Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Crazy Daze


Things have been so busy here! We had our first "close to freezing" night Monday night so I had to get all my garden stuff inside. Which I think I'd posted that I was gonna do like a month ago, but the stuff looked so good and continued to grow so well, that I just left it alone. But freezing is where I draw the line.


Monday was the huge trip to Sam's that I'd talked about last week. Hopefully the last "must have" trip before the first of the year. It was insanely busy. For a nothing Monday afternoon (noonish) in October. No reason that anyone could ascertain. I asked the checkout women (yes, they had *2* at each register, plus those people that go through the line with their little cordless scan guns to help speed the lines (that were wrapped around and around, I kid you not)) what on earth was going on. They told me that it had been like that for about 3 weeks (which was why they had all the extra employees, it wasn't a fluke) and was expected to be that way through the new year.


Anyway, I was right on the cost. It was over $500. (It was actually over $600, but we're not going to talk about that.)

When I got home from that trip I had to make a grocery run with my mother. LLOOOOONNGG story. But it had to be done. Oh, and the girls had a study group somewhere thrown into that at their co-op.

I ended up getting home after 4pm. I still had supper to cook. I had the garden to get in (which I would have done earlier if I'd known that it was gonna be that cold, but that was a last minute thing). And processed (or at least cleaned and stored somewhere). Jillian had her math folder to get together and I'd promised to help her (but her big sister came to the rescue). Oh, and I had laundry mountain to climb. It had to be done.

So I was super busy until around 9pm.

Yesterday was much the same way. I drive a lot on Tuesday. One girl here, another here (an hour later), pick up girl one an hour later, pick up girl 2 two hours later. I spend over 2 hours in the car just driving them. I had errands to run as well in between. Then one of the moms at my last girl pick up called to say that she was going to be late. So I stayed with her girls until she got there. I got home around 4:30. Luckily the beans had been in the crock-pot cooking so all I had to do was throw some cornbread into the oven. Then help the girls study for a big science (and math for the youngest) test today. Oh, and bake and decorate over 50 Halloween cookies for the girls party today. And process a bit more of the garden produce/herbs.

And then Mike needed his hair cut (and he didn't get home until almost 8:30).

And he hadn't eaten. So he needed to eat and then I needed to clean up the kitchen where I had been keeping stuff warm for him.

And we still needed to cut the pumpkin.

We finally sat down close to 10pm and decided pretty soon to just call it a night.

And then of course tonight being Halloween, we have here and there to go. We will hopefully be home and settled and hopped up on sugar by 10:00.

And then it's November.


And btw, I just wanted to thank all of you women for your prayers. You touch me and humble me. Prayer works! I've seen it work so much in my life and soooo appreciate all of you that have taken the time to pray for me. Amazingly, our money situation has changed for the better this week almost immediately after I'd made the money-money-money post and had so many respond that I was in their prayers.

Again, thank you.

God is so good.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Since many of my friends here and I have been talking about saving money lately, I've decided to add prices to my menu here. I do not count leftovers as I count them in total on the day that I list the particular meal. And the produce from the garden isn't counted either. Prices rounded to the nearest quarter.

These meals feed a family of 5. Three adult age. One teenager. And one pre-teen. We also frequently (at least once or twice a week) have drop in guests.

I have teeny bits of really odd leftovers (kraut, baked beans, one hot sausage, curly fries) that I'm working with this week.

I also wanted to note that I will put out a raw vegetable platter when there is no vegetables mentioned and I add $2.00 to the menu price for that.

Monday - Smorgasbord. I'm gonna fry up some sliced hot dogs w/ the hot sausage and cook it with some steamed root vegetables and onion and peppers. I'll lay out tortillas if they want to wrap it up. Then I'll heat up the rest of the leftovers (to clean out the fridge) and people can have what they want. $2.75

Tuesday - Big pot of beans w/cornbread and chunked onion. $5.25

Wednesday - Halloween! Homemade chili. Of course. It's a tradition. (Using leftover beans.) $10.50

Thursday - Baked potatoes w/leftover chili and cheese (sour cream, etc) $5.00

Friday - Beef and bean burritos w/salad fixins; fried (leftover) potato rounds $6.75

Total for the (work) week: $30.25

For more great menu ideas be sure to check out Laura's New Blog!


