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Showing posts from September, 2013

Work, Home and Family - Some New-to-us Recipes

I love to bake and I enjoy eating my own cooking more than the food at most restaurants plus with the savings, we almost always cook at home for breakfast and dinner and eat leftovers for lunch.  As someone who is not home most of any given day, that means finding ways to make dinner easier.

I love my slow cooker and one of my goals for this school year is to have dinner made using that anywhere from 2-3 nights each week.  That way we can toss a salad, slice bread or do something else simple and just sit down and eat when we get home.  No fuss, no hassle.  Love that!

Here are the links to a couple of new-to-us recipes that we've tried the last couple of weeks that we enjoyed and made our "eat this!" list:

Recipe #1: Crock Pot Honey Dijon Chicken Thighs

We actually made this with chicken legs, rather than thighs, since that's what we had in the freezer.  And we used fresh baby Portobello mushrooms since they were on sale, rather than white mushrooms or canned.   Even…

Healthy Habits in 2013 - Those Shoes

For most of us in the western world, shoes are seen as a necessity.  They are also one of the things that can make or break our health habits or our whole day.

Habit #6: Invest in Some Good Shoes
As women, many of us have a love-hate relationship with shoes.  We need them and if they fit well, they are great.  If you're like me, you dislike trying on shoes and some of those current styles - wow!  I don't have a clue who they are made for but they're definitely not made for me! :)

As a Jazzercise instructor, I often get asked about shoes and I go through about 4 pair of aerobic shoes each year.  As someone who is on my feet all day and has to look nice, I have my own preferences for "dress" shoes.  I know one thing I've discovered between those two things: Having the right shoes can make or break what I do in a day.

We've all had the pair of shoes that look great but make our feet hurt after about 10 minutes in them.  Or that give us blisters.  Or that flop…

Goals - Week of September 22, 2013

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So, the photo has NOTHING to do with my goals this week!  This was a tomato we got from our CSA end of August and we used it for BLT's for 6 (two adults and two children) one night for dinner.  It was huge (my hand is in the photo for comparison) but it was so tasty!  I think I might have to find out the type of tomato and see if we can grow some next year in our backyard.

My goals for this week are pretty straight forward.  I don't have a whole lot on the docket for things around the home right now - we're pretty swamped at work and I have been having medical issues again so I thought it would be better to just keep things relatively simple this week.

So here's what I'm hoping to get done:

Work:
* Course Prep for this week and next
* Keep my grading all caught up
* Order the rest of my equipment

School:
*  Meet with my advisor
* Work on the proposal with my colleague

Jazzercise:
* Learn 3 new routines
* Teach 3 classes
* Get my paperwork for October ready

Family:

Menu Plan Monday - Week of September 22, 2013

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I think we're officially into fall - the weather is in the mid to upper 70'sF and I'm looking forward to soups and stews and chili!  Yum!  The sweaters have been dug out and we are ready for cooler weather.  I just have to sew the missing button back on my fall/spring jacket and we'll be all set!

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, September 22:
   Breakfast: Cereal and Milk
   Lunch (with friends over): Ham, Corn on the Cob, Biscuits, Fruit Salad, and Caramel Apples
   Snack: Popcorn or Caramel Apples
   Dinner: 3 Bean Chili, Cornbread, Watermelon

Monday, September 23:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins and Bananas
   Lunch: Leftovers for Adults, Hot Lunch for the Children
   Snack: No-Bake Energy Bites
   Dinner: Baked Potatoes with Leftover Chili, Cantaloupe

Tuesday, September 24:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Apples and Cinnamon
   Lunch;  Leftovers for Adults, Hot Lunch for the Children
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Crockpot Beef Tips with Gravy, Rice, Grap…

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - Little Things

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So many days feel so hard right now - between the multiple directions we're being pulled with school, work, activities, and all the church "stuff' going on, and my anxiety and living with two chronic illnesses, it is so easy to get bogged down in all that isn't going right. I have been working extra hard to enjoy the blessings - we have SO MANY! Here are some of the little things from the last two months: Zucchini bread in the freezer. Finding a recipe for chocolate-chocolate chip zucchini bread - super yummy! Yummy treats at the churches we've been at. Including a really yummy egg salad - and I don't normally like egg salad. This wonderful loaf of zucchini-nut bread from an elderly couple at one of the churches John preached at - their son-in-law is a pastor in another part of the state.  I love the blue bow! Stories, prayers and encouragement from the folks at the churches we get the privilege of worshiping and leading worship at. How the Holy Spirit speaks…

