Wednesday, September 28, 2011

No baby yet...

And I'm getting a bit uncomfortable and cranky. And extremely anxious. And very excited.

Thankfully my mom came up to stay with us on Monday so we have Granny here now to watch the kids while we are at the hospital. That is a load off my mind and I'm so thankful that she is here!

Otherwise, it is business as usual until baby arrives. I made muffins this morning, made a double batch of hummus for lunch, and chili is in the crockpot for supper. Laundry. Errands. A trip to the library. A walk and bike ride with the kids. Soccer tonight. Life goes on as we try to wait patiently for the new addition to our family.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Menu Plan - week of 9/26/11

Baby #3 is due to arrive this week....hopefully. I'm still hanging in there - trying to enjoy my two little kids before I head off to the hospital without them for a couple of days, trying to keep the house clean and laundry done, and still trying to menu plan because the family still needs to eat! Here is what we have planned this week:

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, melon
Cereal and toast
English muffins and scrambled eggs
Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Poor Man's Pizza, orange slices
Pita chips, hummus, carrot sticks with ranch dressing
Creamy Mac and Cheese, apple slices, raw broccoli with ranch dressing
PB&J, crackers and apple slices

Monday: Slow Cooker Angel Chicken with broccoli, lettuce salad

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Turkey Chili, cornbread, melon

Wednesday: Chicken Wild Rice Soup made with leftover Angel Chicken, cornbread, apple slices

Thursday: leftover buffet

Friday: Hot and Sour Soup, potsickers and eggrolls (store-bought from the freezer), green beans

Please stop by I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu planning resources!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

More nesting

By 10:30 this morning, I have done the following:

- made a double batch of homemade applesauce in the slow cooker
- made ranch dressing mix
- finished two loads of laundry
- played Barbies with my daughter and son
- cleaned out and organized our freezer
- baked a loaf of banana bread
- organized three kitchen cupboards
- finally unpacked and put away our china in the hutch from the move in May

You think I'm nesting, per chance? :-) This is what happens when you wake up at 5:30 a.m. with a contraction, hop out of bed and get ready for the day thinking "this could be it", and then.....nothing else happens. :-)

Have a very happy Saturday!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Favorite Finds - 9/23/11

Today I'm participating in Friday Finds hosted by Finding Joy in my Kitchen. This is a short list because baby will hopefully arrive in the next few days so I'm trying to be realistic! I still have a lot of apples to use up from our recent apple orchard trip so I focused on a couple of apple recipes. Here is the list of recipes that caught my eye the past couple of weeks and I'm looking forward to trying soon:

Healthified Fresh Apple Cake
(Photo and recipe courtesy of Eat Better America)

Creamy Apple Cinnamon Quesadilla
(Photo and recipe courtesy of Eat Better America)

Spicy Chicken Sandwiches

(Photo and recipe courtesy of This Mom's Happy Life)

Please visit Finding Joy in My Kitchen for more great recipe ideas!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Finally...a manicure!

I've wanted to get a manicure for some time now. I rarely get them - maybe once or twice a year. Pedicures - yes, I get them quite often during the summer. But manicures? I have a hard time justifying spending the $20 on something that looks good for a day or two and then starts peeling away. Plus, when I do get time to go to the nail salon by myself, my time without kiddos is so limited that I choose getting my toes done (which involves more pampering!) over getting my nails done.

So, I enlisted my own little beauticians in the making the other day who gave me a fabulous manicure. Their names are Alison, age 4, and Christopher, age 2. I highly recommend them. They are very friendly, talkative, and accept tips in the form of Goldfish crackers.

Here is the end result of my recent manicure. Beautiful!!

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

This pregnancy - Gratituesday

Only nine days to go till my due date. I'm huge, uncomfortable, and I have to admit, a little on the cranky side a good portion of the day. But, on this Tuesday when I'm linking up with Laura at Heavenly Homemakers for Gratituesday, I am taking a moment to be grateful for this wonderful pregnancy and savoring every minute of it. More than likely, this will be the last time I will be pregnant. I am trying to savor every single kick, squirm and roll in my belly. I thank God that He has allowed this pregnancy to go full-term and that it has been a relatively smooth nine months for me. I am in awe of how you can fall so deeply in love with someone whom you have not yet met, do not know what they look like, and don't even know if they are a boy or girl!