Friday, October 26, 2007

Money - Money - Money


The girls had dental cleanings yesterday. I love their dentist. He's the only one the my youngest would go to without completely freaking out when she was little. His office is like a gameroom. He even has a softserve (self serve no less!) machine for the kids. Or the adults. But from now on we will make our appointments for the last ones before lunch. That's the only time they get the cleanings done timely.


We have no dental insurance. And the cleanings were over $400 (together. and in his defense they needed panoramic x-rays, but still). Ouch.

And then this:

has allergies. And needed an allergy shot. She was chewing a literal hole in her backside/tail area. And under her arm. And on one of her feet. And she was scratching all night long and keeping us up. And miserable and pitiful.

But that was another $60something.

Julia (13) is being set up for an ortho consult. We knew it was coming. She needs it (and so will Jillian soon). Oh, and please bring the almost $300 that it will take. And while you're there, lets go ahead and seal the 3 extra permanent teeth that she has gotten. For $40 each.

I also need to make my holiday trip to Sam's. Meaning the last one I will make until January. Meaning I'll be lucky to get out without spending over $500.

Again, ugh.

And then we have Christmas. Well, first we have Halloween (and yes, we dress - though not in anything "bad", and I could write a whole post on my thoughts on holidays and probably will in the future), then Thanksgiving (which costs only for food, but we do spend a little extra on food at that time). And then Christmas. Which is insane here.

I didn't vote in the polls at the left. But if I had voted it would be with the only category that got one vote on the money part. And it's in the high end of that.

I'm tightening the belt everywhere I can, but this is starting to stress me a lot little.

Oh well.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Frugal Food

Having stared at the computer for 15 literal minutes this morning trying to come up with a weekly menu, I know how daunting menu planning can be. Why is it sometimes it's as easy as breathing? Something I look forward to doing? And other times it's frustrating and nothing sounds good or right or like it goes together.

Back in a minute, I've forgotten (yes, really, forgotten) to start the homemade rolls for supper tonight. Ugh.

Okay, back. Anyway.

I've definitely felt the pinch with grocery shopping too. Times when I've needed to spend as little as possible at the store and yet still not compromise nutrition.

Andrea has asked for our help. She needs to feed her large family of hearty eaters for as little as possible. And that's something that a lot of us could benefit from, especially at this time of year. The problem is, she lives nowhere close to me and I'm not sure that the things that I can find cheaply here are the same things she can find cheaply there.

So the only thing I know to do is to post ideas instead of menu's and/or recipes.

My husband is a meat eater. He'll tolerate a meatless meal about once a week, and after that he just isn't happy if there is no meat for supper. But there are ways to work around that. My recipe for Cheesy Chicken Casserole only takes one can of chicken and it feeds our family for 2 nights. If I wanted to plump up the casserole with more stuff, I'd throw in an extra can of vegetables. I buy them at A*ldi's for 39¢. I get the chicken for less than $2 a can at Sam's. The whole dish costs me about $5.50. And that's for 2 suppers. My younger girls don't eat a lot, but even if you only got one meal and then lunch the next day...that's pretty good for a meat meal.

Tuna Patties is another good one. You feel like you've gotten a big piece of meat, but the reality is that it's pretty frugal. It cost me about $4 - $4.50 to make the huge pan of 12 patties depending on how cheaply I can get tuna (I found it on sale at Target last week for $1.58 for the huge family size pouches of 12oz). I don't know if you can tell, but these patties are bigger than the palm of your hand and about 3/4 or so inch thick. Now, of course you'll have to serve this with some side items. But for a meat dish, this is pretty reasonable.

