Sunday, August 29, 2010

Menu Plan, August 29-September 5

I think I say this every time a new month comes around...but can y'all believe the month is practically over already? My absence the past couple weeks was due to lots of sweet busyness--family visiting, visiting family, and all that type of good stuff. I'll have a post up later this week with some photos of what we've been up to, but for now, here's what we're planning to eat this week.

I'm being more detailed in my lunch planning because it seems like every day at lunchtime, I never know what to serve! This week, I'm also planning to try doing some lunch and dinner prep. in the morning in hopes of keeping mealtimes running smoothly and (hopefully) cutting back on the time I spend in the kitchen!

Breakfast-sausage, scrambled eggs, toast
Lunch-grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches, carrots and broccoli with Ranch dip
Dinner-chili, cornbread (make extra corn muffins to freeze)
Snack-popcorn (popped on the stove in a pot), fruit

Breakfast-sausage, scrambled eggs, toast
Lunch-grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches, veggies with Ranch dip
Snack-popcorn, fruit

Breakfast-blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs
Lunch-Tammy’s Creamy Mac and Cheese, steamed veggies
Dinner-Steak, salad, baked potatoes

Breakfast-breakfast burritos, fruit
Lunch-leftovers from Wednesday’s lunch
Dinner-Spaghetti and Meatballs, salad
Snack-apples and peanut butter

Breakfast-blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs
Lunch-crackers with cheese, veggies and dip, fruit
Dinner-Pizza, roasted cauliflower, salad

Breakfast-coconut milk smoothies, toast, fried eggs
Lunch-Ezekiel Bread Pizzas, veggies with dip
Dinner-pasta and chicken with sauce, salad
Snack-apples and peanut butter

Breakfast-Breakfast casserole (made the night before), fruit
Lunch-snacks at church
Dinner-at the farm

For lots of menu plan inspiration, head over to OrgJunkie for Menu Plan Monday! What are y'all fixin' this week?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pregnancy Update: 22 Weeks

Baby Bump today--exactly 22 weeks

This pregnancy seems to be going by a whole lot faster than my pregnancy with Katie. I can't believe we're only 18 weeks (plus or minus) away from getting to hold this precious baby in our arms! I felt Baby move for the first time about 6 weeks ago, but I've only been able to feel consistent movements for a couple weeks. It is so reassuring and precious to feel my sweet baby kicking around in my tummy as I go about my day. A couple nights ago, Ben got to feel Baby for the first time, which was really exciting for both of us.

The first picture of our sweet boy's face.
We had our mid-pregnancy ultrasound a week ago, and in addition to being so thankful that Baby looks completely healthy, we were thrilled to find out we're having a little BOY! He was not the slightest bit shy about it and really left no room at all for doubt about his boy-hood.

I am so thankful to the Lord for a second healthy and relatively easy pregnancy thus far. What a blessing and joy to be entrusted with two precious children to raise up for the advancement of His Kingdom!

How are you other pregnant mamas doing?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Menu Plan, August 16-22

 We had a pretty busy week last week and ended up eating at the farm several times, so our menu plan is almost identical to last week's!

EDIT: When I planned our meals this week, I completely forgot I was going to be out of town from Wednesday to Saturday and that my parents will be here over the weekend! Below is the revised menu with those little details in mind. ;) Can I blame it on mommy brain?

Breakfasts: Cheesy Potato Pie, Baked Oatmeal, Cold Cereal

Lunches: Sandwiches, Snacks

Monday~at the farm
Tuesday~Spaghetti and Meatballs, steamed broccoli, homemade rolls
Wednesday-Friday~I'll be at my Grandma's house and Ben will eat with his family at the farm
Saturday~homemade pizza, salad
Sunday~family meal at the farm

Friday, August 13, 2010

Living Christianity Before our Children

Lately, I have become increasingly aware of Katie's sweet blue eyes watching my every move oh-so-carefully. As a severely imperfect person, it can be overwhelming to think that even now, my daughter is looking up to me as her example of how she ought to behave.

Sometimes it can be satisfying, like when she figures out how to help mama empty the dishwasher or pick up toys after watching me do it a handful of times. One day last week, though, I displayed horrendous behavior in front of Katie. I got really upset at Ben about something (can't even remember what it was now--obviously it was really important. Not!) and argued with him in front of Katie (it was more of a one-sided argument, though, as he didn't lose his cool). No sooner had I finished my outburst than I looked down at Katie, who was giggling and obviously thought we were playing (oh, to be as wonderful as she thinks I am!). She laughed as she imitated my tone and actions almost to a tee.

I never claim to have it all together, but watching my daughter imitate me at one of my worst moments was incredibly humbling and thought provoking. While my yelling at Ben is not my everyday behavior, that occurrence has caused me to contemplate my everyday actions many times over.

