Monday, November 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 11/23-11/29

Here we are at the start of another week. Here's the game plan for the week.

Monday: Lunch~chicken noodle soup & peanut butter sandwiches
Dinner~ French Onion Soup or Pizza

Tuesday: Lunch~ Bologna sandwiches, soup, fruit
Dinner~ Denver Omelet/Frittata, toast, orange slices
Thanksgiving Prep~ Cook the bird in the crock pot

Wednesday: Lunch~ Toasted cheese and tomato soup
Dinner~ Tacos, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, rice and corn
Thanksgiving Prep~ Cranberry Sauce and pies

Thursday~ Lunch~ whatever...leftovers maybe
Dinner~ Thanksgiving Feast: Turkey and gravy, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce*, Mashed potatoes, green beans, Roasted Root Vegetables, Croissants, Pumpkin* & Pecan Pie

Friday: Lunch~ Leftovers
Dinner~ Meatloaf, potatoes and vegetables

Saturday: Lunch~ Leftovers
Dinner~ Pizza, veggie sticks, fruit

Sunday: Lunch~ Ramen noodles, leftovers
Dinner: Roast Chicken or Soup

*recipes will follow. today's just a busy day, so they might be a day or two.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Favorite Mashed Potatoes

I haven't participated in Kitche Tip Tuesday's for a while, but as I was making the Hamburger soup (recipe to follow), I began to think about the mashed potatoes that I hope to make for dinner tomorrow night.

Here's my tip for this week: Use buttermilk instead of regular milk in mashed potatoes.

I like mashed potatoes, and only one of my kids doesn't, so it's a meal we have fairly often. I generally do traditional potatoes, save a little of the water to retain nutrients, some butter and skim milk. One day when I was making mashed potatoes, I forgot to save some of the cooking liquid, and had some buttermilk on hand that needed used. So, I decided how bad can it be? And at least I won't be wasting the buttermilk. Let me tell you what! They were the best mashed potatoes I have ever eaten. Just enough buttermilk and butter to get the perfect consistency. It was a little bit of heaven. So, tomorrow, since I have buttermilk in the fridge, I'll be making my super-yummy mashed potatoes. I can't wait.

Also, our dinner recipe for tonight

Hamburger Soup:

2 pounds of ground beef
3 carrots, peeled & sliced
3 parsnips, peeled & sliced
2 ribs of celery sliced
2 potatoes, cubed
1 Cup frozen green beans
1 can (15oz) of diced tomatoes (the Italian seasoned ones would be nice)
1 box of beef broth (32 oz.)
2 envelopes of beef bullion (left over from ramen noodles. I'm guessing 2-3tsp)
4 cups of water
2 bay leaves
1/2TBSP thyme (1 1/2 tsp)
1/2 TBSP tarragon
1 small onion diced

1. Brown and drain beef

2.Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are done, or as long as desired.

Gratituesday: Memories

I must say, I've been enjoying my participation in Laura's Gratitude Challenge this month. At first, I had a little trouble thinking up things to be greatful for, but now I have at least 3 things in mind other than what I'm going to post about today that I'm greatful for.

This weekend was a little rough for me since I got a call from my mom that my grandmother, whom I was very close to growing up, was going to be placed in a nursing home after her current stay in the hospital is done. She wanted to know if there was any specific item I wanted from her house as a keepsake. Immediately two things came to mind. Grandma had a trivet that hung over her toaster with a picture of a barn and a plump woman. It read "A plump wife and a big barn never did any man harm."...but my sister Kristin already had asked for, and received that at some point last year. The second item being my grandma's cutting board. Every day, we would stop in to my grandmothers to pick up our mail, and visit. The after school stops usually involved a bit of home made bread cut on the very cutting board I wanted. Mom and my aunt Carol looked through the kitchen and couldn't find it. Aunt Carol also mentioned that if it did turn up, she kind of wanted the cutting board, so it looked like I wasn't going to get it after all. Putting it lightly, I was disappointed not to be receiving it. I sometimes think that half the reason I make my own bread is to feel closer to my beloved grandmother who I've been loosing to Alzheimer's/dementia.

