Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ready to Learn

For those of you who live in Utah County this is for you....

Macey's (the grocery store) has free classes. Mainly cooking classes which are fun but on the 4th Thursday of every month at the Orem store they have a BYU representative come and teach a class about child literacy, it's called the Ready to Learn Program. It is a great and fun class to attend. You always get a free children's book just for attending and they give away other prizes during the class too.

So if you are looking for something to do this is a great class and you get free stuff what more could you ask for!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What Motherhood is made of...

I find it curious that I now find getting through the day wearing the same outfit rather empowering. Getting Rachel through the day in the same outfit feels like I've been blessed with a miracle. I rate the successfulness of my days on how many times we make it to the potty, how many Cheerios we can put in our mouth, and on how long we nap for.

This is kind of a big change for me. Oddly enough, before Rachel came along none of these things really had any meaning for me.

I realized today that my day isn't successful based on how good the day went. Rather it is successful based on how I handle the crazy situations, like this evening while I was trying to make dinner.

Rachel was playing happily in the other room (miracle of miracles) and I had just gotten things really sizzling on the stove. That's when I heard the tell-tale sounds of a blow-out. I left the stove and checked on Rachel just to make sure it was what I thought it was. Sometimes she tricks me out.

Sure enough this was the biggest leak since New Orleans! It was up the back, up the front, up the sides... (I didn't take any pictures; I'm sure that you are all really sad about that).

I ran to the stove, threw some water on the rice that I had been frying, turned down the burner, and turned on the microwave in less than two seconds before I scooped Rachel up and balanced her precariously in my hands, trying not to touch any part of her messiness. On the way to the changing pad I took off her pants and socks and unsnapped her onesie. I peeled the onesie off without getting anything in her hair, amazing since she had leaked all the way up to her shoulder blades.

I got her scrubbed down, rediapered and playing happily then scrubbed out her onesie all before the meat had finished defrosting in the microwave. I didn't even burn dinner.

So I guess it isn't all about the little daily triumphs as much as it is about trumping the challenges that defines motherhood. And there certainly are plenty of those.

Funny Babyisms

We got a book for Christmas with pictures of and quotes about babies. Most of them are really cheesy, but a few are funny. Like this one: "Diaper backward spells repaid. Think about it." - Marshall McLuhan. We laughed a lot about that. And I especially wanted to post this for Nancy's sake because of your backwards game. There's a good one. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

homemade baby food

now that our little girl is here, instead of reading about pregnancy, I'm reading all about babies and looking for tips for a lot of the situations that can arise/are already arising. Mostly just filling my head with random bits of information since Katryn is only 11 days old.

as a gift, my mother gave me one of these:I'm very excited to start using it in a few months. it just reminds me of growing up, when we'd grind up dinner for my little sister, it was just so cool to see the food get all mashed up! I'm a cheap person, and baby food is just so expensive! so I plan on making my own with my grinder. Then I can freeze it in an ice cube tray for when she's teething to help soothe her and put it in one of these:

Which I only discovered because of Nancy, but am excited to try it out as well.

But while I've been searching around online, I found this webpage which has all these recipes for baby food and making baby and toddler friendly meals! maybe this can help someone out right now, I'll be sure to give it a try in a few months.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Linen Closet Solutions

Andrew's always sending me little homemaking tips that he reads about on LifeHacker.

He'll send me easy bread recipes (I do actually want to try to make bread some time) and organization ideas and cleaning tips and a lot of other things. He usually tacks his own little note on at the end of his message. Something like, "This would be cool."

I suppose I could take his little "hints" in one of two ways.

The first could be translated as this, "It would be cool if you actually cleaned something." That has the potential to create hard feelings though and I don't think that he means it that way.

The second is more like this, "You're a hardworking stay-at-home mom and I think this would make your life easier. That would be cool." Making my life easier is always cool with me and this way my feelings don't get hurt, so I'll take it this way.

Today's tip is one that I haven't tried yet. It sounds like a good idea though, so I'll share. I'm just in no hurry to sort through all of my sheets and actually do this. I suppose I will do it as occasion arises. Usually when I wash the sheets I just dry them and put them directly back on the bed...but the idea is that when you take the sheets out of the dryer you fold them up and put them inside one of the pillowcases in order to keep the whole set together. That way you have a nice little package in your linen closet instead of letting the pillow cases and sheets drift apart.

