Monday, October 31, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - Week of October 30, 2016

My brand new coffee pot!
I spent the weekend grading - mid-term grades were due and all that - and processing some very mentally draining things that happened this last week.  My brain is pretty much mush at this point.  In the middle of all that, my coffee pot decided to spring a leak and hot water went everywhere!  Couple that with no coffee and a trip to the store suddenly moved up to high priority on the list!   I came home with the black beauty in the photo above.  Ah, bliss.  Hot coffee - on a timer no less! - and no water all over the place.  Win-win in my book!

After two weeks of my parents buying groceries for us (Yep - totally spoiled!) and another of eating mostly leftovers and it was definitely time for a run to the store this weekend.  We spent just over $50 on lots of fruit (apples, bananas, grapes, a pomegranate), carrots, celery, a cucumber, yogurt, a gallon of milk, a roll of sausage, and three cans of our children's favorite soup for a  quick dinner a couple of nights coming up.  We were totally out of fruit, so I think the expense as well worth it!

This is a busy week with something happening every single night so the menu is easy and involves a couple of crockpot meals.

Here's what we're eating:

Sunday, October 30, Reformation Sunday and Confirmation:
    Breakfast: Orange Poppy Seed Bread (gift from a parishioner), bananas
    Lunch:  At church for Confirmation
    Snacks: Confirmation open houses.....
    Dinner: Chili and Cornbread

Monday, October 31, Halloween, Reformation Day:
    Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls, Fruit Smoothies
    Lunch: Leftover Chili
    Snacks: Carrots and Celery
    Dinner: Turkey Sandwiches, Apples

Tuesday, November 1, All Saint's Day:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Craisins and Almonds
    Lunch: Turkey on Spinach Salad
    Snacks: Yogurt
    Dinner: Fried White Fish, Couscous, Cantaloupe-Grape-Apple Salad

Wednesday, November 2:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Apples or Bananas
     Lunch: Fish Tacos
     Snacks: Yogurt
     Dinner: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Cut Veggies and Sliced Apples

Thursday, November 3:
    Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
    Lunch: Apples with Peanut Butter, Cut Veggies, Yogurt
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Vegetable Soup, Homemade Bread

Friday, November 4:
    Breakfast: Eggs, Toast
    Lunch: Leftover Vegetable Soup
    Snack: Cut Veggies
    Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday, November 5:
    Brunch: French Toast with Blueberry Jam, Blueberry-Banana Smoothies
    Snack: Homemade Soft Pretzels
    Dinner: Pork Roast, Potatoes, Pomegranate-Apple-Grape Salad

What are you eating this week?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Goals - The Last Week of October

Red for the Holy Spirit!  Plates, Cups and Napkins from the brunch for 35 we hosted at our home Saturday morning.

Now that we're through Ordination, we can settle once again into  routine.  I've definitely decided that there is never a week without something happening (John is at a church function 4 nights this week!) but that we can get into a routine and a rhythm.  This will change with the church seasons and the school year but I'm hoping to establish an ebb and flow that we can maintain for a while.

This week is mid-terms here where I'm at and basketball season is slowly ramping up.  We're eating up the leftovers in the fridge and planning for Advent - both at church and at home.  We have one more big day coming up - Installation at John's church - but that celebration is taken care of by the parish and we simply have to show up and enjoy ourselves.

We should receive our photos from the ordination later this week and I'm totally excited about that!  We had approximately 200 friends and family at the service and then another 150 or so that stayed for dinner after.  We have been truly blessed!   My only regret?  There were many I didn't get to talk to that day!

My goals for this week include getting a few things caught up now that we're through all of that.  Here's what's on my agenda this week:

* Complete and submit mid-term grades
* Write 1400 words on the writing that I need to do
* Learn 2 new Jazzercise routines
* Finish two Christmas gifts (and post about them!)
* Spend at least 1 hour on The Big Embroidery Project (still working on it!)
* Have a date out with my husband (the children are at a birthday party on Saturday so we're going to take advantage of the time for a date!)
* Have a movie marathon night for Family Night (we have three kids movies on the agenda)
* Finish reading the book I need to read for my research
* Make one last batch of pickled beets
* Compile my new set of research data
* Sign my children up for the county babysitting licensing class
* Mend 4 items
* Make gifts for Confirmation (and post about them!)

That's plenty! 

