Sunday, November 22, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - 11/23

This week is a short menu for me. We will be leaving Thursday morning (yes, we're driving on Thanksgiving Day) and heading to Oklahoma for the weekend. We originally planned to leave Wednesday afternoon, but decided since we'll be staying in a hotel, we didn't want to have to figure out what to do for food for a Thanksgiving meal. Most restaurants that are open require a reservation and have higher costs for that meal, so we opted to avoid that dilemma by traveling on the day and packing our travel food (as we always do).

So, here's what I have planned:

Cold cereals and ::gasp:: poptarts on travel day, the hotel has an omelet bar for the other mornings!

Leftovers, sandwiches, snack foods, fresh fruit

Monday: Sloppy joes, corn, fruit smoothies
Tuesday: Baked chicken, steamed veggies, bread/rolls
Wednesday: Grilled cheese, tomato soup, fruit smoothies
Thursday: packing sandwiches, fruit and snacks for our trip
Friday: Dinner out with Michael's mom
Saturday: No idea.
Sunday: packing sandwiches, fruit and snacks for our trip home

For more weekly menu plans (including Thanksgiving meals) hop on over to Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, November 20, 2009

It's a girl thing!

A year and a half ago when I found out I was having a girl - after already having had two boys - I was definitely very excited! But I thought, since I am a fairly plain girl, I wouldn't be all that into frilly, girly things.... but I was VERY wrong. I love dressing her up in cute clothing and hairbows! It's just so easy to do!

This week, at 14 months, she had her first pig-tails and I was over the moon about it!I think that knowing she is most likely my last (doctor's orders) unless God decides to surprise us and bless us with another - which would be absolutely OK with me - has made me enjoy these baby days just a bit more than I did with the first two. It's a finer thing to love and cherish a baby!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A morning time saver tip

I have an awesome tip for those of you that have trouble getting out the door in the morning (due to all the little things that hold the kids up). This will apply mostly to those of us with younger children who require constant supervision when doing those final tasks like brushing teeth, combing hair, hair bows, etc.

Of course, this may be irrelevant if you live in a single story home, but maybe you'll still find something useful to implement in your routine.

We live in a two story home with full bathrooms upstairs and a half bath downstairs just inside the door to the garage (in the kitchen). Many months ago, I was becoming frustrated on the mornings we had to be somewhere early due to all the running back and forth up the stairs. The up-and-down is very time consuming and very ineffective when trying to keep a schedule. So here's what I came up with:
I bought a duplicate set of all of the staple, last minute items we were constantly running back upstairs to do (myself included). We now have toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion, hair smoother, and a comb located in the downstairs bathroom. It is so quick for me to send the boys in there one at a time to brush their teeth and comb their hair while I'm in the kitchen getting someone else ready (tying shoes, putting on coats, etc.). I also keep a few of Rachael's hair ties/bows outside the bathroom on a shelf in the kitchen for easy access for me [I don't keep these in the bathroom because a certain 3 year old likes to flick them when I'm not looking!!]. It has saved me so much frustration in the mornings and I just love the simplicity of it! It absolutely works for me.

Be sure to hop on over to Works-For-Me-Wednesday for more wonderful posts on what's working for everyone.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - 11/16

What a crazy couple of weeks it has been around here. Whew! But, I don't foresee the busy-ness slowing down until after Christmas. I am so happy that I participated in baking day, it is saving me loads of time in my meal planning and preparations!!

Here's what we are planning for meals for this week:

~ pumpkin pancakes (from the pre-made mix I made on baking day) and cold cereal (we are very overstocked on cereal from a recent deal)

~ leftovers, simple thrown together things of varying assortments, fresh fruits and veggies

~ Monday: Chicken tortilla soup (from freezer)
~ Tuesday: Tacos (with lots of trimmings) served with fresh fruit
~ Wednesday: Pan seared Tilapia (seared in coconut oil), steamed veggies and bread or rolls
~ Thursday: Ziti (from freezer), steamed veggies and bread or rolls
~ Friday: Pizza night with fruit smoothies
~ Saturday: No idea because we may spend the day in Denver, if not we'll probably have burritos from the freezer
~ Sunday: Date night - Michael and I have an inside date after the kids go to bed - we choose somewhere simple to order takeout and then watch a favorite show or movie together!!