Am I modeling before my daughter the life of the godly wife, mother, and homemaker I pray she one day becomes? What an awesome responsibility motherhood is--to devote our lives to raising up the next generation of Christ-followers! May God give all of us the grace to not just teach Christianity to our children with our words, but to daily live it out before them.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kroger Gift Card Winner chose commenter #4, Janice, as the winner of the Kroger card giveaway. Congratulations, Janice! I have sent you an e-mail with information on obtaining your prize.

Thanks to everyone else who entered. I'll have another giveaway up in the next couple days, so keep an eye out!

Batch Cooking

I have never done a full-fledged "once a month cooking day." I know some people swear by it, but for me in this season of life (5 months pregnant with a 17 month old to chase around and no extra help during the day), spending an entire day on my feet (can we say 'ouch'?) in the kitchen isn't feasible. It's definitely something I'd like to try before too, too long though, if I can get some help from one of my sweet younger siblings-in-law. However, in the meantime, I have really started developing a liking for batch cooking.

When I cook, I have started to occasionally double the recipe or parts of the recipe and freeze to have on hand. In the last couple weeks, I have done this with hash browns, meatballs, spaghetti sauce, enchilada sauce, beans, garlic bread, and cooked, shredded chicken. On especially busy days (or even just days when I have the 'blahs'--y'all have those days, right?), it has been so nice to have some home made, healthy convenience foods on hand. I have enjoyed it so much that I plan to make it a habit.

Tonight, I'm planning to make a big batch of meatballs and freeze enough for another couple of meals, and I plan to make up some pizza kits when I make pizza Friday, consisting of frozen dough, pre-shredded cheese, and sauce, when I fix pizza on Friday. If I make up three kits for the freezer, they'll last us until next month if we have pizza every week. So much healthier and tastier than store-bought frozen pizzas, and hardly much harder to get on the table!

The thing I really love about this method of freezer cooking is that it's not really any extra work. Doubling or tripling something I'm already making only requires extra ingredients and a little bit of time to package up the finished product in a freezer-friendly way.

Have y'all tried batch cooking? What do you do to minimize your work in the kitchen while still providing nourishing, frugal meals for your family?

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cheesy Potato Pie

I've made this recipe a couple times lately, and we've really enjoyed it. I came across it in Breakfasts for Busy Moms when I was looking for some new recipes to try. I recently made up a bunch of hash browns for the freezer and this has been a great way to use them. Cottage cheese isn't something I always keep on hand, but I've been able to get some organic cottage cheese reduced for quick sale a couple times recently, so I've used that to make it. Paired with some muffins and/or fruit, it makes for a delicious and healthy breakfast. I like making a big pan of it Saturday morning so we can use the leftovers for a hearty breakfast Sunday morning when we're rushing around to get ready for church.

Excuse the terrible lighting in the photo! It was early in the morning.
6 eggs1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup small curd cottage cheese
4 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
12 oz. frozen shredded hash browns
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
dash ground red pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Whisk together the eggs, milk, and butter in a mixing bowl. Add in the rest of the ingredients and try to avoid leaving clumps of hash browns--it's tastier if they're mixed in well. Pour into a greased 9"x13" pan** and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until it's well set. Enjoy! It reheats really nicely in the toaster oven if you have leftovers.

**The original recipe says to use two 9" pie plates, but I only have one pie plate and have found the 9"x13" pan works just fine.

This recipe is linked to Tasty Tuesday and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Add Up the Savings Sale at Kroger PLUS Giveaway

Kroger is having some great sales this week, through August 21, as part of a promotion called "Add Up the Savings." When you buy eight of the qualifying items, you get an extra $4.00 off your total. While many of the items are things I just wouldn't buy (various processed foods), there are a handful of organic/natural products as part of the promotion, as well as practical things like toilet paper and tissue. Today when I did my shopping, I got some really good deals, combining this sale with coupons.

Here's a picture of today's shopping trip. The eight qualifying items I purchased were:
::Two 12-roll packages of Cottonelle double roll TP, for $4.49 each (combined the sale with this coupon). This works out to about $0.37 per roll, which I consider a great deal for brand name, double roll toilet paper!
::Two 16oz. packages of Kroger cheese for $2.49 each (a really good price for a pound of cheese)
::4 boxes of Cascadian Farms organic cereals for $1.49-$1.74 each after coupons ( has a coupon for Cascadian Farms products available now, and some of the cereal boxes have coupons on them as well)

Kroger, through MyBlogSpark, was kind enough to give me a $25 gift card to check out the sale, and they are offering a $25 gift card to one of y'all as well! In order to give you time to check out the sale with your gift card, I'll be ending this giveaway on Wednesday night, August 11.

To enter, just leave a comment on this post telling me you'd like to win!