What are you up to this week?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - The Last Full Week in October

Caprice Skewers - a cherry tomato, a basil leaf and a cube of mozzarella on a toothpick.  Yum!

I'm really having a hard time believing that we're heading into the last full week in October! Things have been crazy busy around here and we're finally through Ordination (it was wonderful!) and settling into a new routine around here.  My parents have been here for almost 3 weeks and will be heading back to their home on Wednesday.  They will return mid-December to celebrate Christmas with us.

This is the week of leftovers from the Ordination - we had a ton of food leftover.  We still have a ton of veggies leftover from the garden and we're still picking tomatoes and strawberries - the two plants that shouldn't be doing well after the frost!   I'm not complaining, mind you.  Just a wee bit puzzled.

Anyway, here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, October 23:
   Breakfast: Leftover Coffee Cake and Fruit
   Lunch: Buns, Pulled leftover Chicken, Leftover Coleslaw and Sliced Veggies
   Snack: Leftover cheesecake
   Dinner: Whatever we scavenged from the fridge:  Leftover chicken and coleslaw, cut veggies, fruit, yogurt, and bread

Monday, October 24:
   Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, French Toast (made with leftover French bread)
   Lunch: Leftover chicken on leftover tossed salad
   Snack:  Crackers
   Dinner: Leftover Chicken, Coleslaw, Cucumbers, and Bread

Tuesday, October 25:
   Breakfast: Leftover Coffee Cake, Smoothies made with leftover fruit
   Lunch: Pulled leftover chicken, leftover buns and leftover coleslaw
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Out to celebrate the last night before Mom and Dad leave (Dad's treat)

Wednesday, October 26:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Bananas
   Lunch: Leftover chicken on Tossed salad
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: At a church function

Thursday, October 27:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Almonds and Craisins
    Lunch: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup and Bread
    Snack: Cut Veggies
    Dinner: Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry, Rice, Cantaloupe

Friday, October 28, 2016
   Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Smoothies
   Lunch: Leftover stir Fry
   Snack: Cantaloupe
   Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday, October 29, 2016:
   Brunch:  Biscuit Twists, Bacon, Cantaloupe-Grape-Apple Salad
   Snack: Homemade Soft Pretzels
   Dinner: Perfect Potato Soup, Homemade Bread, Cantaloupe

I'm hoping we can eat all the leftovers we have in our fridge before things go bad.  We did freeze a ton of chicken for later use. 
What are you eating this week?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Twenty Things I Learned at My Husband's Ordination

Our corsages and boutonnieres from the Ordination
We're through Ordination and into daily ministry.  Whew!   What a wonderful, wonderful day and such a blessed time!

Here are 20 things I learned at my husband's ordination, some totally tongue-in-cheek and some quite serious.

1.  No one wants to sit next to the Bishop at dinner.
2. People have no idea what to give as gifts for an Ordination.
3. You can't find Ordination cards at Target.  Go figure. 
4. The greeting card holder on our kitchen wall holds 26 cards before they start falling out of the holder. 
5. If you're wearing and alb (clerical robe), no one really cares what you're wearing underneath.
6. Photographers know how to pin on corsages and boutonnieres.
7.  All sorts of people have been praying for us - some we had NO idea!
8. Ordering food for an unknown number of people is difficult.
9.  Finding out what to do with leftover tossed lettuce salad is even more difficult.
10.  Most children have at least a vague idea of how to behave at a worship service.
11. We have a ton of wonderful friends.
12.  My husband's immediate family takes up 2 whole rows of pews by themselves (and that was with 7 people unable to attend).
13. My family that was there took up a whole additional row of pews - but that included extended family.
14.  Beautiful weather in October is not to be taken for granted.
15.  We have several talented artists in our family - my husband received three paintings for his office and three handmade stoles - all beautiful!
16.  All the cousins and extended cousins in my husband's family get along really well - and we're talking 13 children under the age of 12!  And every one of them said "excuse me" when they ran through our tiny little house while playing afterward, so they didn't disturb the 14 adults trying to converse.
17.  Waiting to see the photographs is driving me nuts.
18.  Everyone that was there was so excited for my husband to officially become a Pastor!  And so many commented on how terrific he'll be at it.
19.  My husband has been blessed with amazing mentors and colleagues through this journey.
20.  God has blessed us so very richly!
Bonus #1: Our driveway can hold a 25foot motor home with ease, though parking it was a bear.  And they had 7 people staying in it comfortably.  
Bonus #2:  Planning an ordination is a lot like planning a wedding.
Bonus #3: And just like at a wedding, if you are the person being ordained or an immediate family member, you will not get to finish your dinner.
Bonus #4: Having cheesecake bites for dessert means that you will get to have dessert, however!
What types of things have you learned this week?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Frugal Friday - Middle of October

My husband and son hiking this summer.

