Monday, August 31, 2009

Catching Up

Last week was hectic and crazy. Poor Jenna was sick all week. I mean sick. Like throwing up and unable to even keep down water for most of the week. For a teenager, in HS, with AP classes, this is a recipe for disaster. Luckily, she is well now and we were able to get some of her assignments last week so she will be somewhat caught up. But, she missed several tests that she now has to stay after school to make up, etc. Poor kiddo.

Thank goodness she is big enough to take care of her own throwing up issues now, though!

I had to cancel home visits from Malachai's speech therapist and his PAT teacher. Germs, ya'know. But, at least I didn't have to clean my living room when they came over. Yes, I was a lazy bizatch this week. I did very little cleaning in my house! And, I did not even cook most of the week. With Jenna sick and both Steven and I feeling kind of blah, there was no point in cooking big meals every night.

My friend Cindy B and I actually got to see each other for the first time all Summer. She came over and stole me away and we went to play tennis. Ha! Play. I have never played before so she ran me around the court chasing balls. But it was fun and one hell of a good work out.

My birthday was probably one of the best I have had in years. I went up tot he pizzeria, where Steven was working for the day, and had lunch with no kids. No interruptions! Then I had a re-certification appointment. After that, I had some presents from my daughter and mom. Then, I got to talk to my friends Paulie and Chelle. I miss them so much! And I talked to my mom, MIL and my brother. And I relaxed for most of the day! I did not cook dinner. When I went to pick up Steven from work, we stopped at a local sweet shop and coffee house and had pie and coffee for my birthday. It was really nice.

So, no big things last week, just crazy. I felt like I did not have enough hours in each day, even though I did not clean or cook nearly as much as I usually do!

I am planning my weekly menu but have not finished. I may post again later with it.

Boring. I know!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Birthday Wishes

Today is my birthday! I am off to have lunch... all by myself... with no kids.... hehehe. I can't wait to eat a meal with no interruptions! I will post again soon. I am fine, calmed down, thanks for all the comments on my whiney post.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bitch, Whine, Moan, Piss, Argue and PMS!

Well, maybe not PMS. I haven't had a period since I got pregnant with Malachai... and he turned 2 in March! I love my IUD. BUT, I am definitely overly emotional lately. And irritable. Yesterday being a prime example.

While I love my husband, I do not always like him. And I sometimes want to bludgeon him with a large, heavy instrument of ... bludgeoning. Hell, sometimes I want to bludgeon him with a large, SHARP instrument! I knew what he was like when I married him. Damn, I knew what he was like when we got pregnant. And when we shacked up together. Why would I think he might change? Maybe because I have? And because we should all adapt to circumstances? And be partners in this marriage? Support each other in the face of overwhelming parenting hardships? Keep a united front against the enemy.... erm.... I mean our kids?

Yesterday was one of Steven's days off. He works really hard. I mean, 12 - 16 hour days five days a week. As a chef. In a hot kitchen, on his feet. I know it is tiring. I think I am very understanding. I generally let him sleep in and expect very little from him in the way of help around the house. But, I do expect a little something from him! Take the garbage out, mow the yard when it needs it so I do not have to try to juggle the kids and a mower, hang things up on the walls for me, change diapers when he is home, spend some time with the kids... maybe take them out to play or at least keep an eye on them so that I can get things done when he is home!! Instead, he usually spends most of his days off sleeping, on the computer, sitting on the couch watching TV, etc. He only does things if I ask directly and then I end up with a sighing attitude like I am interrupting something important rather than the 100th rerun of a show he has seen before.

I get tired of it.

I get tired of having to ask for help. Or ask him to spend time with HIS children. Or, for god's sake, pay a little attention to me.

The thing with Steven is that he really does not care if the house is clean. He would not care if I never cleaner or cooked or washed clothes. As long as he has what he needs when he needs it, the rest does not matter. So, he sees all that I do around the house as unnecessary I guess. So, when I spend a day cleaning and cooking, he does not even notice. He says nothing. I cook his favorite meal for him and get no thanks.

