Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December 29th

I am in love. With my super soft snuggie and the amazing 5 minute microwave/coffee cup chocolate cake. So I realized today that with fighting this cold I have not left my house in 4 days. I need to go grocery shopping but there is enough milk to last another day so it can wait. I needed to get creative for dinner though. Looked thru the fridge at all of those "little bits" of things and put together a homemade peperoni pizza for the kids and some chicken alfredo and salad for myself. Quick, easy, delicious and kept all of those "little bits" from ending up in the trash.

I finally got the kitchen put back together today after all of the holiday baking. All of the pans are washed and stacked neatly in the cupboards. I really enjoyed having a large kitchen with alot of counter space this year! I also got my home office area tidied up and cleaned.

Best part of the day however, was challenging my 8 year old to a sing off Karaoke Revolution. The kids cheered me on as I croaked and coughed my way thru a couple of songs. And then I realized 1/2 way thru the song, that I never really knew what the words were or what the song was really about until just then. HMMMMM.

Photo is a view of the sunrise from our front yard in late November.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Gearing up for 2010

I am determined that 2010 will be the year that I get myself back on track with organization. I will menu plan and track my grocery shopping. I will work on getting caught up on my scrap booking and start on those handmade Christmas gifts in JANUARY. Yes all of those things I have meant to do for the past 5 years and have not.

I hope to post a daily blog post with organization, recipes etc. not only to keep track for myself but to maybe give ideas to others! So if I don't bore you all I hope you will join me on this journey in 2010!

Today is December 28, 2009.

Today I am taking down the Christmas decorations and getting the house back together. I realized I have 2 very blank walls. One I want to hang prints of family pictures that a friend took for us this month. The other, I want to make a quilt wall hanging to match the decor.

I managed to get thru the stack of magazines on the end table and kept maybe 5 pages of tips/ideas/recipes that I would like to try. The rest of the large stack is now in the recycle bin.

I am also working on a list of things that need to be done. Like getting photos printed and making out thank you cards. Hmm, the list is getting larger, but I will take it one item at a time!

No new recipes today. Just using up some leftovers in the fridge and pantry for shake & bake chicken, mac & cheese for the kids (baked potato for me) and green beans.


December Recap

December is always a crazy month around here. Oh who am I kidding they are ALL crazy! December this year was full of band and choir concerts, school performances, dance rehersals and performances, Christmas parties, cookie exchanges, Tylers 6th birthday and Christmas!

We had an amazing Christmas filled with fun, friends, family and alot of laughs and love. We are very blessed and are thankful to God for all he has provided for us. Here are a few pictures enjoy!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fall is Upon Us

Its very obvious when fall hits in Western Washington. First the leaves start to turn beautiful colors. Then the rain hits. And stays for months on end. The "normal" forecast is "rain followed by showers". With that comes the full on schedule of kids activities!

This year we switched things up a bit. DJ my 14 year old decided to give Trapshooting a try and LOVED it. Erika my 12 year old, gave volleyball a try and is a natural! Danielle is dancing again and is already in rehearsal for the Christmas program. We have not added any extra activities for Tyler yet, school is enough for him at this point. The girls have also started to help with kids worship at church! The love to sing and praise God!!

Another big event in our household is my oldest son meeting his biological dad and step mom! Its been an AWESOME event and they are working on forming a relationship and getting to know one another! This has been a long time coming and I thank God that it has happened and at such a crucial time in his life (being a teenager!).

I have been busy with work and volunteering. I am coordinating our school carnival this week which has a Western Theme. So exciting! I have also been volunteering in the classrooms at school and still teaching at church. There is NEVER a dull moment in our household.

I hope to be back to blogging regularly I need to get back to menu planning and trying out some new recipes! Pictures soon!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Menu Week of 9/13-9/19

Breakfast choices:
Eggo's, bagelfuls, eggs/toast, cereal, homemade muffins or blueberry/zucchini bread

Packed from home for the kids and salads/soups at home

S- Old Spaghetti Factory's Spaghetti with Brown Butter and Mizithra Cheese, french bread and salad

M- Tacos for the kids. I am going to a BBQ for my small group and am still trying to figure out what to take.

