Monday, October 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Can you say slacker?!  So sue me...I'm trying to keep up with two munchkins under 3, my injured husband, work, sickness, I'm lucky I know my own name much less have time to blog this past week.  I will try to update on Weigh-In Wednesday because I have some news to share.....but you'll have to check back for that!   Today is Menu's how the rest of the week is going to shake out!

Last week's recap...

M - Ham and Mac & Cheese, gb, and applesauce
T - Bubble Pizza - My 2 1/2 year old loved making this with me!  She was able to tear up the biscuits, help spread the pepperoni and was somewhat able to help spread the cheese in between eating it!  It was a definate keeper recipe!
W - Baked Cod - I just used Italian bread crumbs, salt and pepper, and parmesan - wonderful!
R - Heck if I know - but we didn't eat out!!
F - Hamburger Helper at Mom and Dad's house
S - BBQ Dove that Dad and Grandma brought over
U - Soup beans, cheesy corn dog muffins and fried potatoes - I'm not really sure where I got the muffin recipe, I assume from my friend Kelly, who I swear is Martha Stewart only cooler - but I linked RecipeZaar (my fave!) anyways!

This week's meal plan -
M - Dinner at Mom and Dad's
T - Nacho night (with yummy burritos for lunch the next day!)
W - Having some friends over for dinner - Cheezey Meatloaf, loaded mashed potatoes, gb
T - Fried Shrimp
F - Headed to DH family
S - DH family
U - More friends over for dinner - grill out pork chops

Monday, September 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Last week recap -

M - My daughter started throwing up with a bug almost at 5 on the dot. My DH was headed to Lexington for Orientation for his classes beginning in a couple of weeks (5:30-7:30, he picked up something at Wendy's). Luckily my father and grandmother came over and helped and brought me McDonald's - needless to say nothing about this evening went according to plan!

T - as planned

W - as planned

R - we ended up picking something up from McDonald's again (I know, I know!) b/c we went to the last consignment sale - that is going to be another post - of the season around here and I stocked up on the final Christmas and Birthday presents until the next season of consignment rolls around!

F - went and ate with Dad and Grandma

S - as planned

U - changed our mind to chilli - and boy was it good!

This week's Menu Plan...

M - Ham and Mac & Cheese, gb, and applesauce

T - Baked Cod, roasted potatoes, pears

W - Pizza night

R - Fried Deer Tenderloin, fried potatoes, fried apples

F - Leftovers/Sandwiches...

S - Meatloaf, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes

U - chicken alfredo pasta

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stretching your tax experience with FSA's

For those of you how don't know what they are, I'm in love with FSAs! That is Flexible Spending Accounts for those who don't use them and here is why I love them. **PS I am not a tax advisor or lawyer - kind of obvious I know from my obsession and compulsive need to budget, but I thought I should just probably state that for the record! You should do your own research on anything before solely taking the word of some schmuck on the internet!**

FSA can be used for several purposes, and I'm only going to rave about the two types, health care and dependent care, that I use, however, I think there is also one for communters but that gets into sticky stuff I don't understand. Okay, so the health care and dependent care FSA - the way these work, or atleast they way I've always seen them work, is that you select an amount to with draw from your pay check PRE-TAXES! Yes, that's right - before Uncle Sam gets his greedy lil hands on your money you elect for some of it to be taken out.

For us, as an example, I elected to take out $5,000 in the health care FSA and $5,000 in the dependent care FSA. Now before you freak out and think I've lost my mind, let me explain. The dependent care is easy we spend over $5,000 a child in daycare for one year. By using this pre-tax money we are able to save about $1,000 in taxes and apply more to our budget. The amount that we pay over the $5,000 is claimed in some weird way on our taxes (I use Turbo Tax and love it!, but it figures everything for me after I plug all the info in), however the most tax savings is realized by the pre-tax savings of the FSA.

Now on the healthcare FSA you've got to do a little more thinking. You can use this FSA to pay for most things medically related - co-pays, co-insurance, deductibles, prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs and more - HOWEVER, be prepared to keep and present reciepts (really the same thing as required by the IRS so if you are used to it it's really not that big of a deal)! My DH is some medical issues and has some maintenence prescriptions and doc apts that we can count on evey year, and you know with 2 kids there are going to be doctor visits involved - so normally we just try to estimate those things and take out that much, because if you don't USE it in that calendar year you LOSE it! But we are trying to have some dental work done for my DH, along with the delivery this summer, so we knew we could use the max of $5,000.