And while we're in the linen closet, my friend, Crys, just posted about rolling her towels instead of folding them...I just tried it because my linen closet is, also, always a disaster. I can now fit twice as many towels in. Seriously, where I had two I now have four. It worked wonderfully.

I often do that with my burp cloths so I don't know why I didn't think of doing it with towels. I guess just because my mom folded her towels, so naturally I had to fold mine, too.

Kids, Cats, Bunnies oh my!

It's cold outside, minus 45 right now actually. The kids are climbing the walls and I'm about to lose control. So, instead of screaming and yelling, I decided to turn my attention to a quieter, more organized form of venting. So here I am!
I'm frustrated because we have two adorable cats, Zamba, and Roman. Zamba I rescued two years ago almost on July 1st, Canada Day. In the midst of tractor pulls and lawnmower races, a woman in a motorhome was giving away free kittens. I couldn't resist. I brought Roman into the home last August. Here's the thing. Zamba detests Roman. Won't have anything to do with him (which suits me just fine since I've had both for almost a year and thus far have not had any kittens!) The trouble is she's started to not use the litter box. I think because he has probably marked it. Instead, she's been using either my closet (gross) or the basement as her own personal bathrooms. Frustrated, I went out and bought her a litter box just for her. Sadly, if she doesn't use it soon, I have to get rid of her. This makes me very sad. So I'm in the middle of putting her in the upstairs bathroom (where her new litter box is, away from Roman's) when I hear peals of laughter coming downstairs. This is never good. Laughter is good, outright hysterics, not so much in my household. I come downstairs to find Deklan and Malachi have a hold of Wilson, our beautiful Broken Back Pearl Lop Eared Rabbit. This in itself is not a bad thing, the bunny loves the kids and loves to play and moreso, be petted. However, in Deklan's hand is a bottle of Flourescent Orange Halloween Hairspray. My beautiful Broken Back Pearl coloured bunny is now flourescent orange. Not so cool.
The bunny, for the most part is cleaned off, Zamba, is still in the bathroom, and my kids are now playing a wild game of sorts in their bedrooms, where I'm sure when I go up I'll find have been turned upside down and inside out...
PLEASE PLEASE let it be SUMMER soon!

I So wish I could Sew!

Crys makes me wish that my sewing machine worked and/or that I actually knew how to use it. She keeps posting all these fun projects that she's doing.

This one, a jumper made from a man's dress shirt, looks particularly intriguing. Rachel has grown much too tall for all of her dresses--most look like little t-shirts on her now--so I'm interested in making her a dress, especially with Easter around the corner.

Perhaps I'll have to drop my grandma's old machine off at the repair shop and see what they can do and then hit the sewing machine!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Motherhood is Bittersweet

Each moment of motherhood carries an array of emotions. It is the most difficult, most time-consuming, most challenging, most rewarding and most wonderful thing I have ever attempted.

All of my time, energy, and focus goes straight to my baby. She is my first thought in the morning and my last thought before going to bed at night. She has caused equal amounts of joy and panic, distress and elation, laughter and tears. There has not been a moment since Rachel has been born that has not been confusing emotionally.

When we brought her home from the hospital she had fallen asleep in the car so we wheeled the bassinet into our bedroom and put her down for a nap. She was all bundled up and looked so small, fragile, sweet, and perfect. Perhaps I should have been happy, and I'm sure I was somewhere deep down inside, but the minute I laid her down I broke into heaving sobs.

"What are we going to do?" I wailed into Andrew's shoulder.

Not knowing what to do, he did just the right thing and wrapped his arms around me and rubbed my back without saying anything. Five minutes later, when I had regained some sense of dignity, I looked up at him and smiled,

"She's beautiful, isn't she? I'm going to take a shower."

And that seems to be how my life has been going ever since.

Every milestone that Rachel reaches, I, too, am forced to greet. More often than not my emotions are at odds; my whole life is an oxymoron. For me, each moment of Rachel's life has been filled with both trepidation and euphoria.

Whenever Rachel falls asleep I think "Oh, good. Now I can relax." But in no more than five minutes I find myself wondering if she is alright. Is she breathing? Is she cold? So much for a moment to myself.

