Sunday, November 29, 2009

Menu Plan, 11/30-12/6

Sorry for my abrupt absence again. My in-laws were sick again at the beginning of last week, and then with all the family festivities the last few days, I just haven't had a chance to blog. I am hoping things will be back to normal this week as the sickness seems to have dissipated. I really can't believe December is right around the corner already! Time goes by so fast...this time last year, I was just 6 1/2 months pregnant, and now my baby has spent over 9 months outside the womb. Amazing!

I roasted a turkey yesterday (my first ever). The meat from that should last us all week (and then some).

In any case, here's what we're eating this week:

country boy (hash browns, scrambled eggs, sausage gravy) (x2)
scrambled eggs, toast, fruit (x3)
banana crumb muffins (going to double, freeze some, and take the rest to church Sunday)
cold cereal

turkey sandwiches, tomato soup (x2)
leftovers (x4)
lunch at church

turkey, carrot, and wild rice soup
tortilla chips w/ cream cheese/salsa/ground meat dip
turkey tetrazzini
pinto beans with ham, cornbread
homemade Pizza
at the farm (x2)

For hundreds of other menu plans, visit org junkie!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Baby/Toddler Toy Reviews

Babywise Mom is currently doing a series reviewing toys for infants and toddlers in preparation for Christmas. Each review has age rage, gender, her review, and whether she would buy it again. I have found it quite insightful! If you have a little one on your Christmas list, I would highly encourage you to check it out!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu Plan, 11/16-11/22

Breakfast~arepas with butter and cheese
Dinner~at the farm

Breakfast~homemade bread/leftover arepas, bacon, and eggs
Lunch~Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Dinner~I will be at Grandma's house; Ben will eat with his family

Wednesday-Thursday: Katie and I will be at my Grandma's house. Ben will have cereal for breakfast and eat other meals with his family

Breakfast~toast, bacon, and eggs
Lunch~Our church's Thanksgiving feast. I am bringing two dozen corn muffins.
Dinner~Fall family ball. I am planning to bring this dip with tortilla chips.

Breakfast~French toast made with homemade bread
Lunch~grilled cheese with tomato soup
Dinner~pinto beans with ham and cornbread

Breakfast~French toast (the batter keeps really well in the fridge)
Lunch~at church. I would like to bring banana crumb muffins.
Dinner~at the farm


I wanted to apologize for my long and unannounced absense! My internet access is at my in-laws' farm down the road from us, and a couple of them came down with flu-like symptoms on Wednesday of last week. I made a bee-line out to keep myself and Katie from getting sick. They are finally on the mend, so things should be back to normal this week. I will be posting our menu plan later this evening, and tomorrow, I'll try to get up the conclusion of my "Restoring Order" series. There are some exciting things coming up in the next weeks that I'm looking forward to announcing in the coming days!

Thanks for sticking around despite my mysterious disappearance.

~Mary Jo

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hot Chocolate Recipe

My in-laws have a milking cow, and the weather has been just perfect for hot chocolate, so we have been frequently indulging in this delicious cold weather treat! I think I have "perfected" my recipe, and tonight, I measured everything so I could share it with you. The following recipe is for one mug. It is so tasty, so simple, and so much healthier than the pre-made mixes!

Hot Chocolate:
-1 mug full of milk
-1 Tablespoon sugar (I use raw sugar, usually)
-1 1/2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
-dash of salt
-1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract or rum extract (we have been using this lately, and it is quite tasty!)

Pour the milk in a pot over medium heat. Add in the sugar, and stir until it dissolves. Add in the cocoa and stir until it dissolves. Sprinkle in salt and add extract of you choice. Let it get very hot, but don't let it boil. Top with marshmellows if you want some extra calories. ;)

For more great recipes, check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday.

Picture found here.

Restoring Order: Day 2 Results

Unfortunately, I am not able to get before and after photos uploaded tonight. I took them, but the laptop is at our house, so I don't have a computer to upload them onto (I am writing from another computer). But, I can go ahead and give the update and add the pictures tomorrow.

We had a late night last night, but I was up at 6 this morning with a fussy baby. Finally around 7, I nursed her and she calmed down; again, I read and prayed while she was nursing. I may have to accept the fact that for now, that will be how it is most mornings. But, I'm going to try and get up before her again tomorrow and see how it goes.

As for restoring order to our living area, here is my list with the tasks I accomplished. My younger brother-in-law was kind enough to come over and watch Katie for me while I worked on cleaning...I bribed him with fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies from my freezer stash. :)

::Organize the desk  
::Put away the clutter on the living room floor 
::Clean toilet 
::Clean counter 
::Clean shower/tub 
::Mop bathroom floor 

I got through most of the tasks before I had to nurse Katie and head to class, and the area looks much better. Sorry I don't have the pictures tonight! Tomorrow, I will be focusing on the bedrooms. Mostly, I just desperately need to put away the laundry and they will both look much better.

Restoring Order: Day 2 Plan

Picture found here.

The Plan:

Heart: Get up at 5:30 and read Scripture/pray before Katie gets up for the day. Yesterday, I read from an Amy Carmichael devotional, and began reading through the Psalms. I plan to continue the same today. 

Home: Today, I am going to focus on the living area and main bathroom of our home. Here is my list:

::Organize the desk (when you see the before pics for this, you will see it is quite a task!)
::Put away the clutter on the living room floor
::Clean toilet
::Clean counter
::Clean shower/tub
::Mop bathroom floor

Lord willing, I'll be back tonight with today's results!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Restoring Order: Day 1 Results

So, as it turns out, my list was a wee bit too ambitious. But, I did make it through most of it, and have enjoyed a nice, clean kitchen today! Now, to be diligent about keeping it clean... :) Below is the list and what I got to, followed by pictures.

::Wash all dishes
::Put all clean dishes away.
::Clean out under the sink
::Organize tupperware cabinet (does your tupperware fall out when you open that cabinet up?)
::Clean the microwave out
::Clean the burners on the stove
::Clean out refrigerator
::Sweep and mop

I decided to leave the tupperware cabinet undone in favor of doing the things that are visible. I started to get to the burners, and when I realized what a disaster they were (not a disaster made by me--previous tenants were very irresponsible), I knew it would not be a project I could get done in the remainder of Katie's naptime.

As for the pictures...once I took them, I wondered what I was thinking in offering to share them, but alas...



I am scheduling tomorrow's post to go up in the wee hours of the morning. The plan for tomorrow is to do the living area and main bathroom. 

Restoring Order: Day 1 Plan

Picture found here.

Good morning! My morning did not go exactly according to plan; we forgot to turn the alarm on, so I woke up at 6:30, when Katie was up for the day. I didn't get the time I was hoping to have for devotions, but I did read and pray while I was nursing. Breakfast is in the oven and Ben is watching her right now, so I stole away for a couple minutes to get this up. I am planning to get my cleaning done during Katie's morning nap. Since I am focusing on the kitchen today, here is the list of things I am hoping to accomplish in the 1 1/2 to 2 hours I'll have.

::Wash all dishes
::Put all clean dishes away.
::Clean out under the sink
::Organize tupperware cabinet (does your tupperware fall out when you open that cabinet up?)
::Clean the microwave out
::Clean the burners on the stove
::Clean out refrigerator
::Sweep and mop

I will be back this afternoon with before and after pictures!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Menu Plan, 11/9-11/15

I am so excited about this week. My parents are planning to come up from Florida for a visit Friday , we are spending Saturday with family in North Carolina, and Monday-Thursday, I am going to be restoring order to our home. In the midst of blessed busy-ness, my family has still got to eat, so here's the plan. :)

Breakfast: baked oatmeal
Lunch: pinto bean and cheese quesadillas
Dinner: English muffin pizzas, salad

Breakfast: leftover baked oatmeal
Lunch: chicken salad sandwiches, carrot sticks
Dinner: white chili (bring to church in the small crock pot to eat between classes), cornbread

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon, grits, fruit
Lunch: leftover white chili
Dinner: dinner at the farm

Breakfast: cold cereal, bananas
Lunch: pinto bean and cheese quesadillas
Dinner: English muffin pizzas, salad

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon, grits
Lunch: grilled cheese, carrot sticks, pears
Dinner: at the farm. Mom and Dad should be here, too! Yay! :D

Breakfast: banana crumb muffins
Lunch & Dinner with family in North Carolina


Breakfast: banana crumb muffins
Lunch: at church; bring banana crumb muffins to share
Dinner: at the farm, as is our Lord's Day family tradition

For hundreds more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie.

Restoring Order

Picture found here.

Over the last couple of weeks, I seem to have lost my focus and our house has become cluttered and messy (something I was sure I wouldn't let happen after our move!). I am hoping to spend this week getting it back into shape. And, the fact that my parents told me last night they are planning to come up and visit at the end of this week (YAY!) gives me extra incentive to hop to it. I have divided the house into four sections and plan to focus on one section each day, finishing up on Thursday.