Between the 2 FSAs, using them has saved us over $2,500 *estimated* in taxes  a year - which to me is well worth it. So my suggestion is - in the approaching months of open enrollment for benefits at workplaces, find out if FSAs are offered and consider them. Be smart and make sure it is something that works for you (single with no kids and no medical issues? may not be the best plan for you, but otherwise), because the whole purpose is to stretch your money!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

It is Menu Plan Monday and it is always interesting to me to look back over last week's menu and see how I did. We did eat at the house every night except for Mon. at Mom & Dad's and Sat. night which we went over to a friends's house as planned, but that is a huge accomplishment for this group! Very rarely do we stick to such a plan, but having things already figured out for dinner and planning ahead make it much easier!

Last week recap -
M - as planned
T - nacho night as planned, wrapped up the leftover beans, meat and cheese in burritos for our lunch the next day - which were fantastic! This is a definate do again!
W - we ended up doing Chix Fried Rice and Egg Drop soup. I was rather impressed with myself since I went back to work after my daughter's dance class and didn't leave until 5:15. Came home thawed the chicken, chicken broth and made everything from scratch and we were still eating dinner by 6:05! Once again it was wonderful and the lunch leftovers were just as great!
R - We ended up doing bbq chicken breasts with cheddar cheese, homemade potato chips, homemade apples, and something else - I forget now. But everything was amazing I thought and we all loved the apples and chips!
F- Deer Tenderloin and loin chops, creamed corn, green beans, and homemade pears - everything was either from something we killed or harvested from the garden, I love it!
S - with friends as planned..
U - we did a homemade pizza night. Sat. night was a little rough, we are thinking my DH and cousin got some type of food poisoning, so needless to say we needed something easy and comforting!

For this week -

M - Baked cod, gb, corn, pears
T - Deer Roast
W - potluck at church - taking baked spaghetti from freezer
R - Fried shrimp, potato chips
F - YAMS event, picnic items -
S - I'm scrapbooking with the girls so probably pizza all around!
U - Ham and mac & cheese

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tithing - giving back

It is that time of year for us at church...the time of year when we pledge what we will tithe next year. The letters have been mailed out from the church with our pledge cards, but also this year they included a handy flier that breaksdown percentages of tithing based on income from 2% to 15%.

Tithing is something that my parents used to make me do..I got an allowance and so much of it was supposed to go to church. I saw my mom write and tear off her check every Sunday. And until the past year or so I was kind of hit or miss with my tithing, if I remembered or was at church I would do it, if I wasn't then oh well. Along that same line, if I had a little extra in my check book the church may get something, but if I'd spent to much that week already (usually on nothing at all) then I didn't worry about writing a check or giving anything. And to be quite honest with you I can't really tell you what has drastically changed that I feel so different about it - but tithing for us is something we don't miss whether we are at church that week or not.

I think my change of heart comes from the fact that I feel like I'm much closer in my walk with God these days - not that I'm holier than thou or anything like that, but I feel so blessed with everything that I have and have been given that I feel like tithing to my church is just one small way that I can give back. I look back over my life and am able to see where God has blessed me throughout, and has either walked with me or carried me through hard times - and I truly believe now that when something is going on in my life that I can't sit back and do nothing to change or overcome it, I have a responsibility to action too, but that my life is always in God's hands. I will be provided for, so long as I am always trying my best, even if it is not in the way that I planned for. In some of my most desperate times when I feel like there is nothing left that I can do, it is so calming to just turn things over to God - know that you've done everything you can - and amazingly some how things are okay, like I said maybe not the way you wanted them to work out, but they are okay.

Anyways, back to tithing. Like it states in my little flier one of the great things of tithing, supposedly, is that it is 10% of your income. That doesn't mean you can't give more or that you will be struck down if you give less (trust me you won't cause I haven't been so far) but that is the generally rule of thumb. Of course, my question is this, is that supposed to be before the 500 billion is taken out in taxes of my paycheck or is that coming from what I take home every week? For this household, we base our budget, bills, and tithing off of what we bring home each week - although one day I want it to be off of what we truly make, we just aren't there right now. And even with that being said, we don't give our full 10% in money - I don't feel like we can right now. We try to make it up in other ways by donating our time, which is important, but realize that the church has financial needs to keep it running too. But that being said, we give a lot in comparison to our grocery budget (which is less a month than what we tithe to church), our gas budget (which is less also), and our entertainment budget (which is also less or non-existent however you want to look at it!). What we give - hurts! It is a conscious decision that we make every week to choose to give a little back to God where we have been given so much. Trust me it would be much easier and, in theory, a ton more fun to blow that money on ourselves - but just like everything else it is not ours we've only been blessed with it temporarily.

