Friday, March 28, 2008

April Appetizers

So I just went to make up my shopping list for the next two weeks and noticed that I only had two days of meals planned because...March is over! Amazingly enough, the end of each month continues to surprise me. You'd think that I would realize that day 28 is rather close to day 30 but somehow my brain breezes over that fact.

Before I could make my grocery list I had to make a month of menus. Kim commented to me that this is a good idea but she doesn't think she can do it. Well, I didn't feel like sitting down and thinking of original things to make so I copied January's list, pasted it under April, took out the meals I didn't want to make and had to think up like only 7 or so different meals for the whole month. I mostly took out oven meals because I don't think we'll be wanting to use our oven very often once the hot weather takes over.

So, Kim, if you want your month of meals planned, just look at the past menus and steal a complete month's worth of menus--no thinking involved! Steal away, steal away.

Here's April for you:

Sundays--Sunday Dinner
6: Breakfast for dinner
13: Egg Salad Sandwiches
20: French Toast
27: Mashed potatoes

Mondays--Mexican Night
7: Burritos
14: Taco Salad
21: Chicken Fajitas
28: Quesadillas

Tuesdays --Make your own/Leftovers

Wednesdays--Rice and other
2: Spanish Rice
9: Sweet & Sour
16: Pork 'n' beans 'n' hot dogs
23: Stroganoff
30: Meatballs

Thursdays--Pasta night
3: Alfredo
10: Pesto
17: Pasta Salad
24: Just noticed I put down pasta salad again so this will be a mystery spaghetti day

Fridays--Pizza night

5: Gravy and Fries or Hashbrowns--whatever's in the freezer
12: Pineapple Chili
19: Sub Sandwiches
26: Chili

Food Storage

I couldn't figure out how to post a link in the comment section, so I'm going to try doing it in an actual post. Anyway, here is what I was going to say in response to Joy's question.

It's funny that you brought this up because just a day or two ago I came across the answer to your question. I am in the same situation. My parents gave me some cans from their food storage, but they are quite old so I was wondering the same thing as you. Our ward is going to the cannery today as assignment and so in preparation our RS prez gave us order forms. On the order form (you can find it here: it lists all the items they can/sell and right next to it, it lists their storage lives in years (assuming it was stored according to recommendations all those years). Anyway, I think it should answer your question. Also, you should check out the Church's food storage website( It has lots of good stuff. And here is more information about recent findings on food storage life.,11666,7797-1-4222-1,00.html and,1721,495006685,00.html

New/Old food storage

Wednesday night we got a whole ton of food storage items from a couple in our ward who passed away a few months ago (their daughter still lives in the house and had the YM clean it out for their service acivity). The only problem I have with this situation is that some of the food is starting to get a bit old. I know some of you are much more in the know about food storage from the cannery than I am and maybe you can help me know if something is just too old. (My mom's advice was to just open one of all the cans and see if it's good or not, but that's a lot of effort and I don't want to store something in our apartment if it's not going to be useable...) So here's what I have:

Pinto beans (1993)
Salt (1993)
Rice (1993, 1999)
Fruit drink mix (1999)
Apple slices (1999)
Dry milk (1998)
Chocolate milk (hot chocolate) (1999)
Wheat (1998)
Sugar (1993)
Chopped onion (1999)
potato pearls (1998)
Rolled oats (1998)
Chocolate pudding (1998)

If you have any better advice about this food (there are over 40 cans all together) let me know please!!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Drool, snot and tears

Amy's crying in her crib right now because she wants to be asleep, but she's not. I was just rubbing her back and trying to help her calm down. She has a runny nose, and she and I keep going back and forth about whether or not she should suck on her binkie to help her calm down. I put it in; she pulls it out with drool and snot stringing between it and her face. Plus the tears running down her cheeks. To make matters worse, she got her shots today. She hasn't really seemed bothered by them before other than the initial pain if getting poked with needles. Today she has screamed more than normal though. Poor girl. I think she hurts. So sad!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I don't know about any of you but I will confess.....I HATE doing laundry. I just need to vent for a minute. When I was single I could get all my laundry in one day and kept it under control for a week or so. When I first got married it was just about the same....I could spend one day doing laundry and feel accomplished that I had completed our laundry for the week.