T- Bacon wrapped cod, frise salad and buttered noodles.

W- Roast chicken, mashed potatoes and veggies

Th- Pork loin, rice and veggies

F- Crispy garlic chicken, mashed potatoes and veggies

S- will pack a "picnic" dinner to eat at church between services

Some Pictures to Share

Here are a few pictures from the past week! Back to school and our new to us house (rental).

Monday, September 7, 2009

Back To School

So the time is upon us, BACK TO SCHOOL! We have had a great summer but we are all ready to get back to the school routine. My oldest child will be in high school this year, and the youngest in Kindergarden. Really? I was JUST in high school I swear!!

Activities started up last week so we are now getting back into the full schedule routine. Meal planning is a MUST for me. The kids all leave for school at different times so making breakfast on weekday mornings just isn't an option for us. Instead, we opt for the "easy" breakfast options. That way, each child can eat breakfast when they are ready and can make their own choice. Lunches will be packed the night before. Dinners will be pre-planned. In theory :)

This week:

Breakfast choices:

The kids will pack to school. Sandwiches, chips, carrots/ranch, pudding and juice. My youngest son doesn't start school until NEXT week so for his lunches will be mini corndogs/fries (baked), sandwiches/chips etc. I will focus on soups and salads this week.

M- Chicken & rice, green beans
T- Spaghetti, French Rolls, Salad
W- Brown Sugar Chicken (crockpot), rice and veggies
Th- Crockpot chili, Homemade biscuits
F- Broccoli and Pasta , green salad
S- at church between services

Monday, August 24, 2009

Menu 8/24-8/29

Trying to get back into the swing of menu planning this week. The past month has been just crazy. I used up most of our pantry/freezer stockpile before moving so I have been trying to rebuild that over a few trips to Winco. It still has a long ways to go though!!

This weeks menu:

Breakfast choices:

Lunch choices:
mini corndogs/fries

M- Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and veggies
T- White chicken chili, rice
W- Pork Cutlets with Brussels Sprouts, buttered noodles and homemade rolls
Th- Tacos
F- Grilled chipotle london broil, grilled corn and baked potatoes
S- Fried chicken, zucchini cakes and veggies

My shopping list for the week based on this menu:
1 jalepeno pepper
1 can chicken broth
2 cans cannellini beans
1 lime
brussels sprouts
sour cream
1 can refried beans
flour tortillas
1 cornbread mix
1 pkg chipotle marinade mix
1 1/2# london broil

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Has it really been THAT long since I have updated my blog? What a crazy month it has been. In the course of the past month we have had record breaking temperatures, my oldest son went to Arizona for 2 weeks, we moved, went to family camp for a week and I spent time in Seattle with my best friend while she had and recovered from surgery.

Its been a whirlwind of activity! Our new home is FABULOUS! We are living on a working farm. We do not use the farm someone else does but its amazing to wake up hearing the cows instead of people screaming and watching the kids play in the sprinkler instead of watching police activity in the parking lot!

Family camp was an amazing adventure. I was blessed in getting to facilitate the college age group this year. This was a stretch for me and definitely outside my box and comfort zone. I teach at church most every weekend but with K-1st!! It was a small group, only 5 but we had an amazing time. The kids had a blast. I was brave and took 6 kids with me this year, my 4 and my niece and nephew. Mom came down and spent a couple of days and got to have the camp experience as well. Overall it was an amazing week full of fun, fellowship and ALOT of crafts!!

Our garden is doing amazingly well. We had the produce collected while we were gone and donated to the food bank so that it would not go to waste. Our lettuce is done but we are still eating beans, cucumbers and now getting some carrots! Our Brussels sprout plants are HUGE cannot wait to glean the produce from those!

I am getting back on track with rebuilding a pantry, getting back to menu planning etc. I hope to get back to updating the blog on a regular basis! Here are some pictures for you to enjoy!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

AllYou Give away at $5 Dinners!