I decided to take the kids over to Mom's yesterday and see if there was anything in my grandma's house that i would like as a small memento. We got an early start on our day and were even able to drop Bug, Bear, and DH off at school. We had a beautiful Sunny drive over to my Mom's and made pretty good time as well. The dog was the first one out of the car, shortly followed by the Boy and Bean who catapulted themselves up the steps and at Grammy. We exchanged greetings and my mother commented that it was going to be a good day. I agreed as the sun was shining and I'd just finished a visit with a friend. We checked the chickens for eggs, and went in side. There laying on the kitchen table was the cutting board I wanted so badly. It turns out that when she was cleaning earlier that morning, my aunt found it and took it to my moms. To make things even better, she and I wanted completely different cutting boards and we were both able to have the one that we wanted. I am extremely greatful for the physical reminder of the many many happy memories I have of just every day chats with my grandma. For her listening ear when I was navigating the turbulent teen years and needed someone to confide my frustrations in. For all the things she taught to play cards, the importance of family, the love of the printed word. Dh still laughs at me because I can't read our local paper online. It's just wrong. I would always read the paper at my grandparents and need to physically hold it to feel like I'm reading it the proper way. I'm greatful for the memories I have of playing around the farm with my cousins. But my favorite memories are of the Christmas Eve feasts that we would come together for and share the fellowship and the togetherness that the family had at that time. It is also the one thing I miss the most as my wedding day was the last year we did that. It's been 7 years this Christmas and boy I'd give almost anything for one last Christmas Eve with Grandma and Grandpa and everyone else. But I'm so greatful to my husband for adjusting our plans so that I could be there the last time.

I'd like to invite you to check out the other Gratituesday posts at Heavenly Homemakers. And I'd also like to invite my siblings,cousins and other family, to come back and leave a comment of their favorite memories of our Grandparents. Feel free to e-mail anyone else who would like to leave a memory too.

Menu Plan Monday 11/16 to 22

Here's the game plan for the week:

Monday: Visit to Grammy Sue's.
Tuesday: Bologna Sandwiches, apple slices
Wednesday: Soup, PB & J, fruit
Thursday: Sandwiches, soup, fruit
Friday: Laura's bringing lunch. Probably soup again, but I adore soup when the weather is cold. I could really eat it 7 days a week...even twice a day some times.
Saturday: At my Mother-in-law's.
Sunday: Ramen Noodles for the kids, leftovers for grown ups.

Monday: Fish, couscous, pears
Tuesday: Hamburger Vegetable Soup, Buttermilk Biscuits, and Sliced apples
Wednesday: Garlic Chicken legs, mashed potatoes, broccoli normandy
Thursday: Stuffed Pork chops, scalloped potatoes, veggie
Friday: Pizza, veggie sticks,
Saturday: Trip to Mother In Law's. I'd like to take dinner down for her since we're celebrating her birthday.
Sunday: Pasta with clam sauce, salad, and bread knots.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Returning Health

I'm going to tie this week's Gratituesday Post with last week's. Last week I wrote about choosing thankfulness during a stressful time when 2 of my kids had swine flu. By the end of the week, all 4 of them had it. I was grateful that I didn't have to search hard for the medication that the kids needed, and it was affordable. I'm not sure if I knew that giving the Tamiflu to my kids would cause such uncontrollable bursts of hyperactive energy I would have been so grateful, or even chosen to give it to them. I really can't say it helped them get better more quickly. However, I AM thankful that that we are all fever free and on the mend after having to monitor fevers for over a week.

Yesterday, I sent Bug and Bear back to school without fevers. I am so glad that they are feeling better. As I sit and write this post, the Boy, too, has returned to school (for another hour). I am glad to have returned to our normal routine. Bean is happily watching "Barbie in the Nutcracker" and I am sitting with her on the couch. We have gotten pretty well caught up on the chores that have been left undone since nothing is more important than loving on and cuddling the sick babies. The house is mostly Lysoled...since Lysol is claiming to kill the H1N1 virus. I only have a few walls to wipe down and a few more beds to wash and we'll be all caught up.

I am thankful for all the prayers that were said on behalf of my family while the kids were sick, those who kept us in their thoughts, and helped me to stay sane just by asking after us and letting me know that they were thinking of us. I am extremely thankful that DH and I did not come down with the Flu while the kids were sick. I'm praying we'll stay healthy for the remainder of the winter.

Don't forget to head over to Heavenly Homemakers for more Gratituesday.

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's A...

healthy baby...girl. Bet you never would've guessed by looking at my current family. So, let me introduce you to princess #4, whom I will no longer call big foot cause that's just not lady like. We're trying out Babe & Little Bit for the fifth "B". This is an old picture from our first ultrasound of Babe at 8 weeks. You can see where I got the "Bigfoot" from right ;-)
Here, she is showing us what a future Drama Queen she may be with the arm on the forehead. It was at the end of her ultrasound and I'm sure she was tired of all the poking and prodding.

Here's just a simple profile picture.

I can't believe how tiny she looked in her ultrasound. I guess since it's been almost 3 years I'd forgotten how small babies really are.

Sunday, we learned that we are indeed expecting another little girl. We have a first name, but are in need of a middle name. Thankfully we have about 21 weeks to come up with one. Little Bit is a perfectly healthy baby. The one thing that was 'off' in her measurements was the length of her legs. She's got long legs, which isn't too surprising, considering I'm tall, and so is Bug. All of her measurements, head, length, and whatever else was checked, except her legs measured exactly 19 weeks as they should've. Her legs on the other hand are a whole week ahead of the rest of her body.
I have been feeling pretty well. Up until we had the swine flu visit last week, my energy was decently returning. Now I'm just sleep-deprived from mid-night/early morning wakings. Babe has been active for probably a month or so. Her favorite time to wake up is right about bedtime....reminds me a lot of Bug. Nausea is no longer my constant companion, but the bouts of morning sickness seem to still hit at the oddest times. I am looking forward to recovering my energy.
The kids weren't too disappointed to learn that they were going to have another sister. The Boy asked what happened to baby Sammy as we'd been calling Babe. I told him Mommy was wrong about our baby being a boy. It had been a girl all along. I have to say the best response though came from Bean. I asked her if she was excited about her baby sister and she just looked at me, stuck out her pout lip, dropped her chin to her chest and collapsed into the floor in her typical pout/unhappy pose. It was too sweet. I know she really won't care once Babe is here.

Monday's Menu Plan 11/9-15

Well, it's another week. Here's what we're hoping to eat this week.

Monday~ Ravioli, salad, cheesy garlic knots

Tuesday~ Breakfast for Dinner--pumpkin pancakes, sausage, eggs

Wednesday~ BLTs, macaroni salad, fruit/veggie

Thursday~ Chicken Salsa & Black Bean soup, cornbread & salad. (freezer leftovers)

Friday~ Fish & Chips (or maybe onion rings...not sure what's in the freezer)

Saturday~ Pizza, Stromboli, or calzones

Sunday~ ?? we'll see what we're hungry for.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Choosing Thankfulness

It's been one of those days. The middles, Bear and the Boy, have been sick since Saturday night. High fevers, sore throats, coughing, and the Boy is terribly congested. It wears on a Mom...worrying about the kids. Yesterday we were able to get them into the pediatricians. Our diagnosis was the one feared by most parents this winter. They have H1N1, the Swine Flu. Last night, the Boy's fever peaked at 104.5. I panicked and rushed him off to the Emergency Room, where we were given the run around by the doctor. Unfortunately, my sleep deprived, stressed brain didn't put two and two together when he said "Oh it's just bronchitis." 5 minutes before he saw the Boy, the nurse told me his lungs were fine, echoing what the pediatrician had told us 6 hours before. I was half way home before I remembered....if you have bronchitis, your lungs aren't going to be clear....

Any way, I am choosing to be thankful. I am thankful that the Boy was able to come home with me last night and he did not need to be admitted. I am thankful that only Bear and the Boy are sick. Not the other 4 of us. Please Lord, let it stay that way. I'm thankful that even though it seems that so many things went wrong today, some things went right. Dinner for example. We had un-stuffed pork chops, scalloped potatoes, and butternut squash. Bug even tried her squash and found that she likes it :-) That is a HUGE victory for me. Bug is the first to declare something unfit for eating before she even tries it. I am thankful that the fevers today have been below 101. Hopefully, they will stay that way through the night. I am thankful that even though we heard rumors of Tamiflu costing $500, and our insurance not covering it, they were just that...rumors. In actuality it was well within the "normal" co-pay range. Lastly, I am thankful that, as my mother-in-law is fond of saying, This too shall pass, and we will be well and healthy again soon.

This post is linked to Gratituesday at

Monday, November 2, 2009

Some Giveaways

I stopped over to the $5dinner Mom's website this morning, to see if Erin had posted any great new recipes. I was delighted to see that she had several fun giveaways currently running.

The first is the Curious Chef giveaway. It is for a 27 Piece Build a Kitchen set and a 6 Piece cookie set. It would be perfect for my Bug who is always asking to help in the kitchen. Mostly with cookie baking and dreaming up recipes of her own.

The Second, The Land of Nod Breakfast in Bed playset. This Playset is ultra cute. We need "fresh" Kitchen toys and this would just be awesome for the kids. Plus, I would probably save it and let "Santa" give it to the kids on the Big Day. :-)

And lastly, Erin also has 2 other give-aways. One for the book Happy Baby Book, and the other for a Mod Mum sling. Either would be great, and as she mentions, you don't have to be pregnant to enter. They'd be great to stick in the closet until you get an invite to a babyshower.

Meal Plan 11-2

Here's the menu of the week...I don't konw how well i'll adhere to it. I have 2 pretty sick kiddos but it gives me something to strive for right ;-)

Monday~ Chicken Noodle Soup

Tuesday~ Beef & Bean burritos

Wednesday~ Pork Chops, scalloped potatoes & broccoli

Thursday~ Frittata, toast and bacon or sausage

Friday~ Pizza--Mommy's off to a Women's Seminar

Saturday~ Special Pasta

Sunday~ Left Overs or Spaghetti and Meatballs