Now having me, a husband, and two kids it just never seems to be completely done. I ALWAYS have a load in the washer, a load drying in the dryer, a couple of piles of clean clothes that need to be put away and of course there is always a pile of dirty clothes in our room and each of the kids rooms and occasionally a pile in the bathroom.

The laundry seems to be never ending. I am OK with getting the clothes washed and dried, it's the putting away I seem to have a huge problem with. It just seems so discouraging because every time I turn around the dirty clothes piles seems to be multiplying and replenishing more work for me to do!!! ARRRGHHH..go away dirty clothes!!!!!

Does anyone have any good laundry tips on how to stay on top of things?? Or do any of you feel my pain?? I would love to hear what you all have say about this matter!!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Homemade Goodness

I used to think that some of the things people did for their babies were crazy, but that was before I had one. For example, I used to think that making your own baby food was crazy. Why would you do that? Gerber really isn't that expensive, is it? Well... yes and no. Its not really too expensive until you've suddenly got a child that can eat through $15 of baby food in 10 days. Then is suddenly seems to much more expensive.

I've been thinking for a while about just biting the bullet and making my own baby food and I finally just did it. Let me tell you, it was a lot more fun, a lot less crazy and so much cheaper than I expected! Check out my freezer door!

I made (bottom shelf from left to right) peas, green beans, garden veggie, carrots, spiced winter squash, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and (topd shelf left to right) melon, banana, blueberry sweet potato pie (blueberries, sweet potatos cinnimon and plain yogurt), peach apricot, peach and apricot baby food cubes. The melon and banana are just diced and ready to thaw and smash before serving (or dice smaller for finger food) and the apricto isn't in cubes (apricots don't really freeze, they get soft set). I also have some apricot winter squash still in the ice cube tray, and blueberries and mangos to deal with. I'd really like to try an apple-peach-mango combo for Allison. Most of my recipes I found at Wholesome Baby Food. Great resourse with tons of information on how to make it, what tools you need, when to introduce what foods, TONS of nutritional info and lots of fun "recipes" and combinations to try.

For most of my foods to make my life easier I bought (on sale!) 1 pound packages of frozen fruit or veggies. So easy to quickly steam or boil, then puree with added liquid in my blender. The only "tool" I had to buy was more ice cube trays, which I found 3/$1 at dollar tree. All in all, I really enjoyed doing what I used to think was crazy. =)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

no-bake cookies and easter garland

Holy cow, these have become a staple in our house the past few weeks. Matt's been eating them for breakfast and lunch. good thing I usually make a good dinner for him, or he'd eat them then as well.

Growing up our family didn't make these very often, because my dad doesn't like them. I don't know why, probably the sugar overload. Anyway, the recipe's easy, and they're ready in about 15 minutes or so. and they don't involve too much mixing by hand, which I don't like doing very much.

No Bake Cookies

1 cube butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
dash of vanilla
4-6 cups oats
1/2 cup peanut butter (optional)

boil butter sugar and milk for about 2 minutes, add cocoa powder and vanilla. Take off of stove top and add oatmeal (and peanut butter, if you so desire. We never desire). spoon onto a tray and place in fridge. Makes about 2 dozen. (I put wax paper on the sheets so I don't have to wash them!)

It's like our new sunday tradition! and it's tasty.

As for the easter garland, I found this at Tip Junkie and thought it was great.

Basically it's easter eggs with holes punched out on each end and strewn together with string to make pretty decorations. (and cheap, which I'm ALL about) I can't get the image to load, so go there and check it out (besides, they have lots of other cool stuff on their page).

I'm going to hit up the after easter sales to get my eggs for this, because why pay full price when I can wait a week and get it for half price?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Veggie Tales

I just purchased 2 Veggie Tales DVDs. My grand total: $0!

Well, I had to pay for shipping, but it was still pretty cheap. We don't have a lot of children's movies so I figured since they were this cheap we should go for it.

Big Ideas has a lot of their DVDs on sale right now and then if you use the coupon code "wiz" $10 will be taken away from your total. I bought the two cheapest DVDs and so they were completely free (+ shipping and handling, which came to be about $4).

I think we will save Lyle the Kindly Viking for Rachel's birthday and The Star of Christmas for, well, Christmas, of course. They were each on sale for $4.95 (marked down from $14.99). There were a few more for that price, and quite a few more between $7-10. I thought it was a good deal, especially since the coupon meant it was completely free.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Another Potty Training Story

There once was a time that Rachel would just sit on the potty if you put her there, and before that there was the time that she couldn't sit up anywhere at all--but that was a long, long time ago. Sure, she'd fall off the potty every once in a while and I'd have to catch her before she hit the ground, but for the most part she'd just sit there. Then her balance got good enough that I could, say, put her on the potty and brush my teeth or put a load of laundry in.