Having an orderly home goes beyond just having a place for everything and keeping everything in its place, though. If our hearts are not right with God and we are not keeping our homes for His glory, it is all meaningless. I have been woefully neglectful not only of the orderliness of our home, but also of making sure I am setting aside time each day (preferably first thing) to spend time reading Scripture and in prayer. So, in addition to restoring order in our home, I am purposing this week to rise early enough (dare I say, at 5:30?) to have quiet time with the Lord before starting our day.

The area of our home I am planning to focus on tomorrow is the kitchen. I will be back in the morning with a plan for the day, and then again in the afternoon/evening with before (*gasp*) and after pictures.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

So Precious...

We took some pictures of Katie in our front yard last week, and I just had to share a couple of them with you all. I am so thankful to the Lord for my precious girl...

She brings so much joy into our lives. God has truly been so, so good to us.

Finer Things

My absense the last couple of days was unplanned but rather enjoyable. Yesterday was filled with Finer Things which is why this post is going up a day late. ;)

The last several Fridays, Katie and I have spent the day at our church's Home Educators Academy. It has been such a blessing to get to know the ladies at church better, and see how to co-op operates. One thing I love about our church is that all of the families home educate, and since we are the youngest family there for now, when we start Katie's formal home schooling I will be able to glean much from the ladies who have been there, done that, and done a wonderful job!

After classes were over, a friend from church came home with me, and we played flute duets together (how fun to have someone to play with!) while Ben finished up some work in the yard. Then, most of the family came over and we practiced for a performance we did last night at a local coffee shop. Every Friday night they have live music, and we performed last night and a few weeks ago. It's pretty fun. I couldn't leave Katie sleeping at the farm this time because Ben's parents came. Perhaps one of the nicest things about the night (besides actually being able to see my music this time--the lighting was horrible last time!) was how well she behaved despite being out until 10, instead of her usual 7:30-8:00 bedtime.

A wonderful family who I enjoy and love so much and a precious church family are certainly some of the very finest things God could bless one with in this life.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Baking Day(s) Results

Above are the results of my baking days, minus the banana crumb muffins which we already ate, a 2qt crockpot of pinto beans and ham that I forgot to put in the picture, some of the corn muffins which were also eaten, and a crockpot of chicken broth which won't be done 'til tomorrow morning.

I ended up with:
-1 dozen corn muffins
-1 dozen banana crumb muffins
-About 4 dozen cookie dough balls for the freezer (baked 16 cookies, too)
-5 cans worth of black/kidney beans
-2 qts. pintos and ham
-7 jars of organic sweet potato baby food (more on that another day!)
-5 cups of cooked, cubed chicken
-4 cups cooked, cubed ham
-chicken salad for lunch the next couple of days

It was fun! I think next time, I will try to do more full meals instead of cooking mainly meat/beans to put in meals later on. If you head over to Money Saving Mom, lots of folks are linking up to their freezer cooking results. I am looking forward to wading through the posts and finding ideas for next time!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Baking Day

Today, Money Saving Mom and FishMama are hosting a baking day. That is, a day to spend all day in the kitchen cooking so that you don't have to do that much for a while. I decided last night to jump on the bandwagon. So, here is my list for today. Hopefully, I'll be back this evening with photos.

-Cook black, pinto, and kidney beans (soaked the beans last night)
-Cook a whole chicken (in the crockpot). Debone and freeze meat in mealsize portions.
-Cook a ham and do the same.
-Make banana crumb muffins
-Cook up a couple pounds of ground venison and make Italian Beef and Beans to go over pasta. Freeze.
-With the chicken, make up some chicken salad and some quesadilla filling
-Make up some baby food for Katie (sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, and pears)

I'd also like to do a couple loads of laundry since the sun is out today, and maybe work out. We'll see if I can get it all done. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Menu Plan, 11/02-11/08

This past week, my in-laws gave us several pounds of fresh, ground venison, so I will be incorporating some of that into our meals this week, in the place of ground beef. I am also planning to mostly cook from the pantry and just pick up a few things at the grocery store tomorrow. Some things I didn't get to will repeat this week.

baked oatmeal with apples (x2)
whole wheat banana pancakes with homemade syrup (x1)
scrambled eggs with bacon and toast (x2)
potato bacon pie (x2)

chicken salad wraps (x3)
leftovers (x1)
snacks at church (x1)

pinto beans with cornbread and green beans (x1)
beef stroganoff with steamed veggies (x2)
dinner at the farm (x2)

organic cheese sticks
granola nut clusters
organic apples
organic carrot sticks
organic bananas