Check out this new contest at $5 Dinners for a chance to win a free subscription to All You Magazine! This is one of my favorite magazines. They also have a new website ALLYOU.COM

Great resource for money saving ideas. While you are at the $5 dinner blog, check out some of her great ideas as well. This is one of my favorite blogs!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

There is Nothing Better

There is nothing better than the excitement of finding veggies growing in your garden! We have been eating lettuce from our garden for several weeks. We now have green beans and tomatoes! The tomatoes are not ready to eat yet but the green beans we will start eating this coming weekend! Here are a few pictures of our success so far.

Chicken Packets

I tried a new recipe this week. I saw a similar idea on another blog and decided to create something along the same lines. There are no exact measurements just how many packets you want to make and how much you want in each one.

Boneless skinless chicken tenders
red potatoes cut into pieces
green beans broken into 3rds
brussels sprouts halved
onion sliced thin
sprig of rosemary for each packet
pat of butter for each

I seasoned these with salt and Onion Onion and Garlic Garlic from Tastefully Simple (my 2 new FAVORITE spices)

Take a piece of aluminum foil and lay in all of the ingredients, season. Put the pat of butter and sprig of rosemary on top. Seal up the foil packets. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the potatoes are tender. You could also cook these on the grill!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Grocery Shopping Week of 7/12

As I posted earlier, we are going to be moving YEAH!! I am going to try to use up whats on hand in the pantry/freezer so will just be buying what we need to fill in for our menu.

Dollar Tree:
hashbrowns $1
3 bags chocolate covered pretzels $3

Cost Cutter:
Store meat deal 5/$19.99 (3 boneless skinless chicken tenders, 2 ground beef)
2 gallons milk $3.98
2 turkey dogs $1.36
.59# green beans $117
1.59# red potatoes $1.54
.35# bulk chocolate chips $1.66
4 mac & cheese $3.56 (ODD is getting braces on Thursday she may live on this for a few days)
2.47# bananas $1.45
coffee filters $1.50
6 yogurt $1.98
spaghetti noodles $1.50
2 boxes capri sun $3.94
TOTAL: $44.09

Total for the 2 stores $48.09

Check out what Gayle and the others have done this week at the Grocery Cart Challenge

Changes, Changes, Changes

Well, big changes coming to our household. We finally after 2.5 years in a 3rd floor apartment are moving back into a house. We cannot wait. The apartment complex where we are living has become a toxic environment with the type of people moving in and the activities going on. God has truly provided us with the perfect house for us. I will post pictures later. It is a rental, a farm house and exactly what we were looking for in the kids same school district.

I am going to try to use up as much of my pantry/freezer before we move as I can to reduce having to pack/move those items. So my grocery list this week was very small menu for this week is below.

Dinner: Chicken/potato/greenbean packets

B: Waffles, pears
L: Mini homemade pizzas
D: meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas

B: Eggs, hashbrowns and toast
L: sandwiches/chips
D: Spaghetti, homemade french bread and salad

B: Cereal
L: Sandwiches & Chips
D: Grilled steak, baked potatoes and veggies

B: cereal
L: soup/grilled cheese sandwiches
D: roasted chicken & veggies

B: apple/cinnamon muffins
L: tuna casserole
D: eating at a church event

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 4th of July

We had a fabulous 4th of July. The afternoon was spent BBQ'ing with friends. I picked up some foam craft kits for the kids to use while we waited to go to the fireworks after the BBQ and they were a HIT!

We went and met up with some other friends at the Bay to watch the fireworks. We sat and visited for a while before watching the amazing display. $2 worth of glo sticks kept the kids entertained for quite some time. It was a fun yet frugal celebration day.

Above are some pictures of the festivities. My oldest daughter had gone with friends for the day so she didn't make it into any of our pictures this year but she had a blast with the parade, rodeo and fireworks show!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Shopping trip 7/3-7/10

OK went to 3 places but took 1 picture. I thought shopping today would be easiest with the Holiday weekend and because our store was having a 2 day sale that started today. It was CRAZY!! But I did stick to my list.

Our store had whole chickens on sale that were a good price but didn't look good so I passed. I had roasted chicken on the menu one night so I will make a roast turkey breast instead (that was already in the freezer at home). See post below for my menu to use todays purchases.

2 - 18pk eggs FREE from my moms chickens!
1 box raspberry filled donuts (free with my purchase at bread outlet)

3 boxes cereal $5.85

Hostess Bread Outlet
5 loaves bread $4.64 (this will last us a couple of weeks)
twinkies $1.59
Ding Dongs $1.59
2 boxes donuts - $4.18
2 pkg gravy mix $2.58
2 pkg hotdog buns $1.78
croutons $1.45
TOTAL: $17.81

2- ice cream $3.94
1 tater tot $2.50
1- french fries $2.50
2 pkg bs chicken breast $4.90
2 bags lays chips $3.54
2 bacon $3.00
2 milk $3.98
1 family pkg steak $14.53
3 hotdogs $2.94
3 shredded cheese $5.00
1 meat marinade $1.49
skewers .99
2# tillamook cheese $5.77
1 cream cheese $1.77
bananas $1.35
5- butter $5 (I couldn't believe these were on sale for 5/$5!!!)
watermelon $2.97
salad dressing $2.50
2- mac & cheese $1.78
2# baby carrots $2.50

Total: $73.00
(total saved with sale prices $44.20)


I am upping my grocery budget to $400 a month for the summer due to having the kids home for 3 meals a day 7 days a week plus snacks.

That is $100 per week or $20 per week per person.

Planning Ahead

I find that if I take the time to plan ahead life seems so much calmer, less stress. And we can ALL use less stress! We have a couple of extra expenses in the July budget so I am trying to stick to meal planning around whats on sale at our grocery store. Here is my menu for July 4th-July 10th.

B: Waffles
L: Quesadillas
D: BBQ for the 4th of July with friends

B: Donuts (from bread outlet)
L: Tuna casserole
D: Roast turkey breast, mashed potatoes and veggies

B: Bagels/cream cheese and pears
L: Sandwiches/chips
D: Spaghetti, homemade french bread and salad (from our garden)

B: Biscuits and gravy
L: Mac & Cheese
D: Leftovers

B: pancakes
L: Redneck Casserole
D: Grilled steak, baked potatoes and veggies

B: Cereal
L: Homemade pizza
D: Chicken & rice, veggies

B: Coffee cake and fruit
L: Sandwiches & chips
D: hotdogs for the kids and I am having a Tastefully Simple Party so there will be plenty of munchies from that!

Today I am off to see how I do at the grocery store for the week.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Groceries and Menu week of 6/27

I am starting this menu/grocery shopping on Saturday instead of Sunday this week due to the fridge being EMPTY when we got back from vacation :)

This weeks grocery shopping trip:

Cost Cutter:
Meat deal 5/$19.95
(2-ground beef, 1-chicken, 1-pork chops, 1-steak)

4 cans tuna $3.96
1 bag tortilla chips $1.50
10# potatoes $1.50
1(24oz) budwiser (for making beer bread) $1.99
meat marinade $1.49
4 Mac & Cheese $3.56
half & half $2.49
whipping cream $2.49
2 cream cheese $3.54
2 loaves bread $2.38
ice cream $5.99
1 bag doritos $2.50
onions $.44
1 bag cereal $3.00
4 butter $6.00
1 bag lays chips $3.50
cheese $1.19
sour cream $2.79
mayo $2.99
2 turkey dogs $1.36
red pepper $.47
1.47# brussels sprouts $3.66
2 gallons milk $3.98
dr pepper $7.69

Total $91.27
See how Gayle and the others have done at the Grocery Cart Challenge

apple/cinnamon muffins
bagels/cream cheese

mac & cheese and turkey dogs
top ramen/carrots with ranch

chicken ceasar salad
honey chicken kabobs, rice and veggies
meatloaf, mashed potatoes, veggies
spaghetti, salad, garlic bread
burgers & fries
grilled steak, baked potatoes and veggies

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Family Vacation

The kids and I just got back from a too short but amazing vacation. No we did not go off to any far away lands or exotic places but we did get time to spend together making some fun and amazing memories!!

We rented a small vacation house on a Farm in Sequim, WA. It is owned by an older couple who are the nicest people! It's not fancy just a simple place but exactly what we needed. The kids were able to feed the goats and llamas on the farm with the owner and just loved it. There was lots of room to run and play as well.

I created two photo albums. One is the June 2009 Vacation and the other is Twilight Tour pictures.

Snapshot of our vacation:

Day 1:

Headed out at 9am! Drove down and across Whidbey Island to the Keystone/Port Townsend Ferry. We enjoyed a picnic lunch while we waited for the Ferry. This was Tylers first Ferry ride and he was so excited! We boarded the ferry for the noon run. We were able to walk out on the deck and enjoy the views as the sun was out and it wasn't too cold. Once we got to the other side we headed to our destination, KinderFarms in Sequim, WA. We arrived and found the vacation house was amazing and fun, full of all kinds of treasures. There were fresh baked cookies from the cookie monster. Lots of toys (its an old preschool) and lots of goats and llamas in the fields around us. We headed out to buy groceries and take in some of the area. Back to the house to play games, get settled and BBQ some burgers for dinner. We met the owners such nice people!! We were all tired from the excitement of the day and the excitement of the next day we all slept really well.

Day 2:

After breakfast we packed up for the day and headed out to Forks, WA. There were two main reasons in going to Forks. The Timber Museum/Loggers Memorial (a must coming from a logging family/town). And the big reason, Forks is "Twilight Central". Erika is a huge Twilight fan (books/movie). This is where the movie was filmed and there are alot of sights to see. We started out in La Push. This is home of the Quileute Indians and for the Twilight movie was the home of Jacob and his pack. We walked on First Beach which is a REAL SAND beach this was another first for the kids! First Beach can get surfer waves but the water was somewhat calm that day. First Beach for you Twilight fans is where Bella first learns the story of the "cold ones". We also stopped by the Quileute School (where Jacob attends school in Twilight). There were some fun signs coming into La Push such as the "No Vampires Past This Point" sign! Then it was off to Forks where (for Twilight) found The Forks Police station where Charlie Swan works, Forks Hospital and the parking spot of Dr. Carlisle Cullen, Bellas house, Edwards house (and even a picture of his piano and a board updated daily by Esmine of the Cullen happenings), Forks High where Bella attends school. We also stopped at the Timber Museum and Loggers Memorial to see some of the history of logging and take a moment of silence. We were still so excited and wanted to take in more so we drove out to the Hoh Rain forest! We hiked the "Hall of Mosses" and its just breathtaking. You can feel the difference in the air in the rain forest. We learned that the Hoh rain forest gets 142" of rain a year!!!! We headed back to the Vacation house to unwind stretch our legs and have dinner before playing some games (kids got really good at Phase 10 and Pictureka on this trip LOL )

Day 3:

This was our day for the Olympic Game Farm. This is always a huge hit with the kids and was a first for Tyler. The Olympic Game farm is a driving tour of animals. Some of them come right up to your car and will stick their head in if you are not careful (yaks, llamas, bison, elk, deer, zebras etc). There are quite a few bears and they LOVE to be fed! They are behind a fence area but still very close. They will do tricks to get you to throw them bread (which you can bring your own or buy at the entrance). The kids fed a whole loaf of bread to the bears LOL. We saw beautiful peacocks, a lion, tigers, cougars, wolves and much more. I took pics of all of the animals. There is a small petting zoo area that after you are done with drive you can park and walk in to that part. We also noticed when we pulled in there was a Hydroplane out in the parking lot and KMPS the local country radio station was setting up a booth. Turns out they were doing a fundraiser for the Game Farm and a local Hydroplane racer was there. We were able to get the kids pics taken with the racer and his boat and he signed autographs for the kids.