Super Savings Saturday - $43.59 Stock Up Shopping

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Since my parents had been buying us groceries for the last few weeks we had money left over from our previous couple of week's grocery budget.   Last week we used some to stock up and we did the same this week and we bought some ham steaks for dinner with company this weekend (much quicker than a whole ham since they are coming home with us after Worship).

Here's what we bought:


Store #1:
5 pears
1 tote bag full apples
Wesson Cooking Oil  $2.89
Total Store #1: $10.17 
(I misplaced the store receipt so I'm not sure exactly how much we paid for the apples and pears, though I do know they were each $0.98/lb).

Store #2:
50oz Era Laundry Liquid $2.98 - $0.50- $0.50 = $1.98
Campbell's Canned Soup 5 @ 5/$5 = $5 - $0.40 - $0.40 = $4.20 ($0.84 each)
Kraft Caramel Bits $1.98
Yellow Sweet Corn 6 @ 3/$1 = $2
Ham Slice $4.78
Ham Slice $4.57
Cheerios 6 @ $1.88 = $11.28 - $2 - $0.50 - $0.50 = $8.28 ($1.38/box)
Onion Soup Mix Packet $0.42
5lbs Flour $2.39
24oz Yellow Cornmeal $2.15

Frugal Friday - Frugal things We've Done in the Last Month

With my parents here to visit and school starting, I put blogging on the back burner.  Now it's time to catch up with posting!  :)   

Here's all the frugal "stuff" we've done in the last few weeks:

I blanched and froze beans, beets and cabbage.

I dried apples, celery and zucchini.   We had gleaned the apples from a friend's tree.  This was my first time drying zucchini - I had no idea I could before - so I'm hoping these work well in soups over the winter.  We love minestrone soup and hopefully dried zucchini will work just as well as fresh in it!  The celery came from our CSA and we had way too much for what we'd use before it went bad. 

I made and froze two more loaves of zucchini bread.

I made tomato sauce, which we also froze.

We picked zucchini, tomatoes and peppers from the garden.  We're counting the days until the butternut squash are ripe - yum!

Something ate our grape vine and sunflowers as well as the lettuce I had planted for this fa…

In the Refiner's Fire - Living in Fear

One of the things that I realized this month was how much of my time I spend living in fear.

Buddy was growing for two solid weeks - and I had to trade in all of his "new" pants from the uniform swap for new ones.  Fortunately the school was very understanding (the Secretary just laughed when I came in with a pile of pants and unlocked the cupboard for me with a big smile).  When he's growing that means night terrors along with the physical growing pains.

Watching him struggle with night terrors, I realized I have been living a lot of my life lately in terror of what is to come.  Maybe not terror, but at least fear.

I have some anxiety problems - usually related to a specific event that had some traumatic effect on me, but some that are related to stress, hormones or my underlying chronic illnesses.

Driving for me is the worst - and it's purely situational.

The only car accident I have been involved in was quite serious (my car's engine block was completely crushe…

In the swing of things...

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Well, my folks headed back home after three marvelous weeks here visiting, school has started for all four of us, the extra-curricular activities (piano lessons, swimming lessons, scouts and dance class) are all in full swing, and our schedule is starting to settle into a routine.

We received our final box of goodies from the CSA and I'm hoping this week to get the chest freezer thawed out so we can move all the veggies I've blanched and frozen and the fruit I've frozen to the chest freezer.

We still have zucchini and our butternut squash and acorn squash plants have decided to continue adding fruit - 3 more butternut and 2 more acorn.  I dehydrated a bunch of celery and zucchini (which I didn't know was possible - the zucchini, that is) and am looking forward to seeing how that goes.  We always have problems with celery going bad before we use it all up so I'm hoping this is a good solution!  And, as much as I love zucchini, I just didn't feel like making anot…