Meatloaf is a family favorite here and fairly economical. It costs appr. $9 to make the big meatloaf. It feeds my family of 5 for 3 nights (2 of the nights being sandwiches). I can make a huge bowl of instant mashed potatoes for less than $1. Homemade rolls to eat the first night and use with the sandwiches the next 2 nights for less than 50¢. Throw in a green vegetable of choice (we used canned turnip greens...we're southern you know. :) Add more breadcrumbs and spices if you need to stretch it farther.

You can also use the meatloaf recipe to make about a gazillion meatballs. Cook them up and then freeze them. They're *fabulous* on cheap spaghetti.

Also, being from the south, we like beans and cornbread. And beans and rice. I try to have one bean only (meaning no meat) meal ever couple of weeks. I'll make a huge crockpot full of beans. Pintos. Small red beans are really good. Black beans. It doesn't matter. The first night we have either beans and (brown) rice or beans and cornbread. (Any leftover rice is eaten, sweetened and with a touch of milk/cream and dried fruit, for breakfast.)

The next night, I'll brown some ground beef with homemade taco seasoning and we'll have beef and bean burritos. All you have to add is cheese (though lettuce, onion, peppers, sour cream etc is good too). Then I freeze whatever is leftover (and there *will* be leftovers) in cup sized containers. The next I'm pushed for something quick for supper, bean burritos it is! The kids love it.

Another one of Andrea's readers suggested pasta, which is always a good idea. Another good idea is Rice a Roni. A couple of boxes of this is simple and easy. Top with a couple of meatballs or just a bit of chicken (pulled from a whole crockpot chicken or one breast sauteed in a bit of oil will feed my whole family with the rice a roni dish for less than $6)

Baked potatoes are really good and fairly cheap. They can be topped with just about any leftovers you have or even a can of cheap chili and a handful of cheese. Oven potatoes work the same way and are usually a crowd pleaser.

Whew! Okay, I'm gonna stop now. If I can find a way to make this more coherent, I will. And I'm sure I'll think up more stuff.

If you have any great frugal meal ideas, please share them. I know I get in a rut and it's great to have other ideas!


Menu Plan Monday

I don't have anything in particular to work with this week. No leftovers. The sales have been really blah lately so there is nothing new or really different in the pantry. We do have a lot of frozen meat that my thoughtful husband picked up a couple of weeks ago at a great price. But I do need to make a trip to the grocery store today.

Monday - Tuna Patties, steamed broccoli w/cheese, homemade rolls

Tuesday - Tuna Pattie Sandwiches, vegetable platter w/dip

Wednesday - Dinner at church. I'm not sure what I'm bringing yet. The theme is "beans and cornbread".

Thursday - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, greens

Friday - Meatloaf sandwiches, salad

For more great menu ideas, be sure to visit Laura's Blog !


Friday, October 19, 2007

Frugal Friday - Cloth v Paper

Today's tip is not earth shattering, but it does go to show how even little things can add up over time.

A couple of years ago I'd heard, yet again, about using cloth in the kitchen and doing away with paper towels. I happened to be at S*am's a day or so later and saw their pack of shop towels. I picked up 2 packs of 20 or so. When I got home I realized that they were big. So I cut all of them (except 5 or so) into fourths. This gave me a ton of towels. And we use them for everything. Every time we'd think to grab a paper towel, we grab one of these now. I keep a small stack (20ish) on my microwave. The rest are on a pantry shelf.

I keep a little basket right behind the trash can to throw these wipes and any other kitchen towel into.

They get washed with the regular towels so they create almost no extra laundry at all.

We still use paper towels for some things. An example is that we have an older dog and he gets sick sometimes. I'm not yet at the point of using kitchen towels for that. But now a roll of paper towels will last as much as 2 weeks. Where as before, we'd easily use a roll in a day or two.