Those good ol' days are over. Now Rachel will only sit on the potty if she wants to. Otherwise she'll just get off. I have no problem with her getting off the potty, except that it kind of sticks to her little bummy and so when she starts crawling, the potty goes along with her for a little bit until it becomes unstuck.

Usually this isn't a big problem. Except that Rachel has discovered that an upside down potty makes a wonderful drum. She doesn't understand why I don't approve of that activity.

It is a pretty big problem when she decides to get down by herself after she's used the potty, though. More often than not I'm close by, doing my hair or something, and can tell her to "stay on [her] potty" and then can help her off. Today, however, was different. I left her unattended for about thirty seconds, which is something you just shouldn't do with Rachel.

"You go pee-pee, Rachel. Mommy's going to go get some clean clothes for you."

I ran into her bedroom, grabbed the first onesie and pair of pants that I saw and raced back to the bathroom.

I was too late. Rachel had gone pee-pee, decided that she was done and climbed off the potty. It had stuck to her bum when she got down on her hands and knees and half of the pee had spilled on the floor. The potty, luckily enough, had stayed right side up and Rachel was busy splashing the pee remaining in the bowl, unluckily enough.

She only got a few good splashes in before I stopped her but those splashes were enough to get pee pretty much everywhere. How, how, how does she make such big messes so quickly?

On a happier note, I found a way to get her to play with her own toys and books instead of exploring.

I clean them up. The minute her books are back on the shelf and her toys in their bins, she's back pulling everything out again. It's an almost foolproof way to keep her entertained for 2 minutes to two hours. The only problem is that there are only so many times a day I am willing to clean up her toys!

This Just in

There's a class called "For the Love of Food" at the Provo Library. This month's class, on March 18, is on heart healthy eating. It's at 7:00 pm in room 309 (Bullock) in the library; admission is free.

April 15th is on fitness.
May 20th is on grains.
June 17th is on vegetables.
July 15th is on dairy.
August 19th is on protein.
September 16th (I think--the date isn't actually on the poster. odd.) is on quick meals and snacks.
October 21st is on nutrition during pregnancy.
November 18th is feeding infants.
December 16th is on feeding preschool children.

Apparently there will be information about stretching your budget and preparing healthy food.

If you're interested, be sure to check it out!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Korean Carrots

I am going to make Korean Carrots to go with dinner one of these days. I have been craving them ever since I've gotten back from Russia. I even bought the little gizmo that shreds the carrots into perfect little strips with gift card money soon after we got married because I wanted this salad so badly.

I still haven't made it, but I used my julienne peeler while making another salad today and it made my mouth water just thinking about Korean Carrots. So I went online and found some recipes.

These two look the best to me!

Now I can't wait to go out and buy a big bag of carrots--or at least a few big carrots. I'm not sure we could eat a whole bagful before they go bad. We usually just buy baby carrots because they are instant food, but you need nice long carrots for Korean Carrots.

They sell this on the street in Russia in big huge vats! You just say how much you want and they scoop it into a baggie for you and you take it home for dinner. My host mom would bring it home at least once a week because I liked it so much. Perhaps I exaggerate--it may have been only every couple of weeks.

The first night I arrived in Russia my host mom had a big meal all spread out for me on the table. It was well after midnight when I arrived and we had eaten on the plane. And then we had eaten on the bus on the way down from Moscow. And then my host dad, Alexander (he had me call him Alex, because it was American, while everyone else called him Sasha), gave me some cookies in the car. And then my host mom, Oxana, expected me to eat this huge meal.

She started with the appetizer, of course, which was the Korean Carrots. And they were so delicious I just gobbled them down. I couldn't help myself, even though I wasn't really that hungry. Because I ate so much of the appetizer she gave me second helpings of the main course, which wasn't really even that great--just rice drizzled with oil and a half-cooked hamburger blob thing. And then more cookies!

And my mom wondered why I gained weight in Russia.

Anyway, I've been thinking about Russia a lot today and I really want some of these carrots!