Here are some ways to earn extra giveaway entries (and please be sure to leave a separate comment for each one!):
::Subscribe to the Covenant Homemaking RSS Feed via e-mail or a feed reader.
::Follow me on twitter (@mrsmurch) and tweet about this giveaway with a link to the post (be sure to @mrsmurch in your tweet!).
::Blog about this giveaway and leave a link to your post in your comment.

Menu Plan, August 9-15

Breakfasts: Baked Oatmeal (with blackberries-yum!), Cheesy Potato Pie, Scrambled Eggs with sausage and toast, Biscuits and Gravy, Country Boy

Lunches: grilled sandwiches, quesadillas, whole wheat mac and cheese with ground beef (all served with fresh fruit)

Monday~Tortellini Soup with homemade bread
Tuesday~Spaghetti and Meatballs with garlic bread and salad
Wednesday~Chicken Roll-ups with salad and steamed mixed vegetables
Friday~Homemade Pizza, salad
Saturday~Enchiladas, brown rice and re-fried beans
Sunday~at the farm

What are y'all fixin' this week? For hundreds of other menu plans, head over to OrgJunkie today for Menu Plan Monday!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

O, The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

How amazing it is that Christ sees fit to bestow His perfect, steadfast love on sinners. Nothing we have done or can ever do can make us deserving of His love, but may we all seek to pour our lives out as an offering to Him in thanksgiving for His grace towards us! On many occasions, the hymn O, The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus has been such a precious reminder of Christ's love. I hope it encourages your heart this Lord's Day!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

Words by S. Trevor Francis, 1875

Friday, August 6, 2010

Our Breastfeeding Journey

Since it's World Breastfeeding Week and I've been meaning to write about breastfeeding for quite a while, I wanted to share a little bit about our breastfeeding journey with y'all.

I always knew I'd nurse my babies. After all, it's the absolute healthiest food for babies and it's completely free. Having a wonderful aunt who's a sales rep for Medela, I had lots of great products and advice at my disposal long before I had a baby in my arms. By the time Katie was born, I had taken a class, read books, talked with and watched other breastfeeding moms, and I had a Boppy, a nice nursing cover, nursing bras and nursing pads, and plenty of lanolin. I was ready to go.

Then Katie was born. I had a hard time getting her to latch on properly, so I got quite sore. It took my milk 3 full days to come in, and honestly? I was stressed out and exhausted. After 2 and a half days, we (well, mostly Ben--I wasn't in a particularly sound state of mind) decided to give her an ounce of formula so I could get a little bit of sleep. I was devistated--I actually cried.

Thanks to several phone calls with my aunt and excellent, in-person help from my midwife, we finally got it. We did use a nipple shield for about 8 weeks to help with soreness and latch issues, but then she "weaned" off of that and we were set. My nursing cover had a permanent home in the diaper bag, and I would just nurse Katie wherever we happened to be when it was time for a feeding. For most of Katie's first year, breastfeeding was her main source of food, and then it slowly tapered off until Katie weaned herself a little over a month ago, at 16 months old. And to tell you the truth, I shed tears more than once after she was all done. But, my sweet baby couldn't stay a nursling forever (after all, babies really don't keep).

When we began our breastfeeding journey,  I had no idea breastfeeding my precious girl would be something I would grow to truly love as much as I did, and I certainly would've never imagined that once it was over, I would look back on those sweet, snuggle times with such fondness. Being able to nurse Katie was such a rich blessing for me, and I often still wish I could cuddle up and nurse her just one more time. 

Have y'all breastfed your babies? Please feel free to discuss and share in the comments. :)

This post is linked to Finer Things Friday.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Menu Plan, August 2-8

Well, August has officially arrived! The last few days have been a lot cooler around here, and for the sake of pleasant morning walks and lower electricity bills, I wouldn't mind if the weather stayed as-is for a while. :) I did some impromptu freezer cooking last week, and have a little more planned for this week. I think at this season of life (being tired and pregnant with a toddler under foot), doubling or tripling recipes and freezing the extras is easier than taking a whole day to cook. Curious--do y'all ever freeze meals for an easier time later on? Anyway, here's what's on our menu plan this week.

Breakfasts: scrambled eggs with toast and sausage, "country boy" (never did make this last week), biscuits and gravy (planning to double the biscuits and freeze some)

Lunches: sandwiches, salad, quesadillas, leftovers, snacks

Monday~at the farm
Tuesday~Chicken roll-ups (I've made this once before...cooked chicken wrapped in biscuit dough, and baked, topped with gravy--Ben loves it!), steamed veggies
Thursday~Chicken Taco casserole, brown rice and beans
Friday~Homemade Pizza, salad
Sunday~at the farm, as usual. :)

For more menu planning inspiration, be sure to check out OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday!