Thursday, September 30, 2010

Too busy? Really?!

I know I haven't been posting very often lately. If it weren't for Menu Plan Monday I feel like I wouldn't post at all. The truth is, I have quite a few recipes stacked up that I need to post. I have a few fun kids-craft-type things to post, too. But seriously, I have had NO time. Or no energy? Tough to tell the difference sometimes. Really, how can a no-work-out-of-the-home-stay-at-home-mom have no time? Well, now I know...naptime has been filled with cleaning, organizing, paying bills, laundry, and grabbing a quick lunch for myself. By the time the kiddos are in bed, I'm too exhausted to even think about being creative with a post. I usually love posting in the early-morning hours - before the kids are up, a quiet house, and nice hot cup of coffee. But the kids have been getting up earlier...and crankier (but that's a whole 'nother story.)

The moral of the story is...I'm still here. I'll post something (hopefully) worth reading soon.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Menu Plan: Week of 9/27/10

The darling, super-duper-extra-hard-working-for-his-family hubby will not be home in the evenings most of the week this week, so I'm planning kid-friendly (yet healthy...therein lies the trick, right?) meals for me, my toddler and my preschooler. Nothing fancy, but hopefully the kids won't mind that I decided NOT to feed them boxed mac and cheese and spaghettios all week long (as tempting as it is!)

Here's the plan for the week:

Raisin Bran Muffins
Breakfast Cookies
Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes (freezer)
oatmeal with bananas and raisins and toast

Turkey wraps, crackers, apple slices
PB&J, chips, carrot sticks
Vegetable soup, crackers, orange slices

Monday: Creamy Macaroni and Cheese, carrot sticks with homemade ranch, cantaloupe

Tuesday: Homemade Chicken Nuggets (recipe to come soon), oven fries, green beans

Wednesday: (Hubby should actually be home this night) Chicken pot pie (made with leftover crockpot chicken from last week), lettuce salad, cantaloupe

Thursday: Spaghetti with slow cooker marinara sauce, applesauce

Friday: Out to eat!

Saturday: Clean out the fridge night

Sunday: BBQ chicken drumsticks, pasta salad, mixed vegetables

Please visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu planning inspiration!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Things I Love Thursday - Mendota Sparkling Water

As some of you know, I gave up Diet Coke nearly two weeks ago. It has been amazingly easier than I anticipated. Around noon every day, I craved that yummy goodness of an ice-cold Diet Coke. I thought giving it up would cause me to be sluggish and cranky since I figured it was the caffiene I needed and wanted. Well, the day I gave up Diet Coke, I bought a six-pack of Mendota sparkling lemon water. Now I have one of these every day instead of my Diet Coke and they are awesome. The ingredients: Carbonated water and natural lemon flavor. That's it.

It turns out that it wasn't the caffiene I necessarily craved from my Diet Coke, but instead it was the carbonation. I really need that extra little zip in a drink in the afternoon that tap water doesn't provide. So the new "thing I love" is now sparkling water, which has allowed me to (almost) kick my Diet Coke habit!

This post is linked to Things I Love Thursday at the Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A lazy, tired SAHM's supper

After a terrible night's sleep, hosting a playdate that morning, chasing around two kiddos, cleaning up after the playdate, and a hubby that was having a work-related dinner out on the town and wouldn't be home that evening, I had zero - zippo - nada - absolutely NO energy or desire to cook a supper for myself or my children on Monday evening.

So what to do? My daughter actually suggested a picnic lunch (despite the fact it wasn't lunchtime), which sounded like an excellent idea to me. So five minutes and one full muffin tin later, supper was served. I cut up a PB&J sandwich and put each piece in a muffin tin, surrounded by pretzels, pickles, apple slices, and a cheese stick for each kid. I spread a blanket on the kitchen floor and we had ourselves a little kitchen-floor-picnic. Hardly any dishes or cleanup and the kids loved it. I even got a chance to sit and rest for a few minutes on the floor with my kiddos, which allowed me to gather up enough energy to take them to the library after our meal. Everyone was happy!