We're heading toward Ordination and Installation this week - whee!  What a busy time this is!   My parents are here and I'm so grateful.  There are all sorts of things that they can help with and leave us free to do more pressing things.  It's also just lovely to have them here!  These visits are so precious.

Some frugal things from the last week:

* Made meatloaf, cornbread, vegetable-barley soup, and cookies at home this week.

* Mom did a bunch of yardwork for us - thanks Mom!

* Scrubbed the kitchen within an inch of it's life this week.  It looks great!  Now we just need to finish painting.

* Lowered the hem on two pairs of pants for my son this week.  Sewed a button back on my spring/fall jacket.  Sewed the last of my son's Cub Scout patches on his vest.  We'll hang that in his room with his Arrow of Light as a decoration. 

* Ordered my son a new winter jacket on clearance sale.  Saved over $40!

* Spent more time cleaning out and my husband took another load of items to the thrift store.

* We picked pumpkins from the yard and our children brought home a HUGE pumpkin from an event at school.

* Used a refund from insurance to buy new shoes for the ordination and my parents bought my son a white dress shirt and red tie.

* Renewed books from the library and returned a few items. We checked out a new audio book to listen to in the car.

* We spent a lot of time this week finalizing plans for Ordination.  I'm REALLY  looking forward to it and I'm going to be happy when it's over all at the same time!

What did you do this week?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - Week of October 9, 2016

I'm missing my zinnias already!  The frost got them all as well as our pumpkins, the tomatoes and the peppers.  I guess that means it's officially fall!  I still have a few zinnias on our table and the piano and I will enjoy them while I can.  We'll get all those dead plants pulled out sometime this week.

We are in full swing with everything and my parents are coming for a visit for John's Ordination and will be with us for about 3 weeks.  They arrive tomorrow.  Other family will be coming in as well to stay for varying amounts of time.  We're certainly busy with preparations and all the other regular happenings!

Sunday, October 9, 2016:
     Breakfast:  Peanut Butter Toast or Fruit and Yogurt Smoothies
     Lunch: Cinnamon Biscuit Twists, Banana-Strawberry-Apple Salad
     Snacks: Fruit
     Dinner: Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli  (the children and I, John was at a funeral)

Monday, October 10, 2016
    Breakfast: Waffles from the Freezer, Bananas
    Lunch: Leftover Stuffed Squash from Saturday
    Snack: Apples
    Dinner: Brown Sugar Meatloaf, Couscous, Maple Glazed Brussel's Sprouts

Tuesday, October 11, 2016
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Craisins and Almonds
   Lunch: Leftover Meatloaf and Couscous
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Vegetable Barley Soup in the Crockpot, Bread, Sliced Apples

Wednesday, October 12, 2016
    Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Bananas
    Lunch: Leftover Soup and Bread
    Snack: Carrot Sticks
    Dinner: Roasted Butternut Squash, Chicken Flavored Rice with Spinach

Thursday, October 13, 2016
    Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
    Lunch: Apples with Peanut Butter, Yogurt, Carrot Sticks
    Snack: Crackers
    Dinner: Turkey Sandwiches, Carrots and Celery, Apple-Strawberry-Grape Salad

Friday, October 14, 2016
    Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
    Lunch: Leftover Soup and Bread
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday, October 15, 2016
    Brunch: Spinach and Bacon Fritatta, Banana-Grape-Apple Salad
    Dinner: Turkey, Spinach Salad, Roasted Potatoes
    Dessert: Apple Crisp

What are you eating this week?