So, during these last few days of pregnancy, I am going to try to forget how hard it is to sleep, how much I miss being able to bend over to pick something up off the floor without grunting and acting like a contortionist, and how tired I am of going to the bathroom every thirty minutes (seriously, that last one isn't even an exaggeration.) Instead, I will focus on this blessing God has given us, how cute my kids are in their excitement of waiting for the new baby's arrival, and how grateful I am that I am able to be a mommy.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - week of 9/19/11

Last week I made everything on our menu plan (that may be a first!) and everything turned out really yummy. As I posted earlier, we really enjoyed the Kielbasa Bow-Tie Skillet and I hope you give it a try! I'm looking forward to breaking into our freezer stash of this meal in the upcoming weeks.

The kids and I visited an apple orchard last Thursday and came home with a ton of apples, so I'm looking for some good apple recipes to use up my stash. I'm looking forward to making the Apple Pie Bread for breakfast one morning (thanks to April at Angel Foods Kitchen for pointing out this recipe last week!) I also made an apple pie and homemade ice cream on Friday evening (of which we are still enjoying the leftovers!) Any other ideas? Please leave a comment with your favorite apple recipe - I'd really appreciate it!

Anyway, still no I've planned another week of meals. Nothing to double or freeze because my freezer is nearly full. Here's what we have planned so far:

Cereal and toast
Waffles and bananas
Honey Crunch Granola (another great granola recipe from Sarah at Clay in His Hands) with yogurt
Apple Pie Bread (new recipe), fruit

Tomato soup, grilled cheese, carrot sticks with ranch dressing
Pita chips and hummus, fruit salad
Homemade Chicken Nuggets, cottage cheese, apple slices
Creamy Mac and Cheese, apple slices, carrot sticks with ranch dressing

Monday: leftover buffet from the weekend (ham fried rice, pasta, whole wheat oatmeal pancakes, fruit salad)

Tuesday: Burritos (I have 17 of these babies in my freezer which I'm saving for after baby arrives, but I'm making a fresh batch for us to eat at my hubby's request. I use ground beef instead of chicken), chips and salsa, apple slices

Wednesday: leftovers or out to eat (soccer night)

Thursday: Homemade Pizza, lettuce salad

Friday: Hot Beef Cheddar Subs, sweet potato fries, green beans

Sat. and Sun.: ?? (I don't plan on the weekends anymore because everything is always so fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants)

For tons of menu planning ideas, please check out I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

One more freezer meal...

This recipe wasn't included in my last post about my nesting and freezer meals, and I just had to include it. I made this Kielbasa Bow-Tie Skillet last night and it was AWESOME. (Yes, another Taste of Home recipe).

(Photo and recipe courtesy of Taste of Home)

I used lower fat, lower sodium turkey kielbasa and it still turned out delicious. I made a double batch and now we have a nice, large portion of this fabulous meal ready to go in our freezer once baby arrives. It was fairly quick and easy to put together. Both of my kids liked it (well, okay, my 2-year-old son picked the sausage out of it and ate only that with ketchup but still, at least he tried it...) and my 4-year-old daughter gobbled it up. My husband went back for three helpings, which is always a good sign! I highly suggest you click on the recipe link and give this yummy recipe a try.

That being said, I'm done freezer cooking. There is no more room left in our freezer and I think my husband believes I'm getting a bit obsessed with having a freezer full of ready-to-go meals. But he's been a good sport about it. This morning I'm going to whip up one more double batch of our family favorite Peanut Butter Granola, store half in the freezer, and that will be it for me.

Adios kitchen, hello new baby!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Some Serious Nesting and Freezer Cooking

I have been busy in the kitchen the past couple of weeks. I'm 37 weeks pregnant with baby #3 and I feel the final countdown clock ticking away. More so than with my first two children. Perhaps this one will come a bit early? Anyways, I've been cooking, doubling, and freezing meals like a mad woman. Our little deep freeze has filled up quickly and I feel better knowing that once baby and I are home from the hospital, we will have some easy, homemade, nutritious meals to eat. Yes, I'm sure we'll be getting take-out once or twice for a few days, but at least we won't be eating it EVERY day and night. Here's what I've done so far:

Peanut Butter Granola - I made a double batch - put half in the freezer and we already polished off the other half. This will make for a quick and healthy breakfast or snack. Our favorite way to eat this granola is mixed with Greek Gods Honey Yogurt - so delicious! (and thanks to SnoWhite at Finding Joy in My Kitchen for the tip on using olive oil in granola - I used half olive oil and half canola oil in this recipe and it turned out nice and crunchy!)

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce - I doubled the recipe which will allow for at least three to four spaghetti meals for us.