Each time Rachel learns a new skill, whatever it is, rolling over, crawling, spitting, she is thrilled with herself. I, too, find myself excited in spite of the nagging voice in the back of my mind, reminding me that we can never go back in time. She's growing up right before my eyes. But what kind of a mother would I be if, instead of encouraging and praising my daughter, I discouraged her from trying anything new and secretly rejoiced at her failures?

It probably doesn't help that I spend a large part of my time feeling like a bad mother. Well-meaning comments often miss their mark and make me feel like I'm not doing my job. Advice is sometimes helpful but often so trivial that I can do little but assume that the giver thinks I am a lost cause. I can't say no to advice though because I have learned a lot of helpful things from other mother's experiences.

I believe, though, that mothers are supposed to feel like this. We need to feel that we aren't doing a good job so that every good moment tastes sweeter, so that we remain humble and continue to seek assistance and strength from others. We need to love each moment of our child's life, looking forward to each day with excitement. We also need to mourn each passing stage.

Mothers are supposed to be there cheering and applauding their child as they take first step; when the training wheels come off; at each play, recital, and concert; as they leave for their first date; when they graduate; when they get married. We love our children passionately--every part of them. We love how they grow, how they learn from their mistakes and triumphs, how they find every part of life a mystery. We encourage them, we wipe their tears and put band-aides on their boo-boos, and we show them how to live life with strength.

Our acclamations are not accomplished easily. We hide our teary eyes beneath a smiling face as we send our children off into the world...or even just out of arm's reach.

Friday, January 18, 2008

My Potty Training Woes

Since Nancy posted pictures of her poopy leg, thanks to Rachel, I thought it would be OK to share this......

So Ian is finally 100% potty trained. He doesn't even need a pull-up at night anymore. I must say that I am proud of myself for having this accomplished before we was three. But these past few days Ian has had the stomach flu, and along with the flu he has also had diarrhea. How do you train a child to deal with that? He is kinda scared of the whole thing and you know what I don't blame him.

We have not had good luck with dealing with this. It seems to come a little too quick for him to make to the bathroom in time. We have had to do extra loads of laundry to keep up with him being able to have clean underwear. Thank goodness we got our new washing machine delivered earlier than was planned.

So we don't know what to do expect to try to keep him close to the bathroom but that hasn't been working to well since.....oh no I better go because here comes Ian walking towards me with his legs spread apart.

Potty Training Woes

This week has been a hard week in the potty training area. Rachel used to be very good about just going whenever I sat her on the potty. She'd wake up from her nap, we'd go potty, and then we would play.

Not this week though. This week she'd wake up and then I'd try to make her use the potty but she'd just scream and arch her back. I'd get her to sit on the potty and we'd sit and sit and sit and sit and sit. Finally I'd cave and put a diaper back on her and then, not even a minute after that, while I'm walking out of the bathroom, she'd go.

It was horribly frustrating.

Anyway, the other morning we were having a little potty fight like this one. She sat on the potty for a good twenty minutes before I finally decided that enough was enough. I took her off the potty, because she has a tendency to tip over and land on her head if she decides to reach for something, and set her on the floor without a diaper on. I figured she would be okay because she'd only be sitting there for a few minutes.

I went and got dressed and checked on her and she was fine. I stood right by her doing my hair, she was fine.

All of a sudden she started giggling...and splashing!

I wheeled around. She had peed on the floor and was splashing away to her heart's content.

I quickly scooped her up and, holding her at arm's length, handed her off to Andrew, who was in the shower.

Mopping up pee is not my favorite thing to do in the world but it had to be done. And I'm happy to report that, although we only caught one pee today, Rachel stopped fighting me every time I tried to put her on the potty. Perhaps we're over that stage?

Immunity of steel

Does anyone else feel like they were dealt the sick card while their husband always seems to be able to discard that one? I swear, I've been sick since Christmas, with it all coming to a head with a pretty nasty sinus infection this week. I've been through a sore throat, a bad cough, congestion, achiness - the whole nine yards. Meanwhile, Taber has been the picture of perfect health. I am mostly astonished that even though being surrounded by all those germs, he's been able to avoid getting sick. I mean, we sleep in the same bed and we kiss. You can't tell me he wasn't exposed to the same germs that made me sick. This has led me to wonder why this could be.

1) Heavenly Father planned it that way. He knew it would be the husband (more often than not) that would have to go out and work to make a living for his family so he couldn't be getting sick all the time and missing said work. On the other hand, the wife would be at home (more often than not) so would be able to rest and recover more effectively than the husband (even though it's not very easy to recover while tending to the needs of another human being). I say "more often than not" because I know there are househusbands and working wives. In which case I would wonder if the immunities are switched?


2) Women get sick more often because they are (more often than not) wearing themselves out by caring for other people rather than tending to their own needs. Men out there, this is not to say that you don't work hard. Just in general, I think women tend to lack in the sleep department more than their counterparts. And I heard this week that fatigue basically invites sickness.

What are your thoughts? Who gets sick most often in your house? Have you noticed this trend in your marriage as well, or are we just a singular case? If it is the same in your house, why do you think this is?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Not doing anything

Rachel went down for a nap at around 9 o'clock this morning. I went down with her.

While I was falling asleep I noticed that I was berating myself for not getting anything done, so I quickly snapped myself out of that and told myself,

"You got up, did the dishes, put in a load of laundry, played with the baby, ate breakfast, switched the laundry over and put in another load...that's not nothing."

And then I promptly fell asleep. That felt good.

I think I tell myself that I don't do enough a lot. I think that's because I often don't feel like I accomplish much on the days when all I do is hold the baby and rinse out soiled clothes over and over and over again.

Most days I'm pretty good, but some days I just can't seem to motivate myself.

Since most of my time is devoted to mommy-things, I can't spend a big chunk of time everyday making my house immaculate so I need a cleaning schedule that takes like an hour, tops, but still leaves my house clean enough that I can stand it.

I tried FlyLady, but that didn't work for me. I just couldn't fly and felt guilt about not wearing shoes. (I hate shoes). Ad I can't stand the emails. Ugh.

The other day I happened upon Real Simple and I think it's more my style. Granted, their cleaning schedule is adapted from FlyLady...but I think it will work for me better.

So I'm adapting my cleaning schedule from an adapted version of FlyLady. I think that's ok.

Perhaps I like Real Simple better because it's nerdy, whereas FlyLady is cutesy. Real Simple has a Periodic Table of Cleaning, which I happen to find hilarious. FlyLady has a little house fairy, which I happen to think is lame (although when Rachel is old enough to want to please the house fairy I probably won't think it's quite so lame anymore).

Anyway...there you have it. Hopefully I'll be dedicated enough to get my house in order.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Queen beds were not made for 4

My 18 month old girls have picked up a nasty habit recently. Smoking, drinking, swearing? No - sleeping in mommy and daddy's bed. And when I said queen beds were not made for 4, I wasn't kidding. With the girls spreading and sprawling in between my husband and I, it leaves, on a good night, 2 inches on either side of them to squeeze into. It's not that co-sleeping is necessarily evil or wrong to do, because I know it works for a lot of families. But when mommy and daddy's sleep is suffering because of it, it is no longer working.

We spent the holidays with my family in Oklahoma. Because of space, all four of us shared a room at my parents' house. I think that is where it all started. Isabelle and Eliza would wake up in the middle of the night, see Taber and I sleeping peacefully in the bed across the room and want to join us. It was too hard for them to resist. I guess I can understand. So, the co-sleeping started there. It continued the almost two weeks we were there. It has continued the almost two weeks since we've been home. We haven't had an unincumbered night of sleep in about a month and my husband (and I) are getting fed up. Do any of you have any advice/knowledge/wisdom/experience that you would like to share? What do you do when your child wakes up in the middle of the night and doesn't want to go back to sleep, but you're too exhausted to deal with it? Do you just give in and bring them into your bed, or do you let them cry themselves back to sleep?

Other questions for those more experienced than myself:
  1. Did you experience pacifier addiction? Is there a 12-step program for that? How did you handle weaning your child off of their pacifier?
  2. My girls are getting some molars in. Is there anything I can do to make that easier for them? I fear they are building up Tylenol and teething gel resistance...It seems like it is taking forever for them to break through. Is there anything I can do to help speed that along?
  3. I am currently in the process of trying to figure out how to have my girls go from two naps a day to only one nap. They used to have a morning and an afternoon nap. I've heard that I should cut out the morning nap and only give them an afternoon nap, but they get so drowsy and cranky late morning, I feel like they are practically asking to take a nap. I have a hard time saying no to that. Any thoughts or advice on this one?