We have been so blessed by our family, our church family, and friends that is very easy to look around and be grateful for everything you see. What our church is challenging our members to do is look at what you've tithed in the past and challenge yourself to increase that, whether to the full 10% or atleast by 1%. For us, we are not able to bump up to the 10% and increasing any amount will stretch our budget that much further - but we ARE going to increase our tithe again because have we not been blessed more this year than last? We are still here on this beautiful earth, with now 2 amazing children, a wonderful marriage, a home, two jobs, an amazing family support system - so much more than so many other people have - so much to be thankful for - we can find a way to give a little more tithe to give back and give thanks.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Weigh In Wednesday - 2 days late, sue me!

Weigh-In Wednesday

So like anything else, you can not know with your weight if you are improving or not if you don't know where you start. And even though it is not a number that I envision myself at, nor ever thought I would see - right now I'm proud to say that I weighed in at 203 lbs. at my doctor's appointment on 9/11. That is pre-baby #2 (yes, #2, not #1 - that's the goal here folks!) weight...meaning I was just a couple pounds over that when I got pregnant with my son. Now like I said, that is not at number I ever thought I would see and I'm not what I envision for 203 lbs., but never-the-less that is where I'm starting.

Where I would like to be - first of all, my desire to lose weight is not necessarily for aesthetic reasons (don't get me wrong - I want to look as good as the next person, but if you know know I'm more comfortable and happy in baggy sweats and a pony tail than I ever would be in a slinky, little sexy number. I think the human form looks sooooo much better with a lot of clothes on!), but more so that I used to be very active when I was younger and we had the nursery and I was a lot more fit. That is where I want to be...I want to run around in the yard with my daughter and not feel like I'm going to pass out, I want to chase my kids thru the house when they get older, I want to be able to go and do whatever they want and not have to stop because I'm out of shape and can't keep up. So if getting fit (which yes I understand means that there has to be a component of exercise there too!) means that I will lose some weight then that is great - but just losing weight is not my only objective. I'm keeping track of my weight for pure statistical means, I'm thinking I will pay more attention to the way my clothes are feeling - which by the way I have been able to use my belt for the time in 2 years wooo hooo! - and my activity level.

Things I'm trying to do:

1) I've cut soda pretty much completely out of my diet. Occasionally I will drink a Dr. Pepper or a Coke - once every couple weeks of something, but not on a regular basis. I usually have 1-2 cups of coffee in the morning to get going (remember we get up around 4:30 or 5 during the week) and then rely mainly on ice water the rest of the day along with a glass of milk at night. I will occasionally make a gallon of sweet tea, especially if we are having company, but mainly there is just water in my cup. **Budget benefits too!**

2) I'm also cutting back on my portion sizes, both at meals and snacking. With snacks I've gone thru and divided them up in to single snack size bags so I don't sit down and eat a whole bag of chips when I should only be eating a handful. This is going to be one of the biggest adjustments, b/c I'm very used to eating until I'm stuffed and can't anymore - but I think within a couple of weeks my body will adjust. "Mind over matter, mind over matter". **Budget benefits too!!**

3) I'm going to start getting more active. A friend of mine is also interested in losing weight so we are going to meet 2-3 days a week to walk at the university's track for 30 mins - 1 hour. Then the other 2-3 days of the week I have workout videos at the house to do, or I have a membership to the gym on the base where I work. So my goal is to work out in some way, shape or fashion at least 3 days a week. One day a week I'm going to be going to gymnastics class with my daughter where parent participation is required so that should help too!

That's it - seems to simple but eating less and working out more shouldn't be brain surgery! So we will see how this goes and I will try to update weekly - encouragement is appreciated!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Stretching the boobs....lessons from a nursing momma!

I'm going to try and talk about different things on different days of the week - Menu Planning on Monday, "Stretching" on Tightwad Tuesday, Weight loss on Weigh-in Wednesdays, Gratefulness on Sundays, and anything else in between - so for Tightwad Tuesday, here we stretch!