Even figuring conservatively, with paper towels at .50 a roll and "only" using 10 less rolls a month, that's a savings of $100 over 2 years ($120. - the $20 investment in the towels.)

And they're still going strong.

For more Frugal Friday tips, be sure to check out Crystal's Blog!


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Wednesday

I had planned to do a post on the Christmas Polls, but it's been a busy week. And my head just isn't where it needs to be. This is the stuff that's rolling around instead.

  • My oldest daughter (20) came home from work Sunday night with blisters in her throat.
  • She went to a doctor Monday to rule out strep.
  • It wasn't strep.
  • It is Mono.
  • She's pretty much in the bed for a week or two.
  • Very fatigued.
  • Wanting comfort food when she's awake.
  • I've been trying to keep the little(r) girls away from her as much as possible.
  • Mike's dad has had tongue cancer in the past.
  • He had a sore spot come up on his tongue last week and had a biopsy.
  • He's in surgery as I type this. It's cancerous.
  • They're hoping they can get it all.
  • If not, he'll go to Emory.
  • I'm waiting on Mike to call to know which.
  • He's only in his early sixties.
  • I still haven't gotten the full garden in.
  • My desk is a literal disaster zone.
  • I've got a lasagna to make for Bible Study tonight.
  • I'll post more when I have some time.

ETA - My father-in-law came out of surgery and they were able to get all the cancer! Praise God! It was the best possible outcome. We are blessed far beyond what we deserve.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

If the menu sounds odd, I'm working with a few ton of leftovers and some fabulous fruit/vegetable stand finds from this weekend.

Monday - Grilled NY Strip Salad, fried sweet potato slices.

Tuesday - Spicy re fried bean burritos (with salad fixin's)

Wednesday - Bible Study, meal at church. I'm bringing Lasagna and Cheddar/garlic biscuits.

Thursday - Chicken breast stir fry with root vegetables and green beans, brown rice

Friday - Broiled Tilapia Parmesan, sauteed garlic pole beans.

Also, Alanna asked for my crustless quiche recipe. I'm a little embarrassed to say that I really don't have one. I basically clean out the fridge/freezer of little bits of things I have extra. Season it with some salt and pepper (and whatever else I may feel like at the moment). Dump it all into a (sprayed) casserole dish. Throw some cheese on top. And pour over some whipped eggs (2-3) with a splash of cream. I bake this at about 400 for 30 - 45 or so minutes (until it's set and the edges start to brown). It's a great way to use up leftovers. :)

For some really great menu ideas, be sure to check out Laura's Blog!


Friday, October 12, 2007

Frugal Friday - Battery Edition

Have you ever bought a gift for someone that required batteries? And the packs of batteries at the checkout was almost as much as the gift?

There is a better way! I frequently find batteries on sale at C*VS or other places for great prices. Sometimes even free!

And when I get them I have the perfect place to store them.

I actually have two of these. This one is sitting on top of the other one. You can also hang them on a wall. I rotate them as we use the batteries so that the first ones bought get used first. The little black plastic square at the top actually lifts up and it has a battery indicator inside. Meaning before I substitute the batteries in something that I'm not sure has low batteries, I can stick the battery there and check.

A green light will indicate that the battery is OK. A yellow, that it's almost gone. And a red tells me that the battery is no longer good. (I was going to do pictures of this, but blogger is acting all wonky with my pictures today?)

It's also easy to check which batteries are running low with nothing more than a glance. We keep this in the Pantry.

For more frugal tips, be sure to check out Crystal's Blog!


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Beefy Onion Lasagna

I'd promised this recipe a while ago and never gotten around to posting it. I'll try to remember to update it with pictures the next time I make it.