Free Chips and Cheese - Act Fast

So here is a awesome coupon for free chips. The only downer is the coupon expires really soon but the site allows you to print up to two. I took my two coupons and got a free bag at Walmart and then stopped at Target and got a free back there as well. There is also a link to A Full Cup that allows you to generate more then one coupon for cheese at Target. The coupon is for 50 cents off the purchase of two market pantry cheese packages (expiration date 3-8-08). You can print five, six, seven, eight or whatever number you want and then go to Targetand pick up the individually wrapped market pantry cheese packages. They are 24 cents a piece. That means that for every coupon you have you can get two free cheese sticks. I used both these coupons this week so now we have free chips and cheese. They do expire though at the end of the week so act fast.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cute Dress for Sale

Rachel is running low on dresses so I went into Savers the other day to pick out a shirt to make one of those cute shirt-dresses for Rachel. Much to my dismay, every button-up shirt on the rack was between 4.99 and 5.99! How could that be! Apparently it's been much too long since I've gone into a secondhand store.

Now, I don't mind wearing hand-me-downs, not at all. In fact, I was raised wearing hand-me-downs. I just don't like paying for things that are well-worn or even slightly stained before I use them once. Hand-me-downs are much better if they are free, or cost under a dollar.

I don't need to buy a $5 shirt at a second hand store when I can buy a $5 shirt in the mall. In fact, one of the stores that I frequent (read: I've been to the mall like twice since Rachel's been born) has great sales going on all the time. They had a $5 jeans sale, they often have a 60% off rack, and last time I went in there they had a $1-3 rack. Brand new, never been used, perfect condition clothes that they just want to get out of there. The store is DEB, in case you were wondering.

Anyway, after perusing row upon row of shirts, hoping to stumble upon something for less than $5, I walked over to the baby section to see if they had any dresses there. I was again disappointed to find that everything was about $5 and up. In my mind $5 is not a good deal, it is my spending limit. I left the store empty handed.

Then for some reason, like trying to find my daughter a dress, I went onto and was pleasantly surprised to find a super cute dress for only $4! It ships for free to the store location of your choice, so we purchased two, one for this summer and one for next, and shipped them to our nearest Walmart. Two dresses for $8.54 and I didn't have to do any sewing!

Take that, Savers!

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Flu is Going Around

We've been a little under the weather at our house. I think I actually got this bug back in February so this time around I didn't get very sick. Andrew, on the other hand, is pretty sick.

He's stopped throwing up but he's still concerned about losing his fluids, if you catch my drift. In desperation he did Google search after Google search, trying to find a cure for his...problem.

He must have done some heavy duty searching and I have no idea how long it took him to find this because I had a similar problem when we lived in Jordan and I just had to deal with it because nothing really worked for me--although my problem in Jordan wasn't just a 24-hour flu; it was more pharaoh's revenge and lasted beyond a month.

Anyway, Andrew found a cure in Heart & Hands: A Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy & Birth by Elizabeth Davis, a book on Google Books that he thought was a little woo-woo. After weighing his options, though, he figured he had nothing to lose and so tried the cure.

It seems to have worked so far. Our bathroom has been vacant for, oh, at least 3 hours now. That's actually pretty good considering his track record the last few days.

So, if you get the little diarrhea bug at your house, try Davis' cure:

Make a pot of rice with a 1:4 ratio, heavy on the water side. Boil until the rice is tender and drain the excess water into a mug. Drink it. Wait.

Andrew said that it tasted alright and he feels loads better, so apparently it works. Who knew? I always thought that diarrhea was something you had to wait out. Andrew thought it was something you cured with Pepto Bismol. Neither of those things worked, but the rice water did.

I almost can't wait to get sick again, just so that I can try this cure. Just kidding. I think I'll survive if I never find the opportunity to use this cure on myself. I'm not so fond of being sick.

March fun for the Parkses

So we didn't do a March menu. We're not going to. In fact, I have no idea what we are eating tonight or for the rest of the week for that matter.

No, I did not snap and lose all responsibility. We are going to be housesitting/babysitting for 2 1/2 weeks. So our food is taken care of. Down to the planning. (The mom is going to leave a list of dinners her kids like. We just get to eat with them.)