Mom at wits' end

Friday, January 11, 2008

Poopy Day

I'm on my third outfit for the day. Sometimes I just don't know where these things come from.

I was sitting at the computer helping Andrew test a website he's making. Rachel was sitting on my lap because she wasn't happy any where else.

Here's our conversation:

3:00 PM Andrew: [gives me the test URL]
Try registering for your mom
Here's a credit card for you:
[gives me fake credit card number]
Exp 1212

5 minutes
3:05 PM me: ahhh!
Andrew: What?
3:06 PM me: poooooooooooooop!

And then I sent him these pictures. Weird that I took pictures--technically I first changed Rachel and wiped down her legs. She had poop dripping off her heels. Gross, I know; I was sitting in it after all.

3:10 PM How do these things happen to me?!?
There was NIENTE in her diaper!
Andrew: How does she poop like that?!
me: No NOISE
just wetness
3:11 PM I looked to see if she had peed and...yucky!
she did it this morning on my other pair of jeans
not quite so extreme though
3:14 PM Andrew: Yucky

Yes, Abra, those are your jeans. Sorry.

I really haven't quite figured out how to catch this kind of poop. It comes out of no where, like Rachel wants to pull a fast one on me or something.

"Oh, so you're so happy that I've only peed in one diaper so far today and everything else went in the potty? Well watch this!"

And without grunting or complaining or making any noise at all I suddenly find myself absolutely covered in baby mess.

This is one of the less enjoyable things about motherhood, but I suppose all the kisses and giggles and cuddles and that look of joy when she first sees me in the morning makes things like this all worth it.

Let's hear a "Hip, hip, hooray!" for Lysol wipes!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


We had the cheese chowder on Sunday... (although I think that I called it Potato chowder on my menu plan so sorry) SO GOOD! LOVED IT! I didn't have carrots or celery but I put in celery salt. I also pureed the potatoes and added a can of creamed corn. I doubled the recipe and was thinking I could send some with the kids to school. No such luck, a neighbor came over, we fed her too. When I made mention I should put the rest in the fridge Billy said it was all gone! So Kudos to the Cheese Chowder recipe... Will be making this again SOON!!!!!

Dinner This Week

These were some of my favorite meals this week.

I love pesto! You can make it yourself but a quick helpful hint, buy it in a jar pre-made and you can use it to spice up sandwiches like we did here or toss it with pasta! YUM!

Who doesn't love lasagna? We had spaghetti earlier in the week and I used the leftover sauce to make this lasagna. Have to love the multi-cooking. As for the French green beans...well I never used to be a fan but they are perfect for little tiny hands to shove in little baby mouthes and they taste the same so why not?

Jason is such a beaner! He loves black beans. I used to buy them in the can but they are so much cheaper in the bag, so these ones I cooked myself. I did a quick soak with some water, the rinsed off beans, so baking soda, and salt. I brought the beans to a boil and then put the lid on the pan and let them sit for an hour. Then I dumped the water, added new water, prejared garlic (it saves me having to cut it up and it just sits in the fridge until I need it), sliced onions, and lots, and lots of salt. I let them boil on the stove for an hour and presto Jason is happy. For fun I threw some leftover Spanish rice on top. I also made some corn quesadilla with the Fresco cheese. Fresco cheese is salty and crumbly sort of like the cheese we used to get in Jordan. Corn tortillas are fun to use every once in awhile. They give the dinner a rougher more authentic feel.

Finally last night we had beef stew and French bread. There have been three babies born in our ward this week and since I'm on baby dinner duty I felt like stew was the way to go. Easy to cook a ton of it in a short amount of time so I can feed my family along with everyone else. As for the bread I can and have made my own French bread but to save my sanity this stuff is store bought. It was definitely a dollar well spent :) What I want to know is why doesn't my bread ever turn out as soft and squishy as the stuff you buy in the store?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

So I'm jumping on the Band Wagon....

Now that just after one week my house is 100x cleaner than it has been in a long long time I am feeling a lot more relaxed I've decided to go one step further and try out the monthly meal planning...
Here it goes! This is what the Bakers are having for Supper (and Sat. Breakfasts) for the month of January!