Beefy Onion Lasagna


Box lasagna noodles

4 cloves garlic (to taste)

3 whole onions (baseball size or bigger) diced/sliced whatever you like

2 lbs ground chuck (or you can substitute sausage for up to ½ lb)

2 16oz containers ricotta or cottage cheese (or less if your family doesn't care for it so much)

6 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Big jar of spaghetti sauce (40+ oz)


Cook lasagna noodles per package direction (I always under cook by several (4?) minutes so the lasagna doesn't end up mushy). Set aside.

In a large skillet, cook ground beef. When browned add garlic and onion. Saute until onion gets a little soft. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 13 x 9 x 2 pan with cooking spray. Set up an assembly line of your ingredients in this order:

spaghetti sauce

lasagna noodles

ricotta (or cottage) cheese

beefy onion mixture

mozzarella cheese

Pour a cup or two or so of spaghetti sauce into the bottom of your greased baking dish. Spread it thin. Layer 3-4 noodles (enough to cover, but you don't want it too noodly, so don't overlap much). Dot some teaspoons of ricotta cheese on top of the noodles. as much as your family likes. Cover this with 1/3 of your beefy onion mixture, then sprinkle two cups of cheese on top.

Start again with the spaghetti sauce. And repeat the order until you have 3 layers of everything.

When you put the last of the mozzarella on top, cover it with the cup of grated Parmesean.

Cook, covered with foil, at 375 for an hour or so. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before you cut it.

This is a great "make ahead" dish. It will keep perfectly for a day or so uncooked in the fridge. It also freezes well (cooked).


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Can I Just Say

You women amaze me. You really do.

There is still a bit of time to vote in the poll in the sidebar. Thank you all for sharing a bit of your lives.

I usually start shopping after Oct. 1. Sometimes a bit before if I come across something special by accident. But I purposely start after October. We live in the suburbs but just a few miles from the largest mall in a tri-state area. It's *really* hard to shop here after Thanksgiving. And I've shopped enough online to know that it should be done early as well.

We, no doubt, spend too much money at Christmas time. It's like everyone here does! And I don't mean to say the where we live is affluent! It's just this weird thing here where people tend to spend TONS at Christmas. It is nothing *at all* for kids to get #'s with commas spent on them. Each.


So to those of you who spend less, bravo! I'd love some of your secrets.

More on this later. Time is kinda tight right now. We have the tailgate thing at church tonight. I wasn't very clear about what it is, but each week on Wednesday we have a Bible Study. And we have a themed potluck beforehand. This week is "Tailgating".

I can truly say that I have never tailgated in my life. Never even came close. So this one threw me for a loop. And I really appreciate all of your help with it.

Unfortunately, I won't be using any ideas this week. Well, not personally making anything. Mike is going to pick up hotwings. Seems that the weather channel was off a few days on when the cold was coming in to the area and I have to get all my garden stuff in today. Like 45 minutes ago.

So off with me to get the day started!


Monday, October 08, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Well, it turns out we didn't stick at all to last weeks menu plan. My husband got a great deal on some meat. So he called me on Tuesday and asked me to check the freezer when I got home. It was half filled with gorgeous steaks of all kinds, chicken, and talipia! So we feasted last week.

What I'm working with this week: Were working on healthy this week. (Healthy for us is low carbs.)

Monday - Leftover steaks, huge leafy greens and vegetable salad.

Tuesday - Roast crockpot whole chicken, vegetable and dip tray

Wednesday - Bible study meal. Theme is "Tailgate". I'm clueless. I'd love some ideas.

Thursday - Chicken burritos (from leftover chicken) on whole wheat burritos with all the fixins.

Friday - Crockpot spicy black beans, chow-chow, cornbread (I have a lower carb mix)

For more food inspiration, check out Laura's blog!


Friday, October 05, 2007


Mary has a son that joined the military last year. She struggled with celebrating Christmas last year because she missed her son so much. She has a youngish daughter still at home that misses her brother terribly.

Mary is looking for ideas on new family traditions that she can celebrate with her husband and daughter this year. She has asked for those of us that read her blog to share our traditions with her.

