Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - October 18th

Well here’s my menu for the week posted a couple days late. In addition to being behind on a bunch of household chores, I’m struggling a little with this week’s menu due to lack of inspiration. I have several busy days this week without an opportunity to do any real grocery shopping. So time constraints as well as the desire to stick to my grocery budget have me trying to plan from the freezer and pantry once again.

Monday – Chili Mac Casserole, Tossed Salad

Tuesday (Soccer) – Chicken Cutlets, Brown Rice, Green Beans

Wednesday (Dance) – Spaghetti w/Meatballs, Tossed Salad, Bread

Thursday – Pork Chops, Pierogies, Broccoli

Friday (Brownies) – Homemade Pizza Night

Saturday (Mom’s Night Out) – No clue!!!

For great menu ideas (sure to be better than mine this week!) and links to recipes check out this week’s Menu Plan Monday at I’m an Organizing Junkie.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Puttering (Mom's 30 Minute Blog Challenge)

Do you ever have a ton of things to do and instead of focusing on one task you find yourself puttering all over the house, straightening, tossing, wiping, dusting, etc? Taking the time to study your window treatments, the placement of your furniture and how you maybe need to update your wall hangings and photos. Is it productive, worthwhile or necessary? 

I find I need these days. It gets the entire house to a slightly nicer level and seems to calm me as well as infuse me with new ideas to freshen up my home. For some reason fall seems to be the time of year I do this the most. I think it’s my own seasonal nesting instinct…the days are getting cooler and shorter and we are all starting to spend more time inside the house. It’s nice to freshen thing up and get it all warm and cozy for the coming winter months.

My puttering session last week resulted in a few curtains getting changed out, new floor plan ideas for the playroom, moving a piece of toy organization/storage from the playroom to my son’s room and taking a small table out of hiding to place near the front door with a fall placemat and gourds.  Our house got a nice dose of fall decorating and I'm looking forward to updating the playroom into a more functional family room instead of the toy dumping ground it has become. 

Slow down the next time you find yourself running around the house frantically cleaning.   Take a minute to really look at your surroundings, enjoy the nice things and take a minute to re-think the things that just aren't working.

Here are some links to a few decorating and organizational blogs that I like:

The Nesting Place

The Nester has a great series she’s posting right now called 31 Days to a Less Messy Nest.

I’m an Organizing Junkie
As well as keeping a whole lot of bloggers meal plans organized by hosting Menu Plan Monday, Laura offers great tips on de-cluttering and organizing as well as reviews on organizational and storage products.

Home Sanctuary

Rachel Anne offers monthly ‘small things’ to tackle around your home. You can earn points for monthy giveaways by slowly turning your home into your own sanctuary.

This post was written as my submission to Steady Mom's 30 Minute Blog Challenge.   Check out this week's post Tired Moms - Do You Need a Break?.   The post also includes links to other submissions.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - October 11th - Use It Up Week

One of the things from last week's menu that I planned was a roasted chicken stuffed with my 4th attempt at my mother in law’s stuffing recipe. And….YES I NAILED IT!!! Hubby was thrilled and ate a small mountain of it that night. The Crockpot Swiss Steak was not so good and the Crockpot BBQ Pork Ribs never got made – those are getting pushed to this week. On Saturday we ended up doing an appetizer night with our guests – it was a very fun evening.

So on to this week. My husband is home today and the kids will be home again tomorrow. Sunday we had a lazy day and our menu comprised things made out of leftovers. That’s the theme for this week – Use It Up. The soup I made was very good – it thickened up to almost a stew and was very tasty.

Here are some of the things I need to use up this month (some sooner than others):

Sour Cream
Green and Red Peppers
Chicken stock
Already cooked chicken (full breast and cut up dark)
BBQ Cubed Steak
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Hot Italian Sausage
Boneless Pork Ribs
Hot Dogs (I have a TON of them it seems)
Ricotta Cheese
Mozzarella Block

Lunch – Open Faced BBQ Cubed Steak Sandwiches, Hot Dogs (kids), Carrots and Celery w/Ranch Dip, Homemade Potato Chips

Supper – Refrigerator Soup – Sausage, Chicken Stock, Cannellini Beans, Green Beans, Pasta, Tomato, Onion, and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Monday – Columbus Day (No School) – Grilled Chicken, Noodles Alfredo, Broccoli

Tuesday (No School / Soccer) – Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Tuna Mac, Freezer Pickles, Carrots and Celery w/Ranch Dip,

Wednesday (Dance) – Crockpot Chicken and Rice Casserole, Green Beans

Thursday – Blackened Blade Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Salad

Friday – Make Your Own Taco Night

Saturday - Boneless Pork Ribs w/Apples and Onions, Baked Beans, Mashed Potatoes, Carrots

Looks like I still have to find something to do with the peppers (I can freeze them if I don’t use them this week), and I have plans to make a lasagna within the next week for the freezer as well. The sausage, along with a few peppers, is getting thrown into the leftover potato chips this morning as hash browns.   I think the kids and I will bake something with the apples later today or tomorrow.  I know I have a few more things lurking in the freezer that need to get used up. We’ll see what other things I find and I’ll share any great ideas I might have for using them.

For more great menu ideas and links to recipes check out this week's Menu Plan Monday at I'm and Organizing Junkie.  Have a great week!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A New Look

I've been wanting to change things up a bit here but just haven't taken the time to put into being creative as well as working my way through blogger.

