Monday, January 23, 2017

Menu plan for the week of January 23

Hi gang.

Too cheesy?  Yeah.  Agreed.  I won't do that again.

So...our Christmas tree is still up, but it's no longer in the house.  So that's a change.

The kiddos don't have school today, so I'm just gonna get to it.  We have a couple of rearrangements this week (meals that were planned for last week, that are now planned for this week).  That poor turkey pot pie.  This is its third week in the plan.  That's what happens when someone suggests a meal that I don't like.  It gets planned, but never executed.  In this particular case, it's something I don't like and it's something that involves bones.  It's doomed, that turkey pot pie.  You might also notice that we have a repeat this week--a meal that's planned twice.  Yeah.  That's because I asked the fam what they wanted to eat this week.  I'm good with that, 'cause I could eat that particular meal every day.  Here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:

Other:

Monday, January 16, 2017

Menu plan for the week of January 16

Our Christmas tree is still up.  I asked the kids again on Saturday night if they would like to start taking ornaments off the tree, and they again politely declined.  My nativity is still up, too.  Both great reminders.

You'll notice a few repeats on the menu this week.  This time, it's not because of menu planning breakdown.  This time it was due to Hubby unexpectedly not being home for supper a couple of times this week, along with an unfortunate lack of milk on Wednesday, both of which led to rearranging and replanning.  Which made it much easier to plan for this week :)

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:

Other:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Resolved

I know that I've mentioned that September feels more like a new year to me than January.  But January also feels like a good time for a fresh start.  I used to make new year's resolutions, I think because my elementary school teachers thought new year's resolutions would make a good writing assignment.


But then I discovered that resolutions don't stick.  So I stopped making resolutions, and started making goals.

You see, a resolution is usually a broad, overarching statement.  It's too big.  A goal, however, is a specific, achievable intention.  I don't know, I guess goals seem less intimidating than resolutions.

Mine were always silly, fun goals, usually involving food.  One year my goal was to make a pie crust and get it into the pan without it cracking.  Another year my goal was to make paper.  You get the idea.

And then I got lost in the trenches of motherhood and couldn't find my way out long enough to think of a goal, let alone achieve it.

Finally able to pop my head up and look around, two years ago, I embarked on the Positive Project.

Last January I set two goals for myself:

  1. to make kale chips, which I did in August (they were disappointing), and 
  2. to stalk a Facebook friend of mine enough to show up in one of those quizzes on her wall, like, "who's in your reindeer family?" or "what does your week with friends look like?" or "which friends will be in the same nursing home as you?"  I achieved this goal in November.  I showed up in "which 20 names play an important roll in your life?" Yes, twenty.  And I told her to do it but give me about 10 minutes to go like and comment on everything on her wall first, but it counts!  So glad she was so cooperative (although she was probably happy to do it so I would stop stalking her).

It is so good to have goals.

So good, in fact, that buoyed by my success, I'm back at it this year, with more goals than ever before.  I hope I'm not being too ambitious.

My goals:

  1. Make reusable cleaning wipes (I know, it's kind of silly, considering the fact that whenever I spray cleaning solution, then wipe with a washcloth, I'm using something reusable to clean, but I want to have a tub of wipes.  And I want them to be reusable).
  2. Try something new from Trader Joes each month.  I love Trader Joes.  It's such a fun store, and it seems like there's always something new, but I hardly ever get over there because other errands take precedence.  And I hardly ever buy anything, because there's just so much to choose from--it's a bit overwhelming, because I want to try all the things.  This year, I'm scheduling a once a month visit (I might might take the summer off...), and I have to buy something each time (if you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments).
  3. Have a prayer focus each month, praying for a specific person (outside of my family) or situation every day for that month.  
How about you?  Did you make any resolutions or set any goals this year?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Menu plan for the week of January 9

On the twelfth day of Christmas (which is January 6, for those of you who don't know), I asked my family if they would like to start taking ornaments off the Christmas tree.  They politely declined, and insisted that the tree needs to stay up for a while longer.  I think "a while longer" probably means at least until Valentine's day (we definitely need some valentine's ornaments...).

Whatever.  I've never really understood the compulsion some people have to obliterate all traces of Christmas as soon after the event as possible.  I mean, if anything, the decorations should be up longer after Christmas than before to remind us that God-with-us is indeed with us.  I guess there is something to be said, however, about January 1 being a new start--the calendar flip of all calendar flips--and people want the new start to be free of Christmas decor.

In any case, our Christmas tree remains decorated and standing proud, while our family goes about our regular business.  And while we go about our regular business, we will eat.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:
Other:

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Rules

In my post about the Container Concept, I mentioned rules, and I wanted to explain what that's about.  I said,
Most of my containers are either cardboard boxes, or food containers of odd sizes that I can't have in my kitchen anymore because all of my containers need to be stackable (it's a rule--which is also a helpful organizing tool).
A rule is, well, a rule.  It's something that you always do when faced with a certain situation, so that you don't have to think about what to do.  In this case, the rules have to do with whether or not to keep an item.  

For the Container Concept, the rule is: all of one kind of item must be able to fit in the container (and remember, the container can be an actual container, or a shelf, room, closet, or even a whole house).

My food storage container rule is: all of my plastic containers for food storage need to be able to nest.  Anything that doesn't nest needs to go (or not come in in the first place).

For leftovers, I use three sizes of Glad food storage containers (with capacities of 3 cups, 1.5 cups, and 1/2 cup).
Get them here
I choose Glad because I wanted containers that would nest (obviously) and were inexpensive enough to get a lot of.  Glad happened to be the brand that was on sale when I went to the store to buy my containers.

The containers all stack together, the lids snap together, and I the only reason I ever would have trouble finding a container for leftovers is if all of the containers are being used.  And if that happens, I know it's time to have a leftover eating party.  I also have some larger containers that I use for cookies or muffins.  These larger containers all nest as well, and the smaller containers sit inside the smallest of the large containers.

It was not easy for me to get rid of the containers that didn't match.  There was absolutely nothing wrong with them except for the fact that they were odd sizes, and it goes against my frugalness-gene to get rid of things that are still potentially useful.  But the fact that my "tupperware" cupboard is streamlined--the rule--makes my life so much easier.  It also makes it easier for people who are not familiar with my kitchen to help put leftovers away.  It was worth the discomfort of letting go to achieve the peace of better organization.

Need another example?  Here's my sock rule:
Socks with holes in them are garbage.  Garbage is thrown immediately in the trash.  

I am not going to mend that sock.  I am not going to make something crafty with that sock, and if I do suddenly experience a strong desire to do something crafty with a holey sock, there will be another one soon--two of my boys, in particular, are very good at making holes in their socks.  So I can get rid of it without angst or regret.

The socks I used for these cuties' hats and scarves were
orphan socks, with no holes in them

Your turn: what rules work for you?  Or what rules could you implement to make your life easier?  Let me know in the comments!


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Menu plan for the week of January 2

Happy 2017, y'all!  Good thing I didn't resolve to be punctual this year, 'cause I'm a day and a half late.

Our kiddos had a week and a day off school for winter break, and we spent the entire 10 days (the six days off, plus two weekends) with people, most of it away from home.  It would have been nice to have a day or two to recuperate before the boys had to go back to school, but we were happy to see all the family during that time.  Actually, let's get real.  It would have been nice to have a day or two to put the kids to work cleaning and putting everything back where it belongs before they went back to school... But alas, not having minions to do my bidding during clean-up is the price to be paid for all that extended-family togetherness.

Supper is low key this week.  I looked in the freezer to see what was available and planned from there.  Here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:
  • Dutch style pigs in blankets, applesauce, mandarin oranges, carrots
  • Chicken and wild rice soup, French bread, carrots, fresh fruit
  • Meat sauce (from the freezer) with angel hair, green beans, garlic toast
  • Tacos (from the freezer) with taco fixings (including guacamole)
  • Pizza, salad
  • Potluck (cocktail weiners)
  • Pork chops, mashed potatoes, roasted cauliflower
  • Brats or hot dogs on buns, grilled broccoli, caramel apple salad

Other:

Monday, December 26, 2016

Another stove cleaning hack

Y'all!  Yes, I know, I've already told you about stove cleaning hacks, but I found one that works even better than the ammonia one.  The ammonia got most of the gunk; this got even more.  You still wouldn't mistake my stovetop for new, but it's pretty darn clean.

The other day I canned some black beans.  This is significant because whenever I heat up beans to can, they always boil over.  Always.  And black beans--the cooking liquid turns purpley-black.  Very unsightly when spilled all over in the burner well.  And then the canner, I know it's supposed to be airtight, because, well, it's a pressure canner, but mine isn't air tight.  It hisses water and steam out from the sides and ends up making a mess of the burner well.  Always.

I cleaned up as much of the mess as I could, (because hello--guests are coming), which wasn't very much, with a scrubby cloth and water.  Then I made the magic mixture: baking soda, with enough hydrogen peroxide in it to make a paste.  I applied the paste to the mess, and let it soak in, then scrubbed with my handy dandy toothbrush, et voila!  Clean burners!  So easy.
Image source
If yours don't clean as easily as mine, try reapplying and letting it sit for a while before scrubbing.  As far as I can tell, this mixture is safe to use on glass or ceramic cooktops, as well.

I have heard that you can use this magic mixture to clean pots and pans, cookie sheets, and even to whiten teeth!  I would even venture to say that this stuff would clean grimy refrigerator handles quite handily (hi Uncle Bob!  You could also use a "Magic Eraser" or melamine foam to clean refrigerator handles).

That's all for now!  Have a great week :)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Menu plan for the week of December 19

Hi everybody.  It's Christmas this week.  I'm looking forward to spending time with all of our parents and and all of our siblings over the next couple of weeks.  It will surely be busy and surely be people-y (so many people), but it will also surely be blessed.

Speaking of being blessed, we spent the day Saturday loving on each other in our immediate family.  We opened gifts, went sledding a couple of times, played with our new toys.  It was lovely and cozy and warm, despite the double digits below zero windchill.  Such a nice relaxing day.

Because of the holidays, this will probably be my last menu plan for the year.  If you need some menu planning inspiration in my absence, you can check out the archives.

Merry Christmas, friends.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:
  • Nachos, guacamole, taco toppings
  • Chicken fajita pasta, peaches
  • Pizza, salad
  • Spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic toast, green beans
  • Leftovers/fend for yourself
  • Shepherd's pie, rolls, applesauce
  • Hot beef sandwiches, rolls, oven roasted brussels sprouts, green beans, peaches
  • Chicken and wild rice soup, rolls
Other:

Monday, December 12, 2016

Menu plan for the week of December 12

Hey y'all!  We got our first significant snowfall of the season yesterday, and I've gotta tell you.  Certain members of this family possess an almost pathological enjoyment of snow removal.  I'm not judging, because I'm one of them, but we're literally fighting for the best shovels and for the privilege of using the snowblower.  OK, not actually fighting, but there may have been a bit of shoving to get out the door first to secure the favorite snow removal device.  We even shovel when it's not entirely necessary.  I don't know of anyone else in the world who loves moving snow as much as we do.  It's kind of weird.  Good thing we have a nice long driveway.

Because of the first significant snowfall. we also had our first night time sledding session of the season.  We are so fortunate to have not one, but two excellent sledding hills on our property, not to mention the driveway, which is also an excellent sledding surface depending on snow depth and conditions.  Winter is so much fun.

This week I'm doing a little food planning for when we have house guests over Christmas break.  I'll be making and freezing a few things ahead, which will hopefully minimize prep time when I need to get meals on the table for eleven.  Yes, eleven.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:



Other:

Monday, December 5, 2016

Menu plan for the week of December 5

This week, we're hosting a very special guest on Monday and Tuesday.  My friend is letting us borrow her not-quite 6 month old daughter for a couple of days while she and her husband take the other four kids for some much needed family time at a waterpark.  Yeah, you read that right.  Five kids, two of whom are under two years of age.  Uffda.  And now you know why this get-away is much needed.  As you can imagine, what with all of my kiddos being boys, I'm not quite sure what we'll do with another girl in the house, but I'm sure we'll manage :)

As a result of our houseguest, supper on Monday and Tuesday will be low-key.  I've been informed that our guest likes to be fussy and wants to be held constantly starting around 5 p.m., so the boys have a choice: hold the baby, or get their own supper.  I'm interested to see what they choose.

I'm also taking a page from my sis' playbook this week because I picked up my Zaycon bacon over the weekend.  It comes frozen and vacuum sealed in 3 lb packages, so when my sis plans bacon meals, she plans three in a row to use up a whole package.  Of course, if the boys decide not to hold the baby, I'm not sure where that will leave us as far as bacon usage goes...

Here's what's on the menu this week:
Source
Supper:

Other:



Monday, November 28, 2016

Menu plan for the week of November 28

Hi everybody!  How was your weekend?