We then decided to go in search of a beach for our picnic lunch. We found Discovery Bay. We couldn't drive all the way down to the water but we found a spot to eat with some amazing views! The kids decided they wanted to do more that day so we headed up to Hurricane Ridge. Its up over 5000 feet and was a beautiful drive. When we got to the top we realized WHY it was called Hurricane Ridge. It was soooooo windy and cold! There was still some snow on the ground. We were not dressed for cold weather so we checked out the visitors center and snapped a few pictures but decided against hiking any of the trails. We decided we will bring warm clothes and go back next time we are there. The views were breathtaking! Back to the vacation house then for some relaxation time. When we got back found that the owner had left us fresh baked bread and fresh made strawberry jam the kids were on cloud 9!

Day 4:

This was our last full day in the area. We asked Miege the owner where was the best place to go (closest) to go to the beach. We loved La Push but it was a long drive. She suggested we go to Saltcreek Park (not really a creek its the ocean) and Freshwater Bay (again its really the ocean/saltwater). The tide was really low so Saltcreek provided a large amount of tide pools for looking for sea life! This is a reserve area so no taking anything (rocks, shells etc). Because of this there were hundreds and hundreds of mussels on the rocks!! We also found alot of other fun sea life! We had to be careful the rocks were slippery. When we were done there we drove down a ways to Freshwater Bay. This was a large sand beach perfect for collecting sea shells (and clam digging but we didn't have a license). Tyler really wanted to get a Starfish and he was bummed we had not found any. But as we walked back to the car he found a baby starfish! So he brought it home LOL. We made a quick stop in Port Angeles at a Twilight gift shop and Erika snapped a picture of Bella Italia for her Twilight picture collection. We went back and spent the afternoon at the Vacation house and the kids ran around outside and played in between rain showers. We ended the day with another fun game night.

Day 5:

This was our go home day. We got up and everyone was quiet as we packed up the car. No one wanted to come home. Miege brought us some trail mix and homemade fruit leather for the trip home. We so enjoyed our time there and will definitely be going back! We couldn't take the Port Townsend/Keystone ferry back because of low tide it was only running 4 times a day and was all full (reservations). So we drove down across the Hood Canal Bridge and took the Kingston/Edmonds ferry back to "reality"

We hope you enjoy our pictures!!!

Vacation Pics:
June Vacation Pics

Twilight Pics:
Twilight Picture Album

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Grocery shopping Week of 6/7-6/13

I am back to tracking my grocery shopping this month. Last week was so hot we did not really cook much. We also had a lot of sandwich fixing leftovers from last weekends parties.

This weeks trip:


Cilantro $.59
Queso Fresco $2.28
Flank Steak $6.29
Ground beef $4.09
3 Pork & Beans 3/.99
BBQ sauce .99
chipotle in adobo $2.99
sour cream $2.79
3 shredded cheese $7.50
2 dr peper $3.38
3 power aid 3/.99
monster $2.89
2 limes .50
8.54# watermelon $2.81
onions .49
whip cream $2.49
cream cheese $2.99
(bag credit of .15)

TOTAL: $48.52

Menu for the week:

Spaghetti, garlic bread & salad
Garlic cheddar chicken, rice and veggies
Chipotle herb flank steak, cilantro rice
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and veggies

1st week of June Update

Well, after a few days of HOT weather, we are back to normal Washington Spring weather. I am so thankful I do not like it when its really hot!

Last week was another busy week. Erika had the end of program ceremony for Tech Reach and received her certificate for participation. DJ was baptized!! We finished up the Box Tops for Education program for Danielles school. Tyler was busy adjusting to his new schedule with no preschool.

Yesterday was the Lynden Farmers Day parade which was alot of fun. The Middle School Marching band did awesome! We have also been working hard on our garden which is doing really well.

Here are a few pictures of our adventures!