7th: Tacos or Texmex scrambled eggs
14th: Southwest bake
21st: Taco Salad
28th: Taco Soup

TUESDAYS (slacker day)
8th: Mac & Cheese
15th: Hot Dogs (ewww)
22nd: Lipton Sidekick of some sort
29th: Soup - Ramen or Tomato

9th: Spaghetti and Meatballs
16th: Penne Rose
23rd: Creamy Pasta Salad With Seashells
30th: Macaroni Tuna Casserole

10th: Chili
17th: Sloppy Joe's
24th: Jambalaya Express
31: Italian Hamburgers

11th: Potato Corn Salad
18th: Garlic Shrimp
25th: Sausage and Egg Breakfast Pizza

5th: Mustard Marinated Steak----Bacon and Eggs
12th: Saturday Night Supper---Honey Pancakes and Sausage
19th: Chicken with French Onion Biscuits--- Grits and Rye Toast
26th: Tomato and Pesto Stuffed Sirloin---Fruit Salad with English Muffins

6th: I'm going to try that Potato Chowder recipe
13th: Pineapple Brunch Bake
20th: Vegetable Frittata
27th: Banana Gingerbread Muffins with Yogurt or Cottage Cheese and fruit

So there you go! I'll give it a try and I'll let you know how well this turns out. I figure leftovers will make a great contribution to the kids school lunches as well as easy Sat/Sun lunches!

Here are a few recipes...
1lb ground turkey (I use beef or chopped chicken)
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 can Italian style tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups cooked small pasta shells or elbow macaroni
3/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees
Cook your meat in a frying pan until cooked through
Spread the meat in a casserole dish, stir in veggies, tomato sauce, seasoning, and pasta. Cover and bake 30 min or until veggies are tender, sprinkle with cheese.

2 cups Bisquick baking mix
1/4 cup milk
1 container French onion dip

Heat oven to 450
Mix all ingredients until a soft dough forms. Drop dough into 6 mounds on ungreased cookie sheet
Bake 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Kitchen helps

I have to admit that I never have followed a whole month's menu. We substitute meals all the time! But I find that at least by having an idea for every day I can relax more and not spend half the day wondering what we're going to eat. And I know how old the leftovers in the fridge are if we don't happen to use them up....


Andrew just sent me this link. I haven't looked at everything, but it's chock full of ideas, some of which you may find useful.

We love Lifehacker over at our house.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Month Menu and ramblings

I decided that after the first month of trying the month menu, I want to share my evaluation. As I knew about myself, I did not follow the menu to the T. Sometimes I don't feel like cooking. Sometimes in December we ended up eating with family when I hadn't anticipated doing so. I even ran out of ingredients sometimes so I wasn't always able to cook what I had planned. I knew before I started that these things would happen. I'm just a little sporadic in my cooking. So it goes. This made me reluctant in the first place to even try such a thing. The point of all this is: I'm glad I tried it even though December was a little crazy. Two days of work to prepare the menu and do the major shopping saved me lots of work throughout the month. I loved that. Matt also loved that I was more likely to cook more real meals since I was so planned out. So I like it. I got a late start this month, but I decided that that is OK because it gave me a chance to see what many of you are cooking this month so that I could steal ideas. I also decided that for this month I am including on my own list the amount of time each recipe is supposed to take. That can help me plan ahead a little I hope.
So here is the list:
Tuesday (Mexican except on New Years, I just through something together because I didn't have a plan):
1 Spaghetti
8 fajitas
15 southwestern casserole
22 tacos
29 mexican meat loaf

2 pizza
9 tortilla soup
16 parmesan chicken fingers
23 skillet lo mein
30 chicken stuffing casserole

Thursday (Chicken):
3 chicken rolls
10 Italian tomato-herb chicken
17 chicken a la king
24 Stoeffer's Skillet & ice cream - This is Matt's birthday. He chose the dinner. It's a nice freezer dinner. Lucky me.
31 chicken kiev

Friday (Rice-ish stuff):
4 Baked Rice with Green Chilies
11 risotto
18 polenta (and a side)
25 curried rice

Saturday (Beef):
5 mexican beef and bean
12 meatballs
19 chicken-fried steaks
26 sloppy joes

6 Leftovers
13 Leftovers
20 Leftovers
27 Leftovers

Monday (Breakfast for dinner):
7 Santa Fe Brunch bake
14 huevos rancheros
21 breakfast burritos
28 classic cheese souffle

Mexican Beef and Bean Casserole is one of our favorites that we happened upon soon after we got married. We have it every few months and love it. So here's the recipe:
1 lb. ground beef
2 cans (15 to 16 oz. each) pinto or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/2 cup thick-and-chunky salsa
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup shreaded Monterey-Jack cheese (4 oz.)