In case you weren’t aware I am the proud mother of not only a 2 ½ year old beautiful, blonde devious little girl, but also an 8 week old handsome little boy who I am continuing to nurse after having returned to work 2 weeks ago. There are lots of reasons that I choose to nurse, one of the main being to save money on formula. However, nothing is free – including nursing! There are supplies that must be purchased to start pumping and other supplies that must be purchased to maintain this lifestyle. How I save money or saved money on these is how I “stretch the boobs!”

First of all your pump – these sell for all shapes and sizes and are only supposed to be for one user. That being said, I could not afford the $375+ for a good pump (Medela) when I had my daughter. Luckily, for me but not for her, I had a good friend who was unable to nurse her son, who was 3 months older than my daughter, and had purchased a pump that she'd only used 1-2 times that she sold to me for $75. One of the best investments I've ever made - personal opinion: if you can find one of these bad boys at a yard sale or consignment sale, they are well worth the investment and you can replace the necessary parts fairly inexpensively! I say fairly inexpensively - all in all - I've got about $100 in my $375+ pump and that is after I have used it for my first child (nursed for 5 months), lent it to another friend for a year, purchased replacement tubing, etc. and now using the pump for my son.

Second of all your breastpads - those pads you put on the inside of you bra to prevent leakage, and trust me you want something! Actual breastpads sell (if I remember correctly from my local Wal-mart) for about $8 or something for around 30 pads (yes these are nice individually rounded pads...they are so pretty - do you hear my sarcasm!?). My little money saving tip is to instead purchase the cheapest, heavy flow generic maxi pads you can find and cut the pad in half. You can get a package of say 30 pads (cut in half = 60 right?) for about $6 or something - there again prices are all approximate, but you get the gist right? I think the maxi pads are much better equipped to handle excessive leakage, as you may sometimes have and it is much more cost effective!

Third your bottles - with our daughter we used the Playtex drop-in type bottle b/c they were given to us. However with my son I was able to get about 20 Aveno (sp?) bottles for about $15 at a yard sale. Now with these bottles I don't have to keep buying the drop-ins, I have enough that even when I'm washing the ones from day-care I have others, and I will be able to re-sell them when I finish with them!

Next is your milk baggies - now this is something new I'm trying, and I will let you know how it turns out. But when DH and I were at the store Friday, I had run out of the individual milk baggies the day before and needed some more for this week in order to pump, I picked up the box of baggies that was $10 for 30 6 oz. baggies......I quickly did the math in my head and figured I would be using 4 baggies a day meaning this little box would only last me about 7.5 working days. That just seemed ridiculous to me, however that is the only option available - or so I thought. As I was strolling down the aisle where the sandwich baggies (which I divide up snacks) were at....I stopped and stared at the quart freezer bags $1.30 for 20 bags. I asked DH, and I'm still working this out so thoughts or suggestions are appreciated, what he thought of using those instead of the individual baggies - "so long as you think it will work, I don't see a problem". My thinking is when we get out the milk from the freezer we are preparing all 3 feeding for my son for that day, so why can't I just lump all the milk for that into one bag? We are trying it and so far the lumping and freezing part seems to be going fine, I guess we will see how the thawing and dividing part goes in a couple of weeks. But as far as saving money goes - this will be a huge money saver b/c I can put all of one day's pumping into 1 bag so a $1.30 box of 20 bags will last me for almost a month of pumping at work vs. 7.5 days! I guess we will see!
Like I said before, like them or not, these are ways that we are tying to tighten our budget and "stretch the boobs"!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I'm tired and in a rush b/c it's bed time...meant to do this over the weekend but I forgot (imagine that) so here's the quick version...just for Menu Mondays!Breakfast - same as last week

Lunch - same concept as last week

Dinner -
M - Dinner with parents
T - nacho night with friends
W - Ham and mac & cheese (probably with some veggie thrown in)
R - my cousin comes in, Fried shrimp, homemade potato chips,
F - Dinner at parents
Sa. - BBQ with friends
Sun - Baked cod

Last week's recap - we did really good! Fri. night we ended up eating at Chic-Fil-A, a guilty pleasure of mine, b/c we were out and about (now I don't even remember what we were doing!) Sat. night we ended up eating with friends and Sunday night we ended up eating at my parents, but other than that we did really good. This week will be the true test b/c I'm supposed to cook more - we shall see!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stretching the burger...

