Sunday, May 15, 2011

Insanity and Catch up (no not Ketchup) :)

On one word, that's how our schedule has been the past couple of weeks! We have about one more month and things will start to slow down a little, well, for a couple of months anyways. I have had some trouble adjusting to school along with the kids schedules, the house and all that I need to get done in a day. However, I think its finally coming together in a good routine. I under estimated how much time I would need to spend studying this quarter whew! I registered last week for Summer and Fall classes so I know what I am facing ahead. I like KNOWING whats going on, I am not a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal at all these days.

It has been an exceptionally wet spring here in Western Washington. This has not been good for our spring sports season. Many of the fast pitch games have been cancelled due to rain, and even three soccer games (which is not normal). We finished up soccer this weekend and will be done with fast pitch in a couple of weeks. After that its just finishing up dance, the rest of the school year for the kids and its onto summer vacation!

We did have a big event in our house this week. My oldest son is now driving. I have discovered that having to let them have that freedom is one of the hardest things one can do as a parent! It is gut wrenching to watch them drive away for the first time, but he is doing great with it. It will be nice to have a second driver in the house that is for sure!

This week I need to do my freezer cooking session. We have a freezer meal swap next Saturday. I am not sure yet WHEN I am going to fit this in, but, somewhere in the week I need to find some time. I cannot stress enough how valuable and time saving it has been having these meals on hand.

I was going to add some pictures but that function doesn't seem to be working this morning. Ahh the joys of technology!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday May 3rd- Getting Crafty and a Birthday

Today is my oldest daughters 14th birthday. I still cannot believe she is 14, it seems like just yesterday that she was born! She is growing into such an amazing young lady and I am very proud of her! She hates having her picture taken but here is one taken last summer. This photo was taken by Shannon at Sweetpea Memories Photography if you are looking for a local photographer check her out!

I have also been getting crafty this past week. I keep getting comments of trying to be "super mom" or an "over achiever" LOL but really, I love to craft and making things myself is MUCH more cost efficient!

This week is staff appreciation week at our school. Volunteering is important to me especially in our church and at the schools. For staff appreciation I volunteered for two things I knew I could do, take photos of staff for the bulletin board and bake cookies! My daughter and her friend helped me frost and package them. Making these cookies vs buying them was a huge cost difference. Here are the cookies ready to be delivered.

Every year I also make a gift for each of the younger kids teachers. Google is a great tool to use when looking for fabulous and fun teacher appreciation gift ideas! This year I found this Box of Teacher Goodies which I thought was super cute! I picked paper that matched each teachers likes and had fun with filling them with goodies! For me the personal touch to these types of gifts is important.

 And then there are cupcakes. The younger kids are not able to take homemade goodies to school anymore on their birthdays due to too many allergies in classrooms. The middle school and high school however, are different. My daughter wanted to take 30 cupcakes today. If I had bought them pre made it would have cost me at least $20 just for cupcakes. We made them ourselves at home. I bought cute liners, orange frosting tint, 2 cake mixes and frosting for about $7. That is a huge savings.

So, sometimes, it is more of a financial factor in doing the things I do than trying to be "supermom". Although I do have four SUPER kids that I would do anything for! :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday Musings-May 2nd

I love spring for many reasons. Sunshine, flowers, sounds of birds and frogs. But most of all, I love spring because the electricity and natural gas bills go way down! We are getting to the time of year where I can use my clothes line instead of the drier and we can put on a sweater if we are chilly instead of turning up the heat YEAH! Spring, my checkbook thanks you :).

Another thing I love is our church. Our church has great programs for not only adults but children of all ages. I posted last week about my daughter who went to the "old fogey" night for the middle school youth group. Last night was my sons turn. The high school youth group had "thrift store formal" night. Check out these "special" duds HA! The Scooby Doo tie was an especially huge hit at our house since it is my youngest sons favorite character!

There are a few areas I need to address this week and focus on.

*I need to re inventory my pantry and freezer so that I know what we have on hand. With the cost of gas and food prices rising, I want to make sure I stay stocked on things we use regularly. I will watch for sales on those items and avoid running out and having to make a "quick trip" to the store. Those quick trips can be very costly not only in buying more than you need, but also with the price of gas.

*Re look at our budget and expenses. I did this 6 months ago (in November) and I need to do it again to make sure we are not overpaying for services.

*Front flower bed. It needs major attention. This week I will measure the flowerbed to see how much bark we will need and what we might want to plant.

*Garage sale list. No, not a list of garage sales we are going to but rather a master list of things we are looking for this summer. For example, my youngest daughter has a series of books she would like to have. If we bought it new it would be close to $100. However, we can usually find books at garage sales for .25-.50 each. HUGE savings! I would like to find a bike for myself (a particular one) and will watch for that over the summer.

Mix those in with a long list of activities and events this week as well as housework and homework and well, that's my week :).

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Menu

If you seen the note FM that stands for Freezer Meal. I have alot of meals in the freezer from the past 2 months freezer cooking sessions and swaps. I am planning another for May (see below). Each night as I am doing the dishes I take out a freezer meal to thaw overnight. There is alot of variety in our freezer so I just choose whatever sounds good that night for the next day!

May Menu
1- Grilled burgers, hot dogs and pasta salad
2- Slow roasted rosemary/garlic chicken, mashed potatoes, veggies
3- FM
4- Chicken ceasar pasta, salad and french rolls
5- FM
6- OUT- we will be attending an art walk with childrens art from local schools (including my daughters art) and will have dinner there
7- Mission Team Potluck (I'm taking chili)
8- Mothers day I am hoping we can go to the beach again and roast hot dogs. If not I will probably pull out a freezer meal.
9- FM
10- FM
11- BBQ at church
12- FM
13- Tacos
14- @ a graduation BBQ
15- Shepherds pie, salad, hm rolls
16- FM
17- FM
18- Spaghetti, salad, french bread
19- FM
20- Homemade pizza
21- Subway
22- BBQ burgers
23- FM
24- FM
25- Chicken ceasar wraps

26/27- free choice
28/29- meals at other locations
30- On the go or sandwiches
31- FM

My May Freezer Cooking Session will include:

3-Chicken Broccoli Bake
3-Chicken Cordon Bleu
3-Daves swamp blues bbq chicken
4-Cheesy Chilada bake
3-Shanghai Stir Fry
15-Cheese Burgers
4-Rice Pilaf
4-Garlic Mashed potato
8-Tropical Fruit Smoothie

All recipes except the cheeseburgers come from the book Fix Freeze Feast I cannot recomend this book enough! The # next to the item is the quantity of meals I will be making. The Rice Pilaf and Garlic mashed potatoes will be a side dish. The cheese burgers is an individual # not meals.

The lasagna will be my meal I am making for this months freezer swap. I will take the 8 lasagnas and come home with 8 different meals for our freezer. This is a great way to try new recipes without the commitment of making several of them!

May 1- Happy May Day

I was so happy to wake up to beautiful sunshine this morning! We have had some very rainy gray days here in Western Washington this past week. The sun came out long enough yesterday for my son to get the lawn mowed YEAH! I have a strong urge to work in the flower bed this morning, sadly, there is no time today. It will be a day full of birthday lunch, baking 100 cookies for staff appreciation at the school, a soccer game and a Thrift Store Formal for my oldest son at youth group. We are however, going to BBQ tonight, something we love doing!