Be sure to visit Menu Planning Monday for more inspiration and weekly menu plans.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Times are changing

Just wanted to give you all a heads-up that there will be some changes taking place around here in the weeks/months to come. Working on a completely new experience here at Bloggin' Mama. And possibly a new name (more on that another day)!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day.

Happy Veteran's Day to all of you! We thank you immensly for what you have done and continue to do for this great country.

There's one veteran in particular who is really special to us! He is TSgt Michael Venning of the United States Air Force.
I am proud to call him my husband! And our children are proud to call him dad!

Somehow I don't have a current photo of Michael in uniform. The most recent one I could find was at his previous rank... The above photo was taken in Kuwait in 2005.

My personal thanks also go out to my grandfather, B.S. Thompson, who served during the Korean conflict,

My late grandfather, C.G. Scott who served during Vietnam.

My uncle, Master Chief Petty Officer (retired) John Schnoering.

Another special thanks goes out to the late grandfather of my most dear friend (Wanda), Harold Wainwright, who served in the 3rd Infantry Division and received a purple heart in 1943.

Please be sure to visit the Happy Housewife for many more thank you's and tributes.

About me

Hello and Welcome to Bloggin' Mama!

I'm Laura and I am the proud wife of Michael and am blessed to be the mommy of Jacob, Eli and Rachael.  Michael is currently a TSgt in the US Air Force and we are currently calling Colorado Springs, Colorado home, but it looks like we'll be transplanting to Turkey mid-2010!

About four years ago God really convicted us to make me staying home to raise our children a priority.  I am proud to say that three and a half years ago we took that step and I am a domestic mommy to our three precious treasures!

More recently we have really begun to learn that homeschooling our children is what God wants from us as a family.  Through homeschooling we are able to be more involved in developing and shaping our childrens' hearts and who they will become as men and women of God.

I currently spend my time refining my homemaking skills, homeschooling (currently kindergarten and preschool), coordinating the finances for my local MOPS group, learning/researching natural and whole food living, learning how to live a more Christ focused life and teach our children this same lifestyle and working part time from home for a small law firm in Oklahoma (my place of previous on-site employment).

I hope you have learned a little more about my family and my focus.  I'd love it if you'd stay for a while and explore a little around Bloggin' Mama!


I can be reached at homemakingjoyfully(at)gmail(dot)com and would love to hear from you!

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Baking day summary

Whew, what a crazy two days! If you weren't able to participate in Baking Day, maybe you can join in another time. You can keep up with the info. by follow Money Saving Mom and Life As Mom.

Here's what my kitchen looked like at one point today:
That's me rolling out cinnamon roll dough, with my Spalding Handbook open (on the high chair tray) for vocabulary/spelling words that I'm dictating to Jacob who's writing them in his workbook. How's that for multitasking?

On Tuesday, I only planned a small amount of cooking due to prior commitments. Even, so I got all but one item on my list complete and that was simply because I ran out of steam this afternoon.

Here's what I completed (and I'm way too lazy at this point to go pull it all out to photograph it):
3 bags of browned and seasoned taco meat
8 beef and bean burritos (these work well for quick fix lunches)
2.5 pans of chicken enchiladas (we've already eaten the small pan)
2 meals of Ziti
2 meals of spaghetti
2 meals of chicken tortilla soup
2 loaves of pumpkin bread
2 loaves of zucchini bread (one loaf has already been eaten!)
2 pans cinnamon rolls
4 pints of salsa (with my homegrown tomatoes and neighbors homegrown habaneros)
2 premade pumpkin pancake mixes (just the dry ingredients)
1 batch pumpkin scones (to take to MOPS tomorrow morning)

That comes out to 13 meals and lots of breakfasts and goodies. On the days I'll be using one of these premade meals all I'll have to do is prepare a side and throw the main course in the oven to heat through!