Our family is a big meat family - I mean if my husfand could live off of meat and potatoes he would! But meat is such a huge budget killer! Bodie and I both hunt and we both strongly believe in eating what you kill - and we do. We get a freezer full of dear meat in the fall, and then we will also have dove, goose, quail, and duck if we are lucky. Sometimes though it is nice to have a little ordinary browned burger for your spaghetti or for taco night. I read on some other wonderful persons blog a long time ago about a way to stretch your burger and make it a little healthier for your family so here it is replayed for you!

First of all I try to by the least expensive ground chuck - and usually I can get it at Kroger for less than $1/lb b/c I buy it after it has been marked down - this is usually within a couple days of its sale by date. Now some people won't buy meat like this and I understand, but my thought is since I'm either going to be cooking it that day or the next or freezing it, that it is alright. So I will usually get atleast a 3 lb roll, if not a 5 lb. roll. This weekend I got 2 5lb rolls marked at $4.17 each, then I had a coupon from Kroger's for $1.50 off $5 or more of ground beef, and another coupon for $3 off when you spent over $15 in the meat department (I bought some other marked down items as well.) So let's say my 5 lb rolls cost me an average of $3.25/5 lbs. = less than a $1/lb. I take that burger, brown it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder/salt.

Next, you need to stick about 3-5 carrots and 2-3 celery stalks in the food processor until they a nice mush (yeah, I know it sounds disguisting but I SWEAR you can't tell!..too much).

Add this to the burger and let it cook for a little while...
A little "orangie" but looks the same as above right?!

Take the skillet off the burner and let it cool. Then divide up into freezer bags (I use a 1 cup measuring cup and put in 1 1/2 cups which when weighed equals 12 oz.). This is where I see some of the bigger savings from preparing the meat ahead of time. By doing it this way I get 7 "1 lb" bags of burger instead of only 5 or less.
My thought is this, when I'm mixing this burger in with spaghetti sauce, nachos, or chilli - am I really going to miss the 4 oz. I shorted myself from the true pound? Or am I really going to notice the extra veggies that I used to strecth my burger...probably not (at least I don't...however DH did find a celery string that wasn't processed enough and being the big veggie lover he is, he definately let me know!).

So this is just one way that I'm trying to not only stretch my wallet but also my burger these days!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Let 'er rip!

For a long time I operated under the frame of mind that if something was bothering me I kept it to myself - well, not so much anymore! I'm trying to do a much better job of letting someone or anyone know when they are getting on my nerves, making me mad or upsetting me. I used to harbor these feelings inside and stew over them, but I figure what does that really do? Nothing. Because then the person doesn't know what they are doing to upset me, therefore they can't fix it - if they want to. Also I usually remember it for much longer and all that accomplishes is to make me continue to be upset or resent that person for something that they didn't even know that they did!

I'm trying not to yell or say mean things, that is not the purpose of "expressing your feelings". What I am try to do is "express" my feelings of hurt, anger, aggravation, in a calm manner before whatever is happening goes too far. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but more and more I'm getting things off of my chest!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Puppy Love - a year in review

So in case you don't know me real well, I'm a huge animal fan...all shapes, sizes and breeds (for the most part, however I'm not a huge fan of little yippee dogs, some thing about them makes me want to climb the walls!). I had a dog that I had for seven years, Loki (goddess of mischief - and she definately lived up to the name!), whom I loved tremendously - DH would argue too much some times. And when we moved into our home over a year ago, the plumbers let her out and chased her away within 3 days of our moving in. Heartbroken doesn't quite express the grief I felt -but the world keeps turning and you learn to move on, I didn't say forget, but move on. So after Loki had been gone for about 3 months, DH thought it would be a good idea to get our daughter a puppy to grow up with. Now....everybody raise their hands who has housetrained a puppy, a lab mix no less, and who thought it was soooo easy and fun! NOT! Try as I might to talk him into an older dog, he's like my third child and I have a hard time saying no to we got a puppy.

Sox has been a sweetheart from the beginning, and my daughter loved her tremendously and wholeheartedly - at first. Then puppies do what they do and they grow and they jump and they chase and they nip, and my daughter was not so happy anymore. So training got tossed to the wayside and Sox has spent a lot of the past year of her life in her kennel in the kitchen. She got let out for brief "potty" walks, but very little if any play time. Our fault completely. Life happens and we probably shouldn't have ever gotten a puppy - but we did.