Since this is really what the season is all about, imnsho, I'm more than happy to answer and hopefully bless her with some ideas. I'd love it if some of you wonderful, smart women that read this would do the same. Either in the comments here, on her blog, or make a post about it (and leave a comment telling us you did it).

Some of our traditions are really little things. Things that I thought didn't really matter at all. Until I'd try to change something and the girls would absolutely revolt! The little things seem to mean the most to the girls!

Our traditions:

  • The tree (and all decorations) goes up on the Friday after Thanksgiving. No excuses. We always make cocoa or spiced cider (yes, even when the weather isn't too cold) and the girls always put their own ornaments on the tree. Dad puts the generic ornaments and his and mine on there. I sort.
  • We break out the Christmas music on the trip home from Thanksgiving Dinner. Every year. We have the same CD (A Very Special Christmas) that we play first.
  • At least once a week we watch a Christmas movie. Sometimes more. They vary each year but we always, always watch Christmas Vacation. Always. And usually Scrooged. And usually It's a Wonderful Life. We try to include a new one each year, but lately the adults have had to watch them first because we've found some *really* inappropriate ones!
  • Every year we make a Christmas picture. It's always with the 3 girls sitting in the same spot around the tree. I try to get them clothes that match in some way or they're in their jammies or some such thing. They are really starting to not like the matching thing. So we may drop that this year. And the picture goes in the Christmas cards that we send out each year. So this picture has to be made right after the tree goes up.
  • We always make the traditional cutout Christmas cookies and we decorate them. Last year I found recipes for three different kinds of dough that I made ahead of time and froze so that was super easy and made all the difference. Store bought dough would work too and we've used it in the past.
  • We try to have a different Christmas breakfast every year. Something that we see in a magazine or just something that looks yummy. It has to be super, super easy or, preferably, something that I can make ahead. Christmas morning is too busy and fun to spend in the kitchen.
  • Every year we make something homemade to give as gifts. This goes to people like the mailman or teachers at school. It also goes to grandparents (along with other things of course) and aunts and uncles. One year we made Mixed Bean Soup Jars (with rave reviews). One year Chocolate Chip Cookie Jars. Many years I'll mold candy (this is a hobby that I adore, but it's so time consuming and has to be made so last minute for it to be fresh, that I've all but given it up at this busy season in my life). This year I found these fabulous square, heavy, blue plates on a clearance sale for like 50 cents each. I plan to make homemade cookies and wrap them in colorful plastic wrap for the homemade gift.
  • The girls each get their own ornament every year. On Christmas morning they have to "find" it on the tree. When they move out, they get to take their ornaments so they have some wonderful memories to put on their first trees. I try to make the ornaments match their lives that year if at all possible. Like when Jessica turned 16 it had something to do with a car. And when she graduated high school it was a little cap and gown with the year on it. The younger girls have gotten things like ballet slippers or doggie bones with a new dogs name on it. And always the year printed on it. I'm a stickler for that.
  • Every year we put the video camera beside the bed and the girls can only peek downstairs before they get us up. We turn on the camera and capture all the excitement. It's almost all on one tape. So we can watch them grow up, Christmas after Christmas, all in a row.
  • We take our time opening gifts. We watch one another. We celebrate with one another. If the girls get the same thing (which they frequently do) we number them or put a special matching sticker on them so they know to open them at the same time so it's not spoiled for the other girls. It can take us hours to open presents. We sometimes even eat breakfast in the middle!

Okay, that's all I can thing of off the top of my head. I'm sure I'll think of more later and will add to it as I do.

Please share your traditions!


Frugal Friday

Okay this is a quick tip that may not work for everyone, but it has saved me money and aggravation. And I know it's early, but it's timely for this tip

Christmas Tip #1

The girls get absolutely nothing extra between Oct. 1 and Christmas Day. They also have to have all Christmas requests in on Oct. 1.