Be sure to head on over to Money Saving Mom's link-up to see some of the other participants and what they were able to accomplish.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Baking day, day 1 update

At the start of today, my list looked daunting. But, I have to say that even as busy as my day was without the baking/cooking added in, I managed to pull off more than I thought I could.
3lb. ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning for freezer
3lb. regular ground beef for meals on this list
Pancake mix x2
Beef/bean burritos

Pumpkin bread
Zucchini bread
Chicken enchiladas x2 - 1 to eat on Tuesday and 1 to freeze

Cinnamon rolls
Honey pumpkin muffins x2
Salsa (using the last of my homegrown tomatoes)
Chicken tortilla soup x2
Pumpkin scones (for MOPS on Thursday morning)

I think day 2 definitely looks doable now. I know that I'm starting with cinnamon rolls because while they're rising I can work on other things. Beyond that, I'll just play it by ear based on the kiddos and what items I can work on. By the end of tomorrow I hope to have everything on the list complete.

Here's what today's work looks like (minus one pan of enchiladas that we devoured for dinner).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Baking/freezer-cooking day

If you follow the blogs or twitter feeds of Money Saving Mom or Life As Mom you've probably already read about their planned baking/cook-ahead days scheduled for tomorrow and Wednesday. If not, here's the scoop (straight from Money Saving Mom's post):
"As I mentioned on Saturday, FishMama from LifeAsMom and I are planning to host a Freezer Cooking Day on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. We'll be live-blogging our progress and sharing tips and recipes along the way on both of our blogs. If you'd like to join in the fun, you can sign up at the Facebook Event page here, follow along on twitter with the #bakingday hashtag, or just check our blogs for updates, pictures, and more!"
I've replied to the event and I'm planning on participating. Michael will be deploying in about 6 weeks and getting in the habit of planning further ahead than I normally do (2 weeks is all I usually plan out) will be very beneficial to me while he's gone. Especially on "those" days when things just don't go as planned and dinner as planned just isn't happening - I'll have something quick and effortless to just throw in the oven or reheat on the stove!

I do believe my plan for this time might be a bit ambitious because I already had some prior commitments on Tuesday. And Michael is TDY right now so I'm not sure how things will work with me not having a relief-parent after dinner!!

Prep work:
Clean kitchen and ALL dishes (to be done Monday night and Tuesday night) - DONE
Thaw pumpkin, chicken and ground beef - DONE
Shred zucchini - DONE
Dice 3 onions - DONE
Find a pumpkin scone recipe
Grate cheese - DONE
Make pumpkin pie spice mix - DONE
I even went ahead and labeled some of my freezer bags!!

3lb. ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning for freezer
3lb. regular ground beef for meals on this list
Pancake mix x2
Beef/bean burritos
Pumpkin bread
Zucchini bread
Chicken enchiladas x2 - 1 to eat on Tuesday and 1 to freeze
Cinnamon rolls
Honey pumpkin muffins x2
Salsa (using the last of my homegrown tomatoes)
Chicken tortilla soup x2
Pumpkin scones (for MOPS on Thursday morning)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - 11/2

Michael is TDY at a training course this week and next, so while he's out "playing war", sleeping in a tent and probably eating MRE's I'm keeping it pretty kid-friendly around here.

Baked fish, steamed veggies and brown rice
~Thaw pumpkin

BAKING DAY, day #1 (There will be a separate post about my accomplishments (or lack thereof) at the end of the day on Wednesday) - However, I doubt much baking/cooking ahead will be happening for me on Tuesday b/c of prior commitments.
Chicken enchiladas

BAKING DAY, day #2 Hoping to accomplish TONS since I have no need to leave the house.
Spaghetti, corn, bread w/butter or rolls

Grilled cheese, fresh fruit

Pizza night

Meatloaf, roasted potatoes, bread or rolls, fresh fruit

French toast, fruit smoothies

Be sure to head on over to Menu Plan Monday for a look at 300+ menu plans for the week!