(And yes, those are tattoos on my children's forearms. You send your kids to the zoo on a Sunday afternoon with their dad, and they come back with tattoos).

Nutritionally, would I do this every night? Certainly not. But I'm tucking this idea away for future very-tired-SAHM-by-herself nights. So maybe every other night, then?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Menu Plan: Week of 9/20/10

A few meals didn't get made last week so are carried over to this week. We're mostly eating from the pantry and freezer again, which provided for only grocery shopping for necessities this past weekend (fruit, bread, milk, and cheese).

Here's what's on our menu this week:

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes (freezer), bananas
French toast (leftover from the weekend)
Honey crunch granola with yogurt and stawberries
cold cereal and toast


Tomato soup, grilled cheese, grapes
PB&J, carrot sticks, pretzels
Cheese quesadillas, apple slices

Monday: husband won't be home so the kids and I will likely have sandwiches

Tuesday: Taco Mac and Cheese (carryover from two weeks ago - made with ground turkey instead of beef), lettuce salad, fruit

Wednesday: CrockPot Chicken (carryover from last week), baked potatoes, green beans

Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie (with leftover chicken), lettuce salad

Friday: Clean out the fridge night

Saturday: Three Cheese Ziti (freezer), breadsticks, orange slices

Sunday: Homemade pizza, lettuce salad

Extras and baking:
Granola bars
Banana bread

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Frugal Friday - save on shopping by donating clothes!

Do you have a Herberger's near you? If so, there is a terrific opportunity to save 20% on nearly every item you buy by bringing clothing donations to their store for Goodwill. Near the entrance of the store, you will find a table where a clerk will collect your clothing donations and give you a 20% off coupon for each item - yes, each and every clothing item - you donate. That can really add up to a LOT of coupons! The best part (besides, of course, cleaning out your closet and donating clothing to a good cause) is that these coupons can also be used on most sale items as well.

I haven't typically shopped Herberger's (I've been trying to stay out of department stores lately!) except in the last few months I have scored some great deals on kids' fall clothes and some items in their kitchen department. I believe this Goodwill coupon deal goes for another week or two, so check it out if there is a Herberger's in your area.

This post is linked to Frugal Friday at Life As Mom.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Menu Plan: Week of 9/13/10

Dear ol' hubby was gone a lot of evenings last week so we didn't stick to last week's menu plan much. (I don't cook big suppers when it's just me, a toddler and preschooler). I'm looking forward to carrying over last week's meals into the coming weeks. We are still without ground beef and our freezer supply is slowly dwindling, which is a good thing. What a blessing to ever have to say, "Man, we have too much food in this freezer!" Here is what we have planned this week:

Honey Crunch Granola with yogurt and fruit
cold cereal and toast
Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes (freezer)

picnic lunches outside on the nice days
tomato soup, grilled cheese, and apple slices

Monday: hubby won't be home in the evening so it's Poor Man's Pizza and leftovers from the weekend for me and the kids

Tuesday: Swiss steak, baked potatoes, corn on the cob

Wednesday: Spaghetti with slow cooker marinara sauce, lettuce salad, orange slices (Does it seem like we have this spaghetti with this sauce at least every other week? Well, we do. It is awesome, my kids love it, and it's a great way to get them to eat some veggies!)

Thursday: Lentil Rice Casserole, lettuce salad, fruit

Friday: Clean out the fridge night

Saturday: Cheesy Green Enchiladas (new recipe - made with leftover frozen pork instead of chicken), chips and salsa, green beans

Sunday: Crock Pot Chicken (new recipe - my first try at making a whole chicken), roasted potatoes, carrots

Please visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu planning ideas.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Today is the day...

that I will enjoy my last...yes, last...Diet Coke this afternoon.

I'm giving it up cold turkey tomorrow. So when I say I'm going to enjoy it today, I mean really enjoy.