He does not read my blog. He does not read any of the articles that I write unless I specifically ask him to. He does not care. There is no support there. At all.

Sometimes I wonder why he married me if he thinks so little of me. If I did not tell him about my day, he would never ask. He would never ask about the kids either. I wonder how long I could go telling him nothing before he noticed and bothered to ask?

Yesterday I had had it. And I asked him if he wanted a divorce. He was shocked and asked me if I did. I said no but that it seemed like he didn't really want a wife and kids. Then I walked outside to smoke. He ended up coming out to watch the kids for a bit after that. I really think the man is just clueless.

I try not to fight with him. I have a very bad temper and I know that I would say or do things that I might regret if I talked to him while upset. But, something has to give. I need some support and appreciation occasionally. I need him to treat me as a partner and not just his roommate that he sleeps with. I need him to realize that I need more. And, dammit, I need a break sometimes. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with the WIngmen of Mayhem has left me exhausted in every possible way that there is.......

Maybe it is time to have a long talk about what his and my expectations of each other are. I am not willing to let this go and let my marriage slide into mediocrity. I am not willing to lose why we love each other and why we are together because we are exhausted.

Any suggestions?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Menu Planning in the Midst of Madness

I am having a very bad day. I may blog about it tomorrow. For now, here is my menu plan:

Monday - Pulled Pork Sandwiches,Special Potato Casserole and Green beans or corn

Tuesday - hamburger gravy and rice

Wednesday - spicy honey chicken, Fried squash and brown rice patties

Thursday - spinach and mushroom manicotti with garlic knot rolls

Friday - leftovers or breakfast for dinner

Saturday - spaghetti pie

Sunday - swedish meatballs with egg noodles and green beans

For more menu ideas check out Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fiving It Up!

Kayren at Everything's Coming Up Daisies recently had a post about fives. At the end, she offered to let any of her readers participate so,.... here is how it works!

Kayren gave me five particular words to blog about. The words were picked specifically for me after viewing my profile and blog. Cool, huh? Now I have to write about each one. If you want a chance to Five It Up, comment and ask for your words and I will pick some out for you! So, here are my special words!

Thrifty - I like the word thrifty... I like it better than frugal. Frugal sounds like a weird old guy who washes his zippie bags out and reuses his coffee grounds. Not that there is anything wrong with that. If that's what you do. heh. Thrifty brings to mind Moms and homemade cookies and Halloween costumes made out of recycled aluminum cans. And stuff. I like to be thrifty. Thrifty is like creative license to scrounge and scrimp. And it is respected in today's world! My Mother was thrifty before it was cool..... so was my Grandmother..... and her Mom. I think being thrifty is a great way to honor the women who have come before me and scrimped and saved to make my life a little bit better.

Cooking -
Honestly? I really do not enjoy cooking all that much. I WANT to enjoy it. I love the end results and the feeling of actually feeding my family a healthy and nourishing meal. But I really dislike the process and the time it takes me. That's why I have been exploring Once A Month Cooking and crockpotting more recently. If I had all the money in the world I would probably never cook again. No, actually. I like being thrifty too much! I love finding new recipes and making great food, but I hate having to slave over a stove for so long. I need instant gratification, dammit!

Boys -
Boys are sticky, sweet, gritty, dirty, simple and uncomplicated love. They are frogs and trains and mud and bugs and all of the icky things that they can find to show me. They are sticky kisses and snuggle time. They are frustrating, stubborn and pig headed. They are too smart for mommy and full of big plans and imagination stations. Boys are fun. Boys spit. Boys think poop is interesting. Boys think their mom is the prettiest, smartest, funniest woman in the world. Boys think their mom is Wonder Woman. Boys keep you busy all day long. Boys can get into trouble faster than you think. Boys should never be left alone in a room. Even if it is empty. They will find something to get into! I love my boys and would not know what to do without them. Even when they make me crazy! I want another boy......