This is good for many reasons. Not the least of which is the wow factor that Christmas has when you haven't gotten so much as a new pencil at the office supply store or new shoe laces. But it also saves money! They don't even bother watching those last minute Christmas commercials for the latest gadgets because they know that it will be next year before they can ask for it. They put a lot of thought into what they put on their Christmas list, because it's so early in the year and they're not bombarded with the advertisements. And I don't have to run out on Dec. 18th to try to find the latest gadget.

I start reminding them in early Sept. about the list and we usually talk about it every couple of days so they can really think on what they'd like to have.

For more frugal ideas be sure to visit Crystal's Blog!


Thursday, October 04, 2007

More Bullets

  • I've put a poll on the sidebar about Christmas. I know it's invasive and personal, but I'm always very curious as to others habits. I plan to do a post on it soon and would love to know your answers.
  • I almost never crave any foods, but have been craving celery (of all things) lately. I literally ate half a bunch yesterday and had some with my eggs this morning! I wonder if there is a vitamin deficiency associated? Does anyone have any thoughts?
  • What is up with sales calls to my cell phone? Are you kidding me? I've gotten several in the last few weeks. One time I answered and the guy quickly pointed out that this was a sales call from Sprint and it wasn't costing me any minutes at all. I asked him if it was costing me minutes to put the person that I was talking to on the other line on HOLD to answer a SALES call? He stammered said he'd call back later. I do not like this at all and will change my service if I have to do so to make it stop. Do other companies do this as well?
  • My garden is winding down. But for some reason the peppers are going crazy! I'm gonna have to watch for the weather to get too cold so I know when to get them all off the vine. Also, I've got tons of basil left to process for winter and strawberries to plant. We started off with 4 strawberry plants last year and we have probably 100 now. Even though we got very few berries this year due to a late freeze. I'm really looking forward to next year.
  • My daughters now only want to take "healthy" food to school. It has to be a stage, right? I mean, I love it. But healthy food is work. I would love ideas on healthy lunchboxbag foods? Oh, and it has to be peanut free for one of the days. That's the hard one.
  • I got asked if I was a GRANDMA yesterday! I was at the store with my oldest daughter who is babysitting her friends baby while she works (long story and one I could rant about, but won't. Today.) and the guy carrying out our groceries asked if that was my GRANDBABY! I said, "No!" Then he asked if it was my baby. And I think I was equally offended. ;D If this isn't incentive to get back into shape and color my hair, I don't know what is...
  • Off to pick up Julia from Co-Op


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Great Question!

Mary asked about how to get a 6th grader to work more independently. Since this is exactly what we've struggled with starting middle school and exactly what my 6th grader has been going through for several weeks (and because my answer got too wordy for the comment section) I thought I'd post it here.

My daughter is in 6th grade too! And that's the exact "problem" that I've had with her. She has been doing great as long as I sit beside her, but it's *tough* to get them to work by themselves. And, unfortunately, I really don't know a painless way for it to happen.

My girls really like the co-op. So my catch phrase has been that I'm more than willing to help them do something, but if I'm going to have to teach it, then I'm not paying for the co-op. They get 2-3 questions a day each, in each subject. I figure after that, **I'M** teaching it and should get the money. ;)

The thing that I finally realized is this, I'm not doing them *any* favors by sitting beside them. They have *got* to learn to work independently. anything else that they *need* to learn in life (potty training to riding a bike to driving a car and dating) they simply have to learn to do it.

I would start small. Just a few problems. Lots of praise when she works by herself. And also, logic works pretty well at that age. Maybe something like "I'd love to have time to take you out for an ice-cream this afternoon, but if I have to sit here with you working these math problems then I'll have to spend the afternoon on laundry instead. You pick."

It will be a struggle and it will take time, but know that when it happens...I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that it will change your life.

Good luck! And let me know how it goes!


