Aug 302015

Weekly Menu Plan May 2013I thought I had our meal plan all figured out this past week, but it does not work out if you do not have all the ingredients.  Surprising, I know.  I was finding myself in the loop of the same meal choices, all of which I was missing a main ingredient.  Let’s just say that sandwiches, or various kinds, made it onto the menu a lot more than is normal for our household.  This week, I was determined not to let that happen.  After all …

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

This morning, my priority was to plan a menu AND make a shopping list of what I needed to carry it out.  After church, I dropped my husband off to do some studying and took the boys grocery shopping.  The thing is, I disdain grocery shopping on Sundays.  It seems as if everyone decides the perfect time to go to the stores is at this time.  Yes, by me being there I am adding to the chaos, but you would think it would be more spread out through the week.  Well, it is not so.  As we go to church in Big Town, I use the times we are there to do errands, such as any grocery shopping we need to do.  This saves on gas and time, though it really tests my patience and focus when I have Jack and George with me.

My plan was to only stop at Aldi, skipping the larger stores and larger crowds.  Then I remembered we needed shoes for Georges and made a stop by Target as well.  (Goodwill was not open yet.)  While getting shoes, I detoured to find the two remaining items on my list – egg roll wrappers and ground beef.  I ended up finding ground beef with a $2 off coupon attached to 4 packages.  It was the perfect number, so I bought all of them.  Added to the sale this week, I scored this meat at a price I have not seen in quite some time.  The egg roll wrappers however are an item they do not carry, so I will stop in Small Town and get them when needed.

We made it through the stores, but I was exhausted.  We picked up my husband and headed to a later lunch.  Supper tonight – crepes and some of the fresh fruit I was able to pick up at Aldi.  I have not shopped there in a while and had forgotten where some of the items were located.  However, I enjoyed not having to walk miles to get from one side to the other, and then back again when I realized I had forgotten something.  Also, the bathrooms were so close to the check-out lanes, we were able to utilize them while waiting our turn.

Kheema Indian Ground Beef and Peas


We have not tried many new recipes lately, which is fitting in with my goal of taking it a bit easy.  I am focused more on wrapping some things up while getting the school year started.  Perhaps October will hold a more new recipes.  For now, I sticking with some that we really like but have not had for a while.


  1. Shakes
  2. Cream of Wheat
  3. Oatmeal
  4. Waffles (frozen leftovers from last week)
  5. Shakes
  6. Cereal
  7. Camping


  1. Eat Out
  2. Kheema, rice
  3. Dad’s Meatloaf with Tomato Relish, shredded carrot salad, mashed potatoes
  4. Salad
  5. Supper Fast Salisbury Steak, Sarah’s Smashed Potatoesshredded carrot salad
  6. Meatballs and gravy, rice, vegetables
  7. Camping


  1. Crepes and fruit
  2. BBQ chicken quarters, mashed potatoes, vegetable
  3. Pulled Pork Egg Roll, rice
  4. Falafel, lentil quinoa salad
  5. Salad
  6. Camping
  7. Camping

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Aug 292015

filling kitchen soap dispenser collage

Our kitchen counter has a soap dispenser built into it.  While this is handy to use, it is a pain to fill.  It is so annoying that I often find myself just sitting the bottle of soap either next to it or under the counter to use.

After a visit from some friends earlier this week, where they tried to use the obvious source of soap (the dispenser) and found it empty, I renewed my search for a way to fill this container.  Because of how this is installed, there are two ways to add soap: 1. from above, 2. from below.

If you chose to do it from below, you had to clear out the cabinet, lay on  your back, reach up into a space you could not really see into and unscrew the bottle.  Once it was filled, you then had to hold a heavy bottle full of soap, hoping not to spill it, while you tried to align it with the threads of top section.  This would all have to be done going by touch alone as you could not see what you were doing.

If you chose to go from the top, it was a slow process of getting the soap in without having the escaping air push it back out.  When you take off the pump handle and attached parts, you can see down into the neck of the top portion.  Inside I found a narrow section that the soap had to go through while the air escaped.  If any soap covered this opening or got across it while filling, then the escaping air would push it upward making a bubbles or pushing the soap you just added back out, all over the counter.

Either route I chose, it was a process that was not easy.

While thinking on this yesterday the idea of using a funnel came to mind.  We have 3 different sizes of small funnels that I use in the kitchen.  Picking up the largest, I placed it on the top portion.  It was too large, the bottom of the funnel would not allow air to escape the neck of the bottle/top portion.  The middle size looked just right for what I was trying to do.