1. Heat oven to 375.
2. Brown beef.
3. Mix beef, beans, tomato sauce, salsa, and chili powder in ungreased 2-qt casserole dish.
4. Cover and bake 40 to 45 min, stirring once or twice, until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered about 5 min. or until cheese is melted.

Try it. It's delicious. Thanks for all your dinner ideas!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

My Cleaning Schelude

I like Abra's idea on having a cleaning schedule. I did this at one point in my life before I had kids and it worked out pretty well for me and I wanted to do it again so what better time then now, a new year's cleaning resolution. This is what I am going to try to do:

Mondays: Mop entry way & kitchen, vacuum stairs

Tuesdays: Clean kitchen (this includes counters, sinks, microwave, oven, & cleaning the fridge)

Wednesdays: Dust downstairs & clean/straighten our bedrooms

Thursdays: Bathrooms

Fridays: Organize something, a drawer, the hall closet, the linen closet, the garage, a cupboard, basically anything I feel that needs organizing at the time.

Oh and I have to vacuum downstairs & sweep the entry way everyday. Hopefully by posting this I will actually stick to it!!!!

My New Year's Resolution....

I totally appreciate everyone who posts their meal plans... I'm not that organized... I have no idea what's for dinner tonight even! It's crazy having such a hectic working schedule... (I work two jobs and have a busy family with three crazy wonderful children)
One of my resolutions for this year was to get a handle on my house cleaning (I can always throw together a meal of some sort I figure.) What I really needed to do was get more organized in my cleaning. In the past I've had lists, charts etc... All of which seem too overwhelming at times and shortly goes out the window. The last few months, things have really piled up and I've been feeling very overwhelmed with it all. So I made this simple little chart for myself. This one, I think I can keep up with....

Mopping (and sweeping) the floors, Mirrors, and Vacuuming (kind of goes along with Mopping...)

TSM, and TSM.... (Toilets, sinks mirrors, and Tidy, sweep and mop if needed)

Walls (I pick a set of walls ie: Stairway, or Bathroom walls...) and Washing (see laundry) and Windows

Thursday: TSM and TSM

FUN DAY! PICK A CHORE YAY! (hahaha, this is where I've put eight different chores that don't need to be done weekly into a jar and pick one!
The eight I've picked are:
1. Clean garage
2. Clean storage area
3. Clean fridge and microwave (gasp Nancy I actually put it on my cleaning list)
4. Wash baseboards
5. Wash light fixtures
6. Piper's Bedroom
7. Boy's Bedroom
8. My Bedroom

Stairs, Sweep and Mop, Dust, Stove


By associating the chores with the first letter of the day their supposed to be done... I just might be able to keep this one going...!

By the way, I love the Cheese Chowder Recipe... I've been wanting a good chowder one and this sounds really yummy thank you!


Bockholt meals, and what's for dinner tonight

I'm jumping on this wagon, but I only do a 2 week meal plan, and do my grocery shopping after every payday (which is every two weeks, makes my life easier):
my two weeks go from Dec 29-Jan 11, then Jan 12-Jan 25:

Wed 2nd: Chicken rolls (or cheese chowder)
Thurs 3rd: Noodles Florentine
Friday 4th: Tacos
Saturday 5th: Pasta night/leftovers
Sunday 6th: Chicken alfredo/pesto lasagna
Monday 7th: leftovers/unknown
Tuesday 8th: Empananadas (and I'll bake bread that day too)
Wed 9th: Chicken w/ pasta and pesto
Thurs 10th:Mac and cheese
Friday 11th: tortellini kabobs w/ pesto ranch dip

Saturday 12th: Pasta night/leftovers
Sunday 13th: Twice baked potatoes
Mon 14th: Chicken and Rice
Tues 15th: Artichoke stroganoff
Wed 16th: Spaghetti
Thurs 17th:Funeral potatoes
Friday 18th: pizza/eat out/leftovers
Saturday 19th: pasta night/leftovers
sunday 2oth:
monday 21st:
tues 22nd:
Wed 23rd:
Thurs 24th:
Friday 25th:

That's as far as I've gotten. . .I'm open to suggestions though! I'm going to post tonight's recipe as well, in case anyone wants it. And I hope those of you who have your plans post your recipes as well, then we can all benefit from some variety! that's my problem. Well, one of them.