My 200th Post

I've been blogging here for just a few months over a year. And this is my 200th post. I can't decide if that is too much or too little! LOL

My head is just full of things that I've wanted to blog about in the last month or so. If this post is scattered, please know that it's nothing compared to what my brain feels.

  • Homeschool is going pretty well. Finally. Actually I feel like a poser calling it "homeschool" anymore. My girls are taking classes at an advanced honors co-op. Each class meets once a week (except when they meet twice a week, but you get the point) and then there is more than enough work given for them to finish out the other days. I'm not sure why there is such a challenge and change from elementary to middle school, but I've found that there is with all three of my girls. My girls are bright. I'm not bragging. It's just true. We're very blessed in that way. And because they're bright, they get used to slacking things coming easily for them in elementary school. It's just not that way when middle school starts. It takes more than just paying attention in class. It takes actual studying. And time. And discipline. From them too. ; ) And it seems to be slowly coming together. At least the tears have mostly stopped. From them too.

  • Our church has "small groups". We didn't join one when they first started for various reasons. But we do have a friend of Mike's that comes over most Sunday's for a cookout and we've started having our own "very small group". We pick Biblical topics and study during the week. We present what has been impressed upon our hearts on Sunday afternoon. It's been fabulous. And it's been amazing the things that I've learned. And the things that I've been convicted about. I plan to start blogging about that more as I feel lead.

  • Our dog is getting really old. One of his eyes started looking funny, sunken, to me last Sunday. Mike took him into the vet on Monday and he said it was allergies. Allergies. Unbelievable. So we got some drops and used them for a week. Well, this past Monday his whole eyelid drooped. It looked like either his eye had sunk back in his head or that he'd lost muscle control on that eye. Truthfully, it looked like both. So Mike took him back in and the vet said that he hadn't noticed that they week before (?!) and that it was probably either a brain tumor or he'd had a stroke. His gait hasn't changed. So I'm kinda doubting the stroke. Plus the fact that it started out weird and then got worse over the course of a week. That doesn't sound strokish to me. But he doesn't appear to be in any pain. As a matter of fact, he seems to be enjoying all the added attention. But his is NOT pretty to look at. It's freakish. And heartbreaking. We'll have to watch him closely for signs of deterioration or pain. :(

  • I've have been such a grump lately! I just do not understand people. I do what I say I'm going to do unless there is a reason that I can't. I show up when I'm supposed to show up (give or take 5 minutes). I do what is expected/required of me without anyone reminding me to do so. And I teach my daughters to do the same. And that's getting harder and harder when it seems that NO other adults (much less children) keep the same philosophy. I'm too old and ornery to pretend that this is okay anymore. So I don't. I know it's not my place to be a moral dictator of the world. But it is my place to associate myself and my girls with people that keep the same standards that I do. Or to at least be considerate. What kind of world are we living in?

  • Our "victory" BBQ went wonderfully. It simply could not have been better.

  • I hope to be caught up on my friends list by the end of the week.

  • It's grocery planning/shopping day so I'll stop now and bore dazzle you more later.


Monday, October 01, 2007


Can you guys believe it's October already?! It was actually a little chilly early this morning. Fall is my favorite time of year.

Our schedule has been out the window the last few weeks, and are we ever paying for it! The house is upside down and I had almost forgotten how it felt to have the stress of not knowing what we were having for dinner...until the last few weeks.

What I'm working with this week: Leftover chicken, root vegetables

So with all that being said, first things first! Our menu:

Monday - Stirfry chicken with steamed root vegetables, rice.

Tuesday - Cheesy Chicken Casserole, celery and carrots w/dressing

Wednesday - leftover Cheesy Chicken Casserole, big salad

Thursday - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, fried spinach, homemade rolls

Friday - Meatloaf sandwiches, celery and carrots w/dressing

Whew! I can't tell you how much better I feel just getting that done! I'll try to get everything else caught up this week as well. Including my blog reading! I'm excited to catch up on everyones lives!