Now came the problem of it not actually reaching down to the junction neck.  Needing something to make it longer, I tried a drinking straw.  It was a tight fit, but was almost the exact size of the funnel’s tip.  I cut off about a third of the straw, pulling the cut portion through the funnel.  Now the soap could be drained straight into the bottle, allowing the air to escape up without touching the soap.  No bubbles.  No spilling over.

When I first did this, a portion of the straw stuck up into the funnel.  I tried to get it down as low as needed, but I did not want it to fall out.  It turns out that this was not much of an issue, as there was just enough space between the straw and funnel to allow any small amount of soap left in the funnel to drain down the outside of the straw, given enough time.

While washing dishes and doing other activities around the kitchen, I would fill the funnel and walk away.  When I noticed the soap had drain down into the bottle I added more.  The draining was not a quick action, but it was clean and did not require me to stand there to watch it; I could walk away and come back as my time allowed.  What was once a dreaded, time consuming chore had now become a very simple, effortless chore. It is amazing how a normal straw made my day so much easier.

Aug 272015

“So this, humblest little servant of your daily life, contains not just a product, but symbolizes a more abundant life for freedom loving people everywhere in the world.  This is the miracle of the can.”

Here is a great education clip from the mid 1950′s.  I dare you to look at a can the same way again after this.

Here are a few highlights from along the way:

8:45 – A look at the canneries from this time.  Not exactly an efficient process, especially having to solder on the lids.

11:40 – “How many cans you think we turn out today?”  “Oh, maybe … 600.”  And that was with 3 men working to solder the cans.  And why didn’t they hire more?  They could not find men who were trained for the job, who knew how to solder.  Seems not much has changed in the last 50+ years.  Job training was an issue then, just like it is now.

13:50 – Advancements in can making.  Yup, things have not always been like they are now, even for the simple can.

17:00 – The benefits carried over to the meat, fish, and farming industries.  Even property values were going up because farmers finally had a place to sell their increased farm yields.

17:54 – (paraphrase) “Now more people can make more money than they did using the antiquated methods of the past.”  Now one can-line, containing one person, can turn out 200,000 cans in a single day.

29:10 – “No, no, Shelly, don’t do that.  You are throwing away the best part … that is the liquid they are cooked in.  It is full of vitamins and minerals.  Throwing it away would be like … doing a chicken and throwing away the broth.”  I wonder if most people today would even view it this way, or know what she means concerning the chicken.

32:30 – I have never even heard of ‘stale’ coffee.  Oh how spoiled I am, thinking that having to make my own frappuccino coffee at home from scratch was a sort of roughing it moment.

37:00 – Was the the beginning of the downfall of the small grocery store and the reliance on grocers?  I had never even thought of how they used to buy shortening.  In a paper package?  Interesting.  Hope it was not a warm day or else you would have a huge puddle of a mess in the buggy.

38:45 – … then carrying over into the dairy industry, making reusable containers obsolete.  The down fall of the milk man?

39:20 “Thus, every new idea sets in motion a succession of ideas that expand in ever widening circles.  So the miracle of the can continues, bringing to countless supporting industries added expansion and prosperity.  To millions of people more jobs, greater security, a better way of life.  The can manufacturing industry ranks among the fist 10  indispensable industries in the world.”



Aug 202015
Reaching For The Stars ... or at least the sun

There are some garden issues you just have to chuckle about, while making sure they do not produce larger issues. If left up to themselves, almost all of our vines would have grown up into trees, like this one has.  The first to try was a pumpkin vine.  I was  not exactly looking forward to [...]

Aug 182015
Would You Like $15 To Spend At The Movie Theater?

We all love going to the movies during the summer. Whether you prefer the biggest blockbusters or the sweetest romantic comedy, Swagbucks can get you into the movies for free! Swagbucks is a rewards site that gives you points called “Swag Bucks” for things like searching, watching videos & browsing articles. You redeem those Swag [...]

Aug 172015
We Were Using The Wrong Umbrella (and the parental stress scale)

There are things you imagine being a parents means.  Before you actually have kids you imagine all the wonderfully good, sunshine and gentle breezes type of things.  The people around you who already have kids try to add in some reality – no more sleeping in, the ‘Terrible Twos’, helping with homework, worrying about who their [...]