So if you happen to be here looking around let me know if you like the new look.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Personal Validation (Mom's 30 Minute Blog Challenge)

Being a stay at home mom can get lonely and rather dull some days. There is a list of chores that need to get done every day, often multiple times I might add. Often the lack of appreciation for the things that we do each day makes us feel very ‘un-validated’ in our work. I try to keep myself busy and find new things to do and new skills to learn. I really enjoy cooking, menu planning, and getting a good bargain. Some of the times just the personal satisfaction I get from accomplishing these things helps me feel good. Other times I find that yeah I’m doing interesting things, but I don’t have any one around during the day to share these things with. I’m not overly social and don’t see myself as a ‘lady who lunches’ kind of gal. But I often find that I end up either talking to myself or searching out friends online via Facebook or a variety of special interest forums.

I just started volunteering in my daughter’s class this morning. My son is in preschool and the timeframe works out just right. I’m looking forward to interacting with the kids, helping the teacher out with clerical tasks and just having somewhere I need to go every Wednesday morning. Even though it’s an assignment I took on as part of contributing to my daughter’s classroom experience it is also something personally validating.

Blogging for me is probably the thing that is most personally validating – sometimes to the point of selfishness I might say. I’ve always loved writing and taking pictures. My content is comprised of things that are very important to me: my family, my home, food, our finances and my own sanity.

I’m hoping this winter to find snippets of time to actually explore more things that I want to do. I’d love to put a little more effort into decorating my home, give scrapbooking a try, resume exercising regularly, and of course spend more time writing. I love being home with my kids, love having the time and flexibility to care for my family, to cook good meals, to shop for bargains and really ‘make’ our home. But I know that I need to fill that out with a few more things that are a little more focused on Dawn and not just mommy

This post was written as my contribution to Steady Mom’s 30 Minute Blog Post challenge.  Click here to
check out this week's 30 Minute blog post on Steady Mom's Morning Routine as well as links to other posts in the 30 Minute Blog Post challenge.

Ok I'm going to admit the longest part of writing this post was trying to find a picture of myself to share.   Not only do I detest most pictures of myself...there just aren't that many as I'm always behind the camera instead of in front of it!

Wordless Wednesday - The Pumpkin Farm

Check out more great photos on Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 4, 2010

October Budget

We’ve been pushing the checking account to its lowest limits lately and something has got to give. As a result, I’ve been having moments of panic quite a bit and this always puts the thought that I need to get a job into my head. The last time my husband and I discussed this option he said not yet. I know that the only type of job that would work for us financially would be for me to work the hours when he is home. Even this might not work financially as he gets sporadic overtime that far out earns anything I’d make working part time. Also it would seriously diminish the quality of our family life.

October happens to be a three paycheck month as well as the month my husband receives a lump sum check for the retroactive pay raises from their recently approved union contract. My goal this month is to maximize the additional income by keeping our flexible expenses as low as possible. This is really going to be a challenge as the pantry needs some restocking, we need pellets for the pellet stove, the truck needs new tires and it looks like I will be taking a trip to Florida within the next month to help my father in law start sorting and packing up his house to move (more on this at a later date).

I managed to get Halloween costumes already from a local consignment shop, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking from scratch and have been back to my previous mode of bargain shopping for groceries and household needs.  I’ve also sold some clothes to the consignment shop and have more clothing as well as kids toys to bring down.  We also have a few larger items and pieces of furniture that I’d like to get out of the house so I’m going to list them on Craigslist. 

Hopefully by being smart, and of course with some luck, we can get a little bit ahead of the game before the upcoming holiday expenses start setting in. Now I'm off to finish clipping coupons and making my grocery list for tomorrow.  I’ll keep you posted on our success. Note that I used the word SUCCESS – positive thinking right???!!! 

Menu Plan Monday - October 4th

Last week's menu went pretty well.   We enjoyed the Ritz Cracker Eggplant Casserole.  I used cream of mushroom soup instead of golden mushroom, only blanched the eggplant briefly and used a little more cheese and ritz crackers than the recipe called for. 

This week is a little busy with plans to have company for dinner over on Saturday.   My daughter has two birthday parties on Saturday - a Boo Bowling Party and a Movie Night Sleepover.   I have to get gifts and finish her Brownie sash (the iron on patches sooo didn't stay on!).  On Friday my son's preschool is taking a field day trip to a local farm. We get to go on a hayride, pick apples, have snacks and bring home a pumpkin.   Of course I think he is most excited about riding on a school bus.

This week I'm planning the following:

Sunday - Homemade Pizza - Cheese for the Kids, Eggplant and Onion for Mom and Dad (this was AWESOME!)

Monday - Soup and Sandwich Night

Tuesday (Soccer) - Roasted Stuffed Chicken (my mother in law's stuffing recipe), Gravy, Mashed Potataoes, Broccoli (leftover chicken used for lunches and Thursday's dinner, bones used to make stock)

Wednesday (Dance)  - Crockpot Swiss Steak (I will add chopped tomatoes to this recipe), Noodles, Green Beans

Thursday - Chicken, Sausage and Broccoli over Pasta, Tossed Salad

Friday - Crockpot BBQ Pork Ribs, Baked Beans, Homemade Potato Chips, Carrots and Celery with Ranch Dip

Saturday (Company for Dinner) - Still working on a menu plan for this....considering doing a hearty appetizer type buffet but I'm not sure yet.

For more great menu ideas and recipes check out Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.  

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Relaxation through A Clean Kitchen

There is an insurmountable joy in waking up to a kitchen with no dirty dishes. Now granted they aren’t all put away but they are clean, drying in the dish drainer or counter and waiting to be placed in the cabinets. The counters are wiped down, the sink is clean, the coffee pot is set for 5:30am, the stovetop has been cleaned and buffed and my lovely jar candle is glowing and sending it’s scent across the kitchen as I type.

So now I’m off to read a little before bed and know that I’ll wake up to a nice neat kitchen.