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Frugal Friday - The first full week in October

This was John's first full week in his new Call.  I'm feeling a bit like I've been tossed in the air an haven't landed yet - we're figuring out schedules and new responsibilities and all that jazz.  It's been good and crazy and I'm so happy we're here!   I figure by the time the new church year starts in late November, we'll be settled into a routine again.  That I'm looking forward to.
This week we picked a lot of produce.  We had our frost this week - it was supposed to be  a hard freeze but turned out to just be a frost.  We had picked all the produce possible just in case, so now we have green tomatoes all over the kitchen!   
We still have green pumpkins on this monster - yep that's a single pumpkin plant and that's not even all of it - it extends in both directions both right and left as well!   We have harvested 9 and there are 4 more that the voles have taken care of.  So a total of 13 pumpkins so far and another 4 that are ripening.  We have a second plant that also went crazy this year but not quite this big.  We've harvested 5 pumpkins off that one and 2 were vole food from that one.   

Our butternut and acorn squash plants were done for the year so we cut the fruit and brought them in  and then pulled up the plants.  We didn't catch this one before his was hopelessly caught in the edging, so we pulled up the edging and brought it in too.  It's just wedged into the ironwork and not grown around it, so it should be fine to eat.  We'll eat that early this next week.:

Other frugal things this week:

* We made cornbread, pizza, French toast, sugar cookies, beef stew and chicken noodle soup at home this week.

* I processed pumpkins from the garden so we could use the pumpkin later this year.   I toasted the seeds for snacking. Delicious!

* We did a lot of end of season clean-up in the yard - head heading, removing annuals and vegetable plants after they were done and doing a final reading.

* I picked the rest of the zinnias and put them in the living room and on the kitchen table.

* A parishioner gave us a Hubbard squash as a "welcome tot he community" gift. Yum!

* I caught up the ironing again (I feel really accomplished when that happens!).

* We've kept the heat off and opened the curtains to let the sun heat up the house during the day.  Our upstairs/main level has really poor air flow so this happens pretty quickly.

* I purchased a new dress for my husband's Ordination service on clearance sale for $40. Original price?  $160!  Whoot!

* I polished several pairs of leather shoes.

* I tacked a fallen hem on a pair of my husband's pants and sewed a button back on to one of his suit jackets.

* The children went to work with my husband on their day off.  They watched videos on the computer and played on the air hockey table in the youth room while my husband did his work.  They also played Frisbee in the church parking lot.  We didn't have to pay for someone to watch them that day.

What did you do that was frugal this week?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Super Savings - October's Beginning!

I can't believe October is here already!   Where did September go?  We dug out some of the fall decorations this week and dug out some of the dead veggies in the garden.  The nights are getting cooler and the leaves are starting to turn. 
I guess that means it's officially fall. 
We've had rain, rain and more rain lately.  I went to pick the Rose Hips and most were moldy or rotten so I scrapped that plan.  May be next year.  I'm starting to feel like we need a boat or something with all the rain we've been having.  The perk?  Beautiful skies like this one:
The down side?  Hail!  We've had hail twice now.  This is a photo from the first round, about a week and a half ago.  Sigh. 

All that said, the weather we had this weekend was beautiful!   Couldn't ask for better weather.  Middle temperatures, nice light breeze, plenty of sunshine - just perfect! 

Here's our frugal and not-so frugal week:

* Returned some items that didn't fit and exchanged them for ones that did.

* Had our oven repaired.  It went out last week and we opted to have it repaired rather than buying anew one - under $200, including the repairman's time,  for an oven that works better than it has in years!

* Made homemade pizza, pancakes, and chili this week. 

* Picked tomatoes, green beans and acorn squash from the garden this week.

* Moved John into his new office at work this week - he has a great space and a beautiful, well laid out church to work at. 

* John started his new Call this week.  The congregation is so excited to have us and we're excited to be there!

* We enjoyed the treats at worship services both last Sunday and today.

* We finished making and mailing Ordination invites this week using things we had and two sheets of printed craft paper I bought for about $1.   Since we had most things on hand we only needed to buy the paper and buy stamps.  I was really happy to use up some of the things we've had for a while.

* I cut flowers from the yard for the kitchen table. 

* We used decorations we already have to start decorating for fall.  We'll do more this week.

* I taught two extra Jazzercise classes and was paid extra for those.

* I did some sewing this week, finishing a couple things that I've been working on for a while.  That makes me feel good.

* We picked up books and videos at the library and watched a few videos online.

* We enjoyed the children's school Fun Run fundraiser.  We ran or walked the 5K, played games and ate treats.  The best part? Talking to all our friends!   We had a blast, the school raised a ton of money and we didn't have to sell anything!

What did you do this week that was frugal?