I do only drink one (usually one...okay, sometimes two) each afternoon. I really look forward to it. It is my afternoon pick-me-up during naptime (okay, usually a little before naptime). But seriously, look at the ingredients on the side of the can. Is this what I'm putting into my body each and every day? I stress over feeding my kids the occasional non-organic grape or apple, yet apparently see nothing wrong with putting aspartame and phosporic acid into my body each day?

The start of my downfall was that darn lure of the siren song of McDonald's. "$1 soft drinks, any size." And any soda-loving, caffeine-addicted mama knows just how goooood McDonald's fountain soda is. Seriously, do they put crack in that stuff? Why is it so good? I often found myself pulling in to the drive-thru this summer to get my cheap-o (just $1.08 with tax...) super-duper extra-large Diet Coke as my afternoon, 0-calorie "treat." Nothing wrong with this, right?

Well, two things happened:
The first instance: While running errands one day, my daughter sweetly asked her obviously-cranky mama from the backseat, "Mama, do you need a Diet Coke?"
The second instance: My 3-year-old and 1-year-old were playing in the living room. My daughter grabbed their sippy water cups, handed one to her little brother, and said, "Here, let's drink our Diet Cokes."

That about broke my heart. I'm trying to set a good, healthy example for my kids, and here they are thinking that it would be neat to drink Diet Coke out of their sippy cups. Yikes. Yes, I know it could be worse. As I told this story to a fellow SAHM yesterday, she laughed and said, "It could be a lot worse. They could've said 'Budweiser' instead of Diet Coke."

Everything in perspective, right?

Anyway, today is my last day of cold, refreshing, aspartame-filled, caffeinated yumminess. May God help me and family in the days to come.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Menu Plan: Week of 9/6/10

I'm still in the same boat as last week with no ground beef and trying to use up various cuts of meat and chicken found in my freezer. (My deep freeze is now less than half full! I can't believe the progress we've made in using up what we've had in there.) This is a pretty big "eat from the pantry and freezer" week with a couple of new recipes thrown in for good measure. Here's what's in store for the week:

Whole Wheat Strawberry Banana Muffins (freezer)
Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes (freezer), bananas
cold cereal and toast
Cinnamon Raisin toast (from Finding Joy in My Kitchen), bananas

Tomato soup, grilled turkey and cheese, apple slices
Chicken strips, cottage cheese, carrot sticks
PB&J, carrots and chips

Monday: Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff (new recipe), broccoli, lettuce salad

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos (carryover from last week), chips and salsa, canteloupe

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: Barbeque Chicken Drumsticks, tator tots, frozen mixed vegetables, fruit

Friday: Taco Mac and Cheese (new recipe from the $5 Dollar Dinner Mom), green beans, honeydew melon

Saturday: clean out the fridge night

Sunday: grilling or out to eat?

Baking and Extras:
Banana Bread
Carrot Puree (from Finding Joy in My Kitchen) to keep in the freezer

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Things I Love Thursday - EasyLunchBoxes!

I am one of those sorry little people that walk around all the time saying, "I never win anything." But that never stops me from entering a good giveaway - and I was lucky enough to win the giveaway for Easy Lunch Boxes hosted by My Life As A Domestic Nerd (check out her site for really great recipes, like this Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake...need I say more?!)

At first, I thought I won a set of four containers, which I was thrilled with. But then yesterday I received the awesome box from the UPS man, opened it up and was even more thrilled to find out the giveaway also included a terrific insulated cooler tote! Let me tell you, these lunch kits are not the kind of plastic lunch containers made by your favorite storage bag company that you find next to the sandwich bags and trash bags at your local store. The Easy Lunch Boxes are super-sturdy and extremely well made; these things are going to last for a LONG time! My daugther, who starts preschool next week, was excited to help me wash them up and get them ready for her lunches next week. She will get to pick which color lid she wants each day, as well. Check out the website for cute, fun and different lunch ideas - this will help me get out of my PB&J rut!

I love these lunch kits! And from someone who previously "never wins anything" this giveaway really takes the cake! Thank you A Domestic Nerd and!

This post is linked to Things I Love Thursdays at Diaper Diaries.