broccoli/Bacon Casserole/Applesauce

Sunday, August 30, 2009

4 Fun Things

After yesterday's very dreary rainy day (complete with naughty children!!), it was wonderful to see the sun shining today! Here are some fun things that happened today:
1) NJH moved into a booster seat at dinner time. He loved it and ate his left-over taco salad (with extra salsa) like a champ!
2) When dinner was over, I was clearing off the plates. Suddenly I heard the sweetest little voice say, "May I get down please, Mama?" It was my little sweetheart, not even two years old yet, with such nice manners!! I melted, of course.
3) NCH and I went to the library this afternoon to get him a new stack of books to read. I'm thrilled that he is reading so much! This was the most interested I've seen him in selecting his own books. We have quite the variety - from the Box Car Children to the Bailey School Kids to Magic Tree House and Magic School Bus, even our first Hardy Boys book!
4) Hubby and I were relaxing on the deck. Hubby was trying different ring tones for his iPhone. One of the tunes was the Chicken thing you know, CAH, KBH and NJH were flapping their "wings" and dancing all over the deck! It was so adorable. During a "fairy" ring tone, CAH put a towel on her shoulders and pretended they were wings so she could fly around like Tinkerbell. I love these moments!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

What The Herd is Up To (8/13/09)

I just found this file in "My Documents"...I can't believe I never posted it when I wrote it!! Chances are, I was interrupted (as usual!) It's a few weeks delayed, but here's what the herd was up to on August 13th:

NCH - helping with chores; will vacuum, dust, clean bathrooms; 1 minute of cleaning = 1 minute of computer/video game time (new incentive...working great so far...3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms are tidy!!); reading skills have improved dramatically; still isn't happy when I ask him to do a book report (written) but doesn't mind answering the questions verbally; anger issues have improved, but we still see outbursts from time to time; hoping 2nd grade is a great year!!
CAH - really into building houses for her stuffed animals; creatively using shoeboxes, diaper boxes, etc. with doors and windows, even writing to label "puppies"; also enjoying new birthday toys (color change Ariel, puppy with carrier); plays very well independently and with her sister; wants to be with older brother and at times, they do well together, but only when he is open to the idea; she has a "pleaser" personality but sadly that has led to lying/dishonesty...we're working on this; can't believe she's off to kindergarten in a month!
KBH - still requests "movies" often; favorites right now include Wiggles, Barney, Caillou, Blue's Clues (thankful we can borrow them from the library for free!); enjoys playing with her sister; yesterday and today, I came upon her singing in the sweetest voice "Under the Sea" while playing with Ariel doll; still likes a schedule, wants to know if it's bath night, wants her clothes laid out (would prefer to select them herself, but she does not have that freedom yet!); runs hot and cold - can be such a little doll, but can turn around and say "mommy is a poopie head" and stick her tongue out; definitely can be trying! Hopefully preschool will be a good thing for her. She is also signed up for gymnastics once a week.
NJH - coming into the 2's...starting to say "no" and run the opposite direction when called; especially detests sitting in high chair/climbs out no matter how tight the straps are; also can get arms out of car seat straps; loves cars, trucks and motorcycles; tries to copy the big kids; loves to sing; enjoys Blue's Clues and Miss Pattycake videos; wants to be in the pool area but is reluctant to be in the water; has a piercingly shrill cry, but gets over it quickly; can count from 1-11; knows to fold his hands and bow his head when we say "pray" (also says "amen" at the end); has a cute lisp (pleathe for please); using manners regularly; many 3-4 word sentences; will attempt to copy any word/phrase; has the greatest laugh!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Yes, I've really been slacking when it comes to the whole blogging thing! But I have excuses:
1) It's been a busy summer - the kids just finished swim lessons. I'm so proud of them! NCH had to swim 500m of various consecutive strokes, using the proper flip turns, etc. CAH has mastered her dive and swims a beautiful backstroke. KBH held her own, taking lessons with 5 and 6 year olds (and we later realized she was put one level above where she should have been! Ooops!) She does a lovely kneeling dive and just today, she mastered front and back somersaults underwater! I keep reminding myself "she's only 3!" NCH also just finished swim team and he received a trophy, a t-shirt and swim bag for his efforts. His final meet was very exciting and he was really getting "into it."
Here are photos of NCH at his last meet:

Photos of KBH drying off and about to jump off the diving board:

2) I've been busy knitting - 2 projects. The first was a sweater for NJH, hopefully it will fit him this fall/winter. It used a cool variegated yarn that knit into a fair isle pattern. The second is a long cabled cardigan for me. I've finished the back and I'm about half way through with the left side. This is quite an extensive undertaking, as there are tons of cables, but I'm enjoying it (except on boiling hot days when I'm knitting on the deck!) Poor NJH really didn't like trying on his new sweater!!

3) I've been busy reading - I'm (still) on Book 10 of Tim LaHaye's "Left Behind" series. Just two books left of this fantastic prophecy/end times-themed series. My Tuesday Bible study will be going through the book of Revelation this fall...I can't wait!
4) I've been busy planning meals, running 5K's and trying to follow a healthier lifestyle. With all of the recent parties, picnics and celebrations, I decided it was time for a new round of South Beach. So far, so cranky, but that will fade when I see results! I am also revisiting Couch to 5K and kicking it up a notch, sprinting where it tells you to jog and jogging where it tells you to walk. I REALLY want to improve my 5K time!
5) We just celebrated CAH's 5th birthday. I can't believe my little sweetheart is already 5 and heading off to kindergarten next month! I have already blogged about her birth story, so I'll just mention that her party this year was just for "big girls" and was a Tinkerbell theme. We used glitter glue on coloring pages, strung fruit loops and gummy life savers to make necklaces, made glittery stars for "Pin the Star on the Wand", made fruit kabobs with watermelon, pineapple, green grapes, red grapes and strawberries, ate "fairy horns" (Bugles snacks), had punch, played pass the fairy wand, played follow the fairy leader, and had cupcakes and ice cream. At the end, some children stayed to swim. Although we had to move the party indoors last minute, it was a lot of fun, the girls were well-behaved and seemed to love the activities, and the weather cleared enough for them to swim at the end.

6) Hubby and the older two enjoyed a trip out to see hubby's parents, so I enjoyed having just two little ones underfoot...we had lots of fun, and here's a photo of KBH and NJH getting ready to go to church:

7) There's plenty more to say, but I'd better get to bed or I'll be one tired and grumpy mama in the morning...