So now we are trying to make up for lost time (meanwhile we've added a kitten, which they LOVE each other -seriously! - and a new baby to the mix, nothing like a challenge right?). We've gotten a wireless fence from the money made from selling my daughter's clothes at a consignment sale and we are starting obedience classes. Wireless fence is so worth every penny for us! Sox is able to get out and run soooo much more and play outside for hours, making her and us much happier! The classes just started last week so that will be for another time. Our ultimate goal will be to leave her out in the house.....maybe one day!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Goals - why set 'em?

Ok, so I procrastinate..I make plans to do something then never follow through, who doesn't, right? However, I know from my psych and marketing backgrounds that I will do so much better sticking to the goals that I have in life if I write them down, admit them out loud, tell some one, etc. - so here I go! This go round is going to be some of my personal goals - well get to family ones later...

Some personal goals -

Lose weight (ha, eight week old baby and 2 1/2 year old in tow - can you imagine why!?)

Specifically, I would like to lose about 30 pounds for appearance reasons but in all reality, if I could get more physically fit - I'm more concerned about that then I am losing weight (which probably will magically fall off if I become more fit, funny how that works...)
So my goal is going to be to find time to work out at least 3 times a week for 30 mins. on top of whatever gardening, housework, chasing the children is done. This time can be in the morning before work, which it probably will be or after I get off work. I work on a military base and we were able to get a family pass thru the MWR for $60 for the whole family for the whole year - which included passes to the pool and also the fitness center - and since I hate to let things go to waste, I better get my bootie on that!
Along with getting more active, comes eating better! I am trying to be much more conscious of portion sizes. We are very much a meat eating family, but I have never stuck to the idea that a "portion" was the size of a deck of cards - heck a "portion" is when the meat takes up 1/2 to 2/3 of your plate! See where I'm going with I'm trying to pay more attention to how much I'm eating along with what I'm eating. We had a huge garden that my uncle did this summer, so we will be cooking a lot from that this winter...and I'm going to try and make sure that I'm eating plenty of veggies. To help myself I went thru and divided things like pretzels up in snack size plastic bags (roughly 100 calories a piece) so that instead of sitting down and eating out of (or probably the whole) bag, I will grab one of my pre-made snack bags and only eat 100 calories....we shall see how this all works out!

Continue reading..

I used to be a huge book reader, but when I got married and had my daughter that all disappeared. Within the past 3 months I've gotten back in the swing of things and read more than I have in 2 years...I want to continue!
Specifically, I want to read one fun book a month (that would be of the James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, Stuart Woods, etc. persuasion)

Show my husband how much I love him

That should be easy right?! However, I know for a fact that most of the time I don't stop to tell him or show him how much I care. He is the spontanious one of the two of us, so if something doesn't fit into my plan I don't want to do it....and seriously how romantic is planning out when to kiss or hug someone? It's not, but too many times I shove him away b/c I'm too "busy" working on this goal is to loosen up and show a little love!

Menu Plan Monday

So I've been trying to plan our weekly/monthly/daily meals around here forever - and I usually scratch something out on a piece of paper, which sometimes makes it to the grocery store, which sometimes makes its way back to the car or sometimes the house if I'm lucky, but NEVER makes its way into my actual meal selection for the week. Then almost every night it's a scramble for dinner and I fall into, with a little help from my DH who loves to eat out, the "well, let's just pick something up" merri-go-round. So since I'm trying to be better about blogging and walking the walk, I figured maybe I would help myself out, participate in Menu Plan Monday and hold myself accountable if I posted it on-line so here we gooooooooooooooooooooo (off to Neverland! - sorry a lot of Peter Pan has been playing out our house recently...)

Banana Muffins - yes I did cook 24 of these and freeze them for coming weeks, BTW we tried a few and they were delicious!
Hard Boiled Egg and Toast
Potato Pancakes and Eggs
Cereal bars or Crackers for Rose

Thru the week, I eat breakfast usually at work at my desk so things that I can prepare and pick up and go, like the first 5 items work best for me. My daughter eats breakfast at daycare (yes, she goes to daycare and that is a whole nother post for a whole nother time!)at 8, but since we get her up at 5 she likes to have a little something before then. And for my DH, I'm STILL working on some easy stuff for him to take (he loves drive-thru breakfasts), that I can make at home - suggestions welcome!