And ... that's about all the chit-chat I've got in me today.  On to the menu:

Supper:

  • Fundraising dinner
  • Beef stroganoff, corn, applesauce
  • Chicken & wild rice soup, rolls
  • Hot beef sandwiches, rolls, carrots
  • Pizza, salad
  • Nachos, taco toppings, guacamole
  • BBQ pork ribs, mashed potatoes, green beans

Other:

Monday, November 21, 2016

Menu plan for the week of November 21

For a couple of weeks now, Hubby has been saying, "we should make cookies," at least once a day.  And by "we," he means "you," as in me.  I guess I'm just not feeling the cookie-making vibe these days.  In any case, he got desperate enough last week to actually make cookies himself. And now he's back to saying, "we should make cookies" again.  I don't know.  It might happen this week.  Or not.  I'm not anticipating feeling like making cookies.

I love cookie monster, and he showed up on milk billboards in the late 90s looking a little something like this:

Do you remember?  I made Hubby buy me a shirt with this image on it after I gave birth to my first kiddo.  Because I did have milk.  Just not cookies.  Maybe I need to get my cookie monster got milk shirt out.  Maybe that'll stir up my cookie-making mojo.

Thanksgiving is this week.  You know, the holiday where we show how thankful we are by eating as much as we possibly can until we can't really move.  I debated whether to even post this week's menu plan, as focused as everyone is on just one meal this week, but then I decided, aw heck, I don't want to disappoint my fans.  And we still gotta eat the other 6 days this week.  We may not have to eat after that, though.  I'll get back to you.  Maybe.

Here ya go:

  • Grilled chicken burgers, buns, carrots, chips, mandarin oranges
  • Beef stroganoff, corn, bread
  • Clean out the fridge day (which is kind of silly to do on Wednesday, since I do my grocery shopping on Tuesday...)
  • Roast turkey with sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, oven roasted brussels sprouts, corn, green bean casserole, applesauce
  • Sausage and white bean soup, bread
  • Nachos with taco toppings and guacamole
  • Pizza, salad
Other/Dessert:
  • Taco bean soup
  • Granola
  • Greek yogurt
  • Brownie pecan pie
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Muffins
  • Turkey stock

Monday, November 14, 2016

Menu plan for the week of November 14

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:
Source

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Mopping the walls

I mopped my walls the other day.

I know.  That's up there on the crazy scale right next to vacuuming a stove, which I have also done, because ramen exists, and which I should have mentioned last week (the stove vacuuming part, not the ramen part).

If you're sitting there thinking, "this Scarlet woman is a little loony," you are correct.  If you are sitting there thinking, "this must be a cleaning hack," you are also correct.

This easy wall cleaning hack comes to us courtesy of Life Should Cost Less.

Source
Here's the hack:
  1. Working from top to bottom and left to right, lightly mist the wall with your cleaning product of choice.  Just make sure it's safe for your paint or wall covering.
  2. Mop the wall, using a fair amount of pressure.
  3. (this is my addition) If necessary, use a magic eraser to remove any remaining scuffs.
  4. Enjoy the clean walls that you just achieved with minimal effort.
So I mopped my walls.  I was actually pretty surprised that this hack worked--shocked, even, as I watched those marks disappear.  You see, this is the reason I needed to mop my walls.  You think you have fingerprints and smudges on your walls?  Well, I live with an American Ninja Warrior in training.  He sweats on those walls.  At least it's a useful skill--that boy changed a light bulb for us the other day.

I don't have a fancy mop with washable covers like Sarah (although I totally think I should get one, because it would be so much more fun than my sponge mop--more sanitary, too), so I just used my mangy old sponge mop.  I also did not want to bother with a spray bottle, so I used a bucket for my cleaning solution.  Yup.  This totally worked to remove all of the hand (and foot) prints and a lot of the smudges.  Any smudges that were left after I went over the wall with the mop were easily removed by a magic eraser.

And mopping was a heckofalot faster than my previous wall cleaning method, which involved a step stool, a bucket of cleaning solution, a scrubby sponge, some rags, two children and a mama, and a whole lot of elbow grease.  Finished my hallway in about 10 minutes, as opposed to the 2 hours or so it took the last time I cleaned those walls.

Ready to try for yourself?  Here's what you need:




Let me know how it works for you!
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