At first, the whole thing sounded overwhelming, and I think it still will be. However, the not-having-to-freak-out-about-budgeting-for-a-month thing sounds wonderful. As does the not-having-to-plan-the-meals for most of the month. I think this week and the last week of March (when we will be back on our own) we'll just try to coast. We aren't going to be quite as careful as normal because we will have more money in our food budget than we are used to. I'm really excited about that! What will be crazy is suddenly being mommy of 3/4. (I watch my great-nephew (almost 3 months old) a few times a week. There are 2 elementary school aged girls we will be watching and taking to lessons and things. Plus we still have a baby of our own (6 months old now.) I'll let you know how it goes. I am excited for the new challenge though. If it goes well, maybe I'll try to figure out who else's kids I can watch after this is done.

By the way, Rosie, if you are ever in a bind to get a babysitter when you have to work, I would be happy to. Or any other time. It's always nice to have quite a few resources for babysitting and getting to trade babysitting times. I'd be happy to. Let me know. It can be a much delayed return service opportunity for your driving my companion and me around on the mission. And introducing us to some of our best converts. What a great service! While I am addressing this post just to you, have you heard about the Nauvoo reunion Matt is putting together? Let me know if you need details.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Traveling With Kids - A Response for Rosie

This is a response for Rosie but since I'm constantly annoyed by my own overly long comments I'm posting it as a general post. Both of my two children have been born since we left our home state so we have had our fair share of kid travel. To date with one or more children we've done two transatlantic flights, four transcontinental flights, four cross country road trips, and more flights from Illinois to Utah and back then I care to remember. Travel with children is a balance of brining enough stuff to be entertained but not so much that you can't move through airports, security, and to waiting vehicles with ease. Here are some things I've learned...sometimes the hard way.

1) Some of the hardest moments can be just getting up to and away from the plane. Nothing like twenty or so extra pounds of squiggling weight when you are trying to get through security. A stroller can definitely come in handy. Since the kids were very small though we've opted out of using our whole travel system and instead gone with an umbrella stroller. It's a lot lighter, takes up less space on the receiving end, and there just isn't anywhere for things to hide which keeps the security for the most part off our back. If you don't have room for a stroller definitely bring a wrap or carrier so that you can keep your hands free. Also the airport doesn't advertise this but you can ask at the ticket counter to get a pass for a love one to go up the gate with you. The extra help can be invaluable trying to maneuver through security. Also don't assume because you have a baby they won't select you to do a more thorough search and yes they will still make you take your shoes off so pick easy slide ons.

2) Like Bridget mentioned lots of snacks is key. I like to bring grapes, crackers, cheese, cheerios, fruit snacks, small things that you can pull out when times get rough. With a ten month old though most of these options probably aren't even open to you. Make sure you have enough formula or milk unless your breast feeding and then make sure you have a cover that you feel comfortable with. The stewardess will often bring you water but don't expect them to be especially helpful. Sometimes they are but you don't want to have to count on it. For those people with kids that are eating keep in mind that lap babies don't get meals. Shoot sometimes even kids with tickets don't get them. When we flew to Germany the stewardess wouldn't bring us a meal for our son because she thought he was a lap baby. Then when we proved to her we'd paid for his ticket she said they had run out of meals. Oops.

3) Entertainment is very important. Now that our son is older we've discovered what a life saver a portable DVD player can be, especially on cross country trips but they are kind of big and for cross Atlantic flights they don't have enough battery life. I think this is when Ipods with video would come in handy. Regardless though most cross flights have movies. Bridget is right though. New toys your child has never seen are a must have. We used to wrap them because that added even more excitement but keep in mind that if security goes through your bag they will unwrap them. We're flying home this month and I've already gone to the dollar store to pick up some new toys and nick knacks to keep the kids entertained. What the toys are held in can also be exciting. Our son likes holding his toys in a little back pack. Our daughter loves playing with little purses. Also never underestimate how enjoyable non toys can be. Our daughter loves chewing on a toothbrush. That can entertain her for almost an hour. Our son loves playing with my ipod, turning it on, turning it off, trying to put the headphones in his mouth. The works.

4) Make sure to pack a couple extra outfits and possibly even an extra shirt for yourself. Also have enough wipes and diapers to keep you going (my daughter loves to pull on wipes and diapers so they also make decent toys). I also like to bring a diaper mat. It helps on airport floors. There really isn't much you can do about changing diapers in the bathroom. They are just small and crowded. Work on your balance :)

5) Make sure to be early to the airport. There is nothing like losing your aisle seat when you are about to fly over a whole day. Also you can use the extra time in the airport to let your daughter walk or crawl around before getting on the plane. When your going to be trapped for so long you need every extra second of energy burning.

6) It helps to make friends on the plane. If possible talk to your neighbor and make friendly as much as you can. You never know when you could use the extra help when you need to go to the bathroom or when you need the friend if your child is screaming at two am. They might still be annoyed but at least you had a few good moments.

Finally I got this from a friend that travels to Argentina twice a are never going to have to see these people again so no matter what happens as soon as you get off the plane you'll be free. As for the single motherhood month let me know if you have any ideas. My hubby is going to be in Jordan for two months this summer and with the price of buying four tickets we just can't afford for us all to go. I'm a little anxious on how this two months is going to go.

March Menu Maddness

This year seems to be going by way too fast. I think watching Rachel grow up makes time seem to slip by because she's so different everyday. Anyway, here's what we'll be eating for this month...

1--Out to dinner at an authentic Italian Restaurant. Half homework, half date.
2--Gravy and Fries. We'd go for full-out poutine but cheese curds make me gag.
3--Taco Salad. So yummy.
5--Scalloped potatoes. We've had potatoes sitting in our fridge since before Rachel was born. Those ones are fine. The ones in our cupboard are simply ready to be planted. Anyone want a bag of half-grown potatoes?
6--Pestoey goodness.
8--Tomato Soup with goldfish crackers. Or oyster crackers. We have both.
9--Meatloaf. If Andrew feels like making it. I hate making meatloaf. Or meatballs. Or anything that deals with raw, bloody meat. He always wants it on the menu, so it's there, but he's only made it once so far. We didn't end up eating it last month.
12--BBQ Chicken. We didn't have this last month, either. I forgot to buy chicken. We have chicken now.
13--Pasta Salad
15--Fake Rice-o-roni stuff
16--Twice baked potatoes
17--Green Eggs and Pancakes. Happy St. Patrick's Day!
23--Easter. We'll probably end up having dinner at one of our parents' houses. If not, we'll eat one of the meals that we'll inevitably skip.
26--Stir fry
27--Homemade (Andrew put this on the calendar) Mac'n'[formaddÊ’o]. My husband is a nerdy-nerd. I am a nerd, but he is a nerdy-nerd.
29--Toast Francois. (Again...courtesy of my nerdy-nerd husband, whom I love dearly).
30--Hamburgers and Hot Dogs :). Okay, so we got in a bit of a skiff about this one. I told Andrew he could choose one or the other because we are only two people and I'm not going to make hamburgers and hot dogs for just two people. He said that his family does it on their BBQ all the time, that it's really easy. I countered that we don't have a BBQ and we can't afford pre-made patties, so it really isn't that easy. He chose just hot dogs. So I wrote hot dogs on the schedule and then the second after I did that he went into the Wiki and changed it back to hamburgers and hot dogs with a big smiley face. Looks like he'll be helping with dinner that night! :)
31--Black bean tortilla casserole

And there you have it. Now that I'm getting pretty good at these menu things, I'm kind of nervous when I contemplate moving back to the Middle East. I don't know if I'll have an oven that works. Or if all my stove burners will work. Or what ingredients we'll be able to afford. Or how big our fridge will be. Or if we'll have more than two cupboards. Hmmm...I'll have to figure out a whole new system.

What's for Dinner? I'll tell ya. . .

I'm in the process of revamping our meals. We were doing really good for a few months, and then I had Katryn and it all went down hill. I'm trying to get us back onto a good rotation. I don't like planning the whole month, so I do 2 weeks at a time--payday to payday.

What I'm doing now is picking 50 meals. Mostly meals we eat regularly, about 5 I want to try, and about 5 that are just "something easy". I complied the list, and then I went and compiled all the recipes and printed them all off and I'll put them in a folder in the kitchen. After that, I took slips of paper and wrote the numbers 1-50 on them and put them in a cup. Last night I had Matt draw out 10 slips and those will be our meals for the next 2 weeks (after payday next friday, since we're in between right now). so here we go!!

Sat 1-grilled cheese or quesadillas--matt's working late
Sun 2-Twice baked potatoes
Mon 3-frozen pizza
Tues 4-funeral potatoes
Wed 5-pasta
Thurs 6-frozen pizza
Fri 7-mac and cheese
(you can tell the above week is waiting till pay day comes!)
Sat 8-egg and salsa sandwiches
Sun 9-katryn's blessing--wraps
Mon 10-leftovers
Tues 11-spaghetti
Wed 12-baked rigatoni
Thurs 13-cheesy ziti
Fri 14-boneless buttermilk fried chicken
Sat 15-leftovers
Sun 16-chicken in pan sauce
Mon 17-ravioli bake
Tues 18-stroganoff
Wed 19-something easy
Thurs 20-something easy
Fri 21-leftovers

we're only picking 5 meals a week since there's only 2 of us, we tend to have lots of leftovers. Not that I'm complaining! it makes lunchtime the next day a lot easier for me!

here's a recipe I'm anxious to try:

Ravioli bake:
1 jar tomato pasta sauce
1 package (about 25oz) frozen cheese filled ravioli
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

heat oven to 350deg. spray bottom and sides of 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 3/4 cup pasta sauce in the pan. Arrange half of the frozen ravioli in a single layer over sauce; top with half the remaing pasta sauce and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers once, starting with ravioli. Sprinkle with parm cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. remove foil and bake uncovered 15-20 minutes longer or until bubbly and hot in center. let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

I'm anxious to see what else everyone else has! I'm always looking for new recipes!

Happy eating in March!

Traveling with Kids

Okay... I currently have two things that are freaking me out and I think some of you could help me out on.
#1 - my impending 5 weeks of single motherhood. Brian has an internship in Berlin this summer and he leaves near the end of April. Allison and I will be going with him, but I have to finish out the school year (I teach science) before we can go. It'll be about five weeks on my own before we get to follow. Does anyone how advice for me (either personal experience or someone else's experience) to help me survive 5 weeks for single motherhood? My mom will be coming to stay for a few days (mostly to babysit while I work), but beyond that, I'm on my own.

#2 - Before my stint as a single mom ends I have to make through a 18 hours of transatlantic travel with a 10 month old. This TERRIFIES ME! I have requested the airline bassinet on the bulkhead row for the flight leg to Europe, but its still a very long time to manage a very small child in a small, crowded space. Any advise for how to travel with kids internationally? Along the same subject lines, when we get to Berlin it will be 8 am local time... 1 am Utah time. How do I get her changed over to the new time zone? I would LOVE any advice that anyone had to offer me.

Montly Meal Time Again...

March first already (how on Earth did that happen?!?). Here's what the Thornock's are having for dinner this month.

1 - Sauteed Sandwiches
2 - Louisana Red Beans and Rice (never actually manged it last month...)
3 - Chicken Enchiladas
4 - Ginger Beef Stir Fry
5 - Chicken Creole (again, didn't make it... ran out of my ingredients)
6 - Lasagna
7 - Pita Pizzas
8 - Left Overs
9 - Orange Thyme Chicken
10 - Tacos
11 - Pork Chops
12 - Oven BBQ Chicken
13 - Haystacks
14 - Frozen Pizza
15 - Burgers and Fries
16 - Chili
17 - Fajitas
18 - Porcupine Meatballs
19 - Pork & Pineapple Veggies (Brian loves this)
20 - Spaghetti
21 - Papa Murphey's Pizza
22 - Chicken Tortilla Soup
23 - Salsa Chicken
24 - Mormon Mommy Casserole
25 - Chicken Pockets
26 - Parmesan Chicken
27 - Steak
28 - Yummy homemade pizza
29 - Left overs
30 - not quite sure yet...
31 - Nachos

On a side note... Brian and I are in the process of reviewing our monthly budget. We signed up for the MoneyWise Workshop that the Marriot School puts on periodically (for free at that) thats all about managing money in your marriage. We currently save money every month, but we're trying to find ways that we can cut back a little and save a little more. Monday night we'll spend out FHE looking at some charts from our February spending (we use Microsoft Money to track budget and spending). Our goals are two fold: #1 - we're going to Europe this summer and we want to have enough money to spend some time playing in Paris and London (we'll be living in Berlin for 2 months). We've been fortunate enough to save enough for our plane tickets already, so now we're just working on some fun money. #2 - we'd like to be able to save for closing costs on a house and hopefully some for a down payment too. We're hoping to get into a house of our own before 2009 is over. With those being the goals, we're hoping to cut our grocery budget by about $25 each month... any great money saving food ideas? =)