For me:
Chicken Salad sandwiches
Leftovers (tenderloin sandwiches)

For DH:
Bologna sandwich
Ham and Cheese Sandwich
Hot Chicken Patty Sandwich
Hot Dogs

There again, all my lunches are spent at work so stuff that I can prepare ahead and take works wonders. I don't mind eating the same thing for several days or even something for back to back meals (dinner one night and lunch the next day) - however, DH likes to mix things up a little more than that (and remember he likes drive thrus!). Also he needs it very quick and easy...these are all things I try to keep in mind, just trying to tell you were I am coming from!

Chicken Cordon Bleu, salad, corn-on-the-cob and green beans
Potato Salad for Fishes and Loaves night
Pizza at church
Nacho night
Pork Tenderloin
Spaghetti night at Parents
Salmon Patties, mashed potatoes, peas and canteloupe

So we are gone A LOT during the week in the evenings (hence why it is sooo convenient, although expensive to run thru the drive thru). Tonight though I'm going to make dinner for my parents for my mom's birthday (chicken). Then the next two nights we will be eating at church. Nacho night is really easy b/c for the most part I can open a can or two, the meat is already cooked and in less than 10 minutes our meal is ready, which is good b/c on this Thursday night either myself or my DH, who has fractured his shoulder, will be going to our local food bank to bag groceries as we do once a month. Then my mom has already said she will be cooking spaghetti this weekend - we usually eat with my parents and grandmother 1-2 times a week. So I plan on that and if things don't work out, we will either do conveniece food (chicken patties or such) or leftovers. Then once a week I try to have some type of seafood b/c of the omega-3's, so this week we will do salmon patties!

Now all this being said, it would have been a good idea for me to have this all planned out before I went to the grocery store this week wouldn't have it! Oh well, a goal for next week!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


My son will be almost two months old, I have started back to work, and am trying to continue nursing him. I choose to nurse for several reasons, the main one being of which is economical. Don't get me wrong, I love the special "bonding" time that I exclusively get with him. My husband was always diaper Dad and bath Dad with our daughter so he got his special time in too. And I have read the reports about how nursing for up to the first twelve months will help his immune system and can improve brain development. (I tried to eat enough seafood while I was pregnant - yeah for Omega-3's!)
However, the biggest reason I choose to nurse, is like I said economical. Why should I (or for that matter can I) pay anywhere from $10 for generic formula in the large container or if you are lucky (as we were with our daughter)$27 for a small jar of Alimentun that last only 3 days - once again if you are lucky?! Babies are on formula/breastmilk for up to, if not beyond, the first 12 months - can you imagine how much mony can be saved by nursing?! I know from our experience with our daughter and her high priced formula, that we could have save over a thousand dollars if I had not had to spot pumping. That was even after I bought it by the case at a great discount off of E-bay (yes, I sat down and added up how many bottles she would take multiplied by how many anticipated onces multiplied by how many day left until she was a year old - I was only off by a week! Pretty proud if I do say so myself!) and I was able to nurse her/pump up until she was 5 months old! Even if we had been able to keep her on the cheap, generic formula (as we try to do everything else...)we still would have been able to save hundreds of dollars if I had been able to continue pumping. Oh well, maybe this go round!

I do have to say pumping sounds easy, but until you've tried it....(which off on a tangent - I heard on the radio the other day that some crazy guy, in I think Denmark, is doing a reality show where he is going to try and stimulate himself into producing breast milk! Really?!) As a mom with two little ones, who has now returned to work, I hardly have time to go to the bathroom - much less take several breaks through out the day to pump. But if taking a couple breaks throughout the workday so that I can stay in the same sequence as my son can save me tons of moolah - I'm all for it! And to keep my production up (yes, just call me Bessie the dairy cow) I try to make sure that I'm drinking tons of water (my husband is getting very frustrated with all of my styrofoam McDonald's cups that I keep around the house b/c they don't sweat when I put cold water in them), and have resorted to taking the herbal supplement Fenugreek. I would say I'm trying to get enough rest, but who are they kidding by saying you can get enough rest with little ones! The Fenugreek seems to help and so far my son seems to be staying satisfied - I guess we will wait and see!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


So I won't promise to do this everyday, or every week or whatever - I've got two small children, work and by no means claim to be super woman. However, I think that I might have some things to say from experiences in our lives that may be of benefit to others - or maybe I'm just delusional. Either way we shall see!

I'm going to try and write about cooking, cleaning, saving money, shopping, coupons, child-raising, budgeting, politics, gardening, i.e. whatever the mood strikes! If you've got any suggestions, have at it!

Sometimes, I've just got stuff that I need to get off of my chest and hopefully I will be able to do so!
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