Chicken Tacos - I doubled the recipe and froze a big batch of shredded chicken taco meat for easy taco night. Just heat up some tortillas or taco shells (which I've stocked up on from Costco in the past week), set out some salsa and sour cream, and we have an easy meal.

Cheesy Beef and Rice - we ate this last week so I made a double batch and put one pan in the freezer. This is the easiest ever - just thaw the casserole and bake. Maybe I'll get crazy and throw together a side salad. Either way, easy easy easy.

Burritos - I tweaked this recipe by using ground beef and homemade taco seasoning. Double the batch - kept out a few for supper and I'm freezing the rest (15 burritos!) for quick lunches or suppers once baby arrives. This was a new recipe and one I'll be making again in the future - my whole family really liked them!

Lasagna - I made a double batch. I froze one pan and we ate the other for supper one night (with plenty of leftovers for the next day or two). This was my first time making this recipe and it turned out really well and tasty.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread - this recipe makes two loaves, so we ate one for breakfast and popped the second loaf in the freezer for a quick breakfast or snack. I tweaked this recipe by cutting back the sugar by at least 1/2 cup and substituted 1 cup whole wheat flour for the white. It still turned out very tasty and my kids loved it!

Chunky Chicken Soup - I made a double batch and froze what we didn't use after supper one night. We have two Ziploc gallon freezer bags FILLED with this soup in our freezer now, which will easily provide for two separate meals plus plenty of leftovers. I served this soup with some cheesy bread I made under the broiler and fresh melon. Yummy!

Ham and Cheese Casserole (or "Hotdish", as I call it in my neck of the woods) - made this last night and it turned out awesome! This is another recipe that makes a double batch so one pan went into the freezer. We made a 7.5 lb ham last weekend so this was a terrific way to use up most of the leftovers we had. I think my husband ate about half of the pan - he loved it! (And yes, this recipe uses canned cream soup. Although I use the "healthy request" kind, I know it could still be made healthier...but this was super quick and easy to put together using the canned soup. Sometimes a gal needs to use some shortcuts!)

I have one more freezer meal planned for later this week and that will be it because our deep freeze will be FULL.

By the way, did you notice that a lot of these recipes are from Taste of Home? I bought the little Taste of Home book "Fall Freezer Meals" after I eyed it at the checkout in Wal-Mart. So glad I did - there are lots of great little recipes in that book.

In addition to cooking, I have the baby's room all put together - clothes and bedding are washed, closet is organized, bottles have been sanitized, diapers and wipes are bought. I've also cleaned out my laundry room and gutted the mud room closet (what would my mother think of such a messy laundry room when she comes up to help after baby arrives??!) I cleared out two shelves in the laundry room closet (lower shelves so little ones can reach easily) for my kids' art supplies so they can easily grab what they need and want when grandmas are watching them in the coming weeks. I'm keeping up on laundry every day so there won't be any laundry when we go to the hospital and everyone will have enough clean clothes and pajamas to last them a week if need be. I think we're we just need baby to arrive!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 9/12/11

I've been on another blogging sabbatical, so it seems. We've been busy with preparing for the new baby's arrival (only 2 1/2 weeks to go!), the start of preschool for my daughter, and a couple of VERY successful weeks of potty training my son. He's been in underwear for the last couple of weeks without an accident. I'm so proud of him - and it's so awesome that I will have about one month of no diapers or pull-ups to change or buy!

But I digress...on to menu planning. I've been nesting up a storm and doing a lot of cooking and baking for easy and healthy freezer meals once the baby arrives. I'll hopefully post more on that soon. But in the meantime, here is what we have planned for the upcoming week:

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread (I doubled the batch and froze one loaf - I also cut back on the sugar and substituted 1 c. whole wheat flour and it still turned out yummy!), bananas
Cereal and toast
Whole Wheat Muffins, strawberries
Bagels with cream cheese

Egg and cheese sandwiches (our homemade version of the Egg kids love these!), carrots and fruit
PB&J Sushi, crackers, fruit
Creamy Mac and Cheese, carrots and ranch dip

Monday: Ham and Cheese Casserole (new recipe - this recipe makes a double batch so I froze one), fresh fruit salad
Tuesday: Homemade Pizza, lettuce salad
Wednesday: T-ball until 6:30 p.m. so it is "clean out the fridge" night!
Thursday: Sausage Bow Tie Pasta Skillet (new recipe - doubling so I can freeze half), mixed vegetables, melon
Friday: leftovers
Sat. and Sun.: our plans always change on the weekends so I've decided to go "meal-plan-free" on the weekends

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