What's for dinner tonight
Chicken rolls:
(I kinda make this one up. . .)
-1 chicken breast, cooked and cut up small(really small, or torn)
-1 8oz pkg of cream cheese softened, so it mixes easy
-1 pkg of cresent rolls (sometimes you need another 1/2 package)
-pile of cheddar cheese (this is according to your cheesy desire. I love lots of cheese because it melts up so nicely!
-about 2 tbsp melted butter
-bread crumbs (I use italian seasoned, but if you have plain, it doesn't matter, you could throw some italian seasoning in if you want)
-italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350deg. Open your package of rolls and lay on a plate, so they get a little soft. Mix together the cream cheese, cheddar, and chicken, and add the italian seasoning until you like the taste (a few dashes works well) I also like to add dried chives. Take a roll and kind of flatten it, squish it out to make it bigger, but be careful not to tear it. Put a spoonfull or so inside and then seal it up good. you don't want them leaking all over the pan, (but they might leak anyway, I always have at least 3 that leak). Then roll in butter then bread crumbs and place on pan. Continue until your out of rolls or mixture, whichever comes first. If you have leftover mixture, it makes a good quesadilla, or eaten as is with chips.
Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until they're browned. Serves about 3-4 people--2-3 rolls a person

(serves 4-6)

-2 cups boiling water
-2 cups diced potatoes
-1/2 cup diced carrots
-1/2 cup diced celery
-1 tsp onion salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1/4 cup melted butter
-1/4 cup flour
-2 cups milk
-2 cups grated cheese (I put 3 cups in, because I'm a cheese junkie)
-1/2 cup cubed ham (and I leave this out, because we don't ever have any)

Cover and simmer for 10 minutes the water, potatoes, carrots, celery and seasonings. Don't drain! Whiles simmering veggies, makes a white sauce of melted butter, flour and milk. Do this is the microwave, it's easier! Combine and microwave for 90 seconds, stir and repeat 2-3 times until the sauce is thick--add cheese to sauce and let melt (I think I microwave again, just to make sure the cheese melts). Add the ham, the stir into the pot of veggies on the stove. Heat it all together, but don't boil!

I think the chowder can freeze pretty good. I'll find out today, because I'm trying to stock up on freeze meals for when the baby comes, as well as meals Matt can just take to work with him.

That's what the Bockholts are eating! What are the rest of you eating? I want those recipes! :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Dinner with the Buchanan's

I love Nancy's way of doing a meal chart for the whole month. Here is what the Buchanan's will be eating for the month of January:

Sundays: 6 - Thanksgiving Turkey (we still one that Jared got from work)
13 - Cesear Chicken & Rice Pilaf
20 - Pot Roast
27 - Chicken Cordon Bleu

Mondays: 7 - Turkey Leftovers
14 - Ham & Potato Casserole
21 - Root Beer Chicken over Rice
28 - Chicken Cordon Blue Leftovers

Tuesdays: 1 - I had Mc Donalds
8 - Chicken Enchiladas
15 - Chili & Corn Bread
22 - Tacos
29 - Sloppy Joes

Wednesdays: 2 - Chicken Tortilla Soup
9 - Spaghetti Pie
16 - Chicken Fettuccine
23 - Spaghetti
30 - My Mom's Angel Hair Pasta-Roni Recipe

Thursdays: 3 - Baked Potatoes
10 - Turkey Noodle Soup
17 - Potato Soup
24 - Oriental Flank Steak
31 - Teriyaki Chicken

Fridays: 4 - Beef Roll Ups
11 - Pizza
18 - Pizza
25 - Pizza

Saturdays: I don't cook so we eat whatever is easy!!!!