Space -
hmmm...... space. I need some. I need some time and space for myself. A place and a time to think my thoughts without the interruptions and questions and constant touching. Of course, if I got that space I would probably go crazy wondering what was going on without me!

Goat -
My Aunt and Uncle had goats when I was a kid. I remember learning to milk a goat when I was about 5 years old. That was soooo cool. Goats eat things. Like a garbage disposal. I would love to have a goat. But, I could never eat goat. The word goat makes me think the meat would taste pretty rank. But I don't know, lots of people in the world eat goat. My kids "get my goat" on a regular basis. And goats rhyme with moats


Want your five words? Let me know!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Teen Woes

Jenna needs some words of encouragement! Please hop over, read this post and comment. I would really appreciate it!


My birthday is fast approaching and I will be turning 35. I know many of you will tut tut at me and say I am still a baby, but I am starting to feel older. I have been focusing and thinking about many different things lately. I am about to hit that point in my life that used to feel like it would be the downward slide.... the end of my youth.... the beginning of my old age.... the time when I would be done with the "fun" and would have to "grow up". LMAO at my younger self!

Honestly, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about the future lately. Realizing the need for life insurance and taking better care of myself. Planning when I will be DONE with having babies. Wishing for about 4 more hours in each day... just so I would have time to enjoy myself at this age. Wondering what the future holds and how to get myself to where I want and need to be.

Don't get me wrong, I am very happy, in some ways, with the life I have now and where I am as a person and as a woman. I have grown and matured and learned and enjoyed and.... everything! However, I am nowhere near where I feel that I should be at this point in my life. I am trying to balance my expectations with my reality and the scales are tipping the wrong way lately. I really need to reevaluate my goals for the future and get them in balance with the reality of my situation. I am not the same person I was ten years ago! Not even close. The changes in me are positive and wonderful... now my expectations need to match the person I am today instead of the girl that I was ten years ago.

Ten years ago I was a single mom with one child. My little girl had just started kindergarten and I was working three jobs. I expected to be foot loose and fancy free with my child graduated and my life ahead of me by the time I was 38. I just knew that I was never having more children, I never wanted to get married and I was having a great time planning all of the wonderful things I would be doing as my daughter got older. Both with and without her. I would never have to really grow up, I would just be "mom" when I needed to be and still party hard when I was on my own. I was single by choice, loved dating (sleeping around) and planned to never change that!

Ten years later, today I am a married mom to 3 children. My youngest is 2 and will not graduate HS until I am 51 years old. My husband is hard working, frustrating and maddening at times but I love him and am happy to be settled with him. I am a SAHM, mostly by choice, and really have no desire to go back to work ever. The corporate world has no appeal to me anymore. I am living in another state, away from all of my friends, I never go out and my drinking/ partying days are long behind me. (Although I do plan to change that to some extent once the boys are a little older! I miss going out to hear live music!)

Wow. What will the next ten years bring to my life? How will I change? Where will the years take me? It's really enlightening to think about the differences between now and then.

BTW.... I am looking for musical changes in my life as well. I need encouraging, enlightening, affirming music. But not religious. Just spiritual to some extent withjout any talk of god or christianity. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

Sunday I made a tentative monthly menu plan.
Monday I went grocery shopping.
Tuesday I cleaned out, wiped down and organized all of my pantry food storage shelves and cabinets. Because I could not get all of my food in there!

Today I have: Made meatloaf for the freezer, made meatballs for the freezer, cooked about 4 pounds of ground beef with onions, garlic and seasonings to freeze for dishes, cooked about 3 pounds of ground beef with hot chilis and taco seasoning to make taquitos and enchiladas, cut up veggies and portioned meat to freeze for amish skillet meal, diced and flash frozen about 5 pounds of onions, made and froze 8 burger patties, rinsed the three pounds of black beans that I soaked which I still have to cook, set chicken breasts to cook in the crockpot with chilis and taco seasoning to shred for taquitos and enchiladas and am planning to make up a large batch of wheat tortillas to assemble the enchiladas. I also need to assemble and cook the taquitos once the chicken is done.

Needless to say, all of that is in addition to regular dinner cooking, child wrangling and house cleaning. Yes, I have been busy!

My (late) menu for this week is:

Monday - Bagel, sausage and cheese sandwiches with hashbrowns
Tuesday - Pork chops, gravy, mashed butternut squash with garlic butter and couscous
Wednesday - Three cheese tortellini with pesto and garlic parmesan biscuit knots
Thursday - Black beans and rice with corn bread and chili if the hubby gets a chance to make it!
Friday - coconut chicken, sweet potatoes and green beans
Saturday - Leftovers or Breakfast for dinner
Sunday - Pulled pork sandwiches with fried squash and Brown Rice patties

Things I still need to do this week:

  • Spicy honey chicken for freezer and one batch with chicken substitute
  • Lemon chicken for freezer and one with chicken substitute
  • enchiladas assembled and in freezer
  • taquitos assembled, cooked and in freezer
  • croisant wrapped hotdogs cooked and in freezer
  • special potato casseroles assembled and in freezer
  • black beans cooked, mixed with red beans and tomatoes with chilis and frozen in batches for casseroles/ taco pie (red beans are already cooked and in freezer)
  • spaghetti pie assembled and in freezer
  • macaroni and cheese muffin cups cooked and in freezer
  • spinach and mushroom manicotti assembled and in freezer
  • Steven is making his special pork chili on Thursday so that I have it to make chili cheese potato casseroles for the freezer
  • I MAY make some ham and potato pockets to freeze
  • mini cheese pizzas for the boys' lunches to freeze
  • biscuit dough for biscuit knots to freeze and for regular biscuits to freeze

When I am done with all of that it will be time to tackle more baking again. I want to make more pancakes, waffles, muffins and some rolls for the freezer. Maybe more. It depends on if I burn out first!! Most of these freezer recipes have come from either my own experience or from Once A Month Mom!

I am linking up late to OrgJunkies Menu Plan Monday but head over there for more great recipes and menu plans!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Honestly, I have been working on a post for the past 3 days. And I finally just gave up on it. The boys! It is making me crazy. Can't write, can't pee, can't do anything at all by myself lately. They are definitely more needy than usual. Not sure why....

Jenna is a little more grounded about her AP History class, her essay went well and I am buying her the AP US History for dummies book to help her understand what is expected of her. I swear, that girl is harder on herself than I could ever be. I have no idea where all of this drive and ambition comes from. I definitely do not have that attribute! LOL

Braeden is weird. I just want to state that for the record. His potty practices are weird and he is totally addicted to cats. He thinks he is a cat. The other day he took his poop out of his pull up and rolled it into a "cat poop" and brought it to me. I really do think the kid has a screw loose somewhere sometimes! I am about at my wits end with this potty training thing with him. The pennies work mostly for peeing but pooping is still a no go in the potty. aaaaaarrrrrggggghhhh!!!!

I am planning to do some Once a Month Cooking this month. Not a full month's worth of meals, but some. And I am cautiosly optimistic as to how it will work out. And I also am planning a major baking day. Wish me luck and I will post as I attempt each one! Premade meals will make my life soooo much easier!

The boys seem to be resting right now so I am going to take nap! Later!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Teen Angst and Craptastic Cookery

My poor darling Jenna is having a rough day. She is a Junior this year, extremely smart and used to generally having an easy time in school. This year she has a rough schedule and her AP US History class is kicking her butt. It's only the third day, though! I know she will be fine, she is just exhausted and scared because she failed the first test. I think she did fine considering. Now she just has to kick a little ass and make up the extra points to get her grade where she wants it!

YOU CAN DO IT!! I HAVE FAITH IN YOU! (she reads my blog....)

Tell her she can do it. She is smart. She will listen to bloggy land peeps.

My dinner was craptastic. Every time I try to make chicken and rice in the slow cooker it bites me in the ass. Never again. It was edible. Barely.

For now, I am pulling a Scarlet and headin on out of here. For tommorah is anothah day!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pinecone Research

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Boring Post.... Yawn

OMG! The coconut chicken from last night's dinner was to die for... I am putting that recipe in regular rotation. Luckily, I made extra so I have it for leftovers for lunch the next few days. When I made it, I cut each breast fillet in half lengthwise to make tenders so I had three tenders leftover. I ended up having one for lunch today and it was just as good reheated! One of my standing lunch choices around here is Green Giant Healthy Weight steamed veggies. The pack includes sliced carrots, sugar snap peas, black beans and edamame in a butter sauce. They only cost about 98 cents eacg so I stock up when I go shopping. I throw a little sezuan seasoning on and it makes a great lunch. Today, I ate half a pack with my tender and it was just right. So, Tomorrow I can have the same thing! Cheap, tasty and healthy. That works for me!

I am having a tough time right now as I am having horrible back pain. My lower back, right where my spine meets my hips I guess, my right hip and, now, my right leg are killing me! ANd it doesn't help that the boys are so needy lately. Picking either one up makes me wince. And finding a comfortable sleeping position sucks! If it does not start feeling better soon I am going to HAVE to go to the doctor. Yuck.

However, the back pain is really putting a crimp in my exercise plans! I am eating healthy and drinking lots of water but if I can't exercise enough, my weight loss goals will go down the toilet. So, I am trying to do at least a little exercise each day so that I am moving anyway. When I start to hurt worse I am just stopping. I will not injure myself just to lose weight! But, I bet if I lose weight the pain will be lessened. I have a feeling it is my arthritis acting up. **sigh**

Anyone know of an easy and foolproof pickle recipe with idiot proof directions? My garden has actually produced cucumbers! Lots of them. Now, I need to do something with them because there are too many to eat! I have never made pickles before but the boys love them so.....

It's an overcast and heavy day here in Southern Mississippi today. It feels like a giant pressing down on me.... I hope it rains soon because the waiting is driving me nuts.

I'll check back in later and maybe I will have something interesting to post! LOL

Monday, August 10, 2009

Menu Plan and Weigh In

**At the end of this post I will share what I have lost this past week and what my weight loss goals for this coming week are.

Last week's menu went well. I enjoyed all of the new recipes and they will be used again! I did not make the chicken and rice and it is carrying over to this week. I planned this menu at the last minute with actual input from my husband (gasp!) and it sounds pretty good to me! So, here is the plan for this week:

Monday - Coconut Chicken, Sweet Potato Wedges and green beans

Tuesday - Taco Pie with Crescent Roll Crust (vegetarian)

Wednesday - Chicken and Rice - Still searching for a great slow cooker recipe if anyone has one!

Thursday - Meat and Potato Lasagna

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Zesty Primavera Pasta - Recipe below (vegetarian)

Sunday - Pizza Braid

**Quick note that I should not have to do any shopping this week other than picking up some squash at the farmer's market! Yay!

Zesty Primavera Pasta

1 cup zucchini, peeled and chopped
1 cup red pepper, chopped
1 cup yellow squash, peeled and chopped
1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup eggplant, peeled and chopped
6 Tablespoons honey mustard, divided
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
8 oz package penne pasta, cooked (I am using whatever is in the cabinet!)

Toss the veggies with 4 tablespoons of the mustard and broil them until tender; set aside. Whisk the remaining mustard, oil, vinegar and basil together in a large serving bowl. Add the pasta, stirring gently. Fold in the veggies and toss gently until coated. Serve hot or cold.

For more great menu's check out Organizing Junkie.

So, since I have joined Natalie's Holiday Slim Down, I need to post my goals for this week and an update on how things went this past week. I am very happy to report that I have lost 2 pounds over the past week! Woot! Now, I just need to keep it up. My goals for this week, and continuing goals, are:

  • Substitute water for every soda I would normally drink. I have been working on this and am down to maybe three sodas a day. This week I want to be down to only one (or none!) by the end of the week.
  • Exercise at least 3 days out of the week. If I get more done, great. But, I am starting off slow so that I will actually reach my goals!
That's it! If I can conti9nue to eat healthy like I have been doing and meet these three goals, I should lose my pound or two this week... I will let you know!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Birthday Bash!

I am exhausted here after the great 4th birthday bash. Braeden loved his Jeep, enjoyed his dinner and tore open his other presents with much enthusiasm! He and his brother are sleeping the sleep of the exhausted child and I am about to join them in slumber. If I do not get some sleep tonight I may start hallucinating! I will post my menu plan for this week and some other fun and interesting stuff tomorrow. I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Food Challenges

Quick note before the meat of the post.... I am joining Natalie's 15 pounds in 15 weeks Holiday Slim Down Challenge! Keep an eye out for my posts about this challenge in the weeks to come. My goal for the 15 weeks is to lose 20 pounds!

I had a post all planned out to discuss some issues I am working on and set up how I plan to run the blog in the future.... and then.... I came across this post from over at Beauty That Moves. I was really interested in reading all of the comments about how much people spend on their groceries and how they eat. It has inspired me to really lay on the line exactly what we spend and how we eat. And maybe make myself some goals as far as our eating habits and budget goes.

Food Budget
We are a family of 5. Myself, I eat fairly small portion sizes normally. My husband eats about 2 - 3 times what I eat in a meal. However, he only eats one meal a day at home. My teen daughter eats a little more than I do but not excessive amounts. And the two boys are picky eaters and have a limited number of dishes they will eat right now. And usually eat fairly small amounts as they are still little. So, family of 5. Our income is approximately $28000 a year before taxes. We get $320 a month in food stamps. I usually spend an average of $50 cash on food items such as fresh veggies and fruits and bread as needed throughout the month. So, our food budget is generally about $370 a month. We also receive WIC for both of the boys. The peanut butter and milk are life savers!

Types of Foods
Anyone who has checked out my weekly menu plans knows what we eat! LOL But, in general, we eat lower meat meals, brown rices, grains and as much healthy food as I can manage. I have started cooking with whole wheat flour and using things like oat bran and flax seed. I add as many fresh fruits and veggies to our diet as I can and try to eat meatless at least once a week.

One of the biggest challenges that I face while trying to eat healthier is a lack of options for groceries. We have THREE Super Walmarts within about 10 miles of us. We have a local store called the Corner Market, a WinnDixie, a store called Sunflower which is comparable to WD and a Save Rite. That's it. There is a small health food store that is about 15 - 20 miles away from me and a very very small health food market closer. The selections there are limited and the prices are high. There are local farmer's markets but no CSA or coop opportunities. There are very few, if any, U-pick places in the area.

Home Grown
My garden hates me. I am just putting that out there. It really does. Next year I have some different plans to, hopefully, get more produce from our garden. I am keeping my fingers crossed. Ideally, my garden should produce almost all of our fresh veggies for the summer and some to put up for the fall/ winter months! This year.... no.

Eating Out
I am horrible about taking the kids to get a quick breakfast or lunch at a fast food place. We generally only eat out as a family once or twice a month, but for lunch or breakfast? Forget about it! A couple of times a week if I have the money. And I could so totally use that money elsewhere! Not to mention how bad for us that food is....

My goals for the coming year or so are:

  • Talk to local produce markets about what they do with produce that they cannot sell due to bruises, etc. Hopefully I can get some for free and salvage some of it. Steven is talking to his friend who delivers produce to the restaurant.
  • Figure out what is up with our garden. Next year, we plan on expanding to two raised bed gardens and using some upside down planters as well. I want my investment to pay off! I will be doing research to figure out what I am doing wrong...
  • I plan to make up some pizza blanks and homemade chicken nuggets and fries for the freezer. More convenient lunch choices means less running to McD's!
  • I have started, and plan to continue, making waffles, pancakes and muffins to freeze. More convenient breakfasts rock, too!
  • I want to try to save some money and invest in a half a cow next year. We have a large standing freezer, so we have the room to store the meat. I think that will save me quite a bit of money in the long run.
  • I am starting to experiment with making my own whole wheat bread. If I can find a recipe we like, I will be making it from now on! Also things like hamburger buns. I want to make biscuits to have on hand in the freezer as well.
  • I am switching to two meat free meals each week on a regular basis.
  • We already switched to brown rice rather than white, but I also want to switch over to whole wheat, rice or vegetable based pastas exclusively.
  • WIC is switching over in October to providing whole grain breads, wheat tortillas, vegetables and fruit as well as milk, juice, cheese, etc.
  • I just started making large batches of dried beans and freezing them after they are cooked. So far I cooked four pounds of red beans and packaged them in 1 1/2 cup sizes. I still have pinto beans and black beans to cook.
  • I want to try to find some U-pick places within reasonable driving distance for next Summer. Maybe I will succeed. I would love to go pick blueberries, blackberries, and veggies as available!
  • This month, I am doing a pantry challenge. When my food stamps become available ont he 18th, I am holding off as long as possible before going shopping. I want to use up as much of the excess food in the house as I can. I think I have stuff in my cabinets and freezer that has been there for more than six months!
  • I bought an ebook all about whole wheat tortillas. How to make them and recipes for using them as well as snack ideas. This would be healthier and save us money if I can get my family used to eating them more often!

ANy other suggestions for how to eat healthier when facing limited resources? Or on how to save money on groceries when you are eating healthier as well? Please comment and give me some ideas!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sweeping Away the Dust

Hello, all! This is Jenna, Tracy's awesome (and oh-so-modest) daughter from over at The Delusional and As the Plot Thickens!

My mother, in an attempt to get back in the blogging game and get things moving again, merged her two blogs and had me assist her in a complete blog makeover. I (again, being oh-so-modest) kicked some serious butt and made this blog completely and utterly AWESOME.

I made the banner. Go look at it. Awesome, innit? Beautiful, innit?

*Takes a bow.*

Seriously. Love the banner. I spent a long time on that.

Also, if you want me to make you a banner, you can email me at the address listed on my profile. 'Cuz I love making banners. :D

Anyway, construction at the Castle has finished, and we're now sweeping away the dust. We appreciate any feedback, and I especially would appreciate any "ohmygod, it's so awesome!" comments. Lol. :D

My mom should be posting later today, so keep an eye out! And, followers, she'll be trying to post as often as possible, so keep an eye out for more awesome posts throughout the week! :D

This is Jenna, signing off.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Site Maintenance!

I am in the process of revamping the blog. I am bring the Frugal Faerie back home tot he castle proper and will be rebranding and rearranging this blog. If things look wonky for a few days..... bear with me! And feel free to check out this post at the frugal site about what Braeden is getting for his birthday!

UPDATE: Just merged the two blogs. You will find all of the posts from The Frugal Faerie here now!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Frugal Birthday Planning

My middlest child, Braeden, will be turning 4 next Sunday! So, of course, we need to have presents and cake and, in my family, we eat whatever the birthday person wants for dinner on the day of their bday. Braeden has been too young to really appreciate his birthday or have any understanding prior to this year. I want to start him off right, not expecting a huge pile of presents and being appreciative of whatever he receives. With that, and my budget, in mind, I went garage saling this weekend. He is also still young enough not to care if he gets used gifts!

To be honest, I expected to find one or two things that were in good enough shape to use as presents and end up at Walmart for a few other gifts. However, I found this:

In all honesty, this was a frugal buy. It may not look like it, and it WAS beyond our budget, but it was a great deal! Brand new, these jeeps run about $425 plus tax. This jeep was new at Christmas, had been driven by another 4 yo boy who was more interested in his sister's 4-wheeler and had been parked on the family's carport for most of the summer. We got it for $100. Luckily, I had just received a gift of $100 from my hubby's Aunt to buy presents for both Braeden and myself for our birthdays. So, I made the decision to get it for him. He will not be receiving any other presents from us, but he does have several gifts from his Grandmothers and his sister that he will get to unwrap.

Now, I just need to plan the cake! We are having his favorite meal (pizza) for dinner on Sunday, but it will be homemade with items we already have in our house. Right now, we have no friends in the area to invite for a party and no family within driving distance, so it will be just us and one extremely excited little boy!

Any ideas on how to save money on a teenagers birthday? Whent hat one comes up in February we will be looking at a definite budget buster! LOL

Menu Plan for 8/3 - 8/9

I will admit, last week I did not follow the menu for the entire week. On Wednesday, we ended up eating leftovers because they needed to be eaten. Then, on Thursday, we got Chinese takeout! Yum. So, yesterday, I made the Thai chicken dish that should have been for dinner on Wednesday. I liked it a lot. We did spice up the sauce a little by adding some Tiger Sauce to it.

This week, I have a fairly busy schedule. But, most of it is early in the day so I will, hopefully, not have any interference with dinner prep. SO, with no further ado (lol) here is this week's menu.

Monday - Ravioli Casserole with green beans (recipe below)

Tuesday - Pork Chop Pie (recipe below) with butternut squash This is a new recipe that I have not tried yet!

Wednesday - Chicken and Rice in the slow cooker (looking for a good recipe! Anyone have one?)

Thursday - Jambalaya

Friday - Leftovers / fend for yourself

Saturday - Amish Skillet (recipe below) (new recipe)

Sunday - Pizza! And Birthday Cake! Braeden turns 4!


Ravioli Casserole (I usually need to double this for my family)
Approx. 3 cups spaghetti sauce
25 oz package of frozen ravioli, cooked and divided
2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Spread 1/2 cup sauce in a 13x9" baking pan. Place half of the ravioli on top of the sauce. Pour 1 1/4 cups sauce over the top of the ravioli, spread with 1 cup of the ricotta cheese and 2 cups of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes or until the cheese is browned on top. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Great served with a salad and garlic bread!

Pork Chop Pie
1 onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon butter
2 - 3 potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 pork chops
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup milk
2 1/4 cup biscuit baking mix

Saute the onion in butter and place in the bottom of a casserole dish. Add the potatoes and set aside. Brown the pork chops in a skillet and remove them from the pan. Pour the water into the skillet and whisk the pan drippings together with it. Drizzle the liquid over the potatoes and then arrange the pork chops on top. Combine the milk and the biscuit mix and roll the dough out large enough to cover the baking dish. Place over the top of the pork chops, Bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.

Amish Skillet
1 lb ground beef, browned
1 cup potatoes, sliced
1 cup carrots, sliced
1/2 cup onions, sliced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Spread into a 13x9" baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Looking for more great dinner ideas? Check out Menu Planning Monday. This is usually hosted by OrgJunkie but can be found at The Happy Housewife this week!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Free Food?

Schwann's has a great promotion going on right now. Thanks to Money Saving Mom and others for pointing it out! Go here for more info on how to get $10 worth of free food delivered to your house! I just ordered an 8 pack of 1/4 pound burgers for free and my mom got shrimp scampi linguini!